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Asian Cucumber Slaw

15 Sep

Pickled Cucumbers

Apparently my six-foot-three, bearded, sport-obsessed husband has turned into a middle-aged, midwestern woman who is preparing for the seasons by pickling and canning everything in sight. Aside from the fact that we don’t have a pantry (Pickled jalapenos for everyone!  No really, I mean everyone. We have enough for everyone in America.), we also aren’t growing the produce out back or anything, so it’s not like we need to do something with our harvest.  This is definitely one of those food-phases that he is going through.  (Pizza anyone? Anyone?).  But I always happily oblige when he is going through his inspirational spurts, because I get to reap the (delicious) benefits.

These pickled cucumbers were something that he made, intending to be a garnish.  But we actually whipped it out as an accompaniment to some cheese and meats we put out for a happy hour with some friends, adding a nice, crisp partner to the other heavier foods. Continue reading

Pineapple and Roasted Poblano Salsa

23 Aug

Pineapple and Roasted Poblano Salsa

As I mentioned in our last post, we were on vacation recently. Usually when we go on vacation, we don’t tend to cook too much. Maybe a meal here or there, but going out for meals is a big part of helping me switch into vacation mode. Along with a beer. Or two. And a frozen custard… However, on this last trip, we ended up eating at the house a lot and it was actually a nice change. Maybe it was cooking in someone else’s kitchen, or being in a beautiful house on the beach. It all contributed to the little bit of work not feeling so much like a task.

In addition to the full-on meals that he cooked, Chris whipped up this quick salsa with ingredients plucked out of the garden (poblanos), fruit that was on the counter (pineapple) and something you always have in the fridge (garlic). This was awesome with salty tortilla chips and would be delicious on grilled chicken, in tacos or on top of a salad. Or if you just have a spoon, that would also be just fine. Continue reading

Aunt Anne’s Caramel Brownie Bars

26 Jul

caramel brownie bars

First off, yes, Aunt Anne is real (hi Anne!).  As I have mentioned before, my mom has a major sweet tooth and apparently it was passed along to me in the womb.  I can’t really recall any specific dinners she made us growing up, I mean, of course we ate, but nothing too memorable (sorry mom!).  However, when it came to desserts, I can recall more than a dozen delicious, divine desserts that were always in rotation in our house (which is evidenced by my thighs, even to this day).

I am really, really bad at memorizing recipes.  Even basic, simple dinners that I have made a million times, I still need to read a recipe for.  I just have that block going on in my brain.  However, there is one (and really, probably the only one) that I can do without a recipe.  And it’s this one.  I have made this for some many occasions (as my mom has), that it is permanently engrained in my mind.  Which isn’t a bad thing when it concerns a brownie/bar/caramel hybrid.

As a side note: One of the best things about having a baker in the house is being given the beaters to lick.  Hands down.  No matter what is being made, it is the best part of baking time.  I think Chris cried a little when he realized he would have to share the beaters with Ella.  He’s been (pretty) good about sharing them.  Sort of. Continue reading

Cold Brewed Iced Coffee

24 Jul

Iced Coffee

I was never really a “coffee person” until Ella was born.  And then I wanted an IV drip of it permanently attached to my arm.  Those first few months (scratch that: first year) of sleepless nights with a baby equaled tons of caffeine replenishment the next morning (and afternoon….and early evening).  I do have to admit though that I have become a coffee snob over the years. In the early days, a huge iced coffee with tons of cream and lots of sugar was my regular order.  Nowadays, the less fillers/add-in’s, the better.  I want to actually taste the coffee, not mask it.  I won’t really even blink if you handed me a cup of black coffee.  (Well, I would probably blink, because not blinking would just be so odd….).

With that said, my iced coffee preferences have also changed over the last couple of years.  I tend to find most store-bought iced coffees (with a couple exceptions) are too watered down and not strong enough for my tastes.  By cold brewing the coffee, you get less of a bitter taste (as hot water releases oils that give that off); so you get a strong flavor that is really smooth.  I actually prefer this home-brewed version to any other shop version.  And as an added bonus, I pour some of the coffee in ice cube trays so I can pop a few of those in too, without diluting the final product.  So pour yourself a tall one and enjoy the rest of your summer! Continue reading

Raspberry Jam and Dark Chocolate Dessert Pizza

12 Jul

Raspberry Jam and Dark Chocolate Dessert Pizza

I am such a sucker for mail.  It’s always so exciting when anything, other than a bill, arrives in your mailbox.  One of the sweetest sights to see in our household is a specific-sized box, with a return address from California.  Chris and I always immediately know the contents of said box.  It’s my mom’s jam.  And it’s freaking amazing.

She has been jamming for as long as I can remember and you would think I would have paid attention at least one time out of the 974 times she has made it. Nope (insert shamed daughter).  I have literally sat in the same room with her multiple times while she has made it.  I have no idea how to make it so I have to rely on her to keep our supply stocked (and also keep our close friends and family supplied).  And thank goodness because we go through peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in our house like WHOA.  And it’s not just because we have a three-year old kid.  It is my weakness. (Chris has said on multiple occasions that I have the palate of a toddler…).

So it was a welcome surprise when that box arrived on our doorstep last Friday. It held (glorious) large jars of jam from my mom. It was also perfect timing because we were having people over for dinner and they could be our (willing) guinea pigs for this dessert pizza.

I love raspberries and dark chocolate together, so this was a natural combination in my mind.  The mascarpone lightens up the taste to create something that is divine.  Trust me on this one.  Oh, and those leftover dark chocolate chips?  Gone.  In my mouth.  Another weakness. Continue reading

Grilled Summer Fruit Pizza

8 Jul

Grilled Summer Fruit Pizza

As I am writing this, the thermometer in our house is reading 90 degrees.  In my house.  No, not outside in the sun.  In my living room.  When we bought this great mid-century modern home, with the high-peaked ceilings, sun-soaked living room and custom windows, we didn’t think about the hot, humid New York summers. Or the fact that air conditioning units don’t fit in those custom windows.  Or central air can’t be installed in the (weird) walls. That may have been because we bought the house in March, on a beautiful crisp day.  Not feeling too crisp right about now.

Since it is so hot in my house (as evidenced by the three cold showers I took today), we have been trying to not cook anything inside, and this includes dessert. We made this dessert pizza on the Fourth of July, and it was the perfect ending to a summer meal. Continue reading

Mint Mojito

28 Jun

Mojito

Chris and I were just talking about how we want to permanently instill Happy Hour every weekend during the summer.  All you need are some delicious snacks (read: lots and lots of cheese), good company, something sweet and a fun drink.  It’s usually very hot here so no one ever wants to eat a huge feast.  But people always want cheese. Always. We really love having guests over and want to relax and be able to enjoy the  company, so this is a way to entertain low-key.  And let’s get real, as long as you have alcohol, you are most likely a good host in your guest’s eyes. Continue reading

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