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Monday, November 28, 2011

Turkey Curry

It all began on New Years day, in my 32nd year of being single. Once again I found myself on my own and going to my mother's annual turkey curry buffet. Every year she tries to fix me up with some bushy-haired, middle-aged bore, and I feared this year would be no exception. ~ “Bridget Jones’s Diary (Helen Fielding)



For some reason, I could not get the phrase Turkey Curry Buffet out of my head yesterday, which led me to finally make a post-Thanksgiving Turkey Salad in a whole new way, well new for me at least.  To make 4 regular (or 2 really generous) servings you’ll need the following:

12 oz. diced turkey
⅓ cup dried cranberries
⅓ cup cropped walnuts
¼ cup diced celery
3 to 4 TBSP mayonnaise
Turmeric, garam masala, salt & pepper to taste


Combine all ingredients and serve as a sandwich or over a salad.

Turkey Curry

It all began on New Years day, in my 32nd year of being single. Once again I found myself on my own and going to my mother's annual turkey curry buffet. Every year she tries to fix me up with some bushy-haired, middle-aged bore, and I feared this year would be no exception. ~ “Bridget Jones’s Diary (Helen Fielding)



For some reason, I could not get the phrase Turkey Curry Buffet out of my head yesterday, which led me to finally make a post-Thanksgiving Turkey Salad in a whole new way, well new for me at least.  To make 4 regular (or 2 really generous) servings you’ll need the following:

12 oz. diced turkey
⅓ cup dried cranberries
⅓ cup cropped walnuts
¼ cup diced celery
3 to 4 TBSP mayonnaise
Turmeric, garam masala, salt & pepper to taste


Combine all ingredients and serve as a sandwich or over a salad.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thanksgiving countdown

Two days until Thanksgiving 2011, I’m about to go do prep work with Mom  We’re cooking together this year which I really kind of love.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, my mom’s an excellent cook and I’ll never, ever be as good a cook as she.  One of the things I love most about cooking with my mom is the “hey let’s try that, but do it this way” aspect of our cooking that I seem to embrace more when I cook with her.  Mom tends to encourage me to cook without fear, and for that I am very thankful.

Anyway I gotta go see a man about some yams.  And if you want to venture beyond the canned cranberry sauce this year try this super easy recipe:

1 pound fresh or frozen cranberries (4 cups)
2 Cups Orange Juice


  1. Rinse cranberries with cool water, and remove any stems or blemished berries.
  2. Heat juice over medium-low heat in large sauce pan, add in cranberries. Heat to boiling, stirring occasionally. Continue boiling about 5 minutes longer, stirring occasionally, until cranberries begin to pop. Pour sauce into bowl or container. Refrigerate about 3 hours or until chilled.

Makes 16 servings


adapted from Betty Crocker recipe

Thanksgiving countdown

Two days until Thanksgiving 2011, I’m about to go do prep work with Mom  We’re cooking together this year which I really kind of love.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, my mom’s an excellent cook and I’ll never, ever be as good a cook as she.  One of the things I love most about cooking with my mom is the “hey let’s try that, but do it this way” aspect of our cooking that I seem to embrace more when I cook with her.  Mom tends to encourage me to cook without fear, and for that I am very thankful.

Anyway I gotta go see a man about some yams.  And if you want to venture beyond the canned cranberry sauce this year try this super easy recipe:

1 pound fresh or frozen cranberries (4 cups)
2 Cups Orange Juice


  1. Rinse cranberries with cool water, and remove any stems or blemished berries.
  2. Heat juice over medium-low heat in large sauce pan, add in cranberries. Heat to boiling, stirring occasionally. Continue boiling about 5 minutes longer, stirring occasionally, until cranberries begin to pop. Pour sauce into bowl or container. Refrigerate about 3 hours or until chilled.

Makes 16 servings


adapted from Betty Crocker recipe

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Simple weeknight supper


A rare weeknight post.  This is really simple and fairly quick.


Stovetop "baked" rigatoni
(Makes 4 servings)


½ pound Rigatoni
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
2 tbsp. tomato paste
½ ti 1 cup water
1 tbsp. Italian seasoning
1 tbsp. minced garlic
1 tsp. crushed red pepper
1 tbsp. olive oil
½ pound turkey sausage
8 oz ricotta cheese
8 oz mozzarella cheese
1 tsp. ground black pepper

Add tomatoes, tomato paste and water to large skillet.  Add garlic, most of the Italian seasoning, olive oil and pasta.

Cook sausage in a non-stick skillet, when nearly cooked season with crushed red pepper, pinch of Italian seasoning, and drizzle of oil, cook until all pink is gone.

When pasta is tender add sausage.

In a small bowl combine ricotta, mozzarella and black pepper.  Add cheese mixture to pasta and sauce.

Simple weeknight supper


A rare weeknight post.  This is really simple and fairly quick.


Stovetop "baked" rigatoni
(Makes 4 servings)


½ pound Rigatoni
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
2 tbsp. tomato paste
½ ti 1 cup water
1 tbsp. Italian seasoning
1 tbsp. minced garlic
1 tsp. crushed red pepper
1 tbsp. olive oil
½ pound turkey sausage
8 oz ricotta cheese
8 oz mozzarella cheese
1 tsp. ground black pepper

Add tomatoes, tomato paste and water to large skillet.  Add garlic, most of the Italian seasoning, olive oil and pasta.

Cook sausage in a non-stick skillet, when nearly cooked season with crushed red pepper, pinch of Italian seasoning, and drizzle of oil, cook until all pink is gone.

When pasta is tender add sausage.

In a small bowl combine ricotta, mozzarella and black pepper.  Add cheese mixture to pasta and sauce.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Yummy Places - Fall 2011


I’ve had a very busy Fall, I finally took a much needed vacation.  Much needed, as several staff members have commented on how much more relaxed & happy I now look post-travels.  I rested of course, but I think the real rejuvenation can be attributed to the really good food I had, and with that here are 4 places you need to try at some point.

Nordic Lodge (Charlestown, RI) – Fair warning Nordic Lodge is not cheap, currently it’s $82 per person for adults.  But I tell you it’s worth every single penny, plus extra tip to your server.  Why?  It’s all you can eat lobster – that’s right all you can eat.  But wait, there’s more.  It’s also all you can eat oysters, prime rib and so much more. Everything is freshly made and the staff is really nice. A lobster dinner, at least near me starts at $27 per person, and doesn’t include an appetizer, soft drinks or coffee and dessert; all of this is included in Nordic Lodge’s price. It’s open from late April through mid-December.


Nancy’s Restaurant(Oak Bluffs, MA) – Nancy’s sits right on the Oak Bluffs Harbor, during the summer months there’s an outdoor “Snack Bar” and year round there’s dining “Upstairs” at an indoor restaurant and patio deck.  The clam chowder and lobster rolls were perfection, and for a resort town, I thought the prices were reasonable.

The Purple Pig (Chicago, IL) – The Purple Pig has such a “neighborhood joint” feel that you kind of forget that it’s an upscale restaurant on Chicago’s Magnificent Mile.  The staff was really helpful in suggesting a good beverage to accompany the Braised Baby Artichokes, Fingerling Potatoes,Asiago & Salami Toscana antipasti and Salami Toscana, Goat Cheese & Black Olive Tapenade Panini I decided on for lunch.  When I thought my meal couldn’t get any better I found out dessert was an option, during which I basically turned out the rest of the world while I enjoyed – I had to stop myself from humming out loud.

Girl and the Goat (Chicago, IL) – Girl and the Goat is the creation of Top Chef’s first (and so far only) female winner Stephanie Izard.   Girl and the Goat, has place to be seen vibe to it yet it also has a friendliness to it that is uniquely part of the city of Chicago, perfect for a girls night out or date night.  I went with my friend Kailei on a weeknight and it was packed, we were lucky to snag a seat at the bar.  The plates were small, but the food was delish.


In a nutshell, that’s been my fall food adventures thus far.  Hope that you get to try one or more of the above restaurants, if you do let me know what you think. 

Yummy Places - Fall 2011


I’ve had a very busy Fall, I finally took a much needed vacation.  Much needed, as several staff members have commented on how much more relaxed & happy I now look post-travels.  I rested of course, but I think the real rejuvenation can be attributed to the really good food I had, and with that here are 4 places you need to try at some point.

Nordic Lodge (Charlestown, RI) – Fair warning Nordic Lodge is not cheap, currently it’s $82 per person for adults.  But I tell you it’s worth every single penny, plus extra tip to your server.  Why?  It’s all you can eat lobster – that’s right all you can eat.  But wait, there’s more.  It’s also all you can eat oysters, prime rib and so much more. Everything is freshly made and the staff is really nice. A lobster dinner, at least near me starts at $27 per person, and doesn’t include an appetizer, soft drinks or coffee and dessert; all of this is included in Nordic Lodge’s price. It’s open from late April through mid-December.


Nancy’s Restaurant (Oak Bluffs, MA) – Nancy’s sits right on the Oak Bluffs Harbor, during the summer months there’s an outdoor “Snack Bar” and year round there’s dining “Upstairs” at an indoor restaurant and patio deck.  The clam chowder and lobster rolls were perfection, and for a resort town, I thought the prices were reasonable.

The Purple Pig (Chicago, IL) – The Purple Pig has such a “neighborhood joint” feel that you kind of forget that it’s an upscale restaurant on Chicago’s Magnificent Mile.  The staff was really helpful in suggesting a good beverage to accompany the Braised Baby Artichokes, Fingerling Potatoes,Asiago & Salami Toscana antipasti and Salami Toscana, Goat Cheese & Black Olive Tapenade Panini I decided on for lunch.  When I thought my meal couldn’t get any better I found out dessert was an option, during which I basically turned out the rest of the world while I enjoyed – I had to stop myself from humming out loud.

Girl and the Goat (Chicago, IL) – Girl and the Goat is the creation of Top Chef’s first (and so far only) female winner Stephanie Izard.   Girl and the Goat, has place to be seen vibe to it yet it also has a friendliness to it that is uniquely part of the city of Chicago, perfect for a girls night out or date night.  I went with my friend Kailei on a weeknight and it was packed, we were lucky to snag a seat at the bar.  The plates were small, but the food was delish.


In a nutshell, that’s been my fall food adventures thus far.  Hope that you get to try one or more of the above restaurants, if you do let me know what you think. 

Sunday, October 16, 2011

#life_lessons


1.  If your in Naples - eat the pizza, then go get bigger pants
2. Don’t feel self conscious about the little tune you’re humming at the end of your meal, it means it was really good.

#life_lessons


1.  If your in Naples - eat the pizza, then go get bigger pants
2. Don’t feel self conscious about the little tune you’re humming at the end of your meal, it means it was really good.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Pasta confession

If you recall, I was looking for a pasta maker not too long ago.  I’m still looking actually - I just patently refuse to pay $80 for a kitchen device I’m not sure that I’m going to a. use regularly and b. love forever.  Well it’s time that I fess up,  my desire to make fresh pasta was not entirely pure.  Sure fresh pasta has its own appeal, but I really wanted the pasta maker so I could make Pappardelle, a wide flat fettuccine-like pasta perfect for hearty meat sauces.

I don’t remember where I first saw a recipe that used pappardelle, but the fact that I couldn’t find it anywhere at the time, made me want it all the more (yes, it’s true, even when it comes to food, you always want what you can’t have.)  Just about the time I forgot all about that flat wide pasta of my dreams guess what started showing up in my local grocer … that’s right my new favorite noodle.

Pappardelle with Poultry Sausage Ragu
recipe for 2 servings

⅓ lb. Italian Poultry Sausage (2 links)
2 tbsp minced garlic
⅓ c diced onion
16 oz crushed tomatoes or half a jar of a good ready made pasta sauce
1 to 2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 to 2 tsp Italian Seasoning
½ to 1 tsp red pepper flakes
½ pkg of ready made pappardelle (4 oz uncooked)

Cook pasta according to package directions.

Remove sausage from casings, brown in oil in large skillet or stock pot.  Add garlic and onion, cook until onions are translucent.  Add sauce, vinegar and seasonings.  Allow sauce to blend for about 10 to 15 minutes.  Add pasta to the sauce and serve with grated parmigiano-reggiano.

Pasta confession

If you recall, I was looking for a pasta maker not too long ago.  I’m still looking actually - I just patently refuse to pay $80 for a kitchen device I’m not sure that I’m going to a. use regularly and b. love forever.  Well it’s time that I fess up,  my desire to make fresh pasta was not entirely pure.  Sure fresh pasta has its own appeal, but I really wanted the pasta maker so I could make Pappardelle, a wide flat fettuccine-like pasta perfect for hearty meat sauces.

I don’t remember where I first saw a recipe that used pappardelle, but the fact that I couldn’t find it anywhere at the time, made me want it all the more (yes, it’s true, even when it comes to food, you always want what you can’t have.)  Just about the time I forgot all about that flat wide pasta of my dreams guess what started showing up in my local grocer … that’s right my new favorite noodle.

Pappardelle with Poultry Sausage Ragu
recipe for 2 servings

⅓ lb. Italian Poultry Sausage (2 links)
2 tbsp minced garlic
⅓ c diced onion
16 oz crushed tomatoes or half a jar of a good ready made pasta sauce
1 to 2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 to 2 tsp Italian Seasoning
½ to 1 tsp red pepper flakes
½ pkg of ready made pappardelle (4 oz uncooked)

Cook pasta according to package directions.

Remove sausage from casings, brown in oil in large skillet or stock pot.  Add garlic and onion, cook until onions are translucent.  Add sauce, vinegar and seasonings.  Allow sauce to blend for about 10 to 15 minutes.  Add pasta to the sauce and serve with grated parmigiano-reggiano.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Arugula & I


The truth is I like arugula, but I don’t love it.  Mostly because I once had a salad that was so overloaded with arugula and it had a bitter/peppery taste rather than a sweet/peppery taste. I know how snooty that sounds but trust me too much of a good thing is way too much.  So I’ve stayed away from it for a while now, but in my plan ahead cooking I kept coming across arugula and decided to go for it. 

The first thing I tried, grilled steak and arugula was a from Ina Garten’s newest cookbook Barefoot Contessa: How Easy is That? The beauty of this dish is that you don’t really need a recipe to make it:
  1. Just grill a steak of your choosing, Ina uses a rib-eye and I chose a skirt.
  2. Toss your arugula in a simple dressing of olive oil, Dijon mustard and lemon juice.  I added anchovies to my dressing.
  3. Plate your greens and top it off with slices of steak and curls of Parmesan cheese.


It’s super simple and can really be eaten as a full meal.

The next thing I tried, a Roasted Red Pepper, Arugula and Goat Cheese Sandwich, was from a Weight Watchers cookbook I have, again you don’t really need a recipe for this.  This has become my new favorite grown-up sandwich. 
  1. Spread about a tablespoon of softened goat cheese on each slice of bread.
  2. Fill sandwich with a few roasted red pepper slices and a handful of arugula.

That’s it just eat and enjoy; you can toast your slices or you can build the sandwich and then grill it.  And make sure you use a good crusty bread as the base of your sandwich.

Arugula & I


The truth is I like arugula, but I don’t love it.  Mostly because I once had a salad that was so overloaded with arugula and it had a bitter/peppery taste rather than a sweet/peppery taste. I know how snooty that sounds but trust me too much of a good thing is way too much.  So I’ve stayed away from it for a while now, but in my plan ahead cooking I kept coming across arugula and decided to go for it. 

The first thing I tried, grilled steak and arugula was a from Ina Garten’s newest cookbook Barefoot Contessa: How Easy is That? The beauty of this dish is that you don’t really need a recipe to make it:
  1. Just grill a steak of your choosing, Ina uses a rib-eye and I chose a skirt.
  2. Toss your arugula in a simple dressing of olive oil, Dijon mustard and lemon juice.  I added anchovies to my dressing.
  3. Plate your greens and top it off with slices of steak and curls of Parmesan cheese.


It’s super simple and can really be eaten as a full meal.

The next thing I tried, a Roasted Red Pepper, Arugula and Goat Cheese Sandwich, was from a Weight Watchers cookbook I have, again you don’t really need a recipe for this.  This has become my new favorite grown-up sandwich. 
  1. Spread about a tablespoon of softened goat cheese on each slice of bread.
  2. Fill sandwich with a few roasted red pepper slices and a handful of arugula.

That’s it just eat and enjoy; you can toast your slices or you can build the sandwich and then grill it.  And make sure you use a good crusty bread as the base of your sandwich.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

It’s been a long, long time…

Hi there, if there is anyone out there other than my mom (Hi Mom!), and you’re still checking in with this blog you have my sincere apologies for all but abandoning the blog for a month and a half.  Long explanation, short it was a very long and busy summer; and I was without a full-time children’s librarian for most of it.  Sadly I spent most of the summer buying take-out and fast food rather than cooking, but I’m putting all of that behind me now (to quote one of my favorite writers “Nothing but good times ahead,”) and hope to get on a regular posting schedule. 

Anyway, it’s now September, which always feels like New Year’s. There’s just something about September, specifically and fall in general, that always makes me take stock and start to set goals.  Among my goals right now is going on a debt diet of sorts.  I have some things that I want to do around my house, so I need to save up for them;  I also need to get healthy (see above mention of summer eating filled with fast food & take-out).  So I’m going to start limiting my eating out, except for trips and special occasions and stick to cooking the majority of my meals. 

I just started today, but the one tip that I can share so far is plan your week ahead of time.  If you have any tips to share please post in the comments.

See you later in the week.

It’s been a long, long time…

Hi there, if there is anyone out there other than my mom (Hi Mom!), and you’re still checking in with this blog you have my sincere apologies for all but abandoning the blog for a month and a half.  Long explanation, short it was a very long and busy summer; and I was without a full-time children’s librarian for most of it.  Sadly I spent most of the summer buying take-out and fast food rather than cooking, but I’m putting all of that behind me now (to quote one of my favorite writers “Nothing but good times ahead,”) and hope to get on a regular posting schedule. 

Anyway, it’s now September, which always feels like New Year’s. There’s just something about September, specifically and fall in general, that always makes me take stock and start to set goals.  Among my goals right now is going on a debt diet of sorts.  I have some things that I want to do around my house, so I need to save up for them;  I also need to get healthy (see above mention of summer eating filled with fast food & take-out).  So I’m going to start limiting my eating out, except for trips and special occasions and stick to cooking the majority of my meals. 

I just started today, but the one tip that I can share so far is plan your week ahead of time.  If you have any tips to share please post in the comments.

See you later in the week.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Jersey favorite with a twist

Several of my native Jersey friends will tell you that the best anytime sandwich is Pork Roll, Egg & Cheese (for those of you not from New Jersey equate it to an Egg McMuffin).  I'm Jersey by choice, and default, but I don't think I've ever had a pork roll, egg and cheese.  Mostly because of my thing about eggs, you know by now that I'm not a huge fan and when I do eat eggs I'm pick about their preparation.  Ok, so anyway,  I thought perhaps I should finally try this Jersey classic.  But with a minor twist - mostly because I'm not going grocery shopping unless I have to until the weather breaks.

My version:  Prosciutto, fontina and a fried egg on rosemary, olive oil & sea salt bread.


Jersey favorite with a twist

Several of my native Jersey friends will tell you that the best anytime sandwich is Pork Roll, Egg & Cheese (for those of you not from New Jersey equate it to an Egg McMuffin).  I'm Jersey by choice, and default, but I don't think I've ever had a pork roll, egg and cheese.  Mostly because of my thing about eggs, you know by now that I'm not a huge fan and when I do eat eggs I'm pick about their preparation.  Ok, so anyway,  I thought perhaps I should finally try this Jersey classic.  But with a minor twist - mostly because I'm not going grocery shopping unless I have to until the weather breaks.

My version:  Prosciutto, fontina and a fried egg on rosemary, olive oil & sea salt bread.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Creating a steakhouse meal at home

It’s been an interesting summer at the library, to say the least.  We currently are without a full-time children’s librarian so everyone is having to pitch in on a job the requires an expert not a generalist, the local students are coming in for their summer reading materials, and of course I work about 20 minutes from the beach so we have additional customers – it’s hot, busy and just a bit stressful for everyone.  So between the heat waves the East coast has been experiences, several days of torrential downpours and the general hectic schedule that I’ve been keeping this summer I’ve not been able to post anything let alone cook.  Considering that I’ve been under much more stress than usual, I’ve been holding it together fairly well.  I’ve been trying to keep it all in perspective; the following has become my prayer for summer:

 All shall be well,
and all shall be well,
and all manner of thing shall be well.
Dame Julian of Norwich

A steady supply of Peanut M &M’s and iced coffee has also helped keep me focused and from freaking out.  This past Wednesday, though I had a mini-meltdown and introduced into the world the evil giggle, something that sounds like a cross between the Wicked Witch of the West and Betty Rubble.  When I got home that night I texted 2 of my oldest and best friends that I would probably need a martini by Friday.  By Thursday morning I was craving a steak to go with that martini. Unfortunately I was not able to get the martini, but I was able to make myself a pretty good steak dinner.


Whether you’re cooking on an outdoor grill or grilling in your kitchen you want to rinse off your steak and pat it dry.  I try to keep the seasoning to a minimum just kosher salt, pepper and a little bit of olive oil so it won’t stick to the grill, that’s it.  You want to make sure that your grill is good and hot when you place your steak on.  Also don’t fuss with it, let the steak cook until it reaches your desired doneness.  I like medium-well, cooked about 10 to 15 minutes on each side, but that’s a real guess – I’m a poke/juice color tester, meaning I poke the steak to see how firm it is and check to see how much blood is still coming out of the steak.







The other really important thing, in my opinion, to a steak dinner is the side or sides.  I made a lemony risotto with Swiss chard.  Here’s how to make it

4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 cup Arborio rice
¼ cup lemon juice
¼ c white wine vinegar
2 to 2 ½ cup Swiss chard, chopped
Salt, pepper & garlic powder to taste
½ cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano

Heat stock until warmed.

In large pot, over medium heat, add oil and warm, add rice and mix well. 
Stir in lemon juice and vinegar, cook until they are absorbed in the rice.  Add 1 cup of the broth to the rice.  Cook until most of the liquid has been absorbed, stirring often.  Continue adding broth 1 cup at a time until rice is mostly tender, but not cooked through.




Stir in the Swiss chard and season with salt, pepper and garlic powder.  Continue cooking until chard is wilted and cooked and rice is tender, yet firm. 
Stir in the cheese and dig in.
(Adapted from Risotto with Swiss Chard from the New York Times)



This actually makes a lovely dinner for two and the risotto alone is a lovely bowl of comfort food anytime, including summer.



Enjoy!
 

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