French fries with garlic aioli

fries4I love love love French fries. I mean, who doesn’t? Even the queen of veggies, Michelle Obama, says that fries are her guilty pleasure. The saltiness, the crispness, mmmmmmmm writing about them just makes me want them.

I have this weird inner conflict many times when I eat out. The devil part mind tells me to get a side of fries, but the angel side always pulls me toward a veggie. The veggie usually wins, especially because I can always steal some fries from Ben’s plate.

I’ll never have this conflict again, though, because I’ve found how to make fries that are even better than any I’ve ever had in any restaurant. That’s right–these are the best fries I’ve ever eaten. I’m serious. Ben even agrees. It is shocking how delicious these fries are. The potato on the inside is a soft pillow, and the outside is crispy as a potato chip. Dipped in garlic aioli, it’s a little bit of heaven. Continue reading “French fries with garlic aioli”

Warm Brussels sprout salad

sprouts2Not only does the end of summer mean you have to pack up your shorts and sundresses, but it’s the time of your tearful goodbye to the bountiful tomatoes, summer squash, peppers and all of the lovely berries and produce of long days and warm nights.

Although it’s been fall for a few weeks, and I even pulled out my flannel shirts and sweaters almost a month ago, I have yet to transition well to cooler-weather food. During fall and winter it’s easy to crave carbs and warm cheesy toppings, but I find it to be quite a difficult time for eating vegetables. Frozen veggies just aren’t as good as fresh, and I don’t particularly crave squash or root vegetables.

I feel like the foods I’ve been sharing recently that aren’t representative of what I normally eat, and I’d like to change that. I typically eat a lot of vegetables, and when cooler weather comes around, I’m always at a loss for what to eat. I generally keep to spinach and broccoli, purchasing them weekly, and then I try to add some random vegetable I see at the store that looks okay. Although I mix up my meals, the veggies can get really boring, and I tire of them. This blog requires me to get out of my cooking habits, and I think it’s a great thing–I must break my habits and expand my cool-weather veggie horizons! Continue reading “Warm Brussels sprout salad”

Cream cheese coffee cake

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I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again– I’m not a breakfast food person. But when I saw this recipe, it went to the top of my “to cook” list. (I also really needed cake that day.) I knew that I would end up eating this as dessert and not as breakfast, but it didn’t matter. Plus, it was more appropriate than chocolate cake as a breakfast dessert after my obligatory fruit and cereal.

However, I decided I’d still sell it how it was meant to be sold: breakfast food. So the next time you are expecting overnight guests or this weekend when you want something special to go with the magical coffee brewing in the fridge, whip up this cream cheese coffee cake. It is great, and it can easily be used again for dessert later in the day if you don’t have time to make any other baked goods for your guests or to satisfy your own sweet craving. Continue reading “Cream cheese coffee cake”

Magical coffee

coffee1I’m not a coffee drinker. I don’t even own a coffee pot. Coffee tends to make me jittery, and that’s an unpleasant feeling. I only occasionally drink it at work, and if a house guest wants it, we can make a quick trip to Starbucks.

Side note on Starbucks: I went a few days ago because I felt tired and really needed a special treat. I only go to Starbucks (or coffee shops for that matter) maybe four times a year, mainly because of my aforementioned lack of addiction and love of coffee, but it was a dark, dreary morning, and I didn’t even care of the caffeine made me feel a little haywire. Continue reading “Magical coffee”

Quick tomato sauce

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This sauce might make your Italian grandmother cry. It’s effortless, and it has no heartwarming story. Being me, though, with absolutely zero drops of Italian blood pulsing through my veins and family members who think that pasta is one of those meals that you prepare when there is nothing else in the fridge, I’m not going to bother to console the weeping grandma. She needs to get with the times and make delicious tomato sauce that takes about half of an hour to throw together. No simmering for hours here– this is a great weeknight dinner when you want a home-cooked meal but just can’t put in the effort. Continue reading “Quick tomato sauce”

Spicy applesauce

applesauce3My grandma makes really good applesauce. When I was a kid (and before then I’m assuming), she made applesauce with tart little green June apples from a few trees on her farm. She’d have a big bucketful, and I’d sit and watch her peel them, sometimes trying to help but more often than not giving up. It’s hard for little fingers to get the hang of neatly peeling an apple; I only recently learned the trick to gently swirling off a thin layer of skin with a knife, removing only the slightest bit of fruit and leaving the bounty to consume. As a kid, Grandma could peel three apples to my one, and her fruits remained intact while mine bore big ugly gashes. They all taste the same, though, and uncooked, that taste makes you pucker. No one was tempted to sneak a slice; one sample of raw June apple is enough for a lifetime. They cooked up quite nicely, though.

Continue reading “Spicy applesauce”

End of summer frittata

frittata2I had an ulterior motive sharing my last post; I have a recipe that uses caramelized onions. The recipe has a bit of a backstory.

When I first decided to start a blog, something that I really wanted to do was write about recipes that failed or were made of unnecessarily expensive ingredients or took way too much time for the result, and then I wanted to give you a replacement that was cheaper, easier and/or took less time with better results. It’s been almost six months, and I haven’t produced one of those “cook this, not that” articles yet.

 But now I finally have one.

I made a really bland frittata a couple of weeks ago, and it disappointed me. The recipe was one of America’s Test Kitchen‘s 30 minute recipes that I got a few years ago. I have very high expectations for ATK–their recipes are truly the best of the best, but I’ve found through trial and error that their 30 minute recipes sometimes are greatly lacking. Continue reading “End of summer frittata”

Caramelized onions

onion4Go make this! Go make this now! It doesn’t matter what you are doing– it will be worth it. If you’ve never made caramelized onions, you have no idea what you’re missing. I certainly hadn’t.

I had never made them until last week, and I’m ashamed of myself. I’m not sure why I suddenly had the idea, but a lackluster frittata needed an upgrade, and the only ideas that I had were prosciutto and caramelized onions (how could you go wrong with those two ingredients?). A week after the bland frittata disappeared, I decided to up my game and figure out how to actually make caramelized onions. Continue reading “Caramelized onions”