Creamy spinach soup

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I realize that I was just recently discussing how it still feels like winter, but I must reopen this topic so I can confirm that I definitely was correct. This past weekend was just downright cold, especially given that there’d been a few daffodil-filled days in the not so distant past. I’ve been an icicle for a few days now, but according to the weather forecast, I should be thawing by later today, and hopefully fully by Thursday. I’m looking forward to it.

For the time being, though, I’ve still been looking for foods that warm me up. Luckily I found something that is quite warming and also shows glimmers of spring, and even hints toward a spring vegetable. Creamy spinach soup. Continue reading “Creamy spinach soup”

Greek green beans

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Most cities and towns, at least the ones in which I’ve lived, have at least one Greek Orthodox church. I know nothing about the Greek Orthodox church, but I know the most obvious fact: Greek people attend them, and Greek people make delicious food. The churches typically have an annual Greek Festival that lasts a weekend where they serve delicious Greek specialities. The festivals that I’ve attended also have other attractions, like booths to purchase random stuff and Greek dancing, but I’m always there for the food, and by the looks of things, that’s the top priority of everyone else in attendance, too.

For me, the pastries are the most important part of a Greek Festival. There is baklava, butter cookies and honey cake– there are a lot of more options, too, but I can only name my favorites off the top of my head. Although the pastries tempt me most, though, I’m never too focused on them to skip the real food. The meals served are pretty typical Greek fare. You can get gyros, stuffed grape leaves, Greek salad, spanakopita, lamb. It’s a pretty big spread, but at the festivals I’ve been to, there’s always a pretty standard meal that everyone seems to get. Continue reading “Greek green beans”

Cacio e pepe-style braised kale

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So. Kale.

The “it food” is actually losing a bit of its celebrity. If you’ve read any articles on food trends for 2015, kale is on the way out and a hybrid kale-brussel sprout thing is the new it-healthy-will-fix-all-of-your-problems-forever food. I haven’t seen this mysterious cruciferous vegetable in real life yet, but I’m certain it will be coming to a store near you ever so soon. (Hey the pictures look pretty so I might break down and buy into the hype.) Continue reading “Cacio e pepe-style braised kale”

Charred eggplant dip

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Do you ever have weeks or months or seasons where it seems like you never stop? You’re always busy or have something nagging at you to be done, and you can force yourself to do them, but really all you want to do is sit around and relax? Maybe you’re the sort of person who always likes to be busy, and if you are, go you– my mom is definitely this sort of person and it is beyond my understanding how she can always have the energy to go from one task to another to another all the time. Needless to say, I’ve sort of been in a busy-rut that I don’t particularly want to be in, but I also do want to be in it. It’s hard to put into words because all of the things that make me busy are things that I want to be doing. They’re tasks that I enjoy, such as cooking and this blog, but that also take away from veg time. Alas, I recently decided to stop stressing about all of the things and start finding ways to create more fun. And if you’re ever feeling the same vague and indescribable way I’ve been feeling, I highly suggest you search for easy ways to have fun, too. Continue reading “Charred eggplant dip”

Spinach and ricotta pasta

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I completely botched a recipe. I guess that “completely” might be a bit of an overstatement, but it certainly felt that that way when I was trying to mix raw spinach into a pound of cooked pasta in a 3 quart saucepan. It seemed like a novel idea– the piping hot pasta would surely steam the spinach; my pot was just smaller than what I was supposed to use. I was wrong though. The test cooks at America’s Test Kitchen did not say to use the residual pasta steam to cook spinach. They really did plan you to make the pasta dish in a pretty easy manner. Continue reading “Spinach and ricotta pasta”

Roasted Brussels sprouts quiche

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I’ve been chipping away at my list of kitchen stuff that I want/need. Every so often, I’ll go on an online shopping spree, and a few days later, a box full of goodies arrives at my door.* One such occasion brought me not one but three thermometers: candy, probe and old fashioned analog instant-read. I’ll admit that they’ve been spending a lot of time in a cabinet, but I have used two of the three.

My mom has really been my benefactress, though; the bulk of the goods have come from her. My mom is a yard and garage shopping pro. She found a barely-used KitchenAid stand mixer for $75, and it came with some attachments. She bought me a panini press for $10, and she found two of the Cuisinart pots that I like at TJ Maxx for less than a hundred dollars total. (They’re regularly at least eighty each.) Whisks, cake pans, muffin tins, spatulas, good cookbooks, she’s found them all at yard sales. It’s to the point where I mention I want something, and the next time that I visit her, I have it. I keep thinking of things I want, but I’m running out of room. Continue reading “Roasted Brussels sprouts quiche”

Simple salad (for winter)

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 To know me is to know that I love honey mustard. I really, really love it. I’ll put it on almost anything (that’s only a slight exaggeration), and honey mustard and salad just go together perfectly to me. Sometimes I want to mix it up with different dressings, but often not.

Therefore, I eat a lot of salad with honey mustard. In the summer, the salads tend to be full of vegetables, especially tomatoes, but in  winter, the produce that I most love is out of season. Tomatoes are mealy and hard, summer squash in winter just doesn’t make sense, and everything comes from the other side of the world. My salad standbys don’t work out when it’s cold.

I’ve recently been eating a winter-appropriate salad, though, and I’ve been having second thoughts for a while about my honey mustard love. Let’s face it–honey mustard is basically the unhealthiest dressing of them all. It’s loaded with sugar, and my particular favorite, Ken’s Steakhouse Honey Mustard, is really just flavored mayo. These are facts that I know and accept, but I feel a little guilty about them. “I should want to eat salad with better, healthier, even maybe sweetener-free dressings,” I tell myself. “I like balsamic and olive oil. It should be good enough!” Yet it never, ever is. Continue reading “Simple salad (for winter)”

Winter cauliflower salad

cauliflowersalad3I do not like cauliflower. I don’t like raw cauliflower, I don’t like steamed cauliflower, and I don’t like roasted cauliflower. A couple of years ago, someone told me that they don’t like cauliflower but that they love roasted cauliflower, and I should try it. I did, and I was flooded with both disappointment and disgust. I don’t like not liking various foods–I used to not like blue cheese so I ate a little piece of it every day when I worked at a cheese shop, and now I like it. So although I don’t like cauliflower, seemingly however it is prepared (unless it is doused in cheese), I couldn’t help but give it another go.

I’m not sure what drew me to this recipe, especially since I knew the likelihood of me enjoying it was pretty slim, but I also knew that if I were going to decide to like something that contains cauliflower without cheese as a primary ingredient, it would need to spend some time in a flavorful marinade. The one thing that cauliflower has going for it is its crispness, so perhaps if that could be retained and the bland flavor masked with a pungent mixture, I’d have success and find a way to eat a new vegetable. Continue reading “Winter cauliflower salad”

Roasted tomatoes

roastedtomatoes3Hello! I am back! I hope you didn’t think I’d disappeared or been taken or had gotten bored of blogging. I was just on a little break. I think everyone deserves a break, although I actually would have shared some recipes with you had I been in my own kitchen. I wasn’t, though, and it is too difficult figuring out someone else’s kitchen to seriously cook or bake. (Easy cooking or baking are definitely possible in someone else’s kitchen, like this.)

I was in France, and I ate more cheese in those two weeks than I think I’ve eaten in the preceding three months. I’m not quite sure if that’s an exaggeration or not– if it is, I’m positive that it’s only by a month. I knew I’d be eating a lot of cheese, but for some reason, it didn’t register prior to the trip how much it would actually be. After a week or so, I was a bit cheesed-out, so I cut smaller pieces, and my appetite for it came back.

I had been planning to bring cheese home, regardless of customs being okay with it or not (it’d be an experiment!), but I checked their website and it’s fine, so now there’s a little stockpile in the fridge that I’ve told Ben he has to savor, not devour. Continue reading “Roasted tomatoes”

Chard, potato and goat cheese tart

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I had Swiss chard for the first time ever last week. I expected it to kind of be a kale-collard greens combo, but it wasn’t. It was really mild and colorful and good! It was even milder than spinach, which was a welcome surprise. I must admit, though, my favorite part is really how colorful and pretty it is– the bright magenta stalks are a welcome sight after a dark, dreary, traffic-filled drive home after work.

I might have actually eased into my chard introduction, because I didn’t just saute it and eat it plain. I saw this recipe for a chard, potato and goat cheese tart with red onion, and it sounded like it’d be delicious. Alas, I was correct. I can’t get enough of this savory tart, and I’ve made it twice in the past week. Continue reading “Chard, potato and goat cheese tart”