Greek green beans

greekbeans2

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”

Red wine poached pears

poachedpears3

Now that I’m back from afar, it’s back to cooking and blogging and vegetables and all of the normal stuff. I actually had planned on continuing to blog while on my trip; the new posts you saw were things that I’d preemptively written in preparation of not being in the kitchen, and I thought that I could continue to write and give you some real-time stories of adventure while away. That whole idea failed though–I emailed Ben when to hit publish for those two posts and quickly gave up any ideas of writing when I realized that typing more than a paragraph on an iPad would be an enormous and practically impossible feat. However, I had gone ahead and prepared a few dishes that I wanted to share, so now I’ll get started on that!

The most pressing thing that I have to share are poached pears. Poached pears, specifically red wine poached pears, are God’s gift to humans. The pears themselves are tasty, but the reduced wine syrup that’s lightly spiced, slightly fruity, and velvety sweet, is what really brings us a little heaven on earth. I dream of using the winey syrup in every way imaginable: Alongside the pears (of course), poured over vanilla ice cream, as a base in which to nestle a slice of flourless chocolate cake, out of a dog bowl so I can lap it up whenever I wish. Continue reading “Red wine poached pears”

Cacio e pepe-style braised kale

kale1

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”

Lentil and tomato stew

lentiltomstew1

I forgot that the Super Bowl is this weekend. If I’d remembered, I might have found a dip to share with you. Actually, I have a recipe for a caramelized onion dip that I’ve been wanting to try, and a Super Bowl party would have been the perfect reason to make it. It’s too late for that, though– I’m actively searching for ways to avoid hearing/watching Ben watch the game. But now I’m thinking about the dip, and now I want it, so I might make it anyway for my own not-Super Bowl party (aka me binge-watching Friends on Friday night.)

Instead of appetizers, snacks, dips, chilis and foods involving hot dogs and barbecue sauce, I’ve been focusing on the things that will get us to springtime: Foods that have some vegetables, dishes that ooze with gooey, lightly browning cheese. Dinners that you can make on a weeknight and some sweets for you to leisurely whip up on Sunday afternoon. I’m especially trying to take advantage of the citrus that’s in season– all of the oranges I’ve tasted this year have been particularly juicier and sweeter than I’ve ever noticed. (Don’t worry, at least one citrus recipe will be coming soon, and you will absolutely love it.) Continue reading “Lentil and tomato stew”

Roasted Brussels sprouts quiche

brusselquiche1

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)

simplesalad4

 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)”

Martha Stewart’s perfect macaroni and cheese

macandcheese4 Okay, okay. Here I am, and I’m going to ruin any New Year’s resolution you might have had about eating healthy. I didn’t have a resolution*, so I am not to blame.

Although I’ve been lucky and it’s bright and sunny here rather than dreary, it’s cold, and I have to go to work, and it’s cold. Ben made me run outside with him a few days ago, and although I was prepared with my arsenal of winter running apparel, and wind spiked through the fabric to my legs and left them feeling prickly for several minutes as they adjusted to the happy, dry radiator heat. Continue reading “Martha Stewart’s perfect macaroni and cheese”

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”

Belgian beef stew

stew1I messed up last week. I told you that I had two good sides to go with turkey, and I really did, but posting on my blog completely slipped my mind on the Wednesday prior to Thanksgiving. On Tuesday night, I got my post ready, added the pictures, even edited everything, but I got busy and forgot to post it on Wednesday. I feel bad that I left you hanging, and my excuses are lame: I woke up and finished the last Harry Potter book, which I’d been feverishly since the weekend, and, once I‘d finished, started checking off all the things on my to do list prior to a trip to Kentucky. Continue reading “Belgian beef stew”