June 19th, 2014
I wanted strawberry rhubarb pie, but didn’t feel like making pie crust. So, instead, I made an easy cake—this Flourless Almond Cake, to be exact—and this Strawberry Rhubarb Sauce.
It hit the spot.
Plus, this sauce did double duty and made a batch of Strawberry Rhubarb Margaritas for the grown ups and Strawberry Rhubarb Lemonade for the kids. So, yea, it really hit the spot. Twice. And the crazy thing is that there are a million other ways to use this sauce.
June 16th, 2014
I’ve been wanting to make a Flourless Almond Cake for a while now and finally pulled the trigger. Maybe it’s because I’m traveling to Paris soon. Maybe because a light, fluffy flourless cake is the perfect way to end a summer meal. Maybe it was t was just time. Whatever the reason, this Flourless Almond Cake happened and I’m happy that it finally did.
The first time that I made this cake it seemed impossible that it would come together. A thick paste of egg yolks, sugar, and almond meal. No flour. No liquid.
But, then, magic.
June 12th, 2014
Tortilla Soup is one of my all time favorites. Hearty, with a little bit of spice, and topped with fried tortilla strips, it’s as satisfying as a soup gets. And, I mean, fried tortilla strips. Is there more to say?
I’ve always considered chicken—and, more to the point, deep, rich homemade chicken stock—to be the soul of Tortilla Soup. After all, it’s usually called Chicken Tortilla Soup. And that healing feeling that sweeps over you when you eat a bowl? It could only come from long cooked chicken bones. Right?
Apparently not, because I’ve made a kick ass version that’s completely vegetarian. Vegan, even, if you skip the grated cheese garnish. It turns out that this soup is not about chicken stock, but rather a genius blend of simple ingredients.
(Like so much great Mexican food. I should have known!)
June 10th, 2014
Ice cream sandwiches are good, but they’ve never been my favorite. Honestly, for all my all-natural-ness, I’d trade a classic chocolate cookie/vanilla ice cream sandwich for a classic Oreo any day. But here’s the thing the I’m coming to realize: I like ice cream sandwiches in flavors inspired by classic pies. Remember these “Key Lime Pie” Ice Cream sandwiches? Like that. And like these “Banana Cream Pie” Ice Cream Sandwiches, too.
Strange, perhaps, but tell me these don’t sound—and look!—delicious.
June 9th, 2014
I never really talk about my weight here. It’s not that kind of place but, you know, bathing suit season is coming up. Though I should probably start getting acquainted with one-pieces, I’m a bikini girl at any size. So, yea, I get all salady and rock out with the smoothies this time of year. It only lasts until the ice cream truck shows up—or, really, until I pull out my ice cream maker—but every light bite counts these (three) days. And I like even my light bites to be delicious, which is why I’ve been all about this easy, naturally lower-fat Herb Buttermilk Dressing.
June 6th, 2014
I do a fair amount of posting gluten-free recipes, but you all know that we’re not a gluten-free family, right? I mention this because when a gluten-free recipes makes its way here, it has passed the test with my gluten-loving family. When I recommend gluten free baked goods, especially, I do it knowing the magic that gluten works on baked goods. These gluten-free sweet biscuits, perfect for strawberry shortcakes, are deceptively delicious which, if you ask me, is about the highest compliment that you can pay to a gluten-free bakery treat.
If you’ve been reading a while, you know that I experiment with gluten-free cooking because, well, I’m gluten-free curious. I also feel like my son, who’s had some health issues in the past (long story), benefits from a diet low in gluten. Now, before you get all technical on me, I know that there is no wealth of science behind low gluten eating and that it’s an all or nothing thing for people with true gluten intolerances. I’m just saying what I think and perceive in my family. Plus, cooking delicious gluten free food is a fun kitchen challenge for me.
(If you’re interested in gluten-free biscuits, read on. If you wish this was a good old fashioned gluten-ful biscuit recipe, well, hop on over to this one for Buttermilk Biscuits!)
June 3rd, 2014
In the winter I’m all about roasting veggies but, as the heat sets in, I lean on other easy ways to prep veggies. I started making string beans using this quick steam-and-sautee method last summer and, honestly, made them this way all through the winter. Though I love roasted string beans, the speed with which these string beans come together in combination with the great taste make this recipe a go-to that I just can’t stop making.
Give this method a try and let me know what you think. I have a feeling that you won’t be able to make string beans another way for a long time. And that’s okay.
June 2nd, 2014
I’ve been craving rice pudding for a long while now—the kind my yiayia used to make. I remember her standing by the stove, a big pot of rice and milk simmering in front of her, with only sugar, a cinnamon stick, and lemon peed added. The rice pudding she scooped out of that pot when she was done was perfection. Sweet, creamy perfection.
And oh so wrong for someone who, like the hungry boy, has a hard time tolerating dairy.
Though he eats dairy from time to time now—sometimes with consequences, other times without (a mystery), and always with Lactaid—I still avoid desserts like rice pudding that are squarely centered on dairy. I mean, dairy is sort of the point of rice pudding.
I’ve known that I can make a good rice pudding using a dairy alternative like coconut or nut milk, but I just didn’t believe that it could be as delicious as my grandmother’s recipe. It would be something else: delicious but different. And since I didn’t want different, I just avoided rice pudding all together. Until now. I couldn’t hold out longer.
Determined to put a nagging craving to rest, I broke out a can of coconut milk and went to work creating a dairy-free rice pudding. It wouldn’t be as good, I told myself, but it might satisfy, especially if I kept myself from expecting something as good as what yiayia made.
Little did I realize.
May 30th, 2014
We’ve recently started a tradition of sitting around the dinner table, preferably alone or with immediate family, at least once a weekend to break bread and share one—or many—things for which we’re grateful. The things can be big or small, deep or really not deep (I may or may not have once been thankful for a hard-earned Monopoly win). The point isn’t to force introspection, but to make sure that we take time to share, listen, and emphasize gratitude at the end of a week that has surely seen its share of complaints. It’s also a nice excuse for me to make a big family meal, like this delectable Sweet and Sour Fish from the cookbook Jerusalem.
Our new tradition may sound like a no-brainer and, in a lot of ways, it is. We were already doing this in some form or another most weeks but, for us, formalizing the tradition has been transformative. I guess there’s something about not leaving the expressions of our gratitude to the chance of natural conversation that has made us more mindful. Even our 4-year-old! In fact, most Saturday mornings the boys ask when our “thankful meal” will be. They seem to look forward to it as much as the hungry papa and I do.
May 27th, 2014
Once upon a time I traveled with my husband on a whim. We’d decide at noon to drive out of the city for a quiet night away. We’d gather friends and caravan to a crash pad in the country or at the beach. We’d fly off to Miami for a long weekend of lounging.
And then we had kids.
May 23rd, 2014
These days I seem to be feeling healthy, easy, minimal ingredient frozen desserty things. First it was this awesome peach frozen yogurt (which can be made with nearly any frozen fruit!), and now banana ice cream. In the same way that we instinctually crave hearty stews and soups to bulk up for winter, I inevitably start jonesing for healthy, light, frozen treats as summer approaches.
As a side note, the “healthy” part of my craving may or may not fade into oblivion as summer goes on and I begrudgingly accept whatever bikini shape I’m in and fall prey to the too-many artisanal ice cream vendors packed into my small area of Brooklyn. (Oh, Brooklyn.)
Healthy. Easy. Frozen. That’s what I’ve got today and it’s so good. Kind of magical, even. Because in a single step, frozen banana pieces like this:
transform into a snack remarkably like ice cream, like this:
No cream or sugar necessary. Here’s how:
May 21st, 2014
On Monday it was Chicken Marsala, so today it must be garlic bread. Let’s do it Jersey style and make it Cheesy Garlic Bread. Because why not? If we’re going to make an old school Italian red sauce restaurant meal, we might as well do it right!
This garlic bread is heavenly and, in keeping with my Chicken Marsala, it’s also buttery. Very buttery. (I believe there is a causal relationship between buttery and heavenly. Who’s with me?) It’s also cheesy thanks to thin slices of fresh, melted mozzarella.
You’d think that tasty, buttery, and cheesy covers all the most important features of my Cheesy Garlic bread, but there’s something else. Something that, if you ask me, is the most important note about this bread: it isn’t over garlicky.
May 19th, 2014
Growing up in New Jersey, I developed a taste for classic Italian-American dishes like cheesy eggplant parmigiana, baked ziti and, my favorite, chicken marsala. I rarely make these dishes at home because, well, they aren’t the healthiest and I like saving them for when I go to old school, red sauce Italian restaurants. I recently had a hankering for marsala, though, and couldn’t wait to get myself to a restaurant. So, for the first time, I made Chicken Marsala at home and, oh boy, was it good!
Making chicken marsala at home may be a new thing, but cooking with marsala wine isn’t. I make a marsala sauce for my Shrimp Marsala and even riff on the classic for this Pappardelle with Sausage Marsala. But there’s something about making restaurant-style chicken marsala that is so satisfying. This dish takes me back.
May 16th, 2014
This post is sponsored by Rice Krispies. Thank you for supporting our sponsors!
You know that I’m all about healthy eating, whole foods, and scratch cooking. But there are a few foods that fall outside of these parameters that get me and, well, everything in moderation, right? One of those foods is Rice Krispies Treats. I’ve come clean before—remember these Toasted Coconut Rice Krispies Treats?—and it’s time to come clean again. Because Oliver and I were having a funky day one weekend recently and we turned everything around with Rice Krispies Treats. These Carnival Rice Krispies Treats, to be exact.
It’s no secret that Oliver and I like to cook together. We like to bake his favorite Strawberry White Chocolate Chip Muffins. We’ve started making Peach Frozen Yogurt now that it’s warm again. And, when we were having a hard time getting along one weekend recently, we decided to call a truce and make Rice Krispies Treats. I wanted something easy and he wanted something “chewy”—they were they were the perfect compromise that didn’t feel (or taste!) even remotely like a compromise.
May 13th, 2014
This post and video are sponsored by Earthbound Farm Organic. Thank you for supporting our sponsors!
May is my new favorite month, y’all! No, my birthday isn’t in May—and, anyway, I’m too old for a month to be my favorite by virtue of hosting my birthday. Rather, May is National Salad Month, and if there was ever a meal that deserves the spotlight, it’s salad. Wholesome, endlessly adaptable, and—if you go light on the crumbled bacon—full of good-for-you nutrition, I’m ready to celebrate the goodness of greens with my favorite family-friendly salad, Grilled Chicken and Mango Salad.
Yes, I called this salad family-friendly. Seriously.