Category Archives: recipes

Family, Food and Thanksgiving

I never liked Thanksgiving growing up.  I got bored watching football, I didn’t enjoy cooking, and I was a terribly picky eater who didn’t like much of anything on the table at dinner time.  I really just wanted macaroni and cheese.  My love for the mac & cheese hasn’t gone away but, thankfully, I have come to my senses on everything else around this holiday.  Especially as I’ve gotten more comfortable in the kitchen.

For my family, holidays have always centered around food.   Actually, almost everything centers around food for us.  I was one of those kids who was actually expected to sit at a table and eat with my family.  Every night.  And with rules that the TV could not be on and the phone would not be answered.  I hated it at the time but I love my parents now for torturing me with such love.

So at the holidays, the focus on food is always magnified 10 fold.  You stress over the menu weeks in advance and you plan evenings to test out new recipes so they are perfected in time for the holiday meal.  And when you sit down to the big dinner, there’s enough food to feed the neighborhood…or to at least stock the freezer full of leftover to last you through the winter.  Continue reading

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

Hurricane Sandy shut down DC for two days this week, so I took advantage of the extra days off to do some cooking and baking.  My favorite of the kitchen experiments was definitely the pumpkin whoopie pies, made from a recipe I found on Pinterest.  Yes, Pinterest.  I might have a little obsession.  I first started using it when I was getting ready to renovate my kitchen and bathroom and needed design ideas.  Now I have more recipes than I have time to cook!

The whoopie pie recipe is from Farm Flavor, and is pretty simple and very tasty.  To make them mini-sized, I used a mini pastry scoop — just like an ice cream scooper but much smaller.  I think the recipe made about 60 mini sandwiches, much to the benefit of my co-workers who have been gobbling them up in the office this morning.

Easter brunch for when you just don’t have time

How is it that Easter has already come and gone?  Oh yeah, sometimes life can get a bit too busy and those fabulous visions of making a festive home cooked meal gave way to the reality that you barely had time to go grocery shopping, let alone cook multiple dishes with a holiday-themed twist.  Bunny-shaped pancakes, devil eggs where you wanted to use your frosting tips to make the fillings so perfect and even, cupcakes with toppings to make them look like Easter egg baskets…in real life, all those Martha Stewart ideas are much easier said than done.

But when we resort to buying pre-dyed eggs, what is that saying about us?

courtesy of my friend Elsa

brunch at Ardeo Bardeo

With so many of my friends living on the Hill, in Arlington or near downtown, I don’t make it to Woodley Cleveland Park very often, which is a shame because there are a lot of great restaurants up that way.  A few weeks ago I remembered just how long it had been and made plans to meet at friend at Ardeo Bardeo, a place I had heard a lot of people recommend for brunch.

The dining room is bright and warm, perfect for a chilly morning, although it might have been a bit too bright for my friend, who was suffering from a having a bit too much fun the night before.  Hair of the dog was my immediate recommendation – mimosas all around!  Okay, maybe not for everyone. Continue reading

Homemade Nutella

I love Nutella — on waffles, in crepes, on toast or slices of apples.  It’s been one of my favorite treats since I was a kid.  A while back, my sister got the idea to make her own but didn’t get the chance before she moved, so she left me with the ingredients and idea.  The only thing holding me back was that I didn’t have a good food processor.  Until recently (thanks, mom!).  So with my kitchen renovations complete and a few toys to break in, I decided to finally give this recipe a try.  The steps took a bit of time, but all in all it was pretty easy and the final product was very tasty. I’d definitely be tempted to make this again. Keep in mind that it makes a good amount, so buy some small jars and give it to friends as gifts!

Here are pictures of the process and a simple recipe: Continue reading

Happy Mardi Gras!

courtesy of Grub Street New York

My mom is from New Orleans, so we always made a big deal out of celebrating Mardi Gras in my house when I was growing up.  And to help with the celebrating, my grandmother would always mail us a few King Cakes from NOLA.  It’s tough to find good King Cake in DC but seeing this made me think that Mardi Gras-themed doughnuts could be a great substitute.

The doughnuts pictured above are from Emeril’s Delmonico in New Orleans and listed in Grub Street New York’s 101 of America’s Most Crazy-Awesome New Desserts slideshow.  Had my kitchen renovations been completed in time, I would have tried to make these myself, but it will just have to wait till next year.

For a quick history lesson on this Fat Tuesday morning, NPR’s The Salt has a great explanation of the history of King Cake and how the tradition of putting a small plastic baby inside started.  I found the baby in the king cake my mom made this weekend (her best yet!) and, since there was no ball for me to be crowned the queen of, I’m hoping it instead means good luck for my new kitchen!

Laissez le Bon Temps Rouler!

Valentine’s Day Breakfast

Heart-shaped waffles with caramelized apples

By megan.chromik on Flickr

Whether you love Valentine’s Day or hate it, I think anyone can be won over by a festive holiday-themed breakfast.  With heart-shaped cookie cutters, red food coloring, and a little creativity, there are countless ways to add a little holiday twist to all of your favorite breakfast recipes.  Here are just a few ideas to get you started:

Thanksgiving Leftovers for Breakfast: Turkey Croquettes

Thanksgiving Spread

photo by CarbonNYC on Fickr

This next recipe uses turkey, mashed potatoes and can be topped with cranberry sauce.  From Martha Stuart: Turkey Croquettes.

Familiar dishes return, cleverly camouflaged as these croquettes, which are formed from turkey and mashed potatoes and served with cranberry sauce on the side.

Thanksgiving Leftovers for Breakfast: Challah French Toast with Cranberry Sauce

image by Mango & Tomato

If you happen to have some leftover cranberries from your Thanksgiving feast, I’d definitely recommend this french toast recipe from Olga at Mango & Tomato.

Very simple and a perfect use of some of those leftovers!  To make it even easier, try making the french toast in the oven instead of the skillet — then you can spend some more time with family, or curing up back in bed or on the couch while you enjoy a lazy morning!  Be sure to top it with any leftover whipped cream from your pumpkin pie.

Thanksgiving Leftovers for Breakfast: Turkey Hash

Thanksgiving brings family, friends, and lots of food…and generally a lot of leftover turkey.  Aside from the usual dishes – sandwiches, gumbo, stew, and more sandwiches – how about we have some fun with breakfast recipes?  First up, turkey hash.  Thrillist got the recipe from Acadiana’s Brant Tesky.

Recipe can be found here. Continue reading