Category Archives: Savory

Home cooked meals

My sister Denise came home this past weekend from college. And since dorm food is often less than satisfactory, I was determined to make her a home cooked meal. Not to mention, it is so much more fun cooking for others than just for yourself.

I’d like to take a moment and talk about ciabatta. It is a pretty excellent bread. It can also be infuriating because the dough is so wet and sticky it is difficult to work with. So difficult that your first batch sort of looks deflated and you have to make another batch just to prove you can do it right, which you do. Then after sampling bread from the two batches you find they’re both quite delicious and now you have twice as much bread! At which point you forgive the ciabatta and become friends again.

But back to dinner. Although I love all sorts of food and cuisines, whenever I haven’t had Italian in a while, I crave it like crazy. It is my ultimate comfort food, and best when cooked and shared with others.

So we made homemade pasta, to go with my Nana’s famous tomato sauce recipe. We even figured out how to shape them into bowties/farfalle. It was a tremendous success.

Lastly, because a fabulous dinner is best followed by a fabulous dessert, we made a chocolate cake. The same one, in fact, that I made when I learned I could, with great effort, whip egg whites by hand.

And so, we made our cake and ate it too. Of course, my sister took dusting her cake with powdered sugar to a whole new level.

Then proceeded to eat it within the outline of the sugar. If you know Denise, you wouldn’t be surprised by this. Then again, maybe this is just what inhaling too much sugar does to your head.

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Filed under Bread, Cake, Chocolate, Italian, Savory

What to do with your left over carcass.

Disclaimer: this post is not for the squeamish. Or the vegetarians. And if you’ve come across this title expecting something sinister, you’ve come to the right place. Nothing is more dark and creepy than leftover Thanksgiving turkey carcass. Dun Dun DUUUUN!

I hope everyone had a splendid holiday weekend full of friends, family, and ridiculously gluttonous feasting. I spent the evening of Thanksgiving with my dad’s side of the family, and took home with me the whole turkey carcass in a garbage bag.

My family was going to toss this beauty, but I couldn’t see such a perfect soup-starter go to waste. They joked that I would end up just throwing it out, so of course I had to take on the challenge and prove to them and the world that I would, indeed, make soup with it.

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Filed under Recipe, Savory, Soups

La Pasta

Fun Fact: Pasta is the Italian word for dough. In Italian, what we know of as pasta is always described by the name of the shape into which the dough is formed. Farfalle are butterflies. Penne means pens, (think quill tip), and spaghetti translates to little strings. When Italians say the word pasta, they mean dough. Which is why on my first day at the bakery this summer I was so confused when they called the dough pasta. And since I have been enlightened (and it’s possible I’m the only one who didn’t realize this), I have been meaning to make the pasta myself. And it turns out to be really simple, as the pasta (dough) is made up of only flour and eggs.

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Filed under Bakery, Italian, Savory

Soup and Seeds

I am all about soup these days. I make it all the time, but never take pictures. Mostly because soup is not that pretty and sometimes looks like baby food. Not to mention, soup is relaxing, and relaxing means putting down the camera and closing the computer. Though the most honest excuse is sometimes I forget that I write a blog about the food I cook.

The other day a friend shared with me a recipe for pumpkin seeds, raving that it single-handedly captured the essence of fall. Turns out, these salt-soaked, cinnamon and sugar-roasted seeds were quite fantastic.

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Filed under Recipe, Savory, Soups

Halloween goodies

(Spotted in Highwood, Il)

Halloween came and went this year, but what’s surprising is how well my willpower held up to the candy. I’ve eaten a total of three pieces in the past three days the candy has been in this house. In fact there’s a bowl of it sitting next to my computer as I type and I don’t even want any.

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Filed under Cake, Fruit, Savory

To market to market

For the past few weeks, I have been working for Green City Market, the farmer’s market in Lincoln Park in Chicago. I am the “social media intern”, though I don’t know if that’s actually a title. Anyway, I update their twitter and facebook pages, among other things. My favorite part about the whole job is making friends with the farmers and vendors. I have already learned a ton about different foods and ways to prepare them.

I discovered my love for radishes (with salt and butter), though jury’s still out on whether I’m going to muster up enough courage to buy and prepare mushrooms. The guy who sells them told me he used to be a mushroom-hater (like me) until he tried the ones from the farm he works for, now he loves them. One of these days I’ll give it a shot. Just not yet.

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Filed under Bread, Chocolate, Savory

Adjustment Therapy

I would say I didn’t waste any time getting back into the kitchen, but that would be a lie.  Lacking a routine upon my return home, I lost all motivation to be even remotely productive.   The most interesting part of one day was watching a bunny in my backyard build her nest.  In order to remember what it means to be a normal human being, I had to force myself to make something.

I turned to my new best friend, Dorie Greenspan.  I borrowed her book from the library earlier this summer and fell in love. It wasn’t until I had to return it that I realized I never wanted to be without these recipes, so I promptly bought my own copy.  Flipping through the pages, I came across a cardamom crumb cake that seemed the perfect compliment to a morning mug of coffee (which, I have to admit, I sorely missed in Italy).

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Filed under Breakfast, Cake, Cookies, Italian, Savory