May 4, 2010

Swiss Chard Pesto

Last year I made the mistake of setting a potted basil plant outside in early April. It must have been deceivingly warm and for whatever reason I was convinced we wouldn’t see the likes of frost until, oh, October. I’m sure this has nothing to do with the fact that I’m terribly impatient. The toaster isn’t fast enough. Needless to say that basil plant had to be nurtured back to life indoors. Lessons learned. One, don’t fall for Ohio’s Spring teasers and two, wait until at least the middle of May to move herbs outdoors. I can hardly wait for overflowing, rampant, what-the-heck-am-I-to-do-with-all-this? basil plants. Because then there is no excuse not to make pesto.

I’m certain most of you know pesto is not limited to fistfuls of basil leaves. All sorts of other lovely green things can take its place. Bright herbs like parsley and cilantro are a shoo-in. As are greens like spinach and kale and swiss chard, which are perfect for pre-out of control basil season. Not to mention all of the nutritional perks these dark green leaves pack. They make for a veritable superpesto.

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One pot shop

April 30, 2010

Potsticker Salad with Snap Peas

I did not make these potstickers from scratch. I’m sure they’d be delicious, but that’s not a project for a Thursday evening around 7:00 when you’re finally getting around to dinner and tempted to gnaw off an arm. No, these here were frozen potstickers. And let me tell you, they make for the easiest, quickest, whaaa-dinner’s-ready-already? weeknight meal. Plus, the recipe requires ONE pot. Glorious! And it’s ready in under 20 minutes. No joke. Have I sold you on this yet?

We both happily munched and crunched and mmmmm-ed our way through this. Kyle, twice. Love a man who likes his vegetables.

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A detox of sorts

April 9, 2010

Orzo with Roasted Broccolini and Parsley Vinaigrette

I’m not too fond of detox diets and cleanses. Strike that. I scorn detox diets and cleanses. At least those which require days of lemon water, vegetable broth and carrot sticks or special potions consisting of maple syrup and cayenne pepper. I get crabby just thinking about not eating real food. It kind of makes me want a cheeseburger. So without getting too heated about it here (I love a juicy fad diet debate) I’ll politely tell you to blow off those detox diet claims and click past the “healthy” cleanse formula infomercials. I guarantee that bikini-clad spokes-model would not have the energy to happily prance down the beach on a diet of water and acai berry extract. I’m just sayin’.

Anyways, should you come to me looking for advice about a detox diet I will gladly give you the run down. Eat real food – good food, drink plenty of water and move your body. Groundbreaking, isn’t it? Detox can be healthy if it means you’re filling up on whole foods and abstaining from the white stuff (I’m talking sugar and white flour) and alcohol. I’ll be honest, following this past holiday weekend I was in need of a “detox”. I had my fill of Cadbury Cream Eggs (oh yes, the dietitian did just say she eats these), ham, scalloped potatoes and vino. My body was craving green. My body demanded broccolini.  
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Home is where the lamb ragù is

March 31, 2010

Fettucine with Lamb Ragù and Ricotta

We’ve been living in our house for just shy of two years now. Having been foreclosed on and neglected for over a year, it was (and still is) in disrepair. It’s our 75 year old baby. It demands lots of love and attention and patience and savings. It’s been the cause of many moments of bickering (we’re both relatively new to this home improvement gig and, thus, feel entitled to our own very strong opinions), hours of waiting for paint to dry, and too many trips to Home Depot ten minutes before closing. It’s the reason I can recite more of Behr’s color palate than I wish to admit, carry paint swatches around in my purse, and drive Kyle crazy with my shade, tone and hue indecisiveness. Me: But don’t you think Rocky Mountain Sky is a bit more grey than Himalayan Mist and would work best in the master? Kyle: Sure sounds good, honey (read: I don’t really give a damn, they’re both mountains to me. Please just pick one). This baby of ours is the reason I’ve cried at three o’clock in the morning when the bathroom doorknob jams, shown up to work with primer and Cliff Rock in my hair, and slept with lights on when Kyle’s away because of weird nighttime creaks. But I wouldn’t take back a single sleepless night or trade a single second we’ve spent tending to this house for anything. Because at the end of the day, this house is our home regardless of all the trim that needs painted or the basement that needs waterproofing or the garage that needs rebuilt. I really love this place, our home.

This past weekend we were hit with a bout of “get’er done”. After a couple months of housework slacking (hey, it was winter after all), we were ready once again to don paint splattered pants and ball caps, blast Ok Go and cross a few more chores off the (exhaustively long) to-do list. Working in separate corners of the house (we’ve discovered this works best for keeping unnecessary opinions to ourselves) we taped, primed, painted, caulked, wired and replaced. On Sunday evening, after calling it a day, we were reminded of the “housework aches”, the stiff lower back, the throbbing calves, the sore neck. Proof that we’d put in some solid hours of real gosh darn work and were deserving of a big steaming bowl of pasta (and glass of red wine). You know I’m excited about a recipe if I choose to cook after a long day of inhaling paint fumes. This did not disappoint.
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Clam Linguine

March 11, 2010

Linguine with White Clam Sauce

People who know us well can attest that we are homebodies. As much as we love a night out on the town, either as a couple or among friends, nothing beats the comforts of our kitchen, our dining table, our couch. A reservation chez nous means casual attire (read: my hair is up, makeup is off, sweats are on), cheap entertainment a la Netflix, a bottle of wine and comfort food. This clam linguine is our default comfort food. I make it mid-week when nothing else sounds good, on Sunday evenings when grocery shopping didn’t fit into the weekend schedule and I’m left to forage through the pantry, or at the end of a long week when I just don’t have the energy to really cook (I could probably make this blind-folded, that’s how often it’s eaten around here). Such was the case a couple Fridays back when I couldn’t refuse a date night at home. While Kyle determined which of the Academy Awards Best Picture hopefuls to watch first, I made linguine with white clam sauce (or clam linguine, as we call it) while donning an over-sized hoodie, sporting a ponytail and armed with a hefty pour of Chardonnay. Comfort at its finest. My kind of Friday night.
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