Monthly Archives: June 2012

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pineapple, salsa, spicy, peppers, chiles, jalapenos, jalapeños, summer, bright, easy, quick, grilled, tangy, sweet, hot, green onions, scallions, lime, fresh, juice, bobby flay, fish, side dish, simple, fun, colorful, juicy, red rice vinegar

Have you ever grilled a pineapple? No? Well you're missing out.

This weird looking fruit was one of the only naturally grown things I would eat as a child (next to grapes and bananas), and using them in this spicy salsa gives them a very adult flavor. I made it to go with my grilled swordfish steaks with pineapple-mustard glaze, and I was shocked that the salsa was my favorite part of the meal!

The pickled jalapeño flavors magically combine with the pineapple juice to create a hybrid of tart and spicy, sweet and hot. Perfect for any barbecue, this side dish will amaze you.  ...continue reading

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July, Fourth, 4th, cake, buttercream, berries, blueberry, blue, raspberry, strawberry, blackberry, jame, independence day, summer, picnic, sweet, simple, fun, kids, colorful, red, white, blue, patriotic, flag, America,

Happy birthday to me,

Happy birthday to me!

Happy birthday dear Sarah,

Happy birthday to me!!!

That's right, my birthday is on the 4th of July! For many reasons, this makes it the ultimate birthday date ever. For one thing, it's pretty much as far away from Christmas as you can get, so there's no overlapping of presents. Another reason is that almost everyone has this day off!

And for my family, this means heading up to Lake Sunapee in New Hampshire, like we have been doing for over 20 years, hitting up the beach, having a barbecue, watching the fireworks, and relaxing. It's simply amazing to be surrounded by your family on your birthday, year after year, knowing that everyone is celebrating and having a good time.

My sister introducing my nephew Charlie to Lake Sunapee for the first time

So since I went strawberry picking for the first time this weekend with Kevin, I thought "why not use them to make the most epic red, white, and blue berry cake ever?"

...continue reading

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chocolate, peanut butter, pretzels, chocolate dipped, salt, peanut butter dough, filling, creamy, peanut, chocolate, milk chocolate, melt, melted, snacks, treats, gifts, delicious, easy, simple

 There's something fantastic about snacks that are easy to throw together, taste delicious, and work as the perfect gift. Chocolate covered pretzels have always been my go-to holiday treat, along with peanut butter balls. It never really occurred to me to combine the separate elements into one mega-snack!

But I recently stumbled across Sally's Baking Addiction, a gorgeous blog overflowing with jaw-dropping recipes. And most of them combine several of my (let's face it, everybody's) favorite ingredients: peanut butter, chocolate, candy, sprinkles, cake batter, fudge...endless cavity-inducing combinations that you wouldn't have thought of.

chocolate, peanut butter, pretzels, chocolate dipped, salt, peanut butter dough, filling, creamy, peanut, chocolate, milk chocolate, melt, melted, snacks, treats, gifts, delicious, easy, simple

These peanut butter-stuffed pretzels are dipped in melted chocolate to create a dense treat that everyone will love. I made a double batch for father's day, packed them into cellophane candy bags, and presented them to my dad at his barbecue on Sunday. The other half of the batch went to Kevin's family, and everyone was raving about them.

The best part? They only take about 20 minutes to throw together! But you don't have to tell anyone that part... ...continue reading

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flatbread, MiKros, beer bar, flatbread pizza, flat bread, dough, goat cheese, parmesan, zucchini, squash, red pepper, roasted red pepper, mushrooms, portobello, truffle oil, Wegmans, recipe, weekend, date night, date, evening, sexy

This pizza was an experiment in recreating a dish I had from Mikro Beer Bar in Hamden, CT. I got it when I was staying with my sister's family a few weeks back, and I could not stop obsessing about it!

The best thing about this pizza is the truffle oil.

Oh.

My.

God.

Truffle oil.

I've been meaning to buy this expensive oil for months now, but finally I had enough incentive to do it. Never before have I experienced something as potent and magical as this, where just the smallest drops can transform your dish into something rich and sophisticated.

I'm torn between wanting to preserve what I have left in the bottle, and wanting to drizzle it on EVERYTHING. I'm starting to see why truffles are so expensive, and why people pay exorbitant amounts for the tiniest taste of one. And I'm bummed that I have such rich tastes on such a poor budget. But I can't get enough of this stuff!

Hey, I'm sure the federal government won't notice if I skip paying off my college loans for a month or two, right? ...continue reading

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portobello burgers, mushroom burgers, grilled mushrooms, mushroom caps, grilled bellas, onion rings, onion straws, lettuce, tomato, chipotle mayo, mayonaise, spicy, breaded, delicious

There are two types of people in the world: those who believe that burgers should be simple and elegant, and those who think that the more stuff you can pile on top of it, the better it is.

This burger appeals to that second group. It has a bunch of awesome components that give it a great texture and spiciness. It takes a little longer to prepare, but it's totally worth it. Especially when you consider swapping out the mushroom for a juicy, red hamburger.

Mmm...beef.

Now don't get me wrong, I'm a huge fan of mushrooms, and I love the portobello burger. I do my best to encourage other people who are biased against them to give my favorite fungi a chance, and I like to think I've brought a few over to the light side. But I'm a hearty meat eater, and it's impossible to say no to a delicious, medium-rare burger.

So light that grill and throw some beef patties next to your mushroom caps, and try them both! See which one you like better. ...continue reading

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If I'm going to miss one thing about my turtle research job, it's the people. Specifically, Emily. Hi Emily!!!

I didn't actually work with her, but her office was next to mine, and we would often eat lunch together, send each other amusing youtube videos, and play with play-doh. Because that's what adults do at jobs, right?

I am pretty awesome at play-doh, just sayin'

We would also do each other's hair...

Emily is, without a doubt, the nicest girl you will ever meet. She is constantly making new friends wherever she goes, almost to the point where you're like, "Emily, did you really need to compliment that hobo on his tattered windbreaker? This is an awkward interaction for everyone."*

*That never happened, but is similar to other events that DID happen.

Anyway, I'm gunna miss that girl. And to make my last day special, she brought me a bouquet of gerber daisies (my favorite!), and she and Adam (another awesome coworker, who is a great cook and actually gave me the recipe for my pulled pork) gave me a nondescript pink gift bag. Inside the bag I found this:

When I finally stopped laughing, I assured them I wouldn't peek in the bag until I was at home and ready to cook. I then slid the bag behind something else so I wouldn't be tempted to look inside...

Then I got home, started my timer, and opened the bag...

You guys are jerks. 

Though I guess that's what every Chopped contestant thinks when they open their baskets and find infinitely weirder things than I did. And yet in all the time I've spent watching Food Network I've never seen spaghettios.

With the timer ticking down and no idea how I would make spaghettios into anything edible, I quickly ran into the kitchen and threw the chinese noodles into a food processor.

Then I beat an egg and milk into a bowl, and put flour and salt on a plate.

Voila! Onion rings. Two ingredients down, two to go. And time was running out.

From watching a million episodes of Chopped, I am aware that plating your dish without an ingredient is embarrassing, and oftentimes leads to being chopped from the competition. Even though I was timing myself, had no judges, and no other competitors...I didn't want to be laughed at by the internet.

So I threw the spaghettios into a saucepan and started heating them up.

Ok, so I have the spaghettios, now what? Time to add something fresh! Well the only thing I had in my kitchen was zucchini, squash, and mushrooms. So I chopped some of those up and threw them in with the spaghettios. THEN I came up with the genius idea of simply using the spaghettios as the base for a creamy, spicy tomato soup. Once I had that thought I was like the Flash, zipping through my kitchen, looking for cream and red pepper to thicken up the soup and give it some flavor. I also quickly diced up the wheat pita, tossed with some olive oil, salt, pepper, and fresh oregano, and toasted them in the oven to make croutons.

At 38:00 minutes I dashed into the dining room, grabbed some dishes, and began plating my meal. When the clock hit 40 minutes I stepped back, and invited in my only judge.

I took several other pictures of her, but I think this expression really summed it up. She LOVED the onion rings, surprise registering across her face as she bit into them. Then she tentatively tried the spaghettios soup. She had a few bites before declaring it, "not terrible. Now when is real dinner?"

Imagine her disappointment when I told her that this was real dinner! She sadly took a handful of onion rings upstairs to eat, while I sat down with my not terrible spaghettios soup.

You know, for having a base of Dora the Explorer canned spaghettios, this meal was halfway decent! Probably not up to food network standards, but I like to think I was pretty damn crafty with the entire thing. I mean, I probably won't be making spaghettios soup again, but it's nice to know that I can manipulate something processed into something resembling a pretty good meal!

So thanks Emily and Adam, for making my work experience much better, and giving me something to do to distract myself the night before I started a brand new job!

What would you have made with those 4 ingredients? Bonus points if you actually attempt to cook a meal using spaghettios, a red onion, chinese noodles, and wheat pita pockets!