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I’ve always called these latkes, but before writing this post I did some googling and there seems to be a big divided camp between what is a latke and what is a potato pancake.  I think potato pancakes has to be the more generic term, so that’s what I’m calling them here.  Plus, I feel like it would be an affront to Jewish people everywhere to title this post “Latkes with Bacon Applesauce.”  If you aren’t feeling ambitious, these are almost as good with some plain old applesauce or sour cream. 

Full recipe after the jump. Continue Reading »

Amazing Toffee

This post would have been handy a week or so ago when you were probably stressing about what to give those people in your life whom you sort of like, but who aren’t worth a  trip to the mall.   Oops, sorry.  I told you I’m not good at this blogging thing.  Well now that the season of giving is over, you should make this just for yourself and scarf it down before the New Year’s resolutions kick in.

If you aren’t familiar with candy making, this is a nice easy introduction.  And no candy thermometer is necessary. Basically you cook water, sugar and butter until it is about done (more on that below).  Then pour it out onto parchment paper.  Sprinkle with chocolate chips. Spread, then top with chopped pecans.  Let it cool, break it up.  Boom.  Toffee.  Details and better step by step instructions after the jump. Continue Reading »


The weather in Boston has been unseasonably warm these past few weeks, with the exception of a few days here and there, including this weekend. I cannot say that I miss the biting cold, chapped hands, and red, runny noses. However, the onset of icy winds makes a fine excuse to stay inside, curled up in front of the TV, with a steaming bowl of soup and a good book.

I found this recipe for Sweet Potato, Corn, and Jalapeño Bisque from the New York Times by way of The Wednesday Chef several years ago. I’ve since made it at least a couple dozen times. This soup takes under 30 minutes to make, is wallet-friendly, and makes the perfect take-to-work lunch or quick after-work dinner.



Sweet Potato, Corn, and Jalapeño Bisque

adapted from NY Times

1 tablespoon peanut oil

1/2 cup chopped onions

2 teaspoons minced garlic

3 medium sweet potatoes (about 2 1/2 pounds total), peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes

4 cups vegetable or chicken stock (Homemade or Better than Bouillon) (You can also make this vegan with vegetable stock)

1 medium jalapeño, seeded and finely chopped

1 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels

2 tablespoons molasses

kosher salt to taste

1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne

Black pepper to taste

Tiny pinch of ground cinnamon

Finely chopped scallions, green parts only.

1. Heat peanut oil over medium heat in a large heavy soup pot. Add the onions and garlic and sauté until translucent (about 3 minutes). Add stock and the sweet potato chunks and bring to a boil.

2. Reduce heat to a simmer, and cook until the potatoes are done (about 10-13 minutes). Purée sweet potato mixture using an immersion blender until smooth (you can also use a blender or food processor, working in batches).

3. Put soup over medium-low heat and stir in molasses, salt, pepper, cayenne, cinnamon, molasses, jalapeño, and corn. Heat until corn is warmed through. If you like a thinner soup you may add a little more stock and heat through.

4. Serve topped with scallions or chives.

It’s been a long time.

Over 3 years in fact.  So why come back now considering I never had a large reader base anyways?  Truth be told it has been a while since I made my Chicken Tortilla Soup, and I can’t find my recipe for it, so I wandered back over to my long-neglected blog. I’ve done this a few times, so I figure, if anything, I will at least always have my recipe box accessible to myself.

In 3 years a lot has changed. I started the blog out of sheer boredom. Three years ago I was a recent law school graduate, with no employment prospects in the midst of a recession, waiting patiently for my bar exam results. In short, I was unemployed with nothing better to do than cook all day, takes pictures of it, and write blog posts. Fortunately that all ended early 2009. I bounced around between a few awful temp jobs until I landed a “real job” which I’ve held down for the past couple years.

I still read blogs daily, although more recently they’ve been the shelter or wedding variety. Work, plus planning a wedding and living in a fixer upper doesn’t leave a lot of time for cooking, or blogging for that matter. But here I am, back, hoping to get into it again. Even though my life has been consumed with stripping wallpaper and dress shopping lately, I will keep the topics to the food. My house may be a DIY disaster, and my wedding needs emergency help from David Tutera, but I can still make a mean cheesecake.

Herb-Roasted Onions

I completely forgot to post Barefoot Bloggers’ recipe for Herb-Roasted Onions chosen by Kelly from Baking with the Boys. I dont’ particularly care for onions unless they are in something else, so I have to go off of my guinea pigs’ responses. Supposedly two-thumbs up.

Click here for the recipe.

Almost a Disaster

When I made this Beef Bourguignon a few days ago it was one of those disastrous days in the kitchen. We’ve all had them: you burn yourself (in my case my right and left hands in separate incidents); you spill stuff (a canister of sugar and then water on my camera which, by the grace of God survived); and the recipe you are making just doesn’t want to cooperate. Being the klutz I am the spills and burns came as no surprise, but having one of Ina Garten’s recipes fail on me was just down right shocking.

The directions called for a few minutes on the stove top before an hour long trip into a low oven. After the requisite 75 minutes, I removed the Bourguignon from the oven, and while I knew the cooking time was on the short-side for chuck, I was expecting moist, tender, melt-in-your mouth cubes of beef. After all, this was an Ina recipe. But instead of a dish with juicy chunks of beef in a complex and flavorful wine sauce, I was met with wine soup studded with tough, chewy, pieces of meat. It tasted like it was destined for the dog bowl. Could this be? Had one of Ina’s recipes failed me? I could not resign myself to such a harsh reality so I wrangled the pot back onto the stove top (with my right hand, which wasn’t burned quite as bad) and let it simmer over ultra low heat for another three hours. After a day where everything went wrong, I thought the Bourguignon was doomed. But no, three hours later, the beef was perfectly tender and delicious.

Beef Bourguignon
Adapted from Ina Garten

  • 1 tablespoon good olive oil
  • 8 ounces dry cured center cut applewood smoked bacon, diced
  • 2 1/2 pounds chuck beef cut into 1-inch cubes
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound carrots, sliced diagonally into 1-inch chunks
  • 2 yellow onions, sliced
  • 2 tsp. chopped garlic (2 cloves)
  • 1/2 cup Cognac
  • 1 (750 ml.) bottle good dry red wine such as Cote du Rhone or Pinot Noir
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves (1/2 teaspoon dried)
  • 2 tsp. butter
  • 1 pound frozen whole onions
  • 1 pound fresh mushrooms stems discarded, caps thickly sliced

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven. Add the bacon and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the bacon is lightly browned. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon to a large plate.
  3. Dry the beef cubes with paper towels and then sprinkle them with salt and pepper. In batches in single layers, sear the beef in the hot oil for 3 to 5 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Remove the seared cubes to the plate with the bacon and continue searing until all the beef is browned. Set aside.
  4. Toss the carrots, and onions, 1 tablespoon of salt and 2 teaspoons of pepper in the fat in the pan and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are lightly browned. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the Cognac, stand back, and ignite with a match to burn off the alcohol. Put the meat and bacon back into the pot with the juices. Add the bottle of wine plus enough water to almost cover the meat. Add the tomato paste and thyme. Bring to a simmer, cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid and place it in the oven for 3-4 hours or until the meat and vegetables are very tender when pierced with a fork.
  5. Add the frozen onions. Saute the mushrooms in 2 tablespoons of butter for 10 minutes until lightly browned and then add to the stew. Bring the stew to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Season to taste.

Macaroni and Cheese

I was just dying to make macaroni and cheese last week. There is something about cold weather and having to retire my flip flops and gauzy tops (ok, they should have been retired long ago) in favor of fleece hoodies and drawstring sweats that makes me crave pasta, butter, and cheese. Unfortunately for me, I had some deliciously tempting but not-as-much-craved-for shrimp and beef in the fridge. Well, I did have two delicious meals, but really, I just couldn’t plow through those perishables quick enough to get to mac and cheese.

I dug my nose into Foodgawker, Tastespotting, and some of my favorite food blogs in search of a fail-proof recipe. Well, I was a little overwhelmed and confused. Everyone seems to have their own protocol. Cold roux with warm milk; warm milk with cold roux; warm roux with warm milk; to preboil or not preboil; Velveeta as a stabilizer; American as a stabilizer; the decisions were endless. I threw up my hands in disgust and did what I always do when I am overwhelmed – turn to Ina.

I could just sing Ina’s praises all day long. Her recipes are always simple, easy to follow, and delicious. This recipe was no different.

Mac and Cheese
Adapted from

  • Kosher salt
  • Olive Oil
  • 1 lb. whole-wheat elbow pasta
  • 2 c. low-fat milk
  • 1 c. cream
  • 4 Tb. butter
  • ½ c. all-purpose flour
  • 2 c. grated Swiss cheese
  • 2 c. grated cheddar
  • ½ tsp. pepper
  • ½ tsp. nutmeg
  • ½ c. Italian breadcrumbs

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Drizzle oil into a large pot of boiling salted water. Add the macaroni and cook according to the directions on the package, 6 to 8 minutes. Drain well.
  3. Meanwhile, heat the milk and cream in a small saucepan, but don’t boil it. Melt 6 tablespoons of butter in a large (4-quart) pot and add the flour. Cook over low heat for 2 minutes, stirring with a whisk. While whisking, add the hot milk and cream and cook for a minute or two more, until thickened and smooth. Off the heat, add the Swiss, Cheddar, 1 tablespoon salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Add the cooked macaroni and stir well. Pour into a 3-quart baking dish.
  4. Top with breadcrumbs bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbly and the macaroni is browned on the top.
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