Clams with Bucatini

Sometimes, you just need a bowl of pasta that screams comfort and Summer all in one. This pasta is close to my heart for a number of reasons, one being it lets me taste the ocean without physically being there. Chris and I decided not to do any trips this Summer, since we are saving for a nice Fall trip. It sounds fine, at first, but as the mid-July slump took over, I found myself desperately needing to be by a large body of water, soaking in the sun, and eating the fruit of the sea. It’s a Summer tradition for most folks who grew up on the East Coast. I felt something missing all Summer and I realized that was why. What are some of your favorite Summer vacations? (more…)

So back to the pasta. I have never, ever cooked anything that was considered alive. In fact, I had cooked my best friend a lobster dish a few weeks back. Instead of paying for the cheap whole lobster, that I would have to kill myself, I opted for the much more expensive lobster tail option. I just couldn’t bring myself to do the deed. I saw this recipe for clams and pasta in the July issue of Food Network’s magazine. It had everything I wanted out of Summer: briney, lemony, buttery pasta with tender, sweet clams mixed throughout. I cooked a lot of garlic, then added the wine, then gently placed the clams on top, covered the pot and walked away for 7 minutes. Opening that pot was the most beautiful surprise. All of the clams were widely open, soaking it the wine and garlic they had just been cooked in. See my notes on caring for the clams at the bottom! This recipe is too easy and too delicious not to make. I made it again this weekend and was equally satisfied! Be sure to serve this with tons of napkins! A lot of slurpin’ with happen! Happy pasta making!

Prosciutto Mozzarella Flatbread

I know I’ve been pretty MIA lately and my posts have been few and far between. I appreciate you stopping by; whether it’s out of anticipation of a new post, or a revisit to an old post for the recipe, or if it’s just the first time for you. Warm weather spurs something within my soul towards cooking I normally don’t feel in the Winter. Then I step outside and the thick Maryland humidity slaps me in my face and demands I wake up. Standing over a hot stove? I’ll pass. And the worst part is, IT’S NOT EVEN JUNE (well, I guess now it is but it wasn’t a couple of days ago!). I’m afraid I’m going to either melt before Summer actually gets here or chop off all of my frizzy, curly hair because a bun isn’t cutting it. Either way, we will get through Summer in one cool piece and we will savor it, because, you know, Winter is always coming. (more…)

In my absolute stubborn attitude of not wanting to stand over anything hot, I offer you flatbread! This flatbread was inspired by a simple and very delicious panini I enjoyed in my recent trip to Las Vegas. I know the words simple and Vegas don’t go together and trust me, this isn’t my last Vegas-inspired food post. But…I loved these ingredients so much together I needed to recreate it and so I did. I use unleavened Lavash as the crust. I get this from my local Trader Joe’s and it’s the perfect cheat to a thin crust pizza! Fresh pesto is best, although if you have landed yourself a good grocery store find, you can use that too. I love fresh mozzarella on pizza, it melts perfectly and feels familiar, like Italian grandmothers have been doing this for years. After a quick trip to the oven, a simply dressed arugula salad and salty, thinly sliced prosciutto ribbons are added last minute. I’m always tempted to add something more, just one more thing. But then I take a bite and can’t believe there is so much flavor in such a simple gathering of good ingredients. This is how I survive summer without withering from all the heat in my kitchen. Plus, who doesn’t want pizza for dinner?

We first “schmear” our lavash with some fresh pesto.

Top with fresh mozzarella.

Give it a quick trip to the broiler. Don’t walk away! It only takes a couple of minutes for the lovely mozzarella to melt.

Toss the arugula with a healthy pinch of salt, good extra virgin olive oil, and delicious prosciutto. This flatbread is light, herbacious, and the easiest dinner ever. Happy flatbread making!

Steakhouse Pie

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Ever since I came across this issue of Bon Appetit magazine, my homemade pizza world drastically changed. Never will I ever buy store bought pizza dough again. There just isn’t a comparison. From how easily the dough stretches, to its pan tossed texture, and how simple it is to make, store bought pizza dough is not welcome here no more. I hope you are encouraged to brave the world of rising yeast and join me in changing how you view homemade pizza! As epic as that sounds, nights that I make pizza are not that epic. I recently made this hearty Steakhouse pizza pie for friends and it was an immediate hit. Chris and I also take no shame in eating a pizza pie for date night, even if there are yummy leftovers to look forward to the next day. At this point, I know you probably scrolled down to the ingredients list and immediately cast off this recipe because of how long it looks. Don’t fret! I’m here to comfort you in saying you probably have most of those ingredients sitting in your pantry, just waiting to be used! For the sake of your overall happiness, I really hope you try this goody out! No room for disappointments!

Here is the link for the best pizza dough! Bon Appetit Grandma-Style Pizza Dough

Crispy Kale Caesar

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Doesn’t food taste so much better when it’s pretty? This curly kale caesar kept making bedroom eyes at me with its adorable little curves and crannies that were just begging to be filled with a smoky, tangy caesar dressing and delicately topped with fresh parmesan curls. Placing this delicacy underneath the hot broiler was the least I could do and in return, it gave me a perfectly charred, slightly salty, cheesy appetizer with no fuss. Kale is perfect for this recipe because it holds up while being broiled. Romaine would have been nice too, but would need a different approach when preparing, such as cut into quarters instead of separating the individual leaves. I like to add a light sprinkling of smoked paprika to my dressing for an extra flavor element. We loved this “salad” as an introduction to our pizza dinner and cannot wait to give it another go! A fun little hint: instead of broiling your kale, you could also grill it after brushing it with the dressing. ‘Tis the season!

Look at those webs of cheese!

The Killer Burger

I like to name burgers the same way I like to name my nonexistant children. I want to give them a name that sets them apart and makes them stick out from the other burgers that are mundanely named. Although I can’t take credit for the name of this burger, I do think it appropriate to keep the name because the name says it all! I have this habit, when I’m menu planning for the following week, to look up recipes that sound good and are the healthier option. Take ground turkey burgers for example, when I found <a href="http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/anne-burrell/killer-turkey-burgers.html” target=”_blank”>Anne’s Killer Turkey Burger, I got all excited and proud of my choice of choosing white meat over red meat. But then reality struck and my desire for an all beef burger patty commandeered my desire to get the healthier meat. What I’m trying to say is I can’t stand ground turkey! Give it to me roasted and on a croissant sandwich with mayo but DO NOT give it to me in a form of a burger! That being said, I’m sure the turkey burger is outstanding in this recipe and don’t let my close-minded thinking deter you from trying the original recipe. (more…)

Don’t let the picture fool you. It may look like just the run of the mill burger but it’s so much more. This burger was so flavorful and perfect, I had dreams about it last night! I think it’s a great idea to throw these babies on the grill and add fresh toppings like ripe tomatoes, sweet red onion, and crisp, green lettuce. You really don’t need much embellishment for the amount of flavor you are going to get! Side note: Due to laziness and forgetfulness, I did not add the water chestnuts or the fresh ginger (I’m really disappointed with myself on that one!) but if you do, let me know what you think! This recipe also introduces us to Sriracha’s cousin, Sambal Oelek, a wonderful chili paste that you will be tempted to put on everything! Now, let us take a moment of thankfulness for Anne Burrell and her ingenious burger! Happy Burger making, guys!

Blood Orange Mousse Trifle

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This dessert serves 4 people or allows you to go back for seconds on your date night. I like having options, especially when it comes to dessert. I also like having desserts I can make ahead so I don’t kill the mood when I have to leave the couch for 30 minutes to make a dessert. I’m a “throw it together” kind of gal. I do want to warn you, you WILL have leftover caramel sauce so feel free to throw it on your morning pancakes or waffles, stir it into your coffee, or just eat it out of the jar with a spoon. No judgement here. Blood oranges taste pretty similar to regular oranges but their gorgeous, deep purple juice is what sets them apart. This Blood Orange Mousse Trifle is the perfect balance of fresh, sweet, and buttery; the perfect end to a decadent meal! Just the thing to cure our Winter blues!

Tip: If your pound cake looks a little dry, try soaking it in a very sweet wine 10 minutes before serving. Just place the cake in a bowl and drizzle the wine in (about 1/4 of a cup) and let sit for 10 minutes.

Winter Stuffed Shells

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Saturday and Whole Foods are the only two words that will make Chris get out of his comfy sweatpants and brave the crowds with me to grocery shop. Whole Foods will have tons of samples out, I guess making his trip more enjoyable (and mine too! Who am I kidding?). Last year, they had this interesting Gouda titled, “Winter Gouda.” I didn’t need to know what was in it, I was already intrigued. The cheese was a salty and mellow Gouda, studded with flecks of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cardamom. The combination was out of this world! It also inspired me to take those flavors to the next level. What could be better than a beef and tomato stuffed shell, bathing in a glorious spiced Gouda sauce? Not much. This recipe might be for a little more than two people but no one hates the idea of easy leftovers! Winter Stuffed Shells is warm, comforting with a spicy edge, and something you probably don’t normally have on your menu.

Herbed Feta Mini Peppers

The Winter time barely allows for anything fresh to pass through my pantry doors. Stuffing vine-ripened tomatoes is a dream when it’s the dead of winter and we still have a few months until those delicacies are back in season. Instead, I decided to stuff mini sweet peppers with an herbed feta mixture for a light appetizer. You only need a few to set off the hunger pains, as you wait for the main dish. Double the recipe for a party appetizer!

Clementine Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies

Disclaimer: I made these cookies for Christmas and even had a Christmasy blog post ready for you. BUT, I didn’t get the chance to post so can we just act like it’s 2 weeks ago? Thanks in advance! (more…)

When we were kids, my siblings and I saved the stockings on Christmas morning for last. Although the items inside of them were much smaller than our gifts under the tree, I looked forward to “opening” my stocking the most. When the depression of all the gifts have been opened sets in, it was great to have another something to look forward to. There was never anything of too much value except for some candy and random little gadgets and knick knacks but one thing I always looked forward to was the chocolate orange. You know what I’m talking about. It was an orange, made completely out of chocolate with a hint of orange flavoring. Being a kid with too much adrenaline on Christmas morning, the best part about the orange was that you had to keep it in its orange foil and wack it against something hard. What happened after that was magic. When you tenderly peeled back the foil to reveal the chocolate orange, the orange literally split into clean, perfect slices, like a real orange! Pure, blissful, chocolatey magic!

Maybe that wonderful orange is why I naturally feel inclined to combine refreshing citrus with creamy chocolate at Christmas time. Like citrus, these clementine dark chocolate chip cookies are delicious all year round and you can change which citrus you use! But for me and this holiday season, it’s all about the heavenly combo of clementines and dark chocolate. These cookies are best enjoyed at any party or by a cozy fire.

Our ingredients are gathered. Our basic chocolate chip cookie recipe but with dark chocolate chips and clementine zest. We can hang with this!

Eggs,vanilla, flour, sugar, baking soda, clementine zest (you could use orange here, too!), dark chocolate chips, brown sugar (my nickname for my husband), salt, and butter.

The zest is combined with the granulated sugar first. We really want the oils from the zest to infuse the sugar. This reminds me of a sunset on a snowy winter day. Too much?

The butter is creamed with the sugars. My favorite part!

We add our eggs and vanilla. Keep mixing!

I mean….

Now, our flour! It’s ok if we make a mess; it’s the way of the cookie.

Chocolate chips are added and stirred in manually. This also allows for you to incorporate any left out flour from the edge of the bowl.

Instant gratification.

These cookies are so good! I can’t believe I didn’t make these many Christmas moons ago! They are crisp but chewy. They have some body but are completely soft. Everything you want in a cookie! Try the clementine dark chocolate chip cookies! There are plenty of snow days ahead to enjoy them! Happy cookie making!

Maple Bacon Drop Biscuits

We just got back from the most Christmasy (only a word this time of year) experience in Williamsburg, Virginia. I will fill you in with cozy details later but after this weekend, I need to go on a no carb, no sugar, no fun detox. Of course, I will probably only make it to the no carb part but at least that’s something! I thought a warm, salty sweet biscuit would be the perfect start to this detox. Just kidding! I totally made this biscuit for Thanksgiving but wanted to save the recipe for you until a time like now. So, as you’re enjoying these amazing biscuits, I’ll be over here downing my salmon spinach salad in hopes of getting rid of this Christmas bloat before the actual Christmas bloat gets here. Wish me luck! And enjoy these delectable, easy biscuits! (more…)

Our ingredient line up:

Bacon, fresh thyme, flour, nutmeg, maple syrup, baking powder and soda, sugar, cold, cold butter, and salt for good measure.

All of our dry ingredients are thrown in first and whisked together. I always thought biscuit making was so much harder than this. We got this!

Our butter is broken up with our bare hands then the cream is added. The dough comes together fast! I like fast, especially if it means I’ll be eating a biscuit faster.

These lovelies are baked until golden perfection. We drizzle some maple syrup on them and we are done! These are perfect for brunch or alongside your Christmas ham but they are absolutely divine all by themselves! Don’t let intimidation stand before you and this yummy biscuits! They are all butter and bacon so really, what could go wrong? No one ever complained about their biscuits being too delicious! Happy biscuit making!

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