pumpkin scones with chocolate chips

I swear I haven't just been eating pumpkin foods this whole time. I was pretty much over it, honest. But then I saw this recipe over at said she said he and it looked so delicious and warm- like a hug for my stomach. And so I made it and I have no regrets. Neither do my roommates, who also loved them.

2 3/4 cups flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon allspice

1/2 cup unsalted butter, cold

1 cup chocolate chips
2/3 cup canned pumpkin
2 large eggs
milk, for brushing on dough
coarse sugar, for sprinklin 

1. Mix the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
2. Add butter (very cold and cut into pats) to dry ingredients. Work butter into mixture until crumbly. It's okay for some larger chunks of butter to remain unincorporated.
3. Add chocolate chips and stir to combine.
4. Mix pumpkin and eggs in a separate bowl. Then add mixture to other ingredients.
5. Mix to form a uniform dough. Be careful not to over-mix as the more you handle the dough, the tougher the scones will be.
6. Line baking sheet with parchment paper and sprinkle a bit of flour on top of the paper.
7. Divide the dough in half and round each half into about a 6" circle (3/4" thick).
8. Brush each circle with milk and sprinkle with coarse sugar.
9. Slice each circle into 6 wedges and carefully pull the wedges away from the center to separate them just a bit.
10. Place pan of scones in freezer for 30 minutes, uncovered.
11. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees, while the scones are chilling.
12. Bake for 22 to 25 minutes.


pan-seared salmon with pumpkin seed-cilantro pesto

Continuing with the pumpkin madness- pepitas! Delicious green pumpkin seeds!

Raw they have a wonderful smokey flavor, quickly edging its way to the coveted category of my favorite snack.

Roasted and made into a pesto? Woooah. So good.

Next time I think I'll steam the salmon instead of pan-roasting, because the process is so much easier and I can taste the salmon more at the end. Also, then I can justify smothering it in this delicious pesto.

Try it. Do it. Please.

Pan-Seared Salmon with Pumpkin Seed-Cilantro Pesto 

via Bon Appétit  | November 2011

2 1/2 teaspoons plus 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1/2 cup shelled pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
1/2 cup (firmly packed) cilantro leaves and stems
1/2 teaspoon cracked coriander seeds
1/2 garlic clove, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon (or more) fresh lime juice
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 6-ounce salmon fillets (preferably wild)
1 lime, cut into 4 wedges
Heat 1 1/2 teaspoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add pumpkin seeds; sauté until beginning to brown and pop, about 2 minutes. Transfer seeds to paper towels to drain; let cool. Reserve skillet.
Pulse 6 tablespoons pumpkin seeds, cilantro, coriander seeds, and garlic in a food processor until coarsely chopped. With machine running, gradually add 1 tablespoon lime juice, 1/4 cup oil, then 1/4 cup water, blending until coarse purée forms. Season pesto to taste with salt, pepper, and more lime juice, if desired.
Heat remaining 1 teaspoon oil in reserved skillet over medium heat. Season salmon fillets with salt and pepper. Add to skillet and cook until just opaque in center, 3-4 minutes per side. Place fillets on plates. Spoon pesto over. Garnish with remaining pumpkin seeds. Serve with lime wedges.


pumpkin oatmeal

No, but really. Pumpkin. Everything.

I had leftover pumpkin puree from the doughnuts, so I've been putting it in my morning oatmeal along with pumpkin pie type spices. Few things can make me smile before 10am. This is one of them. You can see I had some real trouble stopping long enough to get a picture.

Pumpkin Oatmeal
1 1/2 c. water
1/4 c. steel cut oats
2 T. pumpkin puree
1/2 t. cinnamon
1/4 t. allspice
1/4 t. nutmeg
1/4 t. ginger 
1 t. brown sugar
dash of salt

Bring water to boil in small sauce pan. Stir in oats, then simmer for 20-25 minutes on low heat. When oats are almost cooked, stir in pumpkin puree and spices. Continue cooking until flavors have mixed and oats are desired texture. 


baked pumpkin doughnuts

Seriously. All things pumpkin lately.

I made these for our Halloween party a couple of weekends ago. This is an awful, embarrassing picture from my iPhone but it's the only one I have of them and I wanted to share the recipe.

Up until recently I had thought you needed a fryer to make doughnuts, so you can imagine my delight when I found out about the doughnut pan (thank you, said she said he). For only $10 you can get baked doughnuts and wave goodbye to fears of scalding yourself and burning down your house (again). I found this recipe by doing an internet search for pumpkin doughnuts, then made a simple cinnamon sugar glaze.

Super good.

Baked Pumpkin Doughnuts
via Taste & Tell Blog

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup pumpkin puree
2 eggs
2 tablespoons milk
1/4 cup butter, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 

Preheat the oven to 350F. Prepare a doughnut pan by spraying with non-stick cooking spray.

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda, nutmeg, cinnamon and ginger. Set aside.

In another bowl, cream together the brown sugar, butter and pumpkin. Add in the eggs, mix well, then mix in the milk and vanilla. Stir in the reserved dry ingredients.

Place the mix in a large zip-top bag. Cut off the corner and pipe into the doughnut pan. Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 10 minutes. Remove pan from oven, let rest for 5 minutes, then remove from pan and allow to cool completely on a wire rack. 

Cinnamon Glaze
½ cup powdered sugar
1 T. milk
½ tsp. cinnamon
¼ tsp. nutmeg

Mix until smooth and creamy.  The glaze should pour easily from a spoon.  You may need to add additional milk or powder sugar to get the right consistency.


pumpkin + black bean soup

Loving all things pumpkin lately.

Last week my roommate and I had the idea to take food over to two of our friends and their baby who are having a tough time lately. Needless to say, I jumped at the chance to make this soup.

The recipe is one my sister Sarah sent me years ago. I remember making it in my studio apartment, back when I first lived alone and considered heating up ramen a well thought-out meal. It would make me so happy, eating the soup on my floor, watching my tv/vcr combo. I hope it gave my friends a similar feeling. Good soup kind of does that, you know? Makes everything seem a little better.

A few notes on the recipe- I used whole milk instead of cream, because that's what I had on hand. Given the choice, I wouldn't do it again because it definitely lacked some richness to sort of balance everything. Also, I didn't use chives because my produce market doesn't sell them.

Pumpkin & Black Bean Soup
via Rachel Ray

2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 cups vegetable stock
1 can (14 1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes in juice
1 can (15 ounces) black beans, drained
2 cans (15 ounces) pumpkin puree 

1 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper,
Coarse salt
chives for garnish

Heat a soup pot over medium heat. Add oil. When oil is hot, add onion. Saute onions 5 minutes. Add broth, tomatoes, black beans and pumpkin puree. Stir to combine ingredients and bring soup to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and stir in cream, curry, cumin, cayenne and salt, to taste. Simmer 5 minutes, adjust seasonings and serve garnished with chopped chives.


farmhouse butternut squash soup

Fall officially set in. All last week was cold, rainy, and windy. Basically the most depressing weather you can think of. It sort of felt like Chicago was holding up it's giant, skyscraper of a middle finger, while every once in a while stopping to point right at me, then resume flipping me off. I'm sure I'm not alone in this. Cold weather has a way of feeling so isolating and personal- like it's you vs. the world. So I fought back with food, of course. Nothing says, Hello, Fall. I'm so glad you could join us in your best fake smile like butternut squash soup. Paired with a salad using the last of summer's tomatoes and my new favorite dressing, I'm pretty sure this meal went a long way in working towards a weather truce- even if my heart isn't quite in it yet.

Farmhouse Butternut Squash Soup (adapted from Epicurious)

4 large garlic cloves, chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and chopped
1/2 pounds carrots, chopped
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, and chopped
3 thyme sprigs
2 Turkish bay leaves or 1 California
3 1/2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
2 cups water
1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons cider vinegar

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a 4-6 qt heavy pot over medium heat, add garlic and onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until garlic is pale golden, about 1 minute. Add squash, carrots, apple, thyme, bay leaves, broth, water, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and boil, uncovered, until vegetables are tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Discard thyme and bay leaves.
Purée about 4 cups soup in a blender, in batches if necessary, until smooth (use caution when blending hot liquids). Return to pot and season with salt, pepper, and vinegar.

New favorite dressing

1 tsp sesame oil
1/2 tsp soy soy sauce
1 tsp rice vinegar
1/4 tsp sesame seeds
Shake it up.


tomato, feta, & basil galette


I just had possibly the most classic summer of my life. I fell hard for a boy who lives across the country (who went back there last week), I rode my bike everywhere, went sailing and exploring, and probably, maybe spent more days reading in the park than working.


Farmers market visits were also made. I made sure to get tomatoes and zucchini as often as I could so I could come home and make this meal. The zucchini saute is so delicious it can hold up a meal just on its own, and the galette's crust is... well, it's really kind of hard to not eat all the dough before it's cooked.

So here are my two new favorite summer recipes. Hope you can make them before it's all cold and junk. Also, I hope you had a dreamy summer, too. I'd love to hear about it.

Summer Tomato, Feta, and Basil Galette (via Cooking Light)


3 2/5 ounces all-purpose flour (about 3/4 cup)
1/4 cup yellow cornmeal
3 1/2 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
3 tablespoons ice water
1 pint jewel box tomatoes or multicolored pear tomatoes, halved lengthwise
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup (2 ounces) crumbled reduced-fat feta cheese
1/4 cup small basil leaves


1. Weigh or lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup, and level with a knife. Combine flour, cornmeal, butter, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a food processor; process until the mixture resembles coarse meal. With processor on, slowly add ice water through food chute, and process just until combined (do not form a ball). Gently press the mixture into a 4-inch circle on heavy-duty plastic wrap. Cover and chill for 30 minutes.
2. Preheat oven to 425°.
3. Unwrap dough, and roll dough into a 13-inch circle on a lightly floured surface. Place dough on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Arrange tomatoes, cut sides up, on top of dough, leaving a 1 1/2-inch border. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper. Fold edges of dough over tomatoes to partially cover. Bake at 425° for 25 minutes or until golden brown. Sprinkle evenly with cheese. Bake an additional 5 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes, and sprinkle with basil. Cut into 8 wedges.

Quick Sauté of Zucchini with Toasted Almonds (via Smitten Kitchen)

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons thinly sliced almonds
1 to 2 small zucchini, cut into 1/8-inch matchsticks with a knife or julienne blade on a mandoline
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Few ounces pecorino Romano or paremsan, in thin slices

Heat the oil on high in a large skillet. When it is hot but not smoking, add the almonds to the pan. Cook them, while stirring, until the almonds are golden-brown, approximately a minute or two.
Add the zucchini to the pan, tossing it with the oil and almonds until it just begins to glisten, about one minute. The idea is not to cook the zucchini so much as warm it.
Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately, with or without cheese on top.



Fresh strawberries, raw almonds, soy milk, and some honey.

Barefoot on the back porch.

Summer, I goddamn love you.


tuna + white bean salad

Turns out I was getting sick. I guess in a way it's a good thing, at least I wasn't just being lazy. Going to that Prince vs. Michael dance party Saturday night probably wasn't the best idea. But come on, how could I not? But now all I want to do is whimper and hug something while they tell me a story. Yes, yes I am being a baby about this. Let's move on.

Before any of this went down I made an amazing tuna and white bean salad. I had been craving salt and protein all last week and so found this recipe to put an end to it. I wanted it so badly it made me actually leave the house, get on a bus, and get groceries at Whole Foods. That, and the promise of a meal made entirely on their free samples.

Good tuna is pretty key here, so keep that in mind. Also, keep in mind that I am accepting hugs and stories. My door is open, people.

Tuna and White Bean Salad, adapted from Gourmet  | September 2003 

1 garlic clove
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 (15- to 19-oz) can cannellini or other white beans, drained and rinsed
1 (1-lb) seedless cucumber (usually plastic-wrapped), quartered lengthwise and cut crosswise into 1/3-inch-thick slices
3 roma tomatoes, cut into 1 in. pieces
1/2 c. basil, roughly chopped
2 (6-oz) cans tuna packed in oil (preferably olive oil), drained

Mince garlic and mash to a paste with a pinch of salt using a large heavy knife. Whisk together garlic paste, lemon juice, salt, and pepper in a small bowl, then add oil in a slow stream, whisking until combined well. Let stand at room temperature 10 minutes.

Gently toss beans, cucumber, tomatoes, and basil with half of dressing. Transfer to a platter or bowl and arrange tuna on top, breaking up any large pieces with a fork. Drizzle remaining dressing over tuna.


no meal slaw, 2011

Maybe I'm getting sick, maybe it's the weather, maybe it's other, non-internet-spilling things, but I cannot seem to make myself do anything lately. Like grocery shopping, for example. Usually I love this part of my day- I shut down my computer, make a grocery list, and then take a leisurely half-mile walk to the produce market. It serves as a dividing line between my work day and my free time, and has become a key tool in surviving working from home.

But not this week. This week I just want to lay on my bed and read a book while my cats cuddle up to my legs. Or go out with friends and replace my dinner with vodka tonics and second-hand smoke. So, long story short, I give you...

no-meal slaw, the 2011 edition. 
 It's not that good, but it's not that bad. Kind of like my mood lately.

1/4 of a purple cabbage, cored and sliced thin
1/4 of a green cabbage, cored and sliced thin
1 15oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
3-4 radishes, cut into matchsticks 
juice of one lime
1 T olive oil

Mix cabbage, beans, and radishes together in large bowl. Add lime juice and olive oil. Toss to coat, then season to taste. Eat for the next day and half while cursing your laziness. 


weekday breakfast

This is currently the best way to get me out of bed in the morning. Sliced bananas, walnuts, drizzled agave nectar. Also works with pears and raw almonds.

I'm just nuts about it. Sorry, had to.


late easter

I was going through my photos today, trying to get some up on Flickr, and realized I completely forgot to wish you happy Easter. And I had such a good photo to go with it!

So happy late Easter. This mashed potato monster was made by John, my sister Sarah's fiance. Have I mentioned lately how awesome I think my family is? I know everyone probably thinks that about their people, but come on. Look at this picture. I feel so lucky.


weekend breakfast

I had a long long holiday weekend. It actually started on Thursday with bowling and the Bob Inn for my friend Sophie's birthday and then just took off from there. In between were several recipe duds that do not deserve to be written out here, leaving me with a strange mix of ingredients. So on Sunday I woke up (maybe hung over, maybe not. I'll never tell), looked in my fridge and came up with some great breakfast tacos. In this I got to use up some of the cabbage halves and green onions I had left over from the dairy-crazy and bland coleslaw as well as some mozzarella from my intense pizza-making phase (with the disappointing sauce) earlier in the week. It made me so happy that I had to immediately go back to bed and nap.

I doubt you need the recipe, but in an effort to be somewhat consistent I'll include it. 

Crispy Breakfast Tacos
makes 3 for a hungry lady

1 c. finely sliced mix of purple and green cabbage
2 green onions, finely sliced
olive oil
1 lime
3 eggs
2-3oz shredded mozzarella 
1 can of black beans, drained
1 t. cumin
2 t. vegetable oil

corn tortillas
hot sauce

Dump black beans into a small bowl. Add cumin. Using a fork, stir and mash the beans against the side of the bowl until about half the mix is mashed. Set aside. Meanwhile, in a large heavy skillet, add the vegetable oil and heat on med-high until hot.

In a medium-sized bowl combine the cabbage and onions. Add the lime juice and a splash of olive oil and toss to mix. 

When oil is hot in pan, on one side add one tortilla with about 1oz of the cheese, on the other crack one egg to cook. When the mozzarella starts to melt slightly, top with about 1/4 c. of the mashed beans. Continue to heat until the egg white is set. Then remove tortilla, add egg and desired about of cabbage mix to taco. Top with lots and lots of hot sauce.

Now go back to bed and watch Netflix.


food made by others

I've had some incredible luck lately in the food-made-by-others department. Thus, very few posts in the food-made-by-me blog.

As I type this one of my roommates is making pumpkin cupcakes with cream cheese frosting. Here's a picture of the process. And the other day? I got to eat this. Up until that point I totally thought baked alaska was a fish dish. Nope. It's an amazing hot/cold cake-splosion. Thanks, Heather & Roy for keeping me hopped up on sugar, and sorry to the rest of you for having to put up with the results.


key lime cheesecake with strawberries and blueberries

Birthday season is upon me. It seems I can only befriend Tauruses and Geminis. It makes sense, the Tauruses keep things steady and loyal while the Geminis spice up my rather fret-y and practical Virgo disposition. My good friend Jen's birthday on May 13th is the kick-off point, so I decided to go big. If anyone deserves some extra effort it's this girl. She loves key lime pie and cheesecake and I found a recipe that included both. Why not?

It was my first time making a cheesecake, so I was a little nervous but I hear it turned out alright. I had to drive to Des Moines this weekend (for another birthday party), so I wasn't able to try it. But don't feel too bad for me, I'm going out to dinner with Jen tonight and she promised to give me a piece afterward.*

The recipe called for mango ribbons, but that sounded incredibly hard with such a slippery fruit and also I just wasn't sure if Jen like them, so I opted for blueberries and strawberries instead. Feel free to try whatever. Also, I used bottled Key lime juice.

*Update: I did get to try the cheesecake and it was awesome. The crust turned out to be my favorite part, but I definitely recommend making this recipe.

Key Lime Cheesecake with Blueberries + Strawberries 

lightly adapted from Gourmet/May 2002

For crust
1 1/4 cups fine graham cracker crumbs (5 oz)
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, melted

For filling
2 (8-oz) packages cream cheese at room temperature
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
3/4 cup fresh Key lime juice (strained from about 1 1/2 lb Key limes) or bottled
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs

For topping
1/2 c blueberries

1/2 c strawberries, sliced 1/8"
1 tablespoon fresh Key lime juice (strained) or bottled
1/2 cup chilled heavy cream
1 tablespoon sugar

Make crust:
Preheat oven to 350°F and butter bottom and side of 9"-9 1/2"spring-form pan.
Stir together crumbs, sugar, and butter in a bowl with a fork until combined well, then press evenly onto bottom and one-third up side of pan. Bake crust in middle of oven 8 minutes and cool in pan on a rack.
Make filling:
Reduce oven temperature to 325°F.
Beat cream cheese with an electric mixer at medium speed until fluffy, then beat in sugar. Add lime juice, sour cream, and vanilla and beat until smooth. Mix in flour and salt at low speed, scraping down side as needed, until just incorporated, then add eggs all at once and mix just until incorporated.
Pour filling into crust and set springform pan in a shallow baking pan. Bake cake in middle of oven until set in center, 1 hour to 1 hour and 10 minutes. Cool completely in springform pan on rack. (Cake will continue to set as it cools.)
Run a thin knife around edge of cake and remove side of pan. If desired, transfer cake with a large metal spatula to a serving plate.
Make topping:
Gently toss blueberries + strawberry slices with lime juice.
Beat cream with sugar in a bowl until it just holds stiff peaks, then spread over top of cheesecake. Arrange fruit decoratively over cream.


zucchini + snow-pea salad

It finally feels like it might, maybe, at some point, become summer. Good thing I've found just the recipe for it. This salad is delicious and tastes so fresh and crisp- exactly what I want to eat in weather like this. It would be perfect with grilled meat or fish. But that's just an assumption, since I don't have a grill.

I think I may be a wuss when it comes to seasons switching. In the past I'd always blamed it on my hating change, but that's not really a problem anymore, so I'm not sure what it is. All I know is I feel full all the time, lethargic, and lonely. That last one isn't something I feel a lot. I really enjoy being and doing things alone most of the time, but for some reason this time of year makes me antsy and question myself. No good. No good at all. So I guess maybe I'm saying let's hang out.

Zucchini and Snow-Pea Salad

Gourmet  | June 2008
by Melissa Roberts

1 pound zucchini (about 2 medium)
1/2 pound snow peas, trimmed
1 1/2 tablespoons sesame seeds
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice vinegar (not seasoned)
1 teaspoon sugar

Very thinly slice zucchini and place in a large sieve set over a bowl. Toss zucchini with 3/4 tsp salt and drain 30 minutes. 

Meanwhile, blanch snow peas in a pot of boiling salted water (2 Tbsp salt for 4 qt water) 1 1/2 minutes. Drain and immediately plunge snow peas into an ice bath to stop cooking. Drain again and pat dry. 

Rinse zucchini under cold running water, then press gently to remove any excess liquid. Pat dry. 

Toast sesame seeds in a dry small skillet over medium heat, shaking skillet occasionally, until golden, about 2 minutes, then cool. 

Stir together remaining ingredients in a large bowl until sugar has dissolved, then toss with vegetables and sesame seeds.


roman-style pizza with roasted cherry tomatoes and cheese

I get Bon Appetit every month, savor it, look it over page by page, critique the photos and dog-ear the recipes I intend to make... and then put it in the stack of all the other Bon Appetits and rarely actually pick it up again. This is stupid.

Take this recipe, for example. Had I not started to feel really guilty about my choosing the internet over print I would probably have just forgotten about it and moved on. Luckily May's issue came smack dab in the middle of what seems to be an annual internal debate about the role of internet in our lives.

So long story short, I made this pizza. And it was so so good. I would make it again in a second.

Roman-Style Pizza with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes and Cheese

Roll or stretch the dough as thin as possible to get a classic thin and crispy crust.
4-6 servings
  • PREP TIME: 1 hour
  • TOTAL TIME: 2 hours 10 minutes (includes rising time)


2 tsp. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. active dry yeast
7 1/2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 tsp. kosher salt plus more
2 1/4 cups (or more) all-purpose flour
1 1/2 lb. cherry or grape tomatoes
Freshly ground black pepper
Semolina (for dusting)
2/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan, divided
2 cups grated mozzarella (about 8 oz.), or 6 oz. buffalo mozzarella, thinly sliced, divided

Chopped fresh basil


Combine 3/4 cup warm water (105°-115°), sugar, and yeast in a large bowl; let sit until spongy, 4-5 minutes. Mix in 1 1/2 Tbsp. oil and 1 tsp. salt. Stir in 2 1/4 cups flour. Turn out onto a work surface; knead until smooth and elastic, adding more flour if sticking, about 6 minutes. Grease a large bowl with 1 Tbsp. oil. Add dough, cover bowl with plastic; let rise until doubled, about 1 1/2 hours.

Meanwhile, position one rack in top third of oven and another in bottom third; place a pizza stone on top rack and preheat oven to 500°. Scatter tomatoes on a large rimmed baking sheet. Add 1 Tbsp. oil, toss, and season with salt and pepper. Place on lower rack; roast until skins split, 10-12 minutes. Let cool on rack. Continue heating pizza stone for 45 more minutes.

Sprinkle a pizza peel or rimless baking sheet with semolina. Divide dough in half; roll or stretch each into a 13x9" rectangle. Cover with kitchen towels; let stand for 15 minutes. Transfer 1 rectangle to prepared pizza peel. Brush with 2 Tbsp. oil, sprinkle with half of the Parmesan, then mozzarella, and top with half of the tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper.

Set front of peel at far edge of stone; gently jiggle peel side to side, sliding pizza onto stone as you remove peel. Bake until crust is browned and crisp, 9-10 minutes. Using peel, transfer pizza to work surface. Garnish with basil. Slice and serve.

Repeat to make second pizza.


salad with carrot + ginger dressing

I took my own advice and made a lettuce salad with half an avocado, some thinly sliced red onion and plenty of the carrot + ginger dressing from my post last week. It was so good. And I have enough dressing left over to use for a veggie dip tomorrow. Just popped in to brag I guess.

I couldn't get to sleep until around 4am last night. Then woke up at 8:30am. I'm really just barely making it today. Don't you hate those days?

I like you.


black bean + tomato quinoa

The detox is over, and I ended up loving it. I think I'll do it again in the fall. I'm left with an all-over good body feeling and some random groceries. Like quinoa, for example. Not wanting to go to the grocery store last night, I found this recipe. It was light and delicious. I used canned diced tomatoes instead of real ones, something I will not do again because fresh would be so much better. Also, I'm going to try it with avocado. I will definitely be making it again!

2 teaspoons grated lime zest
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup quinoa
1 (14- to 15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
2 medium tomatoes, diced
4 scallions, chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Whisk together lime zest and juice, butter, oil, sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4teaspoon pepper in a large bowl.
Wash quinoa in 3 changes of cold water in a bowl, draining in a sieve each time.
Cook quinoa in a medium pot of boiling salted water (1 tablespoon salt for 2 quarts water), uncovered, until almost tender, about 10 minutes. Drain in sieve, then set sieve in same pot with 1 inch of simmering water (water should not touch bottom of sieve). Cover quinoa with a folded kitchen towel, then cover sieve with a lid (don't worry if lid doesn't fit tightly) and steam over medium heat until tender, fluffy, and dry, about 10 minutes. Remove pot from heat and remove lid. Let stand, still covered with towel, 5 minutes.
Add quinoa to dressing and toss until dressing is absorbed, then stir in remaining ingredients and salt and pepper to taste.



I have a small piece of paper hanging in my closet that says, "Just because you can doesn't mean you should." It's one of those things I never seem to learn, something I could always use reminding of. I am, unfortunately, one of those people who thinks moderation is boring. Good food? I will eat it until I'm ill- we know this. Good whiskey? Keep it coming- it's like I've never heard of a hangover (or, maybe worse, an embarrassing drunk text) on the night the drinks are flowing. In short, I am one of those people who could use a detox every now and then.

So that's what I'm doing this week. I am on day five right now, which is a much clearer-headed and positive place to be than the previous days.  This is my first one ever, and I'm using a seven day plan outlined here. Some of the meals are more pleasant than others, but I'm never starving, which is nice. The whole process has taught me a lot about my relationship with food- why I eat when I eat, how certain foods make me feel, etc.

Most of my meals look like the sad picture on the left. However, at least one meal a day has been absolutely delicious. Take my lunch today- a bunch of chopped up vegetables with my new favorite dressing. There's a reason it's in a teacup, it's because I could seriously drink this like a soup I love it so much. Use it as dressing for a lettuce, avocado and red onion salad and you'll be so happy. You can call and thank me later. I'll even let you talk to my liver, since we may actually be friends again after this.

Carrot + Ginger Dressing
1 large carrot, peeled and roughly chopped
1 large shallot, peeled and roughly chopped
2 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh ginger
1 tablespoon sweet white miso
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon roasted sesame seed oil
1/4 cup grapeseed oil
2 tablespoons water

Pulse the carrot, shallot and ginger in a blender until finely chopped. Scrape down the sides, add the miso, vinegar and sesame seed oil and whiz together. While the blender is going, slowly drizzle in the grapeseed oil and the water. 


...and also

I think I like grapefruit. Even though it's hard to eat. Or maybe because it's hard to eat.

cream of broccoli soup

There are some really nice things about being single. One of them is that your free time is all your own. As someone who seems to enjoy alone time more than most, I'm trying to take full advantage of this while I can.

For example, I've fallen into a wonderful Sunday routine. I wake up, eat some oatmeal, then pack a bag full of books and magazines and take a long walk to a coffee shop a couple of neighborhoods over. I get a big cup of coffee, a seat on a deep couch, and read for hours. Then around 4:30 or 5 I pack up and head north about a mile to go see a $4 movie at the cheap theater. This usually involves a dinner of Junior Mints or Raisinettes, but not last week. At some point during my walk I developed a huge craving for broccoli soup. I feel that when you get such a specific craving like that, especially when it's a healthy one, you should probably honor it. So after an embarrassing 86 minutes of Beastly I went to my produce store to get soup fixins.

And here is the result. Simple, yummy broccoli soup. I will definitely be making it again, but this time I will make sure and have some Junior Mints on hand for dessert.

Cream of Broccoli Soup

From Gourmet  | December 1993
3/4 cup chopped onion
1 carrot, sliced thin
1 clove of garlic, minced
2 teaspoons mustard seeds
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 pound broccoli, chopped coarse (about 3 1/2 cups)
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup water
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice, or to taste
1/4 cup sour cream
In a heavy saucepan cook the onion, the carrot, the mustard seeds, garlic, and salt and pepper to taste in the butter over moderate heat, stirring, until the onion is soft, add the broccoli, the broth, and the water, and simmer the mixture, covered, for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the broccoli is very tender. In a blender purée the soup in batches until it is smooth, transferring it as it is puréed to another heavy saucepan. Whisk in the lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste, heat the soup over moderately low heat, and whisk in the sour cream (do not let the soup boil).


apple + walnut oatmeal

Not much noteworthy cooking going on lately. We have been trying to find a new roommate to replace the one getting kicked out because of the fire, hunting down shady contractors and landlords that won't call us back or even get started on the fire room, aaaaand my other roommate Heather loses her job tomorrow. So mostly I've just been trying to stay calm, deal with everything that needs dealing with, and take food when I can get it. February can end any time now. 

Here's a bright spot, though- my morning oatmeal. I have a running contest with myself on the best combination I can come up with (this may tell you something about my current lack of a social life). So far it's a scoop of almond butter and a scoop of raspberry/rhubarb jam. But today's apple chunks, walnuts, and brown sugar was not too shabby!



My friends Paul and Roy are the kind of people I would hate if I didn't love them so much. They are both just a little too perfect. They have an adorable bulldog named Tonka, an apartment decorated how I wish someone would decorate mine, are insanely attractive and, as icing on the stupid, perfect cake, they have the kind of relationship that is so strong it gives me hope for my dating future.

And I haven't even gotten to the best part yet. The part that really does make me want to punch them in their stupid butts- each of them is incredibly talented. Paul is a writer, photographer, and artist, while Roy is, among his stupid, many talents, a pastry chef with an amazing new blog. One of the things that keeps me going with our friendship is that I get to reap the benefits of knowing them. For instance, I have been lucky enough to eat both of Roy's entries for SaidSheSaidHe. I seriously almost cried on the first bite of both the lemon + lavender tart and last week's blood orange pudding (shown above). You may not have such strong responses to good food, but I highly recommend following this new blog.


the great chicago blizzard/fire

This week.... what do I say about this week? Challenging? Maybe that's the word. But let's start at the beginning.

Last Monday I heard about the upcoming blizzard. In a rare act of thinking ahead I trudged to the store and got fixins for a new chili recipe I'd just come across. It touted itself to be the best ever veggie chili and I wanted to test it out, as I love to knock down superlatives like that. So I made it, it was ok, not the best. Then I took a picture of it to post. Then there was a really scary fire (apparently caused by a space heater) in one of the bedrooms of my apartment and it's now unusable and one of my roommates has to move out.  This was all during a record-breaking blizzard. As my now super-pissed off landlord said, "We sure picked a great time to have a fire."

The past several days have been spent in crisis mode- scrubbing down the walls and cleaning like crazy, fretting about getting evicted, watching my roommate sleep on my couch. I'm just trying to keep up with everything, take it all in, and stay positive and focused. Thanks for the calls. It really meant a lot. And now, a chili recipe...

The Best Vegetarian Chili EVER! (but not really) via The Picky Eater: A Healthy Food Blog

1 can Kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 can Black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can Navy (or pinto) beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup frozen corn
1 chopped red pepper
1/2 cup chopped red onion
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes (I used 2- 14oz cans of diced tomatoes, because I had them)
1 cup vegetable broth
4 garlic cloves
1 heaping tbsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder
2 sprinkles garlic powder
1 sprinkle cayenne pepper
3-4 glugs Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp kosher salt
A few grinds of black pepper

Chop the garlic, onion, and red pepper. Saute lightly over medium high heat in 1-2 tsp olive oil.
Add everything else into the pot. Bring to a boil.
Reduce heat and simmer for 30 min or longer as needed



spinach with an egg

This is my new favorite lunch. I think about it all the time. Just lightly saute some spinach, season it with a bit of salt, fresh ground pepper, and smoked paprika, then top it off with a poached egg. So good!!! I can't wait until lunch.


mediterranean tuna-noodle casserole

I think it's well-documented how much I love casseroles. Some days when the weather is gray, you're tired, and it has been too cold to see any friends in weeks, the idea of a casserole makes it all a little better.

Here is one I made last week. The recipe called for red peppers, but I used green because they're so much cheaper and I'm not a big red pepper fan anyway.  Also, I halved the recipe because I'm a big eater, but 8 servings is a lot even by my two-serving-per-person standards.

It turned out alright. Mushy and warm was pretty much all I needed that night, and it was certainly that. I may suggest using crumbled potato chips on top instead of parmesan to give it some added texture. And also for the fact that (from where I come from at least) it's not a casserole until there's a chip or tater tot on top.

Mediterranean Tuna-Noodle Casserole (via Martha Stewart.com)

Serves 8

1/3 cup olive oil, plus more for baking dishes
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 pound wide egg noodles
2 red bell peppers (ribs and seeds removed), thinly sliced
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
5 cups whole milk
4 cans (6 ounces each) tuna in olive oil, drained
1 can (14 ounces) artichoke hearts, drained and thickly sliced
5 scallions, thinly sliced
1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly oil two 8-inch square (or other shallow 2-quart) baking dishes. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook noodles until 2 minutes short of al dente; drain, and return to pot.

Meanwhile, in a 5-quart Dutch oven or heavy pot, heat oil over medium. Add bell peppers; season with salt and pepper. Cook until crisp-tender, 4 to 6 minutes. Add flour and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Gradually add milk, stirring until smooth. Cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture comes to a simmer.

Remove from heat; add mixture to noodles in pot, along with tuna, artichoke hearts, and scallions. Season with salt and pepper, and toss. Divide between prepared baking dishes, and sprinkle with Parmesan. Bake until golden and bubbling, about 20 minutes.


goodbye, 2010

2010... what do I say about it?
The really cool thing about having such a challenging year is that in the midst of it you get a rare opportunity to step back and look at your life, see the things you want to change, and then change them- because why the hell not? Everything is already screwy anyway, what's a few more shake-ups? And so here I am.

Above is a slideshow of my favorite photos I took in 2010. This year saw a shift in priorities. Socializing holds less importance, replaced by a more deliberate use of my time and energy. I didn't go out very much, saw a lot less of acquaintances, and became much more thankful for the really good friends and family I somehow lucked into.