Salad of Hearts

Husband Todd once said, "I could really go for one of those salads with, you know, artichoke hearts...hearts of palm...think you could make something like that?" Sure, I told him. What I concocted was a hit.


Iced Coffee

Took me a while to start making my own iced coffee, mostly because I am usually within a few blocks of a coffee shop that makes pretty good stuff. Sometimes, though, I prefer to sit at home and sip a cold one by myself, so I hunted down this recipe on Chow. Mmm...good.



My friend, Dawn, shared this winner Margarita recipe with me and I had to share. The best part is that the kids, if you got 'em, can squeeze those limes and lemons while you eat chips and guacamole. Give it a try, and make it a family affair!


Overnight Oatmeal

While visiting Nashville a few years ago I came upon a coffee shop called Atmalogy. I ordered the oatmeal, to go with my cuppa joe, and the woman working the counter pointed to a bunch of filled mason jars in a cooler and said, "Choose whichever one you like." It was cold, meant to be eaten that way. I had never heard of such a thing. I loved it.

Apparently, cold soaked, overnight, slow-brewed oatmeal (or whatever you want to call it) has been around a while, at least according to the internet. So after much trial, and little error, I compiled this recipe. Give it a try.


Slaw Part 2

Husband Todd and I love slaw.  I've already posted 2 slaw recipes and am posting this one because it's too good to keep to myself.

This last one started when I discovered a recipe for something called Caulislaw, at Not Quite Nigella, and used the dressing for good ole fashioned cole slaw. I've also made the Caulislaw several times. Check out both versions, which I've altered a bit.


(Jackie's) Hard-boiled Eggs

The other day I was chatting via phone with Friend Jackie while I was making hard boiled eggs. She overheard me scooping ice into a bowl and asked, "What's the racket?" I said, "I'm making a bowl of ice water to cool boiled eggs." Her response? "I don't think I've ever made a hard-boiled egg in my life." Oh dear.

Jackie, this one's for you.


Pam's Fettuccine Alfredo

What's the easiest, cheapest dinner you turn to when in a pinch? A box of pasta and a jar of sauce, right? Yeah, me too, until I learned to turn a box of noodles into a celebrated meal, minus the jar. With some help, of course.

Way back in the 80s, when I was a mere teen, my BFF's mom, Pam, used to make a fettuccine alfredo that would knock our aerobics socks right off. She'd cook the pasta, al dente, of course, saving about a cup of pasta water to use in lieu of heavy cream. This trick, which I would later learn is commonplace, was embedded in my brain by Pam's firm instructions to whoever was manning the pasta pot: "SAVE THE PASTA WATER! DO NOT THROW AWAY THE PASTA WATER!" Boy was she right.

A while back, I found what I thought was a version of Pam's recipe in Real Simple Magazine (which calls for broccoli). I read the recipe to my friend who confirmed my suspicions. I tried it out and while it'll never taste quite the same as Pam's, it's pretty darn close.


Baked Rice

Rice has always been a mystery to me, probably because I grew up in the Uncle Ben's (magical) rice in a bag era. My mother was never happier to teach me how to fill a small pot with water, bring it to a boil, add the bag of white minute rice, cook 10 minutes, cut open bag (careful of the steam) and dump into a bowl. This process, as with various 80s cooking breakthroughs, was quick and easy, more expensive than buying rice in bulk (where would we have done that, anyway?) or even 45-60 minute rice in the box, yet lacked the ever important characteristic, taste.

I gave up boil-in-bag rice circa 2000. Regrets? No. Wasted rice? Absolutely, back in the cooking disaster days. But I pushed on and today am proud to share this recipe that I've made three times and counting. Enjoy.


Baked Ziti

This recipe is dedicated to people who long for baked ziti, as we do.


Adapted from Food Network

There are many steps in this recipe. Don't be afraid. I've provided step by step instructions so it isn't overwhelming. I think you'll find it's worth it.

Use one teaspoon of olive oil to grease a 9 x 13 casserole dish. Set aside.

Fill a large pot (8-10 quarts) with water and bring to a boil.

Turn oven to 400.

In a dutch oven or large deep sauté pan heat until hot:
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Add and brown:
  • 1 pound sweet and/or spice Italian sausages (pork or turkey, I used turkey, half spicy half sweet), casings removed and crumbled into the pan (you can buy sausage out of the casings at butcher counter, if you don't see it ask)

After meat is well browned (about 3-5 minutes) add and stir until lightly browned:
  • 1/4 cup diced onion
  • 3 cloves chopped garlic

Then add:
  • 28 oz. whole peeled tomatoes, crushed using a potato masher or your hands OR 28 oz. crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 teaspoon each: dried thyme and oregano OR 1 sprig each fresh thyme, oregano, basil

Bring to a boil, turn down heat and simmer, covered, for 10 minutes.

By now your water is probably boiling. Add to the water:
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 pound ziti

Stir pasta well. Cook 5 minutes, very al dente to avoid mushiness later, drain in a colander and go back to your sauce.

Remove herb sprigs (if using) and stir in:
  • 2 teaspoons Kosher salt
  • 4 turns fresh ground pepper

Turn off heat. Pour the cooked pasta into the sauce and stir. Add:
  • 1/2 pound cubed, fresh mozzarella (if using ciliegine use them whole)
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan (the good stuff, trust me)
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • pinch red pepper flakes (optional, I left out)

Combine well. Pour the concoction into the baking pan. Then top with:
  • 1/2 pound fresh mozzarella, sliced (if using ciliegine keep them whole)
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan (again, the good stuff)

Bake about 30 minutes, until hot and bubbly. Serve immediately.