appetizers and bites Archive

Sriracha & White Bean Dip

I’m a serial snacker.

No, really, it’s a problem. I have a whole drawer in my kitchen that is dedicated to chips, crackers, nuts, and other salty snacks. (Please note: I do not keep chocolate or sweets in the house and my sisters curse me for it.)

If I don’t eat every couple of hours, I get grumpy. My husband calls this hangry: a combination of hungry and angry. It’s not a pretty sight. That being said, I always keep snack food on hand and I like to have an arsenal of good snack recipes. I bookmarked this gem of a recipe a while ago, as I had a lonely can of cannellini beans in the pantry that I wanted to use up. (It should go without saying that I always have a bottle of Sriracha nearby.)

I finally got around to making this dip one afternoon when I was particularly hangry. I didn’t have much snack food in the house and dinnertime was rapidly approaching. Nich was at work and I just didn’t have the energy (or patience) to make dinner. Luckily, I remembered that I had a can of cannellini beans and I managed to muster up the energy to throw the beans (and various other Asian spices) into a food processor. And just like that, I was transported to a world of happy snacking. (Did I make dinner that evening? Nope. Did I eat chips and dip for dinner? You betcha.)

Truthfully, this is hardly a recipe. It’s just a simple bean dip, with the addition of a few key Asian ingredients.

It’s easy, it’s tasty, and it’s absolutely fantastic for staving off hanger. ;) I highly recommend it.

SRIRACHA & WHITE BEAN DIP
(Slightly adapted from White on Rice)

Ingredients:
1 can of cannellini beans, rinsed
1 tablespoon canola (or other neutral) oil
1.5 teaspoons sesame oil
1.5 teaspoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons Sriracha hot sauce
1-2 cloves of garlic, peeled
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
A squirt of fresh squeezed lime juice
Chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish
Optional: You may add water in to thin out the dip or make it smoother.

Method:
Combine all elements in a food processor or blender. Blend until well combined and smooth. You may want to add in water (one tablespoon at a time) and blend until dip is smooth and creamy.

Serve with chips, crackers, or crostini. (I ate the dip with these Adzuki bean chips from Trader Joe’s. SO DELICIOUS.)

Ramp Tartines with Ricotta and Ramp & Radish Pesto

I might be the first person in the history of the internet to post two separate blogs on radish leaf pesto. Last year, I posted my recipe for radish leaf pesto pasta salad with asparagus. And here I am, posting another recipe with radish leaf pesto.

Really, the pesto on these tartines doesn’t have to be radish leaf pesto. It can be any kind of pesto you want it to be! I happened to sautée a bunch of radishes and I had all the leaves leftover. Hence, the radish leaf pesto.

But this post isn’t really about radishes leaves…it’s about ramps (otherwise known as: spring onions, wild garlic, rampson, wood leeks, or wild leeks.). For those who are unfamiliar, ramps are “a spring vegetable; a perennial wild onion with a strong garlic-like odor and a pronounced onion flavor.” I’m relatively new to the ramp world myself, but I’ve quickly come to love this spring vegetable. The ramp season is quite short – they only appear at farmer’s markets for a couple of weeks – so I make sure to get them while I can.

If you can’t get ramps in your neck of the woods, don’t fret – you can easily substitute normal garlic for ramps in this recipe. However, if you’ve not had the pleasure of eating and/or cooking ramps, I urge you to try to get your hands on some in the next couple of weeks! They’re like garlic, but milder and slightly onion-esque. They’re wonderful.

As I explained in my last post, these tartines were part of a market-inspired dinner I made for myself over the warm and summery weekend. Paired with sauteed radishes and a glass of rosé, it made for the perfect spring meal.

RAMP TARTINES WITH RICOTTA AND RAMP & RADISH LEAF PESTO
Note: As I’ve said before, pesto is really as simple nuts + greens + hard cheese. The amounts and quantities listed below can be changed to your tastes and likings. Use any green you like (parsley, cilantro, beet greens, spinach, arugula) and mix with nuts and cheese. The end.

For the pesto:
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
A handful of ramps (10-12), washed and ends/roots removed (leave the green parts in tact)
1.5 cups radish leaves (the leaves from 1 bunch of radishes), washed and patted dry
A handful of fresh basil
1/4 cup (or more) olive oil
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
Salt & pepper to taste
Dash of red pepper flakes

For the tartines:
Thin slices of grilled bread and/or crostini
8-10 ramps (1 per tartine)
Whole milk ricotta
Freshly ground pepper

To make the pesto (can be done ahead of time):
In a food processor or blender, blend together the pine nuts and grated cheese. Place half of the radish leaves, ramps, and basil in the food processor. Blend while drizzling olive oil over the mixture. Remove lid, and stir the mixture. Add in the rest of the greens and ramps, plus olive oil salt, pepper, and red chili flakes. Pulse until well combined, adding olive oil until desired consistency is reached. (I like my pesto rather thick, so I use less olive oil than most). Taste, and adjust seasonings as needed.

To assemble the tartines:
In a small pan, heat 1/2 tablespoon of butter over medium heat. Add remaining ramps and cook over medium heat until the greens are wilted and the lower white part of the ramp is soft and starting to brown (about 6-8 minutes). Set aside.

Spread a good amount of ricotta on each slice of bread. Add a dollop of radish leaf pesto on top of the ricotta, and place one sauteed ramp atop the pesto. Season with a bit of freshly ground black pepper and enjoy!

Miniature Smoked Salmon Tartines

I’m a bit of a nomad. In my short life, I’ve lived in various parts of California (Sacramento, Los Angeles, Orange County, etc.), Alaska, Wyoming, Oregon, along with a very brief stint in Mexico.

I have fond memories of most of these places, but none of them compare to my memories of Alaska. My family and I lived in Anchorage, Alaska for 3 years – from the time I was 8 until I was 11 – and I can honestly say that there is no better place to be a kid. My sisters and I built sled runs in our front yard, we fed moose from our deck, we hiked, skiied, fished, and adventured. Alaska was a magical place for kids. I was too busy being young and wild and free to be bothered by the long, dark days of winter. I loved Alaska.

And to this day, whenever I eat smoked salmon, I can’t help but think about Alaska. During our time there, my parents bought a boat and got really into salmon fishing. One year, my mom caught a 65 pound King salmon (Naturally, we had it stuffed. His name is “Sam the Salmon” and he still hangs on the wall at my parent’s house.). Needless to say, we ate a lot of salmon in those days. We ate so much salmon that I grew tired of it. I remember thinking to myself (or whining, aloud), “Salmon for dinner? Again?”. Only in Alaska, I suppose.

(A photo of us from the Alaska days, with our giant stuffed Salmon. This was our Christmas card photo one year.)

But as much as I whined about salmon for dinner, I never seemed to grow tired of smoked salmon. Specifically, my mom’s smoked salmon. Her smoked salmon is ridiculously good, and strangely addictive. In fact, my favorite snack when I was a kid was Ritz crackers with cream cheese and smoked salmon. I ate it constantly. So, then, this recipe is really just a grown up version of my favorite childhood snack. This is my version of Ritz crackers with smoked salmon and cream cheese.

Sadly, I did not use my mom’s smoked salmon for this particular recipe. The days of Alaska and salmon fishing are long gone, and so I had to resort to purchasing Trader Joe’s smoked salmon. It certainly isn’t my mom’s smoked salmon, but it worked nicely in the context of this recipe (and, it’s really affordable!).

I’ll admit, this isn’t a terribly inventive recipe. In fact, I can hardly call it a “recipe” at all: this is a few key ingredients arranged prettily on a mini toast. But, the tartines are easy to put together, they taste fantastic (who doesn’t like salmon with dill and cucumber?), and they make for an elegant holiday appetizer. In the midst of a busy season, this is exactly the type of holiday appetizer I like to make.

And, with that I’d like to wish you a peaceful and restful holiday. Happy Holidays, everyone!

MINIATURE SMOKE SALMON TARTINES (WITH CUCUMBER AND DILL)

Ingredients:
8 oz smoked salmon, sliced thinly
8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
2 tablespoons minced fresh dill, plus a few extra sprigs of dill for garnishing
1 package of mini toasts (from Trader Joes). You could substitute crostini, melba toasts, etc.
The zest of 1 lemon
Salt & pepper, to taste
1 cucumber

Slice cucumber thinly, using a knife or mandoline. If using the mini toast (or very small piece of bread), cut each cucumber slice in half. If using a larger bread/cracker base, you may leave the slices whole.

Method:
Mix together the cream cheese, lemon zest, minced dill and salt and pepper. Chill until needed.

Make the tartines immediately prior to serving, so that everything is fresh and chilled when eaten. Spread a small amount of the cream cheese mixture on each mini toast. Place a half slice of cucumber atop the cream cheese. Then, place a small roll of smoked salmon atop the cucumber slice (you could just place the smoked salmon on top without rolling it, I just think that the roll adds height and elegance). Garnish with a bit of fresh dill.

Zucchini Roundup: Grilled, Pickled, & Pancaked.

There’s a saying that goes something like this: “If you plant zucchini, be sure you have a lot of friends.”

I’ve heard it said before, but it wasn’t until this year that I truly understood what these words meant. This year I planted not one, but two zucchini plants. We aren’t even at the height of zucchini season and I feel like I can barely keep up with the abundance of zucchini!. Every time I turn around, there are magically five (or more!) ripe zucchini that are just begging to be eaten. Not that I’m complaining, mind you. I’m not tired of zucchini, yet. And thankfully, it is still early in the season I have friends who are willingly allowing me to pawn off some of my zukes on them. We’ll see how long that lasts…

Really, though, I am thrilled to be harvesting (and enjoying) my very first crop of zucchini. This year, I planted two heirloom varietals: Black zucchini and a lovely striped Cocozelle zucchini (pictured above). These squash are colorful, firm and flavorful and I’m having a great time coming up with new and exciting ways to prepare them! As much as I love a good zucchini bread, I knew I needed to branch out and find interesting recipes to highlight these tasty squash.

So, for this post I’m including 3 zucchini recipes that I’ve tried recently and loved! Each preparation is unique in its own way, and each recipe highlights the zucchini in a different way. In addition, at the end of the post I’ll include a few links for more fantastic zucchini recipes. Because, let’s face it: zucchini season is far from being over. If you’re like me, you’ll need more than 3 recipes to get you through the season…

Grilled Zucchini Bruschetta

I saw variations of the recipe online and just created my own version, using simple ingredients and fresh basil from the garden. The key is to quickly grill the zucchini over high heat, so that it gets good char marks but doesn’t get mushy or soggy. To me, this tastes like summer on a piece of bread. The flavors are simple, elegant, and summery.

Ingredients
3-4 small to medium sized zucchini, sliced in 1/4 or 1/2 inch rounds
4-5 cloves of garlic, minced
1/4 cup of olive oil (plus a little more for grilling)
3/4 cup (or a generous handful) of fresh basil, sliced thinly
1 Tablespoon lemon zest
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
2 Tablespoons good quality balsamic vinegar
Salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 baguette, sliced

Method:
Toss zucchini rounds with olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper and half of the minced garlic. Let the zucchini set in the mixture for 15-20 minutes, to fully absorb the flavors.

Grill zucchini: If using a gas grill, turn on the grill and set to ‘hot’. If using a charcoal grill, ensure coals are good and hot before you begin to grill. Place zucchini rounds on grill, and grill each side for 2-3 minutes or until you see grill marks. Be sure not to overcook the zucchini, as you want to retain some of the original texture. Remove zucchini to a plate and allow to cool. Once cool enough to handle, cut zucchini into small cubes (an 1/8 inch dice).

Toss zucchini cubes with basil, the rest of the garlic, lemon zest, and balsamic vinegar. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Serve immediately atop a piece of grilled baguette, crostini, or bread of your choice. This is best served warm, straight off the grill!


Korean Zucchini and Carrot Pancakes
(Adapted from Kitchen Wench)

I’m not sure how I originally stumbled upon this recipe, but when I saw it and it called out to me. I’m a sucker for Asian flavors and thought that these savory ‘pancakes’ would be the perfect way to use up some zucchini. Turns out, they were! Other than the 30 minutes you’ll need to allow the zucchini to drain (so you don’t have soggy pancakes), this comes together quickly and make for a great easy weeknight meal option.

Ingredients:
2-3 small to medium sized zucchini
2 teaspoons salt
2 small carrots, grated
1 small yellow onion, grated
2 cups all purpose white flour
2 large eggs
2 – 3 cups water
Salt and pepper, to taste

Dipping sauce:
4 Tablespoons soy sauce
2 Tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon Ponzu
1 teaspoon Sriracha hot sauce

Slice zucchini into very thin julienned strips (could use a grater or mandoline, I just used a knife). Toss zucchini strips with 2 teaspoons of salt and allow to drain in a colander for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, beat together the eggs. Add in flour and whisk until incorporated. Add in the water gradually, whisking after the addition of each cup. Add water until the batter is the consistency of a slightly runny pancake batter (thin, but not too watery). Once the batter is mixed, add strained zucchini, grated carrots, and grated onion. Stir until combined.

Grease a medium sized non-stick frying pan with oil, and heat pan over medium heat. Once the pan is heated, pour a thin layer of the batter into the pan (about 1/2 cup, depending on the size of your pan). Working quickly, use a spatula to spread the vegetables in the batter into an even layer to ensure the pancake cooks evenly.

Once the bottom of the pancake is nicely browned, and the top is set, carefully flip it over and cook the other side until it is browned and the pancake is cooked all the way through. Once finished, remove from pan and allow to cool on a paper towel. Repeat process until all the batter is cooked. (I got 4 large-ish pancakes out this recipe). Serve warm with dipping sauce.

Bread & Butter Zucchini Pickles
(Adapted from The Oregonian)

It was the week after I made these tasty pickles that I saw an article on the Best Burgers in the USA from Saveur Magazine. In the article, they mentioned one burger in particular that stood out from the rest that was topped with house-made zucchini pickles. I’ve been thinking about burgers with zucchini pickles ever since (it sounds SO good) and I simply cannot wait to try it. I just haven’t gotten around to it yet, as I’ve been too busy snacking on these pickles straight out of the jar.

Ingredients:
1 pound zucchini, trimmed and very thinly sliced (preferably using a mandoline)
1 medium yellow onion, very thinly sliced
2 tablespoons kosher salt
2 cups cider vinegar
1 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons dry mustard (*I was all out of mustard powder, so I just used extra mustard seeds)
1 1/2 teaspoons yellow mustard seeds
1 teaspoon ground turmeric

Method:
Combine zucchini and onion in a large shallow bowl. Add salt; toss to combine. Add a few ice cubes and enough cold water to cover. Allow to sit until zucchini are slightly salty and softened (about 1 hour).

Drain the zucchini and onion mixture (discard any remaining ice cubes) and dry thoroughly between two towels or in a salad spinner (excess water will thin the flavor and spoil the pickle). Rinse and dry the bowl. Return the zucchini and onion to the dry bowl.

In a saucepan, combine vinegar, sugar, dry mustard, mustard seeds and turmeric over medium heat; simmer for 3 minutes. Remove from heat, and let stand until just warm to the touch.

Pack zucchini and onion into sterilized jars (I fit mine in 3 8oz jars). Pour the brine over the zucchini until it is covered, and allow 1/4 of room left at the top. Cap with sterilized lids. Refrigerate and allow to sit for at least 2 days before eating. The zucchini pickles should keep for up to 3 months in the fridge.

***

And now, as I’ve promised, here are a few wonderful zucchini recipes that I plan to make this summer. Enjoy!

ZUCCHINI RECIPE ROUNDUP

Cornbread with Real Corn and Fresh Zucchini from Brooklyn Supper

Zucchini Cupcakes with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting from Tasty Kitchen

Zucchini Salsa Verde from Pearl and Pine

Zucchini Thyme Butter from Kitchen Confidence

Zucchini Crudo from Kiss My Spatula

Life’s Simple Pleasures: Salted Molasses Butter

This isn’t really a recipe post, it’s more of a revelation. It’s a post about the simple pleasures in life, and about taking the time to enjoy them.

Last night, Nich was working late and I was home by myself. I had a lot of things to get done and I was generally feeling overwhelmed by life. As I stared at the sink full of dirty dishes before me, I made a choice to stop for a moment. I actually took time to sit down and eat a proper dinner. I turned off the TV, poured myself a glass of bubbly, and ate one of the best meals I’ve had in awhile. It was just what I needed.

For those curious, my dinner consisted of a baguette with salted molasses butter and a roasted beet salad. I’ll write more about salad in a few days (it was really good), but today I’m going to keep it simple. I’m just going to tell you that you need to make some salted molasses butter. Whip up a batch this weekend, spread it on a crusty baguette, and eat to your heart’s content. You’ll thank me for it.

And in case you’re wondering…salted molasses butter is every bit as simple as it sounds. Mix together softened (unsalted) butter, molasses, and kosher salt. That’s really all there is to it. (Oh, and a big thank you to Jennifer Perillo at Simple Scratch Cooking for the idea in the first place.)

So, here’s to a lovely weekend full of simple pleasures. I’m going to do my best to take the time to enjoy them, and hope you all can do the same. Happy Friday!

(p.s. I didn’t realize until just now that the salted molasses butter looks strangely like peanut butter?)

Spicy Pickled Carrots

As I mentioned earlier, I recently traveled to San Francisco to visit an old friend. We did some sightseeing – and of course, we did some eating – and I think my favorite stop on the whole trip was at Tartine Bakery.

Everything we ordered at Tartine was spot on. The bread pudding was moist, but not soggy. The asparagus monsieur was the happiest of marriages: melty cheese, crunchy bread, and roasted asparagus. My Americano was a thing of perfection.

Its been a few weeks since my trip to SF, and I still catch myself daydreaming about the late afternoon “snack” we had a Tartine.

But you want to know something funny? The one thing that really stuck with me were the side of pickled carrots.

There was just something special about them. I think that part of the reason I loved them so much was the fact that they were unexpected. I didn’t know that when you ordered bready cheesy goodness that it came with a side of house made pickles. Let alone, spicy carrot pickles. They were crunchy and briny – with just the right amount of spice – and were the perfect compliment to an ooey gooey cheesy sandwich. I was in love. Which brings me to the subject of pickles…

If you don’t recall from last summer, I really love pickles. I love eating them, making them, blogging about them, etc. (See exhibits: A, B, C, D). I went a bit pickle crazy last summer, but I finally stopped posting pickle recipes after my sisters begged me to knock it off. Not every shares my obsession for pickles, I suppose.

But, the spicy pickled carrots at Tartine were amazing and they reminded me of how much I love all things pickled. So, then, when I got back home to Portland and saw a bunches of small carrots for sale at the farmer’s market – it seemed like fate. I snatched up bunches of the cute little carrots and took them home to make my very own spicy pickled carrots.

I have no idea how Tartine actually makes their carrot pickles, but I stumbled across Thomas Keller’s recipe for them and figured it would work nicely. I love that Keller adds a bit of curry powder into his pickle brine as it gives the brine a vibrant color, and adds an interesting flavor element. While Keller calls for a fresh jalapeno, I opted to use red pepper flakes as I like the color contrast and how the red pepper flakes stick to the carrot pickles to give an extra punch of spice.

Now, please, I beg of you: come to my house and help me eat some of these carrot pickles. I’ve been eating them like a crazy person and could use a little help. Please and thanks. :)

Spicy Pickled Carrots
(Adapted from Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc At Home)

10-15 small carrots (or larger carrots, cut into carrot sticks)
1 cup white wine vinegar
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup water
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon yellow mustard seeds
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Wash and trim carrots. If using small whole carrots, scrub, but leave whole.

In a small saucepan, bring vinegar, water, sugar, curry poweder and bay leaf to a boil. Once boiling, remove from heat and discard bay leaf.

Meanwhile, pack as many carrots (or carrot sticks) as you can into a sterilized jar. Pour chili flakes and mustard seeds into the jar. Pour hot pickling liquid over the carrots, until the jar is full. Seal and refrigerate. Should keep in the fridge for 1 month (or more).

Foodbuzz 24×24: Cheese, Wine and Swine.

24×24: “Showcasing posts from 24 Foodbuzz Featured Publisher bloggers, the monthly Foodbuzz 24 highlights unique meals occurring around the globe during a 24-hour period. “- Foodbuzz

A few months ago I had one of the best meals of my life. The only problem with the meal was that I happened to eat it all by myself, 1000 miles away from home.

I was in Chicago on business. I’d been told by a number of people that I had to eat at The Purple Pig. When I saw that the restaurant’s motto was ‘Cheese, Wine, and Swine, my mind was made up. I had to go.

Let me just say that I was not disappointed. I did dine at The Purple Pig and I enjoyed every morsel of my meal. There was cheese! There was swine! And, of course, there was wine. It was glorious. The menu was simple, yet unique. Every single dish was spot on. I loved it.

But with every bite came a twinge of sadness: I kept thinking how much my husband would have loved it. Don’t get me wrong – I thoroughly enjoyed the meal – but there is something so special about a great meal that is shared with loved ones. For me, dining is about the shared experience.

But when I got home from Chicago, I was struck with a brilliant idea. I knew that I couldn’t whisk all my friends and family away to the windy city, so I decided to make my own Purple Pig inspired meal (with a twist!). You see, the Northwest happens to have amazing wine, cheese, and pork. And thus, this little dinner party was born. I invited a few friends over and made a meal that paid tribute to The Purple Pig, while showcasing the cheese, wine, and pork (and charcuterie) of the Northwest.

I dreamed up the menu, which was loosely based on the original meal I had at the Purple Pig. I added a few courses, and used local pork, cheese, and (mostly) Northwest wines. I asked a few friends to come over and enjoy the feast – all of whom are wine savvy – and gave them the task of selecting wine pairings. We ended up with a beautiful selection of wines (mostly from the Northwest, but a few French wines snuck in there! :) )

I did a lot of my shopping for this meal at the Portland Farmer’s Market. I must say, I owe all the success of my meal to the fantastic offerings that Portland has to offer. If I’m being honest, my meal began as a tribute to the Purple Pig, but really…I think it ended up being more of tribute to the Pacific Northwest. I had absolutely beautiful products to work it, so it wasn’t hard to make them sing.

All that to say: I had a lovely time dreaming up, planning, prepping, cooking, and eating this meal. I am so glad I was able to be part of the Foodbuzz 24×24 for April!

Please see below for a full description and photos of the cheese, wine and swine dinner party. I will post recipes for these dishes throughout the week!

The Dinner Table.

Playing ‘Chef’ for a night:

And now, the meal! In five acts.

Act 1. Melon skewers with home-cured duck breast prosciutto, Juniper Grove Redmondo aged goat’s milk cheese. Paired with The Babushka (A beet vodka & Prosecco cocktail).

Just for fun, I also decided to serve a Country Paté from Chop that I picked up at the farmer’s market that morning:

Act 2. Roasted Beet and Fennel Salad with Pistachio Vinaigrette and Whipped Goat Cheese (from Juniper Grove Goat Cheeses, Redmond, OR). Wine Pairing: Terrisey Gaillac 2009 Rosé

Roasted Beet Salad

Juniper Grove Goat Cheese

Act 3. Moules Frites. Mussels in Pancetta, Shallot and White Wine (Erath Pinot Blanc) sauce. Served with Belgian style twice fried fries and cremé fraiche. Wine pairing(s): Anne Amie Pinot Gris and a 2009 Domaine du Pas Saint Martin Saumur

Act 4. Potted Pork Rillettes (Basque Farms & Carlton Farms pork) served on crusty bread with Apricot Mostarda. Served with a shaved Brussels Sprout Salad with pine nuts and lemon. Wine pairing(s): Anne Amie (Willamette Valley) Cuvée A Pinot Noir and Laura Volkman Vineyards St. James Estate 2008 Oregon Pinot Noir.

Pictured: Potted Pork Rillettes

Apricot Mostarda

Act 5. Poached Pears with Raw Wildflower Honey and Rogue Creamery Oregon Blue Cheese Wine pairing: Erath 2009 Sweet Harvest Pinot Noir

Poached pears

Rogue Creamery Oregon Blue

As you can see: THIS MEAL WAS AWESOME.

Finally, I must thank my husband for all the work he put into the creation of this meal. He cured the duck breast prosciutto (which was fan-tastic). He cleaned and prepped the mussels. He made the twice fried Belgian fries. I love him for so many different reasons, but he is an amazing cook and his culinary perspective is so unique. He helps me think out of the box and he helps keep me sane in the kitchen. I couldn’t have done it without him. (Oh, and he did ALL the dishes. All of them! Best husband ever!)

Thanks to Mari, Dan, Noelle, Blake and Nicole for being the guests of honor. It was my pleasure to cook for you all.

And now I’ll leave you with photo of our tiny living room, transformed into a ‘formal’ dining room. (With my cat, Penelope, in the window):

Photo credits: Mari Yeckel & Lindsay Strannigan