Archives for the month of: March, 2014

Beer-Marinated Pork Tenderloin with Red Cabbage
Beer and Cabbage Pork_Web
Since I had a half a head of red cabbage left over from making this dish last week, I thought it was as good a time as any to try this recipe. It is really good – the soy sauce adds a nice tang to the pork and subsequent sauce. I suggest adding a dash of sugar to the red cabbage while it is cooking, and seasoning it with salt and pepper at the end to taste.

Roast Beef with Potatoes and Shallots
Roast Beef_Web
Since I had never made roast beef before I relied on some of my ladies – Martha and my Mom – for help. The basic recipe comes from my Mom, who makes a delicious roast beef, and the idea for the potatoes and shallots comes from Martha Stewart. It is definitely a weekend meal, since there is an extra step – I parboiled the potatoes – so it takes a bit longer to prepare than my usual recipes, but it is totally doable on a Saturday or Sunday night. 

red or Yukon gold potatoes – 1 lb., peeled and cut into quarters
shallots – 8, peeled, trimmed and halved
eye of round roast beef – 1 1/2 lb.
olive oil – 2 TB.
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

In a medium-to-large saucepan add the potatoes and pour enough water over them to cover them by about an inch. Place over high heat and bring to a boil. Once they boil, turn down the heat and let the potatoes simmer until a knife can slightly slip into them. Drain and set aside.

Toss parboiled potatoes and shallots in a baking pan with olive oil and salt and pepper. Push the vegetables to the side and add the roast beef. Turn the roast so that all sides are covered in the oil and season generously with salt and pepper. Roast for 10 minutes at 425 degrees and then turn the heat down to 325 degrees for another 25-30 minutes, depending on how you like your meat (25 min. for medium-rare, 30 min. for medium). Remove the roast from the oven and let it sit for another 10-15 minutes with foil lightly covering it on a cutting board. While the roast is resting you can throw your vegetables back in the oven to brown a bit more, or at least stay warm.

Carve the roast beef and serve with vegetables.

Steamed Green Beans
1 lb. green beans, trimmed and halved if very long
1 Tb. butter
salt and pepper

Over medium-high heat, place beans in a steamer basket set in a pot with enough water to almost touch the beans, cover. It should take between 5-10 minutes for the water to come to a boil and steam the green beans until they are tender, but keep an eye on them so they don’t overcook and become limp. Remove from basket and toss with butter, salt and pepper.


What do you crave? Even though I am more of a savory rather than sweet kind of gal, my cravings tend to be for sugar. When I have an itch that needs to be scratched it is usually for a cookie, or ice cream, or chocolate. This was only magnified when I was pregnant with Eliza. Of course, then I was fine with it because I figured if I wasn’t going to drink I could at least have dessert! For the non-pregnant times of my life I often try to distract myself away from an oatmeal cookie the size of my head toward perhaps a small piece of dark chocolate. Sometimes it works, but other times it doesn’t… Cravings are kind of like a piece of clothing or pair of shoes that you’ve been coveting. If it sticks with you and you can’t get it out of your head you must really want it and you should give in. You’ll probably be glad that you did.

Photo by Midgley/CC by 2.0

So, where am I going with all of this? Well, this week I had a craving for something totally random – roast beef. Weird, I know. I have no idea why, but I really wanted roast beef and kept thinking about it for days. Maybe I needed more iron? Funny enough, I’ve never made it before, so this past Sunday I took the leap. I’m glad I did – the recipe link is below. With that need taken care of I feel better already…

Meal #1: Roast Beef with Potatoes and Shallots + Steamed Green Beans
Meal #2: Spicy Peanut Chicken and Broccoli + Rice
Meal #3: Beer-Marinated Pork Tenderloin with Red Cabbage
Meal #4: Baked Fish with Tomatoes and Olives + Kale Caesar Salad

Your grocery list, excluding the usual pantry items:

red or Yukon gold potatoes – 1 1/2 lb.
shallots – 8
green beans – 1 1/2 lb.
broccoli – 1 large head
red cabbage – 1 medium head
apple – 1
plum tomatoes – 8
lemon – 2
tuscan kale – 1 large bunch
dried bay leaf (if you don’t already have it)
soy sauce (if you don’t already have it)
brown sugar (if you don’t already have it)
smooth peanut butter (if you don’t already have it)
sesame oil (if you don’t already have it)
rice vinegar (if you don’t already have it)
apple cider vinegar (if you don’t already have it)
Sriracha (if you don’t already have it)
kalamata olives – 1/4 cup (if you don’t already have it)
Parmesan cheese (if you don’t already have it)
rice – 1 box or bag
eye of round roast beef – 1 1/2 lb
skinless chicken thighs – 4
pork tenderloins – 2 (1 1/2-1 3/4 pounds total)
white fish fillets – 6 ounces per person
beer  – 1 can or bottle



Last Saturday night, I signed up for #100happydays, which I first heard about it through the lifestyle blog A Beautiful Mess. It is a daily photo account of the things that make you happy. I already keep a daily gratitude journal, but I thought that using photography would mix it up, and perhaps inspire me a bit more. Anyway, if you are interested in following my 100 day journey, I’ll be posting daily to Instagram.

Here’s a sampling so far:





Skirt Steak

skirt steak – about 6 oz. per person
olive oil
salt and pepper

Heat a grill pan, large saute pan, or grill until hot. Meanwhile, drizzle a bit of olive oil on both sides of your steaks and season both sides generously with salt and pepper (if you have any fresh rosemary, chop one or two sprigs and add with the salt and pepper). Add steak to pan or grill and cook for about 4-5 minutes on each side. Four minutes for medium rare, about five for medium, etc. Let the steak rest for 10 minutes before carving.

Winter Salad
Last winter, I ordered a fennel salad from a local pizza place that totally  inspired me, and I was eager to recreate it. I’ve been making this recipe ever since, especially during this time of year when vegetables are hardly inspiring.
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1 fennel bulb, cored and sliced thinly
1 radicchio, cored and sliced thinly
¼ cup sundried tomatoes, sliced
¼ cup kalamata olives, pitted and halved
Parmesan cheese, shave enough to taste
¼ cup olive oil
2 TB. balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper, to taste

Toss all ingredients in a salad bowl and season with salt and pepper. Adjust oil, vinegar, salt and pepper to taste.

Butternut Squash Salad with Pine Nuts, Pecorino and Balsamic Vinegar
I first had this salad about ten years ago at April Bloomfield’s West Village restaurant The Spotted Pig. I was amazed at how delicious it was, and blown away that you could season winter squash with savory spices instead of the usual maple syrup and butter. So, I was incredibly happy when Oprah magazine did a feature on the chef and published the recipe.  I’ve been making it at home ever since, which is good because it is nearly impossible to get a seat at the restaurant now.
Winter Squash Web
Note: I use butternut squash because it is easier to find than pumpkin. Don’t worry if you don’t have the marjoram, I’ve never used it.  Also, feel free to play with the spices a bit. I’ve used a bit of chili powder and it has turned out great.

This week kicked off with two celebrations – Eliza’s 2nd birthday and St. Patrick’s Day. For Eliza’s birthday we hosted a small family party and kept it simple by ordering pizza, but we did have a homemade birthday cake. Last year, I made the same chocolate cake with vanilla icing and decorated it in a festive confetti style.
Elizas 1st bday cake_web
But, this year, since Eliza’s interests are much clearer, I indulged her love of Elmo and all things Sesame Street with this cake. I was pretty proud of my work!
Elizas 2nd bday cake_Web

Since St Patrick’s Day was the next day, and fell on a Monday, I didn’t have it in me to make a stew or shepherd’s pie (I am not a corned beef and cabbage girl). So instead, I opted for something a little easier, but still in line with the holiday – Martha’s recipe for salmon, red cabbage and potatoes. I figured it had cabbage and potatoes, and the Irish love salmon so it worked. Plus, Patrick and I each had a Guinness with dinner – and there is nothing more Irish than that!

Meal #1: Salmon, Red Cabbage and Potatoes
Meal #2: Butternut Squash Salad with Pine Nuts, Pecorino and Balsamic Vinegar
Meal #3: Skirt Steak with Winter Salad
Meal #4: Penne with Brussels Sprouts, Chile and Pancetta

Your grocery list, excluding the usual pantry items:

lemon – 2
red cabbage – 1 small head
red potatoes – 4-6 depending on size
Brussels sprouts – 1 lb.
butternut squash – 1 small (about 2 lb.)
fennel – 1 bulb
radicchio – 1 head
arugula – 1 bunch or bag
rosemary – 1 bunch
sundried tomatoes
pecorino cheese – ¼ lb.
kalamata olives (if you don’t already have them)
grainy mustard (if you don’t already have it)
ground coriander (if you don’t already have it)
ground cinnamon (if you don’t already have it)
ground cumin (if you don’t already have it)
crushed red pepper flakes (if you don’t already have it)
pine nuts (if you don’t already have it)
Parmesan cheese (if you don’t already have it)
penne – 1 box
pancetta – 6 oz.
salmon filet – 1 ½ lb. skinless
skirt steak – 1 ½ lb.

Penne with Brussels Sprouts, Chile and Pancetta
By now, we’re all over Brussels sprouts; I know. But, trust me, this recipe from Melissa Clark will still make you crave them. I love the idea of using Brussels sprouts in a pasta dish, it is so unexpected. The use of pancetta doesn’t hurt either.
Brussels Sprouts Web
The recipe is for 2 servings, just double the ingredients to accommodate 4 people. I also tone down the chile because Patrick can’t tolerate spicy food, so go ahead and adjust according to your taste.

Well, this week wasn’t any calmer than last. That may be why three out of the four recipes I choose for this week include white wine! Obviously, something is on my mind…

I do love to cook with wine. Like lemon juice or butter a little bit adds a ton of flavor and in a snap you can make a sauce to accompany almost anything. One of my rules for cooking with wine, which I learned watching Mario Batali, is to always use a wine you would drink on its own. This is great advice not only because you want to treat your dish with respect and not ruin it with something that doesn’t taste good, but also because it is nice to have a glass of wine while you cook. You don’t have to use a $30 bottle, but don’t use those “cooking wines” you sometimes see at the grocery store. There are enough decent $10ish bottles around these days which will do the job nicely. Note, the alcohol burns off as you cook so kids can eat any of these dishes.

(Meals should feed four adults and take about 30-40 minutes to prepare, or the time it takes Patrick to give Eliza a bottle and put her to bed.)

Meal #1: Perfect Pan-Roasted Chicken Thighs + Roasted Potatoes with Green Beans
Meal #2: Swordfish Parmesan + Roasted Broccoli
Meal #3: Porchetta Pork Chops + Fennel with Shallots and White Wine
Meal #4: Chicken Piccata with Noodles + Green Salad

Your grocery list, excluding the usual pantry items:

red or yukon gold potatoes – 6 medium
broccoli – 1 large head
green beans – 1 lb.
fennel – 2 large bulbs
shallot – 2
lemon – 4
lettuce – 1 head or bag
rosemary – 1 bunch
fennel seeds
noodles- 1 bag
eggs – 2
garlic (if you don’t already have it)
flour (if you don’t already have it)
capers (if you don’t already have it)
red pepper flakes (if you don’t already have it)
Parmesan cheese (if you don’t already have it)
bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs – 4-8 (depending on the size)
bone-in pork chops – 4
thin chicken cutlets – 1 ½ lb.
swordfish steaks (6-8 ounces per person)
white wine

Chicken Piccata
This is my Mom’s recipes and one of the few dishes I ate as a kid. It is fast, easy, lemony and delish.
IMG_0964 Web
1½ lb. chicken cutlets, pounded thin
1 cup flour
salt and pepper
1 TB. vegetable or olive oil
½ cup white wine
¼ cup lemon juice
2 TB. butter

Season flour with salt and pepper and mix. Dip chicken cutlets, on both sides, into flour and shake excess off. Heat oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. When hot, but not smoking, add chicken cutlets and saute for about 3 minutes per side (you may need to do these a few at a time so you don’t crowd the pan). Remove chicken from the pan and put them in a warm oven to rest and stay warm.

Add white wine and lemon juice to the pan and stir, picking up the nice brown bits from the chicken. Heat the liquids until they boil and turn syrupy. Turn off the heat and stir in the butter. Pour sauce over the chicken.

Nothing fancy, just old-fashioned egg noodles that remind you of being a kid. They are nice for soaking up the juices of the piccata.

Boil salted water and follow directions on the bag.

Green Salad