turkey soup

Turkey Soup for the Soul

I thought I was going to make it through this winter without getting sick, but unfortunately it wasn’t meant to be. On Thursday, I woke up with a scratchy throat, which – despite my best efforts – developed into a sore throat, headache, and stuffy nose by Saturday.

When I get sick, I’m pretty strict about the foods I won’t eat. While these may not be official recommendations you’ll hear from a doctor (if you choose to go to one), I have found that my recovery time is a lot quicker when I avoid these types of foods: dairy products (because they make you more phlegmy, i.e. help you produce more snot), anything with sugar (sugar feeds the cold), greasy foods, and I limit the amount of fruit I eat.

turkey soup
Nothing more comforting than homemade turkey soup.

This restricted diet doesn’t mean you shouldn’t eat anything though, and I find that soups are the best way to go because they let you pack a lot nutrients into one meal. Not to mention the heat helps soothe sore throats a lot. I combine this dish with regular doses of airborne and a lot of mint tea when I’m sick. Continue reading “Turkey Soup for the Soul”

chicken pot pies

Chicken Pot Pie from Scratch

Some dishes I make because I come across them in cookbooks or online while I’m searching for ways to cook a certain ingredient. Other dishes are made upon request, and this was one of them. A few weeks ago, the boyfriend mentioned that he wanted chicken pot pie, something I have never made before.

It would have been easy to just go to the freezer isle and buy one (I actually think that’s what he meant at first), but what would be the fun of that? So this past week, I decided to try my hand at this comforting dish. Some searching led me to this recipe over on Simply Scratch. I love her three rules for making chicken pot pie and will always follow them.

Rule No. 1: They have to be in individual portions.
Rule No. 2: No “cream of chicken soup” can be used, what-so-ever.
Rule No. 3: There has to be plenty of crust. So much crust you won’t notice that there isn’t a bottom one.

chicken pot pies
The crust isn’t perfect, but it was nice and flakey.

Here is my take on her recipe. I’ve added a few more spices and cook the potatoes differently. Continue reading “Chicken Pot Pie from Scratch”

Pie sideview

Lamb and Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie

You know those days when you know at least one ingredient you want to use for a meal, but aren’t at all intrigued by dishes you usually make with it? That is exactly what happened to me yesterday, and is what led me to make this dish.

The ingredient in question was ground lamb. Now, lamb is one of my favorite meats, but I was not at all excited by the thought of burgers (we already ate some this week), meatballs, or a bolognese sauce, or anything to do with pasta really.

Pie sideview
Lamb and sweet potato Shepherd’s Pie.

Enter the wonderful Google, where I came across a site that listed five recipes to make with ground lamb. As I scrolled down, Shepherd’s Pie jumped out at me, and I thought that is it! A perfect dish to make on a cold winter’s night. Continue reading “Lamb and Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie”

crab cakes

Jumbo Lumb Crab Cakes

I love crab cakes and they’re my preferred method of eating crab. While eating a whole crab can be fun, sometimes it’s just too much work and somehow I always end up crunching on a piece of shell, which isn’t so fun.

Crab cakes also remind me of the summers I used to join my cousins down the shore. Every year, they would rent a house in Avalon, NJ and at some point crab cakes always made it onto my plate, contributing to fond memories I have of spending weeks at the beach.

crab cakes

Did you know that the consumption of crab cakes dates back quite a few centuries? According to Food Timeline, the “practice of making minced meat cakes/patties (seafood/landfood) is ancient. Minces mixed with bread/ spices/ fillers came about for two reasons: taste and economy.” But, crab cakes weren’t known as crab cakes until sometime in the 20th century. Continue reading “Jumbo Lumb Crab Cakes”

Individual cranberry shortbread

Cranberry Shortbread

Thanksgiving is almost here, only one more day to get through until we can give thanks and break bread with family and friends.

Usually, I celebrate at my mom’s. She always pulls together a wonderful feast based on delicious bon appetit recipes from multiple years. But, this year she’s traveling and while I won’t be hosting myself, I decided it’s time to try out some dishes myself.

cranberry shortbread
The finished deliciousness.

And, I’m starting with dessert. When it comes to the holidays, cranberries are definitely one of my favorites. It seems there are endless possibilities that combine tart and sweet (or savory in some cases) just perfectly. This is what happens with this recipe from bon appetit. At first, I was little hesitant to try it because grapefruit is used, and I’m not a fan of grapefruit. But, I was pleasantly surprised at how tasty this is.

Continue reading “Cranberry Shortbread”

frascatelli mix

My first time making pasta: Frascatelli with Pecorino and Spinach

I did it. I made my first homemade pasta. Every time I buy spaghetti or pasta, I always think it would be great to try making them from scratch. And it’s especially tempting when I see the pasta attachments for the Kitchenaid mixer (something I have also yet to get).

Frascatelli are a semolina dumpling, and in my opinion the best type of pasta to start with, since there is no drying or complicated steps. Semolina flour has a high percentage of gluten, which helps make pasta strands stretch and not break when cooking (according to the package). It would be interesting to see what the gluten-free equivalent would be. You may not find this at your local grocery store, but it is available in Italian markets or specialty food stores.

frascatelli with chicken
Frascatelli with onions, red peppers, and spinach with a side of chicken.

This recipe is from bon appétit’s Thanksgiving issue (one of their best issues in my opinion), and one they feature as fast, easy, and fresh. I wasn’t able to get mustard greens in time, so I decided to add sauteed onions, peppers, and spinach instead. If you decide to try this recipe, it will be the quickest you ever make a pasta dish from scratch. Continue reading “My first time making pasta: Frascatelli with Pecorino and Spinach”

lamb, potato and cheese pierogi

Lamb, potato, and cheese pierogi

A couple weeks ago, I came across this recipe for pierogi on Pinterest (isn’t that one of the greatest sources ever?), and I knew I had to try them. Since I was born (and partially raised) in Philly, I’m very familiar with pierogi and they always remind me of family get-togethers, but this was the first time I made them.

lamb, potato and cheese pierogi
A peak inside lamb, potato, and cheese pierogi.

Although, they look very much like empanadas, pierogi are a Polish potato dumpling, made with unleavened dough and can be filled with a variety of ingredients mixed with potatoes. I chose to make mine with lamb, potatoes and cheese, and I absolutely loved them. They’re great to eat as a snack or with a side salad to create a meal. Trust me, these are quite filling.

Continue reading “Lamb, potato, and cheese pierogi”

Swordfish with roasted potatoes

Swordfish with mustard and rosemary roasted potatoes

I love roasted potatoes, I really do. It’s one of my favorite ways to eat potatoes (buttermilk ranch mashed potatoes at Thanksgiving come in second) and swordfish is definitely up there on my list of favorite fish to eat.

Swordfish with roasted potatoes
Swordfish with a heap of roasted potatoes.

As usually happens with favorite foods, you learn to make them one way, love it, and then get bored with it – at least that’s how my taste buds work. I always notice this when I go in the kitchen and thought of cooking gets a “meh” in response. This is why I love borrowing cookbooks from the library.

Two of the cookbooks I borrowed over this past month are fine Cooking In Season: Your guide to choosing & preparing the season’s best by the editors of Fine Cooking and Jamie’s Italy by Jamie Oliver. The first is wonderful because if divided into sections by season: spring, early summer, late summer, fall, and winter. The potato recipe I’m about to share comes from the fall section. The latter, I picked up because Jamie Oliver is one of my favorite chefs. Continue reading “Swordfish with mustard and rosemary roasted potatoes”