Thanks to a cold spell last week, I’ve officially put my garden to sleep for the winter. While I’m sad to see it go, I was lucky enough to be able to harvest my last few eggplant and a great … Continue reading
When the weather hints as turning, I try to eat outside as much as I can to soak in whatever’s left of picnic weather. I made this pasta salad with basil from my garden and garlic from a farm at … Continue reading
While I cook for one, in order to eat healthy I have to cook way more that one meal at a time. Like many young people, I don’t have time to cook every night. Twice a week I’m in class until … Continue reading
Spinach is still a vegetable if you cover it in cheese, right? Spinach and artichoke dip is a classic that doesn’t need much tweaking. A little bit of lemon juice for acidity, garlic and cayenne for depth, and a … Continue reading
This past weekend I had a friend visiting which I took as a very good excuse to cook up a storm, and when he had to stay an extra night because of a flight cancellation, I knew that it was … Continue reading
Freshly picked tomatoes are dead sexy. Their skin is warm to the touch, smooth, and a rich red that screams to be bitten into. When you do, the flesh inside initially resists before giving way and melting in your mouth … Continue reading
Earlier this summer I attended a wedding and, true to form, the first thing I did after the ceremony was find the door that the servers were walking out of so that I could nab food in as efficient and yummy a way a possible. My favorite bite of the night was puff pastry with pear, gorgonzola cheese, and caramelized onions. I was determined to figure out how to make it and decided to test it out at a gathering for Nick Troiano at my apartment. I’m proud to say that they came out wonderfully and were super simple to make. Definitely found my new go-to party bite!
Pear and Gorgonzola Bites (20-25)
- 1 box frozen puff pastry (I suggest Pepperidge Farm)
- 2 large onions
- 1 cup crumbled gorgonzola
- 2 pears
- Slice onions 1/8″ to 1/4″ thick. Caramelize in a medium skillet over low heat with a little olive oil, stirring occasionally. The key here is to give the onions lots of time and not to rush, ideally cook for 1-2 hours.
- Remove puff pastry from freezer. Preheat oven to 375F.
- Cut pears into a small dice.
- Slice puff pastry (not frozen, but still as cold as possible) into medium-sized rectangles, approx. 3.5″ x 1.5″.
- Transfer puff pastry rectangles to 2 parchment paper-lined baking sheets.
- Place a small dollop of caramelized onions in the center of each rectangle. Top with about 1/2 tsp of pear and 1/2 tsp crumbled gorgonzola.
- Place baking sheets in freezer for 15 minutes. This is important because for the puff pastry to puff (which is sort of the point) it needs to go into the oven cold.
- Bake for 12-15 minutes or until puffed and golden. Serve warm.
Need other party nibbles? Check out these recipes!
Oh pasta, how I love you. Carbs are a good friend of mine as are bacon, eggs, and cheese, all key ingredients in the Italian classic carbonara. It’s a simple dish but also an easy dish to mess up. Add the pasta without tempering the eggs first and you might end up with an unappetizing scramble.
I topped my carbonara with a bunch of green beans because veggies are important and I like my veggies covered in silky sauce and bacon. Traditional carbonara is veggie-free and so I apologize to all you traditionalists, go authentic by going veggie-free. Using dried pasta is also important. Fresh pasta is amazing, but it actually doesn’t hold onto sauce as well as dried pasta. More important than carbonara’s veggie-less state or pasta is the black pepper. Go big or go home as freshly cracked black pepper gives carbonara the blast of flavor that it’s iconic for.
Spaghetti Carbonara (Serves 4)
- 3/4-1 lb dried spaghetti
- 1 lb bacon
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup grated or shaved parmesan
- 1 tsp salt
- lots of cracked black pepper
- red pepper flakes to taste
- Cut bacon into 1/2″ pieces and cook until browned and crisp. Drain on paper towels. Save 1 tbsp of bacon fat.
- Bring a pot of water to a boil.
- Whisk 2 eggs in a large heat proof bowl. Add bacon fat, parmesan, salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes. Whisk together.
- Cook pasta till al dente.
- Drain pasta reserving 1/2 cup water.
- Slowly pour hot pasta water into the egg mixture, whisking vigorously.
- Add bacon and pasta to the mixture. Toss to combine and serve immediately.
Halloumi cheese is magic. It’s cheese…you can grill. Yes, grill, on heat. Serve it on top of chilled fresh watermelon with a sprig of mint for a light, fresh, and healthy hors d’oeuvre that no one will be able to turn down.
Watermelon with Grilled Halloumi and Mint (Serves 8)
- 1 medium watermelon, chilled
- 1 container halloumi cheese
- 16 mint leaves
- olive oil
- Slice watermelon into 1″-1.5″ cubes.
- Slice halloumi thinly (about 1/4″). Cut each slice into squares that fit on top of the watermelon cubes, trying to be as uniform as possible.
- Grease your hot grill or grill plate with olive oil. Place slices of halloumi on the grill, flip after 2 minutes or when they have grill marks. Grill on both sides and transfer to a plate.
- Top watermelon cubes with grilled halloumi. Garnish with a mint leaf.
The other night I looked at the clock and it was 9:30pm. I hadn’t had dinner yet, was starving, and had lots of work left to do. I had two options: delivery or get creative. Not one to turn down a challenge, I decided to get creative.
When you need to cook a meal fast it is all about deciding on an easy base. My go-to is Annie’s Mac & Cheese. I grew up on Annie’s and I still love it. It is never a bad pick. Rummaging through the fridge, I pulled out butter (duh), milk, asparagus, a shallot, mushrooms, mozzarella cheese, and bacon (why not?). Next, I headed to the pantry for some bread crumbs and olive oil.
When you make a loaded Mac & Cheese the key is to use up the stuff you have in your fridge. Cauliflower? Throw it in! Brussels Sprouts? Chop those suckers up! Mushrooms? I am in love!
This takes a grand total of 30 minutes max. and the left overs are to die for.
Weeknight Loaded Mac & Cheese (feeds 2-3)
- 1 box Annie’s Mac & Cheese + ingredients box calls for (typically milk and a little butter)
- 1 medium shallot sliced thinly
- 4 pieces of bacon
- 1.5 cups sliced baby bella mushrooms
- 1.5 cups chopped asparagus (1″ long chunks)
- 1/4 cup bread crumbs
- 1/2 tbsp butter, softened
- 1/3 cup grated mozzarella cheese
- olive oil
- salt & pepper
- Cook pasta till al dente.
- Cook bacon in a small oven-safe skillet or caste iron pan. When crisp, remove from pan and chop coarsely.
- Sauté shallots and mushrooms in bacon fat.
- When soft, add asparagus, season, and cover until steamed (about 8 minutes)
- Make ‘cheese sauce’ in a small bowl following the boxes instructions. Set aside.
- Combine breadcrumbs and butter in small bowl. Set aside.
- Add cooked pasta, bacon and mozzarella to vegetables, stir until combined evenly.
- Pour cheese sauce over top of the pasta mixture.
- Top with breadcrumbs and some black pepper.
- Broil for 3-5 minutes or until golden brown and bubbling.