Thursday, May 26, 2011

Spaghetti with Sardines, Parsley and Fried Capers

I'm a hardcore sardine enthusiast. I eat them a lot in the warmer months, as eating them doesn't involve turning a stove on. Or I eat them in front of the television right out of the tin, with triskets and whole grain mustard and a glass of wine. Oh and with tiny pickles. Or I eat them at work, on a bench outside, with a book. Or with a friend. Sardines are also good for sharing. They're also good for your prostate if you have one of those. I don't. But I still eat them. I hear they are packed with omega 3s. 

The other day I had lunch at the wonderful Jimmy's Food Store, in Dallas. While I was waiting for my Cuban, I roamed the store and you'll never guess what I found. Yes, sardines. Only when I got home and put them away did I notice the "con peperoncino" on the package. Oh no. I was too afraid to chance eating these straight and decided that incorporating them into a dish would be best. 

Oh, and P.S. this dish cost two dollars to make (assuming you already have a few of the staples in your pantry ~ capers, bread crumbs and spaghetti, olive oil). And it takes less than 15 minutes to prepare. I halved the recipe because I only had one tin of sardines, double if you're making this for four people.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Dulce de Leche Brownies with Browned Butter & Sea Salt

What happens when one of the most raddest girls you know moves to San Francisco and tells you she has one last magical night to spend with you? You drink a bottle of wine and bake of course! And that is what we did. These came together rather serendipitously as I didn't quite have all of the ingredients for the intended brownies and we threw a few things together and it worked. Oh did it work. It worked out to gooey, chocolate all over your face, hands and white pants perfection. And yes, they really are almost black, that is not the lighting. Also these are very fudgey. So if you like your brownies fluffy and cake-y, these aren't for you. I'll miss you Naomi!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Strawberry Salad

I've already made and devoured this salad four times this week. And I'm proud to say that it's made completely of local, organic produce from my Urban Acres co-op bin. The recipe I'm going to give you is really just a suggestion. I assemble the salads individually so it's all guestimated. And seriously, strawberries and celery are the perfect match. Who knew? Oh and eat this with that pasta with peas, cream & mint. Muah!

Romaine lettuce
2-3 strawberries per person, chopped
1/2-1 celery stalk per person, sliced
Olive oil
Balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste

Toss. Wow, that was hard.

Pasta with Ham, Snap Peas, Mint & Cream

Spring is in the air. Well actually the air feels like wet cheesecloth wrapped around your face, but whatever. Spring food is on the table, that's what I meant to say. This is a double post because a) these two dishes compliment each other perfectly and b) I need to catch up on my postings. 

4 clove garlic, minced
Olive oil
1/3-1/2 lb. Black Forest ham, cut thick (it's basically one slab of ham), diced
4 shallots minced
1 pint heavy cream
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1 bag frozen peas in pods, chopped in 1/3s*
1/2 cup fresh mint, chopped
salt and pepper
3/4 pound farfalle, cooked al dente

  1. In a heavy skillet or saucepan, heat a few swirls of olive oil over medium heat and stir in garlic just until it begins to color.
  2. Add chunks of ham and cook for another 3-4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Watch the salt, as ham is already rather salty.
  3. Bring the pasta to a boil but try to time it just right so it finishes as the sauce finishes
  4. With 2-3 minutes left on the sauce, add the peas and cook for 1-2 minutes. With one minute remaining add the cream, bring it to a boil, add cheese and reduce heat to low (don't stop stirring!)
  5. Toss the pasta with sauce, sprinkle liberally with mint, pepper and extra parmesan.
*Jaime Oliver says frozen peas are fresher than fresh peas (as they are picked and frozen immediately), however they don't have the same crunch. Still delicious though. And cheap! I think this entire meal cost $7 and lasted for days.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Slow's BBQ ~ Detroit, Michigan

Sweet Tea
Mac 'n Cheese
The Reason
An array of house sauces. The apple is my favorite.
In Texas there are hundreds of solid barbecue joints. To be honest I'm not even that big a fan of barbecue and probably eat it once or twice a year (blasphemy!). However, Detroit has a place that could definitely compete with the best in Texas. It's called Slow's. And I know, it's been around since before I moved out of Michigan six years ago. There's really no sense in me talking about it to anyone in Detroit because everyone knows about it and loves it. You can't go there without expecting to wait two hours to be seated. Unless you go on a random Tuesday afternoon at 3 when most people are at work. But even then it was mostly filled. Enough jabbering, here are my photos.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Tuna Tonnato & Eggplant Salad

Happy Monday! I'm in an especially good mood as the weather this morning is 60 degrees and sunny. And it's May. In Dallas! I even rode my bicycle in to work which I really don't do often enough.

This past Saturday I celebrated my first hippie Christmas (as my husband calls it). This is what he refers to as the day we get our veggie bin from Urban Acres Market. I was so excited all week to see what I'd get in our first batch of goodies. So excited in fact that I woke up at 8 a.m. on Saturday morning, brushed my teeth and headed out to my pick-up location. But oh, they don't open til 9:30. So I spent a lovely hour drinking coffee, eating a big fat almond croissant and perusing the latest FD Luxe.

When I got home I immediately began tearing through the bin. Lettuce, cabbage, swiss chard, sweet potatoes, oranges, onions, strawberries, carrots....and eggplant. Eggplant? I've never made a single thing with eggplant in my life. After a few minutes of research on Epicurious I found this recipe for Tuna Tonnato & Eggplant Salad. And luckily it called for everything I already had on hand.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Leopold's ~ Detroit, Michigan

I know this isn't a food post, but I just had to share some photos from this fantastic art book shop in downtown Detroit called Leopold's. If you would have asked me when I was in college what my dream job would have been, I would have said to own a tiny independent book shop. Real narrow and dark with books piled high. And lots of ladders to swing to and fro from. Well Leopold's is way cooler than my imaginary dream bookstore. And on top of it, look at this handsome fellow who just happened to walk into my photo! I kid, I sort of stalked him. That's also his bicycle.

Girl Next Door Mushroom Risotto

I would be lying if I didn't say that reading Eating Animals hasn't affected me. The only problem is that lately I've been a slow reader. And so as a result, I've been kind of a flip flopper on the whole topic. Vegetarian one day, shoving ham in my face the next. Suffocated by the guilt of eating cute little fuzzy creatures one minute, planning to make roasted chicken with artichokes and white wine the next. Who am I? I don't know. I'm trying to ween myself off meat perhaps by just eating it a couple times a week. And on one of my successful vegetarian days I made this lovely mushroom risotto. The reason I call it girl next door is because I use, as you can see here, plain 'ol button mushrooms that I had left over in the fridge. No wild porcinis or morels or chanterelles here. I ate a big bowl of this with a side arugula salad with tomatoes and parmesan and a light dijon sherry vinegarette dressing. So I dedicate this recipe to you, my sweet angel, Marissa, who's encouraged me to include more vegetarian dishes to the blog. I love you!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Croque Monsieur

Patios, martinis, telling secrets, sunshine and general horsing around is again to blame for a lack of diligent food posting. Not to mention all of the wild world news of this past week. The Royal Wedding already feels like decades ago. I didn't wake up at 4 a.m. to have tea and crumpets and watch the wedding, however my friend and I taped it and watched it while eating croque monsieurs and inventing martinis. And P.S. basil martinis are fantastic! Crush some fresh basil, let it sit and infuse in vodka, add a splash of lemon, a spoonful of sugar, shake, shake and shake over ice and enjoy. So back to this sandwich. My favorite sandwich in the world!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Good Girls Go To Paris Crepes ~ Detroit, Michigan

If you need any more convincing that Detroit is the Paris of the Midwest, look no further than Good Girls Go to Paris Crepes. My little brother and I did some gallivanting downtown while I was home. He wanted to show me some of the new spots that were popping up, namely in the cultural district near his school, Wayne State University. {He's a recent PhD admit to their Literature and Cultural Studies program}. The moment we walked in I died. I died of adorableness overload. This place is cuter than the crepe cafes I'd been to in Paris! Fact. Maybe it's because red is my favorite color (second to black). I truly couldn't contain my excitement and immediately began photographing everything and everyone. Sorry, Vinny, I know I embarrassed you. Love you!