Lamb Stir-Fry with Pomegranate and Yogurt

Lamb Stir-Fry with Pomegranate and Yogurt

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Getting (re)inspired through chocolate and peanut butter

Sometimes when I make a few bad recipes, I start to question my interest in cooking and the hours invested in a simple meal. November was a culinary wasteland in this apartment with the exception of our trip to Senegal of course! I normally like cooking this time of year and serving up steaming plates of food with spiced fall comfort drinks. But after a few dud recipes last month, I started to loose my motivation. Recently for example, I made dry and bland carnitas and a yucky pumpkin,goat cheese and lentil salad despite the rave reviews of others who had tried these recipes. Sigh.

To get back in the groove this weekend, I opted for an easy crowd pleaser to bring along to the holiday parties. Chocolate and peanut butter brownies. It's hard to go wrong...well, unless you are negotiating nap time with your one year old and forget to take them out of the oven. A few got a bit dry but the ones in the middle hit the spot. I like this recipe and the ganache is worth the extra effort especially if you toss in a bit of sea salt.

I ate many. I'm now feeling (re)inspired and ready to cook my way through December.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Case of the Leaking Mole

This is not the first time I have said it and it’s certainly not going to be the last. Mexican food in NYC sucks. There are a few places to get a decent taco but beyond that, it’s the pits. So on my last day in Mexico City, I stopped by a tortilleria and stocked up on a few kilos of tortillas. I was planning to leave it at that but en route to one of our clinics, I stumbled upon an elderly lady dishing up the most amazing tamales I have ever had. As I was devouring my tamal, she made me try a bite of her mole as she listed off the ingredients…sesame paste, cinnamon, countless varieties of chilies and of course chocolate. I was immediately smitten with her potent paste and despite images of mole exploding in my suitcase (which it did), I bought a bundle of it.
Mole is just one of those things that I don’t think I’ll ever attempt to make unless I happen to move to Mexico City and have access to all those fresh ingredients. (Yes, this is foreshadowing.)Reading through what looks like an authentic recipe is overwhelming!

As far as jarred brands go, Doña Maria mole is actually quite good if you doctor it up. This time around I had the real thing however and it was fantastic. All I did was boil up some boneless, skinless chicken thighs, pull them apart and mix them with a few spoons of the mole paste and the broth they were boiled in. With a few slices of avocado and some rice, dinner was served. And when I run out of the mole in my kitchen, I can start scraping out the insides of my suitcase.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

The Last Meal of Summer

I suspect we have a few more warm days this year, but it’s hard to deny that fall is in the air. I’ll continue to be in denial until late November when I’ll be shivering my way to the subway in open-toed shoes and insisting that I don’t need to get my coat out of the coat closet. (That last part was inserted for the sole purpose of bragging that I now have a coat closet. Go UWS!)

Anyways, earlier this week I made what I consider to be the last meal of the summer before I move on to roast vegetables, beef stews and lasagna. I choose a “pasta salad” that Rupal had made me a few weeks prior. I think it’s fitting since pasta salad pretty much epitomizes summer despite the fact that it’s often bland, oily and garnished with those dreaded flecks of green pepper.

Heidi Swanson’s take on it is original, healthy and a treat to look at. Instead of an oil and vinegar based sauce that rarely manages to stick to the noodles, she uses a blend of tahini, yogurt, garlic and spices. Cheese ravioli bulk it up as do the broccoli, cauliflower and green beans. I would recommend roasting the tomatoes since it gives the salad a depth that would otherwise be missing.

It was a successful transition meal. Now I just need to work on my closet.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

It’s Apple Season… Avoid the orchards!

When I was a kid I used to love to go apple picking in the fall for the same reason most people do – apple cider doughnuts. So a few years ago when Kim suggested an excursion to an orchard outside of Manhattan, I jumped at the opportunity. Let’s just say I won’t be returning soon!

Many orchards advertise themselves as being 40 minutes from midtown Manhattan which in the dead of winter might be the case. However, as soon as the scent of seasonal apples starts to hit the city’s supermarkets, expect a mass exodus of screaming kids heading to pick their own apples. Imagine cars backed up for miles waiting to pass through quaint gates guarding the ripe apples. Imagine flocks of kids descending on the trees like crazed bees. Oh, and imagine crazed bees too.

Anyways, until Xavier begs and pleads to participate in this ritual, I’m getting my apples on the corner of 97th and Broadway. Last night I stopped in on my way home and decided to make what Heidi Swanson calls an “unfussy apple cake”. It’s no apple cider donut but it’s a delicious, hearty and somewhat healthy way to showcase fall’s prized fruit. I used a bit more than two cups of apples and added a pinch of nutmeg and ground ginger. I loved it. Xavier hated it. He’s probably holding out for an apple cider donut.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Camping Leftovers? Make a Frittata

Anybody that has done anything with Mark knows that he likes excess. That’s his charm. Moderation is overrated. When you go to dinner, you don’t split an appetizer. When you travel to Cartagena, you don’t stay in a youth hostel. And when you go camping, you buy 36 eggs.

Only I would bring leftovers home from a camping trip! I wasn’t going to let those eggs go to waste though so yesterday morning I woke up with over 20 eggs in my fridge. It seemed like the right time to make a frittata. I loosely followed the recipe for an Onion Frittata on Bon Appetit that Rebecca recommended.

I tweaked it to incorporate the vegetables I had on hand and added potatoes to bulk it up a bit. I started by sautéing onions and thinly sliced red potatoes until soft and then I added a huge bunch of spinach. One the spinach was wilted I added the egg and gruyere (instead of Parmesan) mixture. Before I put it in the oven, I tossed some grape tomatoes that I had roasted ahead of time with a pinch of brown sugar and olive oil. (I roasted them ahead of time not because I wanted to be gourmet but because they were looking a little lackluster. This is a fantastic way to revive them.)

The result was a very flavorful, hearty and attractive frittata that was packed with vegetables and protein. Not bad for camping leftovers. Thanks Mark!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Tomato Cobbler on Rainy Night

Regardless of whether or not I’m having eight people or one person over for dinner, I feel like I need to make something out of the ordinary. I think that feeling has grown stronger since I moved uptown and know most people have a longer commute to join me at my table.

Last Thursday I had plenty of food in my fridge, it was pouring rain, I was slammed at work and I was running late to relieve the sitter. I tried to convince myself to throw together a nice meal with the ingredients already in my fridge, but I couldn’t stop thinking about the beautiful heirloom mini-tomatoes I had seen at the market the day before. (Why didn’t I buy them the day before? My ability to be organized has gone down the tube.) So I pushed my way off the subway past a maze of umbrellas and made a beeline for the tomatoes.

Once dry and warm in my apartment, I got to work making a tomato cobbler that caught my eye on Lottie and Doof. It’s a fairly time consuming but easy recipe that lent itself well to slow preparation, a glass of wine and a chat with my friend Laura. I followed the recipe below fairly closely – carmelizing the onion and garlic mixture, making dough with cold butter, cream and Gruyere and baking it all for an hour. I added basil (I had to use something
from my fridge) and cut back a bit on the cheese and oil.

Obviously the recipe’s success lies in the quality of the seasonal tomatoes so my rainy dash paid off. It’s very rich…deliciously rich but rich nonetheless. Next time I will try to substitute milk for the cream and cut back even more on the oil. And I’ll buy the damn tomatoes the day before.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Lemon Ice Cream Sandwiches with Blueberry Swirl

Homemade ice cream sandwiches sounds so “Suzie Homemaker” that I hesitate to even admit that I tried these. When a recipe says 4 ½ hours from start to finish, I usually chuckle and wonder who on earth has that kind of time. But it was my mom’s birthday and I was home with the family. I had some time since my evenings weren’t booked up with Broadway plays, literary lectures and interpretative dance shows like they are when I’m in NYC. Right. Anyways…

This recipe is a little absurd but I think it’s a good base to play around with. I like the idea of making brownie type bars and then stuffing them with ice cream and other deliciousness. I don’t think there necessarily has to be this many steps but maybe Gourmet felt they needed to overcompensate since they were cooking such a childish dessert? Long story short, it’s very much worth the effort for a special occasion and seems like it’s one of those recipes that would be a lot easier the second time around. Although when I’ll have 5 hours to myself again is beyond me….

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Shaved Asparagus vs. Onion, Bacon and Cream Pizza

Even though I like to cook, I’m still a big fan of all-in-one meals like stews, pasta dishes full of vegetables and protein and big hearty salads. Last weekend I made pizza for the first time and it now falls solidly into my all-in-one meal category.

“Made” is an exaggeration since I really just decorated pizza. The dough at Whole Fields is delicious – both the whole wheat and white variety. I used a cookie sheet and it worked perfectly. The dough was crispy and chewy at the same time and there was not a soggy slice in sight.

Obviously the ‘decoration‘ possibilities are endless, especially in the summer. My two favorites were the shaved asparagus pizza and the onion, bacon and cream pizza from Smitten Kitchen. Try them both – ideally together – since it’s a great contrast of flavors.

Onion, Bacon and Onion:

Shaved Asparagus:

Next week I want to try a roasted fig and goat cheese pizza. I predict a slight obsession coming on……

Friday, August 5, 2011

Use those Summer Tomatoes!

I’m infamous in my house for eating food that might be past its prime. Just this morning I heated up some shady looking milk for my coffee knowing that if it’s really bad, it will curdle when warm. It didn’t curdle and I enjoyed my somewhat sour cup of coffee with no obvious consequences.

I draw the line at bad tomatoes though. We have all had a mealy, nasty tomato on a deli sandwich before. Gross.

However, it’s summer so tomatoes are great even at your sketchiest deli. You don’t have to eat them raw to take advantage of their rich summer flavor. Last night I made roasted tomato soup based on a Sprouted Kitchen recipe. Soup, crusty bread and cold beer make a great summer meal.

1) Cut 2.5 lbs of tomatoes and one onion into wedges and put on rimmed baking sheet. Poke out some of the gooey seeds and stick 6-8 garlic gloves into the holes that are left in the tomatoes. Drizzle generously with olive oil, salt and pepper.
2) Roast at 350 degrees for close to an hour or until the tomatoes look like they have broken down enough to be easily pureed.
3) Add to 3 cups of broth and simmer for 5 minutes. Let cool a bit and then puree. Add a bit of cream at the end to cut the acidity of the tomatoes.
4) Serve with basil and Parmesan cheese.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Whole Wheat Raspberry Ricotta Scones

As I have firmly established in many previous posts, I’m addicted to breakfast. No matter where I wake up – a tent, a Central American hotel for work or my very own bed – I start to think about breakfast as soon as my belly recognizes that it’s morning. Lately I have fantasized about being the type who makes batches of wholesome breakfast treats early in the week and then heats them up every morning so the whole apartment smell like warm bread and melted butter. Unfortunately, I’m never that organized. And in reality, I wouldn’t really want to be.

For a few mornings last month however, I was able to pop a few homemade scones into the oven for 12 minutes and feel smugly proud of myself. I made eight Whole Wheat Raspberry Ricotta Scones one evening to break in my new luxuriously spacious countertops. (Something about recklessly throwing around flour made me feel like I was finally in a real kitchen!) They are very simple to make with straightforward ingredients including flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, butter, raspberries, ricotta and heavy cream. The only catch is that you don’t really end up with a traditional scone. The ricotta keeps the dough so moist that it’s more like very lightly sweetened muffin shaped like a scone. You can serve them plain or with a scoop of leftover ricotta or butter.

Next week we’ll be back to store bought English muffins.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Flor de Calabaza (Squash blossoms): Try them...but in a kitchen.

The inspiration for most of my cooking comes from traveling. I see something, and more importantly eat something, and then decide that I need to recreate it at home. Years ago I had a quesadilla with squash flowers and cheese in Oaxaca and vowed to figure out how to make it at home. Since then, I have occasionally seen squash flowers in farmers markets but they always seem too impractical to actually purchase. I mean they are flowers!

Last Sunday, Sam, Ryan and I visited the farmer's market in La Jolla and the flor de calabaza blossoms were too gorgeous to pass up. We bought a pound and when the farmer told us we had to make them that very same day as they were extrememly perishable, we vowed to incorporate them into that night's dinner. The catch was we were staying in a hotel with a kitchenette. We kept it simple and stuffed them with grated mozzarella (a close relative to the Oaxacan cheese we had first eaten them with) and sauteed them with a bit of olive oil. We served them with some black beans and the tiny squash that were attached to the flowers.

They soaked up a bit too much of the oil and it was hard to get a sense of the cooking time on the hot plate. Next time I think I would cut down the cooking time, use a bit less oil and maybe mix in some tomatoes with the cheese. And maybe I'll give them a shot in an actual kitchen.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Rhubarb Crumb Coffee Cake

This was Ryan’s first father’s day so I had grand expectations of rising early (umm, not that I have a choice) and whipping up a fantastic coffee cake that would be warm when he and Peter woke up. Xavier chose that morning to sleep in so instead we had coffee cake for dessert after my mom’s egg, cheese, bacon and buttered toast breakfast. Talk about indulgent.

I had always wondered what that delicious brown sugar crumble on top of good coffee cakes was made of? Butter. And why coffee cake was always so moist? Butter and sour cream. And how do you get really tart rhubarb to be edible? Sugar.

I followed this recipe almost exactly but I just mixed the cake all at once instead of following the directions of adding ingredients bit by bit. Like I said, Xavier had slept in. I also don’t think you need all that crumble on top so next time I would probably even half it. There is always the rest of the day to get your fill of butter.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Chicken Parmesan: It’s not too hot for comfort food yet

Everybody has their favorite comfort food. The predictable beef stew over mashed potatoes, Reuben sandwiches and white rice with soy sauce (maybe less predictable!) are on my list. However, chicken parmesan is hands down my go to meal when I’m craving a hot, steaming plate of pure comfort. The problem with comfort food is that usually I’m craving it because I’m exhausted, tired, grumpy, or hung over. When I’m in that state, the last thing I want to do is cook.

Luckily chicken parmesan has been Ryan’s territory ever since he whipped it up one evening as I lay comatose on the couch after my 16th nursing session of the day. Xavier was just a few weeks old and I was having a hard time finding time to heat up food, let alone eat. I remember opening my eyes groggily and seeing crispy chicken covered in mozzarella and tomatoes over a heaping pile of pasta. You know when you are eating a meal and each bite feels like it’s literally putting life back into your system? There is no better meal for that task than chicken parmesan.

Make it one more time before summer gets too hot. There are a million ways to cook it but I find the simplest to be the following:

1) Drench chicken breasts in egg and then bread crumbs flavored with oregano, salt and pepper.
2) Sear in a cast iron skillet and then transfer to an oven with a chunky tomato sauce (made ahead or store bought) and mozzarella.
3) Serve with parmesan and pasta. I like bucatini the best.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Split Pea Soup sans Ham Hock

Split pea soup is predictable. Onions, carrots and some sort of ham product usually dominate. While I still want to buy a ham hock one day as a right of passage, the traditional spin on the age-old favorite didn’t appeal to me last week. However, I was determined to use up the split peas hogging my precious cabinet space despite the muggy heat.

Heidi Swanson has a great twist on the usual comfort food in her new cookbook Super Natural Every Day. She calls it “Split Pea Soup with Brown Butter, Coconut & Chives” but I simplified it a bit to avoid venturing out to the grocery store for chives and to cut down on the butter a bit. It was fanstastic.
Combine 2 tablespoons butter, 1 chopped onion, 3 crushed garlic cloves and 1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes in a large soup pot over medium heat. Cook until onions are soft. Add 5 ½ cups of broth and 1½ cups split peas. Cover and simmer until lentils are tender (30-50 minutes...keep checking). When the lentils are done, remove from heat and add ½ cup of coconut milk or a bit more depending on your preference and 1 tablespoon curry powder. Puree.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Breakfast before Brunch

Babies don’t sleep late on weekends. If I had to wait for my friends to wake up for brunch before I ate on Saturday mornings, I would be one grumpy, hungry girl. To solve the ‘problem,’ Ryan and I have gotten into the habit of making breakfast first thing in the morning as an appetizer of sorts to a later brunch with friends. Usually it’s Trader Joes pancake batter that does the trick, but occasionally I feel guilty and try to make a healthier version (See earlier post on pumpkin pancakes.)

A few weeks ago I opted for whole-wheat oatmeal pancakes. It’s a bit of extra work but if you start at 6 a.m., you’ll have plenty of time!

Soak ¾ cup quick-cooking oats in ¾ cup buttermilk while you prepare everything else (about 10 minutes). Whisk together ¾ cup whole-wheat flour, 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder, ¾ teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, and a pinch of nutmeg and salt in a large bowl. Stir in a lightly beaten egg, 2 tablespoons melted butter, 1 tablespoon brown sugar, a little over ¾ cup buttermilk and the now soggy oat mixture. Cook like you would regular pancakes. Eat. And wait another 6 hours for brunch.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Best Chicken Ever

I have been making this recipe for years and I never get sick of it nor fail to be amazed at how quick, easy and healthy it is. Most of my friends – at least those who eat our feathered friends – have had this dish at one point or another at my house. I experiment with other chicken recipes all the time but always come back to this one.

I follow the recipe below pretty religiously but as always, I double the spices. I also use boneless chicken breasts so watch the cooking time more closely. All you have to do is mix together the olive oil, pressed garlic, paprika, cumin and red pepper and then stir a bit of it into Greek yogurt and set aside. Toss the rest of the spiced-oil mixture with cilantro, cherry tomatoes and garbanzo beans. Pour it over the chicken and throw it in the oven. Serve over rice with the yogurt mixture.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Short Changed by Short Ribs

The short ribs at Tra Vigne Restaurant in St. Helena, California are worth the trip to the West Coast. However, despite the wildly publicized recipe, it’s not worth recreating these ribs at home on the east coast. A few weeks ago, however, I tried.

Ryan and I set out early in the morning one Saturday to buy four pounds of meat so we would have time to brine the ribs all day long. About $45 later, the short ribs were out on our fire escape swimming in brown sugar, salt, water and juniper berries. Later that afternoon we browned the ribs and then added the red wine, sherry vinegar and vegetables. We tucked the covered pot deep into the oven so the ribs could simmer slowly, melting off the layers of fat and leaving only the tender meat. About 4 hours later we pulled them out and served them with polenta and green beans. Simple enough.

Up until this point, I was excited about the recipe. However, when I looked down at the meat left on the ribs after hours of slow cooking and then looked up at Ryan, Theo and a very hungry post-bike ride Alberto, I quickly realized we would all be sucking on the bare bones in no time.

The ribs were great…tender, flavorful and gorgeous to look at. But they were tiny, expensive and took hours of preparation. I suppose doubling the recipe wouldn’t have added any preparation or cooking time, but it would have really emptied my wallet. If I want my wallet emptied, I think I’ll just fly to California and order the short ribs at Tra Vigne.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Cooking Away the Post Mexico Blues

After 10 days in Mexico, we returned to NYC earlier this week to freezing sleet. I quickly retreated to my recent memories of lounging on the beach and eating seafood for breakfast, lunch and dinner along with cold micheladas and tequila…for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Last night I couldn’t bring the sun back, but I could at least cook up some saltwater delicacies. I opted for scallops with spinach and lemon risotto since I didn’t want to compete with the tasty fish, shrimp and octopus ceviche we had grown accustomed to.

I used the lemon risotto recipe from Bon Appetit but I skipped the extra butter and parsley at the end. It also made enough for six so next time I would half the recipe.

For the scallops and spinach, I followed this recipe from the Unemployed Chef. I liked their hint about not moving the scallops around in the pan so that they get that nice carmelized color.

After finishing our meal, we didn’t plunge into the ocean and nap under a palm tree. Instead we had ice cream and watched The Wire. In other words, time to go back to Mexico.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Tackling Gnocchi

During one of my precious nights out a few weeks ago, I had the Gnocchi with Gorgonzola sauce at Malatesta in the West Village. I rarely order gnocchi as they are often defrosted lumps of goo, but I needed something to soak up the wine in anticipation of an early morning baby wake up. Surprisingly, they were amazing and reminded me that gnocchi can be spectacular when done right.

Coincidently, Rupal called me a few days later and suggested we try making gnocchi in my little kitchen that night. She was inspired by the recipe in this article:

She brought over some fresh eggs from an urban farming project she visited earlier in the day and after picking up some flour and potatoes, we were ready to go. There was something deeply satisfying about really making a meal from scratch. We riced the potatoes (more physically demanding than expected), kneaded the dough, rolled it out into little gnocchi snakes, and then cut them into little pillows. We laughed at the fact that we had bought six potatoes since we ended up with enough dough to feed 30 people. (See previous entry about being measurement challenged.)

The gnocchi weren’t perfect. I would add a bit more flour next time. But as we surveyed the mess of raw ingredients around us, we both felt ridiculously proud of our truly homemade meal and ourselves.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Measurement Challenged

I have no sense of distance, size, weight or anything else that requires estimating with numbers. To the amusement of Ryan, I’m constantly underestimating how many people live in NYC, how long the bike ride was or how heavy Xavier is. My obsession with frequent flyer miles has helped a bit with getting a sense of distance but other than that, I’m pretty useless. Not surprisingly then, when a carrot cake recipe calls for two cups of chopped carrots, I have no idea if that is ten carrots or three. (For the record it’s closer to 3.) To make a long story short, after making carrot cake for Valentines Day, I had more than a few leftover carrots.

I already wrote about carrot soup so I was hesitant to include this recipe but it’s awesome. And this is coming from somebody who hates cooked carrots. It’s called Moroccan Carrot Soup and I followed it almost exactly except I used ground cumin instead of toasted cumin seeds and I substituted nutmeg and cinnamon for the all spice.

I still have left over carrots.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Valentine's Day Without Chocolate

Normally when I want to make a ridiculously indulgent dessert, I can only think chocolate. (See previous post titled Sour Cream-Chocolate Cake with Cream Cheese Peanut Butter Frosting and Chocolate-Peanut Butter Glaze to get an idea.) Lately, however, chocolate has lost some of its allure because I eat it everyday.

Since I have been on maternity leave, I make a daily trek to Chelsea Market to buy fresh produce, grab a cup of 9th Street Espresso or pick up some local, sustainable, organic (read overpriced) meat at the butcher. I convince myself I need spinach, caffeine or sausage but in reality I walk the two blocks west to grab a free sample at Kitchen Witch brownies. Kitchen Witch is generous with their samples, a marketing ploy I can only assume they use to get people hooked on their brownies. Unfortunately for Kitchen Witch Co., it simply satisfies my chocolate cravings and sets me free to explore other desserts such as Carrot Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting.

I followed the recipe below with only a few small exceptions. Instead of grating the carrots, I just threw them in the food processor and used some of the carrot gratings as sprinkles. Add the powdered sugar to the icing slowly and taste it (good excuse!) as you go along to make sure it’s not too sweet.

Monday, January 24, 2011

The Return of the Dinner Party

Having an infant around has changed a lot of things in my life including when I sleep, how high my heels are, and the apps on my iphone. For me, however, one of the biggest adjustments was the sudden absence of friends crowded around my coffee table for weekly dinner parties. Over the past few months my early bedtime and exhaustion have made it impossible to muster up the enthusiasm to poke around recipe websites let alone get my act together enough to chop garlic and shallots.

Surprisingly, I have missed these evenings and the satisfaction that comes with a well-prepared meal far more than crazy late nights out in the east village. (Give me a few weeks for the latter!) Thankfully, last night – 3 months to the day from when this whole journey started – I broke the trend of dining on frozen tamales before diving deliriously into bed.

To celebrate the occasion, Ian and PWT came over at 6 pm. (I still knew I would be diving deliriously into bed before 10). Ryan and I picked a recipe that was new and challenging but not too complicated in case at least three of our four hands were tied up bouncing the bambino.

The recipe is called Chicken in Almond Sauce on Epicurious and it goes something like this:

1. Grind one cup of almonds in a food processor until coarse but not pasty.
2. Mix with 2 teaspoons oregano, 1 teaspoon cinnamon or a cinnamon stick, and 4 bay leaves or some juniper berries. Toast mixture in a large skillet until almonds are golden. Remove and set aside.
3. Add a few tbsp of oil to the same pan and sear 6 chicken breast halves (2 lbs). Remove and set aside.
4. Again, using the same pan (my dishwasher is small), fry up 3-5 slices of bacon until crispy. Add two chopped onions and 6 cloves of garlic. Sautee until soft. Add almond mixture and 2 cups of chicken broth. Stir for one minute scraping up any bits from the bottom of the pan.
5. Add chicken back to the skillet and simmer for 5 minutes until chicken is cooked through. Salt and pepper to taste.
6. Serve with rice, bulgur wheat, or some other grain and some simple greens.
7. Jump into bed.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Moose Memory Cookies

One of the last trips that Ryan and I took before Xavier was born was to Stockholm where I bought a moose cookie cutter in anticipation of my annual Christmas cookie bake off with my godmother. During the first few weeks following Xavier’s birth, I clung to the memories of Sweden as a way to remind myself that my world wasn’t going to revolve around a nursing pillow forever.

Xavier is ten weeks old today and while I’m still not out exploring the streets of northern Europe, I venture beyond the confines of our tiny apartment at least once a day regardless of the January winds. Over Christmas I trudged through two feet of snow to spend a few peaceful hours (alone!) with my godmother baking cookies using our favorite recipe from a 2003 Bon Appetit. We have caught up every year over cookie dough since I was old enough to hold a cookie cutter. This year among the familiar lopsided Santas and angels with missing wings of years past was the moose.