Thursday, December 17, 2009


164_beef_bourguignon_p440, originally uploaded by thompswl.
Several months ago I promised to cook one Julia Child recipe every two weeks...then law school got in the way. What better way to celebrate the end of my semester then with Julia's Boeuf Bourguignon? I'm currently living in my parent's very charming carriage house, so my Mom and I decided to undertake this one together. In the end my Mom did more of the work since I decided to make Martha's Pistachio Dacquoise for dessert. I must say Julia's recipes are much more straight forward than Martha's but I'll share my troubles and triumphs with the Dacquoise in my next post. Back to the Boeuf. Some tips, make sure you have several huge pots, give yourself all afternoon, and don't fret if you can't find huge slabs of bacon the regular stuff works just fine. Julia traditionally serves her Bourguignon with potatoes but I thought it would be better over wide egg noodles. The photo I'm using isn't my Boeuf Bourguignon as I never got a very appetizing shot. It isn't the prettiest dinner, but it really is amazingly delicious.

Boeuf Bourguignon:

6 ounces bacon
1 Tbsp. olive oil or cooking oil
3 pounds lean stewing beef , cut into 2-inch cubes
1 sliced carrot
1 sliced onion
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
2 Tbsp. flour
3 cups full-bodied, young red wine , such as a Chianti
2 to 3 cups brown beef stock or canned beef bouillon
1 Tbsp. tomato paste
2 cloves mashed garlic
1/2 tsp. thyme
Crumbled bay leaf
Blanched bacon rind
18 to 24 small white onions , brown-braised in stock
1 pound quartered fresh mushrooms , sautéed in butter
Parsley sprigs
Remove rind from bacon, and cut bacon into lardons (sticks, 1/4 inch thick and 1 1/2 inches long). Simmer rind and bacon for 10 minutes in 1 1/2 quarts of water. Drain and dry.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Sauté the bacon in the oil over moderate heat for 2 to 3 minutes to brown lightly. Remove to a side dish with a slotted spoon. Set casserole aside. Reheat until fat is almost smoking before you sauté the beef.

Dry the stewing beef in paper towels; it will not brown if it is damp. Sauté it, a few pieces at a time, in the hot oil and bacon fat until nicely browned on all sides. Add it to the bacon.

In the same fat, brown the sliced vegetables. Pour out the sautéing fat.

Return the beef and bacon to the casserole and toss with the salt and pepper. Then sprinkle on the flour and toss again to coat the beef lightly with the flour. Set casserole uncovered in middle position of preheated oven for 4 minutes. Toss the meat and return to oven for 4 minutes more. (This browns the flour and covers the meat with a light crust.) Remove casserole, and turn oven down to 325 degrees.

Stir in the wine, and enough stock or bouillon so that the meat is barely covered. Add the tomato paste, garlic, herbs, and bacon rind. Bring to simmer on top of the stove. Then cover the casserole and set in lower third of preheated oven. Regulate heat so liquid simmers
very slowly for 2 1/2 to 3 hours. The meat is done when a fork pierces it easily.

While the beef is cooking, prepare the onions and mushrooms. Set them aside until needed.

When the melt is tender, pour the contents of the casserole into a sieve set over a saucepan. Wash out the casserole and return the beef and bacon to it. Distribute the cooked onions and mushrooms over the meat.

Skim fat off the sauce. Simmer sauce for a minute or two, skimming off additional fat as it rises. You should have about 2 1/2 cups of sauce thick enough to coat a spoon lightly. If too thin, boil it down rapidly. If too thick, mix in a few tablespoons of stock or canned bouillon. Taste carefully for seasoning. Pour the sauce over the meat and vegetables. Recipe may be completed in advance to this point.

For immediate serving: Covet the casserole and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes, basting the meat and vegetables with the sauce several times. Serve in its casserole, or arrange the stew on a platter surrounded with potatoes, noodles, or rice, and decorated with parsley.

For later serving: When cold, cover and refrigerate. About 15 to 20 minutes before serving, bring to the simmer, cover, and simmer very slowly for 10 minutes, occasionally basting the meat and vegetables with the sauce.

Copyright © 1961, 1983, 2001 by Alfred A. Knopf. Reprinted by arrangement with the Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, a division of Random House, Inc.


Charleston Farmers Market Squash, originally uploaded by thompswl.
I've been wanting to try a Giada De Laurentis recipe for a while now and thought this one seemed appropriate given the cool fall weather. Although it takes a while to make, (don't start at 11pm) I think the result is worth the effort? I love butternut squash and it's always fun to take a classic recipe and give it a new twist. As a warning, the consistency is very different than that of traditional lasagna. The recipe says that it serves 8-10, I think a closer approximation is 10-20. Maybe I just got a particularly large squash? I made a few changes to the recipe substituting Barilla lasagna noodles for the no-boil variety (I don't like them), and I used ginger snaps instead of amaretti cookies because the only store open 24hrs didn't have them. I also baked the squash in the oven for an hour instead cutting it and cooking it on the stove top (I think it is easier) While the lasagna tastes delicious it isn't very pretty, a bit of a disclaimer for those of you that care about presentation. And Craig, just for you a video!

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 (1 1/2 to 2-pound) butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch cubes
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup water
3 amaretti cookies, crumbled
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 1/2 cups whole milk
Pinch nutmeg
3/4 cup (lightly packed) fresh basil leaves
12 no-boil lasagna noodles
2 1/2 cups shredded whole-milk mozzarella cheese
1/3 cup grated Parmesan

Heat the oil in a heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the squash and toss to coat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Pour the water into the skillet and then cover and simmer over medium heat until the squash is tender, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes. Cool slightly and then transfer the squash to a food processor. Add the amaretti cookies and blend until smooth. Season the squash puree, to taste, with more salt and pepper.

Melt the butter in a heavy medium-size saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk for 1 minute. Gradually whisk in the milk. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the sauce thickens slightly, whisking often, about 5 minutes. Whisk in the nutmeg. Cool slightly. Transfer half of the sauce to a blender*. Add the basil and blend until smooth. Return the basil sauce to the sauce in the pan and stir to blend. Season the sauce with salt and pepper, to taste.

Position the rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 375 degrees F.

Lightly butter a 13 by 9 by 2-inch glass baking dish. Spread 3/4 cup of the sauce over the prepared baking dish. Arrange 3 lasagna noodles on the bottom of the pan. Spread 1/3 of the squash puree over the noodles. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup of mozzarella cheese. Drizzle 1/2 cup of sauce over the noodles. Repeat layering 3 more times.

Tightly cover the baking dish with foil and bake the lasagna for 40 minutes. Sprinkle the remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses over the lasagna. Continue baking uncovered until the sauce bubbles and the top is golden, 15 minutes longer. Let the lasagna stand for 15 minutes before serving.

*When blending hot liquids: Remove liquid from the heat and allow to cool for at least 5 minutes. Transfer liquid to a blender or food processor and fill it no more than halfway. If using a blender, release one corner of the lid. This prevents the vacuum effect that creates heat explosions. Place a towel over the top of the machine, pulse a few times then process on high speed until smooth.


One of my best friends and a truly gifted cook has started a sure to check it out. I have first hand knowledge that the Whiskey-Soaked Dark Chocolate Bundt Cake is incredible.

Dutch Apple Pancakes

Apple Pancakes, originally uploaded by thompswl.

I'm deep into study mode with finals fast approaching (too fast I fear) but that didn't stop me from indulging in this delightful treat! Apple pancakes have been a bit of an exam tradition since my first introduction junior year at Miami. While not exactly a heathy treat I like to think that they are a good alternative to the red bull, and M & M diet I fall prey to during finals. After all they have apples, right? No recipe ever puts enough brown sugar or cinnamon in for my liking so I just add generous amounts of both. The key to the recipe is adding the brown sugar on top of the apples as soon as they begin to get soft in the pan. I used about 1/2 cup, use more or less depending on how sweet you want your Dutch Baby.

1/4 cup (1/2 stick/2 oz./56g) unsalted butter
1 Golden Delicious or Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and cut into 1/2-inch-wide wedges
3/4 cup whole milk
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
4 large eggs
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
Confectioners' sugar, for dusting
Put oven rack in middle position of oven and preheat oven to 450 degrees F/230 degrees C.

Melt butter in a 10-inch cast iron skillet over moderate heat, then transfer 2 tablespoons to a blender. Add apple wedges to skillet and cook, turning over once, until beginning to soften, 3 to 5 minutes.

While apple is cooking, add milk, flour, eggs, granulated sugar, vanilla, and salt to butter in blender and blend until smooth.

Pour batter over apple and transfer skillet to oven. Bake in preheated oven until pancake is puffed and golden, about 15 minutes. Dust with confectioners sugar and serve immediately.

Makes 2-4 servings.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

I've never wanted a piece of art so badly...

Autistic artist Stephen Wiltshire took a twenty-minute helicopter ride over Manhattan. Then he sketched the entire skyline from memory. Every building was correct and drawn to scale. Having taught Autistic students for three years in NYC his art holds a special place in my heart. What an incredible artist and person!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Blackberry Farm Fig Tart

With work, school and Halloween festivities I haven't been very good about cooking and posting. Lets hope this weekend I slow down, breath and remedy my uninspired posts. If I do have some time this recipe will be the first thing I tackle. I absolutely adore Figs and have been to Blackberry Farm to witness first hand the incredible culinary skill of Sam Beall. The Blackberry Farm Cookbook is available for purchase on amazon.


  • 1/2 recipe basic pastry (recipe below)
  • 1/4 cup fig jam
  • 1 pound fresh figs, stemmed and halved lengthwise
  • 1/3 cup plus 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons milk

(Makes eight servings)


1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly butter a baking sheet and set it aside.

2. Divide the pastry in half. On a lightly floured surface, roll each piece of dough into a 9-inch circle. Place the pastry on the prepared baking sheet; overlapping the two circles a little on one side is okay as the edges will be folded in later. Spread 2 tablespoons of jam evenly over each piece of pastry, leaving a 1 1/2-inch border. Arrange the figs over the jam. Cover the tarts with plastic wrap and set them aside.

3. In a small saucepan, cook 1/3 cup of the sugar over medium-high heat without stirring until it melts and turns amber in color. Remove the pan from the heat and carefully stir in the cream and butter, stirring until the mixture is smooth. Brush the tops of the figs with the caramel mixture. Fold the edge of the pastry over the outer edge of the figs, pleating the dough to hold it in place.

4. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg and milk. Brush the edges of the pastry with the egg mixture and then sprinkle with the remaining 1 teaspoon of sugar. Bake for about 25 minutes, until the pastry is golden brown and the figs are just tender. Serve warm or at room temperature, cut into generous wedges.

Basic Pastry

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup plus 3 tablespoons shortening
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/3 cup plus 1 to 3 tablespoons ice water
  • 1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar

(Makes pastry for two 9- or 10-inch pie shells or one double-crust 9-inch pie)

1. Place the flour and salt in a food processor and pulse to combine. Add the shortening and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Transfer to a medium bowl and set aside.

2. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg, 1/3 cup of the ice water, and the vinegar. Pour the egg mixture over the flour mixture and stir with a fork just until the dough comes together. If the dough is too dry, add more water, 1 tablespoon at a time.

3. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently into a ball. Divide the ball in half and flatten each piece into a disk about 1 inch thick. Wrap each disk in plastic and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, or up to 3 days; the dough can also be frozen for up to 6 months and defrosted overnight in the refrigerator prior to using.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Sometimes it would be nice to be French...

Could this outfit be any cuter? If only the jacket wasn't Max Mara.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

In Honor of Gourmet: Pear Butterscotch Pie

Having worked all day on law school related projects I decided to unwind with some red wine and a baking project. After flipping though my trusty cookbooks and coming up with nothing I turned to my stack of Gourmets. I've been avoiding them and the news of their departure from the newsstand. After all, what can really replace Gourmet? Sure, enough there behind the glossy September 2009 issue was the answer to my debate. Pear Butterscotch Pie. Why have I never thought of using pears instead of apples, what an obvious choice? I suppose that is why Ruth Reichl is an incredible editor and why I will miss her magazine so very much. I served my Pear Butterscotch Pie with Häagen-Dazs Dulce de Leche ice cream and it was everybit as good as it sounds.

Serves 8 Active Time 45 Minutes

3 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp grated nutmeg

1/8 tsp salt
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar

2 1/2 lb firm ripe Bartlett or Anjou Pears (about 5), peeled each cut into 6 wedges and cored (I have a slightly larger le creuset pie dish so I doubled the number of pears in the recipe and used 10)
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into bits

1 large egg beaten with 1 tbsp warm water
1 tbsp granulated sugar

Directions: 1) Put a baking sheet in the oven and preheat overn to 425F 2) Whisk together flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt then whisk in brown sugar breaking up any lumps. 3) Gently toss pears with brown sugar mix, lemon juice, and vanilla let stand for 15min to macerate fruit 4) Roll out 1 piece of dough (keep remaing disk chilled) on a lightly floured surface with a lightly floured rolling pun into 13 inch round. 5) Fit into a 9-inch pie plate. 6)Roll out remaining piece of dough into a 13-inch round. Reserve scraps. 7) Transfer filling into shell and dot with butter 8) Using a pasta cutter, cut dough into strips and arrange in a lattice pattern over the pie. 9) Lightly brush top crust with egg wash 10)Roll out dough scraps about 1/8 inch thick and cut out leaf shapes with cutters (or a knife). Arrange decoratively on top of pie, sprinkle the entire top of pie with granulated sugar 11) Bake pie on hot baking sheet 20 minutes. Reduce oven to 375 and bake until crust is golden and filling is bubbling, 40 to 45 minutes more 12) Cool to warm or room temperature, 2 to 3 hours 13) Serve with ice cream (dulce de leche)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

50 People 1 Question NYC

Great Question. Great Song. Thanks to Vimeo.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

burgundy makes you think naughty things, bordeaux makes you talk about them, champagne makes you do them..

The menu from tonight's wine pairing at the Old Village Post House with Patrick O'Byrne

Passed Hors'DOeuvres
Fried Squab Leg with an orange glaze
Cured Salmon on a toast point with cherry jalapeno gastrique
Served with Henriot Brut Souverain Champagne NV

First Course
Lobster Fennel Risotto
Served with Willian Fevre "Champs Foyaux" Chablis 2007

Second Course
Pan Seared Swordfish with curry lentils and tomatoes finished with an eggplant puree
Served with Prieure De Montezargues Rose Tavel 2006

Third Course
Oven Roasted Pigeon Breat with butternut squash brioche bread pudding and foie gras sauce
Served with Bouchard Gevrey Chambertin Burgundy 2004

Dessert Course
Milk Chocolate Mousse Cake with Raspberry Sauce
Served with Henriot Champagne Rose NV 

Jim Walker, Chief de cuisine
Patrick Emerson, Wine Director

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Quinoa-Stuffed Acorn Squash










This recipe was adapted from the October issue of More Magazine. I chose to serve it with grilled chicken but it easily could have been served on it's own with a big salad. Acorn squash is a personal favorite of mine but if you prefer any of the other varieties I'm sure they would work as well. The recipe is unusually sweet and nutty so it seems impossible that it only has 374 calories per serving with only 129 from fat. Enjoy!



  1. Preheat oven to 375. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. Cut the squash in half lengthwise, and scoop out the seeds. Brush the cut side of each squash with 1/2 teaspoon honey; place squash, cut side down, onto the baking sheet, and bake for 40 minutes, or until tender.
  2. Meanwhile, put the quinoa and 1 c water into a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and cover; cook until all the water is absorbed, about 10 to 15 minutes.
  3. In a dry medium-size skillet, toast the nuts over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, three to five minutes. Allow them to cool, then chop them.
  4. Heat the oil in the same skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion, and cook until is softened and beginning to brown, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic, and cook for 30 seconds more. Stir in the cumin, cinnamon and ginger. Remove the skillet from the heat, and stir in the lemon juice.
  5. Add the onion mixture to the cooked quinoa, stirring until well combined. Stir in the almonds, apricots, parsley and mint; season with salt and pepper. To serve, place a squash half on a serving plate then fill each piece of squash with one quarter of the quinoa mixture. Drizzle each with 1 teaspoon of honey, and serve.

Monday, October 19, 2009

My Grandmother's Breakfast Casserole

It is finally cold here in Charleston which makes me nostalgic for my favorite breakfast casserole. This isn't exactly healthy but it is delicious and hearty. I've gotten to enjoy it every Christmas morning for as long as I can remember. When I was a little girl it was my job to cut off the crust, now that I am older I generally make the whole thing. And an important note for all your health freaks out there, I know white bread is terrible for you but it is a key to this recipe (don't substitute wheat bread it won't be as good)

Nola Thompson’s Christmas Brunch Egg Casserole

12 slices of white bread (remove crust)

11/2 lbs of chopped ham
1 lb grated New York sharp cheddar cheese

6 more slices of white bread for top (remove crust)

Butter a 13 x 9 pyrex or corning ware pan. Line the bottom and about half way up the sides of the pan with the 12 slices of bread MIX together: 3 eggs 3 cups of milk ½ t dry mustard pinch salt dash of worcestershire sauce dash nutmeg Put grated cheese on bread that is in the pan. Add ham. Put 6 slices of bread on top. Pour liquid mixture overall. Refrigerate overnight.

Melt ¼ lb butter. Stir in 4-5 cups of corn flakes. Bake the casserole for 60-90 minutes at 300 degrees. Top the casserole with the corn flakes for the last 15 minutes of baking.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

When I can't make it to Waffle House...

With fall fast approaching here in the low country I am boning up on hearty recipes, this one is perfect. Normally I am a waffle girl but lately the simplicity of pancakes has been more appealing. A few weeks ago I made lemon poppy seed pancakes with blueberry compote-delicious! If anyone wants that recipe I'll be happy to post it. Adapted from EATMAKEREAD


2/3 cup plus 3 tablespoons all purpose flour
6 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons whole wheat flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoons ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground coriander
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Large pinch of ground white pepper
3/4 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons honey
1 large egg, separated
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted + more for cooking

caramelized apples
4 Tablespoons butter
4 Tablespoons sugar
2 apples, cut into 1/2 cubes



1 Whisk first 11 ingredients in large bowl to blend.
2 Whisk buttermilk, honey, and egg yolk in medium bowl to blend. Whisk buttermilk mixture into dry ingredients.
3 Stir in melted butter. Beat egg white in another medium bowl until stiff but not dry; fold into batter.
4 Add about half a Tablespoon of butter to a non-stick skillet over medium heat.
5 Pour 1/4 cup batter into pan and let cook about 3 minutes. Flip and cook for another 2 minutes or until golden. Repeat with remaining batter. (Can be made ahead. Let stand at room temperature up to 3 hours or cool completely, wrap in foil, and let stand at room temperature 1 day. Rewarm uncovered on rack on baking sheet in 350°F oven until crisp, about 5 minutes per side.)


1 Melt butter in large skillet over medium heat; sprinkle sugar over. Stir until sugar begins to melt, about 1 minute.
2 Add apples. Sauté until apples are brown and tender and juices form, about 15 minutes.
3 Spoon apples over pancakes and eat up!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Simply Red

Loving the hint of red in these rooms!

Monday, October 5, 2009

It is all about the details...

I think today's dreary weather is making me long for spring flowers and a bright cheery space! This one is quite lovely.

Congratulations Mammal

It is an exciting week for my friends Michael Miritello and Adam Lesser who just opened their own wood working shop, Brooklyn Mammal. Michael is the longtime boyfriend of my dear (and oldest friend) Susannah Tisue and quite the impressive woodworker. Focusing on using re-claimed wood and sustainable materials the duo will make pieces that are not only beautiful but earth friendly. You can read more about them at Sheepless Blog. A new Brooklyn based blog that strives to "engage a burgeoning breed of ‘activist entrepreneurs’— startups carving out a niche with businesses that put an altruistic mission first, whether environmental, social, educational, cultural, or community-driven. Provoke, celebrate, and cross-promote these individuals and small businesses with an online forum in which to share common ideals and successes, as well as support and resources."

Friday, October 2, 2009

Loving this tub...

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

It's Fall time for Apple Pie



  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 cup cold unsalted butter (2 sticks), cut into pieces
  • 1/3 cup ice water


  • 5 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and thickly sliced
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • Equipment: 9-inch aluminum pie pan, 1 medium-sized brown paper bag


*****I substituted brown sugar for white sugar and added 2 tablespoons of Apricot Jam and 1 package of Macadamia nuts *************

Make the Crust: In a food processor combine the flour, sugar, and salt. Add the butter and pulse until pea-sized pieces appear. Add the water and pulse briefly—it will still look crumbly. Transfer the crumbs to 2 pieces of parchment paper or foil and form into 2 disks. Wrap the discs with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

On a work surface lightly dusted with flour, roll out 1 disk to a circle about 1/8-inch thick. Keep rolling until the circle is at least 2 inches larger than your pan. Line the pie pan with the dough, letting the edge hang over a bit. Roll the second disk, place it on a sheet pan and chill it until you're ready to build your pie.

Arrange a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 375 degrees F.

Make the Filling: In a medium bowl, toss the apple slices, sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice, vanilla, cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg together. Transfer to the pie shell and dot with the butter. Brush the overhanging edges of the dough with water. Carefully cover with the rolled-out top crust and pinch the edges together, turning them under all around to make a thick edge. To decorate the rim, press it all around with the back of a fork, or just pinch it to seal. With a scissors, cut a few V-vents in the center.

Slide the pie into the brown paper bag and fold the top down. Staple bag shut and place it on a sheet pan. Bake for 1 hour.

Remove the pie from the oven and cut a large circle in top of the bag. Return to the oven and bake until the crust is golden brown, about 15 minutes more.

Let the pie cool at least 30 minutes before serving. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Loving this Tattoo

Masala Mac

After a rocky start to my Sunday (my car was towed) I decided to make some comfort food. I have been craving S'Mac's masala macaroni and cheese and just received the recipe. Seriously exciting as it is the BEST macaroni and cheese I have ever had!

Olive oil 2½ Tbsp. plus as needed
Small onions, diced 2
Plum tomatoes, diced 6
Ginger paste 1 Tbsp.
Ground coriander 3 tsp.
Cumin seeds 1 tsp.
Kosher salt 1 tsp. and to taste
Ground red chiles ½ tsp.
Turmeric ¼ tsp.
Whole milk 1¼ cups
Unsalted butter 1¼ Tbsp.
All-purpose flour 1¼ Tbsp.
American cheese, shredded 1 cup
Sharp Cheddar, shredded, divid 1¾ cup
Black pepper, freshly ground to taste
Cilantro, chopped ½ cup
Elbow macaroni, cooked 4 cups
Breadcrumbs ¼ cup


1. Heat olive oil in sauté pan over medium heat. Sauté onions until almost browned. Add tomatoes, ginger paste, coriander, cumin seeds, salt, ground chiles and turmeric. Reduce heat to medium-low; sauté 10 minutes. Remove from heat; reserve.
2. In saucepan over medium heat, heat milk to boil; remove from heat. 3. In another heavy-bottomed saucepan, melt butter over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low; whisk in flour and cook 3 to 4 minutes (be careful not to brown mixture). Slowly add hot milk, whisking constantly to ensure there are no lumps. 4. Add 1 cup each Cheddar and American cheeses; stir frequently until cheese is melted and sauce slightly thickened. Season to taste with salt and pepper. 5. Remove sauce from heat; stir in sautéed onion-and-tomato mixture and cilantro. Place pasta in large mixing bowl; toss lightly with a touch of olive oil. Pour cheese sauce over pasta; mix thoroughly. Transfer to baking dish. 6. Combine remaining Cheddar cheese with breadcrumbs; sprinkle atop macaroni. 7. Bake macaroni and cheese at 400F until golden and bubbly, 10 to 15 minutes.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Delicious Pasta Recipe

Whenever I don't have very much time to cook dinner (but I don't want to eat a frozen meal) I make this recipe. It is incredibly satisfying, the only problem? I have trouble not finishing the whole pot. 


  • 2 bunches broccoli rabe, stems trimmed
  • 1 pound orecchiette pasta
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound spicy italian sausage (casings removed)
  • 1 handful of sundried tomatoes 
  • 1/4 cup grated  fresh Parmesan
  • 2 tablespoons artichoke pesto


Cook the broccoli rabe in a large pot of boiling salted water until crisp tender, about 1 minute. Transfer the broccoli rabe to a large bowl of ice water to cool, saving the cooking water. Bring the reserved cooking water back to a boil.

Heat the oil in a heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add the sausage and cook, breaking it up into pieces with a spoon, until browned and juices form, about 12 minutes. 

Meanwhile, when the reserved cooking water is boiling, add the orecchiette and cook until al dente, tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes.

Strain the broccoli rabe and add it to the pan with the sausage mixture and toss to coat with the juices. Add the pasta to the skillet. Add in the remaining ingredients. Stir in the Parmesan and serve immediately.

Monday, September 14, 2009

On a happy note, COOKIES!

  • 1 cup butter flavored shortening
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons Mexican vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups milk chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease cookie sheets.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter flavored shortening, brown sugar and white sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well with each addition, then stir in the vanilla .Combine the flour, baking soda and salt; gradually stir into the creamed mixture. Finally, fold in the chocolate chips. Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto the prepared cookie sheets.
  3. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven, until light brown. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely

Guardian Ad Litem

Tonight was my first night of Guardian Ad Litem training and what a night it was. For those of you who don't know the mission of Guardian Ad Litem is to provide a volunteer advocate for every child who is the subject of an abuse and neglect proceeding in South Carolina. All of the statistics were astounding, I had no idea that there are 860,000 children that enter into the foster system each year in this country and 5 children that die everyday from abuse and neglect. It seems impossible, and it is heartbreaking. 

The story that most moved me though was about a nine year old young boy who was living in the woods with his mother and her boyfriend of the week. When DSS finally located the family and removed the young man from his home he was placed in temporary housing. His guardian came to visit him after 2 days and 1 night.  She noticed that his tennis shoes had holes and that his toes were peaking through the end of his sneakers. She told the young boy that she would like to take him to get a new pair of shoes. The young man politely replied that it wouldn't be necessary. She said, "but son it is part of my job I can get you a new pair of shoes since yours have holes." He replied sweetly "No Ma'am that is OK, last night I got to take a real shower, and then when I got out I had clean pajamas and a real bed to sleep in, I've got everything I need." 

Pretty incredible huh? It made me think about all the things I take for granted. Needless to say I'm feeling particularly blessed tonight.

Great quote.

" I would like to beg well as I can to have patience with everything unresolved in your hear and try to to the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don't search for the answers, which would not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future you will gradually without even noticing it live your way into an answer. "

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The Fountainhead

As a person that has always enjoyed reading immensely it is very difficult to pick a favorite author or for that matter a favorite book. That being said The Fountainhead is always at the top of my long list. Ayn Rand may be a little nutty and I found Atlas Shrugged (her more critically acclaimed book) to be long winded but her depiction of Howard Roark as the ideal man has always resonated with my idealistic spirit. Having found out some time ago that she was involved romantically with Frank Lloyd Wright I've often wondered if he served as character inspiration. My friend Lucy who is in the auction business actually owns Wright's rendering of a home he designed for Ayn Rand. Quite the romantic gesture, it's a shame it was never built. 

The Extraordinary Lea Redmond

I don't know about you, but sometimes I feel completely uninspired in the kitchen. Normally a new cookbook or a tour of my favorite cooking blog cures the lack of excitement, but what about this clever set of dice? Another brilliant idea from the lovely Lea Redmond. Available for purchase at leafcutterdesigns

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


Renting an apartment through Haven in Paris would be lovely. I'd like to enjoy some macarons on this quaint little patio overlooking a Paris sunset. 

Stumbling Across an Old Favorite...

I don't love you as if you were the salt-rose, topaz 
or arrow of carnations that propagate fire: 
I love you as certain dark things are loved, 
secretly, between the shadow and the soul.

I love you as the plant that doesn't bloom and carries 
hidden within itself the light of those flowers, 
and thanks to your love, darkly in my body 
lives the dense fragrance that rises from the earth.

I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where, 
I love you simply, without problems or pride: 
I love you in this way because I don't know any other way of loving

but this, in which there is no I or you, 
so intimate that your hand upon my chest is my hand, 
so intimate that when I fall asleep it is your eyes that close.

-Pablo Neruda

Ratatouille Tart and Cold Melon Soup

Not only are these two recipes healthy and delicious they are also beautiful, seriously consider making one the next time you have company coming over for dinner. I also found that the Ratatouille Tart would make a good brunch item. 

Ratatouille Tart

adapted from 
Cuisine at Home
August 2009

Dough (recipe follows)

1 yellow squash
1 large zucchini
1 red bell pepper
1/4 red onion
3/4 c shredded firm chevre (goat cheese)
2 Tbs thinly sliced fresh basil
1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper

For the dough: Pulse 1 1/2 c all purpose flour and 1/2 tsp each of table salt and black pepper in
a food processor. Add 6 Tbs of cold, diced unsalted butter and 3 Tbs cold diced shortening; pulse
until pieces of butter and shortening are the size of peas. Add 3 Tbs ice water; pulse to combine.
Shape dough into a flat disk. Chill for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Roll dough to a thickness of 1/4 inch. Fit dough into a 9-inch tart pan. Press dough into edges and trim excess. Cover dough with foil and fill with dried beans. Bake until crust feels dry, about 25 minutes. Remove foil and beans and bake shell for another 5 minutes, until light brown. Let crust cool to room temperature.

Using a mandoline, or the slicer blade of a food processor, slice squash, zucchini, and bell pepper into rounds, and the onion into half-rounds. Sprinkle chevre and basil over the bottom of the tart shell. Arrange vegetables around the edge of the shell, repeatedly overlapping two slices of squash, two slices of zucchini, a slice of bell pepper, and three slices of onion (or whatever combination you wish). Arrange a smaller circle inside the first. Use squash slices to cover the center.

Drizzle tart with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Bake until tart is golden brown around the edges, about 35 minutes.

Melon Soup

Melon soup usually is associated with Thailand, although it's also popular in Bali and on other Indonesian islands. Light coconut milk lowers the fat content of this version and keeps the soup from separating.

Makes 4 servings (about 7 cups)
Total time: 30 minutes

For the Soup:
3 cups diced seedless watermelon
3 cups diced cantaloupe
3 cups honeydew melon
1 can light coconut milk (14 oz)
1/4 cup fresh lime juice (about 2 limes)
2 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp chopped fresh gingerroot
1-2 tsp siracha or chili garlic sauce
Kosher salt and black pepper to taste

Blend sliced melon, coconut milk, 1/4 cup lime juice, sugar and gingerroot for soup in a blender until smooth, working in batches if necessary. Transfer soup to a large bowl.

Whisk siracha into soup until combined; season to taste.

Fabulous Idea for Charity

One of my favorite blogs Sea of Shoes posted this a while back, how inspirational: 

"My mom showed me this sofa in Australian Vogue Living a while back, and we both thought it would be a great idea to copy. How easy would it be to buy some old furniture, have it redone in canvas, give some kids some sharpies and let them go crazy on it?My mom and I both quickly realized this project's potential to be a very fun way to raise money for many different charities. We immediately got in touch with my aunt, Sidney Aldridge, a pediatritian at Cook Children's Hospital here in Fort Worth, Texas. Dr. Sidney Aldridge initiated the idea that Cook Children's Hospital was in need of a Palliative Care program at the hospital, and now that this program is well under-way, Sidney is very involved with it's fundraising.We were not aware of what exactly a Palliative Care program was at first, so here is Dr. Sidney Aldridge to tell you in her own words...
There are now many little patients who are living longer and better because of our advances in medical technology  but they do live with very complicated medical problems, and many will unfortunately still die at a young age. As you can imagine, this is a very difficult journey for these little children and their families.
A new specialty has emerged in Pediatrics to help these most special patients called Palliative Care. The Palliative Care team would like to provide support for a family at the initial diagnosis, then all along the course of that child's life, and finally, help the family prepare for their child's death.
    The Palliative Care team helps the child with symptom and pain relief, and also provides much needed psychological and spiritual support for the child, their siblings and parents during these very difficult times. The team consists of physicians, nurses, social workers, child life specialists, psychologists, and spiritual leaders, such as ministers, priests, and rabbis. The Palliative Care team wants to help a little child live as well as possible for as long as possible, and then help make the end of that child's life be as pain-free and peaceful as possible.
As you can imagine, it takes very special people to be able to practice Palliative Care.  This kind of treatment requires hours and hours with each patient and family, and is not adequately funded by insurance companies.  We rely on wonderful charity organizations such as the Careity Foundation here in Ft Worth to provide this much needed care.  The Careity Foundation has an amazing charity event, a Western-themed Gala called "Branded" here every August to raise money for our new Palliative Care program here at Cook Childrens Medical Center, and they have provided us with immeasurable support.
The project got more exciting for us when we were invited to the hospital to bring our chair to the kids.The chair will now be auctioned off at the annual Branded event. 
For more information, visit their website. "