Monthly Archives: November 2012

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Smoky Pepperjack Potato Soup

I know, I know. This is another “smoky” soup that owes it’s flavor to smoked paprika. What can I say? That shit is awesome and I just can’t get enough of it. I intend to make regular old soups, but then remember that everything is better after you’ve added smoked paprika. I have spice jars in my cabinet that have remained full for over 5 years, but I’m on my 3 bottle of smoked paprika this year alone. Let’s just say, I wouldn’t be upset if Santa put some in my stocking.

Speaking of spices – I cleaned out my spice cabinet this week and threw away anything that I knew had been there for too long. The determining factor was if I could remember having bought the spice in college, and I’m not going to say how long ago that was but it’s enough time to make me feel old. And to want to throw those spices out stat. I’m struggling to remember why I bought cumin seeds (the bottle is so full it’s almost overflowing), and I also cannot comprehend why I have 2 bottles of ground ginger and 3 bottles of curry powder.

Until I can figure out what to do with all that ginger & curry, please enjoy this soup from the Smoked Paprika files.

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Happy Post-Thanksgiving

I’ve missed you all these past few days! Did you miss me? Here’s a run-down of what’s been happening:

2 days before Thanksgiving: My friends and I opt to stay in and watch a movie as opposed to going out. Mainly because we fear our sexiness would cause a riot at the bar.

1 day before Thanksgiving: Prep for the big day. Sweet potato casserole and classic stuffing that I found here. My only note on the stuffing: double the amount of eggs and broth. It was a touch dry, but otherwise perfect.

Thanksgiving Day: this is actually what it takes to get the turkey from the oven to the counter. I’m sure there are S.W.A.T. team maneuvers that are less intense and involve less yelling.

Another Thanksgiving Day moment. I shall call it, “What I’m thankful for.”

1 day after Thanksgiving: Leftover stuffing + poached egg = the perfect breakfast.

Weekend after Thanksgiving: I do anything to avoid packing, including playing video games I had forgotten about since middle school.*

Today: I’m about to hit the “Publish” button, and then it’s back to the packing grind. Siiiiigggggghhhhhhh….

*I totally know that if you duck Mario down right there you can go get a whistle to a far away land. Like a boss.

Maple & Sage Sweet Potato Casserole

Alright people, listen up. I know that last week I wrote about a “lower calorie” option for Thanksgiving, but today I’m not messing around. This is a real butter, full-fat, you-only-eat-once-a-year kind of recipe. Skip breakfast, spend an extra hour at the gym, whatever you need to do, cause this one is worth it. I made this casserole for my first Thanksgiving while writing for A Cozy Kitchen, and I’m still in love with it. It has all the comfort of your standard sweet potato casserole, with the added layer of sage that really sings with each and every bite. This is undoubtedly a dish that my kids are going to be eating each year at our holiday meals.

However, I must be honest and admit that every year Chase and I have a debate on one aspect of this recipe. The potato filling is a done deal. Do not tweak, do not second-guess the proportions, do not pass Go, do not collect $200. Got it? Now, when it comes to the topping, I prefer a simple mixture of nuts tossed with maple syrup and butter, but Chase is always pushing me for marshmallows. I KNOW, he’s one of those.  I calmly tell him that the person who makes the dish gets to make the final decision, and I refuse to give up control of this dish. Perhaps one year he’ll finally talk me into it, but this year you’ll still be seeing the standard nuts over the creamy potatoes. As for you – as long as you use real butter, I’m good with anything else you want to choose.

I hope you give this recipe a try, and I also hope your holiday is filled with good food, family, friends and magical times. Thanks for reading. xoxo

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Smashed Turnips with Sage and Crispy Fried Shallots

I’m realizing that Chase and I might have a carbs problem when it comes to Thanksgiving. Well, I guess it was pretty obvious after I went over the list of items that we volunteered to bring for our friend’s pot luck:

1) Sweet potatoes
2) Stuffing
3) Mac & Cheese
4) Pie

…and I’m the vegetarian of the group, ya’ll. Just think of what everyone else will be bringing to the table (literally!). I doubt there are going to be many fresh veggie items, or anything not covered in butter and/or gravy.

So I went rooting (pun!) around for a recipe that would still have all the comfort of carbs but perhaps a little less guilt. These smashed turnips hit the spot. I wouldn’t say they taste just like mashed potatoes, but they are every bit as comforting and delicious. The crispy fried shallots added just the right amount of crunch and spiced up the flavor even more. If you’re looking for a tasty way to get a little more root vegetable in your life (and who isn’t??), here is your answer! Hey, turnips are fun!!

Side note if you don’t care about calories – those crispy fried shallots are awesome all by themselves. I mean, you can kiss being good with your diet good-bye, but I wouldn’t turn down a bowl of those to snack on. Just sayin…

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The Joy of Packing

I am five days into packing for our move and it has already proven to be less fun than I thought, and I had set expectation pretty dang low. My plan to begin packing a month before our move was intended to spread out the process and hopefully ease the stress, but I’m beginning to suspect I just extended my misery.

Day 1 – Went into a shredding frenzy in an effort to clean my desk and get rid of old papers that had been piling up, only to later realize that I had shredded my most recent paycheck. Have since sworn off the shredder altogether and am clinging to every receipt, post-it and junk mail that I find. This is how hoarding starts.

Day 2 – Became overwhelmed from random items and how and/or whether or not to organize them. Do I set aside every stray battery in an effort to pack them together, or do I pack each one as I go to keep the clutter out from under my feet? Do I throw out every random pen or is that just a waste of money? Is it better to pack all Halloween items together or can I separate out a pirate sword because it’s long and would require me to put everything in a bigger box, thus forcing me to mix Halloween items with non-Halloween items? Is there a packing etiquette book I can go buy, because I’m pretty sure I’m doing it all wrong?

Day 3 -Went on a search for bubble wrap we saved from our last move, which of course we packed away at the very back of our garage. I’m sure our intentions in putting the bubble wrap behind every other item we own had a purpose originally, but after we scrounged through boxes for an hour I wanted to punch our younger selves for not leaving it in a more convenient location. Really, how terrible would it really have been to have a box of bubble wrap sitting in our living room the past four years?

Day 4 – Chase hung out with some friends and apparently mentioned that I had packed a DVD he wanted to watch, and then my friend made the mistake of repeating this information back to me. However, Chase was quick to vehemently deny ever saying such a thing, obviously realizing it was best not to anger the person who has been doing the packing while he escapes to work each day. Smart boy.

Day 5 – Realized I packed a computer cable in a box that I still needed. Was forced to open the box and re-tape it back. Felt like screaming, “Why God?!? Why?!?!”

Pray for me, friends. I’ll be back later with more news from the trenches.

Sweet Potato Pierogis with Herb Butter Sauce

I am never one to get excited about winter coming. Usually, cold weather makes me mourn the loss of warm evenings and flowy sundresses. Maybe it’s because this summer was especially long and hot, or maybe it’s just because I’m a little older and more excited about saying good-bye to clothing that doesn’t hide the fact I’ve been neglecting the gym, but this year, winter couldn’t come fast enough. Sayonara bikinis! Heeelllloooooo hoodies!!!

These pierogis are everything that fall and winter are supposed to be about. Spring and summer are for fresh fruits, garden vegetables and slimming down to be in a bathing suit. Winter is meant to be filled with steamy, comforting, stick-to-your-ribs meals that can be enjoyed on the couch underneath a warm, baggy sweater. Mashed sweet potatoes stuffed in doughy little dumplings and tossed in butter? Yes please!

I first published this recipe on A Cozy Kitchen under the title of “raviolis” since that was what Giada, from whom* I stole the dough recipe, called them. Even then, I thought that ravioli wasn’t the best name given their doughy texture and dumpling-like shape, but it wasn’t until I finally had tried some pieorgis that I found a name that much more accurately described the dish. So…voila! I changed the name, but absolutely nothing else about the recipe, because that part was perfect as it was. I’m a freakin’ genius, clearly. If you need me to solve any more major world problems, please check my living room. For the next few months I’ll most likely be on my couch in some shapeless hoodie with a bowl of steaming winter food.

*Is that the proper use of whom?? Seriously, this is the one grammar lesson that just never sticks to me, which means I select “who” and “whom” by whatever “sounds right” to me, which is probably as effective as using a dart board. **

** Sorry, this had absolutely nothing to do with the recipe and just makes me seem less educated. Please disregard altogether.

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Happy Wednesday

I saw this arrangement in the lobby of the Beverly Wilshire hotel and am still entranced by it. I’ve felt intimidated to try my own flower arranging at home, but apparently all you need is a lot of one beautiful color. The more you know…

There are few things that make me happier than a new pair of jeans. Three pairs of jeans, that I justified purchasing due to the 20% discount that GAP gave to voters yesterday, have me dancing around like the prettiest pretty princess. Screw tulle and sequins, all I need is boot cut denim.

A yummy snack that my sister insisted I try and now I am STRONGLY insisting you try it. Just roast some red seedless grapes in a little bit of olive oil until they burst, and then spoon over ricotta cheese on crostini. Simple. Awesome.

Regardless of how you feel about last night’s election results, at least we can all be thrilled that it’s over, am I right?? Also, I will send a cookie to anyone who can tell me what all those languages are on my sticker.

The most bittersweet part of my week: The packing has officially started. I have absolutely no idea what kind of wine Josh Cellars sells, but true to form liquor stores are still one of the best places to get boxes. I expect the moving company to just assume we’re some big ol’ lushes, which might not be far from the truth once we get further into this moving/packing situation.

Have a good week everyone, I’ll be over here trying to take deep breaths.