Pink Peppercorn Bread Dipping Oil

My incredibly generous manfriend, Handsome Greg, treated me and Mom to an epic shopping spree at Kitchen Window for Christmas. My loot included 3/4 of the ingredients of a complex, delicious bread dipping oil: a fruity extra virgin olive oil, pink peppercorns, and smoked sea salt. I added a few leaves of fresh thyme, and served it for Greg’s birthday dinner.

Pink Peppercorn Bread Dipping Oil
The surprisingly fruity bite of the peppercorns was carried gently down to earth by the tender thyme leaves and robust, earthy smoked sea salt flakes. We sopped up the oil with chewy, warm ciabatta bread, alongside Greg’s favorite pepperoni-stuffed chicken breasts, angel hair pasta scampi, a killer salad with cambozola and hibiscus pearls, and classic molten chocolate cakes.

Pepperoni Stuffed Chicken and Pasta Scampi

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Refried Bean Crostini

My blog is having a mid-life crisis. I’m a little concerned that my blog may get a flashy, new template, buy a convertible, and start dating a much younger blog.

See, when I first began sharing recipes from my tiny galley kitchen, I imagined my recipes would feature ingredients like fiddlehead ferns, duck confit, persimmon, and dry vermouth (Vermouth?! You can’t HANdle vermouth!).

Beans on Toast

And here I am, two and a half years later, blogging about refried beans on toast and wondering, what happened? Well, the truth is, a tasty, satisfying lunch that never fails to remind me of my most memorable summer happened.

Beans on Toasts

The summer before my junior year of high school I went on a service trip to a tiny village outside of Mexico City. Each morning we traveled in the back of a pick-up truck along the side of a mountain to our work site. After a few hours of labor, that same pick-up returned with our lunch – a tray full of crusty rolls smeared with refried beans, topped with a slice of American cheese. And it might’ve been the heat, or the hard-earned hunger, or perhaps it’s my fuzzy memory, but I’m pretty sure those simple sandwiches were better than all the fiddlehead ferns and duck confit in the world.

And so, in a fit of gooey nostalgia, I recreated my favorite culinary memory. I toasted split club rolls and topped them with a generous dollop of refried beans dressed up with prepared salsa and cumin. A thin slice of pepper jack cheese melted over top sealed the deal.

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Buffalo Chicken Calzones

Forgive me, foodies, for I have slacked off. It has been 26 days since I last posted a new recipe. I’m not Catholic, so that’s as far as I’m willing to take the confession metaphor.

All kidding aside, I’ve just been really overwhelmed by life outside the kitchen lately. Between my job, writing a new show, and keeping Handsome Greg and Professor Meowington happy, I’m swamped. The thought of creating a unique recipe accompanied by a clever tale makes me want to cry into my apron.

And so, in the interest of keeping my blog alive (while exerting the VERY least amount of effort) I’m sharing an entirely unoriginal and frankly lazy-ass recipe. It’s easy, tasty, and a little bit embarrassing.

I am sorry for these and all the sins of my kitchen.


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Top Ten Recipes of 2012

Happy Holidays, imaginary internet friends! And congratulations on surviving the end of the world. Now I’m off to Barnes and Noble to demand a refund for my Mayan wall calendar. Wish me luck!

In the meantime, I hope you’ll take another look at the 10 most popular recipes I shared this year.

S’mores Fried Ice Cream with Chipotle Chocolate Sauce

 

Asparagus Lasagna Slice

Asparagus Lasagna with Pancetta, Goat Cheese, and Lemon

 

Baked Churros with Cinnamon Ice Cream and Dulce de Leche

 

Loaded Baked Potato Grilled Cheese Sandwich

 

Cinnamon Roll Grilled Cheese Sandwich

 

Oatmeal Cream Pies

Homemade Oatmeal Cream Pies

 

Cookies and Milk

Toffee Cashew Cookies

 

pie crust crackers

Chicken Pot Pie Soup with Pie Crust Crackers

 

Jalapeno Popper Grilled Cheese Sandwich

And the most popular recipe of 2012:

Pepperoni Stuffed Chicken

Pepperoni Stuffed Chicken Breasts

Here’s to a delicious (and gooey) new year!

Balsamic Strawberry Crostini with Goat Cheese and Basil

When I left my apartment this morning, a chilly wind mussed the yellow-green-red-orange leaves in the trees while it whipped my almost-dry hair into snarled submission. As I squinted into the crisp, blue sky, I thought—

Crap. I can’t do this. I’m still not ready to write about autumn. Sorry, folks.

Today’s recipe features the juicy, tart strawberries I loved all summer. There’s really nothing fall-like about it. The chewy toasts topped with goat cheese, basil, and summer berries macerated in sweet balsamic vinegar are a perfect appetizer for your next dinner party. In July.

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Lamb Burgers with Capicola and Cucumber-Goat Cheese Spread

I think I may be in danger.

For the past four days, I’ve been shooting my mouth off about how much I despise the Minnesota State Fair, and I fear the devoted fair-goers may turn up at my door with pronto pup-topped pitchforks and propane torches.

But I just can’t seem to help myself. Sweet cracker sandwiches, how I hate the fair. I hate the hokey state fair news coverage, and the ubiquitous on-a-stick jokes, and the questionable odors perfuming the air near the farm building, and the huge lines for rickety rides, and most of all, the mobs of people who invade my neighborhood for 10 days each August, taking every last parking space, along with the very last deep fried morsel of my patience and good will.

I’ve become the summertime Grinch.

While my fellow Minnesotans are enjoying the Great Minnesota Sweat Together, I grumpily hibernate in my apartment, leaving only to fight my way to work and back through streets filled with meandering jaywalkers, pushing strollers and dragging over-sized stuffed animals.

And forget about having company! I wouldn’t dream of asking my guests to brave the crowds and fight for parking during the fair. So it’s a good thing I hosted my summer picnic, starring Greek-inspired lamb burgers well before the vendor trucks and fair-goers descended upon my street.

The burgers were encrusted in garlic, oregano, kosher salt and red pepper flakes before I seared them to a juicy medium rare. Then I topped the burgers with spicy capicola and nestled them in chewy, soft ciabatta rolls dressed in a tzatziki-inspired goat cheese and cucumber spread.

I’m fairly certain my heart grew three sizes that day.

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Blueberry Lemon Mini Scones

I’m a sucker for miniature food.

Bite-sized morsels taste better, somehow, and these mini-scones are no exception.


The recipe is remarkably similar to my cranberry orange scone recipe, but these are improved by, well, tininess.

If captioned cat photos on the internet were edible, they’d taste like blueberry lemon mini scones.

They’re just so cute. I want to hug them with my teeth.

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