• erin

    Dumplings with my family
    A recent graduate of The Culinary Institute of America, I found myself with no money, no kitchen equipment, and an exceptionally huge appetite. Ideas, improvisations, and yummy meal solutions were discovered in the kitchen of my very first apartment.
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    I've been getting a lot of requests and suggestions for the apartment kitchen. I LOVE these suggestions, keep them coming!

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Steak with Mustard and Red Wine Sauce, Roasted Parmesan Potatoes, and Zucchini and Portobello Saute

As I’ve said many times before, I love a good steak. One of the reasons I love it is because of the simplicity of it. With a good steak, all you have to do is cook it and you’re done. You don’t need anything extra or fancy. It’s just that good.

Nevertheless, when my friend Terri said she’d been craving a steak, we both thought it might be fun to step it up a notch. We thought of the warm flavors we appreciate so much in the winter, and since it’s nearly gone (YES!) we thought we’d pay it one last tribute before switching over to crisper, sunnier sauces and sidedishes.

A warm, smooth mustard sauce was just the ticket. We deepened its flavor with herbs and red wine, and it was perfect – just enough to compliment the steak without drowning out the meat’s own natural flavor. With some piping hot potatoes and a zucchini-mushroom sauté, we were in food heaven.

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Herb Crusted Pork Chops with Balsamic Onions

Today was exhausting – I woke up incredibly tired, worked late, and still managed to fit in a workout. At any rate, when I got home I didn’t want my dinner to be exhausting. Nothing that took extensive prep time or (perhaps most of all) lots of clean up. I turned to something basic – pork chops – jazzed up with a crisp herb crust and sweet balsamic onions.

Serve your finished pork chops with something simple – we made rice (cook it with chicken or vegetable broth instead of water to boost the flavor) and a peppery arugula salad with goat cheese. The whole meal was incredibly fast, and clean up was a snap, but best of all it was warm and deliciously satisfying.

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Seared Sea Scallops with Edamame Salad and Puree

While standing at the seafood counter this weekend, I decided that having satisfied my craving for shrimp, I should indulge in some sea scallops as well. They’re so wonderful when cooked properly – smooth, almost creamy in texture. A wonderful thing about seafood is that you can transform it’s flavor by the items you pair with it. I got this idea from an old Martha Stewart Living recipe, placing scallops on top of an equally silky edamame puree. The combination seemed divine.

And it was. With a little bit of crispness in texture from the edamame and red pepper salad, this dish has it all, and was prepared in under 20 minutes. The key is, cook the scallops until lightly browned and firm to the touch – any longer and they’ll be overdone, and shorter and they will still be raw. Season everything really well and you’ll be in heaven with this dish. It definitely seems like one that took hours to make (I won’t tell if you won’t).



Curried Pasta with Shrimp, Snap Peas, and Shiitake Mushrooms

I love the cling of a good sauce. The way it just perfectly, but lightly coats a noodle or provides a soft, smooth base for a piece of protein. And, of course, the flavor. A good sauce has built layers of flavor that accentuate everything else on the plate. That’s a lot of responsibility for something that is often forgotten in the background of a dish.

This simple, but incredibly tasty curry sauce has great cling – thick, but smooth in texture. It has amazing flavor – a little spicy, a little creamy, a little tart. And it’s just pretty damn good. Especially when tossed with tender rice noodles and hot shrimp. Mmm…dinner is served!


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Steak Banh Mi

A good sandwich is everything. It has it all – bread, meat, delicious fatty components like cheese, avocado, or mayonnaise, and all sorts of toppings. The best thing about a sandwich is the variety – flavors and textures coming together in one neat handheld package.

Alright, so perhaps I needn’t wax quite so poetically about this amazing food, but I am not the first to proclaim this particular sandwich as the next big thing. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, it is all about the banh mi – the most perfect sandwich I have discovered thus far. The components can vary to your tastes – roast pork, meatballs, or, as in this case, steak. But the basic toppings are the same – crisp quick pickles, fresh cilantro, basil, and mint, spicy jalapenos, and creamy aioli – all offset by deliciously crusty French bread. This is street food at it’s best, but in your own kitchen, it’s easy to say it is sandwich making at it’s best.

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Spinach and Artichoke Stuffed Portobello Caps with Snap Pea and Sundried Tomato Salad

After hosting a few vegetarian visitors, I was struck with the idea of making myself a meatless supper. I also love roaming the produce aisles at the local grocery store and just picking out what looks good. It allows to me to pick the freshest, best products and come up with a way to use them. It also enables me to make just enough for myself by buying just what I need for one meal, making this the perfect weeknight supper when I eat alone.  Best of all, it takes about 15-20 minutes to prepare!

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Double Chocolate Cupcakes with Milk Chocolate Caramel Frosting

When company is on it’s way, I love to bake. Normally, I busy myself with savory treats, because neither Matt or I have much of a sweet tooth. That, and we would probably eat it all if it laid around the house too long. So when I had a group of friends heading up this weekend, I figured it was time to whip out the spatulas, pastry bags, and, of course, chocolate.

That was the only request from my guests. When I asked what I should make, the answer was just: “Something with chocolate!” So I brought out an old favorite recipe. These cupcakes are thick, moist, and chewy like a good brownie. Spotted with chocolate chunks, they have a double chocolate edge. The frosting is a whipped ganache infused with the flavor of carmel – it is light and airy while still packed with amazing chocolate flavor. It’s a really unique frosting recipe that is simple to make and can really transform any cake!

If this isn’t enough chocolate, I don’t know what is!

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