• 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!

    If you have anything you'd like me to consider (recipes to develop, shortcuts for recipes, great ingredients, or even blog formatting), shoot me an email and let me know!


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Pizza with White Bean-Rosemary Puree, Bacon, Broccoli Rabe, Tomatoes, Onions, and Parmesan

I love making pizza for a quick meal. Now, normally, some people think of “pizza as a quick meal” as picking up the phone, ordering, and waiting with $20 by the front door. But since I love making bread doughs and freezing them in individual portions until I need them, pizza is a great thing to make when I need a fast dinner. I just take the dough out of the freezer (put it into the fridge) on my way into work, and when I come home, I have dough ready to go. I can fish through the fridge and use whatever meat, veggies, and herbs I have on hand. For this version I made a quick puree of white beans and herbs from the garden (I just love the white beans – so rich and creamy, makes a great sauce substitution for this pizza).

Best of all, the warm, bubbly, cheesy result is incredibly satisfying – like I’d spent hours waiting for it to come to fruition (or to the front door). But the whole thing is done in minutes. All in all – the ideal meal: portioned for one (especially convenient as Matt hates pizza), uses up leftovers, and is done super fast. Hmm. Maybe I’ll go make another one.

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Butterscotch Madelines

I wanted to send a care package home for my family for their upcoming birthday celebration. Looking through my recipe log, I wasn’t sure what to make, until I stumbled across a recipe on a fellow blogger’s site. It promised a moist, dense cake with incredible butterscotch flavor. Turns out, it was absolutely true! This is one of the best cakes I’ve made in a long time – so simple, very few ingredients, and fantastic flavor. It will be a long-time, go-to favorite.

Whole Wheat Pasta with Spicy Sundried Tomato and Basil Pesto and Shaved Parmesan

I have been super busy this week – baking things to send in a care package home and a very exciting interview (more on both of these later)! At any rate, last night I came home and had about 1/2 hour to squeeze in cooking and eating my dinner. A simple pasta with pesto from the garden and good parmesan was just the ticket – light, fresh, and super quick. And on to the next task!

Glazed Beef Spare Ribs with Sweet and Spicy Cucumbers

So after eating massive quantities of pork due to my impulse purchase of a 6# shoulder, we figured we’d keep it light for the next few days. That is, until we saw an incredible rack of beef spare ribs at the market on a wicked special. Naturally, we couldn’t resist. Yes, I was aware as I walked out of the store that I probably didn’t need to eat more meat for dinner. Did I care? No.

While Matt was at work, I rubbed the ribs down with some spices. Then before I put them in the oven, I glazed them with a glaze of vinegar, tomatoes, sriracha, and more spices. After they were rubbed and glazed, I put the ribs in the oven for about 2 hours at a low temperature. You could also grill them (yum) or leave them in the oven for up to four hours, which will leave the meat melt-in-your mouth and falling off of the bone.

Pulled Pork Sandwiches with Collard Greens

Round two of pork shoulder mania! (Or was it round three…) In my impatience and stubbornness about always trying new things, I felt like we’d been eating pork for dinner weeks. In actuality, it had been two days…and each meal was so different even I hadn’t gotten bored! The spicy souvlaki was delicious and completely different than the deliciously saucy pulled pork sandwiches we had the other night. Served with some delicious collard greens, this was a wonderful meal, that tasted like it had taken hours!

And the Winner is…

It’s August 22nd, so it’s time to announce the winner of my A Tavola! giveaway! Thanks to everyone for leaving comments – you all gave such great quick, easy meal suggestions that I’m sorry to pick just one!

Luckily, the random number generator has to do the hard work for me:

True Random Number GeneratorMin: 1Max: 28 Result: 10 Powered by RANDOM.ORG

Congratulations to commenter #10, who said:

Congrats on 100 posts! Ooh, I would love to win. I fascinated with traditional Italian cooking. My favorite go-to easy meal is my Mexican Lasagna. Just brown some ground beef, then drain. Add in a packet of taco seasoning and the required amount of water, then simmer for about 5 minutes. Spray the bottom of a casserole dish with non-stick spray. Lay in a flour tortilla. Smear the tortilla with a layer of refried beans. Then lay out a layer of black beans. Top with some of the meat mixture, then shredded cheese. Repeat the process until meat is gone, and top with cheese. Bake at 350 degrees F for about 25 minutes. Serve with sour cream, black olives, jalapenos, salsa, anything you want!

hayatiggs at comcast dot net

Thanks a lot, Harley! Please send me your mailing information – em570039@mycia.net and I will send you your copy of A Tavola!

Souvlaki with Tzatziki and Toasted Pita

Above all else, I love a good bargain. So when I saw a pile of pork shoulders in the butcher case at my favorite market (for just over $1/lb!!!) I couldn’t resist. I dug through the pile (yes…gross) until I hit the bottom (where I found pig’s ears and feet as well – I passed). The smallest shoulder I could find was six pounds. So I carted my huge shoulder to the checkout. The cashier said something I hear a lot at that store: “What are you gonna make with THAT?” and that’s when I have to start thinking about it myself.

If you read anything about my recent journey across Eastern Europe, you’ll know that Matt and I ate our fair share of kebabs. Ever since, I’ve been struggling with the idea of trying to create something similar to surprise him with. A recent experience with souvlaki reminded me how easy it was to put those flavors together for an easy and delicious meal. Plus, I began using some of the massive amount of pig I had sitting in my fridge.

I made a quick dry rub with garlic powder, paprika, cumin, coriander, and a little bit of cayenne. Matt cut the fat off of the top of the shoulder, and we applied the dry rub all over the meat, and covered it with the fat. We roasted it in a low oven (275 degrees) for 3-4 hours, until it was tender and juicy. Then, you can use it for almost anything…like this souvlaki! (You could also use pork ribs…they would shred similarly, taste great, but take a lot less time to cook.)