• 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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Stovetop Braised Shortribs

Chilly? Try a stovetop braise. Matt and I made this on a Sunday afternoon. Get it started, and then just let it simmer until it’s done the way you like it. We drank beer and watched movies while it bubbled away on the stove. You can see in the photograph that it was literally fall off the bone – I couldn’t keep it together from the pot to the bowl in time to take a photo! This is a basic recipe, so it has room for plenty of changes, or it’s just plain good on it’s own.


Butternut Squash Wheatberry Risotto

I’ve always loved whole grains. Don’t get me wrong, I love my fluffy white rice and all varieties of baked goods made with regular flour, but I’ve always had a thing for the nutty, chewy, hearty flavor of whole grains like farro, barley, and wheatberries. So a few years ago I started making “risotto style” dishes with other grains. For fall, nothing could be a better fit. Add other veggies or herbs to suit your whim, and this would be even better with a sprinkling of toasted pecans or almonds. Yum!

Garlicky Stir Friend Brussels Sprouts with Soy and Szechuan Peppercorns

Matt loves brussels sprouts. I mean loves them. There have been times when it seems he likes them even more than (gasp!) meat. Ok, ok not as much as meat…but it’s close. And as much as I love Matt, I couldn’t bear to keep making brussels sprouts the same old way. So this creation, while not typical, was a welcome one at our dinner table last week.

Mudslide Cookies

Sometimes I forget about the goodies available at the CIA. But when Shelly’s parents came to visit this weekend, I was reminded about one of the best treats to be found in those hallowed halls. The CIA has long been known for their Mudslide Cookie – a super chocolatey, oooey gooey cookie that people love, love, love. So when there was only one cookie left at the cafe, I promised them I could whip up some more at home.

It could be that it’s slightly crisp on the outside, and soft on the inside. It could be the crunchy nuts and melted chocolate chunks. It could be that it has 10 times as much chocolate as it has flour. Yea…that’s probably it.

Shortcut Tortellini Filled with Ricotta, Roasted Peppers, and Leeks

I saw this idea a few years ago in the blogosphere, and I sort of snubbed it. But I had a craving for fresh pasta (meaning, more than anything, I wanted to make a tasty filling), and I had some wonton wrappers (I usually find them in the refrigerated section at my store) around for making dumplings earlier in the week, so I gave it a shot. It was tasty and easy. It’s no replacement for fresh, homemade egg pasta BUT it’s a lot easier and a great solution for those without a pasta machine. Best of all, you can get creative with your fillings and get amazing results – fast.

And since this filling was delightfully pink, I wanted to take this opportunity to ask anyone and everyone out there to take some time to donate to a great cause. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and it’s a great time to support a great cause that’s very close to my heart. Even if all you do is make this delicious ravioli for someone you love in your life!


Calzones with Ricotta, Spinach, Mushrooms, and Caramelized Onions

A meal like this calzone is a great excuse to use what you’ve got in the fridge. In my case, that’s usually the things I love most: veggies, cheese, herbs…all of which made their way into this calzone. You could mix up the filling anyway you like (shredded meat doused in a little sauce makes a delicious dinner…think the filling for these tacos).

It takes an understanding of your oven to best understand how to bake these, particularly because they are on the larger side. Feel free to use a pizza stone if you have one. If you find that the bottom is browning too quickly, double up on your baking sheets. If the top needs help browning, use the broiler. Since the filling is cooked before hand, it’s most important to make sure that the crust is baked and crispy!

Avocado Salad with Arepas

I had been craving avocados. They’re so versatile, but I always find this simple salad really lets them shine. You can add other ingredients if you like: roasted chiles, black beans, queso fresco, and so on. I don’t have ingredient amounts for the arepas – just add water until the mixture forms a dough. Top the arepas with a bit of the salad, and any avocado craving is satisfied.