• 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!

    em570039@mycia.net

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    Check out my food journeys at An Appetite for Adventure!
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Balsamic Glazed Spaghetti with Mushrooms and Spinach

This was a fifteen minute dinner from start to finish – the perfect kind. I love the addition of balsamic vinegar to pasta, it’s sweet and thick and makes an almost instant “sauce”. I added mushrooms for earthiness and spinach to make it hearty, but you could easily add other vegetables, or some kind of meat (bacon would be awesome!).

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Cornbread

A super-cold weekend made me want to make a big pot of chili. And since I couldn’t just make chili (I’m a classic over-achiever and can’t resist surprising Matt with something extra), I made this very easy cornbread. No mixer required, and only 8 ingredients needed. It has a very light flavor (a little sweet, with a good texture) that makes it the perfect accompaniment to chili.

This Month’s Packed Lunch

One of the fabulous suggestions I’ve received for the blog was from my brother’s girlfriend, Brenda. She said she hates taking boring lunches to work but can’t think of new and exciting things to take. Also, she doesn’t want to spend too much time doing it. The solution? A new monthly segment called “This Month’s Packed Lunch”! Each month, I’ll give you new ideas of things to liven up your lunch, whether you take it to work, school, or are planning a picnic and need something tasty.

The first lunch couldn’t be simpler, but seems sort of out of the ordinary. This sandwich tastes really good cold, making it ideal for just tossing together and taking with you in the morning. It’s made with sausage, which sure beats you average turkey or ham sandwich. The relish I made yesterday is the perfect complement, and I added some pepperoncinis (one of my favorites) to add some acidity and a slight kick. I always say the best sandwiches are simple, and this one has it all: amazing texture from the bread, a great spread (which keeps the bread from becoming overly soggy while it sits), and just a little bit of spice. If you don’t like spicy foods, a good, garlicky pickle would be a good replacement.

Onion Relish

For a sandwich I was making (post coming soon), I made this super easy but unbelievably flavorful onion relish. I suppose technically it might be more like a chutney or a compote, but the acidity and texture reminded me of a relish, and it made such an amazing spread on my sandwich. The best part is, you can make a batch and keep it in your fridge for use in all kinds of dishes: sandwiches, burgers, salads, snacks (on top of a cracker with a little bit of cheese), and so on.

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Spicy Rice and Beans

A few times I like to cook and eat vegetarian. Ok, so more than sometimes. So basically, multiple times a week, I turn to Matt and say “cook whatever meat you want that goes with this.” The man is a major carnivore, but it does not stop me from my tasty plotting. I started craving rice and beans this week – warm and hearty and perfect in cold weather. When I got home from work, I went for a walk with the dog and the roommates, came home, and had dinner on the table in less than half an hour. A perfect night.

Creamy Red Quinoa

I’ve loved quinoa since the first time I tasted it. I knew it was this super healthy whole grain sold only in health food stores (i.e. not exactly a reason to get super excited). But from first bite I was hooked. The texture is amazing – like tiny pieces of popcorn, and the flavor is perfect – slightly nutty but still mild enough to take on any flavors you add to it. I kept this dish simple by adding lots of garlic and onions and cooking it in chicken broth. Using broth instead of water makes incredibly buttery tasting grains. To give it a bit of creaminess, I added a little bit of Greek yogurt, which made it almost decadent. And in the spirit of the New Year, it couldn’t be more good for you. Yum yum.

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Spiced Corn Soup with Sauteed Mushrooms

At the risk of sounding like a typical New Year’s Resolution maker, I am trying to eat healthier in 2010. Those of you who know me know I try to eat healthy at least most of the time (which makes it much easier and better when I go on a butter eating rampage). At any rate, as I often talk about, it’s easiest to make healthy food that’s delicious by working with it, rather than against it. It’s hard to make something healthy that inherently has a lot of cream or cheese or anything else in it – you’ll miss all that stuff too much if you eliminate it completely.

Corn is full of delicious starches, and in this pureed soup, it turns into a creamy, incredibly tasty soup. Combined with spicy peppers and savory sauteed mushrooms, it is unbelievably good (and also unbelievably healthy).

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