• 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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Bacon and Tomato Mac and Cheese

Driving in the car yesterday, trying to decide what to make for dinner, an interesting question was posed by my mother. In an effort to use up some leftovers, she suggested a sort of taco bowl for dinner, and I had suggested mac and cheese. Since we couldn’t decide, we just had to make both. Yes, both. Yes…I am sort of ashamed. But not so ashamed that I won’t share the recipe for this very successful mac and cheese with you.

My apologies for such a horrible picture, it certainly does not do it justice. But I pumped up the flavor of this mac and cheese with bacon and some canned tomatoes (we used my mom’s canned tomatoes from her garden so it was extra delicious). Onions, garlic, and lots of cheese were the finishing touch on this, dare I say, jaMAZING dinner.

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Baby Arugula Salad with Bacon, Boursin, Poached Eggs, and Cider Vinaigrette

To me, a good salad is all about the greens. When we scored some amazing baby arugula at the farmer’s market this week, there was no doubt we were going to do a simple, classic salad that amplified the arugula’s natural, peppery flavor. The same salad would be delicious with other components, but I love the warmth of the egg and the way the yolk oozes into the dressing making it extra rich and delicious.

Spinach Salad with Roasted Mushrooms and Bacon Wrapped Figs

This was one of the most delicious dinners I’ve had recently, and definitely the most satisfying salad in ages. Freshness from spinach, earthiness and meatyness from mushrooms, richness from bacon, and sweetness from the figs. It’s just a few simple ingredients, three simple steps, and…what’s that? I had you at bacon? Well, on to the recipe, then.

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Individual Sweet Potato Gratins with Creme Fraiche, Onions, and Bacon

One of my co-workers sent me an email about a fantastic new website, called Food52. Food 52 is the ultimate food fight, where cooks all around are battling it out in weekly recipe contests. Two contests a week for a full year, and 52 weeks later the website will produce a cookbook with the winning recipes.

I had to give it a try, because I love being inspired by challenges. The best part about Food52, is that they are sending out really generic titles in the hopes of stirring up the best ideas out there. And boy, have there been some amazing ideas. I love this savory plum tart which won for “Best Fruit Tart”.

This week’s challenges: Best Potato Gratin and Best Apple Cake. Since Matt is a general carbophobe (meaning he just doesn’t usually eat too many of them. I know, I didn’t know that existed, either), I stuck with his favorite: sweet potatoes. Combined with bacon, onions, a creamy bechamel, and a touch of creme fraiche, it won best gratin to date in our household. A great dish for fall, to boot.

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Roasted Squash Salad with Bitter Greens, Seckel Pears, and Warm Bacon Vinaigrette

Tonight’s dinner started out simple: three beautiful kinds of squash from the market, some gorgeous and perfectly ripe seckel pears (those little baby ones that are so wonderful), and some in-season greens. Add some bacon to tie it all together (because that’s what bacon does) and I had a gorgeous, hearty, and extremely delicious salad. Ok, ok, so it’s not the prettiest thing I’ve made recently. But it tasted exactly as I wanted it to: it tasted like fall.

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Ravioli with Roasted Chanterelles, Garlic, and Bacon with Pepadew Peppers

I scored some gorgeous chanterelle mushrooms from the storeroom this weekend. I felt like I’d been eating a lot of pasta recently, but I couldn’t help but think of making some fresh pasta that I could fill with the mushrooms. I roasted them with garlic, onions, and bacon and then sauteed the finished ravioli in butter with sweet peppadew peppers. The whole process would be easier with a pasta machine – but it is possible to do it with a rolling pin and some brute strength! I love making oversized raviolis that can hold a lot of filling – and they look so great on the plate.

Pretty Freakin Awesome Pasta Carbonara

The weather is giving me a taste of my favorite season – fall. Cooler temperatures are one thing, but I love the way the air is crisp in the fall. When you breathe in, you can feel the air glide down your throat. The air smells like biting into an apple, and faintly like wood stoves being lit somewhere far away.

To celebrate, I whipped up a batch of pasta carbonara. I heaped it into a huge mug and sat on the porch eating it and watching it steam. Pasta. Eggs. Bacon. Really, how could you go wrong? But with some parsley from my garden, it still seemed fresh – like a last taste of summer.