• 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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    em570039@mycia.net

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Pasta with Leeks, Peas, Parmesan, and an Egg

This dish almost tasted like carbonara, because of the egg on top. I love dishes like this because they are simple, delicious, and cooked all in one pot. Pasta is also great, of course, for just cooking for one person.

You may have noticed that I usually use whole wheat pasta or pasta made from farro or quinoa (that’s why it always looks sort of darker than your average pasta in my photographs). That’s a personal preference, but of course any and all of these dishes would be just as delicious (if not more so) with regular or flavored pastas.

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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!).

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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Ingredient Spotlight: Pasta

Pasta is a great food for the apartment kitchen. Even though Matt doesn’t like it as much (I know, right? Doesn’t seem possible…), I find myself whipping it up in all sorts of situations. Why? Well, there’s the obvious – it’s fast, easy, and cheap. But there’s also the fact that you can do almost anything to it. I like to toss it warm into spinach or arugula salads. Top it with all kinds of sauce. Or finish it with tons of veggies and a fried egg for something different. Spicy, tangy, acidic, salty, meaty, or even just as a component in a totally different dish – pasta is a great thing to have on hand. And on a day like today (Christmas shopping after a snowy day), coming home to a quick dinner of hot pasta was just the ticket.

Green Chile Mac and Cheese

This year, I did something I have not done in four years. I went home for Thanksgiving. And in three weeks, I’ll be home again for Christmas. While this makes me happier than I can truly express, it also made me a little nervous. When I go home, I tend to treat it like a big, delicious, vacation. So I attempted to prepare myself by eating healthier in the weeks up to heading home for the first time.

Key word, attempted.

Normally, I don’t have too much trouble eating well the majority of the time, allowing for the occasional ridiculous extravaganza of eating. This was just that – an incredibly ridiculous, outrageous, definitely not good for you (but so, so, so, SO good) dish: green chile mac and cheese. The only thing I’d change next time is reduce the cream and increase the cheese. I think this will boost the green chile flavor and make this totally out of this world. Now, the recipe list may seem long, but it’s not complicated. If it still stresses you, make the green chile cream ahead of time. It will hold, refrigerated for a couple days.

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!

 

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.