• 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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Roasted Tomato Soup

A bit of a bug put me in the mood for soup. I immediately thought of tomato soup – I love it and generally only make it in the summer when the tomatoes are the ripest. But it sounded so good, I thought I would try it with good quality canned tomatoes and roast them to boost their flavor. I used olive oil for richness and balsamic to bring out their sweetness and acidity, and was really happy with the results. After I made, I ran around my house with a spoon forcing everyone to taste. What did I discover? No one (no one) in my house likes tomato soup, leaving me with the whole pot to myself! (Oh yea)

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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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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.

Horseradish Crusted Steak Sandwich with Arugula and Crispy Shallots

My roommate loves horseradish. I know this, but still haven’t given in to any of her requests to do something about it. But when she suggested a horseradish steak sandwich – my mouth was watering. I love me some steak, and combined with a slightly spicy horseradish crust, some fresh, peppery arugula, and some deliciously fried shallots – I knew I had a recipe the whole house was going to love.

Brown Sugar Apple Upside Down Cake with Apple Cider Caramel and Spiced Walnuts

The other weekly challenge over at Food52 was for Apple Cake. Living in the Hudson Valley means some of the best selection and variety of apples I have ever seen. I love the orchards this time of year, and the farm stands, and the smell of cinnamon, spices, and sweet appley goodness coming out in all it’s best forms, including cider (cider doughnuts – a love of mine that will have to be addressed another day). Anyway, I feel like cider is a great way to amp up the flavor of an apple cake, so I smothered my apple upside down cake with apple cider caramel and served it warm. Yum yum.

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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Warm Salad of Arugula, Tomatoes, Fava Beans, Shallots, Sausage, Mozzarella, and Whole Wheat Pasta

Pasta is something I don’t make too often…which is a shame because it is such an ideal dish for the apartment kitchen! Fast, simple, and you can really use whatever you have. On the rare occasions that I do make pasta, I usually plan it out pretty carefully: what flavors I want to use, what ingredients will go together, etc. but you don’t have to! Toss together whatever is in the fridge and eat it warm or cold!

This is one of my favorite things to do with pasta – use it as an element in a leafy green salad. It’s not pasta with arugula, it’s arugula with pasta. This makes it a little healthier but also puts the emphasis on the veggies and other toppings which is really the most exciting part of pasta, isn’t it? My favorite part is how the warm pasta gently wilts the greens making it the ultimate warm, delicious, and slightly unexpected dinner. Dressed with a little red wine vinegar, it couldn’t be simpler.