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Ingredients:

2 slices of your favorite bread
1 slice provolone
2 tbsp feta
1/2 avocado
1/2 cup spinach
1 tsp balsamic
1 tsp olive oil

Directions:

1. Place provolone and spinach on one slice and avocado and feta on the other. Drizzle balsamic over feta.

2. Put slices together and brush the outside of the bread with olive oil.

3.  Grease medium pan with non-stick cooking spray and set burner to medium high. Cook and flip over until both sides are golden brown.

Adapted from Tastespotting

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I sing when I eat sometimes. Not ashamed. It is OK to express yourself.  Patrick once danced with his cupcake to “Let’s Stay Together” at a wedding, and I can only assume it was a really really good cupcake.

Much like the super weird proclamation by Tracy Morgan of 30 Rock, I sang this to my sandwich:

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This is the most addicting snack. Get your favorite jam and the sharpest cheddar you can find (or afford: 7-year cheddar is outrageous), and stack it on a salty buttery cracker.  This goes perfectly with white wine or blond beer.

Have a great weekend!

 

The French Gimlet

January 24th, 2013

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Is anyone else yearning for summer today? Yesterday it was 8 degrees. Eight. Rather than face the harsh realities of Rochester in January, I decided to be in denial and pretend it was summer for an hour.  Denial activities included:

1. Wearing shorts (for five minutes- denial did not extend itself to looking down at my pasty stems). Pants back on.
2. Listening to summer-y music (see below)
3. Drinking this gloriously refreshing cocktail

Serves 2

Ingredients:

3 oz. Gin
1.5 oz. St. Germain
1.5 oz. club soda or water
1 oz. lime juice

Combine all ingredients and shake with ice.  Strain into a cocktail glass (I used my grandmother’s antique champagne glasses that I’m completely in love with)

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Homemade Chinese Takeout

January 21st, 2013

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Last Thursday I had the biggest craving for sesame chicken.  Rather than order 2 pounds of chicken (with dark, grayish meat.. ew), eating it in it’s entirety, then be sluggish and useless for the rest of the day, I decided to make my own.

Recently I discovered Wegmans chicken breast strips are all white meat and low-cal. These were perfect for my healthier chinese food creations.

Serves: 2

INGREDIENTS:

6 breaded white meat chicken tenders
2 cups white rice, cooked
1 cup broccoli florets, steamed (for sesame chicken)

Sweet and Sour Sauce:
1/2 cup white sugar
4 tbsp ketchup
1/3 cup white vinegar
1 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp garlic salt

Sesame Sauce:
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup sesame oil
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tsp honey
1/2 tsp garlic powder
3 tbsp sesame seeds
a pinch of ginger and cinnamon

DIRECTIONS:

Sweet and Sour Chicken:

1.  Combine all ingredients for sweet and sour sauce in small bowl. Mix well and refrigerate for one hour.

2. Pre-heat oven. Line baking sheet with aluminum foil and top with chicken tenders.  Let bake for however long your time instructions provide, but take out 10 minutes early.  Pour a generous amount of sauce over each chicken tender and put in the oven for 5 minutes.  Flip tenders over and pour sauce on the other side then put back in the oven for the remaining 5 minutes.

3.  Let cool for a few minutes, then cut tenders into 2″ pieces. Spoon over rice, add a little more sauce if you’d like, and serve!

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Sesame Chicken:

1. Preheat oven. Combine all ingredients for sesame sauce in a small bowl. No need to refrigerate.

2. Line baking sheet with aluminum foil and top with chicken tenders.  Let bake for however long your time instructions provide, but take out 6 minutes early.  Pour a generous amount of sauce over each chicken tender and put in the oven for 3 minutes.  Flip tenders over and pour sauce on the other side then put back in the oven for the remaining 3 minutes.

3.  Let cool then cut tenders into 2″ pieces.  Mix in a bowl with steamed broccoli add a little more sauce to ensure that broccoli is lightly coated.  Spoon sesame chicken and broccoli over rice and serve.

 

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It’s possible to make them both at the same time as long as you take into account the final detail: adding the sesame sauce a little later than the sweet and sour.  I’m not sure why, maybe it’s the brown sugar, but the sesame sauce will burn and blacken if in the oven too long.  These were both DELICIOUS and satisfied my takeout craving.  Can’t wait to make this again!

Sauces adapted from here and here 

 

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I’m starting a new segment on Fridays called cheese o’ clock. What is cheese o’clock you ask? or rather when?  Cheese o’clock is that time of day between lunch and dinner, that 6-8 hour stretch one goes between meals. Depending on the day of the week, it can range between 4 and 7pm and it is vital to those of us who get extra sassy when hungry.

Cheese o’ clock #1:

A mound of Boursin herbed cheese, chilled
2-3 tbsp minced sun-dried tomatoes (if not already soaked in oil, add a tsp of olive oil)
Best with bruschetta toasts, Melba snacks, or bagel chips

P.S. I bought these sun-dried tomatoes and put them in the food processor for 10 seconds.  They were too tough (textural-y speaking) to chop efficiently so if you can find them pre-minced or if you own a food processor, you are golden. Otherwise, it’s like dicing oil-slicked prunes.

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Blueberry Lemon Ginger Smoothie

January 15th, 2013

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I’ve been drinking smoothies a lot these days, hoping it’ll shorten my lingering cold. Also, I associate smoothies with fitness, so I’m hoping that drinking these will create an involuntary trigger in my head to go running or something.  So far it has worked 50% of the time- a big improvement from the former 0%.

Anyway, this one is my favorite.  It’s sweet with a little zing-blam-pow of ginger and lemon!

Serves: 2

 Ingredients:

1 cup frozen blueberries
1/2 cup plain nonfat yogurt
1/2 cup milk (I use 1% milk)
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp agave nectar
1 tsp ground ginger

Add all ingredients to blender and pulse until smooth.

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something good

pear apple gingercrisp

January 10th, 2013

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I combined a classic apple crisp with the pear cranberry gingersnap crumble I made last year. It is a perfect 50/50 of the crisp cousins and of the warm, gooey greatness that they share.  As my friend Christine would say, it’s the amalgamation of my dreams.

Ingredients:

Filling:
5 large apples , peeled and sliced
5 anjou pears, peeled and sliced
1 cup cranberries
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 cup white sugar
2 tbsp flour
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Crumble:
1 cup flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup gingersnap crumbs (about 8 store bought cookies)
1 stick butter, melted

Directions:

1. Preheat oven 350 degrees

2. Crush gingersnap cookies using whatever you have available. Stir together the flour, brown sugar,  oats, and gingersnap crumbs. Stir in the melted butter until evenly mixed.  Set aside.

3. In a 2 quart baking dish, mix the pears, cranberries, lemon juice,and vanilla. In a small bowl, whisk the sugar and cornstarch together then toss it with the fruit mixture in a 13x9x2 pan.

4. Sprinkle the gingersnap crumble over the fruit. Bake it for about 45 minutes. Let cool for 10.

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Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup

January 8th, 2013

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Last weekend Patrick and I went to see the Book of Mormon on Broadway. It was our Christmas present to each other. We were already SO excited to see this play and in addition, his brother’s girlfriend Fia offered to get us an upgrade to artist seating. eep! It was a wonderful weekend and now it’s time to nurse the terrible colds we’ve had over the past week. Damn you Januaryyy.

Ingredients:

  • 4 teaspoons olive oil
  • 8 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, cut into small chunks
  • 1 medium onion, diced (about 1 cup)*
  • 2 stalks celery, diced (about 3/4 cup)*
  • 1 medium carrot, diced (about 3/4 cup)*
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
  • 6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup orzo (preferably whole wheat)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • Freshly ground black pepper and salt to taste

*OR 2 ½ cups of mirepoix pre-diced from the supermarket

Directions:

  1. Heat 2 teaspoons of the oil in a soup pot over medium-high heat. Season the chicken with the salt, add it to the pot, and cook, stirring, a few times, until just cooked through, about 5 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a dish and set aside.
  2. Add the remaining 2 teaspoons oil to the pot. Add the onion, celery, carrot, and thyme and cook, stirring, over medium-high heat until the vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes. Add 5 cups of the broth and bring to a boil. Add the orzo and let simmer until tender, about 8 minutes. Turn the heat down to low to keep the soup hot but not boiling.
  3. Warm the remaining 1 cup broth in a small saucepan until it is hot but not boiling. In a medium bowl, beat the eggs. Gradually whisk the lemon juice into the eggs. Then gradually add the hot broth to the egg-lemon mixture, whisking all the while. Add the mixture to the soup, stirring well until the soup is thickened. Do not let the soup come to a boil. Add the cooked chicken to the soup. Season with salt and pepper and serve.

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Recipe Source: Laura’s Sweet Spot

 

boyfriend birthday budino

January 3rd, 2013

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Today is my boyfriend Patrick’s birthday and to celebrate I made his favorite dessert of all time: budino.  Budino is a sweet, rich Italian pudding. I found a recipe in Bon Appetit, but added almonds and used caramel syrup instead of making the sauce. Okay here we go:

Salted Caramel Budino with Caramel Syrup and Almonds

Serves: 6-8

Ingredients:

3 cups whole milk, divided
1/4 cup cornstarch
3/4 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
5 large egg yolks
3 tbsp unsalted butter
2 tsp dark rum
1 tsp salt
caramel syrup
whole almonds

Directions:

Whisk 1/2 cup milk and cornstarch in a small bowl; set aside. Heat remaining 2 1/2 cups milk in a small saucepan just to a simmer; set aside. At the same time, stir sugar and 3/4 cup water in a heavy saucepan over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Increase heat; cook without stirring for 3 minutes then lower heat-this makes the caramel!

Whisk egg yolks in a large saucepan. Gradually whisk in hot milk, then cornstarch mixture. Slowly whisk in caramel. Return mixture to the stovetop. Whisk constantly over medium heat until mixture thickens about 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat; whisk in butter, rum, and salt.

Pour 3/4 cup budino in each jar. Cover; chill until set, 4–5 hours.  Right before serving, add 1 ounce of caramel syrup to each jar then top with almonds and a dash of salt. Enjoy!

Adapted from here

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Happy Birthday Patrick :) Love you