Rewind

Life has changed over the last few months. I left my job at the brewery and am now at a nonprofit, working in the field of disability rights. I’m finding more and more time to cook, and now that spring is (somewhat) underway, am getting excited about all the cooking projects with fresh produce. Winter in Boston can be a drag sometimes.

birthday cake

I’ve found it difficult to get the motivation to write a blog post, and I believe it stems from the fact that I dove in too quickly. I was all like “oh man I’m gonna create the best blog ever and it will be perfect and amazing and and and” without really thinking it through and taking it slow. Kinda like my life, not gonna lie. A rewind seems to be in order. Not start over, but take it back a few steps. Start with the basics and then expand. It’s how you should approach learning how to cook, though truth be told, I learned a lot by jumping feet first in to a project, completely messing it up, and then figuring out what I should have done in the first place. There is a lot to learn by doing that, by making those mistakes.

So, what to expect? You can’t cook if you don’t have the right tools, so I’ll do a post on cooking implements that it would be good to have. Friends that are learning to cook will text me and ask what they need to get started. How many and what kinds of pots and pans? Do you need a whisk? Bowls? Measuring cups? Things that seem obvious, but can seem daunting or confusing if you are just learning. Or things that you don’t think of, and then realize your life would have been easier if you had that one thing.

Then I’ll go from there. I find posts on tips & tricks to be so important in learning how to do something. It takes some of the guess work out. Of course, I can’t do every tips post now, but will post a few important ones that come up again and again. And again and again and again.

biscuits

My photography is slowly improving, so of course expect to see recipes per usual. (Saying this for the zero people that read my blog, haha). If there is anything you want to see, do let me know.

The cake in the top photo is from my birthday, which was last Sunday. It was my first layer cake, and it was damn good if I do say so myself. The buttermilk biscuits were a last minute decision for a potluck at a friend’s house. Pretty tasty.

Don’t worry, I’m still alive!

Well, it certainly has been quite a while. I started a new job, and that is where most of my time and energy have gone. That, and I realized I need to focus more on taking better photos, and planning this here blog out.

I wanted to take a moment on International Women’s Day to recognize women in cooking whom I greatly respect, and whose recipes I use quite often. In no particular order, these women are aces:

  1. Deb Perleman of Smitten Kitchen. She’s one of the more popular food bloggers out there. Anytime I mention one of her recipes to a friend, I can barely get “Smitten Kitchen” out of my mouth before someone finishes the word for me. She’s the go to for easy, good food that looks amazing. I aspire to her photography ability.
  2. Elise of Simply Recipes. She was one of the first food bloggers I started following. Her recipes are easy, and amazing. Check out her banana bread; you won’t be sorry.
  3. Marisa from Food in Jars. I learned all I know about canning from following her website. Her instructions are easy to follow, and I love, love, love her flavor combinations.

Visit their blogs and check out some of their recipes. And I promise I’ll be back soon with more postings!

Spinach + rice frittata

This is the first weekend I’ve been home in 3 weeks, and I’m off to NYC again next weekend. I’ve mainly been cooking easy pasta dishes (pesto, anyone?) after work, and haven’t been spending much time being creative. Today I had leftover rice from when we got Thai the other night (if you are in the Cambridge/Watertown area, I highly recommend Cha Yen Thai Cookery for amazing Thai) as well as some spinach that was nearing it’s expiration date.

What to do? Make a frittata, of course.

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Fall means applesauce

One of the best parts of living in New England is the plethora of apple orchards. I can’t imagine not including apple picking as one of the main fall activities. It’s such a fun, relaxing time,  and is perfect for all ages. We usually go to Carver Hill Orchards in Stow to pick apples and have cider donuts. It’s small and quiet, and far superior to it’s larger kid-focused neighbors.

Not an apple tree
Not an apple tree

I generally only make it to an orchard once a season, which is a real shame. It always seems that fall will last way longer than it does, but the days just go by so fast lately. So, this is me saying to get out there now and go apple picking. Or romp through the fallen leaves. Or take a short hike to see the foliage. It’s the best time of the year, and deserves to be enjoyed in all its splendor.

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The best Mac & Cheese ever

I love Mac and Cheese. Like seriously love it. Growing up I ate an insane amount of Kraft Mac & Cheese. It was pretty much the only thing I knew how to make. I loved that orange goodness. Since then, I’ve learned to make my own mac & cheese. I still have the Kraft once every year or two, but making my own has become my preferred method. It’s so easy, and can be ready in just a few minutes. Perfect for post work dinner.

What set this recipe apart from the others I’ve used is the addition of an alpine style cheese. The nuttiness of the cheese was the perfect compliment to the cheddar I always use. It really  brought the whole dish together, and elevated it from “this mac and cheese is pretty great” to “holy hell that is amazing”.

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Ultra small batch plum jam

Apologies on the lack of postings lately. In addition to work being nuts, I broke my finger, so typing & cooking have been rather difficult. I’m just now getting back in to the swing of things.

When I was a kid, I hated jam. The thought of a peanut butter AND jelly sandwich made me run the other way. Just peanut butter, thank you. I believe I was teased mercilessly for this. And rightfully so.

At some point in time I decided to give jam a chance, and I admit to being wrong all those years. Good jam is, well, good. It’s perfect for a PB&J, on toast or an english muffin, but jam also works as an ice  cream topper, in cocktails, and various other things.

Plums

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Daiquiris? Daiquiris.

Even though I work at a brewery, I love a good cocktail. I find them to be an incredibly creative outlet – easy to make, and you can change up the flavors every time. One of my friends got me a shaker top that fits on a mason jar (get one at The Boston Shaker), and it changed my cocktail game. Actually, it made it exist in the first place, because it’s really hard to make a cocktail without a shaker.

The makings of a daiquiri

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Zucchini Fettuccine Alfredo

Summer = zucchini. There’s nothing better than fresh zucchini. Every year I buy a few plants from a local farm and grow as much zucchini as I can. This year has been my highest yield ever – something like 6 zucchini to date, which is actually rather pitiful. The bee population has dropped off dramatically in recent years, and it’s seriously affecting my zucchini plants. I end up self pollinating them (yup, it’s a thing), and if I forget to do it I end up with a ton of dead zucchini on the vine.

Processed with VSCO with g3 preset

But the zucchini that I do get is incredibly tasty, and well worth the effort. Since I had a few on hand, I decided to make a pasta dish. Some quick googling lead me to the Creamy Zucchini Fettuccine post on The Kitchn.

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