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I had something of a wheat thin addiction in college.  For an entire summer, I am fairly certain I went to the grocery store almost exclusively for those yellow boxes and, well, beer.  I’m not proud.  But, for the record, we did throw at least a few backyard barbecues and I remember making a fresh salsa (wondering how the heck one removed the little leaves of cilantro from the stems) and helping my friend Louie make ribs (on a industrial size charcoal grill he’d “borrowed” from his fraternity).  But, back to the wheat thins.

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After college, I became intrigued by all the letters on those wheat thin boxes.  And I’m not talking about n-a-b-i-s-c-o.  I’m talking about the quadruple-plus-syllabled-words in the ingredients list.  I investigated, became icked out and quit wheat thins cold turkey.  I miss those salty, crunchy little squares more than I care to admit.

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I have a go-to savory biscotti recipe and you’ll just have to believe that I’ve been feeling bad for quite some time that I haven’t told you about it yet. But, it’d been blogged about elsewhere and, well, I never got around to it. But I can more than make up for it with these delightful biscotti, which are also savory and happen to be loaded with aged gouda and studded with bits of walnuts. After one batch, they have displaced my previous go-to and I can tell already that they’ll grace many book club meetings and cocktail parties in my future.

They are compact and crunchy and golden, which is to say nothing of their incredible flavor: full, warm and toasted. The flavor was awfully comforting and hauntingly familiar and, after thoughtfully munching on more biscotti than I care to share, I finally put my finger on what they reminded me of. Cheez-its. And I mean that in the very best way possible. It’s also the first biscotti recipe I’ve seen that calls for yeast—an addition I initially questioned, but ultimately praised once I tried the crisp exterior and softer middle that it created. But all this said, I could hardly care less about this recipe right now. And I’ll tell you why …

(Click “more” for the rest of the story, more photos & the recipe.)

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Fall, Through and Through

September 19, 2008

When I first discovered food blogs last fall (Where had I been! Oh, the years and years I lost), I felt like I’d found an entire long-lost limb of my family tree. My people. And they were out there in the Internets, just waiting for me. I promptly started devouring a few favorites, voraciously working my way through archives and eagerly awaiting the arrival of new posts in my Google Reader. Best of all, I felt inspired to cook and bake the recipes I was reading about—even more inspired than I am by magazine articles, cookbooks and TV shows (which is really saying something). One of the first blog recipes I made was this one: a Butternut Squash & Caramelized Onion Galette, created by Smitten Kitchen‘s Deb (who happened to be on Martha Stewart this week!).


I made the galette last fall when my parents were in Chicago to visit my sister, Kevin and me. It was a perfect fall weekend—brilliant blue skies, a warm breeze, sunlight twinkling off the trees’ golden, orange-y fronds. Best of all my family was all together and they were indulging me by letting me cook for them one of the nights. I made this tart as our appetizer. The recipe was so easy to follow, so fun to make, so gorgeous to gaze at, and so completely delicious to eat, I immediately declared it a keeper and myself an official Smitten Kitchen fan. And it’s around that time that I started toying around with the idea of creating a food blog myself.

(Click “more” for the rest of the story, more photos & the recipe.)

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That Time of Year

August 21, 2008

I know, I know. It was tomatoes yesterday and it’s tomatoes again today. But, it is August after all. And today’s recipe is actually quite different from yesterday’s. Instead of the über-simple slice-and-salt method at the heart of yesterday’s sandwich, this recipe requires some elbow grease. But, trust me, it’s worth it. Here’s how it works. First, take a gaggle of romas (bonus points for multiple colors) and halve them. Using a melon baller (or a grapefruit spoon or regular old spoon) scoop out the insides and gently tap out any excess liquid in the tomato:

But, don’t forget to save those insides! Roast them up in a baking dish with a drizzle of olive oil, some salt and red pepper flakes. Pour the whole melty result into a blender or food processor and whir until you’ve got yourself a very tasty marinara. I speak from experience.

(Click “more” for the rest of the story, more photos & the recipe.)

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I Don’t Deep Fry

August 1, 2008

The weekend before the Exam That Shall Not be Mentioned Again, I maybekindasorta kicked Kevin out.  He’d been looking for a good time to take a trip to D.C., where we lived for two years after college, to visit our friend Seth and I more-than-gently suggested that weekend.  But before you start to feel sorry for him (he’s a very sympathetic figure, that one … especially when his wife is kicking him not just out of the house but out of the state too), you should know two things.  First, I would’ve made awful company that weekend (for a quick mental image: there was a lot of pacing around, reading flashcards out loud; not exactly an ideal Saturday).  Second, I just ended up missing him all weekend and longing for D.C. too.

Which brings me to today’s recipe.  You see, while Kevin was in away, I couldn’t stop envisioning D.C.’s sultry summer air, the blocks we’d walked hundreds of times, the always-present political conversations, the pleasant hum of activity, and, of course, the restaurants we’d grown to love.  One of those was 2 Amys, an excellent pizzeria that served frisbee-sized Neopolitan pies, wine in small tumblers and also an appetizer called suppli al telefono (which are also called arancini or, even better, mozzarella-stuffed risotto balls). 

(Click “more” for the rest of the story, more photos & the recipe.)

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