This summer when we were on our cross-country honeymoon road trip, we stopped at a restaurant in Cleveland where I promptly demolished my bridal diet by ordering the baked mac and cheese. When the dish came out the waiter stopped to point out some homemade applesauce accompanying the cheesy dish. All he asked was that I give it a try, dip the steaming hot pasta into the cool, sweet applesauce — he assured me it would change my life. And it did. It makes total sense, I’d heard of people eating a slice of sharp cheddar cheese with apple pie, but it just never occurred to me to try this combination before, but it was completely and totally delicious. So this week I made some macaroni and cheese and had to try making some homemade applesauce to go with it.

Processed with VSCOcamLet me tell you a little secret: making homemade applesauce is as easy as pie (you like that apple joke?).  I peeled and cored 10 apples (a friendly farmer at our farmer’s market recommended using gravenstein apples, if you can find them.) and combined them with half a cup of apple cider, half a cup of brown sugar, one tablespoon of granulated sugar, and three cinnamon sticks. I put it in our crock-pot on high for 4 hours, removing the cinnamon sticks after the first hour, and stirring occasionally. And that’s it, simple as that! Make sure to serve the applesauce cold — I’m convinced the difference in temperature is just as important as the balance of the flavors.

 

I tried my hand and some homemade pasta this weekend, and finally got a chance to use the pasta machine we got for our wedding — the process of making pasta seems so daunting at first, but it’s actually amazingly simple, and so worth the effort! I tried two different methods, the first was a classic all-purpose flour and eggs combination, and the second used an egg flour and water.  I also tried two different fillings with the dough variations, one was a ricotta, parmesan, and Italian sausage stuffing that I served with a red sauce, and the other was a butternut squash with maple brown sugar that my in-laws brought home to me from Vermont — I served those  with brown butter and toasted pine nuts.  I preferred the egg flour for a stuffed pasta like this, and think the all-purpose flour works better for a cut pasta like fettucini, but overall: YUM. Luckily I made about a gazillion of each, so I will be enjoying leftovers all week!

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This weekend, I let the Farmer’s Market be the inspiration for Sunday dinner and decided to make whatever looked good — and a pretty little container of colorful tomatoes caught my eye. We scooped some up and then hit the fresh pasta tent for some lemon basil linguine and we were on our way to making a tasty meal. While the water was heating for the pasta, I cooked the tomatoes over high heat with a little EVOO and a tablespoon of butter, salt, and pepper. After the tomatoes cooked down and started to burst, I lowered the temperature and sauteed in three cloves of chopped garlic and a handful of pine nuts. Then after a minute, I added in a quarter of a cup of white wine, and three tablespoons of pesto, plus a few spoonfuls of the pasta water. Then I drained the pasta when it was just about cooked and finished cooking it in the pan with the tomato mixture. We served it with freshly chopped basil leaves and a little Parmesan cheese — perfection!

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Guys, I can’t even express to you in words how much I love this appetizer. If I could figure out how to put videos on my blog, then I would take one of me eating these, because only then would you really be able to tell how very much I love these little goat cheese crostini bits of deliciousness. This recipe was totally snagged from a spectacular little hole-in-the-wall wine bar on Cape Cod, where I went with some girlfriends a few years ago. And since then it’s been a staple with our group of friends, when we get together, there better be goat cheese crostini. Also, did I mention how easy it was to make? You just slice up a crusty baguette (I used Trader Joe’s ficelle), toast it under the broiler for 2-3 minutes, and then spread the warm bread with goat cheese. Then drizzle the crostinis with good honey — I used orange blossom honey, yum — and sprinkle with fresh thyme. The only other step is try not to eat them all before your guests arrive — I promise, it’s going to be difficult.

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We had a little “Sunday Funday” at our apartment this weekend — the arrival of our monthly cheese delivery from Murray’s (best wedding gift, ever) called for a celebration. So my buddy Taz came over to enjoy some cocktails and bites to close out the weekend. We made one of my favorite snacks — goat cheese crostini — and whipped up a fresh batch of blueberry mint simple syrup to top off some prosecco cocktails. And the talented Taz took lots of pictures, so come back tomorrow to check out the recipes!

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All Images by Bring to Light Photography

Do you ever get a craving with the season change? The warm weather and beginning of summer has had me craving lemonade, ice cream, and sweet fresh blueberries. For Father’s Day last weekend I pulled out my grandmother’s blueberry cobbler recipe, and it just tastes of summer. It’s so simple to make and it’s a real crowd-pleaser — we practically licked the inside of the dish clean! Scroll down for the recipe.

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Grandma’s Blueberry Cobbler

  • 1 cup of flour
  • 1 stick of butter
  • 1 1/2cups of sugar (divided)
  • 1 tsp  of baking powder
  • 1/2 cup of milk
  • 2 cups of blueberries
  • 1 tbsp of lemon juice

Melt butter in casserole. In a bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, 1 cup of sugar, and combine with milk. Pour batter of butter when melted.

In a small saucepan, combine 1/2 cup of sugar, blueberries, and lemon juice. Simmer on stove for 10 minutes. Pour blueberry mixture  over batter (but do not stir). Bake for 45 minutes at 350 degrees or until golden brown.

I shared a bunch of honeymoon pictures yesterday, but this particular type of trip called for a follow-up post with a focus on the food. We pretty much ate with abandon for two whole weeks, (with thanks to my trusty Food Network app we hit up lots of hidden gems). Chicago was all about the pizza, I wanted to buy tickets for a pizza walking tour, and when I found out they were sold out we decided to do a self guided version. We hit up some Guy Fieri approved drive-ins, and had some of the best fajitas I’ve ever tasted in Moab. And we tried some things that were almost beyond my imagine: a breakfast pot pie in Denver, a sweet pea and corn grilled cheese in Cleveland, and the winner of best road trip find: macaroni and cheese with a homemade cinnamon applesauce to dip the pasta in. You have to eat it to believe it.

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While on our honeymoon last week (more on that to come, I have lots of pictures to share!) I was sunning myself by the pool at the Viceroy Palm Springs and perusing the lunch menu from  my lounge chair. I noticed a tasty sounding Mediterranean steak pita sandwich on the list, and though I wasn’t hungry at the time, I kept thinking about the combination long after we left. I attempted to recreate the dish for dinner this week: Grilled steak and red onions, seasoned with olive oil, salt and pepper on top of butter lettuce and chopped kalamata olives in a pita with a light aioli seasoned with lots of oregano and lemon zest. It was the perfect summery weeknight meal!

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This weekend I decided to make some sweet treats to bring to an Easter celebration. I love any sort of food that can be consumed in bite sized servings (because, let’s be honest, then I have an extra hand to hold my glass of wine).  So when I read the name of this recipe “two bite lemon cheesecakes” — I was sold. Plus is there anything prettier than the combination of bright yellow lemons and deep blue blueberries? Yum!

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You can find the recipe here.

I’m making the use of my week off and tackling a mile long to do list — that’s just the kind of  vacationer I am. One thing I wanted to do this week was finally dive into some of the cookbooks I got for Christmas, but haven’t had the chance to use yet. Last night I poured over the Smitten Kitchen cookbook and decided to make her Harvest Roast Chicken with Olives and Grapes; holy moly was this delicious — and so simple too! You can find an adapted version of the recipe here.

Smitten Kitchen