Weekly Menu (June 29)



  • Herb-Marinated Lamb Chops, Tabouli, Sauteed Zucchini


  • Jamaican Jerk Chicken, Island Brown Rice Salad


  • Ziti w/ Tuscan-Style Cauliflower, Shrimp Scampi


  • Jamaican Jerk Chicken Lavash Pizza (w/ leftover chicken)


  • Vacation Dinner

Thursday Happy Fourth of July!

  • Vacation Dinner


  • Vacation Dinner

Friday Favorites

Some food-related (mostly) things we enjoyed this past week:


The Great Kitchen De-Clutter 2013 continued this week while Dan was away in Asia.  In addition to the pantry, I cleaned out and organized several of our kitchen cabinets, including the upper cabinets next to the stove that hold our spices, oils, vinegars, etc.  It was a much-needed (if disgusting — did you know that soy sauce apparently can expire, and that it congeals when it does?) task that will make cooking a lot more efficient and enjoyable.


While Dan was gone, FaceTime was our favorite means of communication.  We were able to talk and see each other on our computer screens, which made the distance seem a little less far.  Technology is truly amazing.




We generally don’t talk politics here on the blog (we’re polite like that), but we think the Supreme Court got it right this week when they overturned the federal Defense of Marriage Act.  And we wholeheartedly agree with President Obama and others who used social media to send out the message #LoveIsLove in support of the decision.  It’s that simple.  And that important.


Broccoli Rabe w/ Garlic & Romano

We’ve had this leafy vegetable (also known as “rapini”) before, first with pasta and another time with pasta and sausage.  The version with (turkey!) sausage is probably our favorite way to eat broccoli rabe, but we were intrigued to try it on its own as a side dish.  Although I’m not typically a fan of cooked greens (sauteed spinach and I will never be friends, but Dan could eat it every week), rapini is a pretty hearty green that holds up well when cooked, without becoming mushy.  We found this recipe incorporating garlic and pecorino romano cheese to complement the slightly bitter flavor of the broccoli rabe, and we adapted the cooking method by using a combination of saute and steam, similar to the way we cook broccolini (but even though we cook them the same way, don’t be fooled — broccoli rabe is more closely related to the turnip than broccoli.)  We also added some red pepper flakes for a little kick and finished the dish with lemon juice to brighten the flavors.  Dan loved the rapini cooked this way, and I can honestly say that I liked it well enough to add it to our (obviously limited) rotation of cooked vegetable side dishes.  How’s that for a ringing endorsement?

Continue reading “Broccoli Rabe w/ Garlic & Romano”

Friday Favorites

Some food-related (mostly) things we enjoyed this past week:

His father was a mudder

Last Friday night we enjoyed a fun night out at the track.  It was a work-related event for summer interns and everyone had a great time with good food, drinks, conversation, and of course, betting on the horses.  We don’t play the ponies that often (lucky for our bank account), but when we do we always have a ball and vow to go more often.  We didn’t win a lot (I really expected more from the horse that I bet on solely due to his/her awesome name:  “Caberneigh”), but we won enough to justify the expense of an entertaining evening.  You gotta pay to play, right?

People like to say "salsa"

With tomato season in full swing in our garden, we came up with a new way to use up a bunch of them at once — roasting them to make salsa.  We used this recipe for roasting the tomatoes (but left out the herbs) and my mom’s recipe for the salsa.  It turned out to be one of our best batches of salsa yet, and if our tomato plants continue to yield many more than we know what to do with, it certainly won’t be our last batch of homemade, home-grown salsa of the summer.

Are you just going to sit there, staring at the back of the seat?

Some exciting travel going on this week — Dan traveled to Asia for work!  It was too expensive for me to tag along and he has client meetings the whole time, but he’s had a successful trip so far.  It’s not easy to get there for sure (about 24 hours total from here to Taipei, via layover in Seoul), and the time difference (13 hours) has been interesting in terms of communicating, but he’s enjoying the adventure.  I enjoyed electronically following his flight from here to there, watching the little plane inch across the screen between continents, very very slowly.


In preparation for his trip, Dan and I watched the Taipei episode of Anthony Bourdain’s show “The Layover” (as well as the Seoul episode of his show “No Reservations”.)  After watching Bourdain go crazy for the soup dumplings in Taipei, we knew that eating those would be one of the must-do items on Dan’s itinerary.  Dan’s colleague took him to the world-famous dumpling place called Din Tai Fung.  They had to wait about 45 minutes to get their food, but would have waited even longer, the dumplings were so good.  Dan says the dumplings are impossible to describe with any justice.  The thin outer skin is very delicate and expertly shaped and folded into the dumpling, which contains a really flavorful broth and filling (usually pork.)  The way to eat the dumplings is to carefully place each dumpling on a big spoon, take a tiny bite from the corner of the dumpling, then scoop the whole thing into your mouth as the broth begins to flow out of the dumpling.  Bourdain (aptly) referred to the experience as “dumpling porn.”

Completely changing the configuration...whole new lifestyle...LEVELS

Whenever Dan travels, I like to do projects around the house to keep busy.  We have a running joke that if he’s gone long enough, I will paint stuff (walls, furniture, etc.), rearrange rooms and redecorate so much that the house will be completely unrecognizable by the time he gets home.  One of my projects this week was to clean out and organize our pantry.  We are blessed with a wonderful walk-in pantry, which provides enough storage to enable us to over-purchase lots of food and kitchen-related things just because we have a place to store them.  That place most often ends up being the floor of our pantry, once all the shelves and bins are filled up.  We still have too much stuff, but three big trash bags of recycling and two bags of trash later, the pantry floor is visible and the shelves and bins contain things we actually use and consume.  And somewhere in our house, there is a coat of paint drying as I type this.  Better come home soon, Daniel!


Slow-Cooker Pulled Pork

Barbecue is a quintessential summer meal.  From pulled pork to brisket to ribs, cooking meat low and slow practically defines lazy summer days.  While unquestionably worth it, one doesn’t always have the time, inclination or equipment required for some of the more hard-core barbecue recipes (Kansas City-style ribs, for example, can take up to 20 hours to prepare — at least the recipe we used took that long.)  Enter the slow-cooker and this recipe.  The meat still takes a while to cook (6-8 hours), but needs less tending (just pat it down with the dry rub, place it in the slow-cooker with some onions, add the vinegar sauce, set the cooker on low and let it cook.)  Barbecue doesn’t get much easier, and although it won’t have the signature smoke ring and flavor from pulled pork cooked in a smoker, the tender and tangy end result belies the simple preparation and cooking method.  Perfect for a truly lazy summer day.

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Friday Favorites

Some food-related (mostly) things we enjoyed this past week:

BBQ chicken

Doesn’t BBQ chicken on the grill just scream “SUMMER”??  We grilled a whole chicken last weekend, specifically so we would have leftovers to make this chicken salad for lunch during the week.  We used a recipe from Cook’s Illustrated that called for coating the chicken with a dry rub (brown sugar, salt, onion and garlic powders, paprika and cayenne) and refrigerating it for 6 to 24 hours, then grilling it and basting with homemade BBQ sauce (ketchup, molasses, cider vinegar, Worcestershire, Dijon, pepper, vegetable oil, grated onion, minced garlic, chili powder and cayenne) about halfway through the grilling time.  The chicken was fantastic, and we reserved some of the homemade sauce to use in the BBQ chicken salad, which also turned out great.

For real

Speaking of grilling, I came across the new edition of one of our all-time favorite grilling cookbooks at Home Depot the other day.  We’ve had the original edition ever since Dan first owned a grill, and we still use it all the time.  We look forward to trying recipes from the new one (bistro-style pork chops with creamy shallot sauce? crispy chicken thighs with basil and prosciutto butter? dijon and garlic swordfish kabobs with lemon vinaigrette?  Yes, yes and yes, with a side of yes!) and reading all the handy “Grill Skills” tips and tricks throughout the book.

First cukes 2013

This week brought our first homegrown pickling cucumbers of the season.  Since we only have two so far and we already had a half-empty jar of refrigerator pickles on hand, we cut the cukes into rounds and added them to the jar in the fridge.  The cucumber plants in our garden seem to be doing very well (so much so that there are probably a few more harvestable cukes in there that we haven’t found because the vines are so dense) and hopefully will keep us well-stocked with pickles all summer!


We put three over-ripe bananas to good use by making these banana-blueberry muffins.  They were really good, and with whole-wheat flour, a mix of regular and brown sugar, low-fat milk and wheat germ, they’re slightly more healthy than traditional muffins tend to be.  The only changes we made to the recipe were to use three bananas instead of two, add a bit of lemon zest and bake at a slightly lower temperature (per reviewers’ comments about the recipe.)


Smorgasburg (Review)

Merriam-Webster defines “smorgasbord” as “a luncheon or supper buffet offering a variety of foods and dishes (as hors d’oeuvres, hot and cold meats, smoked and pickled fish, cheeses, salads and relishes).”  Mario Batali describes “Smorgasburg” as “The single greatest thing I’ve ever seen gastronomically in New York City.”  We tend to agree with Chef Batali.  Smorgasburg is a self-proclaimed “flea food market” that is open in two Brooklyn locations (Williamsburg on Saturdays and DUMBO on Sundays) every weekend during the late spring and summer.  We went to the DUMBO location on our most recent visit to see family in Brooklyn and absolutely loved it.  At either location, you will find a collection of around 75-100 food vendor enthusiasts (we say “enthusiasts” because the vendors are nothing but passionate about their craft and the amazing food they offer) selling a huge variety of both freshly prepared and packaged/preserved delicacies.  Smorgasburg offers something for everyone, no matter what kind of food you’re in the mood for:  there are several vendors with Asian fare (noodles, Chinese lumpia pastries, kimchi); Italian offerings (“Sunday gravy,” porchetta, pizza); Mexican specialties (tacos and cemitas); American “comfort food” options (fried chicken, burgers, grilled cheese, BBQ); seafood selections (lobster rolls, fried fish, oysters); and sweet treats (frozen chocolate-covered bananas, cookies, ice cream, cheesecake) — just to name a few.  If you’re fortunate enough to be in the Brooklyn area this summer, we highly recommend Smorgasburg.  Go early (lines get long), bring a picnic blanket (the main “seating” at the DUMBO location is a grassy area along the waterfront), invite friends (more people in your group means more tasting of more food) and just try to leave there without eating at least one thing that is the best version of that thing you’ve ever had.

Continue reading “Smorgasburg (Review)”