Guys, sorry I’ve been the worst at writing lately. We’re moving on Monday, so everything is packed away in the kitchen. In the meantime, here’s what we made as our last full home-cooked meal in the old place: Roasted Chicken and a Kale, Apple & Roasted Butternut Squash salad.
I’ve loved this apartment but I’m really excited to move into the new place with Bren and really make it “ours.” Also, two words: Gourmet. Kitchen.
Be back soon!
Well, today wasn’t terrible.
I went on a work trip to the Mohonk Mountain House (less a “house”, more a “castle”) in the Catskills, and set up shop in probably the most relaxing, beautiful “office” that I’ve ever had. Working lakeside in a rocking chair on a wrap-around porch is something I definitely need to do more often. Also, so is taking a lunchtime hike with unbelievable views and strolling around a garden filled with flowers exploding in color. On top of all this, they served the best buffet I’ve ever experienced (and yes mom, I know “best buffet” is an oxymoron, but this really was fantastic – same food and chefs as the CIA, and a tomato soup that rivals The Kitchen’s).
I really want to come back here on a day off. But for the first day of fall, this was about as perfect as it could get.
Up until a couple years ago, I hated brussels sprouts with a passion. When I was a kid, my mom tricked me into trying them by telling me they were “little cabbages”, which as the daughter of an Irish dad, I obviously loved. A couple bites, though, were all I needed to realize brussels sprouts don’t taste anything like “little cabbages”, and I avoided them for years after that.
Chelsea Handler is hilarious and apparently the world’s greatest liar. Her coworkers and friends – who wrote this book together about the times she’s full-blown made up the most ridiculous stories ever, which they believed 100% – seem like they love her despite this. And “Lies That Chelsea Handler Told Me” is just another in the series of Chelsea Handler books that made me laugh out loud.
In a small paragraph written by Chelsea’s coworker and panelist Heather McDonald about her breakfast, though, I read: “You slice the bagel, scoop out all the carb-infested middle, then toast what’s left, and pile on light cream cheese, tomatoes, and cucumbers, and a hint of fresh lemon juice. You get all the crunch and flavor with half the calories!” This, of course, spoke straight to my heart.
My parents had this gorgeous dinner party last night, and Brendan and I slept over afterwards, and for breakfast this morning I came down to the bagels and coffees for us from my dad. My parents had everything for these Heather McDonald bagels in their fridge, so there you go. I wasn’t feeling great so I made these, got a glass of fresh-pressed OJ and went upstairs to have breakfast in bed, which was exactly what I needed. When’s the last time you had breakfast in bed? Make this and Treat Yo’ Self.
BAGELS A LA HEATHER
– 1 tbsp. capers, chopped
– 2 tbsp. cucumbers, chopped
– 2 tbsp. tomatoes, chopped
– thin layer of cream cheese
– squeeze of lemon
1. Scoop out the “carb-infested middle” of the bagel. Toast.
2. Add a thin layer of cream cheese, cucumbers, tomatoes and capers. Top with a squeeze of lemon and enjoy.
AKA, “a compromise.” It’s no secret how much I love pasta, but sometimes you’ve gotta find a middle ground. This replaces noodles with baked parmesan-dusted zucchini strips (which honestly, I would eat as a snack on their own, because they were fantastic), adds protein with some ground turkey, reheats amazingly well and will keep for a few days, too. It’s a perfect make-ahead meal which you can then just throw into the oven and have it ready in 30-40 minutes flat. AND i used a mandoline for the first time and didn’t slice off one or more of my fingers, so you know, win/win.
ZUCCHINI LASAGNA WITH GROUND TURKEY (serves 6)
– 4 zucchini, mandolined into approx. 1/4 inch flat strips
– 1 lb. ground turkey
– 1 small vidalia onion
– 3 tbsp. EVOO
– 2 cups pasta sauce
– 12 oz. shredded mozzarella
– 2 cups italian breadcrumbs
– 1 cup freshly grated parmesan
1. Preheat oven to 375.
2. Wash the zucchini, then slice it into 1/4 inch flat strips (uniform size). Lay all the zucchini on paper towels, then sprinkle with kosher salt. Let sit for about 15 minutes, then flip and sprinkle the other side with kosher salt, let that sit for 15 minutes too. This will drain out a ton of water and you won’t end up with soggy zucchini lasagna.
3. Rinse the salt off the zucchini and dry really well. Coat with a tiny bit of olive oil.
4. Combine about 1/3 c. parmesan and the bread crumbs. Coat each slice of zucchini with the breadcrumb mixture, then place in one layer on (a couple of) baking sheets which you’ve sprayed with baking spray.
5. Bake zucchini for about 30 minutes, flipping once, until golden and fairly crispy.
6. While zucchini is cooking, dice the onion. Cook in 1 tbsp. EVOO until onion is translucent in a large pan over medium heat. Remove onion and set aside, then cook the turkey in the same pan until browned and cooked through. Remove and combine with the onion.
7. In a lasagna pan, dot a bit of sauce to make a thin bottom layer. Place one layer of zucchini on top of the sauce like you would place noodles, then add a layer of the turkey/onion. Sprinkle mozzarella & parm over the top of this.
8. Repeat this sequence: sauce, zucchini, turkey/onion, mozz/parm, until you’ve reached the end of the zucchini. Add a little more sauce and the rest of the mozz/parm.
9. Bake, covered, for about 15 minutes, then uncover and cook for another 15 or so, or until sauce is bubbling and cheese is melted and golden.
10. Let stand for 10 minutes, then cut and serve, preferably on a table with the gorgeous 2-for-$5 bunches of flowers you got at the farmer’s market.