Category Archives: love

Lasagna with Kale and Bechamel



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Lasagnas are a labor of love, especially when you do them right. When I take the time to make one of these, especially when it’s entirely from scratch, I double the recipe and freeze another one, just because they take so much time and effort. And then, on days when NEPA misses breaking the record for coldest day ever by one degree, and I’ve spent the day before with a wicked stomach bug that made me feel like I was dying, barely slept because of it, woke up at 2.45am for a 4am taping of morning show (with Ryan Leckey, who, admittedly, I love) at the hospital, then coordinated five more interviews – one of which includes scrubbing up (?? in? what’s it called when you just observe) with a reporter and photographer for a VERY graphic, and incredibly advanced, knee replacement surgery – and am now waiting to connect the final interview of the day so I can just take a freaking nap already, do you know what I do?  I take that second lasagna out of the freezer and start letting that beautiful thing defrost. This is homemade with love right here – my Mom’s meatsauce, noodles from scratch, a nutmeg-y bechamel, some kale and fresh parm…dinner’s going to be the best part of this day.

LASAGNA WITH KALE AND BECHAMEL (Makes one 9.5 x 11 inch delicious pan of lasagna) Continue reading

Butterscotch Baked French Toast




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My parents were hosting a brunch the day after the stateside celebration of my cousin EM and Kristina’s wedding, and my mom was all, “Just bring something over that everyone will like. Brunch starts at 11.” So, since A. I planned on being mildly hungover B. I love sleep, especially on the weekends, more than anything, and C. I still wanted to make something good, I started searching for make-ahead brunch meals that I could put together the night before and just throw it into the oven the next morning. When I found Smitten Kitchen’s “boozy baked french toast,” the words read like a song. This was the one.  I love Smitten Kitchen, and I love anything that tastes this good with minimal effort, and I especially love the post-event rehash with some of my favorite trash-talkers (my family).

If you’re looking to throw together something that requires little effort the day before, but is hands-down amazing – and also may or may not soak up your New Year’s hangover – this french toast is here to save the day.

BUTTERSCOTCH BAKED FRENCH TOAST (serves 6, generously – barely adapted from Smitten Kitchen)

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Colorado Christmas

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Brendan and I just got back from 9 days in Colorado – one of the best weeks of 2014, by far. We flew into Denver, spent the night and the next morning in Boulder with my college roommate Meri, her husband Tim and their three kids (my favorites), then picked up Brendan’s brother Kyle and drove out to their hometown, Grand Junction, on the western slope. Then, we drove down to Pagosa Springs for skiing, hot spring-ing and relaxing, then up to Telluride for Christmas, then finally back to Brendan’s hometown for a night out with his friends before flying out of DIA the next day. WHAT A WEEK.  Colorado is my favorite state in the country, and it was so great to be back there, getting to see where Bren grew up, spending time with his family and just being able to kick back for a while. The pace of life out there is so much more manageable; people are healthy, fun and active; the culture is smart and progressive; and don’t even get me started about how unbelievably gorgeous every single part of that state is.

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Destination Wedding

We just got back from Puerto Rico to celebrate my cousin EM & Kristina’s wedding. The wedding was one of the prettiest I’ve ever been to, the food at the resort was amazing, and it was so great being able to spend that kind of time with my cousins, our friends and family. Lots of cocktails and catch-up sessions, both of which are my favorites. I’m already looking forward to their stateside celebration at the end of this month at the Westmoreland Club, when we can all be together again!

Food was amazing – also, my standard 3-drink brunch order
Brothers <3
Villa loungin’

My mom is great at many, many, many things. Picture taking isn’t one of them. Outtakes of Collyn and me trying to get one good shot.
My cousin Erin, her husband Brian and their son Ethan
…Did I mention that the food was amazing?

Last cousin picture before EM became a husband!

Seriously, this reception. Unbelievable.

The bride and groom (one of my favorite couples, ever) – how gorgeous are they??

This space was so, so pretty. Look at those flowers!

Welcome to the family, Kristina!!!

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Bren’s parents are visiting from Colorado this week, so before an awesome dinner at AV, we hosted our parents at our place for drinks and apps. I made a cheese plate, roasted butternut squash soup shooters and that World’s Greatest Pumpkin Dip that Brendan’s been dying to try. Oh, and attempted to make Moscow Mules using Bren’s new copper bday mugs, but that may not have been the best cocktail ever. We’ll just have to practice. 
 
Happy birthday to the smartest, kindest, funniest, most interesting man I’ve ever dated. I love you, Journalist Brendan Gibbons!

 

Whole Roasted Cauliflower and Chickpeas with a Spiced, Creamy Tomato-Coconut Sauce

Recipes like this could make me a vegan (again). Cauliflower is one of my most favorite foods, and I love roasting it, but roasting a whole head of it at once with chickpeas in a creamy, amazing-smelling tomato sauce spiced with Indian flavors was out of this world. I rarely try Indian recipes (the name for this is actually Gobhi Musallam) because I just don’t think I’m good at them, but this recipe was so simple anyone could do it, and everyone should. Brendan took one bite of this and sat back all, “Oh my god. This is amazing.” Ummm…I agree. I already can’t wait to have this for lunch tomorrow.

WHOLE ROASTED CAULIFLOWER AND CHICKPEAS IN A SPICED, CREAMY TOMATO-COCONUT SAUCE (serves 4 – recipe adapted almost exactly via Vegan Richa)
– 1 large head of cauliflower
– 1 tsp. salt
– 1/2 tsp. tumeric

Sauce:
– 1 tsp. EVOO
– 1 tsp. butter
– 1/2 medium red onion, chopped
– 5 cloves garlic, chopped
– 1 inch ginger, peeled and chopped
– 1/2 dried chili pepper (this was enough spice for me, but you can add more if you have a higher spice tolerance than me – and you probably do)
– 3 medium tomatoes, chopped
– 1 tsp garam masala
– 1/2 tsp. cumin 
– 1/2 tsp. coriander
– 1/2 tsp. tumeric 
– 1 tbsp. dried oregano
– 3/4 c. coconut milk
– 1/4 c. ground cashews
– 3/4 tsp. salt
– 1/4 tsp. sugar

1. Preheat the oven to 400.

2. In a large pot, boil enough water to submerge the (washed, trimmed of leaves) cauliflower. Add the 1 tsp. salt and the 1/2 tsp. tumeric to the water, then blanch the cauliflower for about 5 minutes, or until mildly tender. Drain and set the whole head of cauliflower aside.


3. Meanwhile, melt the butter & EVOO in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the chopped onions and cook until they start to brown, about 5 minutes.

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Fall Breakfast Sandwich – Roasted Butternut Squash, Fried Egg, Bacon, Crispy Sage

The first Sunday brunch in the new place really made it feel like home. Bren and I woke up, got a ridiculous grocery order to stock the fridge, and then put together this incredible breakfast sammie. Roasted butternut squash serves as a savory base, bacon crisped within an inch of its life added the crunch and saltiness, fried egg made it breakfast-y, and the browned-butter crispy sage was the perfect topping. We made some Zummo’s coffee, halved a grapefruit and brought everything out to our awesome sun porch to have breakfast while listening to a Sunday morning Motown playlist and reading the Sunday edition of the Scranton Times, which Brendan dominated today.

I’m writing this from the porch and currently 100% content with life. Make this breakfast sandwich and enjoy your Sunday!

FALL BREAKFAST SANDWICH – ROASTED BUTTERNUT SQUASH, FRIED EGG, BACON & CRISPY SAGE (makes 2)
– 2 whole-wheat english muffins, halved and toasted
– 1.5 cups of butternut squash
– 4 eggs
– 4 slices of bacon
– 8 sage leaves
– 3 tbsp. butter
– 1 tbsp. EVOO
– Kosher salt & fresh black pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 425.

2. Cut off probably 3 inches of the top of a butternut squash (so you don’t waste the rest of it), then rub the cut side with a little bit of EVOO.

3. Place the squash cut-side down on a baking sheet, roast for approx. 40 minutes. Take out of the oven and allow to cool while you put everything else together.

4. In a larger pan, add the bacon over medium-high heat. Flip when the underside starts to get crispy, pushing the bacon around the pan to make sure it gets cooked and crispy.  Remove and drain on paper towels.


5. Meanwhile, in a non-stick or enamel skillet, melt 1.5 tbsp. butter and 1 tbsp. EVOO over medium heat.


6. Crack the eggs, one at a time, into a ramekin. Add to the skillet when the butter/oil mixture starts to be shimmery and have tiny bubbles. 

7. I cooked 2 eggs at a time. Gently add each one to the pan, let them set a bit, and then cover with a lid to steam it all together. This takes about 5 minutes – in about 3, uncover the pan and add a little kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper to the eggs.  When finished (you can cook them as long as you want for yolk consistency – I cooked the yolks all the way through, but might try this again with the yolks a little runnier), remove with a spatula to a plate and cook the other 2 eggs the same way.

8. In a different, smaller pan, melt the butter slowly over medium low heat while the eggs are cooking. When it starts to get a little brown (brown – not black, otherwise throw it out and start over), add the sage leaves and shake the pan while the butter coats them and they get crispy.

9. Remove the skin from the butternut squash, cut into chunks and add to a bowl. Mash. This needs nothing as apparently butternut squash is the world’s perfect, most tasty food when roasted.


10. Toast the english muffin halves, then assemble – a spread of the butternut squash, then the bacon, the fried egg and top it all with a couple of crispy sage leaves.

 

11. Serve and watch your boyfriend be completely impressed by how you’re changing his entire opinion of squash. Happy Sunday.




Movin’


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!