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Urban Drivel

Talking With My Mouth Full

Updated: 2018-03-06T06:57:21.122-05:00


Grilled Broccolini


What, two posts in two days, what is going on here? No I didn't get laid off, I just found myself with a weekend at home and extra time to cook. The weather this weekend was perfect, bright, sunny, not too hot, not humid, perfect outdoor weather, perfect grilling weather. 

Lately I've seen a lot of articles about how "you can grill anything, even eggs and macaroni and cheese" - I'm not that adventurous, but I did want to try something new and this little bundle of baby broccoli was the perfect thing because it was so so so so so good.

First I blanched the broccolini in boiling water for 30 seconds and then immediately submerged it them in an ice bath to halt the cooking. I think tossed with olive oil and salt and pepper. That's it, then we threw them in a grill basket and put them on the grill until they were slightly charred. So really, you have no excuse, get on this shit.

Rating = So Damn Good

Old Thymer Cocktail. Let's Kick Off This Summer


Every day, (every day) in the winter I get up in the dark around 4:45, snake out of bed, put on running clothes, lace up my sneakers and go downstairs to our basement and pump out miles upon miles on my treadmill. The darkness and bitter cold of the winter makes it impossible for me to run outside for months on end. So I run, inside, my treadmill positioned so I have perfect view of one of our old televisions. As you can image, when you run for at least an hour a day you blow through a tremendous amount of bad programming. I've watched every Real World/Road Rules Challenge there has been in the past four years. Catfish, you bet, I've seen every one of those lame ass stories about people who fall in love with a person on line, whom they have never met, and proceed to send them thousands of dollars for their cancer treatments. KLG and Hoda on the Today Show, sure I've watched them pound gallons of wine, during, Boozeday Tuesday, Wine Wednesday, Thirsty Thursday, you get the point - I watch a tremendous amount of bad tv.On one day when I had exhausted most of the show on demand I came across a cocktail show. I hate to admit it, but it was hosted by Sandra Lee and it did NOT suck. It was actually a good show, with creative cocktails. One episode she made a cocktail called the Old Thymer. It sounded so good that I went upstairs to alert Chris that "we will be making a new drink tonight - on your way home from work grab an orange." This was all I told him, if he knew it came from Sandra Lee he would have immediately hated the drink.It takes a tad bit of advanced planning, to ensure that you have the simple syrup and the rosemary sugar, but this is a minimal amount of effort and these can both be made in a few minutes, although the sugar gets better and better the more it sits.Here it is, you're new summer cocktail. CHEERS!The Old Thymer1/2 ounce simple syrup6 sprigs fresh thyme2 lemon wedges1 orange wedge3/4 ounces bourbon, such as Bulleit (I used Gentleman's Jack)3/4 ounces sweet vermoutIce, for chilling and serving Combine the simple syrup, thyme, lemon and orange in a cocktail shaker, muddle together. Add the bourbon, vermouth and ice. Shake and strain into a lowball glass filled with ice.Rosemary SugarFinely chop a sprig of fresh rosemary leaves (make sure they are not wet) and add to 1/4 cup granulated sugar (you can use cane sugar as well, it might even be better). Let sit long enough for the sugar to take on some of the rosemary essence.GarnishCut an orange slice in half and dip into the rosemary sugar to coat both sides and the rind. Float on the top of the glass.Rating = So Damn Good[...]

Housemade Ricotta


I was in Chicago a few months ago and got to stop at one of my favorite restaurants in the City for wine and apps; Quartino - my best friend and I noshed on Dates Wrapped in Pancetta, Bruschette and the housemade Goats Milk Ricotta which was out of this world, served with olive oil and grilled rustic bread.We couldn't get enough, we raved, we liked our fingers, we asked for more.

Ever since then I have been craving the ricotta and bread combination (great for your waistline let me tell you, not). So, for mother's day, as part of the spread I made my very own ricotta, but I used regular whole milk and heavy cream. The Whole Foods by my house does sell goats milk, so perhaps my next turn at this I'll use that.

For the recipe I turned to a website that I used to cook from a lot, Smitten Kitchen and used her recipe, utilizing the 3.5 cups of milk and the .5 cups of cream - here is a link.

What I loved about making this was all the "oooh, that must have been intense" or "oh, wow, that must have been difficult" remarks that I got from the mothers when I mentioned the ricotta was homemade. I just nodded my head and said "yes, very very hard, slaved over it - don't know if I'll do it again."


This is so easy to make you have absolutely no reason to not make your own. Seriously. Get on that shit!

Rating = Damn Good

Roasted Cauliflower Salad with Lentils and Dates


For the past 6 years I have created a Mother's Day lunch for my Mom and Mother-In-Law, sometimes aunts come, sometimes sisters come too. I enjoy this day so much. This year I did it twice on Saturday with my mom and nana and sister, and on Sunday with my mother in law and aunt. The full menu was Rose wineHomemade Ricotta (sweet Jesus was this amazing and sooooo easy to prepare) with Tuscan Bread and Olive OilRaw Kale SaladGrilled Lemon Marinaded Swordfish Roasted Cauliflower Salad with Lentils and Pine NutsWhen I tell you that I could live off of the Cauliflower Salad for the rest of my life and not complain ever about variety I am not kidding. I loved it. Everyone loved it. It had everything, the roasted cauliflower, the sweetness from the dates, the bite from the red onion, the texture of the lentils and the great nutty flavor of the tahini dressing with the almonds. Sooo damn good. I wish I had a picture, but I shoveled it into my face so Goddamn fast that I didn't have time to whip out my iphone and snap a pic. Sorry. My Bad.God, its been a long time since I wrote those words....So Damn Good.I miss writing. What's my excuse? Life, man - my 30's what a blur. Chris turned 39 yesterday. When did that happen. When did we become middle age. When did I start looking so terrible in a downward dog. Ladies a bit o' advice here. Never wear shorts to yoga once you pass 35 years old. It Aint Pretty.I'm heading to Nantucket this weekend for Chris' Birthday. We are going to the Nantucket Wine Festival so that should be fun. I'll let you know how it is and all the great wine and food we ingest while we are there.Maybe my 30's went by too fast because I was drinking too much wine and eating too much food and in some sort of wine and food coma. Its totally possible.Here is a link to the recipe. [...]

Jamaica, Fat Americans, Potato Gnocchi with Mushroom Sauce


God, I suck suck suck at posting and this picture does not do this meal justice. I’ve actually been keeping a mental log of all the things I need to post about. I can’t figure it out – am I busier now than I was a few years ago, do I not have as much to say? That can’t be it, I’m always spouting my mouth off. I don’t know what it is. Here is what I do know. Jamaica is full of fat white people. Chris and I just got back from a quick trip to Jamaica. We had never been and didn’t know what to expect. It was great. We splurged a little and had a concierge room which means that among other things we had a stocked bar with rum, gin, vodka, whiskey and red wine – and a fridge stocked with sparkling wine, white wine, soda, juice red stripe, etc. So, if you think that I didn’t wake up every morning and rehydrate after my morning run with a crisp and refreshing mimosa – you’d be wrong. Chris on the other hand waited until the respectable hour of 10:00 to order his first drink, which was always a mudslide. I think he was trying to convince himself it was a brown just slightly unhealthy smoothie. It’s a milkshake Chris, with alcohol in it. So, back to my original thought, Jamaica is full of fat white people. Wait, drunk, fat, white people.  Every year we go to the Caribbean and every year I fret for months about what I am going to look like in a bathing suit, and then I get to the beach and think – I am the skinniest bitch on this beach. Have these people been here a month or more eating this all inclusive food – does no one else worry about what they look like in a two piece? Apparently not.  When will I learn? And another thing, it doesn’t take a fucking rocket scientist to figure out how to put on sunblock. Why do I see so many people with the patchwork sunburn look? I actually saw a guy whose entire chest area was bright red said for a smeared hand print across his right boob. Seriously, how does that happen? You put the lotion in your hand felt yourself up for a fraction of a second and thought – “good enough!” Or maybe he was like me, but instead of a mimosa at 9:00 am he went straight for the whiskey and figured he wasn’t going to feel any pain on the entire vacation anyways so who gives a fuck. I don’ know, I don’t know. What I do know is that this recipe rocked! Here is where I got it. Damn Good   [...]

When does the magic die & White Bean Escarole Soup


Chris and I have been married for 9 years, this past Christmas was our 12 Christmas together. Every year Chris has always put an immense amount of thought into my Christmas gifts - really thoughtful gifts that show how much he knows me and thinks about me. This year Chris gave me a dish towel (yes, just one, not even a pair), a knife (with sharpener) and a set of enormous soup bowls that look like they are a perfect size for the Mad Hatters dinner. This my friends is the year the magic died. He might as well have given me a chalkboard with "Get Yer Bitch Ass Back In The Kitchen" scribbled across it. I won't go on about what I got him. Wait, yes I will. I had portraits taken of the dog and had them framed. See below.A new outfit from Banana Republic, an $80 bottle of single malt scotch, new dress socks, timberland iphone gloves, stocking stuffers, etc etc, the list goes on.So, all I have to say is my birthday is in two months - start buying shit now!Hey - its fucking cold outside, let's have a soup party!I made a bunch of soup this weekend, for all I care Chris can eat soup until my birthday. I'm kidding. Not.No, but really, its cold out, and there is nothing better than holding a nice warm bowl of soup on a cold night. The soup in the forefront is the WW Zero Point Asian Soup which I have blogged about in the past. The one in the back is a nice White Bean and Escarole Soup (low fat). Chris and I are heading to Jamaica in a few weeks, so we are both on the bikini diet for a few weeks and nothing helps with filling you up like soup. The recipe is from cooking light.Ingredients 1 tablespoon olive oil  2 cups finely chopped onion  5 garlic cloves, minced 2 cups organic vegetable broth (I used 4 cups) 1 cup water 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary (I used dried) 2 (15-ounce) cans no-salt-added Great Northern beans, rinsed and drained  2 fresh thyme sprigs (I used dried) 1 (1 1/2-ounce) piece Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese rind 8 cups chopped escarole (about 1 pound) 1 cup chopped carrot  1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper 1/4 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar 6 tablespoons shaved fresh Parmesan cheese Preparation Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add onion, and sauté for 4 minutes, stirring frequently. Add garlic, and sauté for 30 seconds. Add vegetable broth and the next 5 ingredients (through cheese rind); bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes. Stir in escarole and carrot; cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until carrot is tender. Stir in red pepper, salt, black pepper, and vinegar. Remove and discard rind; sprinkle soup with shaved cheese. Rating = Damn Good [...]

What to do when you are assaulted by cucumbers: Refrigerator Pickles


I've already mentioned that I have been a horrible urban farmer this summer. Really, this is the worst I have ever treated the garden - I vow next year to not be such an asshole and take some time with the garden. There is a bigger conversation lurking here about mindfullness and slowing down and enjoying life and not always being on the go - that is something I will have to tackle in the winter, when I'm dreaming of having my garden and smacking my forehead over and over again about the fact that I had a backyard full of herbs that I completely ignored for three months.

I know this scenario will play itself out more than once, most likely all winter.

I did however have one great afternoon where I was home to enjoy the cucumber porn that was playing out in the back yard. I decided to play with the cucumber and see what different combinations I could make for cucumber pickles. I took a basic brine recipe which was about 4 cups of white vinegar and 3/4 of sugar. I combined the two and boiled over medium heat just until the sigar dissolved - with the brine ready I began to think about different combinations to put in the jars, trying to utilize my fresh herbs.

Jar 1: Lemon Thyme, Sage, Peppercorn, Mustard Seeds
Jar 2: Rosemary Tarragon, Lemon, Peppercorn Mustard Seeds
Jar 3" Dill, Peppercorn, Pickling Spices
Jar 4: Cinnamon Stick, Star Anise, Allspice Berries and Clove

I filled the jars with quartered cucumbers and then the fillings, poured the hot brine over the cucumber to the top of the jar, sealed then and stuck em in the fridge and basically forgot about them unti a couple weeks ago when I tried Jar #3 and you know what. THEY WERE AWESOME.

I haven't tried the other jars, but I do plan on trying them soon - so stay tuned.

If you have a favorite refrigerator pickle recipe, please share it - cucumber, asparagus, beans, what ya got?


Farm to Table - Rat-at-too-eeeee


I'm lucky this year. I've been treating this garden worse than if it was a red headed stepchild. Said stepchild must be stubborn as all get out becuase even with the miserable treatment it is turning out vegetables left and right. Tasty gorgeous vegetables. Maybe even too many vegetables considering I got this from Chris last night.

"Do you know I'm eating on average a cucumber a day?"

I hadn't noticed, probably due to the fact that he's been getting the same treatment as the garden as of late.

Last night was the first night in I have no fucking idea how long that I was actually home, not exhausted and had the urge to get in the garden and make something for dinner. Why haven't I been doing this all summer? The answer to that probably lies somewhere between too much work and way too much wine. Way too much wine. And then some more wine.

So last night I grabed 5 or 6 of the heirloom tomatoes, a couple of the eggplants, a few zucchini and an assortment of herbs and just had at it with them. I didn't follow a recipe, I just winged it, which I am enjoying more and more. Here's what happened.

Olive Oil
2 Onions - diced, sauteed until translucent
2 Eggplants - chopped - added to the onions when they were translucent
2 Zucchini - copped - added to the eggplant soon after
Vegetable broth - I added about a cup at this point cuz things were starting to stick to the bottom of the pan
5-6 Heirloom Tomatoes - chopped - added to the pot
Basil, Rosemary, Tarragon, Oregano, Thyme, Parsely - all chopped and added to the pot

I let it get all bubbly and aromatic then added a little grated Parm cheese and then served it over tiny little pasta balls.

It was good. Very good. I know this because at the first bite Chris pushed his bowl over to my side of the table and said. "This is good, try it."

And then, at the conclusion of his third bowl he said "Fuck, that shits good."

Rating = Damn Good



So, you take this.And then your garden does this.And you get this.I didn't have time for a recipe, so I just to the garden grabbed a bunch of things, pulled the fish from the fridge, and boiled some pasta. This is pretty much how it went.1/4 red onioncrushed garlicthose got all ovey dovey in a little bit of olive oil and buttah.then I tossed in1 zucchini cut on a bias2 heirloom tomatoes cut into big chunks2 bass filets cut into big chunks1 sprig of fresh tarragon choppeda few splashes of rice vinegara few hearty splashes of white wineWhen that got a smelly and beautiful and created it's own juice I topped it off with fresh chopped parsely and another sprig of fresh tarragon chopped, and some grated Parmesan cheese.I mixed it with whole wheat pasta.In the middle of eating Chris stated. "this sauce is awesome". And it was, so much so that I think he did in fact go back for thirds, the first two helpings were eaten in a civilized manner, out of a bowl, the third helping he just moseyed on over to the stove and ate straight out of the saute pan. Caveman. Damn Good![...]

Sooo... Whatcha Doin


I thought it only fair to write a little "what the fuck I've been up to" post. Since I went all AWOL on everyone for nearly a year and a half. So here goes. Went here twice. The only thing that sucks about Aruba in February is putting your pastey (sp?) white ass into a bikini, even worse when you're Irish because soon your pastey white ass will be pastey in some areas and red and burned to shit in others. I do suggest that you try the Aruba Ariba drink - but perhaps not four of them in an hour on your first day - that wasn't bright.  Also went to Monterey by the Sea, Carmel and Paso Robles Wine Tasting. This is us getting our buzz on, I mean having lunch at Justin Winery which is awesome. A bit of advice though if you are going to make the trip from Carmel to Paso, you will experience about a 50 degree chance in temperature. It was about 50 when we left Carmel and about 100 when we got to Paso. We also went to London. I've been dying to go to the Tower of London ever since I read The Other Boleyn Girl (and then every other Phillipa Gregory book ever written). This was our first major trip in which we drank more beer than wine. Here is us at the Tower with the Tower Bridge in the background.Oh, and can't forget this lovely fellow. Everyone loves a little crack with their beer.In sad news, we lost our first boy. He was such an amazing cat, pet, friend. The house is just not the same without him. We love you Vladimir. In good news we rescued this amazing guy from Indiana. He has been such a great addition to our family, he's no Vladimir, but Royce has a personality all his own and we just asolutely friggin love him.And in even bigger news. I became an aunt again, and helped bring this little one into the world. If by helping you mean, acted as a comedian the entire time my sister was in labor, and then nearly shit my pants while she had an emergency ceasarian, then yes, I was a tremendous help in this effort. Where is my aunt of the year award?So much more has happened, but these were the hightlights. Recipes soon. I promise.Jules[...]

I can't quit you - the return of Urban Drivel


The other day my neighbor said to me, "I really miss reading your blog, you're really quite funny".
He said this to me as I was heading out for a run, and all through the next hour of running I couldn't help think about how much I missed blogging, or better put, this blog.

I tried to start a new one, but I guess my heart wasn't in it. My heart is in this one. So here we go again. I hope all the readers who once followed me will continue to do so. I hope I can keep up the recipes and the funny stories. I hope I continue to write, I hope you continue to read.

Here we go.

Moving Forward


On this blog I have created 425 posts and have 115870 page views. That's awesome. This blog has seen me move from novice cook, to dappling in the vegan world, to embracing vegetarian, to weight watchers and onto wine. It also sadly, languished as I faced and fought off the hardest thing I have ever had to go through, anxiety, depression, therapy and medicine.

I don't know why this happened to me, I am sure there are lessons yet to be learned. What I do know is that I have come through it. I didn't do it alone. I had lots of help from friends, family, therapists, and yes, medication. 

My unsung hero Chris, never faltered through the entire process, never made me feel crazy, never made me feel self conscious about "needing help" even when that "help" came every night in the form of a pill. I fought what was happening to me so hard, I was not the kind of person who needed help, who needed to talk things out, and definitely not the kind of person who sought refuge with medicine. Fighting didn't help, it just prolonged the inevitable, and brought my body and mind to the breaking point in the meantime. 

I sit here today, writing this blog, a different person than I was last year. I have officially finished therapy, and have weened myself off of all medicine except for one medicine that is still helping me treat the polyps in my throat that were caused by stress - I will come off of that medicine some day.

I am now a person with a greater appreciation for allowing yourself to indulge in the small things that make life amazing everyday.  I have decided to leave this blog. It served me well, but it represents the past. I have created a new blog aptly named Champagne and Croissants - those who have read my posts from therapy will understand the name.

I've so missed everything about blogging. I cannot wait to start this new one. I hope you will follow me there, it wouldn't be the same without you.

Where have I been


It hasn't been for lack of cooking that has made me ignore this blog totally, (bad blogger, bad), the truth is that for the past couple months I have been interviewing for a new job. My position at my old company was being terminated and my contract was not going to be extended so I needed to find a job before Thanksgiving (happy holidays asshole, here's your walking papers); so I've been neck high in interviews and all the crapola that goes along with it. The sad part is, I made some pretty fanfuckingtastic recipes along the way too, but I just didn't have time to blog about it. I drank a shit ton of wine as well and didn't blog about that either. Goo news, I found an amazing new job, but as luck would have it, I started my new job today and hop on a plane tomorow to DC for three days, so I guess there is no rest for the weary here, and the blog will have to wait a few days to be resurrected.

Thanks to everyone who emailed and called to see if I was still alive....that includes you too Nanascilla, Uno told me you were asking about me.

I'll be back!

Garden Pasta with Grilled Tuna


Mmm no recipe here, it was the kind of night where you grab a glass of wine, head out into the garden and say, "whatdaya got for me?" this night the garden gave me two japanese eggplants, two squash, two zucchini and a handful of San Marzano tomatoes to I took all the vegetables and sliced them the long way into thirds, put a little olive oil on them with salt and pepper and grilled them each side four minutes. I also took some tuna steaks and gave them the same treatment at the vegetables. While those were cooking I took a red onion from the garden along with a handful of basil and tarragon - I sauted the onion in a bit of butter and olive oil, added some garlic and when they were soft added two spilt of champagne  - when that had cooked down a bit I added the herbs to make a nice champagne herb sauce - yes, it tastes as good as it sounds. While the sauce was doing its thing I boiled a box of rigatoni to all dente. When all were cooked I cut up the vegetables and tune, and in a large bowl combined the veggies, tuna, pasta, and herb champagne sauce - mixed it all together gave it a little salt, pepper and parmesan cheese and a great dinner was on the table - so simple, so easy, so awesome to get almost all of it out of the garden. I must, repeat must move to a state with a longer growing season, one that has fig trees - that will be my barometer of the locale...Me: "excuse me, realtor person, would it be possible to have a flourishing fig tree in the backyard here?"Realtor: "No ma'am, this zone would not allow a fig tree to grow here year round, you'd have to cellar it in the winter."Me: "I've seen enough - we'll continue either south or west from here, thank you for your time."I got a manicure today - so of course I cut the nail with my big knife while chopping swiss chard, that's the way things always go, I never stub my toe unless I've just paid $30 for a manicure, and you always have the best hair dat of your live the day you are going to get it all chopped off.Rating = Damn Good (and local too)[...]

Cucumber Gratin | Vegetarian Times


 So, if you haven't yet tried cooked cucumbers, go for it, its really good. As I mentioned before, I've got a virtual porno flick of cucumbers growing in the garden so I needed to get a little creative, and I didn't want to make soup or another salad or just eat them plain, I wanted to dress them up a bit. The latest issue of Vegetarian Times had an article on using cucumbers in multiple ways, and this was one of the recipes. I am lucky enough to have an awesome herb garden growing along side the vegetables, so I pretty much used two to three times the amount of tarragon and dill than the recipe called - and it was great. This recipe is based on a Julie Child recipe, and really, who doesn't love Julia. If you try it, let me know if you like it, also, let me know how you might dress it up a bit to make it a little more randy.Cucumber Gratin | Vegetarian Times2 Tbs. unsalted butter (use vegan margarine/butter)2 English cucumbers or 3 garden cucumbers, peeled, halved, seeded, and cut into 2-x1/2 inch strips (about 4 cups)3/4 tsp. salt 1/8 tsp. sugar1/4 cup chopped fresh chives2 tsp. chopped fresh tarragon 1 tsp. coarsely chopped fresh dill1 tsp. grated lemon zest1/3 cup panko breadcrumbs1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese (use vegan Parmesan cheese)1. Preheat oven to 375 F. Melt butter in saucepan over medium heat. Cook 3 minutes, or until beginning to brown. 2. Toss cucumbers in 13 x 9 inch baking dish with 1 Tbs. brown butter, salt, and sugar. Bake 25 minutes.3. Remove dish from oven, and preheat the broiler. Add chives, tarragon, dill, and lemon zest to cucumbers, and toss to coat. Season with pepper, if desired.4. Stir together breadcrumbs, Parmesan, and remaining 1 Tbs. brown butter in bowl. Sprinkle breadcrumb mixture over cucumbers. Broil 2 minutes, or until crumbs are golden brown.Per 1/2 Cup Serving: 85 cal.; 2 grams prot.; 6 grams total fat (3 grams sat. fat); 7 grams carb.; 13 mg chol.; 355 mg sod.; <1 gram fiber; 2 grams sugar Rating = Good[...]

Wine Snitch Wine Blog


Because I have been doing so much wine tasting, traveling and general imbibing I've created another blog dedicated purely to wine. Its called Wine Snitch and I just posted my first review today. Please check it out.

I may have planted too many cucumbers | Japanese Cucumber Salad


Last year my cucumbers performed miserably. I don't know why, but it was frustrating as I think nothing is as good as a fresh cucumber with a little salt on it in the middle of a hot summer afternoon. This year, I clearly overcompensated for my cucumber failure last year because I literally walk out of the back door and get slapped in the face with cucumbers, which exploding overnight are testing the endurance of their vines, begging to be picked. 

Sunday was Hot As Balls and I was not about cook, so I broke out the trustee mandolin slicer and made this quick and refreshing cucumber salad. Super Simple and Refreshing, that's really the best way to describe this salad, which I found on the Eating Well website located here.

Let me know if you make it, and also if you have any favorite cucumber recipes, I'm gonna need them, also, Japanese Eggplant, mine have become almost as big of a nuisance as the cucumbers.

Rating = Good

Broccoli Rabe


Now that I have three summers of organic gardening under my belt I have discovered a few things that should be filed under "Shit That Is Not Worth Growing On Your Own!" and, Broccoli Rabe is one of them. I love it and its kind of spendy in the market, but you know what - don't plant it jut pay for it. From last years garden adventure, watermelon and broccoli are added to that list.Over the winter I became mildly addicted to the brocolli rabe with mushrooms and red pepper flakes in the prepared food part of Russo's in Watertown so I decided instead of paying $6 per pound for it in the summer I would grow my own and I would be in Broccoli Rabe heaven all summer. Not so much, I can't seem to get to the rabe before it bolts and flowers, and at that point it's too bitter to eat - the picture above is broccoli that was harvested in my garden right before it bolted, and it was still very bitter. I tried to recreate the dish by sauteing red onion (home grown) with a little garlic and then adding quartered button mushrooms and then adding the broccoli rabe (blanching it first) and then at the last minute adding salt and a good dose of red pepper flakes. It tasted like what I buy from the market, except for the fact that the broccoli rabe was so bitter. So - I'll just continue to buy it,  Boo Hiss! And I will rip up the rabe and replace it with Swiss Chard because I cannot get enough of it now.Also, on a complete side note, if you happen to go out for sushi and end up eating about two pounds of seaweed salad because it's so good and you just can't stop yourself - your bathroom the next morning will indeed smell like Casey Anthony's trunk. Just saying, open a window, give it five or ten minutes.[...]

Swiss Chard Erin's Recipe


This conversation between Chris and I should give you a little insight into how many times I have cooked Swiss Chard since Chris and I have been together.

Me: I hope you like Swiss Chard because that's what were having for dinner tonight?
Chris: Swiss Chard, Is that a fish?
Me: (blank stare) - (I mean I guess there is a fish called Artic Char, so maybe its not that big of a leap to think Swiss Chard might be a fish.)  - (Yes it is, that was terrible Chris)

So I made Erin's recipe that is in the comments with just a few minor tweaks due to lack of ingredients, I used sunflower seeds instead of almonds, a red onion from the garden instead of shallot, and cider vinegar instead of red wine vinegar, and you know what? It rocked. I ate the whole thing....I can't wait to make the other suggestions that were left in the comments or sent to me, including the rolled stuffed grilled chard and some sort of card augratin that someone told me about.

Seriously, I would have this as a side dish everyday of the week. I didn't plant chard, I've been eating my neighbors while I tend to her garden while she is away. Next year, chard will be front and center in on of my raised beds.

Next challenge....KALE, we've got lots of it, suggestions?

Rating = Damn Good

Swiss Chard


Picked it yesterday. Never made it before. Going to try tonight. Send recipes if you've got em.

Grilled French Toast with Stone Fruits and Pineapple


Good,  God, I know, this picture is atrocious! That's what happens when you are running around putting on Fathers Day brunch and you ask your husband to take a picture with his Iphone. Sorry. Please, take my word for it, this french toast rocked the brunch hard - it was so awesome, and grilling it made it so cool and charred and man like. (Insert fake growl sound here, and that stupid claw hand know, like, Rawwwrrr and you paw with your right hand. [No, just me, well]).Therapy. Real quick, a lot has happened, and its going very well, but I have been diagnosed with Perfectionist OCD. A hard thing to hear for sure because there are a lot of negative stereotypes about people with OCD, and there are so many ways in which OCD presents itself, but nonetheless, that's my diagnosis. The day I was diagnosed I came home and at the dinner table told him that Dr. Diana had diagnosed me with OCD, and without skipping a beat, he just looked at me and said "Ya Think". So, he's not surprised, and everyone else I have told seems to think that perfectionist OCD is a spot on diagnosis for me. So, from here, I learn how to control it - or better yet, not let it control me - and then we'll figure out why I have it. I can hanker a guess, but I don't want to jump to conclusions here, I'll wait for the doctor to do that. So, for the grilled french toast I used this recipe from the ever popular Sandra Lee (yes, that was sarcasm you heard in my voice) Grilled French Toast I didn't use Grand Marnier, I added cardamom and vanilla to the egg mixture, and instead of strawberries we grilled peaches, plums and pineapple. So good, I highly recommend that you try grilled french toast - it was really awesome.PS. If you have not tried a Zumba class, get your ass to a gym, it is so much fun. I can't wait to go again tonight with my little sister, its the most fun in a workout class you'll ever have.Rating = Damn Good  [...]

Back - so much to discuss!


The trip was in a word, awesome. It's been a couple years since we went on a wine trip, and if I ever needed a glass of wine in my life, it's now. We flew into Seattle and were greeted with just the most amazing weather. Thanks to a heft does of Xanax before the flight (I hate flying) I pretty much slept the whole way and arrived in Seattle ready to take it all on. We meandered through the streets, and spent a relaxing afternoon taking in the local sights along the water. Nighttime brought a great happy hour at a bar called Alibi, then an amazing dinner and a carafe of wine at The Pink Door, we had a roof top table, outside, so great. The next day as we walked to Pike's Place the smell of warm butter beckoned us into a little bakery where we shared the lightest flakiest raspberry croissant - note, this is almost half of operation champagne and croissant (not there yet) but close, right? Sort of? Friends we haven't seen in years joined us for breakfast, then we walked through the sculpture park (is it just me, but I don't get or like sculptures or sculpture parks, like the fact that there was just a big & symbol as a sculpture - just that - why does one need that in ones life). I digress.After the sculpture park, we made our way to Pike's Place Market to see some fish tossing. Good thing I've got bony elbows, they were a most useful tool as I jabbed and forced my way through the crowds - it was like the whole world woke up and decided to go to the market that day. Crazy, but amazing. We hit a fruit stand to make a goodie bag for the trip to Yakima and headed out of Seattle for the start of some serious wine tasting. We spent the next 4 days tasting our way through Yakima, Prosser, Walla Walla and Woodinville. The ride from Seattle to Yakima (and int he reverse direction) is an amazing sight, as the lush green hills and snow capped mountains give way to more arid, farm lands, the scenery changes before your eyes, its hard to describe, but amazing to experience.We met some really amazing people while we were there, including two female wine makers, Dawn and Mary of DaMa wines in Walla Walla, we had such a great time at their tasting room that they invited us over for dinner the same night. We spent the night eating great food, drinking their fabulous wine (including some 10 year old wines out of their basement), and making a fire pit out of spent wine barrels and sipping wine by fire light - this was the highlight of our trip. We had private tours and tastings and got to meet the winemaker Pepperbridge, Grammercy Cellars, Foundry Vineyards, and Chateau St.Michelle. We really could not have asked for a better more relaxing trip. This trip meant so much to both of us, as a celebration of the 1 year anniversary of opening Chris' Architectural Studio. I want this trip, over and over and over again. I can't wait for our next journey.PS. Back to all the therapy bullshit later. Its going well, and I have a lot to discuss in regards to that, but not today...tomorrow maybe.[...]

Across the country, glass in hand


I'm spending the next 8 days wine tasting....NOTE: the woman in the picture is not me...yet.
See you on the other side of this adventure.

Be Well. CHEERS!

The Rapture Skipped Me (so I ate) Spaghetti with Anchovies and Bread Crumbs (Spaghetti con Acciughe e Mollica)


The rapture never came, and boy am I relieved because we all know that had the day of reckoning really come I'd be smelling in the sulfur and brimstone. I'm not a bad person all the time, but on a daily basis I have fits of bitch that just take over. I blame most of these fits on my commute and the asshole drivers that I am faced to deal with for at least two hours every week day. Or, like when you are at the grocery store, at check out, and you spend a few moments deciding which lane will move the fastest - and then you realize that you picked the lane where the check out person is incapable of doing more than one motor function at a time and doesn't give two shits about the fact that you want to get out of the store because they are going to be there all day anyway so why shouldn't you.  And who pays by check at the grocery store...why is the person in front of you paying by check. And if you can't decide if you want paper or plastic I will most likely yell at you for not bringing your own God Damn Bag, don't you care about this spinning circle you live on called EARTH.But, then there are the times when I should be calm like in yoga, and I spend the entire class wondering why the Indian girl in front of me sucks so bad at yoga. I know wrong wrong wrong, but when an Indian person comes into class I prepare myself to be schooled in all yoga postures and I'm floored when the person just outright sucks at yoga. I actually wanted to tell her to get to the back of the class if she couldn't balance on one leg because she was throwing me off.But, then I don't feel too bad about this thought because I came home from class last time and our neighbor Vibs who is Indian was over and I asked if that was an inappropriate thought to have about the Indian girl in front of me and his immediate response was.."No, she's Pakistani"I was dying after that.Spaghetti with Anchovies and Bread Crumbs (Spaghetti con Acciughe e Mollica)6 salt-packed anchovies or 12 best-quality anchovy fillets in olive oil (see Notes), divided 1 pound spaghetti 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil 6 large garlic cloves, minced 1 or 2 small fresh or dried hot red chiles such as peperoncini or Thai, thinly sliced 2 tablespoons minced flat-leaf parsley 3/4 cup Toasted Fresh Bread Crumbs, divided If using salt-packed anchovies, rinse them under cold water. With your fingers, pry them open along the back and lift out backbone to yield 2 fillets. Rinse fillets again to remove any fine bones; pat dry on paper towels. If using anchovy fillets in olive oil, lift out of jar or tin, leaving oil behind (no need to rinse oil-packed fillets). Finely chop 6 fillets; set aside. Cut remaining 6 fillets into 4 or 5 pieces each; set aside. In an 8-qt. pot, bring 5 qts. well-salted water to a boil over high heat. Add pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender to the bite, about 10 minutes.Meanwhile, put olive oil, garlic, finely chopped anchovies, and chiles in a deep 12-in. frying pan (with at least 2-in. sides) or wide pot and cook over low heat, stirring, until anchovies dissolve. Stir in parsley and remaining anchovies; turn off heat.When pasta is almost done, set aside 1 cup of the cooking water, then drain pasta and transfer to pan of anchovy sauce. Toss quickly until all the strands are well coated. Add some reserved cooking water if pasta seems dry. Set aside 2 tbsp. bread crumbs, then add remainder to pasta and toss again.Divide past[...]

Smoked Salmon Cucumber Bites with Cilantro Lime Crema


Therapy, she's a getting hairy....but I'm doing all the crap my therapist is telling me to do, and although I don't like it, I think that Ph.D knows what she's I do what she says. When she analyzed my stress journal she noticed that there were a few things that constantly affect my stress level, one being weighing myself in the morning, so for the past week and for the next week I am not "allowed" to weigh myself in the morning, so then we can see if this helps my anxiety level at all. I tend to think not, considering I've pretty much run for an hour to an hour and a half a day since we started this little experiment, like I've just shuffled the attention and compulsion into more running, I'm not sure that is what she meant to do. This woman must see dollar signs when she reads my anxiety journal, "cha Ching....this girl is going to be in therapy for years, book the vacation honey we can afford to go anywhere with her billings."

Anywho, such a super simple and really attractive appetizer, I made these for mothers day, but really they are perfect for any gathering and so easy to throw together. The cilantro lime crema I used was left over from the fish tacos recipe that I posted last week. So simply cut cucumber on a bias, place some smoked salmon on top put on a dollop of the crema and top with a little caviar and a chive sprig. So pretty.

PS am I the only one that finds it hard to watch Mad Men without a drink?
PPS am I the only one that also things that Air on the G String is a horrible name for a song that is often used in weddings.