Archive for June, 2008


All Good Foods in Moderation

Ben is in the middle of reading In Defense of Food. My new favorite book is The Art of Simple Food. Mine is a compilation of recipes and instruction for buying good food, wisely. The author subscribes to the method of cooking according to the season. That way you can buy local (better taste and quality) produce to work with. She has a restaurant in California that is based on her beliefs. Its amazing how simple her recipes are and incredibly delicious! The author is also a firm believer in food being a centerpiece to fellowship. Anyways, the upshot of this is that Ben and I have been convinced that local (if possible), organic foods are the way to go. It was in that spirit that we made a family date of going to downtown Annapolis to visit The Big Cheese to buy some morbier cheese and fresh baguettes from the french restaurant around the corner. (Of course we stopped to get fantastic ice cream at Storm Bros, too.) I admit it was a bit of a splurge, but the taste exceeded anything we’ve had in a very long time. We also stopped by a local organic market to purchase fresh fruit, and topped the whole feast off with some cheap wine. That was Friday night dinner. It was fabulous, fast..and healthy, too!

Ophelia and the food

Morbier, baguettes, garlic twist, real vanilla for homemade lavender ice cream, grapes, Charles Shaw wine, mango, peaches, nectarines and carrots.


Grilled Kielbasa with Warm Potato Salad

I cooked!!!! My insurance company finally authorized my upped dosage of zofran, so I should be able to keep my hyperemesis more under control which means……(insert drum roll)
I can start making and eating(!) dinner again!!! Praise the Lord!!

I found this recipe on (although I do subscribe and recommend Gourmet Magazine in which it was featured originally.) Generally, Ben and I aren’t fans of potato salad, but we found this one to be quite good. The recipe is really simple, affordable, and was prepared in under 30 minutes! I made a few alterations for my own convenience. We used a handful of fresh, chopped basil and a 1/2 tbsp. each of chopped chives and dill because I didn’t have any parsley. I oiled, vinegar-ed, salted and peppered to taste. We also used turkey kielbasa because I’ve had a rocky relationship with pork. We had a garden side salad instead of the suggested coleslaw.


  • 2 pounds small red boiling potatoes, halved or quartered if large
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped sweet onion
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 pound smoked kielbasa


Generously cover potatoes with water in a large saucepan and add 1 tsp salt. Bring to a boil, then simmer, partially covered, until potatoes are tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Drain.

Meanwhile, whisk together onion, oil, vinegar, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper in a large bowl.

Add hot potatoes and parsley to vinaigrette and toss.

Prepare grill for direct-heat cooking over medium-hot charcoal (medium heat for gas).

Cut kielbasa crosswise into 4 sections, then halve each section lengthwise.

Oil grill rack, then grill kielbasa, covered only if using a gas grill, turning once, until sizzling and grill marks appear, about 4 minutes total.

Serve kielbasa with potato salad (warm or at room temperature).

Cooks’ note: Kielbasa can be grilled in a hot lightly oiled large (2-burner) ridged grill pan over medium-high heat.

Serve with: coleslaw


crafting time

Today is the Nine Month Mark for one of our good friends and so yesterday for crafting time B and I put this together.

I put the letters on it and B did all of the other shapes on her own. It’s not Van Gogh, but I think it’s safe to say that she’s not completely without a sense of color and form. It’s also probably not something that will be framed or put into a baby album, but it’s fun for now and we’re really looking forward to taking it over to the new mom and baby when he arrives!

If all of you – particularly you moms who have seen your due dates come and go with nary a contraction to speak of – could please keep this mom in your prayers, I’m sure she’d be greatly blessed by it! Thanks!


roast beef sandwich with cukes and pickles

If you’re looking for something simple and refreshing to serve for lunch or dinner today, look no further. These divine little sandwiches are just the trick. And this is just another recipe from everyday FOOD.

Roast Beef Sandwich with Cukes and Pickles

2 kaiser rolls, split
1/4 cup light mayo
1 kirby cucumber, thinly sliced
6 oz. thinly sliced deli roast beef
1/3 cup bread-and-butter pickle chips, drained and patted dry

Dividing evenly, spread cut sides of rolls with mayo. Layer bottom halves with cucumber, roast beef, and pickle chips; close sandwiches, and serve. And apparently you can wrap them in waxed paper or plastic and store them in the fridge for a day.

Doesn’t that sound easy? You might want to pick up some extra ingredients too because it’s hard to have just one of these.


pasta with gorgonzola and walnut sauce

When I was in Italy, a friend and I went searching for a McDonald’s because we thought that it’d be so funny to eat at a McD’s in Europe. We couldn’t find one and so we stopped in at a little hole-in-the-wall Italian restaurant (are they called Italian restaurants in Italy? I don’t know…). Our waiter was hilarious and gave us free champagne and our meal took a good two hours but was so worth it. I had a blue cheese ravioli with a carmelized pear and walnut sauce. It was absolutely divine.

Fast forward a few years to when my husband and I were on a date at Swilly’s. There was a similar pasta with gorgonzola, walnuts, and pears on the menu and I had to order it. It took me back to that little hole-in-the-wall and I was reminded of my affinity for this combination of flavors.

A few days ago we were given a big hunk of gorgonzola. I had no idea what I would do with that much cheese! And then I remembered the pasta with walnuts and pears. I found this recipe on epicurious and tried it. It wasn’t Italy, but it was still pretty good.

Let me mention a few of the alterations that I made to the recipe. I substituted whole wheat penne for the fusilli, which may have been a mistake. The penne was just a little too heavy and didn’t allow enough gorgonzola flavor to come through. I also omitted the basil (mistake? I don’t know). And lastly, I chopped up some pear to serve alongside. The pear makes all the difference, especially when you’re serving it in the warmer months. The cool juiciness of the pear cuts through the thick heavy creaminess of the cheese sauce and it’s just perfect. Oh, and if there’s anything that I would warn you of in this recipe it would be to not be shy with the gorgonzola! It might seem like it’s asking for a lot, but as written it’s really quite mild.

Again, we are without pictures. My apologies. Maybe next time.


champagne mojitos

We had some friends over on Sunday evening and served these wonderful little cocktails. I’m normally not one for cocktails, but this one really hit the spot. The mint and lime really cut through the sweetness and the alcohol to give it a really crisp, refreshing taste.

And sorry, no pictures, they were gone too fast.

Champagne Mojitos
(serves 4)

8 sprigs of peppermint (if you don’t have quite enough you can throw in a dash of peppermint schnapps)
1/2 cup fresh squeezed lime juice
thinly sliced lime
3-4 tbsp sugar
chilled champagne (spumante for a sweeter taste)
strawberries, for garnish

Mix your lime juice and sugar and let sit for a bit so that the sugar kind of dissolves. Then add your peppermint (and schnapps if needed) and muddle it up a bit (smash the leaves in the juice so that they release more of their flavor). Divide this mixture between four glasses (or you could serve it in a small pitcher with glasses on the side). Add a few ice cubes, two thin lime slices, a sliced strawberry, and top with champagne (about 4-6 oz per glass).



salmon salade nicoise

This is one of my favorite summertime dinners. Light, crisp, and cool but still full of great stuff. It’s also a great meal to prepare earlier in the day and then refrigerate if you’re going to be gone for a few hours right before dinnertime.

Salmon Salade Nicoise

2 4-ounce 1-inch-thick skinless salmon fillets
1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon, crumbled
2 small (about 3 ounces each) red potatoes
6 ounces green beans, cut into 3-inch pieces
6 romaine lettuce leaves
2 small tomatoes, cut into quarters
2 hard-boiled eggs, cut into quarters
1 green onion, finely sliced
1 tablespoon capers
Lemon-Mustard Vinaigrette

Place salmon in heavy medium skillet. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with tarragon. Add enough water to skillet to just cover salmon. Cover and simmer salmon over medium-low heat until salmon is opaque but still pink in center, about 7 minutes. Using spatula, transfer salmon to plate and refrigerate until chilled. Reserve water in skillet.
Return water in skillet to boil. Add potatoes to skillet. Cover and simmer until potatoes are just tender when pierced with knife, about 10 minutes. Transfer potatoes to plate. Cool and slice. Reserve water in skillet.

Add enough additional water to skillet to cover bottom by 1 inch. Bring water to boil. Add beans. Cover and simmer over high heat until beans are crisp-tender, about 4 minutes. Rinse beans under cold water to cool. Drain. (Can be prepared up to 6 hours ahead; refrigerate.)

Arrange lettuce leaves on each of 2 plates. Top each with salmon fillet. Arrange half of potatoes, green beans, tomatoes and hard-boiled eggs decoratively around each salmon fillet. Sprinkle half of green onions and capers over each salmon fillet. Serve, passing vinaigrette separately.