your thanksgiving butternut squash soup

butternut squash soup

People have certain rules about what should be on the Thanksgiving table. I, for one, am pretty loosey goosey about the whole thing. This is not surprising to anyone who knows me well because ‘loosey goosey’ pretty much sums up my approach to the culinary world. I like to adjust as I go, add a pinch of something if it feels right and go with what I have on hand. When I sat down to plan what I would bring to the three dinners we will be attending, I knew I wanted to stray a little from tradition but still stay within the lines of the season. Dressing, green bean casserole and pie all made the cut and will maintain their traditional integrity, but I still felt like we could shake things up just a little tiny bit, but don’t worry, I didn’t nix the mashed potatoes.

I understand that no one really needs to have an appetizer right before they consume a weeks worth of food, and most people think the idea is absurd, but sometimes you want dinner to be a little fancy and I don’t know any better time to be fancy than on Thanksgiving. Break out the cloth napkins, the candlesticks and the good china, even make seating cards if you’d like and enjoy the one meal a year where you can pull out all the stops.

Thankfully, this starter won’t take up much of your time (which I know is utterly precious on the big day), and most of the ingredients are likely in your kitchen anyway, so no large additions to the shopping list either. Make the soup and remove the seeds from the pomegranate the day before and throw them in the fridge. Take a few leaves off of the brussels sprouts you’re probably already making and all thats left to do is just throw it all together. We ate it at room temperature and it was delightful, but you can warm it up in a pot if you can stand one more minute at the stove. (more…)


November 24, 2013. Tags: , , , , , , , , , . gluten free, quick and easy, sides, soup, vegetarian. 7 comments.

summer tomato tart + some exciting news!

This could turn out to be the most exciting summer of our lives. There have been so many changes around here that I don’t think our heads have stopped spinning. We have been through a whirlwind of travel and will continue to be dictated by the jet stream well into the beginning of fall. It has been such a glorious couple of months, most of which I hope to share with you sooner rather than later. For me, this time has been marked by a whole lot of soul searching and healthy doses of reality. I mentioned recently that I tend to jump right to the most extreme reaches of a situation and need to feel the pull of my tether (whom I warmly refer to as my husband). Thankfully, he keeps me grounded when the world is rushing around us.

There is actually one piece of news I would love to share with all of you, and since I tend to be a little impatient with all this good news rolling around in my head, at least this one can slip out, right? Well, come this September, I will be teaching cooking classes! This is something I am deeply looking forward to. They will be held in my home to begin with and will hopefully branch out to others homes, as well as new, inspiring venues. We will start by focusing on the basics of every day cooking and will eventually move on to more intensive subjects like tackling the always cumbersome Thanksgiving menu. My hope is that people who are not as confident as they would like to be in the kitchen will leave our home feeling well equipped in front of their own stove. Our first class will be Monday, September 10th at 6:30pm. We will be learning how to season food. Although that sounds simple, it is quite possibly your most powerful tool in the kitchen. I am always amazed by what a little salt can do.

If you are interested in taking a class, please contact me at and I will put you on the list to receive a calendar when one becomes available. Our first few classes will have limited space, so sign up soon if you’re interested. We are going to have a great time!

Now, on to this summer tomato tart. Normally, I try to avoid turning my oven on during the warm summer months. I do my best to plan meals around dishes that don’t need much cooking, or can be cooked outdoors on the grill. Our apartment has no air conditioning and it’s on the top floor. Just by putting two and two together you can imagine that equals a toasty home on really warm days. Adding the heat of a 400 degree oven usually doesn’t make it into that equation. However, I had some tart dough that was defrosted in the fridge that needed a filling, and well, there were these amazing little tomatoes at the market and raw tart dough is quite unpleasant to eat even with amazing tomatoes, so on went the oven…

This little tart comes together in no time flat as long as you have chilled tart dough ready to go. A purchased pie crust will work beautifully here as well if you don’t have any dough lingering in your fridge. If you plan ahead though, you might want to try making the crust at home. The recipe makes enough for two of these tarts, so freeze one and the next tomato tart you make will come together rather quickly.


August 1, 2012. Tags: , , , , , , , , , . baking, quick and easy, summer, vegetarian, Whole Wheat. 18 comments.

goat cheese ice cream + the best way to see me at my worst

There is nothing like a Zumba class to make me feel like a complete idiot. It encompasses everything I’m terrible at, all in a one hour class. First of all, I hate going because I’m averse to working out. I generally talk myself out it, reasoning that I’d better stay in tonight to rest up for the huge workout I’m planning for tomorrow. In the off chance someone invites me to go to a Zumba class with them at the gym I pay a lot of money for and never use, and I can’t find a reason to decline, I will usually go. Not because I want to, but because I’m mostly driven by guilt and would feel bad saying no. Waiting until the last second, I get into work out clothes, which isn’t so bad, since they’re really just tighter pajamas that accentuate my rolls styled with a super tight bra that flattens the only two things I have going for me and I head over the gym trying not to think about how much worse I’m going to feel about myself in about 30 minutes. Since this is a very popular class at the gym, I have to arrive at least a half hour early to get a number or I won’t get in. I could hop on a machine and get a head start on my work out, but let’s not be silly, we both know I’m not going to do that. I’m going to catch up on 30 Rock or Up All Night on my iPhone while I wait. A few minutes before the class starts, they begin calling numbers and people file in. They all sort of spread out as much as possible and hope for a good smelling partner. Of course they won’t know until the sweat starts pouring. I position myself strategically in the middle because that’s the spot with the least amount of mirrors. I can only see myself straight ahead and that’s only if I accidentally stop hiding behind the woman in front of me. The teacher shows up, a skinny Latina who knows how to shake it, and the music starts pumping. She usually starts us off slow which gives me the false sense that I might actually be getting the hang of it, and then warm up is over and I’m tripping over myself looking like I slammed a few shots of vodka on the way in. I am just about the whitest person there in skin tone and on the how-well-can-you-shake-your-hips-and-look-super-sexy-while-doing-it scale. To make matters worse, the more steps I miss, the more I can see myself missing them because the cute little lady in front of me who is not missing a beat can no longer shield me from seeing my round marshmallow man body trying to dance like a latin heart throb. It’s a heinous sight to behold. As the class goes on, the steps get increasingly more difficult and unfamiliar so I’m basically shuffling my feet and moving my arms around which barley raises my heart rate above a nice good stretch in the morning. Somehow, my body is still all damp and sweaty, and I realize it’s everyone else’s sweat accumulating in the room. Yep, I’m drenched in everyone else’s sweat. This just keeps getting better. After the class, my work out buddy asks if I want her to pay a dollar to reserve my spot in the class for next week. I say that I’ll need to keep next Tuesday night open just because I never quite know what’s going to come up. Then she offers again, and then one more time, so I look at my calendar before I concede and see we are house sitting next week. Darn it. The following week isn’t looking good either. Maybe we can get together for ice cream instead?  (more…)

March 13, 2012. Tags: , , , , , . dessert, gluten free, vegetarian. 3 comments.

fall pizza

I’m so happy that fall is here. This weekend, in San Francisco, we had a major downpour. It was amazing. The air was damp and cool, and the asphalt had that lovely first rain smell. It all felt so majestic. If I was an artist, I would have painted a canvas to express these thoughts and feelings but instead I put the colors and aromas of fall on a pizza. click here for the full post!

October 29, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , . fall, pizza, quick and easy, vegetarian. 6 comments.

goat cheese breakfast stack

I love love love breakfast. Especially the Saturday morning ones that are lazy and can span a couple of hours. There is something so wonderful about waking up naturally, rolling out of bed and heading directly to a fridge full of fresh ingredients ready for breakfast inspiration.

My darling sister, Anna has been staying with the hubby and I for about a month now, which has been ridiculously fun. She is easily one of my favorite people in the entire world and if she continues to fill that spot, she may find that I make it quite difficult for her to vacate our flat. She has become my right hand wo-man in the kitchen (the hubs fills the right hand man spot, naturally) which means that our goat cheese consumption has dramatically spiralled out.of.control. You see, we both adore goat cheese in the worst kind of way. Basically, we want to find a way to incorporate it into everything. And so we do. This breakfast stack was inspired by of one of our favorite ways to eat this soft, tangy white cheese: generously spread on freshly salted tomato slices. We added some normal morning fare like poached eggs and proscuitto, and added some fresh basil, black olives, green onion and capers to bump up the flavor. Try your own version of this quick and tasty morning (or afternoon) meal and let me know what you come up with!
click here for the full post

August 20, 2010. Tags: , , , . breakfast, quick and easy. 3 comments.