Salmon and Soba Noodles

DSCN2234I’m going to admit something to you: I don’t know how to cook fish. Sure, I can cook seafood. I know how to make crab cakes, I like to add shrimp to this stir fry dish, and I’ve even made steamed mussels before. But actual fish? I have almost no experience.

I know one very simple recipe for salmon, and I almost never make it anymore. My mom wrote me this first salmon recipe when I was in college. I was a sophomore and moving into an apartment with some friends. No more meal plan, I was feeding myself! So my mom sat down with a spiral notebook and wrote me a few easy recipes – one of which we called “plain-ass chicken.” Another recipe was for baked salmon. Take a fillet, season with salt, pepper, and a pat of butter. Wrap it in a little tin foil packet and bake in the oven until cooked through. I’d eat that with a box of Near East rice pilaf and broccoli I had defrosted in the microwave. That was practically my signature dish. That’s the only fish recipe I really know how to make. Continue reading

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Piñon (Puerto Rican Lasagna)

photo 2 (3)Hi everyone. I wanted to say that I feel guilty I haven’t cooked or posted much in the last two months. And truthfully, it’s not likely to get better until the end of July. I leave for London (for real this time) in one week. ONE WEEK! I have lots to do to prepare! And then, I’ll be there a week before it’s time for me to leave on vacation to Greece. Tough life, right?

But the other reason I haven’t cooked much is that I love cooking for other people and I haven’t had much opportunity to do that. That is until a few weeks ago when I had a girls night at my apartment. It was one last big blow out with my girls before London. The eight of us (not all pictured below) had a potluck and we ate and we drank and we ate some more. In addition to piñon, we had salad, pizza, cheesecake, chips and dip, and raisin bread. Aren’t pot lucks excellent?! You get to eat all kinds of things! Continue reading

Sweet and Tangy Wings

For me, chicken wings have sentimental value. That might sound like a stupid thing to say, but I think most people have at least one food that makes them feel happy, or nostalgic, or something gushy like that. Chicken wings are one of my happy foods.

Wings were a staple of my junior and senior year of college. Every Thursday, my friends and I would race to Cornerstone, our favorite local bar, to take advantage of 25¢ wings. The thing is, you had to arrive before 10pm to get the deal. If you couldn’t get there by 10, we would call in your order to one of our friends who was already there (and if you were first to arrive you usually had to order about half a dozen varieties of wings). But what made wing night so great, is that it was a standing date with my friends. We’d eat a ton, have a vodka cranberry (pretty much all of our drink of choice at the time), and then we’d dance all night. It was a blast, and today wings still remind me of happy times with my college buddies. Below are some college pictures, circa 2007.

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Rellenos de Papa (Stuffed Potato Fritters)

DSCN1293I love kitchen gadgets and accessories. Unfortunately, not all of my gadgets will get moved to London – you know space concerns, different outlet plugs, and such. So I want to use my gadgets before I put them in storage. The deep fryer is number one on that list. (My friends have even asked if I’ll have a deep fryer party).

Anyway, I’ve made today’s recipe before but I thought the deep fryer would take it up a notch. This recipe is a Puerto Rican recipe that is essentially seasoned ground beef, covered in potatoes, formed in to a ball, and then deep fried. Over the years, Ryan and I have made this recipe about a half a dozen times with mixed success. It always tastes good, but often the balls fall apart either while being formed or while in the oil. I thought using the deep fryer would help ensure good taste and good looks. Continue reading

Quinoa with tomatoes, olives, and feta

photo 1 (1)Earlier this week I went to Harrods to browse the fancy clothes, the gorgeous food displays, and the cute tourist wares. Harrods is a huge maze of a department store! I found an art gallery, many restaurants, an Egyptian themed escalator, furniture, amazing designer shoes, and a book store. I loved the book store and there were so many cookbooks! I was good and didn’t buy any, but I did thumb through. All those cookbooks made me long to have a real kitchen with more resources at my disposal. I can’t wait until we’re in a real apartment. What should I cook first when I’m back in a full kitchen? I’m taking suggestions. Continue reading

Spicy Carrot & Beef Tagine

IMG_1916Thank you to everyone who submitted to the first-ever cooking is messy giveaway. Congratulations go to Meg, and her comment about Michael Pollan’s Omnivore’s Dilemma! That is a really great book, and one any food-lover should consider. So this weekend, I will be sending Meg her copy of Jacques Pepin’s Essential Pepin.  Before moving to the recipe, let me tell you just a bit about Meg. She is incredibly well-read and knowledgeable about books.  Her blog, A Bookish Affair, has great reviews of all kinds of books (my favorite are the ones on historical fiction). And, she posts all the time! Seriously, many times a week. I’m always impressed by how often there is a new post. You all should check her out! Continue reading

Beet Dip

photo (14)Beets are one of my favorite vegetables. They are sweet, colorful, and tasty. Usually, I’m perfectly happy roasting them and eating them warm out of the oven or cool over salads. But this time, I wanted to try something different. You know, variety is the spice of life and all. I’ve been thinking of borscht, and I’ve even bugged two of my friends for recipes, but I’m intimidated to make a stew I’ve never even eaten before. One day I’m going to make it, but I’m not ready yet.

Then, when I found a recipe for this beet dip I was really excited.  I think dip is wonderful because it’s a great excuse to eat crackers, bread, and cheese. Most importantly, this dip is easy to make and it is pretty. This recipe is just like hummus, only instead of chickpeas it has beets. I was excited for some new twists on old favorites. I served it when my friend Emily and her boyfriend Matt came over and it went over really well. It has the nice, sweet, earthy flavor of beets and the lemon juice gives it a nice bright, citrus flavor. It went even faster than the regular hummus!

Adapted from Food 52. Continue reading