Category Archives: Cooking

Pomegranate Cranberry Bellinis

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What would brunch be without a fancy cocktail or ten? I had it in my head to make a pomegranate bellini so I found a recipe to build on, and when I was finished making it… it didn’t look super appetizing. Don’t get me wrong, it was a beautiful shade of berry red and it smelled incredible but it was thick and looked almost like you should eat it with a spoon or over ice cream (and you should). But then I tasted it. And I didn’t want to change a darn thing.

So on the morning of brunch I bought cranberry juice and orange juice to mix with champagne in case everyone was scared of the fruit puree. And you know what? Nobody touched that juice.

On the menu:
Pomegranate Cranberry Bellinis
Makes roughly 24 cocktails

1 1/2 cups fresh cranberries
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
1/2 cup orange juice
1 cup cranberry juice
Zest of 1 orange (about 1 Tbsp)
1 cup water
1 cup sugar

Add all ingredients to a large pot that has a fitted lid and bring to a simmer. Cook for around 10 minutes, or until the sugar dissolves. Cover pan with the fitted lid and cook for 10 minutes. Once the cranberries burst, remove lid and simmer for another 10 – 15 minutes. Use an immersion blender (or pour into a standing blender) to blend the liquid for 1 minute. Pour through a strainer to remove seeds and excess pulp.

Let puree chill in the refrigerator for at least a few hours so that the puree is cold by the time you’re ready to make your cocktails.

To serve: pour 2 Tbsp of puree into a champagne glass and top with champagne or prosecco. And then drink. your. face off.

Note: Don’t worry if your puree is too thick to pass through a fine mesh strainer. It’ll mix with champagne just fine. And if it doesn’t, you drink the champagne on the top of the glass, and THEN you pour the rest over ice cream and eat it with a spoon. Bon appetit.

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Pumpkin Bread

Pumpkin breadPumpkin bread is one of those dishes you can make for a brunch last minute in case, say, the bread you planned to make that took you 2 hours the night before, the bread you created specially so that your friend who can’t eat gluten could still enjoy every dish at your brunch, the bread that made your whole apartment smell like incredible grapefruit-scented-vanilla cake for an entire day … yes… that bread… came out like a fat, gooey, undercooked, flat brick.

Womp womp.

So I threw this bread together and told my gluten-free-friend to stay far away. But everyone else swarmed in like vultures. #Success

On the menu:
Pumpkin bread
Makes 1 loaf

1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
1/4 cup water
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, sugar, and baking soda. In a medium bowl, mix together the pumpkin puree, vegetable oil, eggs, water, and spices. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients just until incorporated (careful not to overmix).

Grease a 9 x 5 x 3 loaf pan with butter and pour in the batter. Bake for 50 minutes. Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes and then remove and let cool on a rack.

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Holiday Brunch from A to Z

Hashbrown casserole
Growing up, I lived in a neighborhood where all the families were very close. One family’s kids babysat for the younger families’ kids, cups of sugar and milk were always being lent out, and when it came to Christmas time, all the families gathered in one house on Christmas Eve to enjoy brunch and the holidays together. Those brunches are some of my favorite memories, and it was never about the food (of which there was always tons). I decided to host my own little brunch this weekend in the spirit of the holidays… and of day drinking. Now that I’m older, I realize everything is more festive with champagne.

This week I’ll provide you with recipes and tips to host your own holiday brunch that allows you to truly enjoy the company of friends and family without spending the entire party in the kitchen slaving over the stove. First on the week’s menu list is a delicious, decadent, cheesy potato casserole that you can make the night before and pop into the oven the morning of brunch. Little work plus even less time? Hey favorite new recipe. Hey.

On the menu:
Cheesy hashbrown casserole
Serves 8 – 10

1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
2/3 cup sundried tomatoes, whole and oil packed
6 cloves of garlic, minced
9 large eggs
3 Tbsp dijon mustard
1 cup milk (preferably whole or 2%)
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
6 cups (roughly 1 1/2 pounds) shredded or cubed frozen hashbrown potatoes

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a skillet, melt the butter over medium heat just until the butter starts to brown. Add diced onions, garlic, and sundried tomatoes and cook until the onions are translucent. Pick out the sundried tomatoes with tongs and discard. Turn off the heat.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs and mustard. Add the milk, salt, and pepper and whisk thoroughly. Fold in the cheddar cheese, frozen potatoes, and vegetables from the skillet. Mix until combined. Pour mixture into a greased 9 x 13 pan. At this point, you can refrigerate the casserole for up to 24 hours.

Bake for 35 – 45 minutes or until the top and sides are a golden brown. Serve hot.

NOTE: the original recipe from The Kitchn calls for thinly sliced sundried tomatoes that you do not pick out of the onions. I like the flavor they bring to the dish, but I’m not a fan of chewy sundried tomatoes… and neither are most people I know. The flavor is still there if you pick them out, but it’s not overwhelming. Done and done.

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Bacon, Spinach and Chicken Stew


One of the (many) pitfalls of being unemployed is that now the weather is cold and gloomy and I have even less motivation to leave the apartment than I did before (which is truly frightening). One of the fantastic things about being unemployed is the colossal amount of time I have on my hands to dream up and cook delicious things. I’m like Jerry Seinfeld. It all evens out.

I’ve been dying to make soup lately and this was easy and used up lots of things I already had in my house. You could use this recipe if you still have leftover turkey from Thanksgiving, or bookmark it for Christmas leftovers.

On the menu:
Bacon, Spinach and Chicken Stew
Serves 4
Adapted from this recipe from The Kitchn

1 large chicken breast, cooked and shredded
4 strips of bacon, diced into thin slices
3 cloves garlic, minced
10 oz. baby spinach
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
4 – 5 cups chicken stock
Freshly grated parmigiano reggiano

Heat a large stock pot over medium-high heat and add bacon. Cook until most of the fat is rendered and the bacon is almost crisp. Add garlic and stir, cooking for 1 minute. Add baby spinach and stir until completely coated in bacon fat. Sprinkle spinach with salt, pepper, paprika, and garlic powder. Cook for 5 – 7 minutes or until spinach is wilted down. Add cooked chicken and stir to coat in fat. Cook for 5 minutes until mixture is completely heated through. Add chicken stock and bring to a simmer. Cook for 15 – 20 minutes at a simmer.

Serve in big soup bowl and sprinkle grated cheese over the top.

Note: The sandwich in that picture is a delectable prosciutto with melted mozzarella and balsamic marinated cherry tomatoes on challah rolls. And yes… it was as good as it looks.

Last Note (promise): I don’t know why this is a stew and not a soup, but to me it’s a stew because there’s more stuff than broth. You feel me? Ok good.

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Snickerdoodles

These cookies are hands down one of my favorites, and I pretty much crave them every day of my life. They turn out thin, with crispy edges and chewy middles. Is there a better kind of cookie? These are fantastic to have around the holidays since they make your house smell like butter and cinnamon, and also they are not healthy by any means so they’ll help you gain that much desired winter weight.

You… wait… what? You DON’T like winter weight? Then what the heck are you doing here?!

On the menu:
Snickerdoodles
Makes 36 cookies
Recipe from Joy of Cooking

2 cups flour
2 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs

For rolling dough balls in:
1/4 cup sugar
4 tsp ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium sized bowl, whisk together flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt. In a large bowl, cream together butter and 1 1/2 cups sugar. Beat in eggs one by one. Add flour to butter and sugar mixture and stir until combined.

In a small bowl, combine 1/4 cup of sugar and cinnamon. Roll dough into 1 1/2 inch balls and then roll them in the cinnamon sugar mixture.

Bake for 12 – 14 minutes or until brown around the edges. Let cool. Devour. I mean… serve to friends.

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Thanksgiving Recipes

Pumpkin Ginger Soup topped with Pepitas

My family is ridiculously traditional, and suggesting an innovative take on a Thanksgiving classic usually warrants more eye rolls than anything else. But little by little, year by year, I’ve introduced a few dishes to the traditional Turkey Day menu that have gone over very well. Below is a list of dishes and recipes that you can try this year to give an untraditional spin to a very traditional meal. My family approves, so yours will, too.

STARTERS
Pumpkin Ginger Soup topped with Pepitas

SIDES
Roasted Kabocha Squash (just leave out the chicken to make this a nice compliment to the Thanksgiving turkey)
Butternut Squash, Leek, and Apple Gratin
Easy Biscuits
Jalapeno Goat Cheese Corn Bread
Green Bean Casserole (from The Pioneer Woman)

DESSERTS
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
Sugar Crusted Apple Pie

BEVERAGES
Hard Cider

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Cheesy Pumpkin Polenta


Don’t you hate when a recipe calls for less than the full can of pureed pumpkin? I’ve thrown away more 3 month old half-cups of pumpkin puree than I can even tell you. So after making these gems last weekend, I found myself with the age old conundrum: what to do with the extra pumpkin?

DUH. You add cheese. Why do I even bother contemplating?

I can’t lie to you, I ate this straight from the bowl with a spoon and I didn’t apologize for it one tiny bit. But it would also be stupendous as a bed for pork chops with sauteed apples or pulled pork or grilled chicken with roasted tomatoes. Am I right, or am I right?

On the menu:
Cheesy Pumpkin Polenta
Serves 2

1/4 cup white onion, minced
2 Tbsp unsalted butter, divided
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 1/4 cups water
3/4 cup whole milk (or half and half)
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup polenta
1/4 cup grated parmigiano reggiano

In a small pan, heat 1 Tbsp butter over medium/low heat. Add onion and sautee until very soft, around 8 minutes. Stir in pumpkin and heat for another 2 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a medium sized saucepan, heat water, milk, salt, and pepper until it boils. Stir in polenta in a gradual, thin stream, whisking constantly. Turn heat to low and continue cooking for 4 – 5 minutes.

Stir pumpkin/onion mixture into the milk and water mixture and cook for another 2 – 3 minutes until hot and combined. Remove from the heat and stir in remaining butter and grated cheese. Serve immediately.

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