pizza carbonara

PIzza Carbonara

One of the things my husband, Chris, and I like to cook together at home is pizza (recipe here and here). It’s quick and easy to make and allows us to customize and be creative with the toppings. When we have time, we like to make our own pizza dough, but when we’re on-the-go, like this weekend, pre-made dough from Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods does the trick just fine.  Just roll the dough and add toppings and it’s ready to go in the oven.

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parmesan bread pudding with baby broccoli, mushrooms, and pancetta

Parmesan Bread Pudding with Baby Broccoli, Mushrooms, and Pancetta

It seems that I can’t get too far away from thinking about food and blogging, even if I wanted to. Last Monday, I had a day off from work and I had planned on a rmuch-needed day of rest and relaxation. I was going to read magazines on my iPad, get a mani/pedi, and order some takeout from my favorite Chinese restaurant down the street. I wanted a day away from the blog, which meant no cooking, writing, and taking photos. I even banned myself from Pinterest to try to disconnect from anything that might remotely lead me back to the blog.

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breakfast sandwich

Breakfast Sandwich with bacon, eggs, and aioli sauce

This is one of my favorite things to eat when I get a craving for bacon. I was introduced to this breakfast sandwich a few years ago at Square One Dining in Hollywood, and I’ve been making it at home ever since. This sandwich is delicious in its simplicity, thereby letting each element shine. The key is to use good-quality ingredients. I start out with thick slices of brioche bread, with the ends cut off. Then, just as they do at Square One, I also like to use the applewood-smoked, thick-cut variety from Nueske’s, an online purveyor of smoked meats from Wisconsin. Then, I generously spread the garlicky aioli, which is the secret ingredient to this terrific sandwich.

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mushroom and sun-dried tomato bruschetta

We Americans often think that bruschetta is the mixture of tomatoes, garlic, and basil on a slice of toasted bread. Bruschetta, from the Italian word bruscare, meaning to toast or burn, actually refers to the thick slices of grilled bread. Often served as a snack or appetizer, bruschetta is traditionally prepared by rubbing the bread with garlic and drizzling it with olive oil before toasting it over hot coals.  Then the bread is topped with a simple mixture of tomatoes and fresh herbs.  It is an easy way to showcase the excellent quality of freshly-pressed olive oil as well as a way to preserve bread that is beginning to get stale.

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bacon jalapeño and cheddar cheese biscuits

I love finding more and more ways to use my cast iron skillet.  I know this isn’t a new idea, but I had never thought to use it for biscuits before. What a wonderful way to bake biscuits because they turn out beautifully brown on all sides, with slightly crisp bottoms.  Plus, the biscuits sucked up all the flavor from the drippings of the bacon, which I had cooked in the pan beforehand. Continue reading

goat cheese polenta with caramelized onions, bacon and honey

Goat Cheese Polenta with Caramelized Onions, Bacon, and HoneyI was very excited to make this recipe when I found it on Food 52.  It was named the runner-up polenta recipe in last year ‘s Your Best Polenta Recipe Contest! on the Food 52 website.  The recipe remains very popular today with over 17,000 views. In the comments section, there are many posts from readers who had actually made the dish and raved about it.  With all that build-up and anticipation, I was very disappointed to be underwhelmed by this dish.  The sum of all the delicious individual parts should have been much greater than what it actually was. Maybe I did something wrong?  I’m not sure.  How could so many people give this high praise when I thought the dish as a whole was just so-so.   Continue reading

bacon and zucchini tart

My zucchini plants are finally slowing down, and I think I’ve harvested the few remaining ones, so this will most likely be my last zucchini post for a while.  I never thought I’d cook as much zucchini as I have in the last couple of months and I’ve been very pleasantly surprised at how much I’ve enjoyed them.  This tart is no exception.  While it’s great for breakfast, this savoury tart is also great for a light supper, with a salad. Of course, omitting the bacon and using low-fat milk instead of whole milk and heavy cream will reduce the calories and make for a healthier meal.
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bacon and egg cups with cremini mushrooms

I knew immediately when I saw this post on Joanne’s amazing blog, Fifteen Spatulas, that I would be making mini bacon and egg cups. After all, it’s got three of my favorite things – bacon, eggs, and cheese. The beauty of a recipe like this one is that it can be easily customized to our own particular tastes.  The eggs can be cooked over easy, medium, or even scrambled. There are many varieties of cheeses that would work well.  Proscuitto may be substituted for the bacon.  You see, the possibilities are endless.  For my version, I added some crimini mushrooms that I sautéed in butter with a little garlic and chives.  For the bread on the bottom, I cut rounds from a couple of slices of buttermilk bread. Continue reading

classic comfort food: bacon mac and cheese


I have a confession to make.  I’ve never had mac & cheese from that iconic blue box.  While eating the neon orange concoction was a childhood rite of passage for most of my friends, Kraft’s version was never very appetizing to me.  However, this made-from-scratch mac & cheese, oozing with cheesy goodness, is a whole other story!  Adding bacon to this is just pure genius!  Thanks to my friend, Patti, who posted a photo of her mac & cheese on facebook, for reminding me that I had this recipe from Lori at RecipeGirl that I’ve been wanting to try. Continue reading

Tomato Jam

A couple of days ago, I visited  the New York Times’ column The Minimalist by Mark Bittman to find some new recipes to try.  If you don’t know him, Mark Bittman is a food journalist, former editor of the Cook’s Illustrated magazine, and an author of several cookbooks, most notably How to Cook Everything.  He also collaborated with one of my favorite chefs, Jean-Georges Vongerichten, on two cookbooks, Simple to Spectacular and Jean-Georges: Cooking at Home with a Four-Star Chef.  He has been an advocate of the minimalist approach to cooking, preparing dishes that are simple, straightforward, and unfussy.  He’s definitely my kind of cook.  Anyway, I was looking for recipes with tomatoes since I had a good supply of them.  I ran across this article and accompanying recipe and was immediately intrigued.  The recipe was pretty straightforward and I had all of the ingredients in the pantry already.  Plus, the photo that accompanied the recipe was stunning – the deep red color of the homemade tomato jam made it irresistible.

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