Blog News

Keeping Busy

As some of you no doubt know, Sarah has been a pretty busy lady. Not only is she heading into finals week in her grad program, but she also just started a big, new job at Lillstreet Art Center! A lesser person probably couldn’t take it, and though Sarah has recently come down with the flu, she’s pushing on through. Needless to say, with all that work, one doesn’t get to indulge in too many diversions. When you do, you’ve got to make it count. This music video counts.

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Fine Fixin's

Romaine and Cabbage Salad with Quinoa and Feta

One problem that we are constantly trying to solve is finding meals that Sarah can take for dinner on the day she has classes from 3pm to 10pm. This week we’re trying a salad-centric approach. Fruit salad has become a bit of staple, and we’re pairing it with a slight variation on a leafy salad we saw on The Kitchn. We used red cabbage instead of radicchio and feta instead of ricotta salata.

Romaine and Cabbage Salad with Quinoa and Feta

For the quinoa:
1/2 cup red quinoa
1 clove garlic, smashed
1/4 teaspoon salt

For the vinaigrette:
1/2 lemon, juiced (about 1 1/2 tablespoons)
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic
1 teaspoon honey
Freshly ground black pepper

For the salad:
1 head romaine lettuce
1/2 – 1c red cabbage
1 large shallot
1/2 cup sliced almonds
3 ounces feta, crumbled
1 large ripe avocado, thinly sliced
Flaky salt and freshly ground black pepper

Cook the quinoa: Heat 1 cup water in a saucepan. Stir in the quinoa, garlic clove, and salt. Bring to a boil, then turn down to low, and cover. Cook for 15 minutes, then turn off the heat and let sit covered for 5 minutes. Spread the cooked quinoa on a large plate to cool.

Make the vinaigrette: In a small food processor or chopper, blend the lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, honey, and a generous quantity of black pepper. When creamy and thick, set aside.

Make the salad: Finely chop the romaine into ribbons, discarding the stem end. Core and cut the radicchio into quarters, then slice each into thin ribbons. Finely shave the shallot into thin slices. Toss the romaine, radicchio, and shallot in a large bowl, and toss with the cooked quinoa. Toss with the vinaigrette, and then with the almonds and the ricotta salata. Toss about half of the avocado with the salad. Season to taste with generous amounts of salt. Serve topped with remaining slices of avocado.

from The Kitchn

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Swig & Swill

Swig & Swill: Brewing Coffee

I’m a bit of a coffee tinkerer. I don’t like getting into too much of a routine with my brew. Switching between a Chemex and an Aeropress creates a lot of variety. Both yield different results, yet neither is necessarily better.

You can also get a lot of variety from just changing how you brew a pot of Chemex coffee, and even more so with the Aeropress. It’s fun to try different things yourself, but it’s also pretty helpful to see how others go about brewing. Enter: brewmethods.com. Brew Methods is a great resource for coffee brewing recipes for those who are always searching for the best or wanting to change it up.

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Needle Drop

Needle Drop: Jason Molina

I was saddened to hear that Jason Molina passed away last weekend at thirty-nine. Molina was a touchstone of my musical upbringing. I distinctly remember seeking out Magnolia Electric Co. at Vintage Vinyl in St. Louis when I was in high school. His music provided something that my affinity for the Beatles and 60s pop otherwise lacked: a spare, haunting, often brooding mood and tone. While the rocking and country inflected Magnolia Electric Co. is powerful and a record I often come back to, Didn’t it Rain has always been my favorite. I always find a level of tranquility in the plodding rhythms, forlorn lyrics and space present in the recordings.

Secretly Canadian, Molina’s longtime record label, has a very nice write-up.

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Fine Fixin's

Hollow Pasta with Greek Cinnamon-Tomato Sauce

Photo of Hollow Pasta with Greek Cinnamon-Tomato Sauce

 

Pasta! We don’t usually make a lot of pasta, because Sarah and I have opposing ideologies when it comes to noodley dishes: she likes thick, creamy, and meaty sauces, while I prefer my noodles with just a little cheese and butter or oil.

However, I think we’ve just found a happy compromise! This recipe from the Splendid Table has tomatoes, but a lot of the sauciness comes from goat cheese. This might be the perfect combination to satisfy both of us. Plus, the cinnamon really sets it apart from your usual pasta meal. If you you are in a pasta rut, this might just help.

Hollow Pasta with Greek Cinnamon-Tomato Sauce

 

Ingredients

  • 5 quarts salted water in a 6-quart pot

Sauce:

  • Good-tasting extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1/3 tighty-packed cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, coarsely chopped
  • Salt and freshly-ground black pepper
  • 1 heaping tablespoon tomato paste
  • 6 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1-1/4 teaspoons dried oregano (Greek oregano preferred)
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground Aleppo pepper or other medium-hot chile; or 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup dry white or red wine
  • 2 pounds ripe summer tomatoes; or one 28-ounce can whole tomatoes with their juice
  • 1-1/2 to 2 cups diced cooked chicken or lamb (organic if possible; optional)

Pasta:

  • 1 pound imported long hollow pasta like perciatelli, maccheroncelli, or ziti, broken into more or less 2-inch pieces, or short hollow pasta
  • 1-1/2 cups (6 ounces) fresh goat cheese, crumbled

Instructions

Bring the salted water to a boil.Generously film the bottom of a straight-sided 12-inch saute pan with olive oil and heat it over medium-high heat. Stir in the onions, parsley, and generous sprinklings of salt and pepper. Saute the onions to golden brown. Then stir in the tomato paste, garlic, oregano, cinnamon, sugar, and Aleppo pepper. Turn the heat down to medium and saute for 1 minute. Add the wine and cook for 1 minute.

 

If using fresh tomatoes, grate them on a grater over a bowl, and add the pulp with its juices to the pan. For canned tomatoes, crush them as they go into the pot. Raise the heat to medium-high and cook the sauce for 8 minutes, or until thick. Taste for seasoning, remove the pan from the heat, and if using the chicken or lamb, stir it in. Cover the pan.

 

Drop the pasta into the boiling water. Boil, stirring often, for 8 minutes, or until the pasta is tender but still has a little bite. As the pasta cooks, reheat the sauce over medium-high heat. Once the pasta is done, drain it in a colander and add it to the sauce. Toss over the heat for a minute or more to help the sauce permeate the noodles. Turn half of it into a serving bowl and dot with half of the cheese. Add the rest of the pasta and top with the remaining cheese.

 

from the Splendid Table

 

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Get Juiced

Sweet Potato Dreamsicle

picture of dreamsicle juice

Ever since getting a juicer and reading that you can juice sweet potatoes, we’ve been kind of curious how exactly that would turn out. For some reason, it took us until just a couple of weeks ago to actually juice one! I sure wish we would have tried it earlier, because these sweet taters are tasty.

If you add some sweet potato to one of your regular juice recipes, it will make the whole thing a little thicker. Not as thick as a smoothie, but thicker than plain old juice. Our favorite sweet potato juice so far we call the Dreamsicle Juice, because it’s sweet and kind of looks like a Dreamsicle.

Dreamsicle Juice

1 orange
3 carrots
1/2 a small sweet potato

 

Juice ’em! You’ll probably want to play around with the proportions since sweet potatoes (not to mention carrots and oranges) come in such different sizes. We’ve also added Mango to this which was great, too.

Sweet potatoes have nearly as much carotene as carrots, and the combination is supposed to be good for the skin!

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Swig & Swill

The Hippocrene

the hippocrene

I was recently lucky enough to be asked by the fine folks at the Poetry Foundation to whip up a fancy-pants cocktail to celebrate 100 years of Poetry magazine. The cocktail was to be called the Hippocrene after the mythological fountain created by Pegasus. After much experimentation and some very helpful taste-testers, I ended up with:

The Hippocrene

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 ounces gin
  • 3/4 ounce ginger liqueur (domaine de canton)
  • 1/2 ounce fresh grapefruit juice
  • 1/4 ounce fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon mint tea (brewed at double strength) and chilled
  • 2 ounces dry, sparkling wine
  • Fresh basil, for garnish
  • Dash or two grapefruit bitters

Method

Single glass preparation:

Combine all ingredients except sparkling wine, basil, and bitters (if using) in a mixing glass over ice. Stir and strain into a glass and top with remaining ingredients.

Punch preparation:

Combine all ingredients (in greater quantities) except sparkling wine, basil and bitters in an adequately sized serving bowl, along with some large blocks of ice. It’s best to let this mixture chill and dilute a little while before adding everything else, but if time is short, it could be refrigerated beforehand and water (sparkling or still) can be added along with the rest of the ingredients at service time. The basil should still be added directly to the glass, as it is the aroma and not necessarily the flavor that you’re after. It would also be nice to garnish the mixing bowl with some citrus slices, for color and a generally vigorous appearance.

 

 

Fine Fixin's

Grilled Salmon with Tomato & Watermelon Salsa

Grilled Salmon with Tomato & Watermelon Salsa

Before the weather totally sets its mind on fall, it might be time to sneak in a final summery recipe. Here’s a tasty one that we’ve made a few times. The original recipe calls for bass and green tomatoes, but we used salmon and yellow tomaters since that’s what we had on hand.

Grilled Salmon with Tomato Watermelon Salsa

  • 1 1/2 cups finely chopped green tomatoes (1/2 lb)
  • 1 1/2 cups finely chopped red watermelon
  • 2/3 cup minced red onion
  • 1 (2 1/2- to 3-inch) fresh red or green chile such as Thai or serrano, minced (including seeds)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 (6-oz) center-cut pieces salmon (or striped bass or mahi mahi) fillet with skin (1 inch thick)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil

Get your grill or grill pan heated up.

Toss together tomatoes, watermelon, onion, chile, cilantro, lime juice, and salt. (Do not make salsa more than 1 hour ahead or it will become watery.)

Pat fish dry, then brush with oil and season with salt. Grill fish, starting with skin sides down, on lightly oiled grill, turning over once until just cooked through, 8 to 9 minutes total.
Serve fish topped with salsa. Easy!

Serves 6. Adapted from Gourmet

Tomato & Watermelon Salsa

Blog News

Put a Ring on It

Brian's second anniversary ringAs you may know, we recently celebrated our very first wedding anniversary! As part of the festivities, we decided to get new wedding bands that, we hope, will kick off a yearly tradition of sitting down together to find some new bling. Seems fun, right? Well, it was also kinda tough. We really wanted some rings that would go together. Not necessarily matching rings or anything like that, but rings that were similar in some way. Eventually we found two that we both liked on their own, but also happened to go together (marriage is about compromise, right?).

Sarah's 2nd Anniversary Ring

Sarah’s ring (from Meander) is very simple and dainty, but the curves echo the rounded inlays of my ring (from Harmony Winters)…and thus, a match was born!