Sunday, February 12, 2017

Homemade Pasta for Valentine’s Day

I’m making homemade pasta and Vodka Sauce for the saintly women that take care of my adorable, but potty training-averse 2 year old. I literally could guzzle this sauce from a glass like it’s a Viginia Viognier. It’s easy, luxurious and the crack cocaine of sauces. So make it already!

I love making pasta – again the payoff is so great for something that is so easy. It’s also universally loved, so …make pasta too! In order to gift pasta it needs to be frozen or dried. I decided to try drying it, which sent me straight to my Amazon Prime account for this birchwood drying rack.

The rack stores flat and having pasta hanging in the kitchen seems to just make people smile as they come into the house. Golden, glorious stands of gluten.. making my home complete right now.

Here is my version of the yolk dough recipe that’s been handed down from some Italian chefs in DC. I love it. Have you tried the ‘well’ method for making pasta dough? Need any tips on rolling pasta out? Lemme know : )


Yolk Pasta Dough

Yield: 6 servings or so

Prep Time: 45 min

Cook Time: 2 min

Total Time: 50 min-ish

Skip the silly countertop flour 'well' mess. This is an easy restaurant way to achieve rich yellow pasta dough.


10 egg yolks + one or two on hand in flexible plastic container
3 cups flour + some for dusting
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp olive oil


- put the flour and salt in the bowl of your standing mixer with the dough hook attachment
- start the mixer on a low speed and squeeze plastic container of yolks to act like a pitcher and add one yolk at a time, allowing each to incorporate into the flour
- when flour and yolks start to come together but there is some granular 'sand,' add oil
- speed mixer up to medium and allow dough to come together, adding a yolk or two as neccessary
- turn out onto the counter, and press together by hand; wrap in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for 30 min before rolling out

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Emylou has a little lamb

Trying to amuse my crabby one : ) And eventually this happened… aaaand is falling apart as I try to type… sigh : )

Counting Sheep

Click here to see video:  Emylou had a little lamb

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Great Grilled Shrimp

This recipe is great right now for a fall cookout or tailgate. I served Red Pepper Soup with crabmeat in coffee mugs while we sat out on a great September afternoon and grilled these sassy shrimp. I only got to eat two before they were gone : )

Great Grilled Shrimp


Great Grilled Shrimp

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 10 minutes


2 lbs shrimp, peeled and deveined
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
1 lemon, juiced
1 Tbsp hot sauce (I used Tabasco)
1 Tbsp tomato paste
2 tsp dried oregano
1/3 cup olive oil
salt and pepper

metal skewers or bamboo skewers soaked in water for 30 minutes


- combine ingredients from garlic through olive oil and then toss it with the shrimp and allow to marinate in the fridge for about 2 hours
- get the grill hot and skewer shrimp
- season with salt and pepper and grill for about 2 minutes each side

Friday, September 13, 2013

Roast Chicken and Peach Salad

Jeanne Robertson says don’t send a man to the grocery store (hi.larious clip) and I was reminded of this when the one or two peaches I put on the shopping list showed up in the kitchen as four huge peaches… and my man doesn’t eat fruit. So after a little peach with my yogurt, a little peach with my cottage cheese I wound up making the best leftover fajita with you guessed it, peaches and another leftover I had – some smoked gouda cheese. So when I decided to throw a quick girlie dinner together I knew I wanted to pick up a rotisserie chicken and some salad and to throw in some peaches and smoked gouda.

And it was good : ) You could of course make this recipe with goat cheese or fresh mozzarella, but you know, go running with scissors and try something a little different and refreshing with the smoked gouda.

Roast Chicken and Peach Salad


Roasted Chicken and Peach Salad

Yield: 4-6 servings


1 rotisserie chicken, shredded
2 bags bibb lettuce and radicchio salad
2 - 3 peaches, cut wedges
3/4 cup smoked gouda, shaved
1/3 cup candied pecans
1/3 cup red onion, sliced
6 oz snow peas, blanched (optional, I made them and forgot to put them in)

For Vinaigrette:
3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp maple syrup
1 tsp Dijon mustard
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil


- combine first 5 vinaigrette ingredients in a mason jar or bowl
- add oil and shake or whisk in oil
- combine lettuce, onion, half of cheese and half of peaches, snow peas if using, and toss with enough vinaigrette to lightly coat
- platter salad and top with chicken, remaining cheese and peach wedges
- sprinkle nuts, serving remaining vinaigrette on the side


Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Zucchini Turkey Burgers with Yogurt Garlic Sauce

This great set of recipes for turkey burgers and sour cream sauce came to me as I pedaled on the stationary bike ‘cruise’ setting at the gym. I’m supposed to be in a ‘muscle building phase’ with no cardio in my workouts right now, but alas, the skinny jeans still call. So pedal I did while talking recipes and meal plans for getting to fighting-weight with a friend who works there. Before I left she made me a copy of the Spicy Turkey and Zucchini Burger from Simply Recipes (adapted from the cookbook Jerusalem). And so glad she did!

Zucchini Turkey Burgers

The burgers are delicious and the sauce is even deliciouser. I find myself dipping veggies in it and spreading it’s garlicky, citrusy business over random stuff. I grated zucchini while prepping a metric ton of vegetables I had for this and a few other recipes… I know you have zucchini coming out of your ears right now, and they help keep even super lean turkey from becoming dry burgers. And it all fits into the eating plan. Are we buff yet?


Zucchini Turkey Burgers with Garlic Sour Cream and Yogurt Sauce

Yield: about 6 burgers


For the burgers:

1 lb ground turkey breast
2 cups zucchini, grated (about 2-3 small zucchinis or one large one)
3 green onions, white and green parts sliced
2 Tbsp mint, chopped
2 Tbsp cilantro, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp cayenne
3 Tbsp coconut oil for pan searing or use the grill

For the awesome sauce:

1/4 cup sour cream (I used low fat)
1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt (again with the low fat)
1 lemon zested and half of it juiced
1/2 tsp garlic, minced (I probably tripled this)
2 tsp olive oil
1/4 tsp salt


- for sauce stir ingredients together until combined and chill until ready to serve
- in a large bowl combine all of the burger ingredients except the oil, form patties and refrigerate (or freeze) until ready to cook
- when ready to cook, heat oil in a large frying pan over medium high heat then lower to medium heat and working in batches place patties in the pan and cook for about 5 minutes, then flip and cook for another 5 to 6 minutes until lightly browned and cooked through
- enjoy as is with sauce, or on a bun with sauce

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

My First Open Water Swim

What do I have in common with Katie Ledecky?! She and I swam (in her case swim) for the same high school swim team. Unfortunately for me, the similarities end there. While I’ve logged some time in pools, it’s nothing like the 10-20k meters she’s likely doing in a workout, and my time spent jumping in the ocean surf or sailing isn’t sufficient training for a frigid 1-mile ocean swim, for which, somehow, I had signed up. Why you ask? Because of this guy, my friend Corey who’s gone from sporting a diaper in a coma to swimming across the Chesapeake Bay and 7.5 miles across the Potomac River, to organizing Swim Ocean City this past spring.

He organized the swim to benefit Hopkins Brain Trauma Research Center where he landed after coming out of the coma, ditched aforementioned diaper, and relearned virtually everything. He asked me to participate in the swim and I felt like I could say Sure! or Sure! Guess I’m a sucker for the dain bramaged.

So I took on some coaching from my husband/ former Tennessee Volunteer swimmer and swim coach and it was a recipe for disaster only once. After seeing some water temps in the 50s in June and July I rented wet suits and off we went to Ocean City, MD.

Beach Start at 2013 Swim Ocean City

That’s me searching our bags for Brian’s lost, I mean safely stashed swim cap. You’re supposed to wear your numbered cap. We didn’t get started until around noon because the 9 milers got started a couple of hours earlier and for some reason, no matter how insignificant my performance was, it’s hard to dodge nerves the whole time. As my cousin’s fiance who swam the 3 mile and who’s done an Ironman put it, you get a few moments of ‘why am I doing this?’

Swim Ocean City Maryland

But eventually they blew the horn and in we went.

Swim Ocean City 2013

Forget the initial surf, the swim to that yellow start buoy can suck the life out of you. I was ready to turn around by the time I got to it!

Swim Ocean City Swim to Start Buoy wm

Once you round that you can get into a groove swimming parallel to shore although the swells made it hard to keep track of where you were. But a mile later I did find the finish buoy and head into the beach and the finish line up on the beach.

Finish Line at Swim Ocean City 2013

So did this guy… he and a few others actually finished the 9 miler in 62 degree water! They were popsicles when they got out, but they did it.

Swim Ocean City 9 mile swim



This day involved my usual race day food which is peanut butter and honey sandwiches. They’re the right proportions of everything, portable and are light enough to eat before a workout without getting sick. Ok, a summer veggie recipe coming tomorrow!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Ginger Cayenne Tea

Ginger and cayenne in tea form can cure lots of what ails ya, and today I’m trying to cure the dark threat of summer ending, posed by some nasty, cold rain that has moved in and made itself comfortable here in Virginia. That and the excesses of my beach vacation last week. So this morning’s workout was followed by a couple cups of this detoxifying hot tea.

detox ginger and cayenne tea

Simple, easy, fresh –  run-of-the-mill sales pitch, but true, and anything but mediocre results. Just peel some ginger…

peeling fresh ginger for ginger tea

Slice it. I run in circles with no such perils now, but for many years had to engrave my initials into every knife and kitchen tool that could be etched to keep them from being stolen in restaurant and catering kitchens.

making fresh ginger tea

Just add water, nuke, and polish it off with a pinch of cayenne, some lemon and honey or agave. I have agave on hand because I liked the idea that it’s lower glycemic and sweeter (therefore needing less in order to sweeten), but I will probably just use it up and not buy it any more because most of the ones available are more processed than honey. Here is a brief comparison of the two, and here is a more comprehensive, yet very digestible review and opinion on natural sweetener options.

This mug, which was a gift from a friend, allows one to drink out of either end, depending on the sunny or otherwise disposition one wants to communicate while caffeinating or detoxing. Sometimes one may start with one mug orientation and evolve to the other. It depends on the day and the one drinking, but I generally try to choose the YES! orientation so that I may appear not nearly as defeated and burned out as I am, and more positive and outgoing and just possessing gobs of gumption. Gumption, were you to ask my great grandmother, is really all you need. So when I’m not producing it organically, I sometimes try to manufacture and I feel this mug helps move the needle ever so slightly on my gumpto-meter.

detox ginger and cayenne tea

So does this tea.. am I buff yet?


Fresh Ginger Cayenne Tea


1 1-inchish piece of fresh ginger
1 lemon wedge
1 pinch cayenne pepper
1/4 - 1/2 tsp honey or other sweetener of your political persuasion


- peel and slice ginger.. I slice on a bias across the grain because I think it exposes more surface area and might get more flavor out of it.. just a theory though
- add ginger and one cup of water to a microwaveable mug (switch-hitting or otherwise) and nuke for about one minute on high
- check temp and stir in lemon juice, cayenne and honey or whatever

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Awesome Spice Rub for Grilling and Smoking

This awesome spice rub is super easy and great on everything. We had some on hand from when my mother-in-law made a big batch and used it on pork and salmon when we fired up the smoker the other day.

Home Smoking

Generously rub on pork loins, fish, chicken breasts or thighs and grill or smoke. Open cold beer. Drink.

Pork Loin on Smoker

We polished off a big salmon filet at my in-laws’ house and I made sure to get the recipe.

Spice Rub Salmon

I suggest quadrupling : )

fabulous rub recipe

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Buffalo Chicken Meatballs Featured

Not sure why I chose these Buffalo Chicken Balls as my entry into last week’s Tasty Tuesday on Anyonita Nibbles last week, but I’ve been featured! Go check it out along with all of the other wonderful features and today’s entries : )


Sunday, July 14, 2013

Sambal Chicken Skewers

STRONG was the call of the July Bon Appetit magazine  cover and I, and clearly many others have answered that call already! Bon Appetit July 2013 Sambal Chicken Skewers The recipe was posted on on July 1 and already has 29 comments of folks waxing lyrical primarily on the recipe’s awesomness/level of heat. And I’m here to add.. wait for it… it’s awesome, and it’s hot.

It was after a tough dinner service at Equinox Restaurant when the grill guy handed my a spiced chicken thigh and lime wedge straight from the grill. I weerily layed it on my messy station, sprinkled sel gris, gave the lime a squeeze and have been forever in love with grilled chicken thighs. I also like very spicy food, so trying this recipe was a no-brainer.

Generally a first time with a recipe I try to follow it to the letter so I can get the full intent of the cook who wrote it before I make adjustments for my own taste. So many times I’ve questioned a recipe to be pleasantly surprised or shocked by the results, so that was my plan going in on this one. And probably because I had family here and had bought double on chicken and made double on the marinade, I got a little nervous when I tasted to the final marinade. It’s hot! So I wound up mellowing mine out slightly with some honey and molasses as I cooked it down.

Next time I’ll try without any modifications, but the results I got with them were great. You gotta try this one, one way or another, this summer.


Sambal Chicken Skewers

Yield: 4 servings

This is the Bon Appetit recipe with the addition of some honey and molasses and the omission of cubing and skewering the thighs because I think they grill perfectly the way they are and we don't need extra work : )


1/2 cup (packed) light brown sugar
1/2 cup rice vinegar
1/3 cup hot chili paste (such as sambal oelek)
1/4 cup fish sauce (such as nam pal or nuoc nam)
1/4 cup Sriracha
2 tsp finely grated ginger
1 1/2 lb skinless boneless chicken thighs
honey and or molasses to taste, about 1/4 to 1/3 cup total


- prepare grill for medium high heat
- whisk brown sugar, vinegar, chili paste, fish sauce, Sriracha and ginger in a large bowl
- add chicken to toss and coat
- remove checken to a dish and transfer marinade to a small saucepan; bring to a boil, add honey and/or molasses, reduce heat and reduce sauce by about half (about 7 - 10 minutes)
- grill chicken basting often with reduced marinade until cooked through, about 8 - 10 minutes

July print edition of Bon Appetit magazine and online at Epicurious


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