Welcome to my blog. My blogging journey began about in August 2009 as a photo-a-day blog which has since transitioned to combine my love of good food and photography. Today, using as many local and fresh ingredients as we can, my boyfriend and myself spend time researching recipes, making our own adaptations, cooking, taking photos, eating, and finally reflecting on all or part of the above listed process here. I hope you take the time to not only read and look at our photos, but please cook some of the recipes yourself. You are invited and encourage to leave feedback as we continue our culinary journey!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Zuppa Imperiale (Imperial Soup)

Similar to Passatelli Soup, Zuppa Imperiale is another traditional Italian soup for a chilly day. Daniele and I decided to give it a try for something a little different.

Zuppa Imperiale

3 eggs
3 Tbs flour
3.5 Tbs parmesan
1oz butter
chicken broth
Crack the eggs in a bowl and use a mixer on them. At the same time, melt the butter and let it cool down to room temperature. Add the flour, parmesan and butter to eggs and mix it all together. Add a little bit of nutmeg, salt and pepper to the mix.
Grease a small pan (or just cover it with parchment paper) and pour the mix into it, spreading it so that it is of a uniform thickness (around 1/2 cm). Put it into a pre-heated oven at 350 F, for around 30 minutes, or until the surface becomes a golden crust.
Take it out of the oven, let it cool down and cut into little cubes (1/2 cm side).
Prepare some chicken broth and bring it to boil, then dump the cubes into it and let them boil for around 5 minutes. Serves 2-3 people.
If you want, you can also make more cubes than you need, then freeze the cubes after you cut them. Then you’ll just have to dump the frozen cubes into the boiling broth and let them boil for a little longer than you would for fresh ones.


Saturday, October 29, 2011

Crockpot Chicken and Broccoli Pasta Sauce

Post-marathon, I knew I would be needing some serious carbs. I also knew that I would want to celebrate, but I wouldn't want to cook.

My solution was to cook a pasta sauce in the crockpot the day before I ran the marathon, and invite everyone in Chicago who supported my marathon efforts over for dinner the evening after I completed the marathon. All I would need to do was warm the sauce up and cook the pasta. And it worked! This sauce was a big hit and I will make it for a dinner party again.

Crockpot Chicken and Broccoli Pasta Sauce
  • 1 onion, minced
  • 1/2 cup oil-packed sun dried tomatoes, dried and sliced
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspooon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken thights
  • 12 ozs broccoli florets
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper
Begin by microwaving onion, 1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes, garlic, 1 tablespoon olive oil, thyme, and red pepper flakes in a bowl for five minutes. Place in slow cooker.

Add the broth, wine, and chicken seasoned with salt and pepper to the slow cooker. Cook for 6 hours on low.

Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and shred into bite sized pieces.

Microwave broccoli with 1 tablespoon oil for about eight minutes until soft. Stir chicken and broccoli back into sauce and cook for five more minutes. Stir in Parmesan cheese and remaining 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes. Serve warm over pasta.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Sweet Potato Salad

Sorry about the lack of blog posts! Daniele and I have had a very busy fall, and although the cooking continues, neither of us have had a lot of extra time to write the blog entries. I still have them stored though and will continue to post as time allows.

This recipe is actually my Aunt's, and I made it for a potluck earlier this week. It was a huge hit! (Not to mention easy to make and healthy).

Sweet Potato Salad
2-3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons lime juice
1/2 red onion, chopped
1 can black beans
salt, pepper, red pepper flakes (cayenne)

Pour about 1-2 teaspoons olive oil over potatoes. Season with salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper flakes. Roast at 400 for about 25-35 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Stir once or twice during cooking.

Whisk together 2 tablespoons olive oil and 2 tablespoons lime juice. You can add more salt and pepper but I don't really think you need it if you seasoned the potatoes. Rinse and drain 1 can of black beans.  Add beans, potatoes and onions to dressing.  Stir gently. Refrigerate a few hours to mix flavors.

That's it! Easy! Try it for your next potluck.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Apple Cinnamon Bagels

One day pre-marathon in order to ensure I was eating enough carbs, I prepared apple bagels. I used the same general quantities of flour and yeast as our original recipe but changed the flavor from cinnamon raisin to apple cinnamon.

Before mixing the flour together, I caramelized the apples. I cored and chopped two large apples and cooked for 20 minutes on the stove with one tablespoon of butter, 1/4 cup sugar, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon,1 teaspoon vanilla, and a pinch of salt and nutmeg.

Then, I mixed the apples in with the flour and yeast proportions in the cinnamon raisin recipe and followed all of the original instructions.

The bagels were great. In hindsight, I would have also added a touch of sugar and cinnamon to the dough, but this recipe was great served with peanut butter, which was absolute perfection for my needs of both protein and carbs both pre and post marathon.

Potato, Green Bean, and Pesto Salad

Last weekend, Daniele and I prepared some of our homemade pesto sauce. 

I had found an idea online for a potato, green bean, and pesto salad and I was convinced we needed to try it. It was simple, and incredibly tasty. If you're looking for a different way to use your pesto (or need a side dish to take to a potluck) try this one!

Just slice and boil some yukon gold potatoes for about ten minutes. Chop and add the green beans and boil for about 5 more minutes. Drain. Top with pesto sauce, 2 tablespoons of white wine vinegar, and pine nuts. Serve.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Pasta e Fagioli

Hey everyone! I'm back to writing for the blog because Laura just ran a marathon, so she's been busy with other stuff. I know that it has suddenly become warm again, but until a week and a half ago it seemed like winter was coming already, and we were all set into 'soup' mood. (As you can probably tell from the last couple of blog entries...)
Anyway, this is my traditional Italian soup contribution:
Pasta e Fagioli
1/2 lbs dried beans
1/2 can tomato paste/crushed tomatoes/tomato puree
olive oil
100 gr flour
1 egg
We used black beans because we had those lying around, but feel free to use pinto beans or whatever you prefer. If you are using dried beans, you will need to soak them in water at least half a day in advance (I put them in a covered bowl full of water in the morning to cook them for dinner). If you are using beans from a can, you will need to count twice or three times as many beans.
After the beans are done soaking, you should boil them for around an hour and a half. While that happens, chop the onion and celery and heat some oil in a pan. Once the oil is hot, cook the celery and onion together until they start getting soft. At that point, add the tomato (whatever form of tomato you prefer is fine, we had
an open can of tomato paste, so that's what we used), salt, a good amount of pepper and some rosemary.
When you can find some time, you should make some fresh pasta (just like in a previous recipe) with that flour and egg. Roll it as thin as it goes and then cut irregular triangles out of it (this is what are called 'maltagliati' literally 'badly cut'). If you are lazy and/or don't have a pasta maker, you can just buy some pasta, in that case I would recommend something small like mezze penne or elbows (definitely not spaghetti nor fettucine).
Once the beans are boiled for long enough, take half of them out of the water and put them in a blender or food processor until they become a paste. Then dump them, together with the rest of the whole beans and the water you boiled them in, in the pan where you had the onion/celery/tomato cooking. Salt some more and let it all boil together covered for 20 minutes.
If you have fresh homemade pasta, you can at this point put it into the pan with everything else for 2-3 minutes and it will be ready. If you are using pasta from a box, instead, you will have to boil it separately and then add it to the rest of the soup once it's done.
Serves 4 people. Don't forget to have some parmesan on the table to grate on top of the soup!


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Tortilla Soup

If you're going to make one soup recipe from this blog, this is the one I suggest. This tortilla soup turned out perfectly! Just the right amount of spicy, just the right amount of well...just about everything. I give it an A++, and I'm a harsh judge. The last chili I made, for example, was awarded a B.

So, grab a jar of your favorite salsa and a bag of your favorite tortilla chips, and throw this one together...

Tortilla Soup
  • 1 teaspooon oil
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 onion, minced
  • 2 jalapeno chiles, seeded and minced
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 teaspoons minced canned chipotle chili in adobo sauce
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 8 cups chicken broth
  • 1.5 pounds chicken thighs
  • Salt and pepper
  • Avocado
  • Tortilla chips
  • Shredded cheese
  • Sour cream
Heat the oil in a skillet and add tomato, onion, and half of jalepenos. Cook for ten minutes. Stir in the garlic, 1 tablespoon chipotles, and tomato paste and cook for one minute. Stir in one cup broth and transfer to slow cooker.

Stir in the remaining broth. Season chicken with salt and pepper and add to slow cooker. Cover and cook 6 hours on low.

Transfer chicken to a cutting board and shred with a fork. Stir the shredded chicken back into the soup with teh remaining jalepenos and chipotles. Let sit for about five minutes and serve warm with your crushed tortilla chips, cheese, sour cream, and avocado.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Curried Chicken Breasts

D and I are getting back into using the crockpot again. I've wanted to expand my culinary expertise outside of Italian foods for awhile, so I decided to make this curried chicken breast recipe last week.

Curried Chicken Breasts
2 onions, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tabelspoons minced fresh ginger
4 tablespoons curry powder
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 tabelspoon tomato paste
1 cup chicken broth
3 tablespoons Minute rice
3 large chicken breasts
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup plain full-fat greek yogurt
1/2 cup almonds

Microward onions, garlic, ginger, curry powder, oil, and tomato paste for five minutes ad put in slow cooker.

Stir broth and rice into the slow cooker. Season chicken with salt and pepper and add to slow cooker as well. Cook for 6 hours on low.

Stir in raisins and let sit for about 10 minutes. Transfer chicken to plate and cover to keep warm. Combine 1/4 cup braising liquid with yogurt, and then stir the entire mixture back into the slow cooker.

Serve chicken and sauce over rice, with almonds sprinkled over the top.

Even though Daniele despises yogurt, he still enjoyed this recipe. :)