Saturday, August 22, 2009


Hello, my lovelies! I've been away on vacation--visiting family in Syracuse, NY--for the last ten days. While I was there, I read a few great books, but first things first: food!

Just before I left, I made Ina's Tequila Lime Chicken and her mashed potatoes. Both were stupendous. The garlic, tequila, and lime, and orange juice gave the chicken SO much flavor. It's a super simple recipe and one that I will definitely add to my "easy dinners" file. (Yes, I keep a little box of recipe cards--are you surprised? You knew I was a nerd.) As for the mashed potatoes--wow. It's hard to mess up mashed potatoes, but these were perfectly seasoned and delicious. Here's a picture of our dinner. As usual, I will not be winning any awards for food photography.

The next morning I woke up early so I decided to try Ina's Slow-Cooked Scrambled Eggs with Herbs. Now, I think most people can make scrambled eggs fairly successfully. I know I can. It was tempting to just do my usual thing and add the herbs, but in the end I made myself follow Ina's instructions. I turned down the heat a little, used half & half instead of milk, and stirred them for what seemed like forever. And seriously? Best scrambled eggs I've ever had. Who knew that turning down the heat a little could make such a huge difference? The parsley and scallions were delicious. I'm excited to try the variation with goat cheese.

Once in Syracuse, my mom picked 3 recipes from the Family Style Cookbook. I recruited my stepsister Julia (age 10) to be my sous chef. Here she is:

We made the Parmesan Chicken Sticks, the Mac & Cheese, and the Garlic Sauteed Spinach. All three were delicious, although only my mom and I would eat the spinach. Julia and her dad and brother are picky eaters.

Here's the chicken, breaded by Julia. I taught her the "wet hand, dry hand" technique and she was a pro--she didn't bread her fingers at all. She also stuck the chicken on the skewers. This is a really good kid-friendly recipe for chicken. It was perfectly cooked inside and crunchy outside.

I thought the spinach was great, even if there was WAY too much for two people. Plenty of garlic and salt and lemon.

The winner, however, was the mac & cheese. I have a new favorite pasta recipe. We couldn't find Gruyere anywhere, so we substituted Fontinella, which was delicious. Again, Julia's dad and brother picked around the tomatoes, but I thought they were a fabulous addition. I wish I'd made real fresh breadcrumbs, though. My mom made the shopping list and I didn't check it against the recipe before I went to the store, so I got regular bread crumbs. They were good mixed into the mac & cheese, but a little dry.

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