Uova al Pomodoro (Eggs Poached in Tomato Sauce)


Working from home, I’m always on the hunt for a fast midday meal that doesn’t involve reconstituted leftovers or a slapped-together turkey sandwich. Our microwave burned up four years ago and we never replaced it, so my definition of “fast ” may be different than others. I don’t like spending more than five minutes of active prep time for lunch because my daughter takes a late morning nap and that is precious work time. I am perfectly OK, though, with the meal taking 30 minutes or longer to cook. I just can’t afford to be elbows deep in flour or standing over a pot for hours on end. Evenings are another story and when I welcome that kind of time comittment.

Socca (chickpea pancake) is one of my favorite weekday meals because it meets my lunchtime criteria: 1-2 minutes of prep work plus 15 minutes in the oven. Done. Easy.


In a recent interview, acclaimed food writer and photographer Emiko Davies, whose food blog is endlessly inspiring, was asked to reveal one of her favorite quick meals. She answered “uova al pomodoro,” describing it as a “rustic, one-pot meal of eggs poached in a quick tomato sauce.” I read somewhere that Italians don’t usually eat eggs for breakfast and uova al pomodoro is often served as a second lunch course.


Prosciutto Ring


Last year, I prepared a magnificent feast of poached lobster and pommes maxim for our wedding anniversary. This year, I baked a prosciutto ring for old times’ sake (more on that in a minute), which I planned to serve for dinner, but due to our woefully barren fridge and pantry, I ended up eating two-thirds of the bread by mid-afternoon. Happy anniversary!

This prosciutto ring is one of the first breads I learned to make in my twenties.In our early married years, homemade bread along with a nice cheap bottle of wine was a welcome dinner. Hell, it’s still a welcome dinner. Or lunch. Or anytime, anywhere. Bring it.

I’ve since tried my hand at making other breads — brioche, croissants, French baguette, focaccia — but the prosciutto ring remains a favorite. It’s a hearty, rustic bread and beneath its shiny, bacon-glazed crust is a chewy crumb with coarsely cracked pepper and hand-torn pieces of prosciutto scattered throughout.


Soy-Ginger Glazed Salmon

I stole this soy-ginger glaze from a meatball recipe. Sorry, meatballs.

A few years ago, I made some glazed turkey meatballs for a New Year’s Eve get-together, and they didn’t stick around very long. One friend who rarely eats meat went bonkers over them. I’m telling you, it’s the glaze — what else could elevate a humble meatball to such heights?

But in my world this glaze belongs to salmon.

(Check out the salmon my mother reeled in from the Pacific — while rocking red lipstick, no less. I bet that guy was surprised to see her on the other end of the line.)

Caramelized Pumpkin Cake with Maple Syrup Sour Cream and Spiced Pecans

This recipe is all about technique: make the cake, freeze it, cut the cake into rectangles, roll the rectangles in sugar and cook the cakes on all sides in a hot skillet. The last part of the process is key because it caramelizes the outside of the cake, wrapping it in a thin, crispy layer of sugar while warming the inside.

We have the creative folks at Oxheart in Houston, Texas (via Bon Appétit) to thank for this brilliant technique.

Perfect Pan-Fried Mushrooms

When I learned to pan-fry mushrooms the Julia Child way, which I assume is the French way, I was a wee bit sad thinking back on all those soft, rubbery mushrooms I’d proudly cooked over the years.

Take it from Julia, if you want to experience a pan-seared mushroom in all of its intended glory, DON’T crowd the ‘shrooms. Piling them on top of each other renders them soft and lifeless. They need space to brown evenly, which helps them reach a deep, rich, meaty flavor.

Here’s how to do it…

Cheddar-Jalapeño Sour Cream Biscuits


I couldn’t tell you exactly when I stopped ordering breakfast sandwiches through drive-through windows. It’s been a while. Years. But it certainly wasn’t during childhood when a fast food biscuit was a rare and welcome treat. Or during my single days in Nashville when, on the way to work, I rolled into a gas station every morning for a neon-pink muffin and some beef jerky, which I chased with a Red Bull. And I’ve already discussed my epic sugar intake during college and the vending machine diet that encompassed a year of my twenties – clearly, I was no foodie then, either.



No, it was in the years that followed, I changed. I started cooking more. And reading more about health and diet. And as a family we made lifestyle changes for the better. Today, we eat very little processed food, although some days are better than others. We buy organic food as our budget allows. We cook the majority of our meals in our own kitchen. I guess you could say we’ve become boring responsible, healthy adults. Cheers to that! Pass the champagne! Whiskey! Anything!

Favorite Simple Roast Chicken

A couple years ago, I was doing an internet search for a Thomas Keller recipe – you know, looking for something time-consuming and overly complicated that would require grocery store scavenger hunts and a day’s worth of kitchen prep BUT in the end would be worth the effort and yield an incredible meal* – and I stumbled across Keller’s “Favorite Simple Roast Chicken.” I nearly clicked away, but the recipe had more than 500 reviews and over 95% of those who commented said they’d make it again.

Intrigued, I roasted a chicken the Thomas Keller way for our next family meal. This required patting down the chicken with paper towels, showering it with a light rainfall of salt and roasting it in a hot oven. The preparation was, as its name promised, incredibly easy.

As for taste? Our family agreed with the masses. It was excellent and later became the inspiration for the roast chicken legs and thighs recipe featured on this blog.  

Roasting the whole chicken per Keller’s technique gives you the same results as the legs and thighs recipe – crispy, crackly skin and tender meat with minimal kitchen effort – but in this adaptation, you get a gorgeous bird AND some fixin’s. Inspired by some of the comments on Epicurious, I place the chicken on a bed of diced carrots, potatoes and onions, which cook in the chicken fat while the bird roasts.

Salted Caramel Italian Meringue Buttercream

I’ve spoken in the past about the virtues of Italian meringue buttercream: silky, a dream for decorating, sweet but not overly so. Today, I give you salted caramel buttercream, which tastes every bit as decadent as it sounds.

I used salted caramel buttercream on a four-layer cake for my sister-in-law’s baby shower, and several friends said it was their favorite flavor yet. The layers were white velvet cake, my standard for non-chocolate layer cakes.

Maple Syrup-Roasted Tomatoes

Tomato candy. That’s more or less what these caramelized beauties are.

Are you drowning in tomatoes? Or are you pouting like I am that your tomato vines are now singing their swan song? According to my friend, Amanda, who lives in Indianapolis, the Midwest is overrun by tomatoes at the moment. In an email, she writes,

I’ve never seen so many tomato recipes in my inbox or on facebook. Neighbors are learning to can. There are random tomatoes on my porch from neighbors who can’t make another pot of roasted tomato soup. Nobody wants salsa anymore. The kids are on my case to pick the ripe ones. I can’t keep up. I have decided it is good for the earth to leave overly ripe ones in the garden to rot and provide seeds for next year.

For those of you with an abundance of tomatoes, please allow me to cram a few more submissions into your already overflowing recipe box, including a lovely tomato tart – with goat cheese and honey! — to showcase get rid of your garden surplus.

Mushroom Salad With Pistachio Puree And Radishes Two Ways

This is not your average salad. And not just because it looks like some kind of whimsical Alice in Wonderland creation with its half-moons (baby bellas), pretty green dots and petals (pistachios and microgreens) and pink shoots (pickled radishes).

I’ve featured only two salads on this blog in its 15 months of existence, as I figure the traditional formula is out there a thousand times over: greens + cheese + nut, maybe + fruit, maybe + dressing. I’m not knocking salad recipes — I scour the internet for good ones all the time — just saying I probably won’t add to the discussion very often.

Today I’m breaking that rule. Because a salad with mushrooms, pistachios (two ways) and radishes (two ways) on one plate? Worth discussing.

This salad comes from Chef David Chang of Momofuku fame. The first time I made it, I bought all the ingredients before doing any internet research. This was inadvertently a good move because had I read the reviews, I may not have made it. “Fell flat” seems to be the expression of choice. Some admitted to taking a few flopped liberties with the recipe, while others complained the pistachio purée’s consistency was too watery. I’ve never had an issue with the purée, but I use more braised pistachios than the recipe calls for, so maybe that’s the trick.

After making this salad a half dozen times, my final review is that it works — all parts play off of each other beautifully. I’ve never made or eaten anything like it.

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