FYI: Thanksgiving Is 90 Days Away

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It may be hard to believe, but Thanksgiving is a mere 90 days away from today. That’s right: time is a-flying, and before you know it, Turkey Day will be upon you, and you’ll be standing in your kitchen thinking to yourself “What the HELL am I going to make?” Okay, you probably won’t be saying that since Thanksgiving menus are pretty obvious, but just in case you want to spice it up this year, I’m proud to announce that my friends and I have been road-testing a few recipes.

You see, while the rest of America has been enjoying salads and corn on the cob this summer, my crew has hosted not one, but two Thanksgivings, both of which have landed on miserably hot 100°+ days. I’ll admit it was odd roasting a giant turkey breast while heat vapors outside on the street threatened to melt any slow-walking pedestrian, but we made it work.

After the jump, check out pics from our Friendsgiving meals. Hopefully they’ll provide some inspiration as we head into the final Turkey Day stretch…

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The Only Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe You’ll Ever Need

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This past weekend, my friend Sly celebrated a birthday, and in her honor, I baked Ina Garten’s impeccable Carrot and Pineapple Cake. It was actually the second time in three weeks that I’ve made the recipe for a birthday, which is significant only because the first time around, I couldn’t help but feel like Ina’s cream cheese frosting was a little… off.

Avid readers of this blog know that I think Ina Garten is basically flawless, but here’s the hardcore truth: the Barefoot Contessa cream cheese frosting veers way too closely into buttercream territory. In fact, it’s barely tangy at all. There, I SAID IT.

Nevertheless, as I prepared to bake Sly’s very own carrot cake, I wanted to learn from Ina’s missteps. I was determined to create a batch of cream cheese frosting that was tangy and amazing and decadent enough to be worthy of Sly.

I’m happy to report that I not only achieved this, but I actually knocked it out of the park. This was the best cream cheese frosting I’ve ever made, and Sly herself even proclaimed it was the best she’d tasted. There’s no great science to it, but with a variety of cream cheese frosting recipes online, I think it’s important that someone drive a flag into the ground and declare that the Internet search is over: THIS is the only cream cheese frosting recipe you’ll ever need.

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WEDNESDAY NIGHT SUPPER CLUB: Irish Potluck Edition

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Exciting news: not only is today the birthday of Kathy Ireland, but it’s also the launch date of a new feature on this blog: Wednesday Night Supper Club. One part Adventures in Domesticity and one part Things I Ate, the Wednesday Night Supper Club will detail the latest meals of my Wednesday night dining crew, also known as — you guessed it — the Wednesday Night Supper Club.

A little bit of backstory: Continue reading

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ADVENTURES IN DOMESTICITY: Food & Wine Edition

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I’ve become a bit of a cookbook hoarder over the past few months, which is not always a great thing as I feel perpetually guilty for not actually cooking from a majority of my new purchases. Making matters worse is that I now have a subscription to Food & Wine magazine, which adds another heap of recipes to my wish list every month. Clearly this is a dire situation. Perhaps the most dire situation known to man.

Anyway, not too long ago I decided to actually put my Food & Wine to the test and try out two recipes: Chicken Salad with Tahini-Yogurt Dressing and White Anchovy and Grilled Radicchio Bread Salad. Pictures after the jump:

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ADVENTURES IN DOMESTICITY: Grilled Chicken Salad Edition

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Most of my Adventures in Domesticity this year have been focused on Rick Bayless’s recipes from Mexican Everyday, which has surprisingly become my go-to cookbook for weeknight dinners. This is particularly surprising, given that as a child the only thing I would eat at Mexican restaurants was cheese-and-bean dip (hold the beans). Two thumbs up for personal growth.

Nevertheless, I keep returning to Mexican Everyday because not only are the recipes easy, but relatively healthy too. And did I mention tasty? (Actually, I didn’t — as evidenced by my choice in adjectives in the previous sentence) Anyway, I’ve delved into several of the book’s recipes by now, even ones that appear to be mundane, like Bayless’s grilled chicken salad. His version involves guacamole, which already puts it way ahead of most other salads out there in the world.

Pics after the jump…

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ADVENTURES IN DOMESTICITY: When Bad Things Happen To Good Peppers

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Not all my Adventures in Domesticity are winners. Take, for example, this very simple stuffed pepper recipe from Martha Stewart’s website. It calls for bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, feta cheese, basil, ground pepper, and olive oil. Can’t go wrong with that, right?

A few pics after the jump… Continue reading

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ADVENTURES IN DOMESTICITY: Broccoli with Rice Noodles

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Thai food can be a thing of beauty. Ugh, what a pretentious opening line. But it’s true. Thai food is one of my favorite cuisines, thanks in part to the bold, zingy flavors that often include lime juice, fish sauce, and a billion other spices mashed together into a curry paste. I already have two cookbooks (famously documented here) that do a great job of translating Thai food to the home kitchen. One would think I wouldn’t need to venture any further for a decent homemade curry. However, I noticed a curious recipe in Yotam Ottolenghi’s Plenty: purple sprouting broccoli with rice noodles.

The “method” called for a Thai-influenced spice paste, which would then be added to coconut milk and used to form a curry. I was highly intrigued by it all, but also hesitant: Ottolengh, after all, is an Israeli-born chef currently residing in Britain. The pedigree doesn’t exactly scream Thai authority. But who knows? Maybe it should.

After the jump, check out my pics of this grand experiment…

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ADVENTURES IN DOMESTICITY: Grape Leaf, Herb, and Yogurt Pie Edition

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In general, I try to cook healthy these days. Long gone are my weekly experimentations with ice cream recipes and chocolate cake indulgences. I’m not saying those things won’t come back, but after seeing some pics of me toward the end of 2012, I realized I needed to do a few more healthy things for myself. One helpful strategy has been cutting down on desserts (at least making them — I still find myself trotting out to the local frozen yogurt shop more often than I’d like to admit). Another helpful approach has been incorporating a few more vegetarian meals into the mix. Now, I’m still a through and through meat eater, but the occasional vegetable-based entrée can really go a long way.

Of course, not all vegetarian recipes are automatically healthy, and that’s probably the case with the Grape leaf, herb and yogurt pie I made from Yotam Ottolenghi’s famous vegetarian book, Plenty. This savory, Turkish-inspired dish is chock full of yogurt, but a little dairy never killed anyone, right? Right?

Pics after the jump…

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ADVENTURES IN DOMESTICITY: Chard Frittata Edition

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This blog has been pretty quiet since the end of Big Brother season, and that’s mainly due to my need to focus on some other writing projects. As much as I love blogging, it’s a beast that is never satisfied — much like Candy Crush Saga. And like that beguiling iPhone game, I’ve found that at times the only way for me to be productive in my life is to shut it down altogether. However, while I’ve been on a blogging hiatus, I haven’t stopped cooking. In fact, I’ve been cooking heaps of dishes, thanks to this new compulsion I have to buy cookbooks ALL THE TIME. I’ve acquired over ten such books over the past six months, and yet I’m still not fulfilled. So basically what we’re learning in this opening paragraph is that I clearly have some sort of addictive personality disorder, which takes the form of blogging, Candy Crush, and cookbook wanting.

Fine. I’m okay with that. It’s not like I’m on heroin. (OR AM I?) The point is that I have a lot of new cookbooks to play with, not to mention a bunch of old ones that have yet to be fully explored. This recipe actually hails from the latter category — a simple frittata from the brain of minimalist cook, Mark Bittman. It’s basically chard, eggs, and cheese. But is it delicious? Check out the pics after the jump…

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ADVENTURES IN DOMESTICITY: Spiced Chickpeas and Fresh Vegetable Salad Edition

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It’s been a hot minute since I’ve served up an Adventure in Domesticity, but fear not: I have been cooking my arse off the past few months. I have a full-on backlog of recipes to share, and I’m getting back into the groove with this healthy ditty from Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi’s amazing cookbook, Jerusalem: The Cookbook. The recipe I speak of is Spiced Chickpeas and Fresh Vegetable Salad, a hearty and healthy vegetarian option that makes great use of summer veggies such as heirloom tomatoes (which conveniently I used).

Check out the results after the jump…

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