Smoky Black Bean and Butternut Squash Chili

Do you have chili on the brain? With the Superbowl fast approaching it is hard to avoid visions of steaming bowls of chili, spicy chicken wings, and cold beer. We are fair weather football fans, tuning in only once a year for the big game. But when we do watch we go all the way! Dips are made, chili is simmered, and beer is chilled. Everything is in place for an evening of cheering from the couch and generally celebrating. It is the beginning of February and we are ready for a party again. (more…)

Swiss Chard Stew with Chickpeas and Tamarind

This is just the kind of stew for when skies turn gray and snowflakes begin to float by. It is also just right when the space between one big holiday meal and the next is filled with endless visions of sugar and butter. A healthy dish with loads of zing and the comfort inducing combination of warm tomatoes and filling chickpeas. (more…)

Split Pea Soup with Eggplant Bacon

I know what you are saying. Eggplant bacon? Seriously? My thoughts exactly.

The world of vegetarian and vegan cuisine can have a lot of strange faux meat products. Everything from mock chicken nuggets to frozen veggie burgers with a disturbing brown color and ‘grill marks’. I have largely avoided these products since: 1.) most contain gluten to hold the veggie ingredients together 2.) processed food just really isn’t our thing and 3.) I’ve found the best way to enjoy a vegan diet is to stop focusing on meat replacement. However when I saw recipes for eggplant bacon on respected vegan food blogs curiosity got the better of me. (more…)

Basic Pot Roast

When life is totally upside down there is nothing quite like comfort food to stop the chaos for a few moments and make everything feel almost normal. This past week we moved back into our home to ‘camp out’ until the water rises or goes away. Almost all of our belongings are still scattered to the wind, boxed up and safely stored until fall. We have a few camp chairs, a card table, our bed and a crib to make the house habitable. (more…)

Potato Chowder with Ham and Cheddar

I am taking a bit of time to recover and spend time with the best thing we’ve cooked up yet. Please enjoy posts prepared ahead of time over the next few weeks. I will be back in the kitchen again soon!

Every year around Christmas, Mr. B brings home a grenade shaped boneless ham- a gift from our insurance agent. It never fails to make me chuckle. I mean really, a ham? Yet, I have learned that a ham is the gift that keeps on giving. There is no way that the two of us could work through an entire ham within a week, so instead I cut it into thick slices and freeze 1 lb increments. These smaller quantities of ham prove invaluable over the winter months, ready to liven up any bean soup or chowder. (more…)

Guinness Pot Roast with Bacon and Parsnips

I am taking a bit of time to recover and spend time with the best thing we’ve cooked up yet. Please enjoy posts prepared ahead of time over the next few weeks. I will be back in the kitchen again soon!

We have a tradition of celebrating St. Patrick’s Day at our house. It might be with cupcakes, cocktails, or in this case, with a big hunk of braised beef, but come March 17th we break out the green and have some fun. Now what little (if any) Irish heritage we have is long lost. The real reason I celebrate St. Patrick’s Day is because by the middle of March I’m ready to welcome any excuse for a party. Good food, Irish whiskey, crazy music? Count me in! (more…)

Tamale Pie

I am taking a bit of time to recover and spend time with the best thing we’ve cooked up yet. Please enjoy posts prepared ahead of time over the next few weeks. I will be back in the kitchen again soon!

This recipe goes back…way back… to the days of Leave It to Beaver and drive in movies. I first encountered tamale pie when flipping through a well worn red-checked Better Homes and Gardens cookbook pulled from my parents’ bookshelf. Only twelve or thirteen at the time, the thought of making a savory pie intrigued me. Pies were a rarity around our house in any form and I decided to see if I could make one for dinner. I recall a finished dish that blended together brown hamburger, gooey cheese, and warm black olives beneath a crumbly cornmeal crust- classic kid comfort food. (more…)

Pressure Cooker Chili

Growing up, we had an old school pressure cooker. A heavy dull gray pot, it would sit on the stove and heat up until the removable valve would whistle steam and dance around like a bobble head doll. My mom warned us to stay away from the pot when it whistled. I would watch from a distance, wondering if the steam would ever become too much for the valve to handle and send it sky rocketing off the pot toward the ceiling. That never happened, but therein lies the reason most people avoid pressure cookers- fear of exploding pots and ugly ceiling stains. (more…)

Braised Pork Loin with Calvados, Cider, and Apples

For Christmas this year, Mr. B gifted me with a half-gallon of Katz Gravenstein Apple Cider Vinegar. It was as much of a gift for himself as it was for me- a testament to our collective food geekiness if I’ve ever seen one. Gravenstein apples are recognized as a heritage food by the Slow Food movement, and Katz lovingly takes these special apples and first turns them into a hard cider before aging the liquid in oak barrels to create a wonderful nuanced apple cider vinegar. Mr. B loves the magical ability of apple cider vinegar to transform a dish from ho hum to to fantastic and often suggests a splash of it when helping me tweak a recipe simmering on the stove. (more…)

Pinot Noir Braised Short Ribs with Sun-dried Tomatoes and Cipollini Onions

Mr. B has a thing for cipollini onions. They are the holy grail of sweet onion flavor- causing him to wax poetic and look rather dreamy eyed whenever they appear. Hard to find locally, their rarity only enhances the allure for both of us. Whenever we get the opportunity to purchase a few they go into the cart, no questions asked. (more…)

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