• Appetizers,  Featured,  Food Photography,  Gluten free,  Recipes,  Salads,  Side Dishes

    Salad art

    I’m thrilled by the inherent beauty in freshly picked herbs, shimmering with dew; cracked pomegranates with glowing crimson seeds; rustic french bread, steam billowing from an airy interior; and the list goes on—I could wax poetic about edible inspirations (did I borrow that from a fruit bouquet company tagline?) for hours. And capturing this beauty in a photo is almost as satisfying as devouring the finished product. So imagine my delight when I had the opportunity to pair up with May van Millingen—an artist who takes as much pride in documenting a plate of food, in all its fleeting glory, as I do—to work on a photo/illustration collaboration. I loved the…

  • Appetizers,  Gluten free,  Paleo,  Recipes,  Side Dishes

    Pickled pink (or blue?)

    Hello my wonderful readers, are you still there? I’ve been MIA for a couple months, but I think I have the best excuse of them all: I’ve got a bun in the oven … and it ain’t sourdough : ) We’re over the moon! But the nausea, food aversions and fatigue wreaked havoc on my blog activity—not to mention Dave’s dinner. In the first trimester, most of the time I could barely bring myself to eat, let alone cook something. And while the morning sickness has subsided, I still find myself disgusted by many foods, and turned off entirely by the act of cooking for myself (short of microwaving a…

  • Appetizers,  Entrees,  Recipes,  Salads,  Side Dishes

    Greens on greens on greens

    My garden is filling in nicely, and all this green has me inspired. This pasta salad is a little taste of spring—exploding with nutritional superstars. There are enough greens to make it healthy, but enough pasta and cheese to make it a treat. Dave devoured it, so you can trust that it’s delicious in spite of itself. Don’t skimp on the lemon—it brings the taste to the next level. Go green pasta salad You’ll need: 1 lb pasta 1 cup peas 3 cups baby arugula 12 stalks asparagus 12 large brussels sprouts 4 green onion stalks, chopped Juice from one whole lemon A block of pecorino or other hard italian…

  • Appetizers,  Recipes,  Sandwiches,  Side Dishes

    Ravishing radishes

      Spring has not quite sprung here in Chicago, and the natives are restless. We’re all ready for it, and the husband is ready for the plants to go outside. My seedlings—now more like full-fledged plants—are spilling out of their containers, straining toward the windows and begging for fresh air. Despite less-than-balmy temps, I’m willing the warmth to arrive—and maybe some fresh seasonal recipes will help. I don’t ever cook with them, but these radishes caught my eye last weekend, and just seemed very springy: fresh, dewy, earthy. I suspected the fatty, creamy richness of avocado might complement the crunchy spice of the radishes, and after paging through my trusty…

  • moody lighting tutorial
    Appetizers,  Food Photography,  Gluten free,  Salads,  Side Dishes

    Getting in the mood

    One of my biggest blog goals for 2013 was to step up my photography. It’s one of my absolute favorite parts of food blogging—sometimes even more than the actual cooking—so it’s been a fun, exciting and inspiring journey. I’ve also been insatiable when it comes to finding new resources that can help me take my blog to the next level, and I love that there are so many great bloggers out there who share their secrets on photography, blog monetization, post layout inspiration, etc. I’ve been saving these tips on Pinterest, and plotting my own series of posts to pay it forward (stay tuned!). One of the many tutorial posts…

  • Appetizers,  Recipes,  Side Dishes

    Take me back to Tuscany

    The weather in Chicago is seriously wearing on me. These days, I’m checking the 10-day forecast obsessively, waiting for the day that breaks 50 degrees. Come on 50. Fifty and sunny. And I’m dreaming about travelling, far, far away … … back to Tuscany and its rolling hills, dotted with grape vines, olive trees and medieval castles. Alas, a European vacation is nowhere in the foreseeable future, so I’ll have to settle on giving my mouth a vacation. Hmmm … that didn’t sound quite right. But you get my point. This cannellini spread is quintessentially Tuscan—simple, rustic, peasant food from the old country. And since we’re talking a little stay-cation of sorts, let’s do it…

  • Appetizers,  Recipes

    Cheeseburger poppers

    I can’t always come up with witty post titles. Fortunately, this one should catch your attention in spite of itself. You really can’t go wrong when you stuff fresh, fiery jalapeños with ground beef and melty cheese, drench them in beer batter and fry them to golden-brown perfection. The homemade ranch is the icing on the cake. They’re big and gooey, which makes them a little tricky as a finger food. Still, the most macho men (and hardcore ladies) will take them to the face while hovering over the game-day app table without thinking twice. My advice? Grab a plate, hunker down, and go to town on these babies with a fork…

  • Appetizers,  Beverages,  Dessert,  Holidays,  Recipes,  Sandwiches

    Gourmet game day

    The best thing about game-day parties is the excuse to stuff your face and guzzle beer with zero guilt. Don’t show up to your Super Bowl party empty-handed. Seriously, don’t be that guy/gal. I’ve even taken you half of the way there, with this handy-dandy Super Bowl recipe list: You can thank me in free game-day betting squares. Dips Jalapeno popper dip Greek 7-layer dip Loaded bake potato dip Hot spinach dip White queso dip Sliders and sammies Spicy whiskey BBQ sliders Out-of-this-world veggie burgers Cheeseburger sliders Fried pizza sandwiches Philly cheesesteak with garlic aioli Crock Pot faves Slow-cooker carnitas Crock Pot picante chicken Crock Pot chicken, rice and green…

  • Appetizers,  Gluten free,  Recipes,  Side Dishes

    Tortilla soup and tostadas, part dos

    It’s the end of the month and I’m falling off the paleo wagon. Still committed to a healthier diet, but God help me, I’m having some damn grains already. Corn and flour specifically. So here we go … The best kinds of recipes are highly adaptable. Take my tortilla soup. It’s a thick, blended, stew-style concoction that’s not for traditionalists, but delicious all the same. Beans, tortilla chips, vegetables, spices and chicken stock—in almost any variation—blended and topped with shredded chicken, cheese and tortilla strips, will yield something fantastic. It’s so thick and flavorful, it makes for good enchilada filling, nacho dressing and in this case, tostada topping. The first…

  • Appetizers,  Dessert,  Gluten free,  Paleo,  Recipes

    A little nutty

    This diet that is. And how I begin to feel after a day of forcing down handfuls of baby carrots, hard-boiled eggs, oranges and boatloads of bacon. OK, so that last one isn’t so bad. Still, it’s nice to come home and grab for a handful of these sweet little nut clusters. It seems to put a band-aid on almost every Paleo-induced side effect. Carb cravings. Candy cravings. That unpleasant, heartburn-y, “queasy from eating too many raw, undressed vegetables” pit-in-my-stomach feeling (am I the only one that gets this, by the way?) Best of all, it’s super easy and arguably pretty healthy. Cavemen (and women)—forage your nuts! (Told you this…