• 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…

  • Featured,  Paleo,  Recipes,  Salads,  Side Dishes

    Eat your brussels sprouts (no really, they’re fantastic)

    Why brussels sprouts (and broccoli, for that matter) get a bad rap is beyond me. When prepared well, they’re a fantastic accompaniment to just about any meal. Also, it’s a fallacy that you have to add bacon to make them taste good. Of course, a little bacon never hurt anyone. Take it from my new fave paleo blogger and partner in crime, Nicole over at BaconIsHealthy.com. I digress. To prove to you all that brussels sprouts are amazing—and don’t need to be studded with pork fat to shine—I whipped up a recipe, and it couldn’t be simpler. Inspired by a delicious dish at my favorite lunch spot, I added parsley…

  • 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…

  • Entrees,  Gluten free,  Holidays,  Paleo,  Recipes,  Side Dishes,  Uncategorized

    Beef at its best

    A couple of Saturdays ago, I dragged my cooking club ladies down the paleo rabbit hole—with quite astonishing results. We gorged ourselves on shepherd’s pie, shrimp cakes, lettuce wraps, bacon-wrapped dates, meatballs, key lime pie, chocolate banana pie and last but not least, insanely rich, beef short ribs—bursting with flavor and piled high atop rosemary and bacon-studded sweet potatoes. Dave eyed the feast from afar, then dove in for the kill as the girls distractedly lingered over paleo-approved palomas. As for the short ribs, I hesitate to even call them paleo. Nothing is sacrificed, nothing left to be desired. The only thing that could possibly make this dish better is a loaf…

  • Entrees,  Gluten free,  Recipes,  Side Dishes

    Hot, spicy and a little bit sweet

    Where’s your mind going? I’m talking about the soup, people. While sweet potato fries usually get all the love, this soup deserves a little attention. Velvety, rich, sweet, savory—and with a sneaking heat that will warm on even the coldest days—you’ll want to keep a batch of this stuff on hand all winter long. Sweet potato chorizo soup You’ll need: 2 large sweet potatoes 3 tablespoons butter 1/2 yellow onion chopped 1 cup chicken stock 1/4 tsp cinnamon 1/4 tsp nutmeg 1/4 tsp white pepper 8 oz chorizo Sour cream for garnish Crumble chorizo in a skillet and cook on medium heat until cooked through, stirring constantly—about 5 minutes. Remove…