How to Roast a Chicken on the Grill


It’s hot. I mean, I love summer and all – sunny and 80 is perfect if you ask me – but days and days of weather that’s approaching te triple digits? It’s disgusting. And I’ve had enough. The thought of standing in my non-aire-conditioned kitchen making a dinner that’s it’s basically too hot to eat anyway makes me want to cry. There’s absolutely no way I’ll be turning the oven on any time soon. And yet for some strange reason I’ve been craving roast chicken. Apparently the heat has made me lose my sanity.

Luckily, I have discovered a technique for making perfectly roast chicken on the grill. Crispy, crackly skin. Some of the juiciest breast meat that I’ve ever eaten. No need to turn on the oven. Does it get any better than that? Give it a try and you’ll immediately see why this has been my go-to recipe this summer.

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2010 NASFT Fancy Foods Show

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I spent last weekend down in New York City, living it up foodie-style. It was awesome. On Saturday, Christine and I went to the Food Truck Drive-In, which was a ton of fun and will be featured in another post. This post is about my real reason for making the trip down – the 2010 NASFT Fancy Foods Show. The show is an amazing event that brings members of the specialty food trade together with restaurants and retailers who might be interested in purchasing their products – and its a great opportunity to scope out new and exciting products. With over 2,500 exhibitors showcasing over 180,000 products, it was a little overwhelming: I kept forgetting to take pictures, and there was a point where I realized everything was starting to taste the same and I simply didn’t feel like eating any more. But I did find some great (and some not-so-great) new products and got some insight into emerging food trends. I’ll mostly let the pictures do the talking on this one…
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Greek Burger with Feta and Tzatziki 1

Greek Burger with Feta and Tzatziki


It’s summer! Finally. What better way to celebrate than with a fat, juicy burger?

I’m usually a burger traditionalist — give me some bacon, cheddar, and barbecue, and I’m a happy girl. Then there was last summer’s favorite, stuffed with stilton and topped with onion jam. But this Greek Burger, laden with feta and spices and slathered with cool, tangy tzatziki sauce? I’m pretty sure this will be making frequent appearances on our table from now on. Especially since it pairs so naturally with a greek salad instead of unhealthy pastas salads or fries. I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect meal to get my summer started.


The idea for this burger had been in the back of my mind for a few days, but when I found this beautiful fresh, local garlic at the farmer’s market (along with a crate of cucumbers that were marked down to a dollar because they were “ugly”) I knew it was time to act. We debated turkey vs. lamb vs. beef for a while before settling on lean beef — it was far leaner than the lamb, and I always get nervous cooking ground turkey (which had very similar nutritional stats to the beef anyway). By the time you finish mixing the meat together with the feta cheese and gyro seasonings, I don’t think the choice of protein really makes a ton of difference flavor-wise.

Burger Shaping Tip: Tired of your burgers shrinking in diameter as they cook? As you form your burger, press your thumb into the center to create a shallow crater about 1/3 the diameter of the patty. As your burger heats and the center puffs up, it will rise to fill in the crater instead of pulling the edges in. As a result, the burger will have a smooth top and a diameter that is almost identical to the raw patty that you formed.

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Vietnamese Braised Beef over Rice Noodle Salad 2

Vietnamese Braised Beef over Rice Noodle Salad


Sometimes I find myself in an eating rut. For someone who loves to cook, I eat out or order in far too often. Even I’m surprised at how often I end up skipping the kitchen in favor of letting someone else prepare my meal for me. What can I say? I’m lazy. And by the time I get home from work I’m exhausted. While the idea of actually cooking doesn’t usually bother me, the thought of cleaning up afterwards is more than I can take.

So we get pizza.

Boring. And, to be honest, not all that tasty.

There’s no excuse. I have an entire category on here devoted to Quick Weeknight Meals. There are hundreds of great restaurants within in fifteen minute drive from my house. And, if I really wanted, I could make my own pizza in the amount of time it takes to get one delivered. That would taste better. And that wouldn’t require a ton of time spent on cleanup.


So. I recently made a resolution that if I was going to be lazy and not cook for myself, I at least deserved to eat something good. Not pizza. Not fast food. Not a salad with twelve million calories from a chain restaurant.

Which lead me to discover a great Vietnamese restaurant that I had never been to before, despite the fact that it’s practically walking distance from my house. (It probably is walking distance, but there we go with that whole lazy thing again.)

And that restaurant has lead me to discover that Vietnamese food consists of more than just pho. Like their mussel appetizer, where mussels are served on the half shell drizzled with a sweet and spicy coconut curry. Or Bun Thit Nuong, grilled pork served over vermicelli, which has quickly become my favorite thing to order.

When I received a gorgeous enamel coated, cast iron dutch oven the other day (keep reading to find out how you can get one too!), I immediately decided that I wanted to make something loosely inspired by that dish. It was too hot outside to eat soup or stew, so a richly flavored braised beef served over a cool noodle salad seemed like it would hit the spot. Which it did. Despite the seemingly simple ingredients, this dish was bursting with flavor. As it bubbled and sputtered away in the oven, the most incredible aroma filled the house – mysteriously, it reminded me of cinnamon!

Spicy Pork Meatballs with Parmesan Risotto 3

Spicy Pork Meatballs with Parmesan Risotto

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I’ve been on a meatball kick lately. They aren’t something that I typically make very often, but lately I can’t seem to get enough. It’s funny, because when I was a little kid I actually hated meatballs. I remember sitting in my high-chair throwing them (and making a huge mess) and demanding that my mom rinse off the sauce and give me ketchup instead (ew). But lately, I’ve been craving the familiar comfort of this dish — from classic spaghetti and meatballs or meatball subs to meatballs with sauerbraten sauce over egg noodles.

When I recently learned that there’s a restaurant in New York City entirely devoted to these tender balls of ground meat simmered in sauce (The Meatball Shop), I immediately browsed their menu and decided what I would order if I went. And then I made it. (PS I went to the Shop this past weekend and it’s every bit as wonderful as you’d expect!)

For as often as I make risotto, I never thought to pair it with red sauce. When I saw that The Meatball Shop offers it as a side dish though, I was immediately sold on the idea. It’s such a nice change from pasta, and it gives the dish an entirely different feel. It makes spaghetti and meatballs seem like kids food; this is for grown ups. Meant to be eaten lazily by candle-light while drinking red wine, served with a side of bitter greens (in this case, with some sautéed broccoli rabe).


Healthy Taco Bake Recipe

Easy Taco Casserole

This taco casserole is one of the first “recipes” I created on my own and one of the first posts I ever put on this blog (all the way back in March of 2007!). Back when we were still on weight watchers, I was still a busy graduate student, and I wasn’t that comfortable in the kitchen, this was one of our go-to dinners. It’s easy to throw together, cheap to make, and tastes like junk food – in particular like those obscenely huge plates of nachos that you’ll find on the appetizer menu at a low-end chain restaurant.