Maple Oat Pecan Scones 15

Maple Oat Pecan Scones

If there’s one thing I’ve been more obsessed with than brussels sprouts lately, it’s maple. It all started with a drive to Vermont to take in the foliage. Along the way, we stopped at one of our favorite chocolate shops, and I picked up a small package of maple shortbread cookies and the most adorable little jug of syrup I’ve ever seen. Since then, it’s pretty much been all maple all the time.

When it came time to pick a recipe to make for this month’s secret recipe club, I crossed my fingers and hoped to find something maple-y. Success! These maple pecan scones from Baking & Creating with Avril fit the bill perfectly, and they’re delicious to boot!

Stovetop Mac & Cheese with Stewed Tomato 16

Stovetop Mac & Cheese with Stewed Tomato

Last month, The Laughing Cow asked me if I would be interested in trying a lower-calorie version of a comfort food, featuring their cheese. I’ve kept Laughing Cow in my refrigerator ever since being introduced to it by my high school French teacher (back when it was called “la vache qui rit”) but I’ve never tried cooking with it so, intrigued, I agreed. They sent me the recipe and ingredients to make their creamy stovetop macaroni and cheese, and it couldn’t have been more perfect.

It’s no secret that I have a soft spot for macaroni and cheese, especially when it has a gourmet twist.

Creamy Sweet Potato and Chipotle Soup 17

Creamy Sweet Potato and Chipotle Soup


It’s getting to be the time of year when I plan to make soup at least once a week. In addition to being a quick weeknight meal, soup is an easy go-to for weekday lunches – something I’m especially grateful for when I’m trying to avoid holiday related weight gain.

I stumbled on this recipe for sweet potato soup on the Food + Wine website one afternoon and made it for dinner that night. I love potato soup, but it had never occurred to me to use sweet potatoes before! I skipped the fried cinnamon-sugar tortillas in the original recipe and paired the soup with cheese quesadillas for a warmly satisfying meal.

Jalapeno Popper Mac and Cheese 18

Jalapeno Popper Mac and Cheese

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This jalapeno popper macaroni and cheese is probably the best thing that’s ever come out of my kitchen.

There’s not much more to say about it than that. I mean, I could go on about how how rich and creamy and cheesy it is. How the thick sauce that clings to each piece of pasta tastes like someone just squeezed the guts out of your favorite bar poppers and called it “sauce.” How I kept running back to the kitchen as I waited for the pasta to finish cooking because I couldn’t stop sneaking tastes.

Watermelon Gazpacho {No Tomatoes!} 19

Watermelon Gazpacho {No Tomatoes!}

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Like most of the country, New York has been suffering through a heat wave for the past week. Quite frankly, it’s too hot to cook or even to eat anything very substantial. For the first few days I was content eating salads for dinner, but after more than two or three days of salad I start to get cranky so I tried to think of something that would satisfy my raving for real food without requiring me to actually cook (since the minutes I spent over the stove sautéing onions last night left me so hot that I couldn’t even enjoy the steak that Shawn grilled for me).

An ice-cold gazpacho seemed like it would hit the spot, but that suggestion was met with a resounding, “No way!” My effort to convince Shawn that gazpacho is basically just pureed salsa (the only way he’ll eat raw tomatoes) didn’t get me anywhere. Luckily, I had this recipe up my sleeve — a sightly spicy watermelon soup without a single tomato.

Tortellini with Walnut Pesto 20

Tortellini with Walnut Pesto

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This Monday, October 25, is World Pasta Day, a day devoted to one of the world’s most loved carbohydrate. I’ve decided to join in the celebration by sharing a recipe from the new book, The Geometry of Pasta. After all, what better time is there to share a review of a book dedicated entirely to pasta? Especially when the book contains fun recipes, like this one for Tortelloni Di Ricotta Al Pesto Di Noci Tostate (the fancy-pants Italian way of saying, “tortellini with burnt walnut pesto”)?

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This fun little book isn’t your standard cookbook at all, which is pretty evident before you even open it. The book is small but thick — like a long novel — and the striking graphic cover is as close to an illustration as you’ll get. But while this book lacks glossy photos (which we all know I love), there’s definitely no shortage of unique recipes. The Geometry of Pasta contains over 100 recipes, each featuring simple ingredients and designed to pair the perfect shape of pasta with the perfect sauce. While that may seem like overkill, there really is an art to figuring out whether a new sauce will pair better with a hearty, ridged pasta or with a smooth angel hair. This book takes the guesswork out of it — and introduces you to pasta shapes you’ve probably never heard of!

Some of the recipes are a little strange (I think I’ll pass on the alphabet pasta with ketchup, though I’m sure a little kid would find it to be a great alternative to spaghetti-o’s) and some of the pasta shapes may be hard to find but with so many recipes, this book has something for everyone. I was a huge fan of this tortellini recipe; cooking it was fun and eating it was even better. The combination of sauce and shape really was ideal — the chunky pesto settled perfectly into the curves of the tortellini, ensuring no sauce was left behind in the bottom of the bowl.

I also loved how the recipes in this book were written. They’re slightly vague, which might be frustrating to those less comfortable in the kitchen, but they remind me of something that might have been passed down by a grandparent — very, very authentic. The dual indexes — one in Italian and one in English – were also a nice touch that I appreciated a lot. While this is definitely more of a specialty cookbook than something you would use every day, it’s a great addition to your collection if you’re a fan of pasta or Italian cuisine.

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Click to get the recipe for Tortelloni Di Ricotta Al Pesto Di Noci Tostate From The Geometry of Pasta –>

Orichette with Caramelized Fennel and Summer Vegetables

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It’s no secret that I love fennel, but I’ve been absolutely obsessed with the thought of making caramelized fennel ever since I first read about it over on The Tipsy Baker’s blog months ago. I requested a copy of Ad Hoc at Home from the library and patiently waited for what seemed like forever to get the recipe. And then I had no idea what to make with it. I mean, I’m not exactly a meat and potatoes kind of girl. I don’t do side dishes. And as presented in the book, caramelized fennel was most definitely a side dish. But then I had an idea: pasta. When I’m short on recipe inspiration I always turn to pasta, throwing in a combination of whatever looks good at the grocery store and whatever I have in the fridge. Caramelized fennel seemed like it would be a great jumping-off point for a summery vegetable pasta. And it was.

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In addition to the fennel, I used a combination of eggplant, summer squash, red onions, and peas. I tasted the vegetables on their own and they were so delicate and fresh that it seemed like a shame to cove them up with a heavy sauce so I decided not to, and instead dressed the pasta with a little bit of ricotta and a touch of pesto (I had originally planned to use garlic and olive oil). It was perfect! I really liked the creaminess that the ricotta added — when you stir it into the hot pasta it melts and creates a light coating that reminds me a little of mac and cheese. The pesto perked the dish up without taking it over; you could tell it was there, but it certainly isn’t a “pesto” dish by any means. Really it’s just… good. Good when you first make it. Good the next day. Good hot. Good cold. I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of this one!

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Click to get the recipe for Orichette with Caramelized Fennel and Summer Vegetables –>