Guinness and Cheddar Dip

Guinness and Cheddar Dip

It’s that time of year again… St. Patrick’s Day is rolling around pretty soon. I regret  to tell you that over the years our celebrations have become more and more tame.  Which, truly, is ok by me.  As a person of Irish heritage, I would love to just celebrate with an authentic Irish meal full of yummy foods.  Problem being… aside from corned beef and cabbage (which isn’t really even Irish) there’s really not much to Irish cuisine.  I don’t say this to be disparaging… I’ve eaten some incredible Irish food, including my mother-in-law’s soda bread and the unforgettable fish and chips at McDonagh’s in Galway.  But even after spending quite a bit of time in Ireland, I wasn’t overly impressed in the way of food on a regular basis.  I was, however, impressed by the Guinness. [Read more...]

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Cannellini Dip with Lemon and Thyme

Cannellini with Lemon and ThymeLike any born-and-bred Chicago girl, I think I handle winters pretty well.  I expect cold, and I’m rarely disappointed.  I even try to revel in the beautiful snowy landscapes and the wind whipping across the prairie behind our house.  Overall, I think I keep a pretty good attitude about it.

Until March, that is.  Despite pretty much all my past experiences of Chicago winters, I stubbornly continue to believe that winter will be over as soon as March 1st rolls around.  March= spring!  Yay! Well, you can imagine the disappointment this sort of delusional thinking tends to breed in a person’s mind.  The current forecast for tomorrow, March 1st, currently stands at 23 degrees Fahrenheit. Oh, with the possibility of 3-5 inches of snow, as well.  I don’t think the tulips will be popping up quite yet.  At least not until the layer of snow and ice a foot thick melts.  Sigh.  Heavy sigh.

Cannellini with Lemon and Thyme

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Rosemary Chipotle Roasted Nuts

Rosemary Chipotle Roasted NutsYou didn’t think I could sneak in another little tidbit before Thanksgiving, did you?  Well I wouldn’t offer up anything that would mess with your probably already-set menus at this point, but this is just a little add-on.  I couldn’t help myself.  They are so good.  And frankly, they’re the perfect Thanksgiving pre-meal nosh.Rosemary Chipotle Roasted Nuts [Read more...]

Truffle Garlic Oven Fries

truffle garlic fries1

I know I’ve harped on this before, but this time of year always drags on for me, food-wise.  Grocery store produce sections look unbearably pathetic, and the farmers’ market (which I know I’m lucky to have this early) has barely anything better.  Potatoes.  Some limp kale.  Once again I have to appease myself with potatoes until I can find something more interesting to spark some creativity in the kitchen again.  And frankly, there are only so many ways to dress up a potato, even a yummy farmers’ market potato. [Read more...]

Whole Wheat Cheddar Crackers


As I’m writing this, I’m sitting in a coffee shop, organizing photos, sipping a decaf coffee (hey’s it’s after 3 pm and I’m not as young as I used to be), and taking a break every once in a while to just sit and savor the calmness.  Because my little guy is safe at home with daddy and I can write full sentences without interruption. [Read more...]

Garlicky Hummus


Sorry it’s been a while.  A few days ago, I finally pulled it together and wrote a post about this amazing hummus that I made, well, a long time ago, and just as I finished writing it, I clicked save, and WordPress went ahead and ate my post.  I had flashbacks to late nights in college involving lots of coffee and last-minute papers.  I suppose it’s been too long since those days, because I forgot the cardinal rule of writing anything longer than will fit on a post-it note: SAVE, SAVE, SAVE.  So after crafting a nicely worded, polished post… I threw in the towel.  Nothing’s more depressing than trying to re-do something you just finished.  DSC_0035 [Read more...]

Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad

I don’t know about where you live, but around Chicago it’s been a pretty freakishly hot summer.  I’ve been effectively using the baby as an excuse not to leave the air-conditioning pretty much since June, and I’m sorry to say that my poor garden has gone completely neglected.  The tomatoes were left cage-less (hmmm… cage-free tomatoes, maybe there’s a marketing spin there…) , there was not a chip of mulch to be found until last week, and everything is looking fairly sad and withered-looking.  Except of course, the mint and parsley, which I’m convinced could grow out of the cracks in our sidewalk.  As sad as I am about the lack of beautiful homegrown tomatoes, which I’ve been looking forward to since we finished the last of the tomatoes last year, there is a bright side.  And the bright side is this quinoa tabbouleh.

Tabbouleh is a middle-eastern herb salad typically made with bulgur.  I’ve always really liked tabbouleh, ever since my mom would buy it at the fancy-pants grocery store, Treasure Island, when I was a kid.  This was back in the early nineties, and things like tabbouleh weren’t exactly available in the usual chain grocery stores, so it was a treat.  And I kind of felt pretty grown up eating it.  Something about the fresh herb flavor with a hint of garlic and lots of big lemony tang still brings back memories of the stuff mom used to buy at Treasure Island.  However, I’m sure this is so much better than that stuff ever was. [Read more...]

Thyme-Roasted Grape and Ricotta Crostini

Since my maternity leave ended, I’ve been working from home, so I can also be at home with the baby.  Now, when we came up with this arrangement, I knew I’d be more than a little sad to not be in the office anymore, chatting with people, taking our little tea-time breaks everyday, deciding what we should do for lunch, etc.  But, I also told myself, on the plus side, that I could make myself delightful, simple little lunches a la Canal House.  In my fantasy, I’d work until 11:30, then whip up a light lunch of smoked salmon tea sandwiches and sorrel soup, or perhaps I’d flit down to the farmers market on Wednesdays and come up with a salad of local, organic produce.  Then, of course, I’d be back to work around noon and still have time to bake up a batch of ginger cranberry scones for an afternoon break. Oh, and in case you were wondering, my fantasy also included a child who sleeps for 22 hours a day, and spends the other 2 hours gurgling, smiling, cooing, and being generally delightful.

I think we can all see where this is headed.  [Read more...]

Strawberry Vanilla Limeade Popsicles

Hi, all.  Sorry for not being around here lately.  Truth is, it’s been a pretty long, sad, all-around-rough couple of weeks for my family and I, and I just haven’t had the heart to make much in the way of dinner. Or lunch. Or breakfast.

But lucky for you, my mother has always taught me that they best way to cure any sorrow, any hurt, any sadness… is a popsicle.  Whenever when I would run inside after a minor bicycle injury, or come home from school with a bad grade, or called crying about a boy,  her timeless wisdom is always the same, “Oh, baby… do you need a popsicle?”

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Bombay Cheese Dip

Usually when I do one of these posts, I think of a cute little story to tell you, or an amusing tale of how I came upon the recipe, blah, blah, blah.  But, this dip needs so such story.  Because I could fill pages and pages telling you about how, why, and in what sense this is one of the best, most unexpected things I’ve ever had.  Apart from that, I’ve been promising you a recipe to use some of that homemade chutney from the other day, and now I’m delivering.

Ok, Ok, so quick background.  This recipe came to me, as so many do, from my mom.  Aren’t moms great?  I mean, my mom is great for a lot of reasons, but one of the biggies is that she is fearless in the kitchen and is always willing to try recipes that a lot of people wouldn’t.  This recipe, for example.  I would never in a million years have given this a second look.  Because, well… it looks weird.  But my mom, kitchen wonder that she is, gave it a chance.  And thank goodness she did.  Because now I can share it with all of you, and we can all enjoy the amazingness that is this dip.  [Read more...]