Kick Off Football Season…

“There were ruddy, brown-faced, broad-girthed Spanish Onions, shining in the fatness of their growth like Spanish Friars, and winking from their shelves in wanton slyness at the girls as they went by, and glanced demurely at the hung-up mistletoe.”

-Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol

Jalapeno Popper Grilled Cheese

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_ _ For about a year, I was employed at a club in Boston, during which time I was gifted many life lessons by simply watching the patrons- the most important of which is that drunk people are creepy, and absolutely LOVE the Eddie Money song “Take Me Home Tonight.” The real benefit of spending so much time in this ridiculous environment is that I can now drop some pretty awesome name-bombs: I got to watch Paris Hilton make a fool of herself lip syncing on stage; I ran straight into Sir David Ortiz lurking in a dark corner and nodded like an imbecile pretending that I could understand the words coming out of his mouth; but most importantly, I danced with Wes Welker and realized that off the field, not a single person knew who he was… GO PATS! As football season is heating up, despite not having my boy-o around to make me actually watch this season, I’ve decided to get in the spirit by making gameday type foods anyway. Enjoy these jalapeno popper grilled cheeses and finally admit to yourself that you’re only interested in the sport because of Tom Brady… GO PATS!

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Hold On To Summer…

“…the butlers set the silver domes in from of them. The lights had dimmed, and the lids were whisked away. There, on the plates, Bern saw the tiniest bird carcasses imaginable, browned and glistening with butter. There was a collective gasp; L’ortolan, a woman murmured, her voice thick with longing.”

-Lauren Groff, Delicate Edible Birds

Slow Cooker Caramelized Onions

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_ _ I have the ultimate “grass is always greener” attitude: when it’s summertime and I start sweating on the walk from the front door to my car, I find myself longing for the cozy sweaters and excitement of a first snow… in the winter, when I’m shivering in bed and trying to warm my popsicle toes against my boyfriend’s legs, I think fondly of the warm sun and curse the itchy sweaters and unending sleet. So, since I’m always trying to improve myself (I’m so close to being perfect), I’m going to appreciate the present–carpe diem! These caramelized onions are so delicious on top of summer’s BBQ burgers and if your friends and family try to tell you they look like a certain earth-dwelling invertebrate– tell them you won’t stop singing until they take a taste… “No body likes me, everybody hates me, I’m going out to eat…”

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Spicy Sun Dried Tomato Zoup… And Sandwiches

“Lucci was heartened; there was still good in the world, perhaps. Then he smelled a smell that made him heady, crêpes, and he could isolate each of the ingredients as he never could before: butter, sugar, flour, milk, even a little rum. He felt the ground until he found the plate, and pressed his fingers into a soft stack two inches high.”

-Lauren Groff, Delicate Edible Birds

Spicy Sun Dried Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese with Bacon, Basil and Havarti

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_ _ Delicious. I wish it was cold out so I could let the soup warm me nicely, instead of causing me to wipe the dripping sweat off my face while making it.

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Well, If The Pear-Shaped Shirt Fits…

“I lived on rum, I tell you. It’s been meat and drink, and man and wife, to me.”

-Robert Louis Stevenson, Treasure Island

Panko-Crusted, Bacon Mac & Cheese

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_ _ Despite being raised by two fairly sensible adults, as I grow into an “adult” myself, one childish naïveté that I have yet to shed is my absolute love for, and belief in anything and everything infomercial. I’m currently the proud owner of a Jack LaLanne juicer, multiple sets of free weights and 3 separate DVDs that promised to be the easiest way to lose weight EVER! There’s nothing quite like convincing yourself that as soon as “this next” package arrives, your life will change drastically for the better… I’m the ultimate consumer and QVC’s dream clientele… Yet, while P90X and The Firm collections accumulate dust on my bookshelf, my cookbooks are far from unused.

_ _ As mid-summer approaches, rather than strengthening my resolve to make this the season that I look smokin’ in a swimsuit, the hot weather has caused me to make a new resolution: “next year.” In no way is this dish a light summer meal, but it’s so darn good you won’t regret making or eating it.

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Sliders Two Ways…

“Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper.”

-Adelle Davis

Burger Sliders Topped with Cranberries, Red Onion and Brie, or Cheddar and Dill Pickles

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_ _ When you’ve been “going steady” with someone for awhile, most people can look back on the courtship with fondness– you remember butterflies, romance and getting to know someone new and exciting. But sometimes things just go so very, very wrong. My first date with Nick was on a hot Boston summer night, he drove down to meet me from Connecticut and because we had agreed to be casual, he showed up in cut-off camo Army pants and a Celtics jersey. Hilarious… And then he called me the wrong name. Not quite as hilarious. We had a lovely dinner at a local sushi restaurant, where I proceeded to blurt out completely inappropriate things because my nerves had apparently erased my inner-sensor. Had  the date ended there I don’t think we ever would have seen each other again, but thankfully we also decided to catch a movie! As we trekked down the steep sidewalks of Mission Hill towards the train to the theater, my sandal broke and simultaneously the skies opened and began pouring rain… I wish I was kidding. I took a gamble and decided to board the train sporting one shoe– I figured I’d either end up with a second date because I showed I could roll with the punches… or with him thinking I was a disgusting human being. I got both.

_ _ Nearly three years later, we’re still together. Sometimes things that you wouldn’t expect to work, make the best combinations; that’s the lesson I learned from my relationship as well as these burgers. Did I essentially just compare my boyfriend to a beef patty? Yes.

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BBQ Chicken Salad-Pizza

“Seeing is deceiving. It’s eating that’s believing.”

-James Thurber

Thin Crust Pizza with Black Beans, Sweet Corn, & BBQ Chicken

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_ _ One of my best friends from college has been in the Peace Corp for the last two years, but she and I bonded immediately during our freshman orientation, in the way that any solid friendship does: with the discovery of shared irrational fears and quirks. We quickly learned that we both love the scent of skunk (I’m the creep that rolls down the window at the first hint of the odor); and we both are absolutely petrified of whales. She felt more strongly about killer whales, while having nightmares about the giant blues is more my style… They have baleen and their babies are born the size of a school bus. Do I really need to explain myself further?

_ _ We also shared a torrid love affair with the California Pizza Kitchen. Although I rarely actually get a pizza there, I eat the cheesy bread sticks like starches won’t exist tomorrow and then I move on to the BBQ chicken salad. This pizza is an homage to both the salad and the restaurant’s namesake… and to anyone else who hates whales.

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