Another Orange Soup…

“. . . the rich ate and drank freely, accepting gout and apoplexy as things that ran mysteriously in respectable families . . .”
George Eliot, Silas Marner

Butternut Squash Bisque

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_ _I’m not a brilliant person by any stretch of the imagination, but I’ve never had my intelligence insulted more than when I was working through a temp agency my sophomore year of college. I was essentially hired to answer phones and file paperwork at a Section-8 apartment rental office, which I figured would be a breeze… until I met the woman I was going to be working with. She held loud, personal conversations on the phone while clients sat in the waiting room; she felt the need to explain to me how to alphabetize the applications; she insisted I rip up stacks and stacks of documents by hand (the office had a paper shredder)… but the highlight of my time there was the day she requested that I organize some papers in a binder and asked me if I was “OK”  to use a three-hole punch. I nearly had an aneurysm.

_ _When I hear the phrase “idiot proof” using a hole punch and making this soup now come to mind. Even if you CAN’T figure out a hole punch (no judgment… ok, a little judgment) you can still make this dish. It’s just about the easiest thing you can whip up and make your guests swoon.

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Eeeeasy Sun Dried Tomato Pesto

“Great sorrow or great joy should bring intense hunger–not abstinence from food, as our novelists will have it.”
-Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, The Poison Belt

French Bread Crostini with Sun Dried Tomato Pesto

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_ _When you’re waiting for your dinner in a restaurant, I don’t think there’s anyone out there that doesn’t get just a little excited when you see your waiter finally heading towards you with an armful of plates. I never realized however, until my boyfriend pointed it out, that I actually start wiggling in my seat… I quite literally do a “happy dance” when I know I’m close to being fed. Get. In. My. Belly. Now that I’m aware of my actions, I try to control myself in public and I know Nick appreciates that (ok, Fun Police). When I’m making food at home, this dance doesn’t usually make an appearance but tonight was an exception—I took one bite of this and felt my shoulders starting to move…

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Bacon Makes Everything Better

“I would recommend examination of the bacon in the saucepan on the fire, and also of the potatoes by the application of a fork. Preparation of the greens will further become necessary if you persist in this unseemly demeanour.”
-Charles Dickens, Our Mutual Friend

Spinach Salad with Bacon Vinaigrette

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_ _ I think everyone feels just a little smug when they order a salad for dinner– maybe you’re like me and even raise your voice slightly as you hand the menu back to the server so you know the rest of the table hears you… That’s right, WATCH me be healthier than all of you. This sense of superiority only lasts however, if you can suppress your inner monologue reminding you “…yeah, except that you actually got the iceberg, smothered in bleu cheese and fried chicken… idiot.” Shut up brain.

_ _ Well, this salad is the perfect combination of healthy ingredients and indulgence so that you can feel good about eating it and not be stuck craving more flavor. If you eat it and still binge on a dozen peanut butter cookies, it won’t be because you’re still hungry… it’ll be because you have a problem. Like me.

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Spiced-Sweet Pecans

“There were great, round, pot-bellied baskets of chestnuts, shaped like the waistcoats of jolly old gentlemen, lolling at the doors, and tumbling out into the street in their apoplectic opulence.”
Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol

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_ _ Yes, I initially made these to put in my salad, but I found myself being gravitationally pulled back to the kitchen over and over for handfuls of them. They’re like Pringles (“once you pop, you just can’t stop”?) except that you can’t use them to make those hilaaaarious duck lips… The best part is that the recipe is so easily adjustable to your taste– you can add more or less spice as you like, but if you do plan to use them like I did in the bacon vinaigrette salad, a little extra heat gives the salad complexity and is nicely cut with the blue cheese… Check me out, acting like I know what I’m talking about.

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Not A Playa, I Just Crush A Lot… Valentine’s Dinner!

” . . . fan the sinking flame of hilarity with the wing of friendship; and pass the rosy wine.”
Charles Dickens, The Old Curiosity Shop

Roasted Asparagus & Tomatoes with Eggplant Parm “Lasagna”

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_ _I’ve never really bought in to the craziness of Valentine’s Day… probably in part because until a couple of years ago I had never had a steady boyfriend to spend it with and I sounded like less of a bitter sadsack if I could act nonchalant about it all– tell people I just didn’t believe in lining the pockets of CEOs at Hallmark. I was taking a political and socially responsible stand!

_ _Well, February this year finds my boyfriend away training in Louisiana. As I sat thinking about how all weekend at work I’m going to have to serve food to annoying, glassy-eyed couples as they pet each other across the table, I decided that in order to have an excuse to make fancy food, drink (too much) wine, and eat my body weight in desserts, I would invite my friend Ana to visit me. I didn’t intend to make it a vegetarian meal; I honestly picked these particular dishes because I figured they would be light enough that I could clean my plate and still have room for approximately 2,000 cheesecake-stuffed chocolate strawberries. Finally, the perfect V-day celebration: a good meal, alcohol and slasher films… Ahh true romance.

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Cheesecake Strawberries… Yup

“I worked like a horse and I ate like a hog and I slept like a dead man.”
Rudyard Kipling, Captains Courageous


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There’s nothing to say. Just look, drool, make… repeat.

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