One of my favorite things about holiday baking is bringing out my cookie cutter collection.
When I moved into my loft with practically zero storage, I had to do some serious kitchen downsizing. Just about anything that was not multi-functional and/or used within the past 6 months got the boot. It was kind of sad for a food blogger, but simplifying still always feels so good. One of the few practical exceptions I made was for my massive cookie cutter collection. It takes up way too much space in my tiny pantry, and I admittedly mostly only use it at Christmastime. But whenever the occasion arises, it makes me so happy to go digging through the set on a scavenger hunt for that “perfect” cookie cutter.
One of my favorite places in my neighborhood market is this fantastic Middle Eastern market, always overflowing with fresh pita bread and naan, endless $1 spices by the scoop, and all of the nuts, grains, and everything Middle Eastern you could dream of. But more than anything, I love the great guys who run the place. And now that I live across the street, we get to see each other wonderfully often.
So yesterday when I walked over to pick up a few scoops of lentils, they of course asked what was on the menu. As soon as I mentioned “salmon”, their elderly mother who was sitting behind the counter immediately started talking a million miles an hour in her native language. Her son translated, “She says you must cook salmon and lentils this way — cumin, coriander, cilantro, salt, pepper and a nice bit of lemon juice. It is the best way. You will love it.”
This past week while standing around on a photo shoot, my coworkers and I noticed that our conversations somehow kept circling back to food (as often seems to happen!). I was getting ready to go grocery shopping that night, so asked if anyone had any blog-worthy chicken recipes to recommend. My friend, Jen, immediately lit up and told us about this hummus-crusted chicken recipe she had recently tried and loved.
Since I’m on such an apple cider kick this fall, thought I would end this week of apple recipes with a fun presentation idea….apple cups!
These are really much simpler than they look, and are such a charming way to enjoy your favorite apple cider! The only requirements are some apples, a paring knife, and a spoon. (Although if you have a melon baller, it’ll make the scooping slightly easier!)
So for a happy hour with some friends at my place last week, I decided to put some fresh fruit to use and make some yummy pitchers of sangria for everyone to enjoy on the deck! Unfortunately, though, our crazy Midwest weather kicked the temperature over the 100 degree mark that day. So we ended up enjoying a lovely evening together…in the air-conditioning. :-)
Pretty sure fresh, delicious, gorgeous artichokes were on sale at our local grocery store last week for $0.99. Um…YUM. Definitely a deal I couldn’t pass up. :)
But rather than going with my usual steamed artichoke and buttery dipping sauce combo, decided to try stuffing an artichoke for the first time! I imagined it would be pretty time consuming and challenging, but it was super easy!! And don’t be fooled by the long recipe instructions – stuffing the artichoke was also super speedy.
As much as I love making homemade cookies entirely from scratch (which is what I do about 95% of the time), on occasion I still seriously enjoy a good cake-mix cookie. I know…judge away… :) But hey – they’re simple, wonderfully fluffy, and can be mixed up in just three minutes. Definitely a nice back-up dessert, especially when you’re short on time!
Finally!! My first soup post on the blog! It’s incredibly ironic that I hadn’t yet posted a recipe for this category, because (and any roommate I’ve ever had will confirm this) I’m a huge fan of soup!! Hot soups, cold soups, stews, broths – you name it, you can count on the fact that it’s often on the menu at my place year-round. For so many reasons, it’s one of my favorite meals to make!
But to honor the fact that is is still August, and cantaloupes were on sale this week for $0.99 each, thought I’d kick off this section with a delicious chilled soup. While often some cold fruity soups just taste like a smoothie in a bowl, I love that this one has the added kick of ginger and lemon. The flavor is still quite mild, though, which makes this a perfect appetizer or side to go along with something perhaps a little more savory. Or, if you’re just ready for a fruity lunch or dinner, enjoy this as the main course!