Buttery, cheesy drop biscuits

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I don’t think life gets any better than this. One of my greatest pleasures in life is an early-bird lunch at Red Lobster with my adorable Grandma. It’s been a tradition of ours ever since I can remember. We’d drive up to her house in the Amana Colonies, arriving around 10 am. By 11:15, she was ready to go, and after a quick 25 minute drive to Coralville near Iowa City, we were among the first to arrive just before noon. When I was a kid, I wasn’t a big fan of seafood. I remember always ordering flounder and feeling incredibly adventurous if one of my family members could coerce me into trying a bite of their shrimp or scampi or lobster. I usually obliged, but was always content to eat my flounder with fries, and of course as many Cheddar Bay biscuits as I could get my hands on. My love for these little balls of dough, cheese and herbs was apparently so well known that to this day, my Grandma always asks for extra biscuits right off the bat to satisfy my cravings. Now that I only get to make this trip about once a year, if I’m lucky, it makes the moment even more special (and satisfying!). So imagine my sheer happiness when, last week, completely randomly, I came across the world’s easiest recipe, promising to replicate those famous biscuits to the T. Continue reading

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Simple parmesan-roasted cauliflower

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So, I guess one of my “unofficial” New Year’s resolutions is to eat more fruits and vegetables. I’m usually OK as far as veggies go, but I have a hard time forcing myself to eat fruit when I buy it. So, I bought myself a brand new blender, and I’ve decided to stop eating toast in the mornings, and start drinking smoothies. So far banana and peanut butter is my favorite, with pear, coconut and cashew coming in a close second. For the vegetables, I always have a fridge full of them, but some nights when I get home from work at 7:30, I just can’t bring myself to actually chop/cook/eat them, and prefer making a quick pasta dish instead. So my new plan is to spend my Sunday afternoon prepping my vegetables so they’re ready to go for the week, no excuses! Continue reading

Brussel’s sprouts and zucchini gratin with Comté and bacon

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Vegetables have probably never been so rich and satisfying. I took the year’s first Brussel’s sprouts, combined them with a nutty brown butter béchamel sauce, crumbled bacon and grated cheese and threw them in the oven. They were so good that we ate half the pan as a main dish and finished off the rest as a side the next day. The veggies keep just a tiny bit of their bitterness, which is quickly overpowered by the creamy goodness that is béchamel. You could throw whatever you have lying around in this gratin, I’m pretty sure you can’t go wrong! Continue reading

Classic gougères (cheese puffs)

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Pâte à choux is one of my all-time favorite things to make. It’s one of those recipes that seems daunting but isn’t. At several points during the process you’ll probably think you ruined them. You didn’t. Have faith in the process, and have fun! Pâte à choux is not only a crowd pleaser but it’s also one of those easy things that people will think you slaved over. It’s delicious without being overwhelming, it’s light enough that you can eat several without feeling too guilty and I think they’re a blast to make. This is a very classic savory take, as opposed to a cream puff, where shredded cheese is incorporated directly into the dough giving the entire puff a subtle flavor. Continue reading

Brie grilled cheese with thyme and vanilla bean-infused sea salt

I am enjoying a much-needed and well-deserved rainy day all alone at home. I am catching up on my internet television, playing video games, surfing the web and meticulously planning my upcoming New Year’s Eve meal game plan. I think it’s gonna be pretty awesome, but I suppose you’ll hear about that later.

While I love a little alone time every once in awhile (a girl needs time to indulge in guilty pleasures and to lounge in her pajamas without showering for most of the day…), one thing that isn’t always simple is decided what to cook, for one. I am a huge fan of making dishes in bulk, leaving enough leftovers to feed us both for at least another day or two. Plus, most dishes, especially winter stews and soups, are usually better the next day. But when I’m all alone, I often find myself feeling lazy, reverting to quick and easy standards like bacon and eggs, or pasta and whatever I find in the fridge. Today, I wasn’t feeling overly-ambitious, but I did want something that I could be excited about eating. A quick look in the fridge and my mind was made up: brie grilled cheese on seven-grain bread.

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