A Step Up From Cafeteria Fruit Cups

I’m pretty sure martini glasses win over plastic cups every time.


What A Splendid Pie, Pizza Pizza Pie

I live in Chicago, so I can’t say conclusively that homemade pizza is always better than delivery (there is some SERIOUS pizza in this city), but it’s definitely more fun.

Melted cheese and multicolored toppings? I’m sold.

 You knew that sauce recipe was posted for a reason.

[pizza recipe coming soon…I have to type it up, and it is scribbled on my refrigerator white board]

Incidentally, this one is a pizza that J. Crew would be proud of:

Because preppy patterns are not clothing-exclusive.

Oh yes, it’s argyle :)

You No Like-a Da Sauce?

Pizza Sauce!

Or…Lasagna Sauce!

Oh hell, it’s Heavy Red Sauce. Use it on anything you like.

The Recipe:
Heavy Red Sauce

1 can (28 oz) crushed tomatoes
1 can (6 oz) tomato paste
4 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp minced garlic
1/2 tbsp basil
1/2 tbsp oregano
1 tsp marjoram
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion salt
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

Do This

In a medium-large saucepan, stir together crushed tomatoes and tomato paste. Turn the burner to medium heat, and stir the mixture occasionally until it starts to bubble.
Turn the heat down to low, and stir in olive oil, minced garlic, basil, oregano, marjoram, garlic powder (yes, more garlic…I ran out of the minced kind and felt like it just needed some more), onion salt, salt, and pepper. Continue heating the sauce (on low, so you don’t have a big saucy mess all over the stove) for about 5 more minutes.
Use as a pizza sauce, lasagna sauce, or heavy pasta sauce. Or in anything else requiring a tomato sauce. I won’t judge.

This recipe makes more than enough sauce for you to try it out on a pizza, lasagna, and pasta. It’s a basic, mild (compared to my arrabbiata sauce, that is…it’s still flavorful) tomato sauce, and it’s pretty versatile. Decide your favorite use, and tell me about it!


[photos coming soon…I put the container of sauce in the freezer and it’s very un-photogenic at the moment]

What A Beautiful Mess

This pastry isn’t pretty. In fact, I’m pretty sure it borders on “reject,” but it is so simple and so delicious that I love it anyhow.

This isn’t winning any beauty contests, but it tastes excellent.

Full disclosure: I don’t know whether to call it a tart or a pastry or what, since it lost all semblance of neatness or shape when I pulled it out of the oven. Maybe I was a little bit too impatient, and should have let it cool before scooping it onto a plate. Maybe it just didn’t want to be pretty.

The Recipe:
Red Pear and Phyllo Dough Delicious Mess
2 sheets phyllo dough
medium-sized red pear
2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp butter
dash of cinnamon

Do This
Preheat the oven to 350.
Slice the red pear to just-slightly-thicker-than-paper thickness on a mandoline. If you’re skilled enough to thin-slice the pear with a knife, do that instead (and go ahead and feel good about it because I certainly can’t!).
Place the sugar and butter in a microwave-safe bowl, and nuke for about 30 seconds or until the butter is melted. Shake in just a small dash of cinnamon, and stir together until you have a well-blended, light brown sugary paste.
Stack the two sheets of phyllo dough on top of each other, on a foil-lined baking sheet. Place pear slices along one of the short edges of the dough sheets, and layer them along the edge, two “rows” deep. Spoon the sugar-cinnamon-butter mixture on top, and fold the dough over like a soft taco. Or roll it…folding just makes it have a neat edge that will not matter once it falls apart!
Slide the baking sheet into the oven, and bake until the dough is golden-browned, approximately 10-15 minutes. It’s probably a good idea to let the pastry cool for a few minutes, but I’m too impatient to tell you whether that has any effect.
Using a spatula and a fork, move the still-warm pastry onto a plate, mangling it as much as you like (because how it tastes is important, not how it looks, right?).
Serve warm, whipped cream or ice cream optional.

I think I put cinnamon and sugar in this because the red pears look so much like apples, and I may have had apple streudel on the brain. It’s a combo I’m happy with, and the messy-apple-streudel look is totally the next trend in food styling. Eh? Eh?

Sweet Mandoline

Culinate’s newsletter today couldn’t have featured a better article for me.  Slice and Dice has inspired me to dig out one of my (almost) kitchen regrets.

I bought a mandoline a few months ago, but the instruction sheet was super vague, and I couldn’t actually figure out how the thing worked. After a completely failed attempt to make super-thin potato slices, I boxed it back up and stashed it back in the cabinet.

Lucky for me, wrangling the mandoline worked out much better this time. Turns out that when I originally took the mandoline out of the box and tried it out, I neglected to turn the little crank on the underside to open up a space between the blade and the main part of the machine…which pretty much defeats the purpose of having a blade at all. Once I figured that out, I was all set to slice!

I had a little bit of trouble turning the little wheel on the back that unlocks the blade (for switching between straight and serrated blades). Solution? Salad tongs!

Total MacGuyver move here.

My first mandoline-d food was a pretty red pear. The whole blade thing makes me a wee bit nervous, so I went really slowly, but there’s a handle/guard thinger that I’ll use for small foods or close slicing.

Gratuitous action shot.

Within seconds, I had a nice little pile of wicked thin pear slices. The mandoline works!

The fruits of my labor. Literally. You know, because pears are fruits.

Another lucky coincidence? This month’s Martha Stewart Living has a Caramel Pear Terrine recipe on page 44 (or snag it on her website, here).

And it just so happens to require mandoline-sliced pears. Which I’m pretty much a rockstar at now. Now I just have to find a charlotte mold…

I Have A Wok!

This thing is so much better than the sauté pan I’d been using. Hooray for way-necessary kitchen updates!

[photos of what I made in the wok coming soon]

Sugar, Ah, Honey Honey

Martha Stewart’s sugar cookie recipe? Works every time.

Pretty, perfect little sugar cookies.

This is one of the few recipes that someone else has created that I refuse to tweak in any way. As much as I like to make recipes “mine,” I just can’t think of a single thing that I could do to Martha’s sugar cookies that would make them any better.

Go make them, stat.