12.12.2017

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Hey island friends – I am doing two special holiday events and I’d love for you to stop by and buy some books (I’ll sign ’em all)! Thursday night I’ll be hanging at the local bookstore with my friend and fellow cookbook author Susie Middleton and next week I’ll be hanging at Morrice Florist for the day with another pal, local jewelry maker Nettie Kent. All the details are below! I hope to see you there.

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Thursday December 14th – Bunch of Grapes Bookstore, Vineyard Haven – 6:00 to 7:00 (evening shopping!)

Thursday December 21st – Morrice Florist, Vineyard Haven – 10:00 to 2:00 (daytime shopping!) 

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12.06.2017

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Hey there – I got you a present! You can win $75 to spend however you’d like on my new favorite thing – a Gathre bonded leather mat. Head over to this instagram post to enter and win.

Gathre makes a huge variety of beautiful, multi-purpose leather bonded mats in a range of sizes (tablecloth, maxi square, maxi circle, midi, mini, micro) and prints (york branches, buffalo check, starlight , solids) that can be used in a million different ways from the beach and park to under a highchair, for baby changing, picnicking, crafting, practicing yoga, on a playroom floor, as a tabletop placemat, or a full size tablecloth. Here is a helpful gallery of images that show the many ways to use a Gathre mat.

We have a tablecloth sized buffalo check mat and I love the mat’s texture (smooth on the top and soft suede on the underside) and the fact that you can just wipe them down with warm water and gentle soap after using. We pulled out our mat on Sunday to use as a gingerbread cookie making surface. The mat held up perfectly under the flour, dough, rolling, stamping, and general mess. I just ran a damp cloth over it and packed it up when we finished.

Head over now and enter – I hope you win!

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Gingerbread Cookies

Makes a couple dozen depending on your cookie cutter size

 

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

3/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/4 cup coconut oil, melted

1/2 cup light brown sugar

2/3 cup molasses

1 egg

 

1. Preheat the oven to 350F.

2. Whisk together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, cloves, and salt in a mixing bowl.

3. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, cream the butter, coconut oil, and brown sugar together. Pour in the molasses and egg and beat until fluffy, about 2 minutes.

4. Add the dry ingredients into the sugar-butter mixture and mix to combine. Turn the dough out on a work surface and form into a ball. Divide the ball in half then shape each half into a disc. Wrap the discs in plastic and place them in the fridge to cool.

5. Once dough has cooled down (about 30 minutes in the fridge or 15 minutes in the freezer), flour a work surface and roll the dough out to 1/4-inch thick. Stamp the dough with cookie cutters and bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes.

6. Let the gingerbread cookies cool on the baking sheet then store cookies in a lidded box or jar on the counter for up to 4 days.

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12.04.2017

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My latest food column for Martha’s Vineyard Magazine is here and it has my new favorite slow cooker dinner recipe inside. Here is a bit of it…

“Have you ever had a slow-cooker fantasy? You know the one, where you imagine walking into your house after a long day at work, push open the door, and are immediately hit by the smell of a homemade meal simmering away? Maybe it’s beef stew, a vegetable curry, pulled pork, or butternut squash soup? Me, too, and I don’t think we’re alone. There is something magical about a nutritious, affordable, warm, home-cooked dinner ready and waiting for you. Even if you did all the dinner planning, preparation, and filled that slow cooker mere hours before, the reality that dinner cooked itself is never anything less than extraordinary…”

Click here to read more of the story from Martha’s Vineyard Magazine – Slow & Steady and get the recipe for Slow-Cooker Moroccan Chicken Thighs with Sweet Potato.

This recipe really is a winner – it looks like it took blood, sweat, and tears, but your slow-cooker secret is safe with me. Another benefit, Slow-Cooker Moroccan Chicken Thighs with Sweet Potato tastes exotic but calls for a short list of easy-to-find ingredients. I like to serve it over couscous, though any grain or vegetable makes a suitable bed. Don’t skip the toppings – the fresh cilantro, squirt of bright lemon, and crunchy almonds make a big difference.

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11.29.2017

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I woke up Monday morning determined to eat well this week. After last week’s Thanksgiving escapades (creamed spinach 4-life!!) and extended road trip diet (which consisted of mostly bagels and coffee) I needed a restart. One strategic move that always works to improve my vegetable intake is preparing a handful of favorite dressings, all unique and packed with flavor, to have on hand. These three little jars are my ticket out of this carb jungle.

Each dressing can be made quickly and easily  by simply combining the ingredients in a lidded jar and shaking vigorously. Below are the recipes for Lemon-Tahini Dressing, Carrot-Ginger-Miso Sauce, and Mustard Vinaigrette. I love the Lemon-Tahini number over quinoa and roasted root vegetables. The Carrot-Ginger-Miso is especially good mixed into a stir-fry or tossed with dark leafy greens. The vinaigrette is good on lentils and simple salads.

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My 3 Favorite Dressings:

Lemon-Tahini Dressing:

1/4 cup tahini

1 lemon, juiced

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 garlic clove, minced

1/4 teaspoon salt

2-3 tablespoons hot water

Simply combine everything in a lidded jar and shake, shake, shake. Tahini-Lemon Dressing can be stored on the counter for a week.

 

Carrot-Ginger-Miso Sauce:

1/2 cup miso paste, white or red

1/4 cup canola oil

1 cup shredded carrot

2 tablespoons fresh ginger, minced

2 tablespoons rice vinegar

1 tablespoon sesame seeds

2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil

1 tablespoon honey

1/4 cup water

Simply combine everything in a lidded jar and shake, shake, shake. Carrot-Ginger-Miso Dressing can be stored in the fridge for a few weeks.

 

Mustard Vinaigrette:

2/3 cup olive oil

1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar

1/2 a lemon, juiced

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 garlic clove, halved

Pinch dried or fresh herbs – dill, thyme, cilantro, and oregano are my favorites.

Simply combine everything in a lidded jar and shake, shake, shake. Mustard Vinaigrette can be stored on the counter for a week.

 

DON’T FORGET! You get 20% copies of Feeding a Family using code FAF20 at this link. Give the gift of food and family this holiday!

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11.21.2017

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It’s already (late!) November and I feel like we’re just beginning to find our fall rhythm. The first month back to school was fairly easy and cheerful (the amazing September weather and long afternoon light is mostly to thank) but now it’s hit me – fall, for better or worse, is here. I just walked downstairs from attempting to store all the boys’ summer shorts away but realized pretty quickly that Dylan is going to have a problem with that. He still prefers to wear shorts, even when the high is in the low 50s or upper 40s. Thanksgiving is my deadline – no shorts after turkey day.

The food we’re cooking and eating reflects this seasonal, albeit slow, shift as well. Last week I made a truly successful Sunday dinner – the kind of meal that is easy but satisfying, special but familiar enough to please everyone. The menu was Barilla® Collezione Orecchiette with Red Onions, Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Balsamic Vinegar & Basil, a big salad, and Whole-Wheat Almond-Butter Sandwich Cookies for dessert. If you’re really hungry, a platter of grilled steak, loaf of garlic bread, or pan of roasted winter squash would be a nice accompaniment. As a matter of fact, I am planning on making this Sunday dinner again soon, with a few of these additions because when I find a new-to-us meal that works I always come back to it.

This post is In Partnership with Martha Stewart Living, Barilla® Collezione and Reynolds Kitchens™

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Barilla® Collezione Orecchiette with Red Onions, Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Balsamic Vinegar & Basil

Serves 6

I really love the surprising addition of balsamic vinegar here and although the simplicity of red onion, sun-dried tomatoes, and basil is perfect, many other things like roasted winter squash, mushrooms, wilted spinach, ground sausage or pancetta would be delicious tossed into the pasta as well. I chose the orecchiette pasta shape because its smooth inside and grooved outside perfectly grips the vegetable heavy sauce. We all loved the texture of the pasta too.

1 12-ounce box Barilla® Collezione Orecchiette

1 red onion, peeled and sliced thin

Olive oil

8 ½-ounces sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, roughly chopped

3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 handfuls of basil, torn

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  1. Bring 4-6 quarts of water to a boil. Add salt to taste. Add pasta to boiling water. Boil for 12 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  1. While the pasta boils, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and slowly fry the onion in a couple of glugs of olive oil for 5 minutes, until soft and tender. Stir in the chopped sun-dried tomatoes and vinegar.
  1. When the pasta is tender, drain and add the orecchiette to the skillet. Season skillet with salt and black pepper and toss in the torn basil.
  1. Serve Barilla® Collezione Orecchiette with Red Onions, Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Balsamic Vinegar & Basil warm with Parmesan cheese, if you’d like.

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Whole-Wheat Almond-Butter Sandwich Cookies

From A New Way to Bake: Classic Recipes Updated with Better-for-You Ingredients from the Modern Pantry

Makes 30 Sandwiches

Made with almond butter and toasted almonds, these cookies, which rely completely on whole-wheat pastry flour, are a scrumptious riff on the beloved peanut-butter sandwich cookie. The delightfully crisp almond cookies are also tasty all on their own.

1 ¼ cups whole-wheat pastry flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

¾ teaspoon coarse salt

1 stick (½ cup) unsalted butter, room temperature

½ cup smooth natural unsalted almond butter, well stirred

1 cup packed light brown sugar

1 large egg

1 cup sliced almonds, toasted and finely chopped

¼ cup honey

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Reynolds Kitchens™ Parchment Paper with SmartGrid®

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  1. In a bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt. In another bowl, with an electric mixer, beat butter on medium-high, 1 minute. Add almond butter, and beat until smooth. Beat in brown sugar, then egg, until well mixed. With mixer on low, gradually add flour mixture until just combined. Stir in almonds.
  1. Form dough into a log roughly 11 inches long and 1 ¾ inches in diameter. Wrap in parchment, and freeze until firm, about 1 hour (or up to 3 months).
  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Using a chef’s knife, slice log into scant ¼-inch-thick rounds, using one quick motion for each slice. (For easier slicing, keep log frozen between batches of cookies.) Arrange rounds 1 ½ inches apart on baking sheets lined with Reynolds Kitchens™ Parchment Paper with SmartGrid®, pressing back into shape as needed. Reynolds Kitchens™ Parchment Paper with SmartGrid® really comes in handy here because its SmartGrid guidelines make it easier to space cookie slices. The non-stick surface made removing the baked Whole-Wheat Almond Butter Sandwich Cookies a piece of cake.
  1. Bake, rotating sheets halfway through, until cookies are light golden on edges, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer sheets to wire racks and let cookies cool completely.

5. With an electric mixer, beat cream cheese, honey, and vanilla on medium until combined. Spread 1 tablespoon each on the bottoms of half the cookies, then sandwich with remaining          cookies, pressing gently to spread filling. (Filled cookies are best the same day.)

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