Monday, October 24, 2011

Fancy Hasselback Potatoes

Elegant. Fancy. Downright classy.

No, I'm not describing the Real Housewives of New Jersey.

What's with all of these horrible Jersey shows anyway? I lived there for the first 18 years of my life and never met people who looked or acted like any of those broads! (For the record, I shamelessly DVR RHONJ each week.) Okay, and Jerseylicious too. Ahem.

By now you may have guessed that I was describing Hasselback Potatoes. These hot little numbers fulfill the potato's role as a reliable side dish, but also add a little panache to your plate. They're crispy on the outside, soft on the inside, and full of flavor.

But don't thank me for this one. Thank the Swedes instead! Apparently this is an old Swedish recipe — their version of the baked potato. Leave it to the Swedes to gussy up a starch.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

On Apples

Without a doubt, October is my favorite month of the year. I love the smells, tastes, sights, weather, activities, clothes, and colors. And the apples. Apples, apples, apples.

Since I moved to Philly 6+ years ago, I've wanted to go apple picking at a cute little farm called Linvilla. They have pick-your-own all summer long — and I always manage to wait until prime apple picking season is over to decide that I want to go. Sad trombone.

This year, I was finally on the ball. And the stars aligned with perfect weather the first weekend of October — apple picking weather if I've ever seen it! Here's a few pictures from our adventure.

Isaac Newton? No. Just Brad. With a beard. But I think he was having a moment with the apples. Spiritual, I tell you.

Action shot. We picked mostly Stayman-Winesap apples. Coincidentally, this breed of apple originated in Kansas, just like my husband. Stayman-Winesaps are crisp and have a coarse texture and a spicy, wine-like taste. They keep well in the fridge and are great for eating fresh and for baking with. Okay, I'm done now with the history lesson now.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Slightly Sweet Cornbread

In my last post I promised you a cornbread recipe. I know — the suspense has been killing you, right? Well take a deep sign of relief because the time has come. 

Oh, and I want you to know that every time I type "cornbread", I'm actually thinking "caaawnbread." Ya'll.

I don't know about you, but I like texture in my cornbread — gimme some corn, jalapenos, bacon, whatever! This is a simple, sweet cornbread recipe that you can add mix-ins to as desired — I made it with spicy ribs, so I kept it simple. And delicious (duh).

Monday, October 3, 2011

Dr. Pepper Ribs

In an effort to send my husband into age 32 with a smile on his face and a happy belly, I made him a "birthday feast" last night (this is just what I like to call it — I thought it sounded more fun than "birthday dinner"). I try to mix it up from year to year, even though I'm pretty sure that he wouldn't complain if I made him a rib-eye and mashed potatoes each birthday. A simple man, Brad is. I, however, am less simple — typical. So for this year's feast I wanted to try something different.

At about the same time that I was looking for inspiration, I came across a recipe for Dr. Pepper Ribs on a blog called Homesick Texan. Never having made ribs before, I said "yes please!" and decided to go for it, adapting my recipe from HT's.

As always, I'm a firm believer in starting with high-quality, fresh, and local (when possible) ingredients. I buy most of my non-poultry meat at Martin's in the Reading Terminal Market — great prices, knowledgeable butchers, and I have never once been disappointed with a purchase!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Lowfat Baked Potato Soup

Fall has arrived, friends! And in its honor, I decided to start making some of the seasonal recipes that I've been printing and stacking. Excitement! For some reason Because I would be insane to heat up the house with my oven with any frequency in the summertime, I tend to eat very simply when it's warm out. Lots of fresh protein and veggies, often cooked outside on the roofdeck grill — which means not too much in the way of recipe experimentation.

But I'm back, baby. The windows are open and I can preheat the oven without sweating. Definitely a big part of why it's my favorite time of year.

Taking my wifely duties very seriously (ha!) I wanted to experiment with potato soup, which my husband loves. His mom, who is truly a champ at making delicious hot lunches, makes a potato soup that he loves. So I decided to work towards making one myself, and hopefully one that was low in fat — read: guilt-free!

This soup is also very economical, with potatoes running at around $0.69/pound. Throw in some aromatics, bacon slices, milk, and toppings, and you have yourself a hearty lunch or dinner that pairs great with a nice field greens salad with some kind of vinaigrette (I whisked together a fresh balsamic dressing).

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