Pan-Braised Meatballs with Spring Onions + Parm (Toddler Friendly!)

First, a tremendous thank you for the comments, messages, virtual hugs and social media shares in light of my last entry. Shortly after pressing publish, I asked Chris how he felt about the post, and he pushed back with “how do you feel after writing it?” To which I offered, “Better.” So. Thank you for listening, for allowing this spot to be about more than just side hustle and SPAM. For indulging me. If I could hug and squeeze every one of you, I would. But as I cannot, I’ll offer up this — the coziest, most comforting gift I can share via the internet: meatballs. I’ve talked before about the beckoning allure of meatballs — how they’ll call to me from one of the glossy covers at the checkstand and suddenly my carefully strategized meal plan is abandoned on the spot. (Kidding. I don’t meal plan.) Even in the current phase of my life, where I’m actively seeking more sustenance from plants than animals, the solitary promise of a saucy, perfectly braised meatball is an easy reminder that moderation will always remain the name of the game around here. Meatballs for breakfast, lunch and dinner? A lovely idea, but … Read More

Slow-Cooker Pumpkin Curry Beef Stew

Slow-Cooker Pumpkin Curry Beef Stew recipe (via thepigandquill.com)

If you have any penchant for food blogs at all, you know Cynthia. She’s the quiet, quasi-anonymous beauty behind Two Red Bowls. The kind of writer who uses just enough big words to make you feel a little shy about your own prose while keeping everything warm and casual and best-friendy. A food-styling sensation. And creator of such culinary masterpieces as these beautifully storied umami-bombed noodles; these temptingly grabbable (steamed) buns; and this nostalgic Korean stew that is topped with not one but three of my favorite post-war convenience foods: spam, hotdogs and American cheese. (I die.) If you’ve been reading along in this space for a bit, you might remember when Cynthia popped in with bacony tomato soup and sammies (the bacon being in both the soup AND the sammies, because we are clearly of the same mind) when Chris and I first welcomed Lana. And if you happen to know Cynthia as a fellow blogger, you know she is famous for leaving the best comments ever — friendly and personal and anecdotal and sweet. In short: she is one magnificent gal, oozing with talent and charm and irresistible appeal and completely humble despite it all. And now she’s a momma! To a … Read More

Chiles en Nogada — a Whole Foods & Cook Taste Eat Contest

**Update: the Cook Taste Eat recipe competition is now closed. Thanks to all who voted! ** Remember in college, when that Facebook thing came along and it asked you about your favorite movies? Your favorite quotes? Your favorite books? And you had a mild panic attack over whether or not it would be social suicide to list Harold & Kumar alongside When Harry Met Sally, so you threw in Memento for good measure? Yeah, me neither. I’ve never been awesome with the whole favorites thing. There’s too much pressure. You can so easily go too Indie. Too hipster. Too run-of-the-mill ordinary and be thoroughly judged for the rest of your online existence. Yeah, I liked the Dixie Chicks. Powerful women singing about Tennessee ham and sweet, sweet justice? Who wouldn’t. And yet, there are a few faves of mine that are absolute mainstays. I will unwaveringly proclaim them my bread and butter for all the days of my gluttonous life. One is Like Water for Chocolate. The book, of course, although I didn’t hate the film. Maybe it resonated with you, maybe it didn’t. I personally have a soft spot for magical realism, so when it’s coupled with Laura Esquivel’s sensual food-as-love … Read More

Thai Beef Broccoli with Basil & Rice Noodles

Oh, the wok puns I could use here, but I won’t. Consider it an exercise in self-control. Make that great self control. It’s just so tempting. Let’s start over. How much do you love Asian food? I’m seriously all about it, like in a totally high school “no you hang up” kind of way. Maybe it has something to do with my upbringing, where Four Season Crab and Hamburger Helper both held their own on the dining room table. (I still love boxed ground meat kits.) Maybe it has to do with the fact that, more often than not, Asian food is straight-up cheap, tasty eats. Sure, I’ll take an 11 lb bowl of noodles for $6. Why not. But really, I think it has to do with something much more visceral than both of those items. Yep, what I’m talking about trumps even nostalgia. And that something? Salt. Glorious salt! Soy sauce, fish sauce, tamari. Ohhhhhh, salt. Both balanced and highlighted by sweet, spicy and and sour tastes, Asian-salty is complex, aromatic and completely addictive. There’s a reason it’s pronounced OOH-MAMI, you know. Because it’s run-to-your-mother-good. That’s right. Run. To. Your. Mother. Or, should I say Wok? Crap, I’m sorry, I … Read More