Brown Soda Bread

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Ireland is not a country known for its food, which is remarkably unfair. I was reading a novel a few weeks ago in which a man casually mentioned that his father was Italian and his mother was Irish — and thank God his father did the cooking.

(It was not a great book, overall. But I digress.)

Maybe it’s because it’s perceived as boring. People think Ireland and they think potatoes, corned beef, cabbage, and Bailey’s. Or they think England, which to many Americans means bland food with names like “Spotted Dick” and “mushy peas.”

The reality is a little more complex. Ireland, at least contemporary Ireland, has amazing salmon, lamb, and mollusks. I didn’t eat corned beef once while I was there. And when you’re in an Irish port city, it’s easy to see European influence (Spanish, French, a little Italian) on the cuisine as well.

But my favorite thing was the soda bread, a quintessentially Irish staple. Continue reading

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Lemon-Blueberry Frozen Yogurt

DSC_0052I was going to post something about bread baking today. Then, I realized that if it’s 90 degrees here, it’s probably in the hundreds where most of you are, and none of you want to turn on your ovens.

I don’t blame you. We’re having the kind of weather that makes me anxious about the future, the kind of weather that makes me feel sorry for the dog and her thick double coat, the kind where we have to shut all the windows and close all of the blinds during the day and fling them open at night, desperate for a breeze.

Sure, you can make ice cream. But my favorite recipes involve making a custard on the stove, and who wants to stand over a stove stirring things in this weather? Precisely no one. Continue reading

Why the ads came down

Stella knows a good thing when she smells it.

Any excuse to use my dog in a food photo. Again. But no one loves food more than she does.

A friend and I were discussing food a few weeks ago when she mentioned she was “over” a lot of food blogs. I immediately understood what she meant; it’s become harder and harder to find ones that don’t get on my nerves after a few months.

Full-time blogging is becoming a viable career, and bloggers are becoming more and more focused on “branding” and posts that come off as press releases. I had a full-on unsubscribe fest last week when a blogger I follow made up too many words (“Yumm-o!”) in a post that was also sponsored by a major corporation.

Food bloggers started as people who were passionate about food and wanted to share their best recipes. Most had day jobs, and they weren’t trying to make money with their websites. Reading those blogs felt like a friend had invited you to dinner, or had passed along a recipe to help you impress that guy or to get through a hard time. Olga from Sassy Radish, Deb at Smitten Kitchen and Molly from Orangette unwittingly impacted my life in major ways through their food writing, because it was so honest and personal. They write from the heart. Continue reading

Chocolate Peanut Butter Freezer Fudge

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I try to be healthy. I really do. But sometimes, you have a day that begs for chocolate peanut butter fudge, and you just have to go with it.

And why not, when it’s as delicious and easy as this is? No oil, no dairy, only a minor little bit of sugar from the dark chocolate chips. It’s vegan, gluten-free, and even (mostly) Paleo, if you use another nut butter instead of the peanut butter (hazelnut, maybe). Continue reading

Asian Coleslaw

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My husband recently bought a new grill/smoker hybrid thing called the Pit Barrel Cooker. The good news is, it makes the best ribs and tri-tip I’ve ever had in my whole life. The bad news is, now I need to come up with enough sides that go with barbecue to keep us from getting bored.

I did make Deb Perelman’s latest pasta salad recipe, and it was incredible, pairing well with plain chicken. But what makes pork ribs so good — the rich, fat-covered meat — also makes them hard to pair with anything involving a starch. Or mayonnaise. Or pretty much any traditional barbecue sides.

So I went on the hunt, and accidentally came up with this amazing Asian slaw recipe that is light enough to go with anything. but soooo flavorful. And, since it actually doesn’t include soy sauce, it’s one of those rare Asian-inspired dishes suitable for people with soy and wheat issues.  Continue reading

Flourless Chocolate Cake

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I had this photo on my phone of a flourless chocolate cake that was haunting me. I knew I’d made it sometime last spring, shortly after the huge annual fundraiser at my last job. But I could not find the recipe for the life of me.

The picture wasn’t even good — the color was off, and it was blurry because I had just gotten my phone and was still figuring out how to work the camera. The cake itself looked great, though, rich and dark and maybe just a little gooey. The only problem was that I had no idea where I had gotten the recipe.

Continue reading

Greek Summer Salad

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Vegetables can be a struggle for me. I know, I run a healthy food blog — coming up with creative ways to use veggies and seasonal produce should be second nature to me, right?

Wrong. The vegetables we actually eat in my house are pretty repetitive. Brussels sprouts, sometimes with bacon. Kale. A salad. Sometimes chard, if my garden is going gangbusters. Zucchini on the grill, if my husband feels like taking that on. Asparagus.

I got sick of salads the other day and needed to find something new. A quick flip through my Gourmet cookbook was disappointing. Really? No vegetables section? But a more detailed look revealed that a lot of the “Salad” recipes were not just lettuce at all, but a variety of vegetables thrown in a bowl with dressing, which was exactly what I was looking for.  Continue reading