Easy Bolognese

20160617_190950The weather has not been very summer-like this week, rainy, windy and 65 degrees. This is hardly a surprise, as almost exactly two years ago, just a few short days before our wedding, my then-fiance and I woke up to a gentle dusting of snow in our backyard (and promptly freaked out).

So, we’ve found ourselves back in hibernation mode, craving things with tons of meat and carbs and basically anything not involving vegetables or a salad. There was boxed macaroni and cheese the other night. I know.  Continue reading

Kil’t Kale

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I don’t want to suggest that the only way to eat kale is when it’s smothered in bacon grease and bourbon. But I think it probably is the best way.

This is a recipe originally available from Garden and Gun (online here), passed on to me by a coworker who, like me, was sick of kale salad after kale salad. Again, not that there is really anything wrong with kale salad, but every once in a while, you want something a little more tender, more meaty, something easier to convince your loved ones to eat.

The foundation of the dish is something called “bacon jam,” a concoction of bourbon, bacon, bacon grease, vinegar, and a little bit of sugar. Once you’ve got that mixture, you toss in your chopped kale and wait for it to wilt. It practically melts into the bacon jam, leaving you with an amazing sweet/sour/bitter combination. Remember how I said that all flavor is a combination of fat, salt and acid? This is a perfect example of a good balance among the three. Continue reading

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

Bison Bacon Burgers

paleo gluten-free bison bacon burger oh manBear with me. I promise, you want to make these, you just might not know it yet. Bison is maybe a little unusual for people who are not living in rural areas where people regularly shoot and kill and eat everything from snow geese to antelope.

That’s not to say that there are actually wandering bison where I am, but when you live in a place where people regularly throw game dinners and eat moose, elk, venison and doves, you get to be more open-minded. The standard beef, pork and chicken triumvirate is demolished. Continue reading

Mint Cookies and Cream Ice Cream

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You guys, I promise to stop with the less-than-healthy stuff shortly. But how could I not share this ice cream recipe with you? It’s decadent, sure, but it’s also amazing, gluten-free and probably better for you than the equivalent ice cream that you were going to purchase at the store anyway. At least when you make your own mint chocolate cookie ice cream, you can use super-ethically raised eggs and cream and leave out the additives, right? Right?

Plus, it’s summer. People are hiking, biking to work, all of that jazz. Surely you’ve earned a little ice cream, right? Continue reading

Small things and asparagus pizza


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I was listening to NPR the other day when a familiar voice came on. It was the voice of Melissa Arnot, one of the most amazing mountain climbers in the world. She was speaking with Robin Young from a satellite phone at the base of Everest, preparing to summit yet again. She’s already hit the top several times, but now she’s attempting to be the only American woman ever to do it without supplemental oxygen and without the help of a team of sherpas assisting her with gear. She’s doing this in part to raise awareness of the dangerous conditions sherpas endure on a daily basis and to raise money for the families of six sherpas who died in an avalanche last year. Continue reading

White Bean and Ham Soup

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March and April are apparently “the hunger season,” when most of the cold storage crops are gone and nothing fresh has come out of the ground yet. It’s also the period in my life when I generally start feeling gloomy and sad, wanting it to either snow and be pretty again like December, or warm up and get sunny like spring and summer are supposed to be.

Really the only thing for this uncomfortable time is to make soup. Soup can make you forget how gross and gloomy it is outside, help you feel better about curling up inside with a book, and make you so happy to be using up the beans stored in your pantry that you almost forget how angry you are to not be wearing your favorite new spring flats. Continue reading