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

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

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

Asparagus with Butter, Lemon, and Chives

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Nothing says spring like asparagus. Pasta primavera, tender spears wrapped in prosciutto and oven-roasted, asparagus served with eggs Benedict for a Mother’s Day brunch…yes. Asparagus is the first taste of spring.

I didn’t realize it until I worked with the Idaho Department of Agriculture on an ad last month, but asparagus grows like a weed here in Idaho. Old-timers can remember picking it from where it grew in irrigation ditches alongside the highway, cutting big bundles of the stuff and then eating their fill.

Today, it doesn’t grow wild so much, but it does grow well in southern Idaho. 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