Recent(ish) meals.

Further evidence that I am in a life-long love affair with carbs.

Weekend breakfast: Trader Joe’s pumpkin pancakes/ avocado omelet


Dinner for a couple nights: Trader Joe’s frozen gnocchi with gorgonzola sauce (didn’t care for it, likely won’t buy again) bulked up with cherry tomatoes and asparagus


Homemade chili: three kinds of beans (pinto, black, kidney), can of rotel, chipotle chili powder, mushrooms, onions, bell peppers, etc. Honestly, I made this as an excuse to pile cheese and sour cream on top of it (additional batches also involved avocado and hot sauce).


Green bean casserole: made a few weeks before Thanksgiving. Just cause. Made the lazy way (Trader Joe’s condensed mushroom soup, sauteed mushrooms, frozen green beans, Trader Joe’s crispy onions, a bit of parmesan). With a chicken sausage for protein.


Ribollita: I made super unsuccessful homemade bread (measuring the ingredients for bread with measuring cups is a crapshoot- this is why I’m stoked to’ve received a digital scale for Christmas). I reappropriated the bread into homemade soup, roughly following this New York Times recipe, but instead of putting crostini on top, I cut the bread into crouton shapes, tossed it with olive oil and toasted it, then tossed it into the soup.

Also shared this soup with my friends who had the new bebe in November.


Pizza: I still had another batch of unsuccessful bread dough to which I added a lottt of water (i.e. probably too much but oh well) and revamped into pizza dough. I topped it with some weird hippie-ish toppings (homemade barbecue sauce, roasted broccoli, chopped up baked tofu, random cheddar cheese I had lying around) and baked it as hot as my oven would go (slightly burning the bottom in the process but I didn’t totally mind that honestly).


Pot pie: After Thanksgiving, I had a spare frozen pie crust, so I tried to fashion a sort of lentil-root vegetable pot pie. The filling was a bit dry and one note (I used celery root, parsnip, carrots, I think sweet potato too?) but I mean it still had pie crust on it. I ate it happily, particularly with some cheese melted on top.


Broccoli pasta: after Thanksgiving, I also had some heavy cream in my fridge (rough life, I know). I also had some broccoli. This led me to this Smitten Kitchen recipe for spaghetti with broccoli cream pesto which was BOSS.


Pretty standard: one could hardly call this cooking but my default meal these days is avocado toast+ some kind of protein+ more vegetables if I’m being good.

Thus, below, baked tofu, avocado toast, and Trader Joe’s premade salad kit (this had dried cranberries n apricots and cheese and a champagne vinaigrette).


Another leftovers triumph: On New Year’s Day, I pulled the turkey carcass from Thanksgiving out of my freezer and made homemade stock. Then I thawed some turkey meat and some cooked rice from my freezer and put that in the stock. Then I whipped up some eggs with lemon juice, tempered them with hot broth, and threw them in too.

Thus, avgolemono soup. So great. You have to put lots n lots of black pepper on top.

Here, simply served with salad.


Finally, the most exciting thing I have cooked in awhile: SPAGHETTI BOLOGNESE! (Plus massaged kale salad with lots of lemon for a brightness and bitterness and acidity foil to all the richness)


For Christmas, my auntie Jeanie gave me the compilation of all of Cook’s Illustrated recipes for 2017. I LOVE reading Cooks Illustrated articles the same way I love reading short stories. They are the OGs of nerdy food science and I always learn things.

The compilation included their “weeknight bolognese” (<< so called because it was “quicker” and “easier” than traditional recipes). I’m dubious on the weeknight bit (it took an hour and a half, required a trip to Whole Foods for pancetta and Italian-style egg noodles, and trashed my entire kitchen).

That being said, IT WAS EXTRAORDINARY. And since you basically have to make a ridiculous amount of it (you use the pasta’s starch to thicken the sauce so you can’t make the whole batch of sauce and freeze part of it, which would honestly be my preference, but oh well) it’s a good thing that it was great. I ate it for like five happy days and shared it with some of my favorite people 😀

holiday amalgamation

A bunch of only vaguely related fun things I did around the holidays. Hint: mostly fun things= tasty eating.

A brunch. Sam, the most extroverted and accomplished woman I think realistically in the world, was down visiting from DC and had a mini grad school reunion. We went to Venable and I had the reliably wonderful herb-roasted eggs, subbing avocado for bacon on the side. Dreamy.


Weaver Street Market had a mini Thanksgiving showing off all of their holiday offerings (yes, this was a few weeks prior to Thanksgiving, yes, as usual the things I blog about are hilariously out of date)


I MEAN. Imagine a world where one could just drop $$$ for all local organic free range dreamy goodness cooked for you by someone else for Thanksgiving. Eh, maybe I would miss cooking though.


The smoked salmon/cucumber/goat cheese/caper toasties were one of my favorite things.


Then I did some baking of my own!

For some reason the whipper attachments to my hand mixer have disappeared (thus making it useless) so I used this fun whisk to hand whisk rawther a lot of egg whites.


Look how beautifully I separated out the yolks! I thought they looked so artistic!


The end product was tres leches cake for Kyle’s 30th birthday party! We did Asian-style karaoke in a private room. It was real silly.

The cake can be found here, at Smitten Kitchen, who gives me such reliably great dessert recipes. This was less tooth-breakingly sweet than some tres leches recipes and just… so so so good. Moist and rich and dreamy. I wish I had real vanilla bean but c’est la vie.


A reminder that I am 97 years old, so every weekend I go to my favorite coffee shop for coffee and a crossword. In this case, also a cheddar-herb scone. Simple pleasures, friends.


GAH lookit how bit my cousin’s baby is?! He’s round about 15 months in this picture but essentially believes he is an adult who needs to get into All The Things. Fearless, this one. Parenting him seems… lively.


Went to The Bazaar to do some holiday shopping. Me and my lady frenz split three flavors of these donuts SWOON SWOON SWOON. All the donuts are sweet potato based and there are a variety of toppings/glazes- we did cinnamon sugar, cider glaze, and lemon glaze. They taste like heaven.


Another day I was tired of my own thoughts so I went to hang out with my friend. This friend makes me (a committed introvert) seem like the life of the party- 90% of the time, he’s hanging out in his living room, with his cat, watching either The First 48 or the NFL.

I brought football snax. I zoned out. It was real nice.



So I work at a clinic one day a week and my organization’s medical director, who’s an attending physician at the clinic, was nice enough to invite me to their holiday party at his GOOOOOOOOORGEOUS historical Durham house. I MEAN:


This clinic goes ALL OUT for their holiday celebration. One attending (pictured below at leftat left) can play pretty much anything on guitar. One doctor (Dr. Low Carb, I call him- he’s a big of a obesity medicine celebrity, and is pictured below at right) can play literally anything on piano.

So we had the most lovely, rowdy, singalong. I managed to dredge up the harmonies I learned for various Christmas carols in middle school. One cute family- mom, dad, and teenaged children (! They didn’t even mind hanging out with their parents on a Friday night! They were so cute!) did super sweet performances. There were toy instruments for banging and clanging and jangling in the background.

It was just a DELIGHT.


Another day, another Christmas market. This one in Saxapahaw. The Haw River Ballroom looked like the inside of a snow globe and I loved it!


Another day, another Smitten Kitchen cake! My friend Myra is currently preggers and could not enjoy a birthday cocktail… so I made her a hazelnut brown butter cake!

More egg white whippage plus butter browning (THAT SMELL!) and grinding hazelnuts with flour and so on.






One of many reasons I love Smitten Kitchen so much is because when I make her recipes they actually look as beautiful as when she makes them!

Another day another sugar rush… I went to a friends’ Christmas open house and melted down some Swiss chocolate to make these:



And finally a few things in the savory treats department:

After I delivered Myra her birthday cake, she and her hus Alex and I went for dinner at Radius in Hillsborough. I got their gnocchi with sweet potatoes and kale and pesto cream topped with salmon. This was RICCCCCH so it easily became two meals.


And I did a movie night with the First Wives Club and we as usual went way overboard on the snax… I LOVE IT. I was sort of a good dietitian and brought carrots and hummus and some broccoli pasta (I’ll blog about that in a bit) and then there were additional nibbles and cheese and so on.


And of course there was an epic dessert selection, pictured below. My contribution is in the upper left hand corner. I made lemon curd with the egg yolks leftover from making the hazelnut cake. And sandwiched the lemon curd with perfect tiny sugar cookies. SO nice! Oh God also the lower right corner was my responsibility… apple slices with cookie butter. Oh dear.


So as we’ve already shared in this post my cousin’s baby is cute but also HE SHARES! Sweet little angel.