Tuesday, December 29, 2009


Maria update……

My lovely basil plant, Maria has sub come to my black thumb. Unfortunately, this is not the first time plants have not faired well in my care. This is my third try at herbs!! I feel like that little kid we all knew growing up whose pets always died. After saying that, I will admit I am NOT giving up!!!!

So, I am in the market for a new basil plant. I figure if I keep trying, maybe one day I will be able to have a full herb garden that or a maid to care for an herb garden. (just kidding…kind of!!!) I would love to have a fresh garden with thyme, basil, dill, chives, rosemary, and lavender. This would enhance all my cooking and plating. Presentation can be improved by simply adding a sprig of herbs on a plate.

Right now I am still impressed that Maria 1 lasted over 3 months of my care/torture. However, it is winter time, even in Atlanta we do get freezing temperatures, so I am a little concerned. But I guess time will tell. First, I need to find a basil plant. I had no lucky at trader joes or my local grocery store.

Please keep your fingers crossed for the future Maria 2, she needs all the help she can get!!!!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Home made Pizza????

One of my favorite things to make is PIZZA!!! I know I could just order Papa John’s or Pizza Hut, but there is some thing nice about making a pizza truly my way!!! Maybe this goes back to childhood memories. My mom would buy pre-made pizza dough from the store. My brother and I would fight over dough space. I always wanted extra extra cheese while he obsessed over black olives. I have fond memories of sleepovers where my friends and I were so excited at our accomplishment of making pizza. Everyone got the topping they wanted without argue. It was almost as much fun as making ice cream sundaes. It would be more fun, but pizza doesn’t give a very good sugar high.

Even today, I always keep pre-made dough in my fridge or instant pizza dough in my pantry. This is just a staple for me. Sometimes, I go all gourmet and make a Florentine pizza with chevre (goat cheese) and fresh tomatoes topped with a sun side up egg. Other times, like tonight, I make a simple pepperoni pizza with salad. Tonight, I made a super easy salad that was full of flavor. It seemed quite decadent despite the fact that there were only 6 ingredients.

Arugula and Goat Cheese Salad with a Truffle Champagne Vinaigrette

1 tsp of Champagne Vinegar

¼ cup of olive oil

1 clove of zested garlic

Truffle salt to taste (I love SALTY so my measurement is not the most accurate)

2 cups of arugula

Goat cheese..... crumbled

Whisk the champagne vinegar, oil, garlic, and truffle salt to taste. When the vinaigrette is created, toss the argula in the dressing. Top the dressed argula with goat cheese.

The great thing about this salad is argula. When dressed, it does not wilt as fast as most salads. This is a great salad to consider when entertaining BECAUSE you can make the salad well in advance. If you would like another element, then add some crunch. I recommend adding walnuts

The holidays!!!!

The holidays..... from Thanksgiving to Hanukah to Christmas to the up coming New Years....I find myself falling prey to those fattening traditional. I just can't say no foods.

Especially when it comes to special foods there are only made for holidays.

My boyfriends mother, whom I love very much, makes this cauliflower dish that is so simple, but rich and delicious. Cauliflower is drowned in a cheddar b├ęchamel sauce then topped with bread crumbs. I love this holiday favorite but my butt grows at the smell of it!

My mom normally makes latkes for Hanukah. Tons and tons of grated potatoes made into little cakes then fried in oil. I know this sounds similar to hash browns, but the end result is quite different. The center of a latke is much more moist and creamy.

This year I decided to make latkes for my friends. Now when I say myself, I mean I fried them, but my friends HELPED. I had my bff peeling potatoes. My other friend “volunteered” to grate the peeled potatoes. Her husband and my boyfriend then squeezed the water out of the grated potatoes. I then took the potatoes that were peeled, grated, and waterless and magically turned them into latkes.

It was humorous to me, when my turn came in this production line. I was a little lost. I have made latkes almost EVERY year for the jewish holidays. I am not big on measuring and I don’t remember the women in my family measuring when making these potato pancakes. I remember dice onions and crying!!! I have fond memories of peeling potatoes until my hand hurt and all my nails broke. However, without my mom and grandmother present, I lacked guidance. I had to call my mom. Yes, I who have altered all my moms family recipes to adjust to my taste, called her. After a pep talk, I was no longer lost. I just followed my gut. Now the first batch turned out a little “blackened.” However, the second batch was AMAZING!!!!!!!

I think I may have to do this every year. Or that is what my friends requested…. There is nothing like food to bring people together…

Happy holidays everyone!!!!