Thursday, April 17, 2014

Alex's Salad

Alex is my best friend Bryn's husband, which works out well for me since he cooks like the devil and feeds me whenever I'm in town. The man doesn't use measuring utensils, much less a recipe. He just likes to think something up and then makes it happen like Santa on Christmas Eve. Among my favorites is a great mango ginger curry that I'm determined to decode.

In my single days I used to travel up to Providence and Boston to see them. Alex would make incredible food with interesting flavors- grilled eggplant and basil sandwiches, cornmeal chocolate chip banana pancakes, yadda yadda- and we'd all stay up way too late having deep discussions about life and relationships. They'd give the guys I dated nicknames like Appleflinger and Awfulthingy. (Long story.)

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Roasted Garlic and Rosemary Bread

This morning I read on Serious Eats that real bakers use weight measurements instead of volume (or cup) measurements. One must have and use a scale, or else they don't take their craft seriously. That's not really how they said it, but their name is "Serious Eats" so everything they write reads to me like a personal challenge. So, I'm going to get myself a scale, and I'm going to practice all the tips from this article on 11 Essential Tips for Better Pizza until I can make killer dough and pizzas using muscle memory alone, darn it!

Well, obviously, this changed the way I wrote today's recipe, because I could not bare to shame myself with foolish cup measurements. And you're all going to suffer, I mean benefit from it. You're getting the main components in grams! (With approximate volume estimations for those of you who don't have a scale. I'm such an enabler.)

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Spicy Sausage & Lentil Soup

I used to be a server at Carrabba's where I had the pleasure of sampling everything on the menu as part of my training so that I could describe the dishes accurately to patrons. I remember it fondly. Back then and still now one of my favorite menu items is their Sausage and Lentil Soup. Since it's only an occasional menu item, I sometimes have to make my own when I have a hankering.
For a deeper pancetta (bacon) flavor, don't drain off the fat from the pancetta. Instead, use it in lieu of some of the olive oil to cook the vegetables.
When creating my own recipe, I started by using this one from, which acts as a strong base. After some tinkering, I have gotten it to the point where it's so good that my husband and I can eat a double batch all on our own over the course of 4 or 5 days without wasting a lick and without having to freeze any.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Rainy April Menu- Spicy Lentil & Sausage Soup

I rarely have occasion to use my formidable meat cleaver, but the other day she got put to work when I brought home a nice, juicy watermelon. Perhaps it was a little overkill, but, I tell you what- I got a cleaner cut on that melon than I ever have. Anyway, the point of me telling you this is that when that little buddy split open it emitted a sweet aroma that instantly transported me to the dozens of outdoor, warm weather celebrations of years past. The point of me telling you that is to contrast it with the actual weather we've been having around here as of late, which has been rather dreary. Aaaand the point of me telling you that is so that I can offer you a little edible empathy in case you're also experiencing your fair share of April showers.

Enter, the Rainy April Menu.

The Menu
Main Course:
Spicy Lentil & Sausage Soup
Sides: Alex's Salad and Roasted Garlic & Rosemary Bread
Dessert: Simple Toffee Cookie Ice Cream Sundaes

The Music
"Rainy Day" (found on Eats and Beats' Music Playlist page.)

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Kate's Greatest Hits

We have a special family edition of Eats and Beats today, because we celebrated our Kate's 3rd birthday last weekend! I wish you could all know this kid, because she's so clever and smart and artistic... and hilarious. She's said a lot of noteworthy stuff over the past year, and I'm going to share with you some of her greatest hits as documented on Facebook.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Wanted: Gorgeous Wreath for Eats and Beats Front Door

The Patterson home is in upheaval. Our plumbing sprung another leak causing water damage to our dining room ceiling. My beloved dining room! The first time it did this, we had to remodel two of our bathrooms. Since our system seems to be quite unhealthy, we're in the process of replacing the whole thing. So, our walls look like this:

And our ceilings look like this:

Thursday, February 13, 2014

I'm a Wretched Person and There's Nothing These Cookies Can Do to Change That

I feel awful. We just had a major snowfall which dumped over a foot of snow onto our small neighborhood of townhomes. My husband was out early this morning shoveling the sidewalk in front of our home and around our cars. And since he's such a nice guy he shoveled for the single woman who lives in the townhouse to our right. Sometime in the afternoon, the plow came and took care of all the snow that was in the middle of the street. An hour or so later I saw a couple of neighbors shoveling around their cars. One gentleman started taking small amounts of snow into his shovel and putting it into the street. I saw him pause after each scoop and staring at it as if reevaluating his method. After another couple of scoops into the street, I decided to lift the window of my bedroom from which I watched the scene below, and "tactfully" suggest that perhaps the newly-plowed street wasn't the best place to dump the snow, and I offered our yard if he needed a place to leave the snow.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Music Playlist- Eiffel Tower, and COOKBOOK GIVEAWAY WINNERS!

Carla Bruni
I'm so sad to see this Valentine's Day collaboration with The Food Nanny come to an end. It's been such a blast. I'll just have to keep cooking her food so that I feel like she's still with me. :)

I have a very fun and colorful French music playlist to introduce to you, but before we get to that, I'd like to announce the two winners of the Food Nanny Rescues Dinner Again! giveaway. 

Friday, February 7, 2014

Strawberries and Cream Cake

A classic Valentine cake with surprising flavor to top off your Valentine's French Menu (Option #2). There are the traditional ingredients- butter, vanilla, strawberries- but add sour cream, coconut, and almond, and this classic gets new life. Sometimes cake recipes focus so much on the frosting flavor that the cake itself becomes an afterthought. It's obvious that Liz Edmunds has carefully crafted both elements of her creation. I'm gaining a lot of respect for her taste and attention to detail as I cook through her book.

Speaking of her book, have you entered the giveaway yet? Today's your last chance! Tomorrow the winners will be announced!

In the meantime, here's the recipe for that cake.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Food Nanny Fillet Mignon and Steamed Honey Glazed Carrots (The Meal That Made Me Blush)

My husband and I both agreed that this is one of the very best savory dishes to have been produced in my kitchen. It's ridiculous. I made it for myself for lunch so that I'd have plenty of daylight for taking photos. I kid you not, I started blushing when I took the first bite. I made it again for my husband for dinner tonight and he made eyes at me. And he said it got even better as he continued to eat it. Even now as I try to describe it, my head just goes to a fuzzy place and all I hear is a pleasant humming.