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Category Archives: Cooking Videos

ITALIAN HAND GESTURES…

Yesterday when we were at the park I found a four leaf clover. I usually find a few a year but I’ve found a couple in just the last month. I carefully carried my lucky clover home and, as soon as we walked in the door I led Gigi over to my Grandma’s hutch upon which is perched a few special books: an old copy of Our Hearts Were Young and Gay, and Is Paris Burning? both given to me by Kyle’s Nana, and an old copy of Emma. I picked up Emma and opened the rickety pages to chapter 24. Right between pages 232 and 233 is where I keep my four leaf clovers. I showed Gigi how to press it into place with the others and carefully close the book before sliding it back into pace on top of the hutch.

Opening the book and catching a glimpse of of Austen’s words made me immediately want to pour myself a cup of tea and curl up in the corner of the couch with Emma in hand. I love Jane Austen. After all, one of Gigi’s middle names is Bennet. Every fall I feel drawn towards comfort. I want to re-read favorite books like A Prayer for Owen Meany, Animal Dreams, and Anne of Green Gables. But mostly I want to read Emma, Pride and Prejudice, Persuasion, Northanger Abbey, Mansfield Park and Sense and Sensibility.

I don’t usually do it. I normally let my logic get in the way. As I reach up to the bookshelf to get an old favorite, I see all the books I haven’t read yet; some of which have been patiently waiting their turn for years. I feel sorry for those poor, patient books and feel obligated to choose from the ranks of the unread. But this fall I’m going to just exactly as I please and I’m join got read my comforting Jane Austen novels.

To make up for my familiar-leaning reading choices to come, I am planning to challenge myself in the kitchen. I’m going to crack open new cookbooks, and check out some new ones from the library. Did you know that you can check out cookbooks from the library? At our little one you can so I imagine you could at your libraries as well! While I’m sure I will cook a fair amount of my favorite comfort food, I’ll also be challenging myself with new foods and new variations of favorite dishes.

One of my favorite dishes is panzanella. A panzanella is a classic italian salad that usually includes cubes of day-old bread, roasted bell peppers, tomatoes, red onion, mozzarella, and basil. I love to make it in the summer with this classic approach, but seeing as it’s already feeling like autumn here I wanted to take a fall approach to this dish. I’m sure my recipe will make some Italian Grandmothers click their tongues and make some wonderfully-Italian hand gestures, but we loved it. We’ve made it quite a few times now; twice for lunch and twice for dinner.

PANZANELLA WITH PANCETTA, HARD BOILED EGGS, CHERRY TOMATOES AND FRIED SAGEPINMy fall panzanella boasts quite a range of flavors: sweet cherry tomatoes, salty pancetta, robust hard boiled eggs, and fragrant fried sage leaves. The dressing is made with bright champagne vinegar, mustard, garlic and lots and lots of chives. It’s tart and absorbs into the cubes of bread, breaking up the earthy flavors of the main ingredients. The result is a wonderfully hearty, but not too heavy salad that stands as a main course.

PANZANELLA WITH PANCETTA, HARD BOILED EGGS, CHERRY TOMATOES AND FRIED SAGEPIN

PANZANELLA WITH PANCETTA, HARD BOILED EGGS, CHERRY TOMATOES AND FRIED SAGEPIN

No matter what you’re reading, or what you’re cooking, we wish a you a very happy start to fall. Gigi, Lulu and I made this cooking video of this recipe to share with you!

PANZANELLA WITH PANCETTA, HARD BOILED EGGS, CHERRY TOMATOES AND FRIED SAGE

Ingredients.
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 lb. rustic white loaf, cut into bite size pieces
10-12 large fresh sage leaves
8 slices pancetta
6 hard boiled eggs, peeled and cut into eighths
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper

Chive Champagne Vinaigrette
1/4 cup champagne vinegar
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 small garlic clove, very finely minced
1 1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard
1/4 cup very finely sliced chives
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper

Directions.
In a small sauté pan, heat 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil until shimmering. Gently place in a few leaves at a time and allow to fry for 10-15 seconds. You don’t want them to brown! Remove using tongs and set on a paper towel to drain. Repeat with the remaining leaves. Set the leaves aside and save the oil. (See the video below on how to fry sage leaves.)

Turn your oven on to broil. Carefully toss the bread with the sage-infused oil on a baking sheet. Broil on the middle rack, tossing once or twice, until some of the bread has started to toast and is lightly brown. The goal is to give the bread a bit of color and texture, not to completely toast it. Remove the bread from the oven and transfer it to a large bowl.

Using the same baking sheet, lay the pancetta slices out in a single layer. Place them in the oven, under the broiler, until they are crisp, flipping once. Remove from the oven and transfer to a paper towel to drain.

In a small bowl whisk together the champagne vinegar, garlic, chives, and dijon until combined. Then drizzle the oil in slowly while whisking. Season the dressing to taste with salt and pepper.

Break up the pancetta a little bit as you add it to the bowl with bread, then add in the tomatoes, sage leaves, and eggs. Toss together gently. Plate, drizzle with plenty of dressing, taste for salt and pepper, and serve immediately!

PRINTABLE RECIPE.
PANZANELLA WITH PANCETTA, HARD BOILED EGGS, CHERRY TOMATOES AND FRIED SAGE

The girls have been cracking us up and driving us crazy in equal measure. They are playing together more and more lately which is resulting in a lot more giggles around here (as well as a lot more accidental head bonks). They play really well together most of the time, especially in their little Ikea kitchen, probably because there is plenty of “food” to go around. Gigi loves pretending to be a chef or waitress and takes orders from everyone before usually responding, “Oh, I’m sorry. We don’t have that.” Apparently she’s one of those chefs who just serves you what they want to, and you can take it or leave it.

ikea play kitchenPINThe girls adore one another. They hold hands in the car, chase each other around the house, and are starting to have funny conversations. Gigi takes great pleasure in making her baby sister laugh, telling on her for eating markers, and teaching her things (like screaming for fun, climbing, and new words). There are, of course, plenty of times when Gigi asks us to remove Lulu from her “zone”, or closes her baby sis out of her room; like early in the morning when she hears Lulu crawling down the hall towards her room and she hops out of bed, slams her door, and goes back to sleep! But, they are really finding their stride as two toddlers, and it’s a joy to see.

a phasePINLulu has learned, and perfected one of these new words. I put together this little video of Lulu proving her mastery of it… it’s just a phase, right?

30 SECOND INTERVALS…

Lulu has become fascinated with my laptop. Anytime I’m using it, like now, she’s right by my side, laughing hysterically, jabbering nonsensically, and saying, “Dee-doo!” (thank you) over and over, which is how she let’s you know she wants something. It’s pretty darn cute, but also pretty distracting. I attempt to sidetrack her in the way that you might distract a not-so-bright puppy, by tossing toys onto the carpet behind her, hoping to entice her into a game of “fetch” that will allow me to get things done in 30 second intervals. It’s not working very well. We don’t have a big agenda for the day so I’m enjoying her antics quite a bit.

It’s a rainy, grey Friday morning here and I’m kind of happy about it. What I really want to do today is put on jeans and a sweater and get things organized and cleaned up from the week. We had a pretty quiet week, actually, which means that the house is in a state where I might be able to get it properly clean, as opposed to most other busy weeks where I can just manage to get it somewhat picked up at the end of the week. What I really want to do is to fold laundry during nap time while watching You’ve Got Mail and English Breakfast tea; clean our bedroom and spritz lavender oil on our freshly-made bed; organize the laundry room… pretty thrilling stuff.

At some point today we do need to go to the grocery store since at this point in the week we’ve run out of everything. We don’t even have cheese which means that most “random pantry meals” in my repertoire are out of question. Besides that, while I don’t mind a good panty raid, I certainly don’t feel inspired by it. One of the reasons I love to cook is that I am a goal-oriented person and having a meals planned, preferably things that’s exciting or creative or challenging, helps me stay focused and energized throughout the day.

With that, I’m signing off for a quiet, productive day with the girls, followed by a fun, relaxing weekend with the whole family. But I’m leaving you with my new favorite recipe, something we’ve made quite a few times already this season and a new cooking video for the recipe! It may in fact be another tartine! Are you sick of them yet? I hope not because I have more heading your way in the coming weeks.

GRILLED EGGPLANT TARTINES WITH ARUGULA, FETA, GREEN OLIVES AND HONEYPINGRILLED EGGPLANT TARTINES WITH ARUGULA, FETA, GREEN OLIVES AND HONEYPINThese Grilled Eggplant Tartines with Arugula, Feta, Green Olives and Honey was inspired by a Spilled Milk Podcast on eggplants I listened to months ago in which the combination of eggplant, feta, green olives, and honey was mentioned. Since I’m tartine obsessed these days, my brain naturally went in that direction. By adding a thyme-spiked aoili and some bright, bitter arugula, I created a delicious sandwich that offers a great marriage of some wonderful Greek flavors. This makes a great vegetarian lunch or dinner, and is perfect paired with a chilled glass of white wine, like a Grüner; or a great Pinot Noir. The ingredients for these sandwiches can be made ahead of time and pulled together, and easily assembled when you’re ready for a meal!

GRILLED EGGPLANT TARTINES WITH ARUGULA, FETA, GREEN OLIVES AND HONEYPIN

GRILLED EGGPLANT TARTINES WITH ARUGULA, FETA, GREEN OLIVES AND HONEY

Ingredients.
loaf of french bread, sliced
two medium eggplants, sliced into 1/4 inch discs
baby arugula
1/4 cup mayonnaise
a pinch of fresh thyme
feta cheese
green olives, thinly sliced
extra virgin olive oil
honey
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper

Directions.
Lay the eggplant slices out on paper towels or thin dishtowels. Sprinkle the slices of eggplant with a tiny bit of kosher salt, flip and repeat. Lay another layer of towels over the top of the eggplant slices. Place a large roasting pan, with a heavy cookbook on top, to help press out a bit of the moisture for twenty minutes. Paint or drizzle both sides of the eggplant with a bit of olive oil and grill on medium high heat until nicely browned. Set them aside and allow them to cool a little while you prepare the rest of your ingredients.

In a small bowl whisk together the mayonnaise with the thyme and a couple tablespoons of olive oil and a little pepper. Smear a very thin layer of the aioli onto your toasts, and pop them under the broiler until they are slightly bubbly and golden. Remove them from the oven and allow them to cool.

Spread the rest of the aioli on the cooled toasts, top them each with a small handful of arugula, a few slices of eggplant, some crumbled feta, and sliced olives. Finally, drizzle each toast with a little slightly warmed honey, olive oil, and a little freshly ground black pepper.

Serves 4-6.

PRINTABLE RECIPE.
GRILLED EGGPLANT TARTINE WITH ARUGULA, FETA, GREEN OLIVES, AND HONEY

GRILLED EGGPLANT TARTINES WITH ARUGULA, FETA, GREEN OLIVES AND HONEYPINGRILLED EGGPLANT TARTINES WITH ARUGULA, FETA, GREEN OLIVES AND HONEYPIN

And, now, enjoy our cooking video for Grilled Eggplant Tartines!

GRILLED EGGPLANT TARTINE from withlovekacie on Vimeo.

This Roasted Butternut Squash Soup is really delicious! It’s one of my fall and winter go-to meals. It also freezes well and makes a great baby food! I’ve also separated out the sections, and included videos for how to make brown butter and how to make fried sage!

Butternut Squash Soup from withlovekacie on Vimeo.

ROASTED BUTTERNUT SQUASH SOUP WITH BROWN BUTTER AND FRIED SAGE

Ingredients.
2.5lbs butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cubed
extra virgin olive oil
1 head garlic
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
nutmeg
1 yellow onion, diced
1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
5 fresh sage leaves (plus more for garnishing)
2 quarts low-sodium vegetable broth
unsalted butter

Directions.
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Slice of the top 1/3 of your head of garlic, exposing the tops of the cloves. Place the head (exposed cloves up) on a square of aluminum foil. Pour a few tablespoons of olive oil over the head, sprinkle with a pinch of salt and pepper. Seal the head in the foil pouch and set it in the corner of a large cookie sheet.

In a large bowl combine the cubed squash, 1/4 cup olive oil, 1 tsp of salt, 1/2 tsp of freshly ground black pepper and a pinch of nutmeg. Toss until the squash is well coated in oil. Transfer to the cookie sheet and spread into a single layer. Place the cookie sheet in the oven and roast the squash and garlic, tossing the squash occasionally until the squash is caramelized. Remove the garlic at 1 hour, open the foil and check that it’s nice and golden. Let it cool, or if needed return it to the oven for a few more minutes. The squash usually takes 1-1 1/2 hours. When the squash is caramelized remove the baking sheet from the oven and allow it to cool. Remove the roasted cloves of garlic from the head and set aside in a small bowl.

Meanwhile, heat a few tablespoons of olive oil in a large stockpot over medium high heat. Toss in the onion and carrot, season with a pinch of salt and pepper, and sauté for 5-7 minutes until soft. Toss in five chopped sage leaves and stir for 1-2 minutes, until fragrant. Pour in the vegetable broth, the roasted squash, and the roasted garlic cloves. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 20 minutes.

While the soup is simmering you can prepare the brown butter. Take 1/2 stick of butter and in a small sauté pan, over medium-low heat, gently melt the butter, stirring constantly. It will begin to foam. Continue stirring. The foam will subside leaving you with separated butter. It will look perfectly clear. Continue to stir. The butter will begin to foam up again and will quickly begin to turn a toasty brown color. When it smells amazing and turns a beautiful golden brown hue, quickly transfer the butter to small bowl and set aside.

Wipe the pan clean with a damp paper towel. Pour in 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil and heat until shimmering. Gently place in a few leaves at a time and allow to fry for 10-15 seconds. You don’t want them to brown! Remove using tongs and set on a paper towel to drain. Repeat with the remaining garnish leaves. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt and set aside.

By now your soup should be ready to blend. Using an immersion blender purée the soup until smooth. If you don’t have an immersion blender, transfer the soup in batches to blender and purée until smooth. Leave the plug off, covering the whole on the top with a thickly folded towel. This allows some of the steam to escape so you’re not created any pressure.

Finally, transfer the soup to large bowls, top with a drizzle of brown butter and a few fried sage leaves. Serve immediately with a crunchy slice of toast.

PRINTABLE RECIPE.
ROASTED BUTTERNUT SQUASH SOUP

Roasted Butternut Squash with Brown Butter and Fried Sage RecipePIN