Archive for January, 2008

adapted from Bon Appetit 2005

This salad tasted fabulous, despite the less than flattering and very unfocused picture below!


3 large shallots
1 pound fresh mushrooms (chanterelle, oyster, baby bella)
2 ounces Goat Cheese
6 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon Sherry wine vinegar
1 8 ounce bag lettuce mix


Thinly slice shallots. Clean mushrooms and slice into 1/2-inch-thick slices.
Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the shallots; sauté until beginning to brown. Add 2 more tablespoons olive oil, then the mushrooms. Sprinkle with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Sauté until the mushrooms are just tender, about 5 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon Sherry wine vinegar and boil until evaporated, stirring constantly. Remove from heat.

Pour lettuce mix into a salad bowl. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil and toss. Add 2 teaspoons Sherry wine vinegar, season with salt and pepper, and toss again. Add the mushrooms and cheese; toss lightly and serve immediately. Instead of tossing all together, we waited and added the cheese and then the mushrooms to each individual plate.


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Tony’s Pizza!

Homemade pizza has become a staple in our house. Perfect for a Friday night after work. We’ve never tried to make our own pizza dough- it’s just so must easier to buy it pre-made at the grocery store or the local pizza shop for $1! We add whatever toppings we have in the fridge- tomatoes, mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes, fresh basil… Tony usually adds some kind of meat, like sausage, to half of the pizza. Custom made!


Pizza dough (store bought or homemade)
Pasta sauce (any variety)
Mozzarella, grated
Parmesan Cheese, grated

Whatever other topping of your choice!
Salt and pepper


Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Flour the counter and roll out pizza dough. Spread pasta sauce over the dough. Sprinkle cheese over the sauce. Add toppings. Transfer to pizza stone and bake for about 20 minutes- until crust is crisp and slightly brown.

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Rigatoni Sorrentino

from the Martha Stewart Show, courtesy of Sal Scognomillo from Patsy’s

Surprise! My wonderful husband had this meal waiting for me when I got home from work the other night! It was excellent! We froze half for leftovers. I was very impressed 🙂


Serves 4 to 6

1 pound Rigatoni

4 cups prepared marinara sauce (any variety)

1/2 pound fresh ricotta cheese

2 cups (about 1 pound) shredded mozzarella

1 1/2 cups freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese



Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add salt and return to a boil. Add rigatoni and cook until al dente, according to package directions. Drain; set aside.

Preheat broiler. In a large saucepan, bring marinara sauce to a boil over medium-high heat. Pour half the heated sauce into a large bowl; set aside. Add cooked rigatoni and ricotta to saucepan with remaining sauce; stir to combine. Bring to a simmer over low heat.

Pour pasta mixture into a baking dish and top with reserved sauce. Sprinkle with mozzarella and Parmigiano-Reggiano. Transfer baking dish to broiler and broil until cheese has melted, 6 to 8 minutes. Serve immediately.

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Giant Oatmeal Drop Cookies

adapted from Cooking Light!

I have been craving oatmeal cookies for awhile now so I finally decided to make these. They are a “healthier” version of the original (and much larger!) so there is less guilt in making a whole batch just for two people 🙂 I usually don’t like the way cookies turn out using applesauce, but these were great. Even Tony loved them- which is a true testament because he hates when I try to doctor a recipe to make it “healthier.” I did make half the batch with chocolate chips (for him)- and the other half with raisins (for me!).


1 cup packed dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons butter or stick margarine, softened
1/2 cup applesauce
1 large egg
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups regular oats
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Cooking spray


Preheat oven to 350°.

Beat sugar and butter at medium speed of a mixer until well-blended (about 5 minutes). Add applesauce and egg; beat well. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, oats, soda, cinnamon, and salt. Add flour mixture to sugar mixture; beat at low speed until well-blended. Stir in raisins, walnuts, and vanilla. Using 3 level tablespoons per cookie, drop dough 2 inches apart onto baking sheets coated with cooking spray; flatten slightly. Bake at 350° for 10 to 15 minutes. Remove cookies from pans; cool on wire racks.

Yield: 15 cookies (196 calories each)

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Quinoa Muffins

adapted from Everyday Foods (Martha Stewart)

I’ve been intrigued by quinoa (pronounced “KEEN-wah”) for some time. It is a grain similar to rice or couscous, but with lot of protein and vitamins. It’s one of the new healthy “power foods.” I saw Martha Stewart make these muffins on her show and decided this was the best recipe to try quinoa for the first time. You can buy it at most grocery stores (I bought mine at Giant). It comes in a box like rice or couscous. I doubled the raisins and added cinnamon. I would probably add more cinnamon and maybe some nutmeg next time. And maybe some dried cranberries too….


Makes 12

1 cup quinoa
1/4 cup vegetable oil (I used 2 tablespoons plus water)
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup packed dark-brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup raisins (I used 1 cup)
3/4 cup whole milk (I used 1%)
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon cinnamon (I added)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium saucepan, bring quinoa and 1 cup water to a boil. Reduce to a simmer; cover, and cook until water has been absorbed and quinoa is tender, 11 to 13 minutes.

Spray muffin pan with cooking spray. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, raisins, and 2 cups cooked quinoa; reserve any leftover quinoa for another use.

In a small bowl, whisk together oil, milk, egg, and vanilla. Add milk mixture to flour mixture, and stir just until combined; divide batter among prepared muffin cups.

Bake until toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool muffins in pan, 5 minutes; transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container up to 5 days (they really don’t last much longer).

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1789 Restaurant


Thank goodness for restaurant week! Tony and I went to 1789 Restaurant- a coveted reservation during Restaurant Week- and definitely a place we wouldn’t have gone to otherwise! The restaurant is an institution in D.C. Situated on a tiny side street in Georgetown, I felt I should have arrived in a horse drawn carriage instead of our Volvo. It is actually an old townhouse with five different dining rooms throughout. Very cozy, romantic and formal- men are required to wear jackets. So it was a great excuse to dress up and dine.

The entire menu was offered for Restaurant Week which was very nice. A lot of restaurants only offer a few selections to choose from and, in my opinion, that totally defeats the purpose of Restaurant Week. We definitely experimented with our food selections and it paid off…

I ordered an Artic Chard appetizer- which is best described as a mix between smoked salmon and lox. The pink fish was wrapped around crème fraiche and cavier and served with roasted beets and toast points. It was amazing. A lthough I confirmed my distaste for cavier- it’s too fishy for me. For my entrée I ordered rockfish. The fish was pure white, thick and melted in my mouth. It was served on top of wild mushroom risotto and a butternut squash sauce. It sounds fussy, but was an excellent combination. Tony ordered the rack of lamb, which we later learned in talking with the manager, has been the restaurant’s staple dish for over 20 years. The ingredients change only slightly with the season. Tony is still talking about it, it was that good. He played flag football the next morning and swore he was going to be “Baaaa-ing” at the opposing team. 🙂

I took another chance with dessert and ordered the rum cake. I saw it prepared for another table and the presentation alone sealed my decision. It was like a performance. The server splits the cake in half, dollops vanilla bean cream in middle, and then pours a shot of rum over it. The cake was excellent, but I was not a fan of the rum. It was too saturated- I would have preferred that they let me pour it on myself and that way I could have regulated. I don’t like rum in my drink, so I don’t why I would like it on my cake! Tony’s dessert however, was fantastic. Lemon tart, orange compote, and lemon meringue. All three were lined up next to each other on the plate and you took a bit of each to create the perfect bite!

1789 is definitely a place everyone living in D.C. should experience once- especially during Restaurant Week! It is quintessential Georgetown- in every way that phrase can be interpreted.

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adapted from Epicurious.com

This recipe looked so good and it tasted exactly how sounds- simple and delicious. It’s a perfect dish to make on a weeknight (as I did). The most labor intensive part is preparing the sprouts (which Tony actually did for me before I got home!). The dish can be a little dry, so you have to keep adding the reserved pasta-cooking water to taste. Next time I might add some chicken or even some pesto. The best part about this recipe was how easy the pine nuts browned- whenever I make something with pine nuts (which I love) it usually involves toasting them first and I inevitably always end up burning them. This recipe was fool proof!


3/4 pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed (I used one package of sprouts)
1/2 pound dried egg fettuccine (I used two servings of whole wheat fettuccine)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons pine nuts
grated Parmigiano-Reggiano


Chop Brussels sprouts into quarters. Cook fettuccine in a pasta pot of boiling salted water until al dente.

Meanwhile, heat butter and oil in a large heavy skillet over medium heat until foam subsides, then cook pine nuts, stirring, until golden, 1 to 2 minutes. Add Brussels sprouts, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper, then sauté over medium-high heat until tender and lightly browned, about 4 minutes.

Reserve 1/2 cup pasta-cooking water, then drain pasta and add to skillet, tossing with enough reserved water to moisten. Serve with grated parm.

UPDATE:  This dish has become a popular staple in our house! It’s so easy to throw together on a week night, we’ve made it many times since!

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