Halibut with Vinho Verde Linguine

When my Grandma came to stay with us earlier this year, I took her to Pier 46 (I know, I know, I can’t stop talking about this place!). She was THRILLED that they had halibut, which I guess is harder to find in Vermont, where she lives. The first time we went, she got the Halibut and Chips, which she then raved about daily until we went again. The second time, she got the Grilled Halibut Sandwich, and Joanne took our picture for Twitter and Facebook. Grandma, who is 87, was just tickled to see her photo on the Internet. Now whenever I have Halibut I think of Grandma and how Pier 46’s Halibut made her vacation complete!

This is a recipe I made on a whim last week. My mom and I went to 15 Degrees C wine bar for a little after work wine, and I picked up a bottle of Broadbent Vinho Verde, which was only $9. Vinho Verde is a Portuguese white wine that has a citrus-like acidity and a little spritz.

My Dad the chef has been known to go on tangents about how lemons complete fish and fish just isn’t the same without it. The Vinho Verde is so citrusy that my mom took a bite of this pasta and was convinced that I had added lemon! It was a perfect compliment to the Halibut.

By the way, in every letter she’s written me since her visit, Grandma mentions Pier 46 – although, sometimes it’s Pier 48, or 32 or….

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Maple-y Pumpkin Loaf

pumpkin loaf

So the last week of October is upon us, and I just realized I have not baked a single pumpkin creation yet! I blame the 80 degree weather…oh, California, how I love thee.

Anyway, in honor of Halloween, and autumn, and my birthday (which is today!) I give you my first pumpkin recipe of the season: Maple-y pumpkin loaf!  I have always been a huge fan of Starbuck’s Pumpkin Loaf, splurging on all those calories once or twice a year. This year, I decided to make my own homemade version, with the addition of maple syrup, a fabulous fall flavor. This loaf is moist and delicious, with a subtle maple flavor. So fall!

Happy Birthday to me!

drips

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Fig, Brie, and Spinach Sandwiches

fig brie spinach close up

Do you ever feel fancy?  Patent leather Mary Janes when you’re three, tea parties in second grade, senior prom, dinner date in the big city…that kind of fancy.

Spinach is fancy because Popeye eats it, and he’s a cute sailor.  Brie is fancy because it’s creamy and rich.  Figs are fancy because they look like jewels when you slice them open (!!).  This little sandwich made me feel fancy, even as I ate it while driving the three kids I nanny for around in the minivan after soccer camp (I kid you not – I am a soccer mom in training!).

The sad thing about fancy Figs is that not many Americans have ever had fresh ones! This is funny, because Fig Newtons seem to be a beloved snack.  I have a secret: I had my first Fig Newton exactly one week ago.  For most people I know, the opposite is true – they’ve never, ever tried a fresh fig, but have been eating Fig Newtons their whole lives!

Give yourself a little dare this week. Visit your farmer’s market, or Trader Joe’s, and pick up some figs.  They are delicious alone, with cheese, quartered on salads, or drizzled with honey. If you’re feeling extra-brave, leave me a comment with your thoughts!  I dare you – let me know what makes you feel fancy.

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Authentic Swiss Fondue

fondue!

One of my very best friends in the world was born and spent his childhood in Bern, Switzerland.  Sergej is, by default, a master of many traditional Swiss recipes, one of which is this delicious fondue.  He recently came over one evening and taught me how to make it…and now, darling reader, you better be feeling pretty lucky that he has allowed me to share this!

This is a great party food – it’s pretty thrilling to gather around a pot of cheese with good friends and wine.  In fact, one of my best friends – hi, Andrea! – always got a big group together to go to Melting Pot for her birthday during college. Yummm.

So yeah, go ahead and make this really soon.  The only deterrent is probably the availability of a fondue pot, but I bet you can find a set on ebay or at a thrift store for cheap.  So worth it!

cheers to the chef

cheers to the chef

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Spinach Ricotta Baked Potato

spinach ricotta potatoFor my fifth birthday, I got this really great cookbook: Kids Cooking: A Very Slightly Messy Manual.  It came with bright colored plastic measuring spoons (which are still among my family’s utensil collection today), which was awesome, and it is filled with great recipes and great illustrations.  Throughout my childhood, I poured over this cookbook.  I loved it.  Actually, why am I using past tense?  Let’s be honest: I still have it, and I still love it.

So. Put-back potatoes, anyone?  I’ve been a huge fan since I first made one around the time I got this cookbook.  These days, I usually go for broccoli and cheddar put-backs – a classic combo, and the broccoli adds good fiber.

This particular recipe was born one evening when I felt like a good ole put-back.  The problem: no one had been shopping in a while (a common problem in these here parts), and the broccoli I had in the fridge was on the yellow side (whoops).

I took stock of what we did have.  Ricotta?  Hmmm.  Spinach?  Do-able. Another classic combo, but will it work in a baked potato?

Oh yes, I found.  Quite well.  Read on for my grown-up recreation of a childhood favorite.

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Breadless Bruschetta

bruschetta

You might argue that bread is what makes bruschetta – actually, I wouldn’t dispute that. However, sometimes, when you’ve been baking many delicious treats…containing lots of delicious butter, sugar, and flour…you realize you might want to cut back or you’re going to end up with a belly.  I won’t name any names.

Technically, this should be called a tomato salad.  But who wants to get technical?

This recipe is a way to get all the flavor of bruschetta without any of the guilt or empty calories – just the healthy stuff!  Also, it’s a great way to use up the delicious tomatoes that are probably abundant in your garden right about now.  It only takes about five minutes to make!

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Bow Ties with Soft Goat Cheese, Walnuts, and Basil

goat cheese pasta

Junior year of college, I lived with five other girls.  At Christmas we hung up stockings, complete with nicknames given to us by the others (If you think that’s silly, you should have seen the pink plastic Christmas tree).  My nickname? “Calories.”  Thanks, ladies, you know me well.

Although some of the recipes I post on this site might lead you to believe otherwise, I am obsessed with calories.  Every day I keep track of what I eat (The Daily Plate at Livestrong.com is a wonderful tool!), more out of habit now than anything else.  For every meal, I count and measure and portion, and it’s great fun, really.

Long story short, this recipe is a great lunch I made the other day, so the measurements are for one person.  I’m sure you can do the math to make it for more! 🙂

Oh, and in case you were wondering, one serving has 320 calories.

measure me this

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