Monthly Archives: August 2011

Roasted Tomato and Red Pepper Soup

If you haven’t heard, it’s hurricane season.

After suffering an earthquake earlier in the week, the East Coast is now being hit by the fury of Hurricane Irene. It’s been quite a while since we’ve had a legitimate hurricane in the region, and the fear that the storm has instilled in the area’s residents was, quite frankly, a bit unexpected on my end. The lines at the grocery stores were ridiculously long, and I was quite glad that I’d gotten most of my shopping done earlier this week. The one thing I could not find, however, was a flashlight. That being said, I was able to grab one of the few candles left at CVS along with a pack of lighters so, if I lose power, I at least have that! It’ll be interesting to read casebooks by the glow of candlelight; somehow, I don’t think it’ll make them more romantic.

Whenever there’s stormy weather I instinctively reach for a bowl of soup. Now, I am not much of a soup person, and, when I have soup, I like it to be full-bodied (no weak broth for me, please!). But here’s another Rosemary-confession: I am not much of a tomato person. So the fact that one of my favorite foods in the world is tomato soup? Defies reason.

I love a good tomato soup; it just tastes so homey and comforting. This one was particularly quick and easy, but what makes it super good is the fact that it features a red pepper. I just happened to have one on hand and decided to throw it into the mix for the heck of it. I really think the pepper brought out the best in those tomatoes, because this soup is a delicious, and I can see it becoming a staple in my kitchen!

Happy eating and, to all of you on the East Coast, stay safe!!

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Tilapia Tacos


Apparently, when I think contracts, I think tacos.

I’m not sure where this came from, but, while making my way through my homework this past week, I noticed a trend: every time I worked on my contracts assignments, I thought that I should make tacos for dinner. I didn’t the first night, but I finally gave in. Is this a normal occurrence? The ironic thing is that my readings had NOTHING to do with anything taco related. It was all about houses and, well, contract-y things. I think my brain is playing tricks on me. Either that or my contracts book gives off taco vibes. You decide.

Anyway, the result of my contracts-induced craving were these delicious fish tacos. They took only a few minutes to put together, and were incredibly filling. Since I’m living alone this school year, the proportions in this recipe are for just two tacos. Granted, these make fairly large tacos, so you can definitely save one for lunch the next day–just be sure that you don’t add any guacamole to it before reheating! These pack a little heat, but feel free to adjust the amount of chili powder or seasoning according to your taste. I also recommend using a fish like tilapia, which is firm and pretty sustainable–yay for being eco-friendly.

Happy eating!

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Hungarian Plum Dumplings

Many years ago, as a young girl in my early teens, my only means of moneymaking was babysitting, and I did a lot of it.  It’s not so surprising that I’m now a teacher.

One of the families I babysat for, the Digby family, was Hungarian, and one night, when I arrived at their home to babysit, Mrs. Digby introduced me to her homemade Hungarian plum dumplings.  They were soft, juicy, and just sweet enough.  Because she knew how much I enjoyed them, Mrs. Digby made a batch of dumplings for me each time I babysat, and eventually, she scribbled down the recipe for me, so I could attempt to reproduce them in my own home.

Well, as a very young teenager, I wasn’t quite into cooking the way I am now, and the dumpling recipe got lost amongst report cards and notes between friends documenting adolescent crushes and school gossip.  In short, the recipe was never used.

Until now.  Last month, while visiting my family in Ohio, my mom uncovered the recipe for plum dumplings in a box full of middle school artifacts.  Both of us couldn’t believe that the recipe, written on three sheets—front and back—of Gateway computer notepad paper, survived this long.  I was excited by the discovery and vowed to recreate Mrs. Digby’s dish.

With it now being “stone fruit season,” I thought it was the perfect time to make the dumplings.  I was eager to see if they would bring me the same satisfaction as they did so many years ago.

Well, it is amazing the way food can take you back to a certain time and place, and these dumplings took me back to Mrs. Digby’s kitchen (luckily, without the feeling of awkward adolescence).  They are the same soft, juicy, and just-sweet-enough dumplings that I remembered and are surprisingly easy to make. Continue reading

A Taste of Peru

At La Mar in Lima

I’m back.  It’s been a over three weeks since my last post, but I have a good excuse for my absence:  I went to Peru.  And upon returning to the States, I was warmly welcomed back by a disgusting cold.

Going to Peru, we knew we were going to run into some tasty food.  I mean, here in New York, we often order from our neighborhood Peruvian chicken joint, Senor Pollo, but other than some rotisserie chicken, we weren’t entirely sure what to expect.

Our first stop in Peru was the city of Cusco.  At 11,200 feet, it took me a couple of days to adjust to the altitude.  At the end of day two, I finally had an appetite, and we made the short walk over to Los Toldos,

Pisco Sours

the site of the most flavorful, succulent chicken I’ve ever had.  Walking in, the first thing you notice is the wood-fire oven full of rotating chickens.  Sitting down, I had no trouble deciding what to order—since it was obvious that everyone orders the same thing—pollo a la brasa.  Brandon, mistakingly, had other ideas and ordered something off of the surprisingly extensive menu.  This not only confused the waitress but also caused his meal to come out an hour after mine.  Apparently, despite the lengthy menu, no one orders anything but the rotisserie chicken—and for good reason.  Brandon didn’t make the same mistake on our second visit.

After Cusco (and surviving a three-day trek to Machu Picchu), we made our way to Arequipa.  There, we


had our first taste of Peruvian ceviche. Ceviche, fish that is “cooked” by adding an acid such as lime juice, might just be my favorite new food.  It is fresh, spicy, and bursting with flavor.  Sometimes it is made using a single type of fish, and other times, it’s full of shellfish, octopus, squid, etc.  When done well, it’s divine.

After our ceviche lunch, we decided on a steakhouse dinner. We tried the much talked about Zig Zag restaurant in Arequipa.  Now, living in New York spoils a person.  Within a ten-block radius of my apartment, there are hundreds of really fantastic restaurants.  So, Brandon and I walked into Zig Zag hesitantly.  Could it really live up to the reviews we read?  It did.  I started with a trio of pisco sours, the signature cocktail of Peru.  All three (classic, currant, and coca leaf) were sublime.  We had an ostrich carpaccio that rivaled any beef carpaccio I’ve ever had, and our salads were both fresh and well-composed.  All of this led to some of the most perfectly-cooked meet I’ve had.  Before receiving our entrees, the waitress tied a pretty embarrassing bib on each of us.  Thinking this was strange for such a nice restaurant, I quickly realized, after she placed a sizzling piece of meat atop a wicked-hot stone in front of me, that the bib was to protect my clothing from my spitting steak. Between the two of us, we had beef, pork, and alpaca (a very popular dish in Peru), and all were delicious. Continue reading

Lemony Orzo with Squash and Peas

Sorry for not blogging much this past week. I’ve just finished moving to my new apartment, and I’m officially a law student now! After messing around in the new kitchen, I think I am finally starting to get the hang of things in the new apartment. Ok; that’s a lie. I set off the smoke detector twice when I raised my oven’s temp to 375 (oy vey) on my first night, and my brand new microwave seems to be on strike. In any case, my stuff is mostly unpacked, and I *think* I’m going to survive the next ten months. Or at least that is what I keep telling myself.

I decided to make something warm and comforting to celebrate unpacking all of my things, but, with loan money still on it’s way, my budget is pretty limited. Luckily, my mother took me grocery shopping before I moved in, and I have a plethora of vegetables to tide me over until that beautiful loan check comes through!

Today’s dish is a recipe that I saw a few months back on Martha Stewart’s website, but that I just got around to making. Luckily, it’s very budget-friendly. This is a great dinner to make in a pinch without sacrificing any flavor, and I’m almost positive you have most of the ingredients in your kitchen right now. I didn’t have any white wine on hand, but, next time I make this dish, I am going to try adding some in to the shallot/butter mixture. I’ll report back on how it tastes!

Happy eating!

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Healthy Zucchini Fritter and Shrimp Salad

So I officially start law school next week. I’m terrified–partially for the classes and the whole finding new friends bit, but more for the large amounts of stress that stereotypically characterize 1L year. One good thing, however, is that I’ve finally signed a lease on an apartment and am slowly moving all my stuff from my mother’s house to my tiny new place in Virginia. On the plus side, I’ve gotten to pick out a new shower curtain and other odds and ends for my apartment (I love decorating). On the downside, I’m essentially oozing money  as I search for new furniture–including a new dining table to supplement my microscopic kitchen (I have no counter space). If anyone has any suggestions for good places to go furniture shopping, let me know!

Tonight, I was craving something fresh but comforting for dinner. As I’m sure most of you know, summer is the perfect time of year for a lot of vegetables, but one vegetable in particular seems to run rampant during this time of year: zucchini. It’s difficult to imagine a time this summer when we have not had at least 2 pounds of zucchini or yellow squash in the vegetable drawer.

Now, I love zucchini and squash, so I’m not complaining, but I know plenty of people who find it bland. I found this recipe  online the other day, and I’ve been eager to try it. The “fritters” are incredibly flavorful, but they are also good for you. They are very light and chock full of zucchini. I used these in a salad, along with some shrimp that my mom and I made in the grill pan. This was a great, light dinner that I am sure will be made again after school starts!

Also, I apologize for today’s pictures. I got caught up in cooking, then in eating, and kind of failed on the photo front. Woops. As always, happy eating!

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Homemade Pesto and a Great Veggie Sandwich

I spent yesterday morning at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery. The Portrait Gallery is one of those museums that I always forget how much I like. Located in Penn Quarter near the Verizon Center, the museum is often forgotten since it isn’t on the National Mall, but it is a striking building with an impressive collection. The museum is hosting an exhibition of Alexander Calder’s Portraits until August 14th. I loved the juxtaposition of photographs and sketches with Calder’s creations, and I highly encourage you to check it out if you’re in the city. After all, the Smithsonian museums are all free!

As a student and a blogger, I have often found myself at a bit of a disadvantage when it comes to equipment. Let’s face it: the average dorm or college row house does not come with a KitchenAid Mixer, and it’s relatively pointless for any of us to buy expensive equipment as it will get either ruined by our peers or will take up space that we simply do not have. The one piece of equipment I always wished that I had, however, was the food processor. I just signed the lease on my new apartment for law school and, with even less counter space than before, a food processor is nowhere on my horizon.

So what’s a girl to do when she wants some fresh pesto? Well, my foodprocesser-less friends, I have a solution. You can still make pesto by hand. Sure, this might seem ridiculous considering you can spend five bucks on a passable jar of pesto from Safeway, but very few things beat the taste of fresh pesto, and it’s a great recipe to have under your belt. I first saw this recipe on the Crepes of Wrath and have made it many times since. While it requires a ton of chopping, it is one of the easiest and most foolproof recipes that you’ll find for pesto. I’ve even dressed it up with some cooked green beans and potatoes for pesto genovese.

Today, however, this pesto is the star in a delicious vegetarian sandwich that tastes great during the warm summer months. Give it a try or test it out on some fresh pasta. Happy eating!

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