My good friend Erin Summerill, likes to drag me to the Olive Garden, or the OG, as she calls it. She seems to have a never ending supply of coupons to that place. Though I prefer other restaurants in town, like Pizzeria 712, I do like their soup with the sausage and kale, which they call “Zuppa Toscana.” Erin often makes it at home. I thought it was about time for another copycat recipe, don’t you?
If you haven’t guessed by now, the cookbook has me completely swamped. If I’m not up to my chin in flour and powdered sugar, I am either working on the manuscript for the book, or procrastinating with episodes of Downton Abbey. So to keep myself from only eating cookies and cake that I’m testing, I have started making soup at the beginning of the week, and then serving myself a bowl or two of it everyday.
Last week, I remembered Erin’s homemade version of the sausage and kale soup at the Olive Garden, and I made it myself.
I’ve always wanted to make one of these. Isn’t it beautiful? I saw Martha Stewart make one once, and then Ina Garten made one on her show. When Gojee.com invited me to a virtual potluck, I knew I had to share one. A coeur à la crème (french for “cream heart”) is basically cream cheese, cream, and sugar, whipped together, placed in a cheese cloth inside a mold of some kind, and then left to drain overnight.
Once you have one of these coeur à la crème molds, or even a strainer, it’s one of the easiest, most decadent desserts you’ll make. There is no baking involved—just mixing and pouring. And it’s perfect for Valentine’s Day.
Since today is my birthday, I thought it was only fitting that I should post an incredibly easy, incredibly indulgent recipe. Awhile back, when I saw my favorite grocery store was selling passionfruit, I bought up as many as I could afford. Just so I could have them. They’re usually quite tricky to find, and I didn’t want the opportunity of having some pass me by.
But have you ever bought something wonderful at the store, and then found yourself with stage fright—staring at it, without a clue how to make it shine? The first few fruits, I just cut open, and scooped out the juicy flesh and ate it with a spoon. I dare say, that is truly the best way to enjoy passionfruit. But what about all of you? I couldn’t just post my pictures of the empty, wrinkled skins, and say “Wish you had been here!”
I recently received an email asking if I wanted to try a jar of Hot Cilantro Chutney from Bollywood Chutneys. When it came, I put it on the shelf, promising myself to get it out when I made something Indian. But then, on a Sunday afternoon, we had some avocados to use up, some corn chips, and a lime. I knew I’d be dreaming about guacamole into the night if I didn’t make some right then, but we were out of fresh cilantro. I then remembered the cilantro chutney, and within a couple of minutes, we had a perfect guacamole. Even my daughter liked it.
Jarred cilantro is now my new favorite invention. Whenever I buy cilantro fresh, I only use a sprig or two for one recipe, and then have to throw the rest away after it turns into liquid in my fridge. Then surely, a day later, I need to buy another bunch of it for another recipe. The brilliance of this chutney is that it even has hot chilies added in, so I don’t even need to try to find a wilted jalapeño at the bottom of the vegetable drawer.
A year ago, it seems like the internet exploded with homemade versions of all the fun packaged treats, i.e. pop tarts, Hostess cupcakes, peppermint patties, etc. I’m not quite sure why I didn’t do anything similar here on sophistimom. But just because I never rode that wave on my blog, it doesn’t mean my kids and I don’t love that kind of thing.
It’s a pretty regular Sunday afternoon ritual to come home from church, find out one of my kids didn’t get treats from his Sunday school teacher when one of my other kids did, and answer his or her whines with, “Don’t worry. I’ll make you some candy!” (Hm. Maybe that’s the trouble with my parenting: I make candy for them when they whine.)
Usually we end up making homemade Reeses peanut butter cups, which I can post another time (but the general idea is in this ancient post I did on making peanut butter turtles—and you can probably piece together how to do it from there). But a few Sundays ago, I wanted something a little different, so I tried making these homemade Almond Joy cups. I’m so glad I did.
Now if I could just figure out how to make those Almond Joy Pieces . . .
My brother was just on the phone telling me I had hardly any savory recipes. This is for you, Joe.
It rained almost everyday last week. We even got snow on the mountains.
Those are the kinds of days I want to eat a skillet cookie for dinner. Or a big bowl of chili covered in melted cheddar, like this one my friend Shaina made. Those are the kinds of days I want something to warm me to the bone.
I think this salad accomplished just that.
Hello, my friends, I’d like you to meet my new friend, burrata. This little lump of cheese has made me one of the happiest people in the world. And I think it will do the same for you.
I was first introduced to this little orb of the creamier, dreamier relative of fresh mozzarella, when my peeps at babble took us out to dinner in New York last year. Since then, I have been searching high and low for it in Utah. I am happy to announce, that last week, I found it at Whole Foods, one of my favorite places in the world.
This is the macaroni and cheese I grew up on, and is nothing like what you find in a box. I suppose it is slightly reminiscent of a lasagna, made with layers of cheese and tomatoes. However, this dish, passed down to me from my mother, who got it from her mother, is layered with bacon. I’m sorry, but nothing else can compare to it. It is truly addicting.
When Newman’s Own* asked me to take a favorite recipe and make it my own using their pasta sauce, I thought of my Mom-Mom’s Macaroni and Cheese. Instead of using canned tomatoes and seasoning each layer with salt and pepper, I simply used Newman’s Own Fire Roasted Tomato and Garlic Pasta Sauce. It adds a new depth of flavor to the dish, cuts out the step of seasoning it, while keeping it as delicious as I remember it.
I’m excited to have this recipe appear in the latest issue of Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food. There is just something about her October magazines that make me giddy for cooler weather, sweaters, and socks. So if you see this issue, be sure to pick up a copy. I can’t wait to get mine. And Ashley Rodriguez of Not Without Salt has a Newman’s Own recipe in Martha Stewart Living this month, as well, so you’ll need to see it. She made a gorgeous calzone.
Every cookbook library should have a nice, sharp pencil handy. So often, the best recipes are the direct result of improvising on another recipe.
The seasoning I used for this blackened chicken is made up of the ingredients I had in my cupboard: paprika from my local Indian store, ground dill and thyme.
You could, by all means, make a rub with a more cajun flavor, using white pepper and onion powder. It’s up to you. But I didn’t have those things, so I made it my own way.
What is your favorite cooking show? A couple at the top of my list are The Barefoot Contessa and Giada at Home. I love the way they’re taped. The food is always gorgeous, and the girls seem so relaxed. They talk as if you’re their friend, standing there across the island keeping them company in the kitchen.
I prefer them to other cooking shows where it feels like the star is in a studio, talking loudly to the viewers, trying to convince them of how easy something is to cook, like a commercial.