The Best Things I Ate in 2015

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2015 was a preeettyyy delicious year around here, and I hope 2016 is just as tasty and fun as this year was. Til then, how about we reminisce a bit? Here are the best things I ate in 2015:

The rigatoni at Domenica. We ordered it as an extra plate to share with our vegetarian friend at the table, but we all ended up going crazy for it. Sometimes simple is best. The chef, Alon Shaya, was nice enough to share the recipe when I asked. Remind me to share that with you in a later post! The whole-roasted cauliflower was also amazing. I can’t wait to return to New Orleans and visit his new restaurant, Shaya.

The ahogada torta at Xoco in Chicago. I should eat more sandwiches that come with a dipping sauce, especially a carnitas one with a tomato-arbol chile broth.

A brown butter bourbon cocktail at The Restaurant At Meadowood in St. Helena, California. Danny and I visited on our honeymoon, and this was our first experience at a Michelin three-star restaurant. Expensive, amazing, and totally worth it. All 12 courses were a whirlwind of playful and delicious food, but man, that cocktail was such a surprise. It was everything I never knew I wanted in a drink. I reached out to the restaurant and got the recipe, which I hope to make soon, and share with you, of course.

A shredded kale salad with yogurt-tahini dressing from 27, the restaurant at Freehand Miami. It inspired me to make a miso-yogurt salad dressing at home. This place was great! Definitely check out The Broken Shaker, a tiny and mighty bar on the other side of the pool. Continue reading  continue reading

Slow-Roasted Salmon

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Me, end of November: Give me all your potatoes and pies.
Me, early December: These sweatpants are all that fits me right now. Get that pie away from me.

So in my search of a lighter yet full-flavored dinner, I dug up this recipe I’d bookmarked many Moleskine pages ago for slow-roasted salmon. Continue reading  continue reading

Cheese and Charcuterie Boards for the Holidays

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Friends! It’s been some time since we talked. We drove down to Miami to spend Halloween with my family, and Lila dressed up as Maleficent. I met Penny De Los Santos, and we took her to The Bends. I spent a couple days in Chicago for a marketing conference and met up with Sara Cornelius of Cake Over Steak and her photographer husband for a drink at Lone Wolf. Danny went to Nasvhille for a marketing conference. I got really into Jane the Virgin, and we started watching Master of None.

I read about Paris and felt sick to my stomach.

I spent this past weekend in Miami Beach dancing and generally having a wonderful time for my friend Eve’s bachelorette weekend. (Eve shot that incredible photo you see above!)

And now, Thanksgiving is upon us. We’re heading to my in-laws’ house this year, and I’m hoping to contribute The Food Lab’s hasselback potato gratin, sweet potato pie according to Joy the Baker’s dad but with a gingersnap crust, pecan pie (my favorite, forever and ever) and maybe some kind of stuffing. Should I pack a loaf of Cuban bread for that?? Maybe!

But what to snack on before the biggest meal of the year? Try a cheese and charcuterie board. You can set it out and let family and friends pick at it as they get hungry, and it’ll hold them over until dinner. I recently wrote all about cheese and charcuterie boards for holiday entertaining for the Tampa Bay Times, a story that called for a lot of fun reporting. I talked to several people who love cheese, including the head cheesemonger at Mazzaro’s Italian Market, and spent an afternoon creating three #cheeseborts for a photo shoot. A cheese board will most definitely grace our table when our parents visit St. Pete for Christmas, and it’s an appetizer I’ll turn to for many parties to come.

Hope you all have a magical Thanksgiving! I’ll be back soon with a recipe for slow-roasted salmon.

Brown Butter

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Brown butter! It’s the flavor that rules fall for me. I recently played around with brown butter quite a bit for the Tampa Bay Times. It’s my latest cover story for the Taste section with recipes for cookies, a salad, cake, and the best pork chops.

Besides stocking up on a lot of butter and infusing my kitchen with that nutty fragrance of browning butter, I called up J. Kenji López-Alt of Serious Eats and The Food Lab for this story. He was great and easy to talk to, and he mentioned a brown butter hollandaise I can’t get out of my head.

Check out the full story, photos, and recipes.

Spiced Pepita Brittle

Spiced Pepita Brittle

It hits sooner and sooner every year: pumpkin.

Pumpkin pancake mix. Pumpkin beer. Pumpkin everything. I picked up a bag of pumpkin spice pumpkin seeds at Trader Joe’s during the early pumpkin wave this season, and I have to admit: they were really good.

If you just can’t get enough pumpkin in your life, you’re in luck. Sara of Cake Over Steak is throwing a #VirtualPumpkinParty today with a ton of food bloggers contributing recipes featuring the squash du jour. It’s a seriously great round up of all things pumpkin, both savory and sweet.

I’ve been wanting to try my hand at brittle for some time (there’s a never-ending recipe to-do list around here!) and a pepita brittle with a few warm spices seemed like a fun way to go. I love green little pepitas aka pumpkin seeds, and this is a brilliant way to eat them. Also, breaking brittle is a super fun thing to do in the kitchen. Continue reading  continue reading