Matt is a big snacker. This snacking habit has only been encouraged by my particular “house rules” when it comes to dishes in the wood shop. No glass, no fiestaware, and no silverware near the power tools. So Matt made his own wood bowls that he fills with chips (that later become full of wood chips. somehow that doesn’t deter him from eating his potato chips).
Periodically, I like to surprise Matt with new dips for his chip addiction. Last week was Matt’s half-birthday so I decided to try this olive pesto. I know, I know. Who celebrates half-birthdays? But it all started several years ago when Matt went out to his friends for a couple beers. It just so happened to be his actual half-birthday. Somehow, the guys started saying it was Matt’s actual birthday and despite the reality that bartenders look at your ID–the bartenders bought it. He had a night of free drinks, dancing on the bar, and running around ringing the birthday bell. Ever since, we celebrate Matt’s half-birthday. Complete with a half-cake and special dips.
This olive pesto was a fun twist on the traditional pesto that I love so much. It was quick and easy to make, and it would probably taste delicious mixed with pasta.
I PASSED THE BAR!! You have no idea how good it feels to write that. After months of waiting, worrying, and some more waiting, I got the coveted letter from the Bar of Law Examiners Friday morning at 11:00 and screamed in excitement. So loud that one of my co-workers came into my office to see if I was ok. Ha. I was shaking with excitement for a good hour. The final hurdle standing in the way of my legal career has finally been conquered.
Now that I’ve lawyered the bar exam, my next feat will be working with yeast. I have a long list of recipes I want to try that work with active yeast that I have putting on the back burner to try “someday.”
Well, that someday wasn’t today. (hey, I passed the bar. I figured I earned myself a break) But next week I am going to overcome my fear of yeast and give it a good college try. This pizza was so delicious that it will probably be one of my first recipes I’ll make using yeast. Figure even if I fumble a bit, the powerful basil and mozzarella flavors will overpower any mistake I may make.
The weather is crisper. The leaves have carpeted our backyard. Fall is definitely in the air. As much as I love wanting to smush pumpkin into everything I eat and wearing boots and sweaters, it is going to be too cold for my plants to survive. While I can move some of my basil and tomato plants into my basement, my summer of fresh veggies and herbs is coming to a close. To mourn the loss, I decided to make recipes that call for lots of fresh herbs that I won’t be able to make this winter without a high grocery trip bill. It was time to make pesto!
Despite having a food blog for over half a year, I don’t have fancy tools for the kitchen. No food processor. No sharp knives. No Kitchen-Aid. I rely on hand mixing and hand chopping (with awfully dull knives). And that’s ok. Because when I finish a recipe, I love saying I made this without any fancy kitchen utilities and it still tastes awesome. And I kick ass.
The best part about this pesto recipe is that while most people rely on a food processor to make pesto, this recipe doesn’t need one. In fact, rumor has it, the best pesto is made when you chop the ingredients by hand. And that made my day. Who needs fancy, expensive kitchen machines when you got your hands : )
Fall is finally here!! It is my favorite season–cool, crisp weather, sweaters, scarves, boots, pumpkin lattes. Usually fall marks new beginnings for me since a new year of school starts–but this year is the first year in 20 years that I didn’t start school. Luckily, the great feeling of a fresh start didn’t fade this fall because I started my first, real job as a lawyer a couple weeks ago. Still, it’s odd not working on homework or spending time on OneNote.
Fall also means more heartier meals. Something to stick to your ribs. And this makes me think of eggplants. I always avoid recipes that require deep frying so making eggplant parmesan has never been something on my to-do list. Thank God I found this recipe! I still get to enjoy eggplant parmesan without all the deep fried hassle and high calories.
So many new things have been happening in my house. I got a job!! Only after a couple months after graduating law school, I got a position as an associate attorney at a law firm that specializes in banking and business law. I started last week and so far I am loving it! The firm has been so welcoming. It feels like I hit the jackpot.
And the day after starting work, Matt and I decided it was time to paint our kitchen cabinets. We’ve only had our house for a little over a year, and it definitely falls under the category of a “fixer-uper.” The kitchen had cheap, dark, wood cabinets. They added nothing to our kitchen. My mother-in-law suggested we paint them, and it was time for us to take her advice.
Still putting last minute touches on the newly, painted cabinets. So no “after” picture yet. With the new job and a diy project turning my kitchen upside down, cooking fell to the back burner. But after a week hiatus, it was time for a new recipe.
This weekend my in-laws came to visit. It’s a 6 hour drive from their place to ours so they usually do not get in until around 9 or 10. The visit always starts out with my father-in-law suggesting we get pizza. But because it’s around 9, all the places around us only do delivery and Matt and him debate whether delivery will take too long. And after discussing it for 20 minutes, a delivered pizza would likely already be on its way. So this time I decided to skip the whole first act and make something. This pizza bake was a huge hit. My father-in-law got his pizza fix, and Matt got his bake fix.
Today was harvest day at the Cremona house. With my handy shears, I plopped tomatoes, cucumbers, jalapenos, serranos, green beans, and an orange pepper into my basket. When I was done, I looked like I raided a farmer’s market.
I am so proud of my orange bell pepper. Last year only my green peppers grew so I was thrilled when this year turned out to be different. I didn’t want my miracle pepper to go to waste. This pepper needed to be used in a truly fun recipe. Something unique where the flavors of the pepper stood out.
This twist on the traditional, tomato-based bruschetta was excellent. The orange pepper makes the bruschetta sweeter and crunchier. Next time I make this I think I’ll use different color bell peppers to see how that mixes up the taste.
The dreaded bar exam is lurking around the corner. In 16 days, I’ll be sitting down in a crowded, stuffy classroom, surrounded by over-stressed, nerve-ridden students waiting to take a two day-12 hour exam that will decide whether or not we are fit to practice law in Minnesota. Sounds great huh? Bring on the fun!
While I wait in anticipation of this joyous event, I have been cramming every single piece of law I can into my over-sized head. It’s gotten to the point that when I have conversations, they consist of me telling someone about a certain area of law. “Hey! So you’re never gonna believe this crazy piece of information! You can use prior inconsistent statements to impeach a witness. AND it can come in as substantive evidence.” Yeah, I know. Crazy. But it’s true!!
So since I can only speak in legal jargon, I’ve decided to stick to crock pot recipes for the next two weeks. Anything that takes more than 20 minutes to cook makes me feel guilty for reading something that isn’t cluttered with italic, Latin phrases. My poor summer fun reading list has been set aside (sorry Jessi Witkins!) And this recipe only calls for ingredients that most people have on hand at all times. No need for a grocery run.
The heat index in Minneapolis has started to decline (we live in house without air conditioning. the last couple days were less than pleasant) so using the crock pot isn’t completely unreasonable. Plus, after a full day of studying, a warm meal sure feels great! And hell, who doesn’t love chicky catch with some long ass rice (much love to my boy Tom Haverford).
Today was rainy. On my way home from my bar class, hail the size of golf balls started to impale my car. Cars huddled under the closest bridge seeking refuge. I was lucky enough to have Sally (my car) completely under the bridge. But the whole experience was mildly scary. When the hail first started, it sounded like my car was being shot at. I was honestly worried that they were going to break my windshield. While I am far more susceptible to being frightened, I knew I wasn’t the only person concerned when all the cars under the bridge created a barricade, stopping all traffic. But by the time the song on the radio was over, the storm had lifted and so did the barricade.
This cold, rainy weather meant a warm dinner was in order. One thing I often have trouble with is portion control when it comes to those warm casseroles. And while the weather outside mirrors autumn more than summer, next week (or maybe even tomorrow) will be swimsuit weather again. Thankfully these spinach lasagna rolls realize this and come with built-in portion control. Instead of having to eyeball how many inches your slice should be, you roll the lasagna–making each roll a serving size. Much easier to stay on track and still enjoy a warm slice of lasagna.
I may have an unhealthy love of basil. I use it almost daily, and my herb garden can’t grow it fast enough. To me, it’s what healthy eating is-fresh, bold, and poignant. My insides feel cleansed whenever it’s in my food. Might be all in my head.
As a lover of sandwiches, I’ve been trying to find great sandwich recipes that include basil and travel well. Like many students, my lunch is made at 7:00 a.m. No one wants a sandwich that is all soggy by noon. If that unsoggy sandwich includes basil, even better. This sandwich has only four ingredients that travel well so you can bring all the ingredients with you and easily assemble it when you are ready to eat. No need to live solely on pb&j’s anymore!