Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Truffle Mushroom Crusted Pork Chops

Let me start by saying this.  My husband, who HATES mushrooms, loved this.  Let me repeat. Charlie, who thinks mushrooms taste like roadkill and truffles taste like gasoline, loved this.  I'm still in shock. It was that good. was just AMAZING.  I finally got him to like mushrooms.  I WIN. 

This recipe is inspired by Wildfire.  They have these amazing mushroom crusted pork chops and I think I just happened to nail the recipe. If I don't say so myself. 

Truffles.  Ah, truffles. Gods gift to me.  Lauren bought these for me awhile ago and I've been nursing them.  I treasure them and use them sparingly.  That's probably going change soon. 

This is a truffle.  Truffles are INCREDIBLY earthy, aromatic, savory, lovely.  I love adding them to mushroom dishes because it gives an already delicious dish and extra oomph.

Remove the stems from mini portabella mushrooms. Just to release the flavor and get them softened, I nuked them in the microwave for a minute and then drained the juice.

 In a food processor or with an immersion blender, blend the mushrooms and truffles together to create a paste.  And yes, I realize this might be the ugliest color on the planet.

Add the mushrooms to the room temp butter, panko breadcrumbs, thyme, garlic powder, and salt.

It was pretty hard not to eat this entire bowl. 

Ok...on to the log making.  Get some plastic wrap and create as thick of a log as possible.  We aren't making compound butter, we are topping the pork chops with a crust so the thicker the better.

I got pork loin rib chops, but you can get any type of pork your little heart desires.

In a screaming hot cast iron skillet, heat up some olive oil.  Next, season your york yops. When the pan starts to glisten, add the pork and DON'T TOUCH IT for 2 minutes.  You want it to form a nice crust.  Flip and cook for another 2 minutes.

Add two thick rounds of the crust to the pork. Put the pork under the broiler for 2 more minutes.



I'm drooling and I've already eaten 2 pork chops today.  No lie. 

Truffle Mushroom Crusted Pork Chops
1 Cup of Baby Portabella Mushrooms, stems removed
2 Sticks of Room Temp Unsalted Butter
2 Cups of Panko Breadcrumbs
4 Slices of Truffle
2 Tsp of Kosher or Sea Salt
1 Tsp of Garlic Powder
1 Tsp of Fresh Thyme, chopped
2 Tbs of Olive Oil
8 Pork Chops

Take the portabella mushrooms and nuke them in the microwave for a minute. Let them cool and then blend them with the truffles in either a food process or with an immersion blender.  Add them mushrooms to the room temp butter, breadcrumbs, thyme, salt and pepper.  Form into a large log and harden in the fridge for at least 3 hours.  Heat up a cast iron pan on high heat for 2 minutes.  Add a tablespoon of olive oil to the pan. Season the pork chops with salt and pepper.  Cook the chops for 2 minutes on each side.  Top with two thick rounds of the mushroom crust and then place under the broiler for 2 minutes. The recipe can make up to 8 pork chops.  If you are only making a couple at a time, like me, you can freeze the topping until next time.  Add the topping to steaks, chicken, pork...ANYTHING!

Stay hungry!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Easy Banana "Soft Serve Ice Cream"

Last weekend I found myself in the unfortunate situation of a warm summer evening at home with no ice cream.  We live close to a farm-made ice cream stand, but on a Friday night in June (the first day of summer!) the line would be half an hour.  Ditto the local Dairy Queen by the beach.  Plus, we'd just gotten the baby down to sleep and there was no way we were waking him up, even for ice cream.

Ages ago, I remembered blending up some frozen bananas (at the suggestion of a friend) as a substitute to ice cream.  Turns out that banana ice cream is now a Pinterest darling, so I found a slew of recipes and suggestions, but I stuck with something very simple:

3 frozen bananas
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1/4 cup peanut butter

I popped all ingredients into my Cuisinart, blended until smooth, and popped into bowls.  This was enough for 2 servings - perfect for me and Jesse.

Considering how simple this is to make and how healthy it is compared to real ice cream, I'm definitely going to make it again and enjoy this summer.  Smooth, creamy, & rich.  Perfect for a healthy treat after dinner and even husband-approved!

Happy summer!  Enjoy & stay hungry!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Apple Manchego Salad

When I was in Minnesota last weekend, my sister in law, Holly, and her hubby Travis made this AMAZING salad.  I. Was. Obsessed.  And it is SO easy.  Like SO easy.  

Just three little olive oil.  Manchego cheese is one of my favorites and is definitely the star of the show.  It's a firm, compact cheese that's creamy and buttery and just a hint salty.  I'm droolingalingalinglong. 

The beauty of this salad is the simplicity - just three delicious, flavorful ingredients that are cut uniformly.  It's important that the matchsticks are similar because texture is everything in this salad.  In order to achieve this, I used a mandolin.  Otherwise, I would have killed myself/cut my hand off. 

I used the "french fry" setting.  The julienne would have been too thin.

I did the same with the manchego cheese...perfection.

A little drizzle of EVOO and lots of freshly chopped chives add a savory balance to the tart and sweet apple.   Give it a light, gentle toss to incorporate all the ingredients. 

As Holly says, "the best bites are the ones with cheese."  I concur.

Apple Manchego Salad 
2 Tart, Crisp Apples (Braeburn, Pink Lady, Fuji), cut into matchsticks
1 Cup of Manchego Cheese, cut into matchsticks
2 Tbs of Finely Chopped Chives (I did a 1/4 cup)
2 Tbs of Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Using a mandolin, cut the apples and cheese into matchsticks.  Finely chop the chives and drizzle the olive oil.  Toss gently.  Depending on how many chives you like, you can add up to 1/4 cup.

Stay hungry! 

Friday, June 21, 2013

Special Gift Idea for Your Favorite Teacher

My sister, Michaela, posts lots of cool home projects and beautiful cupcakes on Facebook.  I've asked her a few times to feature her cupcakes but she always politely (sort of) declines.  Caitlin saw this on Facebook before I did told me that I had to post this on the blog right away.  So, if you're reading Michaela: 
1) I'm sorry I featured this without your permission.
2) This is what happens when you tell me no.
My Mom always sent little presents to give our teachers at the end of the school year to thank them for everything they did for us.  Or maybe she just sent them with me because I was the problem child?  Maybe that's why it was a bottle of whisky?
Anyway, whatever the reason, my sister made this (with the help of my niece Kenzie) for Kenzie's Kindergarten teacher. 

I think this is just SO CUTE and crafty and out of this world and totally outside the realm of my creativity.

I love all of the little details.

I found step by step directions on how to do this on another blog, which you can check out here.  Thanks Michaela...:)

Stay Homey!

Monday, June 17, 2013


I haven't posted in awhile because I injured my eyeball.  Yes, my eyeball. Oh, and by the way, I can't take credit for the clever title of this was Caitlin's idea.

Anyway, I signed up to do a 10k for this past weekend with my husband's side of the family and I've been consistently training so I wouldn't totally embarrass myself.  Nothing says bad genes like a leg cramp before hitting mile mark numero uno.  As my friend at work says, "I wouldn't even run if my socks were made out of sirloin and there were 4 Rottweilers chasing me."  True that brother.

So...the training.  So I was running in Chicago with my friend Katie last Monday and my eye started really bothering me.  I tried rinsing it out and it didn't feel any better.  I decided it was going to be a glasses kind of day, so before showering for work I removed my contact in my right eye and what felt like half of my right eyeball.  NOT GOOD.

I have scratched my cornea before, so I figured it was just a bad case of that.   I went to CVS and bought 4 different kinds of lubricating eye drops and then scampered off to work with one eye winked shut.  Sitting in my Monday morning  meeting at work was TORTURE.  I couldn't control my eye.  It was watering incessantly and I couldn't bare light.  I called my eye doctor (who isn't in on Mondays) and he advised me to keep it lubricated and to come in the next day.  I can't really tell you awful Monday was.  I couldn't eat.  I couldn't see.  I couldn't even exist.  I was writhing in pain. 

Charlie picked up numerous things from the pharmacy, including prescription antibiotic eye drops and several eye patches.  He put on the "yoga" Pandora station and placed a bowl of Cherry Garcia next to my bed.  I spent most of Tuesday waiting for my eye appointment in the dark cave Charlie turned our bedroom into. 

After some bright lights and some well received numbing eye drops, my doctor informed me that I had a metal shard in my cornea.  Yes.  A metal shard IN MY EYE.

Here are pictures of the little piece of metal.  It's the little Hersey Kiss looking thing...

Here is another shot of the metal...

My eye doctor tried flushing it out, then tried using a Q-tip and then finally scraped out as much as he could with a sharper metal looking object.  I fainted for a second and basically wanted to die/puke/pass out. Luckily, only the passing out happened and it was brief.

I went back on Thursday and there was still a little bit of metal remaining...

The most unfortunate part of my visit was finding out that in addition to a little metal left behind, there is now a rust ring.

I've had to endure a few embarrassing days with an eye patch and no makeup.  Not really my best look.  The pirate jokes are plentiful, including one made by a colleague who asked if my doctor was going to prescribe a parrot or a peg leg on my next visit.  I would defriend him if he wasn't so funny.

I will be back with some exciting new recipes soon enough.  In the meantime, I will leave you with this:

Moral of the story...don't exercise. 

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Awesome Asparagus Puff Pastry

About my dad's cooking: it's excellent.  Always delicious, creative, and interesting.  I was so lucky to grow up in a house where we sat down to his tasty dinners every night.  No matter where my parents live, "home" will always be the smell of his cooking, the sound of pots and pans clattering together, and the bits of conversation drifting from the kitchen.

I was at my parents' house this weekend (Will got to meet his great grandfather, great aunt, & great uncle) and my dad served up this delicious and simple appetizer - asparagus puff pastry.  I hadn't been home to Larchmont since the baby was born and it felt comforting and homey as ever to eat my dad's cooking and sit around a table with my whole family.

Since I want to replicate this when I have guests over, I had my dad teach me how to make these.  He used:

puff pastry
good, fresh parmesan cheese

He parboiled the asparagus and then shocked them in cold water to stop the cooking.  He rolled out the puff pastry, placed on a cookie sheet, popped the asparagus on top, then finished with a small amount of shallots & parmesan cheese.  Pop the pastry into the oven according to the package instructions (around 15 minutes).  Allow to cool, then slice up and serve!

Enjoy & stay hungry!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Whole Wheat Curried Couscous

We had a party this past weekend to celebrate Jesse's birthday and our friend Katie brought a really tasty side dish.  It was so good that I had to get the recipe from her and share here.

Katie used a Barefoot Contessa recipe with a few changes.  Katie didn't have any currants (who does??) so she used dried cranberries instead.  She also used whole wheat couscous and nixed the red onion.  Here is what she used:

1 and 1/2 cup couscous
1 tablespoon butter
1 and 1/2 cup boiling water
1/4 cup plain yogurt
1/4 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon white vinegar (Katie used this instead of white wine vinegar)
1 teaspoon curry powder
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 and 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup small diced carrots
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup blanched, sliced almonds
2 thinly sliced scallions

Melt the butter in the boiling water, then pour over the couscous in a bowl.  Cover and leave for 5 minutes, then fluff the couscous with a fork.

Whisk together the yogurt, olive oil, vinegar, curry, turmeric, salt, and pepper then pour over the couscous.  Add the remaining ingredients and mix well.  Tasty served cold or at room temperature.

Thanks to Katie and to Ina (original recipe here) for this yummy side dish.  Enjoy & stay hungry!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Dark Cherry Fizz

I don't know why, but this past weekend, I was craving dark cherries.  Oh, and vodka.  Enter, the Dark Cherry Fizz. 

Most of the newer restaurants in Chicago have drinks that include Creme De Violette.  It's a liquor that comes from violets...the flower.  Yes, you read right.  It's floral and perfume like, but it's delicious when used properly in a drink.  It also adds this beautiful purple hint. 

The fresh cherries really make the drink.  They are so beautiful!

You might want to make a big pitcher.  This will go fast.

Here's the recipe per cocktail: 

1 Oz Vodka
1/2 Oz Creme de Violette
1 Tsp Agave Nectar 
Lemon Juice, Splash 
Black Cherry Seltzer Water 

Mix everything together in a shaker.  If black cherry seltzer isn't available, skip the agave and use zero calorie dark cherry soda instead. 

YUM!  Stay thirsty.  

Monday, June 3, 2013

Turkey Burgers with Green Apple Slaw

I've never really been a fan of turkey burgers.  But these are different.  They're juicy, and loaded with herbs, garlic, and other good stuff.  They actually came out awesome. 

Start by mixing all of the ingredients together - turkey, minced onion, garlic, herbs, eggs, salt and pepper.

Give it a whiff.  You should smell the aromatics.  If you don't smell anything, add another clove of garlic.

I didn't want to add bread crumbs but Charlie was having a hard time forming patties.  So we threw them in to bind the patties.

Patty cake patty cake bakers man...

While Charlie was grilling up the burgers, I made the slaw, cabbage, onions, green apple, and a tangy dressing.  I love adding slaw to burgers.  It provides a nice crunch and some creaminess. My BFF Colleen was over so she helped me dress it up.  

Yum.  I wish I had more of this stuff.  We ate the entire bowl in one day.

TURKEY BURGERRRRSSS.  I went sans cheese but Charlie added Swiss.

Check it out!  We will be making these again - SOON!


1 Lb Ground Turkey
1/2 White Onion, Minced
2 Garlic Cloves, Minced
1/4 Cup Fresh Dill, Stems Removed, Chopped
1/4 Cup Chives, Chopped
2 Tsp of Kosher or Sea Salt
1 Tsp of Ground Pepper
1/2 Cup of Panko Bread Crumbs
Swiss Cheese

1 Head of Green Cabbage, Chopped
1/2 White Onion, Minced
1 Green Apple, Diced
3/4 Cup of Hellman's Mayo
2 Tbs of Apple Cider Vinegar
1 Tbs of Agave Nectar
Salt & Pepper

For the burgers, mix all of the ingredients together and grill about 6 minutes per side.  Add cheese, if desired.    In a large bowl add the cabbage, onion, and apple.  In a separate bowl, mix mayo, vinegar, agave, and salt and pepper.  Taste and adjust if needed.  Add to the slaw, and toss.  Add the turkey burger to a whole wheat bun and pile high with slaw.

Stay hungry!