Tuesday, May 24, 2011


The temperatures are finally starting to climb, the sun is now out well past dinner, and I've seen lots of slip-n-slides adorning lawns -- all the signs of impending summer are there. The warm temperatures often force those of us who keep the red wine vintners in business to switch to something that can be chilled, either white wines or beers. While I'm not about to say anything negative towards these fermented beverages- there are certainly nights when a cold beer is the best thing on the planet, winos with a preference for reds need a way to keep our palates sated. Enter: chilled, fruity sangria!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Grown-up Mac'n'Cheese

As far as comfort foods go, there are very few things (possibly none) that are better than macaroni and cheese. This particular concoction is a far cry from the boxed versions where you mix some questionable-looking yellow powder with butter and milk and it somehow creates "cheese". Not that the boxed version doesn't have it's place - I have some very fond memories of it from when I was little, and it's an undergraduate finals week staple, but there are times that call for an improved version.

For the last two weeks, my extended family has been living in the hospital with my little 3 1/2 year old cousin as she fights incredibly hard to recover from her 3rd open heart surgery. Anyone who's spent any time hospitals knows how fast the food gets gross and old, much less every meal for almost two weeks striaght. So when they let me bring them some dinner, I was excited to step up and bring them some solid comfort food that wasn't deep-fried and stomach-ache inducing - and thus, a more grown-up version of the ultimate comfort food was born!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Green Beans with Pine Nuts

Sorry about the brief hiatus last week- I had big plans for cooking and then a cold knocked me flat on my butt for the early part of the week and an overnight shift on Wednesday and my sister's graduation over the weekend pretty well took out the rest of my week. So, in an effort to keep up with my 1-post-per-week resolution, you'll be getting two posts this week!

I'm starting with these green beans because it's 90ยบ in Iowa City right now (aaa-mazing!) and fresh green beans are one of the foods that always taste like summer to me. Bright color, crisp snap and with farmer's markets across the country starting this last week, they're now easy and economical to find.