Tag Archives: Savory

Caro: Almond-Crusted Chicken Breasts

***I’m catching up on old posts! This was my intended contribution to almond week.***

Hello, and welcome to the easiest meal ever. Like… started and served in less than 20 minutes. Simple as can be, and so good that I ate it for four days in a row and still craved more. Season some chicken, food-process almonds, garlic, and olive oil, top the chicken breasts with the resulting savory almond crumble, and bake. Dinnertime!

almond-crusted chicken breasts

This chicken is so fuss-free and foolproof that it seems wrong to spend an entire blog post talking about it. So I’m going to talk about other things instead. Humor me.

1. I have a huge crush on Kid Cudi (even when he’s wearing a Hendrix wig).

2. Have you heard of this project called You Are My Wild? Every week, 14 photographers each take a picture of their child(ren), and the resulting images are gathered and posted to the project’s page. It’s suuuch a moving project… the collections of photos are gorgeous, and it’s fascinating to see how the different photographers choose to capture their little ones. Go ahead, look through some of the shots. Isn’t it kind of amazing, how much of a kid’s spirit can come through in just one picture?! It makes me want to develop photography skills just so I can have kids and take pictures like this of them.

3. I’ll probably fall in love with all 14 of the YAMW photographers as I check ’em out, but for now I’m already head over heels for Shelby Brakken. I like the travel section of her website, but it’s her photographs of people that totally sparkle. Oh my gosh. They’re inspired and bursting with the kind of beauty and emotion and personality and LIFE that photography should be about all the time. Stunning!!! I want to print these pictures and show them to everybody and hug all the people in my life for their uniqueness. I think I’m crazy.

4. If you know me, you know my love for sequins knows no bounds… so why will I never be able to afford these two dresses? And why will I never have an occasion that requires a floor-length sequin-covered gown? Sighhh.

5. Mika, who’s made top 3 in my list of favorite people of all time, teamed up with director Cristián Jiménez to create a short film in place of a typical music video for his song “Origin of Love.” It’s one of those songs that just feels so big and anthemic, but not in a cheesy, “Imagine Dragons” kind of way—Jiménez says “it almost feels like you can touch [the song]”—and I really didn’t think it could get any better, but the film brings it to life, and vice versa, and it’s just super beautiful. I keep watching it and getting teary-eyed, right at the bridge of the song. It’s love! I don’t know if this couple is in love in real life, but I 100% believe they are. Gah. Go watch it!

6. EASTER CANDY is in stores! And Easter is about to pass us by, which means Easter candy is about to go ON SALE!!! Sorry in advance, pants. It’s gonna be restrictive-waistband-free clothing up in here for a while.

That was fun! Now back to the chicken. I love this because you don’t have to worry about over-browning or burning one side of the chicken on a temperamental skillet. Just pop it into the oven, and come back to flawlessly cooked chicken in 15 minutes. (There’s an audience of people yelling “Set it, and forget it!” in my head.) I also love this because oven-baked chicken has always failed me in the past… dry and odd in texture. But this one bakes up so perfectly juicy, it’s insane! I think the almond topping must seal in the juices somehow. I also love love love the crunch of the almonds coupled with the chicken… texture party!

almond-crusted chicken breasts

Serve it alongside rice or veggies, or be like me and serve it with mac and cheese. Any way, it’s one of my favorite new weeknight dinners. Make it one of yours!

Click here for the recipe!

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Caro: “The Ultimate Macaroni and Cheese” (Panera at Home)

***I’m catching up on old posts! This was my intended contribution to mac and cheese week.***

Omgomgomg. YOU GUYS.

Have you ever made mac and cheese at home from scratch? Does the same thing happen to you that happens to me where no matter how much cheese I add in, it always kind of just tastes like pasta in a vaguely cheese-flavored cream sauce that is wholly unsatisfying? Is that something that only happens to this girl? I don’t know… I don’t know.

I’ve only made plain mac and cheese from scratch a couple of times, but I’ve never found a recipe worth repeating. I did hit a jackpot of sorts when I made that jazzed up pumpkin mac and cheese in the fall, but I’ve never triumphed with a straight cheese and pasta recipe devoid of other ingredients to punch up the flavor. I always end up disappointed by the lack of that perfectly sharp cheesy flavor that makes me crave my favorite restaurant mac and cheeses by the bucketful. Womp, womp.

(For the record, my favorite mac and cheese of all time comes from Mr. Moes in Coconut Grove. The service sucks, and the tables and floors are always kind of sticky, but I keep going back, because HOLY GOODNESS have they nailed mac and cheese at its very best. A bowl of half-melty, half-stringy cheese with a handful of noodles swimming in it. It’s super rich and tastes cheesy beyond belief and is absolutely perfect, and I’m always fully satisfied after a helping. Dang, now I want some…)

Aaanyway. So this is how my mac and cheese creation attempts usually go. I’ll desperately crave mac and cheese, get all ambitious and excited, and try a new recipe, and then I’ll be like, “Why did I do that? That was a waste of time and cheese that I very well could have eaten straight.” After lamenting the poor use of perfectly yummy cheese, I’ll think of where I can go to get my mac and cheese fix as quick as possible (a.k.a. not from a sit-down restaurant), since you can’t leave a mac and cheese craving unsatisfied. When I was in St. Louis, I’d go to Noodles & Co. cause it was super close to campus, but since we don’t have those around here, I usually end up at Panera, which is cool cause I LOVE Panera.

Their mac and cheese is about as simple as it gets… no bread crumbs, no baking for crispy corners, no extra cheese on top. Noodles and sauce. But you know what? It’s still one of my favorites ever! I mean, really, when I crave comfort food, that’s all I want. Cheese and carbs and warmth, no frills.

SO. Imagine how excited I was when I thought I should look up copycat recipes for Panera’s masterpiece for mac and cheese week, and I found their recipe… on their website… from their head chef! It doesn’t get more legit than that, so I had a feeling I was on my way to my first truly successful (in other words, worth making again) at-home pared-down mac and cheese.

Guess what. I was right!!!

photo

Ok, so maybe this doesn’t taste exactly like the mac and cheese you get at Panera. But that’s because restaurants use crack or something in their dishes to make them addictive enough for you to keep spending your cash monies on them. This is as close as you’ll ever get to Panera at home… and it is le awesome. Why? 1. It actually tastes like CHEESE! Glorious. 2. It reheats better than any mac and cheese I’ve ever made. 3. It’s so easy… no oven or fancy garnishes or anything complicated. One saucepan (two if you wanna get fancy and make the cheese sauce while you boil the pasta), one bowl, one cheese grater, one measuring cup. Minimum effort, maximum payoff.

Success! Mac and cheese at home that is simple, hits the spot, and is worth making again, and again, and again. At last!

photo (1)

Get. On. This.

Click here for the recipe!

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Lauren: Cheese Crack(ers)

cheesestarsI beamed down from the planet Cheese. Seriously. During my junior year of college I nearly subsisted on wedges of Laughing Cow Light Cheese alone. Well those and salads, but come on, we all know salad is just an excuse for cheese. I feel similarly about my daily egg whites. What fun are they without shredded mozzarella? Most recently I’ve embraced eating Granny Smith apples with a few bits of cheddar. You could say cheese is my crack.

It makes sense then that from the moment Molly Yeh posted about her homemade sriracha gouda cheese-its, I needed them. My random interest in crackers was slow to catch fire as you might imagine as they are arguably the world’s most boring food. First I read about Joy’s sharp cheddar cheese (and chili cheese) crackers, then Molly Wizenberg’s oatcakes. And by the time Molly Yeh posted about her cheese-its, which feature my all-time favorite—SMOKED GOUDA—my cracker-love was blazing.

I made three different kinds of cheese crackers last week. Yeh’s, and both of Joy’s. This crunchy kitchen showdown yielded one reigning champ—a hybrid. It mixes many of the ingredients in Joy’s chili cheese crackers with Yeh’s dough base and baking times.

Ready to cook some crack?

Chili Cheese Crackers

Ingredients:

4 tbs. unsalted butter at room temperature

8 oz. cheddar cheese (I used a 2 year aged block of yellow cheddar)

1 cup all purpose flour whisked with:

  • around 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp. paprika (smoked if you have it, I didn’t)
  • Joy also adds ancho chili powder but I didn’t have any
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. coarsely ground black pepper

Recipe:

  1. Preheat the oven to bake at 350 degrees and place rack in the upper third of the oven.
  2. Throw all ingredients into an Oscar or other small-ish food processor and mix until it comes together into a dough. You can also mix the dough with a pastry knife if you’re feeling old school or don’t have access to a food processor. It’s just more annoying.
  3. Put a piece of parchment paper down on a flat surface and use a rolling pin to roll out the ball of dough until it’s 1/8 in. thick.
  4. Break out the cookie cutters! I made mini moons, tiny hearts, and small stars. You could also use a pizza cutter à la Molly and make simple rectangles. Collect the scraps and repeat until you’ve used all the dough.
  5. Arrange the cut crackers on the parchment atop a cookie sheet. The crackers don’t expand much in the oven so feel free to use every inch of the parchment.
  6. Bake the crackers in the upper third of the oven for 20 minutes. Err on the side of over-baking. They get crunchier the longer they’re in the oven. Until they turn black. Then you’ve probably overdone it.
  7. They get a little greasy since you are melting cheese and butter after all, so I immediately placed the crackers in a single layer on a paper towel after removing them from the oven but this is optional.
  8. Just try to stop eating them.

cheesecrackers2If you’re at all spice-phobic these are your gateway drug. Despite what sounds like an ample amount of hot stuff present, the crackers are quite subtle and the intense cheesiness is what really comes through. The spices just give the crackers a nice toasty flavor. I swear this tastes like the actual recipe for Goldfish.

Until next week, farewell from the land of fromage!

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Caro: Chickpea (!!!) Fritters

Sigh.

Every time I think I’m done being stressed and I’ll have a couple of weeks of relative ease, something somewhere picks up and things go crazy all over again. So obviously, I’ve been trying to spend a fair amount of my free time with and around stuff that makes me happy. If you’d seen the enthusiasm I responded with when Lauren suggested chickpea week (which has passed, I know, I’m sorry 😦 ) for the blog, you’d know that chickpeas make me very, very happy.

In the interest of keeping this post positive and sharing some of my joy with all of you, here are a bunch of other things that make me happy:

  1. Falling asleep during a thunderstorm
  2. (Often irreverent yet amusing) Cyanide and Happiness comic strips
  3. Leaving the office for lunch on long days (and getting to eat at fun, new-to-me restaurants!)
  4. Splitting an almond right down the middle (It’s the little things!)
  5. Some of my most-loved R&B jams from the 90s
  6. My favorite music video, ever, of all time
  7. Sangría and champagne (not necessarily at the same time, though I don’t see how that could hurt)
  8. My favorite commercial from Superbowl XLVII (and my second favorite, too!)

Alright, now that some smiles have been smiled, let’s get back to chickpeas.

My love affair with the little legumes began with my stumbling upon this post by Molly Wizenberg on her blog Orangette (also known as my favorite [food] blog of all time). Molly can make anything sound beyond lovely, and while a meal of only chickpeas, lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and cheese would in any other context have gone completely unnoticed by me, Molly’s writing sold me on it. I made it the day after reading the post, and now it is one of my top 3 lunch options on any given day. It’s perfect, especially when you take the time to find the best ingredients you can afford. It’s simple turned special 🙂 .

But it’s not what I made for chickpea week. I just wanted to tell you about it, in case you need a new favorite lunch. I went for something totally different, reminding myself that Cooking with Copy is supposed to be about trying new things and whatnot. I was worried I might be disappointed by my choice, fearing nothing could live up to my beloved five-ingredient chickpea salad… but I was WRONG! I made chickpea fritters, and they were AMAZING.

chickpea fritters

Amazing, like, I would call them the most delicious savory things to ever come out of my kitchen if it weren’t for that pumpkin mac and apple-smoked cheese I made and shamelessly devoured in November. So we’ll just have to call them the second-most-delicious. OMG, I don’t even know where to start with these. They’re like these adorable little chickpea patties, lightened up with the brightness of lemons and scallions, made even more flavorful by the addition of garlic and parsley (though the original recipe calls for rosemary). Oh, sorry, was all that not enough for you? Well, they’re also FRIED. So there. Try and say no to them now.

chickpea fritters

Haha, you can’t! And really, you shouldn’t. They’re a cinch to make, since you just have to roughly chop everything and toss it into a food processor, then form and fry the patties for a couple minutes. They end up all crispy and beautiful, and they manage to be light and filling at the same damn time, and they taste bright and fresh, and they’re just great. So really… get to it. Have them for dinner with some grilled chicken or steamed veggies, or eat them alone out of the pan while suffering mild burns from the hot oil, like I did… whatever. SO good!

Click here for the recipe!

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Lauren: Caramelized-sesame chickpeas

sesamechickpeasIT’S CHICKPEA WEEK!!! How psyched are you? Yeah, for serious, cannot contain my excitement. Caro and I have been planning chickpea week, oh, since before this blog was even on our radar. We even have a DANCE about chickpeas for Pete’s sake! Don’t ask, just go with me here.

While I admit to having spent the past 15 minutes chipping garbanzo shrapnel off my pan and into every corner of the kitchen, I still implore you—MAKE THESE! There are sesame seeds and chickpeas, there is honey, they’re gluten free, they’re almost totally low-carb acceptable, they’re a little bit asian, they’re sweet without added sugar—they’re golden.

Let me explain how I found these little bits of magic.

Pinterest has been a regular haunt of mine lately and I have been “pinning” and “liking” up a storm. Everyone knows/thinks I like desserts but the thing is, I really kind of don’t. When I was little I was always one for cheese puffs over donut holes; I’d take savory over sweet any day. Now that I’m older, it seems to be happening again. Last weekend I went to St. louis, and for the first time frequented my favorite cupcake shop, and didn’t end up eating a single cupcake! I didn’t even want to eat them. I just kind of wanted to hoard them and look at them and maybe take the occasional sniff. But I had zero desire to eat them. WEIRD.

I couldn’t believe my luck when I found this recipe on Pinterest last week without even searching for chickpeas! It keeps with my effort to chill on the carbs since chickpeas, olive oil, and salt are totally ok (honey is another story but since most of it ends up burnt to the bottom of the pan anyway, I’m going to ignore it), it’s gluten-free (something I sometimes experiment with) and it has protein to keep you full—with some crunch! Nearly every salty snack that exists is packed with crap no one needs, so this is an ideal option. It’s sweet, it’s savory, it’s crunchy—just do it. DO IT! Just don’t eat them all at once (this is more of a note to myself) because about 1/4 cup of fully-hydrated chickpeas is one serving and they’re kind of high in calories for such a small amount.

sesamechickpeas2Anyway, are you ready for the deliciousness? Here we go.

The recipe came from the blog With Style and Grace. Aaand now (that I’ve just revisited the page) I see what would have saved me from the whole 15-minute chickpea-mining experience that just took place. PARCHMENT PAPER! Or a Silpat. The recipe is pretty self explanatory and easy-to-follow but there are a few notes besides the addition of my best friend, parchment paper.

  • Don’t burn your chickpeas. Once they’ve been roasting for around 25 minutes start watching them to ensure that they don’t shrivel into small bits of coal. The same goes for watching them during their second round in the oven after they’ve been covered in honey.
  • “Stirring” the chickpeas in the pan once they’ve been coated is nearly impossible. Try banging the sheet against the oven rack to free some of the peas, otherwise just ignore that part of the recipe—they turn out fine.
  • When the honey-ed chickpeas are finished, remove them from the pan IMMEDIATELY, or prepare to spend your afternoon as the archaeologist you never wanted to be.
  • The group of peas will fuse into one mass if placed in a bowl but fear not—lift the ball a few inches above where it sits in the bowl and just let it fall. It will break into smaller pieces. Repeat.
  • Know that if you do end up with a big, cement-like expanse of cooked honey on your sheet (if for instance you cook sans parchment paper and directly on the metal) simply run hot water over it instead of fighting it with a scrubby brush and dish soap, as it will dissolve in moments without any work!

Go. Make these now. Your 4 p.m. hunger will thank you.

For another gluten-free, lacy treat, check out these vegan florentines which look incredible.

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Lauren: Kale and Pomegranate Salad

WHO’S READY FOR THE HOLIDAYS?! Well you can’t be; not until you’ve tried this kale and pomegranate salad. You get an aril! And you get an aril! See how excited I am about this bowl o’ red and green? And it’s for good reason! Pomegranates are delicious and beautiful fruits. They are also the namesake of the picturesque Spanish town in which my brother studied abroad (and yes, he chose it because he liked the fruit), see Granada. Anyway, back to business.

The edible parts of a pomegranate are its jewel-like seeds called arils. The outside of each seed is juicy and rigidly holds its form unlike another juicy fruit like say, an orange, which will squirt you in the eye at every opportunity. Once you’ve bitten through the juice, you hit the hard seed but fear not, because it will break into bits upon chewing. Arils are completely addictive and after de-seeding my first pom of the season I proceeded to eat the entire fruit’s worth of seeds in one standing just because they’re so fun to chomp. So given how fresh this fruit is, I wanted to make either a fruit or regular salad to highlight and compliment its freshness, not diminish it or dry it out by baking into cookies or something.

Enter: daily waffle’s Kale, Asian Pear, and Pomegranate Salad. It is awesome. You know what was not awesome? My Asian pear. It was watery, had zero flavor, and was so hard it was difficult to chew. Thus, immediately after trying a piece I chucked that sucker into the trash and decided to move forward with the recipe anyway, despite how wonderful the addition of pear to a kale salad sounded. If you’re up for it, buy a bosc, comice, or other ripe pear and cut that up to use in place of the Asian pear. Unless of course your Asian-pear-picking skills are fabulous, then by all means make the recipe as it is written.

Ok, so the dressing is really easy, just whisk all the ingredients together and you’re good to go. I found the early step of massaging salt into the dry leaves completely pointless as it just falls to the bottom so just forget that. And as usual, I used curly instead of lacinato kale again due to my bug aversion. Last week I found a tiny, very-much-alive slug on the back of one of my lacinato leaves and that was the end of that. My substitution involves somewhat OCD washing* of the curly leaves, followed by roughly ripping them into smaller pieces and drying them. After the leaves are ready and the dressing is mixed, do as you did with the last kale salad and get in there with your hands to massage the dressing into the leaves and ensure an even coating. When you’re ready to serve, pretend it’s New Years Eve and liberally cover the salad greens in aril-confetti.

The salad is dressed for the season, tastes quite unique among kale salads thanks to the rice wine vinegar and ginger, lasts about two days after being dressed so it can be made ahead of the holiday madness, and provides a truly healthy and fresh counterpoint to all the heavy, baked food being shoved in your face this time of year. Now go out, buy some kale and pomegranate, and prepare for an onslaught of compliments on your tasty and holiday-color-appropriate salad-making skills.

Recipe!

*I like to wash each individual leaf, rip them off the stems/away from the tough inner-vein, then swish the leaves around in a water-filled bowl, and finish by drying the leaves in a salad spinner.

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Caro: Pumpkin Mac and Apple-Smoked Cheese

Oh. My. GOODNESS. You guys.

This is SERIOUS.

This post today… it is about my new second-favorite pasta dish… ever.

(My favorite pasta dish currently is, and I’m pretty darn sure will forever be, the gnocchi in tomato sauce at Charlie Gitto’s on the Hill in St. Louis, MO. Oddly enough, it does not appear on their online menu… I just said seven prayers hoping that this does not mean they have stopped making it. That gnocchi makes up at least 58% of the reason I am dying to go back to STL. But anyway…)

Do you have any idea how much I looove pasta? (Very, very much.)
Do you have any idea how much pasta I eat? (A lot. A lot of pasta.)
Do you have any idea how many truly amazing pasta meals I have devoured in my lifetime? (Quite a few… lucky me!)
Now. Do you understand how much love I have to have for this pumpkin mac and cheese to place it on a pedestal above almost all the pasta I have eaten in my life?! I mean… whoa. It must be good, right?!

It’s so. SO. good.

pumpkin mac and apple-smoked cheese

Please note how I have made no attempts to cover up the real-life state of my kitchen. The only difference between this photo and my current kitchen is that the bananas are gone.

Can I still call this mac and cheese if I actually used orecchiette? I think so. “Orecchiette and cheese” just does not roll off the tongue as nicely.

Lest you think I’m trying to glorify my cooking abilities and going all “I utilized my culinary expertise to craft the most delectable pasta experience imaginable” on you, let me tell you that the deliciousness of this mac and cheese is attributable not at all to me but rather entirely to the types and amounts of cheese I used.

I was at Walmart when I decided I was going to make pumpkin mac and cheese for pumpkin week—thank you, iPhone, for allowing me to Google “creative pumpkin recipes” when my computer is nowhere near me!—and so I figured I’d buy ingredients there. Naturally, I hit up the cheese section first. The original recipe uses fontina, so I was on the lookout for that… no dice. I did, however, find the absolute makers of this mac and cheese… Red Apple Cheese’s Apple Smoked cheeses!

I had never seen or tried these before, ever. They caught my eye, though, and I ended up picking up apple smoked cheddar and apple smoked Gruyère to replace the elusive fontina. I had a feeling the smokey apple flavor of the cheese would blend well with the pumpkin in the mac and cheese… and boy, was I right. The flavors were incredible together.

pumpkin mac and apple-smoked cheese

There is one thing y’all may object to about this recipe… after everything, it really doesn’t turn out like much of a mac and cheese at all. It ends up more as a dish of pasta covered in an incredibly rich, thick, cheesy, and totally spoon-able sauce (like a spiffed-up alfredo, if you will). I promise, you will not miss the traditional feel of mac and cheese once you take a bite of this pasta. I ate the entire dish in two sittings… I’m pretty sure that was actually eight servings. Whatever. No regrets. I mean… YOLO, right?!

(If you’re one of those people who is super tired of hearing everyone say YOLO every five seconds, you probably shouldn’t hang around me much. I’m totally not over it.)

pumpkin mac and apple-smoked cheese

Ok. This recipe has: pumpkin (seasonal!), cheese (amazing!), whipping cream (decadent!), sage (fancy!), pasta (carb-o-licious!)… I don’t really have any selling words left. If you’re not already running to make this ASAP, who are you?

Continue reading

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Lauren: Kale Salad


We’re back with week two of “Lauren’s Affair with Parmesan.”

Kale, Parmesan, lemon, olive oil, garlic, red pepper flakes, salt, pepper. Bam. Kale salad. Read on for this awesome, easy recipe.

For week 9 of CWC we’re going a little wild. We’re theme-less. Or rather, the theme is similar to a choose-your-own-adventure book for us, it’s a freebie, a wildcard, it’s writer’s-choice. My choice? Kale.

Feeling my risk of developing diabetes increase by the day, I couldn’t be more excited about vegetables lately, deep green kale in particular.

Kale is SO AMAZING that given free rein, it was necessary to finally discuss the recipe I’ve been harassing Caro about since June.

As discussed in an earlier post, I lived in an extended-stay hotel over the summer. Ironically I’m sitting in a room of the very same hotel as I write this. Little did I know before my summer move-in that the place doesn’t supply its guest rooms with ovens. Cue a minor freak out.

I moved to St. Louis at summer’s start with an arsenal of recipes for proteins and salads (oh come on, and baked goods, I’m not that saintly), which could, in theory, be made quickly and easily for dinner and then taken to work the next day for lunch. The thing was, they were gathered with the kitchen of my apartment in mind which did have an oven. So after moving into the hotel I went on weekly recipe-finding missions to find things that could be made 1. without an oven, and 2. the night before and stay tasty until noon the next day.

Then up popped Marin Mamma’s recipe and the angels started singing.

This recipe solved all of my food-induced woes. Not only was it said to be incredibly easy, but it involved cheese (score!) AND was said to only get better with age. Plus it was packed with fiber and all the other goods present in dark leafy greens. I made the salad at least once a week and recommended it to my friend Matt, a fellow intern and foodie, who also enjoyed it.

I shake up the recipe a little bit from its original version. While I tried to remain loyal to the lacinato kale type (non-curly, each piece is just a single long flat leaf) which Marin Mamma suggests, every time I’ve purchased it, there have been bugs on the backs of the leaves, so, grossed out, I always return to curly kale and it’s equally good. In addition, I find 3 tablespoons of olive oil a little excessive. That’s like 300 calories and a boatload of fat (yes, yes, I know it’s the good kind but too much of a good thing is still bad) for a salad, and that’s before even counting the cheese. My fix is to add only 2 tablespoons of olive oil and just over 1 cup of cheese, or enough to pretty evenly cover the kale leaves. Make sure to massage the dressing concoction into the salad with your hands to ensure an even coating. With my adjustments, the lemon in the dressing makes much more of an impact, so add salt and add oil to taste if sour isn’t your thing. I also tend to add in around half a tablespoon of red pepper flakes because I like things spicy and regularly double the amount of minced garlic (to ward off vampires, duh) because I’m a garlic fiend.


Assuage your Halloween-induced guilt with kale in one of its best forms. If you have any other kale recipe suggestions I’d love to hear them in the comments below. Peace, love, and kale leaves.

Recipe here.

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Caro: Potato and Sour Cream Biscuits

Why, hello there. Guess what. I made us biscuits!

potato and sour cream biscuits

Pretty, pretty potato biscuits.

potato and sour cream biscuits

Truth: I’ve spent the last week in a sort of state of general breakdown punctuated by existential crises and episodes of relentless self-analysis. It’s hard to explain. Suffice it to say that I’m feeling lost in oodles of ways and have been kind of hard on myself. It’s the classic “What’s my purpose in life?” with some “Why can’t I just be more like (insert one of various role models)?!” and a little “I should disregard who others influence me to be and focus on who I really want to be… except that I have no idea who that is!” stirred in for good measure… only 10 times more intense.

Thoughts like this have made occasional stops in my mind in the past, for sure, but they’ve never invaded it for an entire week like this. It’s been weird and kind of rough.

But, a few things have been helpful.

1. These two songs on repeat:
“Dancing in the Dark” – Bruce Springsteen. The BOSS. I am actually in love with him.
“Carousel” – Vanessa Carlton. I mean… just beautiful.

2. The Mindy Project. Anything that takes my mind off life and gifts me with 22-ish minutes of out-loud laughter is so welcome right now.

3. These biscuits. You saw that coming, right?

potato and sour cream biscuits

Oh, these biscuits. They are, like… the comfort food to end all comfort foods for me. Because biscuits are tender, buttery pillows of love, and because, well, I ADORE Yukon Gold mashed potatoes more than you could ever even imagine, due to a steady stream of this food making its way from my abuela’s kitchen to my tummy when I was a wee one… and because what we have here are biscuits that taste JUST like Yukon Gold mashed potatoes. For real! I totally did not expect the level of potato flavor these biscuits delivered… surprise score. This is probably not nearly as exciting to the average person as it is to me. But for moi, they were absolutely perfect.

potato and sour cream biscuits

And they are just so darn cute. I think. Man, I love biscuits. I ate two of these straight out of the oven (topped with a pat of butter and sprinkled with extra salt, duh) and settled into bed for a sunset nap. It was the loveliest late afternoon in the midst of my crazy week. Exactly what I needed. And they were easy as pie to make. (Wait… why do people say “easy as pie”? Pie’s hardly the easiest baking project I can think of. Anyway…)

Your turn now! Go buy some cheap ingredients and make potato biscuits. Or your own favorite comfort food. Relax this afternoon. Thank me later.

Click here for the recipe!

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Lauren: Roasted Potatoes

I really, really hate bugs, but I really, really love roasted potatoes. While my hatred of bugs is nothing new, my love affair is. My relationship with the starchy staple began only this summer. Here’s what happened:

After graduation I moved home to Chicago for the summer, only to be notified two weeks later that I had gotten an internship back in St. Louis, and that the company wanted me to begin there in, oh, six days. SIX DAYS. Let’s just say it was a bit of a scramble. The last-minute schedule meant there was no time to apartment hunt, which was fine because I had just so happened to have checked out one apartment in case this sort of situation materialized—and it was beautiful.

The place had two bedrooms and two bathrooms, a dishwasher, central air (a necessity in 110-degree heat, perhaps you heard about us breaking records last summer?), a newly-redone interior, an upgraded kitchen, and a baby bunny that lived outside my bedroom window. To top it off I was on the first floor but still elevated above ground level making the moves in and out as painless as possible, and it was in a cute and safe neighborhood with the best candy store ever on the corner. Everything had fallen into place—it seemed almost too good to be true.

And ohhh, it was.

One day after I moved in the bugs came out. I won’t gross you out with the details (thankfully they were not cockroaches), but let’s just say that after two visits from the exterminator, the bugs weren’t going anywhere, but I was. A combination of hotel rooms and the guest room of my boyfriend’s parent’s house in the suburbs got me through until I found a new place of residence.

Even though I eventually moved into an extended-stay hotel, I was still invited to Chris’s house for dinner at least once a week.

Enter: potatoes. Helloooooo my little roasty friends!

See, Chris’s dad loves to cook. He makes dinner for the family every night of the week, and often, makes his outstanding roasted potatoes as a side dish. They’re unbelievably easy and totally delicious. Seriously. There may or may not have been numerous occasions where I’d accidentally eaten through most of the contents of the serving bowl. Whoops. Sorry. Not sorry. They get to eat them all the time and I don’t. (Even if I’d had the recipe then, the extended-stay hotel room didn’t have an oven so I HAD to eat them when I went to Chris’s house, duh, it was the only option.) Rationalization is totally acceptable.

Flashback to last weekend’s visit to St. Louis—Chris’s dad made them the night we came over! After telling him that the upcoming post was inspired by his mythic potatoes, he gladly gave me the recipe. It’s really not even a recipe so much as an ingredient list. So here you go. The key to potato happiness lies here:

Potatoes (any kind), olive oil, salt, and pepper.

Yep. That’s all. They’re even vegan in case you care!

Recipe: Mr. Lauber’s Magical Roasted Potatoes

FYI: He used Paula Deen’s Silly Salt instead of salt and pepper independently. I couldn’t locate the stuff in any stores and was not about to order it from Amazon just for this little project, so plain old s & p works just fine.

1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees fahrenheit.

2. Wash and slice your potatoes. In this case I used four and cut them into small wedges. Mr. Lauber’s potatoes look like little boats where the ends come to points. I cut mine in long wedges first though, so they ended up with flat ends but you can always cut yours differently.

3. Toss them in 3 tablespoons of olive oil (or whatever amount seems necessary to coat all the potatoes), then salt and pepper them to taste, and toss again to make sure the potatoes have a coating on each side.

4. Put the potatoes into a flat-ish pan, mine was about one-inch high, and bake them in the oven for 50-60 minutes until the edges of the potatoes are brown and crispy-looking.

5. Get out your fat pants. Commence potato bliss.

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