Archive for the ‘Contests’ Category

My top tens, and a non-recipe

July 14, 2009

Hello there!  You’re catching me in a rare free moment.  The move has gotten pretty intense.  See the thing is, this whole month has become one giant transition.  My lease in NY started on July 1, and my lease here ends on July 31.  Now, there’s a part of me that considers this a luxury.  I get to move out at my leisure, no rush, no panicked  night-before packing.  But on the other hand, this means that the move takes ALL MONTH.  There is a (very large) part of me that would greatly prefer to just get-er-done.  Yes, maybe it would be a crazy weekend, but at least it wouldn’t drag on.  I’m sure you’ve all had some crazy moving experiences, I’ve heard some great/terrible stories this month that, to tell the truth, have made me really appreciate how many potential moving disasters have NOT occurred (yet).

Anyway, with the kitchen all but packed up, it’s practically toruture to look through food blogs these days!  There are so many recipes that I can’t wait to try once I’m all unpacked and settled down in my new place.  Right now, I’m pretty restricted, but there is one recipe that has become quite the standby.  I’ll include it as number 1 on my top tens… it’s Smitten Kitchen’s Peanut Sesame Noodles.  If you like peanut butter at all, I highly suggest that you make this now.  The thing is, the dish is great as is.  It is easy and versitile.  It can be eaten hot or cold, it’s wonderful either way.  It requires very little heating of anything, all you have to do is boil some pasta, really.  But the best part is that the sesame-peanut sauce is just about the best thing ever in terms of multi-tasking.  Of course I tried it on soba noodles first, but then I had some sauce left over and I started experimenting.  It’s great for dipping veggies.  I cut up some cucumbers and carrots and dipped for a healthy and satisfying snack.  It’s also perfect mixed in with any other grain.  Last night I made some brown rice (with broth in place of water… that’s a valuable secret tip there!) and mixed in butternut squash and some sesame-peanut sauce.  Sounds a little weird, I know, but it was awesome!  It’s also perfect mixed in with greens:  collards, kale, it all works.  I feel like at this point I should note that Deb at Smitten Kitchen is not compensating me in any way to swoon so blatantly over her recipe 😉  Seriously, it’s just good, and it has really made this whole trying-to- eat-well-while-moving thing much more pleasant.

So, with that said, here are my top tens.  You can bet I’ll be tackling a lot of these recipes in August once my life calms down a bit.  If you try any of them first, let me know how it goes!

1. Peanut Sesame Noodles from Smitten Kitchen

2. Chickpea “Blondies” from Have Cake, Will Travel (by the way, I LOVE the design of that site!  So simple and pleasing.)

3. Warm Butternut and Chickpea Salad with Tahini from Orangette (although truthfully, almost all of her recipes are on my to-make list)

4. Thyme-Rosemary Bread from StephChows.  This is the perfect use for my overgrowing Thyme!!

5. Pad Karpow Moo from Chez Pim

6. Aglaia Kremezi’s Fried Potatoes with Yogurt Sauce from The Wednesday Chef

7. Cookies and Cream Cheesecake from Bake or Break (oh man, I don’t even know if I could handle this- so rich looking! but it makes me drool…)

8. Otsu from 101 Cookbooks (looks like the perfect fresh-n-easy summer recipe!)

9. Crispy Halibut wtih Wasabi Panzanella and Early Grey Potatoes from No Recipes (this one’s fancy but looks awesome!)

10. Noodles with Mushrooms and Lemon-Ginger Dressing from Simply Recipes

Well, there’s my list.  I can’t wait to start cooking for real again!  My non-recipe recipe is coming soon, I promise.  I’ll be back later this afternoon.


little bit of beauty for sunday

May 24, 2009

Happy Sunday everyone, enjoy it.

*Oh, and Wednesday is the last day of my event! So get those entries in!!

Changing it up

May 19, 2009

So I made the executive decison that I’ll post the food memories lists one at a time until the deadline.  That seems so much nicer to me.  It means that you can all enjoy each list on its own.  Also, I just wanted to thank Naomi at Rockstar Diaries for inspiring this little collection of lists.  She’s collecting lists of things that make people terribly happy.  Go check them out.

And here’s the first list, from Sarah, who has a wonderful blog, The Application of Heat.

1.  Being forced to drink grapefruit juice with my graham crackers in pre-school.  To this day, I *hate* grapefruit and all of it’s juices!

2.  Having the best meal of my life with my husband on our honeymoon.  It was in Monterrey, California at a Trattoria.  The meal was: Smoked Salmon Ravioli in a Gorgonzola Cream Sauce with King crab legs.  It was amazing!

3.  Eating turkey and Swiss cheese sandwiches with pickles and chips with my best friend while watching ice skating competitions.  We either ate this in the living room on the couches or in her parents room on TV trays.  Go Brian Boitano!

4. Not getting to taste the amazing (according to my family members) Strawberry Baked Alaska that my brother made and took to a family thanksgiving.  I think I chose some other pie instead and when I came back to try it, it was all gone.  You have to choose wisely and/or eat fast in my family!

5.  Making cakes from boxed mixes with my little sister when we were kids.  Go, go sugar high!

6.  My mother often cooked things we didn’t like, like brussle sprouts.  We hated them because they were always horribly overcooked (she now makes lovely brussel sprouts).  She made us sit at the table until we ate them (much like meatloaf, see the post below).  One time, my brother and I decided we had to find a way out of eating those disgusting garbage bombs.  So… we threw them on the ceiling!  And they stuck! We were so proud of ourselves.  We almost got away with it too… except when Mom came in to find our plates empty of brussel sprouts one fell off the ceiling and plopped onto the floor.  Busted!  That was a fun night of cleaning for us!

7.  Shopping at the farmer’s market in Lancaster, PA with my best girl friends and then going home to grill kebabs.  I pine for a year round Amish farmer’s market here…  and to hang out with my best girl friends again!

8. The first year I started a vegetable garden from scratch and ended up with a million tomatoes.  I over-estimated the amount of plants I would need.  The bounty was wonderful!

9.  The time I tried to make soy sauced chicken in my wok and burned it so badly a thick acrid smoke filled the house.  There was a 1/2 inch thick crust of “burned” on the bottom of the wok…  Also similar to the “Ham Bone Soup” incident.  The story is the same, except replace “soy sauced chicken” with “Ham and Bean Soup”.  I received a lot of guff from my roommate for that one… 😀

10.  Having a food fight when I worked as a cook in the kitchen of a camp.  There was all this leftover strawberry mousse from a cake roll we had made… it was the end of camp… what else could we do?


Thanks Sarah!

Contest! Top Tens: Food-Related Memories (Extended!)

May 13, 2009


Top Tens is a new (and hopefully, monthly) event that gives you the chance to share your top tens in a new category each month. I love talking about food, thinking about food, and reminiscing about food, and I’m willing to bet most of you do to.

The first Top Tens will be “Top Ten Food-Related Memories”. I can’t wait to hear yours. To get you started, here are mine, in no particular order:

1. In pre-school, standing on tippie toes on a footstool so I could help my grandma make cornbread.

2. Being taught how to “spit cherry pits like a lady” by my friend’s mom on a family vacation to Florence, Italy.

3. Taping fake cooking shows with my friend Christina Harris in elementary school.

4. Getting back at my pesky little brother by tricking him into eating super-spicy trick gum and then feeling really, really bad about it when he cried.

5. Eating my first oyster at a street stand on Arthur Ave in the Bronx and getting cheered on by fellow oyster eaters (oh man do I love New York).

6. In college, going on a date with a new guy, both getting food poisoning, and then laughing about it adjacent bathroom stalls while getting sick. Gross, I know, but hilarious in hindsight.

7. Going completely overboard and cooking way way way too much with my mom every Thanksgiving.

8. Testing every gelato spot in Florence (you know, for research purposes)

9. In my college apartment, trying to “crisp up” the top of an apple crisp in the broiler and then, smelling smoke, opening the broiler drawer to find that the apple crisp was completely in flames, and then, in a panic, closing it back up. (My boyfriend came to the rescue and doused the whole thing with a bucket of water).

10. In Italy, being taught to make gnocchi by my nonna.

Here’s how it works:

1. Create your list of top ten food-related memories. All you need is the list, but if you’ve got a picture that, in any way, corresponds, all the better. Post about it on your blog from now till Sunday May 24, 2009.

2. You must provide a link to the Top Tens post on my blog.

3. Once you’ve posted your list, please email me with your entry. All posts must be emailed to caitlin[dot]larussa[at]gmail[dot]com by midnight (eastern standard time) on Wednesday, May 27. In your email, please:

  • Write “Top Tens” in your subject line
  • Include your name and where you are from
  • Provide your blog’s URL and a link to your entry on your blog

4. I’ll be posting the entries as they come in, and shortly after the 27th,  a winner will be selected randomly from all the entries. The winner will receive a small surprise, picked out by me!