Sheet Pan Veggies

Close up of Sheet Pan VeggiesVeggie Blues
Winter cooking can get a little boring. As much as I love potatoes, I do actually get tired of them. Cabbage, squashes, carrots, and fennel are great, but it is only January, and I am already longing for spring’s seasonal offerings. Something a little bit more exciting…

Sure, I could buy the stuff that comes from the Southern hemisphere where different veggies are in season but it’s not the same. I bought a tomato the other night to have as a garnish for the gyros I made for dinner. And, my husband commented that I hadn’t eaten any. After twenty-plus years you would think that he would pick up on my quirks…and refusing to eat out-of-season tomatoes is definitely one of my quirks. That being said, I find myself craving all things green, leafy, and rooty lately—which is somewhat out of character. I also want comfort. In essence, I am rather high-maintenance culinarily right now.

So, what does one do when one desires some tasty veggies that are interesting yet also comforting? Throw everything on a sheet pan, toss with your favorite herb blend and some olive oil, and see what happens…

You can get creative with the flavor profiles. It’s as easy as switching up the spice blend.

Sheet Pan Veggies
Yields 2-3 servings Read more…

Sheet Pan Sausage with Arugula and Bread Salad

Photo of sausages for the recipe, Sheet Pan Sausage with Arugula and Bread SaladWinner, Winner Sausage Dinner
When I sit down and think about what to eat each day, my process always starts out with what protein is going to be the basis of the meal. ‘Cause once you know that everything else sort of falls into place. After sitting down once again to figure it out, I came to the realization that of all the possible options, the one that I choose least often is sausage.

This is noteworthy because I love sausage. I will choose sausage over bacon at breakfast almost every time and my pizzas will always have sausage on them. But, while I will occasionally throw some sausage on the grill, or whip up some Sausage and Apples or Sausages and Peppers, overall, we don’t have a lot of sausage dinners.

It’s a tragedy, really. Well-made and well-cooked sausage is incredibly satisfying and wholly comforting. I mean, Bangers and Mash? You could never go wrong with buttery carbs and fatty flavor. But see that’s the issue. Eating sausage frequently is frowned upon by nutritionists and cardiologists alike. Having said that, the occasional sausage meal can be a nice change from the day-to-day on the chicken, pork, beef, or fish carousel.

Everything in moderation.

The best thing about a sausage dinner is that no matter what you do with them, the recipes aren’t generally complicated. And, for the most part, you can do it all in one pot. Or, in this case, a sheet pan.

If you have ever had the Roast Chicken with Bread Salad at Zuni Café in San Francisco, you may find this recipe for Sheet Pan Sausage with Arugula and Bread Salad has a familiar feel. The original recipe comes from New York Times Cooking but I have changed it a bit because I felt it needed more drippings and just a punch more flavor from some onions.

Sheet Pan Sausage with Arugula and Bread Salad Recipe
Yields 4 servings
Adapted from The New York Times Cooking

Read more…

Amy’s Christmas Punch

A pitcher of Amy's Christmas Punch with cranberreis and orange slices Punch of Cheer
When we got married, we were given a punch bowl as a gift. I loved it. My husband was less enthusiastic. I get it. Your average twenty-something dude does not get excited about a punch bowl that he predicted would take up room in our garage and rarely get used. It pains me to admit he was spot-on with that prediction.

In general, I am pro punch, usually while sitting pool/beachside and with the appropriate tiny umbrella in it but, I also like a good boozy punch for cocktail parties. A big bowl of punch where guests can serve themselves, so you don’t have to play bartender, is a pro move. If I am being honest though, the only time I have enough people in my house to make a punch like that is during the holidays. Even then it’s not always enough people to justify it. Hence the dusty punch bowl in the garage…

That changes this year. This is the year of the return of the punch bowl. It’s the appropriate time for a few reasons. One, the kids are old enough that if they happen to sneak into the punch, I’m not going to freak out about it. Two, I am almost fifty and I’ve decided to do it because I wanna…life is short, live your life and drink the punch.

Amy’s Christmas Punch Recipe
Adapted from Sugar and Soul
Yields 8 Cups Read more…

Cheese Straws

Photo of home made Cheese Straws on a burlap backgroundSipping Wine With A Straw
A couple weekends ago, I went wine tasting with a group of friends and had a great time. I know what you’re thinking. A day in the Napa Valley sipping fine wine and snacking on cheese can only be a good time. You are not wrong.

It is easy to take for granted that we, as residents of the Bay Area, have such easy access to a world-renown wine-growing region. I mean, I can get in the car and be in a whole different world amongst the vines in 45 minutes. It’s crazy and I know I don’t take advantage of that access nearly enough. A sentiment that was echoed by each of us while we were up there.

It’s no news that cheese pairs perfectly with wine. So, it shouldn’t be surprising that the same region that produces amazing wines also produces some amazing cheese. Imagine my surprise when snacking on a few tidbits during one of our tastings, it was the cheese straw, not the actual local cheese, that made me swoon.

Cheese straws are not a new phenomenon. Ask any true Southerner and they will tell you a thing or two about cheese straws. But, much like the Napa Valley, I had forgotten just how good they are.

Depending on the recipe you make or the brand you buy, cheese straws come in all sorts of varieties, sizes, and spice levels. I, myself, am partial to the classic cheddar and cayenne pepper combination in our recipe below. These babies are great to have on hand for the friend who drops by for an impromptu chat and can hold their own on any cocktail party hors d’oeuvre table…

Cheese Straws Recipe
Adapted from The Food Network
Yields about 4 dozen Cheese Straws

This recipe makes a lot of Cheese Straws. And, that is perfect if you are hosting a party or considering handing them out as gifts. Read more…