Sheet Pan Salmon with Green Beans and Miso

Photo of Sheet Pan Salmon Rain Sheets and Sheet Pans
So here we are, swimming our way into January. Seriously, can someone turn off the water? I’m sure the last thing that most of us are thinking about while dodging raindrops, falling trees, and torrents of water, is dinner…but ya gotta eat.

In recent years I have become a big fan of sheet pan dinners because of how easy they are to throw together. And, also because the relatively small amount of cleanup avoids the nightly discussion about doing the dishes. This is important if you have teenagers in your household. Sheet pans are the workhorses of any well-stocked kitchen. If you don’t yet have a decent set of sheet pans, do yourself a favor and get at least one. You will find you use it for everything.

There are so many options when it comes to cooking your dinner entirely on a sheet pan. There is literally nothing you can’t do with a sheet pan. Fish, beef, pork sausage, shrimp…the sky is the limit people!! And, for whatever reason, it sort of feels like you are eating healthier (whether it is true or not). We all have our own delusions. This is just one of mine…

The Sheet Pan Salmon below actually is healthier. And, it’s a nice way to rebound from the bacchanalia that is the last two weeks of December. I make this New York Times recipe often. Though, I have adapted it to my tastes. The original version was just too sweet for me…

Sheet Pan Salmon with Green Beans and Miso Recipe
Adapted from New York Times Cooking
Yields 4 servings Read more…

Over-the-Top Gougères

Photo of Over-the-Top Gougères with creme fraiche, smoked salmon, and caviar.New Year’s Nibbles
Just when you thought all of the cooking and cleaning of dishes was done, here comes New Year’s Eve. I haven’t hosted a New Year’s Eve party in quite a while. In all honesty, the older I get the more I prefer to stay home on the couch in my jammies. Yes, there may be cocktails and, of course, there will be something to eat.

I feel like the more low-key your celebration is, the more over-the-top your food should be. I mean, if you can’t eat caviar while lounging in your sweats when can you eat it? Ten points to Hufflepuff if you decide to wear your best jewelry too. But what to eat?

I have always been a big fan of gougères. I can eat them one after the other. And, they are a personal tradition to serve for New Year’s Eve. Here is my favorite gougères recipe which I posted for New Year’s in 2020.

To ring in 2023, I’m trying this recipe from Food & Wine. The addition of smoked salmon and caviar will send these over the top—which is exactly what I am looking for!

Happy New year to you all! Raise a glass to a fantastic 2023!

Over The Top Gougères
Adapted from Food & Wine
Yields four servings 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…