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Family Style Brie Pasta

It was just over 6 years ago that Ben and I moved back to the Midwest from Colorado. As sad as we were about leaving a city and state that we loved where Ben had earned his photography degree, I had my first

“job” out of college, where we alpine slid through the Rockies, where we’d eaten extremely well (if you need Denver restaurant suggestions- let me know- I’m your girl), and made lifelong friends, we knew that moving back to be closer to our families was the best thing for us. We really missed the quality time with our families, and the holidays just didn’t cut it. There’s something very comforting in the simplicity of just going home and being with your family. This dish is near and dear to me. Ben’s mom made this for us once shortly after the move, and I’ve probably made it 100 times since.  It has all of the elements that will make your taste buds dance. I hope you like it.



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Couscous

We hope that everyone had a great weekend. We did celebrating our good friends’ weddings (Abby + Jason and Tim + Emily), the 4th of July, parents’ anniversary (congrats Judy & Steve to 40+ yrs of wedded bliss), and a sister’s birthday (Kari- happy birfday!), and we topped it all off with a trip to the emergency room. There was an incident in the kitchen, involving a Wustof, a bundle of cilantro and my left index finger. The good news is that the dish was saved and the finger was salvaged- thank you very much Resident, soon to be full-fledged Dr. Rassman. Hopefully you all were able to remain unscathed in your Independence Day festivities. I’m sure that you all had many BBQ’s and cookouts and more of those to come with the remaining month(s) of summer. So with that in mind if you do find yourself as a guest or host and can’t think of something light, summery, salady, and tasty, give this couscous salad a go because it fulfills all of thee above requirements.



The Test Kitchen

Not too long ago Ben and I had a really amazing intimate dining experience with 30 strangers in Ben’s studio. There’s a really big thing happening in Kansas City, and if you live in the area or are up for a road trip you should look into The Test Kitchen. If you’re not a member, like we were, then you probably don’t know about the amazing night that you’re in store for. We blindly walked into a 7 course dinner, and every person walked out blown away by the experience.

 

Panzanella Salad

Summer Summer Summer Time

Thank goodness we can all put that dreary, freezing, wet, slushing, messy, cold, cold, cold winter behind us. I know it’s not officially here yet, but with the scorching 90+ degree days that Mother Nature has bestowed upon us, I feel like she’s been priming us for another hot (and really humid) summer. Along with the seasonal change comes the fresh produce at the farmers’ market. Lots of vibrant colors, flavors, and textures all in the various forms of fruits and vegetables enable us to shake up our eating habits- hopefully for the better. Last year Ben and I perfected this beautiful panzanella salad that makes you feel like you’re tasting the vegetable rainbow (Skittles reference), so you can guarantee that we’ll be taking full advantage of our local farmers’ bounty with their goods to make this goody.




The Heartland Cookbook

Hello Everyone,

As you may have noticed some time has passed since our last post… I want to apologize for that.  Our business has grown and it has been a bit of a challenge keeping up with all aspects of life, work, family, friends, etc.  I’m excited to say that one of the many great projects that I have been involved with this past year has gone to print and is on the shelves of your local bookstores, Barnes & Noble, Amazon…pretty much anywhere you can purchase books.  The Heartland by Judith Fertig, is the first cookbook that I have been a part of and I couldn’t be more proud.

Judith, a local author, is an wonderful person. She has an amazing presence on set and stories that will make any foodie green with envy.  It was an honor to be given the task of photographing her recipes.  I want to say what a pleasure it was working with  the Andrews McMeel Universal team.  It was a true learning experience, and I’m glad that it was with this publishing company.  I can’t not mention the incredible photography and food styling team that worked with me on this project. It’s been exciting working and growing with these talented people, and I really can’t say enough about them other than that they are awesome.

So that’s that. If you have the opportunity, pick up a copy and visit my work and create some of the delicious recipes by Judith, because they are as good as they look.

Ben

You Say Tomato, I Say Tomatillo

You Say Tomato, I Say Tomatillo

Forever now, anytime that I ever cooked anything that was of Mexican or Tex-Mex nature, I would jazz it up with a homemade pico de gallo that I learned at a restaurant (which will remain nameless) that I waited tables at years and years ago. I clearly remember that first time tossing fresh tomato, onion, lime, cilantro and jalepanos with naked hands. The memory of it still burns a little. You may be wondering why- that’s how they did it in the kitchen…while wearing latex gloves. Anyway, lesson learned, and it became my stand by- fresh, citrusy with just a hint of heat. Recently Ben and I have developed a new love for tomatillos and the wonderful verde sauce that I have been making. It all started with a trip to the grocery store shopping for the week’s menu, and there they were on sale 1 pound for a mere $1. Tomato. Tomatillo. I thought that I’d give it a whirl, and I’m so glad that I did.


Sweet Potato Fries

Taking simple ingredients and turning them into unique treats is the goal of any cook.  With a sweet potato, there are so many different ways to prepare this modest vegetable- baked, candied, mashed, pied, casseroled, pureed, roasted.  I feel one of the best way to enjoy sweet potatoes is when they are cut into wedges and fried into a crispy wonderful finger food.  The sweetness of this simple rustic treat pairs nicely with this easy to make dipping sauce.


orange chicken

Wait! It’s not what you’re thinking – Chinese takeout with white steamed rice and egg rolls and egg drop soup. Nope. Not even close. Two weeks ago, we got what could be considered a light dusting of snow (compared to the snowmagedon that’s happening outside now) that drove those with sleds and snowboards to Suicide Hill and Westwood park to take advantage of the fresh snow and left those without 4 wheel or all wheel drive stranded at home. Our good friends Joe & Teri fell into the latter category. Ben decided that we could not & would not have dinner alone while leaving Teri & Joe at home to fend for themselves. So, with the power of Pepe (our beloved Jeep) Ben went to rescue them while I roasted a beautiful whole chicken with, you guessed it, an orange marinade. I have to be honest, I had my doubts when Ben told me to “Get the bird. Juice the Cuties (oranges) with some herbs & stuff.” Little did I know that this was going to be a blog worthy recipe that I’d be sharing with you now.

*Please note that this meal transpired several weeks ago, and we have since dug ourselves out of the snow. Happy Roasting.

 


Potato Gnocchi / Brown Butter Sage Sauce

Cooking is a simple yet complex process.  The final dish is so much more then the sum of its ingredient.  The use of the correct seasoning or the appropriate herbs can make a dish taste complete.  Cooking throughout the country has opened my eyes to the beautiful subtleties each place carries.  Baking a cake or soufflé in Denver is slightly different than in Portland, or in the midwest where I reside now.  Moisture and humidity are factors that one naturally adapts to. Ovens and cookware are not created equally.  This can change a recipe as well.  One should view a recipe as a guideline or a set of parameters that can be followed, but can always be adapted to fit one’s taste or convenience of their pantry.  This is when you begin to “make a dish your own” and when the fun really begins. For this dish we are cooking potato gnocchi.  This is a classic dish that can be made relatively quickly, and will bring a real wow factor to a dinner party or a Tuesday night.  It is a small list of simple ingredients that everyone has fof hand. Combined with patience and a little technique it is a wonderful thing.


Rice Pudding

One of my favorite memories from my childhood is my mother making noodles from scratch.  I can recall many times when coming home from school and my mother would have noodles hanging and drying all over the kitchen.  I thought it might be fun to recreate a memory from her past.  When I asked my mother what food takes her back to her childhood, her response was rice pudding.  She described it as having a creamy texture with a sweet finish and has tried to recreate this dish with little success.  I thought that we would try of honor her memory with my version of rice pudding.