Recipes

Homemade Steak Fries

Homemade Steak Fries

Crispy, crunchy, salty steak fries. Yum. And the best part is, you can have homemade steak fries made from pantry staples in under an hour. What a wonderfully dangerous thing. (Especially with some Watermelon Agua Fresca on the side. It’s the perfect snack! So what […]

Strawberry Chocolate Pie

Strawberry Chocolate Pie

Yay, it’s strawberry season! I can’t help but buy boxes and boxes of strawberries when they’re so cheap, and I always need some way to use them up. This strawberry chocolate pie is the perfect dessert to do so. This pie is made up of […]

Rich Italian Ragu

Rich Italian Ragu

So what is ragu? When I’m talking about ragu, I don’t mean the pasta sauce brand. I mean the real thing; a rich sauce from Italy, full of meat and vegetables that have been cooked down into pure fat and flavor. When you taste this ragu, you’ll know it hasn’t come from a can. It’s still pasta sauce, but pasta sauce as it always should have been. It’s silky in texture and outrageously meaty, with sweet pops of carrot and onion here and there. The liquids mellow everything, smoothing the whole ragu into a lovely dance of complex flavors. It’s the perfect cozy dish to let simmer on a stovetop.

Some thoughts about the recipe: it’s easily doubled. My family isn’t large, so I didn’t make a large batch, but you will be just fine if you’d like to make a double batch. Just be sure to smell and taste everything while you’re cooking. Also, I was lucky to find a beef/pork mixture at my grocery store, so I didn’t need to try to make my own mix. But many Italian ragu recipes include ground veal, so I would try adding veal as well if you can find it. Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 pound ground pork
  • 2 onions, diced
  • 3 carrots, diced
  • 2 sticks of celery, diced
  • 2 cups beef stock
  • 1 1/2 cups grape juice or red wine
  • 28 ounces tomato paste
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon thyme
  • 2 teaspoons sage
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 2 teaspoons oregano
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan or goat cheese (optional)
  • Fresh basil (optional)

Instructions

Begin by browning your meat in a large Dutch oven. Once the meat has browned, add your onions, carrots, and celery. Saute until soft.

Stir in the beef stock, grape juice (or red wine), and tomato paste. Add the garlic, rosemary, thyme, sage, and paprika. Mix well. Reduce the heat to low. Allow the covered pot to simmer for 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally, or until the flavors meld.

Season with oregano, and salt and pepper to taste. Serve with pasta, and garnish with Parmesan or goat cheese and basil if desired.

Tangy Tzatziki Sauce

Tangy Tzatziki Sauce

Have you ever had a gyro? If so, you’ve probably tried tzatziki sauce. This sauce (pronounced with a silent first t) is a gorgeously fresh combination of yogurt, cucumbers, and dill. It’s creamy and cool, but with a little zip from the lemon juice and […]

Roast Chicken with Garlicky Potatoes

Roast Chicken with Garlicky Potatoes

Roasting a chicken can be intimidating, but I believe it’s an important cooking skill to have. It’s perfect for a long weekend, or for a dinner party, and it makes great leftovers. And this roast chicken with garlicky potatoes is a great place to start! […]

Salted Caramel Cheesecake

Salted Caramel Cheesecake

Salted caramel cheesecake. I almost feel like I don’t have to write anything else….if you need to be talked into eating cheesecake, you’re someone who needs cheesecake the very most. Especially this gorgeously rich salted caramel cheesecake. Each bite is perfection. Sweet, salty, and outrageously creamy, this cheesecake needs nothing else. You might have to take a nap after eating a slice, but it will be worth it.

This recipe is specifically for salted caramel cheesecake, but it would be lovely with a berry topping or chocolate marbled in or even plain. This is my go-to cheesecake recipe, but I couldn’t resist jazzing it up a bit. Just for you.

I recommend leaving out the cream cheese for at least three hours, and the eggs for one hour. Room temperature ingredients will give you a much creamier cheesecake. If you need a few more pointers on caramel, you can find them in my earlier post about salted caramel sauce. Enjoy!

salted caramel sauce

Ingredients

For the cheesecake:

  • 14 graham crackers
  • 1/3 cupbutter, melted
  • 5 8 oz blocks of cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice

For the salted caramel sauce:

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon salt

Instructions

Preheat your oven to 350 F and grease your springform pan. Begin making your crust by sealing your graham crackers in a Ziploc bag and smashing them against a countertop to create crumbs. Mix the crumbs in a large bowl with the melted butter, and press into the bottom of your springform pan to make the crust. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until golden. Set aside until needed.

Cream the softened cream cheese and sugar together until fully mixed. Add the sour cream, eggs, vanilla, and lemon juice, and mix until just combined. Pour the batter into your prepared crust, place on a large baking sheet, and place in the oven. Fill the baking sheet with water to ensure that there will be no cracks. Check on your cake periodically to make sure there’s always water.

Bake at 350 F for 60-70 minutes, or until lightly set. Chill for 1-8 hours.

While your cheesecake is baking and chilling, go ahead and make your caramel sauce. Begin by measuring everything and getting it ready. Next, find a large saucepan (larger than you think you’ll need), and mix the sugar and water well. Cook at medium heat until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture begins to bubble. Turn the heat to high and stop stirring. Watch for an amber color, which may take from 5-10 minutes. But DO NOT WALK AWAY.

When it’s reached a nice amber color (don’t worry; there’s a spectrum in which you’ll be safe), remove the saucepan from the heat, slowly add the cream, and keep whisking. (I’d recommend wearing an oven mitt on your stirring hand.)

Once the mixture has reached a nice consistency and the cream is mixed in, add the butter, vanilla, and salt. Pour into a glass bowl or jar to chill. The caramel will thicken as it cools. Taste your salted caramel sauce once cool, and add more salt if needed.

Once you’ve allowed the caramel sauce to cool, carefully drizzle it over your cheesecake and finish it with a sprinkle of flaky salt. Enjoy!

Salted Caramel Sauce

Salted Caramel Sauce

Caramel is delicious, but salted caramel is something else. Especially this salted caramel sauce. Whether you drizzle it on ice cream, use it to soak a chocolate cake, or dip apple slices in it….you’re in for a good time. A few notes: if you’d like […]

Irish Soda Bread

Irish Soda Bread

A quick bread that takes an hour tops, and is impressively buttery and craggy? I’m in! This Irish soda bread is easy and sweet, with a hint of tang. Eat it with your corned beef and cabbage for St. Patrick’s Day, or slather it with […]

Roasted Beet Salad with Honey Lemon Dressing

Roasted Beet Salad with Honey Lemon Dressing

I wasn’t originally a fan of beets. Let’s just say they’ve grown on me. Especially since eating this gorgeous roasted beet salad.

Beet salad might not seem like something you’d love to eat, but this roasted beet salad with honey lemon dressing is. The leafy kale is offset by the rich and unctuous beets, with tiny pops of creamy goat cheese in each bite. The honey lemon dressing lightly sweetens everything. I never thought I would be telling you to eat kale and beets and goat cheese, but here I am. I sound like Dwight.

A few things to note: I HIGHLY recommend not assembling the salad until you’re ready to eat. Beets are juicy, which is a wonderful thing, but not when they soak your lovely crisp kale in beet juice. I also find that I enjoy the salad more when I slice the beets thinly. That’s all; I hope you love it!

Ingredients

  • 2-3 medium beets
  • 1 head kale
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon garlic
  • 1 cup crumbled goat cheese
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons good olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon thyme

Instructions

First, preheat your oven to 425 F. Next, trim and wash your beets. Wrap them loosely in foil, and place on a cookie sheet. Drizzle a few drops of water on top of each beet to keep them moist, and place in the oven. Roast your beets for 45-50 minutes, or until they can be easily pierced with a fork. Check them occasionally to make sure they aren’t getting too dry, or they will burn. When the beets are done, remove them from the oven to cool. Once cool, run the beets under cold water while rubbing at the skin to peel them. Slice into thin discs and set aside.

While the beets are roasting, prepare your kale by stripping the leaves from the stem and chopping into bite-size pieces. You can avoid massaging the kale (rubbing it with citrus or another acid to break it down and make it more tender) by placing the chopped kale in your chosen bowl and tossing it with the lemon juice and garlic. Allow your kale to rest until you’re ready to assemble the salad.

Finally, whisk together the honey, lemon juice, olive oil, and thyme to make your dressing. Put everything aside until you’re ready to assemble the salad, so that everything remains crisp.

When you are ready to serve your beet salad, top the kale with your roasted beets, sprinkle goat cheese on top, and drizzle the honey lemon dressing over all. Enjoy!