Arugula Salad with Shaved Zucchini, Pistachios and Parmesan

Arugula-Salad-with-Shaved-Zucchini-Pistachios-and-ParmesanWhen my stepmother asked me last year if I’d lend my culinary skillz to a fundraiser she was organizing for the MDI Hospital, I enthusiastically agreed. Having visited that ER with many a scary bug bite, sprained ankle, and panic attack, I was happy to do whatever I could to help raise funds for the hospital that takes care of me and so many of my very favorite people. Philanthropy!!! Plus, Martha Stewart was involved, and the prospect of spending some QT with the first lady of domesticity had me all kinds of hot and bothered. The plan was this: I would be responsible for the first course, Mandy Fountaine (local caterer extraordinaire) would provide dinner, and Martha would slay with one of her magical desserts. This glorious feast was to be served at sunset in a beautiful private garden to 100+...
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Just The Tip: How To Peel A Whole Head Of Garlic

Garlic. I love it. It’s a beautiful, magical vegetable (fun fact: garlic is a vegetable!) and one of the most used ingredients in my day-to-day cooking adventures. However, despite its many wonders, garlic has a bitchy side. It gives you bad breath. Its scent lingers, even after you’ve washed your hands and done the requisite rubbing on a stainless steel faucet (which helps, btw), and we all know mincing it kind of sucks. Don’t even get me started on the peeling drama. Dear GOD, why is it so hard? I mean, when a recipe calls for smashed or minced garlic, fine. You can just smack the cloves with the flat side of a knife, peel the skin off and be done with it. But on the occasions that you need the cloves intact, it’s pretty miserable peeling off all those papery layers. Amiright? (I am.) While there’s not much to be done about the...
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Roasted Strawberry Mojito

Roasted-Strawberry-MojitoJunior year of college, my roommate and I went to see Bruce Springsteen in Boston. High on Bud Light and my college-girl cleavage, I arrived at the show with no expectations beyond having a festive night out and maybe doing some light dancing in the dark (heh heh). It just so happened that the Boss was running a little behind that evening, giving me plenty of time to bond with our seatmates, a group of rowdy 30-something dudes that had seen Bruce 100+ times live. (In hindsight, they remind me of present-day Logan and his merry gang of Spreadheads.) These endearing psychos were overwhelmed by my newbie status and kept saying things like, “He will blow your fucking mind!!! Just wait ‘til he comes on. It’s electric.” Having seen N*Sync on their No Strings Attached tour, I was rather familiar with...
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Ratatouille Quinoa Bake with Pesto and Buffalo Mozzarella

Ratatouille-Quinoa-Bake-with-Pesto-and-MozzarellaEvery week for almost three years, I’ve walked around the corner to Nice Nails to get a manicure. It’s become part of my routine, and I look forward to it, not only because I enjoy having my hands appear mildly presentable for 12 hours, but also because I’ve grown to love the warm and wonderful women at this tiny salon. As soon as I walk in the door, I’m greeted by a chorus of “Hi, bay-beeee!!” and at least two bear hugs. I sit down at Jane’s station, my regular manicurist, who proceeds to insult me at least 10 times in 30 minutes with a huge grin on her face, which I find strangely endearing. There’s usually some light nail shaming (“You BITE cuticles. You BAD GIRL!!”), followed by a critique of my appearance (“You look so tired! Why always so tired?! You...
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Just The Tip: How To Dice an Onion

My first few weeks at Le Cordon Bleu were terrifying in many respects. First and foremost, I was not merrily roasting chickens and drinking wine all day, which came as quite the shock. Instead, there was an unreasonable amount of fish gutting, yelling, and a general expectation that I had basic knife skills (although I wasn’t sure why given that I had signed up for “BASIC Cuisine”). Plus, my chef’s jacket gave me uniboob, I realized that I did not, in fact, speak French, and everyone else in the class seemed light years ahead of me in terms of culinary experience. Quelle horreur! I was perpetually sweaty and stressed. (I also routinely forgot to remove my hairnet after school and was known to wander the streets of Paris like a fancy lunch lady.) However, during those introductory weeks, the chefs were kind enough to break down some key knife skills in the demonstration classes, including how...
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Arugula and Farro Salad with Cherries and Goat Cheese

Arugula-and-Farro-Salad-with-Cherries-and-Goat-CheeseWriting a cookbook is awesome and terrible. Awesomely terrible? I feel like maybe I shouldn’t break the third wall by admitting the absolute shitshow that is Dude Diet recipe testing, but I try to keep things real around here, and sweet. baby. Jesus. My kitchen, my sanity, and my digestive system are in shambles. (Let’s just acknowledge that I LOVE The Dude Diet and am super grateful to be doing this so that I can go on with my oversharing guilt-free. Thanks.) As I’ve mentioned many times before, I have some mild obsessive tendencies, and they’ve really come out to play during this all-consuming process. Needless to say, I want to feed future Dude Dieters the dankest possible creations, so I find myself testing and tweaking each recipe an embarrassing number of times to make sure it’s up to snuff. For...
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Just The Tip: How To Store Brown Sugar

Happy Just The Tip Day, friends! It’s a holiday weekend, and I’m sure you have places to go, people to see, and cocktails to drink, so I won’t bore you with a lenghty discussion about how many blocks of ossified brown sugar I threw away BDE (Before Domestic Era). Let’s just say it was a lot, and I am appropriately shamefaced. Unless you buy brown sugar in resealable bags (which are surprisingly hard to come by) or are one of those insanely organized peeps who have fancy airtight containers for all pantry items, there’s a strong chance you’ve reached into your cupboard for some brown sugar only to find a clumpy, seemingly unusable mess. Good news! You never have to experience that particular brand of misery/panic ever again. In this week’s episode, I’m teaching you a foolproof storage method that’s guaranteed to keep your brown sugar perfectly soft PLUS how to save it if it’s already...
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Open-Face BBQ Chicken Club with Guacamole and Provolone

Open-Face-Barbecue-Chicken-Club-Sandwich-with-Guacamole-and-ProvoloneI’m fresh off the vacation boat, and given my post Euro trip comedown/severe jet lag, all things are a serious struggle right now. That said, in a single week I managed to cultivate a very respectable base tan, master upwards of six words in Italian, and capture many priceless photos/videos of my roommate in all his Mediterranean mer-man glory, so I’m doing my best to practice gratitude. Sure, I may be tired, sad and sweaty right now, but just a few days ago I was celebrating the most magical of No-Calorie Sundays in Florence. I am truly #blessed. God knows I plan to give you the full run-down of my Italian adventures, but attempting such a feat this morning would only intensify my post-vacation blues. Instead, I’d like to focus on the glorious mini-vacay that’s in all of our very near futures… Let’s hear it for...
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Foolproof Chocolate Cake with Whipped Cream and Fresh Berries

vegan-chocolate-cake-with-whipped-coconut-cream-and-fresh-berriesI FUCKING LOVE CAKE. I know starting a post with profanity and all caps is aggressive, but I have strong feelings, and sometimes internet expression is hard. I’m sorry. The truth is, I’ve been a die-hard cake fan for as long as I can remember. And when I say “cake,” I mean real cakes that you can slice. Cupcakes are fine, but they have a weird cake to icing ratio, and there’s something about them that bothers me. I get that everyone likes the “portable” aspect, but it’s not like you can’t hold a piece of cake in your hand if you need to. (I’ve done it plenty of times, including at weddings, and have never once had an issue.) My childhood birthdays usually involved two cakes (one regular, one ice cream), and I was just as excited about them as I was...
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Just The Tip: How To Cook Perfect Quinoa

Heyo, friends! Happy Friday!!! I plan on using an unforgivable amount of exclamation points today because I’m about sit on my overstuffed suitcase, zip that bad boy up, and hop a plane to France with my roommate. WHOOOOP!!!!! I’m ecstatic to inform you that we’re taking ze red-eye to Nice to meet up with my Dad/stepmom/littlest siblings for a leisurely French/Italian Riviera crawl. There will be sun, and rosé, and gelato, and I don’t think I’ve been this excited about a trip since Disney World 1998. So, I apologize in advance for the inevitable barrage of shameless vacation Instagrams coming your way. (I can only hope you enjoy pictures of pizza and Logan’s mer-MAN activities half as much as I do.) On top of my pre-vacay high, it’s Just The Tip day!! (All this excitement—I’m barely keeping it together right now.) This week’s episode covers how to correctly cook the trendiest of ancient...
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