Pinterest WINS! Food edition

I’m sure all of you have spent a little time cruising Pinterest Fail: a blog dedicated to documenting Pinterest projects that didn’t quite work out (or crashed and burned miserably), or at least seen some of the best (worst) that have gone viral. If you’re like me, you’re the most skeptical the first time you make a recipe found on Pinterest—but lucky for you, I’ve had lots of time to experiment lately, so here are more than a few of the best!

Editor’s note: All photos in this post belong to the creator of each recipe, which are linked to within the copy.

I’ve been making Red Lobster Cheddar Bay biscuits for so long that I no longer need a recipe—in fact I forgot I had even pinned it until I started putting together this post! They live up to their restaurant counterparts and are super quick and easy to put together. They’re a great accompaniment to soups and garlicky meat dishes.

Our family’s Christmas tradition is to stay home all day and spend the afternoon making and eating hors-d’oeuvres. We all have our perennial favorites, but we try to each bring something new to the party as well every year. A few years ago, my new app was Homemade Soft Pretzels and Beer Cheese Dip. They’re both putzy and time-consuming, but if you’ve got a couple hours, they’re great!

I love apple fritters—they might be one of my favorite doughnuts. So when I saw Apple Fritter Pull-Apart bread, I had to try it. Sure, it’s sort of semi-homemade, with the “bread” being Pillsbury biscuits, but it does contain fresh fruit, so that’s good, right?

160a996218f31918bebdc346a744c622PASTA & SIDES
Dining options in Bermuda are fairly limited when it comes to non-American or Western Europe cuisine. So to satisfy my cravings, I’ve been learning to cook Asian dishes—and this One Pot Thai Pasta is by far the easiest! I was skeptical because it seemed too easy, but the flavor was spot on and didn’t taste as though it had been created in 15 minutes with fairly mundane ingredients (I skipped the tamarind paste and fish sauce).

I love homemade pasta. I make huge batches of ravioli a few times per year so I always have some in my freezer. A few weeks ago, I had some girlfriends over for a ravioli-making party, but I wanted to make something else for dinner so we’d all have plenty to take home. In keeping with the theme, I whipped up some Lemon-Pepper Pasta. (Full disclosure: I didn’t really use this exact recipe, but melded it with my regular pasta recipe, which can be found here.) The lemon added a great hit of freshness to the tender pasta that went perfectly with a few shrimp and some pesto.

When I had had enough of my Thanksgiving leftovers (but still had a full fridge), I started searching for recipes that would use up some of the things I had the most of—including sweet potatoes. When used in Sweet Potato Gnocchi, they lend another level of flavor and make the fluffy little pillows even lighter and more delicious. Throw them in a pan with some browned butter and sage (you can even melt a little goat cheese on top—yum!) and they’re a truly delicious side or meal.

I happen to live with a man who doesn’t consider it a meal if it doesn’t contain meat. While he’s happy with a simply grilled steak or chicken breast, I’ve been on the hunt for more interesting flavors—this Slow-Cooker Balsamic Pork is perfect! I’ve made it with pork tenderloin that I sliced to serve and a pork shoulder (butt) that I shredded for sandwiches.

A few months before I moved to Bermuda, Andrew took some house guests deep sea fishing. I’m not a huge fan of baked fish, but I needed to find something to do with all that frozen wahoo! Luckily, I had just stumbled across Baked Honey-Marinated Cod, which sounded sort of like the Black Cod dish from Nobu that I had been craving. Obviously it didn’t quite measure up to all that, but it was really good!

I have a pretty serious sweet tooth, but baking is really not my thing—all that measuring! So I’ve really just got one trusty, easy dessert recipe, and I’m sure you’ve heard of it: Three Ingredient Brownies. It’s not quite chocolatey enough for my taste, so I would recommend stirring in some extra chocolate chips. Or, for a fancier addition, I’ve also topped them with caramel and a sprinkle of sea (or Kosher) salt for salted caramel brownies! Now those are dangerous!


The BEST Salad Ever!

I’m not a salad girl. At a restaurant I’m much more likely to order ribs and fries than a plate full of greens, but lately I’ve been craving just that. Well, actually just one salad in particular. Madison’s most authentic Irish pub on the capitol square, Brocach is home to the amazing Shades of Green salad and today I got all the fixins’ and whipped up my own version. Here’s my recipe!

•Mixed greens—go with something more flavorful than Iceburg. I like a mix with frisée and some red or purple leaves, they have a bitterness that works great with the sweet elements in the toppings!
•Raspberry vinaigrette—the trick to a great salad is to toss your greens with your dressing before adding the rest of your ingredients!
•Bleu cheese crumbles
•Dried cranberries
•Candied walnuts

Mmmmm… I’m getting hungry again. Enjoy!

Fall Inspiration

screenshot of the pages of Styled. Magazine

Today I had the good fortune to stumble across Styled. Magazine, an online publication by Victoria Hudgins (of a subtle revelry blog) and throngs of exceedingly talented contributors. Take a moment to page through this lovingly crafted magazine and I guarantee you’ll walk away inspired as I did!

screenshot of the pages of Styled. Magazine

Some may call such devotion to party planning frivolous, but I find that when I put forth a little extra effort—whether it’s picking up fresh flowers on my weekly grocery run or making a well-balanced meal instead of just nuking a lean cuisine—it definitely brightens my day. And if you happen to capture these little bright spots beautifully on camera? All the better.

So dear readers, I hope to be able to include more original content that inspires you here on the 622 blog while continuing to feature beautiful handmade goods and my own work. Here’s to year three at 622 press!

Iowa City

I’m sitting in a room at the Sheraton in the middle of downtown Iowa City, and I think I’m falling in love. Don’t worry, I’m not going to get all sappy on you, I’ve just spent the last two days exploring this fantastic city!

Surrounding our hotel is block after block of adorable boutiques and restaurants.I particularly love the Capanna coffee and gelato shop which shares its location with The Wedge Pizzeria. Our first night in town, we grabbed a quick slice at The Wedge — which was nothing special — but the next morning, I got a latte from Capanna (not bad!) and some of the best eggs benedict I’ve ever had from The Wedge. In place of a heavy hollandaise, they top off a perfectly poached egg with a lovely lemon herb cream sauce — so good!

I spent the rest of the morning shopping and made sure to stop by RSVP — an amazing stationery and paper shop. The clerk was incredibly friendly and we got to talking about letterpress and all the wonderful pieces they have. I also stopped by Iowa Artisans Gallery, which sells pieces by local and national artists, including one of my favorite Madison ceramicists. On the way back, I swung by the mall which houses a nice variety of stores for being so small — University book store, a cute imports shop where I got some great handmade scarves, Express which has the cutest New Years’ dresses, and a giant Dick Blick that I spent almost an hour in!

Anyway, if you happen to be in the area, take a half a day at the very least to walk around Iowa City’s downtown and enjoy the great things it offers!