the most impressive $4 you’ll spend

the most impressive $4 you’ll spend

we love having friends over for dinner. selfishly, i love it because it forces me to clean the house (lol but really). for steven, it’s much more of an emotional thing. cooking is his love language. it’s how he tells people: you’re special to me. whether it’s an intimate pasta dinner for four, or a rowdy chicken and waffles brunch for twenty — being in the kitchen is his happy place and he loves sharing his food and heart with friends.

wow, that got sappy fast.

if you’re having friends for dinner and really want to impress them with your culinary prowess, this grilled octopus appetizer / salad / lunch dish is the way to go. just $4 at h mart, 1/2 a pound of baby octopus goes a long way when you add fresh baked bread grilled into toasts. and not to be all ina garten, but we also grew that thyme and parsley — and steven made the pottery it’s plated on.

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5 ingredient homemade ketchup

5 ingredient homemade ketchup

yay! i’m so excited!

i’ve spent the last two years working as a freelance journalist + writer for various publications. i’ve written about epa water violations in west virginia, i’ve tracked and explained presidential candidates tax plans, i’ve produced an investigative series about american universities operating in qatar and funded by some of the middle east’s most rich and influential families (google education city in doha, it’s fascinating). i also write for a digital parenting magazine out of brooklyn called well rounded. but today, my first food piece was published! did i say yay?!

i’m working on some food trend stories for my hometown newspaper. the first one is about homemade ketchup. you can read it here, and follow the jump for the recipe!

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roasted heirloom carrot salad

steven and i have been binge watching every season of top chef lately. pretty much all we do is feed mila, change mila, play with mila — and watch top chef. oh, and steven squeezes twelve hour work days in there somehow. so, on season thirteen, amar makes this beautiful heirloom carrot salad. we watched that episode like, three weeks ago and i was still thinking about it, so when i saw these beautiful carrots i knew i had to try and recreate! this salad — so perfect! great as a side dish, or as a stand alone for lunch!

carrots1.jpg

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spring tofu chili

two problems: first, it went from a near heatwave here in d.c. to 50 degrees, overnight. we were eating cool, summer foods then suddenly needed something to warm us up! second, i bought tofu from costco. that means i bought about five pounds of tofu. as the expiration date drew near i had to find a way to use it all up (apologies to my carnivorous husband, who might be having red meat withdrawals).

this tofu chili was an easy fix for both issues. rich, warm, and perfect for these cool spring nights.

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5 minute side dish: garlic chives

the last few times we’ve been at h mart i’ve stared at the garlic chives and asked the chef what to do with them. i’d never heard of, or seen them before. he was pretty clueless, too.

doesn’t he have a culinary degree?
from the best school in the country?
and i have to google this?!

turns out they’re this mix between garlic and onions, almost exactly like a ramp. in west virginia, where i’m from, ramps are a huge deal. they’re only available from late, late april until early, early june. west virginia even has a ramp festival every year, celebrating and exploring the the culinary uses of the ramp. these things stink to high heavens. and so do garlic chives. in fact, i had to take them out of the refrigerator and put them in a ziplock bag because the chef thought they were making his cans of sparkling water too smelly to drink. garlic ramps are native to asia: the himalayas and china. the chef loves ramps and he loved this 5 minute side dish i whipped up with the garlic chives. he ate all of his, half of mine and the leftovers. then i made him brush his teeth. ; )

garlic chives2

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