Pumpkin Party Potluck

This Sunday, Devin and I are hosting a pumpkin party potluck. I decided to have this sometime last month when the first chill of fall was in the air, and I decided rather than lament autumn's coming, to celebrate it. With the help of our friends, here is the plan for the event:

Pumpkin martini
Pumpkin beer

Pumpkin soup
Fall harvest salad with pumpkin seeds
Pumpkin ravioli with hazelnuts and sage brown butter
Pumpkin bread
Pumpkin pie
Pumpkin cookies
Pumpkin chocolate chip squares

Pumpkin carving
Pumpkin seed roasting

I am dying to do this for the beers (see below), via Martha Stewart...pictures and a recap to come!

Best beer cooler ever!


Best-Ever Stuffed Peppers

Let me just start by saying, PLEASE MAKE THIS. It is so delicious that I've made it every week since I first tried it. And the best part is you can make a double batch of the filling and freeze it--then all you have to do for dinner is thaw (the night before in the fridge), add filling to the peppers, and shred cheese. It is the ultimate easy dinner.

Onto the peppers...

At the end of the summer Enterprise Farm (the provider of our CSA) began to unload bell peppers on us. I love peppers--in salads, omelets, stirfries, you name it. But there was a slight chill in the air, some dry polenta in the cupboard, and several ears of corn in the fridge. Goey, warm, stuffed peppers sounded like the perfect semi-healthy comfort food I was craving. I googled "bell peppers, polenta and corn" and of course my dear friend Martha had an idea!

I adapted Martha Stewart's polenta and corn stuffed peppers. I love that Martha, but some of her recipes are surprisingly bland. Here is my adaptation of her recipe:


• 4 tablespoons butter
• 1 onion (or 4 shallots) and 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
• 1 tsp smoked paprika
• 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
• Coarse salt and ground pepper
• 1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
• 3-4 ears corns sliced off the cob
• 1 cup shredded sharp white cheddar cheese
• 4 bell peppers, halved lengthwise through stem, ribs and seeds removed


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. In a medium saucepan, melt 1 tablespoon butter over medium-high. Cook onion or shallots and garlic, stirring often, until lightly browned, 5 minutes. Add spices and combine. Add 3 cups water, 1 teaspoons salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; bring to a boil.
3. Whisking constantly, gradually add cornmeal, whisking until incorporated before adding more. Reduce to a simmer; cook, whisking frequently, until thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in corn, remaining 3 tablespoons butter, and half the cheese until melted.
4. Place peppers in a large baking dish; fill with polenta mixture. Add about a 1/2 inch of water to the bottom of the pan. Cover tightly with foil; bake 30 minutes. Remove foil; sprinkle with remaining cheese.
5. Return to oven; bake, uncovered, until cheese is golden and peppers are very tender, about 30 minutes more. Garnish with a sprinkling of smoked paprika. Serve immediately.

Ingredients (notice the chopped red pepper--I used that as a garnish but decided it didn't look good)

Farmshare peppers!

Melty, cheesy, pepper goodness.


Tomatillo Guacamole

We got tomatillos in our share earlier this summer. I had actually never had one before, and I had to look them up to see what they were and what to do with them.

Wikipedia told me: The tomatillo (Physalis philadelphica) is a plant of the tomato family, related to the cape gooseberry, bearing small, spherical and green or green-purple fruit of the same name. Tomatillos, referred to as green tomato (Spanish: tomate verde) in Mexico, are a staple in Mexican cuisine. Tomatillos are grown throughout the Western Hemisphere."

Sounded like I should put it in some kind of salsa or guacamole, and I figured my usual mix of veggie, spices, herbs and oil should do the trick.  I served it with blue corn tortilla chips, and the resulting recipe was tart, tangy, and had a delightful mix of textures. A must-try if you have tomatillos on hand for some reason.

Tomatillo guac!


Quick Whole Wheat Molasses Bread

We had a standmixer and molasses just hanging around waiting to be used. I found Mark Bittman's lovely recipe in my encyclopedic cookbook. All I can say is plop this guy in the oven and bake. Once it cools, slice, toast and slather on the Nutella!

finished product with delicious nutella!


Goodbye, Summer...

I’m flipping out excited. After a bad history with faithless laptops, I finally decided I needed something more serious. Something sleek and reliable, something that didn’t have viruses, something I could really trust. Enter: MACBOOKPRO!!! Yeah, I got the iPhone, I’m an app-aholic, and now this. Whatever.

I justified this purchase in several ways.

• My current computer is a piece of sh*t. Literally, my friends mock it. It can barely open Word let alone a YouTube video. I require a machine that works. Because of the issue of my current model barely working, I’ve taken over my fiancĂ©’s machine as often as he will tolerate. He has returned to school, so this is no longer possible.
• I am applying to grad school (again.) I need a workhorse of a machine for applications and essays.
• Hopefully grad school—if I get in, I need a working machine, duh! (This is the major one)
• Netflix—is that shallow? Sorry.
• Wedding planning (ditto to above)
• Photograph storage and sorting
• Music storage
• Being part of normal society

So why is all of this relevant here? Because I now have a real, true, working computer, and I plan to blog a lot more.

Until I can really sit down and get the new machine up to date with all my recent food endeavors, I leave you with a shot of a recent meal made. We visited with some friends on the lake in Meredith, NH and had a fantastically wonderful surf and turf meal. It was a lovely way to spend Labor Day weekend, and the ideal meal to say farewell to summer.

Lobster, grilled eggplant and corn!

The spread
The Gents

The girls, enjoying Arabella and Mike's amazing Stoli Doli


Basil Pesto - Summer Staple

Nothing beats basil pesto, especially when it is made fresh in the summer with lots of extra virgin olive oil and tons of garlic. I use it on pastas, as a spread on sandwiches, as a base for pizza, to add something extra to omelets...the list is endless! And the recipe is simple:

In a food processor combine a cup and a half fresh basil leaves and 4 to 5 large garlic cloves and 3 TBSP of a hard, sharp cheese such as Parmesan. With the processor on, drizzle in olive oil until the pesto reaches the consistency you like. Add salt and pepper to taste and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, if you like, to brighten the flavor. You can also pulse in toasted pine nuts, but I never seem to have them on hand.

The great thing about this simple spread is that it freezes well, so if you need to use up some basil on its way out, this is the way to go!

Fresh pesto, ready to be popped in the freezer for future use.


Blast from the past! Turkey Burgers on the Trinity Quad

Last year I found a teeny tiny Weber grill, never used and in its original packing at a yard sale for 5 bucks. A steal! Though that little guy hasn't seen the light of day since last summer, it was a trouper last summer. One of my favorite summer memories from last year was an amazing afternoon at my alma matter, Trinity College, with fellow alum (and now betrothed) Devin.

We took some lean, ground turkey meat, mixed it up with some delicious spices, fresh chopped herbs, onions and bell peppers, and formed them into little patties...complete with an extra sharp cheddar cheese center, of course!

We headed over to Trinity with blanket, cards, frisbee, grill and the rest of the burger fixings and let those little patties grill to perfection. We topped the burgers with grilled red onions and red peppers, fresh lettuce and tomatoes, and of course more cheese. Served with Cape Cod chips and lemonade...what could be better?

The grill master at work!
The lovely mini burgers in all of their juicy glory