Fresh pasta con pesto has long-been probably my favorite food in the entire world. Seriously.
If you visit the Liguria region of Italy, you’ll get the opportunity to experience pesto in its birthplace, and it will almost always be served with the traditional trofie pasta.
“Life is a combination of magic and pasta.”
~ Federico Fellini
I’ve talked about this more in my post on the food of Cinque Terre (one of my favorite places in the world!) but every time I visit those tiny fishing villages I look forward to gorging myself on platter after platter of trofie pasta with pesto.
If you haven’t made your own pasta before, it might seem kind of fussy and intimidating. But this Ligurian trofie pasta is really very easy, without dealing with eggs or any special equipment. All you need is a couple ingredients and your two hands!
It would even be a great activity with kids, or just a few extra people since the work will go much quicker and you can easily chat while you work.
Ganache. It sound so fancy, but in reality is one of the easiest and versatile weapons a baker can have in their arsenal. So I’m going to share how to make ganache—in fact, two different methods—and specifically, my favorite dark chocolate ganache.
This is the pouring ganache that I use for my epic chocolate stout cake (and the gluten-free version), and it’s become my go-to any time I need this particular consistency. The key to chocolate ganache is in the proportions…more or less chocolate will impact how solid it gets once set.
For instance, this recipe is 6 ounces to 6 tablespoons for a pouring consistency to top cakes, while I used a more chocolate-heavy ratio of 2/3 cup chocolate to 1/2 cup cream for a filling solid enough to sit between cake layers (like in this peanut butter cake). You can see more on how the ratios work here.
If you’d told me a few months ago that cauliflower crust pizza would be making up like…25% of my diet, I’d have asked what you were smoking. And yet here we are.
This cauliflower crust only takes a few ingredients (most of which you have on hand). It’s is high in vitamins K and C, low-cal, high in fiber and antioxidants, and (like all cruciferous vegetables) good for detoxing the liver.
Your topping options are also really versatile, though I stay away from super wet/soggy ingredients. Here are a few things I typically throw on:
- I often keep cooked hamburger on hand to throw on any dish
- I use both shredded (parmesan, cheddar, mozzarella), and a soft cheese (there’s a sheep/goat one that’s AMAZING)
- I usually will throw a pan of roasted vegetables in the oven along with the cauliflower crust (brussels sprouts, peppers, and onions are my fave)
- You can use sauce, but I’m not a fan and it does make things soggy. Sometimes I will spread a bit of dijon mustard on though for extra flavor.
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Why do I call this “traditional”? It’s because it involves manually squeezing all the liquid out before mixing and baking. I’ve recently found an alternative recipe that doesn’t require squeezing (due to a secret ingredient), which I’ve been loving as well.
The thing about making a traditional cauliflower crust is that it’s not super fast. Now, it’s not HARD, it just has a few different steps and ALL THAT SQUEEZING. What I’ve found helpful in how to make cauliflower crust is to break up into a few key phases or steps so I can plan my timing around it.
- Rice/food processor your cauliflower (if necessary) and cook it
- Squeeeeeeeze your cauliflower to get all the liquid out, then mix together the dough
- Bake the dough mixture by itself, then top and bake just long enough to melt the cheese
So I’ll often do the first step earlier in the day so it can cool, then just throw the cooked cauliflower in my nut milk bag and come back to it later. Then when I’m ready to actually make dinner, I turn my oven on and start the squeezing.
I’ll squeeze once, let it rest a couple minutes, come back and squeeze some more…you want to get as much liquid out as possible.
I am a massive fan of grilling, and actually run my grill almost every night, year-round. Why, you ask? Well, 1) it’s the best way I’ve found to consistently eat healthy, 2) it’s super fast and easy, and 3) it requires very little clean-up.
Did you need more reasons than that??
Since I moved into my house a few years ago and finally got a real gas grill, I’ve been working to become a grillmaster of sorts, testing all kinds of different recipes.
So I wanted to share some of my favorite grilling tips and recipes here, particularly for grilling newbies…and I’m always looking to up my game so feel free to send me YOUR best ones too!
(I feel like I need to caveat here, that I’m not one of those amazing obsessed grilling nerds…but that’s why this guide is perfect for newbies)
What this post covers
- Grilling tools for success
- General grilling tips
- Tips for grilling various meats
Tools you need
It goes without saying that a good grill is a good starting point. I use a gas grill, so all the tips here will be geared toward that, I can’t speak to charcoal. I upgraded to a Weber recently but had a Charbroil for a few years, they’re only a few hundred bucks, and it did great.READ THE POST
I am known for many things, but my cake decorating skills (or generally making desserts that are aesthetically pleasing) is NOT one of those things. I make delicious things, but they’re not always pretty and that’s okay. When I try cake decorating, it looks like a two-year-old did it.
And I still didn’t do an *amazing* job on this adorable onesie cake, but I’m PRETTY DARN PROUD OF IT and also think the idea/technique is awesome.
For this shower, the mom-to-be had requested her favorite cake—regular yellow box cake with chocolate frosting. And what mama wants, mama gets.
HOWEVER, this hurt my baker’s soul, so I tried to figure out some way to make it special. Well, and I also made a second (delicious) cake 🙂
While sifting through baby shower cake ideas, I stumbled upon this onesie-shaped cake, and it actually looked super easy so it felt I could tackle it. It’s mainly just some simple cutting or carving of a 9×13 cake and then doing the frosting and just a bit of piping.
Mine is definitely not perfect (definitely looks wonkus in the diaper region especially), but I’ll talk about a few of the techniques I used below.
I’m quite picky when it comes to pizza. But give me an amazing Naples-style traditional margherita pizza and I am in 100% of the time.
And make that a grilled margherita pizza?? ALL THE YES.
This pizza is perfect in its simplicity…it’s less of a standalone recipe than it is the sum of a few delicious components. The flavor and high heat from the grill help kind of approximate the crazy heat and fire of the traditional woodfire oven.
It takes my favorite pizza dough (or use your own, or store-bought), a no-cook tomato sauce that takes literally two minutes to make, some fresh mozzarella, and some freshly-grated parmesan.
You can whip it up on any weeknight, something that always feels like a victory. The real problem for me is that…I’m one person. So I really can’t justify eating tons of pizza, but it’s not good as leftovers, so…
I guess what I’m saying is, my clothes are tight.
Not to brag or anything, but I make darn good grilled chicken breasts. Like, my-sister-requests-them-for-her-birthday-dinner good.
Boneless, skinless chicken breasts often get a bad rap for being the iceberg lettuce of the protein world…a bland necessary evil but absolutely nothing to get excited about. However, I really struggle with the texture and flavor of chicken thighs or bone-in chicken, so I’ve made it my mission to crack the code on delicious chicken breasts.
My best friend (my Cheese) put me on to wet brining a few years ago, and it’s become an invaluable tool in my arsenal. I often forget to put chicken in to marinate in the morning before I leave for work, and so what I will often do when I get home at night is make up a brine, throw the chicken in, go for a run, and fire up the grill as soon as I’m back.
We’re going to talk about both wet brine and dry brine methods here, as both are great (but I’ll tell you my new favorite at the end).
Ever since I bought my house last year and was able to get a proper grill (not the electric nonsense I had before), I’ve been working on becoming a total grillmaster. That means all the usual things like learning how to make moist and flavorful chicken, steak, fish, and vegetables.
But one of my favorite things to experiment with has been grilled pizza, so I wanted to share what I’ve learned and provide my best tips for how to grill pizza. I won’t claim to be an absolute expert, but I’m super happy with how it turns out for me!
The beauty of grilled pizza is how versatile it is…you can seriously top it with just about anything, as long as it’s already cooked or mostly cooked. From veggies to protein to fruit to cheese to chocolate, you can’t go wrong.
I’ve outlined my grilled pizza dough recipe below, and then at the bottom of the post I have a list of tips for how to grill pizza—both making and grilling the dough!READ THE POST
Marinated feta where have you been all my life?!
That was basically what my brain was yelling the first time I made this. It was meant to be just an ingredient in garlicky farfalle with marinated feta and arugula (now a fave of mine), but I pinched a little bite while I was cooking the pasta, and my mind was blown.
Since then I’ve made it on its own, either for tossing in a salad, for eating on crackers, or for just obsessively snacking on by itself. The key to making it especially amazing is to use a really good block feta (not the pre-crumbled stuff). Any block will do—and don’t go fat-free, bring on that fat—but I recently fell in love with the Pastures of Eden feta at Trader Joe’s (and wherever else you can find it). Amazeballs.
The cooking and baking world has long been obsessed with brown butter. Very charmingly called “beurre noisette” (or hazelnut butter…and it’s actually delicious *with* hazelnuts), it’s basically butter that’s been gently boiled until the milk solids evaporate, leaving you with a clarified, brown, nutty pool of YUM.
It’s useful everything from baking to simple, rich pasta sauces, and is actually super simple to make as long as you know what to look for. So today we’re going to talk about how to brown butter.