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Posts Tagged ‘dinner’

I know what you’re thinking. “It’s summer. Why the hell would I make soup?” Well, because it’s healthy (perfect for your Giselle Bundchen summer beach bod), refreshing, hearty enough so that it fills you and it’s extremely cost-effective for the amount of soup it makes.

The last and most important reason why you should make this soup is because I know my shit and everyone should abide by everything I say.

Often, what I make is inspired by what I eat when I’m at a restaurant. This is my usual process: I figure out what ingredients they used, how they did it and then confidently (or over-confidently, as some would inconceivably say) decide that I can make it and that I can make it better. That’s what happened here. I had escarole bean soup last week at this little hole-in-the-wall Italian joint by where I work in Woodland Park. Theirs was fantastic. Mine was superb.

Happy cooking.

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Want to know what my personal hell is? It’s the fact that I’ve been trying hard to get into shape, going to spin class and exercising on the reg and tres leches cake, which my mom got to celebrate my graduation ceremony this week, is sitting in the fridge. My mom’s friend’s mother makes it. She has made this cake all her life — is now 90 years old — and it’s what she’s known for. Truly, there are few things in the universe that parallel this dessert.

So you can understand why this is such a quandary for me. And if you’ve read Jean Paul Sartre’s No Exit, you can understand why, if I were a character, for eternity I’d be doing p90x ab ripper as a single slice of unadulterated tres leches remained in a seemingly reachable, but not actually reachable, place right in front of my face.

In that play, Sartre famously said: “Hell is other people.” Hell isn’t other people. Hell is tres leches cake. That version of hell is far, far worse than fire and brimstone. I know because it is in fact my living hell.

Enough of Sartre. He was a depressing dude. I don’t have tres leches on this blog, because that recipe is a guarded family secret, but I do have some dynamite spinach meatballs that are test-kitchen approved. Do you like how quickly I switch gears like that?

I brought these meatballs to work every day this past week. Typically, I can’t stand to eat the same thing every day (first world problem) but daamn they were so good. I tried adding spinach to regular meatballs, and I was so glad that I did. You can cook the meatballs in the sauce or bake them separately. I recommend cooking them in the sauce, because it makes the sauce more complex. Because you’re cooking the sauce for such a long period of time, I can assure you that the meat does cook and you won’t end up with anything raw.

This is a good recipe for a girl (or a guy) on a budget because it makes a lot and anything you don’t finish you can freeze. I kept mine for a few days in the fridge, as I kept taking it for lunch, and still had a container I could save for another week.

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Good pizza is hard to come by. The best pizza I’ve ever had was in Italy, when I visited relatives that lived on a farm and got all of their ingredients from the backyard. They never even make pizza… they just made it because my family was visiting. Still, there is no single composition of bread, sauce and cheese that has ever compared… sigh, how nice it would be to travel and not be a poor college graduate. I’ve been reading way too many travel articles – like this one in the New York Times  —  that have made me long to be anywhere but here. This is the time of year everyone looks up Liberty Travel air fare and hotel package deals in Aruba and goes to the gym to get fit for an all-inclusive week of taking new Facebook defaults. Unfortunately, not me. Hence why I need to find a sugar daddy as soon as possible. Sorry John… this ship has sailed, and it will cast its anchor somewhere in the Caribbean.

Now that you’ve begun envisioning your own Margarita-fueled vacation, let me distract you with two recipes: a recipe for red sauce and mozzarella pizza and a recipe for shrimp pizza, both of which are thin-crusted and glorious.

I regret to inform you that the light, crispy goodness is from Teresa Giudice’s book, which has a title as convincing as The Real Housewives Anywhere: “Skinny Italian: Eat it and Enjoy It–Live la Bella Vita and Look Great, too!”.

I know, I probably lost all credibility in divulging that, but I can assure you that the crust is excellent and low-calorie. Giudice may be a joke to the region of America that has a brain, but she (or her publicist) can make a hell of a sauce. Just pretend the recipe is Paula Dean’s… that’s what I did when John tried to convince me it was a good one. And it is. Unless you find The Real Housewives riveting and think Teresa Giudice is the next Barbara Fairchild, in which case, by all means, embrace this one.

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