Mulled Wine

easy-mulled-wine-the-best-holiday-cocktail-3Ahhhhh, mulled wine. My old friend. Mulled wine makes me happy for many reasons, but mostly because it reminds me of my days as a Parisian schoolgirl. (Or schoolwoman? However you want to think of a 23-year-old at culinary school.) Strangely, I had never experienced the wonders of mulled wine before living in Paris, but from my first taste of the stuff in October 2010, I was hooked. Come fall, vin chaud (aka mulled wine) pops up on almost every Parisian cocktail menu, and it is a beautiful thing. I spent many a cozy afternoon sipping this warmly spiced concoction at neighborhood cafes, while attempting to read Harry Potter in French (I pursued fluency in several creative ways), and enjoying the unparalleled Parisian people-watching. Rocking stained teeth before 4pm on a weekday may have been less than chic, but I felt very...
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Mashed Potato Pancakes with Goat Cheese and Chives

Mashed-potato-pancakes-with-goat-cheese-and-chivesTomorrow is the big day, and I couldn’t be any more excited than I am right now. In a last minute change of plans, yours truly is hosting Wolf family Thanksgiving this year. My mother, sister, and brother-in-law will be making a very uncharacteristic trek downtown tomorrow afternoon to feast in my living room. (Traveling below 14th Street! Horror of horrors!) Truthfully, I am both thrilled and terrified that this is happening. Since I’ve mastered roasting a turkey, and my Mom is taking care of most of the sides, I’m not remotely stressed about the cooking aspect of tomorrow’s festivities. Duh. Honestly, it’s the “holiday décor” that is giving me heart palpitations. My mother has very specific (and exquisite) taste, and when it comes to holidays, she likes things to be seasonal, beautiful, and, for lack of a better word,...
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Banana Bread with Walnut Crumble

Banana-Bread-with-Walnut-Crumble-10Barring national holidays and my birthday, the Harvard/Yale football game is my favorite day of the year. I have mentioned my distaste for football many times before, so my fondness for Harvard/Yale clearly has less than nothing to do with the sports game itself. In fact, I’m ashamed to admit that in the eight years that I have attended H/Y festivities, I have witnessed the actual football game a grand total of one time. To be honest, I do not really recall this uncharacteristic adventure, but there is photo documentation of me enthusiastically cheering inside the Harvard stadium in 2006, so it must be true. Blackout Serena (affectionately referred to by friends as “Selena”) is apparently a sports fan! Who would have guessed? I’m sure some of you are wondering, “Serena, if you hate football so much, why do you...
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Domestic Details: 12 Tips for Roasting the Perfect Thanksgiving Turkey

12-Essential-Tips-For-Roasting-The-Perfect-Thanksgiving-Turkey-4Thanksgiving is almost upon us, and I’m sure you’re all kicking your domesticity into high gear for the big day. While many of you seem pretty confident in your side dishes, I feel like there’s a lot of anxiety surrounding the turkey. I get it. Turkeys are fat and scary, and some of you may be roasting one for the first time. Good luck with that. Psych! You can relax. Roasting a turkey is actually pretty simple. Choose a recipe that you feel comfortable with, make sure you leave yourself enough time, and have some fun with it. I know, that is much easier said than done, and there are probably several of you cursing me through the computer right now for being incredibly laissez-faire about this. So, in the hope of putting your mind at ease and preventing any major...
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Sweet Potato Gratin with Pancetta, Parmesan and Sage

Sweet-potato-gratin-with-pancetta-parmesan-and-sage-10-2Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. I know this may come as a shock to some of you based on the fact that it does not involve presents, but it’s true. Everything about Thanksgiving is the best. The crispness in the autumn air, the togetherness of family and friends, and the shameless binge eating are all things that I look forward to year-round. When the big day inevitably arrives, I tend to wake up at the crack of dawn, restless and giddy with excitement for the day’s shitshow events. I have to actively restrain myself from screaming, “IT’S HERE! IT’S HEEEERE!!!” (Not that my roommate would judge me if I actually did the screaming. He obviously feels the same way about a good feast.) In case you imagine my family’s Thanksgivings being perfectly executed (thank you!), you are majorly off-base. Every year, the Wolfs...
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Kale Salad with Quinoa, Cranberries and Toasted Almonds

kale-salad-with-quinoa-cranberries-and-toasted-almonds-40Kale kind of sucks. I’m aware of the inflammatory nature of the previous statement, but I like to keep it as real as possible on this blog. Trust me, no one is more upset than I am that I haven’t gotten on board with this trendy green. I’d actually like nothing more than to fall in love with kale, since admitting to other foodies/healthy eaters that I’m not a fan tends to go over about as well as when I tell people that I don’t really like dogs or babies. Obviously, I am familiar with the superfood qualities that kale possesses, but in case you are not, I shall briefly summarize them for you. Kale is a nutritional powerhouse, people. It’s packed with calcium, fiber, and mass quantities of vitamins A, C, and K, as well as a host of essential minerals....
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Domestic Details: 10 Items to Stock in Your Pantry

10-Items-to-stock-in-your-pantry-2Stocking one’s pantry is a tricky thing, and based on some of the kitchens I’ve been in recently, many of you choose not to do it. This is very bad, since having an empty pantry severely limits your domestic progress, people. If you don’t have anything in your kitchen, you’re much more likely to get takeout and eat Hot-Pockets than try to pull together a decent meal on your own. Fact. To those of you are thinking, “Stop being so judgy, Serena, I don’t even have a pantry,” try not to be so literal. Obviously, I’m using the term “pantry” loosely. The “pantry” in my last apartment was a giant plastic box 3-feet from the front door, and it served me quite well. Whether you have half a kitchen cabinet, a container under the sink, or a walk-in pantry (jealousss), stocking...
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Brie Quesadillas with Brussels Sprouts, Bacon and Beer-Glazed Onions

brie-quesadillas-with-brussels-sprouts-bacon-and-beer-glazed-onions-19This Saturday, Widespread Panic is playing in New York City. For those of you that read this blog on the reg, you know how I feel about the aforementioned band. However, for the newbies, I will give you a quick recap. Widespread Panic is an old jam band with legions of freakishly loyally devoted fans that follow them all over the country to noodle and cry at their concerts. These die-hard followers are commonly referred to as "Spreadheads." Logan is their leader. Obviously, my roommate bought tickets for this event months ago, at which point he began a Christmas-like countdown to November 16. I later found out that we would be hosting a pre-Panic party at our apartment when he sent out several group emails hyping the upcoming "rowdy fiesta." Each was signed “Peace, Love and WSMFP” (Widespread Mother Fucking...
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The Dude Diet: NFL Edition

dude-diet-chicken-cutlets-and-zucchini-pasta-with-cherry-tomatoes-3The Dude Diet is going mainstream, folks. I mean, I always knew a high profile dude would eventually get on board, I just wasn’t exactly sure of how it would play out. I mostly envisioned getting my hands on a pre-weight loss Seth Rogan type, putting him on The Dude Diet in secret for a couple months, and having him publicly unveil his new wonderland bod to the world in some dramatic way. When Jimmy Kimmel inevitably asked how this dude got so svelte, I would come running out on stage in a tight Dude Diet t-shirt and take full credit. Said celebrity would then star in national ad campaigns alongside Logan (who is already an internet celebrity), and The Dude Diet would become the new Weight Watchers. It was a simple plan. This is not what happened. What did happen is that...
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Domestic Details: How to Safely Defrost Meat

how-to-safely-defrost-meat-3-waysWhen it comes to storing food, keeping it in the freezer is a no-brainer. Honestly, I’m incredibly proud of my “freezer of surprises,” which at any given time is stocked with everything from soups and muffins to turkey sausages and steaks. (My roommate also stores a pizza in there for “emergencies.”) While you don't have to be quite so aggressive, I strongly suggest keeping a few frozen essentials on hand for the days when you can’t make it to the grocery store or are in need of a quick meal. Do it. Luckily, most people seem to be pretty clear on how to freeze things (i.e. put food in airtight packaging, open freezer, insert food, close freezer), but there appears to be some serious confusion surrounding defrosting, especially when it comes to meat. Sure, you can take a couple cupcakes out...
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