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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Cauliflower Pizza Crust with Roasted Vegetables and Goat Cheese

cauliflower-pizza-crust-with-roasted-vegetables-and-goat-cheese-10Like most normal humans, I love pizza. As a small child, my pizza fetish (coupled with my grilled cheese addiction) led to such high cholesterol levels that my pediatrician actually forced my parents to limit my consumption. In order to avoid a very tiny grave, I was only allowed to eat pizza every other week for an entire year. Needless to say, 1993 sucked. For the record, my cholesterol levels are now perfect (thank you very much), and pizza remains my favorite food. When it comes to late night, hangovers, and No-Calorie Sundays, pizza has been, and always will be, my best friend. And while the numerous times I have woken up hugging an empty pizza box may not be my proudest moments, they are proof of my dedication to this most wondrous food. Long hair, don't care. Read More >>

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Chili

Black-bean-and-sweet-potato-chiliI’m sick. If you’re worried about me, you should be. I feel terrible. My throat may or may not be closing up, I’m experiencing some pretty severe post-nasal drip, and this computer screen is really hurting my eyes. Blergh. After analyzing my symptoms on WebMD earlier this morning, I wasn’t feeling overly optimistic about my chances for survival. Although I was able to narrow down most of my possible conditions based on common sense (i.e. there is no foreign object lodged in my nose, and I’m pretty sure I’m not suffering from a drug overdose), I couldn’t rule out viral pharyngitis, peritonsillar abscess, or helicobacter pylori infection. Those words are very weird and scary. While indulging my inner hypochondriac is always a great exercise, for sanity’s sake, let’s just assume that I’ve developed a cold due to changing weather conditions, lack of sleep,...
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Domestic Details: 10 Essential Kitchen Tools

10-Essential-Kitchen-ToolsOutfitting your kitchen can be a daunting task. If you’ve ever been in a Williams-Sonoma or spent a nice little Saturday at Bed, Bath & Beyond, you’ve undoubtedly been exposed to an endless array of awesome/terrifying kitchen tools stacked to high heaven. While such a sight makes me happier than the Dude at an all-you-can-eat buffet, I recognize that most of you may find it slightly overwhelming. That's where I come in. There are literally millions of fancy gadgets and accessories that you could buy, but I’m guessing most of you won’t be using a special pomegranate tool, a grease separator, or a stainless steel ravioli former on the reg. So, in the interest of keeping your kitchen as functional and fuss-free as possible, I have compiled a handy list of the ten tools that you actually need. You’re...
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Spiced Pumpkin Punch

Spiced-pumpkin-punch-with-bourbon-1I used to be really good at Halloween. As a kid, I started planning my costume in August, and to be perfectly honest, I always killed it. Just to give you a point of reference, in sixth grade, I was Sweetheart Barbie. IN THE BOX. Sure it was hot/disorienting/claustrophobic trick-or-treating inside a spray-painted refrigerator box lined with cellophane, but it was worth it. The universe paid me back for my discomfort in appropriate amounts of candy and compliments. My teenage Halloweens were pretty underwhelming because I went to boarding school, and wearing costumes to class wasn’t really a thing. Needless to say, I still dressed up, but my outfits were much less impressive than in my Halloween heyday. I did make my own Ninja Turtle shell out of a printer box my sophomore year, but it was rather unwieldy in class and some teachers...
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Mexican Mac and Cheese

mexican-mac-and-cheese-01My roommate turned 30 this past Sunday. I got him a fancy briefcase because 30-year-old men should not carry brightly colored computer bags to work. I also gave him the gift of Mexican Mac and Cheese. Just to give you a little background, I promised Logan last month that I would make him whatever ridiculous food item he could think of for his birthday. This was risky, since Logan spends a significant portion of his daily life thinking about disturbingly unhealthy food creations, and I wouldn’t put it past him to demand something like a deep-fried, pizza-wrapped bacon cheeseburger. I mean, the dude asks me to make him homemade meat lover’s Hot-Pockets on average days, so who knows what craziness he could dream up for this special occasion. Logan did send me a flurry of “inspiration texts” a couple weeks ago, mostly involving...
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Warm Spinach Salad with Bacon Vinaigrette and a Fried Egg

warm-spinach-salad-with-bacon-vinaigrette-and-a-fried-egg-5-3When I think about my shortcomings (which I try to do as little as possible), poor brunch ordering is definitely high on the list. It’s probably sandwiched somewhere between “hoarding” and “always forgets to buy toilet paper,” and like those, it’s a pretty serious issue. For some unknown reason, I tend to panic every time I’m presented with a brunch menu. I’m usually tempted by the sweeter options like French toast, waffles and pancakes of all kinds, but then I worry that I’ll be jealous and dissatisfied with my choice when I see someone else’s savory order. Logical solutions to this problem include a.) ordering something both sweet and savory b.) splitting several different items with my brunch companions, and c.) asking the waiter to bring me the best thing on the menu and leaving it at that. Sadly, I rarely go...
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Quinoa “Falafel” with Avocado-Tomato Relish and Yogurt-Tahini Dressing

quinoa-falafel-with-avocado-tomato-relish-and-yogurt-tahini-dressing-1Late last spring, my mom and I got into a pretty serious fight. It started small, but it eventually escalated to insulting each other’s taste and values, and using embarrassingly loud voices in an otherwise quiet restaurant. We barely ate our dinners, I almost cried, and our waiter was very uncomfortable. I blame Gwyneth. Although I was a big fan back in her Shakespeare in Love days, I’ve become significantly less enamored with good old Gwynnie in recent years. I obviously questioned her decision-making skills when she named her daughter after a common fruit, but it wasn’t until she launched her lifestyle website Goop.com, that I really turned on her. Goop actively stresses me out. How will I succeed at the elimination diet if I don’t have a sauna in which to sweat out my many toxins or an assistant to...
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Domestic Details: Everything You Need To Know About Caring For Cast Iron

How-to-season-and-maintain-your-cast-iron-skilletIf I had to pick a favorite kitchen essential, it would be my cast iron skillet. Hands-down. It conducts heat evenly and consistently, it’s perfectly non-stick, and you can use it for everything from searing meat to baking cornbread. Plus, cooking and serving things in a cast iron skillet is very rustic chic. Unfortunately, I’ve found that many peeps are confused by cast iron, and they either refuse to mess with it or they mistreat it horribly. So I thought I’d clear a few things up today in the hope of converting some of you to cast-iron. I promise that with a little love and understanding, you and your cast iron skillet will have a very long and happy life together. If you don’t own a cast iron skillet, please invest in one immediately. What kind should you...
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Carrot Cake Whoopie Pies with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

Carrot-cake-whoopie-pies-with-maple-cream-cheese-frosting-10, pinthisWhoopie pies are pretty boss. I didn’t grow up eating whoopie pies on the reg, but I was always a huge fan of these handheld sandwich cakes. At least I was until an unfortunate experience in 2008, involving the consumption of approximately 15 late night whoopie pies after my 21st birthday party. Not only did those pies make me very ill, but they also ruined my fancy party dress, which was unforgivable. As a result, I swore off whoopie pies for good, and I managed to stay strong for five full years. Then last weekend happened... The gift bags at my sister’s Maine wedding were filled with a smorgasbord of awesomeness, including an old school mix CD, pine pillows, and three different types of whoopie pies, which are apparently the official “state treat” of Maine. I left the reception with this bag of...
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