Despite cooking new recipes all the time, occasionally you just want something that combines your normal ingredients but in a new way. We try so many recipes with such a crossover of ingredients, that it’s a challenge to find recipes that don’t start to feel the same as what we’re already eating. Will found this gem, which brought in polenta as the main grain ingredient and had a simple sausage and veggie mix to go with it. Will’s favorite touch? The poached egg. It’s what made this stand out from other similar recipes and while an egg is not always my favorite touch, it certainly did give this recipe some pizzaz. And not only that, it’s just pretty to look at (granted the bowls make it look even better, but still)! This could easily be altered based on veggies that are in season – the basic concept of polenta, veggies/meat, and topped with an egg is all that you need to know! Will’s already got more ideas for how to adapt this meal into other combinations, so stay tuned…

It’s Courtney again! Baking is something that relaxes me, so I do it when I get the chance. I don’t eat too much of it though – usually one portion is enough. This, of course, means my friends, coworkers, and roommate suddenly find themselves in possession of all the leftovers, but I haven’t heard too many complaints.

We dug this recipe up out of one of our favorite go-to cookbooks, Simply in Season, from the “winter” section. We were beginning to get a little jaded with carb-heavy dishes and decided we needed to get more creative with our winter veggie selection, since we were feeling a little low on veggies. As we all know, there aren’t many veggie options in the winter, but we were beginning to find that sweet potatoes were really starting to grow on us. So as we flipped through our trusty cookbook, we came across a recipe for sweet potato quesadillas and it just spoke to us. Simple ingredients, flavorful spices, and easy enough for a couple nights worth of dinner. Sounded good to us and we knew the sweet potato would definitely be filling! On a super budget week, this recipe came in handy – we had everything except one giant sweet potato, tortillas, and cheese, which are all fairly low-cost and easy to acquire.Will whipped these up in no time and we enjoyed a non-cheese slathered quesadilla that was really tasty (just ignore the queso dip in the picture…). We highly recommend this if you aren’t feeling super inspired to put a ton of effort into cooking, but don’t want to carb-out on unhealthy foods!

Cooking Notes: We don’t have dried oregano or dried basil, so we always end up subbing Italian seasoning in its place. And this recipe called for marjoram, which we didn’t have previously, but I had happened to pick it up at Whole Foods in Richmond the same weekend we made this, which was fun. We also only needed one giant sweet potato, though if you’re feeding more than a couple people, we’d recommend two medium-large sweet potatoes to do the job.

Sweet Potato Quesadillas (adapted from Simply in Season; serves 8)
1 1/2 cups onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp dried Italian seasoning
1 1/2 tsp dried marjoram
1 1/2 tsp chili powder
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
Pinch of ground red pepper, to taste
1 lb. sweet potato (equaling 4 cups), cooked and mashed*
8 tortillas
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
Sour cream, for topping

Begin by cooking sweet potatoes by piercing skin with a fork a few times, then baking in a 400 degree oven for 30-50 minutes. (You can also microwave them by piercing the skin 5-6 times, then cooking for 5-8 minutes, rotating at least once.) Prepare the rest of your meal while these bake.

Oil your baking sheets. Mince the onion and garlic, then saute in a large frypan in 1 tbsp oil until translucent. Add your spices, then cook another minute. Add the sweet potato and heat through, stirring frequently to prevent sticking. Add S&P to taste.

Spread about 1/2 cup of the sweet potato filling and 2 tbsp cheese on half of each tortilla, leaving 1’2 inch border on the sides. Fold tortilla in half then place on baking sheets. Brush tops with oil, then bake in a preheated oven for 15-20 minutes. Serve with sour cream and enjoy!

We have a lot of new kitchen toys. A lot. So many, that it’s mind-boggling to keep up with them each time we cook! This recipe featured:
-new Le Creuset dutch oven (and a Wolfgang Puck one, not featured here, but also new and exciting!)
-new Turkish cookbook from our favorite Turkish family, the Kiran’s
-new onion chopper
-new cutting boards
-new Pampered Chef measuring pour cups
-new wooden utensils
-new pinch pots
-new plates/bowls

See what I mean? A lot of new toys (and this is only some). All the fun! We feel so spoiled by all the outpouring of love from our friends and family and our kitchen is certainly happier for it. I think I hadn’t realized how far the blog has impacted with those we know and love, because people really went nuts with an outpouring of fun kitchen gadgets because I think they knew we would use them, no matter how bizarre they may be! So many thanks and much love in return, friends.

We have received a lot of wonderful wedding gifts that have to do with the kitchen, but this may be one of the more decadent, random and fun products we’ve received – our molcajete! Now realistically, we could definitely live without having one of these in our kitchen, however what fun is it to make fresh salsa and guac like they should be made! After Will seasoned and treated this beast of a device (it’s really big and super heavy), we finally decided to try it out. We had wanted it’s first run to be with guac, but it is certainly not avocado season and we always think of making guac approximately two hours before we want to make it, which is not the time to buy ripe avocados. You would think we would’ve learned that by now, but we haven’t. However, we did have all the right ingredients on hand to make salsa, so Will decided to try making a roasted salsa for the first time. We figured this would be a good opportunity to try a new recipe AND our new molcajete, so off we went. Not going to lie – this was a pretty amazing salsa. Plenty spicy, lots of delicious roasted flavors, and a certain freshness to it that couldn’t be matched coming out of a jar. The molcajete was a hit and we’re ready to make some guac in it soon…once we appropriately plan to have in-season avocados on hand and ripened by the time we want to eat it!

So I’ve started cooking dinner on Wednesday nights for Will and may even adopt Monday nights for cooking as well. Will is trying to prep me in case his internship isn’t in Williamsburg this summer – he’s very insistent that I will cook for myself and not starve (hah). As a result, he has requested I start selecting recipes and cooking for us more, so I’m more proficient and accustomed to being independent in the kitchen. It’s very sweet of him and I must say, I am getting better than I’ve been in the past! I find it amusing that I started this blog two years ago with the purpose of Will teaching me to cook and here we are, just now, where I’m learning to be independent in the kitchen. I can be a bit…stubborn. But that’s okay because the more I try to cook, the more I realize it’s not as scary or intimidating as I think it is! For example, I made this recipe all by myself while Will wrapped up writing a paper before class one week and it turned out really well. This recipe came from my bridal shower and was submitted by Aunt Marty to be part of my Friends & Family recipe binder (separate from the recipe binder Will and I have created…too many binders). We didn’t think it would be too different from other recipes we’ve made before, since we use the main ingredients fairly often – basil, chicken, coconut and curry. However, this combination  was delicious and is definitely one you should try!

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted an ice cream recipe! This one has been in my queue since late summer, if you can believe that, and it keeps getting passed over for other things. I’m finally cracking down on myself to catch up and it’s time this recipe gets its turn, just in time for spring and fresh berries at the farmers market (despite the fact they’re calling for more ice/freezing drizzle today). Will made this from a combo of fresh and frozen berries that we had on hand for breakfast and snacks, and it was the last ice cream we made for several months. It last in our freezer for a long time because I’m not the biggest “fruit for dessert” person, despite really enjoying the wonderful flavors of this. Between the temperature drop and the fruitiness, I let this one slide past. Check in with me in August and we’ll see how I feel about it then! If you’re a big berries person or are craving what could be considered a “healthier” alternative decadent ice creams, this is probably the right recipe for you. It’s light and balanced, packed with nutrients from the berries but balanced with the indulgence of ice cream!

Irish Cream Coffee

Posted by Megan | Drinks, Global

I was going to let St. Patrick’s Day slide by with old recipes for Guinness Cake and Ice Cream or Irish Beef Stew or even just a quick glance at Soda Bread. But instead, yesterday we decided to run to the ABC store to fill out our bar a bit more. And since it was the day before St. Pat’s, the Bailey’s and Jameson were right at the front, calling out our names. We caved, picked up a bottle of each, swung by Farm Fresh to get some heavy cream, then came home and got straight to business. A coldish, rainy, blah kind of day called for an afternoon pick-me-up and Irish Coffee was the first thing we each thought of. Will brewed some more French press coffee (our second brew of the day) and I whipped up the cream (literally) and in less than 10 minutes, we were slurping down wonderfully accurate Irish Cream Coffee’s. If you want the true authentic Irish Coffee, you’ll pass on the Bailey’s and do a full shot of Jameson. But if you’re indulgent and can’t ever get enough Bailey’s, you’ll happily do a half-and-half shot of Bailey’s and Jameson to make an Irish Cream Coffee. And on a chilly, rainy day, it doesn’t really matter what you make. Both the weather and the drink are reminiscent of Ireland and are absolutely wonderful! For an extra little throwback to my time in Ireland, see below for pictures of my mother and I taste-testing Jameson for the first time at the distillery in Ireland (sorry mom!).

You know I’m always ready on the weekends with a new coffee or breakfast recipe! This one is a little different than a latte but packs a punch all of its own. Inspired by Will’s favorite Moroccan cookbook, he started making this recipe on the weekends on a fairly regular basis. There’s just enough spice to make you aware of its presence, but not so much that you’re overwhelmed by the contingent of flavors. You may think we’re crazy for suggesting putting black pepper in your coffee, but I promise it’s balanced by the array of sweeter and more powerful spices. When we’re out of milk and want something a step up from regular French press coffee, this is what we turn to.

This looks bland and boring – I’ll admit it. And capers are this weird little ingredient that you use for something once and then they sit in your fridge for a long time before you finally have a need for them again. I know this. However, I think if you try this recipe, you’ll be very surprised at how good it is! We thought it looked appetizing but didn’t think it would be the most exciting meal we’ve ever made. Needless to say, we were delightfully surprised with how much we liked this! This was also another recipe that I made for Will, which is part of why it’s something so simple. You literally just cook up spaghetti noodles, drain and chop a few things and toss it all together! It’s also really good as lunch leftovers and can even be eaten cold the next day.