Delicious Defeat…Butternut Squash Soup with Black Bread Croutons

It pains me to say, dear readers, that not all Veggie Fake-Out recipes are destined for greatness.

Take this Butternut Squash Soup for example.  I was just so certain that my husband would not only eat it, but that he would love it.  And why not?  It doesn’t have any flavors that he’s refused before.  It’s lush with butter and a touch of cream, and the spicy/sweet balance achieved with the addition of apples and cumin sent rich and exotic aromas wafting through our Brooklyn brownstone, or so I heard from our neighbors on the third floor.  Yes, my quest to perfect a Butternut Squash, Veggie Fake-Out soup recipe, one that didn’t taste annoyingly like pumpkin pie, had finally been realized.  Until…

“it doesn’t taste like soup….it tastes like mush.”


The good news?  More soup for me!

Continue reading Delicious Defeat…Butternut Squash Soup with Black Bread Croutons

Pasta With Roasted Broccoli and Lemon Cream Sauce


Well, I certainly hope none of you were searching for something light and healthy after gorging yourself this past weekend on stuffing and gravy.  And apple crumb pie.  And Bacon & Leek Potato Gratin.  Wait…don’t I still have some of that hidden from Husband in the fridge?  Back in a sec….

You’d think that the abundance of creamy carbs currently filling my system would make me desire something a little less stick-to-your-ribs than pasta with cream sauce, but, you see, there is another power at work here – a power that makes me pee at odd intervals (like 5x this past hour), burp loudly in mixed company, and crave nothing but carbs, morning, noon and night.  This power also firmly plants its heel into my kidney at inappropriate times of day, and causes my body to experience all manner of “little miracles” that are best reserved for a forum other than a food blog.  Trust me, there are some things you guys just don’t wanna know about.

Continue reading Pasta With Roasted Broccoli and Lemon Cream Sauce

Italian Grandmothers Love Ceci Bean Salad

Throughout my childhood, my Italian Grandmother always tried to get me to eat chick peas. On salads, in soups, anywhere she could fit ’em. It wasn’t enough for her that I ate nearly anything else she put in front of me, in fact, she just used that as ammunition (“But you eat smelt sandwiches!” she would cry.) No matter what she did, or how she presented them, chick peas remained my one culinary hold out (luckily she never tried to get me to eat cottage cheese – I am still holding out on that one till this day).

Twenty years later, and enter a very-Italian boyfriend and his Mother. It mattered not a lick to these people that I was part Italian (“But I’ve been to Italy!” I would cry, “I make my own sauce! My Grandma’s maiden name is Santamaria!!”) It was all for naught. My hair was too red, my eyes were too blue, my skin was too fair, my name too…not-Italian. Thus, very-Italian boyfriend’s mother took every chance she could to teach me the ways of these mysterious Italian people and their culture.

Did I know that Christmas brought the feast of the Seven Fishes? (Yes)

Did I know to drop the “a” on every Italian word imaginable, like “Mozzarell“, and “Ricott“? (Well, that’s actually more of an Italian-Americanism, but I’ll give it to you)

Did I know that in some parts of Italy, salad is often served after the meal? (Yes, cause I have been there. Have you?)

It was only be a matter of time before these people tried to make me eat chick peas.

They sat on the kitchen table of his Nana’s house. In a small little bowl, accompanied by wafer-thin crostini. “Aren’t you going to try the Ceci Beans, Kitty? They are pronounced Cheeeee-Cheeee…” (I know). These people came from an era where it was still a grand insult to your host to not eat what was put in front of you. There stood the dreaded chick peas, ironically enough, as the true test of my Italian heritage. Nana fixed a tiny plate for me, I held my breath, and took a bite.

A bite, as it turns out, of Chick Pea Nirvana. I didn’t know they were so nutty! And smooth on the inside! Or how perfectly they went with the intense taste of raw garlic, the zingy lemon, the crunch of the thinly sliced celery! I ate with abandon. Nana had to get more bread. That lemony olive oil that sat at the bottom of the dish couldn’t be wasted, I sopped it up with whatever that woman would put on the table.

“I like her”, Nana told very-Italian boyfriend. “Good appetite.”

“She’s Italian?”

Continue reading Italian Grandmothers Love Ceci Bean Salad

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