BLT Salad {video}

So, if you follow along on Facebook, then this BLT salad will look familiar. I shared a sneak peek at the video a couple of weeks ago just after making it on Snapchat. If you’re not a fan of my Facebook page, then this salad is just the reason you should be (psst: click here to like it). Just think, for two whole weeks you could’ve already been enjoying the recipe.

Something to know about me, even with all the food I cook, and new, innovative recipes I create—I’m a creature of habit, especially when it comes to eating sandwiches outside the house at lunchtime. The main problem here is that I’m not a sandwich person, at least not the way most places make sandwiches. I don’t like big, thick, loaded sandwiches. Contrary to popular opinion, I have a small mouth—it just sounds much bigger than it is in reality. Also, I can never finish those behemoth sandwiches, and chances are if I’m eating out at lunchtime, then I’m on my way to some place else afterwards. A to-go bag isn’t generally a feasible option midday. Continue reading »

taco night: elevate your everyday

Some nights, as we settle down to dinner, I question my motives. While I usually try to include something that’ll make everyone happy at the table, there are nights when I’m the only one excited about the feast before us. It’s just the reality of living with kids, even those who’ve grown up with home cooking being a regular part of their life. What I realized a few years ago is that it’s not just about the food. It’s the ritual, the experience of coming together around the table, sharing conversation, giggles, and laying the groundwork for what my daughters expect a meal to be.

It’s the whole package. As a single mom it can be exhausting to keep it up, but something happened last summer that made me realize I am indeed making a difference in my girls’ lives with the way I do dinner. If you follow along on Instagram, then you know my table is always set with real dishes and cloth napkins. I even take cloth napkins with me when we travel if we’re renting a house or apartment. A few years ago, when we stayed in Paris for a month, I forgot to pack cloth napkins. One of my first stops was at Monoprix to buy some. It’s borderline obsessive, I fully admit it. Continue reading »

homemade frico (baked cheese crisps)

I’ve had frico on my To Do list for some time, sharing the recipe that is, not making them. They’ve been part of my cooking tricks for a while now. Last week, while shopping at Whole Foods, I noticed a little pack of frico, and looked at the price out of curiosity—I should’ve had something soft to catch me before I hit the floor (insert dramatic pause). They were $25 per pound. Let’s do the math here. Pecorino Locatelli cheese usually comes in around $15 per pound. I make my frico with a blend of cheddar cheese to save money. That costs $8 to $10 per pound. If I’m doing a 1:1 ratio of cheeses, that puts my homemade frico at $12 per pound for ingredients.

 

Start by using a fine toothed grater to shred the cheese.

Start by using a fine toothed grater to shred the cheese.

Continue reading »

rosemary rise {best coffee drink, ever}

A few weeks ago, a friend posted a photo of this latte she had at Brown’s Court Bakery in Charleston, SC. Actually, it wasn’t even a photo of the drink—it was a sign describing the ingredients that hangs in the bakery. If ever two words intrigued me, Rosemary Rise might just be the winner, especially when it comes to a coffee drink. I love new and interesting flavor combinations, but never would’ve thought to add rosemary to coffee. For what it’s worth, I’ve had it plenty of times in cocktails.  I still think about the Italian Greyhound I had a few years back, at the aptly named Rosemary’s in the West Village. Continue reading »

rosemary syrup

Simple syrups are incredibly easy to make. You can season them as you like, infusing fresh herbs, or dried fruits, and then you’ve got a nice flavor boost for cocktails, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic. The Rosemary Rise, my new favorite coffee drink, has a whisper of this fragrant, pine-scented syrup. Continue reading »

Strawberry, Mint & Sesame Seed Brittle Oatmeal

Last week I gave my oatmeal the most spectacular makeover. I put up a small pot of old fashioned oats—just a combination of water, oats, pinch of salt, and a place of vanilla extract. While the oats were cooking I had the idea to do something different. After all, if I was consuming carbs, I wanted them to fee more special than just a plain old bowl of oatmeal.

I had some strawberries in the fridge. That was a good start, but not special enough. Peeking out from under the cabinets, tucked on top of a mason jar was a bag of sesame seeds. I absolutely love sesame seeds, more than words can adequately express. They would need some oomph, though. Continue reading »

sautéed zucchini, sliced almonds & dill {cooking for one}

Recently, I decided to scale back on carbs. While I toyed with the idea of doing the Whole 30 (it seems everyone I know is doing it, or has tried it), the diet just isn’t realistic for me on a number of levels. For starters, I truly believe everything is fine in moderation, unless of course you have a true sensitivity or allergy. I know many people have taken the route of this elimination diet to get at the source of triggers making them feel unwell. It’s such a bigger discussion about how our food is produced and sourced, but not one I want to get into here, and now.

The last two years I’ve struggled a lot with my weight, and self image. Regardless of whether people think I look good, my old jeans tell the story of a much thinner person. I look around at the women in my family—all sticks when they were younger, and all now, well, let’s just say Brooklyn Italian women get plump as they age. I never imagined leaving an urban environment where I walked every day, every where, would have such a dramatic effect on my weight, and yet it has. Lesson learned. Continue reading »

city girl, country kitchen: spring 2016 {pre-order}

I’ve had a blast creating the content for the spring issue of City Girl, Country Kitchen. I just know you’ll all love it, too, as you flip through the drool-worthy pages. People often ask which recipes are my favorite, so I imagine that’s a question you may all have on your mind with this next issue. It’s hard to decide, like choosing between your children.

And speaking of kids, all of these recipes are 100% kid-tested and approved (well, except for the Margarita Truffles—they’re only mama approved since they have booze in them). I wasn’t quite sure how the whole grain pizza would go over with my girls. They have high standards when it comes to pizza, but it was a big hit (yay for me!). As Isabella said, “it’s different from your regular pizza, but still really good” (she went on to tell me three more times that day how much she enjoyed it).

This spring 2016 issue of City Girl, Country Kitchen is the biggest ever, too. It’s almost 30 pages—that’s 30 advertising-free pages. Ha, now I sound like an informercial! If you order in the next 10 minutes…just kidding. I do have a special offer, though, this being tax day in the U.S. Use the code TAXREFUND2016 through Sunday, April 17th, and get 50% off of past digital issues of Simple Scratch Cooking and City Girl, Country Kitchen.

That means you can get each issue for only $4. Use this link to order digital back issues.

Seriously, though, you’ll find 10 brand new, never before published recipes, along with features on the children taking the lead helping their peers as part of Interfaith Food Shuttle’s Back Pack Buddies, a 100%-volunteer supported program bringing much needed nourishment to food-insecure children in Raleigh, NC; tips for hosting a DIY Grilled Cheese Bar—perfect for entertaining; Bedside Manners—where I share what I’m reading these days, and the new Amuse Bouche column, highlighting entrepreneurs, products, and tips relating to my world inside and outside of the kitchen.

You know this crumbly, decadent muffins you enjoyed as a child? Well, these Old Fashioned Blueberry Muffins are all that, and more.

Crumbly, decadent, and super easy to make Old Fashioned Blueberry Muffins.

Click here to order the spring issue of City Girl,Country Kitchen.

On that note, I shall return to the final editing and proofreading stages, so we can get this baby off to the printer. The print issue, as usual, will be a limited edition run. Pop on over here to get your pre-order in before they sell out. Digital issues will be available in the coming weeks—stay tuned! And, thank you for all of your continued support. It means the world to have you all take this journey with me. I wish you all a wonderful weekend.—xo Jennie

This Mediterranean Pizza is made with a whole grain crust, including spelt and buckwheat flours. It's a new lunch time favorite of mine.

This Mediterranean Pizza is made with a whole grain crust, including spelt and buckwheat flours.

asparagus & arugula panzanella {thankful thursdays 04.14.2016}

Asparagus is akin to childhood—its season is fleeting and by time you realize how good you had it, the moment has passed. I especially like asparagus because it’s a sure sign the growing season is gearing up. After a winter of root vegetables, the first glimmers of green stalks are like seeing old friends again.

The situation in the Hudson Valley is a bit nail biting. Between the warm temps, so uncharacteristic of March, and rebound into colder weather (snow on April 4th!), this year’s harvest is at risk. I’m pretty sure asparagus is sturdy enough to bounce back, but plums, apricots, and cherries may be obsolete for one farmer this summer, according this article in the Poughkeepsie Journal. Continue reading »

15 Ways to Enjoy Grilled Cheese

As I mentioned last month, I’ve started working with Parade’s Community Table, contributing slide shows to their website. What I love most about this is that it forces me to poke my head out of my work-from-home, solitary shell. In researching recipes for topics and themes of my choosing, I get to see all the amazing content being created by some very talented people.

I put together this slide show for National Grilled Cheese Day, and frankly, they’re all must make recipes, in my book. You’ll see a few favorites from In Jennie’s Kitchen, too (that’s my Tomato Jam, Mozzarella & Spinach Panini up there). To see the whole slide show, click here.

Some more slideshows I’ve created for Parade:

7 Healthy Smoothies for Dessert Lovers

7 Amazing Ways to Serve Asparagus

14 Fabulous Recipes to Enjoy PB&J

And while St. Patrick’s Day and Easter are well behind us, you’ll want to bookmark these recipes. Some you’ll enjoy year round (I mean, there’s cannoli in the Easter one—that is not a seasonal food, by any means), and others you’ll want to have handy for when these holidays roll around next year.

17 Stunning Easter Recipes, Everything from Appetizers to Dessert

Finder’s Feast: 6 Ways to Use Corned Beef & Cabbage

7 Super Soda Breads to Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day