Tuesday, August 17

You're an Oinker, I'm an Oinker

This past weekend, Claudia Kay and I spent the entire Saturday cooking and shooting photos for the spring section of my book.  We had SO much fun!  We started our day at the farmer's market where we first met little Oinker and then headed home to begin our very first photoshoot.

As I madly cooked, Claudia set up her props in our backyard and took photos all day.  I would occasionally glance outside to see her standing on a ladder, or crouched over the grass catching the perfect shot.  We fed off of each other's creative energy all day and by sundown, we were exhausted but thrilled. Everything went off without a hitch, and we couldn't have felt more accomplished!  We finished off our night with our husbands, a feast fit for Queens and two bottles of wine.  We woke up with bellyaches and each earned the namesake of our sweet little Oinker.

Writing this book has been one of the most challenging things I've ever done, but also one of the most gratifying.  It felt so good to have something to show for the last 6 months of my hard work, and I'm even more excited now for the next photoshoot.  My newfound love is helping Claudia make everything look beautiful for the photos.  Thank you Claudia for such a fun day!

Take a peak at Claudia's amazing photography on her blog or website.  She also has an Etsy store where she sells her prints custom framed with beautiful mattes and cards that make excellent gifts!

Wednesday, August 11

italian tomato salad

Living on the opposite side of the country from my family has been a difficult thing for me to get used to.  I miss the days of popping in at my sister's unexpectedly for coffee (although I'm sure my brother-in-law appreciates the space) and having supper with the family every Sunday night.  Cooking has been a way to reconnect with my family from 2200 miles away, and always makes me feel closer to them, like I'm not missing out on everything.  It helps too, that every conversation, whether with my dad, brothers, sisters or mom, usually winds up being about food; what new recipe we've discovered, and the old ones we love to revisit.

This tomato salad is the essence of summer to me.  It transcends time and brings me back to my grandma's kitchen as a little girl with her cooking away in her dirty little apron, and grandpa bringing fresh vegetables in from the garden.  The smell of basil and garlic gets me every time.


5-6 ripened organic tomatoes (I promise, they taste so much better), chopped into bite size pieces

1/2 red onion, thinly sliced

2 cloves garlic, minced

3-4 basil leaves, shredded or chopped

Sea salt, to taste

2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

*optional -1 small hot pepper, thinly sliced


Place all ingredients in bowl.  Add salt and drizzle with olive oil.  Mix until a juicy consistency has been reached.

Can be served at room temperature or chilled.  I only insist that you eat this salad with a loaf (not the entire thing, like me) of really fresh bread.  Today I used pane bello, a dense, rustic italian bread that could withstand the inevitable sogginess.

Wednesday, August 4

melone e vino

My Italian Grandfather used to eat his fruit soaked in wine after dinner and today, with a heat index of 107 degrees, his famous dessert was all I could think about.  I have a cantaloupe that's waited it's lifespan to be devoured alongside my two buck Chuck.  Of course, I've added some other frilly ingredients for good measure.


2 peaches

1 cantaloupe

rind of 1 lemon

1/3 cup honey

1 1/4 cups pinot grigio

handful of fresh thyme


Bring wine to a boil in small saucepan; add honey and lemon rind.  Simmer for 2 minutes and remove from heat.  Place thyme sprigs in french press and cover with simple syrup.  Infuse for at least 30 minutes, or up to 2 hours.  Discard thyme after use.

Slice melon and peaches into bite size pieces.  Place in large mason jar or other serving dish.  Pour thyme infused wine mixture over fruit and chill.  Garnish with thyme leaves before serving.  Brilliant!

If you eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner I promise not to judge.