• dessert,  vegetarian

    Chocolate Eclair Trifle

    Decadent. That’s what The Man calls this recipe. I call it Chocolate Eclair Trifle. But unlike the French eclair made from a creme-filled choux pastry, this recipe swaps out some other ingredients in a combination of layers that will knock your socks off. I like using a trifle dish to display the dessert’s glorious layers. After all, seeing layer upon layer of goodness is some of the allure.   The final layer is carte blanche. For this year’s holiday party I mounded on pomegranate arils because they are so damn pretty! Sometimes I throw on some sliced strawberries or toasted nuts (most any nut will work) or some chocolate curls…

  • vegetarian

    Three-Cheese Brussels Sprouts & Balsamic Red Onion Pizza

    Brussels sprouts pizza with balsamic caramelized onions and three cheeses, baked to crispy perfection? Are you kidding me? Your mouth will.not.believe. you are feeding it something so outstanding! The Man absolutely loves pizza. He could eat it every damn day. Me? I like to think of it as a palette upon which an artist can dabble, drizzle, sprinkle, and layer whatever she desires in order to complete her canvas. Yeah, I know that sounds like a bunch of poetic bollocks. Sorry (not sorry). This pizza is layer upon layer of deliciousness: balsamic caramelized onions, shredded mozzarella, Brussels, and grated Parmesan. Then a layer of feta and a sprinkle of red pepper…

  • gluten free,  vegetables & sides,  vegetarian

    Crispy Rosemary Parmesan Potato Stacks

    I am salivating as I type this recipe. These are So.D@mn.Good!  cheese + carbs + herbs + buttery crispness = a stack of ooey gooey potato awesomeness! And here is a BIG secret:  they are sooooo simple yet soooo impressive. Your friends will think you are fancy even if in reality you are quite basic. Trust me—I speak from experience. AND…these potatoes will give you a good excuse to pull out your buy a mandoline. Yaaaay! This is the kind of recipe I ADORE—the kind where you do you and make it fabulously you. You can pretty much add any herb(s) and cheese(s) and this stack of yum will take…

  • party food & snacks,  vegetarian

    Dirty Party Nuts

    Once you eat these nuts, you may never stop. These nuts will rock your world. Period. This is a fun medley of nuts daubed in a spicy + salty + sweet + herby butter. They are great to have on hand—perfect as a hostess gift, a go-to staple to have around for drop-in holiday guests, or as a little snack perched on your bar. Choose a variety of nuts. Each nut will bring its own personality to this mélange. hazelnuts (filberts) are distinctively sweet, buttery and crunchy cashews have a smooth, creamy taste almonds are chewy and sweet (Marconas? omg) pecans have a creamy, buttery flavor walnuts are oily and…

  • pasta,  vegetarian

    Pasta with Roasted Wild Mushrooms

    This dish is one of the most divine things ever. Another wild mushroom recipe, you ask?           Absolutely, I say!  And there are many more to come! I once thought cacio e pepe was the most heavenly pasta dish. Now I think it’s a toss up. My tastebuds were singing the Hallelujah chorus when I put this in my mouth. The Man (aka taste-tester extraordinaire) would agree.  Damn delicious.           But why so many recipes with wild mushrooms, Naked Epicurean?           Because, inquisitive reader, wild mushrooms are delicious meaty (therefore a great meat alternative) rich in B vitamins…

  • gluten free,  soups & stews,  vegan,  vegetarian

    Spicy Chipotle Pumpkin Chili

    It is obvious Americans love chili. Cowboy Will Rogers referred to chili as a “bowl of blessedness.” Heck, Texas has even declared chili to be its state food.  Our past is peppered with chili parlors; our calendars penciled in with National Chili Day (the 4th Thursday in February). We attend chili festivals  by the droves and some of us are steadfast members of chili appreciation societies. Those among us who are regarded as chili deity have been ordained Famous Chili Queens.  But why is our passion so fiery, almost borderline mania? Do we love it because it is the harbinger of cooler weather? Is it because we associate it with friends in…

  • vegetables & sides,  vegetarian

    Cranberry Jubilee

    Anyone who knows The Man knows that he has his fingers in everything—olive jars, cake batter, infused honey pots…. He loves to sample everything I am doing. And for this I am grateful. I thrive on critique in my pursuit of perfection. HOWEVER, there are times when certain things are off limits: Don’t touch the pots de creme until I photograph them. Don’t cut that block of cheese yet. Don’t use that thyme until I decide how much I need. It’s like keeping a kid out of the candy store. And for good reason—I have work to do! Sometimes he’s compliant. Sometimes not. But this past week he got a…

  • vegetables & sides,  vegetarian

    Garlic-Browned Butter Potato Mash

    Do you recall in history classes learning about the angry weapon-wielding mobs in France, storming the Bastille and shouting, “We have no bread!”? As a carb-enthusiast, that is how I feel about low-carb diets. I shake my pitchfork in the air and scream obscenities. Yeah, I get it. I’ve read anti-carb articles and blogs ad nauseum. Many of my friends subscribe to that philosophy, and with great success. But low-carb diets are the bane of my existence. They deprive me of my comfort foods—bread, pasta, rice and potatoes. If you enjoy that way of life, good. No judgment. You do you. I, on the other hand, will do me. So…

  • eat,  vegetarian

    Za’atar Spice Blend

    Alright, everyone. Get out your mortar and pestle.*  We are going to make za’atar! Za’atar literally translates to mean “wild thyme” in Arabic. Much like curry blends vary across geography, za’atar blends vary throughout the Middle East. This ancient spice combination typically consists of thyme, sesame seeds, and sumac.     Sumac is the dried, ground drupes (berries) of a shrub prevalent throughout parts of Africa and Asia. This crimson spice has a tangy, lemony zip to it. At first I used thyme straight from the garden. The green leaves were so very pretty when fresh and whole, but I realized the za’atar would benefit from drying them, as the…

  • eat,  pasta,  vegetarian

    Pasta with Wild Funghi Trifolati

    There was a tremendous heatwave in Dolceacqua this summer–throughout most of Europe, in fact—so we sought shady respite from the angry sun at a family owned and operated osteria.  Gorgeous freshly prepared rustic foods adorned the tables. Creels piled high with fresh, bulbous mushrooms awaited our order. I enjoyed the ravioli ai funghi, basking in a glimmer of olive oil—a perfect light choice for a hot day. It was love at first bite.  I knew as soon as I returned home, I would have to duplicate the trifolati. Trifolati. The word dances from your lips. Beautiful to say, but what exactly is trifolati? According to Saveur.com, trifolati is    …