• gluten free,  seafood,  soups & stews

    Cioppino

    I recommend making the red sauce a day ahead to meld together the flavors. Cool uncovered, then chill, covered. Bring to a simmer before adding seafood. It will make a big difference! Cioppino.  In Italian it translates to heaven in a bowl. Well, not really. But it is so droolworthy it should translate that way. Cioppino is the American name for zuppa di pesce, or “soup of the fish.” While you are likely to find local seafood stewed in a tomato-wine broth on any coastal menu in Italy, you’d be hard pressed to find it referred to as cioppino. Its genesis is rooted to the docks of San Francisco where…

  • 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…

  • be merry,  joie de vivre

    What is YOUR Hygge?

    Yesterday I saw a commercial about making life more hygge.  I watched and listened, and then I chuckled to myself. How ironic that someone chose to commercialize hygge. And how demeaning.    Commercialization is the antithesis of hygge, I am certain of that. What exactly is hygge?  It is a buzz word, for sure; I had been hearing it everywhere. But I wasn’t certain of its meaning.  That is, until I discovered this gem on Alex Beauchamp’s hyggehouse.com: Hygge (pronounced hue-guh not hoo-gah) is a Danish word used when acknowledging a feeling or moment, whether alone or with friends, at home or out, ordinary or extraordinary as cosy, charming or…

  • vegetables & sides

    Agave-Balsamic Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta + Toasted Macadamias

    Searching for the answers to life’s questions sometimes keep me up at night. I toss and turn. I pace. I drink tea to quell my active brain.  As of late I have been toiling over this pressing question: Should the “B” in Brussels Sprouts be capitalized? In my pursuit of knowledge I consulted the font of all things wise and trivial—The Google.   Robinsonlibrary.com took me to the history of sprouts, which are believed “to have been cultivated in ancient Rome, and perhaps as early as the 1200’s in Belgium. The modern Brussels sprouts we know today was first cultivated in large quantities in Belgium as early as 1587.” That…

  • 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…

  • vegetables & sides

    Wham Bam Thank You Ma’am Carrots

    There is not much more for me to say other than you need these carrots in your life. One bite of this flavor-texture combination and you’ll swear there is a party in your mouth.   It was quite a conundrum to come up with a name befitting these extraordinary carrots.           Oven Roasted Carrots?         Sounds boring.           Honey Glazed Carrots?         It’s already been used a gazillion times.            Sesame Carrots?                   Misleading.  Suggests they’re more savory than sweet.            Nutty Carrots?        …

  • poultry

    Ottolenghi’s (refashioned) Chicken with Sumac, Za’atar, and Lemon

    There is a new man in my life, and I am crushing really hard. He is imaginative, clever, talented, brilliant, passionate …and handsome (swoon). Everything he does makes me very happy…even when he pushes me beyond my cooking comfort zone. His name is Chef Yotam Ottolenghi, and I am currently obsessed with him. He is my inspiration and my guru. He is why I am adding Middle Eastern recipes to my repertoire. You may already know my philosophy about growing as a person and doing one thing every day that is scary (blah blah blah). Well, until last week, Middle Eastern spices and recipes intimidated me. But I am proud…