Swordfish Provencal

I love this meal – light, healthy, filling, and best of all delicious! You can substitute tuna if you’re not a fan of swordfish. We usually serve this with rice. Enjoy!

Swordfish Provencal
Adapted from EatingWell Magazine

Serves 2
½ red bell pepper, chopped
1 small red onion, sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
1C grape tomatoes, halved
1/8C fish stock or water
2 Tbs dry red wine
2 Tbs sliced, pitted, good-quality black olives (we omit the olives b/c my husband hates them, but I would recommend including them)
¼ Tsp dried rosemary
¾ lb Swordfish

Heat 2 teaspoons olive oil in a saute pan over medium heat. Add peppers, onions and garlic and sauté until softened, 2 to 3 minutes. Add tomatoes, fish stock (or water) and wine and bring to a boil. Cook, uncovered, over high heat until thickened, about 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in olives and rosemary and season with salt and pepper.

Serve over grilled swordfish.

His & Hers

My husband and I took a little long weekend to Florida this past weekend. As we sat sadly in our hotel room getting ready to come back to the freezing/snowiness that is Boston, I looked over and thought our suitcases looked so cute sitting by the door together.

I got these luggage tags as a bon voyage gift right before our honeymoon a year and a half ago from a dear friend who is also an exceptional gift giver. Pink for me, blue for him. Not only are the luggage tags super cute, the bright colors help us easily identify our bags at the luggage carousel. And luckily this trip my husband brought a too-big suitcase to help bring home some of my outlet shopping finds!

*Sad note – my pink “hers” luggage tag didn’t make it back to Boston with us…I’m hoping a kind soul finds it and drops it in the mail to me.

No Pudge

On those days when your body is screaming for a sweet dessert but your mind is trying to keep you focussed on you diet/weight maintenance/management routine…I have the perfect solution:

No Pudge Brownies!

I will tell you right now they are not an equal replacement to a regular full-fat and calorie brownie, but they sure are good. And they couldn’t be easier to make – just combine the mix with non-fat vanilla yogurt and bake. Easy! They also give you the measurements if you want to bake just one brownie to get your fix without baking (and possibly eating) an entire batch.

And here are the facts – only 120 calories for one brownie!

You’re welcome.

Zac & Martha

I have a season’s pass on our DVR scheduled to record the Martha Stewart show every day. I love it. I get so many ideas from her! I love how she’s so casual and sometimes attitudinal on her show, and she is completely obsessed with J. Crew, almost as much as I am.

So when she had designer Zac Posen on her show the other day, they had great banter about fashion and crafting – I was wishing it wouldn’t end! Zac was on the episode to show Martha how he created ombre pillow cases, sheets, and duvets for a guest bedroom in his apartment that needed new life. Ombre is a shading of color, and the technique produces a fading of one color across the pillowcase, sheet, or whatever. The Prada handbag above is an example of ombre:

The best part about Zac’s technique is that he uses inexpensive, easy to find RIT dye. Honestly, it was a huge commercial for Martha Stewart sheets, but I didn’t care because I love the idea, love how easy it is, and love the look! Can’t wait to buy some white sheets and try it out…

Crab Cakes and Salad

After a weekend away filled with skiing and apres-ski snacking, my husband and I got home Monday night needing a light, quick, and delicious meal.

We decided on crab cakes with a little salad. I thought we should make homemade dressing, which always comes out so great I wonder why I don’t do it more! The crab cake recipe we use is PHENOMENAL! The combination of the buttery Ritz Crackers along with the large amount of crab we use makes for a very tasty crab cake.
Crab Cakes with Homemade Tartar Sauce
Crab Cakes
2 Tbs olive oil
6 chopped green onions
3/8C olive oil
1 8 oz can crab meat, drained
1 egg
1 Tbs mayonnaise
1 Tsp dry mustard
8 Ritz Crackers, crushed
1/2 Tsp ground cayenne pepper
1 Tsp garlic powder
1/4 Tsp Old Bay Seasoning
s&p to taste
1C bread crumbs
Tartar Sauce
1C mayonnaise
2 Tbs horseradish
2 Tbs lemon juice
2 Tsp grated lemon zest
Heat 2 Tbs oil in skillet over high heat. Saute green onions until tender, cool slightly. Then, combine crab meat, sauteed green onions, and next 8 ingredients (through s&p). Form into 1/2 inch thick patties. Coat the patties with bread crumbs. Heat oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Cook cakes until brown on each side.
To make the tartar sauce, mix all ingredients together. Serve atop crab cakes.
Salad with Homemade Mustard Vinaigrette Dressing
I love to mix all sorts of things into salad, here I used:
Spring mix lettuce
Grape tomatoes
Almond slivers
Dried cranberries
Crumbled goat cheese
Mustard Vinaigrette Dressing
Mustard Vinaigrette Dressing Recipe
1/4C white vinegar
1 1/2 Tsp honey
1 1/2 Tsp Dijon mustard
1/4 Tsp pepper
1 Tsp salt
1/2C Olive oil
Whisk all ingredients together. Chill until ready to serve.

Adventures in Ravioli-Making

I’ll start this post by telling/showing you the end of our adventure – a scrumptious meal of handmade shrimp and mascarpone cheese-filled ravioli with a truffle butter/white wine sauce.

And here is the tale of our adventure:
We began by rolling out pasta dough to the #4 thickness setting on our pasta maker. We used our basic recipe for pasta dough.
We then put small spoon fulls of the shrimp mascarpone cheese filling onto the dough, laid out on a generously floured board.
Filling recipe for 1/2 lb of ravioli
from Roberta Dowling, Cambridge School of Culinary Arts
½ Tbs unsalted butter
½ Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 Tbs brandy
2 Tbs white wine
½ lb shrimp, chopped
½ lb mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
1 egg, beaten
1 Tsp dried basil
Pinch nutmeg
Heat butter and olive oil in a large skillet. Add shallots and cook until soft and translucent, about 3 minutes. Remove pan from heat and add brandy. Turning pan away from you, carefully light with match to flambe. Add white wine and cook until reduced to syrup-like consistency, about 10 minutes. Add shrimp meat, cooking until just warmed through. Remove from heat and place into a large mixing bowl and allow to cool.
In a medium bowl, combine mascarpone cheese with beaten eggs, basil, nutmeg and salt and pepper, to taste. Add to shrimp and shallot mixture and combine well. Taste to adjust seasoning. Cover and set aside.
We then brushed egg whites around the filling to prep for the top dough. The egg whites bound the dough together and sealed in the filling.
We pressed the top into bottom by hand, letting any air escape.
Then we hand cut raviolis with a cutter.

And voila – beautiful, handmade raviolis!
We then cooked them in plenty of boiling water for 5 to 7 minutes, or until they floated to the top. Tip: pour a tiny bit of olive oil into the water so the raviolis don’t stick together while cooking.
Then we made the quick truffle butter white wine sauce:
Melt 1. 5 oz. of truffle butter (you can find truffle butter at Whole Foods, it’s a little pricey but delicious and worth it) and 1.5 oz. of unsalted butter over medium heat. Add about 1 Tbs of white wine and lemon juice and cook about 3 minutes. Pour over plated ravioli. Last, we sprinkled a little parsley and Parmesan cheese on top. Delicious!

salle de baine

When we moved into our home 2 years ago we knew project #1 would be gutting our upstairs bathroom (it was 100% 1950’s rose pink, we did that a year ago) and project #2 would be gutting our downstairs bathroom (it was 100% green and black, I affectionately called it our mint chocolate chip bathroom). Well – we have just completely finished project #2 so I thought I would share the details.

I always like to start a project with something as our aesthetic inspiration. For this project the inspiration was this really great map of Paris, which we had framed to look like a real piece of art. And thus our Parisian bathroom was born.

Then came the most difficult task of finding the sink and vanity. This bathroom is a long and skinny 1/2 bath, which made it impossible to find a standard vanity to fit. We went to Peabody Supply Company in Waltham and found the perfect vanity that we could customize to the right size. We love the very dark brown wood and brushed nickel knobs.

We picked a light speckled counter/sink to contrast the dark of the vanity.

The tile for the floor was the next find. We thought the greens and browns in this tile would coordinate nicely with the rest of the room.

Quickly after that we finalized paint colors – green on top and light brown on bottom (we knew from the start we wanted wainscoting on the walls for a rustic feel).

Then it all came together! My talented husband actually did all of the gutting, tiling, construction, plumbing, etc… himself, how impressive, don’t you think? I of course added a few finishing decorating touches and then, as they say…il était complet!

Here are a few of my favorite decorating highlights of the bathroom:

Non-traditional faucet
Soap dispenser with french writing
3-foot Eiffel tower
And here is the before – we had already started construction when this was taken.

Happy New Year – mini donuts

To ring in the New Year, we made mini donuts this morning for breakfast – they came out so cute!

You need a mini donut maker for this recipe.

Basic Donut Batter Recipe (makes 5 to 8 mini donuts)
from Sunbeam

3/4C flour
1/4C sugar
3/4 Tsp baking powder
4 1/2 Tbs melted butter
3/8 C milk
1/2 a lightly beaten egg

Chocolate Glaze
1/2C confectioners sugar
1 Tbs milk
1/4C cocoa powder

Mix dry ingredients in a bowl. Whisk in butter, milk, and egg until a smooth batter is formed. Pour into min donut maker, close lid and cook for 6 minutes. *We flip the donuts after 6 minutes and then cook an additional 1 or 2 minutes.

For glaze, mix ingredients all together. Decorate donuts and enjoy with a hot cup of coffee!

Happy New Year!