Tuesday, December 1, 2009

I'm throwing a smallish Holiday party in a couple of weeks and trying to plan a menu. I 've committed to feeding everyone but I haven't figured out what I will feed them yet. Should I do just appetizers? There's an endless amount of hot and cold tapas out there. Or should I try to pull off a full meal? It won't be a sit down-style meal since there will be between 12-20 people and I'm just not that talented yet!

I don't own crockpots or chafing dishes so keeping things warm for long periods of time is an issue (not that I couldn't borrow some from someone, but I'm trying to keep things as simple as possible). If I do a full meal, I'm thinking soup, salad and some sort of baked pasta. Easy, but is that too boring? On one hand, I'd like to do something fancier, but on the other, let's face it, I moved just over two weeks ago, (and already hosted a holiday dinner) so trying to pull off somethng fancy when there are still boxes to unpack and furniture to arrange is just asking for a stressful night. I'd like to do something that impresses guests but looks more complicated than it is. I need ideas. Give me some. Please?

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Hey there & Happy Turkey Day (almost)! I'm wiped out. In the last two nights I've made, pumpkin pie, cheesecake, savoy cabbage gratin, pecan and dried cherry stuffing with sage, tomato and goat cheese tarts with basil AND cooked dinner AND unpacked a few boxes. I moved in just 12 days ago and I'm already hosting a holiday. haha. I'm obviously insane.

We're settling in to the house and enjoying it immensely! Everyday I come home from work I find something else that I'm happy to now have. It's my first time having a garage (no more wiping and scraping snow off my car), I have a stove with more than 1 large burner and all of them work, I have a walk-in closet to hang everything J and I own, and I've got beautiful views to look at from every window. Life is good and the new home is just one of many things I am thankful for this Thanksgiving!

I promise to get posting again regularly very soon, but for now, I'll leave you with pictures of the cheesecake I made tonight!

All text and photographs (except where noted otherwise) © 2008, 2009 Food is to love / Andrea Quigley

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Yay! We're closing on the house! Finally!

If you've been a reader of mine, you know that J and I have been trying to buy a house for a while and we've been lusting after one house in particular, but closing on the house seemed like it was never going to happen! I'm happy to say that the sellers have finally got everything they need in place to close the sale and we're closing this Thursday afternoon! Yay!!

I'm crazy excited but I have a lot to do between now and then. J and I spent all weekend packing because we halted our efforts there a while ago. Now we rush to move because I'd like to be settled in for Thanksgiving! We'll be moving at the end of the week and this weekend and I know I won't get a chance to blog for a bit so hang in there and I'll be back!!

I'll leave you with a few pictures of the new place!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween!! No parties for me this year, we got word on Tuesday of this week that our sellers (of the house we've been trying to buy for months!) had their short sale approved by the bank (YAY!!!!!) so J and I decided to be low key and stay home so we could get some things done now that we know we'll be moving for sure in a few weeks! Looks like we'll close the week of the 9th, and hopefully be all settled in by Thanksgiving!

I spent the day carving pumpkins, (albeit badly!), and baking these delicious Ham and Cheddar Pretzel bites with Jalepeno Mustard, courtesy of Gourmet magazine's spread on Chef Edward Lee (from the October issue). A little time consuming, as pretzels are, and mine are nowhere as pretty as the ones pictured in the magazine are, but they were delicious and I plan to make them again! The recipe calls for "Country Ham" which is a southern thing, and I'm nowhere near the south and could not find any or anyone who knew what that was at the grocery store, so I picked up a hamsteak and diced part of that up for the recipe. The bonus is that J can have some ham with his eggs and bagel in the morning.

We got a lot of Trick or Treaters this year, all the little kids come early in the night, and then the last half hour are all teenagers. It's pretty funny!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Apple Bread with Cinnamon & Walnuts

Another fall favorite! The quick bread.

I'm not sure where I got this recipe. It seems to be one of those things that just ended up in my recipe collection years ago and I can't call it my own but I make it often enough that I no longer need to look at the recipe card (which for me is RARE! ha!).

I love this because it's easy, I usually have all the ingredients on hand and like most quick bread recipes, you bake it in two loaf pans so you can eat one now and freeze one for later! It's great for breakfast or dessert and everyone that I've made it for has loved it. Bonus. I like to sneak whole wheat flour into the bread (50/50 all purpose and whole wheat). It comes out a little heavier and doesn't rise as much as using all white flour but it makes me feel a little less bad about eating it!


3 cups flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 cups diced apples
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional of course!)
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and grease two loaf pans. Set aside.

In a medium bowl combine the flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt. Next, beat the eggs, oil, sugar and vanilla together in a large bowl. Stir in the flour mixture until just combined. Fold in apples and walnuts (if using) and stir together gently. Pour evenly into the two loaf pans and bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes (or until toothpick inserted comes out clean). Let cool before removing from loaf pans.

Slice and enjoy for dessert (it's great with ice cream or a rum glaze), breakfast or a snack!
All text and photographs (except where noted otherwise) © 2008, 2009 Food is to love / Andrea Quigley
Apple Bread on Foodista

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Review: Riding the Waves at Surf

Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

A few weekends ago, I went to the birthday dinner of a friend at Surf in Nashua, NH. Been wanting to eat there for a long time but just seemed to always end up somewhere else. J and I were the first ones to arrive for our reservation and the first thing I noticed was how much larger the restaurant appeared to be compared to the days of the Paradox restaurant (I spent way too much there in my early 20's). While the room was the same shape and size, the lighting really opened up the space. I wasn't a fan of the color, a very light mint green, or the general decor but it wasn't unpleasant.

I ordered a glass of the Paso A Paso Tempranillo while we waited for our friends to arrive and J had Hennessey on the rocks. The Tempranillo was a rich shade of plum but had a little too much acidic bite for my taste. I knew after just a couple sips that it wasn't going to get better and I would not be ordering another glass. A friend was drinking a cabernet our waiter had recommended and after trying his, I switched over to the same and was pleasantly surprised. Of course, I forgot to ask the name of it so now I have no idea what I was drinking! But it was good. haha.

When our whole party arrived, they brought out baskets of fresh bread, cinnamon, cranberry and a plain french style bread. Yummy. Can't go wrong with fresh bread and even though I'm not big on sweets with my meal, I can appreciate offering different varieties to diners. It's a nice touch.

My friends order the raw sampler and offered everyone some. I tried the ceviche which was served on a tortilla chip. The ceviche was very nice, tangy and sweet but I think a crostini or pita toast may have been a better vehicle for delivery.

The menu had a lot of mouthwatering options. I had a really difficult time deciding what to order and asked our waiter, Rob, if I could order last after he had come back several times and everyone else was ready but me. I finally decided on the Surf salad, mixed greens w/ onions, bell peppers and a tamari ginger vinaigrette, and a half portion of the Surf and Turf which consisted of a tenderloin fillet, chive mashed potatoes topped with a crab cake and a drizzle of bearnaise sauce and served over grilled asparagus. Being blessed (or cursed, depending on your view) with a healthy appetite, I was worried that a half portion would not be enough food and I would be ravenous for the rest of the evening. But, my fears were allayed when the meal came out because it was clearly enough food. So much, that I was still eating once everyone elses' plates were cleared away (might be because I'm a talker but I like to think it was from the generous portion). I can only imagine how large the regular portion is!

The salad was just a basic house salad with mixed greens but the dressing was very good. Sweet and tangy without being too acidic. The fillet was a perfect med-rare, with a very red center (the way I like it!), and super tender. The mashed potatoes were creamy and light and the crab cake and bearnaise were divine. I would have been happy eating nothing more than crab cakes. The asparagus were cut in half lengthwise, which added an interesting texture to the grilling. The whole meal was scrumptious. I felt a little silly ordering steak as my main course in a seafood restaurant but I'm not disappointed that I did.

Our waiter, Rob was very attentive for the most part and pleasant. He knew the menu well. I could have had my water glass refilled a couple of times but I'm a water gulper so that may just be me. For dessert we decided to order to desserts to share for the group since everyone was stuffed but wanted a taste. We had the Key lime torte and a chocolate creme brule. I thought the key lime torte was a little too cream cheesy and didn't have enough lime but the rest of our group really enjoyed it. I preferred the chocolate creme brule. The crust was a little over cooked, giving it a burnt caramel flavor. It wasn't bad but they should watch the blowtorch a little. The chocolate creme was less chocolaty and more caramel-y which was delicious and buttery and I would eat again, however it should be renamed Caramel creme brule.

Surf didn't blow me away. The decor needs some work, the desserts half did their job but the food was very good and I look forward to going back to try some more seafood options next time!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Sausage and Butternut Squash Lasagna

This Lasagna was the result of looking in the fridge and freezer and trying to figure out what I could make for dinner with the ingredients I had. There are a lot of flavors here: squash, pesto, sausage, eggplant, sage, parmesan. It's not for the faint palated or unadventurous eater.

While it's not perfect and I may do some tweaking on it down the road (I'm not sure how I feel about the eggplant in it yet!), it was yummy, comforting and something different for dinner. True lasagna fans will probably want to use more cheese. I felt that since my sauce was creamy, I didn't really need much of it. Here I used frozen butternut squash despite it being in season fresh where I live but that's only because I needed to use it before it got freezer burn! Fresh butternut squash would be absolutely delicious here. I would boil it or roast it in small pieces if I substituted it for the frozen.


9 Lasagna noodles, cooked
1 bag of frozen butternut squash, defrosted
1 lb hot italian style chicken sausage, casings removed
1 large vidalia onion, diced
2 lrg garlic cloves
2 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon ground sage
6 tablespoons homemade pesto (or a store bought pesto that you really like)
1 1/4 cups milk, heated in the microwave for 1 minute
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2.5 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1 medium sized eggplant, sliced 3/4 in thick (6-8 slices
kosher salt and black pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Heat a 4qt sauce pan or dutch oven over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the pan when hot and cook onion and garlic until the onion is translucent. Remove onion and garlic and add sausage to pan, breaking it up with a wooden spoon as you cook. When sausage is cooked, add onion and garlic back to pan and stir in defrosted butternut squash, sage and kosher salt and pepper. Stir and cook until blended. Stir in 2 tablespoons of pesto. Set aside.

Next, melt butter in a saucepan and then whisk in the flour, stirring constantly until the flour and butter are well mixed and begin to brown (about 5 minutes). Slowly pour in the warm milk and bring to a boil while stirring. Simmer until the sauce begins to thicken. Add 3 tablespoons of the pesto and 1/2 the parmesan cheese and remove from heat. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

While you are making the sauce, lay eggplant slices on a cookie sheet that has been covered with foil and baste on both sides with 1 tablespoon pesto mixed with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Place in oven and cook for 13-15 minutes or until tender. Lower the oven heat to 375.In a rectangular baking dish (9x13 or so), layer the lasagna, starting with a tiny bit of the sausage squash concoction, then noodles, then 1/3 of the pesto cream sauce, then all the eggplant slices (cut in half if they are large), then more noodles, sausage squash mixture, 1/3 of the pesto cream sauce, noodles, last of the sausage squash, last of the pesto cream sauce and then top with 1/4 cup of grated parmesan. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes and then turn on the broiler. Broil until the cheese is browned (2-3 minutes). Let set for 10 minutes before slicing.All text and photographs (except where noted otherwise) © 2008, 2009 Food is to love / Andrea Quigley
Butternut Squash Ravioli With Wild Mushrooms on Foodista

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Apple Crisp (Mom's recipe!)

It's fall. And I apologize once again for being so quiet! Things have been busy and while I have been cooking and baking plenty, I haven't found the time to post anything. J and I still haven't closed on the house. It's a long story, but the short version is that our sellers are working on getting approval for a short sale and that is taking some time. Trying to be patient and not get too bummed about it but it is what it is and I can't do anything to speed up the process. Just keeping my fingers crossed that their short sale is approved and everything goes as planned. Anyhow, back to food!

The air has definitely gotten cooler, the leaves have changed and are falling off the trees, and I'm reaching for a sweatshirt or fleece every night. That means it's time to bake lots of stuff with apple or pumpkin in it! Went apple picking with J a few weekends ago so first up: Apple Crisp!

This is my Mom's recipe. It's super easy and one of the things I like about it is that it doesn't contain oats! Nothing against oats for breakfast or in an oatmeal cookie but I personally don't think they belong in apple crisp. At least in not in mine!


5-6 apples, peeled, cored and sliced (I use Cortland for baking)
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup flour
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the sliced apples in a rectangular baking dish (9x12 or 9x13), piled high (cut more apples if you need to). Mix the white sugar, nutmeg, and cinnamon together in a small bowl and then sprinkle on top of the apples and mix with your hands to coat. I love spice so I use a little more cinnamon and nutmeg than the recipe calls so add whatever amount suits your taste.
Next put the flour, brown sugar and butter in a bowl. Using two forks, cut in the butter to coat the pieces with flour and sugar until the mixture looks like coarse crumbs. Distribute on top of the apples and pat down. Bake for 30 minutes or until the apples are tender and the topping is browned.Serve warm with vanilla ice cream. Happiness!All text and photographs (except where noted otherwise) © 2008, 2009 Food is to love / Andrea Quigley
Apple Crisp on Foodista

Monday, October 5, 2009

Sad News: Gourmet will be No More

Ran across this article this morning. And then this one. Looks like Conde' Nast is shutting Gourmet magazine down (along with a few others) for economic reasons. Sad.

If you've never held a copy of the magazine in your hands, you're really missing out! Beautiful pictures, restaurant recommendations, recipes that were tested to perfection and articles on everything from food to politics and fashion. It's sad. I'd much rather they close down Glamour & Lucky, magazines that try to dumb down women! But that's just my opinion!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Shameless Plug Part 1: Shauna's Etsy Shop, Green Alligators

All photo's on this page were taken by Shauna Martone

I know I usually don't post stuff that's completely unrelated to food (unless it's about my HOUSE!) but for a while now, I've wanted to start a series of posts that give a little shout out for some good people in my life who are trying to run their own businesses or get projects off the ground. Everyone knows I love to review stuff (see my profile at yelp) when I love it or hate it so why not give a little boost to some people I know that are out there doing a good job.
The first is an Etsy shop run by my little sister Shauna. She's always been into arts and crafts, and sewing but since she had her daughter Madelyn, she has a renewed interest in making children's clothing, bibs, booties and hair decorations. She's a working mom who is going to school to be a nurse and is still finds time to be creative. I'm exhausted just thinking about it!

Check out her shop on Etsy if you need a shower present for a friend or if you have a little one yourself. Her focus is primarily girls stuff but there are definitely booties, blankets and bibs for boys too! She's selling a lot of really cute items at very affordable prices. The shop name is Green Alligators, named after my niece's favorite song.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Is your Breakfast Getting a Little Boring?

Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

When I think of breakfast, I think of cereal & milk, yogurt & fruit, or traditional eggs and bacon. On weekdays my breakfast consists of a few cups of coffee and either an English muffin with cottage cheese and diced tomato & onion or Greek yogurt with fiber cereal. Weekends, I'll indulge in a savory bagel slathered with a ton of herb cream cheese or a veggie and cheese frittata (the weekend meal still includes copious amounts of caffeine). But I'm growing tired of all of it! How excited was I when I saw an email from ChowHound recently that linked to an article called 10 Ways to Reinvent Breakfast: Go Beyond Bagels and Bacon! Elated!

Best of all, their list did not include lots of sweet items. Those who know me, know that I don't usually do sweets in the morning (unless I'm in NJ visiting J's family where only pastries and cakes are available). Used to, but the blood pressure medicine I'm on completely wiped out my need for sweets and replaced it with a desire for all things salty, crunch and savory. Also, their list had a big focus on incorporating leftovers into your meal. Huge plus because I hate to waste food and am always looking for ways to throw out less food. I love the idea of the black bean cakes with eggs. I bet that would be delicious with fresh salsa!

Hope you find some ideas from this list as well! What do you eat when you need to change up breakfast?

All text and photographs (except where noted otherwise) © 2008, 2009 Food is to love / Andrea Quigley

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Sweet Potato, Black Bean and Zucchini Quesadillas with Chipotle Sour Cream

Random weeknight concoction that came out delicious! A coworker has been talking about a sweet potato and black bean quesadilla that she had recently and I realized I had the makings and then some at home! Love when that happens! The sweetness of the sweet potato combined with the tartness of the sour cream and spice of chipotle was awesome and really filling.


4 large tortillas
1 cup diced onion
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large zucchini, chopped roughly
2 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons chili powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper or more to taste
1 clove garlic, minced
1 can black beans, rinsed well and drained
1 large sweet potato
1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
sour cream
2 teaspoons chipotle peppers in adobo sauce pureed
kosher salt and black pepper

Begin by washing the sweet potato and poking a few holes in it with a fork. Place in microwave and cook for 7-10 minutes or until soft (the amount of time it takes will depend on how big your potato is). While the potato is cooking, heat a pan and the olive oil over medium heat. When the pan is hot, add the onion and cook for 3-4 minutes. Add the zucchini, cumin, chili powder and cayenne and cook for two minutes. Add the garlic and black beans and cook the entire mixture for 1 minute more. Season with kosher salt and black pepper and remove from heat.

Take your sweet potato out of the microwave and let it cool.

While the veggie and bean mixture is working on the stove, mix 2 teaspoons of pureed chipotle peppers in adobo sauce into a half cup of sour cream (I use light-gotta cut calories wherever I can!). Most grocery stores sell small cans of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. I take the entire can and puree it in my food processor and then freeze portions in a plastic wrapped lined ice cube tray. Individually wrap when frozen and you have a ready burst of chipotle when you need it! If you aren't familiar with chipotle, add a little at a time to the sour cream and taste it. Otherwise it could be spicier than you like.

When your sweet potato is cool enough to handle, cut in half lengthwise and peel off the skin (or leave it on if you want a little extra fiber!). Dice or slice the potato into small pieces.

Heat another skillet (a little large than the tortillas) to just below medium heat. Place one tortilla in the dry skillet and top with 1/4 cup of the cheese, half of the diced sweet potato, half of the zucchini and black bean mixture and another 1/4 cup of cheese. Top with another tortilla and let cook until the cheese melts and the bottom tortilla is stiff when you slip a spatula underneath (it will take 2-3 minutes for it to brown and crisp up). Flip quickly and cook the other side for another couple of minutes, or until slightly browned and crispy.
Turn onto a plate and repeat the process with the other 2 tortillas and the remaining ingredients. Cut each quesadilla into six pieces and serve with the chipotle sour cream.

All text and photographs (except where noted otherwise) © 2008, 2009 Food is to love / Andrea Quigley

Mushroom Quesadillas on Foodista

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

HURRY! Restaurant Gift Certificates at 90% off!

I stumbled upon a fantastic deal today and wanted to share with you ( I know, I know, I said I wouldn't be blogging much until after my move! haha). Who can't stand to save a little $$$?

09.09.09 doesn't happen very often. To celebrate such a rare occurrence, Restaurant.com is running an unheard of special for 99 hours (I'm assuming it started at midnight on 09.09.09). Gift certificates on their site which are already normally priced at a discount are available at 90% off their value!! I purchased $175 worth of gift certificates for $7!!! Really! No joke! Totally legit.

Each restaurant has their own rules for using the certificates, for example, one $25 certificate I purchased (for $1) requires that I spend $35 or buy 2 entrees to use it. Easy to do though, because the entrees at that particular restaurant are between $25-45. Yes, I'll end up spending $11 to redeem $25 but I'm getting $25 for FREE!!!!! Looks like me and J have some eating out to do!

Go to Restaurant.com, search for restaurants in your area, add them to your cart and enter promo code NINETY at checkout and watch the savings add up!

All text and photographs (except where noted otherwise) © 2008, 2009 Food is to love / Andrea Quigley

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Farmers' Market Bounty and My Anniversary

Saturday was J and my 5th anniversary. Can't believe we've been together five full years! Never thought I would be able to commit to someone for that long. Haha! Luckily, we both still like each other a lot so 5 years has really only felt like 1. He's a keeper and I'm not going anywhere.

Since we're in the middle of packing and can't really concentrate on anything but (plus we had two dinner's out earlier this week with friends) we decided to be low key and hang at home. I got up early and hit the farmers' market and got a ton of fantastic veggies: red potatoes, roma tomatoes, couple of heirloom tomatoes, sunfire cherry tomatoes (mine aren't yielding enough), red leaf lettuce, leeks, zucchini, corn, nectarines, purple bell peppers, basil, eggplant and even some wild flowers for J. And I spent less than I would have at the grocery store. Yay and Yum! J was still lounging in bed with the cat.
Stopped by the Black Forest Bakery & Cafe in Amherst for a cake (again, we're not big on celebrating anniversaries but I do like to surprise him. It's more fun if you're not planning on anything and then get a surprise!). Decided to go with this cute little lemon cake. It was awesome! Super light and delicately sweet. I'm so not a cake person but this I could eat several slices of! I will definitely keep it in mind next time I need to bring a cake somewhere.
Came home and had a late breakfast with J and did a bit of packing (the apartment is overrun with cardboard boxes). Made a big batch of basil pesto, a caprese salad which we had for dinner along with some pesto rubbed ribeye steaks and corn on the cob. All delicious. Love using vegetables that were picked the day I eat them. I even took the remains of the caprese salad and used it in a frittata this morning. Going to use the rest of the pesto later this week.
Also baked a loaf of beer bread using my Mom's recipe. Unfortunately, I didn't let my beer get as warm as you're supposed to so the bread didn't rise as much as it should have. I'll post the recipe as soon as I bake another loaf like a patient person. This is why I've always avoided baking with yeast-I don't wait very well. I used Guinness for this and seasoned it with dill and dried minced onion. J and I kept thinking we smelled the Chinese food place down the street while it was cooking. It wasn't until I went into the kitchen to empty the dishwasher that I notified J that the Chinese food smell was my bread. Weird since neither dill or onion or beer make me think of Chinese food. It still tasted good even if it was a little more dense than it's supposed to be. I also substituted half whole wheat flower for all purpose flour since I'm a fan of adding fiber anywhere I can.
Hope all of you enjoyed your three-day weekend (those of you in the States anyhow!). I can't believe it is just about fall already!

All text and photographs (except where noted otherwise) © 2008, 2009 Food is to love / Andrea Quigley

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Wines I'm loving right now: 2006 Tommasi Valpolicella

First off, I apologize for being such a lame-ass with posting lately. Explanation as to why, at the bottom of my post.

Bought this on a whim and ended up really enjoying it so I thought I'd share! Especially because I drink more French and Spanish wine than anything else and haven't found many Italian wines yet that I loved (not saying there aren't many wonderful Italian wines!). And I'm always happy to find more to love!

Valpolicella is a lighter Italian red (a little like French Beaujolais or Burgundy) and you actually drink it at a slightly cooler temperature than you drink other reds. Pop it in the fridge for about 30 minutes or so before serving. You don't want it to be ice cold but it should be cool enough to enjoy on a hot day (not that we have many of those left here in NH!).

This Tommasi Valpolicella was light bodied, tart and had a lot of cherry flavor without being too sweet. It retails for about 16.99 but I got it on sale for $11.99. Score! It's surprisingly smooth so be careful you don't throw it back too fast! I definitely plan to grab a few more bottles of this before it gets too cold out.

I'm too distracted with the whole house buying thing to spend much time blogging. I'm not going anywhere or giving up this but until I move and get settled in, I'll probably be a little quiet. I hope you'll still come visit! It's looking like we might close on the house towards the end of the month and not on the 18th like we thought. I'm antsy and want to move in already! The apartment is filled with boxes and we're running out of room! I do have a couple of recipes I want to post but that might have to wait a few more days!

All text and photographs (except where noted otherwise) © 2008, 2009 Food is to love / Andrea Quigley

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Quinoa Salad with Feta, Roasted Peppers, Artichoke Hearts & Chicken

(I'm no longer posting on this blog - enjoy the recipe but if you want to see what I'm up to, visit me here.)

Finally have HOT weather here in NH, with minimal rain! Which means I like to make a big batch of something one day of the week and eat on it for several days so I don't have to heat the kitchen up too much. This was relatively quick to make and healthy. As a bonus, the feta and olives gave it a nice kick so it tasted more indulgent than it is.

I've said it before, but I'll say it again: If you are still a quinoa virgin go out and get yourself some already! It's one of the most versatile and quick cooking grains out there and it has an an awesome nutty flavor that is delicious all on it's own. One of the coolest things quinoa is that it's one of a very small group of foods that are considered a complete protein (have all 9 essential amino acids and in the right proportion). In the non-animal food source world this is a very rare thing. Most of the time you need to combine two or more sources to get a complete protein (like rice and beans, yogurt & almonds etc) but quinoa can stand all on it's own. It's a super food!


1 cup quinoa
3 red bell peppers, cut in half, seeded and roasted
1 can artichoke hearts, cut in pieces
1/2 red onion, diced
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, sliced
2 chicken breasts, cooked, diced
2 oz feta, crumbled
a handful of parsley
1 can sliced black olives (small can)
1-2 tablespoons of lemon juice
kosher salt and black pepper

Put the quinoa and 2 cups of water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Cover and turn the heat down to a simmer. Let the quinoa cook for 15-20 minutes or until the water is absorbed and the grains are soft and fluffy.

While your quinoa is cooking, pre-heat the broiler to 500 degrees (if you are roasting your own peppers) and cut the peppers into two equal halves. Place each half cut-side down on a cookie sheet and place in the oven on the middle rack. Leave peppers in the oven until the skins are mostly charred. This will take about 15 minutes. (If you'd rather use jarred peppers, feel free to. Just drain well and pat dry.) Take the peppers out of the oven and let cool. When they're cool enough to handle, peel off the blackened skin (which should come off easily) and chop the peppers roughly.
While your peppers are roasting, heat small pan to a medium-low heat. Pour in the 3 tablespoons of olive oil and toss in the sliced garlic. Let the garlic cook in the warm oil for just a minute or until the pan gives off a strong smell of garlic. Separate the oil and the garlic pieces with a strainer and throw out the cooked garlic. Set the oil aside.
Put the artichoke pieces and chopped red peppers in a bowl and pour in the garlic oil. Stir to combine. In a separate large bowl, combine the quinoa, the cooked chicken pieces, red onion, feta, parsley and olives (I used canned ones because I was out of kalamata but again, use what you have on hand or like!). Add the artichoke, oil and pepper mixture and 1-2 tablespoons of lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper. Stir until all ingredients are combined. Serve right away warm, or chill for a few hours and serve as a cold salad.

All text and photographs (except where noted otherwise) © 2008, 2009 Food is to love / Andrea Quigley

Quinoa Chicken Salad With Feta, Roasted Peppers & Artichoke Hearts on Foodista

Monday, August 10, 2009

Cookies & Cream Heart Attack Bars

Yeah, that's right. I call these Heart Attack bars. I'm sure that's not going to get me any ranking in the search engines, haha, but it was a fitting name back when I came up with the idea. It's a mixture of chocolate sandwich cookies, butter, cream cheese and sugar, the only thing I could add that would make it worse for you is bacon and I have a feeling that wouldn't taste so good here.
I've got to apologize because I don't have any pictures of the bars cut up into squares. I was making them for a cookout I was going to and we were running late so I ended up just grabbing the pan hot out of the oven and bringing it with us (the squares need to chill for a while before cutting) and cutting them there. So, it's hard to tell what you're looking at but they're really yummy so it doesn't really matter does it?


1 package of Chocolate sandwich cookies (with vanilla filling)
2 8oz packages of light cream cheese, softened
1 egg
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 stick of unsalted butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Place sandwich cookies in a large plastic freezer bag. Seal. Using a meat tenderizer (or something equally blunt), smash the cookies in the bag until all are roughly crumbled. Try not to tear the bag because it will make a big mess! Put the crumbled cookies into a medium-sized bowl and pour the melted butter over them. Stir to combine. (The butter will help the cookies form a "crust" and also prevent the bars from completely sticking to the pan.)

In another bowl, mix the remaining ingredients (cream cheese, sugar, egg, and vanilla) with an electric hand mixer until smooth.

Spread half the cookie mixture in the bottom of a 13x9x2 baking dish. Carefully spread the cream cheese mixture evenly over the cookies and then top with the remaining cookies. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until the top is set. Let cook and chill for 2 hours before serving. Cut into 24 squares and make sure to eat any crumbs left in the pan.All text and photographs (except where noted otherwise) © 2008, 2009 Food is to love / Andrea Quigley

Oreo Cheesecake on Foodista

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

My First Home!



This is completely unfood related but never one to keep secrets, I must share. I've been quiet and I'm sure you've noticed. But J and I made an offer on a house, the offer was accepted, we've got our financing in order, and it looks like we'll close on the house around September 18!!! I'm super excited! Been insanely frustrated with renting and the total lack of responsibility the property manager has. It will be nice to have our own place and finally have something pretty to come home to! I'm going to be a homeowner!

The house is just 3 years old, has 3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, all stainless kitchen appliances, a 1000sq foot deck, jacuzzi tub in the master bath, a walk in closet with awesome shelving/drawers, central air, a gas fireplace, cathedral ceilings in the family room and master bedroom, a two car garage, and 2.2 acres. I'm freakin PSYCHED! It's a lot of house for the price we're getting and the best part is that it's across the street from two of our good friends (we always joked about being neighbors someday but definitely didn't think it would ever happen). It doesn't have my gas stove with 100 burners (haha) but that's something I could have down the road. It's definitely more house than we planned on buying but it feels right.

We're doing the home inspection on Monday afternoon and I'll take pictures. I'll do my best to post some of them here (at least a comparison of my current shitty kitchen vs. the new house). OH and it has ample natural lighting so if my photos still suck you'll know it's just me and not my crappy kitchen!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Cheddar Horseradish Bacon Dip

(I'm no longer posting on this blog - enjoy the recipe but if you want to see what I'm up to, visit me here.)

This is a dip I came up with for a BBQ when I didn't feel like going to the store and I wanted to come up with something low fiber for a family member's dietary needs. Luckily, you can't really go wrong with bacon, cheese and cream cheese. I feel kind of dirty just posting this because it really doesn't have any redeeming nutritional value (well maybe calcium and protein) but it was fricken delicious so I thought I'd share. I promise this will be the last dip I post for a little while. You must think my refrigerator is just packed with a whole shelf of cream cheese. Haha. You could be right.

I served this with homemade Olive oil crackers. I found the recipe at 101 Cookbooks. I modified the recipe by making lots of tiny crackers instead of several large ones. They came out great and took almost no time to make. Lots of crunch and the flavor was light enough to not overwhelm the dip.


8 oz light cream cheese, softened
1/3 block of cheddar horseradish cheese**
1/2 cup of grated sharp cheddar
1 tablespoon horseradish sauce (Kraft or Ingleoffer)
2 tablespoons cream or milk
7 slices of nitrate free bacon, cooked
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
kosher salt and black pepper

**Cabot makes a great one, if you can't find it, use 1/2 tsp of grated horseradish or an extra tablespoon of horseradish sauce and an extra 1/2 cup of grated cheddar

Crumble bacon and put into the bowl of a food processor. Pulse to break down some more. Add all the other ingredients and pulse until well blended. If it seems too thick, add another tablespoon or two of milk or cream. Season with Kosher salt and pepper to taste.

All text and photographs (except where noted otherwise) © 2008, 2009 Food is to love / Andrea Quigley

Bacon and Horseradish Dip on Foodista