Friday, May 29, 2009

Giddyup Nashville, Here I am!

Well, this is it. Right about now, I'm hopping on a plane and zipping off to Nashville, TN to play and party with 5 of my favorite girls. Obviously I won't be posting for a few days but I wanted to leave you with something in case you thought I forgot about you.

Here's some of the things we're hoping / planning to do while we are there:

See a show at the Grand Ole' Opry: Steve Martin & his banjo happen to be there Saturday night. While I can't do real country music, I can handle some bluegrass. I hear he's good.

Visit the Cumberland Caverns in McMinnville, TN. Tuesday night I was reading an article in the June 2009 National Geographic called Deep South about some serious cavers in the south. The three states they talked of the most were Tennessee, Alabama and Georgia (also known as TAG). Well, the pictures made me drool as NG does! Cumberland Caverns is about an hour and a half away so it's an easy distance for a daytrip of exploring. We just don't have caves like that in the northeast!

Other places we are thinking about checking out are Arrington Vineyards and Belle Meade Plantation. We're only there Friday night through Monday morning so we don't want to over book ourselves. Obviously we'll be eating but I'm not setting my sights on anything specific. I just really want to sample southern food and have heard about too many places we must try that I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed. Going to let my belly do the walking and I'll come back and report what it finds.

Have a great weekend and I'll be updating in a few days!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Greek Salad Pockets

I try very hard to only eat meat 3 or 4 times a week (I'm talking all meals here, not just dinner). I know there are many valid reasons for limiting or excluding meat entirely from ones diet (hormones, drugs, cruelty, cost etc.) but my main reason is because animal protein is significantly harder for your body to digest than other types of protein. Eating large quantities of animal protein (especially fattier meats) puts extra stress on the kidneys and pancreas and while I like my meat as much as anyone else, I like my organs more! I'm always looking for more vegetarian meals and this is one I like to make partially because I usually have everything I need already in the fridge. Ha! No grocery shopping!

No cooking needed. Just a few minutes of washing, chopping and whisking and dinner is ready to be launched into the belly! And really you don't need me to give you a "recipe" really, it's essentially a Greek salad.


pita pockets
1 seedless English cucumber, diced
2 large tomatoes, diced
1/2 red or vidallia onion, diced
20 Kalamata olives, pitts removed
2-3 cups romaine lettuce, chopped
2 or 3 oz feta cheese
5 or 6 diced pepperoncini, stems and seeds removed (optional)

For the vinaigrette

1.5 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tsp red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Toss the onion, cucumber, tomato, olives and pepperoncini (if you are using them) in a large bowl. Crumble the feta and add to the bowl. Leave the romaine lettuce to the side until ready to use (adding to the bowl will make it soggy, especially if you have leftovers).

Make the vinaigrette by whisking together the lemon juice, red wine vinegar, oregano, black pepper in a bowl. Add the olive oil last and keep whisking until blended. Pour the vinaigrette over the bowl with your veggies and feta. Stir to combine flavors. You can probably skip the salt since the feta, olives and pepperoncini peppers are loaded with them.

Slice the pita pockets in half and fill with lettuce and a big scoop of salad. Serve with a little hummus if you like. Eat.

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

Greek Salad on Foodista

Friday, May 22, 2009

Half Price Restaurant Gift Certificates from Select NH, MA, and ME Coastal Restaurants!!

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

Who could use a good deal?!! ME! ME! ME!

Taste of the Seacoast, a NH quarterly food and wine publication based in Portsmouth, NH is currently offering 50% off select popular seacoast restaurants! Check out the link here and buy certificates while supplies last. These are legit! If you're visiting the Maine, Massachusetts or New Hampshire coast even once in the next few months, these can come in handy. Who can't use a meal for half price these days?! And the good news is that they have new gift certificate offerings every few weeks!

If you're from NH sign up for their "What's Cooking" newsletter to find out what's going on in food in the area!

*I am not employed with or affiliated with Taste of the Seacoast or any of the participating restaurants. I receive no compensation for mentioning the publication and offer listed here. This post is here purely for you to enjoy!*

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Roasted Garlic and Tomato Soup

I didn't feel like going to the grocery store on Sunday and wanted to use up some of the random veggies and an open container of chicken stock in my fridge. This is what I came up with and it actually came out really good!

If you can't find cans of fire roasted tomatoes (Muir Glenn and Hunts both make them), you can roast your own by spreading out diced canned tomatoes, drained or sliced fresh tomatoes on a cookie sheet and roasting them with olive oil, salt and pepper around 450 degrees for 15-20 minutes.

And if you don't have a Parmesan cheese rind lying around (I save all of mine in the freezer, they add a ton of flavor to soups quickly!), just buy a good block of Parmesan (Parmigiano-Reggiano if you've got the extra pennies!) and cut off the rind end. Save the rest of the cheese for something else. I have plenty of recipes that use the stuff (here, here, and here for starters!).


Makes about 6 cups of soup

1 14.5 oz can of fire roasted tomatoes
4 cups low sodium vegetable or chicken stock/broth*
1 onion, diced
one carrot, diced
1 medium sized zucchini, diced
1 teaspoon basil
1 teaspoon oregano
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons tomato paste
kosher salt
black pepper
1 head of garlic
1 Parmesan cheese rind
1 tablespoon olive oil

Roast an entire head of garlic (recipe can be found here). Cook the onion and carrot in 1 tablespoon olive oil until soft, stirring occasionally, then stir in the tomatoes, tomato paste and vegetable or chicken broth. Add seasonings: basil, oregano, bay leaf, and salt and pepper. Simmer for 10 minutes, then add the Parmesan cheese rind and zucchini and continue to simmer. Squeeze the garlic cloves out of their skins and add to the pot. Cook until the zucchini is soft, stirring occasionally.

Remove cheese rind (will break down a bit but you should be able to remove the biggest pieces) and the bay leaf. Separate the liquid from the solids with a sieve, putting the liquid back in the pot. Puree the solids in a food processor, blender or hand blender and then return to pot. Adjust salt and pepper to taste. You're all done!

Serve with crusty bread and a dollop of sour cream if you like. It tastes even better the next day!

*If using chicken broth, the recipe is no longer vegetarian.*

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

Tomato Basil Soup on Foodista

Monday, May 18, 2009

The Foodie Blogroll

I'm so excited to announce that I've finally been accepted as a member of The Foodie Blogroll! I've been lurking on the blogs over there for a while and have been amazed by the quality stuff out there!

For those of you who have never heard of it, The Foodie Blogroll is a wonderful site that lists roughly 4000 (and growing!) food blogs from around the world. They host contests and giveaways and highlight some of the best food blogs on the internet in "Finest Foodie Fridays" which happens every Friday (so it's not just a clever name!). It is managed by Jenn from The Leftover Queen and her husband, Robert and I think they're doing an awesome job.

Anyhow, I'm thrilled to get a chance to have Food is to Love on the Blogroll there. It's a great way to gain exposure in the blog community as well as discover drool-worthy recipes to make. Stop by and visit!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Quinoa & Lentil Summer Salad

When hot weather rolls around, I start wanting to cook less and eat lighter. Wish I could say the latter was a year round desire but I love my risottos, stews and sauces too much! It's not quite "hot" yet here in NH but we've had a few humid days where I needed something light and this does the trick. This salad has lots of protein, fiber, veggies and just enough healthy fat to make this a balanced and healthy meal that doesn't taste like cardboard. It'll fill you up and won't leave you feeling over-stuffed on a hot summer day. Plus J hates lentils and I love getting him to eat healthy things he thinks he hates. He liked this and didn't even realize there were lentils in it till I told him!


1/2 cup green lentils
1 cup dry quinoa
2 cups low sodium chicken broth (optional)
1 red or sweet onion, roughly chopped
1 orange or yellow bell pepper, roughly chopped
2 cups baby spinach
1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 garlic clove, minced
a very large handful of chopped fresh parsley
black pepper & kosher salt to taste

Total calories per serving: 317
4 servings

First, rinse your lentils & quinoa (separately) in hot water and then place in two sauce pans. Add 2 cups of chicken broth (or water if you aren't using it) to the lentils and 2 cups of water to the quinoa and bring each to boil. Cover both tightly, lower the heat to simmer and cook lentils for 30 min or until soft and the quinoa for 12-15 min and the water is absorbed.

While the lentils and quinoa are cooking. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat in a skillet and saute the onion and bell pepper for 3-4 minutes. (I had to use a yellow onion when I took pictures for this because my red onion was rotten-gross!) Turn off heat and put aside.

Start to make the vinaigrette by mincing your garlic and then sprinkling it with salt. Using a fork, mash the garlic into a paste. It will take a minute but the salt will make the garlic soft. Next whisk together the red wine vinegar, lemon juice, and olive oil. Then whisk in the lemon zest, salt and pepper, and garlic paste.

Drain any extra liquid from the lentils and put both the lentils and quinoa in a large bowl. Add the cooked onion and pepper and then stir in the baby spinach while warm to wilt it. Finally, pour in the vinaigrette, toss in the tomatoes and parsley and stir till it's all combined. Adjust salt and pepper if needed. Chill or serve warm. The flavor gets better upon standing.

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

Friday, May 15, 2009

I'm a Little Bit UnCountry. . .

I'm going to Nashville with a group of my best girlfriends for a 4 day weekend at the end of May. Any tips about what to do, where to go and where to eat? We're all in our early 30's (that sounds so weird to say!), we're staying downtown and I'm the farthest thing possible from a country music lover.

So why are we going? To spend time together in a location that everyone can make (one friend is in Atlanta, another in Florida, the rest of us in New England. Obviously, since this is a food blog I'm primarily interested in hearing about where to eat and drink! So suggestions or tips, anyone? I'm open to just about anything!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Raspberry Butter Cookies for Madelyn

My niece Madelyn is allergic to eggs and peanuts so the last few holidays I've worried about making sure there is something sweet that she can eat. It's not fair for the rest of us to be scarfing down cakes and cookies and telling her that she can't have them. For Easter, I made these. These are a hit. Not only did she have something to eat when the rest of us were eating dessert but she took some home and kept asking for more. That's a compliment! The raspberry jam is optional. I usually do half with and half without.

Oh, and did I mention that making these butter cookies is insanely easy???!


2 sticks butter, softened
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon confectioners sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
couple tablespoons of raspberry jam

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Put all the ingredients (except of the jam) in a large mixing bowl and beat together with an electric mixer for a long time. You're probably looking at 10 minutes or so. It will start off very crumbly and dry, and will slowly turn into a thick and creamy batter. It'll look like frosting (and smell like a vanilla shake!).

On a parchment lined baking sheet, drop rounded teaspoons of batter at least an inch and a half apart. I use a second spoon to remove the dough from the teaspoon. Double check your oven's temperature (If you don't already have an oven thermometer, get one, they're super handy). If it's higher than 350 the cookies will burn after 10 minutes. Once you know the oven is 350, bake the cookies for 12-15 minutes. Take them out before they brown on top. The bottoms should be golden.

When they come out of the oven, let them rest on the cookie sheet for a minute or two and then using the back of a 1/4 teaspoon gently press into the cookie (to leave a slight impression of the spoon). Don't press too hard or too deeply. You just want to make a tiny reservoir to hold the jam. Using the same 1/4 teaspoon, fill with jam and drop a little less than 1/4 teaspoon into each cookie. Remove to a cooling rack and let cool.

The cookies can be left out overnight and stay fresh. If you want to cover them, keep them in a single layer and cover with foil slightly tented. The jam will take about 12-15 hours to fully dry. But you'll eat them faster than that so it doesn't matter!

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

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Garlic and Herb Pork Chops

Happy Mother's Day! I'm not a mother myself, but there are lots of wonderful mothers in my life and to them I wish a wonderful day (yeah yeah, by the time I post the day is almost over-I'm a night owl, get over it!). Mother's Day is a little bittersweet for me as my own mother passed away in 2001, and the day really just makes me miss her more. I was hoping to make my mom's beef stroganoff tonight to honor her memory but that'll have to wait for another night. This has nothing to do with mother's day and everything to do with an easy, low-maintenance main course. Every mother I know could use more of these!

I'm actually somewhat new to pork. I hadn't eaten it since 8th grade when I learned all about Trichinosis. My mother was pissed. She worked so hard to put healthy and tasty meals on the table but whatever my 8th grade science teacher told me stuck out so brilliantly in my little brain that all I saw were worms everywhere when anything made of pig was on the menu. Chicken or veggies were my life. Then I started dating a guy with serious German roots and pork was everywhere and I couldn't avoid it since we spent a lot of time with his family. I've finally gotten over my fears of wormies and now make a couple of pork dishes a month. And I'm still with the same boy, I'm happy to say. (Boy am I happy that I came back to pork. I really have come to appreciate what a little bacon can do to a meal! :) )


4 center cut boneless pork chops
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons dried rosemary
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a shallow bowl, mix together the minced garlic, rosemary, thyme, kosher salt and black peppper. Trim an excess fat off the pork chops. Rub the herb and garlic mixture all over both sides of the pork chops. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. While you are waiting for the skillet to get hot, put the 2 tablespoons of vinegar in a bowl and using a pastry or basting brush, brush balsamic vinegar on both sides of the chops. Put all four chops in the hot pan and cook for two minutes on each side. Remove from the burner and bake for 8 min (10 if you are a scaredy cat) in oven (depending on thickness).

The inside of the pork should be cooked through but a slight blush color when done. I served this with a balsamic vinegar and goat cheese red cabbage salad (which I don't feel like posting at this time, but I will if there is interest!).

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

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Kitchen Bitchin' and the Oven I'm Lovin'

Ug, I am soooooo tired of cooking in my tiny and crappy kitchen on a old ugly stove with burners that are lopsided and don't heat up properly! And everything (floor, appliances, counter, walls etc) is a bland cream color, it's disgusting. I'd show you some pictures to show you what I'm attempting to work with here but I haven't picked up the kitchen since Sunday night and it's not fit for eyes other than mine!

Just like we house hunt or job hunt online when we're bored with our living and work situations, I've been busy appliance hunting. I'm currently crushing on the Five Star Gas Double Oven with a griddle and 6 burners (TTN5107BW). Isn't it pretty?!!!! I told J that this could be my engagement ring. He thinks I'm joking.

I'm still picking out my fridge.

Oh and how come all the other food bloggers in the world seem to live somewhere with lots of natural light?? I'm very very jealous. My place is like a dungeon it's so dark. Even when I do cook in the daytime (rare since I'm a night-owl and vampire), it's a serious task to get a few pictures that don't look like they came out of a 1974 grocery store circular!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Gruyere, Mushroom and Tomato Frittata

(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.)

I love frittatas. To be honest, this love stemmed from a serious inability to flip an omelette without losing half the filling or ripping the egg to shreds. The frittata is a cousin to both the quiche and the omelette but comes without the fussiness of the omelette or the time commitment required to make a quiche. Another reason frittatas rock is that they look pretty and come out of the pan in one piece easily. I am a terrible breakfast cook (it's just not a meal I'm good at making - I let J do the French toast, pancakes, and scrambled eggs. I would much rather just have a yogurt or a bagel than try to cook in the morning) so it's awesome to have one food up my sleeve that I don't have to fret about if I have a brunch to go to or someone crashed at our place the night before.

I used Mushrooms, Tomatoes, Spinach, Onions and Gruyere in this frittata but really any combination of vegetables, herbs, cheeses and meats you have on hand will work. It's a great way to use up random vegetables you have lying around in the fridge.

Serves 4


5 eggs
2 tablespoons half & half or milk
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups of sliced mushrooms
1/2 an onion, diced
1 large shallot, cut in half and sliced
2 big handfuls of baby spinach
2 medium tomatoes, 1 sliced, and 1 chopped
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons grated Gruyere cheese

Preheat the broiler to 475. Heat the olive oil and butter over medium heat in a medium sized ovenproof nonstick skillet or saucepan. I use a saucepan because I don't have to worry about over filling it with ingredients! When the fats are hot, add the onion, shallots and mushrooms. Saute for 4-5 minutes.

While the onions and mushrooms are cooking, crack the eggs in a bowl and whisk in the half & half or milk. Add the salt, pepper and ground thyme. Whisk well and set aside.

Add the two handfuls of baby spinach and the chopped tomato to the saucepan and stir until the baby spinach wilts. The mushrooms and tomatoes will have released a lot of liquid so it is a good idea to drain it off, otherwise you may end up with a watery frittata. Once the liquid is drained and your spinach wilted, stir in the 1/2 cup of Gruyere into the egg mixture and pour into the saucepan with your veggies. Turn the heat down just a little and cover the pan. Let cook for 4 or 5 minutes or until most of egg is set (it's okay if the top is still a little runny). Remove the cover and lay the sliced tomatoes on top of the frittata and the remaining 2 tablespoons of Gruyere. Put under the broiler for 4 or 5 minutes or until the remaining egg is firm and the cheese is slightly browned.

Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes before loosening the edges of the frittata with a rubber spatula. You should be able to then easily slide the frittata out of the pan and onto a plate in one piece. If you are worried it won't come out, let it cool for a little bit longer before trying. Cut into 4 slices and serve.

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