When you gotta lotta burrata… make cheesy salads

…and write even cheesier blog post titles!

Burrata Salad with Strawberries, Radicchio and Nasturtium Leaves

Burrata Salad with Strawberries, Radicchio and Nasturtium Leaves

I can only stop thinking about food for so long — so I’m taking a break from posting about Alaska to show you some of the fabulous things I ate before I left Portland.

A week before my flight back home, my husband decided to make me dinner. It was a wonderfully delicious meal, starting with a salad of cherries, radicchio and burrata cheese. The salad was dressed simply in a combination of Agrumato extra virgin lemon olive oil and some aged balsamic vinegar I bought in Modena, Italy years ago. The bottle isn’t looking so pretty but I promise you, the vinegar inside is like candy.

This was the only major purchase I made on this trip -- I was about 23 years old and saved $100 for the bottle.

This was the only major purchase I made on my third trip to Italy — I was about 23 years old, fresh out of culinary school and saved $100 for the bottle. Twelve years later, it’s still delicious!

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Keeping my word would be easier if it was February 31st

Spicy edamame hummus

Spicy edamame hummus

Remember last month in January when I said I was going to dedicate a post each month to trying a recipe made by a fellow WordPress blogger? High off my bacon-onion marmalade success, I had all the confidence in the world for February. And then my birthday happened. I spent one weekend in Tacoma with family, one weekend (my actual birthday) with a few close friends and the third weekend was my big blow-out party.

So basically I would just like all of us to pretend that February is not a short month and that I haven’t already failed at my resolution. Everyone in agreement? Excellent!

Mr Wonderful White Cake

Mr Wonderful White Cake

For February, I wanted to tackle a recipe from one of my longest standing blogging buddies, Liz from food for fun and deLizious Food Communications. I actually made a recipe from her blog last summer, the Mr. Wonderful White Cake, for a family reunion potluck. And it was, in fact, just as delicious as she had promised. It was also incredibly easy to whip up which was good because I was on such a time crunch that I almost bought a cake mix. This was ten times better!

But this post needed to be new stuff and since I was already late, I figured I’d try out two of Liz’s recipes to make up for being a slacker. The first one was super quick, I whipped it up in 10 minutes: spicy edamame hummus with lime and jalapeño.

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Baked Taquitos and Misadventures with DayQuil

Baked Carnitas Taquitos

Corn tortillas stuffed with beer-braised pork, 3 cheeses and green onions. Served with sour cream and a Brussels sprout, radish and sprouted mung bean slaw

I have no problem admitting that I only watch the Superbowl for the commercials and the food. This year the hitch in that giddy up was that I’ve been sick for more than a week and didn’t feel like going anywhere. I also didn’t feel like inviting anyone over — that would prevent my husband and I from spending all day on the couch in pajamas under a pile of blankets and kitties (which basically describes all of my favorite Sundays, sick or not).

So I took the anti-social and lazy way out. I planned an easy all-day menu for two based around a Mexican theme and starring one main protein — beer-braised carnitas.

A petite pork butt (around 1.5 pounds) came into play and using this super simple recipe from Bon Appetite, I braised it with dried chiles, beer and garlic. It was pretty much all I could handle in my cold medicine haze.

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Finally following through (and eating bacon onion marmalade)

Burger w/ Bacon Onion Marmalade

Burger w/ Bacon Onion Marmalade

A lot of my life revolves around food. I’m married to a chef, I work in the industry, I write a food blog and, of course, I read a lot of food magazines and blogs. Years ago, when I was just discovering the rather overwhelming world of blogs, I followed only the big names ones like Pioneer Woman and Smitten Kitchen.

But in 2011 when I joined WordPress, I found so many more blogs, and bloggers, who I grew to adore — I love seeing into their corner of the world, reading about their lives and vicariously enjoying their kitchen adventures. More often than not, these visual journeys into their kitchens have led me to discover new recipes. And many of these recipes are ones I swear to myself I’m going to make some day.

And yet, on days when I feel like making something new, I always forget all about those recipes — out of sight, out of mind. And so I end up grabbing the latest issue of Bon Appetit or Food & Wine for inspiration instead.

This year, I’ve decided to put my money where my mouth is and finally make some of those “some day” dishes. Each month I’m planning to make a recipe from a blog that I follow and to showcase it here on Attempts in Domesticity.

The first recipe I chose was a simple but astoundingly good one — bacon onion marmalade, brought to you by Skinny Girls & Mayonnaise. It calls for only a handful of ingredients which come together to make magic in just under 20 minutes. And even though Sean of SG&M calls it the “ultimate summer condiment” it tasted pretty damn good in January. Hey, we aren’t all enjoying the endless summer that he’s been boasting about from his home in California.

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Sometimes cleaning the fridge can lead to delicious things…

Pork Tenderloin with Apples and Onions

This fall I went a little overboard with apples. I just kept accumulating them — I bought bags from the farmer’s markets, a box from a co-worker for a school fundraiser and random ones on sale at the grocery store. Around November, I couldn’t even look at apples anymore and just avoided glancing at the full-to-the-brim fruit drawer in my refrigerator.

Finally a few weeks ago I decided to revisit those apples and use them up, one way or another. While they had lost some of their “crisp,” they were still great for other applications. I grated a few into some batches of hot cereal and was surprised at how tasty the outcome was – sweet, slightly tart and perfect with cinnamon and a touch of maple syrup.

Thursday night I got the opportunity to use up a few more.

I was totally at a loss at what to make for dinner. I hadn’t had a chance to go to the store but rooting around in my fridge I came up with a pork tenderloin, some brussels sprouts, half a head of cauliflower and (of course) a handful of apples. After adding an onion and some home-dried thyme to the mix, my findings suddenly seemed like a cohesive dish rather than just a hodge-podge of ingredients.

I  actually think it was the thyme that tipped the scales in my favor. Normally I steer away from anything too sweet for dinner since my husband prefers things as savory as possible. I wasn’t sure if he’d liked the roasted apples, but I hoped the thyme and the onion would balance out the sugar. And hey, if he didn’t like it, more for me, right?

I roasted the cauliflower, onions and apples all separately. While they were cooking away, I shaved the brussles sprouts continuing to check the items in the oven. The apples were done first:

Apples, peeled, quartered and toss in some butter. Roasted until soft, deglaze  pan with apple brandy. Yum!

Apples, peeled, quartered and tossed in some butter with a sprinkling of salt. Roast until soft but not mushy, deglaze pan with apple brandy. Yum!

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Butter beans and pomegranate form an unlikely friendship

Butter bean salad with pomegranate seeds

Butter bean salad with pomegranate seeds and scallions

While I have been eating in accordance to the Bon Appetit Food Lovers Cleanse for the last 2 weeks, I admit I did not follow their day-by-day menu plans. Instead I did a lot of mixing and matching depending upon what was on hand at any given time. This is sad only because it means it took me an extra week to discover the unexpectedly delicious coupling of butter beans and pomegranate seeds.

In fact, to be honest, I saw a picture of the salad (made with white cannellini beans) and immediately thought, “Oh hell no. That’s one to skip.” Even though I love a good bean salad, for some reason my brain could just not accept the combination of beans and fruit.

But then I saw reviews for the recipe — both online and on Instagram — and was surprised. People seemed to love it. And almost everyone praised the pomegranates for making the salad a success. After all, take them away and the salad is very, very basic — lemon, parsley, olive oil and green onions. Good, no doubt, but nothing to write home about.

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