Thursday, June 27, 2013

Well guys, today I don't have a pie.

Sometimes when you're cooking, things just don't turn out the way you had planned. I did something wrong in the process of making my strawberry rhubarb ginger pie, and it turned out to be a sort of a gloppy mess. I think my mistake was cooking the strawberry rhubarb mixture before putting it into the crust, so the bottom crust got really soaked through while baking. I mean, it still tasted really good, if you only ate the top crust and the filling, it was bright, cirtusy, a little spicy from the ginger, and I used very little sugar so it wasn't overly sweet. I also added a bit of goat cheese to the crust so it would read a little savory, because pies tend to be a little too sweet for me. Someday, this is going to be a really good pie. But alas, it needs more work and the recipe is not quite ready to share yet. Sorry, dudes.

Here's a photo, it definitely looks "rustic":

and my super cute maxi dress from h&m.

That's the thing about cooking though, the thing that I love. Even though my pie turned out to be a little less than stellar, it's not the end of the world. Next time, I'll bake it differently, and life goes on. If I had made that for a party, I would have just scooped out the filling and the top crust and served it on top of ice cream or something. No one but me (and my internet friends, now), need to know that the bottom layer of crust was completely soaked through and had the consistency of Elmer's Glue. As long as you're not selling it (or posting about it on a blog), there's no reason things have to be completely perfect. Striving for complete perfection in your food is the reason I ended up crying over the pies I took to Christmas dinner (that everyone loved and were delicious). Not to say that I don't love it when something comes out and it looks like it should be on the cover of a cook book, but if not it's still (probably) going to taste fantastic, and things can always be salvaged. It's a lot more fun to cook when you're relatively relaxed, and things always turn out better when you aren't stressing yourself into oblivion.

I truly believe that everyone can cook, and it's such a rewarding thing to do. But sometimes, shit happens, and your pie turns out like shit but you eat it anyways. Then you have to write a blog post about how sometimes even the girl with the blog fucks up her pies. So don't let it put you off forever, try, try again (or pie, pie again, in this case). We all mess up sometimes, but in this day and age where so few people truly make things from scratch, your effort will still impress. Your cake is a little flat? Oh well. Life goes on, kids. The fact that you tried, and are trying is what truly matters for the home cook. That's my two cents anyway. So many amazing things have happened this week for immigration, women's rights, and marriage equality. There's no way a bad pie could put a damper on the beauty of progress.

Thanks for stopping in again, pals. I hope you all have a great weekend. Go do something fun for Pride! Hopefully next week I'll actually have a recipe to share, if not....oh well.

xoxo Megan

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Sneak Peek: Local Strawberries!

Hey guys!  Surprise Sunday post!

Summer is a beautiful time of year in the PNW, obviously, and it's also the time of year when I bite into a local strawberry and realize every other strawberry I've eaten the rest of the year was total bullshit. You can fool yourself a little, macerating them in sugar or dipping them in chocolate, but when it comes right down to it, nothing compares to something picked that morning and grown less than a hundred miles away. They'r red right down to the middle and so incredibly juicy that all the dry and white centered berries I've eaten throughout the year circle through my mind and I vow to never subject myself to anything other than utter strawberry perfection.

With this in mind, I'm dedicating this week to all things strawberry and will (hopefully) have some lovely recipes to share. The best thing to do with a nice ripe berry is just to eat it, but a nice cocktail isn't a bad way to enjoy them either. Strawberry rhubarb basil margarita?! Don't mind if I do (or you do either).

To make this little beauty I just took a handful of strawberries and a handful of chopped rhubarb and stuck it in a pot with the juice of one lemon, a little water, and a couple tablespoons of sugar. Let that cook down for a bit, until it's nice and juicy and you have a syrup (not so long that it turns into jam, although I did that by accident and all hope was not lost). Strain it to take out the chunks and seeds, and then mix it with about a quarter cup lime juice, a tablespoon of agave nectar, and pour over ice. Add your tequila, I did about a shot, but use less or more to suit your taste (or mood, I'm not judging). The final step is to add a few leaves of chopped basil, stir it up and drink it! (Note: If you cooked most of the liquid out of your strawberry syrup, you can just add a bit of water).

Another super simple thing you can do with strawberries is to throw them in a salad. This is something my mom makes, and despite how incredibly simple it is, people will die for it at a dinner party or barbecue. I don't much believe in bottled salad dressing (not because I'm pretentious, but because it's so easy and cheap to make your own), so I just use nice balsamic and olive oil, whisked together with garlic, salt and pepper. Pour that over spinach or mixed greens, and top with sliced strawberries and crumbled goat cheese and toasted nuts (almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, GO NUTS!) and you have it. Here's mine, there's not much artistry to the photo, because it was sitting next to a steak, and I was hungry.

Thanks for coming back again, and I'll see you Wednesday for some more things to do with all those local berries.

xoxo Megan

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Snack Dinner with Artichoke Dip

Hello again, happy Wednesday!

This has been a very frustrating week for many reasons, and I unfortunately spent a lot more time hosting my own personal rage induced pity party than I did coming up with something to make for you today. Then yesterday I got to spend an incredibly rejuvenating and very much needed day with my family. I know I can count myself as one of the lucky ones that I don't have to dread once a year visit with estranged relations, but instead get to look forward spending a day with people who I don't just love, but actually like. Yesterday I got to meet the newest addition to our big crazy clan at only two days old and visit the home of my aunt and uncle who have just moved back to the area after seven years away. The day ended with sandwiches with my parents, aunt, boyfriend, and brothers on their deck. There was a moment, laughing with my brothers about something that we've laughed about so long none of even remembers how it got started that the stress of my week left me, and I just felt profoundly privileged for the people in my life. The ones I've chosen and the ones that were chosen for me. 

Now, you're probably wondering why I'm rambling on about my family on a recipe for artichoke dip. This makes no sense now, but I promise you it will in a bit. You see, my mother is an amazing woman, and the kind of person who, throughout my entire childhood, even after going back to work, made the family a home cooked meal damn near every night and still does. I, unfortunately, was the world's pickiest child, and denied myself those warm childhood memories of mom's pork roast because I decided to be a vegetarian at about the age of two (that's not a joke, I was a weirdo). So, some of my favorite food memories are from when I was in high school and the six minutes I attended college, and having "snack dinner" with my mom. Snack dinner would happen when we didn't know what we wanted for eat, but were still definitely very hungry, so we would just go to the store and buy crostini and brie and apples and candied hazelnuts and spinach dip and sometimes even cheesecake. Then we'd eat leisurely on the deck, or while watching a movie, and enjoy the time we got to catch up. 

This happens to still be one of my favorite ways to eat, just little bits and bobs all piled together on a plate. I try not to do it all the time, but the fact is, even though I love to cook and do consider it my greatest passion, sometimes after work I am just too damn tired. So I let the cheesemakers, and the salami curers and the olive pickers do the work for me. This is where the artichoke dip recipe comes in. I didn't just want to post a picture of me eating cheese and crackers, and I have had someone ask me to put this recipe up (Hi, Brian!), so I settled on the dip.  This is one of the easiest things in the world to make, it's terrible for you, and it's delicious. I've taken this to parties and two of my friends have literally made themselves sick eating so much of it (so watch out). So tonight, to cap off my great weekend, and prepare myself for the possibly tumultuous week ahead, I'm having snack dinner with artichoke dip, some great bread, pears, olives, melon, and a nice hard cider.

Artichoke Dip with Peppadews


  • 6 oz sharp cheddar, grated (this will yield you about two cups of shredded cheese)
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan, plus 1/4 cup
  • 1 cup mayonnaise (I don't particularly care for mayo, so I like to use just enough to keep it together, not so much that it's super gloppy)
  • 1 14 oz can artichoke hearts (I'm all for fresh cooking, and god bless the soul who cooks and cleans artichokes for a dip but it's sure not me)
  • 1/2 cup finely minced onion
  • 1 clove finely minced garlic
  •  1/2 cup red peppadews, chopped (Most any peppers in brine will work, or if you want more heat and are not a wimp like me, fresh hot chilies will work as well)
  • Pepper to taste

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Mix all ingredients together in a large mixing bowl, adding the mayo last.
  3. Grease an 8x8 pan (or something close to that size, I'm making minr in a pie dish) and pour dip mixture in in to pan, topping with 1/4 cup shredded parm.
  4. Stick it in the oven and let it go for about a half an hour, or until it's all brown and bubbly and it looks like this.
  5. Oh, and also, don't forget to let it cool down. That shit is molten right now and will burn your mouth to smithereens. 

That's all she (I) wrote for this week pals. Thanks for checking in again, and I'll see you next Wednesday!

xo Megan

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Cold Tuscan Melon and Cucumber Soup

Hey dudes, happy Wednesday!
  I didn’t post anything last week, and I’d like to say that it was for some glamorous reason like a wine tasting trip to Napa, but alas, the real reason is that my paycheck was delayed by a day and I was flat broke. So instead, I spent the day sitting inside and watching Nashville and doing laundry. 
     I did think a lot about what I was going to make though, and because the weather was gray and drizzly I decided on roasted chicken and potatoes. It sounded light enough for spring, but comforting enough to help shake off the weather. I bought the chicken and wine and everything (actually Dallas did), but then it got hot again.  I currently have a pretty decent a sunburn, and  the thought of even having  the oven in our small apartment on long enough to cook a whole chicken makes me sweaty. So, the little bird is waiting in the freezer until it starts raining again, and I sought after making something a little more cool and refreshing. 

      When it's really hot outside, and especially when my skin looks a lobster (I was wearing sunscreen, I swear) , I just don't want to eat hot food. This is something that I picked up from my dad. Whenever it was really hot, my mom would make sandwiches or pasta salad or something else cold because "you know your dad hates hot food on hot days". So with that in mind, and in the spirit of turning in to one's parents, I got to thinking about what would lend the ultimate amount of cool delicious freshness while also providing a little nutrition to keep me going.

     What I ended up making is a cold melon and cucumber soup with Greek yogurt. I've made this a few times before and it's perfect or hot weather. It's super light, crisp, and cold, but the yogurt gives you a little protein so it's not completely insubstantial. Serve it with a toasted or grilled baguette, and you're in business! It would also serve as a great side dish to grilled fish or shrimp. So here's the recipe, hope you guys like it.

Cold Tuscan Melon and Cucumber soup


  • One large seedless cucumber, or two regular cucumbers, seeded and peeled

  • One half Tuscan Melon (you can use whatever kind of melon you like best, but Tuscan's were on sale, and doesn't it make this recipe sound fancier?!) skin and seeds removed

  • Large handful of mint leaves, about half cup
  • Juice and zest of one lime and one lemon
  • Four scallions, chopped
  • Two tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Three quarter cup full fat Greek Yogurt
  • Salt and Pepper to taste


  1. This one's really easy, y'all. You pretty much just chop everything up and throw it in the food processor.
  2. Let it go for a good while, until it has a pretty smooth consistency, then drizzle in the olive oil. Lastly add the Greek Yogurt.
  3. This step is optional, but if you let the soup sit in the fridge for a couple of hours the flavors will really start to settle, and it'll be extra chilly.
  4. Serve that beautiful mess in a bowl and top with a dollop (ew, I hate that word) of Greek Yogurt, and a fresh mint leaf.
  5. (Optional, toast a baguette to be served with the soup)

Well that's all she wrote for today folks, I'm gonna go find something to do in this beautiful sunshine. Hope you are all having a great week!

Xoxo Megan