• chicken parm
    Dinner

    Elevated Chicken Parm

    Chicken Parm is not a recipe that Rob and I are particular huge fans of. We knew some people in college who were very passionate about how they are made. On the flip side, Rob almost never ate it growing up. So, we decided to make an attempt at elevating chicken parm with a lot of homemade, custom elements. To start things off, we made a custom breadcrumb mix. Its a mix of ground parmesan, herbs, lemon, olive oil, and plain breadcrumbs. I have found that I like to add the olive oil to breadcrumb mixes. It makes it a little stickier which allows for a better crust. The other…

  • Elote
    Side Dish

    Elote (Street Corn) Salad

    This is the last of my California-related food posts for now. Elote is basically a creamy corn salad dish that was all over the place in Sonoma. We had it at least twice and its was great both times. It also turns out that it is super versatile; we had it for breakfast and dinner! You can really make the dish in a few different ways to give it different flavors. The first step is deciding how you want to cook the corn. You can roast it or grill it; if you have access to a grill I would go that way. Grilling gives the great addition of the charred…

  • mac and cheese
    Dinner

    30th Birthday Mac & Cheese

    Mac and Cheese is definitely one of my favorite recipes and Rob knows that well. I have several versions including Instant Pot easy versions (link here) and my go-to baked version (links here and here). Between these, we probably make it about every other week. For my 30th birthday, Rob pulled out all the stops and made what he considers the ultimate baked version! This version is a combination of four cheeses in a creamy roux based sauce. Rob picked out the cheeses to provide a good mixture of flavors, aromas, and textures. The key is good melting cheeses that compliment each other (I would really use gouda or chevre,…

  • tri tip ragu
    Dinner,  Instant Pot

    InstantPot Tri-Tip Ragu

    It feels like work for both Rob and I has been keeping us pretty busy since we got back from vacation. As a result, I have been looking for simple recipes to make when we get home. We have made a lot of our go-tos and remade a few others that we haven’t made in a while. But the other night, we tried something new that was inspired by our trip to California: Instant Pot Tri-Tip Ragu. Tri-tip is effectively the official cut of meat for California that is rare on the east coast. Its a cut out of the bottom sirloin of the cow, which means its pretty lean…

  • Travel & Culture

    Sonoma, CA Travel Guide

    After Disneyworld, Sonoma is my favorite vacation spot. What’s not to love about wine and relaxation! Rob and I have ben a few times now and honestly have never had the same experience twice. We have stayed at several hotels now, tried a lot of wineries, and found some great food options. Now, I get share some of those with all of you. First, let me start by saying that Sonoma is a pretty big county. It can take several hours to drive all over it and in that time you can see mountains, beaches, wine country, and as many different temperatures/weather patterns. So, keep that in mind if you…

  • chicken dijon sauce
    Dinner

    Chicken with Dijon Pan Sauce

    I learned the basic technique of this recipe very early in my cooking experience. I ended up taking a Sur la Table cooking class with my sister and the basic recipe was the primary focus of the class. Pan sauces might just be one of the simplest but most versatile techniques out there. You really just need some good brown bit in your pan, an acidic liquid, and some basic flavor elements. The technique really does require those first two elements though. The brown bits from your meat (usually chicken, often dusted with flour) is basically pure flavor and are a cook’s best friend. The acid helps to grab all…

  • moroccan chicken
    Dinner

    Moroccan Roast Chicken Thighs

    Roasted chicken thighs are probably one of my favorite recipes. The reason I love them is just how versatile the concept is. If you can master the technique you can literally do almost any flavor style you can imagine. My recommendation is start French (like these) and then experiment from there. This time around I decided to take this in the direction of Moroccan. Rob actually suggested the concept based on a dish I had last time we were in Sonoma. We went to Glen Ellen Star, which is an awesome little restaurant in Glen Ellen (shocking, I know) that is one of our all-time favorites. Anyway, I had ordered…

  • NY Strip Fajita
    Dinner

    New York Strip “Fajitas”

    These are not what you’d call traditional fajitas, but we were looking to mix up our Mexican-inspired menu a bit. We have done plenty of taco/enchilada variants so it was time for something along the vein of Taco Tuesday, just elevated. Enter this awesome New York Strip recipe. Rob really took the lead for the steak, as usual. It’s something he really enjoys cooking and experimenting with, so I am going to let him keep going with it. The steak cooking technique is old-school European in style. Rob took the traditional French butter basting technique but added a lot of Mexican inspired flavor. First was the spice rub for the…

  • summer bolognese
    Dinner

    Summer Bolognese 2.0

    One of the few downsides to summer is that cooking hearty meals isn’t usually something you want. When its hot and gross out, do you really want a heavy meat dish? So, I have been continuing to experiment with making bolognese a good summer meal. I really wanted to make something like the Rabbit Bolognese (yes, Rob made a pasta sauce with a rabbit sausage) we made back in April; however, just a little lighter. To really get that lighter flavor, I started with the veggies base. This time around I went with leek. If you aren’t familiar with leek, think really big green onion. It’s got a great light…

  • cucumber tom collins
    Cocktails

    Cucumber Tom Collins

    After a weekend off, Rob is back with a new cocktail creation perfect for these hot summer days. Nothing says light and easy like this Cucumber Tom Collins. I love when Rob makes these because they are just so refreshing and with pretty much no sugar or anything. The Tom Collins is the quintessential mid-century American backyard cocktail. I’m sure you can picture it: a citrusy, fizzy cocktail in a tall glass. Think back to any movie involving that time period and they probably are drinking them in it. Its given way to beer in many ways as the cookout drink of choice, but I still love it. It was…

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