Category Archives: Thoughts

Recent failures

With the heat and many weekend plans, I haven’t been using the kitchen much. 

We ate salad for dinner every night last week. I attempted a gluten free pie, which reduced any desire to bake anything.


This weekend, we celebrate Mr. Fictional Kitchen’s birthday and I have high hopes that the menu will produce some stories to share. There will be carnitas tacos, tomato corn salad, possibly broccoli slaw, and the triffle you have seen on this site earlier.

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A soup of my own invention

This post is coming a bit late considering that the weather has finally changed and it is now hot as blazes. I was beginning to wonder if we were going to have a summer at all (which would have been fine by me). However, if you find yourself somewhere cold, this soup is just the ticket.

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Filed under Soups & Stews, Thoughts

Ropa vieja 

Honestly, before a few months ago, I had never heard of flap steak. but it was cheap and that was a good enough reason for me to try it. I assumed I would have to stew it for ages, like most cheap cuts. However, flap steak has quickly risen to my top favorite steak because it is super versatile. It can both be cooked fast (in a pan or on the grill) or slow (in a stew).

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Filed under Meat & Fish, Thoughts

Getting ready for Easter

17862795_10209500613295808_5785488272482727336_nPasqualina is something my mother would make basically only once a year and I have always loved. Spinach is among my top three favorite vegetables, along with broccoli and zucchini. But those also happen to be my sister’s top three least favorite vegetables. So any chance to have spinach was good with me. I know, strange child.

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Filed under Eggs, Italian, Savory Tarts & Quiches, Thoughts, Vegetable

Getting my groove back

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As any of you who own a home have already figured out, houses are expensive. And kitchen renovations suck. It has been weeks since I had a normal, fully unpacked and accessible kitchen and it looks like I’m going to wait a few weeks more. But, at least now I have a fully stocked fridge and pantry.

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Tiny victories

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We bought a house.

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Blood, Bones, & Butter

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Gabrielle Hamilton’s 2011 is a funny, occasionally dark, look at her life and how she came to open Prune, the successful New York restaurant. She grew up with a French mother and an American father.

While my mother is Italian, I can connect deeply with the inherent sense of “other.” Like Hamilton, I have always reveled in my “otherness,” emphasizing my Italian heritage.I enjoy pronouncing things as authentically as possible and didn’t grow up with traditional American snacks and desserts.

Hamilton married an Italian doctor and returns annually to his family’s villa in Puglia. My family is from much further north, near the border with Switzerland, and we certainly don’t have a villa. But like hers, our country house is crumbling slowly. Whenever my family would go home to Italy, we always stayed at my grandparents house where everything stays the same. I can understand her desire to get out, to see more of the country, to change things. Feelings I expect my father, the American, feels. His grasp of Italian has never been strong and while he is beloved by my Italian relations, I’m sure he feels the desire to get out and adventure.

My mother and I (and now fortunately, my husband) lack that instinct. To sit in the kitchen together, go to the market and the bakery everyday, that is enough. I have been spoilt with other opportunities to travel around the country and am more than content to spend my days sitting in my grandparents’ dining room, listening to old stories and cooking dishes from our past.

Hamilton manages to blend her many experiences into her cooking with a skill that I hope to someday acquire. For now I will content myself with trying to get to her restaurant and try the dishes, now that I know the stories behind them.

Available from Random House, $11.99

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