Tricky Treats (Dark Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Balls Recipe)

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For chronic over-planners like myself, the day after Halloween means only one thing: an overflowing plastic cauldron full of way too many fun-sized candy bars. This, of course, leads to me aggressively pushing candy on everyone I come in contact with in a desperate attempt to get rid of the extra candy before my willpower fails and I end up with the kind of stomach ache that can only result from eating excessive amounts of Halloween candy and the guilt that comes along with it. This year, in an effort to break this pattern, I’ve made a healthier version of one of my favorite candies so I can satisfy my candy craving without digging into the chocolate cauldron too many times. Read the full post »

Inspiration Point (Stuffed Acorn Squash with Tempeh Sausage, Mushrooms, and Barley Recipe)

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Going out to eat is one of my favorite things to do. I love it for all of the usual reasons like not having to cook, the food itself, socializing with friends, and just having a chance to get out of the house. But I also enjoy it for a not-quite-so-common reason: the inspiration it provides for my own cooking. This is something I hadn’t given much thought to in my previous life, but after several years of our current lifestyle I’ve come to realize that restaurant dining was my culinary muse and that eating one meal a week away from the house at a very limited selection of restaurants was starting to seriously stifle my creativity. Sadly, it took a period of rather stale meal ideas that left me going to back to the same old dishes again and again to come to this unfortunate realization. Read the full post »

Fall Cleaning (Shitake Green Curry with Soba Noodles Recipe)

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I don’t know about you, but all I’ve been wanting to eat lately is bread, pasta, and sweets. I could probably blame it in part on the cooler temperatures pushing me towards heavier, richer foods. But really, it’s not that cold yet and it’s a bit too early still for the heavy foods of winter. More realistically, it’s my own fault for indulging in these yummy treats just a little too often and not noticing how far down the slippery slope I’d come towards subsisting solely on refined carbs. This, combined with a bout of fall allergies and a couple of weeks spent teetering on the edge of catching the nasty cold that’s been going around, has left me feeling sluggish and just generally unwell. Based on these realizations, it seems that it might be good time for a dietary cleanse. A reboot for my system, if you will. Read the full post »

The Space Between (Roasted and Sundried Tomato Pasta Recipe)

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The transition from summer to fall always makes me nostalgic.  And being the food-obsessed person that I am, that nostalgia often revolves around food.  Food from my childhood, to be specific. I don’t know what it is about this interim time that makes me feel this way.   Maybe the cooler weather jump starts my cravings for comfort food.  Or perhaps the tendency to nest around this time of the year makes me miss that cozy family nest of my childhood and the warm and fuzzy feelings that can only come from a home cooked meal made by Mom. Read the full post »

Simple Overabundance (Creamy Polenta with Grilled Tempeh and Roasted Tomatoes Recipe)

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I love this time of year.  I love the warm, sunny days and the cool, perfect for sleeping nights.  I love the late summer wildflowers overflowing the roadside ditches.  I love the monarch butterflies that positively swarm me on my late morning runs.  I love that the wooded trails stay cool long into the afternoon.  I love the slight sense of urgency one feels during BBQs and camping trips, staying outside just a little longer, trying to squeeze every last drop out of summer before that morning chill starts to hang around a little too long into the day.  But most of all, I love the absolute overabundance of fresh produce this time of year.  Particularly around here (upstate NY, aka the Arctic) where the growing season is too short and I feel like I spend most of my year trying to figure out another way to prepare squash, potatoes, and onions and reminding myself that while the tomatoes on the shelves might look pretty good I’m going to be sorely disappointed if I try to eat one. Read the full post »

It’s All Greek to Me (Raspberry Almond Yogurt Bowl Recipe)

20120811-195148.jpg I have a confession to make.  I only discovered Greek yogurt about 6 months ago.  I know what you’re thinking: How could I possibly have overlooked this deliciousness?  It’s not even as if I didn’t eat yogurt at all, because I did.  Plain yogurt, too.  Lots of it.  I had just always assumed that Greek yogurt was a marketing ploy to get me to pay more money for fancy yogurt and I wasn’t about to fall for it.  But one day while grocery shopping, they were out of my usual Stoneyfield Farms plain yogurt and I was left to decide between buying presweetened, flavored yogurt or finally giving in and giving Greek yogurt a try.  As it turns out, I’ve never been so happy to see the grocery store out of something I wanted.  For the few of you who may still be Greek yogurt holdouts, it is so much better than regular yogurt.  Give it a try even if you don’t particularly like regular yogurt.  Its so rich and creamy that it seems more like a decadent dessert than a healthy breakfast food.  So much so that even my yogurt-hating sweetie, Chris, kind of likes it. And believe me that’s saying something, as I’ve spent a fair amount of kitchen time experimenting with just how much of a recipe’s  sour cream I can replace with yogurt before he notices. Read the full post »

Fun Guy (Mushroom Stroganoff Recipe)

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May I make a recommendation? Please, if you have not done so already, go out and befriend someone who grows garlic. Or better yet, grow your own garlic and make friends with me! We are very lucky to have a customer who brings us a lovely gift of garlic every year around this time and I simply cannot say enough good things about local, not long out of the ground garlic. Garlic that maybe hasn’t been cured quite long enough so that it still has some of that sticky green garlic goodness about it. Garlic that still has stringy roots attached and dirt clinging to its paper skin. Garlic that makes you feel connected to the earth under your feet. This is the stuff that makes a simple dish into something really special.

Read the full post »

Teenage Dream (Honeydew Melon Gin Spritzer)

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Remember back in the late 80’s/early 90’s? I know, I don’t really like to think about that time period either but bear with me. Do your memories of that era smell like cucumber melon? Well, mine do. As I recall, it was the trendy scent of the moment for much too long and in my circle of girlfriends if you didn’t positively reek of cucumber melon at all times you just weren’t cool. We’d all drag our mothers to Bath and Body Works to purchase the holy trinity of bath products – shower gel, body lotion, and body spray. Because even after washing yourself with cucumber melon body wash and moisturizing with the lotion, by third period your classmates sitting a few rows behind you probably couldn’t smell you anymore so it was imperative that we refresh with the body spray. Fortunately, I think teenage girls have stopped drenching themselves in body sprays every hour on the hour, but sadly the trend seems to have been taken up by teenage boys and twenty-something men instead, albeit with slightly more masculine scents. By high school, cucumber melon had thankfully fallen out of favor and the scent kind of repulsed me for awhile. Luckily after a dozen or so years away from a cucumber melon saturated world I have recovered and realized that the combination was popular for so long for good reason. It’s really a lovely produce marriage where each part brings out the best in the other.  The heady sweetness of the melon can be a touch overwhelming on its own, while the fresh, clean cucumber can be, to be honest, a little boring at times.  But together? A perfect pairing.  While I’m certainly not about to go out and buy myself another bottle of body spray, I do enjoy the flavor combo in a cocktail every now and again. >

You Never Forget Your First (Tortilla Soup Recipe)

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Hello, and welcome to the very first post on A Fork in Hand.  Much thought (probably too much, really) went into selecting my inaugural recipe.  I’m a bit of an over analyzer, so it should come as no surprise that it took me close to 2 months to decide that this was the one.  I mean, it’s my first blog post.  There were so many things to consider!  It had to be something delicious, obviously.  But it also had to be simple enough not to scare people off, yet elaborate enough that you wouldn’t find 20 examples of nearly the same recipe with a simple google search  And most importantly, it had to epitomize, as much as any one recipe can, exactly the kind of food this blog is about.

I believe this tortilla soup recipe is all of those things.  It’s been in the works for quite awhile.  A few years, I think.  I’m pretty much in love with this particular version.  It’s spicy and complex from a mix of fresh and dried chiles, bright and herbal from a short simmer with cilantro stems, and a little tangy from a squeeze of lime to finish it all off.  This is a soup I eat to warm up body and soul on gloomy winter days, to clear out my head when I feel the sniffles coming on, and most often to satisfy my craving for the Mexi-Cali food that I miss so much.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. Read the full post »

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