money salad: broccoli and cheddar with warm bacon vinaigrette

“Is that the money salad?!” Ed asked last week as I served up a platter of broccoli, grapes, cheddar, onions, and walnuts coated in a warm bacon vinaigrette. “Yes, yes it is,” I said. I hadn’t forgotten how much Ed loved this salad (as did everyone else who tasted it), but I didn’t know he’d nicknamed it. That’s a pretty high honor for a salad built on broccoli.

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uh oh, spaghettiOs!

As I’ve said before, I’m not eager to make traditional Italian meatballs for my husband. Traditional-ish, though. I can get eager about. Especially if the traditional-ish is an updated version of a weirdo food I loved as a child–canned SpaghettiOs (and yes, the O really is capitalized–I checked the official SpaghettiOs website). As soon as I saw the Bon Appétit recipe for Adult “SpaghettiOs” I wanted to make it. It looked homey and fun and tasty and I Ioved the description: “extra saucy and a little sweet.” Sign me up.

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salad of the summer 

It was beyond fun to have Jessica in town a couple of weeks ago. Even though I wish she were still here, we did an excellent job making the most of our time together (as she so perfectly described in her cobbler post). Cooking on Saturday night was a definite highlight and even planning the meal was fun. Jessica, ever generous, offered to let me post the recipe for the grilled corn and halloumi salad we made, even though she gets all the credit for finding it.

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ice cream cake for kids and kids at heart

I confess to having a soft spot for homemade ice cream cakes. I like them when they include literal cake or when they’re just ice cream in the shape of a cake. This fudgy, incredibly easy version falls somewhere in between those two poles. It features layers of graham crackers as the “cake” component. The crackers absorb some ice cream and soften a bit, giving the texture enough variety to make it interesting. This cake is currently at the top of my warm weather favorites and is perfect for Memorial Day weekend parties.

ice cream cake

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parfait roasted strawberry trifles

As I’ve written before, I love strawberry desserts. Years of birthday strawberry shortcake in mid-April has made me hard-wired to want berries in early spring. Unfortunately, strawberries aren’t at their best for another few weeks. That leaves me with fierce cravings and nothing but a pint of dull Driscoll’s to fill the void. I learned from my mom that a quick cure for bland strawberries is to toss them in sugar and let them rest. I’ve also had good luck cooking them with sugar to make a compote, and now, thanks to Bon Appétit, I’m also a fan of roasting them with sugar and salt.

roasted strawberry trifle

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ina’s baked shrimp scampi

Have you seen the news that Ina Garten has a new cookbook coming out, this one framed around her relationship with her husband Jeffrey? I’m not even embarrassed to admit that I gasped out loud when Laura clued me in, and I think most if not all Ina fans probably felt similarly. I also think most if not all Ina fans could make a convincing argument that all of her previous cookbooks have been about her relationship with Jeffrey, but to have one totally truly devoted to it? Be still my heart! There’s a lot to love about this particular marriage, from the gorgeous Hamptons house to the sweet food related gestures to the annual trips to Paris to the props they got on 30 Rock, but what I like best is how genuinely–aspirationally!–delighted by each other they seem after so many years together. I am so looking forward to this new book, especially since I’m confident that it will be full of more genuinely delightful recipes like this one, for baked shrimp scampi.

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crazy for taco salad

The other night, Ed walked in from work as I was chopping an onion. “Taco salad?!” He smiled at me, all shiny-eyed and dimply.

He was right, but how did he know that just from the onion?

“I didn’t know, but I always hope you’re making taco salad.”

It’s true. My husband is obsessed with taco salad. No matter how recently in the dinner rotation we’ve had it, he will suggest it. No matter how much meat we cook, he eats almost all of it. Our version of taco salad is basic: the fillings for a taco piled into a bowl and tossed. Ed loves to be freed of the constraints of the shell so that he can go wild with the amount of fixings.

How wild? The only vessel large enough for his “salads” is a stainless steel mixing bowl.

mixin' the fixin's

mixin’ the fixin’s

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