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Anthropologie Aprons

aprons

 

What foodie among us doesn’t love watching the Food Network? Who among us doesn’t salivate over the gastronomic creations and, even more so, the gleaming, decked-out kitchens, the ease with which the stars whip up their homey, yet inventive meals, and the stress-free environment in which they serve them to their guests.

 

I love watching the Food Network’s porcelain-perfect cooking, and, in particular, Everyday Italian with Giada DeLaurentis. She is perfectly made up, coiffed, and dressed, and her football-field-sized kitchen is immaculate and stylish. Not only that, but the woman features mascarpone, whipped cream, and crème fraiche in nearly every show, which makes me feel like we are culinary kindred spirits. Word, Giada, word.

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Taste of the Nation

 

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Being a food writer(ish) comes with its privileges. My darling, thoughtful, and generous friend, Dez, got me a pass for Taste of the Nation in Boston a couple of weeks ago. The irony of this event is that attendees glut themselves to an extreme rarely seen outside of a Roman vomitorium in an effort to bring awareness to and alleviate childhood hunger.

 

Irony (and attending guilt) aside, it was a flawlessly executed event, with over 100 Boston restaurants, wineries, and food purveyors offering their fare for attendees to nibble (read: gorge) on. And, the best part is the proceeds go to Share Our Strength and combat childhood hunger.

 

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Shrimp, Chilis & Ginger

Shrimp, Chilis & Ginger with Avocado

I have a confession to make…. I started Besotted with more than just the goal of jotting down my favorite recipes and rambling about my culinary experiences. I desperately want to get people back into the kitchen, and for them to do more than peel back the plastic on a microwaveable meal or ‘add water’ to make a meal magically puff up before their eyes.

 

It’s an absurd quest in our multi-tasking, over-taxed, over-stressed world, but I’m taking it on, and if there’s one recipe in my arsenal to battle the delivery-guy, grocery-store-prepared-foods, and the like, it’s this one, because it takes 15 minutes from grocery bag to table. Not only is it easy and quick, but the flavors – fresh chilis, ginger, garlic, and lemon – will instantly remind you why fresh always tastes best.

 

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Culinary Tour of Spain

 

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I don’t want to bore you to death with details of our wonderful trip to Spain, but a web log of some of the more interesting dining experiences does seem warranted, or will at least allow me to justify the 10 pounds I packed on there.

 

I had studied in Spain a number of years ago, and, while excited to return, speak the language (i.e. show-off in front of PT), and re-visit a number of my favorite sites and cities, I was apprehensive about the gastronomic experience. As a poor student, I had subsisted on low-quality, hastily prepared chicken croquetas (essentially, chicken fingers with cream of chicken, instead of whole meat), tortilla espanola, and ooey-gooey pastries. The last two were quite good, but not exactly a well-rounded diet for 10 days.

 

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Tuscan White Bean Soup

So, I’ve received just a tiny bit of flack for featuring a veggie dish that contained prosciutto in the Veggie Dinners post and sought to rectify the situation. In my defense, the second recipe was strictly vegetarian, but I understand that there is a ‘truth-in-advertising’ issue with a post titled “Veggie Dinners” that features prosciutto. Lest I invoke the wrath of any more vegetarians, I will own that the base of this soup is a chicken stock – because that is what I always have on hand – but vegetable stock could easily be used as a substitute.

 

Tuscan White Bean Soup is a recipe that is both categorically healthy – carrots, white beans, and kale constitute its base – and all succor, warmth, and comfort. It is not every recipe that can soothe both the spirit and the body, but this recipe does so perfectly.

 

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A Cautionary Tale….

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What is it about human nature that makes us willfully engage in activities that we are certain will have disastrous outcomes? That extra martini? Probably not going to make getting home (or remembering your bag) any easier. That cute guy reeking of Axe Body Spray? Probably not going to call you back. That inky black Prada bag with butter-soft leather that you simply couldn’t leave, because it felt like a baby being snatched from a mother’s arms? Probably going to feel like a bulldozer landed on your head when you see your credit card bill.

 

For whatever reason, the complicated and mysterious workings of our minds make it such that we do things we know are wrong with willful ardor. Such was my situation baking a long-forgotten favorite treat, Sticky Cinnamon Twists, over the weekend.

 

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Crispy, peppery, and deliciously salty homemade potato chips

Crispy, peppery, and deliciously salty homemade potato chips

 

I am not one of those people that is capable of restraining themselves in all areas of their life at once. I never could, and wouldn’t expect myself to, pinch my pennies, watch what I eat, hit the gym every day, log in extra hours at the office, and be kind to strangers, all at the same time. It simply can not happen.

 

With the recession in full-swing, and having imposed a temporary ban on shopping at Barney’s, I feel fully justified… nee, compelled to assuage my spirit with a little culinary over-indulgence.

 

Potato chips are one of my greatest weaknesses. I may wax poetic about farm-fresh eggs, local butchers, and in-season produce, but put a bag of Doritos or Lays in front of me, and all of that Organivore/Localvore dogma goes right out the window, and I get downright gluttonous.

 

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