November 21, 2015

The Honey Dumpling Roast

As a new mamma, I feel like a victor when I can lull my little one to sleep by humming or singing and rocking as opposed to simply nursing, our buttercup is an eater just like mamma and dada and to help her along to Nonnyland without nursing is amazing!

As a 4 month old, she can hold her head up and lift objects and loves to bring everything to her mouth.  It's so much fun to see her growing right before our eyes.

As a new mamma, I can brush my teeth, possibly take a shower and perhaps get the kitchen cleaned. All of which is never done with one nap, our little one loves to take kitty naps, she sleeps in small chunks, 20 minutes here...30 minutes there.  She wants to see the world and stay awake for every adventure.

So with all of the excitement of a new little person in our lives, meals are large, often slow-cooked so that we have plenty of play time while our dinner is cooking.

The Honey Dumpling Roast
serves 4 +

3lb chuck roast, boneless
1 large onion, quartered
3 carrots, large chop
2 celery stalks, large chop
3 garlic cloves
1 cup dry red wine
1 cup chicken stock
14 ounces stewed tomatoes, crushed or diced
1 bay leaf
3 sprigs thyme
1 small sprig rosemary
12 of your favorite small potatoes, halved
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

optional: Winter Gremolata: garnish with 1 large sprig of minced rosemary, 3 sprigs of minced parsley, 1 clove of garlic paste (watch honey dumplings video here) and the zest of a lemon.

Preheat oven to 275 F.

Warm a dutch-oven or large deep pan over medium-high heat.
Add a glug of safflower oil or other high-heat cooking oil.
Blot the roast dry with paper towels and season with a few pinches of sea salt and black pepper.
Brown the roast on each side.
Remove the roast to a plate then add the onion, carrots, celery and garlic to the hot pan and cook until lightly browned, about 8 minutes.
Add the red wine and scrape up any brown bits, turn the heat to high and add the chicken stock, stewed tomatoes, bay leaf, thyme and rosemary, bring to a boil.
Add the roast and cover, turn off the heat and pop into 275 F oven.
Roast for 1 1/2 hours and then add the halved potatoes.
Roast for another 1 1/2-2 hours until the roast is tender and veggies are cooked to your liking.

We love to eat ours from pasta bowls and soak up all of the delicious meat juices with a baguette slathered in butter.  Garnish with Winter Gremolata if you like, but it's just as tasty without!

September 8, 2015

Messy Granola

As most of you know, there hasn't been much time for cooking and baking lately.  So, I've been eating store-bought granola.  Go ahead, guffaw!  As this is a food blog and I'm talking about store-bought granola, I do have a point and don't you worry your pretty heads, you will be getting my homemade granola recipe (again)!

This morning, I had my bowl of granola and heard my little one awake, so I went in and cooed with her and set my bowl of granola on the nightstand and KABLAMO my bowl spilled...sticky, drippy milk and soggy granola everywhere!  On a pre-baby day, this would be no problem to clean up, but now that I'm a mamma, oh my...bambina started to fuss a little and I managed to keep her entertained with my whirling around and blotting up the mess with paper towels.  This held her attention for about two minutes and she soon realized that this whirling around had nothing to do with her, so she let out her little roar for me to pick her up; I gathered her up into my arms and then the next little roar, which translated to "more breakfast please!"  I decided messes can wait until can homemade granola, but if you are up for it and don't have a newborn at home, go for it!  If you have a toddler, they can help!

Buon Appetito!

August 31, 2015

Mamma Mode & Late Night Summer Pasta

Where to start?  Should I put the clean dishes away?  Try to run out to check the overstuffed mail box, what about the flowers that T brought home for our Anniversary, should I make a handful of bouquets to bloom around the house? 

Typically it’s laundry…clean the kitchen…attempt to water the plants before it’s blistering hot outside…oh those poor neglected plants!  Maybe a nice long shower??? Haha, that’s not possible any more…perhaps a nap to catch up on sleep?  That’s a lost cause by now…I’m in full blown Mamma Mode, watch out because here I come, racing through the grocery store before my little one awakes…typically she’s okay but on certain occasions she has been known to wake up red-faced and fussing loudly.  I’m on a mission when I’m out in the world now, no lollygagging down the aisles at the grocery store, it’s an all-out race to get it all done so that we can get home and nurse, change and carry the baby! 

I’ve spent many hours these last 2 months carrying our little one, in fact she doesn't like us to let go of her unless she is super sleepy and asleep or only if we are very near (we are talking 2 feet away!)….and she rarely likes Mamma to sit down, so you will find me bouncing, rocking, dancing and stretching while holding my little one, she loves movement, however not in anything non-organic, typically just arms and preferably Mamma or Dada’s arms!

Recently our little one and I ventured out to Great Auntie Mary’s house, where we visited, snacked on delicious chocolate zucchini bread, toured the garden and sneaked in a little kitty nap!  Our sweet pea is the master of “kitty naps;” a 30 minute nap here, a 15 minute nap there, no more long naps, just snappy and quick before she misses out on something!

We were given gorgeously ripe and sweet tomatoes on our visit!  Sugary cherry tomatoes bursting with juice, plus an added bonus, these can easily be popped into ones mouth while carrying a newborn!  Uncle David went out of his way to load us up with ridiculously ripe plump tomatoes that we could eat immediately and a few that would last a couple of days…picked to perfection!  The ripe and ready-to-go are the perfect addition to this speedy summer pasta dish!

So today, I started with a quick load of laundry,  and I chose Pasta!! In all its wheaty, glutinous-filled glory!  Heading back to my roots….this dish was a late night creation that a co-worker, Corrado, made when I was an intern in Gaiole in Chianti; one wintry night after our Christmas celebration, we were all starving (all of the kitchen crew) so Corrado made a deliciously quick pasta to fill our bellies!
This is my summer spin on it!

Late Night Summer Pasta
Serves 4 main or 8 side
1lb pasta
3 large garlic cloves, minced
1 sprig rosemary, minced
4 large ripe tomatoes (preferably from the garden or farmers’ market), coarsely chopped (seeds and all of the juices too!) or 3-4 handfuls of garden cherry tomatoes
1 small bunch basil, chiffonade
2 ounces butter, or more to taste
Freshly grated parmesan to taste
Sea salt, to taste
Boil your pasta of choice in salty water until just about, al dente, or about 2 minutes shorter than you normally cook it!
Warm a deep skillet over medium heat and add a glug of olive oil once warm.
Add minced garlic and rosemary, cook until fragrant and the garlic is a bit glossy and transparent, about 1-2 minutes.
Add the tomatoes and all of the juices and simmer while the pasta is cooking.
Once the pasta has reached al dente, spoon it out into the cooking tomatoes with a bit of the pasta water (about ½-1 cup) bring back to a simmer and toss in the basil and butter. 
Salt to taste and serve with lots of freshly grated parmesan.

Buon Appetito!

May 25, 2015

Things Will Be Changing Around Here...Introducing baby dumplings!

Wow!  It has been 9 months since I've posted anything!  Life has been busy!  Last summer-winter I took on an all-consuming project with a small start-up company in Seattle, where I curated and tested hundreds of recipes, styled and photographed each and every one and had no time for my sweet Honey Dumplings, sorry about that!

Here it is already spring, flowers are blooming, rhubarb is the star ingredient and berries and stone-fruit are right around the corner!  Summer is nearing and we (T & I) are thrilled to announce that we are growing a family of our own.  In just a couple of months, we will be 3!

I've been busy, sewing, painting, knitting, reading, researching everything from vaccines to breastfeeding and meeting pediatricians to post anything about food lately.  In fact, cooking and food have become a very low priority to me for the majority of my pregnancy, besides the scent of it all, the actual cooking has been so tiring! For the first time in my life I finally understand why some people just don't enjoy cooking!  A very strange time for my relationship with food, since the majority of my lifetime has revolved solely around food and all that it entails!  In fact, during my first trimester my husband and I went on a trip to a lovely little cottage nestled into the hillside above the Puget Sound and for one of our dinners we had the option of having a 9-Course Chef Tasting menu, and I opted for a simple bowl of soup, bread and cheese.  What!?! Exactly, what I thought!  Throughout my pregnancy, I have been ruled by the little one growing in my belly.  She determines when I eat, how much and what tastes good!  Most food that I don't typically include in my diet is ever-present now.

During this last trimester, I'm regaining some of my taste preferences!  Grainy bread, greens and fish.  Then there are days that she rules and it's cheese, whole milk (ugh!  I was a kid that never liked milk and now I drink it nearly everyday!), yogurt, fruit and beef.

So alas, I wanted to let you know that I am here and will continue to be here, although I may not post as frequently as I did once upon a time.  Also, things will be changing as I'm sure you've suspected!  baby dumplings will be a place within this blog for all things related to baby, from activities to food.  They'll still be the occasional dinner party menu and all of that fun food but my aim currently and for the near future is simplicity with a focus on baby!

Cheers to you all and Happy Spring!

August 17, 2014


Summertime Blueberries
This is an image that I captured while on a photo shoot for The Happy Film Company.

June 6, 2014

Homemade Yogurt Recipe

Happy Friday Everyone!!

Check out my post over at Mother Earth Living, if you want to try your hand at homemade yogurt!  The perfect pairing for summer's berries & stone fruit.

Support your local farmers.  Here in Washington, we have a handful of delicious choices:

Fresh Breeze Organic Dairy
Pride & Joy Dairy (Raw Milk)
Pure Eire Dairy (100% Grass-Fed)
Sea Breeze Farm