Halibut Poached in Olive Oil

photo by: Alan Richardson

This recipe for poached halibut with lemon and capers sounds so good and easy – you know I’m a sucker for recipes with a low number of ingredients.

Throw together a simple salad, or choose a fancier one like Rachael’s Beet and Walnut Salad.

Slice crusty bread and you’re done.

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Stacy’s Fig Spread

©iStockphoto.com/Ivan Mateev

©iStockphoto.com/Ivan Mateev

My friend Stacy Fisher Hamby is a great, healthy cook and I love getting recipes and dish ideas from her. She posted this recipe for Fig and Pear Tapenade with Whipped Honey Goat Cheese on Jackson Whole Grocer’s website and I made it for a party a few months ago! YUM.

She keeps the fig and pear separate from the whipped goat cheese and I’m sure it looks absolutely gorgeous and fancy like that. I just mixed all the ingredients together because  I didn’t want my guests to have to balance the topping mixture on top, and  I didn’t want to spend the time doing it ahead of time!

Either way, it comes out really well and is an easy make-ahead party food.

Fig and Pear Tapenade with Whipped Honey Goat Cheese

I love this appetizer because it is so incredibly easy to make, and even easier to serve. This recipe thrives throughout late summer when figs are in season, and also in fall when pears are best.

  • 1 pear, chopped into small cubes
  • 15 dried or fresh figs, sliced thinly lengthwise
  • Pinch salt
  • 1/4 t nutmeg
  • 1/2 t cinnamon
  • 1 t lemon juice

Mix all ingredients well in a bowl.

  • 1 small goat cheese tube (4 oz)
  • 2 T honey

Whip goat cheese and honey (by hand) until smooth. To achieve a creamier and sweeter cheese mixture, add more honey as desired.

  • 1 fresh baguette, sliced thinly
    *May also be toasted after slicing

Self-service for your guests. Spread cheese/honey mixture onto a slice of bread and top with a tablespoon of fig/pear mixture. Enjoy!

Yield: 4 servings

Sustainable Bakery

The Economist

The Economist

I have never made bread at home, probably because I like immediate gratification and bread takes a reeeeally long time. This bakery is inspiring me to develop patience, though.


As customers trickle in and out, many comment on the bread, which tastes pure and anachronistic. It is the kind you wish you could make at home. “I’m so glad someone is making such wonderful sourdough here,” says an elderly man. The sourdough are proved – i.e., left to rise – for up to 48 hours, which allows the bread to develop in flavour and texture. “It’s also healthier,” explains Glendinning, “because as gluten matures it becomes more fragile and easier to digest, unlike supermarket breads.”

Dinner Party of Blue, White and Chocolate – Part III

For dinner, I paired Ina Garten’s Parmesan-Roasted Broccoli with her Sole Meuniere. Yes, I know you’re not supposed to put cheese with fish and I. Don’t. Care. I love parmesan in any situation, and the pine nuts and lemon on the broccoli matched perfectly with the lemon flavor on the sole.

It was a gorgeous meal, and honestly, so simple that I often make it for myself when I feel like putting a little extra effort into my dinner and making something special.

Sole Meuniere (adapated from Ina Garten)

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon Vege Sal
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 fresh sole fillets (3-4 ounces is a good size, but you can buy them as large as will fit in your pan)
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (3 lemons)
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley

Combine the flour, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, 1 teaspoon Vege Sal, and 1 teaspoon pepper in a large shallow plate. Pat the sole fillets dry with paper towels.

Heat 3 tablespoons of butter in a large saute pan over medium heat until it starts to brown. Dredge 2 sole fillets in the seasoned flour on both sides and place them in the hot butter. Lower the heat to medium-low and cook for 2 minutes. Turn carefully with a large spatula and cook for 2 minutes on the other side. While the second side cooks, add 1 teaspoon of lemon zest and 3 tablespoons of lemon juice to the pan (be careful that you don’t add much more than 3 tablespoons, or it will be too lemony). Plate the fish and pour any remaining sauce over them. Sprinkle with the parsley and serve immediately.

Oscars Party

What are the Oscars without friends to shout at the screen with you when someone wears rosettes that look like they’re copping a feel? No fun at all, obviously. Lucky for me some friends got decked out in jeans and jewels (it was a casual gathering, yet with a nod to Oscar) and came to yell at Charlize Theron with me. I mean really? (with Seth and Amy). REALLY?

By Jason Merritt, Getty Images

By Jason Merritt, Getty Images

So it was a fun time.

By the way, I love love love the Fug Girls for the red carpet rundown. Check them out, if you haven’t already.

Anyway, back to the shindig: I made two kinds of tea sandwiches, lemon cookiesmy skinny margaritas and a grapefruit champagne cocktail that knocked me on the floor because it was SO tasty that I couldn’t stop myself. So tasty that I forgot to take a photo of it, even as I announced to everyone in earshot how good it was and how it was definitely going on BB&B in the morning. So tasty that I didn’t wake up in time to write this post before morning class and am now posting it well into the afternoon and frankly Ithinkwe’veallbeentheresothere. OKAY?

Raspberries on lemon cookies

Raspberries on lemon cookies


The spread

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Buttermilk Oatmeal Farls

A farl, according to Merriam-Webster, is an oatmeal or wheat flour thin triangular cake from Scotland. Torrey posted this recipe and I made it for a healthy breakfast when my dad was visiting. There’s nothing sweet in the recipe, so honestly I wasn’t expecting a lot, but I knew if Torrey liked it it had to be good so I ventured forth.

Aside: I have discovered that I LOVE BUTTERMILK. That is all.


The farls came out thick, soft, crispy on the outside, and with a lovely flavor that really doesn’t need anything changed. The buttermilk did its work well! These would be perfect for simple and healthy breakfast entertaining. Just cut into triangles and put out all sorts of garnishes: butter, jam, soft cheeses, yogurt, honey, maple syrup, nutella, marmalade, clotted cream, some fruits.

I served them with butter and jam, and later, ate them with a soft Brie-like cheese and cured meats. Then I left town for a week, and when I came back they were still moist! Amazing. I dipped a piece in greek yogurt for a tangy snack. In other words, I highly recommend with anything you can think of.

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Dill, Sour Cream and Onion Vegetable Dip

Watching four hours of TV – even the Olympics – makes me want to munch junk food indiscriminately and without attention to the total amount consumed by the end of the evening, so to (try) to avoid that, I made this dip and crudité in hopes of filling up on tasty veggies instead.

I whipped this up for the Super Bowl and for the Opening Ceremonies, and it was a big hit – which is saying something when it’s competing with nachos, cake, brownies, chips, etc.


Dill, Sour Cream and Onion Vegetable Dip
Adapted from Recipezaar

Don’t forget vegetables for dipping – baby carrots, broccoli florets, red and yellow peppers, snow peas, or cucumbers are all great choices.

  • one 16 ounce container of sour cream (I used full fat, but feel free to try lower fat sour creams)
  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/3 of a sweet yellow onion, minced
  • one small container of baby dill (about 1/4 cup before chopping)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Vege-Sal

Mix the sour cream and mayonnaise together. Yes, I made this in a very unattractive plastic tupperware because I was bringing it over to my mom’s later for the Opening Ceremonies and didn’t want to dirty an extra dish. I’m practical like that.


Remove the dill leaves from the stalk.


Chop finely.


Chop the onion and add, along with the Worcestershire sauce and salts. Mix thoroughly and add seasonings to your taste.


Chop up whatever veggies you chose and dunk away!

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