Buffalo Chicken Hasselback-ish Potatoes

Is there anything more perfect than a potato?

Maybe a potato oozing with bubbly cheese..

Or a potato covered in spicy buffalo chicken and tangy blue cheese.

Yeah, that’s perfection.

So, I took the idea of a Hasselback potato and made it quickly, because I have no patience for baking a potato in the oven.  I will sit cross-legged on the floor looking through the tiny oven window going, “C’mooooonnn, I am ready for a potatoooooo!”  Did I mention I’m a whiner?  Don’t you want to be friends, now?

So, I microwaved it.  And you can too!  Provided you have a microwave…if you don’t, I’m sorry.  Looks like it is oven viewing-time for you.  Or you could have some patience and find something else to do while it bakes.  I’m not that strong.

Buffalo Chicken Hasselback-ish Potatoes

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Sensational Soups: Roasted Butternut Squash Chowder with Sage Butter


As we move into these chilly fall and winter months, there’s nothing I love more than brewing up a big pot of homemade soup. The herby aroma wafting through the house, the steam warming up the kitchen, the inevitable leftovers…ah! It’s the best. So it’s no surprise I volunteered to review 300 Sensational Soups, a new cookbook by Carla Snyder and Meredith Deeds. If one pot of soup is good, 300 is excellent!

This extremely comprehensive book is full of winter cooking inspiration. While it would be easy to phone in some recipes in a cookbook this large, Sensational Soups os written with thoroughness and creativity. It starts out with a section on how to make your own stocks from scratch, then goes into chapters on a variety of soup categories such as chilled, garden vegetable, chowder, fish and shellfish, and cheese (a whole section purely about cheese-based soups?! I’m into!) The collection wraps up with a section on toppings and garnishes (which includes glorious ideas like grilled cheese croutons and maple cream). Truly something for everyone!

I had difficulty selecting just one recipe to review for this post, but I finally narrowed it down to chowder, one of my favorite soup subsets (soupsets?) I ended up going with the butternut squash chowder because it includes one of my favorite garnishes ever—fried sage leaves! My dining companions all agreed that drizzling the frying butter with the sage leaves on top was a major game changer. I also love how the recipe uses mashed squash to add thickness and texture instead of a massive amount of cream (although, don’t worry, there’s still a healthy amount of cream involved).

This soup was so comforting, so rich and velvety, and so flavorful! I will say that I made a few changes to the recipe—as with basically every soup, I doubled the recommended amount of spices, salt, and pepper. I also added an extra few squeezes of lemon. Oh, and clearly this chowder was begging for a sprinkle of cheese on top, so I grated up some nutty aged parmesan for garnish alongside the sage leaves and butter drizzle. I also highly condone serving with a hunk of crusty sourdough bread.

Roasted Butternut Squash Chowder with Sage Butter

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Gridiron Grub: Bacon and Cheddar Potato Skin Gnocchi

As I watch this manic season of the Philadelphia Eagles, I can’t help but feel frustrated. I guess that’s what happens though: some emotions just come standard with football.

Likewise, some foods are standards. Proven through the test of time, they please any crowd that comes along and can just be relied on. For me, one of the greatest examples of this is potato skins.

Every sports bar has them on the menu. They are so decadent with their gooey cheddar, salty bacon and creamy potato that very few people can resist. Here’s my take on potato skins that are just as tasty, but easier to make for a crowd.

Bacon and Cheddar Potato Skin Gnocchi

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Hanukkah: A Celebration of Oil

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Growing up I hated it when Hanukkah and Christmas didn’t overlap. It reminded me how different I was in such a Christian country. Sure, I received presents first, but by the time my Jesus-following friends ripped open their gifts of My Little Pony and bikes and, lets be honest, socks, I forgot about my equally as lame cool gear.

But as my brother and sister and I moved out of the house, and as we all maintained different schedules, it no longer mattered when Hanukkah (its date determined by the Hebrew calendar) landed. We knew we’d all be home over Christmas, so that is when we exchanged gifts. In fact, it became our ritual to exchange on Christmas night — we knew all of our friends would be busy with their families.

Last night was the first night of Hanukkah. And I’d never been so happy to have the Festival of Lights occur this far from Christmas and this close to Thanksgiving.

Cue the mashed potatoes.

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Sushi Takes Over the World

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Why does sushi only come from Asia? Cultures all across the globe each developed their own varieties of noodles, sandwiches, sausages and stews. But only people in one corner of the world ever thought to roll all of their ingredients into one beautiful bite-sized piece. Until now. At Miya’s Sushi in New Haven, Connecticut, chef Bun Lai explores what the world might taste like if everyone made sushi.

Bun took over the kitchen at Miya’s a few years ago from his mother, who had already built a loyal local following for her traditional Japanese sushi rolls. But instead of sticking with the formula, he transformed Miya’s into what is almost certainly America’s most inventive sushi restaurant. He eschews traditional, overfished sushi ingredients like bluefin tuna, red snapper and unagi, instead focusing on sustainable species like bonito tuna and catfish, and incorporates them into a wide variety of inventive rolls listed on a magazine-sized menu that comes complete with historical footnotes and detailed eating instructions.

In the roll pictured above, Bun explores what it might have been like if sushi came from, say, north Africa. The roll encompasses ingredients found in Ethiopia: a tempura of rare tuna, goat cheese, flying fish caviar, apricots, avocado, pickled radish and a Berbere spice mix, all wrapped in a thin, housemade teff grain flatbread. Biting into it is like playing mindgames with your tongue — it has the texture and proportions of sushi exactly right, but with ingredients that just aren’t supposed to be there. If you can get past that, it also happens to be delicious.

And what would sushi taste like if it came from Guadalajara or Georgia? Keep reading…

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