Traditional Bolognese Sauce

Bolognese SauceBolognese sauce ranks pretty high on my list of favorite things to cook in the dead of winter.  It’s the ultimate comfort food–hearty, homey, and warming.  Plus, it requires you to spend a slow-paced afternoon in a toasty kitchen with an open bottle of wine.  What more could you ask for?

This recipe makes a big batch of Bolognese sauce that will keep you warm for several winter nights.  It’s a combination of beef, pork, and veal that is slowly simmered with wine and tomatoes until it becomes unbelievably rich and luxurious.   I used half of the batch in the lasagna I served on Christmas Eve and there are 2 small containers of it squirreled away in the freezer that will dress pasta or top polenta some time later this month when I’m snowed in and need nourishment.

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Lemony Chicken & Orzo Soup with Dill

Lemony Chicken & Orzo Soup with Fresh DillEvery home cook needs a soup like this in their arsenal.  It’s the perfect thing to whip up when you feel a cold coming on, when the weather is frigid, or you’ve just got the blues and need to sit on the couch and slurp up some comfort.

This is a chicken and orzo soup that’s loaded with fresh dill and bursting with bright lemon flavor.  It’ll cure what ails you without weighing you down and without taking all day to make.  I first spotted the recipe on shutterbean last winter and thought it looked like a perfect light, fresh take on chicken noodle soup.  I made it right away and several times since and it always comes through for me.  I’ll show you what it’s all about and maybe it will become your secret weapon chicken soup, too.

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Carrot & Avocado Salad with Toasted Sesame Seeds

Roasted Carrot and Avocado SaladDon’t worry, I’m not going to preach about New Year’s resolutions.  I’m not on a crash diet and I will never, ever give up butter or sugar.  No, this salad’s more about the fact that I simply cannot bear the thought of any heavy foods for a while.  It seems like all I’ve done for weeks is eat.  If anyone offers me another cookie or piece of cheese, I may very well drop into a food coma that lasts until next winter.  

Somewhere in the mix of gorging on prime rib, attempting to empty punch bowls after my guests left (bad idea), and spending afternoons tidying edges of gingerbread and fruitcake, my body began screaming out for vegetables.  I started ogling salads online and decided, just as soon as I finished the cheese ball I was working on, I was going to make this carrot and avocado salad

This recipe caught my eye on the food52 website.  I adore roasted carrots and the thought of combining them with creamy avocado, lemon, and cumin sounded just right.  I tweaked the recipe a bit, cutting out blanching the carrots and a few superfluous ingredients (because as tired as I am of over-eating, I’m even more tired of doing dishes and running to the store for the forgotten this or that), and the flavors and textures wound up being exactly what I was craving.  

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