Grapefruit, Thyme, and Lillet Cocktail

Grapefruit, Thyme, and Lillet Cocktail

Inspiration is a funny thing. Sometimes you have it, sometimes you don’t. One minute it’s nowhere to be seen, the next it’s sneaking up behind you and tapping you on the shoulder.

You can be wandering down the grocery store aisles with no direction, then suddenly, you’re standing in front of a bundle of fresh thyme, and something inside you starts buzzing. You remember that French liquor people keep telling you about, look down at the grapefruit in your cart, and without a doubt in your mind you know exactly what you’re doing.

Sometimes you have to work hard to find inspiration. You squint your eyes and scrunch up your nose, and struggle to pull whispy strands of it out of thin air. Then sometimes, it just happens, without you ever even trying.

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Crustless Mini Quiche (single serving breakfast muffins)

Crustless Mini Quiches (aka, egg muffins)

I am not a morning person. As some of you may remember, I made a resolution this year to wake up earlier, so I could be more productive during the day and spend less time surfing the web at night. So far, I’ve made about as much progress as I did that time when I was fourteen years old and decided to read Crime and Punishment just for fun.

Needless to say, fourteen-year-old-me gave up on that goal. But the me of today is NOT letting go of trying to become a morning person. Not yet, at least.

In an effort to make dragging myself out from beneath the covers a little less painful, I made egg breakfast muffins. Aka, single-serving crustless quiches. Aka, grab-and-go frittata bites. Basically, an omelet you can reheat and enjoy whilst still in a half-awake zombie state.

Braaaains! Err, I mean, breeeeakfast, breeeeakfast!

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Passion Fruit Mojito

Passion Fruit Mojito | Will Cook For Friends

Is it just me, or is it getting harder to focus? There are birds chirping outside, the sun is shining, and FLOWERS ARE GROWING IN MY YARD. And I’m supposed to sit at my computer and type?

I think not.

I think, instead, I’d like to sit in a warm patch of sun, sipping on an unseasonably refreshing beverage, and watching the grass slowly turn from gold to green. Life is short, but here in Michigan, Spring is shorter, and I have every intention of soaking it in while it lasts.

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Brie, Apple, & Pistachio Bites

Apple Wedges with Brie, Honey, and Pistachios

Five rules to leading a happy life:

1. Get lots of sleep
2. Drink plenty of water
3. Love freely
4. Be sincere
5. Eat cheese

Okay, so eating cheese isn’t a necessary component to being happy, but it definitely helps. If you’re vegan, or lactose intolerant, cheese might not be the answer for you. Recently for me, however, cheese has been a huge factor in my happiness. I’m pretty sure there’s a direct correlation between them. The more cheese, the happier I am. Seems legit, right?

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Cold Buster Green Smoothie

Cold Buster Green Smoothie

I’ve been pretty fortunate this year. While everyone around me has gotten sick, I’ve managed to stay above the weather with not so much as a sniffle. Up till now, that is.

This past week, fate caught up to me with one of the worst colds I’ve had in a long time. For three days, I moved around the house like a slug: from the bed, to the couch, to the patch of sun coming in on the rug, all the while dragging around a box of tissues like it was my teddy bear. I cuddled that thing to sleep at night.

Mornings are always the worst for me when I get sick. However bad I felt the night before, eight hours of rest only seems to amplify it. And somehow, forcing some fluids and a multivitamin down a raging sore throat is the last thing I want to do when I wake up.

Enter, this beauty. A mean, green, cold-fighting machine… this smoothie is like drinking a multivitamin, but I promise it doesn’t taste like one. It has all the nutrients you need, hiding beneath the sweet, tropical taste of pineapple and kiwi (with just a touch of heat from some ginger, to really wake you up).

I’ll take one of these over a pill any day, thank you very much.

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Spring Citrus Salad

Spring Citrus Salad with Roasted Beets and Hazelnuts

If you live anywhere around the mid-western united states, you’re probably familiar with what I like to call “Fake Spring”. It’s that short stretch of time when it is technically spring, or almost spring, but winter is being lazy and won’t pack up it’s things and go. Sure, there might be one or two nice days, but all they do is tease us into breaking out our t-shirts before it goes back to grey skies and below freezing temps for a couple more weeks.

Seriously, it’s been five months. I’m done with you, Winter. It’s over. Get out.

It isn’t unusual for me to go a little citrus-crazy around this time of year, when all I’m craving are bright, sunny flavors, and fresh produce. While I’m waiting for the ground to thaw, citrus season is still going strong, and for a few weeks it’s a grapefruit every morning that helps pull me through the gloom.

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Maple Dijon Glazed Salmon with Farro and Asparagus

Maple Dijon Glazed Salmon with Farro and Asparagus

Asparagus and I have a long, sordid history. It’s safe to say, up until a few years ago, I hated those green spears. I don’t use the word “hated” lightly. I despised them with a passion.

It all started when I was a teenager, living on the outskirts of the city (aka the boonies). One of our neighbors had a field of asparagus, which was harvested every year and sold to local grocers. And when I say “it was harvested”, I mean, child labor was implemented to cut the asparagus. And when I say “child labor”, I mean, me.

In retrospect, it was a great opportunity for teenage me to learn some discipline and the importance of earning my own dollars — I took the job seriously, and worked hard — but it was also some of the most grueling work I’ve ever done.

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Asian Peanut Salad with Sweet & Spicy Honey Roasted Peanuts

Asian Peanut Salad with Sweet & Spicy Honey Roasted Peanuts

Yesterday, the spell of winter broke, and the mountains of ice that had been erected on either side of our driveway started to melt, turning the street into a winding canal of rivers and lakes.

I was beginning to think spring would never come. That we would be encased in snow, living beneath grey, overcast skies until August, when we would sweat for a few weeks before getting out our fall jackets again.

But today, it feels like spring. Tomorrow it snows again, but today is 50 degrees, and glorious. The smell of that damp, cool air on my shriveled lungs reminded me why, despite the puddles and mud, spring is my favorite season. New beginnings and all that.

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Turkey & Goat Cheese Panini with Fig Jam & Crushed Pistachios

Turkey, Fig, Goat Cheese, & Pistachio Panini | Will Cook For Friends

T-Hubs and I go out to eat maybe two or three times a month, on those occasions when neither of us feel like cooking. As you can probably guess, I cook a lot, so going out is a real treat. There are a few restaurants we both adore — those tried and true favorites we keep going back to — but every once and a while we try someplace new, in the hopes of discovering another keeper to add to the rotation.

Take last Saturday. It was one of those spontaneous “let’s go somewhere!” moments, when I remembered this little bistro I’d been hearing about. I hopped online and took a peak at their menu, and that’s when I started to get really excited. Before we even got there, I knew exactly what I wanted to order: the turkey, fig, goat cheese, and pistachio sandwich.

I mean, come on. How am I supposed to resist a combination like that? While I waited for our food to arrive, I couldn’t help but imagine how incredible all those flavors would be. I’m pretty sure I was bouncing up and down in my seat a little by the time our server came. Yes, I really do get that excited about food.

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Braised Lamb with Creamy Polenta and Garlic Roasted Mushrooms {Foodie Dice Giveaway}

Braised Lamb with Creamy Polenta and Garlic Roasted Mushrooms

Do you guys ever watch the show Chopped? I have to confess, it’s kind of a guilty pleasure of mine.

If you aren’t familiar with the show, it goes like this: four chefs compete to create an appetizer, an entre, and a dessert, using mystery ingredients given to them in a basket. They don’t know what those ingredients are ahead of time, and more often than not they are unusual things that they may not be familiar with at all.

Each round the chefs must create a dish in a limited amount of time, while incorporating these basket ingredients in some way. When they’re done, they get judged by a panel of celebrity chefs, and the person who created the weakest dish gets “chopped”. The rest move on to another round, and another basket of ingredients. Last man standing wins.

I don’t know why, but I absolutely love seeing what’s in those baskets and coming up with my own hypothetical dishes. I like seeing what the chefs make, but also thinking about what I would do in their shoes, and how I would handle those strange and unusual ingredients.

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