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Vietnamese Grilled Pork Chops (Thit Heo Nuong Xa) with Cold Rice Noodles

These Vietnamese pork chops are marinated in a perfectly balance of lemongrass, ginger and sugar, grilled to perfection, and served with cold rice noodles and pickled sides.

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How to put together a perfect charcuterie board

We put the must in mustard, the cute in charcuterie, and the jam in …er … jam, with this spectacular picnic spread. Ham! Cheese! Pâté! Salami! Pickles! Our festive charcuterie board is topped off with fresh, tangy home-made Maple Mustard and sweet Red Onion Jam.

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Homemade Maple Mustard

If you like mustard, you seriously have to try making your own. It’s so much better than the jarred kind and it couldn’t be easier. Our Homemade Maple Mustard is a little sweet, a little spicy and tastes incredibly fresh.

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Cold Cucumber Cocktails, perfect for summer.

Cucumber cocktails

Cucumber cocktails for your delectation and delight.

Arya’s favorite food (other than dirty napkins stolen out of the garbage) is cucumbers. She goes bonkers for them. I mean she’ll eat pretty much anything that is, was or came near food, but she loves cucumbers. While I’m kind of horrified to think I may be culinarily influenced by my dog, lately I’ve really starting getting into them too.

Obviously they’re great just to munch on and in salad, but I also really like them in cocktails. If I’m really in the mood to…ahem… drink, I’ll have a Hendricks Cucumber Martini, but that mo-fo is strong. When a light, refreshing drink (with a lot less alcohol) is more my speed, I’ll (ask Matt to) make a Grapefruit, Cucumber Gin Fizz.

The same recipe also works well with Blood Orange Soda (like San Pellegrino Aranciata Rossa). If gin’s not your thing, use vodka instead. Of course you could always leave the spirits out all together. Whether it’s cucumber cocktails or cucumber mocktails, we’re fine with it, but just don’t leave out the cucumber.

The Reluctant Gardener

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I have a confession to make. I’m actually a little freaked out by “nature”. I mean, it’s beautiful and keeps us alive and I hate that we do terrible things to the Earth. And of course I love farmers markets and fresh, organic produce. That being said, I’m the person that steps off the pavement and immediately gets stung by a bee. Or trips on a tree stump. Or gets stuck in a bramble.

I’ve lived my whole life (until recently) in New York City and haven’t had a lot of experience with non-urban life but Matt really loves the country and I really love Matt so now we live in Beacon, NY. It’s not exactly the wilderness but it’s a pretty small town in the Hudson Valley, about an hour and 20 minutes from midtown Manhattan. We’ve been here almost a year now and I’m liking it much more than I anticipated but adjustments had to be made. There is almost NO restaurant delivery around here (which means we end up cooking a lot more which is good). Going out for dinner often means a 20 minute (or so) drive unless we just go into town. That also means I had to learn how to drive which is no small accomplishment for a city girl who’s never had a license. Now that I finally learned, I love driving everywhere. Even to the mall (I’m still tickled that we have to go to a mall sometimes).

Ramp and Fontina Biscuits

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I know ramps are a little out of season by now (their season is crazy short) but these biscuits were really good so I wanted to post the recipe. Ramps are also irritatingly trendy right now but even though it’s such a jerk move to say so, I’m going to declare it anyway: I’ve been obsessed with ramps for years. Starting around 1995, I used to go to the Union Square Green Market when it was pretty much the only one in town and I would try to get whatever was just in season, whether I was familiar with it or not. In very early Spring, that meant asparagus, fiddlehead ferns (which I just never got a taste for), and ramps.

A brief culinary tour of our (not so recent) trip to England and Wales.

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At the beginning of the summer (2013), Matt and I went to England to visit his family and do a little sightseeing. For years we went every other Christmas which means that we hadn’t been to the UK when the weather was warm for ages. Now don’t get me wrong, Christmas in England is magical, with all the fireplaces and fairy lights and mince pies (ok, those are kinda gross). But when you’re driving around it’s a bit difficult when it gets dark at 2pm and the average weather is frozen drizzle.

Chard, Onion and Goat Cheese Tart

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When my gorgeous sister-in-law Hayli and her delightful husband Tristan got married in France a couple of summers ago, Matt and I spent a week at a gîte (french farmhouse) with his family and a mad gaggle of their international friends. It was a delightful mixture of cultures, languages and food with English, French, Belgian, Irish (and one slightly befuddled American).

Each night of the week, different groups of people would cook for the whole gîte (seriously, I think there were about 40 people in all). On our night, Matt and I along with a few co-cooks made baked pastas. I think one was a creamy wild-mushroom rigatoni and the other was a cheesy tomato penne type of thing. Not fancy but cooking for 40 people in a strange kitchen is HARD. I think between shopping, prepping and baking it took about 15 hours (okay, I may be exaggerating a teeny bit but it was seriously exhausting).

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