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One-Pan Crispy Chicken with Buttery Lemony Mushroom Orzo

This one-pan wonder combines crispy-skinned chicken, baked directly on top of buttery, lemony orzo, studded with wild mushrooms, leeks and baby spinach. It’s a complete (and completely delicious) dinner, made in a single skillet. 

Sticky Toffee Pudding (warm date cake)

Sticky toffee pudding is a hallowed British dessert which translates to American as “warm date cake drizzled with toffee sauce”. Either way you say it, it’s a deliciously rich and comforting treat, perfect for a chilly evening. 

Classic British Pork Pies

Your classic British cold pork lunch pie – seasoned pork and aspic in a firm and thoroughly tasty hot water crust pastry. It’s a process befitting a Tudor kitchen, but making these Melton Mowbray-style pork pies is way easier – and more fun! – than you might expect.

Herbed Lamb Burgers with Feta-Yogurt Sauce

Herbed Lamb Burgers with Feta-Yogurt Sauce

Herbed Lamb Burgers with Feta Yogurt Sauce

Herbed Lamb Burgers with Feta-Yogurt Sauce

For me, lamb is definitely hit or miss. I either really enjoy it or really, really, really don’t. There is very little middle ground. If it’s too gamey, I don’t like it. Overcooked, blech. Undercooked, even worse! Needless to say, I’ve made some expensive lamb mistakes.

What I’ve realized though, is that ground lamb is not only much less expensive than other options, but it’s also a lot easier to handle. Matt loves lamb chops, so I’ll make them once in a while on a special occasion, but lamb burgers are a much more affordable indulgence.

I used to make lamb burgers with more of a North African flavor thing going on (lots of spices like cumin, cinnamon and paprika) but the way I like them best is more Mediterranean. Lots or herbs, like rosemary and mint. Very lemony.

To be honest though, the star is this Feta-Yogurt Sauce that is so simple to make, but so good. I always make extra so we can have it on grilled vegetables (it’s killer with roasted eggplant). We’ve used it as a dip with pita chips or sliced cucumbers. This recipe makes about 2 cups, which is enough to top 4 burgers with maybe a little extra. If you happen to have a tater-tot on hand that accidentally falls into a bit of this sauce, you’re in for a treat.

***WARNING*** This will be your dog’s face as you eat this burger. Do not give her any (because burger is too good and onions and garlic are poisonous to pups!) She MAY have captured a tater-tot though.

Arya Lamb Burger watcher

Perfect Poached Eggs

Perfect Poached Eggs

Poached Eggs Polenta Kale Walnut Pesto

Poached Eggs with Polenta and Kale Walnut Pesto

Maybe it’s just me, but for years I was completely intimidated by the idea of poaching eggs. I could make them pretty much any other way but poaching… um, no.  I  attempted it a few times and ended up with watery egg drop soup. Gag.

The thing is, I really like poached eggs and I didn’t want to have go out for brunch every time I craved them. So I read a bunch of cookbooks (this was pre-internet, you iPhone babies), practiced a few techniques and now… perfect poached eggs, every time.

I’m telling you, it’s easy peasy as long as you do a few things. One, don’t use boiling, bubbling water. A gentle simmer is the way to go here. Two, crack each egg into a little cup or ramekin first. Makes it so much easier to plop in the water. Three, swirl. I’ll explain that one later.

I’ve paired these poached eggs with Creamy, Soft Polenta and Kale and Walnut Pesto. Best breakfast ever?

What you’ll need:

A deep, wide skillet (something like this)
Ramekins or little cups for your eggs
A wooden spoon
A slotted spoon
Paper towels

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Egg poaching process

Egg poaching process

Brunch at The Hop. Finally.

Brunch at The Hop. Finally.

The HopI’m embarrassed to admit it but Matt and I have lived in Beacon for over a year and we just made it to The Hop for the first time. It’s shameful, I know. If you haven’t heard of it,  it’s kind of a craft beer mecca, half store, half gastro-pub. They have a tiny bar with a great selection of seasonal beers on tap as well as 5 (only five!) tables where you can sit, drink and eat. Needless to say, those tables fill up fast. Coming from over-crowded Brooklyn, every time we thought about going, I pictured us standing around, stomachs gurgling, glaring at people in order to frighten them into giving up their table. You know, I seriously think I might have PTSD from years of  Williamsburg Sunday brunch plans.

This was a typical weekend event from about 1995-2002 (can you see my eye twitching as I write this?), you would wake up Sunday morning, a little hungover but quite peckish. You’d call a few friends, “Hey, come meet me at Teddy’s for brunch”, you’d say. “Sure”, they’d say. “It’s 2pm and I’m still in bed but I can be there in 2o minutes”.  You’d imagine sitting at a sunny, window-side table, the steam from your coffee wafting up delicately. Bloody Marys magically refilling themselves as you munch on the perfect poached eggs. In reality, you end up back home 8 hours later, still hungry but now with a limp and a bruise you’re not sure how you got. Twitch, twitch.

Anyway, we finally gathered up our courage and headed over to The Hop last Sunday… and immediately got the last table. Damn, I love it up here. Of course I’d been reading about this place for months so I knew I was going to get the lamb sausage with polenta, poached egg and and kale pesto. Ermahgerd, sogud.

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