creamy onion dip + crunchy crudités

january 24, 2016

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Middle school is my first real memory involving football. Mr. Thielman's PE class, 7th grade, and a whole lot of time spent running up and down the field, usually without any idea of where, exactly, I was running to. I guess you could say that field sports have never really been my thing, especially football. Playing it, throwing it, even watching it has never really stuck. I was the string bean with her head in the clouds practicing her fouette turns and pirouettes on the turf, to Mr. Thielman's dismay, and I much preferred my version of football to his. I just remember thinking that there were so many rules, so much stopping and going, and I just didn't have the patience for it. 

I have the attention span of a gnat when it comes to watching sports games, but the combination of friends and (always) good food gets me in the spirit and excited for the occasional game. Growing up, my dad would take me to see the Padres play on Sunday afternoons. We'd zip over to San Diego, mitts in hand, and I'd be contemplating the treats I planned to eat. There were always charred sausage dogs with peppers, onions, and a whole lot of yellow mustard. We'd sometimes get nachos, cotton candy (always blue, per my request,) and would almost always finish the day with a massive cone of swirled soft serve. I loved these Sundays with Dad, and they're absolutely the root of my love for game time treats. 

While I absolutely love all of the foods listed above, and then some, I always appreciate a lighter option to crunch on while a game is on. With Super Bowl Sunday coming up quick, I've started thinking about what I'll be bringing to the party this year. Enter: this onion dip. It's creamy, simple, and a total crowd pleaser. You can enjoy it with raw veggies, crackers, or salty potato chips (my achilles heel), making it the perfect snack platter to bring to a gathering, sports related or not. It's deceivingly healthy, so whip up a bowl and dig in without even thinking twice. 

What snacks are you cooking up for Super Bowl Sunday this year? Be sure to share your thoughts below! 

Happy snackin' :)

creamy onion dip + crunchy crudités

serves a crowd

ingredients - 

  • 2 cups plain greek yogurt (my go-to is Fage, full fat or 2%) 
  • 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce 
  • 4 medium yellow onions, chopped finely
  • 1/3 cup olive oil 
  •  2 cloves of garlic, minced 
  • scallion, finely chopped 
  • fresh black pepper, to taste 
  • sea salt, to taste 
  • fresh veggies of your choosing, crackers, and/or potato chips 

Heat a large cast iron pan, pour in a few glugs of olive oil (~1/4 cups). Add chopped onions and a pinch of salt. Adjust heat to medium. You're caramelizing your onions, which will take some time and patience. Stir your onions frequently and do not increase heat. Your onions will slowly being to deepen in color. The onions are done when they are a rich brown color. This process will take between 15 - 30 minutes, longer if you crowd your pan. *Note - if your onions begin to burn, reduce your heat a bit and add a splash or water, wine, or balsamic vinegar to your pan and continue to cook. 

When the onions are near done, add garlic and allow to cook for a few minutes. Remove the pan from heat and stir in your Worcestershire sauce. Allow the onion mix to cool. 

Combine your onions and greek yogurt in a medium mixing bowl, stirring until evenly mixed. Fold in a generous amount of fresh ground black pepper and salt to taste. Top with a handful of chopped scallions.

Enjoy your onion dip right in that moment, or store in the fridge for up to two days. The dip tastes the richest and creamiest if it's allowed to sit for a few hours before consuming, in my opinion. :) Enjoy!

baked chilaquiles for two 

november 20th, 2015

homesweet_chilaquiles

Thankful. 

Last weekend felt heavy. I'm having a difficult time wrapping my mind around it's events, around the stories of survival and heartbreak. It's all so senseless, and I just feel indescribably sad for our world and our people. 

Last weekend I surrounded myself with the people I love, cozied up with a good book, cooked up some comforting food, and enjoyed a long drawn out brunch with my good friend, Alice. We talked about work, love, city life, goals, reminisced on our time in Vermont together, felt all kinds of nostalgic, and managed to eat a basket of pastries while we chit chatted. Slow Sundays like this feel luxurious, and they're my absolute favorite. 

Long, lazy meals are a treat on weekends, but they don't have to take hours of prep and long lists of ingredients. I'm all about simple, tasty, and colorful meals, and chilaquiles checks all the above. Not only is it a snap to whip up, it's also a great "this is what I have in my fridge and pantry and I need to use it before it goes bad," sorta dish. This batch of chilaquiles brightened my day, felt nourishing and comforting, and was fun to throw together. It will definitely be a staple and pick me up through the winter months to come.

 Thankful. For all of the family and friends I'm lucky enough to call my own. And for these tasty lookin' chilaquiles I'm about to tuck into. 

baked chilaquiles - 

generously serves 2

ingredients - 

  • eight 6" corn tortillas, cut into sixths 
  • drizzle of olive oil
  • cayenne pepper, to taste
  • salt, to taste
  • red enchilada sauce, 4 oz or so 
  • 3 cloves garlic, diced 
  • 2 handfuls of lacinato/dinosaur kale, ripped up, stems removed
  • 3 - 4 eggs
  • 8 oz black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 3/4 cup shredded cheese, I used a raw sharp cheddar 
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • cortija cheese for crumbling
  • cilantro 
  • plain greek yogurt , if desired
  • 1/2 lime, if desired
  • hot sauce of choice, cholula forever :)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. 

Cut tortillas into sixths, spread evenly on a baking sheet (use two if necessary!) and drizzle with olive oil. Remember, a little goes a long way with the oil. Flip the tortillas pieces over, being sure both sides are evenly coated. Sprinkle with salt to taste and dust with cayenne pepper for a kick. Place in the oven for 10 - 15 minutes, watching to be sure they do not burn.. (speaking from experience over here.)

While your chips are crisping, heat a pan over medium heat. Add a dollop of olive oil, heat, and toss in your diced garlic. Let garlic cook for a minute or two before adding the kale. Stir with a wooden spoon to evenly coat kale and allow it to cook for a few more minutes until it has cooked down significantly. *Note, you don't want to crisp the kale as it will be going in the oven soon.

Remove your tortilla chips from the oven. They should be crisp but not yet browned. Place in a bowl and toss with ~4 oz red enchilada sauce, evenly coating the chips. Place chips in an 8 inch cast iron or oven safe pan, then adding the black beans and sautéed kale and garlic. Sprinkle some of your shredded cheese on top of your chips. Now, with a wooden spoon or your fingers, gently create shallow divots throughout the mixture to accommodate your eggs. Gently crack eggs into each space, sprinkle the rest of your cheese on top, and place in the oven for roughly 10 minutes or until the eggs are just set and the cheese has melted completely.

Top with cilantro, avocado slices, cortija cheese crumbles, a dollop of greek yogurt, a dash of hot sauce, and a squeeze of lime.

Dig in and enjoy while it's hot with your brunch buddy.

cheddar apple ale soup + sage toasts

october 20th, 2015

homesweet-soup

It's been awhile since I've had a weekend wide open to relax and catch up. While I love weekend road trips and exploring new corners of New England, there sure is a whole lot to be said for waking up slow on a Saturday morning, long riverside runs, and taking the time to re-energize and simply be. A change in season always helps to remind me to slow down and savor the simpler things.

When the temps outside begin to drop, I tend to seek comfort and coziness. The down comforter is broken out, wool socks are donned, and hearty food is roasted and warmed. The fall colors this year have got me like woah, and I decided to make something to match the golden leaves on the trees outside my window. This soup is creamy and decadent and warms you up from your fingertips to your toes. Enjoy a big bowl of this cheddar apple ale soup with crispy sage toasts to dunk and crunch on. 

Eat, drink, and be cozy :)

cheddar apple ale soup - 

serves 4

ingredients - 

  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter 
  • 4 medium carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 2 apples, peeled and diced
  • 1 cup leeks, thinly sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour 
  • 1 cup pale ale of choice 
  • 2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 Tbsp worchestershire sause 
  • 1 1/2 cups light cream 
  • 8 oz sharp cheddar cheese, grated (cabot seriously sharp is my favorite)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • olive oil
  • sage leaves
  • flakey salt 
  • 1 loaf fresh crusty bread

In a large dutch oven melt butter over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, carrot, and garlic to the pot. Cover and stir occasionally for about 10 minutes, add diced apples, and cook for another 10 minutes, or until vegetables are softened. Stir in the flour for a few minutes, then add the ale and stir. Next mix in the light cream, worchestershire sauce, and vegetable broth. Turn up heat to medium-high to bring soup to a simmer. Once simmering, cover and reduce heat to medium-low and cook for 10 - 12 minutes. 

Remove soup from heat and puree contents in batches or with an immersion blender until smooth. Place the soup over medium-low heat and add the grated cheddar cheese to the pot in handfuls. Stir constantly to evenly melt throughout soup. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover until ready to serve. 

toasts - 

Heat oven to broil, drizzle bread with olive oil, and place in the oven for 5 minutes. These will crisp up quick so keep an eye on them! While the toasts are crisping, pour a generous amount of olive oil into a small skillet. Once oil is hot, add sage leaves. The oil should pop and bubble when the sage leaves are added. Heat for 2-3 minutes and remove from the skillet. Take the toasts out of the oven, sprinkle with crispy sage and flakey salt, and serve on top of or on the side of soup.

Be sure to follow @homesweet_mary on instagram and tag #HSrecipes when you try out a recipe!

harvest barley bowl + maple cider dressing

september 22nd, 2015

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On Monday I woke up cold. It was 5:30 am and this wonderful, crisp, breeze was blowing through my window. I burrowed under my down comforter and snoozed for another hour before hopping out of bed to warm up with a cup of tea. Slow and cozy mornings like this are my favorite, and they're downright rare on a Monday. It's September 21st, and a year ago today I moved into my little Beacon Hill apartment. 

Time flies. It really does. This year has gone miles a minute at moments and crawled by at others. A year. How is it possible that a year ago I was driving up the gravel road on the farm, teary eyed and feeling so so heavy-hearted after a difficult goodbye. The chill in the air yesterday took me right back to those moments, and I felt all sorts of nostalgic. Seasons seem to have a way of doing that. The length of the days, the way the air feels, and the produce popping up in farmers' markets brings about new routines in the day to day. 

It wasn't until I moved to the Northeast that I truly learned what cooking and eating seasonally meant, and I soon fell in love with the rich flavors and warm colors fall brought about in the market and in my kitchen each year. This weekend I moseyed through the Boston Public Market, a Sunday pastime that has quickly become part of my weekly routine. I ate a cider donut because it was finally below 70 outside (and because why not), munched on some Vermont cheeses, scooped up a small bouquet of dahlias, and found myself obsessing over all of the colorful winter squash varieties that have popped up overnight. I had at least 5 different kinds in my arms before I zeroed in on these adorable "sweet squash," a miniature version of the butternut squash.  Promising to be a gorgeous orange hue and just sweet enough, I grabbed a few and went on my way. 

Eager to test out the texture of these babies, I decided to roast them simply and mix them in with a few favorites. This warm barley bowl is bursting with color, tasting and smelling warm and spicy as well. It boasts baby kale and dried cherries, hints of thyme and cider vinegar, and is topped off with a poached egg and parmesan for creaminess. It warms you up from the inside out, and is the perfect dish to welcome the new season. 

Happy Equinox friends :)

harvest barley bowl + maple cider dressing

serves 3-4 

ingredients - 

  • 1 cup barley
  • 2 1/2 cups water 
  • 2 "sweet squash" or 1 small butternut squash, peeled, roasted, & diced
  • generous drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil
  • pinch or two of cinnamon
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • a few sprigs thyme
  • salt & ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 handfuls baby kale
  • 1/4 cup dried cherries
  • handful pepitas
  • 3 - 4 eggs (dependent on serving size), poached
  • a bit of parmesan cheese, shaved

dressing - 

  • 1/3 cup really good extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp maple syrup, the real stuff
  • 1/4 tsp dijon mustard
  • salt & pepper to taste 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

Bring barley and water to a boil in a medium pot and reduce to a simmer. Cover and cook until the water has been absorbed completely, 35 - 45 minutes. *Check every 10 minutes or so to be sure you don't overcook. 

Place your whole squash on a cookie sheet and roast at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. This will soften the tough skin, making it easier to cut into chunks to roast. Remove and let cool. Careful not to burn your fingers, cut the squash in half length wise and peel. Remove the seeds and cut into bite size pieces. Spread the squash out on your cookie sheet, drizzle with olive oil, and toss with cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Top with thyme sprigs, and roast in the oven for another 30 minutes, until a bit browned and tender. 

While the squash cooks whisk together the dressing ingredients and season with salt and pepper. 

Once the barley and squash are done, combine in a large bowl with baby kale, dried cherries, pepitas, and dressing. Top off this grain salad with a perfect poached egg and some sharp parmesan cheese.

Enjoy!

rustic rancheros at the hacienda

september 1st, 2015

homesweet-rancheros

I feel like the most authentic version of myself when I’m outside and a bit disconnected from the busyness of the day to day. When I made my move to Vermont some years ago, I found myself falling fast for the surrounding mountains and lake. Weekends were full of belly laughs, hearty food, cheap beer, and outdoor adventures. Living in a city has made me appreciate these experiences even more, and I take every opportunity I get to return to the mountains and get off the grid. 

This past weekend I retreated to The Hacienda, a tiny mountain cabin in New Hampshire off the beaten trail. We were invited by my good friend Emily, a travel blogger, fellow UVMer, total foodie, and wonderful adventurous spirit. Catching up with Em is always comforting, motivating, and inspiring. We went for a long walk and talked about our crazy dreams, float n’ soaked in the pond, cooked great food, and shared lots of good laughs around the table with the best people.

On Saturday morning we made a big breakfast of 'rustic rancheros,' a hearty mix of black beans, spicy sausage, eggs, and vibrant veggies. We cooked outside surrounded by pine trees and blue sky, blistering cherry tomatoes, grilling sausages, and charring corn tortillas over the fire. We diced, dashed, and grilled, sipping on bloody mary's all the while. This meal is simple, satisfying, and imperfect. It was a hit with the cabin crew, winning over the very hungry men who patiently watched us take pictures of their breakfast. It's definitely a repeat meal that I'm already looking forward to making again. Eat up, and enjoy the outdoors these last few weeks of summer :).

rustic rancheros -

serves ~ 5

  • 5 corn tortillas, blackened
  • 1  15 oz. can black beans - no salt added, rinsed & drained
  • 4 links spicy chicken sausage or chorizo, grilled & diced 
  • 1/4 yellow onion, finely diced
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil 
  • 1/4 cup plain greek yogurt 
  • 3 large handfuls of sharp white cheddar cheese, grated
  • 2 large avocados, halved and sliced
  • small bowl of mixed greens
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved & blistered
  • 5 eggs, over easy
  • plain greek yogurt, to taste 
  • hot sauce of choice, Cholula is my go to 
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne, more if you like spice 
  • salt & fresh ground pepper to taste 

*We had a wood fire with a grill top going, but these could just as easily be thrown together using a traditional grill or your stove top. 

Once your heat source is hot and ready, place the olive oil and diced onion in a pot. Heat until onion is soft and translucent. Add black beans to pot and stir. Add cayenne pepper, 1/4 cup greek yogurt, and salt and fresh ground pepper to taste. While the beans are cooking, place chicken sausages on the grill top as well. Rotate periodically to cook evenly. Remove the beans from heat once they have heated through entirely to avoid any burning. Cover with foil or lid to keep warm. 

Throw your halved cherry tomatoes in a cast iron skillet and cook until charred and blistered. While your tomatoes are cooking, fry eggs in a skillet, watching closely to be sure you remove before the yolks cook through. *I love runny yolks, but cook longer if desired. Remove the sausages from heat, dice, and set aside. Remove tomatoes from heat when blistered. Meanwhile, throw the corn tortillas on the grill top and char desired amount, flipping to heat both sides. 

Assemble rancheros by piling your tortillas high with beans, sausage, cheese, tomatoes, greens, an egg and avocado slices. Top with a dollop of greek yogurt, hot sauce, and salt and pepper to taste. 

¡Salud!

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no frills kale salad + crispy chickpeas 

august 18th, 2015

Summer days are flying by in a blur and sometimes I just feel like I can't keep up! Work has been busy, weekends packed with roadtrips and friends, and then suddenly you blink and it's mid-August. I recently spent a long weekend on Nantucket with some good friends and absolutely fell in love with the island. We spent our days biking miles and miles, laying on the beach, and enjoying classic New England summertime fare. There were late night BBQ's, outdoor showers, hours spent in the waves, and the best shrimp cocktail I've ever had. Ever. 

My diet mainly consisted of burgers, hot dogs, fish tacos, and daily picks from the raw bar, and I wouldn't have had it any other way. When in Rome right? However, after some long summer days spent in the little slice of heaven that is Nantucket, I felt the need to reboot and re-energize before a long day at work. I wanted to make something quick and satisfying, something flavorful and refreshing. Balance is key in my book, and this kale salad has a crunch and a zing to it that I enjoy any day. It's a snap to whip up and will convert kale skeptics into kale lovers (tolerators at the very least). Dig into a big bowl for lunch or serve as a side for dinner. Be well, and let me know how you enjoy this simple salad :).

no frills kale salad + crispy chickpeas - 

  • 1 bunch curly kale

garlicky green goddess dressing - 

  • 1 1/2 cup parsley leaves
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 Tbsp capers
  • zest & juice of 1 lemon 
  • 3 Tbsp sherry vinegar
  • 1/2 cup really good olive oil, more if needed
  • 2 tsp dijon mustard
  • a couple dashes fresh ground pepper
  • a couple dashes red pepper flakes
  • salt to taste
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, finely grated

crispy chickpeas - 

recipe from the wonderful Minimalist Baker

  • 1 15 oz. can chickpeas, drained, rinsed, and dried
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp Tandoori spice blend* 
    •  Can be found at Whole Foods, or made at home by blending the following ingredients/ratios - 3 Tbsp cumin, 2 Tbsp paprika, 2 Tbsp garlic powder, 2 tsp coriander, 3 tsp ginger, 2 tsp cardamom. 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Add chickpeas to a mixing bowl and cover evenly with olive oil and spices. Spread out on a cookie sheet and place in the oven for 20 - 25 minutes, or until chickpeas are golden brown and slightly crispy. Set aside.

Place all dressing ingredients except the parmesan in a blender or food processor and puree until smooth. Fold in the parmesan cheese. 

Tear kale into bite size pieces and place in a large salad bowl. Toss with the dressing 30 minutes before serving, allowing the kale to soften and absorb all flavors. Top with spiced chickpeas and a pinch of flaky salt if desired. This salad is best fresh, but will keep in the fridge for a couple of days. 

Serve and enjoy!

 

summertime tomato salad 

july 20, 2015 

As summer flies by and temps rise my meals have grown increasingly simple. Work days end with picnics and walks on the Charles and weekends are filled with sun-drenched adventures on the beach and on the road. I've been living on big colorful salads, veggie sandwiches, overnight oats, and many other tasty meals with cooling effects. It's hot out, and while I'm wonderfully thawed out after this winter, I'm avoiding my oven and stove every chance I get. Lucky for me, there's a fantastic farmer's market just a quick walk away, and lately I've been enjoying (maybe hoarding) more of these summertime jewels than most may know what to do with. 

I love tomatoes, especially the ones that come straight from the vine and have that earth-meets-summer-meets-woodsy smell about them. It's just the best, and it's a flavor I crave all winter long. While these beauties can be dressed up - I prefer to eat them simply. Fresh is best when it comes to this easy recipe, it won't be nearly as enjoyable and deeelicious once the season has passed, so hop to it! This dish should be enjoyed outside in the sunshine. Enjoy!

summer tomato salad - 

inspired & adapted by The Canal House ladies 

serves 2 generously 

  • 4 large heirloom tomatoes, cored and sliced into wedges
  • 2 handfuls of cherry tomatoes, halved 
  • really good extra-virgin olive oil
  • chives, finely chopped
  • fresh ground pepper
  • flaky salt, Maldon is my go-to
  • spoonful of mayonnaise 

Prep for this simple and seasonal meal is no fuss. Arrange prepared tomatoes on two plates, spoon a bit of mayonnaise on the side, drizzle with a healthy amount of olive oil, a sprinkle of chopped chives, fresh ground pepper, and a pinch of Maldon salt on top. Enjoy alfresco in good company :).