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This year, my mom and my sister came out to San Francisco to spend Christmas at my house and it was glorious! We went to see the Nutcracker. We walked all over the city. My little sister and I went vintage shopping. And, for the first time ever, I hosted Christmas dinner!

I knew that there were going to be a few guidelines in preparing a holiday dinner for my mom and sis. My mom likes hearty, warm, sustaining things… comfort food. My sister hates fish and mushrooms. But we all like pork, so it was easily decided that I’d make a Mustard-Crusted Pork Roast with Shallots and Wine Sauce. For all the fancy that this name suggests, this was totally one of the easiest pork situations I’ve encountered!

Started out with a gorgeous 4.5 pound pork rib roast, lovingly Frenched by the nice man at Whole Foods…

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Many, many moons ago, there was a delicious crop of asparagus at the markets and I had a serious hankering for slab bacon. After checking out what my fave food bloggers were up to, I decided to try the following hash as a welcome home breakfast for S when he returned from visiting his fam back in DC.

It has elements of all of my favorite dishes… bacon, hearty/filling ingredients and a one-pot nature. All good things, especially when combined in a breakfast!

Without further ado, Asparagus & Slab Bacon Hash!

Started out with about 1/2 pound of glorious slab bacon, cut into chunks…

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I’ve only been seriously cooking/baking for a short amount of time – roughly 6 months. And in that time, I’ve tried my hand at quite a few things – making stock from scratch, oodles of pies/tarts/cakes,  fancy french desserts, roasting big honkin’ cuts of meat and all manner of candies. But there’s one area from which I’ve consistently shied away and it’s becoming obscene that I haven’t jumped in yet… breads. It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense since I love, Love, LOVE making pastries and delicate little sweet bready items. But for some reason, breads have darkly loomed on my epicurean horizon. Mostly, I just don’t understand yeasts. So, of course, I’m determined to get better…

So here we go… taking the plunge, head first, into breadmaking. First stop: Mushroom, Sausage & Spinach Pizza.

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The other night, I felt like cookin’ up a big fancyish dinner, so I invited one of my favorite SF couples over for an impromptu mini-dinner party. The menu consisted of the following:

Smoky Fish Chowder w/ Chorizo
Chocolate Whiskey Pots de Crème
Macarons w/ Raspberry Ganache

As you can probably imagine, the chowder was definitely the easiest, so I’ll start with that one!

This is yet another Real Simple recipe (with modified spicing of course), tomato-based, one-pot & utterly delicious! I was smart this time and procured myself some tasty Spanish Chorizo, which is the dried/cured type that usually comes with the ends tethered together. The chorizo imbued the  broth with a lovely spiciness that raw chorizo just can’t provide. So I’m officially converted – cured chorizo for stews from here on out!

Started out by preparing the ingredients… One package of Spanish chorizo, about 8 oz, sliced…

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I’m developing a pattern. When my friends invite me over, I usually bring a homemade pie. When I’m bored, I usually make semi-successful attempts at candy. And when I have someone over for dinner (or have had a really bad day), I make pork chops. And not just any pork chops, but the most delectable, panko-rolled, pan-seared, oven-baked pork chops you can imagine!

I first stumbled upon this recipe when I was home visiting my family last winter. It was brutally cold, just weeks away from the infamous Snowmageddon of the Mid-Atlantic. I was puttering around the house, trying to distract myself from what a bad day/week/month I was having, so I decided to make my mom and siblings a fantastic, soul-warming dinner. I headed over to the local Safeway and $30 later, I was ready.

It was such a success that I’ve made this exact same dinner three more times since then and it’s always greeted with smiles and food comas.

First you preheat the oven to 425 and then just set up a standard breading station for your chops; Flour on a plate, a couple of eggs and 2 tsp of lemon juice in a bowl, and panko bread crumbs, fresh chopped sage, parmesan and a tsp of lemon zest in another bowl.

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I was in the mood for a sausage dinner, so I whipped up this quickie dinner of sauteed bell peppers and sweet onion with fried kielbasa and red fingerling potato wedges. Simple, easy, satisfying!

Mmm, kielbasa…

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This Christmas, in lieu of showering people with expensive baubles and goodies, I cooked up a storm! And not just any kind o’ cookin’… I’m talking completely from scratch, homemade, I’ve been cooking for two days cookin’! The menu included:

Homemade buttermilk blueberry pancakes (for which I successfully whipped egg whites by hand for the first time)
Warm blueberry compote
Crispy bacon
Irish coffee (mmm, Baileys and Whisky…)

We were too full, man!

Fresh slow-baked ham (I actually went to the butcher and purchased a big honkin’ slab o’ pig leg!!)
Butternut squash with quinoa (Spencer took care of this…)
Roasted brussels sprouts (and this one too!)

Read on for more food porn!

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Hi, I’m Lauriebot!

I live in San Francisco. I used to live in NYC, Washington DC, and London.

I like to take the pictures.

I like color, excess, food, light, clothes, and going places.

I also like talking to people.

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