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It’s freezing.

I realize that’s a relative term, considering I’m in California and California cold is in no way comparable to, say, New York cold (which I don’t miss at all – I’m looking at you frostbitten toes and $400 heating bills). But nevertheless, San Francisco temps can definitely dip down onto the less attractive side of 55F and when this unfortunate event occurs, all mama wants is soup.

Such is my current situation. I want soup! And not just any soup… A hearty, soul-warming, brothy soup with earthy flavors and heavenly aromatics. Thanks to Ms. Smitten Kitchen (genius strikes yet again), I found just the soup in the following recipe! A delightfully simple concoction with surprisingly complex flavors… a mushroom barley soup to end all mushroom barley soups…

Started out by rehydrating a few dried porcinis (just threw them in a bowl and covered with about 1 cup of boiling water). Set those bad boys aside I tended to the rest. Heated up a bit of olive oil in my LeCreuset and sautéed a roughly chopped carrot and a roughly chopped onion for about 10 minutes over medium heat.

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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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This year, I decided that I would not make a turkey. Flat out – no turkey. It was just going to be the two of us and I actually am one of the few people on this planet who has no affinity for leftover turkey sandwiches. So I went a different route… Cornish Game Hens and a whole mess of sides!

So settle in for Thanksgiving 2010… Cornbread -Stuffed Cornish Game Hens, Corn Maque Choux, Garlicky Broccoli Rabe, Butternut Squash Mash and Cranberry Sauce.

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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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It was warm(ish) and summery(ish) last weekend, so a couple o’ my ladyfriends decided to throw a potluck BBQ at the park. I’m never one to turn down a potluck (not to mention that the mere mention of charcoal-grilled meats gets my heart all a-tizzy), so I RSVP’d “hell to the yes” and set about making a suitable side dish.

I knew I wanted to make something green and fresh, but I wanted something a little more interesting than the standard mixed greens with bottled dressing situation. So I combed the blogosphere and came up with a Green Bean & Heirloom Cherry Tomato Salad!

Started out by topping & tailing about 1 lb of green beans…

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A few months ago, I impulse bought this wonderful brunch book and I’m obsessed with it. The recipes are generally pretty interesting – it’s great at giving you new ideas of how to rock same ol’ – same ol’ breakfast ingredients. And it hasn’t steered me wrong yet!

In honor of Memorial Day (and in preparation for the 10 or so hours of day-drinking I had ahead of me), I ambitiously decided to tackle two lovely recipes. After flipping through the book a few times, I settled on a sweet & a savory:

Lemon Almond & Blueberry Muffins
Hashbrowns w/ Chicken Apple Sausage & Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

The hashbrown piccies are especially pretty (due in no small part to the amazing vine-ripened cherry tomatoes I scored at the Korean produce market), so I’ll start with that one!

For the two of us, I started out with 10 little cherry tomatoes…

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For whatever reason, I’ve been gaga for veggies lately. Specifically radishes, leafy green things (oh, hello escarole…) and now… cucumbers! Cucumbers are just so fresh and quenching – they’re great when it’s hot & humid outside. But, reality check, I live in San Francisco and it’s practically never hot and/or humid. So I decided to try out a little cuke recipe I’ve been dying to try since Julie & Julia… braised cucumbers!

The idea of cooking/baking cucumbers had never crossed my mind before – I basically just considered them as salad adornment or for dippin. Oh, was I misguided…

Started out with a couple o’ cucumbers… Julia Child’s recipe calls for a whopping 6 cukes, but sweets, there’s no way my fella and I could ingest that many cucumbers in one sitting. So I cut the recipe to a third.

Peeled them…

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It’s getting to be summertime-ish and despite the utter lack of tanktop weather & balmy nights here in San Francisco, I can still reap the benefits of one distinctly summertime occurrence… corn on the cob! Deliciously sweet & fresh corn from farms that are barely an hour away from my house.  And since the supply of corn is so bountiful, it’s ludicrously cheap right now. Seriously, yesterday’s corn put me out a grand total of 50 cents.

I don’t have all that many original recipes in my personal arsenal – I’m mostly a tweaker, an editor at best. But I came up with this little recipe for a solid & easy summer side for those of us poor souls who don’t have a grill (or more importantly, an outdoor space in which to grill, tear…). I’ve made this corn probably somewhere in the vicinity of 3,871 times and it’s consistently yummers – even my dad (who’s idea of a culinary compliment is, “this shit ain’t half good!”) raves about it!

Check it!

Started out with two ears of corn, shucked and rubbed with butter, placed on individual squares of foil…

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I’ve been going through a serious sweet phase. But I don’t just sit around gorging on candies and pies; I also gorge on savory things. Like the following…

Started out with about a pound of delicious, sustaining asparagus.

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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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