Meyer Lemon Madeleines

Meyer Lemon Madeleines

If I had to pick a favorite holiday, it would have to be Valentine’s Day. I’ve always loved the day because really, it’s so… simple. The only real rule is that you need to show people you love them. Check back Friday for a date night story about Jack and me, but I’m dedicating this post to the person that made this day my favorite when I was a kid – my mom.

Growing up, she always made Valentine’s Day so special for me and my sister. For at least a week leading up to February 14th, we would make crafts with tiny scissors and red construction paper. There would also be treats galore… brownies cut into heart shapes and cupcakes topped with poofs of pink frosting. On the special day, there may or may not have been a heart shaped breakfast before we’d put on pink dresses and head to school to trade tiny envelopes with our little friends. After school, there were more treats. It was the sweetest kind of sugar rush there could be.

So fast forward to now, it’s only appropriate that the credit, again, goes to mom. I’ve been a little down for the count with some health issues and other calamities lately, and my mom spent a few weeks in town to help out in that way that only moms can. The bed got made, the dog hair got vacuumed out of the sofa cushions, AND heart shaped madeleines for the blog got made. And, how cute are they?!?

Of course, we made them with a little lemony spin. They were incredibly easy to make because, well, my mom did all of the work. So let’s just say that they were incredibly easy to eat.

Meyer Lemon Madeleines

Tart Cherry Tartelettes

There seems to be a national holiday for every type of food imaginable… I’m usually the last to know until my Instagram feed is chock full of deliciousness for National Chocolate Cake Day (January 27th), National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day (May 15th), and the one I’m most ashamed to have missed, National Taco Day (October 4th).

But this month, I’m covering all my bases because February is not only National Chocolate Lovers’ Month, it’s also National Cherry Month. To celebrate, we’ve partnered with the Cherry Marketing Institute to bring you these decadent (no-bake) chocolate tart cherry tartelettes.

These start with a cocoa walnut crust and are filled with coconut lemon cream… the cherry on top is a scoop of sweet-but-not-too-sweet Montmorency tart cherries (also sometimes called sour cherries). So that everyone can participate in the holiday, this dessert also just happens to be vegan and gluten-free.

Lets talk about tart cherries: were obsessed. Especially with the ones that come frozen. I put them in my morning smoothie, my mom tops them onto her yogurt, and Jack eats them plain like candy. Tart cherries have some major superfood qualities – they reduce inflammation and are a natural source of melatonin, which helps regulate sleep.

The cherry love doesn’t stop here – four other bloggers are participating in a virtual tart cherry-infused progressive dinner. Jelly Toast is making the cocktail, A Couple Cooks is making the appetizer, Cookin’ Canuck, the vegetable, and Love & Zest is making the entrée.

Head over to Choosecherries.com to see the Perfectly Tart Dinner Menu and all of the other recipes!

Cauliflower Steaks with Romesco Sauce

Cauliflower Steaks with Romesco Sauce

So… it’s almost Valentines Day and (big news!), we finally took our Christmas tree down. Yes, that’s right, we are “those people.” Christmas in July would have totally been our reality if my mom hadn’t come to visit this past weekend, because when mom’s here, things around the house get done.

But back to the Valentines’ Day thing – it’s my favorite holiday. It doesn’t involve putting up (or taking down) decorations, which works well for us. We don’t do anything over the top, but we enjoy spending time making dinner together.

Cauliflower Steaks with Romesco Sauce

I love this recipe as a vegetarian main course option. It’s not a side salad trying to be a meal, there’s no fake meat and who knew a slab of cauliflower can be so filling?

Underneath the cauliflower is a tangy romesco-like sauce. I changed around my go-to romesco recipe to be just a tad healthier – it uses a little less oil and I uses chickpeas to thicken the sauce instead of bread. If you don’t have a lot of time to put this together, the sauce can be made at least a day in advance.

Linguine with Fennel & Winter Greens

Linguine with Fennel & Winter Greens

Before I get to today’s recipe, I have some exciting news for you – do you remember this trip to Sonoma that I went on a few months ago? Well now it’s your chance to go on that exact same trip, hosted by the lovely folks at Fortessa.

You’ll get to stay at the gorgeous Fairmont hotel, attend cooking class at the original Williams Sonoma Store, and of course have amazing food and wine the whole time. It was tons of fun (click here to enter) my fingers are crossed for you!

Now back to the recipe!

Linguine with Fennel & Winter Greens Linguine with Fennel & Winter Greens

This pasta is super easy, yet warming and wintery. Lightly caramelized onions and fennel are tangled within fresh linguine noodles. Sage, and a splash of balsamic make it earthy yet still a little bit bright. I was going to sauté some lacinato kale until I spotted this gorgeous tatsoi at my farmers market – how pretty is that? Of course, if you can’t find tatsoi near you, kale or chard will work perfectly here as well.

Linguine with Fennel & Winter Greens

We’ve been loving this winter pasta dish as well as our gorgeous new bone-white Fortessa dish-ware that I served it in. For all of the vintage and/or patterned dishes that I collect, I love having really good quality classic white dinnerware to use every day and also for special occasions when I want to appear as if I have things “together.”

When Jack and I first got married, we got (what I thought was) a really nice set, but over the years, it’s chipped, scratched and now oddly numbered because we’ve broken so many pieces… and I won’t even get started about how many wine glass we’ve gone through. But not anymore! The Fortessa ceramics and Schott Zwiesel glassware is chip-proof, break resistant. It’s used in many many 4 and 5 start hotels because it’s so lovely and also insanely durable. Which means that we feel like very fancy adults now.

Linguine with Fennel & Winter Greens

Pictured: Fortessa Rim Soup Plates, Royal Pacific Flatware and Schott Zwiesel Pure Double Old Fashioned Glasses. Fortessa dinnerware, flatware, and Schott Zwiesel glassware are all available at Williams Sonoma stores and online.

Hemp Seed & Kale Pesto

Kale & Hemp Seed Pesto

I freaking love pesto. I make it all the time – usually with any herbs, greens, nuts, or seeds I have around. I like to swirl it into my soups, top it onto my eggs, or dollop it onto big salad-ey grain bowls. While there are one or two (or twelve) pesto recipes on this site already, I really love this version, so I think there’s room for one more.

Before I started the blog, I would have never imagined just how many people are allergic to nuts. So in the spirit of the healthy new year, this tasty pesto is dairy free, gluten free (obviously), and nut free with omega-rich hemp seeds in place of the nuts. It’s also basil-free because, well, it’s winter and basil is hard to find.

Kale & Hemp Seed Pesto

Make this and store it in the fridge for up to 5 days – put it on anything & everything (or use it in one of these recipes!)