this week’s recipe: Croque Madame


It snowed in North Carolina last night. Everything is white and clean, and my house is cold. Its a good day for blankets, hot chocolate, and comfort food. Anything with an egg on top feels pretty comforting to me, and béchamel sauce doesn’t hurt either. Thanks to the kitchy kitchen, its Croque Madame for lunch.

–Melissa P.

minted here: sweet & spicy bacon twists


Bacon is pretty fantastic on its own, but if you want to guarantee an empty platter at your next brunch, coat the smoky goodness in some sugar and spice and everything nice. There are lots of versions of this dish, but I like twisting mine into little corkscrews. Apart from its visual appeal, its always good to give people a sense of what they’re eating, and the slight twist is just enough to tell your diners this is not run of the mill bacon.

Sweet & Spicy Bacon Twists
Serves 6-10 as a brunch side.

1 package of your favorite bacon
1/2 cup brown sugar, be generous!
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment. Put a wire rack on top.

Mix brown sugar and cayenne in a shallow bowl.

Cut the bacon in half, and individually coat strips in sugar-cayenne mix on both sides. For some mysterious reason, the sugar will stick to some bacons better than others. If yours isn’t adhering well, moisten the bacon in a little bit of water.

Twist the bacon and use the wire rack to tuck the ends. This will help prevent the bacon from untwisting while it cooks.

Bake 20-30 minutes, or to your desired level of crispness.  Some of the sugar mixture will melt off while it cooks, so if you want your bacon on the sweeter side, feel free to sprinkle extra sugar on your twists halfway through cooking.

double take: pork shoulder

Pork shoulder is one of my all-time favorite cuts of meat. You may also see it labeled as Boston Butt, but don’t be put off by its bootylicious name. Its affordable and flavorful, and when you trim the fat a bit and throw it in a slow cooker, the result is reliably tender and delicious. This week Adventures in Cooking’s Roobios-Smoked Pork Tacos with Plum Grapefruit Salsa caught my eye…smoking pork in roobios tea sounds like a curious and fabulous experiment. I also love these cute Vietnamese pulled pork sliders with Asian slaw from The Food Dept., which sound like the perfect blend of savory and fresh.

–Melissa P.



We’re back! Holiday crazies are over and I’m left here in January with tight pants. Not in a funny post-holiday joke kind of way, or a stylish skinny jeans way, but a ‘I have been eating like sugar was a food group and now my pants are uncomfortable’ kind of way. Time to cleanse. Time for kale and lentils and super foods. Time for Chili Roasted Tofu with Minted Pomegranate Relish from Sprouted Kitchen.

–Melissa P.

this week’s recipe: Hokaido Pumpkin Galette

I love galettes. They are rustic but beautiful, and can be either sweet or savory. This Hokaido Pumpkin Galette from Little Upside Down Cake  makes use of the gorgeous heirloom pumpkins that will be in markets for a few more weeks. Paired with goat cheese and leeks, it sounds irresistible.

–Melissa P.