Slow-Cooker Pork with Apples and Onions

Another storm. Another snow day. (Not that we're complaining). A perfect day for a slow-cooked meal, so we give you pork with apples and onions. This recipe is almost too simple - layer the ingredients in the slow cooker and leave it alone for 3 hours. Then eat it. Amazing! And it made the house smell like apples! We served it with chunky mashed potatoes. Let it snow!


1 Braeburn apple, peeled and sliced
2 pork sirloin chops, cut in half
salt and pepper to taste
1 Cortland apple, peeled and sliced
2 teaspoons Red Monkey Stone Ground Spicy Mustard (you could use plain ground mustard, but this one adds a nice kick)
6 pearl onions, peeled
4 cippolini onions, peeled
1 1/2 cups apple cider
1 sprig fresh rosemary

In a 3-quart slow-cooker, layer the ingredients in the order they are listed. Cook on high for 2 1/2 to 3 hours, allowing the slow-cooker to do all the work while you browse A Couple in the Kitchen. Enjoy!!!

Pieces of pork layered between apple slices then seasoned

Thrown in some onions

Apple cider adds extra apple flavor

Pork loves rosemary


Love Letter to My Grocery Store

Amy writes:

Dear Big Y,

I love you. It's true. Our affair started a long time ago, when I was born in your hometown of Chicopee, Massachusetts. For a long time, you were the only grocery store I knew. Sure, my mom sometimes visited other stores, tempted by promises of lower prices and coupon tripling. But she always came back, and I (almost always) stayed true, unless I was living in some area where you just wouldn't come.

Besides being from the same town, we have so much in common! I love grocery shopping, and you're a grocery store. I don't like big chain stores, and you're a local, family-owned company. I love being organized, and your aisles follow logical sense. I mean, at least you don't think pasta is an "International Food!" I like to be friendly, and your employees are very friendly. I especially like the guy who wears the newsboy cap at your Manchester branch, not to mention the fact that you have employed so many of my students over the years.  I like to do most of my shopping in one place, and you not only offer a pharmacy, but you even have a branch of my bank inside your store. That's my bank! See, it's destiny!

Then, about a year and a half ago, we broke up. I was upset about those bad clams you sold me, those green beans that were soggy the day after I bought them. Your prices seemed a lot higher all of a sudden. You never, not even once, gave me a gold coin. I had to leave. For six months or so, I was seeing another store. I was lured in by the promises of lower prices and discounts on gas. It was awful. I couldn't find anything! The butchers wouldn't give me any recipes! They didn't even sell Appian Way pizza kits! 

Luckily, my mom told me you were starting to come around, to change to the way you once were, so I decided to give you another chance. You know what? You are the best you've ever been! Since I've been back, your produce has been consistently fresh and crisp. Your seafood always tastes just-caught, like you say in your commercials. Your butchers are so nice and helpful. You carry all my favorite products and bring in new things all the time. Lately, you've been offering D'Artagnan meats in the meat aisle, things like buffalo, duck, andouille sausage, and wild boar, exotic treats that for so long I could only find online or at places like Whole Paycheck Foods. Speaking of paychecks, both your sales and your everyday prices have been so much better lately. And, in the last couple of months, I've gotten, like, six gold coins!!!

So, I just want to say thank you. Thanks for getting back to your old self. It means so much to me that you could reflect on the error of your ways and bring us back together, the way it's meant to be. Keep it up, and I promise never to cheat again. From my family to yours...

Love (always?),

P.S. Happy 75th Anniversary.


Meatless Monday: Cheesy Polenta Pie

(Note: updated recipe to include the forgotton sundried tomatoes!) Let's start by saying that we've both under some stress lately. That means we wanted needed some comfort food. For Amy, that usually means meat, but it's Meatless Monday, and we're stickin' to that resolution (since it's still January...)! So, we turned to cheese as a key ingredient in tonight's meatless meal.

Cheese definitely falls under the "comfort food" category in our world, and since Amy spent some fun years in New Orleans, so do grits. (For a great explanation of the difference between polenta and grits, go HERE). In this cooked-on-the-stovetop-then-baked dish, we use parmesan and mozzarella to give our polenta a boost of flavor and extra gooey creaminess. A handful of chopped sundried tomatoes not only offer the dish some color and nice concentrated tomato taste, but enhance the saltiness of the parmesan. Next time, we'd put in more parmesan and add some chopped fresh herbs to the mix, perhaps basil or rosemary. We enjoyed this hot out of the cast iron pan with a side salad for dinner, yet we also grabbed a wedge out of the fridge and loved it at room temperature as a just-before-school-starts morning snack.


4 cups cold water
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 1/2 cups coarsely ground yellow corn meal (polenta)
2 tablespoons butter, divided
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup chopped sundried tomatoes
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 350. Pour the water into a medium pot and add salt to it. Whisk the polenta into the cold water, then turn the heat on to medium. Bring to a boil and cook, stirring constantly, until the polenta has absorbed most of the water and has the consistency of grits. Lower heat and continue to cook, stirring still, for another 3-5 minutes. Turn off the heat, then add 1 tablespoon of butter and all of the parmesan cheese, as well as the sundried tomatoes, stirring until the butter melts and tomatoes are evenly distributed. Grease a cast-iron skillet with the other tablespoon of butter and spread the polenta into it evenly. Top the polenta with the mozzarella cheese. Place in the oven and bake at 350 for 35 minutes. Allow to cool five minutes before slicing and serving.


French 7-Onion Soup

Who doesn't love French Onion Soup? Sweet caramelized onions swimming in hearty beef broth topped with bread and gooey melted cheese that is browned on top? As Anne Burrell says, "Brown food is gooooood!" The cheese alone makes us crave it! And so we bring you our version, which involved not one, not two...but seven different types of onions because that's how we do things around here. And we caramelized them for not one, not two, but three hours. Yes, you read that right. To coax as much delicious sweetness out of those onions, we kept them covered and cooking over low heat for three whole hours, stirring often, but otherwise patiently waiting as the house filled with a mouth-watering oniony scent. This is the perfect process for a snowy Sunday afternoon, btw. The major debate during preparation was what type of wine to use? White, red, and sherry all were put on the table. We ended up choosing red because we love red with beef, and we were using beef broth. But we encourage experimentation...always!

Note: Our onion variety included one large each of the following: red, yellow, white, and sweet, plus four shallots, 8 pearl and 8 cippollini.

Start with 8 cups of sliced onions

Cooked for one hour

Cooked for two hours

Cooked for three hours

Just the soup

Topped with garlicky croutons

Topped with plenty of cheese, please!


2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup olive oil
3 pounds onions, thinly sliced to about 8 cups' worth
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 cup flour
1 cup red wine
4 cups beef broth
1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
2 bay leaves
salt and pepper to taste
4 1/2-inch-thick pieces of baguette
1 clove garlic
1/2 cup shredded gruyere cheese
1/2 cup shredded swiss cheese

In a large pot over medium heat, heat the oil and butter together until the butter is melted. Add the sliced onions and stir until all onions are coated. Cover the pot and turn the heat to low. Cook for three hours, stirring every fifteen minutes or so, until the onions are golden brown. Sprinkle the onions with the flour, stir until coated, and cook another five minutes. Slowly pour in the red wine and cook, stirring, until about half the wine is evaporated. Add the broth, thyme, bay leaves, salt and pepper. Simmer uncovered for 30-45 minutes. When ready to serve, mix the cheeses together in a bowl. Rub the baguette slices with garlic, toast them, then cut them into crouton-size bites. Ladle the soup into oven-proof bowls and top with the croutons. Heat broiler on high. Top the entire bowl generously with the cheese mixture and place on a baking sheet under the broiler for 4-5 minutes to melt and brown the cheese. Enjoy carefully! Bowls will be hot!  


Duo of Duck

Amy really loves duck, like, it's her favorite meal! So when she found out about Ott A's Iron Chef Challenge: Duck, she was totally into it and started thinking up ideas. The final decision? A duo of duck, served with Israeli couscous.

The first duck preparation was simply a duck confit leg which we purchased from a butcher. This involved no recipe on our part, just heating up the deliciously tender, falling-off-the-bone duck meat. So very yummy, with its unctious meat and super-crispy skin!

The second preparation was our own recipe and was certainly more involved. It centered upon one gorgeous "Moulard Duck Magret" duck breast from D'Artagnan that we carefully and respectfully seasoned, cooked and served with a sweet-tart Pinot-Cherry sauce. Here's our recipe for that fabulously rich, wonderful duck with the sauce, as well as the couscous that paired so nicely with it.

For the duck breast:

1 duck breast, skin on
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
1/2 pound fresh cherries
3/4 cup Pinot Noir wine
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 ounce Kirsch (cherry liquer)
the juice and pulp of one clementine

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Allow the duck breast to come to room temperature and then score the fat in a cross-hatch pattern. Season the duck breast well with salt and pepper. Place fat-side down in a cold cast iron skillet. Place the pan over high heat and sear the duck until the fat is rendered out and the skin releases easily from the pan, 8-10 minutes. Flip the breast and cook on the other side for 2-3 minutes. Then place the entire skillet in the oven and cook until the internal temperature is 155 degrees, about 20 minutes. Allow to rest at least five minutes before slicing and serving with the Pinot-Cherry sauce (recipes below) and couscous.

In the meantime, place the cherries, wine, thyme and sugar in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat and allow to reduce to about 1/2 the amount of liquid. Stir in the Kirsch and the clementine juice and pulp and continue to cook another minute or so. Allow to cool and serve over the duck breast.

For the couscous:

1 1/4 cup water
1 cup Israeli pearl couscous
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1 teaspoon Bella Cucina Aromatic Savory Salts (Wild Oregano and Sage flavor), or a teaspoon of kosher salt with a pinch of dried sage
1 tablespoon salted butter

Bring water to a boil. Add the couscous, walnuts and savory salts. Cover, lower heat and simmer for 8-10 minutes, until couscous reaches desired tenderness. Stir in the butter and serve alongside the duck.



Review: CW's Chops 'n Catch, Manchester, CT

It was payday Friday, and thus, Date Night! We chose to stay local and try one of Manchester's newest places, CW's Chops 'n Catch. Corey Wry (CW) was raised here in the "Silk City" and has two popular restaurants, Pastrami on Wry (breakfast, soups, sandwiches) and Corey's Catsup and Mustard (a burger bar). He opened Chops 'n Catch last month with the tagline "a local place for steak 'n fish 'n comfort."

Awkward name aside, the menu is inviting, and certainly the type of thing we could use "this side of the river," where breakfast and lunch joints abound and one has to go to a chain restaurant by the mall to get a decent steak. On his menu, Corey claims his goal is "to use locally produced and seasonal food from regional farms and fisheries as much a (sic) possible." Local items are marked with a green icon in the shape of the state of CT, but they are few and far between, and we hope to see more of them as the restaurant comes into its own.

Lobster Cakes

There are plenty of "chops" (steaks, kabobs, pork, veal, chicken, lamb) and "catches" (oysters, shrimp, haddock, mahi, salmon, cod, tuna) from which to choose. We started with the lobster cakes, which had plenty of chunks lobster meat and very little filler. They were served with a sweet corn salsa, a scoop of red potato salad and a zippy remoulade sauce. They were seasoned well and very tasty, but could have been a tad hotter. 

Dr. Pepper Braised Short Rib

For the main course, we both chose to try one of the "signature entrees." The Dr. Pepper Braised Short Rib had a lot of flavor but had some gristly parts and was a bit dry for a braised meat, with the cilantro-breadcrumb topping only making it drier. The grits over which it was served were perfectly cooked, however, and we loved the Dr. Pepper reduction. Chris got the Steak 'n Eggs, an ancho-coffee rubbed filet served over scalloped potatoes and bacon, and topped with a poached egg. The steak, while very tender, could have used more seasoning, but the remaining components were well cooked, well seasoned and made for a great plate we could have enjoyed anytime of day.

We love the fact that the wine list included some local stars from CT and Long Island, and ordered the Cabernet Franc from Jonathan Edwards in North Stonington, which paired nicely with the meats. We were too full to try dessert, but a couple of them sounded tempting indeed.

The service was good; our server was friendly and attentive without hovering, but things happened very slowly. The manager stopped by to check on things, which is always a nice touch. We liked the decor, with its dim lighting and typical shades of brown one finds at a steakhouse, accented here with bright blue ocean-themed watercolors. The floor, a somewhat dingy black and white checkered linoleum, could use an update from the location's Nulli's days. Also, there was a lingering scent of frying oil, as one usually finds in bad Chinese take-out joints, that was strong enough to stay on our clothes after we left - not good

Overall, it was a decent meal with more ups than downs. And since they've been open only three weeks, we're going to give them some time to work out the kinks and then try another visit.
C W's Chops N Catch on Urbanspoon


Snow Day Fakesgiving

What do you call it when you don't have to go to work because it's a snow day, so you roast a turkey breast and serve it with your Grandma's stuffing, some corn and and that delightfully tart canned cranberry sauce? We call it Snow Day Fakesgiving, and we LOVE it!!!!!!! 


Beef and Barley...Stew?

The chill and scent of the air portended an approaching snowstorm. We had plenty of vegetables in the house (remains from a previous night's Rosemary Root Veggie Pot Pie), and picked up some beef stew meat at the store. Apparently, judging from our recent posts, it's soup-n-stew week here at A Couple in the Kitchen. We suppose there are worse things.

In the hopes of making our beef stew a bit healthier and heartier, we added some barley. A little too much, it turns out. The barley soaked up most of the liquid, giving it more of a risotto-like texture than a stew, which Chris actually preferred. Therefore, the recipe below explains what we did. If you like yours a bit more stew-y, either add more liquid or less barley. Besides that, we loved the tenderness of the beef and the flavors in this stew. The addition of a little balsamic vinegar right before serving gave it a nice zing!


1 1/2 lbs. beef stew meat, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
3 carrots, peeled, halved lengthwise and diced
1 onion, chopped
2 slalks celery, diced
1 parsnip, peeled and diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes
1 cup water
1/2 cup red wine
1 cup beef broth
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup uncooked barley
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

Dredge the beef pieces in flour until lightly coated, shaking off excess. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large stockpot and, in small batches, brown the beef on all sides. Set aside. Deglaze the pot with a bit of wine or broth. Heat the second tablespoon of oil in the pot and add the carrots, onion, celery and garlic. Cook for five minutes, until onions are translucent and start to soften. Stir in the diced tomatoes and cook another minute. Return the beef to the pot. Add the water, wine, broth, bay leaves, thyme, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. The reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for one hour. Add the barley, cover and simmer for an additional 45 minutes, until barley is to desired tenderness. Discard bay leaves and stir in balsamic vinegar right before serving.


Meatless Monday - Broccoli Cheddar Cheese Soup

Hey All! Chris here. It’s been a looong time since the last time I posted and being that I am the “omnivore with vegetarian tendencies” part of A Couple in the Kitchen, Amy thought that I should do today's Meatless Monday post. Let me start by saying that I haven’t made Cheese and Broccoli soup in about 15 years and that Amy has never tried it. (She is not a big fan of either cheddar or broccoli.)

This recipe is based off of my fantastically diminished memory, a conversation with a chef and a quick gander through some old cookbooks. After incorporating what I had learned with what I had available in the fridge, the end product didn’t turn out that bad. The only thing I would have done differently is to use a MILD cheese versus the aged sharp cheese that I knew I shouldn’t have bought, but had to because it looked so good. I included the change in the recipe.

1 T unsalted butter
Celery, 1 stalk
White onion, medium
Carrot, medium
1 T flour
2 cups veggie broth
3 cups chopped broccoli
½ cup of milk
½ cup heavy cream
Mild cheddar cheese, slightly less than a pound
1/8 t Nutmeg, optional

Cut the carrots, onions and celery into thin slices. Place into saucepan on medium heat with 1 T unsalted butter. This little mixture is going to be the base of the soup. Most people call this mix a ‘mirepoix’ (mare-a-pwah)  but technically it should be a fine/small diced 2:1:1 mixture (heavy on the onion) before you can ‘officially’ use that word. Personally I just like to say the word. Repeat after me, “mirepoix”.  Pretty fun huh?  OK, back to cooking.

Once the onions are beginning to go transparent, add the flour. You are doing this to give the fats in the milk and cheese you are going to add later something to bind to. Not doing this can lead to the separation of the fats from the milk and this, well, ruins everything. So don’t do it. Remember the flour.

After the flour has been absorbed (you have to stir it around a bit) add the broccoli to the mix. The water content in the broccoli is going to cause the pan to sizzle and steam a little. This is good. You want to use that released vapor to steam the broccoli. Gently stir the mix around a few times over the next few of minutes. Taste a piece of the broccoli to see if it’s done yet. Don’t be afraid, it will not be too hot. It should be firm, but not hard (also known as ‘al dente’). Don’t be overly concerned if you miss this mark since everything is going to end up in a blender very soon. If you want your soup to be a little more on the creamy side then let it steam longer but NOT to mushiness. Personally, I like a bit of broccoli grit to remind me of what I am eating.

Once your optimal broccoli texture has been achieved, add the broth followed by the milk/cream. Adding the broth first helps reduce the temperature of the pan making it less likely for the milk/cream to scald. If you happen to scald the milk I recommend ordering a pizza since there is no way to get that burnt taste out of a soup. If you make it a broccoli pizza it will almost be like the soup, but not really. If you are really lucky, your date won’t notice the difference.

Now comes the fun part – the immersion blender. If you only have a real blender that’s OK, it’s just not as much fun. Regardless, let the mix do its thing for a minute before using a blender to chop the lot into a smooth greenish liquid before adding the cheese. I tried to grate the cheese but, how can I say this, had an issue with the grater. I ended up chopping the cheese into small pieces with a knife and throwing away the grater. Anyhow, slowly add the cheese to the soup while stirring until the lumps disappeared. You may have to increase the heat under the pan depending on the temp of the liquid. I can remember adding nutmeg to give it a little warmth and added flavor, but it could have just been my college palate that made me think it was good.

Eat with crusty bread and Enjoy!

Mirepoix with butter
Add flour when onions are translucent; stir until flour is absorbed
Add broccoli; let steam for a few of minutes
Add liquids; 2 cups veggie broth, stir, then milk/heavy cream mixture
Immersion blender until desired consistency
Add cheese, stir until smooth
Nutmeg is optional
Crusty bread is a must.


Guest Post: Chef Lise Jaeger's Butternut Peanut Bisque

In addition to some of our recent changes, we plan to have guest bloggers periodically, to, you know, mix it up a bit!

Our first guest blogger is Chef Lise Jaeger, great friend, awesome chef, excellent teacher, and owner of Chef For Hire, LLC. Thanks, Lise, for sharing your recipe for this soup, which, by the way, totally rocks.

Lise writes:
I called Amy and Chris on the off chance they would be free on a Saturday night (let me tell you folks, they are hard to pin down sometimes!!). Luck would have it that they indeed wanted to brave the winter chill and the threat of snow to come to my house for some soup and a bonfire. Hurray!!

I have made this soup several times in many variations with different spices and different nut butters. So you can play with this to suit you own buds. This warm and creamy soup with a bit of Asian accents was a hit with my guests.

Now we just have to get Amy some real snow boots.


3 tablespoons light olive oil
1 large onion, diced
3 carrrots, peeled and diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 large butternut squash, seeds removed, peeled and diced
1 tablespoon Chinese Five-Spice powder
2 teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper (or to your taste)
1 can coconut milk
4 cups vegetable stock
¼ cup agave syrup (you can use honey if you like)
½ cup peanut butter (you can use chunky if you want)

In large soup pot, on medium high heat, heat the oil and saute the onions, carrots, garlic and ginger until the onions are translucent. Add squash and saute for 5 minutes. Add cinnamon, five spice powder, salt and cayenne, and stir until vegetable are coated. Add coconut milk and vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer till the squash is very soft. With a hand blender or food processor, puree soup until smooth. If it is too thick, add water to arrive at desired consistency. Add agave syrup and peanut butter, and blend until fully incorporated. Adjust the seasoning to your liking. Sprinkle with green onions, or chives for a garnish. Serves eight. Enjoy!!!

Note: This soup also freezes very well!


Giveaway Winner!

We used random.org to generate the number of the comment submitted by the winner of our Third Bloggaversary Giveaway. The number? 23. That comment's author is...(drumroll, naturally)...Laurie Alves of Food is Love. Thanks to all who entered, subscribed, and read our little blog. More is on the way!


Red Curry Shrimp with Rice Noodles

About a month ago, we read this recipe for "Thai Red Curry Shrimp Linguine" from the food blog My Tasty Handbook, and it sounded really, really good. Jump ahead to the other night, when we were craving Asian. Would it have been easier to order take-out? Well, duh! But the Christmas bills are rolling in, and unless we win MegaMillions (update: we did not win), they aren't going anywhere.

So, a tiny bit grudgingly, we put away the takeout menu, defrosted that bag of shrimp we had in the freezer and adapted the recipe to suit our tastes and what we had in the house. The spicy heat packed a flavorful punch but next time we'll try the original recipe, made with linguine. In ours, the rice sticks were a little gummy and soaked up every ounce of the sauce. We'd also add  more coconut milk, by the way. We admit, it was not our best meal, but it was still cheaper than takeout!


2 1/2 tablespoons red curry paste
1 cup chicken broth
1 13.5-ounce can coconut milk
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
1 package rice noodles
1 pound raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/4 cup chopped green onions
juice of one lime
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
lime wedges for garnish

Soak the rice noodles in warm water for 30-45 minutes until tender but firm. In a large skillet, over medium-high heat, stir the red curry paste until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the chicken broth, coconut milk, fish sauce and sugar, and whisk until paste dissolves. Bring to a boil and cook until sauce coats a wooden spoon, 7-10 minutes. Drain the rice noodles and add to the sauce. When they begin to stick, add the shrimp and green onions. Cook until shrimp turn pink, stirring occasionally, about 3 minutes. Stir in the lime juice, then turn off heat. Serve garnished with cilantro and lime wedges.


Don't Forget About Our GIVEAWAY

Leave us a comment by Friday at noon (EST) to be entered in our Third Bloggaversary GIVEAWAY.

Get all the details at this post right HERE.


Sumac-Seasoned Game Hens with Carrot-Pistachio Rice

Sumac (not the poisonous tree!) is a spice often found in Middle-Eastern cooking. It was, according to The Spice House, used for its tart, citrusy flavor before the Romans introduced the lemon to the region.

We used ground sumac to season a couple of Cornish game hens the other night for dinner (we just love having our own individual chickens!). A bit of white wine, salt, pepper, and two small lemons were the only other ingredients needed to roast the delicious hens which we served with a side of steamed white rice mixed with shredded carrots and chopped pistachios. Exotically delicious!

2 Cornish game hens
1/4 cup ground sumac
salt and pepper to taste
2 small lemons, halved
1 cup white wine

Sprinkle the hens with sumac, salt and pepper. Insert the halved lemons into the cavity of the hens and place in a roasting pan. Pour the wine into the bottom of the roasting pan. Roast at 350 degrees for 45 minutes, then increase heat to 400. Continue to roast another 15 minutes at 400 to brown the skin. Sprinkle with a pinch of additional sumac if desired.


Meatless Monday: Rosemary Root Veggie Pot Pie

We've been hearing a lot lately about Meatless Monday, a non-profit movement that has as its main goal a 15% reduction in meat consumption. While Amy is a proud carnivore, and Chris (while claiming to have "vegetarian tendencies") happily devours the occastional good medium-rare ribeye, we are facing the New Year with our own goal: to eat a healthier and more balanced diet. And, well, vegetables are a part of that, like it or not. Thus, we've decided to get on board the Meatless Monday bandwagon, late to the party as we may be. What we hope to deliver is healthy, tasty recipes that are so satisfying, you'll hardly notice what's missing.

All that said, here is our first Meatless Monday recipe, Rosemary Root Veggie Pot Pie. A nice variety of root vegetables are roasted, then combined with a savory gravy and topped with flaky puff pastry. A delicious, hearty, filling meal that left us with no cravings other than for leftovers.  
Our veggie variety

Note: For our vegetable variety, we used 3 carrots, 2 parsnips, 1 yam, 3 russet potatoes and the green part of one scallion

8 cups of chopped root vegetables
3 sprigs fresh rosemary, with leaves removed from the stems
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 stick butter
1/2 cup finely chopped onion (we used the root part of the scallion)
1 celery stalk, diced
1/4 cup flour
1 cup vegetable stock
1 cup milk
salt and pepper to taste
1 package Puff Pastry Shells
Roast the vegetables first

To roast the vegetables:
In a large bowl, toss the chopped vegetables with the olive oil and rosemary. Spread on a baking sheet and bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes.

To prepare the gravy:
Melt the butter in a medium stock pot over medium heat. Saute the chopped onion and celery until softened, then add the flour. Cook for 2-3 minutes until it starts to brown. Slowly stir in the vegetable stock and milk, and cook, stirring often, until thickened. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Vegetables mixed with gravy

To assemble:
Remove the vegetables from the oven and add them to the gravy; mix well. Reduce the heat to low to keep warm while pastry shells bake. Prepare the puff pastry shells according to package directions. When shells are ready, remove the tops with a fork and spoon the vegetable mixture into the shells.


Our Third Bloggaversary, an Update and a GIVEAWAY!

Happy New Year, and Happy Bloggaversary to us!

We started this blog on New Year's Day 2008 with this post. Three years later, A Couple in the Kitchen is better than ever. We've updated the blog to allow for categorizing our recipes, as you can see. Next on our "to-do" list is making the recipes printable (we're getting there...)

We'd love for you to help us celebrate our bloggaversary and update with a GIVEAWAY!!!

Our blog was inspired by a book, and since it's our third year blogging, we're giving away a trio of books. All three are cookbooks by bloggers, and all three focus on the perfect cooking style for long, cold winter days - slow cooking.

The books:

To enter the giveaway/rules:
For your first entry, leave a comment answering the question "What is your favorite slow-cooker meal?" For an extra entry, subscribe to our blog and leave a second comment letting us know you subscribed.
Winner will be chosen by a random number generator.
Giveaway is only open to residents of the continental United States and ends on January 7th at noon (EST).
Good luck!