The Pittsburgh Food Diaries: Sunday Brunch at Round Corner Cantina.

The Pittsburgh Food Diaries: Sunday Brunch at Round Corner Cantina.

The thing about moving away is that I’d much rather spend my last few days creating memories with my friends than packing. And that’s totally okay with me. (At least, it will be until the day I have to move and frantically realize that there are so many things I overlooked. I’ll just take that as it comes. #Priorities.)

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So, this weekend, I celebrated my years in Pittsburgh with some of the best people I know at a pretty weird dance party on Friday night, and then at Thrival on Saturday. Saturday’s weather was perfect. Bright and warm until the sun went down and the crisp air became the kind of weather that makes you wish you had a sweatshirt to cozy up in. But, since I was sweatshirtless (thanks anyway, Q), I warmed up with a little wine.

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And what’s the best thing in the world the morning after a night of wine? Brunch. Christina lured me out of bed with the mention of brunch at one of my favorite Lawrenceville spots: Coca Cafe. But, since it was a Sunday, the wait was way too long for someone who just really, really needed a cup of coffee and some bacon. So, we hopped across the street to Round Corner, a place that had previously offered a pretty delicious brunch (and the occasional bottomless mimosa) before closing for a few months this summer. But word on the street was that Round Corner’s brunch post-reopening was out of this world.

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And out of the world it was. Christina ordered French Toast with ancho syrup, and served with Benton’s bacon and a side of chipotle butter. It was sweet and spicy, just as the Mexicans do best.

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Being a savory breakfast eater, I went with the Brisket Hash (and Ryan did, too) and a Mexican coffee. Perfectly soft and salty potatoes were topped with melt-in-your-mouth brisket, which was then topped with a fried egg, cotija, bacon and cilantro. Perfection in every bite – truly – and just what I needed to make my last Sunday in Pittsburgh a good one.

Blue Apron: Baked Fontina Pasta. 

Blue Apron: Baked Fontina Pasta. 

It was another Sunday for the introverted books. After a go-go-go few weeks, I was relishing in my calm, quiet, planless afternoon. I took a nap, watched about a zillion episodes of Parenthood and decided that maybe I should cook some of the mountains of food in my refrigerator, rather than order sushi from the hole-in-the-wall place down the street.

 

I haven’t been on a huge meat kick, so I chose to make one of the vegetarian dishes we received in our latest shipment of Blue Apron: Baked Fontina Pasta. It combined quite a few of my favorite ingredients into one — cheese, Brussels sprouts and pasta — so I had a feeling it would be a resounding success for my tastebuds.

  

As I chopped and mixed and boiled and toasted, dancing around the kitchen to my Catgrooves playlist on Spotify, it dawned on me why I love empty Sundays so much. It’s a day when, generally speaking, I have the house to myself and I can take the time to do the things that I genuinely enjoy, but rarely have time for. Like cooking. And reading. And this: blogging.

 

So, I cozied up on the couch with a piping hot bowl of my creamy, salty, meat-free dinner, Netflix and Buxton, and I just couldn’t help but smile. I’m really fortunate enough to do the things that I love in a home that I love while surrounded by people (and a cat) that I love. And there’s really not a whole lot that’s better than that.

Ingredients: Campanelle pasta / Brussel sprouts, shaved / Sage, chopped / Flour / Fontina cheese / Butter / Heavy cream / Shallot / Panko breadcrumbs

Directions: Preheat the oven to 450. / Bring a pot of salted water to a boil, and cook the pasta until al dente. / Set pasta aside, reserving two cups of the pasta water. / Toast breadcrumbs and chopped sage in two tablespoons of olive oil in a nonstick pan. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside. / In the same pan, cook the shallot in olive oil until soft. Add brussel sprouts and cook until softened and bright green. / In the pot used to cook the pasta, melt the butter. Add the flour, heavy cream, reserved pasta water and fontina cheese. Stir until melted and combined. / Add the cooked pasta and sprouts to the sauce and thoroughly mix together. Season with salt and pepper. / Transfer to baking dish and cook for 5-7 minutes. / Serve with a crisp Chardonnay and enjoy!

Easy Like a Sunday Morning: Chocolate-Dipped Almond Biscotti.

Easy Like a Sunday Morning: Chocolate-Dipped Almond Biscotti.

This morning, I woke up slowly, warmly snuggled in my bed, wonderfully content and cozy. All of a sudden, my craving for breakfast — and an excessive amount of coffee — kicked in. Not a savory breakfast, which is my usual choice, but something sweet. Something with chocolate.

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I stayed in bed for another hour or so — because hey, that’s what Sundays are for — before I dragged myself out of bed and to the grocery store, armed with a recipe for almond biscotti.

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An hour and a half and two cups of coffee later, the biscotti was done and wonderful. I always thought that Sundays were for cuddling. Now I know that they’re for cuddling and biscotti.

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Ingredients: 1 c. toasted almonds / 2/3 c. sugar / 2 eggs / 1 tsp. almond extract / 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract / 1/4 tsp. salt / 1 tsp. baking powder / 1 3/4 c. flour / baking chocolate for melting

Directions: Preheat oven to 350˚. / In a mixer, beat sugar and eggs until thick. Then, add in the almond and vanilla extracts. / In a separate bowl, sift flour, baking powder and salt. / Add dry ingredients to the egg mixture and mix until combined. Fold in the almonds. / Place dough onto a greased baking sheet. (I recommend using parchment paper, too.) / Form dough into a log, approximately 3″ wide and 10″ long. / Bake for 25 minutes. / Remove from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack. / Reduce oven temperature to 325˚. / Cut the log into 1″ diagonal sections. / Place the biscotti, cut side down, on the baking sheet and bake for 8 minutes. / Turn biscotti over and bake for another 8 minutes. / Remove from the oven and let cool. / In the meantime, melt your baking chocolate in the microwave. / Dip one side of the biscotti into the melted chocolate, and place back on the baking sheet to harden. / Then, enjoy!

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A Savory Love Affair.

A Savory Love Affair.At  the beginning of this month, I decided that I would only eat carbs on Sundays. (Disclaimer: By “carbs,” I mean bread, pasta, rice, potatoes, etc. You know, the obvious ones. I’m not that crazy.) That being said, when Sunday rolls around, I want something carb-loaded and delicious.

I scoured the internet for an Italian recipe because, well, why not? Thanks to Martha Stewart and Trader Joe’s, I ate this to-die-for meal last weekend.

Ingredients: Parmesan Gnocchi / Olive Oil / Yellow Onion / Italian Sausage / Garlic / Spinach / Salt & Pepper.

Directions: Cook gnocchi according to package directions. / Heat oil and cook onion in separate skillet. / Add crumbled sausage, and cook until brown. / Add garlic, spinach, salt & pepper. / Cook and stir until spinach wilts. / Add gnocchi. / Plate and enjoy!