Category Archives: Other


I never know what to say until I know exactly what to say.

That might sound wishy washy or silly, but it’s just how I operate. I’m often quiet and revert to not saying anything rather than blundering though something that doesn’t make sense and will only make me frustrated when those around me don’t understand.

It’s not always a bad thing, but I’m often nervous that it leads to too much silence, too little explanation, or too many pent up frustrations. It also lets me wait, constantly, until I’m comfortable or ready to go forth with my thoughts, my actions.

Waiting is good sometimes, but not when you’re trying to actually accomplish something. (You know, real life stuff).

So, here we are.

It’s time to bid farewell to The Troika Table. You probably saw this coming, since we haven’t posted since, oh, JULY, but I am here to officially say: it’s been great. Thank you. Mom (aka Tami), Janessa, and I have loved writing our little stories, giving you recipes, and finding out new things about ourselves in the process. For me, it actually led to (fingers crossed) a glimmer of a career, and we’ll see where it goes from here.

But for now, it’s become a little bit too much, something that’s always on the “should do” list but never on the “to do” list.

I do have plans and hopes and little inklings of starting a new blog, but as I explained – that won’t happen until it’s ready. Until I’m ready.

Until then, I’m writing at Bazaar Spices’ blog Spicy DC, and I also started writing occasionally for The Jewish Food Experience, a DC-based website dedicated to Jewish food and culture.

There will be more out of me – someday – but until that day, not a peep.

See you then.



Time goes by









Exciting announcements (and more importantly delicious recipes) coming soon.



To May

April was a rough month, but here’s lookin’ at you, May.

It’s been hard to find the words to write, so for now I hope you’ll like these pictures and links (and look for the guava mojito recipe that I sneakily snuck as well). Recipes soon.


brownies in Colorado

No visit to Colorado would be complete without trusted helpers making brownies.



Kelly and Gilbert visit, we feast

An unexpected, wonderful visit and the feast that ensued: fish tacos, sopa de arroz, black beans,
cactus salad, and a riff on this shredded cabbage slaw.


Extra old



those onions

David Lebovitz’s Pickled Red Onions; a mish-mashed quinoa salad.

the view


Introducing: Fidough

Introducing: Fidough, the sourdough starter.

Fidough is happy.

English muffins


Sourdough English muffins – no going back.




Guava mojito

Guava mojito: Muddle 10 or so mint leaves in a glass, add 2 ounces of white rum,
about 6 ounces guava juice, and ice. Stir to combine. Top with sparkling water.



B’s Birthday decor.

Oh yes.

Smitten Kitchen’s Butterscotch Banana Tarte Tatin (from the cookbook!).



Birthday dinner

Birthday dinner. (Nuggets.)


what will it be?

The sauce.

Ginger scallion sauce – Note to self: never make only a half batch again.


Most important

Most important.


Looking back at these pictures, April doesn’t seem half bad.

And that’s what matters.

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The Twelfth Day of Grilled Cheese

Surprise, it’s another grilled cheese!

All I have to say is, “What’s this game called? I win!” If you haven’t seen Big Daddy in a while, watch it.  Hilarious.  Anyway, we had a super snowy day, and for some reason school was not cancelled. Really?!? We have a lot out there. Oh well, when the kids came home, my oldest said to me, “Mom, please tell me you are working on another grilled cheese, ’cause that sounds really good.” HAHAHA they have been won over.

I made my own bread this time.  Not because I was feeling particularly homemaker-y, but because it was too cold and gross to make it to the store for more.


To start, slice the bread.  Next, slice some tomatoes and onions, and grill them.  Again, I used my Foreman grill.  Finally, season and grill some steak.  We used a rib eye.  I asked Jason to do the grilling, cause he is pretty awesome at it.  Cook the steak to the desired doneness, but remember it will cook more while the sandwich is being grilled.  Be sure to let the steak rest for 10 or so minutes before slicing.

grill vegetables

slice beef

To assemble the sandwich, layer the tomatoes and onions, steak, and cheese on the bread.  Butter the bread.  Grill!

grilled beef

This was a really, really good sandwich, and the kids even loved it!


From the Troika’s table to yours, we wish you a very merry Christmas. Thanks for joining us in the twelve days of grilled cheeses – have a lovely holiday, everyone.


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Guest post – because who doesn’t love a good mac and cheese?

Hey, everyone. Today is an exciting day – we have our first guest blog post! Allow me to introduce you to Kelly (her name has come up here before) and her mom, Linda. Kelly and I studied together in Russia, where our first adventures in cooking and eating began. We would most often cook Mexican food, because let’s face it – Russia (and, well, most of Europe) doesn’t really do Mexican food, so we had to create it ourselves. (And we also, of course, had to make my Russian host mother try this food, prompting her to exclaim “Pozhar! Pozhar!” – Fire! Fire!).

I digress. Even more exciting than a guest blog post, is the start of what I’m certain will be a lovely food blog, brought to you by Linda. Watch out for it in the coming weeks (and maybe even for an announcement and link here!)

In the meantime, here’s a look at what you can look forward to.



Fall is our favorite time of year!  There are so many wonderful fruits & veggies that are ready to be harvested, eaten & used in cooking & baking that I hardly know where to start!  Apples are always available, we know, but getting them in the fall when they are just harvested is wonderful.  This dish is a perfect cold winter day comfort food meal, so it’s good that apples are always around!  We did NOT want to stop eating it!  Between the two of us, we made it 4 times in less than 2 weeks and we’ll probably make it a time or two more before Thanksgiving!  The original recipe was from Better Homes & Gardens, but we put our own spin on it and made some additions to boost the flavor & satisfaction level.


These great ingredients turn into a heavenly comfort dish.  Let’s get started!

Apple-Cheddar Mac & Cheese

  • 1 tablespoon butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup bread crumbs
  • 3 teaspoons snipped fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 12 ounces (3 ½ cups) dried penne pasta
  • 2 cups (~3) chopped, peeled Granny Smith (or other tart) apples
  • ½ cup chopped sweet onion (1 small), such as Vidalia or Walla Walla
  • ½ pound chicken meatballs or chicken sausage
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup apple cider
  • 6 ounces cream cheese, softened & cut up
  • 1 ½ cups (6 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Grease the sides of a 9 x 13 oven safe casserole dish with the tablespoon of softened butter, using only what is needed. Save the rest.  Coat the greased area with the bread crumbs using only what is needed.  Use the remainder of the tablespoon of butter and combine it with the remainder of the bread crumbs, add 1/3 of the thyme and set aside to top the mac & cheese.


3. Put a large pot of water on to boil the penne pasta.  Cook the penne pasta 2 minutes less than the package directs.  Drain & set aside.

4. Chop the onion, apples & meatballs.

5. In a large saucepot, cook the apples, onions & meatballs in the 3 tablespoons of butter over medium heat for 5-8 minutes, making sure the meat is thoroughly cooked and the apples & onions are tender.  Add the flour to the saucepot & cook for 2 minutes longer while stirring.

6. Add in the chicken stock & apple cider.  Cook & stir until thickened and bubbly.  Reduce heat to low.


7. Add the remaining thyme, cream cheese and cheddar cheese, stirring to melt and distribute the cheese.
Make sure the cream cheese has completely melted before adding the sauce to the pasta.


8. Add the sauce mixture to the penne pasta, mixing well to combine.  Spoon into the prepared 9 x 13 dish.  Sprinkle the reserved breadcrumb-butter mixture over the top.  Bake uncovered for 30-35 minutes, until the edges are bubbly.  Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes before serving.

Linda and Kelly

About today

Whether you are a fan of today or whether you despise it completely, I wanted to share this.



Happy day to you all.


Porches and roasted chicken

Matt’s girlfriend Laura visited last weekend, bringing with her a declaration that we must spend time outside since it was so nice out. And so, what did we do? We bought fold-up chairs for our porch, so that we could sit. Outside. Although our red and blue, ten dollar meshy chairs look slightly pitiful next to our neighbors posh wicker chairs with outdoor pillows, this is nice. It also happens to be a perfect place to sip a glass of wine. Since I admitted something to you last time, I suppose I must admit something more this time:

I, on occasion, drink boxed wine. Blasphemous words coming from a person who works at a winery, I know, but, well, when you like wine as much as I do and make as much money as I do…top shelf boxed is the way to go. Before you wander your little cursor up to exit out of our blog, hear me out: No matter how trashy it sounds*, this is some good wine. Besides, with four bottles worth of wine packaged in a handy dandy box, I am reducing packaging waste by at least 85% and carbon emissions by 55%. (No, I was not hired by boxed-wine sellers to push their product. Yes, I am sometimes a hippie.) I am simply embracing one of many mottos from my alma mater: “sustainability is a way of life.” And, saving a bit of money in the process. Funny how that works, isn’t it?

Back to the porch. Porches are, I think, one of the best spots to sit and think (and, on occasion, drink.) I don’t mean porch sitting like those frat boys who adore sitting on their front porches, red solo cup in hand, flaunting their fratiness to all the world (I’m talking to you, Gettysburg College). No no. It’s more than that. Porches are a place to relax, to think, to dream. (Who knew one could speak so loftily about porches? I must be turning into a snob.) Our front porch is quaint and charming, conveniently located across the street from a gravestone maker.  I thankfully don’t often spot people there, but when I do it’s quite interesting, in a definite morbid way, to gaze at the people looking through the many headstones outside.

While relaxing on the porch I decided that for once in my life I look forward to having one of those 9-5 jobs. This thought terrified me just 5 months ago, but now I work odd hours and usually have not more than one day per weekend off, so the thought of a steady 9-5 is very appealing. Plus then I can come home and make dinner, instead of getting home around 8:30 and reheating food like it’s no one’s business. But for now, on the days I have off or miraculously leave work early, I am content making mounds upon mounds of food. For example, Sunday’s dinner!

I roasted my first chicken, and it was only a little traumatizing. I’ve cooked parts of chicken with great success, but the whole thing? At once? Daunting. However, since a whole chicken cost me a grand total of $7(ish) while four chicken legs cost around $6, it seemed the only logical thing to do for a person trying to save a little money. I’ve been eyeing this yogurt-rubbed roast chicken for a while, but was always hesitant to make it as I do not own a roasting pan. I had had enough eyeing, though, and took matters into my own hands: a simple google search revealed that it’s actually quite easy to roast a chicken using just a large enough baking dish and creating a faux-roasting rack with either whole celery and carrot sticks or rolled up tubes of foil. Boom.

Things went a bit awry, though: Because I’ve never cooked a chicken before, I greatly feared the chicken roasting for too long and becoming dry. What’s a little threat of salmonella compared to a dry chicken? Right? … the recipe says the chicken should take 1 1/2 – 2 hours, and I was at almost 2 hours already. Throwing caution to the wind, I took the chicken out, and Braeden and I ate the legs. Delicious though they were, the next day I carved up the rest of the chicken to find a little pink tinge covering all of the breasts. Eek. Luckily we didn’t get sick and all was well. I then cooked the rest of the chicken in lots of water, made chicken broth for tonight’s homemade chicken noodle soup – with homemade noodles, too! – and cubed the rest of the chicken up for a chicken salad.

The moral of the story, kids, is to use a meat thermometer when cooking meat. So intuitive, no?

In sum, this post does not really contain a recipe. Fooled you! But I thought maybe my musings on chicken and porches could be somewhat…inspirational. Next post I’ll write about a beet-feta tart that I’m making tonight, and give you a recipe for the homemade chicken noodle soup. Promise.


*Speaking of trashy and wine, the other week a man came into the winery and boldly said: “I’m looking for Mad Dog 20/20. Do you make it here?” I let out a little laugh before I realized he was serious, and then squeamishly got out “No….we don’t make that here…..Sorry……..” Wine-selling tales. I have them.

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