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Italian Sausage Soup with White Beans and Spinach

Italian Sausage Soup with Beans and Spinach | Umami Girl

Well hello there from an 80-degree October day in New Jersey. I’m not complaining, but I’m also not about to be demure with the soup. It’s decorative gourd season, mofos. (Never gets old, am I right?) And that means it’s soup season too. Second time in a week (oh hi, Monday soup), and I’m not sorry. Today we’re all about Italian sausage soup with white beans, spinach and pasta shells.

This easy soup sports a tomato-ish broth situation. It’s hearty and veggie-packed. It feeds a small crowd or a family for a couple of weeknight dinners. It’s quick to make. And we’re eating it for dinner this very evening, in a house that’s getting stuffy because I’m too lazy to open the windows. I mean, I’d open them, but then I might have to close them in the morning if it’s freezing, and that’s just hard.

I blame decorative gourds.  (more…)

Avgolemono Soup (Greek Lemony Chicken Soup) with Orzo and Spinach

Twenty minutes and six ingredients yield a creamy, dreamy Avgolemono soup to cure whatever ails ya.

Avgolemono Soup with Orzo and Spinach (Greek Lemony Chicken Soup) | Umami Girl

Today was — to put it mildly — not a great day for news. Gotta love a news cycle where the most hopeful thing you hear is that Tom Petty might not be quite dead yet. Jesus Christ, people. WTF.

Pretty much all the time, and especially at this moment, I’m grateful for the high number of chicken soup types in the world. Chicken noodle. Matzo Ball. Tom Yum Kai. Don’t even get me started. Up today, a quick and easy take on the classic Greek lemony chicken soup Avgolemono. This is one of those recipes that will make you believe in magic. Six ingredients and twenty minutes come together into something much greater than the sum of their parts. Don’t ask. Just do it. (more…)

Norwegian Gold Cake with Sour Cream Ganache

These Norwegian Gold cupcakes (or cake!) with sour cream ganache frosting have been in our family since I can remember. They’re my go-to for my own birthday and that of our newly minted teenager. 🙂

Norwegian Gold Cupcakes with Sour Cream Ganache | Umami Girl

Editor’s note: Holy moly, I first published this post on September 29, 2009 for the 5th birthday of the wonderful girl who just turned 13 yesterday. I’ve updated the photos and the recipe format but left everything else as-is. We made these yesterday, of course. Hope you love them as much as we do.


A week ago today was my 33rd birthday. I’m writing that down because already I can hardly remember. The day was relaxed and lovely. Lunch with an old friend, a little self-centered shopping, a whole lot of dinner. (Yup, I’ve tried hard to set my birthday excitement quotient at a level I can sustain until I’m 103.)

Norwegian Gold Cupcakes with Sour Cream Ganache | Umami Girl

Dinner started with a flute of bubbly, sipped between bites of Taleggio and prosciutto on thin slices of baguette. It meandered through a truly unsustainable amount of sushi on its way to the world’s best cupcakes. These cupcakes come all the way from Norway and are made of solid gold. Okay, no, those are lies. But the recipe has shepherded our family through an average of three birthday parties a year for the past 28 years, which is more cupcakes than I’d care to count. It uses an unusual mixing method—creaming the butter with the flour for five minutes to get things started—which is everything you’ve ever heard about what not to do with cake. But the results are so spectacular that I’ve never been able to understand why anyone would bother to make any other kind of cake ever, except that maybe they don’t have this recipe. Well, now you do. And with that sort of urgency at stake, it’s about time I’ve gotten around to sharing it.

Norwegian Gold Cupcakes with Sour Cream Ganache | Umami GirlSo I think that in view of the food if nothing else, you’ll believe me when I say that I am trying to remember my birthday. It’s just that a lot has happened since then. A 36-hour trip to California, a fifth birthday and a lesson in the importance of sticking your neck out, to name a few highlights before I pass out for three weeks.

AllisonUp there is my gorgeous sister Allison, of Parisian coffee and poultry confusion fame. She up and joined me on my whirlwind trip to San Francisco this weekend, because she’s the kind of person who would do that for me. Probably for you, too. Also, she’s always wanted to fly to California just for dinner. The trip got off to an auspicious start from a culinary perspective when the airport security personnel asked the guy in line in front of us whether he had any electronics in his baggage.

“I have a sandwich,” he answered.

“A sandwich?” said the agent, in his best what-kind-of-terrorist-are-you voice. “Sandwiches are not electronic.”

Still, Allison reminded me upon takeoff to please stow my tray-table and turn off my sandwich.

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Prosciutto-Wrapped Chicken with Mushrooms and Marsala Sauce

Prosciutto Wrapped Chicken with Mushrooms and Marsala Sauce | Umami Girl

Here’s a quick post about a dinner that seems a little bit elegant but is really no big deal: prosciutto-wrapped chicken breasts (psst…stuffed with a touch of provolone) with mushrooms and marsala sauce. A quick side of sautéed spinach and a nice bottle of wine are all you need for an easy dinner party for four. Maybe a good loaf of bread if you insist, or a few potatoes. And this little number for dessert.


Easy Pumpkin Bread Recipe with Olive Oil

We adore this easy pumpkin bread recipe made with olive oil. It comes from a friend’s ancient family recipe.

Easy Pumpkin Bread Recipe with Olive Oil | Umami Girl

Nothing says fall like a gorgeous slice of pumpkin bread brimming with cinnamon, nutmeg and clove. How’s that for something you already knew? It feels like summer here in coastal NJ today, but tomorrow is the official first day of fall, and I’m going for it with the autumnal vibes.  (more…)


Hi there, I'm Carolyn, and I'm delighted you're here. I'm a NYC-area food, travel, yoga, coffee, wine, running, music making and book obsessive with a great family and a love for sharing it all with you. Grab a drink and come on in. Learn more.