Bring It! on the Today Show

I started my career as a Page at NBC - yes, if you've seen 30 Rock it's just like Kenneth the Page, but with a little bit more real work involved! So I was so thrilled to get to have a little bit of a homecoming and share two of the recipes from Bring It! on The Today Show this week. 

We wanted two pastas perfect for summer entertaining so we did the Red Wine Pasta and the Pesto Vinaigrette Pasta

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Shrimp Butter is Your New Best Friend

So few things in life can make almost anything better. But I think shrimp butter really can. It is basically a sauce that can be made easily but elevate any type of dish. Spread it on toast in the morning or make a fancy-seeming pasta at night for guests. Make a tomato sandwich spread with shrimp butter or put it in a bowl of rice and take it to the next level. There are very few things that shrimp butter can't do. And you know what makes it even better? It takes less than 10 minutes to make.

I grew up with variations on shrimp butter since in the Lowcountry of South Carolina there are few things more prevalent than shrimp. But I also saw a version in Normandy that knocked my socks off. So this aims to be the in-between - a Southern staple but that still tries to be as light and bright as possible.

This is also great in the freezer - keep it on hand and then whip it out when you have guests. Trust me, no one will think you didn't plan ahead.

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You're About to Be Obsessed with Leche De Tigre

There are some dishes I just can't ever get enough of and in the summer I will have ceviche in any form. But some have sauces that make you want to lick the bowl at the end. 

I went to De Maria in Soho recently and every dish had that joyous pop of flavor that makes you want to just jump for joy. But the leche de tigre on the ceviche really took the cake.

If you're not familiar, leche de tigre is a sauce used in Peruvian cooking to add a bright citrus pop to their famous seafood. It is literally 'tiger's milk' and its a creamy take on a lot of flavor. But the one at De Maria was the perfect combination of texture and citrus so I knew I needed the recipe. Turns out it is as simple as can be.

Watch the video below or follow the recipe below for a sauce you'll want to put onto everything.

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Can We Call This the Perfect Party Cocktail?

I love cocktails but I am not usually a big fan of cocktail books. I don't want to buy 3 new liquers and a set of bitters just to make one drink. So I can't tell you how happy I was to see Maggie Hoffman's The One Bottle Cocktail. The entire premise eliminates your fear of cocktails in that it centers on the idea of only one spirit. Every drink is complex, fresh, interesting and only requires purchasing a single bottle of booze. Add onto that that Maggie is delightful - and that she shines through the pages - and you have an essential book on your hands.

I was so glad that on a recent trip to NYC Maggie decided to stop by the test kitchen and make a cocktail. This one is particularly awesome because in making it you also get a side of salsa. It's perfect for brunch, parties or just snacking at home with your very own bottle of vodka. 

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The Easiest Blueberry Jam Ever

So if you follow me on social media you might have noticed in the last week that I was in Rhode Island and was mildly obsessed with blueberry picking. It's one of my favorite activities because it's a soothing task that somehow also yields pounds upon pounds of blueberries - how could that not be a winning combo? 

I made a ton of pies and pancakes and just about a million handfuls of blueberries on their own, but of course when you pick tons of fruit there is nothing better than jam. 

Now, you all know I love to make things as simple as humanly possible because I'm incredibly lazy. But jam is one of those things I have never understood the insanity around. Everyone wants to make it more complicated. Pectin! Canning machines! Special ingredients! I say screw all of that and make it as easy as possible.

This recipe is my classic because it takes the least amount of work and ingredients but still tastes like a glorious batch of summer. Blueberries are perfect for this kind of jam because they get jammy pretty naturally. If you do want a slightly less cooked version you can add pectin. But if you're like me and you don't make a ton of jam at home then this is a simple solution that will suddenly make you feel like a home cooking superstar. The truth is that great in-season fruit makes excellent jam without much else, so don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

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The Secret to Flawless Shortbread

Sometimes life just requires baking. In those moments nothing is better than a cookie. And when you want simplicity to go along with it, a shortbread cookie can be the ultimate satisfying treat.

Jim Lahey, the brilliant mind behind Sullivan Street Bakery grew up on Walker's Shortbread. I became a bit addicted to them myself when I lived in Scotland. But unlike Lahey I didn't spend years honing and perfecting my own version. Luckily he was willing to share his Italian take on the classic

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The Healthiest Sandwich Trick

I love a good hack, and apple sandwiches are kind of my new current favorite. If you use tart apples instead of bread you create a whole new category with texture and a fun factor that is hard to beat.

Recently Siri Daly stopped by to talk about her new book, Siriously Delicious. The wife of famed tv host Carson Daly uses her book and blog to showcase her easy recipes that help her keep her busy family on the go. Siri is one of those people who tries to make life easier and I loved the fun outlook in the book. But these  apple sandwiches with nut butter and granola have made me a convert.

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Keep Your Summer Cooking Game Strong

While I myself am sadly doing nothing of any particular excitement for July 4th (yay for this weird Wednesday holiday, right?!) for most people it is a chance to cook, grill and enjoy the great outdoors.

So I thought I would round up a few recipes to get everyone prepared for what tends to be one of my favorite holidays. After all, it's basically just summer weather, fireworks and nothing to do but grill 

Make use of tomato season starting and try this Cherry Tomato Tart from Bring It!. It was recently featured in my hometown paper, The Post and Courier. Another Bring It! classic, perfect for this time of year is the Watermelon Ribs, that were featured on Food & Wine

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