Golden Birthday Punch


A few weeks ago, I finally celebrated my long-anticipated Golden Birthday!

The party was perfect: my family and friends came to celebrate with me, decked in gold of course, and everything went off without a hitch. The food and the punch were both delicious, the gold decorations and paper rosettes looked great, and everyone seemed to have a really great time. My sweet mom even made me a golden birthday cake! The party was absolutely fantastic in every way.

Besides seeing all of my beloved friends and family members, the best aspect of the party was definitely the punch. I had been looking for a punch recipe to serve for awhile, and when I stumbled upon this one I knew it was "the one". It had all the right ingredients for a good punch--gin, sparkling wine, and grapefruit juice (my favorite). Everyone loved it so much that it was gone in the first hour! It was a total hit.

Thanks to everyone that made my day so wonderful. I love you all!


Golden Punch
Adapted from Food and Wine

Serves 16

1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups chilled club soda
2 cups gin
3 cups fresh grapefruit juice + a few grapefruit wheels for garnish
1 1/2 cups fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 cups sweet vermouth
4 1/2 cups chilled sparkling wine

Stir together sugar and club soda in a large pitcher until dissolved. Add gin, grapefruit juice, lemon juice, and sweet vermouth. Stir together and refrigerate until chilled, about 1 hour. Transfer mixture to a punch bowl, stir in sparkling wine, and add grapefruit wheels to the top. Serve over ice!



Blog Resolutions


I have to admit, Le Man and Wife has been hanging by a thread for the last few months. New jobs, new projects, and new friends have stolen our attention recently, and though we still love to cook together, we haven't put much time into making it a priority. Nonetheless, I feel a bond with Le Man and Wife. It has been such a great creative outlet for us over the past two years, and I just cant seem to part with it.

So we have returned, with some realistic blog resolutions to keep Le Man and Wife going strong:

Resolution #1: Post less frequently. We love posting recipes, but sometimes it can be difficult to crank out multiple recipes per month. We'll still be posting, just not as frequently as we have in the past. Content quality will still be our top priority!

Resolution #2: Use iPhone photos if needed. We love using our Nikon to take photos as much as possible, but let's be honest--sometimes your iPhone is the only thing that can capture a photo of your amazing meal before you devour it.

Resolution #3: Post simpler recipes. We're thinking that if we don't have time to make anything complicated, you probably don't either. You should expect to see more snack recipes, cocktails, and weeknight dinners; we think those will be more useful to you, anyway.

We hope you'll continue to stick around! We'd love to have you. 


Michael and Caitlin


Lentil Vegetable Soup with Beet Greens


I can't believe how quickly this year's gone so far. We're almost done with week three of the elementary school year, and so far everything is going fantastically well. Starting a new job has been a little scary for me, but thankfully the staff is incredibly nice and supportive and the students are sweet as always (minus the few that have spent some quality time in The Audience). I have been really busy these last few weeks though, and I have to say, I'm loving it! I know I haven't been here much lately, but that's life right? And live is going oh so well right now.

Adding to life's greatness, my beautiful college roommates came to visit over Labor Day weekend. We had such a blast--all five of us stayed in my Chicago apartment, and we were finally able to spend some great quality time together after over a year of being apart. Knowing that I needed to feed everyone, I decided to make my favorite lentil soup with about every CSA vegetable that I had on hand. I added cabbage, tomatoes, and beet greens this time (yes, beet greens), and it was delicious as ever. It's also great with swiss chard--cut the stems too and add them in to the soup with the celery.

I'm feeling like this is such a great fall recipe, and what a perfect time to share it since we're past labor day. Oh, and it's gluten free! Happy soup eating!

Lentil Vegetable Soup with Beet Greens
Adapted from Ina Garten

1 pound green lentils
3 large yellow onions, chopped
2 leeks, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon ground cumin
10-12 celery stalks, diced
6 large carrots, diced
2 large tomatoes, diced
3 quarts chicken stock
1/4 cup tomato paste
3 cups beet greens, stems and ribs removed
1 small head cabbage, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

Place lentils in a medium bowl and cover with boiling water. Let sit for 15 minutes, then drain.

Heat olive oil in a large stock pot and cook onions, leeks, garlic, salt, pepper, thyme, and cumin until soft and very tender, about 20 minutes. Add celery and carrots and cook for 10 more minutes. Add tomatoes, chicken stock, tomato paste, and lentils and stir together. Bring soup to a boil, then reduce and simmer uncovered for 1 hour.

Add cabbage, red wine vinegar, and beet greens and cook for 3-5 minutes or until cabbage is the texture of your liking. Serve with grated parmesan cheese and crusty bread!


Spaghetti with Swiss Chard and Garlic Chips


Husband and I are currently participating in a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) through Mike and Clare's Farm in Harvard, Illinois. Each Sunday, we get a box of 7-8 different types of fresh vegetables to take home and enjoy. It has been so much fun for us this summer and has really helped us to think outside of the box (no pun intended) when coming up with recipes using our CSA goodies.

There are always a few things in each week's box that I'm totally excited over, like herbs (you can't beat fresh basil and parsley), tiny sweet peppers, and insanely flavorful celery. Amazing, I tell you! There are also a few things in the box that I'm not sure about, like kohlrabi and beet greens, mostly because I don't buy them on a regular basis. The experimenting has been awesome though, and I'm always surprised at how much I love the veggies that confuse me! Haha.


We've also been getting a crazy amount of greens in our box recently: kale, swiss chard, beet leaves, romaine, etc. I've been a little overwhelmed with all of it, so I've been trying to come up with a different recipe every day that incorporates all of these beautiful greens. (I'm going to share a few of my favorites over the next week or two, so if you have a CSA box and aren't sure what to do with all of your greens, stay tuned!) My favorite recipe using Swiss chard is this spaghetti with garlic chips. I mean come on--fried garlic and pasta? Nothing wrong with that!

This pasta dish has such a great briny flavor from the feta and olives, and an awesome garlicky flavor from the chips and the greens, too (which are cooked in that delicious garlic oil). It also looks really pretty on a plate, doesn't it? If you're shy about trying Swiss chard, this is a great starter recipe. You'll be so distracted by the fried garlic chips, you won't even notice the chard. :) Hope you enjoy!

Stay tuned for Lentil Soup with Beet Leaves later in the week!


Spaghetti and Swiss Chard with Garlic Chips
Slightly adapted from Gourmet Comfort Magazine

Serves 4-6

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 head garlic, cloves peeled and sliced thin lengthwise
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 pounds Swiss chard, stems and center ribs finely chopped and leaves chopped coarsely
1/2 cup water
1 pound spaghetti
2 tablespoons pitted kalamata olives, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups crumbled feta

Get out a large pot for boiling pasta. Turn on heat so water can get ready.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add garlic slices and fry in oil until golden and crispy, about 3 minutes. Remove garlic from oil with a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel to dry.

Add onion to remaining oil and cook until softened, 3-5 minutes. Add chard stems, water, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt and pepper and stir together. Cover mixture and cook over medium-high heat until stems are tender, about 5 more minutes. (Check pasta water and add spaghetti now if water is boiling.) Stir in chard leaves and cover again. Cook for another 5 minutes.

Reserve one cup of pasta water and then drain spaghetti. Toss spaghetti with chard mixture in the skillet. Add olives and 1/2 cup of the pasta water to make sure everything sticks together. Season again with salt and pepper, then serve with crumbled feta and garlic chips!


Cold Brewed Mint Iced Tea


FINALLY, the temperature lowered itself back down to the 70s. It's about time! I really wanted to share this beautiful cold brewed mint tea recipe with you today, although I think it would probably be more refreshing on those 100-degree days. Don't worry--I won't wish them back just for tea.

If you haven't made cold brewed tea before, now's the time to start! It's the easiest drink to make, and the variations are endless. This mint tea, by the way, is pretty boring compared to some of the tea recipes out there, but this is the way I make it day-to-day. If you want it fancier, by all means go for it! Cold brewed tea contains less caffeine too, so don't worry if you drink more than one glass.

Happy tea drinking! Enjoy the weather while it lasts (and come back soon for a little mini-series on how to use your CSA greens)!

Cold Brewed Mint Iced Tea

Makes 8 servings

8 black tea bags
10 or so fresh mint leaves
64 ounces cold filtered water

Fill a large pitcher with water. Add tea bags to the side of the pitcher and secure if needed. Place mint in a cheese cloth or a tea ball and add to the water. Put pitcher in the refrigerator for 6-8 hours. If you like the strength of the tea and mint, remove both from water and enjoy! If you want it stronger, keep in refrigerator until desired strength. Add more mint leaves for garnish.