It's me, the Silliest

This is my blog of recipes. I like "eating the rainbow" as well as globe-trotting through food. I totally dig heady local produce and local fresh meats.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Fishcakes with Tartar Sauce

I grilled a whole snapper recently and had half the fish leftover. I stored this in the fridge for two days and got to it last night. It was a good pantry raid! I didn't have bread crumbs, so I opened a package of store bought Stove Top stuffing and used that for the bread crumbs (you have put these in your food processor to get them fine enough) and this worked excellently!

3/4 lb white fish, cooked and flaked
1 C finely ground seasoned bread crumbs (or ground up Stove Top stuffing in my case :-P)
2 eggs, beaten
2 TBSP heavy cream

2 TBSP mayo
2 TBSP heavy cream
1 TBSP capers, roughly chopped
1 TBSP relish

Yes, it's this easy! Combine ingredients from list A together (this should be sticky and able to form patties) and form into patties. Fry in some oil (doesn't matter what kind... I had mustard oil) over medium heat for about 3 minutes per side or until nicely browned.

Mix ingredients from B together to serve as tartar sauce. You should throw a v simple salad together to serve with this.

Rhubarb, Cranberry, Jalapeno and Ginger Relish

I got this recipe from one of my fave blogs - Design Sponge! It is sooo tasty and this recipe makes so much that you can give to your friends in little jars along with the recipe. Your friends can then buy the scallops, grill em up and badabing badaboom - gourmet meal!

Here is the link to this recipe! Enjoy!!

Iceburg Wedge

We got some really tasty steaks the other day (oh! just remembered I had leftovers in the freezer - aw hellllz yeeeeah!) and they were big and juicy and sexi and porterhousely. It is summer, so I didn't want to undue my work at the gym, so I opted for something simple and "healthy" on the side... just watch the amount of blue cheese dressing you use!! I thought a simple wedge would be PERFECT!

1 head Iceburg lettuce
1 large beefsteak tomato
2 boiled eggs

1/2 C mayo
1/2 C heavy cream
1 TBSP sherry vinegar
4 oz Stilton blue cheese
1 tsp dried tarragon

The assembly is pretty obvious I think... quarter the ice burg lettuce and serve one quarter per plate. Chop the tomatoes and eggs as you wish and put them on top (aka to the side, as they will fall down). Whisk all of the dressing ingredients except the blue cheese until smooth. Crumble blue cheese in dressing and whisk to combine to your liking (if you like it smooth, whisk away. I like mine chunky, so I combined ever so slightly).

Serve this w some bloody slabs and you've got yourself a meal!

Peach Pie Cobbler

I went to the farmers market this weekend and they had some divine peaches! I picked me up about 10 lbs and I had me some pies! The amount of peaches you need will certainly vary depending on how small you cut them, if you peel them or not, etc etc. I cut some of mine small, some of mine large and I peeled about 75% but left some unpeeled for the bright color on the skin. I am not kidding when I say that these peaches were perfect and beautiful!

I didn't want a large undertaking and I wanted to enjoy the pies asap, so I bought some already prepared, frozen deep dish 9" pie crusts and kept it nice and simple.

Also, it is important when making a pie like this to not get caught up on details. Basically, no matter how you prepare the topping or cut the peaches, it is going to be super tasty! Just have fun... you will be so proud of yourself :-)

10 lbs peaches (or enough to fill two deep dish pie crusts)
1/2 C flour
2 heaping TBSP cornstarch
2/3 C sugar
2 tsp cinnamon

2 C bread flour
1 C dark brown sugar
2 tsp salt
2 stick butter, cold and cut into pieces

2 deep dish 9" frozen pie crusts

Peel and cut your peaches how you wish. If you aren't too adventurous or are not too familiar with making pies, then you should peel all but two of your peaches and cut them into 1/8s. If you are doing it this way then you will prob need about 6-9 peaches per pie.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine the rest of A together and place half in each frozen pie crust and set aside.

Combine B in a bowl and break together with your fingers until the dough comes together into little pieces that are the size of a pea. Divide in two and pat this on top of your pies (you will need to do this with a bit of force as the peaches should be piled high, however, you want to pat it on but let it remain a crumbly top).

Place both on a cookie sheet and bake for about 45 minutes or until golden brown.

Whole BBQ'd Snapper

Summer = BBQ; no other factors are necessary. However, this specific formula is as follows: 2S+2Hh+2L+2B=Perfect Snapper!

2 lbs Snapper (or any fish, any size), head removed, gutted... I DEF have my fish dude do this for me!
2 handfuls of herbs (parsley, oregano, thyme, rosemary, sage... go to your garden and snip away)
2 lemons
2 TBSP butter, room temp

Arrange half your herbs on the bottom of a sheet of tin foil that is big enough to just wrap up your fish. Cut up one lemon and put half of the slices on top of the herbs. Lay your fish on top, put the other half of the lemon inside the fish with the other half of your herbs and half your butter. Put the other TBSP of butter on top of him and bbq him on medium heat for 20 mins!

Roasted Beet and Goat Cheese Tartelettes

I've gotten big into baking and I LOVE anything mini. So, when I heard about these savory tartelettes (mini tarts), I was sooo amped! I am def going to do more of these savory tartelettes in the future. I am just going to do the tartelette recipe here, but I paired them with a whole bbq'd snapper stuffed w herbs a plenty and also a simple salad with watercress and arugula from the garden. It was a phenomenal summer dinner. Also, I was able to freeze a few of the tartelettes and I will most certainly enjoy those another day!

6 small beets or 4 large (as many colors as you can find out there... at least golden and red)
4 TBSP olive oil
2 TBSP sherry
2 TBSP thyme

2 1/2 C flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
2 sticks butter, cold and chopped finely
Ice water if needed (up to 1/2 C)

8 oz goat cheese (one large log)
1 C + 1 TBSP ricotta
2 eggs
2 TBSP chopped mixed herbs

I did this in steps. The night before I roasted the beets and prepared the crust. To do so, preheat oven to 425 degrees, wrap each beet in tin foil individually and bake until soft (40- 55 minutes). Let cool overnight at room temp.

To prepare the pastry, combine all ingredients other than the water in your food processor and process until a crumbly dough forms. Add enough water to make a cohesive dough. Add the water VERY slowly... 1 TBSP at a time. You do not want a sticky dough. Divide the dough into 10 pieces and wrap them in saran (you can wrap them all together... they will pull apart neatly when you want to use them) and put in fridge until ready to go.

The next morning (the day you're going to eat these delicacies), peel, slice and marinate the beets (I kept the colors separate and just divided the marinade amongst them) in the thyme, olive oil and vinegar. You can also make the filling by mixing ingredients from part C together. Cover this and refrigerate.

When you're ready to eat, roll out each dough and put it in your mini tart tins (mine were 4" each... 10 total). Polk the bottoms with a fork and put back in fridge. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. After the dough in the tart pans has set in the fridge for 10 minutes, bake them (no filling) for 10 minutes. Remove from oven (I put mine all on a cookie tray) and let them rest for 2 minutes. After the short rest, fill with the filling and top with beets (I did four slices of beets per tartelette). Bake for another 30 mins.

Congrats - these are perf!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Blueberry Crumble Pie with Burnt Sugar Ice Cream

My dad loves chocolate and blueberries, so I went with blueberries cause it's the summer and they're all about (and inexpensive... not that I wouldn't splurge for father dearest or anything like that :-) Anyways, this pie came out really well and the cardamom worked incredibly well (my dad even guessed that it was cardamom!!... I guess I get my skillz from somewhere!) Now, buying a pre-made pie crust is toootally not my style at all, but I helped a friend move into her new house all weekend, so I was really crunched for time.

1 C flour
1/2 C packed light brown sugar
1 stick cold butter, cut into small pieces

4 C blueberries
1/2 lemon, squeezed lightly
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 C sugar
1/4 C flour

Pre-made 9" frozen pie crust

1/2 C sugar
2 TBSP water
2 C milk
1 C heavy cream
5 egg yolks
Pinch of salt

You want to prepare the ice cream the night before. To do so, combine the sugar and water (from C) in a pan and dissolve the sugar with the water. Once dissolved, continue to cook until it becomes a dark brown. Once that has happened, add the milk (yes, it will bubbly like woah!) and continue whisking until it has dissolved into the sugar. Add the cream and turn off the heat. Whip the egg yolks with the salt until the yolks turn fluffy and pale. Whisk the warm mixture into the egg mixture and then return everything to the eat. Continue whisking over the heat until you have a creme anglaise texture (until it coats the back of a spoon). Turn off the heat and let sit at room temperature for a couple of hours until the mixture becomes room temperature. Cover and refrigerate overnight. The next day, run it through your ice cream maker and then hard-freeze for a couple of hours.

For the pie:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine A in a bowl and use your fingers to crumble the butter in until it becomes pea-sized, set aside. Combine B in another bowl and pour the contents into the pie crust. Top with A and bake for 45 minutes!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Flounder over Arugula with a Mushroom, Caper and White Wine Sauce

Once you commute home from work, go to the gym, get home and cook, it can be 8:30 already! And the last thing I want to do at 8:30 after the gym is eat a heavy meal. I made this last night and it was a nice, quick and healthy late-night meal. I added tons of flavor by going to my garden and picking some fresh herbals! I served the fish with either pasta or arugula. I did pasta for my mom and mike and I did arugula for myself. I always say it's nice when people have options and can create for themselves!

1 1/2 lbs flounder
2 C thinly sliced crimini shroomies
3 TBSP capers
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely minced
Fresh herbs to your liking: basil, parsley, oregano and thyme
1 C white wine
1 C Italian-style panko bread crumbs
2 TBSP margarine

Wash, dry and dip the fish in an egg wash. Bread the fish fillets and fry quickly using a little bit of olive oil or Pam. Remove from pan, add some more Pam and add the onions, garlic, margarine, mushrooms, capers and herbs and stir over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Once the pan has started to get dry and a bit sticky, deglaze with the wine and let the sauce thicken for about 5 minutes. Add the fish back on top and spoon the mushroom mixture on top. Let people choose from either arugula or pasta and serve themselves straight from the pan.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Fish n Chips

'Allo matey! Just kidding - that's so obnoxious. I grew up eating fish and chips as me mums is a true Brit! I love all the contrast in a platter of fish and chips, but the simplicity is what makes it so desirable and such an easy thing to have time after time after time. I think this dish really gives your mouth a good workout; you have the light and crunch batter with the moist and flaky fish and then you have the sharp vinegar paired with the smooth tartar. It's bloody brilliant if you ask me!

2 lbs cod or haddock, cut into 2X3" pieces
1 lb red potatoes, peeled and cut into long and fat strips (for the chips)
~2 quarts canola oil
Tartar sauce
Sarson's malt vinegar

1 C flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
~ 1/2 bottle of beer

I do this the way my mom does it - not very exact. You don't have to! Peel and cut your potatoes ahead of time so they are ready. Heat the oil (in a 6 quart pot) over high heat. When you can dip a fry in the oil and it immediately starts to sizzle and form small bubbles around it, you know the oil is ready! I'm sure it's probably like 350 degrees F or something like that.

Mix the flour, baking powder, salt and beer together until you have a thick batter (add the beer slowly) and put aside. Fry the potatoes until they are brown to your liking (about 5 - 10 mins) and remove with your spider and put on a plate lined with paper towels. Next, dip the fish in the batter and fry until golden brown! Serve with malt vinegar and tartar sauce!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Peach and Spinach Salad with Blue Cheese Dressing

As I've mentioned before, I like things! I like lots of things in salads especially or else I get bored. Somehow the peach and the blue cheese is a match made in heaven... and one that I wasn't expecting at all. Sometimes in the summer it is just too damn hot to cook anything, but that doesn't mean that you don't want any flavor in your life! Try these perfect summer flavors and you will not miss out.

1 lb spinach
4 peaches, cut into slices
1/2 red onion, sliced paper thin
1/2 C rough chopped pecans
4 strips cooked bacon, crumbled

1/2 C crumbled blue cheese
1/4 C low fat buttermilk
1/4 fat free sour cream
1/4 tsp sugar

Chop your veggies and toss/arrange however you like. Serve the dressing on the side so people can custom-make their own salads.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Soft Pretzels

Alton Brown really does things right. I'll have to say that I was in no way, shape or form expecting home-made soft pretzels to be so damn delicious! Make some of these and serve with brats, kraut and a beer!

1 1/2 cups warm (110 to 115 degrees F) water
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 package active dry yeast
22 ounces all-purpose flour, approximately 4 1/2 cups
2 ounces unsalted butter, melted
Vegetable oil, for pan
10 cups water
2/3 cup baking soda
1 large egg yolk beaten with 1 tablespoon water
Pretzel salt

Combine the water, sugar and kosher salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and sprinkle the yeast on top. Allow to sit for 5 minutes or until the mixture begins to foam. Add the flour and butter and, using the dough hook attachment, mix on low speed until well combined. Change to medium speed and knead until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl, approximately 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the dough from the bowl, clean the bowl and then oil it well with vegetable oil. Return the dough to the bowl, cover with plastic wrap and sit in a warm place for approximately 50 to 55 minutes or until the dough has doubled in size.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line 2 half-sheet pans with parchment paper and lightly brush with the vegetable oil. Set aside.

Bring the 10 cups of water and the baking soda to a rolling boil in an 8-quart saucepan or roasting pan.

In the meantime, turn the dough out onto a slightly oiled work surface and divide into 8 equal pieces. Roll out each piece of dough into a 24-inch rope. Make a U-shape with the rope, holding the ends of the rope, cross them over each other and press onto the bottom of the U in order to form the shape of a pretzel. Place onto the parchment-lined half sheet pan.

Place the pretzels into the boiling water, 1 by 1, for 30 seconds. Remove them from the water using a large flat spatula. Return to the half sheet pan, brush the top of each pretzel with the beaten egg yolk and water mixture and sprinkle with the pretzel salt. Bake until dark golden brown in color, approximately 12 to 14 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack for at least 5 minutes before serving.

Very Berry Pie

Nothing says summer like berries! Honestly, is there anything better than berries? Fine, maybe there is: pies! Combine the two and holy crap have you got yourself a fun night or what?! My sister Weener and I just discovered that you can make really fun pies by rolling out the top crust and using a cookie cutter to make random shapes. Then you just overlap all the shapes on the top of the pie! Also, Whole Foods has really fun sugars ... one of them is this pink raspberry sugar that you can sprinkle on the top instead of white sugar.

2 1/2 C flour
1 tsp salt
2 TBSP sugar
1 C butter, cold, cut into 1/2" pieces
1/4 C ice water (more if you need)

2 lbs fresh berries (1 small container each of blueberries, raspberries and blackberries and then half a package of strawberries, quartered)
4 TBSP corn starch
3/4 C sugar
1 tsp lemon juice


In your food processor, combine all ingredients (except for water) in your food processor and pulse until a dough starts to form. Add the ice water in a steady stream until a nice dough forms. Divide this into two parts, cover w saran wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour.

After the dough is done setting in the fridge, preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Roll out one part of the dough until it is 1 inch bigger all around than your pie pan. Transfer the dough to your pie pan and remove any excess dough.

Sprinkle 3 TBSP of the sugar on the bottom of the pie crust. Toss the remaining sugar with the fruit, cornstarch and lemon juice. Pour the berry mixture into the pie pan. Roll out the second piece of dough and cut out fun shapes with cookie cutters. Place the shapes on top of the berries to form the top piece of your crust. Brush the top of the crust with milk and sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 35 minutes, then cover the crust with a pie crust shield (or tin foil!) and bake for another 10 minutes.

Grilled Garlic-Chili Veggies with Chunky Walnut Dressing

I am sure I ranted and raved about grilling veggies last summer, but it's summer again so I shall rant and rave again: ranting and raving! I have added two new twists this summer that makes the veggies even more scrumptious! I brush them with some olive oil that is infused with garlic, chili, anchovy and thyme. And the tangy nuttiness of this dressing pairs beautifully w the earthy and charred flavors of the veggies! It also works it's magic doubly well on sweet grilled onions!

4 portabella shrooms
1 bunch scallions
1 bunch asparagus
1 eggplant, sliced thinly lengthwise
2 zucchinis, sliced thinly lengthwise

1/2 C olive oil
3-5 cloves garlic
1 TBSP red pepper flakes
2 anchovy fillets

1/4 C olive oil
1 TBSP lemon juice
1 tsp thyme
1 C toasted walnuts

Alrighty, you want to get your grill goin. Make the dressing first by combining the ingredients in your food processor and chopping them w the pulse setting about 5 times until a nice and chunky dressing forms.

Then you want to puree ingredients from A together in your food processor. Take the rub + your veggies out to your grill. Lightly brush one side of the veggies w the rub and then slap it on the grill. Brush the other side. Turn your veggies over after about 4 minutes on a medium grill.

Serve with the walnut dressing and anything else you're grilling!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Nigerian Stew

My brother has a friend from NYIT who is from Nigeria. His name is Lucas and he came over on the weekend and cooked a recipe from his childhood in Nigeria. Being in the US, we had to improvise with American spices, but the end result is still wonderful! It's also a great dish to feed a crowd - we fed 10! I am going to scale it down a bit here to make it more user-friendly. I am also cutting and pasting most of this from an email I received from Lucas with the recipe.

I would recommend cooking the rice, potatoes and veggies ahead of time (just boil or steam everything) and keep them warm in the oven for when it comes time to serve.

1 1/2 lbs stewing beef, cut into 1/2" cubes
1 onion plus another onion to cook with the meat
2 large tomatoes
2 bell peppers (one green and one red)
Habenero peppers (optional, use for spice)
8 oz tomato paste
1 tsp thyme, curry powder and powdered ginger (two batches of this mixture)
2 Maggi bouillon cubes
Olive oil

Cooked rice
Cooked small Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and halved
1 lb string beans
1 package frozen corn

Puree the onion, tomatoes and peppers in a blender until smooth. Set aside.

Slice the second onion into small strings. Add some olive oil to a pan and brown the meet with the sliced onion and the dried herb mixture. Make sure to reserve the all the juices!

In a medium pot, heat 6 TBSP of oil over medium heat. Add the tomato paste to the oil and cook for about 3 mins, then slowly mix in the blend of onions, tomatoes and peppers. Then cook the mixture for about 5 more minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add about half a cup of water to the mixture and leave to cook at slightly more than medium heat for about 15 mins.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl with a tiny amount of warm water, mix the dried herbs. Add the mixture to the stew and mix thoroughly. Cook lidded for about 3 minutes and then add 2 large cubes of Maggi seasoning dissolved in a very small amount of hot water. You can also add the juices from cooking the meat at this point.

** This is a good time to taste the stew to see if it's turning out as it should. Also, at any time while cooking the stew, go ahead and add a bit of hot water if you feel it needs some.

Pan-fry the cooked meat in some olive oil until nice and golden brown, add to the stew and cook, lidded, for an additional 20 minutes.

Serve with the rice, potatoes, beans and corn.

Note: Lucas also recommends doing this with salmon!!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Fruit Cobbler

There isn't really anything comparable to a warm fruit cobbler after burgers on the grill on a warm summer night out on the deck. Oh, and the vanilla ice cream is a must! The smooth coolness with the crispy warmth is a match made in heavy. Gosh - this sounds almost pornographic! I did a bunch of research on cobbler recipes and I really like this one as a basic go-to as I believe you can throw any fruit into it and perfection is almost guaranteed. It's an elegant hodgepodge, which is unlikely but magnificent!

1/2 C flour
1/4 C white sugar
1/4 C brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
Small pinch of ground cloves (optional)
Pinch of salt
6 TBSP cold butter, cut into little pieces
1/3 C oats
1/3 C chopped pecans

3 lbs fruit of choice
3 TBSP granulated sugar (more if you think your fruit is very bitter)
Lemon zest and juice (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Mix ingredients A together with your fingers until pea-sized balls form. Put in fridge while preparing your fruit.

Peel and chop fruit (if necessary) and toss with the rest of ingredients from B.

In a dish of your choice (I used a 9" round 3" deep glass dish), pour in Mixture B and top with Mixture A.

Cook for about 35 - 45 mins or until the top is slightly golden and the fruit is bubbling out.

Serve with ice cream!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

English Sticky Toffee Pudding with Vanilla Frozen Custard

This completed the Mother's Day brunch. MAN was this delicious. My mom is British and I found this under the "English Comfort Food" section of Food & Wine. The sauce and technique is something to try because I can only imagine you could use this technique over and over again!

4 eggs
2 1/2 C sugar
1/2 tsp salt
6 C milk
3 C evaporated milk
2 TBSP vanilla
1 C milk

2 1/2 C cream
1 stick butter
1/2 C corn syrup
1 C sugar

6 oz dates
3/4 C water
3/4 C + 2 TBSP flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
Pinch of salt
4 TBSP butter, room temp
3/4 C packed light brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

The night before, bring all ingredients in A to a slow simmer and cook for about 10 minutes (you NEVER want this to boil). Pour into a bowl and let it come to room temp. Then refrigerate over night. The next morning you can run it in the ice cream maker and then hard freeze it.

For the sauce, combine half of the cream, the butter, sugar and corn syrup in a heavy bottom pan and let boil for 40 minutes, stirring occasionally. After 40 minutes, add the rest of the cream and turn off heat.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Boil the dates in the water for 15 minutes or until the water is almost all gone. Transfer to a food processor and pulse until smooth.

Mix the dry ingredients and set aside. Beat the brown sugar and butter in your Kitchenaid for about 5 minutes. Add the vanilla and egg and then the dry ingredients until just combined. Spoon the batter into 6 well buttered ramekins and bake for 20 minutes or until a pic comes out clean. Let the cakes cool for 15 minutes.

After they have cooled, remove from ramekins, cut in half horizontally and wipe the ramekins clean.

When you're ready to serve, put 1 TBSP sauce into bottom of ramekin, put the top half of the cake in the ramekin, add another TBSP of sauce and put the second half on top. Bake for another 10 minutes. Serve w the extra sauce and ice cream!!!!

Lemon Poppy Biscuits with Early Grey Honey-Butter

This is another Mother's Day recipe. The biscuits were light and flaky and then the honey butter had an unbelievable flavor coming from the tea and it paired beautifully w the sweet sweet honey. yummm!

1 stick room-temp butter
2 TBSP honey
Contents from one Earl Grey tea bag

2 1/4 C flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 C sugar
1 tsp salt
10 TBSP butter, chilled and chopped finely
2 TBSP melted butter
Lemon zest from one lemon
1 TBSP poppy seeds
1 C butter

For the Earl Grey Honey-Butter, whip the butter with the tea and honey. Transfer this to a sheet of saran wrap and twirl the ends to form a log with the butter. Refrigerate overnight.

For the biscuits, mix the dry ingredients and set aside.

Preheat oven to 425.

Cut the chilled butter into the dry ingredients with two knives until the dough is pea sized. Stir in the zest, poppy seeds and buttermilk. Transfer to a lightly floured surface and kneed just a couple of times until combined. Roll out to 1/2" thick and cut biscuit shapes out (I used a mini-cutter to yield about 16 biscuits). Brush the tops with the melted butter. Chill for 20 minutes and then bake for 10 minutes or until lightly golden and flaky looking.

Smoked Salmon Tea Sandwiches

I made these for Mother's Day and they were super quick and easy and delicious! I served them on a silver platter, arranged nicely, with some fresh watercress as garnish.

1 loaf thin sliced white bread
12 oz smoked salmon, cut finely
1 jar capers
1 tub creme fraiche
Watercress (optional garnish)

Spread both sides of sandwich with creme fraiche and sprinkle capers on both sides as well. I took time here to make the spreading neat and even. Place a few slices of smoked salmon on one side and place the other piece of bread on top. Make sure to not over-stuff the sandwiches. At this point, stack high and refrigerate until the creme fraiche is nice and cold and firm. Remove from fridge, slice off the crusts and arrange on a nice platter with the watercress.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Cheese Cake

After making this you really understand how awful this is for you. Which, as I think we've all learned by now, means that it tastes wonderful!! This is just the basic plain cheesecake recipe and I plan to make many more variations (cannoli cheese cake will come)!

2 C ground graham cracker crumbs
2 TBSP sugar
7 TBSP butter, melted

4 packages (8 oz.) of cream cheese (hey - I wasn't lying when I said it was bad for you!)
2 TBSP flour
1/8 tsp salt
1 1/4 C sugar
4 eggs

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Take the eggs and cream cheese out of the fridge.

Mix the crumbs and sugar and then add the butter. Once it is mixed and clumping slightly, press it into a 9" springform pan and make sure it comes up the pan 2 inches all around. Bake this for about 10 minutes and then let it cool completely.

Reduce oven to 300 degrees.

Meanwhile, beat the cream cheese, flour and salt for about 1 minute (using your paddle attachment). Add the sugar and beat on high for about 5 minutes or until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time and mix ONLY to combine (do not over mix the eggs). Pour the mixture into the springform pan over the COOLED crust and bake on 300 degrees for one hour. Cool completely before putting it in the fridge and then refrigerate overnight. Worth the wait!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Curried Salmon Patties with Mango, Red Pepper and Scallion Salsa and Wild Rice

I found this recipe in the Food Network magazine. I added a few things of my own and it turned out to be an absolutely delicious meal! This is relatively quick and inexpensive, making it a great week-day meal.

1 lb salmon
1 bunch scallions, chopped finely
1 inch of ginger, grated
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1 mango, diced
2 celery stalks
1 C finely crushed unsalted saltine crackers
2 TBSP tartar sauce, divided
1 TBSP curry powder, divided
2 eggs
Canola oil for the pan

Cook wild rice according to package directions. I got my wild rice from Whole Foods in the bulk section, so there wasn't a box with instructions. If this happens to you, just do 2:1 water to rice and bring it to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for about 40 minutes.

Put the salmon + 2 TBSP of water in a large pan. Sprinkle the salmon w 1 tsp of curry powder, cover and cook for 6 minutes on medium until the salmon is cooked through.

Meanwhile, chop the veggies as directed and keep them separate.

When the salmon has cooled slightly, flake it and combine it w 1 egg, 1/4 crushed saltines, half the scallions and a TBSP of tartar sauce. Form into patties and put in the freezer for 15 minutes to stiffen.

While the patties are in the freezer, combine the remaining scallions, remaining curry powder, remaining tartar sauce, red bell pepper, celery and mango in a bowl (the salsa) and set aside. You can also prepare the egg dish at this point. To do so, combine the remaining egg with 1 TBSP water.

After 15 minutes in the freezer the salmon cakes should be hardened. Dip the salmon cakes in the egg mixture, then in the remaining crushed saltines. Cook these in a pre-heated skillet over medium-high heat with a bit of canola oil. Cook on each side for about 3 minutes, or until golden.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Pad Thai

Mark Bittman, of the NYTimes just did a pad thai recipe. Now, I love him (and his opening to his cooking videos - tee he he), but sometimes you gotta put in just a taaad more love than he does. So, I made just a few adjustments that I think make all the difference. I started out just making it as he suggests, but it was under-spiced, there weren't enough noodles and the sauce was way too watery. I think I have come up with a great pad thai recipe. And the ingredients seem a bit daunting - fish sauce and tamarind concentrate - but once you get them, you'll have them as a go-to. I love pad thai, but I think I might be pad thai'd out, considering I've eaten it for like 4 meals this week - hah!

12 oz thick rice noodles (if you can only find thin ones, then just use fettuccine pasta... it sounds so weird and unauthentic, but the shape/texture of the noodle is key in pad thai)

1/4 C tamarind concentrate
1/4 C fish sauce (Mark Bittman has it dead on... smells like old socks, tastes wonderful)
3 TBSP palm sugar (or regular if that's all you got)
2 TBSP rice vinegar
2 tsp arrowroot (optional thickener)
Red pepper flakes to taste ... I used ~2 tsp for spicy

2 TBSP + 1 tsp peanut oil
4 cloves garlic
1 bunch of scallions, chopped on a bias
1/2 block of tofu, cut into 1/2" cubes
2 eggs
2 C shredded nappa cabbage
2 C mung bean sprouts
1/2 lb shrimps

1/4 C chopped mint
1/4 C chopped cilantro
1/4 C chopped peanuts

Cook the noodles according to package direction, toss w 1 tsp peanut oil and set aside.

In a large wok over high heat, saute the garlic and scallions in 2 TBSP peanut oil for 1 minute. Add the tofu and egg and cook for 30 seconds or so (remember, this is a quick go-to). Add the rest of the veggies and cook until they are all slightly wilted (5-8 minutes). Add the shrimp and sauce and cook for another 4 minutes or until the shrimp are cooked through.

Transfer to a bowl and top with cilantro, mint and peanuts.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Crispy Wonton Appetizers

The wonton cups can be filled with absolutely anything. They make a great, inexpensive and versatile appetizer! My friend and I had to come up with a bunch of different appetizers using white foods as her boyfriend was hosting a "white party". It was mostly a joke (trying to act like P. Diddy and all), but we rolled with and came up with super creative appetizers and desserts with all white food!!!

You can add anything to the wontons! Don't think that it's limited to Asian apps! I'd love to hear variations on this dish!

1 package square wontons
3 daikons, shredded
2 large chicken breasts
1 handful of chopped cashews
1 inch of ginger, finely minced

2 TBSP fish sauce
2 TBSP lime juice
1 TBSP soy
1 tsp Sriracha
2 tsp sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Simmer the chicken breasts in water for about 40 minutes or until they are cooked through and become pullable. While that's cooking, brush mini cupcake tins with a pastry brush and veggie oil (very very light coating). Push and fold the wontons in the tins (do not fuss about making them perfect... just make sure the bottom is pushed in... there will be some left over wonton protruding from the tins) and brush the tops with a little bit of oil as well. Bake for about 5 minutes or until golden. While they are baking, you should really keep an eye on them as they will go from golden to burnt v quickly.

Once the chicken is cooked, remove from pan and pull apart with your hands (or two forks). Combine all ingredients and spoon into wontons.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Sugar Cookies

These sugar cookies are the perfect companion to cookie cutters. I usually find sugar cookies to be a dull tasting excuse for making fun shaped "edible" items. Do you know what I mean? However, this cookie recipe gives the cuteness of cookies a run for their money! I don't think I'll make cookie-cutter cookies without using this recipe again.

Anyways, my first shot at making these was a doozy! My friend - who is an awesome interior designer ... Dana Nauta ... wuduupppp!?? - wanted to make chair shaped cookies! She made her own cookie cutters (yeah, it's true... check out her blog post about them here) and came over. We did the eames eiffel chair & the arne jacobsen egg chair. It was a process... but a fun process!!

Also, when doing sugar cookies I only use the royal icing. It dries smooth, shiny and clean. You can stack the cookies high with this icing!

3 C flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 C butter
1 C sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla

2 large egg whites
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
3 C confectioners sugar

Combine the flour, salt and baking soda in a medium bowl.

In your kitchenaid, beat the butter and sugar for 4 minutes (stopping to scrape down the sides once). Add the eggs, one at a time and beat in between each one. Add vanilla. Add the flour mixture in 3 parts and mix to combine.

Divide the dough in half and refrigerate each half for at least an hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Roll out the dough to 1/4" thick and cut the dough into the shapes you desire. Return the cookies to the fridge for 15 minutes before baking. Bake for about 8 minutes, or until the edges are golden browned.

While they are cooking, you can make the royal icing by beating the egg whites w the lemon juice for 1 minute, then sifting in the sugar until combined and smooth. If not using this frosting immediately (which is recommended), you need to cover it and store it in the fridge as it hardens.

Have fun decorating!!! There are so many fun sprinkles, decals, PENS!

Pork Posole

I absolutely love this shit. I had it at my dad's house a little while back and thought it was amazing. I kind of forgot to recreate it until just recently. This meal is inexpensive, healthy and could feed a crowd. The cubed boneless pork butt is only $4/lb and a large can of hominy is like, $2 or something! What is hominy? you ask. Hominy is corn that has been cooked in lime water in order to remove the rough outer shell. It makes it easier to digest and to process. Just eat it.

2 lbs cubed boneless pork butt
1 1/2 red onion, sliced into thin strips
10 serrano chiles, seeded if you'd like and chopped
5 garlic cloves
4 tomatillos, cut into 8 slices each
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp oregano
1 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1 can hominy
1/4 C rough chopped cilantro
3 avocados, for garnish

In a large heavy-bottomed pan sprayed with Pam, brown the pork over high heat. Remove. Reduce heat to medium-low and add the onions, chiles, garlic and dried spices (there should be fat from the pork to help it go along) and cook until tender (about 10 minutes). Add 2 TBSP of water and the tomatillos and cook, scraping the bits off the bottom for another 5 minutes. Add about 10 C of water and the pork back in. Cover and simmer for an hour. Add the hominy and cilantro after 45 minutes then pump heat back up to high and cook, uncovered, for the last 15 minutes.

Serve with avocado bits and some fresh cilantro.

(Can't wait to eat this for lunch today!!)

Chocolate Covered Strawberries Brownies with White Chocolate Champagna Frosting

The perfectly dipped strawberry in chocolate is something of a marvel. I crave these from time to time. Quite sensuous ... I picture a bottle of champagne, some elegantly dipped strawberries and um, that's it! So, I turned this into a brownie. I swear, sometimes I even amaze myself! I cut the brownies, after the daunting experience of waiting for them to cool, into 1"X1" cubes, piped the frosting on in a zigzag form and topped with one slice of a strawberry. It looked and tasted divine!

4 eggs
1 tsp salt
2 C sugar
2 TBSP vanilla
2 sticks butter
1/2 C semi-sweet chocolate
1 C flour
1/2 C chopped fresh strawberries

3 1/2 C confectioners sugar
1 stick butter
1/4 white chocolate chips
1 TBSP champagna
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Beat the eggs and the salt until light and frothy. Add the sugar and beat for 3 minutes. Add the vanilla and beat to incorporate.

Microwave the chocolate and butter until fully melted. To do this, microwave in 30 second increments, stirring in between each microwave session. Once melted, pour into egg mixture w blender on low. Then add the flour and mix to incorporate everything (about 1 minute). Scrape down the side of the bowl and mix again for 30 seconds. Fold in strawberries.

Place brownie mixture in a greased 9X12X3 pan. Cook for about 35 minutes or until a tester comes out just slightly gooey.

While the brownies are cooling, you can prepare the frosting. Melt the white chocolate and the butter. Beat this mixture with the sugar. Add enough champagne to make a workable icing. I piped mine on.

To assemble, cut brownies into 1"X1" squares, pipe on some icing and top w a piece of strawberries. Bring these, the rest of the champagne and a pot of coffee to the table and you will have a VERY happy evening!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Bangali-Style Fish Curry

My sister and I made this last night and it's super tasty! We served it with brown basmati rice, which made the whole thing a pretty healthy meal. Next time I do it, I will make sure to use something like Thai chili peppers or something along those lines of extreme spice, but the serranos gave a nice subtle heat that my sister (and most humans) enjoy.

This is a very impressive meal for something that is very quick and little work. I am going to make this again - def a crowd please - but, I am going to make the paste beforehand and then just whip it up when people are over!

1 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp salt
4 TBSP mustard oil
2 lbs Vietnamese basa filet
4 serrano chiles, roughly chopped
3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1" ginger, roughly chopped
2 tomatoes, roughly chopped
2 medium onions (or one large), roughly chopped
1 C water
Chopped cilantro to garnish
Basmati rice

Coat the fish with the turmeric and salt and then fry for 2-3 minutes on each side in the mustard oil over medium heat in a heavy bottom pan. Remove once done.

Place the chiles, garlic, ginger, tomatoes and onions in a food processor and puree into a paste.

Remove the fish, add the paste and let reduce until most of the water has evaporated (about 30 minutes). Add the fish back in, add the water and let cook for another 20 minutes. Serve with rice.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The Famous No-Kneed Bread

So, this was in the times a little bit ago and has since been duplicated by what seems like ALL foodie bloggers. In fact, I feel a little behind the times having only tried it recently. It is everything it says it's going to be... hearty and crusty on the outside and impeccably light, airy and moist on the inside. I really cannot wait to make this with varying fillers (nuts, raisins, veggies, herbs, etc) and for a life-time.

I know this is time consuming, but take a little time to plan your meal and you will not regret taking the initial time!!!

3 C bread flour (plus flour for dusting)
1/4 tsp instant yeast
1 1/4 salt

Combine the ingredients with 1 5/8 C warm water and let the bread rest in a warm area for 18 hours. Once it has risen, punch it down and let it rest on a floured surface, covered with plastic wrap for 15 minutes.

Next, form the dough into a ball and place on a cotton kitchen towel that is coated with flour. Coat the top of the loaf with flour and let rest again in a warm place for two hours.

During the last 30 minutes, preheat the oven to 450 degrees and put a 6 quart heavy pan (dutch oven, cast iron, pyrex) in the oven as well. Once the 2 hours are over, transfer the bread - seem side up - to the pot and cook, covered, for 30 minutes. Remove the cover and cook for another 15 - 20 minutes or until the bread is golden.

Let the bread rest for at least 5 mins before you cut into it.

Potato, Leek and Bacon Quiche

I love quiches so much. I really like their versatility. Usually I try to make mine relatively healthy because DANG are they bad for you, but I went with the bad-for-you kind for these! Hey - it was Easter! But yah, if you're interested... you can use no-fat ricotto and cottage cheese, skim milk and egg whites and pack it w veggies (spinach, onion, tomato and shroomies - yesss!!) to make a super healthy (ok, I've even gone so far as to make a crust w whole wheat flour and ground flax seed), portable and simple meal! Serve some fruit salad on the side and you've covered all your food groups in one shot. WORD.

1 package (of 2) deep dish pie crusts
12 eggs
1 lb Gruyere cheese, shredded
1 C milk
2 leeks, whites and light greens chopped and washed thoroughly
5 strips of bacon, sliced into lardons
4 small red potatoes, peeled and cut into "1/2 cubes
Olive oil
Pinch of nutmeg

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Take the frozen pie crusts out of the freezer. In a medium saute pan, add 2 tsp olive oil, the leeks and the bacon and cook on medium for about 10 minutes. Add the potatoes and ~TBSP of water, cover the pot and let simmer for about 5 minutes or until the water is gone and you can hear some sizzling.

After the veggies and bacon are cooked, let it rest while preparing the filling by combining the eggs, cheese, milk, salt/pepper and nutmeg. Whisk this well.

Next, add the veggies into the filling and combine. Pour equally into the pie shells and bake until golden brown (about 45 minutes). If it looks a bit runny int he middle still, don't worry as it will set up once it comes to room temperature.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Blueberry Lemon Loaf

I swear I don't eat this cake for breakfast or anything totally piggy like that! This is a quick thing to put together, but the bake time is almost an hour. I like to make this the night before and eat a slice to get me out of bed and then bring it to work for my friends!

1 1/2 C flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
6 TBSP unsalted butter
3/4 C sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla
Zest from one lemon
1/2 C milk
1 C blueberries

1/4 C sugar
Juice from one lemon (~2 TBSP)

Preheat oven to 350 and spray a loaf pan with Pam.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt and set aside.

In your Kitchenaid, beat the butter for about 2 minutes and then add the sugar and beat for about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time and make sure to beat the eggs after every addition. Add the lemon zest and vanilla and combine.

With the mixer on low, add the flour and the milk alternatively starting and ending with the flour. You should do flour, milk, flour, milk, flour. Make sure to not over beat the batter at this point. When finished, fold in the blueberries and transfer to loaf pan. Bake for about 55 minutes or until a tester comes out clean.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Cinnamon Buns

I swear this Kitchenaid isn't good for me! Cinnamon buns def take some tending to; there is a lot of down time while letting the dough rise. However, if you can power through (I just did it at night after work), it is WELL worth it. GOOD GRIEF are these delicious!

4 3/4 C AP flour
1 pack active dry yeast
1 C whole milk
1/3 C butter
1/3 C sugar
1/2 tsp salt
3 large eggs

1 C light brown sugar
1/4 C flour
1 TBSP cinnamon (you should really try to use fresh, good quality cinnamon... Penzy Spices!)
1/2 C butter, cut into small pieces
1/4 C raisins
1/4 C chopped pecans
1 TBSP light cream

Combine 2 1/4 C flour with the yeast in your Kitchenaid equipped with the paddle attachment.

Heat the milk, butter, sugar and salt from A until just combined (do not boil). Add this mixture slowly to the flour and yeast while your Kitchenaid is on speed 2. Add eggs one at a time and combine. Scrap down the sides of the bowl and beat on speed 8 for 3 minutes.

Replace the paddle attachment with the dough hook. And kneed on low speed, adding the rest of the flour from A until smooth and no longer sticky (about 4 minutes).

Shape the dough into a ball, oil all sides (I used Pam) and put in a bowl in a warm place (on top of the stove) and let double in size. It should take about 1 1/2 hours to double.

After an hour and a half, punch the dough down, reform into a ball and set on a lightly floured surface and cover with a clean towel and let sit for another 10 mins (trust me, it's allllll worth it!)

While your dough is resting, mix B together (minus the raisins and pecans) with a pastry cutter or with two knives.

Roll out the dough into a 12X12 square, cover the inside with the filling and then sprinkle with the raisins and pecans and roll into a log, pinching the ends to seal them so no filling comes out. Cut into 8 equal pieces and arrange on a 12X9X2 baking sheet. Let them rise again for another hour. Also, if you'd prefer, you can refrigerate at this point for up to 24 hours. If you do refrigerate your dough, make sure to let it come back to room temp after you take it out of the fridge by letting it sit in a warm place for 40 minutes.

When ready to bake, brush the dough with half of the light cream and bake in a 375 degree oven for about 30 minutes or until the dough feels hollow to the touch, is light brown and a tester comes out clean. Remove from oven, let rest for 5 minutes, take out of pan and onto cooling rack and then brush with the rest of the light cream. EAT!!!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Scallop Ceviche

Man! This might be one of my fave dishes! I wandered the Lincoln Mall in South Beach recently trying to find the perfect ceviche. Not going to lie, I think mine is better. Way better. So, I went to Whole Foods last night... my love, my one true love (not including Meeg)... and they had this huge bowl of ceviche out. I tasted it and knew what I wanted for dinner! I then asked the fish monger chef dude how he did it and it was easy! Also, the scallops had just come in fresh that morning so it was a done diddle.

1 lb sea scallops
Juice from 2 limes and 1 large lemon
1 vine tomato, finely chopped
1/2 cucumber, peeled and finely chopped
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
2 TBSP cilantro, finely minced
1 serrano chili, finely chopped
1 avocado, cubed

You just juice the citrus, add the scallops and let this "cook" in fridge for an hour. After an hour, add all the veggies and let sit at room temp for 5 minutes before you serve. I served this with a side of quinoa.

**Also, as we all know, citrus yields different amounts of juice and ish... basically, the scallops should be covered by the juice when you first set them in to marinate.

Fava Bean Spread with Whole Wheat Flatbreads

This is a good, healthy, cheap and easy snack! I bring it to work, keep it in the fridge and snack on it all week when I get hungry! I also switch up the flatbreads w carrot and celery sticks quite often.

1 C dried split fava beans, soaked over night and then boiled for an hour (reserve cooking liquid)
1 handful fresh parsley
1 TBSP cayenne pepper + 1 tsp red pepper flakes (I'm kinda nuts, what can I say)
Juice from one lemon
1/4 tsp cumin
1 TBSP olive oil
At least 1 TBSP cooking liquid

1 3/4 C whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 C water
1/3 C olive oil

This is pretty damn simple. First, preheat your oven to 350. Puree A in blender. Mix B and roll out in 6 separate portions until "cracker thin". Put the 6 flatbreads on foil and bake until browned about 10 mins. This is a good and healthy snack for work! Make sure you sub the flatbreads w veggies from time to time.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Roast Beef Sandwiches with Radicchio, Endive and Asparagus Slaw

Unlike most slaws, I like to serve this one without much "sitting" time. The veggies go perfectly and it's great to serve in the spring when the asparagus are tender and delicious (and cheap!) When I eat beef, I really like it to be high quality and bloody as hell! I got this roast beef at Murray's, which is a fancy gourmet market with a little stand in Grand Central Market (which I go to entirely too often).

I would recommend packing this up with some seltzer and potato chips and bringing it as a picnic!!! HELLO SPRING

3/4 lb roast beef
Loaf ciabatta bread, sliced medium
1 inch of fresh horseradish, grated finely
1 TBSP creme fraiche
1 TBSP mayo
Truffle oil

1/2 head radicchio, sliced thinly
2 heads endive, sliced thinly
1/2 bunch asparagus, shaved with a veggie peeler
1/3 C pine nuts
1 TBSP pepperoncinis, diced
3 garlic cloves
2 TBS olive oil
1 TBSP balsamic vinegar
1 TBS fresh parsley, finely minced

Mix the creme fraiche, mayo and horseradish together. Season with salt/pepper. Spread the dressing on the bread, toss the arugula with a tiny amount of truffle oil and assemble the sandwiches. You can also add tomatoes, red onions, cucumbers, etc. I kept it v simple.

For the slaw, cut all the veggies accordingly and toss with the pine nuts and parsley. In a small saute pan, heat the oil, add the garlic and then the vinegar and let simmer until reduced by about half. Add the dressing over the salad and toss to coat.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Tomato Sauce

I make this pretty often. You can double (triple, etc) the recipe and freeze this in portions too. It's delicious and nutritious.

1 28 oz can whole peeled tomatoes
1 carrot, finely chopped (I mostly just do this to pack in some beta carotene)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 shallot, minced
1 tsp each: red pepper flakes, dried thyme, dried oregano, dried parsley, dried basil
1 TBSP olive oil

Saute the shallot, garlic, carrot and herbs in olive oil over medium heat until soft (about 6 minutes). Add the can of tomatoes and cook, on medium-high heat for about 15 minutes. Add 2 TBSP water and puree in a blender.

Sam's Pizza

I put everything Italian I love into a pizza. Holy shit. Holy fucking shit. (Sorry. Excuse my French.) Check it...

1 recipe Napoletana Pizza Dough
1/4 lb proscuitto di parma (don't you dare get some domestic B.S.)
3 crimini mushrooms, paper-thin sliced
1 recipe Tomato Sauce
1 ball Burrata cheese
1/2 lb wine washed rind Fontina (just go to your cheese monger and ask him for a stinky cheese)
White truffle oil

Yeah, I think you get it. Heat up your pizza stone, assemble everything (except the arugula and truffle oil) on the the pizza and cook until done. Add a ton of fresh arugula over the top as SOON as it comes out (so some wilts and some is still crisp... wow). Sprinkle with truffle oil!!!

Go-To Vinaigrette

I make this vinaigrette all the time. I think most people tend to do the balsamic and olive oil, but the tanginess of the Dijon and the freshness of the lemon juice is really unparalleled. Shallots are also just nice on anything. This is a v versatile dressing: you can carry any herbs you're using in your main course to this dressing. Thyme is especially nice! This dressing on arugula is a quick meal. I also love this dressing because the acidic lemon gives salty flavor and adding extra salt is not necessary! I really like not cooking with salt. That's one of the main reasons I can't eat at restaurants frequently... the salt makes me thirst all day long!

1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp Dijon mustard (please don't cheap out on this ingredien)
1 tsp herbs (thyme, oregano, parsley, etc etc)
1 tsp grated shallot
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 TBSP olive oil

Whisk everything together and enjoy. You can do just the lemon, mustard and oil if that's all you have. You can add anything you want to this.

Shroom Salad

I love the olive bar at Whole Foods. They not only have several types of delicious olives ... they have marinated beans, mushrooms and artichokes, they have dried tomatoes and cured peppers. The marinated mushrooms are the best! I made this salad for them.

1 portabella mushroom
1 small package dried porcini mushrooms, reconstituted in boiling water
1/2 C marinated mushrooms
1/4 log goat cheese, crumbled
2 tsp fresh thyme
1 tsp crushed red pepper
1 TBSP olive oil
White truffle oil
Go-To Vinaigrette

Heat a grill pan to high heat. Brush the portabella and reconstituted porcini mushroom with the combined olive oil, thyme and crushed red pepper. Grill the mushrooms for about 3 minutes per side.

Meanwhile, dress the arugula so they have a second to hang out and wilt just slightly. The arugula will be the only thing that is dressed in this salad as the other ingredients have their own flavors (i.e. marinated mushrooms and rubbed portabellas and porcinis).

To assemble, slice the grilled mushrooms and place on top of the arugula . Arrange the marinated mushrooms on the plate as well. Crumble with goat cheese and top lightly w truffle oil if you have it!!!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Blueberry Crumb Cake

The tart blueberries paired w the caramelly crunchy brown sugar topping is amazing. The sour cream gives it it's richness; you wouldn't be able to identify the sour cream, but once you know it's there the velvety perfect texture makes sense. Really, do this.

I even prepared a bit the night before (because I was leaving for my moms the next morning and wanted to make it fresh in the morning). I mixed the thopping - minus the butter - and I also mixed the dry ingredients for the cake. I made sure the butter I was going to melt was ready to go and the butter I wanted at room temp was out. I pre-cracked the eggs and had the sour cream measured out, so all I really had to do was assemble while drinking my coffee and bake while having my shower. Quite nice!

1/3 C brown sugar
1/4 C regular sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 stick butter
1 1/3 C flour

1 1/4 C AP flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 stick butter
3/4 C sugar
2 eggs
1 1/4 tsp vanilla
1 tsp lemon zest
2/3 C sour cream
1 1/4 C blueberries

The night before: mix the sugars and cinnamon for the topping in a medium bowl. Also, in another medium bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt for the cake.

Preheat oven to 350.

Beat the butter and sugar for the cake until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time and beat for antoher 30 seconds. Add the vanilla, lemon zest and sour cream and mix. Add the dry ingredients and mix just to combine. Fold in blueberries.

Spread cake mixture in a buttered 9" cake pan.

Melt the butter for the topping and add to the sugar and cinnamon. Stir. Add the flour. Crumble the topping on top of the cake.

Bake for 45 mins.

Butternut Squash Soup with Sage Pita Chips

The nutrients in any bright orange veggie are pretty much insurmountable. A simple butternut squash soup in the winter is a really light, yet warming way to end the day.

1 medium butternut squash
2 shallots
4 sprigs fresh thyme
1 bay leave
Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
1 TBSP butter
5 C water or low-sodium stock
2 TBSP heavy cream

Whole wheat pita bread
Dried sage
Olive oil

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Chop the shallots and add to a medium pot over medium heat with the butter. Stir to combine and add the herbs. While this mixture is sweating out (you don't want anything to be browning), chop your butternut squash. Once the shallots are tender, add the butternut squash and cook for 5 more minutes. Add the water (or stock), cover and boil for 15 minutes or until the squash is tender. Turn off the heat and let the soup rest while you prepare the chips.

Cut the pita into triangles and brush w olive oil. Sprinkle with the sage and some kosher salt. Bake for 12 mins or until firm and slightly browned.

Puree the soup, return to pan, add the cream and simmer for until ready to serve.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Carrot Cake

Carrot cake is one of my faves! It is super yummy and the applesauce in this recipe makes it super moist; dry carrot cake is the worst! Piping on carrots with the cream cheese frosting was the best!

2 3/4 C finely shredded carrot
1 C walnuts, toasted
2 C all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
4 eggs
1 1/2 C sugar
1 C veggie oil
2 tsp extract
1/2 C plain applesauce

8 oz cream cheese
1/4 C butter
2 C confectioners sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350.

Toast and grate your carrots. To toast, lay nuts out on a cookie sheet and place in oven for about 7 minutes.

Mix the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon in a bowl and set aside.

Whip the eggs in your Kitchenaid until frothy and add the sugar, 1/2 a cup at a time. After you have a light and fluffy mix and while the mixer is on at a low speed, add the oil, vanilla and applesauce. Mix for about 30 seconds on medium speed. Add the dry ingredients and just mix to incorporate. Add the carrots and the nuts and mix just to incorporate.

Butter two 9" round pans and distribute the batter evenly. Bake for about 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

While the cake is cooling, you can make the frosting. Whip all ingredients until light and slightly fluffy.

Decorate the cake as desired!!! I did 8 little carrots to mark off pieces. They were Sam-style pieces... aka big :-)

Monday, March 1, 2010

Tandori Chicken and Curry Okra

Love love LOVE Indian food! Especially when you make it yourself; you avoid the excess oil and are able to jack up the heat!

Curry Okra
1 lb okra, cut into 1/2 inch pieces, washed and dried for 30 minutes
1/2 red onion, chopped
2 TBSP ginger, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 tsp each: turmeric, cumin and curry powder
1 tsp each: corriander, red chili and cayenne
1 TBSP plain yogurt
1 TBSP lemon juice
1 large tomato, seeds removed and chopped
Fresh mint and cilantro
Veggie oil

Tandoori Chicken
1 3lb chicken, cut into serving pieces
1/2 C plain yogurt
2 TBSP fresh lemon juice
1 TBSP minced garlic
1 TBSP peeled and grated or crushed ginger root
1 TBSP ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 cardamom pod, cracked
3 whole cloves
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 tsp salt
Vegetable oil, for brushing
Fresh cilantro sprigs for garnish
Slices of cucumber, red (Spanish) onion, tomato and lemon, for garnish

The chicken is easy. Marinate the chicken in the first 11 ingredients (after the chicken of course) overnight. When you are ready to bake, preheat the oven to 450 degrees, remove excess marinade and brush with oil and salt. Bake for about 20 minutes. Turn heat to broil and broil each side for about 7 minutes or until nicely browned. Turn off oven and let the chicken cool in oven for 25 minutes.

For the okra, fry the onion, garlic and ginger in veggie oil until browned. Add the okra and continue cooking for another few minutes. Add the spices and cook for another 3 minutes. Add the lemon juice and yogurt and cook for 5 more minutes. Add the tomato and heat through. Remove the veggies and add 1/4 C of water to the hot skillet to remove the bits from the bottom and create a sauce. Pour this over the veggies. Serve with the garnish of your choice.

Serve both dishes on a large platter with rice on the side.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


Alright, I'm from NY and have high bagel standards. I'll have to say, these were DAMN good! I had all ingredients at hand. My sister and her bestie came over (my sister is the BAGEL MASTER) and we had freshness after a bit of patience (and playing Mario).

4 C bread flour
1 TBSP sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 TBSP veggie oil
2 tsp instant yeast
1 1/2 C water

Combine all ingredients in your Kitchenaid fitted with the dough hook. Mix until a nice dough forms (about 5 minutes). Note: add 1 1/4 c water to start and add the rest at your discretion. Cut into 8 pieces (or 16 for mini bagels) and let rest for 20 minutes. Flatten the balls and push your thumbs trough. Work the dough until you have a bagel shape. Let rest another 20 minutes (trust me - it's worth it). While the dough is resting, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and also preheat the oven to 425.

After the 20 minutes is up, boil your bagels for 1 minute on each side. After boiling you can dip into toppings of your choice (we had poppy seeds, garlic powder and kosher salt on hand). Place - seed side up - on a cookie sheet lined with parchment. Bake for 10 minutes on each side.

While it's baking you can make some whipped cream cheese. Take regular cream cheese and items of your choice (we did scallions... for a scallion cream cheese... duh) and whip the cream cheese and fillings until nice and fluffy.

You should reeeeally let these cool for 15 minutes, but I think we could only wait 5 minutes and they were DAMMED good!

Shallow Fried Cod with Olive Relish

I was cravin something salty, healthy and quick. The freshness of this meal paired with the rich saltiness is a very nice combo! Fresh parsley and a squirt of lemon really brighten up the end product. I really really REEEALLY love arugula... especially when you put a steaming hot piece of protein on top so part of the arugula wilts - yes!

I did for myself - one serving.

1 piece of cod filet
2 handfuls of arugula
1/4 olives, chopped roughly
1 TBSP capers, roughly chopped
1 roma tomato, roughly chopped
1 shallot, minced
2 garlic cloves
1 tsp fresh thyme
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp red pepper flakes
olive oil
Fresh parsley
1/2 lemon

In a medium saute pan, heat about 2 TBSP olive oil and add the garlic, thyme, oregano and red pepper flakes. Turn the heat off after 30 seconds and let cool while you wash the arugula and lightly flour the cod. Remove the herbs and garlic.

Turn the heat back on to medium. Add 1 tsp olive oil. Once hot, pan fry the cod (about 3 minutes per side). Place the cod on top of the arugula on your plate.

In the hot pan, add the olive, capers, tomato, shallots and herbs/garlic from above. Saute until hot and tender. Place this on top of the cod. Add fresh parsley and a squirt of fresh lemon juice. If you're super hungry you can serve this with a roll. Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Mini Healthy Pizzas

This really takes zero time and it's a good go-to as you can keep half the ingredients in the freezer. Everyone loves pizza and English muffins and this is a healthy way to combine the two!

1 package whole wheat English muffins
1 15 oz can of tomato sauce
1 C shredded mozzarella cheese
1 15 oz container of no-fat ricotta cheese
1/2 C frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed free of water
Dried herbs of you have: parsley, oregano, thyme, basil (any or all)

Preheat oven to broil.

Cut open the English muffins and top w a TBSP of ricotta. Cover this with a dash of each of the herbs you have. Cover with some spinach and cover the spinach with tomato sauce. Top with just a enough mozzarella to cover. Bake until top is golden. Top pizzas with tiny bits of tomatoes.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Salmon en Papillote avec Watercress

Oh la la, sounds fancy as hell, huh? This meal is really delicious and totally nutritious. I think I almost certainly ate two portions. I guess I do that frequently.

I'll just do enough for one serving below, but multiply it by however many ppl you have and it'll work. I find it's a nice, easy, little-mess, solo after-work meal tho.

1 salmon fillet (God, mine was awesome... zero smell, rich color, plump and delicious!)
1 TBSP Dijon
1 C packed watercress**
2 cloves garlic
1 TBSP chopped onion
4 sprigs thyme
2 tsp red pepper flakes
2 tsp olive oil
1 tsp tomato paste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place the salmon on a sheet of parchment paper. Cover with the Dijon and add 1 tsp red pepper flakes and 2 sprigs of thyme on top. Wrap and bake for 8 minutes (for it to be rare).

Meanwhile, add the rest of the ingredients, minus the watercress, plus 1/4 C water in a saute pan and reduce by half. Add the watercress and saute until wilted to your liking.

**Watercress can be very gritty, so it is important to properly wash it before use. To wash, let sit in a large bowl of cold water, changing the water 4 times, for about 20 minutes.

Fruit Tart

This is just a pure looker! It is so gratifying to make something that not only tastes divine, but looks spectacular as well. My neurosis have kicked in and I've been a bit of an obsessive baker.

1/2 C powdered sugar
1 1/2 C AP flour
1 1/2 sticks butter, sliced

8 oz cream cheese
1/2 C sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp almond

1 pint blackberries
1 pint raspberries
2 kiwis

2 TBSP marmalade
2 TBSP water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine A in a food processor and pulse until dough-like. Place half the dough in 9 1/2" pie tart (keep half for next time), poke holes in the bottom and bake for about 12 minutes until lightly browned.

Beat B until fluffy.

Spread B in A and arrange C on top. Glaze with D.

Those are your ABC's to a delicious fruit tart!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Pan-Seared Scallops with Buerre Blanc Mini Potatoes

This dish is so wonderfully delicious and classic you must try it!

1 lb sea scallop
1/4 C flour
3/4 C water
1/3 C white wine
1 large shallot, minced
2 TBSP cream
1 stick + 2 TBSP butter
Assorted colors mini potatoes (1 lb)
1 TBSP each fresh tarragon and thyme
3 TBSP olive oil

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Wash, dry and dredge scallops in flour. Shake off excess and place in fridge, uncovered, until ready to use.

Boil mini potatoes for just a few minutes until firm, but tender. Toss with 1 TBSP of olive oil and fresh herbs and set in oven for about 20 minutes.

Combine water, wine and shallots in a small skillet over medium heat and reduce by half. Reduce heat to low, add in the cream. Add the butter, whisking after each TBSP. Set the sauce to the side over very low heat.

In a large skillet, heat the remaining 2 TBSP olive oil until v hot. Sear the scallops for 1 1/2 minutes/side.

Coat the potatoes on a plate with the sauce and top w the crisp scallops.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Chocolate Mousse

Colleen, a fellow foodie, is one of my friends from college at AU in DC. One of her friends down there, who is a chef, made this for us one night and HOLY MOLY! this is so rich and light at the same time. Serve this with some berries and you have got yourself a night!

11 oz dark chocolate
5 TBSP butter
8 egg yolks
2 tbsp sugar
1/2 cup cream
8 egg whites
3/4 C confectioner sugar

Melt chocolate in a double boiler and add the butter. Alternatively, melt the chocolate and butter in the microwave in 30 second increments, stirring in between each increment.

Whip the yolks and the sugar to a ribbon stage and set this aside in a bowl. Whip the whites and the confectioners sugar to soft peak, and set aside in a bowl. Whip the cream to a soft peak.

Fold yolks into chocolate, then fold the cream into that and finally fold the whites. Chill (preferably just over night).

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Napoletana Pizza Dough

4 1/2 C 00 flour
1 3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp yeast
1/4 C olive oil
1 3/4 C water, ice cold

Combine flour, salt and yeast. Turn mixer on (with paddle attachment) and and incorporate the olive oil and water, alternatively. Kneed for 5 minutes with paddle attachment.

Tip onto a flour surface and make 4 balls. Cover each with olive oil and put in a ziploc bag. Refrigerate over night or up to 3 days.

Roll out and use as you would pizza dough.

Ina's Strawberry Scones & Marmalade

I wanted to expand my ever-increasing repertoire of baking recipes, so I decided on a classic for me: scones. These scones are so tasty and we're really enjoying having them around in the mornings. I also made some marmalade to go with them. I love this marmalade because I think the lemons provide a perfect tangyness that I thoroughly enjoyed. I actually did the scones with cranberries instead and I am sure you could substitute any dried fruit(s).

Here are the links. I love Ina!



This is a really nice gift after a dinner party! Buy some french jars, a pastry box and a gift bag and send your guests home with something more to look forward to!

French Bread

3 3/4 C bread flour
2 tsp yeast
2 tsp salt
1 1/2 C warm water

Add all ingredients in your Kitchenaid with the paddle fixture and mix to combine. Switch to dough hook and mix for 2 minutes. Let rest for 3 minutes. Mix for another 3 minutes.

Kneed dough for 8 minutes on a well floured surface.

Please dough in an oiled bowl and let rest, in warm place, for 1 1/2 hours. After an hour, preheat the oven to 450.

Cut your dough in half and shape into two logs. Let rest for 30 minutes on floured board.

Before cooking, make 4 long slits on top of the loaf. Cook for 20 minutes. Internal temp should be 190.

Coq au Vin

I thought my mom was coming to my apt, so I wanted to make something tasty. I hadn't yet, in all my cooking adventures, tried to tackle a classic French dish. I picked Coq au Vin (inspired by a co-worker) and I was so happy I did. This dish is excellent! Perfect on a cool night. I would recommend serving it with the wine you use, so you want to use a decent wine for the cooking. You really have to try this... it's divine and sounds fancy as shit!

30 pearl onions
3 lbs chicken thighs and legs
3 oz bacon
1 TBSP flour
4 oz button mushrooms + 1 tsp butter
1 bottle pinot noir
1 TBSP tomato paste
1/2 onion, quartered
1 stalk celery
1 carrot
3 cloves garlic
4 thyme sprigs
1 bay leaf
1 C chicken stock

Season and flour the chicken. Set aside on a cooling rack until ready to brown.

Add the chopped bacon, into a pot large enough to hold the chicken, with 1 TBSP water. Boil the water until it evaporates and continue browning the bacon. Remove bacon, add 1 TBSP olive oil, add the onions and cook, over medium heat, until browned. Remove the onions and put aside with the bacon. Add the sliced button mushroom with the butter and brown. Remove the mushroom and put with the onions and bacon. Set aside.

Brown the chicken on all sides. Continue working in batches, taking the browned pieces out, until finished.

Deglaze the pot with 1 bottle of wine. Add the quartered onion, carrots, celery, tomato paste, stock, thyme, bay leaf and the chicken. Kill the heat and let this mixture sit in the fridge over night.

The next day:
Preheat oven t0 325 and put the pot in the oven for 1 hour 45 minutes. Take out of oven, add in the pearl onions, mushrooms and bacon and let cool for 30 minutes.

I served this simple with some risotto that had sliced button mushrooms and a lot of thyme (maybe 5 sprigs).

Spiced Topioca Pudding

I served this dessert after a simple Indian curry-from-a-package meal and the flavors were a perfect sweet end to the simple meal. Sometimes I find it nice to keep the meal extremely simple (I combined chicken tenders, cauliflower and onion with an Indian spice pack, crushed tomatoes and chicken stock and served w basmati rice) and finish with a great home made dessert. This dessert also happens to be cheap and you will almost certainly have all the ingredients on hand (you can add whatever spices you have... don't worry about getting all of them).

3 C 2% milk
1/2 C large tapioca pearls
1/4 tsp salt
2 small cinnamon sticks
1 cardamon pod
1/4 tsp nutmeg
2 whole cloves
1/2 C sugar
2 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla

Combine the first 7 ingredients in a small sauce pan, cover and simmer on low for 2 hours, stirring occasionally. Add the sugar gradually, stirring constantly. Whisk, temper and add the eggs into the milk mixture. Continue cooking, uncovered, on medium heat for about 8 minutes. Add the vanilla, turn off heat and let cool for at least 20 minutes.

Fizzy Cola Cupcakes

My brother and I were youths growing up outside of London. We would ride our bikes to the Pic a Mix place, which are loose candy stores in the UK. Fizzy colas were his favorite. He recently just moved to a new spot in BK, so I wanted to bring him something.

1 1/3 C AP flour
3/4 C sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg
1/2 C yogurt
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 C butter (1 stick)
4 TBSP cocoa powder
3/4 Coke

1 1/3 C powdered sugar
1 stick butter
2 TBSP Coke

Preheat oven to 350.

Mix the first 4 ingredients together in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, combine the egg, yogurt and vanilla.

In a saucepan, heat the butter, cocoa powder and coke until just melter. Stir the mixture into the dry mixture. Stir to combine. Add the wet ingredients. Spoon into cupcake tins (should be about 2/3 way full) and bake for 20 mins.

Decorate w icing and top with a fizzy cola!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Heath Crunch Cake

1 C butter
2 C sugar
3 C flour
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
4 eggs
1 C milk
1 1/2 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Butter and flour two 9 inch cake pans.

Beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time. Mix the dry ingredients. Add the dry ingredients and milk alternatively until all gone. Bake for about 30 mins.

While cooking, make the icing.

3 3/4 C confectioner sugar
1 stick butter
3 - 4 TBSP milk
1 tsp vanilla
2 oz. dark chocolate, melted

Beat all ingredients until fluffy.

Put a thick layer of Heath Bar bites in the center of the cake. Also sprinkle them around the outside of the cake.

Ceasar Salad with Chicken

Wow, have you got to try this! Caesar salads are one of the things I think from my earlier years that I get viscious cravings for every once in a while. We were gonna go to Patsys for one of these, but then I wanted to try my own. It's so easy and soooo worth it! The chicken tenders and shaved parm made it way better than any restaurant.

3 anchovy filets
3 cloves garlic
2 tsp white vinegar
2 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp Worcestershire
1 1/2 tsp Dijon
1/3 C olive oil
1/4 C grated Parmesan cheese

Romain hearts
Italian baguette
Olive Oil
Small handful fresh basil
Small handful Parmesan cheese
Chicken tenders (pre-cut into thin strips)
Egg wash (1 egg + 2 tsp milk)

Preheat oven to 350.

Cut half of the baguette into big cubes and put in the oven until dry (maybe about 15 mins).

Meanwhile, make the dressing by combining A in a food processor until well blended.

Once dry, food process the cubes with the basil and add in a handful of Parmesan cheese to get your breadcrumbs for the chicken tenders.

With the rest of the baguette, cut small slices, drizzle w olive oil, sprinkle with salt and put in the 350 oven. This will create your over-sized croutons.

Chop, clean and dress your lettuce at this point.

Dip your tenders in an egg wash then the breadcrumbs then pan fry in olive oil until golden and cooked through.

Take croutons out and rub down with whole fresh garlic.

When you are ready to assemble, put the dressed romaine on a plate, top with 3 tenders, shaved Parmesan, a drizzle of olive oil and your garlic-rubbed croutons.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Vietnamese Rolls and Wings

This combo is really excellent. This meal is healthy and could feed a crowd for virtually nothing. The dipping sauces make it customizable, which everyone digs. You could go even further with the customization and let ppl wrap their own rolls. The wrapping of these rolls is unbelievably easy (not like a flour tortilla can be) because they are stretchy and sticky and do not rip easily. The chicken wings come out super crunchy and flavorful but you don't have to shun them because they are baked, not fried and they are not coated in butter.

12 chicken wings

1 TBSP + 1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 C chopped red onion
1/4 C soy sauce
1/4 C fish sauce
2 TBSP lime juice
2 TBSP sesame oil
1 tsp black pepper
1 TBSP white sugar

3 TBSP ketchup
1 TBSP Siracha
2 tsp honey
1 tsp ginger powder
4 tsp rice vinegar

3/4 C coconut milk
3 TBSP chunky peanut butter
1 tsp sugar
2 tsp lime juice
1 1/2 tsp red curry paste or chili paste
1 tsp fish sauce

Rice paper wrappers
Steamed shrimp
Carrot, julienned
Cucumber, julienned
Avocado, sliced thin (optional)

This looks really confusing, huh? Well, chances are a. you have a majority of the items in your pantry and b. you'll be pleasantly surprised how easy this is once you get going.

Start by mixing all of A and letting the chicken wings marinate in this. Leave them outside the fridge for as long as it takes you to prepare the dipping sauces.

Preheat oven to broil.

Prepare spicy sauce by mixing items B.

Prepare peanut sauce in a sauce pan by combining items C, let cook until peanut butter is dissolved and turn off heat.

You can put the sauces in fancy bowls to make it look nice.

Next, take the chicken wings and put them on a sheet pan lined with parchment. Stick them in the oven. Baste with the remaining sauce every 10 minutes until the wings are nice and charcoaly.

Turn off the oven and let the wings stay in while you assemble the rolls. Dip the rice paper in warm water until malleable (about 40 seconds), layer with the herbs, the veggies and then either 3 - 4 shrimp depending on size. Wrap them up by folding over one end, tucking int he sides, then continuing to wrap all the way. If you're having difficulty, my best bet would be that you're trying to cram too much in them... try using less.

Once the rolls have been made, take the wings out, plate them up and serve everything! It's spectacular!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Watercress, Grapefruit and Goat Cheese Salad

I think the combination of these flavors is unbeatable. The grapefruit adds such a tart citrus flavor that brightens up this salad and makes it acceptable for dinner.

1 bunch watercress
1 large grapefruit, segmented
Crumbled goat cheese

1 TBSP champagne vinegar
1 TBSP olive oil
1 TBSP minced shallot
1 clove garlic, finely minced

Assemble the watercress, grapefruit and goat cheese in a bowl.

Mix together the dressing and pour on top.

I usually serve this with a chicken breast on the side.

Pizza Dip

Everyone likes pizza. Try serving this as an alternative crowd pleaser. It will keep everyone entertained for a while.

1 28 oz can whole tomatoes
1 TBSP fresh oregano
2 tsp fresh thyme
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 bay leaf
3 garlic cloves
1 small container ricotta cheese
2 TBSP parmesan cheese
Fresh parsley

Pizza toppings (see below)

Preheat oven to broil.

In a pan, bring the tomatoes, herbs and garlic to a boil. Reduce to simmer and simmer for 30 minutes. Puree the sauce.

Transfer sauce to blender and puree until smooth.

Transfer sauce to oven safe serving dish, dollop in ricotta and top with parmesan. Bake until the top is slightly browned (about 3 minutes).

You can serve this with any number of things. Serve with both hard and soft bread sticks. To make the bread sticks you can use my Asiago Cheese Focaccia recipe and roll into sticks instead of rolls. You can pick your favorite pizza toppings and make kebabs with them (i.e. pepperoni, olive and brocolli kababs). You can serve with cheese and veggies.

Chicken Tacos

I love Mexican food, but am haunted by it's nutritional value. This is an easy way to enjoy Mexican food without the fat! Opt for organic hard taco shells as they have about half the fat and calories as their soft taco counterparts. Cottage cheese instead of regular cheese is another way to rid of a lot of fat and the beans fill you up without adding extra carbs from rice.

2 chicken breasts, cut into pieces
1 - 2 habenero peppers
2 cloves garlic
1 handful cilantro
2 TBSP white vinegar

Salsa from my Mexican Lasagna

1 can refried pinto beans
1 container cottage cheese
1 avocado, sliced
Cilantro for garnish
Blue corn tortilla chips

Puree the habenero peppers, garlic, cilantro and white vinegar. Marinate chicken in this mixture for at least 20 minutes. Over night is best.

Make the salsa.

Grill or pan fry chicken.

Assemble tacos as desired.

Extremely Healthy Muffin

So, recently I've read to eat a lot of orange things. Specifically, eat a lot of sweet potatoes. Here, this is part of it: The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) ranked the sweet potato number one in nutrition of all vegetables. With a score of 184, the sweet potato outscored the next highest vegetable by more than 100 points. Points were given for content of dietary fiber, naturally occurring sugars and complex carbohydrates, protein, vitamins A and C, iron and calcium. Points were deducted for fat content (especially saturated fat), sodium, cholesterol, added refined sugars and caffeine. The higher the score, the more nutritious the food.

I don't eat a lot of sweet potatoes (maybe once or twice around the holidays) and I really want to get more of these in. I came up with this recipe for a sweet potato muffin that is incredibly healthy and provides an unmatchable start to your day.

Also, this recipe requires very little skill and is very versatile. If you don't like chocolate and/or almonds, substitute some cranberries or ginger or whatever you would like.

1 1/2 C whole wheat flour
1/3 C ground flax seed
1/3 C quick cooking oats
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp chili powder (don't be scared... try this... don't skip)
4 C sweet potato
1/3 C agave nectar
2 TBSP Truvia (or raw sugar)
3/4 C dark chocolate chips
1/3 C slivered almonds

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Bake the sweet potatoes by stabbing with fork, microwaving for 5 minutes then wrapping in foil and baking for about 40 minutes or until soft. Peel the potatoes and puree in blender (add water as needed) until smooth.

Lower the oven to 350 degrees.

Mix all dry ingredients (top 7 ingredients). Add the wet ingredients and stir to combine. Fold in the chocolate and almonds. Scoop into cupcake pans. Bake for 45 minutes.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The PERFECT Pancake

Meeg loves pancakes and can't get enough of them. Seriosly, he could eat them for breakfast, lunch and dinner and has done so in the past. Frequently. I, myself, am not a huge fan of pancakes. For a start, I prefer savory items in the morning, also, I find them rather uniform and blase to be honest. Finally, I'd rather save the calories for a carnitas taco or something equally delicious.

All that hating on pancakes aside, you MUST try these pancakes. They are light and creamy and have a bit of kick from the sour cream. I serve mine with pineapple and cottage cheese... YUMMMM!

Oh, final note: I make them with non-fat sour cream

Recipe link

Italian Breakfast Sammies

Forget the grotesque sausage patty (ok, fine, they're good when you are in the mood), fried egg and processed american cheese. You really have to try this light Italian breakfast sammie. I made it using the Asiago Focaccia Rolls.

1/4 lb proscuitto di parma (for two ppl)
2 Asiago Focaccia Rolls
2 eggs
1 big tomato
A handful of fresh basil leaves

Slice and warm the rolls in the oven (assuming they will not be fresh out of the oven). Lightly poach your eggs so the gooey inside breaks and gets all into the roll. You can use two eggs per sandwich if you're pretty hungry (which I typically am). Look here to make the peeerfect poached egg that you will do over and over again! While your egg is poaching, lightly fry the proscuitto until just crispy, set aside. Turn up the heat, add olive oil and fry the basil leaves until very crunchy. Slice the tomato. Assemble the sandwich as soon as the eggs are done. I like to break my yolk before I even bite into the sandwich, but some people enjoy ripping it open with their mouths. This is a must try!

Easy Ground Beef Chili

Chili is a great go-to meal in the winter... it is warm, hearty, inexpensive and stores well. Honestly, what more could you really want. I prefer my Vegetarian Chili as I'm only a fan of bloody ass red meat, but this is a great crowd please. Meegy really enjoys this one :-)

Oh, serve this with corn muffins if you got em.

3 bell peppers, diced
3 small onions, diced
5 garlic cloves, minced
2.5 lbs ground beef
1 TBSP cumin
2 TBSP cayenne pepper
1 tsp each thyme and oregano
1/2 bottle of Guinness or other stout beer
1 can kidney beans
1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
Cheddar cheese, sour cream, scallions... whatever topping you desire

Saute the peppers, onions, garlic cloves and dried spices in oil over medium - medium/high heat in a large pot until tender (about 15 mins). Remove veggies and set aside. Turn heat to high, add more oil and brown the beef (about 7 minutes). Add the veggies back in and add all the rest of the ingredients except the toppings. Simmer on high for at least 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Spicy Celery Margarita

Serve this with your Butt Quesadillas.

2 stalks celery
1 jalapeno
1 tsp lime zest
2 C lime juice
2 C tequila
1 TBSP triple sec
2 TBSP sugar
5 C ice cubes (or to your liking)
Kosher salt

Pure all ingredients except for the kosher salt in a blender. Line the rim of the glass with kosher salt.

Butt Quesadillas with Slaw Salad

I invested in a meat thermometer over the holidays and this is one of the recipes I was excited to try! Pork butt (yes, that's a technical term) is cheap and super tasty once it reaches it's full "pullableness" at 190 degrees F.

The salad that goes alongside makes it easier to only indulge in two slices of 'dillas, rendering a not-horrendous meal. I used a green and a red cabbage only because it looked pretty and I was serving to a work friend. If you get only one kind it's totally fine.

1 5 lb pork butt
1 TBSP each: paprika, salt, pepper, cumin, coriander, oregano, thyme, garlic powder and onion powder

1/2 small green cabbage
1/2 small red cabbage
1 can black beans
1 C corn kernels (frozen, canned or fresh)
1 large red onion
1 C packed cilantro
1/2 C lime juice
3 roma tomatoes
1 jalapeno (leave the seeds in for taste)
2 TBSP olive oil
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp salt
2 avocados

1 package of flour tortillas
.5 lbs manchego cheese
.5 lbs shredded jack cheese

Preheat oven to 220 degrees.

Mix all the dried spices together and rub over the raw pork butt. Put butt in pan that will hold it and insert probe (I just wanted to say that ;-) of thermometer into center of butt... try to get it exactly in the middle for an accurate reading. Set the timer for 190 degrees (about 5 hours), cover your butts with foil and do nothing until the timer goes off!

Right after you get the butt in, make the slaw salad so all the flavors get to know one another. To do so, shred the cabbage and add the beans and corn to the shredded cabbage. Dice the avocado and add to the slaw as well. Food process the red onion, cilantro, jalapeno, tomatoes, cumin, salt, lime juice and olive oil until chunky. Pour over the slaw salad and set in fridge until pork is done.

Once the pork is done, shred with two fork, put on one half of a tortilla, cover with cheese, fold tortilla over and grill until golden. Serve with slaw salad. Enjoy!!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Veggie Chips

I love sandwiches: I'm the annoying person asking for her cracked pepper smoked turkey sliced and vinegar on both sides. When I eat a sandwich, I need the "crunch factor": I need my chips. Chips are bad for you. I am not the epitome of a physical specimen. Conclusion: Veggie Chips.

1 bunch kale, cleaned and cut into bite-sized pieces
2 large carrots, sliced using your food processor or mandoline
1 sweet potato, sliced using your food processor or mandoline
1 extra large beet, sliced using your food processor or mandoline

Preheat oven to 350.

Coat chips in olive oil and salt. You will most likely have to cook in batches as you want each chip to be cooked without touching another. It's a bit tedious, but shouldn't require too much thought after the first batch or two. Cook them until they are crispy and slightly browned (about 12 mins). Store in a large ziplock and enjoy!

Asiago Focaccia Rolls

Making focaccia is great! You can carry over any ingredients from the Italian dish you're making. For this one, I just did asiago cheese as I knew I wanted to use it for a veggie sandwich. But you can do olives, onions, rosemary...

2 tsp dry yeast
1 C warm water
2 TBSP sugar
1/2 C flour
2 tsp salt
1/4 C + 1 TBSP olive oil
1 C crumbled asiago cheese

Gently stir yeast, water and sugar in the bowl of your electric mixer with the dough hook attached. Let this sit for 5 minutes. Turn mixer on, add half the flour and combine for 3 minutes. Dissolve the salt in 1 TBSP water, add to bowl and mix for 1 minutes. Add the olive oil and combine. Add rest of flour. Turn mixer up to medium and kneed for 8 minutes. Roll dough out onto floured surface, make it into a ball and coat with olive oil. Put in a bowl in warm place (on top of oven) for 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 415 degrees.

Cut the raised dough into 8 equal pieces, shape into little balls and flatten half way with the palm of your hand. Place on parchment lined cookie sheet and top liberally with asiago cheese. Cook for about 15 minutes or until golden brown.


Sun-dried Tomato, Basil and Mushroom Ravioli, Fried

This is one of the wonderful things I wanted to do with my new Kitchenaid and pasta machine. These were so wonderful. They would be very nice in the summer since they were so light. I used cottage cheese and rolled the dough out very thin to achieve such thinness. You really should fry these, but if you must, you can gently pan boil.

Fresh Pasta recipe

1 container cottage cheese
1 TBSP finely grated Pecorino cheese
1 egg
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 TBSP finely chopped sun-dried tomato
2 TBSP finely chopped crimini mushroom
1 TBSP finely chopped fresh basil
Pinch kosher salt

2 TBSP butter
1 large shallot, finely minced
4 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 tsp red pepper flakes
2 C beef broth
1 C dry white wine
1 TBSP arrowroot
Handful of mini crimini mushrooms, whole

Prepare the pasta and set aside. While the pasta is resting, prepare the filling by combining part A into a bowl.

Roll out pasta and cut into large circles (radius about 2.5") to form the ravioli.

Before stuffing the raviolis, prepare the sauce. Saute the shallots, garlic and red pepper flakes in the butter until soft but not browned at all. Add the whole mushrooms and immediately deglaze with the wine. Combine the arrowroot (or cornstarch or flour... some form of thickening agent) with 1/4 C cold water and add to mixture. Add in the stock and let entire mixture reduce by half.

Stuff the raviolis by putting ~1 TBSP filling on one circle, cover with another circle and press ends together with your hands.

To cook the ravioli, empty the sauce into a dish and set aside. In the skillet you used to prepare your sauce, add 1 TBSP butter + 1 TBSP olive oil and let melt over medium/medium-high heat. Add raviolis, bottom-side down, cover and let fry for about 3 minutes.

Serve with the sauce on the side to dip in and with a salad (Tri-Color Herb-Dijon).

Monday, January 11, 2010

Herb Butter Steaks

Hopefully you know how to cook a steak. Even if you do, try following these procedures and I PROMISE you will be thoroughly pleased if you like your steak w a charred crust and a peppery bite!

3 sirloin steak
1 TBSP garlic powder
2 TBSP Worcestershire
1 tsp white wine vinegar
2 tsp olive oil
salt and HEAVY amounts of fresh cracked pepper

1 stick butter
2 tsp each of the following fresh herbs, finely chopped: oregano, parsley, chives, marjoram, basil
Pinch of lavender (optional as it's hard to find)

Take the steak out of the fridge at least an hour before hand (2 hours is better). It's most important to get rid of the chill on your meats before searing so you don't "shock" your meat. Marinate with the top 6 ingredients while the steak is coming to room temp.

As soon as you take the steak out, make your herb butter. In your Kitchenaid, combine the butter with all the ingredients and a pinch of salt and pepper. Whisk this together until smooth and incorporated. Remake the butter into a "log" using saran wrap and twisting the ends. Put this in the fridge to harden back up.

Once the steaks are ready to sear, coat the bottom of a skillet heavily with olive oil. Sear on each side for about 4 minutes for a medium rare. Do NOT move the steak around while they are cooking. Once you have flipped the steak, add a pat of herb butter on top so it melts down the sides. Serve with a spinach salad and baked potato.