Wednesday, December 14, 2011


Hi.  It's been a while.  Sorry I have been so absent, but my time has been spent in a very worthwhile way taking care of my baby boy.  Now that he is older, and a little more self-sufficient I am hoping to be back more consistently.   I have been cooking, I just haven't been taking pictures of what I cook.  This is sad because I love to photograph food.  So, I have two goals to share with you today.  
Goal number 1: keep a camera in the kitchen so I can snap some photographs while I cook
Goal number 2: Bake every day until Christmas
Hopefully the combination of these two goals will give me a lot of new stuff to post in the near future!  I have already baked chocolate meltaway cookies, jelly roll cookies, and brown butter butterscotch cookies.  The reason that I am making this a goal is because baking is so relaxing to me, and I find myself overly stressed on a regular basis these days.  trying to get out of the house and get stuff done with a 9 month old who hates the car in tow is no easy task.  If I take time for myself to do something that I enjoy each day I am happier and better able to enjoy my son the rest of the day.  So here is my goal, and I hope to be back with a lot of pictures and recipes for you when these two weeks of baking are over!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Mucho Mango Salso

I am not usually a huge fruit salsa fan.  I normally find it to be too sweet for my tastes, but Tim and I had about 8 mangoes, so I figured I would give it a go with a recipe from the Chevy's cookbook.  I actually really liked this recipe.  I don't know that I would choose it over a pico de gallo, or another tomato salsa, but as far as mango salsas go, this one is really good.

Mucho Mango Salsa
Recipe from Chevy's Fresh Mex Cookbook

1 large mango
1/4 cup finely diced red onion
1 1/2 teaspoons minced cilantro
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lime juice
1/2 teaspoon minced habanero (I couldn't find habanero peppers so I used a jalapeno)
2 tablespoons finely diced red bell pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt

Combine all ingredients, mix well, serve chilled.
I always think salsas taste best the day after you make them so I made this a day in advance.  If you have time to do that I would recommend it.  It gives all the flavors a chance to mingle a bit.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Black Bottom Cupcakes

Early last week I got an e-mail asking if I could make 50 cupcakes for an event on Friday night.  There are few things in this world that I love more than cupcakes so of course I wanted to take on the task.  Given that I have a three month old baby at home I needed to find a recipe that would be relatively low maintenance.  These also had to be transported to a different location so they needed to travel well.  It just so happened that I had been eyeing these black bottom cupcakes that I saw on Smitten Kitchen a while back.  They looked super easy and had no frosting so they would not be hurt by a ride in the car.  I went ahead, multiplied the recipe by five and got to work.  I am not sure if I did something wrong in my multiplication but I somehow ended up with a TON of extra cheesecake filling.  So, I happily filled my mini muffin tin and made some delicious cheesecake bites.  A nice bonus I must say!
The cupcakes themselves turned out deliciously!  They have a rich chocolate base that is not too sweet, but perfectly chocolaty and a creamy cheesecake filling that helps the whole thing go down a little too smoothly.  You may want to go back for seconds or thirds, and I promise, I won't judge you.

Black Bottom Cupcakes
Recipe from Smitten Kitchen

8 oz cream cheese
1/3 cup sugar
1 large egg, room temp
2 oz bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

1 1/2 Cups all purpose flour
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
5 Tablespoons natural unsweetened cocoa powder (not dutch processed)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup water
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Make the filling:
Mix together cream cheese, sugar and egg until smooth.  Fold in chocolate.  Set aside.

Make the cupcakes:
Adjust oven rack to center position and preheat to 350 degrees.
Prepare a muffin tin with liners or spray the tin with oil.
In a medium bowl mix together the flour, brown sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt.  In a separate bowl mix together water, oil, vinegar, and vanilla extract.  Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour the wet ingredients into it.  Stir until just smooth and be careful not to over-mix.  Divide the cupcake batter evenly into the cupcake tin.  Spoon a few tablespoons of filling on top filling the openings almost completely.
Bake for 25 minutes, until the tops are springy and set.  You can keep these at room temperature for 2-3 days, but they taste better cold.  Store them in an air tight container.

To make cheesecake bites:
Take extra filling and pour into mini muffin tin.  Bake for about 10 minutes at 350 degrees or until totally set.  Store in freezer-they are delicious straight out of the freezer!

Friday, May 20, 2011


I am writing this in hoped that having this on the internet will hold me accountable. I don't want to get to the winter and have zero cans to show for myself again like last year.  I have planned 1 canning day a month between now and September.  Here are the dates: June 18, July 16, August 20, and September 10.  Here are the things that I hope to can:
Strawberry jam
Strawberry Pinot Noir Preserves
Rhubarb butter
Apricot and Vanilla bean preserves
Blackberry Jam with lemon zest
Peaches inn Vanilla Syrup
Cucumber relish
Apple Butter
Tomato Sauce

In reality I am sure that not all of this will get done,  but at least I have my goals in writing.  I am ready to can!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Chickpea Burgers

I am not a big red meat eater.  I do like the occasional steak, but regular beef burgers are not really my thing.  I usually opt for a turkey burger or a veggie burger. I have been looking for a good veggie burger recipe for quite some time.  It is hard to find one that stays together and has the right consistency.  This recipe does a pretty good job on the consistency, and the patties do hold together well.  The wheat germ on the outside gives these burgers a nice crispy exterior and a more moist interior.I really liked the flavor of these a lot, and they left me feeling satisfied but not overly full like a regular burger normally does. 

Chickpea Burgers
Recipe from Eating Well

2 Tablespoons sesame seeds
1 tablespoon coriander
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons canola oil
4 scallions chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 15 oz can chickpeas
1 cup cooked brown rice
2/3 cup wheat germ
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
4 6 inch whole wheat pitas
8 slices  tomato
1 cup baby spinach
4 tablespoons nonfat plain yogurt

Heat a small skillet over low heat.  Add sesame seeds and toast until golden brown.  Add coriander and cumin ad cook until fragrant-10 to 20 seconds more.  Transfer to a plate and allow to cool.  Grind with a mortar and pestal-or if you don't have one a ziploc and a heavy rolling pin worked perfectly for me.  Set aside.
Add oil to the pan and heat over medium heat.  Add scallions and garlic, cook until softened.  Set aside. 
Pre heat a grill or grill pan to medium high heat. 
Coarsely mash chickpeas in a medium bowl. Stir in rice, 1/3 cup wheat germ, lemon juice, salt, pepper, scallion mixture and the reserved spice mixture.  Mix well.  Shape into 4 3/4 inch thick patties.  Place the remaining wheat germ in a shallow bowl and dredge the patties in it. 
Grill the patties until browned and heated through-about 3 minutes per side. Warm up the pitas in the toaster oven or microwave.  Tuck the burgers into the pitas with tomato, spinach and yogurt.  

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies

Sorry there is no picture.  I did not expect these cookies to disappear as quickly as they did.  Even though this goes against all the rules of food blogging, I am going to post this sans picture.  These cookies are so good, and I need to share them with you. 
I made these cookies last week because I had a whole day with nothing to do and some ripe bananas in the freezer.  I finally got my cooking/baking itch back and am really having fun with it again.  Levi is on a good, consistent routine which helps me know when I will have time to make things, and that is a little easier on me. 
I wanted to make banana cookies instead of just banana bread, or muffins because cookies are more fun.  The chocolate chips make them super sweet and delicious!  The texture of these cookies is really nice.  They are a little sticky, but extremely moist and soft. I froze them for about a week before we ate them last night, but like all cookies, they held up great in the freezer.

Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies
Adapted from Simply Recipes

1 Stick Butter, softened
1 Cup Sugar
1 Egg
1 Cup Ripe Bananas, mashed
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
2 Cups Flour
pinch of salt (only if using unsalted butter)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2  teaspoon ground cloves
1 Cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Pre heat your oven to 350 degrees.  Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.  Add the egg and beat until fluffy again.  In another bowl mix the mashed bananas with baking soda and let it sit for a few minutes.  In yet another bowl, mix flour, salt, and spices.  Add the banana mixture to the butter mixture and mix well.  Then add in the flour mixture and stir until combined.  Fold in chocolate chips.
Drop teaspoonfuls onto baking sheets and bake in preheated oven for about 13 minutes.  These are great fresh out of the oven, but in case you can't eat all of them, let the rest cool on wire racks and then store in an airtight container. 

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Miso-Garlic-Roasted Tofu Caesar Salad

I love Caesar salad, but have always avoided making it because you will not get this girl to touch anchovies in the kitchen.  I found this recipe and knew right away I had my solution!  The miso adds a nice rich flavor, and you don't really even notice that it is a fish-free version.  I had a hard time finding the miso anywhere, but I ended up going to our local Asian market and getting it there.  It was in the refrigerator section. 
I have made this twice in the past two weeks, once with the tofu as our main dish, and once without the tofu as a side dish.  I like it a lot both ways, but if there are going to be leftovers I would maybe leave the tofu out or keep it separate from the salad.  It got a little soggy by the second day, and I just picked around it at that point.  Either way this is my current favorite salad, and the fact that I have already made it twice is huge since I usually hate making salad.  I give it two thumbs up!

Miso-Garlic-Roasted Tofu Caesar Salad
Recipe from Eating Well Magazine June 2011 Pg 52


14-oz extra firm tofu, drained
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons miso
2 cloves garlic, minced

4 slices italian bread, crusts removed, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
4 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper

Dressing and Salad
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons lemon juice
4 teaspoons miso
1 clove garlic, minced
8 cups torn romaine lettuce
2 cups torn radicchio
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees.  Coat a large rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray.

To prepare the tofu: pat tofu dry and cut into small cubes.  Combine the lemon juice, miso, and garlic in a large bowl.  Add the tofu and gently toss to coat.  Spread the tofu in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet.  Bake on the upper rack of the oven, turning a few times during cooking, until browned, 20 minutes.

To prepare the croutons: Toss bread with olive oil, salt, and pepper.  Spread in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet.  Bake in lower rack of oven until crisp and brown-12-14 minutes.  Shake the baking sheet at least once during baking. 

To prepare salad and dressing: Whisk oil, lemon juice, miso, and garlic in  a medium bowl.  Put lettuce, radicchio, and croutons in serving bowl.  Pour dressing over lettuce, and top with Parmesan.  Toss to coat, and top with tofu.