Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Tuesday Night Dinners

We always try to eat light on Tuesday nights.  We end up eating a lot for dessert because we meet up with a small group of couples from our church, so we try to save room for whatever goodies await us.  Last week we tried this Israeli style salad for dinner, and we loved it.  Of course I got the idea from my favorite cookbook-Simple In Season.  You do not need a recipe for this, and I basically looked at their idea once and threw it together based on memory. It is so simple to throw together and you just feel good after you eat it.  It brought me back to my visit to Israel several years ago.  Meals were so simple there-you would grab a hard boiled egg and some fresh produce.  Maybe some warm pita and be on your way.  We decided to institute this as our Tuesday night meal until we get sick of it. 

The amount of veggies that you use will depend on how many people you are feeding.  This is enough for the two of us, plus a little extra.

2 Tomatoes
1 Cucumber
1/4 Large Sweet Onion
1 Small Green Pepper
2 hard boiled eggs
Fresh bread
Olive Oil
Lemon Juice
Salt and Pepper

Cut up all your veggies.  I like to keep my veggie pieces pretty big, but cut them however you like. Put all of the veggies in a large bowl and drizzle with a little olive oil and lemon juice.  Mix, taste, adjust.  Season with salt and pepper.  Serve in a bowl and top with a hard boiled egg.  Serve with warm pita or a hearty bread. 
The first time I made this I had some leftover cooked brown rice, so I added that.  It was a good addition that made the salad a lot more filling.  It was also a good way to use up that extra rice!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Bleeding Heart Bakery Red Velvet Cupcake

This cupcake was just okay.  The cake did not have a ton of flavor to it.  The consistency was nice-light and airy.  The cream cheese frosting was really good.  If I could have just eaten the frosting I would have been much happier, and found the caloric intake to be more worthwhile.  This was a very rich cream cheese frosting, but there was only a relatively thin layer of it on the cake so it was perfect.
The presentation-like everything else from BHB-was great!  The top part of the cupcake was sliced open to make a space for the frosting.  This not only looks awesome, but makes the cupcake much less messy to eat. 
I would not buy this cupcake again, but I may look for other items at their bakery with this same frosting.  Or maybe they should sell frosting shots.  I would buy those. 

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Asparagus Soup

I realize that this may not sound like the most appealing thing in  the world.  I hesitated to tell Tim that we were having it for dinner because I figured he would cringe at the thought.  I am not a huge fan of pureed soups, so I was unsure of how I would like this recipe.  Basically this was a toss-up and it turned out to be a good one.  I am so glad that I tried this soup!  Last night was a perfect soup night (many nights are perfect for soup in my opinion) I am suffering from some pretty evil allergies and it was cloudy and gloomy outside.  The soup features one of my favorite spring veggies-asparagus.  I love when those big, bright green stalks show up in the market looking so vibrant and delicious.  The plain yogurt adds a wonderfully acidic balance to the flavor, and a few chopped and blanched asparagus tips make the soup seem less overwhelmingly beverage-like.  I served this with whole wheat biscuits (recipe still under construction, but coming along smoothly) in order to make Tim happy.  He actually seemed to like the soup a lot, which was a huge surprise to both of us!
I also love the color of this soup.  It is almost a pastel green once the yogurt is mixed in-way more appealing than I imagined when I read the recipe initially.

Asparagus Soup
Recipe from Simply In Season

1 Pound Asparagus
2 Cups Water
1 Small Onion, chopped
1 Medium Potato, peeled and chopped
2 Cups Broth
1 Cup Dry Milk Powder
2 Tablespoons Flour
Salt and Pepper to taste
1/2 C Plain Yogurt

Cut off the tips of the asparagus and blanch until just tender but still crisp-about 3 minutes.  Set aside and reserve the water.
Chop the asparagus spears and remove tough ends.  Cook asparagus with the 2 cups of water, potato, and onion until tender-about 15 minutes.  Remove from heat and cool for a few minutes.  Pour this into your food processor or blender and puree until smooth. 
Mix broth, dry milk powder, flour, and salt and pepper.  Add this and the pureed soup into a large stock pot. You can add in your reserved blanching liquid here if you want to.  I did, but you don't have to. If you are not going to use it here, you can toss it. Cook over medium heat until thickened.  I cooked mine about 10 minutes to get it nice and thick.  Do this to whatever consistency you desire.  Throw your perfectionist tendencies out the window and do whatever you feel like, it's way more fun that way!
Grab some bowls and spoon some plain yogurt into the bottom of each one.  Ladle hot soup over the yogurt and top with reserved asparagus tips.  Serve with a hearty biscuit or home made bread.  I hope that this soup surprises you as much as it did me!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Bleeding Heart Bakery- S'mores Brownie

This was a good brownie.  Rich, sweet, dense, moist.  I would not, however, say that BHB is justified in calling this a S'mores brownie.  There was only one little marshmallow on top and no graham that I could detect.  It seemed to me to be a decent brownie with a random marshmallow that landed there on accident. When I think s'mores I think lots of gooey marshmallows with some crunch from the graham.  If I was going to make a s'mores brownie (and now maybe I will, because I kind of want one!) I would make some kind of bottom crust with graham incorporated into it, a rich chocolate brownie-probably with some dark chocolate incorporated to balance out some of the sweetness- and then do a thin layer of marshmallows on top.   I don't think that I would buy this brownie.  It was good,  but not great, and I am guessing that it is pretty pricey (most things from this bakery are).  To me, a brownie is a brownie, and this one did not break that mold at all. 

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


I have no idea if this is at all authentic.  I really just guessed at the ingredients and ratios, and have no clue if this is like the real thing or not.  It tastes really good.  It is nice, fresh, and tangy.  The idea came about when I made this spinach and ricotta pie.  The filling tasted similar to Spanikopita so I thought I would try to turn it into that Greek pastry that I love so much.  This recipe doesn't really resemble that pie too closely either, but it was the source of inspiration. This was my first experience with Phyllo dough.  It was not as hard as I had expected, though it was a bit tricky to not tear the dough.  I definitely had to throw a few sheets away because they were so badly torn.  It did take a long time to assemble all of my triangles, but it wasn't bad. 


1 lb fresh spinach, cooked and chopped
6 oz feta cheese
5 oz creamy goat cheese
1 bunch of Italian parsley, chopped
Juice from 1/2 small lemon
2 sticks of butter, melted
1 package (2 rolls) of phyllo dough, thawed

Put all of the ingredients, except for the butter and the dough, into a medium bowl and mix well.  I found it helpful to add my spinach while it was still warm in order to melt the cheeses and help everything to mix better. This can be made the day before.  Refrigerate until ready to use.

Open up one package of phyllo dough and cover it with a damp towel.  Remove one piece of phyllo, leaving the rest under the towel to keep the unused dough from drying out, and lightly brush it with melted butter.  Lay one more sheet of dough on top of your buttered piece.  Brush this one with butter too.  Now fold the two sheets in half to make one long rectangle.  place a scoop of filling onto one end of your rectangle.  Roll it into a log shape, or fold it corner-to-corner to make a triangle.  Brush both sides of the outside of the dough with butter and place on a cookie sheet.  Repeat these steps with the remaining dough and filling.

I had used up all of my filling and still had a good amount of dough left so I made a few pastries filled with goat cheese and a tiny bit of honey.  They were delicious as well.  Really, what wouldn't taste good wrapped in layers of flaky dough and a lot of butter?

Once you are done rolling up all of your triangles, or whatever shape you pick, preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Cook these until golden brown-about 30 minutes.  In the future, I may try cooking them at a higher temperature for less time, but 350 degrees worked well too.   Allow to cool slightly and dig in.  Let me know what you think after you try them!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Verruca Salt Cupcake

This cupcake from the Bleeding Heart Bakery was the perfect balance of salty and sweet.  I love that sea salt has dominated the baking scene recently.  A lot of times I find baked goods to be way too sweet, and I think that this is a fun way to counteract that.  The cake part of this seemed to be a plain vanilla cupcake with a nice consistency and a simple flavor.  It had a simple white frosting that was topped with a sprinkling of thick, crunchy sea salt.  I like that this cupcake was not anything super complicated.  It was a plain, normal cupcake with a nice little surprise on top.  I would definitely get another one of these.