Thursday, September 8, 2011

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake

I had no intention of making this cake, but due to a little snafu while attempting to make a pumpkin roll, I had to change course.  What a lucky mistake!  This cake was fantastically moist with just the right amount of spice.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake
Adapted from Whipped

1 c unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing the bundt pan
2 1/4 c flour, plus extra for flouring the bundt pan
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp salt
1 c pumpkin puree
1 c buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla
1 c sugar
3 large eggs
3/4 c chocolate chips or chopped nuts (optional)

2 T butter
1 c powdered sugar
2 T milk

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees; butter and flour bundt pan.
2) In a bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves and salt.
3) In a separate bowl, whisk together pumpkin, buttermilk and vanilla.
4) In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar until fluffy (3-5 minutes).
5) Beat in eggs, one at a time.
6) Alternately mix in flour and pumpkin mixtures, beginning and ending with the flour mixture, until just combined.
7) Stir in chocolate chips or nuts, if using.
8) Pour batter into prepared pan; bake 45-50 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
9) Cool cake in pan for 15 minutes before inverting to a wire rack.
10) To make glaze, melt butter in a small saucepan.
11) Whisk in powdered sugar; add milk and whisk until smooth.
12) Drizzle over cake.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Buttermilk Zucchini Bread

This zucchini bread turned out to be a nice surprise.  It looked beautiful coming out of the oven, and it tastes great too.  The flavors are very subtle -- a little bit of sweet, a little bit of lemon -- but no single flavor smacks you in the face.

Buttermilk Zucchini Bread
Adapted from Miri Leigh

6 T butter, softened
1 c sugar
2 eggs
1 c shredded zucchini
1/2 c buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 c all purpose flour
1 c whole wheat flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp lemon zest

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees; lightly grease an 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 inch loaf pan.
2) Cream the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl.
3) Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each.
4) Mix in zucchini, buttermilk and vanilla.
5) In a separate bowl, whisk together flours, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg and lemon zest.
6) Add flour mixture to wet ingredients in 3 batches; mix only enough to fully incorporate.
7) Pour batter into prepared loaf pan; bake for 55 - 60 minutes.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Peach Pie

This is my favorite way to eat peaches!  You may need to adjust the amount of sugar depending on the sweetness (or lack thereof) of your peaches.

Peach Pie
Adapted from James Beard's American Cookery

5-6 c sliced peaches (about 5-6 peaches)
1/2 c sugar
1/4 tsp salt
2 T lemon juice
1 tsp cinnamon
2 T butter, diced
double crust pie dough

1) Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
2) Combine peaches, sugar, salt, lemon juice and cinnamon in a bowl.
3) Roll out bottom crust; place in 9 inch pie pan.
4) Pour peach filling into pie pan; dot with diced butter.
5) Roll out top crust; lay over filling.
6) Trim and crimp the edges; cut slits in the top of the pie to allow steam to escape.
7) Bake for 15 minutes; reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake for an additional 25 - 30 minutes.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Bolognese Sauce

This is a really flavorful thick, meaty sauce.  A friend's mother originally adapted it from a Dear Heloise column; we've made a few additional tweaks.  As with most tomato sauces, you can use whatever tomato products you have on hand.

Bolognese Sauce

2 T olive oil
1 c chopped onions
4 strips bacon, finely chopped
1 lb ground beef
4 cloves garlic, minced
2-3 tsp dried parsley (or 3 T chopped fresh parsley)
28 oz San Marzano whole peeled tomatoes
8 oz tomato sauce
6 oz tomato paste
2 small carrots, finely chopped
1 large celery stalk, finely chopped
2 T finely chopped basil
salt, to taste
pepper, to taste
1 tsp crushed red pepper
2 tsp Italian seasoning
smoked paprika, to taste

1) Heat olive oil in a large skillet.
2) Add onion; saute for 2-3 minutes.
3) Add bacon; saute until about halfway done.
4) Add ground beef; saute until all meat is browned.
5) Add garlic and parsley.
6) In a separate sauce pan, combine remaining ingredients.
7) Add beef mixture to the sauce; simmer for at least an hour.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Sour Cherry Pie

We came back from vacation with a 10-lb bucket of frozen sour cherries.  What was I to do but immediately make a pie?  This recipe turned out great...full of cherries and not too sweet.  As I couldn't taste either the vanilla or almond extracts, I'm not sure if I would bother with them next time.  It wasn't the prettiest pie I've ever made, but that's what happens when it's 80+ degrees in the kitchen.

Sour Cherry Pie
Adapted from Martha Stewart Living magazine

2 lbs pitted cherries (about 4 c)
3/4 c sugar
1/4 c cornstarch
1/2 tsp vanilla extract (optional)
1/4 tsp almond extract (optional)
double crust pie dough
2 T butter, diced

1) Combine cherries, sugar, cornstarch, vanilla and almond extracts in a bowl; set aside.
2) Roll out bottom crust; transfer to 9" pie plate.
3) Fill pie with cherry mixture; dot with butter pieces.
4) Roll out top crust; drape over cherry mixture.
5) Trim edges and flute decoratively.
6) With a sharp knife, slice several steam vents in top of crust.
7) Place pie in refrigerator while oven preheats to 425 degrees.
8) Bake for 15 mins; reduce heat to 375 degrees and bake for an additional hour.
9) If necessary, cover edges of pie with foil to prevent over-browning.

Buttery Flaky Pie Crust

This recipe makes enough dough for a double crust pie (or 2 single crust pies).  The trick is to keep all of the ingredients and the utensils as cold as possible, especially when you are working in a warm kitchen.  I like to put the mixing bowl and pastry cutter in the freezer for 10-15 minutes before I start. 

Buttery Flaky Pie Crust
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

2 1/2 c flour
1 tsp salt
1 T sugar (optional)
1 c (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter
3/4 c ice water, divided

1) In a large bowl, whisk together flour, salt and sugar.
2) Dice butter and sprinkle over flour mixture.
3) Using a pastry blender, cut butter into the flour mixture until butter pieces are the size of small peas.
4) Sprinkle 1/2 c ice water over mixture; use spatula or your hands to mix.
5) Add up to 1/4 c more water, one tablespoon at a time, until dough just comes together; gently knead into large mound.
6) Divide dough into 2 pieces; wrap each piece in plastic wrap; refrigerate for at least one hour.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Stuffed Banana Peppers

This recipe was a great way to eat our first batch of banana peppers from our garden.  Because we only had 6 or 7 banana peppers, we also stuffed 3 of our green peppers to use up the filling.  We just used the tomato products we had on hand, so the sauce components are flexible.  Depending on whether you use more prepared sauce or more canned tomato sauce, you will need to adjust the seasonings to suit your tastes.  Although this recipe contains lots of ingredients, prep time was less than 30 minutes.

Stuffed Banana Peppers
Adapted from

12 medium banana peppers
1-2 T butter
1/4 c chopped onion
1/4 c chopped celery
16 oz prepared sauce
15 oz canned tomato sauce
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 T chopped fresh basil
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp salt, divided
1/2 tsp pepper, divided
1 egg
1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/4 c grated parmesan
1 lb ground beef
3/4 c bread crumbs
1/2 c grated mozzarella

1) Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
2) Cut tops off of peppers; remove ribs and seeds.
3) Add peppers to boiling water; simmer until tender but firm, about 5 minutes.
4) Drain peppers; set aside.
5) Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
6) Chop edible parts of pepper tops.
7) Melt butter in a large skillet; saute chopped pepper, onion and celery until tender, about 5 minutes.
8) Add tomato sauces, garlic, oregano, red pepper flakes, smoked paprika, 1/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper.
9) Stir and let simmer 10 minutes.
10) Combine remaining ingredients and 1/2 c sauce in a large mixing bowl.
11) Spoon enough sauce into a 9x13 baking dish to thinly cover the bottom of the dish.
12) Stuff peppers with ground beef mixture; arrange in single layer in baking dish.
13) Top peppers with remaining sauce and mozzarella cheese.
14) Bake for 45 minutes.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Mixed Berry Ice Cream

A few weeks ago we found an old hand crank ice cream maker in an antique store in Evans City, PA.  It definitely shows its age but appeared to be completely functional.  We put it to the test for the first time today with fantastic results!  I had to run out mid-cranking to get more ice, and it took about 35 minutes of cranking to get the finished product.  I'm happy to say that the wait and the work was worth it because this is literally the best ice cream I have ever tasted.  Our minds are racing with all of the possible ice cream flavors we can make.  For this batch, we used 2 c of blackberries from the farmer's market and 1 c each of red and black raspberries from our road trip to Triple B Farms in Washington County today.

Mixed Berry Ice Cream
Adapted from Eggs on Sunday

2 pints heavy cream
1 1/2 c sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract (optional)
4 c mixed berries

1) Mix cream, sugar and vanilla in a medium-sized sauce pan.
2) Heat slowly while stirring to dissolve sugar.
3) In a blender, combine cream and berries; pulse until well blended.
4) Place mixture in refrigerator until cool.
5) Make according to ice cream maker instructions.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Soaked Buttermilk Waffles

These waffles were nice and light and lacked the graininess typical of baked goods made with whole wheat flour.  I'm not sure if it was the soaking or the fact that I used whole wheat pastry flour.  I'm really becoming a fan of buttermilk -- it adds such a nice flavor.

The batter was a pretty typical texture-wise when I used whole wheat pastry flour.  Using regular whole wheat flour, the batter was much goopier than I expected.  The waffles still baked up fine though.

Soaked Buttermilk Waffles
Adapted from Simply Real

2 c whole wheat flour
2 c cultured buttermilk
2 eggs
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
5 T melted butter

1) In a large bowl, combine flour and buttermilk; allow to sit at room temperature for 12 - 24 hours.
2) Preheat waffle iron; preheat oven to 200 degrees.
3) Whisk remaining ingredients into batter.
4) Prepare waffles according to waffle maker instructions.
5) As waffles finish, transfer to preheated oven (place directly on rack).
6) Serve with butter and maple syrup.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Scrambled Egg Breakfast Tacos

This is a simple dish but such a great flavor combo that I feel compelled to post it.  We usually have these for dinner instead of breakfast :-)

Scrambled Egg Breakfast Tacos

4-5 eggs
splash of milk or cream
2-3 T chopped green onion
1 T chopped fresh cilantro
salt, to taste
pepper, to taste
1-2 T clarified butter
6 corn tortillas
1/4 c crumbled feta
hot sauce

1) In a small bowl, lightly beat eggs and cream; mix in green onion, cilantro, salt and pepper.
2) Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat; add eggs and scramble.
3) Place two tortillas at a time between wet paper towels and microwave for 30-40 seconds, until soft.
4) Spoon eggs onto tortillas; top with feta and a dash of hot sauce.

Easy Eggplant Parmesan

As I started to type this, I realized that our eggplant parmesan does not actually contain any parmesan.  Oops - we'll have to add it next time.  J was very resistant to the idea of this dish until we saw Alex Guarnaschelli make her Eggplant Parmigiana on Alex's Day Off.  We loved her recipe, but it was a lot of work, used too much cheese (and I love cheese) and yielded way too much food.  We scaled things back and started making this easy version.  You can used store bought sauce to make it even easier. 

Since we made this up as we went along, all of these measurements are just guidelines.  Depending on the size of the eggplant, you might need a little more egg/flour/breacrumbs or a little less.  You can add a little water to the egg to extend it.

Eggplant Parmesan


1 large eggplant
kosher salt
1 egg, beaten
1/2 c flour
1 1/2 c breadcrumbs
salt, to taste
pepper, to taste
paprika, taste
garlic powder, to taste
onion powder, to taste
dried basil, to taste
dried oregano, taste


1 T butter
28 oz can San Marzano tomatoes (whole or diced)
1 carrot, diced
1 celery stalk, diced
1 small onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 T brown sugar
crushed red pepper flakes, to taste
fresh basil, chopped, to taste
salt, to taste
pepper, to taste

oil for frying
fresh mozzeralla, sliced
cooked pasta

1) Slice eggplant into 1/2" rounds.
2) Arrange eggplant in a single layer in a large baking dish; sprinkle with kosher salt on both sides and allow to rest for an hour.
3) In the meantime, melt butter in a medium saucepan; add onion, carrot, celery and saute until translucent and tender.
4) Add garlic; saute for 1 minute.
5) Add tomatoes, sugar, red pepper flakes, basil, salt and pepper; mix well.
6) Simmer over med-low heat for at least 45-60 mins (longer is fine); if using whole tomatoes, break up with wooden spoon as they begin to break down.
7) Rinse eggplant with cool water; pat dry.
8) Place breadcrumbs in a shallow bowl; season with salt, pepper, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, dried basil, and dried oregano to taste.
9) Place beaten egg and flour in individual small bowls.
10) Dip each eggplant round in flour, then egg, then breadcrumb mixture.
11) Heat 1/2" of oil in large skillet over medium heat.
12) Fry eggplant 3-5 minutes on each side or until golden brown; drain on paper towels.
13) To serve, layer pasta, eggplant, mozzarella and sauce.

Batter Fried Chicken

Last night we decided to try to recreate Sweet Water Tavern's Monterrey Salad.  As a first step, we needed to make crispy fried chicken strips, and this recipe exceeded our expectations.  The batter was light, crispy and perfectly seasoned, and the meat stayed moist despite my tendency to overcook chicken.

To create the salad we used an assortment of lettuce from Papa K's garden and added chopped avocado, green pepper strips, tomato wedges, chopped green onions, shredded cheddar cheese, chopped cucumber, black beans, candied pecans, fried tortilla strips and chopped chicken.  We topped it all off with Buttermilk Ranch dressing.

Batter Fried Chicken
Adapted from Slim Shoppin


2 c cold water
2 T salt
2 T sugar


1/2 c flour
1/2 c cornstarch
2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp paprika
dash of cayenne pepper
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 c cold water

1 lb chicken tenders
oil for frying

1) In a large bowl or baking dish, combine all brine ingredients; stir until the sugar and salt dissolve.
2) Add chicken; allow to marinate for at least 30 mins.
3) In another large bowl, combine all batter ingredients; whisk until well blended.
4) In a large skillet, heat 1/2" of oil over medium heat.
5) Remove chicken from brine; pat dry.
6) Using tongs, dip chicken pieces into batter, allowing the excess to drip off; place in hot oil.
7) Fry on each side until golden brown and the chicken is cooked through.

Buttermilk Ranch Dressing

We made this dressing to top our Monterrey salads last night.  Awesome -- this dressing puts Hidden Valley Ranch, my old stand-by, to shame.  We used fresh chives and dill from our garden.

Buttermilk Ranch Dressing
Inspired by Simply Recipes

1/2 c cultured buttermilk
1/4 c mayonnaise
1/2 tsp lemon juice (or apple cider vinegar)
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp chopped fresh chives
2 tsp chopped fresh dill
dash of paprika
dash of pepper

1) In a small bowl, combine all ingredients; mix well.
2) Refrigerate until needed.

Potato Pancakes

The key to these potato pancakes is to let them cook long enough to get good and crispy.  The best time to make these is right after you've finished frying up some bacon.  Frying the potato pancakes in the leftover bacon grease adds a ton of flavor.

Potato Pancakes
Inspired by

2 c shredded potato (about 1 good sized russet)
1-2 T finely diced onion
2 eggs
1 T + 1 tsp flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
pinch of pepper
oil (preferably bacon grease)

1) Squeeze as much moisture as possible out of the potatoes.
2) In a large bowl, combine potatoes, onion, eggs, flour, salt and pepper; mix well.
3) Add enough oil to a large skillet to cover the bottom (3-4 T); heat over medium.
4) Plop 2-3 T of batter in skillet; use spoon to spread batter into a thin pancake.
5) Fry on each side until golden brown.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Oven Roasted Kale

I tried making kale chips a while back, but they didn't quite turn out.  I'm not sure what kind of kale I used, but it was really thin, and the chips stuck to the pan.  After picking up some kale at the farmer's market this past weekend, I decided to given kale chips another shot with the help of this recipe.

1 bunch kale
1-2 T olive oil
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
salt & pepper, to taste
roasted sesame seeds

1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2) Remove thick stems from kale and roughly chop leaves.
3) In a large bowl, toss kale, oil, garlic, salt and pepper.
4) Spread kale on a rimmed baking sheet; bake for 10-15 minutes, until the edges are crisp and lightly browned.
5) Remove from oven; sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Ghee (Clarified Butter)

Ghee is good for high heat cooking because the lack of milk solids prevents it from burning as quickly as butter.  I used this site and this site for inspiration.  Ghee is solid at room temperature and does not need to be refrigerated.  I used 3/4 lb of butter which yielded about 1 1/4 - 1 1/2 c ghee.

Milk solids skimmed off the top

Ghee (Clarified Butter)

butter (preferably organic and unsalted)

1) In a small saucepan, melt butter over medium heat.
2) Allow butter to come to a gentle boil; keep butter boiling steadily; do not stir.
3) You will notice a white foam on top of the butter and sediment settling to the bottom of the pot.
4) Continue boiling until the liquid is transparent, and you can clearly see the bottom of the pot.
5) Remove from heat; allow to cool for 15 minutes or so.
6) Skim off any foam; pour liquid through strainer into a clean jar allowing the sediment to remain in the pan.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Soaked Buttermilk Pancakes

Soaking grains prior to using them in recipes is supposed to aid in digestion, and I decided that this recipe would be a good starting point for my experiments.  Regardless of the potential health benefits, these are mighty tasty pancakes, especially given that I did not use any white flour or sugar. 

Soaked Buttermilk Pancakes

1 c whole wheat flour
1 - 1 1/2 c cultured buttermilk
1 egg
3 T butter, melted
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
blueberries, if desired

1) Combine flour and 1 c buttermilk in a medium-sized bowl; cover with a towel and let sit at room temperature for at least 8 hours or overnight.
2) Add remaining ingredients (except blueberries) and mix well.
3) If necessary, add additional buttermilk to achieve desired consistency.
4) Melt butter in a hot skillet; cook pancakes until golden brown on each side (if using, add blueberries immediately after pouring the batter into the skillet).
5) Serve with butter and maple syrup.

Sunday, June 12, 2011


This lemonade is perfectly tangy and sweet.  In the interests of our health, we will probably experiment with reducing the amount of sugar next time.


8 c water, divided
1 1/4 - 1 3/4 c sugar, to taste
1 1/2 c lemon juice (about 7 lemons)

1) In a small saucepan, heat 1 c water and sugar until dissolved.
2) In a large pitcher, combine the sugar water, additional 7 c water, and juice.
3) Chill and enjoy :-)

Rice Pilaf with Pine Nuts

This dish made its family debut at a recent Sunday dinner.  I'm not sure where Mama K found the recipe, but it's definitely a winner.

Rice Pilaf with Pine Nuts

2 tsp olive or coconut oil
1 c rice
1/4 c chopped onion
1/4 c chopped celery
1 1/2 c chicken broth
1 tsp seasoned salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 c pine nuts

1) Heat oil in a medium-sized skillet over med/med-low heat.
2) Add uncooked rice and saute until lightly browned, stirring frequently.
3) Add onion and celery to the skillet, saute until slightly softened; add salt and pepper.
4) Combine the rice mixture and broth in a rice cooker and cook as usual.
5) While the rice is cooking, brown the pine nuts in the skillet.
6) When the rice is finished, stir in the pine nuts and serve.


I foresee this recipe making frequent appearances on our menu in the next few weeks.  Given how hot it has been, we are trying to avoid the oven, and these tasty falafel require just a few minutes fry time.  We serve these on pita bread with tzatziki, feta, tomatoes and lettuce...a falafel gyro!  Making both the falafel and the tzatziki makes the meal a bit labor intensive, but luckily both can be prepped ahead of time if necessary.


1 can chickpeas, drained
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 c fresh parsley, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 egg
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp baking soda
1 T olive oil
up to 1 c bread crumbs
oil for frying

1) Remove and discard chickpea skins (optional).
2) In a large bowl, mash chickpeas until thick and pasty.
3) Add remaining ingredients; mix well; batter should be thick and not too sticky.
4) Cover the bottom of a large skillet with oil; heat on medium/med-low.
5) Form batter into thin 2" patties (approximately 12); fry on each side until golden brown.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Chipotle Hummus

We had the majority of a can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce left over from making chipotle mayo for our chicken tacos this week.  Fyi, one chipotle pepper goes a looong way.  This recipe seemed like a great way to use up another one (we still have probably 6-7 in our fridge...). 

1 can chickpeas, drained (reserve liquid)
1/4 c reserved chickpea liquid
2 T tahini
2 T lemon juice
1 T olive oil
1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce (canned)
1 tsp minced garlic
3/4 tsp cumin
handful chopped cilantro
salt, to taste
pepper, to taste

1) Place chickpeas in a medium bowl and fill with water; run your fingers through the chickpeas to separate them from their skins; discard skins.
2) In a food processor, blend chickpeas, liquid, tahini, lemon juice and olive oil until smooth.
3) Add remaining ingredients; blend until smooth.
4) Adjust seasonings to taste; if necessary, add additional liquid until hummus reaches desired consistency.


We've had a lot of luck with recipes from Ina Garten, and this one is no exception.  The cucumber flavor really stands out in this tzatziki and is perfectly complimented by the other ingredients.


6 oz greek yogurt
1 medium cucumber, seeded and finely chopped
2 T sour cream
1 T lemon juice
2 tsp white wine vinegar
minced fresh dill, to taste
minced garlic, to taste
1 tsp salt
pinch black pepper

1) Mix all ingredients in small bowl; add more garlic/dill/salt/pepper/lemon juice to taste.
2) Refrigerate for 1-2 hours prior to serving.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Spicy Brussels Sprouts Stir Fry

Each time we make this recipe, we make a few changes.  I think we've finally found the find the right combination of ingredients.

Spicy Brussels Sprouts Stir Fry
Adapted from The Local Cook

3 T coconut oil
1/2 lb brussels sprouts, halved
1 inch ginger, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3/4 water or broth
3 T soy sauce
3 T rice wine vinegar
2 T packed brown sugar
red pepper flakes, to taste
2 c chopped broccoli
1 c sliced bell pepper
1 tsp sesame oil
1 can beans (approx 1 1/2 c), drained
2 green onions, chopped
1 can sliced water chestnuts, drained
2 T peanuts, coarsely chopped
prepared basmati rice

1) In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat.
2) Saute brussels sprouts, cut side down, until brown; toss and continue cooking until almost fork tender.
3) Add ginger and garlic; saute for additional minute.
4) Add water, soy sauce, vinegar, brown sugar and red pepper flakes; let sauce reduce a bit (2-3 mins).
5) Add broccoli and bell pepper; saute until nearing desired tenderness.
6) Add beans, green onions, water chestnuts and peanuts; heat through; serve over rice.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Cinnamon Rolls With Cream Cheese Frosting


Recipes courtesy of AllRecipes and the Organic Valley cream cheese box (both slightly modified, of course!)

Cinnamon Rolls

4 1/2 tsp yeast
1/4 c warm water
1 1/2 c buttermilk
1 c butter, melted, divided
4 1/2 c flour
1/4 c sugar
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/4 c brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1) In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in water; let stand until creamy (about 10 mins).
2) In a small saucepan, heat the buttermilk until warm to the touch.
3) Pour the buttermilk and 1/2 c butter into the yeast mixture; mix well.
4) In a separate bowl, combine the flour, sugar, salt and baking soda.
5) Add the flour to the yeast mixture in four parts until a soft dough forms.
6) Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 20 strokes.
7) Cover dough and let rest for 15 mins.
8) In a small bowl, combine remaining 1/2 c butter, brown sugar and cinnamon.
9) On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into a large rectangle.
10) Spread with butter/sugar mixture over the dough, all the way to the edges.
11) Roll dough into a log; slice into 1 inch pieces.
12) Place pieces on a lightly greased baking pan; allow some space between the rolls.
13) Cover and let rise for 30 mins.
14) Preheat oven to 400 degrees; bake rolls for 20-25 mins, until golden brown.
15) Let cool 2-3 mins before frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting

5 oz cream cheese, softened
6 T butter, softened
1/4 c sugar
1 T maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 - 1 c powdered sugar, to taste and desired consistency (optional - I used 1/4 c)

1) In an electric mixer, beat cream cheese and butter on high speed until light and fluffy.
2) Add granulated sugar, maple syrup and vanilla extract; beat until well blended.
3) Add powdered sugar in 1/4 c intervals, beating well after each addition.
4) If necessary, chill until desired consistency is reached.

Sunday, March 6, 2011


Overall - a success!  I used this recipe and this recipe as guidelines.  To make the filling, I started by making mashed potatoes as usual (potatoes, milk, butter, salt and pepper).  I then split the potatoes in half; to one half, I added chopped scallions, chives, and cheddar cheese.  To the other half, I added caramelized onions, chives and feta.  In the final product, the pierogies with onions, chives and feta were much more tasty as the mixture had a bolder flavor to start with.  Next time, I think I will leave out the milk since the potatoes were runnier than I liked and overseason the potatoes a bit as the flavor got washed out.


1 egg
scant 1/2 c sour cream
1 1/2 c flour
1/8 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1) In a medium bowl, mix the egg and sour cream together until smooth.
2) In a separate bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients.
3) Slowly stir the flour into the sour cream mixture into the dough comes together.
4) Knead the dough on a lightly flour surface until firm and smooth.
5) Roll the dough out to 1/8" thickness.
6) Using a biscuit cutter or glass, cut out 2-3" dough circles.
7) Place a scant T of filling into the center of each circle.
8) Fold the dough over and seal well around the edges.
9) Add pierogies to a large pot of boiling salted water and cook for 5 mins.
10) Drain pierogies, rinse with cool water and lay on a towel to dry.
11) Saute in olive oil/butter until crispy.

Red Velvet Brownies

I was planning to make brownies to take into work on Friday, so it was good timing when this recipe showed up in my Google Reader.  Very tasty and they were definitely RED!  Next time, I will start with 1 T of food coloring and only add as much as necessary.  If I make them just for us, I will probably leave the food coloring out all together -- food coloring is expensive!.  Also, I made these with the White Chocolate Buttercream frosting as written, but that was a bit too sweet for my tastes.

Red Velvet Brownies

3 T cocoa powder
2 T red food coloring
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 c butter, room temperature
1 1/2 c sugar
2 eggs
1 1/4 c flour
1/4 tsp salt
2/3 c chocolate chips

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2) In a small bowl, mix cocoa powder, food coloring and vanilla to make a paste.
3) In a mixer bowl, cream butter and sugar.
4) Beat in eggs, one at a time.
5) Add cocoa powder mixture; mix well until batter is completely red.
6) In a small bowl, mix flour and salt; slowly mix into the batter until just combined.
7) Fold in chocolate chips.
8) Spread batter in a prepared (buttered and floured) 8x8 baking dish; bake for 30-35 minutes.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Tomato Cream Soup

I never thought I liked tomato soup.  After trying this recipe, I've changed my mind.  This soup goes great with a nice crusty grilled cheese sandwich! 

Tomato Cream Soup
Adapted from Food Network
3 servings

1-14 oz can chopped tomatoes
3/4 c olive oil
salt and pepper
1 stalk celery, diced
1 small carrot, diced
1 yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 c chicken broth
1 bay leaf
2 T butter
1/4 c chopped basil leaves
1/2 c heavy cream

1) Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
2) Strain the canned tomatoes, reserving the juices.
3) Spread tomatoes on baking sheet; season with salt and pepper; drizzle with 1/4 c olive oil.
4) Roast tomatoes until carmelized, about 15 minutes.
5) Meanwhile, in a saucepan, heat remaining olive oil over medium heat.
6) Add the celery, carrot and onion; cook until softened, about 10 mins.
7) Add roasted tomatoes, reserved juices, garlic, chicken broth, bay leaf and butter.
8) Simmer until vegetables are very tender, about 15 mins.
9) Add basil and cream.
10) Puree with immersion blender or food processor.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Sauteed Brussels Sprouts

This side dish has become a regular in our dinner rotation.  I never knew I liked brussels sprouts so much.

Sauteed Brussels Sprouts

brussels sprouts, washed, trimmed and cut in half lengthwise
2-3 T olive oil or butter (or, for extra flavor, bacon grease!)
1/4-1/2 c chicken broth
2 tsp sugar
salt and pepper

1) In a large skillet, heat oil on medium; place brussels sprouts in a single layer, cut-side down.
2) Let cook until the sprouts start to brown; stir.
3) Add broth, sugar, salt and pepper; let simmer for 1min.
4) Cover and cook for 2 mins.
5) Uncover and cook until the excess broth has evaporated.

Condensed Cream Soup

This recipe is a great substitute for using canned condensed cream soups.  I used it on Friday to make Tuna Noodle Casserole.  I'd say this quantity is about equal to one can of soup.

Condensed Cream Soup

1/4 c butter, divided
1/2 c chopped onion
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
chopped mushrooms (optional)
2 T flour
1 1/4 c milk
salt & pepper

1) In a large skillet, melt 2 T butter; saute onion and celery until soft.
2) Add garlic; cook for 1 min.
3) Add mushrooms; saute until soft; set aside.
4) In a medium sauce pan, melt 2 T butter; whisk in flour and cook until golden brown.
5) Slowly whisk in milk; cook until slightly thickened.
6) Mix in onion mixture; season with salt and pepper.
7) Use in your favorite recipe.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Mushroom Struedel

This is a fun, tasty (if somewhat time consuming) recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen.  We've made this in both forms -- the larger struedel and in the mini triangles.  It takes a lot more time (and more phyllo) to create the triangular struedels.  They would be great finger food for a party, but for dinner for us, we'll probably stick with the big struedel.  This time, we used mushrooms from our CSA (oyster maybe?) and baby bellas for the filling.  The parmesan flavor is really subtle, so next time, we plan to try using boursin or another soft cheese for a stronger flavor. 

Mushroom Struedel

3 T butter
1 medium onion, minced
1 lb mushrooms, chopped (a mixture is best)
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 T chicken broth or white wine
1 T flour
1/4 tsp dried thyme
salt and pepper, to taste 
12-8 sheets phyllo dough
1/4-1/2 c butter, melted
freshly grated parmesan
1 egg, beaten

1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2) Melt 3 T butter in a large pan; saute onions until soft.
3) Add mushrooms and nutmeg; saute 5-7 mins until liquid releases and partially evaporates.
4) Add the chicken broth, flour, thyme, salt and pepper (if using wine, cook for 2-3 mins before adding flour, etc).
5) Set aside; let cool.

To make struedel:
6) Lay one sheet of phyllo flat on counter; brush with butter.
7) Top with another sheet of phyllo; brush with butter; top with third sheet of phyllo.
8) Spread 1/4 of mushroom mixture in center of dough; top with 1 T of parmesan.
9) Brush edges of dough with egg; fold into thirds, tucking in the ends forming a neat parcel.
10) Brush both sides with egg; place seam-side down on greased baking sheet.
11) Repeat 3 more times for a total of 4 struedel; bake for 15 minutes.

To make triangular mini-struedel:
6) Lay one sheet of phyllo on counter; brush one half of dough (lengthwise) with butter.
7) Fold in half; brush one half of dough (lengthwise) with butter.
8) Fold in half again to form a thin strip 1/4 of the original width.
9) Place a scant T of filling and 1 tsp of parmesan near end of strip; fold corner of dough over filling to opposite edge.
10) Continue folding as if you were folding a flag.
11) Place seam-side down on greased baking sheet; brush with egg and sprinkle with parmesan.
12) Bake for 15 minutes.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Oatmeal Cookie Muffins

I was perusing food blogs this morning looking for dinner recipes for this week when I got distracted by this muffin recipe from How Sweet It Is.  I made muffins immediately.  They turned out great and I definitely plan to make them again.  I would have preferred chocolate chips to raisins but Jason has some strange aversion to chocolate in breakfast food.

Oatmeal Cookie Muffins

1 c oats
1 c milk, divided
1 egg
1/3 c brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 c butter, room temperature
1 c whole wheat pastry flour (I substituted 1/2 c whole wheat and 1/2 c all-purpose)
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 c raisins (or chocolate chips!)

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2) In a small bowl, combine oats and 1/2 c milk; set aside.
3) In a large bowl, whisk together egg and brown sugar.
4) Whisk in vanilla extract and butter; small lumps may remain.
5) Mix in oat mixture, flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.
6) Add remaining 1/2 c milk and stir until smooth; fold in raisins.
7) Spoon batter into greased muffin tin (makes 12); bake for 15-18 minutes.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Chicken Stock

I've been meaning to make stock forever.  I even had a chicken carcass in my freezer for several months, but it somehow got lost in the move...go figure.  Anyways, I finally stopped reading about how to make stock and just went ahead and did it.  Since I was carcass-less, I had to go buy a bird.  All I could get on short notice was a 7lb stewing hen.  After I started roasting it last night, I did a quick google search and found that hens are mature birds and can be a bit tough.  That's why they are sold as "for soup".  Lesson learned.  Jason picked most of the meat off, and then this morning I used the carcass to make the stock.  I let it simmer for about 8 hours.  I didn't add much additional water, and, after making soup, I have about 28 oz of broth left to freeze.  Next time, I will probably buy a stewing hen and just put it in the pot raw and pick the meat afterwards.

Chicken Stock

1 chicken carcass
2-3 carrots, coarsely chopped
1-2 onions, coarsely chopped
2-3 celery stalks, coarsely chopped
2 T apple cider vinegar
handful parsley

1) Put chicken, carrots, onion and celery in a large pot; cover with water and add vinegar.
2) Let sit for 30-60 mins.
3) Bring to a boil and skim off any scum that floats to the surface.
4) Cover and simmer 4-24 hours.
5) Add parsley 10 mins before you plan to turn off the heat.
6) Remove bones and any large bits; strain into jars.
7) Let cool and refrigerate or freeze.  If freezing, don't forget to leave head room in the jars.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Mama B's Corn Casserole

The original recipe called for a can of creamed corn and a small box of jiffy.  Because I like to be difficult and make things from scratch, I instead made homemade creamed corn and used the dry ingredients from my favorite cornbread recipe.  I also baked it for over an hour in a deep 8x8 casserole dish.  My version wasn't quite as moist as the original, so I think I may have overbaked it.  Next time, I'll try the 9x13 as noted below.

Corn Casserole

1/2 c butter, melted
1 batch of homemade creamed corn
10 oz frozen corn
1/2 c cornmeal
2/3 c flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3 T sugar
3 eggs
1 c sour cream
1 c shredded cheddar cheese

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2) Mix all ingredients well.
3) Transfer to 9x13 pan and bake for 45 mins.

Creamed Corn

This creamed corn has a nice slightly sweet flavor.  I can't wait to try it with fresh corn this summer.

Creamed Corn

10 oz frozen corn
1/2 c heavy cream
1/2 tsp salt
1 T sugar
1/8 tsp black pepper
1 T butter
1/2 c whole milk
1 T flour
2 T grated parmesan (optional)

1) In a skillet over medium heat, combine the corn, cream, salt, sugar, pepper and butter.
2) Once the corn is thawed, whisk together milk and flour and add to the mixture.
3) Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the mixture is thickened and the corn is cooked through.
4) Remove from heat; add parmesan.

Egg Rolls

This is a great recipe that we don't make very often.  Besides not being very healthy, deep frying is a major hassle.  That said, every once in a while, it is totally worth it, and we decided to celebrate NYE 2010 with some greasy goodness.  This recipe yielded about 18 egg rolls.  To reheat, just broil for a few minutes.

Egg Rolls

6 c coarsely chopped cabbage
1 carrot, shredded
1/2 c bean sprouts
2 T chopped onion
4 oz chopped shrimp or cooked ground beef/turkey (optional)
2 T soy sauce
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 egg
egg roll wrappers
oil (for frying)

1) In a large bowl, mix together cabbage, carrot, bean sprouts, onion, meat, soy sauce, garlic powder and black pepper.
2) In a skillet, cook the egg flat and thin (break the yolk); finely chop the egg and add it to the bowl.  
3) Sprinkle top of mixture with cornstarch; mix and let sit for 10 mins.
4) In a small dish, combine 1 T cornstarch with 2 T water.
5) Place a egg roll wrapper in front of you on an angle (so it looks like a diamond instead of a square).
6) Place 2 heaping T of filling in the center of the wrapper.
7) Using a spoon, put a tiny dab of cornstarch water on the three corners furthest from you; use the back of the spoon to spread the water around the top two edges.
8) Fold the corner closest to you over the mixture tightly; fold the two side corners inward; finish rolling, ensuring a good seal.
9) Repeat for remainder of egg rolls.
10) In the meantime, heat 3-4 inches of oil to 350 degrees.
11) Fry egg rolls until golden brown; drain on paper towels.
12) Serve with duck sauce.