Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Apple Sauce

Happy Hanukkah. Learn here how to make apple sauce to serve with your latkes.

4 Apple (frugal me chose the least expensive variety)
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup sugar (either white or brown)
1 tspn cinnamon
1 vanilla bean

In a saucepan, combine apples, water, sugar, and cinnamon. Cover, and cook over medium heat for 15 to 20 minutes, or until apples are soft. Allow to cool, then mash with a fork or potato masher.

Comments: My next apple sauce trial will be to a baking recipe.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Chocolate Crust Cheesecake Minis

Decoration ideas: sprinkle broken pieces of  candy cane,
mini chocolate chips or sugar syrup raspberries
Everything's better in cupcake form. That's why I've set out to try nearly all of Martha Stuarts favorite cupcakes and picked out my favorite one. Original recipe included apricot jam. See below my simplified version without the jam.

Ingredients (yields 18, total time 1 hour)

1 cup crumbled chocolate-wafer cookies (about 18 cookies)
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon sugar
1 1/2 ounces (3 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted
1 pound cream cheese, softened (leave out for 3 hours before hand or microwave prior)
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup sour cream
pinch of salt

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Mix cookies and 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon sugar in a bowl. Stir in butter. Press 1 tablespoon of mixture in bottom of each cup. Bake until set, about 7 minutes. Let cool in tins on wire racks.

2) Reduce oven temperature to 275 degrees. Beat cream cheese with a mixer on medium speed until smooth. Add remaining 1/2 cup sugar, then vanilla. With mixer running, add eggs slowly, scraping down side of bowl. Add sour cream and salt. make sure to get rid of all lumps so batter is smooth. Pour batter into double muffin cups, filling almost to the tops.

3) Bake until sides are set but centers are wobbly, about 20 minutes. Let cool in tins on wire racks. Wrap tins tightly with plastic only when cooled to room temperature, and refrigerate 4 hours or overnight.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Let It Sprout

 Growing alfafa sprouts is super easy. 
Day 1 Sunday - soak seeds overnight
Day 5 Thursday - ready to eat


Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Italian Goulash

4 big servings.   25 mins prep.   2.5 hours total.

1 tsp olive oil
1 lb of lean ground beef (94/6)
1 small sweet yellow onion, diced
3-4 baby bell peppers, diced recipe calls for red & orange. I used regular red & green pepper as a substitute.
8 oz cremini mushrooms, sliced canned or fresh
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste
3 cups of Roasted Tomato, Onion & Garlic Marinara i.e a whole container
12 oz elbow macaroni, cooked per instructions 12 oz = 3 cups <- too much. Try 2.5 or 2 cups next time.
Fresh basil, chiffonade
Asiago, grated

Heat the olive oil in a small Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onions and mushrooms then cook for 3-4 minutes. Add the ground beef, bell pepper, chopped garlic then season with sea salt and freshly cracked pepper; cook for 4-5 minutes making sure to crumble the ground beef as it cooks. Drain any excess grease from the pan then add the marinara sauce, stir until mixed thoroughly. Simmer the sauce for 1-2 hours so flavors combine.

Cook the elbow macaroni per instructions (make sure to season the water with salt) then drain completely. Combine the macaroni with the sauce, add the fresh basil and mix well. Simmer for 15 minutes so the sauce has time to flavor the noodles. Top with Asiago cheese if desired and serve. Enjoy.

Recipe by For the Love of Cooking.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Banana Secret Messages

Write a message on a banana for your loved one! 

Draw or write your awesome secret message by applying pressure with
a toothpick. It will not appear immediately, but as the day goes on the
message becomes more clear. The picture above was taken about thirty
minutes after the message was written.

Thank you Come Together Kids and A CUP OF JO for sharing this trick.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Pumpkin Carving Ideas

Expressive Halloween Pumpkins

Polynesian Halloween Pumpkins

Glowing Halloween Pumpkins

Halloween Pumpkins Cooler

Fishy Halloween Pumpkins

All from Southern Living 2011

Pumpkin Chili Mole

About 6 1-cup servings
Vegan, Dairy Free

Ingredients This recipe recommends organic ingredients... of course. 
1 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, pressed
14 sweet peppers or 2 bell peppers, chopped
1 hot pepper of choice, diced (optional) such as arbol
1 15 oz (425 g) can kidney beans
1 15 oz (425 g) can black beans
1 15 oz (425 g) can pumpkin puree (or butternut squash puree)
1 28 oz can fire roasted diced tomatoes if cannot find fire roasted, use normal diced tomatoes and add hot pepper flakes
1 12 dark beer

Seasoning Mixture
1 tsp raw cacao powder (or unsweet baking cocoa)
1 Tbsp chili powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp chipotle powder
**Add salt to taste.  I didn't add any as with the canned beans and tomatoes it was salty enough.

1. Heat a Dutch Oven or large stock pot over medium high heat; spray with cooking spray, add onions and peppers; saute about 7 minutes. Reduce heat to medium; add garlic; saute an additional 2 minutes.
2. Meanwhile mix spice mixture in a small bowl.
3. Add spice mixture to pot and all remaining ingredients; bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer 45 minutes.

Recipe posted on Florida Coastal Cooking Blog. See it

My thoughts.... Beef Chili > Pumpkin Chili. 
Disagree? I'd be glad to take the challenge and try out your pumpkin or vegetarian chili recipe. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Butternut Squash Lasagna

Recipe posted on Yummy Mummy Kitchen; originally taken from Food Network's Giada De Laurentiis. 
Delic. But I did not layer enough.

Total Time: 2 hr 10 min  ★  Prep: 30 min  ★  
Inactive: 15 min  ★  Cook: 1 hr 25 min  ★  Yield: 8 to 10 servings

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 (1 1/2 to 2-pound) butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch cubes - I disagree, 2.25 lb was not enough (pre-peeled, seeded & cut) was not enough. Next time try 2 squashes, total of 4.5 - 5 lb. 
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup water
3 amaretti cookies, crumbled or macaroons, or biscoff... whatever is in your cupboard. 
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 1/2 cups whole milk
Pinch nutmeg
3/4 cup (lightly packed) fresh basil leaves
12 no-boil lasagna noodles
2 1/2 cups shredded whole-milk mozzarella cheese
1/3 cup grated Parmesan

Heat the oil in a heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the squash and toss to coat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Pour the water into the skillet and then cover and simmer over medium heat until the squash is tender, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes. Cool slightly and then transfer the squash to a food processor. Add the amaretti cookies and blend until smooth. Season the squash puree, to taste, with more salt and pepper.

Melt the butter in a heavy medium-size saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk for 1 minute. Gradually whisk in the milk. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the sauce thickens slightly, whisking often, about 5 minutes. Whisk in the nutmeg. Cool slightly. Transfer half of the sauce to a blender*. Add the basil and blend until smooth. Return the basil sauce to the sauce in the pan and stir to blend. Season the sauce with salt and pepper, to taste.

Position the rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 375 degrees F.

Lightly butter a 13 by 9 by 2-inch glass baking dish. Spread 3/4 cup of the sauce over the prepared baking dish. Arrange 3 lasagna noodles on the bottom of the pan. Spread 1/3 of the squash puree over the noodles. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup of mozzarella cheese. Drizzle 1/2 cup of sauce over the noodles. Repeat layering 3 more times.

Tightly cover the baking dish with foil and bake the lasagna for 40 minutes. Sprinkle the remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses over the lasagna. Continue baking uncovered until the sauce bubbles and the top is golden, 15 minutes longer. Let the lasagna stand for 15 minutes before serving.

*When blending hot liquids: Remove liquid from the heat and allow to cool for at least 5 minutes. Transfer liquid to a blender or food processor and fill it no more than halfway. If using a blender, release one corner of the lid. This prevents the vacuum effect that creates heat explosions. Place a towel over the top of the machine, pulse a few times then process on high speed until smooth.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Lazy Man Bibimbap

Defined as mixed meal, this pretty Korean dish has quickly become one of my favorites. This recipe is my first attempt to make bibimbap with ingredients I normally buy for my weekly grocery shopping. The next round of trials will include making my own sauce*, beef, adding cucumbers to the mix and eating with chopsticks!.

cherry tomatoes, halved
sauteed onions with scallions
thick shredded carrots
sauteed shitake mushrooms
sauteed zucchini slivers with sesame oil, garlic powder and sesame seeds*
90 second brown rice
Fried sunny side up egg, well done

*A few sauce recipes to try:

**Step by step directions taken from the blog beyond kimchee:
Cut zucchinis into 2" logs and peel the green part of the skin carefully from the side. Discard the white part. 
Saute them in oil, add salt, garlic, sesame oil, and sesame seeds until they get softened yet still green.
Slice them into about 1/4" sticks. If you are not comfortable peeling off the skin, just slice the whole zucchini into whatever size you like.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Mocha-Apple Cake with Browned Butter Frosting

Double Layered

Recipe published in Southern Living's September 2011 issue. Find it here. Hag Samech & Shana Tova! 

Cake Ingredients
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup sugar
1 cup canola oil
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon instant coffee granules
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 cups peeled and diced Granny Smith apples (about 2 lb.)
2 (2.6-oz.) milk chocolate candy bars, chopped
Browned Butter Frosting

Cake Directions

  • 1. Preheat oven to 350º. Bake pecans in a single layer in a shallow pan 8 to 10 minutes or until toasted and fragrant, stirring halfway through.
  • 2. Beat sugar and next 4 ingredients at high speed with a heavy-duty electric stand mixer 5 minutes. Stir together flour and next 4 ingredients; gradually add flour mixture to sugar mixture, beating at low speed just until blended. Add apples, chocolate, and pecans; beat just until blended. Spoon into 2 greased and floured 9-inch round cake pans.
  • 3. Bake at 350º for 28 to 32 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on a wire rack 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire rack, and cool completely (about 1 hour). Spread Browned Butter Frosting between layers and on top and sides of cake.
  • Mocha-Apple Bundt Cake: Omit Browned Butter Frosting. Prepare batter as directed; spoon into a greased and floured 12-cup Bundt pan. Bake at 350º for 1 hour to 1 hour and 10 minutes or until a long wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack 15 minutes; remove from pan to wire rack, and cool completely (about 2 hours).

Browned Butter Frosting Ingredients
1 cup butter
1 (16-oz.) package powdered sugar
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Frosting Directions
1. Cook butter in a small heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly, 6 to 8 minutes or until butter begins to turn golden brown. Remove pan immediately from heat. Pour butter into a bowl. Cover and chill 1 hour or until butter is cool and begins to solidify.
2. Beat butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until fluffy; gradually add powdered sugar alternately with milk, beginning and ending with sugar. Beat at low speed until well blended after each addition. Stir in vanilla.

Comments: The cake batter is very thick and turns out similar to a cookie dough consistency.  Very interesting. Not my favorite cake, but definitely would make it again for the right occasion. Shocking realization that others don't agree - only received 2/5 stars on 

Orzo Salad

Yields 6 side servings or 4 meals. Ready in 20 minutes. 

* 1.5 cups whole wheat orzo
* cherry tomatoes, halved
* 1 zucchini, diced
* Spinach, chopped
* 1/2 or 1/3 red onion, thinly sliced
* Fresh mint, chopped
* dried basil
* Olive Oil
* Balsamic Vinegar
* Lemon

Boil orzo for approximately 10 minutes. Drain and cool. Combine cherry tomatoes, zucchini, chopped spinach, chopped mint, red onion in a bowl. Add Orzo. Sprinkle dried basil, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar and lemon.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Grilled Pear Arugala Salad

Optional: Add Salmon filets

Serves 3
2 barlett pears, sliced
2/3 bag arugala salad mix
1/2 purple onion, thinly sliced
1/3 cup walnuts
1/3 cup yellow raisins
Balsamic vinaigrette dressing

* Grill sliced pears on medium heat for approximately 5 minutes, 2.5 on each side. Remove and cool for 5 minutes
* Add all arugala, onion, walnuts and yellow raisins into a bowl and mix. Add grilled pears.
* Serve with balsamic vinaigrette dressing.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Sauteed Zucchini with Corn and Roasted Green Peppers

Every now and then it's nice to try a vegetarian or in this instance even gluten free recipe. I didn't love it, but I would make it again if in need of a vegetarian warm side dish. Modified version of original recipe, posted on girl cooks world here.

* about 1 pound zucchini, cut into small, 1/2-inch cubes
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 1 Tablespoon butter
* 1 Tablespoon olive oil, plus extra if needed
* 1/2 large onion, thinly sliced
* 1 cup frozen corn, defrosted
* 1 poblano or green bell pepper, roasted, peeled, seeded and cut into thin strips
* 2/3 cup Mexican-style sour cream**
* salt and pepper to taste

Place the zucchini in a colander and mix with the salt. Let stand over a plate or the sink for about 1/2 hour to draw out any bitter liquid. Rinse and pat dry or drain for several minutes in the colander.

Heat the butter and olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the zucchini and cook, stirring often, until the zucchini has browned and is just tender. Remove the zucchini to a bowl with tongs or a slotted spoon, attempting to keep as much of the butter and oil mixture in the pan as possible.

Add the onions and cook, stirring until translucent. Add the corn and the pepper strips and continue to cook until the onion begins to brown. Stir in the sour cream and zucchini and cook until the sour cream has reduced to a thick glaze. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serves four.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Rice Pilaf With Grapes, Cranberries and Pecans

Ready in 25 Minutes. Serves 4 - 6.

I tried this at my friends house over the weekend and had to ask for the recipe. The recipe itself originally published in Southern Living's March 2010 issue. See it here.

1 cup diced red onion
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1 1/2 cups halved seedless red grapes
1/2 cup sweetened dried cranberries
2 tablespoons white or regular balsamic vinegar
2 (8.5-oz.) pouches ready-to-serve basmati rice*
3/4 cup chopped toasted pecans
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon salt

Sauté onion in melted butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat until tender; stir in grapes, dried cranberries, and balsamic vinegar. Stir in rice, pecans, parsley, and salt; cook, stirring often, until thoroughly heated.
*2 (8.8-oz.) pouches ready-to-serve whole grain brown-and-wild rice may be substituted; omit salt.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Notes From Hungary

Goulash served year round

Pancake bar snack

Salt & Pepper Paprika

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Shrimp Scampi With Thin Whole Wheat Spaghetti Noodles

Side comments #1 - Will my flowers and jalapeno peppers ever grow?

 And now for the recipes.

Total Time: 30 min    ๑   Prep 20 min    ๑   Cook 10 min    ๑  
 Yield: 3 servings    ๑   Level: Easy

1.5 tablespoon butter

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 1/2 pounds fresh shrimp, shelled and deveined without tails
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 shallot, chopped (optional)
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed
  • 2 tablespoons white wine
  • 2 tablespoons brandy

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon grated lemon zest


If shrimp are frozen, defrost.

Put the shrimp on a large pie pan or plate and pat them completely dry with a paper towel. Arrange the shrimp so they lay flat and are evenly spaced.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Season the shrimp with salt and pepper. Add the butter to the skillet. When the foaming subsides, raise the heat to high, and invert the plate of shrimp over the pan so the shrimp fall into the pan all at once. Cook the shrimp, without moving them, for 1 minute. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Turn the shrimp over and cook for 2 minutes more. Transfer the shrimp to a bowl.

Return the skillet to the heat and pour in the olive oil, wine, brandy and lemon juice. Boil the liquid about 30 seconds. Scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Stir the zest and parsley into the sauce. Pour the sauce over the shrimp, season with salt and pepper to taste and toss in crushed cayenne red pepper to combine.

Divide the shrimp among 3 plates or arrange on a platter and serve.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Peach Pie, Anyone?

Recipe and crust design inspired by Southern Living's 07/2011 Issue. View it here.

1 1/3 cups cold butter
4 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, divided
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 to 3/4 cup ice-cold water
8 large fresh, firm, ripe peaches (about 4 lb.)
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces
1 large egg, beaten
1 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar

Preparation (If you are not making homemade crust, skip steps 1-3) 
1. Cut 1 1/3 cups butter into small cubes, and chill 15 minutes. Stir together 4 cups flour and 1 1/2 tsp. salt. Cut butter into flour mixture with a pastry blender until mixture resembles small peas. Gradually stir in 1/2 cup ice water with a fork, stirring until dry ingredients are moistened and dough begins to form a ball and leaves sides of bowl, adding more ice water, 1 Tbsp. at a time, if necessary. Turn dough out onto a piece of plastic wrap; press and shape dough into 2 flat disks. Wrap each disk in plastic wrap, and chill 30 minutes to 24 hours.
2. Preheat oven to 425º. Place 1 dough disk on a lightly floured surface; sprinkle dough lightly with flour. Roll dough to about 1/4-inch thickness. Starting at 1 edge of dough, wrap dough around a rolling pin. Place rolling pin over a 9-inch pie plate, and unroll dough over pie plate. Press dough into pie plate.
3. Roll remaining dough disk to about 1/4-inch thickness on a lightly floured surface.
4. Peel peaches, and cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices; cut slices in half. Stir together brown sugar, next 3 ingredients, and remaining 1/4 cup flour in a bowl; add peaches, stirring to coat. Immediately spoon peach mixture into piecrust in pie plate, and dot with 1 1/2 Tbsp. butter. (Do not make mixture ahead or it will become too juicy.)
5. Carefully place remaining piecrust over filling; press edges of crusts together to seal. Cut off excess crust, and reserve. Crimp edges of pie. If desired, reroll excess crust to 1/4-inch thickness. Cut into 3-inch leaves using a knife. Brush top of pie with beaten egg; top with leaves. Brush leaves with egg; sprinkle with 1 1/2 Tbsp. granulated sugar. Cut 4 to 5 slits in top of pie for steam to escape.
 6. Freeze pie 15 minutes. Meanwhile, heat a jelly-roll pan in oven 10 minutes. Place pie on hot jelly-roll pan.
7. Bake at 425° on lower oven rack 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 375°; bake 40 minutes. Cover loosely with aluminum foil to prevent excessive browning, and bake 25 more minutes or until juices are thick and bubbly (juices will bubble through top). Transfer to a wire rack; cool 2 hours before serving.
Lovely Lattice: For an equally impressive top crust, cut remaining dough disk in Step 3 into 3 (1 1/2-inch-wide) strips and 8 (1/4-inch-wide) strips using a fluted pastry wheel. Proceed as directed through Step 4. In Step 5, replace whole crust with dough strips, making a lattice design. Omit pastry leaves. Brush lattice with beaten egg, and sprinkle with sugar. Omit slits in crust. Proceed as directed in Steps 6 and 7, shielding just the edges with foil.

By Pastry Chef Shae Rehmel, Five & Ten, Athens, Georgia, Southern Living

Comments: Texture and taste is very similar to apple pie... but better.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Fresh Fruit Bruschetta

Inspired by Turning Point's Fresh Fruit Bruschetta.

1/2 a pineapple
1/2 a container frozen strawberries in syrup + a handful of fresh strawberries
1 mango, diced
fresh mint

Serve with toasted cinnamon butter bread. 

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Green Apple Salad

2 Granny Smith Apples, slivered
Yellow Raisins
1 Sweet Red Pepper
1/2 Purple Onion
If you would like, add chicken
Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing

Serves 3
Looking for tips to improve this salad!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Veggie Potato Salad (Southern Living)

YIELD: Makes 7 1/2 cups (serving size: 3/4 cup)
COURSE: Salads, Side Dishes/Vegetables

2 1/2 pounds baby red potatoes, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup whole buttermilk
1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream
1/4 cup reduced-fat mayonnaise with olive oil
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 carrots, grated
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup sliced radishes
1/2 cup steamed, cut fresh green beans 
(I used sugar snap peas instead)
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1 garlic clove, minced
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

1. Bring potatoes and salted water to cover to a boil in a large saucepan; reduce heat, and simmer 7 to 10 minutes or until tender. Drain. Place potatoes in a large bowl; sprinkle with vinegar and oil, and toss gently. Cool completely (about 1 hour).
2. Whisk together buttermilk and next 3 ingredients. Stir in carrots and next 6 ingredients; season with salt and pepper to taste. Spoon buttermilk mixture over potato mixture; toss gently to coat. Cover and chill 1 to 24 hours before serving.

Cost $14.50 for entire ingredients.
See original Southern Living posting here.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Sweet Lemon Poppy Biscuits (Food & Wine)

Click me to see original recipe posting.


2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter—10 tablespoons cut into 1/2-
inch cubes and chilled, 2 tablespoons melted
Grated zest from 1 lemon
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
1 cup buttermilk, chilled
Flaky salt, such as Maldon, for sprinkling

1.   Preheat the oven to 425° and position a rack in the lower third of the oven. In a large shallow bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar and fine salt. Add the chilled butter and use a pastry blender or 2 knives to cut the butter into the flour until it is the size of peas. Add the grated zest and the poppy seeds. Stir in the buttermilk just until the dough is moistened. Lightly dust a work surface with flour. Turn the dough out onto the surface and knead 2 or 3 times, just until it comes together. Pat the dough into a 1/2-inch-thick disk.
2.   Using a floured 2 1/4-inch round cookie cutter, stamp out biscuit rounds as closely together as possible. Gather the scraps and knead them together 2 or 3 times, then flatten the dough and stamp out more biscuit rounds. Pat the remaining scraps together and gently press them into a biscuit.
3.   Transfer the biscuits to a large baking sheet and brush the tops with the melted butter. Lightly sprinkle the biscuits with a few grains of flaky salt and chill until firm, about 10 minutes.
4.   Bake the biscuits for 20 minutes, or until golden. Let the biscuits cool slightly on the baking sheet before serving.
MAKE AHEAD The unbaked biscuits can be frozen: Freeze biscuits in a single layer and transfer to a resealable plastic bag for up to one month. Bake straight from the freezer, adding a few minutes to the cooking time.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Barbecued Salmon with Green Mango Salad (Food&Wine June 2011)

Total Time: 30 mins   *   Servings: 4 or 2   *   See original recipe here 

1 teaspoon finely grated lime zest
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar (instead of rice vinegar and soy sauce, I used 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar)
1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce

1 tablespoon light brown sugar

1/4 cup vegetable oil, plus more for brushing
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 large unripe mango (1 1/4 pounds), peeled and very thinly sliced
1/2 seedless cucumber, thinly sliced
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
2 tablespoons chopped mint
2 tablespoons roasted sesame seeds
Four 7-ounce salmon fillets with skin

1. In a large bowl, whisk the lime zest and lime juice with the rice vinegar, brown sugar and soy sauce. Whisk in the 1/4 cup of vegetable oil and season with salt and pepper. Add the sliced green mango, cucumber, cilantro, mint and 1 tablespoon of the roasted sesame seeds.
2. Light a grill or preheat a grill pan. Brush the salmon fillets with vegetable oil and season them with salt and pepper. Grill the salmon skin side down over moderate heat, turning once, until the skin is very crisp and the fish is slightly opaque in the center, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer the salmon fillets to plates, sprinkle them with the remaining 1 tablespoon of roasted sesame seeds and serve with the mango salad.

The green mango salad can be covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated for up to 4 hours. Add the chopped cilantro and mint just before serving.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Green Beans with Eggs, Chiles and Cilantro

Contributed by , published in Food & Wine Magazine June 2011 

Total Time: 30 Mins ........ Total Servings: 8

This Georgian dish, called lobio (bean dish), is typically served cool, but with its buttery scrambled eggs and tender green beans, it's equally delicious hot. It's great as part of a family-style menu and also makes an unusually tasty, light main course.


1 pound green beans, cut into 2-inch pieces buy 1.25lb, which will yield 1lb for the recipe after preparations
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
5 large eggs, lightly beaten I used 4 large eggs
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 cup chopped cilantro, plus small sprigs for garnish
2 tablespoons chopped walnuts
1 garlic clove, minced
1 small jalapeño, seeded and minced
1 small red chile, seeded and minced
1/2 teaspoon dill seeds I used Thyme leaves since no dill seeds were available.

In a large saucepan of boiling salted water, cook the green beans until tender, 6 minutes. Drain and let cool. Transfer to a bowl.
In a large nonstick skillet, melt the butter in the oil. Add the onion and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until softened, about 6 minutes. Add the eggs and season with salt and pepper. Cook over moderate heat, stirring, until the eggs are scrambled, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs to the beans.
Stir in the chopped cilantro, walnuts, garlic, jalapeño, red chile and dill seeds. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish with cilantro sprigs just before serving.
MAKE AHEAD The green lobio can be refrigerated for up to 4 hours.

Friday, April 29, 2011

3-Layer Carrot Cake

It was time for me to bake a layered cake.
I combined two carrot cake recipes into the recipe listed below.
The original recipes can be found on and

Prep Time: 30 minutes ♦ Cook Time: 1 hour  Idle Time: 1 day  Ready In: 1 day, 1.5 hours

Batter Ingredients

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups vegetable oil
  • 2 cups granulated white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 3 cups finely grated carrots
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts (can substitute with pecans)
  • Frosting Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened (= 1/2 stick)
  • 12 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 4 cups confectioners' sugar (=1.5 lb)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chopped pecans


Preheat oven to 305 degrees F.

In a mixing bowl, mix sugar, vegetable oil, and eggs. In another bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Fold dry ingredients into wet mixture and blend well. Fold in grated carrots and chopped nuts until well blended. Distribute batter evenly into 3 (9-inch or 8.5-inch) cake layer pans, which have been generously greased. There will be approximately 1 pound 5 ounces of batter per pan. Place in preheated oven and bake for 50 to 60 minutes. Cool layers in pans, for approximately 1 hour. Store layers in pans, inverted, in closed cupboard to prevent drying. Layers must be a minimum of 1 day old.

To remove layers from baking pan, turn upside down, tap edge of pan on a hard surface. Center a 9-inch cake circle on top of revolving cake stand. Remove paper from bottom of layer cake. Place first layer, bottom side down, at center of cake stand. With a spatula, evenly spread approximately 3 1/2 ounces of frosting on the layer. Center second layer on top of first layer with topside down. Again with a spatula, evenly spread approximately 3 1/2 ounces of frosting on the layer. Center third layer on top of second layer with topside down. Using both hands, press firmly but gently, all layers together to get one firm cake. With spatula, spread remainder of frosting to cover top and sides of cake. Refrigerated until needed. Display on counter or cake stand with a plastic cover.

Filling and Icings:

In a suitable bowl of large mixer, place powdered sugar, cream cheese, vanilla, and butter. Beat at second speed until thoroughly blended. Hold refrigerated and use as needed. Pecans are for cake decorations.


Why did my cake turn out inverted the second time I made the recipe? Maybe stale baking powder?