Monday, April 19, 2010

Breaded Chicken with Coconut Sauce

Add some tropical flair to your weeknight dinner with this Brazilian-inspired dish. The spice and crunch of the breading combined with a tang of citrus and softness of coconut milk give this meal a pleasant tastiness that screams summer.

Breaded Chicken:
1 lb chicken
2 pieces of bread, toasted
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup packed basil leaves
1/4 cup pine nuts
pinch salt
zest from 1 lime
1/2 teaspoon lime juice
1 egg, beaten

Coconut Sauce:
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 scallions, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 heaping tablespoon minced ginger
1 heaping tablespoon minced garlic
2 talespoons olive oil
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 can coconut milk
pinch white pepper
salt to taste
handful chopped basil leaves
zest and juice of 1 lime
1 teaspoon cornstarch

Heat oven to 350. Blend all ingredients except the egg in food processor. Transfer to a shallow bowl. Place beaten egg in a shallow bowl as well. Cut chicken into strips, and dip in egg and then in the breading. Repeat until all the chicken is coated. Brown chicken on all sides over medium-high heat then place in oven to finish cooking.

Heat olive oil in saute pan over medium heat. Saute onion, scallion, and peppers for two minutes. Saute ginger and garlic until fragrant. Add white wine and chicken stock and reduce (about 7 minutes). Stir in coconut milk, white pepper, and salt. Add basil leaves and lime. In small bowl, mix cornstarch with 1 tablespoon water and stir. Add to the coconut sauce to thicken. Serve over rice and breaded chicken.

Coconut Milk on Foodista

Monday, April 12, 2010


Growing up in the northeastern part of Pennsylvania means that you get to eat lots of yummy food that has its roots in Eastern Europe. Pierogies were always one of my absolute favorite things to eat. These pockets of dough are stuffed with a cheesy mashed potato-like mixture then sauteed with some sliced onions and butter...deliciousness!

1 1/2 lbs potatoes
1/2 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup sour cream
1 1/4 cup cheddar cheese
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons chopped chives
2 shallots, minced and sauteed
1/4 cup cabbage, chopped and sauteed
3 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper

3-4 cups flour
salt and pepper
2 tablespoons oil
1/3 cup sour cream
1/3 cup water
1 egg yolk
2 eggs

Bring large pot of water to boil and cook potatoes for about 15 minutes, until soft and able to be pricked by a fork. Remove potatoes from water and mash. Add heavy cream and sour cream. Mix. Stir in the cheeses, chives, shallots, cabbage, garlic, salt and pepper.

Whisk together flour, salt and pepper. Make a well in the middle and add wet ingredients. Stir and work the dough until it is no longer sticky. Refrigerate in plastic wrap for about an hour. Roll out the dough until it is 1/8 inch thick. Cut into individual circles about 3 inches in diameter. Place filling in middle and pinch closed. Once they are all made, boil the pierogis in water for a couple of minutes before pan frying them.

Pan fry the pierogies over medium-high heat with a sliced onion and butter.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Blood Orange Pound Cake with Orange Ginger Sauce

After recently spotting blood oranges at a local farmer's market, I immediately made sure to pick up a few. I was so excited - blood oranges are such a beautiful fruit! Most of the time, their rinds are a typical orange color, but inside, they are a bold and vibrant fire-red. I decided to use some of these beauties in this tangy cake and serve with an orangey, slightly spicy sauce.

Blood Orange Pound Cake:
1 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon cardamom
1 cup sugar
1 cup Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon blood orange zest
1/4 cup fresh blood orange juice
1/2 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 eggs

Orange Ginger Sauce:
1/2 cup orange marmalade
1/2 cup water
1/2 teaspoon cardamom
1/4 teaspoon ginger powder or chop up some pieces of crystallized ginger
 whipped cream, for serving

for blood orange pound cake:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and cardamom. In a separate bowl, mix sugar, yogurt, orange zest, orange juice, olive oil, vanilla, and eggs. Gently mix the liquid mixture into the dry ingredients. In loaf pan, bake for about 25 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean.

for orange ginger sauce:
Over low heat, bring marmalade, water, cardamom, and ginger powder to a boil. Drizzle over slices of pound cake. Top slices of cake with whipped cream.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Avocado Salad

Some taste combinations are just magical - like that of avocado and lime. These refreshing flavors shine in this simple salad.

3 avocados, peeled, pitted and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 Roma tomato, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
1/4 teaspoon white wine vinegar
juice of 1 lime
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper

Mix chopped avocado, tomato, and parsley together. In small bowl, whisk vinegar, lime juice, sea salt, and pepper. Pour vinegar and lime juice mixture over the vegetables and toss.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Chocolate Peanut Butter Candy

Add some homemade treats to your Easter basket this year! This candy has a smooth and creamy middle and is coated in a lovely, delicate chocolate. I have fond memories of eagerly awaiting the arrival of Easter each year, since that was the only occasion for which my mom would make these for my sister and me. Hope you enjoy these as much as I have!

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
3 ounces cream cheese
1 egg
1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon peanut butter
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate wafers for coating (I use E. Guittard's 61% cacao semisweet wafers and love the results I get)

With mixer, beat butter and cream cheese. Add egg, sugar, salt, and vanilla, and continue beating. Mix in peanut butter and beat until well combined. Chill batter for 1/2 hour. Form batter into egg shapes (or whatever shapes you want) and chill again for 1/2 hour. Melt chocolate, and coat peanut butter shapes with the chocolate.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Sarah's Borscht

This borscht recipe was given to me by my friend Sarah. It is such a great recipe that even my non soup loving husband liked it! This soup is not only delicious, but brings up happy memories for my friend. Her husband proposed to her the night he made this as part of a romantic, multi-course dinner. So make this, eat this, enjoy it, and create your own happy memories over this wonderful soup!

2 quarts beef stock or bouillon
3 tablespoons butter
2 cups shredded cabbage
1 cup diced raw potatoes
1/2 cup diced raw carrots
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1 leek, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
6 medium beets
10 peppercorns
2 bay leaves
1 cup canned tomatoes (or finely diced if you're anti-can with your tomatoes)
1 cup very dry white wine
3 tablespoons Madeira
sour cream

In a soup pot or kettle, heat 2 quarts of good beef stock or canned beef bouillon. Melt butter in heavy skillet. Have ready 2 cups shredded cabbage, 1 cup diced raw potatoes, 1/2 cup diced carrots, 1/2 cup chopped celery, 1 small onion peeled and chopped, 1 chopped green pepper, 1 leek chopped, 1 minced garlic clove (or 2 if you like garlic as I do), and 6 medium-sized beets, peeled and shredded through a grater (reserve 1 heaping tablespoon of the grated mixed with 3 tablespoons water for later). Put vegetables in the skillet, cover, turn the flame low, and saute for about 5 minutes, shaking the pan constantly. Then add the sauteed vegetables to the boiling beef stock, together with 1 cup canned tomatoes, 1 cup very dry white wine, 10 whole peppercorns, 2 bay leaves, a generous pinch each of marjoram and thyme, and salt to taste. Lower the flame and continue to cook until all the vegetables are tender - about 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Shortly before serving, add the grated beet in water, stirring it in for coloring, and the 3 tablespoons of Madeira. To each bowl of borscht, add a generous tablespoon of sour cream.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Asparagus with Poached Eggs

Spring has finally sprung! Spring is that wonderful time of year when all those yummy vegetables that have been hibernating finally make their appearances again, and what a long wait it has been this year. Celebrate the season with this simple dish of asparagus and poached eggs.

1 lb asparagus
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
sea salt
2 tablespoons grated Pecorino Romano cheese
poached eggs
(Note: When we poach eggs, we like to use Julia Child's instructions in Mastering the Art of French Cooking)

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Drizzle olive oil, sea salt, and pepper over the stalks and roast for 10-15 minutes, depending on the diameter of the stalks. When done, remove from oven and sprinkle with grated cheese. Place poached egg on top of each serving.

Egg-in-a-Basket with Lemon-Garlic Aioli

The classic Egg-in-a-Basket - a buttered and toasted piece of bread with a fried egg in the middle - is one of my tried and true, quick and delicious breakfasts. When poked, the egg oozes out its yellow, gooey goodness all over the bread, making for a fun little feast. Lemon garlic aioli gives some zest to this classic breakfast dish.

Lemon-Garlic Aioli:
3/8 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon minced parsley
pinch freshly ground black pepper

Egg in a Basket:
sliced bread
margarine or butter
kosher salt and pepper

Mix aioli ingredients together in a small bowl.  Spread margarine on both sides of a slice of bread. Cut out circular hole in the middle of the bread just bigger than than size of an egg yolk. In greased frying pan, lightly brown one side of the buttered bread. Toss in the cut out circle of bread as well. Flip bread over, break an egg into the hole, and sprinkle salt and pepper on top. Cook for about 1 minute, or until bottom is brown, then flip over and allow the other side to cook for about 15-20 seconds. It can help to gently push down the bread into the pan with the back of your spatula. Take out and flip upside down onto plate. Serve with lemon garlic aioli.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Lemon Mint Granita with Mascarpone Whipped Cream

A frozen lemon concoction is a delicious treat when temperatures start to rise. Beat the heat with icy, flavored crystals topped with a bit of whipped cream and leaves of mint.

1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (about 4 lemons)
1 teaspoon lemon zest
3 cups water
1/2 cup sugar
3 mint sprigs, plus more for garnish

For the topping:
3/4 cup whipping cream
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
1/4 cup mascarpone cheese
2 teaspoons honey

To start, make a simple syrup. In small saucepan, boil 1/2 cup sugar with 3 cups water until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and steep mint sprigs for 10 minutes. Place a metal bowl or pan and a metal spoon in the freezer. Let the syrup cool then mix it with the lemon juice and lemon zest. Pour the liquid into the cold container and freeze. Stir it every 30 minutes or so. It will take about 3 hours to freeze. To make the topping, stir together the mascarpone cheese and the honey until smooth in the bowl of an electric mixer. Add cream and powdered sugar. Whip until the cream has soft peaks, about 2 minutes. Top granita with whipped cream and mint leaves.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Fried Risotto Balls with Quick Marinara Sauce

Have left over risotto? Breathe new life into your leftover rice by frying up some risotto balls!

Fried Risotto Balls:
mozzarella cheese
egg, beaten
bread crumbs
oil, for deep frying
parmesan cheese

Quick Marinara Sauce:
1/8 cup olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
14 ounce can crushed tomatoes
handful of chopped basil
bay leaf

for fried risotto balls:
Heat oil to a temperature of 225 degrees. Have three shallow bowls ready and use one for flour, one for the egg, and one for bread crumbs. Using the mozzarella as the center, form the risotto into a ball around the mozzarella. Roll the ball into the flour, then into the egg, then into the bread crumbs. Repeat as necessary until risotto is used up. Drop risotto balls into oil and fry until golden-brown. Remove from oil and sprinkle with grated parmesan cheese. Serve with marinara sauce.

for marinara sauce:
Heat olive oil in saucepan over medium heat. Sauté onion and garlic until soft. Add tomatoes, basil, bay leaf, salt and pepper and simmer for 10 minutes.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Osso Bucco and Saffron Risotto

When nights are cool and dark, a hot and hearty dinner warms the soul. Succulent braised veal that practically falls off the bone, served with heaping mounds of cheesy saffron risotto, is the kind of meal that makes you feel all toasty inside.

Osso Bucco:
1 lb veal shanks
1/2 cup flour
salt and pepper
4 tablespoons olive oil
3 ounces pancetta, cubed
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 celery ribs, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon whole peppercorns, toasted
1/2 teaspoon whole cloves, toasted
2 springs fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
1 sprig fresh rosemary
2 sprigs fresh parsley
1 cup white wine
1/4 cup beef stock
2/3 cup crushed tomatoes

2 teaspoons lemon zest
1/4 cup parsley
1 garlic clove, minced

Saffron Parmesan Risotto:
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
2 tablespoons butter
3 shallots, minced
pinch saffron threads
1/2 cup white wine
4-6 cups chicken stock
2/3 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1 tablespoon butter
salt and pepper
1/4 cup chopped pistachios

for osso bucco:
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Dredge veal shanks in mixture of flour, salt and pepper. Make a bouquet garni - wrap toasted clove and pepper, bay leaf, rosemary sprigs, thyme sprigs, and parsley sprigs in cheesecloth, tie up with kitchen twine, and set aside. In a Dutch oven, crisp the pancetta in olive oil, remove, and set aside. Brown veal shanks over medium-high heat. Remove and set aside. Brown the onion, celery, carrots, and garlic. Return veal and pancetta to the Dutch oven. Add bouquet garni, 2/3 cup crushed tomatoes, 1 cup white wine and ¼ cup beef stock. Cover and cook in oven for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until the meat is almost at the point of falling off the bone. Add more liquid if needed. The liquid should be about 2/3 of the way up the shanks. To make the gremolata, mix parsley, lemon zest, and minced garlic together. Top shanks with gremolata and serve.

for risotto:
Bring stock to a simmer and keep over low heat. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in large skillet over medium heat. Cook saffron and shallots until softened, about 3 minutes. Stir in rice, coating with the butter . Add some salt, pepper, and white wine. When white wine has been absorbed by the rice, begin ladling in the stock. Add about 1/2 cup each time, allowing the rice to absorb the liquid. Keep stirring, and only add another 1/2 cup or so of liquid when the liquid has just about evaporated. Keep adding in stock until the rice is tender but still has a firm bite. The process will take about 20-30 minutes. Remove from heat and add the Parmesan cheese, a tablespoon of butter, and salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to a serving bowl and sprinkle chopped pistachios.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Blackberry Muffins with Streusel Topping

Eating blackberries when they are that gorgeous red wine color is the best! They have such a wonderful sour taste. Unfortunately, berries of this color only seem to be available when they are found growing on a blackberry bush. I just don't have as much enthusiasm for blackberries that are that typical bluish-black. However, I wasn't able to pass up a great deal on a quart of blackberries I saw at a market. But what do I do with them? Then it hit me - bake with them!

1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
½ cup brown sugar
1 egg
½ cup buttermilk
1 ½ cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon fresh nutmeg
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ vanilla bean, scraped
1 cup blackberries

Streusel Topping:
1/8 cup flour
¼ cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1//8 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ cup chopped almonds

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Cream the brown sugar and butter. Mix in egg and buttermilk. Stir in flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon and vanilla. Gently fold in blackberries. Pour batter in muffin tin. To make the streusel topping, pulse flour, sugar, butter, cinnamon, and almonds in food processor. Spread streusel topping over muffin batter. Bake for 20 minutes, or until cake tester comes out clean.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Penne with White Wine Tomato Cream Sauce

There is a little Italian restaurant just down the street from where we live. It is an unassuming place, a place with mismatched decorations and televisions broadcasting news and sports. It is also a place where honest, simple, and delicious food is made. This recipe is inspired by one of my favorite dishes from that restaurant.

1/4 cup olive oil
1 shallot, chopped
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
28 ounces tomato puree
15 ounces crushed tomatoes
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
1/2 teaspoon ground thyme
1 cup white wine
lemon zest and juice of 1 lemon
1/2 cup heavy cream, room temperature
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/8 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 cup Parmesan cheese
1 lb penne

Heat olive oil over medium heat in large pot, and sauté shallot, onion, and garlic until soft. Season with salt and pepper. Add tomato puree, crushed tomatoes, basil, rosemary and thyme. Simmer for 25 minutes. Add white wine, lemon zest, and lemon juice, and let the wine reduce (about 20 minutes). Add heavy cream, butter and parsley. Adjust seasonings as necessary. Remove from heat and add Parmesan cheese. Adjust seasoning if necessary. Cook pasta according to directions and serve with sauce.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Phở Bò Tái

Eating Phở is fun - it is such an experience! I love getting that steaming bowl of noodles and beef slices swimming in a fragrant, savory broth, finding that perfect balance of toppings to make the flavors really pop. Add in fixins lime, bean sprouts, scallions, basil, hoisin sauce, and fresh jalapenos (for my husband...) and a delicious feast is born. Eating homemade pho is an even better experience, because after just a few hours of work, you get to sit down and enjoy the fruits of your labor.

1 ginger root
1 onion, peeled
smidgen fennel seeds
dash coriander seeds
1 cardamom pod
2 whole cloves
1 bay leaf
1 cinnamon stick
3 star anise pods
14 cups water
2 lbs beef shank
1 lb oxtail
1 teaspoon salt
2 anchovy fillets
2 shitake mushrooms
1 lb flank steak, thinly sliced
1/2 onion, sliced
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground white pepper
1 lb rice vermicelli noodles

Thai basil
limes, quartered
bean sprouts
hoisin sauce

Broil ginger and onion until charred. Toast fennel, coriander, cardamom, and clove for 2 minutes, or until they start to become fragrant. Make a bouquet garni with cheese cloth - place the toasted spices, bay leaf, cinnamon stick, and star anise pods in the cheese cloth and wrap. Tie with kitchen twine. Bring water, beef shank, and oxtail to a boil, skimming off foam as necessary. Add charred ginger, onion, bouquet garni, teaspoon salt, shitake mushrooms, and anchovy fillets. Simmer for two hours. Strain the stock, and place the liquid over low heat. Add 1 teaspoon each of sugar, salt, and pepper. Adjust seasonings if necessary. Cook noodles for 5-7 minutes in boiling water. In individual bowls, add some cooked noodles, sliced beef, and onion slices, and pour stock. Beef will cook in the hot broth. Garnish with toppings as desired.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Hibiscus Shortbreads

An afternoon tea break calls for an afternoon snack. These shortbread cookies, with their slight crunch and subtle flavor, are a great accompaniment to a perfectly brewed cup of tea.

2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
½ cup powdered sugar
¼ cup brown sugar
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup rice flour
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons dried ground hibiscus leaves

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Beat butter and sugars. Mix in flours, salt, vanilla extract, and hibiscus. Roll dough into a log and slice. Bake 8-10 minutes.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Baba Ghanoush

Eggplant is such a beautiful vegetable! Roast or grill these purple beauties and then puree with sesame paste and seasonings to create a delicious appetizer for your next shindig. Serve with some pita bread, naan, or whatever you prefer! I like to dip seasoned pita triangles in my baba ghanoush.

2 medium eggplants
3 garlic cloves, minced
sea salt and pepper
1 ½ tablespoons olive oil
¼ cup tahini
1 tablespoon olive oil
juice of a lemon
½ teaspoon sea salt
dash cumin
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Slice eggplants in half lengthwise. Place on lightly greased baking sheet and drizzle 1 ½ tablespoons olive oil, sea salt and pepper, and minced garlic over the halves. Roast for about 40 minutes. When done, scrape out the meat of the eggplant and place in food processor. Add tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, sea salt, cumin, and pulse. Adjust seasonings to taste. Transfer to a serving dish and stir in chopped parsley. Sprinkle sesame seeds on top.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Brown Butter Cookies

Brown butter is one of life's amazing discoveries. I just love the way the butter looks - so wonderfully deep and earthy - and the way it tastes - so subtly nutty. These crispy cookies are just one of many ways to enjoy the complex flavors of brown butter.

1 stick unsalted butter
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1 egg
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
Demerara sugar for topping

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brown butter in sauté pan over medium heat until solids become a chocolate brown color. Cool the butter by placing it in a shallow bowl and chilling in the freezer for about 15 minutes, until just congealed. When cool, use an electric mixer to beat butter with the white and brown sugar, lemon zest, vanilla, and egg. Mix in flour, salt, baking soda, and nutmeg. Drop batter in uniform-size mounds on baking sheet. Sprinkle with Demerara sugar. Bake for 13-15 minutes.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Orecchiette Bolognese

This rich and meaty sauce is cooked slowly for a few hours and then tossed with pasta. I love using orecchiette pasta - that pasta shaped like little ears. I love the way they hold the sauce, making each bite a taste explosion. Serve this with some crusty garlic bread and a crisp green salad, and you have a delicious dinner.

2 tablespoons olive oil
4 slices of bacon, chopped
3 stalks celery, minced
1 onion, minced
2 carrots, minced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 lb beef
1 lb veal
12 ounces tomato paste
2/3 bottle of red wine (I like using a cabernet sauvignon)
1/3 cup beef stock
2 bay leaves
1/4 teaspoon thyme
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon cinnamon - or you can toss in a few cinnamon sticks
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon clove
1/4 teaspoon toasted and ground coriander and fennel seed
2 tablespoons parsley
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 lb orecchiette

Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and cook until fat is rendered, about 4 to 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium heat and add the garlic, onion, carrots, and celery. Sauté until softened, about 20 minutes. Add salt, pepper, bay leaves, clove, nutmeg, cinnamon, oregano, coriander and fennel, and thyme. Increase heat to medium-high, and add the beef and veal.  Cook until no longer pink. Stir in the tomato paste. Add the wine and reduce. Pour in the beef stock. Simmer for two to three hours. Keep adding stock if it seems dry. When cooked, remove bay leaves (and cinnamon sticks if using them) and add unsalted butter, heavy cream, and parsley. Take off the heat and stir in the parmesan cheese. Mix with the orecchiette and enjoy!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Mocha Meringue Cookies

The meringue cookie, with its crispy outside and light as air interior, is like a miniature and edible version of a cloud. You can experience multiple textures in your mouth by taking just one bite! These particular clouds pack a punch with chocolate and espresso.

5 egg whites
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 cup superfine sugar (if you don't have superfine sugar on hand, just run regular white sugar through the food processor for 30 seconds)
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
pinch of salt
1 shot espresso
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. In a glass or metal mixing bowl, beat the egg whites until foamy. Add the remaining ingredients and continue beating until the batter holds stiff peaks. Scoop batter onto baking sheets (or use a pastry bag or Ziplock bag for fancy cookies), and bake for about 2 hours or until the cookies are stiff. Turn off the oven and open the door to continue to allow the meringues to dry out for about an hour.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Roasted Tomato Pesto with Chicken

There's nothing like the taste of fresh basil, parsley, and tomatoes when looking to bring a little taste of summer into those dreary winter nights. What better way to bring these together than with a nice, creamy pesto. Add a little "roast" to your tomato and you've got one savory summer sauce.

Roasted Tomatoes:
12 Roma tomatoes halved lengthwise
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper

1 lb chicken breast
fresh lemon juice
4 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 cups fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup parsley leaves
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
1/4 extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste

1 lb pasta

Preheat the oven to 275 degrees. Place the tomato halves cut side up in a single layer on a baking sheet. Drizzle with 1/4 cup olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Sprinkle with the garlic, salt and pepper. Roast in oven for about two hours, or until they begin to caramelize. Let the tomatoes cool to room temperature.

While tomatoes cool, heat oven to 400 degrees. Sprinkle chicken breasts with lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Heat butter in casserole over medium high heat until foaming, and smother the chicken in the butter. Bake in oven until cooked through (about 6-10 minutes). When cooked, cut into 1-inch strips.

Cook pasta according to package directions. In a food processor, pulse basil, parsley, and pine nuts. Slowly pour in the olive oil. Add the Parmesan cheese and lemon juice. Add the roasted tomatoes to the pesto mixture and pulse.

Combine the roasted tomato pesto and chicken with the cooked pasta.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Sunday Morning

There is nothing better than waking up to a luxurious breakfast, the kind of breakfast that you need time for - time for making, time for eating, and time for slowly but happily digesting. This Sunday Morning breakfast has a layer of spiced and sauteed potatoes, topped with melted cheese, topped with strips of bacon, and topped again with fried eggs.  Just cutting into and serving this meal is a delight.

4 slices of bacon
1 1/2 lbs potatoes, diced
1 small onion, diced
1 shallot, diced
2 scallions, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
¼ cup fresh parsley
½ teaspoon fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon sage
2 bay leaves
1 1/2 cups of cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese
3 eggs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Fry up the bacon and then set aside. Heat olive oil over medium high heat and sauté the potatoes with the onions, shallot, scallions, and garlic. Mix in parsley, thyme, oregano, sage, and bay leaves, and season with salt and pepper. Cook for about 20 minutes, or until the potatoes become crispy. Place potatoes in an oven-proof pan and sprinkle cheese over the potatoes. Bake the potatoes until cheese is nice and melted, about ten minutes. Meanwhile, fry the eggs and season with pepper, salt, and paprika. Place strips of bacon side by side on top of the potatoes, and then set the fried eggs on top of the bacon. Then, of course, dig in!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Garlic Parmesan Tortellini Soup

Growing up, I would bug my mom constantly to make her tortellini soup. Cheesy stuffed pasta in a garlicky broth of cream and herbs - what could be better? This is my take on her household classic...

3 stalks celery, diced
1/2 cup onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons butter
32 oz chicken broth
8 ounces cheese-filled tortellini pasta
3 tablespoons chopped parsley
3 tablespoons chopped basil
3/4 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Sauté celery, onion, and garlic in melted butter over medium heat until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Toss in the chopped herbs, salt, pepper, and tortellini, and cook for 3 minutes or until pasta is tender. Add heavy cream and heat through. Take off heat and stir in parmesan cheese.

Banana Matcha Muffins

Banana muffins are super easy to make. I just love the way the banana combines with the green tea to form this soft and luscious green delight.

4 bananas, mashed
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup oil
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 3/4 cups flour
1/8 cup matcha (powdered green tea)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease muffin tins or line with muffin liners. Mix together mashed bananas, brown sugar, oil, eggs, and vanilla. Stir in flour, matcha, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Bake for about 10 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Chai Latte

The weather has been rainy and chilly the past few days here in Southern California. This weather makes me want to curl up on the couch with a book, a blanket, and a mug filled with a warm drink. But what type of warm drink? Nothing sounded good enough, until I thought about chai. This chai latte recipe, with its smooth almond undertone and spicy and fragrant tea, is the perfect antidote to the cold-weather blues.

1 quart whole milk
1 teaspoon of toasted and ground almonds
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/8 teaspoon cardamom, divided
3 cinnamon sticks, divided
1 cup water
8 whole cloves
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
3 peppercorns
1/2 of the peel of an orange
1/4 cup sugar
4 teabags

Gently simmer milk, almonds, vanilla extract, 1/8 teaspoon cardamom, and a cinnamon stick in a saucepan for an hour. In another saucepan, bring the water, cloves, cardamom, cinnamon sticks, nutmeg, peppercorn, orange peel, and teabags to a boil. Let it boil for 5 minutes. Add sugar and the spiced milk and return to a boil. Serve in mugs and garnish with more cinnamon sticks.


These chocolatey, almost caramel-like candies rolled in sprinkles are a fun and playful snack. They are also super easy to make, so they are great treats when you are short on time!

3 1/2 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 tablespoons margarine
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
chocolate sprinkles

Combine cocoa powder, butter, salt and condensed milk in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring continuously, until mixture has thickened and pulls away from the sides of the pan, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let rest until cool enough to handle. Spray some cooking spray on hands and form into small balls. Coat with chocolate sprinkles.

Apple Pie

Apple pie is the All-American dessert. Everyone loves it (except my husband!). With its sugary, cinnamony apples encased by a golden brown flaky crust, it is the ultimate sweet finale to a meal. One of my favorite apple pie recipes is in the September 2009 edition of Gourmet magazine. That recipe is incredibly simple but so innovative in its use of cheddar cheese in the crust. I was in the mood recently, however, for an apple pie that was a bit richer and had more of a molasses taste to it. Here is my attempt at capturing that taste.

2 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 stick (4 ounces) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1/4 cup cold vegetable shortening
6-8 tbsp ice cold water

7 cooking apples - I like to use 5 Granny Smith and 2 Golden Delicious
lemon juice from 2 lemons
2/3 c Demerara sugar
3 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 tsp brandy
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp salt
1 tablespoon butter, cut into pieces

Whipped cream topping:
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 tablespoon confectioners sugar

for crust:
Mix flour, salt and sugar in bowl and add the cold butter and cold shortening. Mix together with your hands until the mixture has pea-size lumps. Drizzle 6 tablespoons of ice cold water on the mixture. Mix until the dough holds together. If it doesn't hold together, add more water. Once dough holds together into a ball, separate into halves and refrigerate for at least an hour. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

for filling:
As I peel and cut the apples, I squirt lemon juice on the pieces and toss to prevent discoloration. After all the cutting is done, add the remaining lemon juice, brandy, vanilla, flour, salt and spices. Roll out the dough into a 13-inch disc and an 11-inch disc. Place the larger disc on the bottom of 9-inch pie pan. Pour the filling and dot the with pieces of butter. Place the smaller disc over the filling. Cut five 1-inch vents into the crust. Lightly coat the top with milk or cream.

for whipped cream:
I like to serve this with whipped cream infused with a bit of sugar and maple syrup. Beat the heavy cream with the sugar and maple syrup until soft peaks form. Sprinkle some nutmeg and cinnamon on top, and you are good to go!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Tres Leches Cake

Tres Leches Cake is a wonderfully creamy white cake soaked in a glaze of milky, alcoholic goodness and topped with fluffy white cream. Indulging in this three (in this case 4!) milk cake can make all your troubles go away.  Each bite is like a sweet piece of nirvana.

1 1/2 cups cake flour
3/4 cup sugar, divided
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
5 eggs, separated
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
1/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup evaporated milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon rum or brandy

1 cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x13 pan. Mix flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon in a bowl. Beat in egg yolks and sugar. In another bowl, beat the egg whites with the cream of tartar until soft peaks form. Add 1/4 cup sugar, and beat until stiff peaks form. Gently fold the egg whites into the batter. Stir in milk and vanilla. Pour into the greased pan and bake for 30 minutes, or until cake tester comes out clean. When cake is cool, prepare the glaze. Combine sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, heavy cream, and rum and pour the glaze over the cake. Refrigerate for at least an hour. To make the topping, beat the heavy cream, sugar, and vanilla until thick.

Mafe with Green Plantain Chips and Rice

On a chilly winter night, there is nothing better than a big bowl of stew to warm you up. This Senegalese classic stew is a great addition to your repertoire. The earthiness of the peanut butter and the tangy sweetness of the tomato come together so wonderfully.

3 tablespoons peanut oil, divided
1 1/2 lbs lamb or beef stew meat
2 carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 turnip, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 sweet potato, cut into 1-inch pieces
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, chopped
1/4 inch fresh ginger, sliced
1 cup beef stock
1/2 cup peanut butter
28 ounces crushed tomatoes
6 ounces tomato paste
zest and juice from 2 lemons
3 sprigs fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
1/4 teaspoon mace
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
salt and pepper

Green Plantain Chips:
peanut oil, for deep frying
green plantains, sliced thinly with a mandoline
ginger powder
cayenne pepper
lemon zest

Preheat oven to 225 degrees. Heat two tablespoons of oil in a dutch oven over high heat. Brown the meat on all sides/ Remove the meat with a slotted spoon and set aside. In the dutch oven, brown the cut vegetables and sprinkle salt and pepper on them. Remove the vegetables with a slotted spoon and set aside. Add a tablespoon of oil and saute the onion, garlic, and ginger until the onion is translucent. Place meat and vegetables back in the pot. Reduce heat to medium. Stir in stock and peanut butter. Add the crushed tomatoes and tomato paste. Add more stock if mixture is too thick. Bring mixture to a boil. Add the lemon zest, lemon juice, sprigs of thyme, and bay leaves. Place in oven and cook for three hours. When stew is cooked, adjust salt and pepper to taste, and add a tablespoon of butter. Serve with white rice.

Heat oil to 375 degrees and fry the plantain slices for 1-2 minutes, or until golden brown. After frying, sprinkle salt, pepper, ginger powder, cayenne, and lemon zest on top.

Pancit and Lumpia

This Filipino meal of stir-fried noodles and spring rolls is the perfect ending to a stressful day. The stir-fry looks so festive with the brightly colored vegetables and the tender meat and shrimp. Stir fries only take a few minutes to come together, which makes them perfect for week-day meals. Crispy golden-brown rolls with a succulent filling are one of my favorite foods of all time.

Pancit Guisado:
4 tablespoons sesame oil, divided
1 cup boiled pork, shredded
1 cup boiled chicken, diced
1/3 cup medium boiled shrimp
1 onion, sliced
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 carrots, shaved
4 celery stalks, shaved
3 scallions, chopped
1/4 head of cabbage, shredded
1 tablespoon parsley
1/2 cup chicken stock, divided
3/8 cup soy sauce, divided
teaspoon oyster sauce
1/2 lb rice stick noodles
2 teaspoons lemon juice
salt and pepper

chopped scallions
hardboiled egg
lemon wedges

3 tablespoons canola oil
1/2 of a yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic
1/2 pound ground pork
handful of medium shrimp, chopped
3 dried shitake mushrooms, reconstituted and chopped
1 carrot, shaved
2 scallions, minced
1 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoons chicken stock
1 tablespoon soy sauce
wonton wrappers
oil for deep-frying

for pansit:
Note: When using store-bought chicken stock, I like to add some flavors to it before use. In this case, I combined chicken stock with some roughly chopped scallions and celery. I also cut up a bit of fresh ginger and added a splash of rice wine. Bring to a boil and simmer on low for an hour.

Cook noodles according to package direction. In a wok, saute onion and garlic in 3 tablespoons of sesame oil for three minutes. Add the remaining vegetables, scallions, and parsley. Stir in 1/8 cup soy sauce, 1/4 cup chicken stock, oyster sauce, and salt and pepper to taste. When vegetables are soft, add the noodles and the remaining 1/4 cup soy sauce, 1/4 chicken stock, a tablespoon of sesame oil, and lemon juice. Adjust seasoning to taste. Garnish noodles with chopped scallions, hardboiled egg, and lemon wedges for serving.

for lumpia:
Note: I used packaged wonton wrappers, but these would be even better with homemade wrappers or even packaged lumpia wrappers

Heat canola oil in a large skillet, and saute onion, garlic, and scallions until the onion is translucent. Add the pork and shrimp, and cook for about 1 minute. Add the mushrooms and carrot. Season the mixture with salt, pepper, sugar, chicken stock and soy sauce. Continue cooking until the meat is cooked through and the vegetables are tender. Set the mixture aside to cool.

When mixture is cool, fill and roll the wonton wrappers. Deep fry in oil at 350 degrees for about 6 minutes, or until the wrapper is golden brown.

These rolls taste particularly good with a garlicky soy and vinegar dipping sauce. Combine some vinegar (white wine or apple cider work well) with soy sauce and stir, and add garlic powder or minced garlic. Finish the sauce with red pepper flakes or chili powder if you like spicy food.
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