Monday, December 20, 2010

Chocolate Peppermint Cupcakes

I stumbled upon this recipe for chocolate cupcakes with peppermint cupcakes and I just knew I had to make them. They were the perfect thing to bring to our Christmas gathering for my husband's side of the family. I only followed the icing recipe because I love the chocolate cake recipe that I make so much that I just don't gamble with trying a new one that may not be as good.

Use Beatty's Chocolate Cake recipe for the cupcakes. The recipe will me 24 cupcakes. Reduce the baking time to 20-25 minutes.


• 2 C butter, softened
• 5-7 C powdered sugar, divided
• 3-4 T milk
• 4 t peppermint extract

6 peppermint candy canes (or a couples handfuls of small peppermint candies)


In the bowl of an electric mixer, add the butter and beat until fluffy. Slowly add the powdered sugar one cup at a time and beat until smooth. Add the milk and peppermint extract and beat on high until the frosting is very smooth.

Place 3 of the candy canes in a food processor and process until the candy becomes a fine powder. Fold the candy cane dust into the icing.

Once the cupcakes are cooled, pipe large swirls of frosting on top of the cupcakes.

Take the 3 remaining candy canes and put them in a plastic baggy and crush into medium sized chunks. Finally sprinkle candy chunks on top of the frosted cupcakes.

Recipe adapted from Pip & Ebby.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Russian Tea Cakes

These are one of the easiest and tastiest cookies I make around the Holidays. They are buttery and just melt in your mouth. I love that there are very few ingredients and it really is a no fuss cookie. There is no chilling or shaping or frosting. The most difficult task asked in this recipe is sifting the powder sugar and flour but if I am using my awesome beater blade I honestly don't even bother with any sifting. So if you are in the mood to make some Holiday cookies but want something fast and easy, I highly recommended Russian Tea Cakes or Mexican Weddings Cakes as they are also called. They also keep well so they are great to put in goody baskets.


  • 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup sifted confectioners’ sugar, plus more for rolling cookies
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup finely chopped pecans or walnuts (I like pecans)


Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Cream butter in a large mixing bowl. Add the vanilla then gradually add the 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar, beating until light and fluffy. Sift the flour, measure, then sift again with the salt. Add gradually to the butter mixture. Add the pecans and mix well.

Shape the dough into 1-inch balls and place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake for 20 minutes, or until edges are very lightly browned. Remove the cookies from the baking sheets and roll in powdered sugar while still hot. Cool on wire racks and roll cookies again in powdered sugar before serving.

Once they are completely cooled, cookies may be stored in airtight containers for up to 1 week.

Recipe by Emeril Lagasse of the Food Network

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Roasted Lemon & Herb Chicken

Roasted chicken is one of my favorite things to do for a simple dinner party. Roasting a whole chicken is really easy but looks impressive. It also looks like you have spent a lot of time when in all actuality the oven is the only one that put in the time.

Ryan often puts the chicken on the rotisserie of the BBQ during the summer and we have that often for dinner. When it is just the two of us we can usually get a few meals out of one bird. After dinner I will strip the rest of the meat off and usually make some sort of chicken salad for lunch. I then take the picked-clean bird, add some vegetables and herbs and boil it to make some good stock for use in a future soup.


1 4-5 pound free-range chicken
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 lemons
3 cloves garlic, smashed
1 handful fresh rosemary
1 handful fresh thyme
2 tables spoons butter
olive oil


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Rinse the chicken with cool water, inside and out, then pat it dry with paper towels. Season the cavity with salt and pepper.

Zest one of the lemons and reserve the zest. Pierce a couple of holes in the zested lemon and then stuff the lemon, garlic, and a half of the herbs inside. Place the chicken, breast-side up, in a roasting pan.

Finely chop the reaming rosemary and thyme (about 2-3 tables spoons each). In a small bowl, add the chopped herbs, reserved lemon zest, butter, salt and pepper. Mix together until well combined.

Gently separate the skin from the meat of the breast and top of drumsticks. Take the herb-butter mixture and smear it in the pocket made between the skin and meat.

Take the remaining lemon and cut 6, 1/4 slices. Place the 4 lemon slices in between the skin and the breast meat and 1 slice in the pocket of each drumstick where the herb-butter mixture was spread.

Fold the wings under and tie the legs of the chicken together with kitchen twine to help hold its shape. Season the whole thing with a fair amount of salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil.

Roast the chicken for 1 to 1 1/2 hours. The chicken is done when an instant-read thermometer says 165 degrees F when inserted into the thickest part of the thigh (the legs of the chicken should wiggle easily from the sockets too.) Remove the chicken to a platter and let stand for 10 minutes, so the juices settle back into the meat before carving. You can deglaze the pan and make a sauce if you like but I usually just remove the lemon and squeeze it over the meat.

Recipe by me.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Apple-Spice Layer Cake with Caramel Swirl Icing

It was once again time for me to bake something to be auctioned off at our Church's annual auction for the local food bank. Because the auction was in late October, I wanted something that screamed fall. At first I was just going to make a pumpkin cheesecake. I LOVE pumpkin cheesecake but I have made that many times before so I decide to look around a bit and see what new yummy fall dessert I could find. Boy did I find one. I of course had to test the recipe out before making it for the auction so I made it and brought it over to my parents' house and had my family sample and give me their opinion. We all loved it so I knew Apple-Spice Layer Cake with Caramel Swirl Icing was the one. The apples make the cake so moist and it has just the right amount of spice. The cake is also very impressive with the caramel and pecans not to mention it is huge. I unfortunately was not able to attend the auction so I don't know how much money the cake raised but I did hear from many at the table that purchase it and it got nothing but good reviews.

  • 3 sticks unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 2 Tbs molasses
  • 6 large eggs
  • 3 cups cake flour
  • 1 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 Tbs ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp ground allspice
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 3 granny smith apples, peeled and shredded (1 1/2-2 cups)
  • 1 Tbs vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbs fresh minced ginger (optional)
  • 1 1/2-2 cups caramel topping (I used Hershey's brand)
  • 3 sticks butter, at room temperature
  • 2 Tbs heavy cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) cream cheese (original recipe called for mascarpone)
  • 2 cups pecan pieces, toasted (optional)

Place one oven rack in the bottom third of the oven and place a second in the top third. Preheat the oven to 350. Grease 3 9-inch cake pans, then line each one with a parchment paper round and grease the rounds.

In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium-high until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in the molasses, and scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl. Add the eggs one at at a time, beating well after each egg. In a medium bowl, sift together the four, baking soda, salt, and ground spices. Add the sour cream and flour mixture alternately to the batter, starting and ending with the flour mixture (flour in 3 increments, sour cream in 2 increments). Stir in the shredded apples, vanilla, and fresh ginger.

The batter will be thick, so use a spoon to transfer evenly into the three pans. Place 2 of the pans side by side on one rack, and the third on the other rack. Make sure they are staggered so that no layer is directly under or above another. Bake 35-40 minutes, rearranging the layers about halfway through, until firm to the touch. Monitor the layers carefully, as they may be ready at different times.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pans for 10 minutes. Run a knife around the edges and carefully unmold the cakes to a cooling rack. Cool completely before icing.

To make the icing, cream the butter on medium-high speed for about 3 minutes, until fluffy and pale. Add the powdered sugar over low speed until combined, then add the cream cheese, cream and vanilla. Increase speed to medium-high and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes.

Reserve about 1/4-1/3 cup of the caramel, then stir the remaining caramel into the frosting, using large strokes to create swirls throughout.

Place 1 cake layer on a serving plate or decorating stand, and spread a layer of icing on top. Top with the second cake, then repeat with more icing, then the final layer. Cover the cake with an even layer of frosting. Pat the toasted pecans onto the sides of the cake, then decorate the top as you desire. Drizzle the remaining caramel over the top.

Original recipe from Rebecca Rather, The Pastry Queen Christmas. Recipe adapted from Pink Parsley.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Single Serving Pear-Maple Cobbler

Sometimes you just need something sweet. For me, this often happens when Ryan is at work and it is just me home alone for the evening. Why?? Because I'm bored. I don't keep ice cream or cookies in the house so when I want a treat I have to make it from scratch. So instead of making a big batch of something sinful, I have started coming up with some single serving desserts that will satisfy my craving but not totally wreck my whole week of healthy eating.

This pear-maple cobbler is a perfect dessert on a fall evening and is a very generous serving so one could share, but I don't recommended it! And if you wanted to make it even more indulgent, I'm sure ice cream or whipped cream would make this even better.


Cobbler Filling
  • 1 pear, peeled, cored, and chopped
  • 1/8 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 Tbs all-purpose flour
  • pinch salt
  • dash vanilla extract
  • pinch ground nutmeg
  • pinch ground cinnamon
  • 1 pat butter
Cobbler Topping
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • a little less that 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • pinch salt
  • pinch ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 Tbs chilled unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • 1 Tbs whole milk
  • 1 Tbs maple syrup
  • dash vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp sugar

Preheat the oven to 425. Combine the pear, maple syrup, four, salt, vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg in a bowl. Stir well place in a ramekin and top with one pat of butter. Bake until heated through and bubbly, about 18-20 minutes.

To make the topping, combine the flour, baking powder, salt and chilled butter into a bowl and using a fork, cut the butter into the mixture until well combined. Combine cinnamon, and sugar in a small bowl and set aside. Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter and set aside. Add the milk, maple syrup, and vanilla, and stir until just combined. Drop by spoonfuls over the warm pear filling and sprinkle with the reserved sugar mixture.

Bake 14 minutes, until golden-brown and firm to the touch. Serve warm.

Recipe by me.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

Well the school bus is yet again holding me up in the mornings....yep fall is here. I just adore fall but I would have liked a little more summer. I recently saw on the news that every holiday weekend this summer was rainy!! Boo! Oh well, I'm burning my pumpkin spice candles, already made an apple pie from my parents' orchard and starting to make some nice hearty dishes for dinner. Bring on fall.

This is just the perfect soup to welcome fall. It is thick, rich, healthy and will keep everyone full. If I liked mushrooms I would have added them to this soup. They would probably go perfectly, so if you like the fungi toss them in. I make my soups really nice and thick so beware that the next day I usually have to add a little extra water or broth to loosen this up again. Give this soup a try when fall calls you to make some comfort food.


Makes 8 servings

1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cup flour
6 cups chicken broth (homemade if you have it)
1 1/2 cups uncooked wild rice
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon mustard powder
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup orzo (I tossed this in on a whim, optional)
2 cups shredded or cubed cooked chicken ( I used the left over chicken off a roasted whole chicken, then made homemade broth from the carcass.)
1 cup whole milk


  1. Add olive oil to large, heavy bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the onion, celery, carrots and garlic and saute for about 5 minutes. Then add the the flour and stir well. Let the flour cook for a minute or two. Slowly add the chicken broth a cup at a time, stirring constantly. Bring just to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer to let the soup thicken up.
  2. Next, add the rice, salt, curry powder, mustard powder, thyme and ground black pepper. Simmer on low for about 30 minutes then add the orzo (if using) and simmer for another 25 minutes until rice is tender. When rice and orzo is tender, add the chicken and milk and allow to heat through. Serve with fresh parsley if desired.

Recipe by me.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Jungle Animal Cupcakes

I don't have a recipe to share but thought I would post these fun jungle animal cupcakes my sister and I made for my brother's baby shower. We used this tutorial I found on YouTube but changed the monkey up a bit, made some fun owls just because and I did one special butterfly cupcake for my Grandma's 80th birthday (which was also the day of the shower). The cupcakes
were a lot of fun to make and they were liked by all.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


A few weeks ago we had another get together of some of my landscape architecture college friends. It looks like this is going to be a annual event and it is so much fun. We all gather at my friend's parents' house that is in Gig Harbor right on the water. We always go clamming and get so many clams. We really have a blast and our group are quite the foodies. We were all joking about when we are all going to quite the landscape architecture thing and open a restaurant.

With all those clams, I made a really good clam chowder for dinner with the help of a few sous chefs. It was so fresh and creamy. We all really enjoyed it. Even though that chowder used up a cooler of clams, we still had a lot left over so we were able to bring a lot of clams home with us. I steamed and froze most of the clams I brought home for use in future chowders but I saved a few so that I could try making a Paella. Paella is a Spanish rice dish that often has seafood, chicken, sausage and various vegetables. I had the clams, some shrimp in the freezer and some spicy sausage so that is what I used. People can make Paella out to be a big deal but they really can be simple and very delicious. You don't really need a special Paella pan and you can really add what you wish.


Makes 4 servings

3 1/2 cups chicken stock, preferable homemade
Pinch of saffron threads, optional
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, minced
1 yellow pepper, cut into strips
1/2 cup frozen peas
2 cups short or medium-grain rice, preferably Arborio
2 cups peeled shrimp
about 15 butter clams
2 cooked spicy sausages, cut into 1/2 inch chunks
Salt and black pepper to taste


1. Preheat the over to 500*F. Warm the stock in a saucepan with the saffron if you're using it. Place an ovenproof 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat and add the oil. A minute later, add the onion and cook, stirring until translucent, about 5 minutes. Then add the pepper and cook another 3 minutes.

2. Add the rice and cook, stirring occasionally, until glossy, just a minute or two. Season liberally with salt and pepper and add the warm stock, taking care to avoid the rising steam. Stir in the shrimp, clams, sausage, and peas and transfer the skillet to the oven.

3. Bake for about 25 minutes, until all the liquid is absorbed and the rice is dry on top (it's nice if it browns a little on the bottom, too. Garnish with parsley and serve immediately.

Recipe adapted from The Best Recipes in the World by Mark Bittman.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Grilled Halibut with Pesto

I don't think I ate enough halibut while I was in Alaska because I have been craving it ever since we got back. Halibut is one of my favorites and unfortunately it is a little pricey here but I splurged and got two large fillets. My basil plant was about done and needed to be used so I decided to make a pesto to slather on the fillets. I served the fish on top of a bed of greens dressed with a lemon vinaigrette. This was a delightful summer dish.


2 large halibut fillets
1 tablespoon olive oil
pinch sea salt

2 large handfuls of basil (I apologize for the approximation but this is how I do it)
1 large handful of flat leaf parsley
1/2 cup toasted walnuts
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon sea salt
a few grinds of pepper
about 1/2 cup olive oil


Heat the barbecue to medium-high heat. Brush the halibut fillets with oil and season with sea salt and pepper.

In a food processor, add the basil, parsley, walnuts, cheese, garlic, salt and pepper. Pulse the machine on and off until the ingredients look coarsely chopped. With a rubber spatula, scrape down the side of the work bowl. Continue pulsing the machine and slowly pour in the olive oil until the pesto is fully pureed but still has a little texture to it.

Grill the halibut until it just starts to flake apart (about 4 minutes per side). Just before you are about ready to take the fish off the grill, spread a nice layer of pesto over the fillets(there will be lots of extra pesto, refrigerate use in other dishes). Serve immediately.

Recipe by me.

Halibut on FoodistaHalibut

Monday, July 12, 2010

Flag Cupcakes

I hope everyone had a good 4th of July. My husband had to work so I thought I would make a big batch of festive cupcakes for him to bring to the fire station and a batch to bring to the family BBQ. I was searching for inspiration when I came across this blog. Kellyn is a girl after my own heart! Right there on her "about me" section of her blog she says " I don't believe in sweets that are made to look pretty but don't taste good! ". I say AMEN to that. That is exactly why I refused to have fondant on my wedding cake. These cupcakes look very impressive but are very light and they sure do taste great. I love using whip cream as a frosting. I'm not a huge frosting fan unless it is chocolate or cream cheese so this was perfect and reminiscent of shortcake. I do have one warning on these bad boys, serves these on a plate with a folk or they will be all over you and your guests!!!


Makes about 17 cupcakes

For the cupcakes:
1 recipe of your favorite yellow cake or 1 package of yellow cake mix
1 package of fresh blueberries
1 package of fresh raspberries
Whipped cream frosting and filling:
4 cups of heavy whipping cream (might need to make this in two batches, it makes a lot)
1/3 cup of sugar
3 tsp of almond extract
Raspberry Drizzle:
1 (12 oz) package of frozen raspberries thawed and drained, juice reserved
1/4 cup of white sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons of raspberry liqueur (I did not have any so don't worry if you don't)

  • Preheat you oven to 350 and center your rack.
  • Mix the cake batter according to directions.
  • Line your cupcake tray with liners and fill 3/4 of the way to the top so that when baked you get a nice domed top that is high enough to cut off and use later for tops.
  • Bake for about 15-18 min. Cool completely on a rack, once cooled carefully cut the top of each cupcake off using a serrated knife.
  • While the cupcakes are cooling make your raspberry sauce. Add enough water to reserved raspberry juice to measure 1 cup (make sure you do this otherwise it will be way to thick in the end) Stir together sugar and cornstarch in a 1-quart saucepan. Stir in juice and raspberries.
  • Heat to boiling over medium heat. Boil and stir 1 min; strain out the seeds and let cool completely, your done. If you want you can add the liqueur after you strain it.
  • In a stand mixer fixed with the whisk attachment, whisk together your whipped cream ingredients - cream, sugar, and almond extract until stiff peaks form. About 2-3 min.
  • In a pastry bag fitted with a small round tip fill with about a quarter of the whipped cream mixture and insert into the center of the cupcake bottoms to fill the centers with cream.
  • In a larger pastry bag fitted with a large round tip put a layer of frosting on the top of the cut cupcakes. Place a small handful of blueberries on top of the cream layer on each cupcake.
  • Put your cupcake tops back on top of the blueberry cream layer. Using the rest of the whipped cream frosting pipe a mound of whipped cream on top of it as high as you want.
  • Put the raspberry drizzle in a ziplock bag and cut a tiny tip off and drizzle that way. Top each one off with a fresh raspberry and your done!
Recipe from K Bakes.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Roast Chicken with Balsamic Bell Peppers

We just got back from Alaska, and even though we had some great food on our trip, like the “Elks Crossing” specialty wood stone brick oven pizza made with homemade elk meatballs from Prospectors Pizzeria and Alehouse in Denali, I was ready to come home and make some healthy dinners. This dish highlights Italian flavors like oregano, balsamic and fennel. The recipe does not call for a lot of balsamic so I highly suggest using a high quality one. My in-laws brought us back some amazing balsamics from Napa valley. I used an 18 year old pomegranate-balsamic for this recipe and the peppers were amazing. Anything with this balsamic is amazing. It is so good I can just sip on it.

I served the roasted chicken and balsamic peppers over mashed Yukon Gold potatoes. I made the potatoes with plain yogurt and a little bit of horseradish. The potatoes had a slight tang which was perfect to cut the sweetness of the balsamic.


Serves 4

  • 3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 3/4 teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 4 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breasts (I used two whole, on the bone chicken breasts with skin)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • Cooking spray
  • 2 cups thinly sliced red bell pepper
  • 1 cup thinly sliced yellow bell pepper (I had to use green)
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced shallots (about 1 large) (I used half of a sweet onion)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar


1. Preheat oven to 450°.

2. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Combine 1/2 teaspoon salt, fennel seeds, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, garlic powder, and oregano. Brush chicken with 1 1/2 teaspoons oil; sprinkle spice rub over chicken. Add 1 1/2 teaspoons oil to pan. Add chicken; cook 3 minutes or until browned. Turn chicken over; cook 1 minute. Arrange chicken in an 11 x 7–inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Bake at 450° for 10 minutes or until done.

3. Heat remaining olive oil over medium-high heat. Add bell peppers, shallots, and rosemary; sauté 3 minutes. Stir in broth, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Reduce heat; simmer 5 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high. Stir in vinegar, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; cook 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Serve bell pepper mixture over chicken.

Recipe from Cooking Light

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Ginger Pineapple Rice with Peanuts and Tofu

I threw this together tonight and it turned out pretty well. I got home late and was really hungry so I wanted something quick. I knew I had tofu and then saw a can of pineapple in the pantry and decide to just come up with something. If my stomach could have waited I would have used brown rice but the white probably works better for this recipe anyway. I just feel a little guilty eating white rice but it will not hurt every once in awhile when I am pinched for time. Next time I think I will try this with Mandarin oranges and maybe a different nut.


1 cup white rice

1 ½ cups water

1 can pineapple chunks

1 Tbsp agave syrup

1 ½ tsp garlic salt

1 Tbsp toasted sesame seeds

¼ tsp red pepper flakes

1 pkg firm tofu, cubed

1 cup sugar snap peas

¼ cup lightly salted peanuts

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 Tbsp fresh ginger, chopped

Black pepper


In a sauce pan, add the rice, 1 tsp of the garlic salt and the water. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes until liquid is absorbed.

Add in ½ cup of the pineapple juice, the chopped ginger, agave syrup, a few chunks of pineapple and a fresh grind of black pepper. Mix rice well and cover pan and continue to heat on low until the liquid is absorbed.

For the peanut tofu, heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in a large skillet on high. Add chopped tofu, remaining garlic salt, 3 Tbsp pineapple juice, peas, sesame seeds, and red pepper flakes. Sauté until the pineapple juice has been evaporated and the tofu gets slightly browned. Add the peanuts and pineapple and cook until the pineapple is warmed.

Spoon tofu mix of rice and serve hot.

Recipe by me

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Black Bean Burgers

I actually call these “Friday Night Black Bean Burgers” because I seem to always make these on Friday nights. By the end of the week, many times my supply of fresh produce has dwindled so I look for something easy I can whip together from my pantry. These burgers are very easy to make but taste very good. I usually always have some leftover brown rice in the fridge so I get to use that up as well. The patties can be even jazzed up a bit if you do happen to have some fresh cilantro on hand.


1 15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 cup canned corn

1 cup cooked brown rice

½ teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

½ teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon sea salt

About ½ cup whole wheat flour

1-2 tablespoons oil


Add the black beans and corn to the bowl of a food processer and pulse a few times until about half the beans are no longer whole. Scrape the bean and corn mixture into a bowl and add the rice, spices and half the flour. Mix well and then sprinkle a little of the flour over the mixture and form a patty (coating your hands with flour will help the patties not stick). Repeat this until 4 to 6 patties are made. Heat a little oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Add the patties and cook until they are deep brown and slightly crispy. Serve with hamburger buns and all the fixings.

Recipe by me

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Coconut Red Lentil Soup

This is another amazing recipe from Heidi Swanson and I am in love with it! It is pretty easy to make and the flavor is awesome. It is a great way to get all the flavor of a time consuming and labor intensive Indian curry in a hour with minimal effort. I like it served over brown rice and I love the sweet flavor bursts of the golden raisins so much that I recommend adding a little extra.


  • 1 cup yellow split peas
  • 1 cup red split lentils (masoor dal)
  • 7 cups liters water
  • 1 medium carrot, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 2 tablespoons fresh peeled and minced ginger
  • 2 tablespoons curry powder
  • 2 tablespoons butter or ghee
  • 8 green onions (scallions), thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup golden raisins
  • 1/3 cup tomato paste
  • 1 14-ounce can coconut milk
  • 2 teaspoons fine grain sea salt
  • one small handful cilantro, chopped
  • cooked brown rice for serving (optional)


Give the split peas and lentils a good rinse - until they no longer put off murky water. Place them in an extra-large soup pot, cover with the water, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and add the carrot and 1/4 of the ginger. Cover and simmer for about 30 minutes, or until the split peas are soft.

In the meantime, in a small dry skillet or saucepan over low heat, toast the curry powder until it is quite fragrant. Be careful though, you don't want to burn the curry powder, just toast it. Set aside. Place the butter in a pan over medium heat, add half of the green onions, the remaining ginger, and raisins. Saute for two minutes stirring constantly, then add the tomato paste and saute for another minute or two more.

Add the toasted curry powder to the tomato paste mixture, mix well, and then add this to the simmering soup along with the coconut milk and salt. Simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes or so. The texture should thicken up.

Serves 6.

Recipe by Heidi Swanson from

Sunday, May 16, 2010

The Most Extraordinary French Lemon Cream Tart

Folks, it is another dessert recipe....sorry. It is the only blog worth thing I made this week. I made this tart for a charity auction and hope it makes a lot of money for the cause. I also made the super rich chocolate cheesecake as well. The lemon tart recipe is yet again out of Dorie Greenspan's Baking: From My home to Yours. I made this dessert two years ago for my dad's birthday. We loved it but the lemons I used must have been extra tart because oh did it make you pucker. This time I made sure to taste the cream. It had the perfect tartness but I decided to coat the tart crust with seedless raspberry preserves and dot the top with fresh raspberries. Obviously, I did not get to taste it but I bet it was fantastic. My husband it also not too pleased I did not make him one... so may have to make another in the near future. ;)


1 cup sugar
Grated zest of 3 lemons
4 large eggs
3/4 c fresh lemon juice (from 4-5 lemons)
2 sticks plus 5 tbsp butter (10 1/2 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon size pieces, at room temperature.
1 9-inch tart shell made with sweet tart dough, fully baked (see below)


Getting ready:
Have a instant-read thermometer, a strainer and a blender (first choice) or food processor at hand. Bring a few inches of water to a simmer in a saucepan.

Put the sugar and zest in a large heatproof bowl* that can be set over the pan of simmering water. Off the heat, rub the sugar and zest together between your fingers until the sugar is moist, grainy, and very aromatic. Whisk in the eggs, followed by the lemon juice.

Set the bowl over the pan and start stirring with the whisk as soon as the mixture fees tepid to the touch. Cook the lemon cream until it reaches 180 degrees F. As you whisk- you whisk constantly to keep the eggs from scrambling- you’ll see that the cream will start out light and foamy, then the bubbles will get bigger, and then, as it gets closer to 180F, it will start to thicken and the whisk will leave tracks. Heads up at this point- the tracks mean the cream is almost ready. Don’t stop whisking or checking the temperature, and have patience- depending on how much heat you’re giving the cream, getting to temp may take as long as 10 minutes.

As soon as it reaches 180F, remove the cream from the heat and strain it into the container of the lender (or food processor); discard the zest. Let the cream stand, stirring occasionally, until it cools to 140 degrees F, about 10 minutes.

Turn the blender to high (or turn on the processor) and, with the machine going, add the butter about 5 pieces at a time. Scrape down the sides of the container as needed as you incorporate the butter. Once the butter is in, keep the machine going- to get the perfect light, airy texture of lemon-cream dreams, you must continue to bend the cream for another 3 minutes. If your machine protests, and gets a bit too hot, work in 1-minute intervals, giving the machine a little rest between beats.

Pour the cream into a container, press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface to create an airtight seal and refrigerate at least 4 hours, or overnight. (The cream will keep in the fridge for 4 days or, tightly sealed, in the freezer for up to 2 months; thaw it overnight in the refrigerator.)

When you are ready to assemble the tart, just whisk the cream to loosen it and spoon it into the tart shell. Serve the tart, or refrigerate until needed.

*Use a metal bowl, otherwise you'll be standing there forever.

Sweet Tart Dough

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick plus 1 tablespoon (9 tablespoons) very cold (or frozen) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 large egg yolk

Put the flour, confectioner’s sugar and salt in a food processor and pulse a couple of times to combine. Scatter the pieces of butter over the dry ingredients and pulse until the butter is coarsely cut in - you should have some pieces the size of oatmeal flakes and some the size of peas. Stir the yolk, just to break it up, and add it a little at a time, pulsing after each addition. When the egg is in, process in long pulses - about 10 seconds each - until the dough, which will look granular soon after the egg is added, forms clumps and curds. Just before you reach this stage, the sound of the machine working the dough will change - heads up. Turn the dough out onto a work surface and, very lightly and sparingly, knead the dough just to incorporate any dry ingredients that might have escaped mixing.

To Press the Dough into the Pan: Butter a 9-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom. Press the dough evenly over the bottom and up the sides of the pan, using all but one little piece of dough, which you should save in the refrigerator to patch any cracks after the crust is baked. Don’t be too heavy-handed - press the crust in so that the edges of the pieces cling to one another, but not so hard that the crust loses its crumbly texture. Freeze the crust for at least 30 minutes, preferably longer, before baking.

To Partially or Fully Bake the Crust: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Butter the shiny side of a piece of aluminum foil and fit the foil, butter side down, tightly against the crust. (Since you froze the crust, you can bake it without weights.) Put the tart pan on a baking sheet and bake the crust for 25 minutes. Carefully remove the foil. If the crust has puffed, press it down gently with the back of a spoon. For a partially baked crust, patch the crust if necessary, then transfer the crust to a cooling rack (keep it in its pan).

To Fully Bake the Crust: Bake for another 8 minutes or so, or until it is firm and golden brown. Transfer the tart pan to a rack and cool the crust to room temperature before filling.

To Patch a Partially or Fully Baked Crust, if Necessary: If there are any cracks in the baked crust, patch them with some of the reserved raw dough as soon as you remove the foil. Slice of a thin piece of the dough, place it over the crack, moisten the edges and very gently smooth the edges into the baked crust. If the tart will not be baked again with its filling, baking for another 2 minutes or so, just to take the rawness off the patch.

Recipe from Dorie Greenspan's book Baking: From My Home To Yours

Saturday, May 8, 2010


I have not made blueberry muffins in ages but I totally had a hankering for them the other day. Growing up, we regularly made the blueberry muffins from the recipe out of the good ol' Betty Croker Cookbook. I wanted a little healthier version so I looked around and found this whole-wheat recipe from Gourmet. The batter is super thick. I think a little too thick. I am going to add a little more milk than the recipe calls for next time or I may add some applesauce. Even though the batter is super thick, the muffins are not dense. They have a nice crumb to them and have tons of berries. These are not the best muffins I have made but none went to waste that is for sure. I do plan on making these again but like I mentioned above, I may tweak a few things. Oh and these muffins are sprinkled with a mix of sugar and cinnamon which is a nice touch.


Makes 1 Dozen

for muffins

  • 1 3/4 cups whole-wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 cups blueberries (about 7 ounces)


  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

    a muffin pan (preferably nonstick) with 12 (1/3- to 1/2-cup) muffin cups



  • Preheat oven to 375°F with rack in middle. Butter muffin pan.
  • Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl, then whisk in zest.
  • Whisk egg in another bowl, then whisk in milk and butter. Add to dry ingredients and stir with a rubber spatula until just combined (batter will be dense). Fold in blueberries. Divide batter among muffin cups.


  • Stir together sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle evenly over batter in cups.
  • Bake until a wooden pick inserted into center of muffins comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Cool in pan 5 minutes, then unmold onto a rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Recipe from
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