Sunday, June 30, 2013

Chocolate Chip Cheescake Bars

My sister saw these on For The Love of Cooking. Best Cookie Bars EVER.
Just a warning, we finished these off in one afternoon!
"King of Anything" Sara Bareilles
It's been stuck in my head all week!


Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough:
  • 5 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup of brown sugar, packed
  • 3 tbsp white sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3/4 cup of flour
  • 1 cup of chocolate chips
Cheesecake Filling:
  • 10 oz cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup of white sugar
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla


Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Oil an 8 inch square baking pan.
Prepare the chocolate chip cookie dough. Beat the butter, brown sugar, white sugar, salt, and vanilla together using a mixer until creamy and smooth. Add the flour to the butter mixture until just combined then add the chocolate chips and mix. Spread half of the mixture in the 8 inch square pan.
For the cheesecake filling, place the cream cheese, sugar, egg, and vanilla together into a bowl then beat, using a mixer, until creamy and smooth. Carefully spread the cheesecake batter onto the cookie dough. Spread the remaining cookie dough on top. Place into the oven and bake for 30 minutes, or until the top (cookie dough) feels dry and firm and the entire pan looks set if given a gentle shake. Move bars to a cooling rack and allow to cool completely. Lift bars out by the overhang; slice and store in the refrigerator. Serve cold or at room temperature. Enjoy.

Rosemary Grilled Chicken
I love grilled chicken. Normally, I'm not that big 
of a meat person, but this is one kind that (once
in a while) is delicious.                  

Ahhhh..... *drools* This was so good. I made this while my dad and brother were out of town. 

Best music video award goes to OK GO!

 "This To Shall Pass" OK Go

Rosemary Chicken Marinade

1/4 to 1/2 cup olive oil
3 tbsp rosemary
2 tbsp oregano
1 tsp. thyme

Mix together and marinate chicken for at least 6 hours. If short on time, spread over chicken on grill.


Sunday, June 16, 2013

Vegetable Balls

 These were so good. Kind of unexpected as they were supposed to be vegetable meatballs.

Actually, they ended up tasting like zucchini pancakes, if you've ever had those, which are kind of like potato pancakes.

"Hot Air Balloon" by Owl City

  • 1 1/2 pounds spinach (I replaced some with zucchini)
  • 1 cup panko
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • pinch nutmeg
  • 1 clove garlic mashed
  • pinch of kosher salt
  • canola oil
  • Bring a dutch oven full of water to a boil.
  • Blanch the spinach for 1 - 2 minutes.
  • Drain into a colander.
  • Immediately rinse with very cold water to stop the cooking process.
  • Using your hands wring the water out of the spinach. Do this by taking about 1/4 cup of spinach into your hands and wring until no water runs from the spinach.
  • Chop all of the spinach with a knife. Do not use a food processor or you will have mush.
  • Place the spinach, panko, cheese, nutmeg, garlic and salt into a large mixing bowl.
  • Beat the eggs in a separate mixing bowl, then add to the spinach mixture.
  • Using your hands mix well.
  • Form into small spinach balls.
  • Add about 1" of canola oil to a large frying pan.
  • Heat over medium heat.
  • In batches, brown the spinach balls until golden brown; about 2 minutes per side.
  • Remove with a slotted spoon or tongs, set aside on a paper towel.
  • Continue browning the spinach balls

Pasta Primavera

 Wow, I'm getting hungry just looking at these photos.

I got this recipe from the Pioneer Woman.
 This was so good, but probably high in calories and fat because of the cream and pasta.

What can I say? I'm a sucker for cream, pasta, and cheese.

Musical fix:
I first heard it while "studying" watching this video

"Take On Me" a-ha


  • 1 cup Bite-sized Broccoli Pieces (up To 1 1/2 Cups)
  • 1/2 whole Onion, Diced Finely
  • 3 cloves To 4 Cloves Garlic, Chopped Finely
  • 2 whole Medium To Large Carrots, Sliced On The Bias (diagonally)
  • 2 whole Medium Zucchini, Sliced On The Bias (diagonally)
  • 1 whole Medium Yellow Squash (optional)
  • 1 container (about 5 Oz.) White Button Or Baby Porcini Mushrooms, Roughly Sliced
  • 1 whole Red Bell Pepper, Sliced Into Strips
  • 4 Tablespoons Butter
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1 pound Pasta (I Like Penne)
  • 1/4 cup Dry White Wine (up To 1/2 Cup), Optional (replace With Additional Broth If Not Using)
  • 1/2 cup Low Sodium Chicken Broth
  • 1 cup Whipping (heavy) Cream
  • 1 cup Half-and-half
  • 1/2 cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 5 leaves Basil (or More To Taste), Plus Extra For Garnish
  • 1/2 cup Frozen Peas


First, prep the vegetables. Chop the broccoli into bite-sized pieces, about 1 to 1 ½ cups worth. Dice half a yellow onion. Chop 3 to 4 cloves of garlic. Slice carrots on the bias (diagonally), and do the same for the zucchini and yellow squash. Roughly slice the mushrooms and slice the red pepper (seeded) into strips.
Heat 2 tablespoons butter with 2 tablespoons olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chopped onion and garlic together and cook for a minute or two, until they start to turn translucent. Then throw in the broccoli. Stir, and add in the carrots.
Stir it around, and cook it for only a minute, tops. Transfer the mixture to a plate. Add in the red pepper strips to the skillet. Stir them around for a minute or so, then transfer them to the plate.
Add pasta to slightly salted boiling water and cook to al dente.
Add a tablespoon of butter to the skillet. Add squash and zucchini, cook for less than a minute, then transfer to plate. Cook mushrooms for a minute or two (add salt to taste), and again transfer to the plate.
To make the sauce, pour ¼ to ½ cup dry white wine into the skillet (see note below). Add ½ cup low-sodium chicken broth, a tablespoon of butter and scrape the bottom of the skillet to pull up the flavor left behind by the veggie cooking. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes until the liquid starts to thicken.
Add 1 cup whipping cream and 1 cup half-and-half. Measure out ½ cup grated Parmesan; add to the skillet. Add salt and pepper to taste. Chiffonade 5 to 6 fresh basil leaves and add that to the sauce; stir.
Dump veggies and mushrooms into the sauce along with ½ cup frozen peas right out of the freezer. Add pasta al dente and stir. If the sauce seems a little thick, or if there doesn’t seem to be enough sauce, add a good splash of chicken broth and a little more half-and-half. Top with more Parmesan, salt, pepper, and basil to taste.

Curried Vegetable Pot Pie

 The last time I made something from Savory Baking by Mary Cech I spent the night vomiting up pine nuts. Therefore, I was understandably hesitant about trying another recipe from the book.

This just goes to show you can't judge a book by a single recipe because this pie was fantastic.

 I had a bit of trouble fitting the crust over the pan, but that was because I was using a single large dish for what was meant to be several small ones.

 My family finished this off for lunch, while I was out, which is pretty rare.
Here's  your music fix:

"Ca Plan Por Moi" by the Plastic Bertrand

  Pastry Dough

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cold and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/3 cup cold water

Vegetable Filling

2 1/2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
1/2 large red onion, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
1 small red bell pepper, trimmed and seeded, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1 tablespoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon dried ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for taste
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
3 cups water
2 cups cauliflower florets (1 small cauliflower)
2 cups peeled and chopped yams (1 large yam)
1/3 cup currants
12 dried figs, stemmed and halved
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 egg, lightly beaten


1. To prepare the dough, put the flour, salt, and butter in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a blade attachment. Pulse until the butter is the size of peas, about 10 seconds. Drizzle the water into the flour and continue pulsing until the dough starts to come together. Put the dough on a lightly floured work surface and knead once or twice. Wrap the dough in plastic film, pat into a 1-inch disc, and refrigerate for 30 minutes before using (see note).

2. Meanwhile, prepare the filling. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onions, carrots, and red peppers. Stir to coat them in the oil. Add the salt and saut
the vegetables for 3 minutes. Add the garlic, curry powder, ginger, 1/4-teaspoon pepper, cinnamon, and allspice, and saute for 1 minute. Stir in the water, cauliflower, yams, currants, and figs. Bring the mixture to a simmer. Partially cover the pot with a lid, and simmer until the yams are tender, about 20 minutes (see note).

3. Put the cornstarch in a small bowl and stir in 2 tablespoons of the simmering liquid to make a smooth paste. Pour the cornstarch into the hot vegetables and gently stir to combine. Simmer for 3 minutes to thicken the liquid, and then add the lemon juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Remove the pot from the heat and divide heaping cups of the curried vegetables between six 12-ounce (1 1/2-cup) ceramic baking dishes or ceramic crocks.

4. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Remove the chilled dough from the refrigerator and place it on a floured work surface. Dust the top with flour and roll into a large disc about 1/8 inch thick. Cut out 6 circles slightly larger than the top of each baking dish. Place a pastry disc over the top of each vegetable dish and push down gently to adhere the dough to the edges of each dish. Lightly brush the pastry with a little beaten whole egg and puncture the tops in three spots with a sharp paring knife to allow the steam to escape. Place the baking dishes on a baking sheet. Place into the oven and bake until the crust is deep golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Serve hot from the oven.

Note: Wrap freshly made dough airtight in plastic film and refrigerate for up to 2 days or freeze for up to 1 month. Thaw frozen pastry in the refrigerator overnight, and then roll the dough as directed above. The filling can be made 2 days ahead and gently reheated just before pouring into the ceramic dishes.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Strawberry Filled Cupcakes with Strawberry Frosting

The Music:
"Strawberry Fields Forever" (I know, I know. Talk about cliched)

 The cake was good. The filling was perfect.

The frosting was heavenly.

But left me feeling guilty.

I was going out on a limb. Frosting with flour?
and the ingredients were less than healthy.

 Whatever! Desserts are when we don't care about health correct? At least it has strawberries in it so it is kind of healthy.

 Plus, they look professional and I got to use the cake plate!
 Ugg... Maybe I'll make these again. The dripping frosting makes me crave this frosting.

 Bite shot
And another

THE FROSTING (I added some of the filling to the frosting to make it stawberry falvored)

  • 32 ounces of fresh strawberries
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • Pinch of salt
Prepare strawberries by rinsing, draining, removing caps and cutting into small pieces. Place in a large bowl. Add sugar. Stir and allow to sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes. Strain the juice from the strawberries into a one-cup measure. Add enough water to make one cup of liquid. In a small saucepan, combine the strawberry liquid, lemon juice, cornstarch and salt.
Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until the mixture boils and becomes thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Cool completely. Stir mixture into reserved strawberries. Stir. Using a blender, blend on low speed until filling is smooth. Refrigerate until ready to use. Any leftover strawberry filling may be kept for several days and used on toast, pancakes or mixed in plain Greek yogurt.
To fill the cupcakes you can use the large end of a piping tip, knife or apple corer to cut out a round section in the cupcake. Then fill the cupcake and put the cut-out portion of the cupcake back over the filling.

  • 1 cup almond or soy milk
  • 1 Tbsp. vinegar
  • 1/2 cup margarine
  • 1 1/2 cups cake flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Add vinegar to almond or soy milk and set aside. Sift together all dry ingredients (cake flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and sugar). Soften margarine in microwave (do not melt it completely), and add to dry ingredients.

Add remaining wet ingredients, and mix until just combined. Be careful to not over mix. Fill muffin tins 2/3 fu

Banoffi Pie

Alriighty, let's start off with excuses for not posting for two months AKA my April and May in a nut shell, shall we?:

  1. Tech Week and Show Nights:
    • I was in another high school's production of Children of Eden. I worked with costumes and yes, that is me as a walrus.
    • It consumed my life for three weeks and this blog wasn't the only thing I was pulled away from
     2. Bailey's Death:
    •  Bailey aka the sweetest bunny on the planet passed away in the beginning of April. He is still missed, but I've been volunteering with the rabbits at the SPCA. There are so many abandoned rabbits! It's insanely depressing.
     3. AP Tests:
    • So one week after Children of Eden- WHAM! AP tests. My first test was AP European History, which is actually a really easy exam or at least it was this year. But that still killed a week. 
   4. Sophmoritis:
    • End of the school year cramming and I couldn't be inspired to do anything. Then I had finals which ate up last week.

Pasta Puttenesca

For me, pasta puttenesca will always be something the Baudelaires made for Count Olaf in A Series of Unfortunate Events, but cooking it certainly has made it more delicious.

I left out the anchovies and put in twice as much of everything but the pasta.

Cinema Paridiso -Ennio Marricone
Just a warning -if you don't cry listening to the theme, you will cry watching the film. Don't get the theater cut! Get the full length (3 hour long) film. It's worth it.

From The Pioneer Woman


  • 8 ounces, weight Bucatini Or Spaghetti
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1/2 whole Red Onion, Sliced
  • 1-1/2 cup Grape Tomatoes, Halved
  • 3/4 cups Chicken Broth Or White Wine
  • 2 cloves Garlic
  • 1/2 cup (heaping) Assorted Pitted Olives
  • 12 whole Basil Leaves
  • 4 ounces, weight Good Parmesan Cheese

Preparation Instructions

Cook pasta until al dente.
Mash (in this order) garlic and olives using a mortar and pestle, or just chop them finely together. Set aside.
Using a fork, crumble the Parmesan cheese.
Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add sliced red onions and cook until slightly caramelized. Add halved tomatoes and cook for a couple of minutes. Pour in broth or wine and cook for another two minutes, then pour in garlic/anchovy/olive mixture. Stir and continue cooking for several minutes, or until sauce is nice and reduced and wonderful. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Drain pasta and add to the skillet. Add the crumbled Parmesan and toss to coat pasta in the sauce.
Tear basil leaves and sprinkle over the top. Serve right out of the skillet.

Deviled Eggs

 As a person who hates eggs, I personally did not try these. But from what other people said I think I can safely say that these worked pretty well.

On the other hand, I had a really tough time splitting the eggs and getting the whites to not come off with the yolks. I think that's really just how you boil them though.

"Summer in the City" the Lovin Spoonful (my mom's choice)


  • 1 dozen eggs
  • 2 teaspoons dijon mustard
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 teaspoon tabasco
  • Salt and pepper
  • Paprika


1.  Peel the eggs. Using a sharp knife, slice each egg in half, lengthwise. Gently remove the yolk halves and place in a small mixing bowl. Arrange the egg white halves on a serving platter.

2.  Using a fork, mash up the yolks and add mustard, mayonnaise, tabasco, and a sprinkling of salt and pepper. Spoon egg yolk mixture into the egg white halves. Sprinkle with paprika.