Monday, August 26, 2013

Banana "Ice Cream" With Sweet-and-Salty Roasted Almonds

I'd wanted to make banana ice cream for a long time. When I tried it with a different recipe, I ended up with a solid mass of banana. This works and tastes great! It's from It's All Good by Paltrow and Turshen.


  • 4 ripe bananas, peeled and sliced into thin rounds
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped roasted almonds
  • 2 tsp plus 2 tbsp maple syrup, divided
  • a pinch of sea salt
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract


Freeze the banana slices in a single layer on a tray or plate lined with parchment or wax paper. Once the slices are frozen, use them immediately or keep frozen in a zip-top plastic bag or airtight container for up to a month.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the almonds with 2 tsp. of maple syrup and the pinch of salt and set the mixture aside.

Combine the frozen banana slices, the almond milk, the remaining 2 tbsp. of the maple syrup, and hte vanilla in a food processor and pulse until the mixture is the texture of soft-serve ice cream, scraping down the sides as necessary. Don't worry if hte mixture is not toatlly smooth at first-- once the bananas start to break down and defrost in the food processor, they'll give in and the "ice cream" will take shape quickly.

Spoon the banana "ice cream" into bowls immediately and sprinkle each serving with a bit of the almond mixture.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Bianca Pizza (Olive Paste)

I'd been wanting to try this pizza from Debrah Madison's Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone for forever! It was so good! and the crust was too! 

But then again, I love olives more than the average person...

 "Something That I Want"from the film Tangled


Olive Paste:

  • 1 cup olives, such as Niçoise, Kalamata, or green, pitted
  • ¼ cup capers, rinsed
  • 1 small garlic clove
  • 2 teaspoons chopped thyme leaves or ½ teaspoon dried
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Freshly milled pepper
  • Fresh lemon juice


  • 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/2 cup warm water (110 degrees F)
  • 1/8 cup lard or vegetable shortening
  • 1 to 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoons salt
  • Olive oil


 Olive Paste:

 In a food processor, make a smooth paste of the olives, capers, garlic, and thyme if using dried. Add the olive oil while the machine is running. Season with pepper and add lemon juice and thyme if using fresh.

Thin Crust:

In an electric mixing bowl, whisk the yeast, sugar, water and lard together to make a paste. Add the flour and salt and mix, using a dough hook, until the dough comes away from the sides and crawls up the dough hook. Remove the dough from the bowl. Grease the bowl with olive oil and place the dough back in the bowl. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and divide dough in half. Roll the dough into balls, cover, and let the dough rest for 15 to 20 minutes. Roll out dough.


Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Spread olive paste on pizza dough. Sprinkle cheese of choice on top of olive paste. Bake for 10-12 minutes.

Red-Pepper Pasta

I made this at the beginning of the week when I wanted something for real for dinner.

(You know not just cracker's and cheese) and my parents were away for the weekend.

So I had that moment of realization when the red peppers just touched the flour mixture that I needed to make them less solid somehow, so they'd mix with the pasta. 

Not so fun to pick chopped red pepper bits from the dough!
"Everybody Wants To Rule the World" Tears for Fears


  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 extra large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil or water if needed
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt 
  • 1 medium red pepper, chopped
  • olive oil



Saute pepper in olive oil. Once tender, blend until smooth. Combine ingredients in medium sized bowl. Roll out the dough with a rolling pin until the dough is 1/16 of an inch thin (the thinner the better). Cut out the dough into whatever type of pasta you desire (linguine is easiest). Bring a pot of water to boil and add pasta. Cook until pasta is al dente (8-10 minutes). 

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Carrot and Broccoli Lo Mein

 I made this for lunch and to use my super cool plates.



  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1 head of broccoli, chopped
  •  1 cup pasta
  • 3 tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp. hosin sauce 


Heat pan on high heat with soy sauce and hosin sauce. Add carrots and broccoli and cook until tender. Add pasta and cook until crisp. Serve immediately.

Basic Guacamole

Just your basic, average guac.

Nothing too exciting.

It's just been a Grease week.


  • 1 avacado
  • 1 tbsp. lime juice (or to taste
  • salt to taste.


 Mash all ingredients together.

Peach and Ginger Agua Fresca

 This is from Paltrow and Turshen's It's All Good, and in a nut shell, it's peach juice. 


Drink the day of making. It doesn't taste very good after that.
This is one song I know all the words to: "Build Me Up Buttercup" The Foundations.


  • 3 cups water
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 2 1/2 pounds white peaches (about 8 peaches), pits discarded, roughly chopped
  • A 2 inch knob of ginger, peeled and sliced 


Combine all the ingredients in a large pot set over high heat. Bring to a boil, turn off the heat, and cover the pot. Let the mixture cool to room temperature. Puree in a powerful blender in batches and pass the puree through a fine-mesh strainer or a sieve lined with cheesecloth. Discard the contents of the strainer and serve the agua fresca immediately over ice.

Japanese Restaurant-Style Salad with Carrot Ginger Dresssing

I got this from Gwyneth Paltrow and Julia Turshen's It's All Good. It's a pretty great cookbook with loads of ideas for recipes and healthy living. I made it for a cross country pasta party.

Oh and for the dressing when it says add salt. It means add salt.

"You're the One That I Want" 


For the salad:
  • 1 head of lettuce, torn
  • 1 ripe tomato, sliced
  • 1/2 cucumber sliced
  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 2/3 cup Carrot-Ginger dressing

For the dressing (Makes 2 1/2 cups):
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 large shallot, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon sweet white miso
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon roasted sesame seed oil
  • 1/4 cup grapeseed oil
  • 2 tablespoons water


For the salad:
Put the lettuce into a salad bowl and top with the tomato, cucumber, and red onion. Drizzle with plenty of the dressing, serve immediately.

For the dressing:

Pulse the carrot, shallot and ginger in a blender until finely chopped. 
Scrape down the sides, add the miso, vinegar and sesame seed oil and whiz together. While the blender is going, slowly drizzle in the grapeseed oil and the water. It will keep for up to a week in the fridge and works well as a dip.

Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes

I, for some reason, thought these were made with creme de menthe, which my brother wanted to use up before his big move to graduate school this weekend.
 Well, the recipe looked so good and I hadn't made cupcakes in forever. 
So, yeah, these happened.
 I didn't use all of the liquor that's supposed to be in them because I didn't want them to be too alcoholic. The beer gives the cupcakes a very distinct taste. 
If you've ever had beer bread, imagine that. With chocolate
 I used the recipe from Brown-Eyed Baker as a basis.


"At the Ceili" preformed by the Celtic Woman


For the Cupcakes:
  • 1 cup Guinness stout
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ¾ cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1½ teaspoons baking soda
  • ¾ teaspoons salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 2/3 cup sour cream
For the Filling:
  • 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
For the Baileys Frosting:
2 cups unsalted butter, at room temperature
5 cups powdered sugar
6 tablespoons Bailey's Irish Cream (I substituted a bit of creme de menthe)


To Make the Cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 24 cupcake cups with liners. Bring the Guinness and butter to a simmer in a heavy, medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the cocoa powder and whisk until the mixture is smooth. Cool slightly.

 Whisk the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt in a large bowl to combine. Using an electric mixer, beat the eggs and sour cream on medium speed until combined. Add the Guinness-chocolate mixture to the egg mixture and beat just to combine. Reduce the speed to low, add the flour mixture and beat briefly. Using a rubber spatula, fold the batter until completely combined. Divide the batter among the cupcake liners. Bake until a thin knife inserted into the center comes out clean, about 17 minutes. Cool the cupcakes on a rack.

To Make the  Filling: Finely chop the chocolate and transfer it to a heatproof bowl. Heat the cream until simmering and pour it over the chocolate. Let it sit for one minute and then, using a rubber spatula, stir it from the center outward until smooth. Add the butter and stir until combined. Let it cool until thick but still soft enough to be piped.

 To Fill the Cupcakes: Using a 1-inch round cookie cutter (or I use a melon baller), cut the centers out of the cooled cupcakes, going about two-thirds of the way down. Transfer the ganache to a piping back with a wide tip and fill the holes in each cupcake to the top.

 To Make the Baileys Frosting: Using the whisk attachment of a stand mixer, whip the butter on medium-high speed for 5 minutes, scraping the sides of the bowl occasionally. Reduce the speed to medium-low and gradually add the powdered sugar until all of it is incorporated. Add the Baileys, increase the speed to medium-high and whip for another 2 to 3 minutes, until it is light and fluffy.
6. Using your favorite decorating tip, or an offset spatula, frost the cupcakes and decorate with sprinkles, if desired. Store the cupcakes in an airtight container.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Cheese Ball

 I made this cheese ball awhile ago to try out these mini toasts I got at Whole Foods.

The toasts were gross. (I was expecting melbatoast and I got yukatoast)

And to top it off I cut my hand on the food processor.

You know where you're not supposed to put you're hand? Yeah.
 So, I actually do know why I never posted these.

But I'd rather not talk about it.

It's something else to add about what these cheese balls are to me.
 I used to not eat them because of "the funny black spots".

  I remember a 2nd grade Thanksgiving party when I brought it and ate none of it.

Yes, me. Olive lover extraordinaire.

Of course when I was probably 10, I realized they were olives and fell in love.

Classic love story. Girl meets dip. Girl hate dip. Girl makes dip. Girl loves dip.

So here it is: the family cheese ball

(from my mom's side)

I heard "Akinla" by Flea Sowade while driving home from cross country practice.
This orchestra totally doesn't do it justice, but I couldn't find another version.


  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 8 oz. cream cheese
  • 4 oz. bleu cheese
  • 1/4 t. grated onion
  • 1 can pitted ripe black olives (drained and chopped) 
  • 1 package sliced almonds 


Blend softened butter, cheeses, onion and olives. Shape in a ball and roll in almonds. Refrigerate. (This also freezes well) Serve with crackers (definitely not these toasts though!)

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Classic Chocolate Chip Cookies

The classic chocolate cookie using the Toll House recipe to the T.

 "Five Colors in Her Hair" by McFly


  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups chocolate chips
  • 1 cup chopped nut


PREHEAT oven to 375° F.

COMBINE flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in morsels and nuts. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets.

BAKE for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely. 

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Here's another cookie from the treat box.

I'm not a huge fan of oatmeal cookies, but these were pretty good.

Plus its the best oatmeal cookie recipe I've found.

 "Teenage FBI" by Guided by Voices



  • 1/2  cup (1 stick) plus 6 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 3/4  cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/2  cup granulated sugar
  • 2  eggs
  • 1  teaspoon vanilla
  • 1-1/2  cups all-purpose flour
  • 1  teaspoon baking soda
  • 1  teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2  teaspoon salt (optional)
  • 3  cups Quaker® Oats (quick or old fashioned, uncooked)
  • 1  cup raisins


Heat oven to 350°F. In large bowl, beat butter and sugars on medium speed of electric mixer until creamy. Add eggs and vanilla; beat well. Add combined flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt; mix well. Add oats and raisins; mix well.
Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets.
Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool 1 minute on cookie sheets; remove to wire rack. Cool completely. Store tightly covered.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

 My friend's grandpa died this week, so I made a box of treats to help her feel better.

Fair warning, these fall apart like nothing else.

Mainly because they're pure butter.

"London Calling" The Clash


  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter or margarine, softened
  • 1/2 cup creamy or chunky peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 3/4 cups chocolate chips


 Preheat oven to 375° F.

COMBINE flour and baking soda in small bowl. Beat butter, peanut butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Beat in egg. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in morsels.

DROP dough by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets. Press down slightly with bottom of glass dipped in granulated sugar.

BAKE for 8 to 10 minutes or until edges are set but centers are still soft. Cool on baking sheets for 4 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

Elvis Presley

Chocolatey peanut butter goodness. I found this while looking for smoothies on a baking site.

Yeah, I suppose this isn't really a health drink, but I can pretend, right?

 "Devil in Disguise" by Elvis Presley from Lilo and Stitch
(aka the film that makes me like Elvis Presley music)

The actual song


  • 1 medium banana
  • 2 tbsp. creamy peanut butter (or to taste)
  • 1 tbsp oats
  • as much chocolate milk as needed to cover banana and peanut butter 


Put peeled banana, peanut butter, oats, and chocolate milk in blender. Blend until smooth.

Simple Pesto

Easy dinner in under fifteen minutes? Look no further. 
Pesto with pasta is a three step meal:
  1. Blend ingredients of pesto
  2. Cook pasta
  3. Mix

Even though it's easy, pesto- mainly because I despise basil and pine nuts make me sick- is not one of my favorite foods.

At least without loads of cheese and salt.

Luckily, however, it is a generally accepted practice to put cheese on pasta. Saved by the cheese.

Here's the super easy recipe from Food Network.
It makes about 1 cup.

"Let's Call the Whole Thing Off"preformed by Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald


  • 2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Pecorino cheese (Parmesan works as well)


Combine the basil, garlic, and pine nuts in a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Add 1/2 cup of the oil and process until fully incorporated and smooth. Season with salt and pepper.

If using immediately, add all the remaining oil and pulse until smooth. Transfer the pesto to a large serving bowl and mix in the cheese.

If freezing, transfer to an air-tight container and drizzle remaining oil over the top. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw and stir in cheese.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Corn Chowder

 I found this while looking for a mashed peas recipes. Kind of an odd combination, I know.

It's from Simply Recipes.
Since I had so many Cat Steven's songs in the recent posts, here's one of my favorites:
( if you really like Cat Stevens the next video link is a film trailer. The movie's soundtrack is all him)

 "Don't Be Shy" Cat Stevens

"Harold and Maude" a dark comedy


  • 1 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 strip of bacon or 1 teaspoon of bacon fat (substitute 1/2 Tbsp of butter for vegetarian option)
  • 1/2 large yellow onion, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1/2 large carrot, chopped (about 1/3 cup)
  • 1/2 celery stalk, chopped (about 1/3 cup)
  • 3 ears of sweet corn, kernels removed from the cobs (about 2 cups), cobs reserved
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 1/2 cups milk, whole or low fat
  • 1 medium Yukon Gold potato, or Russet, peeled and diced
  • 1/4 red bell pepper, chopped (about 1/4 cup)
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves


In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the bacon strip (skip this step for vegetarian option, just add more butter) and fry until the bacon renders its fat, but doesn't begin to brown, 3 or 4 minutes. Add the onion and sauté for 4 to 5 minutes, until soft. Add the carrot and celery and cook for 4 or 5 more minutes.

Break the corn cobs in half and add them to the saucepan. Add the milk and bay leaf. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a bare simmer. Cover the pot and cook for 30 minutes. Make sure the heat is as low as can be and still maintain a gentle simmer (on our stove we had to use the "warm" setting) to prevent scalding the milk on the bottom of the pan.

Discard the cobs, the bacon strip, and the bay leaf. Raise the heat, add the potatoes, red pepper, 1 teaspoon of salt, fresh ground pepper to taste, bring to a simmer and reduce the heat to maintain a simmer for 15 minutes, or until the potatoes are almost fork tender.

Raise the heat, add the corn kernels and the thyme. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer for 5 minutes.

Seared Salmon

 Looking for a fast and fantastic salmon recipe?

Look no further!

This takes eight minutes. Prep included. No lie.
 My brother told me about it, and I had to try it.
This recipe in two words: Simple and good.

"Can't Keep It In" Cat Stevens

I just realized this was by Cat Stevens! I found it in this trailer:


  • salmon
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper 


Combine salt, pepper, and olive oil in a bowl. Take pieces of salmon and rub the top in the mixture, adding more salt and pepper for each piece as needed. Heat frying pan on stove set to high. When the pan is hot place pieces of fish on the pan. Cook for 3 minutes, or until top has a slightly browned finish. Flipover and cook for 5 minutes, or until cooked through.


Mashed Peas

When I went to London last year, this was the one food that I fell in love with.
I have yet to recreate the perfect texture with a potato masher as many sites suggest and I'm still not sure about the mint.  But when I get a hankering, there's not much else to do but make mashed peas.

"I Wish I Wish" Cat Stevens
(I wish I could make perfect Mashed Peas!)
 (I could listen to this all day)


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 bunch spring onions, chopped
  • 1 handful fresh mint, leaves picked
  • 1 pound (500 grams) frozen peas
  • 2 large knobs butter
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


Heat the oil in a pan and add the chopped onions, mint, and peas. Cover and leave for a few minutes to steam. Mash with a potato masher. You can do this with a food processor as well, just pulse it until smooth. Whether mashing or pulsing, when it's done add the butter and season very carefully, to taste.

Sweet Tahini Spirals

It seems like I made these forever ago, but it was just last week. That's time in the summer for you,

 drudging by.

I made a pretty major mistake with these and split the dough into only six pieces instead of twelve.
Yeah, whoopsie-daisy.

But they still turned out. They were just giant, sugary-sweet swirls of bread, instead of normal sized sugary- sweet swirls.
I got this recipe from Turkey: More Than 1000 Recipes with Tales from the Road by Leanne Kitchen.
 "Goodbye" by Sasha


  • 1 large pinch sugar
  • 3 teaspoons dried yeast
  • 2/3 cup lukewarm milk
  • 3 egg; 2 lightly beaten, plus 1 egg yolk whisked with 1 1/2 tbsp water
  • 2 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 cups flour
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup tahini
  • 1 cup sugar
  • sesame seeds, for sprinkling


Comine the sugar adn 1/2 cup lukewarm water in a small bowl, then sprinkle over the yeast. Set aside for about 8 minutes, or until foamy. Combine the lukewarm milk and beaten eggs, then add to the yeast mixture with another 2 tbsp lukewarm water adn olive oil, stirring well to combine.

Combine the flour and salt in a bowl, then add the yeast mixture and stir to form a coarse dough. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 5 minutes, or until hte dough is smooth and elastic. Roll the dough into a ball and place in a lightly oiled bowl, turning to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm, draft-free place for 1 hour, or until doubled in size.

Meanwhile, put the tahini, superfine, sugar and whole egg in a bowl, mixing until well combined-- the mixture will become quite thick.

Punch the dough down and turn out onto a lightly floured work surface and divide it into 12 even sized balls. Working with one ball at a time, roll each out into a circle with a 7-inch diameter using a rolling pin. Spread 1 tbsp of the tahini mixture on each round, leaving a 1/2 inch border around the edge. Roll up each to form a long sausage shape and continue ot roll until it's about 12 inches long. Use your hands to shape each sausage into a tight spiral -- each spiral should be about 4 inches in diameter -- then flatten slightly. Transfer to lightly greased baking sheets, cover loosely with a dish towel, and set aside for about 30 minutes or until puffy.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Brush the top of each spiral with the eff yolk mixture and sprinkle lightly with sesame seeds.Bake for 30 minutes, or until golden and cooked through. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Tahini spirals are best eaten on the day of making but will keep, frozen in an airtight container, for up to 1 month.