Sunday, September 29, 2013

Salmon Seared with Pesto and An Amazing Butterscotch Beer

I found this super-sweet soda at Jungle Jim's. It's basically butterbeer, but it's so good. Next time you're at Jungle Jim's or where-ever you go to try new things. Try it! It's like liquified Werther's.

"She's So High"  Tal Bachman
Okay, so when you put pesto on seared salmon, the salmon absorbs the pesto's flavor and becomes even more savory.


  • salmon
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper 
  • basil pesto 


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 spread pesto on top of salmon. Cook for 5 minutes, or until cooked through.

Peek-a-Boo Pumpkin Pound Cake

Alright, this is what it's supposed to look like:

This is what happened to me:
 It still tastes pretty good.
I added not shredded pumpkin but the full liquidy innards.
So for this, I'll simply provide links:
"Breakfast at Tiffany's" Deep Blue Something

Pumpkin Muffins

 Pumpkin muffins are in many ways, the best part of fall.
That and pumpkin pie, leaves, Halloween, Thanksgiving, cooler weather, my birthday, etc.

The liners bled onto the pan, so my muffin pans now have little rabbits on them.

  "The Freshman" Verve Pipe


  • Softened unsalted butter, for the pan
  • 3 2/3 cups pastry flour, sifted
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 1/3 cups superfine sugar
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature, beaten
  • One 15-ounce can solid-pack pumpkin
  • 1 cup seedless golden or dark raisins
  • 1/4 cup hulled unsalted sunflower seeds


  Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 400˚F. Brush the insides of 12 to 14 muffin cups with softened butter, then brush the top of the pan. 

  Sift the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and salt together into a medium bowl. Beat the butter in the bowl of a heavy-duty stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on high speed until creamy, about I minute. Gradually beat in the sugar and continue beating, scraping the sides of the bowl often with a silicone spatula, until the mixture is very light in color and texture, about 5 minutes. Gradually beat in the eggs. Reduce the mixture speed to low. Beat in the pumpkin; the mixture may look curdled. In thirds, beat in the flour mixture, scraping down the sides of the bowl often, and mix until smooth. Add the raisins. Increase the speed to high and beat until the batter has a slight sheen, about 15 seconds, no longer. 

Using a 2 1/2 inch-diameter ice-cream scoop, portion the batter, rounded side up, into the prepared cups. Sprinkle the tops with the sunflower seeds.

 Bake for 10 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 375°F and continue baking until the tops of the muffins are golden brown and a wire cake tester inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean, about 15 minutes more.

 Cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Remove the muffins from the pan and cool completely.

Sunday, September 15, 2013


 Although buckeyes are really a Christmas recipe, as an Ohioan, I think I can enjoy them anytime.
Isn't that in the Ohio Revised Code?

Silliness aside, I made these for my friend's birthday.
"I Don't Care I Love It" Icona Pop



  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 6 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 4 cups semisweet chocolate chips


  1. In a large bowl, mix together the peanut butter, butter, vanilla and confectioners' sugar. The dough will look dry. Roll into 1 inch balls and place on a waxed paper-lined cookie sheet.
  2. Press a toothpick into the top of each ball (to be used later as the handle for dipping) and chill in freezer until firm, about 30 minutes.
  3. Melt chocolate chips in a double boiler or in a bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water. Stir frequently until smooth.
  4. Dip frozen peanut butter balls in chocolate holding onto the toothpick. Leave a small portion of peanut butter showing at the top to make them look like Buckeyes. Put back on the cookie sheet and refrigerate until serving.

Autumn Sweet Potato Soup

 The first weeks of schools have started, and temperatures are finally starting to reflect the month.
 I am proud to announce: fall has arrived!
And what better way to welcome it than soup is there?

 "Everyday Superhero" Smash Mouth


  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large brown onion, peeled and diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 1/2 lbs orange sweet potatoes (yams), peeled and cubed
  • 1 lb zucchini, sliced
  • 2 qts (8 cups) yellow vegetable stock or chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper (or more to taste)
  • 3 medium tomatoes, peeled and diced (or 1 14 oz. can diced tomatoes)
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • Salt and pepper
  • Chopped roasted peanuts or fresh thyme leaves for garnish (optional)


Heat olive oil over medium till hot (not smoking). Sauté onion in the oil till it begins to turn golden, about 10 minutes. Add garlic and continue to sauté for 3 minutes more.Add sweet potatoes, zucchini, chicken or vegetable stock, thyme leaves, cumin, ginger, and cayenne to the pot. I like to use ¼ tsp of cayenne, which gives a nice spicy kick to the soup. If you’re sensitive to spice, start with 1/8 tsp. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce to a light simmer for 20 minutes. Add diced tomatoes to the pot. Simmer for 5-10 minutes more until all the vegetables are tender. Stir the peanut butter into the broth until it dissolves. Remove from heat. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add more cayenne for heat, if desired. Soup may be served as-is (chunky with texture), or you can puree the soup with an immersion blender till smooth. Serve garnished with chopped roasted peanuts or fresh thyme leaves.

Globi Panicei cum Vino Dulci (Bread Rolls with Sweet Wine)

Way back when I was in Latin III (aka two years ago) we took a week off before Thanksgiving break to have a Roman cena. This was what I made.

Man those patricians could party! From mid-afternoon to midnight, they'd eat, reclining on triclinium, with slaves reciting poetry and singing.

There are certain things about the Roman diet I will never be able to accept. 
(Fish sauce, dormice, etc.)
Dormouse                                             Cooked dormice

But these rolls are fantastic!
"Teenage FBI" Guided By Voices

Ingredients (Res Commiscendae)

  • 1 2/3 cups flour
  • 1 2/3 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup grated Romano or Parmesan cheese
  • 1 egg 
  • 1 tbsp. sweet white whine or white grape juice (or apple juice and be prepared to add more                                                                                                         a tbsp is never enough!)
  • A pinch of whole anise seeds
  • A pinch of cumin seeds
  • 12 bay leaves 

Directions (Modus Parandi)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Sift flour and baking powder into a mixing bowl. Sprinkle grated cheese evenly over the sifted flour. Cut the shortening into small pieces and, using you fingers, rub it into the flour/cheese mixture. 

The mixture will now resemble fresh bread crumbs. Whisk an egg in another small bowl and then add it to the flour mixture. Add the sweet white wine, anise, and cumin.

After blending in the wine and spices with a wooden spoon, divide the mixture into twelve small balls. 

On a baking sheet that has been rubbed with Crisco (or put aluminum foil on the baking sheet) arrange twelve bay leaves. Place one of the small balls on each of the bay leaves and then bake for 12-15 minutes.

Serve with honey for dipping.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Au Gratin Potatoes

The most important thing for this recipe is to parboil the potatoes before hand. 
It shortens the cooking time if you need it ready in less than 40 minutes!

"Vienna" Billy Joel


  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • 2 lbs (about 4 medium sized) Russet potatoes, peeled, sliced 1/8-inch thick
  • 1 large yellow or white onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh chives (optional)
  • 2 thick slices of bacon, cooked and chopped
  • 2 1/2 cups grated Swiss or Gruyere cheese (about 8 ounces)
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese (about 2 ounces)
  • 2 1/2 cups to 3 cups of half-and-half (half milk, half cream)
  • Salt and pepper


Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter a large casserole dish with 1 1/2 Tbsp of butter. If you use a casserole dish that is about 9x13 you'll have more surface area, more of the potatoes will brown, and the cooking time will be faster.
 Layer the bottom of the casserole dish with 1/3 of the potato slices. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Layer on 1/2 of the sliced onions and 1/2 cup of the Swiss cheese. Layer on 1/2 of the bacon, 1/2 of the parsley and chives. Sprinkle with a little Parmesan.
Repeat by layering on 1/3 of the potato slices, sprinkle again with salt and pepper. Layer on the remaining sliced onions, 1/2 cup of the Swiss cheese, the remaining bacon, parsley and chives. Sprinkle with a little Parmesan.
Top the casserole with the remaining potato slices. Add the half and half. Dot the potatoes with the remaining 1 1/2 Tbsp of butter.
Cover the casserole with aluminum foil and bake in the oven for one hour. After an hour, remove from the oven, remove the foil, sprinkle on the remaining Swiss and Parmesan cheese. Return to the oven for an additional 30-40 minutes. When done, the potatoes should be tender, but not mushy, and the liquid should be mostly absorbed.

Sweet Potato Fries

Some of these got pretty burned as you can see from the picture,

but those that weren't literally burnt to a crisp were salty perfection, as is the way with fries.

"Tainted Love" Soft Cells


  • Olive Oil, for tossing
  • 5 sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced into 1/4-inch long slices, then 1/4-wide inch strips, using a crinkle cut knife
  • 1 tablespoon salt, or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika


Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

Line a sheet tray with parchment. In a large bowl toss sweet potatoes with just enough oil to coat. Sprinkle with House Seasoning and paprika. Spread sweet potatoes in single layer on prepared baking sheet, being sure not to overcrowd. Bake until sweet potatoes are tender and golden brown, turning occasionally, about 20 minutes. Let cool 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

From Food Network

Beer Bread

   Beer bread is a family tradition right up there with Irish Soda Bread.
If you've never baked with beer, this is for sure the recipe to start with.
"Broadway" Goo Goo Dolls


  • 3 cups of flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups beer
  • 1-4 tablespoons sugar
  • 4 tablespoons butter


Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly grease a 9" x 5" loaf pan.
Mix the flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, 3 tablespoons of the melted butter, and the beer, stirring until fairly smooth; don't worry about a scattering of small lumps.
Spoon the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top. Drizzle with the remaining 1 tablespoon melted butter.
Bake the bread for 45 to 50 minutes, until a toothpick inserted about 1/2" into the top of the loaf comes out clean, or with a few moist crumbs clinging to it.
 Remove the bread from the oven, and after 5 minutes turn it out onto a rack to cool.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Muscadine Yule Log

 Alright, this fancy cake was published in The New York Times a while back.

The Grand Marnier soaks into the cake and chocolate and makes it so good!

 "Five Minutes to Midnight"


  • 10 oz. bittersweet chocolate
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped candied orange zest
  • 5 tbsp sugar
  • 3 tbsp Grand Marnier
  • 4 large eggs, separated
  • 3/4 cup confectioners' sugar, plus extra for sprinkling and dredging
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract 
  • 1/4 cup plus 3 tbsp cake flour
  • Carmel Spikes, optional


To prepare chocolate ganache: Finely chop 6 oz. chocolate and place in a mixing bowl. In a small saucpepan, bring cream to a boil. Whisk hot cream into chocolate until smooth, then add orange zest and stir to mix well. Set aside to cool and thicken, or chill 40 minutes, stirring occasionally.

To prepare Grand Marnier syrup: In a msall saucepan, combine sugar with 1/4 cup water. Bring to a boil, then mremove from heat. Stir in Grand Marnier, then set aside to cool to room temperature.

Reheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 15 by 10 inch jelly roll pan with parchment paper, allowing paper to overlap slightly at ends.

Using a mixer, whisk egg whites until foamy. Gradually add 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar and beat until whites form firm, glossy peaks. In a large bowl, whisk egg yolks by hand with 1/4 cup confectioners sugar. Add vanilla and whisk to blend. Turn mixer to lowest speed and add yolk mixture to whites, mixing only to combine; do not overmix. Place flour in a sifter and sift over mixture. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold in flour. Scrape mixture into jely roll pan and smooth top. Sprinkle cake lightly with 2 tbsp. confectioners' sugar. Let sit 5 minutes, then sprinkle with 2 more tablespoons confectioner's subar

Bake cake until lightly golden and springy to the tough, about 10 min. Slide it on parchment paper onto a rack and cool to room tmeperature. Place a piece of parchment paper on counter and invert cakeon paper. Peel away baking paper. Brush Grand Marnier syrup over surface of cake. Using an offset spatula, spread chocolate ganache evenly over syrup. Starting from one of shorter ends of cake, using paper for assistance, roll up cake. Cover with plastic wrap and refigerate for 1 hour.

Just before serving, spread a generous amount of confectioners' sugar on a baking sheet. Chop and melt 4 ounces of chocolate. Unwrap cold cake and brush it with a coating of melted chocolate, then roll it in confectioners' sugar. Return cake to refrigerator for 5 minutes to set chocolate, then transfer to a serving platter. If desired, decorate with caramel spikes.

Strawberry Salad with Walnuts and Red Onion

 I'm always a bit skeptical of salad "recipes" because, let's face it, a salad is just tossing a bunch of things together.

Why the need for a recipe?

This one is a personal favorite of mine, and though it's usually done with my despised raw spinach, with lettuce it steals number one.

 So I guess with Labor Day weekend, end of summer strawberries might be hard to come by but salivating at the pictures is almost as good!

 "Ordinary Day" Vanessa Carlton


  • stawberries, sliced
  • feta cheese, crumbled
  • red onion, chopped
  • walnuts, chopped
  • spinach or lettuce
  • balsamic vinegar


Toss ingredients in balsamic vinegar.