Monday, November 17, 2014

Tomato Pesto Swirl Bread

I know this is a sad excuse for a picture, but let that show you how quickly this bread was devoured.
I was enjoying the last slice when I realized I had yet to take a single picture of the fabulous bread. 
Just be aware it's pretty likely some oil from the pesto will leak out of the bread while it's baking.

This is from Alli-n-son, which has so many fabulous dessert recipes and has a really cute design. Check it out!

John Barrowman "Anything Goes"


  • Bread
  • 1-1/4 cups warm water
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3-1/2 cups bread flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon dry yeast
  • Pesto Swirl
  • 1/4 cup sun dried tomato pesto (your favorite basil pesto blended with sun dried tomatoes)
  • 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  1. Place the bread ingredients into your bread machine in the order your bread machine requires. Select the dough cycle.
  2. Once the cycle has completed turn the dough out onto a piece of parchment paper and roll into an 8" x 12" rectangle. Spread pesto over the dough, leaving 1/4" on all sides. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
  3. Starting at the short side roll the dough. Seal the seam and ends. Place the dough seam-side down on the parchment paper.
  4. Let rise for 30-45 minutes or until doubled in size. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
  5. While the bread rises, preheat the oven and a baking stone to 425 degrees.
  6. When the bread has doubled in size slide the parchment paper and bread onto the hot baking stone. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from baking stone and cool on a wire rack.
  7. Slice when completely cooled.

Wilted Chard with Walnut Pesto and a Balsamic Reduction

This recipe is a miracle worker. 
I know. What's miraculous about some greens?

Well, I'll end the suspense. It had my balsamic-hating dad and sister eating balsamic straight up!!

Parsley-walnut pesto is my favorite kind!

This is another one from the fabulous Farm to Fork by Emeril Lagasse.


  • 2 cups packed flat-leaf parsley
  • 3/4 cup chopped toasted walnuts
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1tsp grated lemon zest
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 bunches rainbow chard, ribs removed, leaves rinsed and julienned


Place the parsley, walnuts, Parmesan, and garlic in the bowl of a food processor or blender, and process until finely chopped. With the motor running, slowly add the olive oil in a thin stream through the feed tube and process until it forms a paste. Remove the top and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the lemon juice, zest, 3/4 teaspoon of the salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of the pepper. Transfer the walnut pesto to a bowl and set it aside.

Pour the balsamic vinegar into a small saucepan, and cook over medium-high heat until it is reduced by half, 6 to 7 minutes. Transfer the balsamic reduction to a small bowl  and set it aside.

In a large saute pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. When it is hot, add the chard, the remaining 3/4 teaspoon salt, the remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and 3 tbsp of the walnut pesto. Toss the chard with the pesto to coat and warm through, 2 to 3 minutes.

Transfer teh chard to a serving platter, drizzle with the balsamic reduction, and serve immediately.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Stuffed Figs with Lavender Honey

These looked so beautiful in Farm to Fork. When figs were in season, I dove at the chance to try this amazing recipe.

Did I mention I'd never had a fig before?
So yeah, when I was delicately and carefully piping the stuffing, I had no idea what they would taste like.

I took one bite and loved the filling, hated the fig.
Turns out I'm not a fig-person. 
My family on the other hand... loved every single one.

"Heros" David Bowie


  • 4 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp dried lavender flowers
  • 2 oz creamy blue cheese
  • 1/2 cup mascarpone cheese
  • 12 fresh firm-ripe Black Mission figs, stem ends trimmed


Combine the honey and the 2 tbsp lavender flowers in a small saucepan, and warm over low heat. Remove from the heat and steep the lavender in the honey for at least 10 minutes. Strain the honey into a small bowl and discard the solids.

In a small bowl, combine the blue cheese with the mascarpone and half of the lavender honey. Stir until almost smooth (it is okay if it is slightly chunky.) Place the blue cheese mixture in a pastry bag fitted with a plain tip, and set it aside until ready to serve (Refrigerate the bag briefly if the mixture becomes too soft.)

Using a paring knife, cut downward lengthwise into each fig as if you were preparing to cut he fig in half, but cut only about halfway through the fig. Turn the fig 90 degrees and make a second cut perpendicular to the first in the same manner using your fingers, gently pry open the top portions of the fig to create space for the cheese mixture. Pipe the blue cheese mixture into the figs. Arrange the figs on a serving plate, and garnish them with lavender flowers. Drizzle the figs with the remaining lavender honey, and serve at room temperature. 

Tomato, Zucchini, and Leek Galette with Garlic Goat Cheese

I have a confession. I don't like tomatoes or zucchini. I know. But I loved this galette.
The zucchini and tomatoes are matched perfectly with the leeks and garlic 

"Rather Be" Clean Bandit
Adapted from Farm to Fork


  • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cups thinly sliced well-washed leeks (white part only)
  • 1 pound medium heirloom tomatoes, stem ends trimmed
  • 8 oz zucchini, ends trimmed
  • 5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil 
  • 5 oz goat cheese
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 heads garlic
  • 1/2 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 2 tbsp thinly sliced fresh basil leaves


On a lightly floured surface, roll out the puff pastry dough to the 1/16th inch thickness. Cut out a 12 inch round. anPlace it on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Chill the dough in the freezer for at least 15 minutes or up to an hour. 
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.

Heat the olive oil in a 10 inch saute pan over medium to medium-low heat. Add the leeks, 1/2 tsp salt, and t1/8 tsp white pepper. Cook, stirring as needed, until the leeks have softened, 5 to 7 minutes.Remove the pan from the heat and transfer the leeks to a plate; let them cool until you're ready to assemble the galette.
Slice the tomatoes into 1/4 inch-thick rounds, and arrange them in one even layer on a wire rack set over a baking sheet. Sprinkle with 1/4 tsp salt, and set aside to drain for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile,slice the zucchini to 1/8 inch thick rounds. In a small bowl, mix the zucchini slices with 1 tbsp of the olive oil, 1/4 tsp of salt, and 1/8 tsp of white pepper. Set aside

In a medium-sized bowl, combine the goat cheese, thyme, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon white pepper, and 2 tbsp of extra-virgin olive oil. Mix well with a rubber spatula. Squeeze each head of roasted garlic over the bowl, pressing the soft cloves out of the peel. Mix until the goat cheese is smooth and the mixture is uniform.
Remove the baking sheet from the freezer and spread the goat cheese mixture evenly over the dough, leaving a 1 inch border around the edge. Spread the sautéed leeks evenly over the goat cheese. Blot the tomatoes dry and arrange them in a concentric pattern over the leeks arrange the zucchini slices in a concentric pattern over the tomatoes. Sprinkle the Parmesan evenly over the top. Fold the border o the pastry up and over the edge of the tomatoes. Bake the galette or 20 minutes or until the crust is golden and puffed
Remove the galette from the oven, and sprinkle the fresh basil over the top and drizzle with the remaining 2 tbsp olive oil. Set aside for 15 minutes before slicing and serving.

Fried Okra with Creamy Buttermilk Dip

This breading is so good! If you don't have okra, fry anything in this! 
If you've never had okra, which can be a slimy, seedy, disgusting vegetable, this is the perfect introduction. Just ignore how unhealthy it is and enjoy the flavor with the crunch.

"Could Be Another Change" The Samples
Adapted from Farm to Fork


  • vegetable oil
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 egg 
  • 2 tbsp hot sauce
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour 
  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 tsp granulated garlic
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 2 pounds okra, sliced into 1/2 inch thick rounds (about 4 cups)
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1tbsp chopped fresh chives


Heat the oil in a deep-fryer to 360 degrees Fahrenheit
In a small bowl, whisk the buttermilk, egg and hot sauce to combine. In a second bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal, cayenne, granulated garlic, the 1 tbsp salt, and the black pepper.
Working in batches, dredge the okra first in the buttermilk mixture, allowing excess to drip off, then in the flour mixture. Shake to remove any extra breading.
Fry the okra in batches, in the hot oil, turning as necessary, until lightly golden, about 5 minutes. Transfer the fried okra to paper towels to drain, and sason lightly with salt.
Serve the okra hot, with Creamy Buttermilk Dip (directions follow) on the side

Combine the buttermilk, mayonnaise, sour cream, cayenne, garlic, and chives in a small bowl, and stir to mix well. Add salt to taste Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate until ready to serve (up to 1 day in advance)


 I'd been meaning to make tiramisu for a while now.
 There is something just so elegant about this somewhat simple dessert.
I used the Pioneer Woman's recipe, which isn't the most authentic, but it certainly was delicious!

Ginger Rodgers and Fred Astaire "Let's Call the Whole Thing Off"
(mainly for the skating)
  • 5 whole Egg Yolks
  • 1/4 cup Plus 4 Tablespoons Sugar, Divided
  • 3/4 cups Kahlua
  • 1 cup Whipping (heavy) Cream
  • 1 pound Mascarpone Cheese, Softened (Room Temperature) (or substitute cream cheese or yogurt) 
  • 1-1/2 cup Brewed Espresso Or VERY Strong Coffee
  • 1 Tablespoon Vanilla
  • 1 package (7 Oz.) Ladyfingers
  •  Cocoa Powder, For Dusting


In a saucepan, bring some water to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Find a mixing bowl that will fit over the top of the pan, but not sink all the way in. (Do-it-yourself double boiler!)
Put 5 egg yolks into the mixing bowl. Add ¼ cup sugar and whisk until yolks start to turn pale. Place the mixing bowl on the saucepan with the simmering water. Slowly add 1/2 cup Marsala wine and whisk to combine. Cook over the simmering water, and use a rubber spatula to scrape the pan. Cook until thick. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until cool.
Place mascarpone cheese in a bowl and stir until smooth. In a mixing bowl, combine whipping cream and remaining 4 tablespoons sugar and whip until not quite stiff. To the bowl of whipped cream, add the softened mascarpone cheese and the chilled egg yolk mixture. Fold mixture gently. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours.
Measure 1 ½ cups brewed espresso. Add remaining Marsala and vanilla. Arrange the ladyfingers in a single layer in a 9 x 13 pan. Spoon a small amount of the coffee mixture over each ladyfinger (keep it under 1 tablespoon per cookie and you’ll be fine). Plop 1/3 of the cold cream/mascarpone/zabaglione mixture on top and spread it into a layer. Scatter with raspberries and grate over a thin layer of semi sweet chocolate. Repeat the process two more times.
Cover and refrigerate for a few hours before serving. This allows for more moisture to soften the cookies and the whole mixture to meld together. To serve, spoon out helpings onto individual plates.

Seared Teriaki Salmon

Alright, senior year! It's been a bit hectic, so that's why I haven't posted in over a month. I haven't had time for cooking, much less blogging. But since I have a three day weekend, I'm almost done with my college apps for November 1st, and the cross country season is now over (*sob*), I'm trying to get back into the swing of things.

Also, I went to Moosewood a couple of weekends ago when I went to visit my brother in Ithaca, New York, and I had some of the best salmon I've ever had. (Marinated in coconut milk and topped with cashews and shredded coconut leaving it melt-in-your-mouth tenderness- need I say more?) This salmon now seems a little dull in comparison.

If you haven't had life-changing fish for dinner recently, this salmon is fabulous. And it's ridiculously easy to make.
"Shake It Off" Taylor Swift (Yes, I know, but it's been stuck in my head for a week)


  • salmon
  • teriaki sauce


Heat saute pan on high heat and add 1 tbsp of teriaki sauce. When the sauce begins to boil, place fish, skin side up, onto the pan and sear until the edge is browned. Flip and cook until the fish is cooked through. 

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Whole-Wheat Burger Buns (Vegan)

I made these with burgers made from my meatballs recipe, and I think my family enjoyed the buns even more than they enjoyed the burgers, which if you haven't tried that recipe, is really saying something.

 Adding the sesame and poppy seeds add a little more pizazz to these easy home-made buns.
I adapted the recipe from Holy Cow Vegan's Whole Wheat Burger Buns.

Brett Dennen- "Ain't No Reason"


  • 1½ cups whole-wheat flour
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp vital wheat gluten flour (optional)
  • 1½ tsp active dry yeast
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1½ cups warm water
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil


Mix the sugar, ½ cup warm water and the yeast in a mixing bowl and set aside for about 10 minutes until the mixture starts to froth, indicating the yeast is alive and well.

Sift all the flours, salt, and baking soda into the bowl. Knead on low speed in a stand mixer or by hand for about 3 minutes, trickling in 1 cup of water until you have a dough that's smooth but slightly sticky. If you are leaving out the gluten, knead at least 2 more minutes.

Add the oil and continue to knead until the oil has been absorbed by the dough, about 1 more minute.
Now place in an oiled bowl, turning over once to coat all over with oil, cover with a kitchen towel, and set aside for 2 hours until the dough has risen.

Punch down the dough and divide into 6 ball. Shape them into smooth balls.

Place the buns on a lightly greased and floured baking sheet, at least a couple of inches apart. Flatten the tops slightly with your fingers, and let the buns rise for an hour.

Preheat the oven to 370 degrees. Place the buns in the oven and bake 25 minutes.
Brush the tops with a little oil for a pretty, glossy look. Sprinkle some sesame seeds or poppy seeds on the top, if desired.
Remove to a rack and allow the buns to cool before breaking them off.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Black Bottom Bites

 I chose to make these delicious bites from I'm Dreaming of a Chocolate Christmas
for this month's Leftover's Club exchange (check it out!).
(Yes, I am aware that it is August and Christmas is as far away as it could possibly be)
But these tiny bites looked to good to resist!
And in my chocolate-swayed opinion, they are perfect for all occasions.
The Script - "Man Who Can't Be Moved"
 (A few of my friends went to the Script/One Republic concert near Cincinnati, so I've been listening to their songs all week!)


  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 up plus 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tbsp salt
  • 3/4 cup warm water (100 degrees Fahrenheit)
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp dark rum
  • 1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate mini morsels 
  •  One 8 oz package of cream cheese, softened
  • 3 tbsp granulated sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 large egg yolk 


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Coat 24 nonstick mini muffin cups with the melted butter.

In a sifter combine the flour, sugar, cocoa, and salt. Sift into  a large bowl. Add the water, oil, and rum and stir with a whisk until thoroughly combined (the batter will be slightly lumpy). Add the chocolate morsels, and use a rubber spatula to fold them into the batter.

Place the cream cheese, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a stand electric mixer fitted with a paddle. Mix on low for 1 minute, then beat on medium-high for 2 minutes. Stop and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the egg yolk and beat on medium for 30 seconds, until combined. Remove the bowl from the mixer, and use a rubber spatula to finish mixing the filling until thoroughly combined.

Portion slightly less than 1 level tablespoon of batter into each muffin cup. Now spoon 1 heaping teaspoon of the cream cheese filling on top of the batter, and finally top off with slightly less than 1 level tbsp of batter. Place the muffin tins on the center rack of the oven and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 12 minutes (rotate the tins 180 degrees halfway through the baking time). Remove from the oven and cool at room temperature in the cups for 10 minutes. Invert the cups to release the bites   onto cooling rack, and allow to cool for another 15 minutes. They can be stores in a sealed container for up to 1 week.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Lemon Meltaways

These melt-in-your-mouth delights will disappear faster than you can say "lemon" and they are as easy to make as short bread. I wrapped them up and gave them to my teachers as end of the year gifts. 

"Teenage FBI" Guided by Voices


  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar
  • Finely grated zest of 2 limes
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt


Put butter and 1/3 cup confectioners' sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, and mix on medium speed until pale and fluffy. Add lemon zest and juice and vanilla, and mix until fluffy.

Whisk together flour, cornstarch, and salt in a bowl. Add to butter mixture, and mix on low speed until just combined.

Divide dough in half. Place each half on an 8-by-12-inch sheet of parchment paper. Roll in parchment to form a log 1 1/4 inches in diameter, pressing a ruler along edge of parchment at each turn to narrow log. Refrigerate logs until cold and firm, at least 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove parchment from logs; cut into 1/4-inch-thick rounds. Space rounds 1 inch apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Bake cookies until barely golden, about 13 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through. Transfer cookies to wire racks to cool slightly, 8 to 10 minutes. While still warm, toss cookies with remaining 2/3 cup sugar in a resealable plastic bag. Cookies can be stored in airtight containers at room temperature up to 2 weeks.

No Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars

I made these at the end of the school year for an AP chemistry food day. They were so good my chemistry teacher, who usually doesn't eat too much on food days had two bars! This summer has been incredibly busy, but I'm hoping to seize these last couple of weeks and finally get back to cooking again.

"I am a Rock" Simon and Garfunkel 
Adapted from Our Best Bites


1 1/2 C graham cracker crumbs (or ginger snaps)
1 lb (3 1/2 C) powdered sugar
1 1/2 C creamy peanut butter
1 C (2 sticks) real butter, melted
1 12oz bag chocolate chips (milk, semi-sweet, or dark, you pick!)
2 tsp shortening


In a large mixing bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs, powdered sugar and peanut butter and butter and beat until combined.  Press into a parchment (or waxed paper or foil) lined 9×13 pan.
Place chocolate chips and shortening in a microwave safe bowl and heat in 30 second intervals, stirring after each one, until melted and smooth.  Pour chocolate over peanut butter mixture and spread out evenly.  Place pan in the fridge just until chocolate is set and then cut into bars.  Tip:  If the bars chill until the chocolate is too hard to easily cut, use a sharp knife and score the cuts first, then gently cut through.  Can be stored in the fridge or at room temp.  They will stay firmer if stored in the fridge.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Cucumber-Watermelon Salad

Simple and good. The perfect combination of sweet and tart.
If you're looking for a recipe to help you cool off, you've found it.

The watermelon and lemon juice combined with the cucumber and mint make a perfect flavor. 

"West Coast Friendship" Owl City


1 medium cucumber, peeled and diced
2 cups of watermelon, cubed
2 tbsp. lemon juice
fresh mint leaves 


Combine ingredients.

Watermelon Rind Crisp Sweet Pickles

I have a small confession:
I'd never actually canned anything before, but this recipe looked perfect for our surplus of watermelon. I had to give it a try!

The process was much easier than I expected. 
(Except for scraping the lids out of the boiling water. Cohesive properties were not on my side)
All the spices smelled so good!
I'm trying  to hold off eating them until at least September, but its a struggle.

   "Fever" The Black Keys

Adapted from Emeril Lagasse's Farm to Fork: Cooking Local, Cooking Fresh


6 cups cold water
1/3 cup pickling salt
6 cups peeled watermelon rind (white and light pink part only), cut into 3/4 inch cubes
2 cups ice cubes
4 1/2 cups sugar
2 cups distilled white vinegar
2 cups water
4 cinnamon sticks (3 inches long)
2 bay leaves
1 tbsp mustard seeds
1 tbsp coriander seeds
1 1/2 tsp allspice berries
1/2 teaspoon whole cloves 


In a large bowl, whisk together the cold water and pickling salt. Place the watermelon rind in another large nonreactive bowl, and pour the salt-water mixture over it. Add the ice cubes, transfer to the refrigerator, and let sit for at least 6 hours or over-night.

Drain the watermelon rind and rinse it thoroughly under cold water. Transfer it to a large pot, cover with water, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until fork-tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Do not overcook. Drain and set aside.

Combine all the remaining ingredients in a large pot, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a low simmer and cook for 10 minutes. Then add the drained watermelon rind and cook for about 1 hour, or until the rind is almost completely translucent.

Divide the watermelon rind between two sterilized pint canning jars, and add enough pickling liquid to cover the rind by at least 1/4 inch. Add a cinnamon stick to each jar. There should be at least 1/2 inch headspace. Wipe the rims clean with a damp paper towel and attach the lids and rings. Process the jars in a hot water bath for 10 minutes.

Remove the jars from the hot water bath and let them cool. The jars should seal as they cool. Any jar that does not seal properly should be refrigerated and the pickles consumed within two weeks.

The pickles will keep, stored in a cool dark place, for up to 1 year.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Chocolate-Coconut Macaroons and Chocolate Dipped Apricots

I joined the Leftover's Club last month, and shipped my fist box of leftovers last week. 
I had some trouble settling on what to ship. What wouldn't break up into crumbs if it was shaken too much in the mail? What wouldn't go bad or melt in the oppressive heat? After scouring pages of recipe books and the far reaches of the internet, I finally found these chocolate-coconut macaroons.
They are so easy and so crunchy and chocolatey!

I ate a few too many! (They are really good!) So I supplemented them with chocolate-dipped apricots.
You just dip dried apricots in melted chocolate and sprinkle on the chopped almonds.
These are the delicious jam-filled white chocolate cookies I received from Shashi at Runnin' Srilankan

"Space Cowboy" Steve Miller


  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 2 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon table salt
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract 


Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Put the chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl and heat on high power for 1 minute. Stir and then heat for another minute until completely melted. 

In a large bowl, combine the coconut, sugar, cocoa powder, and salt. Stir to combine.

In a small bowl, thoroughly mix the egg whites and vanilla with a fork. Stir the egg whites into the coconut mixture. Add the melted chocolate chips to the batter, andm ix with a rubber spatula to combine.

Using a small cookie scoop or a spoon, scoop out small rounds of dough - about 1 1/2 tbsp each- onto parchment-lined baking sheet, leaving 1 inch between cookies. Using your fingertips, shape each cookie into a neat little dome. If the batter is too sticky, wash your hands thoroughly and leave them a bit wet.

Bake the cookies for 12 minutes or until they are slightly crisp on the outside but still soft inside. Do not over-bake. Transfer the macaroons to a wire rack and let them cool completely.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Buerre Rouge

My mouth is watering just looking back at the pictures of this sauce.

The richness of the butter and salmon was matched perfectly with the tartness of the vinegar and wine.

Tchaikovsky - Symphony No. 5 in E minor, Opus 64
Adapted from Mark Bittman


2 tablespoons minced shallots
2 cups fruity, not-too-tannic red wine
2 tablespoons balsamic or red wine vinegar
1½ to 2 pounds salmon fillet
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 stick butter, cut into 6 or 8 pieces
Chopped fresh parsley or chervil for garnish.


Combine shallots, wine and vinegar in a small saucepan and turn heat to high. Cook until it is reduced to about ¼ cup, 10 minutes or so.

Meanwhile, put a nonstick skillet over medium heat; no fat is needed in pan. Sprinkle salmon with salt and pepper and place it, skin side up, in skillet. Cook over medium-high heat until nicely browned, about 5 minutes, then turn.

When red wine mixture has reduced, turn heat to very low. Add butter a piece at a time, stirring after each addition until it is incorporated. When all butter has been added, taste and adjust seasoning.

Use a sharp knife to peek inside thickest part of fish to judge doneness. When done to your liking, about 3 to 5 minutes after you turn, remove it to a platter or serving plates. Spoon sauce over fish, garnish if you like, and serve.


We got sumac after a Turkish cooking class, and I've been scouring the far reaches of recipe books and the internet for recipes.

This is great salad recipe if you want to try sumac. For a simpler sumac recipe, try adding sumac and salt to sliced red onion and letting it sit for about an hour. My mother, who usually picks onion out of everything, loved the onions.

 Next to Normal "Superboy and the Invisible Girl"
From The Kitchn


1/2 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup olive oil
2 to 4 cloves garlic, minced
Salt & pepper to taste
2 cups shredded romaine lettuce
1 large or 2 small cucumbers, small dice
2 cups of fresh tomatoes, quartered in bite-size pieces
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1/4 cup chopped mint leaves
1 green pepper, diced
3 scallions, finely sliced
1 teaspoon sumac
2 pieces of pita bread toasted until golden brown, broken into pieces the size of a quarter


In a large bowl, whisk together the first four ingredients. Add everything else and toss well. This keeps very well in the fridge and can be made ahead. Serve as a side salad, a meze plate accompaniment, or as a filling in a pita sandwich with some grilled vegetables and roast chicken or lamb.

Cherry Blossom Cupcakes

While we were in D.C. in the spring, absolutely everything was cherry blossom themed.

Predictably, we came a week before the trees bloomed, but the city was still vibrating with expectation.
We passed cherry blossom smoothies, stopped for tapas at a bar that served cherry blossom sangria, and walked by a bakery serving up cherry blossom cupcakes on the way to Georgetown for a college visit.

You can tell what caught my eye.

(No, we did not wait in line to try the Georgetown Cupcakes. If you want to, order ahead on their website and skip the line!)

 "Big Black Horse and a Cherry Tree" KT  Tunstall

Adapted from Georgetown Cupcakes


For the cupcakes:
1/2 cup fresh cherries, chopped (or frozen and defrosted if fresh not available)
2 1/2 cups flour, sifted
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder, sifted
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 3/4 cups sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
2 1/4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract, plus seeds from 1 vanilla bean
1 1/4 cups whole milk, at room temperature
For the cherry buttercream frosting:
16 tablespoons butter
4 cups confectioner's sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon whole milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup of fresh cherry juice (juice squeezed from cherries; if you use frozen cherries, there should be enough juice once the cherries have thawed)


Line a standard cupcake pan with 12 paper baking cups. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Sift together the dry ingredients on parchment and set aside.

In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, cream together butter and sugar for 3-5 minutes, or until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing slowly after each addition.

Add the vanilla to the milk.

Add a third of the dry ingredients to the bowl, followed by a third of the milk. Mix thoroughly. Repeat. Using a spatula, gently fold in the cherries.

Scoop the batter into the cupcake pan using a standard-size ice cream scoop, and bake for 16-18 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

For the frosting:
Combine the ingredients in a mixer and whip together at high speed until light and airy, approximately 3-5 minutes.
Frost each cupcake with a signature swirl of icing.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Boston Creme Pie Cupcakes

Donuts make me sick. I really don't understand people's obsession with them. Once after a Saturday track practice in junior high, I almost passed out after eating one.

Boston Creme Donuts always drag me back from my hatred, beckoning me with chocolate icing and reassuring that they won't make me ill with the custard filling. I'm such a sucker. 

I've always loved Boston Creme Pie is my favorite type of cake, besides cheesecake..

This cupcake lives up to its two other forms and does not disappoint.
"Let's Call the Whole Thing Off" Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong


For the Pastry Cream:
1⅓ cups heavy cream
3 egg yolks
⅓ cup granulated sugar
Pinch of salt
4 teaspoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 2 pieces
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
For the Cupcakes:
1¾ cups all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1½ teaspoons baking powder
¾ teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened but still cool, cut into 12 pieces
3 eggs
¾ cup whole milk
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
For the Chocolate Glaze:
¾ cup heavy cream
¼ cup light corn syrup
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
½ teaspoon vanilla extract


Make the Pastry Cream: Heat the heavy cream in a medium saucepan over medium heat until simmering, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks, sugar and salt together in a medium bowl. Add the cornstarch and whisk until the mixture is pale yellow and thick, about 15 seconds.

When the cream reaches a full simmer, slowly whisk it into the yolk mixture. Return the mixture to the saucepan and cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until thick and glossy, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the butter and vanilla extract until the butter is completely melted. Transfer the pastry cream to a small bowl and press plastic wrap directly on the surface. Refrigerate until set, at least 2 hours or up to 2 days.

Make the Cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a standard 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners and set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt on low speed. Add the butter one piece at time and mix until the mixture resembles coarse sand. Add the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl after each addition. Add the milk and vanilla extract, increase the speed to medium, and mix until light and fluffy and no lumps remain, about 3 minutes, stopping to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl halfway through.
Fill the muffin cups three-quarters full and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean, 18 to 20 minutes. Let the cupcakes cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.

Make the Glaze: Combine the heavy cream, corn syrup, chocolate and vanilla in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly, until smooth. Set the glaze aside to cool and thicken at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Assemble the Cupcakes: Using a paring knife, cut into the center of the cupcake at a 45-degree angle about ⅛-inch from the edge and cut all the way around. Remove the cone and cut away all but the top ¼ inch, leaving a small disk of cake.
 Fill the inside of each cupcake with pastry cream and top with the disk of cake. Spoon the chocolate glaze over top of each cupcake, covering the top completely. Refrigerate the cupcakes until the glaze is set, about 10 minutes. The cupcakes can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 2 days; bring to room temperature before serving.