Saturday, July 24, 2010

Remember Valentine's Day? The pictures were finally uploaded!

If you recall, Valentine's Day 2010 consisted of crostini appetizers, stuffed peppers and rack of lamb. See February 17th. But until now, there has been no photographic evidence.

This makes me want to make those stuffed peppers again... they were sooo delicious!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

A taste from the "Joy of Cooking"

One of my good friends is a chocolate fiend and we thought this would satisfy her craving because of the 4 ounces of chocolate that goes into it (about 1 Hershey's chocolate bar). However, the resulting taste was more like a coffee cake than a birthday cake. I don't recommend shaving the chocolate by hand with a cheese grater - it was very messy!! But Wiki Answers says the best methods are with a potato peeler or a melon baller:

Vegetable or Potato Peeler - Hold the chocolate with a paper towel and pass the vegetable peeler over the narrowest side of the chocolate block. The chocolate will curl up like wood shavings.

Melon Ball Scoop - Position the bar of chocolate on a parchment paper covered pan and hold it down with a paper towel. Scrape the melon ball scoop across the surface of the chocolate. You will get curved shavings.


A tempting tube cake with a rather heavy crumb. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Have all ingredients about 70 degrees. Sift before measuring:
2 1/2 cups cake flour
Resift with:
1 1/2 teaspoons double-acting baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Cream until soft:
1/2 cup butter
Add gradually and cream until light:
1 1/2 cups sugar
Beat in one at a time:
4 eggs
Sitr in:
4 oz grated sweet chocolate
1/2 cup very finely shaved citron, candied orange or lemon peel
Stir the flour mixture into the butter mixture in about 3 parts, alternating with:
7/8 cup milk
Bake for 60 minutes or until cooked through. Allow to cool and sprinkle with powdered sugar.

I'm super excited to nibble on this cake with my tea - nothing better for an "Old World" Cake.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Sea Scallops

While acting as a chef's assistant yesterday, I learned a delicious recipe for scallops. My only concern is the fat and saturated fat content, but using half or two thirds the amount of oil in the sauce might help. I keep meaning to experiment with proportions in pesto sauces... Maybe this is my chance.

12 large sea scallops (about 1 1/4 lbs)
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh basil
1/2 cup plus 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, finely minced
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
Basil leaves, garnish

1. Remove and discard the small side muscle from each scallop. Rinse scallop with cold water and pat dry with paper towels, set aside.

2. For sauce, in a blender, combine basil, 1/2 cup oil, garlic and salt and pepper to taste. Blend until smooth. Set aside.

3. In a large nonstick skillet, heat butter and remaining 1 Tbsp oil over high heat. Season scallops with salt and pepper to taste, and add to skillet. Cook 2 minutes per side or until golden crust forms and scallops are opaque in the center.

4. To serve, place 3 scallops on each of 4 plates, drizzle with sauce, top with basil leaves.

Serves 4.

Nutrition: 367 calories, 3 g carbohydrate, 19 g protein, 0 g fiber, 32 g fat, 6 g saturated fat, 45 mg cholesterol, 180 mg sodium

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Sometimes food scarcity has to occur before you are willing to try new things. Looking at my empty refrigerator today, I realized I would have to look in the pantry for my lunch. I found lots of rice, pasta, beans and lentils. The colorful red lentils and split peas caught my eye, but the red lentils seemed more exotic and appetizing. I wasn't disappointed. The cumin, garlic, ginger and black pepper provided a ton of flavor and I still have to wait for my rice to finish cooking, so I can try them together!

Goya's Red Lentils and Rice

1 lb Goya dry Red Lentils
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cumin
4 cups water
1 Chicken/Vegetable Bouillion Cube
2 Tbsp fresh chopped cilantri
Salt and Pepper, to taste

1. Sort and wash lentils; set aside
2. Heat oil in a large saucepan. Add onion and garlic. Cook until tender.
3. Stir in ginger, and cumin. Cook and stir 1 minute.
4. Add remaining ingrendients and lentils. Bring to a boil.
5. Reduce heat, cover and simmer 20 minutes or until lentils are tender. Add more hot water if necessary.
6. Serve over cooked white rice.

As always, I find it impossible to strictly follow a recipe. I had no white rice, so I made brown basmati rice. The chicken bouillion cube did not dissolve in the water, so in the future I would use 2 cups broth and 2 cups water instead. Otherwise, I am definitely going to try this one again as it requires very few fresh ingredients and takes almost no time.

Flavor of the Month: Latin American

After taking Spanish language classes for eight years, I have tried my hand at quite a few basic latin american recipes. In high school, the French students got to go to Quebec, and the Spanish students got to spend a day eating guacamole, empanadas and flan. So of course, when I saw a Latin Americna cookbook in Barnes & Noble for only $6.98, I was excited to try it. Last night, my boyfriend was craving something sweet and I obliged with a recipe for Peanut Butter Cinnamon Cookies (Galletas de Mani con Canela). I picked them for their simplicity - ingredients included flour, peanut butter, butter, sugar, cinnamon, egg and salt. Unfortunately, the flavor was simple too. They tasted like peanut butter and flour. I'm going to give "The Latin American Kitchen" another chance, but I won't be trying any of the other sweets anytime soon. Don't they just look bland and boring?

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Three Tastes of Chicago

After spending an amazing week in Chicago, my only regret was that I didn't cook as much as I wanted to. Between Giordano's Pizza and Taste of Chicago, there were plenty of opportunities to indulge. I did make one meal for my hostess, but mostly because I didn't want her to eat popcorn for dinner again!! With two jobs, she hardly ever finds the time to do more than microwave dinner. In order to speed up the process, I cut up all the vegetables in the morning before going to the beach. Around five, I came back and found all the pots and pans I would need, checked my ingredients and made a last minute run to Panera for a french baguette. Here's how it went down:

Shopping List:

-Box of Pasta

-1/2 cup snow peas

-1 carrot, shredded

-1/2 onion, diced

-1 bell pepper, diced

-Newman's Own lite Italian Dressing

-Olive oil

-1 clove garlic

-1 french baguette

-Aluminum foil

-Shredded parmesan cheese

Morning Prep:

Shred carrots (I used an apple peeler), chop onions and peppers, pull off ends of snow peas.


1. Buy fresh french bread.

2. Boil pasta water. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

3. Chop garlic and allow to soak in shallow bowl of olive oil.

4. Pour 2 Tbsp olive oil in the skillet and begin to saute chopped garlic and then onions, carrots and peppers.

5. Cut 1" slits in french bread and spoon in garlic-soaked olive oil.

6. Wrap bread in aluminum oil and put in the oven.

7. Throw snow peas into the skillet and cover with a thin layer of dressing, let simmer.

8. Until the pasta cooks, cover the veggies and leave them on a low heat.

9. Strain the pasta. I sandwiched it between two layers of veggies to increase the veggie to carb ratio. Garnish with parmesan cheese.

10. Pull out the bread from the oven and serve with the pasta.

Definitely my favorite version of homemade Pasta Primavera I have made... Although nothing can ever come close to the Pasta Primavera I ate at a restaurant overlooking Niagara Falls with my family, which is my gold standard. I'll keep trying any ways!

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