Monday, December 20, 2010

Barefoot Bloggers: Easy Cranberry Apple Cake

This cake can only be described in the words of a 12-year old girl at the mall: OMG OMG OMG. I just can't believe how good this is! It's very easy - maybe a few more ingredients than I had thought would be in an easy cake recipe, but Ina talks you through exactly how to add them.

You prepare the fruit first and put it in a bowl with brown sugar, cinnamon, orange zest and orange juice. This is set aside and then the eggs are beaten with an electric mixer and the remaining ingredients get added to the egg mixture. The dough ends up tasting like a sugar cookie dough (oh yes, I tasted it) and the sour cream gives it this great, soft consistency and a tiny hint of tang without messing with the sweet sugary goodness.

Then you dump the fruit in the pie plate (it seemed like a lot of fruit to me, but it worked out perfectly) and the dough is spread on top. While it's baking, the dough sinks and fills in all the gaps around the fruit, and gets a beautiful "crust" made of airy, golden cake on top.

There are two small details that ended up being the major reasons I loved this cake. The first is the brightness that the orange zest and juice gives the cake. It's like a magical cranberry enhancer. Everyone knows that cranberry/orange muffins are delicious, and the combination is amazing in this cake.

The other is the simple tablespoon of granulated sugar that you sprinkle on top of the cake. It just makes all the difference in the world, creating this sweet, invisible sugar crust on the cake.

Of course, I did what I always do and I forgot to put the sugar on and had to add it half way through baking (whoops!) but it still turned out great and was a huge hit. I will make this again and again!

Easy Cranberry Apple Cake 
Ina Garten, How Easy is That?

12 ounces fresh cranberries, rinsed and picked over for stems
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, and diced
½ cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
1 tablespoon grated orange zest (2 oranges)
¼ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
11⁄8 teaspoons ground cinnamon, divided
2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
¼ pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
¼ cup sour cream
1 cup all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon kosher salt

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Combine the cranberries, apple, brown sugar, orange zest, orange
juice, and 1 teaspoon of the cinnamon in a medium bowl. Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment,
beat the eggs on medium-high speed for 2 minutes. With the mixer
on medium, add 1 cup of the granulated sugar, the butter, vanilla,
and sour cream and beat just until combined. On low speed, slowly
add the flour and salt.

Pour the fruit mixture evenly into a 10-inch glass pie plate. Pour the
batter over the fruit, covering it completely. Combine the remaining
1 tablespoon of granulated sugar and 1⁄8 teaspoon of cinnamon and
sprinkle it over the batter. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes, until a toothpick
inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean and the fruit is bubbling around the edges. 

Serve warm or at room temperature.

Barefoot Bloggers: Roasted Summer Vegetables

These got a 7/10 for me. But I think it would only take a few small tweaks. I roasted these vegetables as directed. They smelled amazing, with the fresh thyme and yummy minced garlic, olive oil and salt, how could they not? But they weren't caramelized or "crisp tender" - that elusive state of perfection for veggies. In fact, the zucchini was a little watery. The issue here I think could possibly be my oven not being as hot as it indicates. Or, maybe just bumping the heat up to 400 F would have helped. My initial thought was to just throw the sheet pan in at the same time as the Roasted Lemon Chicken, but I thought it was better not to mess with the temperature the first time I made something, especially something you're meant to be testing, so I roasted these first and then kept them warm in my warming tray, just to keep the chill off them. 

Roasted Summer Vegetables

Makes 6 servings

2 medium zucchinis
1 red bell pepper, preferably Holland
1 yellow or orange bell pepper, preferably Holland
1 fennel bulb
1 small red onion
2 tablespoons good olive oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 sprigs fresh thyme

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2. Trim the ends of the zucchinis and cut them diagonally in 3/4-inch-thick slices (the slices

 will seem large, but they'll shrink while they cook). Cut the peppers lengthwise in 11/2-inch-wide slices, discarding the core. Trim off the fennel stalks and cut the bulb through the core in 1-inch wedges (cutting through the core keeps the pieces intact). Peel the red onion and slice it in 1/4-inch-thick rounds, leaving the slices intact.

3. Place the vegetables in groups on a sheet pan. Drizzle with the olive oil, add the garlic, and toss gently to be sure the vegetables are lightly coated with oil. Spread the vegetables in one layer on 2 sheet pans (if they're crowded, they'll steam rather than roast). Sprinkle with salt and pepper and place the thyme sprigs on top.

4. Roast for 15 minutes. Turn each piece (turn the onions carefully) and put the pans back in the oven for 5 to 10 minutes, until all the vegetables are crisp-tender. Sprinkle with extra salt and serve hot or at room temperature.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Barefoot Bloggers: Lemon Chicken Breasts

It makes total sense to me that scent is our sense most closely tied to memory. In the morning, as I get dressed with my coffee, I'll put on my perfume and the mixture of the fresh scent and the earthy coffee brings up my mom's presence so suddenly, it's like she's in the room. I am instantly transported back to my childhood, watching my mom put her makeup on in the morning, CNN on the TV. Pipe tobacco and old leather is my grandfather. And roast chicken and lemon - that's home.

This dish is more than the sum of its parts. Not that anything's wrong with its parts - chicken, lemon and rosemary. (Oh, rosemary - is there a more intoxicating herb?) It's somehow all best of a roast chicken, quickly assembled and then left to roast and fill your house with a sublime chicken smell. But at the end of just 30-40 minutes, instead of the better part of two hours, there is no frantic gravy making or chicken carving. You're ready to ladle a few pan juices on top and serve.

I cooked the chicken for 40 minutes and then let it rest for 10. My thermometer only read about 160 F when I took it out of the oven, which is why I left it for the additional 10 minutes, instead of taking it out after 30. It was very cooked - maybe just on the edge of being a little too cooked. Next time, regardless of the temperature, I am going to take it out after 30 minutes and allow it to keep cooking as it rests for 10 minutes. I can't imagine how overcooked it would have been had I tried to cook it to 180 degrees as my meat thermometer recommends.

Also, when buying the chicken, I had to have the butcher debone the chicken breasts as I couldn't get them bone-in and skin-on. Now maybe I'll have to actually make my own stock!

I served it with basmati rice, as Ina recommends, and her Roasted Summer Vegetables.

Lemon Chicken Breasts:
  • 1/4 cup good olive oil
  • 3 tbs minced garlic (9 cloves)
  • 1/3 dry white wine
  • 1 tbs grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
  • 2 tbs freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp minced fresh thyme leaves
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 4 boneless chicken breasts, skin on
  • 1 lemon
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Warm the olive oil in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, add the garlic, and cook for just 1 minute but don’t allow the garlic to turn brown. Off the heat, add the white wine, lemon zest, lemon juice, oregano, thyme, and 1 tsp salt and pour into a 9×12 inch baking dish.
  3. Pat the chicken breasts dry and place them skin side up over the sauce. Brush the chicken breasts with olive oil and sprinkle them liberally with salt and pepper. Cut the lemon in 8 wedges and tuck it among the pieces of chicken.
  4. Bake for 30-40 minutes, depending on the size of the chicken breasts, until the chicken is done and the skin is lightly browned. If the chicken isn’t browned enough, put it under the broiler for 2 minutes. Cover the pan tightly with foil and allow to rest for 10 minutes. Sprinkle with salt and serve hot with the pan juices.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Memphis BBQ - yes, please.

You know who knows everything? Hotel bartenders. Which wine should I drink? Where can I plug in my laptop? Where can I get a massive rack of dry rubbed, falling off the bone tender, finger lickin' ribs? These things and more, they know. That's how we found Central Barbecue. It's unassuming. It almost looks like a mistake and you'll pass it and have to do a weird illegal u-turn through another store's parking lot (they must hate that.) But when you walk in the door- you know you're in the right place. The sweet, saucy, vinegary deliciousness washes over you and before you know it you're ordering a dry rubbed rib rack for two with four sides and 1/2 dozen wings (1/2 wet, 1/2 dry). And a chicken sandwich for your non-meat eating coworker. Bless her heart. And then everyone stares at you while you consume in an unladlylike manner and slurp greedily from your souveneir cup of 1/2 lemonade 1/2 iced tea. No, I will never call that an Arnold Palmer. I just won't.

And you and your dirty orange hands will be happy, forever and ever and ever.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

happy birthday to me.

I got this bag for my birthday. And to say I love it just isn't sufficient. It's the doesn't-touch-the-ground-would-throw-myself-in-front-of-a-cab-to-save-it kinda love. Here's what you need to know:

1. It's soft.
2. It has a pleasing amount of pockets and sections.
3. It's the prettiest blue I have ever seen.

4. Rebecca Minkoff is a Tampa local!

It's true the lady at Nordstrom told me.

Tampa rules. xoxoxoxo

They took me back! GLEE! :)

The Barefoot Bloggers have given me one more chance. If I blow it this time I will just die of food blog shame. So I am going to have to get busy since December is quickly whipping by! Luckily, I have made a few recipes from "How Easy is That" so I can save those up and try to stay ahead of the curve. For a party a few weeks ago I made the "Pink Grapefruit Margaritas." They were fantastic. Will share that when it's assigned, but suffice it to say - tequila is just a great ice breaker. If you don't know people that well, have a tray of these icy babies ready to serve as they walk in the door! :)

Anyway, thank you Tara and the BB's. I promise to be good this time. xoxo

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Food Blog Friday: Everyday Chocolate Cake

Today's Food Blog Friday is from my favorite food blog - Smitten Kitchen. And the best part is - it's an adapted recipe from one of my favorite cookbooks, "At Home with Magnolia." This cookbook is written by the owner of Magnolia Bakery, in New York City. Made famous by Sex and the City, Magnolia has people waiting around the block for their cupcakes. My favorite is, of course, the Red Velvet. But today's recipe is a totally different beast.

Everyday Chocolate Cake is a one-pot adaptation of the cake from the Magnolia cookbook. Deb also does a great job of explaining what you need to do if you're using Dutch-process cocoa or regular old Hershey's cocoa powder (That's me!).

It's a really delicious, moist cake and for a chocolate lover like me to say that I actually enjoyed a cake that wasn't smothered in chocolate frosting or erupting with molten chocolate ganache, that's saying something!

Monday, November 8, 2010

How excited am I?

To own this book!
I just love the Barefoot Contessa. I really hope that Barefoot Bloggers lets me back in, but even if they don't - I am still going to cook my way through this  book. It's fabulous! The recipes I am most excited about are the Caesar Swordfish, weeknight bolognese, red velvet cupcakes, spaghetti and meatballs and -most of all - Jeffrey's Chicken. The one Ina cooks for Jeffrey every. single. friday. night. Those two are just the cutest. Yay, Ina!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Pretty lunch!

I got invited out to lunch. And boy am I excited to have a reason not to  put on my beloved, but rapidly wearing out, Lulu Lemon yoga pants!

So in honor of the occasion, I made a polyvore set of my dream work lunch outfit. I don't actually have all these items, but it's the inspiration, ya know? Can't wait!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Dinner Tonight.

Tonight I am going out for my first Beginner Level 3 Salsa class. Yes, I'm very advanced. It only took me approximately 3 months to go from Level 1 to Level 3. And I still have to work on my "following." That basically means I do whatever I have memorized as the next step regardless of what my partner is up to. Yikes!

Anyway, since I am going to be out from 7 - 8, I thought I'd put together a healthy meal to eat at home when I get back. So I am making this fabulous fish dish from Bon Appetit!

It is delicious. Buttery, with a great salty tang from the soy and lime and a delicious kick from the subtle heat of the raw ginger. It is also so. darn. easy. If you aren't a big fish eater, this is a great recipe to start with. Enjoy!

Missing Barefoot and Coq Au Vin

So I am the worst Barefoot Blogger. I got the boot! I got so distracted with the house this summer, I just totally dropped the ball. I am petitioning for reinstatement, but I don't blame them if they want nothing to do with this slacker :)

Anyway, since I've been missing Ina, I thought I'd make her Coq Au Vin recipe from the Barefoot Contessa "Back to Basics" cookbook. If you don't have this book, run to the store. It's so great - and it really does teach you to make very delicious, sophisticated meals with just a few thoughtful and fresh flavors.

I love Coq Au Vin. It was one of my grandfather's favorite dishes, and I remember him storming around the kitchen, dirtying a hundred spoons, bowls and pots trying to get this thing to come together. It was arduous. And the result was delicious. So how did mine turn out?

This picture really doesn't do it justice. It was fabulous. And yes, it's quicker than the original, but it's still a bit of an undertaking. There's browning, sauteeing, oven-braise time, and then you take it off the heat and stir in some flour/butter mash to thicken the sauce. Then you simmer it for 10 minutes, while making mushrooms sauteed in butter. Then you combine it all and devour it. And oh my is it ever worth the effort! Particularly, because Julia Child's recipe would require that I clone myself 5 times. And those clones would probably be like me and drink too much of the wine that's supposed to be in the stew and start eating the raw mushrooms and I'd have no food left.

So just go with the version, okay? You won't regret it.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

What's better than a loaf of homemade bread?

Two loaves of delicious homemade bread! I made these yummy guys using Mark Bittman's Speedy No Knead Bread recipe. I swapped out 1 of the 3 cups of flour for a cup of whole wheat flour just to start playing with making my own whole wheat bread. Then I divided the dough in half when it was done rising, let it sit for the 1/2 hour and baked them each in a 20 in dutch oven. I could have let them brown up for a few more minutes, but I was a little worried about judging doneness by color since the whole wheat flour makes them brown already. I'll let you now how they turned out!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Boston does best.

Some things Boston just does better. This beautiful red lettuce is one!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Remember that meatloaf I told you about?

Isn't it so cool?

I fell into the vortex of my house.

I became obsessed with home improvement. But now I am back to share all my fun experiences with you.

First of all, here's the cutest thing ever:

I bought these drawer pulls to replace the plane pine ones from ikea for my bookshelves. They're amazing! Thanks, Anthro, as usual.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

gray, gray or gray?

Maybe it's all the rain we've been having, but I'm all about gray. Not in mood, but in paint color. I have spent the last two days running all over town trying to find the perfect shade of gray for our bedroom. After many, many (MANY!) swatches and samples and 2 oz jars slathered over our wall, it was time to pick one or be committed to an insane asylum. And to that question I say - Benjamin Moore Paper White OC-55. I always end up going with Benjamin Moore. They just have the most amazing selection. I also tend to gravitate towards the colors in their historical collection. The best thing I did was pick a color that was much lighter than what I would have thought. It practically looks white on the card, but once I got it on my wall, it is a smooth, warm dove gray. Yum.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Sour Cream Coffee Cake

Scraping in just over the wire- the Sour Cream Coffee Cake! It's cooling now for my in-laws arrival, so I will post later when we have had a chance to taste it. Initial thoughts: it looks and smells amazing. My sneaky taste of the batter found it light (tasting - theres nothing light about this baby!) and creamy. The cake seems really moist and airy and has a lot of spring to it. I am glad I buttered and floured the pan well, it looks like it shouldn't be too sticky. I hope.

Friday, June 25, 2010

food blog friday.

One of my favorite food blogs, Pinch My Salt, features a recipe made from a different food blog every Friday. I think this is such a fun idea and am trying it this week. I have a bunch of amazing little golden potatoes that boil up beautifully. I was thinking of making them for dinner tonight, and saving the leftovers for a potato salad for the weekend. Instead of just heading to epicurious, I looked at what is probably my favorite (but how can you choose between your children?) food blogs ever - smitten kitchen. This potato salad recipe caught my eye, and after reading Deb's comments, I'm so glad I didn't just pick it up at epicurious. There is a very involved foil-roasting on a bed of salt plus peeling and standing on your head and reading War and Peace before it's done. Her suggestions made me consider a recipe I otherwise wouldn't have wanted to undertake. My plan is to boil them as usual, and make the potato salad with the dijon vinaigrette and green onion, omitting the shallots and tarragon and maybe including some fresh parsley as the herb if I have any on  hand.

Stay tuned also for a very ambitious meatloaf recipe.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

chicken + vinegar: weird in theory, delicious in reality.

I know, I know - it sounds disgusting. But it isn't. It really, really isn't. This recipe was recommended to me by my british uncle who thinks all manner of odd things are delicious, as the british are known to do. I was skeptical initially, but now I'm in the club and ready to make every other recipe in the cookbook. It's a really incredible little book called Roast Chicken and Other Stories by Simon Hopkinson. Very Alice Waters, it is organized alphabetically by ingredient and just a few choice dishes for each. This dish may sound intimidating, but you are basically braising a cut up chicken with tomatoes, and then deglazing with vinegar and chicken broth. Whisk a little butter in at the end and what you are left with is, in a word, divine. It's savory and chickeny and just the most perfect bit tart. I can't wait to make it again.

Poulet Saute au Vinaigre

4 lb chicken, cut into 8 pieces
salt and pepper
1/2 c. butter
2 tbsp olive oil
6 very ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped*
1 cup best quality red wine vinegar
2 heaped tbsp chopped parsley

Season the pieces of chicken with salt and pepper. Heat 4 tbsp of the butter and the olive oil in a flameproof casserole until just turning nut-brown (I used an enameled dutch oven). Add the chicken and fry gently, turning occasionally, until golden brown all over. Add the chopped tomatoes and carry on frying and setwing until the tomato has lost its moisture and is dark red and sticky. Pour in the vinegar and reduce by simmering until almost disappeared. Add the stock, and simmer again until reduced by half. Remove the chicken to a serving dish and keep warm. Whisk the remaining butter into the sauce to give it a glossy finish. Add 1 tbsp chopped parsley, pour over the chicken and sprinkle with the remaining parsley. Serve with plain boiled potatoes.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Barefoot Contessa's Scalloped Tomatoes

After serving these, I asked what everyone at the table thought of them and was met with total silence. Everyone was too busy scarfing down scalloped tomatoes to answer me. These were a huge hit and I can see why. The tomatoes take on the most amazing flavor when roasted, which really helps a fruit that can be so boring. The toasting step for the breadcrumbs keeps them from falling apart too much in the tomatoes. This is the kind of dish to make when it's winter and all you have around are those pulpy, pale pink orbs misrepresented as tomatoes. The addition of sugar really helps and, while two teaspoons seemed a bit excessive to me, I made myself follow the recipe slavishly the first time. I'm glad I did because it wasn't the least bit too sweet. I served this along side simply grilled steaks. I will definitely be making this again, it would be great alongside salmon or broiled halibut. And to think it doesn't have eight sticks of butter in it!

Barefoot Contessa Scalloped Tomatoes  


  • Good olive oil
  • 2 cups (1/2-inch diced) bread from a French boule, crusts removed
  • 16 plum tomatoes, cut 1/2-inch dice (about 2 1/2 pounds)
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup julienned basil leaves, lightly packed
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large (12 inch) saute pan over medium heat. Add the bread cubes and stir to coat with the oil. Cook over medium to medium-high heat for 5 minutes, stirring often, until the cubes are evenly browned.
Meanwhile, combine the tomatoes, garlic, sugar, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. When the bread cubes are done, add the tomato mixture and continue to cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes. Off the heat, stir in the basil.
Pour the tomato mixture into a shallow (6 to 8 cup) baking dish. Sprinkle evenly with the Parmesan cheese and drizzle with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes until the top is browned and the tomatoes are bubbly. Serve hot or warm.

Friday, June 11, 2010

for stationary lovers

I am obsessed with stationary. I love paper. I love pens. Staples is in my top 10 favorite stores. I like the way paper smells and the way a good pen scratches against the grain, leaving the perfect amount of smudge-free ink. It's an illness and I never want to be cured.

So you can imagine my delight at meeting Muji. Muji is an exquisite design site, with the most amazing pens on earth. They have much, much more as you will see - handkerchiefs of city maps, perfect little speakers made of cardboard, everything a crazy design freak with an office supply fetish could dream of.

But the pens. Oh the pens. My favorites are the 0.38 - i picked them up in green, orange, magenta, light blue and dark blue. I also got two clicky pens in .5 and 0.38 in black. Just for when I'm feeling official.

Lately I haven't felt so official. I've been feeling more lime green.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Barefoot June

The Barefood Bloggers group posted their recipes for June today! I am so excited because I haven't been able to participate yet since I have been traveling so much.

The selections are:

Sour Cream Coffee Cake and Scalloped Tomatoes

I am really excited about these two choices. I think the scalloped tomatoes sound like a really delicious side that takes the heat off the main dish. Just some simply grilled swordfish or steak with the tomatoes sounds like an amazing summer meal. At first I wasn't that excited about the coffee cake, but I absolutely love using sour cream in cooking and baking, so I am sure I will love it. And I've been loving those banana muffins, so maybe this will be something I can add to my baking repertoire for when guests come to stay.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

a simple dessert

I've heard of balsamic and strawberries as a combination before, but I always imagined there was some really fussy reduction and caramelizing to achieve it. Thanks to a simple google search, I discovered this was not the case. You simply hull and halve the strawberries and dust them with a handful of sugar, and a healthy splash of balsamic vinegar (a few tablespoons). Let them sit at room temperature for at least one, but not more than four, hours.

And, oh my, are they amazing. The vinegar ends up just a tangy note that brings out the strawberry-ness of the strawberries. We drizzled the sauce and strawberries over vanilla ice cream. This is the easiest, most elegant dessert.

Balsamic Strawberries
adapted from various internet recipes

16 oz strawberries
1/3 c. sugar
2 Tbs Balsamic vinegar

combine all ingredients in a bowl and toss.
let sit for 1 - 4 hours at room temperature.
serve with vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, or mascarpone cheese.

bon appetit!

dinner tonight

We've been doing a lot of grilling recently so I thought I'd try something a little different tonight, again from "Giada at Home." Bucatini all'a Amatriciana! This one has smoked mozzarella meatballs, but I think I may leave that out. I am going to make the bucatini from scratch, so I may save myself the extra step on the cheese. Also, then we have classic meatballs to use in sandwiches this week! Yum.

I have to say again, this is the best Giada cookbook. I like it better than Everyday Italian, and am sad to say I've never even cooked anything out of Everyday Pasta. I usually find her recipes to be a bit fussy, but this time it seems like she made the effort not just to change things for the sake of adding a twist of her own.

I'll report back a review tomorrow!

Monday, June 7, 2010

the art of simple food

I just ordered this cookbook from amazon. Alice Waters is all about simple food, eating seasonally and locally. I am really into this concept lately, not because I am in any way earthy or an active environmentalist (thought I did exclusively wear birkenstocks for approximately 12 years of my life). When you eat food that is truly in season, particularly produce, it is a completely different experience to what you eat in the off season. Anyone who has purchased a tomato in January and taken home a pale pink pulp blob knows this is true.

I am really excited to try her techniques because I like they idea of learning basic ways to cook food and adapting them myself, versus following a recipe by rote.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Banoonoo Muffins

I make these delicious banana muffins every time my husband has a test. We call them "smart muffins" and so far they have done a great job! The streusel topping is what makes them so special. I love all kinds of banana bread but often find muffins to be a little dry. These are the best I've ever had. I can't remember where I originally found the recipe for these, but luckily I emailed the recipe to my mom and now I can give them to you! Enjoy!

Best Banana Muffins


1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 bananas, mashed
3/4 cup white sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/3 cup butter, melted
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon butter

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Lightly grease 10 muffin cups, or line with muffin papers.

In a large bowl, mix together 1 1/2 cups flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, beat together bananas, sugar, egg and melted butter. Stir the banana mixture into the flour mixture just until moistened. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups.

In a small bowl, mix together brown sugar, 2 tablespoons flour and cinnamon. Cut in 1 tablespoon butter until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. Sprinkle topping over muffins.

Bake in preheated oven for 18 to 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center of a muffin comes out clean.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

strange love

I am loving this cookbook. And I am not a huge giada fan. But I saw it at Costco and was unable to resist once I looked through the recipes. It has both classic Italian and new, giada-ized California recipes. I had it for a week and had already made four recipes out of it. The pasta Ponza was fantastic and the honey balsamic lamb chops as well. The chicken milanese is a fresh, delicious take on plain breaded chicken and the mascarpone in the sauce really steps it up a notch. There was a salmon dish in there that I wasn't as big on, but I did swap for wild salmon, which is just not as good. It's drier and thinner so easier to overcook. Sorry, sustainability.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

RIP, Betty

I will really miss this show. It was so smart and funny and never took itself too seriously. Here's to hoping for Ugly Betty the Movie!

Angry baby.

Sometimes your ears just turn inside out.

So angry. So cute.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Don't wait.

Make these today! I made these for my dad's birthday and they were so delicious - very light tasting (though undoubtedly not light in any way) and not as dense or dry as a lot of the flourless, molten desserts you get in a restaurant. I highly recommend!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

I did it.

I bought the iPad. I couldn't resist. I am sorry. Don't judge me. I am addicted to apple.

I'm coming too.

I just love vacation- even if it's just for a weekend! Have a great one.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Easter Eatin'

you're looking at roast lamb leg, french beans and a dog that is a hair away from being a cartoon. you're welcome.

teeny tinis.

Remember I told you I saw the most adorable martini glasses ever at Joel Robuchon in Las Vegas? Well, I hunted them down like prey. And with 5-7 day standard delivery, they will be mine.

Here's what you should know: they are small. they are perfectly proportioned. they are adorable. I love them. I have a weird emotional attachment to martinis in general.

thank you.

p.s. if you would like them too, click here.
p.p.s. if you would like to come have a martini with me, so be it.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Les Macarones

Meyer Lemon Macarones- courtesy of food52. You will forgive the uneven sizes, I used a Ziplock bag. But rustic is good, non?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Saturday, April 3, 2010

here's a blog I love.

My cousin-in-law (is there such a thing?) posts an awesome blog from Seattle, WA. It's fabulous and it's fair to say, so is she. Check it out!

rue la love it.

Did you see the Mario Batali cookware on Rue La La today? I love this Essentials pot. It's cast iron and every bit as pretty as a Le Creuset or Staub, and this 2-cup version is only $19. And it's called "Persimmon" orange. They have bigger versions as well and they come in a lovely celery green, and a deep red.

 I am also loving these soup pots. That is all.

Easter Yumminess.

Easter, like every holiday, for me is all about food. And not so much about religion. No offense to the big guy upstairs. In fact, I often feel like cooking is a time of meditation and reflection for me. I work a lot of stuff out pounding veal scallopine or kneading dough. And there's something so calming about prepping vegetables, about mise en place.

This Easter we are going to my parents house. My mom and I are cooking leg of lamb, right from the Joy of Cooking. Do you have the Joy of Cooking? It's an absolute bible. There is no recipe too simple for it to teach you. Seriously, Irma Rombauer taught me how to make mashed potatoes. We're going to roas some potatoes along with it, and sautee some green beans. Doesn't that sound so wholesome and Eastery?

Since Easter is all about dessert and not everyone is quite as chocolate focused as I am, I thought I'd make this recipe I found on Fine Cooking's website: Lemon Ice Box Pie. I hope it's as delicious as it looks. I already realize that I made a mistake in not pushing the crust up the sides, but I'm sure it'll turn out tangy and delicious. Besides, I have yet to encounter a problem that Chantilly Cream can't fix.

*Update: after allowing it to cool and re-reading the part about not letting the saran wrap touch the top I used the world's worst saran wrap and it touched the top. Ugh. Oh well, see above comment re: Chantilly Cream.

Friday, April 2, 2010

I've said it before, and I'll say it again.

I LOVE MARK BITTMAN. He just makes everything so (as The Pioneer Woman might say) dadgum easy. I particularly like his method for roasting salmon and chicken. Instead of roasting a whole chicken, he gives a great method of roasting chicken parts - a whole chicken cut up into pieces, or just thighs and drums or whichever pieces you want. Dark and light meat lovers can once again live in harmony. All you do is preheat your oven. Once it's preheated, you put some butter or oil in a roasting pan and throw it in the heated oven. Then you toss the chicken pieces in it and roast it the rest of the way. The heated pan helps you crisp up the skin a bit, and everything cooks really quickly and easily. I put about 20 peeled garlic cloves, three halved lemons and some rosemary sprigs in with mine and it was fantastic. The garlic got so mild and soft and the roasted lemons were almost caramelized. I squeezed the juice over the pieces before I served it.

His salmon recipes are equally delicious. I have not made one thing out of his cookbook that I haven't loved.

Check it out for yourself.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Monday, March 29, 2010

barefoot and blogging

I am obsessed with the Barefoot Contessa, Ina Garten. Her recipes are delicious and simple and she seems like someone who really is the way she seems on TV. Her recipes are so easy to follow and always turn out great. That's why I was excited to hear about this blogging group - Barefoot Bloggers. Everyone is assigned the same recipe from Ina's collection every two weeks, and then they all post about it. It's so much fun to read what people substituted or how different people's opinions can be, and it's a great way to find other cooking blogs. I've emailed the leader and hope to join for the next recipe! I'll let you know how it goes.