Thursday, July 7, 2011

Easy, sassy weeknight dinner.

I feel like a fabulous French woman! I can make easy, elegant meals on a Tuesday just like any Claudette or Yvette. See?

Roasted rack of lamb. Want the recipe? Lamb, salt, pepper. 500F for 10 minutes. 400F for 20. Rest 5-10. Eat. Best lamb ever!

Provencal tomatoes via Ina Garten channeling Julia.

Yum yum yum yum yum yum yum.



Wednesday, July 6, 2011

A treat in the mail!

Last week, I got a fabulous email alerting me that Kate Spade was having a major sale. 
And on top of the sale, was a coupon code.
and on top  of that, was that I already wanted these.
Really, really bad.

But what I didn't know, was that it would be so much fun to open a package from Kate Spade!

Welcome home, little box!
 First there was the adorable gold stripe paper and pretty purple box.

 ...and inside the little white felt pouch were my new earrings!
Sparkly and fun for the summer.

And then Kate included one last little surprise:

such a fun packaging idea!
I thought this was so much fun! 
Usually when you order something online, it comes in a plastic bag. 
 And some balled up brown paper. 
This made it seem like something really special, a little pop of luxury on a boring Wednesday. 

Thanks, Kate!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

"If you're looking for something awesome...

...look no further," is what my husband told me to name this post. Introducing a series of recipes from Cooking Light's awesome new iPad app. The app has a ton of great features, like being able to plan entire menus and seeing how your sides can impact, for example, your sodium intake for the day with colored dots; red means you may want to scale back the sodium or saturated fat, green means you're good to go!

Tonight's meal was Quick Meatloaf with Rosemary-Shallott Mashed Sweet Potatoes and steamed broccoli. I had low expectations on the meatloaf. I like the one my mom taught me to make, which has sausage in it and mozzarella cheese, and bakes for an hour. This meatloaf takes about 35 minutes and it was to-die-for.

Or, as my husband puts it, "Awesome with a million exclamation points!"
He should really be a food critic!

And just because you're cooking light, doesn't mean you can forget about dessert!

Oh, hello there. Who are you?

It's your old friend, apple crisp!

And cool whip. (Say "cool." Now say "whip." "Cool whip!" Love Family Guy.)

Mmmmm. With a million exclamation points.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Grilled Pizza

So lately, I've been obsessed with homemade pizza. It's incredibly easy and delicious. It's a great way to use up odds and ends of vegetables and cheese. That sounds really pragmatic, but I can assure you there's nothing pragmatic about the way homemade pizza tastes! It's smoky and crispy and the closest to one of those wood-burning ovens that famous people have installed in their gardens that you're going to get.

It's also incredibly easy. Like Kraft Mac N Cheese easy. Maybe easier. There are a few things that take it to eleven, though:

Pioneer Woman's Pizza Dough: this is so good. Very easy recipe and really does get better (as she says) if left to rise and hang out in the fridge. I usually replace about a cup of the flour with whole wheat flour. Makes it a little nutty. Like me.

Emile Henry Pizza Stone: you can use this in a grill or the oven, and it really makes a difference. You heat it up with the oven so. It instantly crisps the pizza and cooks the dough from underneath. I always use semolina flour or cornmeal to dust it with - not flour. Flour seems to get gummy and the pizza seems to stick.

Then all you need is a little cheese and some veggies and 8-10 minutes later you have a quick, easy lunch that's way better than delivery. Or diggiorno.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Tuna and Ginger Burgers (Gwyneth Paltrow)

Confession: I bought Gwyneth Paltrow's Cookbook.
Second Confession: I LOVE IT.

I am not going to sit here and tell you how much I either love or hate Paltrow, because, honestly, it's neither. I bought the cookbook because I got the chance to thumb through it at a friend's house and I did so without any judgement or preconceptions. I forgot instantly that it was written by an Oscar winning actress and blogger and mom and rock star wife. I also don't mean that I like the book in spite of her - that's not true either.

I just think it's a great book. It's not built around some kitsch idea like "cook for a day, eat for a month" or "17.43 minute meals!" It's clearly a labor of love, beautifully presented by someone who knows and loves food. It's a lifetime of favorite recipes painstaking curated from family vacations, parties, friends, relatives, holiday traditions and Cape Cod clam shacks.

People mock the book saying she is a name dropper or an elitist snob, but I think, were any of us to sit down and write our book - our collection of recipes from the people and places that have left their indelible wine stains and tomato sauce splatters on us- it might not look much different.

Sure, Paltrow talks about Jamie Oliver giving her a cooking lesson, or having dinner with the Spielbergs and Stella McCartney, or relishes the memory of some exquisite meal in Umbria. But if I replace those examples with the time my grandfather taught me to make coq au vin or the most perfect fish with melt away shoe string potatoes that I will never forget from that teeny restaurant in Normandy, France, I know she is not intending to be ridiculous and showy.

She just loves food. And food people remember everything. We cant help it. Because food isn't really about food. It is about people, laughter, wine, travel, love, family, and comfort. But mostly love.

And, P.S. those tuna burgers? The ones you see right there on a bed of peppery arugula, caramelized shallots and soy-sesame mayonnaise on a toasted wheat bun? Yeah, they knocked my socks off.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Meet my new best friend!

My husband had to buy tools this weekend which I tagged along for under the condition that he then accompany me to the grocery store. Which he did almost willingly! Anyway, bad planning on his part because while he debated over a $18 ball pein hammer purchase, I found this:

Come to my house, please!
This little baby is the Kenmore Elite 21 cu. ft. French-Door Counter-Depth Bottom-Freezer Refrigerator. Phew! That's a mouth-full. The reason this is so thrilling to me, is that my kitchen is a square, and my old fridge stuck out into six precious inches of space. It was also a side-by-side, which means I could fit nothing of any size in the freezer, and I could only see the first six precious inches of shelf space when I opened the fridge. This mean that I threw away four containers of sour cream today and found out that I'm the proud owner of three pounds of unsalted butter (I knew I had already bought some!).

Anyway, we got it 20% off, additional 10% off that and then an additional 5% for opening a Sears card. I know, I know. I hate store cards too. But it was worth it for what we saved on this baby.

Anyway, I absolutely adore my new fridge. All of my food fit into it perfectly with room to spare - especially after I threw away a small fortune in dead herbs and dairy products that I found in the back of the old one.

Speaking of my old one: don't worry, I didn't have it hauled away to the dump, or put it on Craigslist. It will be enjoying a second life at my house, thanks to my husband's ingenuity.

It will soon be: A Kegerator! I hope it looks like this one:

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Seared Tuna with Arugula and Fettucini

I really love Bon Appetit, and have bought both of their large cookbook collections, The Bon Appetit Cookbook and Bon Appetit: Fast Easy Fresh. The Cookbook is more of an anthology of all their best recipes. FEF is a collection of their "Fast, Easy, Fresh" column that appears in every issue of their magazine.

I chose this recipe for Seared Tuna over Fettucini with Green Olives and Arugula because I wanted something really fresh and a bit strong tasting. That sounds weird, but after eating out a lot, I crave food that really tastes like what it is - simply and cleanly. This dish is just that.

I chose to use whole wheat pasta because I truly do love the flavor - rich and a little earthy. The tuna is simply seared with a little lemon zest, salt and pepper. All you have to do is boil the pasta, stir in the bruschetta spread and a little lemon juice and cooking water to smooth out the sauce.

My only tweak with the recipe was to not add additional oil. I cooked the tuna misted with an olive oil spray and a dry cast iron skillet. I made my own bruschetta spread since I couldn't find it in the store. I'm glad I did, because I will be mixing it up all the time. I just used a mix of pitted green olives, sundried tomatoes, capers, lemon juice and oil. The sundried tomatoes came in oil, and I felt that was enough for both the oil in the tapenade, and for the pasta.

Toss the arugula in at the end, plate the pasta and voila! It was delicious and was super satisfying.


Tuesday, April 19, 2011

I heart my office!

I work from home - so I really wanted my office to be a place that I didn't mind spending almost all of my time. And that's exactly what I do - often I even eat lunch at my desk just like the old days when I worked at my company's main office. But I also made it really comfortable and bright, and non-corporate, so often I find myself in here on the weekends, enjoying a DVRed show and a cup of coffee before hitting the real world.

I ended up with an office that I don't just not mind - I absolutely love it. Here it is:

This is my happy place.
My favorite things are: the green shades that I got on sale on Pottery Barn's website - and they magically fit exactly! My painting my husband gave me for the first Christmas we were dating (in the gold frame on the left) and my awesome houndstooth, caned back arm chair that my Nana found in an antique store covered in dust! I love it so much, I'll give it it's own post one day. I also love my cow rug from Ikea and the little needlepoint footstool my husband gave me for Christmas this year - it's a little bit of everything and it's a happy, creative place. And I do all my best thinking and a fair amount of neurotic stressing out in here. It's just my way.

So here's what I didn't like:

1. I'm OCD and I hate paper. I love paper in a feel-that-thick-cardstock-letterpress-makes-me-palpitate way. But I hate piles of it. I hate wasting it. So having a stack of it on my desk makes me go to a dark place.

2. I  love postcards, invitations, etc, but I don't want them in a stack on my desk. I want them displayed adorably. So I did what all super intelligent decorating geniuses with a budget do and I went to Ikea.

3. I do not love wasted space. See that big white area between the bookshelves, behind my desk? No good. There had to be a use for it. There has to or the universe will implode. (Yes, there is a lot wrong with me).

I bought the Spontan magazine rack and the Dignitet and Deka system of curtain rail and clips.

So after some drilling into sheetrock and a limited amount of swearing, here's where we ended up!

No more wasted space!

clutter and cuteness has a place to live!
All is right in the world.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Master Bathroom: Before and After

Thought you'd get a kick out of this. I'll post better pictures next week, but for now:



Saturday afternoon at Tuesday Morning

I have a love-hate when Tuesday Morning stores. They're like a dirty, dusty HomeGoods and you never know when the stuff is going to change. But today I thought I'd share a cute purchase:

I got four of these adorable Bodum Pavina with silicone grip mugs for $9.
They were originally $16 for a set of two. I'm not sure I needed glass mugs to drink coffee out of, but I like them. So there.

Have a fabulous weekend.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Home Improvement: Bathrooms

So, we love love LOVE our house. But the bathrooms are a little outdated. They have amazing tile from the 1960's, so we don't want to rip them out. Also that would cost a million billion dollars. Instead, we are updating them.

We started with the master bathroom, because you gots to look out for numero uno, ya know? I love the tile in the master bathroom. It's a really pretty, sunny key lime color. This is a picture from when the previous owner lived here with her lovely collection of bliss bath products. See how pretty the tile is? It even looks a little sad in this picture - it's really bright and pretty.

Part of me just didn't want to have to try to
find those lightbulbs when they burned out.

To see what that cabinet under the sink looks like - here's a picture from the identical one in our guest bathroom - the Mamie Eisenhower bathroom. That's a nice way of saying that the bathroom is pink.
Mamie Eisenhower says, "this cabinet would look better white."

So it's oak. Oak is not my fave. It's my un-fave. Not always, but for sure in this case. I hates it. It was too orange. The varnish was  bad and scratched. The little drawer pulls were a bit precious for me. It also had this mirror/vanity that is not my scene.

This mirror came down.
Inside were 45 half empty bottles of pink nail polish.

I just wanted to update it and make it look nice. The other thing I did not like was the old crystal ball faucet. No good. So I replaced it with this one:

Much, much better.
Price-Pfister faucet from Lowe's

 Now I feel like I'm washing my face in a pump well from a mountain spring. Like Heidi.

So I sanded. And sanded. And primed twice. And painted twice. And bought adorable matching bronze hardware. And this is what it looks like now!

I'm the prettiest sink in Sinkville!
Also, in case you care - that's a more accurate depiction of the color of the tile. It's creamy and pretty. Love it or else.

So next up, I have to sand and paint the bathroom walls again, since we had to drywall behind that old medicine cabinet, hang the new medicine cabinet, and then you'll get to see the new lighting as well! 

Yay! I love my new bathroom already. 

Monday, April 11, 2011

2 quick things

1. My kitchen torch is here!

2. I'm a huge loser.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Friday, April 8, 2011

Kung Pao Chicken!

Pow! I love Kung Pao Chicken. So does my dad. It's his favorite meal that he gets at P.F.Changs. Mine didn't taste quite like it - it wasn't as hot. So I'm looking into what the sauces are that they include with their meals - I think the chile oil would give it a kick. But it was really easy, and it had that great, syrupy texture that chinese food often has, but with way less sodium and MSG. In fact, it had zero MSG because I'm not down with that.

Also, I'm obsessed with my wok. It was $12. Thanks and bye.


  1. 1 1/3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 4), cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  2. 5 tablespoons soy sauce
  3. 2 tablespoons sherry
  4. 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  5. 2 teaspoons sugar
  6. 2 tablespoons white-wine vinegar or rice vinegar
  7. 2 teaspoons Asian sesame oil
  8. 1/3 cup water
  9. 2 tablespoons cooking oil
  10. 1/2 cup peanuts
  11. 4 scallions, white bulbs and green tops cut separately into 1/2-inch pieces
  12. 1/4 teaspoon dried red-pepper flakes


  1. In a medium bowl, toss the chicken with 1 tablespoon of the soy sauce, 1 tablespoon of the sherry, and the 1 tablespoon cornstarch.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the sugar, vinegar, sesame oil, water, and the remaining 4 tablespoons of soy sauce, 1 tablespoon of sherry, and 2 teaspoons cornstarch.
  3. In a wok or large frying pan, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over moderately high heat. Add the peanuts and stir-fry until light brown, about 30 seconds. Remove from the pan. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Add the white part of the scallions and the red-pepper flakes to the pan and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Add the chicken with its marinade and cook, stirring, until almost done, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the soy-sauce mixture and the scallion tops and simmer until the chicken is just done, about 1 minute longer. Stir in the peanuts.


Variation: Cashew Chicken: Substitute the same amount of cashews for the peanuts.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

last night's dinner: red chicken curry!

Right after college I was hired at an ad agency in Boston. I worked on the new business team with this great girl who became a really close friend of mine. She and her husband were from South Africa and had lived all over the world. For awhile they lived in Singapore, and that's where she fell in love with all kinds of Eastern food. The one we both loved the most was Thai food. We used to go to this hole in the wall place in Symphony and have cheap red wine and stuff ourselves to a warm, happy coma with pad thai, satays and curry.

Before I met her, I was basically all-pad thai, all the time. I was scared of curry because it was red and it was spicy and I was scared of red, spicy things. I have very sensitive taste buds! But I got up the courage to try her curry, and it was spicy, but in the way that spices are spicy. There's definitely a bite, but it wasn't the blow your mouth up, hides the taste spicy that you get from chicken wings.

Last night I made my first attempt at a Chicken curry and it was absolutely delicious. It's from a book called "Fresh Thai," which is full of healthy, fresh thai recipes. It's really easy though.

Basically, you stir fry a little red curry paste (1-2 oz) in a wok. Throw in some thinly sliced chicken breast, and let that fry up for a minute or two. Then you add 3/4 cup coconut milk, 3/4 cup chicken broth and 2 Tbsp of Fish Sauce, a Thai condiment that is a lot like soy sauce. At this point I was supposed to add palm sugar and kaffir lime leaves, but I didn't have those, so I just added a little less white sugar and a few squirts of lime juice. It did the trick. That simmers for about 5 minutes, and you ladle it over rice. It's somewhere between a soup and a stew and it's absolutely delicious.

Do you have a favorite curry recipe?

Monday, April 4, 2011

Publix Greenwise: Obsessed.

Okay, so you know how grocery stores sometimes have recipes that they give out or email you and most of the time they look kind of gross or are just sad attempts to shill a bunch of their products at the same time? I usually walk right by these things and never look twice. Well, Publix Greenwise is a different kind of grocery store. First of all it's more like a Whole Foods or a Fresh Market, with a really gorgeous, eco friendly vibe and lots of international items, a huge wine section and a ton of fresh produce. I loves it.

One of the really cool things they do is focus on cooking as well as just the grocery items. They sell Le Creuset and All Clad cookware, and they have a mini kitchen in the middle of the store, where they cook meals and hand out samples. This isn't like Costco, where the lady is sent there by the company to make you decide you can't live without a 4 gallon vat of corn salsa.

In fact, there are no brands at all. It's just delicious samples and a free recipe to take home. They even have them on their site for you to enjoy from your homes. But I suggest you go to the store, if you can. I enjoy it immensely.

Here's what I had today - and oh my my is this delicious. This will be recreated in our house, very very soon.

Blackened Steak with Horseradish Cream and Butter-Basted Potatoes. 

Sunday, March 6, 2011

My mom's potatoes

Aren't they pretty? My mom makes these all the time and they taste like home. They're easy too. I'll post the recipe for ya a little later.

Monday, February 28, 2011

blog inspiration

Doesn't this look amazing? I love this blog. I found it by mistake when I was looking to see if anyone else is cooking out of Sunday Suppers at Lucques and blogging about it. I found some hits on chowhound, but no where else. I really do love this book and will show you some of the stuff I have made out of it recently. But I have to say - for a mistake, stumble upon blog, I already want to make a bunch of things from this site. Like this delicious pasta frittata. Enjoy!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Fresh Flavor Fast: Flourless Chocolate Cake

When Everyday Food named their new collection "Fresh Flavor Fast," I have to admit I rolled my eyes. It seemed like a kitschy follow up to "Great Food Fast." After the meals I've made out of this cookbook, I can honestly say they have earned the use of the word "Fresh," in their name.

While it may not be the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about freshness, this Flourless Chocolate Cake is the polar opposite of the dense, chewy balls with a constarchy "molten" chocolate filling, that usually bears the mantle in chain restaurants.

Despite nearly a stick of butter and six eggs, this cake tastes unbelievably light.  Though flourless, the whipped egg whites make this a cake that rises with a pretty, papery surface, and falls slightly when you remove the springform pan's outer piece. You serve it right on the bottom of the springform pan, I would not suggest moving it unless you line it with parchment paper before hand. It's really stuck on there, and not stable enough to move without falling apart.

Everyday Food suggests just sprinkling with confectioner's sugar, which gives it a pleasantly fairy-dusted homemade feel, but that old fashioned, attention to detail, cake you never forget "homemade."

I'm a big chocolate person, so when I say this cake is one of the best I've ever had, you'll have to take it as a fact. It's light, but the cocoa powder gives it a deep, bitter, earthy chocolate flavor which contrasts nicely with a sweet whipped cream. Or Cool Whip, if you're my dad. He just loves Cool Whip.

Whatever it's served with, its simple process and just four ingredients means it's going to be made again and again at my house. I hope you will feel the same way.

Everyday Food's Flourless Chocolate Cake
Serves 8
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for pan
  • 1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips (or 8 ounces chopped bittersweet chocolate)
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 6 large egg whites
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • Confectioners' sugar, for dusting


  1. Preheat oven to 275 degrees; with rack in center. Butter a 9-inch springform pan. Place butter and chocolate in a large bowl. Microwave in 30-second increments, stirring each time, until melted; cool slightly. Whisk in yolks.
  2. In another bowl, beat egg whites to soft peaks. Gradually add sugar; beat until stiff and glossy. Whisk 1/4 of whites into chocolate mixture; gently fold mixture into remaining whites.
  3. Pour into prepared pan; smooth top. Bake until cake pulls away from sides of pan and is just set in center, 45 to 50 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack. Serve dusted with confectioners' sugar.

Read more at Flourless Chocolate Cake - Martha Stewart Recipes 

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Fresh Flavor Fast: Chicken Milanese

Tonight I went to hot yoga and weaved my way back to my house after sweating myself stupid for an hour, with vague ideas of some slapdash dinner that I'd have to run to the store to get. Then it would seem like it should come together in twenty minutes and about an hour later my sad husband would be steeping in a pool of low blood sugar self pity.

Instead(!) what did I do? I opened a copy of Fresh Flavor Fast - the second cookbook from Everyday Food. I absolutely love these recipes. They are simple, fresh, minimal ingredients, maximum flavor type recipes. I also find that if you stick to the recommended side dishes and portion sizes, they are pretty healthful.

Tonight, I looked up a recipe for Chicken Milanese to make a grocery list. But as I ran through the list - has this every happened to you? I hope it has - I realize I had every. single. thing. on. it. 

Amazing! A gift from the universe, it was.

The recipe was pretty simple. You toast the breadcrumbs while you pound out the chicken. Then you do a classic flour, egg, breadcrumb coating and bake them in the oven for about 20 minutes. Easy peasy! In the meantime, you make a delicious lemon and olive oil dressing and toss that with arugula and thinly sliced red onion. And, if you're me, rice. Toldja about the portions thing. It was brown rice though, so keep your judgement to yourself please!

Anywho, you just dump the salad right on top of the crispy, beautiful chicken. And if you use whole wheat flour you can be the smuggest Sally in the neighborhood, because you got your whole grains. And everyone know, whole grains make you special.

Courtesy of Martha Stewart's fabulous website.

Chicken Milanese with Arugula Salad

Serves 4

1 1/4 cups plain dried breadcrumbs
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
Coarse salt and ground pepper
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 6 ounces each)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, plus lemon wedges, for serving
5 ounces baby arugula
1 small red onion, thinly sliced


Preheat oven to 425 degrees. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss breadcrumbs and oil until well combined; spread on sheet. Cook, tossing once, until golden brown, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl. Place flour and eggs in separate bowls; season with salt and pepper. Place a rack on another rimmed baking sheet.
One at a time, place chicken breasts between two large pieces of plastic wrap. Using a meat mallet or bottom of a small heavy pan, pound until 1/2 inch thick. Coat chicken on both sides with flour (shaking off excess), then dip in eggs (allowing excess to drip off); dredge in breadcrumbs, pressing firmly to adhere.
Bake chicken on rack, without turning, until opaque throughout, 10 to 15 minutes.
In a bowl, whisk together remaining 2 tablespoons oil and lemon juice; season with salt and pepper. Add arugula and onion; toss. Top chicken with salad; serve with lemon wedges on the side.

Monday, January 17, 2011

There's just something about hotels.

It may have something to do with chocolate accompanied by an adorable quote. It's not quite home- in fact, it's one human and a cavalier short- but it sure sweetens the deal.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

is it just me?

or does it seem like spaghetti and meatballs are everywhere? What is it about spaghetti and meatballs that is so comforting and delicous?

They are all over the place, from the cover of Food Network Magazine (which I had to pick up after reading The Mom Chef's awesome reviews of some of the light family dinner dishes) to Food and Wine's new collection "Our Best New Classics" (more on this awesome collection shortly):

And if you're feeling really healthy, you could try Gina from Skinnytaste's Skinny Italian Spinach Meatballs recipe:

But the one that has really caught my eye is Molly Wizenberg's recipe from the October 2010 Bon Appetit Magazine. She is such a good writer, just reading the recipe makes you feel like you're already curled up with a cozy bowl of spaghetti, your house filled to the brim with that delicious tomato sauce smell.

Yum. what else is there to say?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

I'm a closet knitter.

It's true. I'm one step away from being a creepy old lady with socks that have cats on them.
But I'm trying to be a cool knitter. It calms my nerves and makes me feel like I'm still accomplishing something when I watch TV. Because I'm OCD and high maintenance and I can't just sit and watch TV, that would be lazy. You follow?

After many a scarf, I decided to try something a little more complicated and knitted this baby cardigan and booties for my beautiful friend Dana's new baby. We didn't know if it would be a girl or a boy, so now the lovely little Alexandra is the proud owner of a totally green and gender neutral wardrobe! Sorry, Alex. It means you'll be a cool girl who wears Chuck Taylors, I think.

Here's some details -  aren't the buttons to die for?


New Year, New Tampa Food Blog

So I have a bunch of new year's resolutions - get more exercise, be a nicer person, blah blah blah. But my real resolution is to start a blog about the restaurants in Tampa Bay. There are a few food blogs that I have been following down here, but it's just not the way it was in Boston, where there are more food blogs than you could shake a kimchi martini at.

So here it is, the very first post at Tampa Bites. (

Now I have to go out to dinner so I can actually write about a restaurant!

I have such a hard life.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Fun with Cast Iron Skillets: German Pancake Edition

Our friends came to visit and I felt compelled to make breakfast, my most loathed meal. As I slowly woke up at 9:45, my still partially unconscious brain summoned the mouthwatering image of a German pancake from the cast iron skillet article in the May 2006 Real Simple. Not because I have a photographic memory- I really, really don't- but because I make the bacon wrapped pork tenderloin from the article at least ten times a year.

It was so easy - basically just whisking a simple crepe batter while the butter melts in the cast iron skillet in the preheated oven. The batter and is poured into the pan and returned to the oven to bake for about 15 minutes until "puffed and golden." (Only in the food world is "puffed" a lovely way to be described.)

And that's really it. Once you take the lovely golden puff out of the oven, you just top it with whatever you see fit (traditionally, lemon juice and confectioner's sugar) and if you have more than four guests (using a 12-inch skillet),  you could easily have another batch of batter ready to go.

It was absolutely delicious. The batter was light and very much like a french crepe, which makes me think you could go savory with the recipe as well for a light lunch. The endless possibilities for variations is my favorite aspect of this recipe. This time, I used lemon juice and about 2 Tbs of raspberry rhubarb jam before dusting the whole surface with confectioner's sugar. But Nutella would be amazing. Nutella and raspberry jam? Lemon curd! Fig jam and Stilton cheese? Be still my heart.

Try it, you'll live for it.


  • large eggs
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup milk, preferably whole
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (optional)
  • 1/2 cup fruit jam (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar


  1. Heat oven to 400° F. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs to combine. Add the flour and whisk until smooth. Add the milk, salt, and vanilla and mix until incorporated; set aside.
  2. Add the butter to a large cast-iron skillet and transfer to oven until the butter melts. Remove from oven and quickly pour the batter into the hot skillet. Return to oven and bake until the pancake is puffed and golden, about 15 minutes.
  3. Drizzle the lemon juice (if using) over the pancake. Spread the jam (if using) evenly over the top. Sprinkle with the confectioners' sugar.