Posts Tagged ‘Recipe’

Give Me a Fruit Bar!

March 25, 2009

I love eating breakfast.  I’ve definitely taken the advice that you should eat breakfast every single morning and if I skip it one day, I usually end up feeling very sluggish.  I tend to be a creature of habit with certain things and my breakfast is one of them.  On weekdays I alternate between plain oatmeal sweetened with honey, greek yogurt sweetened with honey, Cheerios, or waffles, always a piece of fruit on the side.

I wanted to mix up my routine a little bit while sticking to its roots, so I pulled out an old recipe that I snagged from US Weekly probably over a year ago.

I added a few variations to the recipe, as I tend to do . . . I doubled the recipe so I could feed myself, my mom, and my dad.  Instead of strawberries, I cooked up an apple with some honey and cinnamon until it softened and then I added it to the mixture.  I also used agave syrup instead of artifical sweeter (my dad claims he can always taste artifical sweetener in food and will not eat anything if it’s cooked with it, I am also trying to steer clear of artifical sweetners and start using natural sweetners, like honey and agave syrup).  I wanted my bars to be more dry, like granola bars, so I added an extra cup of oats. 

For a little more sweetness, sprinkle cinnamon throughout the mixture.  Also, before you pop them in for the second and final bake, drizzle a little honey and sprinkle some cinnamon overtop.  The bars can be bland if you don’t try to add a little something extra to sweeten them up!

All in all, I thought they turned out great and I am excited to eat them tomorrow morning as an accompaniment to my greek yogurt and sliced apple!

Strawberry-Oat Energy Bars With Yogurt


Serves 2
1 cup strawberries
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup egg whites
3 tsp Splenda
1 cup low-fat plain yogurt


Preheat oven to 350. Combine sliced strawberries, oats, egg whites and 1 teaspoon of Splenda. Coat a shallow baking dish with cooking spray, and pour the strawberry mixture into the dish. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes. Set aside to cool.
Increase oven temperature to 425. Slice into bars, and remove from baking dish. Recoat dish with cooking spray. Place bars back in dish in the oven for 5 minutes until golden brown. Mix remaining sugar into yogurt, and serve as a dipping sauce

Making Whoopie!

March 24, 2009

One of the highlights to visiting my best friend, JC, in Chambersburg, PA is getting breakfast at the Big Oak Cafe.  The food is delicious and almost gourmet for a town where the only places open on a Sunday afternoon is Cracker Barrell, a Chinese restuarant, and K-Mart.

After eating at Big Oak, we usually head right next door to The Butcher Shoppe to get a little shopping done.  Last time we headed there, I let out a little squeal and froze when facing a small display of whoopie pies.  I couldn’t choose between gingerbread flavored whoopie pies or pumpkin ones, so I grabbed both!

Whoopie pies are another sweet treat that really bring me joy.  You can’t find them everywhere, so they have proven to be a surprise and special treat.  Actually, even more difficult than finding a whoopie pie is explaining them.  I have met way too many people who just have no idea about this treat and I have found myself explaining them as being “like Little Debbie oatmeal pies but homemade by the Amish” more than I would like.


The New York Times must have felt that way too because they wrote a whole article on it, which has prompted me to write about.  Seriously folks, next time you’re in Pennsylvania, at a craft show, or anywhere with the Amish, try to grab a whoopie pie, guaranteed it’ll make your day!

Oh yea, and because they must have known that I would read the article, they gave a recipe.  Whoopie!

Whoopie Pies
Adapted from Zingerman’s Bakehouse, Ann Arbor, Mich


Time: 1 hour


1/4 pound (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
1 cup light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa
1 cup buttermilk



3 large egg whites
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 pound butter (2 sticks), at room temperature
3/4 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon sea salt.



1. For the cakes: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a mixing bowl, cream together the butter and brown sugar. Add the egg and vanilla extract and beat until light and creamy. In a separate bowl, whisk together the baking soda, salt, flour and cocoa. Add dry ingredients to butter mixture in three parts, alternating with buttermilk, and combining well after each addition.

2. Using an ice cream scoop or a spoon, scoop out 12 1/4-cup mounds of batter and place about 6 inches apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake until tops are puffed and cakes spring back when touched, 12 to 14 minutes. Remove from oven and cool completely before filling.

3. For the buttercream filling: For best results, follow directions carefully, paying attention to required temperatures. Fill bottom half of a double boiler (or a medium saucepan) with an inch or two of water, and bring to a boil over high heat. In top half of double boiler (or a metal bowl), combine egg whites and sugar. Place over simmering water and whisk just until sugar is dissolved and temperature reaches 180 degrees on an instant-read thermometer.

4. Using a whisk attachment on a heavy-duty mixer, whisk egg whites and sugar on high until they double in volume and become thick and shiny. Continue to whisk until cool. Reduce speed to medium and begin to add butter about 1/2 tablespoon at a time, until all the butter is incorporated. Add vanilla and salt. If mixture looks curdled, continue to whisk until it is smooth. Increase speed to high and whisk for 1 more minute. Use immediately or place in an airtight container and chill for up to 3 days, whisking buttercream again before using.

5. For assembly: Using an ice cream scoop or spoon, place 1/4 cup buttercream on flat side of each of 6 cakes, spreading it to edges. Top filled half with another cake to sandwich the buttercream. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days, or wrap individually and freeze for up to 3 months.

Yield: 6 pies.

Top O’ Your Cabbage

March 17, 2009

I’m somewhat inclined to post a recipe for corned beef and cabbage, but as an Irish-American, I am well aware that corned beef cabbage can either be really really delicious or really really terrible.  I don’t want to advise anything and be the one to drag your meal down.  I don’t roll like that . . .


What I will dig up a recipe for is for something that you can top your corned beef and cabbage with!  It’s much simplier and something I am willing to take responsibility for.

Last year, my friend KW and I trekked through New York, looking for an Irish place that wasn’t insanely packed with drunk people who had been at the parade earlier in the day so we could get our traditional St. Patrick’s Day meal.  It took over an hour and lots of walking, but we ended up somewhere that fit our requirements.

The meal was decent, corned beef was salty and the cabbage was soft but not mushy.  The ultimate highlight for both of us was the Guinness Mustard that was served to top the meal.  I think KW and I could have drank the mustard, it was sooo good. 

So, here’s a recipe for it that I found, hopefully it’s the same and hopefully it brings you some St. Patrick’s Day joy!

6 servings


  • 1/2 cup coarse-grained Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons regular Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons Guinness stout or other stout or porter
  • 1 tablespoon minced shallot
  • 1 teaspoon golden brown sugar


  • Whisk all ingredients in small bowl to blend. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours. DO AHEAD: Can be made 2 days ahead. Keep refrigerated.


Swimming in Risotto

March 12, 2009

When I lived in New York, one of my favorite local places to visit was Brick Cafe.  It was a little french restaurant that helped me to appreciate the pleasure of olive tampanade and risotto.  Seriously, the risotto at Brick Cafe was the best risotto I’ve ever had.  You could never go wrong ordering the dish at that place!

Because of Brick, I now get a hankering for risotto from time to time.  I’ve hesitant to get it from somewhere or make it myself because I know I can never meet the quality and richness of flavor that I would be served at Brick. 

Wednesday night was my weekday date night with Capt. and we decided that we would try a risotto recipe from, one of our favorite cooking websites.  I actually decided to test myself and see if I could make something even comparable to that found at Brick.

The recipe is only for one serving, so we quadrupled it so I could have leftovers for upcoming lunch and dinners. 

The risotto ended up being pretty good.  I love using peas when I cook and blanching is one of my simple pleasures, both of which are involved in this recipe.  It was simple, yet a bit time consumming, but ended up being fulfilling. 

After this dish, we’ve decided that we’ll try our hand at cooking risotto again, but maybe with richer flavors like mushroom.  All in all, it wasn’t spectacular, but it was a great intro to cooking risotto recipe!

And since Capt. likes a little meat with his meals, we cooked up some apple chicken sausage to compliment the meal.  Definitely a good choice.  The sweetness of the apples really went with the sweetness and freshness that went with the peas.

Oh and the peas are green, so it fits into my St. Patrick’s Day posting bonanza!

Risotto with Fresh Peas

about 3/4 cup Basic Chicken Stock (see recipe), or low-sodium canned
1/2 teaspoon olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons diced onion
1/4 cup Arborio rice
1 1/2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
salt to taste
freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons freshly shelled peas

1. Heat the stock in a saucepan and keep hot over low heat.

2. Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a separate medium-sized pot. Add the onion and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until the onion turns translucent.

3. Add the rice to the onion mixture and stir.

4. Turn the heat to low, add about 1/4 cup of the hot stock to the rice mixture, and stir slowly until the stock is absorbed.

5. Continue to add the stock 1/4 cup at a time, stirring slowly, letting the rice absorb the stock before adding more.

6. While the risotto is cooking, blanch the peas in boiling salted water for 30 seconds. Drain.

7. The risotto is cooked when it is creamy on the outside and slightly firm (al dente) in the center. Stir in the Parmesan cheese and half of the peas. Season with salt and pepper to taste. If the risotto is too thick, add a little more stock until it becomes creamy.

8. Divide the risotto into serving dishes and sprinkle with the remaining peas.


Serving Size: about 1/2 cup

“This is Mad Good”

March 4, 2009

That’s what Capt. said about the dinner we made on Saturday night.

I was blog surfing at work the other day, and found Stinkerpants Blog.  Stinkerpants is written by Sara, a graphic designer, who primarily does wedding suites.  Her graphic design work is absolutely adorable and half the pleasure of looking at her blog is seeeing what she comes up with to suit the personality of each couple that she designs for.  She also writes about her life, her two chickens, and her membership to the CSA.  Which brings me to Saturday night’s meal.  I took the recipe straight from Stinkerpants Blog and Sara took the recipe from here.

The outcome?  Well, Capt. and I remarked about how good it was back and forth about 5 or 6 times.  It was mad good!

The recipe advises that you use collard greens, which Capt. isn’t a huge fan of, so instead we used spinach.  I think we could have gotten a touch creative and mixed up a number of greens to add some additional flavor to the meal.  Capt. said that the interesting thing is that you could taste every single ingredient in the dish – the garlic, the onion, the mozzerella, the spinach, the parmesan.  There is no star in the dish, every has the spotlight without over powering the other.  It’s like an ensemble cast where everyone is the lead and everyone gives an Oscar winning performance.  Yum, yum, yum!

I could lay in bed on a rainy day with a stupidly funny movie and be the happiest girl alive.  Plain and simple.

So, here ya go!

Baked Rigatoni with Ricotta and Collard Greens


For a lighter version, omit flour and substitute 1 1/4 cups chicken broth for milk. You can also substitute spinach or kale. Prep: 10 minutes, Cook: 30 minutes, Bake: 15 minutes.


Makes 8 to 10 servings


  • 1  (16-ounce) package rigatoni or penne pasta
  • 1/4  cup  butter
  • 1  medium onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 3  garlic cloves, minced
  • 1  pound  collard greens, washed, drained, and chopped
  • 1/4  cup  all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2  cups  milk
  • 1  cup  shredded mozzarella
  • 1  cup  ricotta cheese
  • 2  teaspoons  sugar
  • 2  teaspoons  salt
  • 1/2  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper
  • 1  teaspoon  red pepper flakes
  • 1/2  cup  grated Parmesan cheese


1. Prepare pasta according to directions. Drain and set aside. Preheat oven to 350°. Lightly grease a 13- x 9-inch baking dish.

2. Heat butter in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat; sauté onion 5 minutes or until just brown. Add garlic, and cook about 1 minute. Reduce heat to medium-low, and add greens; cover and cook 15 to 20 minutes or until greens are tender, stirring occasionally.

3. Sprinkle greens with flour. Cook uncovered, stirring constantly, 1 minute. Gradually add milk, stirring well. Cook 5 minutes, stirring often, until thickened and smooth. Remove from heat; stir in cooked pasta, mozzarella, and next 5 ingredients. Place into prepared dish, and sprinkle evenly with Parmesan.

4. Bake at 350° for 15 to 20 minutes.

Sara Foster & Scott Howell, Cottage Living, JANUARY 2006

A Date Night with Jamie

February 28, 2009

Capt. and I decided to make Friday night a stay-at-home date night and I excitedly decided that I would crack open my new cookbook and make one of his recipes for winter.  The cookbook is based solely on Jamie Oliver’s home garden, and is split up with seasonal recipes.  Although Maryland’s seasons are quite different than the seasons that Jamie experiences in England, some of the items do match up.  As it’s so cold in Maryland right now, nothing is really in season.

The great thing about cooking from Jamie Oliver’s recipes, is that everything is generally healthy.  Jamie has a great passion for healthy eating and spreads the word by being a very vocal advocate against the use of processed foods in school lunches and other school meals.

I decided that we would make a roasted white fish and leek recipe, mainly because I know Capt. prefers white and milder tasting fish (I’ll eat any kind, I love seafood!) and because I’ve never had leeks and wanted to try something new.

Some parts of the recipe gives exact measurements and some did not.  I ended up putting way too my olive oil in the marinade and on the pan, which made the meal as a whole very oily.  I would definitely use less next time and not drizzle any leftover over the the food before sticking it into the oven.  Also, we couldn’t find baby leeks in the grocery store, so we grabbed the smallest leak we could find.  It ended up being not enough and was fairly skimpy.  I would advise getting a decent amount since the leeks do get shrink up a bit as they cook.  If your Capt. has a big appetite, I would roast some potatoes up with the meal too.

Overall, I found the meal to be very tasty, the leeks were delicious, and the fish was nice and moist.

Roasted White Fish and Leeks
Jamie at Home


Serves 4

16 baby leeks washed and trimmed
4x200gm fillets of white fish *
1 large lemon cut into 8 thin wedges
4 sprigs of rosemary
8 rashers of smoked streaky bacon

for the marinade
a couple of sprigs each of rosemary thyme and bay leaves.
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
olive oil
juice of 1/2 a lemon

Preheat the oven to 200.c/400.f/gas6 and place a baking tray in the oven to warm up

To make the marinade bash up the thyme rosemary and bay leaves with the salt in a pestle and mortar until the salt has turned green. Pour in two glugs of olive oil, a pinch of pepper and the lemon juice and give it a stir.
Parboil** the leeks in salted water for about three minutes. Drain in a colander and let them steam dry.

Put the fish, lemon, rosemary sprigs and leeks into a bowl. Pour in the marinade and toss to cover everything.
Place the fish into the preheated tray.

Scoop the lemon rosemary leeks and marinade out of the bowl and place over and around the fish and roast in the oven for approx. 15 -20mins until the fish is just cooked and the bacon is crisp.

Pile up on a plate and serve.

* Capt. and I used Chilean Sea Bass.  If you want to eat seasonally, Baltimore Sun recently had an article about how Rockfish is in season in the winter time.

** For those of you who, like us, don’t know what parboiling is, it’s blanching.  Blanching is a great technique to use when cooking veggies, since it helps to maintain the vegetable’s color and crispness.  Leeks turn a beautiful bright green when cooked.

A Very Late Valentine

February 26, 2009

My friend, JF, LOVES to bake.  As you all know, I hate baking but love sweets, which makes her a very good friend to have.

She once worked to indulge my smore fiaxtion by baking me smore cupcakes, and she frequently has baked goods lying around her apartment.  For the sake of my waistline, I try to avoid her apartment but sometimes you just can’t!

For those of you who are slightly jealous of me having a baker for a friend, you can pretend to be her friend too by visiting her blog.  She baked great Valentine’s Day cupcakes and cookies, of which I didn’t get until this past Friday, which might not make her that great of a friend after all . . .

Here’s the recipe to one of the treats I got to enjoy, you can see the other ones on her blog.  I very much enjoy raspberry – which I am not sure that she knows, but it was a very lucky guess – so these were particularly up my alley.

White Chocolate Raspberry Cookies


Ingredients:12 oz. white chocolate chips
1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
2 eggs
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
seedless raspberry jam
1/2 tsp. shortening1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a cookie sheet. Set aside. In a heavy small saucepan melt 4 ounces of the white chocolate chips over low heat, stirring constantly. Cool.




2. In a large mixing bowl beat butter with an electric mixer about 30 seconds or until softened. Add the sugar, baking soda, and salt. Beat until combined. Beat in eggs and melted white chocolate chips until combined. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Stir in any remaining flour with a wooden spoon. Stir in the 4 more ounces of white chocolate chips.

3. Drop dough from a rounded teaspoon 2 inches apart on the prepared cookie sheet. Bake in preheated oven for 7 to 9 minutes or until cookies are lightly browned around edges. Cool on cookie sheet for 1 minute. Transfer cookies to wire racks. Cool completely.

4. Melt the raspberry jam in a small saucepan over low heat. Spoon about 1/2 teaspoon of jam atop each cookie. In a heavy, small saucepan combine the 3 ounces white baking bar and shortening. Melt over low heat, stirring constantly. Drizzle each cookie with some of the melted mixture. If necessary, refrigerate cookies about 15 minutes or until chocolate mixture is firm.

Makes about 4 dozen cookies.

Eat a Pancake!

February 25, 2009

Many people at my new office are getting excited for Mardi Gras.  There are a lot of Mardi Gras traditions I didn’t know about, like the King Cake (I did NOT win the baby), that are positively delightful.

My favorite new tradition for today was introduced to me by my dear friend, DC, who isn’t even from New Orleans (they’re not the only people who celebrate the days leading up Ash Wednesday).  It’s called Shrove Tuesday, AKA Pancake Tuesday!  My friends and I have interpreted this as being a day where you eat pancakes and drink beer . . . a bit more wholesome than showing your boobies for beads, but just as fun!

I have fond memories of Pancake Tuesday last year.  My friends and I skipped out of work to watch the New York Giants Super Bowl parade and visited a local diner afterwards to indulge.

Much to my surprise, a number of place in the Baltimore area promote today, whether it’s celebrated as Fat Tuesday, Shrove Tuesday, or Pancake Tuesday doesn’t really matter.  So much so, that the Baltimore Sun even wrote an article and published a recipe to go along with the celebration!

Here’s the recipe, enjoy!


Blue Moon Pancakes

(Makes 4 to 6 five-inch pancakes or 12 to 14 silver-dollar pancakes)

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

2 eggs

2 to 3 tablespoons vanilla

1 1/2 cups milk

3 tablespoons melted butter

3 tablespoons sugar

Combine all ingredients and stir until lumps are gone. Ladle onto a hot (350 degrees) griddle coated with vegetable oil or clarified butter.

If you would like to add extra ingredients, such as chocolate chips or berries, sprinkle them on the wet side of the pancake now, while the underside cooks.

Look for bubbles on the wet surface (a sign that the air is cooking out of the pancakes), or use a spatula to peek underneath, making sure the pancake is golden brown. Flip and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes.

Serve with syrup, whipped cream and more berries or chocolate chips.

Courtesy of Sarah Simington, chef/proprietor of the Blue Moon Cafe in Fells Point

PER PANCAKE (BASED ON 6 LARGE PANCAKES): 255 calories, 7 grams protein, 9 grams fat, 5 grams saturated fat, 34 grams carbohydrate, 1 gram fiber, 91 milligrams cholesterol, 232 milligrams sodium

PS – I sooo planned on eating pancakes for dinner tonight, but I ended up playing racquetball instead and was not hungry at all afterwards.  I am making up for it by drinking beer.

PPS – Sorry for the light posting this week.  I’m a bit overwhelmed and disoriented, in a good way, from starting a new job.  I’ll be back in the game next week!

Eat like Barack on President’s Day!

February 16, 2009


Check it Out:
Recipes from 2009 Inaugural Luncheon

Eating with Jamie

February 15, 2009

Cause I got this for Valentine’s Day!


For those of you unlucky gals (and guys) who didn’t get it, here’s a recipe.  I’ve never had a rhubarb before, but I think I need to try it!

rhubarb and custard kinda soufflé


Serves 6


• 400g rhubarb, cut into 2.5cm chunks
• 100g caster sugar, plus 2 tablespoons
• 25g softened butter
• 6 gingersnap biscuits
• 150g readymade custard, plus extra for serving
• 1 large free-range or organic egg yolk, plus 4 egg whites
• 1 teaspoon plain flour
sea salt

This is like a cross between a soufflé and a light pudding. A soufflé is an old-fashioned classic that I always try to avoid making these days, as I made so many of them when I was at college! Like a good omelette, a soufflé is the test of a really good cook – if you don’t get your temperature, speed and stages right you can end up with something as flat as a pancake. But now I’ve come up with a recipe that’s so delicious, with such a beautiful flavour and texture, it doesn’t really matter if it sinks. My favourite bit is getting everyone to make a hole in the top of their hot soufflé and pour in some very cold custard. There’s nothing better.

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4 and put in a baking tray to heat up. Put the rhubarb into a saucepan with the 100g of sugar. Put a lid on the pan and simmer gently for about 10 minutes, until the rhubarb is soft. Put to one side and leave to cool completely.

Get yourself six ramekin dishes and rub their insides with the butter. Put the gingersnap biscuits into a sandwich bag, tie a knot in the top and smash the biscuits with a rolling pin or the bottom of a pan to make quite fine crumbs. Dust the insides of the buttered ramekins with the smashed biscuits, then shake out any excess crumbs and keep them for later. (You can put the dishes into the fridge at this point until you’re ready to put your soufflés together.)

Blob a tablespoon of the cooled stewed rhubarb into each ramekin dish. Mix the rest of the rhubarb with the custard, the egg yolk and the flour. In a large, clean bowl, using an electric whisk, beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt until you have soft peaks. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar and whisk on a high speed until the whites are very stiff – this should take about 3 minutes.

Working gently, fold 2 spoonfuls of the stiff egg whites into the rhubarb mixture. Tip this into the bowl containing the remaining egg whites and fold together very carefully. Divide the mixture between the ramekins and level the tops. Wipe the rims of the dishes clean.

Remove the hot baking tray from the oven and place the ramekins on it. Put back into the preheated oven and bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or until the soufflés are a lovely golden colour and have risen nicely. Serve immediately, sprinkled with your leftover gingersnap crumbs.