Sep 30, 2010


naan 1

Naan is essentially the Indian version of Pita bread – but actually even simpler to make since in this recipe you just cook it on the stovetop and not the oven.   I can tell why people use this to make pizza on – since that is sort of what this reminded me of.   I think next time I make these I’ll try a garlic version I’ve seen to give it some great garlic flavor.   

Tomorrow I’ll share what I served this with – my first attempt at Indian food!! :)  Enjoy!

naan 2


  • 1/2 cup warm water (110 degrees F)
  • 2 tsp. active dry yeast
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1/3 cup fat free plain yogurt
  • 1 large egg
  • olive oil, for cooking


1. In a large bowl, stir together the water, yeast and sugar and let stand for 5 minutes, until foamy.

2. Stir in the flour, salt, oil, yogurt and egg and stir, then knead until you have a soft, pliable dough.  Cover with a tea towel and let rise until doubled in size; about an hour.

3. Divide the dough into 6-8 pieces and on a lightly floured surface, roll out each piece into a thin circle or oval.

4. Cook each naan in a hot skillet brushed lightly with oil until blistered and cooked, flipping as necessary.

Makes about 6- 8 naan, depending on the size you roll out.

Source: The Novice Chef blog

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Sep 29, 2010

Oreo Cream cheese swirl brownies

After I made the incredible Oreo cupcakes – I still had some left over cream cheese and Oreos – so when I checked out this recipe and it called for exactly the amount of ingredients I had on had – I took it as a sign that I had to make these!   I am sure glad I did – they were Oreo cookie deliciousness with a rich fudgy brownie and the creamy cheese swirl. 
Yum!  The perfect bite!


  • 8 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped Oreo cookies
  • 6 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract


1. Preheat the oven to 350˚ F.  Line an 8×8″ baking pan with aluminum foil and spray lightly with cooking spray.

2. In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the butter and sugar.  Bring to a boil, whisking frequently.  Boil for 1 minute, then remove from the heat and set aside to cool slightly.

3. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder and salt; whisk together to combine. 

4. Add the eggs to the pan with the butter-sugar mixture and whisk until well blended.  Whisk in the milk. 

5. Transfer the wet ingredients to the bowl with the dry ingredients and mix just until incorporated.  Fold in the Oreo cookie pieces.  Spread the batter into the prepared pan.

6. To make the cream cheese mixture, combine the cream cheese, confectioners’ sugar and vanilla extract in the bowl of an electric mixer.  Beat on medium-high speed until well-blended and smooth.  

7. Drop the cream cheese mixture over the brownie batter in dollops.  Use the blade of a knife to gently swirl the cream cheese mixture together with the brownie batter, creating a marble effect.

8. Bake for about 22-24 minutes.  Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool completely before slicing and serving. 

Source: Annie’s Eats

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Sep 28, 2010

Herb roasted Turkey

I made this to go with the vegetable tian – the favors were the perfect compliment to that dish.   I adapted this recipe to use boneless turkey tenderloins – so much easier than dealing with bones!   And it cooks much quicker – which is always better too!  Even though I love summer – and all of the fresh produce – this dish is the start of my slow, gradual move into fall.   I can’t complain though – I love pears, apples, grapes and pumpkin :)


  • 1 lb. boneless turkey breast tenderloins
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp. dry mustard
  • 1/2 Tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary leaves
  • 1/2 Tbsp. chopped fresh sage leaves
  • 1/2 tsp. chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine or vermouth


1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

2. In a small bowl, combine the garlic, mustard, herbs, salt, pepper, olive oil, and lemon juice to make a paste.

3. Coat the turkey evenly with the spice mixture.

4. Pour the wine into the bottom a the roasting pan.

5. Roast the turkey for 15-30 minutes, until the skin is golden brown and an instant-read thermometer registers 165 degrees F when inserted into the thickest part of the meat.

Source: adapted from Ina Garten – Food Network

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Sep 27, 2010

Mint Chip Ice Cream

When I planted my herb garden this year – I decided to add in chocolate mint with the sole purpose of making real mint chocolate chip ice cream.  I knew that mint tends to take over a garden so I purposefully kept it contained – although it still spread all over the garden.  Well, when I thought I had enough mint to make this ice cream I harvested as much as I could – and realized it was only half of the amount called for in this recipe.  Well, luck must have been on my side since this amount turned out to be perfect and definitely minty enough. 
I loved the taste of real fresh mint in this ice cream – I’ve never tasted anything like this before – you can really taste the earthy-ness of the mint.  It’s really hard to describe – but what I do know is that my (mint loving) husband really approved of this ice cream.   I can’t wait to make this again next year! 


  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 cups packed (80 gr) fresh mint leaves (I only used a little over 40 grams)
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 5 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped


1. In a medium saucepan, warm the milk, sugar, 1 cup heavy cream, salt, and mint.

2. Once the mixture is hot and steaming, remove from heat, cover, and let stand for an hour to infuse the mint flavor.

3. Remove the mint with a strainer, then press down with a spatula firmly to extract as much mint flavor and color as possible.  Once the flavor is squeezed out, discard the mint.

4. Pour the remaining heavy cream into a large bowl and set the strainer over the top.

5. Rewarm the infused milk.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, then slowly pour some of the warm mint mixture into the yolks, whisking constantly, then scrape the warmed yolks back into the saucepan.

6. Cook the custard, stirring constantly with a heatproof spatula, until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula. If using an instant read thermometer, it should read around 170º F.

7. Immediately strain the mixture into the cream, then stir the mixture over an ice bath until cool.

8. Refrigerate the mixture thoroughly, preferably overnight, then freeze it in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

9. While the mixture is freezing, melt the chocolate in a small bowl over a pot of simmering water, or in a microwave oven on low power, stirring until smooth. Place a storage container in the freezer.

10. When the ice cream in the machine is ready, scribble some of the chocolate into the container, then add a layer of the just-churned ice cream to the container. Scribble melted chocolate over the top of the ice cream, then quickly stir it in, breaking up the chocolate into irregular pieces. Continue layering the ice cream, scribbling more chocolate and stirring as you go.  When finished, cover and freeze until firm.

Source: David Lebovitz

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Sep 24, 2010

Peach Shortbread bars

If you have any late summer peaches left – you must make this dessert.   They are the perfect taste – the nutty brown butter, sweet peach layer and the crumbly crust.  They are just delectable ~ I enjoyed every last bite!  They will definitely be on my baking list again next summer.  Enjoy!


  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 1/2 cups minus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
  • dash freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 peach, peeled, pitted and thinly sliced (between 1/8 and 1/4-inch thick)


1. Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. It will melt, then foam, then turn clear golden and finally start to turn brown and smell nutty. Stir frequently, scraping up any bits from the bottom as you do. Keep your eyes on it; it burns very quickly after it browns and the very second that you turn around to do something else. Set it in the freezer until solid (about 30 minutes).

2. Preheat the oven to 375° F. Butter a 8x8 inch pan, or spray it with a nonstick spray.

3. In a medium bowl, stir together sugar, baking powder, flour, salt and spices with a whisk.

4.  Use a pastry blender blend the solidified brown butter and egg into the flour mixture. It will be crumbly. 

5. Pat 3/4 of the crumbs into the bottom of the prepared pan, pressing firmly. Tile peach slices over crumb base in a single layer. Scatter remaining crumbs evenly over peaches and bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes, until top is slightly brown and you can see a little color around the edges. Cool completely in pan before cutting into squares.

Source: Smitten Kitchen

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Sep 23, 2010

Herbed Dinner Rolls

These are a really fun and easy homemade bread recipe – especially if you are new to baking your own bread.  Basically you mix the dough – let rise and then scoop out the dough – doesn’t get any easier than that!   The main reason that I made these rolls were to use up some of my fresh herbs from my garden – these rolls are jam packed with fresh herb taste.   The addition of the parsley leaf on top makes for an even prettier presentation.   Enjoy!

Ingredients (makes 18 rolls)

  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 4 1/2 tsp. rapid rise yeast
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 cup warm milk (110˚ F)
  • 8 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
  • 4 cups bread flour
  • ½ cup mixed chopped fresh herbs (parsley, rosemary, chives, thyme, sage, basil, dill, etc.)
  • 1 egg, beaten with 1 Tbsp. milk
  • Whole parsley leaves (for topping)


1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the eggs and salt on medium-high speed until pale yellow and fluffy, about 5 minutes. 

2. Mix in the yeast, sugar, milk, melted butter and flour.  Stir until a dough forms. 

3. Beat in the chopped fresh herbs until incorporated.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 2 hours.

4. Generously butter or spray with baking spray 18 muffin cups.  Punch the dough down.  Scoop the batter, dividing it evenly between the prepared muffin cups.  Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise about 45 minutes more, until slightly puffed.

5. Preheat the oven to 350˚ F.  Uncover the rolls and brush the tops lightly with the beaten egg mixture.  Gently press a fresh herb leaf into the top of each roll so that it adheres completely. 

6. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 22-25 minutes.  Let cool in the pan a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack.  Let cool before serving.

Source: Annie’s Eats who adapted from Williams Sonoma

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Sep 22, 2010

Vegetable Tian

Aren’t fresh tomatoes off the vine just the best – I love eating them freshly picked with just a sprinkle of salt.  This is a really fun dish that has a beautiful presentation.  It combines fresh tomatoes with zucchini and potatoes – everything is roasted in the oven until tender.  The potatoes are the limiting factor in this dish – since they take the longest.   But the tomatoes really steal the show here – they are so juicy and flavorful when roasted.  Yum!
before roasting:
after roasting: 


  • 1-2 Tbsp. Olive oil
  • 1 yellow onions, cut in half and sliced
  • 1 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 lb. medium round potatoes, unpeeled
  • 1/2 lb. zucchini
  • 3/4 lb. (1-2) medium tomatoes
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh thyme leaves, plus extra sprigs
  • 1 oz. Parmesan cheese, grated


1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Spray a 2 qt. baking dish with olive oil spray. 

2. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a sauté pan, and cook the onions over medium heat until translucent, about 8-10 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook for another minute.  Spread the onion mixture on the bottom of the baking dish.

3. Slice the potatoes, zucchini, and tomatoes in 1/4-inch thick slices.  Layer them alternately in the dish on top of the onions, fitting them tightly, making only one layer. 

4. Sprinkle with the salt, pepper, thyme leaves, and thyme sprigs.  Drizzle with 1 more tablespoon of olive oil, if desired. 

5. Cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake for 35-40 minutes, until the potatoes are tender.  Uncover the dish, remove the thyme sprigs, sprinkle the grated cheese on top , and bake for 30 minutes more, or until browned.

Source: Annie’s Eats originally from Barefoot In Paris by Ina Garten

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Sep 21, 2010

Baked pasta with sundried tomatoes and spinach

This recipe is from a recent issue of Real Simple magazine – they were promoting recipes that you could make in advance and freeze so that you could swap dinners with other people.  I’m obviously not part of a recipe swap – but I made a smaller portion of this recipe and froze half of the recipe for later.  Although – I do prefer to make dinner fresh each night – there are times where an already prepared straight from the freezer meal is needed.  So if you are looking for something like that – this recipe was just as good when we ate it out of the freezer.   


  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/3 cup oil packed sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 28-oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 14.5-oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1 lb. dried penne pasta
  • 7 oz. baby spinach
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese


1. Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat.

2. Cook the garlic and sun-dried tomatoes in saucepan, stirring for 2 minutes.

3. Stir in crushed and diced tomatoes and cook for 5 minutes.

4. Add vinegar to the saucepan; season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened, 15-20 minutes.

5. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil; add 1 tablespoon salt.

6. Cook the pasta for half the recommended time on the package directions (the pasta will continue to cook when it is baked). Drain the pasta; return it to the pot.

7. Place the spinach in the saucepan of sauce and cook, stirring, until the spinach begins to wilt, about 1 minute. Pour a saucepan of tomato sauce the pasta pot and toss to combine.

8. Place the pasta in a 13 x 9 inch pan (or 2 smaller pans). Sprinkle with 2 cups of the mozzarella and 1/3 cup of the Parmesan.

9. To eat tonight: Bake the pasta on a rimmed baking sheet at 400° F until bubbling and beginning to brown, 15 to 20 minutes.
To freeze and cook later: Freeze the unbaked pasta, tightly sealed, for up to 3 months. To cook, thaw the pasta and bake, uncovered, on a rimmed baking sheet at 400° F until heated through, bubbling, and beginning to brown, 25 to 30 minutes.

Source: adapted from Real Simple

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Sep 20, 2010

Thai ground beef with Coconut rice

Even though I love to cook – I don’t really watch that many cooking television shows.  I enjoy several reality food shows – such as Top Chef, Next Food Network Star, Masterchef, etc.  But I really think the best real cooking shows are actually on PBS – they have Americas Test Kitchen, Cooks Country, Lydias Italy, and Everyday Food.  And this is a recipe that I saw on one of the episodes of the Everyday Food tv show – and added it to my weekly menu the next week.   I expected that we would enjoy this – what I didn’t expect was to be completely awed by this dish – it was so unbelievably flavorful and delicious.  My husband loved it so much – that he gobbled up all of the leftovers and I never even got a chance to eat it again for lunch!  


  • 1 1/4 cup jasmine rice
  • 1 can (13.5 ounces) coconut milk
  • coarse salt
  • 2 Tbsp. fish sauce
  • 2 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 dried hot chilies, reconstituted and diced
  • 2 small sweet red chiles, seeded and sliced into 2-inch matchsticks
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 cup loosely packed torn fresh (thai or regular) basil leaves
  • lime wedges, for serving


1. In a medium saucepan, combine rice, coconut milk, 3/4 cup water, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cover and bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer, cover and cook until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed, about 25 minutes.

2. When rice is almost done, combine fish sauce, soy sauce, and sugar in a small bowl; set aside.

3. Heat a cast-iron skillet or wok over high heat.

4. Add oil and heat; add garlic and the hot chiles. Cook, stirring constantly, 15 seconds.

5. Add beef and cook, breaking up meat with a wooden spoon until completely browned, about 4 minutes.

6. Add soy mixture and cook 30 seconds.

7. Add basil and sweet chiles and stir to combine.

8. Serve beef over coconut rice with lime wedges.

Source: adapted from Everyday Food TV

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Sep 16, 2010

Crockpot Pork Carnitas

crockpot carnitas 1

I fell in love with slow cooking pork after making these recipes – pulled pork sandwiches and pork tostadas.  So I was immediately intrigued by this recipe – which has a citrusy flavor imparted in the pork.  When I make a crockpot meal – I almost always prepare it in advance the night before and then either myself or my husband will turn on the crockpot the next day.  Well, I guess I didn’t read the recipe closely enough – because when I went to just throw this together at 9pm – I realized you are supposed to sear the pork and then cook onions/garlic before you put everything in the crockpot.  Regardless of that little oversight – it was still an easy recipe – but I would definitely plan this better in advance next time!


  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • 1 boneless pork shoulder, 3 to 4 lb.
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups Mexican lager-style beer
  • Grated zest and juice of 1 large orange
  • Grated zest and juice of 1 lime
  • 1 Tbsp. dried oregano

For serving:

  • Warm corn or flour tortillas
  • Lime wedges
  • red onion, diced
  • avocado, diced
  • queso fresco or any shredded cheese
  • Chopped fresh cilantro


1. In a small bowl, combine the salt and pepper. Season the pork roast generously with the mixture.

2. In a large fry pan over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil. Add the pork and cook, turning frequently until browned on all sides, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a platter and set aside.

3. Add the onion and garlic and sauté just until they begin to soften, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the beer and deglaze the pan, stirring and scraping up the browned bits from the pan bottom with a wooden spoon.

4. Transfer the pork to a slow cooker and pour in the beer mixture. Add the orange and lime zests and juices and the oregano.

5. Cover and cook according to the manufacturer's instructions until the pork is very tender, about 5 hours on high or 10 hours on low.

6. Transfer the pork to a carving board and cover loosely with aluminum foil. Using a large, shallow spoon or a ladle, skim as much fat as possible from the surface of the cooking liquid.

7. Using a knife and a fork, coarsely cut and shred the pork into small bite-size pieces.

8. Transfer the pork to a serving platter and moisten it lightly with the cooking juices, and serve immediately with the tortillas, lime wedges, chopped onion, avocado and cilantro.

Source: My life on a Plate – originally from Williams Sonoma

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Sep 15, 2010

Eggplant and Tomato Pesto Pizza

eggplant tomato pizza 1

OMG – this pizza was so yummy.   We went out to eat a few days before I made this and we had an appetizer with eggplant – and I couldn’t stop thinking about how wonderful it was for days later.  Eggplant is not something that I cook with often – but that has now changed.   I could just eat this pizza and be happy – I think it helped that both items are now in season an super fresh and flavorful. 

Homemade pizza crust with fresh basil pesto, topped with roasted eggplant and grape tomatoes – and lots of mozzarella cheese – of course!  YUM YUM YUM!  I’m not joking – make this pizza and you will not be disappointed – I promise you.  Even Ree says so – and she is one of the most popular bloggers on the planet so you have to listen to her. ;)  Enjoy!

eggplant tomato pizza 2


  • pizza crust, your favorite recipe or store bought dough
  • 1 whole eggplant
  • Kosher salt, for sprinkling
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 8 ounces, fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced thin or shredded mozzarella
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan Cheese
  • 1/2 cup basil pesto or Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Freshly Ground Black Pepper


1. Preheat oven broiler on low.

2. Slice the eggplant about 1/4 inch thick. Sprinkle both sides with kosher salt and place into a strainer in the sink. Allow to sit for 20 to 30 minutes. Rinse eggplant lightly in cold water, then pat the slices dry between layers of paper towels.

3. Slice grape tomatoes in half lengthwise and toss into a bowl with minced garlic.

4. Cut eggplant slices into fourths, and toss with olive oil. Arrange on a baking sheet and place 8 inches under the broiler.

5. Broil for 3 minutes, then toss around and broil another 3 minutes. Remove pan from oven and add tomato/garlic mixture. Broil for 2 to 3 minutes, then remove and set aside.

6. Preheat oven to 500 degrees.

7. Drizzle olive oil on a large baking sheet and use fingers to coat thoroughly. Place half a batch of pizza dough on pan. Stretch pizza dough into a large rectangle, pressing with fingers to finish forming. Dough will be very thin.

8. Spread pesto on dough or lightly drizzle a little olive oil on the dough and use fingers to spread.

9. Spread mozzarella over the surface of the dough. Spread vegetables all over the surface of the cheese. Top with Parmesan cheese.

10. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until crust is golden brown and the cheese is bubbly. Remove from pan and slice with a pizza cutter.

Source: The Pioneer Woman

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Sep 14, 2010

Oreo Cupcakes

oreo cupcakes 1 oreo cupcakes 2

These cupcakes are truly Oreo epic – an Oreo cookie at the bottom, white cake with Oreo pieces mixed in and a cream cheese frosting with more Oreos mixed in.  If you like Oreos – you will be in Oreo heaven with these!   

They were truly outstanding – and if you want a crowd pleaser – these are definitely it!  My coworkers loved them!   If I didn’t have a list a mile long of cupcake recipes I want to try – I would consider making these over and over again.  Heck, I may still make them over and over again!  Enjoy! 

oreo cupcakes 3 

oreo cupcakes 4


for the cupcakes (makes 24 cupcakes)

  • 1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour, plus 2 Tbsp. for the Oreo chunks
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 2/3 cup sugar
  • 3 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • 1 package Oreo Cookies (~45 cookies)

for the frosting

  • 8 oz cream cheese, at room temp
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, at room temp
  • 1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
  • 3-4 cups powdered sugar


1. Preheat over to 350F.  Insert paper liners into 24 cupcake tins.

2. Twist apart 24 Oreos. Place the wafer with filling on it, filling side up, in the bottom of each paper liner. Save the 24 other halves to place in or on top of the frosting (crush them in a plastic bag with a rolling pin).

3. Cut approximately 20 Oreo cookies into quarters with a sharp knife. Toss with 2 Tbsp. flour and set aside.

4. In a large bowl cream the butter until fluffy, about 3-5 minutes. Add the milk and vanilla and mix to combine.

5. In a separate bowl mix together the flour, baking powder, and salt.

6. Add the dry ingredients to butter mixture. Mix until integrated.

7. Stir in sugar. With an electric mixer on low speed, beat for 30 seconds. Turn the mixer up to medium speed and beat for 2 minutes.

8. Add the egg whites. Beat for 2 more minutes. Stir in the quartered cookies.

9. Fill the cupcake lines three-quarters full. Bake for about 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of cupcakes comes out clean. Cool cupcakes in the pan.

10. To make the frosting - Cream butter and cream cheese until fluffy. Add vanilla extract. Slowly add powdered sugar until desired consistency is reached.  If desired, fold in crushed Oreo pieces into the frosting.

11. Assemble the cupcakes - Once cupcakes have cooled completely, frost with cream cheese frosting. Sprinkle with crushed Oreos (if not mixed into the frosting) and place 1/2 of an Oreo on the frosting of each cupcake (optional).

Source: Beantown Baker

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Sep 13, 2010

Farmers Market Corn Salsa

Farmers Market Corn Salsa

This is one item that I decided to ‘can’ this year – I love the idea of being able to open a jar of pure summer fresh flavors in the middle of winter. 

I first tried my hand at canning last year, when I made some peach jam.  I have to say that canning is definitely a lot of work – you have to make sure that your jars and lids are sterilized on top of actually putting together the recipe that you want to can.  Definitely do your research on proper canning techniques and recipes if you are planning on doing this – I am definitely not an expert.  But it is definitely one of my new hobbies – and I look forward to trying out many more canning endeavors! 

This salsa contains fresh corn, tomatoes, red pepper, jalapenos, red onion and fresh lime juice – you can’t really go wrong with this combo!   I haven’t opened a jar yet to eat – since I am saving them for when I can no longer get fresh corn and tomatoes – but the bit of leftover salsa that didn’t fit into the jar tasted delicious!  Have fun and enjoy!


  • 4 large ears of fresh corn
  • 1 cup red onion, diced
  • 1 large red pepper, diced
  • 1 large tomato, peeled and diced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1/2 cup fresh squeezed lime juice
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper


1. Remove husks and silts from corn and rinse.  Cut corn off cobs.

2. In a large saucepan combine corn, onion, sweet pepper, tomato, jalapeno, lime juice, salt, cumin and pepper.   Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.  Reduce heat and simmer, covered for 10 minutes.

3.  Transfer to hot, sterilized half-pint jars (4-5 jars), leaving 1/2 inch headspace.  Wipe jar rims and adjust lids.

4. Process in a boiling water canner for 15 minutes (starting when water returns to a boil).  Remove from canner and cool on wire racks. 

Source: You Can Can

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Sep 10, 2010

Honey Peach Ice Cream

honey peach ice cream 2

In my last Daring Baker’s post – I mentioned that I made a batch of honey peach ice cream that was so delicious the recipe deserved its own post.   As I’ve mentioned before – peaches are my favorite fruit – and I am doing everything I can to preserve and savor them while they last.   I actually just stocked up on what is likely my last stash of fresh peaches for the year.   Luckily I have several recipes still on my list to use them in before they are gone – so I can enjoy them for a while longer.   :)

One of the things on that list is another batch of this ice cream.   Honey compliments the flavor of peaches so perfectly.   I don’t like hunks of frozen peach in my ice cream – so I adjusted the original recipe to just use pureed peaches.  I think it actually brings the peach flavor to the forefront – and with some sliced fresh peaches on top and some whipped cream – this ice cream just screams summertime.  Enjoy!

honey peach ice cream 1


  • 3-4 ripe peaches (about 2 pounds total), peeled and pitted
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract


1. Coarsely chop the peaches into 1/2 inch chunks and place in a saucepan.  Add honey and bring to a boil, then lower the heat and cover the pan, stirring occasionally, until the peaches are soft – about 10 minutes.

2.  Place the peach/honey mixture into a food processor or blender and puree.  Set aside to cool.

3.  Bring the milk and cream to a boil in a medium saucepan. 

4. In a medium bowl, whisk the yolks and sugar together until well blended and slightly thickened.  While whisking, drizzle in about 1/3 of the milk/cream mixture in order temper the yolks.  Then pour back into the sauce pan. 

5. Continue to cook over medium heat, stirring without stopping, until the custard thickens and coats the back of a spoon.  The custard should reach 170 degrees, but not exceed 180 degrees. 

6. Pour into clean bowl and combine with the peach puree and vanilla. 

7. Refrigerate until well chilled before churning into ice cream.

8. Churn according to manufacturers instructions.

Source: slightly adapted from Baking from my home to yours, Dorie Greenspan

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Sep 9, 2010

Tortellini Soup

Tortellini Soup

I think soup is often over looked in summer – but certain types are really refreshing and comforting on a warm summer day.  I bought some leeks at the farmers market and was searching around for a recipe to use them in and this recipe seemed perfect.  I would eat this soup over and over again – it was that good.  Perfect for an easy weeknight meal too – and even better for lunch the next day!  Enjoy!

tortellini soup 2


  • 2 medium leeks
  • 1 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and finely diced
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 5 cups low-sodium canned chicken or vegetable broth
  • 9 ounces cheese tortellini
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese


1. Trim the roots and dark green leaves from the leeks. Slice the white and light green part in half lengthwise and then slice the halves thinly crosswise. Soak in a bowl of cold water, rinse well and drain.

2. Melt the butter in a 4-quart saucepan over medium heat.

3. Add the garlic, leeks, and carrot. Season with a couple pinches of salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, 5 to 7 minutes.

4. Stir in about 1/4 teaspoon pepper and cook for about 20 seconds, then add the chicken broth and bring to a boil.

5. Add the tortellini and cook for 3 minutes. Reduce the heat to a simmer and add the peas. Continue to simmer until the tortellini are cooked, 3 to 5 minutes.

6. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Portion the soup into bowls, top each with some of the cheese, and serve.

Source: slightly adapted from The Way the Cookie Crumbles

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Sep 8, 2010

Stuffed Zucchini Boats

zucchini boats 1

I wasn’t sure what to expect with this recipe – I had a feeling that I would like it but I wasn’t too sure about my husband.  He doesn’t love mushrooms – but I figured that they were hidden enough that he wouldn’t even know they were there.  Well, I was right – and this recipe was super flavorful and fulfilling and you could definitely not pick out the mushrooms.  :)

I ended up with some leftover filling – so depending on the size of your zucchini – you may have some extra or not.   Luckily, I think the leftover filling will make a great lunch with some rice or noodles.  

Enjoy while you still have plentiful zucchinis in your garden!  I am going to miss summer – all the fresh produce makes this my favorite time of year!

zucchini boats 2


  • 1 zucchini, about 12 inches long
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup mushrooms, chopped
  • 1/2 lb. turkey sausage
  • 2 Tbsp. dry white wine or vermouth
  • 2 tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • 3 Tbsp. chopped fresh basil
  • 1 tsp. minced fresh rosemary
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper


1. Cut zucchini in half lengthwise.  Scoop out insides, leaving a shell about 1/4-inch thick.  Reserve about a quarter of the insides.

2. In a medium skillet over medium-high heat, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil.  Sauté the onion and garlic until tender, about 4-5 minutes.  Add the mushrooms and reserved zucchini insides to the skillet and sauté another 2 minutes.  Remove from the heat.

3. Heat the remaining tablespoon of the olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.  Crumble in the sausage and cook until lightly browned on all sides, stirring occasionally.  Stir in the cooked onion and mushroom mixture.

4. Add the wine to the pan along with the tomatoes, basil and rosemary.  Cook for 1 more minute.  Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

5. Preheat the oven to 375° F. 

6. Once the turkey mixture has cooled a bit, mix in the Parmesan, egg, salt and pepper. 

7. Fill the zucchini shells with the mixture.    Place the filled zucchini shells on a baking sheet and bake in the preheated oven for 40 minutes, until golden brown.   Serve immediately.

Source: adapted from Annie’s Eats

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Sep 7, 2010

Zucchini Muffins

Well, apparently it is zucchini week on my blog since my post yesterday used zucchini and so does my post for tomorrow :)
These muffins are the perfect way to use up some zucchini – you could also make this into a bread – but I like muffins better for convenience.  They bake quicker and are easier to eat too.   There is some lemon zest in this recipe – which really imparts some fresh flavor – so definitely don’t cut that out!  Enjoy one of these before summer is over in a few weeks!


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 pound zucchini, washed and dried, ends and stems removed, cut in half lengthwise and seeded if using large zucchini, each half cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup pecans or walnuts, chopped coarse
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 cup plain yogurt
  • 2 large eggs, beaten lightly
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled


1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 375 degrees.

2. Grease the bottom and sides of 12 muffin cups or line with paper liners.

3. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade, process the zucchini and 2 tablespoons of the sugar until the zucchini is coarsely shredded, twelve to fifteen 1-second pulses.

4. Transfer the mixture to a fine-mesh strainer set at least 2 inches over a bowl and allow to drain for 30 minutes.

5. Meanwhile, spread the nuts on a baking sheet and toast until fragrant, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer the nuts to a cooling rack and cool completely. Transfer the nuts to a large bowl; add the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt, and whisk until combined. Set aside.

6. Whisk together the remaining 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons of sugar, yogurt, eggs, lemon juice, and melted butter in a medium bowl until combined. Set aside.

7. After the zucchini has drained, squeeze the zucchini with several layers of paper towels to absorb excess moisture.

8. Stir the zucchini and the yogurt mixture into the flour mixture until just moistened.  Spoon the batter into the muffin cups.

9. Bake until the loaf is golden brown and a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean, 18-25 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through baking. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack and cool for at least one hour before serving.

Source: Cook’s Illustrated via The Way the Cookies Crumbles

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Sep 6, 2010

Zucchini Ricotta Fritters

It’s that time of year – there is so much zucchini that most people don’t know what to do with it all!  I’ve had this recipe in my ‘to-make list’ for awhile now – it just sounded so intriguing – but I knew I was going to like it.   They have a nice crisp exterior with a creamy interior – they make for a delicious snack, appetizer or main course! 
And with your leftover ricotta cheese – you can make one of my favorites - skillet lasagna!


  • 1/4 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 Tbsp. minced fresh parsley leaves
  • 1 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 1-2 medium zucchini, scrubbed and ends trimmed (1/2 – 3/4 pound total)
  • salt and ground black pepper
  • 3/4 - 1 cup plain bread crumbs
  • vegetable oil for pan-frying
  • lemon wedges, for serving


1. Combine the ricotta, eggs, parsley, garlic, and lemon zest in a large bowl.

2. Shred the zucchini on the large holes of a box grater or a food processor.

3.  Wrap with a few paper towels or a kitchen towel and squeeze tightly to remove as much moisture as possible. 

4. Add the zucchini to the ricotta mixture, and season with salt and pepper. 

5. Stir well to combine, and add enough bread crumbs so that the mixture is no longer sticky - about 1/2 cup or so.

6. Place the remaining bread crumbs on a plate.

7. Heat about 1/4 inch of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.

8. With about 1/3 cup of the zucchini mixture form into a 3-inch patty.  Coat both sides with the bread crumbs.  Place the patty on a baking sheet or platter and repeat with the remaining zucchini mixture.  

9. Add as many fritters as will fit comfortably in the pan.  Cook about 4 minutes per side, until the bottoms are a rich golden brown, turning once.

10. Place cooked fritters on a platter and repeat with remaining fritters.

11. Serve with lemon wedges.

Source: adapted from Pink Parsley Catering, originally from The Complete Vegetarian Cookbook by Jack Bishop

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Sep 3, 2010

Peach Wine Coolers

  This is an ingenious, delicious, refreshing drink.  And super simple to make – you basically puree some peaches, wine and schnapps together.  Then strain (or not – but I preferred it strained) into some ice and more wine and you get the perfect summer refreshment!   And for someone like me – who cannot get enough peaches this time of year and who really likes wine – it really does not get much better than this.
See I loved it so much I put it in my garden to photograph!  :)


  • 1 pound fresh peaches, peeled and chopped
  • 2 ounces peach schnapps
  • generous pinch of kosher salt
  • 2 750-mL bottles dry Riesling, Pinot Grigio, or Sauvignon Blanc (I used Riesling)
  • ice, for serving


1. Combine the peaches, peach schnapps, salt, and 2 cups of wine a food processor or blender.  Puree until smooth and frothy, about 1 minute.

2. Strain through a fine-mesh strainer, or transfer directly to a pitcher or bowl.  Refrigerate at least 2 hours.

3. To serve, fill a large wine glass with ice, then fill about halfway with the peach mixture.  Top off glass with reserved wine.

Source: Pink Parsley Catering

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Sep 2, 2010

Salmon with Strawberry Salsa

I am not the type to pair fruit with something savory – but I am starting to come around (I have a meal planned this week that has a mango relish!).  And this strawberry salsa was quite surprising.  I had a feeling I was going to like it though – cherry tomatoes are so flavorful right now – and with the addition of balsamic vinegar – I knew this was going to taste good. 
My husband wasn’t home when I ate it – but I had the leftovers ready for him and he was also leery of the strawberries.  But he loved it as well!!  Definitely a meal that looks really impressive – but super simple to make!  Enjoy!


  • two salmon fillets
  • juice of half of a lemon
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 pint fresh strawberries, hulled and diced
  • 6-8 cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 2 scallions, white and light green portion diced
  • 1 tsp. chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp. red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • drizzle of honey
  • dash of salt and pepper, to taste
  • steamed Jasmine rice for serving


1. Preheat broiler on low. Line baking sheet with foil and spray with olive oil spray. Place salmon fillets on sheet.

2. Squeeze fresh lemon juice onto tops of each fillet and generously season each with salt and pepper.

3. Broil on low to desired doneness, about 10 minutes dependent upon thickness of fillets or until fish reaches 130 degrees in the thickest part.

4. In a medium bowl, combine strawberries, tomatoes, scallions, parsley, vinegars, lemon juice, olive oil, honey, salt and pepper.

5. Serve salmon on top of rice and cover with salsa. 

Source: Good Things Catered

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Sep 1, 2010

Grilled Broccoli

Well, it worked for green beans – so why not grill broccoli?   This turned out to be an easy and delicious way to enjoy broccoli.  And I understand why – grilling imparts some of the same flavors as roasting in the oven – you get those nicely browned and caramelized portions.  With a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and some parmesan cheese – this is the prefect side dish!  Enjoy it before summer is gone and you’ve packed away your grill!


  • 2 1/2 tsp. kosher salt, divided
  • 1 pound broccoli florets, about 6 cups
  • 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. freshly grated lemon zest
  • 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • lemon wedges, for serving


1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat, add 2 tsp. of kosher salt.

2. Add broccoli and cook for 3-5 minutes, until crisp and tender. Remove and place in an ice bath to rapidly cool.  Then place remove from ice bath and drain.

3. Preheat grill on medium-high heat.

4. In a large bowl, mix the broccoli, oil, lemon zest and 1/2 tsp. salt.

5. Grill over directly over medium heat (on a grill pan), with the lid closed as much as possible.   Stir occasionally until broccoli begins to brown – will take about 7-10 minutes. 

6. Remove from grill and sprinkle parmesan cheese on top.  Serve with lemon wedges.

Source: Weber’s Way to Grill

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