Saturday, January 31, 2009

Leftover Cheese Spread

Ever find yourself with a fridge full of small bits of all kinds of leftover cheeses? Don't waste those post-party leftovers! Put them all together for the classic "Fromage Fort" - leftover cheese spread. You'll pat yourself on the back for being so thrifty and not letting good food go to waste:

  • 1 lb leftover cheese. Any kinds, as many kinds, it doesn't matter. The recipe always seems to work. Just make sure it's all room temperature so it mixes well.
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine.
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter (you can get away with less).
  • 2 tbsp parlsey (fresh is better but I did fine with dried).
  • 1 clove garlic.

Mix all ingredients in food processor till well blended. Serve soft or refrigerate to make it a bit firmer.

Goes great with your leftover toast, bread, crackers, fruit, cold cuts....

...yeah I stole the picture. wanna fight about it?

Mango Sorbet

Hey, I know it's cold outside! You don't have to tell me. But I want to add more recipes from my notebooks and there are a lot to get through. So, some just won't be that seasonal. Anyway, you could always make the sorbet, turn the heat up and pretend it summer, no? I've done crazier things. That being said...

  • 4 ripe mangoes
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • crystallized ginger (optional but they really taste great together)
  • fresh raspberries (also optional)

Peel & pit mangoes (harder than it sounds, you could always just but the pre-cut stuff in the produce section of the grocery store. It's not bad!).

Mix sugar & water in saucepan, heat until sugar is dissolved.

Cool syrup. Puree mangoes in blender.

Add lemon juice & mango puree to syrup.

Strain through a sieve.

Pour into ice cream maker for 15-20 minutes.

Throw some ginger & raspberries on top. Trust me.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Green Tea Ice Cream

I know it's winter, but I'm trying to get my old recipes up. This one is easy, provided you get your hands on matcha - Japanese green tea. The dark green powdered stuff that comes in a tin like this:

Sometimes you can find it at the grocery store, Whole Foods would have it, if nothing else, try any asian grocer and you'll be in business. It's insanely good for you and has all kinds of good junk in it like your B vitamins, vitamins C & E, antioxidants, beta carotene, and, over time, drinking this stuff can even boost your metabolic rate by 40%. If you know me, you know how much tea I drink. Well, this is the mother of all teas. So when you're eating it in ice cream you can tell yourself it's healthy....sort of.

  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2-3 tsp powdered green tea (matcha)
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup milk or half and half (I used 1%)

Combine the water & sugar in a small pan and cook over low heat. Stir constantly!

After the sugar dissolves, continue stirring and simmer the syrup over low heat for 5 minutes. Then remove from heat.

Add a tablespoonful of the syrup to the powdered green tea in a separate bowl and stir to dissolve. Then dump it all back into the sugar syrup & mix.

Add the cream & milk. Stir to combine.

Allow it to cool in the fridge, then pour into your ice cream maker & run for 15-20 minutes.

*not bad with a dash of vanilla, either

Dutch Apple Pie

Another treat from the archives. Dutch apple pie, also known as appeltaart or appelgebak:

  • 1 keebler graham cracker pie crust

  • 1 large egg yolk, beaten

  • 5 1/2 cups sliced, cored, peeled cooking apples

  • 1 tbsp lemon juice

  • 1/2 cup sugar

  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar

  • 3 tbsp flour

  • 1/4 tsp salt

  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

  • 3/4 cup flour

  • 1/4 cup sugar

  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar

  • 1/3 cup butter @ room temperature

Preheat oven to 375. Brush bottom & sides of crust evenly with egg yolk, bake on baking sheet until light brown - about 5 minutes. Remove crust from oven.

Combine sliced apples, lemon juice, 1/2 cup sugar, 1/4 cup brown sugar, 3 tbsp flour, salt cinnamon & nutmeg. Mix well & spoon into crust.

Mix remaining flour, sugar, brown sugar & butter with a fork or pastry blender (who the hell has a pastry blender??) until crumbly.

Sprinkle topping mixture evenly over apples.

Bake on baking sheet until topping is golden and filling is bubbling - about 50 minutes.

Cool on wire rack.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Crazy Spicy Jambalaya

Don't remember where I got this recipe but I made it last May and it's very spicy. I had to have our friend Davie come over and eat it because it was too spicy for us to eat more than one bowl. Still, it was delicious & if you go easy on the cayenne, you can make it milder. Many jambalaya recipes call for okra, and I'm not a fan so I was glad to find one that doesn't call for it.

Again, I took the recipe and altered it because just following a recipe is like doing a paint-by-number. It gets boring ... fast!

  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 cups chopped onion
  • 1 cup chopped bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery (I think I used a full cup)
  • 2 tbsp cayenne pepper (less! less!)
  • 1 lb smoked sausage (I used sweet italian), sliced into 1/4 inch slices
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 head chopped garlic
  • 2 cups white rice (or less, mine was a little rice-heavy)
  • 4+ cups chicken stock
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen shrimp
  • 1 cup chopped green onion

First, grab yourself a massive saucepan. Heat the vegetable oil. When the oil is hot, add the onions, peppers & celery (the creole "holy trinity" as opposed to the french "mirepoix" of carrots, onions & celery).

Season with salt & cayenne (easy on the cayenne!).

Saute the vegetables for about 5 minutes, or until wilted.

Add the sausage & saute for 2 minutes. Add the bay leaves, tomatoes & garlic. Saute another 2 minutes.

Stir in the rice & saute 2 more minutes. Add the stock.

Season with salt & more cayenne (resist! taste first!). Bring liquid to a boil & reduce to a simmer.

Cook the jambalaya for 30 minutes, covered, or until the rice is tender & all liquid has been absorbed.

Stir in the shrimp & green onions. Re-season to taste.

Invite a spicy-food loving friend over in case you overdo it with the cayenne.

Creole Holy Trinity: onions, peppers, celery...

Chicken Coconut Soup with Lemongrass

This is sooo good. Also called Tom Kha Gai, this is a Thai soup. It has the typical thai combination of flavors - citrus & spicy chili & coconut. I made a ton of it when my husband had the flu so that I could fight it off. I still felt kinda icky (maybe from being around a sick person?) but I never fully caught it. Ginger & lemongrass are both especially soothing when you're sick. Once you locate the ingredients (I got all of mine from Safeway), it's easy to make. I adapted this recipe from Williams-Sonoma. They know their stuff. I took out a few of their ingredients (mushrooms, fresh chilis & cilantro). Check their website if you want the original recipe.
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 4 slices peeled fresh ginger
  • 1 large lemongrass salk, cut into 2-inch pieces, crushed
  • grated zest of 1 lime
  • two 14oz cans coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 2-3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2tbsp light brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp red chili paste (Siracha!)
  • 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into bite-size pieces

In a large saucepan, combine the broth, ginger, lemongrass & lime zest. Place over medium heat & slowly bring to a boil. Boil for 1 minute.

Reduce heat to low, add the coconut milk (mmm...coconut milk), stir to combine & bring to a simmer.

Add the lime juice, soy sauce, brown sugar & chili paste; mix well & simmer for 5 minutes.

Add the chicken pieces & simmer until tender, 4-5 minutes.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Gia-Ninh's Soy Lime Dipping Sauce

Gia-Ninh and I have been friends for over 10 years and he really REALLY knows his way around a kitchen. When he talks, I listen. He came over a couple of weeks ago to make us dinner and taught us how to make this sauce/marinade. We haven't looked back since. Wayne has seriously made it at least 3 times already. It's delicious. And it goes with everything chicken, shrimp, tofu, etc). Gia-Ninh tossed it with lo mein noodles and veggies when he was here but we've since combined it with beef and marinated chicken in it - all equally good things. Make it. Slather it on everything. Smile.
  • 1 clove garlic
  • approx. 1/2-1 inch of grated ginger
  • juice of 1/2 a lime (with pulp)
  • 1-2 tbsp raw sugar
  • 1/2 to 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/8 tsp Siracha hot sauce (or any other chili garlic puree) to start, taste before you add more
  • up to 1/4 cup water

Crush the garlic & sugar with a mortar & pestle (see? I told you this would be fun).

Add ginger. Add lime juice & pulp (get the pulp out with a fork).

Add soy sauce & Siracha. Blend.

Taste as you go & add the water to balance it out.

For those of you who aren't familiar with Siracha, it's asian chili garlic burning fire sauce. It's hot as hell and goes great in everything. You can usually find it in the ethnic aisle of a regular ole grocery store:

Look familiar?

Saffron Rice (Kesar Chaval)

My husband usually looks at ethnic seasonings (read: anything that's not salt & pepper) as creepy and weird. Not when it smells this good! This stuff makes my apartment smell wonderful and spicy (if you like that sort of thing. If you don't, then pop another frozen pizza in the microwave and be done with it).

  • 1 cup basmati rice (just buy the 25lb at Costco already!)

  • 1/2 tsp saffron threads

  • 3 tbsp butter

  • one 1-inch stick, cinnamon

  • 3 whole cloves (I used 5!)

  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion

  • 1 tsp salt

  • 1/4 tsp ground cardamom

If you have a rice cooker, just add everything and cook to instructions, stirring occasionally to make sure it's mixed well. Otherwise, just follow the instructions on the bag of rice. You're basically just making rice, the added spices and such don't really change a thing in terms of the process. That's why I like it!

New flavor without having to learn anything. Lovely.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Risotto with Prosciutto & White Truffle Oil

Ok I just tried making this last night so I'm updating it today (2.12.09) with some pictures! Here are two of my great loves - truffle salt, and truffle oil, not to mention risotto & proscuitto...

  • Olive Oil
  • 2-3oz sliced prosciutto, cut into strips or chunks
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 2 shallots (or 1 small onion), minced
  • 2 cups arborio rice
  • 6-8 cups chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • white truffle oil
  • truffle salt (optional)
  • 1 cup white wine (I also tossed in a splash or two of sherry)

Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a skillet.

Add small slices of prosciutto & cook until it begins to turn dark in color & slightly crispy.

Remove from the skillet with a slotted spoon & set aside on a paper towel-lined plate, to maintain the crispness of the prosciutto.

Heat 3 tbsp of butter in a large pot over medium-high heat.

Add minced shallots & cook until soft.

In a separate pot, simmer 6 cups of chicken stock over medium heat (add more if necessary).

In the pot with the butter & shallots, stir in 2 cups of arborio rice. Stir until the rice is completely coated in the butter.

Allow the rice to simmer until it starts to turn golden, but be careful not to let the rice stick to the pot.

Add the chicken stock 1 cup at a time. Simmer & stir. Simmer and stir some more. You want to keep doing this continually until it's all absorbed. The rice should be creamy but not stiff. Once the last of the stock has been added, slowly stir in the wine.

Once you have the consistency that you want, stir in 1/2 cup of grated parmesan cheese & pepper to taste.

Finish by sprinkling with truffle salt & drizzling with truffle oil.

Top with prosciutto.

Beef Stew with Guinness Stout

Made this last month. Everyone loved it:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 lbs stew meat, cut into 1 1/2 inch with some fat left on
  • 1 large yellow onion, peeled & quartered
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled & chopped
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • 2-3 tsbsp flour
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • 1 tbsp parsley
  • 1/2 lb carrots (and/or parsnips)
  • 6 small red potatoes, peeled & quartered
  • salt & pepper
  • 1/2 cup Guinness stout (um, we used a lot more than that, but just add & taste to make sure you want more before you keep adding like a crazy person)

Heat a 6 quart stove top casserole or oven proof pot & add the oil & the bay leaves.

Cook the bay leaves for a moment & then add the meat. Brown meat on both sides on high heat.

Add the onion & cook for a few minutes until it is clear. Reduce the heat to low & add the garlic, thyme, rosemary & flour. Stir until smooth.

Add the bee stock & stout; simmer, stirring until the stew thickens a bit. Add the remaining ingredients & cover.

Place the pot in the oven at 275 for about 2 hours, stirring a couple of times. maybe turn it up if it's not boiling. I kept mine pretty hot.

Salt & pepper to tastse.

Good by itself or over rice or noodles.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Idiot-Proof Tenderloin Roast

I couldn't wait to use the roast that I had cut (myself!) from that tenderloin yesterday. So I let myself make it for lunch. Whatever, it's Sunday. Lots of people have a big Sunday dinner at 2pm, right? It's a hell of a fancy lunch but I'm having a great time, and with the money I saved from doing the butchering, it's not as bad on the wallet. Ok, that being said, I wanted to use a simple recipe that wouldn't overshadow the flavor of the meat. Also, I didn't want anything too intricate that would require a trip to the store. I wanted simple. After a bit of research (ok, 40 minutes, but I like it) I found this (courtesy of

Peppery Beef Tenderloin

  • 1 tsp oregano

  • 1 tsp thyme

  • 1 tsp salt

  • 1 tsp paprika

  • 1/2 tsp garlic salt (had none, threw some Montreal Steak Seasoning in there)

  • 1/2 tsp onion powder (I used 1 full tsp of dried onion)

  • 1/2 tsp basil

  • 1 tsp cracked black pepper

  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

  • 3 lbs beef tenderloin

Mix spices well. Rub into the tenderloin. Bake at 400 until the internal temp reaches about 130 (for med-rare). Cover, and let sit for 5-10 min. Cut & serve.

That's IT. I also tied it up with kitchen twine just before seasoning, to make sure it held it's shape. Gorgeous. Delicious. Took about 35 minutes. I was concered because the recipe didn't call for searing. But it turned out so great. The beauty of tenderloin is it makes you look good even when you do practically nothing.

I've gotta do this more often.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Breaking Down a Tenderloin

We were watching Alton Brown not too long ago and he demonstrated how to get more for your money by buying an entire tenderloin, and then butchering and cutting the individual roast & steaks yourself. We love steak in our house. So, when we went to Costco today, we picked one up and I took on the project. Friends, this is a tenderloin (Filet Mignon, Chateaubriand, Tournedos, Medallions, or Filet de Boeuf...I'm not making these names up):

It doesn't look like much when you first open it up, but there's gold in there. You just have to know how to find it. And Alton does. I pulled up this video on YouTube and went to work:

Good Eats: Tender Is The Loin 1, first half

It takes him a minute to get to the point, but it's great because he shows you where the loin is located on the cow, what it does and why it's so expensive (spoiler: it's the most tender because it comes from the very center of the cow where no muscles are developed because that part is never used. You probably knew this already). So. The first steps are to rinse it off, remove excess fat from the outside and removing the silver skin (read: gnarly and useless connective tissue):

OK, this is not as easy as Alton makes it look. I managed to cut myself with my paring knife, but no worries, it's not nearly as bad as last month when I nearly removed the entire tip of my finger. Therefore I continued undeterred. As my blood mixed with the blood of my cow friend, I considered the circle of life, the food chain, and came a little closer to understanding nature, butchery and pain.

Once you're done trimming, you're ready to make all kinds of things. You remove the massive muscle at the side and there you have a complete roast.

It's truly amazing how little we learn about meat when we just pick it up in the grocery store, enshrined in plastic wrap on that styrofoam plate. I now have a stack of steaks (cut 1.5 inches thick), a roast, AND some chain thing that I have NO IDEA what to do with.

Sidenote: My new phone supposedly has a badass camera but we can't get it to work, so if you want a video of my husband trying to wrestle a tenderloin, I have it. In the meantime, I'll be posting pics that look just like what we were doing, they're just not mine. Sorry. I'm disappointed too.

Tonight I think we will just chill out and make steaks. I have plans for the roast as well. But the chain meat...I've never even heard of chain meat, have you? Look at this monster:

Suggestions? Anyone? For now, I'm chucking it into the freezer as a project for another day.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Chocolate Crackle Cookies

These are cookies but they really just taste like chewy little brownies. So if you want to make brownies that are shaped like a cookie, I guess this ones for you. They're also quite pretty. Made these for Christmas this year and got lots of recipe requests - they're a real people pleaser.

  • 1/4 cup butter

  • 2 cups sugar

  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil

  • 4 large eggs

  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

  • 2 cups flour

  • 3/4 cup powdered baking cocoa (unsweetened)

  • 2 tsp baking powder

  • 1/2 tsp salt

  • 1 cup powdered sugar (to coat)

Mix butter & sugar in a large bowl. Add oil & vanilla. Mix.

Add eggs. Mix.

Add flour, cocoa, baking powder & salt. Mix.

Let chill a couple of hours or overnight.

Scoop dough into tablespoon sized balls. Try using an ice cream scoop.

Roll in powdered sugar & place on greased pan.

Bake at 350 for 11-12 minutes.

Potato Soup with Turkey Bacon

The original recipe I found for this called for real bacon. But we've tried it both ways, and honestly like it better with the turkey bacon. I don't usually like meat dressed up as other meat, but turkey bacon is total magic.

  • 1/2 lb turkey bacon (or more, depending on preference)
  • 3 stalks celery, diced
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 8 medium potatoes, peeled & cubed
  • 4 cups chicken broth (you may need more)
  • 3 tbsp margarine or butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 cup heavy cream (milk is fine too)
  • pinch of tarragon
  • pinch of marjoram
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt & Pepper (to taste)
  • grated sharp cheddar cheese

Spread bacon out in a pan & bake at 350 until mostly cooked (about 10 minutes). They should be just starting to crisp.

Pour fat into a saucepan (or just use butter), turn up the heat, and saute the celery & onions until onions are translucent.

Add garlic, bay leaf, herbs. Then, add potatoes & toss to coat. Saute for 4-5 minutes.

Add bacon & cover with enough stock to just cover potatoes (turned out to be about 1 quart). Cover and simmer until potatoes are tender.

In a small separate pan, melt butter & cook with flour for 1-2 minutes. Add to soup with the cream (or milk).

Season with salt & pepper & top with a ton of grated cheese. Chives wouldn't hurt either.

Hot Buttered Rum

Like wintery spices? Like alcohol? You should probably leave work now, go home and get on this. Not that I would. I don't drink.

  • 1 lb light brown sugar
  • 1/2 lb unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground allspice
  • 2 tbsp vanilla extract (you're using real vanilla, right?)
  • dark or spiced rum

In a mixing bowl, beat together softened butter, brown sugar, vanilla & spices until well combined. Refrigerate in an airtight reusable container for up to a month, or just stash it in your freezer until you're ready to use it.

In a pre-heated coffee mug combine 2 heaping tbs of the mix with 1 1⁄2 oz. dark rum.

Top with boiling water and stir well to mix.

Serve with a spoon. Or, if you're feeling fancy (and why wouldn't you be?), serve with a cinnamon stick as a stirrer instead.

What are you waiting for? It's Friday!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Leftover Turkey Soup

Made this with the leftover turkey corpse (well what do you call it?) from Thanksgiving. You can modify it 100 different ways to include your favorite things. Here are mine. I was told it was a killer hangover cure, too!

  • 1 turkey carcass (I don't like that word either), mine was 11 lbs
  • 1 cup chopped carrots
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 cup chopped onions
  • big fistful (that's the technical term) of whole garlic cloves, chopped
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 medium parsnip, chopped
  • 1 tsp rosemary (I used dried but fresh is always better)
  • 1 tsp sage
  • 1 tsp lavender
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1 cup rice
  • fresh ground sea salt & pepper

First make your turkey stock by putting the turkey in a giant stockpot, filling it with water until the carcass is just barely covered, brining it to a boil & simmering for 2 hours or more. Depending on how you like your stock, you could also throw in peppercorns, herbs or other flavors.

Strain liquid and put it back in the pot. Save any meat to add back into the soup as well.

In a separate pot, sweat the aromatics: put carrots, onions, celery & garlic & parsnips on high heat with a tablespoon of olive oil. Once it begins to heat up, add in bay leaves & other herbs & seasonings.

Add strained stock back into the pot, bring to a boil, cover and simmer.

30 minutes later, add rice & simmer until all rice is cooked.

Add cut up turkey pieces to the soup. Salt & pepper to taste.

I'll add a picture next time I make it. What is it with you and pictures, anyway?

Perfectly Seared Scallops

We have tried time and time again to sear scallops. They always turn out well. But this is how to have them perfect. Courtesy of Martha Stewart:

  • 6 large sea scallops
  • coarse salt
  • sunflower or other neutral oil (we used canola)

Start by rinsing the scallops (you bought fresh, right? Frozen usually isn't worth your time), and making sure you remove the small, tough muscle (called the adductor) found on the side of the scallops.

Slice each scallop in half horizontally so that you have 12 pieces.

Heat a large skillet over high heat.

Season scallops on both sides with salt.

When pan is not, add enough oil just to coat the bottom (about 1 tbsp), & swirl to coat evenly.

Working in batches to avoid crowding the pan, add scallops & quickly jerk the pan to keep them from sticking.

Sear until lightly golden, about 45 seconds; with an offset spatula, turn over & cook until opaque throughout, about 30 seconds more (be careful not to turn too soon or the scallops may tear).

Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels & cover to keep warm (if necessary).

These go great perched atop a fennel puree that I also stole from Martha. Let me know if you're interested and I'll add it. want a picture? google the word 'scallop' and click "images". they have tons.

Creamy Garlic Soup

This was a serious hit with my family. I went BEZERK with the garlic but it's ok. That's how I roll. Anyway, prepare to have awful breath. Don't say I didn't warn you.

  • 3 heads (yes, heads) garlic
  • 2 tbsp olive oil (and then some)
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 1/4 cups onions
  • 1 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 18 garlic cloves (yes, in addition to the 3 heads)
  • 3 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • salt & pepper
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
  • 4 lemon wedges (so really, we're talking about a whole lemon here)

Preheat oven to 350. Cut tops off garlic heads, sprinkle with olive oil & cover.

Bake until tender - about 45 minutes. Cool, then squeeze between finger tips to release the cloves (or, of they're really hot, get your husband to do it. Hey, I never said I was a feminist).

In a saucepan, melt butter; add onions & thyme; cook 6 minutes.

Add roasted garlic & raw clove; cook 3 minutes.

Add broth; cover & simmer until garlic is tender, 20 minutes.

At this point you could add mushrooms if you like that sort of thing. I do not.

Transfer to blender and puree. I would puree maybe 3/4 of it and leave the rest. You want some texture.

Pour mixture back into the saucepan; add cream and S & P to taste. Bring to a simmer.

Divide cheese among 4 bowls. Squeeze 1 lemon wedge over each bowl. Pour soup over top & serve. If you've got it, chuck some chopped fresh parsley in there too.

Top with crostini (recipe to come).


Raspberry Sorbet

If you don't have an ice cream maker, consider getting one. Ice cream (and sorbet) is so easy and people go nuts for the stuff. Make a lot and keep some in the freezer all summer!

  • 16oz frozen or fresh raspberries (you know fresh is always better!)

  • 8oz sugar

  • 1/2 cup water

  • 1 lemon, juiced

Puree raspberries & strain

Combine sugar & water in a saucepan & stir over gentle heat until sugar has dissolved

Turn heat up & boil for 5 minutes until liquid forms a sticky syrup

Once the syrup has cooled, add the puree & lemon juice

Freeze in ice cream maker for 20 minutes

I tried to find a good pic of raspberry sorbet online but they all have a stupid mint leaf on them - if it's not in the dish it doesn't belong there!!! So here's some shower gel. Whatever.

Acorn Squash with Brown Sugar Glaze

This is so so soooo good! And easy! We have a winner!

  • 2 acorn squash (halved pole to pole & seeded, this is arguably the hard part)
  • salt
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 3 tbsp dark brown sugar

Sprinkle squash halves with salt & place halves cut-side down in 13x9 inch microwave-safe baking dish or arrange halves in large (about 4 quart) microwave-safe bowl so that cut sides face out. If using Pyrex, add 1/4 cup water to dish or bowl. Got all that? Ok. Moving on.

Cover tightly with plastic wrap. Poke about 4 vents in wrap. Microwave on high until squash is very tender & offers no resistance when pierced with a paring knife. About 15-20 minutes. Using potholders, remove baking dish from oven & set on clean dry surface.

While squash is cooking, adjust oven rack to upper-most position (about 6 inches from heating element); heat broiler. Melt butter, brown sugar, and 1/8 tsp salt in sall saucepan over low heat, whisking occasionally, until combined.

When squash is cooked, carefully pull back plastic wrap from farthest side (and don't burn yourself! Steam is evil!) Using tongs, transfer cooked squash cut-side up to rimmed baking sheet. Spoon portion of butter/sugar mixture onto each squash half.

Broil until brown & carmelized (5-8 minutes) rotating sheet at least once.


Yeah, it's cold potato soup. Try it anyway.

  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 3 cups leeks, sliced & washed
  • 4 cups potatoes, peeled & diced
  • salt & pepper (I'd better not have to tell you that fresh ground is best)
  • 8 cups chicken broth (I only used 6)
  • 2 cups heavy cream (I used 1)

Melt butter in a pot over medium heat. Add leeks & cook over medium heat. Then add potatoes, salt & pepper. Add broth and bring to a simmer. Cook till veggies are tender.

Put 3/4 soup in blender and puree.

Return to pot & stir in cream.

PS from Gia-Ninh: "pair with sauvignon blanc (fume blanc)"

Risotto Milanese (that means with saffron)

Again, risotto is expensive and time consuming, but it's great for special occasions and just sooo lovely. As long as you're willing to stand over it. Just pour yourself a glass of wine and have a friend to keep you company. It's fun, I swear!

  • 1/4cup extra virgin olive oil (I won't say EVOO because I hate Rachel Ray. There I said it)
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 tsp saffron threads
  • 3 1/2 cups chicken stock (usually more), HOT
  • 2 cups arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup white wine (more, more!)
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus more for sprinkling

In a 12-14 inch skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion & cook until softened & translucent but not browned, 8-10min.

Meanwhile, heat the stock & add saffron to the stock - stirring to infuse. Once the onions are translucent, add the rice & stir with a wooden spoon until toasted & opaque, 3-4 minutes.

Add the wine to the toasting rice, and then add a 4-6oz ladle of the saffron-infused stock and cook, stirring, until it is absorbed. Continually adding the stock a ladle at a time, waiting until the liquid is absorbed before adding more.

Cook until the rice is tender and creamy and yet still a little al dente, about 15 minutes.

Stir in the butter and cheese until well mixed. Garnish with extra cheese.

Chilled Avocado Cucumber Soup

Perfect for spring or summer. It always impresses people but it's such a cinch!

  • 1 medium cucumber, peeled & quartered
  • 2 small ripe avocadoes
  • 2 scallions (you can use less)
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 4 tbsp fresh coriander leaves (optional)
  • 4 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 cup cold water
  • 1 cup ice cubes

Blend all in food processor, making sure ice chunks are gone. Garnish with coriander or maybe, if you're feeling fancy, a slice of cucumber with an avocado sliver wedged through it.

Ok, not my pic, but it totally looked like this when I made it

Easy Roast Chicken

You want easy? You've got easy!

  • 3-4 lb chicken
  • 3 carrots
  • 3 celery stalks
  • 1 large onion
  • rosemary
  • bay leaves
  • lemons, halved
  • kosher salt
  • fresh ground pepper

(no amounts are listed as they are up to you)

Preheat oven to 350.

Rinse chicken & rub with lemons. Pop the lemons in the chicken. Rub salt & pepper inside and outside. Rub rosemary & any other herbs (sage, thyme, herbs de provence) on the chicken as well.

Put chopped onion, celery & carrots in a 9x11 pan, then add the chicken & roast the thing until the timer pops.

Butternut Squash Risotto

I made this for family Thanksgiving in '05. It takes a lot of work and time, and it's also not cheap to make. Don't make this unless you know you're cooking for foodies. When your cousin looks up at you like "why couldn't you just bring mashed potatoes?" you'll wish you had. However, this is a fantastic dish and has been a true hit with people who aren't my cousin.

  • 1 small butternut squash (about 1 1/2 lbs)
  • 1 3/4 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 small onion, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1 large garlic clove, sliced thin
  • 1 1/4 tsp fresh ginger, minced
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup arborio rice
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine (but why stop there?)
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh chives

Preheat oven to 450.

Halve squash lengthwise and discard seeds. Peel one half and cut into 1/4 inch cubes. Put remaining half, cut side down, in an oiled shallow baking pan with diced squash & season with salt & pepper. Bake squash in the middle of the oven, stirring diced squash occasionally, until tender and browned lightly; 15-20 minutes.

Holding halved squash in a kitchen towel (here comes the pain-in-the-ass part...), scoop out flesh & chop coarse.

In a saucepan, bring both broth and water to a simmer & keep at a bare simmer.

In another saucepan, cook onion, garlic and ginger in butter over moderately low heat, stirring until softened.

Stir in rice & cook over moderate heat, stirring constantly, about 1 minute. Add wine, and cook, stirring until absorbed.

Stir in 1/4 cup broth and cook, stirring constantly, and keeping at a simmer throughout, until absorbed. Continue simmering & adding broth, about 1/4 cup at a time, stirring constantly and letting each addition be absorbed before adding the next, until about half of the broth has been added.

Stir in diced and chopped squash and continue simmering & adding broth until rice is tender and creamy looking, but still al dente, about 18 minutes. Stir in chives and salt & pepper to taste.

Garnish with chopped fresh chives and shaved parmesano-reggiano cheese. A drizzle of truffle oil and a bit of proscuitto is never a bad thing, either.

Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Chocolate Cupcakes

Need something badass to take to a party? These are sure to impress. I was famous for these in college...

for cupcakes:

  • 4oz semi-sweet chocolate
  • 2 sticks butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla (I never stop there)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup flour

for cheesecake filling:

  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • dash of salt
  • 3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • cupcake holders

Gently Melt 4oz semi-sweet chocolate with 2 sticks of butter. Add vanilla.

In a large bowl, beat 4 eggs until thick; add 1 1/2 cups sugar. Beat in 1 cup flour. Fold in the chocolate mixture. Spoon into 2 standard muffin tins with cupcake holders, each about 2/3 full.

Mix 8oz cream cheese, 1/4 cup sugar, 1 egg, dash of salt and 3/4 cup chocolate chips. Drop a rounded teaspoon of filling onto the top of each cupcake.

Bake for 30 minutes at 350.

Chocolate Dipped Orange Cookies

Great for the holidays. Which are over. So whatever.

  • 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 tsp salt
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 tsp grated orange peel (clementines work too!)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 12oz chocolate chips (I used bricks of dark chocolate)
  • 1 1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)

Combine flour and salt in medium bowl. Beat butter in large bowl with electric mixer at medium speed until smooth.

Gradually beat in sugar, increase speed to high until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time, blending well after each addition.

Beat in orange peel and vanilla until blended. Gradually stir in flour mixture until blended. Dough will be crumbly.

Gather dough together and press gently to form a ball. Flatten into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours or until firm (or overnight).

Preheat oven to 350. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Roll them on a flat surface with your fingertips to form 3-inch logs about 1/2 inch thick. Place logs 1-inch apart on greased cookie sheets.

Bake 16 to 18 minutes or until bottoms of cookies are golden brown. Transfer to wire racks to cool.

Melt chocolate in a double broiler (or just put a metal bowl in a saucepan halfway full of water) over low-medium heat. Dip one end of cookie in chocolate, shaking off excess. Sprinkle pecans over ends (if you're using them).

Place on waxed paper and let stand until chocolate is set, or refrigerate about 5 minutes. Store in an airtight container. Makes about 35 cookies.

Not my picture, but they totally looked like this when I made them...

Awesome Gin (yes gin) Marinade

Ok I use this for chicken but I bet it would go great with fish. It's easy and absolutely delicious:

  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (about 1 lemon)
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1/4 cup gin
  • 2 tsp chopped fresh oregano, or 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • salt & freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 whole skinless boneless chicken breasts

In a shallow dish, whisk together the lemon juice, gin, oregano, salt, sugar and pepper (to taste). Then add the oil in a stream, whisking.

Whisk the marinade until it is completely emulsified.

Add the chicken, coating it well, and let it marinade, covered and chilled, for 20 minutes.

Remove the chicken from the marinade and grill it however you wish. I sear it on a cast iron grill and then pop it in the oven until cooked through.

emulsion n. A suspension of small globules of one liquid in a second liquid with which the first will not mix: an emulsion of oil in vinegar.

Cream of Broccoli Soup

I ate broccoli once. And here's the proof:

  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 1/2 cup onion, chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp salt (I used mad extra salt though)
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 4 cups broccoli, chopped
  • 2 1/2 cups veggie stock or water
  • 2 cups milk (I only used 1 1/2)
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 tsp allspice (or more)
  • ground pepper
  • dash of thyme
  • 1/2 tsp basil
  • additional broccoli (optional)

Melt butter in large saucepan, then saute onion and bay leaf with salt over medium heat until onion is clear, about 5-7 minutes.

Add bell pepper, broccoli, and stock. Bring to a simmer, cover, and cook for an additional 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until broccoli is well cooked.

Discard the bay leaf and puree the soup in batches, with milk.

Stir in the sour cream and spices, bring almost to a boil, top with optional fresh broccoli.

I'm not a blogger

Ok so I have no plans on being a blogger. I just want a place where I can post my recipes and some of my friends' recipes and we can all share. Kind of like porn for fat people. Or just hungry people. In a word, welcome. :o)

I'm going to start by adding old recipies from my recipe books that I want to share. And then, as I make new things, those will be added too.