No home grown tomatoes? I don't think so!
Day 1 So my parents decide to go on this long road trip and we say, “Great! Sounds fun! Can’t wait to hear all about it!” And then my dad says, “So I won’t be planting a garden this year. No tomatoes.” *insert crickets here* Is he joking? His tomatoes are what keeps me going all summer and fall. This cannot be true. With the calmest voice I can muster I ask,...
I took a food writing class a few months ago. It was only 6 weeks, but I wish it were 6 months. I knew we’d only scratch the surface of the food writing world, so I soaked it up like a big ‘ol sponge. I was infatuated with the subject, teacher and fellow students. Everyone was there for a different reason yet we all had this one common denominator — food! We started each class...
Nutella is a beautiful thing
I’m not going to use her name, but I have a friend who eats Nutella by the spoonful. Or four. She tells me that she had 4 spoonfuls for lunch that day and I think, “No way! Isn’t it too sweet or too goopy?” I’m not a huge peanut butter fan and Nutella reminds me of the peanutty goo. I bought a jar earlier this year to make a dessert with it, but the occasion fell...
are you tired of chocolate? i know, i know. right now you’re probably saying, “WTF?” i make brownies all the time and they’re damn good. they have double chocolate and are chewy and good, but sometimes i want to make something else. something a little different, but still yummy. i’ve been making these toffee blondies i found in martha stewart everyday food magazine...
fast fondant flowers (say it fast 3x!)
my mother-in-law is retiring and she asked me to make a cake for her work party. she asked for a 1/2 sheet, white cake, white frosting with fruit in the middle. easy enough, right? i was cool with that and even got some lovely strawberries to add as the filling. but then there’s the decorating. i’m ok with trying almost anything, but i’m not really great at the whole...
the ginger burned, so it became roasted carrot...
the recipe in The Soup Book by Sophie Grigson said “maple roasted ginger and carrot soup”. maple syrup might make it too sweet, right? i think roasted carrots are pretty sweet on their own, so i didn’t add the syrup to the veggies and just roasted them with olive oil. glad i did! i love fresh ginger and carrots together. my other favorite flavor combo is chocolate and...
a homemade indian meal i'll never forget
so this post is way late. i took these photos months ago when my friend sreya, aka my baking student, came over to teach me how to cook indian food. i put them in a folder all set to post about them and then i cleaned up my desktop. yeah, you know what i’m going to say now, right? into a folder they went and out of my brain they went! better late then never. sreya brought over the...
superbowl snack goodness
check it out — mini corn dog muffins. i made these for a superbowl party last week and they were a hit. try ‘em! this photo kind of sucks, but trust me, these babies are delish! i didn’t even use the corn muffin base the recipe author used, i bought good ‘ol jiffy corn muffin mix and went to town. that stuff is damn good for .99 a box! pop a tablespoon of corn...
another meatless monday
i love mushrooms. i ate them more often when i didn’t have a husband who hates them. it’s not like he forbids me to eat them or anything, it’s just easier to cook one dinner a day, ya know? so the other day i’m pinning (yes, and i am slightly obsessed) when i came across a lovely photo of mushroom barley soup from mango & tomato. i pinned it with the intention of...
a new reason to have a bbq
i found this vintage metal tray in cambria right after the holidays and i can’t wait to use it! won’t it look fun filled with cocktails or big slabs of meat?
i had a souper wednesday!
i did it again. i made another pot of soup. i know, i know, don’t go crazy, fg. trust me, i’m nuts and i know it! we called it chicken pho, but it wasn’t really pho. very similar, but not exactly. i used martha’s recipe out of everyday food magazine (thanks mom for the free subscription!), but went with my own broth rather than use her soup base, just like i did with the...
wait. i turn it on and dinner is ready in 8 hours?...
i’ve never been able to wrap my head around this concept. i mean, i know it works and many people use them, but cooking in a crock pot has always seemed weird to me. if there’s no work involved, then it’s like dinner never happened. ya know? hubby used to make chili in the crock pot all the time, until i found an on-the-stove recipe that kind of kicks it’s ass. my grandma...
warm soup on a cold night
guess what i had for dinner tonight? yep, a big bowl of minestrone and it was darn good! the recipe was for chicken minestrone, but i decided to add extra veggies and ditch the chicken. hello meatless monday! except it was tuesday. ;) this is how the soup was supposed to look, but i used different pasta and 86’d chicken. i also didn’t use the soup base recipe that martha made, i...
i made fleur de sel caramels to share for christmas. that is all.
volunteering makes me feel good
here’s my second cake for the non-profit cake4kids. they requested a cake with strawberries and bananas, so i made a yellow cake with fresh strawberries and bananas in the middle. i also used a non-dairy whipped cream to frost the cake, which gave the whole thing a nice, light texture. it’s amazing how much butter weighs! this cake was light as air when i put it into the box. i opted...
how cute is this container?! it’s storing my roasted pumpkin seeds at the moment, but fits a sandwich perfectly. SUPER CUTE!
i spent a good part of yesterday roasting things in my oven and no, none of them were rocks. ;) our csa has ended and left me with several squash and pumpkins that need attention before they go south. i think roasting veggies makes them taste divine, not to mention it’s pretty easy to boot. first i roasted butternut squash chunks. yum! i wish i had more of these babies, but roasted the 2...
cauliflower mac and cheese that has almost no cheese in it. it’s amazing. it’s creamy, tasty and the color of cheese, yet there’s only 1/2 cup of cheese in the entire recipe. well, you sprinkle some parm on top with breadcrumbs, if you choose to use them, so you can get a little crust on top of the casserole. i had no idea cauliflower gets creamy when pureed — did you?...
grilled tomato bread
or is it tomato-rubbed bread? i’ve seen it called different things and i really wanted to try it. i first saw this bread on the food show From Spain with Love on the cooking channel. it’s pretty much rustic bread that’s been lightly grilled with olive oil and then rubbed with a clove of garlic and a fresh tomato. so simple, yet so delicious. i looked up a few recipes to see how...
every kid deserves a birthday cake
this isn’t something i ever used to think about. as a kid, i always got a birthday cake and never worried that someone would not think about getting one for me. then a few months ago, my friend andrea sent me an article from the sj mercury about a non-profit organization called cake4kids. i was already writing an email to them before i finished reading the article! i knew right away this...
homemade bird feeder...
or i should probably rename this the homemade squirrel feeder, cos that’s who got the two i made the other day! i found this project on a crafty mom’s website, the moffatt girls. it’s a great project for kids cos it’s easy and doesn’t take long. :) 3 ingredients: toilet paper roll, peanut butter and bird seed. 1. spread peanut butter over the cardboard roll....
baby's first sugar!
my friend amy recently asked me to make cupcakes and a little smash cake for her daughter’s first birthday. i made my standard chocolate and vanilla recipes for the cupcakes and chocolate for the little cake. i also found a new uncooked buttercream recipe that i like, so i used it this time. it’s from glorious treats and she calls it american buttercream. i really don’t give a...
pure and simple chocolate happiness
mmm, chocolate cupcakes. i made these for a friend’s birthday get together tonight….hope they’re a hit! i used this chocolate buttercream recipe from joy the baker and it’s so damn good! super chocolatey and smooth. :)
vegan mango banana bread
i know what you’re thinking. “wait, she made something VEGAN?” crazy, huh? so one of my favorite food blogs is joy the baker. she takes lovely photos of the food she makes and has a fun writing style. i’ve got a bunch of her recipes bookmarked, but this is the first one i’ve tried so far. i take that back. i once made her chocolate buttercream frosting and it was...
cool kitchen tool
i’ve been buying whole pineapples for the hubby since our return from hawaii in may. there’s nothing like fresh pineapple, just there when you want it. i’d been cutting the skin off one slice at a time and ending up with little brown specs on the outer chunks. so not appetizing! then my pal tells me about this cool pineapple corer that you just twist into the whole damn fruit and...
fleur de sel caramels
they look damn good, right? lemme tell you, they tasted really damn good! i got a new barefoot contessa cookbook for my birthday last month. as you know, i’m a cookbook freak, so i was happy to receive this gift. as i went through it for the first time, i knew the first thing i’d make were her fleur de sel caramels. i’d seen her make them on tv and they looked pretty easy,...
korean backyard bbq
i dig grilling. we have a gas grill in the backyard even though i realize the flavor of charcoal grilling is better. i gotta say, it’s just easier, dammit! the hubby is eternally searching out new recipes for me to try and he’s always on point. i’ll try most recipes once, unless the don’t sound great or have a zillion ingredients. he sent me this article with recipe last...
on the to bake list...
how fun is this? i love a good rainbow! i am so gonna bake this someday. * i should note that i found this photo on someone’s blog months ago. i can’t give them credit cos i really don’t remember where i found it. just wanted to come clean that this isn’t my photo. :)
it’s been well over 90 degrees for the last week and my oven hasn’t been used in days. i know she’s lonely, but there’s only so much heat i can take. i have a pile of home-grown lemons just waiting to be made into lemon bars, but i just can’t do it. i want to, i really do. i thought this weekend would be a good time to bake lemon bars, fresh bread (from my new...
fresh strawberry muffins
do you have some extra strawberries laying around and feel like baking? that’s what happened to me recently, so i pulled out my barefoot contessa at home cookbook and got to bakin’! our csa share has been giving us strawberries all season and sometimes i buy them in between thursdays, so i end up with extra some weekends. the recipe is really for a tri-berry muffin, but i started...
I’ve been MIA, but it’s all vacation’s fault! We went on vacation in May and I can’t seem to get back to my regular routine ever since. I haven’t been cooking as much either. I still use the veggies from my CSA share, but I’m not being very creative with them at the moment. That’s all about to change, dammit! My friend Kris gave me lemons from her tree...
there's a first time for everything
i made a wedding cake. this is big news for me as it was my first wedding cake, first multi-tiered cake and first experience using fondant on my own. i covered a couple of cakes with fondant at the end of my internship, but i had help. this was the first time i went for it on my own — and for someone’s wedding even! yikes. my friend veronica asked me to make the cake months ago when...
jungle animal cookies
a friend of mine asked if i’d make jungle animal sugar cookies for her sister’s baby shower. you know what i said? oh yeah! i got myself a set of cookie cutters and started planning — fun! i did a little research on flickr to get ideas of how people have decorated these guys. there are all kinds of interpretations, but i went with a traditional one for mine. i have to say this...
sugar (coma) cookies
sugar cookies are just that, folks — sugar! and then you top ‘em off with royal icing and you’re looking at a serious sugar crash in the near future. i made these floral beauties for easter and had much fun with them! this was my 2nd attempt at rolled and decorated sugar cookies and i think they came out decent. first you bake cookies. i like them on the thicker side, around...
i fell in love the other morning. here’s how it happened: i saw this salad made on tv and went straight to my computer to print out the recipe. easy, gorgeous and delicious! you can’t ask for much more than that. i made this for a dinner party we had over the weekend and it was a huge hit. and when i say huge hit, i mean a) several people asked about the recipe and b) it was...
spring cupcake fling
we were having friends over for dinner saturday night and i wanted to make something easy, but fun for dessert. you what came to my mind — cupcakes! here are some vanilla cupcakes nekkid and ready for something to dress them up. i made a small batch of italian meringue buttercream and went to town… with pale green coloring, a star tip and some colorful sprinkles. These babies are...
my cookbook collection
collecting is good and bad. it’s good cos you have lots of stuff to look at and go through and it’s bad cos you have lots of stuff to look at and go through. hubby and i both have various collections, but my largest is my cookbooks. i don’t know how many i own, but there’s a lot. new ones, old ones and some that are truly vintage. i love going through them, daydreaming...
garlic bread before some oven lovin’: garlic bread after some oven lovin’: this is what i do: - slice day(s) old french bread - spread butter or light butter on bread slices - sprinkle slices with garlic powder - sprinkle slices with grated parmesan cheese - place bread on sheet pan and bake at 400 degrees for 10-15 minutes (you can also use the broil setting toward the...
i’ve only made jambalaya starting with a box. it was good, but i’d always been curious about making it from scratch. then i was watching an episode of the barefoot contessa one saturday morning and lo and behold, she and a louisiana pal made it. i printed out the recipe and for the next week i sang a little ditty i made up on the spot, “bare-foot jam-ba-la-ya, bare-foot...
sreya came over again last week to bake another birthday cake for vuclip. this time we made a chocolate cake with chocolate buttercream and from what i hear, it was damn good! once again, sreya was an a+ student. i just put the recipe and ingredients out for her and she does the rest. she learned a couple of new techniques, like separating an egg and she did great. during both of our baking...
no mozzarella? no problem!
we had pizza for dinner the other night. i rolled out the dough, put it on the sheet pan and then went in the fridge to get my roasted tomatoes and mozzarella to finish if off. that;s when i discovered there was no mozzarella in the fridge. doh! the only melty kind of cheese i had on hand was a smoked cheese blend that i use for sweet potato tacos. my friend sreya was making the pizza with me...
kale - csa week 2
i keep hearing people talk about kale chips. ick. does not sound good at all. so here i was with a fresh bunch of kale from our csa and i spent some time researching recipes. i still wasn’t quite sure what to do with it when my brilliant hubby says, “why don’t you prepare it like the collard greens last week?” oh yeah. bacon, red onions…duh. so that’s what i...
fresh thyme - csa week 2
how pretty is this little bunch of fresh thyme? i love the little lavender flowers the dot the end of each sprig. just cute. it came in the box on week 2, but i’ve been using it for the last 2 weeks. it’s hearty and has been very useful in many recipes lately!
cilantro pesto -- csa week 1
this pesto is a gorgeous green and has a light, fresh taste to it! two small farms gave me a full bunch of cilantro for week 1, so hubby suggested i try a pesto with it. i found this cilantro pesto recipe on allrecipes.com and it was perfect! i used it on pasta and even as the base of a pizza with leftover roasted chicken. it was so good! i rolled out the pizza dough to almost fit a half...
(mom's cookin' chicken and) collard greens -- csa...
ever since i made this meal, my hubby has been singing, “it’s christmas time in hollis queens, mom’s cookin’ chicken and collard greens…” no, not annoying at all. the first week’s csa veggie box gave me collard greens. i used them during our last subscription years ago and for lack of being creative, i just put them into soups. they tasted fine and all,...
roasted veggie lasanga -- csa week 1
L-R: delicata squash, turnips, baby carrots and fresh spinach. how gorgeous are these veggies? so fresh and full of color. that’s cos they were picked the day before i got them! thanks to my csa with two small farms, i’m once again able to cook with different veggies than i would usually pickup at the market. these were the veggies i decided to roast to make veggie lasagna last...
Potato leek soup -- CSA week 1
We’re doing a CSA again through Two Small Farms. We subscribed several years ago, but then we moved, got busy, blah blah blah and we didn’t renew the following year. We decided to give it another try this year and start with the 9 week option first. And I’m glad to report that we’re already starting off the season with a bang! I’ve used almost everything in the...
honey wheat bread
here it is — my first loaf of yeast bread! i made it in my new breadmaker. even though i baked the mixing paddle into the loaf and the crust is kind of deformed, it still tasted good. and it makes yummy toast! you can see the paddle indentation at the bottom of the slice. next time i’ll listen for the 3 beeps before the last rise cycle and pull that sucker out of the dough...
my bread machine rocks!
hubby got me a bread machine for christmas last year. i recently told someone this and how i hadn’t used it yet and her shocked reply was, “you’ve had a bread machine since december and haven’t used it yet?” that was my cue to give it a whirl. i kept poring over bread recipes to decide what to try first and put a lot of pressure on myself to make the right...
i roasted a chicken and now i need to clean my...
pretty, huh? yeah. it was delicious and all, but holy hell, my oven is a mess! i bought this free range beauty for our valentine night dinner cos it’s the hubby’s fave meal (roast chicken, pinto beans, spanish rice and corn tortillas). it roasted up gorgeous, juicy and tender, but now my oven looks like a grease bomb exploded. i didn’t want to cover it for fear of not getting...