Wednesday, November 2, 2011

what i'm eating today

lunch~ Arctic Char, tomatoes with goat cheese, delicata squash, 2 Alexia sweet potato puffs.

snack~ Emily's cinnamon apple glazed cake squares

with a little almond extract added to the glaze. so yum !!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Recent Favorites

tofu chocolate pudding

whole wheat rolls

spaghetti carbonara

pizzas with lamb sausage and mint from Osteria Coppa

apple-pumpkin Kodiak pancakes

pumpkin smoothies (pumpkin, soy milk, splenda, cinnamon)

homemade sashimi

sushi from Barracuda
nut butter tastings. . .


Wednesday, May 4, 2011

In Your Face

I can't help it. I love close shots of ooey gooey desserts.

Since you can't get your face up close and personal with this crumble, I'm just helping you out.

I was completely inspired by the tropical flavors of Joy the Baker's Strawberry Pineapple Crumble last month. Crisps and crumbles are my most favorite desserts next to pie. This fruit combination was a brilliant new idea; I love pineapple, but it never comes to mind for dessert.

I followed her recipe but doubled it and shaved a bit of sugar from the fruit and some butter from the topping. I also used salted butter which was an amazing contrast with the sweet filling.

Oh. my. goodness. this is good.


Sunday, May 1, 2011


I made the first foods for my baby. It was fun, satisfying, and very easy. If you'd like to read about it, step on over to Raising Lyla.


Monday, April 18, 2011

Sea of Green

I like what I like. On weekdays I don't want to experiment much. Give me dishes I love that are easy. Every once in a while I'll change things up. I love a good cauliflower mash, so why not try it with broccoli?

We made this delicious mash in 10 minutes and boy is it delicious! I served it with some pork tenderloin and roasted fennel, but it'd make an excellent ravioli filling or white pizza topping.

Broccoli Mash

*I used Laughing Cow wedges because I had two in the fridge and it made the mash a little lighter. Next time any finely grated cheese would work.

12 oz broccoli florets

2 light Laughing Cow wedges

1/2 tsp salt

splash of milk

Steam the broccoli until tender and bright green. Dump into a food processor with the salt and pulse until broken up. Add a splash of milk and the two Laughing Cow wedges and process until smooth and combined, scraping down the bowl as needed.

Just a little longer and I can put her to work on prep.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Yum Cha

I just got back from vacation in Kauai, which you can read more about here. We never left the resort but it didn't matter because the pool and beach were excellent and we had amazing food at every meal. I was too busy photographing my family to document much of the food. But I did snap two of our favorite dinners, both at Yum Cha, the hotel's Asian fusion spot. Sharing was the name of the game- my favorite!

The first night we had peppered beef, pad thai (under the egg blanket), and a pork hot pot.

Followed by the green tea brulee with almond cookies.

The food was excellent and since we liked it so much, we returned on our last night. This time I missed the soup appetizers and tempura ice cream dessert, and only got the remnants of dinner: stir fried udon, fried wild rice, and the peppered beef again because it was that good.

We ate lunch by the pool everyday.

My shrimp and somen noodles on the last day were delicious, light, and pretty.

Other vacation eats included lobster, king crab, kalua pork, seared ahi sashimi, chocolate mousse cake, waffle fries, coconut lattes, musubi, strawberry smoothies, lava flows, and bedtime raspberry chocolates.

I'm waddling a little. ~::::~

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Results of Dinner Percolating

On my indecisive days, dinner percolates in my brain all afternoon and it's then that I get creative and come up with something new. For this meal I went from having no idea what I wanted to a serendipitous combination of tastes that used great items from my fridge and pantry. This dish combines some of my most favorite things; it's a cross between macaroni and cheese and a vegetable gratin, but very heavy on the vegetables.

There are several components that make this dish come together, but the actual hands-on time is short so it's quick enough for a weeknight.

Vegetable Pasta Gratin
serves 3-4

8 ounces broccoli florets
12 ounces butternut squash, cubed
1/2 red onion, cubed
1/2 apple, skin on and cubed
2 Tbs olive oil
1/2 cup whole wheat pasta
1 Tbs butter
2 Tbs flour
1 cup low fat milk
3/4 cup shredded cheese (I used my favorite TJ's quattro formaggio blend)
salt to taste
1/2 cup toasted cornbread crumbs

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Toss the broccoli, squash, onion, and apple in a large bowl with the olive oil and salt to taste. Spread on a baking sheet and roast for 35 minutes, tossing halfway through. Remove from the oven and set aside. Lower the oven to 350 degrees.

In a small pot, boil the pasta according to the package directions. Drain and set aside.

In a medium pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk together until cooked and bubbling. Warm the milk in the microwave until hot and add to the butter-flour mixture. Whisk vigorously and cook together until the bechamel starts to thicken. Add the cheese and whisk until melted into the sauce. Remove from the heat and stir the vegetables and pasta into the sauce.

Transfer to a baking dish in an even layer and sprinkle with the breadcrumbs. Bake for 25-30 minutes until bubbly and the top is lightly browned.
And because I can't post here or there without a picture, my baking assistant (who is getting more and more interested in the action of 'eating') says hello:


Monday, February 28, 2011

Full of Dessert Tricks These Days

My sweet tooth is way out of control right now.

I made Wannabe Chef's Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Dessert Hummus today, and I wanted to let you know that it's good.
No dippers, just eating it with a spoon.


Friday, February 25, 2011

A Crafty Way to Eat Pie for Dinner

I need to begin this post with a story.

This week I had the nicest surprise when I woke up. My day begins with diaper changes and nursing, and as I sat there with Lyla I received a text message from my Mom. She had driven by my house 30 minutes earlier (dropping off Dad at SFO for a flight to Atlanta) and had left a package on my doorstep. When I went to retrieve it, I found lunch. Not just any lunch, the leftovers from her dinner the night before that had me very excited: pureed broccoli and cheese soup (new recipe from Cook's Illustrated- amazing!) and some breakfast apple pie from Marion Cunningham's Breakfast Book. I thought about this lunch all morning and barely managed to not eat all of both in one sitting.

The breakfast apple pie had less sugar and was baked in a cheddar crust. It was wonderful, and gone too fast. I'll do almost anything for apple pie, so naturally I was wishing for more.
That's where these apple cheddar calzones came from. The flavors of apple pie with sharpy cheesy cheddar and a wholesome crust make it pretty suitable for the dinner table.

Apple Cheddar Calzones
makes 3 largish calzones

1/2 batch whole wheat pizza dough
2 Granny Smith Apples (tart), peeled and diced
2 Pink Lady Apples (sweet), peeled and diced
1 Tbs butter
3 Tbs sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
juice from 1/2 lemon
1 1/2 cups sharp white cheddar cheese, grated

Mix pizza dough in the bread machine, then divide into three balls and lay on a floured surface and drape with a wet towel. (Alternatively, you can use storebough dough and prepare to the package's directions). Add the butter to a deep saute pan over medium heat. Add the diced apples, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and lemon juice. Cook, stirring occasionally for 10-15 minutes until the apples are soft. Turn off the heat and set aside to cool slightly.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.

Roll out first ball of dough and place 1/3 of the apples on half of the dough. Top with 1/3 of the grated cheese. Fold dough over the top and pinch the ends together to seal. Place on a baking sheet and cut 4 slits in the top of the calzone with a knife. Repeat with the second and third balls of dough and the rest of the filling.

Bake for about 20 minutes until the crusts are golden brown and bubbly. Allow to cool a few minutes before slicing in half and serving.

It's just like eating pie for dinner. And leftovers make excellent breakfast.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Sudden Urge to Bake

It's rainy and freezing out for the nth day in a row. And President's Day, so Ray is home with Lyla and I. Besides a quick trip to Babies R Us and Whole Foods, I'm staying indoors. I don't mind since I'm an introverted homebody whose daughter likes to nap in her swing for several hours in the afternoon.

But Ray gets stir crazy, so he headed out to Costco for batteries, stamps, and this frozen ravioli he loves that I think smells pretty foul. Despite the desire to lose the last 10 baby LBs, while he was gone I decided to bake. A quick search through bookmarked recipes brought me to one of the favorites, Joy the Baker. I'm actually making two of hers today: dinner tonight, and her Peanut Butter Banana Bread.

I had all the ingredients, and my own peanut butter obsession has recently spread to the rest of my house. I bet Lyla loves it too since she gets it through me every day. After making a nice big mess of my kitchen (measuring cups and utensils and crumbs next to the Bumbo seat, burp cloth, and Chan Pie Gnon teether aka Gnomie),

I placed the loaf pan in the oven and sat down to enjoy the fantastic peanut butter and banana aroma.

Hopefully the smell doesn't wake the little one up.


I followed Joy's recipe exactly. For the recipe, please visit her blog.


Thursday, February 17, 2011

In Disguise

These are cookie dough balls disguised as domes. I'm telling you.

These spheres of gooey smooshy batter and chocolate have been roaming the internet and I've been bookmarking them left right and center. We're having a dinner party tomorrow so the perfect excuse to try them out.

But mine didn't turn out. The dreaded spreading occured and most of mine are more like a regular cookie than a ball of dough. I followed directions to refrigerate the dough for at least 20 minutes, but the hand rolling does warm them up so a longer refrigeration would help them stay in shape.

Fortunately this failure still yields a perfectly tasty cookie.

Now the question of how crazy I am to be hosting a dinner party with a 3-month-old that has random meltdowns in the evening?
Maybe you can answer that for me.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Amaretto Cake

My interest in food began to take shape in college, a gradual process beginning my sophomore year. That year I moved out of the dorm and into an apartment, where I had to cook for myself if I wanted to eat. I started with apple cinnamon pancakes for my roommates, then mom's recipe for lasagna bolognese. There was a time where I'd make eggs and tomatoes in a tortilla every morning before class, and I remember really good salmon baked in parchment with rice and tzatziki on the side.

My school operated on a 4-1-4 semester system, the '1' being a single intensive course in January, known as Jan Term. For my senior year Jan Term, I took a food writing class. Being able to read and write about food from the likes of MFK Fisher and Julia Child was a great way to spend a month. The last class meeting included a potluck. Our writing was gourmet but the potluck wasn't- we were still college students! I brought this cake and it was pretty popular.

Tomorrow is my 28th birthday and I decided to bake myself a cake. Yes, there is still a bunch of baby weight to work off but there has to be some cake for a birthday. (Mom is making my favorite apple pie for us tomorrow, but I want cake too. Don't judge.)

The thing about this cake is that it's delicious and so, so, so easy. There's nothing about this that is from scratch! I have no shame in using cake and pudding mixes today, especially because this is my baking assistant~

(Times have changed since the last time I made this cake. My repertoire has expanded, and my baking assistant wears duckie jammies. And the main fixture on my counter is now a Bumbo seat.)

One thing hasn't changed: the notion that a little booze makes baked goods even better. This particular cake benefits from a healthy portion of this~

The cake is very moist with a lovely almond scent, while the icing is flavorful and just a little boozy from the Amaretto.
The best part? Start to finish during naptime. Sweet.

Amaretto Cake

serves 16

1 package plain yellow cake mix

1 package instant vanilla pudding mix

3/4 cup Amaretto liquor

1/2 cup water

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1/4 cup plain applesauce

4 eggs

1/4 tsp almond extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahreinheit. Grease and flour a 10-in bundt pan.

Blend the mixes, Amaretto, water, oil, applesauce, eggs, and extract with a hand blender for 1 min on low speed. Increase the speed to medium and beat for an additional 2 minutes. Pour the batter into the prepared bundt pan and bake for 45-50 minutes until golden brown and springy. Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool for 20 minutes.

Run a knife along the edge of the cake and invert on to the cooling rack. Drizzle with the glaze (recipe below) and 1/4 cup toasted slivered almonds. Cool completely before serving.

Glaze: 1 cup confectioners sugar whisked together with 5 Tbs Amaretto