January 30th, 2009

I thought this would be a nice way to end the week because it makes me so happy. I absolutely love Maira Kalman and this new work in the New York Times is awesome.

Have a great weekend! Cheers!

meyer lemon tree?

January 29th, 2009

photos from the kitchn

Ok, so I saw this post on the Kitchn and now I totally want to get a Meyer Lemon Tree for our apartment. Is that weird? Aaron just laughed when I brought it up… I mean, it’s only like $10 and it will fit on a coffee table. That just seems amazing!

Check out Logee’s and you just might want one yourself!

butterscotch pudding with cinnamon whipped cream

January 29th, 2009

I think I’m on a pudding kick. I just realized that this is the second pudding recipe I’ve tried this month. There must be something about this time of year that makes crave the creamy goodness of the old fashioned dessert. This time I was lured by the pages of Gourmet and their recipe for butterscotch pudding.

The recipe called for whole milk, but I only had 2% on hand, so that’s what I used. And guess what, it still turned out ok. After a little while on the stovetop and a little whisking, my pudding thickened and was ready to chill for a bit. As it cooled I brainstormed about the whipped cream. Sure I could whip up some fresh cream and call it a day, but I wanted to jazz it up a bit. I decided that cinnamon would be a nice compliment to the buttery flavor of the pudding.

I scooped a little of the cold pudding into a cup and dropped a dollop of whipped cream on top. Mmmm, it was delicious! The pudding had a nice buttery flavor while the whipped cream had just enough cinnamon in it to make it special. Try it out for yourself.

Butterscotch Pudding
from Gourmet | serves 4

1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
tablespoons plus 2 tsp cornstarch
1 1/2
cups whole milk
cup heavy cream
tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into bits
teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Whisk together brown sugar, cornstarch, and 1/4 tsp salt in a heavy medium saucepan, then whisk in milk and cream.
Bring to a boil over medium heat, whisking frequently, then boil, whisking, 1 minute.
Remove from heat and whisk in butter and vanilla.
Pour into a bowl, then cover surface with buttered wax paper and chill until cold, at least 1 1/2 hours.

Cinnamon Whipped Cream
makes 4 servings

1/2 cup heavy cream
1 Tablespoon powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Combine all ingredients in bowl of a mixer with whisk attachment. Mix on high for 2-3 minutes, watching closely.

whole wheat french toast with cinnamon honey

January 28th, 2009

Growing up, I never liked french toast. Even the smell of it made me nauseous. I can’t pinpoint the exact time when my hate for it dissapated, but I do remember when I ate it and thought, wow, I kind of like this stuff.

We took a trip to Northern New York last year and stayed at a bed and breakfast where breakfast was made to order each morning. I think Aaron ordered the french toast one day and it just looked so good, I couldn’t resist. I ordered my own and when it came out I dug in. Not only was it delicious, but it was whole wheat too! In my mind that seems kind of wrong, but when it was in my mouth it was so right.

Last weekend I took my first stab at making homemade french toast. I even used whole wheat, but I gave it some jazz by adding some cinnamon to the batter. A quick dip in the batter, then on to a hot skillet and I was on my way to some delicious french toast. I ran into a little kink in my plan when I realized we were out of maple syrup (how could this be?!) but after a quick perusal of the pantry, I came up with a substitute, cinnamon honey.

Once the toast was all nice and golden, and perhaps a little extra brown around the edges, I drizzled a little honey over top and gave ‘er a taste. Yum! I think I may need more french toast in my life! The cinnamon honey gave it an interesting taste, still sweet, just a bit different, which was kind of nice. If you’re looking to mix things up a bit, give this a try.

whole wheat french toast
serves 2

1/3 cup milk
2 eggs
2 Tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of salt
4 slices wheat bread
2 Tablespoons butter

Cinnamon Honey
1/4 cup honey
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Whisk together the milk, eggs, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon and salt in a shallow bowl.
Dip a slice of bread in the batter and flip to soak the other side. Repeat with all slices.
Melt 1 Tablespoon butter in a large nonstick skillet. Place two slices of bread in it and cook for 2-3 minutes or until golden.
Flip the slices and cook an additional 2-3 minutes.
Add remaining Tablespoon of butter and repeat the process.
Stir cinnamon and honey together and drizzle over top. Enjoy!

read: the sharper your knife, the less you cry

January 27th, 2009

I was so excited to find The Sharper Your Knife, The Less You Cry at the airport when we were flying to Argentina. It’s the perfect book to lose yourself in, especially on vacation. But even if you’re just on your living room couch, a chapter will leave you feeling like you just spent some time in Paris.

Kathleen Flinn ended up at thefamed culinary school, Le Cordon Bleu after she was let go from her company in London. Not knowing what to do, she talked to her boyfriend back in the States and he urged her to follow her lifelong dream and apply to Le Cordon Bleu. The book tells the story of Flinn’s dreamy experience at the school, as well as her life in Paris. Ok, well it’s not all dreamy, but she gives the reader a window into a world that only a few get to really experience.

This is one of those books that I was sorry to see end. I can’t recommend it enough.

gnocchi with brown butter and sage

January 26th, 2009

Before I get started, prepare to run out right now and buy some butter and sage, because this recipe will rock your world. It’s ridiculously simple but so, so delicious. I’d seen it a while ago and put off making it for some silly reason, but when I found myself with a whole lotta gnocchi I thought brown butter would go great with it.

So the basic gist of the recipe is to melt butter and then place a bunch of sage leaves in the butter until they get crispy. At the same time, the butter will begin to get brown while taking in some of the flavors from the sage. Once the edges of the sage start to curl, remove them. The butter starts to get perfectly brown at around the same time, so you just add a little stock and a lot of parmesan and taadaa.

When the sauce was combined, I added my already cooked gnocchi and made sure it was well coated. I then topped it off with the sage and a little parmesan. I was not prepared for the awesomeness of fried sage. If I would have been, I would have fried more of it. When you put a sage leaf on your tongue it almost immediatly dissolves. It’s this magical little piece of goodness. It’s enhanced by the brown butter and the gnocchi provides a nice vehicle for it all. But really, the sage is the star of this show.

gnocchi with brown butter and sage
from epicurious | makes 4 servings

4 1/2 tablespoons butter
20 fresh sage leaves, stemmed
4 1/2 tablespoons frozen veal stock, thawed, or 2 tablespoons beef broth and 2 1/2 tablespoons low-salt chicken broth
5 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese plus additional for serving
1 package fresh gnocchi*

Cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until tender, stirring occasionally.
Drain, reserving 1/2 cup cooking liquid.
Meanwhile, melt butter in heavy large skillet over medium-low heat.
Add sage leaves and cook until edges curl and butter is dark amber (do not burn), stirring and turning leaves occasionally, about 6 minutes.

Transfer sage to paper towels.
Add veal stock to brown butter.
Add pasta and 5 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese to brown butter mixture in skillet; toss to coat, adding reserved cooking liquid by tablespoonfuls if dry. Season with salt and pepper.
Divide among bowls. Garnish with fried sage leaves and cheese.

* You could really use whatever pasta you prefer, although I think the gnocchi was quite delicious.

blood orange mimosa

January 23rd, 2009

This week has been one to celebrate, so of course I had to make a tasty beverage for happy hour. I thought I’d take a classic champagne cocktail and mix it up.

I love, love, love blood oranges, so I squeezed some fresh blood orange juice and topped it off with some champagne to make a lovely blood orange mimosa. Let me tell you, this was deeelicious! A tiny bit sweeter than your average mimosa but with all the delicious flavor.

Cheers! To a new beginning and an awesome new president. Have a great weekend!

Blood Orange Mimosa

makes 1 serving
1 blood orange, juiced
1. juice the orange and poor it in a champagne glass.

2. top it off with champagne.

3.Clink glasses with someone sitting next to you and enjoy! Cheers!


lemon rosemary biscuit

January 22nd, 2009

When I flipped through one of my new cookbooks, Simply Organic, this recipe immediately caught my eye. I guess I’m a sucker for biscuits, especially when there are interesting flavors involved. And ever since my discovery of Carr’s Rosemary Crackers, I just can’t get enough rosemary.

They mix up pretty much like any other biscuit recipe, a bit of flour (I used part whole wheat, part pastry), some buttermilk and a hearty portion of butter. Of course there are a few other ingredients involved, but the ones that really make this are the lemon zest and rosemary. The aroma alone is worth making the recipe, both while you’re mixing the dough and while they’re baking. Yum!

The result is a wonderfully light (in the biscuit sense) and buttery biscuit. The lemon and rosemary worked quite well together, although next time I think I might add even more of both to really amp up the flavor. Mine turned out nice, but the flavors were subtle, I think they might be just a touch better with a little more pizzazz. That and perhaps some sea salt sprinkled on top. Yummmm.

Rosemary-Lemon Biscuits
from Simply Organic | makes 12-18*

1 cup buttermilk
1 large egg, beaten
1 Tablespoon grated lemon zest
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
2 cups whole grain pastry flour **
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter

Preheat oven to 375°

Line a baking sheet with parchment and set aside.
In a small bowl, combine the buttermilk, egg, lemon zest and rosemary.
In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt.
Grate the butter into the mixture (or just cut it in). Using your hands or a pastry blender, work the butter into the flour mixture until the piece are about the size of peas.
Form a well in the center of the flour mixture and stir in the buttermilk mixture until just blended.
Drop the batter by heaping tablespoons on the the prepared baking sheet.
Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until golden and a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

* The original recipe says they make 12, but mine made more like 18 hearty biscuits
** I used 1 cup whole wheat flour, 1 cup pastry flour and it worked quite well.