i love pancakes – but i think i love dutch babies more… more to come.
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welcome back – it’s been too long. what i mean is i moved – from seattle to san francisco to boston – since my last post. a whirlwind! but now that i’m here – let’s talk about pie. jeti and prepared for thanksgiving in boston – brrrr.
we were only in charge of one dish – pie. the day before thanksgiving i rushed home from work to get started on my pie. what would i make?? then, i remembered that Jeti’s Master raving each year about his favorite pumpkin pie – from birdbath bakery – in a rich shortbread crust.
so we got started. first – the crust. i thought i would get the crust ready before heading down to the store to pickup [ahem] the pumpkin… thirty minutes later, the crust was done but the snow was just picking up.
i tried to drive the car out of the small hill in the driveway, but i failed. i knew the snow wouldn’t last long. a few hours past and the plowers came by. 9pm rolled around quickly and i finally made it down the hill, but all the stores were shut. gah – my only responsibility was pie! how could i show up without one? the next morning, i made an emergency trip to every store i could imagine, until finally concluding that Walgreens was my only option. amazingly, canned pumpkin was in stock.
in no time at all, we had pie. very, very delicious pie. since we were only having one pie, i decided to please both pumpkin and pecan parties and whipped up a caramel pecan topping infused with a dash of whiskey.
the shortbread began to brown, but the result was unmatched. maybe my best pie – ever.
1 c. unsalted butter [softened]
2 c. flour
1/3 c. sugar
1 2/3 c. 100% pumpkin
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/8 tsp allspice
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp cloves
2/3 c. sugar
touch of salt
1 1/3 c half and half
1/2 c. butter
1 c. brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 shot whiskey
1 c. toasted pecans
1 tsp. heavy whipping cream
preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
prepare the crust by mixing together all ingredients. press into a 9″ pie pan. make sure to press the dough up high enough on the sides to prevent sliding.
bake for 10 minutes. remove and let stand while you prepare the pie filling.
preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
make the pie filling – heat the pumpkin and the sugar over medium heat in a saucepan until the pumpkin becomes fragrant (5 minutes) stirring occasionally. remove from heat and let cool. add the rest of the ingredients and mix until combined. add to pie crust and move back to the oven.
bake for 12 – 14 minutes, then reduce to 350 degrees. continue baking for 35 minutes, or until the top of the pie moves like jello when you move it. if you test it with a toothpick, make sure that the center is solid (but still moist).
while the pie is cooling, make the topping on the stovetop. melt the butter and brown sugar together over medium heat until the butter starts to boil. stir constantly with a whisk. allow the caramel to thicken. add the salt and the vanilla. continue stirring but remove from heat. add the whiskey and the whipping cream. allow to cool slightly, then pour over the top of the pie evenly. spread the pecans over the top, and let the pie set for 1 – 2 hours before serving. you can warm it back up at 250 degrees for 10 minutes before serving if you prefer it warm.
seriously, how can it be November? we’ve officially come face to face with blustery cold days and frequent rain storms. on my regular trip to the market, i find butternut squash on sale for just $0.99/lbs! without a recipe in mind, i decided to pick one up.
the lonely squash stared at me from the counter for some 9 days as the search for an appetizing meal played on. and then suddenly, déjà vu. this time, last year, butternut squash, counter. i recalled last year trying out a butternut squash soup recipe on some friends, which was given a mediocre review of a bit too thick for soup and more resemblant of a baby food.
how gross, i thought. but i’m sure i can do better. so this time around, i decided to axe up the recipe by replacing
sauteed apples with apple sauce and a touch of apple juice, and one additional cup of chicken stock.
the result was dreamy. the perfect creamy soup, hold the cream. a healthy take on fall with a warm cup of butternut squash & apple soup, finished with a dash of cinnamon and nutmeg.
butternut squash soup
one butternut squash (2 1/2 lbs or so)
2 cups of water
2 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp butter
1 cup applesauce
1 small yellow onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic
1/4 c apple juice
2 1/4 c chicken stock
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp white pepper
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp coriander
preheat oven to 400°. slice squash lengthwise and remove the seeds. place sliced side down into baking pan with two cups of water. bake at 400° for 45-50 minutes, or until the squash is tender. remove from oven and allow to cool, until the pulp can be easily removed from the skins. this should give you approximately 3c of pulp.
saute diced onions in butter until translucent (5 mins). add applesauce and minced garlic. simmer for another 5 minutes. add chicken stock, apple juice, squash pulp, salt, pepper, and spices. whisk ingredients together and bring to a boil. lower heat to medium and reduce for about 10 minutes.
puree the soup in your food processor or food mill. keep warm over low heat and serve immediately. top with creme fraiche and cinnamon for a special treat. enjoy!
halfway through july and I’m beginning to worry summer may pass us by this year in Seattle. i keep waiting for a sunny day — particularly one that merits firing up some coals on the barbecue. since that day has yet to arrive, we dabbled with recipes to conjure up a refreshing summer meal despite the rain.
we settled on chicken lettuce wraps, inspired by none other than the world-wide web. these turned out just as we’d hoped — light, refreshing, delicious.
of course what really makes these guys tasty is the ‘special’ sauce, a blend of soy sauce, rice vinegar, water, sugar, hot asian mustard, red chili paste, sesame oil, and ginger. what is great about this sauce is that each can spice up their own ramekin of sauce as desired. the chicken breasts are first pan seared and thereafter cooled for mincing.
the meat is minced with a mixture of onions, mushrooms, water chestnuts, and garlic — and then stir fried over medium high with a soy sauce, rice vinegar and brown sugar sauce.
finally scoop a dollop of meat mixture into each iceberg lettuce leaf. load up with the sauce of your choice and fold it up like a taco. scrumptious!
alongside our lettuce wraps we indulged in a fresh asian chicken sesame salad (recipe below).
chicken lettuce wraps
2 lbs skinless boneless chicken breast
oil for cooking
1 can water chestnuts – minced
1/2 c crimini mushrooms – minced
1/2 c yellow onion – chopped
2 garlic cloves
head of iceberg lettuce
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp rice vinegar
1/4 c sugar
1/3 c water
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp rice vinegar
1/4 tsp sesame oil
1/4 tsp chili oil
2 tsp chili paste
hot mustard to taste
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp tomato paste
pan sear the chicken for 5-7 minutes on each side. allow to cool. while cooling, mince water chestnuts, onion, garlic, and mushrooms. set aside. once the chicken has cooled, mince the chicken and add to the other minced ingredients. combine 2 tablespoons of soy sauce with 2 tablespoons of brown sugar and 1/2 tablespoon of rice vinegar. this is your stir fry sauce, set aside.
put all special sauce ingredients except for the hot mustard and chili paste into the food processor. blend until combined. refrigerate until eating. add chili paste (2 tsp) and hot mustard to taste right before serving.
stir fry chicken mixture with soy mixture for 5-7 minutes on medium. while this is cooking, wash, clean, and separate your iceberg lettuce leaves. spread on a plate and serve alongside the meat mixture. add about 1/4 cup of meat mixture to each lettuce wrap, add sauce to taste, and enjoy!
asian chicken salad
1/2 package of chinese egg noodles
1/4 cup peanut butter
1 tbsp rice vinegar
2 tbsp soy sauce
1-2 tbsp of minced jarred ginger (such as the ginger people’s minced ginger)
2 tbsp Sriracha or chili paste
1 c thinly sliced carrots
one pan seared chicken breast, sliced
1 cup diced green onions
2 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
1/2 c chicken broth
cook egg noodles according to packaging. during the last 2-3 minutes, add the carrots to the boiling water. drain and rinse under cold water. combined peanut butter, rice vinegar, soy sauce, ginger, srirarcha, and chicken broth in a food processor. blend until combined. add green onions, sauce, sesame seeds, and diced chicken to the pasta. cover and refrigerate until ready to eat. enjoy!
happy birthday [to me]! i celebrated yet another birthday last night and am rather embarrassed to admit i slaved away on my own birthday cake. honestly i’m not a big birthday fan, so why did i need to make myself a cake? we had already celebrated with friends on Saturday, indulging in italian pizzas and coconut cream pies.
but Nick thoughtfully prepared an earth-shattering dinner menu for Monday that we planned to consume until incapacitation, after which i would probably have been better off falling asleep. instead i topped it off with a slice of irresistible. so i felt it would only be appropriate to make my contributions to the meal via a celebratory dessert finale.
the menu? short rib bone marrow homemade ravioli sprinkled with garlic chips courtesy of the chef [seen below], followed by tiramisu cheesecake from ricotta and marscarpone courtesy of the apprentice.
i actually intended to make a traditional tiramisu, but it turns out lady fingers are far more difficult to find that one would think [high demand, mother’s day weekend?]… three markets later, i decided to go for a chocolate cookie crumb cheesecake with an espresso twist.
the end result was surprisingly so much better than tiramisu. it was moist and creamy, but not too heavy. since my cheesecake cracked [womp, womp] i covered the top with a plain marscarpone whipped cream frosting, filling in all of the crevices. i then added the chocolate marscarpone whipped cream rim and ground dark chocolate, the perfect amount of bittersweet.
i may just have to make this birthday cake business a tradition.
tiramisu cheesecake [espresso cheesecake]
16 oz cream cheese
4 oz marscarpone
1/2 c ricotta
1 c sugar
1 shot espresso
2 tbsp Bailey’s Irish cream or Kahlua
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 c chocolate graham crackers
3 tbsp butter
4 tbsp flour
pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
in your food processor, blend melted butter and lightly smashed graham crackers. pour mixture into the bottom of your 9″ springform pan and press into the bottom in an even layer. set aside. mix cream cheese, marscarpone, and ricotta on high until light and fluffy. add sugar slowly until combined. reduce blender speed and add eggs one at a time until just mixed. add espresso, vanilla, irish cream until combined. gently fold in flour slowly to avoid clumping. pour mixture through a food mill into the prepared pan. wrap pan with foil tightly and place into a water bath in the oven. bake for 60 minutes.
1 c heavy whipping cream
8 oz marscarpone
1 c confectioners sugar
1/4 c cocoa powder [optional for chocolate frosting].
whip in your stand mixture until thoroughly combined. spread evenly over cooled cheesecake.
cover cheesecake with your choice of chocolate shavings, fine chocolate, cocoa powder, or chocolate covered espresso beans. allow to cool in the refrigerator for at least two hours prior to serving. enjoy!
with warmer days finally sprinkling in around seattle’s tiresome gray hues, it hit me like a brick. oh dear – summer. you know, that short-lived 6-week season when short shorts, tank tops, and summer dresses come out to play haunt all of us with our pasty legs and bloated winter bellies.
ugh, I must start eating lighter meals and researching this year’s best streak-free sunless tanner. seattle’s summer slogan ought to be warning: don’t blink or you might miss it. what I find most unusual is the volume of high end speed boats and convertibles that seem to rise from the dead just long enough to get their annual tune-up.
the joys of shrimp scampi were calling to me – a dish that I first made with the help of a good friend, and would proceed to make many of times thereafter. citrusy lemons and garlic galore, sub parsley for what some would refer to as ‘you love it or you hate it’, cilantro. this dish is quick, easy, and light.
1 lbs shrimp – veined and peeled
1/4 c butter
1/2 c chopped cilantro
2 lemons, for juice and peel
4-6 garlic cloves
1 c white wine
boil 2 quarts of water for linguine. cook per package instructions.
sauté shrimp for about 1 minute in steaming water until just cooked. remove from pan and set aside. melt butter until foaming, add garlic and shallots. sauté 3 minutes until shallots become translucent. add white wine and lemon juice from two small/medium lemons, continue simmer. add 1/2 tablespoon of grated lemon peel. add cilantro, salt and pepper to taste. add back the shrimp to reheat over medium heat for 2 minutes.
combine shrimp and sauce with strained linguine noodles. serve and enjoy with a delicious crusty bread or side salad!
easter weekend and book club tonight. my first book club ever. i’ve never considered going in the past, because i figure if i don’t have time to read the book – why go? as if reading the book was a mandatory requirement of attendance or something. i’ve since been informed ‘book club’ is more a rendition of Sex In the City – a total excuse for a room full of ladies to drink wine and indulge in delicious treats while ranting and raving about everything under the sun. thus, my cupcakes and i will be there.
as much as i am craving chocolate peanut butter cake – i needed to make something a bit more ‘girly’. in lieu of Easter pastels, and managing to include my daily dose of chocolate, raspberry and champagne fit the bill.
why chocolate stout? well to be honest, the stout (such as Guinness) complements dark chocolate so well that the end result is simply a richer moister chocolate cupcake.
1 c stout (such as Guinness)
1 stick unsalted butter
3/4 c pressed cocoa powder
1/2 c canola or grapeseed oil
1/3 c sour cream
1/3 c milk
2 c flour
2 c sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt
chocolate raspberry ganache
6 oz dark chocolate (high quality)
1 c heavy cream
1/2 c seedless black raspberry preserve
raspberry whipped cream frosting (optional)
1 c heavy whip cream
1/3 c seedless black raspberry preserves
6 tbsp powdered sugar
2 sticks unsalted butter
4 tbsp champagne
3 c powdered sugar
2 tbsp heavy cream
pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. line 24 muffin cups with your favorite cupcake liners.
melt butter in a sauce pan. add oil, cocoa powder, and stout. whisk until thoroughly combined. let cool.
sift flour, sugar, soda, and salt together. in a separate bowl, beat sour cream, milk and eggs. add stout sauce. slowly fold in flour mixture until just combined. pour batter into your cupcake liners, filling each 3/4 way to top. bake for 15-17 minutes, until the centers are clean on a toothpick. let cool.
while the cupcakes are baking, chop dark chocolate chunks and put in a heat proof bowl or double boiler. heat heavy cream for ganache in a sauce pan until just bubbling at the edges. pour over heavy cream over the chocolate chunks and stir until chocolate is melted (may need to heat over double broiler. add raspberry preserves until smooth. allow to cool for a few minutes, but not too long that the chocolate begins to settle.
using an apple corer, gently remove the centers of the cupcakes. push the corer down until it feels like you are about 1/2 way to the bottom. fill with ganache. allow to cool completely.
now, you do not need to make both frosting recipe’s, so take your pick.
raspberry whipped cream frosting:
whip on high heavy cream, preserves, and powdered sugar for 5 minutes or until peaks are forming. fill plastic sandwich bag or a piping bag. frost cupcakes in the design of your choice!
whip butter and heavy cream until light and fluffy. begin adding powdered sugar 1 tsbp at a time. whip on high until powdered sugar is fully incorporated. alternate between powdered sugar and champagne. using a piping bag to frost your cupcakes – enjoy!