Monthly Archives: November 2010

Thanksgiving Leftovers Be Damned!

I had leftover thanksgiving for lunch so let’s just say that it wasn’t sounding so great for dinner. Luckily my aunt and mom were thinking the same thing. The dinner was supposed to consisted for pasta with my grandma’s homemade canned pasta sauce, but after all of the appetizers, no one had any room.

Roasted Garlic:

Put the cloves (in tact) in a large piece of foil

Cut off the tips of each clove

Drizzle olive oil over the top

Add salt, pepper, rosemary sprig and any other seasonings

Sprinkle 1 Tablespoon of water inside

Seal and cook at 350 for 30-45 minutes


Baked Brie with Homemade Cranberry Sauce:

We used one of those handy-dandy brie bowls – I suggest buying one.

Cut the top rind off of the brie wheel, cover with cranberry sauce (I guess Thanksgiving helped a little) and any desired herbs

Cook 350 for about 15 minutes

It will be melty, gooey and delicious


In addition to the pistachios, jalapeno jelly and assortment of crackers and breads, we also had this:

Goat Cheese (also with some cranberry sauce)

High quality goat cheese, any amount

Drizzle with EVOO

Add chopped herbs: dill, rosemary, basil (anything you like)

Sea salt & fresh ground pepper

Grate 1 lemon rind


Saran wrap a bowl, place cheese inside of saran wrap, cover, let sit for 2-3 hours

We garnished with cranberry sauce but you could use nuts, more herbs, fruit, etc. Everything goes with goat cheese, right?


Aged White Cheddar

Green Apples


It was like a cheese thanksgiving and it was delicious!


Happy Thanksgiving

I have a lot to be thankful for this year – being alive and having an amazing support system of family and friends is the main one. I celebrated Thanksgiving with my Mom, Dad, Brother, Aunt, Boyfriend Brad, Friend Nicole and Friend Chad. It was a great day.

Sad to say, my help in the kitchen was fairly non-existent but I will share what we had:

Deep-fried Turkey – no we are not normally redneck’s, but it was very good

Stuffing (recipe below, thanks Catarina!)

Homemade cranberry sauce

Green bean casserole

Corn Casserole

Mashed Potatos

Sweet Potato Casserole (Nicole will have to share this recipe, Brad loves it!)

Hawaiian roles

Also sad to say, I didn’t take any pictures of our feast. In my defense, I’m still getting back up to speed, so forgive the boring blog. Hopefully I will be back and running soon.


1 C butter

2 C onion, chopped

2 C celery, chopped

1/4 C parsley sprigs

2 C mushrooms, chopped

Saute all of the above and pour over 12 cups of bread crumbs.

1 teaspoon poultry seasoning

1 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper

1 1/2 teaspoon sage

1 teaspoon thyme

1/2 teaspoon marjoram

Add all seasonings, mix well.

2 eggs, well beaten

Add eggs, mix well.

3 1/2 C chicken broth

Pour into crockpot – cook on high for 45 minutes and low 4-6 hours.


My bestie is Finnish. A while back she taught me how to count to 10 (which I still remember) and  her Grandma, who is all Finnish, taught me a funny little song, which isn’t Finnish, but is very funny and I would like to think that only Finnish people know it 🙂

However, in addition to the counting and the song, they have also recently shared with me Nisu – a Finnish sweet bread. This was my first attempt at a bread and I was pleasantly surprised with the results. Although I’ve been wanting to make since I returned from DC, it took me a few tries to find Cardamom – I would suggest Whole Foods, if you don’t have this item already stocked in your cabinet.

The directions and ingredients are fairly simple.


2 cups flour

2 teaspoons salt

1/2 cup sugar

4 teaspoons yeast

Mix the above ingredients in a stand-up mixer.

Over low heat, combine:

1 cup milk

1 stick (8 tablespoons) butter

1/2 cup water

1 1/2 teaspoons cardamom

Heat to 105-115 degrees fahrenheit.

Gradually beat milk mixture on low into the dry ingredients, add 3 eggs.

Gradually beat in 4 more cups of flour; beat 6-7 minutes.

Form dough into a ball and transfer to a lightly oiled suraface; turn to coat and cover with plastic. Let dough rise 1 1-2 to 2 hours (or doubled in size).

Transfer to a lightly floured surface and knead for a few minutes. Let rest for 10 minutes and then form dough into 3 pieces, roll out and braid with oiled hands; cover and let rest for one hour.

Brush with egg yolk and 1 teaspoon of water; sprinkle with sugar and bake for 25-30 minutes in a 375 degree oven.

The dough ball

The doubled dough ball


Post-cooking, pre-belly


The only change I would make would be to possibly sprinkle with salt instead of sugar. I know it is supposed to be a sweet bread, but I really think I would like the taste of salt better… for next time.

Burn Baby, Burn

No, that was not what happened to any of my food today – fortunately. That is, however, what was happening to my friend Nicole’s legs as she completed her first half marathon – way to go Nic! (I tried to post a picture of her but she didn’t have one – WTF?) So after pounding the pavement for more than 13 miles, what better way to celebrate than to stuff your face with yummy carne asada and cupcakes? Nicole’s exercise counted for all of us, right? I hope so.

I tried two new recipes for today and unfortunately they fell a little short. The Red Velvet was very dense and a little dry, possibly from overcooking and the Pumpkin deflated and was a little sticky and chewy… not exactly sure what I did wrong. I won’t share the recipes since they didn’t work for me but I will accept any recipes that work and you feel like sharing. I will, however, share the cream cheese buttercream frosting that Martha Stewart shared with me.

Cream Cheese Buttercream

1 pkg (8 oz) cream cheese

1 stick unsalted butter

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 lb (approx 4 cups) powdered sugar

Use the paddle attachment, mix and enjoy!

Red Velvet Cupcake with Cream Cheese Frosting, sprinkled with ground Oreos

Pumpkin Cupcake with Cream Cheese Frosting and orange sprinkles

They didn’t taste very good, but at least they looked pretty 🙂

Rigatoni with roasted tomatoes and parmesan

My two trips to Whole Foods really paid off – last night’s dinner was really yummy. I’m not sure if Brad enjoyed it as much as me, but I REALLY liked it. Pasta with no sauce is on a whole other level to me.

I used the organic wheat rigatoni, 5 vine-ripened tomatoes (which I roasted – instructions below), toasted pine nuts and parmigiano reggiano. In the case of this dish, one ingredient really did push this over the top. Although $7 for less than .4 lbs of cheese, it better be good.

End result:

For the roasted tomatoes:

cut tomatoes in half, season with salt and pepper, herbs de provence and olive oil; roast for 1 1-2 to 2 hours at 250 degrees.

Fish and Moutabal

My recent trip to Washington DC introduced me to a new cuisine – Lebanese. Edward, Kristi and I celebrated her 28th birthday at Lebanese Taverna and it was delicious! All of my recent cooking adventures has made me much more open to trying new foods so when the traditional Mezza came out – I tried all nine things.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t really tell you what I was trying. But I do know that I absolutely loved the hummus and adding pomegranate seeds, although a little unusual, was quite good. My least favorite was some sort of cold vegetables with a red sauce on them, not horrible, just not a favorite. I left completely stuffed and wanting to try more. Imagine my surprise when I recently received a recipe for Moutabal in one of my Tasting Table emails. And on top of it, it was an eggplant recipe which was also recently requested by my friend Leslie – double bonus!

So… drumroll please… dinner was more tilapia but with Lebanese flavoring. It is a dumbed down dish of Siyyadiyah, which, although I have never tried, I’m sure would be very good. The eggplant dish is Moutabal and was also very good – not really flavors or texture that I’m used to eating it (I hate yogurt under normal circumstances), but this was good. It’s a cold dip and you eat it with Naan. I recommend it but with a tip – when you broil the eggplant, use a sheet pan like they say. I used a glass dish and it shattered under the heat 😦


1 eggplant (1 1/2 pounds)

1 garlic clove, minced

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil

3/4 cup Greek yogurt

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons finely chopped mint leaves

Naan, for serving


1. Preheat the broiler to high and position a rack 4 to 6 inches beneath it.
2. Pierce the eggplant all over with a fork and place on a rimmed baking sheet. Broil the eggplant, watching
carefully and turning every 3 to 5 minutes to prevent burning, until charred on the outside and slightly
collapsed, about 15 minutes total. Let the eggplant cool for 10 minutes.
3. Peel and discard the skin and scoop the flesh into a colander set over a bowl. Press on the eggplant gently
with the back of a large spoon and let any excess moisture drain for 5 to 10 minutes. Discard the liquid
that accumulates in the bowl.
4. In a mixing bowl, combine the eggplant with the garlic, salt, oil, yogurt and lemon juice. Chill, covered, for one hour to allow the flavors to meld. Just before serving, stir in the mint and serve with the naan,

Chicken and Soy Sauce – a perfect marriage

Healthy dinner #2… while eating our dinner last night, I informed Brad that I really need to step up my healthy dinner recipes. There are a lot of people out there that claim that just because it’s healthy, doesn’t mean it needs to be bland or boring – I need to hop on that train.

One thing that I will attest to is the best way to make chicken – ADD SOY SAUCE. Seriously. This makes it taste so much better.

2 chicken breasts seasoned with salt and herbs de provence

lightly add olive oil to a glass pan for cooking, add chicken

add 1/4 – 1/2 cup of soy sauce

I also decided to add a tablespoon of zesty italian dressing to the mix

Cook the chicken 25-30 minutes (or until done, no raw chicken for me)

We paired it off fresh green beans – I prefer green beans almondine, but unfortunately I didn’t have any almonds and didn’t want to use butter 😦

If you aren’t worried about dropping some lbs, or if you feel like incorporating some exercise into your diet, here is the recipe:

Green Beans Almondine

Fresh green beans – approximately 1 pound

3 tablespoons butter

1/3 cup almonds, sliced

1 teaspoon lemon juice

salt & pepper to taste

It’s actually not that bad, but like I said, I didn’t have almonds. I’m stepping it up tonight – prepare to be wowwed.