Thursday, December 13, 2012

Chewy Chip Cookies

I have an undeniable love for cookies. A treat with endless variations and possibilities, cookies are the ultimate, perfectly portioned treat. This year I was thrilled to participate in the 2nd annual Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap, hosted by the bloggers of Love & Olive Oil and The Little Kitchen. I was excited to have a reason to create some unique, original cookie recipes to share with world and the opportunity to participate in raising money for Cookies for Kids' Cancer along the way. I had so much fun working on creating the perfect, crowd-pleasing cookie that I sort of, well...cheated. I couldn't pick just one cookie flavor, so I made two! Maybe I didn't completely break the rules because the two resulting cookies have the same cookie dough base with different additions - one with decadent white chocolate, pistachios, and cranberries the other with dark chocolate chips and candied BACON! I hope these two recipes showcase the diversity that can exist if you have a solid cookie dough recipe base. Let me know what you think!

Chewy Cookie Dough Base (adapted from Alton Brown's The Chewy)
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 1/4 cups bread flour
1 tsp course salt
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 large egg + 1 egg yolk
2 tbsp milk
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp dried orange peel (I like Penzey's brand), or 2 tbsp fresh grated orange zest

White Chocolate, Pistachio, and Cranberry Version
1 1/2 cups white chocolate chips or chunks (use real cocoa butter based chips such as Ghirardelli or Global Organics Fair Trade White Chocolate Chunks; it makes a huge difference in the flavor)
1 cup roasted, salted pistachios, chopped
3/4 cup dried cranberries

Dark Chocolate with Candied Bacon Version
2 cups dark or semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 tbsp organic maple syrup
3 oz candied applewood smoked bacon (about 4 large slices)
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon (optional)
  • to learn how to candy bacon, view this post from pastry chef and cookbook author David Lebovitz
1. In a medium-sized bowl, sift together the bread flour, salt, and baking soda. Stir in orange peel/zest. Set aside.
2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter on medium speed for 2 minutes until fluffy.
3. With the mixture in stirring mode, add the sugar and brown sugar. Beat on medium-high speed for 2-3 minutes until well blended and fluffy.
4.  Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together the egg, egg yolk, milk and vanilla extract. Reduce the mixer speed to low/stir and slowly add the egg mixture. Mix on low speed until combined, about 1 minute.
5. With the mixture once again in stir/low mode, slowly add in the flour mixture. I usually add mine in 3-4 batches, ensuring each batch is mixed in before adding more.
6. Once combined, add in the ingredients for the specific version you are making (either white chocolate or candied bacon)
7. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator to chill for 1-2 hours.
8. Fifteen minutes before you are ready to bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 375 degrees farenheit.
9. Scoop tablespoon sized portions of cookie dough at least 2 inches apart (1 oz for two-bite cookies, or 1 1/2 oz for larger cookies) onto parchment lined baking sheets. Bake 1 oz cookies for 10-12 minutes and 1 1/2 oz cookies for 14-17 minutes. Cool on cookie sheet for 2 minutes than remove cookies and place on a rack to cool.

Servings: Makes 36, 1 oz cookies or 24, 1 1/2 oz cookies.  

Friday, September 14, 2012

Summer Corn Salad

I haven't written in a while because, well, I had a baby! And while motherhood is truly incredible, it doesn't leave much time for blogging or cooking for that matter. My little guy is napping now, so I'll get right to the recipe with hopes that I can get the post done before he wakes up.

This is an excellent and super easy twist on a classic summer favorite - fresh, raw corn! Because over 90 percent of corn produced in the US is genetically modified (aka GMO), I highly recommend buying organic corn or talking with the farmers at your local market to ensure you are getting corn that is not made from genetically modified organisms, as the long-term health impact of consuming GMOs is unknown.

1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
4 ears fresh corn on the cob (organic if you can get it), shucked
1/2 cup chopped green onion (scallions), green parts only
1 1/2 cups chopped orange bell pepper
3 tbsp cider vinegar
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Salt and green pepper, to taste

In a large pot of boiling salted water, blanch the corn for 3 minutes . Drain and immerse it in ice water. When the corn is cool, cut the kernels off the cob, cutting close to the cob.

Toss the kernels in a large bowl with the green onions, bell pepper, cider vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Just before serving, stir in the cherry tomatoes. Serve cold or at room temperature. 

Servings: Makes about 4, 1 cup servings.

For more information on GMOs, visit the non-GMO project .

Friday, November 18, 2011

Carrot Ginger Soup

Adapted from Fine Cooking Magazine 

2 tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 medium white onion, diced
1 leek, thinly sliced (about 1/3 cup)
2 stalks of celery, diced
1 tbsp minced fresh ginger (about a 2 inch piece of ginger)
2 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp course sea salt
5 cups low sodium vegetable broth
4 tbsp orange juice
1-3/4 lb. carrots, peeled, quartered lengthwise, and sliced 1/4 inch thick
1/4 cup thick yogurt, preferably Greek
Ground black or white pepper, to taste
Juice from 1/2 medium lime
1/3 cup chives or green onions, thinly sliced


In a 4- to 5-quart saucepan or Dutch oven, heat the vegetable oil over medium-low heat. When hot, add the onions, leeks, celery, ginger, garlic, and a pinch of kosher salt. Stir well, cover, reduce the heat to low, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the aromatics are softened, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in 1 tsp salt. Add the carrots, vegetable broth, and orange juice, stir well, and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are very tender and the soup is full-flavored, 7 to 20 minutes. Take the pan off the heat and let the soup cool for 5 minutes. Working in batches, puree the soup in a blender (fill the jar no more than half full and vent the lid, topping it with a folded kitchen towel to prevent hot splashes). Wipe the pan clean and put the soup back into the pan. Add the yogurt and lime juice. Season the soup with salt and pepper. Taste the soup and adjust the seasonings with more salt, pepper, or lime juice as needed. Ladle into 8 soup bowls and garnish each serving with 1 to 2 tsp. chopped chives.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Chile Lime Kale Chips

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The kale legacy continues. My friend, Mina introduced me to home made kale chips a few weeks ago that had only olive oil and salt and they were delicious. Eating her creation inspired me to create a recipe of my own. I hope you like these. They are a healthy, tasty treat. Using 1 bunch of kale makes about 2-3 cups of chips and serves about 2 people. Enjoy!

1 bunch of lacinato kale, also known as dinosaur kale (refer to my All hail, kale! post for a photo), torn into chip size pieces, stems removed
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2-3/4 tsp mild chile powder (I used the Chile 3000 mix from Penzey's)
1/2-3/4 tsp dried lemon salt, or gray sea salt
Zest of 1 lime

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Wash kale pieces and dry thoroughly. The drying step is really important because if the kale is not completely dry, it will steam and not crisp properly.  Toss kale with olive oil and 1/2 tsp each chile powder and salt in a large bowl. It's fine to do this in batches if you need more room in the bowl. Mix until kale is well coated and glistening. Place kale pieces in a single layer on a jelly roll pan or cookie sheet. Bake in the oven for 12-16 minutes until leaves are crispy. Remove from oven and allow to rest until room temperature, about 5-7 minutes. Toss with lime zest. Add remaining chile powder and salt, if desired. Consume without guilt!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Lemon Ricotta Pancakes with Berry Compote

I made these for breakfast this morning, and they are one of my new favorite things! The pancakes themselves are delicious, moist, and lemony! The compote is easy to throw together and involves minimal cooking which can all happen in the microwave. I hope you enjoy these as much as I do!

Lemon Ricotta Pancakes

4 eggs, separated
12 oz. good quality ricotta cheese, whole milk or part skim
1 1/2 tbsp vanilla sugar (granulated cane sugar is fine too)
1 1/2 tbsp lemon zest (from 2-3 lemons), or 1 1/4 tsp lemon peel powder
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp gray sea salt
Butter to grease pan

1. Beat egg whites on medium speed until stiff peaks form.
2. In a separate bowl, mix together egg yolks, ricotta, sugar, and lemon zest. Add flour and salt, stir to combine.
3. Gently fold the egg whites into the egg yolk ricotta mixture until smooth. The batter will be much thicker than regular pancake batter.
4. Heat skillet over medium heat. Add butter to melt, then spoon about 1/4 cup batter per pancake into the pan. Cook 3 minutes per side until lightly browned. Enjoy!
Makes 8-10, 4 inch pancakes

Berry Compote

1 cup frozen raspberries
1 cup frozen strawberries
1/4 cup orange juice
1 tbsp candied orange sugar or powdered sugar, or to taste
1 tsp lemon zest, or 1/4 tsp lemon peel powder

1. Thaw raspberries in microwave in a medium size bowl on defrost setting until thawed (about 1 minute).
2. Remove from microwave and mix in orange juice, sugar, and lemon zest or powder. Stir to combine.
3. Thaw strawberries in microwave in small bowl on defrost setting until thawed (about 1 1/2 minutes). Remove from microwave and slice. Add to raspberry mixture. Add additional sugar if necessary.
4. Serve 1/4 cup compote on each pancake.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Eight Lemon Cake

Every year I ask Tristan what kind of cake he would like for his birthday. Without fail, he always replies 'lemon'. I don't want him to tire of the flavor he so often desires, so I try to mix things up and create a different cake every birthday. This year, I came up with this a cake I call 'eight lemon cake' aptly named as it does in fact contain eight entire lemons! I hope you like it as much as we did!

Vanilla Bean Butter Cream Frosting
(Adapted from William's Sonoma)


6 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted (don't skip this part, your frosting will be lumpy)  
16 Tbs. (2 sticks) unsalted butter
5 Tbs. whole milk, plus more, if needed
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. salt
1 vanilla bean


Have all the ingredients at room temperature. Slice the vanilla bean lengthwise. Use the flat side of a butter knife to remove the inside of the bean from the pod. Take 5 Tbs. milk and put into a small bowl. Take the inside scrapings from the vanilla bean and stir into the milk. Let sit for at least 20 minutes to allow the bean to infuse into the milk.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the flat beater, combine the confectioners sugar, butter, the milk infusion, the vanilla and salt and beat on low speed until combined, about 1 minute. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Increase the speed to medium and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes.

If the frosting is dry, add more milk, 1 tsp. at a time, until it is creamy but still holds peaks. Makes about 4 cups.You will only need about 2-3 cups for the cake; the remaining frosting can be frozen for up to 2 months and or kept in the fridge for 3 or 4 days for another use.

Lemon curd filling
(adapted from fine cooking magazine)


4 oz. (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
3/4 cup granulated sugar

4 lemons, zested (reserve lemons for juicing to make the lemon curd)
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (it took nearly all 8 of the lemons I had to make this much juice)
Pinch salt

6 large egg yolks
(5 reserved from the cake, plus 1)


Melt the butter in a heavy medium saucepan over medium heat. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the sugar, lemon juice, zest, and salt. Whisk in the yolks until smooth. Return the pan to medium-low heat and cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture thickens, 5 to 6 minutes. To check if the curd is thick enough, dip a wooden spoon into it and draw a your finger across the the back of the spoon; your finger should leave a path. Don't let the mixture boil. Immediatly force the curd through a fine seive into a bowl, using a rubber spatula. Let cool at room temperature, whisking occasionally. Refrigerate, covered, until ready to use.
Lemon Cake
(adapted from Fine Cooking)


9-1/4 oz. (2-1/3 cups) all purpose flour; more for the pans
2-3/4 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. table salt

1-3/4 cups granulated sugar

4 lemons, zested (reserve lemons for juicing to make the lemon curd)

6 oz. (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, completely softened at room temperature; more for the pans

1 cup whole milk, at room temperature

5 large egg whites, at room temperature

1/4 tsp. cream of tartar  


Position a rack in the middle of the oven; heat the oven to 350°F. Generously butter and flour two 8 x 2-inch round cake pans. Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt together into a medium bowl. Pulse 1/4 cup of the sugar with the zest in a food processor until well combined.
In a large bowl, beat the butter and lemon sugar with an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy (about 1-1/2 minutes). Add the remaining 1-1/2 cups sugar and beat until smooth (about 1-1/2 minutes). Beat in a quarter of the milk just until blended. On low speed, add the flour mixture alternately with the milk in three batches, scraping the bowl with a rubber spatula; beat just until blended.
In another large bowl, beat the egg whites with an electric mixer (with clean beaters or the whip attachment) on medium speed just until foamy. Add the cream of tartar, increase the speed to medium high, and beat just until the whites form stiff peaks when the beaters are lifted. Add a quarter of the whites to the batter and gently fold them in with a whisk or a rubber spatula; continue to gently fold in the whites, a quarter at a time, being careful not to deflate the mixture.
Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans. Smooth the tops with the spatula. Bake until a pick inserted in the centers comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Let cool in the pans on a rack for 10 minutes. Run a table knife around the inside of the pans and carefully invert each cake out onto the rack. Flip them right side up and let cool completely.
With the palm of one hand pressed on top of a cake layer, cut each in half horizontally, using a long serrated knife. Put one of the four cake layers on a serving plate, cut side up. With an offset spatula or a table knife, spread a generous 1/3 cup chilled lemon curd on top of the cake layer. Lay another cake layer on top, spread it with another generous 1/3 cup lemon curd, and repeat with the third cake layer, using the last 1/3 cup lemon curd. Top with the fourth cake layer.
Frost with the vanilla bean frosting, using as much or as little as desired. If you want to avoid crumbs in your cake frosting, start by frosting the cake very lightly, cool in refrigerator for 30 minutes, then frost with remaining frosting. The thin layer will catch all of the crumbs and then harden slightly, allowing for a smooth surface and beautiful cake!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

All hail, kale!

Recently I have become obsessed with kale! It's incredibly healthy and delicious. In fact, 1 cup of cooked kale, or 2-3 cups of raw kale contains only 33 calories while also contributing an astounding 137% of the daily value of vitamin A, 100mg of Omega-3s (a big plus for non-meat eaters), and 3g of fiber! Kale comes in many varieties, most of which can be dated back over two-thousand years. Most kale recipes tend to focus on cooked preparations of kale, but I have recently discovered the tastiness of raw kale which is highlighted in the two recipes below. Enjoy!!

Dinosaur kale, also known as lacinato or black kale
Kale Caesar Salad - serves 4

2 bunches of dinosaur kale, also known as lacinato kale or black kale
2 cups of croutons, preferably homemade from day old bread (recipe below)
1/2 cup freshly shaved parmigiano reggiano cheese
2 lemons   
3 cloves of garlic
1/2 can of anchovies packed in olive oil, drained
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
3-4, 1 inch thick slices of day old bread, torn into small pieces - I used olive bread, but you can use any kind you like.
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, diced
1 tablespoon olive oil

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. In a bowl, toss the torn bread with the olive oil and rosemary. Spread the bread evenly on a baking sheet and bake until golden brown and crisp, about 15 minutes. Turn the croutons halfway through to ensure even browning.

Grate the zest from the lemons. Cut both lemons in half. Place the garlic, anchovies and lemon zest in a small bowl or mortar if you have one. Press with a large spoon or pestle and pound to make a thick paste. Add the egg yolk, a pinch of salt and a the juice from one and a half of the lemons. Add the vinegar. Whisk thoroughly to combine. While continuing to whisk, slowly pour in the olive oil. Whisk until smooth and creamy and slightly thickened. Taste the dressing and add more lemon juice to taste. You can make the dressing up to two days ahead of time.

Salad Assembly
In a large bowl, combine the kale and croutons. Pour dressing over the mixture and toss to coat. Add the cheese, toss again and serve.

Green kale, also known as curly kale
Massaged Kale 
This recipe was given to be by my co-worker, Amy. Since amounts are not specified, this recipe should be used as a guideline. The amounts of all ingredients can be altered to suit your own personal taste.
1 bunch of green kale, also known as curly kale
Sesame oil and salt, to taste
2 celery stalks, diced
2 large carrots, shredded
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated using a microplane
Agave nectar, to taste

2 tablespoons shallot, diced very small                                                                                         
Rice vinegar, to taste
Lemon juice, to taste
1 teaspoon dijon mustard, I like to use Sierra Nevada Pale Ale mustard
Sesame seeds, toasted are preferred
Sesame oil


Rip or cut the kale off of its' thick stem and put that in compost (the thick stem part). Break or cut remaining kale into small pieces and set in a bowl. Drizzle the kale pieces with salt and oil and massage in small handfuls until well moistened. Squeeze out excess liquid and put in separate bowl. Add diced celery and shredded carrot and grated ginger. In a separate small bowl, make a dressing with shallot, sesame oil, rice vinegar, lemon juice, and the mustard. Add sesame seeds. Pour the dressing over along with a drizzle of agave nectar and toss...mmmmmmmm.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Kale, Mushroom, and Swiss Quiche

Are you often asking yourself 'what can I possibly make for dinner that is healthy, filling, contains whole grains and at least two servings of veggies?' Okay, so maybe that's not the exact question you ask, but you get the idea. Quiche is one of those amazing all-in-one meals that fits all of the above criteria, if done right. I made a delicious mushroom, kale, and swiss quiche for dinner a few nights back. I got a late start on making dinner and I was starving by the time it was ready, so I didn't get a chance to take a picture, but the recipe is below. If you stick with the crust and custard recipe I've provided, you can change up the filling anyway you like - just make sure you end up with at least 3-4 cups of filling (always lightly saute`ed) to put into the pie plate.

Pie Crust
1/2 cup unbleached, all purpose flour
1 cup stone ground, whole wheat flour
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 1/2 tablespoons of milk

Enough olive oil to coat the saute' pan
2 cloves garlic, minced
4-6 ounces low fat chicken sausage (I used whole foods pesto chicken sausage from the meat counter)
2/3 bunch dinosaur kale (the kind with the bumps on it), chopped small
8 oz brown mushrooms, sliced
1/2 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes, or to taste
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 tsp granulated onion powder, optional
Salt and pepper, to taste

6 slices jarlsberg lite swiss cheese

3 large/jumbo eggs
1 1/4 cups skim milk

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

2. Combine butter and flour in food processor and turn on machine until mixture is uniform throughout. While the machine is still running, add the milk 1 tablespoon at a time. You may need slightly more or less milk, depending on the humidity in your environment. Once mixture has come together, turn off food processor and remove. Hand form pie crust in an 8 or 9 inch pie plate.

3. Coat a large skillet with olive oil. Over medium heat, saute` garlic and chicken sausage for 5 minutes until sausage is about half way cooked. Add all other filling ingredients and saute` for 8-10 minutes until kale is wilted and veggies are tender. It is fine if the sausage is not fully cooked.

4. Layer cheese on top of crust in pie plate.

5. Pour warm filling over cheese.

6. Whisk eggs and milk together in a medium sized bowl.

7. Pour custard mixture over filling.

8. Bake in preheated oven for 37-42 minutes, until custard no longer jiggles when pie plate is bumped.

9. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes. Cut into 6 slices and serve!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

2011 - The Year of Fresh!

 I have many resolutions for 2011:

1. Run more
2. Wake up earlier (I am embarrassed to put the average time I woke up during 2010 in writing, but let's just say the roosters were up way before I even considered rolling my lazy butt out of bed)
3. Finish my MPH degree
4. Go to Europe!

While all of these are great, my number one resolution is to make healthy, fresh foods every day! Take a look at what I have in mind...

The beginnings of a fresh, raspberry lemon tart
Sweet potato and broccoli salad

Nectarine pie - vegan!   

Green salsa with fresh avocado and cilantro!

2010 - The Classics

The year 2010 was one of both tasty meals and infrequent blog posts. Take a look at some of the yummy dishes Tristan and I threw together. It is my hope that 2011 will be filled with overwhelmingly delicious and numerous gastronomic experiences...any many more blog posts. Stay tuned!!
Cheese Lasagna with Broccoli

Goat Cheese and Tomato Crostini with Balsamic Reduction

Vanilla Cake with Fresh Strawberry Mousse

Baked Teriyaki Tofu and Broccoli

Cranberry, Apple, and Brie Sammie

Pulled BBQ Chicken Sammie with Citrus Mango Slaw