Thursday, February 16, 2017

Lemon Poppy Seed Donuts

I shouldn't be allowed to look at instagram......whenever I see a photo of some delicious dessert, I have to run home and make it.

Here, I tried my hand at lemon poppy seed (poppyseed one word or two?) donuts.

I took out my trusty cheapo donut mold and baked away.

Tip: I keep my poppy seeds in the freezer because too many times they have turned rancid (same w/ sesame and mustard seeds).

Here is the recipe....these were delicious!!!

Lemon Poppy Seed Donuts: makes 6 donuts

1 cup (125g) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1/3 cup (65g) sugar
1/4 cup (60ml) milk
1/4 cup (60g) yogurt (I used Chobani no fat Greek plain)
2 tbsp (30g) unsalted butter, melted or vegetable oil
1 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
zest of a lemon
1 tsp poppy seeds


1 cup of confectioners (powdered) sugar
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp milk if too dry and thick

Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl.

In another bowl, mix the egg with the sugar, milk, yogurt, butter or oil, and vanilla.
Add in the zest and poppy seeds.

Add in the dry ingredients to the wet, and combine to make a batter.

Spray a donut mold with PAM or butter.

Here's the tricky part.

Transfer the batter to a pastry bag or ziploc bag (I use a ziploc, folded over so I can easily transfer the batter without a mess).
Cut a tiny hole at the corner if using the ziploc bag and pipe into greased molds.

Bake for 10 minutes, until firm.

Then invert onto a cooling rack. Let cool 10 minutes.

Mix the icing into a small flat bowl and dip each donut in the wet icing and sprinkle with some poppy seeds.
The glaze will harden in about 15 minutes.

These are delicious!!!!

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Winter Salad: Farro w/ Apples & Chickpeas

I don't love salads anymore (the lettuce and tomato variety), I find myself wanting more....leaving hungry.....feeling empty. :(
I'm sorry salad.

I like quinoa, or a grain, or a protein in my can not live on lettuce alone. We are not rabbits.

Here is a nice hearty winter salad. Something you can sink your teeth into.

You can add any nut or green, like spinach (stands up well in salads) and any color apple (I always have Granny Smith for baking).

It's so easy to eat healthy, you can take this salad to work, or keep it in the fridge for a few days so you have no excuse to eat crap for lunch.

If you don't have farro, you can use quinoa or wheat berries.
Make it.

Farro Salad w/ Apples & Chickpeas (adapted from Dinner w/ Julie):

1/2 cup farro
2 loosely packed cups spinach or arugula (I also used radicchio for color), thinly sliced
1 cup cooked or canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 apple, cored and diced
1/2 cup Italian parsley, leaves chopped (stems discarded)
1/2 cup crumbled feta
salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1/2 cup almonds, toasted and roughly chopped

3 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup canola or olive oil
1-2 tsp. grainy mustard
1 tsp. honey

Mix the dressing ingredients with a fork and set aside.

In a large bowl, mix everything together except the feta and almonds.

Pour the dressing over the salad just before serving and mix.

Add the almonds and feta last.
Season w/ sea salt & pepper.


Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Sweet Potato Hummus

I know what you are thinking....why is her hummus pink?

Well, because it's Valentine's Day of course, and I had to use up the rest of the 15 lb. box of purple sweet potatoes that I bought.
Thankfully, they are now all gone.
No more ordering produce under the influence late at night.

I love having healthy dips like my beet pesto or roasted red pepper hummus in the fridge, for a quick bite or to swipe on a sandwich.
I don't like commercially made hummus, never tastes good to me.

Here is a FANTASTIC recipe for sweet potato hummus, sounds odd, I know, but it is so good.

Of course you may use regular sweet potatoes for this recipe, I adapted the recipe a bit for my purple sweets (which are richer and denser than regular yams).

Feel free to double this recipe if you are serving a crowd, by using the entire can of chickpeas (garbanzo beans) and 2 sweet potatoes......

Taste as you go, you might like more hot sauce, or more lemon.

It's a great way to use up leftover baked sweet potatoes.

Sweet Potato Hummus (adapted from Spoon Fork Bacon)

1 large sweet potato, cooked
1/2 (half of a 14.5 oz can) can garbanzo beans, drained
3 tablespoons tahini
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (or more if hummus is too thick)
1 garlic clove
1/2 lemon, juiced
zest of a lemon
1/2 tsp cumin
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tsp sriracha sauce
kosher salt and pepper to taste
extra virgin olive oil for serving

I used about 2 cups of leftover cooked sweet potato, it really doesn't matter, use whatever amount you have. You can't make a mistake here.

Make sure you remove the skins!

Add all ingredients to a food processor and whiz until smooth.

Taste for seasoning.

Keep in the fridge until ready to serve, then pour some good olive oil on top and maybe some herbs or dukkah and dip away!

I toast up pita triangles that I have seasoned w/ sea salt & smoked paprika or some Old Bay seasoning.


Monday, February 13, 2017

Baked Shrimp Cakes w/ Aioli

I haven't made shrimp cakes in forever.....I always have frozen shrimp in the freezer, so why not make them for Valentine's Day? (the holiday I don't really celebrate....everyday is Valentine's day!).

Marie made baked crab cakes a while back, and I was intrigued by her method.

Super high heat then flip them over to serve.

It worked for the shrimp cakes, however, I didn't flip them over because my bottoms were too browned.....and I wanted to see the pretty colorful veggies, so I just kept them right side up.

This was a great alternative to frying....saved a few calories and no mess on my stove!
Thanks Marie!

Baked Shrimp Cakes:

12 oz. frozen uncooked shrimp, defrosted
2 tbsp mayo
1 cup of panko breadcrumbs
1 egg
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp pimenton (smoked Spanish paprika)
handful of chopped scallions
1 tbsp chopped red bell pepper
salt & pepper to taste


1 tbsp real fat mayo (I only use Hellmann's)
1 large garlic clove
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice

Mix the aioli and set aside.

Chop up the defrosted shrimp into small pieces (obviously with no tails).

Mix with everything else in a bowl.

Spray a sheet pan with foil, no parchment paper.

Using a ring mold (I used a small one, appetizer size), fill the mold with the shrimp mixture to the top and carefully remove the ring.

You should have about 10 shrimp cakes.

Place the tray in the freezer for 10 minutes to firm up.

Place in a preheated 475F oven for 7 minutes.
Let rest on the sheet pan for 1 minute then plate with aioli.

These were DELICIOUS!

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Upside Down Clementine Cake with Ricotta & Pecans

I have always made upside down cakes with beautiful blood oranges.....but sometimes they are hard to find.

This cake is made w/ the easy to find winter citrus fruit....clementines.

The perfect fruit, in my opinion.

You can take them on the plane with you, pack them in a lunchbox and there is no sticky mess.
They are easy to peel, have thin skins, and no pits! win win!

Here, I made a simple ricotta cake batter and poured it over a caramel with the sliced clementines and pecans.

I happen to love candied orange peel, but I know some people don't.....and that is what is going on here by leaving the skins of the clementines on.

So know that going in, if you don't like the taste of bitter orange peel, then you can certainly peel the fruit, but the look will be different, because the rind holds the clementines together, without it, the fruit will shrink on the cake. Still tasty.

This cake is moist and delicious and is the perfect winter cake. Make it for Valentine's day for your sweet little clementine!

Upside Down Clementine Cake w/ Ricotta & Pecans:


5 or 6 medium clementines, skins on, sliced thin w/ a serrated knife (save the ends of the fruits for squeezing the juice)
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
pecan halves for the top


1 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
2-3 tbsp of clementine juice (from the scraps of sliced clementines)
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 cup of ricotta

I use a 9" cast iron skillet, I find it works the best and the cake comes out of the pan like a dream.

Make the caramel.

Heat the butter and light brown sugar in the skillet on the stove over medium heat. Using a silicone spatula, spread the butter and sugar mixture to coat the skillet.

Lay the clementine slices on top of the caramel, dotting with some pecan pieces wherever there is a hole in between the citrus. It's ok to overlap the slices of clementine.

Mix up the batter, it will be nice and creamy.

Using a silicone spatula, carefully spread the cake batter on top of the clementines and caramel in the skillet.

Bake 30 minutes in a 350F oven.

Let rest exactly 10 minutes in the pan. Anymore, and the caramel will harden and the cake will stick in the skillet!

Using handmits (the cast iron is very hot!), carefully invert to a cooling rack.
The cake should come out perfectly.

Let cool or serve warm.

I love this cake. A lot.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Korean Beef Stew w/ Kimchi

By now, you all know that I am addicted to kimchi.

I eat it everyday in some form or another.

With scrambled eggs, avocado toast, on pizza or just straight out of the jar.

I can't help myself. I love it.
My breath stinks.

I bought 2 huge jars of a brand that I think is pretty good, it's the best that I have found so far (except for that original tub from the Korean grocer in Koreatown).

Do you like spicy foods? If so, this one is for you.
It is better than any Chinese take out food and is the easiest beef stew I have ever made.

We loved it over white rice.

The only thing I omitted was the ginger, because I didn't have any.

This cleared out my sinuses, because my kimchi was pretty spicy and I even used the kimchi juice.
If you like it less spicy, omit the juice and use the straight up fermented cabbage (kimchi).

The original recipe is from Mark Bittman's book BEST Recipes in the World.

I hope you try it.

Spicy Beef Kimchi Stew (adapted from HEALTH magazine and Mark Bittman): serves 3-4

1 1/2 pounds boneless chuck roast or beef tenderloin, cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks
2 large garlic cloves, chopped (about 1 tablespoon)
1 tablespoon peeled minced fresh ginger
3/4 cup water
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons sugar or mirin
1 1/2 cups or more of chopped jarred kimchi
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted, for garnish
2 tablespoons chopped scallions for garnish
cooked white rice

I used vegetable oil, because it has a higher smoke point vs. olive oil.

Season the chuck meat w/ kosher salt & pepper.

In a 3-4 quart Dutch oven, add the beef cubes a few at a time and brown well, adjusting the heat so the meat browns but does not burn and turning beef to brown on all sides; this will take about 8 minutes. Don't crowd the meat, so you get a nice sear, and it doesn't steam. I did this in 2 batches. Remove the meat to a plate when it is done, and turn the heat to low.

Add garlic and ginger to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until the garlic colors, about a minute.

Add the water, soy sauce and either sugar or mirin to a measuring cup and stir to mix. Pour this into the pot and bring to a boil.

Add the meat to the boiling pot then cover, reduce heat, and simmer.

Adjust the heat so the mixture simmers steadily but not violently and cook, stirring occasionally, until the meat is tender. Mine took 1 hour and 10 minutes, depending on the cut you used (tenderloin cooks much faster than chuck).

Take the lid off and add in the chopped kimchi with some juice (if you like it spicy!), and simmer 10 minutes or until heated through. (You can prepare the dish several hours in advance up to this point. Cover and set aside until you're ready to eat, then reheat; or cover and refrigerate overnight before reheating).

Stir in sesame oil, sprinkle with sesame seeds and scallions, and serve immediately over cooked rice.

My husband really loved this. I did too, and I am not a big meat eater.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Love List

I haven't done a product love list in a I am long overdue.

These are some of the things that I am obsessed with lately.

My friend Eileen from Living Tastefully: Passions to Pastry sent me a gorgeous olive oil from Provence called Mas des Bories for the holidays.

It is a very special oil, pure and natural and I am hooked. I have already ordered my second batch. Save it for salads and dipping, it's that good.
Weeks later, I received a handwritten letter from the owner/farmer, thanking me for purchasing the oil!

It is now available in the US via amazon. Click here to order.

Next obsession is any one of these confiture/jam/chutneys from Le Bon Magot (and I have tried them all!).

The cardamom and vanilla murabba is life changing. I LOVE it on toast (what don't I love on toast?)....and all the products are made locally in NJ and very special.

and lastly....many of you have asked me what kind of kimchi I am buying (since I have been posting so many kimchi recipes lately).

Well, I have tried many before I found a brand I really like.
Remember, kimchi is a Korean pro-biotic fermented cabbage, with a few other ingredients going on.

I have tried the hipster vegetarian kind; the authentic Korean grocer kind in the knotted plastic bag and some other brands, and did not fall in love.

I found the Bing Gre Pride Kimchi brand in the glass jar is best for me.

It was on the Serious Eats Best Kimchi list.

It's not overly spicy....there is anchovy and fish sauce in the ingredients, so it is not vegetarian, and it has just enough funk for my white girl palette (sorry, not PC).

It is also stored in a glass jar so your fridge doesn't stink....I made the mistake of storing kimchi in a rubbermaid plastic container, and even after washing in the dishwasher, the smell is still in the plastic.

I have an amazing kimchi beef stew on the blog tomorrow, so go out and find some now so you can make it tomorrow.


Monday, February 6, 2017

Sheet Pan Chicken Thighs

This is such an easy weeknight dinner.

You can throw any vegetable on the sheet pan, along w/ any potatoes, sweet or Yukon gold.

Chicken thighs are very forgiving, it's hard to overcook them.....and the boneless skinless thighs cook up so quickly, there is no excuse not to make this.

Here, I used what I had in the house.

I started with cutting up some cauliflower, green apple, red onions, and purple sweet potatoes.

The apple is essential here. Try and use a Granny Smith green apple, and cut into big chunks, or the apple will disintegrate while roasting.

Lay all of your veggies out on a large sheet pan and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle w/ kosher salt & pepper.

Now for the thighs.

Make a spice mixture in a big bowl or ziploc bag by adding 1 tsp cinnamon, a few minced garlic cloves, kosher salt & pepper and chopped fresh rosemary. Add in about 3 tbsp or more of olive oil and whisk marinade.

Pour over the 8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs in a bowl or bag and coat well. Let sit in the fridge a few hours or a day before.

Place chicken thighs on top of the vegetables.

Bake in a 425F oven for 25 minutes. Chicken should register 165F. If your veggies are still firm (mine were fully cooked after 25 minutes), remove the thighs to a plate and roast the vegetables another 10 minutes until browned and cooked thru.

Serve all together on pan or platter and pour juices over chicken.

Garnish with fresh rosemary.

This is a delicious, healthy weeknight dinner.


Thursday, February 2, 2017

Little Tahini Chocolate Cakes

When it snows, I bake.
When it rains, I bake.

Come to think of it, when it's sunny, I sometimes bake too.

By now, it has been determined that I love to bake, and I've become pretty good at it.

I won't win any baking contests, and I am not interested in fondant or cake decorating, but I make a pretty delicious cake.

I no longer need a recipe, and I don't feel that it is science, like I was taught in Home-Ec class in 7th grade.......wait, what's HOME EC? You mean you don't know?

It stands for Home Economics, for you millenials, and it is no longer taught in schools.

It was a class given to junior high age girls and boys back in the 70's, and taught us how to bake a basic chocolate cake using a handmixer; it taught us how to iron a shirt; and even taught us how to use a sewing machine! (btw, I can not even sew a button).

Life skills. Necessary to live and survive in my world.

No one gives a crap about sewing or baking from scratch anymore.....I recently went to someone's house and she served a "homemade" cake. I was impressed at first, only to find out it was from a boxed cake mix with canned frosting. Ok, she did add the eggs and oil (the preservatives were added in for her). :)

Learn some life skills, people!
Bake a cake from scratch! Bake your own bread!
It makes you feel good, I swear. Like you have accomplished something wonderful (at least for me it does).

Cooking and baking is my therapy. Try it.

These little odd beauties are from the New York Times, by way of the cookbook SMASHING PLATES (which I feel like doing right now) by Maria Elia.

They have that delicious tahini in the mix (I used chocolate tahini!!). They are delicious little molten cakes w/ sesame and lime zest.
Very adult and very probably won't be making them in Home Economics class anytime soon.

They are not "lava" cakes, nothing is really oozing out, just a nice soft and fudgy center.

The batter makes a lot more than the recipe says.
I used a standard size muffin tin and filled my cakes to the top, and I got 9 little cakes from the recipe. You could also use buttered ramekins for a more uniform cake, instead of an upside down muffin.

Don't skip the lime zest, it's a really interesting element.

Tahini Chocolate Cakes: (adapted from the NYT)

10 tablespoons/150 grams unsalted butter, plus more for greasing pans
1/3 cup/25 grams unsweetened cocoa, plus more for pans
3 tablespoons/27 grams sesame seeds
1/2 cup/60 grams all-purpose flour
pinch of salt
5 1/2 ounces/165 grams 70 percent dark chocolate, in pieces (I use Trader Joe's 72%)
3 large eggs
1 cup/200 grams superfine sugar (I used regular granulated sugar)
5 tablespoons/100 grams tahini (I used Soom chocolate tahini)
zest of a lime
Crème fraîche or ice cream, for serving

Heat oven to 350F degrees. Use butter to grease 9 half-cup muffin molds or ramekins. Dust molds with cocoa and sprinkle the sesame seeds in the bottom of each.

Sift together remaining 1/3 cup cocoa with the flour and a pinch of salt. Set aside.

Melt chocolate and remaining 10 tablespoons butter in a heatproof bowl over simmering water, or in a small, heavy saucepan on very low heat. You can also melt the chocolate w/ butter in the microwave on 30 second intervals. (Watch carefully if using a saucepan.) When almost completely melted, remove from heat and stir until smooth. Set aside.

Using a whisk or electric beater, whisk eggs and sugar together until pale and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Stir a little of this mixture into the tahini to lighten it, then stir the tahini into the egg mixture. Stir in the cooled chocolate mixture. Fold in the cocoa/flour mixture.

Pour the batter into the molds or muffin tins and set molds on a baking sheet. Place in the oven and bake 12 to 14 minutes, less for smaller molds. A skewer or toothpick inserted in the middle should not come out clean.

Cool 10 minutes or more before unmolding. Dust tops with lime zest and serve with crème fraîche or ice cream.

FYI: I froze these and just popped in the microwave for 20-25 seconds as needed (as if you NEED cake!)....and they came out perfect!

These are decadent and delicious!!!


Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Super Bowl BBQ Chicken Flatbreads

I'm not a football watcher or a fan, but what kind of food blogger would I be if I didn't post something for your Super Bowl party on Sunday?

How about some BBQ chicken flatbreads for the guys (and gals)?

These are fantastic....reminiscent of my BBQ chicken tortilla pizzas from years back.

You can buy delicious ready to go Naan bread or Middle Eastern flatbreads at most supermarkets. They usually come in packages of 2, and they are very decent.

Here, I used leftover boneless, skinless chicken thighs to top my flatbread pizzas.

It's easy.....just shred some leftover cooked chicken in a bowl and add in your favorite barbecue sauce and toss.

I use fresh mozzarella, the kind packed in water. Slice and lay pieces of cheese on the flatbread.

Now spread the coated BBQ chicken on the flatbread and top with red onion slices and sliced cherry tomatoes (I had yellow, but red is prettier).

Top with thinly sliced red onion rings and some fresh rosemary.

Season with sea salt & pepper and drizzle some olive oil over the entire pizza/flatbread on a baking sheet.

Bake about 10-12 minutes at 425F until cheese is melted and tomatoes are bursting.

Let rest 5 minutes, then cut into slices and serve!

These are seriously good.

Baseball season is right around the corner.