Thursday, December 14, 2017

Roasted Brussels Sprouts w/ Apples & Spinach (hazelnuts too!)

I think this is my first Brussels sprouts post of the season!

For some reason, I have grown tired of the trendy little cabbages, especially the ones I see on menus these days with disgusting sweet glazes and sauces covering up the vegetables!

Leave the vegetables alone! They taste good on their own (usually).

This time, I found some fresh little baby Brussels sprouts and they were so sweet and good. I roasted them my usual way with some kosher salt and oil (I've been using avocado oil lately with good results at high roasting temps). About 20 minutes at 425F.

I tossed them with sliced Braeburn apples, fresh spinach (not baby spinach....but the real hearty stuff!), some toasted hazelnuts and a fantastic salad was born.

I made a dressing of a little maple syrup mixed with red wine vinegar and mustard and a small drop of oil.

I ate this warm and it was so delicious.....I need more salads like this in my life.


Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Best Cornbread Bundt with Bacon & Jalapenos

I have never been much of a cornbread fan. It's either too sweet and greasy, or dry as a bone.

Today I will share this BEST cornbread recipe with you from my friend Julie's new cookbook Beautiful Bundts.

I have never met Julie in person but we have been cyber friends for 10 years. We were members of a blogger group back when food blogs were new and fresh.

Her blog is called Peanut Butter & Julie and is still going strong.

Since then, she has written 3 cookbooks....won $25,000 grand prize in Food Network's Ultimate Recipe Showdown! has her own line of granola and had a baby!

So I made her cornbread in a bundt pan and all I have to say is WOW.

I stuck to the ingredient list and used a Nordicware pro 10 cup bundt pan.

Julie likes nonstick spray, but I used butter to grease my pan.

The cornbread was moist, a hint of heat and just so delicious.
It makes a big bundt, serving about 12, so I froze the rest of it.

Julie's Cornbread Bundt with Jalapenos & Bacon: (adapted from Beautiful Bundts)

Oven at 350F. Spray a 10 cup bundt pan with non-stick spray (you can also brush with melted butter).

1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup of yellow cornmeal
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup of buttermilk
1/2 cup butter, melted (1 stick)
1/4 cup of honey
6 oz. of sliced bacon, cooked crisp
4 green onions
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced (I used just one pepper)
1 cup of shredded sharp cheddar cheese

In a large bowl, whisk flour, cornmeal, baking powder, soda and salt.

Make a well in the center of the flour mixture. Add eggs, buttermilk, butter and honey. Mix together until well blended and smooth.

Now stir in the good stuff. Bacon, jalapenos, scallions and cheese. Spoon batter into prepared pan and smooth the top.

Bake in a 350F oven for 30-35 minutes. Let cool in the pan 10 minutes before inverting bundt onto a wire cooling rack.

Best served warm.

This was great with chili and also just as a snack.

I hope you try it.

I am giving away one of Julie's Beautiful Bundt books!

Just leave a comment!


Monday, December 11, 2017

Instagram Random Bites

Lately, I find it much easier to just post photos on instagram of what I am cooking.

I don't have to write a long love letter to you, and I don't have to write out the recipe.
I am becoming a lazy food blogger after 10 years.

Here are some things that I have been cooking these days.

(If you want the recipes, just click on the links, easy!).

It's comfort food season. I like making big pots of stews and braises to keep warm.

I made Nigella Lawson's One Pot Chicken Barley Potage with Parsnips, Carrots and Leeks.
It was loverly!

Recipe here.

I made my first apple tarte tatin with puff pastry.

I obeyed, and cooked the apples in the caramel (butter and sugar) for 18 minutes, like most recipes said.

The results were excellent. I know most forums say that tarte tatin must be eaten warm, and at that moment.

There were very strict rules about reheating and "won't be good the next day; don't bother with the leftovers".


My tarte tatin was BETTER that night, and even just as delicious for breakfast the next morning!

I kept the tarte in my cold garage, loosely covered. My pastry was still nice and crisp, and because it was a bit chilled, the caramel was nice and firm.

Next up is an oldie but a goodie.

Pasta e Ceci.
Make sure you use ditalini for this one. We ate the whole pot, it's so DELICIOUS and easy.

Here is the best recipe (make sure you follow the directions and puree 1 cup of the chickpeas).

I used my frozen turkey stock from Thanksgiving and omitted the cheese at the really doesn't need it, but go ahead, who doesn't love Parmesan on top?

And last but not least.....that beautiful giant 2 pack of chuck roasts you get at Costco for 25 bucks. This feeds a small army.

I made that beautiful One Pot Oven Braised Beef w/ Tomatoes & Garlic (aka pot roast?) browning onions, no browning the meat.....just stick the big 3 pounder (or larger) in a Le Creuset or Staub Dutch oven. Sprinkle w/ kosher salt & pepper.

Cover w/ a 28oz. can of San Marzano tomatoes with juice. Maybe 1/3 cup of leftover wine or stock. Some fresh rosemary sprigs and a head of peeled garlic cloves.

300F with lid on for 3 hours until falling apart.

Makes the most delicious ragu served over pappardelle.
I froze 2 big containers and will add kimchi the next time for a kimchi beef stew!

You're welcome.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Ottolenghi's Beet Ginger Cake

This was the first recipe I tried from the new beautiful book SWEET by Yotam Ottolenghi and Helen Goh.

I chose the beet ginger cake, because I love beets, and thought it would be different.

I have to say, while we did like this cake very much, there could have been some problems with the baking, had I not read David Lebovitz's post before making it.

The original recipe wants you to bake the cake at 375F for 55-60 minutes.
David says bake the cake for 30-40 minutes at only 350F. David was right on.

My cake only took 40 minutes, and I probably could've taken it out at the 35 mark.

My cream cheese icing also came out odd from the recipe. It was lumpy.....there was no butter in the recipe, so maybe that's why? I used powdered sugar on top instead, and tossed the icing.

Shouldn't be that difficult to bake a cake!

The original recipe has you grind in a vitamin C tablet to keep the beets red.
I did not do that, and my cake had nice red streaks thru.

Ok, now that we have the potential problems out of the way.....the cake was nice. Spicy and earthy.
Would I make it again?

Probably not. But here's the recipe anyway.

Beet Ginger Cake (adapted from SWEET & David Lebovitz):

1/2 cup (100g) finely chopped candied or crystalized ginger
1 2/3 cups (200g) flour
3/4 cup (150g) sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder, preferably aluminum-free
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large red beets, peeled and grated
finely grated zest of one orange
2/3 cup (75g) toasted walnuts, chopped
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1/4 cup (60g) sour cream
1/2 cup (125ml) sunflower or canola oil
3/4 teaspoon Fruit Fresh, or 1 (1500mg) vitamin C tablet, crushed to a fine powder (optional)

Butter an 8-inch (20cm) square or round pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper.

Preheat the oven to 350ºF (180ºC).

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the grated beets, orange zest, walnuts and candied ginger to the bowl, but do not stir in (not sure why, but I followed the rules).

Whisk together the eggs, sour cream, oil, and Fruit Fresh or vitamin C is a small bowl.
Pour the mixture over the dry ingredients in the large bowl and use a spatula to mix the ingredients together, stirring just until thoroughly combined. The batter will be pink and thick.

Scrape the batter into the prepared cake pan, even the top, and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 40 minutes.

Remove the cake from the oven and let cool for 30 minutes on a wire rack, then remove the cake from the pan, peel off the parchment paper, and let cool completely before either frosting or dusting with powdered sugar.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Jamie Oliver's Sweet Potato Muffins

Super Foods; Detox; Lose 5 lbs. in 1 week; New Year's Resolutions......we are bombarded with these phrases during the month of December.

The holidays are wonderful, but we tend to overeat, over drink, over indulge. I tend to do that during the cold months anyway, always craving stews and pastas, more hearty fare.

How about a healthy snack for a change?

You know my love for sweet potatoes, and the title of Jamie Oliver's book is EVERYDAY SUPER FOOD, and this recipe sounded pretty healthy....and I will only eat 2.....maybe 3.

These came out DELICIOUS.

I was not sure what to expect, since they are called "muffins", but have no sugar in the recipe. No butter, no oil either.
The only "bad" thing is the flour.

Think of these more like mini quiches, and yes, I ate 3 of them for breakfast.

I served them alongside maple glazed salmon and spinach for dinner, and we really enjoyed them.

The recipe uses sunflower seeds on top along w/ the poppy seeds. I did not have any sunflower seeds, so opted only for the poppy seeds.
All good.

I translated the recipe from the UK metric to US measurements.

You're welcome.

Jamie's Sweet Potato Muffins (adapted from EVERYDAY SUPER FOOD): makes 12 regular size muffins

6 eggs
4 cups of grated raw sweet potato (I used 2 large ones, peeled)
3 tbsp cottage cheese
4 scallions, sliced
2 chilis (or hot pepper flakes), sliced thin
1 1/2 cups of flour
2 tbsp baking powder
salt & pepper
1/4 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
1 tbsp sunflower seeds
1 tbsp poppy seeds

Make sure you spray the muffin liners with nonstick spray (the recipe does not tell you this, and trust me, they will stick if you forget to do it!).

Mix the eggs, grated sweet potatoes, scallions and cottage cheese in a bowl with the chilis.

Add in the dry ingredients with the Parmesan cheese and combine. Season with salt & pepper (don't forget).

I use an ice-cream scoop for even servings. Fill the muffin cups almost to the top.
Sprinkle with the seeds.

Bake in a 350F oven for about 40 minutes.

These were delicious warm, and also right out of the fridge.

Perfect for breakfast or served with mustard maple salmon and a salad!


Monday, December 4, 2017

Cheesy Baked Chicken & Rice

It's comfort food season (unless you live in Florida or California.....).
Who doesn't love a casserole?

This is a great idea to use up your leftover rice and it only takes about 30 minutes to put together.

I think boneless chicken thighs would also be good here, I will use them next time instead of the boneless breasts.

Cheesy Chicken 'n Rice: (adapted from Delish)

1 c. white rice
1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, quartered
kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, chopped
1/2 cup of sliced mushrooms (optional)
1/2 c. dry white wine
1 c. low-sodium chicken stock
1/4 c. heavy cream
2 c. frozen peas
1/4 c. chopped fresh parsley, plus more for garnish
1 c. freshly grated Parmesan, divided

Preheat oven to 450º. Prepare rice according to package directions, less 5 minutes (I used leftover white rice from the Chinese takeout place).

Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. In a medium mixing bowl, drizzle olive oil over chicken and season with salt and pepper. Cook chicken until golden all over, 6 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate and set aside.

Add 1 tablespoon oil to skillet and heat over medium. Add garlic, mushrooms and onions and cook until softened, about 3 minutes.

Add wine, chicken stock, heavy cream, salt and pepper; bring to a boil and simmer until slightly reduced, about 5 minutes.
Add chicken (and juices from the plate), cooked rice, peas, parsley, and the Parmesan.

Bake until heated through (without lid), about 15 minutes. Garnish with parsley and sprinkle with remaining Parm. Serve immediately.


Thursday, November 30, 2017

Apple Loaf Cake w/ Cinnamon Walnut Icing

There is always room for another apple cake in your recipe box, right?

I never get tired of them.

This one is a's so simple.

It's an old recipe from my friend Amy who has a cute homey cookbook from years ago called "Secrets of a Home Cook" (you can follow her on instagram)'s a recipe collection and stories of her family, and every recipe is a winner.
Not sure if you can find it anymore, but you can certainly contact her and she will send you one.

She calls this an apple bread....but that's only because it's baked in a loaf pan. It's a cake.
And I took the lead and iced it with a cinnamon walnut glaze, but you don't have to.....(but I suggest you do).

If you've noticed lately, instead of using the full amount of all purpose flour in recipes, I have been taking out 1/2 cup of flour and adding 1/2 cup of almond flour instead. But feel free to use just the flour if that's all you have.

It was also the debut of my sparkle sugar! I could not resist buying this pretty sugar.
It makes every cake special!

I guess I have become a baking geek.

Here's the recipe:

Apple Loaf Cake w/ Cinnamon Walnut Icing:

1 cup sugar
2 apples, peeled and cut into small dice (I used Empire apples)
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg
1 stick butter, melted (1/2 cup)
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup flour
1/2 cup of almond flour
1 tsp baking soda

Mix the diced apples with the sugar and cinnamon in a large bowl and set aside. The juices from the apples will combine with the sugar and make it nice and juicy.

Mix in the rest of the ingredients......adding in the flours last.

Scrape batter into a well greased loaf pan and bake for 1 hour in a 325F oven.
Let rest in the pan for 15 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

Cinnamon Walnut Glaze:

1 cup of confectioner's sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1-2 tbsp milk
1/4 cup of chopped walnuts

Mix all ingredients with a fork until you reach the desired consistency. If the icing is too thick, then add in a drop more of milk.

Once the cake is cool, drizzle the icing all over the loaf. The walnuts will stick to the cake once the icing has cooled and hardened.

I kept this cake in the fridge, and it was fantastic COLD.
We loved it.


Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Winter Sides: Cauliflower, Lentil & Date Salad

Healthy and beautiful....we should all be that way. :)

I know I could be a vegetarian.....however, my husband would miss the animal protein. I make meat less and less for dinners.

More cakes, I say!

Anyway, this is a delicious side dish or main meal, so easy when you use canned lentils (the Brits call it a "tin" of lentils).

Lots of fiber and protein from the lentils, and the rest you know about.

I love this website where I found this recipe (Rocket & Squash).

adapted from Rocket & Squash

6 or 7 plump Medjool dates, pits removed
1 large head of cauliflower, cut into florets
1/4 cup flaked almonds, toasted
1 can of cooked green lentils, (Goya makes good canned lentils)
handful cilantro leaves
juice of 1/2 a lemon
olive oil
sea salt and black pepper

Cut the dates into pieces and add to a large bowl.

Roast the cauliflower tossed w/ kosher salt & olive oil at 400F for 25 minutes. Add the cooked cauliflower to the bowl with the cooked lentils, almonds and cilantro.

Dress with just some lemon juice and olive oil. Season to your taste with sea salt & pepper.

That's that.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Crispy Chicken Thighs w/ Charred Carrots, Dukkah & Honeyed Yogurt

I think we are done with turkey until next year.....I had my fill all weekend.
On to chicken.

Though the title sounds fancy, it's just a regular Tuesday night dinner.

It's just chicken thighs and carrots.

The reason this dinner is SO GOOD is the little extras you make, like the dukkah (an Egyptian spice blend) and the yogurt sauce.

I found gorgeous heirloom rainbow carrots at my local farmer's market, and that also helped transform it from an ordinary meal, to a restaurant quality dinner.

It's pretty simple to put together.

Here's how:

Make the dukkah, which you can do a week in advance! I always keep it on hand, it's so good.


cumin seeds
coriander seeds
sesame seeds
lemon zest
1/4 cup almonds, toasted
1/4 cup cashews or hazelnuts, toasted

Toast the seeds and nuts only until fragrant in a dry frying pan.
In a coffee grinder, or small chopper, pulse until chunky, adding the lemon zest last.

Keep in a covered container about a week or so.

Roast the chicken thighs (WITH SKIN AND not use skinless!!) on a baking sheet lined with foil with some kosher salt and pepper (don't use oil on them, because the thighs are greasy enough). Roast in a hot 450F oven for 40 minutes, depending on the size of the thighs. They will get nice and crispy.

While the chicken is roasting on the top rack, line another baking sheet w/ parchment paper (saves cleanup), and drizzle the carrots with some olive oil and kosher salt.

Roast the carrots on the bottom rack of the oven for 20-25 minutes or until they are caramelized.

Mix some plain Greek yogurt w/ a little honey (I use FAGE 2%). This will be your sauce.

Spread some honey yogurt on each plate and place some crispy chicken thighs and carrots on top. Sprinkle with dukkah and serve with lemon wedges.


recipe adapted from FLX Wienery (not Winery) by way of Food & Wine Magazine.


Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Cranberry Relish Streusel Cake w/ Citrus Glaze

2 for 1 today.

I am posting a fabulous holiday cake, made with raw cranberry relish. Serve it for Thanksgiving, Christmas or Hanukkah.

I usually cook my cranberry relish on the stove to make it jammy, however, I will only make this RAW cran relish from now on!

This is SO good spooned over plain yogurt. I love it!!!!

I made a batch for Thanksgiving, and made sure I saved some for this amazing cake.

You can certainly use just raw cranberries for the cake, but I felt like swirling in the leftover relish.

This cake is wonderful....moist, fragrant, tangy, sweet, festive, what else can I say about it?

Raw Cranberry Relish:

1 bag of fresh cranberries, rinsed
1/2 cup sugar
zest of an orange
2 small oranges or clementines, peeled
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Just whiz the cranberries with the rest of the ingredients in a food processor just a few times (you want it to be chunky), and voila! this beautiful relish is done.

Refrigerate at least 2 hours so it firms up. Stays for 5 days in the fridge.

Now you are ready to bake the cake.

Cranberry Streusel Cake: (recipe adapted from How Sweet it is and Bake From Scratch Magazine)


1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/8 tsp cloves
1 tsp five spice powder


3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 large eggs
zest of an orange
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups plain greek yogurt (full fat), or sour cream
3/4 cup leftover fresh raw cranberry sauce

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour a 10-inch bundt cake pan and set aside (don’t use cooking spray).

For the streusel:

Whisk together the sugar, flour, cinnamon, and salt. Add the butter pieces and using your hands, mix together the flour and butter until the flour is incorporated and in tiny pieces. The mixture will look like wet sand.

For the cake:

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, soda and salt. In the bowl of your electric mixer, beat the butter on medium speed until creamy, then add the sugar and beat for a few minutes on medium speed until fluffy, scraping down the sides if needed.

Add the eggs one at a time, beating well for a minute or so after each addition. Add the vanilla and beat well. Beat in the yogurt or sour cream, again scraping down the sides if needed.

Beat in the dry ingredients until they are incorporated.

Spoon half of the batter into the greased bundt pan. Swirl in half of the cranberry sauce, then sprinkle with two thirds of the streusel. (I added in a first layer of just cranberry relish to get a dramatic upside down cranberry effect, but you can stick to the recipe).

Add the remaining batter on top then, swirl in the remaining cranberry and finish off with the remaining streusel and swirl it into the batter with a knife.

Bake at 350F until a wooden pick inserted into the cake comes out clean, about 50-55 minutes.

Remove the cake from the oven and allow to cool for 15 minutes in the pan. Invert the pan on a wire rack and allow the cake to cool completely.

You can dust the cake with powdered sugar once it cools completely, or add this wonderful citrus glaze.

Citrus Glaze:

2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp orange zest
1 tbsp milk
2 tbsp of orange juice

Mix with a fork until desired thickness.

Drizzle over the cooled cake and let glaze harden.

Makes a large cake and freezes well.

Enjoy and have a Happy Thanksgiving!


Monday, November 20, 2017

Fusilli with Roasted Cauliflower & Caper Sauce

Another easy weeknight dinner from Melissa Clark's Dinner Changing the Game.

Since I am no longer a tomato sauce fan (heartburn city for me these days), I tend to make pastas with vegetable based sauces.

This recipe had my number. I made it even better by adding in golden raisins, which I highly recommend.

Roast a bunch of cauliflower florets (cut small) with 2 tablespoons of capers, together with olive oil and kosher salt. 425F for 30 minutes, turning once until golden.

While the cauliflower is roasting, boil 8 oz. (half a box) of fusilli pasta.

In a large bowl, add 2 tbsp of butter, 1 tbsp of chopped capers, 2 minced garlic cloves and some toasted pine nuts and golden raisins. This will be your sauce.

Add the roasted cauliflower and cooked pasta to the bowl w/ the butter and capers and mix together.
The butter will melt with the hot ingredients.

Squeeze a little lemon on top and some freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.

This is delicious!