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Sunday, September 11, 2016

Spicy Pineapple Lime Spritzer

I recently moved into a new apartment and my new roommate dude has been experimenting with lots of craft cocktails. I, on the other hand, have been experimenting with craft mocktails (although I have not been shying away from taste testing his wonderful creations). This one is the best yet. Its summery and fresh and tingly and perfect. The bubbles in the water and the kick of the cayenne make it outstanding. Safe enough for a kid but made for an adult. And look, you didn't hear this from me, but adding a splash of tequila won't ruin it.

1 cup pineapple juice
1 or two juicy lime, juiced
1 pinch of cayenne pepper
1/2 cup seltzer water

In a cocktail shaker add the pineapple juice, lime juice, and cayenne pepper. Shake vigorously and taste to spiciness (you want it to have a bit of a kick, so if it doesn't, add a bit more cayenne and shake again). Pour over 2 glasses with lots of ice and top with seltzer water. Drink and enjoy.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Earl Grey Shortbread Cookies

A few things happened recently that led to these cooking being baked (and then blogged).

1) A few weeks ago I was at a brunch party and one of the guests (shout out to Megan!) brought these mystery shortbread cookies that tasted sort of savory-- and sort of like they had pepper in them-- and I couldn't quite place the taste-- and I kept wanting more-- and then she told me that they were made with dried tea leaves. WTF. They were wonderful, with such a lovely subtle flavor that keeps you reaching for more.

2) Fast forward a few weeks. I've been a bit under the weather for the past few days with a cold and have been drinking lots of tea, which, of course, reminded me of these cookies and so I thought: why not?

3) I am home sick from work and bored, so what else was I going to do? So, I baked*. And then I blogged. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

These cookies really are amazing and take only 20 minutes to make (TOTAL). They are not very sweet, but in a perfect way. I made a small batch today, which yielded approximately 15 2-inch round thin shortbread cookies. You could easily double the recipe, and/or cut them into different shapes and sizes. Recipe adapted from Food Network.

1 stick butter, softened
1/3 cup confectioners sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 (heaping) teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 bag of dried Earl Grey tea leaves

In a large bowl cream the butter and sugar. Add the vanilla and beat until incorporated. Add the salt, flour, and tea leaves and mix to combine. Make sure all the ingredients come together well into a dough ball.

Remove the dough and roll into a 1/4 inch thick disk. Use a cookie or biscuit cutter to cut into circles and bake at 350 degrees for approximately 10 minutes. You will know they are done when the edges are slightly browned. Let cool and then serve and enjoy with a cup of tea or coffee.

* Yes, cooking when under the weather means that other people don't really want to eat the food you make, but that kinda works in my favor-- because now the cookies are all mine.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Pasta e Fagioli

So, its been nearly forever since I posted a new recipe on this thing. To be honest, I've been thinking more about the blog recently... missing the time I used to dedicate to my kitchen, missing the motivation to try new recipes, wishing I could get back into it. This, combined with the fact that I was (sort of) holed up in my apartment all weekend due to snow storm Jonas (25 inches in NYC!) AND that some of my dearest friends from grad school were visiting (who were major tasting partners during my prime blogging days), made me decide to snap a few photos of my kitchen creations this weekend and write a post or two.

I made this soup under the tutelage of my lovely friend Erin. Her whole family is Italian and she is one of my best experts on all foods within this cuisine. It reminded me how much I have missed cooking with her. The soup was wonderful. Warm and rich and perfect for a cold and snowy day. It was also incredibly easy and fast to make. I highly recommend it.

4 ounces pancetta, diced
1 large onion, chopped
3 stalks of celery, chopped
1 bay leaf
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup white wine
1 (28oz) can crushed tomatoes
6-7 cups chicken broth
2 (14oz) cans cannellini beans
8oz ditalini pasta (or other small tube pasta)
grated parmesan
fresh parsley

In a large soup pot cook the pancetta over medium heat until it is lightly browned and has rendered much of the fat. Remove the pieces of pancetta, save for later. Add the chopped onion, celery, bay leaf and some salt to the pot with the pancetta fat (add olive oil if needed) and cook until softened and just lightly browned. Add the garlic and cook for another minute or two. Add some white wine to deglaze the pot. Add the crush tomatoes, 1 can of beans, and a few cups of the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Using a blender/stick blender puree some of the soup-- this helps to thicken it up. Return to pot, add the remaining chicken broth, some crushed red pepper flakes and salt and pepper (to taste) and the other can of beans and boil for about 20-30 minutes until the soup tastes really great.

Meanwhile, boil some water with salt and cook the pasta until al dente. When it is ready, add the pasta to the rest of the soup, give it a stir, let it cook another minute or two and taste for salt and pepper. Serve in bowls topped with pancetta, parsley, and parmesan cheese. And it goes really well with a piece (or two) of quick parmesan toast (baguette cut in half length-wise, add a bit of olive oil/salt/pepper/garlic powder/grated parmesan and bake in 350 degree oven for about 10-15 minutes, or until lightly browned).

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Vanilla & Cinnamon Sugar Donuts

Just last week I was telling a friend that I was done blogging. I explained to her that I hadn't felt inspired recently and didn't feel like taking pictures of food anymore. And then, 36 hours later, I made these. Silly me. I guess all it took was one bite of these cinnamon-sugar-vanilla-butter-donuts to get me back in the game.

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup cake flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 large egg, beaten
1 1/14 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

6 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
seeds of 1 vanilla bean

Whisk together the dry ingredients in a large bowl. In a smaller bowl, mix together the egg, buttermilk, melted butter, and vanilla and add to the dry ingredients. Fold together and do not over-mix.

Pour into donut pan and fill each mold approximately 3/4 full. Bake at 350 degrees for ~10-15 minutes, or until lightly browned and a toothpick comes out clean. Remove from oven, let cool for 5 minutes, then remove donuts from mold and let cool.

Once cool enough to handle, prepare the topping by blending together the sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla bean seeds. Dip each donut in the melted butter (on all sides) and then coat with the cinnamon vanilla sugar. Let the topping set, then serve and enjoy!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Raspberry Coconut Oatmeal Bars

I haven't really been blogging much in the past 5 months.

Or at all.

This is, in part, due to the fact that I have been lacking in inspiration. The rest is due the recent influx of busy and exciting new things happening in both my personal and professional life, including applying to and matching at a predoctoral internship, finishing graduate school, and prepping for my move to NYC in 6 weeks!

I've been so busy that I rarely spend Sundays in my kitchen like I used to. But, today I had just that kind of day. I've missed these Sundays and have decided to make them a priority in the future. I made these raspberry coconut oatmeal bars to bring to my very last meeting on campus tomorrow, and thought I'd snap a photo and post it. The best thing about these bars is that they are sweet enough to be dessert, but have a distinct oatmeal/jam flavor, so they can also pass for a breakfast-on-the-go. I plan on eating them for both breakfast and dessert tomorrow. I hope you enjoy them as much as I already have! Recipe from

1 1/4 cup flour
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, cold, cut into pieces
1 1/2 cups old fashioned oats
1 1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut, divided in half
12 oz. seedless raspberry jam/jelly

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Take half of the coconut and spread in an even layer on a baking sheet. Toast in the oven, stirring every 2 minutes, until lightly browned. Remove from oven and set aside.

Using a food processor, mix together the flour, brown sugar, and salt. Add in the butter pieces and pulse until the mixture forms a dough. Pour into a large bowl and mix in the oats and toasted coconut with your hands. Remove 3/4 cup of the dough and set aside. Press the rest into the bottom of a parchment-lined and greased 9x13 pan. Next, spread the raspberry jam in an even layer on top. Crumble the remaining dough on top of the jam then sprinkle the rest of the coconut (untoasted) on top.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, until bars are golden brown. Remove from oven, let cool completely, then cut into squares. Serve and enjoy!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Apple Cider Caramels

I spent my weekend getting ready for the holidays by wrapping presents and making candy. In addition to my favorite holiday candy (Peppermint Bark), I made these apple cider caramels. Wowza, these have some serious flavor. They taste like a bite-sized caramel apple with tiny bits of sea salt that you notice as you chew on them. Goodness, they are good. And as far as candy making goes, these were really simple and are jam-packed full of flavor. Make them! Recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen.

4 cups apple cider (not juice)
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 stick butter, cut into pieces
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 candy thermometer

Pour the apple cider into a 3 quart saucepan and place on the stove over high heat. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally, and let reduce until the liquid measures about 1/2-1/3 cup (this will likely take 30-45 minutes). 

Meanwhile, measure out the sugars, butter, and cream and set aside. In a small bowl stir together the salt and cinnamon and set aside. Prepare an 8x8 inch baking pan by lining two strips of parchment paper on the bottom, leaving extra hanging off the top for easy removal once the caramel hardens. Set aside.

Once the apple cider has reduced, remove from heat and add the sugars, butter, and cream and stir to combine. Put back on the burner on medium-high heat and bring to a boil until the mixture reaches a temperature of 252 degrees F (about 5 minutes). Promptly remove from heat, stir in the cinnamon/salt mixture and pour into the parchment paper-lined pan. Let cool/harden on the counter (~2 hours) or in the fridge (faster). 

Once hardened, remove the caramel by pulling up on the sides of the parchment paper and place on a cutting board. Using a well oiled sharp knife, cut into 1-inch squares and wrap in parchment/wax paper, twisting the sides to keep the caramel sealed. These will keep fresh for approximately 2 weeks on the counter. You can store them in the fridge, but I found them to be too hard when cold and just perfect when room temperature. 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Hot Cocoa Mix

Every year around this time I try to find some type of edible DIY gift. Last year I made vanilla extract and used it as stocking stuffers for my family. This year I stumbled upon this Hot Cocoa Mix that looked delicious and decided to make good use of a work-from-home day and made a bunch of these jars to give away (but not before trying a cup of hot cocoa first!). Its a very rich and chocolatey cocoa. Top notch!

4 cups granulated sugar
3 tablespoons vanilla extract
1 pound semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
1 pound milk chocolate, chopped
2 cups cocoa powder

In a food processor pulse together the sugar and vanilla until combined and smooth. Pour into the bottom of a very large bowl. Add half the chocolate to the food processor and process until completely ground (do not pulse too long, or else the oils will be released and it will start to clump together). Once all the chocolate is pulsed/ground, pour it into the bowl with the sugar. Finally add the cocoa powder and whisk to combine all ingredients. You may need to break up any small clumps of cocoa or ground chocolate as you whisk. 

Pour into jars and close tightly. Attach a note with directions on how to make each cup of cocoa. Directions are as follows: Warm 1 cup (8 oz.) of milk in a microwave or on the stove. Add 3-4 tablespoons of cocoa mix and stir together to combine. Serve and enjoy!

Will last approximately 10 months.