Sunday, December 7, 2008


I realised today after making 3 batches of these, that I need to take an official hiatus from my blog, probably until February. I just don't have the time at the moment to give it the attention it deserves. I'm sure I will be back with a vengeance in February! See you then!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Not Much Going on In My Kitchen

Since I last blogged I've been away for two weekends, one to Baltimore, and one to New York, so I've done more eating than cooking. Also, I have to be truthful, I just haven't made anything decent for ages, so I've been totally unmotivated to blog. With Thanksgiving days away, I'll be making a couple of new things so I'll be able to update.

Thanksgiving totally crept up on me this year. I can't believe it's on Thursday and then it will be December!!!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Cranberry Bread

The new Everyday Food arrived this week and thankfully there were lots of things in there to try. The first recipe that caught my eye was for Cranberry Bread, so I whipped some up this afternoon. It was really easy and it tastes great. The cranberries are really tart and it's delicious, with just enough sweetness from the cake part to counteract it.

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus more for pan
2 cups flour
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon slat
1 large egg, lightly beaten
3/4 cup milk
1 bag (12oz) cranberries

Preheat oven to 350 F. Butter and flour a 9x 5 inch loaf pan, 8 cup capacity, and set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside in a medium bowl, combine butter egg and milk. Add wet mixture to dry mixture and whisk to combine. Fold in cranberries.

Pour better into prepared pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted in centre of loaf comes out clean, about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack; let bread cool 30 mins. Invert onto rack, then immediately turn right side up and let cool completely.

I also picked up a copy of Ina Garten's new book Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics: Fabulous Flavor from Simple Ingredients, which Costco has for $18.89. Amazon has it for $21.00, so if you are near a Costco, it's a bargain!! I just had a quick look through and there are some lovely things in there.

Tomorrow of course is Halloween, so hopefully my kids will get lots of Milky Way's and I'll be able to help eat them!!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Black Bottom Cupcakes

I think it's important to talk about the tragedies as well as the triumphs, so I'm going to share my Black Bottom Cupcakes experience with you. This was the recipe that caught my eye more than once when I was thumbing through the Crazy About Cupcakes book, so I decided to try them today.

Firstly, I would like to mention that this is the strangest cake batter that I have ever made. Secondly, I would like to mention that they only turned out OK. Edible, but nothing to rave about. This could have something to do with the fact that I used Nabisco Famous Chocolate Wafers(I always have them on hand in case I need to whip up an ice box cake) which were too big for the cupcake , so I broke them up and lay them on the bottom of the cupcake paper. And I also used regular sized choc chips. Of course the bits of broken up cookie floated to the top when I put the batter in and didn't stay on the bottom like they were supposed to. I imagine that one of the cookie halves of an Oreo would have worked well for this recipe.

The batter was really runny. And in the recipe it calls it "chocolate batter" but there is no chocolate in it, except for the cookie. Weird. Oh, and I also used whipped cream cheese, because I didn't have a block of it.

Also the recipe calls for 24 cookies, so I thought it made 2 doz cupcakes. It doesn't. If you want to give these a try, just make 12 and use more batter in the 12, I think they would turn out better.

24 round chocolate cookies
1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 cup water
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
One 8oz package cream cheese, at room temperature
1 large egg
1 cup mini chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 325F. Insert liners into a medium cupcake pan, or grease the pan.Place a chocolate cookie in the bottom of each liner or pan.

In a large bowl, cream together 1 cup of the sugar, the oil, and the water until blended. Stir in the vinegar and vanilla.

In a separate medium bowl mix together flour, baking soda, and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt.

Add all the dry mixture to the wet mixture and beat until incorporated. Set Aside.

In a medium bowl, beat together the cream cheese, egg, and the remaining sugar and salt. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Fill cupcake liners or pan half full with the chocolate batter. Top with a heaping tablespoon of the cream cheese mixture. Bake for 25-30 mins or until the edges of the cupcakes are puffed but the centers look moist. Cool cupcakes in the pan.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Foodbuzz Publisher Community Launches!!!

I'm a couple of days late, but better late than never! Foodbuzz Publisher Community has officially launched. Foodbuzz was nice enough to ask me in January to become one of their Featured Publishers, so I've had a really good time being part of that community and finding lots of new food blogs to read, and I've also put up a few restaurant reviews myself. So please, if you are not already familiar with FoodBuzz, check it out. You can just click on any of the three buttons on the right.

To celebrate the launch, I recieved a fantastic apron and a nice green spatula (my son took this photo)

Posted by Picasa

I'm attempting a Butternut Squash, Rosemary and Ricotta Pizza tonight, so I'll let you know how that goes!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

New Books!

I got a couple of new books this week (thank you Catherine)and one of them is Crazy About Cupcakes. I haven't made anything from it yet, but I will. It has really good ideas for every single occasion you could possibly think of and some really fantastic cupcake flavours. So I promise to try something from there soon.

The other book I have is The Essential Chocolate Chip Cookbook: Recipes from the Classic Cookie to Mocha Chip Meringue Cake,and I did make something from there this weekend.

These are called Chocolate-chip Filled Melting Moments. The Melting Moment is actually an Australian cookie, and this recipe has a nice twist to it with the creamy choc chip middle. I actually put too many choc chips in my filling and the cookies didn't stick together as much as I would have liked. The recipe also says to use about 1 tablespoon of dough and roll into a ball for each cookie. These cookies really spread, so I would use about 1 teaspoon of dough, and you will get a much better sized cookie to make the cookie sandwiches.

Here is the recipe over at Erin Cooks. Judging by her photos she did a much better job than me getting the size right for the cookies.

ps. They were delicious.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Raspberry Cream Cheese Muffins

My latest thing before buying new recipe books that look good on Amazon, is to borrow them from my library. Luckily I have a fantastic local library, so I'm able to do this for almost any cookbook. I recently borrowed "More from Magnolia" Recipes from the World-Famous Bakery. I'm sort of disappointed with the book because there are hardly any pictures in it!! I have to have pictures!! More often than not that is what inspires me to make the dish or the cake or cookies. I think that's why I love Ina so much, she has photos of 99% of her recipes. I thought most of the the stuff was sort of ordinary, and without pictures to inspire me I didn't think I was going to make anything, until the Raspberry Cream Cheese Breakfast Buns caught my eye.

I thought they turned out well. The original recipe is for 9 large muffins, but I just made them in the size of regular muffins, because I know no one would eat a whole large muffin. The recipe made 2 dozen regular muffins.

1 3/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
8oz package cream cheese, softened
1 stick unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1/4 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


1/2 cup raspberry preserves

Confectioner's sugar (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Grease and lightly flour 9 large muffin cups or 24 regular muffins. In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, beat together the cream cheese, butter and sugar until smooth, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs and beat well. Add the dry ingredients in two parts, alternating with the milk and vanilla. Spoon the batter into the muffin cups, filling them about two-thirds full. Drop 3 small dollops (about a teaspoonful each) of raspberry preserves onto the top of each bun and, using the tip of a sharp knife, swirl the preserves into the batter, forming a decorative pattern.

Bake for 25-30 minutes (regular muffins - 22 mins), or until a cake tester inserted in the center of the bun comes out clean.

Allow the buns to cool for about 30 minutes before sprinkling with confectioners sugar and serving.

I also think these would probably be delicious with a slight touch of lemon, and I'm going to add some next time I make them, to see how it turns out.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

One Dish Dinners!

Hands up if you are happy with the new October Everyday Food. I am!! The Spicy Coconut Chicken Casserole looks fantastic, and I'm going to do that next Monday, and the Spinach and Prosciutto Lasagna also looks good. Martha doesn't have these recipes on-line, so I'll put them up when I've made them next week. There is also a nice section on slow cooker meals. I absolutely have to get a slow cooker and try some of these, which also look good for freezing.

I will be posting a menu plan for next week!!

Chicken, Asparagus Puree and Potato Rosti

As promised,I made my first dish from Donna Hay Modern Classics 1 on Sunday. It was actually a side dish, and simple, but it's a start!I made it to go with a chicken and asparagus dish that I found on the Sydney Morning Herald Cuisine Section. They have a lot of fabulous recipes, but you do have to do conversions from metric.

The recipe is chicken with pureed asparagus. The puree was absolutely delicious, and I used water in my recipe instead of chicken stock, so I can only imagine how much better it would be with chicken stock. I pan fried the chicken in a small amount of olive oil, and steamed the asparagus spears.

1lb green asparagus, woody ends snapped off
1 tblspn butter
1 medium brown onion, finely sliced
4 garlic cloves, finely sliced
ground white pepper
3/4 cup water or stock
4 chicken breasts, trimmed and skin removed


Cut 4 cm long spears from asparagus top and reserve. Finely chop remaining stems. Melt butter in a small saucepan then add onion, 2 garlic cloves, season and cook gently until soft, about 15 minutes. Add asparagus stems and stock then simmer until asparagus is soft, about 10-15 minutes. Blend to a smooth puree with a stick or bar blender, keep warm.

Serves 4

Potato Rosti

4 roasting potatoes.
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1/3 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 teaspoons thyme leaves
kosher salt and cracked pepper

Preheat the oven to 400F. Using a sharp vegetable peeler, but the potato into long, thin strips. Toss the potato strips with the oil, Parmesan, thyme, salt and pepper. Place the mixture in six piles on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden and cooked through.

I also threw in some carrot for good measure. I think it turned out well, and I'll definitely be making this whole meal again!

Blogging Funk

I think I'm over my blogging funk. It's been such a whirlwind lately, I haven't done any menu planning, or made anything even slightly interesting at all, until this weekend.

Last weekend I had another birthday - my daughter turned six, I made the fairy cupcakes and decorated them with pale "fairy pink" icing and some lovely multi-coloured Cachous that my mother brought me from Australia.

I made 72 cupcakes one night, because I had to have enough for the party and then enough for her whole class the next day and some left-overs for us.

Fairy Cakes - makes 12 (obviously I made lots of batches!)

½ cup unsalted butter, softened
7 tablespoons sugar
2 large eggs
¾ cup self-rising flour
½ teaspoon vanilla extract ( I used 1 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla extract to make them very vanilla) 2-3 tablespoons milk

Preheat the oven to 400F

Put all ingredients except milk in the food processor, and process until smooth. Pulse while adding milk down the funnel, to make a soft dropping consistency.

Spoon mixture into cupcake papers and try to fill each cup equally.

Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the fairy cakes are cooked and golden on top.

Remove from pan and cool on a wire rack.

For the icing I just used powdered sugar and water. I used about 2 cups powdered sugar and then added water gradually until I got the right consistency to ice with. I coloured it with a tiny dot of the pink concentrated colour

Monday, September 8, 2008

Barefoot Bloggers

Sadly, I'm going to be dropping out of the Barefoot Bloggers because twice a month is too much for me, especially when I'm not all that motivated to cook the selection. It just comes around too quickly. I liked doing it and I think it's a great idea, but I've decided it's just not for me.

Anyway, in it's place I've decided to work my way through Donna Hay's Modern Classics,and I'll be putting up something from Donna this week!

Wii Anyone?

My son turned eight last week, and he's obsessed with playing the Wii and he requested a birthday cake in the shape of a Wii, and we finally settled on a cake like a Wii Remote.

I just made a simple chocolate rolled cake (here is the recipe) and then I used a Wilton Buttercream Frosting mixture because I wanted a really good consistency to work with on the rolled cake. The icing was actually delicious, I wasn't expecting it to be at all. And then I coloured some icing blue and used that for the accents.

He loved it and I think it is actually recognisable as a Wii Remote

School Has Started!!

Yay - I put their smiling faces on the bus at 7:40 in the morning and they go off to a fulfilling day of learning!! So I'm finally getting the chance to update this blog of mine.

First of all, we had a great time in Vancouver. We did A LOT of eating, and there was tons to choose from. Lots of Indian, Vietnamese, Chinese, Crepe restaurants and coffee.

We had lunch one date at Hons Wun Tun House which was really good, and lunch another day at a Crepe Cafe, and I had a delicious Spinach and Feta Crepe. The kids had sugar and butter crepes and thought they were great!

As well as eating we did some sightseeing, we went to Capilano Suspension Bridge,and walked around Stanley Park, and even went swimming at the public pool there, although it was way to cold for me. It was only 76 outside with a brisk breeze and the water was FREEZING, but the kids went in.

And in Seattle on the way home we had dinner at Ivar's Acres of Clams. The service was great and so was the food, although the weather and the traffic are totally miserable in Seattle.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


We are off to Vancouver tomorrow until Monday, so hopefully I'll have some beautiful photos to share when I get back. I also plan on eating a lot while I'm there, and I'll have some food photos and stories as well.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Barefoot Bloggers:Panzanella

The first recipe for Barefoot Bloggers for August was Panzanella from the Barefoot Parties book. I never would have made this in a pink fit, but I'm glad I did now. It is delicious!!! I had some for lunch, but I'm sure it will taste better later when all the flavours have had time to develop. I did leave out the capers and the red bell pepper. The recipe has red and yellow peppers and I don't really care for them normally, so I just chose yellow for the added colour and put it in. I only had white wine vinegar, and I didn't want to buy a whole bottle of champagne vinegar, so I just used the white wine vinegar, as that was the closest.

Here is the recipe

I'm actually going to use the rest of it for dinner tonight. I'm roasting a chicken, so and I'm also going to do roast vegetables, but there will be a choice of roast vegetables or the Panzanella to go with the chicken. Yum.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Meringue Sandwich Cookies with White Chocolate Raspberry Filling

My friend Lisa "Pierogie Fingers" came over today and we made these meringue cookies together.

We had a recipe that Lisa found on a blog and it looked great, but the first batch didn't turn out the way we anticipated and they were too "eggy", so we made up our own recipe for the meringue and they turned out much better. Lisa piped perfect little round of meringue and then it was my turn and all mine were the shape of Hershey Kisses, which isn't that good for cookie sandwiches, but they still taste good.

Lisa's perfect piping!


3 egg whites
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup sugar

1/4 cup heavy cream
4oz white chocolate
2 tablespoons raspberry jam

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F

In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment,
whip the egg whites to a peak, gradually add the
sugar and keep whipping until the peaks are stiff.

Fill a pastry bag fitted with a plain tip with the batter and pipe small rounds onto parchment paper baking sheets,or you could spoon them on if you are not that good with the piping bag, they will turn out just as well .

Bake for 15 minutes, then let sit out for while you mix up the filling.


Heat the cream until hot. Drop the chocolate and jam into the cream and stir until all are melted
and come together. Let cool until firm enough to pipe or spoon onto the meringue shells. I refrigerated mine to make it harden quicker and it's also easier to spread.

Where Have I Been?

In the basement watching the Olympics on my HD TV!!! It's just like being there. I'm loving it (while hating NBC's coverage - but that's a whole other post)

Since we returned from our beach weekend, I didn't really cook anything spectacular or do much of anything. So I'm deathly boring this past week.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Beef Stroganoff

I just made Elle's Beef Stroganoff and Marc has declared it best dish ever in the world and wants me to make 5 gallons of it, so he can eat it every night. So, therefore, Highly Recommended!!! Thanks Elle!

I'll be out of town until Sunday, we are going to the beach, so hopefully I'll have some lovely beach photos next week.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow

Mercifully, my 7yr old decided that he would finally get his hair cut this week, and let's face it, he's had crazy boy hair since school ended. And I only had to bribe him with a chocolate donut.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Thai Fried Rice with Soft Yolk Egg

This recipe for Thai Fried Rice with Soft Yolk Egg was in the Washington Post Food section last week. Normally all the recipes in the Washington Post look great, but are totally tiresome to make, and I could never be bothered, but this looked so good,and relatively easy that I had to try it.

I made sure that I chopped everything up first and had all the sauces out ready to go, because it's a really quick cooking process, and I cheated a bit, because I had Marc fry the eggs while I was finishing off the fried rice, so it was all ready at the same time. I cooked the rice earlier in the day and then let it cool, and then refrigerated it for a few hours before I made the fried rice.

This recipe is actually for one serving, so I just doubled everything as I did it. You can also add chicken or shrimp to this. I stuck with the mushroom, but next time I make it, I think I'd do it with shrimp, just to fill it out a bit more.

I thought it turned out really well,and would be great with or without the egg.

Ingredients for ONE Seving

1 tablespoon vegetable or peanut oil
8 medium cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
1 cup oyster mushrooms, cleaned (may substitute other mushrooms of your choice)
1 cup cold cooked white rice
2 scallions, white and green parts, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch slices
1 medium tomato, cored and coarsely chopped
2 teaspoons fish sauce, plus more to taste
1 teaspoon low-sodium soy sauce, plus more to taste
1 large egg
1 tablespoon water
2 tablespoons cilantro leaves
1/2 small cucumber, cut into thin slices (about 1/4 cup)
1/2 medium lime, cut into wedges

Heat a 14-inch flat-bottomed wok over high heat until a drop of water vaporizes within a second or two.

Swirl in the oil to coat the sides and bottom, then add the garlic and stir-fry for about 20 seconds, until the garlic is just golden. Add the mushrooms and stir-fry for about 1 to 2 minutes, until they have softened.

Add the rice, breaking it up with your fingers as you toss it into the wok. Use a heatproof spatula to keep the rice moving for 2 to 3 minutes, scooping and tossing and pressing the rice against the bottom and sides of the wok to sear it. Add the scallions, tomato, fish sauce and soy sauce; stir-fry for 30 seconds or until the tomatoes break up and the scallions slightly soften. Transfer the mixture to a dinner plate.

Wipe out the wok and return it to the heat. Break the egg into a small bowl, then gently add to the wok. Add the water, then cover and cook, undisturbed, for 1 or 2 minutes, or until the yolk lightly films over but is still soft. Carefully lift out the egg and place it atop the rice.

Garnish with the cilantro, overlapping cucumber slices and wedges of lime.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Barefoot Bloggers: Smoked Salmon Spread

The second recipe for Barefoot Bloggers this month was the Smoked Salmon Spread from Barefoot Contessa Family Style.

I really like this spread,and it was very easy to make,but I have a confession. I left out the horseradish, because I absolutely hate the taste of it,and put in slightly more lemon juice than the recipe says to do. It's also really nice with some fresh dill on top as well as in the spread. And it definitely tastes better the next day!

I was surprised that the spread was mixed using the mixer and not the food processor,but I guess doing it in the mixer lets it stay slightly chunky.

8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon minced fresh dill
1 teaspoon prepared horseradish, drained
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 pound (4 ounces) smoked salmon, minced

Cream the cheese in an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment until just smooth. Add the sour cream, lemon juice, dill, horseradish, salt, and pepper, and mix. Add the smoked salmon and mix well. Chill and serve with crudites or crackers.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Flounder with Vegetable Cous Cous

We had this for dinner tonight. It's from Everyday Food. Here is the recipe. I have to be honest, I didn't like it at all. I guess steamed fish isn't that great. However, I think it looks good in the photo! And it was super easy to put together. So if you want a quick, tasteless dinner, give this a try. The best part was the mustard viniagrette.

Sunday, July 20, 2008


Doesn't gazpacho sound like an exclamation of something good? Like you could use it on a happy occasion? "oh, you're getting married! Gazpacho!" And it sort of makes you feel like that after you have eaten some for lunch. My friend Nancy made some on Friday with fresh tomatoes from her garden, and she shared it with me, as I gave her the recipe from Ina's original Barefoot Contessa book.

I thought it turned out really well, fresh and fabulous. The parmesan croutons topped it off very nicely! Just the perfect thing for a day like today when it is 95F in the shade, in my backyard.

Here's the recipe.

Great job with the gazpacho, Nancy! Gazpacho!!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


This week is so boring at my house. Last week was a frenzy of activity with camps and what not, but this week is sort of dead. And I have no enthusiasm for cooking - anything! Last night we had the salmon tacos again, and on Monday we had some breaded turkey breast cutlet thingys that I got at Wegmans on the weekend. I don't usually shop at Wegmans, but they are the only supermarket in my area now carrying the Hershey's Dutch Processes Cocoa Powder. Giant and Safeway are not stocking it anymore for some strange reason.

I have no clue what we are going to have tonight, but I'm sure it's going to be totally lame and involve some kind of pasta.

The good news is that I did find a great recipe for Beef Stroganoff over at Elle's New England Kitchen so I might conjure some of that up tomorrow night. It's not really the season for it, but I really feel like it!

In the mean time, here are some of my hydrangeas:

Friday, July 11, 2008

She did it!!

She did it!! My five year old has been at her first Girl Scout Camp all week, and the theme this year is the Wild West, so of course there were pony rides. This is a girl who has always been petrified of animals and won't even let a kitten come near her, so I was amazed when she got on the pony!

I was volunteering for two days at camp as one of the photo takers. Each camper had her photo taken on a pony and then they made photo frames as a keepsake. Which means that I was lucky enough to be right on the spot when she rode the pony.

She lasted three quarters of the way around and then asked to get off and ran crying to me, but I was thrilled that she even attempted it!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Barefoot Bloggers: Jalapeño Cheddar Cornbread

The first of the Barefoot Bloggers recipes for this month is Jalapeño Cheddar Cornbread. This recipe is something I would never normally consider making, because I don't like cornbread or jalapenos, but of course, I gave it a shot anyway. I did change one thing in the recipe and used the cast iron pan to cook it in. And I did read the comments that some other Barefoot Bloggers had very helpfully left, and used only one stick of butter and it turned out well.

I really liked the texture and the taste of the cornbread with the sharp cheddar, but it didn't like the flavour of the jalapenos at all. I would make it again but minus the scallions and the jalapenos.

Here is the recipe if you want to give it a try!

Friday, July 4, 2008

Rosemary Fried Chicken

Ever since I moved here to the US I've always wanted to be able to make a really good fried chicken, but it's sort of difficult, especially to know when the chicken is cooked and also not that good for you, but I came across a recipe for half fried and then finished off in the oven,(from Everyday Food)and I thought that was the perfect solution. Also it was very easy! I used the side burner on the grill so I wouldn't get oil spat all over the kitchen, and except for the rain, that was a good idea.

I served it with a pasta,celery and red onion salad. (recipe below)


8 chicken legs and 8 chicken thighs (about 3 1/2 pounds total)
2 cups low-fat buttermilk
Coarse salt and ground pepper
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sweet paprika
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves, plus 4 sprigs
2 cups vegetable oil, such as safflower

Preheat oven to 450 degrees, with racks in upper and lower thirds. Line one large rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil; place a wire rack over a second rimmed baking sheet. In a large bowl, combine chicken, buttermilk, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper; set aside (or refrigerate up to 2 days).

In another large bowl, whisk together flour, paprika, chopped rosemary, 1 tablespoon salt, and 2 teaspoons pepper. Lift chicken from buttermilk, a few pieces at a time (allowing excess to drip off), and dredge in flour mixture (shaking off excess); transfer to foil-lined sheet. Dredge chicken in flour mixture a second time; return to sheet.

In a 12-inch cast-iron skillet (or a 5-quart Dutch oven), heat oil and rosemary sprigs over medium-high. When rosemary sizzles rapidly, remove and discard. In three batches, fry chicken until golden brown, 4 to 5 minutes per side; transfer to prepared rack. (If chicken browns too quickly, reduce heat.)

Remove foil; set a rack on that baking sheet. Transfer half the chicken to this empty rack. Bake chicken on both racks until an instant-read thermometer inserted in thickest part of a thigh registers 165, 15 to 20 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes before serving. (To store, let cool, then layer between paper towels; refrigerate up to 1 day. If desired, bring to room temperature before serving.)

Pasta Salad

1 pound medium pasta shells (I used bowties!)
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 cup light mayonnaise
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
6 celery stalks, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise, plus 1 cup celery leaves
1/2 medium red onion, finely chopped


Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente; drain and rinse under cold water to stop cooking. Set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together mayonnaise and lemon juice. Add celery stalks and leaves, onion, and cooled pasta; season with salt and pepper. Toss to combine.

Spinach Grapes and Almonds

I dutifully made Thursday nights recipe last night.Steak with a side of Spinach, grapes and almonds.I did not like it at all. And it didn't look that good so I didn't take a picture. That combination of spinach, grapes and balsamic didn't really sit well with me. So that's too bad!!

Here is the recipe from Everyday Food

So, forging ahead with the recipes, tonight, especially for the 4th July, is Rosemary Fried Chicken. The chicken is already soaking in the buttermilk!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Chicken Salad Veronique

I made this Chicken Salad for lunch yesterday when a friend came over. It's totally delicious and the grapes really make it. I was a bit hesitant about this recipe at first, because of the grapes, but they are really delicious with the chicken. I had to substitute fresh tarragon for dried, because I couldn't get any fresh, but I think it worked out just fine.

I cooked the split breasts the night before at the same time I made dinner,so it's also an energy efficient lunch!

The recipe is from Ina Garten's Barefoot Contessa At Home,and the only substitution I made was for dried tarragon for fresh.

4 split chicken breasts,bone in, skin on
olive oil
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup good mayonnaise
11/2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon leaves
1 cup small-diced celery (2 stalks)
1 cup green grapes, cut in half.

Roast the chicken breasts as you normally would - about 35-40 mins in a 350 degree oven. Set aside and cool.

When the chicken is cooked, remove the meat form the bones and discard the skin and bones. Cut the chicken into a 3/4 inch dice. Place the chicken in a bowl; add the mayonnaise, tarragon leaves, celery, grapes 1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper and toss well.

Spaghetti,Bacon,Green Beans and Basil

I did make Wednesday's dinner of Spaghetti,Bacon,Green Beans and Basil last night, but I forgot to take a photo of it. It looked exactly as you would imagine it to!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Chicken Thighs, Zucchini and CousCous

Tonights dinner from the weeks menu was Chicken Thighs with Zucchini and CousCous.It was nice. Not spectacular but nice. I did like the red-wine vinegar in the couscous, and next time I would definitely put more vinegar in it.

Here is the recipe.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Asparagus, Sun Dried Tomato and Ricotta Pizza

So here is Monday's dinner. Pizza with Asparagus, Sun Dried Tomato and Ricotta. It was delicious. I grilled the scallions and the asparagus,and tossing them in some sun dried tomato oil was just brilliant, and then cooked the pizza in the regular oven. The recipe calls for grilling the pizza dough as well, but I didn't want to try it tonight, because if it failed, there was nothing else for dinner. I also made the kids a cheese pizza.

And for the pizza dough - I make my own with one of Ina's recipes, but store bought (Trader Joe's is a good one) would do just as well.

Here's the recipe.

A Weeks Menu

I mentioned last week that I was going to challenge myself and do a whole weeks menu from one of the Everyday Food magazines.

I chose the menu this morning, it's from the June 2008 Everyday Food. "Weeknight Wonders" starting on page 81. I have made one subsitution only. Monday in the Everyday Food Menu was "Tuna Steaks with Lemony Tomatoes and Onion" and I'm subsituting the Rosemary Fried Chicken from the same magazine.

So here is the weeks menu. I will be posting each dish so you can see how it turns out.


Grilled Pizzas with Asparagus and Sun-Dried Tomatoes


Roasted Chicken Thighs with Zucchini and Couscous


Spaghetti with Pancetta, Green beans and Basil


Steak with spinach, grapes and almonds


Rosemary Fried Chicken

I am going to be making a couple of incidental subsitutions, and I'll write those up when I make each dish.

Sunday, June 29, 2008


Surprise! I got this in the mail yesterday from FoodBuzz! Thank you! A very nice little bag for shopping at the farmers market .

And it even has a button on it with my bog name! The person who got all the right buttons in the right envelopes was very vigilant.

and ps: Tastespotting is back under new management!!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Eat My Words

Well, I'm already having to eat my words regarding the July/August Everyday Food. I had the magazine sitting on my desk and I just thumbed through it again and came across a recipe for Bay Scallop Stir Fry. I was desperate for a dinner idea, I knew I had some scallops in the freezer, so I decided to give it a try. I didn't really like the sauce, it wasn't quite right, but it was OK, we ate it. And I also didn't have most of the other ingredients, so I substituted!

Serve this dish over rice!

Coarse salt and ground pepper
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon vegetable oil.
1 red bell pepper (ribs, seeds removed, thinly sliced) I used green beans instead
2 bunches of scallions, white and green parts separated (left it out because I didn't have any!)
2 carrots, halved lengthwise or quartered if large and cut into 1 1/2 inch lengths (I actually had carrots!!)
2 teaspoons minced peeled fresh ginger
1 pound bay scallops, patted dry (I just used the small ones in the bag from Costco).

Prepare rice whichever way you like.

Whisk together vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, and cornstarch in a small bowl. Set sauce aside.

In a large nonstick skillet, heat vegetable oil over medium-high. Add bell pepper , scallion whites, carrots and ginger; cook, stirring occasionally, until carrots are crisp-tender, 4 to 5 mins. Add scallops and scallion greens, cook, stirring occasionally, until scallops are cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes.

Whisk sauce briefly, and add to skillet; cook until thickened, about 1 minute. Serve scallop stir-fry over rice.

I also found a Strawberry Cream Cake recipe which I'm going to try. I have one from Ina which is fantastic, but this one only has 1 stick of butter in it, and Ina usually has a lot more than that!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Barefoot Bloggers: Parmesan Chicken

This delicious dish for Barefoot Bloggers was no hardship at all. My whole family loves this and my 5yr old even asked for seconds, which is practically unheard of!

I've made this once or twice before,but never with the lemon vinaigrette and the arugula salad, and those two things really enhanced the whole dish and made it that extra bit special.

The breading process is one step longer than normal, or at least the way I usually do it, but it's worth it.

Here's the recipe!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

New Challenges

And having just said this about Martha and Everyday Food, my new challenge to myself for next weeks dinners is, choose one of the Everyday Magazines that I have and make every dinner for a week that they suggest in one of their "week of dinners" sections. I haven't chosen it yet, but I'll post the whole menu when I do.

Tonight we are having the Garlic and Parmesan Turkey Burgers!


The July/August 2008 is the most disappointing edition of Everyday Food Magazine ever. I'm usually marking off every second page when I get my magazine, and and I always try at least two or three things out straight away. This time... nothing. Not one thing in here looks even remotely appealing to me, or it's a rehash or twist on a recipe that I've already tried. I'd love to hear if anyone else feels the same about this one, or it's just me.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


Last day of school today. Sigh.

Sunday, June 15, 2008


Food Gawker to the rescue!!!! In the absence of Tastespotting, some lovely people have started Food Gawker, a similar site to Tastespotting, where we can all happily browse, find new blogs and get some new readers ourselves. Thank you Food Gawker!!!

Weekend Cooking

This weekend I've made a few things but nothing new. I made Nana's Sponge Cake again, but this time I divided the batter into three 8" pans, because I wanted to see how a tripple layer worked. If you want to make this in 3 layers it only takes about 13-15 mins to cook.

It was sort of a waste of time to do the three layers because it didn't really make it better, only more lopsided - so next time I'm sticking with the two layers. Here's a bad photo:

All the raspberries and cream were slipping off the other side of the cake. It still tasted good. I think I was in a total funk putting the cake together because I had just learned about the demise of Tastespotting.

I also made these chocolate chip cookies for Marc for Fathers Day, and I put together a French Onion Dip from Ina.

It doesn't look much in this picture, but it is really delicious. I usually make and just fry up the onions inside, but this time I used the side burner on the grill and did them in a cast iron skillet and it added a lot of flavour and as a bonus didn't stink up the house.

2 large yellow onions
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 ounces cream cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup mayonnaise

Cut up the onions in slices and then halve them, or however you want really - I don't think it makes a difference . Heat the the butter and the oil in a large saute pan on medium heat. Add the onions, cayenne, salt and pepper and saute for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium low and cook, stirring occasionally, for 20 more minutes, until the onions are browned and caramelized. Allow to cool.

Place cream cheese, mayonnaise and sour cream in the bowl of an electric mixer, with the paddle attachment, and beat until smooth, add the onions and mix well.

This makes a TON of dip. You would have to have 50 people over to eat all this in one session, so I sometimes halve the recipe and it's about the right amount to snack on before dinner.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Tastespotting Is Gone.

Inexplicably has disappeared due to "legal complications" and no one has heard anything or read anything about it!

This is really disappointing to a lot of food bloggers for a lot of reasons. Not only was Tastespotting a fantastic place to discover new blogs and great recipes, it was fun to look at and also had the added bonus of driving traffic to my site when I submitted something and it was accepted.

I really hope that something similar is created so that all the small food bloggers out there (like me!) get a chance to have their hard work seen by a wider audience.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Barefoot Bloggers: Pasta, Pesto & Peas

This is my first recipe for Barefoot Bloggers. Ina's Pesto, Pasta and Peas from the Barefoot Parties Book. Here is the recipe.

I made it slightly different from the recipe, namely totally forgot to put the spinach in and then only used bowtie pasta, as I already had it in the house and did shaved parmesan on the top, not grated. It is still yummy without the spinach,and to be honest, tastes a lot better than I thought it would. It's an easy weeknight dinner and it's surprisingly light!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Chipmunk Update...

I recently posted that chipmunks and squirrels were digging up my basil,and I hooked up an ingenious device to scare them away. Chipmunks are not afraid of ribbon!!! They are still digging. Solutions anyone?

ps.Tomorrow I will be blogging my first recipe for Barefoot Bloggers!


Last night,for something different and healthy I tried the Trader Joe's Brown Rice Spaghetti Pasta. I was worried about how it would turn out and if it would taste just like regular spaghetti, but I shouldn't have worried at all. It turned out really well and you couldn't tell the difference. The rice spaghetti passed the biggest test of all, my 7 yr old, who loves regular spaghetti and I thought he might notice immediately, but he shoveled it in,no problems.

You could tell when cooking it, that it was different because the water went really white, and you definitely needed to rinse it in hot water once it was drained, but it served up and sat on the plate just like wheat spaghetti. If you were on a gluten free diet this would be a life saver!

I served it with a shrimp and tomato sauce.

You won't save calories or carbs eating this, I compared it to a regular spaghetti and it was the same, but it is made from organic brown rice and water, so it is definitely better for you than pasta made from processed wheat.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

10th Anniversary Cake

Today is our 10th Wedding Anniversary and I was surprised with a lovely pair of diamond earrings!! I couldn't have been more shocked. So I was really pleased that I promised to make Marc a Devils Food Cake for our anniversary.

I used a recipe from Martha Stewart Holiday Halloween 2007 and it turned out really well. Much better than the last time I did one of these cakes from Martha.

It's your typical Martha recipe, you have to use your mixer, two bowls and a saucepan, but it is worth it, because the cake is really moist and chocolaty and the icing is fantastic.

The recipe calls for two 8" cake pans, but you could even put it in three pans, there is so much batter it fill the pans right to the top.

Here is the recipe. I didn't alter it one bit for my first try, and it really doesn't need any tweaking. This cake will probably become the standard birthday cake that I make from now on. It's that good!