Monday, December 31, 2007
Posted by Meghan at 9:29 AM
Thursday, December 6, 2007
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 c butter, softened
1 1/2 c white sugar, plus more for sprinkling
1 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
In a large bowl ( I used my Kitchen Aid mixer ), cream together the butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in egg and vanilla. Gradually blend in the dry ingredients. Roll rounded teaspoonfuls of dough into balls, and place onto Silpat lined cookie sheets. Sprinkle a pinch (you're familiar with this measurement, right?) of sugar on top of each dough ball. Bake 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven, or until golden. Let stand on cookie sheet two minutes before removing to cool on wire racks.
Posted by Meghan at 9:25 AM
Tuesday, December 4, 2007
What are your favorite holiday foods? Are they regional/cultural in significance? I'd love to know more about the worldly gastroadventures of my blogger community and readers!
Posted by Meghan at 10:17 AM
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
What sparked this blog writing was being selected for the annual Baltimore Sun's holiday cookie contest last year. My first blog post is here: http://culinarynovice.blogspot.com/2006/12/rosemary-for-remembrance.html
The really cool thing about this is this year, the Baltimore Sun decided not to have a contest but to review the submissions since 2000 and pick a "best of the best" list.
You can read the article and our submission here: http://www.baltimoresun.com/entertainment/dining/bal-fo.cookies28nov28,0,3537041.story
Although my husband and I didn't create the recipe, it's become a part of our lives, our traditions and our memories of our wedding day. These cookies become holiday gifts each year and are loved by anyone who tries them.
This weekend I hope to make them and take some more pictures for the blog. (The cookies are in the picture on the Baltimore Sun's website (bottom tier, left hand side, light colored cookie).
Posted by Meghan at 8:29 AM
Sunday, November 25, 2007
For the cupcakes:
2 1/4 c all-purpose flour, sift before measuring
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 c butter, softened
1 1/3 c sugar
2 eggs, beaten until frothy
1 c canned pumpkin
3/4 cup milk
Preheat oven to 375* F. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg into a bowl.
Posted by Meghan at 9:26 PM
Monday, November 19, 2007
Arborio rice, a pearly white, round, Italian grain of white rice is used for risotto. For any risotto, I recommend using only Arborio rice imported from Italy (you can find this in your grocery store). What differentiates this rice from other white grain rice is the starches released from the rice while preparing the risotto, which gives the dish it's distinct creamy texture.
For this dish, I used my Sicilian influence to bring together butternut squash and sage for this warm and comforting dinner.
1 cup Arborio rice
6 cups good quality chicken stock
2 c butternut squash, diced into 1/4 in pieces
1 small onion, diced fine
1/2 c white wine
1/4 c olive oil
8 tbsp butter
1 tbsp coarse sea salt
1 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
1/2 c freshly grated Parmesan cheese
10 sage leaves
In a large, heavy bottom pan, heat the olive oil over med-high heat. Add onion and squash and salt and saute for about 7-10 minutes or until the squash is softened and the onion is translucent.
Meanwhile, heat the stock with 5 sage leaves added until warm. (The key to keeping the risotto cooking is to ensure your stock is warm so you maintain the temperature as you add the liquid to the pan.) In another small pan, heat 4tbsp butter over med-low heat and fry the remaining sage leaves until crisp (be careful not to burn) and remove to a paper towel for garnishing.
To the squash and onion mixture, add the Arborio rice and stir for about 2-3 minutes making sure all the rice is coated with the olive oil. Add the 1/2 c of wine and stir continually until the wine has been absorbed. Add the stock, one ladle at a time, waiting for the liquid to be absorbed before you add more. Stir continually (you might want to pull up a chair or pour a glass of wine) adding stock, until the rice is creamy and al dente, about 20 minutes. Stir in 4tbsp butter and Parmesan, nutmeg and top with the crispy sage and serve immediately.
Posted by Meghan at 6:49 AM
Friday, November 16, 2007
Posted by Meghan at 6:16 PM
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Cut off the brown ends of the Brussels sprouts and pull off any yellow outer leaves. Mix them in a bowl with the olive oil, salt and pepper. Pour them on a sheet pan and roast for 35 to 40 minutes, until crisp on the outside and tender on the inside. Shake the pan from time to time to brown the sprouts evenly. Serve immediately.
Posted by Meghan at 9:46 AM
Tuesday, November 6, 2007
Where or where have my blog posts been? I've been cooking, eating and taking pictures.... to no avail, finding the time to post a blog has been difficult.
I've got a house guest for a few weeks and a new part time job (in addition to the full time job and the house/husband/life responsibilities).
Anywhooo... please know I'm suffering from not posting as much as you are (or are you just checking out the posts on all the other wonderful bloggers out there?).
Posted by Meghan at 11:03 AM
Friday, October 19, 2007
Many months ago we decided to contact local restaurants to see if they would be willing to host cooking classes with proceeds going to benefit the FCC. We recieved word from both The Black Olive and Rumor Mill that they were interested in our first two series for the fall.
Today, The Baltimore Sun posted an article in their "Dining At Large" section online. You can find that here.
The Black Olive is FULL, but there's still room for the second class...Tuesday, Nov. 20 at the Rumor Mill in Ellicott City. The chef is Tim Daugherty.
Tickets are $30 each!
If any of my local readers are interested, please leave me a comment and I will contact you!
Posted by Meghan at 8:11 AM
Monday, October 15, 2007
I was making some of this soup for dinner tonight and since I was already making dumplings, I thought I'd do some egg rolls as well. My husband loves these and I don't make them very often, so tonight, I rolled.
Posted by Meghan at 6:48 PM
Sunday, September 30, 2007
I've never done this on my blog but I wanted to share with you what I found at the farmer's market (along with my squash) last week.
Posted by Meghan at 10:11 AM
When summer begins to turn into fall, I start craving the flavors and food of the season. I consulted my mother on the preparation of this type of squash (as I've never cooked them myself). I found these beautiful squash at the farmer's market and they were perfect and full of flavor.
Posted by Meghan at 8:57 AM
Monday, September 24, 2007
This was an easy and tasty lunch last weekend in the middle of cleaning the house up. I could dive, face first into a vat of goat cheese, do a backstroke and float for hours in its lovely tangy creaminess. Can you tell I love it?
2 corn tortillas
1 small onion, sliced thin
3 tbsp (or more to your liking) soft goat cheese
3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 springs thyme, leaves removed
Saute the onion slices and thyme leaves in 1 tbsp olive oil, over medium high about 7-10 minutes, or until caramelized and brown. Add the balsamic to the pan and continue to cook on medium heat, until the vinegar has reduced and the mixture is thick and glossy.
Meanwhile, shmeer (you know this method, don't you?) the goat cheese on both sides of the tortillas. Add the balsamic onion mixture to one tortilla and top with the other tortilla.
Cook on a griddle pan over medium heat, flipping once to brown both sides of the quesadilla and to melt the goat cheese.
Posted by Meghan at 6:18 AM
Sunday, September 23, 2007
I got this idea from a William Sonoma cookbook and have used it several times over the summer. This is a great way to use the last of the citrus you might have lying around at the end of a week.
Posted by Meghan at 9:08 AM
Thursday, September 20, 2007
Posted by Meghan at 4:55 PM
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
Posted by Meghan at 4:06 PM
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
Posted by Meghan at 7:49 AM
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
Sometimes a girl just needs comfort food and last week in the middle of August, I made this meatloaf, in spite of the heat.
1lb ground beef (turkey is good too)
1 c fresh basil, rough chop
4 cloves garlic minced
1/2 c Italian breadcrumbs
1/4 c Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste
Mix all ingredients together in a bowl. Form a loaf (hence, meatloaf) and place on a cookie sheet. Cover the top of the meatloaf with marinara sauce Bake on 375*F for about 1 hour or until done.
(If you are a true Baltimore hon, this is great the next day...slices of meatloaf on white bread makes a great lunch!)
Posted by Meghan at 6:18 AM
Monday, August 20, 2007
When I was growing up, on Sundays, my parents might stop at our favorite local bakery for all sorts of treats. One of my favorites is their peach cake. I had some beautiful peaches at home and while this cake is not the same as the version I love, it's got all the same tastes and delights as the original. I still recommend going to the bakery if you are in the neighborhood, because some of their items are a must have!
Combine the first 4 ingredients together in a bowl. In a well greased deep 8 in cake dish or pie plate, line slices of peaces along the bottom of the plate. Pour the clarified butter over the layer of peaches.
Posted by Meghan at 5:58 AM
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
This picture doesn't do this dish justice! I tried this because a dear friend bought me a lovely bottle of lemon balsamic vinegar for my birthday, and I thought the flavors would compliment the ingredients in this dish. I served this with some couscous and it came together in under 30 minutes.1 lb chicken breasts
1 each: red bell pepper, yellow bell pepper, large onion : sliced thin
3 tbsp thyme leaves
2 tbsp chopped basil
4 tbsp balsamic vinegar
4 tbsp olive oil
kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
Sprinkle each side of chicken breasts generously, with salt and pepper. Heat 2 tbsp oil in large saute pan over med-high heat. Cook chicken breasts until golden brown, flipping once, for about 8 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside. Add remaining oil and saute the peppers and onions
for about 3 minutes. Deglaze the pan with the vinegar, scraping up the bits on the bottom of the pan. Add the herbs and continue to cook about 4 more minutes. Return chicken to pan, and spoon the mixture over the chicken and cover pan. Simmer on med-low heat for about 4-5 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through.
Posted by Meghan at 6:11 AM
Saturday, August 11, 2007
Posted by Meghan at 7:47 AM
Sunday, August 5, 2007
Posted by Meghan at 5:49 PM
I planted my first garden this year, quickly after settling into our first house. I grew up with parents who took lawn care and gardens to a whole new dimension. Gorgeous gardens, dedicated edgers..you know the type. The whole effort paid off because even though I dreaded lifting a finger when I lived at home with my parents, I have become hooked on a new hobby!
I planted squash late in the planting season (Mid June) and so I am just getting a huge amount of yellow flowers and the beginnings of squash.
You can see a few tomato's are coming through (My plants came back with a vengeance after I thought they had lost the good fight in late June) and I've got a ton more on the way.
The herbs however, have been most rewarding. (I couldn't keep a plant of basil alive the balcony of our apartment last year, but somehow I've got this to look forward to every day of Summer!) Pictured: Mint (2 variations), Basil, Tarragon, Thyme, Oregano and Rosemary.
Posted by Meghan at 8:36 AM
Saturday, August 4, 2007
All of the five flavors - sour, bitter, sweet, pungent, and salty - are found in five spice powder. A standard recipe calls for fennel, cloves, and cinnamon, along with star anise and Szechuan peppercorns. I used a prepared five spice powder from a specialty store. (**Cooks note: My other fave is to sprinkle the powder on deep fried chicken wings, a true indulgence.)
1/3 c lite soy sauce
1/3 c Hoisin sauce
2 tbsp honey
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 tbsp Chinese five spice
Add all ingredients together and simmer, allowing the liquid to reduce and get thick, about 8-10 minutes.
I slathered this on chicken breasts as they sat over a hot grill. Served with some carrots sauteed in butter, honey and garlic.
Posted by Meghan at 4:33 PM
Tuesday, July 31, 2007
My husband loves lasagna more than any other Italian dish. He asked for it a few weeks ago, and I caved and made some for him this past weekend. This is more of a northern style lasagna as it uses bechamel instead of ricotta cheese and only a sprinkle of cheese on top.
1 package lasagna noodles
(I admit, I've made them quite often, but I wasn't that interested in going the extra mile in 90*F weather)
3 cups bechamel sauce
3 cups marinara sauce
1/2 lb Italian sausage
good handful fresh oregano and basil, chopped
1/2 c mozzarella cheese, grated
1/4 c Parmesan cheese
Cook lasagna noodles in a large pot of boiling water for about 7 minutes. Drain and set aside, covering with a damp cloth to keep the noodles from drying out.
Remove sausage from casings and cook over med-high heat, breaking it up into small pieces. Continue to cook the sausage until done, about 6-8 minutes. Drain the pan of any oil or fat and add the 3 cups of basil marinara. Simmer on low for about 3 minutes to let flavors meld.
Pre-heat the oven to 375 * F.
Spread some bechamel on the bottom of a baking pan. Top with a layer of pasta sheets. Spread a thin layer of meat sauce on top of the pasta, top with a layer of bechamel, evenly sprinkle on some grated Parmesan cheese and top with another single layer of pasta. Do this layering process until all of the ingredients have been used and making sure that the final and top layer is bechamel sauce with Parmesan and mozzarella sprinkled on. When the baking dish is completely filled the lasagna is ready to be baked. Place into the oven and bake for 50 minutes until the top has begun to brown and the edges are crispy.
Posted by Meghan at 7:36 PM
Sunday, July 29, 2007
There are five basic sauces or "mother sauces" when cooking, and Bechamel is one of the oldest. I love using this sauce in baked pasta dishes like lasagna or baked rigatoni.
Posted by Meghan at 5:56 PM
Friday, July 27, 2007
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
I've always loved recipes that incorporate sweet and savory in a perfect blend and this picadillo completely satisfies that balance.
1 tbsp olive oil
1 yellow onion
1 lb ground beef (90% lean)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/34 c beef broth
28 oz canned diced tomato's with juice
1/4 red wine vinegar
2 tbsp tomato paste
1/2 c raisins
2 tbsp chili powder
1/2 tsp allspice
3/4 tsp cinnamon
Heat oil over medium high heat in a large pan. Add the onion and saute until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add the ground beef and cook down, breaking up clumps until the meat is brown. Stir in garlic and chili, allspice and cinnamon and cook for about 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and juice, broth, vinegar and paste. Cook for about 5 minutes and then add the raisins. Raise heat to bring entire pot to a simmer and then reduce to medium and cook, uncovered for about 25 minutes or so until the picadillo is thickened.
Posted by Meghan at 6:35 PM
Sunday, July 22, 2007
This sauce can be used for either/both marinade and basting sauce. I marinated some thick cut, boneless pork chops in this sauce (for about 4 hours). I cooked the chops over the grill and used a reserve batch to brush on while cooking.
3 tbsp coarse ground mustard
3 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp tarragon vinegar
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp fresh tarragon, chopped
Combine all ingredients together and whisk until well blended. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to let flavors meld.
Posted by Meghan at 6:28 PM
Saturday, July 21, 2007
This recipe is quick and easy and incredibly tasty. You must use the tuna canned in olive oil for the salad to have the right texture and flavor. I served it with some pita bread halves, lightly crisped in the oven. (This goes great with a white wine spritzer too.)
Posted by Meghan at 12:33 PM
Monday, July 16, 2007
(**Cooks note: You could also bake these in a 350* oven for about 30 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. )
Posted by Meghan at 6:47 PM
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
Posted by Meghan at 7:01 PM
Monday, July 9, 2007
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Posted by Meghan at 6:34 PM
Friday, July 6, 2007
Pizza is one of the easiest and tastiest foods to make on a whim or when you only have a few ingredients on hand. It's perfect with just a few toppings and I couldn't resist making myself one over the weekend.
1 package active dry yeast
2 1/2 to 3 c all-purpose flour
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
Bake on 400*F for about 10 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly.
Wednesday, July 4, 2007
I found this type of kale at the farmer's market and couldn't wait to try it. I love greens of any sort, but kale is my favorite.
2 good bunches Dinosaur Kale, rough chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
4 oz canned diced tomato's, drained
Preheat 3 tbsp olive oil over med-high heat in a large pan. Add all of the kale and cook for about 3 minutes, moving the greens around in the pan to encourage wilting. Apply a liberal amount of salt and to the kale and toss the garlic into the pan. Continue cooking kale about 5 minutes or until greens are wilted but still firm and crunchy (**Cooks note: You can cook this to your preferred doneness. I like my kale al dente with a bit of a bite) Add tomato's and stir to combine ingredients. Cook one more minute to heat tomato's and meld flavors.
Monday, July 2, 2007
Sunday, July 1, 2007
The smell of basil reminds me of my mother's garden, which is by far the prettiest city garden in Baltimore. This risotto was great served under grilled fish.
1 c Arborio rice
2 tbsp pure olive oil
1 large onion, peeled and finely diced
1/2 c dry white wine
3 c chicken stock
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1/4 c freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 tbsp heavy cream
good size handful fresh basil chiffonade ( cut into long thin strips)
Using a large skillet with a heavy bottom, heat the olive oil over low heat and saute until translucent. Add the Arborio rice, stir to coat with the olive oil, and saute with the onions to toast each grain of rice, about 7 minutes.
Once the rice is lightly toasted, add the white wine slowly, stirring. (If you don't use wine, just proceed forward)After the rice has absorbed the white wine and the skillet is nearly dry, add 1 cup stock, stirring occasionally, and cook over very low heat until the stock is absorbed.
Continue adding the stock, 1 cup at a time, until all the stock has been absorbed. Once the rice has been added to the pan, the entire cooking process will take about 20 minutes. After all of the liquid has been added and the rice is chewy yet fully cooked, with a creamy texture, add the butter, Parmesan, basil and heavy cream. Stir to combine all the ingredients and serve immediately.
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
Whisk the cranberry juice and sugar in a heavy medium saucepan over medium heat just until the sugar dissolves. Pour the cranberry mixture into a 13 by 9 by 2-inch glass baking dish. Cool completely. Whisk in the syrup and lime juice. Freeze until the granita becomes slushy, about 2 hours. Using fork, stir to blend. Continue freezing the granita until frozen, stirring and scraping the fork across the granita like a rake, every hour or so to form crystals, at least 5 hours or overnight
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
Monday, June 25, 2007
Heat an inch of oil over medium heat in a skillet.
Carefully add half of the tortilla (folded into a taco shape) and fry until golden (you will need to hold up the tortilla half the entire time.). Using tongs, carefully flip the tortilla to fry the other side until golden (continue holding the free edge to maintain the shape). Remove from skillet and balance the shell (Tepee style) on a paper towel until set. Repeat until you've got as many as you need.
For the filling:
1 lb ground beef
1/2 small onion finely diced
2 cloves garlic minced
1 tbsp each, cumin, coriander, chili powder and paprika
1 tbsp chili paste
2 cups beef broth
Heat large pan over med-high heat and brown ground beef completely. Drain and return to the pan, adding the onion and garlic. Saute for about 5 minutes. Add the powdered spices and paste and continue cooking for another 3 minutes. Deglaze the pan using the beef broth and simmer on low heat until most of the liquid is absorbed.
Serve in taco shells and top with toppings of your choice. Pictured with iceberg lettuce, fresh tomato's, extra sharp Cheddar and sour cream.