The recipes on this blog are a combination of things I've learned over the years and meals inherited through generations of adoration for good food. They are a cherished property, so please be good to them.

You may not copy or otherwise reproduce any of this content without prior written permission.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Pork Noodle Stir-Fry

My deepest apologies to all my friends, family and beloved food blogger followers. As you might have seen I've been busy baking a bun in my oven. To my relief (and to my husband's) I'm finally able to cook, recipe dream, grocery shop and generally look at food again. Those first 13 weeks of pregnancy were rough on this home chef, but I'm back! We start our 17th week this week and I look forward to posting lots of items as we prepare for our first baby!



On to more important topics...



I love stir fry dishes because they tend to be quick and easy. This dish was no exception. You could use chicken or tofu as a substitute for the pork.


3/4 c dark soy sauce
3 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tbsp sugar
2 tsp grated ginger
1/2 lb pork tenderloin, sliced as thin as you can get it
1 lb noodles (egg noodles or soba work. This recipe used yam soba noodles)
3 tbsp peanut oil
4 cloves of garlic, sliced paper thin
2 spring onions julienned and cut into @ 2 in pieces
1 small head of napa cabbage, sliced thin (you can use regular cabbage here)
2 tsp cornstarch dissolved in 1/4 c chicken broth

In a large bowl, combine the soy sauce, oyster sauce, sugar and ginger and stir until sugar dissolves. Add the pork and let sit for 10 minutes. Drain pork over a bowl and reserve marinade.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to boil. Add the noodles and once the water returns to a boil, add one cup cold water and return to a boil. When noodles are about 1 minute from being done, drain.

In a wok over high heat, warm the peanut oil until smoking. Add the pork and stir-fry until the pork is mostly cooked, about 2 minutes. Remove pork and set aside. Add the garlic to the wok, along with the green onions and cabbage and stir-fry until the cabbage is wilted and softened about 1 minute. Add the pork, reserved marinade and continue to stir-fry for about 1-2 more minutes. Add the noodles and cornstarch mixture and stir-fry until everything is well coasted about 45 seconds. Serve heaped into bowls and eat immediately.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Good Reasons for Not Posting



Interested in pregnancy? Read about pregnancy symptoms
and find baby names.
Interested in parenting tips?
Upload baby photos and learn about breastfeeding.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Foodbuzz Publisher Community Launches

Contact: Allison Costello
Ketchum
allison.costello@ketchum.com

Doug Collister
Foodbuzz
doug@foodbuzz.com

LAUNCH OF GLOBAL FOODBUZZ BLOGGER COMMUNITY
LEVERAGES REAL-PEOPLE, REAL-TIME POWER OF FOOD PUBLISHING

San Francisco – October 13, 2008: Foodbuzz, Inc., officially inaugurates its food blogger community with more than 1,000 blog partners, a global food blogging event and an online platform that captures the real-people, real-time power of food publishing in every corner of the world. At launch, the Foodbuzz community ranks as one of the top-10 Internet destinations for food and dining (Quantcast), with bloggers based in 45 countries and 863 cities serving up daily food content.
“Food bloggers are at the forefront of reality publishing and the dramatic growth of new media has redefined how food enthusiasts access tasty content,” said Doug Collister, Executive Vice President of Foodbuzz, Inc. “Food bloggers are the new breed of local food experts and at any minute of the day, Foodbuzz is there to help capture the immediacy of their hands-on experiences, be it a memorable restaurant meal, a trip to the farmers market, or a special home-cooked meal.”
Foodbuzz is the only online community with content created exclusively by food bloggers and rated by foodies. The site offers more than 20,000 pieces of new food and dining content weekly, including recipes, photos, blog posts, videos and restaurant reviews. Members decide the “tastiness” of each piece of content by voting and “buzz” the most popular posts to the top of the daily menu of submissions. Foodbuzz currently logs over 13 million monthly page views and over three million monthly unique visitors.
“Our goal is to be the number-one online source of quality food and dining content by promoting the talent, enthusiasm and knowledge of food bloggers around the globe,” said Ben Dehan, founder and CEO of Foodbuzz, Inc.
-2-
The Foodbuzz blogger community is growing at a rate of 40 percent per month driven by strong growth in existing partner blogs and the addition of over 100 new blogs per month. “The Foodbuzz.com Web site is like the stock of a great soup. The Web site provides the base or backbone for bloggers to interact as a community, contribute content, and have that content buzzed by their peers,” said Mr. Dehan.
Global Blogging Event
Demonstrating the talent and scope of the Foodbuzz community, 24 Meals, 24 Hours, 24 Blogs offered online food enthusiasts an international, virtual street festival of food and diversity. The new feature showcased blog posts from 24 Foodbuzz partner bloggers chronicling events occurring around the globe during a 24 hour period and included:
· Mid-Autumn Festival Banquest (New York, NY)
· The "Found on Foodbuzz" 24-Item Tasting Menu (San Francisco, CA)
· Aussie BBQ Bonanza – Celebrating Diversity (Sydney, Australia)
· The Four Corners of Carolina BBQ Road Trip (Charleston, SC)
· Criminal Tastes – An Illegal Supper (Crested Butte, CO)
· From Matambre to Empanadas: An Argentine Dinner (Buenos Aires, Argentina)
· A Sweet Trompe l’oeil (Seattle, WA)

“24 Meals, 24 Hours, 24 Blogs” captures the quality and unique local perspective of our food bloggers and shared it with the world,” said Ryan Stern, Director of the Foodbuzz Publisher Community. “It illustrates exactly what the future of food publishing is all about – real food, experienced by real people, shared real-time.”
About Foodbuzz, Inc.
Based in San Francisco, Foodbuzz, Inc., launched its beta Web site, foodbuzz.com, in 2007. In less than a year, Fooduzz.com and its community of over 1,000 exclusive partner food blogs have grown into an extended online property that reaches more than three million users.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Baltimore’s New School Chef- Tony Geraci

I'm proud to say my close family friend, Melody Simmons has written an incredibly interesting article for Gourmet Magazine on the continuing child obesity epidemic and the changes some local folks are trying to make. Melody has been a reporter in Baltimore for more than 25 years. She was a staff writer for The Evening Sun and The Sun for two decades where she covered city and metropolitan news, and was on a team that investigated a corrupt city public housing program that was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. She has covered medical issues and the health care system as a former weekly freelance columnist for The Washington Post, and now is a news feature reporter on my favorite radio station, WYPR. I'm proud to know her... and to post a special blog on this article.

You can check out the article here . I'd love to hear your thoughts on what this chef for the Baltimore school systems is trying to accomplish. I think it's quite amazing!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Easy Herb Spread

Sometimes a girl grows a lot of different herbs in her backyard and sometimes, she needs to find ways to get some of them used up! I tend to dry them around early fall, but sometimes I just want to savor the freshness of a newly picked stem of rosemary or thyme.


This isn't a "recipe" as much as it is an idea. One night my husband, the grill master, was grilling some steaks on our grill (along side our home grown squash and zucchini) and I wanted to give those steaks a little "va va voom"! I've done balsamic reductions and Bearnaise variations to bring more life into my steaks, but I felt I wanted something not saucy, but filled with fresh flavor.

1-2 tbsp each:
thyme leaves
rosemary leaves
1/4 c basil leaves
1/8 c parsley
1 tbsp fresh lemon zest

Chop this mixture into a fine paste. Spread onto steaks, fresh from the grill. The smell of the herbs as it hits the hot steak is outstanding!


Thursday, September 4, 2008

Grilled Scallion Panko Crab Cakes


This crab cake was a wonderful meal on a warm summer night before vacation. We had some great Maryland lump crab meat from our local fishmonger and I wanted to make crab cakes.


If you live here in the Chesapeake Bay area, you use Old Bay seasoning for your crab cake, typically. Anyone who lives elsewhere and hears of a Chesapeake Bay "style" crab cake, it usually has Old Bay or some sort of replica seasoning. I love Old Bay and it's very much a part of my favorites, but I wanted to go somewhere else with this crab cake.


These crab cakes are grilled, in that they were placed on a grill topper and grilled over direct heat. This does require some delicate finger work, but I didn't lose a single crab cake!


1 lb fresh lump crab meat
2 scallions, white and green parts chopped fine
1 c panko bread crumbs
2 tbsp mayonnaise
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 tsp soy sauce
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1 egg

Drain crab meat and lightly pick through to remove any left over shells. Do not break up lumps!

Add scallion, and panko and mix lightly with your hands. In a separate bowl, add the remainder ingredients and mix well. Fold mixture into crab mix and lightly combine. Form crab cakes ( this made 6 for me, but we like them big! ) and place in refrigerator for about an hour.

Place on well oiled grill topper and put on a grill over direct heat (medium high temp) and grill for about 3-4 minutes on each side, and serve!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

We're going to the beach!

Much like last year, I'm leaving for the beach in 2 hours and I am happy to say that while I will be cooking, I won't be able to post a thing!



Here is where I'm going tomorrow. It's got all the charm of the beach without the traffic and hotels and insane crowds, similar to it's neighbor, Ocean City Maryland. Oh and they have a THIS, which is where I will be when I'm not looking at the views of the ocean, eating "Marsh Mud" ice cream which is possibly the best ice cream ever made. Complete and total vacation indulgence.

Now that I've got my own ice cream maker, I'm totally going to have to eat at least 4 servings of Marsh Mud as research, in order to recreate it here, at home.

This place is famous for it's wild ponies (that's right, wild ponies) and oysters. Good thing for Chincoteague, I love ponies, oysters...I'll pass on, though I know lots of people who would spend their days eating oysters instead of Marsh Mud ice cream.

Have a great week bloggers and readers... and a great Labor Day Weekend!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Lemon Sorbet



My husband bought me the ice cream bowl attachment for my Kitchen Aid mixer for my birthday as I've been dreaming of making icy treats for a very long time. If you have this model or are considering it, keep in mind the bowl has to be frozen for at least 8 hours before using it, but if you're like me, you can just store the bowl in your freezer for anytime use! I thought I'd start out simply, and with confidence, in making a simple sorbet. This is a very strong flavored sorbet, and if you want to omit the zest for less intensity, please do.


A sorbet is really just a mix of sweetened water and fruit puree or juice. Unlike it's icy cousin, sherbet or gelato, sorbet does not include dairy and is a vegan product. In Italy, a Granita like the one I made here, is the closest thing to sorbet, but has a more crystallized texture.

Often a sorbet is used as a palate cleanser in between courses of meals, but is also perfect for a light dessert. For pregnant women or cancer patients, sorbet can also be used to ignite the palate to encourage eating during a queasy moment.

The recipe for this lemon sorbet is quite simple.
Equal Parts each: lemon juice, water and sugar. I used 1 c of each. Additionally I added the zest of each of the lemons needed to create 1 c of lemon juice.

Bring the water and sugar to boil in a pan (we are creating simple syrup here), remove from heat and allow to cool for a few minutes. Combine the syrup with the lemon juice and zest. Pour contents into a container and allow to cool in your refrigerator for about 4 hours.

(***Cooks note: This is entirely up to you. The nature of my ice cream maker requires properly cooled liquids before being churned. Some models don't require this additional wait time.***)

Once the mixture is cooled, process in your machine per instructions. For the Kitchen Aid model, add mixture to bowl and mix on speed 2, for about 20 minutes. Return sorbet to container and freeze for about an hour.


For an adult dinner party, add about 3 tbsp of your favorite Limoncello to the mixture before chilling in the refrigerator.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Murphy's Turkey Burger

The burger is the grill staple in the summer but sometimes I get bored with the same old recipe and ingredients. I am a red meat eater, but I really love ground turkey as much, and often use it for meals like burgers, tacos and meatballs. Turkey is a great substitute for ground beef, and this is my favorite recipe for a turkey burger. This is one of those recipes that just happened and worked really well. My only real hurdle in cooking a meal specifically for my husband is that he doesn't like cheese. (Insert GASPS of horror now..who hates cheese?) He'll eat cheese melted on a pizza or in lasagna, maybe a grilled cheese sandwich, but not much more than that. I might have added a thin slice of fresh mozzarella cheese to these burgers (had I not married this bizarre, yet wonderful person) but instead, I opted for a Parmesan crisp (which he ended up not eating; fruitless effort) which also turned out to be really nice!


For the burger:
1lb ground turkey
2 roasted red bell peppers
2 cloves garlic
1/2 c sweet basil
2 tbsp fresh oregano
1/2 tsp salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 c breadcrumbs
1 egg


In a food processor, add the roasted peppers, garlic, basil, oregano, salt and pepper and process until smooth. Add mixture to ground turkey in a bowl, and mix in breadcrumbs and egg, mixing with your hands. If the mixture is a little wet, add another 1/8 c breadcrumbs and mix again, finding the right consistency. Shape the turkey mixture into 4 patties around 1 inch thick and grill on a lightly oiled rack over medium-high heat until they are cooked through, usually 6-7 minutes each side. Remove from grill and rest for 5 minutes.



For the Parmesan Crisp:
Preheat oven to 400*F. Line a baking sheet with a silpat and pour several heaping teaspoons of freshly grated Parmesan cheese onto sheet, about 1 inch apart from each other. Sprinkle lightly with black pepper. Bake about 5 minutes until golden and slightly crisp. (I found they weren't as crisp as I thought they should be, but after about 1 minute out of the oven, the crispiness was achieved)



Basil Mayonnaise:

This mayo is simple... puree 1/4 c fresh sweet basil in food processor with 1/2 c store bought mayonnaise. And....Done! (You can and I would try making homemade mayonnaise, but I didn't for this)



Serve turkey burger on a nice roll, topped with the Parmesan crisp and basil mayo.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The Baltimore Sun- Zucchini

I had the pleasure of being featured in today's Baltimore Sun about my ever growing and changing vegatable garden. It's a small little tidbit about me, my garden and my family.

Click here to read all about the wonderful gardens growing in Baltimore.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Dining Deals in Baltimore

Restaurant week is approaching and I so look forward to it. It's a great opportunity to get out of the house and eat somewhere you might save for a special occasion, on a regular evening or weekend...

Brasserie Tatin is offering a really unique and special experience for only $750... which is really just a flash in the pan for most of us, right? Seriously though, it's the Chef's table and for this price you and 5 others get: outstanding traditional French cuisine six course dinner with paired wine, chef and sommelier visits, and kitchen tour.... now if I could only find that missing 750 dollars lying around....

Other locations have less intense or expensive opportunities like cooking classes or wine pairings.
For more information on which restaurants are participating and to see the menu's, go here.


Also, did you know that there is a website out "there" that gives daily deals to various restaurants around Baltimore? My fellow blogger and food friend, Dara was blogging about it last week and so I'm passing this information on to you! Check out what deals you can find here.


Lastly, Howard County is having their very own restaurant week. I work in Columbia, but rarely think to eat anywhere as I'm a bit of a Baltimore snob (seems like Baltimore and snob don't seem a likely pairing, no?) when it comes to places to eat. That being said, Aidia Bistro (known as my favorite place to eat in Howard County) is on the list... they're located within walking distance from my office in a little strip, so unassuming, yet so incredibly tasty!

The Rumor Mill Restaurant in Ellicott City is also on board, and I can say that they are at least worth visiting as they support local non-profits like the Family Crisis Center of Baltimore County and therefore, are commited to the community. (Always a bonus for me...)

Now that I've inundated you with way too many hyperlinks... go check it out!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Cherry Blueberry Crisp

I'm really into food... really really into it.

Example:
I'm walking around the farmer's market (where else?) two Saturdays ago and it doesn't take long for me to realize its CHERRY SEASON!!!! I capitalize this because upon seeing the heaping mounds of cherries on the stands I literally squealed and clapped (I was alone so I could have appeared that I was losing my mind) as I trotted (yes, I trotted) over to the first stand. I love cherry season for many reasons but mostly because of sour cherries! When making a pie, pastry, tart or crisp, you always want to use the sour cherry...as I've personally learned in my culinary adventures.

That being said, I've made a cherry pie and you can find that here, but I didn't use sour cherries for that pie, and while it was delicious, I would still suggest using the sour.

For the fruit:
3 c pitted sour cherries
1/2 c blueberries
1 c white sugar
4 tbsp all-purpose flour

For the crisp:
1 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 c multi grain oats (I used multi grain because I liked the idea of adding more nutritional benefit, but you can use old-fashioned oats too)
3/4 c brown sugar
1/3 c butter


Grease a 9X13 baking dish and preheat your oven to 375*F. In a bowl, combine cherries, sugar and flour and mix to combine. In a separate bowl, combine flour, oats, brown sugar. Cut in butter to mixture until it's crumb-like. Sprinkle over cherries to cover.

Bake in oven about 50 minutes or until topping is golden brown. Let cool for about 30 minutes before serving.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Summer Harvest Pasta with Panko Herbed Chicken

Pasta dishes are a staple in my home, but when Baltimore turns hot and steamy, I don't do much pasta. Last week we had a night of super storms and so I couldn't cook on my grill, and the indoors seemed so inviting. I'd been craving pasta, but every hot night I thought to do it, I just couldn't bare to do it. Being inside the cool air conditioning with the dark storm clouds rolling in, seemed like the opportune time for making it!

I had just picked an abundance of beautiful squash and zucchini straight from my garden, and couldn't NOT call this harvest pasta! There is something so satisfying about growing your own vegetables and herbs, and when you sit down to a meal you really feel a part of the process. I've decided to include a few pictures of what I picked last week and the biggest zucchini I've ever grown (to date).






This was a simple dish to create, and it came together with very few ingredients in about 45 minutes.

For the sauce:
2 large zucchini, diced medium
1 yellow squash, diced medium
1 28 oz can of San Marzano Tomatoes ***, drained of most of the liquid, hand crushed
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 small onion, diced fine
1/4 c good quality olive oil
sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
1/2 c fresh sweet basil, chopped roughly



(*** Cooks note: When making a tomato sauce, especially with fresh ingredients from your backyard or farmers market, I encourage you to use only San Marzano tomatoes (which are more expensive, but can be found in your local grocery store) as they are considered by most chefs and Italian cooks to be the best sauce tomato in the world. Although they look similar to a Roma tomato, the flesh is much thicker with fewer seeds, and the taste is much stronger, more sweet and less acidic. ***)

In a large sauce pan heat olive oil over med-high heat. Add squash, zucchini and onion and saute for 5-7 minutes until vegetables are beginning to get soft. (Add a pinch or two of salt to the mix as it cooks). Add garlic, and saute another 2 minutes. Continue adding salt and pepper to taste, in layers, as you cook. Add tomatoes and reserved liquid and stir to combine. Simmer, covered, for about 40 minutes (stir sauce every 10 minutes) or until sauce is thickened and flavors are combined.

For the chicken:
4 thin sliced chicken cutlets
1 c flour
1 c panko bread crumbs
1 tsp basil and oregano, chopped very fine
1 egg, beaten
salt and pepper
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter

Heat a large frying pan over medium heat. Add olive oil and butter and allow butter to melt with olive oil. Place flour, egg and crumbs into separate bowls. Add herbs to breadcrumbs and stir to blend. Season both sides of cutlets with salt and pepper. In assembly line fashion, dredge chicken through flour, dip into egg and roll into breadcrumbs. Add chicken to heated frying pan and cook for about 5 minutes, or until brown. Flip cutlet and cook additional 3 minutes. Keep cutlets warm in 250 *F warm oven until dish is ready.

Prepare pasta of your choice according to package directions, less one minute. Add drained pasta to sauce, with basil, and stir over medium heat, mixing well, for about 1 minute.

Heap pasta onto dish and top with panko chicken.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Miso Salmon with Grilled Bok Choy

Miso is a rich condiment made of mostly fermented rice and soybeans, that you can purchase in a paste form. Miso is high in protein and vitamins and very much a part of daily Japanese culinary culture. Miso is typically salty, but its flavor and aroma depend on various factors in the ingredients and fermentation process.


My husband and I love miso soup and really wanted to make some of our own, so I decided to expand and incorporate the paste into another meal. I've seen a lot of recipes over the years for salmon prepared with miso, so I decided to make a variation of my own.


2 6-8 oz salmon fillet
2 tbsp white miso paste
2 tbsp hot water
1 tbsp soy sauce
3 tbsp Mirin
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp fresh minced ginger




Place salmon fillet into a glass dish or plastic bag. Whisk remaining ingredients together and pour over salmon. Place in refrigerator to marinate for about 1-2 hours.

For the bok choy:
2 baby bok choy bulbs, halved
1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
1 clove garlic, minced

Drizzle the oil over the bok choy and rub garlic into the layers of the vegetable. Set aside.
Over med-high heat, using the direct grill method, grill the salmon fillets for about 4-5 minutes per side, or until the flesh flakes easily with a fork. Grill bok choy, cut side down over direct heat for the last 5 minutes, until wilted and soft. ( I like my bok choy to be soft, but still have a nice bite to it, but you could really leave it on and grill both sides.)

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Chipotle Cinnamon Pork with Fruit Salsa

This recipe just sort of happened to me one night last week making dinner. I had a beautiful pork tenderloin and tons of fresh fruit from the farmers market and the grocery store run over the weekend. I love to make rubs for meat, before grilling, because the crust that forms is just so delicious! This combination of smoke, heat and sweet from the rub really compliments the pork, but I would use this rub again for chicken or beef too!


For the rub:

1 tbsp each:
Chipotle powder
Cinnamon

1tsp each:
brown sugar
salt
fresh ground black pepper
paprika
cumin


Combine all ingredients and rub all over pork tenderloin. Allow pork to sit at least an hour, and up to 24 hours.

Grill 1.5 lb pork tenderloin over direct heat for about 20 minutes, turning to brown on all sides, every 5-7 minutes. Pork is done when a thermometer reads 160-170* F. I like to take the pork off at about 160*F and rest under a tent of foil for about 5 minutes before slicing.

For the salsa:
3 white peaches (any peach would do), pit removed and diced
1 mango, pit removed and diced
1 red bell pepper (any bell pepper would do), diced
1 lime, juice and zest
1 jalapeno pepper (first one harvested from my garden!), seeds removed and diced
1/2 c fresh pineapple, diced small
1 c fresh mint (I used some of my cinnamon mint), chopped



Mix all ingredients into a bowl and refrigerate for about an hour, or up to 24.
Top grilled pork with salsa and serve!

Monday, June 30, 2008

BBQ Bacon Shrimp

My husband would call this "Heaven, wrapped in heaven, basted with heaven." This dish combines all his faves into one perfect skewer of heaven. I made this for him, as it wouldn't have been an idea to enter my mind necessarily, but I can't always cook for me, can I?


This is easy and a quick grilled dinner/lunch. This would also make a nice appetizer!

Basic BBQ Sauce:
16 oz tomato sauce
1/4 c cider vinegar
3 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp vidalia onion, minced
2 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
1 tsp each, Salt, Chili Powder, Dry Mustard and Smoked Paprika

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and simmer over low heat for about 20-30 minutes. Stir occasionally to make sure the sauce doesn't burn. Allow to cool before basting raw foods. This makes a little over 2 cups of BBQ sauce and can be stored in a container in the refrigerator.

Soak skewers in water for about 1 hour before you're ready to cook shrimp.
For the shrimp:
1lb fresh shrimp, peeled and de-veined (I leave the tails on)
1/2 lb center cut bacon
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1/8 tsp fresh ground black pepper

Wrap each shrimp with a small piece of the bacon. I was able to wrap 3 shrimp per slice of bacon. Skewer shrimp onto stick and sprinkle with cayenne and black pepper. Grill over direct medium high heat about 3 minutes. Baste with BBQ sauce, and turn over and grill another 3 minutes. Baste shrimp on both sides with sauce, until coated to your preference.

Serve and enjoy!

You could probably use the recipe for Balsamic BBQ sauce for this dish too!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Lemon Berry Scones

I made these for Father's Day, for my incredible dad, who's been nothing but a beacon of strength and love through my mother's illness. My dad and I have always been pals, from the beginning. We used to go on hikes together and collect bugs, then we 'd take them home and identify what kind they were. (As an adult, I scream at the sight of a spider..what happened?) These days, he and I love going on culinary field trips together, to Asian food markets and farmers markets and he always sends me articles from the paper on food related topics. These little things reminds me of how much he cares, and how much he thinks of me in his day to day life. He was my first hero and my glimpse of what a real, dedicated, honorable man should be, and I'm proud that he is my father.



Now, wipe your eyes, and read the recipe below!

This was my first attempt at making a scone (what's wrong with me?) despite my Irish heritage and the fact that I love them! My mother makes them, my grandmother did, so I can too, right? Well my dad liked them, and I thought the texture and flavor were good, but I'm gonna have to make a few more batches of these to really perfect them! Overall, A+ from Dad on the first try!

2 c all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp fresh ground nutmeg
1/2 c butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
1/2 c milk
1 egg
1 tsp lemon zest
1/2 c fresh raspberries
1/4 c fresh blackberries
2 tbsp milk
1 Tbs. sugar

Preheat oven to 425º F.

In large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and nutmeg. Cut in butter with pastry blender (or your fingers) until the dough has coarse crumbs throughout.


In a separate bowl, combine 1/2 c milk, egg and lemon zest and mix well. Add milk mixture to dry ingredients, mixing with fork just until dry ingredients are moist and a soft dough forms. Gently stir in berries. Gather dough into a ball and gently knead for about 1 minute. (Don't be afraid to add some flour to your work surface or your hands to keep the dough from sticking to you or your surfaces!)
Place dough on greased baking sheet. Pat into about a 9-inch circle, 1/2-inch thick. With sharp knife, cut through dough to form 8 wedges; but do not separate. Brush top of dough with 2 tbsp milk; sprinkle with sugar.


Bake until golden brown, 20 to 22 minutes. Cut through scones, separating wedges, and return to oven for a bout 5 minutes.
For the glaze:
equal parts lemon juice, zest and confectioners sugar. Stir until blended and a "glaze" like consistency is formed. Place into a small sandwich bag, cut the tip of a corner, and lightly drizzle across each scone. Allow to cool and serve!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Fresh Pea Smash

As you might have read here I'm in love with fresh peas. I've loved peas since I was a small child, when other friends were hiding them in their napkins or under the mashed potato, I was eating them all with great delight!



I'm calling this a smash, because It's not really whipped or mashed completely, as I left lots of whole peas throughout to maintain the freshness of the peas from the farmers market.


This may resemble guacamole, as my friend Kate suggested, but its really an incredibly tasty pea smash. (Yes, I sent her this picture and asked her if it resembled anything unappealing or non edible) I'm not sure what else to call it, and I know it appears green and a tad mushy, but again, I love peas, and by using the fresh peas, it's not a total pile of mush.



1 c of chicken stock
2 c fresh peas
1 clove of garlic, minced fine
2 tbsp lime thyme (any kind of thyme would work here)
1 tbsp butter
1tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp Parmesan cheese, grated fine



Heat butter and oil over med-high heat and saute garlic and thyme for about 2 minutes. Add the stock, bring to a boil, and add the peas. Cook peas in stock for about 5 minutes. With a slotted spoon, remove half of the pea mixture and put aside. In a small food processor, add remaining peas and stock and process for about 30 seconds, on intervals. Remove mixture and add to reserved whole peas and mix well. Fold Parmesan cheese into pea smash, and serve!





I had a really beautiful tuna steak, that I grilled with just salt and pepper and a drizzle of lemon juice. I topped my pea smash with the tuna steak and it was a really good dinner!

(***Cooks note: This would also make a great spread on grilled pieces of Italian bread, topped with a thin slice of prosciutto!***)

Friday, June 20, 2008

Tomato and Cucumber Salad

This salad to me represents all the good things about summer. The freshest, crisp and perfectly ripe tomato's and the tang of the red wine vinegar all come together with fresh basil and red onion to make a powerful, yet simple tasting salad.

This is my "go-to" salad on hot nights. In the summer when I've got an abundance of produce, salad becomes a part of every meal, and that can get a little boring if it's always the same concoction of lettuce, veggies and dressing. I had a great little pack of mixed tomato's, will baby heirloom tomato's and cherry, grape, yellow and orange tomato's from Trader Joe's. I love these packs because they are mixed with various color, and don't we eat with our eye's first, anyway? Since everything was so colorful, I also decided to not only add sweet basil to the salad, but some of my gorgeous opal basil too.




This is almost silly to call it a recipe, as it's more just making myself something that I am craving to eat. The flavors, colors and freshness is really what I want to accomplish, and thus this "recipe" comes together on my dinner plate!


1 c small tomato's (mixed variety)
(if you have all the same variety of tomato, this will still taste just like summer!)
1/8 c thinly sliced red onion
2 mini cucumbers or 1 large, sliced about 1/4 inch thick
1 c fresh sweet and opal basil, chopped roughly
1/4 c red wine vinegar
1/3 c olive oil
sea salt to taste

Mix all ingredients into a bowl, and let sit in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes to allow flavors to meld together. Serve and enjoy. Can be saved for tomorrow nights dinner too!


Monday, June 16, 2008

Quinoa Tabbouleh


I grew up eating tabbouleh because my mother loved Middle Eastern food and would make it quite often. It has all the great summer ingredients, like fresh parsley, mint and lemon juice. Traditionally it has almost more of the herb mixture than grain. I've always loved tabbouleh, but didn't have the traditional barley, but I had a box of quinoa (say it...keen-wah) in my pantry and went with that instead. Quinoa has a bitter outer layer, so you have to rinse and lightly scrub the grain in a colander before preparing.


2 c water
1 c quinoa, rinsed

Heat quinoa and water in a sauce pan over med-high heat, until water is boiling. Cover, and reduce heat to med-low. Cook quinoa for about 10-15 minutes, or until all the water is absorbed. Allow to cool.

3 small tomatoes, diced
1/2 c cucumber, diced
3 tbsp fresh mint, chopped
1/2 c fresh parsley, chopped
1 lemon , juice and zest
1/3 c good quality olive oil
a pinch of allspice
Sea Salt to taste

Add all ingredients into a bowl and mix together. Add in quinoa and mix until well blended. Allow to sit in refrigerator about 30 minutes before serving!

Tricking your Tounge

For a great blog post and pictures on the Miracle Fruit Party , check out Dara's blog at http://diningdish.blogspot.com/2008/06/tainted-tongue.html .

She took pictures (I left my camera on my dining room table) and she wrote up a nice summary.


Also, Roopa (have you seen how amazing her blog is?) of http://www.raspberryeggplant.blogspot.com/ has a very detailed blog post. Check it out!


Also, if you missed hearing me (I know you're all on the edges of your seats waiting to hear my voice)... On Friday, I was a guest on Maryland Mornings, on National Public Radio.

You can listen here!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Listen Here- Miracle Fruit Segment on WYPR

This morning between 9-930 est, I'll be on WYPR, 88.1, talking about Miracle Fruit.

If you get a chance, listen! I'll write more after it's aired.

In the meantime, check out another wonderful Baltimore food blogger, here.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Cold Soba Noodles with Fresh Peas, Pea Shoots and a Soy Ginger Dipping Sauce

Two Sunday's ago, my husband and I made our way down to the Baltimore Farmer's Market, under the JFX to find a much larger, more intense, more insanely packed version of my beloved Waverly Farmer's Market . While it was a wonderful market, I found a lot of vendors (isn't this the way these markets tend to be in late spring/early summer) to be selling plants and herbs etc. Well, luckily this year, I got my zucchini, squash, heirloom tomato and early girl tomato, and all my herbs planted and underway! We were on the hunt for the "Pea Man" as I call him... a farmer ( I wish I knew which farm he's from; will find that out this weekend) who brings these huge coolers of fresh picked peas that are so sweet and so crisp, that you have to resist eating them raw, from the bag. By the time we found him, there were mere pea remnants on the ground, a reminder of what could have been.... what might have been had I beat all of Baltimore to the market that day.


This past weekend, I redeemed myself, because at my beloved Waverly Farmer's Market, my "Pea Man" was there and still had enough peas for me to get 2lbs of these amazing green orbs of spring. Now, if you don't like peas (they actually happen to be in my top 3 favorite vegetables of all time) I highly recommend you have real, fresh peas. Frozen aren't bad if they are barely thawed, and canned is vegetable blasphemy. I encourage all "pea haters" to revisit them if you have the opportunity to get a few in your hands. The most other pleasant surprise was the bounty of pea shoots (or vine) available, and I figured if you got the pea, you might as well have the shoot too!

Now, on to most important matters... the recipe. Baltimore has been reminiscent of my reading Dante's Inferno, and the heat has been so incredibly intense, that it's hard to be inspired to eat, much less eat something that isn't iced.

I love soba noodles and most Japanese style noodle dishes with such passion, that I decided to whip some up for a lovely and light dish for lunch.

1/2 lb soba noodles, cooked and chilled
1 tsp vegetable oil
1 c pea shoots, chopped roughly
1/3 c fresh peas
1/2 c chilled soy ginger broth
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 spring onion, chopped fine
1 tsp red pepper flakes
2 tbsp fresh cilantro

In a small frying pan, saute the spring onion, pea shoots and garlic in the vegetable oil, about 2 minutes, until the shoots are lightly wilted and the garlic has cooked.
Mix the cooled mixture into the soba noodles, adding the fresh peas, cilantro and red pepper flakes.

To eat, dip a bite of the noodle mixture into the broth, and shovel into your mouth with great intensity. Repeat. (Wear a bib!)

Monday, June 9, 2008

Zucchini Ribbon Salad

So much of my summer cooking is driven by several factors including, what I can get at the farmers market fresh, what's growing in my backyard and exactly how HOT it may or may not be outside. This is a great dish to make when you've already fired up the grill for dinner. By grilling your zucchini first, you can cook your other dishes while the zucchini rest. I made this for 2 people, but you could easily double or triple this recipe for a larger crowd.

If there ever was a reason to own a mandoline, this would be one. I've actually wanted one since I registered at Williams Sonoma for our wedding, almost three years ago. I never got it, but after making this salad, I think it might be worth it. Instead of a mandoline, I used a really sharp vegetable peeler, and while it worked and made beautiful zucchini ribbons, they weren't as uniformed as I wanted them.


4 zucchini, washed and ends trimmed
1 red bell pepper, cleaned and sliced thin
1/2 c good quality extra virgin olive oil
1-2 lemons juiced (about 1/4 c lemon juice)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp red chili flakes
1 tsp each, sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 c fresh basil chopped
1/4 c fresh mint chopped
2 tbsp fresh ground Parmesan

Using a mandoline or a vegetable peeler, thinly slice the zucchini lengthwise. Toss the zucchini and bell pepper with 1/4 of the olive oil, salt and pepper, to taste. Quickly grill the zucchini ribbons and bell pepper on 1 side, until lightly marked and wilted, about 1 minute. Flip zucchini ribbons and pepper slices over and grill another minute. Move vegetables to a plate and let cool slightly.


In another bowl, whisk the remaining 1/4 c olive oil, lemon juice, basil, mint, garlic and red pepper flakes and Parmesan together. Add cooled vegetables to mixture, toss to coat and serve.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Very Berry Tart

A tart is a pastry dish, that is a type of a pie with an "open face", that is not covered with pastry. Often tart's in pastry shops or bakery's have been baked in tart pans and have a lovely, crisp edge defined perfectly by the fluting of the tart pan. I had a pound of strawberries, blueberries and blackberries in my refrigerator and some puff pastry in my freezer, and decided to whip up a simple but beautiful dessert. This is a very simple idea, and you can use any sort of fruit you want, including stone fruit, apples and pears or even grapes! You could even do this in a savory way (which I love) and try goat cheese and roasted leek for a light spring lunch.

1lb strawberries, sliced thin
1/2 lb blackberries
1 pint blueberries ( this is an estimate, as I just filled in the "gaps" with the blueberries)
2 tbsp orange marmalade
1 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tbsp honey
1 large frozen puff pastry sheet, thawed
1 egg, beaten



Preheat oven to 400* F.
After your puff pastry has thawed, lay it out on a lightly floured surface. Using a rolling pin, roll out the puff pastry only a little, adding about one inch to length and width.


Lay the pastry on parchment paper and transfer to a baking sheet.
Begin laying strawberry slices in a row, slightly overlapping the edges, making sure to leave about 1 1/2 inches on each edge of the pastry. Continue laying slices in rows, about 1 inch apart. Once you're done, fill in the 1 inch rows with blackberries and blueberries.


Once all your berries are placed, begin to fold over the puff pastry edges, slightly covering the first and last berry of each row. With a pastry brush, brush the beaten egg lightly on the pastry edges.

In a small saucepan, melt the marmalade, butter and honey. Drizzle this mixture over the berries in the tart.
Place tart in the oven and bake about 15-20 minutes, or until the pastry has "puffed". Allow to sit about 20 minutes and serve. This tart can be stored in the refrigerator and kept up to 2 days. Either reheat in the oven or serve room temperature.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Grilled Chicken Paillard with Lemon and Black Pepper

This is a very basic and simple warm night dinner or lunch, that I love. I had 3-5 lemons that needed to be used, so I decided to use the juice and zest to marinate the chicken breasts I had in the fridge.

My husband has become grill obsessed since we moved into our home last April, and we've pretty much grilled since day one. We even made ribs in February...because we missed the charcoal effect so much through the winter. This recipe is so easy because if you marinate the chicken and then start the grill, by the time your coals (you aren't using gas are you???) are ready, your chicken is marinated.

Paillard is a term for any kind of meat or chicken, that's been pounded very thin. I love to grill think chicken breasts because not only are they quick as can be, but also because they tend to not dry out as easy.

4 chicken breasts, pounded thin (about 3/4 lb)
1/2 c fresh lemon juice
1/2 c good quality extra virgin olive oil
1 shallot, chopped fine
1 tbsp fresh ground pepper

Whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, shallot and pepper, and add chicken breasts. Allow to marinate about 30 minutes.

Remove chicken from marinade, season with sea salt on both sides and grill about 3 minutes on each side.
I served this with a light salad of baby greens, tomato and red onion, with a red wine vinaigrette.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Balsamic Drunken Strawberries (over Pound Cake with Fresh Whipped Cream)

Aside from baking the pound cake (which is a simple cake to make), this dessert is the perfect summer treat and a great one to serve when you've got a few people to entertain in your backyard.


The pound cake is one of the most basic yet satisfying kind of cake to make and is named such because it used to be made with a pound of butter, sugar, eggs and flour. A more modern version of the recipe has modified these measurements, but the cake is still as wonderful as it once was. You could also use my recipe for hot milk cake as the base to this dish.


I got some wonderful strawberries at the Waverly Farmer's Market and just had to use them for this perfect warm weather dessert. A dear friend bought me a really tasty Raspberry Balsamic Vinegar last year for one of my birthday gifts, and I have only used it with salads or reductions. I thought this would be the perfect dessert to use the already fruit infused vinegar.



For the topping:
To get those strawberries drunk, core and halve them and place in a bowl. Place about 1-3 c of balsamic vinegar over the strawberries. To the mixture, add 3 tbsp sugar and stir well. Let the mixture sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes.


For the pound cake:
Preheat oven to 350*F ( I used a heavily greased bundt cake pan)
1 3/4 cups (230 grams) cake flour, sifted
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Zest of 1 lemon


In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and salt. In another bowl with your hand mixer or with your electric mixer cream together the butter and the sugar until light and fluffy, about 4-5 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating another 2 minutes. Add the zest of lemon, the flour and mix until incorporated. Pour the batter into the pan and bake for about 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.


For the whipped cream:
2 cups heavy whipping cream
2 tbsp sugar

Whisk together the cream and sugar until stiff peaks form.


Slice the pound cake, top with the strawberries and whipped cream and prepare yourself for true decadence!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Pesto Parpadelle with Sauteed Spinach and Grilled Chicken


This was an easy weeknight dinner last week when we had a craving for fresh pesto (must be all that fresh farmers market basil) , a need to cook this beautiful spinach sitting in my refrigerator (i get a little crazy with greens at the market...).


I grilled some thin sliced chicken breasts that I marinated in the juice and zest of 1 lemon, 2 tbsp fresh ground pepper and sea salt and 4 tbsp olive oil.

First, bring to a boil enough water for your parpadelle (I used store bought parpadelle). Add about 1 tbsp sea salt to your water. Prepare pasta according to directions, less 1 minute.

Basic Basil Pesto:
2 c loosely packed basil leaves
2 tbsp toasted pine nuts
2 tbsp freshly grated Parmesan
1/4 tsp minced garlic (about one clove)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 c plus 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
In a food processor, combine the basil, pine nuts, Parmesan, garlic, and salt and puree. While the motor is running, drizzle in the oil until incorporated. Season with pepper to taste.

(Cooks note**Use immediately or store in the refrigerator with a piece of plastic wrap placed right on the surface of the pesto to prevent discoloration, for up to 3 days, or freeze for up to 1 month.)

For the spinach:
2 tbsp olive oil
1 clove garlic, chopped fine
1 lb fresh spinach leaves, washed and ready!
1 tsp sea salt

In a large saute pan, heat olive oil over medium high heat. Add garlic and saute about 2 minutes. Add spinach and salt and allow to cook, tossing the spinach lightly until it begins to wilt. Reduce heat to medium low and allow spinach to cook about 1 more minute, until mostly wilted.

When the pasta is ready (1 minute less the package directed time), transfer the parpadelle to the pan with the spinach, tossing to incorporate. Add basil pesto (to taste) and continue to toss. Add about 1/4 cup of the pasta cooking liqued and continue to toss, cooking over meduum low heat for about 2 minutes. Serve immediately, topped with grilled chicken and paremesan.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Springtime Risotto


During the spring months, the farmers markets are filled with early spring produce and for people who love to cook, especially seasonally, the spring vegetable season is the beginning of many months of fresh vegetables and fruit.


Last week the 32nd Street Market (Waverly) had an abundance of vegetables and the asparagus and leeks were overflowing! I love asparagus and enjoy it in risotto as you can see from a previous post, here.


For the last few days in Baltimore, it's been either sunny and unseasonably cold, or a torrential downpour of rain and cold. Last night I decided to use the opportunity for good, comforting, warm risotto confettied with spring vegetables.


Preheat oven to 400*F.

For the spring vegetables:
1 lb fresh asparagus, trimmed and cut into 2 inch peices
2 large leeks, sliced in half, cleaned and cut into 2 inch peices
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp sea salt and fresh ground pepper

Lay vegetables on baking sheet and toss together with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for about 25 minutes.

For the risotto:
1 c Arborio rice
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter
1 medium sweet onion, peeled and finely diced
3 tbsp dry vermouth (you can use a dry white wine, but I love the vermouth in this particular recipe)
4 cups heated chicken stock ( I like to have a little extra in case. Use as much as needed to get the rice al dente)
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 tbsp heavy cream
a wooden spoon (the essential tool)

Using a large skillet with a heavy bottom, heat the olive oil and butter over medium low heat and saute the onions until translucent. Add the Arborio rice, stir to coat with the oil and butter, and saute with the onions to toast each grain of rice, about 4 minutes. Once the rice is lightly toasted, add the vermouth, slowly stirring. After the rice has absorbed the vermouth and the skillet is nearly dry, add 1 cup stock, stirring occasionally, and cook over low heat until the stock is absorbed. Continue adding the stock, 1 cup at a time, until all the stock has been absorbed. Continue to stir the risotto as you add the stock. (Adding the liquid in stages, instead of all at once, allows the grains of rice to expand more fully, adding to the risotto's creamy texture.) Once the rice has been added to the pan, the entire cooking process will take about 20 minutes.


Remove the roasted leeks and asparagus, and add to the risotto. Stir to combine, add the heavy cream and parmesean, stirring once more and allow to cook about 1 minute.

For garnish:
I added 1/2 c fresh peas (not roasted) and 1/3 c fresh mint. The mint and the peas really add the extra flavor kick to this risotto, that I think is essential to this springtime dish!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Cammarata's Hot Milk Cake

Hot milk cake is a traditional cake, and I'm pretty sure its a Mid-Atlantic recipe. Living here in Baltimore, the hot milk cake has been a staple of my childhood, and this recipe was passed down to me from my Aunt Ruth.

Words of wisdom for those who've never made this: When you beat scalded milk into a cake batter, a thick mixture turns thin, runny, and looks ruined.
Do not fret! Something magical is happening, and the results are light buttery and golden.

This cake dates back to the Great Depression era, and was an easy recipe to use because the butter was rationed out by the government (which wasn't butter at all, but a square of white lard that you added a few drops of yellow food coloring to). So this recipe allowed families to celebrate an occasion a little easier.

1/4 lb butter
1 c milk
4 eggs
2 c sugar
2 c flour
2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder

Add butter to milk and heat to boiling - turn off heat.
Beat eggs until fluffy and add sugar, then flour, salt and baking powder and beat thoroughly.
Add to the hot milk and pour into a bundt cake pan and bake 350 degrees until done, about 45 minutes. Allow to cool on a rack and invert and serve.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Key Lime Pie

I made this pie for my mother for mothers day. It's a household favorite and lime is my favorite citrus! Mom, Dad and I had a great day together, picking out flowers for her garden, chatting and spending good quality time together.

My dad is a master on a wok, so my mother asked him for stir fry and I brought the pie.
This is a basic key lime pie recipe, with a little special twist. My family loves gingersnaps... a lot.
So instead of graham cracker crust, I did a gingersnap crust. The tartness of the lime, with the sweet whipped cream and spice of the gingersnap is a beautiful gastroexperience.
For the crust:
good quality ginger snap cookies (about 3/4 lb)
1/4 c of melted, unsalted butter
2 tbsp sugar
In a food processor, pulverize the cookies into a fine crumble. Add sugar and melted butter and blend together with a fork. Once combined, press the mixture into a 9" pie plate. Bake in a preheated 350 F oven for 10 - 12 minutes until lightly browned. Place on a rack to cool.


For the pie filling:
4 large or extra large egg yolks
1 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup key lime juice
2 teaspoons lime zest



Using an electric mixer, beat the egg yolks until they are thick and turn to a light yellow. Turn the mixer off and add the sweetened condensed milk. Turn speed to low and mix in half of the lime juice. Once the juice is incorporated add the other half of the juice and the zest, continue to mix until blended. Pour the mixture into the pie shell and bake at 350 F for 12 minutes-15 minutes. Pie filling should be firm with a slight wiggle in the middle. Allow to cool, and place in refrigerator for 2 hours.
For the whipped cream :
1 cup heavy whipping cream
3 tbsp sugar
1 tsp vanilla
Whip cream until it begins to thicken slightly. Add sugar and vanilla and continue to whip until soft peaks form.

Remove pie from refrigerator and dollop the pie with the whipped cream, covering the filling. Add some lime zest on top for garnish, and serve.
These pictures don't capture this pie enough, but we were inhaling it so quickly I had very little time for exposure and white balance!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

"Crossing the Bridge" Noodles

This dish is a tradition in western China and is also known as guò qiáo mĭxiàn. The dish got its name from a story of a woman whose husband was studying for the imperial examinations and would deliver his lunch to him every day. She had to cross a bridge to get it too him, so she made the broth really hot to be sure it would still be warm for him.
The famous local dish features super hot broth topped with a thin layer of duck fat in which you quickly add slivers of meat, fish, egg and vegetables while at your table, but I chose to change this recipe up to suit my dinner needs. For starters, no duck fat. The fat is used to create a layer to preserve heat, but since I was serving this immediately, I chose to omit it. (I also can't bring myself to obtain or use duck fat.) Additionally, I used from scratch egg noodles, par boiled before adding to the broth. You can certainly use store prepared egg noodles for this dish. If you don't make your own noodles, this could certainly be an easy, mid-week dinner!

Noodles:
1 1/4 c all purpose flour

1tsp salt
3 small eggs

To prepare the noodles, sift the flour and salt onto a work surface and create a well in the center. Break the eggs into the center of the well. Using your fingers, slowly work the eggs into the flour to make a soft dough. Lightly dust your work surface and place the dough on it. Knead until dough is smooth, about 3-5 minutes. Cover the the dough with a piece of oiled plastic wrap and let rest for about 20 minutes.

Soup:
6 oz boneless chicken breasts, sliced into small thin pieces
1 tsp rice wine
1 tsp fresh grated ginger
1 tsp , plus one tbsp soy sauce (to top each bowl of soup)
6 c chicken stock
salt and ground white pepper to taste
3 spring onions, including tender green tops sliced thin, keeping white and green parts separate
1/4 c chopped cilantro

To begin preparing the soup:
Place the chicken in a dish and add the rice wine, ginger and 1 tsp soy sauce. Mix well and let marinate in fridge for about 30 minutes or while you prepare the noodles.

(Using a hand cranked pasta machine)
On the same floured work surface, lightly kneed the dough again for about 3 minutes, until it feels elastic. Divide into 2 equal parts. Working with 1 piece at a time, flatten your piece and set the machine to the widest setting. Lightly dust the flattened dough and pass through the roller. Reset the rollers a width narrower, fold the dough into thirds, dust if needed with flour and pass through the rollers again. Repeat decreasing the setting each time until you have a wide, thin strip of dough (setting 2 on most machines). Roll up the dough lightly into a cylinder and using a sharp knife, cut crosswise into noodles about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick.
Toss the noodles lightly with flour and hang to rest until soup is ready. Repeat process with remaining dough.

To continue making the soup, pour the chicken stock into a saucepan and bring slowly to a boil over medium heat. While the stock is heating, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add the noodles and cook until just tender about 3 minutes. Drain and rinse under hot water. (This should be done only with fresh noodles, to remove any starch or flour) Divide the noodles evenly into each bowl.

To finish the soup, add the chicken to the simmering stock, season with 1 tbsp soy sauce , the salt and pepper and add the white parts of the scallions. Simmer until chicken is cooked through about 1 minutes. Ladle the hot soup over the noodles, and top with green parts of scallions and chopped cilantro.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Blueberry Power Smoothie

Trader Joe's has reasonably priced frozen fruit and I just love using frozen fruit during the winter/early spring months when fruit is not in season, and the impostor fruit at the grocery stores taste like cardboard.


My mother has been ill and is recovering from a serious surgery along with facing many months of chemotherapy treatment. When someone is faced with a disease like cancer, nutrition is a huge part of the recovery. With a jeopardized immune system, whey protein powder is a great way of adding proteins, which causes an increase in antioxidants.


With all of this information I created a power smoothie for my mom, that not only tastes great, but is easy to ingest under these conditions.



**You can omit the whey protein powder and flax seed oil to just enjoy an antioxidant jam-packed smoothie! This is a really great smoothie to drink first thing in the morning or after a hefty workout!


1 c ice
1/2 non fat yogurt
1 c frozen blueberries
1 scoop (about 2 tbsp) whey protein powder**
1/4 cup cranwater ( This is 4 oz cranberry to 20 oz water; make it and save it in a bottle)
1 tbsp flax seed oil **


Mix all ingredients together in a blender and blend for about 2 minutes.
Serve immediately.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Beer Batter Fish with Chips

I love fish and chips, but they have to be made really well and with perfectly plump white fish, preferably cod. Having been to London and Ireland, I know a good fish fryer when I see one and chips can't be anything other than skin-on sliced potato wedges, fried in the same oil as the fish. Again, these are all my preferences, but trying it any other way just doesn't seem authentic.

Beer batter is quite possibly the easiest concept ever, but frying the fish perfectly is the hardest part of the task. You have to slowly drop the batter covered fish into your oil and wait for a crust to start to form, before releasing the rest of the fish into the oil. With long enough tongs, it shouldn't take you too long to master the fry.


Beer Batter:
12 oz beer (I used a dark ale)
1 1/2 c all purpose flour
1 tsp salt

Fish:
1 lb fresh cod, sliced into 1 inch wide strips
Chips:
3-4 Idaho potatoes, sliced into wedges, about 8 per potato

In a Dutch oven, (if you own a fryer, go ahead and use it) heat oil to 375 degrees F.


Fry potatoes until golden brown, roughly 10 minutes removing with a slotted spoon or spider.
Place in a low oven to keep warm while cooking the fish.

Pat fish dry and season on both sides with salt and pepper and coat the fish in the beer batter.
Fry fish, turning over frequently, until deep golden and cooked through, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined baking sheet and keep warm in oven. Fry remaining fish in batches, returning oil to 375 degrees F between batches.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Meyer Lemon Penne with Shrimp and Basil

The Meyer lemon is a citrus fruit, originating from China. The fruit is a cross between a lemon and a mandarin orange. The flavor is not as tart as a true lemon and its a wonderful compliment for this dish. You can substitute true lemon as well in this dish.

2/3 c good quality olive oil
2/3 c grated Parmesan
1/2 c fresh lemon juice (about 3 lemons)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp Meyer lemon zest
1/3 c chopped fresh basil leaves
1 lb whole wheat penne
1lb shrimp, peeled and deveined

Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm, about 10 minutes.

In a fry pan, heat 1 tbsp olive oil and add shrimp, in a single layer, cooking until just pink, about 3-5 minutes.

In a separate bowl, whisk the oil, Parmesan, and lemon juice in a large bowl to blend. Drain the penne, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid. Toss the penne with the lemon sauce, and the reserved cooking liquid, adding 1/4 cup at a time as needed to moisten. Add shrimp and season with salt and pepper. Garnish with lemon zest and chopped basil.