Monthly Archives: November 2009

Baked Tortellini

Inspired by a recipe on the Tart Reform blog for Baked Tortellini, I got the bright idea to do a variation of my Baked Ziti using tortellini as the pasta instead of ziti. All I’ve got to say is – wow! It elevated the dish to a whole new level. With less time to cook lately, this recipe has been a lifesaver when it comes to cooking a hearty dinner.

Baked Tortellini

Baked Tortellini

1/2 lb. bulk sweet Italian turkey sausage
1/2 lb. bunk hot Italian turkey sausage
1 c. chopped onions
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 c. (1 lb) eggplant, pared and cut into julienne strips
1/2 tsp. salt
Dash pepper
1 lb. dried cheese tortellini
4 cups spaghetti sauce
3 cups (12 oz.) shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese

Brown sausage meat in skillet; add onions, garlic, and eggplant. Saute until vegetables are tender and lightly browned; drain off excess fat. Add salt and pepper. Mix tomato sauce into sausage/vegetable mixture and set aside.

Cook cheese tortellini according to package directions until al dente, and drain. Stir into sausage/veggie/sauce mixture and put into a large baking dish. Sprinkle with mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes or until browned and bubbling.

Copycat Boston Market Creamed Spinach

So another Thanksgiving is behind us, and since we went over to eat with family rather than hosting this year, the meal we did here at home was super laid back and low key. We pretty much sticked with the tried and true, and the only place we differed this year was with the veggies.

We first found this recipe a few months ago, and it’s been on permanent rotation in our house ever since. It’s virtually indistinguishable from the real thing, at a fraction of the price.

Almost Boston Market Creamed Spinach

“Almost” Boston Market Creamed Spinach
recipe courtesy Recipezaar

White Sauce

* 3 tablespoons butter
* 4 tablespoons flour
* 1/2 teaspoon salt (I use seasoned salt)
* 1 cup half-and-half or milk


* 1/2 cup sour cream (lowfat is okay)
* 2 tablespoons butter
* 2-4 tablespoons onions, minced
* 1/4 cup water
* 20 ounces frozen spinach, drained and chopped
* 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper (optional or to taste)
* 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese (optional)
* Pinch cayenne (optional)
* 1 tsp. fresh garlic (optional)

In a saucepan melt butter over medium heat until sizzling. If you are adding in the fresh garlic and a pinch of cayenne pepper then saute in butter for about 2 minutes but do not brown the garlic. Whisk in the flour and 1/2 tsp seasoned salt (or white salt) until creamed together and smooth. Stir in the half and half, or milk (if using) a little at a time. Increase heat to medium and constantly whisk until the mixture becomes thick and smooth. Remove from heat; set aside.

Place 2 tbsp butter in saucepan over med heat; add the 2 tbsp minced onion, and cook until transparent. Add spinach and water to pan, lower the heat, and cover.
Stirring several times until the spinach is cooked. When the spinach is almost done, add the prepared white sauce, sour cream and Parmesan cheese (if using).
Stir well, and simmer until completely blended. Season with more seasoned salt or white salt if desired and black pepper.

Low-Key Holiday Meal

We’re thinking small this year – school has made extra time for cooking a luxury, so we’re planning on splitting our time on Thanksgiving this year between visiting family and cooking a small Thanksgiving meal for just Paul and I.

It occurred to me that Paul and I couldn’t be the only one in this predicament – a couple without children who, when not entertaining for a crowd, feels that the normal whole turkey is a bit of overkill. Since Paul has long since issued an edict on how I was “not to f**k around with Thanksgiving,” earlier this month we tried out a menu that we saw in Cuisine at Home that makes good use of a turkey breast rather than the entire bird. If all you have to look forward to this year is Boston Market or worse yet, a turkey Hungry Man frozen dinner, you may want to consider this as an option. It’s easy, fairly quick, and doesn’t make more leftovers than you can eat in a few days.

Fall Plate

In making the turkey, I only followed about half of the recipe – the squash and apples were so delicious after roasting them with the turkey that I ended up just mashing them a bit and serving them as is.

Butternut Squash and Apple Mash

As for the turkey,

Butter Basted Turkey Breast

Rosemary Butter-Basted Turkey Breast
recipe from Cuisine at Home magazine

For the Butter Baste:
1 stick unsalted butter
1 c. dry white wine
1 tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary leaves or 1 tsp. dried rosemary
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg

For the Turkey:
1 fresh whole turkey breast (8-9 lbs)
1 butternut squash, peeled and sliced (1 1/2 lbs)
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and sliced
1 tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary leaves or 1 tsp. dried rosemary
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
Kosher salt and black pepper

For the Chard:
1 small bunch Swiss chard (12 oz), trimmed
1 tbsp. vegetable oil
1/2 c. chopped toasted pecans

Preheat oven to 350F. Coat a 9×13″ baking dish with nonstick spray. Cut a double layer of cheesecloth large enough to cover most of the turkey breast.

Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Add wine, 1 tbsp. rosemary, and 1/4 tsp. nutmeg. Bring mixture to a simmer; remove from heat. Soak cheesecloth in butter baste until ready to use.

Trim excess fat and skin from turkey. Using kitchen shears, cut off ribs and meat along the breast. Remove shoulder bone by snapping it back and snipping the joint with the kitchen shears.

Arrange squash and apple in the prepared baking dish. Place turkey breast snuggly over squash and apple. Season turkey breast with 1 tbsp. rosemary, 1/4 tsp. nutmeg, salt and pepper.

Remove cheesecloth from butter baste; drape it over turkey breast, covering most of the exposed skin.

Place turkey breast in preheated oven with large end toward back of oven; bake 15 minutes. Remove turkey from oven; generously brush cheesecloth with butter baste. Repeat procedure every 15 minutes, four times in all, giving the baking dish a quarter turn each time for even roasting. Reheat baste as needed if butter congeals.

Remove cheesecloth from turkey breast; roast until skin is golden, about 1 hour more. Turn the dish after 30 minutes, and check the temperature of the turkey. Turkey is done when it registers an internal temperature of 165F.

Place turkey on a serving platter; tent with foil. Allow turkey to rest.

Chop stems of chard; saute in a large saute pan in oil over medium-high heat for 3 minutes. Chop chard leaves. Add chard leaves to the pan, cooking until the leaves are wilted, about 2 minutes.

Using a slotted spoon, add squash and apple mixture to chard; lightly mash. Spoon mixture into a serving bowl; garnish with pecans. Serve roasted apple, squash and chard mixture with turkey and gravy.

Per serving, with apple, squash & chard (makes 10 servings): 503 cal, 15g total fat (4g sat), 230mg chol, 229mg sod, 12g carb, 3g fiber, 78g protein

Double-Duty Gravy
recipe from Cuisine at Home magazine

3 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 c. chopped onion
1/2 c. each chopped carrot and celery
1 tbsp. each minced garlic and tomato paste
1/4 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 c. brandy or apple cider
1 1/2 c. each low-sodium chicken and beef broth
2 bay leaves, 2 sprigs of thyme
1/2 c. half-and-half (optional)

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and carrot; saute until browned, 7 to 9 minutes. Stir in celery and garlic; saute 2 minutes. Sprinkle in flour; stir and cook 2 minutes more.

Stir in brandy, scraping up any browned bits in the pain. Add broths, bay leaves, and thyme, whisking to prevent lumps. Bring mixture to a boil; reduce heat to medium low. Simmer until thick, 10-15 minutes; strain. Add half-and-half for turkey gravy; season with kosher salt and black pepper.

Per 1/4 cup: 49 cal, 4g total fat (1g sat), 3mg chol, 24mg sod, 3g carb, 0g fiber, 1g protein

Cranberry-Topped Sweet Potatoes

Maple Syrup Sweet Potatoes with Cranberry Sauce
recipe from Cuisine at Home magazine

3 sweet potatoes (1 1/2 lbs)
1/2 c. pure maple syrup
2 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
Kosher salt to taste
2 c. fresh orange juice
1/4 c. sugar
1 bag fresh or frozen cranberries (12 oz.)

Preheat oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with foil; coat with nonstick spray.

Cut each potato into 8 wedges. Combine maple syrup and butter. Toss wedges with half of the maple syrup mixture; season with salt.

Arrange wedges on the prepared pan in a single layer; roast, turning once, until fork-tender, about 45-50 minutes. Toss wedges with remaining maple syrup mixture.

Combine orange juice, sugar, and a pinch of salt in a saucepan; bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Add cranberries; simmer until berries burst and sauce thickens, 10-15 minutes. Serve some cranberry sauce on the sweet potatoes and the remainder as a side dish.

Per serving (makes 6 serving): 196 cal, 2g fat (1g sat), 5mg chol, 198mg sod, 44g carb, 4g fiber, 2g protein

Brown Butter Mashed Potatoes

Although the flavor of brown butter is one of my favorite things in the world, I think the flavor gets a bit lost in this recipe. If I had this one to do over again, I’d make the mashed potatoes my normal way, and drizzle the brown butter over top.

Brown-Butter Mashed Potatoes
recipe from Cuisine at Home magazine

For the brown butter:
1 stick unsalted butter, sliced

For the potatoes:
2 1/2 lbs. russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch chunks
1/2 c. half-and-half, warmed
1 tsp. kosher salt
Minced fresh chives

Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat. It will foam and turn faintly golden after a few minutes.

Cook until solids begin to turn brown and butter smells nutty, about 10 minutes. Butter should be heated long enough to turn amber. Swirl the pan often to prevent overbrowning. Remove skillet from heat; keep warm.

Cook potatoes in a large pot of boiling salted water until they’re fork-tender, 15-20 minutes. Drain potatoes; return them to the pot.

Dry potatoes, stirring, over the hot burner for 30 seconds. Fill a ricer with potatoes and compress the lever, pushing potatoes through; repeat with remaining potatoes (or mash potatoes by hand). Stir in half-and-half, salt, and brown butter until thoroughly combined. Garnish potatoes with chives.

Per 1/8 recipe: 232 cal, 13g total fat (8g sat), 36mg chol, 255mg sod, 26g carb, 2g fiber, 4g protein

Scalloped Corn

Scalloped Corn New Orleans-Style
recipe from Cuisine at Home magazine

2 tbsp. unsalted butter
1 c. diced onion
3/4 c. diced red bell pepper
4 c. frozen corn kernels
1/4 c. dry sherry
2 eggs, beaten
1 c. milk
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. Tabasco sauce or other hot pepper sauce
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1 c. crushed Ritz crackers
1/2 c. sliced scallions
Kosher salt and black pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350F. Coat a 1 1/2 quart baking dish with nonstick spray.

Melt butter in large saute pan over medium heat. Add onion and bell pepper; cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in corn; cook 5 minutes more.

Deglaze the pan with sherry; cook until liquid evaporates. Transfer mixture to a large bowl.

Whisk together eggs, milk, sugar, Tabasco and thyme; stir into corn mixture. Add cracker crumbs, scallions, salt and pepper.

Transfer mixture to the prepared dish. Bake scalloped corn until it’s brown around the edges, 35-40 minutes.

Per 1/8 recipe: 210 cal, 8g fat (3g sat), 55mg chol, 151mg sod, 28g carb, 3g fiber, 6g protein

Multigrain Stuffing

To use up whatever bread I had left in the house, I made a variation of my normal stuffing recipe, this one using about half 12-grain bread, that turned out really awesome. Super easy to make – 1 – 1 1/2 loaves of whatever bread you have laying around, cubed, 1 chopped onion, 1 diced stalk celery, 1 stick melted butter, salt and poultry seasoning to taste, add enough chicken broth to make very moist, and put into buttered 3 qt. casserole dish. Bake in a 350F oven uncovered for 45 min-1 hour, until top is brown and crusty.

If you decide to give this menu a try, let me know what you think. It sure as heck beats eating from your microwave….

Review: Big Fat Greek Kuzina

This review is actually the result of two visits over the period of a year. The Big Fat Greek Kuzina is a restaurant that we had been visiting on and off for a few years, one that at one time, we absolutely loved and visited regularly. I’d go way out of the way to get their dipping sauce and pita, Greek salad, and souvlaki as takeout. So when we visited last year and had a less than stellar experience, we chalked it up to possibly a bad day and decided to give it one more visit before writing a bad review.

The restaurant is nestled into a little strip mall near the border of Hilliard and Upper Arlington, at the corner of Fishinger Road and Riverside Drive. You kind of have to keep your eye out for it, since the sign is on the building rather than the road.

So some of these dishes are from last year, some are from this year – some we ordered one time only, others we had both times we went. In the case of the dishes we had twice, we’ll compare last year’s to this visit and let you know if (and how) things have changed.

Both times we visited we sat outside and dined al fresco. During dinner hours there’s just a loudness and busyness to the atmosphere inside that is just a bit too frenetic for our tastes. And both times, service suffered a little as a result, with our server sometimes forgetting we were out there as we were left waiting for refills on our drinks more than once.

One of the big draws, at least for us, is the dipping sauce and pita that they offer as bread service. The green sauce is a heady mix of basil, garlic, olive oil and a few other things, and was and still is absolutely delicious.


The saganaki doesn’t disappoint either – we slathered its browned, salty, melty goodness onto pita bread and chowed down. Consistently good both times we had it.


The dolmades, however, were a disappointment each time. The lemon sauce they were served with is flavored with an herb that just doesn’t work, and the sauce ruined the dish for us. Your mileage may vary.


Although the quality of the salad has declined in the past year (it was much fresher, more chock full of veggies the first time), we still do enjoy their Greek salad, because the creamy Greek dressing is a thing of beauty. There are very few places I’ll order Greek salad, because I’m very picky – this is one of the exceptions to that rule.


Although the serving size of their moussaka was substantial, but the flavor profile was off – there was the addition of dill or something else that doesn’t belong in moussaka, and it was too distracting for us to enjoy their version of it.


The Keftedes (along with the accompanying gravy) were quite good, but the potatoes were ruined by more of the overwhelming lemon sauce, this time dosed with a bunch of dill.


The Stuffed Mushrooms appetizer was a hot mess. The “stuffing”, which was supposed to include seafood, was 99.9% bread crumbs. If there was any crab in here, it was chased through, because even the essence of crab lacked presence.

Stuffed Mushrooms from The Big Fat Greek Kuzina

The Grecian Chicken was a bit underwhelming – the sauce was basically marinara with some feta sprinkled on it, and the chicken was served with more of those potatoes with lemon sauce. It wasn’t quite what we were expecting, and didn’t live up to our expectations.

Grecian Chicken from The Big Fat Greek Kuzina

In closing, the dishes at Big Fat Greek Kuzina can be hit or miss – with careful choices you can get a good meal, but there are too many misses for me to recommend it. We’ll stop here in the future for takeout of the “safe” choices, but that’s about the extent of it. I’m huge on consistency, and there’s a lack of that here.

If you’d like to go: Big Fat Greek Kuzina, 2816 Fishinger Road, Upper Arlington, OH, 614-457-4733

Farm Fresh and Local Produce 7/25/09

I have no idea how this ended up getting lost in the drafts folder, but it’s a bit out of place (and season) at the moment. Let it serve as a reminder of one hell of a great summer for produce and hope for what will be next summer.

It seemed as if at the end of July we were getting a taste of the first root veggies to be harvested. We must’ve eaten our weight in peaches.


Ditto with garlic. Couldn’t get enough this year.


I really miss sweet corn, which was especially good this year. Sweet and crisp and delicious.

Sweet Corn

Wayward Seed had tons of apricots, which were excellent in a clafoutis.

Apricots from Wayward Seed Farm

And Mrs. Rhoads, of Rhoads Farm Market, brought in an awesome pickled peppers to sample – more about that later. Needless to say once tasting it, I made multiple batches here at home.

Banana Peppers from Rhoads Farms

End of July for the first winter squash of the year? It was a sign of things to come. 🙂

Sunshine Squash

Back to fall for the next market report. 🙂

August 2009 Roundup

Slowly, but surely getting caught up…

In savory recipes, Grilled Eggplant Panini with Rosemary-Garlic Aioli from $5 Dinners, Farro Salad with Green Beans and Corn from A Homemaker’s Habit, Courgette Pakoras in Spicy Tomato Sauce from Allotment 2 Kitchen, Sausage and Sage Stuffed Squash from Ambrosia and Nectar, Slow Cooker Risotto from An Empty Stomach is the Best Cook, Ina’s Greek Panzanella from Anne Strawberry, Honey Chipotle Glazed Chicken and Summer Peach Carpaccio from Artichoke Heart, Hungarian Egg Noodle, Sauerkraut and Gypsy Bacon Soup from The Bacon Show, Ravioli with Spinach and Tomatoes from The Bake-Off Flunkie, Hot Pepper Jelly from Baking Buddies, Bleu Cheese and Mushroom Risotto from Bowl of Berries, Shallot & Pomegranate Infused Duck Breast from Bren’s FlaNboyant Eats, Zucchini-Tomato Gratin from “…but where do you get your protein?”, Accidental Chicken Curry from Cafe Munchkin, Balsamic-Maple Glazed Pork Chops from Carrie’s Sweet Life, Mozzarella-Studded Chicken Parmesan Meatballs and Ultimate Creamed Corn from Cassie Craves, Ricotta Gnocchi with Chanterelles, Sweet Corn, and Sage Brown Butter from Caviar and Codfish, Zucchini Cheese Scones from Ciao Chow Linda, Corn and Zucchini Quesadillas from Closet Cooking, Fried Eggplant Balls with Melted Mozzarella Centers (Polpette di Melanzane) from Cookin’ Canuck, Baked Penne with Zucchini, Corn and Basil from Cooking with Cristine, Eggplant Foccacia from Culinary in the Country, Chive Risotto Cakes from Cupcake Rehab, Sauteed Tilapia with a Lemon Shallot Cream Sauce from Dalla Mia Cucina, Creamy Tarragon Chicken with Leek Risotto from Dragon Musings, Fresh Corn and Shiitake Mushroom Quiche from The Feast Within, BLT Pie from feeding maybelle, Shrimp and Grits with a Roasted Tomatillo and Heirloom Tomato Salsa from The Garden Apartment, Zucchini Quesadillas and Frittata from Heights Eats, Garden Zucchini and Italian Sausage Penne from Hold the Onions, Roland’s Prize Winning Bacon Loaded Pierogies from Hungrywoolf’s Food Blog, Cheddar BLT Burgers with Tarragon Russian Dressing from Jerry’s Thoughts, Musings and Rants!, Pan Fried Tilapia with Edamame Succotash from Just a Taste, Mexican Lasagna from Liesl’s Confection Dissection, Creamy Salsa Chicken from Lovestoeat’s Weblog, Cauliflower Gratin with Tillamook Aged Cheddar, Caramelized Onions & Applewood-Smoked Bacon from LunaCafe, Crab Macaroni and Cheese from Lynsey Lou’s, Don’t Kiss Me Garlic Burgers from Michelle Cooks Everyday, Pseudo-Posole (Crock Pot Chicken Tomatillo Stew) and Tuna Ceviche in an Avocado Half from Missy’s Recipes, Sweet Potato Quesadillas, Penne Gorgonzola Chicken and Chicken a’l’Orange from Mmm, Tasty!, Crispy Corn Fritters from Ms. Glaze’s Pommes d’Amour, Blue Cheese Chive Stuffed Potatoes from MyGourmetConnection, Greek Nachos from Not Without Salt, Rich and Hearty Oxtail Ragu from Rainy Days and Sundays, Garlic Scape and White Bean Dip from Real Good Taste, Blue Cheese Scones from Salutetosanity, Spicy Black-Eyed Peas from Sassafras Cafe, Fresh Summer Potato Gnocchi from Scrumptious Street, Louisville Hot Brown Sandwich from Serious Eats, Flank Steak with Gorgonzola Cream Sauce from sjgourmet, Chicken with Apple Cider Sauce and Rice Pilaf from Something Sweet by Karen, Spinach Feta Burgers from ::steph chows::, New Potato Salad and Curried Chicken Salad from Stylish Cuisine, Chicken Breasts with Mushroomsand Cream and Athenian Orzo from Sugar & Spice by Celeste, Seared Scallop Salad and Nectarine Salad with Blue Cheese from Sugarlaws, Spicy Shrimp, Sausage, & Spinach Fetuccine from SweetTea in Texas, Braised Short Ribs with Pappardelle from ToastPoint, Tortellini with Balsamic Brown Butter from Tracey’s Culinary Adventures, Black Bean Carnitas Stew from Trader Joe’s Fan, Conchiglioni Rigati Stuffed with a Ragu Bolognese and Parma Wrapped Chicken Stuffed with Apricots and Served with Stilton Sauce from What Do I Want to Cook Today?, and Mexican Chop Salad with a Cilantro Vinaigrette from What’s Gaby Cooking?

In sweet recipes, Harvey Wallbanger Cupcakes from 52 Cupcakes, Grandma’s Orange Cake from A Year in the Kitchen, Berry Cherry Smoothie from Ahaar, Sour Cream Peach Pecan Pie from Cassie Craves, Bacon Fat Spice Cookies from Dine O Mite!, Neapolitan Cheesecake from Genesis of a Cook, Vanilla Yogurt Pancakes from Gluten Free in Cleveland, Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookie Duo from Kids Cuisine, Rice Pudding Two Ways from Mexican Chocolate Lore and More, Blueberry Panna Cotta and Raspberry Gelatin from The Missing Flavor, Berry Lemonade from Oven Love, Baked Apple Donuts from Stylish Cuisine, Strawberry Blue Custard Cart from Temecula Food News and Reviews, and Amaretto Cheesecake from The Way the Cookie Crumbles.

Chicken Francaise and Gnocchi

I’m lucky enough to be married to a guy who loves to cook. And he’s improved his skills greatly in the 13 years we’ve been married – I can remember when we met his cooking ability was limited to chili and beef stew, and neither was particularly good.

Paul has been making a variation of this recipe for years, and it’s become one of my favorites. Very simple to make and quite elegant. We tossed some gnocchi in with the sauce at the end (which can be easily doubled) and served it alongside.

Chicken Francaise and Gnocchi

Chicken Francaise
recipe courtesy Epicurious

4 large skinless boneless chicken breast halves (2 lbs. total)
1/2 c. vegetable oil
1 c. all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
3 large eggs
1/2 stick (1/4 c.) unsalted butter
1/2 c. dry white wine
1/2 c. low-sodium chicken broth
3 tbsp. fresh lemon juice plus one whole lemon, thinly sliced
1/4 c. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Place chicken breasts between 2 sheets of plastic wrap and gently pound chicken with flat side of a meat pounder or with a rolling pin until 1/4-inch thick.

Heat oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat until hot but not smoking. While oil is heating, stir together flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a shallow bowl. Dredge 2 pieces of chicken, 1 piece at a time, in flour mixture, shaking off excess. Lightly beat eggs in another shallow bowl. When oil is hot, dip floured chicken into beaten eggs to coat, letting excess drip off, then fry, turning over once, until golden brown and just cooked through, about 4 minutes total. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels and keep warm, loosely covered with foil. Fry remaining chicken in same manner.

Pour off and discard oil, then wipe skillet clean and heat butter over low heat until foam subside. Add wine, broth, and lemon juice and boil, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until sauce is reduced to about 1/2 cup, about 6 minutes. Stir in parsley and remaining 1/4 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper. Spoon sauce over chicken and top with lemon slices.

Rosemary and Peach Friands

I must have eaten my weight in peaches this past summer. For some odd reason, the peaches were especially good this year. It wasn’t unusual, during the height of the season, for me to eat 2-3 peaches a day. Still, we managed to set a few aside to try out some new recipes. This one? Absolutely fantastic – the rosemary in this otherwise sweet and rich cake was just the touch it needed.

Rosemary and Peach Friands (Exterior)

This is our first time making friands, and it definitely won’t be our last.

Rosemary and Peach Friands (Interior)

Rosemary and Peach Friands
recipe from the Well-Seasoned Cook blog

1 2/3 cups powdered sugar
1 cup ground almonds (also known as almond flour or meal; almond paste and marzipan are different products)
1/2 cup cake flour
2 level tablespoons of very finely minced fresh rosemary needles or 1 level tablespoons dried needles, slightly crushed with a mortar and pestle
6 large unbeaten egg whites
1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) butter, melted and cooled in a small saucepan
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup chopped peaches or other stone or berry fruit. (I used bits of white peach from homemade freezer jam that I just thawed out from last summer.)
1/3 cup almonds, slivered or chopped

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

Sift powdered sugar, almonds and flour into a large bowl. Add rosemary and whisk to combine. Pour in egg whites, beating with the whisk or a large spoon until they are well mixed. The batter will be wetter than you’d expect, moderately thick and slightly elastic. Pour in melted butter and stir until smoothly blended without any butter separating from the batter. Stir in vanilla extract.

Fill the well-greased depressions of a regular-sized muffin plaque (financier, barquette, madeleine or mini muffin sizes also work) almost to the rim with batter. Place on center oven rack to bake for 7 minutes. Carefully remove hot tin from oven and set on a heat-proof surface. Divide and arrange fruit and almonds on top of each friand, slightly pressing the toppings into the partially unset centers. Return plaque to oven. Reduce heat to 400 degrees F and continue baking another 7 minutes. Turn off heat to let them set in cooling oven for a final 5 minutes.

Remove from oven and lift cakes out as soon as they are cool enough to handle. Place them on a rack to complete cooling. Makes 12, or more if using the smaller aforementioned tins. Store in a tightly sealed tin or plastic container.

Farm Fresh & Local Produce 9/2/09

Can’t believe that the farmers markets are over for the season, but I’m still trying to catch up on posts from summer still. Oh well, at the very least, it lets me hang on to the illusion of warm weather for a couple of more weeks. 🙂

This was a Wednesday market at Dublin, but I was in such a hurry to leave the house that day, I forgot my camera. So excuse the poor quality of the pics – they were taken with a camera phone, because I figured that crappy pics were better than no pics at all. And excuse the prose below that is written as though it were the present – I wrote this months ago, and am just getting to posting it now.

The tide has definitely turned at the farmers markets. The apples are out in full force. After coming to farmers markets for a few years now, that’s my division between summer and fall – the arrival of the apples. The earlier the apples, the shorter and milder summer we’ve had, at least in my estimation. I don’t know if that holds any scientific weight, but that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. 😉


And alas, the tomatoes are coming to an end. Eat ’em while you can, folks – because it’s only downhill from here.


I bought so many leeks it’s not funny. I’ve been making a lot of risotto lately, and leeks have been a central ingredient.


And I’m still contemplating the best way to use a ton of eggplant…

Various Eggplant

Mmm. Tomatillos. Love them. When you cook with them, they lend a nice acidic sweetness to whatever you’re making.


I’ve loved trying out all the different heirlooms this year. Which one is your favorite?

Heirloom Tomatoes

I’ve got to say, I’m really enamored with the mid-week market at Dublin. For a first year market, it’s beyond great. Have you folks gone yet?

Thai Chicken with Thai Noodle Salad

I’ve been trying to expand my horizons for a while now, trying to master Asian cooking. Problem is, I’m super lazy. I love the flavor profiles, but hate the time it takes to make some of the more complicated dishes. This super easy recipe is a great compromise…

Thai Chicken w/ Thai Noodle Salad

Thai Chicken
recipes courtesy

1 cup soy sauce
8 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger root
2 tablespoons hot pepper sauce
2 pounds skinless chicken thighs
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 onion, sliced
1/2 cup water
4 tablespoons crunchy peanut butter
2 tablespoons green onions, chopped

In a large bowl, combine the soy sauce, garlic, ginger and hot pepper sauce. Mix well and place chicken in the bowl, turning to coat evenly. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for at least one hour.

Heat the sesame oil in a Dutch oven over medium high heat. Add the brown sugar, stirring until dissolved. Add the onion and saute for 5 minutes. Add the chicken parts and saute for 5 minutes, turning to brown evenly. Pour in marinade, add the water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Add the peanut butter, stirring well, and simmer for 10 more minutes. Transfer chicken to a serving platter, pour sauce over, and garnish with the chives.

Thai Noodle Salad
recipe courtesy Recipezaar

1 lb spaghetti, cooked
1 cup carrot, shredded
1 cucumber, sliced thin
1/3 cup scallion, diced
1 green bell pepper, julienned


1/4 cup peanut butter
1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon ginger, grated
2 tablespoons sherry wine
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 scallion
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 cup chicken broth

Place spaghetti and vegetables in bowl. Puree dressing in blender or processor. Pour over salad and toss.