Monthly Archives: January 2012

Grandma Clark’s Soda Bread

This is another brilliant recipe from The Silver Palate Cookbook that I got as a gift from my mom.

  • 6 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 3 c. Unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1 Tbsp. Baking powder
  • 1 tsp Baking soda
  • 3/4 c. Granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 c. Dried currants [I didn’t have any, so I used yellow raisins]
  • 1 3/4 c. Buttermilk
  • 2 x Large eggs, well beaten
  • 1 Tbsp. Caraway seeds [I didn’t use these, but I would have if I had any – next time!]


  1. Smear 2T of the butter in a 10 inch cast iron skillet. [I don’t have a skillet this big, so I used a pie pan. However, my pan was smaller than 10 inches, so I baked it on a cookie sheet to catch the overflow] Line the skillet with a circle of waxed paper. Heat 2 more Tbsp. of butter in a separate pan and set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  3. Sift dry ingredients together. Add in currants and toss well to coat.
  4. Whisk together the buttermilk, eggs, and melted butter. Add this to the dry ingredients, along with the caraway seeds if you are using them. Mix until blended, but don’t overmix.
  5. Spoon batter into the prepared skillet or possibly cake pan and smooth top gently with a spatula. Dot the top with remaining 2T butter.
  6. Bake till golden and puffed, about 60 minutes. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack.
  7. Cut into wedges and serve hot.

–Recipe courtesy The Silver Palate Cookbook by Julee Rosso & Sheila Lukins

Finished soda bread:

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Posted by on January 31, 2012 in Uncategorized


Chili-lime Almond Butter Noodles

Woody loves noodles (we have quite a few different kinds from 99 Ranch), and I wanted to make something Asian inspired for him to eat with them. He’s also technically allergic to peanuts (when he had an allergy test done some years ago, it said he was allergic to Timothy weed and peanuts), though he’s never had any reaction to them that he’s been aware of (I’ve witnessed him eat an entire peanut butter cup with no ill effects). Many Asian recipes use peanut butter to make a nice rich sauce, but since he usually tries to avoid peanuts after he found out about the allergy, I wanted to try making something using almond butter instead. One Google later and I found this recipe, which did the trick nicely.


  • 1/2 cup smooth almond butter
  • 2 Tbsp. lime juice
  • 2 Tbsp. reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. honey
  • 1 Tbsp. rice vinegar
  • 2 tsp. chili-garlic sauce, or to taste [we didn’t have this so I used some Aleppo pepper and garlic]
  • 1 tsp. minced fresh ginger
  • 8 oz. whole-wheat fettuccine
  • 12-oz. bag fresh vegetable stir-fry blend, such as carrots, broccoli, snow peas [I just used edamame, carrots, corn, and pre-marinated tofu]


Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. In a large bowl, whisk together almond butter, lime juice, soy sauce, honey, vinegar, chili-garlic sauce and ginger. Cook pasta in boiling water until not quite tender, about 1 1/2 minutes less than specified by the package directions. Add vegetables and cook until pasta and vegetables are just tender, about another 1 1/2 minutes.

Drain pasta and vegetables, reserving 1/3 cup of the cooking water, and rinse with cool water. Stir the reserved cooking liquid into the almond sauce, then add pasta and vegetables. Toss well to coat. Serve at room temperature or chilled. Serves 6.

–Recipe courtesy Romanoff.

The finished product:

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Posted by on January 29, 2012 in Uncategorized


English Gingerbread Cake

I was goofing around with my new Kindle Fire after Christmas and noticed that in Pulse the magazine/blog surfing app, Saveur had a feed. Since it’s winter, gingerbread sounded good, and the when I looked at the details, the unusual ingredients (golden syrup, marmalade, lemon juice) made me really want to try it. It turned out amazing! The lemon juice sounds particularly odd in gingerbread, but it works. I didn’t bother to brush it on like the instructions said, I just dumped it on all the edges while it was still in the pan.


10 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature plus more for the pan
1 cup plus 2 tbsp. cake flour, sifted, plus more for the pan
1 1/3 cups Lyle’s golden syrup, Steen’s cane syrup, or dark corn syrup [I had some Lyle’s, but not enough, I topped up with molasses]
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 1/2 tbsp. orange marmalade
2/3 cup milk
2 eggs
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
3 tbsp. sugar
2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
Confectioners’ sugar, for garnish [was lazy, didn’t use]


1. Heat oven to 325°. Grease bottom and sides of an 8″ x 8″ metal baking pan with butter and line bottom of pan with parchment paper. Grease parchment paper with butter and dust paper and sides of pan with a little cake flour. Heat 8 tbsp. butter, golden syrup, brown sugar, and marmalade in a 2-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring often, until syrup thins and sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes; let cool for 10 minutes. Whisk in the milk and eggs; set syrup mixture aside.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together cake flour, whole wheat flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, baking soda, and salt. Add reserved syrup mixture and whisk until just combined. Pour batter into reserved baking pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted into center of cake comes out clean, about 50 minutes.

3. Transfer cake to a rack and let cool for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, heat remaining butter along with sugar and lemon juice in a 1-qt. saucepan over medium heat and cook, stirring often, until sugar dissolves, about 3 minutes. Using a pastry brush, brush half the lemon syrup over top of cake. Invert cake onto cooling rack, discard parchment, and brush the remaining lemon syrup on bottom and sides of cake. Invert the cake onto a serving stand and wrap in plastic wrap; let cool completely. The cake tastes better the day after baking and will keep for up to 4 days. To serve, cut cake into squares and sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar.

–Recipe courtesy Saveur magazine, Aug 2009.

Finished gingerbread:

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Posted by on January 27, 2012 in Uncategorized


Penne with Spinach Sauce

Two bunches of spinach from FFTY necessitated a recipe that used up a lot of spinach. This fit the bill perfectly! I don’t know if I’ve ever made a Giada De Laurentiis recipe before.


  • 1 pound whole wheat or multi grain penne
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 2 ounces goat cheese
  • 1 ounce reduced fat cream cheese [I used reduced fat sour cream instead]
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 ounces fresh baby spinach leaves
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan [I used Asiago]


Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add the penne and cook until it is tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 12 minutes.

Mince the garlic in a food processor. [It was a bit more work, but I used a blender] Add the goat cheese, cream cheese, 3/4 teaspoon of salt, 1/2 teaspoon of pepper, and half of the spinach leaves. Blend until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Set the cheese and spinach mixture aside.

Meanwhile, place the remaining spinach leaves in a large bowl.

Drain the pasta, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid. Spoon the pasta atop the spinach leaves in the bowl. Scrape the cheese and spinach mixture over the pasta mixture and toss to coat, adding enough reserved cooking liquid to moisten. Season the pasta, to taste, with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the Parmesan over and serve.

–Recipe courtesy De Laurentiis.

Finished bowl of spinachy penne!


Posted by on January 25, 2012 in Uncategorized


Orange Cake

We acquired a bunch of oranges we needed to use, so this cake was perfect. The glaze helped keep it moist, but I also ate it topped with lowfat Greek yogurt. My mom gave me the Silver Palate Cookbook for Christmas, and that’s where I found the recipe.


8 tablespoons (1 stick) sweet (unsalted) butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs, separated
grated zest of 2 oranges
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
Orange Glaze (recipe follows)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 10-inch Bundt pan.

Cream the butter and gradually add the sugar, beating until light. Beat in egg yolks, one at a time, and the orange zest.

Sift the flour with baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add dry ingredients alternately with the orange juice to the batter.

Beat the egg whites until stiff and fold them into the batter. Pour batter into the prepared Bundt pan.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until sides of cake shrink away from edges of pan and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.

Cool for 10 minutes in pan, unmold onto a rack, and drizzle with Orange Glaze while warm. Cool before serving.


1/4 cup fresh orange juice
1/4 cup granulated sugar

Combine orange juice and sugar in a small saucepan and simmer gently for 5 minutes, stifling occasionally, until a light syrup forms.

Makes 8 to 10 portions

–Recipe courtesy The Silver Palate Cookbook by Julee Rosso & Sheila Lukins
Finished cake:

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Posted by on January 23, 2012 in Uncategorized


Tomato Pie

We had a great deal of tomatoes that were quickly going bad and the idea of a tomato pie always intrigued me. I found this recipe on the Internet and went to work. It turned out great, even with my substitutions.

Note: If you want to take this recipe up a notch, you can caramelize the onions while prepping the other ingredients. If you do that, double the amount of onion. [I did this, it was great]


  • 1 9-inch pie shell
  • 1/2 yellow or red onion, chopped
  • 3-4 tomatoes, cut in half horizontally, squeezed to remove excess juice, roughly chopped, to yield approximately 3 cups chopped tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup sliced basil (about 8 leaves)* [I didn’t have any, unfortunately. I just sprinkled some dried oregano in]
  • 2 cups grated cheese (combination of sharp cheddar and Monterey Jack, or Gruyere or Mozzarella) [I actually used 1 1/4 cups of ricotta cheese for the internal cheese mixture, then put 3/4 cups Monterey Jack on top to get a nice crust]
  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon (or more to taste) of Frank’s Hot Sauce (or Tabasco) [I used Tapatio]
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

*To slice basil, chiffonade them by stacking the leaves on top of each other, roll them up like a cigar, starting at one end slice the “cigar” crosswise in thin slices.


1 Preheat oven to 350°F. Place pie shell in oven and cook for 8-10 minutes or longer until lightly golden. If you are starting with a frozen crust, you’ll need to cook it a little longer. If you are using a homemade crust, freeze the crust first, then line the crust with aluminum foil and pre-bake it for 20 minutes, then remove the foil and bake an additional 10 minutes.

2 Squeeze as much moisture as you can out of the chopped tomatoes, using either paper towels, a clean dish towel, or a potato ricer.

3 Sprinkle the bottom of the pre-cooked pie shell with chopped onion. Spread the chopped tomatoes over the onions. Sprinkle the sliced basil over the tomatoes.

4 In a medium bowl, mix together the grated cheese, mayonnaise, Tabasco, a sprinkling of salt and freshly ground black pepper. The mixture should be the consistency of a gooey snow ball. Spread the cheese mixture over the tomatoes.

5 Place in oven and bake until browned and bubbly, anywhere from 25 to 45 minutes.

Yield: Serves 6.

–Recipe courtesy Elise at SimplyRecipes.

Finished pie:

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Posted by on January 20, 2012 in Uncategorized


Tasty Brussels Sprouts

Whenever I tried to cook Brussels sprouts before this recipe, they always turned out too bitter. But I had the below dish at a party, loved it, and asked for the recipe. It’s a bit of a winger, since Christina didn’t send the recipe to me with a ton of detail, but I’ve always had success with it. It’s also great as leftovers. Enjoy and try it even if you think you don’t like Brussels sprouts!


  • 1 lb Brussels sprouts
  • 1/4 to 1/8 lb shallots
  • 1-2 tbsp butter or olive oil or both
  • 1 cup chicken broth (or water, it seems like the broth is tastier though)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Lemon and pepper flakes to taste


Cut off and discard the ends of the sprouts and halve them.

Slice 1/8-1/4 lb of shallots. Caramelize slowly over low-med heat in a butter/olive oil combo. Be sure to salt them as you’re cooking them. Remove shallots from pan.

In same pan, add more olive oil and butter, turn to med-high and caramelize the sprouts, stirring only a few times.

Once you’ve reached satisfactory caramelly goodness, add stock or water and cover to soften. Cook for 10 min or so. Add the shallots back.

Salt and pepper to taste. Finish with red pepper flakes and a squeeze of lemon.

Cook’s note: If you like bacon, use it instead of shallots, or even in concert with them, instead of the oil/butter.

–Recipe courtesy Christina Donley.

Finished sprouts (not as caramelized as I normally do them):


Posted by on January 18, 2012 in Uncategorized


Japanese Curry

One great easy way to use up vegetables is to make Japanese curry with pre-made curry sauce from the Asian section of the supermarket. I prefer Golden Curry, though I’ve also used Vermont Curry (which is a bizarre name for a Japanese curry brand). The thing is though, that the “Hot” flavor is nowhere near hot at all. I wish it was a bit more picante. We usually have tofu in it versus meat, but I’m sure it’s also great with meat. The instructions are on the box for how to prepare a meat version.


  • 1 onion
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • Several carrots (depending upon how much carrot you like), peeled and sliced
  • Potatoes, cut into inch-sized chunks
  • Package of tofu cut into inch-sized chunks
  • More add-ins could include: tomatoes (cut into inch–sized chunks), peas, edamame, Mushrooms (sliced), broccoli (cut unto bite-sized pieces), asparagus (inch-long pieces), etc


  1. Cut lean beef (or chicken, lamb, shrimp, tofu) into cubes and chop onions finely.
  2. Stir-fry meat and onions in oil or butter in a large skillet until onions are lightly browned, approx 3 minutes. If you wish, add carrots, celery, bell pepper or other vegetables.
  3. Add water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until meat is tender, approx 10 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat, break S&B Golden Curry Sauce Mix into pieces and add them to the skillet, stir until completely melted. Simmer 5 minutes, stirring constantly.
  5. Serve over hot rice or noodles.

The curry:

Finished product (the tofu broke up a bit):

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Posted by on January 16, 2012 in Uncategorized


Beet and Crème Fraîche Soup

My mom gave me this recipe. It was a really tasty soup, but the color is so weird. It’s the color of hooker nail polish – magenta-y pink. The taste is wonderful, though!


  • 1 pound beets
  • 2 cups crème fraîche
  • 2 T dark Karo
  • 2 large cloves of garlic, pressed or minced
  • 2 T butter
  • 2 T lemon juice
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper, freshly ground


Saute garlic in small fry pan with butter until just translucent. Trim tops from beets and clean off any dirt under running water, place beets in a large pot. Cover with water and boil until tender, 30 to 40 minutes. Save 2 cups of beet water and set aside. Cool beets and peel by slipping skins off under running water.

Slice beets and cut into small julienne. Place 2 cups of strained beet water into bowl, add crème fraîche, Karo, lemon juice, sauteed garlic, salt, pepper, add beet julienne and stir well.

Place soup in an air tight container and store in the refrigerator overnight, allow it to come to room temperature before serving the next day.

* Note: Buttermilk may be substituted for crème fraîche, but soup will not be as tasty. See crème fraîche recipe below. It is very easy to make.

Crème Fraîche


  • 1 qt half and half
  • 1 cup whole milk buttermilk


Mix buttermilk and half and half well in a clean 1/2 gallon jar with lid (plastic or glass). Place lid on jar, do not tighten, leave it slightly loose.

Place jar on top of refrigerator or on the highest shelf possible in the kitchen and leave it there until the crème fraîche coagulates.

*Note: Do not use non-fat buttermilk. It will take the half and half too long to coagulate and may sour first.

The flamboyant soup:


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Posted by on January 14, 2012 in Uncategorized


Grape Salad

For my brother and sister-in-law’s traditional New Year’s Day brunch this year we were assigned to bring “fruit salad”. I don’t particularly enjoy traditional fruit salad, and I didn’t really want to have to cut up all those different kinds of fruit (and just buying it pre-made would be the easy way out). Thankfully, I found this recipe, which doesn’t require any cutting of fruit at all (though all the round objects involved makes it slightly interesting to eat if you’re using a fork). I got many compliments on this salad at the brunch, and it kept well when we inevitably had to eat the leftovers for a couple days – this year’s brunch was even more overfooded than any previous ones!


  • 4 pounds seedless green grapes [I also added red/purple grapes]
  • [I added one package of defrosted frozen wild blueberries from Trader Joe’s to add some extra interest]
  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
  • 1 (8 ounce) container sour cream [I used light sour cream]
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 ounces chopped pecans
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar


  1. Wash and dry grapes. In a large bowl, mix together the cream cheese, sour cream, sugar and vanilla. Add grapes [and defrosted blueberries] and mix until evenly incorporated. Sprinkle with brown sugar and pecans, mix again and refrigerate until serving.

–Recipe courtesy NFOSSAZ from

Final result:

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Posted by on January 12, 2012 in Uncategorized