Monday, November 23, 2009


We had friends over to play cribbage on Friday night. Yes, it's an old lady game but so much fun. They brought the yummiest pizza from Toppers and I was in charge of drinks and dessert. I made cosmos with Sky Vodka and cupcakes. I used Nigella Lawson's cupcake recipe.
Her recipe says it will make 12 but I always only get 8-10 cupcakes. I topped some of them with gumdrops that I had left from Halloween.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Apple Pie

I was asked to bring dessert to a family get together last weekend and since I'm not supposed to eat chocolate for a while (doctor's orders) I decided on apple pie. It was so yummy I didn't even miss chocolate, although I did miss having coffee with it since it's the caffeine I'm not allowed to have. I've been quite grumpy in the mornings.

Here is the recipe:

2 9-inch pie dough/pastry rounds, I used the frozen kind from Trader's Joes
6-8 granny smith apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
3/4 C sugar
3/4 t ground cinnamon
1/8 t ground nutmeg
2 T cornstarch
2 t lemon juice
1 t lemon zest
1 egg white, lightly beaten
2 T cold unsalted butter
1 egg yolk beaten with 1 t water

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a 9 inch pie pan with one layer of pastry and brush with egg white. In a large bowl combine apples, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cornstarch. Allow to stand for 15 minutes. Stir in lemon juice and lemon zest. Arrange apples in pie shell in layers. Create a higher mound in the center. Pour juices from bowl over apples and dot with pieces of butter. Top with a layer of pastry. Seal edges, cut vents in center and brush with egg yolk. Bake for 15 minutes then lower oven temperature to 400 degrees and continue baking until crust is golden brown 35-40 minutes. For a sugared crust, brush pie again with egg yolk 5 minutes before pie is done and sprinkle with sugar.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Chicken Soup

My kitty enjoying the fire

One of the best things about cold, fall weather is having a hot bowl of soup by the fire. I don't usually follow a recipe when I'm make soup. I use whatever I have in the fridge. This time I made chicken soup with veggies. Normally once I've browned the onions I deglaze the pan with some white wine but I didn't have any. I decided to try the marsala wine I had leftover from a dish I made a few night was delicious. I love when something works out as you hope it will in a recipe.
Here are the ingredients I used:
Cooked shredded chicken
Chopped Onions browned in olive oil, I add a little minced garlic just before the onions are done
Chopped celery
Peel and diced sweet potatoes and russet potatoes
Bay Leaf
Salt & Pepper to taste
Marsala Wine to deglaze the pan
Chicken Broth
Celery Seed (I love this spice and always put it in my chicken soup)
A little cayenne pepper for heat
Bring to a boil and then simmer until the potatoes are tender. Delicious.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

A Homemade Life- Molly Wizenberg

I had the day off from work today and spent it doing something I love almost as much as cooking, reading. I wandered thru the library, especially the food aisle, and came across this book, A Homemade Life by Molly Wizenberg. She is the author of the popular blog Orangette. I spent all day, well apart from brief intermissions to run errands, have dinner and make brownies, reading this book. It's cozy, warm and a sincerely written tale of her life and the food she loves.
We all start blogs for various reasons. I'm sure many of us started them after Julie & Julia came out and while some will become hugely popular, most will be a place to share our stories, recipes, thoughts and photos to friends, family and the few anonymous ones who stumble upon it.
I started my blog because I love the sharing of food. Whenever I make something I want to share. I send the portable items to family and friends..cookies, brownies, breads and cakes. Unfortunately, it's not practical to have a dinner party every night when you've worked all day so blogging about it seemed the next best thing. I'll never be a professional chef since I'm too picky an eater and don't fancy the idea of working in a hot secluded kitchen serving food to unknown patrons beyond the double doors. Reading A Homemade Life reaffirmed my feelings that blogging isn't just a place to let your "all about me" shine, but something cathartic like writing in a diary but leaving out the embarrassing details you wouldn't want your mom to find. If you get a chance, check out her book, you won't be disappointed.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Gratin Dauphinois- scalloped potatoes

These are the most delicious potatoes I have ever made. I found them on a blog and had them as a side dish for chicken marsala, which I'll post the recipe for later. Try these potatoes with your next meal, you won't be disappointed.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Banana Yogurt Pancakes

I adapted this recipe for pancakes from the Barefoot Contessa using yogurt instead of sour cream. I was craving pancakes this morning and a few days ago I saw a rerun of her show with a segment for these pancakes. I was out of sour cream, but figured yogurt was just a good and would save me a few calories. These pancakes are fantastic. They are lemony, bananay and all things pancakey. I plan to make these for my family the day after Thanksgiving. So yummy.
Here is her recipe, with my substitutions.
Banana Sour Cream (Yogurt) Pancakes
Makes 12 pancakes
1 C all purpose flour
1/2 C whole wheat flour
3 T sugar
2 t baking powder
1/2 C low fat plain yogurt
3/4 C + 1T milk (I used non-fat milk with 1 T cream)
2 large eggs
1 t vanilla
1 t grated lemon zest
Unsalted butter
2 bananas diced, plus extra for serving
Pure maple syrup
In a medium bowl, sift together dry ingredients. In another bowl, whisk together wet ingredients and lemon zest. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, mixing only until combined.
Melt 1 T butter in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Ladle approx 1/4 C of batter for each pancake. Distribute approx 1 T diced bananas per pancake. Cook for 2-3 minutes until bubbles appear on top. Flip pancake and cook for another minute until golden brown. Serve with sliced bananas, butter and syrup.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Apple Coffee Cake

I've seen quite a few recipes for Apple Coffee Cake on blogs lately and I really wanted to try one last night. I didn't have all the ingredients so I substituted a few things. The basics for the recipe I found on It's the perfect coffee cake for breakfast or for my husband's late night snack with vanilla ice cream. Here is the recipe with my substitutions:
2 granny smith apples, peeled, cored and chopped (I left a little skin on, my peeling isn't great because I get impatient)
1 lemon
1 C all-purpose flour
3/4 C whole wheat flour
3/4 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1/4 t kosher salt
1/2 C unsalted butter softened
1 t vanilla
2 large eggs
1 C lowfat plain yogurt
2/3 C lightly packed brown sugar
1/2 C all-purpose flour
1/2 old fashioned oats
1/2 t ground cinnamon
1/4 t kosher salt
6 T unsalted butter
1/2 C chopped pecans
Preheat oven to 350F degrees. ggrease a 9-inch springfoam pan. I used my Kitchenaid to combine the streusel ingredients until the butter was the size of peas. Set aside.
Prepare apples and toss with lemon juice to prevent discoloration. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine dry ingredients.
In a large bowl, mix butter with sugar until well combined. Add eggs one at a time until combined and then add vanilla.
On low speed, alternately add flour mixture and yogurt to butter mixture until combined.
Add half the batter to the pan, sprinkle with half of the streusel then spread the apples on top of streusel. Pour remaining batter over apples, the sprinkle with the rest of the streusel.
Bake for 45-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into center of the cake comes out clean. Cool at least 1 hour before removing side of pan.
Enjoy! As you can see from the photos, my kitty (Minute) was very interested in the cake.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Chicken Enchiladas

Mexican food is a favorite in our house. Every Thursday we meet friends at our favorite Mexican restaurant Lupes, but since it's only Tuesday I thought I'd make enchiladas to hold us over until then. I roasted the chicken Barefoot Contessa style and then shredded it. Rather than roll each tortilla, I sliced them and layered them casserole style. A layer of tortillas, shredded chicken, cheese, pico de gallo and a little red enchilada sauce (repeat). I used the majority of the sauce and cheese for on top as well as some sliced black olives. I baked it at 375 degrees until the sauce was bubbly and the cheese melted.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Apricot Almond Oatmeal

Oatmeal is one of those comfort foods that can really start your morning off right. Something about the creamy hot cereal makes everything seem so cozy. Normally, I put chopped apples or raisins in my oatmeal, but since I had a bag of dried apricots in the pantry I thought I'd try them instead. It turned out really good. I chopped up the apricots, added some toasted almonds and a little vanilla to the oats while they cooked on the stove. I always use old-fashioned oats, not quick cooking for my oatmeal, and either skim or 2% milk. Drizzle a little maple syrup or honey on top and enjoy.

Apple Cider Marinated Pork

I was catching up on Rachael Ray episodes yesterday morning and she had a segment on apple cider recipes. I had a bottle in the fridge so for dinner I marinated some pork chops in apple cider, thyme, garlic, salt and pepper. I sauteed them in EVOO for a few minutes on each side, added the marinade and simmered until cooked thru. I served it with a side of mashed potatoes. Delicious.