Sunday, December 7, 2008

Cook Book Giveaway: Rachel Ray

Because unfortunately Suzanne never got back to me with a way to contact her, I chose a new winner. Congratulations jnmacdonald! In the future for giveaways I won't be counting people's entries who fail to provide me with a way to contact them. Only fair.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Pomegranate Muffins

One of the classes I'm taking this quarter is a photo class. For our final project we had to create a book of 10 cohesive images. I decided to create a cookbook of things I've baked, since that seems to be my forte lately. At first the project was so much fun, because I got to bake, but then it became kind of dull because that's all I did.. was bake. And it wasn't even baking for fun anymore, I was baking because I had to get a certain number of pictures taken.

Anyway, this is one of my photos. The first thing I baked for this project was the pumpkin cheesecake, which I've already put in here. This was my second attempt. I had never worked with pomegranates before, and while difficult to get the seeds out, it was worth the hunt! Yum!

Pomegranate Muffins
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
2 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp grated orange peel
1 cup milk
1 egg
1/3 cup butter, melted
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease a muffin tin.
2. In a bowl mix flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Stir in orange peel and pomegranate seeds. Make a well in the center.
3. Whisk together milk, egg, and cooled butter. Pour liquid into well and stir until batter is moistened and ingredients are evenly mixed.
4. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups. Sprinkle tops with sugar.
5. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until lightly browned. Let muffins cool for 10 minutes before removing.
ALSO!!! Suzanne! I still need your email address. If in a few days I haven't heard from you the random number generator is going to select a new winner of the Guy Food Cookbook!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Cookbook Giveaway: Rachel Ray

So number 82 was the winning number according to the random number generator! Suzanne has won the cookbook and posted the following:

MMmmm I like the sound of these.

The creamed spinach toppers do look delish! My mouth is watering just looking at it.

Unfortunately however, Suzanne, you didn't leave your email address! Please either comment back here with your email address so I can get your information to mail you the book. If after a week I don't hear back I'm going to have to pick a new winner.

Anyway, congrats!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Cookbook Giveaway!

This month I have another cookbook to give away: Rachel Ray's "Guy Food" Top 30-30 minute meals. Whether you're cooking a meal for your significant other and want to make him something delicious, whether you're a guy yourself loving to cook, or whether you're a lady who loves the traditional 'guy food' (because hell, I know I do!) now's your chance to get your hands on this book FOR FREE!

Of course though, there will be just one catch. It's nothing hard, but I need something to make you qualify to win this book! Go to Rachel Ray's website and find one recipe you absolutely want to try - something you find innovative and creative. Leave the link to the recipe in a comment along with your email address (so if you win I can contact you). On Tuesday December 2nd (my 22nd birthday!) I will choose a winner using a random number generator. The winner will receive this cookbook in the mail!

*EDIT* If you fail to follow the rules and pick a recipe, your comment will be deleted and you will not have a chance to win the cookbook, because apparently you didn't read. If you failed to provide an email address, I hope you continue following this so if you win I can get in contact with you!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Pumpkin Cheesecake

Unfortunately this year I won't be able to spend Thanksgiving with my family. A horrible phenonmena called BLACK FRIDAY exists and those working in retail know all too well how hectic life can get on that day. My boss has the whole crew scheduled to work that day, with no chance of having it off. Because of that, I am not able to go with my family to Southern California to visit more family and celebrate the day of thanks. So I went home this weekend and we did a pre-Thanksgiving together. I'm going to be so sick of turkey next week.

Anyway, I really hate pumpkin pie, so I decided to take charge of dessert and made a pumpkin cheesecake. It was so delicious, so filling, so rich.

Pumpkin Cheesecake Recipe
1 1/2 cups gingersnap cookie crumbs
3/4 cup ground hazelnuts
3 tablespoons brown sugar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups canned solid pack pumpkin (I used fresh)
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
4 eggs
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Grease and flour a 9 inch springform pan.
2. Using a fork, combine gingersnaps, hazelnuts, 3 tablespoons brown sugar and melted butter. Press mixture onto the bottom and two inches up the sides of the pan to form the crust.
3. With an electric mixer, beat cream cheese and sugar until light and fluffy. Stir in the pumpkin. Mix in the cream, cinnamon, allspice and vanilla. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, mixing until smooth.
4. Pour batter into prepared crust. Bake in the preheated oven for 90 minutes, or until center of cheesecake is set. Allow to cool in pan for 30 minutes, then refrigerate overnight.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Cookbook Giveaway: Cookbooks Year-Round

Allyson has won the cookbook through a random choice by a random number generator!

Allyson's favorite holiday is Christmas and she thinks a chocolate cupcake with peppermint frosting would be absolutely suitable for the holiday. Now Allyson has a cookbook which has seasonal and holiday cakes, so she can make all the Christmas cakes she wants!

You all had the most amazing ideas on what you would do with your cupcakes. I'll have to try to make a lot of them!

Keep your eyes out - I will have another giveaway come December.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Candy Corn Cupcakes

Happy Almost Halloween! For one of my classes yesterday we had a potluck. And since I have an overwhelming number of Halloween cupcake wrappers (and still do), I decided to make something festive. I've seen these around the web and decided to give my hand at it. I was originally going to make the cake from scratch, but after working all morning and studying for my midterm all afternoon, I opted with a box mix. This was seriously the first box mix I've used in ages. I was going to make my own frosting, at least. The frosting I chose was a Honey Buttercream, because I wanted to make these special. And since candy corn are infused with honey, I thought hey! Well, it was a disaster and it tasted like a pot of... butter. It was disgusting.

Luckily I had a container of vanilla frosting on hand, so I colored it, added some honey to that, and got these babies done! They went over well and were adorable.

But anyway, this isn't all this post is about. Because these are festive cupcakes and because all holidays need a little cupcake love I am giving away one copy of the cupcake cookbook "Cupcakes Year-Round". It has so many fabulous ideas of festive cupcakes to make, from Halloween spiders to cupcakes that resemble a beach!

If you want to win the copy of this book comment by November 4th and let me know what your favorite holiday or season is, and what you think the best cupcake would be for the occassion! I will pick the winner using a random number generator. Leave your email, so that if you win I can get in touch with you!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Roasted Tomato Basil Soup

I found Barefoot Contessa's recipe for her tomato soup at The Review Lady's blog (check my links on the side bar to see her blog). I've always loved Safeway's tomato basil soup, so I figured that this would only have to be better than that! The girls and I have been having biweekly potlucks, and this week it's my turn to bring the side dish. Because I love these flavors and it makes a lot, I decided it was the perfect opportunity. Though we haven't eaten yet, so I don't know how well it will go over, I did have a bowl of it for lunch and it was living up to my standards. I may run the immersion blender through it again - but the flavor is all there and all right!

Roasted Tomato Basil Soup Recipe


3 pounds ripe tomatoes, cut in half

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon kosher salt

1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

2 onions, chopped

6 garlic cloves, minced

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1 (28-ounce) canned diced tomatoes, with their juice

4 cups fresh basil leaves, packed

1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves

1 quart chicken stock


1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

2. Toss together the tomatoes, 1/4 cup olive oil, salt, and pepper. Spread the tomatoes in 1 layer on a baking sheet and roast for 45 minutes.

3. In an 8-quart stockpot over medium heat, saute the onions and garlic with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, the butter, and red pepper flakes for 10 minutes, until the onions start to brown.

4. Add the canned tomatoes, basil, thyme, and chicken stock.

5. Add the oven-roasted tomatoes, including the liquid on the baking sheet.

6. Bring to a boil and simmer uncovered for 40 minutes.

7. Pass through a food mill fitted with the coarsest blade. Taste for seasonings.

So this is the final bowl of deliciousness. This was the first soup I've ever made and I deem it a success!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Naan & Curry

Indian food is one of the tastiest things ever and also one of the few things my picky boyfriend will eat when I cook. Actually, I lie, he's getting more adventurous. But I am confident that my curry will always win him over. This past week I bought a lot of chicken from Safeway because it's been on sale ($1.99 a pound), so I had to stock up as I usually do when the chicken is on sale. Now to decide what to cook with the other chicken I have... But I have a bit to decide because I still have leftover curry out the wazoo. Anyway, this isn't all about curry. I also decided to try my hand at some naan. The cooking method isn't the traditional way to make naan. I've made it on a grill before and it tasted delicious, but I didn't have the time today to set up the grill for the task. So I found a recipe that used the oven and I doctored it slightly. While my naan is definately puffier than the naan you'd find in an Indian restaurant, it still tasted the same and that boyfriend of mine at 5 of the 6 pieces.

Naan Recipe

2 tablespoons warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
1 teaspoon white sugar
1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm milk
1/4 cup plain yogurt, room temperature
4 tablespoons melted butter
3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon poppy seeds

1. Put warm water in a small bowl, add sugar and yeast and stir until dissolved. Set aside for 5-10 minutes or until it foams.

2. Blend in the warm milk, yogurt and melted margarine. In a large bowl, mix flour, salt, baking powder and poppy seeds. Pour in the yeast/milk mixture all at once and work it into the flour, using your hands. Continue mixing, adding flour or water as needed, until the mixture leaves the sides of the bowl.

3. Knead for 6 to 8 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Place in a lightly oiled bowl and turn to coat. Cover with a damp cloth and let stand in a warm place to rise for about 4 hours or until doubled in volume.

4. Preheat oven to 550 degrees F (285 degrees C) or your oven's highest setting and set a rack in the lower third of the oven. Place a large pizza pan or iron griddle on the rack and preheat. Also preheat the broiler.

5. Punch the dough down and knead briefly. Divide into six pieces and shape them into balls. Place them on an oiled plate and cover with lightly oiled plastic wrap. Let balls rest for 10 to 15 minutes. Roll out and stretch each ball until it is about 10 inches long and 5 inches wide. Remove the pizza pan from the oven, brush with oil and place one of pieces of bread on it.

6. Bake at 550 degrees F (285 degrees C) for about 4 to 5 minutes until bread is puffed and has brown spots, then transfer to a wire rack, returning pizza pan to oven to keep hot. Place bread under broiler until 'charcoal' dots appear on the surface. Wrap finished bread in a towel while baking the remaining loaves. (If your pizza pan is big enough, try baking two loaves at the time.)

NOTES: I doctored the recipe by rubbing the naan with melted butter and garlic prior to putting it in the oven. While the taste wasn't extreme, there was a slight hint of garlic on the bread. Next time I think I'm going to add minced garlic to the actual dough.

Of course, I didn't just make naan like I mentioned already. I also made my foil proof curry that's done me right in the past. Oh man, I'm stuffed right now after eating this massive amount of food (served over Basmati rice). Yum, I can taste it again.
Curry Recipe

1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breast
2 lb. onions
1 lb. tomatoes
1 sq. inch ginger
4 cloves garlic
2 tsp. tumeric
2 tsp. coriander
2 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. crushed red pepper (more or less to taste)
Salt to taste
4 tsp. cooking oil
Saute finely diced onions, ginger and garlic on high heat, stirring constantly until light brown. Reduce heat to low, add finely diced tomatoes. Stir well, cook for 5-10 minutes. Add and stir in all spices in order above one at a time. Add 1 inch cubes of chicken. Cook 30-45 minutes on low/medium heat, stirring periodically.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Homemade Funfetti

I will not make cakes/cupcakes/anything really from the box. I find it to be too easy and without all the love thrown into the cake. My friend Stephanie's 21st birthday is tomorrow, and like I said yesterday I am going to be baking birthday cakes for everyone this year. Stephanie requested a funfetti cake and I just could not cave and buy the boxed mix. So instead I made a basic white cake and mixed in sprinkles. It's not even really worth leaving a recipe, because honestly any white cake will work for this recipe.

And I had a ton of fun decorating the cake! The frosting, I messed up a little, but hopefully it isn't too blatantly obvious (to the taste buds, not to the eyes).

Now I just need to figure out when I'm going to play in the kitchen next.

The cake itself!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cheesecake

Cheesecake isn't my favorite flavor. But it really is one of my favorite things to bake. How that makes sense, I really don't know. The first cheesecake I ever made was a pumpkin cheesecake, and ironically I enjoyed it, despite my HATING cheesecake and pumpkin pie. However, the taste of the pumpkin balanced out the taste of the cheese and the taste of the cheese balanced out the taste of the pumpkin. The reason I initially decided to try to bake the cheesecake was solely to challenge myself. I never imagined how much fun I would find cheesecakes to be.

I have also began the habit of making birthday cakes for my friends (be looking for a homemade funfetti cake either tomorrow or Wednesday). Eric's 21st birthday was yesterday and had requested me to bake him a "Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cheesecake". I was a little nervous since I could only find one recipe (thank you and I really didn't want it to suck. I would have been so sad. But of course, once again, I have made a cheesecake Iwill eat! I actually think this is the best one I've had/made thus far. The cookie dough chunks in the cake are so good, oh my gosh, I'm literally eating a piece right now.

Now, the picture really sucks, but that's because I forgot to take a picture till most of the cake was gobbled up!

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cheesecake Recipe
1 1/2 cups finely crushed chocolate wafer cookies
1 cup white sugar
1/4 cup melted butter
2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, diced
2 cups sour cream
3 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
2 teaspoons white sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

2. Mix the chocolate wafer cookie crumbs with 2 tablespoons of the white sugar, and the melted butter. Press firmly into the bottom and 1/2 inch up the sides of one 9 inch springform pan. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for about 8 minutes.

3. To Make Cookie Dough: In a bowl beat 1/4 cup butter or margarine with the brown sugar and 1/4 cup of the white sugar. Stir in the water and 1 teaspoon of the vanilla. Beat in the flour and the semisweet chocolate chips. Stir until combined.

4. To Make Cheesecake: In a food processor or with a mixer beat 1 cup of the white sugar, and all the cream cheese. Add 1 cup of the sour cream, the eggs, and 1 teaspoon of the vanilla. Mix well and pour into prepared crust.

5. Drop cookie dough in 2 tablespoon portions evenly over the top of the cake, pushing dough beneath the surface. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for about 40 minutes. Cake will jiggle slightly in center. Spread topping over hot cake. Let cake cool than chill in a refrigerator until cold, at least 4 hours.

6. To Make Topping: Mix the remaining 1 cup sour cream, 1 teaspoon vanilla, and the 2 teaspoons white sugar until smooth. Spread over hot cake.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

Santa Cruz is really warm during late August and September. It's absolutely beautiful outside, however, sometimes it can get a little unbearable during the day. Nighttimes of course are pleasant, but sometimes during the day hours I want to rip off my clothes and run naked through some pond. It's really just hot.

So since I moved into my new house I've been taking much advantage of the kitchen. I haven't taken pictures of the food I've cooked thus far, but I have been quite enjoying the gas stove and the fancy oven. And the kitchen is beautiful! There's stainless steal appliances, light wood cabinets, and granite counters. And since I'm obsessed with red kitchen supplies, I've decorated the kitchen with countless red items, my prized being my KitchenAid mixer.

This of course brings me to what I made today. Last year I bought myself the ice cream attachment for the mixer, but I hadn't made much of a use of it. So the other day I popped the bowl in the freezer and today I decided to make the mint chocolate chip ice cream, which I found via It tastes like something you could buy in the store - only better.

If anyone's reading this, do you have any flavors of ice cream you suggest I try?

Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream
2 cups 2% milk
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon peppermint extract
3 drops green food coloring (optional)
1 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips

1. In a large bowl, stir together the milk, cream, sugar, salt, vanilla extract and peppermint extract until the sugar has dissolved. Color to your liking with the green food coloring.
2. Pour the mixture into an ice cream maker, and freeze according to the manufacturer's instructions. After about 10 minutes into the freezing, add the chocolate chips. After the ice cream has thickened, about 30 minutes later, spoon into a container, and freeze for 2 hours.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Potato Breakfast

Living in the house I was in was sad. The kitchen was a room of vile. There was old food everywhere - molding food, stinky food, no where I wanted o be near. At first I felt the need to clean the kitchen, so I could use it. But it got to the point where I was so sick and tired of being the personal maid for 4 boys that I didn't know. So I stopped. And I also stopped cooking and began eating out a lot. Life was sad, those two months in filth. But finally I have moved into an amazing house with an amazing kitchen. The oven is so high-tech and I'm SO excited to use it!

However, this weekend I'm home visiting the parents. And lucky for me, they went to the farmers' market this past weekend. I decided to use the potatoes to make myself some breakfast. It isn't worth giving a recipe for, but if you're interested, it's onions, garlic, potatoes (yellow and purple), eggs, salt, pepper, and onion powder. It was all cooked together in a skillet for the first homemade breakfast I've eaten in two months!

Friday, August 1, 2008

SHF: Chocolate Strawberry Cupcakes

All week I've been trying to make Sprinkles' Strawberry Cupcakes. I've had the ingredients, but I haven't had the time for the life of me, between school and work. But today my break finally came! After getting some shopping done at Victoria's Secret, my friend Beth and Icame home and decided to whip these bad boys up. As we were standing there in the kitchen, Beth announces she wishes the cupcaks had chocolate in them. So we did a little altering of the recipe, to come up with chocolate strawberry cupcakes, rather than just strawberry. They were VERY successful and VERY tasty. The frosting and the cake are really sweet, so one is all you need. And since the frosting is clearly pink and every girls' dream, I dedicate these today to shopping at Victoria's Secret.

Also, I am participating in a fun fun blog event. This time I'm participating in Sugar High Friday created by Jennifer at Domestic Goddess. This month's theme over at SHF is berries. Yum yum. What girl doesn't love sweets?!

Chocolate Strawberry Cupcakes with Strawberry Frosting

Cupcake Ingredients
2/3 cup whole fres or frozen strawberries, thawed
1 1/4 cups all purpose-baking flour, sifted
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp coarse salt
1/4 cup whole milk, room temperature
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 large egg, room temperature
2 large egg whites, room temperature

Cupcake Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with cupcake liners; set aside.
2. Place strawberries in a small food processor; process until pureed.
3. In a medium bowl whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt; set aside. In a small bowl, mix together with milk, vanilla, and strawberry puree; set aside.
4. In the bowl of an electric mixer cream butter on medium-high speed, until light and fluffy. Gradually add sugar and continue to beat until well combined and fluffy. Reduct the mixer speed to medium and slowly add egg and egg whites until just blended.
5. With the mixer on low, slowly add half the flour mixture; mix until just blended. Add the milk mixture; mix until just blended. Slowly add remaining flour mixture, scraping sides of the bowl as necessary, until just blended.
6. Divide batter evenly among prepared muffin cups. Transfer muffin tin to oven and bake until tops are just dry to the touch, 22 to 25 minutes. Transfer muffin tin to a wire rack and let cupcakes cool completely before icing.

Icing Ingredients
1/2 cup whole frozen straberries, thawed
1 cup unsalted butter, firm and slightly cold
Pinch of coarse salt
3 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Icing Directions
1. Place strawberries in the bowl of a small food process; process until pureed. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together butter and salt on medium speed until light and fluffy. Reduce mixer speed and slowly add confectioners' sugar; beat until well combined. Add vanilla and 3 tbsp strawberry pureer; mix until just blended. Do not overmix or frosting will incorporate too much air. Frosting consistency should be dense and creamy, like ice cream.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

bakebakebake: My Take On Indian Food

On livejournal I'm part of a community called bakebakebake. It's actually what prompted me to get back in the kitchen again, despite being busy with school work and whatnot. And when I got my mixer for Christmas, it was useful for making delights I could take pictures of and put online. One of the things that this community has is monthly themes. This month's theme was red because of 4th of July and whatnot. I've been stumped all month on what to make. Of course, cupcakes are easy, red velvet cake, something with strawberries. It was all so cliche though and I wanted to do something that I didn't think anyone else would be doing.

So two days ago it hit me: tandoori chicken! So I found a recipe from
India Curry Recipes. When I was younger my family had these friends from India, and the lady, Eva, made and sold packets of spice mixtures for many different foods, tandoori chicken, curried rice, etc. Growing up whenever my mom would make tandoori chicken I'd get so excited for the red chicken, as I called it. It was one of those treats that I didn't get very often, because to make it takes more than a day, as the chicken needs to marinate. So being a working mom, making dishes that took lots of prep time didn't happen often.

Now, comes the frustration of making this dish. When I went to the grocery store yesterday to collect the spices I needed to make the tandoori I couldn't find the garam masala anywhere. Oh woe me, Safeway had sold out. So instead I got some curry spice and decided to deviate from tandoori chicken and make some chicken replacing the garam masala with curry powder. Of course, this makes the chicken taste different than had I used the garam masala (and why I can't call this tandoori chicken). But it still has the red tint (haha, food coloring?) that made the red chicken so special to me growing up.

Indian Spiced Chicken

2 pounds of chicken, cut into pieces
1 tsp salt
1 lemon, juiced
1 1/4 cups plain yogurt
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp grated resh ginger root
2 tsp curry
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp yellow food coloring
1 tsp red food coloring

1. Cut slits into chicken pieces lengthwise.2. Place in a shallow dish, sprinkle both sides of chicken with salt and lemon juice. Set aside.
3. In a medium bowl, combine yogurt, onion, garlic, ginger, curry powder, and cayenne pepper. Mix until smoot. Stir in food coloring. Spread yogurt mixture over chicken. Cover and refrigerate over night.
4. Preheat oven to 450. Place chicken in a baking dish and bake 25 to 30 minutes (or until done).

And then I also made spiced potatoes and rice to go along with the meal. I made the rice as one normally makes rice, however, in the water I added some shakes of garlic salt and curry powder.

For the potatoes I cut them up into bite size pieces. In a skillet I melted some butter and added some water. I seasoned them with curry powder and paprika. I put the potatoes in and when boiling, I brought the heat down and covered them up and cooked until soft.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

The Ultimate Chocolate Brownie Muffin

I've been wanting to make muffins, for some reason that's all I really wanted to bake. I didn't want a blog reason to do it, I just wanted the satisfaction of having a delicious muffin sitting in front of me when all is said and done. I am however going to start participating in the blog events like I had, because it's fun. But this is just my muffin.

I moved recently, so my baking has dwindled significantly, as someone broke into my car the first day in the new house and stole my bag of dried goods (the flour, sugar, etc.). So I was dreading starting my baking ingredient collection again, but finally I've gotten around to starting. So since I wanted to make muffins, I wanted to make something people would eat. So I asked my boyfriend what kind of muffin he wantd.

Alan: Chocolate brownie muffin.
Me: What do you mean by chocolate brownie muffin?
Alan: If you can't figure it out you shouldn't bake!
Me: OK, I'll find something to do.

To be quite honest, it's basically a brownie shaped like a muffin. But the boyfriend was happy. I found this recipe on

The Ultimate Chocolate Brownie Muffin

3/4 cup good quality baking cocoa
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup boiling water
1 tbsp vanilla
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup chocolate chips

1. Preheat the oven to 350.
2. Line 1 muffin tins with muffin liners.
3. In a medum bowl combine cocoa and baking powder; mix to combibe.
4. Add in boiling water; mix well with a wooden spoon to combine.
5. Add in the melted butter and vanilla; mix well.
6. Add in the sugar, mix well with a wooden spoon.
7. Stir in eggs with a wooden spoon; mix until combined
8. Mix the flour with salt; add in the chocolate mixture; mix well to combine.
9. Add in chocolate chips.
10. Using an ice cream scoop fill each of the muffin tins almost to the top.
11. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until muffins are done.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

PPN: Pasta, Pesto, and Peas

Like I mentioned in my last blog post, I really am wanting to get interested in these blog events, so when I found out about Presto Pasta Nights, I was excited! Not only do I love love pasta, I'm moving on Saturday/Sunday and probably won't have time to cook until after the move. Since I made a big pot of these delicious noodles I'm thinking they should get me through the rest of the week and the weekend, unless some of my piggy roommates attack the pot (which actually wouldn't be very unlikely).

So these wonderful Presto Pasta Nights of delicious is the baby of Ruth from Once Upon A Feast but this week the event is being hosted by Hillary from Chew On That.

I found this recipe on The Food Network's website. It is one of Ina Garten's delicious dishes, that I can't help but have my mouth water when I even think of them. This was actually my first time cooking one of her dishes (or anything from The Food Network actually). I was impressed with how simple this dish was, but at the same time how much flavor the doctored up pesto sauce has. And the spinach and peas in the dish are good, because I really haven't been eating enough vegetables (oh yay young adult attempting to live on her own and cook for herself!)

Pasta, Pesto, and Peas
3/4 lbs of fuslli pasta
3/4 pound bow tie pasta
1/4 cup good olive oil
1 1/2 cups pesto
1 (10-oz) package frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and squeezed ry
3 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 1/4 cups mayonnaise
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1 1/2 cups frozen peas, defrosted
1/3 cup pignolis (pine nuts)
3/4 tsp kosher salt
3/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Cook the fusilli and bow ties separately in a large pot of boiling salted water for 10 to 12 minutes until each pasta is al dente. Drain and toss into a bowl with the olive oil. Cool to room temperature.
In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade, puree the pesto, spinach, and lemon juice. Add the mayonnaise and puree. Add the pesto mixture to the cooled pasta and then add the Parmesan, peas, pignolis, salt, and pepper. Mix well, season to taste, and serve at room temperature.

NOTES: Since I had a can of canned peas I used those instead of frozen peas. I just drained the water off of them first. And I sadly am grocery store stupid and too vain to ask for help from the sales people, so I have no idea where to get the pine nuts in my local Safeway. So I didn't have those in the dish. But I have to say, delicious!!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

WHB: Chunky Chicken Cacciatore

Being that I'm still completely new to this world of blogging, I wanted to do something that could get me in touch with some other food bloggers - so I figured I should participate in a round-up! As I was browsing around internet land last week I found the WHB,or the Weekend Herb Blogging. I decided I would pick one recipe this week to fit this challenge. Of course, that required some thinking about what exactly I wanted to make - like I've been saying, since I'm moving I'm really trying my best to avoid buying a lot of new food (especially since one of our friends moved out of his house and left a TON of food in our refrigerator and freezer so he wouldn't have to move it). After some careful consideration I decided I would make chicken cacciatore, from a recipe I found on All I needed to buy were the peppers and onions, with the rest of food waiting to be eaten in my pantry and fridge. And I am quite aware this meal just looks like mush, but it tasted good and while I do think presentation matters, flavor is definately more important to me. And after an hour and a half of cooking, I was just too hungry to care.

Considering the huge issue with the salmonella tainted tomatoes that has caused a huge problem as of late, I decided I would of course make a dish featuring tomatoes. However, I did use canned-stewed tomatoes, as that's what the recipe called for (and hey, I like to play it safe too). But I figured it would make a good post, with the issue on tomatoes and all. Apparently 228 have become ill from tomatoes. For some tips on safety in eating tomatoes, an article in the San Francisco Gate indicates the following:

On the do-not-eat list are raw red plum, red Roma or red round tomatoes, unless they were grown in specific states or countries that the FDA has cleared because they were not harvesting when the outbreak began or were not selling their tomatoes in places where people got sick.

Also safe are grape tomatoes, cherry tomatoes and tomatoes sold with the vine still attached. That is not because there is anything biologically safer about those with a vine but because the sick have assured investigators that is not the kind of tomato they ate.

I surely hope that the current tomato problem ends, because not getting tomatoes on my sandwiches at delis is quite upsetting. Though I assume getting food poisoning from a fruit would be the worse alternative.

For more information on WHB check out the rules here. To see other entries for WHB for the week of the 16th-22nd check out Joanna's Food after the weekend and see what other yummies people came up with!

Chunky Chicken Cacciatore (serves 4)


3/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp paprika
1 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts (cut into 1-1/2 to 2-inch pieces)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 green pepper, seeded and chopped
1 red pepper, seeded and chopped
1 clove of garlic, minced
2 (14.5 oz) cans strewed tomatoes
3/4 tbsp light brown sugar


1. In a small bowl comine, flour, oregano, basil, paprika, garlic powder, salt, and black pepper.
2. In a large skilet heat olive oil an cook chicken until sides are lightly browned, about 20 minutes.
3. Remove chicken and set aside; add to skillet onion, peppers, garlic, and 1 tbsp oil. Saute 10-15 minutes, until tender.
4. Sprinkle with flour/spice mix while cooking. Add tomates with the juice and stir until bubbly.
5. Add brown sugar, continue to stir, add chicken to mixture. Cook 10-15 minutes on low heat.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

bakebakebake: Blueberry-Chocolate Chip Muffins

Despite the fact that I have finals this week and one tomorow morning at 8AM that I haven't completely studied for yet, I find much more joy in making a muffin than I do in studying for a Sociology of Law test, regardless of which may be more important. So since on livejournal's community bakebakebake the current contest for the month is to use berries in a baked good, I decided to make something that I could submit! I also of course wanted to create something my picky housemates would eat, so I had to make sure the baked good I chose wasn't too fruity, because these college students tend to really just enjoy boxed mixes of brownies and cupcakes. So I have to respect that if I want them to eat my yummies or else I'd be really fat. That's the one nice thing about being home with my parents as opposed to being at school.. My parents have a palate for things that aren't necessarily death by chocolate combinations.

Anyway, I found this specific recipe from Sarah at Cupcake Muffin, though she actually got this recipe from Bake or Break. I was pretty sure this was the right thing to bake for my group of friends since it combined a berry with something pretty overwhelmingly chocolatey. And of course, since I am such a nice soul I also threw together a batch of these without the blueberries and with only the chocolate. I will not be at all surprised if they are gone before I wake up tomorrow craving one, because that's how things in this house work.

Blueberry-Chocolate Chip Muffins


1 1/2 cup flour
1/3 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar (packed)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt

2 eggs, whisked
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup buter, melted and cooled
1 tsp vanilla extract

ADD-INS - your discretion
3/4 cup blueberries
1/4 cup white chocolate chips
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat oen to 375 degrees and grease one muffin tin.
2. Whisk together the dry and wet ingredients in separate bowls. Then combine and stir together until just combined. Stir in the add-ins gently.
3. Divide batter between muffin cups and bake 20-22 minutes.

NOTES: Even though I went to the grocery store this morning to get the blueberries and the chocolate, I was under the impression we had vanilla extract in the house. Of course we didn't and when I was going to mix the wet ingredients together I came to that realization. After a quick sweep of our pantry I found some almond extract, which I replaced for the vanilla. It gave the muffins a mild nutty flavor which is actually quite enjoyable! I really like the almond flavoring and would probably make it with the almond again and not do vanilla.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Mongolian Beef

I couldn't start my blog with juts a welcome post. I absolutely had to cook something, to share something. I have to say, I've definitely made food that has looked much prettier than the Mongolian Beef turned out looking, because it pretty much appears to be slop on top of some rice. However, the flavor was really good. I found this recipe from, a website I have found out about just recently, but it's pretty neat how you can search for recipes based on several different ingredients.

Basically, I'm moving out of my current house in less than a month because the lease is up. Since things are still kind of up in the air about where I'll be living I'm trying my best to get rid of the food I do have here. So for the Mongolian Beef, all I had to buy was the broccoli, as I had all the other ingredients laying around my kitchen.

So anyway, expect in the future posts of all kinds of food, dinners, baked goods, I'll do it all. I'm still learning and I know practice makes perfect. For the most part I'll be using other peoples' recipes because I still lack the amazing skills of being totally innovative (though the other day I did make some pretty bomb chicken without a recipe). But I hope this blog becomes a growing experience for me.

Mongolian Beef
1/2 lb round steak
1 tsp cornstarch
1 tsp Kikoman soy sauce
2 tsp sherry
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp sesame oil
1 1/2 tsp grated fresh ginger
2 cups broccoli
2 tsp cornstarch
2 tsp water
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 tbsp sesame oil
garnish with sesame seeds about 1/2 tsp per serving

1. Slice steak thinly and place strips in a bowl. Add next 6 ingredients (through ginger). Stir and allow to stand, covered, while you prepare the rest of the dish.
2. Use a high flame, heat wok, or large frying pan. Add oil to hot pot and heat the oil. Add and stir fry the broccoli, cooking for a few minutes. Add chicken broth, cover, and cook 4-5 minutes, stirring occassionally. Uncover, stir, and remove broccoli to another dish. Set aside.
3. Reheat pan; add small amount of oil and heat. Add beef and stir fry. Add broccoli, stir. Mix cornstarch and water, add to meat and broccoli. Cook until gravy thickens. Pour sesame oil over, stir well. Pour onto serving platter, garnish with sesame seeds.

NOTES: I found that the sauce in this recipe made such a small amount, I found myself dumping more sherry, soy sauce, and the rest of the stuff in to make what I felt was a more suitable amount. Also, the amount of time it said to cook the broccoli seemed short to me. After the 5 minutes my broccoli was still rock hard, so I cooked it longer until it was mushier, because I like my broccoli softer than I do harder.


For nearly as long as I can remember I've had some sort of internet journal, but never a blog. I've decided to start a food blog, as I've recently gotten into cooking and baking.


I'm a 21 year old college student.
My name is Elizabeth.
I go to UCSC. I'll be entering my 4th year in the fall.