Roasted Garlic & Tomato Soup (with a touch of cream!)

31 Jul

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Crab, Avocado & Mango Spring Rolls

17 Jul

ImageIt has been really hot lately, and in a house with broken AC, all I can possibly think about eating/cooking is something cold, refreshing, that doesn’t require an oven.  Spring rolls!  I bought some avocado and mangoes the other day and had a homemade peanut sauce in the fridge leftover from a previous night’s chicken salad.   These were super easy (and fun!) to make.  We’re going to take them down to the beach tonight for a little picnic/evening swim.  I made half of the rolls with crab, avocado, cucumber, lettuce and cilantro and the other half with tofu in lieu of the crab.   ImageImage


21 Day Challenge

20 May

It’s finals season.  What better time to procrastinate by adding another post to my (once again) neglected food blog?

Yesterday I stopped at MyFitFoods in Hermosa to grab a quick dinner in an effort to use every minute of my day trying to understand Organic Chemistry.  I still don’t understand Organic Chemistry.  The concept of the store is great– healthy, portion-controlled, prepackaged, fresh (never frozen) meals ready to be picked up for people on the go.  Or people who don’t have the patience or time to plan ahead.  I paid $11 for a “Medium” sized dinner (S, M, & L are offered) of poached salmon over a bed of sauteed veggies.  The meal was delicious & it was probably the healthiest option for takeout.  But, the price wasn’t all that awesome.  At Whole Foods (which is still expensive) I can pick up a high-quality piece of salmon and cook it myself for $5.  When you add in the veggies, I’m betting I could’ve made that meal at home for about $7.

MyFitFoods offers a 21-Day Challenge where you eat 5 of their small meals a day for 21 days.  They say it takes 21 days to develop a habit, in this case healthy eating.  The 21 days costs about $600, which to me seems very steep for 3 weeks of food for one person.  So, I’m challenging myself.  21 days of eating all home cooked, healthy, fresh meals for under $600.  Which means no eating out (yikes, this is going to be hard!) and no frozen yogurt (gulp, even harder!).  Starting after finals, of course.  Studying and sour belt candy just goes hand in hand in my book.

Golden Beet, Beet Greens and Goat Cheese Salad

27 Oct



Last week I signed up for Farm Fresh To You, a produce delivery service which brings  local, organic fruits and veggies to your door as frequently as you’d like.  We chose to get this box of treats every other week;  every other Tuesday to be exact.   The delivery happens in the middle of the night on Monday so that the produce stays fresh.   Well, you shoulda seen me Tuesday morning.  Jumped out of bed like a kid on Christmas, opened the door to find a beautiful brown box filled with all sorts of goodies.  Kale, butter lettuce, spinach, carrots, golden beets, kiwis, apples, pears, a sugar pumpkin, a lemon and a pomegranate.

This bundle of fresh inspired me to plan out a menu for the week:  kale white bean sausage soup, pumpkin sage gnocchi, a spinach salad with bacon, blue cheese and pear, and a golden beet salad with goat cheese.

Golden Beet Salad with Goat Cheese

  • olive oil
  • 6-8 golden beets (with greens)
  • 2 tbsp goat cheese
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • salt and pepper

For the beets

  1. Wash beets and beet greens.  Remove the beets from the greens.  Set green aside.
  2. Place beets in a large pot filled with cold water, 1 tsp of salt and 1 tsp of sugar.
  3. Turn the heat to high and once the water starts boiling, reduce the heat to medium-low, allowing the beets to simmer.
  4. Cook for about 45 minutes until beets are soft.  Remove them from the stove and place them into a bowl of ice water.
  5. Once the beets have cooled the skins should be easy to peel off.

For the beet greens

  1. Chop the greens up into bite-sized pieces.
  2. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in medium saucepan.
  3. Add beet greens to pan and sautee until they begin to wilt (about 5-8 minutes).
  4. Season with salt.  Remove greens from pan.

For the salad

  1. Chop the beets up into quarters, add them to a bowl with some beet greens and crumbled goat cheese.  Sprinkle with some salt and pepper and squeeze half a lemon over the top.  Fresh, healthy and deeeelish, perfect for a light lunch (which I have to say, I don’t really believe in.  Who wants a “light lunch”??)

Pumpkin Bread

23 Oct

It’s that time of the year when they start selling pumpkin puree at grocery stores, when the air drops to 69 (from 72), and when us californians get to pretend that we live in a “leave-changing, pumpkin-on-the-vine-at-the-pumpkin-patch, i-must-wear-boots-and-tights” state.  This time of the year makes me miss fall in North Carolina.  The crisp feel in the air, spontaneous rain storms and football tailgates.  Since I can’t change the weather and can’t fly back to North Carolina each weekend, I feel the need to really take advantage of baking everything pumpkin during these few months to satisfy my fall fever.

It starts with a classic:  pumpkin bread.

Pumpkin Bread (from My Baking Addiction)

Makes 2 deliciously spiced loaves.

  • 1 15 oz can pumpkin puree
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tablespoons pumpkin pie spice 
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Butter and flour 2 loaf pans.
  2. In stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, combine pumpkin, eggs, oil, water, vanilla and sugar, mixing until well blended.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt and pumpkin pie spice.
  4. Stir the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture until just blended.  Pour batter into the prepared pans.
  5. Bake for 60-70 minutes (I cooked mine around 60).
  6. Remove from the oven and eat a slice right away while it’s nice and warm with a cup of your favorite coffee!

After taking both loaves out of the oven, I placed one on our cake stand (right where Joe could see it when he got home from work) and took the other one over to my future sister-in-law’s house.  Max kinda liked it, Luca had no interest, and Bode couldn’t get enough!  Here he is concentrating on the bread right after waking up from a nap.

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

11 May

With two jobs and school, my much loved time in the kitchen has been severely interrupted.  But next week I’m down to only one of the two jobs, which means I’m officially back on the blogging train.  All aboard!

Who doesn’t love a good oatmeal chocolate chip cookie??

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

From Mad Hungry:  Feeding Men and Boys

Makes 24 cookies

  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened, plus more for the pans
  • 6 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 6 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon water
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 6 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 F. Butter or line 2 rimmed baking sheets.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt.
  3. In a large bowl, beat together the butter, sugars, egg, vanilla, and water. Add the flour mixture and stir to combine. Stir in the oats and chocolate chips.
  4. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto the baking sheets, spacing the dough 1 inch apart. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until lightly golden in color. Remove to cooking racks.

And if that’s not delicious enough….

Chocolate Ganache Cupcakes

15 Mar

Made these shiny, chocolate-y, ganache-y cupcakes for my Mom and my Oscar viewing “party” recently.  She provided dinner, served by a most gracious attendant (my Dad), drinks, made by a most skilled bartender (my Dad), and I brought the chocolate.  Typical.  Thanks to Ina Garten for this one!  I think I may have over baked these puppies, so watch that timer.

Chocolate Ganache Cupcakes

  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 8 ounces good semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 teaspoon instant coffee granules
  • Candied violets, for decoration, optional

Line muffin pans with 12 paper liners. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Cream the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, 1 at a time. Mix in the chocolate syrup and vanilla. Add the flour and mix until just combined. Don’t overbeat, or the cupcakes will be tough.

Scoop the batter into the muffin cups and bake for 30 minutes, or until just set in the middle. Don’t overbake! Let the cupcakes cool thoroughly in the pan.

For the ganache, cook the heavy cream, chocolate chips, and instant coffee in the top of a double boiler over simmering water until smooth and warm, stirring occasionally.

Dip the top of each cupcake in the ganache.