Tuesday, February 28, 2012

baked feta with sage honey

lunchtime is breaktime for your brain. shut it off.

stop writing and stressing and worrying.. and just bake cheese.


bake your cheese. eat it with bread and a fruit.

read a magazine. turn on some tunes. try to massage your own back.
and scold yourself for not baking cheese for lunch more often.

honey and cheese should be together.

i used this wonderful sage honey that i purchased from whole foods.
but you can use any honey around you. this is baked cheese we're talking about, it's going to be pure greatness no matter what.

oh, and hey, i love you.

Baked Feta with Sage Honey

4-5 ounce slab greek feta, blotted dry with a paper towel
olive oil
2 tsp sage honey or other honey
few sprigs of thyme
fresh black pepper

preheat oven to 400. place the feta in a small ceramic baking dish. cover with a few glugs of olive oil and bake for 7-8 minutes. preheat the broiler. heat the honey over the stove or in microwave until fluid enough to be poured. pour honey over feta. sprinkle with sprigs of thyme and fresh ground black pepper. broil it until the cheese browns and just starts to bubble. 
serve with bread and fruit. 

Friday, February 24, 2012

cranberry awesome cake

eye squinty, awesome tart.

as a young las, the candy wonderland stores...you know, the ones with all the separate bins and bag-filling up...those stores filled me with such pure happiness.
and the sour sugar covered gummy things of all shapes and forms...those were my main squeeze.

peach ring after peach ring. sour green apples, and watermelons and the other smaller version of sour watermelons.

and sour belts, obviously.
and maybe the occasional red sweedish fish...not sour, but just too good to pass up.

and now, while i would totally be glad to eat all of these sour gummy creatures out of a striped bag, i would rather sit down and get my sour fix via cake. THIS cake.

cranberries are natural tart beauties. and phenomenal to bake with. they melt into the soft crumb of cakes and breads. and their tartness is so beautiful with the sweet. and the color!


this cake is a little different. there is no baking powder. no soda. no acidic things. !!??!!?

the eggs are beaten and beaten to a froth. and that takes care of all the cake rising.

it's incredibly dense and buttery in the best way possible. and i'm crazy about it.
maybe i say this a lot. maybe that can get confusing.

but i will say that i shall make this cake for the rest of my life. when i'm a granny, i'll be mixing up this cake. it's become a trusty standby and it i can never get enough.

i mean...these photos are clearly just the same one piece of cake. the only piece that managed to survive til morning.

it has 6 ingredients. to the kitchen you go!

ps. words of the wise.. don't start a conversation about how the cake is leavened with eggs alone at the dinner table.

most people at the dinner table are bored by that... they'll awkward nod and smile along as they think about sports or taxes or how they wish you'd stop talking about eggs.

Cranberry Awesome Cake

3 eggs
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
12 oz fresh cranberries

preheat oven to 350 degrees. with a mixer, beat the eggs with the sugar until slightly thickened and light in color, about 5-7 minutes. the mixture should almost double in size, the eggs are the leavening agent in the recipe so it's important not to skip this step. the mixture should form a ribbon when you lift the beaters out of the bowl. add the butter and vanilla, mix 2 more minutes. stir in the flour until just combined. fold in the cranberries. 
spread in a buttered 9x13 pan. bake for 40-50 minutes, until a tester comes out clean. 

let cool before cutting into slices or attacking it with a fork. 

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

coconut milk poached mahi mahi

your mom probably gets concerned about your eating habits.

if she's anything like mine, bless her dear loving heart, she cringes and makes this almost cry-face when you mention that you didn't have time to eat breakfast and ate chips and pudding all day.

and as much as i wish she'd tone down the dramatic cry-face, worrying is a mom thing and she can't help it.

balanced nutritious dinners make mom's happy.

so...let's make happy healthful dinner. real dinner. with bok choy and coconut milk and words like 'poach'.

we will need a fish.

we will also need limeyness and heat.
(boo! alien hand!)

sequence of events: fish into the coconut milk with the other green flavorful stuff. add more nutritious green plants. fish poached = cooked. ladle fish and broth and greens into bowls.

and in the end, it's sprinkled with crystalized ginger and cilantro. because.. they're good.

and hopefully you've made some rice to eat with it.
eat the rice with chopsticks if you want to frustrate the people around you.

it's soothing. it's light without leaving you full. it's dairy free..woop lactose intolerants!

might you consider making some for your mom?

Coconut Milk Poached Mahi Mahi
serves 4

1 lime
1 15-oz can light coconut milk
1 thai green chile, thinly sliced
1 tbsp cane sugar, brown sugar, or agave
1 lb skinless, boneless mahi mahi or other firm whitefish
1 tsp salt
1 head bok choy, torn
1-2 cups kale, torn
handful of cilantro
crystallized ginger and sliced chili for garnish

zest the skin of the lime, and then juice it. set the zest aside. in a large saucepan set over medium heat, combine the coconut milk, lime juice, chile, and sugar. cut the fish into 8 portions, rinse and pat dry. rub salt on fish filets and place in coconut milk mixture in saucepan. cook fish covered for 5 minutes. uncover, and gently stir in bok choy and kale. cook for 3-5 minutes until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork. ladle fish into bowls with coconut milk broth. top with pinch of lime zest, cilantro, bits of crystallized ginger, and some sliced chile. 
serve with scoops of brown rice. 

Friday, February 17, 2012

whole orange poppy seed blueberry cake

i am a girl obsessed.

these obsessions can bring a lot of joy to my life.

they can also take up a lot of space in my brain when i should be thinking about going through the pile of papers on my roomchair and eating more antioxidants.

whatever. bows are more fun than papers.

i am obsessed with these paintings.

i'm obsessed with wood floors.

chips. i luh you. tortilla, pita, chocolate, and now these. my newest chip obsession. they are popcorn in chip form.

i am obsessed with the rain when i'm indoors

the splotches on my weird doodle journal. 

and grilled cheese. and fondue. and anything with melted cheese. 

peach and gray and white together! color friends.

i am in complete, heartbroken love with this short film. i have watched it over and over. is that an obsession?

oh while we're talking about movies, i can't stop thinking about this one. personal fave of the year!

also, i used to be obsessed with the first shrek...
um..what? nevermind.

i will forever be totally obsessed with this cookbook and this cookbook

and right now, it's become quite obvious. citrus, i. am. obsessed.

cara cara oranges are light pink, sweet, and beautiful.

and what do we do to things that are sweet and beautiful?

we pulverize them. and make cake disguised as bread.

the whole orange, pith, skin and all is blended up to a thick citrus pulp and folded into the batter.

the flavor is in your face citrus in a YEEEESSSSS way.

and poppyseeds and blueberries are the supporting actors. the show just wouldn't be the same without them.

do you have a citrus stash building up?

might you consider some pulverization and make this loaf?
or what about some orange cinnamon donut muffins?

perhaps you fancy a layer cake? chocolate cake with chai cream cheese filling and orange whipped cream. awesome cake. annoyingly long name.

zest your oranges and make white chocolate chunk cookies with orange zest and nutella!

lemon poppyseed focaccia with goat cheese. bread obsession.

OR just skip all this nonsense and make a big gorgeous cake of cheese. black bottomed orange cranberry cheesecake.

just...get into this citrus ok.

Whole Orange Poppy Seed Blueberry Loaf Cake

1 whole navel orange, washed well
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
12 tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled a bit
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 1/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp kosher salt
1 tbsp poppy seeds
1 cup blueberries

for syrup:
2 tbsp fresh orange juice
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup sugar

position rack in center of your oven and preheat to 350 degrees. lightly butter and flour a 1 1/2 at loaf pan. using a sharp knife, remove the little green stem from the orange, and cut into 8 pieces. in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade, pulse the orange pieces (skin and all!) and 1/2 cup of the sugar until pureed, scraping down the sides of the bowl. in a large mixing bowl, whisk together eggs and the remaining 1/2 cup sugar until smooth. stir in the orange pulp. whisk in the melted butter to combine. in a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and poppy seeds to combine. sprinkle the dry ingredients over the orange mixture, and using a rubber spatula, gently fold until just combined. pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan. bake for 50-60 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through baking. the cake is done when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. remove to a wire rack and cool for at least 20 minutes before unmolding and glazing. 
for the glaze: in a small saucepan, combine juices and sugar and simmer until sugar is dissolved and it reduces down a bit, about 2-3 minutes. using a pastry brush, brush the hot glaze all over the cake while it is still warm. 

once it completely cooled, i finished it by drizzling a simple glaze of lemon juice and confectioners sugar over the top.  


Monday, February 13, 2012

malted chocolate pudding

valentine's day would be much better if we were all on tropical islands. 
romance would be a lot easier to get into on a sunset boat ride, 2 margaritas deep. 

but this is realistic valentine's day.. it's tuesday. 
and tuesdays can get boring and tough. 

resume writing is a bummer. 
favorite socks go missing. 
my leg hurts. 

but the things we love make all that junk worth it. 

and any day can be made more romantic with pudding dammit. 

this valentine of mine is a good one. he takes me to french bakeries fully knowing that once we step in the door, i will transform into Crazy. 

he doesn't act disgusted when i eat every macaron in the box, 
and then he rubs my back when i feel sick from eating every. macaron. in. the. box. 

he deserves pudding. 

special malted chocolate pudding. 

does this interest you, sir?
does the mere mention of malt make you want to skip to work today? ..kinda.

i have a grand idea! today, you take the time to make some pudding. making pudding is a definite love gesture. 
present your pudding to someone you love tomorrow..boyfriend, girlfriend, mom, friend, dentist, pet, whoever!

show up with a darling cup of pudding in your hands, and they will jump into your arms and love you even more and surely not care that you don't have expensive jewels for them. they won't. 

unless they are rude. 

Malted Chocolate Pudding

*it's super important to splurge and use good quality cocoa powder in this recipe, i use Valrhona

2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/3 cup malted milk powder
2 1/2 cups whole milk
4 egg yolks
2 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 tsp vanilla extract

set a fine mesh sieve over a medium bowl and set aside. 
in a medium saucepan, whisk together the sugar, cornstarch, salt, cocoa powder, and malted milk powder. carefully whisk in milk, a bit at a time, making sure to dissolve the cornstarch. add the egg yolks and whisk well to combine. 

set pan over medium heat and whisk constantly. cook until it thickens and the first large bubble forms and breaks the surface. reduce heat to low and continue to whisk for 1 more minute. the pudding should be thick and generously coat the back of a spoon. 
remove from heat and stir in vanilla and butter. pour through the fine mesh sieve. place plastic wrap directly on the surface of the pudding to prevent a skin from forming. 
chill for 3 hours, and up to 3 days. 
top with lightly whipped cream and whoppers for extra happiness. 

Friday, February 10, 2012

gooey butter cookies

today was just Ugh.
i was in a major funk for the better half of the day.

energy level Low, confidence level loow, do your ears hang level LOW. mood level bleeeeeh.

somedays that's just the way it goes.

finally the sun was going down and i found myself standing in the kitchen chopping vegetables to the mamas and the papas.

hmm, this is rather lovely, i said to myself.. surely the activity to lift me out of funktown.

then i sliced my thumb really awesomely while chopping the chilies. Of course the chiles!

burning and blood and stinging all at once. yes, wonderful!

whatever you do just don't touch your eyes. do not touch your face, and absolutely NoT your eyes.
(comma i said to myself)

two minutes later, and where would i be but crouching my head under the faucet and hosing down my eye (and face, let's be real).

this episode, as you may have guessed, sent me into a deeper funk.
funk code level orange.

during these types of extremities, cookie dough is absolutely allowed, nay encouraged!

but i don't want you to eat too much cookie dough that you get sick and nauseous and grow to resent me.

Hence, gooey butter cookies.

from the moment i read about these, i couldn't get them out of my head. they were described as being somewhat like baked cream cheese frosting.

these are not your average cookies. the texture is like whaaaat?WHOA.that's awesome.
a cookie dough lover's cookie at its finest.

puffed and gooey,
speckled with vanilla bean seeds,
rolled in powdered sugar,
and they distract you from realizing you were in a bad mood.

and now this despicable day has come and gone and i'm totally gonna forget about it. i will wake up tomorrow content, refreshed, and joyful.

and if i'm not, gooey butter cookies for breakfast!

Gooey Butter Cookies
recipe by Mathew Rice of Nightwood Restaurant 
barely adapted from lottie and doof (i also halved the original recipe)

2 1/4 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1 8oz package  cream cheese, softened
1 stick butter
1/4 - 1/2 vanilla bean, seeds scraped (optional but wonderful!)
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
confetioner's sugar for rolling and dusting

stir together the flour, baking powder, and salt. set aside. in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the cream cheese, butter, vanilla bean seeds, and sugar together until fluffy. add the eggs and vanilla extract. 
incorporate the flour mixture. chill for at least 30 minutes. 

preheat oven to 325. scoop roughly 1 ounce balls and toss in the confectioner's sugar. place on a baking sheet lined with parchment, a couple of inches apart. bake until they spread and puff slightly, about 12-16 minutes. they will be really soft in the center. if they start to brown, they've gone too far. cool to room temperature. 

*refrigerate and serve cookies cold out of the refrigerator...these cookies are said to taste much better cold than warm. 
mm cookie doughy. 

Monday, February 6, 2012

garlicky pita chips + roasted broccoli hummus

it's snacktime.
i think that maybe you want a snack.
i definitely want a snack.

maybe this snack that you want is salty. maybe you just ate a lot of jelly beans and now you are craving chips.

or maybe you ate so many chips and guacamole and wings yesterday that you are considering a juice cleanse and rolling your eyes at me.

well, fine. go do your juice cleanse.
i'll be here, snacking. in pajama pants.

this is what's happening.

some leftover pita is tossed with olive oil and garlic and salt and thrown into the oven.

chips. cruuunch. baked! health? sure! yum. cool.

next. some leftover roasted broccoli is going into the food processor with other normal hummus ingredients.
it's like a jamba juice boost for hummus.

that felt good. don't let your leftovers rot! i'm trying to be better about this.
feeling resourceful is important.

and so is hummus always.


Garlicky Pita Chips

4-5 pitas, cut into wedges
4-5 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp sea salt

preheat oven to 350. whisk together the olive oil, garlic, and salt. in a large bowl, toss the pita with the olive oil mixture until well-coated. spread onto a large baking sheet in a single layer and bake for 10-15 minutes, tossing once halfway through. let cool and eat. 

Roasted Broccoli Hummus
inspired by not without salt

1 (15 oz) can chickpeas
juice of a lemon
2 garlic cloves, roasted
large handful of roasted broccoli, about 1 cup
2-3 tbsp tahini
1/2 tsp sesame oil
1/2-3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 cup olive oil

place all ingredients except olive oil in food processor. process until smooth. with the processor running, slowly stream in olive oil. taste and adjust seasonings to your liking. 

Friday, February 3, 2012

blood orange cakes

i spy,
something awesome.

no. it doesn't do that here. i only can dream about being in the snow right now. 

your baby? nope. it's not your baby.
i'm sure your baby is really awesome, that's just not what i spy.

food? well, yea. 
it's beautious fruit in the dead of winter!

have you seen this citrus invasion? 
i plan on taking full advantage of february's citrus bounty. 

juice. snacktime. salads! CAKE. 

lovely blood orange cakes that you get all for yourselves. this is time to whip out the jumbo muffin pan. 

more cake, bigger muffin top surface area.

a serving is a serving. everyone knows that. amIright?

these cakes here are packages of winter citrus celebration. 

a denser, creamier texture than a muffin. 

heck chyea, bring on the creaminess. (and the buttermilk tang!)

buttermilk. yes! you my main man. 

...also my boyfriend, you are too. 

boyfriend and buttermilk. you guys are the best. 

always there for me to lean on when things get weird tough. 

what? are you still reading this? 

i should stop. 
wrapping these thoughts up is getting tough weird. 

so.. these cakes are wonderful. all in favor of a winter brunch?

Blood Orange Cakes
adapted from dinner with julie

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup olive oil
2 cups sugar
finely grated zest of an orange
5 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup buttermilk
3 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1-2 blood oranges, washed and sliced very thin
sugar, for sprinkling

3 tbsp fresh orange juice
3 tbsp sugar

preheat oven to 350. in a large bowl, beat the butter, oil, sugar, and orange zest for 2 minutes, until pale and fluffy. add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. then add vanilla. in a small bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. 
add about a third of the flour mixture, beating on low speed until combined. add half the buttermilk, then another third of the flour, then the rest of the buttermilk, and then the last of the flour. 
divide the batter between lined or greased muffin tins, filling them 3/4 full. top each with a slice of orange and a sprinkling of sugar. bake for 25-30 minutes, until golden and tops are springy to the touch. 
let cool for about 10 minutes and make glaze: put orange juice and sugar in a small saucepan over low heat. stir until the sugar melts and you have a hot syrupy glaze. generously brush glaze over cakes as they cool. 

*i used a 1/2 dozen jumbo muffin pan and had enough batter to make some extra regular sized muffins.