Friday, December 26, 2008

carrot cake pancakes with maple cream cheese spread

somehow, i forgot to take a picture of these amazing pancakes but they are the best thing i've ever eaten for breakfast! i found a basic recipe and then tweaked according to my famous carrot cake. result was to die for!

carrot Cake Pancakes
Make the dry and wet mixtures the night before. Soaking carrots will soften them nicely.

• 1 cup all-purpose flour
• 1 ½ cup whole wheat flour
• 4 teaspoons baking powder
• 3 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
• Dash nutmeg
• 2 eggs lightly beaten
• 2/3 cup packed brown 1 cup milk
• 4 cups finely grated carrots
• 1 cup chopped roasted pecans
• 1 cup drained crushed pineapple
• 1 cup shredded sweetened coconut
• 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Cream Cheese Spread
• 8 ounces cream cheese
• 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
• ½ cup maple syrup
• 6 tablespoons milk
• 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 1 dash ground cinnamon

In a bowl, combine flour, pecans, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, ginger, and nutmeg.
In a separate bowl, combine egg, brown sugar, milk, carrots, pineapple, coconut and vanilla; mix well.
Stir carrot mixture into dry ingredients until moistened. Pour batter by 1/4 cupful onto a greased hot griddle. Turn when bubbles form on the top of pancake; flip and cook until golden brown.
For topping, blend cream cheese, powdered sugar, maple, milk, and vanilla until smooth. Sprinkle with cinnamon, and serve with pancakes.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

christmas eve - thanksgiving pie recipes :(

yes i'm that behind! this time of year i just need to relax and currently that means being too lazy to take pics of my fabulous creations or in this case, just not posting them for a month!

so here you go, my best pecan and apple pie recipe, from thanksgiving! of course with my fave homemade vanilla that i spiked with bourbon :)

divine chocolate pecan pie

Preheat oven to 375°F with rack in middle. While oven is preheated you can toast the pecans on a cookie sheet, watch carefully to prevent from burning. Let cool while you are preparing pie shell and filling.

1 homemade pastry shell (if using storebought buy one that is unbaked)

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 to 5 tablespoons ice water

Blend together flour, butter, and salt in a bowl with your fingertips or pulse in a food processor just until mixture resembles coarse meal with some small (roughly pea-size) butter lumps. Drizzle 3 tablespoons ice water evenly over mixture and gently stir with a fork (or pulse) until incorporated.

Squeeze a small handful of dough: If it doesn't hold together, add more ice water, 1/2 tablespoon at a time, stirring (or pulsing) until incorporated. Do not overwork dough, or pastry will be tough.

Turn out dough onto a work surface. Divide dough into 4 portions. With heel of your hand, smear each portion once or twice in a forward motion to help distribute fat. Gather all dough together with pastry scraper. Press into a ball, then flatten into a 5-inch disk.

Wrap dough in plastic wrap and chill until firm, at least 1 hour.

Pie filling

2 cups pecans, toasted ( I use a mixed of halves and chopped)

6 oz. good quality dark/semi sweet chocolate chopped

3 eggs

¾ cup packed brown sugar

¾ cup dark corn syrup

1.5 tbsp melted butter

1 tsp vanilla

¼ tsp salt

Preheat oven to 375°F with rack in middle.

Melt chocolate in a bowl in microwave at 50% power in one minute invervals stirring till melted. Set aside.

Roll out dough into a 13-inch round on a lightly floured surface with a lightly floured rolling pin. Fit into a 9-inch pie plate. Trim excess dough, leaving a 1/2-inch overhang. Fold overhang under and press against rim of pie plate, then crimp decoratively.

Spread chocolate in bottom of pie shell with back of spoon and let it set 10 minutes or so. Cover with pecans.

Whisk together eggs, brown sugar, vanilla, butter and salt in a bowl, then whisk in corn syrup and pour over pecans.

Bake pie until filling is puffed and crust is golden, 50 to 60 minutes. (If pie is browning too fast after 30 minutes, loosely cover with foil.) Cool pie on a rack to warm or room temperature. Serve with whipped cream.

Cooks' note: Pie can be baked 1 day ahead and chilled, uncovered, until cool, then covered. Reheat in a 350°F oven until warm, about 10 minutes.

classic apple pie – adapted from cooks illustrated

All-Butter Pie Pastry

2 1/2

cups unbleached all-purpose flour (12 1/2 ounces), plus additional flour for work surface


teaspoon table salt


tablespoon sugar


tablespoons unsalted butter (2 sticks), cold, cut into 1/2-inch cubes and frozen for 10 minutes


tablespoons sour cream


cup ice water , or more if needed

Apple Filling


cup granulated sugar (3 1/2 ounces), plus 1 teaspoon


cup packed light brown sugar (1 3/4 ounces)


teaspoon table salt


tablespoon lemon juice


teaspoon grated lemon zest


teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 1/2

pounds tart apples (firm), about 5 medium, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices (see note)

2 1/2

pounds sweet apples (firm), about 5 medium, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices (see note)


egg white , beaten lightly


1. 1. For Pastry: Process flour, salt, and sugar together in food processor until combined, about 3 seconds. Add butter and pulse until butter is size of large peas, about ten 1-second pulses.

2. 2. Using fork, mix sour cream and 1/3 cup ice water in small bowl until combined. Add half of sour cream mixture to flour mixture; pulse for three 1-second pulses. Repeat with remaining sour cream mixture. Pinch dough with fingers; if dough is floury, dry, and does not hold together, add 1 to 2 tablespoons ice water and process until dough forms large clumps and no dry flour remains, three to five 1-second pulses.

3. 3. Turn dough out onto work surface. Divide dough into 2 balls and flatten each into 4-inch disk; wrap each disk in plastic and refrigerate until firm but not hard, 1 to 2 hours, before rolling. (Dough can be refrigerated for up to 24 hours. Let thoroughly chilled dough stand at room temperature for 15 minutes before rolling.)

4. 4. For Pie: Mix 1/2 cup granulated sugar, brown sugar, salt, zest, and cinnamon in large bowl; add apples and toss to combine. Transfer apples to Dutch oven (do not wash bowl) and cook, covered, over medium heat, stirring frequently, until apples are tender when poked with fork but still hold their shape, 15 to 20 minutes. (Apples and juices should gently simmer during cooking.) Transfer apples and juices to rimmed baking sheet and cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes. While apples cool, adjust oven rack to lowest position, place empty rimmed baking sheet on rack, and heat oven to 425 degrees.

5. 5. Remove 1 disk of dough from refrigerator and roll out between 2 large sheets of parchment paper or plastic wrap to 12-inch circle, about 1/8 inch thick. (If dough becomes soft and/or sticky, return to refrigerator until firm.) Remove parchment from one side of dough and flip onto 9-inch pie plate; peel off second layer of parchment. Working around circumference, ease dough into plate by gently lifting edge of dough with one hand while pressing into plate bottom with other hand. Leave dough that overhangs plate in place; refrigerate until dough is firm, about 30 minutes.

6. 6. Meanwhile, roll second disk of dough between 2 large sheets of parchment paper or plastic wrap to 12-inch circle, about 1/8 inch thick. Refrigerate, leaving dough between parchment sheets, until firm, about 30 minutes.

7. 7. Set large colander over now-empty bowl; transfer cooled apples to colander. Shake colander to drain off as much juice as possible (cooked apples should measure about 8 cups); discard juice. Transfer apples to dough-lined pie plate; sprinkle with lemon juice.

8. 8. Remove parchment from one side of remaining dough and flip dough onto apples; peel off second piece of parchment. Pinch edges of top and bottom dough rounds firmly together. Following illustrations 1 through 4, trim and seal edges of dough, then cut four 2-inch slits in top of dough. Brush surface with beaten egg white and sprinkle evenly with remaining teaspoon sugar.

9. 9. Set pie on preheated baking sheet; bake until crust is dark golden brown, 45 to 55 minutes. Transfer pie to wire rack and cool at least 1 1/2 hours. Cut into wedges and serve.

10. 10. Freezing Instructions:
We tried two different methods for freezing: (1) fully assembled and ready to go directly from freezer to oven and (2) divided into separate components of crust and cooked apple filling to be thawed, assembled, and baked. Both versions were good, although the reassembled pie was deemed marginally better for its slightly flakier, more evenly browned crust. You'll probably want to choose one method or the other based on how long you expect to keep a pie (or its components) in the freezer.

11. Assembled pies kept well for up to two weeks in the freezer; after that, the texture of the crust and apples suffered. To freeze an assembled pie, follow the recipe all the way through sealing the pie crust, but do not brush with egg wash. Freeze the pie for two to three hours, then wrap it tightly in a double layer of plastic wrap, followed by a layer of foil, and return it to the freezer. To bake, remove the pie from the freezer, brush it with egg wash, sprinkle with sugar, cut slits in the top crust, and place directly on the baking sheet in the preheated oven. Bake 5 to 10 minutes longer than normal.

12. For a longer freezer storage time of several months, freeze the crust and apples separately. Freeze individual batches of the cooked, drained apple filling in quart-sized freezer bags (this doubles as a great alternative to canning). Then make the pie dough, shape it into two 4-inch disks, wrap the disks tightly in a double layer of plastic wrap and foil, and freeze. When you're ready to make the pie, simply thaw the apples and crust in the refrigerator the night before, assemble as per the recipe instructions, and bake as directed. Of course, you can always just freeze the apples and make the crust fresh the day you bake the pie.

Friday, November 21, 2008

rib eyes with foie gras sauce and french apple walnut tart

sigh . . .this was such an amazing dinner and i forgot to post this too!
every fall as my work year draws to a close, i start cooking like a mad woman. i don't really get the time throughout the summer to cook what i want to.

i had been craving a good steak and a killer sauce so we invited our friends with a brand new baby over for a great meal. ribeyes with foie gras sauce, roasted fingerlings, roasted brussel sprouts and great bread followed by a rich and buttery french apple walnut tart with homemade ice cream of course - mmmmmmmmmm. . . . fall.

i basically made up this dinner but here is my guestimate of my amazing foie gras sauce.

foie gras sauce

1 large shallot chopped
3 tbsp apple brandy
4 oz. foie gras
1 cup cream
2-4 tsp balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

saute shallots in butter then when soft add in apple brandy until evaporated. add in 4 oz foie gras in chunks and saute until very soft. whisk in cream a little bit at a time then cook until reduced a little and able to coat the back of a spoon. add salt and pepper to taste then a little bit of balsamic vinegar to give it some acid. serve with great steaks!
french apple walnut tart

i really don't love fruit desserts and especially pie but the super rich almost shortbread like crust and the addition of the walnut filling made me want seconds of this one! you gotta try it! this is basically my favorite tart shell, and walnut fillings rolled into one recipe. definately make the dough and the walnut filling the day before to save some time.

Tart shell

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 stick (1/2 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

1/4 cup cold vegetable shortening

3 to 5 tablespoons ice water

Walnut filling

1 1/4 cup walnuts

¾ cup sugar

2 eggs

2 tbsp calvados

1 tsp vanilla extract

4 tbsp butter

Apple filling

1/3 cup sugar

½ tbsp brown sugar

½ cup apple juice

1 tbsp cider vinegar

1 lb apples

3 tbsp butter

1 tbsp calvados

Blend together flour, sugar, salt, butter, and shortening with your fingertips or a pastry blender (or pulse in a food processor) just until most of mixture resembles coarse meal with small (roughly pea-size) butter lumps. Drizzle evenly with 3 tablespoons ice water and gently stir with a fork (or pulse in food processor) until incorporated.

Squeeze a small handful: If it doesn't hold together, add more ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time, stirring (or pulsing) until just incorporated, then test again. (If you overwork mixture, pastry will be tough.)

Turn out mixture onto a lightly floured surface and divide into 6 portions. With heel of your hand, smear each portion once or twice in a forward motion. Gather dough together with scraper and press into a ball, then flatten into a 6-inch disk. Chill, wrapped in plastic wrap, until firm, at least 1 hour.

Roll out dough with a floured rolling pin into a 13-inch round on a lightly floured surface and fit into tart pan. if dough is difficult to work with, just press with fingers into tart pan. Trim excess dough, leaving a 1/2-inch overhang, then fold overhang inward and press against side of pan to reinforce edge. Lightly prick bottom and sides with a fork. Chill 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Line tart shell with foil or parchment paper and fill with pie weights. Bake in middle of oven until pastry is pale golden along rim, 20 minutes. Carefully remove foil and weights and bake until pale golden all over, 10 minutes more. Cool in pan on a rack.

Apple Filling

Cook 1/3 cup sugar in a dry 10 inch skillet over moderate heat, undisturbed, until it begins to melt. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally with a fork, until sugar is melted into an amber caramel. Tilt skillet and carefully pour in cider and vinegar (caramel will harden and steam vigorously). Simmer over moderately low heat until caramel dissolves, stirring occasionally.

While simmering, cut apples into 1/8 inch thick slices. Add apple slices to hot syrup, tossing gently to coat. Remove from heat and let stand until apples are wilted, 10 minutes.

While apples marinate. Combine walnuts, 3/4 cup sugar, eggs, 1 tablespoon Calvados, vanilla and salt in processor. Blend until soft paste forms. Add 4 tablespoons butter; blend 10 seconds. Chill till ready to use.

Drain apples in a sieve set over a bowl and reserve syrup. Spread walnut filling into bottom of cooked crust. Mound apples slices into tart shell. Dot apples with 1 tbsp butter and sprinkle with ½ tbsp brown sugar. Bake until tart is browned and bubbly 35-45 minutes.

While baking, boil reserved syrup in skillet with calvados and remaining 2 tbsp butter until thickened and reduced to about 1/3 cup. Brush over hot tarts.

Serve with ice cream and caramel. I use homemade vanilla with 3 tbsp calvados added in just before freezing.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

what are YOUR favorite recipes?

i'm nearing that time of year when i start to slow down shooting and channel all my photographic energy into the kitchen. i'll have a lot more time to cook and blog. i'd love to share some of my favorites with you but what are your favorites? comment on this post with recipe requests and i'll cook and publish my best version of your faves!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

blue corn banana pancakes

i discovered these pancakes years ago at a breakfast place in venice. they were an instant favorite and i have turned my family and now my great friend steph into fans. if you can't deal with the color or don't like bananas, yellow corn blueberry are a great variation. just substitute the yellow cornmeal for the blue and blueberry for the bananas.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

dinner at ANIMAL

i loved everything about animal! from the casual atmosphere to the beautiful but simple details to the amazing food! its an amazing combination of high end ingredients, simple preparations and mind blowing flavors! i wish i was eating there again tonight and promise you i will be there again soon! especially since the menu changes daily!

thanks to bonnie for organizing such a great night of fun foodies and great food!

if you like meat, make a reservation at animal now!

love the paper menus to set the chill tone

my favorite puppet! and might i say the only sign.

bonnieeric and sarahfries with oxtail sauce
the best heirloom salad EVER!petit basque and chorizo

whole branzino
tomahawk steak with fois gras sauce - omg delish! and proof i am not a vegetarian!

strawberries, biscuits and cream

the food dudes!
and they love sarah!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

italian turkey burgers and pineapple coconut sorbet

my favorite mom superhero brooke's husband was out of town this week so she and her 3 kiddos joined us for a warm fall night barbecue. i just made extra of what i was planning for our family. my favorite turkey burgers!

i had a pineapple from whole foods that just wasn't very sweet so i decided last minute to use the trusty ice cream maker to crank out some sorbet with what we had on hand.

neither of these are real recipes so proportions might be a little off but its more fun that way.

italian turkey burgers - for four
2 pounds ground turkey
4 cloves garlic chopped or crushed
3 tbsp finely chopped rosemary
ground pepper
slices of good provolone
tomato brushetta (store bought or homemade)
pesto mayonnaise (literally just 1/2 pesto and one half veganaise or mayo mixed together)
great bread

mix first 4 ingredients together and form patties, yes 4 patties, we like them fat.
make the pesto mayo and brushetta if you are making it (fyi traders joes refrigerated brushetta is so great i usually just buy it). sprinkle the burgers generously with salt and pepper and grill on the bbq till almost done. throw the provolone on and finish grilling and melt the cheese.
spread pesto mayo on your grilled or warmed bread of choice, slide a hot burger on, spoon on a healthy dose of brushetta and enjoy. these are my absolute favorite way to use up ground turkey!

pineapple coconut sorbet

what a way to get your fruit in . there is so much fresh pineapple in this! the coconut milk gives it a creamy consistently almost more like ice cream but its still very refreshing.

1 whole pineapple skinned and cored then cut into chunks
1 cup thai coconut milk (unsweetened stuff)
1 cup sugar in the raw
splash of rum
squeeze of lime

blend everything in blender. chill 1-2 hours then freeze in ice cream maker. perfect hot weather dessert!

Monday, September 22, 2008

dinner tonight

was really dinner for us and the proutys cause poor joy is on bedrest with her pregnancy. everyone one send her some good relaxed vibes so she can lay still another month and give baby more time to grow!

i used my day off to cook two fabulous dinners for them and us while i was at it. tonights was chicken fra diavlo, spaghetti squash "mac and cheese" with truffle oil, and greens with bacon. it was super good. i am a spaghetti squash nut but this was the first time i had tried this at it was too die for!!!!!!! YOU HAVE TO TRY IT! the sweetness of the squash makes this so much better than real mac and cheese!

i only followed a recipe for the chicken which is below and you really have to try! so much better than grilled or roasted chicken. and i'll do my best to guess at the measurements of what i threw in the squash.

chicken fra diavlo (courtesy of cooks illustrated)
Chicken and Brine
2 medium heads garlic
3 bay leaves , crumbled
1/2 cup table salt
1 whole chicken , butterflied and pounded
Garlic-Pepper Oil
4 medium cloves garlic , pressed through garlic press or minced (about 4 teaspoons)
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
1/4 cup olive oil

vegetable oil for grill grate
1 lemon cut into wedges, for serving

1. TO BRINE THE CHICKEN: Combine garlic heads, bay leaves, and salt in gallon-size zipper-lock bag; press out air and seal bag. Using rubber mallet or meat pounder, pound mixture until garlic cloves are crushed; transfer mixture to large container or stockpot and stir in 2 quarts cold water until salt is dissolved. Immerse chicken in brine and refrigerate until fully seasoned, about 2 hours.

2. FOR THE GARLIC-PEPPER OIL: While chicken is brining, heat garlic, black pepper, pepper flakes, and oil in small saucepan over medium heat until garlic is fragrant and sizzling and mixture registers about 200 degrees on instant-read thermometer, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature, about 40 minutes. Measure 2 tablespoons garlic-pepper oil into 2 small bowls and set aside.

3. TO FLAVOR THE CHICKEN: Remove chicken from brine and thoroughly pat dry with paper towels. Apply 2 tablespoons infused oil beneath skin.

4. TO GRILL THE CHICKEN: Turn all burners on gas grill to high, close lid, and heat until grill is very hot, about 15 minutes. Scrape grill grate clean with wire brush; lightly dip small wad paper towels in vegetable oil and, holding wad in tongs, wipe grill grate. Turn all burners to medium-low, position chicken skin-side down on center of grill grate, cover.

5. Cook until instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of thigh registers 170 to 175 degrees, 30 to 40 minutes. Transfer chicken to cutting board; let rest 10 minutes. Carve, then drizzle carved chicken with remaining infused oil and serve with lemon wedges.

my spaghetti squash "mac and cheese"
makes one large pan

2 spaghetti squash
1/2 stick butter
12 oz. grated sharp cheddar
6 oz. jack
6 oz. provolone
4 oz. cream cheese
4 oz. ricotta
1 1/2 tsp ground mustard
1-2 cups whole milk or half and half
more salt and pepper to taste
truffle oil

preheat oven to 375

cut spaghetti squashes in half and scoop out seeds. sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. roast in a large pan with about 1/2 inch of water so they steam slightly. depending on size this will take 30 min to 1 hour. when they are done pullling the flesh with the tines of a fork will result in noodle like strings. cool then using a fork pull all the "spaghetti" out and into a large bowl. mix in butter, milk, all cheese, mustard, salt and pepper and a good drizzle of truffle oil and mix well until combined.

put into a large casserole or baking dish and bake at 350 for 45min or 1 hour until hot bubbly and browned on top.

chocolate chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter buttercream

at chelsea's personal request, i made 30 of these for her shower. sadly i'm not a cupcake fan but everyone loved them. i do like this frosting though! i can eat it out of the bowl! and i ate all the frosting and some of a cupcake after my wedding saturday night!
these cupcakes are super easy but really good. as with everyone i always use the top shelf chocolate and cocoa like valhrona or scharfen berger. i scoop my frosting out with a ice cream scoop then just smooth tall with a nice. you have to have as much frosting as cupcake! as you don't have to deal with a pastry bag.

chocolate chocolate cupcakes

makes 12 big ones

1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup cocoa powder (use the good stuff)
1/2 cup oil
1 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1/2 bag milk or dark chips
1/2 bag pnut butter chips

Mix all ingredients together until moist and well blended.Put in cupcake cups and bake for 20-25 minutes at 350 degrees F.

peanut butter buttercream

Make 3 cups, enough for an ice cream scoop of frosting on 12 cupcakes (we like em big!)

16 tablespoons unsalted butter , softened
1 cup smooth peanut butter (don't use old-fashioned or natural brand)
2 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
1/4-1/2 cup sifted cocoa powder
Pinch table salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 tablespoon heavy cream

In standing mixer fitted with whisk attachment, beat butter and peanut butter at medium-high speed until smooth, about 20 seconds. Add confectioners' sugar and salt; beat at medium-low speed until most of the sugar is moistened, about 45 seconds. Scrape down bowl and beat at medium speed until mixture is fully combined, about 15 seconds; scrape bowl, add vanilla and heavy cream, and beat at medium speed until incorporated, about 10 seconds, then increase speed to medium-high and beat until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes, scraping down bowl once or twice.

happy bride to be

Thursday, September 18, 2008

only the best carrot cake for my birthday!

i can buy great chocolate cake but this carrot cake can't be beat and its my annual birthday treat. of course i make it for myself but i make my husband and son ice and decorate it :)

i posted the recipe a while ago. this cake is filled with so much stuff! and it stays so moist because it uses pureed carrots and crushed pineapple and oil instead of butter. butter is one of my favorite ingredients but this cake is awesome without it because of all the flavors from all the other ingredients i think.

here are some pics. i let fox go to town with a pastry bag filled with pink frosting. if this was for anyone else i'd cover the sides in crushed walnuts and pipe carrots on top :)

Sunday, September 7, 2008

fox's chocolate ice cream

so after working all day yesterday and all day tomorrow as well, i took fox to lunch and asked him what he wanted to do with mom today. his answer was to make homemade ice cream - his recipe! shocked but happy i asked what his recipe was and he said, "your chocolate ice cream with what i want in it!"

of course! so we went to whole foods and got all the stuff and he decided on a chocolate base with a TON of crushed oreos and MILK chocolate chips. i think a great combo! the base is chilling so stay posted for reviews and pics.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

corn and potato salad

i cooked us up a fabulous labor day picnic that we took to the beach and sadly forgot to photograph! we had marinated and grilled chicken, basil and parmesan red cabbage slaw, great fruit salad and this corn and potato salad. we had the leftovers tonight with some simple seared halibut. the flavors were even better in the potato salad today then monday. i made this up in a hurry so i really don't have proportions but adlib as neccesary.

a bunch of fingerling potatoes roasted in garlic and olive till very cripsy and brown then cooled
6 ears of sweet corn grilled on the bbq till nicely charred in some spots and tender, then kernals taken off cobb

for the dressing i mixed mayonaise, a good bunch of chopped garlic and lemon, added some salt pepper and chili powder and that was it. the toasty sweet flavor the grilled corn and the richness of the fingerling potatoes really make this salad!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

birthday pancakes

its my very good friend chelsea's birthday today. happy birthday chels! she has to shoot all day so i made her a special breakfast of my famous oatmeal pancakes. they are super hearty and whole grainy and of course she loved them! i hope they give her lots of great shooting energy today.

and of course here is the recipe so steve can make her breakfast in bed

whole grain oatmeal pancakes

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 cup old-fashioned oats

1/4 cup wheat germ

1/4 cup instant nonfat dry milk


1 tablespoon brown sugar

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 eggs

2 cups buttermilk

1/4 cup vegetable oil

In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients. In another bowl, beat eggs, buttermilk and oil; mix well. Stir into dry ingredients just until blended. Refrigerate overnight and then bring to room temperature before cooking the next morning. Pour onto a lightly greased hot griddle; turn when bubbles form on top of pancakes. Cook until second side is golden.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

thanks brooke

my girlfriend brooke and i trade recipes and leftovers (i'm not kidding) all the time. i'm not sure how she has anytime to cook with 3 kiddos but she does and she is amazing at it. she also has an amazing green thumb and left these on my porch yesterday. i had to post this pic. thanks brooke.

seared ahi with curry oil and soy syrup

i have been so busy lately i've been cooking very simply and sadly not making dessert. wait that s a lie i did make my famous cookies for leah's birthday but i've already posted that recipe here. so, last night i decided i better blog dinner.
there is really nothing easier than searing ahi for a weeknight dinner. its one of my favorite fish. it has so much great flavor on its own that it really doesn't even need anything. but since i have turned my husband onto curry i use it whenever i can. this is so easy it doesn't even require a recipe. make more of these sauces obviously the more fish you have this is a ballpark idea for two pieces of ahi.
just pour a bunch of good quality curry powder, say 1/4 cup, into a bowl, whisk in a little oil to make a paste then pour in 1/2 - 1 cup oil and stir to blend. microwave for 30 sec to 1 min till its nice and fragrant then let the mixture sit for a few hours so the curry infuses the oil. strain when close to serving by pouring over a coffee filter of paper towel so you are just left with the beautiful yellow oil. for soy syrup, mix 1/2 cup soy sauce with 1/4 cup brown sugar and simmer until thick and syrupy.
heat up a pan very hot. season ahi with salt and pepper and maybe some chili flakes and spray both sides with pan spray (yes spray fish directly, my favorite trick.) sear fish on both sides to desired doneness, i only cook mine about 1 minute per side. then drizzle with both curry oil and soy syrup. i served last night with stir fried cabbage and broccoli and brown rice.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

miso fish

we eat fish at least twice a week. its my favorite protein. it definately helps that mr. rau can bring home fresh cut fish from work :)
miso fish is one of my favorites. its soooooo easy but sooooo good. great for a weeknight. we had this last night with halibut though i think i like it best with salmon. its best grilled on the bbq but also great sauteed in a pan. i always serve it with steamed rice or roasted potatoes and some sort of stir fried green.

miso fish marinade (makes enough for 4 portions of fish)

1/4 cup white miso (fermented soybean paste)*
1/4 cup mirin (sweet Japanese rice wine)*
2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
2 tablespoons minced green onions
1 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
2 teaspoons oriental sesame oil

marinade fish 2-6 hours. then spray directly with pan spray. sprinkle with salt and pepper and grill.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

my dads bday

my dad turned 70 yesterday and we had a little get together with his friends. being my busy work season, i decided an ice cream cake would be just as yum and a lot easier than a chocolate cake. yesterday was really warm so ice cream cake was nice and cool to boot.
my dad has really simple tastes so we had fabulously fat filets that my chef husband grilled to a perfect medium over an open flame, grilled whole onions, salad, chili rubbed corn and of course blue cheese and mushroom accompaniments for the steak.
then this way too big ice cream pie. it was layers of chocolate chip and coffee ice creams, with two layers of dark chocolate ganache, and two layers of oreo crust, covered in more ganache, served with freshly whipped cream and my favorite homemade hot fudge sauce.
i really just made it all up as i went along so its basically unpublishable, except for my fabulous hot fudge which i'll publish below. here are some pics though.

check out thesefatties

my plate. yes i ate it all! and had seconds of blue cheese. 60 day cave aged i might add!

this was two springs forms full of oreo, ice cream and ganache layers. WAY too big for 9 people. sally took the 2nd half home to serve for her dad 96th birthday. so happy when leftovers go to great use.

it takes a chef and an expensive knife to serve this thing. without him i would have attempted this, then cried, then threw things when i couldn't do it.

check out these layers of creamy goodness. mmmm . . . .

okay the hot fudge which i didn't take a pic of! but my favorite recipe for it!!!!!!!!!!!!

hot fudge sauce
2/3 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened dutch process cocoa powder
1/4 tsp salt
6 oz. fine quality semi or bittersweet chocolate chopped
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tsp vanilla

bring cream, corn syrup, sugar, cocoa and salt and half of chocolate to boil in a heavy saucepan over moderate heat stirring frequently until chocolate is melted. reduce heat and simmer stirring occasionally for 5 minutes. remove from heat and add rest of chocolate, butter and vanilla. cool sauce to warm before serving.

serve on everything!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

ice cream report

my peanut butter ice cream was crazy good. you all have to try it. it was better than anything peanut buttery that i have ever made! the oatmeal cookie made eric very happy but for me it really didn't compare. here is a pic of it in its tupperware, i'm sorry i didn't take a shot of it in a pretty bowl but i was too excited to eat it! not the prettiest pic but you get an idea of how loaded it was.

Friday, July 4, 2008

happy 4th

we are going to my aunts house today for the requisite hamburger and hot dogs barbecue. my contribution is two homemade ice creams. #1 is a peanut butter base with a ton of peanut butter cups and fudge swirl. #2 is a vanilla base with crumbled homemade oatmeal cookies and a caramel swirl. i'll have to take funny pics tonight of my family eating them. but in case any of you have that ice cream maker canister freezing up for some fabulous creation, i'm posting these. my son liked these so much he told me we should turn our kitchen into an ice cream shop. he even named it - ice flames ice cream ?!?!

peanut butter cup and fudge swirl ice cream

Makes about 1.5 quarts

1 ¼ cups whole milk

1 ¼ cups heavy cream
1.5 cups creamy peanut butter, jif works great
3/4 cup sugar

3 teaspoons vanilla
jar of your favorite hot fudge, I love whole foods dark chocolate sauce

as many chopped peanut butter cups as you can handle, we used 10 double cup packages

In a saucepan simmer milk, cream, peanut butter, and 3/4 cup sugar over moderate heat, stirring, until smooth, about 1 minute. Stir in vanilla and cool mixture to room temperature. Freeze mixture in an ice-cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions.

As soon as ice cream is finished in machine and at soft serve stage stir in peanut butter cups then fudge.we used a whole small jar. Just dump a bunch onto top of ice cream and then slowly stir in. if you stir too much it won’t swirl. If ice cream gets too soft to do this, just freeze for a while before you stir it in.

Freeze ice cream, covered with plastic wrap, until hard.

Caramel swirl and oatmeal cookie ice cream

If you don’t want to splurge on vanilla beans, three teaspoons of vanilla extract may be substituted for the vanilla bean. To maximize the extract’s potency, stir it into the chilled custard just before churning.

Makes 1.5 quarts


1/4 cups whole milk


1/4 cups heavy cream


1/8 cup granulated sugar


inch piece vanilla bean , slit lengthwise and seeds removed, pod reserved (see illustration below)


large egg yolks


batch homemade or storebought oatmeal cookies, baked, cooled and crumbled


cup homemade or store bought caramel

1. Position a strainer over a medium bowl set in a larger bowl containing ice water. Heat the milk, cream, 1 cup of the sugar, and the vanilla seeds and pod in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally to break up the vanilla seeds, until steam appears and the milk is warm (about 175 degrees), about 5 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, whisk the yolks and remaining 1/8 cup sugar in a medium bowl until combined and pale yellow. Whisk half the warm milk mixture into the beaten yolks, 1/2 cup at a time, until combined. Whisk the milk-yolk mixture into the warm milk in the saucepan; set the saucepan over medium heat and cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until steam appears, foam subsides, and the mixture is slightly thickened or an instant-read thermometer registers 180 to 185 degrees. (Do not boil the mixture, or the eggs will curdle.) Immediately strain the custard into the bowl set in the ice bath; cool the custard to room temperature, stirring it occasionally to help it cool. Cover and refrigerate until an instant-read thermometer -registers 40 degrees or lower, at least 3 hours or up to 24 hours.

3. Remove and discard the vanilla pod from the custard (or add the vanilla extract, if using) and stir well. Pour the custard into the ice cream machine canister and churn, following the manufacturer’s instructions, until the mixture resembles soft-serve ice cream.

4. While at soft serve stage, mix in crumbled oatmeal cookies as desired. We used a lot! Then pour room temp caramel on top and carefully mix in. if you over mix you’ll lose the swirl. If ice cream gets too soft just freeze for a while before you add it in.

5. Transfer the ice cream to an airtight container, press plastic wrap flush against the surface, cover the container, and freeze the ice cream until firm, at least 2 hours. (The ice cream will keep for up to 2 days.)

seafood pasta fra diavlo

sadly i am not a lover of shellfish but i do love finfish. so when my good friend stephanie came over last night to join us for two days of festivities, i had to induldge her and eric who are both shellfish nuts. this recipe is a blend of several of my favorites. putting the anchovies in the base is actually something i learned from a fish soup recipe, it just really gives depth to the base. i traded out lobster in this recipe for sea bass so i would have some part of it to enjoy but really you could do any combination of seafood you like. this recipe, like a lot of mine, is deceptively easy but so impressive. homemade tomato sauce is sooo easy but really tastes so much better than anything bottled.

Seafood Fra Diavlo Pasta

6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

6 garlic cloves minced

1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

6 whole canned anchovys

1 ¼ cup white wine or dry vermouth

1 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes

¼ cup water

2 pounds littleneck clams

1 pound mussels, scrubbed, debearded

1 10-ounce uncooked lobster tail, shelled, meat cut into 1-inch pieces

8 ounces uncooked large shrimp, peeled, deveined

4 ounces bay scallops

3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

1 pound linguine

Heat 3 tablespoons oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and crushed red pepper and anchovy; stir until anchovy dissolves. Add wine; simmer until liquid is reduced by half, about 20 minutes. Add tomatoes with juices and tomato paste. Bring to simmer, breaking up tomatoes. Cover; simmer over low heat 40 minutes.

Bring 1/4 cup water to boil in another large skillet over high heat. Add clams and mussels. Cover; cook until shells open, about 6 minutes (discard any clams and mussels that do not open). Transfer shellfish to colander set over medium bowl; drain.

Strain juices from skillet and medium bowl through fine sieve into tomato sauce. Simmer sauce uncovered until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes. Add lobster, shrimp and scallops. Simmer 2 minutes. Add clams and mussels from colander. Simmer 1 minute longer. Stir in remaining 3 tablespoons oil and parsley. Season with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, cook linguine in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to bite. Drain. Return to pot. Add shellfish sauce; toss to coat.

Strain juices from skillet and medium bowl through fine sieve into tomato sauce. Simmer sauce uncovered until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes. Add lobster, shrimp and scallops. Simmer 2 minutes. Add clams and mussels from colander. Simmer 1 minute longer. Stir in remaining 3 tablespoons oil and basil. Season with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, cook linguine in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to bite. Drain. Return to pot. Add shellfish sauce; toss to coat.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

apricot jam

my friend jeni has a beautiful apricot tree with abundant fruit so i picked a bunch sunday afternoon for jam. stone fruit jams are soooooooo easy to make because most require no pectin. here is a good basic recipe. this is soooooooooo good on buttered toast.

apricot jam

8 cups diced apricots
1/4 cup lemon juice
6 cups sugar

Sterilize your canning jars by boiling for 10 minutes in hot water.You will need 5 pint jars or 10 half-pints.Combine all ingredients in a large stock pot.Bring to boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally until the sugar dissolves.Once mixture reaches a rolling boil, continue to boil it for 30 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent it from sticking.Remove from heat and fill jars, leaving 1/4 head space.Wipe rims clean and put the 2-piece metal canning lids in place. Safety top should suck down if seal was sucessful.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

brownie sundaes for saturday

cookie or brownie sundaes are my ultimate comfort food. i can't seem to eat a cookie or brownie without heating it up and serving it with ice cream and fantastic dessert sauces. these brownies are the culmination of a lifetime of recipe tests. to my palate they are the absolute best. they are super chocolaty and decadent and very fudgey so if you like a lighter cakier brownie these might not be for you. i'm serving these tonight for friends. we are out of homemade ice cream so i'm using my standard favorite, haagen daaz vanilla. i did however make up a new dessert sauce to go with them, white chocolate caramel!!!!! yum!!!! and i'm also doing my standard fave homemade hot fudge too. i call these million dollar brownie cause they aren't cheap to make if you use the good stuff i recommend. i'd say at least $20 a sheet pan but sooooooooo worth it.
here are pics and all the recipes. i'm taking these with me to a friends house but fox was happy to let me make one up for him for a lunch dessert so i could take pics.

for those of you that can eat brownies naked.

sundae style with both sauces

dessert after lunch? um . . .yes!

million dollar fudge brownies

4 sticks unsalted butter
1 pound semisweet chocolate chips or chunks

12 ounces mixed semi sweet, milk and white chocolate chips or chunks (use any mix of semi sweet and any chips you like, peanut butter is really good too)

6 ounces scharfen berger or valhrona unsweetened chocolate (at gourmet stores or whole foods in baking aisle, usually sold in a block) chopped
6 extra-large eggs
3 tablespoons instant coffee powder
2 tablespoons real vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, divided (1 cup for batter and 1/4 cup in the chips and nuts)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3 cups diced toasted pecan or walnut pieces

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 13 by 18 by 1 1/2-inch sheet pan.

Melt together the butter, 1 pound semi sweet chocolate, and unsweetened chocolate on top of a double boiler. Cool slightly. Stir together the eggs, instant coffee, vanilla and sugar. Stir in the warm chocolate mixture and cool to room temperature.

Stir together 1 cup of the flour, baking powder and salt. Add to cooled chocolate mixture. Toss the walnuts and 12 ounces of chocolate chips with 1/4 cup flour to coat. Then add to the chocolate batter. Pour into prepared pan.

Bake for about 30-45 minutes, or until tester just comes out clean. Halfway through the baking, rap the pan against the oven shelf to allow air to escape from between the pan and the brownie dough. Do not over-bake! Cool thoroughly, refrigerate well and cut into squares.

white chocolate caramel

1 1/2 cups sugar
1/3 cup water
1 1/4 cups heavy cream warmed in microwave
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

6- 8 ounces good quality chopped white chocolate

Mix the water and sugar in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan. Cook over low heat for 5 to 10 minutes, until the sugar dissolves. Do not stir. Increase the heat to medium and boil uncovered until the sugar turns a warm chestnut brown (about 350 degrees F on a candy thermometer), about 5 to 7 minutes, gently swirling the pan to stir the mixture. Be careful – the mixture is extremely hot! Watch the mixture very carefully at the end, as it will go from caramel to burnt very quickly. Turn off the heat. Stand back to avoid splattering and slowly add the cream and vanilla. Don't worry - the cream will bubble violently and the caramel will solidify.

Simmer over low heat, stirring constantly, until the caramel dissolves and the sauce is smooth, about 2 minutes. Add chopped white chocolate and continue stirring till melted and combined. Allow to cool to room temperature, at least 4 hours. It will thicken as it sits.

hot fudge

1 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup light corn syrup
12 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
2 tsp vanilla

Bring cream and corn syrup to simmer in heavy medium saucepan. Remove from heat. Add all chocolate and stir until melted and smooth.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

2 tabboulehs for britney

i am not cooking this today but britneys request for this reminded me that i hadn't made it in a while. tabbouleh really is one of my fave summer salads. i especially love it mixed with hummus and wrapped in a curry tortilla or naan. i fell in love with it when i worked at real food daily in college. there they wrapped it up in a square shape then cut it on the bias and called it "love triangles" - i never forgot that dish and usually make my own version of it off the whole foods salad bar. when i make tabbouleh though its usually as some part of a summer bbq with tandoori chicken, grilled veggies and some sort of hummus.
i like traditional tabbouleh which is much heavier on the herbs than on the bulghur but because the americanized version tends towards a higher proportion of bulghur, i decided to publish two recipes. both are great.

#1 traditional tabbouleh

makes about 1 quart

1/2 cup bulgur , fine or medium grain, rinsed under running water and drained
1/3 cup lemon juice (from 2 lemons)
1/3 cup olive oil

Table salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 cups minced fresh parsley leaves
2 medium tomatoes , halved, seeded, and cut into very small dice
4 medium scallions , green and white parts, minced
2 tablespoons minced fresh mint leaves (or 1 rounded teaspoon dried mint)

1. Mix bulgur wheat with 1/4 cup of the lemon juice in medium bowl; set aside until grains are tender and fluffy, 20 to 40 minutes,depending on age and type of bulgur.

2. Mix remaining lemon juice, olive oil, salt to taste and red pepper, if desired. Mix bulgur, parsley, tomatoes, scallions, and mint; add dressing and toss to combine. Cover and refrigerate to let flavors blend, 1 to 2 hours. Serve.

#2 tabbouleh (more american style)

2 cups bulgur (cracked wheat)

1 large bunch parsley
1/2 cup packed fresh mint leaves
4 green onions
3/4 pound tomatoes, seeded, chopped
6 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin

Place bulgur in large bowl. Pour enough warm water over to cover generously. Let stand until bulgur softens, about 15 minutes. Drain well, pressing out excess water. Return bulgur to same large bowl.

Meanwhile, finely chop parsley, mint and green onions in processor. Add bulgur. Mix in tomatoes, then lemon juice, oil and cumin. Season generously with salt and pepper. (Can be made 3 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.)

Saturday, June 21, 2008

your recipe requests

its my busy time of year as a photographer so i'm cooking and baking less for sure. but i do have 3 volumes of huge binders stuffed full of my favorite recipes , from soup to salad, to main dishes and dessert, that i can blog with no effort. so why don't you all comment here on recipes you want my favorite version of. i'll publish whatever i have and do some research on the rest. just comment on this post and i'll get blogging.

the perfect cheeseburger

i love cheeseburgers and i love blue cheese but there is something magical about the combination of blue cheese and round beef that makes the sum exponentially better than its parts. before the rilo kiley show this past wednesday night, eric, stephanie, fox and i all ventured into the roosevelt hotels hip burger joint 25 degrees omg it was burger heaven! first of all, its the swankest little fab/diner anywhere! the cheese selection is something out of a fine french restaurant and that combined with other superlative toppings like pesto and carmelized onions made for the most fabulous build your own burger menu ever. i had a sirloin burger with gorgonzola, carmelized onions and arugula. it was too die for. check this place out!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

my favorite miso dressing and edamame hummus

we watched our dear friend jo's son today while she was at work so i treated her with a yummy vegetarian dinner when she came to pick him up. we had a salad of spinach, snow peas, carrots, water chestnuts and almonds with marinated tofu and my famous miso dressing. i served that with homemade chili garlic pita chips and edamame hummus. i didn't take pics because i was too hungry to wait! but here are recipes for the two main things.

Edamame Hummus

3 cups shelled soybeans, defrosted
1/2 cup tahini
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
2 lemon (about 6 tablespoons), juiced
3 clove garlic, smashed
2 teaspooon kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
6-8 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

In a food processor, puree the edamame, tahini, water, lemon zest and juice, garlic, salt, cumin, and coriander until smooth. With the motor running, slowly drizzle in 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and mix until absorbed.

Transfer to a small bowl, stir in the parsley and drizzle with remaining oil. Refrigerate, covered, up to 1 day.

Miso Salad Dressing

1/3 cup rice vinegar
3 tablespoons yellow or red miso
3 large garlic cloves, peeled
2 tsp sugar
2 teaspoons chopped fresh ginger
2 tsp sesame oil
2 tsp soy
1/2 cup olive oil

Mix everything in a blender and serve with any salad. I like to make a combo of baby spinach, snow peas, water chestnuts, shredded carrots and onions with chicken or tofu and then toasted nuts on top.