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Friday, December 25, 2009

Peppery Green Salad with Manchego Cheese and Sauteed Pears

I hope everyone is having a wonderful Christmas! Mine has been wonderful so far and I received far too many gifts :).


For Christmas Eve dinner, I was asked to make a simple green salad that would pair nicely with Stone Crab claws. I looked through a few recipes and there was one that stuck out at me. 
This salad uses spicy salad greens along side crunchy pepitas and sweet pears. It was perfect with the crab claws and I think everyone really enjoyed it. I also really enjoyed the nice bite of the Manchego cheese. As for the vinaigrette, I will be making it again and again. It was outstanding!


Once again, I very much apologize for the terrible quality of the photos. They were rushed while I was serving the salad.

Peppery Green Salad with Manchego Cheese and Sauteed Pears
recipe adapted from here

  • 4 cups packed arugula
  • 4 cups packed frisée (curly endive)
  • 1/3 cup pepitas (hulled pumpkin seeds)
  • 5 large pears (any type will taste great), cored and cut into bite-sized chunks
  • 1/2 lb piece of Manchego cheese, rind removed and grated or cut into tiny pieces
  • 1/3 cup + 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tbsp Sherry vinegar
  • 1 tbsp + 1 tsp honey
  • 1 tbsp grainy dijon mustard
  • salt and pepper
  1. Heat 1 tbsp of the oil in a saute pan over medium heat. Add in the pepitas and cook until puffed and starting to brown, about 5 minutes. Remove from pan with a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel-lined plate to cool. Pour the leftover oil from the pan into a small bowl and reserve for later.
  2. Heat 2 more tbsp of the oil in the same saute pan and add in the pear chunks. Saute for aroubd five minutes and remove from pan and set aside.
  3. Toss together the arugula, frisée, cheese, and pepitas in a large salad bowl.
  4. In another bowl, whisk together the vinegar, mustard, and honey. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil (including the reserved oil from the pepitas), whisking until emulsified.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Pour the dressing on the salad and add the pears; toss to combine. If you are making this ahead of time, I like to whisk the dressing up in the bottom of the salad bowl and pour the arugula, frisée, pepitas, and Manchego over it. I put the sauteed pears in a tupperware, and then when ready to serve you just throw in the pears and toss to coat!
serves at least 10 small starter salads


Thursday, December 24, 2009

Mascarpone Brownies with Honey-Chocolate Sauce


Merry Christmas!

Brownies have always been one of my favorite desserts, but honestly, who can't say that? This version kicks the typical brownie up a few notches and actually makes it fairly elegant! They are soft and rich from the mascarpone cheese, yet also surprisingly light at the same time. They are nice and fudge-y, and paired with the honey-chocolate sauce they are just absolutely divine.


I apologize for the terrible photos, but I had to take them in very dim lighting at Christmas Eve dinner with my family :).

Mascarpone Brownies with Honey-Chocolate Sauce
recipe adapted from here

Mascarpone Brownies:
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 8 ounces mascarpone cheese
  • 6 tbsp butter, at room temperature
  • 1 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9x9 baking pan.
  2. Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl. Set aside.
  3. Melt the chocolate and 1/2 cup of butter together in the microwave, checking every 30 seconds. Set aside to cool slightly.
  4. In a large bowl, beat the mascarpone, 6 tbsp of softened butter, and sugar until combined.
  5. Add eggs one at a time, mixing thoroughly after each addition. Add in the vanilla and mix thoroughly.
  6. Pour in the melted chocolate and beat until combined.
  7. Add the dry ingredients, slowly, and mix just until combined.
  8. Pour into greased pan and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center come out clean, about 50 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.
  9. Serve with Honey-Chocolate sauce drizzled over top.
Honey-Chocolate Sauce:
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 2 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 3 tbsp honey

  1. Heat the heavy cream in a sauce pan over medium heat to a light boil.
  2. Remove the pan from the heat and add the chocolate. Stir until chocolate is completely combined.
  3. Stir in the honey until combined.
  4. Refrigerate until ready to use and then heat over low heat until pourable. Serve over brownies.


Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Soft Scrambled Eggs with Arugula and Prosciutto


Ever since I realized the glory that is slow scrambled eggs, I have been all over those babies like white on rice. While I was home, I really wanted to share their tastiness with my family so they could appreciate their wonderfulness as much as I do! Yesterday morning I woke up early and made my mom some for breakfast.
I wasn't sure about the flavor combination that I wanted to include in them so I just decided to see what I had on-hand. I saw some arugula and prosciutto di parma leftover from the tartines I made a couple of days ago and it was settled!
These eggs turned out amazing and it's safe to say that my mother was rather impressed. I served them up with some nice fresh strawberries topped with mascarpone cheese that I mixed with a bit of cream and brown sugar- utterly delightful!


Soft Scrambled Eggs with Arugula and Prosciutto

  • 6 eggs
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • pat of butter
  • salt and pepper
  • handful of arugula
  • shaved parmesan cheese
  • a couple of slices of prosciutto di parma
  1. Whisk together the eggs and cream until combined. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
  2. Melt the butter in a pan over medium heat. Wait until the butter foams up and then the foam subsides. Pour in the eggs/cream and reduce the heat to low.
  3. Continually stir the eggs with a wooden spoon over very low heat until the desired consistency is reached (this should take quite a bit of time, up to around 30 minutes). Add in the arugula and stir until it wilts.
  4. Scoop the eggs onto four pieces of toasted, fresh bread. Top with a sprinkling of shaved parmesan and finish with a slice of prosciutto. Serves 2-4 depending on appetites.

Monday, December 21, 2009

White Chocolate Heath Cookies


Cookie Time! I finally had to give in to my family's pleads for something sweet and decided to try something a little different. My dad's favorite cookie is White Chocolate Macadamia, but his favorite candy is definitely Heath (and, by the way,  I could not, for the life of me, keep him away from it while I was making these!); I decided, why not borrow a bit from both and make White Chocolate Heath Cookies?
These cookies turned out absolutely perfect. I know calling something "perfect" is a little much, but I honestly don't know how else to describe them! The crunchy heath and the warm, gooey white chocolate just may be a match made in heaven (Who knew?). Plus, they have a nice crispy-ness to them while still being chewy.
Make them this holiday season. I promise you won't be disappointed (and neither will your family or friends- in fact, don't be surprised if you happen to make a few new buddies with these tasty treats!).


Poor Max wanted some cookies. My father honest to goodnesss said they were "doggone good" while attempting to be super punny, hah.


Sorry Maxie :(.

White Chocolate Heath Cookies

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 3/4 cup salted butter, melted
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 extra large egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups white chocolate chips (I used Ghirardelli)
  • 2 cups Heath pieces
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl and set aside.
  3. Cream together the butter and sugars in the bowl of an electric mixer or with a hand-held mixer. Add in the whole egg and the vanilla and beat until combined; follow with the yolk and again beat until combined.
  4. Slowly add the flour mixture into the wet mixture and mix until just combined.
  5. Stir in the white chocolate and the heath.
  6. Scoop dough into 1-2 tablespoon-sized balls onto the baking sheet. Lightly press down on the cookies to flatten them ever-so-slightly.
  7. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until the edges begin to turn golden. Remove from oven and cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing and setting on a wire rack to further cool.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Asparagus, Leek, and Prosciutto Tartines


Whenever I'm back home in Florida my family takes full advantage of my love for cooking/baking and doesn't hesitate to ask for delectable treats. When my mom asked if I would make some appetizers for a holiday party her and my dad were attending, I certainly said yes!
I knew that I would be making some of the Fig Bruschetta that I had made the last time I was home because it is not only incredibly, amazingly delicious, but super easy (though I used dried figs this time as they are no longer in season and they tasted just as wonderful!). But, I wanted to make a second option as well. When I found the recipe for these tartines, I knew they would be a fun and tasty compliment.
They turned out awesome, and like the bruschetta, were very simple to make. I loved the creaminess of ricotta/asparagus puree with the saltiness of the prosciutto, and the lemon juice added a nice freshness. From what I hear, they were a huge hit at the party!


Asparagus, Leek, and Prosciutto Tartines
recipe slightly adapted from here

  • 1 lb asparagus, trimmed
  • 1 leek roughly chopped, white and light green portions only
  • 4 tsp olive oil
  • 1 large clove of garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup ricotta cheese
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 lb prosciutto
  • bread sliced into rounds for serving (you could use a baguette or ciabatta)
  • olive oil for drizzling
  1. Boil the asparagus in a shallow pan until it turns bright green, around 5 minutes. Remove from pan and run under cool water to stop the cooking; pat dry.
  2. Heat 2 teaspoons of the olive oil in a saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and leeks and season with salt and pepper. Cook until soft, about 7 minutes.
  3. Roughly chop the asparagus and add it to the bowl of a food processor. Add the ricotta and the sauteed leeks/garlic and pulse until combined. Ad the lemon juice and the other 2 teaspoons of olive oil and puree. Season with sat and pepper if necessary.
  4. Drizzle olive oil over the bread slices, sprinkle with black pepper, and toast in an oven until golden brown. Smear a dollop of the puree on each slice and top with a piece of the prosciutto.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Chocolate Turtle Cookies


I've been looking for another sweet recipe to bake after making the Salted Brown Butter Crispy Treats three times in the past two weeks at Mikey's request. As delicious as they are, it's a bit repetitive, hah.
As soon as I saw these turtle cookies over at Closet Cooking, I knew that they would be great with some home-made cajeta. I decided to make another batch of the gooey goodness especially for these cookies!
These cookies turned out amazing! The pecans and the cajeta marry so well together- I love the contrast between the crunch of the nuts and the creaminess of the cajeta.
I highly recommend them, whether you bake them for a holiday party, or just for you and yours to snack on .


Chocolate Turtle Cookies
recipe slightly adapted from here

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp coarse salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 2 tbsp milk (I used goat's milk to compliment the cajeta)
  • 1 tsp vanilla paste
  • 1 cup pecans, finely chopped
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 24 tsp cajeta
  • 24 pecan halves, toasted
  1. Mix the flour, cocoa, and salt in a medium-sized bowl. Set aside.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg yolk, milk, and vanilla.
  3. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until just combined. Lay plastic wrap directly over the dough and refrigerate for at least an hour.
  4. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
  5. In a small bowl, whisk the egg whites until frothy.
  6. Form the dough into 1 inch balls (I weighed each of mine out at 0.8 ounces). Dip the balls into the egg whites and then in the chopped pecans.
  7. Place the balls of dough onto the lined baking sheet, pecan side up. Indent the center of the balls with a spoon or finger. IMG_0904
  8. Bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes, rotating halfway through.
  9. Fill each cookie with about a teaspoon or so of the cajeta, and top with a toasted pecan half.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Veggie Burgers & Super Simple Garlic Aioli


Every few weeks or months I go through a food faze where I just cannot get enough of a certain food. In the past it has been avocados, big juicy meat burgers, hot dogs, sweet potato fries, cottage cheese, pickles, and peanut butter. My cravings have absolutely no rhyme or reason and come on fairly suddenly. Right now, it's veggie burgers. These days, nearly each time I go out to eat I order one and still haven't satiated my hankering. I decided it was high time I made my own.
Despite the fact that I generally have a strong aversion to Guy Fieri and his bowling shirts and "bling,"I had heard that his sister's veggie burger recipe was up there with the best. Thus, I conceded my disfavor of the man for a small moment and gave it a try.
These veggie burgers turned out surprisingly delectable and I am very glad that I made quite a few to freeze for whenever I need one .
I served mine up on a big brioche bun with a simple aioli (recipe below), avocado, green leaf lettuce, and tomato.


Veggie Burgers
recipe adapted from here
  • 4 ounces olive oil
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp diced red onion
  • 1/4 cup diced black olives
  • 1/4 cup diced red bell pepper
  • 1 tbsp diced jalapeno
  • 3 tbsp minced garlic
  • 2 tbsp diced artichoke
  • 8 ounces black beans, drained if canned
  • 8 ounces chickpeas, drained if canned
  • 8 ounces white kidney beans, drained if canned
  • 2 tbsp minced fresh parsley
  • 6 ounces rolled oats
  • 3.5 ounces oat bran
  • 1/2 tsp Sweet Hungarian paprika
  • 1/2 tsp hot paprika
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp celery salt
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground sage
  • 1/4 cup bread crumbs
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tbsp worcestershire sauce
  1. Heat 2 ounces of the olive oil (half of it) in a saute pan over medium-high heat. Add in the first seven ingredients (all until the beans) and saute until the veggies become translucent (about 5 minutes or so). Put the veggies into a bowl to cool and set aside. IMG_0862
  2. Slightly mash the beans and the parsley in a bowl with a fork or potato masher. Add in the veggies and mix thoroughly.  IMG_0851
  3. Add in the remainder of the dry ingredients. Also add in the eggs and worcestershire sauce, and form into eight patties (I got seven, but I made mine fairly large). Cover and refrigerate for at least half an hour (or freeze any you don't want to use right away). I used a little circular tupperware container lined with plastic wrap to help me shape the patties. Then, I just lifted each out by the plastic, and wrapped 'em up- super easy! IMG_0873IMG_0878
  4. Heat the other 2 ounces of olive oil in the saute pan and cook the patties for 2 to 3 minutes per side.

Super Simple Garlic Aioli

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tsp dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp minced garlic
  1. Whisk together all of the ingredients in a bowl.
  2. Chill the aioli, covered, for at least 2 hours prior to serving so flavors can meld.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookies


These chocolate cookies, I'm convinced (as are many others), are the best chocolate chip cookies on the planet. This is the fourth or fifth time I have made them and I love them more each time. And, trust me, it's saying something when I make a recipe multiple times because I kind of have a thing for trying something once and then never making it again no matter how delicious the dish. Many, many people have tried them and can attest to their greatness as the recipe comes from The New York Times July, 9 2008 issue. The recipe is adapted from Jacques Torres by David Leite.
They are absolutely marvelous. The giant chocolate chunks paired with the flakey salt makes the most wonderful combination. These cookies are also rather large- each dough ball weighing in at a whopping three and a half ounces! You simply must let the dough sit in the fridge for at the very least 24 hours (but preferably 36) if you hope to coax the best flavor possible out of them.
Try these cookies. I promise you won't be disappointed. It should also be noted that these cookies make for great ice cream sandwiches with a nice big scoop of vanilla ice cream placed between two of the colossal cookies.

Just as a note, if you do opt to use the fèves as opposed to chocolate chunks, your cookies will turn out fatter like these:


But if you use the chunks, then your cookies will flatten out a bit like these:

Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookies

Both are insanely delicious and there is no real difference in flavor.

The Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookies
recipe from here


  • 8 1/2 ounces cake flour
  • 8 1/2 ounces bread flour
  • 1 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 10 ounces (1 1/4 cups) unsalted butter
  • 10 ounces brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 lbs chocolate disks or fèves, at least 60% cocoa content (you can find these at Whole Foods)
  • fleur de sel or sea salt, for sprinkling
  1. Combine flours, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into a medium-sized mixing bowl. Set aside.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy (about 5 minutes). Add in the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add in the vanilla. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add in the dry ingredients and mix until just combined (about 5 to 10 seconds). Finally, add in the chocolate pieces and be careful not to break them. IMG_0796
  3. Lay plastic wrap directly over the dough a refrigerate for 24 to 36 hours (or up to 72 hours).
  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a few baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
  5. Scoop 3 1/2 ounce balls of dough onto baking sheet, putting only 6 mounds of dough on each sheet pan. Sprinkle with fleur de sel (or sea salt) and bake until golden brown (about 18 to 20 minutes). Cool on baking sheet for 10 minutes and then transfer cookies to a wire rack for further cooling.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Creamy Slow-Scrambled Eggs with Rosemary and Capers

Creamy Slow-Scrambled Eggs with Rosemary and Capers

Scrambled eggs are one of my very favorite dishes and I find that the make a wonderful meal for more than just breakfast and I can tell you that they have made their way onto my dinner menu more than a handful of times. Only within the past year have I discovered the gloriousness that is slow-scrambled eggs. They are rich, and velvety, and simple; all you need is patience!
These herby eggs were such a delight. The briny flavor of the capers, coupled with the woody, fragrant rosemary is an amazing pairing with the creamy eggs. Of course in order to complete the dish you must serve them over some nice crusty french bread.
This recipe is for one but it is easy to double, triple, quadruple, or whatever to your heart's content.

Creamy Slow-Scrambled Eggs with Rosemary and Capers
recipe slightly adapted from here


Creamy Slow-Scrambled Eggs with Rosemary and Capers Ingredients
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 cup cream
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • pat of butter
  • 1/2 tsp fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 1 tbsp capers
  • Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, freshly grated
  1. Beat the eggs with the cream, salt, and pepper.
  2. Heat the butter in a skillet over medium heat for a minute or two. Add the rosemary and capers and saute for a couple of minutes until fragrant.
  3. Lower the heat all the way and pour the egg mixture into the pan. Cook the egg mixture 'til desired consistency, stirring fairly constantly (this can take up to 25 minutes- don't worry it's incredibly worth it!).
  4. Sprinkle the cheese over the top and serve over toast.
Creamy Slow-Scrambled Eggs with Rosemary and Capers

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Smitten Kitchen's Salted Brown Butter Crispy Treats


I love the classic Rice Krispie Treats as much as the next person and so does my boyfriend Mikey, which is why when he asked me, at literally midnight last night, if he went out and bought a box of the cereal if I would make him the delicious treats, I said yes. But, of course I can't be satisfied with just the average Rice Krispie Treat. I need a slightly gourmet flair- and then I remembered Deb's salted brown butter version and it was settled.
These crispy bars are absolutely to-die-for (plus entirely too easy to make)! Especially if you eat them before they are all set up and still ooey, gooey, and warm. The brown butter gives them a slightly nutty favor that is simply sublime with the flaky salt.

Yum! You can even juuust barely see the little bits of browned butter in them.

Smitten Kitchen's Salted Brown Butter Crispy Treats
recipe from here



  • 4 ounces unsalted butter, plus extra to grease the pan
  • 1 10 ounce bag of marshmallows
  • heaping 1/4 tsp coarse salt (I used fleur de sel)
  • 6 cups Rice Krispies cereal
  1. Grease an 8 inch square baking dish; set aside.
  2. In a large pot (I used a dutch oven), melt and brown the butter over medium-low heat. Deb says the butter will "melt, then foam, then turn clear golden, and finally start to turn brown and smell nutty." Continually stir the butter and scrape any browned bits that form at the bottom of the pan. The butter will turn from browned to burned very quickly so don't let it out of your sight!
  3. Turn the heat off and stir in the marshmallows right when the butter is browned. If the residual heat alone does not melt the marshmallows, turn the heat back on low and stir until fully melted and creamy. 
  4. Take the pot off of the heat if you turned it back on and stir in the cereal and salt into the butter/marshmallow mixture.
  5. Spread the mixture immediately into the prepared pan and press it down so that it is even. Let cool to room temperature and cut into squares.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Pine Nut Rosemary Shortbread


When I first came across these pretty little cookies I just knew I needed to bake these as holiday gifts. We all know I love shortbread, and I thought that the rosemary would give a winter-y flavor to them.
These cookies turned out fantastic! The nutty flavor of the browned butter in the shortbread really compliments the pine nuts, and the rosemary imparts a really unique, tasty bite. Also, I recommend trying at least one just out of the oven when it's nice and warm and crumbly- absolute bliss!
I'm glad I made a test batch to make sure they would be delicious, because now I can bake up a few batches and wrap them up in cellophane and tie them with pretty ribbon- instant Christmas goodies!

I love how you can see the hunks of pine nut and rosemary, very rustic.

Oh. My. Goodness. Just look at that perfect, golden-brown, buttery bottom.

Pine Nut Rosemary Shortbread
recipe from here

  • 2 cups white whole-wheat flour
  • scant teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • zest of one lemon
  • 2/3 cup pine nuts, toasted and coarsely chopped
  • 1 1/4 tsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • turbinado sugar, for sprinkling (optional)
  1. In a small bowl, combine the flour and salt and set aside.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter, sugar, and lemon zest until light and fluffy. Add in the flour mixture, pine nuts, and rosemary and mix until just combined (though in my experience, I tend to think shortbread is actually better when it's "over-mixed").
  3. Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and knead a couple of times so that it just comes together. Roll it into a ball and divide that ball in two. Flatten each half into a 1 inch disk and wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes. IMG_0711
  4. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
  5. Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface to 1/4 inch thick. Using  cookie cutter, stamp out shapes and place on lined baking sheet. Sprinkle cookies with turbinado sugar if you so desire (I sprinkled half of mine and left the other half plain). IMG_0724
  6. Bake for around 10 minutes, or until the cookies begin to turn golden on the bottom. Let cool on a wire baking rack.
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