Saturday, November 28, 2009

Old-fashioned Berry Chocolate Cake

Based on this molasses cake. (Hold the molasses, add chocolate ;))

Saturday, October 31, 2009


Happy Halloween from the Barefoot Contessa!

Actually, a Contessa IMPOSTER!
But who better to dress up as than the amazing Ina Garten!

Happy Halloween!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Oeufs en cocotte (Baked eggs)

Oeufs en Cocotte
from Julia Child

Per ramekin:

1/2 teaspoon butter
1 ramekin 2 1/2 to 3 inches in diameter and about 1 1/2 inches high
2 tablespoons whipping cream
A pan containing 3/4 inch of simmering water
1 egg

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Butter ramekin/s. Break an egg into the ramekin. Pour in a spoonful of cream over the egg and top with a dot of butter.

2. Place in middle level of preheated oven and bake for 7 to 10 minutes. The eggs are done when they are just set but still tremble slightly in the ramekins. They will set a little more when the ramekins are removed, so they should not be overcooked.

3. Season with salt and pepper and serve. The ramekins may remain in the hot water, out of the oven, for 10 to 15 minutes before serving. To prevent overcooking, remove eggs from oven when slightly underdone.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Ina's Berry Pavlova

Mixed Berry Pavlova from Ina Garten

This gorgeous confection was my birthday "cake" this year. I wasn't feeling the traditional birthday cake, and once I saw Ina make this, I knew I had to have it. I'm a huge fan of Barefoot Contessa and I just love Ina. I also saw a Martha Stewart recipe for pavlova that also looked beautiful and delicious, but ultimately I had to be loyal to my contessa. ;)

My mom took on the task of making this. I know it was time-consuming and I am so grateful to her for doing it for me - and it turned out amazing. She did an awesome job.

Pavlova is basically a dessert made from a giant circle of meringue. I've never been a fan of meringue, but this was different. After you bake it, you let it cool, then cover it with a massive amount of homemade whipped cream, and then finish it off with a berry sauce made from fresh berries and a raspberry-flavored beer. (We actually sipped on the beer before lunch and it was very good - it tasted more like a raspberry champagne.)

This combination of creamy flavors makes the pavlova sweet, luscious, melt-in-your-mouth yummy. I loved it.

Actually, we all loved it. And if you need proof - this is what was left of the pavlova after 10 minutes:

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Breakfast can make or break you...

Today I had a family breakfast and my portion totaled about 1350 calories. ???! This left me with hardly any calories for the rest of the day and led to me being hungry and desperate by evening.

What have we learned from this?

1. Don't eat huge breakfasts without considering the calories BEFORE YOU EAT. Don't wait til after you've eaten bacon and donuts to consider the calorie count.

2. When you've had a lot of calories earlier in the day, eat smaller meals the rest of the day. DON'T GIVE IN TO PIZZA JUST BECAUSE YOUR SISTER IS MAKING IT HOMEMADE.

3. Don't eat something in a hurry. Don't grab ice cream or a dessert on a whim. Especially when it's a food you don't even really like. (ugh)

4. Don't eat chocolate several times a day. It just leaves you hungry for MORE. MORE MORE MOOOOOORRREEE CHOCOLATE!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Dark chocolate (Nutella) almond cookies

Chocolate Nutella Cookies

I made these dark chocolate cookies almost two months ago. Talk about a delay. :)

We had some dark chocolate spread in the house (knock-off Nutella), and I really wanted to make cookies with it. The above recipe is the one I chose, but I tweaked it a little. Instead of using chocolate chips and only 3 tablespoons of chocolate spread, I omitted the chips and used about 6 oz of chocolate spread, or almost half a container of the stuff. I also added almonds and sprinkled powdered sugar on the finished cookies.

These cookies would go perfectly with morning coffee. They are extremely dense but they are small, so they make the perfect bite. Nutella (hazelnut spread) or any other chocolate spread would work for this recipe. I know World Market carries a variety of flavors, like caramel, white chocolate, and the dark chocolate kind.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Savory oatmeal with fried eggs

I have always hated oatmeal. Don't most people? In the past I have taught myself to like certain foods because of their nutritional values. Skim milk...tomatoes...salad. But matter how hard I tried to like it, I just couldn't. Even when I tried steel-cut oats, even when I mixed in cinnamon and honey, even when I put peanut butter and chocolate chips in it - I still felt like I had to force it down my throat.

But now...I have found an oatmeal I like.

The other day I saw a post (I can't remember where now) about savory oatmeal, with olive oil and herbs mixed in. Intriguing! I'd never heard of such a thing. Not the saccharine-sweet, brown sugar, milky cream oatmeal, but SAVORY! I finally tried it for myself last week and I was pleasantly surprised. A few nights later, as I was drifting off to sleep, I found myself CRAVING this oatmeal and scheming how I would make it again. I would spread the oatmeal out on a plate, then top it off with fried eggs.

And that's exactly what I did.

And it was good!

As far as how I made it: I used Quaker Instant oats and prepared one serving (half cup of dry oats) according to the package directions. It's better not to get it too soupy, so don't add too much water. A medium thickness makes it seem almost like risotto, which is perfect. Once it's hot, add in 1/2 TB of extra virgin olive oil, and salt and cracked black pepper to taste. (I love a lot of pepper). That's it! I haven't tried it with herbs yet but I'm sure it'd work great.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Blueberry crumb cake

To Die For Blueberry Muffins from Allrecipes

Sorry guys, don't feel like being descriptive today. I haven't been much into cooking lately. I think I need a little break from all the foodie stuff. Anyone else ever feel that way?

To keep it simple, this recipe is absolutely divine. I used brown sugar for the topping instead of white, and I doubled the recipe and baked it in a large pan instead of making muffins. Definitely recommend it. It's very sweet but very good.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Greek hummus wraps

Hummus Salad Wraps from

Greek Pita Pockets from

According to the family, this is the most filling vegetarian recipe we've ever had. It's a combination of the above recipes.

Hummus spread on whole-wheat flat bread, then covered in feta cheese, red onions, black olives, lettuce, tomato, grated carrots, and best of all.....Frank's Red Hot sauce.

It's a very refreshing meal, but filling at the same time. Plus it's really beautiful and colorful, and everyone can customize their sandwich with their favorite toppings. Definitely recommend this. :)

The hummus was homemade, created with chickpeas, olive oil, walnuts, red pepper flakes and some more of Frank's Red Hot. (I can't get enough of that stuff!)

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Italian fried eggs on garlic bread

Fried Egg with Tomato & Mozzarella from Ginger Rose

I first made a version of this after I saw Giada DeLaurentiis make it on her show. When I saw Ginger's post, I knew it was time to make it again.

I love the combination of eggs and tomato sauce! I often make egg pizzas in the morning or actually...any time of the day. This version served on top of french bread is delicious and savory...definitely a satisfying and easy meal!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Greek yogurt with toasted pecans and honey

I am in love with Greek yogurt. My mom bought a big container at Whole Foods last week and I've been eating it every chance I get. Actually...I just had some with blueberries. Yum!

But the best way to eat Greek yogurt is with toasted nuts. I'm sure any nut would work, but the pecans are really delicious. Just spread the nuts out on a baking pan and stick it under the broiler for a few minutes. Mix it with a tablespoon of honey, and you really feel like you're eating a big bowl of ice cream. Plus, it's packed with protein and much more satisfying than ice cream!

I mean, just look at the picture, it speaks for itself. MMMM!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Oven-fried green beans

Oven-Fried Green Beans

1/2 tsp salt
About a LB of fresh green beans
2 cups fresh breadcrumbs
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
Pinch of cayenne (optional)
2 tsp. vegetable oil
2 eggs

Wash and trim green beans and cut into halves. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine breadcrumbs, salt, pepper, and cayenne. Add oil and use your fingers to work the oil into the breadcrumb mixture. Transfer to a large plate or shallow bowl. Set aside. Whisk eggs to break them up completely. When you lift the whisk up it should be as lifting it out of water. Preheat oven to 425. Liberally oil a large baking sheet (or use nonstick). Thoroughly dry green bean sticks. Keeping one hand dry and one hand wet, dip a green bean in the eggs, lift it out and shake off any excess egg, put green bean in bread crumbs mixture and coat completely, lift out and shake off any excess bread crumbs, transfer stick to prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining sticks. Bake, turning once, until browned, crispy, and tender to the bite, about 30 minutes. Serve hot.

Dipping Sauce: Mix light sour cream with chipotle seasoning and a small amount of horseradish.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Easy onion flatbread

Flatbread with Onion & Rosemary (Lazy Version)
Adapted from a recipe in Vegetarian Bible

There are a lot of flatbread recipes in the Vegetarian Bible, and they all look yummmmmmy. But most of them require you make your own dough. Well I'm too lazy for that.

Here is my version of one of the recipes, made from a can of Pillsbury pizza dough. This is unbelievably good! And ridiculously easy. Definitely making this again soon. Enjoy.

1 can refrigerated pizza dough
1 TB rosemary
2 TB extra virgin olive oil
1 red or yellow onion, finely sliced and separated into rings
1 tsp coarse sea salt

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Oil a cookie sheet. Open the canned dough and spread it on the sheet in a rough oval shape. Make holes about 2 inches apart on the surface of the dough with the handle of a wooden spoon. Spread the onion rings over the dough, then drizzle with the olive oil and sprinkle over the salt. Bake the dough about 15-20 minutes (check the directions on the dough packaging). Five minutes before the end of the cooking time, garnish with the rosemary. Transfer to a cooling rack; serve warm.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Salmon and farfalle in walnut pesto

Sun-dried Tomato & Walnut Pesto with Salmon and Asparagus
from is an interesting site I found a few months ago. It lauds the benefits of eating a version of the Mediterranean/Asian diet, full of pasta, grains, fish, and olive oil. There are a lot of intriguing recipes on the site, and this is the second we've tried. My sister also made the Sicilian Tuna & Basil Pizza a couple of nights ago.

Although I didn't get to taste the pizza, I heard it received mixed reviews. This pasta dish actually turned out pretty tasty. The strange thing about both recipes, though, is that everyone agreed they were a little bland, especially the pizza. It just seems weird to me that a recipe from the Mediterranean, which seems to be bursting with flavors, would be bland. We ended up sprinkling lime juice and red pepper flakes on the pasta.

Meanwhile, my dad prepared a seasoning rub for some ribs last night, and he decided to try it on the remaining salmon filets. I was skeptical at first, but....let me tell you, it tasted like dessert - melt in your mouth goodness.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Mushroom rice casserole and glazed carrots

Mushroom Casserole from 101 Cookbooks

Glazed Carrots from Alton Brown

Of course I've had mushroom rice casserole before, but typically we've made the canned-cream-of-mushroom variety. This recipe calls for fresh chopped mushrooms mixed in with a creamy mixture of cheeses and rice. It's very good, and it also smells HEAVENLY.

I decided to whip up some glazed carrots and found Alton's recipe. It calls for ginger ale, which I thought was interesting. Overall it's a good and simple, easy-to-make side dish.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Strawberry pie with crumb topping

The Old Boy's Strawberry Pie from Allrecipes

This is a bizarre strawberry pie. It just is. You can't imagine how strange it looks before you stick it in the oven. So if you make it, just keep that in mind, and if it looks so bizarre you think you're doing something wrong...well you're probably not. You're probably doing it just right.

Appearances aside, this does taste very good. The crumb topping is scrumptious, even when I replaced the white flour with all-purpose white-wheat flour. Remember to keep it refrigerated for best taste.

I am ashamed to admit that, even though my blog is subtitled "pudding and pie"....this is the first pie I have posted since I began blogging in January.

I have yet to post a pudding.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Chiles rellenos and cilantro-lime rice (Father's Day)

Chiles Rellenos from Dave Harker
via Home Companion August 2002
(recipe posted below)

Cilantro-Lime Rice from Allrecipes

Our family has always loved the chile relleno. I remember when I was little my mom would always order it at Mexican restaurants, and at the time, I would just take a little taste, because that was when I was afraid of spicy food. Haha...

Anyway, for Father's Day lunch my sister suggested this chile relleno recipe with a twist: instead of breading, you use egg-roll wrappers as the crispy outer layer. I have to say, it was a lot easier than breading 11 chiles, and it was absolutely delicious. Really really good. Yum. Everyone loved it.

Along with it we served cilantro-lime rice, which my sister made and which is one of her favorite side dishes for Mexican food. Also good. For dessert I made a strawberry pie, which I will share soon in a follow-up post. :)

For now, here is the Chiles Rellenos recipe credited to chef Dave Harker (apparently Home Companion is no longer published...hmmm).

Chiles Rellenos
makes 6

6 poblano chiles
2 C shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1/2 C sun-dried tomatoes, softened in warm water, chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled, minced
1/2 C plus 3 TB chopped cilantro
2 TB shredded fresh basil
1 package egg roll wrappers
2-3 C tomato sauce
1 C vegetable oil, plus more as needed

(The chiles should be skinned to remove the tough outer skin. To do this easily, place them on a sheet of aluminum foil or broiler pan and blister under a preheated broiler, turning occasionally, until browned. Have a bowl of ice water nearby, and, when peppers are charred, place them into the water. Let them cool just briefly and then remove them and carefully peel off the skin. Try your best not to tear the chiles, but it's almost inevitable so don't worry about it. If chiles are ripped, they can be salvaged. Carefully split the chiles up one side without removing the stem. Gently rinse out the seeds. Drain the chiles cut side down on paper towels.)

Meanwhile, combine cheese-sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, 1/2 C of the cilantro, and basil. Place stuffing inside chiles and carefully fold the edges closed, overlapping the edges slightly. They may not look too pretty at this point, but the wrapper will mask this.

Open egg roll wrapper package on two sides and remove one wrapper at a time. Cover chiles, leaving stem exposed.

Meanwhile heat 1-2 C of tomato sauce in a saucepan until hot.

Pour oil into a frying pan to a depth of about 1/2 inch. Heat oil on medium heat. When hot, fry the chiles, several at a time, gently turning them until they are browned on all sides. Adjust heat so they don't burn, adding extra oil as needed. When browned, place on paper towels to drain. Serve immediately on top of tomato sauce and garnish with the remaining 3 TB of cilantro.

Cabbage and walnut stir-fry

I am so behind on food blogging...there are literally about 50 new pictures sitting around on my desktop that I haven't gotten around to posting. So I should have a lot of new posts in the next few days.

This is the first recipe I tried from my new Vegetarian Bible, which was a gift from Alejandro (even though he's claimed he won't eat anything out of it).

The book is full of gorgeous pictures and I was actually shocked at how yummy these vegetarian recipes look. There are several that I can't wait to make.

I made this cabbage dish for dinner this past weekend and everyone liked it, but it didn't seem filling enough to eat alone, so keep that in mind and pair it with something more substantial. Still it's got great flavors and it's perfect for you if you're a fan of cabbage, like my friend Adam, who also has a food blog, with much more beautiful pictures than my own.

Here is the recipe as published in the book.

Cabbage & Walnut Stir-Fry
serves 4

12 oz white cabbage
12 oz red cabbage
4 TB peanut oil
1 TB walnut oil
2 garlic cloves, crushed
8 scallions, trimmed
8 oz firm tofu, cubed
2 TB lemon juice
1 C walnut halves
2 tsp dijon mustard
2 tsp poppy seeds
salt and pepper

Using a sharp knife, shred the white and red cabbages thinly and set aside until required. Heat the peanut oil and walnut oil in a preheated wok. Add the garlic, cabbage, scallions, and tofu and cook for 5 minutes, stirring. Add the lemon juice, walnuts, and mustard, season with salt and pepper, and cook for an additional 5 minutes, or until the cabbage is tender. Transfer the stir-fry to a warm serving bowl, sprinkle with poppy seeds, and serve immediately.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Volcano cake

Volcano Cake from Sandra Lee

So obviously this is not a healthy recipe. Eat this at your own risk.

My little sister requested this cake especially for her 18th birthday party. Basically it's a red velvet cake covered in dyed cream cheese frosting.

I made the cake mix from a box, then baked it in a Bundt pan, 2 circle pans, and one large cupcake form. Then I hodge-podged the cakes together after they cooled, and covered the whole thing with frosting.

It came out better than I thought...and dessert is always better with flames. :)

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Chocolate-banana cookies

Nikki's Healthy Cookies via 101 Cookbooks

This is a flour-less, egg-less, perfect if you're like me, and you have a yearning to bake, but you don't feel like going to the store. Hehe... Also good if you're like me and you let bananas sit around til they're practically mush, and the only thing you can do with them is put them in a baked good.

I really enjoyed these cookies. They're healthy, but they're good! I promise! I calculated that each one has 105 calories and 2g protein when you make a batch of 26.

Like a 100-calorie pack!
(You know, except healthy, and not full of corn syrup ;))


Okonomiyaki from Kevin at Closet Cooking

If you want to see the most delectable, drool-inducing food photo you've ever seen...take a look at Kevin's Okonomiyaki. I'd never heard of a "Japanese pancake," but as soon as I saw his photo, I knew I had to make it.

This dish is pretty easy to prepare...not a lot of ingredients required, and it cooks quickly. I did have a little trouble maneuvering the pan around so I could flip the pancake (which is made mostly of cabbage and other vegetables), but I think it just takes practice. I made two versions: one with turkey bacon and one vegetarian. I have to say, the bacon version won hands down over the veggie.

I have sort of an aversion to mayonnaise, but I decided to try a little bit anyway for the sauce. I mixed some low-fat sour cream with Worchester and about a TB of mayonnaise. And you know was still too mayonnaise-y for me. So next time I'll have to figure out a different sauce. Any ideas?

Anyway, in spite of the mayo, I really liked this! It's definitely a healthy and unique meal and I would recommend it! :)

Friday, May 29, 2009

Roasted chickpeas

Roasted Chickpeas from Christie's Corner

I've been seeing roasted chickpeas on a few different sites, and I finally got around to trying them. Instead of making them garlic, chili-flavored I just seasoned them with salt, olive oil, and tons of pepper. Yum. I was lazy, so I didn't saute them, I just dumped the can onto on a pan and went from there.

Doing it the lazy way makes the chickpeas less crunchy, and more chewy, so they taste like tiny potatoes. To me they taste like cracked-pepper potato chips, in mini size. They're really good. I totally recommend them.

One thing I would say is I didn't need that much olive oil. According to my calculations, a 15 oz can of chickpeas with 2 TB olive oil makes about 4 servings, with 165 calories a piece. I made these again, and I halved the olive oil, and I still felt like it was too much. So I'll have to do some tweaking to figure out the perfect amount.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Honey-nut biscotti

Nut and Seed Biscotti from 101 Cookbooks
approx. 26 pieces, with 130 calories and 2.5g protein a piece

Biscotti takes practice. Let me tell you. I don't think I baked it long enough before cutting, so the loaf wasn't hard enough, and it was crumbling. Then I thought it was ruined because the thick pieces weren't getting crispy. But in the end, they crisped up fairly well and they tasted good. Slightly sweet, crunchy, and nutty.

I made the following variations to the recipe:
I used a mixture of sunflower seeds, walnuts, almonds, and poppy seeds. Instead of natural cane sugar, I used 1/3 c honey and 1/3 c granulated sugar. The calories listed above are based on these variations.