Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Magic Multigrain Morning Muffins! yum! yum!

Magic Multigrain Morning Muffins
(makes about 12-15)
 (these are basically like an english muffin, but packed with omega 3, protein and great grains, and totally nutritious!)

3 tsp active dry yeast
½ cup warm water (115˚)
1 tbsp honey
1 tsp butter
¼ cup rolled oats
¾ cup whole wheat flour
¼ cup millet flour
¼ cup oat flour
¼ cup ground flax meal
1 ½ cup all purpose flour
1 ½ tsp caraway seeds
2 tsp whole flax seed
1 tsp poppy seed (optional)
2 tsp sesame seeds (optional)
½ cup lowfat buttermilk
About ¼ cup coarse cornmeal
1 tbsp salt

In large mixing bowl, or bowl for stand mixer, start yeast with butter, honey and warm water. Let sit for 5-15 minutes or until foamy.
Meanwhile, combine the oats, all the flours, flax meal in a separate bowl. Once yeast has become foamy, slowly add your dry flour mixture to your yeast until it is as combined as you can get. (The stand mixer comes in handy here. Use the dough hook and slowly work your way to a medium speed. )
Slowly add each of the seeds until mixed.
Once you have incorporated the dry ingredients as much as you can, slowly add the buttermilk and mix until all ingredients are well combined. If not using a mixer, turn out dough and knead on lightly floured board for about 3 minutes. If using a mixer, mix with dough hook on medium- med high speed (depending on if your mixer can handle it) for about 5-7 minutes. Place dough in large greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise in warm draft free place until doubled (about one hour.)
Prepare a large baking sheet (with edges!) by covering with parchment paper, and evenly sprinkle cornmeal for the bottoms of your muffins.
After rising, turn out dough on floured board and knead in small bit of flour (all purpose) until dough is no longer tacky. Gently roll out until dough is about ½ inch thick. Cut into rounds with 3” biscuit cutter (Or! If you don’t have one, like me, use a pint glass or a one cup measuring cup. Just something that can give you rounds about the size of an average English muffin.) Evenly space your muffins on the baking sheet. Once you’ve made all your rounds, cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm draft-free place to rise again for around 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350˚F. Once second rise is complete, uncover your muffins and brush all the tops thoroughly with buttermilk. Bake at 350˚ for about 20-25 minutes or until the tops are nice and golden brown. Yum! Yum!

Serving suggestions: butter, butter and jam!, jam, nutella, a slice of cheese, drizzled with honey, honey and banana, smooshed banana and peanut butter, cashew butter, cream cheese, marinara, an egg, turn into breakfast sandwich! Woowoo! Yum! The great thing about these is that you can easily go sweet or savory and the flavor works well on both ends. Enjoy!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Coconut Almond Cherry Macaroons! yum! yum!

Looney Toony Macaroony!

Coconut Almond Cherry Macaroons

After much ado, I finally got this one right. This was specially created for Jeremy. :)

Difficulty level: Average to experienced cooks

Equipment: Food processor (if you have one it will help a lot, if not, it’s cool.) *parchment paper* (yes you must have it or you will have a big mess and run screaming from your kitchen and set fire to your sheet pans.), stand mixer or hand blender will help a lot also.

14 oz package sweetened shredded/flaked coconut
14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
½ tsp salt
1 cup raw slivered/sliced almonds (Trader Joe’s has thinly sliced raw almonds that work great here)
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 egg whites
About 24-30 frozen sour pie cherries (check the frozen aisle) average size bag should be fine. Do not substitute- the sour quality of the cherries works very well here.

Preheat oven to 325˚F.
In food processor, pulse coconut until the shreds/flakes are a bit smaller, breaking them down to smaller pieces. If you don’t have a food processor, don’t worry about it.
Place coconut into large mixing bowl, then add the sweetened condensed milk and mix thoroughly. Add the salt, and vanilla. Place the almond slivers in your food processor and pulse until the almonds are nearly powdered. If you don’t have a food processor, put the almonds in a sturdy Ziploc bag, cover in a sheet of paper, place on sturdy cutting board and bash it with a hammer until your almonds are powdery. Add the almonds to the bowl and mix thoroughly.
In another bowl, or in the bowl for your stand mixer, beat the egg whites until you have soft peaks. Gently fold a little of the eggs at a time into your coconut mixture, using care not to completely deflate your eggs.
Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper. Carefully scoop a 2 tbsp size ball of the mix onto your parchment. A small size ice cream scoop works well for this if you have one. After your scoop is on the paper, take a cherry and with clean hands, push it into the center of your blob, (but not all the way to the bottom) and mound your dough around the cherry to cover it up. Continue until all the mixture has been used. (You do not need to defrost the cherries. Use them straight out of the freezer and it will be a lot less messy.) You should end up with about 24 macaroons or so.
Bake at 325˚F for about 30 minutes or until your macaroons are mostly golden brown on the top and bottom. Yum! Yum!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Sweet Potato Bread! yum! yum!

Holy crap this is gooood! This is a tea bread, much like banana bread but different and special.


Sweet Potato Bread

Makes one loaf

1 ½ cups sifted all-purpose flour
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
½ cup butter (one stick)
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup dark brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
Optional: 2 tsp real maple syrup
Grated rind of half an orange or one whole small orange. (Moro is best here)
2 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp nutmeg
¼ tsp allspice
¾ cup cooked sweet potato (roasted, boiled, microwaved, any way you want as long as it has been peeled)
3 heaping tablespoons of sour cream
½ cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350˚F.
Cut butter into ½ inch cubes and place in a bowl or bowl for stand mixer. Beat butter until light yellow and fluffy. Slowly add sugars and beat until smooth. Add vanilla and add eggs slowly one at a time. Add maple syrup (optional), orange rind and spices. Beat in the sweet potato until mixture is creamy and well combined. Sift all dry ingredients(flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt) together and add slowly in three parts, alternating with sour cream each time. Beat on med to med-high speed until batter is fluffy and light in color.
Pour into well greased loaf pan. Bake on center oven rack for one hour. Oh Yum yum!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Sweet & Spicy Popcorn

Welcome to your new favorite snack.

Sweet & Spicy Popcorn

You have two options here. If you like drier, lighter popcorn, (and hate washing burny pots,) try option A. If you like your popcorn a little more coated and crunchy, (my preferred method,) try option B. (keep in mind with option B, it will be very important to take the popcorn off the heat just before it is done, or you will have a major mess and burned sugar.)

In a large mixing bowl, combine the following:

3 tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp garam masala
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp cayenne or finely ground red pepper flakes (can leave this out if you wish)

In a large pot with lid, on high heat, cook 1/2 cup popcorn in 1/4 cup oil. When you hear a second or two between pops, take popcorn off heat and toss into mixing bowl, mixing all popcorn thoroughly until all ingredients are combined well. Optional: add 2 tbsp melted butter and toss until well mixed.


In large pot with lid, combine:

1/4 cup oil (canola, grapeseed, etc)
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp garam masala
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp cayenne or finely ground red pepper flakes (can leave this out if you wish)
1/2 cup popcorn

On high heat, cook all ingredients, tossing and moving pot constantly to avoid sticking and burning, until popping slows to about 1 second between pops. Remove from heat immediately and pour into large mixing bowl.


Friday, January 28, 2011

Almighty Pumpkins!

This recipe comes from my mom. When i was in elementary school, we had the best Halloween party at my house to end all parties. Nothing has ever compared to that party and i remember it very fondly, well over 20 years later. (ahem!) My mom made these "cookies" for the party and i still remember how good they were. They are sorta like cookies, sorta like muffin tops and sorta like the best thing you ever ate.

"Almighty Pumpkins" (aka the infamous pumpkin cookies)

Equipment: 2 med-large mixing bowls, small saucepan, a couple medium-large spoons, hand mixer or heavy stand mixer if you’ve got it, silicone/rubber spatula or wooden spoon, whisk, flat spatula, cookie sheets, platter or plates or storage container.

For cookie:
1 cup shortening or butter (plus a little extra for greasing cookie sheets)
1 cup sugar
1 ½ cup pumpkin (use an entire 15 oz can)
1 egg
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp salt
1 cup butterscotch chips
1 cup raisins

3 tbsp butter
4 tsp milk
½ cup brown sugar
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
¾ tsp Vanilla extract

Frosting! (make this first! since you will Frost cookies while they are hot!)

Combine butter, milk, and brown sugar  in saucepan. Cook on med-med/high until all ingredients/sugar are dissolved and you start to see very small bubbles on the edge. (do not scorch with high heat and you do not need to boil.) Let this cool. Then stir in confectioner’s sugar and vanilla until well combined.

Preheat oven to 375˚F. Cream sugar and butter together until smooth and light in color and texture. (hand mixer or heavy stand mixer would definitely help here. i would beat with paddle attachment 5-10 mins) Add pumpkin and egg until thoroughly mixed. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Use a whisk to mix all of  these well. Slowly add dry ingredients into your wet ingredients until well combined. With spatula or wooden spoon, gently fold in butterscotch chips and raisins. Spoon onto greased cookie sheets in roughly tablespoon (or a wee bit larger) size blobs. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until very lightly browned. Drizzle with frosting or cover them like a glaze, whatever you want. You will be in love forever and want to write your own vows when you marry these cookies. And they lived happily ever after. The End.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


Just edited the curry fried rice recipe just a little, a couple tweaks. It will knock your socks off, and please please use fresh ginger for it, it makes a HUGE difference. :) yum! yum!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Let's start with an easy favorite: Curry Fried Rice

Fried rice always seemed like a mystery to me--A dish that could only be made by Thai or Chinese restaurants, one that could never ever be duplicated properly at home and could only be cooked by those who had special secret knowledge. Part of that special knowledge involved how to cook rice. (!)
For my fried rice, i use a rice cooker. i highly recommend them. They are very inexpensive, very easy to use and save you so much time and aggravation. The best part: perfect rice. Your formulas for rice cooker are as follows: 1 cup uncooked rice=2 cups cooked.  1 ½ cups water for every cup of uncooked rice goes in your cooker. If not using a rice cooker, follow instructions on your package of rice. i recommend using plain long grain rice for this or jasmine rice. Also, if you have trouble with your rice and don't have a cooker, go pick up some steamed rice at your local Chinese/Thai place. i won't tell anyone, and it's a great shortcut and you'll have great rice.

Use *leftover* rice for this if possible. Cook the rice the night before, pick up from restaurant the day before or put rice in the cooker while you're getting ready for work and then when it's done, shove the whole pot in the fridge before you leave and it will magically turn into leftover rice before you get home to cook dinner. You don't technically have to use leftover rice, you can make this on a whim, but it's better with leftover rice. Also, i *highly recommend* using fresh ginger for this. i just made this again with fresh, and it was a bazillion times better.

Ok, let's less reading and more cooking, shall we?
Yum! Yum!
Curry Fried Rice
(recipe serves one with generous portion and leftovers, or two for smaller portion. i double this recipe for the two of us and we have lots of leftovers.) p.s. i love leftovers of this. i eat it for breakfast with sriracha and it starts my day magnificently. 

Equipment: Rice Cooker (or Chinese restaurant) (or pot with lid for cooking rice), Wok or non stick large chef's pan, knives, garlic press (if you have one), spatula (do not use metal spatula on non-stick cookware, instead use a silicone flipper) or wooden spoon, bowls and one plate to set aside ingredients as you cook, measuring spoons (or a magic eye), etc.


3 cups cooked rice
1 cup frozen petite peas 
1 cup frozen edamame (can omit if you're allergic to or avoid soy but the nuttiness really works here)
2 small-med sweet onions (* if you dont have sweet onions or can't find them, drizzle a tsp or two of honey or agave over your onions while you cook them to sweeten them up.)
3 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
1 tbsp ground ginger (or same amt fresh grated ginger)
½ tbsp muchi curry (*this is the hot curry. start here and go up if you want it hot. For regular curry powder, use at least 1 tbsp)
½ tbsp tumeric
1 tbsp dried parsley ( or 2 tbsp fresh)
about 4-6 tbsp sesame oil, or plain vegetable oil
8 oz can (approx) of pineapple chunks (more magic power for you if you use fresh- 1 cup)
½ tbsp sesame seeds
about 2 tsp honey or agave syrup 
½ tbsp soy sauce
2-3 eggs, beaten
1-3 tbsp reserved pineapple juice from can (optional)
salt and pepper to taste

Cook or gather or pick up your 3 cups cooked rice. 
Heat Wok or chef's pan on high until a flick of water goes SSSSS and add 1 tbsp oil,  and chopped onions. (plus honey or agave if not using sweet onion) Salt and pepper your onions, and after about 2 minutes, add your garlic and parsley. Cook about 3 more minutes or until onions are soft and fragrant. Add Edamame and peas to the pan and cook until soft, 5-10 minutes. Transfer everything into large bowl set to the side. Place pan back on heat, add 1/2 tbsp oil and pour in your beaten eggs.  Move around eggs in pan, peeling away from the sides, but forming a sort of egg patty until roughly set (bottom looks like cooked egg and top is creamy eggy glisteny) and flip. Cook another minute or two until egg is cooked through and remove from pan. Set aside on plate and break up egg with wooden spoon or spatula. Return pan again to heat and add 1/2 tbsp oil and pineapple.  Stir and add sesame seeds, soy sauce, and 1 tsp honey or agave.  Cook for about 2-5 minutes or until fragrant. Set aside. Return pan to heat, add 2 tbsp oil , ginger, curry and tumeric.  Leave on heat for around one minute and then add cooked rice.  Stir, flip, turn, and encourage your rice until all spices are evenly distributed and your rice is happily looking up at you, begging for praise on how bright it is, wanting you to be proud of how sunshiney it is. Sing a little Donovan tune to your rice (Sunshine Superman or Mellow Yellow will work nicely) then add all your previously cooked items and optional pineapple juice, mix in with your rice to distribute evenly and create magical fried rice. *Note: if you use leftover rice for this, your rice will seem a little dry when you first put it in and are distributing spices and oil. But don't worry, it will moisten when you add the other ingredients.

Serve with sriracha hot sauce if you like it spicy. Eat it for breakfast and see how much pep and disco you have while traveling to work or school.

Voila! Eat!

Sunshine came softly through my a-window today
Could've tripped out easy a-but I've a-changed my ways
It'll take time, I know it but in a while
You're gonna be mine, I know it, we'll do it in style
'Cause I made my mind up you're going to be mine...

Hello all you happy people

Allright, here we are.
i am sharing with all of you and all the world, i suppose, my yummy foods and my history. i am: French, Sicilian, German, Polish, Belgian, Lithuanian, American. (and adopted Irish.)  i believe in the rich history, tradition, culture and togetherness passed on through food. i believe in the power food and the act of cooking has to unite families and friends. i also believe that food can be made simple and that some of the finest and most delicious food in the world is "peasant food." i grew up eating very simple food; the simple dishes of the working class European immigrant family. The food that many of us in this country grew up eating. The tried and true, the ones that warm our hearts and our bellies.

With the occasionally more exotic or complicated dish thrown in here or there, you will find simple recipes here. Most of this will not be too difficult to prepare, and you won't need too much special equipment. i will tell you when you do. i'll tell you the shortcuts.  Most recipes will be vegetarian, and few will have fish. You should have a rough working knowledge of your kitchen and a few tools and some pots and pans and you're ready to go.

A recommendation: Even if you are a very casual cook, and have no intention to buy yourself a stand mixer or a food processor or even a garlic press, go out and buy yourself an oven thermometer. Almost *all* ovens are fairly off, and some by 50 degrees or more. Ever wonder why your muffins always burn or rise too quickly or why your frozen pizza just never cooks right? It's not you, it's your oven. Go to the store (Target works) and buy an oven thermometer. They're only about $5 and trust me, it's worth it. When you get home, pop that puppy in your oven and set it to 300F. Forget about it for about half an hour or even 45 minutes. Go watch an episode of Law & Order. When it's over, check your oven thermometer. The temperature will then tell you what your oven is doing. Whatever is the difference between the *immediate* reading (dont leave the oven door open and file your nails before you read the temp) and 300F is your adjustment. From now on, always use this figure to adjust your oven for correct temperature. And double and triple check. When you preheat for those magic special brownies, watch another episode of Law & Order while the oven is heating up (with your adjusted number) and make sure you have the temp you need. Trust me, you will be ever so pleased with your newly precise baking results all because of that $5 doohickey.

Allright then, on we go.