Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Chicken Tagine with Almonds and Raisens

I got this recipe from a friend and it came out so good! Moroccan inspired, it is sweet and savory. All of the warm spices make this a very comforting kind of dish and it makes the house smell great while cooking.

It seemed like something I'd plunk down $15 for at a restaurant, yet it was incredibly easy. I have the original recipe and then have my adaptations or omissions in green.

1 3lb. chicken cut up (I used boneless skinless chicken thighs)
Salt and pepper to taste
1 large onion, sliced (I diced it)
2 carrots, sliced
1 clove garlic, crushed
Pinch saffron (I omitted this)
1/2 tsp turmeric
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 cup water or chicken stock
1/2 cup whole almonds
1/2 cup raisens or other dried fruit

1. Pat chicken dry with a paper towel. Put chicken in a large heavy pan. Season with salt and pepper, and add onion, carrots and garlic.

2. Sprinkle on the saffron, turmeric, ginger, and cinnamon. Pour in the water or broth, cover and cook on medium for 30 minutes. Because I was using boneless chicken, I cooked for 20 minutes.

3. Add the almonds and raisens. Cover and cook on low for another 30 minutes (again, I did it for 20) or until the chicken is tender. Serve with couscous or pita.

Although the dish had flavor, the chicken wasn't quite as flavorful as you would expect with all of those spices. I wonder what would make it so? A different cut of chicken? Marinating the chicken beforehand? Making a spice rub? If anyone tries this, please let me know. Also, for some reason by the time we ate, the almonds, raisens and carrots were a bit cold. Not sure why this happened b/c it was on the stove for almost an hour. Despite this, I would still recommend it.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Lentil Soup

This very snowy weekend seemed like the perfect time for a batch of lentil soup. I had made lentil soup in my slow cooker once and it had absolutely no taste. So this time I tried a recipe by Giada De Laurentiis (from the Food Network. Very smily Italian lady who almost always uses marscapone cheese, or prosciutto).

This turned out very very good. It was enough for two for dinner and lots of leftovers.
It was easy and filling.


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 pound lentils (approximately 1 1/4 cups)
  • 11 cups low-salt chicken broth (this was about 5 cans)
  • 4 to 6 fresh thyme sprigs (I used dried and it was fine)
  • 2/3 cup dried elbow pasta
  • 1 cup shredded Parmesan


Heat the oil in a heavy large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, and celery. Add the garlic, salt, and pepper and saute until all the vegetables are tender, about 5 to 8 minutes. Add the tomatoes with their juices. Simmer until the juices evaporate a little and the tomatoes break down, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes. Add the lentils and mix to coat. Add the broth and stir. Add the thyme sprigs. Bring to a boil over high heat. Cover and simmer over low heat until the lentils are almost tender, about 30 minutes.

Stir in the pasta. Simmer until the pasta is tender but still firm to the bite, about 8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Ladle the soup into bowls. Sprinkle with the Parmesan, drizzle with olive oil, and serve.

Christmas Cookies!

Here's this year's crop of Christmas cookies! Ridiculous, as usual. Thanks to everyone who came, it was a lot of fun! Especially since Maura the cookie master was late and the rest of us had to figure out how to make the cookies by ourselves. Not that we had any problems.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Sake Glazed Salmon

So I can't believe I haven't posted this yet. This is my signature dish!

I made this tonight and I am always so amazed at how much I like it. I can't even remember where I found the recipe now.

1 cup sake
1/2 cup soy sauce
1 TBS fresh grated ginger
2 cloves fresh garlic, pressed or minced
1 TBS dark brown sugar
Salmon (I prefer fillets. I usually buy 2/3 of a lb. for two people).

1. Prepare the marinade by mixing the sake, soy sauce, ginger, garlic, and brown sugar together in a small bowl. Reserve 1/4 of the marinade to brush onto the fish later, if you desire.

2. Rinse the salmon under cold water and place in a glass pan or a freezer bag. Pour marinade over it. Let marinate for 1-3 hours in the fridge, spooning the liquid over any exposed parts once or twice.

3. Preheat the oven to 350. Take the fish out of the fridge and discard the marinade. Cook the fish for 15-20 minute or until the flesh of the fish is flaky. Spoon reserved marinade over fish if you desire.

I served this with couscous and sugar snap peas!

Lamb Stew

My aunt in New Hampshire raises sheep. And eats them. My mom bought a bunch of her lamb meat and left some with us over Thanksgiving. One of the cuts was lamb stew so we figured okay, we should probably make lamb stew. I found this recipe from Emeril which called for a pressure cooker, which I don't have. After some research, I discovered the point of a pressure cooker is to cook things faster but it's not really any different. So instead I used my slow cooker to cook the stew for 4 hours. It came out so good! I'm not normally a soup fan, but I think I do like stew! LZ is so crazy about it he's making it again tomorrow. So, I actually forgot to take a picture when we made it. But then I had it again for lunch today and realized I should take a picture then. I even decided to show you how pathetic I am that I eat lunch at my desk. :-( But, I bet I'm not the only one. So that's the lamb stew story!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Eggplant Parm

As I made the recipe for Eggplant Parm from this month's EDF today, I realized that I don't think I've ever cooked eggplant on my own. My mom used to make it, indian style, when I was a kid, but I never helped. This recipe looked like an easy dinner, so we tried it tonight with whole wheat pasta and broccoli. We've had a lot of good food lately, but Rajeev was raving about this, so it must be good. It was pretty easy to make and really nothing that you do to the dish (aside from cover it with cheese) makes it seem too unhealthy.

Chocolate Gingerbread Bars

The Chocolate Gingerbread Bars in this month's EDF looked really tempting so I made them yesterday since I had some extra time in the morning. While they look pretty (yes, I tasted one before remembering to grab the camera) I have to say I was disappointed. From the magazine's picture they look very fudgey - though mine were extremely cakey. They looked very much like brownies but weren't very sweet. I might make them again simply because I now have a jar of molasses...

Cranberry Bread

I celebrated Thanksgiving yesterday at Rajeev's house and while his mom insisted that I need not bring anything I felt compelled to come up with something (plus I really wanted to make something) so I made Cranberry Bread. I was a little nervous since I can't remember the last time I made bread (maybe middle school when I was really into the recipe we used for banana bread in 8th grade home ec?), but it turned out great. The cranberrys were really tart and tangy so I actually personally didn't love the bread, but it had nothing to do with the preparation. I'm making it again tomorrow when we recelebrate thanksgiving!

Pasta with sausage and peppers

The night after 24, Rajeev and I wandered the grocery store trying to decide what to make for ages (I wanted Eggplant Parm or Mac n Cheese. He wanted Chicken Cutlets.) until we came across fresh sausage links. We decided to sautée the sausage with peppers (red and green) and onions, mix it with marinara sauce and put it over pasta. A very simple dinner that was a huge success with Rajeev, his roommate, and me!

Burritos with Squash and Goat Cheese

For the 24 movie last Sunday, Rajeev and I had friends of his over to watch with us. We serve tacos (Rajeev's traditional 24 viewing food) and since one of the people coming over is vegetarian I thought it was the perfect opportunity to try the Burritos with Squash and Goat Cheese in this month's EDF.

They came out really well - though they serve way more than 4 people. We had a TON of leftovers, which was kinda good because when I took them to work for lunch the next day, I think I enjoyed them more reheated.

Here's a pic of mine right before I rolled it up:

Swedish Meatballs

I've done a decent amount of cooking lately (I'm sure everyone has with the holidays -- how were they??), or more, have remember to take pictures of recent meals and finally downloaded the pictures, so I'll make a few posts.

A week or 2 ago, I made Swedish Meatballs (from EDF). They were decent though I can't say I'm dying to make them again soon.

My biggest complaints:

1) I made a half recipe and still felt like there were way too may.
2) If I do ever make them again, I'd reduce the amount of bread crumbs. I felt like they made the meatballs too dry.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Chinese food

So, a few of my co-workers and I have gotten together twice now to cook together. One of them is a great chef with a well stocked pantry and top of the line equipment. We pick something to cook that intimidates us and under her guidance we make it happen. The first time it was roasted chicken, and this week it was Chinese food. We first started out with shrimp and cabbage dumplings. It called for napa cabbage, but we used the purple kind which ended up being kind of strange looking, but they tasted alright. We also had a hard time
getting them unstuck from the bottom of the pan.

We then made an incredible white rice...I think it had to do with butter. We rounded it off with Kung Pao chicken. And we couldn't find a great Chinese dessert recipe, so we made delicious chocolate cupcakes from scratch with a yummy peanut butter frosting...delicious!

Goat Cheese stuffed Chicken

This week Whole Foods had chicken breast on sale so I bought some without knowing what I was buying it for, which is not something I usually do! I was going to just cook it the regular way and have it with stuffing and cranberry sauce, both of which I love. But then I realized I didn't know what the regular way to cook chicken is. So I started looking at recipes and of course got tempted by the fancy ones. Lucky for me I just happened to have goat cheese so I made this: Emeril's Goat Cheese stuffed Chicken! I'd never stuffed chicken with anything before so that part was kind of fun. Although, when it cooks the cheese mixture kind of oozes out the sides, which is fine, but it's not like you bite into it and get a huge pool of cheese in the middle which is what I was imagining. I guess for that you'd have to carve out a hole. Anyways, it was really good and I'm proud of myself!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Pumpkin Sausage Pasta

I found this Pumpkin Pasta Recipe from another blog and thought it sounded good. Plus I keep seeing cans of pumpkin in the store and I really wanted to use some. So I tried it - and except for not finding any fresh sage, it was really easy! Granted, I delegated the cooking of the sausage and the pasta and all I did was the sauce, so that made it easier, but still. It came out sooo tasty! Highly recommended. Not at all healthy though, what with the pasta and the cream. But I'm still having it for lunch tomorrow. Yum! The photo could be of any pasta in the world, but I swear it's the pumpkin one.

Sunday, November 9, 2008


I was asked by my friend Lauren to contribute this recipe to her blog, so I thought I better write it here too. This is our classic guacamole recipe always seems to find fans wherever we go.

2 scallions (green onions), finely chopped
2 plum tomatoes, finely chopped
2 jalapenos, cored and finely chopped
4 avocados
juice of 2 limes (we like ours pretty limey)
a few tablespoons of chopped cilantro (to taste)
salt and pepper

Chop up the scallions, tomatoes and jalapenos first and put them in the bowl. Then, slice and chop up the avocados and put them in the bowl and immediately add the lime juice to prevent browning. Then, mix and mash until you reach your desired consistency, adding the cilantro, salt and pepper along the way. (You don't need to mash it that much; John prefers it to be more of a relish than really smooth). Cover with plastic wrap until you're ready to serve.

Tip: You can keep the avocado pits in the guacamole at the end which also makes the presentation interesting and keeps it from browning, but only one or two pits is really necessary. =)

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Chocolate Pecan Pie

If only I had taken pictures of the disaster that was this dessert. I recalled making Pecan Pie as a kid with my cousin and it was nothing but easy. What I made last night was a huge mess.

Basically, I decided I needed an Election Night project for myself while waiting for the early returns to come in. All was going well until it was time to fill the pie crust (I took Louisa's advice and used a frozen crust). As I was pouring the filling in, I thought, "wow, this looks like a lot." Then, when I had filled it to the tippy top, I ignored everything Mr. Wizard taught me about volume and added the pecans on top. But still, I patted myself on the back for getting them in without sloshing any filling over.

So now its time to move the pie from the counter to the oven. I wasn't in denial that this would take some skill, I was just convinced I could do it. So with Rajeev standing by just in case, I moved the thing over without spilling a single drop! I told you I could do it. But then, out of nowhere, filling started dripping out of pie so I grabbed a kitchen towel and thought it would drip a bit and then we'd push it in and be on our way. Well the thing just kept dripping, endlessly, so we finally grabbed a cookie sheet and figured any extra drippings would spill there rather than into the oven. Crisis averted.

So mid-baking I went to peak at the thing (I can never hold out I always have to peak) and all I can say is THANK GOD FOR THE COOKIE SHEET. I swear half the pie dripped out onto the sheet. Clearly, I had way too much filling and -- duh! -- it expanded when heated. (Flash back in my head: WHY DIDN'T I BUY THE DEEP DISH PIE CRUSTS?!!?!?!)

Then, as if that wasn't bad enough, when done I pulled the pie (and cookie sheet of ooze -- I really should have taken pictures) out to cool and only then do I realize its supposed to cool 4 HOURS BEFORE SERVING! Ahhhhhhh....
I cheated and ate a piece 2 hours later. It wasn't even good and we threw the whole thing out.

Monday, October 27, 2008

More Apple Products

With all these apples we collected, I made a couple other apple dishes.

Apples & Chicken in the slow cooker
This turned into more of a stew, what with the broth, soup, and apples that got nice and soft. It was pretty good - chicken and apples and rosemary are a good combo.

Apple Pie - I made a couple of these! I always use frozen pie crust because I'm lazy and I think it tastes good.
Then I used the filling from this recipe.
And the crumb topping from here.
I picked those mainly because they were simple and used ingredients I had. But the combination of them worked out very well and were a hit with the eaters.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Honey Roasted Sweet Potatoes

So, I had made some veggie chili recently and was going to post that, but Brianna and I both ended up feeling a little bit yucky after we ate it, definitely ghetto, not so fabulous.

But last night I made a really easy and tasty side dish, honey roasted sweet potatoes.

It's a recipe by Ellie Krieger who you may know from the Food Network. (My brother actually interned for her. I recall him having to clean all the pots and pans in the men's room!)


  • 2 pounds red-skinned sweet potatoes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Peel and cut the sweet potatoes into 1-inch pieces and put in a 9 by 13 baking dish. In a small bowl whisk together olive oil, honey and lemon juice. Pour mixture over potatoes and toss to coat. Sprinkle with the salt, and bake, stirring occasionally, for about 1 hour, until potatoes are tender.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Slice-and-Dice Ham and Vegetable Soup

When I graduated from college and moved to an apt for the first time, my aunt gave me this book. I used to make things from it all the time, but overtime, especially since I started getting EDF I don't turn there often for recipes. It's a great book though! Basically the premise is a 20-something guy learning to cook for the first time with recipes from his mom. Every recipe comes with his own commentary on making the recipe including odd pieces of advice, plus when necessary you get "Mom Tips" from his mom. Always helpful.

Today I wanted to make another soup recipe so flipped through the book and found Slice-and-Dice Ham and Vegetable Soup. It was good. I recommend it to others. Here's how (paraphrased by me)

  • 1 medium celery stalk (I didn't bother b/c as I've said before I hate buying celery for 1 stalk)
  • 1 medium carrot (I used a handful of baby carrots instead), cut into 1/4 inch slices
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped (I had this ready to go and forgot to add it. Oops.)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper
  • dash salt
  • 1 cup bite sized pieces ham (Mom Tip: Buy ham steak and cut it up, but the recipe was originally for leftover ham. The concept of buying ham steak totally baffled me, but there it was in the lunch meat section. Who knew...)
  • 15 oz diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups water (I used 1 cup water and 1 cup chicken broth b/c I had some to use up)
  • 1/4 cup small pasta shapes, uncooked couscous or bulgar (I used orzo since that's what I have at home right now)
  • Grated parmesan cheese (I had this all ready and forgot. Oops.)
  1. Heat oil in medium pot over medium heat. Add celery, carrot, onion and garlic. Cook for 5 mins, stirring occasionally until veggies start to soften
  2. Add basil, thyme, black pepper, salt, ham, tomatoes and their liquid, water, and pasta. Stir.
  3. Bring to a boil over high heat.
  4. Turn down to medium-low and cook, covered, for 15 mins, or until the pasta is soft.
  5. If soup is too thick add 1/2 more water. (I didn't need to do this.)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Pork & Apples

The other day we went apple picking and came back with an insane amount of apples. So I realized I had to find some new apple recipes, before I get around to making the pie. I found this recipe for Pork tenderloin with apples. I had never made pork tenderloin before, but it didn't seem too hard. I used my Penzey's spices and it goes great with the apples. It really wasn't hard either, the hardest part was slicing all the apples. It looked really ugly though and I didn't have a pretty plate for it, so I'm jumping on the bandwagon and using the internet photo. :-)

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Fab muffins, ghetto lasagna

These are light and delicious oatmeal chocolate chip muffins which are exactly like the cookie, but light, fluffy and muffinesque (which is good since they are muffins after all.) The key to these light, airy piles of deliciousness is letting the oatmeal soak with the milk for awhile. I also think that you could very easily sub the chocolate chips for something more nutritional like ripe raspberries (it is fall, after all) or apples or even dried cranberries or cherries. They are delicious!

I also have to report that I made Uma's Spinach and Prosciutto Lasagna. I was totally inspired by the recipe and excited by Trader Joe's No Boil Lasagna Noodles (insert product placement jingle right here because they are a-mazing). I even made my own sauce and had fresh spinach. I had high expectations.

Unfortunately, I put in too many anchovies to the sauce (3), and too much sauce into the lasagna. (Apparently, you can use it pretty sparingly.) It turned out ok despite being a little runny and having a flavor that J tactfully described as "clam juice." I know, however, the next batch will be better.

But despite the taste, it did look exactly like the picture =)

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Oatmeal Blondies

While waiting for the spinach for Spinach and Prosciutto Lasagna to defrost, I decided to entertain myself making these Oatmeal Blondies, because while flipping through old issues of EDF I realized I had all of the ingredients at home already.    Don't be scared by their use of "Everyday Baking Mix".  I almost didn't bother making them because it seemed silly to make 9 cups of the stuff, but if you dig to back of your brain for 3rd grade math, I bet you can do the math to get just enough for what you need.  :)  

Again their picture, and this time mine did NOT look the same.  I completely forgot to sprinkle more oats on top and didn't even realize till just now when looking at their pic.  Oops.

Spinach and Prosciutto Lasagna

This month's issue of EDF mag is about "One-Pot Meals" and one of the recipes is for Spinach and Prosciutto Lasagna.  I tried it Monday night (after I knew my roomies would be home to help me eat!) and liked it.  I will say this - the spinach took a lifetime to defrost, so plan ahead.  (Which I promise I tried to do - Rajeev's apt must be warmer than mine, b/c things defrost faster there.)  Other than that, it was super easy to make, fed 3 of us for dinner, and I have a portion or 2 left over (dinner tonight!).   Here's their pic, but I promise mine looked the same.

(Classic?) Minestrone

On Sunday, for lunch I decided to make this soup from this months EDF mag.   While it calls the soup "classic" minestrone, I'm not so sure mine was very classic.  I made several ingredient swaps / additions / estimations, because when I started cooking I was making it just for me and hoping to have a portion or 2 left over for lunch this week, but then mid-making it Rajeev called to say he was on his way over, so I suddenly felt a desire to make more (despite not really having the ingredients for more).  My changes:

  • I used 3/4 of a small red onion instead of 1 medium onion.  It felt like a lot.
  • I had baby carrots in the house, so I just cut up a handful of them to look like enough when compared to the other veggies.
  • I refused to buy celery to use just 1 stalk in this soup, so I skipped it.
  • I used 1/2 to 1/3 of a can of diced tomatoes.  Basically, I used what I had left over from the last time I made soup.
  • I used 1 small potato instead of a large one, because when i went shopping I was only going to make a half recipe.
  • I didn't use any cabbage b/c I hate the stuff.
  • I used the whole can of beans, even though when I went shopping I had only intended to use half the can.  Part of my last minute decision to add more to the soup.
  • I have no idea how many green beans I used, I just sorta guessed based on what looked like enough compared to everything else, and probably thru in a few extra b/c you come across them at the end (aka - well after I knew that I was no longer making a half recipe)
  • I completely forgot out the basil and parmesan.  Oops.
  • I added the kernels from 1 ear of corn b/c I had it left-over and on the verge of going bad
  • And as for water, by the time I needed to add it I had completely lost track of whether I thought I had enough veggies to warrant a full recipe or not, so I split the difference and added 4 cups of water.  
The end result?  Not bad.  Probably not "classic" and quite honesty, I didn't love the rosemary in there, but it was fine.  Maybe someone else should make it actually following the real recipe and see if you like it.  :)

Hershey's Kiss Cookies

There was an ad for the "Peanut Butter Blossom" cookies in this months EDF mag so I of course had to make them (and - as the makers of Hershey would be happy to hear - run out and buy Hershey's Kisses).  Ridiculously easy - and yummy, so go ahead and make them if you have Kisses lying around (notice I'm not advocating you fall into the marketing trap I fell in and just buy the kisses for no other reason!) 

PS- the pic is obviously theirs, not mine.

Sweet Potato Black Bean Enchiladas

This recipe came from the
Whole Foods website/contest for best cheap meal. (Check it out, all you have to do is comment on a recipe to be entered into a sweepstakes for whole foods gift cards.) Anyways, it was a pretty yummy recipe.

The thing that really made the enchiladas great was roasting the peppers which I had never done before. It's super easy, just turn on the gas burner (if you have one) and put the pepper over it!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Cream of Wheat?

Do you guys like it? I'm officially over it. Last week, my stomach wasn't feeling great when the October issue of my magazine arrive and one of their suggestions was to add Apple Butter to Cream of Wheat. Having not had the substance in years since I was a kid, I thought it looked like the perfect option and ran out to by Cream of Wheat. I quickly remembered why I hate the stuff. It gets lumpy way too fast! I can sorta fix the situation by adding more milk, but really the substance just loves to absorb fluid and eventually will end up lumpy! Any suggestions for what else I can do with my giant box of Cream of Wheat? And btw - why is the smallest size box enormous when it only takes 3 tablespoons to make a single serving?!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Everyday Food - September 2008

So... as promised here's a re-cap of the things I made out of the September issue of Everyday Food magazine.

One of the first recipes that caught my eye as I flipped through the September issue was Mr. John's Meatloaf. This meatloaf with a sausage laying in the middle looked so amazing, but also looked like a lot of meat, so I wanted to save it to make on a night when I'd be cooking for just me or even just me and Rajeev. Last Monday, I made decided to make dinner for the 2 of us, and his roommate, so I thought it was the perfect time to test out this recipe. If you like meat and meatloaf -- its yum! The sausage in the middle gives it an extra kick too! I made it with the Crispy Garlic Potatoes they mention in this recipe. They were good and easy to make, but nothing special. I also made the Creamy Spinach in this recipe that night, which was pretty good. I only made half the recipe for the 3 of us because I figured boys don't like spinach and 10 oz seemed like a lot, but I always forget that spinach cooks down so much! It came out great, but I should have just made the whole recipe. Or perhaps making half, helped my ego since we ate every last bite of it. :)

Less of a recipe and more of a reminder that I can make fun yummy foods that I normally eat out, I made the Open-Faced Egg and Tomato Sandwich one morning for breakfast. Again, I doubt you need a recipe for this, but the reminder of the idea to make it was welcome.

If you're looking for a healthy and yummy fall salad to eat for dinner, try the Roasted Vegetable Salad with Goat Cheese. The roasted veggies are a nice touch to salad (which I normally find to be the most boring meal ever) and while I've always liked goat cheese - I'm kind of obsessed with it lately, so I was glad to see it in the recipe.

I've already posted about the Late-Summer Veggie soup that I made which was one of the best things I made this past month.

I tried the Herb-Crusted Salmon from this recipe (I didn't bother with the spinach salad. I think I might have made this the same night as the roasted veggie salad instead). It was good - but again I wasn't really blown away and in all honestly it wasn't worth needing to wash the food processor. Maybe I'll try it again some time with regular old breadcrumbs, but probably not.

Rajeev was over for dinner one night and I made these Glazed Pork Chops. I kinda forgot that Rajeev doesn't have much of a sweet tooth and he wasn't really into the glaze, so I made his second pork chop without it (poor guy). I also had recently bought brown sugar made by Splenda (which has worked wonderfully when baking) so I tried it out here -- I wouldn't recommend. Stick to real (and higher calorie) brown sugar when making this recipe.

Lastly, I made the Oatmeal Raisin Cookies (though I think they were actually the first thing I made out of this issue) and they also were yum. No issues using the Splenda versions of granulated and brown sugar here which left me to eat them (a bit) guilt free!

PS - I might have more pics on my camera. If I download any more, I'll add them to the post!

Saturday, October 4, 2008


Tastespotting is a beautiful blog that highlights food, beautiful pictures of food. I thought to share since not only is it delicious, but if you make something from it, you could link with a beautiful picture. =)

Monday, September 29, 2008

Make this Soup!!!

I too, have been bad about posting to the blog lately. I don't even really have an excuse to offer up, but I have been cooking. Actually just last night I thought I'd wait it out another week or so and then make a giant post about everything I tried to make out of the September issue of Everyday Food Magazine, which we all know I consult regularly. I'll still do that -- but until then -- you should all make this soup!

Perhaps my extreme affinity for it has come about as a result of the fact that it was exactly what I needed last night. It was rainy here in NYC, I'd had an exhausting weekend, and just wanted to curl up on the couch with something warm, healthy, and yummy. In addition to being all of that, this soup was incredibly easy to make.

A couple notes:

-I halved the recipe, though when doing so, I felt like I need to add a bit more tomatoes. I probably ended up using 3/4 of a can rather than 1/2.
-I added a bit extra Orzo.
-I'd prob just the zucchini in quarters so the pieces are more bite sized.
-In the last minute or two before it was done cooking I added a few shakes of crushed red pepper to give it a tiny bit of an extra kick. Definitely a good idea.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

More regular posting on GastroFab

Okay, okay.

We've been a little lazy lately on this site.

Props to Louisa and Cheryl for having posted really great looking recipes lately. But as for me, it was somewhere between the moving-to-a-new-house and the-impending-launch-of-our-new-product at work that cooking kind of fell by the wayside. In fact, I was floored looking at my recent credit card bill by how much we've been eating out (and honestly, those little $7 meals can really add up!)

This realization, combined with the fact a few of my dear friends have also taken to a cooking blog (Check out My Vegan Wife: a new blog about vegan recipes), I've been inspired to return back in the saddle. This past week was an exercise in creative cooking, especially when you have not much in your kitchen and don't know which box has the pots and pans.

So, now that I've unpacked and found the camera, we'll have more recipes up soon. And, I can't wait to read yours. =) Off to the grocery store!

Sunday, September 14, 2008


Ever since the movie came out last year, LZ has been wanting to try Ratatouille. I don't know why but he brought it up again recently and today turned out to be the day we made it. It's definitely good, though doesn't seem like anything so special. Though I guess that's really the point of it - home cooking just like mom used to make. If you're French? Smitten Kitchen's recipe looked good and simple so I went with that. Mine didn't come out nearly as pretty as this one so I'm borrowing her photo. The best thing about it is it's going to make two days' lunches for me!

Chocolate Chip Muffins

This morning I thought maybe I'd make pancakes but I didn't have any milk and I wasn't sure you could make them without it. So then I thought about muffins and I did have sour cream so I looked for recipes that used that. I didn't have any berries though which would have made great muffins, so I had no choice but to make chocolate chip muffins! This recipe matched my ingredients and that was that. Not healthy in any way, shape or form, and not appetizing at all in the picture, but it made a nice Sunday breakfast.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

First you take the chicken

So my co-worker said to me, "What is one thing you have always wanted to cook, but have been afraid to." Without hesitation I answered "Roasted chicken." We recruited another co-worker and made it happen, and it was one of the best meals I have had in a long time (our turkey burgers notwithstanding). One of those long slow dinners where you savor every bite, sip your wine, and have great conversation.

First we used, a version of Julia Child's Roasted Chicken Recipe which surprise salt and lots of butter. We roasted parsnips and potatoes. We tried a fun trick with the potatoes. After par boiling, we drained the water out and then put them back in the pan. We then vigorously shook the pan until the potatoes looked fluffy. We put them in the oven along with the chicken. Apparently the fluffy factor makes them nice and crunchy. We also had a delicious green bean recipe with red onions, cherry tomatoes and mead (honey wine!). Incredible! We washed it all down with mead and Cabernet Sauvignon.

For dessert we made a very simple pear tart! Which leads me to a new food blog I learned about. It's called Smitten Kitchen. The tart recipe was adapted from here.

This website also offers some advice about photographing food!

A meal I won't soon forget!

Turkey Burgers

Cheryl came over the other night and we were trying to think of something relatively healthy to make. We ended up making these turkey burgers with tomato corn salsa and they were pretty good! I dumped a lot of cumin in there with the turkey, possibly too much, but it was still tasty. And it turned out to be quite cheap too! Cheryl took this picture which came out much better than we thought it would. Good work!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Peach Shortcake

We are moving!

The best part of moving is that we are moving down the street from a farmer's market. Which is extremely awesome. We started with a bucket of peaches ($4)

The skins went into a cup of water, cup of sugar and sprigs of mint to boil up and simmer down into a nice syrup to cover the peeled fruit.

J made shortcake. Having made a special trip to the store to get ice cream and whipped cream, we forgot a round cookie cutter, but he found that the large star one works just as well.

Combine all and then eat. Yay!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Fish Provencal

I decided to make this recipe, despite not having a grill. It was excellent! When you open the foil the smell is amazing. I used tilapia instead of cod. To get around the no grill situation, I just stuck the foil in the oven. I had about 1/3 a pound fish and the oven set at 350. It took about 30 mins, though I'd definitely recommend checking on it often. Make this recipe! It's great, easy, and there are almost no dishes to clean afterwards!

In honor of Italy

We are eating spaghetti with meat sauce tonight.

Just sayin'. Nothing gourmet about this meal. But, we're leaving for Italy in four days, so it's time to eat what's in the house. Creative and quick meals for the next four days.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Sonal's Birthday Feast

For Sonal's birthday this year, we decided to throw a pot-luck picnic in Central Park. It of course rained the whole afternoon (as it has done every time we decide to throw a pot-luck picnic), so we moved the party indoors to a bar. The owner was more than happy to have 12 people fill her otherwise empty bar at 1pm on a Saturday. They don't serve food at this bar and completely welcome outside food. It's the perfect place to relocate a pot-luck picnic. I made:

Chocolate Fudge: Uber easy -- who knew! I keep telling it's as easy as making rice krispee treats (something I mastered at age 10). The other nice part about making fudge was that I could make it a few days in advance.

Tomato, Corn, and Avocado Salad: this is my new favorite dish! So quick, hardly any mess to clean up. I actually had a bunch of leftover ingredients, so I made it again for dinner later in the week.

Macaroni Salad
: another new favorite. there's something so yummy about the way this tastes. I made it with whole wheat noodles, so you don't feel so bad eating all those carbs. Again I had leftovers of most of the ingredients so I made it again for lunch one day. I didn't have any prosciutto left, so instead I sliced up some chicken breast lunch meat and put that in. It worked really well. I might have even liked it better that way. A couple tips:
  • don't toss all the goat cheese in before you put the noodles in. The heat from the pasta kinda melts everything (in a good way b/c the pasta gets really well coated with the sauce), but its nice to have some un-melted pieces of goat cheese too. I put about half in before and saved the other half to add later, once the whole thing cooled down a bit.
  • double the quantity of tomatos, cheese, and meat that you use compared to the pasta otherwise you end up with mainly noodles. I caught that tip in the comments people left on the recipe so I just did it, but I can easily see how it could happen.
Strawberry Cream Cake: This was our birthday cake. I'm going to admit - I made the cake part from a box mix to save time, but I used to rest of the recipe for the cream and strawberries. Also, don't listen to them when they tell you to whip the cream until you get "soft peaks" -- its a lie. You need "firm peaks" - as any other whipped cream recipe will tell you.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Chocolate covered strawberries

The other day we were at a Godiva store where they were selling chocolate covered strawberries for like $4 each. Insane. The next day it just so happened that LZ brought home this huge bar of chocolate from work - free! (It had expired - something I don't worry about.) I wanted to think of something to do with it that wouldn't result in my eating the entire thing that very night. Chocolate covered strawberries were the perfect thing! Then I decided I needed a double boiler so I ran out and got one. And finally, these beauties were born. There's plenty of chocolate left so I'll be making more tonight!

Friday, July 4, 2008


A lady in my neighborhood has a couple huge mulberries trees that drop an incredible amount of white mulberries during June and July. Her neighbors complain that she doesn't clean up after it so she said anyone who helps sweep the sidewalk can have all the mulberries they want. I figured I'd give it a try and I collected all these mulberries. They look pretty gross don't they? Like albino blackberries. Or caterpillar parts. Too bad it turns out they don't have any particular taste. So I mixed them with some cherries and blueberries and made this berry crisp. It was good, but the mulberries didn't add much besides volume. Picking them and meeting the mulberry lady was an interesting experience though!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Potato Skins

Also while home, with my mom, I made these Potato Skins. Quite honestly - she did most of the work, but it was my idea. We were making a few things at the same time and somehow she got stuck with the not so awesome job of scooping out all of the potatoes. We also didn't plan well and were too impatient to wait for the potatoes to cool before scooping them, so it was quite a production. All in all, I personally thought they required more effort than they're worth and wouldn't bother making them again. I can wait to eat my potato skins at bar, but for those of you that want to make them at home, this recipe works just fine.

Lemon Ginger Bundt Cake

A few weeks ago, while at at my parents house, I took advantage of the fact that my mom has a big old Kitchen Aid, perfect for baking, and make this Lemon-Ginger Bundt cake. It was really quite easy and the little tiny pieces of ginger were great. I'd definitely make it again! The picture is, quite obviously, not mine, but honestly mine looked just as good. Oh - and I didn't bother with the powdered sugar...

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Peanut Pork & Strawberry Salad

Another terrible picture but at least I'm posting! This is peanut-rubbed pork loin or something. I had to bake it way longer than they said, as usual. And some of the peanuts burned. But it was not bad. The strawberry salad was really good though! I got it from a book of just salad recipes. I would have probably thought it was too weird but I remembered Sarah doing the strawberry-balsamic thing one time so I figured it was a good idea. And it was! First you make this dressing with strawberries, balsamic vinegar, oil, lemon juice, etc. and blend it all. Then add more strawberry slices. Then put it on the greens and add goat cheese (I had feta). Voila! Awesome strawberiness I will definitely be making again.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Chocolate-Orange Cupcakes

So, these cupcakes are vegan. Usually I feed people something before I tell them it's vegan, because people think vegan desserts are going to taste like, I don't know, hay and carob? But these taste like cupcakes. My roommate has this incredibly great book, Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World, by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero, which is where I got the recipe. I made them orange by adding 1 1/2 teaspoons orange extract to the batter, which the book suggests. It also has a recipe for orange buttercream (or "buttercream") frosting, but I was afraid it wasn't going to make enough - I live in fear there won't be enough frosting - so I just substituted orange extract for the vanilla extract and orange juice for the soy milk in the fluffy buttercream frosting recipe. I only used about 1/8 cup orange juice, not 1/4 cup. In conclusion, vegan cupcakes = delicious. Don't be scared by the apple cider vinegar. The cupcakes do not taste like vinegar. They taste like chocolatey-orange delightfulness.

Oh, they could be frosted more delightfully, but I had several mishaps with this mechanical pastry bag my roommate has - including the fact that I broke it - so I just spread the frosting, and added orange sprinkles. All the pictures in the book have these amazingly beautiful frosted tops, but that appears beyond my reach.

Monday, June 16, 2008

June Cooking

I've made a few things lately but not taken pictures or gotten around to posting about them. So here's a quick recap of a few of them:

Rachel Ray's Meatloaf Muffins
Sarah made a meatloaf so I decided to too. I had all the ingredients and I was getting hungry when I found out you have to cook a meatloaf for longer than I was willing to wait. Rachel Ray to the rescue as usual, she had this great idea of just putting scoops of the meat mixture in a muffin pan instead of all together in a loaf. Quick cooking and tasty! I forgot how good meatloaf can be.

Butternut Squash Pasta
I've been on a calorie counting kick lately so I'm looking for recipes at Cooking Light these days. I'm not sure they're particularly light but they tell you how many calories are in it so that's handy. The butternut squash in this came out really good, though of course if you're counting calories you can't have very much pasta with it.

Quinoa Salad
Part of my trying to eat slightly more healthful foods is trying to bring healthful lunches to work. A good way to do it is to make a lot of something on Sunday that I can eat all week. Otherwise I end up eating bread and pasta as usual. So, this quinoa salad was the perfect thing. It made a ton and there's so much stuff in it to keep it interesting. I didn't even end up putting in the black beans because I thought it was already jam packed.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Creamy Lemon Squares

A week ago the CTO invited the whole Technology Team to his house in Brooklyn for a BBQ. I made these creamy lemon squares. I was a bit skeptical, but I figured if they didn't come out well, I'd just leave them at home. Thankfully they were great! My only 2 notes:

1. The recipe is dead on with the estimate of how many lemons makes 3/4 c. lemon juice.

2. Buy extra lemons anyway -- you never know when you'll have an "accident" - a lemon and a half in to my squeezing, I managed to tip the entire measuring cup of juice over and made a big mess to clean up. :)

Monday, May 26, 2008


This is my Korean kimbab! My new friend Sunny came over this weekend and showed me how to make it. I'd been wanting to learn for years ever since I first had it in Korea. You have to cut everything into thin strips which took a lot of time but then the rolling up is kind of fun, I imagine that part is probably similar to sushi. She also showed us how to make two kinds of Korean soup but I'm not crazy about soup. Kimbab is going to be great for bringing to work for lunch, and just in time for summer!