Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Southwestern Filled Acorn Squash

So I had a big acorn squash leftover from my CSA, and wanted to do something interesting with it. I found this recipe for Southwestern Filled Acorn Squash on Eating Well.

I don't generally like sausage, so I omitted the meat and made this vegetarian. I also only made one squash and not 3, so I had eyeball some of the amounts

. Let me tell you, this was fantastic! Really nice flavors and quite impressive looking. I think this might go into our regular fall lineup. It's very filling. I am actually eating the leftovers right now!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Spinach and Chickpeas

I have fallen in love with the Smitten Kitchen blog. Deb Perelman's recipes are just really elegant, the photography is outstanding, and she makes food I might actually want to eat.

Last night I made Spinach with Chickpeas or as she likes to say espinacas con garbanzos. It was slightly more labor intensive, because it involved transferring bread cubes from a fry pan to a blender, and then back into the fry pan. The chickpeas take on a delicious flavor and it's very filling. I served it with couscous.

I definitely recommend this.
*Image courtesy of Deb Perelman.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Cooking Club: Porkchops with Mushroom Bourbon Cream Sauce

I was searching through recipes I had bookmarked for myself, looking for something to make for dinner tonight, when I came across this recipe for Porkchops with Mushroom Bourbon Cream Sauce. I made this for cooking club just a few weeks ago and had meant to share it with you guys! The sauce is delish! I chose to bake the pork chops the entire time so they took a bit longer to cook than I anticipated. Overall, I don't love pork chops, but I'd make the sauce again and serve it as a side!

Photo credit to Simply Recipes - but mine looked the same.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Chipotle Chicken & Rice

The combo of seeing Louisa this weekend at Maura & Christopher's wedding and having a less than fabulous moment in the kitchen tonight prompted me to post here! I decided to make the recipe for Chipotle Chicken and Rice in the July / August 2009 issue of Everyday Food magazine. All was going well (and I was thinking about how this is such a great dish to make b/c while it takes a long time - most of the time is hands off and leaves you with time to do other things - I did 2 loads of laundry and cleaned my apt a bit!) until the last 5 minutes. It seems there wasn't enough water in my pot during the last step, so all of the water absorbed about 5 minutes earlier than the estimated time and burned the bottom layer of rice. When I was putting the rice in, it didn't feel like enough, so I actually added more then - but still not enough! Thankfully, I could tell something was up and managed to save the bulk of it. It tastes great and I have plenty of leftovers for lunch this week! Definitely worth making again!

ps- photo credit to Everyday Food magazine - but mine pretty much looks the same if you discard the bottom layer!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Cooking Club: Mexican Hot Chocolate Cookies

A friend of mine started a Cooking Club and last night was our first meeting. Our Cooking Club is going to meet once a month and the basic premise is that each month we'll have a theme, selected by the person hosting. The host makes a main dish and everyone else has to make an appetizer, side, or dessert to go with the theme. Also, we each need to make something we've never made before. It can be a dish you've made before, but it at least needs to be a new recipe.

Last night's theme was Mexican, so I made the Mexican Hot Chocolate Cookies found in the April 2010 Everyday Food Magazine. The picture is theirs, but mine looked pretty good! They were super easy to make and everyone seemed to love them.

I'm hosting next month - so we'll see what I come up with as far as a theme and a main dish!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Rhubarb Cake

Every spring, this giant plant of rhubarb springs up from besides the garage. This is the only plant that I can harvest from on our rental property, and it gives loads and loads of rhubarb.

I've made strawberry rhubarb jam and pie and crumble, but i wanted to try something new. So, here's the recipe for rhubarb cake. (Modified from this recipe)


  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2-4 cups coarsely chopped fresh rhubarb (I used 4)
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon


In a large mixing bowl with electric hand-held mixer, cream the butter until it is light and fluffy. Add the brown sugar slowly, continuing to beat, until the mixture is well blended and fluffy. Beat the egg and vanilla into the creamed mixture until well-blended.

In a separate bowl sift together the flour, salt, and baking soda. Combine the lemon juice and milk; add it alternately with the flour mixture to the creamed mixture, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Beat after each addition, just enough to blend. Gently fold the chopped rhubarb into the batter; spoon into a greased 9x13x2-inch pan, spreading evenly.

Dash the cinnamon on top of the batter. Bake in a preheated 350° oven for 50-60 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool the cake in the pan at least 25 minutes, then cut into squares and serve.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Carrot Soup

I guess it was about time for me to get back to the original theme of this blog - this carrot soup was disastrous. I thought oh I'll just get some carrots and whip up this carrot soup in no time. That was my first mistake, because this recipe took a lot longer than I expected. I don't exactly know why because there aren't that many ingredients so maybe I was just slow. It was still going well though, up until the end. Second mistake - I put too much salt in. I usually put way too little and somehow this time I overcompensated. But I thought it would still be edible. Then my third and final mistake - the sesame oil. I either put way too much, or unbeknownst to me mine was the super strong kind she mentions in the article. Once that was in, the whole thing tasted like sesame which is kind of weird with carrots. Li wouldn't even eat it. I ate a little just because I'd put all this time into it, but it was terrible. Frustrating!!!! I definitely want to try it again though because I think it had potential - next time no sesame oil at all. In the comments they suggest curry powder which sounds like a good idea - as long as I go easy on it.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Chicken Patty Pockets

I haven't been cooking a lot the past month or two, and when I do I haven't been trying anything new. But I decided it was time to shake things up and I finally made something from my first issue of Everyday Food Magazine (just like Uma, yay!). I made these chicken patty pockets, which I think Uma made too. The recipe is from Emeril but I don't think they have it on the site. They came out pretty good, except I used ground white meat because it was on sale, and I think the dark meat would have more flavor. Also, the recipe said to broil them for 4 minutes on each side but when I did that they were nowhere near done. I had to bake them for at least 10 more minutes. They had this yogurt sauce on them, with mint and lime, which I really liked. So I think I'll be making them again!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Butternut Squash Crumble

I found this recipe on, and decided yesterday's rainy, windy night would be the perfect time to try it. I am a squash fiend, so I was very excited to try this recipe. It's like an apple crumble you might make, except savory.

You can view the recipe here:

Yes, it does have a good deal of parmesan cheese and butter. The recipe came out great, although I would not call it light. It was very filling in the belly. I took a shortcut and used already cut up butternut squash. I found it well worth the extra money. My only other critique was that I didn't mix the crumb topping as well as I could have, so I ended up with some spots that had a sand-like consistency.

I am eating it now for lunch, and I can attest that it does well as leftovers!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Dried Fruit Pork Chops

A little late but I wanted to post this. We've been cooking a bunch lately but mainly just making the rounds through the recipes we already know and love. My recipe repertoire has expanded so much since we started GastroFabulous, it's really amazing!

Anyways, we had a nice Valentine's day with my mom and Oscar (the dog) and we made these pork chops with a nice red (seasonal) sauce of red wine with dried cherries, cranberries, plums, etc. It came out too salty though, I think the result of the chicken stock plus the added salt. Next time I wouldn't add any more. Other than that, it was pretty good, and easy.

Sunday, February 7, 2010


Today I made these alfajores, apparently an Argentinian cookie. I had never heard of them but they have dulce de leche which I've always loved. I started yesterday, I made the dough and attempt #1 of the dulce de leche. The cookie dough seemed too crumbly so I added extra butter which helped only a little. The dulce de leche I completely botched - burned it and made a huge mess. So, day 1 was not a success.

But the next day I kept at it. I tried to roll out the dough like the instructions say but it was not happening - way too crumbly. Instead I just shaped it into patties by hand, and that actually worked fine. The baking instructions worked perfectly. I bought a new can of sweetened condensed milk and tried the dulce de leche again. This time I kept a close eye on it and it came out fine. Not great I think - I've had it darker and more flavorful - but still good. I made dulce de leche one other time but I can't remember how it was. So, day 2 - things are looking up!

Finally I paired up the same-sized cookies, spread the dulce de leche, and sandwiched them together. They are quite tasty! But, when they sit there the dulce de leche kind of oozes out and gets messy. I'm bringing them to a friend's house later and I think it'll be quite sticky by then. But, they taste good, so overall a success.

Monday, January 11, 2010


This weekend I had a potluck brunch to go to and as usual I decided to try something new. I'd had strata in restaurants and decided to make it myself. Strata is basically bread pudding but savory, not sweet. It's also a lot like quiche, but without the crust and with bread in it. Whatever it's like, it's really good, you can put whatever you want in it, and it's not that hard to make. I used this spinach strata recipe and I added tomatoes too. At one point (actually many points) I thought I'd ruined it, but it's hard to ruin and came out great! You're supposed to put the stuff in the pan in layers, but after the first layer my pan was pretty full. Too much stuff! So I made two pans, but then when I went to pour in the liquid, it didn't even cover one of the pans. Not enough liquid! I figured I'd just see what happened, and it actually was fine. I do think the custard to stuff ratio was kind of high - I'd probably pack more stuff in next time so it was more dense. But it really didn't matter and I'm eating the second pan for lunches this week - anything goes, with strata!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Egg Nog Bars

As you may or may not know, I love egg nog. So when I saw these egg nog nanaimo bars (yeah, weird name) I pretty much had to make them. The recipe is fairly involved so I was worried they wouldn't be worth it, but let me tell you - they are! These are reeeealllly good! And the two main layers really aren't that hard, though they do have a fair number of ingredients in there. Mine actually do look great, a lot like the picture, but I couldn't resist reposting this shot with their cute little faces and egg nog glasses. The bottom layer is chocolatey graham cracker stuff, and the middle layer is puddingy egg nog stuff - both buttery goodness. Then on top there is a layer of white chocolate. That part was pretty tricky. Melted chocolate doesn't quite seem liquidy enough to pour, you see. So I melted it and sort of painted it on awkwardly with a spatula. It hardens so fast so it's easy to make a mess. It was a bit frustrating, but in the end it still looked fine and tasted great. So - success! The only worry is that I can't make them again until next egg nog season.

Orange Lamb

Chocolate & Zucchini is a food blog I've had on my radar for a long time but never actually made anything from it. Sometimes I feel like a lot of things on there are more complicated than I'm looking for. But the other day I had time, and LZ wanted lamb, and this one looked pretty good. It's basically lamb and oranges, with a buttery citrus sauce with spices like cardamom and cinnamon, and then candied orange peels on top. I was excited about trying the candied orange peels, but in the end they mostly got left on the side of the plate. It was really delicious though, between the fact that lamb is always tasty, and the yummy spices - thumbs up! It took some work but I'd definitely make it again - could be a good one for a dinner party since we even had leftovers. I would say mine did look fairly similar to the photo, but my photos can never compare so I posted hers.

My Baking Misdaventures

Hello bloggers! I haven't posted in awhile and thought I'd update you all on my cooking adventures.

First I made florentine lace cookies; these are fancy cookies you often see in bakeries. They are very impressive to bring as hostess gifts, but I must warn you. They are a huge pain in the ass! First you have to make the cookie part. I learned from trial and error that you must spoon the dough onto the cookie sheet in dollops no bigger than a quarter. Or else all of the cookies will spread together to make one giant cookie! I literally used every cookie sheet in the house, because you have to leave so much room on each sheet for the cookies to bake. The cookies are thin and if you bake them too long they will just crumble as you try to remove them. I had two whole pans of them that I could not use. After making the cookies, I made the chocolate filling with amaretto (always take a shot for good luck.). I then had to match each cookie half with another that is roughly the same size and put the filling in the middle. They came out great, but I vowed not to make them again for a few years. After that ringing endorsement, let me know if you want the recipe.

Also for dinner the other night, I decided to make biscuits. I am not a baker, so proceeded with caution. Brianna who comes from a long line of bakers was always nervous about making them, and has never really attempted.

So it was crazy that I, the person who has trouble with a cake mix was going to give this a whirl. After I made my dough, I proudly exclaimed, "Look what I did."

They came out great except that they are they thickness of English muffins. I think I rolled out the dough too thinly and maybe our baking soda has gone defunct. They tasted exactly like biscuits though, so I though that was a step in the right direction. You can find the recipe at the Joy of Baking Website.

And for my third and final act, I am attempting to make bread from scratch. Eeek! Mark Bittman (How to Cook Everything) discovered this technique from a bakery in NYC. Literally take yeast, water, salt, and flour, let it rise for many hours, pop it in the oven and voila. Check out the YouTube video of it. See how easy he made it look? I've made the dough which is VERY wet and doest not all resemble a ball. It kind of shakes like jello. I've already used several extra cups of flour but it's still not quite right. I am going to hope for the best. Right now it's rising for the second time, and that we will bake it and see how it turns out. Will keep you posted!

Happy New Year!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Rugelach (not to be confused with Arugula)

My mom didn't want me to make gingerbread cookies this year for Christmas.

"I don't want something with frosting. I want something with nuts," she said.

Luckily, I was reading recipes of holiday cookies on the New York Times website and found these little beautiful Jewish cookies called Rugelach. (I pronounce them "Ru-Geh-Laa" which sounds pretty much like "Arugula," which is not a cookie). For some reason, I remember my mom buying them at some bakery when I was little. There was a raisin kind and a fruity kind, but i liked both a lot. And, they had nuts. Perfect.

"So instead of making Christmas're making Jewish cookies?" My dad asked once I explained the change in plan.

"Ask mom," I said. "I think Christmas is still on."

The two kinds we made are Apricot and Raisin and Raspberry and Dried Cranberry

Adapted from the New York Times website. (See link above)

1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese (I used a block of Philly's)
1 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups bleached all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 cup (firmly packed) light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 cup golden raisins (ok, we used regular raisins and were fine, and used craisens for the raspberry version)
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
1/2 cup apricot preserves (or use raspberry preserves)
1/4 liquid cup milk
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Make the dough:
In a mixing bowl, cream the cream cheese and butter until blended. Beat in the sugar and vanilla extract. On low speed, beat in the flour and the optional salt until incorporated.
Scrape the dough onto a piece of plastic wrap and press it together to form a ball.
Divide the dough into 4 portions and cover each with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 2 hours or

Make the Filling:
In a medium bowl, combine the sugars, cinnamon, raisins, and walnuts and stir with a spatula or fork until well mixed.
Remove the dough from the refrigerator and allow it to sit on the counter for about 15 minutes or until it is malleable enough to roll.
Place 2 oven racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Using a floured rolling pin, on a lightly floured board, roll out each dough portion, one at a time, into a 9-inch circle to a 1/8-inch thickness, rotating the dough often to be sure that it isn't sticking.
A great method that keeps additional flour to a minimum is to roll out the dough between two sheets of plastic wrap, well floured on the bottom. Flip it over, remove the bottom sheet of plastic wrap, and dust off any excess flour. Using the back of a tablespoon, spread the dough evenly with 2 tablespoons of the preserves. Sprinkle about 1/2 cup of the filling over the preserves. Press the filling firmly and evenly over the dough. Using a sharp knife, cut the dough circle into 12 triangles or pieces of "pie."
Use a thin knife, if necessary, to loosen the triangles from the board.
Starting at the wide end, roll up the triangle and bend the ends around to form a slight crescent shape.
Place the rugelach, point underneath, about 1 1/2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets.

(optional) For the topping, brush the rugelach with milk. In a small bowl, stir together the sugar and cinnamon, and sprinkle the rugelach with it.

Bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until lightly browned.

(optional) For even baking, rotate the cookie sheets from top to bottom and front to back halfway through the baking period.