Friday, February 26, 2010

Tuscan White Bean and Garlic Soup

No, this recipe isn't from Everyday Food or even Real Simple magazine, rather it is from one of Giada De Laurentiis' cook books "Giada's Kitchen", which I'm borrowing from our friends Joel and Katie. The soup turned out to be much thinner than I thought, which was a good thing because it meant the soup was lighter and less substantial (which I loved). And grilling the bread was such a good idea. I've never done it before, but I'll definitely remember this technique. My husband would suggest putting the bread in the bowl and pouring the soup over it, in his words it was "a very special experience".

For the Soup:
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 medium shallots, roughly chopped
2 sage leaves
2 15 oz cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
4 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed (or halved, either way is fine)
4 cups low sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup half and half (she uses 1/2 cup heavy cream)
dash of course salt
dash of fresh ground pepper

heat a large stock pot over medium heat. Add butter, oil and shallots and saute until shallots are tender, 3-4 minutes. Add sage leaves, beans and garlic and stir. Add chicken broth and bring to a gentle simmer. Cook 15-20 minutes or until garlic is tender. Puree half of the soup in a blender (make sure to get the sage leaves in there) and add it to the soup in the pot. Turn the heat to low and add the half and half and salt and pepper. Allow to sit for 8-10 minutes on low heat to allow the flavors to marry. Garnish with chopped, cooked bacon and/or sage leaves.

To grill the bread:
cut panna bello or ciabatta bread into slices and drizzle with olive oil.
Heat a skillet or grill pan over medium high heat. Grill the bread for 2-3 minutes per side or until golden brown grill marks appear.



Toasted flax seeds
Chopped toasted walnuts
Feta cheese
Red wine vinaigrette

Toss it all in a bowl and eat it up.

New Blog Home!!!

Hello to the 5 people who read my blog! I've decided to move myself elsewhere on the internets:

Thanks for following me!

- xo Elly

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Sandwich Times

Smoked turkey from Publix
Muenster Cheese

Slap it all on some Panna Bello Bread from Whole Foods and you're good to go! We ate these while watching the movie District 9 last night...that might not be the best movie to watch while eating food, but these were still quite scrumptious.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Delicious "lighter" Chocolate Cakes

This recipe is so easy and so so good, and it definitely doesn't taste "light".

1/4 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup a.p. flour
1/4 cup unsweetened dark cocoa powder
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 egg white
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brush either eight 8 oz ramekins or one 8"X8" pan with oil. Set aside for later. In a medium sized bowl sift together flour, cocoa, baking powder, soda and salt. In a separate larger bowl, whisk together sugar, applesauce and oil until smooth. Whisk in egg white and vanilla. Add flour mixture and stir just until moistened.
Pour batter into the ramekins or pan and smooth the tops with a spatula. If using ramekins, place on a rimmed baking sheet before baking. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool. Serve with chocolate sauce, chopped nuts or fruit and ice cream.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Lettuce Wraps

1/4 cup soy sauce
4 tsp fish sauce
4 tsp sugar
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 large shallot, finely chopped
2 tbsp fresh ginger, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 small serrano chile, miced
1 lb ground turkey
2 heads iceberg lettuce

2 cups cooked rice

shredded carrot
chow mein crispies
sesame seeds
lime slices

add soy sauce, fish sauce and sugar together in a small bowl and stir until sugar is dissolved.
Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium high heat. Add shallot, ginger, garlic and chile to pan and heat until fragrant, 30 seconds or so. Add turkey and 1/2 the sauce and cook until turkey is completely cooked, 5-6 minutes. Serve wrapped up in lettuce leaves topped with the carrot, crispies, seeds and limes

The night after I made this I did a variation using red bell peppers, onion and sugar snap peas. For the meat I used chicken thighs which I cooked and shredded and added at the same time I added the turkey in the recipe above. Both were really good. The ginger, shallot, garlic, chile added so much flavor it was amazing. I'll definitely do this again.

original recipe from everyday food jan/feb 2010

Monday, February 22, 2010

The New Oatmeal

The most recent breakfast fetish in our home:
1/2 cup rolled oats made with 3/4 cup water, 1/4 cup almond milk, sea salt and vanilla
topped with:
maple nut granola (recipe below)
1/2 banana
Greek yogurt
maple syrup
flax seeds

Maple Nut Granola:
3 1/2 cups rolled oats
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup chopped almonds
1/4 tsp sea salt
5 tsp veggie oil
5 tablespoons maple syrups
1 tsp vanilla extract

Bake in a 325 degree oven for 30-35 minutes.

*Next time I would add 2 tbsp of olive oil and 3 tbsp of honey. It was a little juice might help also. This is great on top of yogurt though!

original recipe from everyday food jan/feb 2010

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Linguini in Tomato Sauce

Sometimes at the end of a long day all you want is some warm and familiar comfort food.

Boil 1/2 package of linguine according to directions on box
In a small pan saute 2 garlic cloves in 1 Tbsp olive oil for 1-2 minutes. Add 3 cups spinach a cup at a time waiting for it to shrink down as you go.
In a medium sized saucepan heat 1/2 container of spaghetti sauce over medium heat.

Drain pasta, toss with olive oil and portion it out into 4 bowls. To each bowl add the garlic/spinach, a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese and salt and pepper. Lightly toss the pasta and add sauce to the top. Sprinkle with more Parmesan and a small amount of feta cheese. I also added some Tapatio to give it a little kick. Totally hit the spot!

Friday, February 19, 2010


I can't post the recipe for these because it's my own little secret, but I did want to post some pictures because they're just so cute! The boutique I work at had a Valentine's Day party last week and I made these cupcakes for the event.
These are only 2 of the many cakes that have been baked and madly consumed over the past few weeks. I'll post recipes for some of the other cakes soon, for now we can let the pictures speak for themselves.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Poached Eggs on Salad

This was my first time poaching an egg and though it wasn't without it's faults, the end result was fairly satisfactory.

The salad consisted of:
turkey bacon, cherry tomatoes, feta cheese, cucumbers and chicken (from last night's dinner) and of course, a poached egg.
The dressing is simply: olive oil, red wine vinegar and s&p.

The egg poaching process was far easier than I imagined. First crack 3 eggs into 3 separate prep bowls. Fill a straight-sided saute pan with 2 inches of water. Warm the water over medium heat until small bubbles form on bottom and sides of the pan. Once a few bubbles break the surface of the water (a gentle simmer?), very gingerly pour the eggs into the water. Let them sit undisturbed for 3-4 minutes until whites are fully cooked and yolk is still runny. Gently release the egg from the bottom of the pan with a spatula. Remove the egg with a slotted spoon and shimmy it onto whatever you're serving it with. If the yolk is extra runny it can be used as part of the dressing for the salad...yuuum :)

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Pork Tenderloin with Polenta and Swiss Chard

This was my first experience ever making polenta from scratch and I was extremely pleased with the result. I saved the remainder and put it in an oiled dish which I later flipped over, cut into triangles and broiled for a few minutes to give it a crispy top. This may also have been the first time I've ever made pork tenderloin. These recipes are also from Everyday Food.

4 cups 2% milk
6 cups chicken broth
1 1/3 cups Bob's Red Mill "Corn Grits" or Polenta
salt and pepper
1, 1lb pork tenderloin cut into 12 thin slices
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon olive oil
2 medium yellow onions halved and thinly sliced lengthwise
1 bunch Swiss chard, stems cut into 1/2" pieces and leaves roughly chopped
2-3 teaspoons red wine vinegar
2 tsp unsalted butter

In a large pasta pot, bring milk and 5 cups broth to a boil over med-high heat. Slowly whisk in the polenta and continue to whisk until polenta begins to thicken. Reduce heat to low and season with S&P. Simmer gently, stirring often until cooked, 25-30 minutes.
While polenta is cooking, flatten pork pieces with the palms of your hands. Season with course salt and pepper. Heat 1.5 tsp olive oil over medium high and cook the medallions in batches of 6. Cook until well browned on each side, 3-4 minutes total. Transfer to a plate and cover with foil to keep warm.
Return skillet to heat and add remaining olive oil, onions, chard stems and 1/4 cup of broth. Cook, scraping up all the brown bits until vegetables begin to soften, about 5 min. Add chard leaves and cook until wilted, 2-3 minutes. Add vinegar, the remaining broth and cook until liquid has nearly evaporated. Add pork to the top and stir lightly. Serve on top of warm polenta.

I also made Apple Spritzers:
combine 2 cups chilled club soda, 1 1/2 cups chilled apple juice and 10-12 dashes bitters, and 1 apple sliced into thin rounds. Serve over ice. (also good with whiskey added!)

Friday, February 12, 2010

Curried Chickpeas and Brown Rice

Curried Chickpeas:

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large yellow onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon curry powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
a pinch of cloves
2 cans chick peas
1 cup frozen peas
3 tablespoons ketchup
salt and pepper
chopped cilantro and lemon wedges for garnish

In a large straight-sided skillet. Heat oil over medium and add onion. Cook until dark brown around the edges, stirring occasionally, 6-8 minutes. Add garlic and spices and stir until fragrant, 20-30 seconds. Add chickpeas, peas, ketchup, salt and pepper and 2 cups water. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for about 20-30 minutes or until liquid is slightly reduced and thickened (I added 1 tsp cornstarch+water paste to help it thicken). While chickpeas are cooking, make brown rice:

2 cups brown rice
4 cups water
pinch of salt
drizzle of olive oil

Add all ingredients to a medium sauce pan. Bring to a simmer, cover and turn heat to low. Cook until rice has absorbed all the water, 20-25 minutes.

Serve topped with curried chickpeas, lemon wedges (I used limes) and cilantro if desired.

recipe from Everyday Food, January/February 2010

Frittata with Biscuits

The recipe for the frittata is from Everyday Food and the recipe for the biscuits is from an ooooold edition of a Better Homes and Garden's cookbook. Yes the biscuit recipe uses shortening, but if this is only the second time I've ever used shortening I think we'll be alright. The important thin is that they are my first fluffy and light biscuits EVER! We ate them with copious amounts of salted butter and orange blossom honey. The frittata is especially good with extra shredded cheese and lots of Tapatio.

Spinach and Cheddar Frittata:
3 large eggs + 4 egg whites
6 tablespoons shredded sharp cheddar cheese
2 teaspoons whole milk
salt and pepper
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1 small onion, finely minced
4 1/2 cups baby spinach

Place 4, 8 oz lightly oiled ramekins on a baking sheet and preheat oven to 450. Place the baking sheet with the ramekins in the oven while you prepare the frittata.
In a medium sized bowl, mix together eggs, 1/2 of the cheese, milk, a sprinkle of salt and pepper.
In a medium sized skillet heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook 1-2 minutes. Add spinach a handful at a time and cook until just wilted. Add spinach mixture to eggs. Remove ramekins from oven and immediately divide the egg mixture among them. Sprinkle with remaining cheese and return to oven for 12-15 minutes, or until the frittata is puffed up and beginning to turn golden brown.

Fluffy Biscuits:
2 cups sifted AP flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup shortening
3/4 cup milk

Cut the shortening into the sifted dry ingredients until mixture resembles course crumbs. Make a well in the center and add the milk all at one time and stir quickly with a fork until dough follows the fork around the bowl (DO NOT OVER MIX!)
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead gently for 30 seconds (DO NOT OVER-KNEAD!). Roll dough to 1/2" thick and cut with biscuit cutter; do not twist or turn biscuit cutter while cutting-just go straight up and straight down. Bake in a 450 degree oven for 10-12 minutes. Best served warm.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Bad Blogger!

I'm fully aware that the fastest way to lose blog readership is to be a sporadic poster, so I'm sorry I've been slow about posting lately! We haven't had the good camera (my husband's boss graciously lends it to us almost weekly) so I haven't been as excited about posting images of the food I've made...which is a damn shame cause I made some really really good food last week!
Updates will come tomorrow, if not tonight. Thank you for continuing to check up on my blog...don't give up on me yet!


Thursday, February 4, 2010

Eggs and Ramen

You can hardly tell because of all the veggies on top, but this is a delicious bowl of ramen noodles with an egg on top. One of the most satisfying and enjoyable dinners I make when we are completely out of foods to cook with. Just put some water in a pot, add the noodles, add the vegetables (if you so desire) and add 1/2 a ramen seasoning packet. Immediately crack an egg on top of the noodles, cover for several minutes or until it's cooked to your liking. Serve and top with Sriracha.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Chicken Fajitas and a Cute Dog

1 lb chicken breasts
4 bell peppers, cut into thin strips
2 onions, cut into thin strips
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 taco seasoning packet
6 flour tortillas

Slice Chicken breasts into thin strips and coat with a small amount of Cumin, Chili Powder, Salt and Pepper. Saute in a skillet coated with olive oil over medium high heat until chicken is thoroughly cooked.

In another (larger) skillet also coated with several tbsp of olive oil, add garlic, peppers and onions and saute until tender. Add the cooked chicken and taco seasoning packet along with 1/2 cup water. Cook another 5 minutes and serve with warm tortillas, avocado, salsa, sour cream, cheese, hot sauce and chips.

After dinner, Max was being especially cute and kept falling asleep while Micah was holding him.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Avocado Hot Dog!

Applegate Farms hot dogs from Whole Foods
Whole wheat buns from Whole Foods
1 Avocado
Tapatio Hot Sauce
Yellow onion

This is what you have for dinner when you run out of food and money. And it's actually really good!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Gooey Yolk Sauce

We were almost completely out of food the other night, so this is what I made for dinner:

Sauteed bell peppers and onion. Made rice. Added the peppers and onions to the rice. Cooked eggs and topped with shredded cheese, green onions and tapatio hot sauce.

*It's best if you don't cook the egg too much so you have lots of gooey egg yolk to mix with the hot sauce and soak the rice. Mmmm...

Sunday, January 17, 2010

"It Tastes Like a Doughnut!"

We've still been eating lots of oatmeal these days and have stumbled across our favorite topping mixture Micah said, it tastes like a doughnut.

3/4 cup Rolled Oats
1/4 cup Oat Bran
1 1/2 cups Water
1/2 cup Almond Milk
dash of Salt
a few drops of Vanilla

Place all ingredients in saucepan and cook over medium heat 5-8 minutes or until liquid is fully absorbed.

Pour into 2 bowls and top with:

Honey Graham Oh's
Almond Butter
More Almond milk

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

What to do with Leftover Sausage?

Sausage and Lentils, of course!

This was my first experience cooking lentils and I think they turned out alright.
1 cup puy lentils
1 cup water
1 cup chicken broth
1 carrot, diced
1 celery stick, diced
1 yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced

Heat 1-2 Tbsp olive oil in a large saute pan. Add onions and garlic and cook for several minutes. Once onions are softened, add the rest of the vegetables, lentils and liquids. Stir and cover for 20-30 minutes or until lentils are almost finished cooking (al dente?). Sprinkle with salt and pepper and remove from heat. Let it sit (with the lid on) while you cook the sausage.

Heat a small amount of olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Place sausages in skillet and cook through completely. Remove sausages from heat and let rest. In the same pan as you cooked the sausage, add a small amount of butter and 2-4 cups spinach. Saute for 2-3 minutes or until spinach begins to wilt. Slice sausage into rounds. Place lentils on a plate, add spinach and top with sausage.

Pretty good and really filling.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

White Bean and Sausage Stew

This recipe hails from the pages of Real Simple magazine. Generally their recipes are pretty lacking in flavor, but not this one! Holy cow, it was so good. And possibly the easiest dinner I've ever made.

1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves thinly sliced garlic
2-3 links turkey sausage sliced into 1/2" thick rounds
1-2 cans reduced sodium chicken broth, depending on how broth you want the stew.
1 19 oz can cannellini beans (drained)
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes (not drained)
1 bunch kale (I used escarole cause Publix was out of was still good!)
Salt &Pepper
In a large dutch oven or pasta pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add sausage and cook on one side 3-4 minutes. Add garlic and flip sausage pieces, cooking another 3-4 minutes.
To the same pot, add the beans, chicken broth and tomatoes. Increase heat and bring to a simmer, but be careful not to boil or the skins of the beans may break.
Meanwhile, remove the stems from the kale (or escarole) and tear into large chunks. Add the greens to the stew and cook for several more minutes or until the kale is wilted. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve with delicious bread. So satisfying and so easy.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

From Scratch

A few nights ago I made brownies from scratch...for the first time!!! I kind of can't believe I've never done it before. It was SO easy. The recipe is from Everyday Food and it was pretty good, but I cooked it too long-even though it was 10 minutes less than the suggested time (I'm beginning to suspect our oven cooks a little hot and a little fast)and it absorbed some of the flavor from the cast-iron skillet I baked it in. But they were still quite good! They had a much more "chocolaty" flavor than from-the-box brownies. I may never go back.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

1 cup vanilla sugar (or regular granulated sugar)

3 eggs

1 cup flour
1/4 cup Dutch process cocoa
1/2 tsp salt
4 Tbsp unsalted butter
1/4 cup heavy cream
8 oz chocolate chips (or bittersweet baking chocolate...add 1/4 more sugar if using bittersweet) + 4 oz more chocolate chips to add later

In a large bowl, whisk together sugar and eggs until well combined. Set aside.
In a medium sized bowl whisk together flour, cocoa powder and salt. Set aside.
In a non-stick (or cast-iron in my case) skillet over medium heat, add heavy cream and heat until simmering. Add in chocolate chips and stir until chocolate is completely melted. Remove from heat and let cool 5 minutes.
Pour chocolate mixture into eggs and stir until combined. Gently fold in flour mixture until just incorporated and pour brownie mix back into the skillet. Add in chocolate chips (or whatever you want...pecans, peanut butter chips, walnuts, etc) and place in oven. Bake for 35-40 minutes "or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean"...whatever dude. I like gooey brownies! 25 for super gooey and anywhere in between for whatever your specific preference is.

We also added a simple icing to the top:

1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
2-4 Tbsp milk

Stir until smooth and the consistency you like (ours was a little thinner than Elmer's glue). Poke holes in the top of the brownies with a fork and drizzle lots icing over the entire brownie.
Best eaten while still warm.

Veggie Stir Fry

(new cookware!!!)

This dinner was suuuuper easy.

1 bag of Trader Joe's 'Vegetable Hodgepodge'
1 medium yellow onion, sliced

1 cup white rice
2 cups water

For the sauce:
2-3 Tbsp soy sauce
1 clove garlic
1 Tbsp honey
a few shakes of rice vinegar
1 tsp toasted sesame seed oil

Sesame seeds

Put rice and water in a medium sauce pan. Heat to boiling; cover and turn heat to low.
While the rice is cooking, heat a drizzle of olive oil in a medium sized skillet. Add vegetables and onion and saute for 5-8 minutes, slowly adding a spoonful of sauce at a time until vegetables are thoroughly coated (you'll have some extra sauce left-great for drizzling over the finished dish!). Once the rice is finished cooking, place in a bowl and top with veggies. Sprinkle sesame seeds on top and enjoy!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Pear Tart

I made this for new year's eve. It wasn't very good, but I'm putting it on here because I think with a few alterations it could be much better. The recipe is from Real Simple and the idea is wonderful, but it was pretty dry. Bake it for 5-8 minutes less than the recommended cook time, and make sure the pears you use are really tasty. Also, this would be best served with a vanilla custard or vanilla bean ice cream.

1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 cup flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup vanilla or regular sugar
1 egg
3 Bosc pears, peeled, halved and cored

2 tsp cinnamon + 2 tsp vanilla sugar (mixed together)

1/4 cup apricot jam + 1 Tbsp lemon juice

Heat oven to 350 degrees

Butter a round or rectangular tart pan and set to the side. Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. In a separate bowl, cream the butter and sugar until smooth. Add the egg and beat thoroughly. Slowly add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients until just will have a very wet dough. Dip your fingers in flour and pull the dough from the sides of the bowl. Place it in the tart pan and using your fingers, push the dough on the bottom and sides of the pan to make an even crust. Place pears cut side down on crust and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar. Bake 35 minutes or until almost (but not quite!) golden. In a small sauce pan (or a bowl in the microwave) heat the jam and lemon juice until liquidy and gently brush over the entire tart. Let cool slightly and serve with ice cream.

Original recipe here

Tuna and Apple Sandwich

-Trader Joe's multigrain bread, lightly toasted
-Extra sharp Cabot cheese, sliced
-Lots of avocado, thickly sliced

Mix together:
-1 can albacore tuna
-1 small gala apple, chopped into tiny pieces
-Olive oil mayo

Assemble and eat.

Thursday, January 7, 2010


As part of a new year's resolution (although I don't think we're calling it that since those are made to be broken) the husband and I have started to be more aware of the foods we put into our body on a daily basis. Realizing that we almost never get the recommended amount of vegetables a day, we thought juicing might be a good idea. And we were totally right! It's so easy to do and even the cleanup isn't bad if you get to it right away. Our favorite combination is 2 carrots, 2 celery sticks, 1/2 a beet, 1 apple and 1/4 cup of pomegranate juice. We've been using an OLD juicer lent to us by my parents, which I'll have to take a picture of because it's pretty amazing. 'Acme Supreme' is the brand, but if you're in the market for a newer model, I hear the Breville BJE200XL is pretty good. Juicing seems a little wasteful as a huge amount of pulp is left in the juicer, but it

Happy New Year!

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season and a fun new year's, I've been gone awhile, huh? Sorry for the absence; there were some computer breakdowns (all fixed now!) and extremely busy schedules which didn't allow time for cooking (busy no more!). But now I'm back, and hopefully I'll be better at posting on a more regular basis this year. As an incentive, I got some very nice stainless steel cookware from my in-laws (thanks mom and dad Jones!) and some super cute ramekins from my parents (thanks mom and dad Smith!) so good things should be in the works. You know what's funny? Since I'm using the names 'Smith' and 'Jones' it seems like I'm trying to hide their real identities...but I actually went from being a Smith to a Jones! Ridiculous.