pumpkin cheesecake

SO DELICIOUS. i am still dreaming about it.
cooks' note: this cheesecake is so very delicious but it also takes a lot of time. it is an all day project (with cooking and cooling time included).
also, i don't have a springform pan, so sister and i used a regular 9" round and had an additional pan of water in the oven under the cheesecake (already in a pan of water) to make sure there was enough moisture.

it turned out REALLY well. totally worth it.

ingredients for crust:

5 oz graham crackers (9 whole crackers), broken into large pieces
3 Tbs granulated sugar
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
6 Tbs unsalted butter , melted

ingredients for filling:
1 1/3 cups granulated sugar (10 1/3 oz)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp table salt
1 can (15 oz) pumpkin
1 1/3 pounds cream cheese, cut into 1-inch chunks and left to soften at room temperature, about 30 minutes
1 Tbs vanilla extract
1 Tbs lemon juice from 1 lemon
5 large eggs, left at room temperature, about 30 minutes
1 cup heavy cream

FOR THE CRUST: Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Spray bottom and sides of 9-inch springform pan evenly with nonstick cooking spray. Pulse crackers, sugar, and spices in food processor until evenly and finely ground, about fifteen 2-second pulses. Transfer crumbs to medium bowl, drizzle melted butter over, and mix with rubber spatula until evenly moistened. Turn crumbs into prepared springform pan and, using hand, spread crumbs into even layer. Using flat-bottomed ramekin or drinking glass, press crumbs evenly into pan bottom, then use a soup spoon to press and smooth crumbs into edges of pan. Bake until fragrant and browned about the edges, about 15 minutes. Cool on wire rack while making filling.

FOR THE FILLING: Bring about 4 quarts water to simmer in stockpot. Whisk sugar, spices, and salt in small bowl; set aside. To dry pumpkin (see illustrations below): Line baking sheet with triple layer of paper towels. Spread pumpkin on paper towels in roughly even layer. Cover pumpkin with second triple layer of paper towels and press firmly until paper towels are saturated. Peel back top layer of towels and discard. Grasp bottom towels and fold pumpkin in half; peel back towels. Repeat and flip pumpkin onto baking sheet; discard towel.

In standing mixer fitted with flat beater, beat cream cheese at medium speed to break up and soften slightly, about 1 minute. Scrape beater and bottom and sides of bowl well with rubber spatula. Add about one third of sugar mixture and beat at medium-low speed until combined, about 1 minute; scrape bowl and add remaining sugar in two additions, scraping bowl after each addition. Add pumpkin, vanilla, and lemon juice and beat at medium speed until combined, about 45 seconds; scrape bowl. Add 3 eggs and beat at medium-low until incorporated, about 1 minute; scrape bowl. Add remaining 2 eggs and beat at medium-low until incorporated, about 45 seconds; scrape bowl. Add heavy cream and beat at low speed until combined, about 45 seconds. Using rubber spatula, scrape bottom and sides of bowl and give final stir by hand.

Set springform pan with cooled crust on 18-inch-square doubled layer heavy-duty foil and wrap bottom and sides with foil; set wrapped springform pan in roasting pan. Pour filling into springform pan and smooth surface; set roasting pan in oven and pour enough boiling water to come about halfway up side of springform pan. Bake until center of cake is slightly wobbly when pan is shaken, and center of cake registers 145 to 150 degrees on instant-read thermometer, about 1 1/2 hours (see note). Set roasting pan on wire rack and use paring knife to loosen cake from sides of pan. Cool until water is just warm, about 45 minutes. Remove springform pan from water bath, discard foil, and set on wire rack; continue to cool until barely warm, about 3 hours. Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled, at least 4 hours or up to 3 days.

TO SERVE: Slide thin metal spatula between crust and pan bottom to loosen, then slide cake onto serving platter. Let cheesecake stand at room temperature about 30 minutes, then cut into wedges and serve.

drying the pumpkin

recipe found here. mmm cooks illustrated.


chocolate peppermint patty cookies

the cookie part is just pure chocolate. it's amazing. and these are just a fun holiday treat. i am loving this bake fest.
see us in action here.
ingredients (makes 40 cookies = 20 sandwiches):
10 ounce bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup unsalted butter, cut into chunks
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3 cups powdered sugar
4 tablespoons milk
3/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
About 2 cups crushed and sifted candy canes

1. Put chocolates and butter in a medium metal bowl and set bowl over a pan filled with 1 in. of simmering water. Cook, stirring occasionally, until melted, then remove from heat and let cool slightly. Whisk in eggs and sugar, mixing until combined. Then whisk in flour, baking powder, and salt. Chill dough, covered, until firm, about 2 hours.
2. Let dough sit at room temperature 15 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350° and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Scoop 1 tbsp. portions of dough, rolling each into a ball, and put onto sheets 1 in. apart. Using the palm of your hand, press dough balls into rounds 1/4 in. thick.
3. Bake cookies until they no longer look wet on top, about 8 minutes. Let cool on baking sheets.
4. In a small bowl, mix powdered sugar, milk, and peppermint extract until smooth. Spread 1 heaping tsp. peppermint icing onto the flat side of 1 cookie. Top with flat side of a second cookie to form a sandwich, pressing together to squeeze filling to the edge. Roll edge of cookie in candy canes. Repeat with remaining cookies.

Make ahead: Batter up to 1 day; baked cookies up to 2 days, airtight.

recipe from here. so delicious.


gingerbread cake with homemade caramel sauce

sister and i are having a bake fest this week.

bake fest 2010.

our first attempt turned out really well... ingredients for cake (makes enough for one bundt or 9 x 13 pan):
1 cup dark molasses
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, melted
2 cups flour
1 cup boiling water
2 eggs, separated
whipped cream, to garnish if desired

directions for cake:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, mix molasses, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg. Add sugar, butter, flour and boiling water. Stir in beaten egg yolks. Beat egg whites until stiff and fold into batter. Pour into a greased Bundt pan (OR 9 x 13” pan). Bake for about 40 minutes (or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean). Cool. Turn gingerbread out onto a platter or cake stand (if you baked it in a Bundt pan; not necessary if baked in a 9 x 13” pan). Serve with hot caramel sauce and whipped cream on top.

hot caramel sauce ingredients:
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup butter
2 heaping Tbs flour
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 cup boiling water
dash of salt

directions for caramel sauce:
Melt butter in a medium saucepan; add brown sugar and sugar and stir until sugars are dissolved. Add flour, stirring constantly over medium heat. Add vanilla, salt and nutmeg. Add boiling water. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring until sauce thickens. Serve over gingerbread or pool beneath.
as you can see, we used a mini bundt. i love the mini bundt.

recipe from this food blog. yumm.


mashed butternut squash

this dish would be great for thanksgiving!! also these mashed potatoes and this apple pie are some good additions to a thanksgiving meal.ingredients (serves 12-15):
3 large butternut squash
1/2 cup butter, melted
6 Tbs maple syrup or honey (i suggest pure maple syrup!!)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
salt and pepper to taste

cut squash in half lengthwise, scoop out seeds. place cut side down in a baking dish. bake at 350 degrees fahrenheit for 45 minutes or until tender. scoop squash out of shells and put in a large mixing bowl. add melted butter, syrup and spices. mix thoroughly. place in baking dish and bake at 350 degrees fahrenheit for about 10-15 minutes more.
serve. yumm.
recipe adapted from a recipe from ben's mom :)


zucchini whoppie pies

ingredients for cakes (makes about a dozen pies):
2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 large egg
1 cup grated zucchini
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

directions for cakes:
Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C).
In medium bowl combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt; set aside.
In large mixing bowl, cream together shortening and sugars until light and fluffy. Add egg, zucchini, milk and vanilla and mix well. Stir in flour mixture until just mixed.
Drop by tablespoonfuls, 2-inches apart, onto parchment lined baking sheets. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Transfer to wire racks to cool.
*They spread quite a bit so don’t make your mounds of batter too big.

ingredients for filling:
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/4 cups confectioners sugar
2 cups marshmallow cream such as Marshmallow Fluff (homemade recipe below)
1 teaspoon vanilla

directions for filling:
Beat together butter, confectioners sugar then add in the marshmallow fluff, and vanilla in a bowl with electric mixer at medium speed until smooth, about 3 minutes.

Spread a rounded tablespoon filling on flat sides of half of cakes and top with remaining cakes.

*Cakes can be made 3 days ahead and kept, layered between sheets of wax paper, in an airtight container at room temperature.
*Filling can be made 4 hours ahead and kept, covered, at room temperature. Refrigerate if you aren’t going to use it before then.

homemade marshmallow fluff:

makes 2 cups

3 egg whites
2/3 cup sugar

Make a double boiler by bringing a small pot of water to a bare simmer, then place the bowl of your stand mixer, if you’ve got one, or another large stainless steel bowl atop the water. Add the egg whites and sugar, and whisk continuously until the sugar dissolves and the liquid is warm to the touch.

Transfer the bowl from the stovetop to your stand mixer (you’ll probably want to wipe the condensation from its bottom before securing), and use the whisk attachment to whip the liquid on medium-high speed until it turns glossy with stiff peaks, about 8 minutes. If you don’t have a stand mixer, do the same with your electric hand mixer.

recipe originally from here.


fruit smoothie, yet healthier

ingredients (enough for two large cups):
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1 Tbs honey
handful of spinach
2-3 frozen bananas
6-8 frozen strawberries

add all ingredients to the blender in the order listed. blend until mixed well. enjoy your healthy, yummy smoothie.
(try it. you'll like it.)


red quinoa with black bean and corn salad

ingredients (serves 6 as a side dish):
1 cup red quinoa (keen-wah), cooked with broth
2 cups chicken or vegetable broth (for cooking quinoa)
1- 15 oz can of black beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups roasted corn kernels (i cut corn off the cob and roasted it in a frying pan)
1 avocado, cut in 1/2 inch pieces
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup red onion, finely diced
3/4 cup cilantro salad dressing (i didn't have this so i made a little dressing from mixing salsa, olive oil and water)
1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped (i was ok without this)
zest of 1 lime
salt and pepper to taste

cook quinoa with broth according to package directions (usually it's bring quinoa and water to a boil and then simmer for 10-15 minutes until all water is absorbed).
while quinoa is cooking, combine beans, corn, avocado, tomatoes and onion. top with salad dressing and toss gently. add salt, pepper and lime zest to taste. add 1/2 of cilantro and gently toss once more. set aside.

when quinoa is cooked, toss with olive oil; add salt and pepper to taste. set aside to cool. when ready to serve, spread quinoa on a large serving platter and top with corn and bean mixture. garnish with remaining cilantro.

recipe courtesy of the red quinoa box from trader joe's.


peanut butter crispies

ingredients (makes about 16- 2" squares):
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup blue agave syrup OR honey
1 cup peanut butter
7 cups crispy rice cereal
chocolate chips (optional)

combine brown sugar and agave/honey in a saucepan and bring to a near boil, stirring often. continue stirring until brown sugar dissolves. remove from heat.

add peanut butter to mixture. mix well. add crisp rice cereal and mix well. if desired, add chocolate chips, then mix well.

press the mixture into 13" x 9" x 2" greased baking pan. refrigerate for a few hours to cool and harden. to harden more quickly, place in freezer for about an hour.

recipe courtesy of the trader joe's cereal box


greek chicken-lemon (or lime) soup

it was rainy. so i made soup. it was delicious.ingredients (serves 4):
1 cup long-grain rice (i used 3/4 cup jasmine rice, 1/4 cup basmati rice)
3 cups chicken broth
About 1 1/2 lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
1 tsp. cornstarch
3 egg yolks
Juice of 1/2 lemon (or, juice of 1 lime)
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1/2 cup finely chopped baby arugula (for garnish)

Cook the rice and chicken
Cook the rice according to the package instructions and set aside.

Meanwhile, in a saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the broth to a simmer. Add the chicken, reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, until the chicken is cooked through, about 7 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat.

Make the lemon-egg mixture
In a small bowl, stir together the cornstarch and 1 Tbs. water until combined.

In a small saucepan over low heat, whisk together the egg yolks and lemon juice. When the mixture is just warm, whisk in the cornstarch mixture and then 1 cup of the broth from the chicken. Increase the heat to medium and continue to whisk until a thick sauce has formed, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Finish the soup
Return the pan with the broth and chicken to medium heat and bring to a simmer. Add the lemon-egg mixture while whisking continuously; the soup will thicken slightly. Stir in the rice and season with salt and pepper. Ladle the soup into bowls and serve immediately. Garnish with arugula.

adapted from the williams sonoma food made fast: soup cookbook.


easy dinner salad with arugula

ingredients (serves 2):
1/3 of 7 oz bag of arugula
handful of slivered almonds
shredded parmesan cheese (as you like)
2 chicken tenders, cooked as you like, shredded
raspberry vinaigrette dressing

toss arugula, almonds, parmesan together. cook chicken. shred chicken.
toss altogether with dressing.

eat it. enjoy it. make it another night.


lime rice

ingredients (enough for 2-3):
1 cup uncooked jasmine rice
1 tsp butter
2 cloves of garlic
zest of 1 lime
2 cups water

juice of 1 lime
1 tsp sugar

in a rice cooker, combine rice, butter, garlic, zest and water. cook rice.
in a small bowl combine lime juice and sugar. pour over hot cooked rice.

or if you do not have a rice cooker, combine butter, garlic, zest and water in a saucepan. bring to a boil. cover and cook 15-20 minutes until rice is tender. remove from heat. in a small bowl combine lime juice and sugar. pour over hot cooked rice.

recipe adapted from here.


chicken with peanut sauce and noodles

ingredients (serves 4):
3 Tbs creamy peanut butter
3 Tbs soy sauce
3 Tbs rice vinegar
2 Tbs asian sesame oil
1/2 tsp chile paste (or some sriracha sauce)
1/4 tsp sugar

1/2 lb dried rice noodles or rice vermicelli :: soaked in hot water to cover for 15 minutes and drained
1/4-1/2 lb baby spinach (or green spring onions, chopped)
1 Tbs corn or peanut oil

1 1/2 cups cooked shredded chicken homemade or rotisserie (i did the chicken the same way as i do here)
1 Tbs roasted peanuts, chopped
3 Tbs fresh cilantro chopped (or green spring onions, chopped)

make the peanut sauce:
in a blender, combine 1/4 cup warm water and the peanut butter, soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, chile paste and sugar. process until a smooth sauce forms. if the sauce is too thick, add up to 1 Tbs warm water.

cook the noodles:
bring a large pot of water to a boil. plunge the reconstituted noodles into the water for 5 seconds and drain immediately. pour the noodles back into the warm pot, add the spinach and corn oil, and toss gently to distribute the ingredients evenly.

assemble and serve:
in a bowl, toss the shredded chicken with half of the peanut sauce. transfer the noodles to a large bowl or platter and scatter the chicken on top. garnish with the peanuts and cilantro. pass the remaining peanut sauce at the table.

recipe from asian food made fast from williams-sonoma.


homemade coco loco popsicles

so these are sort of healthy... yeah? (no sugar added...)
ingredients (this made too much for my small ikea popsicle molds so half recipe if you like):
-1 13.5 ounce can coconut milk
-1 c. chopped pineapple
-1 ripe banana, lightly chopped
-1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg

Toss everything into a food processor or blender.
Puree until smooth (optionally, you can leave some chopped bits whole, if that’s your jam).
Pour into popsicle molds.
Freeze until solid (several hours).
Remove from molds (if necessary, run the molds for just a few seconds under hot water until they release) and enjoy!000 what fun! an overflowing food processor!adapted from a recipe found here.


s'more brownies

next time, i promise i will post something healthy. promise, promise, promise. ingredients for crust (i halved all of these ingredients):
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 cups crushed graham cracker crumbs
2 tablespoons sugar
Pinch fine salt

ingredients for brownies:
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1 cup packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
4 large cold eggs
1 cup all-purpose flour

4 cups large marshmallows

Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and heat oven to 325 degrees F. Line an 8 by-8-inch square baking pan with foil so it hangs over the edges by about 1 inch.
For the crust: Lightly butter the foil with some of the melted butter. Stir the rest of the butter together with the crumbs, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl. Press the crumb mixture evenly over the bottom of the pan. Bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the brownie. Put the butter and chocolate in a medium microwave safe bowl. Melt in the microwave on 75 percent power for 2 minutes. Stir, and microwave again until completely melted, about 2 minutes more. Alternatively, put the butter and chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Bring a saucepan filled with 1 inch or so of water to a very slow simmer; set the bowl on the pan without touching the water. Stir occasionally until melted. Stir the light brown and white sugars, vanilla and salt into the melted chocolate. Add the eggs and beat vigorously to make a thick and glossy batter. Add the flour and stir until just incorporated.Pour batter into the prepared pan. Bake until the top is crispy and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out mostly clean, with a few crumbs, about 40 to 45 minutes.
Remove from the oven and carefully position a rack about 6 inches from the broiler and preheat on low. Layer marshmallows across the top and toast under the broiler until golden, (keep an eye on it, it can go quick), about 2 minutes. Cool on a rack, gently removing the brownies from the pan using the aluminum flaps. Carefully separate any marshmallow from the foil and fold away. Cut into 12 (2-inch) squares.
**note: we torched the marshmallows instead of doing the broil. either way works, i'm sure.

recipe is from here. but i originally found it through this blog.


homemade ding-dongs

ingredients (makes 12 JUMBO cupcakes, so i halved the recipe):
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for muffin tins
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, plus more for muffin tins
2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups sugar
3 large eggs, room temperature
1 cup sour cream, room temperature
for the filling: 1 1/2 cups marshmallow creme (7.5-ounce jar)
**i also made a chocolate ganache frosting/topping. recipe here. add before the white squiggle topping of marshmallow creme.

Preheat oven to 350. Prepare cupcake tins with cupcake liners. In a medium bowl, whisk together cocoa, flour, baking powder, soda, and salt.
Using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until light. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. On low speed, add half the flour mixture, followed by sour cream, ending with remaining flour mixture; mix just until incorporated (do not overmix).
Divide batter among prepared muffin cups. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center of a cupcake comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes, rotating pans halfway through baking (i try to underbake by a few minutes, for moist cupcakes). Cool in pans, 5 minutes; remove cupcakes and cool, right side up, on a wire rack.
Meanwhile, prepare filling: chill marshmallow creme until slightly firm, 15 to 30 minutes. Transfer mixture to a heavy-duty resealable plastic bag, and seal; cut off one corner of the bag to make a 1/8-inch opening.
Using a small melon baller (or something similar), scoop out center of each cupcake from the bottom, and reserve (you will use this to plug cupcake after filling). Hollow out each cupcake a bit more, discarding crumbs. Insert tip of plastic bag into each cavity, and squeeze to fill; replace plugs. Using remaining filling in plastic bag, decorate top of cupcakes.
adapted from recipes here and here.


pizza: apple, apple, apple style

chicken apple sausage, a granny smith apple and smoked apple & garlic cheddar.ingredients (for one homemade pizza):
-1 pizza dough (we buy ours from trader joe's but i'm sure other stores sell pre-made dough... or you could always make the dough...)
-olive oil
-sea salt (optional)
-mild cheddar or even mozzarella (as much as you like)
-2 chicken apple sausages (sliced thinly)
-1 granny smith apple (sliced thinly)

preheat oven to highest temperature (with pizza stone in the oven if you have one)
roll dough out as thinly as possible on a flat surface with a bit of flour. brush olive oil over top of the dough. add freshly ground sea salt (optional).
add cheese, as you like.
add sliced sausage and sliced apples and even a little more cheese on top, if you like.
put pizza on the pizza stone or a cookie sheet in the oven.
our pizza came out the perfect golden brown after 6 minutes at about 550 degrees fahrenheit.


this recipe was inspired by shayna & eric, my sister and bro-in-law.

*we also made a similar pizza--- same deal with the dough and the olive oil and salt...
but topped the pizza with mozzarella, sliced pear and gorgonzola cheese. cooked at same temp, for 6 minutes. divine.


tabbouleh salad, salmon & french green beans

we decided to combine one of our favorite couscous salads (here) with seared salmon and french green beans. (i just like to say french green beans)

how to sear salmon:
sprinkle the salmon fillet on both sides with salt and the black pepper. In a large, nonstick fry pan over medium-high heat, warm 1 tsp. canola oil. add the fish and cook, turning once, until opaque throughout when tested with the tip of a knife, 4 to 5 minutes per side.

we added the green beans at the last 1-2 minutes of searing so they have a nice cooked-ness. we also added a bit of lime juice to everything.


rack of lamb with goat cheese and rosemary

ingredients (serves 4-5):
2 racks of lamb, each 7 or 8 ribs and 1.5-2 lbs
1 cup (2 oz/60 g) bread crumbs
3 Tbs goat cheese (or more if you really like goat cheese like i do)
1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil (plus more for cooking)
1 large garlic clove, minced
2 Tbs minced fresh parsley
1 tsp finely chopped rosemary
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

remove the racks of lamb for the refrigerator 30 minutes before roasting. preheat oven to 500 degrees fahrenheit. line a rimed baking sheet with heavy duty aluminum foil. using a sharp knife, trim away as much of the surface fat from the lamb as possible.

in a bowl, combine the bread crumbs, goat cheese, 1 Tbs olive oil, garlic, parsley, rosemary and season to taste with salt and pepper. stir to combine well. the mixture should stick together when pressed between your fingers. if not, add a little more olive oil.

brush or rub the lamb with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. preheat a large frying pan over high heat until very hot. place the lamb meat side down in the pan and sear for 1 minute. turn the racks on end and sear for 1 minute. transfer the lamb meat side up to the prepared pan.

firmly press an equal amount of the topping onto each rack. roast the lamb until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part away from the bone registers 120-130 degrees fahrenheit for medium-rare, 14-16 minutes.

remove the pan from the oven and tent the lamb with aluminum foil. let rest for 8-10 minutes. carve the racks into single chops if ya want. serve at once.

courtesy of williams-sonoma essentials of roasting


we made lime pie again

find the recipe here. it's one of our favorites.


lemon meringue cupcakes

ingredients (makes 24):
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
Finely grated zest of 3 lemons (about 3 tablespoons), plus 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk
lemon curd
7 minute frosting (below)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.
With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is until incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Beat in zest and vanilla. Add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions of buttermilk and lemon juice, and beating until just combined after each.
Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three-quarters full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until golden brown and a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely before removing cupcakes. Cupcakes can be stored overnight at room temperature, or frozen up to 2 months, in airtight containers.
To finish, spread 1 tablespoon lemon curd onto middle of each cupcake. Fill a pastry bag fitted with a large open-star tip (Ateco #828 or Wilton #8B) with frosting. Pipe frosting onto each cupcake, swirling tip slightly and releasing as you pull up to form a peak. Hold a small kitchen torch 3 to 4 inches from surface of frosting, and wave it back and forth until frosting is lightly browned all over. Serve immediately.

ingredients for 7 minute frosting (makes about 8 cups):
1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar
2/3 cup water
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
6 large egg whites, room temperature

directions for frosting:
Combine 1 1/2 cups sugar with the water and corn syrup in a small saucepan; clip a candy thermometer to side of pan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until sugar dissolves. Continue boiling, without stirring, until syrup reaches 230 degrees.
Meanwhile, in the bowl of a standing electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk egg whites on medium-high speed until soft peaks form. With mixer running, add remaining 2 tablespoons sugar, beating to combine.
As soon as sugar syrup reaches 230 degrees, remove from heat. With mixer on medium-low speed, pour syrup down side of bowl in a slow, steady stream. Raise speed to medium-high; whisk until mixture is completely cool (test by touching the bottom of the bowl) and stiff (but not dry) peaks form, about 7 minutes. Use immediately.
recipe found at martha stewart.com


aranciata + fresh grapefruit juice

1 can aranciata + juice from 1/2 grapefruit + little bits of the grapefruit (and a little sugar if you don't like it too tart)=

we used one can per glass.
we get our aranciata at costco. mmmm.


coconut-shrimp tacos

ingredients (makes enough for 4-6 tacos):
shrimp enough for 4-6 tacos (we had about 12 shrimpies)
1 Tbs coconut
1-2 Tbs poppy seed dressing
corn tortillas
1-2 tomatoes, diced
lettuce, shredded

sauté shrimp with coconut and poppyseed dressing. warm tortillas in a pan and melt cheese on one side on each tortilla (if desired). add shrimp, salt, tomatoes and lettuce to tortilla to make a taco :)


our own chicken tortilla soup

ingredients (serves 4):
3 1/2 to 4 cups chicken broth (depending on the thickness you want)
1 tsp cilantro
shredded chicken which has been cooked in salsa
1 cup rice (cooked)

avacado (for topping)
cheese (for topping)
lime juice to taste
salt to taste

combine broth, cilantro, chicken and rice in a soup pot. simmer until desired temperature. ladle into bowls. add avocado, cheese, lime juice and salt to taste.

we also make quesadillas to eat on the side (and dip in the soup)!


red [pasta] sauce

which i have [somewhat] perfected. :)

ingredients (for 2-3 servings of pasta):
1 14oz can of diced tomatoes
handful of baby tomatoes or one regular tomato (diced)
dried oregano
handful of fresh basil, chopped
salt to taste

add can of tomatoes to saute pan at medium-high heat. add fresh tomatoes, sprinkle oregano in saute pan- in circular motion once around the pan. add basil and salt to taste.
you can also add things like mushrooms or mozzarella cheese for a little variety. we have this sauce with pasta often :)


very berry smoothie

2 large cup smoothies:
1 cup fresh or frozen mixed berries
1 cup orange juice
1 banana
1/2 cup vanilla or plain yogurt
4-6 cubes of ice (for thickness)

blend all together for about 10 seconds

ants on a log [or] bananas w/ peanut butter & raisins

(for 1):
1 banana cut in half longways and then again (so you have 4 pieces)
peanut butter- spread on each piece of banana
raisins- sprinkle on each piece of banana


julia child's roast chicken

julia child did things a little differently as far as listing ingredients and directions so read carefully!ingredients (for 4 people):
1 three lb. ready-to-cook roasting or frying chicken
1/4 tsp salt
2 Tb softened butter
suggested vegetables: broiled tomatoes, buttered green beans or peas and fried potatoes (we also did mushrooms, carrots, etc).

small sliced onion or carrot (to flavor the sauce)
2 Tb melted butter
1 Tb cooking oil

1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp salt

1/2 Tb minced shallot or green onion
1 cup brown chicken stock, canned chicken broth or beef bouillon
salt and pepper
1 to 2 TB softened butter

estimated roasting time for a 3-pound chicken: 1 hour and 10 to 20 minutes.
preheat oven to 425 degrees fahrenheit.
sprinkle inside of chicken with the 1/4 tsp salt and smear in half the 2 Tb butter. Truss (sew) the chicken. Dry it thoroughly, and rub the skin with the rest of the butter.
place the chicken breast up in the roasting pan. strew the vegetables around it, and set it on a rack in the middle of the preheated oven. allow the chicken to brown lightly for 15 minutes, turning it on the left side after 5 minutes, on the ride side for the last 5 minutes, and basting it with the butter and oil after each turn. baste rapidly, so oven does not cool off. reduce oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit. leave the chicken on its side, and baste every 8 to 10 minute, using the fatten the roasting pan when the butter and the oil are exhausted. regulate oven heat so chicken is making cooking noises, but fat is not burning.
halfway through estimated roasting time, 1/4 tsp salt the chicken and turn it on its other side. continue basting.
fifteen minutes before end of estimated roasting time, salt (1/4 tsp) again and turn the chicken breast up. continue basting.

indications that the chicken is almost done are: a sudden rain of sputters in the oven, a swelling of the breast and slight puff of the skin, the drumstick is tender when pressed and can be moved in its socket.
to check further, prick the thickest part of the drumstick with a fork. its juices should run clear yellow, the chicken is definitely done. if not, roast another 5 minutes and test again.

when done, discard trussing strings and set the chicken on a hot platter. it should sit at room temperature for 5 to 10 minutes before being carved, so its juices will retreat back into the tissues.

remove all but two tablespoons of fat from the pan. stir in the minced shallot or onion and cook slowly for 1 minute. add the stock and boil rapidly over high heat, scraping up coagulated roasting juices with a wooden spoon and letting liquid reduce to about 1/2 cup. season with salt and pepper. off heat and just before serving, swirl in the enrichment butter by bits until it has been absorbed. pour a spoonful of the sauce over the chicken, and send the rest to the table in a sauceboat.

courtesy of julia child, mastering the art of french cooking.


moroccan chicken with couscous

prep time: 10 minutes (plus standing time) cooking time: 10 minutes
ingredients (serves 4):
4 single boneless, skinless chicken breasts (1 1/2 pounds)
2 cups vegetable or chicken stock
2 cups couscous
1 1/2 Tbs butter
1 small red onion, sliced thinly
1/3 cup slivered almonds, toasted
1/2 coarsely chopped mint
1/4 cup finely chopped preserved lemon peel
1-2 pinches of saffron

ingredients for moroccan marinade:
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1 Tbs olive oil

1 make moroccan marinade by combining all ingredients in a small bowl.
2 toss chicken in large bowl with marinade; let stand for 10 minutes. cook chicken, in batches, on heated oiled grill or grill pan until browned lightly and cooked through. let stand 5 minutes; slice chicken thickly.
3 bring stock to a boil in medium pot. remove from heat; stir in couscous and butter. cover; let stand 5 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. fluff couscous with fork; stir in remaining ingredients.
4 serve chicken on couscous.

adapted from a recipe in best ever recipes.


cranberry salsa


1 bag fresh cranberries

¾ cup sugar

½ bunch green onions

½ bunch cilantro

½ fresh jalapeño pepper (be sure to wear gloves!!!)

1 teaspoon ground cumin

cream cheese (about 12 oz)


Finely chop and mix together all ingredients (a blender works, just chop by hand first and be careful not to puree the ingredients). Store in a covered container in the refrigerator.

Serve over softened cream cheese, crackers on the side.

---or you can mix the cream cheese in with the salsa. it's delicious either way.