Monday, March 26, 2012

This Week's Delicious Bookmarks

Photo Credit: The Kitchn
I've been busy this week. And apparently I'm into pita sandwiches lately. 

Yogurt Marinated Chicken with Creamy Greek Sauce The Kitchn I loves me a good Greek pita
No Bake Boston Cream Pie Strata The Kitchn This looks totally easy and delicious
Chickpea, Shrimp, Chorizo Pitas Serious Eats Shrimp + Chorizo = Yum
Metric Conversion Table Epicurious Not a recipe but useful
Blackened Chicken with Dirty Rice Cooking Light I have never in my life bought chicken livers but that may now change
Limoncello Collins Food and Wine This may be my cocktail of the summer
Hummingbird Cupcakes Martha Stewart You can pretty much never go wrong with cream cheese icing. And look at the dried pineapple garnish!
Balsamic Roast Chicken with Caramelized Pearl Onions, Olives, Tomatoes Style at Home Two great food loves of my life: balsamic vinegar and caramelized onions

Friday, March 23, 2012

Mystery Box Dinner Revealed!

Well Hallelujah, finally a comment on the previous post (thank you cous!). Y'all weren't getting the reveal until I got at least one response so let's all thank Katie and Chris. And next time, a little more love please? I can tell from the stats that you read the post and I know where you live (just kidding).

So, what did I make? Katie, we were on the same page here with the kale salad with crispy prosciutto. Nice one. There was also roast chicken with garlic and herb butter and thyme roasted carrots and parsnips. And for dessert, which didn't photograph well and there was some wine involved by this point in the evening, Chocolate Banana Bread Pudding. Whoa. Epic meal time. Without the burgers... and the bacon weave... anyway, here are the recipes.

Serves 4
  • 1 bunch kale, leaves stripped from thick stem (discard stem) and sliced into ribbons
  • 6 slices prosciutto, sliced into ribbons
  • olive oil
  • balsamic vinegar
  • aged goat cheese or similar hard cheese (Parmesan would be good too)
Divide kale between serving plates for each person. Heat a small frying pan over medium high heat. Add prosciutto, cook until crisped. Turn off heat and divide prosciutto between plates. Add olive oil and balsamic vinegar to pan to warm. Pour over kale. With a vegetable peeler, shave cheese over each plate.

I have included ingredient measurements, but really I eyeballed it. A little more, a little less, it'll work out. Plus, my chicken was huge- scale the ingredients down if yours is smaller of course.
  • 1/3 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1/2 cup fresh herbs
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 five pound chicken
Preheat oven to 475 degrees F with rack set to lower middle position. Puree butter, herbs, garlic, salt and pepper to season in a food processor. Alternatively, chop herbs and garlic and mix into butter with salt and pepper. Loosen chicken skin on breast and legs from the meat. Spread butter mixture under the skin. Season chicken with more salt and pepper.

Place chicken in a roasting pan with a rack* breast side up. Roast until chicken is cooked though- 180 degrees F- turning chicken over partway through cooking if skin is getting too dark. Rest covered with foil 10 minutes before carving.

*If you don't have a roasting pan with a rack I've seen Michael Smith make a "rack" out of vegetables but I can't attest to the effectiveness of this method.


This will work for any root vegetables. Peel parsnips and scrub carrots. Cut into pieces- the trick here is to cut large enough so they won't burn in the oven but not too big that they'll take forever to cook. Toss vegetables with olive oil, salt, pepper, dried thyme. Roast on a baking sheet 10 minutes at 400 degrees F. Turn, roast10 more minutes.


Get the recipe at I made some modifications, of course. I used part half and half and part skim milk. And I used my banana bread recipe- I had one frozen so I thawed it in the fridge overnight and it worked perfectly.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Mystery Box Dinner

Ok, this wasn't really a "mystery" as I bought all the ingredients, but it felt that way.

My best friend and I went to the St Jacobs Market on Saturday morning to pick out stuff for dinner later that night. I could never do my grocery shopping for the week at the market because as I walk around I see something that looks delicious and impulse buy. All thoughts of meals, or what goes with what, go flying out the window. So Saturday's dinner felt like a mystery ingredient show- you know like Chopped or a quick fire challenge on Top Chef- except there was nothing really crazy like honey buckwheat cough drops in the box (yeah, I saw that on Chopped. Nuts).

Of course, I did manage to make a delicious meal (if I do say so myself) out of these ingredients, but before I post that I want to know- what would you make from these things? Here's the twist though: no potatoes, pasta, bread, or rice as my friend's boyfriend can't eat those things. Post in the comments your meal from these ingredients, and stay tuned later in the week for mine!

PS You don't have to use all the ingredients below, but I tried to use as much of the stuff I from the market as I could.

From the market (clockwise in photo above):
Maple Syrup
Aged Honey Goat Cheese

Other things from the pantry/fridge:
Green Pepper
Balsamic Vinegar
Canned Tomatoes
Dried Herbs and Spices
Fresh Basil
Flat Leaf Parsley

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Baby Food Part 3: Toddler Food

Toast with jam: delicious but messy
I know every toddler is different, and mine seems to to really different as you will see in the list of foods he loves below, but I figured I'd give a quick run down of the foods that Parker loves (and hates). Although he is a pretty good eater, he has his moments, and in those moments I need a list like this. Hopefully I can help just a bit with feeding your "opinionated" toddler.

I have also found that if I can get him to eat a bite or two of whatever I am serving somewhere other than his high chair (sitting on the floor, while holding him, sitting on the counter), he will eat the rest sitting in his chair. Luckily, a pretty healthy meal can be made of bits and pieces of things he does like- today he had half an apple, some cheese, crackers, and tomatoes for lunch, for example.

I have just found in the last few days that he loves smoothies, so this is a God-send. You can hide anything in a smoothie. I was nervous to give him a cup with a straw, being that I hate messes (haha welcome to toddler years Amy) but if you take the non-spilly part out of a sippy cup and the smoothie is, well, smooth, it can be drunk that way just fine. With no mess. Score one for Mommy.

All fruit
Cheese (we are going slow with dairy, but so far so good!)
Sweet and Sour Cabbage
Plum Sauce
Sweet Potatoes
Ham, Spinach, Cheese Stata
Tuna on crackers
Stuffed potatoes
Tomato Sauce
Potato Vegetable Cakes
Chicken Pot Pie
French toast

Will Tolerate (Sometimes):
Chicken Fingers
Poached Chicken
Hard boiled eggs

Broccoli (we may have to try it in a smoothie soon- I'll report back)

One Year Ago: Creamy Vegetable Soup
Two Years Ago: Not much was happening in March... sorry?

Monday, March 5, 2012

Pecan Pie Cupcakes

These cupcakes are just as they sound- like a pecan pie in cupcake form. Regardless of how full people are, these cupcakes always get gobbled up. I am always asked for the recipe. This past weekend my sister-in-law asked how I get the edges so crispy and caramelized. Basically, it's magic.

I tell you, they are the easiest thing to make. You are literally just mixing everything in a bowl. The only thing is you wants to make them small- they are pretty decedent. If you don't have a mini-muffin pan (like this), these can be made in a standard muffin tin but they'll need a bit longer to bake- start with increments of 5 minutes.

There is no leavening (i.e. baking powder, baking soda, etc) in the batter, so you want to fill the muffin cups almost to the top because they won't rise any bigger. And turn out the muffins as soon as possible- no more than 5 minutes after taking them out of the oven- to avoid them sticking and having to dig them out. Although that means any "reject" cupcakes that get mangled in the process are the cook's treat. Do what you have to do.

Adapted slightly from via Bake or Break
Makes 24 mini cupcakes

  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup butter, melted
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour a mini muffin tray, set aside.

Combine all ingredients but flour in a bowl and stir to combine. Sprinkle over flour, stir until just combined.

Fill muffin cups with batter, filling almost full. Bake in the middle of the oven 18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of one comes out clean. Cool a couple of minutes, then turn out muffins and cool on a rack.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Ham, Cheese, and Spinach Strata

What do you do when you have a couple of slices of ham, half a loaf of week old bread, and a couple ends of cheese lurking in your fridge? You make strata! Or I do anyways.

You can hide all kinds of good stuff in here. I mixed some pumpkin puree into the batter and you really can't tell it is there. For spinach haters the spinach can be left out of course, but please try it with the spinach- you won't really taste it and it adds so much nutrition and colour.

Any bread, except white sandwich bread, will do, but I had a loaf of Seeduction bread from Whole Foods that my Grannie brought when she visited last week (no Whole Foods here, unfortunately). This bread is a showstopper- it's deeply brown and crusty with lots of different seeds. If you can find a loaf like that, all the better. This is the only way Tyler will eat bread like this- he doesn't like his bread with "stuff" in it.

Strata, bread pudding, call it what you want, either way it is delicious. The best strata ever is my Papa's (now my uncle's since Papa passed away). It is reserved for once a year at Easter, not only because it contains just bread, cheese, eggs, and possibly cream (read: no vegetables) but because it is something to look forward to once a year. If we made it all the time it wouldn't be special anymore, right?

Serves 4

  • 1/2 loaf crusty bread (stale is better), cut into bite-sized cubes
  • 1/2 300g box frozen chopped spinach, thawed and excess moisture squeezed out
  • 1 cup diced ham
  • 1 cup grated cheese
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup milk
  • salt and pepper to season

Toss together cubed bread, spinach, ham, and cheese in a large bowl. In a medium bowl, whisk together remaining ingredients. Pour egg mixture into bowl with bread and stir to coat all bread cubes with batter. Let stand while oven heats.

Heat oven to 375 degrees F. Coat a casserole dish with cooking spray. When oven is heated, pour bread mixture into prepared dish. Bake 35-45 minutes, or until top is browned and crusty.