Tag Archives: Baking

Back in the Kitchen!!

After being abroad for seven months I am finally back in my beautiful Boulder kitchen, equipped with all the gadgets necessary to get my bake on.  So what was my first dinner back? Feeling inspired by this glorious fall weather, I made “Roasted Chicken and Vegetables” from Great Food Fast (a Martha Stewart Living cookbook).  I really enjoyed buying all the vegetables for the dish at the Farmer’s Market.  Here is the recipe:

1 acorn squash, halved lengthwise, seeded, and sliced (the thinner, the softer)

1 lb cremini mushrooms, halved

1 lg red onion, sliced

8 cloves of garlic (I used a garlic press, worked really well)

1 tbs olive oil (I used way more)

salt and pepper

4 bone-in chicken breast halves

1 tbs dry crushed rosemary

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Mix all the veggies with oil, salt, and pepper into a roasting pan and toss.  Roast for 15-20 mins.  Meanwhile, rub the chicken with rosemary, salt, and pepper under the skin.  Put the chicken on top of the veggies and roast for another 35-40 mins.

My chicken didn’t brown like the picture in the cookbook, but it did stay delightfully moist.


For dessert (of course there was a dessert) I made these delicious moist and uber chocolaty/fudgy flourless brownies from The Essential Best Foods Cookbook.  They were actually pretty healthy, which is surprising because they were REALLY good, and even more surprising is the fact that one of the ingredients was black beans! Couldn’t tell at all, which I think is a good thing.

Here is the recipe for the “Black Bean Brownies”:

1 cup canned black beans, rinsed and drained (I accidentally only used 1/4 cup and it worked out just fine)

3/4 cup unsalted butter

3 oz unsweetened chocolate

3 lg eggs

1 cup sugar

pinch of salt

1 tsp vanilla

(the recipe called for walnuts, but I omitted them)

Heat oven to 350 degrees F.  Coast a muffin tin with cooking spray.  Puree beans.  Melt butter and chocolate (I used the microwave).  In a separate bowl, beat eggs, sugar, and salt until glossy.  Beat in the chocolate mixture, then the bean puree and vanilla.  Fill the muffin tin (recipe said to the brim, but I wish I had left more room in each cup.  I only filled 10 cups and the tops spread out a little too much and sunk in the middle.)  Bake for 20 mins.  Cool completely (very important step, I tore apart a few brownies due to my impatience).  Refrigerate overnight and served chilled.


Interesting Ingredients

Yummmm batter

They tasted better than they looked




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Christmas at My House

Yes, I know Christmas isn’t coming for another ten months, but I want to share the wonderful sweets and savory traditions from my family.  Food is really the highlight of the holiday season around my house, mainly because my mother is the most amazing baker and every Christmas Eve my stepdad makes Paul Prudhomme’s Cajun shrimp.  My stepdad lived in New Orleans for a long time and has perfected Paul Prudhomme’s recipe, the key being tons of butter and spice.  We also usually have a bush de noel.  So here is a sampling of deliciousness from Christmases past.

Above: Pistachio and Cranberry Cookies and Chocolate Truffles, Below: Snowflake Gingersnaps.  Both made by my mother.  How she decorates those snowflakes so well, I will never know.  She is an artist, so I guess that helps.

Below:  Two examples of the Cajun Shrimp with rice.  Also notice the table settings- I polish the silver 🙂

Above:  Bush de Noel from Balthazar’s!! Sooooo incredible (visually and taste-wise). See http://www.balthazarbakery.com/home.php

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Titonic Dinner Party

Okay, here’s another throwback. I thought I had exhausted all my old food photos but then I remembered about an amazing dinner party I hosted with a couple friends this fall. The genius of the party was its inspiration: I was at Peppercorn in Boulder www.peppercorn.comshopping for a birthday present for my grandmother when I came across this “Gin and Titonic” ice cube tray from Fred & Friends:

I fell in love with the ice cube tray so I decided to throw a nautical themed party serving gin and tonics with the ice titanics and bergs in them. I ended up having almost twenty guests show up for dinner, but thankfully my heroes, Grant and Dre, stepped in to help me chef it up. Our surf-and-turf menu was as follows: Olives, crostinni with tapenade, and smoked mozzarella wrapped in prosciutto for appetizers. Lamb kebabs, bacon-wrapped shrimp, salad with goat cheese, cheddar and chipotle biscuits from the BAKED cookbook, and parmesan mashed potatoes for the main course, and a “White-Out” cake from the BAKED cookbook for dessert. (Baked is an amazing bakery in Brooklyn, NYC. bakednyc.com I had their chocolate malt cake at a baby shower in NYC once and was immediately addicted. See photo from the shower below.)

I handled the baking, while the boys did most of the grilling. I got the cake out of the way early in the day, although it was a challenge and took forever. I picked the “White-Out” cake because I thought it resembled an iceberg. For some crazy reason I decided to be fancy and whip the egg whites for the frosting by hand instead of using an electric beater. Worst decision of my life (or of that day). It took me almost an hour and my forearms were sore for weeks.  Another difficulty was stacking the layers of the cake.  My mother taught me to always shave cake flat, but I hate wasting cake so I stacked it without alterations.  The cake had two layers and turned out magnificently. The chipotle cheddar biscuits had a wonderful kick and were pretty easy to make.

Now for the alcohol. Usually gin and tonics are my nightcap, but for this party I drank them all night long. I bought my favorite gin, Hendricks, to start the night off right, and ended up breaking out the Tangueray by the end (and sadly running out of it). I only had one ice cube tray so I had the foresight to start making the cubes the day before, and it worked out really well.  Of course we also had plenty of wine on hand as well.

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Dinner Party! -with Lavender Cake!

In September I was privileged to host my friends who were travelling through Boulder at my house. We took advantage of the wonderful kitchen and made many delicious meals. One of the most daring baking adventures I embarked on was making a lavender cake with fresh lavender that I discretely picked from my next-door-neighbor’s front yard. I used a mortal and pestle to grind the lavender to go in the cake, and used extra sprigs to decorate the plate. The icing was just a simple white glaze. I couldn’t find a regular bunt pan so I used a fancy molded one, and fortunately the cake came out in one piece. I was quite pleased.

Sam, my fabulous guest who is a far superior chef than myself, made pasta a la vodka that knocked everyone’s socks off (but unfortunately it went unphotographed) and crostini appetizers with slices of peaches and blue cheese. I made brussel sprouts with bacon for a side, and of course there was plenty of wine to go around.

The previous night, after a long day of hiking in Rocky Mountain National Park, we threw together the easiest, yet tastiest combination for dessert: two-bite brownies from Whole Foods, Haagen Dazs cinnamon ice cream, and home-made espresso. I can’t figure out how to work the espresso machine at my house to save my life, but fortunately we had an ex-barrista around to work some magic.

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Valentine’s Day 2009

I just started this blog but I have some old photos and food tales to share. Last Valentine’s Day I made chocolate cupcakes with chocolate butter cream frosting and I used a heart-shaped cookie cutter to make the chocolate hearts on top.

I also made heart-shaped polenta (less romantic, and less visually appealing, but tasty nevertheless). Plenty of majoram was key to this dish (I laid off the butter and cream to make up for the cupcakes).

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