Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Awesome Sausage Potato Soup with Autumn Salad

We've been doing movie nights each week with friends. They are lots o' fun. This past time it was my turn to cook. Here is what we did:

Autumn Salad

This salad is pretty awesome. The creamy goat cheese dressing is killer!
Adapted from Gina's Weight Watchers Recipes
-Mixed Greens
-2 Apples, Sliced
-Grapes, cut in 1/2

Blend this together:
-A tub of goat cheese (4-6 oz)
-1.5 T honey
-2t Apple Cider Vinegar
-2T Lemon Juice
-1T Water

I also made this soup. Don't tell anyone the secret ingredients. Keep 'em in the dark. They will go crazy trying to figure it out.

Adapted from the former Cafe Johnsonia
-5-6 potatoes, cut into 1" chunks
-1 med onion, chopped
-6 c. chicken broth
-1lb. bulk pork sausage
-1 c. half & half
-1/2 stick butter
-1.5 T vanilla
-2T balsalmic vinegar
Boil potatoes & onions in chicken stock until tender. Brown the sausage in a separate pan. Add to potatoes. Add half & half and butter and cook until melted. Add vanilla and vinegar right before serving. It's good stuff.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Secret Ingredients!

I have a secret, but sorry Californians if you want some, you have to hit up the internets. My secret is this:
This is a small store in the Italian Market in Philadelphia. Not only are their spices super fresh, but they have a few homemade blends that have no equal.
My favorites:
Tuscan Blend - This is NOT your normal italian spice. There are hints of anise and other unknown italian crack that will make your red sauce heavenly!
Pot Herbs - No, my friends, you do not smoke it. You put it in your roast or as I did recently, beef stew. It really makes it. I have no clue what it is that makes this so awesome.
Sazon - I've tried many a sazon, but none have magic like this. Rub it on your ribs straight. You will thank me.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Foodie Giveaway

I frequent this site:
Foodie Giveaway
This week they are giving away a new olive oil. Check it out!

Sunday, May 31, 2009


So, I guess I should bring out my dirty laundry. This is my place to talk about food. So here goes. In Feb, I went Vegetarian. I cheat from time to time, but in general I do not buy, cook or eat meat. I still consume dairy though. I also eat invertebrates (shrimp, crabs, etc) and fish.

It all started with a "diet book" that was really a book about animal cruelty. I love animals. Hence, I couldn't look at meat the same way. The first week was hard. The second week was easier. But then, I started to feel better... a lot better. Then I started to notice how much I was saving on groceries.

It is hard in some ways. I don't want to be judged as a vegetarian. I don't care if other people eat meat. Every once in a while, I crave meat usually bacon or lamb, but mostly it is really no big deal. Basically, I take my favorite recipes and omit the meat.

So, here's what I'm cooking this week:

Monday - Greek Salad and Corn on the Cob

Tuesday - Awesome Burritos
I saute onion. Add garlic. Add one chopped jalapeno. Add a can of diced tomatoes with green chills. Throw a potato in the microwave for 3-4 mins until almost fork tender. Give it a rough chop. Add it in. Add about 2 tsp. whole cumin seed. Remove from heat. Add a handful of chopped cilantro and squeeze a lime over it.

Serve on tortillas with cheese and sour cream.

Wednesday - TJ's Margarita Pizza and Fruit and Goat Cheese Salad

Thursday - Shrimp Risotto with broccoli

Friday- Leftovers

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Brown Butter Baby!!

I love all things brown butter. I still have not found anything with brown butter that I will turn my nose up at. So when I saw this: Roasted Banana Cake with Brown Butter Frosting, I was in! I did make a few small changes. Here is the recipe:

Roasted Banana Cake with Browned Butter Frosting
2 cups sliced ripe banana (about 3 medium) (I freeze mine when they start to turn. So mine were frozen)
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
2 1/4 cups flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 cup buttermilk (I used a little less than 1/2 c milk w/ about 3/4 t vinegar)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons cinnamon (My addition. What is a banana cake w/o cinnamon!)
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar (I used baker's sugar. It is addictive.)
2 large eggs (Next time I think I'll add another egg white)
Baking spray with flour (I just used Pam.)

1/4 cup butter
2 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup cream cheese, softened (I used 3 oz)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup chopped pecans, toasted (Didn't use these. Claron hates nuts)

Preheat oven to 400°.
Combine banana, brown sugar, and 1 tablespoon butter in an 8-inch square baking dish. Bake at 400° for 35 minutes, stirring after 17 minutes. (I didn't stir. It looked alright.) Cool slightly.
Reduce the oven temperature to 375°.
Combine 2 1/4 cups flour, soda, and baking powder in a medium bowl.
Combine banana mixture, buttermilk, and 1 teaspoon vanilla in another medium bowl. (Uhhh... I just combined in the baking dish. Why dirty another bowl?)
Place 1/2 cup butter and granulated sugar in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended. Add eggs; mix well.
Add flour mixture to sugar mixture alternating with banana mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture.
Pour batter into a 13 x 9–inch baking pan coated with baking spray.
Bake at 375° for 20 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. (Mine took more like 35 mins) Cool completely in pan on a wire rack.

To prepare frosting, melt 1/4 cup butter in a small saucepan over medium heat; cook 4 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool slightly.
Combine browned butter, powdered sugar, cream cheese, and 1 teaspoon vanilla in a medium bowl; beat with a mixer until smooth.

Spread frosting over cooled cake.

Sorry. It was all eaten before I could get pictures.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Second Birthday Cake

From Eliza's 2nd Birthday

Initially I wanted to make a chocolate cake, because well Eliza is my child and LOVES chocolate. My mother, however, brought up a great point that other two year olds do not eat as neatly as Eliza and a chocolate cake might pose a stain disaster for another mother. Therefore, I decided to make her a yellow cake with vanilla butter cream.

The cake turned out very moist. I would like to stress that I think it is very important that the butter and sugar are well creamed and the egg yolks are added one at a time. Also, added the flour in slowly and alternating is important. Oh, but I didn't sift. Don't tell anyone, k?

Eliza's 2nd Birthday Yellow Cake
1 cup butter, softened(2 sticks)
1 1/2 cups white sugar
8 egg yolks
3/4 cup milk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour 2 - 8 inch round pans. Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg yolks one at a time, then stir in the vanilla. Beat in the flour mixture alternately with the milk, mixing just until incorporated. Pour batter into prepared pans.
Bake in the preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes, or until tops spring back when lightly tapped. Cool 15 minutes before turning out onto cooling racks.

Vanilla Butter Cream
1 cup butter, softened(2 sticks)
6 to 8 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/2 cup milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Place the butter in a large mixing bowl. Add 4 cups of the sugar and then the milk and vanilla. On the medium speed of an electric mixer, beat until smooth and creamy, about 3-5 minutes. Gradually add the remaining sugar, 1 cup at a time, beating well after each addition (about 2 minutes), until the icing is thick enough to be of good spreading consistency. You may not need to add all of the sugar. If desired, add a few drops of food coloring and mix thoroughly. (Use and store the icing at room temperature because icing will set if chilled.) Icing can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days.