Sunday, October 3, 2010

Pumpkin Gnocchi with Sage Brown Butter Sauce

Pumpkin Gnocchi with Sage and Brown Butter Sauce

1- 15 oz can pumpkin
Salt & Pepper
1/8 tsp nutmeg
2 3/4 cups All-Purpose Flour
1/4 cup unsalted butter
9 chopped sage leaves
2 cloves garlic, minced
Freshly grated parmesan cheese

Mix flour, pumpkin, nutmeg, salt and pepper together until it is a soft dough. Add additional flour if it is sticky or does not hold together.

Divide dough into 6 parts and on a lightly floured surface, roll each piece into a rope about 1 inch in diameter.

Cut into 1 inch pieces and roll each piece over the back of a fork to create indentations in each gnocchi.

Gnocchi can be kept in refrigerator until you are ready to cook them.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil (I actually used half chicken stock and half water for added flavor) and salt lightly.
Place gnocchi in boiling water and cook until they float to the surface. Remove gnocchi and set aside.

While gnocchi is cooking, cook butter and garlic over medium high heat for 2 minutes or until brown, be sure to stir the butter during the entire process, otherwise butter solids will separate. Once butter is browned add sage and gnocchi and toss to coat.

When serving, sprinkle with freshly grated parmesan cheese.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Basil-Infused Gin

With the weather getting cooler I thought it would be good to use up the basil that I have been growing all summer.

1.75 ml gin (I used New Amsterdam, but any gin would be great)
1 cup fresh basil with stems
Glass jug if gin came in a plastic bottle

Remove 1/4 cup of gin to make room for basil. Insert basil leaves and stems to bottle and screw cap on tightly.

Set gin in a cooly dry place for up to 7 days.

Remove basil and store with other liquors.

Basil-Infused Gin recipes to follow soon!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Roasted Spaghetti Squash with Sautéed Vegetables

So I am kicking myself for not taking pictures of this dish, but to be honest, I wasn't expecting it to be blog worthy. This side dish is great with roasted chicken (what I served it with) or any other roasted meat.

1 large spaghetti squash
2 large carrots, peeled and cut into large chunks
1 medium yellow onion, quartered
2 cups sliced button mushrooms
2 cloves minced garlic
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1/4 cup low sodium chicken stock
Salt & Pepper

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Cut squash in half lengthwise and scrap out seeds. Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper and place cut side down on a baking sheet. Place onions and carrots on same cookie sheet and toss with oil, salt and pepper. Roast for 45 minutes or until squash is tender and flesh scrapes away from skin easily.

While veggies are roasting saute mushrooms and garlic in 1/8 cup f chicken stock until mushrooms are cooked through.

To remove squash from skin, take a fork and scrape flesh out. The flesh will be stringy and resemble spaghetti. Add squash, onion and carrots to mushroom mixture and saute with remaining chicken stock until excess liquid is cooked off. drizzle with red wine vinegar and add salt and pepper to taste.

These veggies are good on their own but I discovered that they are great the next day reheated and topped with crumbled gorgonzola!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Pasta with Green Beans Blue Cheese and Sun-Dried Tomato Vinaigrette

1/2 lb shell pasta
6 oz fresh green beans
1 large chicken breast, grilled and cubed
1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese
1/4 cup Sun-Dried Tomato Vinaigrette

Cook pasta and set aside. Blanch green beans by cooking in salted boiling water for 7 min and then shock green beans by tossing in ice water.

Combine pasta, beans, chicken and blue cheese in a bowl and toss with vinaigrette. Can be served warm or chilled.

Sun-Dried Tomato Vinaigrette
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp water
3 sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
1 tbsp chopped basil
1 tbsp chopped red onion

Place ingredients in a food processor and blend to combine.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

SweetChip Cookies

I've been meaning to blog about my friend Kristin for some time now, but it seems that has beat me to the punch! SweetChip Cookies was recently featured in Urban Daddy's weekly newsletter in celebration of International Chocolate Day (Monday, September 13th)

Everyone has his or her own idea of a perfect chocolate chip cookie, either thin and crispy or soft and chewy. I am more of a thin and crispy girl, so when Kristin from SweetChip cookies announced that she had constructed the perfect chocolate chip cookie I was excited to try her new creation. Oh my sweet Ina Garten were they good! SweetChip's signature Dark Chocolate Chip and Toasted Pecans pleases everyone's idea of a perfect chocolate chip cookie. It has the right combination of crunch and chewiness, not to mention the saltiness from the pecans and bitter dark chocolate tempts you to have another. Not only does SweetChip bake their cookies to order, they ship within 24 hours of receiving an order. Sweet Chip also allows you to customize each batch if one so chooses. One of the most unique custom cookies ordered was chocolate with cayenne and orange zest.

Earlier this week I was lucky to receive an entire box off heavenly goodness for my birthday!

While I was tempted to keep the entire box for myself I decided to share with my coworkers. Knowing that I have a weakness for the chocolate/peanut butter combination, Kristin surprised me with dark chocolate cookies with peanut butter and pecans. SweetChip sends each cookie individually wrapped, making it perfect for gift giving or sharing with friends

So in honor of International Chocolate Day, order a batch of SweetChip's signature Dark Chocolate Chips with Toasted Pecans or create your own cookie with their plethora of mix-ins.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Wild Rice Soup

Once again, I have been a very bad blogger, but this time it's not my fault! With the start of another school year I have been busier than ever at work, leaving me no time to cook. The best stress reliever that I have found is cooking, especially dishes that remind me of home. While this soup is perfect during the cooler months, it is also great to make ahead and eat all week. I'm convinced that it is even better the next day!

Wild Rice Soup

1/2 white onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
2 carrots, diced
4 slices thick cut bacon, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup chopped cremini mushrooms
1 cup cubed ham
4 oz wild rice
1- 10 oz can cream of mushroom soup
1-10 oz can cream of celery soup
2 1/2 cup water
2 1/2 cup milk (I use skim)
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper

In a large pot cook bacon until crisp and drain most of the grease, leaving about 2 tbsp in pot. Saute onions, celery and carrots until onions are translucent. Add garlic, mushrooms and bay leaf and saute until mushrooms are tender. Season with salt and pepper.

Add wild rice and cook for 2 minutes. Add cream of mushroom, cream of celery, water and milk and stir to combine. Add ham and bring soup up to a boil. reduce to low and simmer with lid on for 1 hour or until rice is tender. Turn off heat and let sit for 45 minutes.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Queso Fresco Salad and Two New Friends!

Caught in the act!I went to water my herbs and found these little critters having a nice breakfast! They were too cute to get rid of so I let them finish off the cilantro. I finally moved them when they had eaten the whole planter and were about to start on my basil!

Queso Fresco Salad

10 oz queso fresco, crumbled
1/2 cup diced red onion
1 tomato, diced
1/2 cup diced jicama
1/2 cup diced cucumber
1/2 chopped cilantro
Juice from one 1 lime
2 chipotles in adobo diced
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp cumin
salt and pepper to taste

Whisk together lime juice, chipotles, olive oil, cumin, salt and pepper. Combine queso fresco, onion, tomato, jicama, cucumber and cilantro. Toss with dressing and serve with tortilla chips.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Potato and Leek Soup

3 leeks, white and light green parts sliced and rinsed (rinse well, they are grown in sandy soil!)
6 small Yukon Gold Potatoes, quartered
1 head roasted garlic
2 tbsp olive oil
64 oz low sodium chicken broth
1 large white onion, thinly sliced
2 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
salt and pepper to taste

Cut off the top of one head of garlic and drizzle 1 tsp olive oil over top and sprinkle a pinch of salt and pepper. Wrap head in foil and roast in a 375 degree oven for 45 minutes.

Saute onion and leeks in 2 tbsp of oilve oil for 10 minutes at and high heat or until translucent.
Add chicken broth and potatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce to medium-high heat and simmer until potatoes are tender. Turn off heat and add roasted garlic. Puree soup until smooth using an immersion blender. Add rosemary and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serve with croutons or crusty bread.

This soup can be served hot or cold, I prefer making a big batch on a Sunday and eat on it all week.

Panzanella with Heirloom Tomatoes

If I had to eat only one thing during the summer it would be garden tomatoes. Panzanella is an Italian bread and tomato salad and can contain almost anything from one's garden.

4 heirloom tomatoes, roughly chopped
1 small red onion, roughly chopped
1 small cucumber, sliced
3 cloves fresh garlic, minced
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
Salt & Pepper to taste

1 baguette, sliced and toasted

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. Place sliced baguette on baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper. Bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes, turning once.

Whisk together vinegar, oil, and garlic. Add tomatoes, onion, cucumber and basil to vinegar mixture and toss to coat. Add salt and pepper to taste. Right before serving mix bread with tomatoes and enjoy!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Cold Sesame Noodles for a Hot Summer Day

With the dog days of summer upon us, I have struggled many nights to get myself in the kitchen. This noodle dish is quick, easy and requires no cooking, just boil water!

Cold Sesame Noodles
1 package Thai rice noodles
1/2 cup sesame oil
1/2 sup low sodium soy sauce
1/3 cup honey
1-2 tbsp samba olek
1/2 cucumber sliced and quartered
1 cup fresh sugar snap peas, cut in half
2 green onions, thinly sliced.
2 tbsp sesame seeds plus more for garnish

Bring a water up to a boil and add to rice noodles in a heat proof bowl. Let noodles cook for 10 minutes or until tender. Drain noodles and rinse with cool water.

Mix oil, soy sauce, honey, samba olek and green onions. Add to rice noodles along with cucumber, sugar snap peas and sesame seeds. Noodles can be served immediately or can be chilled for 1 hr and then served. Garnish with sesame seeds and extra green onions.

Stay cool!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Happy Bastille Day! Le quatorze juillet!

When The Weather Channel posts the headline "More Midwest Misery", it can mean only one thing..... temperatures hotter than the sun!

When it is too hot to cook, do what a certain Food Network Chef does....... COCKTAIL TIME! LOL

This cocktail is refreshing and slightly sweet, and in honor of Bastille Day AND the hottest day of the year...... the French Daiquiri!

French Daiquiri
1 Shot Bacardi Rum
1 Shot Cassis
Splash of Soda Water
Juice of one small lime
1 1/2 tbsp sugar

Add all ingredients to shaker along with ice and mix until blended and cold. Serve in a martini glass. Makes 1 cocktail.


Monday, June 21, 2010

Kansas City Farmers Market @ City Market

This post is long overdue!

My friends think I'm crazy but I love my early Saturday mornings, especially between the months of April and November. Most Saturdays I head downtown to the Lawrence Farmers Market, but once a month I wake up extra early to hit up the LFM and the Kansas City Farmers Market at City Market!

On my last visit (May 8th I think), a handful of farmers brought morels!

This was the first time I had ever seen fresh morels! Morels are only in season 2-4 weeks a year, thus making them extremely expensive. These morels were $15/pint, $25 for small plastic bag and $50 for a freezer bag. I have been told that there is a public park in Lawrence where morels grow, so I will be on the hunt next season!

I wish I had more patio space for plants!

The Spice Man is one of the main reasons why I make the trek to City Market. He has the largest selection of spices and he only charges $1 per (heaping) scoop!

Beautiful view of downtown KC!
The Jerusalem Cafe is right behind the Spice Man! Huge selection of nuts, dried fruits, Mediterranean and Middle Eastern specialties.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Artichoke & Blue Cheese Bisque

I have been a very bad blogger! Even though I have not posted for awhile, I have not stopped cooking!
Rachel K. brought back this apron for me from Paris! Thanks Rach! Isn't it adorable?!

I got the idea of making an artichoke bisque after having lunch at Ingredient recently. Their artichoke bisque was creamy and had a little kick to it and I was hooked. While I did not have the recipe I thought that it would be easy to whip one up. I decided to add blue cheese to give it an extra depth of flavor.

Artichoke & Blue Cheese Bisque

1 tbsp unsalted butter
1 yellow onion, chopped
1/3 cup dry white wine
2 8-oz packages frozen artichoke hearts, thawed
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 tsp dried thyme

1/4 cup whipping cream
1 1/2 cups crumbled blue cheese
1 small tomato, diced
homemade croutons, (recipe follows)

Melt butter in saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and saute until translucent, about 10 minutes. Add wine and simmer until all liquid is evaporated, about 4 minutes. Add artichokes, broth and thyme. Simmer until artichokes are tender and begin to fall apart, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and cool slightly.

Using an immersion blinder, blend soup until smooth. If you do not have an immersion blender, blend soup in batches in a blender. Once smooth, stir in blue cheese and cream and whisk constantly, bringing to a simmer, about 2 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper and add diced tomatoes. Ladle into bowls and server with croutons.


1 whole wheat baguette
3 tbsp olive oil
Kosher Salt
Fresh Cracked Pepper

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.

Cube baguette and place on a foil lined cookie sheet. Drizzle olive oil, salt and pepper over bread and toss to coat. Bake until croutons are golden brown and crisp, about 15 minutes. Cool and keep in freezer bag up to a week. Great for salads and soups.

I purchased this apron when I was in Philly, thank you for modeling Spencer! He was my fabulous sous chef that day!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Guinness Brownies

My co-workers have become accustomed to me bringing treats to work for practically any occasion, mainly because I need people to test out my recipes! I made these brownies in honor of St. Patrick's day and the Guinness brings out the intense flavor of chocolate. But watch out, these brownies are really rich! I took this recipe from bitchincamero's blog . My changes are marked with an *.

1 cup flour*
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 tsp salt
5 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into cubes
8 oz dark bittersweet chocolate chopped (I used 60% cocoa)
3/4 cup milk chocolate chips
4 large eggs
1 cup sugar*
1 1/4 Guinness Extra Stout beer, room temperature and foam skimmed off
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
powdered sugar for dusting (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line a 9x13 baking dish with parchment . Whisk flour, cocoa powder and salt and set aside.

Using a double boiler, dark chocolate, milk chocolate and butter together until fully melted.

In a large bowl, whisk eggs and sugar together until frothy. Very slowly, pour in chocolate mixture while whisking the eggs.

When your chocolate mixture and eggs are combined, whisk in the Guinness. Fold in flour mixture. Pour mixture into prepared baking dish and top with semi-sweet chocolate chips. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Remove baking dish and let cool completely.

Cut into squares and then diagonally. Dust with powdered sugar (optional).

Red Velvet Cake

Even though I have not posted in two weeks, I have been baking up a storm! This week has been super busy with work, Birthday's St. Patrick's day and a Blizzard!

I started off the week with a Red Velvet Cake made for my friend who grew up in Georgia. This super moist cake is topped with cream cheese frosting. While I would have spent more time decorating this cake, but after frosting it I like the "no frills" look and so did the Birthday boy!


3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pans
2 1/2 cups cake flour, sifted, plus more for pans
3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
2 cups sugar
3 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 tsp salt
2 one-oz bottles liquid red food coloring
3 tbsp lukewarm water
1 cup buttermilk
1 tsp baking soda
1 tbsp white vinegar

Cream Cheese Frosting:

2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
2 (8 oz) blocks cream cheese, room temperature
2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter two 8x2 inch round cake pans. Line with parchment paper and butter again. Dust with flour, and tap out the excess; set aside. In a medium, sift together cake flour, cocoa, and baking powder; set aside.

In a bowl of an electric mixer combine butter and sugar and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla, salt, food coloring and water; beat, scraping down the sides of the bowl, until well combined. Add flour mixture in 3 batches, alternating with the buttermilk; beat on low speed until well combined.

In a small bowl stir together baking soda and vinegar; add to batter. Beat on medium speed for 10 seconds. Be sure not to over beat! Divide batter between prepared pans, and bake until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes.

Remove pans from oven, and transfer to a wire rack to cool, about 15 minutes. Turn cakes out onto rack: let stand until completely cook.

To make frosting cream butter using an electric mixer, add cream cheese and mix until creamy. Add powdered sugar and vanilla and whip until thick and creamy.

Place a later n a cake stand or plate and spread about 1/3 of the frosting over top. Place the second cake on top and spread with the remaining frosting over the tops and sides of assembled cake. Transfer to refrigerator and chill until ready to serve. (Adapted from Martha Stewart)
Happy Birthday Chris!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Edamame Dumplings

I originally had this dish at Buddakan in Philadelphia. After discovering Chef Michael Schulson's recipe online, I found his recipe to be richer than I remembered. The original recipe had cream and truffle oil, but with my adjustments it turned out great.

Edamame Filling
3 cups edamame
1/2 pound unsalted butter
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1/4 cup olive oil
1/8 cup truffle oil
Kosher Salt
16 oz vegetable broth

Dumpling Dough
2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup plus 2 tbsp boiling water

Shallot and Sauternes Broth
16 oz shallots, thinly sliced
3 cups Sauternes (can use a Riesling or a sweet white wine if you cannot find Sauternes)
1 cup low sodium chicken stock
pinch of rosemary
salt and pepper
1 green onion, chopped

Place flour in a large bowl; make well in center. Add boiling water and stir until mixture forms dough. Knead dough on a lightly floured surface until smooth, about 5 minutes. Cover dough and let rest for 30 minutes.

Bring vegetable broth to a boil and cook edamame until tender, about 8 minutes. Strain and puree with other ingredients. Let filling set in fridge overnight or until firm.

Divide dough into two equal portions; cover one portion with a towel while working with other portion. On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to 1/8- inch thickness. Cut out 3-inch circles with a round cookie cutter or top of a glass.

Place 1 tsp of filling in the center of each dough circle. To shape each dumpling, lightly moisten edges of dough and fold in half.

Starting at one end, pinch curled edges together making four pleats along edge, set dumpling down firmly, seam side up.

Caramelize the shallots, and deglaze with wine. Reduce and then add chicken stock. Simmer with rosemary for ten minutes and season with salt and pepper if needed.

While sauternes sauce is reducing, steam dumplings until tender (about 5 minutes). To steam, place bamboo steamer on top of a large pot of boiling water.

Place 5 dumplings in a shallow bowl and add 3/4 cup of Sauternes broth over dumplings and garnish with green onions.

I was hesitant at first to use Sauternes in this broth because it is a sweet wine, but with the combination of the caramelized shallots and chicken stock it paired well with the richness of the dumplings.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Fleur De Sel Caramels

These caramels have the perfect contrast of sweet and salty, but watch out! They are addicting!

1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
5 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tsp fleur de del, plus extra for sprinkling (fine grain sea salt is also good)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Line the bottom of a loaf pan with parchment paper, then brush the paper lightly with oil, allowing the paper to drape over 2 sides

In a deep saucepan combine the sugar, corn syrup, and 1/2 cup water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Continue to boil until the caramel is a warm golden brown color. Don't stir - just swirl the pan to mix. Watch carefully, as it will burn quickly at the end!

In the meantime, bring the cream, butter and 1 tsp fleur de sel to a simmer in a small pan over medium heat. Remove from the heat, set aside and keep warm.

When the caramelized sugar is the right color, slowly add the cream mixture to the caramel - it will boil up violently. Stir in the vanilla with a wooden spoon and cook over medium heat for 5 to 10 minutes, until the mixture reaches 248 degrees F (firm ball) on a candy thermometer. Very carefully (it's hot!) pour the caramel into the prepared pan and refrigerate until firm.

When the caramels are cool, use the parchment paper to pry the sheet from the pan onto a cutting board. Cut the caramels into 3 logs and lightly sprinkle with fleur de sel. Cut into 1 inch squares.

Cut parchment papers in 6 by 4 1/2-inch squares and wrap each caramel in a paper, twisting the ends. Store in the refrigerator or at room temperature. (Adapted from Ida Garten)

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Dark Chocolate Truffles

These truffles melt in your mouth and are so rich its hard to finish one!

8oz good bittersweet chocolate (Ghiradelli or Lindt)
8 oz good semisweet chocolate (Ghiradelli)
1 cup heavy cream
1 tbsp prepared coffee
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Cocoa powder

Chop the chocolates finely with a sharp knife. Place them in a heat-proof mixing bowl.

Heat cream in a small saucepan until it just boils. Turn off the heat and allow cream to sit for 20 seconds. Pour cream through a fine-meshed sieve into the bowl with chocolate.
With a wire whisk, slowly stir the cream and chocolates together until the chocolate is completely melted.

Whisk in coffee and vanilla. Set aside at room temperature for 1 hour, or until chocolate is firm.

With 2 teaspoons, spoon round balls of the chocolate mixture onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Roll each ball of chocolate in your hands to roughly make it round. It doesn't have to be a perfect round ball, real truffles are never smooth and perfectly round!Roll in cocoa powder.

These will keep refrigerated for weeks, but serve them at room temperature. Makes about 50 truffles. Recipe adapted from Ina Garten

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Finish February Strong With All Your Favorite Cheeses!

Seeing this sign outside of Di Bruno Brothers inspired me to make a meal with my favorite cheeses. Di Bruno Brothers in Philadelphia sells over 400 types of cheese from around the world.

Blue Cheese Roasted Broccoli

1 lb broccoli florets
1 cup baguette crumbs (I love whole wheat)
4 oz blue cheese
1/8 cup olive oil
1 tbsp lemon juice
salt and pepper

Pre heat oven to 400 degrees

In a bowl mix together bread crumbs, blue cheese, lemon juice and salt and pepper.

Place broccoli on a cookie sheet and drizzle olive on florets and toss to coat. Sprinkle blue cheese mixture over broccoli and roast for 25-30 minutes, turning once.

Parmesan & Garlic French Bread

If you love garlic as much as I do you will love this garlic bread recipe!

1/2 whole wheat baguette
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 tbsp dried parsley
1 tbsp dried basil
4 cloves garlic, mashed
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

Heat oven to 400 degrees.

Slice baguette lengthwise and place on a cookie sheet.

Crush garlic and sprinkle kosher salt over garlic. Starting at one end of the pile of chopped garlic, press down with the flat side of the knife. Move the knife a little further into the pile of garlic and continue until the garlic becomes a paste.

In a small bowl combine butter or margarine, garlic, and herbs. Spread butter mixture on both pieces of baguette. Sprinkle parmesan cheese over baguette.

Close baguette and wrap in foil. Bake for 15 minutes, remove foil and bake for 5 more minutes or until butter is melted.

Slice and serve warm.