Monday, May 21, 2012

Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Shallots
adapted from recipe by Rachel Ray

4 slices of bacon
1 large shallot
1.5 lbs Brussels Sprouts
Salt & Pepper
1 cup chicken broth

Place bacon on a cold pan and heat until crispy- flipping periodically. Remove from pan but do not drain grease. Coarsely chop bacon and reserve. Add Shallots to the pan and cook until light brown. Prepare Brussels sprouts by removing bottom and slicing in half. Add Brussels sprouts and season with salt & pepper. Cook for 3-4 minutes and then add in broth. Bring to a simmer, then cover and reduce heat to medium low. Cook for 10 minutes or until softened. Drain and transfer sprouts to a serving dish. Mix and bacon and additional salt and pepper if needed. Serve immediately.

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Thursday, May 3, 2012

Pistachio Chai Muffins

1 3/4 cups flour
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 chai tea bags
1 cup low-fat buttermilk
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/3 cup shelled dry-roasted pistachios, chopped
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon water

Preheat oven to 375°.

Combine flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Stir with whisk until combined. Cut open tea bags; add tea to flour mixture, stirring well. Combine buttermilk, butter, 1 teaspoon vanilla, and egg in a bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Add buttermilk mixture to flour mixture, stirring just until moist.

Place 12 muffin-cup liners in muffin cups; coat liners with cooking spray. Divide batter evenly among prepared muffin cups. Sprinkle nuts evenly over batter. Bake at 375° for 15 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes in pan on a wire rack.

Combine remaining 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, powdered sugar, and 1 tablespoon water, stirring until smooth. Drizzle glaze over muffins.

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Thursday, April 12, 2012

Balsamic Pork Loin

serves 4

1 boneless pork loin (2.5 lbs)
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/8 cup minced garlic
salt and pepper
ground fennel

First prep your meat with a generous coating of fresh ground salt & pepper. Sprinkle on rosemary ground fennel. Don't be shy with the spices! Firmly press them into the meat with your hands, making sure all sides are covered. In a large plastic bag combine olive oil, vinegar, and garlic. Add pork to the bag. Squeeze out any air and make the marinade is evenly distributed. Marinate overnight.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Bake for 15 minutes, then reduce temperate and bake for an additional 1.5 hours. Check with a meat thermometer to make sure internal temperature has risen to 145 degrees. Allow to rest for 10 minutes before slicing.

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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Blood Orange Filling and Sugared Orange Slices

Blood Orange Filling

1.5 cups chopped blood oranges, with pith removed
1/4 cup blood orange juice
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
2 tbsp corn syrup

Add orange pieces, sugar and orange juice to a saucepan. Cook on medium low for 5-10 minutes until a syrupy mixture forms. 

Mix corn syrup and water together with a fork or small whisk to make a slurry. Add to the pan, and stir constantly for 5-10 minutes. The mixture will go from opaque to translucent and thicken considerably. When the mixture is thick and goopy, remove from head and allow to cool to room temperature. The mixture will continue to thicken as it cools. Can be made ahead and refrigerated overnight, if desired.

Sugared Orange Slices

2 oranges sliced thin
2 cups sugar
1 cup water

Bring a pot with 2 cups of water to a rolling boil. Thinly slice lemons, add to water and blanch for 5 minutes. Drain lemons and place in a cold water bath.
Add sugar and water to pan and stir until sugar dissolves completely. Add lemons to sugar water and bring to a gentle boil. Reduce heat to a low simmer, and cook for 1 hour.
Spray a cooling rack with non stick spray. Transfer lemons to rack to set for 24 hours.

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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Sweet Potato Garlic Knots

Sweet Potato Garlic Knots
adapted from:
yield: 16 rolls

1 cup warm water
1 envelope active dry yeast
2 tablespoons agave nectar
1/2 cup sweet potato puree
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 1/2 cups flour
6 cloves minced garlic
1/8 cup olive oil

To make sweet potato puree: Wash and peel sweet potato and cut into 1 inch squares. Place in a large pot of boiling water and cook for 20-25 minutes, or until fork tender. Remove from heat, drain, and return to pot. Beat with hand mixer until smooth.

Pour warm water into the bowl of your stand mixer and add yeast. Let sit for 10 minutes, then add in honey, olive oil and sweet potato puree. Mix until well combined.

Attach dough hook to mixer. On lowest setting add flour and salt very slowly. Continue to mix until dough forms, about 5 minutes. Remove dough, rinse and dry bowl. Use olive oil to generously oil the inside of the bowl. Return dough to bowl and roll to coat with the olive oil. Place in a warm area, cover with saran wrap and allow dough to rise for at least one hour, until it has doubled in size.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Divide dough into 16 equal pieces. On a floured surface roll them into 8 inch strips and tie into knots, tucking ends under each knot. Bake for 12-14 minutes, until golden. While rolls are baking mince garlic and combine with olive oil. Brush a generous coating onto rolls immediately after removing from oven. Lightly salt rolls with fresh ground sea salt. Allow to cool for 3-5 minutes before serving.

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Thursday, February 16, 2012

Thin Mint Truffles

makes about 3 dozen

2 packages of thin mints
8oz cream cheese, softened
1 bag of dark chocolate melts

Dump cookies into food processor and pulse into fine crumbs. In a large bowl combine crumbs and softened cream cheese and mix until thoroughly combined. Roll into small balls and refrigerate for 15- 20 minutes.

According to package directions melt chocolate. Dip cookie balls into chocolate, transfer to a baking sheet lined with wax paper, and allow to set. If desired sprinkle any decorations on before chocolate hardens. Store in fridge for up to a week and enjoy!

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Whole Wheat Soft Pretzels

Soft Pretzels
adapted from Alton Brown
yield: 8 pretzels

1 1/2 cups warm water
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 package active dry yeast
11 oz of whole wheat flour
11 oz of all purpose flour
2 oz of butter melted
vegetable oil, for pan
10 cups water
2/3 cup baking soda
1 large egg yolk beaten with 1 tbsp water
sea salt

Combine the water, sugar and salt in the bowl of a stand mixed and sprinkle the yeast on top. Allow to sit for 5 minutes or until the mixture begins of foam. Add the flour and the butter. Using the dough hook attachment, mix on low speed until well combined. Change to medium speed and knead until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl. Removed the dough from the bowl, clean the bowl and then oil it. Remove the dough to the bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let sit in a warm place for approximately 1 hour, or until the dough has doubled in size.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and coat with non stick spray.

Bring the 10 cups of water and the baking soda to a rolling boil in a 8 quart saucepan.

In the mean time turn the dough out onto a slightly oiled work surface and divide into 8 equal pieces. Roll out each piece into a 20 inch rope. Twist into your favorite shape. For a classic pretzel make a U shape, cross the ends twice and then fold in half, pressing the ends into the bottom of the U.

Boil the pretzels one at a time for 30 seconds each. Remove from water and place on baking sheets. Brush with egg yolk and sprinkle with alt. Bake until golden brown, approximately 12-14 minutes. Let cool and enjoy.

Pretzel making diagram via

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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

One Bowl Chocolate Cupcakes

 yield: 24 cupcakes
from: Martha Stewart

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups all purpose flower
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs at room temperature
3/4 cup warm water
3/4 cup whole milk
1 tablespoon vinegar
2 tablespoons sour cream
3 tablespoons safflower oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat over to 350 degrees. Line muffin tins with paper liners.

Sift together cocoa powder, flour, sugar baking soda, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl. Combine milk and vinegar and let sit for 5 minutes. Add eggs, warm water, milk & vinegar mixture, sour cream, oil and vanilla to bowl and mix well until smooth, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the bottom of the bowl to ensure batter is well mixed.

Pour batter into muffin cups, filling 2/3rds full. Bake until the tops spring back when pressed lightly, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely before frosting.

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Monday, January 9, 2012

Mussels in White Wine with Saffron

adapted from Barefoot Contessa
serves 4

3 lbs mussels
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup chopped shallots
2 tablespoons chopped garlic
1/2 cup chopped canned tomatoes, drained
1/2 teaspoon saffron threads
1/3 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
1 cup white wine
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Clean the mussels, by putting them in a large bowl with 2 quarts water and the flour and soak for 30 minutes (This removes any sand). Drain the mussels, then removed the "beard" with your fingers. If needed scrub the mussels with a brush under running water. Be sure to discard any mussels with shells that are not tightly shut.

In a large stock pot heat the butter and olive oil over medium head. Add the shallots an cook for 5 minutes. Add the Garlic and cook 3 more minutes or until the shallots are translucent. Add the tomatoes, saffron, parsley, thyme, wine salt and pepper and bring to a boil.

Add the mussels, stir well, then cover the pot, and cook over medium for 8-10 minutes. With lid on shake pot once or twice during cooking to be sure mussels do not burn on the bottom. Once all mussels are opened pour into a large bowl with sauce and serve. Discard any mussels that do not open.

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Monday, November 21, 2011

Pink Velvet

Pink Velvet
adapted from Sprinklebakes
yield: 24 cupcakes

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tbsp liquid food coloring
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour, sifted
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt 1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon white vinegar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare muffin pan with paper liners.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine butter and sugar until fluffy. Add the eggs and vanilla, mixing well after each addition. In a small condiment cup, stir together liquid food coloring and cocoa powder until smooth and then add to the butter mixture.**

Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Add flour to butter mixture in three additions, alternating with the buttermilk. Begin and end with flour.

In a small cup, combine baking soda and vinegar. Mixture will bubble and foam. Pour into the cake batter and mix until well incorporated.

** if you are using gel food coloring add it after the flour, a little at a time until desired color is achieved.

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Monday, October 31, 2011

Pumpkin Cupcakes & Pumpkin Frosting

Pumpkin Cupcakes
adapted from "I like You: Hospitality Under the Influence" by Amy Sedaris 
yield: 24 cupcakes 

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter at room temperature 
1 3/4 cups sugar 
2 large eggs 
2 teaspoons vanilla 
1/2 teaspoon salt 
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder 
2 1/2 cups flour 
1/2 cup milk 
1/2 cup pumpkin

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease or line a cupcake pan with paper liners.  

In a large bowl cream together butter and sugar. Beat in eggs one at a time. Add vanilla, salt, and baking powder. Add flour in three batches, alternating with the milk. Add pumpkin and mix until batter is smooth with no lumps, but do not over beat. 

Divide batter evenly among cups, and bake for 18- 20 minutes or until tops are just golden and toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Cool on rack to room temperature before frosting.

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Frosting
yield: frosts 24 cupcakes and then some

8oz cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup butter, room temperature
1/2 cup pumpkin
1 tsp vanilla
6 - 7 cups powdered sugar

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in pumpkin and vanilla. 

Mix in powdered sugar a little at a time, gradually increasing speed until desired consistency is reached.

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