Category Archives: Cooking

Zucchini, Tomato and Corn Fettuccine with Walnuts and Feta

Dish shown here with parmesan instead of feta

Dish shown here with parmesan instead of feta

It’s a beautiful moment when you visit the farmer’s market in the summer and all the vegetables and fruits are bright and bountiful and you just know your chances of getting sweet, fresh produce is far better than say, the end of February. Sometimes I forget how produce is supposed to taste until sunny July rolls around and my taste buds are like, “HEYOOOO TOMATOES.”

This recipe celebrates summer produce. If you try this recipe in February, I hope you live in Australia.

On the menu:
Zucchini, tomato and corn fettuccine with walnuts and feta
Serves 3
Adapted from Real Simple

1 lb. fettuccine [full disclosure: I had half a box of linguine and half a box of fettuccine so VOILA mixed pastas]
3 Tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves
1 ear of corn, kernels cut off
2 small zucchini, cut into thin ribbons with a vegetable peeler
2 medium sized tomatoes, diced
2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 cup walnuts
1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled

Cook pasta according to directions on box. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup pasta water.

In a medium sized skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and corn and cook for about 4 minutes or until corn is cooked through. Add a liberal pinch of salt and pepper.

Add corn, zucchini, and tomatoes to pasta plus the 1/2 cup pasta water. Heat over medium heat for 8 – 9 minutes or until pasta is coated with sauce and vegetables are heated through. Add oregano and toss to combine. Plate pasta and top with walnuts and feta*.

*NOTE: The BF isn’t a big fan of feta, which does have a strong flavor. I thought this flavor made the dish but I topped his with freshly grated parmesan and he still went back for seconds. So if you hate feta, try parmesan. But definitely top with cheese. Always cheese.

Second note: I served this pasta with garlic bread (CARBS ON CARBS ON CARBS!) and The BF and my dad were preeeetty into it. Here’s the secret to incredible garlic bread: melt butter with garlic powder, stir to combine, spoon over slices of fresh bread, and broil for a minute or two until tops are lightly browned. De.Lish.

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Sour Cream Blueberry Muffins

Sour cream blueberry muffins
I love an easy muffin recipe. Baking in the morning for breakfast can seem a little daunting, but when you’re basically chucking all ingredients into a bowl, stirring, and throwing them in the oven, the workload is on par with omelets and pancakes. Don’t be scurred.

On the menu:
Sour cream blueberry muffins
Makes 10 muffins

2 Tbsp vegetable oil
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup sour cream (you can use non-fat or low fat if you prefer)
1 cup fresh blueberries
1 tsp cinnamon
1 Tbsp brown sugar

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line muffin tin with muffin liners.

In a medium sized bowl, stir together vegetable oil, sugar, eggs, and vanilla until combined. Add flour, baking soda, and salt and stir to combine. Add sour cream and stir until completely combined. Fold in blueberries.

Pour until cups are almost full. In a small bowl, stir together the cinnamon and brown sugar. Sprinkle evenly over muffins.

Bake for 23 – 28 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of one muffin comes out clean. Let cool in the tin for about 10 minutes and then move to a baking sheet to cool completely.

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Fudgy Chocolate Brownies

Fudgy chocolate brownies from LaurenFoodE
It’s my lifelong goal to make brownies that taste just like the box but without all the preservatives and chemicals.

Oh no WAIT. It’s not MY lifelong goal. It’s The BF’s own personal goal for me.

In any case, there was one time where I plucked a recipe for brownies off the internet at random and the brownies that recipe yielded were perfection. And you know what? I never bookmarked the recipe and then I lost it. And The BF reminds me of it at least once a week.

So here is ANOTHER brownie recipe (I do this to you guys a lot, you realize) and this one is deliciously chocolate and fudgy and if you’re like me, you’ll undercook them just a touch so they stay nice and soft. Maybe you’ll add a scoop of ice cream on top. Maybe I’d salute you.

On the menu:
Fudgy Chocolate Browies
Makes 12 large brownies
Adapted from MommiFried

1 3/4 cups flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 2/3 cups white sugar
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, melted
2 1/2 Tbsp water
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9″ x 13″ baking pan.

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt.

In a medium bowl, stir together the sugar, butter, and water until combined. Add eggs and vanilla and stir to combine.

Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix just until combined. Pour into greased baking sheet and smooth until the batter is evenly distributed in the pan.

Bake for 20 – 25 minutes or until the top is crackly and the corners are firmed up. Let cool completely* before cutting.

*Note: We have a running joke in our house that the brownies never, ever get to cool completely before they’re cut into. If your house smells like brownies and you can wait a full hour until they cool to eat them, then I have a medal here for you.

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Spice to Meet You

Spice to Meet You
Hi Friends! Just a quick reminder that it’s not too late to sign up for Spice To Meet You, the monthly spice delivery service that brings a specially blended mix of spices directly to your door, ready to toss into your boring old recipes to make them brand spanking new again. For a limited time you can try Spice to Meet You for one month totally free! Tell ’em Lauren E. sent you.

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Grilled BBQ Pork Chops with Peach Salsa

One of the most frustrating things about living in New York City is the lack of outdoor space. Sure, there’s Central Park and a variety of restaurants with back patios for outdoor seating, but what about a nice patch of grass in the backyard where I can drink my morning coffee in PJs without terrifying other park goers with my lack of makeup and bed head?

That’s right. I got nothin’.

So to make up for my nonexistent backyard and subsequent lack of a grill, The BF bought me a grill/griddle pan. It’s this magical device that sits over two burners on your stove and basically gives you a nice, grill-marked crust on various meats and veggies, while on the other side waits a griddle for pancakes. It’s a New York City home cook’s dream.

This dish was created on such a grill pan, and you’ll find the full recipe over at Spice to Meet You.

BBQ Pork Chops with Peach Salsa

Which brings me to my next point. I’m super fortunate to be guest blogging over at Spice To Meet You for the next few months. I’ll be contributing recipes and possibly video posts to the blog, and basically pushing this AWESOME service on you. I don’t hawk anything I don’t truly believe in so I’m really serious when I tell you to go take a peek at this monthly spice delivery service that also gives you access to delicious recipes that show you how to use said spices.

The monthly service starts at $6 a month (hey perfect birthday/mother’s day/father’s day gift) and the perfectly blended spices can be used on anything… anything like BBQ pork chops. Just an idea.

The site is also offering a one month free trial! So you really have nothing to lose by trying it out. Go on. Go now.

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Lemon Ricotta Muffins

Muffin
I have a confession to make: I am the ultimate ricotta-waster. I hate wasting food in any capacity but for some reason I more-often-than-not have a moldy container of ricotta cheese in my fridge. I use a cup for one recipe and then cut to three weeks later and I haven’t used it since. It’s becoming a reeeeeal problem in my life.

Anyway, on the brink of ricotta expiration, I made these muffins. I loooove love love ricotta in baked goods (it gives them this strangely spongy but not-too-fluffy texture, kind of like ricotta cheese itself) and have made a promise to myself that I will no longer waste ricotta – I’ll just bake it up.

On the menu:
Lemon ricotta muffins
Makes 12

2 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup sugar, plus 2 Tbsp (for topping)
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
Zest of 2 lemons
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 egg
2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 12 muffin tin cups with muffin liners.

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

In a medium bowl, using an electric mixer, blend the sugar, butter, and zest. Beat in ricotta cheese until smooth. Add egg, fresh lemon juice, and vanilla extract and blend until combined. Add dry ingredients and mix by hand until combined.

Fill each muffin liner with batter. Cups will be almost completely full (don’t worry, they don’t really overflow but just puff up nicely). Sprinkle remaining 2 Tbsp of sugar over the top of the muffins.

Bake for 25 – 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out almost completely clean.

Let cool on a wire rack for a few minutes before removing them from the tin and letting them cool completely.

PS: I apologize for all the lemon-themed baked goods lately. If you can believe it, I even made lemon lime cookies that I didn’t post because I forgot to take a picture before I gave them away. What can I say, it’s summer time and I’ve got lemon on the brain. So sue me.

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Lemon Olive Oil Cake with Strawberries

image

There are few greater joys in a home cook’s life than when a first time recipe turns out really, really well. And this is a recipe that turned out really, really well. It’s a “pound cake” type of dessert, meaning it could be eaten by itself (tomorrow I’ll probably call it breakfast) or you could top it with 100 different things. For a pre-Father’s Day dinner with my dad last night I served this cake with fresh strawberries (tossed with a little white sugar for sweetness and to bring out the juice) and topped it with whipped cream. But you could do lots of different things: top with lemon curd, drizzle dark chocolate over each slice, or add any kind of seasonal fruit. The sky is the limit.

image-1


On the menu:

Lemon Olive Oil Cake
Adapted from Food + Wine
Makes 1 10″ round cake

7 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled, plus more for greasing the pan
1 3/4 cup flour, plus 1 Tbsp more for flouring the pan
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup olive oil*
3 Tbsp milk, at room temperature
4 eggs, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
Zest of 2 lemons, approximately 2 Tbsp

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 10″ cake pan (I used a 10″ tart dish and it came out beautifully).

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the melted butter, olive oil, and milk.

In a large bowl, beat together the eggs, zest and sugar with an electric mixer until the mixture is light and frothy, around 3 minutes. While your mixer is still beating, alternately add the dry flour and wet butter mixtures, starting and ending with the dry ingredients. Mix until completely combined.

Pour into your prepared cake pan and tap against the counter top a few times to release bubbles. Bake for 30 – 40 minutes (see note below). Let cool on a cooling rack for at least 10 minutes before serving. This cake will also keep for around 3 days at room temperature.

Cut into wedges and eat alone or top with whatever topping your little heart desires.

*I used regular old olive oil but you could use virgin or extra virgin olive oil if you want to. Just know that the heavier the oil, the heavier your batter will be and a cake made with olive oil might have to cook just a bit longer. Test the doneness of your cake by pressing down on the cooked cake gently with your finger – it should spring back when it’s fully cooked.

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