Category Archives: Recipes

Sea Salt Brownie Cookies

Sea Salt Brownie Cookies

I don’t have a whole lot to say about this recipe except that these cookies are SO FREAKING GOOD. I got the recipe from this article on BuzzFeed called 17 Hybrid Desserts That Will Blow Your Mind. Just beware if you click that link you’re going to end up making SOMETHING from that list. Next up, I think, will be the cupcakes with the cookies in the bottom. This is the stuff that dreeeeeams are made oooooof…

These cookies are basically brownies in cookie form. They get that incredible, flaky brownie crust on them but the inside is soft just like a regular brownie. Delish.

On the menu:
Sea Salt Brownie Cookies
Makes approximately 16 cookies

3 oz. unsweetened chocolate, roughly chopped
1 1/2 chocolate chips (any kind you like!), divided
8 Tbsp unsalted butter, diced
3 large eggs, room temperature
1 cup plus Tbsp sugar
1 3/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
Coarse salt (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease a baking sheet, or use parchment paper (these do stick a little, even to my non stick baking sheets).

In a double boiler, or in the microwave, melt the unsweetened chocolate, 1 cup of chocolate chips, and butter until completely melted and combined.

In a medium sized bowl, using an electric mixer, blend together the sugar and eggs for around 3 minutes and until fluffy. Add the melted chocolate and mix until combined. Add the flour, baking powder, and salt, and stir together by hand. Add the remaining chocolate chips and stir to combine.

Drop batter by 1/4 cups onto the baking sheet. Flatten a bit into 1/2 inch thick disks with a spoon. Sprinkle coarse salt on top if desired.

Bake for 10 – 13 minutes, depending on the size of your cookies, or until the middle is puffy and the outer crust is flaky. Let cool for a minute on the baking sheet before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

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Strawberry Cake

20130525002318
I love when a recipe says something like, “This is a great way to use up leftover berries.” Here in New York City, land of overpriced everything, I never really have too much of something leftover that costs an arm and a leg to begin with. I use every tiny little bit of that sucker. Even during the summer berries are ridiculously expensive around here (unless you trek to the farmers’ market, I know, I know) so when I make a recipe with berries, it’s on purpose, and I hope it comes out nicely because if not, it was one expensive mistake.

This recipe was no mistake. And I can’t recommend it enough. The cake is not too sweet and the sugar on top gives it a nice crunch. You could even serve it for breakfast, because frankly, what’s the difference between a slice of this and a muffin? As far as I’m concerned, nothing.

On the menu:
Strawberry cake
Makes 1 10″ cake

6 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened to room temperature, plus more to grease the pie plate
1 cup plus 1 Tbsp sugar
1 large egg
1 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 pound fresh strawberries, cleaned, hulled and halved

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease a 10″ pie plate with unsalted butter.

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

In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until smooth. Add milk, egg, and vanilla and blend until smooth. Add flour mixture and stir in by hand until combined.

Pour batter into greased pie plate. Cut-face-down, place strawberries on top of the batter as close together as you can but not on top of each other [NOTE: do NOT press the berries down into the batter; the batter will cook up around your berries and make them all but disappear from view]. Sprinkle the remaining Tbsp of sugar on top of the cake.

Bake at 350 for 10 minutes. Lower the oven to 325 degrees and bake for 60 minutes. Once the cake is cooked (a toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean) cool on a wire rack completely before serving.

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Edamame, corn, and avocado salad

Edamame, corn and avocado salad
Making a vegetable to go along with dinner for my meat-and-potatoes-loving BF is often a real challenge. He’s just not a fan of most things green. And when I asked him last night, “Do you like edamame?” he made a face. But um… then I tricked him. Haha! Tricking someone into eating vegetables. I’ll be a great mom someday.

This salad has lots of good stuff in it but it’s so fresh and sweet tasting, the best of the best ingredients are all but hidden.

It should also be noted that fresh corn would be WAY better in this salad than frozen. But it is obviously not corn season yet so this will have to do.

On the menu:
Edamame, corn, and avocado salad
Serves 2

1/2 cup frozen, shelled edamame
1/2 cup frozen corn
1 small avocado, cubed
3 Tbsp red onion, diced
1 Tbsp fresh lime juice
1/2 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp red wine vinegar

In a small saucepan, add corn and edamame and cover with water. Add a pinch of kosher salt. Bring water to a boil and then lower to a simmer. Cook for approximately 8 minutes. Remove from heat, drain, and let cool.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, and lime juice. Add a pinch of salt and pepper. In a small serving bowl, add cooled corn and edamame, red onion, cubed avocado, and dressing. Toss to combine.

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Spaghetti Squash with Asparagus and Ricotta

Spaghetti Squash with Asparagus and Ricotta
This past weekend I had my girlfriends over for dinner, which is always a welcome treat. Way too much wine is had, embarrassing stories are told, and if we’re lucky, by the next day some truly incriminating pictures are posted to Facebook. All the markings of a successful evening, right?

When it comes to making a meal for a group of people I occasionally feel really lost on the menu. I try to take into account the evening’s plan (I knew we’d be having a few cocktails so I wanted something substantial, but we also wanted to try the late night menu at Pachanga Patterson so I didn’t want something so filling that we wouldn’t be hungry by 11PM), but sometimes all I can come up with is pasta. Lucky for me I have really outspoken friends. “Can you somehow incorporate spaghetti squash into the meal?” one of the girls asked.

Bingo.

Now I had the staple around which I could build the meal. I’d never actually cooked with spaghetti squash but it seems to be the low-carb-friendly food of the moment, right? You can use it pretty much any way you’d use real spaghetti. It was a BREEZE to make, it was delicious, and I’ve become a total convert. So thanks for the suggestion, Jenna! Not only did you make cooking dinner easier, but you introduced a new delicious and healthy food into my life. You are truly a keeper.

On the menu:
Spaghetti squash with asparagus and ricotta
Adapted from TheKitchn.com
Serves 3

1 medium sized spaghetti squash
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 pound asparagus
Zest from one small lemon
3/4 cup ricotta
1 large clove garlic, unpeeled
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves (or 1/2 tsp dried thyme leaves)
Salt and pepper
2 Tbsp freshly grated parmesan cheese
3 Tbsp slivered almonds, toasted

Preheat oven to 375.

Slice your spaghetti squash in half from stem to root. Scoop out seeds. Brush both sides with olive oil and place cut-side-down onto the baking sheet. Roast in oven for 35 – 40 minutes.

Trim rough ends from asparagus and cut stalks into 2-inch pieces. After squash has roasted for 35 – 40 minutes, add asparagus pieces to the baking sheet (scatter around the squash). Place garlic clove underneath one squash half. Place the whole baking sheet back in the oven and roast for another 10 minutes, or until the asparagus is easily pierced with a fork.

While the roasting is happening, in a small bowl, combine the ricotta cheese, lemon zest, parmesan, and thyme. Season liberally with salt and pepper.

Once the asparagus and squash are done roasting, remove the baking sheet from the oven. Add the asparagus and the softened garlic clove to the ricotta mixture and stir to combine. Once the squash has cooled for 5 minutes, scrape the flesh out and add it to the ricotta. Place in a serving bowl, top with toasted almond slivers*, and serve immediately.

*To toast almond slivers: place almonds in a small skillet and cook over low heat until the almonds become fragrant. Do not overcook.

PS – thanks to Meagan at Trippin’: A Travelogue for taking the photo!

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Parmesan Chicken Cutlets and Warm Mustard Potato Salad

Parmesan chicken and mustard potato salad

This meal is not groundbreaking, it’s not difficult, and it’s not really anything new. But it feels complete, it took all of 10 minutes to prepare and 30 minutes to cook, and it was delicious. Just add greenery. The asparagus we ate alongside this took forever to cook so we ate it as a kind of dessert. Oh, who am I kidding, we ate cookies for dessert and I put the asparagus in the fridge.

My reason for posting this recipe is the potato salad. Back when I was unemployed I was doing some recipe testing for a meal delivery website and more often than not, the recipes were mediocre and tasted like they were missing something. One in particular was a mustard potato salad that was SO bland and I couldn’t figure out why. Then I found a recipe in Real Simple magazine for a mustard potato salad that had a splash of red wine vinegar… and there was the missing ingredient. I once read on a blog, “if your dish is missing something, it’s probably an acid.” And in this case, it was true. You learn something everyday, kids.

On the menu:
Parmesan chicken cutlets and warm mustard potato salad
Serves 2

Chicken:
1 lb. of thinly sliced chicken cutlets
1 egg, scrambled
3 Tbsp grated parmesan cheese
2 Tbsp fresh rosemary leaves, finely chopped
1/2 cup bread crumbs (or my favorite kinda-bread-crumbs, crushed Ritz crackers)
Salt and pepper
Nonstick cooking spray

Potato salad:
2 cups small new potatoes, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper
2 tsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp olive oil

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Put egg in shallow dish and scramble well. In another shallow dish, combine parmesan, bread crumbs, rosemary, salt and pepper. Dredge cutlets in egg and then bread crumb mixture. Place on a greased baking sheet and bake for 10 – 12 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and breading is browned.

Meanwhile, boil water in a large pot. Add potatoes and cook for approximately 16 – 18 minutes or until potatoes can be easily pierced with a fork. Drain potatoes and return to pot. Add mustard, red wine vinegar, oil, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Stir to combine. Serve warm alongside chicken and a green vegetable.

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M&M Cookies

MM Cookies from LaurenFoodE
I’m sure it’s no surprise to you that most of my memories are tied to food, including my earliest memory of eating an apple at the YMCA while I watched my mom take aerobics class. So while I was perusing Pinterest a couple weeks ago, an image caught my eye that immediately took me back… back to the mall. Remember how you’d be walking through the mall on a weekend and suddenly there was a scent… a warm, chocolatey, freshly baked scent that forced you past 5-7-9, past DEB, past Charlotte Russe, past Wet Seal… to The Cookie Place. Did it have a real name? Who cares. To me it was The Cookie Place. I would beg my mom with every ounce of gusto I had in me for one of those beautiful cookies. Sometimes I got one, sometimes I didn’t. But when I did it was always the same: M&M. In the recesses of my mind it seemed like two treats in one, candy and a cookie. See what I did there? Always thinking.

It should be noted that later in life I would work at the mall across from said Cookie Place and I ate so many that I gained some weight… enough weight that one day the button on my pants popped while I was driving to the mall and when I got there I had to buy myself some new pants. It’s amazing how life comes full circle, am I right?

Anyway, I saw the picture on Pinterest and committed myself to making the mall M&M cookies. I did leave the blogger who originally posted them (Liz of the amazingly named That Skinny Chick Can Bake!) a note to make that these cookies are CHEWY and not CRISPY (obviously) and she assured me they are, in fact, chewy. That is, if you eat them within the first day or two of making them. But don’t worry. You will.

M&M Cookies
Makes approximately 18 cookies
Originally from That Skinny Chick Can Bake!

3/4 cup butter, softened to room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 egg plus 1 egg yolk
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line baking sheets with parchment paper.

Cream together butter and sugars with an electric mixer. Add egg and egg yolk and combine. Add vanilla and combine. Sprinkle baking soda and salt over the butter mixture and mix well until combined. Add flour and mix by hand.

Take 2 Tbsp of dough and roll into a ball. Place dough balls on cookie sheet approximately 2 inches apart (these spread a LOT) and flatten slightly with palm of your hand. Top with 6 – 8 M&Ms and press down a little so they’re nestled in the dough.

Bake for 11 – 13 minutes or until brown around the edges. Let cool on cookie sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely.

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Spinach, Tomato and Chicken Pasta Bake

Spinach, tomato and chicken bake
Is there a better combination than basil, tomato, and mozzarella? There’s something so soothing about the familiar flavor combination and truth be told, I’ll look for any excuse I can to use it. A few weeks back I marinated cherry tomatoes in espresso balsamic vinegar and skewered them with squares of fresh mozzarella and a basil leaf, and called it an appetizer. Or I called it dinner. Whatever.

This chicken pasta bake is easy as pie and is a great way to use up leftover shredded chicken if you have some in the fridge. And who doesn’t ALWAYS have leftover shredded chicken in the fridge? This is also a brilliant way to get spinach-haters to eat the good greens. The BF barely noticed it underneath all that cheese. #Win

On the menu:
Spinach, tomato and chicken pasta bake
Serves 3

1 1/2 cups whole wheat penne pasta
2 cups fresh spinach
1 medium sized tomato, seeded and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 large chicken breast, cooked and shredded
2 Tbsp fresh basil, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbsp olive oil
3 Tbsp ricotta cheese
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cook pasta according to instructions.

In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Add tomatoes and spinach and cook for 3 minutes or until spinach is cooked down. Add chicken and basil and stir until combined.

In a large bowl, combine pasta, chicken mixture, ricotta cheese, and 1/2 the mozzarella. Stir mixture until combined and add salt and pepper to taste. Pour into a large baking dish (I used a 9 inch round tart dish) and cover with remaining mozzarella cheese. Bake for 20 minutes or until cheese is bubbly.

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