Friday, December 11, 2009

Thanksgiving Part 2

Finally. I'm so slow at this. The two crazy kids I am with every moment of the day are really kicking my booty! Anyway, back to Thanksgiving, which seems like a million years ago since we only have 2 weeks till Christmas. We had a great time with my husbands side of the family playing games, laughing, being lazy and of course . . . EATING!
I made the stuffing this year which I have never made before, ever. So I was a little nervous but found a great recipe on-line which sounded awesome so I went for it.

Sourdough Bread Stuffing
Dave Lieberman
6 to 8 servings


* 1-pound loaf sourdough bread
* 8 tablespoons butter
* 10 ounces cremini mushrooms, sliced 1/2-inch thick in both directions
* Salt and freshly ground pepper
* 2 to 4 stalks celery with leaves, halved lengthwise and sliced
* 1 medium onion, chopped
* About 10 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves stripped from the stems
* 10 to 12 fresh sage leaves, chopped
* 3 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
* 3 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley leaves


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 2-quart baking dish and set aside.

Cut or tear the bread into 1-inch cubes and spread it evenly on 2 baking sheets. Toast the bread in the oven until completely dry and beginning to crisp and brown, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a large mixing bowl.

Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and a few pinches of salt and saute, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 6 to 8 minutes. Add celery, onion, 2 tablespoons butter, and thyme. Once the butter has melted, cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables have softened, about 5 minutes. Add sage and remaining 4 tablespoons butter. Add chicken broth to skillet and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Transfer toasted bread cubes to a large bowl. Pour the chicken broth mixture over the bread cubes and toss to combine until the bread cubes absorb the liquid. Pour the mixture into the greased baking dish, and sprinkle with parsley. Bake in the center of the oven until heated through and the top is golden brown, about 40 minutes. Remove the stuffing from the oven and allow to cool about 15 minutes before serving.

I really liked the flavor of the stuffing (self-proclaimed sourdough bread fanatic) and everyone seemed to gobble it up (get it, gobble it up. like a turkey) but had a little issue with the texture. It was nice and crusty on the top but the bottom was a little too mushy for my taste. I think next time I will stir the stuffing half way through cooking which I think will solve the problem.

I also made Pioneer Woman's acorn squash recipe. I'd never had acorn squash (it was a night of first's for me) but I really liked how this turned out.

Delicious Baked Acorn Squash

Prep Time: 15 Minutes Cook Time: 1 Hour15 Minutes Difficulty: Easy Servings: 6

* 2 whole Acorn Squash
* Kosher Salt To Taste
* 2 Tablespoons Butter
* 2 Tablespoons (to 3 Tablespoons) Brown Sugar
* Pure Maple Syrup

Preparation Instructions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Halve each squash, then scrape out the seeds and stringy membranes. Place the halves, flesh side up, on a baking sheet and sprinkle each half with salt. Next add a generous tablespoon of butter to the center of each squash followed by 2 to 3 heaping tablespoons of brown sugar. Next drizzle squash with maple syrup. Pour 2 cups water in the bottom of the baking pan.

Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake an additional 30-45 minutes, or until squash is golden brown. In the last 5 minutes of baking, turn on the broiler and allow tops to get a little more brown and the butter/sugar mixture to bubble.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Thanksgiving Part 1 - Makin Whoopie

Wow, I haven't posted anything in a long time! Hopefully in the next few days I'll make up for it.

A few weeks ago our small group had a "pre-thanksgiving" get-together, and I was in charge of dessert. I knew I didn't want to go too traditional, so I looked through some of my recipes and cookbooks and settled on a delicious looking little cookie sandwich called a whoopie pie. I guess there's many different variations but this one was of course pumpkin. It was dense and perfectly pumpkiny with a rich, creamy center. Try it, even though thanksgiving has passed us by. They sell canned pumpkin all year round. It's a fact.

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies
From Rachel Ray Magazine
Makes 12 individual cookies, so 6 sandwiches

1 1/2 stickes unsalted butter, 1 stick melted, 1/2 stick softened
1 C packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs, at room temp, lightly beaten
1 C canned pure pumpkin puree
1 T pumpkin pie spice
1 1/2 t vanilla
1 t baking powder
1 t baking soda
3/4 teaspoon plus 2 pinches salt
1 2/3 C flour
4 oz cream cheese, chilled
1 C powdered sugar

1. Preheat the oven to 350. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper
2. In a large bowl, whisk together the melted butter and brown sugar until smooth. Whisk in the eggs, pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice, 1 t vanilla, the baking powder, the baking soda and 3/4 t salt. ( if using salted butter just omit the salt)Using a rubber spatula, fold in the flour.
3. Using an ice cream scoop drop 12 generous mounds of batter, spaced evenly, onto each baking sheet. Bake until springy to the touch, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool completely.
4. Meanwhile, using an electric mixer, cream the softened butter with the cream cheese. Add the powdered sugar and the remaining 2 pinches salt and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla; mix on low speed until blended, then beat on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 2 minutes.
5. Spread the flat side of 12 cakes with the cream cheese frosting. Top each with another cake.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Stuff It

. . . or a mushroom. That's what I did, I stuffed mushrooms. I love mushrooms in general, but especially stuffed. They get so creamy and soft and delectable. I sort of put a few recipes together for this one so I'll give myself the credit:)

Four Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms

3 strips of bacon, chopped
1 onion chopped
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
24 oz button or crimini mushrooms
Splash white wine
1/2 c ricotta cheese
1/4 C feta cheese
1/4 C Parmesan cheese
1/4 C mozzarella
salt and pepper

Cook bacon in a skillet until crisp. Remove and drain on paper towel. Meanwhile, clean mushrooms and pop out their stems. Chop stems, onion and garlic and saute those in the remaining bacon grease (cause it's so darn good and bacony) Saute that mixture until soft and then pour in a splash of white wine and let it cook out for a few minutes. Let that mixture cool down and then add all remaining ingredients together and mix until combined. Stuff the mushrooms and bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

New camera = better pictures . . . hopefully

Yes, that's right folks, I no longer live in the stone-age. I actually own my own digital camera courtesy of my husband (who bought it for me while purchasing "his" big fat plasma digital hidef bla bla tv:) So, I can actually take pictures of food and have them look sort of what I made.

I had bought some plain yogurt on another of my "whims" at Trader Joes the other day and it was close to getting to that looming date located on all food products that scares us silly, so I knew I had to do something with it. I had remembered seeing a yogurt cake on orangette so that's what I made in the beautiful, silent 30 min on Wednsday when Riley is at AWANA and Daniel is asleep. Oh how I love and long and yearn for that half hour. Anyway, back to the cake.

French-Style Yogurt Cake with Lemon

This type of cake is an old classic in France, the sort of humble treat that a grandmother would make. Traditionally, the ingredients are measured in a yogurt jar, a small glass cylinder that holds about 125 ml. Because most American yogurts don't come in such smart packaging, you'll want to know that 1 jar equals about 1/2 cup.

For the cake:
1 jar plain yogurt
2 jars granulated sugar
3 large eggs
3 jars unbleached all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. grated lemon zest
1 jar canola oil

For the glaze:
Juice from 2 lemons
1/2 jar powdered sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a large bowl, combine the yogurt, sugar, and eggs, stirring until well blended. Add the flour, baking powder, and zest, mixing to just combine. Add the oil and stir to incorporate. At first, it will look like a horrible, oily mess, but keep stirring, and it will come together into a smooth batter. Pour and scrape the batter into a buttered 9-inch round cake pan (after buttering, I sometimes line the bottom with a round of wax or parchment paper, and then I butter that too).

Bake for 30-35 minutes, until the cake feels springy to the touch and a toothpick or cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Do not overbake.

Cool cake on a rack for about 20 minutes; then turn it out of the pan to cool completely.

When the cake is thoroughly cooled, combine the lemon juice and powdered sugar in a small bowl and spoon it gently over the cake. The glaze will be thin and will soak in like a syrup.

Super easy and super fast (hence the 30 min time slot) and super delicious and super . . . super. That's a weird looking word, super.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

What's better than a brownie?

How about a brownie with cheesecake swirl on top?! That's right I said it and I know you (that's all 3 of you who read this) are going to heart it:)

Cheesecake-Swirled Brownies (
Adapted from Gourmet, June 2007

Makes 16 2-inch square, thick brownies

Brownie batter
1 stick (1/2 cup or 4 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2/3 cup all-purpose flour

Cheesecake batter
8 ounces cream cheese, well softened
1/3 cup sugar
1 large egg yolk
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Make brownie batter: Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. Butter an 8-inch square baking pan. Heat butter and chocolate in a 3-quart heavy saucepan — though I did mine double-boiler style, placing the mixing bowl I was using over simmering water, thereby creating one less dirty dish and melting the chocolate more gently — over moderately low heat, whisking occasionally, just until melted. Remove from heat and whisk in sugar, eggs, vanilla, and a pinch of salt until well combined. Whisk in flour until just combined and spread in baking pan.

Make cheesecake batter: Whisk together cheesecake batter ingredients in a small bowl until smooth. Dollop over brownie batter, then swirl in with a knife or spatula.

[I actually like using a butter knife because the tip of it is round enough that you can use it to fold bits of the brownie batter over the cheesecake batter for a more visibly marbled effect. Try it!]

Sprinkle chocolate chips over cheesecake/brownie batter swirl. Although it might be more logical to just mix them into the cheesecake batter (and feel free to do this, it will have no ill-effect) I thought it might interrupt the swirl-ability of it.

Bake brownies: Bake until edges are slightly puffed and center is just set, about 35 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Slicing tip: I like to chill my brownies until they’re almost frozen before cutting them. It makes it much easier to get a clean slice. I also like to eat my brownies super-cold, but that’s just personal taste.

Courtney's note: I doubled the recipe cause let's just say it, an 8in pan of brownies aren't gonna last long. I also have to say that the brownies were like 10x better eaten cold!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Got Rotten Bananas?

Cause I did. So I made these. . .

Banana Chocolate Chip Cupcakes

1-¾ cup All-purpose Flour
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
¼ teaspoons Salt
½ cups Unsalted Butter, Room Temperature
¾ cups Sugar
2 whole Eggs Room Temperature
1 teaspoon Vanilla
1 whole Large Ripe Banana (or Almost 1 Cup)
½ cups Whole Milk, Room Temperature
Creamy Cream Cheese Frosting
½ cups Butter, Room Temperature
8 ounces, weight Cream Cheese, Room Temperature
1 teaspoon Vanilla
1 box(es) Or 1 Lb. Confectioners Sugar
Yellow Icing Color To Tint
Preparation Instructions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line cupcake tray with 12 baking cups.
Sift together flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl with a wire whisk.
Cream butter and sugar in a mixer for about four minutes.
Add banana and mix until combined.
Add eggs and vanilla and mix until combined.
Add half the flour in three additions alternating with milk in two additions. Scrape down the sides with each addition.
Bake for about 12-15 minutes or until done.
Creamy Cream Cheese Frosting
Cream butter and cream cheese in mixer until thoroughly combined
Add vanilla. Then Add sugar in small batches until combined and creamy.
Add a small amount of buttercup yellow icing color to frosting and mix.
Refrigerate leftover cupcakes.

I obviously added chocolate chips to the batter right at the end, and then to the frosting I added 1/2 a mashed banana to give it a little more banana flavor. They were good. Tasted like a banana cream pie in the form of a cupcake. Can't really go wrong with anything in the form of a cupcake if you ask me.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Inspired By Trader Joes

Ahi Tuna. Gorgonzola. This happens to me at other grocery stores too, but Trader Joes just has a power over me. I usually have a list, but it never matters here. There's just too many delicious things that as soon as I step foot through the door, Dave Ramsey and my budget go out the window. Most of the time I leave with about a bag full of extra items that have nothing to do with each other but are all wonderful in and of themselves. That's what happened on one fateful day last week, so I decided to cook. I asked Ashley over for her lunch break and we ate in a rushed frenzy while throwing cheerios at Daniel and replenishing Riley's mac&cheese.
Again, these aren't recipes, just methods.

For the tuna, I marinated it for a half hour in "Yoshida's Sauce" (you can get it at Costco and it's good on anything), some soy sauce, and sesame oil. Just sear it in a pan till it's done to your liking. It's best pink in the middle! Oh Yeah! Yum! I can practically taste it!

With the Gorgonzola cheese I made a salad with baby spinach, toasted walnuts, pears, and the cheese. I used the "goddess" dressing from TJ's but it would probably be good with any kind of mild vinaigrette.

This goes out to you, Trader Joe, whoever you are.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Lemony Goodness Part Deux

Meyer Lemon Cake. That was next on my list of lemony things to make. I had made it one other time months ago and got pretty good review so I thought I would revisit it. It's sweet, (but not too sweet) tart, creamy, and cakey. I love it when cake is cakey.

Meyer Lemon Cake
Makes 12 servings

2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup canola oil
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons Meyer lemon juice
2 teaspoons grated Meyer lemon zest, divided
3 teaspoons pure vanilla extract, divided
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
6 ounces cream cheese, softened at room temperature
3 cups powdered sugar

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. and grease a tube pan. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a small bowl.

2. In a large bowl, beat eggs together with sugar until combined. Beat in 1 cup of oil, 1/2 cup lemon juice and 1 teaspoon zest, and 2 teaspoons vanilla until well blended.

3. Gradually beat in flour mixture then beat in sour cream. Pour batter into tube pan and bake 1 hour or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cake rest 15 minutes before inverting and frosting.

4. To make frosting, beat butter, cream cheese, remaining 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 1 teaspoon zest and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Gradually beat in powdered sugar until well blended. Frost cake when fully cooled and store in refrigerator.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Lemony Goodness

A few weeks ago we got a huge bag of Meyer lemons so I've been frantically searching for lemon recipes to make sure they didn't go to waste. I had seen a recipe on The Pioneer Woman for a baked lemon pasta so I decided to give it a go. It turned out so yummy that I made it again 2 days later cause I had all the ingredients. Really fast, really simple, and really good! The only tweaking I did was to add shredded cooked chicken.

Baked Lemon Pasta

1 pound thin spaghetti
1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
Juice of 1 lemon
Zest of 1 lemon
2 cups sour cream
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, more to taste if desired
Plenty of grated Parmesan cheese
Flat leaf parsley, chopped
Extra lemon juice

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cook spaghetti until al dente.
In a skillet, melt butter with olive oil over LOW HEAT.
When butter is melted, add minced garlic.
Squeeze lemon juice into the pan. Turn off heat.
Add sour cream and stir mixture together. Add lemon zest and salt. Taste, then add more salt if necessary.
Pour mixture over drained spaghetti and stir together, then pour spaghetti into an oven safe dish.
Bake, covered, for 15 minutes. Then remove foil and bake for an additional 7 to 10 minutes. (Don’t bake too long or the pasta will dry out.)
When you remove it from the oven, squeeze a little more lemon juice over the top.
Top generously with Parmesan cheese, then chopped parsley.
Give it a final squeeze of lemon juice at the end.

Serve with crusty French bread and a simple green salad.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Happy Birthday to Me!

No, don't worry, you didn't forget my birthday. But I do accept gifts at any time of the year:)
When I was younger and my parents would ask me what I wanted for dessert for my birthday, my answer was pretty much always berry pie, or berry crisp, basically anything with berries and a crust. And specifically blackberries. I love it and heart it and want to hug it and squeeze it. I love the tart berries with the salty/sweet crust/crumble. I also love back slashes as you can see ////:)
There are some thornless blackberries growing in our backyard so I've been taking full advantage of this little gift since usually the regular blackberries that grow around here don't start popping up till late August. As a result I've made a couple crisps. And crisps only cause it's faster and easier than a pie dough and these days that's just what works for me. This recipe is for a triple berry crisp which is what I did origionally but works just as well for a single berry, or any kind of fruit you have.

Triple Berry Crisp

  • 1 1/2 cups blackberries
  • 1 1/2 cups blueberries
  • 1 1/2 cups raspberries
  • 4 T white sugar
  • 2 C flour
  • 2 C rolled oats
  • 1 1/2 C brown sugar
  • 1 t ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 t ground nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 C butter

  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. In a large bowl toss together berries and sugar. Set aside.
  3. In another bowl mix together flour, oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Cut in butter until crumbly. Press half the mixture into the bottom of a 9x13 pan, cover with berries and then cover with the rest of the crumble mixture.
  4. Bake in preheated oven for 30 - 40 minutes or until bubbly.

One thing that makes it easier is melting the butter and pouring it over the crisp mixture instead of cutting it in. The double layer of "crisp" is why I like this recipe. Can't have too much crisp. I like to say crisp and use /////:)

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Pillsbury No. 4

I just got back from our commune's (that's what we call our group of friends') fourth annual trip to Lake Pillsbury. We have an awesome time every year spending time together, watching the kids play, relaxing, and of course eating. But more on that later.

Just for a little visual on how fast kids grow and how tomorrow they'll probably be teenagers, here is Ty, Caelen and Riley on our 2nd trip to the Lake.And here they are now . . . WHAT?!
And there are 3 more . . . DOUBLE WHAT?!
And Max will be here next year which will make seven kids . . . TRIPLE WHAT?!

Okay, now to what's really important . . . the FOOD! If you're like me, you pretty much go on vacation to eat good food. What, no, you go to spend time with family and friends. . . well then you shouldn't be reading this blog!:) Our breakfasts are amazing and are made by Thomas: Eggs any way you want them, country potatoes, bacon and deer sausage. YUM!
So for dinner, which is pretty much why we're all there, Kevin goes above and beyond. It's gourmet and it's amazing! The two highlights this year: Chicken Tacos and Baby Back Ribs (I'm Capitalizing cause it deserves Capitalization!)
The chicken tacos were made with whole chicken that was brined for an hour or so and then grilled to perfection, shredded, and served with corn and flour tortillas, green and red homeade salsa, an awesome guac from Hillary and all the fixings.

But the ribs. . . oh the ribs. They deserve their own paragraph. Let me just preface this with the fact that I'm not really a "ribs person". I never order them and they just don't really do it for me. But these ribs were definitely the exception. Sorry Kevin if I get this wrong, but I'm pretty sure they're smoked for a few hours. cooked in the oven low and slow for like 6 hours, and then finished on the bbq so they get that crunchy, crispy outside. They were so tender and ridiculous that after dinner when everyone was outside and I was filled to the brim, I cut another rib off and ate it before anyone could see me:) Our meal that night:

Can't wait till next year for the food and the friends!
Thanks Adria for the pics:)

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Fro Yo

I have to talk about it. I just can't go another day without expressing how I feel about it. It has changed me and has sent me on a quest that seems never ending. It's Fro Yo (that's frozen yogurt to the uneducated:) I know what you're thinking. . . "what's so great about frozen yogurt? Isn't it just the healthier, less fulfilling cousin of ice cream?" Well when it comes to any old flavor of fro yo I would have to agree with you. But, there is an exception and it goes by the name of TART!

About a year and a half ago I first experienced this phenomenon in the form of Pinkberry, a weird, futuristic looking yogurt shop. I was visiting Ashley's family in Simi Valley and we had gone to The Grove to shop and visit the Farmers Market. This is where I was introduced to Pinkberry. (I know, it sounds like it's my boyfriend and it pretty much is:) I was kinda weirded out when I first tried it. I mean, I think there were only 3 flavors, and when I tried the origional tart it wasn't very appealing. BUT I was advised how to properly go about it which has everything to do with the toppings. There were like 8 different kinds of fresh fruit, other normal toppings you would find anywhere, and some different ones like cap'n crunch, and fruity pebbles. This is really dragging on, but let me just sum it up. When I tasted the tart frozen yogurt with my now topping trinity It was like a party in my mouth = mini chocolate chips, granola, and strawberries.

Here's the dilema: There isn't a Pinkberry within 200 miles of Sonoma County. Hence the quest. For the past year I've been searching for anything that comes close and in the process I've tasted a few different versions and combos.
The results are in:
1. Snowbunny in Healdsburg - Wasn't very impressed:( It was pretty pricy, I didn't love the yogurt, and the girl who was working practically counted how many mini chocolate chips she was putting on like she was rationing for the Great Depression.
2. HoneyMoon in Sebastopol - I love the actual tart yogurt here (I think it's called Simply Sebastopol or something) but their toppings aren't impressive. Frozen fruit doesn't do it for me. In the past I just buy the yogurt here and put my own toppings on at home
3. Brain Freeze in Rohnert Park - This one has pretty good tart yogurt and all the toppings I like. It's self serve and they price it by weight.
4. Golden Spoon - They just got the tart flavor not too long ago and I really like it and they just started serving fresh fruit so I'm a happy girl when it comes to filling all my requirements.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Ashley's bday part 2

I guess it should've said "to be continued..." at the end of my last blog. Oh well, I told you I'm not very good at this:)

Anyway to continue from my last post, for lunch on Ashley's birthday I made sliders. You know those little hamburgers that are so cute but sort of pointless cause you eat them in like one bite. My reason for making them was because it's always hard for me to decide what to put on my hamburger. Do I do all-american with the classic katchup (I know you're gagging Brooke:), mustard (never plain old yellow mustard! Must be at least spicy brown, right Adria:) and mayo? Or do I get a little crazy and put some pesto on there or bacon and blue cheese. Anyway, as you can see this is quite the dillema. Sliders seemed to solve the problem.

There's no recipe here. Just a few ideas. Basically you just make mini hamburger patties, find some mini hamburger buns (we used hawaiian rolls) and get creative. We had all the regular stuff but I also had a few extra things. I made a chipotle mayo, which was basically a few canned chipotle peppers in adobo with 1T of the sauce, 1C mayo, and a squeeze of lime juice all blended together. I put that on a slider with avacado, and grilled onions . . . awesome! I also topped some of the burgers with fresh mozzarella and put pesto and a slice of tomato and that was a great combo too!

Ashley's Bday Part 1

Sunday was Ashley's 27th birthday (she's growing up so fast:)! And it was a beautiful day to sit outside and enjoy lunch with family here at our house. On Saturday night I baked a cake for her birthday that I had found on another food blog, smitten kitchen. It's a raspberry buttermilk cake and the picture alone was reason enough to make it right that second. It's really easy, has just a few simple ingredients, and comes out light and airy with that perfect tartness from the raspberries. A perfect summer cake!

Raspberry Buttermilk Cake (from

Makes one thin 9-inch cake

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 stick unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup plus 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar, divided
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest (optional)
1 large egg
1/2 cup well-shaken buttermilk
1 cup fresh raspberries (about 5 oz)

Preheat oven to 400°F with rack in middle. Butter and flour a 9-inch round cake pan.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and set aside. In a larger bowl, beat butter and 2/3 cup sugar with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about two minutes, then beat in vanilla and zest, if using. Add egg and beat well.

At low speed, mix in flour mixture in three batches, alternating with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour, and mixing until just combined.Spoon batter into cake pan, smoothing top. Scatter (see Note) raspberries evenly over top and sprinkle with remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar.

Bake until cake is golden and a wooden pick inserted into center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool in pan 10 minutes, then turn out onto a rack and cool to warm, 10 to 15 minutes more. Invert onto a plate.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Quiet Time = Bbq'd Pizza

This has been a week sent straight from the Lord. Riley is at VBS all week long from 9-12:15. Don't get me wrong, I love her more than anything but a 2 1/2 year old is a 2 1/2 year old. Enough said.

So on Wednsday I had all my mommy and soon to be mommy friends over for a morning of quiet with only babies (who napped most of the time) and no toddlers. It was so nice to just be able to sit and talk without being interrupted or wiping bottoms or getting snacks . . . you get the idea.

So for lunch I made one of my new favorite things which is pizza made on the barbeque. You just take pre-made pizza dough (I get mine from Trader Joes. You can't beat it for like 1.29$ or something crazy cheap like that) and lay it straight on the hot bbq. I know I was scared to try it too. So many things could go wrong so the first time I tried it I bought a few extra doughs for back up but it ended up working really well.

First let the dough sit out for about 20 minutes to rest. Flour it and either roll it (doesn't really work) or use your hands to push it out (works better). Tip #1 is to have all your toppings ready before hand because once you put the pizza on the bbq it goes really fast. So kind of stretch out the dough and lay it on the bbq. Don't worry if its in some crazy shape cause it's basically impossible to make a circle. Once it's on there let the bottom side cook until its crispy and comes off easily from the bbq. Then flip it and top it with all the good stuff. Close the lid and let the cheese melt. Tip #2 is to have all your toppings pre-cooked if they need to be cooked because by the time you flip the dough it's probably only gonna be on there for 5ish minutes before it'll be ready to come off. So if you're doing mushrooms, onions, sausage, etc. you might want to saute them beforehand.

When I made this a few weeks ago I made 2 different types of pizza. Pizza #1 had traditional pizza sauce, shredded mozzarella, and pre-sauteed mushrooms and sausage. Pizza #2 had pesto, shredded mozzarella, heirloom tomatoes, fresh mozarella, and basil. (Okay, blogging lesson #1: don't talk in detail about food when you're starving in the middle of the day)
When I made this on Wed for the girls I did pesto as the base with half the pizza topped with the fresh mozz, tomato & basil, and the other half with avacado, red onion, and feta. . . mmm feta. Cheese is good. Oh sorry, did I mention I love cheese. Anyway I didn't get a chance to take a picture of that pizza cause we literally inhaled it once it hit the table.

Make it! Love it!

I'm Back (again)

The last time I even attempted to write a blog was June of 2008, and before that I think it was June of 2007. So, all that to say I'm not terribly skilled at blogging and consistency isn't exactly my spiritual gift. Although to make it clear, during that time I was also using dial-up internet! I know, I know, that's so 2005 but that's just the cold hard truth.

So the point of this blog. . . well I love to eat. Anyone who knows me knows that. And I also love to cook. I'm not so sure if everyone knows that. I've always been obsessed with the food network and love to read cookbooks and recently (in the last few weeks) I've been reading a lot of food blogs and they're sucking me in. And I thought to myself, you could never do that. You can't write and you don't even have a digital camera (I know, I know, that's so 2005).

Well, I decided to do it anyway (I have high-speed internet now)! Who knows what will come of this but hopefully at the least anyone who reads this will get a few recipes and tips from a non-professionally trained home cook.