Thursday, February 26, 2009

Baked Bars

Jason has a birthday pot luck every month where they celebrate all of the birthdays from that month and eat food that people bring. I think I just said the same thing twice. Oh, well. You get the idea. I decided to make these bars I have been wanting to make forever from none other than the Baked: New Frontiers in Baking. If you haven't checked this book out by now, I don't know what more I can do to convince you of what you are missing out on. Everything that these guys produce is amazing. Me and Jason are going to New York in a few weeks and we plan on visiting their bakery in Brooklyn. You can only imagine how I am going to be. I can't even really predict how I will act. I am a freak for this stuff. Anyhow. Here it is.

from Baked: New Frontiers In Baking by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito
makes 24 bars

For the crust:
2 C (about 6 oz) sweetened shredded coconut
2 1/2 C finely ground graham cracker crumbs (about 20 crackers)
1 C unsalted butter, melted

For the filling:
1 1/3 C walnut halves, toasted and chopped
1 1/2 C (9 oz) semi-sweet chocolate chips
3/4 C white chocolate coarsely chopped
3/4 C butterscotch chips
3 1/4 C (26 oz) sweetened condensed milk

Make the Baked Bar crust:
Preheat the oven t0 300 degrees F.

Butter the sides and bottom of a 9x13 inch baking pan or spray it with nonstick cooking spray (I lined my pan with foil before buttering- makes it easier to remove from the pan)

On a parchment-linedbaking sheet, spread out the coconut. Put the baking sheet inthe oven and toast the coconut until itstarts to turn golden brown, 7-10 minutes. Remove from th oven, toss the coconut, and return it to the oven for 3 more minutes.

Put the graham cracker crumbs in a large bowl, add the toasted coconut, and toss with your handsuntil combined. Add the butter. Use your hands to combine the mixture, then turn it out into the prepared pan. Using your hands, press the crust into an even layer on th bottom and up the sides of the pan. Use the bottom of a measuring cup to create a prefectly even crust.

Refreigerate the crust for 15 minutes, then bake for 10 minutes, or until golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack and let the crust cool completely.

Make the Baked Bar filling:
Increase the oven temperature to 325 degrees F.

Evenly spread the nuts in the bottom of the crust.

Spread the chocolate chips over the walnuts, followed by the white chocolate, followed by the buttersotch chips.

In a steady stream, pour the sweetened condensed milk evenlyover the filling. Shake the pan very gently to make sure the sweetened condensed milk is evenly distributed.

Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, roating the pan evey 10 minutes, until golden borwn and bubbly. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely. Cut into squares and serve.

Baked Bars will keep, wrapped tightly and at room temperature, for up to 4 days.

The best burgers I have had

I decided to make these burgers tonight. I have been wanting burgers forever now and it happened. I did it. I got my new Rachael Ray magazine in the mail and found this recipe. I have to say I was a little leery about how they would turn out, but I went for it. I even thought about changing them, but wanted to see how they would be. I used brown rice and I did add two cloves of minced garlic and a drizzle of olive oil in fear of dryness. They turned out so amazing. I couldn't even believe I was sitting in my kitchen eating them. It tasted like a burger I would order out to a nice dinner. So so so amazing. I would have to say that you could use a little less beans if you want. I liked the amount that was used, but some of the beans didn't stick in the mix because there were so many. It's totally your call. The garlic was a nice addition. I would highly recommend it. The recipe says four burgers. Yeah, that's if you want to make your stomach explode. This makes about six good sized burgers. The beans and rice really make them super filling. I ate mine around 5:45 and I am just now starting to feel like myself again. It was so so good. Also, I just bought store made guacamole to make it easier for me with Lucy and all. So that was nice. I typically would have made the one listed but didn't want to risk it. She only allows me so much time in the kitchen and luckily I cranked these bad boys out. It was awesome.

Beef 'n' Bean Burrito Burgers

Serves 4
Submitted by
Rachael Ray
on 02/26/09

  • 1 pound ground beef sirloin
  • One can black beans (15 ounces), rinsed
  • 1/2 cup leftover white or brown rice, cold
  • 1 tablespoon grill seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon ancho chili powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin (about 1/2 palmful)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander (about 1/2 palmful)
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 avocado
  • 1/2 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 jalapeño chile or serrano chile, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, grated orfinely chopped
  • Grated peel and juice of 1 lime
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 4 crusty rolls, split
  • 4 leaves red-leaf lettuce
  • 1 tomato, sliced

In a large bowl, combine the beef, beans, rice, grill seasoning, chili powder, cumin and coriander. Form into 4 patties. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the patties and cook, turning once and lowering the heat slightly for the last few minutes, until browned, 12 minutes.

While the burgers cook, in a medium bowl, mash together the avocado, onion, jalapeño, garlic, lime peel and lime juice. Stir in the sour cream.

Layer each roll bottom with a lettuce leaf, a tomato slice, a beef patty, guacamole and a roll top.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Awesome Awesome Meal

Shredded Chicken and Tomatillo Tacos with Queso Fresco

Recipe courtesy Bobby Flay


  • 6 tomatillos, husked, washed, and grilled until blackened
  • 1 serrano, grilled until blackened
  • Olive oil
  • 1/2 small red onion, coarsely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken
  • 8 blue corn tortillas
  • 1 cup crumbled queso fresco


Preheat the grill to medium. Add the blackened tomatillos and serrano to a small saute pan and briefly saute in a little olive oil on the grates of the grill.

Place the tomatillos, serrano, onion, garlic, cilantro, lime juice, and honey in a blender and blend until smooth. Place the tomatillo mixture in a large saute pan and place on the grates of the grill. Bring the mixture to a simmer, add the chicken, and heat through.

Place the tortillas on the grill, and grill for 20 seconds on each side. Spoon the chicken mixture into the tortillas and top with a few tablespoons of queso fresco. Fold the tortillas in half serve immediately.

This was the best fastest meal ever. We made some home made salsa and guacamole to go with it. I tell you what, it doesn't get any better than this. I was dreaming of the leftovers all night and day. I couldn't wait to eat them again. We actually accidentally added two serrano peppers. It still didn't have much heat. If you want heat, leave in the seed. We always take the seeds out of our peppers in fear of too much heat. I loved this meal so so much. I can't wait to make it again.

Here is the recipe for the guacamole. The salsa recipe is on one of my other posts. The easiest tastiest salsa ever. You mus try it for sure. This guacamole is amazing. We actually tried it at Frontera Grill in Chicago. It's award winning Chef Rick Bayless so you know it's good. I am pretty much thinking of adding fresh lime juice to everything I eat from now on. It can't be a bad thing really. Man it tastes so fresh. I could go on forever. Try it please and enjoy.

Sun-Dried Tomato Guacamole

Makes about 3 cups, serving 6 as an appetizer, 8 to 10 as a nibble

Recipe from Season 6 of Mexico - One Plate at a Time


½ medium white onion, chopped into small pieces (about 1/3 cup)

Fresh hot green chiles to taste (usually 2 serranos or 1 jalapeño), stemmed, seeded

(if you wish) and finely chopped

¼ cup soft sundried tomatoes, chopped into small pieces (patted dry on paper towels if oil-packed)

¼ cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro, plus a little extra for garnish

3 medium-large (about 1 ¼ pounds) ripe avocados


1 or 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

A little Mexican queso fresco or other fresh garnishing cheese like feta or salted farmers cheese, for garnish (optional)


Scoop the onion into a small strainer and rinse under cold water. Shake off the excess water and transfer to a large bowl, along with the green chiles and tomatoes..

Cut around each avocado, from stem to blossom end and back again, then twist the two halves apart. Scoop out the pit and discard. Scoop the flesh from the skin and add to the bowl. Using an old fashioned potato masher or a large fork or spoon, mash the avocados into a coarse puree, mixing in all the flavorings. Taste and season with salt and lime juice—the guacamole usually takes about 1 teaspoon of salt, lime juice is a matter of personal preference.

Cover with plastic wrap directly on the surface of the guacamole and refrigerate until you’re ready to serve. Scoop the guacamole into a serving dish, sprinkle with a little chopped cilantro and queso fresco (if you’re using it) and you’re ready to serve.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Awesome Healthy Easy

Lighter Sesame Noodles

Martha Stewart Everyday Food

Serves 4

  • Coarse salt
  • 12 ounces whole-wheat spaghetti
  • 1 bunch broccoli, cut into florets, stalks peeled and thinly sliced
  • 2 red bell peppers (ribs and seeds removed), thinly sliced
  • 1 large onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 3 tablespoons dark-brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon red-pepper flakes


  1. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook spaghetti 3 minutes less than al dente. Add broccoli, bell peppers, and onion. Cook until pasta is al dente and vegetables are tender, 3 minutes more. Reserve 1/2 cup pasta water; drain pasta and vegetables.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together peanut butter, sugar, vinegar, soy sauce, oil, garlic, and red-pepper flakes. Add hot pasta and vegetables; toss to coat, thinning sauce with a little pasta water, if necessary. Serve at room temperature or chilled.
I am forgetful and didn't take a picture of this amazing meal. I loved it so so much. I did change a few things about it though. I used one red pepper, about 3/4 c edamame, diced fresh ginger, and sugar snap peas. I always like to try and add as many veggies as possible. To make it a more complete meal I added rotisserie chicken to it as well. I had a bunch of meat leftover from a chicken I got at Sam's Club so this was the perfect meal to use it on. I did also us about 3/4 cup of the pasta water to thin out the sauce. Sometimes with peanut butter it can get a little weird. I added a couple more dashes of soy sauce too so that the flavor wasn't lost while adding the water. I hope you try this too. It is so so yummy and really a well rounded meal.

Banana Cupcake

Oh glorious cupcake. This was so so yummy. I was so happy to see Martha Stewart feature cupcakes in her February issue. These are one of the cupcakes. I chose to do a different frosting on top because I love brown butter and thought it would go well with the banana. Yum. It was amazing. Jason loved the icing so much that he was eating it by the spoonful. How can you resist really.

Banana Cupcakes

Makes 28

  • 3 cups sifted cake flour (not self-rising)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 6 ounces (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups packed light-brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 4 very ripe large bananas, mashed (about 2 cups), plus sliced bananas for garnish
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chopped pecans


  1. Make cupcakes as directed in Basic Cupcake How-To, using mashed bananas, buttermilk, and vanilla for wet ingredients.
  2. Stir pecans into batter. Once cupcakes are cool, frost tops with caramel buttercream. Frosted cupcakes will keep, covered and refrigerated, for up to 2 days. Top with banana slices before serving.

    Basic Cupcake How To

    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Whisk dry ingredients in a large bowl. Cream butter and sugar with a mixer until light and fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating after each addition.
    2. Reduce speed to low. Mix any remaining wet ingredients in a bowl if needed. Add dry ingredients to butter mixture in 3 additions, alternating with wet ingredients and ending with dry. Scrape sides of bowl. Divide batter among muffin cups, filling each 2/3 full.
    3. Bake cupcakes until testers inserted into centers come out clean, about 20 minutes. Let cool in tins on wire racks. Cupcakes will keep, covered, for up to 3 days, unless otherwise noted.

Brown-Butter Glaze

Makes 1 cup

  • 4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons whole milk


  1. Heat butter in a saucepan over medium heat until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Carefully pour butter into a bowl, leaving sediment behind.
  2. Add sugar, vanilla, and 2 tablespoons milk to butter, and stir until smooth. If glaze is too thick, add more milk. Use immediately.

My first homemade bread

Man, I really wish I had a breadmaker, that or a dough hook. I feel like I would be a lot more confident in my breakmaking. I just never know how long to knead the dough. It turned out a lot better than I had imagined it turning out. It was really tasty. It was a lot more dense than I was expecting it to be but it was great really. Please try it and let me know how it turns out for you. It was a great simple recipe to try out breadmaking.

Simple Honey Wheat Bread

From King Arthur Flour’s Classic 100% Whole Wheat Bread

Makes one loaf


- 2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
- 1 1/4 cups lukewarm water
- 1/4 cup lukewarm milk
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1/4 cup honey, molasses, or maple syrup*
- 3 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
- 1 tsp salt


In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients and stir until the dough starts to leave the sides of the bowl. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased surface, oil your hands, and knead it for 6 to 8 minutes, or until it begins to become smooth and supple. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl, cover, and allow it to rise until puffy but not necessarily doubled in bulk. This will take about 60 minutes, depending on the warmth of your kitchen.

Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled work surface, and shape it to fit your pan. The KAF recipe calls for an 8 1/2 x 4 1/2-inch loaf pan but I only have 9 x 5-inch pans and they work for me. Cover the pan loosely with lightly greased plastic wrap, and allow the dough to rise for about 30 to 60 minutes, or until it’s crowned about 1 inch above the edge of the pan.

Bake the bread in a preheated 350F oven for about 40 minutes, tenting it lightly with aluminum foil after 20 minutes. Remove the bread from the oven and let it cool on a rack before slicing. Store the bread in a plastic bag at room temperature if you manage to restrain yourself from eating it all in one sitting.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Some other cookies I have made

These were made during the fall. I used a basic peanut butter blossom recipe for them and used candy corn Hershey Kisses. They were so amazing. I can't wait to make them again. They went so well with the peanut butter flavor.

These are my classic chocolate chip cookie recipe. The only person getting this one is Lucy and whoever Lucy gives it too. It is a recipe I have been developing over the years. I am really proud of it because it's my own.

These are my new creation. Malt Chocolate Chip cookies. The malt powder adds just a hint of depth to them. It really turned out nice.

These are my white chocolate orange cookies. I make these more during the holidays for some reason. My friends request them I guess. I have also made a version of them with dried cranberries and walnuts that is really good.

Black and White Cookies

My first attempt at these did not go so well. They really turned out way too thick and puffy. The frosting turned out great. I would have liked a little more lemon flavor. I am going to post the recipe I used and then the recipe I will try next time. They were good, don't get me wrong, just far too thick and cakey.

Black and White Cookies
Adapted from a bunch of places, but mostly Zabar’s

Traditional black and white cookies are BIG and LOUD, not unlike the New Yorkers that made them famous. Preferring everything on the daintier side, I’ve made them very small before, but this time went for a nice medium size.

Yield: About 2 dozen very large cookies, 60 medium (I used a scoop 1 3/4 inches in diameter that yielded 3-inch cookies) or so many cookies that you might lose your mind frosting them if you go tinier. I’m just saying.

1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks), at room temperature
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon lemon extract
2 1/2 cups cake flour
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/3 to 1/2 cup water
3 ounces very bitter or unsweetened chocolate
1 teaspoon light corn syrup.
1 to 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray 2 baking sheets with nonstick spray, or line with parchment paper.

2. In large mixing bowl, combine sugar and butter. Mix by machine or hand until fluffy. Add eggs, milk and vanilla and lemon extracts, and mix until smooth.

3. In medium bowl, combine cake flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder and salt. Stir until mixed. Add dry mixture to the wet in batches, stirring well after each addition. Using a soup spoon, place heaping spoonfuls of the dough 2 inches apart on the baking sheets. Bake until edges begin to brown, 18 to 20 minutes. Cool completely.

4. Boil a cup or so of water in a small pot. Place confectioners’ sugar in large, heat-safe mixing bowl. Gradually stir in enough boiling water to the sugar to make a thick, spreadable mixture. Err on the side of caution because a too-thin frosting is hard to undo. Leave remaing boiling water on the stove.

5. Spread frosting on half of the flat side of each cookie. Once all cookie halves have been frosted, place the bowl of the remaining frosting over the hot water and bring it back to a simmer (creating a double-boiler). Stir in the bitter or unsweetened chocolate until melted, as well as the light corn syrup. At this point, depending on the chocolate you used and your preferences, you might find the chocolate color to be a little lighter than the “black” of a black-and-white cookie. If so, I find that a tablespoon or so of cocoa mixed in darkens the color nicely.

6. Ice the remaining half of the cookies with the chocolate frosting. I find that the chocolate–especially with cocoa in it–is especially prone to getting too dry, so don’t worry about whisking in an extra teaspoon of that hot water from time to smooth it back into a shiny frosting.

7. Let the frosting set. Store in an airtight container. These cookies keep for a few days, but I think they’re best on the first or second. Because of the cake nature of the bases, they can get stale quickly. However, this is really a non-issue as I have yet to make a batch that didn’t get polished off in no time.

So this is the one I will try next time. The tride and true version. Who knows how it would turn out. But I invite you to give it a shot.

Zabar's Black and White Cookies

Yield: 2 dozen cookies

1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
1/2 pound unsalted butter, softened (2 sticks)
4 large eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp lemon extract
2 1/2 cups cake flour
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

4 c confectioners' sugar
1/3 to 1/2 c boiling water
1 oz bittersweet chocolate

Preheat the oven to 375. Butter two baking sheets and set aside.

To make the cookies:
In a large mixing bowl, combine the sugar and butter. Mix with mixer or hand until fluffy. Add the eggs, milk, and vanilla and lemon extracts and mix until smooth. In a medium bowl, combine the flours, baking powder, and salt and stir until mixed. Add the dry ingredients to the wet in batches, stirring well to combine. Using a soup spoon or ice cream scoop, drop spoonfuls of the dough 2 inches apart onto the prepared baking sheets.
Bake until the edges begin to brown, 20 to 30 minutes. Allow to cool completely.

To make the frosting:
Place the confectioners' sugar in a large bowl. Gradually add enough of the boiling water to the sugar, stirring constantly, until mixture is thick and spreadable. Remove half of the frosting to the top half of a double boiler set over simmering water and add the chocolate. Warm the mixture, stirring, until the chocolate is melted and the frosting is smooth. Remove from the heat. With a brush, coat half the cookie with chocolate frosting and the other half with white frosting.

Here's one more if you like. I like to compare them all really to see what is different about them. This Martha one got good reviews. Zabar's is the most legendary place in New York City, home of the black and white cookie.

Black and White Cookies

Martha Stewart


Makes 10

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup cake flour, not self-rising
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure lemon extract
  • 2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup, plus more if needed
  • 1 1/2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sift together flours, baking powder, and salt; set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk eggs and sugar until smooth. Add milk, and whisk to combine. Whisk in melted butter and extracts. Add flour mixture, and stir to form a smooth dough. Cover, and chill for 1 hour.
  2. Line baking pans with Silpat nonstick baking mats. Using a 2-ounce scoop, drop five cookies per pan, 3 inches apart. Bake until edges are light brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer cookies to a wire rack set over parchment paper to cool.
  3. In a small bowl, combine confectioners' sugar, 3 tablespoons hot water, and corn syrup. Whisk until smooth. Using a small offset spatula, ice half of each cookie. Return cookies to rack to drip, if necessary.
  4. Add chocolate to remaining icing. Stir until smooth. Add additional corn syrup to thin to desired consistency, if necessary. Spread chocolate icing over second half of each cookie. Allow cookies to set, about 10 minutes.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Lucy's Yogurt Blueberry Muffins

Me and Lucy bought a big container of fresh blueberries at Sam's Club and decided to make some blueberry muffins. She was so excited and really helped me do everything. It was a lot of fun. This is the recipe we used. They turned out really moist. There wasn't a lot of sugar in them so feel free to add more if you like. I like a less sweet muffin myself and the blueberries lend a nice sweetness to them alone. I did use some whole wheat flour because I was almost out of white. I used part white and part wheat. I was a little worried about how they would come out but it was just fine. Feel free to experiment yourself with this. They will probably just be a little more crumbly as whole wheat tends to do this to baked goods. I also added the zest of one lemon. It worked beautifully with the tangyness of the yogurt. Another thing you could do to add sugar without adding sugar directly is use vanilla yogurt. That would be really tasty. Enjoy.

Lucy's Yogurt Blueberry Muffins

1 2/3 c all purpose flour
2 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1 egg
1/2 c sugar
5 T vegetable oil
1/2 c plain yogurt ( I added more for more moistness, just eyeballed it until the batter seemed moist enough for me )
the zest of one lemon
1/2-3/4 cup of fresh blueberries tossed in flour

Preheat oven to 350. Line muffin tin with liners or grease.
Mix all of the dry ingredients in a bowl and whisk together with the lemon zest.
Beat the egg in one bowl then adding the oil, yogurt, and sugar.
Stir in the dry ingredients. Make sure to fold the blueberries in carefully or you will end up with a purple batter. Fill the muffin tins no more than 3/4 full. Bake on the middle rack for 15-20 minutes. Mine took almost the full time because of my extra yogurt making them more moist. It's always good to check though before 20 minutes. You don't want to overbake them. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack. I also sprinkled mine with some sugar on top before baking. It's best if you can find sanding sugar or large grain sugar. That way it adds a nice crunch to the top. The blueberries are amazing in this. They literally burst in your mouth.

Whoopie Pies and Beef Short Ribs

So this Valentine's Day my husband made me an amazing meal. I requested it because I had been wanting us to make it for awhile. It was really tasty. It's so hard to make something that cooks for so long and then you sit and eat it for about ten to fifteen minutes. It's so weird. You try and savor it, but at that point the anticipation and hunger has built up so much that you just chow down. Oh, well. It was great. Thank you lover!

Asian-Style Braised Short Ribs

Recipe courtesy Emeril Lagasse, 2004

Show: Emeril LiveEpisode: Emeril's Butcher Shop


  • 5 pounds beef short ribs, cut into 4-ounce portions
  • 1 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 1 (5-inch) stalk lemongrass, halved and smashed
  • 1 tablespoon peeled and minced ginger
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 quart water
  • 1/2 cup sliced green onion bottoms, white part only
  • 3/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1/4 cup hoisin sauce
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • Jasmine Rice, for serving
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated orange rind, for serving
  • Sliced green onion tops, optional for garnish


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a wide stockpot or Dutch oven, combine the short ribs, soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, lemongrass, ginger, brown sugar, water, green onion bottoms, crushed red pepper, and 2 tablespoons of the orange juice. Make sure that the stockpot is deep enough so that the short ribs are submerged in the liquid.

Bake the short ribs, covered, for about 3 hours, or until the meat is tender and falling off the bones. Remove the short ribs from the braising liquid and cover to keep warm. Increase the oven temperature to 425 degrees F.

Drain the fat off of the cooking liquid and discard. Place the remaining braising juices in a medium saucepan with 1/4 cup of the hoisin sauce and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the liquid until only about 1 1/4 cups remain. Strain through a fine-meshed strainer, discarding the solids. Stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons of orange juice and the lemon juice.

Return the short ribs and the reduced sauce to the stockpot or Dutch oven, coating the short ribs well with the sauce. Bake for 10 minutes, until the short ribs are heated through and slightly glazed. Serve hot over jasmine rice. Season each portion with the orange zest and garnish with the green onions if desired.

Julienne Pepper and Bok Choy Medley

Copyright 2002, Brian Duffy, All rights reserved


  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh garlic
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
  • 1 yellow pepper, julienne
  • 1 red pepper, julienne
  • 1 orange pepper, julienne
  • 3 stalks bok choy, julienne
  • 1 dash soy sauce
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper


In a large saute pan on high heat, add the oil and quickly sweat the garlic and ginger. Add all peppers and the bok choy. Saute until the veggies begin to sweat and splash them with soy sauce. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Serve immediately.

I have to say, it was all better the next day. I felt like that evening the flavors didn't really have a chance to marry quite yet. When we had the leftovers, they were amazing. The stir fry was the perfect accompaniment.

Jason's school was having a 100th day of school celebration with a black and white theme so I decided to make some chocolate whoopie pies. Oh, mama were they freaky deaky good. I can not describe to you the yummyness of the frosting either. Two words for you marshmallow fluff. That is all you need to know and if hearing those two sweet words doesn't make you want to make them, what will? Well, maybe my pictures.

Whoopie Pies

Gourmet | January 2003

For cakes
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup well-shaken buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 large egg

For filling
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/4 cups confectioners sugar
  • 2 cups marshmallow cream such as Marshmallow Fluff
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Make cakes:
Preheat oven to 350°F.

Whisk together flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt in a bowl until combined. Stir together buttermilk and vanilla in a small bowl.

Beat together butter and brown sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes in a standing mixer or 5 minutes with a handheld, then add egg, beating until combined well. Reduce speed to low and alternately mix in flour mixture and buttermilk in batches, beginning and ending with flour, scraping down side of bowl occasionally, and mixing until smooth.

Spoon 1/4-cup mounds of batter about 2 inches apart onto 2 buttered large baking sheets. Bake in upper and lower thirds of oven, switching position of sheets halfway through baking, until tops are puffed and cakes spring back when touched, 11 to 13 minutes. Transfer with a metal spatula to a rack to cool completely.

Make filling:
Beat together butter, confectioners sugar, marshmallow, and vanilla in a bowl with electric mixer at medium speed until smooth, about 3 minutes.

I have to say I really messed this up. I didn't measure the fluff and being totally idiotic I was thinking ok, the jar is 7 1/2 oz and there are 8 oz in a cup so I put in two jars. Well, basically what I did was make a double batch because one jar was closer to two cups. No biggie. Now when I make them again, I have the frosting already. Or I could just eat it. Once I added frosting to some home made ice cream and it really tasted amazing. I would also recomend using a small cookie scoop to make your cookies. 1/4 c makes huge whoopie pies and unless you want to be sent into a sugar coma, I would make small ones. They are very sugary. Well, the frosting is. Jason was in shock. Probably the easiest dessert to make that really looks beautiful and impressive. They are very difficult to transpor though, so I would save them for company. I put mine in the fridge to let the frosting set up so they wouldn't slide all over on their trip to school. I hope everyone liked them. Yummy.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

My favorite bakery in the world

I want to tell the world about my favorite bakery in the world, however, unfortunately only a few people know about my blog. It's worth a shot.

Sweet Mandy B's
1208 W Webster Ave
Chicago, IL 60614
(773) 244-1174

I have to be honest with you. I have been to many many bakeries and this one is still my favorite. I have friends who live in New York from here and still think it's the best. When I visited New York last summer, I visited a few of the top bakeries in the city and still think this is the best. I feel like the things they have there feel like home but much much better. I don't know if that makes any sense. When I visited the New York bakeries such as the legendary Magnolia Bakery (also seen on Sex In The City for the cupcakes) I found that a lot of those bakeries were making the same things. Cupcakes of course, banana pudding, ice box cake. It was like stepping into the same bakery over and over. Not that it wasn't good, don't get me wrong. They were amazing. I am just saying the Sweet Mandy B's is that amazing.

I will never forget my first time there. I ordered a slice of yellow cake with a chocolate chip banana cake layer in the middle and chocolate buttercream icing. I was in heaven. I feel like I can still taste it when I remember that night. Jason had a caramel apple cake, and I have to say I too ate much of that. It was amazing. The flavors were so deep and complex.

I have really only been lucky enough to visit there several times but each time has been memorable. It is sort of off the beaten path from the city so you have to make a point to go there. I have tried their cupcakes as well. Very amazing. Jason once ordered a lemon cupcake. So so good. Just last weekend I was luck enough to be able to stop by on our way out of downtown. I have to say, I went a little crazy. I ordered a raspberry bar for my mom, a double chocolate walnut oat cookie for my dad, a sugar cookie with pink buttercream and sprinkles for me (how could I resist that and it was the size of a plate) a m&m cookies for Jason and the final most amazing wonderful tasty thing ever was a blondie type bar about two inches thick that was filled with mini chocolate chips white and dark and peanut butter then iced with chocolate buttercream and sprinkled with white and dark chocolate chips. Can I just tell you that it was the best thing I have ever had in my life. I was in freaking heaven. Oh, my God. This thing was so so good. I can not express that enough.

One thing I love about Sweet Mandy B's is that you can get a slice of cake. That is so amazing to be able to do. I never get to have cake because I never make it. Who the heck would eat all that cake? I could but won't. Their cake is amazing. They have brownies, blondies, cupcakes, cookies, and some other crazy things. It is definitely something to check out if you love baked good because really you can't find better sweet shop treats than these.

Monday, February 9, 2009

The best cake and frosting combo ever

This is by far my favorite cake recipe ever ever ever. I crave it daily. That is no lie. I usually make it as a layer cake instead cupcakes because I like being able to have a little more frosting, especially with this recipe. I did however make them into cupcakes this winter and got a little crazy with the frosting. I cut a hole out of the middle of the cupcake and filled the hole with frosting and then frosted the cupcake. I took some to my two girlfriends and didn't really tell them what was up with them, but my friend Valerie said, I knew there was something up with them when I felt how heavy they were. Comedy. They were loaded and a little too much I must say. But man, they were good. Try this recipe. It's perfect and so so so good.

From The Cupcake Doctor

1 box of butter golden cake mix (I used Betty Crocker)
1 8 oz package of reduced fat cream cheese room temp
1/2 c vegetable oil
1/2 c sugar
1/2 c water
1 T vanilla
4 large eggs

Pre heat oven to 350. Make sure you have a rack placed in the center. Line your cupcake pan with cupcake liners. Mix all together and spoon mix into cups 2/3 full. This makes about 22-24 cupcakes. Bake for 24-27 minutes. Use a cake tester. Don't overbake. The top will be slightly golden. Remove from oven and cool in the pan on a cooling rack for 5 minutes and then remove from the pan and continue cooling on the rack.

Chocolate Syrup Frosting
1 stick of softened butter
1/2 c unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 c chocolate syrup
3 c confectioners sugar sifted
1 T milk
1 t pure vanilla

Cream the butter cocoa and syrup together. Add milk sugar and vanilla. Blend on low until incorporated. Then beat on med until creamy. You may add more milk it you think it's a little too thick for your liking.

Magnolia's Famous Banana Pudding

So you have to try this for sure. I would definitely wait until you have something to go to or someone to help you eat it because it makes a lot. You may be able to cut it in half. Let me just say, the only banana in it is the actually banana pieces, so even if you aren't that big of a banana fan you will still love this. Me and Jason actually tasted this in New York at the legendary Magnolia Bakery. I was so happy to find the recipe online. I have made it two or three times now and I am so happy with it. It tastes just like when we had it there. You need a big bowl to layer it all in. Enjoy. My picture is terrible but trust me really.

Magnolia’s Famous Banana Pudding
Recipe from: More From Magnolia
by Allysa Torey, Photographs Zeva Oelbaum
Cookbook Heaven at

I started making this pudding when I was in my early twenties and cooking at a Tex-Mex restaurant and bar. Customers loved it, so when we opened the bakery many years later, it seemed like a great idea to serve it there. It remains the second most popular dessert (after the cupcakes) at the bakery.

  • 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk

  • 1 1/2 cups ice cold water

  • 1 (3.4-ounce) package instant vanilla pudding mix (preferably Jell-O brand)

  • 3 cups heavy cream

  • 1 (12-ounce) box Nabisco Nilla Wafers (no substitutions!)

  • 4 cups sliced ripe bananas

  1. In a small bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, beat together the sweetened condensed milk and water until well combined, about 1 minute. Add the pudding mix and beat well, about 2 minutes more. Cover and refrigerate for 3-4 hours or overnight, before continuing. It is very important to allow the proper amount of time for the pudding mixture to set.

  2. In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, whip the heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Gently fold the pudding mixture into the whipped cream until well blended and no streaks of pudding remain.

  3. To assemble the dessert, select a large, wide bowl (preferably glass) with a 4-5-quart capacity. Arrange one-third of the wafers to cover the bottom of the bowl, overlapping if necessary, then one-third of the bananas and one-third of the pudding. Repeat the layering twice more, garnishing with additional wafers or wafer crumbs on the top layer of the pudding. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and allow to chill in the refrigerator for 4 hours - or up to 8 hours, but no longer! - before serving.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Takashi Chicago

So, we had our first date in about a year. I have to say, it was amazing. We went out for dinner downtown Chicago to a place called Takashi. How I found out about it was reading through Gourmet Magazine and Food and Wine magazine. In both of these magazines they had a section listing their top ten meals of the year. They were restaurants from all across the country. Naturally there would be at least one Chicago restaurant listed. The ironic thing was that of all of the places they could have picked, both of them picked Takashi. I knew I had to check it out. It's a Japanese fushion type menu. I have to say it was very inventive. I feel like people are really trying to do a lot of the same things with their food, however, this was very unique. The menu had everything from a spring roll style sushi roll with proscuitto to fried chicken.

Taskashi is snuggled in on Armitage and North Damen. It's a little house tucked in between a bunch of brick buildings. It only seats about 35 people. There is an upstairs dining room which we did not see. It was really nice because we were actually seated against the wall next to the kitchen. It sort of gave us a little more privacy because later on when it got crowded it was tight. We have no problem with dining like that, however most people would. We ened up sitting next to a really nice group of people. Two couples who we ended up talking with quite a bit towards the end of our meal. One of the guys ended up being a food writer on the North Shore which excited me of course.

We started out with a cold plate that included an octopus salad, gulf shrimp, and a raw fish thinly sliced topped off with some sea weed salad. Of all of the dishes we chose, I liked this one the least. I think it was the shrimp eyes staring at me on the plate. I was not a fan of the octopus at all. Jason liked it a lot. The shrimp was really good. It had some sort of sauce on top.

The second cold plate we tried was called the Winter Roll. I chose this after heading to the bathroom and spotting it in the kitchen. I have to say, it wasn't as good as it looked. It was good, but neither of these plates set me up for excitement. It was filled with shrimp, pickled cauliflower, proscuitto, something crunchy, lettuce drizzled with a hot mustard and finished with a won ton wrapper instead of the typical seaweed. It was good but not great.

The next dish is the one that just took things to another level. It was a seared scallop and soba gnocchi with a celery foam reduction. Wow! I don't like using exclamation points but what else can I do. This was amazing. I have to say that the first one we got was sandy. In my first bite alone I got sand. Jason had a bite in his as well. We ended up sending it back. The chef ended up coming out to explain to us how he prepares them and that they do not wash the scallops in order to keep the quality of the scallop in it's purest form. He wanted to make this dish for us again and assured us that he would personally look at the scallop carefully to make sure that it is completely free of sand. When it came to us there was an extra scallop and it was amazing. It was such an amazing dish. I can't emphasize that enough. The scallops were so buttery and tender. The soba gnocchi was equally as tender and so rich. The sauce was so smooth and flavorful. It really complemented the texture and flavors of the entire dish. This was an exciting dish. I wanted more.

So the next hot dish was the one we had really been looking forward to. It was a deconstructed steamed pork belly bun. When we went to New York last summer we went to a restaurant called Momofuku Noodle Bar by award winning chef David Chang. We had the best food of our life that fine day. It was our first time having pork belly. I will tell you this, it was something we will never ever forget. It was a beautiful beatiful thing. It has been something we bring up every now and then remebering fondly. So we were a little nervous trying these hoping we wouldn't be let down. They were amazing. They had the sweetest, most amazing flavor and were so tender. I would have ordered more if Jason would have wanted to. I am glad we didn't because we would have been so so full, but man, I will definately be going there again for those. The buns were so tender and light. And the greens were very well seasoned. The flavors all came together in a perfect marriage. I would have to say they were close to being as good as Momofuku. The pork belly at Momofuku was glazed in a hoisin and the Takashi pork belly was a soy ginger caramel

For our main dishes I had the fluke served over a bed of black mushroom risotto with a butternut squash and broccolini. The fish was so tender and perfectly cooked. The rissoto was so rich and falvorful. They went so beautifuly together. It was the perfect dish and I was so happy about it. I can't say one bad thing about it. Maybe that the portion was bigger than I had anticipated and it made me sad that I could not eat all of the risotto in fear of becoming to full.

Jason had a roasted duck with quince. He was so happy with it. The duck was so tender and perfectly cooked. He too was so sad to have to leave a few bites on his plate. We were very surprised at the size of the main dish. It was actually kind of refreshing to know that it was a healthy serving. It probably would have been the perfect size for us had we not already have four other dishes.

Overall this was the most amazing place ever. I am so happy we went there. When you don't get out much it's so hard to pick somewhere. You really want it to be worth your while, and this was for sure. The wild thing too was that I got my Food And Wine in the mail that next week and they had a feature on the chef. He really had impressive dishes. I hope we can go back again one day and try some new things, and have a few of the same things. I can't stop thinking about that pork bun and the scallops.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

My go to salsas

Long ago I checked out a book at the library called Isabelle's Cantina. It wasn't until I had marked almost every single page, that I decided to go out and buy it. I am so happy I did because we have made so many amazing things from it. Two of my favorite recipes are for salsa. I can't tell you how east they are. The basic salsa one will have you in shock. So so simple and tastes like the kind you get in the restaurants. We make it all the time. The corn one is also amazing. We have made it several times. That one is a little more spicy. Both so amazing. I hope you will try them.

Basic Salsa
Isabel Cruz-Isabel's Cantina

one 28 oz can plum tomatoes with juice
2 jalapenos-ribs and stems removed to reduce heat
1/2 med onion roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves peeled and crushed
1 cup fresh cilantro
grated zest of one lime ( I usually squeeze the juice in too because I hate to waste )
kosher salt to taste

Combine all of this in the food processor and enjoy. Use a blender if you don't have a food processor. Store for three days.

Chipotle Corn Salsa
Isabel Cruz-Isabel's Cantina

4 ears of corn roasted or 2 cups of frozen corn defrosted
1/2 med red onion diced
1/2-1 red bell pepper diced (it calls for one half but I always use a whole one, why the heck not)
2 chipotle chiles in adobo sauce minced (seeds removed to reduce heat)
1/2 c fresh lime juice (4 limes)
1/4 c fresh squeezed orange juice (1 orange)
2 T packed brown sugar
1/2 c chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 t kosher salt

Combine and enjoy. Store 2-3 days. So yummy.

From the same book is something else you should definately try. Oh, man, we love this one. I have to say, it tasted so amazing the second day. Isn't that true with so many things. Yum. Must try this one.

Ropa Vieja (old clothes)
Isabel Cruz-Isabel's Cantina

1 flank steak 1 1/2 lbs (cut across grain into four pieces)
1 medium onion halved
4 crushed garlic cloves
2 bay leaves
1/2 t ground cumin

Combine all of this in a pot with water just covering everything completely. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer for 2-2 1/2 hours. Remove from the pot reserving the liquids. Cool meat and shred.

2 T olive oil
1/2 medium onion thinly sliced
2 cloves of garlic minced
1 red bell pepper thinly sliced
3/4 c dry white wine
2 T tomato paste
1 chipotle chile in adobo sauce minced (removes seeds to reduce heat)
1/2 t kosher salt
3 green onions sliced green parts only
1/2 cup sliced green olives (optional to serve it with the white rice)

Heat olive oil over med-high heat. Add garlic, onions and pepper and cook about 4 minutes until the onion is translucent. Add the wine and tomato paste. Stir well. Cook another 5 minutes.

Add the reserved broth, chipotle pepper and salt. Simmer 5 more minutes. Add the beef and cook until heated through. Stir in green onions. Serve it all over white rice and green olives if desired.

Molly's Cupcakes

One thing I am going to be doing on my blog is posting the place we go on our culinary adventures. This is a place we visited in Chicago this summer. Molly's Cupcakes. It is a really fun cupcake bakery. They have a bar you can sit at with swings hanging down from the ceiling. Not only do they have a ton of different flavors of cupcakes, but they also have a custom cupcake. You can choose your own cupcake and frosting. They also have a sprinkles bar where you can top your cupcakes with various sprinkles and sugar. I must admit the frosting was better than the cupcake itself. I chose to do a custom cupcake. The ordered a vanilla cupcake with a brown butter buttercream. I must say, that was the best buttercream I have ever tasted in my life. This is what made me remember Molly's Cupcakes. I did also order a blondie which was amazing. It is definatley a fun place to go it you want to check out something fun while visiting Chicago.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Awesome Crock Pot Recipe

So I am trying not to make any repeater meals and am doing really well so far. I just went through a bunch of my recipes and found this one and thought I would give it a shot. I have to say, I am really excited about it. It was really really tasty. I was kind of wondering about it since there really are no spices or anything in it. Really simple, but really really tasty. I have to say, I did add about 4 small cloves of garlic. I am a garlic girl I must say. So here it is.

Slow Cooker Hoppin John Chowder
adapted from

1 1/2 c rice (I used brown rice)
1 pound ground sirloin or other beef of choice
1 large green bell pepper chopped
1 chopped onion
3-4 cloves garlic minced
2 (15.5 oz) cans black eyed peas with liquid
1 (10.5 oz) can condensed beef broth
2 cans Rotel tomatoes (I used mild)

Cook the onions and garlic in the pan with some drizzled olive oil. When they are starting to soften after a few minutes add the beef. Don't cook completely, just until it isn't pink anymore. Place into the crock pot. Add the diced green pepper on top of that and then dump all of your canned goods in, followed by the beef broth. I bought a carton of broth so I used a little more. You want the liquid to cover everything but not more than that. If you want it really soupy add more. If you don't have enough beef broth just use a little water. Cover and cook on low 4 to 6 hours.

Cook your rice and serve this over it. It is so so yummy and flavorful. Happy leftovers to you!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Marshmallows and Pound Cake...what more is there in life.

So I am trying to catch up my blog and get a bunch of stuff on here so don't think I am making all of these things now. I was going through my pictures of food and so I am posting things I have made in the past so pass the time in between things I make now. Please post comments on anything of interest or anything you try and make. I love feedback.

The marshmallows are super super easy and really I make them all the time because they are so easy and rewarding when finished. Enjoy.

Home Made Marshmallows
Martha Stewart

1 box of four packets unflavored gelatin
3 c sugar
1 1/4 light corn syrup
1/4 t salt
2 t pure vanilla extract
confectioners sugar

In a your mixing bowl on the mixer add 3/4 cold water and then gelatin. No need to stir. Just let it absorb while the rest is prepared.

In a large sauce pan add sugar, corn syrup, salt, and 3/4 water. Stir until boiling or sugar is dissolved. Stop stirring once that happens. You will use a candy thermometer to bring the temp up to 238. Remove from the heat and add to the mixer with the gelatin. Start slowly with the mixer and gradually increase the speed higher and higher. You will beat 12 minutes about. Until it is getting thicker. Add the vanilla and keep mixing until combined. You may want to add before the 12 minutes is up. My mallows always start creeping up over the side of the bowl so I have to stop.

In a 9 X 13 pan you will need to have wax paper or parchment greased and fully lining the pan. Pour your mixture in and set for at least 3 hours or overnight. Have an large work surface and cover with powdered sugar. Carefully turn the mallows out onto this. If you plop it out the sugar will fly all over as you can imagine. So just grease a large knife to ease the cutting. It will be sticky and however you want to do it, each piece will need to be coated in the powdered sugar or they will stick to each other.

Million Dollar, Millionaire or Million Calorie Chocolate Chip Pound Cake
by A Yankee In A Southern Kitchen blog

1 lb. softened sweet butter

3 cups sugar

6 large eggs

4 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup whole milk

1/4 cup heavy cream

2 teaspoons homemade vanilla or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon almond extract

1 lb bittersweet chocolate chips

  • Preheat your oven to 300 degrees.
  • Grease a 10 inch tube pan and lightly flour. I also suggest that you line the bottom with parchment paper and have it come up the side an inch or so, as some batter leaked from the bottom.
  • In a large mixing bowl by hand or with a beater, cream the butter and sugar till light and fluffy.
  • Then add 1 egg at a time, beating well till incorporated.
  • Alternating add the flour and milk stirring by hand with a wooden spoon.
  • Add the extracts and combine the cake batter till well blended.
  • Fold in the chocolate chips till incorporated evenly in the cake batter.
  • Carefully add the batter to the tube pan, smoothing the top to make sure it is even.
  • Bake till a tester comes out clean anywhere from 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
  • Cool the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes then turn it out onto the rack to cool.
Courtesy of

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Cookies and Cream Ice Cream

So, we bought a ice cream maker months and months ago. Used it about two times. I was getting sick of the thing sitting around and so I busted it out. I made the most amazing vanilla ice cream ever. I have to admit I kicked it up a notch by adding about a 3/4 c of some frosting I had been saving up for just this occasion in the freezer. It was the perfect addition to cookies and cream I must say. I can't say how much it changed the flavor because I didn't really try it before I added it. I just know that this ice cream freaked my freak, and Jason's. I did make it for him.

Vanilla Ice Cream

1 1/2 c whole milk
1 1/8 c white sugar
3 c heavy cream
1-2 T pure vanilla ( I used only one)

Mix the milk and sugar on high with a hand mixer until the sugar is dissolved. About 3 minutes. Stir in the cream by hand and then the vanilla. Add to your ice cream maker and make as directed by your models specifications. I mixed mine 25 minutes and then added the frosting. After that was incorporated I added the chopped Oreos. Man this ice cream was amazing.

Mexican Pork Chili

So we made this recipe today. It was long anticipated because we found it about a week or more ago. I have to say, it went a lot differently than we expected. Sadly. It's hard when you invest a lot of time into a recipe and it doesn't come out in the end. We over cooked the pork, so it didn't shred. What's worse than that? Man, it was a let down. The problem was really that we couldn't find a boneless pork shoulder so the woman at the meat counter cut the bone out for me from a larger shoulder. Well, she had to cut it into two pieces to get it out. It messed our cooking time up and overcooked the pork. So in the end, I wish I would have just got it with the bone in. I think it comes out the same either way, as long as you don't over cook it. The other thing was the overall flavor of the chili was a lot different than we were both expecting. Not that it was bad, but the tomatillo is definately a flavor we are not used to so it was a shock to the taste buds. I am not saying it wasn't good. It was good. It was really good, just a new taste. I would highly recommend this recipe if you like salsa verde (green salsa) or tomatillos. I would also check your pork before it's done and don't worry if you can't get a boneless shoulder. Just get a little over 3 lbs then to account for the weight of the bone. I ended up adding a little sugar to try and balance the sweetness and I also added two diced chipotle peppers in adobo as well as cumin. Just trying to balance all the flavors. You could also add some more garlic if you like. We kind of longed for that flavor.

Mexican Pork Chili

Recipe courtesy Tyler Florence

Prep Time: 20 min Cook Time: 2 hr 30 min

Level: Easy
Serves: 6 to 8 servings


  • 3 pounds boneless pork shoulder
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon toasted fennel seeds, ground
  • 3 tablespoons ground cumin
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 15 whole tomatillos, husked
  • 3 poblanos
  • 2 white onions, quartered
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 limes, halved
  • 1 big bunch fresh cilantro
  • 1 quart low-sodium chicken stock
  • 1 cup masa harina, to tighten it up

Chili bar toppings:

  • Crispy fried tortilla strips, fresh corn tortillas cut into strips and deep fried in vegetable oil
  • Mexican crema, store-bought with lime zest
  • Shaved radishes, radishes shaved vertically on a mandoline
  • Crumbled queso fresco
  • 2 limes, each cut into 8 wedges


Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

Season the pork shoulder with salt, pepper, fennel and cumin. Take a large roasting dish and place over medium-high heat. Add a 3-count of olive oil and sear pork shoulder all over until golden brown on the outside, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Add vegetables, spreading out tomatillos, poblanos, onion, garlic and bay leaf around the seared pork shoulder. Drizzle with olive oil, squeeze lime juice all over and season with salt and pepper. Cover the whole tray with aluminum foil and roast in the oven for 2 to 2 1/2 hours until the pork is falling apart. Remove from oven, set the pork aside and pull apart. Rake all the other ingredients into a blender (a bit at a time) with the bunch of fresh cilantro and process until smooth. Pour into a large Dutch oven. Set over medium heat and add chicken stock. Bring to a simmer and whisk in masa harina to thicken the sauce up. Fold in shredded pork shoulder and season with salt and pepper to finish. Serve with Chili bar toppings.

Chocolate Thumb Print Cookies

Chocolate Tumb Print Cookies

Martha Stewart

Makes 90

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons coarse salt
  • 8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar, plus more for rolling
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • Chocolate and Vanilla-Bean Ganache


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sift flour, cocoa powder, and salt into a small bowl. Cream butter and sugar with a mixer until pale and fluffy. Reduce speed to medium, and add yolks, cream, and vanilla. Scrape sides of bowl. Beat in flour mixture until just combined.
  2. Roll balls using 2 teaspoons dough for each, and roll each in sugar. Place 1 inch apart on parchment-lined baking sheets. With the handle of a wooden spoon, press gently in the center of each to create an indentation. Bake, rotating sheets halfway through, until cookies are just set, about 10 minutes. (If indentations lose definition, press centers again.) Let cool slightly on baking sheets. Transfer cookies to wire racks, and let cool.
  3. Spoon warm ganache into center of each cookie. Let stand until firm, about 15 minutes. Cookies will keep, covered, for up to 3 days.

Pumpkin Whoopies Pies

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies
Baked New Frontiers In Baking


Makes 12 whoopie pies

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 1 tablespoon ground cloves
  • 2 cups firmly packed dark-brown sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 cups pumpkin puree, chilled
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


  1. Make the cookies: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat; set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves; set aside. In another large bowl, whisk together brown sugar and oil until well combined. Add pumpkin puree and whisk until combined. Add eggs and vanilla and whisk until well combined. Sprinkle flour mixture over pumpkin mixture and whisk until fully incorporated.
  3. Using a small ice cream scoop with a release mechanism, drop heaping tablespoons of dough onto prepared baking sheets, about 1 inch apart. Transfer to oven and bake until cookies are just starting to crack on top and a toothpick inserted into the center of each cookie comes out clean, about 15 minutes. Let cool completely on pan.
  4. Make the filling: Sift confectioner' sugar into a medium bowl; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter until smooth. Add cream cheese and beat until well combined. Add confectioners' sugar and vanilla, beat just until smooth. (Filling can be made up to a day in advance. Cover and refrigerate; let stand at room temperature to soften before using.)
  5. Assemble the whoopie pies: Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Transfer filling to a disposable pastry bag and snip the end. When cookies have cooled completely, pipe a large dollop of filling on the flat side of half of the cookies. Sandwich with remaining cookies, pressing down slightly so that the filling spreads to the edge of the cookies. Transfer to prepared baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate cookies at least 30 minutes before serving and up to 3 days.