Friday, October 22, 2010

to-do list

no time to cook or bake this week!  but here are a few things i have up my sleeve:

pumpkin cupcakes
pumpkin bread
pumpkin cheesecake
crack casserole (yes, crack.  it's addictive)
stuffed mushrooms
sweet corncake (aka cornmeal spoon bread)
the most amazing lasagna ever
tuscan stuffed tomatoes
parmesan crusted chicken
chipotle shrimp
shelly mcmuffins
chocolate chip cookies
breakup brownies

any special requests?

as they say, a blog post is no good without pictures.  so here's one of the lemon bar flag i made for 4th of July.  a cool, refreshing treat for a hot summer day.  already a distant memory.  i miss summer!!

Monday, October 18, 2010


pumpkin is october's only redeeming quality.  ok maybe halloween too.
but not the shorter days or the cold weather.

  this weekend i made pumpkin whoopie pies to treat my early onset of seasonal affective disorder.

warning: this is not the prettiest recipe.  but i promise it's one of the tastiest.

start with brown sugar, white sugar, pumpkin, and oil

mix well.  looks kinda barfy

add eggs 1 at a time
mix well after each addition

add vanilla, mix well

in a separate bowl, add flour, baking powder, baking soda,
ground ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and salt

combine with a whisk

gradually add to the bowl of barf

once it's all in mix until just combined.  looking better.

now take a pastry bag (or ziploc with end snipped off) and pipe 2-in spirals
(that kind of look like doodie)
stick them in the oven for 11 min, peel off parchment paper and cool on a rack

in the meantime, get some softened cream cheese and a stick of unsalted butter

mix them up

add some cinnamon and mix some more

add confectioners sugar and keep mixing until combined

now you have your filling

plop some onto the flat side of one of your doodies

and squash another doodie on top

i made some itty bitties too.  they are cute and fun

pumpkin whoopie pies


1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
1 can pure pumpkin puree (Libby's)

3 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground ginger
1 TBS cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground nutmet
1/4 tsp ground cloves

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
8 oz. (1 block) cream cheese, softened
2 dashes of cinnamon
3 drops vanilla extract
1lb (16 oz) confectioners sugar

preheat oven to 350
combine sugars, oil, & puree in large mixing bowl
in separate bowl, combine dry ingredients with a whisk
gradually add dry ingredients to wet, mix until just combined
with a pastry bag or ziploc with end snipped off, pipe approx. 2-in spirals onto parchment lined baking sheet
bake for 11 min

for filling, mix softened butter & cream cheese.  
add cinnamon and vanilla.  mix well.
add confectioners sugar.  mix well

when whoopie pies are cooled, add filling to flat side of one pie.  press flat side of another pie on top.

*notes:  my pictures and the original recipe call for cutting 3-in squares of parchment paper.  this is so you can hold the pastry bag still and rotate the squares.  also helps keep the pies a uniform size.  i found it easier to move the pastry bag and hold the squares still.  next time i will just put one sheet of parchment paper on the cookie sheet and not worry about cutting out squares.  it took extra time and didn't seem totally necessary.  original recipe here.

these whoopie pies were pretty easy (even the piping!) and 
super tasty

Friday, October 15, 2010

elise's chicken breasts with mushroom sage sauce

this is adapted from simply recipes - run by the smart and talented elise bauer

start with a few shallots

chop them up

rinse a few mushrooms

chop them up

get a bit of parsley

chop it up (are we sensing a theme?)

now get some sage... do you know what to do next?

chop it up!

now melt 3 tbs butter in a pan

add your shallots and cook for about a minute

next add mushrooms and parsley, cook for about 10 minutes

in the meantime, get about a pound and  a half of boneless, skinless
chicken breasts, and pound them down to about 1/4 inch thick

now pour 1 cup dry white wine.  what you do with the rest is up to you

pour it in with the mushrooms, etc.  it will steam up at first

this will help deglaze the pan - scrape up browned pieces from the bottom.
very flavorful

now add 3/4 cup heavy cream

stir it up and bring to a boil

after about 10 minutes it'll reduce and should be
thick enough to coat the back of a wodden spoon

while the sauce is reducing, salt & pepper both sides of the pounded chicken breasts

heat 1 tbs olive oil in a frying pan and cook chicken for about 3 min on each side

when sauce has reduced and chicken is done, stir the sage into the sauce

top chicken with the sauce, garnish with parsley, and serve

i boiled some elbow noodles to go with this, but i'm avoiding carbs so i didn't eat any

this was a pretty quick and easy meal.  one of my dinner guests exclaimed "this tastes just like restaurant food"

i reheated this the next day for lunch, and while the sauce did break down a bit, it still tasted delicious and was nothing a little interval heating and stirring couldn't fix.

chicken breasts with mushroom sage sauce (directly from the simply recipes website)

3 tbs butter
1/2 cup chopped shallots
8-10 oz cremini or shitake mushrooms, thickly sliced
1 tsp chopped fresh parsley
1 cup dry vermouth or dry white wine (ex. Sauvignon Blanc)
2/3 cup heaving whipping cream (must be heavy cream, light may curdle)
3 tbs chopped fresh sage
1 tbs olive oil
1 1/4 to 1 1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts.  pieces pounded evenly to 1/4 or 1/3 inch thick
salt & pepper

melt butter in a large sauté pan on medium high heat. 
add shallots and sauté for one minute.
add mushrooms and parsley and sauté for 5-10 more minutes, until the mushrooms have browned.
if using unsalted butter, sprinkle on a pinch of salt.
add vermouth and deglaze the pan, scraping up any bits that may be sticking to the bottom of the pan.
stir in the cream.
bring to a boil and cook the sauce down until it is thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon (about 10 minutes).

while the sauce is reducing, heat olive oil in another large sauté pan on medium high heat.
sprinkle salt and pepper over both sides of the chicken breast cutlets.
add cutlets to pan and cook for about 3 minutes on each side, until browned and cooked through.

stir sage into sauce, season to taste with salt and pepper
pour sauce over chicken to serve, garnish with fresh chopped parsley
*can be served alone for low-carb version, or with rice, mashed potatoes, or pasta.  my guests ate theirs with elbow noodles.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

cotton candy

i went out to dinner with my family this past weekend.

the restaurant served cotton candy after our meal.  brilliant.

the way to my heart is through cotton candy

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

office space

in the spirit of halloween, i set out a few candy dishes at my desk

just a little something festive to spruce up the workspace