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Oh Birthday Cake, My Carrot Cake

Oh Birthday Cake, My Carrot Cake

We celebrated Jeffrey and my brother’s birthdays yesterday.  Yes, they share the same birthday…many years apart.  I remember sitting on the couch dreading each new contraction while my family celebrated my brother’s birthday with big juicy rib eye steaks off the grill.  The meal was cut […]

A Darty for Lucky (Pumpkin Bread)

A Darty for Lucky (Pumpkin Bread)

I bet you are wondering about 2 things right now.  What is a “darty” and whats with the picture of pumpkin bread and dog biscuits.  Hmmm…..Am I right? The answers begin with our dog Sammy receiving an invitation to a darty, a doggy day party for his […]

What’s Up Doc? (Roasted Carrots with Avocado)

What’s Up Doc? (Roasted Carrots with Avocado)

Though I am not a vegetarian by any stretch of the imagination we have definitely cut back on our carnivorous ways.  I find myself perusing cookbooks, favorite blogs or magazines for recipes that showcase vegetables.  This recipe for Roasted Carrots and Avocado Salad from Smitten Kitchen caught my eye and with Jamie home for the weekend, it was time to give it a whirl.

Wow.

Just wow.

Aside from being visually stunning.  This salad is absolutely delicious!  The different textures and flavors play off of each other.  The warm carrots with the cool yogurt and avocado, the crunch from the seeds against the creaminess of the avocado.  Sweetness from the citrus dressing compliments the cumin and coriander.  I could go on and on but I think you should just stop reading, skip to the recipe at the end of this post and MAKE this salad.  Really.

 

carrots

Great dishes invite imitation but often with a personal twist or tweak by each chef, this is no exception.  I found versions of this salad on NYT cooking, Jamie Oliver and the Spotted Pig.  Variations included using sour cream instead of yogurt, different spices, pumpkin seeds instead of sesame seeds, arugula for the sprouts.  Use you imagination.  I plan on adding orange segments, a pinch of smoke paprika next time and maybe some cilantro.  Can’t wait to make this dish again!

What’s Up Doc? (Roasted Carrots with Avocado Salad)

Ingredients

    For carrots:
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted and cooled or ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons coriander seeds, toasted and cooled, ground coriander instead
  • 2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 teaspoon coarse or kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • Red chile flakes, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 pounds thin-to-medium carrots, scrubbed, not peeled; mixed colors if possible
  • 1 -2 oranges, cut into segments, reserve 1/2 of an orange uncut for the dressing (segments optional)
  • 1/4-1/3 cup cilantro leaves, optional
  • To finish
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice (from about 1/4 orange)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice (from about 1/2 lemon)
  • 1 large or 2 medium firm-ripe avocados, cut in thin slices
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 to 2 cups radish sprouts, other sprouts or light salad greens of your choice
  • 1/4 cup plain non-fat or 2% Greek yogurt or sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons roasted hulled pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, toasted sesame seeds or a mix thereof

Instructions

  • Heat oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Cover 1 large baking sheet or shallow roasting pan with foil. Pour 1/4 cup water in bottom of pan
  • Make your spice paste by either pounding the cumin, coriander, thyme, salt and peppers in a mortar and pestle until roughly ground or using an electric spice grinder or small food processor to do the same.
  • If using ground spices, combine them in the bottom of a bowl large enough to fit carrots.
  • In bottom of bowl, combine prepared spices, salt and pepper, garlic, vinegar and 1/4 cup olive oil and whisk to blend. Add carrots and toss to coat evenly.
  • Spread carrots in prepared pan, drizzle with extra marinadeand cover tightly with foil. Roast for 25 minutes covered then remove the foil and roast for additional 35 minutes, until the carrots are lightly browned and tender but not falling apart.
  • Meanwhile, combine 2 tablespoons olive oil, orange and lemon juices in a small bowl with salt and pepper.
  • When carrots are done, scatter with avocado, sprouts or greens of choice and orange segments then drizzle with citrus dressing
  • Dollop yogurt or sour cream over the top and sprinkle with seeds.
  • Enjoy!
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National Donut Day!

National Donut Day!

Happy National Donut Day!  Also known as just an excuse to have something sugary and yummy.  I’m guessing this is pretty much the food version of a Hallmark created holiday to boost card sales but I’m ok with that.  I pulled out my donut hole […]

Where’s the Beef? (Korean Short Rib Stew)

Where’s the Beef? (Korean Short Rib Stew)

Last week felt like winter’s last stand.  The temperature dropped, it rained (yay, we can always use the precipitation even when summer is just around the corner) and Jamie and I were hit with the cold/flu bug.  So, despite being the month of  May I found myself […]

Donuts by Jamie!

Donuts by Jamie!

Hey guys! It’s Jamie, again!  I am finally back home for the summer, and I am loving it. Not only did I escape the disgustingly humid heat of Houston but I also escaped the disgustingly awful classes I took last semester.  I am petitioning to rename Sophomore Spring to Sophomore Suck.  Those classes were horrible. I digress.  I promise this post was not supposed to be me venting about my last semester.  Now that I am back, I have wasted no time in hitting up all of my favorite restaurants.  I have gorged myself on countless pieces of sushi, stuffed myself full on Los Gatos Cafe’s famous cinnamon buns, and snacked on more of my mom’s granola than I thought humanly possible. It’s been great.  In addition to eating my way through Los Gatos, I have also been partaking in one of my ultimate favorite pastimes: cooking.  Surprise, I caught the bug from my mom. I actually missed cooking a lot this past semester; not only does anything homemade taste light years better than cafeteria food but cooking also is a way for me to unwind.  No matter how many things I have going on or how stressed I am, I can always turn to baking or cooking.  It’s just me, a recipe, probably a couple episodes of Gilmore Girls, and awesome smelling (and hopefully tasting) food. It gives me a time to think for myself and get away from the stress that can sometimes be very overwhelming. This last semester, I’ve turned to watching cooking shows as a way to unwind.  IMG_1614 copyI know, I’m turning into my mom, pretty scary stuff.

My suite mate and I have gotten really into watching this one show called Raw. Vegan. Not. Gross. The girl who hosts it, Laura Miller, is kind of raw vegan, and is really cool.  She’s a huge advocate for eating food that will make you feel good and is kind of crazy/quirky in a cool way.  She blogs, wears the cutest clothes, and has a dog named Buzz.  Basically, I want to be her.  She recently came out with a cookbook, and, as I am my mothers daughter, I preordered it. I read it front to back when I got it, and I got so excited to try all of the recipes.  I made vegan tacos the other day (kind of, I may or may not have added salmon to them) and today I tried making vegan, gluten free donuts.  You bake them in the oven, and they come out light and fluffy, with a slight almond taste, which I love. I dipped them in a chocolate glaze made out of coconut oil, cocoa powder, maple syrup, and salt. Give them a try! They’re really good.

P.S. If you are a vegan food skeptic like my mother, I promise they are good.  Jordan and his friend even tried them and said they were good before they knew they were vegan.
P.P.S.  Here is a link to Laura Miller’s blog! Check her out! https://imlauramiller.com
P.P.P.S.  Hi Claire
IMG_1602
Vegan Donuts Adapted from Laura MIller

Ingredients

    Donuts
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1 cup sorghum flour
  • 1 cup potato starch
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon xanthin gum
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup applesauce
  • 1/2 cup hot water
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Chocolate Glaze
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 3/8 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 Tbs maple syrup
  • Small pinch of salt

Instructions

  • Directions:
  • 1) Preheat oven to 325 degrees F
  • 2) Mix dry ingredients in a bowl
  • 3) Mix wet ingredients in a bowl
  • 4) Add wet ingredients to the dry and mix with a spatula until thoroughly combined. The batter will be a lot like pancake batter
  • 5) Add 1/4 cup of batter into each donut mold. Spread around evenly
  • 6) Optional: Add about a teaspoon of your favorite jam, nut butter, or sprinkle on coconut flakes to each donut. Spread around evenly with a spoon.
  • 7) Bake for 10 minutes, rotate, then bake for another 5-7 minutes, until browned on the top and cooked through.
  • 8) Optional: Dip the top half into chocolate glaze after donuts have cooled.
  • Directions Chocolate Glaze
  • Blend all ingredients until smooth, then place in a shallow bowl for donut dipping.
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Anatomy of a Breakfast Bowl (Char Siu & Egg Over Rice)

Anatomy of a Breakfast Bowl (Char Siu & Egg Over Rice)

I love Sunday morning breakfast. Unlike the Monday through Friday grind when breakfast is on the go or often the forgotten meal, weekend breakfasts are leisurely and quite the production. Waffles, pancakes, bacon, sausage, scrambled eggs, and homemade buttermilk biscuits or if we are feeling ambitious, puffy […]

TBC (Throwback Cake Day) Rum Doused Lemon Poppyseed Cake

TBC (Throwback Cake Day) Rum Doused Lemon Poppyseed Cake

Every now and then, out of nowhere something from the past pops into your head.  Maybe it’s that Dead Head purple/green tie dyed tank top from back in the day.  You immediately drop whatever you are doing to rummage through your closet searching for that top.  You […]

Cheesecake LA Style

Cheesecake LA Style

A couple of weeks ago my friend Anne posted photos of a slice of New York Style cheesecake she had for dinner one night and the next day for breakfast and then for lunch.  Yes, the same piece.  It looked delicious and decadent.  Rich, dense and yes, huge, it screamed this is New York baby.

And because of her post I have had cheesecake on the brain.  I haven’t made cheesecake in a long time. Not because I don’t like cheesecake, on the contrary, I love cheesecake and therein lies the dilemma. Cheesecake is the Alfredo of desserts and it has a magnetic attraction to my hips, really.  But last weekend was a special occasion and the perfect reason to make one, my Mom’s 93rd birthday, and if you can’t have cheesecake then, when can you?

As much as I love New York style cheesecake my go to recipe is one from the Los Angeles Times. As New York style cheesecake reflects Gotham City’s personality, this recipe epitomizes Los Angeles, smooth and creamy, light and airy and absolutely delicious.

DSC04002

My favorite part of this cheesecake is the sour cream topping, it accentuates the creaminess and lightness of the cake.  Along the way I have tweaked the recipe by adding a lemon berry sauce (which  takes it to the “holy cow!” level) and replacing part of the graham cracker crumbs with chopped pecans to add crunch to the crust.  So good….

The recipe calls for beating the eggs and sugar for 5 minutes creating a light and foamy mixture.  Having the cream cheese at room temperature helps when blending it in with the beaten eggs and yet the mixture can still be pretty lumpy.  So after beating the eggs and cream cheese I use a hand blender to smooth out the batter.  In place of the brandy I have used Grand Marnier or Amaretto for the liqueur, both equally tasty.  Pecans can be replaced by almonds or walnuts in the crust.  If you love cheesecake, and who doesn’t….make this one.

Classic Cheesecake

Ingredients

    Crust
  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4-1/3 cup butter, melted
  • Replace 1/2 cup of graham crackers with finely chopped pecans or almonds
  • Filling
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 8 ounce cream cheese-softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon Grand Marnier
  • Sour cream topping
  • 1 pint sour cream
  • 6 T sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon Grand Marnier
  • Lemon Blueberry Sauce
  • 1 pound fresh or frozen blueberries or mixed berries
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon peel

Instructions

    Crust:
  • Place crumbs in bowl and add 1/4 cup sugar and cinnamon,stir in butter.
  • Lightly butter 8 inch springform pan bottom and sides.
  • Sprinkle crumbs on bottom of pan-press down. Press crumbs on sides and bottom of pan.
  • Work around sides with fingers to make crumbs of even height.
  • Bake crust at 350 degrees 7-10 minutes until brown on sides. Remove from oven.
  • To make the filling.
  • Beat eggs until light, then add 1/2 cup sugar and beat 5 minutes. Add cream cheese, vanilla, liqueur and mix well. If still lumpy, smooth batter using a hand blender or food processor.
  • Turn into prepared crust, bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes. Cool 15 minutes.
  • Pour sour cream topping over and bake at 475 degrees for 5 minutes. Let cheesecake cool before chilling.
  • Chill thoroughly.
  • Sauce:
  • Combine all ingredients in a heavy saucepan. Stir over medium heat until cornstarch dissolves. Boil until thickened, stirring occasionally, about 4 minutes. Cover and refrigerate until cold.
  • Makes about 2 1/4 cups.
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