Tossed together a delicious wine & dine with my wonderful boyfriend on Friday evening. I picked up some fresh pancetta at the Italian deli in Chelsea Market to make pasta alla carbonara with the homemade ricotta I made the previous night.
What you’ll need:
4 ounces of pancetta, diced into chunks
1 small shallot, diced finely
1 clove of garlic, chopped finely
3/4 cup frozen peas
3 eggs
1/2 cup of ricotta (if you don’t have ricotta, use pecorino-romano or parmesan) 
Salt & pepper to taste
1lb pasta (of your choice), prepared per instructions (add salt to the water)
Before you start anything, prepare the pot/water for the pasta and begin heating to a boil. While that’s starting, in a large skillet over medium heat, cook the pancetta.
While the pancetta is cooking combine the egg with half the cheese, salt & pepper, whisk thoroughly.
Once the pancetta is cooked, remove from pan and drain on a paper towel (you don’t have to drain it but it was nice to rid the pancetta of the extra grease).
Add shallots to  the same skillet & saute until tender. Add garlic & saute for 30  seconds.
When the pasta has about a minute left for cooking, add the frozen peas  to the boiling pot (you will strain these with the pasta).
Remove skillet from heat and add the hot  pasta to the pan with the  shallots & garlic.
Add the egg mixture & stir thoroughly until  creamy (be careful not to over cook the eggs - you don’t want them to  scramble). Add pancetta, parsley and remaining cheese - taste & re-season if needed. Serve immediately. Enjoy.

(photo credit: my super awesome sous-chef)

Tossed together a delicious wine & dine with my wonderful boyfriend on Friday evening. I picked up some fresh pancetta at the Italian deli in Chelsea Market to make pasta alla carbonara with the homemade ricotta I made the previous night.

What you’ll need:

  • 4 ounces of pancetta, diced into chunks
  • 1 small shallot, diced finely
  • 1 clove of garlic, chopped finely
  • 3/4 cup frozen peas
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup of ricotta (if you don’t have ricotta, use pecorino-romano or parmesan)
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 1lb pasta (of your choice), prepared per instructions (add salt to the water)

Before you start anything, prepare the pot/water for the pasta and begin heating to a boil. While that’s starting, in a large skillet over medium heat, cook the pancetta.

While the pancetta is cooking combine the egg with half the cheese, salt & pepper, whisk thoroughly.

Once the pancetta is cooked, remove from pan and drain on a paper towel (you don’t have to drain it but it was nice to rid the pancetta of the extra grease).

Add shallots to the same skillet & saute until tender. Add garlic & saute for 30 seconds.

When the pasta has about a minute left for cooking, add the frozen peas to the boiling pot (you will strain these with the pasta).

Remove skillet from heat and add the hot pasta to the pan with the shallots & garlic.

Add the egg mixture & stir thoroughly until creamy (be careful not to over cook the eggs - you don’t want them to scramble). Add pancetta, parsley and remaining cheese - taste & re-season if needed. Serve immediately. Enjoy.

(photo credit: my super awesome sous-chef)

Creamy Homemade Ricotta

Apologies for the lack of cheesy photo - but I made homemade ricotta Thursday evening and it was delicious… and addicting. I’ll be making this a lot more often now, especially with chocolate and sugar for a dessert mousse.

I stumbled across the recipe over at Food52. Check it out below:

Makes 2 cups
  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3/4 cups buttermilk
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

Add the ingredients to a 4-quart pot. Bring to a very gentle boil over medium heat. Meanwhile, line a sieve or fine mesh strainer with a few layers of cheesecloth and place it over a deep bowl or pot.

Once the curds begin to separate from the whey (you’ll see little specks of white bob to the surface), stir gently and set heat to the lowest setting (see NOTE). Cook for 2 more minutes, then remove pot from heat and set on an unlit back burner for at least 30 minutes, and up to one hour. (this will help the curds further develop).

Gently ladle the curds into the cheesecloth-lined strainer (this helps produce a fluffier, creamier curd, than pouring it into the strainer). When all the curds have been spooned into the bowl, pull the cheesecloth up the sides to loosely cover the ricotta in the strainer. Let sit for 10 minutes to drain (this will yield a very moist ricotta. If using for a cake recipe, you may want to let it drain longer for a drier consistency).

Store in a tightly covered container in the refrigerator for up to three days.

NOTE: I’ve learned it likes to be left alone to produce the highest yield, so resist the temptation to stir it frequently once the curds begin to separate from the whey. One stir is enough, and if you’re curious, you can dip the spoon in the pot once or twice to see how the curds are developing.

I wanted to bake something a bit different for my boyfriend’s birthday BBQ, so I opted for a simple apple tart that I found at The Family Kitchen.
It was super simple and the glaze had a refreshing orange zest kick to it. You can use a pre-made crust, but I always prefer homemade crusts. Anyway… enjoy!

Simple Apple Tart (adapted from the Smitten Kitchen by way of Alice Waters)
for the crust 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour 6 tablespoons cold butter 1/4 cup ice water 1/2 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon sugar
for the tart filling 3 granny smith apples 2 tablespoons melted butter 3 tablespoons sugar good pinch salt
for the glaze apple cores and peels 1/2 cup sugar zest and juice of 1 orange 1/2 cup water
In the bowl of your food processor, combine the flour, salt, and  sugar. Drop in the butter and pulse several times until the dough has a  sandy texture. Drizzle in the water and pulse just until combined. You  can also mix the flour by hand, and cut in the butter with a pastry  knife, and then mix in the water just until combined.
Scoop the dough out onto a lightly floured board gather into a round  disc. Wrap the  round in plastic and refrigerate for a half-hour.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. On a lightly floured surface, roll  the chilled dough into an 11” round, and then press it into a  well-buttered tart pan. Fold any excess dough into the sides of the  tart.
Wash and peel, and core the apples, reserving the peels and cores.  Slice the apples into 1/8” thick slices. Starting on the outer edge,  arrange the apple slices in a tight circle, working your way toward the  middle. Brush the apples with the 2 tablespoons of melted butter.  Sprinkle the apples with the salt, and then 3 tablespoons of sugar.
Place the tart on a rimmed baking sheet and then into the oven. Bake  for 45 minutes, until the dough is golden and the edges of the apples  have browned. Rotate the tart pan halfway through. Let tart cool for 15  minutes.
While the tart is baking, combine the apple peels and cores, orange  zest, sugar, juice and water in a medium saucepan. Simmer for 30  minutes. Add extra water if needed. Strain the glaze, cool, and brush on  the tart just before serving.

I wanted to bake something a bit different for my boyfriend’s birthday BBQ, so I opted for a simple apple tart that I found at The Family Kitchen.

It was super simple and the glaze had a refreshing orange zest kick to it. You can use a pre-made crust, but I always prefer homemade crusts. Anyway… enjoy!

Simple Apple Tart (adapted from the Smitten Kitchen by way of Alice Waters)

for the crust
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
6 tablespoons cold butter
1/4 cup ice water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar

for the tart filling
3 granny smith apples
2 tablespoons melted butter
3 tablespoons sugar
good pinch salt

for the glaze
apple cores and peels
1/2 cup sugar
zest and juice of 1 orange
1/2 cup water

In the bowl of your food processor, combine the flour, salt, and sugar. Drop in the butter and pulse several times until the dough has a sandy texture. Drizzle in the water and pulse just until combined. You can also mix the flour by hand, and cut in the butter with a pastry knife, and then mix in the water just until combined.

Scoop the dough out onto a lightly floured board gather into a round disc. Wrap the  round in plastic and refrigerate for a half-hour.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. On a lightly floured surface, roll the chilled dough into an 11” round, and then press it into a well-buttered tart pan. Fold any excess dough into the sides of the tart.

Wash and peel, and core the apples, reserving the peels and cores. Slice the apples into 1/8” thick slices. Starting on the outer edge, arrange the apple slices in a tight circle, working your way toward the middle. Brush the apples with the 2 tablespoons of melted butter. Sprinkle the apples with the salt, and then 3 tablespoons of sugar.

Place the tart on a rimmed baking sheet and then into the oven. Bake for 45 minutes, until the dough is golden and the edges of the apples have browned. Rotate the tart pan halfway through. Let tart cool for 15 minutes.

While the tart is baking, combine the apple peels and cores, orange zest, sugar, juice and water in a medium saucepan. Simmer for 30 minutes. Add extra water if needed. Strain the glaze, cool, and brush on the tart just before serving.

I made Huevos Rancheros for dinner… in mini home-made corn tortilla cups! I took the Epicurious recipe and simplified it a bit more and decided to test this out tonight because I’d really love to make it for my boyfriend this weekend. The recipe below yields six, but I only made one for myself and some extra tortilla cups for later use.
You’ll need:
4 tablespoons of olive oil
6 6- to 61/2-inch-diameter corn tortillas
1 15-ounce can pinto beans or black beans, drained
2/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro, divided
6 large eggs
3/4 cup grated Monterey Jack cheese
Salsa and hot sauce
Preheat oven to 350°F. Brush six 10-ounce custard cups with 1 tablespoon oil. Stack tortillas; microwave uncovered until warm and flexible, about 25 seconds. Gently press 1 tortilla into each cup. Brush tortillas with 2 tablespoons oil.
Place pinto beans, remaining 1 tablespoon oil, 1/3 cup chopped cilantro in small bowl; mash coarsely with fork. Spoon bean mixture into bottom of tortilla cups, spreading and dividing evenly. Crack 1 egg into each tortilla cup atop beans. Sprinkle each with grated Monterey Jack cheese, covering egg completely. Bake uncovered until egg yolks are firm to touch and whites are set, about 27 minutes (yolks will still be soft inside).
Using large spoon, lift tortilla cups from dishes; transfer to plates. Top eggs with additional cilantro, salsa, hot sauce… even pico de gallo!

I made Huevos Rancheros for dinner… in mini home-made corn tortilla cups! I took the Epicurious recipe and simplified it a bit more and decided to test this out tonight because I’d really love to make it for my boyfriend this weekend. The recipe below yields six, but I only made one for myself and some extra tortilla cups for later use.

You’ll need:

  • 4 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 6 6- to 61/2-inch-diameter corn tortillas
  • 1 15-ounce can pinto beans or black beans, drained
  • 2/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro, divided
  • 6 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup grated Monterey Jack cheese
  • Salsa and hot sauce

Preheat oven to 350°F. Brush six 10-ounce custard cups with 1 tablespoon oil. Stack tortillas; microwave uncovered until warm and flexible, about 25 seconds. Gently press 1 tortilla into each cup. Brush tortillas with 2 tablespoons oil.

Place pinto beans, remaining 1 tablespoon oil, 1/3 cup chopped cilantro in small bowl; mash coarsely with fork. Spoon bean mixture into bottom of tortilla cups, spreading and dividing evenly. Crack 1 egg into each tortilla cup atop beans. Sprinkle each with grated Monterey Jack cheese, covering egg completely. Bake uncovered until egg yolks are firm to touch and whites are set, about 27 minutes (yolks will still be soft inside).

Using large spoon, lift tortilla cups from dishes; transfer to plates. Top eggs with additional cilantro, salsa, hot sauce… even pico de gallo!


Jumbo Soft Pretzels

They’re probably my favorite thing about carnivals, amusement parks, sports events and NYC in general. I love pretzels. I love the taste, texture, the crunch of the salt… they’re probably one of the best snacks out there. I decided to whip some up for my friend Kim’s carnival-themed birthday extravaganza. I yoinked the recipe from Elissa over at 17andBaking but the picture above is actually from Lillian at Sweets By Sillianah. Both of them are wonderful and I highly recommend you checkout their blogs as well!

I made these Thursday night for the party on Saturday. I highly recommend you make them the DAY you will be serving them so the toppings don’t soak into the pretzels and they stay fresh and tasty. Mine ended up a bit chewy after sitting around for more than a day. Also - if you want to use cinnamon and sugar as a topping, put it on AFTER! I did about of them before and they ended up caramelizing and looking burnt. Womp womp.

Anyway, recipe is after the jump!

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Saturday night was so much fun. I loved being all cute and cooking dinner with the boyfriend (insert adorable and cheesy aww’s). We decided to make these scrumptious Crab Tostadas that we found in the cook book my mom gave me for Christmas. The recipe serves 8, but we devoured everything like sea-cows. For dessert, we dipped fresh blackberries in dark chocolate and enjoyed the meal with a bottle of white wine.
Anyway, it’s a super easy recipe. Perfect for those not big on cooking and a lot of fun to make together so nobody’s getting crabby in the kitchen.
You’ll need:
1lb lump crab
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
3 plum tomatoes, cut, seeded/cleaned out and diced
3 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
1 ripe avocado, thinly sliced or in small cubes
1 jalapeno, finely chopped
The zest and juice from 2 limes (buy a third to slice and have on the side)
2 tablespoons mayo (we left this out)
1 tablespoon olive oil
Dash of sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper (to taste)
6” flour tortillas, lightly fried in canola oil
To fry the tortillas, put about 1/2 cup of oil in a deep pan on high heat. It’ll be hot enough when you flick some water into the oil and it sizzles immediately. Place the tortilla in the oil to lightly brown on one side, flip and fry the other side. Place on paper towels, leaving a paper towel in between each fried tortilla to absorb the excess oil.
Before using the crab, be sure to check it for cartilage. When it’s set to go, take the remaining ingredients and toss gently in a large bowl. Serve on top of your fried tortilla and garnish with additional cilantro, sea salt, pepper and a lime wedge. We also tossed some hot sauce on them.

Saturday night was so much fun. I loved being all cute and cooking dinner with the boyfriend (insert adorable and cheesy aww’s). We decided to make these scrumptious Crab Tostadas that we found in the cook book my mom gave me for Christmas. The recipe serves 8, but we devoured everything like sea-cows. For dessert, we dipped fresh blackberries in dark chocolate and enjoyed the meal with a bottle of white wine.

Anyway, it’s a super easy recipe. Perfect for those not big on cooking and a lot of fun to make together so nobody’s getting crabby in the kitchen.

You’ll need:

  • 1lb lump crab
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 3 plum tomatoes, cut, seeded/cleaned out and diced
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
  • 1 ripe avocado, thinly sliced or in small cubes
  • 1 jalapeno, finely chopped
  • The zest and juice from 2 limes (buy a third to slice and have on the side)
  • 2 tablespoons mayo (we left this out)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Dash of sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper (to taste)
  • 6” flour tortillas, lightly fried in canola oil

To fry the tortillas, put about 1/2 cup of oil in a deep pan on high heat. It’ll be hot enough when you flick some water into the oil and it sizzles immediately. Place the tortilla in the oil to lightly brown on one side, flip and fry the other side. Place on paper towels, leaving a paper towel in between each fried tortilla to absorb the excess oil.

Before using the crab, be sure to check it for cartilage. When it’s set to go, take the remaining ingredients and toss gently in a large bowl. Serve on top of your fried tortilla and garnish with additional cilantro, sea salt, pepper and a lime wedge. We also tossed some hot sauce on them.

I made this Broccoli Crunch Slaw that I found on Everybody Likes Sandwiches. Only thing I changed was using non-fat greek yogurt and not a full 1/4 cup of onions. Next time I might substitute the rather overbearing red onion for shallots…
But it was definitely scrumptious and I’ll be making it again!

broccoli crunch slaw 1 large head of broccoli 1/4 red onion, diced 1/4 c roasted almonds, coarsely chopped 1/4 c dried cranberries 2 T greek yogurt 2 T mayo juice of 1/2 lemon (or the whole thing, depending on taste) couple of dashes of hot sauce a small squirt of honey salt & pepper to taste
Use a large knife to thinly chop up the broccoli into a rough slaw.  Dump into a medium sized bowl along with the red onion, almonds, and  cranberries. Put the remaining ingredients into a small jar with a lid  and shake. Taste & adjust seasoning if necessary. Pour onto broccoli  slaw and toss until everything is coated.

I made this Broccoli Crunch Slaw that I found on Everybody Likes Sandwiches. Only thing I changed was using non-fat greek yogurt and not a full 1/4 cup of onions. Next time I might substitute the rather overbearing red onion for shallots…

But it was definitely scrumptious and I’ll be making it again!

broccoli crunch slaw
1 large head of broccoli
1/4 red onion, diced
1/4 c roasted almonds, coarsely chopped
1/4 c dried cranberries
2 T greek yogurt
2 T mayo
juice of 1/2 lemon (or the whole thing, depending on taste)
couple of dashes of hot sauce
a small squirt of honey
salt & pepper to taste

Use a large knife to thinly chop up the broccoli into a rough slaw. Dump into a medium sized bowl along with the red onion, almonds, and cranberries. Put the remaining ingredients into a small jar with a lid and shake. Taste & adjust seasoning if necessary. Pour onto broccoli slaw and toss until everything is coated.

GUEST BLOGGER KIM: Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

My dear friend Kim made these delectable Pumpkin Chocolate Chip cookies and I had to share them with everyone because they were THAT good and actually not horribly bad for you. She yoinked the recipe from SporkorFoon which is a super fun blog if you haven’t checked it out yet!

Enough of this squash-talk… let’s make some cookies with Kim!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies adapted from Joy the Baker 

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

  • 1 teaspoon soda

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger

  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

  • 2 eggs

  • 1 cup sugar

  • 1/2 cup canola or corn oil

  • 1 cup canned pumpkin

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1 cup chocolate chips, or any chip you like

Position a rack in the middle of the oven . Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and butter the paper.

Stir the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices together in a medium bowl and set aside. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the eggs and sugar until smooth and lightened in color, about 1 minute. Stop the mixer and scrape the sides of the bowl as needed during mixing. On low speed, mix the oil, pumpkin, and vanilla until blended. Mix in the flour mixture to incorporate it. Mix in the chips. 

 

Using an ice cream scoop with a 1/4-cup capacity, scoop mounds of the dough onto the prepared baking sheets, spacing the cookies at least 2 1/2-inches apart. You could also simply use a 1/4-cup measuring cup if you don’t have a scoop. Use a thin metal spatula to smooth and flatten the rounds.

Bake the cookies one sheet at a time until the tops feel firm and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out dry, about 16 minutes. Cool them on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then use a wide metal spatula to transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool cimpletely.

Dust the cooled cookies lightly with powdered sugar. The cookies can be stored in a tightly covered container at room temperature for up to 4 days.

Blackberry Jam Almond Bars

Went to a lovely housewarming party this past weekend and decided to take a jab at these Blackberry Jam Almond Bars I stumbled upon over at 17 and Baking (Elissa is amazing if you haven’t checked out her blog yet). I think she yoinked the recipe from Sophistimom but, either way, I’m giving her the credit for posting the recipe and for the image above since I didn’t get a chance to snap a photo.

Anyway, they were super easy to make and came out delightful. The drizzle of frosting added that perfect bit of extra almond flavor which paired well with the tartness of the blackberry jam.

We be Jammin’

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Easy Spicy Chicken Soft-Shell Tacos

I decided to soak some black beans all day so I could come home and make one of my favorite foods, tacos! It’s amazing how quickly a taco/burrito can go from healthy to absolutely horrible for you. Places like Chipotle succeed greatly in that department and as much as I love super-burritos, I tend to keep things on the waistline-conscious side when it comes to actual mealtime.

Tonight was simple - foolproof, really. A quick solo meal or multiply it for the whole family. The trick to keeping it healthy? Cut out the cheese and only use a tablespoon or two of light sour cream. Cut out the salsa (even though it’s my favorite condiment it contains a copious amount of sodium) and stick to spices.

Grab your sombrero, we’re makin’ tacos!

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