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Showing posts from March, 2016

D's Minty Double Chocolate Cookies

I guess I'm not the only one who has a to-cook list during our vacations. The Enthusiastic Kitchen Elf insisted that we bake cookies tonight. He wanted to make double chocolate chip cookies with mint extract and asked me to take him to the grocery store. Okay. I'm just grateful that there's a Safeway just across the street from our timeshare. Ingredients 1/2 C butter 2 C semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided 3/4 C organic granulated sugar 1/3 C unsweetened cocoa powder 1 C flour 1/2 t salt 1 t baking powder 1 t pure mint extract 1 large egg 1/2 C pecan pieces Procedure Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place 1 C chocolate chips and butter into a small saucepan. Heat over low heat until everything is melted and smooth. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the sugar, cocoa powder, flour, salt, and baking powder. Add the egg and fold it in with a spatula. Pour in the melted chocolate-butter mixtur

D's Dairy-Free Crêpes

It's laughable, really, that I cannot make pancakes but I make a mean crêpe. If someone can please give me a no-fail pancake recipe, I would be eternally grateful. But one upside: I've made crêpes so many times, D can make them on his own with virtually no help from me. This morning, he bellowed from his room."Mommy, can we have crêpes for breakfast?" Sure. Can you make them? "Okay." I still had to get up and make sure that our seriously rudimentary kitchen in this timeshare actually had everything he needed. One thing I was missing: milk. I guess we've made hot chocolate too many times already this week. So, he used almond milk. Ingredients  makes between 5 to 6 crêpes 1/2 C flour 1 large egg 1 C almond milk butter for greasing the pan jam or jelly for serving (we had some plum jam from a local coffee shop) Procedure Whisk everything together to form a thin batter. Heat and butter a griddle or frying pan over medium heat. Po

{Gluten-Free} Swiss-Parsley Yogurt Biscuits

I always forget how much my boys (yes, all three of them) enjoy biscuits and gravy for breakfast! This morning, before we headed out for a day of sledding, I baked some biscuits full of Swiss cheese and fresh parsley...and they were gluten-free for Jake. Ingredients 2 C gluten-free flour 1 T baking powder 1 t salt 1/4 t freshly ground black pepper 4 T butter, cold and cubed 3/4 C whole milk plain yogurt 1/4 C fresh parsley, chopped 1/4 C shredded Swiss cheese milk, as needed Procedure  Preheat the oven to 450° F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large mixing bowl, combine gluten-free flour, baking powder, salt, and pepper. Whisk to combine. Add butter to the dry ingredients. Gently fold the yogurt, herbs, and cheese into the dry ingredients, stirring until most of the flour is absorbed and the dough forms a shaggy ball. If the dough is too dry, add one tablespoon of milk at a time. Turn the dough out onto a floured cutting board

Steak with Onions and Pt. Reyes Original Blue + 2011 Ancient Peaks Cabernet Sauvignon

The Enthusiastic Kitchen Elf has a mind like a steel trap, especially when it comes to food. "Mommy, can we go get those bleu cheese burgers with grilled onions today?"  What are you talking about? "Remember...we went after we went sledding the last time we were here." Two years ago?!? That's on the completely other side of the lake from where we are. We're not going. [insert pouty face here] I did placate him with steak, red wine onions, and Pt. Reyes Original Blue Cheese. My kids don't get a lot in the way of expensive material things, but we do splurge on good food and good books. Ingredients   4 beef tenderloin steaks olive oil freshly ground salt freshly ground pepper 2 spring onions, trimmed and thinly sliced 1 T butter 1/2 C red wine Pt. Reyes Original Blue Cheese for serving fresh parsley for serving (optional) Procedure Red Wine Onions In a large skillet, melt 1 T butter. Place the o

Meyer Lemon Squares for Nonna's Easter Brunch

As a second sweet for Nonna's brunch, the Enthusiastic Kitchen Elf and I made some Meyer lemon squares. Crust Ingredients   makes 2 pans of lemon squares 4 C flour 1 C organic powdered sugar 1-1/2 C butter (3 sticks) 2 to 3 T cold water 2 to 3 T limoncello (or more water if you don't want to use alcohol) zest from 1 organic Meyer lemon Topping Ingredients 8 eggs 3 C organic granulated sugar 1/2 C flour 1 t baking powder zest from 2 to 3 organic Meyer lemons 3/4 C freshly squeezed lemon juice organic powedered sugar for serving Procedure Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place flour and powdered sugar into a mixing bowl. Rub in butter till the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Alternate between water and limoncello (if using) until the mixture forms a ball. Press the dough into two baking dishes. Divide the lemon zest between the two pans and press the zest into the crust. Bake for 20 minutes until golden brown. In the meantime, make the to

Foodie Reads 2016: Exceptionally Weird, Wild, and Wonderful Foods

Spring break is great for my March  Foodie Reads 2016 Challenge , actually it's been fantastic for reading in general. I read an entire book this morning while the boys played at the lake's edge. They were out, taking photos such as these, while I stayed in front of the fire. Photo by R When they came in, the Precise Kitchen Elf and I sat down together and read  Andrew Zimmern's Field Guide to Exceptionally Weird, Wild, and Wonderful Foods: An Intrepid Eater's Digest by Andrew Zimmern* as we start prepping for the Bizarre Foods class I'm going to teach for six weeks starting toward the end of April. If you're ever seen Bizarre Foods on the Travel Channel, you know who Andrew Zimmern is. He's an intrepid eater that makes me realize that I'm really not that adventurous. I won't tip my hat as to what R and I have planned for class, but there are a few chapters that we've already explored. Well, we've cooked with cuttlefish in

Espresso Brownies for Nonna's Easter Brunch

Originally I had suggested a cheesecake for Nonna's Easter brunch. D countered that his apple pie was better. It's possible. But, in the end, Nonna, asked us to make "some easy." So we went with lemon squares and brownies. For the brownies, I added in some ACME Coffee Motor City Espresso. When I dropped off the pan, my mom wrinkled her nose a little and said they looked naked. Okay. I told her pick up some dulce de leche and coffee beans for garnish. She did! Ingredients 4 large eggs 1 C organic granulated sugar 1 C organic brown sugar 1 T honey 1/2 olive oil 1-1/4 C unsweetened cocoa powder 2 T ground coffee beans, espresso roasted and finely ground 2 t pure vanilla extract 1/2 C flour  1/2 t salt dulce de leche, for garnish (optional) coffee beans, for garnish (optional) Procedure Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Butter an 8-inch square pan. In a large mixing bowl add all ingredients, except flour, and mix to combine. Add flour and

The Enthusiastic Kitchen Elf's Easter Sparklers

Remember when the Enthusiastic Kitchen Elf criticized my menu for Nonna's Easter brunch? You can read that story: here . Apparently she needed drink pairings. D came up with three for her. He decreed that we were going to make a trio of sparklers for her; and they had to be Easter eggs, too. From left to right: Cucumber-Beet, Lemon-Basil, Roasted Watermelon-Mint. He made the syrups and Nonna needed to mix them at the table. He told her 1 C of the syrup starter to 5 or 6 C sparkling water.  Here's a photo one of her guests sent me. For all of these, D prepared the sparkler starters, placing them in a mason jar. Then he poured the hot simple syrup over the other ingredients and let the flavors meld.  Simple Syrup makes one sparkler starter, double or triple as needed  Ingredients 1 C organic granulated sugar 1 C water Procedure Place sugar and water together in a medium saucepan. Over medium heat, cook until the sugar is completely

Foodie Reads 2016: Delicious Probiotic Drinks

Spring break is great for my March  Foodie Reads 2016 Challenge . After Jake and I swapped driving duties, I read through  Delicious Probiotic Drinks  by Julia Mueller* from cover to cover. Then I read through it again, reading aloud and mentioning to him what we were going to have to try as soon as we get home. He was inspired, too. The benefits of probiotics are no secret and is something we wholeheartedly already embrace. We lacto-ferment our own veggies. And Jake has been brewing his own kombucha for a few months now though I have yet to write a post about it. We learned that if we brew kombucha with honey - instead of sugar - it's called a 'jun' and renders the drink a little bit creamy. Hmmm...I'm intrigued! With clear step-by-step directions, stunning photographs, and nearly eighty recipes this book is going to take our probiotic drink production to a whole new level. Stay tuned for our versions of beet kvass, sage lacto-fermented lemonade, s

Gorilla Poop Cookies

"Mommy, can you please make gorilla poop cookies again?" What are you talking about? "You made gorilla poop cookies a long time ago. I want you to make those again, please. You didn't have to bake them. And they have peanut butter and oats and chocolate." That does not sound familiar...and definitely doesn't sound like something I would make. "You did. Can you look up a recipe?" Okay. I made them today...and D was ecstatic. Apparently everyone in the house remembers when I made these before. Really?!? And they were all excited that I made them again. "Take a photo," commanded Jake. "Mom actually made the same thing twice."  Very funny. Though I still doubt that I ever made these, a quick search rendered lots of variations of the recipe. I mixed and matched based on what D remembers them to be. Ingredients 3 C rolled oats 1 C semi-sweet chocolate chunks 1 C organic chunky pea

{Gluten-Free} Mussels Casino + 2013 La Folette Pinot Noir

Most people go on vacation and go out to eat. Not me. I always make sure I have a full kitchen because vacation is a time when I get to catch up on my cooking to-do list. Tonight, after five hours on the road, I opened a bottle of La Folette Pinot Noir and made a gluten-free mussels casino. "You can't go wrong with bacon, Mom," noted the Precise Kitchen Elf. Yep. You're right. Bacon, shallots, and parmesan cheese are a magical combination. Ingredients 2 pounds mussels, cleaned  2 shallots, peeled and diced 4 slices bacon, diced olive oil 1/2 C gluten-free bread crumbs* 1/2 C grated parmesan cheese 1 T fresh parsley, chopped + more for serving 1-2 T olive oil + more for drizzling freshly ground salt freshly ground pepper Procedure Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. In a large skillet, cook the bacon and shallots until the fat is rendered and the shallots are caramelized. Move them to a medium mixing bowl. Place the

OLIVE You Cheesecake for My #SixteenCheesecakes Party

Jake and I are celebrating 16 years of marriage tomorrow. Sweet sixteen. On one hand that feels like a lifetime; on the other, it seems to have passed in the blink of an eye. In this past sixteen years, we've had two boys, lived in two states and five different houses, and juggled probably a dozen different jobs between us. We've traveled to Oregon, Washington, Alaska, Florida, Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona; we've visited Italy and Costa Rica. We've SCUBA'd, zip-lined, canoed, and tangoed. It's been an amazing adventure. But it's also been work. A lot of work. Don't let anyone tell you that marriage is easy. Maybe that is what makes the celebrations all the more sweet. So, why cheesecakes? you ask. Well, we had seven cheesecakes at our wedding instead of a traditional wedding cake. So, it seems a fitting way to commemorate the occasion. Last year I rallied some blogging friends to help me celebrate my 15th wedding anniversary. I was only