Sunday, March 25, 2012


I have been tasked with making doughnuts for a work meeting. I did a test run today and am so glad that I was able to "quality control" them. ie Eat several. I found this recipe by Fabio Viviani. They were surprisingly simple to make and not as intimidating as I anticipated. These doughnuts are Italian-style, so no holes... and they're made with potatoes. I was expecting them to be heavy due to the potatoes, but they were simply fluffy.

2 medium Russet potatoes, peeled and quartered
1 cup plus 1/4 cup milk, warmed (I used skim milk)
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
3/4 cup lard (I substituted unsalted butter at room temp)
3/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
4 1/2 cup bread flour
1 teaspoon salt
Extra light olive oil for frying (I substituted vegetable oil)
Powdered sugar for dusting
1 tablespoon melted unsalted butter

Boil the potatoes and cool prior to mashing.

In a standing mixer with the hook attachment, mix the milk, eggs, sugar, and yeast on low for two minutes, allowing the yeast to activate.

Add the mashed potatoes and lard. Mix for one minute, then add the flour one cup at a time. Then add the salt and mix until dough is soft.

Turn dough on a floured surface and knead for a couple of minutes. Add flour as necessary to ensure the dough is soft, but not sticky.

Using a biscuit cutter, cut out rounds and place about two inches apart on a greased baking sheet. Cover and allow to rise for about 30 minutes.

Heat the oil in a large sauce pan until 340 degrees (use a thermometer!). Cook dough in batches, flipping constantly to ensure even color.

Remove from oil when lightly browned and place on paper towels to dry. Brush with the melted butter and sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Glazed Goat Cheese Gratin

Here is another recipe from the most recent Food & Wine magazine issue. This one didn't need many was incredible! This afternoon, I had two friends over and it had been a while since the three of us have gotten together. Great conversation, great friends, and great food...what more could anyone ask for! I didn't think about taking a picture until we had plowed through almost all of it. Oops.

1 lb plain goat cheese
6 tablespoons apricot preserves (I was generous here)
4-6 Peppadew peppers
1 pickled jalapeno, seeds removed
2 tablespoons cocktail onions (*see note below)
2 tablespoons dijon mustard
1 1/2 tablespoons dry sherry

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Press the goat cheese into a small baking dish (no need to spray with non-stick spray).

Add the Peppadews, jalapeno, and onions in a food processor and mince well. Transfer to a small bowl. Add the mustard, sherry, and preserves. Combine well. Spread the mixture over the goat cheese. Bake for about five minutes. Then increase the heat to broil and cook another few minutes until bubbling. Serve while warm with baquette slices.

*I couldn't find cocktail onions so....

1 small onion, peeled, chopped in large pieces
3 tablespoons vinegar
Pinch of salt
Pinch of tumeric
Pinch of paprika

Boil just enough water to cover the onions. Cook at a rapid boil for 5 minutes. Drain off water, then over medium-high heat, add the vingar, salt, tumeric, and paprika. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Drain and then add to the food processor. Continue the recipe as noted above.

Smoky Popcorn

The most recent Food & Wine magazine is particularly good in my opinion. Several recipes I would actually make! There are so many times in those types of magazines that I see these great recipes, but probably wouldn't ever make them (even if they are pretty to look at). This recipe is one that I have modified slightly. The original called for seasoned fish salt things and I'm not the biggest fan of fish in my popcorn...okay, so I've never tried it, but it sounded a little too far out of my comfort zone. So, this is the Food & Wine's smoky popcorn...with modifications.

¼ cup vegetable oil
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons popping corn
1 teaspoon smoked hot Spanish paprika
½ tablespoon sugar
2 pinches of salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and kept warm

In large saucepan, combine the oil and corn. Cover and cook over medium heat until it starts to pop. Shake pan and cook until the popping stops.

Transfer to large bowl. Sprinkle with paprika, sugar, and salt. Drizzle with butter and toss. Season with salt and toss again.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Cake

A couple of weeks ago, it was my friend's birthday. I had mentioned an ice cream cake that I made for him and since I went on vacation, I promptly forgot about posting it. But, now that I'm back to the grind, I am remember all those little things I procrastinated with...I'm really good at procrastination I've discovered. Anyway, here's the ice cream cake!

Chocolate Cake:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 ounce unsweetened chocolate, melted
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and spray a small 6 inch cake pan with non-stick cooking spray (you may use a larger cake pan for a larger cake, but double the recipe).
In a medium bowl, combine the flour, sugar, salt, and baking soda. In another large bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, and egg. Add the chocolate, vanilla, and butter to the buttermilk mixture. Combine well. Then add the flour mixture. Mix well. Bake for about 25 minutes, or until a inserted toothpick comes out clean.
Cool completely and then slice in half horizontally so the cake is in two layers. Set aside.
Ice Cream:
about 2 cups mint chocolate chip ice cream, soften at room temperature for about 30 minutes
After the cake has finished baking, remove the cake from the pan and allow to cool. Line the pan with waxed paper. Scoop the ice cream into the pan and using a spatula, press the ice cream into all corners and even the top. Cover with plastic wrap and then aluminum foil and freeze for at least 4 hours (overnight is ideal).
1 tub of whipped topping, softened
mini chocolate chips for decoration
Remove the ice cream from the freezer and pan. Sandwich the ice cream between the two cake layers. Using a spatula, even the sides in case some of the ice cream hangs over the edges.
Cover the entire cake with the whipped topping and decorate with the chocolate chips. Return to the freezer for another 4 hours. To cut, remove from freezer about 15-20 minutes before serving.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Vanilla Cupcakes with Nutella Frosting

My friend Brianna gave me a recipe for Nutella frosting recently. Since that time, I have been obsessing thinking about when I could make them. I went to her house last night for dinner and I pounced on the opportunity to make cupcakes with them. I did use a chocolate-hazelnut spread, as opposed to Nutella...what can I say, I'm cheap. But, it works just the same.


3 egg whites
6 tablespoons granulated sugar
6 tablespoons melted butter
3 tablespoons vanilla (it is vanilla cupcakes after all!)
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 1/2 tablespoons milk

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a muffin pan (makes 6 cupcakes).

In a medium bowl, combine the egg whites and sugar. Whisk well. Add the vanilla and butter. Add the dry ingredients. Add the milk and pour into the prepared pan. Bake for 8-10 minutes.


1/3 cup cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup Nutella, or other chocolate hazelnut spread, softened
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup of milk

In a large bowl, combing the cream cheese, Nutella, butter, and vanilla together. Add the powdered sugar and milk. Add more milk/powdered sugar to get to your desired consistency. Frost the cupcakes.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Cheesecake Filled Strawberry Cupcakes

One year ago, my best friend gave birth to the most beautiful baby girl ever! Camille is such a sweetheart and to celebrate, her mom made these wonderful cupcakes. And wow, sugar rush! Camille practically inhaled them. Think she liked it! Surprisingly she actually managed to get about 95% of it in her mouth as opposed to on her. :-)


1 strawberry cake mix
2/3 cups yogurt or sour cream
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup water
2 eggs

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl. Fill prepared cupcake tins 3/4 of the way full.


8 ounces cream cheese, softened
6 ounces vanilla yogurt
1/4 cup granulated sugar

In a medium bowl, cream with cream cheese, yogurt and sugar together until smooth.

Drop a large tablespoon of the filling in the middle of each of the cupcake batter. (Do not push down.)

Bake for 20-25 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the frosting


8 ounces cream cheese
1/2 cup strawberry preserves
1 cup powdered sugar

In a large bowl, mix with an electric mixer, the cream cheese and preserves. Add the sugar in batches and cream until smooth. Top the cooled cupcakes.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Lentil Soup

I spent this evening with my good friend Kelly, and her husband and two boys. Since she is a great friend, she allowed me to take over her kitchen for dinner. I have been wanting to try out lentil soup for a while now (ever since another friend made some for lunch and totally hit the spot on a cold winter day). Even though it is about 85 degrees outside and the soup was quite hearty, it still hit the spot. Thanks Kelly! And now a commentary from the lovely Kelly herself....

Lauren tore it up in the kitchen & the soup turned out AMAZING!! The flavor of the tomatos really enhanced this soup. Thank you Lauren!!! You are welcome to cook here any time :-)

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup carrots, chopped
1 1/2 medium onions, chopped
4 large celery stalks, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
8 cups vegetable broth
1 14 ounce can diced tomatoes
1 1/2 cup lentils (I used green)
1 tablespoon oregano
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
3 bay leaves

In a large sauce pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the carrots, onion, celery, and garlic. Cook for about 10-12 minutes, until the onions and garlic start to brown.

Add the broth, tomatoes, and lentils. Combine well and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low and cover. Allow to cook for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season with the oregano, salt, pepper, and bay leaves.

Remove the bay leaves and discard. Add the soup on batches to a blender or food processor and blend well until smooth. Serve while hot.

Sunday, March 4, 2012


 This evening, I spent it at my friends' house watching The Walking Dead. I am not a fan of scary movies, shows, and whatnot, but this show has me addicted. Unfortunately, this also means that I am in for a nightmare sometime this week. Goody. But, I digress. In honor of Chris' birthday this week, I made jambalaya and a mint chocolate chip ice cream cake (post to come shortly). It completely slipped my mind to take a photo, so sorry for the lack thereof!

1 green bell pepper, sliced
1 red bell pepper, sliced
1 yellow bell pepper, sliced
1 small onion, sliced
2 chicken breasts, skinless, in 1 inch strips
2 links smoked turkey sausage, cut into 1/2 inch slices
4 tomatoes, chopped (with juice)
2 cups water
1 package jambalaya rice mix
1/2 small jalapeno (optional)

In a large crock pot, place the bell peppers and onion. Top with the chicken and turkey. Then place the tomatoes on top. Add the jalapeno if wanted. Add the water and cook on low for 5 hours. Then add the rice and mix well. Cook for another hour and serve while warm.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Egg White Salad with Avocado

I LOVE eggs. Deviled eggs, egg salad, scrambled, name it. Unfortunately, egg salad isn't exactly the best for you with all that mayo. Here's a healthy alternative that combines eggs with another food that I love...avocados. Mmmm

1/2 avocado
3 eggs, boiled
1 teaspoon mustard
pinch of salt

Scoop out the avocado flesh and chop into large pieces. Place in a small bowl. Peel the eggs and cut into large pieces as well, removing and discarding the yolk. Add the egg whites, mustard and pinch of salt to the bowl. Mix briefly and enjoy!.