Welcome to my blog. My blogging journey began about in August 2009 as a photo-a-day blog which has since transitioned to combine my love of good food and photography. Today, using as many local and fresh ingredients as we can, my boyfriend and myself spend time researching recipes, making our own adaptations, cooking, taking photos, eating, and finally reflecting on all or part of the above listed process here. I hope you take the time to not only read and look at our photos, but please cook some of the recipes yourself. You are invited and encourage to leave feedback as we continue our culinary journey!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Cauliflower Cake

I admit I've been bad about updating the blog lately. With the holidays, time seems to be moving quicker and there are more things to accomplish in that shorter length of time! Yes, I realize that isn't actually true but my perception explains why there have been fewer blog updates.

I also admit that this recipe is again borrowed from Smitten Kitchen. I found myself curious about this recipe and decided to give it a try. Great with a salad for a small meal, or as a sidedish for something more substantial. Since there are only two of us, I halved the recipe from Smitten Kitchen. Also, I skipped the sesame seed crust, so if you are looking for something more fancy, get the recipe from the Smitten Kitchen website! Or, just try the modified version below.

Cauliflower Cake
3/4 medium cauliflower
1/2 large red onion, peeled and chopped
4 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
5 large eggs
3/4 cups all purpose flour
1/14 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 cups finely grated parmesan cheese
Salt and black pepper

Boil cauliflower florets for 15-20 minutes until soft. Be sure to add a pinch of salt to the water. While cooking the cauliflower, prepare the rest of the ingredients. Chop the red onion, but be sure to keep a few rings intact for decoration at the top of your cake. Cook the onion in a bit of olive oil with the rosemary for 5-10 minutes.

Whisk eggs, olive oil, and onion mixture together in a large bowl. Add basil. In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, and parmesan cheese along with 1 teaspoon of salt and a generous amount of black pepper. Add to egg mixture. Then, slowly stir in cauliflower.

Put the mixture in an oven proof pan, arrange the onion rings on top of the batter, and bake for 40 minutes at 350 degrees.

Again, even kitten Ilaria likes it! Ilaria was adopted today, and is now in her forever home. Maybe they will also make her some Cauliflower cake.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Thai Style Peanut Pork Stew

Per recommendation from my dear friend Emily, I tested this recipe out. I was a bit hesitant because of the strange combination of peanut butter and teriyaki sauce, but this recipe is a delicacy. The flavor is strong, but the flavor will leave you wanting more for the next few days!

Thai Syle Peanut Pork Stew
  • Pork roast, cut into 3-4 pieces
  • 2 cups cut red bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup teriyaki sauce
  • 4 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons crushed red pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 5 cups cooked rice
  • chopped green onions
  • peanuts
  • 2 limes cut into wedges
Place pork, bell pepper, garlic, teriyaki sauce, white vinegar, and crushed red pepper in a crockpot and cook on low for 8 hours. Remove the pork from slow cooker and chop into small pieces. Stir peanut butter into the liquid in the slow cooker and stir. Cook rice and serve 3/4 cup rice with 3/4 cup stew. Top with a spoonful of green onions, a spoonful of peanuts, and 1/2 lime wedges.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Acorn Squash

In honor of the Thanksgiving holiday, here are some photos of one traditional Thanksgiving side-dish: acorn squash. Easy as pie (admittedly this expression is not very good as making pie is actually exceptionally difficult, but you know what I mean): simply cut the acorn squash in half, season with butter, cinnamon, brown sugar, salt, and pepper and bake in the oven at 400 degrees for about an hour, or until soft. Enough for two people.

We're headed home for Thanksgiving and my mom will be doing the cooking, but as always, I have some backlog (and some good recipes backlogged as well: cauliflower cake and pork thai peanut stew if either of those get you excited), so I will still update from there. Happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 20, 2010


Lasagna is one of my all time favorite dishes. With your already made pre-frozen  bolognese sauce this recipe is a cinch.You will need to make bechamel sauce to layer with your bolognese sauce, and in addition you will also need grated parmesan cheese and no-boil lasagna noodles.

Bechamel Sauce
60 g butter
60 g flour
0.6. liters milk

I apologize again for the metric measurements. This is another recipe of Daniele's. Begin by melting the butter in a saucepan and after the butter is completely melted, pour the flour in slowly, stirring with spoon. When the mixture becomes a uniform consistency, start adding the milk to the recipe in small quantities. Make sure to keep stirring the mixture so that there are no clumps. Once the milk is added to the recipe, boil the mixture for at least 20 minutes.

After your bechamel sauce is prepared, you are ready to begin putting together your lasagna. Defrost some of your already prepared bolognese sauce. Using a pyrex pan, cover the bottom of the pan with a thin layer of bechamel sauce so the noodles don't stick to the pan. Then, add one layer of  no-boil lasagna noodles. After that, one layer of bologese sauce, bechamel sauce, and grated parmesan cheese. Continue the layering in this order until you have 4-5 layers.

Bake your lasagna at 400 degrees for one hour. Check on the lasagna to ensure the recipe is not getting too dry, the lasagna will be cooked when the noodles are soft, which you can check by sticking a fork in the lasagna. Serve warm with grated parmesan cheese.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Pomegranate Cheesecake with Dark Chocolate Ganache Frosting

Welcome to another guest blogger, my very own brother, Brian! You might remember Emily's fantastic guest blog last summer: pita and cucumber sauce. (Shameless plug, if you yourself would like to be a guest blogger, just email me a recipe and some photos of the process!)

Some of you might be aware that while my tastes lean towards the savory, my brother's lean towards the sweet. I cook and he bakes. You should also be aware that as an engineer, he is more exact in his recipes than I am and therefore you will find even calorie calculations included.

Needless to say, I can't wait to try this one when I head home for Thanksgiving!

I, like my sister, am a fan of a good cheesecake. I also like trying things a bit different which is how I ended up at a frosted pomegranate cheesecake. To cut down a bit on the calories and fat, you can leave the frosting off, but the cheesecake will probably be on the sweet side. The dark chocolate cuts the sweetness down and is a good contrast to the pomegranate so I recommend using it. Since this is a bit less healthy than other things posted here, I went ahead and determined the nutritional facts for the cheesecake as prepared by myself.

Nutrition Facts (determined with 80% of frosting used)
Serving Size: 1 large piece (1/12 cheesecake)

Calories: 638
Calories from Fat: 358

Total Fat: 41g (63%)
Saturated Fat: 24g (120%)
Trans Fat: 0g
Cholesterol: 156g (52%)
Sodium: 339mg (14%)
Total Carbohydrate: 60g (20%)
Dietary Fiber: 3g (12%)
Sugars: 43 g
Protein: 10 g

Vitamin A: 20%
Vitamin C: 4%
Calcium: 7%
Iron: 15%

22 Double Stuf Oreos (2 rows of a package), crushed
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup milk
3 eggs
2/3 cup sour cream
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
12 fl oz pomegranate juice, reduced to about 1/2 cup (I used POM Wonderful)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Frosting Topping
2/3 cup heavy whipping cream
1 1/3 cup 70% cacao chocolate chips, finely chopped
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
Arils from 1 medium pomegranate

A couple notes on the ingredients:
Anywhere between about 15 and 22 Oreos will work for the crust. Using the recommended amount will give a crust about 3/8” thick.

I strongly advise using a food processor to crush the Oreos. This prevents the “Stuf” from separating out.

If you can find it, I highly recommend substituting pomegranate concentrate for the juice that is called for. It will be cheaper, and you won’t need to reduce it. I would use 4 Tbsp concentrate to substitute for the juice. You don’t need to add water to make up for the difference in liquid since the cheesecake batter will be fluid enough without it. Just keep in mind it will likely be done about 5 minutes sooner if water is not added.

Since 70% cacao chocolate chips aren’t in every store, the equivalent to this would be 1 cup bittersweet (60% cacao) chocolate chips and 2 oz unsweetened chocolate.

The chocolate chips will probably melt fine without chopping them, so if you don’t have a food processor to do this it should still work.

To ensure a cheesecake without clumps it is essential to let all of the ingredients come to room temperature before you start. The cream cheese takes a long time to come to room temperature so I would set this out a couple hours before you plan on starting.

To reduce the pomegranate juice:
I debated whether I wanted to reduce the juice by boiling it or freezing it and I decided on freezing to reduce the juice because I was afraid boiling it would ruin the flavor.

Pour the pomegranate juice into a clear plastic bottle with a neck such as an empty and cleaned soda bottle. Loosely cap the bottle and place it in the freezer until the juice is completely frozen. Once frozen, take the bottle out of the freezer and set it up so it can drip into another container. You will want to stop the process once most of the ice is a very light color. I don’t remember exactly how long the drip melting process took, but I think it was around 2-3 hours the first time. Do not try to speed the process up by heating the bottle. This will cause both the water and the juice to melt which is not what we want. It took me two times to reduce the juice to about 1/2 cup, and each time the juice was reduced by about half. It is fine if your juice gets reduced more than this, but you do not want any more than that amount. The reason this works is the fruit juice and dissolved sugar has a lower freezing point than the water in the juice, thus it melts faster.

To make the cheesecake:
Line the bottom of a 9” springform pan with parchment paper. It is easiest to just stick a square piece of it on the bottom of the pan before you close it, and let the excess just hang on the outside of the pan. If you do this, then cover the parchment paper on the outside bottom of the pan with aluminum foil so that your oven doesn’t start smoking when you are baking (not that I would know from experience or anything).

Mix the Oreo crumbs with the melted butter and press it into the bottom of the springform pan.

Preheat the oven to 350 F. In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add the sugar and mix again until smooth. Add the milk and mix until well blended. Mix in the eggs one at a time. Mix in the sour cream, flour, reduced pomegranate juice, and vanilla extract until smooth. Pour this filling into the prepared springform pan.

Bake in the preheated oven for about 60-65 minutes. The cheesecake is done when it moves slightly in the center when tapped but does not move around the edges. Turn the oven off and crack the oven door to let the cheesecake cool in the oven. Take the cheesecake out of the oven when it is cool enough to pick up with bare hands (after about 1-2 hours cooling in the oven). This prevents the cheesecake from falling significantly and helps prevent cracking. Since this cheesecake is frosted and cracks won’t be visible, if you don’t have time to leave it in your oven for a couple hours after it bakes you can take it out right when it finishes and let it cool outside the oven. Run a knife around the edges of the springform pan and chill the cheesecake in the refrigerator (still in the springform pan) for at least an hour after it has cooled to room temperature. This will firm it up a bit more to make frosting it easier and will also make removing it from the springform pan easier.

To make the dark chocolate ganache frosting:
I like to have a bit extra frosting when I make it because it is much better to have a little more than I need so I don’t need to start over spreading the frosting because I put it on to thick. I only used about 80% of the frosting on the actual cheesecake, but I would recommend using all of it. I had about a 1/4" thick layer of frosting on the top and very little on the sides, so about 1/4” over all of it plus a boarder on top should use up all the frosting.

Put the chopped chocolate into a mixing bowl. In a heavy saucepan combine the cream and corn syrup and bring to a boil over medium heat. Remove the pan from the heat and immediately pour the mixture into a mixing bowl over the chocolate and cover the bowl with a towel or plastic wrap. Let it sit covered for 2 minutes to let the chocolate melt. Stir until the chocolate is completely melted and the sauce is very smooth. It is ok if some of the chocolate is separated. Cool the ganache in the freezer or refrigerator for a few minutes until it is cool. Once cool, whip the ganache with a mixer fitted with whisk attachment until it holds stiff peaks. The ganache will change to a much lighter color when you are whipping it.

Take the cheesecake out of the refrigerator and remove it from the springform pan. Spread the frosting over all of the cheesecake about 1/4” thick. Pipe a boarder around the top to contain the pomegranate arils. Pour all of the pomegranate arils evenly onto the frosting inside the boarder. Let the cheesecake cool for at least another hour to allow the frosting to harden before serving it.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Pumpkin Soup

To be true to the season, I tried my hand at a variety of pumpkin recipes. I admit that I haven't perfected them. Yet, its a start-I don't usually cook anything pumpkin.

Pumpkin Soup
  • 3cups chicken stock
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups pumpkin puree
  • chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • black pepper 
Heat stock, salt, pumpkin, onion, thyme, garlic, and a pinch of black pepper in a large pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 20 minutes uncovered. Puree the soup in a blender. Return to pan, and bring to a boil again. Reduce heat to low, and simmer for another 15 minutes, uncovered. Stir in heavy cream. Pour into soup bowls and garnish with fresh parsley. 

Soup served with baked sweet potato with butter, cinnamon, and brown sugar.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Breaded Chicken Breasts

For something a little bit different but not too difficult, last week D and I breaded chicken breasts to serve with steamed broccoli. The result was tasty-a recipe to repeat.

Breaded Chicken Breasts
  • 2 large chicken breasts
  • 2 eggs
  • bread crumbs
  • grated parmesan cheese
  • salt
  • pepper
  • canola oil (3 cups)
Slice the chicken breasts into very thin pieces. Place the two eggs in a bowl and whisk. In a separate bowl mix together even portions of parmesan cheese and bread crumbs. Also add a little bit of salt and pepper.

In a pan, heat up 3 cups canola oil. Coat one section of the chicken breasts with the raw egg, and then in the bread crumb mixture. Repeat for all of the portions of chicken. Cook in oil until crispy and brown, about 5 minutes on each side.

For an extra treat, mix the excess egg, breadcrumbs, and parmesan together and fry in the oil for a fried omlette. Even the kitten likes it!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Onion Bagels

I enjoyed the cinnamon raisin bagels I made just last month, so I decided to give bagels another go. Daniele preferred this kind, since he would rather have savory breads vs. sweet ones. However, I preferred the cinnamon raison version-what can I say? It's the best kind of bagel.

The onion bagels were tasty though and did have one advantage over over the other type: the ability to serve with the leftover smoked salmon from the salmon and cream pasta.

Onion bagels
  • 1 package dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm water 
  • 1 small onion, chopped and sauted
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
Mix dry yeast with 1 cup warm water and let sit for 10 minutes. Mix in whole wheat flour, salt, and all-purpose flour. Add sauteed onions and mix dough together so it is one consistency. Add water or flour as necessary so that all of the flour is absorbed and the mixture is not too sticky.

Place dough in a greased bowl, cover, and let rise until doubled in size (about 1 hour). Boil water in a large pot. While you are waiting, form your dough mixture into balls and poke a hole in the middle. Boil each bagel for 7 minutes, flipping halfway. Dry bagels with a paper towel and then bake at 450 for 30 minutes or until golden brown. Serve with your favorite bagel topping, whether that be peanut butter, nutella, margarine, or cream cheese and lox!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Salmon and Cream pasta

Similar to the cream and sausage pasta Daniele made a few weeks ago, this is one of our more hearty dishes, and yet-one of my favorites. I love smoked salmon so anything that includes that simple ingredient I will devour enjoyably. I highly recommend this delectable dish which includes this wonderful ingredient and only takes a few moments to prepare.

Salmon and Cream Pasta
  • 1 small yellow onion
  • smoked salmon
  • heavy whipping cream
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper
  • spaghetti noodles
  • fresh parsley
You all have probably figured out by now that I am not good with proportions. But, with this recipe proportions are not actually that important as you can have more or less cream or salmon depending on how you think you would prefer this dish. Begin preparing the dish by chopping the onion and sauteing in a bit of olive oil.  When the onion is cooked, add smoked salmon and cook for about 3 minutes before adding whipping cream. Cook on low for about 15 minutes, sprinkling with salt and pepper. Serve sauce over cooked spaghetti noodles and mix in a pinch of fresh parsley.

I guess another thing I should add about this recipe is that it is traditional to serve around Christmas. So, everyone reading this recipe who will be with me during the holidays, I guess you have something to look forward to!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Pumpkin Muffins

Adapted from a recipe I found online and perfect for the season.

Pumpkin Muffins
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole-grain flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons unsulphered molasses
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cup canned pumpkin
  • 2 teaspoons brandy
  • 1/3 cup skim milk
  • 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. In a bowl, mix together the flours, baking powder, salt, cinnamin, ginger, and nutmeg. In a seperate bowl, mix together the brown sugar, molasses, oil, eggs, pumpkin, and brandy. Then mix the wet and dry mixtures together; add skim milk and whipping cream.

Pour the batter into a muffin pan (use liners, or grease the pan). This recipe will make 12 muffins. Cook for approximately 30 minutes.

I guess I should add that while we did enjoy this pumpkin muffin recipe, it wasn't my favorite. I think this is because originally I was going to make pumpkin pancakes but then I realized that actually, I did not have time and also, neither D or I like pancakes so I ended up just throwing some stuff together. The taste was good, don't get me wrong, it just could have been better. So before making this recipe yourself, maybe ask around for a few other recommendations. Do you have a favorite pumpkin bread or muffin recipe? If so, comment below!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


Meatballs are an Italian favorite. Here in the US we often serve meatballs on top of spaghetti, but Daniele would shudder to hear that I secretly wanted some spaghetti with the wonderful meatballs he cooked.

Seriously though, the meatballs were wonderful by themselves and no spaghetti was necessary to fill me up. The portion was large and the flavor was so rich that I couldn't imagine having eaten these meatballs in any other way then how they were served.

1/3 lb ground beef
1/3 lb ground pork
1/3 lb ground veal
1 egg
4 tbs parmesan cheese
2 tbs bread crumbs
1 can peas
1 can crushed tomatoes
2 cups canola oil

In a bowl, mix together ground meats, parmesan cheese, bread crumbs, egg, and a pinch of nutmeg and salt. Form small balls with the mixture and set on a plate. Roll the balls in bread crumbs so they are coated on all sides.  Heat up the canola oil and cook the meatballs for 2 minutes on one side, flip over, and repeat on the other side and then remove from the oil. In a separate pan, heat up the can of crushed tomatoes and a drained can of peas. Put the meatballs in the mixture and cook on low for 20 minutes. Serve warm and enjoy.

Daniele wants me to add that although I thought the tomato and pea mixture was the most perfect way to serve these meatballs (and that is saying a lot because I strongly dislike peas), you can also cook the meatballs the same way, but serve them in a different sauce.