Sunday, July 26, 2009

-- Green is In; Fresh Herbs, Anytime --

Fresh ingredients, including herbs are the key to any great meal. I found basil, cilantro and mint at a local farmers market and potted them in medium sized planters I purchased at CB2.
They now sit on a corner of my kitchen which gets natural light. Anytime I am preparing a dish that asks for any of these herbs, I simply pick them off my urban herb garden.

Friday, July 17, 2009

-- Fresh, Easy Dinner for 2 or 20 --

After spending a day at the office the last thing anyone wants to do is spend hours making a meal. However, this doesn't mean you are destined to eat frozen meals, mac and cheese and cereal for the rest of your working days. (I have to admit I have been guilty of all the above and have no problem with it - every once in a while, you just want a little extra).

So here's a little inspiration next time you're thinking about dinner.

Capellini or Cheese Stuffed Ravioli Pomodoro


1/2 package of cheese stuffed ravioli (I found a dry variety at Trader Joe's thats fantastic so its easy to keep on hand)
1 can diced tomatoes
1 large tomatoe, cut in thick squares
1 tsp minced garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 of a med size onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons capers (optional)
1/8 tsp dry oregano
1 tablespoon tomato paste
5 leaves fresh basil
1/2 fresh mozarella ball, cubed

Boil the ravioli according to package instructions. Sautee the garlic and onion in the olive oil and add the tomatoes and paste. Cook on low heat for 10 minutes. Add tomato paste, oregano, diced fresh basil and capers. Continue to cook covered for another 5 minutes.

Drain pasta and add sauce. Sprinkle some of the fresh mozarella over it (it will start melting). Serve immediately.

For a healthier version, use capellini instead of ravioli.

Friday, July 10, 2009

-- Cookies in the Cookie Jar --

Cookies! The easiest way to bring a smile to anyone's face - kid or adult. I constantly experiment by using different kinds of chips, flavors, frostings and even sizes. This variety is a mix of chocolate and butterscotch chips. Perfect mix!

Choco-Butterscotch Chip Cookies
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 sticks of butter
2 eggs
1 cup butterscotch chips
1 cup chocolate chips

Mix the sugar, butter and eggs until combined. Add flour, salt and baking soda slowly. Fold chocolate chips in. This recipe yields about 5 dozen cookies. You can always divide everything in half if you want less cookies. Bake in a 350 oven for about 8 minutes or until you see the edges start to brown. Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

-- Royal Icing Roses; Impossible, NOT --

What better way to show off a great tasting cake than to make it really visually appealing? Here is my first shot at making roses out of royal icing. Once you get the hang of it, they are pretty easy.

Tip: Make sure you buy a flower nail at a craft store. It will make this whole process a breeze. Start at the center making a Hershey kiss out of frosting. Using a rose petal tip (I used Wilton # 104) make small 'rainbow shapes' around the base. Continue to add layers the same way until you have the desired size rose you want.

Here is a video from one of the cake decorating websites. Check it out...

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

-- The Ugly Bathroom --

Everyone has a room in their house they neglect. In my case, it was the guest bathroom. After spending most of my time re-doing the rest of the house it seems I decided to ignore this room since I rarely stepped in it. I guess the saying 'out of sight, out of mind' worked in this
case! All it took was a rainy day, a trip to Home Depot and a plan. Check out the results!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

-- Strawberry Not-so-Shortcake --

Spring and early Summer are the best times to get great strawberries. You can always find them at the supermarket but you will get the most ripe, sweet and often organic ones at local farmer's markets - You'll notice the difference once you bite into them; the inside is red instead of white like the store-bought kind. Strawberries can be used in so many ways when baking. I like to combine a sweeter frosting with some fresh fruit to balance out flavors.

I created this french vanilla cake with a strawberry filling and a vanilla buttercream frosting for a late spring BBQ. To finish it off I piped some green vines and added some fresh fruit. Note, when using strawberries do not cut them like I did! Buy smaller ones that can just be attached to the cake so they don't 'ooze' on the frosting'. This recipe works great with raspberries too.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

--Idea: The Giant Cupcake --

Who doesn't like cupcakes? These days, you can find them in every flavor known to mankind. Maybe it was Magnolia that made them so popular (the famous NYC cupcake shop featured in Sex and the City) or maybe people just realized how practical and cute they are. Bottom line, they rock! So why pay for a fancy cupcake when you can bake your own home made batch? Try making them in different sizes, it adds an interesting twist. One of my favorites is this giant cucake. I purchased a pan from Wilton and used a mix of buttercream frosting and fondant to decorate it. Every time I make one of these for a party its a hit!

Blog Widget by LinkWithin