Sunday, October 25, 2009

Homemade Oreos

I have had my eye on a homemade oreo recipe on Smitten Kitchen for months. Deb, the author of Smitten Kitchen, suggests that this recipe falls into the “you’ve been warned” category because once you make these you will have to make them a million times as everyone will love them and request them. I’m okay with that!

I grew up with an actual cookie jar that was almost always filled with oreos. We had a two cookie rule in our house so sometimes the oreos would even get stale – tragic. These days I don’t have oreos in my house unless they come in a 100-calorie pack and we all know those aren’t even close to the real thing. I have the feeling this version will get shared, and devoured before they get stale…

Happy dunking!

Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

I think it’s true you never know how much you love something until you let it go… in this case I’m not talking about some sappy love story, I’m talking about my oven! A month or so ago I was baking muffins when the second batch just wouldn’t bake. I kept adding another 3 minutes to the baking time since it didn’t dawn on me that the oven would just stop working mid-baking. Just my luck – my brand new GE oven that had plastic wrap on it when I moved in was already busted. Needless to say, I finally got it fixed. And, of course I felt compelled to put it to good use.

This summer one of my mom’s friends baked some cookies for her. They were so good she refused to bring them to a family BBQ and froze them to enjoy on her own terms. Now, for anyone who knows my mom, that is saying a LOT, because she could sit with a humongous bag of candy, or a big batch of brownies in front of her and have one little nibble. The woman has amazing will power and is not tempted by sweets. Sadly, I did not inherit that from her.

Anyway, I was told these delicious chocolate cookies were from a Williams-Sonoma recipe so I did some digging and here is what I found… Chocolate Crinkle Cookies. The best part is these are so easy… so if your oven hasn’t been used in a while, I recommend a chocolatey reunion.

Happy crinkling!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Lentil Soup

Every Friday my co-teachers and I buy lunch (instead of being frugal and bringing something from home). With the weather getting colder, one of the only things I get excited about is having soup for lunch on Fridays. Devon and Blakely has a million soup options, but some how I always get vegetarian lentil. Despite the warm, sunny day, I felt inspired to make my own today. I began my search for a recipe by looking on Epicurious. It was overwhelming - so many recipes with so many different spices and ingredients. So I called my dad who didn’t have a recipe for me. Mom was my next call, a lentil soup recipe from Moosewood Restaurant. In the end, I used the reviews from Epicurious, the recipe from my mom, and came up with my very own lentil soup recipe. The experiment was deliciously successful.

Happy soup-ing!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Grilled Peaches

Having a barbecue to use inspired grilled pizza and peaches. Admittedly, my mom does not have a lot of baking ingredients on hand, so grilled peaches was also inspired by the fact that we had butter, sugar, cinnamon and vanilla in the house. Our peaches could have been grilled a little longer, but I was getting impatient, and eaten alive… even under-grilled they were still quite good. The brown sugar topping was like the topping on a cinnabon – don’t waste any of it. Be sure to drizzle any extra on top of the peaches and ice cream.

Happy grilling!

Pesto Potato Salad with Green Beans

I just spent 3 weeks in Truro. With so much free time on my hands, I certainly had to do some cooking. It’s always fun to play in non-nyc kitchens. It’s also nice to cook with such fresh ingredients and it doesn’t hurt when your family is impressed no matter what you do! Here is recipe number one…

Summer barbecues often seem synonymous with boring potato salad. Yuck. I hate mayo and therefore most potato salads. When I came across this recipe for Pesto Potato Salad on Smitten Kitchen described as “just perfect for the mayo-phobic” it was very intriguing. Pesto, green beans, scallions, pine nut, cheese… what could be bad? Now, if you really want the potato salad to be delicious bring it to the beach for dinner like we did… eating dinner while the sun sets over the water makes any meal better.

Happy summer cooking!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Low Fat Banana Muffins

Over-ripe bananas? Not sure what to do? Here is a low-fat banana muffin recipe that puts those brown bananas to good use. I grew up eating traditional banana bread which was extra delicious because we’d eat it sliced, toasted and buttered, what could be bad? But, now that I’m a bit more calorie conscious I’d rather eat low-fat banana bread and devour high-calorie chocolate with slightly less guilt.

I experimented on my own substituting applesauce in my banana bread recipe and the result was a gummy mess. So I went on a search for recipes using yogurt or some other substitute and found one using buttermilk. (See below for how to make your own buttermilk!) This low-fat recipe calls for 1 tbls. oil and 1/3 buttermilk compared to my old version which used ½ cup butter and 1 tbls. milk – while I’m no chemist, I know that is significantly lower in fat! Unfortunately after finding the recipe online, I copied it into my cookbook and can’t seem to find it again… my apologies to the original chef for lack of credit for this recipe.

Happy Baking!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Lemon Kissed Cupcake Tarts

So, I’m not a very good blogger. I haven’t been cooking much lately, and I tend to question what meals are truly blog worthy. But, today I finally whipped up a dessert creation I’m calling “lemon kissed cupcake tarts.” When I made the fragrant yellow cake in March I had some leftovers. I tried to make thin layers but the first attempt came out way too thin so I froze them and started from scratch. Today I took the frozen layers out of the freezer, cut them in tiny circles, and frosted them with lemon frosting. Yum.

Happy leftover-ing!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Chocolate Toffee Matzo

I came across this recipe on Epicurious a few years ago. It is originally from A Treasury of Jewish Holiday Baking. The recipe is called “My Trademark, Most Requested, Absolutely Magnificent Caramel Matzoh Crunch.” Hysterical, but so accurate. The first time I made it I got so many ohhhs and ahhhs. Now, my family really does request it. I usually make a few batches to bring with me to Seders, to give out to Jewish friends as gifts, and to have at our own Seder. We have both milk and dark chocolate lovers so I make a batch of each. If you are still looking for something to do with that extra matzoh, look no further…


  • 4-6 unsalted matzohs
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter or unsalted Passover margarine
  • 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup coarsely chopped chocolate chips or semi-sweet chocolate (*I don’t measure the chocolate but I think I use about double this amount. I recommend Ghirardelli chocolate chips)
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line a large (or two smaller) cookie sheet completely with foil. Cover the bottom of the sheet with baking parchment — on top of the foil. This is very important since the mixture becomes sticky during baking.
Line the bottom of the cookie sheet evenly with the matzohs, cutting extra pieces, as required, to fit any spaces.
In a 3-quart, heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the butter or margarine and the brown sugar. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture comes to a boil (about 2 to 4 minutes). Boil for 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat and pour over the matzoh, covering completely.

Place the baking sheet in the oven and immediately reduce the heat to 350°. Bake for 15 minutes, checking every few minutes to make sure the mixture is not burning (if it seems to be browning too quickly, remove the pan from the oven, lower the heat to 325°, and replace the pan).

Remove from the oven and sprinkle immediately with the chopped chocolate or chips. Let stand for 5 minutes, then spread the melted chocolate over the matzoh.

While still warm, break into squares or odd shapes. Chill, still in the pan, in the freezer until set. (*I find it easier to freeze it first and then break it into pieces with my hands – it is a mess to cut when it is still warm)


Mom’s Brisket

My mother’s brisket is my favorite (sorry dad). It is flavorful, tender and delicious. When I was little I went through a no red meat phase, but I always made an exception for “Jewish” red meats, including corned beef and of course brisket. Since brisket is usually a family recipe my mom has made some revisions and come up with her own. Below is approximately what we’ve come up with.

Happy Brisketing!


  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Garlic powder
  • 2 medium onions (in large slices)
  • 1-2 15 oz. cans of tomato sauce
  • 1+ cups of red wine
  • 1 beef bouillon cube
  • Carrots (optional)
  • Shallots (optional)
  • Potatoes (optional)
  • Mushrooms (optional)
Directions:Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Season the brisket (we used about a 6 lb brisket) generously on both sides with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Sear the meat on the stove top until both sides are brown. Transfer the meat to a roasting pan. In the same sauce pan, add a little bit of vegetable oil and sauté the onions until golden and tender. Add the onions to the roasting pan as well.

Dissolve the beef bouillon cube in just enough hot water for it to break up. Add enough tomato sauce, red wine, and bouillon to cover the meat. (We gave my sister the hard jobs like dissolving bouillon!)

Cover with tin foil and cook for 1-2 hours. Place the meat on a cutting board with a beveled edge to catch the juices (or in our case using a cutting board in a cookie sheet did the trick). Cut thin slices of brisket, remembering to cut against the grain!! Transfer the cut brisket back into the roasting pan and add in desired vegetables. Cover and cook for an additional 2 hours or until very tender.

Brisket can be eaten that day, refrigerated, or even frozen. Re-heat at 350 degrees for about an hour before serving.

Unfortunately in the midst of serving Passover dinner I forgot to take a photo of the finished product... We served it with carrots, shallots and halved mini red and white potatoes. Yum.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Yellow Cake with Meringue Buttercream Frosting

I feel like I’ve been on a never ending search for the perfect cake recipe. I even attended a class at the Institute of Culinary Education about Making and Decorating the Perfect Birthday Cake. Unfortunately, I was not impressed with the recipe - it seemed a bit heavy. Recently, in my search for a cake, Kritsa (Krit’s sister) shared the following recipe with me. I have found that cakes made with oil, instead of butter, tend to be more moist, so this cake worked in that sense, and also included wine which was a surprisingly delicious addition.

To complement the cake, I used a strawberry filling and a meringue buttercream. I think it would also work well with a simple whipped cream frosting.

Happy baking!

Fragrant Yellow Cake

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup dry, fragrant white wine
  • 2 ½ cups flour
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 2 ¼ tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two 9-inch cake pans.

In a large bowl, beat eggs and sugar until dissolved. Add the remaining ingredients and beat for about 1 minute. Then pour mixture into the prepared pans.

Bake for about 30 minutes (until cake pulls away from the sides).

Strawberry Filling


  • 2 cups strawberries – fresh or frozen, halved
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ½ cup of water
  • 2 tsp. cornstarch

Ingredients listed are approximate. Add ingredients at your discretion and to your taste. Lemon juice, rind, additional sugar, honey etc may all be added as needed.

Add all ingredients together over low heat and mix until sauce begins to thicken. Mash strawberries or use an immersion blender to smooth out sauce.

Meringue Buttercream

*recipe from the Institute of Culinary Education


  • ½ cup egg white (about 4 large eggs)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • Pinch salt
  • 3 sticks softened unsalted butter
  • 1 tbls. vanilla

Place egg whites, sugar and salt in a medium mixing bowl. Place bowl over a pan of simmering water and whisk gently and constantly until egg whites are hot and sugar is dissolved (about 140 degrees or too hot to put your finger in for 5 seconds). This will take about 3-4 minutes.

Take the bowl off the heat and whip the meringue by machine using a whisk attachment, until thick and cooled, about 5-10 minutes. (**Be patient! It is very important that the mixture is cool to the touch so that the butter you add in next does not melt). Switch to the paddle attachment and beat in the butter until the buttercream is smooth and spreadable. (**If it becomes a funny texture at some point during the process be persistent and keep mixing until it becomes smooth).

Use the buttercream immediately or refrigerate for up to 5 days. Before using, bring buttercream to room temperature and beat smooth by machine. Just before using the buttercream add in flavoring. Beat in the vanilla and continue beating until smooth.

(For a different flavor, you can substitute 2-3 tbls. of lemon juice, 3 tbls instant coffee dissolved in 2 tbls of water, or 2-3 tbls liqueur etc. for the vanilla).


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Veggie Burger Salad

Some days I just don't feel like cooking. One of the many benefits of living in the city (yes, THE city) is that I can order any kind of food, at any time. But, that becomes unhealthy and expensive. So here is a quick, Sandra Lee style meal, that does the trick when you don't feel like making anything fancy.

A veggie burger salad may sound gross, but don't yuck my yum. This salad incorporates fruit and cheese my favorite salad ingredients. And some very low-fat protein which is important as well. It's a copy of a salad I've had from the restaurant Penelope Now that I'm not in the neighborhood anymore I've taken to making it myself.

Happy Salading!


  • Lettuce (your favorite type)
  • Red onion
  • Goat cheese
  • Granny smith apple
  • Boca Burger (or your preferred Veggie burger brand)


Pre-cook one veggie burger per person and set aside while you prepare the rest of the salad. Slice red onion and apples. Toss onions, apples, goat cheese and sliced burger into salad. Dress with a balsamic or lemon vinaigrette.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Swedish Meatballs

One day Krit requested Swedish meatballs as a fix for his terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. So, I found a recipe and whipped some up. A friend had some leftovers and has been requesting them for over a year now. For his birthday, we had a Swedish meatball making lesson. We made two batches of meatballs, rice, potatoes and cucumber salad. We tried to stick with some Swedish recipes but found that challenging… here is our best attempt. Below is the recipe for the meatballs and links to the other recipes.

Glad Matlagning! (Happy Cooking)


  • 1 cup fresh bread crumbs, dried out
  • ¾ cup milk
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 shallots, minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon caraway seeds, toasted and ground (*Yuck – I skip this step)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground white pepper
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 handful fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped, plus more for garnish
  • 1 handful fresh dill, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ cups chicken broth
  • ¾ cup sour cream
  • ¼ cup lingonberry or red currant jam, plus more for serving

In a small bowl, combine the bread crumbs and the milk; stir with a fork and let stand for 5 minutes. Put 3 tablespoons of the butter in a small skillet and let it melt over medium heat. Add the shallots, garlic, (and caraway); season with salt and pepper. Saute until softened but not browned, about 2 minutes. Put the ground beef and pork in a large bowl. Add the shallot mixture, egg, parsley, and dill; season with salt and pepper. Squeeze the milk out of the soaked bread crumbs, add the bread to the meat mixture, and mix well using your hands. Pinch off about ½ cup worth of the meat mixture and roll it around in your moistened hands to shape it into a cue ball-sized meatball. Continue forming the meatballs and putting them on a platter; there should be about 20 meatballs.

Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a large skillet over moderate heat. When the foam starts to subside, add the meatballs in batches so you don't overcrowd the pan. Saute the meatballs until well-browned on all sides, about 7 minutes total. Remove the meatballs to a platter lined with paper towels as they are done.

Discard most of the fat from the skillet and return it to the heat. Add the remaining tablespoon of butter and swirl it around to coat the pan. Sprinkle in the flour, and stir with a wooden spoon to dissolve into the fat. Pour in the chicken broth, and stir with a wooden spoon to loosen the bits from the bottom of the pan. Simmer and stir until the liquid is reduced and a sauce starts to form; season with salt and pepper. Lower the heat and stir in the sour cream. Return the meatballs to the sauce and stir in ¼ cup of the lingonberry jam until combined. Simmer until the sauce thickens slightly and the meatballs are heated through, about 15 to 20 minutes. Shower with chopped parsley and transfer to a serving bowl. Serve the Swedish meatballs with additional lingonberry jam on the side.

Additional Recipes:
Here is the recipe for the potato salad. I prefer to avoid mayonnaise, so here is a recipe with a mustard, olive oil and vinegar dressing. Delish.

The cucumber salad was simply dressed in cider vinegar, a simple syrup (sugar dissolved in water), salt and pepper. We added some slices of red onion for extra color and flavor. The detailed recipe for the cucumber salad is from the Joy of Cooking.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Split Pea Soup

This soup is the perfect example of why simple, uncomplicated food is sometimes the best. Additional vegetables, spices or ham hocks really aren't necessary. With some grilled cheese it is the perfect comforting meal for lunch or dinner on a cold day. If you want to fancy it up, make some homemade croutons and serve as the starter for a dinner party.

The recipe came from the Food Network's website. I'm not Emeril Lagasse's biggest fan, but BAM, this one is good.

Happy souping!


  • 1 Tbls. olive oil
  • 2 cups chopped yellow onion (*about 1 medium onion)
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Red pepper flakes
  • 1 Tbls. chopped garlic (*about 2 cloves)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 pound dried green split peas (rinsed)
  • 8 cups of chicken broth
  • 1 cup milk
  • Hot sauce

Heat oil in large pot over medium heat. Add onions. Season with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Saute for 2 minutes. Add garlic, bay leaf and split peas and cook, stirring for 1 minute.

Add the broth and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally for 30-45 minutes, until the peas are tender. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly. Remove the bay leaf and discard. Add the milk and blend until smooth. Add hot sauce, and additional salt and pepper to taste.

(The blending process is easiest with an immersion blender. If you don't have one, you can always do this in batches in your regular blender, but you may want to wait for it to cool a bit).

Friday, February 27, 2009

Rainbow Cookies

Rainbow cookies were never my favorite. I'm not a huge fan of marzipan or almond flavoring, but over the past few years, I have learned to love the cookies as much as everyone else. My dad, cousin Marcy and Krit love, love, love rainbow cookies. I felt compelled to find a good recipe. A few years ago I came across this one, posted on Epicurious (originally from Gourmet). Since then, these cookies have been my most-requested cookie. They are a bit labor intensive, but worth it. I've made the traditional red, white and green, but I've also made red, white and blue for the 4th of July and red, white and pink for Valentine's Day (pictured above).

Happy Cooking!


  • 7 oz (one tube/can) of marzipan or almond paste
  • 1 C. sugar
  • 3 sticks softened unsalted butter
  • 4 large eggs (separated)
  • 1 tsp. almond extract
  • 2 cups sifted flour (sift before measuring)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • Food coloring (green and red)
  • 12 oz. seedless raspberry jam
  • 6 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 13x9 baking pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper, letting it extend at each end.

Break marzipan paste into small pieces and grind with the sugar in a food processor until no lumps remain. (cook's note - the first time I did this I did not have a food processor so I did this step by hand. A mixer will not work, you must work the marzipan and the sugar together until it is as smooth as possible). Transfer to a large bowl and add butter. Beat with electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add yolks and almond extract and beat well. Beat in the flour and salt on a low speed.

In a separate bowl, beat egg whites until they hold a stiff peak. Stir 1/3 of egg whites into batter. Fold in the remaining egg whites until thoroughly incorporated. Divide the dough into thirds (about 1 1/2 cups each). Add green food coloring to one and red to another. Spread each 1/3 of the batter into the prepared pan in a very thin layer.

Bake in the middle of the oven for 7-10 minutes. Repeat with each layer. Cool completely. Spread half of the jam over the green layer and top with the plain layer. Spread the remaining jam over on top of the plain layer and top with the pink layer. Wrap in plastic wrap and weight. Chill for at least 3 hours. Cover with melted chocolate. Cut into 12X12 diagonals.