There is no love sincerer than the love of food -George Bernard Shaw

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Baked French Toast Cups

This recipe was on my "To make" list, and I thought this morning was the perfect time to make these because it was the last morning my grandparents would be in town. These were like little bread puddings, and very good! I doubled the recipe to make 12 servings.

My suggestions with this recipe:
-The recipe calls for wheat bread, I used 1/2 potato bread and 1/2 oatnut bread that I had on hand. The oatnut bread was SOOO much better!
-I would let the bread filling soak for a minute or two, so that the flavors marry together.

Baked French Toast Cups
Adapted from Live.Love.Eat

makes 6 servings

4 slices whole wheat bread, cut into cubes
2 eggs
1/4 cup milk (I used fat free)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
dash of ground nutmeg
For the apples:
1 large apple of your choice, cut into cubes
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon


In a medium skillet, saute apples with butter & cinnamon for about 5 minutes, or until soft. Set aside. In a medium bowl, mix the eggs, milk, vanilla, cinnamon & nutmeg until well combined. Add bread cubes & mix together until all the bread is saturated. Add the apples & mix until well distributed. Using a regular size muffin tin, scoop bread evenly into 6 greased muffin cups. Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes or until set & lightly golden brown.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Spanak..spaknopi..Spinach Triangles!

Why couldn't my childhood memories be of store bought cupcakes?
My Grandma Lilly is Greek-Italian, so growing up whenever my grandparents visited we would have spanakopita, or as I knew them as, spinach triangles. I knew my mom never made them because they were difficult to make, but I had no idea how difficult that actually was!
My grandparents visited us this week, so I thought it was a great idea to try these out. Little did I know how sensitive phyllo dough is, and how much butter is used in these! Really good, brought back old memories, but no way am I making these again anytime soon!

p.s. I apologize for the poor quality of my pictures, I did them quickly because my grandma was looking at me like I was from the future :/

2 (10-ounce) packages frozen chopped spinach, thawed
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 (8-ounce) package feta cheese, crumbled
24 sheets frozen phyllo pastry, thawed
1 1/2 cups melted unsalted butter
Position rack in center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

Place the spinach in a wire-mesh strainer or colander, place over a sink and drain well. Use your hands or a paper towel to squeeze the excess water out of the spinach.

Place the spinach in a medium mixing bowl. Add the salt, pepper, oregano, parsley, and basil. Stir in the beaten egg, olive oil, and lemon juice. Add the feta cheese and mix well to combine. Set aside.

Gently unfold the phyllo dough.* Lay 1 sheet of phyllo on a large cutting board and gently brush with the melted butter. Place a second phyllo sheet on top of the first and brush with butter. Repeat 2 more times until you have a stack of 4 phyllo sheets with butter brushed between the layers.

Using a sharp knife, cut the phyllo sheets lengthwise into 3 strips. Place 2 tablespoons of the spinach filling 1 inch from the bottom end of each strip.

Take the bottom right corner of the strip between your thumb and finger and fold over the spinach filling to the left to make a triangle. Gently pull up the bottom left corner and fold up to make a second triangle. Continue folding until you reach the top. Place the triangle, seam side down, on the prepared baking sheet. Brush the completed triangle lightly with butter.

[A little confusing. Remember in middle school when you made those little paper footballs to flick across the classroom? Your doing exactly that!]
Repeat with the remaining strips and phyllo sheets until all of the filling is used.

Arrange the triangles 2 inches apart on the baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes, until golden and heated all the way through. Remove the spanakopita from the oven and cool slightly on the baking sheet.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

*It is important to keep a piece of plastic wrap and a damp cloth or paper towel over the phyllo sheets that you are not working with to keep them from drying out.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

As easy as Apple Crumb Pie

This is one of my family's favorite recipes, particularly of my mom. When she buys green apples, its her way of telling me "I want a pie!" The most difficult part of this pie is the crust because it falls apart when you move it, but that's what makes the dough flaky! I'll admit it is more like a cobbler because of the crumb topping, call it whatever you want!
Normally my pie doesn't look so sad and flat, but I used one less apple than normal (I was hungry okay?). I think this also affected the texture of my pie, because the inside baked too quickly and the apples were soft when normally they are crunchy. It just gives me an excuse to make another pie!

Pastry for pie crust
-1 cup all-purpose flour
-1/2 t. salt
-1/3 cup plus 1 Tbsp shortening
-2 to 2 1/2 Tbsp cold water

1. Combine flour and salt in medium mixing bowl. Cut in shortening with pastry blender (or fork, because no one actually owns a pastry blender) until mixture is consistency of cornmeal.

2. Sprinkle on cold water 1 Tbsp at a time; stir in with a fork. Add additional water to driest part of mixture. The dough should be just moist enough to stick together when pressed gently with a fork. It should not be sticky.

3. Shape dough into smooth ball with hands. Roll on lightly floured surface from center to outside until pastry is about 1/8" thick. (This dough is difficult to handle. I loosen it from the counter with a knife, roll it onto the rolling pin and into the pie pan. It will fall apart, but just piece it back together. This actually make the dough more flaky.)

Apple Crumb Pie
-5 to 7 tart apples (depending on the size of your pan, I used 5)
-1 9-inch unbaked pastry shell
-1/2 cup sugar
-3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
-1/3 cup sugar
-3/4 cup all-purpose flour
-6 Tbsp butter or margarine

1. Pare apples; core and cut into eighths. I cheat with an apple core-er thing. Arrange in unbaked pastry shell.

2. Mix 1/2 cup sugar and cinnamon; sprinkle over apples.

3. Mix 1/3 cup sugar with the flour. Cut in butter until crumbly. Sprinkle over apples. Bake at 400 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes or till done (If pie browns too quickly, cover edges with foil.

Tortellini with peas and shallots

It's official! I'm transferring to Cal State Fullerton in the Fall!

I visited the campus yesterday,and I thought it was great! Plus I think Tuffy the Titan is an adorable mascot!
I'm now trying to find quick, easy, and cheap recipes that I can take with me to college, and I found this recipe on The Noble Pig, a very interesting wine and food blog. I thought that it was a great opportunity to make a light and fresh sauce with simple and bright ingredients.
I changed the recipe a few ways, by changing the cheese ravioli to a cheese tortellini, and using about half the amount of peas. This was a very simple and clean dish, and I will definitely make this in my new dorm/apartment in August!

Ravioli with Peas and Shallots
Adapted from Real Simple, best recipes

1-1/2 pounds cheese ravioli (fresh or frozen)
2 Tablespoons butter
2 shallots, thinly sliced
1 10 oz. bag frozen peas
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
Kosher salt and black pepper

Cook the ravioli according to the package directions. Reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking water, then drain the ravioli.

Meanwhile, heat the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, 2 to 3 minutes.

Add the peas, lemon zest, reserved ravioli water, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Cook, partially covered, until the peas are heated through, 3 to 4 minutes.

Divide the ravioli among bowls and top with the pea mixture

Sunday, May 9, 2010

And the Best Sister Award goes to...

LACEY! After careful consideration and many nominees, Lacey Kressin won by a landslide with her work in GIVING ME A WHOLE SET OF KNIVES!! She had an extra set that she didn't need and offered to send them to me. I still owe her a fortune for the shipping but I LOVE them!

Ironically, the first time I used them was when I was making a recipe that she had given me for Cajun Chicken Pasta. My mom asked me to make this for her Mother's Day dinner because it's her favorite recipe, so I did! The chicken is full of flavor, and the crunch of the bell peppers with the al dente pasta is a perfect combination. Plus, the longest part of this recipe is the cooking the pasta, so this is such a great family recipe.

My suggestions with this recipe:

-The original recipe calls for 2 whole boneless, skinless chicken breasts, but for some reason I have always cut them up into bite-size pieces. I would think it's a better idea because it cooks faster and makes it easier to eat.

-This is my mom's suggestion: more chicken! She always says that, this time I put three huge chicken breasts in and that made her happy, but I like it just fine with the original pasta:chicken ratio.

Cajun Chicken Pasta

-4oz linguine pasta
-2 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
-Cajun seasoning to taste
-1 red bell pepper, sliced
-1 green (or yellow) bell pepper, sliced
-1 green onion, chopped
-1 cup heavy cream
-1/4 teaspoon dried basil
-1/4 teaspoon lemon pepper
-1/4 teaspoon salt
-1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
-1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
-1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

- Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain.
-Place the chicken and the Cajun seasoning in a plastic bag. Shake to coat. In a large skillet over medium heat, saute the chicken until almost tender (5 to 7 minutes).
-Add the peppers, and green onion. Saute and stir for 2 to 3 minutes. Reduce Heat.
-Add the cream, basil, lemon pepper, salt, garlic, and ground black pepper. Heat through. Add the cooked pasta, toss and heat through. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese and serve.


Happy Mother's Day!

I hope all of you mom's are having a happy mother's day! In order to celebrate the awesomeness of my mother, I made dinner (Cajun chicken pasta, coming to the blogisphere soon!), and a chocolate cake!
SO my mom will accept nothing less than a chocolate cake for every occasion, so I try to liven it up with cute shapes! One year for her birthday (which is right before Halloween) I made these:

They were chocolate cupcakes shaped and covered in fondant to look like ghosts! They took forever and I'm definitely not doing that again! For Mother's day I tried to make it more simple:

It's a hat! Cute right??? I was a little frustrated with my mom's love for chocolate because I didn't want to make a brown hat! It turned out cute though the fruit roll-up hat band made it perfect! My family really enjoyed this cake and said it was rich and really moist! I found the cake recipe on Whisk: A food blog and I will definitely keep this recipe on hand for the next mom holiday!

Recipe for Chocolate Layer Cake

adapted from

10½ ounces (3 cups) sifted cake flour
1½ teaspoons soda
½ teaspoons salt (leave out if using salted butter)
1 cup boiling water
2½ ounces (¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons) unsifted unsweetened natural (non-alkalized) cocoa
¾ cup cold water
½ cup cold plain yogurt
1 tablespoon vanilla
6 ounces (12 tablespoons or ¾ cup) unsalted butter at room temp.
2 cups sugar
3 large eggs, room temperature

Preheat oven to 350°F. Take out butter and eggs to get to room temperature. Start boiling 1 cup water. Position a rack in the lower third of the oven. Line the bottom of three 9-inch cake pans with parchment and lightly grease the sides.

Sift the flour, soda, and salt three times. (Although I don't always bother sifting, I did this last time I made it, and the cake seemed slightly lighter.)

In a mixing bowl, pour the boiling water over the cocoa and stir to blend. Refrigerate to cool to lukewarm, stirring occasionally to speed cooling. Stir in the cold water, yogurt, and vanilla. If necessary, refrigerate again to cool to room temperature before continuing. (You don't want to melt the butter or curdle the eggs when you add this chocolate mixture later.)

Beat the butter until soft (about 1-2 minutes). Add the sugar and beat until light in colour and texture (about 5-6 minutes). Whisk the eggs briefly and pour them slowly into the butter mixture. Mix for 2-3 minutes.

Spoon 1/3 of the flour mixture into the bowl. Beat on low speed until incorporated. Pour in half the cocoa mixture. Beat on low speed until blended. Spoon 1/3 of the flour in. Add remaining cocoa mixture. Add last of flour and beat. Divide among the cake pans.

Bake. Rotate the pans halfway through, until the cake just begins to shrink from the sides and a toothpick comes out clean (30-35 minutes). Cool on rack for 5 minutes. Invert. Peel off parchment. Cool completely.

Hat assembly:

Allow the cakes to cool, and then trim around the perimeter of the 8-inch layer until it is 6 inches in diameter (or, for a wider brim, trim this slightly smaller). Don’t level this layer because the mound will make a prettier hat, but do level the 9-inch, bottom layer.

Place the 9-inch layer on a 12-inch cake plate. Frost or fill. Then place the 6-inch layer on top and finish frosting, smoothing the buttercream over the entire hat.

Then create a ribbon to wrap around your hat like a hatband. If using fondant (marshmallow’s the best tasting), create the ribbon and bow separately and attach with icing. A hat ribbon can also be created with the fruit roll ribbon. Or instead of the ribbon, pipe tiny flowers around the hat to make a floral band.


Thursday, May 6, 2010

Not your Granny's mac and cheese

This macaroni recipe came from the greatest blog on Earth, I say that this is not your Granny's mac and cheese, and I mean that because this definitely has a different taste. The cheese sauce is a classic bechemel with the cheese of your choice added (Chef John suggests the traditional sharp cheddar, I just used a mix that I had on hand), and it gives a tang to the dish that is different and interesting. What I loved most was the crunchy topping, made with PANKO
Now I'm not going to post the recipe,breadcrumbs so of course it was so crunchy and delicious! because it is a video recipe on the foodwishes site and I'm too lazy to take the time to write it out. You really should try it!
Don't tell me that's not worth trying!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Mud Pies

Okay, I love mud pies. The first time I ever had a mud pie was in elementary school when we had some sort of Farm Day where we got to milk "cows" (painted black and white barrels with gloves attached on the bottom), make butter from scratch, and eat mud pies! I thought they were awesome, but my mom never made them and I've never really found a decent recipe to make my own. So I was excited when I found that Janet from had two mud pie recipes on her blog that I could try! One was her grandmothers original recipe that called for coconut that I didn't have, and the other was for chocolate peanut butter ones, but I generally don't like cooking with peanut butter because the flavor can be pretty dominant. SO I chose to make the plain recipe minus the coconut!

My suggestions with this recipe:

-Don't do that! Though my mud pies came out tasty, they felt like they were missing something. They also were prone to falling apart easily, I'm hoping that the coconut will solve all of these problems for my next batch.

-I'm definitely going to have to get over my peanut butter fear, because I felt like my batch was a little too cocoa-y! Peanut butter might just be the missing link!

The best part about these (besides being utterly delicious!) is that it's a no-bake recipe! As easy as rice-krispie treats!

Mud Pies

2 cups white sugar
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup shortening
5 tbsp cocoa
1 cup fine coconut
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
3 cups quick cooking oats

1. In a saucepan, stir together the sugar, milk, shortening, cocoa, salt and vanilla. Bring to a boil and remove from heat at once.

2. Add oats and coconut. Stir well.

3. Cool a bit and drop by spoonfuls onto cookie sheets lined with waxed paper. Chill until set.

Sunday, May 2, 2010


Have I told you I love Hana Sushi?

Sushi makes my world go 'round, and Hana is not only the closest place to my house, its also the best I've found so far! I've trained my parents to buy me a giftcard to Hana Sushi for every holiday, and I saved my last one as either a celebratory or consolation dinner for when I did/didn't get accepted to UCI. Well we all know what happened, and it was the best consolation prize! I called Tyler, ordered in, and YUM! I ordered a bowl of miso soup and my beloved crunch roll.

It has cucumber, imitation crab, shrimp tempura, and is covered in panko breadcrumbs. Tyler got the Funky Monkey- jalepeƱo, cream cheese, spicy salmon, and shrimp, and is deep fried to delicious perfection.
How could I not feel better after such a fabulous dinner??
I should have more bad days!

So Tuesday I found out that I wasn't accepted to transfer to UCI.

This was a major blow to my ego, because it meant that I definately get into Berkeley, meaning the only school I got into was Cal State Fullerton. To console myself, I immediately went to the kitchen and made these:

Spinach Ricotta Rounds. I got the recipe from the blog Live.Love.Eat. at, who adapted it from I loved these! Quick and easy to make, plus I've always had a thing for spinach so making these instantly made me feel better!
Fried Spinach Ricotta Rounds
5 cups fresh spinach
3/4 cup ricotta cheese
1 cup parmigiano cheese, grated
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 eggs
1 cup panko breadcrumbs (I used Italian style)
Salt & pepper to taste
Olive oil for frying

Marinara sauce for dipping (optional)

Wash & dry spinach leaves, chop & set aside. In a large bowl mix ricotta, parmigiano, garlic, 1 egg, 2 tablespoons breadcrumbs, salt & pepper. Add spinach & mix well. Form into small balls or patties. Dip in beaten egg then breadcrumbs. Updated: Instead of dipping in the egg, use one hand to hold the round & the other to just smear the egg on each side. This will be enough.

Heat oil to 350 degrees & fry a few at at time until golden brown, about 1 1/2 minutes on each side. Drain on cloth or paper towels, sprinkle with a bit of salt & a little parmigiana cheese & serve.