Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Lull Before the Storm

D-day is right around the conner, and i thought before my family and gorged ourselves silly with meat, bread and other not so healthy accompaniments I would whip up some fresh seafood. If anyone hasn't already realized , I am quite a fan of scallops so when i found a recipe in Fine Cooking magazine i was eager to try it out. I highly recommend it to anyone who likes scallops plus it only took about 30 minutes to prepare!

Seared Scallops with Cauliflower, Brown Butter and Basil
serves 4
3 tbs. extra virgin olive oil
1 small head cauliflower trimmed and cut into bit size florets
1 lb. all natural dry packed scallops
2 tbs. unsalted butter
1 large shallot, minced
1/2 dry vermouth ( i used white wine)
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 large fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced
1. heat 1 tbs. of the oil in a 12 inch non-stick skillet over medium heat until shimmering hot. add the cauliflower and cook, stirring often until lightly browned, about 4 minutes. transfer to a bowl.
2. add the remaining 2 tbs. oil to the skillet . when simmering hot, add the scallops in a single layer. cook until golden-brown, about 2 minutes. flip and cook until the scallops are barely cooked through, about 2 minutes more, if you cut into one it should still be translucent in the center. transfer to another bowl.
3. swirl in the butter into the skillet, add the shallot and cook stirring often, until the shallot softens and the butter begins to brown, about one minute.
4. add the vermouth( or pinot grigio) and bring to a boil, scarping up any bits in the bottom of the skillet with a wooden spoon. return cauliflower to the skillet and season 1/4 tsp. each salt and pepper. cover the skillet and reduce the heat to medium. cook stirring once or twice, until the cauliflower florets are tender, about 6 minutes.
5. return the scallops to the pan and toss to heat through, about 1 minutes. remove from the heat, sprinkle with basil and serve.
Delicious and Easy! I also paired this with some endives and hummus for a nice fresh crunchy side enjoy!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Giving Thanks With Roommates

The tests have temporarily subsided and the work load has been paused as we enter into fall break. To celebrate this much needed relief from academic insanity i will be returning home to New York to spend the Thanksgiving holiday with my family. Before parting Boulder my roommates and I wanted to jump start the holiday by cooking thanksgiving dinner together. My roommates consist of three other girls plus myself , we also share our triplex with two other units consisting of four boys in each unit who we also invited to dinner. So here we are my roommates and I who had never cooked an entire thanksgiving dinner on own before cooking dinner for fourteen people, let the games begin. ( I will only be featuring a few of the recipes the others will be posted after making thanksgiving dinner i make with my family).

Double Layer Pumpkin Cheesecake

what you will need:
I doubled the recipe to make two pies, but the original calls for:
2 ( 8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 (9 inch) prepared graham cracker crust
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 cup homemade whipped cream
1. preheat the oven to 325 degrees
2. in a large bowl combine the cream cheese, sugar and vanilla. beat until smooth. blend in one eggs at a time. remove one cup of batter and spread into bottom of crust; set aside. ( before adding to the pie i recommend taking a little egg and brushing it over the pie crust and putting it in the oven for 5 minutes it makes the crust crunchy).
3. add pumpkin, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg to the remaining batter and stir gently until well blended. Carefully spread over the batter in the crust.

4. bake in preheated oven for 30- 40 minutes or until center is almost set. don't worry if there are cracks when you refrigerate it they will close up. allow to cool, then refrigerate for 3 hours or overnight, i recommend over night but if your in a crunch 3 hours should do the trick. garnish with whipped cream when serving. Enjoy! remove from fridge about an hour prior to serving, this was one of the biggest hits at our gathering! recipe adapted from http://thegirlwhoateeverything.blogspot.com

Baked Artichokes with Mushroom Stuffing
This is an all time classic, I cook it every year at home for thanksgiving so i had to share it with the roommates. I wish i got a better pic of the finished product. 
What you will need:
4 artichokes
juice of  1 lemon
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic chopped
2 shallots chopped
1/2 cup chopped fresh mushrooms
3 tablespoons chopped parsley
1 table spoon chopped fresh mint 
salt and pepper 
1/3 cup fine dried bread crumbs
4 slices bacon
2 cups chicken stock
1. preheat oven to 375 degrees
2. steam artichokes, cut off the entire steams of the artichokes so they will sit upright cut 1 inch off the top of each artichokes and the remove the touch outer leaves. place the articokes upright in the saucepan and add lemon juice. reduce heat to medium, cover and simmer for 15 minutes.
2. remove the artichokes and invert to drain well. when cool enough to handle, gently separate the leaves of each artichokes to expose the prickly choke. using a spoon, scoop out the choke. set the artichokes aside.
3. heat 2 table spoons of the oil in a frying pan over medium heat, add the garlic, shallots and mushrooms and saute until soft, about 2 minutes. add 2 tablespoons of the parsley, the mint and salt and pepper to taste. mix in the bread crumbs.

fill each artichoke with an equal amount of the mixture. warp a pice of bacon around the waist of the artichokes and secure with a toothpick. place upright  in a baking dish and pout the remaining 1 tablespoon oil around them. pour in in the stock. bake until the artichokes are tender about 30 minutes. Enjoy! ps. you can prepare this recipe ahead of time and bake the artichokes prior to serving.
there will be much more to come, as the holiday progresses and I am finally home and have all the time in the world!
Food for thought:
 Don't cook a turkey upside-down, a given right? well somehow our turkey ended up in the oven upside-down don't ask... and to top it off someone who still remains unknown accidentally shut the oven off for 2 hours. So once we realized the oven had been off for two hours we also realized the turkey was upside down and it was 7:3o and the guests were supposed to arrive in 3o minutes. To say the least our turkey was quite rare and provided each person with very little meat. regardless it was a learning experience and a good time, you always have to start somewhere and learn from you mistakes.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

busy busy busy

It's that time of year again where midterms are taking over my life! thanksgiving break is about to happen and all my teachers take this opportunity to squeeze in as many papers, tests, and projects as they possibly can before the break starts. unfortunately for me this means i haven't had much time for new creations. Instead i've decided to feature some blogs that I've been gathering inspiration from, as i continue to live vicariously through their wonderful creations . 

Potato Leek Soup

3 to 4 cups or 1lb. peeled, sliced or diced potatoes
3 cups or 1 lb. thinly sliced leeks, including the tender greens
2 quarts water ( recommended using 1 quart broth + 1 quart water)
2 teaspoons slat
6 tablespoons heavy cream

simmer the potato and leek in the water, partial covered, for 40 minutes or until the vegetable are tender
mash the vegetables in the soup with a fork or pass through a food mill. season to taste ( ground pepper)
set aside uncovered until just before serving, then reheat to a simmer
off heat, before serving, stir in the cream. garnish with parsley or chives , if desired. 
Hands down one of my favorite soup recipes, it's just so easy and so tasty! i adapted this recipe from: http://www.goodlifeeats.com

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Balsamic Vinegar
1 pound Brussel sprouts, rinsed
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
kosher slat and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1. preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
2. cut off the ends of the brussels sprouts. if the brussels sprouts are large cut in half. if small leave them whole
3. place sprouts in a medium bowl. toss with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. season with salt and pepper.
4. pour sprouts on a baking sheet and roast 30-35 minutes or until sprouts are tender. make sure you stire them a couple of time while they are roasting. serve warm. 
serves 4.
Some people love em some hate em, I am definitely a lover of Brussels Sprouts and i love finding new ways to cook them! this recipe is very simple and quite delicious. adapted from http://twopeasandtheirpod.com
- Snacks

Cheesy Grits with Leeks and Asparagus
Cheesy Grits:
2 cups water
2 cups milk
3/4 cup cream of wheat
Fresh corn : I cut the kernels from 2 ears and it was the perfect amount
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
3 T butter
3/4 cup sharp cheddar
Bring liquids and salt to a boil. Slowly add grits while whisking to prevent lumps. Add fresh corn and cook for 2 1/2 minutes. Turn heat off and add butter, pepper, and cheese.
Shrimp with asparagus topping:

1 pound peeled and deveined shrimp
3 slices bacon, diced
1 1/2 cups asparagus spears
1/2 cup leeks, sliced thinly
1 T butter
1 T olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
In a large saute pan add 1 T oil and 1 T butter. Saute bacon and leeks until bacon begins to brown. Add asparagus and garlic. Add shrimp and cook until light pink on both sides, season to taste.
This recipe is sure to become an all time favorite for me, i love the combination of leeks and shrimp in any dish. over grits it gives a nice texture and adds a buttery flavor that is sure blend well with any topping. cant wait to try it, this inspiration came from http://littlespatula.blogspot.com/ check out the site lots a great ideas!

seared scallops with spring onion and tarragon cream

When i found this i couldn't resist i love making scallops, my roommates on the other hand don't quite enjoy the house smelling so fishy so i am forced to limit my scallop intake. check out the recipe at http://www.food52.com/recipes/4080_seared_scallops_with_spring_onion_and_tarragon_cream.  keep in mind this can be made as an appetizer or entrĂ©e, always recommend using fresh scallops they just taste better.

Monday, November 8, 2010


One of my best friends Yevy turned 21 this past week and i wanted to make her something special. There are two things in this world that  Yevy is obsessed with Ferrero Rocher chocolates and Nutella. So i set out on a mission to incorporate both of these ingredients into some type of treat! I came across a few nutella themed cupcake recipes and took it from there, the end result was amazing nutella fudge cupcakes topped with ferrero rocher chocolates!!  A simple and utterly delicious recipe that is sure to please any chocolate lover!

What you will need:
1/2 cup Nutella spread
1 large egg
5 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
1 large box of  Ferrero Rocher chocolates ( which can be found at most grocery stores)
*I doubled the recipe to make larger cup-cakes*

1.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.   Line a 12-cup mini muffin pan  with paper or foil liners.
2.  In a medium bowl, whisk the Nutella and egg until smooth and well blended.  Add the flour and whisk until blended.
3.  Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin tins (3/4 full) and bake until a pick comes out with wet, gooey crumbs, 11 to 12 minutes.  Set on a rack to cool completely. 

the end result.....highly addictive cupcakes eat with caution