Saturday, July 30

Blueberry-Lemon Scones with Lavender Honey

On a scale from 1-cool, how cool is it if I stay in on a Friday night to bake scones? I mean, if nothing else I should at least get points for baking something so classy as a scone. And for putting zest in them. And lavender honey! Right on guys, I think it's pretty cool. 

Blueberry Blood
I should also mention that all the while I was baking these scones, my poor roommate was scrubbing the inside of our refrigerator, trying to erase the smell of rotting something-or-other that had been festering all week. It had actually moved to the freezer by this point and just was not backing down. Headfirst into rancid yuckiness all night long. On this scale from 1-cool though, he's beating me. Because I sure as shit didn't want to deal with it. Helllloooo ladies, this one is single and ready to mingle. And IT CLEANS! He's a keeper for sure. (Someone please take him off my hands!... juuuust kidding.)

Not a bad site, huh ladies?
Anyway, Adam and I have been together.. hmm..  I guess you could say a few years now. We aren't really sure exactly how long. We've known each other for 6 at least. And I've been trying to convince him to go on a picnic with me ever since. He finally agreed and OMG I AM SO EXCITED!  Picnics rule. I think it means finals week has officially burnt out his brain, but it's working to my advantage so it's all good. I hope I don't sound too much like Barefoot Contessa with this scenario, because I'm really not much a fan of all of the hokey stories on that cooking show. In fact the name Jeffrey makes me shudder. I'm just foreshadowing and it's totally going to work in your favor! Menu to drool over coming soon to a computer near you.

I figured scones would be a fun thing to bring along. I've also been dreaming about using the lavender honey that I made a couple weeks ago. So again, win-win. 

One of my favorite things about having a food processor is the ease at which I can make pastries. The thing cuts butter into flour like, well, butter.  If you don't have one, obviously you could make this the old fashioned way with a pastry cutter or two knives, but I really recommend investing in a food processor. Plus, you can make hummus and Pesto and all sorts of other delicious things. (I can make great product pitches if anyone wants to sponsor me... just sayin'.)

These scones have a great texture. Scones are baked from dough and more like a sweet biscuit than a muffin. These are pretty light and moist. The blueberry flavor is the most prominent, with a hint of lemon and then lavender on the end. Perfect for brunch or 12 AM on Friday night. Just be careful if you eat them warm, that night time snack lead to a blueberry massacre all. over. my. fingers. In a good way.

Soundtrack: Disco Deviance

Blueberry-Lemon Scones with Lavender Honey
Makes 8 (small) scones

1 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
6 tbsp unsalted butter, chilled
2 tbsp lavender honey (you can buy it or it can be made from simmering honey with lavender flowers for 30 minutes)
1/2 c. plain greek yogurt
1 tbsp lemon zest
1/4 c. fresh blueberries, frozen

Preheat the oven to 425 (That's right, 425).

Put the flour, baking powder, and salt into a food processor. Cut the butter into tablespoon sized pieces and add to the processor. Pulse (about 10 times at 30 seconds each) until butter is cut into the flour. The mixture will resemble course cornmeal when it is ready. (This can also be done by hand!)

Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl and add the honey, yogurt, and zest. Cream with a fork until a moist dough is formed, then mix in the blueberries in as few strokes as possible. (Working the dough too much can result in a dense pastry.)

Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and shape into a circle, about 8' in diameter. Cut the  dough (pizza-style!) into eighths. Place the triangles on a cookie sheet that has been lined with parchment paper. Bake for about 13-15 mins, until golden brown.

Sweet measuring cups, man

Pads of butter.. Pats of butter?

Is it flour and butter? Or cornmeal? Who knows!
Yellow anyone?


A pizza scone

Delicious blueberry, everywhere!

Wednesday, July 27

Tomato-Gouda Shrimp over Polenta

Ok guys, after that last one let's do something a little lighter, shall we? Because I'm still living in a world where THIS CAKE is in my fridge and I'm slowly chipping away at it. With some help of course, but it's still not getting any better for my thighs. ...SO WORTH IT.

And just like that I'm talking about avocado frosting again. Oops.


Yesterday I went to the dentist. "Why do I care?" you ask. Well you probably don't. But this is my blog and if I want to tell you, you've got to read! Actually you don't. You could just skip ahead to the recipe. Or close this window entirely. But I digress! So yesterday I went to the dentist (no cavities!!) and of course I couldn't let that go by without a small homage to my boy David.

Unfortunately, I didn't have nearly that much fun on my trip to the dentist. Although, when I had my wisdom teeth taken out I had that much fun. I stole a magazine from the waiting room and giggled about it the whole way home. True story. Ran through the parking lot with it and everything. My poor mother. How. Embarrassing.

Anyway, I consider going to the dentist to be an accomplishment, because it sucks. I could also consider my first experience cooking with polenta an accomplishment. (Add another one to the list! Who's keeping track again?) Ok, confession: I bought a pre-made variety that came in a tube. It was bouncy and very interesting indeed. I added some water and made a "mush". Think grits. (I LOVE GRITS!) It was alright. Then I looked up some recipes for the stuff. Looks so easy! Who knew? Next time I'll just make my own.

But I wanted to share the rest of the recipe, because it was so easy and quick and it really hit the spot! A little spicy and a little sweet. It pairs really well with the polenta-mush. Is there a technical term for that?

Soundtrack: Isolee - We Are Monster

Tomato-Gouda Shrimp over Polenta
(serves 3-4)

1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 clove garlic
14 oz can diced tomatoes
1/4 c. chicken stock
1 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
5- 1 in cubes of gouda cheese (sorry, that's my measurement.. 5 cubic inches of gouda)
6-7 leaves of fresh basil
Salt & Pepper
1 lb polenta, prepared and mashed into a "mush" (add some water)

In a saute pan, heat a drizzle of EVOO over medium heat. Salt & pepper the shrimp and add to the oil. Saute, stirring every so often, until fully cooked. Remove to a bowl and set aside.

Add a bit more EVOO to the pan. Add garlic and toast, stirring fairly consistently, just until it begins to brown to open the flavor. Add tomatoes (with liquid), stock, red pepper flakes and oregano. Season with salt & pepper. Bring sauce to a boil and simmer until reduced, about 7-10 minutes.

Once sauce is reduced and while the heat is still on, stir in gouda cheese. Break up the cheese with a spatula until melted into the sauce.

Remove from heat and stir in the shrimp. Serve over polenta and garnish with a few leaves of fresh basil.

We only had whole tomatoes,
Cue Jeremy, dicer extraordinaire!

Got his dice on!


Let there be sauce!

Looks like butter, but it's just pieces of the moon

Ready to go...

I love fresh basil!

Would you like some?

Saturday, July 23

Slime Time Cake (Dark Chocolate Cake with Avocado "Buttercream")

This is true: I have been dreaming about making this cake since a trip to Capogiro 5 days ago brought the combination of avocado and dark chocolate gelato flavors into my life. I actually woke up this morning and starting making it instead of breakfast. I just frosted the cake about 15 minutes ago. Everyone in my apartment has already eaten a piece. We are all now obsessed with avocado frosting. Adam just saw the bowl from the frosting in the sink and yelled at me for not letting him lick it, oops. Then I ran immediately to my computer so I could share this with everyone (I get really excited about cake... well, food in general). This is a lie: I definitely couldn't eat another piece.

Ooo... Goo!
Remember slime? Ya know, that green goop that was dumped on contestants of every old-school Nickelodeon game show ever?  It probably saw it's height of popularity with the game show Slime Time Live, but it was definitely a long running gag that was synonymous with the TV channel for most of my childhoodI'm sure I'm not alone in that I always wanted to be "slimed" watching this as a kid. I've still never actually met anyone who was slimed on Nickelodeon, which I think it weird considering how long this whole thing went on for. Seriously, if you've ever been slimed on Nick, hit me up. Let's be friends. I need to check that off my bucket list.

In any event, this frosting reminds me of slime. And I like it.

Avocado frosting? I know, it sounds weird. But here's the thing. It totally makes sense! Hear me out. Avocado has a very high fat content, but it's healthy (monounsaturated, but don't ask me what that means) fat that is good for your heart. Most frosting is made by combining a solid fat and powdered sugar. See? See? And you better believe this will be the healthiest frosting you have ever eaten! Relax, I'm not suggesting that this frosting is GOOD for you. Just pointing out that if you're gonna stuff yourself full of fatty, sugary goodness, it might as well be something other than Crisco.

I promise it doesn't taste like a guacamole covered chocolate cake. AT ALL. Not even a little bit. It tastes sweet and vanilla-like, with just enough of a hint of avocado taste to balance the chocolate cake fantastically!

Soundtrack: Primus (Prep for the Tower Theatre show.. in October)

Dark Chocolate Cake with Avocado "Buttercream"

Dark Chocolate Cake (Recipe from AllRecipes.Com)

2 c. boiling water
  • 1 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 3/4 c. all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 c. butter, softened
  • 2 1/4 c. sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

  • Preheat oven to 350 and grease 3-9' cake pans.

  • In a medium bowl, pour boiling water over the cocoa power and whisk together until dissolved. Set aside; this will need to cool completely before use (I let it cool a little, then stuck it in the fridge).

  • Sift the flour into another medium bowl, then whisk in baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set this aside.

  • In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar for 2-3 minutes, or until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs. Beat in the vanilla.

Using a spoon, stir in 1/3 of the flour mixture. Then, 1/3 of the cocoa (completely cooled). Scrape down the sides and continue in this pattern until the cake batter is thoroughly combined. Pour the batter evenly into the three pans and bake for 25-30 minutes.

Allow to cool completely before frosting!

Avocado Buttercream (From Alton Brown, made with 1 small tweak)
Makes 2 c. (You might want to double this or make 1 1/2 batches. I did wish for more!)

2 med avocados
2 tsp lemon juice
1 lb powdered sugar, may use more depending on consistency
1 tsp vanilla extract

Peel and pit the avocados. Place the meat of the avocado in a large bowl. Try to avoid the brown bits because the color will be important. Add lemon juice and beat with a mixer until the avocado lightens in color, about 2-3 minutes.

Begin to add the powdered sugar, a little at a time. Beat until each addition of sugar is combined. Based on the consistency and your tastes, you may need more (I needed a bite more). Once the sugar is blended, beat in the vanilla.

This frosting needs to be kept in the refrigerator, but thanks to the lemon, it will not turn brown!

3 bowls! 1 cake!

I like how I can see myself sifting!

Filling up those bowls...

Batter up!



Cue the slime horn...

Wednesday, July 20

Pan-fried Tofu in Lemon Sauce with Arugula & Tomatoes

So this morning I took Jagger for a walk and accidentally tucked my keys away with his leash upon our return (if you haven't guessed at this point, he's my puppy). I then proceeded to distract myself just enough by eating breakfast and doing other morning procrastination things that I freaked out when I tried to leave for work. I tore the house apart for a few minutes before deciding the closet would be a great place to check. Once I finally found my keys, I grabbed them out of their hiding place and did the following: I rolled my eyes and thought to myself something to the tune of, "Ugh, Thursday." Actually, I may have said that out loud, I do tend to do that. Regardless... 

I interact with a lot of people at work everyday and I've heard a lot hate for just about every day of the week in this exact form (must be where I'm getting it from!). But is there a day of the week on which it's inappropriate to blame mindless behavior? Obviously one can have a case of the Mondays, your brain has already checked out for the weekend on Fridays (and thanks to Rebecca Black we've all learned a valuable lesson this year about how we should spend our Fridays anyway), hump day is just a wash (middle of the week blues), Thursday you're just so excited for Friday, etc etc. But I'm going to go with Tuesday. I think you've got to be on point on Tuesdays. I'll accept counter arguments though. I'm always down for a good excuse to act a fool.

The Great Wall of Tofu!

This dish is a good one for those days of the week where you're feeling a bit slow, off, frustrated, etc. Long day at the office? Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday got you down? You just want a healthy and delicious meal, but you don't want to fuss over it.

Ok, ok, here's the REAL DEAL

I've practiced this a few times now since I found the original recipe on The Skinny Chef (follow that link to see the original). I love. love. love. this dish because it's delicious and I can make it happen in about 15 minutes with 5 dirty dishes. It's a science at this point. (Yea me!) That makes Adam happy. He hates to do the dishes. Grump. Grump. Grump.

The original recipe is made with chicken. I like this more with tofu, but chicken works great too.  The lemon flavor compliments the pepper-iness of the arugula very nicely. The lightly cooked fresh tomato is my favorite new addition. I serve it with couscous and make a little more than the original amount of sauce for drizzling. (PS Why does Snoop Dog carry an umbrella?..... Fo drizzle!)

Soundtrack: Nicos Gun (You won't REALLY have time to listen, but that's ok. That's the point. Make dinner and then listen to this while you do something else you enjoy.. ehemm.. don't wanna know.)

Pan-friend Tofu in Lemon Sauce with Arugula & Tomatoes
Serves 2-3

1 package extra-firm tofu, pressed for 20 minutes
1/4 c whole wheat flour
Juice of 1 lemon
1/3 c. dry white wine
1/2 c. chicken stock
 (or vegetable stock)
1 med tomato, cut into pieces

3 or more handfuls of arugula (this is really a matter of preference... I suggest more)
salt & pepper

Cut the block of tofu in half to create two thin, flat pieces. Cut these two pieces into strips and then cut them in half. (If you were in Kindergarten, you would be instructed to cut hamburger style and then hot dog style.) On a plate, season the flour with salt & pepper, stir to combine.

Heat a drizzle of EVOO in a saute pan over medium heat. Dredge the pieces of tofu through the flour to coat and then drop into the pan once the oil is heated. Pan fry for a minute or so on all sides so that they become crispy.

Once tofu is crisped, remove from pan into a bowl. In the same pan, add lemon juice, chicken stock, and wine. Scrape bottom and sides of the pan with a spatula to remove and stuck remnants from the tofu. Bring sauce to a boil and simmer for 3 minutes until sauce begins to reduce. Add the tomatoes and cook for another 2-3 minutes.

Once tomatoes are cooked, turn of the heat. Stir in the arugula and tofu. Serve!

Frying tofu. Sometimes after a long day at work
I feel like my brain is comparable.

Reduce the sauce. Simma down now.

Cooking the Tom A. Toes

Finished product!

Monday, July 18

Matt's Munchies - Ginger Spice Granola

Ugh. Ok guys, I gotta admit I'm really slacking here. After hearing so many wonderful (and much appreciated) compliments on my little blog here last weekend, I feel like I owe you more. But ya know how it and stuff. Harry Potter happened and Jags wanted to go swimming. Had to get my glasses fixed, had to sleep forever on Saturday, etc, etc. I haven't even been going to the gym lately! GOD, who am I even? I promise I will go this week. I promise I will go this week. I promise.... blah. (I need some new gym tunes! Send me some shit!)

But all that aside, let's get back down to it shall we? Oh. thank. god. Time to talk about food again. Recently a friend of mine approached me to create a recipe for his line of fruit leathers, which I am actually totally obsessed with, so naturally I was pretty excited about all of this.

Serving suggestion!
(For vegan friendly, use almond milk! Vanilla? Yumm)

Fruit leather. Hmm. Because I mean, even I gotta admit it doesn't sound like it's going to taste all that great. Or at least the consistency should be awful. Right? Leather? But honestly I. LOVE. THIS. STUFF. Self described, Matt's Munchies, "are pure and natural Fruit Leathers in 9 palate pleasing flavors, all less then 100 calories per one ounce serving," (Ok, it should read "than", but I'll let that slide. God, I have issues.) and they aren't kidding. Check out their site for specifics, but they are gluten-free, vegan, and organic. They never contain more than like 4 ingredients (most have just 1 or 2) and are all fruit based (either banana or mango are used as a base - even for the apple flavors!). 

But most importantly, do they taste good? Fuck. YEA. they do! Island Mango is my fave (Matt gave me one to consider for a recipe, but I ate it instead. Oops.) then Ginger Spice (who also happened to be my favorite Spice Girl). Plus, how can you not support something that uses as many exclamation marks on it's packaging as Matt's Munchies? (I'm actually serious about that.)

This recipe was made with the Ginger Spice flavor (because, like I said, I ate the Island Mango flavor). I tried my best to stay true to the healthy and all natural snack that is Matt's Munchies. Oooh!! And I learned something! Oats can be totally gluten-free! The gluten-free varieties will be marked on the package, because they are not always grown gluten-free due to cross pollination issues. 

So this granola is gluten-free, vegan and all natural as well. It can be a snack, it can be your breakfast. I don't have to tell you how to eat your granola, now do I? (Ok, I will give you one suggestion and then I promise to stop being bossy. Toss some apple slices in some cinnamon and sugar. Nuke them for a few minutes or so, until they are soft and look a little like pie filling. Top with this granola and a little vanilla yogurt.)

Oh yea, and thanks to Alton Brown for providing the inspiration for this recipe. I love him. That's really all there is to say.

Soundtrack: Aloe Blacc 

Ginger Spice Granola

3 c. gluten-free rolled oats
1 c. almonds, chopped
1 c. walnuts, chopped
3/4 c. sesame seeds
1/4 c. packed light brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp molasses
1/4 c. maple syrup
1/4 c. vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 tsp salt
2-3 packages Matt's Munchies, Ginger Spice Flavor (honestly I used 2 and it was great, but I
could have used another!)

Preheat oven to 250.

Start by measuring the oats, almonds, walnuts, sesame seeds, sugar and cinnamon into a large bowl. Stir until totally combined.

In another bowl, whisk together the molasses, syrup, oil, vanilla and salt until fully combined. 

Pour the liquid ingredients over the dry and stir to coat. Coat 2 sheet pans with parchment paper (or use cooking spray). Spread the granola mixture evenly over the sheet pans. Bake for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes to get an even toast.

Meanwhile, begin chopping the fruit leathers. Fruit leather can be a sticky product, (I made this on pretty hot day, no AC.) but in this case the freezer will be your friend. Simply stick the fruit leathers in the freezer for a few minutes and then chop into raisin-sized pieces. It might ball up a little, that's fine. Store the chopped pieces in the freezer while you chop. This way they will be easy to separate once you are ready to add them to the granola.

After 1 hour, remove the sheet pans from the oven. Move granola to a large bowl and stir in the pieces of fruit leather, separating as you add them. Do not wait for the granola to cool, do this as 
soon as possible.

Horse food?

Feeling nutty!

The dry stuff

Liquids. It's literally impossible to store molasses
without the container being sticky. Impossible.

Left-handed photography, not bad!


Little pieces of fruit leather - it's not going to look perfect.

Slainte! (Toasted... c'mon people!)