Friday, July 29, 2011

From Hot to “Hotter”

Yesterday morning I left toasty Boston for the even toastier Fort Lauderdale.


Unfortunately, I’ll be in a classroom from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm for the next 3 days. Yep – Friday, Saturday AND Sunday.



Our hotel is actually right on the beach but our room faces the intercoastal waterway so that’s what you’re seeing here.


I’m already missing this crazy face.


And I can’t wait to tell you about these.

But for now I have to go and be a student. Happy Weekend!!!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Closet Cooking Inspired: Kimchi (Kim Chee) Sweet Potato Salad


Have you ever tried Kim Chi? Or Kim Chee as it is spelled on this jar I picked up at the store. If not, and you are a fan of all things pickled and spicy, I suggest you give it a try. What is it? I snapped a shot of the ingredient list for those who are unfamiliar.


Chinese cabbage, onion, garlic, ginger, scallion, red pepper, salt, sugar, anchovy sauce. What’s the big deal? Well the vegetables in Kim Chi are fermented and very flavorful by the time you pop open the jar. Kevin has a great photo of Kim Chi. And while you are visiting his site, you can check out the inspiration and recipe for the Kim Chi Sweet Potato Salad I made this weekend.


I made very few changes – his recipe was already incredible. I used double the amount of Kim Chi, added Sriracha to my mayo, subbed regular sesame seeds for toasted and because I couldn’t find “gochujang”, I used regular red chili flakes. Due to the addition of Sriracha and the red chili flakes, this dish was pretty spicy… which I liked. But if you aren’t a huge fan of spicy food, I’d recommend omitting the Sriracha and red chili flakes altogether.


I brought this to a cookout and we enjoyed the leftovers (cold) the next day – still delicious. I will definitely make at least a double batch next time. It’s seriously addictive.



Have you ever had Kim Chi before? If yes, how was it served?

One time I had it on top of a pork-belly slider… I know, right? It was as good as it sounds.

Next order of business: My posts in the next week or so may be even more sporadic than usual. I’m going on vacation! (well I’m going away… it’s ~30% business and ~70% pleasure.) I plan on posting when I can so you can see what shenanigans I’m getting into.

Have a great week!

Friday, July 22, 2011

You say “Tomato”, I say “Kumato”

The thing about dogs is that they don’t understand when you say “it’s too hot for a walk.”


When I tell him that, I’m met with a head-tilt to the right and then to the left.


So off we go. I wear the only shoes I can bear to wear in this heat. Much better for walks than flip-flops but not as hot as sneakers. Yes, they are TOMS. Yes, they are kind of ugly. But they are stupidly comfortable and I suppose I’m almost approaching that point in life where I accept comfort over style. Almost.


I read this face to say “come on lady, quit taking pictures… let’s go!”


Of course we stop at every hydrant/telephone pole/STOP sign for a sniff around.


When we made it home, both panting, I needed sustenance and remembered these “brown tomatoes” I picked up the other day.


Kind of weird or kind of cool? A Kumato, developed in Spain, is often referred to as a “gourmet tomato”. It is sweeter than a regular tomato due to a higher level fructose. The Kumato also has a longer shelf-life than a regular tomato.


Buying these on a whim, I had no idea how I was going to use them. After some consideration, I went with a simple salad.


I couldn’t have picked a better way to showcase these tomatoes, I mean “kumatoes”.


{Cold Kumato Salad}

  • 6 Kumatoes, quartered and then quarters cut in half
  • 2 scallions, chopped
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 T red wine vinegar
  • 2 oz goat cheese crumbles

Whisk olive oil and vinegar together. Add Kumatoes and scallions to a bowl. Pour olive oil and vinegar mixture over them. Mix together. Gently mix in goat cheese crumbles. Chill salad for at least 30 minutes before enjoying.

*Serves 2-4 as a small side

Have you ever seen/cooked with Kumatoes before? How are your pets fairing in this heat wave?

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Whole Grain Strawberry-Almond Cake


This weekend was perfect. Friday night we cooked out with friends. The man-friend made garlic bread on the grill and we enjoyed various meats and accompaniments. Saturday we went to the beach after enjoying delicious fresh-fruit smoothies. In the evening we went into town for dinner at one of our favorite places and after being encouraged to grab a drink by the Seaport, I was surprised with tickets to see Huey Lewis at the pavillion.


Like I said, perfect. Just like summer strawberries. I.can’t.get.enough.


{Whole Grain Strawberry-Almond Cake}

  • 1/2 c spelt flour
  • 1 c buckwheat flour
  • 1/2 c steel cut oats (you could use old fashioned)
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 1/2 t sea salt
  • 1 c strawberries, chopped
  • 1/2 c soy milk (or any other milk of your choice)
  • 1 c unsweetened applesauce
  • 3 T coconut oil, melted
  • 1/3 c agave-maple syrup (honey or maple syrup fine too)
  • 1 T chia seeds
  • 1 t almond extract
  • zest of one lemon
  • 3 T sliced almonds

Preheat oven to 375. Generously grease 8x8 baking dish (or line with parchment).

Whisk milk, applesauce, soy milk, agave-maple syrup and chia seeds together.

Combine all dry ingredients, except for the strawberries, and add to wet mixture.

Gently fold in strawberries. Pour batter into prepared dish. Sprinkle top with sliced almonds.

Bake for 30 minutes, cake is done when a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.

Allow cake to cool completely before removing  from dish.

Store cake in refrigerator for up to 3 days.

*Serves 8-12


I ate a second piece topped with reduced balsamic. Delicious. Hope you all had a fantastic weekend.

What are some great recipes using strawberries you’ve tried this season?

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Link Lovin’, #2



Hey folks! Check out some of the great stuff I’ve stumbled across recently…

Rhubarb Syrup, Rhubarb Soda, and a Rhubarb Mule over at Apt 2 B, Baking Co. I LOVE Moscow Mules and rhubarb too so I think this is just all sorts of wonderful.

Sriracha and Honey Grilled Tofu Salad over at Daily Unadventures in Cooking. What a great way to use peaches and we know I love Sriracha!


[Image Source]

Lasagna Pancakes at Kiss My Broccoli. Sheer brilliance.

Summer Sorbets at Healthy, Happy Life. I am all over the spicy mango one.

Sunflower Seed Coconut Macaroons with Pumpkin Filling at 6Bittersweets. Do I need to explain?

Blueberry Muffin Ice Cream at The Kitchy Kitchen. Ummm, ice cream for breakfast?

Go on and check ‘em out… and of course please leave recommendations for me in the comments!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Socca Pizza & Keeping Cool


Hey hey. I hope everyone is keeping cool, wherever you may be. From the looks of it most of the country is experiencing some pretty toasty weather. I honestly can’t really complain because I drive to work, work in an office with AC and have AC at home. But if you don’t have those luxuries in this heat wave, I suggest you go jump in a body of water and then eat an ice cream cone, k?


Last night for dinner I made some Socca. Don’t know what it is? It’s pretty much a bread made with chickpea flour. This was my second attempt at making it, the first was a complete failure, and I’d say I’ve almost figured it out. In any case, it was mighty delicious topped with Italian seasoned diced tomatoes, goat cheese and fresh Basil.


  • 3/4 chickpea flour
  • 3/4 c water
  • 2 T olive oil (I used only 2 t which may have contributed to the slight pan stickage I encountered)

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Oil round cake pan very well.

Mix chickpea flour, water and olive oil with a wire whisk. Pour batter into round pan.

Bake for about 40 minutes until cracks form on top.

Carefully remove from pan by running knife along edges then flipping pan onto another plate. (Hopefully yours doesn’t stick!)

Serves 1-2


Like I said, I topped mine with tomatoes, goat cheese and fresh basil. I stuck it under the broiler for a few minutes to warm the tomatoes and cheese. Aside from the Socca being a bit under seasoned (next time I’ll add a touch of salt and perhaps some herbs), it was delicious! It had a bit of chew yet crumbled and held up to the toppings when sliced.

To celebrate my mostly successful Socca making attempt, I whipped up some banana soft serve.


I’m sure most know what banana soft serve is and how it’s made but if you don’t, it’s simply frozen chunks of ripe bananas pureed in the food processor until they achieve a soft-serve like consistency. It’s easy, tasty and the perfect solution for a lazy girl who wants ice cream but doesn’t want to go get it.


Plop some fresh berries on top and you have a cheap, frosty dessert to enjoy while watching:

Pretty Little Liars Profile Photo

I’m not ashamed.

Have you ever made/had Socca before? How did you prepare/eat it?

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Grown-Up Franks & Beans


Well there is no question about it, summer is here.

All I want to do is drink these. Go here. And make/eat food that doesn’t require the use of heat-producing appliances.


The other night I whipped up what I’ll call “Grown-Up Franks & Beans”. The franks are actually Smart Dogs which were kind of meh, in my opinion. I warmed them up on my grill pan (love, love, LOVE that thing) and served ketchup alongside. They were a bit too smoky tasting for me but I’ll give them another shot. Using one whole organic zucchini I made zucchini fries, recipe here. I used whole wheat panko on mine which resulted in an uneven coating. They were still very tasty though.


I made a quick dip for them: 1 container Greek yogurt, 1/2 Italian style diced tomatoes and lots of fresh basil from my basil plant which is amazingly still alive.


The real stunner here though? This incredibly simple bean “salad”. I don’t even know if salad is an appropriate term because it’s really just beans.

{Cannellini Bean and Basil Salad}

  • 1 can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • ~20 basil leaves, cut into strips
  • 1 t olive oil
  • juice from 1/4-1/2 medium sized lemon
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Combine cannellini beans, olive oil and lemon juice. Toss until well combined. Add basil leaves and gently toss until evenly distributed. Garnish with salt and pepper to desired taste. Serves ~4 as a small side.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

What I’m bringing… Strawberry-Rhubarb Sangria

As long as I can remember my parents have grown rhubarb in their garden. Some summers it would grow like weeds. My mom would make pies AND crisps with it after giving it away to neighbors by the bagful. My mom sent me a bag just the other day and after deciding against a crisp because there really wasn’t enough, I decided on a cocktail. Since strawberries pair well with rhubarb I knew that the cocktail would also include some of those. A quick google search led to many mentions of strawberry-rhubarb Sangria which sounded fantastic to me so I went to work.


{don’t mind the black specks… they are just vanilla bean scrapings that made their way through my strainer}


{I bought this jug with spigot for $5 at the store, perfect for serving Sangria}


Strawberry-Rhubarb Sangria

  • 1 c granulated sugar
  • 1 whole vanilla bean, scraped
  • 2 c rhubarb, coarsely chopped
  • 1 pint fresh strawberries, hulled and halved
  • 4 oz brandy
  • 1 bottle prosecco
  • 1 c merlot (or other dry red wine)
  • 4 limes

In a saucepan, combine granulated sugar, 1 c water and the vanilla bean. Simmer until the sugar dissolves, turn off heat, and add chopped rhubarb. Cover for 5 minutes. Break up rhubarb with a spoon, and set aside for 30 min, then strain.
Crush 3/4 of the berries into the brandy in a bowl; let sit for 30 minutes. Strain. Combine brandy mixture, prosecco, red wine, lime juice and the rhubarb syrup in a pitcher, and stir in 2 additional limes (sliced) and rest of strawberries.

Serve over iced or well chilled.

Have a Happy and Safe Holiday Weekend!!!