Saturday, November 30, 2013

Fauxnuts by Rachel

If you haven't heard already, the croissant-donut hybrid has been making headlines and has taken over the throne for trendiest dessert of the moment (from the cupcake, obvi).  So clearly, I had to try to make them on my own just to see what all the fuss was about.  In New York, people have been standing in line for hours at Dominique Ansel Bakery, the bakery that created the Cronut, just to get one.

I don't know about you guys out there, but I don't have time to be standing in line for desserts!  That meant my only option was to try to create a version at home.  I've had a few tasters that have tried the real thing taste my fauxnuts and they've said that I'm pretty close which I take great pride in!  Because the Cronut name is trademarked, mine are fauxnuts. :)

Without further ado, here's the recipe I used- be warned that to make this, you'll need to start about 2 days in advance.  The dough recipe was inspired by Top With Cinnamon:


1 cup cold milk (I used whole milk)
1/2 cup boiling water
1 tbsp active dry yeast
1/4 cup sugar
3 1/2 cup all purpose flour, extra for dusting your surface to roll out the dough
1 tsp salt
1 cup + 2tbsp butter, very cold
Corn oil for frying

For the sugar coating
1/2 cup sugar
1 tbsp cinnamon

For the glaze
3 tbsp water
1 1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

Monday, November 25, 2013

Oyster Stuffing by Heather

My mom makes this stuffing every year for Thanksgiving, and in my opinion, its the best stuffing.  It's an old recipe that I'm pretty sure comes from a Betty Crocker cookbook, and sometimes the best recipes are the ones we grew up with.

1 loaf of bread (I used a whole wheat sourdough boule), cubed
5 stalks celery, diced
1 onion, diced
3 sprigs thyme
5 leaves sage, minced
salt and pepper to taste
1 tbs. butter, cut into small pieces
2 cans of fresh oysters, drained and chopped (these aren't the smoked variety; you can normally find them near the seafood counter of the grocery store)
1/4 cup chicken stock

Combine all ingredients except for butter and chicken stock in a bowl and mix to combine.  Pour mixture into baking dish.  Pour chicken stock over the stuffing, and then top with pieces of butter.  Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes.  If stuffing starts to get too brown, cover with foil.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Prosciutto by Heather

Here's an idea for a really easy side dish.  It's great at Thanksgiving or really with any fall meal.

1 carton brussels sprouts, bottom part and outer leaves removed, and quartered
3 sheets prosciutto
1 garlic clove, minced
1 shallot, minced
1 tbs. lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste
3 tbs. olive oil

Place brussels sprouts on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper, garlic, shallot, and olive oil, and combine with your hands. Tear prosciutto into small pieces and place on top of Brussels.

Roast in oven at 375 degrees for 30 minutes, shaking tray half way through.  Remove from oven and sprinkle with more salt and lemon juice.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Roasted Cornish Game Hens by Heather

Brandon and I are going to Ireland, but we still wanted to have a nice Thanksgiving dinner.  Since it was just the two of us, I decided to make Cornish game hens.  They're really easy to make, and they always turn out juicy.  I also made oyster stuffing, truffle mashed potatoes, and brussels sprouts with prosciutto, and I'll be posting those recipes over the next couple of days.

2 cornish game hens
1 tbs. butter
1 lemon, quartered
1 clove garlic, minced
1 shallot, minced
2 tbs. mixture of chopped herbs such as sage, rosemary, and thyme
2 tbs. olive oil
1/4 cup wine or chicken broth

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Linguine with Shrimp and Lemon Oil by Heather

This is a recipe I turn to when I want something quick and fresh.  The lemon and arugula in this recipe really lighten and brighten the flavors.  This is a recipe adapted from Giada de Laurentiis.


Lemon Oil:
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
zest of 1 lemon

For the Pasta:
1 lb. linguine
2 tbs. olive oil
2 shallots, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
zest of 1 lemon
1/4 cup lemon juice (from about 2 lemons)
1 lb. shrimp, deveined, and tails removed
1/4 cup white wine
3 heaping cups arugula
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
sprinkle red pepper flakes
salt and pepper to taste
grated parmesan to sprinkle on top 

Mushroom Lasagna by Heather

This is a very versatile dish.  You can really add whatever mushrooms and cheese you like.  I decided to use portobello and chantrelle mushrooms, but any mushrooms with an earthy flavor would work.  I found a great truffle gouda at Whole Foods, which I sprinkled on top of the lasagna to finish the dish.  Instead of a red sauce, you could certainly add a cream sauce if you wanted the mushroom flavor to really stand out.

1 box no boil lasagna sheets
2 shallots, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tbs. olive oil
1/4 cup white or red wine (I used red)
1 lb assorted mushrooms, chopped
1-2 tbs. minced rosemary
1-2 tbs. minced sage
1 28 oz. can crushed tomato
8 oz. container goat ricotta
1 cup frozen spinach, thawed, and squeezed of excess water
pinch of nutmeg
8 oz. shredded parmesan cheese
4 oz. shredded truffle gouda

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Special Ingredient: Brussels Sprouts and Pancetta Pizza by Rachel

Brussels sprouts get such a bad rep because sometimes they can taste a little bitter if not cooked through enough.  Well, I'm here to tell you that they make an excellent pizza topping.  Pair them with a little pancetta and they are wonderful!  

Pizza is not an easy food to make so if you are going to embark on this journey, give yourself time and be prepared to work.

The recipe below makes about 2 pizzas that are a little larger than personal pan size.

Pizza dough recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Ingredients for the One Day Pizza Dough:
3 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp active dry yeast
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/4 cup + 2-3 tbsp water

Monday, November 18, 2013

Soft Center Chocolate Cookies by Rachel

For my dear friend, Dana-

I know you love sweets.  You are one of my favorite people to cook for because the smile you get when you taste my food is so gratifying to me.  So, it's probably no surprise to you that I decided to make you a little something special from my kitchen on your special day.  May the next year be extremely happy for you- filled with hugs and kisses from all the people that you love and all the people that love you.  Happy, happy birthday to you!!  :)


 1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
10 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Caramel sauce (recipe found here)

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Bourbon Cider Cocktail by Heather

Last night, Brandon and I came up with a very easy fall cocktail.  This drink is great because it requires very few ingredients, but looks festive.

(makes 1 drink)
2 jiggers bourbon
2 jiggers spiced apple cider
1 tbs. lemon juice
grated fresh ginger to taste
large ice cube
cinnamon stick for garnish

Combine all ingredients in cocktail shaker with one ice cube and shake shake shake!

Pour into cocktail glass with large ice cube and garnish with a cinnamon stick.

Mushroom Toast by Heather

Sometimes the best meals come about by cleaning out the fridge.  Last night, I had a bunch of shiitake mushrooms, some bread, and a lot of cheese, so I decided to make mushroom toast.  The best mushroom toast I've had is in Venice, CA at Gjelina, and this is my take.

This recipe is very versatile.  If you don't have all the ingredients below, you can substitute for whatever you have in your fridge.

1/2 lb. shiitake mushrooms, rubbed clean with a lightly damp paper towel, and roughly chopped
1 small onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tbs. olive oil
1 tbs. cider vinegar (any type of vinegar will do)
1/4 cup red wine
1/4 cup ricotta (you could also use greek yogurt)
1/3 cup milk (can be any kind- obviously the higher the fat, the more creamy this will be)
1/4 cup feta (you could also use goat cheese)
truffle salt to taste (you could also use truffle oil)
1 tbs, parsley or chives
loaf of bread, cut into slices and toasted or grilled- I used a rosemary sourdough boule

Friday, November 15, 2013

Spicy Roasted Tomato Soup by Rachel

Brrr!  It's starting to get chilly in NYC!  For some people, their most comforting soup might be chicken noodle, but mine is definitely a nice, creamy tomato soup.  I found a recipe that sound delicious with roasted garlic so I tried it.  It was lovely.  I hope you'll enjoy it too!

Recipe inspired by A Mummy Too

4 large tomatoes
About 3-4 tbsp olive oil
1 can chicken stock
1 bulb of garlic
1 Fresno pepper (or any other hot pepper, just depends on how spicy you want your soup)
2 tbsp heavy cream
2 tbsp cheddar
salt and pepper to taste
Greek yogurt to taste

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Pancetta and Cheese Gougères by Rachel

Choux (pronouced "shoo") pastry can seem like a daunting thing to make (because it's all french and fancy), but it's actually really easy and if you've made it right once, you can make it right every time after that.  Choux pastry is what is used to make cream puffs and eclairs.  I had a hankering for the light and fluffy pastry, but I wanted a savory version, so I went for a smoky cheddar and pancetta version.  Hence, the gougère.

I think I might have overdone it with the cheese (though can one every really overdo it with cheese?), so they didn't puff as much as other times I've made them, but I made them to go with soup, so they turned out to be just the right consistency for me.

1/2 cup water
3 tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
2 eggs (though you may not need all of the eggs)
3/4 cup smoked cheddar
1 tbsp chives diced
3 slices of pancetta, diced

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Lentil Meatballs with Lemon Pesto by Heather

This has to be one of my favorite recipes.  There's actually no meat in these meatballs, just lentils and cheese, but you won't miss the meat.  Lentils are a somewhat recent discovery for me- I always thought they would be bland and dry, but they're so tasty!   This is another recipe adapted from Sprouted Kitchen- I love Sara's recipes.  They're always packed full of flavor and healthy without making you feel like you're missing out on anything.  I hope you will enjoy this recipe as much as I do.


1 cup lentils (I use brown lentils)
2 eggs, lightly beaten
3/4 cup ricotta (use whole milk or goats milk)
1/4 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
1 large clove garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh parsley
salt and pepper to taste
2/3 Cup Breadcrumbs (use fresh breadcrumbs if you can find them)

Lemon Pesto Sauce:
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts or toasted almonds
Zest and juice of two lemons
1/2 tsp. salt
2 cups basil leaves
1/4 - 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp. grated Parmesan
2-4 Tbs. water to thin if necessary

Pan Roasted Bok Choy by Rachel

As mentioned in my Harissa Soy Rub Steak post, I made some wonderful sides to go with my flavorful beef.  One of those sides would also make a healthy additional your Thanksgiving sides, too.  I made pan roasted bok choy.  This can probably be done with baby bok choy as well, but I used the full-size ones.

The recipe is really easy and takes less than 20 minutes, in total, to prepare, so it's great if you need to add something quick to a meal.  If your a vegetarian, bok choy is also a pretty hearty, yet juicy vegetable.  Clearly, I'm a fan.

2 large bok choy
1 egg
3 tbsp oyster sauce
1/8 tsp fish sauce
Sriracha, to taste
1/2 tsp sesame oil
1 tbsp olive oil

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Earl Grey Tea Cake with Lemon Buttercream by Rachel

Another week, another cake!

I went down to DC to visit family this weekend and we were invited to a birthday party.  Not wanting to go empty handed, I decided to give the gift of food, so I baked a cake.

I wanted to make a cake with a unique and delicate flavor and I didn't want to just make vanilla cake (though nothing is wrong with a good, vanilla cake).  I remembered having earl grey ice cream for the first time this summer for the Van Leewen Ice Cream Truck and I loved the flavor.  It was gentle, but not flowery.  So I settled on flavoring my cake with the tea.

Ingredients for the cake
5 teabags of early grey tea
3/4 cup whole milk
2 tbsp sugar

1 stick of butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp lemon juice, fresh squeezed
1 tbsp lemon zest (about half a lemon)

1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup sugar
pinch of salt

Monday, November 11, 2013

Harissa Soy Rub Steak by Rachel

Now that the weather is getting chillier, I find myself wanting hearty meals, which is what brought me to the harissa spice.  I had picked up the harissa when I was visiting Turkey in the spring and I'm glad that I bought it.  Harissa is really a versatile spice and can be used on a variety of meats and root vegetables. Harissa rub steak isn't a new concept, but mine has a little bit of an asian twist.


2 hanger steaks, 1/2 lb each
1tbsp harissa
1 tbsp red chili flakes
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup water
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp roasted glutinous rice powder

Quinoa with Pomegranate and Spinach by Heather

Yesterday, I posted a recipe for a very decadent Thanksgiving side.  Today, I'm offering up a lighter side that's easy to prepare and very festive.  I also turn to this dish when I need an easy weeknight side that can be served along something like  miso-soy glazed salmon.

1 cup dry quinoa
2 cups water
1 box frozen spinach
juice of 2 lemons
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds (make it easy on yourself and just get a carton of the seeds so that you don't have to de-seed a pomegranate yourself)
1 Tbs. basil infused olive oil (if you don't have this, regular olive oil and a few basil leaves will work)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Bring the quinoa and water to a boil, then turn the heat down to a simmer, cooking for about 15-20 minutes, covered, until quinoa is fluffy.

While the quinoa cooks, defrost the spinach and add to a bowl.  Combine rest of ingredients in bowl, then add cooked quinoa.  Easy as that!

Kale Crisps by Rachel

Kale is a deliciously hearty vegetable that can be used in juices, salads, as a side dish...the list goes on!  Something else that's great about kale is that it can be toasted to become the perfect thing to fulfill your craving for a crispy snack!

I'm totally guilty of wanting to snack all the time and, despite the efforts of the snack world to create healthy chips, they aren't always as "healthy" as they say they are.  Kale crisps, on the other hand, are a healthy snack that you can make at home and it takes very little time.

As much kale as you want!
1 tbsp of olive oil per cup of kale
Salt, to taste

Optional: Parmesan cheese, Old Bay Seasoning, Paprika, etc

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Special Ingredient: Brussels Sprout Gratin by Heather

This month, our special ingredient is brussels sprouts.  I've featured them in a gratin that would make a great side at Thanksgiving.  This recipe is definitely heavy on the cheese, so it's guaranteed to win over any one that says they don't like brussels!  This recipe is adapted from Bon Appetit- I added Stilton to the cheese mixture, and it adds a sharp bite that helps cut through the density of all the cream in this dish.

1 1/2 pounds brussels sprouts, washed, trimmed, and quartered
1 1/2 pound head cauliflower, trimmed, and cut into small florets
2 3/4 cups heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup chopped shallots (about 2 large shallots)
1 Tbs. chopped fresh sage
1 1/2 Tbs. olive oil
1/2 cup plain dry breadcrumbs
1/2 cup pine nuts, lightly toasted
2 Tbs. chopped fresh Italian flat leaf parsley
3 cups grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 lb. stilton or any other blue cheese you prefer

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Faux Cream Cheese Frosting and Salted Caramel by Rachel

If you've embarked on making the Spiced Apple Cake and want to fancy it up, you can definitely frost it with your standard buttercream frosting.  I frosted mine with a slightly healthier faux cream cheese frosting and homemade salted caramel.

From this boring cake...
To this yummy creation!
The faux cream cheese frosting is a little lighter and fluffier than your average frosting because I didn't want to weigh down the spiced apple cake since it's a denser type of cake.  It's "faux" because it doesn't actually use any cream cheese.  It uses Greek yogurt and tastes so good with this cake.

Spiced Apple Cake by Rachel

Growing up, I really enjoyed making apple pies.  Even today, I still love making apple pies.  But on this particular day, I was lazy and didn't feel like making a pie crust.  So there.

That's what brought me to making a spiced apple cake.  With apples being so deliciously in season right now, I made my way to a farmer's market and scooped up some Newton Pippon apples, which are perfect for an apple cake.  They're tart just like a Granny Smith, but a little sweeter on the finish.  Perfect for my cake recipe.

2 large Newton Pippon apples, peeled, cored, and cut into large bits
2 tbsp dark brown sugar
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into cubes
1/4 tsp cinnamon
pinch of nutmeg

1 stick of unsalted butter
1 1/4 cup sugar
3 eggs, at room temperature
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1pinch of allspice
1 tbsp superfine sugar
7 oz of 2% Greek yogurt (I used Fage)
1 tbsp olive oil

Sunday Bolognese by Heather

When it gets colder out, Brandon and I make Bolognese every other week.  It's easy to make, and great for a cozy Sunday dinner.  This is a slightly more fancier version of a Bolognese, as it adds some pancetta and fresh tagliatelle from Eataly.   You certainly don't have to get your ingredients at Eataly, but it is nice if you can get fresh noodles.


1 lb. mixture of ground pork, beef, and veal
1 lb. fresh tagliatelle pasta
5 fresh sage leaves, thinly sliced
28 oz basil tomato sauce
1/4 cup diced pancetta
1/4 lb. assorted chopped mushrooms such as oyster and chanterelle
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp. rosemary, minced
Red pepper flakes to taste
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 cup milk
1 1/4 cup red wine
Grated parmesan cheese for sprinkling
1 tsp. salt, plus more to taste
Black pepper to taste
 We chose a pound of the "meatball" mix, which is a mixture of pork, beef, and veal.

It's best to choose an uncured pancetta.  You'll need to dice it, so it's best to get the rounded pancetta and have them slice it 1/4 inch thick.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Summer Rolls by Rachel

Summer's come and gone and so have my summer rolls!  Bad pun, I know, but that doesn't make my summer rolls any less tasty and the recipe is extremely easy.  You can really put whatever you want into a summer roll, but here's the recipe that I go back to time and time again.

1/2 lb of beef or pork (totally up to you)
1/2 cup cilantro, torn or chopped coarsely
1/4 scallions, diced
1 tbsp hoisin sauce
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp salt
1/2 cup of soaked cellophane noodles
1/4 cup of toasted rice powder
1 package of Vietnamese rice paper