January 30, 2014

Bolognese Sauce

This sauce is delicious and easy, and, served over pasta with cheese, is the kind of meal I crave on a cold winter night.

Bolognese Sauce
adapted from The Pioneer Woman

1/4 cup olive oil
1 cup carrots, grated
1 onion, diced
1 pound ground beef
1 Tbsp. dried oregano
1 Tbsp. dried basil
4 Tbsp. tomato paste
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup vegetable or chicken stock
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire or soy sauce
1 can (28 ounce) whole tomatoes
1/2 cup milk, optional
salt and pepper, to taste
freshly grated Parmesan or Romano Pecorino cheese

Heat oil in a large Dutch oven or skillet over medium heat. Add grated carrots and onions and cook for a few minutes. Make a well in the center of the mixture, and then add in the ground beef. Cook for a few minutes until brown, gradually stirring it into the carrot mixture.

Add oregano and basil. When the meat is browned and combined with other ingredients, make another well. Add tomato paste and let it heat. Add garlic and stir to combine.
Make a well in the center of the mixture and add stock. Stir together. Add Worcestershire or soy sauce and stir. Add canned tomatoes. Finally, pour in milk, stir, and let simmer for 30 minutes, up to 2 hours.

Serve with pasta and Parmesan or Romano Pecorino cheese.

January 16, 2014

Broccoli and Cheddar Frittata

I don't use broccoli nearly enough in my cooking and was pleasantly surprised with this frittata. Broccoli and cheddar really are a delicious classic flavor combo.

Broccoli and Cheddar Frittata
adapted from Ellie Krieger

6 large eggs
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 small red onion, sliced (about 1 cup)
2 cups chopped cooked broccoli (steam for a few minutes)
1/4 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup shredded extra-sharp cheddar (2 ounces)

In a medium bowl, add the eggs and whisk until combined. Set aside.

In a medium ovenproof nonstick skillet heat the oil over a medium flame. Add the onion and cook until it begins to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the broccoli and cook for another 2 minutes. Season with salt and a few turns of pepper. Pour the egg mixture over the vegetables in the skillet covering them evenly. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and let cook until the egg mixture has set around the edges but is somewhat liquid in the middle, about 8 minutes. Sprinkle with the cheese.

Meanwhile, preheat the broiler. Place the skillet under the broiler about 2 inches from the heat until the surface is set and golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Be careful not to overcook or the egg mixture will become tough.

Spritz Cookies

I have a cookie press, but have only used it a few times. This Christmas I thought it would be fun to decorate cookies with my toddler. She did think it was fun, but all she could really do was sprinkle on the coconut. I kept the cookies mostly out of her reach except for the one we were decorating, but she still managed to snatch two and put them in her mouth before I could stop her.

Spritz Cookies
adapted from Wilton

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 cups butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract

Preheat oven to 350ºF.

In bowl, combine flour and baking powder. In large bowl, beat butter and sugar with electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add egg, milk, vanilla and almond extract; mix well. Gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture; beat until combined. Do not chill. Fill cookie press with dough and with desired disks, press cookies onto ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake 10-12 minutes or until edges are light golden brown. Cool 2 minutes on cookie sheet on cooling rack. Remove from sheet; cool completely.

1 egg white
3 c powdered sugar
2-3 Tbsp water, if needed

Whisk egg white till frothy. Add powdered sugar and water (if needed) till thick and smooth. Add coloring as desired. Use shortly after making as the frosting will harden in 1 to 2 hours.

January 7, 2014


Naan is a type of Indian flatbread, usually served warm and brushed with ghee (clarified butter). It's so good, but warm bread always is. Feel free to leave out the cumin and garlic if the flavors don't work with the rest of your meal.

from Sprouted Kitchen

2 cups white or white whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tbsp sugar
1/2 cup of warm milk
1/2 cup of yogurt
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
ghee or coconut oil

Mix all the dry ingredients together and make a well of flour.

Mix milk and yogurt together and pour half of it into the well and slowly combine it together.

Add the liquid slowly and combine it all together slowly until a soft dough is made. The dough should be soft and tender. If dough sticks to your hand, use little bit of oil.

Cover with damp cloth and let it sit in a warm place for at least 2 hours.

Preheat a heavy bottomed, seasoned skillet or cast iron. Flour your work surface and knead the dough a few times, working in the minced garlic. Divide the dough into 6 to 8 pieces. Roll them out into a thin, oblong or round shape. Brush one side with water and add it to the pan, damp side down. Cook for about one minute until it browns, flip and cook the other side for another minute or two. Once lightly browned, run it over an open flame on the stove to get a few char marks. Brush the warm bread with a thin layer of ghee or coconut oil and a pinch of salt. Repeat with remaining dough. Keep covered with a dish cloth until ready to serve.

Flourless Chocolate Cake

I don't know how many flourless chocolate cake recipes I've tried - too many. I still am on the search for a better one - but this one will do for now. I'm tired of trying something new each time, so I wanted to document this one. It's easy and uses ingredients I have on hand.

Have you tried cacao powder? It retains more health benefits than cocoa powder, though seem of these are lost when heated, like baked in this cake. I've successfully used cacao powder in many different recipes to replace cocoa powder.

Flourless Chocolate Cake
adapted from Epicurious 

4 ounces fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (not unsweetened)
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
3/4 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder or cacao powder

Preheat oven to 375°F and butter an 8-inch round baking pan. Line bottom with a round of wax paper and butter paper.

Chop chocolate into small pieces. In a double boiler or metal bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water melt chocolate with butter, stirring, until smooth. Remove top of double boiler or bowl from heat and whisk sugar into chocolate mixture. Add eggs and whisk well. Sift 1/2 cup cocoa powder over chocolate mixture and whisk until just combined. Pour batter into pan and bake in middle of oven 25 minutes, or until top has formed a thin crust. Cool cake in pan on a rack 5 minutes and invert onto a serving plate.

Dust cake with additional cocoa powder or powdered sugar and serve with sorbet if desired. Cake keeps, after being cooled completely, in an airtight container, 1 week.

Spinach and Mushroom Stuffed Shells

Baked cheesy pasta is always welcome in cold winter months. We don't eat pasta that much, so I don't worry about the refined flour in it.

Spinach and Mushroom Stuffed Shells
from What Megan's Making

Kosher salt
8 ounces (about 20) jumbo pasta shells
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling and brushing
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
8 ounces white mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 10-ounce package frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1 1/2 cups ricotta cheese
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil or 1 tsp. dried basil

For the sauce (or use any tomato sauce you have on hand)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
Large pinch of red pepper flakes
1 28-ounce can whole plum tomatoes, crushed by hand
Kosher salt

For the stuffed shells: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta shells and cook until slightly softened but still firm, about 7-10 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water. Drizzle with olive oil and toss; set aside.

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, 30 seconds. Add the mushrooms and cook, undisturbed, until golden in spots, about 2 minutes. Add 1/4 teaspoon salt and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are soft, about 5 more minutes. Add the spinach and stir until heated through, about 2 minutes. Let cool completely.

Finely chop the spinach-mushroom mixture and combine in a bowl with the ricotta cheese, mozzarella, Parmesan, egg, basil and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Stuff each shell with about 2 tablespoons of the filling; set aside.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

For the tomato sauce: Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, fennel seeds and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring, until lightly golden, about 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes, then rinse out the can with 1 cup water and add to the skillet; add 1/4 teaspoon salt. Bring to a simmer and cook until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a blender and puree until smooth.

Brush a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with olive oil and pour in half of the tomato sauce. Add the stuffed shells, then top with the remaining tomato sauce. Cover with aluminum foil and bake 25 minutes; uncover and continue baking until bubbly, 15 to 20 more minutes. Sprinkle with some extra mozzarella and Parmesan and bake 5 more minutes, or until cheese is melted.

January 4, 2014

Orange Ricotta Pancakes

I love just about every pancake I make, but my husband is harder to impress. He loves these ricotta pancakes, and I do too, but that's not news.

Orange Ricotta Pancakes
adapted from Sweet Peas Kitchen

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1 cup ricotta cheese
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup orange juice
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon grated orange zest
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Maple syrup

In medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
In a small bowl, whisk together the egg, ricotta cheese, milk, orange juice, butter, and orange zest; set aside.

Make a well in center of the dry ingredients; pour in milk mixture and whisk very gently until just combined (a few lumps should remain). Do not over mix.

Heat a skillet or griddle over medium heat for 3 to 5 minutes; add a small pat of butter and coat the pan. Pour a 1/3 cup of batter on the pan and cook until large bubbles begin to appear, 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Using a thin, wide spatula, flip pancakes and cook until golden brown on second side, 1 to 1 1/2 minutes longer. Repeat with remaining batter. Serve warm with maple syrup.