Friday, October 29, 2010

Want to try again?

So, I do believe that we may be spread across several states for - well- maybe forever! So-- want to try our little experiment again?  Anyone?  If you do- then let's dive in and find an ingredient.

I am thinking:  Cinnamon OR Apples.... but would love to hear what someone else is thinking.  And-- finally- I didn't respond to the invite in time- so I am not listed as a contributor, and have no idea how to invite myself, even though I am logged in as administrator-- so-- court, or someone-- help me add myself!! Please?! if we decide to go ahead...  which I CLEARLY am in favor of...
much love,
Jacquie (showing as friendship feast until somebody helps me get that fixed)
Love you all!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Basil... mmmmmmmmmmmm

Helloooooo happy people!  It's been a long time since we did anything with this, and I'm going to attempt a revival.

My mom was just visiting me, and she brought LOTS of stuff from her barn garden!!!  Tomatoes, squash, green beans, snow peas, and BASIL!!!! 

Like, bags of it.  Which I need to do something with before it wilts.  So, my plan tonight is to make something with the fresh basil, and then turn the rest into basil puree to freeze and use later! 

What is YOUR favorite basil thing to make?  I have tons... I'll let you know what I come up with later tonight!


Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Cupcake Recipe

1 box lemon cake mix
3/4 cup water
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon grated lemon peel
2 eggs
1 3 oz. package of cream cheese, softened
1.5 cups of blueberries

2.5 cups powdered sugar
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
1.25 teaspoons vanilla
1 tablespoon of milk

Blueberries & lemon peel for garnish

1. Heat oven to 375 degrees (350 for dark/nonstick pans). Place paper baking cups in 24 muffin cups.
2. In large bowl, beat all cupcake ingredients except blueberries with electric mixer on low speed for 30 seconds. Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally. Fold 1.5 cups of blueberries into batter. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups.
3. Bake 18-22 minutes or until tops are light golden brown. Cool 5 minutes, remove from pan to cooling rack. Cool completely, about 1 hour.
4. In medium bowl, beat powdered sugar, butter, 1 teaspoon lemon peel, vanilla, and milk on high speed about 4 minutes or until smooth/well blended, adding more milk by teaspoonfuls if needed. Spread frosting on cupcakes. Garnish with blueberries and lemon peel!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Summer= I want lemons

So because none of us have posted in ages, I figured I would. Because I baked today, using my new favorite: lemon. It's such a great summer flavor without being over-powering (when done right!)

Today I made lemon-blueberry cupcakes. I'll post the recipe assuming they taste good but I haven't eaten one yet.

However, they looked GORGEOUS! so I'll post pictures.

After pulling them out:

With the icing:

And all done!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Borough Market = mushroom pate

When I find something I love I marry it. Seriously. Of course I'm not talking people here I'm talking food. For example, when I find myself in Philadelphia I don't like to leave without Bequet's sea salt caramels. When I'm at Central Market in Lancaster I always have a peanut butter long john from the Amish man at the corner. I have favorite lunch time and dinner time meals at almost every restaurant I've been to more than once. So, in the event that the first thing I try at a restaurant I fall in love with you will have a terrible time trying to convince me I want something else. Perhaps that's why I like you all so share things. In any event, the first time I went to Borough Market ago I happened across a little stand called Pate Moi. It was just a small stand, an unassuming guy and free samples. Heaven. I chose the worst most chaotic day to visit this London institution but as soon as I tasted this pate it was love. I don't think I've been back to the market without buying some. There are many ways one can eat this pate but the absolute best is on freshly baked baguette. If you come to London we will definitely indulge ourselves. There's also a little English cheese stand right beside it....but I'll save that description for another day.

Friday, March 5, 2010

March is for Mushrooms

It's spring, which means there is rain and things are growing, and mushrooms are plentiful. OK, so it's not spring yet, its still snowing, and I could have chosen something green and pretty that grew in the spring. BUT, I love mushrooms, and want new ways to make them delicious. So, throw some new and creative ways out there to make fungus fun. And delicious. We are all about the deliciousness.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

And this is how it's done

I finally made the risotto recipe I posted a few weeks ago. It was "a good idea." And as I am a novice at risotto making (unlike many of you) I decided to enlist the help of my friend Jeanne and her kitchen. After picking up some fresh supplies in the Brixton markets we made this delightful winter dish. Good meal, good times.

Butternut Squash and Vanilla Risotto

a la Giada de Laurentiis


  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 large vanilla bean
  • 3 cups peeled cubed (1-inch wide) butternut squash, about 12 ounces
  • 2 tablespoons butter, plus 1 tablespoon
  • 3/4 cups finely chopped onion (from 1 onion)
  • 1 1/2 cups Arborio rice or medium-grain white rice
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh chives


In a medium saucepan, warm the broth over medium-high heat. Cut the vanilla bean in half lengthwise.Scrape out the seeds and add them, and the bean, to the broth.

(We used this vanilla I got while in Mexico with my buddy Dr.Sears as being poor college students made real vanilla a bit expensive)

When the broth comes to a simmer reduce the heat to low. Add the butternut squash to the simmering broth and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon remove the butternut squash to a side dish. Turn the heat on the broth down to very low and cover to keep warm.

Meanwhile, in a large, heavy saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and saute until tender but not brown, about 3 minutes. Add the rice and stir to coat with the butter. Add the wine and simmer until the wine has almost completely evaporated, about 3 minutes. Add 1/2 cup of the simmering broth and stir until almost completely absorbed, about 2 minutes. Continue cooking the rice, adding the broth 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly and allowing each addition to the broth to absorb before adding the next, until the rice is tender but still firm to the bite and the mixture is creamy, about 20 minutes total. Discard the vanilla bean.

Turn off the heat. Gently stir inthe butternut squash, Parmesan, the remaining tablespoon of butter, and salt. Transfer the risotto to a serving bowl and sprinkle with chives. Serve immediately.

As I consider a meal without dessert to be the 8th deadly sin we also made this surprisingly delicious crisp. I say surprisingly delicious because fruit is not in season here in London and we used a medley of unripe nectarines, plums and raspberries. The best thing about crisps is that a little butter and brown sugar can make anything delicious.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

A really good idea

I haven't made it yet but I think we all should. I'm going to dedicate this to Cody because of his love of all things Giada.

Butternut Squash and Vanilla Risotto

Monday, February 1, 2010

February = Vanilla

It's February. It's cold where many of us are.  It's a month with a valentine's day.  Scott wanted us to do Avocados (let's do that in another month)... I thought about Chocolate (I mean, I think about it all the time)...but really... here's what I am choosing for us to play with:


Vanilla.... go to it!

Friday, January 29, 2010

When Life is a Lemon

In the crazy of the last month...or should I say the crazy in my head in the last month, I have not cooked, baked, simmered, or steamed with lemon.
I have zested my water with lemon (when limes were not around.)
And I have resisted the urge to lick my lemon curd hand cream.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Lemonade with Rose Water

Scott makes fresh lemonade for Isaac all the time.
So- he had made a glass of lemonade with about 1/4 cup lemon juice, ice water and sugar to taste.   This particular evening we added about 6 drops of Rose Water and a splash of Gin.  Lovely!! Would be great on a hot summer day.  The rose water is really distinctive and goes so well with Hendricks.  It also is fine without the alcohol (Isaac approved.)  

Lemon Pasta

Adapted from the recipe:

Pasta with Peas, Ricotta Salata, and Lemon

Gourmet  | August 1998

    * 6 ounces dried pasta such as farfalle (we used rigatoni)
    * 1 cup frozen peas
    * 1/4 cup packed fresh basil leaves
    * 3 ounces ricotta salata cheese*
    * 1-2 lemons
    * 1 1/2 tablespoons basil oil
       Fresh terragon (if you like it)  for garnish

* good quality cheese and ingredients make a huge difference with an ultra simple sauce

Fill a 4-quart kettle three fourths full with salted water and bring to a boil for pasta and peas.

Tear basil into bite-size pieces and break ricotta salata into about 1/2-inch-thick pieces. Into a large bowl finely grate zest from lemons and squeeze enough juice to measure 2 tablespoon. Add basil, cheese, and oil. Cook pasta in boiling water until almost al dente. Stir in peas and continue to cook until pasta is al dente and peas are tender. Drain pasta and peas well. Add pasta and peas to bowl and toss to combine. Season pasta with salt and pepper (if you like fresh terragon you can add some at the end... we don't, so we skipped it). 

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The English call these fairy cakes but I call them poppy seed prozac

As all of you know by now, I live in a tomb size room on the top floor of a Chinese church in central London with one window that has an incredible view of the back of another building. Thankfully, I have the bright and sunny London weather to cheer me up. Oh wait.... In any event, I packed a few recipes in my bag when I left the states after Christmas break including this recipe for lemon poppy seed butterfly cupcakes. It came from the one and only Jacquie Church Young in a deck of cupcake cards perfect for my small suitcase situation. They have everything one needs to put on her rain boots and face the London weather. i.e. - lemon curd, whipping cream and poppy seed goodness

1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
1/2 cup buttermilk (the more fat the merrier)

Lemon filling:
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
1 cup sugar
2 tbsp cornstarch dissolved in 1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

Whipped topping:
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tbsp powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

* powdered sugar for dusting

Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350F. Line 12 muffin tin cups with paper cupcake liners.

Make cupcakes:
In a large bowl beat butter and sugar on medium speed until smooth and light in color (about 1 minute). Add the eggs one at a time beating until each is blended (about one minute). Mix in the vanilla, lemon zest and poppy seeds. At low speed mix in half the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt just to incorporate it but do not over beat. Mix in buttermilk and blend it. Mix in the rest of the flour until the batter is smooth.

Fill each cupcake liner with a scant 1/4 cup of batter to about 1/2 inch below the top of the liner. Bake until the top feels firm and toothpick comes out clean. (about 18 minutes). the cupcakes should rise just above the liner top. Cool the cupcakes and remove from pan.

Make lemon filling:
In a saucepan, heat the butter and lemon juice over medium heat until the butter melts and the mixture is hot.

In a bowl, whisk the eggs, egg yolks and sugar together and then mix in the dissolved cornstarch. Whisking constantly, slowly pour the egg mixture into the hot butter mixture. Stir until it comes to a boil and thickens (about 6 minutes). The sauce should look clear rather than cloudy. Remove this from the heat, strain into a bowl and stir in the lemon zest. Press the plastic wrap onto the surface of the sauce and use a toothpick to poke a few holes in the plastic to allow steam to escape. Refrigerate until cold.

Make whipped topping:
In a large bowl mix cream, powdered sugar and vanilla on medium high until firm peaks form (make sure they are firm or the wings will fall down and you will have a dead fairy). Use a rubber spatula and fold 1/4 cup of the lemon filling into the whipped cream. Add 1/2 cup of the filling and swirl leaving yellow streaks visible.

Assembling the fairy cakes:
Cut off the top of each cupcake. Dust the tops with powdered sugar and cut in half. Mound whipped topping onto cake bottoms. Place the cut cupcake tops on the whipped topping with the cut halves facing out and up so they resemble wings. Spoon or pipe the remaining lemon filling between the wings.

Serve or cover and refrigerate.

I'm not going to lie to you. This takes a loooooong time to make but the end result is so worth it.

If you are short on time I suggest making the whipped topping and lemon filling and eating them with a spoon or your finger.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Who's game?

So, who all is in?  And Courtney-- is the first topic Lemons?  And how long do we have?  A month? or till the end of January?  I ask these questions in part for clarification and in part to make sure I could log out of my own blog and post here.  Seems like I might be able to! :-)

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

A Lemon

I was hoping to come up with some grand motive for beginning our blog with a lemon.  The truth is, the blog decor made me think....lemon!  And there you have it.  Perhaps subconsciously I thought we could all use a little citrus sunshine to get us through the winter.  In any case, I was looking through a poetry book the other night and I came across a Pablo Neruda poem called A Lemon.  The very last line of the poem reads "the diminutive fire of a planet."  I just had lemon curd tonight and I think he may be right.