Coco Cooks has moved!

You should be automatically redirected in 5 seconds.

If not, please visit and update your bookmarks and RSS feed.


Dandelion Greens with Bacon and Fig Balsamic

I received my first vegetable box this morning. I have wanted to start this for a while but the membership fee and costs seemed prohibitive to me. It made sense in the long run, but I didn't want to deal with wait lists, pick up, etc. My belly dance instructor at the new gym I go to referred me to a place called Timber Creek Organics. I love them because there are no memberships fees, you can adjust your order, and even skip a week. All of it is tailor made for you! I decided to go the cheapest route of a basic vegetable box based on seasonal produce. No fruit these two weeks. I received a gorgeous bulb of fennel,onions, radishes, garlic,tomatoes,red leaf lettuce, cauliflower, and two bunches of dandelion leaves.

The first time I ever had Dandelion leaves was in a salad in the early nineties at the Royalton in NYC with my old roommate from college. I came home on the train with a full blown seasonal allergy attack. When I told my mother what I ate, etc she mocked me for a year because I ate overpriced weeds which I had no business eating with my allergies. She was harsh as only a mother can be.Anyway I haven't had them since. I think my body could handle a salad, but I wanted something hot. Plus Certain Someone wouldn't want a salad. I found this informative page and decide to cook them up with some bacon. A spoonful of bacon makes the medicine go down. Is it the most healthiest way? No. But it tastes good and he'll eat it. I was craving pork chop too. Another food I haven't had in a long time. Guess I'm fished out! I breaded the chops in a mixture of Parmesan Reggiano cheese. I learned this trick from Marie at Proud Italian Cook. Certain Someone loves it. I use it for chicken and pork.

Dandelion Greens with Bacon and Fig Balsamic

4 strips of bacon cut into cubes

1/2 onion

1 clove of chopped garlic

2 bunches of Dandelion greens washed and cut into pieces

a splash or 2 of Fig Balsamic Vinegar

1 tablespoon of natural sugar

salt and pepper to taste

Brown bacon. Drain fat. Add onion and garlic.Saute until translucent Add dandelion leaves and balsamic, and sugar. Cook until wilted.Salt and pepper to taste.

Stumble Upon Toolbar


Stumble Upon Toolbar


Everything's Coming Up Roses...Daring Bakers March... Perfect Party Cake

I am one of those that usually rush to get my Daring Bakers Challenges done early.I may even try it out a few more times before posting. Not this month. Time just slipped on by.Perfect Party cake is my first Dorie Greenspan recipe ever. Oddly enough I had never really heard of her until I started Blogging and becoming a Daring Baker. But that's the reason I joined, to learn so much more! I managed to squeeze in the cake baking Thursday night before deadline to freeze and decorate on Friday. One thing I knew for sure was that I was going to play with Rose flavors. I ordered a Greek preserve of rose petals in syrup for the filling. I had some SENCE Rose Nectar that I wanted to use in the butter cream. I thought this would be a great compliment to this white cake.I love sugar craft and decorating, but just never got around to crafting my royal icing flowers for this cake this month. So I cheated and used my rose molds for some fondant decorations. That's the part I really loved about this challenge, the freedom and creative license. I was a bit worried because some DB's were having issues with the cake rising. I didn't have enough of white granulated sugar and decided to add natural cane sugar to what I had. I worried this might impede the baking. But all turned out right enough.The baking time just took a little longer than the 35 minutes the recipe said. Then all of sudden it started to brown and spring to life.I did use the Swans Down Cake Flour Dorie recommended. I also substituted the lemon zest and extract for a favorite flavoring of mine, Princess Cake and Cookie Emulsion. This product is by Lorrane Oils and doesn't flash off when baking. It has a tart nutty flavor I love.The Butter cream was similar to last butter cream we all made for the December Buche De Noel Challenge. I found this one better and lighter in flavor. I substituted Sence Rose Nectar rather than the lemon juice the recipe called for. I also took out my decorating kit and found my favorite Dusty Rose color gel to add to the frosting. I found this icing way different to work with than my standard Wilton Butter cream(Crisco and powdered sugar). But the results looked great while piping. I assembled and iced it all while the cake was frozen .Rather that use shredded coconut, I used shaved white chocolate to compliment the rose flavors. I planned to take it out of the refrigerator Saturday afternoon to take to party.
The cake was very well received. I was surprised it turned out so well. The rose petals in syrup settled nicely in between the layers .The flavors were subtle and the cakes texture was perfect. I could see this cake as a wedding cake(sturdy yet delicate to layer).I most loved the butter cream. Silky and not to sweet.

Big thanks to this months host Morven and be sure to check out the other Daring Bakers take on this great cake.

Perfect Party Cake by Dorie Greenspan

Update on playing around. Yes you can do what ever you want with this cake as long as you promise to use the basic cake recipe and the basic buttercream recipe (if you are doing the buttercream that is) . The filling/frosting flavours are completely up to you. If you don't feel like using Dorie's buttercream recipe (flavoured as you wish) she says whipped cream will do for the filling and finishing and I say... go for it. If you want to use fondant or something else - it's your cake. Bake a square one, a heart shaped one or any other shape you like but please make it a layer cake.I can't wait to see what combinations people come up with. You can leave out the lemon, put different flavours of preserves in the middle, leave off the coconut - have some fun with it.

Words from Dorie

Stick a bright-coloured Post-it to this page, so you’ll always know where to turn for a just-right cake for any celebration. The original recipe was given to me by my great dear friend Nick Malgieri, of baking fame, and since getting it, I’ve found endless opportunities to make it – you will too. The cake is snow white, with an elegant tight crumb and an easygoing nature: it always bakes up perfectly; it is delicate on the tongue but sturdy in the kitchen – no fussing when it comes to slicing the layers in half or cutting tall, beautiful wedges for serving; and, it tastes just as you’d want a party cake to taste – special. The base recipe is for a cake flavoured with lemon, layered with a little raspberry jam and filled and frosted with a classic (and so simple) pure white lemony hot-meringue buttercream but, because the elements are so fundamental, they lend themselves to variation (see Playing Around), making the cake not just perfect, but also versatile.

For the Cake

2 1/4 cups cake flour (updated 25 March)

1 tablespoon baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

1 ¼ cups whole milk or buttermilk (I prefer buttermilk with the lemon)

4 large egg whites

1 ½ cups sugar

2 teaspoons grated lemon zest

1 stick (8 tablespoons or 4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature

½ teaspoon pure lemon extract

For the Buttercream

1 cup sugar

4 large egg whites

3 sticks (12 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature

¼ cup fresh lemon juice (from 2 large lemons)

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For Finishing

2/3 cup seedless raspberry preserves stirred vigorously or warmed gently until spreadable

About 1 ½ cups sweetened shredded coconut

Getting Ready

Centre a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter two 9 x 2 inch round cake pans and line the bottom of each pan with a round of buttered parchment or wax paper. Put the pans on a baking sheet.

To Make the Cake

Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.Whisk together the milk and egg whites in a medium bowl.Put the sugar and lemon zest in a mixer bowl or another large bowl and rub them together with your fingers until the sugar is moist and fragrant. Add the butter and working with the paddle or whisk attachment, or with a hand mixer, beat at medium speed for a full 3 minutes, until the butter and sugar are very light.Beat in the extract, then add one third of the flour mixture, still beating on medium speed. Beat in half of the milk-egg mixture, then beat in half of the remaining dry ingredients until incorporated. Add the rest of the milk and eggs beating until the batter is homogeneous, then add the last of the dry ingredients. Finally, give the batter a good 2- minute beating to ensure that it is thoroughly mixed and well aerated. Divide the batter between the two pans and smooth the tops with a rubber spatula.Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the cakes are well risen and springy to the touch – a thin knife inserted into the centers should come out clean.Transfer the cakes to cooling racks and cool for about 5 minutes, then run a knife around the sides of the cakes, unfold them and peel off the paper liners.Invert and cool to room temperature, right side up (the cooled cake layers can be wrapped airtight and stored at room temperature overnight or frozen for up to two months).

To Make the Buttercream

Put the sugar and egg whites in a mixer bowl or another large heatproof bowl, fit the bowl over a plan of simmering water and whisk constantly, keeping the mixture over the heat, until it feels hot to the touch, about 3 minutes. The sugar should be dissolved, and the mixture will look like shiny marshmallow cream.Remove the bowl from the heat.Working with the whisk attachment or with a hand mixer, beat the meringue on medium speed until it is cool, about 5 minutes.Switch to the paddle attachment if you have one, and add the butter a stick at a time, beating until smooth.Once all the butter is in, beat in the buttercream on medium-high speed until it is thick and very smooth, 6-10 minutes.During this time the buttercream may curdle or separate – just keep beating and it will come together again.On medium speed, gradually beat in the lemon juice, waiting until each addition is absorbed before adding more, and then the vanilla. You should have a shiny smooth, velvety, pristine white buttercream. Press a piece of plastic against the surface of the buttercream and set aside briefly.

To Assemble the Cake

Using a sharp serrated knife and a gentle sawing motion, slice each layer horizontally in half. Put one layer cut side up on a cardboard cake round or a cake plate protected by strips of wax or parchment paper.Spread it with one third of the preserves.Cover the jam evenly with about one quarter of the buttercream.Top with another layer, spread with preserves and buttercream and then do the same with a third layer (you’ll have used all the jam and have buttercream leftover).Place the last layer cut side down on top of the cake and use the remaining buttercream to frost the sides and top. Press the coconut into the frosting, patting it gently all over the sides and top.ServingThe cake is ready to serve as soon as it is assembled, but I think it’s best to let it sit and set for a couple of hours in a cool room – not the refrigerator. Whether you wait or slice and enjoy it immediately, the cake should be served at room temperature; it loses all its subtlety when it’s cold. Depending on your audience you can serve the cake with just about anything from milk to sweet or bubbly wine.


The cake is best the day it is made, but you can refrigerate it, well covered, for up to two days. Bring it to room temperature before serving. If you want to freeze the cake, slide it into the freezer to set, then wrap it really well – it will keep for up to 2 months in the freezer; defrost it, still wrapped overnight in the refrigerator.

Playing Around

Since lemon is such a friendly flavour, feel free to make changes in the preserves: other red preserves – cherry or strawberry – look especially nice, but you can even use plum or blueberry jam.

Fresh Berry Cake

If you will be serving the cake the day it is made, cover each layer of buttercream with fresh berries – use whole raspberries, sliced or halved strawberries or whole blackberries, and match the preserves to the fruit. You can replace the coconut on top of the cake with a crown of berries, or use both coconut and berries. You can also replace the buttercream between the layers with fairly firmly whipped sweetened cream and then either frost the cake with buttercream (the contrast between the lighter whipped cream and the firmer buttercream is nice) or finish it with more whipped cream. If you use whipped cream, you’ll have to store the cake the in the refrigerator – let it sit for about 20 minutes at room temperature before serving.

Stumble Upon Toolbar


Horseradish Pecan Crusted Tilapia

I hope those of you who celebrated Easter had a good one. I cooked a big meal which I didn't photograph. Nothing new just some roasted leg of lamb,potatoes,red cabbage, a patty pan squash casserole I concocted with ricotta cheese and pecan crunch, and a Cointreau souffle. We were so tired I didn't have the energy to write or photograph. Certain Someone really liked the souffle. It wasn't picture perfect but was tasty. We devoured 2 servings!I was depressed because I tried to make him Potato dumplings from scratch and failed miserably. That's one my 'Things to Master' list. I look forward to getting a actual tutorial this summer from his mother perhaps.
Anyway, Certain Someone has been burning the midnight oil all week. So its dinner for one. After last weeks flare up about the fish he admitted he would like me to buy more white fishes like Tilapia and Halibut. Sold! So I stocked up at Costco and put them away in the freezer. Two of the ingredients I played with over Easter were Horseradish Root and Pecans. I mixed grated Horseradish root into my sour cream. Wow! So I decided to play with it as a crust. Its actually milder than you would think compared to the prepared ones you buy in the store. But if your adverse to spice this wont be for you. Here is the recipe in a simple elementary form. This was for 3 pieces of Tilapia,so adjust to your servings using my ratios as a guide.

Grate 1/4 cup fresh Horseradish root(cleaned and peeled).Take 1/4 cup pecans and crush in spice blender. Be careful as you don't want Pecan Butter!
Add some of this flavored Old Bay(if you can get it).If not add Maldon Sea Salt, and any other spice of your choosing. Be careful with pepper as the Horseradish doesn't need it.Toss the crumb together.

Butter or oil the baking pan (go lightly as the pecans are a oily nut). Pat crumb coating on both sides of fish. As its a moist crumb it wont adhere easily. Pat it into the fish.Bake at 450 until done(approx 15 min). Coating should be golden.
I found the flavor almost crab like. It wasn't to peppery from the horseradish.I will try this on salmon and perhaps a cut a beef.

Stumble Upon Toolbar


Royal Foodie Joust...Banana Leaf Steamed Salmon with Chili Coconut Rice

I realized with a call out from Dharm that a dish I made before would almost be suitable for this months Royal Foodie Joust.Dharm is hosting the event this month as Jen takes care of business and gets hitched! As much as I love contests I have never entered this competition. Go figure! Bellini Valli called for this months ingredients to be fish from the sea, lime, and coconut. No problem as I want to Incorporated more fish in my diet.Certain Someone came home and immediately sneered at my side of salmon. We got into it. I was more determined than ever to get back control of my kitchen and what I eat after seeing my wide backside on this weeks Top Chef. No close up of me , just a view of my wide Issey Miyake clad ass and his Big Head waiting in line at the Zoo's cocktail party.So with some left over rice, pantry ingredients, and some frozen Banana leaves this is what I came up with, a Pan Asian Hot pocket type of meal. Certain Someone ate it in that quiet way without complaint. He admitted it was edible for fish.
Banana Leaf Steamed Salmon with Coconut Chili Rice
Salmon fillets cut to individual portions
Pieces of Banana Leaf cut to large squares to accommodate salmon and rice( available frozen in Hispanic Groceries)
1 cup or more leftover cooked rice ( about a 1/2 cup mound on each piece of fish)
1/2 cup of lite coconut milk( may use more of less depending on rice)
Sambal Oelek to taste
Juice of lime
grated lime zest
Fish Sauce( Asian specialty stores)
1/8 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon curry powder
fresh cilantro
olive oil
Equipment needed ( bamboo steamer)
Oil lightly each piece of banana leaf. Set aside. Place salmon in dish. Squeeze lime juice and add grated zest of lime. Allow to sit for a few minutes. In a separate bowl mix coconut milk and rice until a thick paste like consistency. Add cumin, curry,fish sauce, and Sambal Oelek. Mix until thoroughly incorporated. Place fish fillet on oiled banana leaf. Add a mound of rice.Top with cilantro sprigs. Fold ends of leaved into a square to encase the fish. Turn over and slightly oil the outside. Place in Bamboo Steamer and steam for approx 20-30 minutes( depends on size of fish and servings). Serve with more Sambal Oelek as a condiment.

Stumble Upon Toolbar


A Euro Evening with The Green Fairy

I can just imagine my Monday morning water cooler chat.

Originally uploaded by DonnellyImages

How did you spend your weekend.Oh I tried some Absinthe and went to see ATB.They would look at me blankly and wonder what the hell I was talking about. ATB was new to me, however Absinthe was on those 'Things to do before I reach 40 list",which is rapidly approaching. Where did all those years go?Back in the day , just released from the nuns at a school which will remain nameless, my parents turned me loose in Paris. A night like last night would be a weekly occurrence.Certain Someone loves DJ's like ATB. Unfortunately he was away and I had to represent . I planned to have fun because I havent had a evening like this in a while. A German friend had brought over some Tabu Absinthe. Its legal now to bring into the US, and there are some US producers. A few of the group had it in Prauge and don't have pleasant memories of it, taste wise.In reading I hear the Czech ones are the worst. The Thirty Something Frat Boy men gathered shots glasses lighters,and sugar and tried to prepare it.No one knew what they were doing. I was trying to recall this sexy scene with Susan Sarandon and Jude Law in Alfie where she tries to educate him on to prepare a proper glass. Cant find it on You Tube. Needless to say we just downed it with some sugar on the bottom. Now water ,as I am to find out is essential. However I read the brand we consumed can be taken straight. Half liked the anise flavor,and half wanted to hurl. All of us were warm and fuzzy as it was 100 proof someone said.We all started talking about how old were getting and how our joints don't seem to be like before.I thought it was just me. We were skeptical of the twenty somethings that would be at the event. Nothing hallucinogenic happened to us that evening. We all continued to imbibe vodka as we watched the Go Go type dancers in their neon pink underwear and boots, on raised platforms , dance to the 'Messiah' like DJ. Thank goodness we were cordoned off in our Yuppish VIP section while the masses in hundreds danced on. Where did these people come from and what do they do by day we asked. Then I remembered I was one of them once and I turned out alright.All in all a clean crowd. I was rather surprised. I made it to bed at 4:45 forgoing the after hour party in some Russian Bath House. No Thanks. The old timer Thirty Somethings grabbed some Burritos from one of those Taquerias on Ashland(good eating), and bitched about how we were going to make it through the week. I woke up and felt like I had been hit by a truck, and I didn't even get drunk.That's why I don't party anymore. I leave you with Monsieur Creepiness to see how to prepare Absinthe properly.

Stumble Upon Toolbar


A Craving For Fish

When Certain Someone is away, as he is now,I tend to eat things that I don't when he's home.For a man who spent some major time in Sweden , he doesn't care for fish. He does like shellfish however.Anyway I haven't been eating as much fish as I would like while shacking up with him.That could explain the enormous weight gain. Today I craved fish. The weather was spectacular,and as I drove home,with the roof open, from a meeting in the suburb,I decided to get some fish from store I like. This supermarket caters to Mexican, Asian, and Arab communities . I love their meats, produce, and seafood.If I wasn't concerned about time and traffic on the highway, I would have stayed a long time. I picked a whole Red Snapper. I love Red Snapper and remembered the many ways I had it in Costa Rica a few summers back.
My Aussie friend Gabi had given me some Donna Hay cookbooks, and I decided to use them to find a way to cook up fish. Donna uses a lot of Asian influences in the The Instant Cook. I had purchased some Key Limes, Habeneros, and cilantro as well. So with that in mind I chose her Crispy Fried Fish with Soy and Ginger. She calls dredging the snapper in rice flour(which I had on hand) and frying it up. Then topped off with a soy and ginger sauce. I decided to forgo the fried route , took her ingredients, added leeks for scallions, a diced Habenero, and roasted the snapper.

Sorry for the bad picture, but Certain Someone took his camera which I use for the blog. He needs to photograph some future real estate he's trying to acquire in Sweden. I don't complain because I can't wait to spend my summer vacations there.So I make due with my old HP digital demom camera.
The sauce caramelized and leeks were crispy. It was good balanced with rice.However next time I will cook the sauce on the side and then add to roasted fish and leeks. But the flavor came through the fish well.
Coco's Red Snapper (influenced by Donna Hays Crispy Fried Fish with Soy and Ginger)
1/2 oz grated ginger
2/3 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 whole Red Snapper( gutted and scaled)
vegetable oil
1 whole leek cleaned and sliced
1 Habenero pepper diced
fresh cilantro sprigs
Put cleaned fish in a slightly oiled baking dish . Place sliced leeks over or inside the fish. Mix all the remaining ingredients together and pour over the fish. Bake on higher temp ( around 400 degrees ) for 20-30 minutes depending on the size of the fish. Serve with rice and fresh cilantro sprigs.

Stumble Upon Toolbar


Matcha Mochi

I had no intention of staying home all day today. I planned to go into work after lunch after the cable guy came to fix our HD receiver. Well you know how those things go, and he came after the 12:00 deadline and stayed until 2:30 . Messed up my whole day. The productive person I am decided to run some errands,pay some bills, etc.While on the way home I stopped off at my favorite new neighborhood grocery for some fruit and things. I love this place because they have all sorts of International goodies to add to your pantry. I picked up some pomegranate molasses, Sharon fruit(a type of persimmon),Sweet Rice Flour,(Mochiko)coconut milk and such. All stuff to play with. I was intrigued by a recipe on the back of the Rice Flour Box.It was for a cocoa mochi. I have had Mochi before and found it odd. I have also seen some bloggers blog about it. My mind went racing and I figured I give it a go with some Matcha powder. I have been meaning to make something sweet with the Matcha other than ice cream I see popping up all over. Reading up on Mochi I found it can be very fun and innovative. Kind of like cookie making. I chose the non traditional way to make it and chose a microwavable version. I figured I could knead and shape it like fondant. Not! Nevertheless I was pleased with my results. I didn't have potato starch to dust it with , so I used confectioners sugar. I probably could have used the Sweet Rice Flour as well.I also used Cane sugar rather than white sugar, and more than the recipe called for( about 3/4 of a cup).The result at first looked like green gelatinous slime.As it cooled down it became a little more opaque. I dusted the bites with confectioners sugar and shredded coconut. And the taste? Yummy. I could munch on these sweet starchy nibbles a lot. Maybe next time I might add the bits to a ice cream. Cheap , fun, playing around on my unexpected day off.

Coco's Matcha Mochi

1 cup mochiko sweet rice flour(glutinous rice flour)
1 cup water
3/4 cup cane sugar
confectioners sugar or katakuriko, for dusting(potato starch)

1-2 teaspoons of matcha powder

sweetned shredded coconut


1)Mix mochiko, matcha, and sugar in a bowl. 2)Add water and mix thoroughly. 3)Put in a microwaveable dish. Cover with plastic wrap. 4)Microwave on high for 4 minutes. Remove plastic wrap. Cool until it gets to a workable temp.
5) Shape, roll, or cut into desired shapes.Mochi will be very sticky so dust with katakuriko or confectioners sugar to prevent mochi from sticking everywhere. I used a pastry scraper to cut it cleanly.Roll around when cooled in coconut and more sugar.

Check out the Update for the Tamale Open. Prize now available.

Stumble Upon Toolbar

Ben and I Are Spicing Up the Pot!

Ben and I have come up with this great prize for the winner of our Tamale Open. We have decided to let you vote for the winner after the roundup is published on May 5,Cinco de Mayo. You will up until May 10 to vote, and then we announce the winner. The winner will recieve this great Indian Soft Hammered Spice Box and 8 spice blends(Tandoori,dried Thai Chilies,Sansho seven spice blend,Himalayan Pink Salt,Quatre Epices,Ras-El Hanout,Chipolte Chili Powder, and Panch Phoran). All can be used or stored in this nifty spice box which can also serve as your Mise en place when cooking. So dont forget to enter.

*If the winner is outside of the US, we will replace the spice element of the prize with another item if shipping has restrictions.

Stumble Upon Toolbar


Hey, Ben And I Are Hosting An Event...Tamale Open!

A Cinco de Mayo event: Tamale Open

I have mentioned before that I love history. That’s why the celebration of Cinco de Mayo in the U.S. intrigues me. In Mexico it is not a big deal (only in the state of Puebla where the battle was fought) Cinco de Mayo is not even an official holiday. Maybe it was a big celebration in Texas because Ignacio Zaragoza, the general that defeated the French army, was born there when that state was still part of Mexico. Or maybe the fact that Napoleon III’s imperial forces lost for the first time was the biggest world news at the time (however, the French came back with more forces, took over the country and replaced the president Benito Juarez with an emperor) Whatever the reason Cinco de Mayo is a big deal in the U.S. we join the celebration, not with more history lessons, but with a food event. After all, food is what this blog is about.

My good friend Courtney from Coco Cooks made mole and tamales a couple of weeks ago. And that gave her a great idea, to celebrate the upcoming Cinco de Mayo with a Mexican food event, more specifically tamales.

She asked me if I’d like to co-host the event and I had to say yes. How could I say no to a brilliant idea like that? After several emails and idea exchanges we came up with the name (actually her Certain Someone did) the date and the rules for the event. If you are interested in participating in this event, this is what you have to do:

Make a dish using tamale dough. It doesn’t have to be just tamales. Tamales (like most Mexican dishes) are made and wrapped in many different ways and the dough is also used for casseroles, stews, and other kinds of dishes. So be creative when making your dish. Just remember that it has to be done with a corn-based dough.
For more information about tamales and tamales recipes visit these links:

Please include somewhere in your entry a link to Courtney’s blog and Ben’s blog and mention the event so we can get more people to participate.
Feel free to use the badge in your entry or sidebar of your blog with a link back to this post.
Send your entry to cococooks(AT)hotmail(DOT)com or ben.herrera(AT)whatscooking(DOT)com before April 30 including:

Your name
The name of your blog
Your blog URL
Your entry permalink

The roundup will be published on May 5,2008.
Update: Prize offering

After the roundup on May 5, vote for your favorite until May 10. Winner announced May 11.If winner resides outside the US , and there are shipping restrictions for the spice element of the prize, we will replace with another piece to go with the Indian Spice Box. See prize below.

The winner will recieve this great Indian Soft Hammered Spice Box and 8 spice blends(Tandoori,dried Thai Chilies,Sansho seven spice blend,Himalayan Pink Salt,Quatre Epices,Ras-El Hanout,Chipolte Chili Powder, and Panch Phoran). All can be used or stored in this nifty spice box which can also serve as your Mise en place when cooking.

Stumble Upon Toolbar


Sartu ...Festa Italiana

When Maryann and Marie announced their event I was so excited. I really respect and love these bloggers, and look forward to seeing their great Italian cuisine each week.I felt intimidated by the event as they really know they stuff . However I reached for one of my favorite cookbooks The Silver Spoon, and decided on a dish that was new to me , and sounded great,Sartu. This recipe attracted me for many reasons. 1)Certain Someone would love it.2) The use of chicken livers and other sorts of meat and sausage.3) It reminded me of a alternative version of a dish Marie presented on her blog called a Timpano from the movie Big Night.
Certain Someone is heading out for Germany this weekend and I wanted a special hearty dinner before he goes home to his Mama CS( I love her dearly,she's a amazing cook). But I don't want him telling her I haven't been cooking good things for him lately due to our schedules. Plus with him gone , who's going to eat all the leftovers? So timing was important. This dish is pretty simple , just requires some time and prep. If I do it again I will make the risotto before , etc,and just assemble. I also took the liberty of adding green peas.If your not a fan of chicken livers( like Certain Someone) just add more meat. This dish can be so versatile.He said next time skip the livers. I don't eat a lot of chicken liver , but make a mean chopped liver with black truffle oil that my family and friends love.But I digress. Final verdict was he had two servings and said it was OK. By the fact he ate two helpings was a good enough sign to me. We served it accompanied with tomato sauce.

Timbale Sartu from The Silver Spoon,Phaidon

Serves 6

7 tablespoons butter, plus extra for greasing

1 1/2 cups bread crumbs

1/3 cup dried mushrooms

1 thick bread slice, crusts removed

¾ cup milk Scant 1 cup ground beef All-purpose flour, for coating

3 tablespoons olive oil

3 1/2 ounces chicken livers, thawed if frozen, trimmed and chopped

2 ounces Italian sausage, peeled and crumbled

2 1/2 ounces mozzarella cheese, diced

3 cups Meat Stock

1/2 onion, chopped

1/4 cup bottled strained tomatoes

Scant 2 cups risotto rice

2 eggs, lightly beaten

Salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 3500F. Grease an ovenproof dish with butter and sprinkle with the bread crumbs, turning to coat. Tip out any excess.

Put the mushrooms in a bowl, add hot water to cover and let soak for 20 minutes, then drain, squeeze and chop coarsely. Tear the bread into pieces, place in a bowl, add the milk and a pinch of salt and let soak for 10 minutes, then squeeze out.

Combine the ground beef and soaked bread, then roll the mixture into hazelnut-size balls and coat with flour.

Heat 2 tablespoons of the butter with the oil in a skillet, add the meatballs and cook until golden brown all over. Remove with a slotted spoon, drain on paper towels and set aside.

Heat 2 tablespoons of the remaining butter in another pan, add the mushrooms and a pinch of salt, cover and cook over low heat for 20 minutes.

Melt 2 tablespoons of the remaining butter in another skillet. Add the chicken livers and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes until lightly browned. Remove from the heat and season with salt.

Heat the sausage and mozzarella in a small pan until the cheese has melted.

Bring the stock to a boil.

Meanwhile, melt the remaining butter in another pan, add the onion and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes, then add the strained tomatoes and stir in the rice. Add a Ladleful of the hot stock and cook, stirring, until it has been absorbed. Continue adding the stock, a ladleful at a time, and stirring until each addition has been absorbed. This will take 18—20 minutes.

Cover the base and sides of the prepared dish with a layer of risotto. Combine all the filling ingredients and spoon them into the dish, pour the eggs over the filling and cover with the remaining risotto. Bake for about 45 minutes. Remove from the oven, let stand for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a serving dish and serve.

Stumble Upon Toolbar


This and That

Posted by PicasaI feel bad as I haven't been able to blog much lately. I used to average a post about every other day.But going forward if I make once a week, I'll be good.This week was the first week of my new job and it's not even Friday yet, but I'm exhausted. There is so much much to do, learn, and prove. I cant wait for the travel part to begin. Toronto and the Bahamas are in the works. One thing I'm not used to is sitting in a cubicle all day. With my old job I would be in the stores as well as the office. To counter this inactivity I have signed up a t a cute hot new woman's only gym called Flirty Girl Fitness in the west loop. I'm taking classes such as pole teaser and Bootie Beat. Certain Someone is looking at me crossed eyed, but I need to do something. I feel like all this food and nesting is catching up with me since I ceased going to the gym regularly. Who knew strippers had to be athletic. That Pole is a beast!

Anyway, Mary over at Shazam In the Kitchen was kind enough to give me this prize.
Thanks Mary, your a gem. So I need to pass this on to some others.I also have two Memes waiting from Bellini Valli and Toni. I haven't forgotten, and I will try to get to them soon.
So I'm passing this badge onto:
Marq a young new blogger I just met who has great dreams to opens a pastry shop. If you don't have dreams , you don't have much, so I want to encourage everyone to dream .
My Hyde Park girls Chou and Maria. I hope to meet these smart, well rounded blog friends soon either on a baking day or exploring the vast culinary scene in Chicago.
And finally Zlamushka. She's my blog buddy in Sweden who I hope to meet one day as we will be spending a lot of time there in the summers. While I'm not vegan, I love to read about all of her spicy concoctions.
I'm so tired now, so I'm going to bed.But before I do,stay tuned for this weekend as I'm cooking up something with a fellow blogger....

Stumble Upon Toolbar


Black Irish Cake...St Paddy's Day Pub Crawl Event

This cake is a tasty, yummy, mess of a cake .

Emiline over at Sugar Plum has come up with a great event in honor of St. Patrick's Day! She has challenged us to come up with either sweet or savory dishes incorporating booze.Immediately I conceptualized a Black Irish Cake. A Black Irish Cake is a chocolate cake with mashed potatoes( hey it works!) soaked in 3 boozes( Baileys Irish Creme,Chocolate Liqueur, and Whiskey) in a riff of a Tres Leches Cake. Are you feeling me?

I remember reading about cakes made with mashed potatoes so it would be perfect for a Irish themed cake. I basically followed this recipe. However she used no dairy, and I added left over evaporated milk to the mashed potatoes( no more than 1/4 of a cup) and it turned out fine .You can use your own chocolate cake recipe and experiment.

I really wanted to use my authentic Feckin Irish Whiskey that was signed by the maker, but we agreed not to open the bottle.So I purchased some Jack Daniels instead along with some Baileys Irish Creme.

Black Irish Cake

1 cup of heavy cream
1 cup of evaporated milk
1 cup of Baileys Irish Cream
1/2 cup of whiskey
1/4- 1/2 cup of Chocolate Liqueur

Whipped Cream Topping (make your own with heavy cream , confectioners sugar,vanilla, etc. or cheat and buy a Non Dairy Whipped Topping. I used a Wilton Whipped Topping Mix).

Make your cake in a dish that you will serve the cake in. I used a 81/2 by 81/2 Plexiglas dish. I had leftover batter so I made 12 cupcakes as well to serve in individual ramekins. Take cake out of oven.Pierce all over. While still warm drizzle cake with Whiskey and Chocolate Liqueur.In a blender mix heavy cream,evaporated milk, and Baileys. Pour this cream mixture over warm cake. It may take several attempts for the liquids to sink into the cake.I still had leftover cream, but I soaked three times. Let cake cool, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for several hours until chilled.If you have leftover cream and you feel the cake can take on more liquid, add it. Top off with Whipped Topping and serve.

Be sure to let it set well. I cut mine after a few hours, but it could have chilled some more to hold some shape.For a more perfect presentation serve it up in the individual ramekins. Regardless the flavors merge well and it gives you a sweet light light headed feeling. Certain Someone declared it was rich!

* Warning: Don't eat this and operate heavy machinery or drive.

Stumble Upon Toolbar