Turkey Burgers with Garlic-Rosemary Mayonnaise


HELLO burger! Does that not look like the largest burger EVER! Apparently we wanted you to get the full grasp of how yummy this burger was with a gargantuan "in your face" type of photo.

The verdict: It's definitely not your fatty red meat "animal-style" kind of burger. But a grown up sophisticated burger for all you burger aficionados out there. Could I have said the word burger any more times? Anyway, this burger (haha) was a definite treat for a weeknight meal. The yogurt and mayo kept the burger nice and moist and the rosemary adds a nice heartiness to the burger. This isn't the type of burger I'd feed to kids, but it's definitely a burger adults would enjoy. It's also healthy and figure-friendly too, might I add! So start your year off right with this guilty healthy pleasure and try these burgers. Burger! :D


Turkey Burgers with Garlic-Rosemary Mayonnaise
2 servings
Adapted from Giada at Home


Mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup 0% fat greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup low fat mayonnaise
  • 1 tbs + 1 tsp fresh rosemary, finely minced
  • 1/2 large clove garlic, grated with a microplane


Burgers:

  • 10 oz ground turkey
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 ¼ tsp Montreal Steak Grill Seasoning
  • 2 sandwich rolls or burger buns
  • 1/2 cup arugula or any salad greens, divided


Directions

For the mayonnaise: In a small bowl, mix together mayonnaise, garlic, and rosemary; set aside.

For the burgers: Preheat a gas or charcoal grill or place a grill pan over medium-high heat. In a large bowl, add the ground turkey, 1/8 teaspoon pepper, grill seasoning and 1/2 of the mayo. Using clean hands, gently combine the ingredients and form the chicken mixture into 2 patties. (I let them set up in the fridge for a couple hours) Place the burgers on the grill and cook for about 7 minutes on each side. Transfer to paper towels and let rest for a few minutes.

Brush the cut side of the top half of each roll with the mayo mixture. Grill for 1 to 2 minutes until slightly golden.

To assemble the burgers: Place the chicken burgers on the bottom halves of the buns. Top each with lettuce greens, and a few slices of tomato.

Accompaniment: tomato and/or raw red onions or grilled onions

Mexican Southwestern Enchisagna


Today I bring you a quick and easy Mexican Southwestern Enchisagna! What's that you ask? Well let me share the wealth. It's a layered lasagna filled with tortillas and Southwestern ingredients, smothered with a salsa verde "enchiladaesque" sauce. It's a hybrid of cultures resulting in a wonderfully easy weeknight meal - si, es bueno :D

The dish came together relatively quickly since I took a bit of help from the store and (gasp!) bought a bottled salsa verde sauce. I was too lazy to make my own and it was a good substitute. However if you'd like to make your own sauce, this one yields great results. So switch up your "Taco Tuesday" nights and try this Enchisagna!


Mexican Southwestern Enchisagna

Adapted from 30-Minute Meals
2 servings

  • 1 tablespoons olive oil
  • 8 oz leftover chicken, shredded
  • 1 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1/2 red bell pepper
  • 1 cup corn or 1 whole corn roasted, kernels removed
  • 1/2 cup black beans, drained
  • Green salsa verde to taste (La Costena Green Mexican Salsa Verde)
  • Salt
  • 4 (6 inch) corn tortillas
  • 1 1/2 cups Mozzarella or Monterey cheese, shredded

Directions

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Preheat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add olive oil. Add onions and saute until soft. Add chicken and season with chili powder, cumin. Add black beans and corn. Add salsa verde sauce to taste. I added about a cup but add as much as you want until the dish is seasoned to your liking. Just make sure you do not add too much of the sauce and make the dish watery. Heat the mixture through, 3 to 5 minutes then season with salt, to your taste.

Coat a shallow baking dish (I used a large souffle dish that fit the tortillas perfectly) with cooking spray. Heat tortillas over an open flame until pliable and toasted. (Cook them as much as you would to eat a taco) Build layers starting with tortilla, chicken mixture then cheese. Continue to build the layers ending with the cheese so it can melt on top. Bake 12 to 15 minutes until cheese is brown and bubbly.

Naan


Who knew you could make fabulous restaurant quality naan in the comfort of your own home. Not only is it fantastic, but it's a cinch to make. If you've never had naan before, it tastes and looks like a pita but soooo much better! It's fluffier, lighter and made for the perfect vessel to scoop the curry I served it with. It's a great accompaniment with curry, but you could also wrap it with some kefta, top it with tzatziki sauce and you'll have yourself one fabulous meal! Enjoy!


Naan
Recipe from Aarti Party via The Novice Chef Blog
Makes about 4 - 6 inch naans


1/4 cup warm water
1 tsp. active dry yeast
1/2 tsp. sugar
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling
1/4 tsp. salt
2 tbs canola oil
3 tbs Chobani Greek fat free plain yogurt
1/2 large egg
olive oil for cooking*


In a large bowl, stir together the water, yeast and sugar and let stand for 5 minutes, until foamy.

Stir in the flour, salt, oil, yogurt and egg and stir, then knead until you have a soft, pliable dough. Cover with a tea towel and let rise until doubled in size; about an hour.

Divide the dough into 4 pieces and on a lightly floured surface, roll out each piece into a thin circle or oval about 1/8" thick.

Cook each naan in a nice hot skillet drizzled with oil (just a teeny tiny bit–you’re not frying it) (I used PAM spray) until blistered and cooked, flipping as necessary. (When the surface has big blisters and is golden on the bottom, flip it over and cook until golden on the other side.


*With leftover naan, toast it in the toaster for a couple minutes to soften it again

Green Chicken Curry


For last night's meal, Lobster and I traveled to India for a Bollywood festive meal - green chicken curry and naaaaan! For some reason or other we rarely eat Indian food when we go out, but making it at home was a different story! It was actually fun to try something new, different, and very foreign to us.

This dish has a lingering bit of heat and isn't too overwhelming in the "curry" taste department. Strangely enough, curry powder isn't even in the list of characters compiling this dish. So next time I make this I would add a teaspoon of curry powder to bump up the flavor a bit. If you try this, you MUST make the naan - it's easy-peasy and oh so wonderful! Curry + naan = a lovely weeknight meal. Enjoy!


Green Chicken Curry
Adapted from Aarti Sequeria via The Novice Chef Blog
3 servings


1 bunch cilantro leaves, coarsely chopped, 1 1/2 cups
1 bunch fresh mint, leaves, coarsely chopped, 1 1/2 cups
1 red onion, chopped
6 cloves garlic
1 1/2-inch piece ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup chicken broth (low sodium), plus 1 1/4 cups
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 shallots, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon garam masala
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper*
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (1 1/2 lb)
1/4 cup Chobani Greek plain fat free yogurt
Cooked basmati rice or warm naan bread, for serving

Add the cilantro, mint, red onion, garlic, ginger, and salt, and pepper, to taste, to a food processor or blender. Puree on high until smooth. With the processor running, add about 1/4 cup broth, and blend until the mixture is the consistency of a thick paste, a.k.a. “masala”. Set aside.

In a large pot or deep skillet heat the olive oil over medium heat until shimmering. Add the shallot and cook, stirring often, until golden brown.

Add the spices and cook for 30 seconds. Pour the masala mixture into skillet and cook, stirring often until it deepens in color and aroma. You’ll know it’s ready when it looks shiny, little droplets of oil will appear on the surface, and the masala will hold together as a cohesive mass.

Add the chicken, coating every piece in the masala and stirring often. Continue to cook for 5 minutes, so that the masala really adheres to the chicken. Add about 1 1/4 cups broth, just enough to cover the chicken. Bring to a boil, and then reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, until the chicken is tender and sauce has thickened slightly, about 20 to 25 minutes.

Remove the pan from heat and stir in the yogurt. Taste and adjust seasonings, if needed. Transfer the mixture to a serving dish and serve over rice or with warm naan bread.

*I started with 1/4 tsp of cayenne then added more once I added the yogurt

Creamy Beet Spread with Blue Cheese and Bacon



I realize this looks like a brighter version of something you'd drink when you have an upset stomach - don't worry, I was a bit skeptical too. But trust me, this dip is fantastic! (Aren't you glad I'm your guinea pig) However, I must warn you though - the color may freak some people out - especially one crustacean in particular named Lobster. I was literally following him around the house trying to get him to eat it. But one bite and he was pleasantly surprised - still scurrrred - but he was hooked.

The vibrant hot magenta hue comes from roasted beets. I personally enjoy eating beets and think they're highly underrated. But if you're not a fan of them, (ahem, W.M. and sister-in-law) maybe this dip isn't for you. But hey, ya never know. There's enough other delicious flavorings goin' on that you may not even notice this humble root vegetable. Like blue cheese and bacon - let's face it, everything's better with cheese and bacon! Sweet, salty, tangy, and smoky all in one bite! Serve this surprisingly delicious Alice in Wonderland concoction to your guests and they will be intrigued and delighted. Fun, whimsical and fabulous! Hope you give it a try :)


Creamy Beet Spread with Blue Cheese and Bacon
Adapted from Food 52 blog via Savour
Serves 3-4

* 2 medium beets
* 1 cup nonfat Greek style yogurt*
* 1.5 ounces blue cheese, finely crumbled
* 2 pieces bacon
* 1 tablespoon chives, finely minced
* Pita bread cut into triangles or baguette slices, lightly toasted

1. Scrub the beets, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt, enclose in a foil packet and roast at 400 degrees for 40 minutes, or until tender. Let cool, peel off outer layer with paper towel and chop into a fine dice.
2. Fry the bacon until crisp. (Heat bacon slowly so it renders more fat) Let cool, and chop finely.
3. Combine the yogurt and the blue cheese in a small bowl and mash with a fork until the cheese in incorporated into the yogurt.
4. Add the bacon and chives. Add chopped beets. (I would add the beets to taste b/c you do not want the beets to overwhelm the other flavors). Mix thoroughly until the entire mixture is a rather alarming magenta hue. The mixture may be covered and stored in the refrigerator right away, or eaten immediately.
5. Serve with toasted pita triangles or baguette slices. Enjoy.

*I could only find full fat and I did not add chives

Nummy Pesto Sammie


When I found this recipe on the "Taste of Home" website, it was called Baked Deli Focaccia Sandwich. The title seemed a bit blase to me, so I have officially renamed it the "Nummy Pesto Sammie." I think the readers of "Taste of Home" would appreciate the name change, don'tcha think?

What really takes this sandwich from ordinary to extraordinary is the addition of the homemade pesto sauce. The pesto is bright, zesty, and delicious! I found myself smearing pieces of bread against the bowl looking for every last bit of the sauce. By the time I was done with that sucker, it was spotless - didn't even need to be washed. :) Who knew such a simple sauce could elevate these sandwiches to be worthy enough to serve to company. If you're hosting any type of luncheon celebration, these would be perfect to serve your guests. Easy and elegant - a definite keeper!


Nummy Pesto Sammie

Adapted from Taste of Home
4 servings


Ingredients

1 loaf (12 ounces) round focaccia bread

Prepared pesto or use pesto recipe below

1/4 pound sliced deli ham

1/4 pound sliced deli smoked turkey

1/4 pound sliced deli turkey pastrami

5 slices process American cheese*

Red onion, thinly sliced

1 small tomato, sliced 1/8” thick


Pesto Sauce

Makes about 3/4 cup


1/4 cup roasted pistachio nuts
3 medium size garlic cloves
4 cups loosely packed basil leaves (about 4 ounces)
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
S&P to taste

1/2 cup (4 ounces) grated fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Preparation
Combine nuts and garlic in a food processor; process until minced. Add basil, oil, salt, and pepper; process until blended, scraping sides occasionally. Spoon into a bowl and fold in cheese. Season to taste with S&P


~ I like my pesto pretty chunky. If you want it more runny add more EVOO


To assemble sandwich

Cut focaccia horizontally in half. Remove a bit of the bread from top half of focaccia; spread pesto over cut sides. On bread bottom, layer the ham, turkey, pastrami, cheese, onion and tomato. Replace bread top; wrap in foil. Place on a baking sheet. Bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes or until heated through. Let stand for 10 minutes. Cut into wedges


* I used plain Havarti cheese, 4 thin slices which roughly equaled 1/4 lb

**This serves 8 if you are having a large luncheon along with other dishes. If you are serving these just for a regular lunch it would only serve 4.


Note: When choosing deli meat be careful of how salty the meats are because mine was bordering on the salty side but was still fantastic. Next time I'll try to use low salt meats.


David Chang's Short Ribs


Short ribs are the perfect meal to entertain with when hosting a dinner party. They can be prepared well in advance and are very forgiving when it comes to time constraints. As you know, the longer it sits the better it gets, and overnight is always best. The ribs roast in the oven for hours in a pool of sweet and salty umami flavorings, producing fall off the bone meat which have absorbed all those delicious seasonings. Serve them over a bed of mashed potatoes and your guests will swoon! When you prepare these, you'll want to cook a larger serving then required - since they'll make the ultimate short rib sandwich the next day. I'm envisioning layers of shredded meat and caramelized onions, topped with melted gruyere cheese. Leftovers never had it so good. Enjoy!


David Chang's Braised Short Ribs

Recipe from NY Times
Photo from Food Network

1½ cups pear or apple juice
1 cup sake (Ozeki Sake Dry)
1 cup mirin
½ cup sugar
1 cup Lite soy sauce
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped garlic
10 cloves crushed garlic
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons neutral oil, like corn or grapeseed
4 to 5 pounds short ribs, trim any visible fat on top of the meat
2 large onions, peeled and roughly chopped
1 pound carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
2 tablespoons butter
8 to 12 small potatoes, preferably fingerlings, trimmed or the little round potatoes mom gets
½ cup chopped scallions
4 cups cooked white rice.

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a saucepan, combine juice, sake, mirin, sugar, soy sauce, about 20 grinds of pepper, both forms of garlic, sesame oil and 1½ cups water. Bring to a boil, then simmer.

2. Put corn or grapeseed oil in a large ovenproof braising pan or skillet over medium-high heat and add ribs, seasoning them liberally with salt and pepper. Brown well on one side, moving them around to promote even browning. Turn, add onions and half the carrots, and brown other side, stirring vegetables occasionally.

3. Carefully pour braising liquid over meat and bake, bone-side up and submerged in liquid (add water or juice if necessary), for 3 to 4 hours, until meat falls from bones. Cool ribs in liquid for 1 hour remove bones from meat, then remove meat to a separate dish; strain liquid in pot. (I did not strain the veggies since I like to eat them along with the meat) At this point, place ribs in pot with liquid and refrigerate overnight if making ahead.

4. If you have refrigerated the ribs, remove fat from top of liquid. Heat to a boil then simmer, reducing liquid until syrupy. If it seems too thick, thin with a bit of water. (I did not reduce my liquid to a syrup consistency since I was afraid the sauce may get too salty due to the soy sauce. I only reheated the ribs and served)

5. About ½ hour before you are ready to serve, put butter in a skillet and add potatoes and remaining carrots. Cook, stirring occasionally and seasoning with salt and pepper, until browned and nearly tender, about 20 minutes. Add to meat. Taste mixture and adjust seasonings if necessary, then garnish with scallions and serve on rice.

Yield: 4 to 5 servings

Blue Cheese Gougeres


This is an easy elegant appetizer and perfect for your next dinner party. They pair beautifully with a glass of wine and your guests will not be able to get enough. They're actually quite addicting - which became evident after a while since I couldn't stop popping them into my mouth. Try these for your next party and your guests will rave.


Blue Cheese Gougeres
Found on Kitchen Sink

Recipe from King Estate Winery

Makes 35 gougeres


5 tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup all purpose flour
2.5 large eggs
1/2 cup blue cheese, crumbled (Saint Agur)**
large pinch of freshly ground black pepper
1 egg, beaten


Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Combine 3/4 cups of water, butter and salt in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove from heat immediately and add all of the flour at once, stirring vigorously with a wooden spoon. When the flour is incorporated, return the pan to the heat for several minutes, stirring constantly until the mixture starts to dry out and pull away from the edge of the pan. Away from the heat, add the eggs one at a time, mixing each one until well blended. The dough should be soft and shiny. Add the blue cheese. Season with black pepper and more salt if needed. Continue to blend until mixture looks like one cohesive dough and similar to mashed potatoes.

Line a baking sheet with silpat. Using either small cookie dough scooper or pastry bag with a large plain tip, make mounds about 1 inches in diameter. Using a pastry brush, paint tops with a glaze of the beaten egg mixed with splash of water. Make sure when you glaze the dough to not get egg on the baking sheet b/c they will not rise as well. Bake at 425 for 10 minutes then lower temperature to 375 for 20-25 minutes, or until puffed and golden brown.

For extra-crispy puffs, five minutes before they’re done, poke the side of each puff with a sharp knife to release the steam, and return to the oven to finish baking.


The puffs are at their best when served warm from the oven, but are also delicious at room temperature.


They can be made ahead and frozen, then popped in the oven to reheat just before serving.****


*I made these a few hours in advance and they were indeed delicious when re-heated (10 to 15 minutes in a 350° oven).


**I would even add maybe 1/4 cup more cheese next time


Notes: If the cheese puffs seem like they need a bit more salt - when you reheat them spray tops with PAM olive oil and sprinkle additional salt


Roasted Broccoli with a Warm Caper and Garlic Dressing


Are you sick of eating broccoli the same old boring way...steamed, blanched, roasted? Well, do I have a solution for you! Little florets of broccoli become perfectly caramelized nutty florets hot from the oven. Upon removal, they're tossed with a simple zesty, tangy, and addictive dressing.

After first discovering how delicious roasted broccoli could be, I've become a huge fan of these little green trees. Now that I've found this recipe - I foresee eating them more and more often. Every time I walked by the plate I found myself sneaking bites of these little green jewels - and with the way we eat broccoli, this served two not four.

I adapted the recipe with what I had on hand, but the dish was originally inspired by the ingredients of a Caesar salad. I imagine if you made this with anchovies it might taste even better. Gasp, could it be? The best thing about this recipe is that it's great served at room temperature - perfect for entertaining. A simple dish that will bring a big smile to your face. Enjoy!



Roasted Broccoli with a Warm Caper and Garlic Dressing

Adapted from Food 52

Serves 2-4


  • 1 head of broccoli, chopped into florets 1”
  • 3 tablespoons butter (Can't Believe It's Not Butter-Light)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 anchovy fillets or 1 tsp drained capers (finely minced)
  • a splash of white wine
  • a big squeeze of lemon, preferably Meyer (I used a regular lemon)
  • Parmesan cheese, for dusting
  • 1/4 cup sliced or slivered almonds, toasted
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 425. Arrange broccoli florets on a Silpat or parchment-lined cookie sheet. Season with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil. Roast for 20-25 minutes and remove. (Flip broccoli after about 12-15 minutes if they are browning too quickly on the bottom)
  2. In a small skillet, melt butter and olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and anchovy and saute for about three minutes. Add wine and lemon and allow to reduce for a minute or two. Season with black pepper if desired.
  3. Meantime, in another small skillet over medium heat, toast almonds until they are lightly browned, taking care not to burn them.
  4. Drizzle sauce and sprinkle almonds and parmesan cheese over broccoli, then serve. Or, dip the broccoli in the sauce at the table. Enjoy!

*I used capers and omitted the nuts and cheese and tossed the broccoli with all the dressing then added more salt and pepper to taste. YUM-OH!

Cookies and Cream Cupcakes


Ohhhhh, cookies and cream cupcakes - where have you been all my life?! If you enjoy eating OREOS - this recipe should not be missed. It literally tastes like an OREO cookie on steroids! I've always loved cookies and cream ice cream, but I never thought of turning that concept into a cupcake - whoever thought of this was one smart focker!

These cute cuppies were whimsical and a delight to make. The tangy cream cheese frosting is heavenly and balances out the sweetness of the cake. As if these cupcakes weren't sinful enough, chopped Oreo cookies are mixed straight into the batter for a joyful surprise. Take one bite, close your eyes, and all is good in the world :) Love it! Lick it! Bite it! Whatever you do...make it!



Cookies and Cream Cupcakes

Recipe from Annie’s Eats

Yield: 12 cupcakes


Ingredients:
For the cupcakes:
12 Oreos, twisted apart with cream filling attached
1 cup + 2 tbs all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
4 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup plus 1/3 cup sugar
1.5 large egg whites, at room temperature (I ended up using 2)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup 2%milk
10 Oreo cookies, coarsely chopped (I quarter them)


For the frosting:
4 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
3 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1 tbsp. heavy cream*


For garnish:
Oreo cookie crumbs
6 Oreo cookie tops, halved


Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350˚ F. Line the wells of cupcake pans with 12 paper liners. Place an Oreo halve in the bottom of each liner, cream side up. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt; stir together with a fork to blend and set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the butter and sugar and beat together on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Blend in the egg whites one at a time, beating well after each addition. Blend in the vanilla extract. With the mixer on low speed, beat in half of the dry ingredients just until incorporated. Add the milk and beat just until combined, then mix in the remaining dry ingredients. Gently fold in the chopped Oreos with a rubber spatula until evenly incorporated, being careful not to over-mix.

Evenly divide the batter between the prepared cupcake liners. Bake for 14-17 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pans 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.


To make the frosting, combine the cream cheese and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat on medium-high speed until smooth, about 1 minute. Blend in the vanilla extract. Beat in the confectioners’ sugar until incorporated and smooth, 1-2 minutes. Add the heavy cream to the bowl and beat on medium-low speed just until incorporated, then increase the speed to medium-high and whip for 4 minutes until light and fluffy, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Don’t overbeat because it can become runny. If frosting is a bit runny put it back in the fridge for an hour for it to set-up.

Frost the cooled cupcakes as desired. Sprinkle with Oreo crumbs and garnish with Oreo halves don’t garnish until just before serving b/c will get soggy.

Source: adapted from Beantown Baker

*I added about one teaspoon of milk instead of the cream and beat the mixture until it was light and fluffy.

Matcha Green Tea Chiffon Cupcakes


For my sister's birthday, she requested green tea chiffon cupcakes for her dessert of choice. I was excited to make these little "Green Hulk" babies since they're not your "typical" cupcake and a bit out of the norm.



The chiffon cake was fluffy and moist and the green tea frosting was the perfect compliment. While the frosting tasted terrific, I had a bit of trouble with the consistency since the end result was a bit runny. Not sure what I did wrong, but just wanted to give you a heads up before you try them. Make these for the green tea fan in your life and they'll love you forever!



Matcha Green Tea Chiffon Cupcakes
Recipe adapted from Mood Food Blog
Makes 12 cupcakes

150g golden caster sugar
175g all purpose flour
2 tbs matcha green tea powder (Maeda-en brand)
½ tsp baking soda
1 eggs
175 ml vegetable oil
145 ml buttermilk*
½ tsp sea salt
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Method:
• Sift flour, salt and bicarbonate of soda in a bowl. Add sugar and green tea and mix well.
• In another bowl, mix together eggs, buttermilk, oil and vanilla extract.
• Make a well in the flour bowl and add the wet ingredients. Slowly begin to incorporate the two together making sure you have a nice smooth mixture.
• Do not over beat.
• Have your oven on at 350F and prepare add batter to paper lined muffin tins.
• Cook for about 15-17 minutes and then leave them to cool down completely.
*I added 1 ½ tsp of white vinegar to regular milk for the buttermilk


Green Tea Cream Cheese Frosting:
6 oz Philadelphia cream cheese (1/3 less fat)
3 tbs unsalted butter
2 cups confectioners sugar
1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
2 ½ tsp matcha green tea powder*
Milk or heavy cream, optional

Method:
• Make sure everything is at room temperature.
• Mix together the butter and Philadelphia and beat till well combined. Add the vanilla extract and mix until fully incorporated. Add the green tea powder and mix until fully incorporated
• Begin adding the icing sugar and continue beating until you get to the right fluffy silky consistency for about 1-2 more minutes. If you need to thin out the frosting, add a bit of milk or heavy cream a little bit at a time till you get to the right consistency.

*Add more to taste
**UPDATE: so I realize where my frosting went astray - I didn't have the correct amount of butter to cream cheese ratio. I would add an additional 2 tbs of butter next time.

Notes: While the overall taste of the cupcake did not taste oily whatsoever, next time I would use a bit less oil b/c the cupcakes left a ring around whatever they touched. If you try this recipe with less oil please let me know how it worked out for you.

Cioppino


If you've ever visited San Francisco, you've probably had a bowl of their famous cioppino soup. Fresh seafood simmered in tomato broth hits the spot on a cold, rainy, winter day. My brother has been requesting this soup for months now, so I finally ran out of excuses and made it for him. I don't really know what cioppino tastes like, but the soup had a lovely balance of flavors and the seafood and tomatoes were not overpowering in the least bit. The verdict: he thoroughly enjoyed it! It's always a good sign when people are making mmmm sounds when they're eating :)


Cioppino
Makes 6 servings

Adapted From Gourmet, March 2002
  • 4 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 1 Turkish bay leaf or 1/2 California bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 cups dry white wine*
  • 1 (28- to 32-ounces) can whole plum tomatoes, drained, reserving juice, and chopped
  • 1 cup bottled clam juice
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1.5 pound skinless tilapia, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2.5 pound assorted seafood (mussels, scallop, calamari, shrimp)
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil
  • Garnish: shredded fresh basil leaves and small whole leaves
  • Accompaniment: focaccia or sourdough bread

Preparation

Cook garlic, onions, bay leaf, oregano, and red pepper flakes with salt and pepper in oil in an 8-quart heavy pot over moderate heat, stirring, until onions are softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in bell pepper and tomato paste and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add wine and boil until reduced by about half, 5 to 6 minutes. Add tomatoes with their juice, clam juice, and broth and simmer, covered, 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

While stew is simmering, Add mussels to stew and simmer, covered, until they open, 5 to 10 minutes. (Discard any unopened mussels after 10 minutes.) Lightly season remaining seafood with salt and add to stew, then simmer, covered, until just cooked through, about 5 minutes - stir ingredients around and let simmer on low for 45 minutes. Discard bay leaf and adjust taste with S&P, then gently stir in parsley and basil. (I actually omitted the herbs b/c I forgot to add them)

Serve cioppino immediately in large soup bowls with slices of bread.

Cooks' note:
The stew — without seafood — can be made 1 day ahead. Cool, uncovered, then chill, covered. Bring to a simmer before adding seafood.

*I used $2 Chuck Sauvignon Blanc

PB&J Cupcakes


PB&J Cupcakes! That's right, your eyes are not deceiving you. I knew these were going to be awesome before I even put them in the oven. The cake batter was soooo delicious - some of it didn't make it into the liners - and the icing, ohhhh the icing (swoon) - it's like a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup on CRACK! They taste pretty similar to the PB&J bars I made a while back, but I think they're even better because the frosting takes them over the top! This is a cupcake adults and kids of all ages will enjoy! What are you doing reading still? Run and make these!





Peanut Butter & Jelly Cupcakes
Recipe from I Heart Cuppy Cakes
Makes 12 cupcakes

INGREDIENTS
For cupcakes
1 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
6 tbsp (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup smooth peanut butter, room temp (Private Selection Organic PB, Creamy)
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup milk
Raspberry jam to fill cupcakes

To make cupcakes
Preheat oven to 350F. Line muffin tin cupcs with paper cupcake liners
Sift flour, baking powder and salt into a medium bowl and set aside
In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the butter, peanut butter and brown sugar until smoothly blended and lightened in color, about 1 minute. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed during mixing. Mix in egg. Add vanilla and beat for 1 minute or until batter smooth.
On low speed, add the flour mixture in 3 additions and the milk in 2 additions, beginning and ending with the flour mixture and mixing until the flour is incorporated and the batter looks smooth.
Fill each liner with a generous 1/4 cup of batter, to about 1/3 inch below the top of the liner. Bake just until the tops feel firm and are lightly browned and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 22 minutes. There will be cracks on the top. Cool cupcakes for 10 minutes in the pan on wire rack. Once cooled - fill cupcakes with jelly either by cutting out a little cone shape and then filling with jam or inserting a piping tip and squirting jelly into the cupcake.


Peanut Butter Frosting
Recipe from Mommy's Kitchen

1 - 16oz box powdered sugar
1 - stick of butter, softened (1/2 cup)
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter (Private Selection Organic PB, Creamy)
1 - tsp vanilla extract
milk (about 3 - 4 tablespoons)

Cream powdered sugar and butter together, add peanut butter. Mix well, add vanilla extract and enough milk to make it easy enough to spread. Beat mixture together until you have the consistency you want. Frost cupcakes when completely cooled.

*If you'd like to try another variation of this cupcake - instead of the PB frosting and jelly - try a chocolate glaze instead.

Recipe from I heart cuppy cakes:

For chocolate glaze
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tbsp unsalted butter
1 cup milk chocolate chips
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

To make chocolate glaze
In a medium saucepan, heat the cream and butter over low heat until the cream is hot adn the butter has melted. The mixture should form tiny bubbles and measure about 175F on a thermometer; do not let it boil.

Remove the pan from the heat, add the milk chocolate and let it sit in the hot cream for 30 secs to soften. Add the vanilla and whisk the glaze until it is smooth and all the chocolate has melted. (Return the glaze to low heat if necessary to melt the chocolate completely, whisking constantly.) The glaze should be thick enough to hold its shape when spread over the cupcakes. If it is too liquid to spread, let it sit at room temp for 5-15 minutes, depending on the temp of your kitchen.

Using a small spatula, spread 1 tbsp of glaze over the top of each cupcake.

Spiral Stuffed Rolls with Turkey, Cheese and Broccoli


Who can resist cheese, turkey, and bread. It's like a grown-up "Lunchable" - which were my fave growing up - so these were a wonderful trip down memory lane. These little spiral rolls made for a lovely weeknight meal for Lobster and I. They take a bit of time to make, but we enjoyed them enough that it was worth the extra effort. They're very reminiscent of a calzone, so if you like calzones - you should give this a try. We actually ate them with marinara sauce which made them extra tasty.

For all you moms out there, this meal is very kid friendly. If you find yourself cooking different meals for members of your family each night, these are your solution. If you don't like turkey or broccoli, swap them out with whatever you like. Try some spicy sausage and spinach instead, or turn it into a pizza and add pepperoni and mozzarella - what kid wouldn't love that! The combinations are endless! So switch up your weeknight meals and give these spiral rolls a whirl.


...I called dibs on the fat slurpy guy in the middle


Spiral Stuffed Rolls with Turkey, Cheese and Broccoli
Serves 3-4
Makes 10-12 rolls
Recipe from Mel's Kitchen

Dough Recipe:
3/4 cups warm water
1 1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast
1 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoons canola oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cups all-purpose flour and 1 cup whole wheat flour , give or take a few tablespoons (you can also use all AP flour)

Combine yeast, water and sugar in bowl of a stand mixer and let proof (until foamy and bubbly) for 5 minutes. Add oil, salt and 1 cup of the flour. Begin mixing and continue to add the rest of the flour gradually until the dough has pulled away from the sides of the bowl. Judge the dough not by the amount of flour called for in the recipe but in how the dough feels. The dough should be soft and smooth but still slightly tacky to the touch.

Knead the dough in the stand mixer on medium until it is very smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes in a stand mixer or 8-10 minutes by hand. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise until it has doubled (this usually takes about an hour and a half).

Punch down the dough and roll the dough out into a large rectangle about 1/2-inch thick (I actually rolled it about ¼ inch thick)

For the stuffing:
6 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cups chopped deli meat turkey (leftover ham or deli ham works great here)
3/4 cups finely chopped broccoli
1 cups shredded cheese (Swiss, Cheddar..options are limitless)
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup finely chopped green onions

In a small bowl, cream together the cream cheese. Spread the rolled out dough with the cream cheese mixture. Sprinkle with pepper, and generous amount of garlic powder. Top with the turkey, broccoli, cheese, Parmesan cheese, and green onions. Roll the dough up (starting with the long end), pinching the seam to seal. Slice the roll into about 1-inch segments. Place the rolls on a lightly greased baking sheet cuts side down and cover with plastic wrap. Let the rolls rise until nearly doubled (mine took about an hour) and bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes, until lightly browned and bubbly.

Recipe from Mel’s Kitchen