Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Maple Egg Nog Cupcakes

My best friend and I have a tradition. Every year we get our families together, for one evening the week before Christmas and have coffees, dessert and exchange gifts with each other. We have been friends for 20 years, had our first babies 10 months apart 14 years ago (both girls... also very best friends), can talk on the phone (literally... just ask our husbands) for up to 3 hours at a time, have fought and made up where another set of friends would have given up, have been with each other through babies, moves, marriages, deaths, job changes/losses, business openings/closings, family drama, friend drama, selfishness, selflessness, fear, joy, pain, health scares, heartache, happiness and everything in between. I love her. We are so opposite it's almost laughable but we gel and share a closeness that I value and cherish deeply. We usually do this Christmas get-together at my house but this year we are doing it at hers. See... this year she had a new baby (a surprise baby!) so I figured it'd be easier to go to her since she has 4 kids and I only have 2 :) Another great part about our tradition is that my mom is a part of it. She comes over and she and my bff exchange gifts as well. She's coming tonight too. I decided I'd make a treat to take. I came up with these cupcakes this morning and they are awesome. I'm taking them tonight and wanted to share so you can make them for one of your holiday gatherings this week.

Maple Egg Nog Cupcakes

1 stick unsalted butter
2C maple syrup
3 eggs
1t vanilla
2 1/2C flour
1T baking powder
1t salt
1/2t nutmeg
1/2C milk
1/2C egg nog

Heat oven to 350 and line muffin tins with cute little Christmas liners. Sift dry ingredients together and set aside. Cream butter until it's light and fluffy then add the syrup. Add eggs, one at a time then add vanilla. Alternate the dry ingredients and milk/egg nog and combine well. Fill muffin cups 3/4 full and bake for 15-18 minutes. Cool completely.

Cream topping

1 1/2C whipping cream
2t vanilla
2C powdered sugar
nutmeg (for dusting)

Whip the cream till it forms soft peaks then add the vanilla and sugar and whip until it forms stiff peaks (fairly stiff too... you want it to hold up). Pipe onto the cupcakes and dust each one with a light sprinkle of nutmeg.

Merry Christmas! Enjoy this week with people you love so much and make sure they know it!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Pumpkin Granola

I've posted a granola recipe once before and granola is not rocket science but I do feel like a lot of people are afraid to make it at home, or maybe feel like it's difficult. It isn't and I want to share this recipe with you so you can see how simple it is, make your own adjustments and enjoy a dish at home. It's perfect for the season and even more perfect for breakfast at the holidays.

Happiest of holidays to you and yours!

Pumpkin Granola

3C rolled oats
1/2C pureed pumpkin
1/4C hazelnut (or almond) oil
2T honey
2T maple syrup
1/2t cinnamon
1/2t nutmeg
1/2C dried cranberries
1C chopped pecans
1C mini chocolate chips

Heat an oven to 350 and line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat. In a large bowl combine; oats, pumpkin, oil, honey, maple syrup, cinnamon and nutmeg (make sure you really mix these ingredients so all of the pumpkin is combined). Pour out onto the prepared baking sheet and spread this and evenly. Bake for 10 minutes. Stir, spread again and bake another 10 minutes then add the cranberries and bake 5 minutes. Stir and add pecans. Bake a final 5-10 minutes (watch it closely so it's browned but not burned). Remove and cool completely on the pan then stir in the chocolate chips and store in an airtight container for up to one week.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

White Cheddar Spoon Bread

Spoon Bread is a Southern "comfort food" and for sure more popular in the South than here in Utah. I'd never tried it until I made it on my own. It's beautiful and easy and delicious. I did a little research and made my own recipe, after reading several others. It's base is cornmeal so it truly does resemble bread and polenta. I added white cheddar to my version and am pleased with the results. I'm a huge fan of polenta so I knew I would probably love this dish. I also like warm comfort foods and souffles (I read this dish described as "cornbread souffle"... love that!). Be patient. There are a few steps and you can't walk away from the cooking process here. I am going to deliver as basic a process as possible. Try it. My family gobbled it up and it makes a really pretty accompaniment to a holiday meal.

White Cheddar Spoon Bread (Spoonbread)

1 1/2C cornmeal (yellow or white)
1T sugar
1 1/2t salt
2C whole milk
1C half & half
4T butter
4 eggs (separated)
2t baking powder
1C grated white cheddar

heat your oven to 350. Butter a souffle dish. In a small bowl, combine the cornmeal, sugar and salt. Set aside. In a medium saucepan, bring the milk and cream to a boil and heat to near scalding then remove from heat and whisk in the cornmeal mixture. Separate the eggs. Return to heat and stir the butter in, with a rubber spatula, until completely melted. Add the baking powder. Temper the egg yolk mixture by adding 1/4 cup of the cornmeal mixture and combining then an additional 1/4 cup and combining. Add the tempered egg yolk mixture to the rest of the cornmeal and turn the heat off once more. stir the cheese in and continue to stir until completely combined. With a handheld beater, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form then fold them into the cornmeal mixture with the rubber spatula. Pour into the prepared souffle dish and bake for 25 minutes.

Remove from oven and allow to "sink" at the table. Serve by "spooning" onto serving plates.

*The spoon bread should rise above the rim of the dish, while baking, then sink in the center, when removed from heat. The same way a souffle would.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Pumpkin Cranberry Yeast Bread

I started making this bread 3 years ago for Thanksgiving breakfast. It's totally scrumptious and I can guarantee you'll be hooked your first try. No one wants a heavy breakfast Thanksgiving morning so this bread is perfect. It makes an amazing toast so... I truly recommend it that way. I make it in a bundt, then slice it thick, toast it, slather it with unsalted butter and sprinkle it with a light dusting of cinnamon/sugar. Happy Thanksgiving! I pray your day is safe and blessed and filled with people you love, traditions you cherish and food you want!

Pumpkin Cranberry Yeast Bread

1C milk
1C dried cranberries

Heat the milk to just under the boiling point (where tiny bubbles form around the outside edge but the milk does not boil). Turn off the heat and add the cranberries. Soak for 15 minutes.

1C pumpkin
1/4C honey
1 egg

Combine in a stand mixer then add the milk mixture and mix well. Add the following:

2 1/4t yeast
5C bread flour (1C at a time)
2C milk
1t cinnamon
1t allspice
1/2t nutmeg

Combine completely and allow to rise, in the bowl, for one hour.

Spray your pan (any pan works, I use a bundt) with non-stick spray then sprinkle the pan with sugar. Pour the batter in and smooth out with wet fingertips. Allow to rise another hour. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350.

Once risen, bake the bread for 15-20 minutes. Cool briefly then invert onto a rack and cool completely.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Creamy Tomatillo Dressing

I made this dressing over the summer but never posted it because it wasn't quite right. Something was off but then my best friend brought me some tomatillos from her garden and I decided to try it again. I'm not sure what I did different but this is it! It's such a fantastic salad dressing. I served it with fish tacos and it was perfect. You will seriously love this dressing and the great part is, tomatillos are available year round so you can make it anytime!

Creamy Tomatillo Dressing

8-10 tomatillos (peeled and scrubbed well)
1/2 jalapeno
5 limes (juiced)
1 avocado
1/2C sour cream
1 clove garlic (minced)
2t salt
freshly ground black pepper
*reserved cooking water

Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil and boil the tomatillos for 10 minutes (till very soft). Meanwhile, in a blender, combine the jalapeno, lime juice, avocado, sour cream, garlic and salt and pepper. Add the soft tomatillos and blend well.

*Reserve some cooking water and add to the dressing, if needed, to thin it out.

Chill and serve. This dressing makes quite a lot and will freeze nicely for up to 2 months.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Pumpkin "Dream" Cookies...

I woke up, in the middle of the night, Friday night and had this great idea for a cookie. I think I started dreaming it then woke up to kind of finish the details. Funny how the mind works sometimes, isn't it? I decided a good name would be "Pumpkin Dream Cookies" and it even fits because they are dreamy. They worked just as I'd hoped except that I'd pictured them filled in my dream. I thought I'd scoop out a small hole in the middle then pipe the frosting in and kind of spill it out but they ended up being more flat than mounded so I frosted them. They are cake-like and sweet but not too sweet. They are a great fall treat and I hope you make and enjoy them!

HAPPY HALLOWEEN EVERYONE!!!!!! Have a safe and fun night of tricks and treats!!!

Pumpkin "Dream" Cookies...

3/4C shortening
2C brown sugar
1 egg
1 1/2C flour
1 1/2t baking powder
1t cinnamon
1t nutmeg
1/2t ginger
1/2t allspice
1t vanilla
1 1/2C pureed pumpkin

Cranberry Compote...

2C fresh cranberries
1C water
1t vanilla
1t cinnamon
2T sugar

In a small saucepan combine all ingredients and bring to a simmer. Cook for 15 minutes and set aside to cool and thicken. While the berries are cooling, continue with the cookie dough.

Combine shortening and brown sugar and whip till light and fluffy then add the egg and combine completely. Whisk dry ingredients together and add to the sugar mixture then add the pumpkin and vanilla. With a spatula, fold in the cranberry compote (which should be cooled to room temp and quite thick).

Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes. Cool completely then frost with...

Cream Cheese Frosting...

1 package cream cheese (room temp)
2C powdered sugar
2t vanilla

Combine all ingredients then frost the yummy cookies!

*the compote can be made ahead of time. It will keep, tightly lidded, in the refrigerator for a month.

*Set out some cookies to be eaten the day you make them but keep the remaining chilled until ready to serve.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Stuffed Pumpkin

This recipe is everything deliciously warm and fall-like, it'll make you feel so comforted and it's so versatile. You can change it up and add something you'd prefer or make it new each time. I enjoy trying a different cheese each time but the cheeses below are an excellent first choice! It's a perfect appetizer, for a larger crowd, or a perfectly suitable main course, for 4.

Stuffed Pumpkin

1 3-4 pound pie (or sugar) pumpkin
3-4 slices crusty french bread (or a baguette if you like a less soggy bread)
3 slices thick-cut bacon
1/4 pound sharp cheddar cheese (cubed)
1/4 pound fontina cheese (grated or cubed)
1/4 pound mild white cheddar cheese (cubed)
1 clove garlic (minced)
2 Tablespoons freshly chopped herbs (I used oregano, basil and thyme)
1 Cup cream
salt and pepper

Heat your oven to 375 and line a large baking sheet with foil. Cut a lid in the top of your pumpkin and scoop out the insides (discard). Cube the bread and toss into a large bowl along with the cheeses, garlic, herbs, salt and pepper. Set aside and fry the bacon to a nice crisp (not burned) then chop into small bits and add to the bread mixture. Toss all of those lovely ingredients together and pack it all into the pumpkin tightly. Leave enough room at the top to be able to fit the lid back on. Pour the cream over the mixture, slowly. Keep pouring and packing the mixture down and pouring some more until it's full but not overflowing. Place the lid on top, place the pumpkin on the prepared baking sheet and bake for about one hour.

Remove and transfer to a platter. Cut into slices and serve.

Happy Halloween!!!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Family Food Flashback

A group of local food bloggers/foodie friends got together for a baby shower last month and got to chatting about nostalgic foods from our childhood. Heidi of Foodie Crush orchestrated the "around the circle" talk and got each of us to share a food memory, mostly from our mothers, that took us back to our little girl years. For the most part, none of us had a formal, gourmet upbringing and our fondest food memories were those of pre-baked, store bought, semi-boxed foods. A lot of us were giggling and connecting over funny food flashbacks and Heidi decided it would be fun to bring all of our memories together for one big food flashback post. Here is my contribution:

I mentioned two foods. One my mom still makes at Thanksgiving and one she used to make for lunches, when I was a kid. It's hominy. She ate it as a child and we both still eat it today. I love it. My husband thinks it is one of the nastiest foods out there but it's so comforting to me. A lot of the girls at the party had no clue what hominy even was an
d a lot of them did know but had never had it the way my mom and I (and my grandma and my aunts) eat it. I can remember eating a warm, salty, puffy, buttery plate of yellow hominy with my mom,on the couch, in the house I grew up in. I know for certain where I got my love of butter and salt... my mom. You have never known a woman who loves that combination more than my mother. I think she adds food in just to make herself feel better... she could salt a stick of butter and eat it alone, I just know it! I was excited to do this post just so I could make myself hominy.

Please follow along closely as this will be difficult for you to try at home.

1 can yellow hominy
1 T butter

In a small frying pan, melt the butter. Drain the hominy and
pour the contents of the can into the hot pan. Cook for 5 minutes, salt generously and eat.

I am not ashamed to admit that I have been known to consume the entire can myself.

The second food that reminded me of my childhood and my mother but that was also so far from gourmet yet so super comforting was Sour Cream C
heesecake. My mom has been making this for years! It's a Thanksgiving staple but I remember begging her to make it other times throughout the year too. I still sneak a small sliver every Thanksgiving. The ingredients make me laugh. Truthfully, I feel like Cool Whip has to be the most horrible invention almost ever yet... here it is... shining in it's glory. Without it, there would be no Sour Cream Cheesecake. When I was little, I had to eat a slice with a huge spoonful of canned cherry pie filling smothering the top... I pass on that now and just eat the pie! I'm including a picture of my mother's recipe card. I borrowed it for this post because the card alone brings back memories and because my mother's handwriting makes both she and i (and everyone else we know) laugh.

Please check out Foodie Crush for a complete list of all the Family Food Flashbacks.

Monday, September 26, 2011

"Infused" Pasta

This is a fun way to add flavor to your pasta at home, yourself. I used whole grain pasta this time around but plan to use homemade noodles next time. We recently visited Seattle and purchased several pounds of infused pastas (dried). I love the idea and thought using fresh ingredients, in my own kitchen would prove even more delicious... I was right!

"Infused" Pasta

1 pound pasta
1C water
1C chicken stock (the richer the better)
2T olive oil
1 clove garlic (minced)
3 lemons (juice from 2, zest and slices from 1)
1T finely chopped chives
salt and pepper
sprinkle of freshly grated Parmesan

Bring the water to a low simmer, add the stock and lemon juice and keep warm. In a separate pot, boil the pasta in salted water for 4 minutes (under al dente). Transfer the pasta to the warm lemon pot and toss in the olive oil and garlic. Bring to another very low simmer and add the zest. Remove the pasta with tongs (do not drain) then toss with the chopped chives, salt and pepper and garnish with the freshly grated cheese.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Hot Crab Dip

I had dinner with a friend last week and we discussed my "blog". As any of you who take the time to stop by and read know, I am not much of a blogger. I'm a cook. I owned a little kitchen shop a few years back and people would always say to me "Do you have a blog?" "Do you post recipes?" "What is your blog?" "You should have a blog." so... I got one. I never intended to make money, I never knew how HUGE the blogging world was, I have had a blast with it, met many, many friends because of it but the bottom line is... I am not a blogger. I am a cook. I can't take a decent food photo to save my life... it's laughable. I want to share my love of food with the world, I want to learn from all of you, I want to post my original recipes and create a sort of online cookbook. My plan (from here on out) is to share food with you. Not stories of my kids and a cutsie tablecloth, not vacation photos and a silly story but FOOD. I am going to give you recipes that work and recipes from my heart/home/kitchen. I hope you like them.

With that said (smiley face)... I recently went to a baby shower for a friend and took this warm little dip along with. I created it the night before and I hope you'll make it. It's a tasty little appetizer.
photo by Heidi Larsen of Foodie Crush
Hot Crab Dip

1 16oz. package cream cheese
1/4 cup mayo
2 Tablespoons sour cream
1 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
2 pounds fresh crab clusters
2 Tablespoons fresh oregano leaves
2 Tablespoons fresh parsley
1 Tablespoon fresh basil (I used boxwood)
1 Tablespoon fresh thyme
salt and pepper
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1?4 cup panko

Combine the cream cheese, mayo, sour cream and cheese well (no lumps). Heat the crab on 350 for 10 minutes in 1/2 cup of water. Cool and crack. Remove all meat and place in the creamed mixture. Finely chop all of the fresh herbs and toss in as well along with enough salt and pepper to taste. Place in a baking dish and chill for at least 2 hours. Heat your oven to 350 and bake the dip for 15 minutes. Meanwhile toss the olive oil and panko together then top the dip with the crumb mixture and broil about 3 minutes.

I served this dip with sliced baguette and homemade tortilla chips.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Layered and Grilled Peaches

My husband loves peach desserts. Peaches-n-cream is his absolute favorite but I am always trying to come up with new peach treats for him. His birthday was a couple of weeks ago and I wanted to do something new for him. I came up with this dessert. It was delicious, he loved it and everyone that joined us gave it a big thumbs up! I made individual servings but you could easily make it in a spring form pan, a pie tin or a tart pan.

Layered and Grilled Peaches (serves 8)

4 peaches washed, halved and pitted
1 t fresh lemon juice
3 T honey

8 ounces mascarpone cheese
2 C confectioners sugar
1 t fresh lemon juice
3 t vanilla
1 T butter

16 graham crackers
8 T butter
1 t cinnamon
3 T sugar

Preheat oven to 325. In a food processor, pulse the graham crackers till they are broken up and very fine. Add cinnamon and sugar then drizzle butter in till it all comes together. Butter 8 ramekins (or pan of your choice) and form a "crust" by pressing the mixture into the bottom of the dish... as thick as you like. Bake for 8 minutes then remove from oven and cool completely.

Next wash, cut in half and pit your peaches. Toss in a large bowl with the lemon juice and honey the refrigerate while your crusts cool and you make the next layer.

Combine the mascarpone and confectioners sugar then add the lemon juice, vanilla and remaining tablespoon of butter. Whip until doubled in volume (about 5 minutes). Pipe a nice thick layer over each ramekin of graham cracker crust and allow to chill one hour.

Preheat your outdoor grill and grill the peaches, flesh side down for 5-8 minutes then flip for only an additional minute then place them, flesh side down once more, on top of the chilled desserts.

Serve immediately so the peaches are warm and dripping over the creamy layer and down onto the crust.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Alaskan Halibut

My thoughtful friend Barbara (BarbaraBakes) recently traveled to Alaska and went deep sea fishing while she was there. She and her husband caught some lovely fish and she was kind enough to bring me 4 gorgeous pieces of halibut from her trip. I am stowing 2 away for fish-n-chips but this dinner was so delicious that I have to share it! The fish was so mild and buttery... truly one of the best pieces of halibut I have ever had. Thanks Barbara!

2 pieces halibut
4 T butter
juice of 1 lemon
4 T olive oil
1 T charcoal sea salt
a good grinding of black pepper
4 sprigs lemon thyme (I am growing mine in my new little herb garden this summer)
1/2 lb. fresh green beans

Preheat oven to 375 along with a 12" cast iron skillet. Once hot, remove the skillet and cover the bottom with 2 tablespoons of the butter then place the fish (skin side down) in the center and place back in the oven for 5 minutes. Combine the lemon juice, olive oil, charcoal sea salt, pepper and thyme in a dish and mix well. Remove the skillet again and pour the sauce all over the fish to evenly cover and place in the oven again. Bake for 20 minutes. Wash the green beans and then pour them over the fish and sauce along with the remaining 2 tablespoons butter. Continue to cook for another 10, or so, minutes then remove from the oven and allow the dish to "rest" for at least 5 minutes. The butter should be nicely browned and the beans should be slightly wilted but still crisp! I served mine over whipped Yukon potatoes.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Salted Caramel Ice Cream

What you are looking at is a picture of some of the best ice cream ever. Ever. It has the perfect texture, the perfect creaminess, the perfect flavor and probably about 1000 calories per serving. I made it to celebrate the first day of summer. I messed around with my ingredients and came up with such a great combination of salty/sweet that the recipe lasted exactly 2 evenings... gone. I kind of love ice cream in a very addictive way but my husband is not so much a fan. He eats ice cream but would prefer a million other things to it. This ice cream made him drool. He loved it and asked for more and wants another batch as soon as possible. That says something. Enjoy!

Salted Caramel Ice Cream

1 1/4 Cup Sugar (divided)
1 1/2 Cup Heavy Cream (divided)
1 3/4 Cup half and half
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 eggs

Heat one cup of the sugar until it begins to melt then stir until it is nearly liquid and add one cup of the heavy cream. Stir constantly until the mixture is a medium brown color then remove from heat and stir in the remaining half cup of heavy cream, the salt and the vanilla (taste this now... if you like more salt, like i do, add a little more). Cool to room temp.

In another pan, bring the half and half and the remaining sugar to a boil. In a separate bowl, whisk eggs together then pour half of the warmed milk into the eggs slowly. Whisk then pour the egg mixture back into the pan of milk and whisk constantly until the mixture is thick and custard-like. Cool 5 minutes then mix into the cooled caramel mixture. Chill completely (it should take about 2 hours) then freeze according to your ice cream makers directions.

Scoop the ice cream into a freezer container and freeze about one hour for the perfect consistency.

A few things to know:

*I am a terrible "candy maker". If the caramel hardens too quickly or darkens too quickly... please do not stress. Toss out the nasty bits and still use what's left. You should be looking for FLAVOR here... don't let the sticky candy stuff put you off. Mine did the same thing... each time. Oh well!

*Please use the different creams. They are the star of the texture.

*I use a fine sea salt from France... use whatever you wish but the finer, the better!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Summer Salad

It kind-of-almost feels like summer *might* be around the corner. Not that I welcome it with open arms... I am not it's biggest fan BUT I am ready for a little less rain and a little more warm... if only for some pool time with my favorite little girls. This salad is one I made for a girlfriend lunchy-get-together some friends and I had. I was in charge of salad. I came up with this and feel like it needs to be shared with you, to make your summer brighter and tastier.

Fruit Salad

1 cantaloupe (peeled, seeded and cubed)
2 bananas (sliced)
1 lb. strawberries (sliced)
1/2 lb. blueberries
1/2 lb. grapes
2 mangoes (peeled and sliced julienne... for texture and look)
1 lemon (juiced)
1/3 C honey
2 T orange juice
1/2 t cinnamon
1/4 C Blackberry Ginger Culinary Sauce*
1/2 C roasted pumpkin seeds*

Wash, peel, seed, slice and care for all fruit. Toss it all together in a serving bowl. For the dressing combine: lemon juice, honey, OJ, cinnamon and culinary sauce (or another fruit syrup or juice). Pour the dressing over the fruit and mix well. Just before serving, toss in pumpkin seeds (they will become soggy if you add them too early).

*Earth and Vine Provisions
This company has fantastic sauces, spreads, dips, jams, etc. They make lovely gifts and add delicious flavor to your cooking! I used to sell the line in my shop and highly recommend their products.

*Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Heat oven to 350 (If you have a "roast" or "convect roast" option... use it). Combine pumpkin seeds, 1/3 cup oil (I used almond but any other nut or even olive will do), 1 tablespoon cinnamon and 4 tablespoons sugar together then lay out, evenly on a baking sheet. Roast for 25 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes then cool completely. Store in an airtight container for up to a month. Toss them in this salad or eat alone as a snack.

Monday, May 23, 2011


My husband and I attended Salt Lake Magazines first ever Tastemakers event this past week (May 19 and 20, 2011 5pm-10pm). It was quite the event and also quite a success for a first time and for SLC! Salt Lake Magazine sold 1000 tickets (the maximum amount) and even in chilly, dreary and rainy weather, everyone came and made the most of what I hope will be an event that becomes tradition.

The idea was a kind of "stroll" through different food tents a
nd restaurants throughout the city where you tasted mini bites from local vendors and got a passport stamped as you went along. The tickets were reasonable ($20 with an optional $10 wine/beer pairing). We made the absolute most of the event and got our passport stamped in full. We bumped into friends throughout the stroll, chatted, ate, sipped and had a great time! It was exciting to see our city support this event and to see so many people having fun eating. Below you can find a list of all participating restaurants and their offerings as well as some photos:


Blue Lemon Bistro~ Salmon BLT Canape
Caffe Niche~ Grapefruit "Brulee"
Easy Street~ Lobster Mac & Cheese (my favorite!!!)
Gracie's~ Gracie's Crown Rib's (served with a veg
gie mac)
Martine Cafe & Tapas~ Morgan Valley Lamb Kibbe
Meditrina~ Scottish Salmon Crudo
Talisker On Main~ Ballard Farms Pork Loin Medallions
The Downtown Farmers Market~ Tastings from Liberty Heights Fresh, Tulie Bakery, Rico Brand and Cali's Natural Foods


Benihana~ Sushi Roll Sampler
Caffe Molise~ Pollo Alla Gratella
Christopher's~ Stuffed Tenderloin of Beef
J. Wong's Asian Bistro~ Salted Baked Shrimp
Market Street Grill~ Maryland Lump Crab Cake
Metropolitan Restaurant~ White Albacore Crudo
Naked Fish~ Sashimi Trio
Ruth's Chris~ Prime Slider
Squatters~ Mussles and FritesThe top food photo is the offering from Metropolitan. Delicious and simple. The rain REALLY hit once we entered the restaurant so we got comfy, ordered a glass of wine and watched it pour while we nibbled on the albacore crudo. Photo #2 is the prime slider from Ruth's Chris. It was my second favorite offering. Generously portioned and incredibly flavorful, we were seated at the bar and served these sliders. As completely stuffed as we were... I probably could have downed 5 of these... YUM! Photo #3 is the sashimi sampler from Naked Fish. How beautiful is it?!? I say it gets the award for most lovely presentation. It was also super tasty!

If you want "juicy" comments... I don't have many. Let's see... I felt horrible for Meditrina. The 1st night, the Salt Lake County Health Dept. shut them down for trying to serve "raw fish" (crudo) that the health department had already pre-approved. They were there on night 2 and the crudo was light and perfect! Every glass of red wine served was ice cold so I think the vendors could have put more care into that and... some of the restaurants got so incredibly busy with their regular evening service and us at Tastemakers that they treated some patrons poorly... that's a kink that absolutely needs to be ironed out by next year. That's it. It truly was delicious and a lot of fun! Way to go SLC and Salt Lake Magazine!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Whipped Key Lime Curd Tarts

I feel like we may be officially ready (?) to welcome spring here to Utah. It's been a wacky season so far... lot's of snow, rain and hail storms. No one has had a chance to plant a garden that will survive but this 1st day of May brings sun and warmth and hope that we'll get at least a month of spring-like weather before the hot summer hits us! I made these tarts for Easter and they were creamy and delicious. I am such a fan of key lime and have a favorite key lime tart that is made by a local bakery, Cafe Normandie, here in Salt Lake. I have been trying to nail down their recipe for years... these tarts come close. A lot of times I feel like people's key lime ends up tasting what I imagine Pine Sol would taste like... they have a sort of cleaner smell and taste. This gives key lime a bad name because it's truly one of my personal favorite flavors... when done right. I made these mini and with a graham cracker crust (graham cracker crumbs, butter, sugar and a little cinnamon). Normandie makes theirs in a shortbread crust and I've had delicious key lime in a chocolate crust. Do as you wish but please... make these soon! You will love them!

Whipped Key Lime Curd Tarts

For the Lime Curd
1/2 Cup sugar
2 whole eggs
2 egg yolks
the juice from 10 key limes
the zest from 4 key limes
6 Tablespoons butter

Place the sugar, whole eggs, egg yolks, juice and zest in a medium pan and whisk to combine. Heat and continue to constantly whisk until the mixture turns pale and thickens (about 5 minutes). Remove from heat and whisk in the butter. Store in jars or an airtight container for up to one month.

For the tarts
2 Cups key lime curd
2 cups whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 Tablespoons sugar

Whip the cream until it thickens quite a lot (about 5 minutes) then add the vanilla and sugar. Fold the lime curd in with a rubber spatula and fill desired shells/crusts. Chill 2 hours then top with additional whipped cream if desired. Allow to come to room temperature for 10 minutes before serving.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Hazelnut Cream Cheese Brownies

I am a hazelnut fanatic. I love everything hazelnut. Creamer in my coffee, ice cream, any kind of candy or cookie with them in it, hazelnut bread, muffins, bagels, scones, tea, Frangelico, by the handful... I love to bake with hazelnut oil. It's kind of one of my favorite flavors! I thought it might be yummy and fun to mix hazelnuts into brownies. It was good BUT it was dry. Hmmm... enter cream cheese. Perfection!

Hazelnut Cream Cheese Brownies

4 oz. cream cheese, softened
1⁄4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 t fresh lemon juice
1 t vanilla extract
1⁄4 cup finely ground roasted hazelnuts

1 cup semisweet chocolate
4 T butter
3⁄4 cup flour
2 T unsweetened cocoa
1⁄2 t baking powder
1⁄4 t salt
3⁄4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 t vanilla extract
1⁄2 cup coarsely chopped roasted hazelnuts

For the filling: Put cream cheese and sugar into a large mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Add egg, lemon juice, and vanilla and continue beating until well mixed. Fold in hazelnuts with a rubber spatula. Cover and refrigerate. For the batter: Melt chocolate and butter together in a double boiler set over a pan of simmering water over medium heat. Remove pan from heat and set aside. Sift flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt together into a medium bowl and set aside. Preheat oven to 350°. Put sugar, eggs, and vanilla into a large mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth and pale yellow, about 2 mins. Beat in melted chocolate mixture, then add flour mixture and continue beating until mixture is smooth. Fold in hazelnuts with a rubber spatula. Spread 1/2 the batter into a greased/floured 8" square pan. Spread filling over batter. Gently spread remaining batter over filling. Pull a rubber spatula through layers to marble. Bake about 40 minutes. Allow to cool before cutting.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Baked Pear French Toast

More about how much I love brunch in this post. I made this bake over the weekend and wanted to share yet another completely delicious brunch option with you. My husband really enjoyed it and my only complaint was that it was a tad bread pudding-ish. The center was a little soggy but I think that's what one would probably love most about it... just not this someone. It's simple and flavorful and a perfect addition to what you're serving for brunch this coming weekend.

Baked Pear French Toast

9 slices Texas Toast
3 fresh pears
3T butter (plus more for the baking dish)
1/4C brown sugar
2t cinnamon
1t nutmeg
7 eggs
3 1/2C whole milk
1/4C sugar
2t vanilla

Butter a baking dish then toast the bread and cut in half, into triangles. Line the dish with the slices. Set aside. In a large skillet, melt the butter and add the pears cut into cubes and saute' until soft (about 8 minutes). Turn off heat and add brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Set aside to cool. Whisk eggs and add milk, sugar and vanilla. Pour mixture evenly over the bread then pour the pear mixture over that. Cover with foil and chill overnight.

The next day: heat oven to 350, remove bake from fridge and remove foil. Bake for 60-70 minutes then rest, counter top, for 10 minutes then slice and serve alongside something savory and deliciously salty.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


Granola is relatively simple and extremely versatile. There are over a million recipes floating around for it... so why am i adding to that list? What specialness can I offer? I have tested many, many recipes and feel like I have really perfected this one. If you enjoy fresh, homemade goodness and a healthy breakfast option, try my granola and see what you think. I really love it mixed in with Greek Yogurt and fresh banana or other fresh fruit. I also adore it softened just a bit with almond milk. This specific post was made with slivered almonds and unsweetened coconut flakes but it's amazing with these "mix-in's" as well:

*dried fruits (I especially enjoy berries and apples)
*sunflower seeds (pre-roasted)
*mini chocolate chips

If you add dried fruit, add it after you remove the granola from the oven, while the granola is still hot but don't "bake" it. If you choose something a tiny sweeter and add mini chocolate chips, let the granola cool completely before stirring them in.


3 C old fashioned rolled oats
1/2 C steel cut oats
1/2 C almond oil (I also love hazelnut oil and walnut oil)
1/2 C organic pure maple syrup
1/2 t nutmeg
1/2 t cinnamon
1/4 t ginger
3 T agave n
1/2 C slivered almonds
1/2 C unsweetened coconut flakes

Heat oven to 315. Combine all ingredients and mix w
ell, making sure to cover all of the oats with oil and sweeteners. Spray a large rimmed baking sheet with non-stick oil and pour the granola mixture out onto the pan. With a spatula, even out the layer of granola and bake for 10 minutes, Remove pan and stir the granola then return to the oven for 10 minutes, remove and repeat. Your granola should cook 30 minutes having been stirred 3 times on low heat. Cool on pan then transfer to an airtight container. Keeps 2 weeks in a cool dry place.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

"Taquito's" with Guac-ey-Pico

Thought you might enjoy a quick, easy, healthy weeknight meal recipe. These are simple and full of fresh ingredients and once you get the hang of folding the tortillas without them cracking... they are super easy to throw together! Play around with the ingredients and enjoy!

Chicken Taquito's

1 store bought rotisserie chicken
1/2 jalapeno pepper (finely chopped)
juice of 1 lime
1 t salt
1 t onion powder
1 C shredded sharp cheddar cheese
12 white corn tortillas

Shred the meat off the entire chicken and place in a large bowl along with all remaining ingredients, set aside. Warm tortillas in the microwave for 25 seconds then place a damp, warm kitchen towel over them (yo prevent drying). Fill each tortilla and wrap to close then place on a well greased baking sheet. Spray the top of each taquito with cooking spray as well. Heat oven to 375. Make the following:


2 avocados
3 Roma tomatoes, chopped
2 T finely chopped onion
1/2 jalapeno (finely chopped)
juice of 2 limes
2 t salt
1/4 t cayenne pepper

Chop avocado, tomato, onion and jalapeno in a dish. Squeeze lime juice over the veggies and add salt and cayenne pepper. Toss well. Serve alongside taquito's.

Bake taquito's for 15 minutes (until crispy).

I read that today is National Margarita Day... have one with this meal or serve this for dessert! Cheers!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


Let's talk brunch, friends. It's such a fun mealtime and offers so many dishes you wouldn't eat any other time of day. You can mingle breakfast foods with lunch foods and still make sense of the plate by throwing a mimosa in and calling it... brunch. I am a total potato girl. I love potatoes cooked almost any way and really, really love them at brunch. I always order a side of whatever potato is being served just to make sure I get a salty starch with my brunch. The following recipe is an easy and delicious addition to any brunch menu. We served it alongside thick maple french toast and coconut hot cocoa but I can see it with an omelet or biscuits and gravy or even fresh fruit and a bagel. I used a dutch oven and liked the deep sides but you could use a large, rounded edge skillet too. Be careful not to make your "patty" too thick or you will have deliciously crispy edges with a gluey center.

Potato Patty

5 large potatoes
1 T chopped green onion
2 T chopped chives
1 T Lawry's Seasoned Salt
6 slices thick cut bacon (I used a peppered bacon from Harmon's Butcher)
salt and pepper to your liking
2 T butter
1/4 C Parmesan cheese

Peel and scrub the potatoes and shred in your food processor (or grate them if you don't have a processor). Place a clean dishtowel over a large bowl and place the grated potatoes on the towel. Squeeze all of the water from the potatoes then toss them into another large bowl. Add finely chopped onion, chives, seasoned salt and salt and pepper and toss. Set aside to marinate. Cook bacon slices to a medium crispness, drain fat and chop then toss in the potato mixture and mix well.

Heat a large (12" or larger) dutch oven skillet and melt one tablespoon of the butter (coating the entire surface). Form a large potato patty into the bottom of the skillet, making sure to fill the pan and touch all sides. Brown the patty for 8-10 minutes (the bottom and sides should be a toasty brown). Turn off the heat and place a large plate over the patty, invert the patty out onto the plate, turn the heat back on, throw in the last tablespoon of butter then turn the patty back out onto the hot skillet. Brown again for 8-10 minutes, slide the patty onto a serving plate and top with freshly grated Parmesan.

Slice and serve.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Valentine Cupcakes

I love Valentine's Day. I know it's been dubbed "The Hallmark Holiday" and I understand the cynicism (bitterness) toward throwing away money on a stupid day created to give card and floral companies money and that we should show our love for others every day. Give me a break though... I do show my love for others every day but I also LOVE giving fun little Valentine's to those I love and making bright, girlie treats for such a day and I love decorating our little home with hearts and pinks and reds... it's fun. I think people miss the point... it's supposed to be "fun." In the spirit of fun and love and showering your loved ones with sweet surprises and flowers and romance and adoration... make some cupcakes and enjoy this mushy-gushy day of loooooove.

Cocoa Cuppies with Nutella and Buttercream

1 1/2 C Cake Flour
3/4 C Sugar
1/2 C Organic Cocoa Powder
1 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1/4 C Vegetable Oil
1 T vinegar
1 t vanilla
1 1/4 C Water
12 T Nutella

In a bowl, combine the dry ingredients and set aside. In a stand mixer, combine the oil, vinegar, vanilla and water and mix until well combined. Add the dry ingredients then pour into 12 prepared muffin cups. Place 1 tablespoon of Nutella in the center of each raw cupcake and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 12 minutes. Cool 10 minutes in the pan and then completely on a wire rack. Frost with the following:


1/2 C Unsalted Butter
1 t vanilla
3 C Powdered Sugar
Pink Food Coloring (j
ust a dab)

Cream all ingredients well then pipe onto your little cupcakes and decorate as desired.

The Nutella makes the cupcakes gooey and delicious. The recipe is great because the cupcakes are both butter and egg-less... and how great are the cute little birdie picks??!! I love them!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Tiny Tiny Donuts

For Christmas, my mom got me a few little kitchen toys.Well, everyone got me kitchen toys :) One of my favorites? This Mini Donut Maker from Bella Cucina.

It's such a fun little appliance and works just like a waffle maker: heat, spray with non-stick oil, pour batter in, close and wait 4-5 minutes. Open it up
to little donut treats that are made with little to no oil! We have made several kinds of donut in this little machine... chocolate, vanilla, berry plus we have made a few glazes as well. The following recipe is simple and made with no oil (unlike the big old fried donuts). It was part of our Sunday brunch this week and we ate it sprinkled with only a little powdered sugar... delicious!

Simple Mini Donuts

1 egg
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon nutmeg

Mix wet and dry ingredients separately then combine and pour onto the hot appliance. Close and bake for 4-5 minutes. Remove to a platter and cover with a kitchen towel to keep warm.Sprinkle with powdered sugar just prior to serving.

*I haven't been asked to "endorse" this product. I am simple sharing something fun that I enjoy very much!!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Talkin' Macaron's with Good Morning Utah

I will be on Good Morning Utah Tuesday January 25th between 8am and 9am (channel CW30) chatting about macaron's. It's been said that the macaron is "the new cupcake" and also "one of the 11 foods of 2011". Tune in tomorrow and decide as you watch me show you some pretty fancy macaron's and discuss tips and tricks to these little fancies!

I jumped on the macaron wave a year and a half ago and have never jumped off. I love these little lovelies. The pretty feet, the dainty design, the array of color and flavor, the texture... they have been quite the treat to master and have given me a run for my money in this altitude but I think I've got it and I want to share it all with you! Don't be afraid... they are as afraid of you as you are of them :)

I am including some past posts and a photo of my Christmas Macs today as well as a link to a template I have created to assist you in your baking. Click the link and print off your own template. Slide the template under your parchment paper and trace with your batter and piping bag (go ahead and bake the template... it's safe... I have done it). I am also including my "go-to" recipe. It is no fail and PERFECT for Utah climate/altitude. BarbaraBakes and I came up with this specific recipe and it has never failed me. After my appearance on the show, I will do another post and include all of my tips and tricks plus a few filling recipes and photos (I am hoping I can link my spot on the show too).

Watch CW30 (Good Morning Utah) in the morning and let me know what you think. I am excited to share with you and see what the future holds!

Basic Macaron Shell

2 aged egg whites
3T plus 1t sugar

1/2C finely ground almond meal
1C powdered sugar

With a hand held blender(in a stainless steel bowl), beat egg whites until medium/soft peaks form then add sugar and beat until slightly firmer and glossy. In a separate bowl combine almond meal and powdered sugar and whisk until completely combined and even. Fold half of the dry mixture into the egg white mixture with a rubber spatula (fold gently, pressing against the sides of the bowl). Add the other half and repeat actions until a flowing batter is achieved. Pour mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a #4 large tip. Pipe onto parchment paper placed on top of the template. Allow to rest for 12-15 minutes then bake at 280 for 10-12 minutes. Remove from oven and cool for 10 minutes on pan then pop off and place on a wire rack. Fill as desired.

*if you have a convection oven: bake at 280 for 10-12 minutes.
*for all other ovens: bake at 250 (placing your baking sheet on top of another, forming a "bubble") for 15 minutes.
*add food coloring and liquid flavoring to the egg whites at the time you add the sugar
*add any dry flavoring to the almond meal mixture prior to adding it to the egg whites

Previous macaron posts you might enjoy:

grease macarons

valentine macs

I will add some others after the show!

Link to Macaron template

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

When I was a teenager I was a total sucker for cookies-n-cream shakes (if they were from DQ or Froststop... all the better). I don't have them nearly as much these days but still love that Oreo and vanilla combo so much! This ice cream is the result of a few tries/fails and playing around with ideas to make it creamy and cookie-ey. I like that it's made without egg yolks. I enjoy a custard type ice cream as much as the next girl but don't always want to wait for the mixture to cool... especially when I have two of the most darling faces just smiling and waiting for a dish of ice cream after school!


1 Cup 1/2 and 1/2
1/2 Cup sugar
2 Cups whipping cream
1 vanilla bean (split and scraped)
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/4 Cup crushed Oreo cookies

In a stand mixer, combine the half and half with the sugar until the sugar is dissolved. Add the whipping cream, scraped vanilla bean and vanilla. Combine well. Pour into an ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturers instructions. Scrape the frozen cream into a freezer safe bowl and gently fold in the crushed cookies. Serve right away for a soft bowl of frozen goodness, freeze the rest for a more
set up bowl later!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Farewell 2010... a holiday cake

I made this light, little beauty over the holidays, got caught up in the magic of Christmas, joy of having my family all home together, blessing of a coming new year and general laziness before realizing I hadn't shared it with you. It is so pretty and all dolled up for a holiday table but can easily be dressed for any occasion! I just sugared some cranberries and mint to make it snowy and wreath looking. It is angel food cake at it's finest and simplest. My mother is not a chocolate fan so this was made for her. The chocolate fiends in the family got brownie-mousse cups. May 2011 bring us all happiness, comfort, hope, friendship and more love than we can all bare!!!

Angel Food Cake

1 C sugar
1 C cake flour
1/2 t salt
10 large egg whites
1 1/2 t cream of tartar
1t almond extract

Preheat oven to 350. Sift the sugar and flour together, twice. Add salt and set aside. In your stand mixer, whisk the egg whites for about 3 minutes, until frothy then add the cream of tartar and up the speed until moist, soft peaks form (careful not to over beat). Beat in the almond extract. Dust a layer of the flour mixture over the surface of the egg whites and fold it in. Repeat until the batter is completely combined. Pour the batter into an ungreased angel food cake pan and bake for 40 minutes. Immediately place pan upside down on the pan feet. Cool thoroughly before removing from the pan. Place on cake plate.


1 1/2 C heavy cream
3/4 C sugar
1/2 t vanilla
2 C coconut flakes

Whip the cream until very thick, add the sugar and vanilla. Spread with swirls all over the angel food cake then top with coconut, pressing with the palms of
your hands so it sticks to all sides of the cake.