Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Raspberry Topped Lemon Muffins.

How can you make these little berries any cuter?? Yup this is how!!!
Raspberry Lemon Mini Muffins....bake up a bunch and pop them in...sure to make you smile...and dance and sing!!!
They are just too darn cute!!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Oatmeal Cookies... Please and Thank you

Remember when you were little and you used to ask to lick the spoon, or how your grandmother showed you how to crack an egg. ... or the time you were able to actually turn on the oven and create something on your own. Cooking and baking bring back such wonderful memories of childhood.... as do oatmeal cookies. I mean come on!!! Who does not love thick cookies with lovely little sweet pockets of raisins and the crunch of walnuts.
These cookies will bring you back to those carefree days where after you skinned your knee it was all forgotten with a big glass of milk and an oatmeal cookie. Enjoy.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Spinach salad with garlic yogurt dressing... it is zesty

Lately the oven has been off... I have been cranky... and... the idea of turning on the oven and making the house hot as hell does not knock my socks off. However, this salad is something I made the other night for dinner and wow!!! It will not only knock your socks off it might just knock you right down to the  floor. Granted, my dressing had a powerful punch, but I think I added too much garlic. It is a good thing I am not single.
A while back I bought this cookbook after hearing the author in the radio. I know what you are thinking... yes... I listen to talk radio...
The salads and side dishes in the book are wonderful. Think mix and match dressings and one plate meals. The ideas are endless. Since I had an abundance of dill from last weekend I thought I would use some in this simple salad and in the (knock you on your ass) lemon garlic dressing. 

Sunday, June 20, 2010

BBQ with family

No baking this weekend.  No flour or brown sugar. No mixers or butter. This weekend was more of a feast of fresh local ingredients that were screaming summer time. My sister and brother- in- law came to visit from out of town, and to celebrate and we were able to create some gosh darn good grub. A sunny peach bruschetta, BBQ Tri tip, grilled corn, and fresh bean and tomato salad.
Warm weather, wine and the ones you love. Who could ask for anything more.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Lemon Sugar Cookies

The sun is shining and summer is almost here.... So why I am frowning? Well, sometimes life can suck it... I mean a big suck it... When work sucks, traffic sucks and all you want to do is scream! You get my point. Life can throw you a screw ball and make your pucker up (like you just ate a lemon) and want to say F*&#K...

AHHH.. Lemons..OK I am getting a bit more happy...lemon zest... maybe a smile is starting to creep out... Lemon and sugar and butter... YES!!
Lemon sugar cookies.. Instant smile.  Life is good, warm, and golden brown.  A simple delight at times can make you feel so much better.
Enjoy these giant cookies and remember when life gives you lemons... instead of lemonade make a giant kick ass cookie.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Chocolate Almond Brownies

Baking, Blogging and Brownies. Exactly what I had planned on my day off. All while trying to keep a watchful eye on a giggly 7 month old. Easy right??? No wonder this recipe from David Lebovitz caught my eye. It calls for simple ingredients which I had on hand and it can be mixed in one medium sized sauce pan. Therefore the clean up is quick and easy, which is a plus in my kitchen.  The fudge brownie is very dense and the additions can be endless. I went for some chopped almonds as that is what I lying around. But you could add any kind of nut or even some coco nibs to make the chocolate factor go through the roof. 
I used Scharffen Berger Semisweet chocolate which melts easily and is simply wonderful.
Make sure you wait until these brownies are completely cool to remove from the pan. I am very impatient and could not resist taking them out early which made them much harder to cut. These brownies will keep for about 4 days and can be frozen for about a month. Perfect for an upcoming summer BBQ.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

A Weekend Without my Oven

However I did still manage to bake. Over the weekend my husband and I went to Sonoma to partake in a cooking adventure. A group class at Ramekins cooking school.

The theme of the class was Summer grilling and Micro brews.  Both of which are things I love;  so of course I was excited. My husband I and made the cobbler and hit it out of the park. We had a great time and enjoyed laughing at and with some of the other unique characters that joined us for our class.

It would not have been a worthwhile trip to Sonoma without a great dinner and of course, good wine. After a morning of exercising off some of the beer and food from the night before we set out to fill our empty bellies. We were staying close to the Ravenswood winery and I had enjoyed many of their wines before so I thought it would be a sure bet. Indeed it was! After a little tasting we retired to the a terraced patio to enjoy the warm breeze and a nice bottle of wine. Could the day get any better?

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Chocolate Streusel Coffee Cake

Yes!!!!  High Five!!  A cake to go with one of my true loves... Coffee.
I remember as a little kid getting coffee at my Nana and Papa's house after Sunday dinner. Although my "coffee" was basically cream and sugar with a coffee splash. Sitting at the dining room table with my family and my coffee made me feel  very grown up and important. And this cake is  a very grown up and important version of coffee cake.

Not your usual cinnamon and butter crumble coffee cake. The crumb is very dense and the chocolate "streusel" filling gives you a burst of cocoa and spice that reminds me of  Mexican hot chocolate.

The cake is easy to assemble and even held up until the next morning where is was shared with co-workers. For the first time I used a scale to weigh all of my ingredients as Rose's Heavenly Cakes has her recipes with the ingredients broken down into measurements by volume or by weight. The process of weighing all of the ingredients took the guess work out of measuring. It was especially helpful when measuring the sour cream. I am going to have to take Rose's advice and use the scale more often.  (Thanks for the scale, Mom.)

So try this coffee cake for your next work meeting, morning pot luck or  simply with a good cup of Joe.....I am sure that my Grandparents would have!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Happy 101 Award

Being new this whole blogging world I was a little bit afraid of how people were going to react. I mean who the heck cares if I prefer using a scale and weighing my flour for cakes, or my secret to 7 minute frosting. (Both which might have to be future posts.) Stay tuned!

However I have to say that the best surprise about the whole blogging world especially with food blogging is the instant community and support that I have been receiving. I even got a mention on another blog and a sweet award. Which put a smile on my face all day long. 

Thank you Heidi...  from Heidi Bakes, your blog is great!

Kind of like a Facebook thread part of the process is to list 10 things that make me Happy... here it goes

1. My baby boy's smile and laugh when I come home from work
2. Eating cheese
3. My two adorable and crazy dogs. 
4. Sushi
5. Hanging out with good friends & eating sushi
6. Baking and sharing my food with friends and family
7. Sharing a dinner with my husband
8. The beach
9. My sister
10. Seeing my parents with their grandson

Now I am to pass this award on to 10 blogs that I enjoy. Check them out. They are great. Plus they should make you Happy. 

8. A Baked Creation

9. Lovin in the Oven

10Deliciously Organic

If you are reading this and want to check out these sites please do. They are an inspiration to me!!! 

For the blogs mentioned if you want to continue this fun little game the rules are below. Enjoy your award!!!

  • copy and paste the award on your blog
  • list who gave the award to you and use a link to his/her blog
  • list 10 things that make you happy
  • pass the award on to 10 other bloggers and visit their blog to let them know!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Rosemary Flatbread Crackers

One of the best things about the weather getting warmer (at least for me) is sitting outside glass of wine (or beverage of your choice) in hand and enjoying some great appetizers. Recently I went to Sonoma County for a  weekend full of great friends, fabulous wines and of course food.  I am a bit of a fan of and all of Deb's wonderful photos and food. So of course I went to her blog for inspiration for some great ideas to bring to our potluck in wine country.  And of course she did not let me down... well she never does.

This Rosemary flatbread/cracker is so fresh and easy to make. Much better then those store bought dry water crackers that you think of at your Mom's last cocktail party. You know the ones that get stuck in your throat... cough!

They are also so easy to make and with ingredients that you already probably have on hand. I used some rosemary from my front yard. But you could also substitute any fresh or dried herb or just use simple sea salt and pepper.  I decided to doctor mine up with some black pepper and finely sliced green onions.

Your friends and family will be pleasantly surprised when you bring something other then store bought crackers and I promise they will never know how easy they are to create. The additions are endless. Try grating some cheese over them right out of the oven... sublime. This recipe is a great go-to for a  quick easy delicious appetizer to bring to your next summer BBQ, wine tasting soiree, or just to enjoy in sitting outside in the sun with a nice piece of cheese or your favorite dip. Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Summer Fruit: Ginger Peach Muffins

Now that Memorial Day has passed. Bring out the sunscreen, BBQ, and those amazing summer fruits. Stone fruits are starting to make their way into the market and in Santa Cruz they are just about ripe. A great match for Ginger Peach Muffins. The recipes calls for peaches that are ripe but still firm so that they can hold up to the bit of sauteing.  Perfect.

I love baking muffins to share with others and this recipe is full of wonderful peach and spicy ginger flavors. Kim Boyce's book Good to the Grain incorporates whole grains into her delightful recipe. A perfect combination of whole grains and sweet bursts of fruit... Ready for summer?  I am.

Using Oat flour gives this muffin a nutty flavor that mellows out some of the in your face flavor that ginger can give off.  I didn't want to use all the ginger that the recipe called for and used less of the candied ginger in the batter.  Next time I am also going to add more peaches to the top of the muffins as they added a bright burst of flavor.

One thing to make sure of is to let the muffins cool just a bit before twisting them out of the muffin tin... you will soon see that I can be a bit of an impatient baker and lost one in the process.

It's best to enjoy these muffins the day they are made, but they should hold up well if tightly covered for about 2 days, if they last that long.