Archive for October, 2009


Pumpkin Bread Pudding

October 27, 2009

This one is inspired by the recipe done up at 1789, a grand ol’ Georgetown restaurant.  Perfect for the fall!

20091027 Pumpkin Bread Pudding 04

You will need:

  • 1 loaf challah bread, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1 T ground cinnamon
  • 1½ t ground ginger
  • ½ t ground nutmeg
  • ¼ t ground cloves
  • 12 T unsalted butter, melted and cooled (I used margarine)
  • 1 c  sugar
  • ½ c water
  • 1½ c pumpkin puree
  • 1 c light brown sugar
  • 5 eggs, lightly beaten
  • ½ t salt
  • 2 c heavy cream
  • 1 c whole milk (I used 2%)
  1. Preheat oven to 375°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Combine the spices in a small bowl and then evenly sprinkle the mixture over the bread cubes.
  3. Toss the seasoned bread cubes with butter and then spread the cubes on a sheet pan and toast in the oven for about twelve minutes, until just golden.

20091027 Pumpkin Bread Pudding 02

  1. Reduce heat to 325° and place an empty two-quart baking dish inside to warm.
  2. Add the regular sugar to a small sauce pot. Whisk in about half of a cup of water until it makes a pourable consistency. Boil without stirring until the mixture turns amber, about twelve minutes.
  3. Remove the warmed dish from the oven and coat the bottom with a thin layer of the caramel mixture. (There may be leftover caramel, which you can save and use as ice cream topping.)
  4. For the custard, add the pumpkin to a mixing bowl and whisk in the remaining ingredients, one at a time in the order listed.
  5. Add the toasted bread to the baking dish and pour the custard on top. Press down on the bread (yes, with your hands) to help it soak up the custard like a sponge, cover, and let sit up to an hour.
  6. Return the dish to the oven at 325° and bake until puffy and no liquid appears when pressed, about 45 minutes.

I scooped mine out into servings while hot, so the caramel didn’t cool to the pan.  It was delish with some vanilla ice cream!


Hungry Boy Pasta

October 22, 2009

I really enjoy visiting my brother, if for no other reason than that we always seem to make dinners that could feed an army!  This past weekend, we made what I am going to affectionately call “hungry boy pasta” — lots of food, lots of leftovers, simple to prepare.

You should gather:

  • ~3 lb chicken breast
  • 4 onions
  • 2 heads of garlic
  • 3 cans of crushed tomatoes (28 oz)
  • 2 lb pasta (we used spaghetti, 2 boxes)
  • 6 T dried oregano
  • 6 T dried basil
  • Salt & pepper
  • 1 c Parmesan cheese (shredded or grated.  We used the powdered bottled stuff, but fresh would taste even better!)

Let’s get started…

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 and grab the biggest baking dish(es) you can find.
  2. Chop the onion and spread along the bottom of the dish/pan.  Sprinkle with some salt and pepper.
  3. Chop the garlic and spread over the onion.  Sprinkle with some of the oregano and basil. (NOTE:  You could also just use a pre-bottled Italian-type seasoning mix).
  4. Trim the chicken, if necessary, and cut into large, bite-sized chunks.  Spread on top of the garlic.  Sprinkle with the rest of the oregano and basil.

20091011 Hungry Boy Pasta 01

  1. Pour the crushed tomatoes over the top.
  2. Bake about 35-45 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through and some of the juice is cooked off from the tomatoes.  Stir at least once.
  3. Salt and boil water for your pasta.  Cook according to the box. Strain.
  4. Combine the pasta with the chicken and sauce. (NOTE: if you use a big stock pot for the pasta, then you can mix it all together right there).
  5. Add in the Parmesan.
  6. Invite several hungry boys, and it’s time for dinner!

20091011 Hungry Boy Pasta 03


Sweet Potato Hummus

October 20, 2009

All I can say is that this was a great twist on hummus.  As you can tell by the picture below, it was so tasty that I almost forgot to grab a photo of it!

20091010 Sweet Potato Hummus

You will need:

  • 1 lb sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 c lemon juice
  • 1/4 c tahini
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 2 t cumin
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • Salt and pepper

Get started by…

  1. Set steamer basket in pot with water just below.  Bring to a boil and add potatoes.  Simmer, covered, about 10-12 minutes.  Once softened, blend potatoes in food processor.
  2. Add chickpeas, lemon juice, tahini, olive oil, cumin and garlic to the food processor.  Puree 1 minute or so.  As needed, thin with water.
  3. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Serve with pita chips and veggies.

Island Steak Tips

October 18, 2009

Dinner with friends is a great way to enjoy the weekend.  What I liked about this was it’s simplicity in throwing together, and then all the crazy awesome flavors that came with it! JB had this recipe on hand. We also whipped together some couscous and roasted broccoli.  So be sure to check out the quick broccoli recipe at the bottom of this post!

20091010 Island Steak Tips with BroccoliGather together:

  • 2 lb flank steak, lean
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/4 t pepper
  • 1/2 t chile powder
  • 1/2 t ground cumin
  • 1/2 t ground cinnamon
  • 1 t olive oil
  • 1/4 c brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 T fresh garlic, minced
  • 1/2 T Tabasco sauce


  1. Cut your steak as you want (cubes, strips, whole) and pat dry on both sides.
  2. Mix together the salt, pepper, cumin, chile powder and cinnamon.
  3. Rub the spices on the steak.

20091010 Island Steak Tips 01

  1. Either heat up a grill or a skillet till moderately hot.  Use some non-stick cooking spray if cooking inside.
  2. Combine the olive oil, brown sugar, garlic and Tabasco sauce in a small bowl.
Awesome Host with the Sauce

Awesome Host with the Sauce

  1. Cook the steak until seared on one side.
  2. Brush tops with sauce and flip.
  3. Coat other side of steak with sauce and cook until done to your liking.



  • 1 head of broccoli, cut into florets
  • 3 T olive oil
  • Salt & pepper

20091010 Roast Broccoli 01


  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Spread broccoli on a baking sheet.
  3. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Bake about 20-30 minutes or until soft and roasted.  Be sure to toss the veggies part way through so they don’t stick to the pan.


October 16, 2009

Every good trip to friends should involve a new drink.  Or at least most of mine seem to!  While visiting family and friends up over Columbus Day weekend, one friend mixed up a batch of Micheladas.   He made them with Negra Modelo, and it was one of the tastier cervezas preparadas that I’ve been able to enjoy 🙂

20091010 Michelada 01You will need:

  • Some friends (just kidding!  But it is way more fun to enjoy these with others)
  • Negra Modela
  • Lime(s)
  • Hot sauce
  • Worchestershire Sauce
  • Ice cubes
  • Salt (if desired)

Then you:

  1. Cut the lime into eighths.  Run one piece of lime around the top rim of your beer glass (save the piece!).  Salt the rim if you want.
  2. Add some ice cubes.  Add a couple of splashes of hot sauce and a dash of the Worchestershire.
  3. Pour in the beer.  Squeeze in the lime.
  4. Stir and enjoy!

P.S.  Always drink responsibly 🙂

20091010 Michelada 02



October 15, 2009

I’ve been known to make a mean fajita, but the other night I was looking to branch out.  After much consideration I took on the challenge of enchiladas, which meant figuring out to how the heck you get corn tortillas to roll into such saucy goodness.  I added some of my favorites to the mix like chicken, spinach and goat cheese.  If you try to tackle this one too, you can just as easily use whatever veggies you have on hand from corn to peppers.

I used:

  • 3 T vegetable oil
  • ~1 1/4 lb chicken breast
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 t cumin
  • 2 t garlic powder
  • 1 t Adobo seasoning (made by Goya and found in the international section of your supermarket – a little goes a long way)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 3/4 c mushrooms, chopped
  • 2 c fresh baby spinach, roughly chopped
  • 1 can crushed tomatoes (28 oz)
  • ~2 c enchilada sauce (I used medium heat, because I like it spicy.  Feel free to try out red vs. green to find the right sauce for you!)
  • 1 c crumbled goat cheese
  • 3-4 scallions, chopped
  • ~1 c shredded cheese (I used a monterey jack/cheddar blend)
  • ~12 corn tortillas

Then you:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 and find a 13×9 baking dish.
  2. In a large skillet, heat the vegetable oil till shimmering.  Salt and pepper the chicken breast and cook until no longer pink.  BEFORE flipping, coat with the mixture of cumin, garlic powder and adobo seasoning.  Cool cooked chicken on a plate.
  3. In same skillet (will everything else still in the pan), cook the garlic and onion about 3 minutes.  Add the mushrooms, and cook for another minute or so.  Add the tomatoes and simmer about 5 minutes (you want to cook off some of the liquid).  Stir in the spinach.
  4. Shred the chicken by hand when cool enough to handle.  Add to the tomato mixture.  Turn off the heat.
  5. Coat the bottom of the baking dish with enchilada sauce.
  6. Fill a medium bowl with warm-hot water.  Place a tortilla in the water for about 10-20 seconds, or until pliable.
  7. On a cutting board or a plate, fill the tortilla by sprinkling some goat cheese down the center and topping with some of the chicken-tomato mixture.  Roll tortilla and place seam side down in the baking dish.  Repeat with remaining tortillas.
  8. I made two rows of 5 filled tortillas across the narrow way and squeezed two more into the gap in the middle of the pan.
  9. Cover with enough of the remaining enchilada sauce to coat the tortillas and fill in most of the gaps between the rolls.
  10. Sprinkle with the cut scallions.
  11. Top with the shredded cheese.  Bake about 20 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
  12. Serve with rice or guacamole or anything else you’d like!



Leek, ‘Sparagus & ‘Shroom Frittata

October 9, 2009

This dish would be a great addition to a brunch.   Or you could just have it for dinner like I did.  The broiling at the end makes it very toasty and delicious!

Fresh Out of the Oven

Fresh Out of the Oven

You will need:

  • 2 T butter
  • 1 c chopped leeks (just the bottom parts…about 1 large leek)
  • 1 12-ounce bunch thin asparagus, trimmed & cut on the diagonal into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 1/2 c chopped bella mushrooms
  • 9 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 c shredded Fontina cheese
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 1/4 c grated Parmesan cheese

Then …

  1. Melt butter in a heavy broilerproof skillet (I used a 12-inch one) over medium heat.
  2. Add leeks and saute for 5 minutes.
  3. Add asparagus and mushrooms and a little salt & pepper. Saute until just tender, about another 6 minutes.
  4. Whisk eggs in a medium bowl.  Add 1 cup Fontina cheese and a little more salt and pepper.
  5. Add egg to skillet and fold gently to combine.  Cook until almost set.
  6. Preheat broiler.
  7. Sprinkle remaining 3/4 cup Fontina plus the Parmesan over the top.
  8. Broil until frittata is puffed and cheese begins to turn golden brown, about 3 minutes.
  9. Cut into wedges and serve hot.



Banana Anna Bread

October 7, 2009
Banana Anna Bread

Banana Anna Bread

Since my sister really likes banana bread, I am always playing with this recipe.  Here’s today’s version…it’s pretty darn tasty.

You will need:

  • 6 T butter
  • 3/4 c sugar
  • 1 T lemon juice
  • 3-4 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 t cinnamon
  • 1/2 t ground ginger
  • 1 T nutmeg
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1 1/2 t baking powder
  • 3/4 c whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 c all-purpose flour

Let’s get started:

  1. Grease a bread pan.  Preheat the oven to 350.
  2. Cream together the butter, sugar and lemon juice.
  3. Add the banana and egg.  Mix well.
  4. Add the salt, baking powder and flours.  Mix well.
  5. Bake for 50-60 minutes or until golden brown.  Toothpick inserted in the middle should come out clean.

Curry Corn Chowder

October 5, 2009

It’s finally fall, which means the perfect season for soups of all sorts.  I had some end-of-the-summer corn in the fridge, so why not corn chowder? I’m also a sucker for a little bit of curry with the corn…something about the sweet and spiciness just makes me happy!

Everything All Chopped

Everything All Chopped

You will need:

  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 6-8 small red bliss potatoes, chopped (or 1 large)
  • 3 T butter
  • 3 T flour
  • 1 can corn kernels
  • 3 cups of milk (I used 1%)
  • 1 T curry powder
  • Salt and pepper
  • 4-5 ears of corn, kernels cut off (optional)
  • grated cheddar (optional, garnish)
Into the Pot

Into the Pot

Then you can:

  1. Presoak the cut potatoes in water about 10 minutes; this will make them a little less starchy.  Drain.
  2. Melt the butter in a large saucepan.  Add the onions, peppers and onions. Stir occasionally for about 10 minutes, or until the potatoes just start getting tender.
  3. Stir in the flour and cook for another minute or 2.  Add the corn with the liquid and mix until smooth.  Add 1 cup of milk and stirr till smooth.
  4. Add the remaining milk and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10-15 minutes or just about boiling.
  5. Add the curry, salt and pepper to taste.  Add the fresh corn.  Simmer for another 10 minutes.
  6. Enjoy topped with your favorite grated cheese!
Tummy Ready Chowder

Tummy Ready Chowder


Cauliflower Gratin

October 3, 2009
Cauliflower Gratin

Cauliflower Gratin

If you like roasted veggies and fondue, you will LOVE this!  First you roast the cauliflower until it’s golden and delicious, and then you top it with nutty Gruyère and buttery bread crumbs.  Mmmm.  If you aren’t as big a fan, you could use broccoli or even carrots.  Pick your favorite veggie and try it out!

You will need:

  • 1 medium head Cauliflower, trimmed and cut into florets (~ 2 lbs)
  • 1/2 t salt, divided
  • 1 T butter
  • 1/3 c panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
  • 1 c shredded Gruyère cheese, divided
  • 2 T fresh chives, finely chopped
  • 1/2 c onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 T all-purpose flour
  • 2 c milk (I used 1%)
  • 2 T fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1/4 t fresh black pepper

Then you…

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Coat a 13 x 9-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. Dump the cauliflower in the baking dish, season with 1/4 teaspoon of salt, coat with cooking spray, and toss.  Bake for 30 minutes or until almost tender.  Cool 5 minutes.
  3. Preheat broiler.
  4. Melt butter in a small saucepan.  Remove from heat. Stir in breadcrumbs.  Then add the chives and 1/4 cup of cheese.  NOTE:  if the pan is too warm, the cheese might melt a little.
  5. Heat a medium saucepan over medium-high heat.  Coat with cooking spray.  Add the onions and saute until almost tender, about 4 minutes.  Add garlic and saute for another minute, stirring constantly.
  6. Add flour and cook 1 minute stirring constantly.  Gradually add milk, stirring with a whisk to keep it smooth.  Bring to a boil and cook 3 more minutes or until thick, stirring constantly.
  7. Remove from heat; stir in the remaining cheese, salt, parlsey and pepper.
  8. Pour milk mixture over the cauliflower and toss to coat evenly.  Top with cheese crumb mixture.
  9. Broil 3-5 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly!
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