Tag Archives: butter

Palets de Dames, Lille Style

A new cookbook from Dorie Greenspan has helped get the blogging lava flowing for me again.  Not posting since February? Yes. I’ll admit, life got in the way.  A trip to Europe happened (which warranted a blog post that didn’t happen), moving twice happened.  So, you know, life.  I didn’t stop cooking all together, but I wasn’t terribly adventurous. Still, a simple meal is something to rant and rave about.

So how about these cookies?

Baking Chez Moi released Tuesday, October 28. This is such a gorgeous book and I know it will produce gorgeous and tasty things.  The French Friday’s with Dorie group is still in full swing – finding duck and kumquats for this week didn’t happen so I might do a make up – but with the new book, Tuesday’s with Dorie is back.  The first recipe up is Palets de Dames, a butter cookie, best with tea or coffee.


I made the dough and thought there wouldn’t be enough.  As she states in her recipe, you’re to only use about two teaspoons of dough for each cookie.  After some batter loss and cookies that were sized too big,  i ended up pumping out 32. Not bad for a yield of 40.

PaletesDeDames3I let the dough chill overnight and the batter still baked up well.  I set my convection oven at 400F and the cookies were perfect at 7 minutes.  The icing was not as pretty as the book but I thought it looked OK for a first timer.

Paletes De DamesThese were perfect with my morning coffee.  Yum!

It feels good to be back (again!)



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Scallops and Oysters, oh my!

The eastern seaboard is my home away from home.

Morning sunrise.

I’ll give you a few minutes to take that in and hate me. 🙂

Thinking about this place just brings back such amazing memories.  I would come here as a kid with my mom, dad and sister.  We’d stay at the Dunes Manor Hotel and have tea and crumpets at 4 p.m. while sitting on the rocking chairs on the beach-front deck. When it was time for my parents to have their adult beverages in the bar, Jes and I would enjoy our Shirley Temples and think we’re hot stuff.  It wasn’t a trip to the beach without a few rounds of mini golf and loads and loads and loads of crab legs that my sassy self would demand someone else crack them for me.  And THEY DID! Ha! What a life!  I thought myself as “classy” since I loved eating clams but I always scoffed at oysters and scallops.

Baby steps? This is where we transition to the present time.

I live here now.  While I still love crab legs (no one cracks them for me now), I love, love, love oysters and scallops.  I love anything that comes from the ocean, or now, my back yard.

Brad and I took a Sunday drive down to Martin Fish Co in West Ocean City where the boats dock and unload their catches of the day.  I must say this is going to be my spot for all things seafood.  Friendliest staff, clean and prices can’t be beat.

However, it would be my luck when we got there.  I wanted a whole fish but the guy in front of me bought $300 worth of whole fish and practically wiped them out! All that was left were croaker and spot.  Not what I wanted! So I opted for local scallops and oysters from Virginia.

Mmm oysters.  I shucked them myself too.  SUPER EASY.  Got an oyster shucking knife and worked it into the “hinge” side of the sucker and just twist.  Don’t forget to hold it with a thick dish towel or even an oven mitt.  These guys aren’t soft as a baby’s bottom.

On to the scallops.

Pat them dry, salt and pepper ’em, add them to pan with oil and sear! Simple. Make sure you use non-stick.  I didn’t and they don’t look as pretty as they should.  Once seared and they are no longer translucent, remove the scallops and toss in some white wine.  Reduce the wine and add in some garlic and butter.  Let this go for a minute or so and remove from heat.  Nestle the scallops over pasta, pour the sauce over top and garnish with some green onions.

The sea is mighty tasty and easy to cook! Don’t let it intimidate you like it did me.  It really is terribly simple.  I plan on whipping up a few whole fish soon and you will be the first to hear about it.

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13.1 Celebratory Lobster Mac

Jules and I just ran half marathons this past Sunday.  She did hers in Lincoln while I ran in Pittsburgh.


A few weeks prior, one of us stumpled upon How Sweet’s lobster mac recipe.  We squealed weith delight in our cubes at work and swore we hated How Sweet because this is just SINFUL to look at.

Then we came up with the best idea ever to make it after our 13.1 mile conquer.

We went to the Trader Joe’s in the South Hills. I nearly died when i walked in.  IT’S LIKE TRIPLE THE SIZE OF THE ONE IN THE CITY.


Do we have enough cheese? Ha. Of course not.  There was also cream cheese involved (not pictured).

Boil your pasta.

Make some delicious cheese sauce that includes gruyere, cheddar, parmigiano-reggiano,  cream cheese, and some heavy whipping cream.

Sautee up garlic, shallots, and onions in butter and olive oil for about 7 minutes.  then toss in your langostino tails.  Try not to eat it.  After a few minutes, toss in some of that white wine you’ve been sipping on.

Take your pasta, dump it in a baking dish, pour the cheese sauce over the pasta, dump the onion/lobster medley on top, top with panko, and wait impatiently for a half hour while the already delicious mac bakes at 350 to become even more delicious.

God help us all.

No.  WAY TO GO JULES (bottom medal) AND EMILY (top medal)!!!

I can’t wait to see what we end up eating after we complete or first full marathon.  ACK.

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The “IM BACK!” Post with Hi-Hat Cupcakes

It has been WAY too long, friends.  Way. To. Long.

I have about 10 posts for you as well.

I’m not going to beat around the bush.  I will give you one of the stellar and most recent creations I’ve made.


And not just any cupcakes.  Hi-hat cupcakes.  Delish chocolate cupcakes.  Delish icing piled up high.  DUNKED in chocolate.   OK.  Enough with the ramble.  On to the recipe.

Hi-Hat Cupcakes (Courtesy of Martha Stewart what what girl!)
The recipe on Martha’s site is kind of … awkward.  It calls for water in the directions but water is no where to be found in the ingredient list.  I disregarded the whole water thing and everything was fine.

For the batter:

  • 3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup sour cream

For the Frosting:

  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 3 large egg whites
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract

For the Chocolate Coating:

  • 2 cups chopped (about 12 ounces) semisweet chocolate
  • 3 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
Preheat oven to 350 degrees with rack in center.
Place unsweetened chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl and microwave until just melted.  Stir and set aside to cool slightly.
Meanwhile, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl; set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar on medium speed, scraping sides of bowl as needed, until light and fluffy. On low speed, mix in melted chocolate. Increase speed to medium, and add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add vanilla, and beat until mixture is creamy and color has lightened slightly, about 1 minute. Mix in sour cream. On low speed, add half of reserved flour mixture, beating until just incorporated. Add remaining flour mixture, and mix until just incorporated.
Line a cupcake pan with paper liners. Fill each liner with enough batter to come 1/8 inch from top, about 1/3 cup. Bake, rotating pans halfway through, until tops are firm and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, about17-20 minutes. Transfer cupcakes to a wire rack to cool in pan for 10 minutes.
In a large heatproof bowl, combine sugar, egg whites, and cream of tartar. Using a handheld electric mixer, beat on high speed until foamy, about 1 minute. Set bowl over a pan of barely simmering water. Beat on high speed until frosting forms stiff peaks, about 12 minutes; frosting should register 160 degrees.on a candy thermometer. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla and almond extracts, and beat for 2 minutes more until frosting thickens.
Transfer frosting to a large pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch plain pastry tip. Leaving a 1/8-inch border on each cupcake, pipe a spiral of frosting into a 2-inch-high cone shape, using about 1/2 cup of frosting per cupcake. Transfer cupcakes to a baking sheet, and freeze while preparing the chocolate coating.
For the chocolate coating, melt half of the chocolate with the oil in a heat proof bowl in the microwave.  When the chocolate is smooth, add the rest of the chocolate until melted.  Microwave for another 30 seconds if needed.  Transfer to a small bowl, and let cool about 15 minutes.
Holding each cupcake by its bottom, dip cupcake in the chocolate to coat frosting, allowing excess to drip off. Transfer to a baking sheet fitted with a wire rack. Spoon more coating around edge of cupcake and any exposed frosting; none of the frosting should show.
Serve cold. Cupcakes can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.

Yep.  I wanted to DIE after eating these.  Messy and amazing. Don’t tell my trainer. 🙂

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Braised Turnip Greens with Turnips and Apples

I had turnip greens in my CSA box.  i looked at it and thought, “what in the world am i going to make with this?”  i’ve never used turnip greens.  after taking a peek around epicurious.com, i found this and thought it was simple enough to try.
you will need:
  • 2 pounds turnip greens or other braising greens, tough stems discarded and greens torn into small pieces
  • 1 (3/4-to 1-pound) ham hock, rinsed
  • 3 1/2 cups water
  • 3 Gala apples
  • 1 1/4 pounds turnips, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 teaspoons cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces

Bring greens, ham hock, water, and 1/4 teaspoon salt to a boil in a large heavy pot. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, until greens are almost tender, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, peel apples and cut into 1/2-inch pieces.

Add turnips and apples to greens with vinegar, sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper and cook at a bare simmer, covered, stirring and turning ham hock occasionally, until turnips and apples are tender but not falling apart, about 20 minutes more. Remove from heat and stir in butter and salt to taste.

Remove ham hock and finely chop any tender meat, discarding skin, bone, and tough meat. Add chopped meat to pot.

i ended up using just ham because i didn’t want to go through the hassle of buying a ham hock – yes, i’m lazy.  it still turned out wonderfully delicious.  so delicious i convinced my mom to let me bring some (sans ham) for thanksgiving dinner.  i read in the comments section that this dish is best the next day and it was true.  it was even more wonderful!  with this in mind, it will be a cinch to make for thanksgiving since i can do it the day before.  i will be using WAY more turnip greens to make it a substantial side dish.  this dish was silky and buttery and i really can’t wait to eat it again.
*photo doesn’t look so good but believe me, it was yummy.

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honey baked chicken

it’s starting to be that time of year where i’m just reeealllyyyy busy with work.  messing around in the kitchen is not my priority.  i don’t remember how i stumbled across this recipe – it might have been in a spaz moment of ADD while working (sorry, dan!) – but it sounded delicious and i had to try it.

you’ll need:

  • chicken (i used chicken leg quarters because i was feeling cheap this week)
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 1/4 cup mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon curry
  • salt and pepper

pre heat the oven to 350.  put the chicken of choice in a baking dish.  mix the honey, butter, mustard, curry, salt and pepper together and pour over the chicken.  pop in the oven for about an hour and 20 minutes, basting every so often.  have a drink while waiting.  🙂

you’re welcome.

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sweet potato gnocci in brown sugar and butter

i know i’ve mentioned the farmers market that goes on every week in downtown pittsburgh – here – and this post happens so be about gnocchi… again!  i picked up sweet potato gnoccis from the pasta guy per his suggestion.

you’re lucky you even got a photo.


my “gnocchi guy” said these babies are delicious with butter and brown sugar.  it sounded amazing so i went by his word.  i tossed in the frozen gnocci for about 4-5 minutes in boiling water, drained, and in a bowl tossed in a couple pads of butter, brown sugar and a little bit of salt to bring everything out.  it was almost like eating desert but yet it was still a main dish… i went back a week later and he suggested tossing in raisins or chopped apple.  i should have known to do this myself but i was too fixated on the taste of sweet potato gnocchis with butter and brown sugar i was a little set back.


you need to try these.   i want more just thinking about it.  if you work in downtown Pittsburgh, i suggest you hit up market square this Thursday and see the pasta guy for some of these bad boys.  the farmers market won’t be lasting too much longer so what are you waiting for?

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