Thursday, July 31, 2008

Bear's playdate

So my friend had some work done at her house today and needed me to keep her dog while the electrician was in and out of her apartment. Needless to say, by 2 he was pretty much making himself at home.

Here's Maxwell:

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Whip it up: Week 4 - Seared Scallops with Fresh Linguine and Romano Cheese

I can't believe that this cooking challenge is half over. So I really looked for a vegetarian recipe this week. I only planned for tonight and tomorrow and vegetarian just didn't seem to fit with either of these meals. I was looking through this month's Cooking Light and in my favorite section - 20 minute meals, I found this. For the record, the past is good enough to eat on its own, so you could totally make this as a vegetarian recipe and thus it could fit with this week's theme. Sorry there aren't more pictures, J mostly cooked this and I decided as it was coming to the table that it would be good enough to blog about so that's when I decided to take the first picture.

Here is the recipe.

Seared Scallops with Fresh Linguine and Romano Cheese

The key to obtaining the perfect sear on the scallops is to cook them in a very hot pan. Fresh linguine has a silky texture that provides a nice contrast to the browned crust on the scallops. Add mixed greens tossed with a balsamic vinaigrette.

1 (9-ounce) package refrigerated linguine
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (about 1 1/2 ounces) finely grated fresh Romano cheese, divided
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 pounds sea scallops
4 lemon wedges

1. Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain pasta in a colander over a bowl, reserving 2 tablespoons pasta water. Combine pasta, reserved 2 tablespoons pasta water, 1/4 cup cheese, 1 tablespoon oil, chopped basil, and pepper in a large bowl; toss well.
2. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a large cast-iron skillet over high heat. Sprinkle salt evenly over scallops; add scallops to pan. Cook 1 minute on each side or until golden.
3. Place 1 cup pasta mixture on each of 4 plates; top each serving with about 3 scallops and 1 1/2 teaspoons remaining cheese. Serve with lemon wedges.

Yield: 4 servings
CALORIES 495 (23% from fat); FAT 12.5g (sat 3g,mono 5.8g,poly 1.5g); IRON 5.6mg; CHOLESTEROL 110mg; CALCIUM 177mg; CARBOHYDRATE 42.4g; SODIUM 872mg; PROTEIN 51.7g; FIBER 1.9g

Cooking Light, AUGUST 2008

Question time:

Was the recipe easy to follow? Very - I love Cooking Light recipes. Except for those that ask for ingredients that are super specialized or hard to find, they are very accurate and easy to follow.

Did the dish taste good? Excellent. I love scallops and we get some great fresh linguine from the North Market so its almost impossible to mess up unless you over cook the pasta - which I didn't.

Would you ever make it again? For sure - easy, tastes good, fast, and uses little dishes - always a repeat performer in my book. I would just want to do something to avoid the pan looking like this after I seared the scallops :)

Where is my button?

So every day I walk across the street at N. High St and Russel St. and for some reason the button to request a crossing of the street is missing on all four corners. I have no idea why...I hope it returns soon because if I don't request the cross, the light takes FOREVER!!!!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Whip It Up Week #3: Chocolate Brownie Cookies

So I thought since this week's theme was old favorites I would try a new spin on an old favorite. My parents had to make Chocolate Brownie Cookies for their gourmet club dinner on Saturday night so I thought I could help out and make these cookies for them. It being a new spin on an old favorite - brownies.

I am not sure where the recipe came from, I just know that it is from their gourmet club which gets their recipes from various sources depending on the theme for the dinner.
So here it is:
Chocolate Brownie Cookies
Makes 5 dozen cookies (no way - it only made 4 dozen and I can't imagine them being any smaller)

1/4 cup all purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/8 teaspoon salt

2 large eggs

2/3 cup sugar

1/2 tablespoon brewed espresso (optional)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

5 oz. extra bittersweet chocolate, chopped

2 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped

3/4 cup mini chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degree. Lin baking sheets with parchment paper.

Whisk together flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl.

Briefly whip eggs to break them up in an electric mixer bowl. Add the sugar, espresso, and vanilla. Beat on high speed for ten minutes, until tripled in volume.

While eggs are whipping, place the butter in the top of a double boiler or a metal bowl suspended over a pot of simmering (not boiling) water, and scatter the bittersweet and unsweetened chocolate on top. Heat until butter and chocolate melt. Remove from heat and stir the butter and chocolate until smooth.

Gently fold chocolate mixture into the egg mixture until partially combined (there should still be some streaks)

Add the flour to the batter and carefully fold in. Then fold in the chocolate ships. Let batter rest for ten minutes during which time it will thicken slightly.

Drop batter by heaping teaspoons onto the prepared baking sheets and bake until puffed and cracked, about 8 to 10 minutes (mine took the full 10). Cool on a wire rack before removing from baking sheet.

Question time:

Was the recipe easy to follow? It was relatively easy, but with double boiling and parchment paper and folding, it was a bit fussy for me.

Did the dish taste good? The cookies were very good. I'll be interested to find out if they ever get crunchy, for now they are very chewy.

Would you ever make it again? Probably not. It was just too much work - three types of chocolate, the double boiler, etc. I will stick to the boxed brownies for me next time.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Project of the Week - Alpaca Wrap

So when I was at the library this week, I picked up the book The Chicks with Sticks Guide to Crochet. It had a bunch of patterns that I thought looked good. So Monday after grocery shopping, I picked up some yarn and began to make the sensational Angora wrap. I chose Alpaca because I couldn't find Angora in Jo-Ann's or Michael's. So during the Home-Run derby and the All-Star game, which we watch and love, I made this beauty. It was quick and easy and I can see myself wearing it in the fall, right now its a bit warm to wear it, although it is a good shoulder blanket. Anyone want one?
Next up is the big 'n' rich pullover which hopefully I can make myself. I already bought the yarn for that project also so I will start tomorrow!

Whip It Up: Recipe #3 (a second try at week 2) - Zucchini Pie

So I was so disappointed at the corn bread recipe I submitted for this week's Whip It Up Challenge that I decided I wanted to try again. J and I have new plan for weekly dinners. On Sunday I ask him to come up with a week's worth of meals he wants me to make and then I search for recipes on Monday and go shopping for the week. We did this to ease my stress on planning meals, varying our diets, and limiting the number of trips to the grocery store. So this week's menu was:
Today I made the zucchini pie - very easy, as most Bisquick recipes are. It also produced little dishes which makes me happy.

Here it is:


  • 3 cups diced zucchini
  • 4 beaten eggs (I used 1 Cup of egg beaters)
  • 1 cup Bisquick (I used the light and healthy kind)
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 1/2 cup grating cheese (I used mild cheddar - and thus this qualifies as a cheese recipe)
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • mix ingredientspour into greased 9 inch pie pan bake 425 degrees for an hour

SEE HOW EASY! Gotta love it!

Recipe courtesy of my mother-in-law

Question time:
Was the recipe easy to follow? Super easy - how could I mess it up, it was only 3 steps

Did the dish taste good? It was pretty good...not amazing. It tasted better with green tabasco on it.

Would you ever make it again? We said we would although we would do some things differently. We might add a different cheese, maybe parmesean. We also would add more salt. And fnally I would consider adding some kind of meat, either bacon or ham. Just because I think the salt would be good for the meal (I also could cut out some of the oil I think if I did this).

And since I sometimes try to think about weight watchers I figured the points for 1/4 of this recipe - 8 pts - a bit high for no meat, but that's b/c of the oil.

Still looking for the recipe to match week one's awesomeness. Next week I am home in CT some there will probably some pics of dad making a recipe - does that count - you bettcha! He's a good cook who is always looking for new recipes.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Saturday Night Date Night

So I had a lot going on on Saturday. I had to run 9 miles at 8 and then from noon to 5 I had to work at a Disc Golf Tournament to raise money for Team in Training. I told J that he was in charge of dinner on Saturday. It was to be a date night. I didn't care what we did or where we went, I just didn't want to come home and say, what do you want to do tonight and have to figure it out.

J told me mid-day he was going to Weiland's (I was a bit disappointed because I really do want to go out to a nice dinner here in CBus - we haven't been to one in awhile on a Saturday night) and then later he sent me a text that we were to be having a tasting dinner with wines. We love tasting menus so I was excited about where. When I got home I learned that J had planned a tasting menu here at the house for us. Very impressed. He bought flowers, lit candles and typed out a menu. I didn't take pictures but here was the menu:

Crisp Asparagus Salad with a Tarragon Vinaigrette Dressing
Lime-Grilled Mahi-Mahi served with Fresh Corn Fritters
Wild Mushroom Risotto
Bacon Wrapped Filet Mignon served over Bordelaise
Toasted Almond Gelato served over shavings of Bittersweet Belgium Chocolate

There was also a cheese course we didn't get to and a white wine, a red wine and a moscato that J served. Needless to say a much better than expected date night and it was kinda nice to be home....although I do still want to go to a somewhat nice dinner sometime soon....

Friday, July 11, 2008

Friday afternoon fun

Bear had a good start to the weekend - we went to Atrim Park so he could swim on a hot Friday afternoon:

Whip It Up: Recipe #2 - Corn Bread

So this week, J and I did a great job of planing our meals on Sunday night and then making each of the planned meals. This really helped me, because for once, I only went to the grocery store one time all week! Also, all but one day was a new recipe, so I could have used anyone for Whip It Up this week.
  • Monday we made fish tacos - J liked them more than I did
  • Tuesday we made scallops and zucchini - it was a bad day & night so nothing would have tasted good. I think J undercooked the scallops but we cooked at 9:30 at night and neither of us were in the mood!
  • Wednesday we made spicy honey-brushed chicken thighs - not for everyone but they were done in less than 10 min and SUPER easy. If I had remembered to take pictures I would have included this in Whip It Up this week
  • Thursday we made a recipe I found and made last summer - Salmon BLTs. I have no idea where it came from, but its very good! If you want it I'll send it to you.
  • Friday we made ribs - a family recipe that we got from Cook's Illustrated (except we use Penzey's Galena Street spice rub instead of the cook's illustrated one and we don't bother with the wood chips - really we just use Cook's Illustrated for the brining directions) and corn bread. J wanted to try home made corn bread. I figured doctoring a box recipe was better so I found this recipe and read the review that said this: "I have been making this for years. It is sooo easy and delicious. I was nervous about the amount of rosemary as it seemed like a lot for this strong flavored herb but it is wonderful. It goes great with ribs, chicken and turkey." Perfect I thought - J loves rosemary so no problem if its too much and its good with ribs - perfect!
Long story short - here it is ( I made half of the recipe):


2 8 1/2-ounce boxes corn-bread mix (I used an 8 oz bag)
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 8-ounce container plain yogurt
2 7-ounce cans whole-kernel corn, drained
1 tablespoon dried rosemary leaves
Heat oven to 400ºF. Lightly coat a 13-by-9-inch baking pan with cooking spray and set aside. Stir all the ingredients together.
Spoon the batter into the prepared pan. Bake 25 minutes or just until golden. Remove to a wire rack to cool. When cool, cut lengthwise into 3 strips and then crosswise into quarters. Cut each square into 2 triangles. (The corn bread can be made ahead to this point. Remove from pan, wrap in foil, and freeze for up to 3 months.) To serve, thaw and reheat in the foil in a 325ºF oven for 10 minutes or until heated through.
Time-saver: You don't have to bake from scratch. Doctor an everyday corn-bread mix to help it achieve holiday status.
24 servings

Nutritional Information
CALORIES 107(0% from fat); FAT 3g (sat 1g); CHOLESTEROL 19mg; CALCIUM 35mg; CARBOHYDRATE 17g; SODIUM 261mg; PROTEIN 3mg; FIBER 2g; IRON 1mg

Real Simple, NOVEMBER 2003

Question time:
  • Was the recipe easy to follow? Very - I always love recipes that don't require a lot of measuring or heavy equipment to make
  • Did the dish taste good? Not really, it wasn't nearly sweet enough, but we might freeze it for stuffing purposes
  • Would you ever make it again?Nope - still in search of a good corn bread recipe

Sorry I didn't follow the theme again, maybe later on in the week I'll make something with cheese....