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  1. Friday, April 16, 2010

    My New Favorite Waffle Recipe

    For years I’ve used the waffle recipe in the Better Homes & Gardens New Cook Book. I like the recipe because the waffles come out airy and fluffy. However, they sort of fold under pressure…add butter, moisture or syrup, and they tend to go kind of flat, which is frustrating. The last few times I’ve made waffles I’ve used Mark Bittman’s Quick and Easy Waffle recipe from How to Cook Everything and I’m really liking it.

    My new favorite waffle recipe, tastes great and comes out perfectly every time

    This recipe is a little sweeter, and the waffles are a little heavier…but not too heavy. And they keep their shape and crispiness, no matter what you throw at them. Oh, and they’re easy, making this recipe great for a last minute meal. It’s my new fave, despite how beloved the Better Homes & Gardens recipe is in my heart.

    Top view of my new favorite waffles, a great go-to recipe for any time of day

    My New Favorite Waffle Recipe
    Slightly sweet, reliable go-to waffle recipe that is now my favorite! (Directions below written in my own words.)
    Recipe type: Breakfast
    • Canola or other natural oli for brushing waffle iron
    • 2 C all-purpose flour
    • ½ tsp salt
    • 2 T sugar
    • 2 tsp baking powder
    • 1½ C milk (Jane note: I usually use about 1¾ cups)
    • 2 eggs
    • 4 T butter
    • 1 tsp vanilla extract
    1. Combine dry ingredients and set aside.
    2. In another bowl, melt butter in microwave. Add milk, eggs and vanilla and whisk well.
    3. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. If the mixture seems too thick, add a little milk. (I always start off adding 1½ cups milk as directed, but generally had another ¼ cup or so at this point.) You want the batter to remain slightly lumpy.
    4. Cook in the waffle iron as you normally cook waffles. Enjoy!
    This recipe works well in both classic and Belgian waffle makers.




  2. Thursday, April 15, 2010

    Vegetarian Chickpea Burgers

    Since we’re on a quest to eat less meat, I’ve decided that I need to find some good veggie burger recipes. Nate’s mom was raving about a vegetarian chickpea burger recipe, which she shared with me this week. I made them last night and they are Yum-O. (I just said that because it’s a Rachael Ray recipe. I promise never to say “Yum-O” again.) vegetarian chickpea burgers 1 web These vegetarian chickpea burgers have really great flavor, and they are super easy and fast to make. As with many homemade veggie burgers, handle with care so they don’t fall apart on you. Last night we topped ours with lettuce, tomato, avocado and sauteed mushrooms. While the mushrooms were tasty, I think next time I’ll switch them out for thinly sliced cucumber and sprouts…and I won’t forget the cheese, which I did this time. Phooey. I will definitely be trying other veggie burger recipes as well and will let you know how they go!

    Vegetarian Chickpea Burgers
    From Everyday with Rachael Ray via my mother-in-law Pat
    Recipe type: Main Dish, Vegetarian
    • 1 15-oz can chick peas, rinsed and drained
    • 1 4-oz can diced green chiles
    • ⅔ cup packed flat leaf parsley
    • ⅔ cup bread crumbs (Pat note: I use regular, flavored, Panko – whatever. Jane note: I used Panko last night)
    • Salt and pepper
    • 1 large egg
    • 2 tablespoons veggie oil (Pat note: I have used olive too)
    • 4 thin slices cheddar cheese
    • 4 burger buns
    • Ketchup, mayo or other toppings (Pat note: I never use these or the cheese or the buns. Jane note: she’s being totally serious here. ha!)
    1. Now”¦ In a food processor, pulse the chickpeas, chiles and parsley till finely chopped. Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl and stir in the bread crumbs and s and p to taste (Jane note: I only did ~1/2 tsp salt – should have done more). Stir in the egg and form the 4 patties, each about ⅔ inch thick.
    2. Then”¦ In a large skillet heat the oil over med low heat. Cook the burgers for 4 minutes then flip and cook for 3-5 minutes and add cheese if desired. Pat usually cooks till they are nice and golden brown. (Pat note: Don’t forget, you can shape them into fun designs, like fake turkey legs or letters for your kids!)
    3. Postscript: These are way easier to flip in the pan if you make them into mini-burgers. Click here for a follow-up post with more info on miniaturizing the burgers!

    vegetarian chickpeak burgers 2 web

  3. Tuesday, April 13, 2010

    Arizmendi Bakery

    Last week I happened to be in Emeryville, CA…my good friend Lindsay used to live there, so I called to find out if there were any good bakeries we could swing by quickly while we were in town. She guided me to Arizmendi Bakery. The girls and I grabbed a few goodies and a sourdough baguette and ate almost everything by the time we got home!

    arizmendi 1 web

    Arizmendi Bakery is a worker-owned cooperative that grew out of the Cheeseboard, a famous Berkeley-based cooperative. If you’d like to read more about it, click here. It’s interesting and classic Northern California.

    arizmendi 3 web

    All of the baked goods we purchased were tasty…but the sourdough baguette is where it’s at, my friends. The texture was perfect and the sourdough flavor was subtle and well-balanced. The baguette was good just by itself, but when we got home Cate asked for a piece with butter…good call, Cate. I think I just had bread and butter for dinner that night and was completely satisfied.

    arizmendi 2 web

  4. Sunday, April 11, 2010

    Week 168 Menu

    Pistachios are officially on my list of ‘beautiful foods I love looking at when I cook’ (I’m an artist, I can’t help but be a little obsessed with what food looks like). Blueberries still take the top spot, but pistachios aren’t far behind.  Yesterday when I was cracking a bunch for a recipe, it was the first time I really looked at them. Of course there’s that vibrant green color I’ve always liked, but what I hadn’t really noticed before was the contrasting purple in the skins. I love it.

    pretty pistachios web

    On to the menu. I have a couple duplicates from last week. We were able to draw out our ham leftovers longer than I anticipated (I even froze lentil soup AND ham in the end!).

    Stuffed Shells

    – Homemade Veggie Burgers (new recipe for me that my mother-in-law shared with me…I can’t wait to try them, she says they’re irresistible! Rest assured I will share them with you…)

    – Butternut Squash soup

    – Leftovers

    – Breakfast for dinner

    – Eat out

    Lime & Honey Glazed Salmon

    Okey dokey, pokey. Get your menu planned. You’ll be a much happier person. I promise. And don’t forget to share that menu here with us!

    Have a great week, folks!

  5. Friday, April 9, 2010

    San Francisco Food Carts Visit Palo Alto

    San Francisco has all these cool food carts with super tasty and interesting foods, and many of these vendors connect with their customers via Twitter and Facebook.  How more Bay Area can you get – gourmet food from a cart that you learned about on Twitter?  You gotta love it.

    crème brûlée cart 1 web

    Magic Curry Kart and Crème Brûlée Cart ventured down the peninsula this week and visited us poor cart-starved people here in the Palo Alto area. I met up with one of my real life blogging friends Gudrun Enger (aka Kitchen Gadget Girl) in front of Moxsie (who got the carts down here in the first place) for curry and crème brûlée yesterday for lunch.  It was really fun…we felt like we had escaped suburbia for city life, if but for a few small moments.

    magic curry kart web

    So, how was the food?  It was really good! First let’s talk curry.  I really liked the flavor of the sauce, the vegetables were yummy, and it was just the right amount of spicy. I ordered veggie because the line for chicken was too long…oh, and that whole new year’s resolution thing I’m doing. I don’t like tofu, but this was pretty good tofu, made even better by the sauce.

    crème brûlée cart web

    Now let’s talk crème brûlée. I shared mine with the girls and was wishing the whole time I had splurged and gotten one for each of us. Our chocolate crème brûlée was oh so tasty. And, too my surprise, there was peanut buter buried inside! It ended up being a very pleasant surprise, by the way. Well done, Crème Brûlée Guy, well done!

    If you live in San Francisco and for some reason aren’t following these guys on Twitter (Magic Curry Kart and Crème Brûlée Cart), start following please. You need to get out there and enjoy their food for me.

  6. Thursday, April 8, 2010

    Chocolate Cake with Raspberry White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

    As good as the cake I shared with you yesterday was (and it was mighty good), I simply could not resist pairing that heavenly white chocolate cream cheese frosting with some real chocolate. And since two cakes are certainly better than one, only a week after I made the raspberry cake I went ahead and threw this puppy together. I used the recipe that my friend Lindsay uses for her chocolate ganache cake and it worked beautifully.

    raspberry cake chocolate uncut web

    The frosting tasted just as good on this chocolate cake as it did on the raspberry cake. The subtle flavor of raspberry in the frosting complemented the richness of this classic chocolate cake very nicely. I can’t decide which cake I liked better.  Nate voted for the raspberry cake, although he had to really think about it. The jury’s still out for me. What I do know is I need to stop making cakes pronto. This is downright reckless behavior!

    raspberry cake chocolate real web

    Chocolate Cake
    Recipe type: Dessert
    • ¾ cup boiling water
    • ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch-process)
    • 1 teaspoon instant-espresso powder (I didn’t have any on hand, so I left it out – I’m certain it would deepen the chocolate flavor, though”¦so if you’ve got it, use it!)
    • ½ cup whole milk (I only had 2% milk, and things worked out just fine)
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla
    • 2 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1¼ teaspoons baking soda
    • ¼ teaspoon salt
    • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
    • 2 cups packed dark brown sugar
    • 4 large eggs
    1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter 3 (7- or 8-inch, 2-inch-deep) round cake pans and line bottoms with rounds of wax or parchment paper. Butter paper and dust pans with flour, knocking out excess. (My oven is too small to bake three cakes at once, plus I don’t have three of any one size. I used 2 9-inch cake pans.)
    2. Whisk together water, cocoa, and espresso powder until smooth, then whisk in milk and vanilla.
    3. Sift together flour, baking soda, and salt.
    4. Beat together butter and brown sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at high speed until fluffy, then add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add flour mixture and cocoa mixture in batches, beginning and ending with flour and mixing at low speed until just combined. (This batter is TASTY. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.)
    5. Divide batter among pans (about 2⅓ cups per pan for 3 pans), smoothing tops. Bake in middle of oven until a tester comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes for 7-inch pans or 20 to 25 minutes for 8-inch. Cool in pans on a rack 30 minutes, then invert onto racks, remove paper, and cool completely.

    Raspberry White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting
    Recipe type: Dessert
    • 6 ounces white chocolate (melt as directed on package, then cool 5 mins)
    • 8 ounces cream cheese
    • ¼ cup butter (softened)
    • 2 teaspoons raspberry extract (I’m thinking of leaving this out sometime to use with other cakes/rolls/etc)
    • 2 cup confectioners sugar
    1. Beat cream cheese and buter in large bowl with electric mixer on medium (I used my KitchenAid) until well blended. Add cooled white chocolate and raspberry extract. Mix well. Gradually beat in confectioners’ sugar until light and fluffy (I let the KitchenAid go for several minutes and the frosting truly got light and fluffy).

  7. Jamie Oliver Cookbook Giveaway Winner

    jamie's food revolution book cover smWe have a winner for the Jamie Oliver cookbook giveaway…the oh-so-lucky commenter is…

    andrea p, who said “Tonight will be my first chance to watch Food Revolution. I’ve only heard the best comments about it. I’ve loved some of Jamie’s other projects. It’s great that he uses his celebrity to make a difference!”

    Congratulations, Andrea! Andrea will receive a copy of Jamie’s Food Revolution: Rediscover How to Cook Simple, Delicious, Affordable Meals. For the rest of you, you can buy the book right here.

    If you haven’t signed Jamie’s petition yet, hop to it! Just click here, it’s easy!  And thank you all for entering the giveaway…your comments were fabulous, I loved reading every one!

  8. Wednesday, April 7, 2010

    White Chocolate Raspberry Cake

    A few months ago, my friend Rachel’s babysitter, Maria, made a cake for Rachel’s birthday. I couldn’t stay for the whole party, so Rachel sent me home with a generous amount of cake (that’s a good friend, eh?). The cake was white, the frosting was white…I knew it would be good, but I wasn’t that excited since there was no chocolate involved. Then we ate the cake. Oh. My. Goodness. It was wonderful, and the frosting was amazing…and completely mysterious. We couldn’t quite figure out what it was made of.  As soon as we finished our cake, I emailed Rachel asking her to beg Maria for the recipe.

    raspberry white chocolate cake web

    Thankfully Maria likes to share. Below is the recipe for the most wonderful White Chocolate Raspberry Cake this side of anywhere. I hope you love it as much as I do. (Sorry, no picture of a cut slice…we had friends over that night to enjoy this cake with us and the whole thing was gone by the end of the evening, no joke!)

    P.S. – I will have a follow-up cake recipe tomorrow. You won’t want to miss that one either.

    White Chocolate Raspberry Cake
    Recipe type: Dessert
    • 3 oz White chocolate; chopped
    • ¾ cup Milk; divided
    • 1¾ cup All-purpose flour
    • 2 tsp Baking powder
    • ¼ teaspoon Salt
    • ⅓ cup Butter; at room temperature
    • 1 cup Granulated sugar
    • 1 tablespoon Raspberry Extract
    • 4 Eggs
    • White Chocolate and Cream Cheese Frosting {Recipe Follows}
    • ⅛ tsp Red Food Color
    • 1 cup Raspberries
    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two 8- or 9-inch round baking pans.
    2. Melt white chocolate with about half of the milk in a small, heavy saucepan over very low heat, stirring constantly until chocolate starts to melt. Remove from heat; stir until smooth. Stir in remaining milk. Let cool.
    3. Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl; set aside. In large mixing bowl, beat butter with electric mixer until soft and smooth. Add sugar and raspberry extract; beat well. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition until well-combined. Alternately add flour mixture and white chocolate mixture, beating on low speed after each addition just until combined.
    4. Jane Note: Several people have commented that their cake did not rise when using this recipe. This recipe has worked for me and for the woman who gave me the recipe, as well as for other commenters. Cakes are sensitive in terms of the mixing process and, when not mixed properly, can collapse when cooking. Butter and sugar should be well mixed, eggs semi-mixed, and flour barely mixed at all. I would recommend the following technique when mixing in the ingredients in the above paragraph. Beat the butter for 30 seconds alone on medium-high speed. Add sugar, ¼ cup at a time, beating for 3 minutes between each addition, at medium-high speed. Add eggs one at a time, beating at medium speed for 30 seconds after each egg. When adding the flour and chocolate mixtures (alternating as directed), beat on low speed and mix until just combined. Beat for 10-20 seconds at medium-high speed at the end for one final mix. Following this technique should increase the chances that your cake will NOT collapse in the oven.
    5. Spread batter in pans. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until cake tests done. Let cool in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes, then remove from pans and let cool completely.
    6. Stir food color into ⅔ cup of the frosting until well blended (I actually didn't do this part...I just kept all the icing white, mostly because I didn't read the recipe carefully 😉 ). Place 1 cake layer on serving plate. Spread with the tinted frosting. Top with remaining cake layer. Frost top and side of cake with remaining frosting. Top with raspberries just before serving. Store cake in the refrigerator.

    White Chocolate and Cream Cheese Frosting
    • 6 oz white chocolate (melt as directed on package, then cool 5 mins)
    • 8 oz cream cheese
    • ¼ cup butter (softened)
    • 2 tsp raspberry extract (I'm thinking of leaving this out sometime to use with other cakes/rolls/etc)
    • 2 cup confectioners sugar
    1. Beat cream cheese and buter in large bowl with electric mixer on medium (I used my KitchenAid) until well blended. Add cooled white chocolate and raspberry extract. Mix well. Gradually beat in confectioners' sugar until light and fluffy (I let the KitchenAid go for several minutes and the frosting truly got light and fluffy).

  9. Tuesday, April 6, 2010

    Deciphering Egg Labels

    Last week’s egg discussion was awesome! Thank you for your many wonderful and well-informed comments! Wanted to share a quick link with you today that helps with deciphering egg labels. And the I promise we’ll stop talking eggs…at least for now!

    eggs web

    Ever wonder what all those different labels on eggs mean? You know, “cage free,” “fertile” and the like? Click here for a description of each label. My friend Nikki shared the link with me a few years ago and I found it very useful.  I did post the link in the comments on the previous egg post, but wanted to highlight it quickly in case you missed it.

    Be sure to bop in here tomorrow…I have an AMAZING cake recipe for you. In fact, I’m going to go eat some right now to get me geared up for writing the post. Oh the things I do for you. Really, it’s rough.

  10. Sunday, April 4, 2010

    Week 167 Menu…and Happy Easter!

    This morning I asked Anna (2) if she’d like some cereal, to which she replied, “No, thank you. Not today.” Could this be the reason?

    easter morning web

    This week I’m going to try to utilize the leftover ham I am certain we will have at the end of today.

    Lentil Soup

    – Western Omelettes (ham, cheese, bell peppers, onions)

    Stuffed Shells

    – Leftovers

    – Breakfast for dinner

    – Eat out

    Lime & Honey Glazed Salmon

    Can’t wait to see your menus once again! And if you have any good ham leftover ideas, please feel free to share!