Saturday, June 2, 2012

Shaved Asparagus Salad

I never expected raw asparagus to taste so good!

What you'll need: 
(side dish for 4)
1 bunch asparagus
1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan
dressing made of equal parts good olive oil and balsamic vinegar

Start by snapping off the woody ends of the asparagus and shaving the stalks with a vegetable peeler.  (If your younger brother is home from college, make him do this tedious part!)
Add the parmesan and dress the salad with the olive oil and balsamic vinegar and s+p.  Try and use the best quality olive oil possible and use just enough dressing to lightly coat the asparagus.
Toss and serve!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Malted Chocolate Chip Cookies

Like malted milk shakes? This recipe is for you.  Find it here:

My cookies came out looking a little bit different than hers did, although I'm not sure why as I tried to follow the recipe exactly.  Either way, these were fluffy and chewy deliciousness all at the same time.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Fleur De Sel Brownie Bites

Sweet and salty? Yes, please!
What you'll need:

1 cup (2 sticks) butter
2 cups granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 large eggs
3/4 cup cocoa (I used Hershey's and it came out nicely)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
Fleur de Sel (flaky sea salt, for sprinkling on top--I used Maldon Sea Salt which you can buy at Trader Joes, or Sur La Table (my weakness) or even Amazon @*I usually half this recipe to make about 24 brownie bites

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Begin by spraying a mini muffin pan with non stick cooking spray or line the tray with mini paper cups-so cute! Place butter in medium saucepan on the stove and heat over medium heat until butter is melted. Remove from heat and stir in sugar and vanilla.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well with spoon after each addition.

Add cocoa powder and stir until well blended.  Then add the flour, baking powder and salt; stir until combined.

Fill each muffin cup slightly more than halfway full and sprinkle the salt on top of each one.  You just need a tiny pinch for each brownie!

Bake in preheated oven for 12-15 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the center of a brownie bite. (Mine only took 12 minutes)
Enjoy--and be sure to share!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Avoca's Broccoli Feta Hazelnut Salad

This salad is simply delicious, incredibly easy to make and pretty addicting.

What you'll need:
1 head of broccoli
1 pint cherry tomatoes
1 cup cubed feta (get the good stuff)
1/2 cup hazelnuts
For the dressing: mix together equal parts red wine vinegar, olive oil, honey and lemon and shake well.

Steam the broccoli and chop into bite size pieces.  Cut the tomatoes in half.  If you'd like skinless hazelnuts, roast them at 350 for 10 minutes and then rub the skins off.  I don't mind the skins, and I found the skinning process kind of tedious.  Combine the ingredients together and dress with the dressing.  Season with salt and pepper and enjoy!

Friday, March 30, 2012

Adobo Dr. Pepper Pulled Pork

Spicy, sweet, salty, easy...enough said..
adapted from the Pioneer Woman

What you'll need:
1 7-9 pound bone-in pork shoulder (mine came with skin on and I just cut it off.  You can leave the skin on though which should keep everything very moist)
1 sliced yellow onion
1 can chipotle in adobo
3 +5-ish tablespoons brown sugar
2 cans dr pepper (NOT diet!)

Put the pork in a dutch oven
Dump the onions on top of the pork
Roughly chop the chipotles and put them on top of the pork.  Add the three tablespoons of brown sugar and a pinch of salt and spread everything around the pork as evenly as possible.
Cook at 300 degrees for 6 hours.
The pork should be really tender at this point.  If it's not, keep it in for another hour.  When the pork is done, turn the heat up to 500 degrees and put the rest of the brown sugar on top of the pork.  Put it all back in the oven for 5-10 minutes until the sugar has formed a sweet crust.
Take the pork out and shred with 2 forks!
Serve with tortillas, pickled red onions, goat cheese and cilantro.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Poached Salmon with Creamy Leeks

This recipe has all the heaviness you want in comfort food and all the lightness you'd like for a healthy meal.  Soft poached salmon and buttery leeks makes for a perfect one pot meal that goes very nicely with white wine.

What you'll need:
2 bunches leeks (pick ones with the most white-green ratio because you'll be using only the white parts)
1/4 cup half and half or light whipped cream
1 shallot
1 cup chicken stock (plus a little bit more if your leeks need it)
1 salmon fillet for each person (about 4 oz per person)
olive oil, salt, pepper

Cut the leeks on a bias up to the green, and toss the dark green tough parts.  Run the leeks under cold water and left them soak for a while.  Leeks are really dirty so you'll want to let them soak for a bit to get all the grime out.
Heat up some olive oil on medium heat and place the salmon skin down on the pan.  You want the skin as crispy as possible but you are going to cook the fish later so don't cook it all the way through.  Remove the fish to a plate as soon as the skin is cooked.

Roughly chop the shallot and saute in a few tablespoons of olive oil in the same pan until translucent and everything smells delicious.  Then, put all the leeks in with the shallots and saute until a bit caramelized. You may need to add a little bit more of olive oil at this point if the pan is dry. 
Put a cup of chicken stock in with the leeks and let it all simmer on low heat.  

When the chicken stock has mostly reduced, taste the leeks.  They should be soft and buttery.  If they're not, add a bit more stock and allow to reduce, repeating until leeks are the proper consistency.  Add cream and salt and pepper to taste.  
Gently place the salmon filets on top of the leeks and cover the pan for 3 minutes.  Check the salmon to make sure its done to your liking.  3 minutes cooked the salmon almost all the way through, leaving the fish moist and flaky.
Serve immediately with some crusty bread and wine!
**As a side note, the creamy leeks are delicious on their own and can be used as a pasta sauce.  Toss the leeks with some fresh linguine and top with grated parmesan--yum!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Nutella Smooches

I saw these cookies on the food network and after a long week of thinking about them, I knew they were exactly what I wanted to eat in place of dinner tonight. When they were finally done and the perfect combination of chewy chocolate and hazelnut, I knew these were a keeper.

What you'll need:
1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons Nutella
1/2 cup butter, softened (1 stick)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup orange sprinkles, or orange sugar
1 (9-ounce) package of Hershey's kisses or mini kisses

How fabulous is this orange sugar I picked up from Target?!
Definitely bizarrely neon orange, but perfect for a little Halloween spirit.
This recipe is adapted from Giada De Laurentiis
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
In another medium bowl, place the chocolate hazelnut spread, butter, and both sugars. Using a hand mixer, cream the ingredients together, about 3 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla and blend until incorporated. Stir in the dry ingredients, just until incorporated.
Shape the cookie dough into walnut-sized balls. Rolls the balls in the sprinkles, pressing to adhere. Place the cookies on a heavy cookie sheet about 4 inches apart. Bake for 6 minutes. Remove the cookies from the oven. Quickly place a chocolate kiss, or 3 mini kisses in the middle of each cookie. Return the cookies to the oven and bake for another 3 minutes. Cool the cookies on a wire rack.

Go crazy with the sprinkles--purple and orange make the perfect Halloween dessert.

Eat warm and enjoy!