Monday, June 3, 2013

shortbread: the 3 ingredient cookiegasm

These are a hit during the holidays. i love their simplicity, and the fact that these cookies are comprised of only three ingredients (save the part where you add a dash of this, or a splash of that to change the flavor, or decide to dip in jams/chocolate and make epic shortbread cookie sandwiches...buuut i'll leave that up to the reader to exercise such creativity.)

these are my sunday night "ok fine i'll do something besides laundry" treats. get creative with cutters, and you're good to go.

::gathering my raw materials::


1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter, softened

1/2 (heaping) cup brown sugar--light or dark, don't matta

2 and 1/2 cups flour --and some for dusting/rolling out.

and that's basically it!

for interesting flavor, i decided to scrape a bit of vanilla bean in the mix and thrown that in. but totally optional. lemon zest, cinnamon, chocolate chips, or toasted nuts also make great additions to these treats.

a slew of cookie cutters help jog creativity. or keep it simple, circular, and flip your favorite pint glass upside down and use that.


in a large bowl, beat softened butter and brown sugar until fluffy. at this point, i added a bit of scraped vanilla bean innards to toy with the flavor a bit.

add your flour in a little at a time and continue to mix until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl.

remove the dough from the bowl and pat into a disk. wrap with plastic wrap, and pop in the fridge for an hour or so.

heat oven to 350. remove dough from fridge and begin kneading. it'll be as hard as clay, so really work it with your hands. once the dough is pliable, sprinkle flour on a flat surface and go to town with a rolling pin. i'll leave the thickness up to you.

cut several patterns with your favorite cookie cutter. put on a cookie sheet and bake for about 13-15 minutes.

remove from oven and wait about 3 minutes before enjoying. =)

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Holy hellooooooo it's been a while - scratch pasta 4 cheese ravioli =)

First of all, this page was in dire need of updating. i guess i can remedy that with a slew of easy recipes. =)

Secondly, I had a craving for ravioli yesterday. I've done ravioli on this blog in the past, but i think i really nailed it (finally). Pasta is super easy to make, but i wasn't sure if i really wanted to put the time/effort into making it. Off to the farmer's market i went. i got even more motivated hopping off the little italy trolley station and moseying over to mona lisa's and buying a tiny container of ricotta.

after coming home, i lightly prowled google for a ravioli recipe and wiped my pasta press clean. gave my pastry wheel a good spin and went to town.

i found a 4 cheese ravioli recipe that i tinkered with and success! i finally made ravioli which didn't explode when boiled.


::gathering my raw materials::

(adapted from a recipe i found on

the pasta dough:

1 cup flour

1 egg

1 tsp olive oil

1 tsp water

dash of salt


mix all ingredients together. switch to kneading it on a floured surface. dough will be stretchy. set aside.

the filling:

4 oz ricotta

1 tbsp cream cheese

1 oz crumbled feta

1 oz shredded asiago

1/2 egg

1/2 tsp parsley

dash of garlic

dash of pepper

directions: mix everything in a bowl until all ingredients have come together. set aside.


roll out your pasta dough with a rollin pin and set your pasta press (the lasagna/flat side) to the thickest setting. roll a sheet through again and drop the setting a bit thinner. repeat until you end up at the thinnest setting.

lay out your pasta sheet and starting from one end, cut a 2" x 4 " rectangle out of the dough (it doesn't have to be a perfect rectangle, but roughly that size). put a 1/2 tsp dollop of filling on the rectangle, towards the center. make an egg wash (with the other half of the egg you didn't use for the filling, just add a bit of water and beat) and brush on all the edges of the pasta rectangle. fold it over shut on the 3 sides. then get a pastry wheel and flute the 3 edges, thus sealing your pillow shut.

repeat until you run out of dough. if you have leftover filling, add it to your favorite pasta sauce. it adds a nice cheesy element.


after you finish each ravioli, put it on a flat surface (i would recommend coating the bottom with some kind of semolina; i made the mistake and didn't do this and some stuck to the sheet).

set water to boil in a 6 quart pot. once water comes to a boil, carefully drop in each ravioli. they cook FAST. they should be done in 5-7 min if not sooner. they will definitely puff up double their size so do not put too many in otherwise you'll end up with an almost overflowing pot (as seen in picture).

once done, use a slotted spoon and arrange on a plate or bowl. top with your favorite sauce and additional cheese. enjoy!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Jalapeno Mac n Cheese

Macaroni and cheese. Ahhh. Whether it's made entirely from scratch or opening up a box of Kraft, I love macaroni and cheese.

I've conquered bacon mac n'cheese, and traditional mac n cheese. No problem. The great thing about this dish is you can pretty much add whatever you want, and it will only make it all that much better.

::Gathering my raw materials::


2 cups shells, rotini, rigatoni, elbow mac uncooked (whole wheat if you prefer)
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon flour
1.5 cups milk
salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste
1 large jalapeno, diced (and seeded if you prefer less of a spice)
1.5 cups shredded cheese of your choice (the sharper, the better)


In a large pot bring about a quart of water to boil then dash in some salt. Add your pasta and let cook until al dente

While that's going, it's jalapeno and roux prep. Chop up your jalapeno (de-seed if you like) and set aside.

Not shown is the cheese grating. Not very exciting, but we all know how to do that.

After your cheese and jalapenos are prepped, set aside and start on the roux. Melt the 1 tbsp of butter with flour in a medium saucepan at medium to high heat, and use a whisk to keep stirring. You don't want any lumps.

Then add your milk immediately and keep whisking. You should have a nice thick "gravy" like base for your cheese sauce.

Add salt, pepper, garlic powder, your jalapeno chunks, and finally the cheese. Continue to whisk it all together until smooth and let simmer on low.

As it simmers on low, drain your pasta (don't rinse), and return to the large pot. Pour the cheese mixture on the drained pasta and incorporate the cheese everywhere.

Do I need to tell you the next step? ENJOY! =)

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Potatoes and eggs--fancified = )

Too much to title, but yesterday I opted to stay indoors and cook up a fantastic brunch. As usual, I had ingredients that would go bad, if I kept around for an additional week. So I opted to use them, and voila--a simplistic but tasty result of some generally bland food items. Potatoes and eggs can be severely jacked up if not done right. I did them right.

After a recent visit to The Mission Cafe in Mission Beach, I remembered something on the menu that had to do with rosemary potatoes. Sounded fun to try--and I have plenty of rosemary seasoning, so why not?

So I googled rosemary potatoes and voila! Found a rosemary/thyme/garlic potato recipe that was pretty damn easy. I have tons of dry seasonings stocked up, so this came out great. I coupled it with an aged white cheddar and onion frittata and had a nice meal.

::gathering my raw materials::


2-3 red potatoes diced (not necessarily peeled)
1-2 tbsp olive oil
pinch of salt
dried thyme and rosemary to taste
1/2 tsp garlic paste (or to taste)


2 eggs
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup shredded extra sharp vintage white cheddar
diced onion (to taste)


Chop your red potatoes, pat dry and set aside. Heat the olive oil in a medium skillet at medium heat. Add potatoes. Cook slowly, as the unsexy alternative is frantically opening up the front door, turning on the exhaust fan, and jumping up and down like a monkey, fanning a towel at the smoke alarm which won't shut up because you burned said potatoes.

As the potatoes brown, add your salt and seasonings. I also added a dash of chili powder to mine. Once all brown/cooked, set aside.

For the frittata, beat two eggs with the milk, and add the shredded cheese. In a small frying pan, heat the olive oil and add your onions.

Cook onions until clear, and add your egg mixture. Cook in the pan until the edges are poofy/cooked.

Turn your oven to the broiler setting and transfer the partially cooked egg to the oven (either use a cast iron skillet, or transfer the egg to an oven safe dish. Or a pie tin. Whatever you have. = )

Allow to bake for 10-15 minutes before removing. Serve and enjoy with the potatoes.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Lemon Bars

Last week, I was offered fresh lemons from a co-worker's tree. Shoot...they're like 89 cents a piece at some grocery stores, so of course I gathered them up eagerly.

Not having any sort of yard with potential to yield anything edible (save a sad tomato plant that's somewhat reminiscent of Charlie Brown's Christmas tree), I'll take whatever I can get.

Coincidentally on that same morning, I received a slew of recipe e-mails geared towards lemony desserts. Thank you summer.

I had some eggs that were threatening to go bad if I didn't use them soon (did the water test )so I hurriedly scoured my recipe collection and decided to make lemon bars. Simple. Buttery. Tart. Let's go.

Recipe courtesey "Best Lemon Bars" from by Patty Schneck

::gathering my raw materials::


1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup white sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour

3 eggs
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 lemons, juiced

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
2. In a medium bowl, blend together softened butter, 2 cups flour and 1/2 cup sugar. Press into the bottom of an ungreased 9x13 inch pan. I find the best way to do this is to use a flat bottomed glass.

3. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes in the preheated oven, or until firm and golden.

In another bowl, whisk together the remaining 1 1/2 cups sugar and 1/4 cup flour. Whisk in the eggs and lemon juice.

Pour over the baked crust.

4. Bake for an additional 20 minutes in the preheated oven. The bars will firm up as they cool.

5. After the pan has cooled, cut into uniform 2 inch squares garnish with powdered sugar if desired. Enjoy!