Saturday, April 28, 2012

2012.04.26 - Borscht, Tuna Salad, Chocolate Ricotta Mousse

K finally started her own food blog!  I was waiting for the perfect (able to prepare in advance) dish to make from it, and this vegetable borscht looked delicious.  And it was.

Vegetable Borscht

There is only one beet in this soup (and I only got through about 3/4 of a large one grating before my arms gave out), so it is definitely light on "borscht" and heavy on vegetables.  Everyone at the table preferred it that way -- not too beety.  The chunks of potato are a nice contrast and all the flavors work well together.  A great soup!

I served it with some whole wheat pitas and toasted challah bread.  B & D brought this crazy-sounding coconut cheese that was really good and R brought a smoked cheese that actually listed smoke as an ingredient.  How do they make that??

Tuscan Tuna-and-Bean Sandwiches

I've made this before.  A nice lemony, mayo-less tuna salad.

Chocolate Ricotta Mousse

I am never happy with the quality of ricotta cheese that I buy.  It always seems grainy.  When I made my own ricotta, it was not grainy.  This dessert tasted like chocolate pudding and was really good, but the slight grainy-ness did bother me.  Dare I make my own ricotta just to make this dessert?

2012.04.19 - Cuban Sandwich Quesadillas, Black Bean Salad, Banana Cream Pie

I always love a good crockpot dish -- and after making these quesadillas, I have a new pork favorite.

Cuban Sandwich Quesadillas

I cooked the pork for these sandwiches in the crockpot all day, and then assembled the quesadillas when I got home from work.  The pickle juice made the sandwiches a little too watery (especially the leftovers), but overall I really enjoyed them.  Nothing will beat a Cuban sandwich from Paseo, but you just can't get that food at home.  The leftover pork outside the quesadilla was delicious as well.

Modifications: No mustard.  Ew.

Southwestern Black Bean Salad

I found this salad to be pretty bland, but maybe I didn't add enough lime juice or salt.  I think it could have benefited from having some cumin added.

Modifications: I don't like raw onion, so I left it out.  I also didn't have any tomatoes on hand, so I substituted red pepper.  The avocado I bought went bad, so I omitted that as well.  No cilantro.  Ew.

Banana Cream Pie

This pie was super simple to make and was really tasty.  Everyone really enjoyed it.  The only strange part is that because you layer the banana on the crust, the crust and pie seem too separate.  Next time, I would put a thin layer of the filling on the crust, then the bananas, then the rest of the filling.

2012.04.08 - Easter Brunch

I love hosting Easter Brunch.  I get to make fun breakfast food that I don't normally make for Thursday Dinner and I get to dress everything up with Peeps!

Mini Fritattas

Easy and delicious (there is a lot of parmesan cheese in these).  I made mine in three flavors: zucchini, green pepper, and red pepper.  I think I liked the red pepper ones the best.

Ham and Potato Hash

Having to cook the potatoes twice (boiling to not quite done, then finishing in the hash) is a pain, but the results were worth it.  The potatoes fell apart to just the right consistency and bound everything together.  I would definitely make this hash again.


  • Pineapple and mixed berries
  • Hardboiled eggs.  I tried to dye them in stripes, but failed miserably.
  • Bagels, veggie cream cheese, and lox from my favorite place.  They even threw in a bunny bagel!
  • Joanne's famous colored deviled eggs
  • Joanne's stuffed cabbage rolls


  • Chocolate covered strawberries.  I wanted to try to make these, but didn't have time to get out to the store to find orange candy melts.
  • Chocolate chip cookies baked in a whoopie pie pan.  Using this pan makes thick and chewy cookies.  I saw these cookies and knew that I had to replicate that look.
  • CANDY.  The hit of the day was the chocolate covered sunflower seeds from Trader Joe's.  A very interesting sweet crunch!

2012.03.01 - Vegetable and Barley Soup, Nutella Cookies

We had been getting over some crazy snow in Seattle, so I thought a nice soup dinner was the perfect thing for the first day of March.  As usual, I served my soup with a selection of bread and cheese.

Vegetable and Barley Soup

Very delicious soup.  As Molly mentions in her post, it tastes a lot better than you think it would given the simplicity of it.  I think it is the leeks, cabbage, and parsnip that do the trick.

Modifications: I could not find pearl barley ANYWHERE in the grocery store.  I wonder if it really is there and I just couldn't find it.  I substituted with bulgur wheat.  I cooked the bulgur separately and ladled the soup over it instead of cooking the bulgur with the soup because I wanted to be able to store soup leftovers without the grain soaking up all of the liquid.

Nutella Cookies

I didn't make the sandwich part of the cookies -- just served the cookies with some marshmallow fluff.  I was really disappointed with these cookies.  They did not taste much like nutella to me (which is strange considering how much of the stuff is in the cookies) and their texture was too crisp and also greasy.

2012.02.23 - Some sort of chili

This post = this post.

2012.01.12 - Swedish Meatballs, Cumin Cauliflower, Chocolate Chip Cake

I didn't have time to get down to Ikea to buy lingonberry jam and it was just too expensive at the grocery store, so unfortunately we had to consume these meatballs without jam.  They were still good :)

Swedish Meatballs

Nothing will ever compare to the specific taste memory of Ikea's swedish meatballs, but these were good in their own right.  I always prefer baking meatballs over frying (the mess!), so the preparation of this dish is a good one.  The sauce was nice and savory and creamy.

Cumin Roasted Cauliflower

I do not like the taste of pomegranate juice, so I thought I didn't like pomegranates - until I tried the seeds in this dish.  So good!  Unique and crunchy and refreshing at the same time.  This recipe was a great way to dress up cauliflower.

Chocolate Chip Cake

D's birthday was this week, so we celebrated with this chocolate chip cake with a chocolate sour cream frosting.  The cake itself was delicious -- almost the texture of pound cake.  I did not care for the frosting -- something was off about the flavor.  I would serve this with an espresso buttercream or a chocolate ganache instead.

2012.01.05 - Crockpot Roast Chicken, Curried Sweet Potato Salad, Jell-O

I sadly retired my trusty crockpot (best Yankee Swap gift ever) at Christmas time and traded up to a larger model (6 quarts instead of 4).  One of the primary reasons for this was because I was intrigued by the idea of roasting a chicken in a crockpot.

Crockpot Roast Chicken

A's mom knows one of the authors of Our Best Bites, so I was lucky enough to get a signed copy of their cookbook for Christmas.  The "fauxtisserie" chicken definitely stood out to me - I had never thought about using the crockpot as a roaster before.  I took the opportunity to try out "probe" mode with my new slow cooker -- which means it would set itself to warm after the meat reached the desired temperature.  Gadgets!

I definitely did not season the chicken enough, but it turned out nice and tender and you can't get much easier than it.

Curried Sweet Potato Salad

I don't like curry or almost any kind of Indian food, but I do like curry power in some applications.  This salad is definitely one of those.  The sweet potatoes match well with the curry power and the craisins and pecans add nice crunch and chew.  I definitely could see this as a dish pairing with post-Thanksgiving leftovers.

Lego Jell-O

I don't remember how we got on the topic, but we had a running joke at dinner about how I should make Jell-O.  So I did.  A bought me a Lego silicone mold ages ago, and I hadn't found a good use for it yet.  I wanted to do something other than straight Jell-O, so I looked up recipes and found this one that mixed in some evaporated milk and white chocolate.  The jello was not too bad, and the shape was fun!