December 06, 2012

Almost Back to Two Legs...

Just wanted to give you guys a quick update on my progress.  I'm going back and forth from my boot and sneakers with crutches based on how I'm feeling.  I had a bit of a set back over Thanksgiving involving cooking pasta and the dishwasher door, total accident.  The ankle got tweaked a little bit and I assumed I could still function as I had been up to that point.  Mistake.  I spent Thanksgiving day at the island with a cutting board and ignored orders to sit back down whenever I tried to help.

I got to therapy the next week and had so much bruising that I couldn't finish out.  They told me I needed to take it easy and of course I ignored it in favor of my experiments and finishing my proposal for my thesis project.  Another mistake.  It got to the point where even walking in the boot was painful and I knew I needed to step back and take a break.

So in that vein, I'm going to set a limit for myself to start blogging again regularly only when I feel like I can handle everything.  School is crazy right now due to my candidacy exam and I really need to save what limited energy I have for my work.  I love cooking and I miss it so much, but right now I don't want to jeopardize any progress that I'm making.  Thanks for the support during what has been the hardest three months of my life.  I'm lucky to have great people in my life, especially my family who has had to put up with an increasingly frustrated lady as I've lost the humor about the situation.  

I'm still talking about food and my adventures in #broken on twitter @sarah_toasty and I'll be back as soon as I can!   I've got a lot of great ideas to revamp in the new year, so I hope you'll stick around to see what I come up with!

November 12, 2012

Curry Chicken Burger - November Secret Recipe Club

Today is Secret Recipe Club day!  I had Jane from Jane's Adventures in Dinner.  She is an accomplished baker and loves a good burger re-do.  Her philosophy on the "twisted" burgers?  Take everything she loves about a certain dish and put it between two slices of bread.  For example, her Beef Curry Burgers are based on take-away curry that she loved while living in England.  Curry paste, chutney, ginger, cilantro, and grated carrots all got mixed into ground beef to recreate one of her favorite dishes.

I am a big fan of the re-do, so I thought I would run with her curry burger and translate it into some of my favorite Thai flavors.  To approximate a red curry, ground chicken is combined with red curry paste (or sriracha) lime zest, onion, garlic, ginger, and cilantro.  I made a quick peanut sauce to accompany the burgers and topped them with crunchy red bell pepper and carrots.

It's been really difficult to get me in the kitchen during the transition from boot to walking, but this completely motivated me.  At the end of the day, I'm exhausted and stressed and all I can think about is two bags of frozen peas sandwiching the ankle and a bowl of salsa and chips.  I constantly feel frustrated by how much I can't do yet.  People stare at me when I'm out and all I want to do is blend in to the city like normal.  The people who pitch for charities downtown all come up to me now because, and i QUOTE, "You can't run away from us!"  Yes, people that happened.

So thank you, Jane, for giving me a great way to be creative.  Be sure to check out all of the other group B submissions!

October 23, 2012

Herbed Zucchini Bread

There is something to be said about open-style galley kitchens.  My beautiful kitchen is complete with cherry cabinets, black granite counters, gas stove, and accents of chrome with full view of the entire great room.  It is my favorite spot in the condo, which should surprise absolutely no one.  But it has become something else for me, the place where I'm trying my damnedest to get back on both of my feet.  I got cleared to start weight bearing a few days ago and it has gotten to the point where I can start almost putting all of my weight on the ankle.  I will pace back and forth in the kitchen with my arms out, using the counter tops to catch me when I inevitably fall over.  But I'm getting so close!

This weekend, I got to take my first crutch-walk in my neighborhood.  I went to my favorite cafe for coffee and croissants followed by a visit to my farmers market on the way home.  What used to be a usual Saturday has become such a luxury and I'm so thankful to be getting back to normal.  To be independent.  And mostly, to smell garlic cooking in my kitchen again.

That fragrant perfume is currently wafting through my living room, a reward from my trip to the farmers market.  I got huge local garlic, just picked leeks, the last of the zucchini, and a lot of new vendor friends because my large metal accessories attract a lot of conversation.  Using these three items as inspiration, I combined my family's zucchini quick bread recipe with the idea from Ruth Reichl to pair zucchini and marjoram.

I basically took my sweet version, removed most of the sugar, and replaced it with melted leeks, garlic, and dried herbs.  I slowly sauteed the leeks in an obscene amount of butter to soften the texture, added finely minced and intensely scented garlic, and revived dried marjoram and thyme in the last few minutes of cooking.  I let the leeks cool (while resting, I could do things in about 15 minute intervals) and then combined it with shredded baby zucchini (seeds and skin included due to baby-ness), eggs, olive oil, and buttermilk.  After gently folding in the dried ingredients, I baked it low and slow to ensure the bread stayed moist and the zucchini was completely cooked.

As the bread was baking, the smell was intoxicating enough to draw my sister out of her room (okay, some of it was Gossip Girl).  She was certainly skeptical of a savory version of a Toasty classic but I definitely think that I won her over!  Because zucchini bread is not complete without cream cheese, I quickly mixed in some finely minced sundried tomatoes and schmeared it over a still warm slice.

I'm really proud of this bread and can't wait to have a slice with lunch!

October 15, 2012

Watermelon Cilantro Granita - October Secret Recipe Club

Inaugural Secret Recipe Club post!  This was supposed to happen last month, but unfortunately I broke my ankle and had surgery the day of my first reveal.  Oops, sorry SRC!  But no fear, my post was covered and I'm ready and raring to go for October!  Well, more puttering than raring but you get it.

The blog I was assigned is an adorable four-sister venture called Crumbs and Chaos.  It is run by Becca, Emily, Kate, and Megan and there are so many recipes I want to try!  The ladies have lovely baked goods, a focus on seasonal food, and highlight their fellow bloggers every week with their 5 on Fridays posts.  Bonus - the incredibly creative children's parties like the Minnie Mouse Party and the Spiderman Party.  I loved the Caramel Apple Cinna-minis for their tiny package of big fall flavors, the innovative Apple Pie Salsa that would perfectly pair with some baked pie crust pieces, and the supremely simple but flavorful Mongolian Beef Lettuce Wraps.  However, I don't have a crock pot or two legs to stand on so I chose something that was simple and fast so that I wouldn't hate my kitchen by the time I was finished.  Enter Watermelon Granita!

I love granita for its ease of preparation, its versatility, and (in my versions) a balance of tangy and sweet flavors.  The basic idea is to combine juice from any fruit(s), sweeten with a touch of sugar or simple syrup, freeze, and scrape (read: fluff) with a fork to create a light and airy frozen treat.  The key is to find the balance in the "base" of the granita before freezing by slowly adding the lime juice and simple syrup and tasting in between.  I chose cilantro and lime to complement my watermelon base, simple and unadorned flavors.

And you may be asking me, "Sarah, why are you doing a frozen dessert when my google reader and facebook is filled with apple and pumpkin recipes?"  Well, first of all, I made this last week when it was still 70-80 degrees out in DC so I could still comfortably wear shorts outside.  I hadn't taken my boots out of their boot shapers since April.  But most of all because it was barely fall yet.  This week, I feel like it is finally time to flood me with all things pumpkin and spice yet here I am with a granita.  Oh well, win some lose some.  Thanks, Crumbs and Chaos, for the inspiration!

September 23, 2012

Life on One Leg

Just wanted to check in after receiving lovely well wishes from the comments and my facebook page.  Surgery went well, everything is back in place!  I'm officially bionic, with a plate on my fibula and a screw holding the rest together (yes, I finally got the nerve to look at the before and after X-rays).  Long scars to be expected, but luckily it will be boot season when I get out of the (boot) cast!

In terms of getting back to real life, it's a process.  Getting around is not great, but I'm getting a baller ab and arm workout whenever I'm crutching.  Birthday party had to be cancelled, but I had a really fun night with my kickball team for the last game of the season on my actual 25th.  Let me tell you, crutches are definitely a conversation starter at a bar.  Working with surgeons means you can't skip recovering from surgery, so I'm doing half days as much as I possibly can without getting scolded.  I'm writing and studying at home while the experiments I had running have watchers and are going well.

I've started a little notebook with all of the food ideas in my head for when I get back.  The day I broke everything, I had just brought home a beautiful new stand mixer (life goal accomplished) and it is dying to make its debut.  For now sandwiches and raviolis are about all I can manage, but believe me the second I feel comfortable enough I'll be back!

Thanks again go to my family for putting up with gimpy me.  Appropriate to start a countdown for when I can walk again?  I'm thinking yes.

September 08, 2012

Missing in Action... Or why I am really really stressed

Just wanted to issue a blog-pology for being missing in action. It was first because I thought I could do everything without having Internet in the condo until little Toasty moved in. Mistake. I am a researcher in every aspect of my life and had a series of failures because I could not fully explore an idea before I tried to cook. Good food, but nothing I was proud enough to share.

And then Thursday night happened. I am a short girl who loves a tall ridiculous shoe, so of course I've had my share of rolled ankles. I was trying to get home after kickball and slipped in a puddle, dislocating it after years of pressing my luck. I flagged down a guy on a bike who found me a cop to hold the ankle in place until I could get to the emergency room. I am a squeamish person so even I don't know how many bones are broken because I refuse to see the x-rays. Monday I am headed into surgery to put everything back into place.

I want to thank little Toasty for being amazing and taking care of all of the gross talk for me in the ER, my dad for racing up to DC and taking care of me, and my mom for getting me my favorite foods and trashy magazines and anything else I need.

I am trying to look on the bright side of this in terms of getting ready for quals for my PhD candidacy but I'm itching to get back into the lab. I need to take care of myself and my work right now, so unfortunately I'll be taking a brief sabbatical from blogging.

Thanks to everyone who has supported me so far and I'll hope you'll come back when I do!

August 17, 2012

Celery Root Mash - Foodie Friends Friday with Farm Girls Glitz and Glam

I (would like to) think I am a fairly low-maintenance girl.  I'm a wash-and-go hair kind of girl and normally only ever manage to slap on some BB cream and a little mascara before I leave the house.  But the one thing I love?  Any body lotion or bath gel or scrub that smells like vanilla.  I use and abuse my legs every day bike commuting so I like to pamper them a little to show off what I've worked hard for!  This week Foodie Friends Friday is being sponsored by Farm Girls Glitz and Glam, who are giving away Lavender Scrub to the top votes!  (Which means you should probably come back to vote on Sunday if you love a good scrub...)

Today's recipe is a super fast substitute for plain old mashed potatoes.  Peel and chunk a celery root and a couple of potatoes, boil it up, and mash.  The only thing that takes a little time is cleaning up the root, be sure to have a very sharp knife to avoid any slippage while handling that hunk of root.  After I mashed it up, I already had the oven going so I put it in a little souffle cup, sprinkled with a little parmesan cheese, and baked for a few minutes to brown the top.

Easy peasy, just like linking up to our party!

August 08, 2012

Avocado and Tomatillo Soup

One of the best parts of sticking around DC after graduation has been having most of my friends from college still here.  A few weeks ago, a bunch of us went out to the new Mike Isabella mexican restaurant Bandolero to catch up, have margaritas on tap, and enjoy Top Chef alum fare.  And it was GOOD!  Duck confit in the queso fundido, crazy delicious tacos, and the dish that completely caught my eye tomatillo and avocado gazpacho.  It was a cold and creamy soup with tiny pieces of tequilla-soaked watermelon and orange sprinkled throughout like jewels.  After the soup got passed around the table for everyone to try, I finished it slowly because I knew I wanted to recreate the dish myself.

I was reminded of the dish a couple of weeks ago when Bandolero was doing demos at the Dupont farmer's market so I picked up some fresh tomatillos and got to work!  After taking off the outer husk, I removed the core and then used my food processor to buzz them all up.  I strained the pulverized tomatillos through a sieve and then used a stick blender to add avocado, sour cream, lime juice, and garlic.  Topped with teeny pieces of watermelon and orange supremes, it was a beautiful and healthy dinner without the trek to M street!

Girls night is headed to dim sum soon, expect barbecue pork buns to follow that one!

August 02, 2012

Hangover Hash: Foodie Friends Friday Linky Party #6

I think your body gets moving amnesia.  That is I never seem to remember how stressful moving is until it smacks me in the face (ugh, and back) again.  Maybe it was the rapid fire move in and move out every semester in the first two years of college that have given me the ability to black it out and think of it positively until I'm in the throws.  The place is coming together little by little, but since my room is slightly smaller this time around and I am missing one last bookshelf to put the little things away I feel like I'm living in a large treehouse surrounded by trinkets.  Tea light holders, camera equipment, beach reads, belts and sunglasses in cloth shopping bags, they all still need homes.  And even though the kitchen is together, the concept of making yet another mess in the place is daunting.

But this recipe, oh it was worth it.  It solves the ever present problem - what to do with leftover french fries?  This has been floating around in my head ever since a ladies beach weekend when we were all making breakfast after wine and barbecue the night before.  Some of the ladies had brought home their leftovers, including fries and delectably smoked meat, and wanted to put it in their breakfast.  The fries didn't turn out as hoped and the idea of fry-based hash popped into my head to solve the problem (and has been floating around ever since...).

The worst part about leftover fries is how soggy they are, so I thought I would use rendered bacon fat to bring them back to life.  After cutting them into home fry sized pieces, I added them to a pan of onions and bell peppers also cooked in the bacon fat.  After the fries had been revived I added super spicy salsa, avocados, the crisped bacon, and a little cheddar cheese.  Topped with a sunny-side egg with a delicious runny yolk, this breakfast will cure anything that ails you!

Ps Ladies, this recipe serves two so it would be perfect to seal the deal with that new guy the first morning he stays over (get it, girl).  This is my answer to engagement chicken, the "be my boyfriend" breakfast.

This week's hosts for the linky party are:

July 31, 2012

Drunk Brussels Sprouts: 38 Power Foods - #7 Brussels Sprouts

Confession time - I am not a brussels sprouts fan.  I have super sensitive bitter taste buds that don't play well with this particular power food.  The only upside of this sensitivity?  I've become a pro at zesting citrus because to get few a pieces of pith would ruin a dish for me.  Thus, I've pulled one of my Dad's recipes for brussels sprouts that he makes every year for Thanksgiving.  It's super simple: beer, orange juice, brown sugar, and chicken stock reduced and then used to braise the little buggers.

Brussels sprouts have two compounds (indole-3-carbinole and sulforaphane for nerds like me) that are anti-carcinogenic.  Caveat - you can't cook them too long, especially boiling, or the compounds will break down and be ineffective.  (Also, the sprouts will turn grey and taste entirely unappetizing but let's stick to the fighting cancer schtick.)

I changed up my Dad's recipe a bit, he loves Guinness and I only drink it yearly for St Pattys so I used Blue Moon since it is lighter (read: less bitter) and already has a twinge of orange in it.  This sauce is super versatile and can be used on any veggie that you don't particularly care for but know you should eat, just like I ended up enjoying the brussels sprouts (as long as there was only one sprout per bite and lots of sauce).  Not just for Thanksgiving anymore!

July 26, 2012

Roasted Tomato and Leek Tart: Foodie Friends Friday Linky Party #5

Now that my Sunday morning routine involves a trip to Dupont for the farmer's market, I've started to make some farmer friends.  It's like that cooking channel commercial, food people are inclusive which is why a group like Foodie Friends Friday is so great.  We just want to share food, whether talking, writing, making, or eating.  So this week, I decided to make a tomato tart to highlight the food friends I've made and celebrate the linky party!

Every week, I go to the same tomato guy for super juicy ginormous tomatoes that almost rival a farm stand on the way to the beach tomato.  I had been scrolling through the french issue of Gourmet Live (source material for the 50 Women Game Changers Group) when I was waking up that morning and saw the most beautiful tomato tart.  I knew I wanted to try to make my own, so I grabbed a few extra tomatoes from my tomato guy, picked up some leeks and puff pastry, and got to roasting!

I've roasted plum and cherry tomatoes a bunch, but never big giant tomatoes.  I wasn't sure if I should seed them first, so I just left them be and thought that I could get them out in the end.  Hind site?  I think I would have deseeded just to ensure there wasn't any excess moisture in the tart that could potentially prevent the pastry to puff.  The roasted tomatoes were layered over puff pastry rolled out and covered with a creamy leek base.

I was a total sucker for the leeks, eating a spoonful here and there while the tomatoes were roasting.  I "melted" them by sauteing in butter over a low heat.  Once the leeks had been slowly browned, I added nutmeg, goat cheese, and heavy creamy to make the thick and creamy leek spread.  The whole tart was topped off with a little more goat cheese, creating a medley of flavors from the sweet tomatoes, warmth from the nutmeg, buttery crust, and tangy goat cheese.  To say I devoured this tart would be an understatement, but don't tell...

The Linky Part hosts this week are:
Robyn at Robyn's View
Marlys at This and That
Lindsey at Family Food Finds
Tami at Food Forays

Go check out their awesome blogs, submit a link to an original recipe of your own below, and share the foodie friends love!

July 25, 2012

Broccoli and Zoodle Summer Salad: 38 Power Foods - #5 Broccoli

When I was younger, I wasn't a broccoli fan.  Shocker, right?  It had absolutely nothing to do with the taste or me being a picky eater but a family story involving broccoli cooked so long that it turned grey.  Adding to the prejudice was the oddly sweet broccoli salad my mother would bring to picnics (sorry, Ger) and a green jello concoction with broccoli in it appropriately called "Green Stuff."  Seriously, how was a kid supposed to like broccoli when the adults insisted on mistreating it?

I grew up and so did my palette, and now I thoroughly enjoy broccoli and broccolini.  Which is great because it boosts immunity with beta-carotene, perfect for a lady who works in a hospital.  It also has been shown to regulate blood pressure, aid in dieting by providing fiber, and contains an antioxidant indole-3-carbinole that is anti-carcinogenic.  Good stuff, but probably not found in the cooked-to-death grey broccoli.

This salad was a result of overzealous purchase of local veggies and garlic in the kitchen transition.  I also picked up some nifty new peelers: a julienne peeler and a serrated peeler!  The serrated peeler will be able to get soft skins off of fruits while the julienne peeler makes adorable noodle like strips from hearty vegetables like zucchini and squash.  Before we switched to the linky party format for foodie friends friday, I featured a recipe about "zoodles" from Angie at A'lil Country Sugar and I've been thinking about using the zoodles in a faux pasta salad ever since!

They are a snap to make: just peel the skin and the "peel" with the julienne peeler.  To avoid the potential sticky zucchini juice, I put the strips into a cold water bath before blanching in salted boiling water.  Fresh local corn, cremini mushrooms, and broccoli florets were sautéed over medium heat in olive oil and added to the blanched noodles.

The star of this dish, however, is definitely the roasted garlic vinaigrette.  I bought about 10 heads of garlic because they were on super sale so I roasted half for an hour at 400 F (full instructions here) to freeze and store.  Roasted garlic, lemon zest and juice, and olive oil buzzed up with my immersion blender was a revelation.  I need to make this dressing every week!  It was mellow and sweet from the garlic with the bite of lemon that pairs so well with broccoli while getting all into the nooks and crannies of the florets.  Seriously, go make this now!

Also, it may be before my time, but I had Dana Carvey's chopping broccoli song stuck in my head whilst writing this post . . .

July 19, 2012

Foodie Friends Friday: Linky Party #4

Welcome to another edition of Foodie Friends Friday!  The party is getting bigger, with 18 hosts!  Next week, we will be picking host favorites, top clicked, and most voted recipes to be featured at the Foodie Friends Friday site.  The party is live now and you can submit your recipes until Sunday.  I know I'll be linking up my Key Lime Baby Cheesecakes and the Scallops from earlier in the week!  So what will you bring to the party?

The hosts for this week include:
Robyn at Robyn's View  
Marlys at This and That
Lindsey at Family Food Finds  
Rhiannon at Baked In The South

Just remember these simple rules:
Step 1:  Make sure that anything you link up is:
  • A Recipe...and is made and photographed by you
  • Not part of a sponsership/sales/giveaway or other promotions/linky parties
  • Linked to a specific page of your recipe, not your homepage
  • Please limit your link-ups to 3 per party
Step 2:
* for example:  This recipe is featured on "Host Blog Link" and  Linky Party)
If you want to be the very best Foodie Friend Ever...
  • Grab our button at and put it on your page and share Foodie Friends Friday!
  • Take some time and check out other submitted links and the blogs of all of our gracious hosts
  • Come on over and "like" us on Facebook or Follow us on Twitter and Pinterest
***Please note that by linking up you are transferring rights to Foodie Friends Friday and any of it's affiliated websites or publications to use photos/links/recipes for any reprint, republishing and distribution without monetary compensation to you.  If photos/recipes are used, proper credit/ linkbacks will be published with them.  We just want to share your amazing recipes and spread some foodie <3 !

July 18, 2012

Key Lime Baby Cheesecakes

It is a well known fact that I am a cheesecake enthusiast.  From nutella to blueberry yogurt to goat cheese variations, it has popped up quite a bit on the blog.  My party signature is to bring my 2-bite baby cheesecakes, a tradition started at my friend's 21st in college.  A few weeks ago before the complete kitchen shut out, I got an email request from my old roommate Kate (who writes a super cute nail blog) about a key lime baby cheesecake I had made when we lived together.  I could not for the life of me remember where I got the recipe, which is pretty much the reason why I started blogging in the first place, so I decided to improv a new version.

Citrus desserts are my favorite in the summer, so I really couldn't imagine anything more perfect than a cold key lime cheesecake during another spell of 100+ degree days.  I picked up some Nellie and Joe's concentrated key lime juice only because juicing those little buggers is a pain in the ass, plus it's the original so I gave myself a pass on my no premade products rule.  A little bit of sweetened condensed milk will bring in the flavors of the traditional key lime pie while fresh key lime zest is a must for zingy fresh taste.

Normally I make my baby cheesecakes "naked" but I finally tried out the mini muffin pan paper liners and I will never go back!  You can still use the two pan method to evenly pack down the graham cracker crust without crushing the liners.

Just 5 minutes for the crust and 12 minutes for the filling, this is a fast bake that would be perfect when you remember the night before an event you need to bring something!  I chilled the cheesecakes overnight and then topped the tantalizingly tart baby cheesecakes with a lime scented whipped cream dollop.

Goodness, I missed baking . . .

July 16, 2012

Seared Scallops with Dijon Wine Sauce

I'm alive!  So a series of unfortunate and fortunate circumstances has kept me out of the kitchen for the last two weeks.  The dreaded derecho wind storm blew out my pilot light, which I couldn't relight because the old piece of crap needed a new part to relight again.  The repairman cancelled our first appointment, landing the second one directly in the middle of MOVING WEEK!  Yes, ladies and gents, I am currently residing in my first home that I (part) own!  The bed went over on Saturday night, so yesterday I went to all of my favorite food spots all over town to restock myself.  Farmer's market tomatoes, local corn and zucchini, my favorite cream cheese for baby cheesecakes tomorrow, and a super rare find of fresh sea scallops!  I decided the scallops needed a little white wine, and proceeded to make myself a celebratory first meal!

It felt so freaking good to get back to my cooking Sunday, when I get super ambitious and cook for hours to prepare for the week.  Since starting to write this blog, cooking has been my creative outlet and without it I was going crazy!  Before it was something that I enjoyed doing but now that it has become part of my routine I felt empty without making a mess at the end of the day.  I feel balanced again, ready to create and share with the rest of you!

Now, for the scallops!  It's really the easiest seafood ever to cook and tastes flawlessly sweet and buttery every time.  Clean, pat VERY DRY with paper towels, season with salt and pepper, and sear for about a 1 minute a side in a super hot pan.  That's it!  As scallops are my favorite type of sushi, I like mine a little rare in the middle.  Like Alton Brown showed us in his scallop episode, the outside ends will have a nice crust while the middles will still be translucent.  As a safety precaution, only do this technique with super fresh scallops.

I made a fast dijon mustard and white wine sauce, salty and tangy to pair with the sweet scallops, and laid it all on a bed of peppery arugula.  Yet another example of the simplest things done right will taste the best.  Fast, easy, and festive, it was a great first meal in the new place!

June 29, 2012

Cucumber Coleslaw for Foodie Friends Friday

Welcome to my first linky party!  I thought I would bring coleslaw to the party, because who doesn't love coleslaw at a summer party?  Instead of the traditional cabbage mix and mayo, I used shredded cucumbers and bleu cheese.  It is tangy and cooling and a great twist on a barbecue classic.

Lime juice, juice from shredding the cucumbers, and a splash of rice wine vinegar mixed with crumbled bleu cheese mimics the color of traditional coleslaw sauce with its own refreshing flavor.  Crunchy granny smith apple and cucumber with the sweet corn and a touch of honey contrast beautifully with the bleu cheese.  I made it a few years ago and it has been rattling around in my brain for the past few months, just waiting for the fresh corn to come back!

June 27, 2012

Strawberry Nutella Semifreddo

As a native Baltimoron, you think I would be used to ridiculously humid almost triple digit temperature mid-Atlantic summer days.  Nope, not so much.  Even though I love summer weather there is always that week where you can't even move it is so sticky hot.  All you need is a snowball and a beach chair.  Because I cannot get my beloved tastee tops or trek to Bethany yet, I decided I would make myself a frozen treat!

Semifreddo is an Italian frozen dessert that means "half cold."  Basically, you make a mousse and then freeze it!  No extra equipment is required, just a hand mixer for the whipped cream and a double boiler to cook the eggs.  Plus, it really makes an impression when it is flipped out of its mold.  I decided to stick with the Italian theme and went to my go to: NUTELLA.  I love dipping strawberries in nutella, so I decided to make a fast strawberry sauce to incorporate into one of the bases.

I sloppily layered the strawberry and nutella layers, but if you want even layers I would recommend freezing after each addition.  After about 4 hours of freezing, you'll be able to unturn the mold and present your beautiful semifreddo.  Decorate with some of the leftover strawberry sauce and nutella, maybe some fresh strawberries or toasted hazelnuts as well.  An easy ice cream fake out without the effort or extra equipment, the perfect project for a muggy summer day!

Asparagus Beans and Greens Salad: 38 Power Foods - #2 Asparagus

Hectic.  That is the only way to describe life right now.  I'm trying to eke out some time for writing here, but I think that writing and reviewing for the thesis is winning a little bit right now.  I think it will be better once I move over to the new house and reduce my anxiety, which has been heightened by not knowing exactly what day it is happening!  So my cooking has been simple, fast, and summery.  And thus, my interpretation of this last week's power food was a lemony salad with asparagus, chickpeas, edamame, and green peas.

Asparagus is a power food because it contains high levels of folate, potassium, vitamin A, fiber, antioxidants, and vitamin K.  Combined, it is thought that asparagus is great for detox, protecting against birth defects and cancer, reducing inflammation, and preventing osteoporosis and osteoarthritis.  It is also considered an aphrodisiac just because of its phallic shape.  Fun fact - asparagus in French is asperge, which is a slang term for penis.  Note to self: must pick up a dirty French dictionary if I ever want to head to a French market.

Lemon, grated garlic, and tumeric flavor the fast vinaigrette over blanched asparagus, rinsed chickpeas, and defrosted edamame and green peas.  I almost feel virtuous eating this salad, everything is green, bright, and healthy!  Plus, because it is a vinaigrette salad without any lettuce it is a great take along to a summer party.

Here are the other ladies who played with asperge this week . . . (I couldn't resist)

Alyce - More Time at the Table,  Ansh - Spice Roots
Jeanette - Jeanette’s Healthy Living, Jill - Saucy CooksMartha - Simple-Nourished-Living, Mireya - My Healthy Eating Habits
Sarah - Everything in the Kitchen Sink, Casey - Bookcase Foodie

June 23, 2012

Foodie Friends Friday: Family Food Finds - Greek Pesto Pizza

Friday's post was slightly delayed due getting caught in a thunderstorm on a bike (eep!).  But here is a recipe from the fantastic Lindsey of Family Food Finds.  She believes in healthy seasonal cooking for her family.  I was especially drawn to her Greek Pesto Pizza from this week.  Just your favorite pizza dough, a smattering of pesto, and all the veggies you would find in a greek salad topping the pizza.  As my smoke alarm goes off when you heat the oven about 400 F, I will have to swoon at this pizza until I move into my new place!  

Until then, go check out Lindsey's Greek Pesto Pizza HERE!  And to see all of the other Foodie Friends Friday Posts, head HERE!

June 20, 2012

Roasted Broccoli and Prosciutto Pasta

Last weekend, I had to run errands in the home stores on M street in preparation for moving.  My sister and I were text-decorating: seeing things that were adorable and needed to be in the condo and texting pictures back and forth.  I was exhausted by the time I stumbled into the Dean and Deluca for a quick bite to eat overlooking the canal (the little things), huffing and puffing from the heat and the extra exertion required for my broken bike.  But boy did I perk up when I saw a chunk of prosciutto di parma for SIX BUCKS!

Elated, I knew I had to get this hunk into my freezer in order to get the delicious almost-melt-away thin prosciutto slices with a super sharp knife.  While the ham was chilling, I quickly roasted up some broccoli.  Yes, roasted!  Until a few months ago I had no idea this was even possible but the flavor is more pronounced.  Added bonus?  There is less of a smell the next day as compared to steamed or blanched broccoli, which normally puts me off to cooking for one with broccoli.  Just a little olive oil and 8-10 minutes in a super hot oven, it is a super easy way to jazz up the veg.  I even added a sprinkle of parmesan in the last 2 minutes of cooking for a little added flavor!

This whole dish can come together in under a half an hour, from turning the oven on to tossing the pasta.  Just some whole wheat noodles, olive oil and lemon juice, roasted broccoli, parmesan, and a few salty shavings from my prosciutto hunk (or a few thin slices of packaged prosciutto).  Simple and healthy with a touch of indulgence!

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