Skip to main content


Showing posts from April, 2018

Beer-battered Fish Tacos

I was an adult before I ever had a fish taco. The tacos I grew up eating were hard-shell affairs filled with ground beef, lettuce, tomato and shredded cheese. Tex-mex gloriousness. Little did I realize how many more taco varieties were out there for me to enjoy! This fish taco is scrumptious. I had an authentic Baja fish taco at restaurant once; this is totally not that, but it is inspired by it. I have no access to crema where I am, so I made a bastardized version of crema-cum-tartar sauce which I think pairs really well with beer-battered fish. I also don’t have cotija cheese around these parts but I do love goat cheese with everything, so I made the substitution. I think it tastes incredible. Add on some crunchy slaw, tomato and avocado, and you’re cooking with gas. Enjoy!  Ingredients: 1 cup all-purpose flour 2 tablespoons cornstarch 1 teaspoon baking powder ½ teaspoon salt 1 egg 1 cup beer ½ cup sour cream ½ cup mayonnaise 1 lime, juiced 1 teaspo

Pistachio Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Ah, pistachio cake, you blast from the past. I remember having it one Easter long ago; bight green and covered with sickly sweet frosting. I was not a huge fan. I tempted fate the other night and tried a slice of pistachio cake at a local bakery. The difference was immense. Of course, I immediately started thinking about how I could recreate that cake at home. Every single recipe I found online, however, used a packet of instant pistachio pudding, which I consider cheating. Instant pudding mixes use artificial flavorings, food coloring, and a lot of different chemicals to achieve heatless pudding that sets in 5 minutes time. No thank you. I wanted real pistachio flavor, which meant using pistachio nuts. I decided to make a pistachio flour. Lots of failed attempts later, I learned what flours to add to the pistachio flour to make a light, tender crumb, and that the batter needed desperately to be lightened with egg whites. A tender, light, moist, pistachio flavored cake w

Spaghetti alla vodka

Sometimes all you want in life is sauce and pasta. This sauce is something special; creamy and cheesy and indulgent. The penne has ridges to help the sauce cling to it better, so every delicious pasta morsel is enrobed by a thick coat of orange red sauce.  Tomato passata is a tomato puree that has been passed through a food mill to remove any seeds or skin remaining. It helps make this sauce super smooth. Add in vodka, heavy cream and my two favorite hard cheeses and you have a flavor explosion. This is a weeknight dish that feels like a weekend treat. Enjoy! Ingredients: 1 pound spaghetti 4 slices of bacon, diced 2 tablespoons olive oil 3-4 cloves of garlic, minced 1 large sweet onion, diced pinch red pepper flakes 12 ounces box tomato passata 1/2 cup vodka 1/2 cup heavy cream 1/2 cup pecorino romano and parmigiana reggiano cheese Fresh parsley, for garnish Salt and pepper to taste Method:  Heat two tablespoons of olive oil in a large sauce

Strawberry Cake

I dearly love strawberry-flavored treats- strawberry milk, strawberry ice cream, strawberry macaron, strawberry cakes- delicious. The pink color, the strawberry flavor- perfection. A real strawberry cake made from scratch is hard to come by- most from scratch strawberry cakes are really vanilla cake with strawberries dotted within the frosting or diced into the batter. “Real” strawberry cakes use strawberry gelatin to achieve the color ad flavor. What’s a baker to do when she wants to make a real strawberry cake without resorting to strawberry gelatin? Science to the rescue! Freeze-dried strawberries pack an intense strawberry flavor and color and don’t dilute cake batters. Combined with fresh pureed strawberries, I knew I had a solution to my strawberry cake dliemma. However, cake after cake I baked failed. Why? Happily, my online baking guru, Stella Parks, had the answer. She had fought this same battle as me, and won. Her solution was a different ratio of bak

Tilapia with capers and brown butter lemon sauce

This is a bastardized version of the French sole a la meuniere- sole in the style of the miller’s wife, so named after the use of the flour. I am not using sole for this dish since I find tilapia fillets are cheaper and also very delicately flavored.  The stars of this dish are the tangy capers and the browned butter. In french, browned butter is called buerre noisette, which translates literally to hazelnut butter. As usual, the french have insight to food; butter does develop lovely nutty flavors as the milk solids brown. The trick is to avoid burning those milk solids- no one likes blackened butter. Watch the butter carefully and just as it begins to turn brown, remove it from the heat and hit it with the final ingredients to instantly cool the sauce and stop the cooking process.  I like to serve this on top of couscous to absorb the extra sauce, but it would be lovely on rice or with a chewy baguette as well. Bon appetit! Ingredients: 2 fillets of tilapia 1/2

Basic Vanilla and Chocolate Cupcakes

For all that I like to make fussily decorated cakes and cupcakes or inventive flavors, sometimes all I want is a basic chocolate or vanilla cupcake with chocolate or vanilla frosting. I require smooth, buttery frosting and tender, moist cakes. These are the recipes that I fall back on time and time again. They are foolproof and delicious. Basic flavors, nothing fancy and plainly decorated, but absolutely sinfully delicious. Enjoy! Vanilla Cake: Ingredients: 1/2 cup butter, softened 3 eggs, room temperature 1/4 cup sour cream 2 1/12 cup all purpose flour 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder 1/2 teaspoon salt 1 3/4 cups sugar 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste 1 1/4 cups whole milk 1/4 cup vegetable oil Method: Prepare 2 12 cup muffin tins with paper liners. Set aside. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Cream the butter and sugar together with an electric beater until light and fluffy. Add each egg one at a time, beating well after each addition.