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Archive for November, 2010

We’re taught that the key to maintaining our figure when surrounded by so much food creations is to eat in moderation. But once in awhile, we all encounter a dish that we take a “test bite” of and then just can’t resist going back for more! Before you realize it, you’re making another batch just so you can serve a presentable looking dish to your dinner guests.

The other day, I was bitten by the “can’t stop eating” bug when I made this highly addictive and extremely simple bread pudding.

Looking for inspiration for what to do with my days-old baguette, I came across this scalloped tomatoes recipe from the Contessa herself, Ina. It was, as you might call it, a life changing experience. Who knew such a simple equation of tomatoes + bread + oven = bliss? From that day forth, I recreated variations of that recipe whenever I came home from a long day at work (and had leftover bread from TomKat bakery). This is one of my favorite variations, filled with healthy veggies and bubbling with cheese on top:

First Hit:

  • 4-5 Ripe Tomatoes, diced
  • 5 cups of bread, cut into 1 inch cubes (I use baguettes, but mostly any bread will do)
  • 1/2 of a zucchini, sliced into 1/2 inch thick medallions, and then halved
  • 1.5 cup of fresh cut corn (frozen/canned will work too)
  • 1 cup of sliced mushrooms (I like using a combo of baby bella, oyster & shitake)
  • 2 cups of shredded fontina cheese (chedder, mozzarella, monterey jack also work beautifully)
  • 1/4 cup basil leaves, cut into thin Chiffonade shreds
  • 2 Tbsp Xagave Nectar
  • 2 cloves of garlic, smashed and minced
  • 3-4 Tbsp of olive oil
  • a pinch of salt & pepper, to taste

Get Hooked:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
  2. In a frying pan, toast the garlic in olive oil
  3. Add the bread cubes; toss & toast on medium heat until bread is crouton-like
  4. In another frying pan, saute the zucchini, mushrooms, and corn in some oil & salt & pepper until just cooked (3-5 min)
  5. Meanwhile, mix the diced tomatoes and basil with the Xagave nectar until well blended
  6. Add in the cooked veggies to the tomato mixture and mix well
  7. Mix in the toasted bread cubes and pour into a casserole baking dish (don’t worry if it’s a little watery – the bread will soak up the tomato liquid when baking)
  8. Season with some salt & pepper, layer the fontina cheese on top, & pop in the oven for 30-40 minutes until cheese is bubbly and the top is crispy and browned
  9. Dig in with a spoon and don’t resist the temptation to keep on eating!

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I love books. So much in fact that my 5th grade teacher once ratted me out to my mom that I “read too much”.  I couldn’t help it – I had already finished the required reading book so what else could I do in class except read other books?

To this day, my love affair with books continues to grow. Whenever I find myself without social plans, my heart flutters with glee at the thought of spending an entire afternoon in Barnes & Noble or Shakespeare & Co.

So you can only imagine my elation when I found out that one of my recipes was selected by Foodista to be published in the first EVER cookbook to emerge from social media –  Foodista Best Of Food Blogs Cookbook.  I screamed, I cried, I did a little dance – something I wrote and created was going to be printed in a real book!

The beautiful volume boasts of 100 delicious recipes and tantalizing food-porn photos from bloggers around the world, many of whom I have become friends with through the Food Blogosphere. It is a great honor to be included amongst such talent, and I can say firsthand that this book has been my bedtime reading for the past few weeks. The recipes truly highlight the originality and diversity of the food blogger community.

To celebrate the book release, Foodista is offering a chance to win prizes for those who buy the book on Wednesday, November 3rd, 2010 from the hours of 1-2pm (Eastern Standard Time).  See here for more details. This book would make an wonderful and unique Holiday gift for any foodie, so grab a few copies now!

PS: Can you find me in this montage of foodie photos? Where’s Shelly?

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As a child, I could never contain my excitement every time Halloween rolled around. I loved the mystery of not knowing what candy “swag” I would find in my bag at the end of the night, visiting the houses with the most terrifying Halloween lawn decor, and the costumes lovingly (though perhaps not skillfully) made by Mom.

20 some odd years later, this excitement has not faded, but my anticipation for candy has been replaced by an eagerness to brew up new spooktacular recipes, the lack of horrific suburban lawns has been made up by my proximity to the NYC West Village Halloween Parade, and the role of costume seamstress has passed on to me, making me realize that Mom was a much better costume maker than I ever will be.

To get ourselves in the mood for the fright-fest, I conjured up a few savory Halloween delights to start our night:

Cauliflower Miso Mashed Skulls (the orange edition)


Eye of newt, and toe of frog:

  • 1 full cauliflower head
  • 2 carrot fingers (peeled)
  • 3 tbsp of miso paste “blood”
  • 1/4 cup milk of a cow
  • eye and lips of nori (a sheet of sushi seaweed)

Round about the Cauldron Go

  1. Chop the cauliflower head and carrot fingers into pieces and drop into scalding, boiling water
  2. Boil and torture the head and fingers until soft and tender.
  3. Drain liquid, and add salt & pepper. Mix with a spatula.
  4. Transfer the ingredients into a blender or food processor, add in miso paste and milk and puree until desired smooth consistency is reached
  5. Shape the mash into skulls and bones.
  6. Take the sheet of seaweed, and with a small knife, cut out circles (for eyes) and thin strips (for a “X” shaped lip).
  7. Serve warm

Hairy Spaghetti Squash Monster with Mozzarella Eyeballs

Double Double Toil and Trouble:

  • 1 spaghetti squash
  • 3-5 fresh mozzarella balls
  • 3-5 green  olives, pitted
  • 3-5 black olives, pitted
  • 1 strip of roasted red pepper (or sliced fresh red pepper, or anything that is red and resembles a mouth, such as beets)
  • Morningstar Veggie Crumbles
  • 2 Tbsp Oil of Olive
  • 2 Tbsp Mixed Herb Seasoning (I used a blend of dried rosemary, marjoram, oregano, basil, and tarragon)

Fire Burn and Cauldron Bubble!

  1. Cut the spaghetti squash in half lengthwise, rub with herbs and olive oil, and roast in a 400 degree oven for 30-40 min.
  2. Using a fork, scrape off the meat of the squash (once cooked and tender, it will come off easily in strings)
  3. Mix 1/3 of the squash with veggie crumbles to create a worms/maggots in hair effect
  4. Cut off the edge of a green olive (it should be dome shaped with a hole in the middle). Stuff a bit of black olive in the whole and balance the olive on top of a mozzarella ball (repeat to make multiple eyeballs)
  5. Arrange the squash to create a round face, framed with worm-infested hair, stick a couple of creepy eyeballs on top and around, and garnish with a fiery mouth.

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