Zoe is still my little muffin monster. I usually have a stash of muffins in my freezer but yesterday I ran completely out. At some point she had a full on tantrum, crying “muffin, muffin, muffin” as though I was holding out on her. So today I wasted no time getting these in the oven.
These take a whole cup of butter! Yes, that’s two whole sticks. I was horrified at first, but when my apartment started to fill with the aroma of butter baking, I got over it. Butter is good. Roll with it. These are dense, rich muffins, no extra butter or jam required when you serve them.
I know, this is not asparagus. But why would I take a picture of my simple asparagus? Our Easter dessert buffet was infinitely more alluring.
For Easter our little Fong family headed to Nebraska to celebrate with Grandma, Grandpa, Aunts, Uncles and Zoe’s beautiful little 3-month-old cousin. (I went a little overboard in anticipation, at one point owning three Easter dresses for Zoe — I love tulle!) It was the largest Easter party we’ve ever had, with 20+ guests at my parents’ house for an amazing Easter supper. Continue reading →
Sweet potatoes are Zoe’s favorite vegetable these days. And since being a toddler evidently means learning to spit out peas and broccoli, I’m so grateful she’s still stuffing handfuls of baked sweet potatoes into her mouth with enthusiasm. I’ve mixed mashed sweet potatoes with quinoa, rice, yogurt and even lamb stew! She eats it all (knock on wood).
As I mentioned before, I love making baby (and now toddler) foods. But it’s a three-step process: 1) Buy the ingredients, 2) Cook the food, and 3) Freeze the food within 2-3 days. As the steps progress, I get more and more challenged. So, last night (or this morning) at midnight I realized I still needed to freeze a large bowl of baked sweet potatoes I had in the fridge. On my way to bed I stopped to diligently portion out the chunky potatoes into my cute freezer trays, only… they didn’t all fit. So, what to do with leftover baked sweet potatoes?
Bake muffins, of course! I adore muffins — they’re simple, easy, quick and cake-like without being cake. In baked goods, sweet potatoes are basically just sweet pumpkin, so I looked up “pumpkin muffin” recipes and chose one that looked easy and foolproof (it was midnight after all). I was delighted to find an old Gourmet magazine (Nov 2006) recipe written about on one of my favorite all-time blogs, Smitten Kitchen. (Aww, Gourmet… I could find that same magazine issue right now if I had to, lovingly tucked into one of my bookshelves). Continue reading →
I know, I know, this soup really doesn’t look like much. That’s what I think every time I make this, but it’s also why I’m always so surprised when I take my first bite. Mmm, yes, lentils are good. They make amazing soup that’s healthy, filling, budget-friendly and delicious.
I always struggle with lunches. When I worked in an office building I usually bought my lunch (I miss Chelsea Market so much!), and one of my favorite lunch stops was Hale and Hearty Soups. You can always count on a humble cup of soup to make an easy, satisfying lunch. At home I make large batches of soup so I can freeze the leftovers in single serving containers (and ice cube trays for Zoe) — a perfect lunch solution. Continue reading →
Have I mentioned how much I love simple, no-fuss cakes like this? I’ve had my eye on this Ina Garten Blueberry Crumb Cake recipe for years, and I finally got around to baking it for some friends. It’s simple yet elegant, equally as appropriate as a breakfast treat or as a dessert for a little get-together.
I was really surprised by the amount of crumb topping that gets piled onto this cake – it’s a legitimate, Jersey/New York-style crumb cake! With this crunchy, sweet crown, there’s no need for any embellishments after it’s baked. Just slice and serve. So easy. Continue reading →
If anyone should know that online recipes are fickle, fleeting and changing, it should be me. As a former online editor for several food websites, I know URLs are not permanent and access to favorite recipes is not guaranteed to last forever. So, that being said, I don’t know why I was so shocked when I did my normal google search for “my” banana bread recipe (actually an Emeril Lagasse recipe), the one I’ve been making for years, and it wasn’t where it was supposed to be. Did I copy and paste it somewhere, did I save a file of it, did I print it out? No. All I had to go on was my habitual google search and a URL I dug up that led to a 404 error page.
But, it turns out I remembered a few of the key ingredients: vegetable oil, brown sugar and sour cream. (All combine to give this banana bread the moist richness that I fell in love with the first time I made it.) Searching through all the “Emeril” banana bread recipes out there, I thankfully found my match.
So here it is! I’m posting it here for me as much as for you — I’m not going to let this one get away again.
I don’t know why this vegetarian chili recipe from the January 2003 issue of Bon Appétit magazine caught my attention, but I do remember making it right away for a Super Bowl party at my aunt and uncle’s house. I was a senior at Wash U, I thought maybe I wanted to be a chef, I was totally addicted to food magazines and espresso drinks, and I had never tasted polenta. Oh, and I made this chili for a group of enthusiastic meat eaters (myself included). I think it went over surprisingly well…or at least I remember being pretty impressed.
Since then I’ve made it over and over again, partly because it’s so darn easy and also healthy, but mostly because I really, really love it. Something about the cumin with the black beans and the spice all make perfect chili magic. You can make it with or without the espresso, make it as spicy or as mild as you like, serve it with all the toppings or by itself, and it’s always delicious.
The very best thing about this chili? I found out this week that Zoe loves it. Yes, score one for “mom meals”! I set a small saucepan on a separate burner while I was mixing this up and made her batch without any chili, espresso (heavens, I can’t even imagine!), and less salt. I pureed it a bit when it was cooked, and she gobbled it all down. Continue reading →
Mmm, cookies… I can’t get enough cookies lately. And I’m not going to call it a “pregnancy craving” because, truth be told, I always have and probably always will crave cookies. But now, at 36 weeks and 3 days pregnant, the combination of mild sleep deprivation, growing discomfort and anxious waiting (Is that a contraction!?) has rendered my willpower to resist any sweet completely non-existent. And happily, cookies and milk make everything in life seem a little more manageable; just a tad more enjoyable.
But, so I don’t go too overboard, I made up one simple cookie rule: No eating cookies unless I bake them myself. It’s fair enough, really… If I can muster the energy to mix up a batch of my own cookies and scrub the dishes afterwards (plus take a few blog-worthy pics as I polish my photography skills for soon-to-come baby), then I deserve a treat.
These plain little beauties don’t look like much, but let me tell you, they’re completely and utterly irresistible. They’re not gooey or chocolaty or overly sweet… They’re tender and toasty – pure comfort. And their diminutive size means you can eat more than one (which feels super indulgent) without really overdoing it. Best of all, they’re one of the easiest cookies you’ll ever make. Really. Just a few ingredients combine to make some serious cookie magic. Take it from the pregnant lady. Continue reading →
When Geoff says “chili,” I say “cornbread!” There’s nothing better with spicy, savory chili than a big hunk of soft, sweet cornbread. For our last game-day chili dinner, I went for a classic, no-frills cornbread, quick and simple.
I used to use box mixes to make cornbread all the time, but I don’t really know why, since recipes like this are pretty much just as easy as any mix would be. Even though I’m sure I’ll be experimenting with more embellished cornbreads in the future – sweeter, cheesier, cast-iron-baked – I’m glad to have this stand-by recipe in my back pocket, for days when I just want some cornbread, and fast!
And even after chili night is over, I love nibbling on cornbread topped with jam or honey for breakfast, an afternoon snack or even dessert. You just can’t go wrong. Continue reading →
I love stuffing (or “dressing,” as it’s technically called when cooked outside of a bird). It’s like a savory bread pudding, moist and tender on the inside with a crunchy, buttery top and nuggets of flavor tucked within. This time of year, when I’m flipping through turkey-focused food magazines and debating what recipes are going to make it onto my Thanksgiving menu, I always make a stuffing or two for weeknight dinners. Served with a big salad, or better yet, a roast chicken and a salad, it’s like having a mini-Thanksgiving starring my favorite dish. Devine! Continue reading →