Wednesday, April 27, 2011


Despite Syracuse being a nice mid-size city I find it lacking sometimes in the retail department.  I won't get into what clothing stores I wish we had (it's better for my wallet this way I suppose), but one store that we're lacking and we really shouldn't be is a Penzey's.  The closest one to us is in Buffalo and although that's not too far, I can't justify a three hour trip for some spices.  My grandparents however, were awesome enough to send me some goodies from there for Christmas.   

I was most excited to receive a bottle of orange extract.  I love fun extracts, they're a great way to jazz up any recipe.  My first foray into non-vanilla extract was with a lemon one.  It didn't take me long to use it up once I realized how great it is to add a hint of lemon to any recipe.  I've had this bottle of orange extract now for a couple of months and have yet to do something outstanding with it.  So, what better way to experiment with new flavors than with cookies, eh?!

I have two cookies to share with you.  The first is not so exciting, but oh so delicious: Chocolate chip cookies with a hint of orange.  I just used the recipe that was on the back of the chocolate chip bag, but substituted the vanilla extract with orange.  It adds just enough orange flavor to the cookie without overwhelming it.

The second cookie I have to share is a little more creative and also delicious.  I wanted to try a different pairing instead of the chocolate-orange combo so I pulled out my handy Flavor Bible to see what else goes well with orange and settled on cardamom. 

I decided to adapt a shortbread recipe that I had used before to fit my needs.  I replaced the lemon zest and extract with orange zest and orange extract and added 2 tsps of ground caradamom. 

I didn't really know how much cardamon to add to make sure that the flavor came through, but also wasn't too overpowering and it seems like 2 tsp was perfect.  Another tsp or so might still be pleasant and not too strong, though. Experiment and see!

These made a great afternoon cookie, perfect to eat with a nice cup of tea.


Friday, April 15, 2011

Eggs Bhona

I should probably just become the official spokesperson for Mark Bittman and all of his cookbooks because today I have another recipe from one of them to share with you.  It's not that his recipes are out of this world amazing that cause us to almost always look through his cookbooks first; but it's the fact that the recipes are almost always successful.  That and they make a great base recipe that you can expand and grow into something that makes your mouth water.

Some of you may know that I've left my "9-5" job to pursue some of my other passions and in doing so I've found I have a lot more free time on my hands, especially in the mornings.  It's great because breakfast is my favorite meal of the day and having to rush out the door at 6:30am meant I usually ended up at McDonalds (I know ick).  Now I have the time to make delicious cooked breakfasts and enjoy them with a fresh brewed, hot cup of coffee while my little cats run around playfully and the sun shines through the window (this is how I'm imagining it in my head because in reality the cat's are being terrors and 99% of the time it's raining here).

So... my recent breakfast of choice comes from Mark Bittmans Kitchen Express.  I think i've mentioned this before but this book is great because it's arranged seasonally and I can finally flip to the spring section!  Yay!  One of the first recipes in that section is for Eggs Bhona, which according to Mr. Bittman is a Bangladeshi take on eggs.  It's delish. It's full of protein, veggies, and a little spicy hotness to make sure you're wide awake.  AND it's fast, easy, and cheap, which are always important factors when making a meal.

Eggs Bhona
  • Eggs (however many you want.  Recipe calls for 8, we make 6)
  • Onion
  • Green pepper
  • Clove of garlic
  • Tumeric
  • Ground ginger
  • Red chili flakes
  • Salt
  • Bay leaf
  • Tomato Paste

Put a pot of water on the stove to boil.  Once it starts boiling add your eggs and let cook for 6 minutes (or less if you like runny yolks).

While your eggs cook chop up an onion and green pepper and saute them in a large pan with some olive oil.

Once they're softened add all the spices to your tastes.  I did a tsp of turmeric, ginger, salt, and a 1/2 tsp of chili flakes.  Also add the tomato paste and a cup of boiling water. 

At this point your eggs should be done, shell them and add them to the pan.  Cover and let cook for 5 minutes.  Voila!  This would be great served with some french bread.

Enjoy :)

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Ways to eat wimpies when you are a wimp -- A post by Steve

Who doesn't love wimpies, more commonly known as sloppy joes? Unfortunately, upon seeing the commercials in Manwich's recently derided ad campaign "It's Called a Manwich" ( I realized that I am not manly enough for the everyday sloppy joe. Plus, manwich is way sweet and kinda gross (

So, instead of making sloppyman musclesjoes, I must satisfy myself with wimpy tempeh wimpies:

Typically, to make these sandwiches, I mix up about a cup of barbecue sauce before hand. Just start with half a cup of ketchup, and then throw in whatever else you want:  cayenne pepper, red wine vinegar, red wine, white wine, dijon mustard, black pepper, Worstershire sauce, stuff that tastes good.

Dice up your block of tempeh real small, throw it in the mix, and let it sit around for a while (15-20 minutes?). Get a pan hot, put a lil olive oil down, and then I forget the rest.

Good luck!