Blog Archive

Friday, May 22, 2015

Season every layer...

To be honest, I never really had set measurements for this saute. I add the spices, tasting as I go until I'm satisfied. The other night, I actually attempted some measurements, and it turned out well. So if you're the kind of cook who absolutely needs measurements, try these out. Otherwise, do what I do and taste as you go.

Chicken,Tomato,Zucchini Saute


2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
1 large chicken breast, evenly cubed
2 medium zucchini, coined
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
3/4 tsp. salt, divided into thirds
3/4 tsp. garlic powder, divided into thirds
3/4 tsp. dried basil, divided into thirds
Pepper to taste
1 tsp. freshly grated lemon zest
3/4 cups Parmesan cheese, plus more for topping

Over medium heat, heat olive oil in a 10" frying pan/saute pan. Add chicken, seasoning with 1/4 tsp, salt, 1/4 tsp. garlic, and a 1/4 tsp. dried basil. Cook thoroughly, about 5 - 10 minutes, depending on the size of your chicken cubes.

Once chicken is done, remove from pan but leave the oil. Add zucchini and season with 1/4 tsp, salt, 1/4 tsp. garlic, and a 1/4 tsp. dried basil. Saute about 2 - 3 minutes, until zucchini is fork tender. Add tomatoes directly on top of the zucchini. Add remaining salt, garlic, and basil. 

Let the tomatoes become tender, about 1 - 2 minutes. Once the salt has been added, their juices will de-glaze the pan a bit, creating a small amount of liquid (which would make this dish serve well over angel hair or orzo pasta).

Add chicken and stir. Turn heat to low. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese over the saute and let melt for 3 - 5 minutes. Just before serving, sprinkle lemon zest over the top, as well as any additional cheese. 

Buon Appetito!  

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Maple Buttercream Frosting

This frosting is especially good over spice cake.

Maple Buttercream Frosting:

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
2 cups powdered sugar
1 Tbsp. skim milk
1 1/2 Tbsp. Maple Syrup
dash of salt

Frosts about 20 cupcakes

Friday, May 8, 2015

Mexican Mousse

At the risk of sounding a little politically incorrect, I call this one "Mexican Mousse". When you take a look at the ingredients, you'll see why: It's got avocado, chocolate, cinnamon and even a dash of "picante" cayenne. This one is sweet, and spicy, and reminds me of our neighbors just south of San Diego. With the cayenne, it's a bit too spicy for me, so I leave it out. But Aaron loves it with the spice, so I guess we'll just take turns. I don't know how to describe it. Just taste it. It's de-lish.

Mexican Mousse 


Central American Mousse


South American Mousse... because if I recall correctly, Mexico isn't the only place that uses spice to liven up their chocolate. 

4 very ripe (8-ounce) avocados,
peeled and pitted
1/3 cup unsweetened almond milk
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup agave
1 tablespoon + 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
3 tsp. cinnamon
dash of ground cloves
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper (optional)
handful of toasted hazelnuts (for garnish)

Puree avocados in a food processor or blender. Add remaining ingredients (except the hazelnuts) and blend until combined, scraping down the sides as needed.

Spoon evenly into 6 ramekins or other dessert dishes and let chill in the fridge for 3 hours or overnight.

Top with toasted hazelnuts and serve.


*Will keep in the fridge for up to two days.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Happy Derby Day!

While scrolling through the internet, searching for mother's day gifts, I came across one of Amazon's featured sales: "Brilliant Options for the Kentucky Derby", and I thought to myself, "oh, when is that?" Then I started googling "Kentucky Derby" and found the official website

This tradition is incredibly striking to me: It's a 141-year old event that still inspires "old school" class and polished manners. In an age where the importance on such things have been lessened, guests attend dressed in their Sunday Best and casually sip refreshing southern cocktails. In my mind, I picture refined men and women in stylized, yet tasteful, dress. I see women in large hats and men in seersucker suits, expensive handbags and sunglasses. I see the traditional, saturated colors of Churchill Downs: green and red. I can see the roses and lilies. I imagine the throngs of people, leisurely strolling the pathways, among the horses, red roses, and jockeys, sipping traditional Mint Juleps. It's a day that seems just elegant to me. 

Maybe what I'm picturing is a far cry from how things truly are on race day. Perhaps I'm only imagining how things may have been decades ago, when Churchill Downs was shiny and new. I think of so many arena events I've been to. They've been so glamorized, that I'm disappointed when I arrive to a dirty stadium, and then promptly get surrounded by rude spectators... granted all my arena events have been sporting events like baseball, basketball, and football... so... different crowd. But, horse racing may be different. It certainly seems so, from the little I've read. I wouldn't truly know because it's not something I grew up with. Maybe one day I'll get to go and see for myself what the Kentucky Derby's atmosphere is really like. For now, I'll enjoy my non-alcoholic mint juleps, sipping it on my patio on race day (which is always the first Saturday in May).


Ally's Mint Julep

2 cups sugar
2 cups water
8 fresh mint sprigs, plus extra for garnish
3/4 cup peach nectar
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
crushed ice
1/4 tsp. grenadine (optional)*

Combine sugar, water, and mint in medium saucepan and cook over medium heat until sugar dissolves, about five minutes. Let cool completely.

Combine the cooled simple syrup, peach nectar and apple cider vinegar. Stir to mix well.

Fill a glass with crushed ice, about 3/4 of the way full. Pour the liquid mixture over ice and garnish with mint sprigs.

*The apple cider vinegar and and peach nectar are essentially a substitute to the traditional bourbon. As such, there is a hint of burn at the bottom of your throat when you drink it. The grenadine is a great option to ease that sensation. I imagine kids would really appreciate that, too. :)