Wednesday, May 23, 2012

BLT Wraps and Cold Thai Noodle Salad

Since I live in Southern California and my commute to and from work is about 50 miles combined, that translates into about an hour and a half of drive time. During that time I can get quite a lot accomplished, whether I am figuring out what I am doing for the weekend, putting together a shopping list, going over my bills, but most likely I am trying to decide what is for dinner that night. Today wasn't a particularly hot day (low 80's) considering the last couple of days have been mid 90's and it's not even June yet :( But, even though it wasn't a scorcher I didn't feel like turning the oven on and heating up the house, that translated into the BLT wrap. 

Cream Cheese
Salt and Pepper to taste

Assemble and enjoy...yum :) 

So, the next question was what to eat with many thoughts went through my head: quinoa salad, steamed veggies, brown rice...none sounded very appealing. Pinterest to the rescue again. I made a cold thai noodle salad.

box of rice noodles (I used soba noodles)
1 cucumber
1 tomato
shredded carrots
toasted sesame seeds

1/3 cup rice vinegar
1/3 cup soy sauce
1 1/2 tsp sesame oil
juice from one lime
2 tbsp brown sugar
2 cloves minced garlic
red pepper flakes to taste

Julienne the cucumber, grate the carrot, de-seed then chop the tomato, chop the cilantro and toast the sesame seed. Place in a bowl and set aside. Since soba noodles only take about 4 minutes to cook I prepped and cut everything first.
Combine everything for the sauce and set aside. Boil the noodles then place under cold running water.  Make sure all the water is drained before you add to the veggies. 
Combine the veggies, noodles and dressing. You can refrigerate for about an hour or just eat right away (I clearly couldn't wait).

Monday, May 21, 2012

Chocolate Meringue Cupcakes


Alright, had to get that out there. Now, on with the recipe! So, my friend is a huge Giada De Laurentiis fan, she saw her making this recipe so we HAD to try it! The nice thing is that you have probably everything in your pantry already. (Always a plus with me when I am cooking/baking)


  • 2 large egg yolks, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips, melted (best to use double boiler)
  • 1/4 cup cake flour
  • 3 large egg whites, at room temperature


  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips, melted
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil


For the cupcakes: arrange an oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 24-count mini-muffin pan with 1.25-inch diameter paper liners and set aside. (we used regular sized cupcake pan/paper liners and it turned out fine.

In a medium bowl, using an electric hand mixer, beat the egg yolks, vegetable oil, 1/3 cup of the sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla extract, cinnamon, and salt, at high speed until smooth, about 2 minutes. Mix in the melted chocolate chips and stir until smooth (mixture will be thick).

In a separate bowl, using an electric hand mixer, beat the egg whites at high speed until they hold soft peaks, about 3 minutes. With the machine running, gradually add the remaining 1/3 cup sugar and continue to beat until the mixture holds stiff peaks, about 2 minutes. Stir 1/3 of the egg white mixture into the chocolate mixture. Using a spatula, fold the remaining egg white mixture. In batches, sift the flour over the batter and fold it in using a spatula. Fill each paper liner to the top with batter and bake for 12 minutes until puffed. Remove from the oven and let cool for 15 minutes.
For the topping: In a small bowl, combine the melted chocolate chips and oil. Stir until smooth.
Using a fork, drizzle the chocolate mixture over the cupcakes. 
 I ate them both warm and doesn't matter, these beats are amazing. I almost feel like Dr. Seuss, I will eat them cold, I will eat them warm, I will eat them here, I will eat them there, I will eat them anywhere LOL.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012


Raise your hand if you like macaroni and cheese! It is definitely a nostalgic food, taking you back to the blue box days, but it is all grown up now! Especially if you are in New York, you HAVE to stop by S'Mac. This is yet another place I found by watching The Food Network, this time however I was watching "The Best Thing I Ever Ate" and it was comfort foods edition.

 The macaroni and cheese here comes served in a cute individual cast iron skillet. Hey, you gotta eat with your eyes first, right? And when you have bubbly cheesey goodness sitting right in front of you, how can you resist?

Since it was our first time we had to try them all, thankfully they had a sampler platter that even came with a cute little legend that you put in front of the skillet so you know what you are eating...genious!
You can't really see it, but the sampler came with:
La Mancha: A taste of Spain right at your fingertips! Flavorful Manchego cheese accented by fresh fennel and onions.
Parisienne: Mac-n-Cheese for the "upper crust". Creamy Brie, roasted figs, roasted shiitake mushrooms & fresh rosemary
Napoletana: Like Neapolitan Pizza? Then you'll love this! Fresh Mozzarella, roasted tomatoes, roasted garlic, and fresh basil.
All American: Just the way you remember it as a kid! Nostalgia at its finest - a tasty blend of American & Cheddar cheeses.
Cheeseburger: For the Hearty Meat Eater! Cheddar and American cheeses combined with seasoned Ground Beef.
4 Cheese: Our four cheese delight! Cheddar, Muenster, Gruyere and a touch of Pecorino.
 Cajun: If you are looking for some kick, here it is. Cheddar & Pepper Jack cheeses, andouille sausage, green pepper, onions, celery, garlic and, of course, some genuine Cajun seasoning.
Alpine: A Swiss Mac that keeps you coming back for more. Gruyere coupled with its partner in crime, slab bacon.

We also ordered a small order of the Buffalo Chicken: Cheddar & American cheeses with boneless chicken pieces and buffalo wing sauce. We’ll even top it off with crumbled blue cheese if you’d like!

Next time I go (because I will definitely be going back) I will keep it simple and probably just order the 4 cheese.

Creamy Garlic Pasta

I'm not sure why it took so long for me to join the revolution that is pinterest, nonetheless I have joined, I love it, I might be slightly obsessed, but who cares.  It is awesome the way we can share ideas this way. This post happens to be about my first pinterest recipe success :) I am sure there will be some failures too, which I will gladly share as well haha!

I (along with many others I'm sure) grew up on rice-a-roni, pasta-roni, etc.  There is nothing wrong with that, I turned out just fine, but I now realize how homemade and fresh ingredients make you feel so much better and are better for you too. That being said, this recipe tastes EXACTLY like pasta-roni!! I just added some rotisserie chicken for the protein factor and voila, you have a meal. I should have steamed some veggies that would have added nicely too, maybe you can try that.

2 tsp olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp butter
¼  tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
3 cups chicken stock
½ lb spaghetti or angel hair pasta
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
¾ cup heavy cream (I just used 1% milk to make it a little healthier)
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
add chicken or veggies to make it a complete meal

In a pot, bring the olive oil to medium-low heat. Add the garlic and stir, allowing it to cook for 1-2 minutes. Mix in the butter until melted. Add the salt, pepper and chicken stock. Raise the heat to high and let it come to a boil. 
Once it is at a rolling boil, add the pasta and cook for as long as the box’s directions indicate. Reduce the stove to medium heat and mix in the parmesan until completely melted. Turn off the heat and stir in the cream and parsley. Serve immediately

Monday, May 14, 2012

Levain Bakery Copycat Cookies

If you only eat one chocolate chip cookie for the rest of your life, this HAS to be it!

A few years back I was watching Bobby Flay's Throwdown (yes I love him, and yes in my spare time I watch the Food Network) well, he was featuring Levain Bakery and I have been hooked ever since. I have been to New York twice since then and have to make that stop every time I go! Sadly, they do not have their recipes available, but through much time browsing through several recipes I think I found the one!

Without further delay, here is how you make these amazing creatures!

8 oz COLD (that is the key) butter cut into small cubes
3/4 cup of granulated sugar
3/4 cup of packed light brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs
3 cups all purpose flour
3/4 tsp sea salt
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
12 oz chocolate chips
1 cup walnuts (optional...sometimes I use them and sometimes I dont)

If you are going to use the dough right away preheat the oven to 365.  I recommend to refrigerate the dough for at least 2 hours, you can refrigerate overnight too. Although, with all of that goodness in a bowl waiting to become these beasts of a cookie, it won't be easy.
In a mixing bowl, beat butter, granulated, and brown sugar until just combined.  With each step remember to not overmix.  Add the egg and vanilla to the butter/sugar mixture and beat, set aside.  In a smaller bowl sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add the flour mixture a little bit at a time to the wet ingredients until just blended. It may be a thick, almost crumbly batter, it is ok. When everything is well incorporated you can stir in the chocolate chips and walnuts.

Divide the batter into 12 4oz balls.  Do not press them flat. If you do not have a food scale, think about making them into GIANT golf balls. After I form the cookie balls I will put them back into the bowl and into the fridge for a couple of hours.
When you are ready to bake them, preheat the oven to 365 and place the balls on an ungreased cookie sheet, I used a silpat. If your batter makes more than 12 cookie balls just put the bowl back in the fridge until you put in the second batch. Bake for 18-22 minutes, check on them and when they start to get golden brown take them out. You may not think they are done in the middle, but just let them sit for a few minutes and you will be in heaven!!