Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Jalapeno Peach Chimichurri

Summer is in the air and the last thing I want to do is be stuck cooking inside! Luckily, we have had some great weekend getaways lately, one of which was to my old stomping grounds in Napa to visit my friend Deryn and her husband David. The weather was perfect for grilling and enjoying wine and appetizers on the patio. One evening Deryn made a quick chimichurri for dipping bread in and it was so delicious that we just had to recreate it it at home.

Chimichurri is a blend of olive oil, vinegar, garlic and fresh herbs (traditionally parsley) that is used as a sauce for grilled meats in Argentina and other parts of South America. Deryn mixed things up by using cilantro and balsamic vinegar.  Plus she has this cool bowl that has a rough bottom that you rub the garlic on, rather than mincing it. Must. Get. This. Bowl.

When Kevin and I made our version at home, we used jalapeno olive oil and peach balsamic vinegar to give it a sweet and spicy kick. Use this recipe as a starting point for your own flavor combinations. The possibilities are endless!


1 cup torn cilantro leaves, stems removed
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup jalapeno olive oil (or any other flavor olive oil)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil  (or use 1/2 cup if not using a flavored one)
1/4 cup peach balsamic vinegar (or any flavor vinegar)
salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl.

Serve with some sliced bread for a quick appetizer, or along side your main course.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Garden Fresh Glazed Orange Bread

Kevin was recently visiting a friend with an orange tree in their backyard and came home with a bag FULL of them. After a few days of peeling and juicing as many as I could, I decided it was time to start baking :). After recipe searching and ingredient inventorying, I decided on a glazed orange bread recipe, adapted from this one at Simple Recipes. I omitted the raisins, added vanilla (because I can't imagine baking without it), and used only orange juice in the glaze. The result was a bright, citrus-infused bread that could be enjoyed just easily with breakfast as it could an afternoon snack. I would know, I had it for both. I felt it my duty to do my research for our readers.  Plus, it was a Saturday. That's my story and I'm stickin' to it!

If you have ever found yourself with a bag full of oranges (or any citrus, really) please let me know if you have any other ways to use them up. Have a wonderful weekend!


1/3 cup butter
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 Tbsp orange zest (I zested 2 small oranges)
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 cup plain yogurt (I used non-fat and it worked great!)

2 Tbsp* orange juice
3 Tbsp* powdered sugar
*measurements are approximate, I just kept adding a little of each until I got the right consistency and flavor. Mine was much thinner than the one in the Simple Recipes one, which is what I was looking for.


Preheat oven to 350F and butter your loaf pan well.
With a hand mixer (you could use a stand one if you have it) beat the butter until fluffy. Add the sugar and beat for 2 minutes until creamy, then add your eggs one at a time, beating until completely incorporated. Add your orange zest and vanilla, set aside.

In a separate bowl, whisk flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.

Alternate adding the yogurt and dry ingredients by thirds to the wet ingredients, mixing on low until all ingredients have been added. Pour your batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake on the middle rack for 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean (mine took 55 minutes).

Cool on a rack for 5-10 minutes. While the bread is cooling, prepare the glaze by just whisking together the juice and sugar until there are no lumps.

Use a toothpick to poke a few holes in the top and drizzle the glaze on top. Slice and serve! 

Monday, May 21, 2012

S'more and Oreo S'mash-up

S'mores have always held a top spot on my list of favorite desserts, so it's no wonder that when my friend Claire and I decided to bake together, my recipe collection had a lot of options based on these spectacular bites of goodness. We chose this recipe and headed to the market to get the ingredients. While grabbing the graham crackers, Claire spotted Oreos on the shelf above and had the GENIUS idea to add them to the recipe. We weren't exactly sure how they would be worked in until the last few minutes, but the final creation was 100% decadent deliciousness. Crunchy from the graham cracker and the Oreos. Ooey-gooey from the marshmallows and and melted chocolate. I'll warn you, they are a little messy- but soooo worth the crumbs!


9 whole graham crackers 
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 stick butter (1/2 cup), melted
2 king-size Hershey bars
12 large marshmallows
12 Oreo cookies


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place graham crackers in a large Ziploc bag and crush into crumbs. Combine crumbs with powdered sugar and melted butter.  Mix well. 

Spoon mixture evenly into a (12) muffin tin, pressing firmly on the bottom and up the sides. Bake for 5-6 minutes, until lightly golden brown. 

Place a square of chocolate in the bottom of each cup and top with a marshmallow. Place back in oven for 2-3 minutes, until marshmallows are slightly softened. 

Meanwhile, melt the remaining chocolate and spoon over each marshmallow. Top with an Oreo and press down to flatten the marshmallow, as if you are making a s'more.

Let cool for 30 minutes, and carefully remove from the pan. Get your napkins ready and enjoy!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Matilda Style Belgian Ale

Ok, we have kept you waiting long enough.... it is time for our first post on (drum roll please)... 


Over the past 18 months we have brewed nearly a dozen batches of beer. We'll get to some of the earlier brews soon, but for now, the spotlight is on our newest creation: "Matilda Anderson," named after one of our favorites, Goose Island's Matilda, and our friend, Tim. Both Matildas are a Belgian Pale Ale, slightly fruity and a little spicy. It is a crowd favorite. This weekend, we are hosting the tapping party, where friends will enjoy the first sips fresh from the keg. If our friends at The Lederman Kitchen  are lucky, we'll sneak some across the pond.

And now for the star of the show...


1 1/2 lbs Moris Oter Grain
1/2 lb 10-13 Grain
7 lbs malt extract
1oz Styrian golding hops (at 60 mins)
2oz Saaz hops (1oz each at 30 min and 15 min)
Belgian Golden Yeast

Boiling the grain to make the wort.

Adding the malt extract.

Pouring into primary fermenter.

The beer is then transfered to the secondary fermenter, where it stays for 3 weeks, the we transferred to the keg (or you could bottle).


Thursday, May 3, 2012

Butternut Squash Quesadillas

On a recent dinner out with some friends I went to a local vegan restaurant, Gracias Madre. If you are in San Francisco, you should definitely check it out. I promise you will not miss the meat or cheese (double promise!!). They are known for a number of their dishes, but the one that stood out was the butternut squash quesadilla. I noticed it being made in the open kitchen as we walked by to be seated and was immediately sold.  When the plate hit the table, it did not disappoint. Fast forward a few weeks and I was searching the internet trying to find their recipe so I could recreate them and curb my craving. No such luck. This recipe is under lock and key! So, I had to do the unthinkable... I had to create a recipe from scratch. Being a baker, this is typically not my thing. After a few tries (2, to be exact) and a very willing taste-tester, I have what I think is very good, albeit non-vegan, replica.


1 butternut squash, peeled and cubed (rinse and set the seeds aside)
1 shallot sliced thin
1Tbsp olive oil
2 brown rice tortillas (or any tortillas you want)
cotija cheese, crumbled


Peel and cube the squash, reserving the seeds. Place the squash in a pot of salted water, bring to a boil, and let cook until fork tender. While the squash is boiling, clean the seeds and place in a dry pan. Roast over medium heat until lightly toasted and golden brown. (I forgot to take a picture of the seeds.)

In another pan, saute the olive oil and shallots until they are soft and translucent, about 7 minutes.

When the squash is done, drain (make sure to shake the colander and get all the water off) and put back in the pot. add the shallots, salt and pepper, and mash with a whisk until it is smooth. (I used an immersion blender the second time and it made it too liquidy.)
Heat a skillet or a second pan with some non-stick spray. Add 1 tortilla, filling one-half of it with the squash mixture, then folding it over. Cook on both sides until golden brown.

Garnish with cheese, cilantro, roasted seeds and a squeeze of lime.