Sunday, December 26, 2010

tres leches cake

Hope everyone who celebrates had a fabulous christmas, and everyone else is having a fabulous weekend!

our christmas dinner was amazing, and featured our family's traditional christmas enchiladas, brownies and blondies made by my very talented aunt, tamales, and homemade fruitcake. what we really need to talk about, though, is the tres leches cake.

unfortunately, i forgot to take pictures on christmas, and the cake, while still delicious, is a bit mangled from being stuffed in a tupperware in our very crowded fridge. so i borrowed the above image from myrecipes, but you should really look at Ree's (the pioneer woman) photos too.

Tres Leches Cake, from


  • 1 cup All-purpose Flour
  • 1-½ teaspoon Baking Powder
  • ¼ teaspoons Salt
  • 5 whole Eggs
  • 1 cup Sugar, Divided
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla
  • ⅓ cups Milk
  • 1 can Evaporated Milk
  • 1 can Sweetened, Condensed Milk
  • ¼ cups Heavy Cream
  • _____
  • 1 pint Heavy Cream, For Whipping
  • 3 Tablespoons Sugar

Preparation Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9 x 13 inch pan liberally until coated.

Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Separate eggs.

Beat egg yolks with 3/4 cup sugar on high speed until yolks are pale yellow. Stir in milk and vanilla. Pour egg yolk mixture over the flour mixture and stir very gently until combined.

Beat egg whites on high speed until soft peaks form. With the mixer on, pour in remaining 1/4 cup sugar and beat until egg whites are stiff but not dry.

Fold egg white mixture into the batter very gently until just combined. Pour into prepared pan and spread to even out the surface.

Bake for 35 to 45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Turn cake out onto a rimmed platter and allow to cool.

Combine condensed milk, evaporated milk, and heavy cream in a small pitcher. When cake is cool, pierce the surface with a fork several times. Slowly drizzle all but about 1 cup of the milk mixture—try to get as much around the edges of the cake as you can.

Allow the cake to absorb the milk mixture for 30 minutes. To ice the cake, whip 1 pint heavy cream with 3 tablespoons of sugar until thick and spreadable.
Spread over the surface of the cake. Decorate cake with whole or chopped maraschino cherries. Cut into squares and serve.


Monday, December 20, 2010

quick [sausage and] mushroom lasagna

rita found this recipe and made the trek up to trader joe's a few weeks ago (i know! we're super behind on blogging! to be honest, we've been super lazy with cooking lately. its also finals, so chocolate has become a major food group for me) so that we could have a nice home-cooked meal.
we used this recipe from bon appetit,
but left out the sausage. we also halved it, which should have been 4-5 servings, but ended up finishing it between 3 of us (although, in our defense, it was the only component of our meal).

yield: Makes 8 to 10 servings

active time: 35 minutes

total time: 1 hour

If possible, use flat no-cook lasagna noodles: They look and taste more like homemade than the curly kind.
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 8-ounce packages sliced crimini (baby bella) mushrooms
  • 1 large onion, chopped (about 2 cups)
  • 2 tablespoons dried Italian seasoning blend
  • 1 pound hot Italian sausages, casings removed
  • 3 garlic cloves, pressed
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • 4 2/3 cups marinara sauce (from two 26-ounce jars)
  • 1 9-ounce package no-cook lasagna noodles
  • 1 15-ounce container ricotta cheese
  • 2 8-ounce bags Italian blend grated cheese (4 cups)


Preheat oven to 400°F. Heat oil in heavy large pot over high heat. Add mushrooms, onion, and seasoning blend; sauté until vegetables begin to soften, about 6 minutes. Add sausage and sautéuntil brown and cooked through, breaking up with back of spoon, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and stir 1 minute. Add wine; cook until almost all liquid evaporates, scraping up browned bits, about 2 minutes. Set aside.

Spread 2/3 cup marinara sauce over bottom of 13x9x2-inch baking dish. Place noodles (about 4) over sauce, forming 1 layer (noodles may overlap slightly). Spread 1 cup sauce over noodles. Top with 1/3 of ricotta, then 1 cup grated cheese. Spoon 1/3 of sausage mixture over. Repeat 2 more times with noodles, sauce, ricotta, grated cheese, and sausage mixture. Cover with 4 more noodles. Spoon remaining 1 cup sauce over; sprinkle remaining 1 cup grated cheese over. Cover with foil, tenting in center to prevent cheese from touching foil. Bake lasagna 45 minutes; remove foil. Bake until bubbling at edges and cheese is browned, about 10 minutes longer. Let stand 15 minutes.


Friday, December 17, 2010

potato and cauliflower curry

chopped and roasted potato (drizzled with oil) in the oven for about 30 min at 350 degrees F. Then I sauteed some cauliflower, defrosted some frozen peas, and added a premade curry sauce. served everything over whole wheat couscous.

my brain is dead from finals right now, so that's all the writing you're getting from me. this is, however, a fantastic finals meal because you don't have to think too much about it or walk out to your local indian place in the freezing cold, but its super delicious.


Wednesday, December 15, 2010


pastrami sandwich from mendy's deli. it was an intense experience.


Saturday, December 4, 2010

kimchee grilled cheese

the other day, rita came home with a tub of kimchee. "i read about some shop where they make kimchee grilled cheese. we should have it tonight", she told me. so i stopped at gristede's on the way home because, in a rare moment in chez twin history, we had no cheese in the fridge. after staring at the variety of cheeses for way too long, i decided swiss was the way to go.

it was a good decision.

this is pretty self explanatory...the recipe is basically in the title. just make grilled cheese as you usually would (i like wheat bread and 2 slices of cheese. grilled in butter or earth balance), but spread a spoonful of kimchee on one of your bread slices. like i said, swiss was good, but you could experiment with other cheeses too. and taste the kimchee before you put it on the bread to see how spicy it is, because you don't want to end up with a too spicy sandwich.


Sunday, November 28, 2010

Sweet Potato Casserole with Marshmallows

Our family has a pretty traditional thanksgiving dinner, yet somehow (I blame our mom and her health food obsession), we never had a sweet potato and marshmallow casserole. Lola finally had one last year and she's been talking about how amazing it was ever since. So there was a lot of build up to my first sweet potato marshmallow casserole (which we had for dinner a couple days before thanksgiving), but it lived up to the hype. It was all I had dreamed of and more.
Sweet Potato and Marshmallow Casserole recipe from
Serves 8
*8 sweet potatoes
*1/2 cup hot milk
*1/2 teaspoon salt
*1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
*1/2 pound marshmallows
mash potatoes, add spices, butter, and milk, mix. Fold in nuts and put the mixture in a buttered baking dish. Put the marshmallows on top. Bake at 350 degrees until golden brown.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

my favorite falafel restaurants

happy thanksgiving! hope everyone has a fantastic day and meal tomorrow! while plans for thanksgiving are not completely finalized, i will be making a sweet potato casserole with marshmallows tonight. not for thanksgiving, but for dinner tonight. rita's never had one and she wants to try it just in case her thanksgiving meal doesn't include it.

on a completely unrelated note, lets talk about falafel.

falafel is one of my favorite foods, and i'm lucky to live in a city where you can get it on almost any block at any time of day. so what are my favorite falafel spots? glad you asked!

maoz vegetarian is a chain with locations in the us and europe. in downtown new york, there's one at union square and one on west eighth street. at $5 a sandwich, maoz is a little pricier than i usually like to pay for my falafel, but you also get free access to whatever salad bar fixings you can stuff in your sandwich. or you can get a salad box to fill for about $9. the salad bar is always fresh, and the falafel is nice and crispy. plus, they have awesome sweet potato fries.

mamoun's is one of my favorite restaurants in new york. there are two locations, one in the west village on macdougal, and one in the east village on st. mark's. the falafel sandwich is $2.50 and is fantastic. they have a ton of other stuff on their menu too, none of which i've ever had because i always get falafel. be sure to use their spicy sauce, but not too much (i've made that mistake. it was painful).

the hummus place another chain, with three locations in downtown new york: 2 in the west village, and one on st. mark's. i highly recommend the falafel (which comes as an appetizer, not in a sandwich), the stuffed grape leaves, the mushroom hummus, and the Mediterranean mojito. the macdougal street location is tiny, but all three have a great atmosphere, nice enough that you feel you're having a good meal out (not just grabbing lunch between classes), but still causal and cozy.

new yorkers, any great places i have to try? and non-new yorkers, what is one food you could eat everyday? also, for everyone, any thanksgiving plans?


Sunday, November 21, 2010

chai french toast

we really like french toast. we also really like chai. so when we saw chai mix at trader joe's next to a sign that said, "great in french toast batter!" we knew it was meant to be.

we used the remains of a stale baguette for the toast and 2 eggs, beaten, and about 1/3 cup soymilk for the batter. we mixed in trader joe's chai latte mix to the batter too. you can find Oregon brand chai mix at a lot of stores, but you could probably also use chai spice plus sugar.

we heated butter in a pan, dipped our toast, and fried until golden brown, about 3 minutes on each side. it was still a little chewy in the middle, so we should have cut the bread thinner. we topped with a drizzle of syrup and some pomegranate seeds. delicious!


Thursday, November 18, 2010

pumpkin cream pasta

We had some leftover heavy cream from the butternut squash gratin, so I decided to mix it with pumpkin to make a pasta sauce. It was very good, although it needed some salt, which we were out of when I made it.
Pumpkin Cream Pasta
serves 1
-1 serving (about 1/4 cup) of penne pasta
-handful of frozen peas
-pumpkin puree
-heavy cream
-about 2 teaspoons fresh sage
-salt and pepper
cook the pasta, adding in the peas about 2 minutes before it's done to thaw them. Drain. In a pan over low heat, combine the pumpkin puree and heavy cream at about a 1:1 ratio, then add more of either one to taste. Add sage, salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the pasta and peas and serve.
p.s someone asked where we got the oatmeal muffin mix earlier, it's from Whole Foods

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

couscous breakfast

i decided to try something wacky for breakfast the other day.
first, i roasted chickpeas in some sugar, cinnamon, and cocoa powder for about 40 minutes at 350. they didn't turn out as crunchy as i'd hoped...maybe i should have added some oil or cooked them for longer? they also didn't really taste like cinnamon or cocoa, but they did taste sweet.

in the morning, i cooked 1/4 cup couscous in 1/4 cup cranberry apple juice. i then mixed this with yogurt, and topped with the chickpeas, frozen strawberries, a small scoop of peanut butter, and a small handful of bran flakes.

it turned out really good! i loved the couscous with the juice and the yogurt. next time, i'd probably make more couscous and eliminate the chickpeas.


Monday, November 15, 2010

in which we eat a lot of brie

we have some exciting news here at chez twin: rita will be studying abroad in paris next semester! we've already planned her new tres chic wardrobe (quirky librarian meets audrey hepburn. it will involve lots of striped shirts, of course), and this weekend, we decided to have a french-inspired dinner.

arugula with pomegranate seeds, pecans, and vinaigrette

roast tomatoes (sprinkle with salt and pepper, roast at 350 for about half an hour, then broil for 5 minutes. let cool slightly before eating) and baguette with brie.

we should have had wine too, but neither of us like wine, so we had a mix of lime sparkly water and cranberry apple juice.

and of course, we had music to set the mood.

we're already planning an irish themed dinner for me (i'm hopefully studying abroad in dublin this summer) next week. it probably won't be nearly as classy as the french meal, but that's ok with me.

question time! you get to leave tomorrow for a vacation in any country in the world. where are you going?


Friday, November 12, 2010

butternut-pecan pasta and salad

perhaps you were inspired by our culinary feats and decided to make the casserole from our last post. like us, you probably had a lot of ingredients left over. are you wondering what to do with them? well, wonder no more, my friends!

how about pasta?we made a sauce by melting feta in heavy cream, then added whole wheat pasta, roasted butternut squash, and some greens (which totally cancels out any negative health effects of the cheese+cream sauce. trust me, i'm a nutrition minor). we stirred it all together and topped with pecans.

or maybe you'd prefer a salad?
greens+roasted butternut squash+feta+pecans+vinaigrette=delicious.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

butternut squash, pecan and goat cheese gratin

Autumn is my favorite season in New York. The weather's perfect, it has halloween and thanksgiving (two of my favorite holidays), Starbucks breaks out their winter cups, and most importantly all of my favorite foods are in season. This recipe uses one of those food, butternut squash, and is also the perfect warm, comforting dish for autumn weather.
Butternut squash, hazelnut and goat cheese gratin from Bon Appetit
makes 8-10 servings as a side dish, 4-6 as a main dish

2 tablespoons olive oil
*coarse kosher salt (we used regular salt stolen from the dining hall)
*4 tablespoons butter, divided
*3 Cups sliced leeks
*1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage
*1 1.5 oz log soft goat cheese
*1 cup heavy whipping cream
*1/2 cup hazelnuts, toasted and chopped (we used pecans because we couldn't find any hazelnuts at the store)
*3 1/2 lb butternut squash (about 2 medium), peeled, seeded, cut into cubes
Preheat oven to 400 degrees farenheit. Combine squash and oil in a bowl, sprinkle with salt and pepper, toss. Spread on baking sheet, roast for 35 minutes.
Melt 3 tablespoons butter in a pan, add sliced leeks and sage, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Saute until tender but not brown, about 15 minutes.
Coat dish with 1 tablespoon butter. Put half of the leek mixture in it, then half of the squash mixture, then half of the cheese. Continue layering in this manner until you run out.
Preheat oven to 375. Pour cream over the casserole, sprinkle with nuts, and bake for about 30 minutes uncovered.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

momofuku milk bar!

last weekend, my mom was in town. we took long walks around the city, went to the museum of natural history, had a celebrity sighting (tracy morgan!), went to a concert (the dandy warhols. they were fantastic) and explored thrift stores in brooklyn. she took lots of pictures of said events. the only two pictures i have from the weekend?

grasshopper pie

candy bar pie
both from momofuku milk bar.
clearly, i have the right priorities.

Monday, November 1, 2010

couscous and carrot salad

first of all...

almost as exciting?
my lunch the other day(not really actually. giants winning their first world series in san fran was much more exciting. but i really was quite excited about this lunch).

couscous and carrot salad
for the carrots:
mix shredded carrots with cinnamon, olive oil, and lightly chopped parsley. stir (or shake in a tupperware) until combined. taste and adjust seasonings if desired.

for the couscous:
cook couscous according to package directions (i use whole wheat couscous, 1/4 cup per serving). i added a sprinkle of Penzey's rogan josh seasoning, which is paprika, garlic, ginger, cumin, coriander, black pepper, cayenne pepper, cinnamon, cloves, and saffron. i love spice mixes because its not practical to buy a whole bunch of different spices when you live in a dorm.

saute some onion slices in olive oil and rinse and drain a can of chickpeas. stir onions and chickpeas into cooked couscous (i use about 1/3 to 1/2 of an onion and 1/3 a can of chickpeas for one serving). add some crumbled feta too.

top with sriracha or other hot sauce, a handful of carrot salad, and a spoonful of plain yogurt.

et voila! a delicious, nutritious meal!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

happy halloween!

i've been nagging rita all week to do a post on a delicious couscous salad we made earlier, but she's being lazy and so am i. so, for now, enjoy this song and have a very happy halloween!


Monday, October 25, 2010

cinnamon sugar pita chips

yo! how was everyone's weekend?

mine involved lots of homework and studying for midterms, seeing the giants win (we're going to the world series!!!), my first legal drink at a bar (happy 21st to my sister rita too!), and delicious chocolate pudding pie and cookie dough cupcakes baked by my friend (i took pictures but they're on my phone and i didn't properly download the necessary software to get them onto my computer. but the cupcakes were lovely, believe me).

anyhoo, onto the chips...

i love when simple things like this turn out amazing. all you need is some leftover pita, cinnamon, sugar, and oil and you're on your way to a crazy addictive snack.

note the one perfect looking chip off to the side.

cinnamon sugar pita chips
*1 whole wheat pita
*2 teaspoons cinnamon
*about 3/4 of a packet of sugar
*canola oil

preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
separate pita into two flat, round halves. rip or cut into triangular pieces.
spread pita pieces onto a cookie sheet. drizzle with a small amount of oil and toss, so that each chip has some oil on it but is not completely coated. sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar--again, each chip should have some but not be coated.
bake for about 20 minutes, or until crispy, flipping chips over halfway through.

eat plain or with peanut butter. i bet they'd be good with yogurt too.


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

breakfast quinoa

rita and i recently purchased a bag of quinoa, which we had been keeping in a drawer in the kitchen, until i learned that quinoa is actually a seed, not a grain, and should be refrigerated.

unfortunately, our fridge is approximately the size of a small dog (i have no idea where that comparison came from, but now that its in my head i have a mental block and can't think of anything else that's the same size), and we had no room for quinoa. which meant we were forced to eat delicious things like this: cooked quinoa, heated up in a splash of milk, mixed with a big scoop of pumpkin and a sprinkle of pumpkin pie spice and half a packet of equal (not because i have any preference for equal. i just happened to grab it at the coffee shop). topped with almond butter.

cooked quinoa, heated up in soy milk, mixed with raisins and cinnamon and topped with syrup (trader joe's maple/agave blend) and almond butter.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Cheddar Squash Muffins/Bread

Me and Lola are both huge fans of muffins. And rightly so; they are amazing. The only bad thing about muffins is that you can't eat them for dinner. Well, no more!
we don't have a muffin tin so we made these as bread. They were delicious, although I suspect they would be even better if made as muffins (true fact: everything is better if it's muffin-shaped). we ate them with some tomato soup and they were great crumbled on top of the soup.

Chedder Squash Muffins
recipe from Glamour, makes 12 muffins (or one 8x8 pan of bread)
*2 eggs
*1/2 cup water
*1 cup roasted squash, mashed (we used acorn squash)
*1 one-lb box oatmeal muffin mix
*1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
*1/4 cup chopped scallions
in a bowl, add eggs, water, and roasted squash. whisk in muffin mix. cheese, and scallions. spoon batter inot baking cups of two 6-cup muffin tins or an 8x8 baking dish and bake in oven at 400 degrees farenheit for 15 to 20 minutes


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


just wanted to pop in to tell you this important fact: trader joe's white bean and basil hummus is amazing!
that's all.

Sunday, October 10, 2010


i have no idea if how i made my migas is authentically mexican [edit: just wikipedia-ed it. migas are tex mex, not mexican]. in fact, i don't really know much about migas at all. i learned to make them at the jewish community center when i was in 3rd grade, and this is the first time i've made them since. somewhere, i have a notebook from then, with the recipe written out in pink gel pen and titled "hella good chip things". whatever you want to call these, they're delicious.for one serving, i used:
*2 corn tortillas
*2 stalks (is that what they're called?) green onions, sliced
*2 eggs
*1 handful shredded cheddar and jack cheese
*1/2 an avocado, chopped
and some canola oil.
first, heat your oil in a pan. use enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan. cut your tortillas into sixths, and place the pieces in the pan. fry until tortillas are just starting to get crispy.
next, add your eggs and green onions. stir occasionally until eggs are scrambled. at the end, stir in cheese and cook for about 30 seconds more. top with avocado and serve with hot sauce or salsa (i used sriracha, of course).

Saturday, October 9, 2010

bbq tofu sandwiches

rita and i have both become hermits this weekend. i caught a bad flu, and have now given it to her. we're both treating it with lots of duane reade nyquil knockoff, way too much grey's anatomy and my so-called life, and plenty of sleep.

despite this, we have managed to cook some very tasty dishes, which i promise we'll post about soon. i also went over to a friend's apartment the other night and helped her make butternut squash ravioli with hazelnut butter sauce (by "helped" i mean i rolled out the dough with a budweiser can. classy). so good! i wish i had a picture for you guys.

anyhoo, here's a not so exciting (or photogenic) but still yummy meal:
we just fried some tofu in oil, then served it in a sandwich with bbq sauce and sliced tomato. we also had un-photographed sweet potato fries on the side. with more bbq sauce, of course. you can never have enough.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

cheese enchiladas with mango salsa

this post is dedicated to our mom, who taught us (among many other important things) how to make enchiladas. happy birthday mom!
for the enchiladas, you'll need small tortillas (flour or corn), enchilada sauce, grated cheese (we buy the pre-grated mexican blend. you could also use cheddar and jack), and onions. you could also add black olives and jalapenos if you want. we forgot to buy jalapenos, so we added some hot sauce to the enchiladas.

first, make the filling by mixing cheese, diced onion, and olives and jalapenos if you have them.

next, dip your tortillas in enchilada sauce and fry them for about 3 minutes each, until they're just getting crispy. place tortillas in a baking dish, plop a spoonful of filling in each one, and roll up. keep going until your baking dish is full-you can pack your enchiladas pretty tightly. if you have extra filling, sprinkle it on top of the enchiladas and top with a little more sauce.

bake at 375 for 20 to 30 minutes, or until tortillas are crispy and cheese is melted.
for the salsa, i started with this recipe, but just copied the ingredient list and used the quantities i felt like using.
*1 ripe mango, peeled and chopped
*1 red bell pepper, chopped
*juice of 2 limes, or to taste
*4 stalks green onion, chopped
*2 teaspoons olive oil
combine all ingredients in a bowl and stir.
recommended cooking music:

(actually i was listening to taylor swift while cooking, but rita hates taylor swift. we're listening to this song as a type this post.)
and for my mom:

its her song.
i promise i will get over the novelty and stop embedding videos soon. but not yet =)

Friday, October 1, 2010

quinoa with roasted vegetables and cashews

sorry to have abandoned you for a week! in my defense, i have been super busy. this week i:

*got a new job

*had about 50 million pages of reading to do for classes

*joined an irish folk group (despite the fact that i have no musical talent what-so-ever)

*ran 3.92 miles in 50 minutes. the farthest i've ever run! i credit all the flo rida on my ipod. (also, i know this is not impressive if you are a serious runner, but i'm not. before this january, the most i'd ever run was the mile run we did in PE class every year. and by "run", i mean jogged for 5 minutes and walked the rest. the only person with a worse time than me was this weird kid who never showered.)
and because i just figured out how to embed videos into posts, here's the aforementioned flo rida:

*had my first food lab, in which we get long lists of tasks, recipes, and experiments to do in groups. basically it is very intense and involves running around the kitchen for 3 hours. we made apple sauce, caramelized onions, roasted vegetables, sauteed mustard greens, steamed vegetables, and cabbage.

so now that you've patiently read through all my excuses, here's some healthy and tasty food for you:

cauliflower and eggplant, tossed with canola oil and roasted at 475 for about half an hour. added to quinoa cooked with curry powder (i believe our curry powder is the sweet kind, but you could use whatever you like) and topped with cashews. and then topped with un-pictured sriracha.


Sunday, September 26, 2010

pancake sunday

is there any better way to start a sunday morning than with chocolate chip pancakes and a bon jovi dance party in your pajamas? with yogurt, strawberries, and syrup
i think not.


Friday, September 24, 2010

penne with mushrooms, cheese, and carmelized onions

you guys, we need to talk about caramelized onions. the idea that with the right technique and a little bit of time, two totally ordinary ingredients-an onion and some oil-can become something completely different and amazingly delicious is one of those magical things that made me fall in love with cooking, but i had never actually made caramelized onions until now. i'd tried, but always ended up with onions that were too burnt and crispy. luckily for me, i'm taking a cooking class this semester and i finally know the secret to perfect caramelized onions.
first, you have to slice your onions into half moon shapes. cut the onion in half, then place the flat side on your cutting board and make thin slices downward. separate your slices so you have a bunch of pieces that look like parentheses.

next, sweat the onion. heat just enough canola oil to cover the bottom of a saucepan, then add your onions and stir over low heat for a few minutes, being careful not to brown the onions. cover your pot, and continue to stir every few minutes. if the onions are looking like they're starting to brown, add a little water. it should take about 10 minutes for the onions to get soft and translucent. at this point, heat enough oil to cover the bottom of a frying/saute pan and transfer your onions into that pan. continue stirring every 5 minutes or so until onions are brown and soft, like the above photo. if there's brown stuff stuck to your pan, you want that in your onions, so deglaze the pan with a bit of water or broth, then stir until the liquid is incorporated into the onions.

now you're done with your onions! i know this is getting long, but bear with me. i just read a 50 page chapter in my textbook about vegetables. you can read this.

so, caramelized onions are delicious on their own, but maybe you want to incorporate them into a balanced meal. perhaps pasta?
or more specifically, penne pasta with mushrooms, romano cheese, and caramelized onions.

here's the recipe (well, not really. as usual, no exact quantities. but its close to a recipe):
*penne pasta (we used whole wheat)
*onions (i used half an onion for 2 servings)
*canola oil
*olive oil (i used extra virgin)
*mushrooms (i used a medium handful for 2 servings)
*romano cheese, thinly sliced or shaved (used about 1/2 cup of shaved pieces for 2 servings)

slice and caramelize your onions, according to directions above. this should take about half an hour to 45 minutes total. meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions. slice mushrooms, and cook in canola oil (just enough to cover the bottom of your pan), stirring frequently, until they turn a nice rich brown. toss mushrooms, onions, pasta, and cheese together. top with a drizzle of olive oil.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

pasta with chickpeas and parmesan cheese

I made this back when we were at home, but it was so easy and cheap it would make great dorm food. I wanted to try Trader Joe's lemon papardelle pasta and since the pasta itself is already lemon flavored, I went without sauce and just tossed it in a little olive oil and cooked garlic. Then I added chickpeas, shaved paremesan, and a little salt and pepper. It was delicious, and the perfect light lunch for a hot day.


Friday, September 17, 2010

easy tuna melt

tuna mixed with artichoke hearts (in oil) and dijon mustard. on wheat bread with tomato slices, then topped with irish cheddar cheese and microwaved until cheese is melted.
thats all i have time to write right now! bye!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

fashion's night out

happy fall everybody! well, i don't know if its officially fall on the calendar, but i wore boots yesterday (admittedly, it was about 10 degrees too hot for boots. i just couldn't wait to wear them) and have been eating sweet potatoes, so its officially fall for me.

the lovely emily was nice enough to respond to a post and tell us she'd like to hear some stories of new york life. so, here goes my attempt at that:

most new york events involve either standing around in large crowds of people or waiting in long lines of people. as a 5 foot 3 girl, i have failed to see anything except the backs of random new yorkers at many exciting events, such as the VMAs red carpet, the rockefeller center christmas tree lighting, and the macy's thanksgiving day parade. last friday was no exception, as i headed to fashion's night out with my friend A., A.'s roommate, and Rita.

i worked until 4, then chilled at home a bit before walking over to A.'s dorm. I only mention this because i had a celebrity siting on the way home from work: Ice-T and his wife CoCo. and their dog. because i am a cool, jaded new yorker, and also because i have no idea what i could say to Ice-T, i walked by casually (sidenote: my first celebrity siting since moving to nyc was Chris Noth. I was walking with my mom, who failed to see him, so I wanted to point him out to her. however, in my excitement, i forgot his name and shouted "mom! look! celebrity!" Chris Noth then gave me a funny look and kept walking).

Anyhoo, we started in an italian restaurant in little italy. it was one of those generic, slightly overpriced, but tasty restaurants that are everywhere there. We split 3 dishes between the four of us: Penne alla vodka, chicken with eggplant and prosciutto, and pizza margherita. yum!

we then hopped on the subway to midtown, where we wandered around in large crowds and looked in store windows. A. wanted to see Gwen Stefani, but we managed to miss her twice. We did see an almost naked male model showering in a store window, and we were offered cheetos approximately 27 times by a random guy yelling at us from a truck. those were pretty much the highlights. after walking around in circles until we got to times square, we were exhausted and decided to head home, so we dragged ourselves back to the subway and were back in our dorm rooms by 10.

so there you have it, a taste of glamorous new york life =) hope you enjoyed!

Monday, September 13, 2010

israeli couscous with quinoa and roasted carrots

one of our staple meals here at chez twin is what i usually refer to as "couscous and stuff" aka couscous with whatever veggies we have thrown in, and some beans for protein. its easy, healthy, and a great way to use up leftovers. this particular incarnation used trader joe's harvest grains blend, which is mostly israeli couscous, with some quinoa and a little bit of orzo and dried garbanzo beans (the yellow things in the picture).
israeli couscous with quinoa and roasted carrots
i'm writing ingredients without amounts because you can adjust every ingredient depending on what you want. its also a great recipe to make a big batch of and save for the rest of the week.
olive oil
curry powder
cayenne pepper
canned garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
peas, frozen or fresh
trader joe's harvest grains blend, or israeli couscous and quinoa (and orzo if desired)
1. preheat oven to 400 degrees fahrenheit. spread carrots on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. toss. there should be enough olive oil to evenly cover the carrots, but not too much excess oil. sprinkle with a medium amount of cinnamon, cumin, and curry powder, and a smaller amount of cayenne. mix so that each carrot has some spices, but is not covered in spices. i think i used about 2 tsp of most of the spices and 1 tsp of cayenne for about 10 carrots. bake for about 45 minutes. carrots should be just starting to blacken on the bottom.
2. when carrots have 10-15 minutes left, cook grains according to package directions. if using different grains, mix them together after cooking. if using frozen peas, cook them with your grains (when your water is boiling, add both grains and peas).
3. stir in carrots and beans (and peas if you haven't yet) with grain mixture. top with sriracha or other hot sauce if desired.

Friday, September 10, 2010

grilled cheese sandwich and spinach salad

what you see here is our first dorm dinner. that grilled cheese sandwich is the only cooking i've done all week, besides the carrots i've got roasting in the oven right now. the salad is spinach, cashews, and trader joe's cranberry pomegranate dried fruit mix. which is good, btw. you should get some. and that's hummus on the carrots, even though it kind of looks like cream cheese.
so our first week here has been crazy, but hopefully we'll cook some real food for y'all (and ourselves) soon. we have big plans for enchiladas and eggplant lasagna. since real cooking will be more sporadic, please let me know if anyone would be interested in non-recipe posts...perhaps daily food journal type posts, what i'm learning in my nutrition classes, random new york adventures, cheap food tips, etc, and we can try to post 2-3 times a week. because we love having you guys around and we know you like reading posts more than once a month =)

Monday, September 6, 2010

spinach salad with mango and candied macadamias

with this hot weather, all i've been craving is salad. more specifically, salad with fruit, nuts, and cheese. its just so refreshing. this is the last part of our "last time cooking at home meal" (which also included the corn soup and the bread pudding). we used a recipe from cooking light, but eliminated the scallops and served it with french bread, goat cheese, and smoked salmon on the side. smoked salmon+goat cheese (or butter, or cream cheese)+baguette=amazing-ness, btw.
spinach salad with mango and candied macadamia nuts
from cooking light. serves 4
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 tablespoons water, divided
  • 1/4 cup macadamia nuts or pecans
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 1/2 cups diced peeled mango (about 1 large), divided
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated peeled fresh ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon poppy seeds
  • 1 pound sea scallops
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 8 cups packaged spinach
  • 1 cup vertically sliced red onion

[if, like us, you skip the scallops, you don't need the scallops, obviously, or the salt, pepper, or oil. and for any vegans, without the scallops the salad is vegan.]

Preheat oven to 350°.

Combine sugar and 1 tablespoon water in a saucepan; bring to a boil. Remove from heat; stir in nuts. Spread nut mixture onto a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 10 minutes. Immediately scrape onto a sheet of foil coated with cooking spray. Spread evenly; cool completely. Lightly chop; set aside.

Combine 2 tablespoons water, 1/2 cup mango, juice, ginger, and 1/8 teaspoon salt in a blender or food processor; process until smooth. Stir in poppy seeds; set dressing aside.

Sprinkle scallops with 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper. Heat oil in a grill pan or medium nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add scallops; sauté 2 minutes on each side. Remove from pan.

Arrange 2 cups spinach on each of 4 plates. Top each serving with 3 ounces scallops, 1/4 cup mango, and 1/4 cup onion. Drizzle each serving with 3 tablespoons dressing; sprinkle with 1 tablespoon nut mixture.


Saturday, September 4, 2010

sweet corn soup

we've finally made it to nyc, and are all unpacked and ready to start the school year. get ready for some exciting dorm meals! but first, we have some more food from home to show delicious sweet corn soup.
while we were in seattle, we had the most amazing corn soup at poppy, our splurge restaurant for the trip (well that and pok pok in portland, which is amazing. go there and get the chicken wings. right now!). it was like the freshest, sweetest ear of corn you've ever had, in soup form. when we cooked our final home meal of the summer, i knew we had to include corn soup. we found a good recipe in alice waters' the art of simple food. it was quite tasty, although it looked a little grayish. the recipe was also super simple and fast.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

berry brioche bread pudding

so, we're heading off to the east coast tomorrow, then back to school! we're finally all packed (ok, not all done. but 95% packed). i think we deserve some bread pudding!

we used a recipe from food and wine magazine but subbed blackberries (fresh from a park down the street!) for the blueberries and raspberries. we also added more sugar. we'll say it was to account for the fact that blackberries are less sweet, and not because we weren't paying attention when we halved the recipe. it worked, and was not overly sweet. also, although half the recipe should have been four servings, i was able to cut it into 6 big slices.
i think everybody liked it.
original recipe, with my notes in brackets:
berry brioche bread pudding from food and wine magazine
serves 8 [to 12]


    1. Unsalted butter, for greasing the dish
    2. 1/4 cup turbinado sugar
    3. 2 cups heavy cream
    4. 2 cups whole milk [we used 2%]
    5. 2/3 cup plus 1/4 cup granulated sugar
    6. 1 teaspoon kosher salt
    7. 4 large eggs
    8. 4 large egg yolks
    9. 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
    10. 2 cups blueberries and raspberries, plus more for serving [or blackberries, and if using blackberries add 1/3 cup more sugar to the cream mixture and 1-2 T more sugar to your berries]
    11. One 1-pound loaf of brioche, cut into 1/2-inch dice
    12. Whipped cream for serving

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Butter an 8-by-11-inch baking dish and coat the dish with the turbinado sugar.
  2. In a large saucepan, bring the cream, milk, 2/3 cup of the granulated sugar and the salt to a simmer over moderately high heat, then remove from the heat.
  3. In a bowl, whisk the whole eggs, egg yolks and vanilla. Gradually whisk in the hot cream until blended. Strain the custard through a fine strainer into a large bowl.
  4. In a small bowl, toss the blueberries and raspberries with 2 tablespoons of the granulated sugar. Using a fork, coarsely mash the berries. Let stand until juicy, about 5 minutes.
  5. Mix the brioche into the custard. Fold in the mashed berries. Transfer the pudding to the prepared baking dish and sprinkle the top with the remaining 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar. Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes, until set in the center. Remove the foil and bake in the top third of the oven for 20 minutes longer, until lightly golden.
  6. Preheat the broiler. Broil the pudding for 1 minute, until golden brown [be careful! we burnt the top of ours]. Transfer to a rack [we just let stand in the pan on a counter, not a rack] and let stand for 30 minutes, until cooled slightly. Cut the bread pudding into squares and serve with blueberries, raspberries and whipped cream.


Thursday, August 26, 2010

easy vegetable soup

this is one of our quick lunch staples. just saute whatever veggies you want in olive oil, then move them to a pot and add a can of diced tomatoes with their juices plus a can of beans (whatever kind you like) with their juices. heat, stirring, until hot and add italian seasoning, salt, and pepper to taste. this makes enough for a satisfying, healthy lunch for 2.

Monday, August 23, 2010

the great empanada adventure

another example of how rita and i fail at making pretty food. but it sure tasted delicious!we found 2 recipes la madre had printed out for us years ago, mushroom and butternut squash empanadas, and chicken empanada with chorizo, raisins, and and olives. since we had one of these (image courtesy of google):handy dandy (but not so much for uncoordinated people like us) pot sticker/empanada presses, we decided to make the second recipe as small empanadas instead of one big one. we also used pizza crust for both the doughs. because we're lazy like that.

as you can see, we became frustrated with the press system and ended up just rolling the ingredients in balls or dough. it worked. we also ran out of dough halfway through, hence the chicken, chorizo, raisin, and olive filling you see above, un-empanada-ed. we told everyone it was a stew.
Mushroom and Butternut Squash Empañadas
Gourmet | October 2002
chef Claire Archibald
Cafe Azul, Portland, OR
yield: Makes 8 first-course servings

For empanada filling

* 1 cup diced (1/4-inch) butternut squash
* 1/2 cup finely chopped white onion
* 6 small garlic cloves, minced
* 1/4 cup olive oil
* 2 (2- to 3-inch) fresh jalapeño chiles, seeds and ribs discarded and chiles finely chopped
* 1 pound fresh exotic mushrooms such as chanterelles, porcini, or hedgehogs (all one kind, not a mixture), trimmed and coarsely chopped
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1/3 cup chicken broth

For sauce

* 1 dried pasilla de Oaxaca chile*
* 3 garlic cloves, left unpeeled
* 1 pound fresh tomatillos, husks discarded and tomatillos rinsed and quartered
* 1/4 cup finely chopped white onion
* 1/4 cup water
* 1/2 teaspoon salt

For empanada crust

* 1/3 Café Azul's pastry dough (1 pound)
* 1 large egg, lightly beaten with 1 tablespoon water
* 2 teaspoons coarse sea salt


Make empanada filling:
Cook squash in a small saucepan of boiling salted water until just tender, about 2 minutes, then drain in a sieve.

Cook onion and garlic in oil in a large heavy skillet over moderately low heat, stirring, until onion is softened, about 3 minutes. Add jalapeños and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Stir in mushrooms, salt, and broth and simmer, covered, until mushrooms are tender, 5 to 8 minutes. Simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until liquid is evaporated, about 3 minutes, then stir in squash and salt to taste. Cool filling completely.

Make sauce:
Heat a dry griddle or heavy skillet (preferably cast-iron) over moderately low heat until hot, then toast pasilla de Oaxaca chile, pressing down with tongs, 15 to 20 seconds on each side. Halve chile lengthwise and discard stem, ribs, and seeds.

Heat griddle over moderately high heat until hot, then toast garlic until lightly blackened, 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Cool garlic slightly and peel.

Simmer tomatillos, onion, water, chile, garlic, and salt in a large saucepan, covered, until tomatillos are very tender, about 20 minutes, and cool slightly. Remove 1 chile half and reserve, then purée sauce in a blender until smooth (use caution when blending hot liquids), adding as much of reserved chile half as necessary to achieve desired spiciness. Return sauce to pan and season with salt.

Form and bake empanadas:
Preheat oven to 400°F.

Divide dough into 8 equal pieces (2 ounces each) and form each into a disk. Roll out 1 piece on a lightly floured surface into a 6- to 7-inch round (1/8 inch thick). Spoon about 1/3 cup filling onto center and brush edge of pastry lightly with egg wash. Fold dough in half to form a half-moon, enclosing filling, and press edges together to seal. Crimp edge decoratively and transfer empanada with a spatula to a large baking sheet. Make 7 more empanadas in same manner.

Lightly brush empanadas all over with some of remaining egg wash and sprinkle each with 1/4 teaspoon sea salt. Bake in middle of oven until golden, 25 to 30 minutes.

While empanadas are baking, reheat sauce. Cut each empanada in half with a serrated knife and serve with about 3 tablespoons sauce spooned around it.

* Available at Latino markets and Kitchen/Market (888-468-4433).
add your own note

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cafe azul's pastry dough (which we didn't make. but you can!)
  • 5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 4 sticks (2 cups) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon Champagne vinegar
  • About 3/4 cup ice water

Sift flour with salt into a large bowl and blend in butter with your fingertips or a pastry blender until most of mixture resembles coarse meal with small (roughly pea-size) butter lumps.

Beat egg with vinegar in a 1-cup measure using a fork, then add enough ice water to measure 1 cup total. Add to flour mixture, stirring with fork until incorporated.

Turn out mixture onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently with heel of your hand just enough to bring dough together. Roll out or pat into a 15- by 9-inch rectangle. Arrange dough with short side nearest you, then fold into thirds like a letter to form a roughly 5- by 9-inch rectangle. Chill dough, wrapped in plastic wrap, at least 1 hour and up to 6 (do not chill longer or dough will discolor).

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and, finally, chicken empanada [or empanadas, or stew] with chorizo, raisins, and olives
serves 12, as a tapa
  • 3 whole chicken legs, including thighs (2 to 2 1/4 pounds total)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 4 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 large onions, halved lengthwise, then cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch-wide strips
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 Turkish bay leaves or 1 California
  • 1/3 cup finely diced Spanish chorizo (cured spiced pork sausage; 1 1/2 oz; casings discarded if desired)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Spanish smoked paprika (not hot)
  • 1/4 cup chopped pitted green olives
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 pound frozen pizza dough, thawed


Make filling:
Pat chicken dry and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then brown chicken, turning over once, about 6 minutes total, and transfer to a plate. Sauté onions, garlic, and bay leaves in fat remaining in skillet, stirring frequently, until onions are softened, 4 to 5 minutes. Add chorizo and paprika and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add olives, raisins, wine, and broth and bring to a boil, stirring and scraping up any brown bits. Return chicken to skillet along with any juices accumulated on plate, then reduce heat to moderately low and simmer chicken, covered, turning over once, until tender, 25 to 30 minutes total.

Transfer chicken to a clean plate. (Sauce in skillet should be the consistency of heavy cream; if it's not, briskly simmer until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.) When chicken is cool enough to handle, discard skin and bones and coarsely chop meat. Stir chicken into sauce and discard bay leaves. Season with salt and pepper, then cool filling, uncovered, about 30 minutes.

Form and bake empanada:
Form dough into a ball, then wrap in oiled plastic wrap (oiled side in) and let stand at room temperature 30 minutes.

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 400°F. Grease a 15- by 10-inch shallow baking pan (1 inch deep) with 1 tablespoon oil.

Divide dough in half, then roll out 1 half (keep remaining dough covered with plastic wrap) on a floured surface with a floured rolling pin into a 15- by 10-inch rectangle and transfer to baking pan. Spread filling evenly over dough, leaving a 1-inch border, and moisten border with water. Roll out remaining dough in same manner, then arrange over filling and press edges together to seal. Roll edges in and press to form a decorative rim. Make a 1-inch hole (a steam vent) in center of empanada.

Bake empanada 15 minutes, then brush crust with 3/4 tablespoon oil and bake until crust is golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes more. Remove from oven and brush empanada with remaining 3/4 tablespoon oil. Cool 10 minutes in pan on a rack, then slide empanada onto rack using a wide metal spatula and cool to warm.

Cut empanada into squares and serve warm or at room temperature.

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phew, all done!