Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Manhattan Clam Chowder

It seems like ages ago that we were at the beach, and now I'm finally posting this recipe. The recipe is loosely based on some others that I found online but it really was formed from the vegetables that we had available. The picture is of my sister Tiffany on the dock by the bay eating some soup.

4-5 strips thickly cut bacon, sliced
1 large white onion
2 shallots
3 stalks celery
1 small bunch or 3 large carrots
3 green peppers, seeded and diced
1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
4 cloves garlic
3 large potatoes, cubed
5 large tomatoes, chopped roughly
1 bunch fresh parsley
1 tbsp fresh thyme
1 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
1 tsp old bay seasoning
3 cups chopped clams
5 cups clam juice

Crisp the bacon in a heavy soup pot over high heat. Remove the meat and set aside. Chop the onion, shallots, celery, and carrots into small pieces. Saute in the bacon drippings over medium heat for about 10-15 minutes until softened and fragrant. Add the hot and sweet peppers and saute for another 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for an additional minute. Add the potatoes, tomatoes, and broth. Bring to a boil and cook for about 20 minutes until the potatoes are tender. Add the old bay and herbs and black pepper. Season to your liking. Turn off the heat and add the chopped clams. Serve with some crusty bread.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Muhammara (Roasted Red Pepper Dip)

I came across this recipe while reading food blogs (no surprise there). I can't remember the exact place where I found it, but I found a similar recipe on the The Bojon Gourmet. We spread this dip on eggplant, bagels, jalapeno bread, etc. There are endless ways to consume it and it has such a unique flavor.

3 roasted red peppers
1 hot pepper, seeds removed (I used a Ho Chi Minh pepper and my hands are still burning)
1/2 cup lightly toasted walnuts
1 scant cup breadcrumbs
4 cloves garlic
2 tbsp maple syrup
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp ground cumin
1 pinch cayenne powder
1 tsp za'atar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

To roast your own red peppers: Halve the peppers and remove the seeds. Place the peppers, cut side down, on a greased baking sheet. Bake at 400 degrees for about 15-20 minutes until the peel is blackened and the peppers are softened. After they are done baking, place them immediately into a ceramic bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap or aluminum foil. In about 5-10 minutes when the peppers are cool enough to handle, pull off the thin, papery peel. (Directions courtesy of Laura who taught Brit and me how to do this)

To make the dip: Place all ingredients except olive oil in a food processor and process until smooth. Then add the olive oil slowly until you reach the desired consistency.
This is my breakfast of a bagel, some muhammara, a fried egg, and some jalapeno hot sauce (while reading Game of Thrones).

Doughnut Cake

This cake literally tastes like a large cake doughnut. So delicous. Oh and did I mention it's both vegan and gluten-free (recipe courtesy of Manifest Vegan)? My advice is to make it now! Some friends and I ate this right after yoga and a wonderful dinner of roasted eggplant with tahini dressing. The cake (with some hot tea) was the perfect end to the night.

For the cake:

3/4 cup sorghum flour
3/4 cup potato starch
1/2 tapioca flour
1/2 cup brown rice flour
1 1/2 tsp cornstarch
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups vegan granulated sugar
1/3 cup sunflower seed oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup almond milk
2 tbsp vinegar
2-3 tsp cinnamon

For the icing:

1 tbsp coconut oil
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
3 tbsp almond milk


Lightly grease a bundt pan and set aside.
In large bowl, mix together sorghum flour, potato starch, tapioca flour, brown rice flour, cornstarch, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. In mixing bowl, whisk together the sunflower seed oil, vanilla and sugar.
Mix the almond milk and vinegar together and add to the wet ingredients. Add flour mixture a little bit at a time into the wet ingredients, whisking gently.
Spread batter evenly into prepared cake pan.
Bake at 325 degrees about 55 minutes, or until knife inserted in center comes out clean.
Let cake cool and make icing by combining all icing ingredients until very smooth.  Drizzle, slather and spread onto cake. Sprinkle with a touch more cinnamon.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Chocolate-Dipped Potato Chips

When my mom, sister & I were in Frederick, MD, last weekend we wanted to buy a bag of chocolate-covered potato chips in this cute candy shop, but they were so expensive!! 

Well, we made them for my uncle's 52nd birthday party (along with both a pecan pie and a tomato pie that each filled their own huge baking sheet), and here's the recipe: melt chocolate, dip chip, let set. Salty and sweet!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Chinese Dumplings & Bok Choy Stir-fry

Nope, the dumplings are not homemade! It's not that kind of recipe. This dish is more of a simple stir-fry suggestion. I get the frozen pork & cabbage dumplings from Lotus in the Strip District all the time.

For years I've been keeping frozen dumplings in the freezer and making variations of this recipe whenever I've been in the mood for a quick and easy meal, especially when it's just me (and maybe Twilly) for dinner. 


about 20 Chinese dumplings (probably frozen)

7-8+ heads baby bok choy
1/2 cup-ish green onions, chopped
any other veg you have (optional)
~2 tbsp soy sauce
~1 tbsp sesame oil
~1 tsp Sriracha

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Chocolate Chip Vanilla Bean Cookies

My ideal chocolate chip cookie is thin, crispy, and deeply golden brown. This recipe incorporates an entire vanilla bean (the entire thing, not just the inside) which adds a delicous kick to a traditional cookie recipe. Currently I have a surplus of used vanilla bean pods from making my own vanilla extract. I figured I would use them rather than throw them away! I found the recipe on Epicurean Mom. I changed the baking directions so the cookies would be crispy, not chewy. So if you desire a chewy cookie, follow her directions.


2 sticks unsalted butter
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup cane sugar
1 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
2 1/2 tbsp half and half
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 whole vanilla bean, sliced in half
12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt the butter in a small saucepan and set aside. Whisk together the flour, salt and baking soda in a small bowl.
In a food processor, process the 1/4 cup granulated sugar and vanilla bean until the bean is completely blended into the sugar. Stir the melted butter and sugars together.  Whisk in the egg, egg yolk, half and half, and vanilla extract. Stir in the flour mixture slowly. Then fold in the chocolate chips.
Refrigerate for about 1 hour. 
On ungreased cookie sheets, scoop out 1 heaping teaspoonful of dough about 2-3 inches apart. Bake for about 12 minutes, turning the cookie sheets halfway through the baking process. Bake until golden brown. Let sit on baking sheet for 1 minute, then transfer to cooling racks.
I served these cookies with some homemade brown sugar vanilla ice cream for a cookout at Nick's parents house. The rest of the cookies were saved for my cousins in Harrisburg.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Sesame Soba Noodles

These noodles have been a staple for me ever since college. I usually make them with whatever vegetables I have on hand. This time, I stopped at the farmer's market and picked up some heirloom varieties of asian eggplants. They come in all colors-white, pale green, and lavender.

1- 8 ounce box soba noodles (buckwheat noodles)
3 shallots, sliced thinly
3 cloves garlic
1 medium eggplant
1 small zucchini
3 banana peppers
1 large handful spinach
1 bunch green onions, chopped (white and green parts separated)
1 small bunch thai basil
1/4 cup sesame seeds
2-3 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 splash fish sauce

Heat some vegetable oil in a medium saucepan. Fry the shallots and the whites of the green onions until golden brown. Then add the garlic and fry for 30 seconds. Slice the eggplant, zucchini, and peppers into thin, long strips. Saute in the oil until softened without overcooking. Add in the spinach until soft. Set vegetables aside to cool.
Meanwhile cook the noodles. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Then cook the noodles until just soft enough to eat for about 5-7 minutes. Watch closely since they tend to cook quickly. Strain the noodles as soon as they are done, then rinse under cold running water in a strainer. This will prevent them from sticking together. Set aside to cool.
Mix the dressing together with the sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, and the fish sauce. Pour over the noodles and mix in the cooked vegetables. Mix in the sesame seeds and the chopped thai basil to your liking. Serve cold or hot. These make a great packed lunch!

Clam Chowder

This is my version of clam chowder made with coconut cream instead of heavy cream. Feel free to substitute if you want in equal proportions. When my family goes to the beach, we spend our time in the bay digging for clams, cutting mussels away from bay grasses, or catching crabs. If my sisters and I are lucky, we'll get a little bit of time on the beach at Assateague Island (wild ponies!). Both my parents love activity! If we're not in the water, we're at the beach house cooking. This soup was a combined effort from all of us. My dad steamed the clams, Tiffany chopped them, and all of us helped to catch them. Well Kelly and I mostly just splashed other people and got in the way...
When we catch the clams, we let them sit in a bucket in they bay for a day to filter out all of the sand before eating them. One of the neighbors recommended pouring a beer on the clams, which apparently makes them spit out all of the sand quickly.


5 strips thick bacon, sliced
3 cups roughly chopped clams
3 cups small diced potatoes
7 celery stalks, sliced
1 large onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, diced
6 1/2 cups clam juice
1 bunch fresh parsley, leaves chopped
1 can coconut cream
1 tsp old bay seasoning
1/2 tsp ground black pepper

To cook the clams: Steam the clams until they open, pulling them out individually as they just open. Keep the clam juice that's in the shells and the clam juice in the steamer. You should have about 6 cups, but if not just dilute with some water. Once cool enough to handle, chop roughly (I like big chunks of clam).
For the soup: Fry the bacon until crispy over medium high heat in a large soup pot. Take out the bacon and set aside. Keep the bacon grease in the pot, add the onions to cook until translucent. Add the celery and garlic and saute for about 5 minutes.
Add the clam juice and potatoes and bring to a boil. Cook on medium heat until they are tender, about 15-20 minutes. Then add the coconut cream and the spices. Cook until the soup is heated through. Add the chopped parsley, the chopped clams, and the bacon. Season again if needed and serve with some sourdough bread.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Raw & Roasted Beet Salad

I know not everybody loves beets as much as I do, but I think those people should give beets another chance. They are amazing, especially roasted, as most of the beets are in this salad. A couple of the beets are grated raw for texture.

WARNING: You may get a bit of vampire teeth after eating this. Also, eating beets makes your poop look bloody! Don't panic. Enjoy your beets.


7-8 small and/or medium beets
1 clove garlic
Olive oil
2-3 tbsp water
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp lemon juice
ground pepper
8 oz crumbled blue cheese
2 oz toasted almonds
1 tbsp parsley, if you have it


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