Archive for the ‘edible joy’ Category

the most amazing pancakes ever

i’m not exaggerating…these buttermilk pancakes, by the joy of cooking, are sensational! they’re like my nana’s in that they’re a little crispy on the outside and nice and soft and delicious in the inside. carter tried out the recipe one weekend as we had some leftover buttermilk to use. (side note: i love that he’s into food too and gets excited about trying a new recipe…double bonus when it turns out to be in-freaking-credible!).

Buttermilk pancakes

by joy of cooking

(makes about ten  4” cakes)

-Sift before measuring:

1 cup cake flour (we just use good ol’ all-purpose)

-Resift with:

1 tsp. sugar

½ tsp. salt

¾ tsp. double-acting baking powder

½ tsp. baking soda

-Beat until light:

1 egg


1 cup buttermilk

1-2 Tbl. Melted butter


Combine the sifted and the liquid ingredients with a few swift strokes. Get a big ol’ lake of syrup on your plate and sink in.  Voila!

(Sorry there’s no picture…I’m usually too distracted by the anticipation of eating the cakes to stop and take a photo. Trust me on this one!)


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nick malgieri’s scottish shortbread cookies

Makes about 40 cookies, depending on the size of the cutter used

24 tablespoons (3 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour (spoon flour into dry-measure cup and level off)

2 cookie sheets or jelly roll pans lined with parchment or foil

  1. Set racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees.
  2. Beat the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer with the paddle attachment on medium speed until very soft and light, about 5 minutes.
  3. Remove the bowl from the mixer and incorporate the flour by hand, using a large rubber spatula.
  4. Scrape the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and fold it over on itself 2 or 3 times to makes sure it is completely smooth. Use a knife or bench scraper to divide the dough into 4 pieces.
  5. Lightly flour the work surface and gently pat the dough with the palm of you hand until it is about 1/4-inch thick (The dough is much too soft for a rolling pin.)
  6. Run a large knife or spatula under the dough to make sure it isn’t stuck to the work surface.
  7. Use a 2 1/2- to 3-inch fluted cutter to cut out the shortbreads. Place them in the prepared pans about 1 inch apart on all sides as they are cut.
  8. Repeat with the remaining pieces of dough.
  9. After you have used all the dough, gently knead the scraps together, then press the dough and cut it again. You may continue to do so until there are no scraps left as long as you don’t use too much flour under or on the dough, which will toughen the shortbreads.
  10. Bake the cookies for about 15 minutes, or until they are light golden. Change the position of the pans from upper to lower rack and vice versa, also turning them back to front at least once during baking. If your oven gives strong bottom heat, stack 2 pans together for baking on the bottom rack to provide extra insulation against burning the shortbreads.
  11. Slide the papers from the pans to racks to cool the shortbreads.

ps. if you want to get extra special you can smear on some melted chocolate to the bottoms…i use a butter knife instead of dipping…less mess and makes a nice even coating. 

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i know etiquette-wise it’s best to give thank you notes soon after receiving a gift, but i wish there was a bit longer of a grace period so you could thank the person when you’ve actually had a chance to enjoy the gift.  i’ve sent most of my thank you notes, but it can’t hurt to say “thanks” again!

our families helped us “wow” olive with her big gift from santa…a fairy lodge.  she’s kind of obsessed with everyday scenarios…going potty, putting someone to sleep, people getting boo-boo’s, babies crying, etc.  so now she has a “stage” for all of these little moments to occur.  elmo and olivia (the pig) like to stop by often.  my favorite part is the mushroom toilet…the little lid actually goes up. i wonder what fairies read when they’re in the loo?!

our christmas was full of these amazing little moments that i’m especially grateful for…my mom’s delicious pork chops and homemade applesauce, my father-in-law reading “the night before christmas,” olive’s growing excitement over santa…particularly that’d he’d be bringing candy canes, catching up with my sister-in-law/sous-chef in the kitchen, my dad’s hilariously inappropriate christmas card, receiving two handmade gifts from my 3 year old niece (the crafty bug’s bitten her too!) and on, and on…

a. we had a bit of a christmas miracle.  the week leading up to christmas included a couple of emergency overnight visits at the animal hospital.  long story short, we didn’t think sandwich would make it through the holiday and after days of force feeding him meds and food, he finally perked up.  i never thought i’d be so glad to hear the sound of him scratching our bed at 3am!

b. & c. carter’s family really went the distance this christmas…literally. his folks came down from maine and his sister trekked overseas from amsterdam.  how awesome to all be under the same roof for some eggnog, a warm afternoon on the porch & lots of park visits.

d. olive’s reaction to her squishable fox, thoughtfully given to her by her nannah and gramps,  was classic.  it involved a shriek, a tight hug and eventually ended with olive laying on top of it.  fox is now an integral part of “night night” time…where olive puts carter to sleep in her room.  he’s given fox as a pillow…and a burp cloth for a blanket. only the best for our sleep-over guests!

but i think my biggest thanks goes to carter.  for keeping me sane and helping me catch my breath.  between lots of late nights preparing for two markets, working a crazy amount of hours at my part-time gig, and being at the peak of the terrible two’s with olive…he somehow made me feel okay. really okay. one of my favorite moments from the whole crazy thing (i.e. christmas!) was this little 30 minute window where we grabbed bacon and egg sandwiches and coffee at wilmoore cafe. we scrambled to get olive to school, i had to get to work…it seemed like a silly idea to cram this “break” in…but it was heaven. we were just two people hanging in a coffee shop we love, talking about how good their homemade mustard is and getting excited for the holiday. perfection.

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with the holidays around the corner, it’s nice to have a quick and easy (and inexpensive!) recipe up your sleeve! this bread is a delicious gift for a hostess or potluck dinner and a fantastic side dish to any holiday feast. i’ve been making it for a long time…sine 2001 when real simple first introduced it…and it’s always come out beautifully.


rosemary-olive oil bread

makes 1 loaf; total time: 90 minutes

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

2 tsp. baking powder

2 tsp. dried rosemary

1/4 tsp. salt

grated zest of 1 lemon (1 Tbl.)

2 eggs, lightly beaten

3/4 cup sweet white wine or apple juice

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil


heat oven to 350 degrees.  lightly coat loaf pan with vegetable cooking spray.

in a bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, walnuts, baking powder, rosemary, salt, and lemon zest.  in another bowl, blend the eggs, wine, and olive oil; stir into the dry ingredients.  transfer the batter into pan and smooth surface.  bake 55 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.

that’s it…mangia!

ps. this is super pretty wrapped up in clear cellophane with a sprig of rosemary in the bow.  what a way to wow!

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s’mores = love

(seriously handsome…even with a mouth full, and no, we weren’t doing some controlled burning…that’s just us rockin’ the night time effect!)

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we had friends over for our annual autumn dinner.  i supply the sweet potato soup and dessert and they filled in with a delicious spinach salad & candied pecans and a loaf of crusty, chewy delicious bread. this time around, i tried a culinate recipe for apple cake with brown-sugar frosting.  stop what you’re doing, well, after you read this, and go make this dessert. heavenly!! and so, so simple.  (click on the picture for the recipe!)

ps. after you make the frosting, stick it in the fridge for a little while to help it set and become the creamy, spreadable delight that it is.

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as soon as the calendar was changed to october i was baking up some pumpkin dishes.  to say that i’ve been anxiously awaiting fall would be an understatement. it’s my favorite season!

to kick things off olive helped me make a batch of abby’s magical pumpkin cookies out of “yummy cookies: baking with kids” by sesame street.  they were quite delicious! and a tasty way to get olive to eat oats, dried cranberries and, most autumn-y, pumpkin.

Abby’s magical pumpkin cookies

(makes about 2 dozen cookies)

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

½ tsp. salt

½ tsp. ground nutmeg

¼ tsp. baking soda

1 ½ cups packed light brown sugar

½ cup (1 stick) butter, softened

1 egg

1 tsp. vanilla

½ cup solid-pack pumpkin

2 cups uncooked old-fashioned oats

1 cup dried cranberries

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  • Sift the flour, cinnamon, salt, nutmeg and baking soda into a medium bowl.  Beat the brown sugar and butter in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed for about 5 minutes or until light and fluffy.
  • Beat in the egg and vanilla. Add the pumpkin; beat at low speed until blended.  Beat in the flour mixture just until blended. Add the oats; mix well.
  • Stir in the cranberries.
  • Drop the dough by tablespoonfuls 2” apart onto the cookie sheets.
  • Bake for 12 minutes or until golden brown. Cool the cookies on the cookie sheets for 1 minute.  Transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

for a main course, i turned to this month’s issue of country living magazine and their pumpkin stuffed shells.  **side note: while trying, unsuccessfully, to find the recipe on their site, i came across an article for their country vet: “should i let my cat mount a stuffed animal?”  as sandwich just did this to olive’s stuffed turtle today, i admit, i read the article. okay, back to the stuffed shells…

pumpkin-ricotta stuffed shells

(makes 8 servings)

24 jumbo pasta shells

1 Tbl. evoo

22 oz. ricotta (2 1/2 cups)

1 (15 oz.) can pumpkin puree

2 1/2 oz. pecorino romano, grated (3/4 cup plus 2 Tbl.)

1 large egg white

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 cup fresh basil, chopped

1 Tbl. finely chopped fresh sage

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. freshly ground pepper

1 (26 oz.) jar tomato sauce

  • cook the pasta shells according to package & drain. transfer to a baking sheet and drizzle with oil.  set aside and let cool.
  • meanwhile, in a medium bowl, stir together the ricotta, pumpkin, 3/4 cup pecorino romano, and remaining ingredients, except tomato sauce
  • preheat oven to 350 degrees. spread sauce in bottom of a 9″x13″ baking dish.  fill each pasta shell with about 3Tbl. ricotta-pumpkin mixture and arrange in pan.  cover pan with foil and bake for 30 minutes.  remove foil, sprinkle shells with remaining pecorino, and bake for 15 minutes more.  (if desired, stuff shells the night before and refrigerate overnight in an airtight container, in between layers of plastic wrap; arrange shells on sauce right before baking.)

**couple of notes: i didn’t have any sage, fresh or dried, so i omitted. i did sub in dried basil for the fresh.  and having just written out this recipe, realized i used the yolk instead of the egg white.  creative cooking?! sure, that’s what we’ll call it.

it was a yummy dinner. the pumpkin didn’t overpower; it was just this nice underlying flavor and added some richness to the ricotta. thanks country living!

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