Monday, March 31, 2014



1 bunch of fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 bunch of fresh cilantro
¼ of a bunch of fresh oregano
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
10 garlic cloves
1 jalapeƱo or 3 searno pepper or Red pepper flakes to taste
½ cup plus extra-virgin olive oil
½ tsp Salt and black pepper (to taste)
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Friday, March 28, 2014

Spinach and Avocado Panini

Ripe avocado – you won’t need the whole if you’re making just one sandwich.
Handful of baby spinach
American cheese
Goat cheese (mine had olives in it)
Rye bread
Panini press

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Thursday, March 27, 2014

24th Meeting: Soups and Sandwich

Soups and sandwich are one of my favorite meals. Besides it being the best day of work week, my coworkers and I get soup on Fridays. We even have coined “Soup Fridays” at work. There is nothing like a nice hearty soup on a cold winter day. And even though it’s officially spring we can still enjoy soups for then next month or so. 

Vaishali hosted the exchange at her brand new house this time. The house is tucked away from the main street and is surrounded by trees. I will have to convince her to have another exchange with soups and sandwiches in the fall, while we sit out on her patio enjoying the outdoor fire place and just taking in the beautiful foliage that is bound to be present.  She served us homemade bellini. Jalpa served us homemade tomato soup with a spin; you’ll read her recipe to see what she did different than traditional tomato soup recipes. Nishal made these delicious Vietnamese sandwiches. I have to say that was the first time I had any sort of Vietnamese food. I’m glad my first experience was a pleasant one.  I made these vegetarian paninis that I have been dying to make – thank you Pinterest!  We ended the evening with Parul’s three different kinds of cookie (from scratch) sandwiches – yum! 

I am so looking forward to our next meeting – Tapas!
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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Red Velvet Cake

Valentine's day at our house is not complete without a decadent red velvet cake.  My husband and I celebrate our anniversary and well, every holiday, with this all time favorite dessert.  I am no baker by any means, but I do want to learn.  MJ is 6 months right now, but I can just imagine how much fun it will be to cook and bake together :)

Here's a recipe that I followed

For cakes:
  • 1 1/4 cups vegetable shortening
  • 2 cups granulated sugar, plus more for sprinkling the parchment paper
  • 1 Tbsp. unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 4 1/2 tsp. (2 tubes) red food coloring gel
  • 3 cups cake flour, plus more for flouring the cake pans
  • 1 1/4 tsp. fine sea salt
  • 1 1/4 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 1/4 tsp. distilled white vinegar
  • 3 extra-large eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups buttermilk
  • 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter (approx.), nonstick spray or vegetable oil, for greasing the cake pans
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Who doesn't love some good melted cheese? aka Queso!  At first, I was a little afraid of how to make this one, but it turned out to be soooo easy.

- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/2 stick unsalted butter
- 3 TBSP all purpose flour
- equal parts crumbled or shredded (chipotle chedder, queso fresco, reduced-fat creame cheese)
- seeded finely chopped jalepineo
- seeded chopped 1/2 tomato
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How easy is it to just buy tortillas these days?  There is such a variety out there, its so convenient to pick up a pack from your local grocery store.  But if you fancy making these at home, try this very simple recipe.  It actually doesn't take that long.

- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp cumin
- pinch salt
- 1 cup warm water
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 2 tbs unsalted butter (or lard)
- 1 tbs oil
- large bowl (my preference) or your dough mixer-maker
- rolling pin

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Friday, March 21, 2014

Eggplant Caponata

2 cups olive oil
2 lbs. eggplant, cut into 1″ cubes (1-2 medium sized eggplant)
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1 package celery, roughly chopped
Salt and black pepper to taste
3 tbsp. tomato paste, thinned with ¼ cup water (substitute ketchup)
1 cup crushed canned tomatoes
6 oz. green olives, pitted and roughly chopped
½ cup white wine vinegar
½ cup golden raisins (red is ok too)
¼ cup salt-packed capers, rinsed and drained
5 tbsp. sugar
2 tbsp. finely grated unsweetened chocolate
1  cup finely shredded basil
2 tbsp. pine nuts

Mini crostinis- toasted
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Friday, March 7, 2014

Heart-Shaped Valentine's Day Chocolate Cake

Prep Time: 1 hour
Baking Time: 20 minutes

Devil’s Food:
3 cups granulated sugar
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/8 cups cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
3/4 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup hot coffee

1 cup heavy cream

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Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Spinach Salad with Chocolate Vinaigrette!

A refreshing crisp salad that is good for all seasons...with a chocolate twist!


For vinaigrette

1 tbps cocoa powder
1 tsp sugar
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar dressing (recommended : Newmans Own)

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