Mission Statement

Culinary Adventures in a College Kitchen

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Sauteed Brussels Sprouts with Lemon

Brussels sprouts get a bad rap. All those jokes about kids not wanting to eat them. Adults turning their noses up at them.

Poor brussels sprouts, clearly misunderstood. When prepared correctly, brussels sprouts have the potential to be superb. Delicious. Food-gasmic.

These brussels sprouts I am showing you are very special. They start with a quick bath in some boiling water and then are sliced in half. Next, they cavort with some heated oil and then a dash of lemon.

Make this recipe and you will never misunderstand the brussel sprout again.

Sauteed Brussels Sprouts with Lemon

1/2 pound Brussels Sprouts
1 tbsp olive oil
fresh lemon juice

Bring a pot of water to a boil and then add the brussels sprouts. Boil until they are tender, roughly 8-10 minutes. Transfer with a slotted spoon to a separate plate and let cool. Meanwhile, heat up the olive oil in a non-stick skillet. As that heats, carefully slice all brussels sprouts in half. Add them to the heated oil, making one layer. You will have to do this in several batches. Saute until a nice brown crust forms and then flip over for the other side. Remove to a plate and add the salt/pepper, and a squirt of lemon juice.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Sledding Adventure

I have a bad history with sledding. When I was younger I went with my family and after tumbling off my sled with about as much dignity as someone spitting snow can, I decided it was not an activity for me.

My friends convinced me to try again this winter. And I came to some conclusions:

1) Walking in snow is very difficult. Particularly dragging a sled.

2) You end up looking like a marshmallow.

3) Snow gets everywhere. You get snow in places you didn't even know it was possible to get snow.

4) I make ridiculous faces. A lot of them.

5) In the end, friends make you forget all the snow in awkward places and loss of feeling in half your body. Some hot cocoa helps, too.

They are going to kill me for posting this..haha

Any sledding fans out there??

Monday, January 24, 2011

Chocolate Chip Buttermilk Scones

I am not a kneader.

I can cream. I can mix. I can fold. Kneading, though, not so much. Maybe it has to do with the fact that my dough always loves to stick. And I hate getting my hands all doughy.

Well, friends, for this recipe I kneaded my little heart out. And you know what? I kinda liked it.

Chocolate Chip Buttermilk Scones


1 1/2 cups flour
2 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp sugar
6 tbsp cold butter
1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp buttermilk
1 egg yolk
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 425 degrees and place rack in the upper third of oven.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar. Cut the butter into the flour mixture, using two knives. When the butter is nearly incorporated, use your fingertips to mix into a coarse meal. In a separate bowl mix together the egg and buttermilk. Add to the flour mixture and mix with a spatula. Fold in the chocolate chips.

On a floured surface knead the dough about 15 times. Using your hands, pat into a 1-inch thick disk.

Cut into either 4 or 6 squares and put on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Bake for 13-15 minutes until the tops are golden.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Fried Polenta

Polenta is one of those foods I always buy and then forget to use. It gets pushed to the back of my pantry, only to resurface months later when there are only two days left until it expires.

Sometimes, I make a polenta casserole. Other times, polenta pancakes. This time, it was go big or go home.

It was time to fry.

I don't fry food very often but I found this recipe in a Giada cookbook (of course) and couldn't think of a better way to use my polenta. It is pretty simple, but makes a mess. I got oil everywhere.

Luckily, it wasn't anything my sponge and I couldn't handle!

Fried Polenta


1 tube of prepared polenta
1/2 cup olive oil
parmesan cheese


Pour the oil into a cast iron skillet and put on medium heat.

With a vegetable peeler, peel the outer layer of the polenta. Next, cut in half and then chop into rectangle sticks.

Add the polenta to the pan. Beware of splatter! Cook each side for 3 minutes. Again, when turning beware of splatter. I got a few war injuries will making this...

Remove to a plate covered wit paper towels. If you are like me and lack basic necessities like p. towels, a coffee filter works just fine ;) Finish it off with a sprinkle of parmesan! For dipping sauces, you could really do anything. I did barbecue sauce (my fridge is a bit lacking right now) but marinara sauce would probably be the best.

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Monday, January 17, 2011

Butternut Squash Risotto

I believe I posted this last year, but it's worth revisiting.


Is there any more perfect comfort food? It's warm and chewy. Hearty and heart-warming. I know that when I am having a stressful week, I don't want pasta. I don't want bread. I want risotto.

I want the starchiness. I want the creaminess. And I want the thoughtless calm of plopping on my stool before the stove and just stirring.

And stirring.

Risotto. It's good stuff.

Butternut Squash Risotto


1 small butternut squash
1 small-medium onion, finely chopped
1 1/2 cup arborio rice
1/2 cup parmesan
1/2 cup dry white wine
4 cups vegetable or chicken stock
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 tbsp butter


In a medium saucepan, heat the stock and vanilla extract. Once it has boiled, reduce to a simmer and add the butternut squash. Cook until the squash is tender, roughly 5 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.

While the squash cooks, chop your onion.

Heat 2 tbsp of butter in a medium saucepan. Add the chopped onion and cook until softened, roughly 3 minutes. Add the rice and coat with butter and onion. Next, add the wine and stir until it has absorbed. Begin to add the stock in 1/2 cup increments, stirring constantly. Add more stock as the rice absorbs it. Continue until the rice is tender, but still firm to bite. The risotto should be creamy, roughly 20 minutes.

Please excuse my messy stovetop

Stir in the butternut squash, parmesan cheese, and final tablespoon of butter. Enjoy!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Caramelized Onion Tart

I went to a party a few weeks back and was put on appetizer duty. Usually the dessert girl, I had a moment's pause where I thought, what do I make?

I flirted with the idea of some tofu dish, and then decided I didn't want my friends to hate me. Then I thought some dip and veggies, and decided again that I didn't want my friends to hate me. So I hunkered down and spent some time surfing through my usual recipe sites. I found the perfect thing.

Caramelized Onion Tart.

They loved it.

I loved it.

Party = Success!

Caramelized Onion Tart


2 tbsp butter
1 medium-large onion
1 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
2 tbsp white wine
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1 egg yolk
1 sheet frozen puff pastry dough, defrosted in refrigerator
1/4 cup grated parmesan


Preheat oven to 350.

In a medium saucepan, melt the butter. Add the onions, sugar, salt, pepper, and wine. Saute until the onions are nice and caramelized (brown in color), roughly 20-25 minutes. Remove from heat. Combine the ricotta and egg yolk in a small bowl and mix together.

Put the puff pastry dough on a cookie sheet and fold in the edges about one inch.

Spread the ricotta-egg mixture on the dough, right up to the edges of the fold. Sprinkle on half of the parmesan, adding the onions next. Be sure to spread the onions evenly on the dough. Add the remaining parmesan.

Bake the tart for 25-30 minutes, until the puff pastry is cooked through and the cheese on top has browned. Cut into rectangles or squares once it has cooled. Serve warm.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Cold Weather

If you are anything like me, when the cold weather hits I immediately head to my cabinet for soup. Well when I woke up this morning everything was covered in snow. And I don't mean a light covering of snow either. I am talking a good few inches which entails getting ready to go anywhere and accounting for the fact your car is covered!

I have also heard tell that 48/50 states there is snow..wow. What is it like in your area? And do you like the snow?

Back to the food however. This afternoon I have a three hour class so I had to fill up on all sorts of good stuff to hold me over. My lunch included a delicious can of Annie's Low Sodium Butternut Squash soup, a wedge of Laughing Cow cheese, a small handful of crackers and some turkey slices. It was definitely a great cold weather day lunch.

Unfortunately this was not going to be a long post since I have class shortly and then it is off to the gym for the 3rd day running. Let me tell you, our new rec center is absolutely to die for! However it is constantly mobbed with people due to everyone New Year's Resolutions. Hopefully less people come as the year goes on. We'll see :)

Have a great day and stay warm!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Grecian Salad

Today's trip to the grocery store was interesting. It had to do with a puzzling lack of garbanzo beans. Despite several rows of pinto and black-eyed, the actual bean that I needed decided to play hide and seek.

I finally found the three sole cans sequesterd in the Mexican cooking section. What they were doing there, I have no idea. All I know is that for a good ten minutes I thought I was leaving garbanzo-less. And any good person knows not to mess with my garbanzos.

Especially when I have very special plans for them.

Grecian Salad


1 cucumber
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup kalamata olives, chopped
1/2 cup garbanzo beans
1/4 cup feta cheese
basil-balsamic vinaigrette


Slice the cucumber and chop the slices into quarters. Put in a bowl and add the halved cherry tomatoes. Next, add the olives, beans, and vinaigrette. Toss carefully. Sprinkle on cheese and serve.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Almond Raisin Biscotti

It's a New Year! Have a cookie.

These were a part of my holiday bake-palooza. My family loved them so much that I actually had to make a second batch to furnish my holiday bags after all the only-one-corner-snacking.

They're adapted from a Giada recipe. And you all know my feelings on that one and her recipes. Meaning, you should make them. Like, yesterday.

Almond Raisin Biscotti


2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
3/4 cup raisins
3/4 cup slivered almonds


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. In a separate bowl, cream together the butter and sugar. Add the eggs one at a time and mix until smooth. Sift the flour mixture in two batches, combining with a spatula. Fold in the raisins and slivered almonds.

Take the dough and form it into a log, roughly 1 foot long and 3 inches wide on a prepared baking sheet. Bake for 40 minutes, until lightly golden.

Let the log cool and then slice it on a diagonal into 1/2 inch slices. Return the sheet to the oven and bake for another 15 minutes. Transfer the biscotti to a wire rack to cool completely.