Sunday, December 27, 2009

A-Frame Chalet : Daring Bakers December 2009

Gingerbread Chalet, originally uploaded by miss.mallory.

The December 2009 Daring Bakers’ challenge was brought to you by Anna of Very Small Anna and Y of Lemonpi. They chose to challenge Daring Bakers’ everywhere to bake and assemble a gingerbread house from scratch. They chose recipes from Good Housekeeping and from The Great Scandinavian Baking Book as the challenge recipes.

I absolutely loved this months challenge. Every December I host a gingerbread making party, complete with frosting 'glue', lots of candy, christmas punch, and a cheeseball (for eating, of course). So, this challenge was right up my Holiday alley. I actually made two houses this year. This A-Frame, and a tall london tower-esque house, whose roof wouldn't stay put, so, in the garbage it went. The A-frame appealed to me because the roof went from sky to floor, no sliding, holding in place for long periods of time, or any gingerbread acrobatics in general. This little house could probably be much fancier than it currently is, but I was in very simple, minimalistic mood the morning I glued it all together. I encourage you to check out the other Daring Bakers gingerbread homes, there are many spectacular structures among them!

Gingerbread house making may be over in your household, with the end of the holiday season usually comes the end of holiday projects and treats, but if you're still up for a little confection making and you haven't tackled the almighty gingerbread house, whether it be an A-frame, a cottage, a barn, or a tower, I suggest you take a little time before the new year and get a buildin'!

Anna's Recipe:
Spicy Gingerbread Dough (from Good Housekeeping)

2 1/2 cups (500g) packed dark brown sugar

1 1/2 cups (360mL) heavy cream or whipping cream

1 1/4 cups (425g) molasses

9 1/2 cups (1663g) all-purpose flour

2 tablespoon(s) baking soda

1 tablespoon(s) ground ginger


1. In very large bowl, with wire whisk (or with an electric mixer), beat brown sugar, cream, and molasses until sugar lumps dissolve and mixture is smooth. In medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and ginger. With spoon, stir flour mixture into cream mixture in 3 additions until dough is too stiff to stir, then knead with hands until flour is incorporated and dough is smooth.
2. Divide dough into 4 equal portions; flatten each into a disk to speed chilling. Wrap each disk well with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight, until dough is firm enough to roll.
3. Grease and flour large cookie sheets (17-inch by 14-inch/43x36cm)
4. Roll out dough, 1 disk at a time on each cookie sheet to about 3/16-inch thickness. (Placing 3/16-inch dowels or rulers on either side of dough to use as a guide will help roll dough to uniform thickness.)
5. Trim excess dough from cookie sheet; wrap and reserve in refrigerator. Chill rolled dough on cookie sheet in refrigerator or freezer at least 10 minutes or until firm enough to cut easily.
6. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F (149C)
7. Use chilled rolled dough, floured poster board patterns, and sharp paring knife to cut all house pieces on cookie sheet, making sure to leave at least 1 1/4 inches between pieces because dough will expand slightly during baking. Wrap and reserve trimmings in refrigerator. Combine and use trimmings as necessary to complete house and other decorative pieces. Cut and bake large pieces and small pieces separately.
8. Chill for 10 minutes before baking if the dough seems really soft after you cut it. This will discourage too much spreading/warping of the shapes you cut.
9. Bake 25 to 30 minutes, until pieces are firm to the touch. Do not overbake; pieces will be too crisp to trim to proper size.
10. Remove cookie sheet from oven. While house pieces are still warm, place poster-board patterns on top and use them as guides to trim shapes to match if necessary. Cool pieces completely before attempting to assemble the house.

Gingerbread Chalet, originally uploaded by miss.mallory.

Gingerbread Chalet, originally uploaded by miss.mallory.

Gingerbread Chalet, originally uploaded by miss.mallory.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Make Whoopie : Chocolate Peppermint Whoopie Pies

You must make whoopie. Sorry, couldn't resist the innuendo there. But, I'm serious. You must make whoopie, pies that is. From what I've gathered they're a strictly an east coast treat, a popular New England confection. Being raised on the west, and never having stepped foot near the East, I'm not entirely sure how I became familiar with whoopie pies. Other food blogs is one culprit I'm sure. The other is likely the stack of cookie books I've acquired (if you didn't know this already, cookies are in my top three all time favorite desserts). I stumbled across this recipe on Baking Bites that was from a book I already had dubbed The Good Cookie. This truly is a good cookie. I did alter it a bit. Not the cake ('cookie') recipe, but the filling. Since we're getting so close to Christmas (9 days, yikes!) I knew I wanted to make something that hearkened the approaching Holiday. So, instead of the traditional vanilla filling I made a cream cheese filling, and sprinkled it with crushed candy cane. I was impressed. I can understand why the New York Times declared the whoopie pie was the next cupcake. It's not. Sorry, but nothing can beat the cuteness or the versatility of a cupcake. But I will say, I have never made a chocolate cupcake as moist as these little chocolate discs. The texture and flavors were outstanding. Sweet, but not explode your tastebuds sweet. Moist and soft. It's as if my two favorite desserts, cake and cookie, got together and made a perfect little dessert baby. So, if you've never made these little gems, I highly recommend you do, whether or not you go traditional with the filling (sans the cream cheese and peppermint) or not.

Recipe : Chocolate Whoopie Pies


2 cups AP flour
1 cup coco powder
3/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup room temp. butter
1 cup sugar
1 large egg yolk
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup hot water
1/2 buttermilk (I made my own, 1/2 cup whole milk with 1/2 Tablespoon of Cider vinegar added)
1 batch cream cheese filling (recipe below)
3 candy candes, crushed


1. Preheat oven to 400 F. Line baking sheet with Silpat or parchment.
2. In a medium sized bowl whisk flour, salt, and cocoa powder together. Add baking powder to hot water and stir.
3. In the bowl of an electric mixer cream together the butter and sugar on medium-high speed for 3 minutes, until light and creamy.
4. Add egg yolk and vanilla and mix until well combined.
5. Starting with the flour: add a bit of flour, then a bit of buttermilk, then a bit of milk. Repeat. Be sure you start and end with flour and do not overmix or the cake will get 'heavy'. This might sound complicated, I promise you, it's not.
6. I used a melon baller to scoop up equal amounts (about a teaspoon) of dough and drop onto prepared baking sheet about 1/4 inch a apart.
7. Bake cookies 5-7 minutes. The tops will crack.
8. Cool completely before filling.
9. Fill each cookie with a healthy schmear of cream cheese filling, dust with candy cane.

Cream Cheese Filling:


2 cups good powdered sugar
4 Tbs room temperature butter
4 oz. cream cheese
2 Tbs heavy cream
pinch of salt


1. In the bowl of an electric mixer add sugar, butter, and cream cheese. Mix on slow speed at first, increasing the speed as the sugar mixes in.
2. Add cream and salt and mix until smooth.
3. Pipe or spread about a teaspoon inside each cookie.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Dried : Cranberry Blondies

Cranberry Blondies, originally uploaded by miss.mallory.

I believe this is going to be one the quickest post in ASITK's history. You see, not only was I behind this week on my posting, for various reasons, this weekend I'm headed down to Seattle to stay in a very lovely hotel with a fabulous girlfriend. A girls weekend away. However, I am currently insanely behind on oh so many things. From printing out confirmations and directions, to laundry and packing. I am determined to share these blondies with you before I finish up with my other responsibilities (and while my last load spins away in the washing machine)! I sent my lovely boyfriend to work this morning with a pile of these. From what I hear they were pretty much a success. There were a few bumps in the baking road. First, my cranberries didn't dry (yes, I dried my own, without a dehydrator at that). The first method I attempted directed me to heat the oven to 350, turn it off, place cranberries on a baking sheet with a bit of sugar and allow to sit, in the cooling oven, overnight. When morning came, I had partially dried berries. My solution? Turn the oven to 185 and continue roasting until shriveled, about 2-3 more hours. In the end they were a success. Refreshingly tart, not overly sweet. These blondies, or, cookie bars, are quite delicious. Each one has a crunchy, flaky, layer of sweetness on top, a soft chewy center, and is littered with bits of smashed white chocolate and dried cranberry flesh. I topped them each with a schmear of meyer lemon cream cheese frosting, a dried berry or two, and a drizzle of white chocolate. I absolutely loved these. Not only will they be a good go-to for the holidays, a recipe both perfect for fall and the Christmas, but I think I will be able to manipulate the batter to suit other seasons fruits and treats. If I were you, I would be adding these to your holiday baking list!

Cranberry Blondies, originally uploaded by miss.mallory.

Recipe: Cranberry Blondies with Meyer Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting


3/4 butter melted
1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/4 flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
3/4 dried cranberries
1/4 roughly chopped white chocolate


1. In a medium bowl combine butter and brown sugar well until incorporated. Whisk in the two eggs, one at a time. Then add vanilla.
2. In another small bowl mix flour, baking powder, and salt together.
3. Slowly fold in the flour into the wet mixture. Stir until well combined.
4. Add cranberries and white chocolate bits.
5. Pour into a 13x9 prepared baking pan.
6. Bake in a preheated 350 oven for 20-25 minutes.
7. Allow to cool to room temperature then frost with meyer lemon cream cheese frosting (recipe below), garnish with a few dried cranberries and a drizzle of white chocolate.

Recipe: Easy Meyer Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting


1 8 oz. package cream cheese
1 tsp freshly grated meyer lemon zest
1 cup powdered sugar
1 Tablespoon heavy cream


1. In the bowl of an electric mixer (or with electric beaters) combine first three ingredients. Once well combined beat in heavy cream.

Cranberry Blondies, originally uploaded by miss.mallory.

Well, I guess that wasn't so short afterall! Time to get back to getting ready. Eye lids are getting heavy and there's still plenty to do!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Sweet Sadness : Apple Streusel Bars

Apple Streusel Bars, originally uploaded by miss.mallory.

I've been doing my best to be consistent with blogging. For me, that's become posting every Wednesday, at least for the last few weeks. Clearly, Wednesday has come and gone, and still, no post. I could give you excuses: it's just been one of those weeks, car trouble, I've been busy, the cranberries I planned to use in my recipe refused to dry overnight so I had to start the process all over again on Wednesday. While all of those things are entirely true, I kind of hate excuses. Do what you say you're going to do when you say you're going to do it. That's the kind of girl I am. Although, I suppose I never actually announced, 'I'll be blogging every Wednesday folks'. But, I can see from my traffic stats that many of you have caught on to my unofficial Wednesday rule. Enough babble eh? Let's get down to it. This isn't my Wednesday post, nope, that post will be up tomorrow. This is simply a 'tide you over until the real deal happens' post.

The Top Chef finale was last night, meaning I simply had to cook or bake something a little special. After getting home late I was too tired for a complicated meal, so a salad it was for dinner, and baking it had to be in honor of Top Chef. A few weeks ago I stumbled across
Honey & Jam. An amazing food blog created by an uber talented amazing young woman. I'm sure most of you food bloggers and readers are already familiar with her and her work, but if not, it's a must read (on a regular basis). A week or so ago she posted the most enticing pictures of these Apple Streusel Bars. Our local apple bounty is still in full force, and not having got my fair share during Thanksgiving I put these bars on my immediate 'to be baked' list. Last night was the night for it. All I needed were apples and a pint of good vanilla ice cream. I made two slight alterations to the original recipe she has posted. First, I used a slightly larger pan so that I could put all of the crust on the bottom and instead of reserving some of the crust for the topping I made an oatmeal streusel. I swapped out the powdered sugar glaze for a cinnamon and brown sugar one, which simply consists of 2 parts brown sugar to one part heavy cream with a dash or two of cinnamon. I have to say I love this simple recipe. It's right up my dessert alley. The crust was incredibly crumbly and isn't ultra sweet, the granny smith apples I used were perfectly tart, and the glaze added the perfect punch of sweet. Since I ended up with a plateful of mixed greens and berries for dinner, I paired the Top Chef finale with a very healthy dose of these bars and vanilla ice cream. While the ultimate Top Chef outcome wasn't what I had wished (team Kevin!) this sweet treat distracted me from my momentary misery. Be sure to check out Honey & Jam and come back tomorrow for cranberry blondies with meyer lemon cream cheese frosting!

Apple Streusel Bars, originally uploaded by miss.mallory.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

When It's Cold Outside : Vegetarian Chili

Vegetarian Chili, originally uploaded by miss.mallory.

The week after Thanksgiving is usually quite the lazy one. The boyfriend and I are busy cleaning, putting away the fall decor and swapping it out for the Christmas. Days after Thanksgiving has come and gone we're still gobbling down the last bits of turkey, mashed potato, stuffing and the ever famous green bean casserole (particularly if we hosted, as we did this year). Come Monday, we're entirely done with anything that smacks of Thanksgiving. Because of that I like to keep our dinner schedule easy and light. I don't want to be in front of a hot stove for too long, and neither of us are much up for heavier faire. That's when I lean on simple favorites like this vegetarian chili. It's a perfect one pot, quick and easy meal that is still warm enough to satisfy the soul on the frosted nights that have set in. I found this recipe on one of my favorite go-to food websites, 'Simply Recipes'. Elise's recipes are always simple, delicious, well explained and all together no fail. The original recipe is actually intended to be a Thanksgiving leftover turkey chili. Due to turkey overload I've omitted the turkey. Actually, the first time I made this chili I used ground turkey, and a very spicy chili powder. I've come to prefer it without meat, and I seek out a smoky chili powder instead of a spicy variety. I also like to add a cup of corn. I love how the sweet kernels pop when you bite into their yellow flesh. Something about that sweet/spicy combo I just can't get enough of. I like my chili dressed with sharp cheddar, sour cream, green onion, maybe even a little hot sauce or avocado and served alongside a large slice of moist cornbread. If you haven't, I absolutely encourage you to check out Simply Recipes, I've never been disappointed by Elise or her recipes.

Vegetarian Chili, originally uploaded by miss.mallory.

Recipe: Vegetarian Chili Adapted From Simply Recipe's 'Turkey Chili'
Makes appx. 12 cups


1 medium sweet onion roughly diced
4 garlic gloves
1 sweet bell pepper roughly diced (orange, red, green, yellow, all are good)
1/4 olive oil
2 Tbsp chli powder (up to four, depending on how spicy you like it)
1 Tbsp ground cumin
1 Tbsp dried hot red pepper flakes ( less if you don't want so much heat)
2 Tbsp tomato paste
2 35 oz. can stewed tomatoes, crushed
1 15 oz. kidney beans drained and rinsed
1 15 oz. black beans drained and rinsed
1 cup fresh (depending on season) or frozen yellow or white sweet corn kernels
1 tsp dried oregano
1 Tbsp salt (or more, to taste)
1/2 tsp black pepper
Sprinkling of brown or white sugar (balances the acidity of all those crushed tomatoes)

Garnish of your choice. Avocado, sour cream, green onion, shredded sharp cheddar etc.


1. In a large soup pot over medium heat add olive oil, onion and green pepper. Cook until translucent, about 5 minutes.
2. Add garlic and all the spices (chili powder, cumin, red pepper flakes) except the oregano. Mix well, cook an additional minute or two.
3. Add tomato paste, incorporate well. Then add the crushed tomatoes stock, oregano, black beans, kidney beans, corn, salt, pepper and stir until combined. Reduce heat to low and simmer uncovered for at least an hour.
4. If needed, add a bit of sugar, and any additional salt. Serve hot and garnish as desired.

I hope everyone had a lovely Thanksgiving holiday with family and friends, and didn't max out too much on incredible food!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

So Thankful.

Storm on the Horizon, originally uploaded by miss.mallory.

Ha., originally uploaded by miss.mallory.

How to Eat a Pizza, originally uploaded by miss.mallory.

sunday morning, originally uploaded by miss.mallory.

Monkey, originally uploaded by miss.mallory.

Boo, originally uploaded by miss.mallory.

Orange Ottoman Ollie, originally uploaded by miss.mallory.

Trapped in a Bug, originally uploaded by miss.mallory.

Beautiful Moments, originally uploaded by miss.mallory.

There is so much in my life I am thankful for. So many people. Some that remain, some that are gone. Every single one has impacted me. Some small, some greatly. For me, some of life's greatest joys are the little moments, the bits and pieces that make up the bigger picture, that which is almost entirely intangible. There is meaning and goodness in everything, you simply have to recognize it.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Chicken Paprikash

Chicken Paprikash, originally uploaded by miss.mallory.

I know, I know. I don't even have to say it. The dish pictured above is clearly not the prettiest of dinners. But as your mother used to say 'you can't judge a book by it's cover'. And frankly sometimes looks have nothing to do with whose got it going on, and let me assure you, this dish has it going on. I actually didn't realize it was so ugly until I started taking photographs and editing. Hungarian chicken paprikash is considered, by far, one of my top three favorite comfort foods. I've swept many a discerning palates off their feet with this hungarian staple. It's got that warm, earthy, down home good cooking taste to it. The kind that warms your belly and your bones. It's the culinary equivalent of a thick fleece blanket. Upon serving I've had some diners look at their plates excitedly others questionably. To the concerned I usually smile, nod, and say something pseudo-reassuring like "it's Hungarian stroganoff with chicken", because I figure everyone had a mom or an aunt who made a kick ass slow roasted stroganoff. It's an american classic stroganoff. It's not frightening (well, not to most), therefore I always feel that comparing it to a classic dish helps the eater feel at ease, and so far it's done just that for those who seem skeptical upon first glimpse. The ingredient that imparts the smoky unique flavor the dish bursts with, Hungarian Paprika, is not hard to find in your groceries spice aisle. You should not have to go to a specialty store to seek it out. It is a gorgeous vibrant red with a much more intensely flavorful kick than your standard paprika. Some call it sweet, some call it smokey, I call it 'delicious'. In fact, I've replaced Hungarian Paprika for most recipes that call for it (I particularly love it sprinkled over deviled egg salad). The wonderful thing about this dish is it's simplicity. You simply grill up some chicken, onion, and sweet bell pepper, dump a healthy serving of Hungarian Paprika all over, cover with chicken stock and reduce until chicken melts in your mouth like butter. Finish off with a healthy dose of sour cream and a side of mashed potatoes and you've got yourself an incredibly satisfying dinner in no time flat!

Recipe: Hungarian Chicken Paprikash


2 Tablespoons of extra virigin olive oil
1 1/2 pounds of boneless skinless chicken breast cubed
1 very large sweet onion roughly cubed
1 bell pepper of your choosing (I prefer red, orange, or yellow because they're sweeter)
4 rounded tablespoons of Hungarian paprika (start with about two, I prefer a LOT of paprika, probably even more than the recipe calls for, it's really a matter of taste, you can add more when the dish is finished if it's not paprika-y enough for you)
1 1/2 cups of chicken stock (or enough to cover, see below)
1 cup of full fat sour cream (you can use light, but not fat free, I like full fat because it's thicker, producing a thicker sauce in the end)


1. Heat oil in a large skillet on medium heat.
2. Place cubed chicken breast in skillet. Grill until chicken has browned.
3. Throw in cubed onion and sweet pepper, season with salt and pepper. Once the onions have become translucent (about 5 minutes) add hungarian paprika and saute for about a minute.
4. Pour enough chicken stock into skillet to cover the chicken and vegetable mixture completely. Reduce heat to medium-low.
5. Cook down for about 30 minutes. Liquid should reduce to to 1/4 of it's original. The more liquid before you add the sour cream, the less thick the paprikash will be.
6. Remove from heat and add sour cream.
7. Serve with mashed potatoes.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


Stuffed Shells Bolognese, originally uploaded by miss.mallory.

Bolognese is good poured, dumped, or slathered all over just about anything in my book. I'm a simple girl at heart, so my all time favorite application has to be pouring it on top of hot, freshly boiled spaghetti. But I think these stuffed shells bolognese come in at a close second. Probably partially due to the fact that I'm cheese's number one fan. If cheese got in an accident on a snow ridden highway I might be tempted to kidnap it and keep it tied up in my guest room reminding it daily 'I'm you're number one fan'. (Sorry, I couldn't help the Misery reference there, my love of cheese might border on sick at times, thus the reference). Needless to say, I'm a fan of cheese in every and all forms. Soft cheese, hard cheese, stinky cheese, light cheese, perfectly aged cheese with those little crunchy bits littered throughout it's tart flesh. Swoon. I truly don't believe I could live without it. So, pouring my beloved bolognese over giant shells filled with copious amounts of ricotta cheese speckled with fresh herbs? It just doesn't get much better than that in my book. I've already raved about my bolognese. I would make it every week if I could justify it, I can't, so I don't. But it is on a bi to tri-weekly rotation. When you've got a kick ass sauce, or recipe in general, you can play with in just about anyway you want and it remains just as satisfying, if not better. From time to time I break free from spaghetti noodles and try it in new dishes, a few weeks ago it was (at least an 8 pound) lasagna bolognese, this Sunday stuffed shells. Both were out of this world. Probably because both were loaded with cheese. These stuffed shells dish is quite possibly the epitome of comfort food for me. Cheese, noodles, bolognese, and more cheese. A recipe fit for a slow, dark, chilly Sunday.

Stuffed Shells Bolognese


First you'll need a batch of Bolognese
1 box of giant shells (about 30 shells per box)
2 LB whole milk or part skim ricotta cheese
1 large egg
1 Tablespoon fresh Rosemary finely chopped
1 Tablespoon fresh Thyme finely chopped
2 medium sized Sage leaves finely chopped
1/8 cup finely chopped Italian Parsley
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon white pepper (if you don't have white, black will do just fine)
6 oz freshly grated parmesan
6 oz. freshly grated pecorino


1. Boil noodles according to package until they are al dente. Should be about 8 minutes. You're going to bake them so you want them to be al dente to ensure that they do not turn to mush in the oven. Drain, rinse with cold water and set aside.
2. In a medium sized bowl mix ricotta, egg, rosemary, thyme, sage, salt and pepper until well combined.
3. Pour a shallow layer of bolognese sauce over the bottom of a large casserole dish.
4. Fill a large pastry bag with the cheese mixture (if you do not have a large pastry bag you can put the cheese into a large ziploc, seal it, and cut one of the bottom corners off). Pipe and fill, with equal amounts of cheese, each cooked shell, placing filled shells in the sauce prepared casserole.
5. Once all the shells have been filled and placed in the casserole, top with remaining bolognese, parmesan, pecorino and a sprinkling of italian parsley.
6. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 15-20 minutes until cheese is melted hot and bubbly.
7. Serve and enjoy!

Stuffed Shells Bolognese, originally uploaded by miss.mallory.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Autumn Salad with Caramelized Pears

Caramelized Pear Salad, originally uploaded by miss.mallory.

I can't believe it, but I'm about to blog what I ate for dinner. . . . tonight! Quick huh? Less than two hours ago I was gobbling this tantalizing salad down. It may seem odd to some, but I like salads in the fall and winter. Sure, they're fairly synonymous with warmer seasons like summer, but, add the right ingredients and you can have a hearty, warm, chilly day worthy salad. One of my favorites has large chunks of slow oven roasted pumpkin, kale, and lentils. One of my other autumn salad go to's is this salad. A slice of bread, oven toasted with olive oil and parmesan is topped with peppery baby arugula, chunks of english cucumber, thin slices of sweet red onion, crowned with gorgonzola and pears that have been slowly caramelized in brown sugar and cider vinegar. Warm bread on the bottom, hot sweet and tangy pears on top with a lot of good stuff in between. It's simple to whip up in 20 minutes or less, it's warm, and it's exciting (to my tastebuds at least!)

Alright readers, back to my hot mug of chamomile, Property Virgins and Top Chef I go. . .

Recipe: Caramelized Pear Autumn Salad

Serves 2


4 thin, long slices of artisan bread
1 Tablespoon olive oil
Freshly grated Parmesan Cheese
2 cups Baby Arugula
Sweet Red Onion thinly sliced (use as much or as little as you'd like)
1/2 English Cucumber diced or julienned
1 Organic Anjou or Bosc Pear thinly sliced (I like the skin, that's why I buy organic, but if you prefer, you can 'skin' the pear)
1 Tablespoon Butter
1 Tablespoon Dark Brown Sugar
1 Tablespoon Cider Vinegar
Gorgonzola crumbled to garnish


1. First make your bread. Brush both sides of slices with olive oil, sprinkle one side with parmesan cheese, bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 5 minutes or until cheese has melted and the bread is golden and toasted.
2. While breads are cooking caramelize your pears. Heat a small pan on medium/high, add butter, brown sugar, and pears. Allow to cook 'tossing' (I flip the pan around) for 5 minutes. Once the mixture is nice and hot throw in your apple cider vinegar. Continue to caramelize for another 5-10 minutes until pears have browned up (caramelized) and the vinegar has reduced.
3. Place bread at the bottom of a salad bowl. Stack veggies on top of warm bread. Scoop equal portion of pear on top of cold veggies, drizzle with pan juices and finish with gorgonzola.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Happy Halloween!

Halloween Tablescape, originally uploaded by miss.mallory.

I'm early, I realize. However, I wanted to share with you this little 'tablescape' (why do I hate that word so much?) I created for 'Around the Table's' Halloween dinner last weekend. I thought I captured far better pictures than I did. Oh well. I still wanted to show off my little halloween creation, which may perhaps inspire you in the coming days when you begin to set up your own halloween soiree. I almost enjoy the art of creating a setting for the dinner, more than I enjoy cooking (gasp, blasphemy I know!) It's so fun, so exciting, and if done right should, in the end, propagate a gaggle of ooh's and ahs (much like the food). Plus, a proper lovely and inspired setting should make all your guests feel just that more special, cozy and at home.

Halloween Tablescape, originally uploaded by miss.mallory.

Halloween Tablescape, originally uploaded by miss.mallory.

Halloween Tablescape, originally uploaded by miss.mallory.

Halloween Tablescape, originally uploaded by miss.mallory.

Halloween Tablescape , originally uploaded by miss.mallory.

Halloween Tablescape, originally uploaded by miss.mallory.

The Kiss of Death : Halloween Martini

'Kiss of Death', originally uploaded by miss.mallory.

Okay, confession time. This martini isn't really all that halloween-y. It's just tasty. The only thing that really makes it somewhat halloween reminiscent is that fabulous skull cocktail pick, and perhaps, the color. Other than that, it's refreshing, slightly sweet with a bite. Just how I like my cocktails. That's actually why I chose to dub it 'kiss of death'. I assume that's what death must be like, a mixture of something (hopefully) good (sweet), with a touch of sadness and mystery (tart). It's easy to slurp a few of these babies down in no time, plus, they're incredibly easy to whip up. Perfect for that all-night Halloween bash I know you'll be throwing, or attending!

Check back tomorrow for a gorgeous silver, white and black Halloween table setting to get you inspired for your holiday decor. The pop of reddish pink this martini packs would look fantastic against that muted table color palate!

'Kiss of Death' Martini

Serves 4


8 oz citrus of blackberry vodka
4 oz. pure pomegranate juice
4 oz. sweetened pineapple juice
Juice from one large lime (feel free to throw in some of the the peel in the shaker, I like to)


1. Fill one large martini shaker with ice, vodka, pomegranate, pineapple, and lime juice.
2. Shake vigorously for 30-60 seconds (I shake until my hands are too icy cold to continue).
3. Pour equal amounts in martini glass. Garnish with halloween pick skewered with tipsy cherries or fruit of your choice.

'Kiss of Death', originally uploaded by miss.mallory.


Thursday, October 22, 2009

Around the Table : September : Eat Local

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Warming the Soul.

Chicken Gruyere Pot Pie, originally uploaded by miss.mallory.

True Autumn weather is on it's way to Bellingham. A storm weather advisory has been administered. Strong winds accompanied by blankets of rain are going to hit the area in a matter of hours and hunker down for days. We have been blessed with incredibly beautiful fall weather the last couple of weeks, out of the ordinary for our little seaside town. Usually early to mid September the grey, rain, and cold moves in, unpacks and stays until May. This October has been nothing but fairy tale inspired fall weather, lots of blue skies and sunshine paired with just the right amount of chill. Gorgeous, dry, but not curiously warm (meaning we still get to wrap up in big sweaters, drink piping hot cinnamon lattes but can push wearing our favorite opened toe-d shoes just a bit longer). In the Northwest our seasons are all fairly mild but quite distinct. Cold winters, sweet springs, mild summers, wet and windy autumns. I grew up, and have spent all of my short life here, needless to say I am very used to our seasons, in fact, I love them dearly. Seasons are a big deal in this house. For me it's a change, a new beginning, each one brings lovely and wonderous things, yet no two are the same. And with the changing of the seasons also comes a change in our dinner routines.

My grandmother was a seasonal cook, meaning, there were dishes that she only made during certain seasons. Winter was full of sweets, both traditional Norwegian ones and new found American recipes. In the summer she packed the fridge with fruits and veggies. In the fall she often fried( just about anything) in a lot of butter, from meat patties, to onions (lot's of onions), to potatoes to to fiske pudding. Like many of my proclivities in the kitchen, I have followed in her footsteps. Except the butter. I don't use as much butter. But, most of my tried and true weeknight recipes only come out at certain times of the year. In the summer I love to grill, and eat lots of giant salads and juicy fruits. In the fall and winter months I whip out my most warming comfort foods. At the top of that list is this casserole queen, my take on the classic pot pie. A simple dish comprised of tangy gruyere, smoky grilled chicken, sweet caramelized leeks and carrots, as well as healthy dose of chardonnay. Top it all off with a chunk of buttery puff pastry and you've got what I consider one of the tastiest autumn dishes. Mouthgasm guaranteed.

Recipe: Gruyere Chicken Casserole : Serves Six to Eight


6 boneless skinless chicken breasts cubed

4 large organic carrots

1 large leek

2 Tablespoons butter

1 Tablespoon of flour

1 cup of heavy cream

3/4 cup of chicken stock

3/4 chardonnay or other white wine

1 cup baby spinach

1 cup gruyere

One sheet of puff pastry brushed with egg wash and cooked until golden brown on a cookie sheet. Appx. 10-15 minutes in a 400 F oven. If you'd like to do what I did above, cut your puff pastry with a cookie cutter into shapes. Brush with egg wash, and bake until golden.


1. In a large skillet brown chicken in a bit of olive oil.

2. Remove chicken from pan and place into a large bowl. In the same skillet add 1 Tablespoon and melt, throw in leeks and carrots. Grill until leeks are tender, about 10 minutes. Remove from pan and add it to the bowl with chicken.

3. In the very same skillet add the other Tablespoon of butter, allow to melt, add flour and whisk for one minute. One the flour/butter mixture bubbles a bit then slowly whisk in the cream, stock, and white wine. Allow to reduce a bit if the mixture is not thick enough.

4. Once the mixture has thickened remove from heat and stir in the cheese and spinach.

5. Pour sauce over the chicken and leek mixture. Mix to coat. Pour into a large casserole dish, or tall individual ramekins. Top with golden puff pastry sheet, or shapes. Serve immediately, if not, cover with tin foil and warm in a 350 F oven for 10-15 minutes.

Curl up on the sofa with a large soft throw, a bowl full of casserole and viola! A perfectly delicious autumn evening. . . .

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Day of Rest

Well. Not exactly. I've actually been quite the busy bee. But this evening I wanted to share with you some food porn, as well as pictures of a few recipes you can look forward to seeing posted this week. Those pumpkin cookies, unfortunately, won't be in the lineup. They're a friends secret, heavily guarded recipe that I only scored upon the promise that I would not share it with the world. You can enjoy the yummy pictures though! Until later this week, enjoy the sights. . . .

Pumpkin Cookie Unbaked, originally uploaded by miss.mallory.

Pumpkin Cookie Whole, originally uploaded by miss.mallory.

Pumpkin Cookie Cut, originally uploaded by miss.mallory.

Pumpkin Puff Pastry, originally uploaded by miss.mallory.