Monday, April 27, 2009

Rhubarb Crazed

I have a confession to make. One that's rather embarrassing. In my nearly twenty four years on this Earth, it was only about one month ago that I tasted my first rhubarb. I can hear the silent hush falling across the room. . . knowing that this delicious vegetable is so incredible, I can imagine to any rhubarb lover out there this is quite the travesty. It is to me. . . now. So, I've been on a rhubarb kick. I quite seriously crave it, I believe this is because I have a lot of time to make up for. A good twenty something years in fact.

, originally uploaded by miss.mallory.

Seeing as I haven't made a cupcake in quite some time, on a bit of a whim, I decided to head to the local market and pick up a bushel of rhubarb and a pint of fresh strawberries to create an utterly fabulous cupcake. It came to me immediately, I knew what I wanted; a rhubarb strawberry cupcake, filled with a large scoop of tart, sweet rhubarb compote, topped with cream cheese frosting, finished off with oatmeal crumble 'sprinkles'. The result? Good. Not great. The cake was too dense for my liking. This may have had something to do with my method and not the cake itself. I got up that morning, played an hour and a half of tennis and then proceeded to stand in my kitchen with Thomas' sister and help her create 300+ ravioli for a camping trip this week. Needless to say, by the end of it I was a tad wobbly and off my kitchen game a bit. All I knew was that I wanted rhubarb, anything rhubarb would do. And for some reason I figured 'why not just whip up the cupcakes'? So, that's exactly what I did, sore feet be damned! Looking back, I should've just made the rhubarb compote, slathered it on top of some pistachio gelato that's been sitting patiently in my freezer, and called it good. But no, I made the cupcakes, baked sprinkles, whipped cream cheese frosting, and slow cooked compote. If you're up for it (I suggest not having spent the entire day in the kitchen already) I would suggest giving this recipe and all of it's components a go. If it's too dense for you too, then it's likely a flaw in the recipe, if not, it was a flaw on my (exhausted) part. If you only want to make one component let me suggest the rhubarb strawberry compote. On toast, ice cream, or spooned straight into the mouth, any way you eat it, it's out of this world (and stupidly simple).

, originally uploaded by miss.mallory.

Recipe: Strawberry:Rhubarb Compote (makes about 1 cup)

1 pound rhubarb (washed, trimmed and strings removed, sliced into 1/2 inch pieces)
1/2 cup sugar
5 strawberries (cleaned and chopped in half)
2 Tablespoons of water


1. Place rhubarb, sugar, strawberries and water into a small saucepan over low heat.
2. Simmer slowly, stirring frequently until everything has broken down and you have a thick compote (about 20 minutes).
3. Place in small bowl and allow to cool.

Strawberry Rhubarb Cupcakes, originally uploaded by miss.mallory.

Recipe: Rhubarb Strawberry Cupcakes : Makes One Dozen


1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup whole milk, room temperature
1/3 cup rhubarb/strawberry compote
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 large egg, room temperature
2 large egg whites, room temperature


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with cupcake liners.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
3. In a small bowl, mix together milk, vanilla, and rhubarb compote; set aside.
4. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter on medium-high speed, until light and fluffy (3-5 minutes).
5. Gradually add sugar and continue to beat until well combined and fluffy.
6. Reduce the mixer speed to medium and slowly add egg and egg whites until just blended.
7. With the mixer on low, slowly add half the flour mixture; mix until just blended.
8. Add the milk mixture; mix until just blended.
9. Add remaining flour mixture, scraping down sides of the bowl with a spatula, until just blended.
9. Divide batter evenly among prepared muffin cups. Transfer muffin tin to oven and bake 18-20 minutes.
10. Allow cupcakes to cool in tin before frosting.

Recipe: Cream Cheese Frosting : Makes appx. 2 cups

8 oz cream cheese
1 Tablespoon unsalted butter (room temperature)
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups high quality powdered sugar


1. Place butter and cream cheese in electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment and beat on medium speed until thoroughly mixed. About 3 minutes.
2. Sift in powdered sugar and add vanilla.
3. Mix thoroughly (another 3-5 minutes).

This frosting is very thick, but yummy!

Recipe: Oatmeal Crunch 'Sprinkles'


1/2 cup of butter, melted (1 stick)
1 cup of flour
1/2 cup oatmeal
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 brown sugar


1. Preheat oven to 375
2. Place all ingredient in a bowl and mix well with hands, until mixture is crumbly
3. Sprinkle over a baking sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes, stirring mixture occasionally to prevent excessive browning (you want golden brown, not chocolate brown)!

Keep in mind, I eyeball this, I don't have an actual recipe. So if you're mixture seems too wet, add more flour, not sweet enough more sugar. . . you get my drift!

, originally uploaded by miss.mallory.

who licks the (chocolate free) paddle clean for a girl without children? why, the pugs of course!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

From the Oven

First off, I have to praise the weather here in the Northwest. It is gorgeous! Warm, sunny, blue skies with a gentle sweet spring breeze. As close to perfection as the weather can get.

We have a good pita place here in town. Their pitas are thin, light, soft and open seamlessly, perfect for any variety of fillings. Even better, they sell bags of ten for about $2. I promptly purchased a bag. Last night Thomas and I enjoyed pitas full of organic veggies and jarlsberg. Needless to say I wasn't pita satisfied. I wanted more pita today for lunch, however, I didn't want a repeat of dinner, but I did want to keep my lunch light. Scanning the contents of my refrigerator it came to me; Annie's light barbecue sauce, lowfat cheddar cheese, red onion, and rotisserie chicken. . . barbecue chicken pizza on top of a pita, slow roasted in the oven. My lunch was quick, easy, satisfying and extremely light and healthy. It was the perfect pairing to this gorgeous, sunny afternoon.

Recipe: Pita Barbecue Chicken Pizza


1 pita
2 Tablespoons of barbecue sauce (I used Annie's)
1/4 cooked chicken breast, shredded or cubed
10 thin slices sweet red onion
1/3 shredded lowfat cheddar
a few sprigs of italian parsley


1. Preheat oven to 375 Fo
2. Brush pita with barbecue sauce
3. Evenly sprinkle chicken, red onion and lowfat cheddar cheese over the pita
4. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes, until cheese is melted and pizza is heated through
5. Remove pizza from oven and sprinkle with italian parsley
6. Eat and enjoy!

Friday, April 17, 2009

The Best Answer is World Peace.

Last Two Bites, originally uploaded by miss.mallory.

Butternut Squash Jarlsberg, originally uploaded by miss.mallory.

The best answer to any pageant question that is. Am I right or what? It's like the fall back to any pageant question. If you were president what would be your first order of business? World Peace. If you could change one thing about the world today what would it be? World Peace. What is your favorite color? World Peace.

So, here it is. My pageant beauty. She's 100% real baby. Jarlsberg, roasted butternut squash, garlic/chive mayo all sandwihced between two thick slices of rustic rosemary bread. I'm proud of her. Based on the way she tastes, there's no doubt she'd be in the top 5. If you don't know what I'm talking about, then you must not know that April is national grilled cheese month (so get out there and grill your cheese!) but you also must not realize that there is such a thing as a grilled cheese pageant. I was thrilled when I stumbled upon this food blogging event. Ah-maz-ing! Truly a stroke of sandwich genius! All of my excitement is owed to Panini Happy. Beyond that, they're offering a prize to one random pageant participant, Tom Colicchio's new book "whichcraft: craft a sandwich into a meal and a meal into a sandwich".

I thoroughly enjoyed eating this incredible sandwich. It was a bit of a fluke honestly. I knew I wanted to use jarlsbery (primarily because I'd picked up over two pounds for less than $10, so I have a lot of it) and for the last week I thought I wanted to pair it with caramelized onion. Yet, this afternoon, I got inspired by some unknown sandwich god and really broke out of any normal panini box. The result? This truly incredible 'grilled cheese'. Truly different than any I've ever had, but yummy nonetheless.

Recipe: Roasted Butternut Squash and Jarlsberg Panini with Garlic Chive Mayo on Rosemary Bread


1 loaf of crusty rosemary bread cut into thick sandwich slices
3 tablespoons of mayo with 3 cloves of garlic (minced) and 3 chives
10 cubes of roasted butternut squash
10 thin slices of jarlsberg


1. Generously spread mayo on the inside of two slices of bread
2. Place 5 slices of jarlsberg on each slice
3. Sprinkle roasted squash over one piece
4. Put both slices together, lightly smother the outside of your sandwich with plain mayo (yes, instead of butter, I love it, it tends to make the outside of your sandwich extra crispy and delicious)
5. Heat grill pan on low to medium heat and grill both sides for about 5 mintues, or until golden brown.
6. Viola! Sit down and enjoy! Preferably somewhere sunny and breezy.

Thanks again to Panini Happy for creating such an incredible challenge! It was a great excuse to eat a delicious (and different) grilled cheese sandwich for dinner!

Butternut Squash Jarlsberg, originally uploaded by miss.mallory.

Roasted Butternut Squash, originally uploaded by miss.mallory.

Garlic Chive Mayo, originally uploaded by miss.mallory.

Possible Pancake Convert

I'm not a huge fan of pancakes. This might come as a shock to some of you, particularly those who know me. I'm a huge sweet fan, especially anything with 'cake' in the title, but pancakes, ick. I can't explain it really. There's nothing particularly revolting, that I could describe, about pancakes. It's not the texture, or the flavor. I just can't put my finger on it. Maybe it was because I grew up on 'Norwegian Pancakes', which is basically a sweeter version of crepes. Very different from the thick, rich, spongey pancakes that are so popular here in the states. I always like the thought of pancakes, but am generally disappointed when I sit down to the breakfast table to eat them. To me, cartoon pancakes are the most appealing of all. I believe the Simpsons have tried converting my brain once or twice, those tall, golden, perfectly round, syrup covered cartoon cakes are oh so delicious looking. But they never taste they way they look on the Simpsons. Maybe I'm weird? No, I'm definitely weird. This I know. I love waffles but generally despise pancakes.

However, this recipe (and the lemon souffle pancakes) are the closest I've come to being a pancake convert. The fresh berries paired with the vanilla bean and the white chocolate chips create a perfect (don't get me wrong, quite rich) batter and cake. I only had one (I'm usually lucky if I can choke down half) and that was primarily due to the richness. Even if you don't put the chips in, I highly suggest next time you make pancakes, put the fruit in, not on top of them. Quite yummy, even to a girl who generally dislikes pancakes. This is a great spring/summer/celebration recipe too. . . mothers day perhaps?

Recipe: Strawberry Vanilla Bean & White Chocolate Pancakes


1 egg
1 cup milk
1 vanilla bean scraped for seeds (or 1 Tablespoon of extract with vanilla bean in it)
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
2 T. sugar
2 t. baking powder
1 TBS salted butter - melted
1 2/3 cup sliced fresh strawberry
1/3 cup white chocolate chips


1. In a medium sized mixing bowl whisk egg, milk, and vanilla together.
2. Sift flour, sugar, and powder (all together) over wet mixture.
3. Stir in melted butter
4. Fold in freshly sliced strawberries and white chocolate chips
5. Heat pan or griddle on medium heat.
6. Ladle about 1/3 cup of mixture onto hot griddle, flip when you begin to see air bubbles (only a few minutes)
7. Cook for the same amount of time on other side, until pancakes are golden brown and cooked through.
8. Serve with maple syrup, hot maple butter, or freshly whipped cream.
9. Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Greens & Rice

Greens & Rice, originally uploaded by miss.mallory.

I don't have enough recipes that include kale. It's one of those veggies I'm not extremely familiar with. It's not that I don't love kale, but to me it's this odd salad like veggie that doesn't have many applications. I have the same veggie curiosity with chard. I'm seeking more chard recipes, specifically rainbow, so send them my way if you have any!

I really liked this recipe. It's incredibly simple, especially if you have some leftover rice (takeout etc). Not that rice is difficult to make, all you need is some rice, water a rice cooker and 15 minutes. And for this recipe, a few bunches of fresh kale, one sweet onion, and a few cups of veggie stock. Not only is it super simple, it's ridiculously affordable and deliciously healthy. It is one of those recipes you can walk away from for 15 minutes while it reduces covered on the stovetop, which is the perfect amount of time to catch up on a few emails or watch the last half of the Simpsons. Great, right?!

I couldn't offer you a better recipe if I made and delivered it myself. Give this one a try, I bet you'll love it. It's fresh, a tad creamy and rich, but so easy on your waistline and your budget. Plus, if you want more protein add slices of grilled chicken breast or thinly sliced kalbi beef strips. You simply can't go wrong with this recipe. . .

Recipe: Greens & Rice


2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups cooked short grain brown rice - cooked
1 medium sweet onion thinly sliced
2 cups cleaned roughly chopped chard (leaf only, stem removed)
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes or hot sauce
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup chicken stock


1. Heat olive oil over medium heat in heavy skillet.
2. Place onion and garlic slices in oil. Saute until tender about 3 minutes.
3. Add the red pepper flakes and salt and pepper.
4. Add the kale and let saute until it cooks down slightly then add the stock.
5. Cover and let cook for 10 minutes.
6. Add cooked rice and continue to continue cooking until heated thoroughly (about 3 minutes).

Sunday, April 12, 2009

The Moon Egg

Moon Egg, originally uploaded by miss.mallory.

Happy Easter!

I really wanted to get an Easter post up earlier, but I've been out at the property and their internet here is incredibly slow, frustratingly so. I actually held the computer over my head to get the photos to transfer from uploadr to flickr. argh! the frustrations of being somewhere that isn't home, am I right?

We kept it simple. I'm not huge on Easter, it's never a big holiday for me. I don't ever do much. I think the weather really inspired me though. For nearly a week we had incredibly gorgeous, sunny weather here in the Northwest. I took advantage of it and headed down to my favorite nursery with one of my favorite friends. While there I found a fun little food item, a dried ear of corn which you put in the microwave to make popcorn with; corn that pops off the cob. The boyfriend loves popcorn. It was upon the discovery of this novelty item that I realized I had to do at least one basket this year. So, he got a basket filled with popcorn related items, alongside the ear of corn I added a thick bar of dark chocolate laden with caramel corn, a hippo chip clip and a few other tiny items. The easter bunny was good to him this year.

Last night I had a couple of girlfriends over for some easter egg dying fun. I do enjoy that. I still make silly, brightly colored eggs with funky patterns drawn on them. I'm not clever enough to create anything incredible like Ms. Martha Stewart. No decoupaged eggs in my kitchen, as much as I wish I'd had enough forethought this year to plan something uber fantastic and mind blowing in the egg decorating department, I reverted back to my childhood standard of PAAS tablets.

I served the girls a puff pastry gruyere asparagus tart, and a carrot vichyssoise. I may not have followed in Marthas egg decorating footsteps, but I can thank her for those incredible recipes. Very simple, chic and spring. Not to mention, delicious. I tripled each recipe because this morning I handed out baskets filled to the brim with jars of soup, parchment wrapped asparagus tart, a bushel of daffodils and a handful of cookie 'nests'. Needless to say, the recipients were thrilled.

So, enjoy the pictures for now. Tomorrow I will post links to the recipes for the tart, soup, and cookies!

Chocolate Cookie 'Nests', originally uploaded by miss.mallory.

For cookie recipe head over here. Super simple, super yummy, wonderful flavors and textures. Now, I just have to figure out what to do with the leftover ganache and toasted coconut. . .hmm. . . .

Asparagus Gruyere Tart, originally uploaded by miss.mallory.

For tart recipe, check out this page. It truly is perfect (and again, oh-so simple).

Carrot Vichyssoise recipe right over here. Something about bunnies, carrots and Easter, just made sense to me. It was a Martha filled evening for sure. . . minus the technicolor eggs of course.

Birds Eye View Nests, originally uploaded by miss.mallory.

Y, originally uploaded by miss.mallory.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Ligthen Up

Cauliflower Mash, originally uploaded by miss.mallory.

First of all, let me welcome you to the shiny new and improved blog layout. What do you think? I hope you like it. I absolutely love it. When Sharnee over at Acorn Glue and I began the process of creating a new blog template I had very little idea what I wanted. I thought something two toned, feminine and scripty. What we ended up with was something in a completely different color palate, with a totally different look. Yet, I love it. Seriously, I can't stop visiting the site just to look at it. And while I'm still working on some kinks (centering photos on past posts for one example) I wanted it up for all to enjoy.

I've been participating in a weekly 'get healthy' group. A few women who meet up to focus on how to balance a busy and stressful life with making better choices with food and exercise. I've never been a part of anything like it, and the support is great. It's motivating to know that every week not only do you have people to reminisce with but are also accountable to. Because of that, I've been trying to recreate some of my favorite comfort foods into healthier versions. One of my favorites is chicken pot pie. I don't make a traditional pot pie either, it's laden with cream, white wine, and gruyere and topped with a fat slab of puff pastry. Clearly, not the healthiest of dishes. I wanted to create a dinner that was incredibly satisfying but much healthier. So I caramelized leeks, and brussel sprouts and created a creamy filling with a splash of fat free 1/2 and 1/2 as well as a sprinkle of Pecorino. Instead of using puff pastry I topped my lightened up version with a mash of yukon golds and cauliflower. These rich flavors, while used sparingly, easily tricked my tastebuds into thinking I was eating something with lots of rich, buttery depth.

If another cold, blustery or rainy day is headed your way in the coming weeks as winter disappears and spring blossoms in full force, I suggest you hunker down and give not only your soul, but your body a healthy and delicious treat.

Recipe : Lightened Up Chicken Pot Pie : Serves Four


2 leeks tops and bottoms trimmed and sliced thinly
4 carrots (I use organic, tops on, super sweet and amazing)
2 cups low sodium stock (veggie or chicken
1/2 pound brussel sprouts trimmed and cut into quarters
2 ears fresh corn, steamed, and shucked
1 cup frozen peas (use fresh if you can find them, they are not currently in season here)
2 baked chicken breasts cubed
4 TBS nonfat 1/2 and 1/2
4 TBS pecorino
2 Yukon gold potatoes quartered
1/2 cauliflower roughly chopped


1. Place onions in skillet with 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat. Cook until translucent, add carrots, then add a splash of salt and pepper and reduce heat to low and caramelize for 15 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, perheat the oven to 400 oF and place brussel sprouts in a shallow, prepared baking dish. Roast for 30 minutes until slightly golden.

3. Add stock to onion and carrot mixture, cover and cook for an additional 15 minutes.

4. Boil potatoes for 15 minutes, add cauliflower, boil an additional 5-10 minutes. Drain, mash up with a pad of butter and season. Set aside.

5. Add brussel sprouts, corn, peas, chicken and cream to the onion and carrots. Reduce down until sauce is thickened, 5-10 minutes. If sauce isn't thick enough add 1/8 teaspoon of cornstarch.

6. Spoon equal parts of chicken mixture into four 5 inch deep ramekins or one small baking dish.

7. Sprinkle each with 1 Tablespoon of pecorino.

8. Top with a large dollop the mashed potato/cauliflower mixture.

9. Bake in already heated oven for 15 minutes, until browned and enjoy!

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Dinner Club : March : Last Meal

Hello ladies and gents! I hosted an extremely successful dinner on Saturday night for our cooking club. We've had a few, more, new additions. . . both girls got creative and brought delicious dishes. Not only that, I think we had some great conversation and sincere laughter between us. I couldn't have wished for more, I truly believe that this group may become an amazing thing, although it's taken nearly a year to get to that place. Everything in life takes work doesn't it? Rarely things are perfect on the first try.

To get a sense of the new girls cooking style, and taste, we went with the theme 'last meal'. So, we drew dishes as usual, and based on that dish we each created what we'd want as our last meal. I know, I know, if you're anything like me that task may seem nearly impossible, but seeing as it was theoretical, all the girls had to do was, essentially, pick one of their favorite dishes or ingredients. Since I only knew two of the girls, I really had no idea what kind of meal we were going to sit down to. I figured, because the theme was pretty much a free for all (no specific cuisine or genre) I had a feeling it wouldn't necessarily be a cohesive flavor combo, dish by dish. I was surprised that it pretty much was. The menu featured crab cakes (pictured above) with a mango salsa and a coconut cream sauce, potato pancakes, roasted beets with chevre, roasted squash mac and cheese, and a tower of hazelnut chocolate puff pastry and vanilla bean cheesecake with a scoop of vegan vanilla/coconut ice cream.

The dinner took place during Earth Hour, which was something I'd planned on participating in. So I decorated the kitchen, and set the table, with the Earth (and our dinner) in mind. Plenty of candles and orbs, and eco-friendly decor.

We had an incredible dinner with our wonderful new additions, and I simply cannot (seriously) wait for our brunch in April!

DSC01506, originally uploaded by miss.mallory.

Recipe: Roasted Beets


2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard (preferably whole-grain or coarse-grain)
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
3/4 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons olive oil
1 lb onions (2 medium), quartered lengthwise, then cut crosswise into 1-inch pieces
2 (15-oz) cans small whole beets, drained and quartered (or halved if very small) (our girl roasted fresh beets, not canned, I reccomend it)
3 oz chevre (1/2 cup)
1/4 cup pine nuts (1 oz), toasted and coarsely chopped


Whisk together vinegar, mustard, pepper, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a large bowl, then add 3 tablespoons oil in a slow stream, whisking until combined well.

Cook onions with remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt in remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, 18 to 20 minutes. Add onions to dressing, then add beets and cheese, stirring gently to combine. Serve sprinkled with pine nuts.

Entree : Roasted Butternut Squash Macaroni and Cheese with Carmelized Shallots

I wrote about this macaroni and cheese recipe a few weeks ago, and can be found here. It's rich, creamy and the roasted butternut squash offers a hint of sweetness. Oh-so yummy!

For dessert we were presented with a yummy puff pastry (dipped in hazlenut chocolate) and vanilla bean cheesecake tower. Also served with our dessert was a rich cocktail of drinking chocolate and grand marnier. No recipe for this one, she simply used some of her favorite recipes to concoct this dish.

We all enjoyed potato pancakes for our starter, which was a family recipe from one of our longtime members. Sorry, folks no recipe for this one either. Being one of Ashley's family treasures and all.

Crab cake recipe can be found at use the good china.

DSC01499, originally uploaded by miss.mallory.

Until next month. . .