Monday, December 16, 2013

Espresso - Black Gold

Due to not having had a coffee post in a while and P<'s current obsession, The RQ has decided to share about their love affair…with Black Gold! (Black Gold is also the name of a movie. A must watch for coffee aficionados!) "Let me count the ways to brew coffee:  too many." The RQ likes her coffee strong, bold, and dependable….  French Press, Chemex, and espresso are her favorite brew methods. For our wedding anniversary this year we splurged and finally bought a reputable espresso machine. We now enjoy a consistent espresso or cappuccino almost daily. Crossland's CC1 Home Espresso Machine has found a welcome home albeit plan for a learning curve to become comfortable with this machine's peculiarities. Tis the season to be a bit more peppy!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Gram's Stuffed Artichokes

Since we're on the subject of artichokes, it's time to introduce my Gram's stuffed artichokes. She made these every holiday gathering along with Italian Brown (Crimini) stuffed mushrooms! I looked forward to enjoying them every time! As often is the case, basic ingredients and simple skills allow these specialties to shine! Recipe Below. Enjoy!

Stuffed Artichokes

Artichokes, whole (one per individual/stems used in steaming)
Garlic, 2 large cloves, minced
Parsley, fresh flat leaf, 2 Tblsp
Bread, one loaf (Pepperidge Farm White Thin Sandwich Bread is The RQ's preference)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil, 1/3-2/3 cup
Butter, 1-2 Tblsp
Oregano, dried, 1 Tblsp
Red Pepper Flakes, 1-2 tsp
Salt & Pepper, to taste
*Mushroom Stems (included if also stuffing mushrooms)

(Approximate spice amounts included only as a guide as these are per preference and amount of chokes cooked.)

Fill a large bowl with water and the juice of half a lemon. Rinse and trim artichokes, then set in cold water. To trim, cut stems from bases and trim tops with a chef's knife; then cut tips off all the leaves allowing for plenty of room to stuff later. Place artichoke and stems in lemon water to prevent leaves browning.

Slice bread into 1/2" cubes and toss with oregano, fresh parsley, salt & pepper. Sauté garlic, red pepper flakes, and mushroom stems (if also stuffing mushrooms) in butter. Add sauté mixture to dried stuffing and toss. Then add as much oil as needed to create a very moist and cohesive stuffing!

Dry artichokes upside down on paper towel, then stuff about a heaping tablespoon per leaf. Meanwhile have a thick bottomed pan on burner filled with two-three inches of water coming to a boil and simmer. Artichoke stems can be placed to create space between the artichokes which decreases cooking time. Artichokes are then carefully place into the HOT water. Return water to a boil, then turn down to a hearty simmer and cover for about an hour. You will know the artichokes are done when a leaf can be easily pulled from the choke. Remember to allow these delicacies a little time to rest on a plate or serving dish loosely covered with foil~they're HOT!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Savory Spinach Artichoke Stuffing


(Savory Spinach Artichoke Stuffing)

Thanksgiving Dinner would not be complete without Emeril Lagasse's Spinach Artichoke Stuffing! The RQ's Court has been enjoying this unusual and flavorful stuffing for over a decade!

A Slightly Unusual Menu for Thanksgiving Dinner-

Quinoa Stuffed Peppers (vegan)
Spinach Artichoke Stuffing w/ Brie (vegan opt)
Brussels Sprouts with Chestnuts (vegan)
Mashed Potatoes (vegan opt)

Carrot Cake w/ Cashew Cream Frosting (vegan)

Brussels Sprouts with Chestnuts (stovetop)

Brussels Sprouts (2 stalks/1 pound)
Butternut Squash (1/2" chunks)
Yellow Onion, chopped
Chestnuts (2 dozen)*
Olive Oil, 1/4 cup
Broth (chicken/veggie) up to 1 and 1/2 cups
Orange Juice, fresh, about one cup (1/3 used for soaking raisins if using)
Golden Raisins, 1/4 cup (opt; soaked for 30 min in 1/3 cup orange juice)
Salt & Pepper

NOTE: If the vegetables and chestnuts are prepared ahead this side takes 45 minutes to an hour to cook on the stove. Also note, if using golden raisins, the cup of juice required for the recipe includes the juice used to soak the raisins. All the juice ends up in the dish! If not using freshly squeezed the cook may choose to use less as store-bought juice can be overly sweet.

Par boil brussels sprouts about 5 minutes, strain and set aside. Heat olive oil over med heat, add onions and sauté about 5 minutes. Add squash and continue sautéing about 5 minutes. Add 3/4 cup of broth and bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 3-5 minutes. Remove lid and add brussels sprouts, chestnuts, raisins, orange juice, salt & pepper. Increase heat to medium and cook and additional 10-15 minutes or until sprouts and squash are tender but not mushy. Use as much of the remaining broth as needed to prevent burning.

*Chestnuts-Cut chestnuts in half with a chef's knife, parboil 2-3 minutes. Drain and peel when cool enough to handle. Spring-loaded or needle-nose pliers are great for popping the meat from the half shell! Thanks to Badgersett Farms for the tip!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Yogurt Parfait

When The RQ is busy preparing for a BIG dinner and company yogurt parfait is a healthy and satisfying treat to keep her energy up!

This ensemble is an organic delight including local-organic-black-cherry yogurt layered with wholesome granola, dried cherries, bananas, and mint!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Roasted Eggplant Italian

Oregano is one of those herbs that is best used dried not fresh. So what might the cook do with the fresh oregano spilling out of the garden at the season's end? 
Sprinkle garlic with a tad of salt and chop finely before adding to 1/4 cup olive oil. The salt helps the garlic to release its juices. While garlic juices infuse into the oil prepare the eggplant for roasting. Cut the eggplant in half lengthwise leaving the stem in tact. Carefully peel away   all of the purple skin leaving about a finger's width at the edges. Add salt, pepper, & red cracked pepper to the garlic infused oil. Generously slather eggplant with oil mixture and top with one hearty sprig of fresh oregano before turning face down to roast! The garlic will continue to infuse as it roasts and surprisingly doesn't burn! This is a garlic lovers delight! Cover with foil and roast at 400 for about 45 minutes.

If the eggplant is cooked till very soft the chef can turn them over, sprinkle freshly grated Italian cheese of choice (Parmesan or Asiago) and continue cooking till cheese begins to melt and just beginning to brown.
If the chef would like to make more of a hearty meal with this side, the addition of a thick-chunky-red sauce and fresh mozzarella will compliment this eggplant beautifully! Simply prepare a hearty-red sauce (recipe below) while the eggplant cooks. Be sure to include some dried oregano in the sauce, to accent the fresh oregano that has infused while roasting. When eggplants are soft, remove from the oven, turn over, and top with read sauce and fresh chunks of mozzarella. Return to oven for about 25 minutes to allow the cheese to cook-melt. The magazine recipe called for the addition of fresh bread crumbs and grated parmesan to complete this masterpiece. 

Note to cook: Ingredients make all the difference when cooking. Know where your ingredients come from! The RQ procures all of her fresh Italian cheeses and other Italian specialty items at Ciaccia's Delicatessen
Doesn't that look scrumptious!
Fra Diavolo Sauce

1-28 oz can organic-whole-peeled tomatoes, Muir Glen or preferred brand
2-3 Tblsp extra-virgin-olive oil
6 cloves of garlic, crushed and finely chopped
1 tsp cracked-red-pepper flakes
salt & pepper to taste
parsley, fresh-chopped
pat of unsalted butter (optional)

1 tsp dried oregano (included here only to compliment the fresh-oregano-infused eggplant)

Sauté garlic and red-pepper flakes in olive oil in saucepan over moderate-low heat being careful not to burn the garlic or pepper (till fragrant or just beginning to brown slightly). Add whole tomatoes and crush with potato masher (wavy-Z-shaped model). For this recipe only, add 1 tsp dried oregano. Simmer 30 minutes adding salt, pepper, fresh parsley, and butter (opt) at the end.

Eggplant Recipe Inspired by Bon Appetit (October 2013).

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Roasted Delicata Squash with Lemon-Basil Pesto

Roast the squash the night before to have
dinner in "a snap!"
Tonight's dinner is a variation on a recipe by BASTYR University. Thanks CC Mrs. Prozac for sharing the resource and enthusiasm for squash! True to her alias, Mrs. Prozac has embraced pure happiness while enjoying seasonal squash.

Because The RQ was in the mood for comfort food  on this crisp autumn day, I used delicata squash due to its creamy-sweet qualities. After roasting and scooping out the flesh, the squash was mashed with a few healthy pats of unsalted butter, salt, and pepper to taste. While it was roasting I prepared a simple lemon-basil pesto with the remaining sweet basil from my garden, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, and freshly grated asiago cheese. To serve I sprinkled more asiago over the heaping creamed squash. A dollop of pesto on top and a sprinkling of roasted pumpkin seeds! Delish! A side of sautéed kale makes this one healthy meal.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Steak Sandwhiches for Dinner

I couldn't resist this thick piece of organic skirt steak at the grocer. The steak cooked up nicely on a hot skillet stovetop! Four minutes a side on high produced a delicious medium-rare piece of meat. The meat was simply rubbed with a bit of olive oil and sprinkled with sea salt and fresh-cracked pepper. Delish! Caramelized onions and garlic mayonnaise boosted this sandwich to excellence! Local cauliflower prepared au gratin and zucchini sautéed in butter made for an easy week-night meal!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Whole Grain Baked Scones

There are so many reasons why The RQ enjoys her kingdom. But her favorite is letting her creativity and passion for food go wild when cooking. The kingdom is abundant with healthy, sinful, and comfort foods that feed the body and soul while connecting with family and friends.

So although some mornings The RQ will make sinful scones with heavy cream and butter, this morning everyone enjoyed the pleasant surprise of these vegan scones. They are more cake like than scones made with cream, but they are not heavy. In fact, they were a very pleasant surprise! Thanks goes to Celine Steen and Tamasin Noyes, authors of Whole Grain Vegan Baking! Buy the cookbook or check out their facebook page!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Sautéed Shrimp over Mashed Potatoes...

...and Homemade Ricotta Cheese Pie!

Saturday night was The RQ's birthday! P< rose to the occasion and accomadated ALL of her culinary requests! Shrimp and potatoes are two of The RQ's favorites. Ricotta cheese cake for dessert brought The RQ right back to her Gram's kitchen adding even more rich memories to the occasion. 

Shrimp was marinated in a chile lime sauce and sautéed in butter & garlic and delicately placed atop mashed potatoes. A touch of sour cream finished P<' interpretation of Chef Jason Wilson's recipe as featured in FRESH (Vol. 6).

The RQ prepared fresh ricotta (another FRESH recipe) while P< rested up for an evening of cooking! Three ingredients made this cheese cake extraordinary, the fresh homemade ricotta, the combination of both lemon and orange juices, and the gingerbread cookie crust. The cheesecake recipe featured in FRESH (Vol. 5) reminded me so much of my Gram's cream cheese pie, I've included her recipe below. The RQ will post Gram's Ricotta Pie later this fall!

Gram's Cream Cheese Pie
(This is a quick & easy delight anytime.)

Cinnamon Graham Crackers, 1 pkg, crushed
3 Tblsp butter, melted

1-8 ounce pkg cream cheese (whole milk), softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 Tblsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp grated lemon rind
2 eggs, separated (egg whites stiffly beaten)

Crush graham crackers into crumbs with a few pulses of the food processor or with a rolling pin (crackers placed in zip lock bag not quite closed).  Combine melted butter reserving 1/4 cup to sprinkle on top of pie. Press remainder in a 9" pie dish.

Combine softened cream cheese with sugar, lemon juice & lemon rind, beating until fluffy. Add egg yolks mixing until well blended. Fold in stiffly beaten egg whites. Pour filling into crust. Sprinkle with reserved crumbs. Bake at 350, for 25 minutes or until slightly firm.
Chill at least one hour before serving.

A special thanks to Darigold's magazine FRESH that supplied these wonderful recipes! ~and to CP for sending the magazine to The RQ just in time for her birthday dinner. 

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Seaweed Dinner

Seaweed or rather, sea vegetables, and the many varieties have always been a bit of an oddity in The RQ's kitchen pantry. Many are familiar with Nori or roasted seaweed that is used in sushi rolls. P< is famous for whipping together delicious sushi rolls with Nori which has a mild aroma. But sea vegetables in general give off a smell that some consider disconcerting if not overwhelming. I know vegans who won't touch the stuff due to the nature that some dishes made with seaweed emit a more than subtle scent of fish! That said, this veggie shouldn't be overlooked! In the right amounts and with the right balance of seasonings, foodies can partake in the nuance of the dish and benefit from the many nutritious jewels!

The RQ served this dish over Jasmine rice. The subtle flavors of rice wine (Mirin) and soy sauce (Tamari) tempered the intensity of the Hiziki seaweed. And notice, a modest  amount of Hiziki seaweed was used as an accent to the dish! In addition, delicata squash, daikon (asian radish), rehydrated Shiitake mushrooms and sweet onions gave this meal a nice balance. And don't forget to shake a healthy dash of black & tan sesame seeds with sea salt (Gomasio) over top.

Recipe inspired by Terry Walters' CLEAN FOOD cooking

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Apple Walnut Cobbler

Just another afternoon in the kitchen. Cream Puff rang The Red Queen raving about Peach-Pear Cobbler that she'd whipped up the previous evening. CP used local fruit from a friend's backyard trees! The RQ was inspired and adapted CP's recipe using local heirloom apples!
The RQ used a combination of all purpose and whole wheat flour for the topping. And almond milk instead of dairy to combine the wet and dry ingredients.
This hearty treat whipped-up and baked-up in no time. Portman and The RQ found themselves enjoying a lazy autumn afternoon, sipping Finger Lake Pinot Noir and savoring this seasonal dessert fresh from the oven!

Fruit Filling
Sliced Apples*, Pears, or Peaches and Blueberries (4-5 cups total)
1/4-1/3 cup water______________________________
cinnamon, nutmeg (1/4-1/2 teaspoon each)
1 Tblsp all purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar_________________________________
Scant Tblsp lemon juice 
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

1/3 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 tsp baking powder
2 Tblsp Maple or Brown Sugar
Dash of salt__________________________________
3 Tblsp butter_________________________________
2 Tblsp walnuts_______________________________
1 egg, slightly beaten
2-3 Tblsp milk

Coarse Sugar to sprinkle on top of topping before baking (i.e. raw cane sugar.)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and bake in an ungreased 8/8/2 baking pan. 

The filling is prepared stove top. Add fruit* and water to a skillet and bring to a boil over medium heat. Cover and stir frequently. When the fruit begins to break down (5-8 minutes) stir in dry mixture. Don't overcook or you will have applesauce. Once it begins to thicken stir in chopped walnuts and lemon juice. Turn off heat and spoon into baking pan. Top with prepared topping (below).

While fruit cooks down prepare topping. Combine flours, baking powder, sugar, and salt. Next cut in butter and then toss in walnuts. Combine wet and dry topping mixtures just till they come together (don't over mix). Drop mixture on top of fruit like cookies onto a cookie sheet. Sprinkle with a bit of coarse sugar and bake for 20-25 minutes.

*If using apples, peel and core.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Greens & Beans

for Kathy
Greens & Beans is a dish food connoisseurs may not get too excited about when dining out. But for those who know, this is a hearty and flavorful dish, pure comfort food. When done well, this dish stands up to many a savory dish! Many cuisines and professional chef's present their own twist. The RQ's recipe is closest to the Italian or Mediterranean style of cooking. The home chef can be as creative as she'd like as this dish can handle many a twist or turn. If you don't want butter use olive or coconut oil. If you don't want a brothy dish, simply sauté. Garlic and lemon juice/rind are classic elements which The RQ recommends. Even so, if you don't have garlic use a shallot or onion. 

Greens & Beans

Shopping List-
Swiss Chard, Kale, or other dark cooking green
Garlic (or shallot)
Lemon (juice & rind)
White Beans, canned (cannellini, great northern, or navy)
Red Pepper Flakes
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Chicken/Vegetable Broth
Salt & Freshly Cracked Black Pepper

Rinse and drain beans; the amount of beans added at the end of cooking is chef's preference. Next zest and juice the lemon, set aside. If broth is desired simmer one cup in a small pan to add later. 

In a skillet sauté garlic or caramelize shallots in olive oil over medium heat. Red pepper flakes added to the oil as it heats provides a little kick to this dish. Once the shallots begin to caramelize add greens with stems removed and cut in strips. Sprinkle with salt & pepper and add pats of butter to the skillet. Don't overcook these greens; especially if you decide to finish with a little broth. When greens are near done add beans, lemon rind, and juice. For those that like this dish with broth, add now. As always ENJOY!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Salsa Verde


Anyone lucky enough to find some late harvest tomatillos must give this sauce a try. The blend makes a  refreshing alternative to traditional red salsa. And the flavors boost any meal!
Salsa Verde
(recipe and shopping list)

Tomatillo, husked and cleaned (check out local farmer's stands), 1 pint
Hot Pepper (med-hot, to preference)
Red Onion, half of a small
Garlic, 1 or 2 cloves
cilantro, fresh, healthy handful
lime, juice (fresh), half
salt, to taste

Boil husked tomatillos and pepper in salted water on stove (10-12 minutes). When skins just begin to crack, drain. Add tomatillos to food processor. Next remove and discard the stem and seeds from the pepper, chop flesh coarsely and add to processor. In addition, add coarsely chop garlic and red onion. Blend/pulse in processor until just combined (you don't want soup)!

Place mixture in small pot on stove to heat through (medium setting, simmer). After about 5-7 minutes, turn off heat, add lime juice, freshly chopped cilantro and salt to taste. ENJOY!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Banana Bread

Thanks to Smitten Kitchen for their Jacked-Up Banana Bread recipe!

The cooler days of autumn have taken western New York by surprise demanding a delicious warm delight to satisfy the senses! So of course The Red Queen remembered that Cream Puff did find the PERFECT banana bread recipe!

Friday, September 6, 2013

White Bean Salad w/ Roasted Tomatoes & Arugula

How many cookbooks can a home chef own? Not enough! Portman would say The Red Queen is a cookbook junkie. Truth is they are ALL unique! This week's find and must have for anyone who wants to improve their health and still enjoy eating, is Terry Walter's CLEAN FOOD! The  following was created from a recipe in her CLEAN FOOD cookbook.

This salad allowed The Red Queen to use up the remainder of roasted plums from an earlier weekday meal. The cook can toss her favorite root vegetables with a little oil, salt, & pepper to taste and then roast them (400 degrees F for 20 min should suffice). Prepared/Canned beans and tomatoes can be added toward the end of roasting. When placed delicately over a bed of pungent greens (arugula), you have a healthy, delicious, and filling meal! For diners who like a little dressing, a sprinkle of balsamic and extra virgin olive oil will not overpower the flavors.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Kale Salad

This salad was inspired by a restaurant in Buffalo, NY and The RQ's desire to include more nutrient rich foods in her daily diet. Merge is a restaurant that offers a mouth watering healthy menu. It is also a gathering place where people find connection and community. 
The key to this salad is allowing the kale to sit in a mixture of citrus juice, olive oil and salt before assembling the salad. It only takes a sprinkling of salt, drizzle of oil, and enough lime/lemon juice to lightly coat the leaves. Toss the kale with your hands and set aside. Then prepare the remainder of the salad while the greens soften.

The RQ created this salad from kale, Macintosh apples, and Chèvre cheese snapped up at our local farmer's market. A healthy sprinkling of sprouted dehydrated sunflower seeds (packed with nutrients) on-hand was also added. The salad was then tossed with a homemade dressing of lime juice (1/2 of lime/lemon), honey (2 t.), olive oil (1/4 c.), salt & pepper to taste.

Maple Syrup Vinaigrette (alternative dressing)

2 Tblsp extra virgin olive oil
1 Tblsp apple-cider vinegar
2 tsp maple syrup
1/1/2 Tblsp Dijon mustard
salt & pepper to taste

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Linguine with Sardines

This summer CC guided The RQ to adding more vitamin D rich foods to her diet to keep her bones healthy as she is nearing 50! This brought The RQ to explore more about the health benefits of SARDINES! These little guys are power packed with nutrients. Vitamin D for bone health is only one of the many beauties provided by the sardine. B12 is at the top of the list followed by a whole host of beneficial vitamins and minerals! Click on the link to learn more! For those of you that are skeptical, give it a try! Canned sardines taste like a cross between anchovies and tuna fish. They are not as strong flavored or salty as anchovies and not as bland or dry as tuna.

Today The RQ sautéd an onion, grated some lemon zest, added capers and fresh parsley, and browned up some fine bread crumbs. Sardines aside, the remaining ingredients are often on hand and versatile! The cook can compliment this dish in as many ways as she cares to create. To add some color to this meal Portman whipped up a tasty salad with fresh local tomatoes and goat cheese!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Summer Sandwich

Roasted red peppers, fresh avocado, local goat cheese, freshly made tapenade on garlic ciabatta provide a delicious summer lunch!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Asian Bean Salad

A cool salad on a hot summer's day is refreshing! With the addition of beans it makes for a very satisfying midday meal.

The cook can include any fresh salad vegetables. The goal to keep in mind for this salad is the higher the water content provides more crunch and quenches the thirst! Today's salad includes: red bell pepper, carrots, onion (grated), sun dried tomatoes, and garbanzo beans. Remember to include your favorite fresh herb. Italian parsley can be a subtle yet pungent addition. Toss the veggies in the dressing below and place on a garden fresh bed of your favorite lettuce. And as always, Enjoy!

The dressing is fabulous and from a health and wellness conscious chef. For anyone interested in the  relationship between the foods we eat and the way we feel check out Annemarie Colbin


2 Tblsp whole-grain mustard
1 Tblsp lemon juice
4 Tblsp balsamic vinegar
1 Tblsp Tamari
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Bread Machine Baking Take II/Cinnamon Swirl

WOW! Look at that rise ~7 1/2 inches!

The excitement of the height of this delicious cinnamon-raisin swirl breakfast bread was quickly deflated upon cutting the first slice of bread. Goodness, look at that air pocket! That said, the bread was delicious, texture and flavor excellent. Any advice on the "hole?"

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Bread Machine Baking

Baking Bread with a machine....

When Cream Puff was just a tot, The Red Queen baked bread by hand with freshly ground grains from the local health food store. Wanting to get back to the wonderful art of bread making, Cream Puff encouraged Portman to gift The RQ a bread machine. Well, it's been slow going. A new acquaintence brought new energy to try again. 

After several attempts, reading, and advice from Cream Puff The RQ managed to add two inches in rise and finally achieved a soft crust. Now, to get the rounded fully risen top of the loaf! Any suggestions from bread machine users would be appreciated!!!

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Dhal Makani (Black Lentils)

Where does the time go...?

(Nicole...we're back!)

These slow-cooked black lentils are creamy and tasty when stewed with Indian spices! The cook can vary the intensity of the flavors by adding more or less spice: fresh ginger, chopped garlic, bay leaves, cumin seeds, turmeric, cayenne, and black pepper (salt to taste added near end of cooking). Add a healthy scoop of tomato paste to the pot during cooking. Serve over bulgar wheat and sprinkle fresh cilantro or mint over each serving for a healthy meal. Include some fresh tomatoes from summer's bounty, and as always, Enjoy!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Wedding Cakes Take One

It is about time to start making practice wedding cakes again. The cupcake above was a trial Apple Spice Cupcake I did for my friends wedding last fall. The next big wedding is in the summer of 2014 and the cake request is Vanilla Champagne with Strawberries. I'm thinking we'll take the angle of a light angel food cake soaked with champagne simple syrup and layered with strawberries! I'll post pictures of how it goes!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Ma Ma Zoe

During my recent trip to Colorado, I was planning to have lunch with a friend in Boulder and she told me she wanted to go to Zo Zo Ma. So I googled Zo Zo Ma to get directions and I couldn't find it. But I did find a Ma Ma Zoe and we did end up at the same place giggling about it in the end. Ma Ma Zoe had a small sitting area inside with tables covered in newspapers and more seating outside. Colorado is always beautiful and sunny so we opted to eat outside. My favorite part of Ma Ma Zoe, were the homemade egg noodles. They were delicious! We also had dumplings and steam buns which were also very good. I can't wait to go back for more!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013


Recently I was having lunch with a friend in Rochester at a small eatery called Open Face. We chose to go here for lunch, based solely on the menu design. I love how simple the O and the brackets create the image for the business. The gentleman who opened Open Face designed the menu, printed the tshirts and creates the sandwiches. He is quite the individual and this was quite the cookie. I think there was cinnamon in there! Yum!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Granola Bars

My number one go to food is applesauce. My second go to food would be granola bars. When I was working at The Broadmoor in Colorado one of my friends used to bring these in and share them with the group. For my parting gift she made me a whole pan! Her granola bars were amazing. Here is my stab at it!

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Piece, Love & Chocolate

The last time I was in Boulder I checked out this sweet store, Piece Love & Chocolate. I could really go for some chocolate. And the hot sipping cocoa that I enjoyed while I was there.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

My Dream Cookie

I love cookies and cakes and all things sugar. And when I dream of cookies....I dream of this lovely giant from Mary's Mountain Cookies in Fort Collins, Colorado! I stumbled into her shop this Valentine's Day looking for something sweet. And I found just that! It is a cross between a comforting chocolate chip cookie topped with all the fun of going camping. My dream come true!

Friday, March 29, 2013

Check out my new flickr!

In efforts to consolidate all of my pastry documentation. I started a flickr! Check it out here.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Packaging for Caramels

This was how I decided to package the caramels to send out! I think the next batch will be Earl Grey Caramels! Yum!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013


I am on job hunt, sending out resumes and cover letters weekly. I was wondering what might accompany my graphic designer/pastry artist resume well and I decided on caramels! So I made a few....hundred. We've been eating caramels for weeks over here!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013


Together Cooking has been a little slow at getting posts up these past few months! But we're trying to get back into the swing of things. To celebrate we'll start with this cake. It was an order I received for a Surprise/Birthday Party last weekend. I layered chocolate guinness cake with vanilla buttercream and finished with chocolate buttercream. From what I've heard it went over very well! I am currently in Rochester, New York and available for any sweet commission your heart might desire by email (

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Moxie Cupcakes

I am currently in my last two weeks of school at The Culinary Institute of America and I'm trying to check off places that I'd like to go in the area and haven't yet. Yesterday I spent the day in New Paltz, New York. I started at Taco Shack for lunch, which was not as impressive as I would have liked but then headed to Cafeteria Cafe to enjoy a hot chai latte and to do a little job searching. I was very happy to sit on one of the gold embroidered couches and sip my chai. Cafeteria Cafe was a really cool cafe. I can't believe that this was my first time there! My final destination was Moxie Cupcake. I ordered the one of the right, a peanut butter cake with chocolate chips and a peanut butter buttercream. And my adventure partner for the day ordered a chocolate cupcake filled with caramel and topped with salted caramel buttercream. Both cupcakes were heavenly and so was the atmosphere. We arrived, ordered our cupcakes and cuddled up in the cozy dining room and almost forgot to offer each other a bite before we finished our cupcakes. The best part of both of the cupcakes was their moist texture. It makes me want to start tweaking my cupcake recipe. Good job Moxie! I will see you soon!

Friday, January 25, 2013


The Red Queen has been SO busy taking care of her kingdom there has only been time for work, preparing and eating meals. So my gift to you is this MAGNIFICENT cookbook by Michael Roberts. Many many years ago, the RQ happened upon this book quite by chance one afternoon at the bookstore. My favorite part of the story is how this gem was snatched up for only $5! The wealth of gourmet recipes are easy for the home chef to prepare; a truly fabulous resource! You'll have to take The RQ's word for it! Last night, she and P< ate up chicken roasted in the oven with a lovely garlic sauce...scrumptious! Check it out on-line or at your local bookstore. And as always, ENJOY!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Dinner in "a snap" - Chicken Scarpariello

Chicken Scarpariello is a fabulous dish which is easy to prepare and delicious! Several years ago a friend introduced this dish to me and it has been a staple in The RQ's kitchen ever since as well as a favorite of Little Brother.

Shopping List-
2 boneless chicken breasts, flour to dredge w/ salt & pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
red pepper flakes to taste
3 Tblsp. parsley
3-4 Tblsp. butter
1/3 cup white wine
juice of one lemon
3 Tblsp. capers
Freshly grated Italian Cheese

Cut breasts into cube size pieces. Dredge in flour, salt, pepper. Fry over med-hi heat in 1 Tblsp. oil in skillet on stove (non-stick preferrable) till nicely browned all sides. Remove chicken to heatproof bowl and cover. Add butter to skillet, garlic and red pepper flakes. Saute 30 seconds. Deglaze w wine. Return chicken to pan, add capers cover and simmer on med-hi for 5 min. Sprinkle with parsley and freshly grated Italian cheese of choice. ENJOY!