Friday, December 18, 2009

Posy of Roses

Its Friday at last! I leave you with a simple posy of roses. Happy Weekend!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Brioche Buttons

I made these little brioche buttons over the weekend and served them as mini lobster rolls. After they had baked I simply sliced their hats off, scooped out the doughy insides, and then dropped a tablespoon of lobster salad into each button and replaced the cap. The recipe below yields 24 buttons. One pound of lobster salad was the perfect amount for 24 buttons.

9 oz warm milk
1 packet dry active yeast
4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
pinch of salt
2 eggs, beaten
3/4 cup cooled, melted butter (plus a little more for brushing on top)
zest of half a lemon

Sift flour in a large bowl. Make a hollow hole in the center and pour in the milk. Add the yeast to the milk with 1 teaspoon sugar. Let sit for 5 minutes (until bubbly). Mix the milky yeast and the flour together. Add the beaten eggs, lemon zest, salt, butter, and sugar. Mix the dough and then begin to knead. If the dough is sticky add some more sifted flour. Once kneaded well and cover the bowl in plastic wrap and leave to rise in a warm room for 1 hour.....When the dough has doubled in size punch it down and knead it for 2 minutes. Place the dough on a floured surface to rest for 10 minutes. Preheat oven to 400. Roll the dough into little balls and drop into a mini muffin tin. Brush each of the buttons with melted butter. Bake for 15 minutes, or until they are beginning to turn golden. As soon as they come out of the oven brush them again with melted butter. Enjoy!

Woodland Cupcakes

Yesterday we had some friends over to celebrate the holidays before we all disperse to be with our families. I baked mini chocolate cupcakes topped with these winter woodland toppers I found at Layer Cake Shop. There is something about garden gnomes that just make me smile.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Je Sais Cuisiner

Cover Image

Last night I had the opportunity to attend a book event for I Know How to Cook, which has been "the bible of French home cooking" since the 1930's. The cookbook was recently translated into English by one of my favorite bloggers and cookbook authors, Clotilde Dusoulier of Chocolate and Zucchini. Aside from the 1400 plus recipes, the book is full of darling illustrations by the French illustrator Blexbolex.

7. I_Know_How_Cook_ CAKES

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Birdies, Bunnies, and Squirrels... Oh My!

Here is an advent calendar that I made last year.

Each little stocking is decorated with a different woodland animal.

Someday I will fill the stockings with goodies....

but for now it will serve as a cute decoration on my mantel.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Brown Butter Pound Cake

On the heels of my recent lemon curd craze, I set about looking for a pound cake recipe. My dear friend at 337 Greenwich suggested hers', and I love it!! I've never browned butter before and it creates the most delicious, nutty flavor you can imagine. I bought a bunch of mini paper loaf pans so that I could give them as holiday gifts. This recipe yields one large pound cake, or 2 mini loaves.

2 sticks of unsalted butter
2 cups sifted flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
4 large eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
zest of 2 lemons
juice of 1/2 a lemon

Preheat the oven to 325F. If you are using paper baking molds as I did, you don't need to butter your pan. Heat the butter in a heavy saucepan until the solids on the bottom of your pan turn to a dark chocolate brown. Transfer to a bowl and cool in the fridge for 15 minutes.Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Beat together the brown butter and sugars until fluffy. Add 1 egg at a time and continue to beat until fully mixed. Add the vanilla, lemon juice and zest and mix at low speed. Transfer the batter into the pans and bake. If using paper pans you only need to bake for an hour. However, if you are using a regular pan you may need to bake for up to 1.5 hours. The loaf should be golden brown and a wooden pick should come out clean. Cool for 30 minutes. Wrap in parchment paper and tie with bakers string. Give to loved ones along with a jar of lemon curd. ♥

Friday, December 4, 2009

Its Beginning to Feel A Lot Like Christmas...

We got our tree this week! I decorated it with Russian Nesting Dolls made out of leftover scraps of fabric. Here are a few of my favorites.....

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Giving Thanks

Every year my Mom creates the most beautiful centerpieces for her Thanksgiving table. Here is a preview of this year's table.
We assembled these simple posies of Red Daisies and Safflowers..
...and then added Mexican Sage from our backyard.

The milk glass vases were bought on Ebay.
Soon this room will be filled with friends and family. I have so much to be thankful for!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Lemon Curd: From Tree to Table

I made lemon curd last night for the first time. It was really easy to prepare, as it only required 4 ingredients and about 20 minutes of my time. The best part? That the lemons came right from my parents backyard! This recipe will serve 4-6 as a garnish.

5 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
4 Meyer lemons, zested and juiced
1 stick butter, cut into pats and chilled

Fill a saucepan with water and bring to a simmer. Combine egg yolks, sugar, zest, & 1/3 cup lemon juice in a medium size metal bowl and whisk until smooth. Once water starts to simmer, reduce heat to low and place bowl on top of saucepan. Whisk for 8 minutes, or until thickened. Remove from heat and stir in one butter pat at a time, allowing each to melt before adding the next. Store in a jar and place a layer of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the curd. (This prohibits a layer of skin from forming.) Refrigerate and store for up to two weeks. Serve over pound cake, scones, or even a simple slice of toast.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Oatmeal and Apples

Two Servings:
1 cup dry oatmeal
2 cups water
1 large apple
lemon juice
2 teaspoons butter

Bring oatmeal and water to a boil. While the oatmeal is cooking, grate a large apple. I've been buying the Pink Lady variety, because they are so crisp and sweet. As soon as the oatmeal reaches a boil, stir in the apple and sprinkle with lemon juice. Spoon into two bowls, stir in a teaspoon of butter in each bowl, and sprinkle with cinnamon. Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Cranberry Oat Cookies

Tonight we are invited to dinner at a friend's house, so I thought I would bake some cookies to take over. I love to bake these in the fall because of their nutty, cranberry flavor.

1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup rolled oats
1 stick + 1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup roughly chopped pecans
1 cup white chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350. Combine flour, baking powder, and oats in a bowl. In another bowl beat butter and sugars until creamy. Add egg and vanilla. Beat in dry ingredients, then fold in cranberries, pecans, and chips. Drop balls of dough onto a baking sheet lined with foil and bake for 15 minutes. Makes 3 dozen.

Chicken Tortilla Soup & Cornbread

(serves four)
olive oil
1 minced garlic clove
2 teaspoons taco seasoning
1 teaspoon ground cumin
pinch of salt
28 ounces low sodium chicken broth
14.5 ounce can of stewed tomatoes, undrained and pureed
1/2 rotisserie chicken; shredded
4 small flour tortillas
1/4 cup fresh cilantro
1 lime, cut into wedges
1/2 avocado sliced
sour cream & cheddar cheese

Heat oil in a large saucepan and saute the garlic and spices. Add the broth, tomatoes, and chicken and simmer for 15 minutes. Slice the tortillas into thin strips and add to soup. Serve and garnish with remaining ingredients.

2 tablespoons butter
3/4 cups cornmeal
1/4 cup flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup organic sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup milk

Preheat oven to 375. Put butter in the bottom of a loaf pan and place in the oven. Meanwhile combine dry ingredients in a bowl. Mix the eggs and milk, then add to the dry ingredients. If the mixture seems too dry add a little more milk. Pour batter into pan and bake for 30 minutes.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Happy Birthday Mamacita!

Today is my Mom's birthday so I thought it would be appropriate to post a photo of this set of notecards she recently made for me. She's so talented at illustrating and printing, I keep trying to convince her to set up her own Etsy shop. Happy Birthday Mom, I love you!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Peanut Butter Cookies

1 cup smooth peanut butter
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons minced peanuts
1/4 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix the p.b., sugar, baking soda, and egg. Stir in the peanuts and chocolate chips. Roll tablespoons of the dough into 24 balls on baking sheets. Bake for 15 minutes. Transfer to a rack and cool.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

New Crush

Is it possible to have a crush on a quilt? Because I think I may have one on the one that was delivered by the UPS man last night. My husband and I recently decided to take a huge step into full-fledged adulthood and (gasp) buy a king size bed! Yep, that's right. We traded in our run-down 8 year-old double sized mattress and box spring for an uber-deluxe KING size Stearns and Foster. Its like sleeping in a hotel every night! After the new bed arrived I obsessed over bedding...and finally decided on this quilt. It was love at first sight.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Chickpea and Spinach Stew

Yesterday I pulled out my folder full of recipe clippings from old magazines. I came across this recipe that I saved from Food and Wine's "Best Fast Recipes Ever", September 2008 issue. I made it for dinner tonight....a perfect meal to eat while watching Monday Night Football!

1 cup water
10 ounces baby spinach
2 large garlic cloves, crushed
kosher salt
pinch of saffron threads
2 teaspoons sweet paprika
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
pinch of ground cloves
pinch of freshly ground pepper
2 15-ounce cans chickpeas, with their liquid
olive oil
1 chopped onion
1 peeled, seeded, and coarsely chopped tomato
1/4 cup golden raisins

In a large skillet bring the water to a boil and saute spinach until wilted. Drain the spinach and chop it. Mix the crushed garlic cloves, salt, saffron, paprika, cumin, cloves, pepper, and 1/4 cup of chickpea liquid in a small bowl to create a paste. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in the skillet and saute the onion and tomato for about 3 minutes. Add the spiced garlic sauce and cook for another minute. Add the chickpeas & their liquid, as well as the raisins and bring to a boil. Add the spinach and simmer over moderate heat for about 10 minutes. Drizzle with olive oil and serve!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Butternut Squash Soup

Nothing says Fall like a bowl of butternut squash soup. Tonight we are eating this for supper alongside rosemary ciabatta bread and cheese.

8 cups butternut squash, chopped into 1 inch cubes
1 onion, chopped into 1 inch cubes
8 cups 2% milk
14 ounces chicken broth
olive oil
salt & pepper
fresh sage

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss the squash, onion, and a few fresh sage leaves (stems removed) in olive oil, salt, and pepper. Cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Spread the veggies out on the baking sheet and roast for 45 minutes, or until the squash is soft. In batches, blend the squash mixture with milk and chicken broth. Move to a large pot and heat gently until all the flavors have combined. Garnish with toasted almonds. Enjoy!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Pumpkin Patch

Last weekend we passed this pumpkin patch on our way to Rhode Island. I started screaming frantically to my husband to pull off the side of the road. Lucky for me he has quick reflexes...

This cart was at the entrance of the patch. So breathtaking!

I loved how these pumpkins were merchandised in monochromatic rows.

They had some of the most unique squash and gourds I have ever seen.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Even the Rain Couldn't Stop Me!

I did it! On Sunday I completed my first Half Marathon in Newport, Rhode Island. Despite awful weather conditions I accomplished my goal of running the entire 13.1 miles. I cant begin to describe the adrenaline rush I got as I saw the 13 mile marker and then my husband came into view, jumping up and down and cheering for me. Part of the fun of running this race was training all summer. Here are some photos I took on some of my particularly long runs.

Beverly Hills, California

Williamsburg Bridge
New York, NY

Centennial Park
Ellicott City, Maryland

A country road in upstate New York.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Friday: Hearts for Hearts of Palm and Tilapia Tacos

Salad: Tomatoes, hearts of palm, and avocadoes.

Seared Tilapia, topped with salsa and sour cream....I heart Fridays!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Thursday: Asparagus and Mushroom Rigatoni

olive oil
1 garlic clove, chopped
4 ounces cremini mushrooms, sliced and stemmed
1 bunch asparagus, cut into 1 inch spears
4 ounces rigatoni
fresh basil, chopped
lemon zest
salt and pepper

Cook pasta for 10 minutes in boiling water.

Heat olive oil in a large saucepan and saute garlic until it turns golden colored. Add mushrooms and season with salt and pepper. Saute for about 5 minutes then add asparagus and continue sauteing for a few more minutes. Turn heat to high and add one cup of the pasta water. Reduce water by half and add pasta to the saucepan with a slotted spoon. Toss for about one minute, then remove from heat and season with fresh basil leaves and lemon zest.

Serves two.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Wednesday: Pork Chops, Applesauce, and Sweet Potatoes

Tonight's menu was surprisingly simple, healthy, and left my apartment smelling of cinnamon. I rubbed these boneless pork chops with my favorite Stonewall Kitchen blend, then grilled them.

Mashed Sweet Potatoes (serves 2)
2 sweet potatoes
1/4 cup skim milk
salt and pepper

Peel and chop potatoes, then cover them with water in a pot. Simmer until soft (about 10 minutes), then drain and return back to pot. Heat milk in a small saucepan then pour over potatoes and mash. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

5 small apples
1 pear
1/2 cup water
1/4 sugar
lemon juice

Peel and core fruit, then simmer for about 20 minutes. While the fruit is simmering, mix in sugar, cinnamon, and lemon juice.

Tuesday: Birthday Fun

Here is a photo of my one and only blowing out his birthday candle. We had a fun evening....dinner with friends, live music, and of course cupcakes!

Monday: Spinach Lasagna

This recipe is adapted from Cooking Light. I actually made it Sunday night, and it was even better Monday as leftovers.

olive oil
1 chopped onion
1 minced garlic clove
1 16 ounce package of frozen spinach (thawed)
1/6 cup flour
1 1/2 cups low-fat milk
salt & pepper
1 jar marinara sauce
cooking spray
6 cooked lasagna noodles
1 cup fresh shredded mozzarella

Preheat oven to 375. Saute onion in olive oil until brown. Add spinach and garlic and saute for a few more minutes.
Whisk flour, milk, salt and pepper in a small saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Add half of the milk mixture to the spinach mixture. Spread a thin layer of marinara sauce in a baking dish coated with cooking spray. Layer the following: 2 noodles / spinach mixture / marinara / 2 noodles / spinach / mozzarella / 2 noodles / marinara. Top with remaining milk mixture and sprinkle with remaining mozzarella cheese. Bake at 375 for 50 minutes.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

A Week of Healthy Dinners

And the countdown begins....this weekend I am running my first half-marathon. I've been training for the past 10 weeks and I can hardly believe October 18 is almost here! So that I am feeling my best on Sunday, I've decided to prepare high carb/low fat meals all week.

This Week's Dinner Menu:

Monday: Spinach Lasagna
Tuesday: eat dinner out, celebrate J's birthday!
Wednesday: Pork Chops and Sweet Potatoes
Thursday: Asparagus and Mushroom Rigatoni
Friday: Tilapia Tacos and Hearts of Palm Salad

Sunday, September 27, 2009


The Garibaldi girls; Romilda, Vera, Rena,
my Grandma, Rosalie & Angie.

Here I am with my sister, cousins and Grandma in 1979.
(Notice I seem to have the same haircut as my boy cousin Ryan.)

Tonight I am having my cousin Jenny over for dinner. I love spending time with her because, like the rest of our family, she is really energetic and funny. I thought it would be appropriate to prepare some Garibaldi family recipes. Its gloomy outside and we could both use some comfort food. Tonight's menu will include pumpkin ravioli topped with our Great-Grandma's pasta sauce, and roasted brussell sprouts on the side. Oh, and for dessert? Biscotti of course. Jenny has been working insane hours lately so I decided to make extra sauce that she can take home with her for an easy weeknight dinner.

Pasta Sauce

1 lb lean beef, cut into small chunks
1/2 cup olive oil
2 medium chopped onions
1 cup chopped parsley
1 cup chopped basil
1 cup sliced mushrooms
2 26 oz boxes of tomato sauce
splash of red wine
1 tsp water
sprinkle nutmeg
salt and pepper

Sear the meat in olive oil. Remove meat. Saute onions, then add herbs, mushrooms, and tomato sauce. Bring to a boil. Add meat and simmer for 1 hour or more (more is better) on a very low flame. Keep it thin enough by adding a little water (or wine) as needed. Season with salt and pepper. **Disclaimer to fellow family members: This recipe includes a few alterations to the original that my my mom makes, and now a few of my own minor changes. Thats part of the fun of family recipes, as each generation gets to put their own mark on it! :)


This recipe comes from my Grandma, via my Great-Aunt Romilda. There are no words that describe how sentimental I feel when I bite into one of these cookies. Its the same feeling you get from smelling a lost loved one's perfume or trying on your grandmother's wedding band. I hope you enjoy these as much as I do!

3 cups flour, sifted
3 eggs
1/2 cup butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 tsp sweet anise (scant)
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla
3 (rounded) tsp baking powder
1 cup slivered almonds

Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs, vanilla, and remaining ingredients. Knead lightly on floured board. Form into long narrow rolls and place on greased baking pan. Bake at 375 for about 40 minutes, or until brown. Remove from pan and slice rolls about 1/2 inch thick. Place slices on cookie sheet and return to oven till browned (about 10 minutes). As Grandma would say, "Mangia, mangia!!"