Sunday, February 21, 2010

Bacon Waffles

My dad came down for a visit over President's Day Weekend. And one huge perk, other than the conversation and fun, is the bacon waffles in the morning. Also, my dad gets up early and brings coffee and the news paper from my favorite coffee shop on 101. So I get to wake up to coffee, and bacon waffles. Fantastic Saturday morning.

Okay, so bacon waffles are another simple and delicious family favorite. All that goes in to this recipe is a standard waffle recipe and two (or three) strips of bacon. It makes for the most delicious breakfast, pretty much ever.

First thing to do is make up your waffle mixture. I've included a great recipe for this by Alton Brown at the end of this post. You could choose to use a boxed mix if you like as well. My dad's favorite is Krusteaz Belgian Waffle Mix.

So after having mixing that all together heat up your waffle iron and prepare to be dazzled. Pour about a cup of the waffle mixture on to the iron. Then place the desired amount of bacon across the mixture.

My dad went for a manly 3 slices of bacon for his waffle and put them in an asterisk pattern. If you're using 2 slices you can just make an "X" over the waffle batter and you'll be good.

Close the lid of the waffle iron and let the sizzling deliciousness begin. Cook until the waffle is golden brown on both sides. One way to check to see if your waffle is done without pulling it open and possibly disturbing it before it has completed cooking is to wait for the steam to stop coming out of the sides of the waffle iron. This means you have to be noticing the steam coming out in the first place, but it works for me. Generally, my waffle iron kicks out waffles in about 5 minutes. And they are done to perfection at that point.

Eat up and enjoy!


  • 4 3/4 ounces all-purpose flour, approximately 1 cup
  • 4 3/4 ounces whole-wheat flour, approximately 1 cup
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 whole eggs, beaten
  • 2 ounces unsalted butter, melted
  • 16 ounces buttermilk, room temperature
  • Vegetable spray, for waffle iron


Preheat waffle iron according to manufacturer's directions.

In a medium bowl whisk together the flours, soda, baking powder, salt, and sugar. In another bowl beat together eggs and melted butter, and then add the buttermilk. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir until combined. Allow to rest for 5 minutes.

Ladle the recommended amount of waffle batter onto the iron according to the manufacturer's recommendations. Close iron top and cook until the waffle is golden on both sides and is easily removed from iron. Serve immediately or keep warm in a 200 degree F oven until ready to serve.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Cheesecake Cupcakes


Cheesecake just so happens to be Tony and Andy’s favorite kind of cake, so they were super excited when I told them I’d be attempting cheesecake cupcakes. I stumbled upon this recipe (1) a while ago but hadn’t really had the time to make it till last night when we had some left over curry for dinner. These little guys are delicious. They are light and fluffy right out of the oven, but give them the time to set in the fridge overnight and they become firm, smooth, and absolutely decadent. I whipped up some whip cream (because I’m the kind of girl who can do that on a whim) and plopped a bit on top with some shaved chocolate for garnish. Divine.


First make sure that you have 16 ounces of cream cheese and two eggs out at room temperature. It makes the mixing later on way easier. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. To make the crust, I crushed about 25 graham cracker squares by mortar and pestle to make 2 cups of graham cracker crumbs. I suppose I could have used my food processor, but I like to access my cave woman roots every now and then.


In a small bowl, combine the crumbs with 4 ~ 5 tablespoons of melted butter. I needed more to make the mixture packable. At this point I started nibbling away at my mix and needed to get a glass of milk. :)


In another bowl combine 16 ou cream cheese, 3/4 c granulated sugar, 1 tsp vanilla extract, and 2 eggs. Using a hand mixer, beat the tar out of it till your mixture is nice and smooth and kind of fluffy. I never did get mine TOTALLY smooth, but the cupcakes turned out fine. It’s amazing how baked goods just come together when coaxed by a bit of heat in the oven. Still nibbling away because raw eggs don’t scare me in the least.


Line a cupcake tray with paper cupcake liners. Place a tablespoon of the crumb mixture into each paper cupcake holder and press down gently with a spoon. Fill each cupcake just about to the top with the cream cheese mixture. I had enough mix to make about 15 cupcakes in total. The original recipe said to bake these in the oven for 15 minutes. I baked one tray for 25 minutes and another smaller one for 20 minutes. Both turned out fine, but I probably over cooked them a bit because I was nervous and didn’t know how to assess the doneness of cheesecake. The toothpick trick didn’t work and they seemed too wobbly… I don’t know. I finally decided that when they were all pretty cracked and poofy, I should take them out. 20 minutes should be fine.


While the cupcakes were baking I introduced Nicky to the wonderful world of cream cheese. Kittens are so much fun.


Because these cupcakes depend solely on eggs to give them rise, they kind of deflate upon exiting the oven. That’s cool. It just means they need to be filled. :) I love whipped cream, so I put a dollop of that on top of mine. You could also put some fresh fruit on there, canned pie mix, chocolate candies, jam, nutella, swedish fish… ;) The sky’s the limit. Have fun!

Cheesecake Cupcakes


  • 2 cups of crushed graham crackers
  • 4 ~ 5 tablespoons of butter, melted
  • 2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese (room temperature)
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs (room temperature)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • your topping of choice


1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a cupcake tray with cupcake liners.

2) Crush the graham crackers and mix with butter. Place 1 tablespoon of this mixture in each cupcake liner, and press down with a spoon to make the crust.

3) In a mixing bowl, beat room temperature cream cheese, sugar, eggs and vanilla until light and fluffy.

4) Fill each cupcake liner with the cream cheese mixture, just about to the top.

5) Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and cool.

6) Top with a teaspoonful of your topping of choice.


Friday, February 12, 2010

Pomegranate Guacamole

This recipe is a family favorite. Okay well "recipe" would be a bit strong for the description. We have a free form sort of cooking philosophy in our family. Recipes, instructions, they're all just suggestions. As my grandpa used to say "You call them instructions; I call them destructions." I called my grandma for the pomegranate guacamole "recipe" a few weekends ago to discover that she simply uses store bought guacamole and puts a half a cup of pomegranate seeds, I feel like Martha Stewart or Ina Garten collectively rolled their eyes and sighed at this discovery.

I am, however, a bit more particular about my guacamole. I like to make it myself so it can be just exactly how I want it: avocado, garlic, red onion, a little lime juice, and pomegranate seeds. It's totally delicious and perfect!

The whole process is really simple. To start with I take the seeds out of a pomegranate. Okay, I know I know, not so simple. If you're me this process leaves your kitchen looking a bit like a crime scene. I have friends who are able to remove the seeds of a pomegranate without a speck of red appearing on them, but that's not me. I have to put on my painting shirt for this business.

Since I was brought up in a family without recipes I estimate the half cup of pomegranate seeds to be the seeds from one small pomegranate. Set the seeds aside in a bowl; you'll be adding them at the very end.

Then you can begin the general preparation of the guacamole. This varies in length and involvement. If you're my grandma apparently all it requires is undoing the packaging and moving to another bowl. For me this process requires a bit of slicing, dicing, and mushing.

Since I currently live in San Diego I have plenty of fresh organic avocados from the farmers market to use. As far as these babies go, I like to buy them before they're completely ripe. I set them on the table next to the window until their good, and then transfer them to the fridge until I'm ready to use them.

Mush and smash your avocados, then spritz with some lime juice to prevent browning. At this point you can add all your extras to the guacamole, including the pomegranate seeds. Enjoy!


* 2 avocados
* 1 small red onion, finely chopped
* 1 clove garlic, minced
* 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
* 1 lime, juiced
* salt and pepper to taste


1. Peel and mash avocados in a medium serving bowl. Stir in onion, garlic, pomegranate seeds, lime juice, salt and pepper. Season with remaining lime juice and salt and pepper to taste. Chill for half an hour to blend flavors.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Nutty Broccoli with Lemon and Parmesan


This is by far the best broccoli I have ever had in my entire life. You will never make broccoli any other way after trying this recipe. You may not even want to eat another kind of food- just broccoli, fresh from the oven, sprinkled with lemon and parmesan cheese forever. This broccoli goes really well with baked sweet potato fries dipped in a garlic aioli. :) I stumbled upon this recipe a few months ago. It's an adaptation of Ina Garten's recipe provided by the Amateur Gourmet (1). The key to this recipe is to have dry broccoli (thank you Amateur Gourmet). Wet broccoli steams while dry broccoli toasts and trust me, you want toasty broccoli. It brings out this amazing nuttiness you never knew existed in that innocuous little vegetable. I do this by buying organic broccoli- no pesticides, no worries. Plus it's going to be baked at an extremely high temperature and that will definitely kill any germs. If you're worried, wash your broccoli and thoroughly dry it before using it in this recipe.


First assemble all of your ingredients. I've found that this saves a ridiculous amount of time since I'm not running back and forth to the cupboards and refrigerator. Well, I suppose you really only need the broccoli, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper and foil covered baking sheet now. The quantities of broccoli and garlic are kind of to taste, but I'd say a medium head of broccoli and two garlic cloves will feed two people easily. You don't really want leftovers. This is a dish best served hot and fresh. ;) Preheat your oven to 425 degrees (always in Fahrenheit, because we are after all in California).


Cut your broccoli into slightly larger than bite-sized florets. Don't keep much of the stem, it can get kind of tough in the oven. Slice your garlic into large, thin pieces and place on top of the florets. Yeah, I know it's time consuming, but if you leave the garlic on the foil it'll burn in the oven and be bitter when you bite into it. Trust me- put the garlic on top of the broccoli. Fun side note I learned about broccoli- it's the flowering part of the plant! The green buds on top are unopened flowers! That's why they're called broccoli florets! If my parents had told me to eat my flowers I would have been way more apt to do so.  :)


Drizzle the broccoli lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Pop that baby into the oven and let it bake for 18 minutes. If you wanted to, you could totally add red chili flakes to the broccoli before baking to give it a spicy kick. Andy liked the broccoli best that way. Personally, I think it detracts from the parmesan and lemon, but that's just me. At 17 minutes, take out the broccoli and sprinkle a small handful of pine nuts onto the tray. Put it all back in the oven for another 2-3 minutes or until the pine nuts are golden and the broccoli looks nice and toasted on the bottom.

IMG_0151IMG_0155  IMG_0162

Remove from the oven and immediately shave parmesan cheese on top. Zest about half a lemon over the broccoli. You could easily omit this step if you don't have a zester, but I don't think the lemony aroma and taste will be nearly as pungent. Cut your lemon in half and squeeze the juice of half a lemon over the broccoli. Serve immediately.

This recipe is an adaptation of an adaptation. Below is the absolute original from the Barefoot Contessa herself. I've never tried it with basil (which is silly since I have a basil plant). If you do try it like she makes it, let me know how it turns out. I think the most crucial elements to this dish are the broccoli, garlic, oil, S&P, parmesan cheese, and lemon juice. Everything else is just sort of a bonus. If you're curious about the sweet potato fries, I slice them into fry shapes, toss them with olive oil, S&P, and bake them for ten minutes first on the same sheet as I use for the broccoli. When I add the broccoli, I flip the fries over so the other side has a chance to brown (and the bottom doesn't burn). I'm not particularly a fan of this method because the fries tend to stick and the slivers burn and it’s generally a chore. I'd love some suggestions! I want to keep incorporating the dip though. The garlic aioli is super tasty and really easy: big dollop of mayo (1-2tbsp), one garlic clove minced (I use a teaspoon of the chopped garlic in a jar), squeeze of lemon juice (1/2tbsp). Mix together and taste for adjustment. Oh soooooo tasty.

Ina Garten's Parmesan Roasted Broccoli


· 4 to 5 pounds broccoli

· 4 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced

· Good olive oil

· 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

· 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

· 2 teaspoons lemon zest, grated

· 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

· 3 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted

· 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated

· 2 tablespoons fresh basil leaves (about 12 leaves), julienned

Cooking Directions

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Cut the broccoli florets from the thick stalks, leaving an inch or two of stalk attached to the florets, discarding the rest of the stalks. Cut the larger pieces through the base of the head with a small knife, pulling the florets apart. You should have about 8 cups of florets. Place the broccoli florets on a sheet pan large enough to hold them in a single layer. Toss the garlic on the broccoli and drizzle with 5 tablespoons olive oil. Sprinkle  with the salt and pepper. Roast for 20 to 25 minutes, until crisp-tender and the tips of some of the florets are browned.

Remove the broccoli from the oven and immediately toss with 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, the lemon zest, lemon juice, pine nuts, Parmesan, and basil. Serve hot.

Courtesy of "Barefoot Contessa: Back to Basics"