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Archive for June, 2009

There are certain foods that just taste better at home: monkey bread, chocolate chip cookies, and, of course, Gram’s pancakes.

A few weeks ago my mom threw a little graduation brunch for yours truly. I made banana crunch muffins and sour cream coffee cake. Mom made baked eggs florentine, baked french toast, and monkey bread (duh!) Everything was delicious and quickly eaten up.

banana crunchies

banana crunchies

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Ina Garten’s Banana Crunch Muffins

3 cups flour

2 cups sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

½ pound unsalted butter, melted and cooled

2 large eggs

¾ cup whole milk

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 cup mashed ripe bananas (2 bananas)

1 cup medium-diced ripe bananas (1 banana)

1 cup small-diced walnuts

1 cup granola

1 cup sweetened shredded coconut

Preheat oven to 350F. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into bowl and whisk. Add melted butter and blend. Combing the eggs, milk, vanilla, and mashed bananas and add them to the flour mixture. Do not overmix. Fold the diced bananas, walnuts, granola, and coconut into the batter. Spoon batter into paper-lined muffin tin and bake 25 to 30 minutes or until tops are golden brown.

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monkey bread

monkey bread

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I was just in New Jersey staying with my little brother for a few days and there was a strange lack of cookies in the house. (For those of you who know my stepmother, you also know that there are usually sixteen different types of cookies to choose from at any given time.) Obviously this was an issue, but Veraldi’s have pretty good problem solving skills so we were whipping up our own batch in no time. I used Baking Illustrated’s recipe for thick and chewy chocolate chip cookies and we threw in some peanut butter chips too. Please note the new jagged edge cookie technique outlined below. Loves it. Cookies were dunked into glasses of milk soon after being removed from the oven and our cookie cravings were satisfied.

please note the jagged edge technique

please note the jagged edge technique

Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 cups plus 2 tablespoons flour

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

12 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled until warm

1 cup packed brown sugar

½ cup sugar

1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 ½ cups semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 325F. Whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt together and set aside. Cream butter and sugars until smooth. Add eggs and vanilla and blend until combined. Slowly add flour mixture and blend until just combined. Stir in the chips.

Roll a scant ¼ cup of the dough into a ball. Hold the dough ball with the fingertips of both hands and pull into 2 equal halves. Rotate the halves 90 degrees and, with the jagged surfaces facing up, join the halves together at their base, again forming a single ball, being careful not to smooth the dough’s uneven surface. Place the formed dough balls on the prepared baking sheets, jagged surface up, spacing them 2 ½ inches apart.

Bake until edges have begun to harden but center is still soft and puffy, about 15-18 minutes.

ready for dunking

ready for dunking

The next morning Robbie and I drove over to my Gram’s house for pancakes. Cooked to order (I like mine batter-y in the middle, don’t ask.) and with optional blueberries, they were better than any pancakes elsewhere. Leftovers were, of course, thrown to the squirrels.

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lucky squirrels!

lucky squirrels!

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Today marks the 25th anniversary of my sister’s entrance into the world. Wow! Though she is having a mini fête to celebrate tonight, I am currently en route to Philadelphia to attend some celebrations of my own and to spend some QT with mommy. But my favorite sister’s birthday is still my favorite sister’s birthday so I invited her over last night for dinner. I wanted to use up the left over squash, zucchini, and tomatoes from Saucy creations earlier this week and so I sauteed those three with shallots and garlic then tossed with orecchiette. The result was yummy but simple, perhaps a bit too plain for those who aren’t straight-up-veggie lovers like I am. Next time I’ll try to make it a little more…saucy! For dessert I made a raspberry buttermilk cake that I had seen on Smitten Kitchen. The pasta might have been plain but the cake was perfect and really hit the spot. Dinner and dessert were followed by coffee, some people watching, and a birthday kiss on the cheek before Dana hopped on a subway back downtown. Happy birthday sister! I love you!!

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Raspberry Buttermilk Cake

1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 stick unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest (optional)
1 large egg
1/2 cup well-shaken buttermilk
1 cup fresh raspberries (about 5 oz)

Whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt; set aside. Cream butter and sugar until fluffy then blend in vanilla, lemon zest, and egg. Alternate adding flour mixture and buttermilk to the butter mixture and mix until combined. Pour into a greased and floured cake pan. Place raspberries evenly on top then sprinkle with sugar. Bake at 400F for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool and enjoy!

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Dinner with Jillian

 

Amanda's most recent infatuation

Amanda's most recent infatuation

 Monday night TV was always a tradition in cuddlegan, and in an effort to keep it going, we invited our beloved Kimmy over for two full hours of the bachelorette and a delicious meal. In true saucy fashion, things got started a bit late, but by the forty five minute mark we had dinner on the “table”, or lack thereof. We tried out a new whole wheat pizza dough recipe, which we topped with asparagus, goat cheese, caramelized onions, fresh mozzarella and Amanda’s favorite tiny lid tomatoes. While the pizza was cooking, we put together a yummy salad of cucumbers, pears, and sliced almonds on top of a bed of mixed greens. The third heat was the corn! A true sign of summer is corn on the cob and it was a wonderful addition to our dinner.  While we dined, the foot fetish guy on the Bachelorette continued to creep us out and crazy eyes made several violent threats against the other contestants. We miss our roomies, but we are happy to say that the tradition lives on.
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First Day of Summer

 

our roof!

our roof!

 

 

After waking up in Denville (Amanda’s second home in north jersey<–joke.) post-Amanda’s awesome graduation party, Saucy was chauffeured back to New York by fellow Cuddlegan-er, Nais. We took advantage of the beautiful weather and headed up to the roof deck of our new apartment (!!) to catch some rays. Apres sunbathing, we grabbed a baguette at Soutine, our closest neighborhood bakery, to munch on as we ventured out. We stopped in Williams-Sonoma to grab some kitchen essentials then headed to Whole Foods to shop for food. For our first summer dinner together we decided to make veggie and tofu kebabs with a simple but yummy marinade. Saucy’s first summer dinner was a success. Krazy kebabs. (Roll that r!!!)

 

basil, budweiser, and marinade

basil, budweiser, and marinade

 Rosemary Kebabs

5 rosemary sprigs
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 glove garlic, minced
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1 yellow squash, sliced
1 zucchini, sliced
1 red pepper, chopped into large chunks
1 package extra firm tofu, cubed

Combine mustard, vinegar, olive oil, garlic, the leaves from one sprig of rosemary, and salt and pepper. Mix well. Add sliced squash, zucchini, peppers, and tofu. Toss to coat and marinate for an hour in the refrigerator. Remove the leaves from the remaining rosemary sprigs and use the sprigs as skewers. We grilled our kebabs on a George Foreman for about fifteen minutes.

 

rosemary sprigs as skewers!

rosemary sprigs as skewers!

 

grilled to perfection :)

grilled to perfection 🙂

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