Monday, July 5, 2010

Recreating yumminess...

A couple of weeks ago Chef and I went and saw Cirque du Soleil and then had dinner out.  It was our first date out in while. Reminds me of the early days of Us. 

Cirque du Soleil was absolutely amazing! Awe-inspiring what a human being's body is capable of moving.  Then it was time for dinner.  Where to go?  After getting lost driving around, we finally decided on a favorite of ours.  Grant's in West Hartford.  If you love good, fresh food made honestly, then this is the place to go.

Dinner was amazing just like the show was earlier.  Beautiful evening dining out on the patio with delicious food.   As is our tradition, when we eat out we splurge on dessert.  Grant's was voted as the best dessert menu in Connecticut, so how could we pass it up?!  Normally if I see creme brulee that is my automatic choice.  But for some reason I kept returning to the Orange Olive Oil Cake.  So taking that as a sign, I bravely tried something new.  I am sooooooo glad I did.  The cake was moist yet dense, but yet seemed light as air.  I made a comment to Chef that I must recreate this wonderful cake!

Well about a week later I finally tried a recipe.  So here I am the day after the 4th of July, I baked a cake.  Now please keep in mind that the East Coast is in a heat wave, it reached 100 degrees today.  Yep, 100 degrees outside, and I have a cake baking in the oven.  But I had to!  Its been swimming in my head for a week!  When finally the cake had cooled, I topped it with some whip cream and some mascerated strawberries.  It was one of the most delicious desserts I have ever created.  Now how am I ever going to top this one?!

Orange olive oil cake


  • 1/2 cup olive oil, plus more for greasing the pan
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup sugar, plus 1/3 cup for the topping
  • 1/2 cup orange juice (or dry white wine)
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup finely ground yellow cornmeal
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Zest of 1 large orange


1 Preheat oven to 375°F. Spray a spring form pan with nonstick spray.
2 In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, oil, 1 cup of the sugar, and orange juice until smooth. Add flour, cornmeal, salt, baking powder, and orange zest; whisk lightly to combine.
3 Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan; sprinkle the top evenly with the remaining 1/3 cup sugar. Bake until cake begins to pull away from sides of pan and a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about 25-35 minutes.
4 Cool the cake in the pan 20 minutes. Run a knife around edge of cake to separate it from the edge of the pan. Cool completely before serving.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Spaghetti sauce

2 tbsp oil
1 medium diced yellow onion
2 cloves garlic minced
1 28oz can crushed tomatoes
1 28oz can tomato sauce
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp dried basil and oregano, or fresh if you like
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)

Heat oil on med-high in pot.
Add onions and cook about 2-3 min stirring frequently
Add garlic and cook for another min
Add rest of ingredients, lower temp to simmer.

Cook minimum of 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Season to your liking.

You can also add veggies if you want a garden sauce, or grated parmesan for a cheese marinara, or cooked ground beef for a meat sauce.  I like to add cooked meatballs into the sauce while it simmers.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Razzy white chocolate oat bars

1/2 C light brown sugar
1 C flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
1 C rolled oats
1/2 C oil
1 egg beaten
3/4 C seedless raspberry jam
1/2 C white chocolate chips

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease one 8 inch square pan, and line with greased foil or parchment paper.
  2. Combine brown sugar, flour, baking soda, salt, and rolled oats. Pour in oil and egg, using your hands blend to form a crumbly mixture. Press 2 cups of the mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan. Spread the jam to within 1/4 inch of the edge. Sprinkle white chocolate chips over jam. Sprinkle the remaining crumb mixture over the top, and lightly press it into the jam.
  3. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes in preheated oven, or until lightly browned. Allow to cool before cutting into bars.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Smothered pork chops

It turned cold and rainy here in New England.  But looks summer heat is just around the corner.  Due to the cold I was craving some comfort food.  So after researching some recipes I came up with this recipe for Smothered Pork Chops.  My recipe made 3 pork chops and was served with white rice and sauteed spinach.

Season pork chops with salt, pepper and garlic powder, then dust in flour and set aside while pan heats up.
When pan is hot heat about 2 tbsp oil and place pork chops in pan.  Flip after 2 min (browned) and then another 2 min. Remove from pan.

In same pan add sliced onions and cook thru, scraping brown bits on bottom.  Add 2 tbsp flour and cook 1 min (stirring often)

Add 2 cups of beef broth.  Stir, season to taste.  Add pork chops, cover and lower heat to low and cook for about 1 hour until tender.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Mini meatballs

1 lb ground beef
1/4 c bread crumbs
1/4 c water
1 tbsp italian herb mix (optional)
1 tsp worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp cayenne
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 tsp frank's hot sauce (optional)

Preheat oven 400 degrees. Line baking sheet with foil.
Gently mix above ingredients. Form 1 inch balls, I use a small ice cream scoop.
Bake in preheated oven about 10 minutes or until browned.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Grilled corn on the cob

 Its the beginning of April and we're grilling.  It feels like summer.  All week I was thinking if only corn were in season.....sigh but its way too early.

 Well, Chef and I went out exploring.  We were looking for a buthcer for great quality meats to grill.  We found The Butchery, which gave us the best Delmonico steaks.  But next door we found this little market.  Oh what a fabulous market!  Harkens Market has the best looking produce and prices outside of a farmers market.  While looking around, we found corn on the cob!  They were small, but still good.  So we decided to get some and grill.  It seemed like summer..can't wait for more! 

Below is my grilled corn on the cob recipe.

6-8 ears of corn
1-2 tbsp salt
water (enough to cover corn)

Fill large container with cold water.  add salt.  Pull back husks of corn, but do not remove! Remove silks on corn cobs. Pull up husks to cover corn and place in water.  Add more cold water if needed to cover ears of corn.  Soak for 30 minutes.

While corn is soaking prepare heat grill. 

After 30 minutes drain corn on paper towels to remove excess water.  Place on grill.  Grill for 20 minutes, turning corn every 5 minutes.

Enjoy with butter and salt if needed.  I like to make a garlic butter.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Baked garlic rice

2 C chicken broth/stock
1 C rice (uncooked)
2 cloves garlic, sliced

Preheat oven 375

Spray baking dish with non-stick cooking spray

Spread rice evenly in pan, sprinkle garlic over rice, pour broth over rice.  Cover with foil and bake for 40 minutes. Uncover and cook an additional 5 minutes or until desired texture.

You can always add a frozen veggie to this as well.  Broccoli is a good one.  I like to bake chicken on top of the rice. 

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Elvis Muffins

So I had some over-ripened bananas taunting me....what should I do...I was bored with the normal banana I thought what else. What goes with bananas....upon much contemplation (hahahaha yeah right)....I thought Elvis liked/likes (depending if you believe in the sightings) banana and peanut butter sandwiches. So why not try this combo in a muffin! The result? A very yummy and moist concoction that made my co-workers reminisce the days of The King.

Elvis Muffins

1/2 C oil
1/2 C sugar
1/2 C brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 C peanut butter
3 bananas, mashed
2 C all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 pinch of salt
1/2 C semi sweet chocolate chips
1/2 C peanut butter chips

1. Preheat oven to 375
2. Line muffin pan with liners
3. In large mixing bowl, mix together oil and sugars. Add egg; beat well. Stir in peanut butter, then bananas, then flour, baking soda, and salt. Mix well.
4. Fold in chocolate and peanut butter chips.
5. Fill muffin liners with batter...about 2/3 full.
6. Bake for 22 minutes.
7. Remove to wire rack and allow to cool.

Makes approximately 15 muffins.

By popular demand....

So I was asked by my siblings (whatup Hung and Lien!) to put all my recipes in an easy to find place. So hopefully, a blog will be the easy way!

I am by no means a professional chef, and will never profess to be one. But I do create recipes with love to share with others and hopefully for them to share with their loved ones. Funny thing is though most recipes are tested by the love of my life who IS a trained chef. So thank you to Chef Jon for volunteering his palate to all my experiments in the kitchen.

So please look for the recipes! And please comment if you try them and if you like them, or if you make modifications. I think that's the best part of recipes...we can adapt them to our own needs/tastes.

So let's start cooking with love!