Category Archives: Sweets

strawberry shortcake

More summer strawberry recipes!

My sister always had strawberry shortcake birthday cakes when she was little, and I have had a soft spot in my heart for it ever since. I have made this recipe so many times because it’s easy, comes together quickly and is always a huge hit at parties and dinners. I like to slice the strawberries first because the longer they sit in sugar, the softer and more juicy they get, and the strawberry juice is so good when it soaks into the cake layers. This recipe has you make one layer and then slice into two, but if you need it bigger you can always double the recipe and make 2 layers into 4. I like to make the whipped cream nice and fluffy and serve the cake stacked up tall on a cake stand. It will impress your friends and the leftovers taste even better the next day (although good luck having any left over)!

strawberry shortcake

Adapted from Martha Stewart

ingredients

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled), plus more for pan
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs plus 2 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1 pound strawberries, hulled and thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin (from a 1/4-ounce envelope)
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter bottom of an 8-inch round cake pan, and line with parchment paper. Butter and flour paper and sides. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
  2. Using an electric mixer on high speed, beat butter and 1/2 cup sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Add eggs and yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. With mixer on low, alternately add flour mixture in 3 parts and milk in 2, beginning and ending with flour mixture; mix just until combined. Spread batter in prepared pan.
  3. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes. Cool in pan 10 minutes; invert onto a wire rack to cool completely. Using a serrated knife, split cake in half horizontally; place bottom half, cut side up, on a serving plate.
  4. Make topping: In a large bowl, combine strawberries and 1/4 cup sugar; set aside.
  5. Using an electric mixer, beat cream and remaining 1/4 cup sugar in a large bowl until very soft peaks form. Continue to beat until soft peaks form (add cream of tartar if necessary).
  6. Arrange half of strawberries over bottom cake layer; top with half of whipped cream, leaving a 1-inch border. Cover with top half of cake, cut side down. Top cake with remaining whipped cream, leaving a 1-inch border. Refrigerate cake and remaining strawberries separately, at least 1 hour (or up to 1 day). Just before serving, spoon strawberries over cake.

summer potlucks :)

Bon Appetit!

strawberry rhubarb crisp

When the bright red strawberries and magenta stalks of rhubarb start showing up in mass at the farmers market I know that summer has really begun. There is something so comforting and delicious about the combination of sweet strawberries and bitter rhubarb, cooked down to a mush, tucked away under a pie crust, or in this case, under a delicious crumble topping. A while back I posted a recipe for rhubarb compote, which is another great way to use rhubarb, and is delicious spooned over greek yogurt or over vanilla frozen yogurt.

This recipe is not only yummy but it’s good for you too! My mom is on weight watchers so while home I’ve been on the hunt for diet friendly recipes to make for dinner and dessert that we can all enjoy. We discovered the website http://www.skinnytaste.com which has incredible recipes that each have weight watchers points and full nutritional information listed. First make this recipe and then go check it out!

strawberry rhubarb crisp

Image

Adapted from Skinny Taste

For the filling:
  • 1 lb strawberries, hulled and quartered
  • 1 lb rhubarb stalks (about 5 or 6) cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1/2 orange, zested and juiced
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup agave nectar or honey
For the Topping:
  • 1 cup Quaker oats (I used old fashioned rolled oats)
  • 1/2 cup 100% white whole wheat flour (I used all whole wheat)
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, not packed
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted

Directions:

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Combine strawberries and rhubarb in an oven safe dish.Image

Add agave nectar (or honey)…Image

Then orange juice and orange zest; sprinkle with cornstarch and toss until fruit is well coated.Image

Mix remaining ingredients for the topping in a medium bowl then spread over fruit.ImageImage

Bake until topping is golden brown and fruit is bubbling, about 40 minutes.Image

Serve with vanilla froyo, whipped cream, or eat it alone!

Bon Appetit,

E

muffins and mimosas: a foolproof guide to brunch, part one

A snapshot of my most recent brunch table

For me, brunch is its very own food group. I just love everything about it. I love muffins, scones, and frittatas. I love how naughty it feels to drink mimosas, bellinis, and bloody marys so early in the day. I really think that people are just generally more fun to be around in the hours between 11am and 2pm on Saturdays and Sundays (not to say that you can’t technically have brunch any other day of the week). I have many favorite brunch establishments in NYC, Boston and Ithaca, which is a post for another time, but in this series I will walk you through how to host a scrumptious brunch at home! The key is having some favorite recipes (and a stocked pantry) on hand so you can throw together impromptu brunches whenever you get the itch.

To get you started I will refer you back to some great brunch recipes that I’ve already posted on Edie’s Eats: Popovers, lemon topped raspberry muffins, rhubarb compote, granola, and apple bread.

But without further ado, I will get started with my new OBSESSION. These raspberry breakfast oat bars are absolutely incredible. They have a crunchy, nutty crust and topping with a sweet and sour filling from fresh raspberries. No joke, they flew off the table at my most recent brunch almost immediately. Go buy the ingredients for this NOW, you won’t regret it.

raspberry breakfast bars

recipe from Smitten Kitchen

For the crust and crumb:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 1/4 cups rolled oats
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces

For the raspberry filling:
1/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 pound raspberries, fresh or frozen
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled

Make the crust and crumb: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter the bottom and sides of a 9-by-13-inch glass or light-colored metal baking pan. Put a long piece of parchment paper in the bottom of the pan, letting the parchment extend up the two short sides of the pan and overhang slightly on both ends. (This will make it easy to remove the bars from the pan after they have baked.) Butter the parchment.

Put the flour, brown sugar, oats, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon in a food processor.

Pulse in short bursts until combined. Add the butter and pulse until loose crumbs form.

Reserve 1 1/2 cup of the mixture and set aside. Pour the rest of the mixture into the prepared pan and use your hans or the back of a large wooden spoon to push the crust into an even layer at the bottom of the pan. The crust should touch the sides of the pan. Bake until golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let the crust cool. Keep the oven on while you make the raspberry filling.

Make the raspberry filling: In a medium bowl, whisk the sugar, lemon zest, cinnamon and flour together. Add the raspberries, lemon juice and butter and use your hands to toss gently until the raspberries are evenly coated.

Assemble and bake the bars: Spread the raspberry filling evenly on top of the cooled crust. Sprinkle the reserved crust mixture evenly on top of the filling.

Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, rotating the pan every 15 minutes, until the top is golden brown and the filling starts to bubble around the edges.

Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely, then cut into squares and serve. The bars can be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to two days.

There are more great brunch recipes to come, so please check back soon! Bon Appetit!

gluten free black bean brownies

Hello friends!!

I’ve been cooking up a storm and have so many fun recipes to share with you! I’m going to try to post one a day (I know I’ve been slacking), but stay tuned!

I was given the recipe for these incredible brownies in a nutritional sciences food lab class I took at Cornell last semester. One of my housemates has celiac, so I was very intrigued to see how these would turn out. The black beans act as the starch in place of flour to hold it all together, and they do a great job! By the way, if you’re initially turned off by the idea of black beans in a brownie, please give these a chance. Once everything goes in the food processor and gets blended together, nobody will ever know that black beans are inside!

These are low-fat, fudgy, chocolatey and delicious, and are my new go to brownie recipe. They make a great last minute dessert since you probably have everything you need in the pantry already. Enjoy!

Black Bean Brownies

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup cocoa
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1 15oz can of black beans
  • 1 ¼ cups sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • ½ cup finely chopped walnuts, toasted (optional)
  • handful of chocolate chips (optional)
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Spray an 8×8 or 11×7 baking pan with cooking spray
  3. In a food processor or blender, combine all ingredients except nuts; blend well until very smooth
4. Stir in nuts and optional chocolate chips (or sprinkle on top)
5. Pour batter into pan and bake 35-40 minutes or just until set in the center. Do not over bake
Bon appetit!

lemon yogurt layer cake

Hello friends and cherished readers,

Once again I must apologize for neglecting edie’s eats. The last month has been a whirlwind–I traveled to Melbourne, New Zealand and the great barrier reef, and my family is here! But no worries (my favorite new Australian phrase), I am back in action and I know you won’t be disappointed by todays post. I’ll give you a hint-it’s another celebration cake :) It was my housemate Victoria’s birthday, and following the tradition from Meg’s birthday (the pb/chocolate cake), I was put in charge of making a cake for her party. It was a smashing success.

I know, I know, you’re on a diet and don’t want me tempting you with pictures of moist lemon yogurt cake with tangy lemon curd and fluffy meringue frosting. Well i’m sorry, but this may just be the best cake I have ever made, and it would be a shame not to share it with you.

I promise I will make my next few posts extra healthy to compensate…but for now, enjoy!

Lemon Yogurt Cake layered with Lemon Curd and smothered in Meringue Frosting

Adapted from Orangette, Smitten Kitchen and The Joy of Cooking

Lemon Yogurt Cake:

This cake is light and citrusy and 100% delicious. If you don’t need a fancy  celebration cake, this is also great served just with the glaze for an easy weeknight dessert (just divide the recipe in three).

Yield: three 9-inch layers or 24 cupcakes

1 cup plain yogurt
2 cups granulated sugar
5 large eggs
3 cups all purpose flour
4 tsp baking powder
4 tsp grated lemon zest
1 cup canola oil

Lemon glaze:
Juice for two lemons
1/4 cup powdered sugar

In a large bowl, combine the yogurt, sugar, and eggs, stirring until well blended. Add the flour, baking powder, and zest, mixing to just combine.

Add the oil and stir to incorporate. At first, it will look like an oily mess, but keep stirring and it will eventually come together into a smooth batter. Pour and scrape the batter into a prepared 9-inch round cake pan (after buttering, I sometimes line the bottom with a round of wax or parchment paper, and then I butter that too).

Bake for 30-35 minutes, until the cake feels springy to the touch and a toothpick or cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Do not overbake.

Cool cake on a rack for about 20 minutes; then turn it out of the pan to cool completely.

When the cake is thoroughly cooled, combine the lemon juice and powdered sugar in a small bowl and spoon it gently over the cake. The glaze will be thin and will soak in like a syrup.

Lemon Curd

This is also delicious with freshly baked scones or muffins, as a filling for angel food cake, and by the spoonful…

Note: If you don’t have a lot of time and need to get the cake done quickly you can always use store bought lemon curd which you can find in the jam area but I promise you it won’t be nearly as good as homemade.

8 egg yolks
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
3 lemons, zest grated and juiced

Place the ingredients in the double boiler over boiling water. Don’t let top pan touch the water. Cook and stir until mixture begins to gel or thicken ever-so-slightly. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Cover and refrigerate it to thicken. This keeps, refrigerated, for about 1 week.

Meringue Frosting (also known as Seven Minute Frosting)

This may be the most INCREDIBLE frosting ever created!!! It is light and fluffy and marshmallow-y and FAT FREE and delicious! I will never feel nauseous from butter cream frosting again!

Note: Since my Australian kitchen isn’t very well stocked, I didn’t have a thermometer and didn’t feel like buying one, so I successfully made this without it. I just followed the time instructions and watched until I felt it was ready. I can’t endorse this method as I don’t want anyone to blame me if they get sick from raw egg whites, but I’m just putting it out there as an option if you don’t have a thermometer either.

5 tablespoons water
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 1/3 cups sugar
2 large eggs whites at room temperature
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 to 1 cup chopped nuts or shredded sweetened dried coconut (optional-I didn’t use)

Whisk first five ingredients together in a large, stainless-steel bowl. Set the bowl in a wide, deep skillet filled with about 1 inch of simmering water. Make sure the water level is at least as high as the depth of the egg whites in the bowl. Beat the whites on low speed until the mixture reaches 140 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer. Do not stop beating while the bowl is in the skillet, or the egg whites will be overcooked. If you cannot hold the thermometer stem in the egg whites while continuing to beat, remove the bowl from the skillet just to read the thermometer, then return the bowl to the skillet. Beat on high speed for exactly five minutes. Remove the bowl from the skillet and add vanilla, beating on high speed for two to three more minutes to cool. Stir in coconut or nuts, if you are using them. Use this frosting the day it is made.

Layer Cake Assembly Instructions:

Add 1 tablespoon of lemon curd to the cake pedestal to help the cake stay in place. Remove excess crumbs from the sides of the cake. Decide which layers will be the bottom and middle and carefully slice off the top to flatten them if they are too rounded from baking. Spread the lemon curd liberally between the layers, on top and on the sides of the cake. Then finally get to the fun part and frost the top and sides of the cake with the fluffy meringue frosting! You can either smooth it out and pipe the sides (if you want to get fancy), or just leave it au natural like I did.

three layer chocolate peanut butter cake

Hello friends,

I come to you today with my first celebration cake post, and let me tell you, this cake is no joke. Three layers of rich sour cream chocolate cake with thick peanut butter cream cheese frosting between each layer and all over the outside.

It was my housemate Meg’s 21st birthday, and I was given the important task of making her an epic birthday cake. Her two favorite foods are chocolate and peanut butter, so this cake was a natural choice. I had been eyeing it for months on Smitten Kitchen, but before settling I decided to check out chocolate peanut butter cakes on my other favorite blogs and what did I find? They were all copy cats of this same smitten kitchen recipe! I decided that it must be good if everyone else had made it, and I wasn’t wrong!

I will admit, this isn’t the cake I would choose off a dessert menu. I’m more of a creme brulee or cheesecake with berry compote sort of girl, but boy let me tell you, it was far from a chore to eat a piece of this. Everyone at the party LOVED it and I have been asked for the recipe on more than one occasion since then. So drum roll ladies and gentlemen, here it is:

3-Layer Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake

Courtesy of Smitten Kitchen (thanks Deb!!)

Chefs Notes: The original recipe calls for a chocolate peanut butter glaze on top of the peanut butter frosting, which I didn’t do, but I will give you the ingredients for in case you want to add it on. The recipe makes an 8-inch triple layer cake which will easily serve over 16 people because it is VERY rich and should be served in very skinny slices.

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup vegetable/canola/soybean oil
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • peanut brittle, broken into pieces (optional)

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter the bottoms and sides of three 8-inch round cakepans. Line the bottom of each pan with a round of parchment or waxed paper and butter the paper.

2. Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl. Whisk to combine them well. Add the oil and sour cream and whisk to blend. Gradually beat in the water. Blend in the vinegar and vanilla. Whisk in the eggs and beat until well blended. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and be sure the batter is well mixed. Divide among the 3 prepared cake pans.

3. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a cake tester or wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out almost clean. Let cool in the pans for about 20 minutes. Invert onto wire racks, carefully peel off the paper liners, and let cool completely. (Deb recommended putting these cakes in the freezer for around 30 minutes once out of the oven to firm up a bit because they are very soft. They’ll defrost quickly once assembled. I did this and found it very helpful, especially with assembling and then frosting the cake.)

4. To frost the cake, place one layer, flat side up, on a cake stand or large serving plate. Spread 2/3 cup cup of the Peanut Butter Frosting evenly over the top. Repeat with the next layer. Place the last layer on top and frost the top and sides of the cake with the remaining frosting. (Deb recommends making a crumb coat of frosting–a thin layer that binds the dark crumbs to the cake so they don’t show up in the final outer frosting layer,  which is a great idea for this cake, or any with a dark cake and lighter-colored frosting. Once you “mask” your cake, let it chill for 15 to 30 minutes until firm, then use the remainder of the frosting to create a smooth final coating. Once the cake is fully frosted, it helps to chill it again and let it firm up. The cooler and more set the peanut butter frosting is, the better drip effect you’ll get from the Chocolate-Peanut Butter Glaze.)

Optional Step:

5. To decorate with the Chocolate–Peanut Butter Glaze, put the cake plate on a large baking sheet to catch any drips. Simply pour the glaze over the top of the cake, and using an offset spatula, spread it evenly over the top just to the edges so that it runs down the sides of the cake in long drips. Refrigerate, uncovered, for at least 30 minutes to allow the glaze and frosting to set completely. Remove about 1 hour before serving. Decorate the top with chopped peanut brittle.

Peanut Butter Frosting


Makes about 5 cups

  • 10 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 5 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 2/3 cup smooth peanut butter, preferably a commercial brand (because oil doesn’t separate out) Note: I used chunky peanut butter which is why you will see chunks of peanuts in my frosting. It was what I had around the house and worked perfectly as well.

1. In a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy. Gradually add the confectioners’ sugar 1 cup at a time, mixing thoroughly after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl often. Continue to beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes.

2. Add the peanut butter and beat until thoroughly blended.

Chocolate-Peanut Butter Glaze
Makes about 1 1/2 cups

  • 8 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons smooth peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup half-and-half

1. In the top of a double boiler or in a bowl set over simmering water, combine the chocolate, peanut butter, and corn syrup. Cook, whisking often, until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth.

2. Remove from the heat and whisk in the half-and-half, beating until smooth. Use while still warm.

The Birthday Girl

Make this cake for a friend’s birthday (or really anytime) for a very special and highly addictive treat! Let me know how it goes!

Cheers,

E

chocolate ricotta mousse


If you like chocolate mousse but always feel guilty for over indulging, you’ve got to try this lightened up version made with part-skim ricotta, cocoa powder and beaten egg whites! It is fluffy, rich, and absolutely delicious. There are only a few easy steps, so this mousse can be the star of your next dinner party, or even your quick weeknight dinner. Enjoy!

Chocolate Ricotta Mousse

Recipe from Martha Stewart-Everyday Food

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups part-skim ricotta
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, plus more for dusting (optional)
  • 2 large egg whites, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • Coarse salt
  • Directions:

    1. In a food processor, pulse ricotta and cocoa powder until completely smooth. Transfer mixture to a large bowl.

    2. Place egg whites, sugar, and pinch of salt in a medium heatproof mixing bowl set over (not in) a pot of simmering water. Cook, whisking constantly, until sugar dissolves and mixture is warm to the touch, about 3 minutes. Remove bowl from heat and, using an electric mixer, beat mixture on high until stiff glossy peaks form, about 5 minutes.

    3. With a rubber spatula, gently fold egg-white mixture into ricotta mixture until combined.

    4. Divide mousse among six glasses or small bowls. Refrigerate until set, 3 hours (or up to 1 day). To serve, lightly dust with cocoa powder if desired.

    finished product. delish!

    raspberry topped lemon muffins

    Hi everyone! Sorry for the long hiatus since my last post!! My life got a little crazy between finals, moving out of my apartment, and starting an internship as soon as I got home. But no fear, I have been cooking and taking pictures during the last month, so I have some new recipes to share with you!

    My friend hosted a going away brunch during finals week and asked everyone to bring something to share. I immediately starting mentally flipping through all of the scones, muffins and other breakfast items that i’ve been waiting for the right moment to make. I settled (pretty quickly) on Smitten Kitchen’s raspberry topped lemon muffins. Since the moment I laid my eyes on these muffins I knew we were meant to be. Lemon. Raspberries. Mini Muffins. Say no more.

    They exceeded all of my expectations and were a huge hit at the brunch! They all went flying off the tray as soon as I arrived, and I was slammed with many requests for the recipe (so here it is!):

    Raspberry Topped Lemon Muffins
    Courtesy of (who else?) Smitten Kitchen

    Yield: 14 large or 56 mini muffins

    1 1/8 cups sugar, divided
    4 teaspoons finely grated lemon peel (from two large lemons)
    2 cups all purpose flour
    2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
    3/4 teaspoon salt
    1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
    1 large egg
    1 cup buttermilk
    2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    1.5, 1/2-pint containers (about) fresh raspberries

    1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Line 14 standard muffin cups (or 56 minis) with paper liners.

    2. Mash 1/8 cup sugar and lemon peel in small bowl until sugar is slightly moist.

    Microplane-the best!

    3. Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt in medium bowl to blend. Using electric mixer, beat remaining 1 cup sugar and butter in large bowl until smooth. Beat in egg. Beat in buttermilk, then vanilla and lemon sugar. Beat in flour mixture.

    4. Divide batter among muffin cups (the 2/3-3/4 level worked well for minis). Top each large muffin with 4 raspberries (or mini muffins with one each).

    5. Bake muffins until lightly browned on top and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 35 minutes (baking time was on the shy side of 20 minutes for mini muffins).

    This may just be the best muffin I’ve ever had. The lemon zest muddled with sugar gives the muffins a bitter intenseness that is sharply contrasted with an almost sour raspberry, which ends up giving you quite an intense bite. These are anything but ordinary. To switch things up I can picture poppy seeds mixed in, orange zest switched for the lemon, blackberries or other fruit swapped for the raspberries, the list goes on.

    Make these immediately and never look back.

    Shabbat Dinner Party

    Last Friday I hosted a Shabbat dinner for 15 of my closest friends. Through a friend at Cornell I found out about this program called Birthright Israel NEXT, which is for alumni of Birthright Israel. One of their programs is called Birthright NEXT Shabbat, which allows alumni of Birthright to host Shabbat dinners that are paid for by their generous donors. This was obviously a dream come true for me as I was able to cook an elaborate dinner for 15 of my friends at no cost to me, which would have been very expensive otherwise. The cool thing about the program is that they give you no rules or restrictions-this was Shabbat my way. I chose the menu, hand picked the wines, and was even able to buy tablecloths and other decorations to make it special. Thankfully my sister was able to come visit me for the weekend and made a wonderful sous chef/kitchen helper extraordinaire. I spent a while thinking about what I wanted to make and looking at all of my favorite food blogs for inspiration. I knew I had a few dietary restrictions to accommodate: vegetarian, gluten free and kosher, which made it a little trickier as well. In the end I decided on curry mustard chicken, mustard roasted potatoes, oven roasted vegetables, turmeric Israeli couscous with caramelized onions and cherry tomatoes, roasted tomatoes and cipollini onions, quinoa salad, and chocolate soufflé cupcakes with mint crème for dessert. I knew this was ambitious, seeing as I had never thrown a dinner party all by myself before, but I was up for the challenge.

    Mara and I spent the night before cutting vegetables and prepping the rest of the ingredients so that we could have everything ready to go for Friday.

    The final recipe selection

    Intense food shopping experience

    Roasted Vegetables
    -bunch of carrots, cut into sticks
    -parsnips, cut into sticks
    -beets, quartered
    -butternut squash, cut into pieces
    -acorn squash, cut into wedges

    Preheat oven to 400˚ and line baking sheets with parchment paper or foil. On one of them put the beets (It’s best to cook them separately so they don’t stain everything pink). On another put the squash, carrots, and parsnips. Drizzle olive oil over the vegetables and toss so that everything is thinly coated. Add some freshly ground pepper and salt and place in the oven for 30 minutes or until tender when stuck with a fork. The different vegetables may vary in cooking times so be sure to check frequently. Also reach in and shake everything around every 5-10 minutes.

    Mara peeling carrots and parsnips

    beets!

    Prepped vegetables

    peeling and cutting beets and staining my hands in the process

    Roasted Tomatoes and Cipollini Onions

    Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

    1 pound cipollini onions
    1 pound small Roma or large cherry tomatoes
    1/4 cup olive oil
    Coarse salt
    Few fresh basil leaves, slivered

    Preheat oven to 375°F. Boil a small pot of water and blanche the cipollini for 10 seconds, then plunging them into cold water. Use a paring knife to make a small slit in each, and slide them out of their skins and outer layer.

    Spread peeled onions and tomatoes in a roasting pan. Drizzle with olive oil and a few good pinches of coarse salt. Toss everything together until well-coated and roast in preheated oven for about 45 minutes, reaching in every 15 minutes with a spatula to roll the tomatoes and onions around to ensure all sides get blistered. Sprinkle the dish with the basil and eat at once.

    Mustard Roasted Potatoes

    Recipe from Smitten Kitchen

    Makes 10 servings

    Nonstick vegetable oil spray
    1/2 cup whole grain Dijon mustard
    2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
    2 tablespoons (1/4 stick or 1/2 ounce) butter, melted
    2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
    3 garlic cloves, minced
    1 tablespoon dried oregano
    1 teaspoon finely grated lemon peel
    1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
    3 pounds 1- to 1 1/2-inch-diameter mixed unpeeled red-skinned and white-skinned potatoes, cut into 3/4-inch-wide wedges

    Position 1 rack in top third of oven and 1 rack in bottom third of oven and preheat to 425°F. Spray 2 large rimmed baking sheets with nonstick spray. Whisk mustard, olive oil, butter, lemon juice, garlic, oregano, lemon peel, and salt in large bowl to blend. Add potatoes; sprinkle generously with freshly ground black pepper and toss to coat. Divide potatoes between prepared baking sheets, leaving any excess mustard mixture behind in bowl. Spread potatoes in single layer. Roast potatoes 20 minutes. Reverse baking sheets and roast until potatoes are crusty outside and tender inside, turning occasionally, about 25 minutes longer. Transfer potatoes to serving bowl.

    Spice mix

    whole grain dijon mustard

    coating the potatoes in the mustard mixture

    Curried Honey Mustard Chicken

    Adapted from All Recipes.com and Nancy Dorfman-Tandlich

    4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
    1/3 cup butter, melted or ¼ cup olive oil
    1/3 cup honey
    1/4 cup Dijon-style prepared mustard
    1-2 tablespoons curry powder
    1 pinch ground cayenne pepper
    teaspoon of salt

    In a medium bowl combine the oil or melted butter/margarine, honey, mustard curry powder and cayenne powder and salt. Mix well. Place chicken breasts in a 9×13 inch baking dish and pour honey/mustard mixture over chicken. Cover and place in refrigerator. Marinate for at least 4 hours or overnight. Preheat oven to 375˚. Bake for 15 minutes covered and then uncovered until cooked through.

    Marinating Chicken

    Israeli Couscous with Turmeric, Caramelized Onions, and Tomatoes

    (I think this was my favorite dish of the night!)

    Adapted from this food blog

    8 oz. Israeli Couscous
    3 cups chicken broth
    2 garlic cloves, finely minced
    Kosher salt
    2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
    3 large yellow onions (Spanish or sweet), halved and sliced
    1 tablespoon brown sugar
    1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
    3/4 teaspoon turmeric
    1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved

    Bring chicken broth with garlic cloves to a boil. Once boiling, add couscous and cook until al dente (mine cooked for approximately 5 minutes.) The couscous absorbed all of the chicken broth so there was no need to drain.

    Meanwhile, caramelize the onions.  Heat the olive oil in a large, wide skillet over medium-high heat, then add the onions and 1/2 teaspoon salt.  Saute, tossing occasionally with tongs, for about 15 minutes.  Sprinkle in the brown sugar, balsamic, turmeric, and 1/4 teaspoon more salt, and continue cooking, and giving a stir or two, over this assertive heat for 5 more minutes.  Then reduce the heat to low and cook, tossing frequently, for 10 minutes longer, or until very soft, glisteny, and sweet.

    Stir in the cooked couscous, top with the tomatoes, and serve warm, or at room temperature.

    Chocolate Souffle Cupcakes with Mint Creme

    Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

    6 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped (I used bittersweet)
    6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
    Heaping 1/4 teaspoon espresso or instant coffee powder
    3 large eggs, separated
    6 tablespoons  sugar, divided
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract

    3 ounces heavy whipping cream
    1/8 teaspoon peppermint extract

    Make cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 9 standard-size (3-ounce) muffin cups with paper liners. Stir chocolate, butter and espresso powder together in heavy medium saucepan over low heat mostly melted, then remove from the heat and whisk until it is fully melted and smooth. (I like to put the butter underneath the chocolate in the pan, so that it protects the chocolate from the direct heat.) Cool to lukewarm, stirring occasionally.

    Using electric mixer (a hand mixer, rather than a stand mixer, actually works best here because the volumes are so small) beat egg yolks and 3 tablespoons sugar in medium bowl until mixture is very thick and pale, about 2 minutes. Briefly beat lukewarm chocolate mixture, then vanilla extract, into yolk mixture. Using clean dry beaters, beat egg whites in another medium bowl until soft peaks form. Gradually add remaining 3 tablespoons sugar and all of the salt, beating until medium-firm peaks form. Fold whites into chocolate mixture in 3 additions. Divide batter among prepared cups, filling each three-fourths of the way.

    Bake cakes until tops are puffed and dry to the touch (some may crack) and a tester inserted into the centers comes out with some moist crumbs attached, about 15 to 20 minutes. Cool in pan on a cooling rack, where the cupcakes will almost immediately start to fall. It will be all the better to put your mint cream on them.

    Beat cream and peppermint extract with electric beaters until soft peaks form. Remove cupcakes from pan, arrange on a platter. Fill each sunken top with a healthy dollop of  mint cream. Top with shaved dark chocolate, if you’re feeling fancy. You won’t be able to stop at just one.

    DELICIOUS

    Okay! So there you have all of the recipes and pictures I took while prepping. Now here are some pictures from the actual dinner:

    Jenna and I saying the blessing over the candles

    Nathan saying the blessing over the challah

    a plate of my hard work

    The whole group!

    In the end, all of the hard work was well worth it. The food was delicious and my friends had such a good time. It was one of my favorite nights at school so far and a memory I will never forget. Thanks to Birthright Israel Next, to my sister for all her help and to all of my friends for making this Shabbat so special!

    Apple Bundt Cake/Dinner Club Potluck

    As you can see, I’m really trying to make the most of fall with all these apple recipes! For a Cornell Dinner Club Fall Potluck last week Charlotte (my roommate from last year) and I decided to make one of our smitten kitchen (http://www.smittenkitchen.com) favorites, Mom’s Apple Cake. It is so easy and beautiful and delicious and we thought it would be the perfect potluck addition.

    Charlotte prepping

    Alternating cinnamon sugar apples and batter

    Ready for the oven

    Recipe from http://smittenkitchen.com/2008/09/moms-apple-cake/

    6 apples, Mom uses McIntosh apples
    1 tablespoon cinnamon
    5 tablespoons sugar
    2 3/4 cups flour, sifted
    1 tablespoon baking powder
    1 teaspoon salt
    1 cup vegetable oil
    2 cups sugar
    1/4 cup orange juice
    2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
    4 eggs
    1 cup walnuts, chopped (optional)

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a tube pan/bundt pan/loaf pan. Peel, core and chop apples into chunks. Toss with cinnamon and sugar and set aside.

    Stir together flour, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together oil, orange juice, sugar and vanilla. Mix wet ingredients into the dry ones, then add eggs, one at a time. Scrape down the bowl to ensure all ingredients are incorporated.

    Pour half of batter into prepared pan. Spread half of apples over it. Pour the remaining batter over the apples and arrange the remaining apples on top. Bake for about 1 1/2 hours, or until a tester comes out clean.

    YUM

    Here are some pictures from the potluck:

    Apple Slaw

    Homemade buckwheat gnocchi

    Homemade Rabbit Pate

    Action shot

    Delicious corn bread with whipped maple butter

    pumpkin pies, bread puddings, oh my