Wednesday, April 28, 2010


For years I have wanted to get involved in the way children and adults eat and think about food! After watching Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution I have decided to get involved and start my own revolution! BUT I NEED EVERYONE'S HELP! I certainly have the food knowledge and the cooking skills to do so, but I need HELP! If any of you are in the Chicagoland area and want to help me with ideas or anything at all...please contact me!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Holy Peaches!!!

Fooled Ya! If it looks like a peach, it must be a peach right? NOPE!

8 years ago my brother and sister-in-law had the most amazing wedding...and with it came an incredible sweet table. The one dessert that I remember and that unfortunately the bride and groom never tasted were these beautiful little peach looking cookies. I guess the past has a way of resurfacing :) I was at the in-laws house last week and my mother-in-law made these beautiful peach looking cookies. They were gigantic but none the less amazing! So I vowed to make my own, at the very least so that my brother and sister in law could have some :) They tasted exctly like I remembered at the wedding...Delicious! They are a tad bit time consuming but totally worth it! The look on everyones' faces when they saw those little imitations was priceless!

Peach Shaped Cookies

1 cup white sugar
1 Stick of butter, softened
2 Tablespoons Sour Cream
2 eggs
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 2/3 cups all-purpose flour (You may have to keep adding flour until the dough is firm enough)
1 hazlenut for each whole cookie made
2 Cans of Dulce de Leche
*If the store does not have Dulce de Leche, go ahead and use sweetened condensed milk and boil in its cans for 2 hours.*

For the dying of the cookies:
2 bowls of milk, one colored with red food coloring, the other with yellow.
1 bowl of sugar (abour 1/2 a cup)

1. Heat your oven to 350°.
2. Lightly grease cookie sheets.
3. Mix together the sugar, eggs and butter. Add flour and baking powder.
4. Form 1" balls by rolling them in your hand and placing on the cookie sheet. Make sure the balls are a bit flat on the bottom where the rest on the cookie sheet.
5. Bake until bottoms of cookies are lightly browned, about 15 minutes.

6. While they are still warm, with a knife, scoop out the inside of each cookie and save the crumbs.
7. Combine sweetened condensed milk with the reserved crumbs and the 2 tablespoons of Cognac.
8. With a teaspoon, fill a half with the filling and one hazlenut. Take another half and smoosh together to make one whole peach. (The hazlenut adds for a surprise on the inside)
9. Dip each whole peach into the red food coloring first, then the yellow. Let them dry for about 10 minutes and then roll in the sugar.

Voila beautiful peach cookies! The more you practice the more beautiful they will get!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

I Got a New Toy! And I Made Herb Chicken Thighs with Latin Quinoa

I got a new toy!!!! I was at my brother's house this weekend with my grandmother and noticed that my sister-in-law was making paninis. I was very intrigued by this gadget and that's when she showed all the bells and whistles of this thing! You could take out the grill plates and replace them with flat plates...with this you could make an entire breakfast! Plus the paninis I could make with this thing are endless! So my grandmother insisted that she get one for me and herself.
Look how pretty and shiny it is! Hypnotizing isn't it?

Well I have already made breakfast and several paninis! Today I decided to make a really easy chicken recipe on the panini grill! These chicken thighs were so simple, healthy and pretty...I forgot how good grill marks look!

Herb Chicken Thighs

3 Pounds Boneless, Skinless Chicken Thighs-All Fat Removed
1/2 a Lemon, Juiced and Zested
1/4 Cup White Wine
2 Tablespoons Parsley
3 Garlic Cloves
1 Tablespoon Sour Cream
Salt and Pepper

1. Combine all ingredients, except chicken, in a blender or food processor until pureed.
2. Place chicken in a ziplock bag and pour in marinade. Let sit for a minimum of four hours.
3. Preheat your grill and cook for 5 minutes on each side.

Latin Inspired Quinoa

1 Cup Quinoa-Rinsed
2 Cups Water
1/2 Tomato, Chopped
1/2 Red Onion, Diced
2 Garlic Cloves
2 Tablespoons Cilantro, Chopped

1. Sweat onions and garlic until translucent in a bit of oil.
2. Add quinoa and coat with garlic and onions.
3. Pour in water and tomatoes and bring up to a boil.
4. Lower to a simmer and cover. Cook for 20 minutes.
5. Add in cilantro and fluff with a fork.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Chocolate Lover's Dream: Flourless Chocolate Nutella Cake

Now I know...I know...this cake sounds REALLY evil but I made it for a good cause...It was Passover last week and I had to bring dessert. I thought of making creme brulee again, but it's not that easy to make individual desserts for 18 people. So I decided to actually bake. Now I think I have made it clear that I do not bake. Oddly enough, recently I developed a liking to baking; in fact I really enjoy it! So I decided to make something with simple flavors but that will please all different pa lattes! CHOCOLATE! I find it hard to believe that there is anyone out there that does not like chocolate; so it was a pretty easy choice. I found a recipe I used in culinary school and added a very magical ingredient to it: NUTELLA! Nutella, the delicious hazelnut and chocolate spread is fluffy, creamy goodness. The addition of the Nutella and a touch of coffee was a perfect compliment to this chocolaty goodness!

Flourless Chocolate Nutella Cake
*Just an FYI, this cake is so dense that it could probably feed more like 20-25 people.*


6 large eggs- separated
1 Tsp Instant Coffee
1 stick soft unsalted butter
1 jar of Nutella
1 tablespoon Kahlua
1 Cup finely ground hazelnuts
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted

Ganache Topping
1/4 cup crushed hazelnuts
1 cup heavy cream
4 oz bittersweet chocolate

*Preheat oven to 325 degrees and butter a 9-inch spring form pan.

1. Melt your chocolate over steam or in a double broiler.
2. Place the jar of nutella in the microwave for 30 seconds to loosen it up a bit.
3. In a mixer, combine butter, coffee, Kahlua and Nutella...make sure to scrape out every bit of that goodness!
4. With the mixer on low, add in the egg yolks one at a time, making sure each is incorporated before adding the next.
5. Add in the melted chocolate and combine.
6. In another mixing bowl, whisk the egg whites to stiff peaks. Slowly fold in the egg whites into the chocolate mixture.
7. Pour into the pan and bake for about 50-60 minutes or until top has set.
8. While the cake is baking, make the ganache by bringing the cream up to a high simmer.
9. Turn off the heat and stir in the chocolate until melted.
10. Once the cake is ready, let it cool for 10 minutes. Then remove from pan and let cool completely on a cooling rack.
11. Once cooled pour the ganache on the cake and smooth out. Sprinkle with hazelnuts and slice yourself a piece!

Perfect Crockpot Pot Roast

Every once in awhile, a certain dish comes around that is so simple and so delicious that no alterations need be made. Usually these are the dishes that have been around for ages, the ones that grandmothers and mothers make, that fill up our houses with incredible aromas and fill our hearts with memories. "Zharkoya" or the Russian word for pot roast (or stew) is one of those classic recipes that I have unfortunately tried to change. I added wines, root veggies, herbs, cognac, etc. However, the original recipe only calls for 3 or 4 ingredients and is outstanding! It wasn't until my friend called me and said, "You know I've tried all your crockpot recipes for pot roast, but this one is still the best!" I hated to admit that she was right, but she was.

This classic dish consist of beef, lots of onions, salt, pepper, garlic and potatoes; that's it! The sweetness of the onions permeates every bit of the meat and potatoes and gives it a flavor you will never forget! There is a certain magic that happens when you combine all the simple ingredients in this dish. When I decided to make it today and I was barely able to let it finish cooking before I had 2 servings!!! It was exactly how I remembered it to be: tender, sweet and delicious!
I promise once you try this recipe you will never go back to any other complicated pot roast recipes!

Perfect Crockpot Pot Roast

3-4 Pounds Beef Pot Roast
4 Onions, Sliced
4 Garlic Cloves, cut in half
2.5 Pounds Yukon Gold Potatoes, cut into quarters
1 Tablespoon Salt
1/2 Tablespoon Pepper
Olive Oil

1. Cut meat into large chunks and season with salt and pepper.
2. In a heavy bottomed pan, sear your beef until it has a nice brown color.
3. Remove meat and reserve; add in onions into the same pan and cook over medium heat until nicely caramalized, about 20 minutes.
4. Add in 1 cup of water to the onion mixture to deglaze the bottom of the pan.
5. Layer half the onions on the bottom of a crockpot, then add in the beef, seasonings, potatoes and garlic. Toss everything together.
6. Layer the remaining onions on top of the beef and cover with enough water to submerge potatoes and meat.

7. Cook for 6 hours on high, or until beef and potatoes are fork tender.
8. Enjoy!!!!