March 28, 2010

Italian Easter Cookies


As a child I remember always looking forward to Easter the most. The egg hunt with the best prize in the Golden Egg, the baskets chock full-o whatnots and the cookies. The massive platters of cookies from the best Italian bakery around had to be my favorite part of the day.


It wasn't until last year when I found this recipe for Taralli Dolci Di Pasqua (Easter Ring Cookies) that I even thought about making them at home. Sure we all love a good cookie at the Sweet Oven but this was different. Taking the first bit of my first batch brought me back years (dare I say decades?!) , this was spot on how I remembered them - the flavor, the texture...it was heaven.

March 23, 2010

Pocket Full O' Sunshine Cupcakes

I can't tell you how much I've been craving some sunshine lately. This cold, dreary weather is starting to drive me nuts. And of course when I need a little cheering up where do I head...yup, the kitchen! For me, little else says sunshine more than some bright fresh lemons (and my Perfect Little Helper of course).


I used to sing this song on those long sleepless nights when nothing would calm my little newborn. I don't remember if it actually worked...but at least they made pleasant happy little memories out of sleep deprivation. So the lemon idea really rang out to me, with them being bright yellow and sunshine-y and all. When I thumbed through a few different cookbooks this one recipe jumped out at me. Simple and sweet, Lemon Scented White Cake was perfect for what I needed, er...wanted. The only thing was that "white" wouldn't do, I made them yellow...but only for the occasion of course, next time I won't dye them (uhhh, no promises on that one, ok). The cake turned out soooo delicious, this will be my next go-to for a birthday cake. I don't care who's birthday it is, or even if they like lemons - it's that good.

March 14, 2010

Chicken Fingers Two Ways: Part Two

So we've covered the extra crispy factor in part one of our chicken finger celebration. Let's continue the party shall we? Since I love variety in the kitchen I figured it would only be fair to give you a little. On the opposite side of extra crispy chicken fingers, I offer you parmesan breaded fingers. I'm quite confident that anything breaded with parmesan then fried can become nothing short of de-licious...but that's just me (you too huh?!).



This is where chicken finger improvisation comes into play. I never use a recipe for this one, I just wing it and I have fun doing it. I usually do two parts unseasoned bread crumbs, one part grated parmesan cheese, one part Panko bread crumbs and a couple dashes and pinches of seasonings (you got all that?). In tonight's case I used some dried parsley, onion powder, garlic powder, salt & pepper, but you use whatever tickles you (im-prov-is-ation, got it?).

March 8, 2010

Chicken Fingers Two Ways: Part One

We all get our food cravings, right. Well when I get my cravings nothing will satisfy my palate...nothing, until I get what it is I'm after. Hubby enjoys his cookies, but for me (at least for now) it's all about the fried food. I don't know what it is, hopefully just a phase (for my waste line's sake) but it's going strong. My cure? Chicken fingers, who doesn't love a good ol' finger now and again?!



I love chicken fingers (only once in a while) because they are so simple. They cook super quick, go with a variety of sides and dips and are just as good cold the next day with a little mayo, lettuce and tomato slapped betwixt two pieces of bread (drool). And, as if that weren't enough to sell you on the deal, they are completely customizable. This recipe for extra crispy chicken fingers was made using an actual recipe but I promise you can make them yours (more on how to improvise your fingers later).

March 3, 2010

Mushroom Orzo Pilaf

Once in a while Hubby winds up working late and doesn't make it home in time for dinner. And while I do miss him to pieces, I embrace those nights with open arms! This gives me one night to test a new recipe that I know he would never even consider consuming. Usually it's something with a new cheese or lots of veggies, because these are things he hates. I would have to say that the top most hated vegetable of his is the mushroom...any and all. I won't even get into his reasoning because it is that rediculous, but I never use them in a dish when he's eating dinner with us. Needless to say, mushrooms are on the top of the list for my once-in-a-while-whatever-I-want dinners.


This week I broke out a full tub of baby bellas (baby portobellos) for dinner. I am not shy of mushrooms and in this recipe I used double the amount. Simple, everyday ingredients are thrown together to mingle - and mingle they do. The onion became sweet and tender and the mushrooms turned out perfect and earthy. This recipe brought together my two favorite ingredients, pasta and mushrooms, so of course I couldn't resist. I looked forward to this dinner for days, tasting it's yummyness before I even cooked it up.

March 1, 2010

Beer Cupcakes, It's A Date

It's March, and you know what that means - hellloooo St. Patrick's Day. That means that pretty soon we all get to be Irish for a day. It's a magical thing that happens once every year, a day when we all enjoy green eggs for breakfast, Irish soda bread for snack and green beer for dinner, errr well you know. And to get this party kick started I've whipped up some beer cupcakes for you. They're not green, but they're made with Guinness, which is of course the best selling alcoholic drink of all time in Ireland...so that counts.


My husband said 'I don't know Hun'. My sister (hugs) said 'I don't know Ree'. But that sweet little voice inside my head said 'Do it, do it - beer. cupcakes. do it'. How can I say no to the sweet little voices? So of course I did it, and I'm glad I did, mmmm.