recipe // garlic cheesy bread with roasted garlic and herb butter

This garlic cheesy bread is the number one most popular pin of all time on Pinterest, according to Repinly. It’s had close to 100,000 repins, which is pretty crazy to think about, and was originally pinned by Mandy Wakeman. I had a feeling this would be good, seeing as it’s a combo of bread, cheese, butter and garlic – seriously, what’s not to like? I was a little worried about how the bread would turn out though, seeing as I don’t have a stand mixer and kind of winged it with my food processor based on prior knowledge of making pizza dough.

To start with, I substituted all-purpose flour for bread flour. I did a little research about the difference between the two, and learned that bread flour has slightly more gluten and therefore generally creates a more chewy and/or lofty bread than all-purpose flour. In most cases, all-purpose flour can be substituted for bread flour, but you don’t want to go the other way around and sub in bread flour for all-purpose flour. Seeing as I don’t make a ton of bread regularly, I opted to use the all-purpose flour I had rather than buy a bag of bread flour. My bread definitely didn’t end up as large as the photos from the original pin, which I think probably had something to do with this substitution, but the texture seemed fine. Continue reading

recipe // black bean salad with corn, red peppers, avocado & lime-cilantro vinaigrette

I found this recipe on Repinly in their most popular pins of all time list. I was looking for a side to go with some barbecue pulled chicken and this seemed like a good fit. It looked really fresh but hearty at the same time, and as a native Californian, I’m sold on anything involving avocado. As a bonus, Jennifer at Once Upon A Chef suggested making the salad the night before and just adding the avocado right before serving, which cut out a lot of prep time for a post-work meal. All the chopping and mixing of ingredients the night before took about a half hour from start to finish. I also took the suggestion of using canned black beans with fresh cooked corn, and boiled the husked corn cobs in water for about 6 min before cutting the kernels off. Continue reading

recipe // spiced yogurt muffins

They sell these muffins at FraĆ®che Yogurt in Palo Alto, along with Bluebottle Coffee, which I’m just slightly addicted to. The last time I was there getting my caffeine fix, I noticed they had been featured in an article in Food & Wine magazine that included the muffin recipe so I decided to give it a shot. I ended up making 10 muffins and a bread loaf, and while they could have been a bit sweeter, they were pretty tasty and went really well with coffee. Next time I’ll likely add more sugar, but there definitely will be a next time. Continue reading

recipe // vodka-spiked “no cook” tomato sauce

This is an old standby from my favorite cookbook: Joie Warner’s No Cook Pasta Sauces. All the recipes in this cookbook use a method where the fresh ingredients for the “sauce” warm in a serving bowl placed on top of the pot of boiling water while the pasta. is cooking. Just make sure your serving bowl is ceramic or metal so you don’t get any melted plastic in your pasta. This recipe in particular is great for a last minute meal because I usually have all the ingredients on hand, so there’s no need for a trip to the store. Joie Warner describes the dish as being inspired by a Bloody Caesar cocktail, but being more of a Bloody Mary girl myself, I can’t really vouch for this. In this instance, I had fresh basil on hand so I decided to try using that instead of dried basil as the recipe suggests. It turns out that this may have been one of those few cases where dried herbs taste better than fresh herbs, because the dish was lacking in its usual flavor. This could also have been because I didn’t have a lime so there wasn’t any lime zest, which always adds a nice freshness to it. Still good, but when it is made according to the recipe, it’s definitely better. Continue reading

recipe // spicy mango shrimp

This is a recipe from the “Fast & Fresh” section of Sunset, which is the first section I flip to whenever the new issue arrives. The photo looked amazing, as did the claim that it could be made in 30 minutes or less. I had to make a few variations to the recipe due to a lack of ingredients… as overwhelming as the selection is at Safeway, they did not have unsweetened or toasted coconut, so I used the sweetened variety and toasted it myself. I also used jarred instead of fresh mango, mainly because it was already 8pm and I was hungry. Overall, the dish was really good – just the right amount of sweet and spicy, and a good mix of flavors. And it actually only took 30 minutes to make, including peeling the shrimp. Even though it called for unsweetened coconut, it was unanimous that the toasted sweetened coconut was the best part. Although the recipe said it was for 4 servings, as a main course it served 2 with about a half serving left over, so next time I’ll definitely be doubling the recipe. Continue reading