I'm coming Back, I promise!

I just realized I had not posted since February. Wow, almost a year. I guess I've been busy, what with the 3 kids, school, ballet, kung-fu, boy scouts, etc. Now that the holiday season is upon us, I will probably be posting more frequently. I love cooking during the winter, I feel more inspired with the colder season. And the munchkins demand baked goods! I just have to make sure I DO NOT EAT THEM. I've managed to lose 20 pounds since school started, and I refuse to gain it back by eating cookies! :D But I digress.... tonight I am making Sauerbraten in the crock pot, so if it is good, here you will find it (most likely as tomorrow's post). Ciao!


Utterly Peanut-Buttery Bars

pbbars Oh my goodness, my tastebuds have died and gone to taste Heaven!  I’ve been on a peanut butter kick lately, and having already made peanut butter cookies and sticky peanut butter sauce for chicken, I was looking for a recipe I could add chocolate to.  Gotta use up those remnants from the bags of chocolate chips I bought on sale.  This recipe was on the back of a box of brown sugar, I had all the ingredients on-hand, and it would be easy to add chocolate chips to.  Perfect!  Even my no-sweet-tooth husband said he loved these, and the munchkins liked them topped with vanilla ice cream!

Utterly Peanut-Butter Bars with Chocolate Chips, adapted from the back of a C&H Pure Cane Golden Brown Sugar box


1/2 cup soft butter

1/2 cup peanut butter

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour


2 eggs

2 tbsp peanut butter

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 cup (approx) chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375.  Crust:  In a medium bowl, mix butter, peanut butter and sugar until well blended.  Stir in vanilla.  Add flour and mix well (it will be crumbly).  Set aside 1 cup of this mixture for the topping.  Firmly press remaining mixture into bottom of a lightly greased 9x13 pan.  Filling:  Beat eggs, peanut butter and both sugars together.  Spread over unbaked crust.  Sprinkle chocolate chips on top.  Crumble reserved crust mixture over all.  Bake 20 to 30 minutes, until center is set and crust is golden brown.  Cool completely before cutting.


Chicken Tikka Masala

Whenever my husband needs a haircut, we head up to Rudy's in the U-District. Rudy's has locations all around Seattle, so why that location? Because across the street is Jewel of India, a family run Indian restaurant that has a small but fantastic buffet lunch. We have eaten it for years and just can't get enough. My favorite dish is the Indian Butter Chicken or Chicken Tikka Masala. I was craving just that recently, and since we rarely go out to eat with three small children, it was up to me to figure out how to make it. I came up with the recipe on the fly, combining elements from several I found online, and it is almost perfect. I made the quick and dirty version, meaning I only marinated for 3 hours instead of overnight, I used canned stewed tomatoes instead of fresh, I didn't strain it, and I didn't reduce the sauce because everybody was STARVING. I also sweetened it with organic blue agave nectar because my honey had crystallized. Serve over rice, with naan bread (frozen garlic naan from Trader Joe's is awesome). As always, enjoy!

Chicken Tikka Masala

Part 1:
2 lbs. chicken breast, cut into cubes or bite-sized chunks
1/4 cup plain yogurt
3 tsp minced ginger
3 tsp crushed garlic
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp turmeric
3 tbsp lemon juice
4 tbsp vegetable oil
melted butter (for basting)

Part 2:
1 small can tomato paste
1 can tomato sauce
2 cups fresh tomatoes, chopped
2 tsp minced ginger
2 tsp crushed garlic
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp garam masala
1 tbsp chili powder
salt to taste
3 tbsp butter
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
honey to taste

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients in Part 1. Add chicken breast and marinate overnight in the refrigerator. Preheat oven to 350F. Remove chicken from marinade and bake for 8 minutes, basting twice with melted butter. Drain excess marinade and bake until chicken is cooked through, about 5 more minutes. In a large pot, combine tomato paste, sauce and fresh tomatoes. Add about 4 cups of water. Add ginger, garlic, cinnamon, garam masala, chili powder and salt. Cook over medium-low heat until reduced and thickened. Strain out the chunks of tomatoes and spices and bring to a boil. Add butter and cream. Stir well and add honey to taste if it seems sour or too strong of a tomato flavor.



We’ve recently been watching a lot of Korean dramas, and in nearly every one somebody has eaten jjajangmyun.  It is a noodle dish made with fermented black bean paste, pork and vegetables.  Pretty it is not, but quite delicious.  It takes a bit of prep work, and uses more than one pan, but in the end, worth every minute.

Jjajangmyun (adapted from www.maangchi.com)

1 pkg. Korean style vermicelli noodles    

7 tbsp fermented black bean paste

1/2 lb. pork belly (I used pork side)

1 tbsp sugar

3 tbsp olive oil

3 tbsp potato starch powder (or cornstarch)

dash of sesame oil

1 cup Asian radish (daikon), cubed

1 cup sweet potato, cubed

1 cup zucchini, cubed

2 cups onion, diced

3 cups water

small amount of julienned cucumber, to top finished dish

Cut pork into 1 inch cubes.  Leave skin on.  Add 1 tbsp olive oil to a heated wok.  Add pork and stir fry until crispy.  When pork turns golden brown (skin will look a bit crackly), drain fat and pork aside (leave in wok).  Heat 2 tbsp olive oil over medium heat in a small skillet.  Add black bean paste and stir fry for 1 minute.  Drain extra oil and set aside.  Reheat pork in wok over high heat and add 1 tbsp olive oil.  Add radish and sweet potato, sauté for 2 minutes.  Add zucchini and onion and sauté for another 2 minutes.  Add 3 cups of water, cover and boil 15-20 minutes, until potato is cooked through.  Skim off foam and stir in the fried black bean paste.  Mix potato starch with 1 tbsp water and stir into boiling soup (should become thick and sticky).  Stir in 1 tbsp sugar.  Cook noodles according to package (approximately 3 or 4 minutes).  Reheat sauce and serve over noodles, toped with julienned cucumber.  Serve HOT!


Chicken Curry Bake

This is just something I threw together last night, when I couldn't figure out what to do for dinner. It is a very simple dinner, but the kids couldn't get enough. Excellent left over too!

Chicken Curry Bake

3 lbs. chicken pieces (I used thighs and legs)
2 cups plain yogurt
1 tbsp cornstarch (helps prevent the yogurt from curdling)
2 cups water or chicken broth
1 cup apricot jelly
2 tbsp curry powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp cinnamon
4 large carrots, cut into coins
1 large onion, sliced into rings
1 large granny smith apple, diced
salt to taste

Preheat oven to 400. Place chicken pieces in a roasting pan and sprinkle with salt. Add carrots, onion and apple on top of chicken. In a large bowl, combineremaining ingredients and stir until smooth. Pour evenly over chicken. Bake for approximately 45 minutes, until juices run clear. Serve over rice.


On Hiatus

I'm taking a break from cooking these days, unless you count making salads. If I come up with a super delicious salad or juice recipe, I'll be sure to post it! I'll be back, please bear with me :)


Pastel de Tres Leches

Wow, it's been awhile. The holidays have kept me busy and I haven't done much in the way of cooking. It has been a baking frenzy here though! Now that I have time to catch my breath, I can post my favorite of my holiday baking recipes, pastel de tres leches. This cake was amazing! Not too hard to make, thanks to my mom letting me borrow her kitchen-aid. I really have to get one someday! This is a rich, moist spongecake, covered in sweet whipped cream and tart cranberry compote. On their own, the whipped cream is way to sweet to just eat, and the cranberry mixture is face puckering tart. But put them together and you've got heaven in your mouth! The original recipe called for a meringue topping, but I thought the kids would like whipped cream even more.

Pastel de Tres Leches
(adapted from Epicurious.com)

Sponge Cake
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
2 tsp ground cinnamon
4 eggs, separated
1/2 cup milk

Rum Milk Syrup
1 can evaporated milk
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp dark spiced rum (optional)

Whipped Cream
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 cup white sugar

Cranberry Compote
2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
1 cup walnut halves or pieces
1 cup golden raisins
1 cup water
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp cornstarch (diluted in just enough water to make a slurry)

For sponge cake:
Preheat oven to 350 and line a 10-inch spring form pan with parchment paper. Grease and flour sides of pan. Sift flour with baking powder and cinnamon. Using a standing mixer with whisk attachment, beat egg whites until frothy, then slowly add sugar until whites form semi stiff peaks. Add egg yolks one at a time. Alternate adding flour mixture and milk.

Pour batter into pan and bake for about 40 minutes, or until middle springs back when touched and edges pull away from the sides of the pan. Cool thoroughly on a wire rack.

For rum milk syrup:
In a large bowl, combine all ingredients. Whisk thoroughly and reserve (if making in advance, refrigerate and stir before using).

For whipped cream:
Beat heavy cream and sugar together until thickened and fluffy.

For cranberry compote:
In a saucepan, combine all ingredients except cornstarch. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes, until fruits are tender, stirring frequently to avoid burning. While stirring, add the cornstarch slurry. Allow to boil rapidly for one minute. Cool completely and reserve.

To assemble:
Unmold the cake while slightly warm and slice off the hard top with a serrated knife. Place cake on serving platter and spoon milk mixture over it a little at a time, until it is all absorbed, repeat until all syrup is used. Ice with whipped cream and top with compote. Refrigerate and enjoy!