Monthly Archives: December 2012

New World

Morning Glory Muffins

Morning Glory Farm

Please excuse the lack of a photo with this post, Joey just got a new camera so still testing that out!  However a lack of a photo won’t keep me from joining this month’s Random Recipes, hosted by the always incredible Dom of Belleau Kitchen.  This month the Random Recipes theme was Christmas Gifts, which required me to narrow my cookbooks down in to those that I received as gifts over the past year.  This left me with four books: Plenty, World Vegetarian, Morning Glory Farm, and Chocolate Cakes.  I was hoping Chocolate Cakes was going to win out, but fortunately for my waist line the winning book was Morning Glory Farm – and the family that feeds an island.  My in-laws got me this book as a birthday present after they visited Martha’s Vineyard.  It’s been many a year since I have been to Martha’s Vineyard, or Cape Cod, but seeing the recipes in this book brought back many happy memories.  The random recipe selected were delicious Carrot Muffins that the book called Morning Glory muffins after the farm.  The book tester for this recipe suggested walnuts but we decided to skip that step since walnuts seem to be one of the few tree nuts that do bother my hubby.

New World

Serves: makes 15 muffins


2 1/2 cups brown sugar

6 eggs

1/2 cup canola oil

1 stick butter, melted

2 tsp vanilla

4 cups all purpose flour

1 tbsp & 1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

1 tbsp cinnamon

4 cups shredded carrots, drained

1 cup raisins

2 cups chopped apples, I used Pink Ladies


  1. Preheat oven to 350, and grease or line 15 muffin cups.
  2. In a large bowl, combine brown sugar, eggs, oil, butter, and vanilla. Whisk together until fully mixed.
  3. In another bowl sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Gradually add to the wet ingredients, and stir until just incorportated.
  4. Fold in the carrots, raisins, and apples.
  5. Scoop mixture into the tins, about 3/4 full. Baking 35-40 minutes, muffins are done with a toothpick comes out clean!

These were a little oily for my taste, but that might be because we had to half the original recipe though the above recipe is as written in the book.  I think in the future I might also tweak this recipe with some nutmeg, maybe 1tsp, just to add a little bit more pop.  Another future tweak would be switching out the raisins for some dried cranberries!

Thanks Dom for another amazing year of Random Recipes!  Can’t wait to see what’s in store for 2013 🙂

Winter Wonderland

Layered Peppermint Bark


Merry Christmas!  Hopefully all your presents are wrapped and ready to go, but just in case this Peppermint Bark makes a wonderful last minute gift.  It also makes a great treat, so even if you are ready to go gift wise nothing wrong with making some candy to go with all the other treats.  I love how quickly this treat comes together, though sometimes it is rather hard to wait for it to set.  All the ingredients are easy to locate, and for those willing to be extra, patient candy canes will go on super discount tomorrow so buy in bulk now for later!

Layered Peppermint Bark


2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

2 cups white chocolate chips

1 cup candy cane, crushed


  1. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper
  2. Melt the semi-sweet chocolate chips in a double boiler, then spread out over the cookie sheet. Chocolate should be about 1/2 in thick. Set Aside
  3. Melt the white chocolate chips in a double boiler, at about the half way point add half of the crushed candy canes. Once melted slowly pour over the semi-sweet chocolate layer.
  4. Top with the remaining candy canes and then place in the fridge. Cool for at least 1 hour, the break up and enjoy!

Hope everyone has an amazing day!  Merry Christmas 🙂  I’m also sending this recipe over to r/52 weeks for the final challenge: Holidays.  Whether being made as a gift or being enjoyed as a gift to yourself these peppermint treats certainly say winter holidays!

Make Way

Thai Basil Eggplant


Grand Ma’s Tofu

Thai Basil Eggplant & Grand Ma's Tofu

There is just something about Chinese food around the holidays, it just feels right!  This week I had the added encouragement of /52weeks Take Out at Home theme.  I debated about trying a thincrust pizza but forgetting to add water to the bread machine took care of that idea, so on to Chinese Food!  Joe and I get Chinese food about once a month and our favorite place no longer ask us what we want, they hear my name and they know we are calling for eggplant and tofu.  I had wanted to try making both of these recipes for awhile but every recipe I found online featured either pork or fish sauce and I wasn’t sure how our place does it without either of those.  So I started experimenting with sauces, testing them out on soba noodles until I found the “right” combination.  The hardest part was finding a chili paste for the tofu that didn’t include shrimp paste or fish sauce, but after a very long trip to the Asian grocery store I was able to locate one that was safe!

Thai Basil Eggplant

serves 4


2 tbsp Vegetable Oil

1.5 lbs Thai eggplant, roll cut

1/2 vidalia onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, chopped

2 Thai green chilies, diced

2 tbsp soy sauce

1 tbsp water

1 tbsp brown sugar

1/2 tbsp rice vinegar

3/4 Thai basil, well rinsed and loosely chopped


  1. Heat the vegetable oil in a large wok over medium heat. Add the eggplant and cook for 5-7minutes, then add the onion. Cook for another 5minutes then add the garlic and green chilies and cook for another 5 minutes. The eggplant should be starting to brown while the onion should be turning golden.
  2. Add the soy sauce, water, and vinegar. Stir well then add the Thai basil. Turn heat to low and cover. Cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. Serve hot over rice or rice noodles.

Grand Ma's Eggplant

serves 4


2 tbsp vegetable oil

1/2 cup mushrooms, minced

16 oz tofu, well pressed & cubed

2 Thai Chilies

4 spring onions, chopped (all whites and some tops)

2 tbsp chili bean paste

1/4 cup vegetable stock

2 tbsp soy sauce

1/2 tbsp rice vinegar


  1. Heat the vegetable oil in a large wok or saute pan, then add the mushrooms and cook for 7-10 minutes. Add the tofu and cook until brown on each side, about 5 minutes each. Add the onion tops and green chilies and cook for an additional 3 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile mix together the onion whites, bean paste, vegetable stock, soy sauce, and rice vinegar. Pour the sauce over the tofu, and bring to a quick boil before turning heat to low. Simmer for 10 minutes, or until sauce has reduced by half. Serve over rice or rice noodles and enjoy!

The best part about these dishes is that the sauces are so versatile, could easily switch things up and do a Thai Basil Tofu or a Grand Ma’s Eggplant.  Each of these dishes would also make a great topping for some rice noodles, or just as they are.

If At First

Homemade Veggie Lasagna

A few months ago I attempted, and failed at, making homemade ravioli.  I was resolved that once I got my stand mixer I would try again to make my own rolled dough, and after a month of psyching myself up I finally did it!  Having the stand mixer not only greatly reduced the extreme mess, it also allowed me to focus more on what the dough looked like to insure the right balance of flour, egg, and oil.  I also made sure to take the time to let the pasta rest, and in the end I had dough that was rollable and edible.   I thought about making ravioli, or tortellini again, but wanted to make sure I could handle the basics first.  So I cleared off the space where my microwave once sat, laid out the parchment paper, and got to work.   I divided the dough into three sections to make the rolling more manageable and occasionally got out my hubby’s measuring tape to see how thick the dough was.  For the filling I used a combination of vegetables, based on what I found in the local section of the grocery – gotta love hothouse vegetables in December!

Homemade Lasagna

Serves 5-6


For Noodles:

3 cups flour

2 large eggs, room temperature

1 tbsp EVOO

1/4 tsp salt

For Filling

1/2 cup Mozzarella, shredded & divided

1/2 cup Ricotta, divided

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

1 zucchini, thinly sliced

1 vidalia onion, diced

1/4 cup oyster mushrooms, well washed, diced, and divided

1/2 cup baby bella mushrooms, well washed, sliced, and divided

1/4 cup Italian brown mushrooms, well washed, sliced, and divided

1 1/2 cups favorite sauces, divided


  1. For Pasta: Add the flour to a large bowl, make a well and crack the eggs in to the well. Use a dough hook to slowly beat the eggs and flour, go slow to make sure you don't mix in to much flour. Remove the dough from the bowl and place on parchment, then remove any extra flour from the bowl and place the dough back in the bowl. Cover with a towel or wrap and place in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  2. After 30minutes remove the dough from the fridge and divide in to three balls. Keep two in the bowl under the cover, and prepare an area to roll out the third ball. I used parchment paper with about 2tbsp of flour on the paper and another 2tbsp on the rolling pin. Roll out the dough until it is around 1/8 of an inch thick or thinner. Cover with a paper towel and repeat with the remaining two bowls. Allow pasta to rest on counter for about 10 minutes.
  3. Preheat oven to 375
  4. Place 1/4 cup of the sauce onto the bottom of a 9x9 casserole dish, and spread out along the bottom and side of the dish. Cut the pasta dough in to 3x3 strips and place one layer on the bottom of the dish. Then add half of the vegetables and half of the Mozz and Ricotta cheese and 1/2 cup of the sauce. Repeat with the remaining vegetables then add one last layer of pasta before adding the Parmesan cheese and remaining 1/4 cup of sauce.
  5. Bake for 35minutes, cheese should be brown and the sauce should be bubbling. Allow to sit for a few minutes before serving. Enjoy!

I’m not sure if I’m ready to try long noodles or shapes yet, but I’m hoping that after a few more goes at lasagna and ravioli I’ll have the rolling technique down enough to start cutting the dough.  If that ever happens I can promise a very happy blog post.

Little Things

Caprese Grilled Cheese

No matter how fancy the meal, how exotic the ingredients, how elaborate the presentation it’s normally the simple dishes that stick with us.  Mom’s soup, Grandma’s candy cane cookies, Dad’s pasta sauce…those are the dishes that more often then not mean more than the most expensive dinner.  There is a reason, after all, that these are commonly referred to as comfort foods.  I can only guess what meals my future children will remember when they look back on their childhood, but if they are anything like their father this grilled cheese stands a chance of making the memory list.  It’s a switch on the standard grilled cheese, but nothing so elaborate that it “requires” a special occasion or a special trip to the grocery store.

Caprese Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Makes 2 sandwiches


4 slices bread (I used homemade oregano bread)

2 Roma tomatoes, sliced

6 slices fresh Mozzarella cheese

8 basil leaves


  1. Butter each slice of bread on one side. Place two slices butter side on on a hot griddle and cook for one minute over medium heat, then add the cheese, tomatoes, and basil leaves.
  2. Cook for 5 minutes, then carefully flip the sandwich and cook on the other side for 5 minutes or until desired doneness.
  3. Enjoy!

I’m sending this over to /52weeks as part of their lunch challenge, even though this sandwich will also great with a big bowl of soup for dinner.  At the end of the day, this sandwich is simple and delicious and perfect.