Funfetti Cake

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Funfetti was my favorite cupcake flavor growing up. If you don’t know what it is, it’s a Pillsbury boxed cake mix with colorful specks throughout the cake. I never really gave much thought to how Funfetti was made, of course I was a teenager the last time I made it, but after seeing recipes for it recently it is so obvious. Basically, you add sprinkles to cake batter, the sprinkles dissolve leaving bright flecks of color behind.

I saw this recipe on Food 52. Molly Yeh, who is my new favorite food blogger, went a step further to replicate the taste of actual Funfetti. The key to this cake is imitation vanilla. Of course this makes sense since you are using a boxed cake mix, but this is something I have never used. Only the real stuff in my kitchen. It made a world of difference in the final product though. The cake tasted exactly like I remember! it was so good!

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DSCN8763We served this on Super Bowl Sunday along with other terrible delicious food like pigs in a blanket and buffalo chicken dip. So good yet so bad!

 

 

 

French Onion Soup with Short Ribs

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The last time I ordered from Fresh Direct, they sent me an extra bag of onions so I had to make something with them. I remembered having a delicious french onion soup with beef at some point so I wanted to try something similar. I searched and searched for the perfect recipe and this was the best I could find. Even though this recipe is not exactly what I was looking for I liked it for it’s simplicity. This recipe came from Better Homes and Gardens. I made a few modifications to the recipe. The first was that I let the onions caramelize slowly for a long, long time. Another changed was that I added a lot more beef stock after adding the onions to the short rib broth to give it a soup consistency. I love the melted cheese on onion soup but I hate the soggy bread. Instead I made crostini with gruyere and served them on the side for dipping. It was great. The flavor was so rich. The short ribs were definitely a great addition.

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Chocolate and Peanut Butter Bundt Cake

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After a long and exciting hiatus I am back! I have been busy planning a wedding, getting married and honeymooning!

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Our photographers are amazing!

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Sugar Beach resort in St. Lucia was also amazing!

Now that that is done, I can focus on cooking and baking again. A perfect start to it is National Bundt Day! I participated in the Food Librarian’s I Like Big Bundts celebration of bundt day a couple of years ago so I returned to that to find a recipe for this year. I found the recipe for this chocolate and peanut butter cake here. Chocolate and peanut butter are one of my favorite flavor combos, how could I resist?

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This cake was delish! It was moist and the peanut butter was outstanding.

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Happy Bundt Day!

CSA Week #4

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This week’s share:
1 bunch Parsley
1 Green Boston
1 head Bok Choy
1 head Kolhrabi
1 lb. Squash
1 pc. Cucumber

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This was another green share. There was not much cooking this week since it was a short one with the holiday and our fishmonger took a vacation so no fish this week.

I made a bok choy dish using the baby bok choy from last week. I quartered it and sautéed it with sliced garlic and scallions until wilted. Then added some chicken stock and soy sauce. I let all of this cook until the bok choy was tender. At the end I made a thickener with some of the soy sauce and chicken stock and a bit of corn starch and added this to the pan to cook and thicken the sauce.

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I am always on the lookout for summer squash recipes and when a list showed up in my inbox the other day I knew I needed to try one. I decided on a baked version which I made into individual servings in my adorable mini cast iron skillets. You can find the recipe here. Some of my squash was not as tender as I had hoped. I also added minced garlic to the bottoms of the pans. To finish it I put it under the broiler to brown and crisp the top. It was tasty.

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CSA & CSF Week #3

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This week’s share:
1 bunch Basil
1 bunch Green Scallions
1 head Green Romaine
3 pcs. Baby Bok Choy
1 head Iceberg Lettuce
8 oz. Sugar Snap Peas

1 lb. Golden Tilefish

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That’s a lot of green this week!

Golden tilefish was one of the fish I first learned about, and loved, last year after receiving it in our CSF. It was great seeing it on the menu in one of the restaurants in my neighborhood. I decided to cook it in paper in the oven. I wrapped it up with spring onions, basil, salt and pepper, a little butter and a lot of lemon juice. It was delish!

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One thing I have been wanting to try for years is lettuce soup. This has been suggested by my CSA as an alternative to salad. I had three heads of lettuce in the fridge when I decided to finally try making soup. I started out sauteing spring onions, scallions and garlic in olive oil and a little butter and salt and pepper. Then I added in the lettuce. I used 1 head of green Boston lettuce, half a head of romaine and a handful of basil and cooked it down until it was wilted. After that, I added chicken stock, 3-4 cups, and simmered it for 20 minutes. Afterwards, I pureed it all and added about 1/2 cup heavy cream and seasoned with salt. I haven’t eaten a full bowl yet but the flavor and appearance for that matter reminds me of cream of broccoli soup.

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CSA & CSF Week #2

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It has been nice getting back into the routine of having and cooking vegetables every week. It was another good pickup.

The week’s share:
1 bunch Mint
1 head Red Boston
1 bunch greenhouse Carrots
1 head Green Boston
4 pcs. Garlic Scapes

1lb Monkfish

 

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I was very excited to see mint in our share. I don’t recall ever getting it before but more so I thought mojitos! This cocktail isn’t quite a mojito but it sure was refreshing drinking it in the park on a sunny afternoon.

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I was surprised to see monkfish again this week since we had it the week before as well. Luckily it is a great fish. I learned two things this week about monkfish. One, it is among the leanest fish. Two, it has a high moisture content so you need to salt it before cooking to draw the liquid out. This second one I learned the hard way. I followed this recipe from Food & Wine for the frying. I thought it was odd that you only breaded one side but I understood once I plated them. There was a pool of liquid under them on the plate. They still tasted good but it was a learning experience. I made a cilantro dipping sauce with mayo, garlic, lemon, a bit of sugar and a splash of vinegar.

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Again, we ate quite a few salads this week.

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CSA and CSF Week #1

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Last Tuesday was the first pickup of the CSA and CSF season. Many of you know what a CSA is but a CSF is not as well know. It stands for community-supported fishery. Every week when we pick up our farm fresh veggies we pick up a pound of local fish. It is great to get back into the routine of having fish every week. Between the extended winter and fact that we did not do a winter share it feels like it has been so long since last season. As you could tell by my lack of posts, I have not been cooking much, or at least I have not been cooking anything interesting. Having a fridge full of veggies really gets me motivated to cook.

This year I am switching up my blogging format. I plan to blog later in the week after I have cooked some meals using the vegetables and fish I received.

This weeks share:
1 bu cilantro
1 bu scallions
1 bu red romaine
1 head green oak lettuce
1 bu asparagus
1/2 pint strawberries

1 lb monkfish

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With the monkfish I made monkfish chowder which is also what I made last year when we got it. The chowder was so good the first time I didn’t want to mess with it. I made it by sauteing the scallions, garlic and a diced potato in butter and olive oil. Then I added chicken stock, brought to a boil, and reduced to a simmer. I added some frozen corn and a cup of heavy cream. Once it returned to a simmer I added the cut up monkfish. Seasoned with salt and pepper. This served 2 dinners and 2 lunches.

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We ate the strawberries for dessert. So good!

The next meal used the asparagus. My go-to way to cook asparagus is to roast them in the oven with olive oil, salt and pepper. Simple and easy. I wanted to do something different with this bunch. I knew I wanted to grill them but I wanted some sort of sauce to go along with them. I came across this recipe and it was amazing! What’s not to like, parmesan and hot sauce? We had these with a salad on the side.

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And we had a few salads this week.

Roast Chicken

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Nothing says Sunday quite like roast chicken. It’s the ultimate one pot meal and can be reincarnated throughout the week. This Christmas I got a whole bunch of spices from one of my favorite Chicago area shops, The Spice House. I decided to use one of the spice blends from the poultry box to season the chicken, the Old World Central Street Seasoning. It’s a blend of many different herbs and spices with paprika giving it a lovely red color. I rubbed it all over the chicken, under the sink, on top of it and in the cavity. I roasted potatoes, carrots and some celery in the pan with the chicken. The chicken turned out great. The drippings also made a delicious gravy.

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Chicken dinner #2 consisted of enchiladas. I doctored up a jarred sauce with onions, garlic and come cumin. I had some leftover refried beans so I used them in the filling with the chicken. I rolled them up, covered them in sauce and half with cheese and baked them until bubbly.

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Chicken dinner #3 was chicken and gravy with different sides.

Three different meals, a couple chicken sandwiches and 2 quarts of chicken stock. I’d say that was a well used chicken!

CSA & CSF Week #23

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This is the final week of the CSA. I am not doing the winter share this year since it is basically a 7 week extension of the summer season and since 3 of those weeks are holidays I will not be around to use the food. I will miss it until June! The veggies ended with a bang, Brussels sprouts! The fish, not so much. The dreaded bluefish!

This week’s share:
1 bunch Red Radishes
1 head Broccoli
1 head Green Boston
1 stalk Brussels Sprouts
1 lb.Red Fingerling Potatoes
1 Arrowhead Cabbage
1 bunch Hakurei Turnips
2 pcs. Eggplant

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Last week I used the monkfish to make a chowder. Oh my god, it was so good! They don’t call it a poor man’s lobster for nothing. I followed this recipe with a couple modifications. I left out the bacon, I used a hot pepper instead of the bell pepper and used chicken stock instead of fish stock. It was so good. The non-fish eater went back for seconds!

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