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Archive for August, 2009|Monthly archive page

Greek Salad

In by Katherine, The Everyday Foodie on August 26 at 12:56 pm

Greek salad with a hummus sandwich is a great vegetarian lunch for the weekdays — it’s quick to prepare and travels well.

Greek Salad

To make Greek salad, combine freshly chopped cucumber, tomatoes, and feta cheese with kalamata olives and sliced red onion.  Season with salt and pepper.  Dress with olive oil and vinegar, if desired.

Enjoy with a simple toasted sandwich made from Trader Joe’s original hummus, and serve with a side of iced water with mint leaves.

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Our version of the F–k-it Bucket: Ice Cream Sundaes

In by Amy, The Everyday Foodie, This is Why John's Fat. on August 21 at 10:10 am

Cooking time: 35 minutes for the brownie, 5 minutes to assemble | Originally enjoyed on: 8/6/2009

What’s the best way to end a crazy day at school (for Amy and guest foodie Charmaine, it was an 8 page paper, 20 minute group presentation, quiz, AND 2 page paper on Philip Morris)?

Ice cream sundaes, of course!

icecreamsundae1

Ice cream sundaes, our version of the "f--k it bucket."

Tired of school and not wanting to think about work the next day, John, Charmaine, and I went down to Safeway (24 hours, yipee!) to collect our materials:

  • Brownie mix
  • Vanilla ice cream
  • Oreos (we had to go with Safeway’s organic generic…these were terrible. If you’re going to go generic, go for Trader Joe’s brand, which is far superior)
  • Smucker’s Dark Chocolate Fudge
  • Whipped Cream
  • Frozen berries

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Elmo Cupcakes

In Birthday Parties, by Amy on August 20 at 3:12 pm

Cooking time: 5 minute preparation time, ~35 minutes baking time, 15 minutes decorating time | Originally enjoyed on: 6/27/2009

For Paul’s (belated) birthday celebration in June, we cooked up about three dozen Elmo-decorated cupcakes. The Foodies have a long-running joke that has associated Paul with the beloved red monster from Sesame Street ever since. Back during Welcome Week, Paul shocked us all with his dead-on Tickle Me Elmo impression:

Last year, we got him a Tickle Me Elmo Extreme that spoke Spanish. This year, we made Elmo cupcakes.

I originally got the idea from my niece’s first birthday party:

Elmo cupcakes: great treats for a birthday party, no matter how old you're turning.

Elmo cupcakes: great treats for a birthday party, no matter how old you're turning.

Of course, I couldn’t resist making them for Paul’s birthday.

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Summer Pasta in Light Butter Sauce

In by Amy, The Everyday Foodie on August 20 at 11:34 am

Cooking time: 15-20 minutes | Originally enjoyed on: 8/3/2009

Pasta in light butter sauce, sprinkled with parmesan cheese.

Pasta in light butter sauce, sprinkled with parmesan cheese.

Another light summer meal? You betcha.

I was in a crunch and needed something quick to eat. After digging around the refrigerator, I located half a red onion, some snow peas, an ear of corn, and a red bell pepper. It’s surprising what you can pull together with just a few ingredients.

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An Afternoon Snack

In by John, Foodies on the Town on August 19 at 9:42 am

Today, we’ll take a break from the usual Foodie Friday fare and focus on a review of the delectable little pastry store called Crixa Cakes. Located on Adeline between Stuart and Ward, Crixa Cakes is a little slice of heaven.

We were first introduced to this gem when Amy bought an amazing Tiramisu for John’s birthday.

It has a strong expresso flavor from the soaked sponge cake that is balanced by a creamy brandied mascarpone. If you do get a chance to visit, make sure you at least try a slice. Hopefully, I have piqued your interest at this point because we haven’t even gotten to the best part yet. The beauty of Crixa Cakes lies in its charm. It is a small locally owned shop that stays true to its roots and provides a wonderful atmosphere to just relax, chat, and enjoy some good food.

Another one of their amazing cakes is the light, summery, Red White and Blueberry cake. It is the perfect pick-me-up after a long day at work. Red, White, and Blueberry cakeNot-too-sweet is Crixa Cake’s forte and this cake is no exception. The custard cream and vanilla sponge cake work well to provide a little sweetness, while the fresh raspberries and blueberries give it a refreshing tart flavor. Amy and I also coupled the cake with a pot of Chai tea for two. Chai TeaThey brought out a steaming pot of milk with their own homemade chai tea brew in a tray, complete with teacups and saucers. Needless to say, it was a very good end for a quick visit to Crixa Cakes.

The Ultimate Carrot Cake (We’re Not Kidding)

In by Katherine, Dessert First, The Everyday Foodie on August 5 at 10:16 am

If you’re not a fan of carrot cake, you’ve obviously never had this glorious rendition.

Ultimate Carrot Cake

The applesauce and pineapple in the recipe keep the cake deliciously moist, and cream cheese frosting provides the perfect tangy counterbalance.  Plus, no garish orange-and-green carrots piped atop each individual slice!  Just tasty tasty walnuts.  So, bonus.

A few of you might remember this recipe from exploring berkeley back in the day.  We’ve brought it back to the future because, as it turns out, it makes great cupcakes as well:

Ultimate Carrot Cake

Beat together:
4 eggs
3/4 c vegetable oil
1 c brown sugar
1 c white sugar
3 tsp vanilla extract

Then mix in:
2 c flour
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
0.5 tsp salt
3 tsp ground cinnamon
0.25 tsp nutmeg

Then fold in:
3 c grated carrots
20 oz canned pineapple, chopped/crushed and drained (optional)
0.5 c applesauce (optional)
1 c chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)

Bake at 350 degrees in a greased 9X13 baking pan. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes. Let cool before frosting.

CREAM CHEESE FROSTING

Beat together:
0.5 c butter, softened
8 oz cream cheese, softened
3.5 c powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

Frost cooled cake and sprinkle on:
1 c chopped nuts

Turkish Breakfast

In by Katherine, The Everyday Foodie on August 3 at 2:32 am

This delicious weekend brunch brings together fresh bread, goat’s milk feta cheese, smoked salmon, capers, soft-boiled eggs, and kalamata olives.
Turkish Breakfast

Dash’s family was inspired years ago to make this brunch when eating at the house of their family friends from Turkey.  Over the years, they’ve added more ingredients and flavors, including these eye-catching roasted vegetables:

Roasted tomatoes, yellow bell peppers, red onions, and garlic

The recipe is easy — slice tomatoes, yellow bell peppers, and red onions, and season with fresh garlic, salt, and pepper to taste.  Broil in the oven until softened (and delicious), approximately 5-7 minutes.

To make perfect soft-boiled eggs, I like to bring a pot of water to boil, then turn off the burner and carefully place the eggs in the hot water.  The water will cook the eggs, but will cool before quite hard-boiling them.

This breakfast is very tasty and easy to assemble, requiring only a trip to Berkeley Bowl and the perfect lazy morning.

Red Snapper in White Wine Sauce

In by Katherine, The Everyday Foodie on August 1 at 1:44 pm

This was a light summer meal of pan-fried red snapper in white wine sauce, accompanied by roasted asparagus, caprese, and ciabatta from Semifreddi’s.

Red snapper in white wine sauce with roasted asparagus and caprese

Caprese is a simple Italian salad made from mozzarella, tomato slices, and fresh basil, seasoned with olive oil, salt, and pepper.  It makes a wonderful party appetizer because it’s easy to assemble but packs a visual punch.

Roasted asparagus can be delicious if it’s done correctly.  Here’s the recipe we like to use from Amy’s beloved copy of Joy of Cooking:

Roasted Apsaragus

Preheat the oven to 500 F.

Snap off the stem ends from 1 pound asparagus, rinsed.

Arrange the spears in a single layer in a shallow baking sheet.  Drizzle very lightly with extra-virgin olive oil.

Toss the spears to coat lightly.  Roast until just tender, 6 to 8 minutes.  Sprinkle with extra-virgin olive oil and salt and black pepper to taste.  Serve hot or at room temperature, garnished with lemon wedges.  Makes 3 to 4 servings.

Pan-fried red snapper with roasted asparagus, caprese, and ciabatta

Pumpkin Ravioli

In by Katherine, Foodie Fridays on August 1 at 12:54 pm

Last night we made pumpkin ravioli with sage-brown butter sauce.

Butternut Squash Pumpkin Ravioli with Sage-Brown Butter Sauce

It was delicious.

We adapted this recipe, with a few key time-saving shortcuts.

Instead of roasting and seeding our own butternut squash, we used Libby’s canned pumpkin puree, and added extra parmesan.  And, as the recipe itself suggests, instead of rolling our own pasta dough, we used Chinese wonton wrappers, pressing two together with egg whites.  It worked wonderfully, and the ravioli were fun to make in a group.

We crisped the fresh sage in a pan with butter to make the sauce, which gave the dish a delightful crunch and kept the texture interesting, but poppy seeds or even finely chopped nuts would work just as well.

We’d like to try this again sometime with spinach and goat cheese, or peas and mint.  Endless possibilities, really.