The fruit flies are back. As much as I love a good rainy day in LA, I’m very annoyed at our latest “storm” because it caused our pesky kitchen visitors to return. Go away! I hate you fruit flies; you make cooking not as fun. I’m hoping they just go away on their own like last time but if not I guess we’ll have to create another trap – which consists of red wine in a shallow dish covered by saran wrap with tiny holes in it. Enough about bugs because they are gross…
Onto my 2 new favorite cooking obsessions – polenta and casseroles! Casseroles are so easy to throw together after work and they leave you with a massive amount of food, perfect for lunch the following day. Polenta is straight up delicious and can be integrated into a ton of recipes. Plus it’s healthy! I found this recipe on another Trader Joe’s cooking website and I’m VERY glad that I did. I made a half batch since the recipes yields 10 servings. Next time I’ll make the full batch and bring it for lunch several days in a row (yes, it’s that good).
The fact that this recipe only requires THREE ingredients leaves you with no excuse not to make this immediately. Unless you are allergic to peanut butter, or even even worse, dislike chocolate. I’m not sure if we can really be friends if you don’t like chocolate so you should probably just stop reading this now. Thanks to Trader Joe’s Ready to Bake Brownie Mix this took barely any time to prep. Next time I might try making a healthier brownie batter from scratch to lighten the recipe up but it’s hard to pass up the shortcut. The only part that really takes “work” is spreading delicious peanut butter on top of delicious Oreos. Need I say more?
I cooked polenta for the first time this week and I will definitely be doing this again soon. I had no idea how easy (and healthy) it is to prepare. I’ve been super excited to use my new Le Creuset casserole dish so this Zucchini Polenta Bake seemed like the perfect dish. The idea came from a Trader Joe’s fan website full of recipes using ingredients readily available at TJ’s. Thanks to Melissa for passing it my way!
Some really good things about this recipe…
1. It is very easy to throw together
2. It yields about 6 servings (perfect for lunch the next day)
3. You kinda feel like you’re eating lasagna without all the calories that come with it
I’m starting to feel like Amy Adams’ character in Julie & Julia, except instead of tackling “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” I’m making my way through SmittenKitchen.com. I really can’t help it. It was the first food blog I started reading! And Deb’s recipes are unreal. *Real-time update: Matt just made fun of me for how fast I type.
I’ve been really excited to make this Apple Cake. It’s delicious and just so…pretty! I couldn’t help but go crazy on the pics; it photographed beautifully. I highly recommend eating the cake warm and with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side.
I’ve been a really bad blogger. It’s been almost a week since I posted something! I assure you I’ll get back into the swing of things. Part of the problem is TWO, yes two, recipes that were complete fails.
First was a tomato, corn, avocado and crab salad that I was really excited to make, especially since it looked so easy to throw together. How could I possibly mess this up? Well, I now know to be careful buying crab meat because a can of FANCY crab meat is very, very different than LUMP crab meat. Yeah, it was disgusting.
Second mishap was with these oatmeal apple cake cookies. They didn’t spread in the oven at all. I googled why this may have happened. 1. Oven isn’t hot enough. 2. Dough is too cold. It’s way overdue but I finally bought an oven thermometer this weekend so hopefully that will solve any temperature discrepancies. The recipe specifically said to refrigerate the dough for an hour so I don’t see why being cold would be a problem.
Anyways, I finally have something to share and it’s one of my all-time favorites! Chocolate Chip Sour Cream Coffee Cake courtesy of Smitten Kitchen. Don’t be scared by the mention of sour cream. I hate sour cream. You can’t taste it in the final product and it makes the cake super moist.
Peanut butter and jelly. Bacon and eggs. Mary-Kate and Ashley. Chocolate and coconut.
I may be a big fan of chocolate and peanut butter, but I’m not sure if anything tops my love for chocolate + coconut together. Whenever I get frozen yogurt I always end up with some sort of choco-coco combination. German chocolate cake, bring it on.
Not surprisingly I get really excited around Passover when people start to whip out the chocolate macaroons. Recently a coworker (thanks Elissa) brought some into the office from the market and I found myself saying “OK, this is my last one” way too many times. They are bite sized – it’s so easy! I had no idea that this love for macaroons was a controversial one. I posted about my obsession on Facebook to a mixed response. Half my friends said things like “ew, gross” and “those are foul” while the rest defended my beloved treat.
I came across a recipe for these magical cookies and added them to my Instapaper (seriously, best tool ever) right away since they looked pretty easy. Turns out they ARE easy to make if you have a little bit of time. They came out pretty amazing so I suggest you get on this if you are a fan!
This post may be non-food related; however, it is related to one of my favorite things…home design! I dream of the day that we have a house I can decorate, but for now our 1500 square feet will have to do (hey, I’m not complaining. I love our apartment). We fell in love with this place the moment we saw it and decided to put a deposit down right then and there. I can’t believe it’s been over two years! After about a year of nagging Matt that I wanted to paint, we took the (three) trips to Home Depot and stocked up on Glidden for a 3-day weekend paint-a-thon. The result is a bright and cheery environment that I can’t get enough of.
I was ecstatic when a photo of my orange bathroom door was featured on CasaSugar. Next goal is getting a food photo up on TasteSpotting!
I love the Smitten Kitchen. It was the first food blog I ever read consistently. At first I just loved looking at the beautiful photos but then I decided to start tackling some of Deb’s recipes. My two favorites so far are her chocolate chip sour cream coffee cake and her tomato and sausage risotto. Funny that they are probably the two best things that have ever come out of my kitchen. I’ll get into the coffee cake another day (trust me, you’ll want to try that one), but here is how I spent my Labor Day making a heavenly risotto.
This was the first risotto recipe I ever tried and I’m not sure if another one will top it. If you have suggestions, please, do tell. Although it requires some patience, it’s surprisingly easy and yields 4 gigantic servings.
Last weekend I went to Bed Bath & Beyond to grab a new trash can. We’ve been graced with the presence of fruit flies in our kitchen so I decided it was time to shell out for one of those fancy, simplehuman trash cans. Now, I couldn’t go to BB&B without taking a quick look through the store. I’m the girl who can spend more time aimlessly wandering the BB&B aisles than the racks at Bloomingdales. I managed to keep my additional purchases down to two things: a colorful new set of measuring cups/spoons and a cookie scoop. Boy was I missing out by not owning a cookie scoop! To be honest I had never made a batch of chocolate chip cookies on my own until this year. I can’t believe how much easier the process is with this magical tool.
We had a very lazy Sunday today. My plan was to bake banana bread, but that went out the window when aforementioned fruit flies attacked my primary ingredients. I spotted my cookie scoop and decided I’d try out the recipe on the bag of Bob’s Red Mill Whole Wheat Pastry Flour. These weren’t the best cookies of all time, but they were still yummy and pretty simple.
I’ve been to Joan’s on Third a handful of times. Everybody raves about it but I never seem to love what I order. Today that changed. This Brussel Sprout Salad with Dates, Manchego and Toasted Almonds was insanely good. Check plus!
Joan’s on Third
8350 W 3rd St
Los Angeles, California 90048