Tuesday, April 25, 2017

cracked and raised cocoa muffins

It's letting the batter rest for awhile and playing with your oven temperature 😄 Happy baking!

Make 6-8 jumbo muffins or 12 cupcakes


1½ cups all-purpose flour
1/2 c bread flour (subs APF to make 2 cups APF)
1 c cocoa powder
1 T baking powder
1 t baking soda
1/4 t sea salt

2 eggs
1/2 c sour cream
2/3 c milk
1 cup neutral oil (light olive oil, canola, soybean, coconut)
1 t vanilla extract

Optional: raw sugar like Turbinado or Demerara


Preheat oven to 400° F. Line muffin pan with liners or lightly brush with oil if not using liner. 

Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl until well combined; set aside.

In another big bowl, whisk the wet ingredients well-at least 1 minute.

Pour wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Stir and whisk until well incorporated; 30-45 seconds. Do not overmix. Set aside to rest for at least 20 minutes.

Fold the batter a few times before filling each cup with the batter at least 2 tablespoons away from reaching the rim. Or use a lightly oiled, 1/2 measuring cup to fill each muffin cup with batter.

Optional: Sprinkle the top with raw sugar, 2 pinches each.

Bake for 12 minutes at 400° F and lowering heat to 375° F to continue baking for 15 more minutes.

Take out from oven and let cool for 10 minutes. Remove each muffins from the pan and cool completely on a cooling rack.

Monday, April 24, 2017

tender, juicy baseball sized beef meatballs!

Recipe adapted from Serious Eats.

Makes 8 baseball sized meatballs


1 lb ground beef, 75% lean
1 cup bread crumbs
1/2 of medium onion
1/3 c milk
3 T vinegar or white wine
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 oz Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated plus more for serving
2 T dried parsley
2 t sea salt or kosher salt
2 eggs
1/4 t dried oregano
1/4 t fennel seeds


Set oven rack in the uppermost position and preheat broiler setting on low. Line a baking sheet with tin foil.

In a large bowl place everything in it. Use both your hands to mix the ingredients. Form into baseball sized meatballs; smaller-if you prefer. 

Set each meatball on the prepared baking sheet making sure they're not too close from each other.

Broil meatballs until browned on top; about 7 minutes or so. Browning times vary depending upon the strength of your oven broiler. 

Take out from oven and flip each meatball using a tong. Place back in oven to broil that side facing up. At least 7 minutes again-more or less.

If using in a spaghetti like I did above, simmer in the pasta sauce of your choice for 10 minutes.

Bon apetito!

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Easter leftover: lamb gyro with a badass white sauce

well you know i always make something out of leftovers. i did not have to buy the ingredients for this recipe: i already have them.

let's make some improvised lamb gyros!

Recipe for 3.



2 cups cooked lamb from Easter leftover, cut into strips
1 large red or yellow onion, chopped in chunks
2 red bell peppers, deseeded and cut into strips
1/2 T dried parsley
Pinch of dried dill weed
1/2 t cracked black pepper
3-5 T olive oil
3 Greek pita bread. I trust gmo-free Papa Pita® brand
2/3 cup crumbled feta cheese


8 oz Arla® herbs and spices-flavored cream cheese; room temp
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup mayonnaise
4 scallions, white and green parts inc., finely chopped
1/2 T dried parsley leaves
1/2 t dried dill weed
1/2 cracked black pepper


Make the herb dip first.

Place all the ingredients for dip in a a large bowl and blend/mix until well combined. Set aside.


Preheat a large, heavy bottomed pan (not non-stick) on high heat until smoky. Add cooking oil and preheat until the oil looks like it's 'boiling'.

Carefully dump the onion and bell peppers on the pan and saute/stir fry for 3 minutes on high heat.

Add the lamb meat, herbs and seasoning. Continue sauteing/stir frying; add at least 2 T olive oil (optional). 5 minutes on high heat. 

Turn off heat

Warm the pita bread in a toaster oven or a flat preheated pan. 

Place on a plate and assemble filling and sauce like in the picture above. 

Sprinkle with dried parsley.

Monday, April 17, 2017

easter 2017

crispy quail. Here I used Cornish game hens. pan-fried then grilled. Internal temperature: 170° F


Roasted Leg of Lamb. Internal temperature when (medium well) done: 145 ° F

Mocha Cake

Saturday, April 1, 2017

magic bars aka 7-Layer Bars

Inspired by a favorite grocery store "7-layer bars" with only 4 large bars in 1 box for $4.99! The hubby and I are addicted to this, I have to refrain from visiting the bakery department. Too bad they also display it just right when you enter the store!@#$%^&*

Adapted from this recipe but I used walnuts instead of pecans and substituted half of butterscotch morsels with white baking chips since they were the ones available in the pantry.

Crazy good!



2 packets of honey sweetened (or original flavor) graham crackers (1 box has 3 packets)
1/2 cup melted unsalted butter
1-14 oz can of sweetened, condensed milk
1 c semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 c butterscotch chips
1/2 c white baking morsels
1 c chopped walnuts
1 c sweetened shredded coconut


  • Prepare your ingredients. If you are in a warm area of the world, chill the baking chips, walnuts and sweetened shredded coconut first. Chill a large bowl too. 45 minutes to 1 hour. Disregard if you're in the North Pole.

  • Preheat oven to 350° F. Lightly brush or rub cooking oil or butter on a quarter size baking pan (9 x 13). Then line with parchment paper making sure to give extra more to jut out of the pan for you to lift and grab easily later on.
  • Crust: break graham crackers into bite size pieces and place in a food processor. Blitz until all crackers turn to granulated crumbs (near to powder consistence). 
  •  Transfer into a big bowl and add the melted butter to it. Combine well with hands until you can form a ball without breaking apart.
  • Dump the mixture in the center of the prepared pan and spread evenly. Press using a rubber spatula or your fingers. Set aside. 
  • Take out the chilled bowl, baking chips, walnuts and shredded coconut from the fridge and dump the baking chips and walnuts ONLY in the chilled bowl. Mix well using a rubber spatula or wooden spoon. Set aside.
  •  Pour the condensed milk on the prepared crust. Spread the liquid evenly by tilting the pan side to side. 
  •  Evenly sprinkle the chilled sweetened shredded coconut on the condensed milk followed by the mixed baking chips and walnuts. Lightly press with your fingers or rubber spatula to stick to the condensed milk.
  • Bake for 30-35 or until bubbly and edges are light brown. 
  • Cool completely to room temperature before lifting the final product out of the pan. Cut evenly to 24 bars or 12 bigger bars. Store in an airtight container each separated with a piece parchment paper.