Butternut Squash Soup

The weather is warming up, but I promised my Butternut Squash recipe.  Hopefully, there is a cold day lingering before spring is in full bloom.  Otherwise, save this post for Winter 2013!

butternut squash soup

Ingredients
1 LB Butternut Squash cubed
1 small Onion chopped
1 1/2- 2 cups Chicken Stock
1 T Butter
2 1/2 oz heavy cream

1. Chop the onion and squash.

2. Add the chopped onion and butter to a saucepan large enough to fit all the ingredients. Cook on medium heat until the onion in translucent.

3. Add cubed butternut squash and 1 1/2 cups of chicken stock to the saucepan.

4. Simmer until the butternut squash is tender. About 15-20 minutes.

5. Remove from heat and spoon into a blender. Pureé the squash, onions and stock, then add the heavy cream. Add extra stock if needed.

6. Add salt and pepper to taste and enjoy!It is so easy, and so delicious!

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Chocolate Sour Cream Cake

The best reason to bake is to bake for someone else.  My best
friend Maddy had a birthday coming up and of course I planned to make
something special.  I chose to make a 3-layer chocolate sour cream cake, because
chocolate is her favorite. For the frosting, I made brown sugar maple to give a
little surprise.

I decorated it with pastel dragées and bunting I made from masking tape, yarn and chopsticks.

Ingredients:
FOR CAKE
 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
 1 cup boiling water
 1 cup butter
 2 1/2 cups sugar
 4 eggs
 3 cups flour
 6 T cornstarch
 2 t baking soda
 1/2 t baking powder
 1 cup sour cream

FOR FROSTING
4-5 cups powdered sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup maple syrup
1 cup butter
4 T milk (optional)

Preheat over to 350°

1. Dissolve cocoa in water.
2. In a bowl combine butter and sugar. Add eggs one at a time.
3. Mix together flour, cornstarch, baking powder and baking soda. Gradually add mixture into butter mix.
4. Add sour cream.
5. Pour evenly into 3 greased and floured 9″ round cake pans
6. Bake for 30-40 mins at 350°

While cake is baking, make the frosting
1. Beat butter until smooth.
2. Add brown sugar and 2 cups of powdered sugar to butter and mix until combined.
3. Add maple syrup and 2 cups of powdered sugar and mix until combined.
4. Add the rest of the powdered sugar if necessary. To thin the frosting add the milk 1 T at a time.

When the cake is done, cool, then refrigerator for 1 hour. Then frost.

Perfect (Raspberry) Scones

When I was younger I remember my mom and her friends taking a 40+ minute drive to Chester,NJ to a tearoom for lunch.  She would always bring back scones for my brother and dad.  At the time I wasn’t a fan, but boy were things going to change.  At the age of 19 I had my first scone in San Francisco airport waiting for my flight to LA.  I’m not sure what made me choose a blackberry-raspberry scone over a croissant, but I’m glad it happened.  Once my trip was over and I went back to NJ I searched and searched for just the right recipe.  Right off the bat I had a good experience with scones, but my mom warned me that if not made just right, they can be dry.  So, I chose carefully, a recipe from Picky Cook, and made my own version.  This is one of the few recipes stored in my brain because I use it way too much!  I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

My Valentine’s Day gift to all of my lovely readers, whether devote followers or search-engine  finders, is this kick-ass recipe that will keep your loved ones loving you even more.  Whether it be a husband or wife, boyfriend or girlfriend, co-worker or friend, these Raspberry Scones are perfect to share with your loved ones on Valentine’s Day.
You can eat them plain or serve them with clotted cream. Clotted cream can be found at specialty stores, such as King’s, but it is sometimes unavailable or expensive.  So, instead, I make a spread of 1 dollop of sour cream and a pinch or 2 of sugar per scone.

*This recipe is great with or without raspberries too.*

* adapted from Picky Cook
 Makes 8
Ingredients:
2 cups flour
1/3 cup sugar
2 T baking powder
1/4 t baking soda
7 T butter (frozen and grated)
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup sour cream
6oz cont. raspberries

Preheat oven to 425°
1. In bowl mix flour, sugar, baking powder and baking soda.
2. Grate the butter into the dry ingredients, evenly incorporate the ingredients.

3. In a separate small bowl, whisk together milk and sour cream, then add it to the larger bowl.

4.  Begin to mix the wet and dry ingredients with a rubber spatula, just until combined, then transfer to a floured surface.
5.  Knead the dough until it no longer falls apart.  Roll out, fold it up and roll it out again.  Freeze for 5 minutes.
6. Remove the dough from the freezer and roll out into a rectangle (about 8×14)
7. Lay out the raspberries (if using), leaving 2ins. of empty space on one longer edge.
8. Starting from the longer end with more raspberries roll the dough into a jelly roll.  If you’re not using raspberries, just roll it up. 
9. Cut the roll in half, then cut each half in half.  Then cut the 4 squares diagonally to make triangles.
10. Bake on an ungreased baking sheet for 18 minutes, or until tops are lightly golden.

To reheat, warm in an oven at 375° for 8-10 minutes.
Dough can be made ONE night ahead, and refrigerated.

Happy Valentine’s Day!
xxxG

Fried rice with quinoa and snow peas

Whenever my mom used to order chinese food for dinner, I would always be the last one to finish.  I’m a slow eater, but also a picky eater, literally.  I used to pick out everything in the fried rice and only eat the rice!  I grew out of this about a year ago, but, still, there’s nothing like a spoonful of RICE.
After recently meeting a vegan, I began to wonder what I would cook if I married a vegan. I know, I’m a little crazy for entertaining the idea, but I did.  I started researching other foods we can get protein from and quinoa came up on the list.  My friend Sam told me about it a while ago, but I just bought it last week after considering the future I may have as part vegan. Regardless of whether I will one day be vegan or not, quinoa will stay in my diet because it is healthy and it is amazing!
Here is a quick and simple recipe for you to enjoy.

Ingredients:
1/2 cup of uncooked rice
3/4 cups water
1/2 small onion, diced
1 T oil
1/2 tsp rice vinega
1/2 quinoa 
1 cup water
handful of snow peas
2-4 T soy sauce
1/2 t sesame oil
canola oil

step 1- put water, rice, onion and oil in a rice cooker or pot and cook until fluffy

step 2- while the rice is cooking, put the quinoa and water in a pot and simmer until translucent (about 8-10 minutes).  i did not cook the quinoa all the way because it will cook more with the rice and snow peas.

step 3- clean the snow peas and add to a wok or skillet with soy sauce and canola oil. Cook for a minute or 2 then add the quinoa and rice. stir and cook for another few minutes.

mmm mmm!  enjoy your rice (and quinoa)!

xx g

Tomato Florentine Soup

Sorry for the long hiatus!  This past week my beautiful sister, Melanie, got married to the love of her life, in Aruba!  Then Thanksgiving break came, so I’ve been in vacation mode for a while. But I’m back and I’m making things.

I am always looking for new recipes on blogs or Food Gawker and when I find one I like I bookmark it and then forget about it.  But I’m starting to go through them and found this recipe for Tomato Florentine Soup, which I made for dinner tonight.

I’m not very good at throwing things together and making it taste good, so I used this recipe from Good Life Eats and changed a few things around. I omitted the garlic, because I don’t like eating it if there is even a 2% chance of me going out or seeing anyone. I also swapped the penne with some white rice I had left over from the night before.  I also added quinoa, which I finally picked up off the grocery store shelf.  And finally because I’m just me, a little bean, I cut the recipe into a 3rd.

Also, this recipe can easily be adapted to be vegan, simply by omitting the butter and cheese. :)

Either recipe you choose to make this recipe, I’m sure it’ll make you all warm and cozy when you make it this winter!

Ingredients:
1 cup cooked white rice
1/2 T olive oil
1/4 T butter
1/2 large yellow onion diced
1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
1/2 T tomato paste
1/2 T light brown sugar
1-14.5oz can diced tomatoes
1 T flour
1 bay leaf
1 14.5oz can veg. or chicken stock
1/2 pack frozen spinach, thawed and cooked
1/4 cup parmesan cheese 1 T balsamic vinegar 
salt and pepper

Directions:
1. Heat butter and olive oil over medium heat and add the onion.
2. Separate, and keep the juice from the tomatoes, and add the brown sugar, tomato paste, and diced tomatoes.  Cook until the tomatoes start to dry, about 13 minutes
3. While tomatoes are cooking, cook the quinoa in 1 cup boiling water for about 10-12 minutes.
4. Stir the flour into the tomatoes, then add the tomato juice and bay leaf.
5. Add the quinoa and the can of broth and stir.  Bring to a boil, then simmer for 10 minutes.
6. Turn off heat, remove bay leaf and add rice, spinach, cheese and balsamic vinegar. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve and enjoy with warmed french baguette.