main (303) dessert (180) soup (87) sides (65) starter (62) salads (35) mixology (25) breakfast (14)

Saturday, March 30

Crack on a Cracker

Active: 15 minutes; Total: 30 minutes plus 6 hours refrigeration; Serves: 8

Saltine crackers, crushed

3 cups

Sugar, granulated

2 tablespoons

Butter, unsalted; room temperature, cubed

½ cup

Cream cheese, whipped, room temperature

12 ounces

Peanut butter, creamy

1 cup

Honey, warmed to liquid state but not hot to touch

½ cup

Cream, heavy whipping

1 cup

Sugar, powdered

2 tablespoons

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. 
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the crackers and sugar. 
  3. Add the butter; knead with your hands until the mixture holds together. 
  4. Press into the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch deep-dish pie pan; chill 15 minutes. 
  5. Bake until lightly browned, about 15 minutes; let cool completely on a wire rack, about 1 hour. 
  6. In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the cream cheese, honey, and peanut butter until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. 
  7. In a separate bowl, use an electric mixer with the whisk attachment to whip the cream until thick and light; add 2 tablespoons powdered sugar, and continue to whip until stiff peaks form. 
  8. Gently fold the whipped cream into the peanut butter mixture. 
  9. Pour into the pie shell, and chill in the refrigerator for 6 hours. 
Note: I’m still deciding if a peanut butter-honey drizzle is needed… Stay tuned!

This is what my brother and I called the gooey mixture of peanut butter and honey that we spread on saltine crackers. Our parents taught us the recipe but we perfected the peanut butter to honey ratio. This pie is my attempt to create the flavor but in a funner form. In a chat with my aunt, it seems the recipe came by way of my mother's side. My grandfather kept bees, and they grew peanuts. Thus the perfect combination was formed.

First attempt: The filling is perfect, but the crust needs more butter, like 1/4 to 1/2 cup.

Tuesday, March 26

The Blue Pig

Active: 30 minutes; Total: 4 hours; Serves: 12

Pork tenderloin

2  1-pound tenderloins

Pepper, freshly ground

2 teaspoon


2 teaspoon +

¼ teaspoon

Garlic powder

4 teaspoons

Blueberries, fresh

1 cup

Garlic; smashed,


4 +

2 teaspoons


7 to 8 sprigs


1 tablespoon

Balsamic vinegar

½ cup

Rice, rinsed

1 cup


1 ½ cup

Butterfly-pea flowers

6 blossoms

Lemongrass purée

1 tablespoon

Pansy, fresh picked


The Blue Pig:
  1. Pat the tenderloin dry with paper towels.
  2. Combine the pepper, 2-teaspoons salt, and garlic powder in a small bowl; rub the mixture all over the tenderloin.
  3. Using a sous vide, preheat the water to 145°F; place each tenderloin in a separate foodsaver bag with two smashed garlic cloves and several thyme sprigs, seal, then cook them both for 3 to 4 hours. Let rest 15 minutes, then brown on all sides in a skillet over medium-high heat with oil.
  4. Using an oven, preheat to 375°F; line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place the tenderloin on the baking sheet, and onto the center rack of the oven; bake for 20 to 30 minutes, until an internal thermometer reads 140°F to 150°F; rest for 15 minutes before cutting. 
Blueberry balsamic sauce: 
  1. Combine the blueberries, garlic, honey in a small saucepan over medium heat. 
  2. Mash the berries with the back of a wooden spoon to release the juices. 
  3. Simmer 3 to 4 minutes, until the berries are softened. 
  4. Add the balsamic vinegar, and simmer for an additional 10 to 15 minutes, or until the mixture is reduced and thickened. 
Blue rice: 
  1. Beat the lemongrass stalk with a mallet, then tied it in an overhand knot. 
  2. Place the rice, lemongrass, and butterfly-pea flowers in a small pot, add the water; bring to a boil, cover, and cook for 20 minutes. 
  3. Let the rice rest for 15 minutes, fluff with a fork, and remove the lemongrass. 
Gussying up the pig:
  1. Shape the rice onto a large serving platter with a crater in the center for the tenderloin. 
  2. Slice the tenderloin into ¾- to 1-inch slices, and arrange in the center of the rice. 
  3. Drizzle some of the blueberry balsamic sauce over the tenderloin, and serve the remaining with the dish. 
  4. Garnish with flowers, and serve! 
Note: This is a work-in-progress for an upcoming color-themed dinner party. First attempt had the flavors but lacked the textures; might have been the meat thickness. Also, tried to dye the tenderloin in the sous vide by adding butterfly-pea flowers but was unsuccessful; it was a speckled sow. The sauce is addictive. Lastly, the forget-me-not flowers lacked any plate appeal as garnish. Second attempt: we baked one and used the sous vide on another tenderloin. I thought the baked was overcooked and was bland, and the sous vide was juicy and flavorful; however, James thought the baked was what his tastebuds expects, and suspects the sous vide version was undercooked. Non-jasmine rice worked better, and beware of overcooking the sauce.

Recipe from me having to figure out a “blue” dish for a color-themed dinner party.

Thursday, August 24

Triple strawberry shortcakes

Active: 1 hour; Total: 2 hours; Serves: 6

Flour, all-purpose

2 cups

Strawberries, freeze-dried 

½ cup +
¼ cup

Sugar, granulated

¼ cup +
¼ cup +

Baking powder

1 tablespoon

Salt, kosher

½ teaspoon

Butter, unsalted, cold, cut into small pieces

6 tablespoons

Cream, heavy

¾ cup +
1 cup


1 large

Strawberries, hulled and halved or quartered

1 ¾ pounds

Lemon juice

½ lemon

Sugar, confectioners’

¼ cup

Vanilla extract

1 teaspoon

  1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. 
  2. Pulse the flour, ½-cup freeze-dried strawberries, ¼-cup granulated sugar, baking powder, and salt in a food processor until the strawberries are crushed. 
  3. Add the butter, and pulse until it is pea-sized pieces. 
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together ¾-cup cream and an egg. 
  5. Pulsing constantly, drizzle the cream mixture into the flour mixture; pulse into the dough comes together. 
  6. Transfer to a medium bowl, and kneed three or four times. 
  7. Scoop six balls of the dough (about ½ cup each) onto the baking sheet using a large ice cream scoop or a measuring cup, spacing the dough 2 to 3 inches apart. 
  8. Refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes. 
  9. Preheat the oven to 400°F. 
  10. Lightly brush each ball of dough with cream, and sprinkle with granulated sugar. 
  11. Bake until golden and a toothpick inserted into the centers comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes. 
  12. Let cool 10 minutes on the baking sheet, then transfer the shortcakes to a rack to cool completely. 
  13. Meanwhile, puree 2-cups strawberries in a blender until smooth (you should have about 1 cup puree). 
  14. Toss the remaining 4-cups strawberries with ½-cup strawberry sauce, ¼-cup granulated sugar, and lemon juice; cover and refrigerate until ready to use. 
  15. Crush or finely chop ¼-cup freeze-dried strawberries until powdery; transfer to a large bowl and add 1-cup cream and ¼-cup confectioners’ sugar. 
  16. Beat with a mixer on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form. 
  17. Add the vanilla, and beat until combined. 
  18. Gently fold in the remaining ½-cup strawberry sauce; refrigerate until ready to use. 
  19. Split each shortcake and fill with the strawberry mixture and strawberry whipped cream. 
Recipe from Food Network Magazine.

Chicken, zucchini & corn enchiladas

Active: 25 minutes; Total: 55 minutes; Serves: 8

Tomatoes, crushed

28 ounces

Onions, white, diced; divided

2 large


2 cloves

Chile pepper, dried, chipotle or ancho


Chili powder

1 ½ tablespoons

Oregano, dried (preferably Mexican)

1 ½ tablespoons

Cumin, ground

1 ½ teaspoons


½ teaspoon

Tortillas, corn


Zucchini, diced

2 cups

Corn kernels

2 cups

Cheese, cheddar, shredded

2 cups

Chicken, rotisserie 

2 cups

  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F. 
  2. Combine the tomatoes, 1-cup onions, garlic, chile, chili powder, oregano, cumin, and salt in a blender; puree until smooth, about 1 minute. 
  3. Spread ½-cup sauce in a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. 
  4. Layer four tortillas over the sauce. 
  5. Top with ½-cup zucchini, ½-cup corn, ½-cup cheese, ½-cup chicken, and ¼-cup onion; repeat the layers twice. 
  6. Top with the remaining tortillas, zucchini, corn, chicken, and onions. 
  7. Spread the remaining sauce on top. 
  8. Coat a large piece of foil with cooking spray, and cover the baking dish tightly; bake the enchiladas for 10 minutes. 
  9. Remove the foil, and sprinkle the remaining ½-cup cheese. 
  10. Continue baking until the cheese is melted and the edges are staring to brown, 15 to 20 minutes longer. 
Recipe from Eating Well

Sunday, May 21

Best banana bread

Active: 20 minutes; Total: 1 hour 30 minutes; Serves: 8 to 10

Butter, unsalted, melted

½ cup

Pecans, toasted, chopped

1 cup

Flour, all-purpose

1 ¾ cup

Sugar, granulated

½ cup

Baking soda

1 teaspoon

Cinnamon, ground

1 teaspoon

Salt, fine

½ teaspoon

Nutmeg, freshly grated

¼ teaspoon

Eggs, lightly beaten

2 large

Buttermilk, sour cream, or yogurt

½ cup

Sugar, brown

½ cup

Vanilla extract

1 teaspoon

Bananas, mashed

1 ½ cups

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F; lightly butter a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan. 
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the pecans, flour, granulated sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg. 
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, brown sugar, and vanilla; stir in the bananas. 
  4. Fold the banana mixture into the flour mixture until just combined. 
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, and lightly tap the pan on the counter to evenly distribute the batter. 
  6. Bake until browned and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 1 hour. 
  7. Let the bread cool for 10 minutes in the pan on a rack, then turn out onto the rack to cool completely. 
Recipe from Food Network.