Wednesday, March 31, 2010


i wish i had found these links before i started my garden last weekend!
straight from the farm has a great food blog (which i haven't checked in a while) and has these tips for gardening from scratch.

image from straight from the farm

and i saw this book on amazon the other day,

image from you grow girl
and by chance i came across her website today!  
so while a week late, i guess they are still helpful moving forward.

Monday, March 29, 2010


we decided this weekend to take a shot at serious gardening.
last year we did planter boxes on the balcony with herbs... i tried basil (twice), thyme, mint, sage and cilantro.  only the mint, thyme and sage survived.  i don't know if it has to do with the fact we used started plants or just poor gardening on my part, but this go around we are starting with mostly seeds.
on friday while jason was getting his hair cut i stopped in at a little shop, the copper vine and found they had started arugula plants.  i bought two and had them re-pot them in a bigger pot.

the owner there is really nice and even gave me a discount on the pot because it didn't have a matching  plate for it.
after picking that up on friday i was in the gardening mood and on saturday we found out i could use 2 of the 3 planter boxes our neighbor built outside.  we headed to the store to see what seeds we could find and came away with wild flowers and lavender for the first box nearest the street (in case any dog's wanted to pee at least it wasn't something edible) and for the 2nd box we picked up butter lettuce, spinach and arugula seeds.  we also found starter broccoli and grabbed three of those to plant in another planter.  i also got a rosemary starter and seeds of basil and italian parsley to try and regrow on the balcony.

hopefully in a week or so we'll see things starting to grow... and in a few weeks have actual salads and herbs from our garden!

Monday, March 22, 2010

raisin pecan oatmeal cookies

i love watching the food network on the weekends... well i should clarify and say i love the one hour of giada at home and the barefoot contessa back to back.  both their shows always make me so hungry and craving at least one of the things they made.  this weekend it was ina garten's raisin pecan oatmeal cookies.  these were some of the best cookies i've made in a while. 
as i told jason, pretty delicious.
raisin pecan oatmeal cookies
adapted from the barefoot contessa

nocoup1 1/2 cups pecans
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup dark brown sugar, lightly packed
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups old-fashioned oatmeal 
1 1/2 cups raisins

preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
place the pecans on a sheet pan and bake for 5 minutes, until crisp. set aside to cool. chop very coarsely.
in a large bowl using an electric mixer, beat the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar together on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. with the mixer on low, add the eggs, one at a time, and the vanilla.
sift the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt together into a medium bowl. with the mixer on low, slowly add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture. add the oats, raisins, and pecans and mix just until combined.
using a small ice-cream scoop or a tablespoon, drop 2-inch mounds of dough onto sheet pans lined with parchment paper. flatten slightly with a damp hand. bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until lightly browned. transfer the cookies to a baking rack and cool completely.
makes 30-35 cookies.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

happy hump st. patty's day

A bunch of us in the office were ready to order some cupcakes from Trophy for St. Patrick's day delivery, but I decided we'd save our money (for beers) and I'd make my own Chocolate Guinness Cupcakes with Baileys Buttercream frosting.

I researched a bunch of recipes online and chose this cupcake one from and the frosting from Smitten Kitchen.  While Smitten Kitchen had a cupcake recipe of their own, I read a good review about Dave Lieberman's recipe so I thought I'd give him a try.

Chocolate Guinness Cupcakes

1 (12-ounce) bottle Guinness stout, at room temperature
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup melted unsalted butter
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
3 large eggs
3/4 cup sour cream
1 cup unsweetened cocoa
2 cups sugar
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

Preheat the oven to 350°F.   Butter or line 24 cupcake tins.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the Guinness, milk, butter, and vanilla. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Mix in the sour cream.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the cocoa, sugar, flour, and baking soda. Gradually mix the dry ingredients into the wet Guinness mixture.
Divide the batter among the muffin tins.
Bake 15-20 minutes, until risen and set in the middle but still soft and tender. Cool before turning out of the tins.

Baileys Buttercream Frosting 
adapted from Smitten Kitchen

3 - 4 cups confections sugar
1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 - 4 tablespoons Baileys (a mini bottle of Baileys from the liquor store is the perfect amount)

Whip the butter in the bowl of an electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, for several minutes. You want to get it very light and fluffy. Slowly add the powdered sugar, a few tablespoons at a time.
When the frosting looks thick enough to spread, drizzle in the Baileys and whip it until combined. If this has made the frosting too thin (it shouldn’t, but just in case) beat in another spoonful or two of powdered sugar.

(I was feeling a bit lazy and after all the dog drama for the day I didn't take good pictures, so these are from my iphone)