Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Sour Cream Coffee Cake

 Can you tell I've been eating my feelings lately? Don't worry, this was actually made for a get-together for Nick's work. It wasn't until Sunday morning that he realized we should probably bring something and the event was that afternoon. Luckily, this is made with things that are almost always on hand.
    I can be tricky to check the 'doneness' of a bunt cake unless you have super long toothpicks. Or uncooked spaghetti noodles. These work well...unless you accidentally let it snap inside and later your husband thinks he is eating a fingernail. Otherwise, it works really well. {This happened maybe 4 years ago, and I've since perfected the spaghetti technique.}
  Another cooking mishap happened a few years ago when I made this for a breakfast at work- only to find out that one of the cupboard corner cushions had somehow fallen into the batter and found it's way into the gym teacher's mouth. 

In conclusion: delicious with or without hidden goodies inside.
Lest you think I am completely careless, these are the worst things that have happened in the kitchen... that I'm aware of :)


1 generous cup brown sugar
1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 generous cup finely chopped walnuts
1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

3 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2 tsp. vanilla extract
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cup sour cream

1 cup powdered sugar
3-4 Tbsp. milk
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease and flour bunt pan. In a medium bowl, use a pastry blender to combine filling ingredients until crumbly. Set aside.

2. In a medium bowl whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. In a large bowl, cream together sugar and butter. Add eggs and vanilla and continue to beat on medium speed for 2 minutes. Alternate adding flour mixture (approx. 1 cup) and sour cream (1/3 cup) to the sugar mixture- at a time, beating on low speed until combined. Repeat two additional times.

3. Pour 1/3 of batter into the prepared pan and layer with 1/3 of filling. Repeat with additional layers. 

4. Bake for 1 hour- until toothpick in center comes out clean. Cool in pan for 10 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and cool an additional 20 minutes. Prepare glaze and drizzle over coffee cake. Serve warm or room temperature.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Crumb layer

 Since deciding to and then actually going to Italy, we haven't been doing much in the way of gifts. 
Christmas? "Italy"
Valentine's Day? "Italy"
Easter? "Italy" 
Mother's Day? "Italy" 
Anniversary? "Italy" 
So when it came to Father's Day the answer was easy.

I did ask Nick what dessert he'd like and carrot cake was his choice. Good choice.
I think probably a lot of people know how to properly frost a cake so it doesn't get crumbs all over. Judging by this, I clearly didn't.

Here is a little something that seemed to be the ticket...
make a 'crumb coat' or crumb layer: ensure cake is entirely cooled, brush off any crumbs, take a bit of the frosting (like a 1/3 or 1/4 of it) and dilute it with water or milk (I used milk), apply all over cake so it appears to be glazed, and allow to cool/harden a bit in the fridge (30 min or so)
apply the remainder of frosting, lick remaining frosting from the dish.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Cheese Tortellini with Pepper and Almond Sauce

adapted from Quick Food

{re-post} This is a great meal that can be almost entirely made ahead of time. I made the 'pesto' earlier in the day, then when it was time to cook the pasta all I had to do was add the pesto. I bet the pesto would freeze well, too.


1 red pepper
1 yellow pepper
2/3 cup sliced almonds
8 scallions
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 lb. cheese tortellini
1/4-1/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup finely grated Pecorino cheese


1. Cute the peppers into large pieces, removing the seeds and membrane. Place, skin-side up, under a preheated broiler until the skin blackens and blisters. Cool in a plastic bag, then peel away the skin.

2. Spread the almonds on a cookie sheet and toast 1-2 minutes in oven, until lightly toasted.

3. Cook the pasta in a large saucepan of boiling water until al dente. Meanwhile, roughly chop the white part of the scallions and slice the green tops, setting the green tops aside for garnish. Put the peppers, almonds, garlic, and white part of scallions in a food processor or blender and pulse until chopped.

4. When pasta is finished, drain and return to saucepan. Toss the pepper mixture through the pasta, then add olive oil and Pecorino. Season to taste. Serve garnished with green scallions.

Serves 4.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


Yep. You've seen this beauty before. But I made it while I was in Denver and my mom & Greg loved it as much as we did. I even shared a little with Siena...and that's a big deal.

Honey Lime Enchiladas

adapted from many-a-cooking blog, originally from The Sisters Cafe

Weird. I just noticed that I posted this June 25, 2010- almost exactly a year ago. Well, after a year of eating this many times I think I've found my favorite way to prepare it. Adding black beans and fresh chopped spinach as well as omitting the cream make these a little bit healthier and even more tasty.


4-5 Tbsp. honey
juice from 2 small or 1 large lime (approx 5 Tbsp.)
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. chili powder
1 lb. chicken breast, cooked and shredded (approx. 2 large chicken breasts)
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
fresh baby spinach, to taste (I do maybe 3-4 oz?)
12 8-inch whole wheat or flour tortillas
Monterrey Jack cheese, shredded (or Mexican blend)
14 oz. green enchilada sauce (I'm partial to Hatch enchilada sauce)
1/4 cup heavy cream or half and half (*can omit entirely)


1. Mix the honey, lime juice, garlic powder, and chili powder in a small bowl. Add the shredded chicken and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 1/2 hour, but up to several hours.

2.  Take spinach leaves, stack several, roll up and chop. Repeat as needed until all spinach is chopped.

3. Pour 1/2 cup enchilada sauce on the bottom of a 9x13 baking pan. Fill tortillas with chicken & bean mixture, spinach, and shredded cheese (saving enough cheese to sprinkle on top) and roll tightly. Mix the remaining enchilada sauce with the cream and leftover marinade. Pour on top of the enchiladas and sprinkle with cheese. *Last time I didn't use any cream and I didn't miss it at all. Promise.

3. Bake in preheated oven at 350 F for 20-30 minutes, until brown and crispy on top.

Serves 4-6.