A Veggie St. Patrick’s Day Feast

I’m going to avoid the obligatory apology for not posting in quite some time, and instead just dive into the lovely St. Patrick’s Day feast that we enjoyed this year.

Every Friday afternoon, I get a text message from the Humane Society, promoting their weekly Meatless Monday recipe. As mouth-watering as they always sound and look, I’ve never actually sat down and made one. But with this week’s recipe for Corned Beefless Brisket and Cabbage, celebrating everyone’s favorite drunken holiday, I knew I was in.

Vegan Corned Beef and Cabbage Feast

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Breakfast Lasagna 2.0

In my first venture into Breakfast Lasagna, I knew there were a few things that I needed to tweak. It was good, but it wasn’t quite what I had envisioned. But I knew what I had to do: throw some cheese on it.

And I did just that. Taking complete health-consciousness out of the picture for a moment was key. Instead of my usual dance around “how can I cut the fat” or “well that’s lower in sugar” I gave in to my dream and let the food steer me.

And I made this:

Breakfast Lasagna

A slice of Breakfast Lasagna

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Sour Cherry Pie with the Flakiest Gluten-Free Pie Crust Ever!

Once you’ve gotten used to baking with the “normal” ingredients of flours, sugars, milk, eggs, etc., the idea of changing that up can be rather frightening. And I have to admit, I’ve had some pretty big flops in the kitchen in the “non-traditional” baking world.

But, I just can’t quit. I welcome the challenge (not the frustration and shouting that often follows) and know it’s all about trial and error and patience. Yeah, that P-word is not one of my favorites…

But it’s summer, and there are few desserts that shout summer as much as a sour cherry pie.

Gluten-Free Cherry Pie

Gluten-Free Cherry Pie

It was a sad year for these beautiful fruits. My home state of Michigan, the state that grows more sour cherries than anyone else, suffered a huge loss of around 90% of their crop this year. A crazy warm front came in early spring, and then lots of frost followed it, so those baby buds couldn’t even compete. Hey, I’ve heard of this thing called global warming, have you?

Funny story, Michigan was actually somewhat able to survive, due to sour cherries imported from Poland. Rather interesting, but apparently the Polish variety are similar enough that the Michigan fruit production industry could make do.

Back to pie. Gluten free baking is definitely a challenge, or can be for a novice. But if you can set some time aside, as well as a pile of something to throw every now and then, you’ll do just fine. And the end result (even if the cherries are from the NW)? The flakiest, most delicious gluten-free crust ever.  Continue reading

The Case of the Breakfast Lasagna

I was at a friend’s house a couple of weeks ago and somehow on the topic of cooking and eating and drinking (things I like talking about) we stumbled upon something.

What to do with lasagna noodles, when you want to clean out your cupboard? And it hit me like a speeding train: BREAKFAST. LASAGNA.

I mean, think about it, it’s doable, right? You have a carb, you have a sauce, and you have a protein/ veggie filling. It’s gotta work, right?

Well yesterday I embarked on just that, my first venture into breakfast lasagna. It was definitely good, but I have some new ideas for the next one that I might just have to make this weekend. Who’s coming to brunch?

So I bring you: Chris and the Case of the Breakfast Lasagna.Breakfast Lasagna

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Oops, I forgot about you.

Woa, where has the time gone? I’m going to have to stop trying to make excuses as to what life obstacle got in my way and took me away from blogging for so long. A new job. Vacation. Summer sunning. Summer drinking. Sumer cooling. The list could go on.

Instead of pretending that I will be able to finish every saved draft I’ve created and forgotten about. Let’s try killing a few birds with one stone. I present to you my compilation: My Month in the Kitchen (or so). Here are some of the fun things that I’ve been up to over the last couple of months…

Bourbon Brownies

Bourbon Brownies

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Yee-Haw Mother’s Day Brunch

Oatmeal- peanut butter cream filled cookies and orange-chocolate scones

Oatmeal- peanut butter cream filled cookies and orange-chocolate scones

Firstly, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that although it was Mother’s Day (just wait for Georgene’s comment on here shortly…) I in fact did not spend it with mommy dearest. Instead I was in Houston with Gabe’s family, spending the weekend at his godmother’s house.

So of course, I had to find a way to go overboard with brunch — and not without some… hiccups, because it wouldn’t be a day in the kitchen without them, right?

In full disclosure let’s just get the dirty laundry out of the way quickly.

1) Only one oven of the double oven was working. And to make matters more complicated, the one oven that is working is a broiler oven, unbeknownst to me.

2) I made it to the grocery store at 11:30, when they closed at midnight, the night before brunch. We were able to get what we needed, but of course, I was up at 6:30 to go and get a bag-full of items I forgot, oops.

3) Being in a stranger’s kitchen, I had to improvise some kitchen tools, of course, later to find them hiding somewhere.

So problem #1 considered, we went for more of a …. 6-ish hour, spread out “brunch tapas” event. Yeah, that’s what we’re calling it.

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Kale and Feta Pie

I LOVE Kale. And I LOVE Feta cheese. And heck, I’m Greek.

I’ve been making spinach pies for years, but lately, I’ve been substituting kale in the mix. You could use any green, leafy vegetable, but how can you go wrong with kale?

Green Onions in Cast Iron Skillet

Green Onions in Cast Iron Skillet

Spanakopita

The topped off kale-feta pie

  • 2 bunches of kale
  • 1 bunch of green onion
  • 1 package of phyllo dough
  • 1 pound of crumbled feta cheese (feel free to use low fat)
  • 1 egg
  • dried or fresh dill
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • olive oil
  1. Chop kale leaves, stripping them from stems.
  2. Quickly blanch kale in boiling water.
  3. Finely chop green onions and sautee in olive oil.
  4. Add sauteed green onions, kale, feta cheese, dill (to taste) egg, sour cream and feta cheese to bowl.
  5. Mix to incorporate all ingredients.
  6. grease a 9 x 17 baking dish.
  7. Layer 4 pieces of phyllo dough on the bottom of the pan, coating each layer lightly with olive oil.
  8. Pour kale mixture on top of phyllo.
  9. Layer 4 more pieces of phyllo on top of mixture, coat top with oil.
  10. Bake in a 400 degree oven until top is browned, about 40 minutes.

Zosia’s Pierogi


Boiled Pierogi
Of all the cooking that I do, I have a couple of recipes that are staples in the kitchen and really bring me back to my childhood. Growing up in a Polish-American family, pierogi were always one of the dishes that was served along any big event. For Christmas and Easter, they were there, and each year at the church festival, they were also there, golden and crispy on the outside, warm and gooey on the inside.

After my grandmother Zosia(Sophie)’s passing 6 years ago, no one in the family really had an interest in continuing the labor-intensive tradition of pierogi making. And then there was this weird little gay boy who liked getting dirty in the kitchen.

To celebrate my mother, the sheeny herself, coming for a DC visit, I decided to role out the cabbage-lined carpet and create a feast that would please even the frumpiest Stasho at the PLAV.

The centerpiece was a behemoth platter of pierogi. And in full disclosure, I have to confess, that in the heat of the day of cooking, I somehow managed to forget to take photos of much of the end results. Not sure how this happened exactly, but I’ll blame the wine.

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Everything But the Kitchen Sink

For the last month or so, I have embarked on quite the mission: emptying out the pantry. Like every other 20-something old woman, there isn’t much else that brings me as much joy as grocery shopping. Ok, well, there are quite a few other things, but I really like grocery shopping…. but not so much hauling all those groceries home with my little granny cart.

Well to the point here, I have been sorta “stocking up” for something for quite some time. If it’s a 10/$10 sale for canned vegetables, looks like I’m digging through for the salt-free varieties. Buy-one-get-one-free loaves of bread? Guess who’s freezer is full. Cake mix 2/$4 and I have a $2 coupon? Looks like I need to start using Betty Crocker cake mix and stop cooking from scratch so much.

Yeah, I get it, I’m kinda a junky. Well between little bouts of travel, I decided to see how long I could go without having to make a trip to the grocery store (except for small needs here and there.) And let me just say, I’m about at the end here. I know that Gabe is getting a bit sick of my zany concoctions, but at least my end date is Wednesday, and then I’m off to the west coast for a week.

Along with last night’s veggie chili pita pizzas (I know, it was weird) I was wanting something sweet yet healthy-ish so I decided on a vegan cranberry-almond quick bread.

Vegan Cranberry Almond Bread

Vegan Cranberry Almond Bread

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Buttermilk Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Cream Cheese Icing

Chocolate Buttermilk Cream Cheese Cake

Why do I do this to myself? I get going crazy with my posts… and then I fall off the face of the earth for a while… bake some things, eat lots of thing, drown myself in hoppy beer, and then finish full circle right here.

I guess I’ll stop yelling at myself and get to the point. But holy shit, this is one of the best cakes I’ve ever made.

The other day, a good friend was celebrating his birthday. And instead of the presumed bottle of champagne or handle of shit vodka, I decided to step up my game. And what better way to celebrate good friendship than with a cake? I can think of few.

And I had my work cut out for me. When I asked him what type of cake was his favorite, I expected to hear “chocolate” or “vanilla” or heck, maybe even something fancy and gentrification-adoring like “red velvet.” But no, oh no, I was answered with “chocolate mousse or cheesecake.”

What?! Those are hardly cakes in my book! But I. must. make. it. work.

I had lots of cream cheese in the refrigerator (thank you stock up sale) so I knew whatever direction I went, good ol’ Philly would be a part of the finished product. So I searched and searched for some sort of inspiration. It took a while, but then I came upon this and I knew what I was baking.

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