Italian Frittata

Frittatas are one of the most deceptive weapons I have in my culinary arsenal. They look super fancy and never fail to impress, but no one needs to know that they can be easily made from almost anything you have in your pantry. A kind of ‘Choose your own adventure” – with eggs! You can take almost any savory flavor combination and frittata-cize it, like the frittata I based on my favorite bagel combination. This morning I decided to riff off of a frittata I used to make when I worked in a pastry shop: an Italian frittata with Italian sausage, sautéed veggies, and double the cheese for double the flavor (Read more… )

Peanut Butter Rice Krispie Cookies

Who would’ve guessed that a pandemic could inspire so much creativity in the kitchen? Every Saturday, I send The Boy off to work in the emergency room with a treat for the staff. I want to make them something to thank them for all their hard work, but sometimes I just can’t think of what to make. Other times, I just really don’t want to enter the chaos that is my local Mega Market. Luckily, a lack of creative drive and no desire to mask up and venture the Mega Market aisles can sometimes pay off. This was definitely one of those times! My Peanut Butter Rice Krispie Cookie is what some might call a “kitchen sink” cookie: I took what was left at the bottom of a box of Rice Krispies, the last of The Boy’s peanut butter stash (don’t worry hon, it has since been replenished), and half a bag of chocolate chips to make an amazing, crave-worthy cookie. This cookie is so good that The Boy “complained” they everyone at work is bugging him for the recipe.  (Hot tip: The Boy is the last person I’d ask for a recipe. That’s why I’m here.) (Read more…)

Chicken Chilaquiles Verdes

I grew up in San Antonio, Texas and lived for many years in San Diego and I never once came across the common Mexican breakfast of chilaquiles. How did that (not) happen? The first time I had ever even heard of the dish was when I was watching The Best Thing I Ever Ate on Cooking Channel. Marcella Vallodolid described chilaquiles she ate at Talavera Azul in Chula Vista, Ca (a town where where I once lived) and I was obsessed. Tortilla chips for breakfast? Tortilla chips bathed in a zingy tomatillo salsa with chicken and cheese? Tortilla chips FOR BREAKFAST?! So obsessed was I, that most of a vacation that The Boy and I recently took to San Diego centered around going to the same restaurant and eating the same chilaquiles as Marcella. True story.

Today, The Boy and I are 2,807 miles away from the Chicken Chilaquiles Verdes of our (my) dreams and I have no choice but to recreate them. The recipe is easier than you’d think and can be on the table in 60 minutes, start to finish. Let’s do this!  (Read more… )

Black Pepper Caramel No-Churn Ice Cream

Hi 👋 It’s been a while, huh? I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but the world (and America in particular) has been in a lot of turmoil recently. I don’t see it letting up soon, and there are many reasons why that’s both a good and a bad thing, so… Here we are. I try to stay away from intense topics in this blog, but I just want to let you know that I’ve been spending a lot of my time in the past month educating and examining myself, and how I relate to and interact with others. I thought that I needed to take time off from blogging, and most social media, to do that properly. That being said, preparing food and sharing food, with my loved ones and with you, is my primary way of relieving stress. And… there’s been some stress, you know? I figured if I need some stress-relief, then you probably do as well. I recently eased back into sharing pictures of the food I’ve been preparing on Instagram, and I’ve received a lot of DMs asking me for the recipes of the things I’ve posted. I want to thank all of you for your patience, and I’d like to reward you with the most-requested recipe from this last month: My delicious Black Pepper Caramel No-Churn Ice Cream! I mean, I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream, right? (While we all scream for ice cream, we can also all scream that Black lives matter while we’re at it. Right? Right.)

So… Who wants ice cream?  (Read more…)

My Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookie

I have a story for you today. A story about a cookie. No, not a cookie. THE cookie 🍪 Cue the lights. [The lights dim.] Thank you.

Before I even started this recipe, I thought to myself: does the InterWeb really need another chocolate chip cookie recipe? Was I bringing anything new to the table? Was there a unique spin or a new flavor combination that I felt the world needed to hear about? Can a chocolate chip cookie even be perfect? Everyone has different taste and texture preferences, so how can I call one chocolate chip cookie perfect? That’s when it hit me, I didn’t need to figure out what the best chocolate chip cookie in the world was. I just needed to make my perfect chocolate chip cookie. The perfect cookie for me and my tastes. See, here’s the thing: The only chocolate chip cookie experiences I’d had as a child were store-bought, and, no offense to cookie manufacturers, I hated them. They were too hard, too crunchy, and too sugary. Thus, I found a goal for my chocolate chip cookie recipe development: I needed to figure out how to make a chocolate chip cookie that I loved, one that was the exact polar opposite of those store-bought cookies. I wanted a crispy edge, but a chewy middle. One that held together when it went for a swim in milk, but fell apart when I took a bite. Not too sweet and just a little bit salty. So, I got to work. And I did it.

Okay, you can turn the lights up again.

Pardon the dramatics, but this is truly My Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookie. This is a cookie that I absolutely love and I hope this is a recipe that will intrigue you and make you want to bake some for yourself! Because you really should.

Now seriously, you should turn the lights back up. Reading in the dark is bad for your eyes. Besides, you can’t bake cookies in the dark (Read more…)

Cajun Salmon Pasta

I just realized that, since the beginning of the pandemic, I’ve only posted one non-baked good, and it was a big pan of Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes with Ham. That’s crazy! I’m more than baked goods! I am also all the other carbs!  Like this recipe for Cajun Salmon Pasta. It starts out sounding healthy (cuz y’know, salmon) and then BAM 💥 PASTA! But let’s be honest for a second, things are whacked out right now. I will worry about my relationship with carbs later. Or not. But, right now, we all just want to eat something that will fill this empty hole where normal life used to be. That’s healthy, right? I think so! Seriously, this is a (generally) healthy meal, with a zip of spice, all those Omega-3 fatty acids everyone is raving about… and some noodles. Doesn’t that sound nice? Yes, yes it does.  (Read more…)

Hero Sandwiches (aka Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies)

Hey. Hi. Hello. Starting Week 9 of the lockdown here in New Jersey and I’m (just) holding it together. I’ve been keeping busy in my usual fashion by finding new dishes to cook every day (I get bored eating the same things), watching Survivor from the very beginning (how cute is baby Amber in Season 2?), and thinking about what to bake for The Boy and his hospital (hero) coworkers on Saturdays (also low-key fearful of the revolt if I stopped doing it now 😳). I had a few ideas rolling around in my noggin this week, but at the last minute I pivoted to these Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies. I mean, what‘s better than two crunchy peanut butter cookies hugging a fluffy peanut butter filling? Right. Decision made.

The Boy experienced a little separation anxiety as he watched all of these beautiful cookies get packed up this morning, but after I gave him a calm down cookie and showed him his private home stash he was good to go. So, listen. If you have any spare time, and someone you know needs a calm down cookie, I highly recommend making a few dozen for yourself them. (Read more…)

(p.s. but hey, let’s not just call them heroes, let’s pay them like heroes, yeah?)

Birthday Cake Cookies

In these unprecedented times, we are being constantly bombarded with gentle-voiced reminders of how unprecedented the times truly are. I mean, could times be any more “challenging,” “trying,” or uncertain?” Are we doing enough to “stay connected” despite the “distance between us” as we “stay at home?” The incessant reminders that {insert-car-company-here} is now in the “people business” and are “here for you” is enough to make anyone want to disconnect. Well, guess what? I’m “here for you” too, with a recipe that you can eat “all alone,” and “all by yourself.” Remember the perfectly sized  Confetti Snack Cake we made a few weeks ago? It was just enough Un-Birthday cake for two or three people to enjoy? I have a faster, easier, just as delicious alternative, for when you really, really (really) need some time (and cookies) to yourself. My Birthday Cake Cookies have all the fun and flavor of my confetti cake, in a portable, hoardable, pocket size. Trust me, there’s nothing “challenging,” “trying,” or “uncertain” about these cookies.  (Read more… )

Peanut Butter Blondies

And now, a very special episode of Cook Sleep Read:

A good friend recently told me that baking is one of the few things that really gives her some measure of stress relief lately. Following a recipe exactly and creating something delicious gives her days a little more structure; something a lot of us are missing now, what with the whole global pandemic thing. Then she told me that she was considering not baking anymore because there were just too many sweet treats and loaves of bread in her house for her and her husband to consume on their own. But studies have shown that exercising your creative side in some way can help people feel more relaxed and happy in times of stress, so, especially now, it’s important to find a way to keep doing the creative stuff you enjoy. I suggested she might share them with neighbors, pack them up and deliver them to a local hospital, or even freeze them for later, more-structured days, when she has less time to indulge in the baking arts. For me, I’m giving my family some reprieve from my ever-growing mountain of sweets by baking up something yummy and packing it for The Boy to take to work with him in the Emergency Room every weekend. I even package up any extras and leave them at our neighbor’s door for a surprise treat. Sharing home-baked goods is my solution to all the stress of life today. Being in control of something, when we have so little control of so much, is no small thing. So bake someone happy, especially if that someone is yourself!  (Read more… )

Confetti Snack Cake

I know that, coming from me, two posts in one week is kind of crazy… but I had to share the big news! I have finally discovered the secret to emotionally surviving the current quarantine: Birthday Cake! In particular, a sprinkle-filled, cream-cheese-frosting-covered Confetti Snack Cake. Before you ask, no, it does not have to be the birthday of anyone you know. I thought very long and hard about this and have come to the conclusion that it is someone’s birthday, somewhere, every day. And if you make them a cake, light them a candle, and eat some cake in their honor, you will be at least 45% happier. And they, wherever they are, will also be at least 45% happier, without even knowing why. 75% happier if you have some strawberry ice cream on the side. I say this with all the confidence of someone who just ate the last piece of cake.  (Read more… )