Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes with Ham

Hello from my Pandemic Pantry 👋  I know that on an average day in a normal world we all do our best to “eat right.” We try to include more fresh fruits and vegetables in our diet, consume less (or no) meat, decrease our carbs, and eat more whole grains.  But these days are not average days, the world is far from normal, and we all just want to eat something comforting. Besides, finding fresh anything can be challenging right now, and when is the last time you felt comforted by a bowl of farro? By now most of us have given up on even pretending to live a low carb lifestyle. Carbs have not only crept back into our lives, we have embraced them with the enthusiasm of greeting a long lost friend. For instance, here is my old chum the potato 🥔  Not a fancy guy, he’s kinda drab and earthy looking, but take the time (now that you have so much of it) to really look deep inside and get to know his fluffy and  tender heart. Then layer that  fluffy tenderness with cream, and cheese, and butter, and throw some ham and onions on it… okay, you get it. Right now, I just need a little comfort.  Is that so much to ask?  (Read more… )

Peanut Butter-Chocolate Rice Krispie Treats

Life can be… stressful, right? And while I normally wouldn’t advocate eating your feelings, now seems like a good time to break that rule. The world, in the words of The Fresh Prince, “got flipped-turned upside down” recently, and these Peanut Butter-Chocolate Rice Krispie Treats are here to fill a social-distancing sized hole in your diet.  (Read more…)

Cinnamon-Cardamom Mini Donut Muffins

It seems weird posting a recipe in the middle of a Global Pandemic, but, like a lot of you, I’m kind of at a loss for what to do with myself right now. As I write this, The Boy is working his sixth shift in eight days in the Emergency Department. Luckily for most of us, our only responsibility throughout all of this is to stay home and help slow the spread through isolation. There’s not much else I can do for him or the rest of his coworkers, but I realized that there’s one thing I can do: Bake. So, I’ve been making treats and sending them into the Emergency Department with him. It’s not going to save lives, but it’s going to do a small part in saving me from boredom, and maybe put a smile on a few hard working faces. Maybe you’re bored, scared, mad, lonely… maybe you can bake yourself some happy too  (Read more… )

Peanut Butter Stuffed Brownies

Where’s the peanut butter? Is there peanut butter? Can I have peanut butter? We’re out of peanut butter? If you hear any (or all) of these questions with any frequency at all, I’m here for you.  For the past few weeks, I’ve been embarking on my own little Brownie Journey, and at every crossroad I have heard one of those questions from The Boy.  He suffers from a little known nutritional malady known as Peanut Butter Insufficiency. If you, or anyone you know, suffers from this condition, I’m here for you. I have taken my Classic Fudge Brownies, and stuffed them with peanut butter filling. Edge to edge peanut butter. In the interest of science. I hope this helps you, or your loved ones, through troubled times.  Eat responsibly. (Read more…)

Salted Caramel Brownies


So, last week I introduced you to what I believe to be the BEST Classic Fudge Brownies. Mostly fudgy, a tiny bit cakey, double-chocolate Nirvana ⛅️ So, I’m done right? Dust off my hands, hang up my apron, I made the best brownies, I’m outta here! But wait. There’s more. Let’s put stuff INSIDE and ON TOP of the best brownies ever seen in my lifetime! I know! Let’s fill it with chunks of salted caramel candies (that we make ourselves because we’re amazing), top it with EVEN MORE caramels, sprinkle on some flaky salt, and bake it until molten lakes of salty caramel lava form inside and out! Sounds like a good time.  Got an hour? Let’s go!  (Read more…)

 

Classic Fudge Brownies

I feel like anyone who likes to bake even a little bit needs a good classic brownie recipe that they can rely on. A reliable, easy to whip up, delicious recipe with no bells or whistles, just great chocolately flavor in a soft fudgy brownie.  I mean, look how many brownie variations are out there on the Interweb.  You can add almost anything to a brownie and make it taste great!  BUT you need a good foundation.  A no fail, delicious, great all by itself, or maybe with some ice cream, brownie recipe.  This is mine.  I mess with it a bit in future recipes, but this brownie is a winner all on its own 🏆  (Read more…)

Braised Korean Short Ribs

There’s something about slow braised beef ribs that gets my mouth watering just thinking about them.  And smelling them cook? Oh no.  I can’t get anything else done until I eat them.  Short ribs that have been cooked low and slow, that literally fall off the bone and keep falling apart as you eat them make me crazy. 😜 When I was a kid, I remember my Mom cooking short ribs like this on the stove, simmering them for hours in a sauce similar to galbi (grilled Korean short ribs) or bulgogi (grilled sliced beef.) The long cooking time gave everything a deep, intoxicating flavor and aroma and, when you finally got to eat them, the meat fell apart with a mere glance.  It’s similar in some ways to the Galbi Jjim recipe I posted earlier on the blog, but has a sweet and savory taste all its own. I’ve received more messages and comments asking for this recipe than any other dish I’ve ever posted on my Instagram account (second only to my chocolate cake.)  The recipe is so popular that Hmart recently asked me to do a video demo for their website. So… these ribs are kind of a big deal. 😉

Give this recipe a try and you’ll remember your own Korean mom’s cooking… even if you’re not Korean  (Read more…)

 

Super Soft Frosted Sugar Cookie Bars

My youngest daughter has  always had a weakness for those brightly frosted, festively sprinkled sugar cookies that they sell at the mega market. You know the ones. There they are, right up at the front of the store, all puffy and fluffy, the frosting and sprinkles reflecting the theme of an upcoming holiday.  I almost bought some for her recently and I stopped myself.  I’m a baker.  Surely I can recreate a sugar cookie! But I’m also inherently lazy.  I mean, I’m always moving, but I don’t want to do more than necessary to get a job done (work smarter, not harder.) I didn’t want to make a dough that had to be chilled, rolled out, and cut out… ugh 😩 so much to do before cookie eating time. So, I took the idea of a frosted sugar cookie and turned it into Super Soft Frosted Sugar Cookie Bars!  Less work, no need to chill or roll or cut, just press the dough into a pan and bake to deliciousness! (Read more…)

Cranberry-Blood Orange Scones

Raise your hand if you’ve ever had a dry scone 🙋🏻‍♀️ Raise your hand if you’ve ever had a stale scone Well that ends now.  I’ve made literally thousands of scones in my career. For quite a while I was a baker at a local pastry shop here on the Jersey Shore, and part of my job was making dozens and dozens of scones oh so very early in the morning.  Before that, I worked in a small gourmet market, where I spent most of my day making scones.  But…  I was always making someone else’s scones.  They were delicious, but they weren’t what I personally wanted in a scone, and isn’t that what baking is all about?  Making something you love and hoping others will love it too? Well, I’ve thought about all the things that I loved about every scone I’ve ever made for anyone else, and used that to help me create a scone that I would want to eat every day. I wanted a scone that had some nice structure to it, but didn’t crumble with a mere glance in its direction. I also wanted it to have a just-right crispy exterior with a fluffy and light interior. I wanted as close to scone perfection as I could get without needing a passport.  Guess what?  I think I did it. You be the judge  (Read more…)

Chocolate Espresso Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again and again: A cupcake is the perfect food.  It’s compact, portable, portion controlled by design, and, in a pinch, it’s breakfast!  I mean, it has wheat AND dairy, just like a bowl of cereal!  You’re welcome 😉  And here, I’m adding a legume topping: Peanut butter frosting!   Get on board with my new food pyramid.  The view is great from the top! (Read more…)