Tuesday, October 20

White Onion Soup


I absolutely love the fall. In Buffalo, I loved it because the leaves changed color and the smell of the air changed. It was cooler outside and we would stay inside as a family, telling stories and laughing.

One of the signs it was really changing season was the smell of onions coming from the kitchen. It was the smell of my father’s french onion soup being cooked.

Now, unlike my father’s recipe and most recipes, I do not use red wine or beef broth. It doesn’t make it less savory, but it does make it slightly sweeter. It’s an amazing fall meal!





White French Onion Soup

Serving Size: 1

1 Yellow Onion, Cut in Half and Sliced in 1/4 Inch Slices

2 Tablespoon Butter

1 Spring of Thyme

2 Sage Leaves

1/4 Cup Chardonnay

2 Cups Chicken Stock

Thick Slice of Crusty Dry Bread or Croutons

Swiss Cheese or Gruyere

Salt and Pepper

Melt butter in a pot over medium heat and add onions. Salt the onions so the liquid in the onions comes out. Stir the onions to make sure they are covered with the melted butter and the salt. Turn to low and cover the pot. Cook really slowly for approximately 20 minutes until they are soft. Add the chardonnay, chicken stock, and herbs to pot. Bring pot up to high and bring to boil. Then lower the pot down to medium and let simmer for about a half hour. In an oven-proof bowl add the croutons or bread and then cover with the soup. Add the cheese on the top of the bowl and put under a broiler for about 5 to 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted and crusty.

Thursday, September 24

A Warm Frozen Treat


A blog is the last thing I thought I would do. It’s not original and I am not the first person to think of it. There are thousands of food blogs. It is about trying to be even more original than the next person and writing it better.


It is the same thing with food. When I look at a recipe the first thing that comes to my mind is how I would change it. One Cook’s Nook recipes are about taking one thing and making it something original.


Last month’s
Bon Appetite had frozen oatmeal cookies. This means you can roll them in a log, cut, and cook as needed (perfect for one). I thought it was a great idea, but I didn’t want oatmeal cookies. I am stuffing sugar cookies.




Stuffed Frozen Sugar Cookies


2/3 Cup Butter, Melted and Cooled

2/4 Cup Sugar

1 1/2 Teaspoon Baking Powder

1/4 Teaspoon Salt

1 Egg

1 Tablespoon Creamer (I used french vanilla)

1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

2 Cups of Flour

1 Tablespoon of Filling (Examples: Blueberry Jam, Strawberry Jam, Cream Cheese, Mascarpone, Nutella, 1 oz Dark Chocolate Square, Peanut Butter, Almond Butter… I can do this all day but I won’t!)


Mix butter, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Make sure the ingredients are mixed really well. Add the egg and the creamer. Slowly add the flour 1/3 cup at a time and just mix until the flour is incorporated. You don’t want to over-mix the cookies. Place batter in the fridge for about 2 hours until it’s easier to mold. Then roll into a log about 2 to 3 inches in diameter. Now you can freeze the cookie dough for about a month.


When you’re ready to bake a cookie, pre-heat the oven to 350
°. Cut off two rounds about 1/4 inch in thickness. You can warm the rounds up in your hands, which will make them easier to mold together. Place your preferred filling in the middle of the cookie dough. Make sure there are no cracks and the filling is about 1/2 inch from the edge. Then place the other cookie round on top and seal them together, making sure there are no cracks. Bake in the oven for about 17-20 minutes, or until the bottom edge begins to brown.

Friday, September 18

Cannelloni Part 2


I am still home sick with extra cannelloni beans from yesterday. So this is my second cannelloni bean recipe.

Chicken Sausage with Broccoli and Cannelloni Beans

1 Sweet Chicken Italian Sausage, sliced in 1/2 rounds

1/2 Cup Broccoli Florets

1/2 Can of Cannelloni Beans, (also called White Kidney Beans)

3-4 Tablespoons Pasta Sauce

2-3 Tablespoons Chicken Stock

2 Tablespoon Shredded Mozzarella

In a medium saucepan over medium heat brown the sausage on both sides. Turn burner down to low and add beans and broccoli. Toss together with pasta sauce and chicken stock. Cover the pan and cook for about 7-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the broccoli softens a bit. Remove from heat and add the mozzarella. Stir together until cheese begins to melt.

One Cold Away


For the last week and a half I have had a cold. It had a horrible cough that kept me up most of the night. It came to a head this morning when I lost my voice completely.

I went to the doctor early this morning to find out I have an ear and throat infection. The doctor told me that my throat was actually very horrible looking. So I received some antibiotics and was sent on my way.

After taking my first dose I decided I was feeling well enough to cook. I wanted a one-pot meal that didn’t take any effort to cook but would give me the important vitamins I needed!


Spinach and Cannelloni Beans

1 Cup Fresh Spinach or 1/2 Cup Frozen Spinach

1 Piece of Bacon, Minced

1 Tablespoon Onion, Minced

1 Tablespoon Butter

1 Roasted Red Pepper, Sliced

1/4 Cup Chicken Stock

1/2 Can Cannelloni Beans (also called Kidney Beans)

Salt and Pepper


In a large saucepan over medium-low heat melt the butter. Add the bacon and onions to butter and sauté for approximately 5 minutes or until the onions are soft. Add red pepper and just toss in pan. If you’re using fresh spinach add the chicken stock first and then fresh spinach. Cover and cook until spinach is just starting to wilt, about 3 to 5 minutes. If using frozen spinach, add both chicken stock and spinach. Cook only until the stock begins to simmer, about 2 minutes. Rinse cannelloni beans and add, toss in pan with salt and pepper. Cook until the stock has reduced by half, about 5 to 10 minutes.

Saturday, August 29

Beat The Heat



The fires have started in Los Angeles. It has become incredibly hot and the smell of smoke outside my window is unbearable. The stove is looking like a punishment.

It’s a challenge to cook without using the stove, while still making a delicious meal. My first idea is to make a salad, but that is too easy. Sandwiches are plain unless you can make a panini, but that uses a griddle.

One of the foods I love is flatbread. It’s a great combination of sandwich, salad, and pizza. You can have many different combinations of vegetables and cheeses. All are delicious!



Heirloom Tomato Flatbread

1 Piece of Flatbread (Naan can be used as well)

1 Ounce Goat Cheese, Room Temperature

2 Tablespoons of Toasted Pine Nuts

1 Heirloom Tomato, Sliced

1 1/2 Cups of Arugula

1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 Tablespoon Honey

1 Tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar

Salt and Pepper

Mix honey, apple cider vinegar, and olive oil in a bowl. Season the dressing with salt and pepper. Toss arugula in dressing and put aside. Spread goat cheese on flatbread. It’s important that the goat cheese is slightly warm so it is easy to spread. Sprinkle pine nuts on goat cheese. Place tomato slices on top of the cheese and nuts. Salt and pepper the tomatoes. Then arrange arugula on top of that.

Tuesday, August 25

Buffalo Options


It has been a busy week for me. My parents came to Los Angeles to visit for the week. When my sister called asking for a special recipe request, I felt my parents were the perfect test subjects.

When I was younger, if I wasn’t baking with my Grandmother, then I was helping my Father make some French/American classics. In high school my parents allowed me to cook dinner on a regular basis. Sometimes it was good and sometimes it wasn’t, but they always smiled. They would help me figure out what I could have changed.

My sisters’ predicament is that she needs to make a dish to take to a picnic, but wants to make it with a Buffalo twist. It’s like for a wedding when they say “something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue.” For this picnic, “something Buffalonian, something room temperature, something delicious”.



Buffalo Chicken Mini Wraps

This recipe can be used as an appetizer or add lettuce and would make a great lunch wrap!

1 Chicken Breast

1 Tablespoon Butter

1-2 Tablespoon Frank’s Red Hot Sauce

1/3 Cup Blue Cheese, crumbled small

1 Tablespoon Low Fat Mayo

1 Tablespoon Low Fat Sour Cream

Pepper

1 Carrot, shredded

1 Celery Stalk, cut thin

Whole Wheat Tortilla

Tooth Picks

Use half tablespoon of butter and melt in pan over medium low heat. Cook the chicken breast and begin to brown. Add the rest of the butter and hot sauce. I used 2 tablespoons, which gives you a pretty hot sauce (medium in Buffalo terms). Cover the chicken breast and cook for another 5 to 10 minutes. Take the chicken out, do not discard sauce in the pan but remove from heat, and let the chicken rest for about 5 minutes. Cut chicken up in to a small shred and toss with the sauce left in the pan.

Mix blue cheese, mayo, sour cream, and pepper together for blue cheese sauce. Set aside.

Take tortilla and begin to cut into small rounds with a cookie cutter. If your making a lunch wrap you can skip this step. Then begin to assemble the chicken, blue cheese, celery, and carrot. Place tooth pick through the wrap to hold it together. Enjoy!



The lunch wrap. Same ingredients just added some lettuce mix.



This is another option to take a celery stalk, fill it with blue cheese, top with shred carrots and Buffalo chicken.



Monday, August 17

Home Cooking


Having a home cooked meal with only one dirty dish seems like something from a TV show. They always mix the ingredients and then put the dirty bowl under their counters. My dirty dishes always seem to laugh at me from the sink reminding me that I hate them.

The easy way of not using a ton of dishes is grilling. Well, I don’t own a grill or even a yard. But it reminds me of my Mom’s garlic potatoes she would cook in foil on the grill. They’re easy enough to cook in an oven if you don’t have a grill like me.

Another good use for the oven is oven fried chicken. Chicken with all the taste and cooking in the same pan as the potatoes.



Oven Fried Chicken

1 Pounded Chicken Breast

1 Tablespoon Worcestershire

1 Tablespoon Dijon Mustard

Salt and Pepper

1/2 Panko Bread Crumbs

Preheat oven to 400°

In a plastic bag mix Worcestershire, Dijon, salt and pepper. Add chicken breast to make sure it covered with the Dijon mixture. Place bread crumbs evenly on a small dish. Take the chicken bread out of the bag trying to keep as much Dijon mixture on it and coat it in the breadcrumbs. Place on a rack over a sheet pan and then prepare the potatoes.



Garlic Oven Roasted Potatoes

1 Cup Baby Yellow Potatoes, sliced (a russet potato would also work)

1 Tablespoon Butter

1 Teaspoon Garlic Salt

Pinch Pepper

In a piece of foil, place potatoes and break up the butter over top. Sprinkle garlic salt and pepper evenly over top. Wrap foil up tightly and place on the rack with the chicken breast. Place in oven and cook for 20-25 minutes.



Saturday, August 15

Cool Summer Nights


Sometimes people wonder why if I love cooking I don’t do it for a living. There are days where I don’t want to cook. Days when a ham sandwich or a fried egg sounds like the best thing to eat. But posting a fried egg seems silly to me.

That’s why the Farmers Market is the best place for ideas. You might buy an ingredient and it looks good, but you’re not exactly sure what to do with it. For me, it’s a challenge cresting a dish I haven’t created before.

Last week I bought some golden cherry tomatoes. They sat in my fridge and every time I went to grab the grapes they looked at me. Challenged me to try to cook them in a new way. Here is my answer to that challenge:


Summer Pasta

1/2 Tablespoon Butter

2 Tablespoons Onion, minced

1 Small Garlic Bulb, minced

1 Cup Cherry Tomatoes, halved

1/2 Yellow Squash, cubed

1/3 Cup White Wine (chicken stock or vegetable stock can be substituted)

1/2 Tablespoon Balsamic Vinegar

1/2 Teaspoon Thyme

1 Tablespoon Parmesan

Pinch Salt and Pepper

Spaghetti

Melt the butter over medium-low heat and then add the onions. Simmer for one minute. Add garlic and simmer for one more minute. Then add tomatoes and squash and cook for another minute. Then add the white wine. Cover and cook for about 5 minutes over medium heat until the tomatoes start to soften. Uncover, then add balsamic, thyme, and parmesan. Cook for an additional 5 minutes until the liquid is thick. Toss with pasta and enjoy!

Tuesday, August 11

Left Overs

There are a few reasons why I started this blog, but the major factor was my distaste for leftovers. There is nothing worse than day old food! It doesn’t always reheat right and the flavors are not as deep.

Protein is the only food item I will cook ahead and reheat. You can cook it part-way and then cook it fully on the day you want to eat it. Flank steak is great for this type of reheating if you pack it with all its juices.

A few posts ago I made BBQ Chicken Pizza and cooked the whole chicken breast. This saved good BBQ chicken for a salad later in the week. This is a simple recipe, but it’s made special by the homemade vinaigrette.


BBQ Chicken Salad

1/2 Chicken Breast

Mixed Greens

1 Small Green Apple, sliced

1/4 Cup Grapes, cut in half

1 Tablespoon Bacon, minced

2 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil

2 Tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar

1 Tablespoon Honey

Pinch of Salt & Pepper

1 Teaspoon Thyme, Rosemary, Basil or any other herb (optional)


In a mason jar or with a wire whisk, mix together oil, vinegar, honey, salt, and pepper. In a mason jar its easy because you can just shake it. Put together the rest of the ingredients in a bowl and pour dressing over the top.

Monday, August 10

Figgy



Providence, here in Los Angeles, has the biggest and most delicious cheese plate. If you order it at the end of the meal, they wheel out a butcher block full of cheeses and let you pick which you would like. They also have the regular accouterment of toast, nuts, and dried fruit.

The cheese plate led me to one of my favorite dried fruits, the fig. They’re so chewy and sweet like an amazing Gusher. My curiosity perked when the fresh fig showed up at my farmers market a few weeks ago.

I tried a recipe that roasted figs with a dollop of ricotta and a drizzle of chocolate syrup. It wasn’t so good. Then I saw a recipe for a tart but I wanted a bit more then just the figs. The mascarpone cheese filling adds a great balance to the fresh figs.




Fig and Mascarpone Tartlet

1/2 Cup Flour

2 Tablespoons Butter, cold

2-3 Tablespoons Water, ice-cold

Pinch Salt

2 Figs, sliced thin

2 Tablespoons Mascarpone Cheese

1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla

2 Teaspoon Sugar

1/2 Teaspoon Lemon Zest

1 Tablespoon Egg Beaters

1 Tablespoon Water

Preheat oven to 375°

Pour flour in to a bowl and begin cutting the butter in to it. This just means taking a fork and pressing the butter threw it to make little bits of butter. Once the butter is about the size of peas, begin to mix in the ice-cold water one tablespoon at a time until dough forms. Don’t over work the dough because you want the butter to stay slightly whole for a flaky crust. Wrap in cling wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour or over night.

In another bowl, mix the mascarpone, vanilla, 1 teaspoon of sugar, and lemon zest. Set aside. Roll out dough on a floured surface until it’s about 6” in diameter and a 1/4” thick. Prick dough on the bottom with a fork to avoid bubbles. Spread mascarpone mixture in the middle of the dough leaving about 1” of dough for folding. Arrange fig slices on top of the mascarpone. Dust top of figs with remaining sugar. Fold dough in around the figs and brush with egg wash (egg beaters mixed with water). Place in over for approximately 25-30 minutes until golden brown.

Friday, August 7

Mmm... Bacon


There are many factors for how and what you cook. It’s influenced by your heritage, where you live, and the availability of products. Your heritage is a constant but the other factors are changing variables.

The majority of my heritage is German, which effects what I cook. My food has a bold taste and generally has bacon. Now living in Southern California I am open to new produce to apply these flavors to.

I want to put this flavor to zucchini. When I was young, my mother used zucchini for a variety of dishes. I adored the way zucchini could be used for recipes either sweet or savory. A zucchini is also a perfect serving for one.



Gratin Style Zucchini

1 Zucchini, cut in matchsticks

1 Tablespoon Bacon Fat, or Butter

1 Tablespoon Onion, minced

1/2 Piece of Bacon, minced

1 Teaspoon Flour

1/2 Cup Chicken Broth

1/3 Cup Parmesan

1 Teaspoon Thyme

Add bacon fat or butter into a pan over medium heat. Once the fat is hot add zucchini and sauté until it begins to brown, about 5 minutes. Remove zucchini from pan and put aside. Add onions to the pan and cook for a minute then add bacon and flour. Cook for one more minute. You will notice that the flour has absorbed the butter or bacon fat. It’s important to cook after adding the flour to ensure the flour has lost its flavor. Add chicken broth and stir for about 2 minutes before you add the Parmesan and thyme. Return the zucchini to the pan coating it the sauce and cook for one more minute.