Friday, July 31


When I tell people that I’ve been cooking for 10 years it’s shocking. I was 12 when I was shown how to make an apple pie with crumb topping by my Grandmother. At 13 I took Home Economics, by 15 I won my first pie-baking contest with a Chocolate Banana Pie.

Today everyone knows me as a cake baker. For my boyfriend’s 26th birthday I made a large Carolina Panther’s cake and every year I feel I need to out do my previous cake. What I felt I needed to accomplish was creating my two favorite baking activities in one single serving.

Apple Upside Down Cake

2 Tablespoons Flour

2 Tablespoons Sugar

1/4 Teaspoon Baking Soda

Pinch of Nutmeg

Pinch of Cinnamon

Pinch of Salt

2 Tablespoons Buttermilk

1 Tablespoon Vegetable Oil

1/8 Teaspoon Vanilla

1/2 Cup Granny Smith Apples (about one small apple)

1 Teaspoon Brown Sugar

1 Teaspoon White Sugar

1/2 Teaspoon Lemon Juice

Pinch of Cinnamon

Pinch of Nutmeg

Mix dry ingredients: flour, sugar, baking soda, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt in one bowl. Mix wet ingredients in another bowl: buttermilk, vegetable oil, and vanilla. Combine the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and set aside.

Cut apples in to a thin slice and toss to coat with brown sugar, white sugar, lemon juice, cinnamon and nutmeg. In a small sprayed ovenproof dish (I used my small soup bowl from the brownie recipe) place the apples in a flat layer. This layer doesn’t have to be a single one just as long as not apple pieces are sticking up. Then cover with cake batter to make sure all the apples are covered. Place in a preheated 350° oven for 25-30 minutes until the top is golden brown and when a toothpick is inserted it comes out clean.

Let cool on a rack for 10 to 15 minutes. Turn upside down on to dish and dust with powder sugar or drizzle with caramel sauce.

Thursday, July 30

Oh My Darlin'... Lemon Thyme

Cooking is an activity I enjoy and find challenging. A spatula has always been in my hand either stirring salads or scraping batter from the bowl. Something, I believe, that comes naturally, as if I was putting a puzzle together.

My boyfriend, on the other hand, has begun his culinary journey recently. Spices seem as if they have just been brought on the East India Trading Company. Complex flavors can be a bit confusing for him.

This recipe was enjoyable for him and very easy with his busy schedule. Whenever I have a busy day, I like to reach for an old friend: Lemon Thyme Chicken Breast. It can marinate all day or even over night. To pound or butterfly (cutting the breast in half parallel to the counter) the chicken is preferable because after a long day, it cooks faster.

Lemon Thyme Chicken Breast

1 Chicken Breast, preferable pounded or butterflyed

2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice

1 Tablespoon Thyme (or Rosemary)

Salt and Pepper

Mix oil, thyme (or rosemary), salt, pepper, and lemon juice in a resalable plastic bag or plastic container. Shake vigorously. Place chicken in the bag. Refrigerate for at least 8 hours or overnight. No oil or butter is needed to cook the chicken in a fry pan for about 5 minutes over medium heat on each side or until done.

Wednesday, July 29

A Bit of History

Growing up involved an evolution of food shows. It was mostly my father and I who would watch them while the rest of the family was in the backyard. When I was very young, I remember some Julia Child. All I could focus on was they way she spoke. It reminded me of Chef from the Muppet show.

The program that really got through to me was Great Chefs of the World. All the food they cooked seems so elegant, beautiful, and delicious! The produce and cooking styles were so complex and… well bizarre! They used scallops a lot and in fantastic ways. The farthest I had explored was just searing them at my grandfather’s house.

There is a list of ways I like scallops now and my favorite is with bacon. Hey, we could all use a bit more bacon in the diet! Another plus is when you go to the grocery store to pick up some bacon and beer you can have a cashier ask you “So what else are you doing today besides the eating bacon and drinking beer?”

Mustard Crusted Bacon Wrapped Scallops

4 Scallops

Enough Cooked Bacon to Wrap Scallops

3 Tablespoons Breadcrumbs

1 Tablespoon Herbes de Provence

1 Tablespoon Dijon Mustard

1 Tablespoon Whole Grain Mustard

1 Splash of Worcestershire



Lemon Wedges

When cooking bacon the best way to do it is on a rack in the oven at 400° for 10 to 15 minutes. That way you don’t deal with a mess on your stovetop. Also by cooking it only till soft later in the week if you want a piece for breakfast you can re-heat in a frying pan without making it too crispy. Save the bacon fat in the fridge. It makes a great fat to cook in.

Mix together breadcrumbs and herbs in one bowl. In another bowl stir the mustards and Worcestershire. Once bacon is cool wrap each scallop in a piece of bacon and pin together with toothpick. In some situations, depending on the size of your bacon and scallops, you may only use half of a piece of bacon. After the bacon is pin with toothpicks, dip exposed sides of scallop in to the mustard mixture and then in to the breadcrumbs.

Heat a fry pan to medium heat then add a tablespoon of butter to the pan. Add scallops and cook 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Make sure the crust is brown on both sides and they are ready to serve with the lemon wedges. They are perfect when you just squeeze a little lemon over them right before eating!

Tuesday, July 28

Everyone Needs Some Chocolate

At the end of the day all I would like is a brownie and a glass of milk. But do I really want to take out that brownie mix and have a tray of brownies in the house? Seriously, I could eat a tray in three days.

One of the challenges of baking for one would be the eggs. Well… TA-DA… welcome egg beaters. Introduced in 1972, they were designed as a shell-less nutrient packed less calories substitute for the real thing. Over the years, they have become more known for bad college campus food and not an actual food source (until they came out with the egg whites only version).

“But are you going to really bake with them?” you might ask. Why yes! Why not! For living by yourself and in interest of not eating an whole pan of brownies, I will. Hell, I’ll even throw in some frosting too!

Orange Brownie with Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Frosting

3 Tablespoons Chopped Dark Chocolate

2 Tablespoons Butter

2 Tablespoons Egg Beaters

4 Tablespoons Sugar

1/16 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

1/2 Tablespoon Orange Zest

2 Tablespoon Flour


1 Tablespoon Butter

1 Tablespoon Cream Cheese

1 Tablespoon Chocolate Syrup

1 Tablespoon Peanut Butter

Pinch of Orange Zest

Preheat oven to 350°. In the microwave, melt the chopped dark chocolate and butter together for 30 seconds on high. Stir together to make sure all the chocolate has melted. Add egg beaters and stir. Add sugar and vanilla extract. Make sure all ingredients and mixed together before moving to the flour. Add the flour and orange zest. Stir thoroughly to make sure all ingredients are incorporated.

Spray a small ramekin with non-stick cooking spray. I used a William-Sonoma soup cup that’s oven proof and its 4” in diameter. As long as it’s about the same size you’ll be okay. Pour brownie mix in to ramekin and bake for 25 minutes. Yeah, it sounds long but it worked.

While it’s baking, mix together the all the ingredients for the frosting. That’s it. When the brownie is done, a toothpick comes out clean when put into the brownie, let cook for 10-15 minutes before frosting.

Lemon Artichoke Chicken

Yesterday I said, “English is not my first language” the reply was “After food” I thought it was completely appropriate. My grammar and spelling are horrible. The stories I tell are better in person (and after a few drinks) Hopefully, the recipes directions will be clear but be concise. The English… well I’ll work on that later.

One of my favorite go to meals involves artichokes and lemons. Two items I always have on hand. The artichokes are great because they are canned and keep for a long time. The sauce is easy to put with pasta or seafood as well.

Lemon Artichoke Chicken

1 Chicken Breast, pounded

1/4 Cup Flour

Salt and Pepper

1 Tablespoon Olive Oil

1 Tablespoon Unsalted Butter

2 Tablespoons Onion, diced

1 Teaspoon Flour

1 Small Garlic Clove, minced

1 Lemon Zest

1/2 Lemon Juice

2 Artichoke Hearts, quartered

1/4 Cup of Chicken Stock

1 Tablespoon Herbes de Provence


Once the chicken breast is pounded, sprinkle with salt and pepper on both sides. Then dust the chicken with 1/4 cup of flour so it’s coated.

Heat a small pan over medium heat with olive oil. Place chicken breast in oil and cook till brown on both sides. Take out of pan and place aside.

Time to make the sauce! Lower the pan to medium low heat. Melt the 1-tablespoon of butter in pan. Add the onions and cook for a minute or two just till they start to soften. Sprinkle in the flour and stir until the flour is absorbed. Cook for another minute to make sure the flour has lost the flavor. Add garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice, and artichoke hearts stir for less than a minute. Pour chicken stock over the mixture and add Herbes de Provence. Stir again and add chicken breast back to the pan. Coat the chicken in the sauce and cook for an additional 3 minutes.

When you serve the chicken, take it out first and place on a plate. Pour sauce over chicken breast. Take a vegetable peeler and curl some Parmesan over the top. Serve a side salad with some oil and balsamic vinegar for a dressing or another vegetable of your choice! Yum!

Monday, July 27

Cooking for One

Something cool to say…

Nope. Not very clever. The facts.

Name: Alyssa

Location: Los Angeles

Employment: None

Cooking Experience: 10 years plus

Goal: To cook for one.

Who doesn’t love a good meal? But why does it serve 4-6? Skrew them. Going solo.

Recipes to follow.