Monday, October 12, 2009

All I Want... Right Now

Sometimes when I think I'm hungry, I'm not really all that hungry. Or perhaps I really am? But nothing appeals to me. Often, it's a combo of the two. As was the case last night. I ran to the market hoping for something miraculous to eat and nothing at all popped out at me. I looked at the ground beef thinking "burger? no. meatballs? no" then I put it back. Picked up some chicken breasts thinking "stuffed with goat cheese and tarragon? no. barbequed? no. lemon chicken? no" then put it back. Looked at the shrimp, no appeal. Looked at the steaks, ditto. I even thought about a nice simple dinner of liver, bacon and onion over spinach. One of my all time favorite comfort meals I learned to make in Paris. Even that held no love.

Earlier in the day I had been avidly reading back logs of The Pioneer Woman's blog and ran across a recipe for the most amazing sounding gooey delicious cheesy olive bread. I couldn't get it out of my head. I thought about it endlessly. The whole time in the market, I thought of nothing but that bread. And fought the urge to eat it. When you read the recipe.... you'll know why. It's both compelling and worth about 10lbs on the thighs. But worth it. I gave in. Since nothing else was getting me... and that was all that was interesting... I just picked up the ingredients. And all I can say is it was worth all 10 - maybe even 12 - pounds that I gained since last night's dinner. Oh, and that was all I ate. Yep. Just the bread. Nothing else. No salad. No meat. Just bread. And man, was it good. I was in heaven. I was communing with the cheese and bread and olives. OHHHH so good. Try it... you won't regret it. Thanks Ree... your recipe ROOOCCKKSS!!!!

Here it is, enjoy! The Pioneer Woman's Olive Cheese Bread.

Friday, October 9, 2009


Wow... I love quinoa. The grain is so versatile and delicious. I have it on hand at all times. Last night I fixed a pasta supper for a friend's girls and made a simple sauce with a lot of garlic slivered into it. It was a hit. Not a bite left in the pan or on plates. And because of my hankering for garlic - sometimes you just need garlic, I figure - I'm making a quinoa pilaf with a lot of garlic. I've decided it will be the base for little quinoa cakes. Sort of like quinoa latkes. So, here's the plan for my protein filled grain:


1 beef bouillon cube
2 1/4 cups of water
5 smashed cloves of garlic - fairly big ones!
1 1/4 cup quinoa
Pinch of hot smoked paprika
1/2-3/4 cup thawed, squeezed dry, frozen spinach
2 eggs
2-3 carrots grated

Mix bouillon into water and heat on stove in large pan. Peel garlic and smash up either on cutting board or in mortar. Add garlic to water and bring to boil. Add quinoa and bring back to boil. Add smoked paprika to taste - be careful, it's spicy! Put burner on low and cover pan and simmer about 45 minutes until quinoa is done.

Cool quinoa. When cool mix in bowl: quinoa, shredded carrot, spinach and eggs. I hesitate to season this too much, as the bouillon is salty and the paprika is spicy. But, salt a bit and pepper a bit if you like. Mix all this up together and on a foil lined baking sheet sprayed with a little Pam, make small cakes about the size of a silver dollar pancake. Bake these in the oven at 350 until they are golden and set, about 34-50 minutes. Serve with a dollop of sour cream if you like, and a nice big salad or with grilled chicken! Delish!

My house smells delightful... mmmmmm garlic!!!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Somtimes You're Just Too Tired...

OK.. so I've been busy... flying... trying to figure some things out about school and classes. Really time consuming! And last night, I was jut too lazy to really put together a great meal. So, I took inventory in the fridge: Brussels sprouts, squash, potatoes, cheese, cream cheese, sun dried tomatoes, bread, butter, milk... you know.. the usual suspects. I had taken whole chicken breasts w/bone and skin , out of the freezer with all intentions of doing something special to them. Needless to say, it rained all day, I was tired and too lazy to do anything fancy. Then it occurred to me: stuffed chicken breasts. Easy, delicious and relatively fast. With my inventory in mind I set out to do something tasty with little prep time involved. I got some rice out and cooked it with a little veggie broth - you know the standard way: substitute the veggie broth for the water. Then I got out my cream cheese - which just so happened to be sun dried tomato flavored - and some garlic and my panko. I use whole wheat from Ian's. It's pretty delish. And then I don't feel so guilty about using bread crumbs. Anyway... here's what I did:

I took about half the container of cream cheese, and mixed it with: about a quarter cup of oil packed (drained, of course) chopped sun dried tomatoes to give it extra pizazz, 2 cloves of minced garlic and about 2 tablespoons of panko (I figured it would help the cheese from leaking out from under the skin!) and I mixed it all up in a bowl. Then, I slid the mixture, evenly divided between the two breasts, under the skin and secured it with a little metal skewer that I sort of 'knitted' down the side of the breast to hold the skin in place. I salted and peppered the breasts nicely and put them on a baking sheet lined with foil sprayed with a little organic Pam with olive oil. Then I popped them in the oven at 350 for about an hour and VOILA!!! Stuffed chicken breasts!
Gang... I have to say... for relatively no time involved, and little creativity - these came out great! The rice was perfect, the chicken breasts were juicy and the cream cheese stuffing was just right! Everything considered - sometimes being tired has it's advantages! Oh, and I know you're probably thinking... where were the veggies? I just sliced some tomato - you know, to keep with the theme!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

All Things Considered

Has anyone noticed how trendy it is to be up on your vampire latest fad? There's the Vampire Diaries, True Blood, the Twilight series - and sadly no more: Moonlight. Man that Alex O'Laughlin was a hottie!! I must confess, I'm into True Blood. Big time. I think it's super sexy, super cool, and yes, a bit scary. That supernatural stuff is a bit crazy sometimes. I confess that I am a bit squeamish about that sort of thing. Still, I'm compelled to watch. I've always been intrigued by all things vampire. I love that they are immortal. That they can fly. Or how they get to stay up all night - God knows I'm a night owl, so it would be the perfect thing for me. Plus, I'm not really that grossed out by blood. In fact, I like my steaks rare. If there's not a pool of warm blood tinted juice for me to smash my potato into, then it's too well done. Mmmmm, the perfect bite is: a bit of baked potato smashed up with a bit of butter and sour cream, the swirled into the pooled steak juices on the plate - all piled up on a bite of a delicious rare rib-eye. OHHHHH hold me back!!! I am quite carnivorous. My mates that I swim with call me the 'hard core carnivore'. Aptly named, I think. I would eat burgers, steak, chicken, sausage - you name it if it's meat, bring it - anytime, everyday. So, tonite, in honor of the season finale of True Blood, I'm cooking up a nice rare skirt steak. I have to say, my recipe is quite nice. Though, after reading The Pioneer Woman's recipe for Grilled Rib-Eye with Blue Cheese Onion Sauce, it was all I could do not to run out and get heavy cream and some blue cheese and make myself that sauce. That said, I'm doing mine like this:

Skirt Steak Marinade

1/4 cup soy sauce
1tsp roasted sesame oil
1-3 tbsp of honey (depends how much you like, I use a big squeeze)
1/4 cup olive oil
2-3 tbsp of seasoned rice vinegar
2 cloves garlic smashed
a few shakes of red pepper flakes

Throw all of this in a bag, seal it up, sake well until all ingredients are combined. The honey should be dissolved into the ingredients. Then, throw in your skirt steak. I use about a 10-12oz skirt for this much marinade. Seal up the bag, suck all the air out to get a nice seal around the meat. Throw it in your fridge for about 2 hours. Take it out before you're ready to cook and let it come to room temperature on the counter in the marinade. Heat your grill up and have at it!
I usually serve it with a tomato salad (my version: tomato, hearts of palm, minced jalapeno, oil/vinegar, salt & pepper) and some nice fluffy garlic mashed potatoes. But that's me... rice would do, or even some quinoa. Sauteed spinach anyone? All of it sounds good to me.

Maybe it sounds simple? But try it... it's a nice easy Asian inspired recipe. And it sure doesn't need any fancy ingredients - in fact, you probably have most of them in your pantry right now. So, have at it... tweak it to your liking. Mostly? Enjoy it... off to eat my steak... signing out:
The Hardcore Carnivore.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Something Off Beat...

Ok, this is for the ladies out there... I have a confession to make, which I'm sure many of you will be right on board with: I love make-up. Love it. Have loved it since I was a wee girl. Now that I'm a big girl and can get it and wear it whenever I want? I indulge. I'm currently on a nail polish kick and have discovered the most awesome site for those of us who are into polish. Her site is called Vampy Varnish. She's a nail polish fiend!! I love her for it! No more going to the beauty supply (or drugstore!) and ruining your manicure because you want to know what the polish looks like before you actually commit to it. How many of you have a closet full of colors that looked great in the bottle, but looked horrid on you when you actually painted them on? I do, for sure. So Kelly has solved that for all of us!! She patiently paints her nails and photographs them to let us see just how the polish looks on. She even lets you know how many coats it took to get that look. I am grateful! So far? She's saved me a lot of trouble... but also only fueled my addiction!! Some of the polishes are easy to find, others are available thru the web, but she lists links to buy them. Her site is GREAT! And if you want to get into the latest shades, then check out Vampy Varnish. You will be glad you did! And thanks Kelly... you've made my life a lot easier!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Summer's End

Well, it's been a crazy end to summer... full of crazy activities since my last writing. I've gone back to school - again - and been filling out applications for colleges all over New York. I decided after not getting into the Physician Assistant program that I worked so hard towards...that I would just keep at it and stack up more credits worth some lofty goal. I'm really not in the mood this semester for anything school like. I killed myself for the last year and a half and I would prefer to go to work rather than study. Hard to believe. I guess if I didn't have to work to support myself, school would definitely be the right thing. Sadly, I haven't won Lotto or Powerball, so off to fly I go. I have 2 classes this semester for 10 credits. Crazy. I have no idea what I was thinking. I'm already bored in one and disliking the prof... c'est la vie. I tend to be more partial towards the professors who demand something of me. So far, this one guy is a dud spud.

Speaking of spuds...

I have a fondness for all things potatoes, as I'm sure alllllll of us do. I also love the cruciferous family. Cauliflower, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, all the cabbage - you name it, if it's from that bunch, I love it. I also LOVE Bubble 'n' Squeak. Originally, a dish from the other side of the pond, designed to use up left-over veggies. Personally, I make it on purpose with fresh veggies and enjoy every last bite! They call it Bubble 'n' Squeak because they say if you make it in a big cast iron pan, that while the cabbage and potatoes are browning up, they bubble and squeak. I only get this sometimes. But it's none the less, delicious.

Here's my quick version, and left-overs are great!

Bubble 'n' Squeak

1/2 head of cabbage, sliced thinly
4 or 5 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into uniform pieces
6-7 cloves of garlic
olive oil
salt and pepper

First, set a big pot of water on the stove with your potatoes - put them in the water cold and the pan cold on the stove. Never add your potatoes to boiling water! YIKES! Add to this, the garlic cloves and bring to a boil until the potatoes are tender. Then, mash with some butter, salt and pepper. Set aside.
Put about 2tbsps of butter and a good pour of olive oil in a big frying pan. Melt them together over medium heat. Add to this, the thinly slivered cabbage. Keep an eye on the cabbage, it browns quickly. After the cabbage starts to wilt and brown, remove from pan. Keep pan warm. Mix the cabbage into the mashed potatoes. Then, make patties in whatever shape and size you like. Add them back to the hot pan - being careful when you work w/ the veg and potato, it's hot! You may need to add a bit of olive oil more to the pan. Cook your patties until they are golden brown. Season with salt and pepper. Enjoy!

Sometimes when I'm feeling creative, I add shredded carrot or zucchini, but if it's not around, no worries. I love these as a meal by themselves with some salad. They rule with a roasted chicken.

Back to reading for the dud spud... wish I had Bubble 'n' Squeak instead! And off to finish the laundry... it is Labor Day, you know...

Saturday, August 8, 2009

OOOOHHHHH Blueberries!!

I have had a wild hair to bake lately. All I want to do is bake bake bake. Don't ask me why because it's a zillion degrees outside and turning the oven on in my wee kitchen is like going to a sweat lodge. Never the less, I cant' fight the urge. So, I decided to whip up a most delicious cake when I cleaned up on a blueberry sale at my local market. Something crazy like 4 pints for $5. Nuts, right? Anyway, blueberry cake it is. So I decided to see what I had on hand to make this blueberry cake with... and the pickings were slim. I've been away a lot this summer and haven't really shopped for the regular pantry staples. But upon closer inspection to the fridge... I have buttermilk, flour, eggs, lemons, blueberries (did I mention that?), and sugar. So, I'll whip up a cake. You know buttermilk makes rockin' cakes. And since I always seem to make these grand things... my super always gets to benefit. Welp, here's the recipe.. and it's a recipe that I've modified a bit from Epicurious. They like to use orange zest, but I'm not a fan of orange flavoring, unless it's a Diet Sunkist, but that's a whole 'nother obsession of mine.... so, I use lemon zest - and a lot of it - and also a splash, yes, a splash, I didn't measure it but I'm guessing about a teaspoon(?), of pure lemon extract. Also, my idea of 2 cups of blueberries might be grand... I tend to add extra. And I obviously, use fresh. I have tried frozen, once. I found the cake to be just as delicious, but with an increased baking time. There's a few more adjustments simply because I didn't have enough of this or that. The end result? Lets say my super came knocking and begging me to make another...

One final note on baking time of this cake: I have a gas oven. I realize that gas can be a more moist heat than an electric oven and can make baking more difficult. Add to the fact that I live in South Florida where the humidity is treacherous, and you've got a real tricky situation on your hands. I read somewhere that if you put a pizza/bread stone in your oven, it helps keep the oven hot and a bit drier. Since I've added this, I have seen better results. Still, I am more of a person who feeeeellls when it's done. I just manage to know when it's finished. So, I hope you can bear with me and the baking time for this one!

Blueberry Cake

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup cake flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
3 large eggs
1 heaping giant tablespoon grated lemon peel
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon pure lemon extract
3/4 cup buttermilk
2 cups frozen or fresh blueberries

*** Remember: if you use frozen blueberries,I've found it will increase your baking time. Fresh will not increase the time, but you still have to keep an eye on it!

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour 10 inch Bundt pan.

Mix together: flour, baking powder, and salt in medium bowl, then set aside.

Using electric mixer, beat 1 1/2 cups sugar and butter in large bowl until light and fluffy and pale yellow. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time. Beat in lemon peel and vanilla being careful to scrape all bits of lemon peel off the beater, they tend to stick. Next, mix in dry ingredients in 3 additions alternately with buttermilk in 2 additions. Fold in blueberries gently. This batter will not be super thick, it's more like a yellow cake batter and a bit thinner. If you put frozen blueberries, the batter will get thick due to the cold berries.

Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake until tester inserted near center of cake comes out clean, about 1 hour 10 minutes, to 1 hour 30 minutes for frozen berries. Watch your oven carefully, use that toothpick! When the cake starts to look golden-y, you are done!

Cool cake in pan on rack 10 minutes. Turn cake out onto rack or plate and cool completely before putting in the refrigerator. Wrap tightly with plastic wrap to keep out any food odors.

Warning: If you make this cake for a group? Don't plan on having any left. This cake is great for brunch, for snacking and also, makes a great no-icing birthday cake! Or... if you're just hungry and have a lot of blueberries around....

Friday, August 7, 2009

Why the Name?

Hello to all who will read this! I hope you'll visit here for updates... I've never done this before, and I'm not sure what will set me aside from the millions of you out there who blog daily. Perhaps just something funny? Or a great recipe? Or even a political view? Who knows?! I can't say that I'm always politically correct, or that my punctuation is always perfect - or even that my language is without blemishes...but, I hope everyone will comment and visit often! Fair warning... I am not without opinion and I'm not afraid to share it!

First, I think I should tell you that the blog name is for cake domes. Those glorious glass cake domes that tower in fantasy books for children, and sit on counter tops in diners and cafes everywhere. I love them and find them incredibly beautiful. It is my mission to collect lots of them! I just don't have the space in my small apartment! I have an idea to build a shelf around the top of the ceiling and place them up there... yeah, add that to my list of things to do. But also, the domes to me represent the scrutiny of life. When there's a cake under one of those domes, everyone stares at it. We look carefully, we examine it, we choose which slice we want. And for me? It's sort of an analogy to life. Shouldn't we all being thoughtful, mindful humans - take time out daily to look carefully at our lives? I know it's hard with the busy lives we all lead, but lately, I've been trying to be more thoughtful about mine!

The name actually came from a brainstorm between my boyfriend and I when I asked him what kind of cake he wanted for his birthday. He said chocolate. He always says chocolate. And he said he wanted more than one chocolate cake. A whole room full. So, I said I'd make them and he would come home to a chocolate cake grotto. All of them under glorious gleaming glass domes. He was happy and salivating at the thought. I haven't yet gotten to that chocolate cake grotto... but his 40th is coming up and I'm planning to bake my ass off! At any rate, until we get to that chapter, I hope that something here will catch your eye - steal your heart - make you laugh or even curse me (it's OK, I don't mind) or just give you reason to check back in here with a cup of coffee and say 'Hi' here goes!

Ok.. so today, I was looking mindlessly in my cabinets at the 400 cans of chipotle chilies that I purchased on sale somewhere - yeah, can you say stock up? Maybe not 400, but 4 anyway. Who needs 4 cans of chipotles? As it turns out, I might. I have a confession to make: I LOVE mayonnaise. Love love love love it. I love it for my fries, I love it on my veggies, my sandwiches, my burgers - you name it, if I can put mayo on it, I'll try. For me? It's the sixth master 'sauce'. Mayyybeee even better than the others, tho, I've never met a bechamel that I didn't, back to the chilies... there they were in all their hotness staring at me from their little cans on their perch in my cabinet.... Gleaming and shiny and ready to show me who the boss was. What to do with them? Ahh well....back to my love of mayonnaise. I love mayo - did I mention that? - but not that horrid stuff called salad dressing that they stock on the shelves near my coveted mayo. That's NOT mayo. Mayonnaise - just say it with a french accent and it sounds impressive and like a wonderful guilty pleasure. And yes, this simple emulsion of eggs and oil is one of the greatest most versatile creations out there. And you can do anything with it. Trust me. People put it in cakes - breads - and on just about everything else. I always stock up! Though, I've always meant to make my own, I've just never gotten around to it. Today? Different story. I got a crazy notion and a craving for that fresh mayonnaise I often get in Paris and was thinking how wonderful the creamy coolness of it would be with the fire of the chipotles, and alas, with no Hellman's to substitute in my fridge - decided to make my own. So, here's what I did and how I did it:

Creamy Chipotle Mayo

2 organic egg yolks
3-4 tsp white vinegar
1/2 tsp Coleman's dry mustard powder
pinch of sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup olive oil
4 tbsp hot water
1 canned chipotle chili in adobo sauce, with seed and juice
1tbsp honey
1 tsp lime juice
salt and pepper to taste

In your food processor, put the egg yolks and 3 tsp of the vinegar. Start your engine and spin it for about a minute or so, until it gets a bit frothy and lighter yellow. Add the mustard powder while its spinning and keep motor on until the egg mixture is foamy, about 1-2 minutes. Turn off your engine and add your salt and pepper and sugar - I used ground sea salt and fresh ground peppercorn mix. Then while your motor is on again, add part of the oils in a slow steady stream, alternately add the hot water one tbsp at a time and add the last tsp of vinegar while again, adding the rest of the oil in a sloooowwwww stream. Voila! Mayonnaise. You could stop here, but why? Add that whole chipotle chili in there - more if you like it hotter, but beware, they are HOT. And run your engine again. With the motor going, add the lime juice and the honey thru the feeder tube and continue processing it for about 2 or 3 minutes. This will help the emulsion get really creamy. Adjust your seasonings after the engine is off... and enjoy! And if you're so inclined, you could do this by hand... all you need is a strong arm and an assistant to help you pour the oil.

I plan to use mine on some grilled bacon burgers with avocado. And of course, for a veggie dipping sauce. It would be great with french fries. I imagine I'll find a lot to use it on this weekend. It's a great combo of cool and spicy. Feel free to comment, tweak or even add to it! And once I figure out how to put photos up.. look out!!!