Sunday, July 25

Grilled Tofu Tacos

I know some of you are thinking - yuck!  But done right, grilled tofu is an excellent substitute for animal proteins. And because it quickly takes on the flavor of anything you marinate it in - grilled tofu is a fast and easy main course.  We've made two yummy grilled tofu dishes in the last week - here's the first one!

Serves 2

1/4 cup grapeseed or canola oil
2 tsp anchiote powder (also may be called "annatto" - uf you can't find it sub smoked paprika)
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1tsp tabasco or sriracha
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 block extra firm tofu (save the other half with liquid, use for rice bowl recipe later that week)
1/2 a medium zuchini sliced into 1/4 inch thick rounds
1/2 a medium onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, pressed
1/2 a red bell pepper and 1/2 a yellow bell pepper

Slice tofu block into 3 even pieces.  Layer on 3 paper towels, cover with an additional paper towel, and press with weighted bowl or pyrex dish.  Repeat pressing 1 - 2 times, switching out paper towels each time, until tofu feels fairly dry.  Set aside

Mix the first 5 ingredients in a small bowl and brush tofu slices with anchiote oil on each side.  Grill on medium high, 3-4 minutes each side.  Dice into even pieces and set aside.  Grill bell pepper halves skin side down until charred - 3 - 4 minutes each.  Slide into strips and set aside with tofu.

Saute onion and garlic in pan with remaining anchiote oil.  Once soft, add zuchini, and bell peppers until soft - another 3 minutes or so.

Add tofu to pan and stir to mix with vegetables - season with salt and pepper to taste, add a squeeze of lemon or lime if its too spice.

Serve with tortillas, guacamole, salsa and sour cream.  Makes about 6 tacos.

Tuesday, July 13

Seafood Risotto

For a pescatarian dish, omit the pancetta and add a tablespoon of butter instead.  Substitute the chicken broth for vegetable broth.

Serves 4

2 Tbs. EVOO
4 oz. pancetta, cut into small dice *ask the deli for a 4oz chunk or else they'll thin slice it for you
1 small onion, cut into small dice
2 cups arborio rice
1/2 cup vermouth *I have used sweet and dry and they are both good
1 quart lower-salt chicken broth, heated *its very important to heat the broth for a creamy risotto
1/2 lb sea scallops, quartered
1/2 lb large shrimp
7 oz.  spinach, washed, spun dry, and coarsely chopped
1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano; more for sprinkling
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat the oil over medium heat. Add the pancetta and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden, 4 to 6 minutes. Add the onion and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, 4 to 6 minutes longer.
Stir in the rice until well coated with fat. Add the vermouth and cook, stirring constantly until absorbed, about 1 minute. Add 1 cup of broth and cook, stirring constantly, until nearly absorbed, about 3 minutes. Continue adding the broth 1 cup at a time, stirring very frequently until each addition is absorbed, 20 to 25 minutes total. Add 1 cup of water and continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the rice is just barely done, 3 to 5 minutes more.

Add the scallops, shrimp and spinach and cook, stirring constantly, until the scallops are just cooked, the spinach wilts, and the rice is mostly tender, with a little chew at the center, about 5 minutes longer. Stir in the Parmigiano and season to taste with salt. Serve immediately, sprinkling each portion with a little Parmigiano and a grind or two of pepper.

Monday, July 12

Cream Cheese Frosting

For carrot cake or red velvet cake.

Cream together until fluffy:
1 stick butter, softened
1 8oz package cream cheese

Gradually beat in 1 box powdered sugar.

Add 1 tsp vanilla extract (only real extract) and fold that into the frosting.

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

My awesome brother-in-law loves carrot cake.  My best friend Jenifer also just discovered she loves carrot cake.  Therefore, I had to post the most awesome carrot cake recipe of all time - my mom's.  Enjoy Joe and Jen (and everyone else!)

Pre-heat oven to 350

2 cups sugar
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt

Beat in:
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil

Grate 3 cups carrots (do not use pre-grated carrots - they don't have enough juice to make the batter moist).  Add carrots to mix.  Pour mix into 3 greased and floured 9-inch cake pans and bake for 25-30 minutes, or if you use larger sheet cake pans increase time to 40-45 minutes.  Cool and frost with cream cheese frosting.

Sunday, July 11

Grilled Corn on the Cob

Simple but I had trouble finding out how to do it the right way the first time so wanted to publish it here just in case!

Corn on the cob - husks removed - enough for 1-2 per person

Pre-heat grill to medium heat and place corn cobs on the grill.  Cover and grill turning once for 15 minutes.  Serve with lots of butter and salt!

Another hint - corn on the cob is very delicate so you should cook it the first day you buy it from the store.  If for some reason you can't - store it in a damp paper bag in your fridge until you are ready to use but no more than 3 days.

Watermelon and Tomato Salad with Feta

A great summer side dish but good for only one serving - everything gets a little mushy second day.

Serves 6

4 cups 1 1/4-inch chunks seedless watermelon (about 1/2 of a small seedless watermelon)
1 lb ripe tomatoes large diced
1/2 tsp kosher salt
2 tbsp EVOO
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tbsp chopped fresh dill
1 tbsp chopped fresh mint
Fresh arugula leaves - washed
1/2 cup crumbled feta
1/4 cup sliced almonds, lightly toasted

Combine melon and tomatoes in large bowl. Sprinkle with salt and toss to blend; let stand 15 minutes. Add oil, vinegar, and herbs to melon mixture. Season to taste with pepper and more salt, if desired. 

Divide arugula among plates. Top with melon salad; sprinkle with feta cheese and toasted almonds and serve.

Norman's Bomb A** Shrimp

This 4th of July we made our friend Norman's famous Bomb A** Shrimp plus Watermelon and Tomato Salad and Grilled Corn on the Cob.  It was quite a feast!  Norman kindly gave me permission to post his secret recipe - enjoy!

Serves 4 as an Entree but also works great as a appetizer

1 1/4 lb shrimp
1/4 cup EVOO
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp fresh parsley
2 tbsp dried oregano
2 cloves pressed garlic
1 tsp grated lemon zest
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp ground pepper
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

Peel shrimp and set aside in fridge.  Combine all other ingredients.  Add shrimp and marinate for 30 - 60 minutes.  Skewer shrimp and place on medium heat grill.  Cook 1 minute each side and serve immediately.


I found this recipe online and with only a few modifications was able to make some amazing big biscuits. Sorry no photo for this one- alex and i devoured all 8 of them straight out of the oven!

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 and 1/2 tablespoon white sugar
  • 1/3 cup shortening
  • 1 cup milk


  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Cut in the shortening until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Gradually stir in milk until dough pulls away from the side of the bowl. You may not need to use the full 1 cup- i used all but 1/8th cup!
  3. Turn out onto a floured surface, and knead 15 to 20 times. Coarsely roll dough out to 1 inch or 1 and 1/2 inch thick. Cut biscuits with a large cutter or juice glass dipped in flour. Repeat until all dough is used. Brush off the excess flour, and place biscuits onto an ungreased baking sheet. Should make about 6-8 huge fluffy biscuits.
  4. Bake for 14 to 16 minutes in the preheated oven, or until edges begin to brown.

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