Damn it! I accidentally bought another cookbook! It jumped in my amazon cart and followed me home. I blame it on the dreary months and slightly chilly weather. That’s correct, I’ve been craving comfort food. So one must follow the recipes of those who do comfort food best: The southerners. And one southerner seems to do it better than anyone else. Yes, Paula Deen will be on my shelves when I get home.

It probably didn’t help that I just finished her biography “It Ain’t All About The Cookin“. One can only hear about fried chicken, and baked spaghetti, and all other manner of delish sounding heart attack inducing fried foods, before you want to be able to make them yourself. She certainly has lived an interesting life and the book is worth reading, but beware, I don’t see how you couldn’t order a cookbook upon completion.

I have a new bookclub tonight! I’m hoping that this group of ladies is as interesting as they seem to be!


I’m LOVING my new recipe a week arrangement.  While it’s general hit or miss, the hits have been pretty great.

One of the best so far is Salt-Roasted Chicken.  I found this recipe in the Gourmet Today cookbook (more about that here).  It’s quick and easy, though you need to plan in advance as it needs to salt overnight.  Give it a shot:

Salt Roasted Chicken

1 (3 1/2 pound) chicken

2 1/4 teaspoons fine sea salt

1/4 teaspoon gound black pepper

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

3 lemon slices

Sprinkle the chicken with seas salt and pepper, place in a shallow dish, cover with plastic wrap, refrigerate for 12 hours.

Preheat the oven to 500 F.  Rub the skin with butter and place lemon slices inside, place meat thermometer in the thigh, avoiding touching the bone.  Reduce oven temp to 425.  Roast the chicken, basting occasionally. Roast for around 50 mins, until thermometer reads 170.  Allow chicken to stand 10-15 mins before carving.

This chicken was GOOD! It was very moist (god I hate that word) and the skin was fantastic. It browned well and looked lovely, all with minimal effort.  The leftovers were great as well.  I’ll certainly make this again.

In addition to my fantastic dinners of late, I’ve managed to read a few fantastic books.  My favorite being “Tales of A Female Nomad: Living At Large In The World, ” By Rita Golden Gelman. It’s a memoir of a women who leaves a failed marriage and a comfortable life in L.A. to become a citizen of the world. Living in various villages and towns all over the globe.  Her experiences and the people she meets are so interesting that I was really sad that the book ended.  Luckily it looks like she has another coming out this spring! I’ll certainly be pre-ordering it.   The downside? It made me want to pick up and travel.  Just pack a bag and Go ANYWHERE.  I do wonder if and how 9-11 and everything that has followed has effected her ability to travel or the places she goes.  If you have the chance I would certainly recommend picking up the book. And if you don’t hear from me for a couple of weeks, I may have packed up and flown away to join a village in Belize.

There are two kinds of people in the world. Those who love sweets and those who crave salts/fats. I fall squarely into the fats/salts category. I will always choose french fries over a cupcake.  It might be a toss up if it’s a keylime pie, but I’m 80% of the time I’m grabbing the fries.

This means I’m not much of a baker. Because let’s face it, as much as I ADORE cooking for others, at the end of the day I want to enjoy what I make. So baking to me is pretty much limited to dumping the cake mix into the bowl and turning on the beaters. At least it’s something.

But in the spirit of becoming a well rounded cook and trying new things, I decided to dive into the world of baking. First of all, what a racket! Have you seen the baking goods aisle at Bed Bath and Beyond? Now, I don’t want to make broad generalizations, but some bakers must be SUPER gullible. Who the hell needs one of these:

Cupcakes for giants!

That’s right. You can bake a cupcake 25 times larger than a normal cupcake! Amaze all of your friends!  Is it a cake, or a cupcake? Only you know for sure! (If you own one of these, just ignore the above. Good for you! Bake me one for my birthday!)

The baking equipment aisle is a frightening place to a non baker. We will just leave it at that.

Anyway, the recipe that I’m getting around to discussing (stay with me, we’ll get there) called for a springform pan.  And parchment paper. Frankly, I figured that was overkill. As noted a few paragraphs ago (before the giant cupcake. Stop staring at it and drooling!) I’m not a baker, so buying two new kitchen items that will most likely gather dust seemed a tad wasteful.  I called my mother and my baking friend Jessica (go visit her blog, she is entertaining). The results were mixed. I decided to go with the pan, bust skip the paper.  This wasn’t logical, it that the pan was more expensive, but whatever. I could possibly use it again.  Where as the parchment paper will probably only come in handy if the CIA comes around looking for me to forge a copy of the Constitution.

This may have proven to be my undoing.

The recipe was for a Lemon and Olive Oil Cake, which I found over at

Here it is:

Lemon Olive-Oil Cake
3/4 cup olive oil (extra-virgin if desired), plus additional for greasing pan
1 large lemon
1 cup cake flour (not self-rising)
5 large eggs, separated, reserving 1 white for another use
3/4 cup plus 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar

Special equipment: a 9-inch (24-cm) springform pan; parchment paper

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. Grease springform pan with some oil, then line bottom with a round of parchment paper. Oil parchment.

Finely grate enough lemon zest to measure 1 1/2 teaspoons and whisk together with flour. Halve lemon, then squeeze and reserve 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice.

Beat together yolks and 1/2 cup sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at high speed until thick and pale, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to medium and add olive oil (3/4 cup) and reserved lemon juice, beating until just combined (mixture may appear separated). Using a wooden spoon, stir in flour mixture (do not beat) until just combined.

Beat egg whites (from 4 eggs) with 1/2 teaspoon salt in another large bowl with cleaned beaters at medium-high speed until foamy, then add 1/4 cup sugar a little at a time, beating, and continue to beat until egg whites just hold soft peaks, about 3 minutes.

Gently fold one third of whites into yolk mixture to lighten, then fold in remaining whites gently but thoroughly.

Transfer batter to springform pan and gently rap against work surface once or twice to release any air bubbles. Sprinkle top evenly with remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar. Bake until puffed and golden and a wooden pick or skewer inserted in center of cake comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Cool cake in pan on a rack 10 minutes, then run a thin knife around edge of pan and remove side of pan. Cool cake to room temperature, about 1 1/4 hours. Remove bottom of pan and peel off parchment, then transfer cake to a serving plate.

It tastes great! I wouldn’t recommend it if you aren’t a fan of olive oil, as Duhhh, it tastes like olive oil.  I used extra virgin olive oil, so the taste was very strong.  It also isn’t that sweet, although I’m sure if you wanted to sweeten it up you could add a sugar glaze as it isn’t iced.

While it tasted great, it looked like shit:


No, it wasn’t mauled by a pack of hungry wolves, it stuck to the top of the pan. I guess I should have sprung for the parchment paper.  I wasn’t trying to win any beauty contests, so I just ignored it.

The verdict? I’ll make it again and invest in the parchment paper.

I’ve been doing swimmingly with my one new recipe a week rule, even being a bit of an overachiever (Okay, it’s only the third week of the year, so I’m not getting too confident yet). This week I was craving rich food and tastes. It might have been the damp and chilly weather, or the stressful work week, but I wanted something filling.

The first new recipe is one that I’ve been meaning to try for a few weeks. I have a habit of buying ingredients and cooking around them, as was the case with this.  When I was home over Christmas I discovered a shop, Vom Fass.  This place is a little slice of heaven. The oils! The Vinegars! The Liqueurs! The gorgeous bottles you can choose to put them in!  I could have spent days tasting the incredible things they have to offer. There were months worth of new recipes and exciting flavors that could come from this place.  As I was pressed for space in my suitcase I decided to be responsible and only picked a small bottle of truffle infused olive oil.

I wasn’t sure exactly what I would use it for, but truffle oil goes with everything so I knew I could find a million uses for it. Convieniently enough, the man working at the store attached a recipe card to my bottle.

Roasted Potatoes with Truffle Oil. Sold. I’m happy to report that it was as good as it was simple. The truffle oil added a fantastic depth to the potatoes.

8 Red Potatoes

1/4 Cup Olive Oil

1/4 Cup Grated Parmesean

2 Tbls. Truffle Oil

Salt and Pepper to taste

Quarter the potatoes, toss with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast at 425 for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and toss with truffle oil.  Allow to cool and serve with Parmesean.

Potatoes Pre-Roasting

What else could one want on a crappy rainy day? MEAT!

I found a recipe that looked and tasted amazing over at, Beef Tenderloin with Garlic Horseradish Cream.

This was DELICIOUS- Although I should mention that I cut the Oregano and Beef bouillion.  The tenderloin had a lovely peppery crust.  It was perfectly juicy and flavorful.  I would make this a lot, if the meat weren’t so pricey (although I’m sure it didn’t help that I got it at whole foods).

Yep, I like it rare

Overall this weeks new recipes….Success. Both will make future appearances on my table.