Spicy Sweet Curried Carrot Salad

The pretty carrots were SO worth the extra fifty cents!
The pretty carrots were SO worth the extra fifty cents!

Another carrot salad in time for Easter.  Hmm…..maybe if this happens again next year, we’ll have a real pattern.

Anywho….got this bag of pretty carrots at TJ’s to cook with the brisket for Saint Pat’s. Only thing is, the red ones lose the red when cooked and just look normal. So, a cold recipe would keep the prettiness.

That was the first time we’ve had carrots in the house since himself had to change his diet – they are on the verbotten list, along with peas and bananas.  But I digress.



Hey, Mikey! He liked it.  I went easy on the hot pepper at first; when I added more Himself was disappointed that he could taste the curry less. Sigh. Your tongue can only process so much data at a time.


 Give this a whirl. If you don’t have curry paste lying about, use powder. It’ll still be yummy.
For the salad
3 carrots, peeled then shaved in to strips
½ shallot, cut in to thin rings
¼ c. craisins or currants or sultanas
¼ c. pistachio meats
For the sauce
2 Tbsp. honey
1 tsp. dijon
1/2 tsp. freshly grated ginger root
1 tsp. curry paste
½ tsp. red pepper flakes
2 Tbsp. red or white wine vinegar
3-4 Tbsp. avocado or olive oil
Use your veg peeler to shave the carrots. Cut the carrots in half across the middle first, or you will wind up with a papardelle like salad.
Put all the salad ingredients in a bowl.
Whisk together the sauce in another bowl.
Dress the salad right before serving.

Servings 4
Calories 134
Fat 5 g
Sodium 44 mg
Carbs 23 g
Protein 2 g

Grissini e Taralli: A Tale of Failure


The recipes for this post were quite the roller coaster. Failure is good. Builds character. Keeps you humble. Makes you learn.

Saw a lovely post on Pinterest about this little Italian cracker from Puglia that is served with wine, the taralli. Sort of like a pretzel, but round, and with fennel seeds inside.  That was my cooking project for the week.  I was seeing a beautiful antipasto platter, some friends over for wine. Yeah. It was gonna be awesome.  Did the usual, researched a bunch of recipes, compared the techniques and ingredients ratios, yatta yatta.  Made a special trip to get some cheap white wine (an essential ingredient), and we were ready to rock and roll.  Saturday morning came, and I was happily makin’ my taralli dough. Rolling out the little snakes, looping ‘em.  It was like play time with play dough. Boiled ‘em. Baked em. … Burned ‘em.  Oy. And those little fuckers were like rocks, even the not-so-burned ones.

 baking fail

I go back to my research. Decide to search for a YouTube tutorial. See what I did wrong  (they needed to be much, much fatter. And not burned.) Start over. Boil ‘em. Bake ‘em. Hmm…..they sure look pretty.
Rocks. Every one. Now of course himself comes home and pronounces them delicious, and says that I can’t enjoy them because of my chicklet teeth. (It’s how we show our love, people.) But I’m annoyed – the video lady could break one in one hand, and it takes me effort to snap my little rocks in two with both hands.  Alas….gorran crackers.

Those little discs look so innocent, don't they?
Those little discs look so innocent, don’t they?


On the top of the roller coaster of a cooking morning, however, is a great little grissini recipe that actually worked. And was fun, again in a playdough-snakes kind of way.  I went so easy on the rosemary, however, you can barely taste it. And, I didn’t like the slight sweetness. So, next time, more rosemary, less sugar, and add garlic.  Or maybe do smoked Spanish paprika and garlic and thyme.


I’m still heartily annoyed to be bested by a fucking cracker. But the thrill is gone, and I don’t know if I want to invest more time to see if I can get some lovely light crunchy wine crackers.

It was good plan, at any rate.  Here’s the grissini link again – give it a try!  They would make an awesome project with kids for a spaghetti dinner. 

Madeleines au Citron

madeleines au citron
madeleines au citron

Froggy fantastic times continue at the Yum. Marcel Proust aside(ugh, shoot me now Aunty),  this week Cuisine A-Z featured a bunch of madeleine recipes. I’ve had these pans for years, and never used them. Probably because of Proust. But, it is now time.

Pan at the ready, with the necessary obscenely thick layer of butter and flour.
Pan at the ready, with the necessary obscenely thick layer of butter and flour.

I know a sprinkling of powdered sugar is traditional, but I won’t be delivering these until the next day. So, a lemon juice glaze it is – that should keep them nice and moist until the grandladies get to take a bite. I think of them whenever I make something with lemon.

mmm....lemon glaze....
mmm….lemon glaze….

These take less than ten minutes to mix and then ten to bake. Twenty minutes to tea time temptation – not bad, ya’ll. Not bad.
for the pan
1 Tbsp melted unsalted butter
¼ c AP flour
for the batter
3 eggs
½ c sugar
heaping ¼ tsp salt
¾ tsp vanilla extract
¾ cup AP flour
2 tsp lemon zest
6 Tbsp melted unsalted butter
for the glaze
½ tsp lemon zest
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 c. powdered sugar
Thoroughly butter the pan with the 1Tb melted butter, then using a flour sifter dust with the ¼ flour, jostle the pans a bit to get the flour in every nook and cranny. Tap out the excess. THIS STEP IS VERY IMPORTANT.
Heat oven to 375*
Whip the eggs, sugar and salt on high in the mixer for about two minutes, until it is barely pale yellow and super fluffy. Sift in the flour, then pour on the butter, lemon zest and vanilla. Mix quickly for acouple seconds until it’s homogenous.
Scoop heaping tablespoons of batter in to your prepped pan. Go evenly to the top or just below – don’t overfill, you’ll have a mess.
Bake 10 minutes until just *barely* golden at the edge, and they spring back when touched. After cooling for just a minute or two, test the edges of the cookies to make sure they are not stuck, and invert the pan.
Glaze when cool.
Consume immediately.
You can skip the glaze and just dust these with powdered sugar.
If you do glaze and don’t eat them immediately, the glaze will melt in to the cookie making the top slighlty sticky but ridiculously delicious.

Yields 24
Calories 94
Fat 4 g
Sodium 34 mg
Carbs 13 g
Protein 1 g

Cinnamon Bun Scones

Butter, sugar, cinnamon - the three breakfast food groups.
Butter, sugar, cinnamon – the three breakfast food groups.

It is becoming apparent that I am mildly obsessed with scones. So much so, that I am contemplating giving them their own tab here on the Yum.


These are delicious. Himself said they reminded him of an apple fritter (although there is no apple in there, just tons of butter and cinnamon.


For this swirl, you make your scone dough as usual, then roll it out and treat it like a cinnamon roll. This quick dough is more delicate than a yeast dough, though, so I needed to use my board blade to help roll it up, then slice it.
For the dough
2 c. AP flour, with 2 Tbsp reserved
¼ c. sugar
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
8 Tbsp unsalted butter (This is one stick. 7T cold & cubed, 1 set aside and melted)
1 egg yolk
¾ c. buttermilk or a mixture of half plain yogurt/half milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
For the filling
2 Tbsp. powdered sugar
1 Tbsp. cinnamon
For the glaze
1 c. powdered sugar
1 Tbsp fresh orange juice
Orange zest, if you like
You’ll need 2 bowls, and preheat the oven to 400*; line a baking sheet with parchment.
In one bowl, whisk together the egg yolk, vanilla and buttermilk.
In the second bowl, mix together the dry ingredients.
Cut in the 7 Tbsp butter with a pastry cutter until it’s pea-sized.
Gently mix in your liquid – you’ll have a lumpy, mostly mixed mess.
Dust your pastry board with the reserved 2 Tbsp flour and dump the dough mess on it.
Gently press the dough together to get a mostly homogenous lump. You may need to dust the board with a little more flour.
Gently roll the dough to about 12” x 24”.
Spread with the melted butter, sprinkle with the cinnamon and the powdered sugar.
Gently roll the dough long ways like for cinnamon rolls.
Cut in to 1” pieces and arrange on your baking sheet at least ½” apart. (Flour your knife w/ each pass) You’ll need to gently push them back into a circular shape before baking.
Bake for about 15 minutes until golden.
While they are baking, whisk together the glaze.
When you take the scones out of the oven, brush them with the glaze immediately while they are still hot.
Once they cool, you can drizzle them with some more icing if you like the whole drizzled look.

Servings 12
Calories 221
Fat 9 g
Sodium 121 mg
Carbs 33 g
Protein 3 g

Cauliflower Bacon Bisque

So a couple Saturdays back, I needed to do something with some leftover bacon in the fridge. (I know, right?! How the HELL did THAT happen? I do not know), and that made me think of my mom’s potato soup when I was a kid. Only we don’t do potatoes now, but we do cauliflower and….wait! That’s it! And there you have it, another snap shot of the way my brain works. 


Regardless of brain workings, this soup is delicious. And easy. And filling. And fast. Plus, bacon.
When I made this again for the blog, I had to cook the bacon. This added some time – so plan ahead and make extra bacon at breakfast, then hide it.

Three main ingredients.
Three main ingredients.

Ya’ll know we can’t do dairy so much, so I made this with cashew cream. And really, you should make it that way the first time because it is AMAZEBALLS. Or, wimp out and use heavy cream – because I am not your dairy police. That’s between you and your intestines.


Hey, look! There’s a slice of that homemade bread featured a few weeks ago!

Give this bad boy a whirl, and share your results!
For the cashew cream
½ c. raw cashew pieces
¾ c. warm water
½ tsp. corn starch
½ tsp. nutritional yeast
For the Soup
20 oz. pkg frozen cauliflower
6 slices thick-cut bacon (about 6 oz)
2 Tbsp. bacon fat
½ white onion, coarsely chopped
¼ tsp thyme
¼ tsp nutmeg, freshly grated
1.5 qt. chicken stock
S&P to taste
If you are doing this with cashew cream: put cashews and water in your blender, set aside to soak the cashews.
For the soup
Cold pan fry up that bacon. Chop 5 of the slices and reserve the 6th to crumble as garnish. (Now, this is assuming you can control yourself around bacon. If you cannot, cook extra slices accordingly.)
Take 2 Tbsp of the bacon grease and use it to sweat the onions in a big soup pot.
Once they’re clear, add the thyme, nutmeg, cauliflower, chopped bacon and chicken stock and bring to a simmer.
Simmer about 20 minutes, until the cauliflower is fall-apart soft.
At this point, if you are using the cashew cream, put the corn starch and the yeast in the blender and set it on high/liquefy for about two minutes. You may need to stop/scrape midway. You should end up with a super-smooth mixture that looks like cream. Rub a drop between your fingers – it should not feel grainy. If it does, give it another minute or so until it is super smooth.
Scoop the cooked cauliflower (and whatever onions and bacon make it along for the ride) in to the blender. Keep the lid open a crack (so you don’t have a soup explosion) and puree until smooth. You may need to add a little broth to make it work. Pour all that back in to the soup pot with the broth and simmer about ten or fifteen more minutes. (If you eschew the cashew, put enough liquid in the blender with the cauliflower to puree it; then you can add 1 c. heavy cream and simmer for the same amount of time.)
Serve it up, garnished with some of that bacon and a sprinkle of more nutmeg.
This reheats great – I have not tried freezing it, but the next day for lunch? Super deelish.
And – this is soup consistency soup. If you want a super-thick, stand up your spoon kinda purée, cut the liquid in half. And use the food processor to purée instead of the blender.
Bon appétit!

Servings 8
Calories 197
Fat 12 gg
Sodium 430 mg
Carbs 14 g
Protein 10 g

Red Wine Shallot Vinaigrette

So, this week I’m making what every French child knows how to make by the age of 8. (Right before they start smoking and after they’ve been drinking wine, of course….)

Red wine vinegar, dijon, minced shallot and black pepper.
Red wine vinegar, dijon, minced shallot and black pepper.

Why do we all buy salad dressings? Sometimes when I’m on auto pilot at the grocery and find myself reaching for a bottle, I stop to think, “you idiot.”

Seriously – is there anything easier?  Make it at home – control what’s in it.

mincy mince mince
mincy mince mince


Why not try making your own?  Fresh, easy, delicious; and you probably already have all the ingredients and don’t even know it. Play with the ingredients, too – leave out the shallot, add tarragon. Or leave in the shallot and add parsley and thyme.  Or cracked green peppercorns. Whatever. Just play with your food.

Seriously wish you could smell this right now...
Seriously wish you could smell this right now…

This is a big batch – fills a whole bottle from Cost Plus. Feel free to halve or quarter it, or double and give some to the neighbors…..

And, I whisked it – but of course later remembered this great tip from Cooks Illustrated – just put everything in a jar with a lid and shake it til it’s emulsified.  Remember those Good Seasons italian dressing cruets when we were kids? Like that…..
Try it! Share how it turned out.
¾ c. red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp. minced shallot
3 Tbsp. dijon mustard
½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
¼ tsp. salt
1.5 – 2 c. good oil.
In a large bowl, or blender, or 4-cup measuring cup, whisk together everything but the oil.
While you’re still whisking, slowly drizzle in the oil until you get an emulsion. (It will thicken, and become dull instead of shiny.)
Keeps in the fridge for at least a week.
Play with the ingredients, too – leave out the shallot, add tarragon. Or leave in the shallot and parsley and thyme. Or cracked green peppercorns.
For the oil, I like to go half plain veg oil and half extra virgin olive oil. I think going all olive overpowers this. Save that for the balsamic vinaigrettes – they can handle it.
Serving size is 2Tbsp – or 1oz.

Servings 24
Calories 28
Fat 28 g
Sodium 47 mg
Carbs 0 g
Protein 0 g

Poolish what? Bread. Again.

Now, remember I warned you I was obsessed with finding a good recipe.  I have. This blog is amazing.


 It’s a pain to read through the first time, but the recipe is actually pretty easy.  I am discovering that the secret to the kind of bread I like is something called a “pre-ferment”, and I’ve been playing with the poolish kind. 


If you have a kitchen aide, this is really easy.  You just need to be home on a Saturday til about midday.  

You just read the recipe, right? Now, of course I cheat. Because Karen.  I make the poolish in the bowl of the Kitchen Aide Friday afternoon when I get home from work, and cover it with wax paper and a bread towel.  When I wake up Saturday, I pop it on the mixer with the bread hook and follow the steps.  Except, when she says to pull and fold the dough, I give it a spin for thirty seconds in the bowl, and just toss the bread towel over the mixer between times.  Why? Because it’s much neater, and I don’t have to either a) leave my counter crusted in flour for four hours, or b) clean the damn thing off every 45 minutes for four hours. 


This recipe makes a nice loaf that has a firm, moist inside and nice crust. I throw the bread towel over the loaves as soon as they come out of the oven so the crust isn’t too too hard.  Give John Frum’s blog a read – he has an amazing amount of knowledge. 

If you try it out, share your experience!


King Cake! Mardi Gras Bonus!

Happy Mardi Gras, Ya’ll!KingCake5med

Next to summer vacation, this is when I miss the classroom the most. Krewes. Shoebox floats. Parades. Float races. Crap shoot gumbo. And King Cake.

For years I used Emeril’s recipe. And it was a pain in the ass; especially because I made at least six cakes every year (one for each class, and of course one for Himself to take to work.)



This year, I saw a new recipe.  She just throws everything together in the bowl. The filling is cinnamon and powdered sugar! Tried it – and it’s awesome. Truly streamlined and incredibly delicious. New tradition, here we come. 

Easy peasy
Easy peasy

For the cake
4 – 5 c. AP flour
1/2 c. sugar
1.5 tsp salt
4.5 tsp yeast (or two pkgs.)
3/4 c. whole milk or 1/2 & 1/2
1/2 c. warm tap water
2 eggs @ room temp
1/2 c. unsalted butter, at room temp
zest of half an orange or tangelo
1/4 tsp. freshly ground nutmeg
For the filling
2 Tbsp. melted butter
4 Tbsp. powdered sugar, mixed with
3 Tbsp. ground cinnamon
For the egg wash
1 egg mixed with 2 Tbsp milk.
For the glaze
2 c. powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla sugar, or a few drops of vanilla extract
zest from the other half of the orange
enough juice from the orange to make the glaze
For the decorations
Yellow, green, purple sprinkle sugars
plastic baby
In your large mixing bowl (or your mixer bowl), put all the dry ingredients (start w/ 4 c. flour) and give them a quick whirl.
Spray another large mixing bowl with cooking spray.
Microwave your milk for 30 seconds, then use a candy thermometer to make sure it is not over 115*.
Pour the milk, room temp eggs and butter, and water in to the dry ingredients.
Stir to combine, then knead by hand (10 min) or with your dough hook (5 mins).
You should have a very elastic, sticky dough. (You may need to a *little* more flour. Avoid the temptation to over flour, though. It’s brioche. It’s sticky, but should still pull away from the counter or the bowl’s sides.)
Ball up the dough, and put it in the greased bowl.
Cover the bowl with waxed paper and then a cloth and let proof until double. (This took an hour in my oven on proof; on the counter it might be about and hour and a half)
At the end of the time, flour your board and dump the dough on it.
Roll it in to a rectangle about 18″ x 24″, testing to make sure it isn’t sticking to your board.
Spread the melted butter evenly over the whole thing, then sprinkle with the powdered sugar/cinnamon.mixture.
Take a pizza roller, and slice the dough longways in to three long strips.
Roll each strip longways in to a tube, as if you were making cinnamon rolls.
Braid the three strips.
Place your braid on a parchment-lined baking sheet, connecting the ends and making a circle or oval shape.
Cover back with that wax paper and towel, and proof until double again (about 45 mins.)
Once double, preheat your oven to 350*.
Bake the cake for about 30 minutes, until golden brown and interior temp is 200*.
Cool. Flip it over, slide the baby in the bottom at one of the braid seams. Flip it back.
Happy Mardi Gras

Servings 20
Calories 608
Fat 8 g
Sodium 196 mg
Carbs 118 g
Protein 15 g

Chorizo Lentil Soup

“Hmmm….how do I photograph lentils to make them look appetizing?” Another item to file in the “shit I never thought I’d hear myself say” folder.  But, seriously. How?


I guess you are going to have to take my word for it.  In the winter I am often obsessed with an italian sausage and lentil soup created by that genius Beth at Budget Bytes.  It was cold. Any rainy. And a hearty bowl sounded just perfect! Plus, I’ve been trying to find that “just right” bread recipe……it was destiny.  (More on the bread next week…)


Billy bought some chorizo for our breakfast mini omelettes, and I started to think how good that would taste with lentils. (The chorizo, you guys, not the omelettes.) So, poof! Soup!  Make some. It’s fairly quick and easy. Himself can’t have carrots anymore, so the base is stock, onion and celery only.  Feel free to add two peeled carrots sliced for soup.  And, this does work with Soyrizo – you just have to add it at the end with the spinach.


This is made with Mexican style chorizo, by the way, not the Spanish kind. Although that would also be very tasty. And, for chrissakes, get the pork.  Unless you go the soyrizo route – but we’ve already talked about that.  As a reformed vegetarian, I can’t bitch now.

 This soup is awesome. And easily serves four very hungry people, add some good bread and salad and it’s show time.
½ # pork chorizo, cooked. Use the good kind that’s lean. It makes a difference. (or, use Soyrizo)
½ # lentils. I used green, but yellow or orange would be tasty if creamier.
½ white onion, in ½” dice
3 stalks of celery, sliced in soup chunk size
2 quarts chicken or pork stock
½ package frozen chopped spinach
S&P to taste
Wash and pick through the lentils. Rocks and bad bits are rare these days, but not impossible.
In a large stock pot, brown the meat. If you didn’t listen and got greasy chorizo, drain it. Toss in the veg and sauté with the meat for a couple minutes. Pour in the lentils and the stock. Simmer about an hour. (Or on low in the crock pot while you’re at work. If you use a crock pot, only use 1.5 qts stock). Ten minutes before serving, take the stick blender to half the pot. This breaks ups some of the lentils and thickens the soup. Then, add the spinach give it a stir and set the dinner table. (If you’re going the Soyrizo route, add it now.)
Serve with lime and hot sauce. Or a sprinkle of smoked paprika and sliced bitter olives. Or with a drizzle of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. You get the idea. You are going to LOVE this.

Servings 4
Calories 228
Fat 9 g
Sodium 830 mg
Carbs 21 g
Protein 16 g

So about that Four Hour Baguette….

I’ve been seeing this puppy hopping about on Pinterest. Four hour baguette! The pictures looked so credible – surely it must be true! So easy! So fast!

How can you resist bread, hot from the oven?
How can you resist bread, hot from the oven?



This was some delicious white bread. But, francophile with a respectable amount of Parisian experience that I am, I simply cannot call this a baguette.  A baguette is more than a shape – it’s a specific weight, and crust, and texture.  And you can’t achieve those things in four hours, which I knew on the inside when I decided to try the recipe.  But hope springing eternal and all that crap.


Bread snobbery aside, this is a really good bread.  We enjoyed it with some chorizo lentil soup. Then gave lots to the neighbors so it wasn’t in the house.

Try it. Keep the dough a little stickier than your comfort level, though.  

Yes, we ate that entire loaf. Go ahead, judge me.
Yes, we ate that entire loaf. Go ahead, judge me.

Find the recipe here. 

And, of course, this opens the door to Karen’s Quest for the Perfect Home Baguette…… just don’t tell Bill.