Junk: Homemade Jalepeno Poppers

While I’ve previously expressed some weakness for greasy cheesy junk food, you also already know about my love for all things spicy. This homemade treat offers both the cheesy and the spicy, but healthier and without all the processed additives. There aren’t many tricks, but it helps to leave the stem on the jalapeno if you can and use it to assist in breading.

Jalapenos, slit from top to bottom on one side.
– gently scoop out the seeds with a sharp tipped spoon
Goat Cheese
– remove from the fridge about 20 min. before using and allow it to soften
Egg or egg white
– beat in a small bowl
Finely ground corn meal
– mix with a generous pinch of salt in a small bowl

I like to take a large pinch of goat cheese and roll it into a “tube” with my fingers, and then tuck it into the jalapeno. Dip the stuffed pepper in the egg, then roll in the cornmeal. Place on a greased cookie sheet and, if you like, spray with oil for extra crunch. Bake in a 400 degree oven for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown.


Sauteed Mushroom Burritos

I love mushrooms in everything, especially pasta. Some days it just seems so easy to throw some sauteed baby bellas in a good quality pasta with sea salt and grated Parmigiano, that I can get stuck in a rut. While I often combine mushrooms with black beans, I was looking for a lighter dish, so I made this quick, flavorful burrito.

Sauteed Mushroom Burrito
serves 4

1 Tbs. butter or olive oil
one large clove garlic, sliced
one small onion, chopped
8 oz. baby bella mushrooms, sliced
large pinch cumin

4 whole wheat flour tortillas
red leaf romaine lettuce
chopped tomato
sliced hot peppers
3 oz. goat cheese, crumbled
salt and pepper

Melt the butter in a large sauce pan on medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and sautee until slightly brown. Add the sliced mushrooms, turning often, until softened. Add the generous pinch of cumin and raise the heat to medium-high and allow the mushrooms to brown at the edges.

Warm the flour tortillas. Lay the lettuce leaves on the tortillas. Top with the sauteed mushrooms, divided between the four tortillas. Add the tomatoes, peppers, crumbled goat cheese and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Chard and Saffron Omelette

This unique omelette recipe from Plenty uses piles of shredded swiss chard, a handful of herbs, garlic, and lemon juice to put a very savory spin on the traditional omelette. Finely chopped potato is cooked with saffron, and then swiss chard is added, just long enough to soften. The herbs are beat with egg, and then, when the omelette is just solid – mine got a little “golden”- it’s slid out of the pan and filled with creme fraiche (or greek yogurt) infused with fresh garlic, then filled with the potato/chard mixture and folded. More than filling, very delicious.

Simple Peach Cake

I bought another ten pounds of peaches at the Farmers Market last weekend. I’m just not ready for peach season to be over! After I made pints of ginger peach jam and had a peach for breakfast every morning that week, I made this simple, rustic peach cake for a dinner with a friend. I used a recipe from my CSA, itself adapted from an Epicurious recipe using nectarines. I didn’t have the almond extract, but I added a little extra fresh grated nutmeg!

Golden Peach Cake

Adapted from Epicurious
Yield: 8 servings

1 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
Rounded 1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup plus 1/2 tablespoon sugar, divided
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon pure almond extract
2-3 peaches, pitted and cut into 1/2-inch-thick wedges
1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg


1. Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle. Lightly butter a 9-inch springform pan.

2. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.

3. In a large bowl, beat butter and 3/4 cup sugar with an electric mixer until pale and fluffy. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition, then beat in extracts. At low speed, mix in flour mixture until just combined.

4. Spread batter evenly in pan, then scatter peaches over top. Stir together nutmeg and remaining 1/2 tablespoon sugar and sprinkle over top.

5. Bake until cake is golden-brown and top is firm but tender when lightly touched (cake will rise over fruit), 45 to 50 minutes. Cool in pan 10 minutes. Remove side of pan and cool to warm.

Brunch-Run to Ants Pants

A few West Philly friends and I have come up with a new way to get that oft-forgotten weekend run. We pick a location, run there, eat, and then walk or take public transportation home. It’s a great “club” because we have an excuse to eat brunch, can eat as much as we want without thinking about running home, and have a fun, healthy late-morning with friends.

For my first brunch-run (with the great Bryan Moody) we ran from Clark Park over to Ants Pants in Graduate Hospital. Not that far, but a great way to start off! One of the best things about running to brunch is that you tend to not be as hungry when you get there. I ordered a lunch sandwich – a big brunch departure for me – on whole-grain bread with avocado, roasted red pepper, and pesto. Of course, it being brunch, I had them throw a fried egg on it. The sandwich was great. The pasta salad side unfortunately, was bland and unnecessary. Next time, I’ll be sure to ask for fruit instead!

Ants Pants Cafe on Urbanspoon

Garden Lunch Salad

My garden is still producing tomatoes and cucumbers and herbs and all kinds of good things. But the beginning of the school year always means that I have less time for cooking in the evening than I would like. My solution? Toss a whole bunch of delicious things in a tupperware, take them to work, and chop them all up there. If you don’t have a work kitchen, don’t worry. You can throw a salad like this together in just a few minutes. Measurements and amounts don’t really matter, either. Just try to balance out the your salty and savory with the sweet and the crunchy. The salad pictured above (along with a whole-grain bread heel and some hummus):

Amish paste tomatoes, halved
Small Kirby cucumber, sliced
fresh parsley
fresh basil
low-fat feta, crumbled
kalamata olives
sea salt and black pepper
white wine vinegar
olive oil

Rhuby at AITA

During September’s First Friday I popped in at Art in the Age to see the new show by the Reverend Michael Alan’s new show – a collection of drawings that eventually influenced the design of the AITA’s Rhuby label. Not yet able to find a bottle on the shelves, I was delighted to try this new spirit (I’ve only been waiting for months!) In 1771, Ben Franklin sent our nations first botanist, John Bartrum* a packet of rhubarb seeds from Britian,and America had a new, sourly delicious crop. Bartrum, smart man that he was, concocted a “garden tea” rhubarb, beets, carrots, lemon, petitgrain, cardamom, pink peppercorn, coriander, vanilla, and pure cane sugar. This early beverage is the inspiration for Root. Below you can see a slightly fuzzy photo that illustrates these influence.

If you haven’t tried Root or Snap, previous liquors in the AITA organic spirits line, it’s difficult to explain their dense spicy/sweet flavor profiles. On a simple level, though, I’d say that Root is most like bourbon, Snap is most like rum, and Rhuby is most like gin – crisp and vegetal with a touch of spice. AITA was serving it with tonic, but I made sure to try some on the rocks, just so I could tell you about it; s unmixed flavor, of course. Have you tried Rhuby yet? What are you drinking it with? AITA has a few ideas….

*If you haven’t been to Bartrum’s Garden, a treasure in Southwest Philadelphia, you really must get yourself there.