Tuesday, November 10, 2015

And Then There Were Three

Maxwell Tobias Curiel Murphey was born on October 1st, 2015.  

We named him after his dad and after our dog. (Yes. Tobias is our dog. And he's my best friend in the entire world and he... you know what? I'll write a post explaining this decision later.)

I'm still planning on picking up this blog again once I feel like my life is running at a steady pace again.

For right now, I'm a little over a month into my maternity leave and Little Max's schedule is all over the place. It will even out for a couple of days, and then it will be completely different with no notice (obviously, because he's an infant...). It's been overwhelming, exhausting, and amazing. 

While I heal and get my shit together, I probably won't be cooking anything new or exciting.

But here are some pictures of my adorable son for now!!

Monday, July 13, 2015

Baby Talk

I've been pretty absent from blogging over the past six or seven months because...

I'm pregnant!!

Boyfriend and I are expecting a baby boy in late September!

Everything went according to our plan:

We got engaged in D.C. in December.

After three months off the pill and three months of taking prenatal vitamins to prepare my body, I began ovulating the first week of January. We were very lucky and we got pregnant right away!

It was particularly challenging to motivate myself to keep up with this blog for a number of reasons. For one, I had pretty bad morning sickness and really low energy levels during my first trimester. I was sick all of the time, I was repulsed by many of my favorite foods, and finding the energy to cook was just out of the question. Boyfriend did a lot of taking care of me while I  tried to keep it together enough to make it to work and school.

After my first trimester passed, I was thrown into a whirlwind second trimester, which also happened to the final quarter of my undergraduate education. I was working my normal job, going to school full time, working part time at a family services organization internship, working as a teaching assistant for psychological statistics, and working on two separate research projects with a couple of my professors. Luckily my sickness had subsided (mostly!) and I had enough energy to pull this off before graduating. It was all worth it, and at the end of June, I walked away with two degrees. I walked across the stage at graduation 5 months pregnant, with an extreme need to pee. 

That brings us to the here an now. I'm 30 weeks pregnant, just went to the first of three baby showers for the summer, and I'm really starting to feel like a baby hippo.

Now that school is out, Boyfriend and I finally have time to start getting ready to bring our son home in ten weeks. I even found a second to make a blog post! Maybe I'll actually find time to cook or bake something before I shoot this kid out, too!!

This blog has always been mostly for me. Its always been a weird way for me to document the most important adventures I have and to keep an online recipe book. Occasionally, I'll post an idea or two for Pinterest, but mostly it's been a way for me to remain accountable to myself while I let all of the other parts of my life pull me in a million different directions. This blog is a simple way to keep me in a solid state, I guess. 

So I'm going to try my best to keep up with occasional posts, even if they're not food-related. Because once this baby comes, I'm going to need a way to stay solid and grounded more than I ever have in my entire life.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Sausage and White Bean Gratin

I'm slowly building my cookbook library (and by "slowly," I mean that I own three books total...). For Christmas this year, Boyfriend's mama got me Food & Wine's "Best of the Best." This is the first recipe I've made from it and it. So far, so good!!!

I'm not a huge fan of beans, but I'm pretty sure this recipe changed my mind!

  • 2/3 cup panko or dried bread crumbs
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • salt
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lb sweet italian sausages, casings removed (I used spicy turkey italian sausage)
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 heaping tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 scant tbsp fresh time leaves
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1-1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • Two 15.5 ounce cans white beans, such as cannelloni or Great Northern, drained and rinsed
  • pepper
  • 4 large handfuls baby spinach

  1. Preheat oven to 425 F.
  2. Combine panko and melted butter in a small bowl and set it aside.
  3. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat until it just begins to smoke. Add the sausage and cook until it has evenly browned. This should take about 5 minutes. 
  4. Remove the sausage from the skillet, leaving as much oil in the skillet as possible. Set the sausage aside. 
  5. Turn the heat down to medium-low and add the onions and garlic. Saute until the onions are translucent and the garlic is fragrant, about 8 minutes or so.
  6. Add the tomato paste and thyme and stir until well incorporated.
  7. Add the wine and bring to a boil. Simmer, scraping up brown bits for about 2 minutes.
  8. Add broth and simmer. 
  9. Add beans and season with salt and pepper.
  10. Simmer until reduced by about half. There should still be some liquid in the mixture.
  11. Add spinach and stir until wilted.
  12. Spoon mixture into a baking dish ad top with panko/butter mixture.
  13. Bake for 15 minutes. 
  14. Remove from over and let rest for ten minutes or so before serving.

Shrimp and Potato Cakes with Kale Braised in Chile Broth

Day 2 of my New Years resolutions for 2015:

Haven't started trying for Baby Murphey just yet. We are having a very belated Friendsgiving/Christmas tomorrow and I'd like to be able to drink alcohol without worrying that I may be pregnant.

BUT... healthy dinner night number 2 was a success!

I ate kale and I didn't hate it!!

Shrimp and Potato Cakes with Kale Braised in Chile Broth
(Adapted from Food and Wine)

Shrimp and Potato Cakes


  • 2 baking potatoes (1 1/4 pounds), peeled and halved lengthwise
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 scallions, finely chopped, plus 1 thinly sliced scallion, for garnish
  • 2 serrano chiles—stemmed, seeded and minced
  • 3/4 pound shelled and deveined large shrimp, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons finely grated Cotija cheese, plus more for garnish
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro, plus more for garnish
  • Canola oil, for frying
  • Kale Braised in Chile Broth (recipe follows)


  1. In a medium saucepan, cover the potatoes with water and bring to a boil. Add a generous pinch of salt and simmer over moderate heat until the potatoes are just tender, about 12 minutes. Drain and return the potatoes to the saucepan to dry and cool completely. Using a box grater, coarsely grate the potatoes into a large bowl.
  2. In a medium skillet, heat the olive oil until shimmering. Add the finely chopped scallions and the serranos and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the scallions and serranos to the potatoes and let cool.
  3. Line a baking sheet with wax paper. Add the shrimp, egg, 2 tablespoons each of Cotija and chopped cilantro and 1 teaspoon of salt to the potatoes and fold gently to combine. Form the mixture into 6 patties, a scant 3/4 inch thick and transfer them to the baking sheet. Refrigerate the cakes until just chilled, about 20 minutes.
  4. In a large, deep skillet, heat 1/2 inch of canola oil until shimmering. Add 3 of the shrimp cakes and fry over moderately high heat, turning once, until cooked through, about 5 minutes. Transfer the cakes to paper towels to drain. Repeat with the remaining 3 cakes.
  5. Spoon the kale into shallow bowls and top with the shrimp cakes. Garnish with Cotija, chopped cilantro and the sliced scallions and serve right away.

Kale Braised in Chile Broth


  • 4 cups chicken stock or low-sodium broth
  • 2 guajillo chiles, stemmed
  • 2 dried árbol chiles, stemmed
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/4 pounds kale, stems discarded and leaves chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • Kosher salt


  1. In a medium saucepan, bring the stock just to a boil. Remove from the heat and add the guajillo and árbol chiles and let stand until the chiles are softened, about 20 minutes.
  2. Transfer the chiles and stock to a blender. Add the oregano and cumin and puree.
  3. Strain the broth through a fine sieve back into the saucepan.
  4. In a large, deep skillet, heat the olive oil until shimmering. Add the kale and garlic and cook over moderately high heat, stirring often, until the kale just starts to wilt.
  5. Add the chile broth and bring to a boil. Cover partially and simmer over moderately low heat until the kale is tender and the broth is slightly reduced, about 15 minutes. Season with salt.

Asian Chicken Meatballs with Brown Rice

Happy New Year! I've been really lame about posting this year, and I definitely regret it. But it's been a crazy year for us here at Casa Murphalielann (Murphey, Curiel, Phalen, Brann)! A baby was born, I'm in my last year as an undergrad, and Boyfriend and I GOT ENGAGED!!!!!

Happy New Year from our furry family to yours!

Our nephew Rowan: AKA- R'wan, Babyman, Chunk, Fatty, and Chubbs


Dat ring doh.

And guess what? Our New Year's Resolution is to get pregnant!

So, obviously, we need to get our shit together as far as eating healthier and exercising. But who says eating right has to be boring?

As the first meal of the year, we're doing a flavorful twist on a classic meatball with chicken! Enjoy!

(And New Years Resolution number 2 is to update this blog more often!)

Asian Chicken Meatballs

(Adapted from Food and Wine Magazine)


  • 1 lb ground chicken
  • 1/2 cup plain bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup minced scallions
  • 3 tbsp minced ginger
  • 1 egg
  • 2 minced garlic cloves
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt

  1. Preheat oven to 450 F.
  2. Lightly toss together all ingredients.
  3. Form into 1 1/2 inch balls and arrange on baking sheet
  4. Bake for 13 minutes.
  5. Serve with rice and chile sauce.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Chocolate Ganache Bread Pudding with Rosemary Port Caramel Sauce

(Photo from Food and Wine)

I think this is the first time I've used a stock photo for a recipe. I feel pretty shitty about it, but I couldn't help it. I made homemade challah bread, added rosemary to the caramel sauce, and created a little bit of chocolate magic that was devoured before a proper photo could be taken.

I had enough ingredients to make this twice... and I still wasn't able to get my own photo.

It was too amazing to wait for. We had to eat it immediately. Photos seemed unnecessary. 

(Adapted from Vicki Wells)


  • 5 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 1 1/4 cups heavy cream
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 pound challah, crust removed, bread cut into 3/4-inch dice (6 cups)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Rosemary Port Caramel Sauce

  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon ruby port
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons rosemary


  1. Make the caramel sauce.
  2. In a heavy, medium saucepan, cook the granulated sugar over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until melted. Continue to cook, without stirring, until an amber caramel forms, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat. Add the light brown sugar and stir until smooth. Return the caramel to the heat and carefully add the port; the caramel will harden slightly. Cook, stirring, until the sugar dissolves. Add the cream and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 6 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla and rosemary. Transfer the sauce to a pitcher and serve warm.
  3. Preheat the oven to 325°.
  4. Put 2 ounces of the bittersweet chocolate in a small heatproof bowl.
  5. Heat 1/4 cup of the heavy cream in a small saucepan over moderately low heat. Pour the warm cream over the chopped chocolate and let stand for 5 minutes, then stir until the chocolate ganache is smooth. Let the chocolate ganache stand at room temperature until set.
  6. Butter an 11-by-8-inch baking dish. In a small saucepan, melt the butter.
  7. In a large bowl, toss the melted butter with the diced challah. Spread the bread on a baking sheet in an even layer and toast for about 15 minutes, or until the bread is golden brown. Wipe out the bowl.
  8. In a small saucepan, combine the remaining 1 cup of heavy cream with the milk and 6 tablespoons of the sugar and bring just to a boil. Remove the heavy cream mixture from the heat. Add the remaining 3 ounces of chopped bittersweet chocolate and let stand for 5 minutes, then whisk until the chocolate is melted.
  9. In the bowl used for the bread, whisk the remaining 6 tablespoons of sugar with the egg yolks, cocoa, vanilla and salt until a paste forms. Slowly whisk in the warm chocolate cream until smooth. Strain the custard into a clean bowl. Add the toasted bread and toss to coat with the warm chocolate cream. Let stand for 10 minutes, or until most of the chocolate cream is absorbed.
  10. Pour the bread mixture into the prepared baking dish. Using a large spoon, dollop the chocolate ganache on top. Bake the bread pudding for about 35 minutes, or until it is cooked through. Let the chocolate bread pudding stand for 15 minutes, then serve with the Port Caramel Sauce on the side.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Curried Maple-Mustard Chicken Breasts

I'm a picky eater, an curry freaks me out. The title of this recipe freaks me out, actually.

But shit damn, is this delicious.

I may change my ways.

(Adapted from Molly Chester)
Serves 4


  1. 1 stick unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  2. 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  3. 1/2 cup Dijon mustard
  4. 1 tablespoon mild or hot curry powder
  5. 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  6. 1/2 c. dark beer or beef broth
  7. Kosher salt
  8. Pepper
  9. Four 12-ounce, boneless, skinless chicken breasts


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. In a 9-by-13-inch ceramic baking dish, combine the butter with the maple syrup, mustard, curry powder, beer, and cayenne. Bake for about 5 minutes, until the butter is melted. Whisk in a generous pinch each of salt and pepper and let cool slightly, 5 to 10 minutes.
  2. Season the chicken with salt and pepper, add to the baking dish and turn to coat with the sauce. Carefully spoon some 
of the sauce over the chicken. 
  3. Bake for about 40 minutes, basting occasionally, until the chicken is glazed and an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part registers 165°. Transfer the chicken to a work surface and let rest for 10 minutes.
  4. Slice the chicken and transfer to plates. Whisk the pan sauce and spoon over the chicken. 
  5. Serve with rice, passing additional sauce at the table.

Grilled Chicken and Corn with Jalapeño-Lime Dressing

(Adapted from Dan Kluger)
Serves 4



  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons minced jalapeños (with seeds)
  • 1 1/4 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper


  • 4 ears of corn
  • 2 bunches scallions, halved
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Pepper
  • Four 6-ounce boneless, skin-on chicken breasts
  • 1 tablespoon rosemary leaves, chopped
  • 1 pint Sun Gold tomatoes, halved
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced basil
  • Chopped chives and finely grated lime zest, for garnish



  1. In a bowl, whisk all of the ingredients.


  1. Light a grill. Remove all but the last layer of green husk from the corn. In a bowl, soak the corn in water for 10 minutes, then drain.
  2. In a bowl, toss the scallions with 2 tablespoons of the oil; season with salt and pepper.
  3. In another bowl, coat the chicken with the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil and the rosemary; season with salt and pepper.
  4. Grill the corn, scallions and chicken over moderate heat, turning occasionally, until the corn and scallions are lightly charred and the chicken is cooked through, 5 minutes for the scallions and 15 minutes for the corn and chicken.
  5. Let the chicken rest for 5 minutes, then thinly slice across the grain.
  6. Chop the scallions into 1-inch pieces.
  7. Remove the husks and cut the corn kernels off of the cobs.
  8. Transfer the scallions and corn to a large bowl; add the tomatoes, basil and half of the dressing and toss.
  9. Transfer the salad to a platter. Top with the chicken and garnish with chives and lime zest. Serve the remaining dressing at the table.

Tangy Pulled Pork Sandwiches with Purple Cabbage Slaw


  • ½ red onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/8 c. cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp dark brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp dijon
  • ¼ tsp cayenne
  • 1 c. beef broth
  • 1 bottle Stubbs smoky mesquite
  • 4 pork loin chops
  • Purple Coleslaw (recipe below)
  • Soft Brioche Buns


  1. Make Brioche Buns!
  2. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  3. Set a skillet over medium-high heat.
  4. Sear pork chops for 1-2 mins on each side and place them in a dutch oven.
  5. Using the skillet that the chops were seared in, sauté onions and sugar until softened.
  6. Add garlic and stir until fragrant.
  7. Add cayenne, Dijon, and vinegar.
  8. Add broth and bottle of sauce and stir until combined.
  9. Add sauce mixture to dutch oven, bake covered at 300 F for 3 hrs

Coleslaw (Tyler Florence)


  • 1 tablespoon whole-grain mustard
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 head purple cabbage, finely sliced
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 2 carrots, sliced on mandoline
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. While the pork is cooking, prepare the slaw. Combine the mustard, mayonnaise, sour cream, lemon juice, vinegar and sugar. Mix well and add finely sliced savoy cabbage, purple cabbage, green onions and carrots. Season with salt and pepper, to taste, cover with plastic wrap and set aside in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve.

Honey-Lime Tequila Shrimp Tacos with Avocado, Purple Cabbage Slaw, and Chipotle Crema

We have a taco place around the corner from our place that has some of the best fish tacos I've ever had (and that's saying a lot, since I'm a Mexican that grew up near the ocean!). 

We've been trying to eat healthier lately, so I decided to try their shrimp tacos instead of the fish, since the fish is deep-fried. They were pretty bomb. And that inspired me to make some at home.

I wanted to make shrimp tacos that were slightly different, and I came across this recipe.

It was so good that we made it twice in one week. The second time, we made it for Robodice (Bestfriend and her boy, aka, our roommates. Aka, Candice and Robin...). Bestfriend isn't a huge seafood person, so the fact that she liked these is a pretty huge deal.

(Adapted from Tartine and Apron Strings)
Serves: 4 to 6 people



  • 2 pounds (454 g) raw shrimps, peeled and deveined
  • 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • juice of 2 limes + 1 lime
  • ½ cup tequila
  • 1 medium onion, finely minced
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground chipotle
  • 2 avocados, diced
  • corn tortillas
  • cilantro, finely chopped


  • 1/2 head of red cabbage, thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) freshly squeezed lime juice [about 2-3 limes]
  • 1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard
  • sea salt and pepper to taste
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil


  • 1 cup (250 ml) sour cream or créme fraîche [low fat can be used]
  • 1 to 2 pieces of chipotle chiles in adobo sauce [canned]


  1. Wash, peel, devein, and dry raw shrimps. Season with salt.
  2. In a bowl, combine honey, lime juice, tequila, onion, cumin, and chipotle powder (if using). Mix well and toss shrimps in marinade. Chill up to 30 minutes in the refrigerator.
  3. Heat grill to 400 F (205 C). Make sure to oil the grilles well. Skewer shrimps in soaked wooden sticks (this will make it easier to handle on a grill).
  4. Grill shrimps until bright or just opaque, about 2 minutes each side. Flip the shrimp skewers and cook for another 2 minutes or until they turn bright orange. Alternatively, you can also pan fry the shrimps. Set cooked shrimps aside.
  5. Dice the avocados and squeeze juice from the remaining 1 lime.
  6. Thinly slice the red cabbage using a sharp knife or a mandolin.
  7. To make the dressing for the red cabbage slaw, put the lime juice, Dijon mustard, sea salt, pepper and oil in a jar or bowl. Whisk vigourously until it emulsifies.
  8. Toss the red cabbage with the lime vinaigrette. Set aside.
  9. Meanwhile, to make the chipotle crema, place the chipotles in the bowl of the food processor and give it a good whirl until it is smooth.
  10. Stir in the sour cream or créme fraîche, mixing well until the colour is even. Transfer chipotle crema in a squeeze bottle (or a ziplock bag with the corner cut off!).
  11. To assemble the tacos, heat tortilla in a dry pan, about 1 minute per side or until lightly browned or charred. Wrap tortilla in a cloth to prevent from drying out. Set aside, covered.
  12. Place some diced avocados in the middle of the tortilla, followed by the red cabbage slaw. Remove skewers from shrimps and pile on the taco.
  13. Drizzle with the chipotle crema and garnish with cilantro. Serve immediately.

Steak With Sage Vermouth Sauce and Parmesan Vermouth Risotto

(Adapted from epicurious)
Serves 4



  • (4) 5 oz strip steaks
  • salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • olive oil

Sage-Vermouth Sauce

  • 1 large shallot, minced (about 4 tablespoons)
  • 3/4 cup canned chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup dry vermouth
  • 4 medium fresh sage leaves, each torn in half
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 3 pieces
  • salt & fresh ground pepper



  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Set an oven-proof skillet on the stove over medium-high heat.
  3. Sprinkle steaks with salt and pepper. Brush with olive oil.
  4. Sear steaks for 2 minutes per side.
  5. Finish steaks off in the oven, about 6 minutes, or until internal temperature reaches 130 for medium rare.
  6. Transfer steaks to a plate and tent with foil to rest. Don't wash the pan yet.


  1. Add shallot to the pan the steaks were cooked in. Set skillet over medium-high heat and cook, stirring frequently, until shallot is softened, about 1 1/2 minutes.
  2. Add chicken broth, vermouth, and sage; increase heat to high and simmer rapidly, scraping skillet bottom with wooden spoon to loosen browned bits, until slightly thickened and reduced to about 3/4 cup, about 5 minutes.
  3. Pour accumulated steak juices from the plate the steaks are resting on into skillet, reduce heat to medium, and whisk in butter 1 piece at a time.
  4. Season to taste with salt and pepper and discard sage.
  5. Spoon sauce around chicken breast and serve immediately.

Parmesan Vermouth Risotto

PROCEED WITH CAUTION: This Risotto is addicting. 

That is all.

(Adapted from Elizabeth Minchill)
Serves 6-8


  • 2 onions
  • 2 cups rice
  • 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • salt, pepper
  • 1- 1/4 cup dry white vermouth
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 cups rich chicken broth, warm


  1. Chop onion finely. Add to pot big enough to hold all the risotto, along with 2 tablespoons of butter and olive oil. Saute at low heat until the onion softens. About 10 minutes or so.
  2. Add about a tsp of salt, stir, and add the rice. Turn up the heat a bit, and stir the rice until it is well coated.
  3. Add the vermouth, and stir, until evaporated. Add about a cup of broth, and stir. Keep adding more broth and stirring until the rice is almost done. When it only has about 4 more minutes to cook, add the rest of the butter and stir. Then add the cheese and stir.
  4. Serve topped with freshly grated pepper.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Beignets with Vanilla Dipping Sauce


(Adapted from Alex Guarnaschelli)

I've made these baby donuts a zillion times since Boyfriend got me Alex Guarnaschelli's book, Old School Comfort Food

Boyfriend and the roommates lose their shit when I mention that I feel like making them.

Boyfriend told me "I didn't have to make them if I didn't want to" while giving me puppy dog eyes.

Kinny told me that she'd dip a shoe in the vanilla sauce and eat it.

I was considering making them on Monday and Robo made a whole speech about how "beignets and Mondays go together." Pretty sure that was a ploy to get me to make them right then and there.

But I was tired (or maybe feeling a little sadistic?) yesterday.

So here I am, on a Tuesday, frying up donuts in the middle of the  night.

Maybe I should get those three to cover my rent next month in exchange for late-night donuts.

  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 1/2 cups bread flour
  • Extra flour, for rolling the dough (about 1 cup total)
  • 1 gallon fryer oil

  1. In a medium bowl, stir together the yeast and the water. Set aside to proof.
  2. After 10 minutes, stir in the all-purpose flour, cover with plastic, set aside in a warm place and let it double in size.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar, 8 to 10 minutes.
  4. Add the eggs, with the mixer on low speed, one by one. When the mix is smooth, add the vanilla and salt. Stir to blend. Add the bread flour and mix on low speed until fully incorporated.
  5. Change the electric mixer attachment to a dough hook. Continue mixing the dough until it becomes a ball.
  6. Then, stir in the yeast mixture until thoroughly incorporated. Put the dough in a bowl, cover with plastic and allow to proof, 1 hour to 1 hour 30 minutes.
  7. Lightly flour a cool surface and roll the dough out to about 1 1/2-inch thickness.
  8. Using a pizza cutter, cut them into 1.5 in. x 1.5 in squares, and turn them onto a floured baking sheet to rest, 20 to 30 minutes, before frying.
  9. Heat the oil in a large pot to 365 to 370 degrees F.
  10. Drop the beignets in the hot fat and cook until golden brown on both sides, 3 to 4 minutes.
  11. Remove them from the oil with a slotted spoon. Dust with powdered sugar.
  12.  Serve immediately with Vanilla Dipping Sauce.

Vanilla Dipping Sauce

  • 1 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cups whole milk
  • 1 vanilla beans, split and scraped
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

  1. In a medium saucepan, bring the cream and milk to a simmer and add the vanilla beans.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until they become a pale yellow color, 3 to 5 minutes.
  3. When the milk/cream simmers, pour it gently over the egg yolks and whisk to blend.
  4. Pour the entire mixture back into the pot and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, until the mixture thickens slightly, 5 to 8 minutes.
  5. The sauce should register about 170 degrees F on a thermometer and still be smooth. Strain into a bowl, stir in the vanilla and allow to cool slightly before refrigerating.

Chile-Steamed Mussels with Green Olive Crostini

(Adapted from Mario Batali)

I'm going to be completely honest here and say that if you are an animal or creature lover at all, this is not the dish for you.

I had NO IDEA that the mussels I purchased would be ALIVE when I brought them home.

The guy at the store weighed them out for me, put them in a package with plastic wrap, and proceeded to poke holes in the plastic while explaining that "the mussels get claustrophobic, so you'll need to take them out of the package and put them on ice when you get home."

The personification of shellfish makes me very uncomfortable.

I was afraid of seeming like a rookie chef, so I said nothing, brought them home, and then tried really hard not to name each one that opened and closed when I touched its shell. 

After a whole day of mildly panicking, I realized that I had to cook them, or they would die anyway. ( It's not like I could set them free in the ocean....I live in the Inland Empire.)

After all of that, I feel a little guilty saying that they were damn delicious.

Serves 4


  • 1/8 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 medium red onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 habanero, seeded and thinly sliced
  • 1 cups dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 pounds black mussels, scrubbed and debearded
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • Green Olive Crostini


  1. In a large pot, heat the olive oil. Add the garlic, onion, bell pepper, jalapeños and habanero. Cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until the onion is golden, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the wine and boil over high heat for 1 minute. Add the tomato sauce, season with salt and pepper and bring to a boil.
  3. Add the mussels, cover and cook, shaking the pot a few times until the mussels open, about 5 minutes; discard any that don't open.
  4. Divide the mussels and broth among 4 bowls; sprinkle with scallions and serve.