Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Museday #4

I am wildly inspired after a day spent running errands (and eating not nearly enough) in New York City. I'm back for the summer and looking forward to simple lunches on the go and dinners at hole-in-the-wall but mind-blowingly-delicious favorites. I'll write about particularly exciting finds occasionally. 

(Union Square Greenmarket, Summer 2010)

I'm also excited to re-ignite my love affair with the Union Square Greenmarket on Saturdays. There's nothing better than fresh produce and a glimpse of the empire state building. So very, very inspiring. Happy summer everybody!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Museday #3

I can't help but be inspired by all things light and summery this week. How about you?

Strawberry Summer Cake from Smitten Kitchen. This looks divine, and it has me craving (and making) things like blueberries with maple cream and cinnamon, strawberry pie and banana pudding (you'll see those recipes this summer). If it involves fruit, I'm making it for dessert. 

Muscovado Semifreddo, roasted rhubarb, shortbread crumbles from Not Without Salt. Is there anything about this dish that doesn't scream summer?! I'm excited about trying this recipe, and other rhubarb inventions.

Raspberries, people. They're delicious and I'm going to do all sorts of cooking with them this week and next. You'll see a raspberry & blackberry clafouti coming up soon on flavorfull.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Tofu & Glass Noodle Stir Fry

I was nine years old when my family moved to Verona, WI (near Madison, WI). On our first visit to my elementary school we met another family who had just moved to the area from England. My mother became close friends with the mother from the other family, Harwinder, in mere moments. Ever since, they've been more than family friends. To me, they are simply family.
You're probably wondering what this has to do with the mung bean noodles pictured above, right? I'm getting to it. Harwinder grew up in Malaysia and she makes, without exception, the best Indian, Malaysian, and Chinese food I have ever eaten. In my entire life. This woman is a talented, talented cook.
Since I walked home from school with her kids and hung out at their house "doing homework" after school (read: giggling about boys with their middle daughter, listening to English pop music and making a life-long friend), I often invited myself got invited to stay for dinner. I'm no fool. I knew even then that I was in the presence of culinary talent. I was also a vegetarian. Which (finally) brings me to my main point. This dish is based off of something Harwinder made for me a lot. It's vegetarian--vegan, in fact--and, to boot it can be made gluten free if you use La Choy brand soy sauce (I picked up this weird little factoid from working at a sushi restaurant in NYC). Plus, most importantly, it tastes really good. 
Tofu & Glass Noodle Stir Fry
By Alexandra Rogers, Inspired by Harwinder Dowd

Marinade + Tofu
1 (10 oz) block of high protein tofu, super firm
1/3 cup low sodium soy sauce
1/3 cup water
4 teaspoons chili garlic sauce
Stir Fry
4 bundles of cellophane noodles (you can find them in the Asian food aisle of most large grocery stores)
3 Tablespoons oil (I used sunflower oil, but you can use whatever you like)
4-5 medium cloves of garlic, minced
1 (8 oz) bag of snow peas
3/4 cup bean sprouts
1 Bok Choy

Marinade + Tofu
1.Chop tofu into squares that are 1/4" thick and 1" wide and long.
2. In a tupperware container combine soy sauce, water and chili garlic sauce. Add tofu and shake to coat evenly. 
3. Marinate for at least 20 minutes. Overnight in the fridge is fine as well.

*BEFORE YOU BEGIN-I own a very large saute pan and I still had to make this recipe in two batches. This means you might want to prep everything you have but only make a 1/2 recipe at a time, so as not to overcrowd the pan and stop it from cooking properly. Please let me know if you have any questions about this.*

Stir Fry
1. wash and dry the bok choy. Separate the leaves from each other. Then, with a knife, separate the leafy, green part of the bok choy from the firm, white part. Chop the bok choy leaves into approximately 1" pieces and slice the stems into 1/2" pieces (like you would slice a carrot). Set aside.
2. Fill a medium pot with water and bring to a boil. When water is boiling rapidly (in other words, the bubbles are large and popping up fiercely) add the mung bean noodles. You might have to use a wooden spoon to shove them in as they are rather stiff and oddly shaped. Once the noodles are in, cook for only three minutes, then drain and set aside. The noodles should be white and semi-translucent.
3. Coat the largest pan you have with the oil of your choice and bring to medium-high heat. Once the pan is hot, add garlic--you should hear it sizzle. Let garlic cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring frequently.
4. Add bok choy stems and cook for two minutes. 
5. Add snow peas and marinated tofu, reserving the marinade.
6. Add bean sprouts and cook for 2-3 minutes.
7. Add mung bean noodles and pour the marinade over the mixture in the pan. 
8. Continue to cook over medium-high heat using two wooden spoons to stir the mixture and break up the noodles.
9. Once the noodles have absorbed the sauce and just as things begin to get a little sticky in the pan, pull the pan off of the heat and serve. Makes approximately 10 servings.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


Hello readers! It is that time again. Here's a little selection of what is inspiring me today. Not to worry, now that summer is in full swing, I'll be sure to post something other than inspiration! Look for at least one decidedly summer-themed recipe coming your way later this week. Now, without further ado...

I'm always amazed by the deliciousness found on Not Without Salt. These are gluten-free chocolate biscotti. Way back when, I helped coordinate catering for weddings, and one day a mother-of-the-bride brought the wedding guests (and service staff) some cinnamon sugar chocolate chip biscotti. It was the first time I ever liked biscotti and I've been dying to experiment with it since. 

If you know me at all, you know I cure a bad day with crack pie from Momofuku Milk Bar. Of course, since moving to Wisconsin, I've been going through David Chang-withdrawals. Now, at the very least, I'll have the recipe for his ooey-gooey (there is literally no better way to describe it), buttery, oat-y,  crack pie, thanks to Peas Love Carrots.

People. I'm not going to lie to you. So far, I've failed at making good granola twice.  My first attempt was sickeningly sweet. My second attempt tasted like...really nothing. But I am damn-determined to make some delicious, inexpensive granola and put it in beautiful ball jars by the end of this summer. Bitchin' Camero has re inspired me with her granola recipe, adapted from one she found in the New York Times.

This is the top, #1, main inspiration in my life right now. And it is so funny I ran across this because for weeks now, all I've thought about is upside down cakes (and yes, I did spend most of this week and last  week writing my Masters thesis proposal. Unfortunately, they won't give me a Masters degree in Journalism for researching upside down cakes. Wouldn't that be the life?) I digress. Look at this gorgeous apple upside down biscuit cake situation from The Pioneer Woman. Just goes to show you that summer + upside down cakes go hand in hand. And that the The Pioneer Woman is amazing. 

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


Hello dear readers. This is the first of a new series of posts, named...wait for it...Muse-day. Yes, I know, I'm cheesy. These Tuesday posts will point to several sources of inspiration I've found in the past week, from fellow food bloggers and other sources as well. Inspired by The Pioneer Woman's "Web Deliciousness" and Cupcakes and Cashmere's Five Things posts, I hope that these collections of muses will inspire you all as well.
Spiced Coconut Spinach recipe from 101 cookbooks. I'm looking forward to trying the Spinach and Coconut combo!

Quinoa. You may have noticed the beginning of my recent obsession with Quinoa, here. Now, the obsession is growing. I'm looking forward to trying the Quinoa Primavera recipe from Whole Foods.

Since the beginning of summer for students means sleeping in, I can think of no better source of inspiration than luxurious breakfasts. These Lemon Blueberry Pancakes from The Pioneer Woman would be a great reward for a semester completed. Totally drool-worthy.

I can barely wait to try these Cocoa Brownies with Salted Peanut Butter Frosting. The title says it all, and how beautiful is Not Without Salt?

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Mother's Day Gift Ideas: for the chocoholic mother

Is your mother a chocoholic? Mine is.That might explain the prevalence of rich, chocolate recipes on this blog. (Wondering why I'm rambling about my mother? It is not only because she is awesome, but also because it's mothers day on May 8th. You should probably do something about that...I've come up with some ideas for you.)

1. Indulgent Chocolate Brownies--These are from a recipe perfected, fittingly, by my mother. Man, is she the queen of chocolate desserts...They've gotten stunning reviews from my followers, so I'd really encourage these. Plus, they're mailable.

2. Chocolate Cookies with Peanut Butter Chips--Never had a good reason to buy peanut butter chips before? (Seriously, do you need a reason?) Well, anyway, these are it. Also, they're mailable.

3. Double Chocolate Loaf with Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Spread--Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Spread + Double Chocolate Loaf Shaped Dessert? That, my friends = heaven. Simple math, really.

4. Chocolate Pots de Creme & Almond Wafers--This is a recipe from Just A Taste, by Kelly Senyei, and it is almost as adorable as it is show-stopping. Don't skimp on the almond wafers, you'll want extra. And check out Just A Taste, it is one of the blogs that inspired to me to get started. I made these on Mother's Day last year and they went over very well.

Now, you may be thinking--this is all well and good but my mother lives miles, hours, even continents away. Well, my good people, that is what the U.S. Postal Service is for. (or Fed Ex, or whatever is most painless for you). Options #1 and #2 are easily shipable and should stay good for quite a few days after baking. And think of how happy mom will be to receive a care package from YOU, instead of the other way around! Options #3 and #4 are recommended for close-by mothers, since they would be significantly harder to ship.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Magic Coffee

Once upon a time, in a town called Madison, WI there existed a lovely cafe named Cafe Soleil. This cafe had beautiful quiche and daily soups and the best damn almond croissant I've ever had. In my whole entire life. But what really set it this place apart, more than anything else, was the magic coffee.  
Yes, they actually called it that. Though Cafe Soleil has sadly vanished, Graze on the capitol square (another baby of awesome, recent James Beard Award Nominee Chef Tory Miller) does still offer magic coffee (and those equally magical almond croissants). I had the good fortune of learning a little bit about the secret recipe behind magic coffee from a source who shall remain unnamed, and-although I don't make it exactly the same-I think my version is pretty. darn. good. Seriously people, who couldn't use a change in their daily coffee routine? Give it a try--it still gives you quite a kick, but it tastes...well...magical. There's also a cocktail based on this, wait for that, because I promise when I post that cocktail recipe, it will be legendary. 
Magic Coffee
By Alexandra Rogers
Inspired by the Magic Coffee at Graze

1-1/2 cups freshly brewed coffee
1/2 cup milk (you choose--I like skim but the fattier the milk the creamier the drink)
1-1/2 Tablespoons brown sugar (do 2 Tablespoons if you like your coffee to taste more like sugar than coffee)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
dash nutmeg

Combine all ingredients in a jar or tightly sealed tupperware container and shake. Place in refrigerator for about 1 hour. Serve over ice on a hot summer day! Serves 2.
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