Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Brown Butter Carrot & Walnut Integrale Risotto

Brown rice risotto is not a phrase you hear uttered very often. It is, however, a deliciously nutty alternative to arborio rice with the same toothsome, al dente quality. Paired with earthy sweet carrots, rich walnuts and brown butter this Integrale Risotto makes for a wonderful spring risotto dish, equal parts virtuous and decadent.

Risotto and I have a long history together. I first fell in love with the slow, methodical process of making risotto while living in Italy. I was impressed with the versatility of this humble dish and loved trying different recipes in various cities such risotto ai frutti di mare (seafood risotto) on the coast or the classic saffron infused risotto Milanese in Milan. Risotto for me is a comfort food - albeit the most elegant comfort food out there - and was the first dish Thom ever cooked for me (smart man!). As you know, that love affair continues as well.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Best Grilled Cheese I Ever Ate

I know, I know, that's a big, bold statement to say this is the best grilled cheese I ever ate. But it's true. Oh sure, there might be a grilled cheese somewhere in the future that is better. That is just a little cheesier, a little crispier, a little more savory... but until that day comes to pass I stand by my statement. For this is no ordinary grilled cheese. In fact, Sade could sing a whole new song about this sandwich.

I get together with a small group of girlfriends about every 18 months for a swap party. We all bring our too big or too small clothes or the ones that just don't work for us individually and we swap. My awesome bright red spring coat came from my friend Liz the first year of the swap and my new jeans (tags still on!) came from my friend Ann this year. Everyone brings their bundle, we have wine and nibblies, and we "shop" each other's closets. At the end of the swap all the leftovers go to a local charity.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Mascarpone Meatballs & Farmer's Market Pasta

These mascarpone meatballs are so tender and flavorful they just melt in your mouth. Fragrant with herbs and just a hint of spice they pair beautifully with a variety of sauces for pasta or just sop them up with a crusty loaf of bread for a quick and filling lunch.I love them paired with fresh vegetables and a roasted pepper sauce - my Farmer's Market Pasta.

Like many people I have beautiful memories of my Mom making tomato sauce and meatballs. It was an all day affair that mostly involved shooing me out of the kitchen. This was probably wise since when Mom wasn't looking I would take one of her worn wooden spoons and scoop out a meatball to eat. So hot I would almost burn my tongue, but so worth it for the way they fell apart when bitten into, sauce dripping from the wooden spoon.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Eight Layer Coconut Lemon Cake with Raspberries and Toasted Coconut

This eight layer coconut lemon cake with raspberries and toasted coconut is a birthday cake to end all birthday cakes. A behemoth of a cake that took nearly all day to make but was the birthday present in itself.  My sister-in-law loves coconut cake. Last year for her birthday I made a chocolate cake with orange marmalade filling and a coconut frosting. It wasn't one of my best. This year, I decided to make the biggest, bestest, tastiest, moistest, most coconutty cake possible. Behold! The Eight Layer Coconut Lemon Cake!

Several days before Andrea's birthday I sent her about three emails with various options for coconut cake pairings. I wasn't able to procure passion fruit, which was our combined first choice; I couldn't get coconut-chai out of my head so I made this Chai Almond Cake with Toasted Coconut Buttercream for a dinner at my mother's house the day before Andrea's birthday. Seriously. Baking cakes for days and days. And I'm surprised there's too much buttercream around my middle layer? Oouf. Or should I say oeuf? Heehee... just a little French baking humor.

Right. Back to the cakes. Mmm... cake. Andrea's close second choice was a coconut lemon cake and so this is what happened... 

Monday, May 14, 2012

Country Farmhouse Salad

This Country Farmhouse Salad is a hearty combination of fresh baby spinach, asparagus, and sauteed mushrooms and shallots, topped with a buttery fried egg and garnished with crispy bacon. Perfect for a brunch or as dinner on a warm evening this salad strikes a pleasing balance between healthy greens and a touch of decadence.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Blood Orange and Strawberry Jam

Sweet, fresh, tart, ruby-red blood orange and strawberry jam. Absolute heaven on buttered toast with tea. Home cooks have been making jam for hundreds of years with recipes passed on from grandmother to mother to daughter as a way to preserve the family's home grown fruits throughout the winter. For those of us who grew up in suburbia, with neither fruit trees nor a family canning recipe, homemade jam is something for the trendy or intrepid.

Perhaps you make jam because you care about the food you eat and want to serve minimally processed food to your family. Or, maybe you simply want to be able to eat a gourmet jam that isn't available on your supermarket's shelves. It's possible I simply fall into the "mmm... yummy jam!" category.

Monday, May 7, 2012

The Butcher, The Baker, the Blogger ~ Copyright & You

May marks the second month of the Food Bloggers Network. After our first month together I gushed like a kid with a crush about how much I adore this group of bloggers. Today, however, I'd like to discuss a serious and fundamental topic that touches all food bloggers: copyright. Before we get started let's remember that I am not a lawyer and this is not legal advice. It is, I hope, reasonably well-researched information meant to inform and guide the reader to appropriate resources. When in doubt, consult a real-live-in-the-flesh lawyer who specializes in copyright law.

All food bloggers - whether or not you are well-known, popular, or successful - are bound by the laws of copyright. It applies to anyone who writes in a public forum (be it a Facebook page, a recipe share site, a book, an e-book, or a blog). Copyright infringement has come up twice in the last month to FBN members. But what is copyright? How do you protect your work? How do you prevent yourself from infringing on another person's copyright? Where does copyright end and blogging etiquette begin? It sounds like a lot to research, understand, and follow but in reality it's much easier than redesigning your website (branding, coding, um... yeah... I'll leave that for another day!) and honestly follows a lot of the same guidelines as basic common sense.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Pastalove Bloghop - Meyer Lemon and Ramp Pasta with Arugula

A creamy combination of Meyer lemons and ramps, sprinkled with fresh arugula and tossed in fettucine make for a fresh, yet satisfyingly decadent, pasta dish. While both ramps and Meyer lemons may sound exotic or unusual depending on where you live, they can generally be found along the East coast in the spring at farmer's markets or specialty produce stores.

Zucchini Ripieni ~ a guest post on Ditch the Wheat

Today I am pleased to be guest posting on Ditch The Wheat. I first became acquainted with Carol through the Food Bloggers Network and got to know her blog which, as the name suggests, focuses on gluten-free and low-carb baking and cooking recipes. Carol creates enticing recipes for anyone who likes sweet treats like Cinnamon Bun Cupcakes or flavorful, savory dishes such as Clams in Spicy Coconut Sauce; all with her special low-carb and gluten-free touch.

If you've been reading Oh Cake regularly chances are you don't follow a particular diet (other than deliciousness). But maybe you're curious about gluten-free cooking or you want to invite a friend to dinner who follows a low-carb diet. Cooking for special diets shouldn't be scary - use it to let your imagination run wild. Or in my case, use the opportunity to recreate a favorite dish from your past life in Italy.

To read more about these zucchini ripieni (stuffed zucchini) and the story behind them click on over to Ditch The Wheat.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Grilled Vegetable Burgers with Balsamic Glaze

Who doesn't love getting together with friends around the grill in the summer? Whether you grill burgers and hot dogs, veggies, fish, or fruit, summer tastes a little better when we're at a backyard barbecue. These burgers combine a classic meatloaf blend with ground turkey for a heart-healthy twist on the classic. By adding finely chopped grilled vegetables the flavor profile becomes more nuanced (aka "tastier") while boosting the vitamin and fiber content of each burger.

Confession time, peeps. This Cake needs to lose some of the buttercream around the edges. These grilled vegetable burgers allow me to feed my summertime soul while being kinder to my waistline than the original. It's also a fantastic way to use up leftover grilled vegetables from the night before. I like using red peppers, eggplant, and zucchini but you can use whatever variety of grilled vegetables you like best.