SavoryGirl’s Strawberry Shortcake

Ok, full disclosure...I am committing a major blogger faux pas here.  I'm re-posting something from last August...but it's so yummy and the strawberries at the Farmer's Market are so amazing right now that I just couldn't help myself. I don't want any of you to miss out on this delicious, easy homemade summer dessert. Nothing says summer like strawberry shortcake! I grew up eating those little sponge cakes you buy at the store with cool whip but over the years I've developed a completely homemade strawberry shortcake recipe that I absolutely adore. It's super easy and well worth the tiny bit of extra effort over store brought. My recipe below makes enough for about 8 servings...and once you try it, you'll never go back to the store bought version again!

Berries: 3 baskets of fresh, ripe strawberries 2 tsp. sugar

Quarter strawberries into a medium sized bowl...if they're larger strawberries cut into sixths or eighths. Sprinkle with sugar, stir, cover bowl with plastic wrap and let sit in the fridge for a minimum of 30 minutes. This is called macerating...the sugar softens the berries and pulls the juices out of the berries so that you get a nice natural sauce along with your berries.
S’Mores Cupcakes!

Holy Schmoly do I have a treat for you...S’Mores Cupcakes!  That’s right people, bring that campfire treat into your home year round in the intoxicating form of a cupcake. And since we're right on the cusp of camping and s'mores season I thought it was the perfect time to share this amazing twist on an old classic.

To be perfectly up front, this is a relatively labor intensive cupcake to make, but I don’t bake very often so when I do I like to give it my all and this little piece of heaven is certainly worth the effort. Here is the recipe for Society Bakery’s S’Mores Cupcakes, which appeared in a 2011 Bon Appétit, but my photos and comments are shared below for a little added motivation to make these yummy treats.
Disappearing Zucchini Orzo with Grilled Shrimp

This is an oldie but a goodie that I found years ago when I read one of my now favorite books Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. It is a super simple, healthy and delicious dinner.  Perfect for a warm summer night…particularly late summer when you're just starting to get sick of zucchini.  If you eat seasonally like we do, in the early summer it's hard to imagine you'll ever get sick of zucchini since it's been so long since you've had it…but it can happen!

So if it happens to you whip up this dish,  because as the name of it suggests, the zucchini kind of disappears within the orzo and it helps you use up lots of zucchini if you're lucky enough to have one of those neighbors who keeps bringing you baskets- full!  It's also a great dish if you're trying to sneak some veggies into the kids as I know you parents often need to do.

The original recipe can be found here, but I've also copied it below with a few very minor adjustments (including the addition of grilled shrimp).
Lemony Chicken Orzo Soup with Spring Peas

I know, I know...soup often isn't top of mind as we head into the warmer Spring and Summer months but this soup is so refreshing because of the fresh lemon that it really works all year long.  The original Bon Appétit recipe doesn't call for the addition of Spring peas but I think they brighten up the dish even more. I also made a few other small tweaks, so my adapted version is below:

Huevos Rancheros Cups

Huevos Rancheros is one of my all-time favorite breakfasts...I honestly make it like 6-8 times a month.  But sometimes an old favorite needs a new twist. So I posted this picture of one of my random weekend breakfast creations on Facebook a while back and have been getting pestered by family and friends for the recipe ever since.  So while it isn't a formal recipe per se, it did turn out quite delicious so I thought I'd share...enter SavoryGirl's Huevos Rancheros Cups!

Serves 2

4 corn tortillas (mini slider-sized tortillas if you can find them)
4 eggs
1 can black beans
1 can chopped jalapeños
1 shallot, minced
¼ cup chopped cilantro
salt & pepper to taste
shredded cheddar or mexican-blend cheese
salsa, for serving


Move oven rack to upper third of oven. Preheat oven to 350°

Mix together black beans, jalapeños, minced shallot, chopped cilantro and salt & pepper to taste. Set aside.

Evenly coat the inside of four 10-oz ramekins with olive oil or spray oil.  Stack 4 corn tortillas on a paper towel and microwave for 15 seconds to soften.  Gently push each tortilla into a ramekin so it lines the inside like a muffin cup.

Spoon two heaping spoonfuls of the black bean mixture into each tortilla. Crack an egg on top of bean mixture. Season with salt and pepper.

Place in oven for 20 minutes or until whites begin to set around the edges. Sprinkle with shredded cheese to cover top of the egg.  Bake for another 5-7 minutes until white is fully set, but yolks are still soft.

Gently ease tortilla cup out of each ramekin with a spoon onto a plate. Serve with salsa, dig in and enjoy.  
Toasted Coconut Trail Mix

So I'm only a few days into the 2013 Whole Living 3-week Detox and while I have been thrilled with all of the recipes so far, this one snack recipe is so easy and yummy I wanted to share.  I may never buy trail mix again! Since it is part of the cleanse it has no processed sugar and no gluten...just four simple ingredients.  Take less than 15 minutes to make, but make sure to make a double batch...it goes fast!

Original recipe can be found here, but I've also copied it below:

½ cup shelled, unsalted pistachios
½ cup chopped unsweetened dried apricots
½ cup unsweetened coconut flakes, toasted*
½ cup chopped unsalted almonds, toasted*

Mix all four ingredients together in a bowl and enjoy!  Can be stored in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

If you have a hard time finding unsweetened coconut or unsweetened apricots check your local health food store or Whole Foods.

*To toast the coconut and chopped almonds simply spread them out on a foil-lined pan and pop in the oven at 350 degrees for roughly 5 minutes.  Keep an eye on them...once the coconut starts to brown around the edges it's done but can start to burn quickly.

Roasting Red Peppers at Home

Roasted red peppers are one of those ingredients that immediately elevate a dish to gourmet. So sweet, so smoky and so amazingly delicious. The problem is, however, that we like to eat them quite often and the store bought roasted red peppers are quite expensive and usually soaking in oil. So a few years ago we tried our hand at making them at home and haven't turned back since. If you have a gas stove they're incredibly easy to make, much healthier, less expensive, and...bonus...make your house smell incredible.

So let's get started! Place a clean red pepper directly on the flame of a gas stove set to medium-high. Using heat-proof tongs, turn pepper as each side begins to burn and blister until entire pepper is blackened and crisp. Usually about 1-2 minutes per side or about 5-7 minutes in total.  Sometimes you need to use the tongs and hold the pepper over the flame at an angle to get in the crooks if it's a bit more more misshapen.

Once the majority of the pepper is blackened, take the blackened red pepper off the flame and immediately place into  a tightly covered dish (plastic wrap will do if the dish doesn't have a proper lid) or you can simply place the pepper back into your plastic produce bag and tie it closed. This latter option is good for less clean up if you're just doing one pepper.
Vegetarian Eats for the Big Game!

Ok...so I'm not super excited about the Superbowl this year. I mean my Pats were only one game away from making it in, and let's be honest, it wasn't a very respectable loss. So while I certainly go big for the Superbowl when the Pats are in it, this year I'm trying my best to keep it a bit simpler and healthier. My Pats are worth the calories and effort...the Niners and the Ravens, not so much. So I thought I'd include a few more veggies in our spread this year. Yes, some will be smothered with cheese, but hey, it's a start.

So first up...those delicious looking Spicy Broccoli Rabe & Provolone Grinders above. Yes, Grinders. I'm from MA, after all...no Subs or Hoagies here!. I made these for the first time this year and while they may slightly disappoint that guest who sees them and excitedly asks if they're Cheesesteaks, they are pretty fabulous.

The soft french rolls are slathered with a homemade spicy white bean spread (store-bought spicy hummus will do in a pinch), piled high with crispy oven roasted broccoli rabe, smothered in melty provolone and sprinkled with red jalapenos. Yum.  I know I certainly didn't miss the meat. The original recipe can be found here...but, like I said you can simplify buy using store-bought spicy hummus instead of making your own spread (although the homemade stuff is yummy). I also simplified by oven roasting the rapini rather than cooking it the way they suggested.  I think it works even better (adds some crisp!) and dirties way fewer dishes, which I always like. C'mon...you know you want to grab one!

Next up...some snack-y finger food without all the calories of nuts. Pan fried shishito peppers!  These little peppers are relatively easy to find these days since they've really grown in popularity.  They're not spicy peppers, but slightly sweet and so delicious when cooked up this way. So simple and easy...they're best warm, but they go fast so cook up a big batch!

New Year Eve Cocktail Favorites

There's no better way to start the new year off with good friends at an intimate yet festive house party. I know some like to go out on the town and get crazy...trust me, I've had my fair share of those New Year's Eve celebrations as well. But over the years I've always ended up feeling like the hassle of transportation, cost of the entire night and ultimate hellacious hangover aren't entirely worth it. To be honest, there's nothing more depressing to me than feeling completely awful and bad about myself on January 1st...so now my celebration of preference is one that lends itself to at least a slightly lesser hangover. Enter, the house party.

Every good house party, particularly on New Year's Eve, has at least one specialty cocktail. On this special night, those cocktails should definitely include champagne so I thought I would share a couple of my favorite champagne cocktails to help you start 2013 off right. Most are very basic...but the basic yet delicious cocktail is the best friend of a party hostess!
Christmas Morning Monkey Bread

Growing up as a child, Monkey Bread was a relatively rare but very welcome treat. Nothing was more enjoyable to me than eating with my hands and getting all sticky alongside my parents. I don't think we typically had it on Christmas morning, but as I've developed my own traditions with Christian this recipe has become our go-to Christmas morning staple.

It's a perfect Christmas morning breakfast...you can partially prepare it the day before and refrigerate it and then just do one last-minute step and pop it in the oven first thing while the coffee is brewing and everyone is gathering around the tree. Makes the house smell delicious! Traditional monkey bread doesn't have any orange zest or pecans so feel free to omit but I think these additions really make it special...