Recipe: Carrot Graham Layer Cake

Source: Smitten Kitchen (

Servings: 1 9-inch 3-layer cake


For the cake:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 3/4 cup finely ground graham cracker crumbs, plus extra for decoration if you wish
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking power
  • 3/4 teaspoon fine sea or table salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg or a bunch of gratings of fresh
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 dark brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons neutral oil or melted butter (i.e. 1 tablespoon short of 1 cup)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3 cups peeled and grated carrots (about 12 3/4 ounces or 360 grams; 2 cups = 8.5 ounces peeled/grated)

For the filling:

  • 2 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 cups powdered sugar, sifted if lumpy
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract


  1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line three 9 -inch pans with a fitted round of parchment paper and coach with a nonstick cooking spray. Don’t have three matching cake pans? Me neither. As soon as you finish baking and unmolding the first layer cake, wipe out the baking pan, put down a new round of parchment and coat the pan with spray before using it again (I only had one pan but was able to use the same parchment round for all 3).
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, graham crumbs, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk (yes you can use the same one) together the sugars, oil and eggs until smooth. Stir in grated carrots. Pour wet ingredients into dry and stir until flour just disappears.
  3. Pour batter evenly between three prepared baking pans. Bake each layer for 15 to 18 minutes until a tester comes out clean. Cake will seem soft and likely still sticky on top. Let rest in the cake pans for 5 minutes on a cooling rack, then run a knife around the edges of the first cake layer to ensure no parts are sticking to the sides, flip cake out onto cooling rack, remove parchment paper and flip back right-side-up on another cooling rack. Repeat with remaining layers and let the layers cool completely before filling. To hurry the cooling process along, and to make this soft cake easier to handle, you can place cake layers in your freezer until cool and slightly firm.
  4. With an electric mixer, beat cream cheese and butter together until smooth and fluffy. Beat in powdered sugar, a little at a time. Beat in vanilla until combined.
  5. Arrange first cake layer on a cake plate or stand. Spread top with frosting; repeat twice with remaining layers. If desired, sprinkle top decoratively with extra graham crumbs – I used a cookie cutter to make a loose outline of a flower shape on mine. Let cake chill until serving.


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Posted by on February 11, 2018 in Desserts


Recipe: Lamb Chops with Pistachio Tapenade

Source:  Smitten Kitchen ( barely tweaked from Anne Burrell (

Servings: 6 lamb chops or 1 (8-rib) rack of lamb


  • 1/2 cup pistachios, shelled and toasted (we didn’t toast ours)
  • 1/2 cup pitted green olives
  • 2 tablespoons capers
  • 1 clove garlic, smashed
  • 1 tablespoon freshly chopped oregano leaves (we’ve made without and it’s still good)
  • 2 tablespoons freshly chopped parsley leaves
  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 1 rack of lamb or 6 lamb chops
  • salt
  • freshly ground pepper


  1. In a food processor, combine the pistachios, olives, capers, garlic, herbs and puree. While the machine is running, slowly drizzle in olive oil until the mixture becomes a paste. Add the zest and pulse 1 more time, drizzling in more oil if necessary. Reserve until ready to use.
  2. Season you lamb with salt and pepper. Allow them to sit for 10 to 15 minutes before cooking.
  3. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Coat a large saute pan generously with olive oil and bring to medium-high heat. When the oil is hot but not smoking, add the lamb chops and cook for about 2 minutes on each side to brown. If the pan begins to smoke, lower the heat. The chops should be beautifully caramelized on both sides. Remove the chops to a sheet pan and schmear generously with the pistachio tapenade. Place in preheated oven and cook another 4 to 5 minutes for medium rare. Remove chops from oven and let rest for at least 5 minutes before serving.




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Posted by on February 11, 2018 in Red Meat


Recipe: Italian Meatballs

Source:  Joy of Cooking

Servings: about 8 2-inch meatballs (we make ours much smaller)


  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 3 tablespoons dry red wine (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • flour for dredging (~1/2 cup)
  • olive oil for browning (~2 tablespoons)


  1. Mix with your hands. Scoop out mixture in heaping tablespoons and form into 2-inch balls (or whatever size you want).
  2. Dredge the meatballs in flour. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat and brown the meatballs in batches.
  3. Place in a baking pan and cook in a preheated 375 degree oven for 10 minutes.
  4. After they’ve cooled, you can put them in a ziplock and freeze if desired.


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Posted by on February 11, 2018 in Red Meat


Salmon Sashimi with Ginger and Hot Sesame Oil

picture is double recipe

from July 2008 Food and Wine

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon fresh orange juice
12 1/8-inch-thick slices of salmon, cut into 2-inch squares (1/4 pound)
1 1/4-inch piece of fresh ginger, sliced paper-thin and cut into thin matchsticks
1 tablespoon snipped chives
2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
1 teaspoon Asian sesame oil
1 1/2 teaspoons roasted sesame seeds
2 tablespoons cilantro leaves

Step 1
In a small bowl, mix 2 tablespoons of the soy sauce with the lime and orange juices. In a medium bowl, toss the salmon with the remaining 1/4 cup of soy sauce and let stand for 1 minute, then drain. Arrange 3 slices of salmon on each plate and top with the ginger and chives.

Step 2
In a small saucepan, heat the grapeseed oil with the sesame oil over moderately high heat until smoking, about 2 minutes. Drizzle the hot oil over the salmon pieces. Spoon the soy-citrus sauce on top. Sprinkle with the roasted sesame seeds and cilantro leaves and serve.

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Posted by on January 10, 2018 in Uncategorized


Recipe: Zummus

Source:  Wake Robin 2017 Farm to Table Recipe

Servings: cereal bowl of dip


  • 4 medium zucchini
  • 2-3 cloves garlic
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 3T  tahini
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves, plus some for garnish
  • Kosher salt
  • Fresh cracked black pepper
  • Olive oil, if needed to thin the zummus and for garnish
  • Paprika for garnish


  1. Slice zucchini into planks and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  2. Heat grill to medium high heat and oil the grates
  3. Grill the zucchini a couple of minutes per side, or until grill marks appear.
  4. Place grilled zucchini, garlic cloves, lime juice, tahini, cumin, cilantro, salt and pepper into food processor.  Turn it on and run until zummus becomes smooth.  Add a bit of olive oil if you want a thinner consistency
  5. Spoon the zummus into a bowl and top with a drizzle of olive oil, sprinkle with paprika and a few cilantro leaves.
  6. Serve with pita wedges, crackers, or corn chips (unspiced, like those served as restaurant pre-entrees)


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Posted by on August 12, 2017 in Appetizers, Vegetarian


Frozen Rum-Mango Lassi

MAKES 2 tall glasses


  • 1¼ cups peeled fresh (or frozen, thawed) mango pieces (preferably the yellow ataulfo/champagne mangos))
  • ½ cup gold rum
  • 3T fresh lemon juice
  • 2T honey
  • 2 tablespoons plain whole-milk Greek yogurt
  • Pinch of kosher salt
  • 3/8 teaspoon ancho chile powder
  • Mint sprigs (for serving)

Puree everything but mint in a blender.  Add 3C of ice and blend until smooth.


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Posted by on June 14, 2017 in Uncategorized




Source: Epicurious


  • Honey syrup:
    • 1/4 cup clover honey
    • 2 tablespoon hot water in a small jar
  • Assembly:
    • 6 tablespoons gin (1.5oz)
    • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice (1.5oz)
    • 2 tablespoons Aperol or Capelletti (1oz)
    • 1 tablespoon honey syrup (0.5oz)
    • 2 dashes of Angostura bitters
    • Ice
    • Champagne or sparkling wine
    • Lime wheel for garnish


  • Honey syrup:

Combine 1/4 cup clover honey and 2 tablespoon hot water in a small jar; cover and shake to dissolve honey.

  • Assembly:

Combine 6 tablespoons gin, 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice, 2 tablespoons Aperol or Capelletti, 1 tablespoon honey syrup, and 2 dashes of Angostura bitters in a cocktail shaker; fill shaker with ice. Cover and shake until outside of shaker is frosty, about 30 seconds. Strain into 2 chilled coupe glasses. Top off with Champagne or sparkling wine and garnish each with a lime wheel. Repeat three more times.

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Posted by on December 17, 2016 in Beverages