Monday, July 27, 2009

The Clone Wars er I Mean The Cinnabon Clones

I’m home for a day! Just long enough to wash clothes, repack the motor home, and leave you with the cinnamon roll recipe I made for my younger brother Steve and his wife Dorian this weekend.

When Steve or I visit anyone we always bring food. There’s some powerful genetic pull that makes us overfeed anyone around us. We get it from our father, who will throw together eight dishes at once for a crowd of six. This time I brought homemade marshmallows, and the recipe to make these heavenly Cinnabon clones I found on

We started off early Saturday morning with our rafts and tubes, meeting up with the Knutson’s Chevrolet crew to float down the Coeur d’Alene River. The river is wide, slow, and shallow, which makes it perfect for a lazy afternoon float. We brought beer and food of course, stopping off several times to snack and swim. The kids had a blast, although I think at the end of the four hour float they were ready to get off the rafts.

Later that night we roasted the homemade marshmallows and made smores. I also spent a few minutes prepping the dough for these cinnamon rolls (the bread machine did most of the work), then oiled a large bowl, tossed in the dough and coated it in the oil, covered it in plastic wrap, and stuck it in the refrigerator for Sunday’s breakfast. I took the dough out of the fridge when I woke up, and let it warm to room temperature before rolling it out.

I have lots to do so I better get started this morning. I’m heading out tomorrow to pick blackberries and explore my own state some more. Idaho is beautiful in the summer and I don’t want to miss it.

See you next week.

1 cup warm milk (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
2 eggs, room temperature
1/3 cup margarine, melted and cooled
4 1/2 cups bread flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup white sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons bread machine yeast


1 cup brown sugar, packed
2 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1/3 cup butter, softened

1 (3 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt

1. Place the dough ingredients in the pan of the bread machine in the order recommended by the manufacturer. Select dough cycle; press Start.

2. After the dough has doubled in size turn it out onto a lightly floured surface, cover and let rest for 10 minutes. In a small bowl, combine brown sugar and cinnamon.

3. Roll dough into a 16x21 inch rectangle. Spread dough with 1/3 cup butter and sprinkle evenly with sugar/cinnamon mixture. Roll up dough and cut into 12 rolls. Place rolls in a lightly greased 9x13 inch baking pan. Cover and let rise until nearly doubled, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).

4. Bake rolls in preheated oven until golden brown, about 15 minutes (Mine took 18 minutes, I like them a little more well done). While rolls are baking, beat together cream cheese, 1/4 cup butter, confectioners' sugar, vanilla extract and salt. Spread frosting on warm rolls before serving.

Cinnabon clone recipe from Picture by Laura Flowers.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Chopped Spinach Salad with Mulberries, Roasted Beets, Goat Cheese, & Walnuts

Walking along a trail, in a park that runs along the Columba River, I found mulberries. At least I think that’s what they were. I ate a bunch before asking an elderly couple, and their Lhasa Apso passing by, if they knew what I was eating. The dog didn’t talk much, but the couple said the berries were quite edible. I had to agree. They were sweet and unlike any berry I'd had before. (I know what you're thinking, don't eat the unidentified berries you dummy! Trust me though, I've eaten much worse.)

Along this park are many mulberry trees, plum trees, apple trees, and fortresses of blackberry bushes. It makes me wonder why we don’t plant fruit trees in our parks anymore. I can just imagine what it was like fifty or more years ago walking along the river, knowing you could stop for a snack of fresh fruit anytime you wanted. What a remarkable legacy to leave behind.

Jesse and I picked a napkin full of mulberries to make this salad before heading home. I look forward to going back when the plums are ready.

Small beets
Fresh Spinach
Fig flavored goat cheese or plain goat cheese
½ cup Pompeian Pomegranate Infused Balsamic Vinegar
½ cup extra virgin olive oil, plus a little more for beets
Salt & freshly cracked pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil.

2. Cut off the beet stocks and roots and scrub well under water to clean. Pat dry and rub the beats with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Place on the baking sheet and cook for 50-60 minutes until easily pierced with a knife. Cool, peel, and slice beets.

3. Toast the walnuts in a bowl in 30 second increments on high until toasted and fragrant. Chop into large pieces.

4. Chop spinach or use baby spinach and arrange on individual plates. Top with sliced beets, some crumbled goat cheese, walnuts, and mulberries.

5. Shake together vinegar and oil. Drizzle a little over salads. Then sprinkle salad with salt and freshly cracked pepper. Serve immediately.

By Laura Flowers

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Farmers Market Vegetable & Goat Cheese Spaghetti

I am a creature of habit. Some good, some bad. I really don’t want to be this kind of person. I like to think of myself as a rebel against such monotony. Yet, my habit forming nature takes over and I often end up back-peddling.

Every June I rebel against cooking, cleaning, and all things domestic. The warm weather makes me want to spend every waking and sleeping moment outside. That means I don’t cook either, and we mainly eat out. This might normally be acceptable; except this is the only time of year we get local fresh fruits and vegetables. And every year, right smack in the middle of July I have a “new” epiphany. I miss cooking! Then the next Saturday I hit the farmers market, and am thrilled (overexcited) to see everything in full swing. I also start kicking myself for not coming earlier and for missing a potential month of fresh local food.

In reaction, I way over buy. I load the husband, the kid, and myself down with bags of fruit and vegetables. We drag our bounty home with Jesse trying to act happy behind me. I’m sure he was wondering how we were going to fit everything into our overflowing refrigerator. I knew how though. I had been shoving things deeper into the back until I could no longer get even the smallest jar of jam in. I swear I’m turning into my mother.

I began to clean, and it took a long time as almost everything was expired or moldy. Dare I tell you I found a strawberry rotting on the back shelf? A single lonely strawberry. I feel so ashamed. Although, the great soy sauce spill of 2009 was caused by Dishboy Scott, not me. Ahh I feel a bit better passing some of the blame.

I guess I’m a creature of habit, albeit long cycle habits. I’m on the good habit cycle right now and this pasta is proof! Warm, tangy, garlicky, creamy, beautiful, sweet from the fresh vegetables, and with just enough spaghetti you can’t call it a salad. This is a new favorite of mine and Jesse adores it too.

Why didn’t I want to cook? I forget now.

Farmers Market Vegetable & Goat Cheese Spaghetti

½ pound spaghetti (1/2 package)
1 cup salted pasta water
1 Tablespoon olive oil
½ of a yellow or sweet onion, diced
1 ½ cups baby zucchini, sliced into thin rounds
2 cloves garlic, minced (Fresh from the farmer’s market if you can get it)
2 cups (1 pint) mini mixed colored tomatoes, sliced in half
2 handfuls chopped fresh basil
1 (5.5 ounce) package goat cheese, crumbled
Salt & freshly cracked pepper

1. Boil the spaghetti according to package directions adding 1-2 Tablespoons salt to the water. Set aside 1 cup of the salted pasta water at the end of cooking time. Place the spaghetti in a large bowl.

2. Warm the olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat, add the diced onion & season with salt & pepper. Cook for a couple minutes until the onions start to soften a bit. Add the baby zucchini and cook for 2 more minutes, add the minced garlic & cook for 30 seconds to 1 minute until fragrant. Add the mixture to the spaghetti.

3. Add the tomatoes, basil, crumbled goat cheese, pasta water & freshly cracked pepper to the spaghetti & toss to combine. Wait about 5 minutes for the sauce to thicken a bit and serve.

Serves 3 to 4

Recipe by Laura Flowers

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Sour Cherry Financiers Taste Better With Stolen Cherries

I have a few minutes to write as I sit on my porch, under the icicle Christmas lights I rebelliously refuse to take down, contemplating what else to do with all the cherries I swiped today from an ancient tree in someone’s front lawn. But I’m getting ahead of myself here.

On a food blog site yesterday I spotted some adorable little financiers. I wanted to reach in and pull them out of my screen by their little stems. They were so cute in fact; I just had to make them! Unfortunately, little sour cherries aren’t sold around here. You have to have a tree, or find some growing on a tree.

I don’t exactly know anyone with a sour cherry tree, but I knew where there was one. A very old large one left over from what was once an orchard. I grabbed a sack, my small daughter, the newly sheared overexcited Miniature Australian Shepherd, and ran out to see about collecting a “few”. We arrive and knock on the door. No one is home, just great. So, what to do? What would you do?

Um well, the cherries were perfect, better than perfect and wouldn’t last but a couple more days on that tree. So, I started to pick everything I could reach, which wasn’t a lot as I’m a shorty, and that old tree is the cherry equivalent of a great oak.

Now the key to stealing cherries is to look like you know what the hell you’re doing. Look like you are supposed to be there, as everyone across the street in the public park is eyeballing you like the crazy thief you are. Ok I am kind of an intruder and likely crazy, but those beautiful cherries would go to waste without me.

Here’s the best part though, these delicious financiers will be eaten tomorrow by City Hall. That usually means the mayor on down, as well as the police department. Do you think they would eat them if they knew I pilfered the cherries? I’m betting they would! These little goodies are super cute and delicious! Just please don't tell them...

Maybe, just maybe, these adorable treats taste even better because of the forbidden fruit!

Sour Cherry Financiers
1 stick unsalted butter
1 cup powdered or caster sugar
1/2 cup almond meal
5 tablespoons all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 large egg whites, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure almond extract
24 sour cherries, pitted from the bottom so the stem remains attached (Or sideways with a cherry pitter)

1. Preheat your oven to 375ºF. Grease a 24ct mini muffin pan with butter. Set aside

2. Spread the almond meal in a single layer on a baking sheet and toast in the oven until slightly golden. Let cool.

3. Melt the butter in a small saucepan on medium-low heat, stirring occasionally until the solids separate and turn lightly toasted. The butter will take on a fragrant, nutty aroma, and a golden, honey color.

4. Use a fine strainer lined with cheesecloth or (in a pinch) paper towel, to strain out the solids. Reserve the clear golden butter, and let cool to room temperature.

5. In the base of your electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the sugar, flour, salt, and almond meal until well combined. Add the egg whites, 1/3 at a time, until fully incorporated. Add the almond extract and the browned butter and beat until smooth and kind of gluey but silky. (Keep going it will get there)

6. Use a tablespoon to measure out a tablespoon of batter per muffin tin. (I used a size 60 mini cookie scoop) Gently place one pitted cherry in the center with the stem poking straight up.

7. Bake at 375ºF for 12-15 minutes each, or until slightly crisp and golden brown on the edges. Cool in the pan for ten minutes before gently pulling them out (don't hold them by the stems while they're still hot) and letting them cool on a wire rack.

Notes: The financiers are even better the next day. They're softer and the flavors mingle together in a sort of cherry almond heaven.

Recipe comes from Alejandra Ramos. Visit this great post and her beautiful blog, Always Order Dessert @

Pictures by Laura Flowers

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Picking Raspberries, Howling with Coyotes, and Pig, Pineapple & Jalapeno Pizza on Summer Beet Crust

First, it's time to announce the winner of the coconut marshmallow giveaway! Congratulations Patricia from Butteryum, your number was drawn by a very excited 7-year-old all hyped up on donuts and macaroni & cheese!

With the exception of Friday pizza night, I haven’t cooked at all lately. I’m a total kitchen slacker in the summer, which is ironic considering this is the only time of year we get local fruits and vegetables. I did have an amazing long weekend though. Not big amazing, just the little beautiful life moment kind.

Friday evening kicked off with one of my preferred pizza combinations. Canadian bacon with pineapple and paper thin fresh jalapenos are fantastic together. I know it looks a little weird (picture way down there), I was working on the beet crust recipe and that became my base. I finally have that crust perfected to my liking. It crisps up now like normal crust, and tastes pretty darn good!

Saturday evening was magical. We spent the day in Lewiston, Idaho and Clarkston, Washington playing around. We swam, shopped in the fresh market, found old cookbooks, grabbed a quick bite to eat, and headed out to a paved trail toward the southeast end of town. The path runs alongside fields of wheat to the North and a canyon to the South. We were surrounded by warm summer air just starting to cool, and the sweet carbohydrate smell of freshly cut wheat.

10-year-old Quinn, daughter of our friend (Dishboy) Scott, began to glean the leftover wheat on the side of the field. She ran up to me with handfuls and insisted I pull off the chaff and eat wheat berries with her. So I did. They were crunchy and warm from the day’s sun. A new experience for me.

The sun finished setting as we munched and crunched and walked. Suddenly, down the canyon coyotes began their nightly cries, I started to howl back and the kids joined in. For awhile we stood and howled with the coyotes. They would cry, and we would howl back. After awhile the coyotes grew tired of this and we headed back to the truck.

Sunday we relaxed, played in the hot sun, and anticipated the next day’s raspberry picking. Monday arrived and we woke up to rain. Lots and lots of rain. We knew if we didn’t get up to Knapp’s Farm the raspberries would be gone though. So we put on warm clothes and headed north anyway.

Attempting to stave off the cold, muddy, wet clothes we knew we’d have to deal with, we stopped for Vietnamese Pho. Then at last braved the wet fields. Or tried to rather! It was wet, and the early birds had taken much of the crop already. We still found a good selection, although I think half of my little box ended up in my belly. I just couldn’t help it; the raspberries were so fresh and sweet. I stood in the rain and picked and ate and picked and ate. We collected white raspberries and black raspberries along with perfect plump and juicy red raspberries.

Two hours is usually a long drive home when you’re completely soaking wet, but I was on such a happy raspberry picking high I hardly noticed. I look forward to the raspberry crème brulee I hope to make with them, but for now, I leave you with pizza.

I never want summer to end.

Pig Pineapple & Jalapeno Pizza on Beet Crust

Beet Crust
3/4 cup cooked and chopped beets, lightly packed in a liquid measuring cup (or see notes)
Enough almost warm water to make 1 cup when mixed with cooked beets, plus 1 Tablespoon.
1 package bread machine or active dry yeast
1 teaspoon honey
3 cups all-purpose flour (Use good quality all-purpose or bread flour)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for the bowl

1. Scrub beets under warm water to clean. Stab a knife into it a few times for venting. Line a plate with paper towels, place the beet on the plate, and cover with a paper towel. Microwave the beet on high for several minutes until easily stabbed through with the knife. Cool completely.

2. Chop the beet into chunks. Place 3/4 of a cup of the chunks (lightly packed) into a liquid measuring cup. Top with enough water to make 1 cup. Puree the beet/water mixture in a blender until smooth. (A couple small chunks are ok, but you might end up picking them out as you roll the dough. You can also strain beet mixture through a fine mesh strainer if you have one.) Pour the mixture back into the liquid measuring cup and top with enough water to make 1 cup, then add 1 more Tablespoon.

3. Add all the ingredients into a stand mixer bowl. Mix with the dough hook until well kneaded.

4. Remove from the bowl and knead by hand for 2 minutes on an unfloured surface. (If you have a counter that stains find another place). Then pat into a ball.

5. Grease a large bowl with olive oil and add the dough, flipping once to coat. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm spot until doubled.

6. Roll out ¾ of dough on a floured surface, do the final stretches by hand by gently pulling the ends with your fingers. Place on a lightly oiled and coarse cornmeal covered pizza pan, and then add the toppings.

Pizza Assembly
1 (16 inch) stretched beet pizza dough on a pan (recipe above)
1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 cup red pizza sauce (See notes below for recipe link or store bought)
1 jalapeno, sliced almost paper thin and removing the center if desired
1 cup canned pineapple tidbits, drained and patted dry
1 package Hormel Canadian bacon pizza slices
1 1/2 cups provolone
1 cup mozzarella
Sprinkle of dried parmesan
Salt and pepper

1. Make the Zesty Old School Pizza Sauce in the link below or use any favorite red sauce. Measure out 1 cup of the sauce. Set aside. The extra sauce freezes well, or will cover another medium pizza.

3. Heat up the grill to hot and close the lid.

4. Brush the pizza pan lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with cornmeal. Stretch and roll ¾ of the dough and place on the pan. Brush with 1 Tablespoon olive oil. Spoon the pizza sauce around the dough.

5. Top pizza with the mozzarella, provolone, Canadian bacon, pineapple tidbits, jalapeño rings, dried parmesan, and a sprinkle of salt, pepper.

6. Set the pizza on the grill and close the lid. Turn grill to medium high and cook for 5 to 8 minutes or until cooked through. Turn to medium for a thicker crust pizza and cook longer. Remove onto a cookie sheet with tongs.

7. Wait a couple of minutes then cut into wedges and serve.

1. Adding more beet flesh to the dough will make a deeper purple crust.

2. Sauce recipe can be found at

3. Grilling information can be found at

4. Knapps Farm is in Greenbluff just north of Spokane Washington. Visit their website @ for fruit picking information.

Recipe & pictures by Laura Flowers

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Fluffy Blueberry Pancakes

Annoyingly, I’ve been battling lactose intolerance this past month. When this happens I tend to head to my food bible, The Joy of Cooking. I don’t have to worry about the recipes not working, because I know they all do. Then, when I need to adapt a recipe I know my changes are the only part that might fail. This time though I was quite surprised. These simple blueberry pancakes were better without the dairy. They were light and fluffy, and even reheated well!

I tend to be very heavy handed with dairy products. It’s not a meal unless it’s loaded with cheese, milk, and/or butter. I think for the long haul I should probably cook with more alternative milks like almond or coconut. It’s probably better for me than just living off of one food group anyway.

I still worship cheese.

Wisk together in a large bowl:
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
3 Tablespoons sugar
1 ¾ Tablespoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
A dash of fresh grated nutmeg

Combine in another bowl:
1 ½ cups unsweetened Almond Breeze (almond milk) or milk
3 Tablespoons vegan butter or butter, melted
2 eggs
½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Other ingredients:
Light colored olive oil
About 1 ½ cups frozen wild blueberries

1. Mix the liquid ingredients together quickly into the dry ingredients being careful not to over mix. Let the batter rest for 10 minutes.

2. Meanwhile preheat a griddle to 360 degrees, or wait and cook in a nonstick skillet over just slightly more than medium heat.

3. Brush the griddle or skillet lightly with oil in the spots where pancake batter will be. Pour ¼ cup of batter on top of the oil. When the pancakes start to bubble up sprinkle the tops with a small handful of berries each. Flip the pancakes over when the bottom looks done. Continue to cook until browned and the batter is cooked through.

4. Serve with warm maple syrup.

Notes: Almond Breeze is usually found by the shelf stable soy milk.

Recipe adapted from "The Joy of Cooking". Picture by Laura Flowers.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

100th Post Giveaway & Coconut Marshmallow Recipe

Where’s the reverse button on this thing? I’m at 100 posts already and can’t figure out how the heck I got here. I’m not ready! Where did the time go? I’m still a baby food blogger!

In honor of these new triple digits I’m giving away some homemade coconut marshmallows and one of my favorite books, “Marshmallows, Homemade Gourmet Treats” by Eileen Talanian where I found this impressive recipe. Well hopefully you’ll get the marshmallows, if I keep my paws off them long enough to send them to you! If you’ve never had homemade marshmallows you must try them! You may never eat another store bought tasteless sponge again.

All you have to do is post a note stating your favorite food and why it’s a favorite. Just write a comment, and my 7-year-old will draw a number out of a hat Tuesday July 14th at 8p.m. I’m excited to see your answers, and hope it tells me a bit about you!

I want to thank-you for all the support and friendship. I didn’t really understand what a food blog was when I got started, and it’s been a pretty big learning curve. So big really, that just when I think I grasp a new idea, another one comes along and off I go again attempting to learn like crazy. This happens several times a week and I’m still climbing that mountain. So any food blog advice you want to throw at me I’m all ears!

Since my first post on March 23rd I’ve had 144,931 visits, which completely shocks me. I didn’t think my food blog would get much attention, but I guess I was wrong. Although that first post of Plum Good Sour Cream Coffee Cake never got any love! Through this process I’m learning how to be a better food photographer, writer, and cook.

I’ve also met wonderful new friends here. Many stand out, but I want to honor the first. Kathia Castro from I didn’t know it at the time, but she had been ogling my food images over on MySpace. She didn’t have an account so she never commented, but she got here almost the day I started writing. She then immediately introduced and advertised my blog on hers. Kathia believed in me before I even had a clue what I was doing, and with that little post of hers I found the courage to jump into this project. Kathia, I am more grateful for you than you know.

There are so many others to mention, Kim (Red), Veronica, Krista, Marina, Cheryl, and many others from MySpace who have motivated and encouraged me. Thank-you for your friendships. Thank-you Patricia, Mary, Marta, Sherri, Esi, Monique, Mari, Donna, Heather, Ginger, Jamie, Kevin, Linda, Finsmom and anyone else I am forgetting to mention from blogger. Your comments, your blogs, and your friendships help me grow and learn. (I’ll add you if I forgot you, just yell!)

Thank-you for coming along on this journey with me. It means the world to me.

Marshmallow Syrup
This is the syrup used to make all the recipes in Talanian’s book. It makes approximately 1 quart, which will keep in a covered jar for up to two months at room temperature. You must let the syrup cool for 15 minutes before pouring into jars, or it will crystallize.

Author’s Notes: The syrup will be very thick once it cools. To use it, microwave for 2 minutes on high power. Do not stir the syrup.

Please read all the instructions and have everything in place before beginning.

2 cups water
5 1/3 cups granulated cane sugar
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
Pinch of Salt

Place the ingredients in a heavy 4-quart saucepan, stirring gently with a heatproof spatula until the sugar is moistened. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, and cover the pan for 2 minutes to allow steam to wash any sugar crystals from the sides of the pan. Then uncover the pan, insert a candy thermometer, and increase the heat to high. Do not stir it at all once you have removed the lid of the syrup will crystallize as it cools. Continue cooking until it reaches 240 degrees F. Remove from the heat and let the syrup cool for 15 minutes. Ladle into clean jars and attach the lids.

Store it at room temperature for up to two months. If the syrup begins to form crystals at the bottom of the jar, don’t be alarmed; pour out the amount of syrup you need when you use it, without scraping the jar. Discard any crystallized part that is left in jar.

Toasted Coconut Marshmallows
It’s essential to use “lite” coconut milk. The marshmallow batter cannot support all that fat. Please read all the instructions first and have everything in place before starting.

For the bloom:
4 Tablespoons unflavored gelatin
2/3 cup “lite” coconut milk

For the Base:
½ cup + 2 Tablespoons water
1 ½ cups Marshmallow Syrup
2 cups granulated cane sugar
Pinch of salt
Additional flavoring
¼ cup “lite” coconut milk

For the Coating:
2 cups coconut (I used organic unsweetened)

Prepare a pan (9x13 or close to that) by coating it with nonstick spray, then wiping it lightly with a paper towel so that only a thin film of oil remains. (I used light colored olive oil instead)

First make the bloom. Place the gelatin in a small bowl and stir in the coconut milk until there are no lumps. Set the bowl near the stove.

Place the base ingredients in a heavy 4-quart saucepan over medium heat. Bring the mixture to a boil, cover the pan, and boil for two minutes. Remove the cover, insert a candy thermometer, and cook the base to 260 degrees F. Do not stir the mixture once the lid has been removed. When the base reaches 260 degrees F, turn off the heat, remove the thermometer, and stir in the bloomed gelatin.

Pour the batter into the bowl of a stand mixer and gradually increase the speed to high (Use the wisk attachment). Cover the mixer with a clean kitchen towel for the first 3 or 4 minutes to avoid splattering hot liquid on yourself. Beat the batter for a total of 12 minutes.

When there is just 1 minute of beating time left, very slowly drizzle in the “lite” coconut milk. Then continue beating for another 30 seconds. Scrape the mixture into the prepared pan and let it cure, uncovered, for at least 4 hours or overnight.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F and spread the coconut evenly in 1 layer on a baking sheet. Bake in a preheated oven for 20 to 30 minutes, stirring often. (My coconut toasted perfectly in 12 minutes. I stirred every 5 minutes. So check it often). Cut the marshmallows as desired, and coat them with the toasted coconut. (I oiled a pizza cutter and used a clean ruler as a cutting guide and cut them into squares). Store in an airtight container, with a corner slightly ajar, for up to 2 weeks.

Recipe from the book "Marshmallows, Homemade Gourmet Treats" by Eileen Talanian. Pictures by Laura Flowers.

Update: Clara just drew out number 37. So that would be Patricia over at Butteryum. Please send contact info soon to and I'll send you your stuff.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Creamy Scrambled Eggs & Ham

This is a much loved breakfast dish around here. Perfectly cooked eggs with a touch of cream cheese and salty ham bites. Although, I am not sure if I'm writing this recipe down to share, or so that my daughter can look it up years from now when she goes off to college and wants to make this old family favorite. Maybe a bit of both.

This idea makes me wonder about all this food blogging stuff. Will there be a vast library collection later of the work we do today? What will it be used for? It’s amazing to watch the information compound and the technology grow at this rapid rate. In many ways, food blogging is still in its infancy, and we are all paving the path for the future. So the question here is, where do we want this to go?

The future of food blogging is fascinating to think about.

4 Eggs
2 teaspoons water
½ teaspoon dried parsley
Sprinkle of garlic powder, onion powder, salt & pepper
About 1 teaspoon butter
1/3 cup chopped deli ham
1 ounce (2 Tablespoons) cream cheese, cut into small pieces

1. In a bowl beat together eggs, water, parsley, garlic powder, onion powder, salt & pepper.

2. Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the egg mixture and scramble into good sized pieces. Add the chopped ham while the egg mixture still looks wet. After the eggs look dry add the cream cheese pieces and stir to coat and warm through. Serve immediately.

Serves 2

Recipe by Laura Flowers

Cold Tomato Zucchini Pasta Salad with Sherry Shallot Vinaigrette

I created this pasta salad for my brother Steve’s Independence Day barbecue. I needed to bring a side dish that could sit out safely in the hot sun for several hours, and also fit in well with an American style cookout. An additional benefit is it gave guests a vegan option, and me an excuse to eat lots of cold pasta salad.

The vinegar base in this recipe would pair well with homemade buttermilk fried chicken, or even a store bought rotisserie chicken.

Sherry Shallot Vinaigrette
1/2 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/4 cup Sherry Vinegar
1 Shallot, chopped
1/ 2 clove Garlic, chopped
1/2 teaspoon Salt
Lots of fresh ground black pepper to taste

Puree the ingredients together in a small processor or blender. Set aside.

Tomato Zucchini Pasta
1 pound riccioli shaped pasta, or any favorite shape
2 medium sized zucchini, or 1 large thinly sliced into half moons
1 cup chopped scallions
3-4 ripe Roma tomatoes, chopped
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1 recipe Sherry Shallot Vinaigrette
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Boil the pasta according to the package directions in heavily salted water. Drain and rinse in cold water.

2. Meanwhile, prepare the Sherry Shallot Vinaigrette.

3. Toss the pasta together in a large bowl with the dressing and the rest of the ingredients. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately or store covered in the refrigerator until chilled.

Notes: Next time I might throw in some dried or fresh parmesan, and a handful of sliced olives to add another element of flavor. Shredded asiago cheese might also work well.

Recipe by Laura Flowers

Monday, July 6, 2009

Buffalo Chicken Pizza on the Grill

It's quite late and I'm worn-out from traveling, but feel like I haven’t written in ages. Well, at least since last week. This past weekend was a lot of fun, and we kicked off the party Friday night with this buffalo chicken pizza cooked on the grill.

I’ll leave you with the recipe before heading to bed. Zzzzzzzz….

Zesty Old School Style Pizza Sauce
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon ground sweet paprika
1 teaspoon sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
Fresh cracked pepper to taste
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon white vinegar

Place all the ingredients in a medium sized bowl and stir together.

Makes 1½ cups of pizza sauce. Enough sauce to cover three medium, or two large pizzas.

Buffalo Chicken Pizza
1 (16 inch) stretched pizza dough on a pan (See notes below)
1Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 cup zesty old school style pizza sauce
½ cup plus 2 Tablespoons Frank’s RedHot Buffalo Wing Sauce
3 cups shredded mozzarella
3 cups cooked and chopped pre-cooked breaded chicken strips
1 green bell pepper, sliced
1/3 to ½ cup crumbled blue cheese to taste
2 Tablespoons dried parmesan
Salt and fresh cracked pepper
Garlic powder
Couple handfuls of thinly shredded iceberg lettuce

1. Make the Zesty Old School Pizza Sauce. Measure out 1 cup of the sauce and mix with 2 Tablespoons of Frank’s RedHot Buffalo Wing Sauce. Set aside. The extra sauce freezes well, or will cover another medium pizza.

2. If you haven’t already, bake or fry the breaded chicken strips and chop into bite sized pieces. In a bowl, toss pieces with ½ cup of Frank’s sauce. Set aside

3. Heat up the grill to hot and close the lid.

4. Brush the pizza pan lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with cornmeal. Stretch and roll the dough and place on the pan. Brush with 1 Tablespoon olive oil. Spoon the pizza sauce around the dough.

5. Top pizza with the mozzarella, buffalo chicken pieces, green bell pepper slices, blue cheese, dried parmesan, and a sprinkle of salt, pepper, & garlic powder.

6. Set the pizza on the grill and close the lid. Turn grill to medium high and cook for 5 to 8 minutes or until cooked through. Turn to medium for a thicker crust pizza and cook longer. Remove onto a cookie sheet with tongs.

7. Sprinkle with shredded lettuce, cut into wedges and serve.

Notes: See for information on pizza dough and grilling techniques.

Recipe by Laura Flowers

Friday, July 3, 2009

Mini Burger Pitas

I don’t know what this sandwich is. It’s sort of Greek and obviously American. It’s honestly just a concoction I threw together for a busy weeknight meal that turned out to be pretty tasty. Although I leave you with a recipe, I really just want to wish you a wonderful holiday.

I hope you have a fun, food filled, full of celebration 4th of July. For me, the chaos and fun start today. Independence Day may just be my favorite holiday. I love the red, white, and blue everywhere I look. I love to watch our towns come together to celebrate, and get excited myself when I see how wound up the kids are.

This makes me remember a funny story, one I remember each 4th of July. I was 23-years-old private several weeks into Army Basic Training. Our platoon was strict; obviously there was no alcohol, but we were also not allowed caffeine or sweets of any kind. Except on the evening of the Independence Day celebrations.

Well, I went a bit nuts with the sodas and candy bars. OK, I all out gorged myself sick really. I inhaled Pepsi and Mountain Dew, as well as multiple giant sized candy bars and celebration cake. I was so hyped up on sugar and caffeine I jumped and ran around the field like an excited 6-year-old all evening. I can’t even imagine what I would have done if they'd offered beer!

Anyway, I ended up with a massive stomach ache that night, and the next morning’s exercises were pure torture. I would do it all over again in a heartbeat though. It was so exciting to be a brand spanking new American soldier full of pride and feeling like I belonged to my country. I felt like I was finally a very tiny piece of its history in some small way. I’ll never forget that feeling, and it will be on my mind as I hang flags around town Saturday morning with the American Legion.

Happy 4th of July my friend!

Zucchini Yogurt Sauce
1 (5.3 ounce) container Greek yogurt
3 Tablespoons grated onion
½ cup grated zucchini
1/3 cup feta cheese
1 small clove garlic
Juice of 1/2 small lemon or less to taste
Salt & pepper to taste

Mini Burgers
1 pound ground beef (preferably, grind your own from brisket or chuck in a food processor)
1 medium to large sized zucchini
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon onion powder
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
Olive oil for brushing
1 package of small tomatoes, cut in half
1 package whole wheat or regular pitas

1. With a cheese grater or food processor grate the zucchini & onion and place in separate bowls. Set aside.

2. Add all the sauce ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth. Set aside.

3. Heat the grill to medium high.

4. In a large bowl, gently mix together the ground beef, ½ cup of the shredded zucchini, ½ teaspoons salt, garlic powder, onion powder, and feta cheese. Form into small patties and brush with olive oil.

5. Grill burgers until char marks form and are cooked through flipping once. Remove to a plate, leaving the grill on.

6. Throw the pitas on the grill for about 30 seconds per side until warmed through, flipping once. Move to a paper towel covered plate, and cover with another paper towel.

7. Assemble the pitas with burgers, tomato halves, grated zucchini, & zucchini yogurt sauce. Serve immediately.

Serves about 3

Recipe by Laura Flowers

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Coconut Almond Banana Milk

I want to tread lightly on earth today in my own wishful way to counter violence in the world. Now, I don’t want to give you the impression I’m a veggie loving tree hugger here. I am an ex-soldier, I understand war in ways. I understand our kind of war at least, the kind that leads to stopping violent people from destroying and killing innocent people.

This morning I opened the paper to the headline, “Militants put juice bars on front line” by Los Angeles Times reporter Mark Magnier. In Lahore Pakistan, juice bars are considered places of sin by Militant Islam because men and women are allowed to speak with each other there. These juice bars provide a place for young people to go, to talk, to relax. Well they would have anyway, except they have been bombed on many occasions.

In the past Lahore was a more tolerant city, until Islamic fundamentalist started to settle in. Now there is no longer peace or safety. I know the Western Countries can’t fight every battle, and this is another issue of unrest out of a great many. However, this is one that captures my thoughts. Perhaps because it’s about freedom and food, two things very important to me.

So, I went into my kitchen and made this breakfast milk, hoping it hurt few in the food chain and taking nothing for granted. Maybe just for today I can be a tree hugging hippie.

Coconut Almond Banana Milk
1 cup original Almond Breeze (found by the shelf stable soy milk)
½ cup canned coconut milk (stir together first)
2 very ripe frozen bananas, sliced somewhat thinly

Blend together in a blender on high speed for about a minute, or until blended and frothy. Serve immediately.

Makes about 2 servings

Recipe by Laura Flowers

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