Thursday, July 17

Bacon + Beer Cheddar Corn Chowder

Yep, you read that right. Bacon, beer, and did I mention hot sauce?

So it's the rainy season in Florida. This week, it has rained everyday, and conversations that don't broach the subject are few and far in between.

With all this rain, comes allergies. Sam and I have both been combating the sniffles. To sooth our itchy throats, I thought a yummy chowder was necessary. This was my first chowder to make, and although I don't usually post recipes I've only made once, it was too good not to share. 

The process is super straight forward, and this recipe will make enough to feed a small army.  Enjoy!


6-8 strips bacon, cut into pieces, for serving
2 large yellow onions, chopped
2 medium red bell peppers, seeded and chopped
4 tbsp unsalted butter
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 (12-ounce) bottle lager-style beer (regular or toasted)
2 cups water
3 medium unpeeled Yukon gold potatoes, cut into small cubes
2 cups corn kernels
2 tsp hot sauce
1 cup half-and-half
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, plus more for serving
Snipped chives, for serving

Cook the bacon in a large pot over medium-high heat until crisp. Transfer the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate, reserving the drippings in the pot.

Add the onions and 1/2 tsp salt to the pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about five minutes. Then, stir in the bell peppers and cook until almost soft, about three more minutes.

Dice the butter and add it to the pot with the vegetables and cook, stirring, until melted. Add the flour,  stirring until the mixture resembles a paste and the raw-flour cooks out, about three minutes. Stir in the beer, water, potatoes, and more salt (about 1 tsp). Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to medium-low, simmering until the potatoes are tender, about 30 minutes. You'll want to stir very regularly to prevent sticking.

Meanwhile, if using fresh corn, put kernels in large microwave-safe bowl, cover with a papertowel and microwave in 30-second intervals, stirring in between, until tender, about two minutes. You can skip this step if using frozen corn.

Stir the corn, hot sauce, half-and-half, cheddar cheese, 1 tsp salt, and 1 tsp freshly ground pepper into the chowder. Continue to cook, stirring regularly, until the cheese melts, about five minutes.

To serve, top with reserved bacon, shredded cheddar, and chives.  

Recipe adapted from: Refinery29

Olive Oil Lime Cake with Blackberry Sauce

It has been a few months since my mom made it back from Israel. With her, she brought me several bottles of olive oil which have been great! It was actually on a trip with her to NYC that I tried my very first olive oil cake. Now every time I see one on a menu I have to order it. Olive oil cake reminds me a lot of a rustic yellow cake, but it's not too sweet like your traditional yellow birthday cake and also distinctly different than a cornmeal cake. 

Obviously, depending on the olive oil you use the flavor of your cake will vary. The one I used in this recipe was very hearty and pretty strong in flavor. By no means do you need oil from Israel to make a delicious olive oil cake, either. In full disclosure one of my favorite olive oils is ZOE. I have been ordering it (and lots of pantry staples) from for a few years now and it's really affordable. Merula has a distinct taste too, it is very light and floral, also making for a scrumptious cake especially when blended with lemon or orange flavors.

In an attempt to use up my left over blackberries from my one-bowl butter cake, I searched through my recipe bookmarks trying to find a sauce I knew I had saved. I didn't find exactly what I was looking for because something even better caught my eye. Smitten Kitchen's lime cake with blackberry sauce!

The thought of blending limes and blackberries sounded amazing. So I made a few modifications, namely turning her traditional lime cake into an olive oil lime cake and kicking up the limey-ness a bit. (limey-ness... yeah, sure). The tart and tang of this cake is super refreshing!

Cake Ingredients

1 cup 2% Greek yogurt

1/3 cup olive oil

1 cup sugar

zest of two limes

1/4 cup lime juice

2 eggs

1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup powered sugar (for the top)

Blackberry Sauce Ingredients

12 ounces fresh blackberries

1/4 cup water

3 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

To make the cake

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a 9-inch round cake pan by greasing the sides and bottom with butter. For extra measure, line the bottom with parchment paper. Then begin prepping your limes - zest and juice. 

In your stand mixer or a large mixing bowl, whisk together the Greek yogurt, olive oil, sugar, lime zest and juice. Once incorporated, add the eggs one by one, whisking well after each. Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together. Add the sifted ingredients to your yogurt batter, and stir until just combined.

Pour batter into the prepared cake pan and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until the top is golden brown. When the cake comes out of the oven, place the pan on a cooling rack and let stand for 10-15 minutes. Invert the cake onto an extra plate and then flip it back again (so the pretty side is up) onto a cake stand or serving tray. If you wish, sprinkle top of cake with sifted powder sugar.

To Make the Sauce

Combine blackberries, water, sugar and lime juice in blender or food processor. Purée until very smooth, then press through a fine mesh strainer to remove the seeds. Cover and refrigerate until cold.

When serving, either spoon the blackberry sauce over the cake, or cover a plate in sauce and then place the cake on top of the sauce.

This recipe was adapted from: The Smitten Kitchen

Wednesday, July 16

Pizza Dough

Homemade pizza tends to happen when I have an assortment of left over veggies in the kitchen.  I used to follow Jamie Oliver's recipe for pizza dough, but a stand mixer and dough hook makes it super quick, simple, and a lot less messy. 

Today's pizza is made up of leftover chicken, summer squash, red peppers, and broccoli on top of an arugula walnut pesto. Here I have listed a few other pizza topping combos we love:

Tomato Sauce Toppings
Italian Sausage + Red Onion + Green Bell Pepper
Mozzarella + Basil Leaves + Roasted Garlic
Ground Sausage (with red pepper) + Zucchini + Broccoli
Beets + Onions + Cheddar

Pesto Sauce Toppings
Chicken + Spinach + Artichoke
Yellow Squash + Red Pepper + Red Onion
Yukon Golds + Ground Sausage + Kale

Olive Oil and Herb Sauce Toppings
Asparagus + Onions + Garlic
Black Pepper + Leeks + Cheddar
Green Onion + Bacon + Chicken

Pizza Dough Ingredients

2 1/4 tsp of active yeast (or 1 packet)
1 cup of warm water
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

Dissolve yeast in water using a warm cup. Then in your stand mixer with dough hook attachment, add the salt, olive oil, and dissolved yeast together. On speed 2, incorporate the flour. Let the dough knead for 2 minutes until the sides of the bowl are clean. Dough should be holding onto the hook.


While the dough kneads, oil a large bowl. Turn the dough out into the bowl, and cover for at least 1 hour. Once the dough has doubled in size, punch it down until fluffy.  

After you work the dough for a minute, it's ready to be rolled out onto a pizza stone. You may chose to roll up the sides for "crust," but it's not necessary. Brush the dough with olive oil, then you are free to add any sauce or toppings.

Cook the pizza at 450 degrees for 10-20 minutes (depending on the thickness of your crust).

Arugula Walnut Pesto

This rich peppery pesto has nearly replaced its more traditional basil brother in our kitchen. Partly, due to the fact that we tend to keep walnuts (great with goat cheese and honey on toast) around more so than pine nuts. Early this week, I purchased a bunch of arugula for some Sukiyaki. I never worry about what to do with left over greens because they nearly all make a great pesto.  

One of my favorite ways to use pesto is as a sauce for homemade pizza. Of course if you don't have the time for that, it's great on pasta, simple toast, and a nice accompaniment to most grilled meats.


2 cups arugula
1/2 cup of chopped walnuts
2 tbs minced garlic
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp salt

Add ingredients to a food processor, and then blend on high for close to a minute. During that time, you may need to push items down near the blade to be fully incorporated.

Pesto is best when enjoyed fresh, although it can be sealed and kept for a day or overnight in the fridge. 

Friday, July 11

Iced Coffee

Two questions are asked nearly every time I order an iced coffee black.

Q: Is that with sweetener?
A: No
Q: What about milk?
A: Nope

Once the coffee is put on ice, it seems all meaning to the term "black" flies out the window. 

I'll admit I don't really like milk (except with brownies and chocolate chip cookies, of course), and I don't like sweet or flavored coffee. Not even when it's hot! That, however, does not mean this recipe isn't perfect for milky sweet coffee lovers, too. Making iced coffee is more about the process than a recipe, anyways. Adjustments should be made based on your personal preference because when it comes to coffee it seems no two people take theirs just alike.

So first things first, iced coffee is best when brewed cold. If you try to cool down hot coffee the flavor will be comprised and become really quite bitter. Cold brewing takes significantly longer than making traditional coffee. That is why I recommend this overnight method.


French Press
Coffee Grinder


1/2 cup coffee fresh ground beans
1 1/2 cup of water
Milk or milk alternative (optional, and to taste)
Sweetener of your choice (optional)
Flavor fancies (like caramel, chocolate, vanilla, etc - also optional)

1. Grind your beans until they are course enough to withstand your french press's filter, yet fine enough to incorporate well. 

2. Place the coffee grounds in the french press and add water. Stir well. 

3. Leave the french press's plunger up, and place it in the fridge to sit for at least 6 hours.

4. After the coffee grounds and water have brewed for 6-8 hours, you are ready to press your coffee. 

5. Pour pressed coffee over ice, adding whatever optional items you prefer.

Thursday, July 10

One-Bowl Butter Cake with Nectarines and Berries

If you follow my instagram account, you may have noticed my frustration (and choice words) regarding nectarines. I mean, it is not that their sunset color palette isn't totally gorgeous or that they don't taste like a divine little piece of summertime. It's just that pit is a TOTAL BITCH to get out!

Nectarine struggles aside this summery cake is truly one of the easiest cakes to whip up I have ever featured on the blog. Although it is similar to the Berry Cake with Ginger Crumble I posted a while back, the cake's texture is a bit lighter due to not being based in cornmeal and it's best enjoyed chilled. In the heat of July, any dessert that can be enjoyed straight out of the fridge sounds delightful.

Easy Summer Cake with Fruit & Cream
Serves 12

For the cake:
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened at room temperature for 1 hour
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 large eggs
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/4 cups milk
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

For the cream:
2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup powdered sugar
Pinch salt

For the fruit:
2 nectarines or peaches, sliced
1 apricot, sliced
1/2 cup chopped strawberries
1/2 cup blackberries

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Prepare a 9 x 13-inch pan with butter.

Using a mixer (stand or hand), beat the butter and sugar together until just creamed. Add the eggs and beat until fully incorporated. Mix in the flour, salt, baking powder, and finally the milk and vanilla. Incorporate ingredients on low for 30 seconds, then beat the cake batter on medium-high for 2-3 minutes. Batter stages shown below.

Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. While your cake is in the oven, wash, dry, and slice fruit. When the cake is ready, allow plenty of time (30-45 minutes) for it to cool completely

Butter + sugar creamed
Once dry ingredients are added
After milk + vanilla were added, then beat on high

Rinse out your mixing bowl from earlier, and beat the heavy cream, sour cream, powdered sugar, and salt together until soft peaks form. I prefer super soft peaks for this cake topping. Spread cream evenly over the cooled cake, and top with fruit. Refrigerate until serving, and refrigerate any leftovers for up to 5 days.

This recipe was adapted from: The Kitchn