Monthly Archives: August 2012

Bucket List: Banana Split Chocolate Chip Cake

Like most people, I hate to see food go to waste. I cringe as I watch my kale shriveling up, and feel great pangs of guilt as I toss the forgotten Tupperware of pasta into the trash. I try to goad my husband into eating things for lunch that are well past their prime, heralding virtues of convenience, and I have once or twice (okay, three times) been known to give my dogs stale crostini topped with tired pâté.

Ingredients for Banana Cake.

The makings of the deliciousness.

Not this week though. No, this week I was eying the bananas on my counter, daring them to turn brown, so I could make a cake, the idea for which I had come up with while tossing and turning the other night.

When asked what I should call it, one of my co-workers mumbled through a mouthful, “This is f*cking delicious! Call it that! F*cking Delicious Cake!”

She later modified her suggestion to Bucket List Cake, which I think works quite nicely…because if you’re only ever going to make five cakes in your life, this should definitely be one of them. Sinfully delicious, but not cloyingly sweet, and balanced with a perfect amount of moistness this is one for the ages, folks. It takes just 5 minutes to assemble, although the feelings of superiority of using up those wilting bananas will last for days.

Bucket List Banana Split Chocolate Chip Cake
Adapted from Savory Sweet Life

Bucket List Banana Split Chocolate Chip Cake

Bucket List Banana Split Chocolate Chip Cake…perfect warm out of the oven with a glass of red wine.

  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 3 large ripened bananas
  • 1/2 cup Greek Yogurt (I think this was the secret ingredient…I used Chobani’s new Chocolate Chunk yogurt…holy hell it was good)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 TB cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup chocolate chips (milk or semi-sweet pending on your preference)
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Lightly grease a 9×5 loaf pan. Muffin tins also work nicely if you want more of a cupcake result.
  3. In a stand mixer, cream butter and sugar together. Add in egg, bananas, yogurt, and vanilla until well blended.
  4. Add flour, baking soda, salt, and cocoa.
  5. Mix everything until well incorporated (about 3 minutes).
  6. Add chocolate chips and nuts and stir until just combined (you don’t want to crush the nuts too finely)
  7. Pour batter into pan(s) and bake for 50 minutes – 1 hr.
  8. Insert a tooth pick into the center of the cake and check to see if it comes out clean when you pull it out.
  9. Remove from heat and allow cake to rest in the loaf pan for 10 minutes.
  10. Invert the pan(s) onto a cooling rack. Enjoy warm or cold. Delicious served with vanilla ice cream, homemade whipped cream, or a glass of red wine.

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Filed under Desserts, Uncategorized

Back to Reality: Arugula Salad with Grilled Shrimp, Pomegranate, and Goat Cheese

Thank you all for the birthday wishes. It was a grand day indeed complete with soaking up sunshine, ice cubes clinking against margarita filled glasses, and a seemingly never-ending stream of great friends, great food, and great fun.

TrufflePopcorn

The ever addictive Truffle Popcorn.

Fresh Spring Rolls, Sesame Noodle Boxes, and Goat Cheese Crostini.

Fresh Spring Rolls, Sesame Noodle Boxes, and Goat Cheese Crostini.

As an “adult” (whatever that means) I think I am supposed to have reached a state of general maturity and evolution so as to not feel disappointed when my birthday is over. But alas, between you and me, I’m not there yet. I love the anticipation and the excitement and the planning. And then I love the day…and then it is over, with simply a mysterious bruise or two and a full recycle bin as evidence.

Agave Margarita Bar

CJ’s Agave Margarita Bar.

Never one to pout and pity party for (too) long, I inevitably find myself back in the kitchen, slowly stirring, and chopping, and whisking the lurking gray clouds away.

This salad screams Summer! And Fun! And Self-Righteously-Healthy! It is literally impossible to be grumpy while eating this salad, as the spicy arugula is paired with the burst in your mouth pomegranate seeds, countered by the smooth taste of goat cheese, and punctuated with a bite of a pine nut. Make this when reality has returned, but you’re not quite willing to give into it yet.

GIVEAWAY WINNER: Many thanks to all who shared the Eggplant Carpacio recipe. Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and more were buzzing…but despite my wish that everyone win a bottle of Olive Oil, there could only be one winner. And that winner is…Bonnie K who shared via Twitter!

Arugula Salad with Grilled Shrimp, Pomegranate, Pine Nuts, and Goat Cheese
Serves 2

Arugula Salad topped with Grilled Shrimp, Pomegranate, Goat Cheese, and Pine Nuts

Arugula Salad topped with Grilled Shrimp, Pomegranate, Goat Cheese, and Pine Nuts

  • 12 jumbo shrimp, tail on, shell off, thawed
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil + 2 TB
  • 1/8 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 5 cups baby arugula, loosely packed
  • 1/3 cup Pomegranate seeds (Trader Joes sells them ready to go if you like)
  • 1/4 cup Pine Nuts, toasted
  • 1/4 cup goat cheese, crumbled
  1. Preheat grill until 500 degrees
  2. In a small bowl combine the shrimp, 3 of the cloves of garlic, and 2 TB of olive oil. Let marinade at least 10 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, to make the dressing combine the remaining olive oil, garlic, balsamic, honey, and egg yolk. With a whisk or immersion blender, blend until well combined and slightly emulsified.
  4. Reduce grill to half heat, and cook until pink, approximately 2-3 minutes per side. Note: Most people over cook their shrimp…it takes hardly any time and you want then to stay juicy.
  5. To serve, plate the arugula, pomegranate seeds, pine nuts, and goat cheese. Top with shrimp and drizzle with dressing.

Plating the Salad…so pretty.

9 Comments

Filed under 15-Minute-Meals, Giveaways, Health Conscious, Salads, Seafood, Uncategorized

Happy Birthday…Well…To Me.

The Interwebs are a funny place. They make our world so large, and yet also so small. So informed and yet also so naive. We fool ourselves into imagining we can explore life from the comfort of our couches, and forget the importance of teaching the next generation how to write, how to shake someone’s hand and look them in the eye, how to set a nice table.

Clearly, there can be no birthday without cake. Photo Credit: Annie Laurie Malarkey | Capital Grille

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, it is officially the annual birthday musings, where I look fondly (and at times not so fondly) on years past, and look eagerly (always eagerly) ahead. This past year was a good one…full of wiggly foster puppies, recharging trips to the Coast, indulgent lobster bakes for the masses, and quiet days at home.

We lost our sweet Onca, but found our sweet Louise, and I finally conquered my fear of Hollondaise with my dear friend Chelsey’s guidance.  All in all I feel proud of the last year, and excited about what’s ahead.

My wish for my birthday this year is to continue to be able to do what I love…to cook, to eat, to dance in the kitchen until I’ve lost my breath, and to do it all with those that I cherish.

And so with that, I want to say Thank You. Thank you for each comment, each time you passed a recipe onto a friend, each new reader that joined. Thank you for being here, for being part of it all, for helping share my stories. Thank you for encouraging me when I thought there wasn’t anyone else out there, and for helping be a part of hopefully turning this little blog, and one Attainable Gourmet, into something real. I couldn’t do it without you.

xo,

Erina

Many, many years ago…but determined to never lose that optimism and spirit.

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Camping Cucina: Grilled Shrimp with Rosemary, Lemon, and Garlic

{Reminder: 24 hours and counting to enter the giveaway for some of the best olive oil you’ve ever had. Simply share this post via your favorite social media channel, drop the link into the comments section, and cross your fingers. Best of luck!}

What I’m about to say might shock you. Are you ready? Are you sure? Perhaps you might like to sit down. Here goes:

I am not much of a wilderness woman.

Shocking, right? And yet the truth remains,  I like nothing better than eight (okay 10) hours of sleep per night, my hot running shower, and my gourmet cuisine. I sometimes wish I was one of those women who genuinely loved to climb a mountain. Who was thrilled to ride the bull down white water rapids. Who thought bug spray was simply for the weak and the meager. But alas…I am not.

Not a soul in sight…but many a shooting star to keep us company.

And so rather than spend time beating myself up about it (so last year), I’ve decided to embrace my version of camping. Thinking PBR meets Prosecco. Bratwursts meets Bellinis. Hot Dogs meet Holy Hell Delicious.

A few weekends ago we went camping with our friends CJ and Nadia, their three dogs, and our crew. And it was fun. So much fun. And I’m not even pretending lying. We hung from hammocks over the river, we lounged and we lazed, and we ate. Oh did we eat.

Georgia Mae…one of the funniest dogs I know. She was perfectly content to be floating around in the river..on her raft!

The trick is to be smart about delicious, simple foods that require minimal on site preparation. Couple that with some prep work ahead of time and you can eat like a king in the middle of no where.

To give you some ideas, here’s the menu I put together…

Friday Dinner: Grilled Shrimp Packets with Rosemary and Garlic, served with Grilled Baguettes and Rhubarb Cocktails.

Saturday Morning: Bagels with Lox, Cream Cheese, Heirloom Tomatoes, Red Onions, Capers, and Lemon Wedges

Saturday Lunch: Mozzarella, Basil, Tomato Paninis

Saturday Dinner: Chicken Fajitas with Pinto Beans, Fresh Sliced Avocado, Pico de Gallo, and Peach Gin Fizz Cocktails.

Sunday Morning; Breakfast sausage, bacon, fireside biscuits, and hard-boiled eggs.

The shrimp was honestly one of the easiest items on the menu, and one of the most popular.

What’s your favorite food to make when camping?

Grilled Shrimp Packets with Rosemary, Lemon, and Garlic

Grilled Shrimp Packets with Rosemary, Lemon, and Garlic…magnifique!

1/2 lb jumbo, raw shrimp, de-shelled and tail on (Costco sells them very reasonably)

1 lemon, sliced in advance

1 large stalk of rosemary, chopped into 3″ sections in advance

4 cloves garlic, smashed on site

Olive Oil

In tin foil lay the shrimp, lemon, rosemary, and garlic. Drizzle with olive oil and tightly seal up. If cooking on a cook stove or hibachi, grill directly, until shrimp is just cooked through, about 5 minutes.

Thanks to the foil these can also be cooked directly in the fire.

Serve with Rhubarb Cocktails, grilled baguettes, and one giant open sky.

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Filed under 15-Minute-Meals, Health Conscious, Lactose Free, Make ahead, Seafood, Uncategorized

Grilled Eggplant Carpaccio Stuffed with Arugula and Fontina and a *Free* Bottle of Olive Oil

Living in the city, I find that I’m often on guard. This is especially true in my neighborhood, which proudly boasts the most diverse zip code in the USA, but also has the (not so) occasional high-speed car race / gun fight. It’s not really that bad…this is Seattle we’re talking about after all, not Detroit or St. Louis, but it’s also not leave your windows open, drop your bikes in the front yard, walk alone at midnight, small town Americana.

One of my favorite Summer Salads: Mozzarella, Basil, and Heirloom Tomatoes, Drizzled with Olive Oil and Finished with Salt and Pepper

This is why the friendships that we’ve built with the people in our neighborhood are so extraordinary. Perhaps it takes a certain type of person to live in a transitional neighborhood, so there’s some kind of natural pre-selection, but in our little microcosm of the city we’ve managed to create a small town feel, where keys to each other’s homes are shared, dog walks are traded, and calling the neighbor for a cup of sugar is welcomed and often completed with a glass of wine to boot.

In the summer this results in impromptu BBQs, days at the lake, and of course the inevitable doggy play dates. All the gals have made a pact that they won’t fuss about cleaning their house before others come over (though this goes against every bone in my body and occasionally results in an eye twitch), and we’ve all become comfortable enough in each other’s kitchens that taking over a quick salad production or setting the table is second nature.

Getting ready for our most recent feast…three hours of eating, drinking, and laughing.

Perhaps somewhere deep, deep inside me I’ve got some Italian grandmother or something, because I love nothing more than feeding a crowd. Sitting outside with finally snoring puppies at our feet, as evening sets in, and the fire begins to crackle, feels like near perfection.

These appetizers are admittedly a bit of work, but are such a wonderfully unexpected combination of flavors I find myself craving them often. The combination of a mandolin and sliced fontina cuts down on the preparation time significantly, and with a few extra hands these can be quickly whipped together.

GIVEAWAY: The olive oil you use in these is key, which is why I’m very excited to be able to offer one reader a bottle of their choice from the spectacular California Olive Ranch. I’m partial to the Arbequina, which is what I used in this dish, but they have a wonderful selection pending on what you want to do with it. Will happily ship anywhere in the United States.

HOW TO ENTER: Simply share this post using whatever social media channel you prefer (Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Messenger Pigeon) and then provide the link to your share in the comment section. Easy as that!

DEADLINE: Friday, August 24th. Winner will be chosen at random and announced on Monday the 27th.

Grilled Eggplant Carpaccio Stuffed with Arugula and Fontina
Makes approximately 15 – 20 appetizers, pending on the size of the eggplant, but these things go like hot cakes, so plan accordingly

Grilled Eggplant Carpaccio, Stuffed with Fontina and Arugula and Drizzled with Arbequina Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar

1 large eggplant, top and bottom chopped off

Extra Virgin Olive Oil, best you can afford, I used California Olive Ranch because I’m currently obsessed with their Arbequina variety

Coarse Salt & Pepper

Sliced fontina cheese (if pre-sliced size cut in half so doesn’t lay over the eggplant)

1/2 bag baby arugula

Balsamic vinegar

  1. Using a mandolin, cut the eggplant lengthwise into thin strips and place slices on a cookie sheet.
  2. Brush each side generously with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Let rest for 30 minutes.
  4. Heat BBQ and grill eggplant on both sides for about 4-6 minutes or until soft and nicely marked.
  5. Place cheese in center of each eggplant slice and keep on grill until cheese begins to melt.
  6. Remove from grill and return to cookie sheet.
  7. Place small bunch of arugula, perpendicularly, on top of each slice and roll up lengthwise.
  8. Drizzle with more olive oil and balsamic and serve warm or room temperature.

25 Comments

Filed under Appetizers, Entertaining, Giveaways, Uncategorized

There’s Something I’ve Been Wanting to Tell You

There’s something I’ve been wanting to tell you.

No, no…it’s nothing like *that*…, but something exciting did happen that’s kept me busy for a few weeks and I’m excited to share.

The Tuna Poke at BOKA Bar + Restaurant. Photo Credit: Annie Laurie Malarkey

One of the coolest parts about being a food writer is the invitations to spectacular events. There are chef’s dinners, wine tastings, cook book reviews, and more. At each event I feel as though I fall in love with a roomful of soul mates; of people who don’t think there’s anything funny about taking a picture of your dinner before you eat it, and couldn’t imagine not all sharing bites of each others’ meals to make sure you try everything on the menu.

It was at a recent Olive Oil tasting, hosted by the dynamite Talk of Tomatoes, that I met the editor of Seattlite, a fantastic publication that has it’s virtual thumb on the pulse of the latest in dining, travel, fashion, entertainment, events, and more in our fair city of Seattle. One thing lead to another, as they tend to do, and now I’m the newest columnist for Seattlite’s very popular Happenin’ Happy Hour column!

My first story, featuring BOKA Restaurant + Bar came out today…so I wanted to send you over to check it out. There really are few things better than getting to eat, drink, and write about all the best spots in Seattle, so I’m very excited to see where this chapter will take me.

Generous Pour Event at The Capital Grille. Photo credit: Annie Laurie Malarkey

And don’t worry…there’s been lots cooking in my kitchen as well, so stay tuned for Gourmet Camping Cuisine ideas, clever ideas to use up your sage, and lots more in the coming days and weeks here.

Happy almost Weekend!

xo.

33 Comments

Filed under Happenin' Happy Hour, Restaurant Reviews, Uncategorized

Simple Surprises: Agave Mojito

Here at Shut Up & Cook, it’s all about the twist on the expected. The interwebs are flooded with loads of food blogs (some good, some great, some downright bad), and all boasting their own interpretation of why they’re unique. You have gluten-free vegetarians, lovers of scones, and those who just want to eat bacon, morning, noon, and night. You have the tidy baker, the messy cook, and new, left-handed moms in the kitchen. I could go on and on, but if you’re here you’ve probably already read your fair share of them, and have hopefully found your niche.

In all my cooking, and my writing, I try to capture the everywoman in the kitchen; this idea of the Attainable Gourmet. It’s all about cooking great food, with great friends, drinking great wine, and seeing what happens when you put all that together. It’s about finding life’s little treasures, when you least expect it, and slowing down enough to actually be able to appreciate it.

Deviled Deliciousness with Chef’s Choice Toppings from Matt’s in the Market

There are so many standard recipes out there, and it’s good to have a few in your back pocket because you never know when you’ll be called on to make a perfect tray of Deviled Eggs or stunning Lemon Tart, but in general, I like to try to take the everyday and make it exceptional. This doesn’t mean fussy, or precious, or requiring 50 ingredients you’ve never heard of, but rather creatively looking at the palette of ingredients available to you, and the inspiration driving, and taking it from there.

This Agave Mojito is easy yet indulgent in spades. It’s made with Blue Agave, saving you from the dreaded simple syrup making (because who wants to be stirring sugar and hot water when you just want a cocktail), and is a perfect way to use up the mint that is quickly trying to take over your tomato plants. The act of letting the mint and the rum infuse makes this less laborious than the standard version, and garnished with a sprig still delivers the visual punch.

What is your favorite twist on the expected in the kitchen?

Agave Mojito
Serves 1, can easily be multiplied for a crowd

Does anything say summer more than this?

  • 8 mint leaves + sprig for garnish
  • 2 oz rum, I like Turkey Shore Distillery because it’s from the street I grew up on…and it’s really good
  • Juice of 1/2 lime
  • 1 oz Blue Agave Syrup, I used Wholesome Sweetners since it’s organic and lower in calories, mixed with 1 oz hot water
  • Club Soda
  1. In a cocktail shaker add the mint leaves and rum and muddle. Allow to sit for 5 minutes to infuse the flavor.
  2. Add the lime juice, agave syrup, and hot water.
  3. Add a handful of ice cubes to the shaker and shake well to combine.
  4. Strain into Collins glasses, over ice (I like the giant ice cubes because they melt slower )
  5. Top with a splash of club soda and sprig of mint

25 Comments

Filed under Drinks, Entertaining, Uncategorized