yogurt cake

Yogurt cake is deceptively simple for it's easiness to fantastic taste ratio. It is great weekday cake, light dessert for casual company or easy Monday treat for coworkers.

Yogurt Cake, adapted from smitten kitchen
  • 1 cup plain non-fat yogurt
  • 1/3 minus 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (trust me)
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • juice and zest of 1/2 large very ripe orange
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 2/3 cups AP flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  1. preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease 9-inch cake pan
  2. in mixing bowl combine yogurt, oil, sugar, juice, zest and vanilla
  3. add eggs one at a time and beat until incorporated
  4. sift all dry ingredients into moist, gently stirring until just combined
  5. pour batter into cake pan and bake 35-45 minutes, until toothpick stuck in the center comes out clean.
  6. let cake cool, then gently remove to wire rack to finish cooling
  7. slice, serve, enjoy
You can fancy this cake up a bit by sifting powdered sugar over the top.
You can make a far richer dessert by using full-fat yogurt (I'm picturing maple brown-cow.)
You can add in fruit to the mix (blueberries anyone?)

This recipe is far more template than law; you can us any flavor yogurts, any fruit juices, what ever.


Best Chocolate Chip Cookies

These are the best chocolate chip cookies ever, really.


We (J does the cookie baking) got this recipe from an issue of the dearly departed Gourmet magazine. Now the magazine automatically falls open to the crinkled-dough-encrusted page.

Chocolate Chip Cookies, from Gourmet April 2007 (normally I'd link to the recipe, but can't find it)

You will need:
  • 2 1/2 sticks (1 1/4 cups) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups AP flour
  • 2 cups chocolate chips (or white chocolate or peanut butter chips, or nuts, or a combination, go wild, or not)
  1. in mixer beat together butter sugars and salt until light and fluffy
  2. add egg and vanilla and beat until combined
  3. reduce speed and add flour, mix lightly until just combined
  4. fold in chips. or nuts, or whatever
  5. refrigerate at least 4 hours, preferably overnight (very important, if you don't, all that tasty butter will melt into one messy sheet-full of dough)
  6. preheat oven to 375 degrees and line cookie sheets with parchment paper of baking mats
  7. distribute 2 tbsp mounds of dough evenly on sheets
  8. bake about 7 minutes then rotate sheet and bake 5-7 minutes more, until edges are golden brown
  9. cool cookies on wire racks

  10. Share with a friend

Friday's shared lunch



Sometimes, when I've had a particularly stressful week, I just want some comfort food.

But I also want something interesting. And healthy (ie not pizza or take-out Chinese, again.)

Shakshuka is one of those meals that is infinitely comforting, variable and satisfying. Plus it's relatively hands-off (which, if you've noticed a theme to most things I cook) is a week-night necessity.

To make this you will need:
  • 2 chopped onions (red, yellow, white, combination thereof- it doesn't matter)
  • at least 5 cloves chopped garlic
  • 28 oz can tomatoes, whole preferred
  • 1.5 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 chopped jalapenos (or more)
  • 1 chopped anaheim pepper
  • 1 chopped green bell pepper (any combination of green peppers is good)
  • pinch red pepper fakes
  • 1 egg per person
  • 1/4 cup feta cheese
  • green herbs, to garnish (green onion, parsley, cilantro, thyme, etc...)

  1. In heavy-bottomed large sauce pan/skillet heat olive oil over medium high
  2. add onions and garlic, sauteing until soft, 5+ minutes
  3. add all peppers and saute until fragrant and soft, 5+ minutes
  4. open and dump in tomatoes and their juice
  5. cover and reduce heat to medium low, let simmer, stirring occasionally, until tomatoes begin to break down, 25+ minutes
  6. as tomatoes soften, squish them into smaller pieces with a wooden spoon
  7. once tomatoes are nice and soft, crack one egg per person over the top, and sprinkle with feta
  8. cover and cook until eggs reach your desired firmness, usually just a few minutes for runny/soft yolks
  9. spoon shakshuka and one egg into each person's bowl, garnish each bowl with the chopped green herbs
  10. eat, be comforted, and relax

If it's really been one of those days/weeks I do the same thing, only with store-bought spaghetti sauce -not the same, but still nice.

If it hasn't been one of those weeks, I imagine you could make this almost as easily with fresh tomatoes (I'm lazy and wouldn't peel), although internet rumor has it only canned tomatoes are authentic.


cat distraction

Today was a very MONDAY type of day, and required some cheering up after work.

Needless to say, I am in love with this cat.



Baldwin Beach Tahoe Paking Lot

Very serious lesson about to be learned about cuffing those pants too high over pale legs when kayaking


Before that, there's time for some bliss on the lake

That important lesson about kayaking when pale? Yeah.

That important lesson about kayaking when pale? Yeah.