Tuesday, October 30, 2012


How crazy is it that it's Halloween tomorrow?

Unfortunately I have yet to find out if Hallowednesday will fit in my schedule at all, but I'm hoping it will. I usually go all out this time a year in terms of parties and costumes, and this year shouldn't be an exception. For this reason I had a party over the weekend. And I went all out.

My roommate, my sister and me decorated the first floor of my apartment top to bottom. We cobwebbed the ceiling, toilet-papered the living room and hung streamers and plastic chandeliers near the entrance. Then we added black and orange lights along with candle-lit mason jars to give the room an eerie mood. The only thing missing was dry ice, but we weren't about to take the risk of making everyone pass out due to the lack of oxygen.

Then there was the food. I spent all of Saturday (and some of Friday) prepping for the party. It sounds like a very long time and it was, but it was worth it. In the end our goodie table featured a massive "Boo!" cake, cute orange-monster cupcakes, a tangy guacamole and glow-in-the-dark (black light) jell-o shots.

If you like cake, I would highly recommend this recipe (which I featured about two years ago as the "Who's Counting Cake"). It's consistency is a combination between angel-food and pound cakes; it's so moist the frosting isn't even necessary--although it does give it another level. As for the flavor, it screams creamy vanilla with a hint of sweetness.

The cupcakes are this recipe, with this frosting. Both recipes are so versatile that I decided to combine them and focus more on the decoration. And come on, aren't they just so cute?!

Then there's the guac, which is an all-time favorite. Start with a base of avocados (I used 3) and add chopped tomato, onion and jalapeño; then add more goodies, like corn, black beans or even peas. Finish off with fresh lime juice and salt and pepper.

And last but not least, the jell-o shots; the ooh-aah treats of the night. A few months ago I found out that tonic water glows under a black light. I also read that you could incorporate it into jell-shots and thus have them glow-in-the-dark. Genius right? Here is the recipe.

Regardless of if I celebrate the actual Halloween tomorrow, I'd say I basked in the spirit on Saturday. Now go prepare a party!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Warm Arugula, Shrimp and Tomato Salad

Guess what?

I have officially started applying to jobs. I have hopes that by the time I graduate I will have secured a job and therefore decide where to live for the next few years. As of now I have no make-it-or-break-it preference regarding a city or country.

My work-related thoughts are all jumbled up at the moment and I'm experiencing the true senior anxiety of what to do once classes are over. Sure, it's only October people tell me, but in my calendar, October and May are not too far apart--especially considering how quickly time is passing by.

But here's to hoping that I will soon find my way in the realm of one of my many passions. For now, I will keep cooking my anxiety away. Cue corny music in the background.

Today I was feeling for something flavorful and fresh. I didn't want to make another salad though, so I decided to go with a warm arugula, tomato and shrimp recipe that grabbed my attention a few months ago. The recipe is simple and quick but the combination of lime and tomato juice is delicious. Cooking the tomatoes before the shrimp ensures they become tender and juicy; when you add the shrimp, there is enough moisture to allow them to cook without drying out. Finally, the addition of arugula adds yet another layer to the dish.

Warm Arugula, Shrimp and Cherry Tomato Salad (adapted from FOOD by Martha Stewart)
Active time: 10 minutes. Total time 15 minutes.
Makes 3-4 servings

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, 
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon shallots, finely chopped
  • 1 lb. large shrimp
  • 6 oz. baby arugula
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  1. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add tomatoes and cook, stirring often until they become very soft and blister, about 2 minutes. Add shallot and cook for about 1 more minute. 
  2. Add shrimp and cook, stirring, until opaque, about 5 minutes. 
  3. Lower heat and add arugula. Toss for 1 minute or until just wilted. Remove from heat and add lemon juice; toss to combine. Serve warm.

Friday, October 19, 2012

*Insert Weekend Plan Here*

Aaaaaand breathe!

The week is finally over. I'm as excited as a kid with a spatula covered in frothy Nutella frosting grasped between two chubby hands. Or as a college student that discovers sleep and free time looming on the horizon.

This week was hectic and tiring to say the least, but it still had some highlights. For instance, I was part of a delicious cupcake sale on Monday; I got to see my students (I'm a TA) climb up on a tables and pretend they were angry at each other on Tuesday; I applied for a job on Wednesday; and I finished the first season of Revenge late on Thursday. Oh and then there is today.

Friday is usually the best--or second best depending on the greatness of Saturday--part of the week. This Friday promises nothing less than an amazing time. I have a family-style friends dinner to attend with the greatest people on earth (my group of annoyingly funny friends), an array of birthday celebrations to keep me entertained throughout the night, and a free-as-can-be Saturday morning. So yeah, I'm grateful that it's Friday. Cue Rebecca Black song.

Or not.

If I were to add a song to this post it would be Katy Perry's Last Friday Night in homage to last Friday night. But I don't do songs on this blog, so let's get to the good part. Cupcakes!

I baked three dozen cupcakes for the TasteBUds sale on Monday. Two of those were Red Velvet, the all-time favorite; and the third was the newby, Chocolate Nutella.

If you enjoy the occasional spoonful of Nutella or a daily dose of chocolate, you will love these cupcakes. Think dense dark chocolate cake topped with a cloud of sweet velvety frosting. Moist cupcake with a flavorful frosting that will make you feel in chocolate heaven.

Chocolate Nutella Cupcakes (adapted from Sweetapolita)
Makes 12 cupcakes
Active time: 30 minutes. Total time: 45 minutes.

  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup fresh brewed espresso
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 egg at room temperature (for at least 30 mins.)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 350F and prepare a cupcake pan with liners.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine all dry ingredients. Add remaining ingredients and mix on medium speed for about 2 minutes. Batter will be very liquid.
  3. Pour batter into cupcake pan filling each about 2/3 of the way. Bake for 15-17 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Carefully remove cupcakes from pan immediately after removing from the oven and place on wire rack to cool completely.
Frosting (also from Sweetapolita)

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened and cooled
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup bittersweet chocolate, melted and slightly cooled
  • 1/3 cup Nutella
  • 1 tablespoon almond milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar on low speed until fluffy, about 1 minute. Add vanilla and continue to beat until combined. 
  2. Add chocolate and increase speed to medium; beat for about 2 minutes or until smooth. Add Nutella, milk and salt and beat on medium-high speed for 1-2 more minutes.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Pasta Pasta Pasta

Hi again. It's been a rough couple of weeks. I've had no time to cook or blog and I'm less than thrilled about that. And I'm sorry to say that this semester is looking more and more bleak. Unfortunately I doubt I'll be posting more than once or twice a week.

But fear not, I will be back and full throttle next semester. And for now, I'm still to be posting in a semi-regular basis.

So before I get to the food--which by the way, who knew making such delicious pasta was so easy!?--let me talk about some exciting news.

First of all, I would like to promote the new TasteBUds website. It is BU's one and only student-published (now online) food magazine. And let me tell you, if you''re looking for fun articles and delicious restaurant reviews, look no more, TasteBUds specializes in both.

I sound like a TV commercial, but who cares. I'm excited about the new path that TasteBUds is taking and I want to share it with my readers.

Regarding other stuff. I am now officially a half-marthonist. I ran the Smuttynose Hampton Beach Half-Marathon a week and a half ago and it was amazing. Sure I suffered through the leg chaffing and black toe nails, but the whole experience was worth it. The best part, complete strangers cheering for you on the streets. The worst, endless rain and crowded runners for the first three miles.

Oh and I almost forgot, the posters along the race were hilarious. I was highly amused by one in particular. It read, "toe nails are for pussies." And yes, yes they are!

Anyways, onto a more enjoyable subject, lets talk about pasta! Raise your hand if you don't like pasta.

If you have your hand up, leave my blog! NO, I'm kidding, but really? You don't like pasta? Even if its home made and deliciously savory?

Well... I hope this can change your mind.

Orechiette with Cherry Tomatoes and Shallots (adapted from Martha Stewart)
Makes about 4 servings
Active time: 70 mins. Total time: 100 mins.


  • 1 cup Semolina flour
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup water, plus more if needed
  1. On a clean surface, mound flours and salt in 3 separate piles. Using your fingers, swirl ingredients together to combine. 
  2. Gather flour mixture into a pile and create a small well in the center. Pour half the water into the well and gradually incorporate flour into water. Once all water is absorbed, continue adding the rest of the water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until mixture forms a dough. Add more water if necessary.
  3. Gather and knead the dough until no flour remains on the work surface. Continue to knead until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes.
  4. Divide dough into 8 equal portions and cover them with a clean, damp kitchen towel. Roll out one portion into a 16 inch rope. Using a knife, cut and drag a 1/3-inch piece of dough from the end of the rope. Pressing the knife, roll dough towards you so that it curls around the knife. Unfurl each piece over your thumb in the opposite direction to form a concave shape; transfer to a baking sheet lightly sprinkled with semolina flour. Repeat with remaining dough.
  5. Cover orechiette with a damp towel and let rest for about 20 minutes.
  6. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add a pinch of salt and a little bit of olive oil and add orechiette. Cook until al dente, about 5 minutes. Drain pasta, but safe some pasta water for sauce

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons diced shallots
  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 pound cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • Parmesan cheese, optional
  1. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add shallots and sauté until tender, about 2 minutes. Add onions and sauté for 1 more minute.
  2. Add cherry tomatoes and cook until soft, 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Raise heat to high and add 1/4 cup pasta water and orechiette. Cook for about 2 minutes. Serve topped with parmesan cheese.