Strange (Edible) Worlds

I don’t consider myself to be much of a skilled photographer; usually I just take a butt-load of shots and hope a few come out well enough to share. There are some real geniuses out there pushing the boundaries of normal convention and this one definitely applies. Matthew Albanese creates painstakingly detailed small-scale models to create some beautiful landscape scenes. One of them, Paprika Mars, is made almost entirely from food. Twelve pounds of paprika! Good lord. Very awesome.

Paprika Mars. Made out of 12 pounds paprika, cinnamon, nutmeg, chili powder and charcoal.

Via Gravity Wins.

Not Quite Rice Noodles – Spaghetti Squash Stir Fry

The massive snow storm of 2010 appears to have abetted, finally. Forecast predicts a wee bit more snow (argh) but we should returning to normal soon. Have I mentioned that I hate winter? I hate winter. At least there’s squash.

Spaghetti Squash Broccoli Wokly!

Another adventure with spaghetti squash! At 89 cents a pound it’s rather hard to pass up. I didn’t feel like going pasta style and had a hankering for stir fry. I think broccoli is my favorite vegetable. I kinda just ran with this one not knowing where it’d end up. Overall, pretty happy; though I’d leave out the bean sprouts next time. They just didn’t add anything, and took away a bit. Still, quite proud and I shall do it again!


Spaghetti Squash Stir Fry With Broccoli

1 small spaghetti squash
2 tablespoons peanut oil
1 large onion; quartered and sliced
1 green bell pepper; cut into slices
4 cloves garlic; minced
2 teaspoons minced ginger
1 jalapeno pepper; diced
8 ounces broccoli; cut into small florets

2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon chinese cooking wine
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons sesame oil
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 teaspoons sugar

Pierce the squash several times and cook at 350° for an hour. Once done, let cool and cut in half lengthwise. Mix together the sauce ingredients in a small bowl.

Cook the onion and green pepper with the peanut oil in a large wok under high heat for several minutes until the onion is translucent. Add the garlic, ginger and jalapeno pepper and cook, constantly stirring until fragrant. Transfer to a bowl, add 1/3 cup of water and the broccoli. Bring to a boil, cover and cook until all the water boils away. Add the remaining ingredients and toss, mixing well, and serve.


Kitchen Tips – Melting chocolate

Creeping up on Valentine’s Day weekend, I’d like to give a little love to chocolate. Melting chocolate can be tricky, but it doesn’t have to be.

blackberry yellow cake with chocolate frosting and fondant flowers
photo from last year’s Valentine’s post – Heart-Shaped Blackberry Yellow Cake with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting, Blackberry Filling and Fondant Flowers


  • Don’t add water when trying to melt chocolate, it can cause it to turn stiff and grainy.
  • Chop chocolate in to smaller pieces to expedite the melting process.
  • The less time the chocolate spends over heat, the better. Take your chocolate off the heat early and stir continuously until it’s fully melted.
  • Stir your chocolate while it’s over heat as well; never leave the room while melting chocolate, or you may return to a clumpy, grainy, scorched mess.
  • Microwaving

  • If microwaving chocolate to melt, microwave in a microwave-safe bowl for as little as 5-10 seconds at a time. Remove the bowl carefully, stir and repeat process. Remember to stop microwaving when it’s almost fully melted, and just stir continuously until it’s ready rather than overheat.
  • Make-shift Double Boiler

  • Using direct heat on a stove? Why not instead try creating a double boiler effect. Place 2 inches of water in a small pot, bring it to boil and set a slightly larger pot on top of the pot with water. Add the chocolate to this top pot and stir constantly, removing it from the heat source when possible.
  • In an Emergency

  • Only as an emergency measure, if the chocolate starts to look a little lumpy and questionable, add a small amount of solid shortening (1 tablespoon solid vegetable shortening for each 6 ounces of chocolate you are melting).
  • Happy Chocolate Day!
    brought to you with help from Hershey’s.

    Chocolate Glaze Pour
    photo from our post, A Labor of Love: Peanut Butter and Chocolate Triple Layer Cake, In Memory of Jeff

    I am so over this whole snow thing. DC got blasted with another round and rumor is we’ve hit a new record in snowfall. Whoopie. Things got pretty clear by this afternoon, fortunately, and with any luck we’ll begin the slow, gradual return to normalcy around here. Fingers crossed.

    Before the Bake

    Didn’t have a whole lot of ingredients in the kitchen yesterday during this apocalypse, but I did have more eggplant. This another recipe that calls for roasting, which is nice to take away the eggplant’s natural bitterness. I’ve always liked tomatoes with onions, and this is no exception.

    Baked Eggplant

    Baked Eggplant with Tomato and Onion

    1 eggplant
    1 onion; cut into quarters and sliced
    2 tomatoes; chopped
    3 garlic cloves; minced
    1 teaspoon dried parsley
    1 teaspoon dried basil
    1 teaspoon dried thyme
    1 teaspoon salt
    1 teaspoon sugar

    Preheat your oven to 350°. Cut your eggplant in half, lengthwise, sprinkle with salt and set aside to weep for five minutes. Rinse well, dry and set in a baking dish; flesh side up. Combine the onion, tomato, garlic, herbs and salt in a small bowl. Make a small slice down the middle of each eggplant half and heap your topping on. Bake for 30-40 minutes, pressing the topping down 2-3 times with the back of a spoon. Serve and enjoy.

    Will Kill for PB Cups

    How about this for a Valentine’s Day treat?

    Martha Stewart’s Valentine’s Day Peanut Butter Cups.

    Please send some my way??

    The Snow in Virginia Continues…


    See? He smiles!

    Food Photography – Black & White Cookie, Chandler’s Bakery

    I lied about posting yesterday! First I shrugged off responsibility and then I lied! Man, I’m on a roll here.. an evil roll.

    I present to you the most delicious cakey Black & White Cookie ever. This cookie is courtesy of Chandler’s Bakery in Charlottesville. The cookie rises like a turtle’s shell, with the frosting on the flat side. It’s extraordinary.


    Ever made them before? Edwin has. I did a little recipe digging, and while none looks as good as Chandler’s Bakery, Joy the Baker’s recipe may come the closest. What’s your recipe?

    Black & White Cookie Roundup

  • Joy the Baker
  • Smitten Kitchen
  • Martha Stewart
  • Rachel Ray
  • Betty Crocker
  • Epicurious
  • Baking Bites
  • Duff Goldman (from Ace of Cakes), this recipe actually uses yeast! Maybe that’s the secret…
  • More later!

    Lovely DC readers,

    Would you mind waiting on my post until this evening? We finally got power, internet and cable back yesterday afternoon, but Chef Edwin distracted me last night by talking about and sharing music… and my plans were all forgotten.

    Yes, I’m shuffling blame onto Edwin!

    morgan and biscuit

    Heather – GB

    Going Turkish – Roasted Eggplant with Mint Yogurt

    Good morning, loyal DC readers! If you’re on the east coast then I hoped you fared well in Snowpocalypse/Snowmageddon/Snowtorious B.I.G. or whatever other clever name being spread in your neighborhood. The DC office (of DC. Hah!) fared quite well with nothing extreme to report. Whole lotta snow, past my knees, and a whole lotta fun. I must say, the children’s playground was quite empty when I walked by. Yes, I rode down the slide; several times.

    Snow Slide Snow Slide

    Ghost Baker is not faring too well right now. She and her hubs have been fighting with intermittent power outages and pretty much full time loss of cable and internet. A Heather without her movies is not a Heather you want to be around. 😉 Good luck, Morgan!

    Baby Eggplant Eggplant - Cut

    I’ve been doing a lot of cooking in random styles lately and this weekend I went Turkish. A group of friends from college and I try to get together every month or so so we don’t lose touch; often it’s dinner and board games and often it’s at my place as I am located conveniently for all parties (less work for me!). While in Germany a couple years back I ate mezza style with family, which is kinda like Spanish Tapas; lots of small dishes; eaten mostly with your hands. Eggplant, an ingredient I’ve never been a huge fan of, is a pretty prevalent dish in Turkish cooking so keeping my intent to be more open minded this year, I jumped right in.

    Mint Yogurt

    Eggplant is friggin’ bitter raw and I’ve never actually heard of an eggplant recipe that didn’t involve frying or roasting. This recipe takes that harsh bite out, puts a bit back in via garlic and cools you down with mint and yogurt. I tried this with a baby eggplant, but I’m sure your regular eggplant would work as well. With how easy this recipe is, you really have no excuse not to try it!

    Roasted Eggplant with Mint Yogurt

    Roasted Eggplant with Mint Yogurt
    If using regular, larger eggplants, be sure to up the amount of yogurt ingredients and the amount of time roasted. I’d recommend 20 minutes for the first phase and starting with 30-35 on the second. Let us know how it works out!

    2 baby eggplants
    1/4 greek yogurt
    3 gloves garlic; minced
    2 tablespoons lemon juice
    2 tablespoons fresh mint; roughly chopped
    salt and pepper to taste

    Roast your eggplant in a baking tray for 15 minutes at 400°. Remove from the oven, cut them lengthways and roast for another 25-30 minutes, cut side up, until the flesh forms a dip when pressed. While the eggplant is roasting mix your remaining ingredients together in a bowl.

    When the eggplants are ready, remove from the oven and cut a slit (not all the way through!) lengthways down the flesh of the eggplant. Press down the flesh a bit with a spoon (or carefully with your fingers) to form a bit of a hollow dip for your yogurt. Spoon yogurt in, serve and enjoy.

    Kitchen Tips – Just in Time! Oven Baked Wings Super Bowl Tip

    Apparently, Baking Powder Makes for Better Oven-Baked Wings! Let’s try this out!