Steak Salad with Mint and Shaved Goat Cheese

After months of putting off using the bike my sister gifted me, I finally got it out and took it for a good, long ride. Turns out, biking is super fun. I did 9 miles in 40 minutes and felt great. My knees definitely appreciated the break.

Anyway, after working out I bought a mini salad spinner and whipped up some salad. I thought I’d share what I made.

Steak Salad with Mint and Shaved Goat Cheese (Kaprise Kitchen original)

  • 3 ounces (or more) of cold steak, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups of arugula
  • 1/2 cup of mint leaves, stems removed
  • 2 small cucumbers, sliced
  • half a dozen shavings from a block of cheese, I chose Midnight Moon goat cheese
  • a drizzle of your favorite dressing
  1. Wash and spin your arugula and mint
  2. Arrange the salad greens in a large bowl with the steak and cucumber
  3. Shave the cheese over the top and drizzle your favorite dressing on top.

Easy Peasy and delicious. The mint definitely adds a unique punch and freshens up the salad.

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Baked Ginger Carrot Quinoa

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Baked Ginger Carrot Quinoa (Imagined up while driving)

  • 1 cup of uncooked quinoa
  • 8 carrots shredded (should equal 2 1/2 cups)
  • 1 cup of chopped broiled brussel sprouts (feel free to substitute with any cooked green)
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh ginger, chopped finely
  • 1 tablespoon of grainy mustard
  • 1 teaspoon of cumin (feel free to scale back… my older sister tells me I’m heavy handed with cumin)
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of pepper
  • 4 eggs, whiskey
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil

Before we get started – I am going to suggest that you add the spices in increments. I really wanted a gingery-carrot flavor so I was heavy handed with my ginger, but for those of you who are less inclined towards ginger, cumin, and mustard, you should add in small increments so that you can season accordingly. The result I got was a mildly spicy quinoa cake with a crispy exterior and squishy inside… so if you want even MORE ginger, go for it!!!

  1. Thoroughly wash quinoa in a mesh sieve
  2. Bring quinoa to a boil in 2 cups of water. Once the water comes to a rolling boil, lower the heat to low/medium and cover. Cook for 20 minutes, or until the quinoa has cooked through. Fluff with a fork and let it cool.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the shredded carrot and brussel sprouts
  4. Add the quinoa and stir until well combined.
  5. Slowly add your spices until you get the flavor profile you like. Keep in mind that the ginger will mellow significantly as you cook.
  6. Mix in whisked eggs until well combined.
  7. Drizzle olive oil on a cooke sheet. I used a foil covered sheet, but still found that I got a little sticking, so I recommend using a non-stick surface and plenty of oil. I don’t think parchment paper will work since it will absorb the moisture, but perhaps a silicone baking sheet, or an enamel pan would work. Let me know in the comments if you end up finding a better solution than tin foil!
  8. Measure out 1/3 cup fulls of quinoa. Pat into circles and place evenly spaced on a cookie sheet
  9. Bake at 400F for about 30-40 minutes, or until the bottoms have browned and the insides are cooked through. I drizzled a little extra olive oil at the 1/2 point.
  10. Enjoy with salad!!!

I hope you guys enjoy this variation of quinoa patties. I felt like I needed to come up with one that didn’t require me hovering over sputtering oil, and this was just the ticket.

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Sweet Potato Baja Fish Bites

Guys… Baja fish. It’s tender, delicate, and delicious. Mine was prepared simply… just a tiny pinch of salt and a light dusting of flour before being pan fried in olive oil. Can I just tell you? AMAZING!

I had a few pieces of fish left over, and I couldn’t stop thinking about ways to prepare the fish. Scallion? Ginger? Salad? Sandwich?! Then I thought, “BITE-SIZED!” and came up with this!

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Sweet Potato Baja Fish Bites (Kaprise Kitchen Original)

  • 2 filets of baja fish
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 3 tablespoons of flour (for those Paleo eaters, you can omit this all together or batter your fish in egg, or dip lightly in fine almond flour)
  • 1 sweet potato
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 teaspoon of grainy mustard
  • 1 teaspoon of balsamic vinegar reduction
  1. Slice the sweet potato and carrot into 1/2 inch slices, toss in olive oil, and roast in the oven at 425F for 25 minutes, until crisp. (You can also do this the day before and chill in the refrigerator)
  2. Heat a non-stick skillet with a little olive oil. Sprinkle the baja fish with a teensy bit of fine salt and lightly flour. Fry the fish for 4 minutes on each side, until cooked through. (Also, can be done a day in advance and chilled in the refrigerator)
  3. In a large serving platter, place the slices of sweet potato
  4. Gently brush each sweet potato with a thin layer of mustard
  5. Top each sweet potato/mustard with a piece of fish, sliced to fit the pieces.
  6. Garnish with a little sliver of roasted carrot
  7. Top each bite with a drop or two of balsamic vinegar reduction.
  8. Eat!!!

Balsamic Vinegar Reduction: Super easy! Just put some balsamic vinegar in a non-reactive pan, medium heat, cover, and reduce until 1/2 volume. Make sure your kitchen is well ventilated, and please, for the love of cooking, do not sniff the mixture! Just let it bubble away until it’s 1/2 volume. Cool and store in an airtight jar. Use on anything.

Note: You can use any type of left over fish in this recipe. I do think that the baja was a perfect match for the sweetness of the sweet potato, but I can see cod being really good too. I would do a tilapia also, but maybe with a chili-cilantro salsa instead of balsamic.


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I hope you guys enjoyed this recipe! Also… Happy Valentines Day!!! Celebrate those you love, and celebrate yourself, because there is no one else you should love more!!!

xoxo -H

Chewy Toasted Coconut Toffee Chocolate Cookies

C.T.C.T.C. Cookies… haha! I don’t know why that amuses me so much!

Anyway, I’ve been thinking a lot about those Girl Scout Cookies… you know the shortbread ones covered in caramel and coconut and drizzled in chocolate?? I thought a lot about that caramel, and the texture of the cookie. I like the dryness of the cookie, contrasting with the chewiness of the caramel. I had some heavy cream in the fridge that I had originally earmarked for caramel, but then I made pastry cream (for no apparent reason, since it’s still whipped up and sitting in the fridge). I decided that I would make a simple toffee for my cookies instead… I thought about drizzling the hot toffee through cookie dough and baking the cookies with oozy ribbons of toffee running through them and dipping them in chocolate. Then, I thought about making toffee flavored shortbread and rolling them through coconut flakes like Mexican Wedding Cookies but with coconut instead of powdered sugar. But I finally decided I wanted something thick, chewy, and flecked with toffee, coconut, and chocolate.

Despite the toffee, these cookies are not overly sweet, instead they are mildly flavored with molasses and vanilla. The coconut toffee and chocolate just add a bit of sweetness and complexity to the cookies. I think next time, I’ll scale up the coconut and perhaps use chunkier flakes.

Chewy Toasted Coconut Toffee Chocolate Cookies (adapted by some large stretch of imagination from All Recipes)

  • 12 tablespoons of unsalted butter, softened just a bit (maybe 30 seconds in the microwave)
  • 1 cup of granulated sugar
  • 3-4 tablespoons of molasses (I used 4 but feel free to use less if you are sensitive to the bitterness of molasses)
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 cups of flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon of flakey salt (again, feel free to use less if you dislike saltier cookies)
  • 1 cup of crushed Coconut Toffee (recipe to follow) (Make this about 2 hours before the cookies so it has time to cool)
  • 1 cup of flaked chocolate
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F
  2. In a large bowl cream the butter, sugar, and molasses until smooth.
  3. Beat in vanilla and the egg and egg yolk until creamy and smooth.
  4. Sprinkle in the flour and baking soda and salt. (I know, I know, I don’t use two bowls, but I promise this works just fine so long as you sprinkle and distribute the leavening ingredients as you mix it in)
  5. Stir in coconut toffee and chocolate
  6. Spoon in 1 tablespoon scoops onto parchment lined cookie sheets (Important! Because the toffee will get everywhere as you bake).
  7. Bake at 350F for about 12 minutes or until just puffed and the edges are just crisp. The cookies will deflate a little once they come out of the oven. If you prefer crispy cookies, bake for a couple more minutes until the edges are crisp and the centers of the cookies have fallen.
  8. Should make 24-30 cookies. I made mine a bit larger than a tablespoon and got 26 cookies (so far only 24 are left).

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Coconut Toffee (ummm… I made it up?)

  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • 1/2 cup of toasted coconut, unsweetened
  1. Melt sugar in a pan until smooth and deeply golden
  2. Remove from the heat, and add butter in slices
  3. Stir until smooth on low heat
  4. On a pan, spread 1/2 of the coconut making a slightly thicker lip to contain the toffee in a bounded area (nerd alert)
  5. Pour the toffee onto the pan
  6. Sprinkle the top of the toffee with the remaining coconut
  7. Cool
  8. Smash with your fist, a hammer, your head, or any heavy instrument. Add to cookie dough, yogurt, or anyplace that needs awesomeness.

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Ta Da!!!

xoxo -H

Crispy Quinoa Cakes (burger substitute)

The other day I was trying to convince myself that I did NOT need to eat my 3rd burger of the week… I was losing this self-argument, but in a lightbulb of genius I decided to make quinoa patties. I had been thinking about quinoa and black bean vegetarian patties for a few days, so I thought it only natural to use what I had in the house already. I pulled inspiration for these “cakes” or “patties” from here and here. Have you read Yummy Supper before? Excellent pictures, excellent inspiration, and the name is so adorable!! The other blog is a new find, and I’m excited to read more from it!

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Crispy Quinoa Cakes (Inspired from Yummy Supper and EYS)

  • 1 cup of uncooked quinoa
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 stalks of celery
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 small bunch of parsley
  • 1 cup of cooked brussel sprouts
  • 1 cup of shredded cheese (I used some random raspberry beer cheddar I had languishing in the fridge, but I imagine anything would be good in this! I’m going to try feta next time)
  • 3 eggs whisked
  • Salt/Pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup of flour (optional)
  • 1 cup of olive oil (maybe a little less)
  1. Wash the quinoa and drain well (I find that unless you give the grains a good scrub you end up with a little sandiness so I’m sure to wash them really well and drain in a mesh sieve). 
  2. In a saucepan, bring the quinoa to a boil in 2 cups of water. Once the water boils, lower to a simmer and put a lid on it (bahaha… put a lid on it). And let it cook until fluffy (about 20 minutes).
  3. While your quinoa is cooking, get started on the vegetables.
  4. Dice the celery and onion. Put into a large mixing bowl.
  5. Slice the brussel sprouts. I used pre-roasted brussel sprouts, but you could use frozen ones or whatever other green vegetable you have on hand. Add to the mixing bowl.
  6. Chiffonade the parsley and add to the bowl
  7. Grate the carrots, using the large holes on your grater, into the mixing bowl with the other vegetables.
  8. Once your quinoa is done, add to the bowl and stir until evenly incorporated.
  9. Add in the whisked eggs, shredded cheese, and salt/pepper.
  10. Shape the mixture into patties. I used about 1/3 cup of the mixture for each cake (this makes about 16 cakes)
  11. (OPTIONAL: You can dust the patties lightly in flour before frying them, it helps a little with cohesiveness, but I fried with and without flour… so it’s really up to you.)
  12. In a frying pan (I used a non-stick one), heat the olive oil until a little bit of batter sizzles.
  13. Taste the little sample batter and adjust your seasonings accordingly.
  14. Fry the cakes in small batches, allowing them to brown before flipping them. I cooked mine for about 4 minutes on each side.
  15. I let them drain on a cookie cooling rack.

I ate my quinoa cakes with seared scallops and packed the rest of the cakes in a large container with pieces of parchment paper in between layers. To reheat, I simply put them in a frying pan and reheated for a few minutes with a teaspoon of olive oil. These keep well in the fridge for up to a week, but I doubt they will last that long.

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Let me know if you have any other questions! I think my recipe might be a little garbled, but I made these in a frantic and starved state (and I’m writing it in the middle of the night)!!

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Distracted

This summer has been really weird. I started working immediately after finals… and if you have ever talked to a law student after finals after over you understand how mentally weird law people can get by sitting alone in the dark reading statutes. My job, as a research assistant, was literally to sit in the library (again) all summer reading random things and taking notes. And to top it off, all of my friends have been out of town, or working crazy hours at law firms. But, that’s all good because I really needed time to train for the marathon (the first one for me!)… but then I got some really strange arch injury, and then I tripped and scraped/bruised both legs, hips and elbows. And then when I finally started hitting the groove again, I fell during my long run (my fault for running at 10pm). And, because I didn’t want anyone to discourage me, I didn’t really tell anyone I was training for a marathon and I ran most of my runs alone. You know what that does to someone? It makes you a little weird. I mean. I’m weird to begin with… but I’ve never spent so much time staring out my window in lala land. Then my friend said he was trying to get his 5K time to under 20 minutes, so I immediately volunteered to run with him. It’s awesome because it switches up my routine, but when we’re done with the 3 miles, I feel like my legs should keep going. And then last week, on my eight mile run I felt my foot start to hurt, so I proactively stopped. And then I have all sorts of creepy dreams about running.

So, short story, I’ve been really distracted and forgetful. I haven’t really cooked all summer because I crave things like cold bread and pounds of steak. And I really think that you guys know how to sear steak 5 minutes on each side for a perfect medium rare.

Anyway – I made this pasta salad a couple weeks ago, and much to my delight, the beets that I tossed into the pasta turned the noodles hot pink!

Hot Pink Beet Pasta Salad (a Kaprise Kitchen original)

  • 14 crabs, meticulously picked apart – about 2 cups of crab meat
  • 1 pound of pasta suitable for pasta salad. I used the twirly kind because I like the orange and green ones
  • 2 beet roots, roasted in a foil packet at 400 F for 30-40 minutes until tender, cooled, peeled, and cubed
  • The leafy stalks of the beet roots, washed and blanched in boiling water for 2-3 minutes, cooled and chopped
  • 1/2 cup of chopped celery
  • 1/2 cup of chopped red bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup of toasted flaked almond
  • 16 oz of black olives, sliced
  • Salad dressing of your choice, or balsamic vinegar reduction
  1. I discussed the crabs and the ridiculous amount of time I spent picking at them, so see that post please.
  2. For roasted beets – please reference Funnyeater‘s commentary on roasted beets.
  3. While the beets are roasting, assemble the remainder of the ingredients – boil a large, salted pot of water and cook the pasta until very al-dente. My pasta’s suggested cooking time was 10 minutes, so I cooked for 8 before draining well and rinsing with cold water.
  4. For blanched beet greens – simply wash the greens thoroughly before plunging into boiling water until the greens wilt. Drain the greens well and chiffonade.
  5. For chopped peppers, celery, and olives – feel free to chop as small or large as you like, and feel free to use any other type of vegetable that keeps well in pasta salad.
  6. Once all of the ingredients are assembled, toss all the ingredients in a large bowl with a touch of olive oil (to keep things from sticking too much). I left the crab meat out so I could top the salad with the crab meat and almonds… it looks prettier
  7. Drizzle the salad with salad dressing or balsamic vinegar reduction (which I find a little lighter since a teensy dab of it goes a long way).

The Giant Rhubarb In the Room

I went to the farmer’s market… and as I’m apt to do, I went a little crazy with the buying. I just like farmer’s markets and when I see all of the people and the produce I just want to buy it all.

I found an adorable gentleman who sold me two soft-shell crabs… I cleaned them (eeek!) and ate them with great gusto. I was pleased that I had cleaned them myself… but a little freaked out that they continue to move even as I was hacking into their vital organs and cutting their faces off. It makes me cringe still. ::cringe::

Well, last week I walked past anything that required cooking/baking because I was in study mode. I’m still in study mode, but I decided that this week I was going to just spend a couple hours cooking and enjoying myself before going back to :::i-want-to-kill-someone::: study mode. When I saw these arm length (or if you’re short, like me, 1/2 body length) rhubarb, I had to have them. They were so delightfully pink, I immediately grabbed them.

I did like Connie at ouichefcook and tossed the sliced rhubarb in sugar before letting it drain in the refrigerator for 8 hours. Then, I decided I wanted coffee cake crumbs in a buttermilk based cake. So I fused Lottie + Doof’s favorite cake with some coffee cake crumbs… with a layer of rhubarb in between the cake. So maybe I over-did it a little bit. I ended up with is a 9×13” cake that’s about 2 inches thick. I told you. I’m not good at subtle. Or a little. I like BIG. Bigger = better. DUH…  I might have been a Texan in a former life.

The crumbs are just perfectly crunchy and the cake is pillowy. And the layer of rhubarb is just acidic and tart enough to balance the crunchy crumbs. And since I absentmindedly left out the vanilla extract, the cake tastes just like rhubarb. I know some people won’t like it because it’s a bit tart, but this giant corner slice I pried out of the pan before it cooled is just delicious.

Anyway. Here is what I did

Giant Rhubarb Coffee Cake (Kaprise Kitchen interpretation from a little of this and a little of that)

  • 3 cups of flour, sifted
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 12 tablespoons of butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cup of shaken buttermilk

Rhubarb:

  • about 1 pound of rhubarb
  • 1/4 cup of granulated sugar

Crumbs:

  • 1/4 cup of brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup of granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground ginger
  • 8 tablespoons of melted butter
  • 1 1/2 cup of flour
  1. About 8 hours before you plan on baking, or the night before (or in the wee morning hours): wash and slice the rhubarb. Toss with 1/4 cup of sugar. Place in a colander over a mixing bowl. Cover and refrigerate.
  2. After 8 or so hours have elapsed,  shake the excess moisture from the rhubarb and discard the liquid that has drained. Set the rhubarb aside.
  3. On to the batter!!
  4. In a large bowl, whisk together the butter and sugar together, adding one egg at a time until creamy and smooth
  5. Whisk in the buttermilk.
  6. Stir in the flour, baking powder, and soda (I normally stir 1/2 of the flour with the baking powder and soda into the mixture, and then stir the remaining flour in. Mostly because I don’t have another mixing bowl to combine dry ingredients, and because this works just fine)
  7. The batter should be a little thicker than normal cake batter.
  8. Line a 9X13” baking pan with buttered parchment paper. Butter the sides of the pan as well.
  9. Spread about 2/3 of the batter in the bottom of the pan.
  10. Add the rhubarb in an even layer over the batter
  11. If you prefer a less tart cake, sprinkle 1/4 cup of brown sugar over the rhubarb layer to counteract the acidity of the fruit. I left this out because I like the bite.
  12. Dollop the remaining batter over the rhubarb. Because the batter is pretty stiff, I drop blobs of the batter over the rhubarb and then lightly tap the pan on the counter to even it out a bit.
  13. In a bowl, combine the crumb ingredients. I make crumbs by squishing the ingredients into a ball and then breaking the ball apart over the cake.
  14. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 60 minutes. Mine took about 65 minutes, but I was also peeking in the oven to check on my baked potatoes (because there is nothing like multitasking your oven!)
  15. A tester should come out nearly clean from the center of the cake. Remember that the rhubarb is moist so the cake around the rhubarb will be moist – so be cautious of overbaking since your tester won’t be perfectly clean coming out of the cake. However… make sure the cake is sufficiently baked, otherwise the cake will be dense and gummy. (I know. Not an exact science, but I normally press a finger at the center of the cake, and if it springs back, it’s normally done).

Easy Peasy Zucchini and Feta Squares

This is a tart of sorts… it’s a pie? I don’t know what I should call it, but I needed something to help me procrastinate my little heart out. I’m having the worst time focusing on finals this year. I’m good at waking up, but the only thing getting me out of bed is dehydration this semester. This is the first semester I have been single since starting law school, so I have been getting more work done (no pesky boys clamoring for my time), but I’ve also been distracted. I’m thinking about running and getting back into top running form. I’m thinking about where to jet off too… I just want to be on the move.

This morning, my neighbor invited me to run with her running group. I went along and it was phenomenal. I ran 10 miles with the group, paced at about 9:30/mile. It was wonderful. I was back in my apartment by 9:00am. But, the only thing I have been having problems with is splitting headaches after my long runs. I don’t know if anyone else has this problem… but about an hour after finishing a longer (more than 7 miles) run, I’m sitting with my head in my hands with a horrible headache. So instead of hitting the library as planned, I was zoinked out on my bed sleeping off my headache. Maybe it’s the water. Or maybe, like my neighbor suggested, it’s because I run without water and without any nutrition. I just go. Hmm.

This tart is super easy. Five ingredients, thirty minutes, and delicious. You can use any variation of vegetables. I imagine it’s delicious with some squash, maybe thin eggplant slices? Or even tomatoes. Or potatoes… the possibilities are endless.

Easy Peasy Zucchini and Feta Squares (the result of Kaprise Kitchen procrastination)

  • 1 zucchini, thinly sliced. If you have a mandoline (I do not) this would be supremely easy
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 8-10 sheets of phyllo dough (I used 8 out of a package, but feel free to use whatever thickness or variation)
  • 4 oz of feta cheese, crumbled finely
  • 3 tablespoons of butter, melted
  1. Place the phyllo dough on a cookie sheet, brushing the bottom of the first sheet with butter, and brushing alternating layers lightly with butter.
  2. Spread crumbled feta cheese once inch from the sides of the phyllo dough.
  3. Arrange the zucchini and onion slices on top of the feta cheese
  4. Fold the sides of the dough up to cover a little bit of the zucchini and onion.
  5. Brush with butter
  6. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, or until golden brown