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Monday, July 25, 2016

Sweet Treat - Buttercream My Way

As you know, my forays into baking are few and far between. Still, when I have to make cakes or cupcakes, I always look forward to the icing part of the equation; eating classic Buttercream off a spoon is my idea of heaven. Today's easy recipe is foolproof.  It came about when I lightly adapted a recipe I found online to meet my ever enduring love for salted butter. They say you shouldn't bake with it. I say, they're wrong. I like the taste balance it brings. I even make my absolute favorite Brownies with it.

Delicious and easy Buttercream, Photo: NK 

Just give this easy recipe a whirl and you'll be lucky if you get it on your cupcakes fast enough. The icing works well for simple frosting and more elaborate decorating. I like to chill it a bit and spoon it into a pastry bag before piping it on. You'll also find it freezes easy for those emergency dessert situations. I know you will enjoy! 

Quick & Delicious Vanilla Buttercream Icing
Recipe Adapted from
Frosts about 8-10 Cupcakes 

1/2 Cup (1 Stick) Salted Butter at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons very good quality Vanilla Extract (I like Nielsen Massey
1 3/4 Cups Confectioner's Sugar *(*1 & 3/4 Cups is slightly less sweet, but you can use up to 2 Cups)
2 Tablespoons of Milk
(Food Coloring, approximately 3 drops, if you like - I prefer it au naturale)

Cream Butter with a handheld mixer or a stand mixer with a paddle attachment until it is light and fluffy (can also be done with a wooden spoon)

Now carefully and gradually add in the Confectioners Sugar until it is fully mixed in. Add the Vanilla Extract and stir again. 

Pour in the Milk and beat for 3 to 4 more minutes. If using food coloring add it now. Frost and enjoy! 

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Magic Pancakes - Three Ingredient Breakfast

While I am generally skeptical of any recipe that uses the word "magic" in its title, I thought the deliciously light breakfast you see below was deserving of such a designation. With just one more ingredient than it takes to make a humdrum bowl of cereal, you too can have Magic Pancakes. Trust me, you're not going to believe how well these work. 

Easiest Pancakes You'll Ever Make, and healthier too! Photo: NK 

I first learned about today's clever, three-ingredient recipe a few weeks ago as I was listening to a radio show in the car. The hosts were interviewing an author but I'd tuned in too late to catch her name. At any rate, they asked her what her favorite breakfast was and she explained that every day she makes her own personal portion of pancakes, and that her method is easy and fast. She wasn't kidding. The recipe was so simple that I was able to commit it to memory.

Fast forward to a recent family breakfast. My husband was going to make Pancakes but realized too late that we were out of baking powder. As we all glanced disappointedly towards the cereal boxes on top of our counter, I remembered the radio show and decided to seize the moment. I'll admit, I wasn't a true believer that this would work until I tasted the results myself. 

Make Magic Pancakes if:

You love an easy 3-ingredient breakfast perfect for 1 but easily multiplied for a family

You like the idea of a lower carb (thanks to less Flour) pillowy-light, fluffy pancake
You've got nice ripe or even overripe Bananas that would otherwise go to waste (even slightly underripe Bananas will work). 

You'll be a believer too. Enjoy! 

Magic 3 Ingredient Pancakes 
Per serving (about 3 four-inch pancakes)


1 medium to large mashed Banana, 
2 tablespoons any kind of Flour (regular, whole wheat, coconut or other gluten free types, etc), 
1 lightly beaten Egg. 
(Optional Butter or light Cooking Spray)

Mash Banana in a bowl, add beaten Egg and Flour. Blend - this can remain a little lumpy and it will still turn out fine. 

Pour onto a hot skillet (you can lightly butter or spray it if you prefer) and flip carefully when Pancakes begin to get golden. Finish and serve.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Tastes of Vacation - Sun, Fun & What We Ate

For us, no stay-cation is complete without great food, preferably homemade. With that in mind, I hope you enjoy today's quickie post - a roundup to share some of the great food we enjoyed during our week off right next door on the south shore of beautiful Long Island.  With easy and delicious dishes like these, culinary inspiration is not far behind.

First, feast your eyes on another of the world's easiest apps - Pan Con Tomate. It's just Bread with Tomato but it is the most delicious summer bite ever. For the recipe, click HERE

Pan con Tomate, Photo: NK

Next, we enjoyed a super easy Mario Batali Chicken recipe. Pollo alla Diavola is pleasantly spicy and perfect for the grill. It takes a bit of planning but it's worth it! For the recipe, click HERE. 

Chicken alla Diavola, Photo: NK 
There are few things more refreshing on a lovely summer evening than Salmon Tartare and a crisp glass of Rose. We lightly adapted Ina Garten's version and omitted the Mustard, added chopped Chives and upped the Lime. The result was delicious (we served ours with crisp Tortilla Chips). Get Ina's recipe HERE

Improvised Salmon Tartare, Photo: NK 
After many nights of cooking (plus being hosted at a wonderful and truly delicious July 4th BBQ at my sister-in-law's),a night out was in order. Here are two of the highlights of our dinner out at the bustling Red Bar Brasserie - this Scallop dish and my best guy. 

Scallops at Red Bar Brasserie Photo: NK

Monday, June 20, 2016

Celebrating Dad - Sweet & Savory Watermelon Wedges

Considering how important good dads are to our lives, it's kind of crazy that we only set aside one day a year to honor them. Plus they're so easy to please. Dad enjoys the simple things: a burger, a beer, some time to putter around the lawn or tap at golf balls, even just a few hours to watch sports all by himself. Let him do these things and he's a happy guy. 

Father's Day Starters: Shrimp Ceviche, Fresh Mango Margaritas Sweet & Savory Watermelon Wedges, Photo: NK

So it was only fitting that our easy-to-achieve Father's Day Barbecue began with the world's easiest summer appetizer, Savory Chili Lime Watermelon Wedges. How many summer starters can be ready in under five minutes? Before we share the ever so simple recipe, 

Check out our Father's Day BBQ Menu:

Cocktail Hour: Assorted Beer + Frozen Mango Margaritas
Sweet & Savory Chili Lime Watermelon Wedges (recipe follows)
Shrimp Ceviche with Tortilla Chips (a Neurotic Kitchen fave, recipe HERE)
Green Salad With Grilled Peaches and Dijon Shallot Vinaigrette
Assorted Ice Cream and Sorbet with Dark Chocolate Brownies & Strawberry Compote

Now, for your new go-to summer app, I give you this fresh spin on a barbecue favorite- a savory, sweet, tart and a little spicy slice of in-season Watermelon. 

Sweet & Savory Chile Lime Watermelon Wedges, who knew? Photo: NK

Sweet & Savory Chile Lime Watermelon Wedges
Serves About 10

1 Small to Medium very ripe Watermelon (preferably seedless variety)
Zest of 4 Limes
Ancho Chile Powder 
Sea Salt 
Optional Cilantro for garnish

Slice Watermelon into wedged sized as you desire

Lay on a flat surface and sprinkle liberally with Lime Zest. Next sprinkle lightly with Ancho Chile Powder. 

Slice one of the Limes and squeeze a few drops of juice over the Watermelon Wedges
Sprinkle a bit of Sea Salt all over and serve chilled. Garnish with Lime Wedges and optional Cilantro.


It all went together wonderfully with the main event, a simply grilled Ribeye below. Until next year, here's to dad!

Easy Main Course: Ribeye with Green Salad & Grilled Peaches, Photo: NK