Shrimp and Leek Pasta

Have you ever peeled and deveined your own shrimp? I have. And you can bet your bottom dollar I’m not going to be doing that again any time soon…

The moral of my 45-minute long saga is to refrain from buying shrimp unless the butcher/seafood guy already did the hard parts for you.

That being said…keep your eyes peeled for shrimp that has already been prepared for cooking! Because you definitely want to make this pasta. It is creamy and garlicky and lightly cheesy. You will love it.

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Cake in a Cup

I have something you want.

But you are so going to hate me once I give it to you.

Let me explain. The last few weeks I’ve been in a bit of a cooking/baking slump. I spent the first week eating mainly oatmeal as I worked furiously to paint all the hallways in my house in preparation for a visit from my folks (yay! too bad I didn’t take any pictures of the meal I made for them), and the second week feeling sorry for myself because I couldn’t–absolutely couldn’t–get a brownie recipe to work right (though partly due to temporary inability to read…8″ and 18″ are not the same thing…). So what got me through this dismal time?

Cake in a cup.

I originally got this recipe from my friend Melissa, and I have no idea where she got it from, but it has been a mainstay of girly emotional eating for years. Because sometimes you want chocolate cake, and you want it right now! (Not to mention you don’t want an entire cake tempting you to cut another slice half an hour later…)

You can make this single(ish) serving cake in under 5 minutes, and you only need one measuring utensil. Hooray! You will love it. But you may also wish you didn’t know that you could make yourself a hearty helping of chocolate cake at a moment’s notice…I will leave that for you to decide. Whatever you decide, this recipe for cake in a cup will change everything if you let it!

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Corn and Zucchini Tacos

Oh no! The summer is ending! I just realized that I am doomed to a life without tomatoes, summer squash, and sweet corn for like…9 months…

To celebrate the last of summer’s bounty, I bring you some yummy vegetarian tacos.

I love tacos, and homemade Mexican food in general, because all of the condiments are delicious, many are healthy, and you can mix and match with whatever you want or have on hand. I made these tacos with the works, and you can certainly do whatever you like in the way of guacamole, salsa, chopped tomatoes, cheese, jalapeños, etc., but for the purpose of this recipe, I am only going to write about what I see as the essentials.

So grab those last ears of yellow corn, the few zucchini in the bin/on the table that aren’t weirdly scratched and deeply dented, and a few red onions, and let’s get cooking!

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Chocolate Mousse Buttercream

My birthday was last week. It was a little weird, because this was the first year ever that I didn’t endlessly tell everyone I spoke to that the big day was coming as I whipped myself into a tizzy of excitement. Instead, it snuck up on me.

But I still made cupcakes! It was my treat to myself: spending an afternoon baking and ending the day with the classic birthday combo of a yellow cake covered in an almost proportionately equal amount of the most delicious chocolate frosting ever ever to be imagined.

I have had a really hard time finding the perfect yellow cake recipe. Most of the ones I have tried have either been rather ordinary-tasting or else they are so light in texture that they also become glued to the pan when they rise above their little cupcake wrappers. Not cool. If you have a great yellow cake recipe that makes scrumptious and not temperamental cupcakes, send it my way! In the meantime, I chose to make pound cupcakes from my sister-in-law Kara’s cold-oven pound cake recipe. They were divine. But since she gave me the recipe directly after uttering the words “you are family,” I am bound by secrecy not to give it to you. Alas. But I did find you a relatively similar cold-oven pound cake recipe from The Cupcake Project in case you want to make your very own pound cupcakes!

The frosting is another matter, however. It is silky and rich…and it will use up half of the ingredients in your fridge/pantry. Haha. It is a French style buttercream, which means that it is made with a base of whole eggs…which also means that it is more challenging to make than your average butter and confectioner’s sugar buttercream. But seriously, try it. Make a half-batch if you are nervous! Just do it. Do it now. You will be hooked. I have several family members who do not like cake (!), and even they extolled the wonders of this frosting.

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Veggie and Fontina Pizza

This is probably the best pizza in the world. I know, I know, that is a fairly outrageous claim. After all, everyone looks for different things in their ideal pizza: cheesiness, how sweet or spicy the sauce is, the thickness of the crust, the layers of toppings…

So how can I possibly claim that this pizza is so fantastic? It’s simple: both my husband and I love it. I think we could both be happy eating this pizza every night for a week.

In case this still doesn’t seem like a very definitive proof, then I will leave you with a gross understatement: Dave and I have very different tastes in almost everything, particularly when it comes to food. Dave would be happiest eating nothing but Asian food for every single meal of his life. If a food is not drowned in some kind of sauce, he thinks it is a bit lacking. I, on the other hand, like the taste of fresh vegetables, and try to serve simple meals that are overflowing with veggies whenever possible. It’s not often that our taste buds line up, but when they do, the dish is generally pretty amazing.

Hence, I bring you this pizza, with its sautéed veggies and fontina cheese. The veggies in this pizza act like a deconstructed sauce, and covered in just a light layer of cheese, the pizza is healthy and tasty. This pizza is amazingly delicious—but don’t worry, after you try it, there will still be room in your heart for your favorite delivery pizza!

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