Monthly Archives: May 2011

Recipe Instant Queue: Memorial Day Sunshine

We’ve had a very soggy spring. It has been raining nearly perpetually since April. We’ve had a lot of flooding and (not) enjoyed some very frightening and bizarre weather.  So I’m hoping that Memorial Day is warm and sunny, full of friends, family and food.

5. Lobster Rolls

Lobster Roll, from the Foodist

There are recipes abound, but I trust Deb at SmittenKitchen and The Amateur Gourmet. I love, love lobster. It generally conjures memories of Christmas, as my parents always served lobster at Christmas as part of the Feast of Seven Fishes. Mr. Radar and I haven’t had lobster since we married, largely due to the fact that we live in a landlocked state.  Maybe this weekend is the time to break out the lobster rolls. In case you need to brush up on your lobster roll lore, check out this article from Food & Wine..  You could even make your own buns. I do. Ask Steve the Weather Watcher.

4. Grilled Vegetables, All Kinds

Grill the Salad!

Grilled Salad at Fine Cooking

Grilled Romaine with a homemade blue cheese dressing? Topped with bacon? More please. You can put all sorts of vegetables (and fruit!) on the grill- butter lettuce, potatoes, artichokes. Be adventurous and put a leafy green on the grill. Grill the potatoes BEFORE they go in the potato salad. It will taste better, I promise. Check out this article, 10 Things You Didn’t Know You Could Grill  at Fine Cooking for more great ideas.

3. Refreshing  Beverage for the Big Kids

Bourbon & Orange Smash from Eat, Make, Read

I’ll be using Bulleit, because this cocktail is delicious, but not good enough to use Mr. Radar’s beloved Woodford Reserve.  For Everyone Else, There’s Lemonade.

2. Big Burger.

Chef Jason's New Englandah Burgah

It’s got maple syrup. Apples. Cheddar Cheese. All of my very favorite things. I’ve used this recipe many a time, and it has become my go-to burger recipe. I’ve tweaked it a bit, mostly to reduce serving size. I also liked to add grilled Vidalia onions. But go for this recipe. So if you can’t embrace the New Englandah moniker, think of a state you like better. Chances are if its say, Michigan, Wisconsin, or Ohio, they’ve got apples, maple syrup and cheddar cheese, too. That’s what I did. This summer, my goal is to create the Michigan burger. I’ve got a plan. And it involves cherries. (And yes, I’ve considered the irony of creating a Michigan burger in Ohio).

1. DESSERT. Multiple Kinds. Preferably with Strawberries.

Deb at SmittenKitchen has pretty much cornered the market on strawberry desserts.

I couldn’t leave it at one dessert. I think in a few weeks, I’ll do a whole RIQ for just strawberries. But for now, tide yourselves over with these:

Some strawberry cupcakes would be good, too. Strawberry shortcake is a classic, how about giving Martha’s Strawberry Shortcake with basil a try? I love the strawberry/basil combination.  Feeling a little international? Try Caroline’s Eton Mess.  I already know Mr. Radar will want this one =)


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Honeyed Lemonade

In Thistle Kitchen, I always have lots of bald lemons. LOTS. I use the zest in many of my products. Boring pasta? I add lemon zest. Inevitably, my crisper drawer ends up full of lemons and nothing else.  Lemonade was the obvious solution to my crisper drawer situation. But not super sugary lemonade. Not lemonade that was unnaturally fluorescent. This lemonade, sweetened with raw honey to create a wonderfully tart concoction:

And then I got a little creative. I wanted pink lemonade, but raspberries are not in season yet, and there are no local strawberries, either. So I used hibiscus tea to make Honey & Hibiscus Lemonade

You like, right?

Honeyed Lemonade


12-13 Lemons, juiced (this should be about 2 cups)

2/3 cup Honey

3 cups Water


In a small saucepan, combine the honey and the water. Heat the water and honey on medium-low, while whisking the mixture. Heat until the honey and the water have combined into a very thin syrup. Allow to cool about 20 minutes. Combine the lemon juice and the honey syrup. Mix and refrigerate until cool or ready to serve. Stir the mixture before serving. Garnish with a mint spring or a few lemon slices.

Hibiscus Tea Syrup

2 cups Water

1/2 cup Cane Sugar

2 oz Hibiscus (Jamaica) tea or 6 Red Zinger tea bags

Combine all in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Stir occasionally until all of the sugar has dissolved and the syrup is a very dark magenta. Allow to cool. This will keep in the fridge for up to two weeks.  It is lovely when mixed in black iced tea, and makes a great topping for fruit salad.

Honey & Hibiscus Lemonade

Fill desired glasses 3/4 of the way full with lemonade. Then pour in a scant 1/4 cup of hibiscus tea syrup. The syrup will sink to the bottom, giving the drink a lovely two-toned effect. Or you can stir, add some ice cubes and a sprig of mint like I have above.

As always, our beautiful photographs were taken by Nicole Hodac.

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New Etsy Listings!

Two new products listed on Etsy today! Go on over and check them out.

Black and White Sandwich Cookies

Softer than an Orea but not quite a whoopie pie. I was inspired by my paternal grandfather. He loves chocolate, and will only eat vanilla ice cream if it is coated in chocolate sauce.  Two tender, dark chocolate cookies hugging a dreamy vanilla filling.

Maple Cayenne Granola

Wildly popular at PRESS Coffee shop, I first created this granola as a flavorful, vegan alternative to some of my other products. Packed with pistachios, pepitas, apricots and thick cut oats. Coated with maple syrup, extra virgin olive oil and our special cayenne spice blend.

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Recipe Instant Queue: Pesto Edition

Pesto and I have history. For every birthday, I would request pesto with homemade pasta, lovingly made for me by my mother. Every year she would ask if I wanted the Cocola family “meaty” sauce and I always refused. Only pesto. It was the one for me. When I first met Mr. Radar, he would not go on a date with me, but like pesto, I was convinced he was the one. So I seduced him, wielding my pesto and homemade pasta recipe. And we all know how that went =) Pesto has worked out pretty well for me thus far, so the more recipes the merrier.

5. Stinging Nettle Pesto

This both intrigues me and freaks me out. I hate stinging nettles, and they are the first weed to be abolished from my garden. But stinging nettles are everywhere, and this could be a budget friendly idea for the adventurous eater. From the Amateur Gourmet

After gloves, a little boiling, the stinging nettles become pesto

4.Fennel Frond Pesto from In The Kitchen With A Good Appetite

I like the fronds of fennel better than the bulb. So useful!

I love Melissa Clark’s new cookbook, In the Kitchen with a Good AppetiteI wanted it since Christmas, but when our local Borders went out of business in March, I snatched up a copy for $7.99. Practically criminal, especially considering how high quality this book is.

3. Red Pesto & Ravioli


I love Heidi Swanson. Her blog is one of my absolute favorites, one that I started following many years ago. I’ve been meaning to try this for years, and haven’t yet. Maybe this weekend!

2. Wild Ramp Pesto

saenyc's Ramp Pesto is a stunner

I have tried this one. I first saw this last year.  Mike Malone of Hungry Toad Farms gave me a bunch of ramps last year. So I made this pesto. And IT IS TO DIE FOR. Go get yourself some ramps and make this, seriously.

1. Pasta with Mint Pesto, Peas and Ricotta Salata

Sara Kate Gillingam-Ryan's Understated Dish

Because of all the rain we’ve been having, mint is abundant. Mine is practically going wild. My plan: this pesto.

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Heart Healthy: Farro & Roasted Tomato Salad

I  have a secret passion for healthy, homemade food of all kinds. It might not seem like it- since I love to bake sugary goods. But the truth is, I started my business because I wanted baked goods without preservatives, chemicals, and unnecessary food-like ingredients. I love to cut down sugar and cut out extras.  If you’ve seen my recipes on Food52, you probably noticed that I lean toward meatless dishes chock full of vegetables. The way I see it, eat lots of veggies, get to eat more cookies.

I got together with Nicole Hodac and we had a great time shooting this wholesome salad. The salad earned praise from Nicole, who in addition to being an amazing photographer, is a dietetic technician and is studying to be a dietician! I am amazed by her talents.

This salad is really flexible. Don’t have garbanzo beans? Throw in some white beans or spinach instead.  No fresh tomatoes? Try sun-dried tomatoes. This salad is a little bit of prep work- but you’ll have a salad that will keep for several days in the fridge. This also makes a great bagged lunch- one of Mr. Radar’s very favorites.

Farro & Roasted Tomato Salad


1 cup Farro Grande (sometimes labeled spelt berries)

1 cup Cherry Tomatoes

1/2 cup Garbanzo Beans (Ceci, chick peas, whatever)

1 Bunch of Basil

1/2 cup fresh Mozzarella (diced or small balls)

1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

2-3 Tb Balsamic Vinegar, to taste

Sea Salt & Black Pepper

Additional Add-Ins: Roasted Red Peppers, blanched spinach, green onion, roasted garlic


(1) Soak the Farro in cold water for 20-25 minutes.

(2) Turn on the broiler. Place the tomatoes on a sided baking sheet and toss in a little olive oil.  Broil until the tomatoes have plumped and the skin has started to peel back, about 3-6 minutes, depending on how hot your broiler runs. Set aside and allow to cool.

(3) After the Farro has soaked, rinse it well. Combine the farro and 2 1/2 cups water in a medium sauce pan. Bring to a boil. Allow to boil for 2 minutes, before reducing to a brisk simmer. Cover and allow to cook for 17-20 minutes. * Drain any excess liquid.

(4) Meanwhile, rinse the garbanzo beans, chop the basil. In a small mason jar, combine the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. Shake to combine.

(5) Rinse the cooked farro in cool water. The farro should be warm but not hot when it is combined with the other ingredients. Combine all the ingredients in a mixing bowl. Pour the dressing over the top and mix well. The warm farro will soak up the dressing and become very flavorful.

Enjoy the salad now, or later. It will keep for 3 days in the fridge.

*If there are instructions on the Farro package, follow them. This is how I prepare my farro, but I am sure that there are other ways to prepare it.

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Recipe Instant Queue: Popsicle Edition

You have Netflix, right? I do. I don’t watch a lot of TV, but I’m addicted to collecting movies and TV shows on my Instant Queue. Oh that looks interesting, click. Documentary on Italian Travel? That could be useful, click. I probably spend more time stocking up my Instant Queue than actually watching TV. Same goes for the recipes that I find on the internet. It takes mere minutes for me to find literally hundreds of recipes that I want to try. So I collect them in a giant Firefox folder called Recipe Instant Queue. I try at least a few new recipes a week, but my Recipe Instant Queue is so full that I have to divest. So I’m sharing it with you. Each Thursday, I will feature something you can make at home (ex: burgers). I’ll provide five good recipes for that item from my Recipe Instant Queue. This Week: Popsicles.

Why? Because they’re fun! And I’m hot. It went from 50 degrees to 80 here in Dayton over a few short days. Shock to the system. The only known cure: popsicles.

5. Mango & Rice Pudding Pops

Coconut and Mango Rice Pudding Pops, via TheKitchn

The Kitchn has a quite a few recipes for popsicles, this one being my favorite. Frozen rice pudding? Count me in. Mangoes are really cheap right now, so it might be a good time to jump on this recipe.

5. Coffee & Cardamom Popcicles

This one is for Mr. Radar. At this point, I’m convinced that Mr. Radar’s blood stream contains about 50% caffeine. This is a new vehicle for his coffee addiction.

Via Food52 and Elizabeth Howes

Get the recipe at Food52!

3. Honeydew Melon Pops

I love the flavor of honeydew melons. LOVE. Only problem: I’m allergic! But you can try this recipe for me and report back.

Honeydew Melon pops, via Icypops

Find this recipe and a LOT of other popsicle recipes at

2. Peaches & Cream Pops

I’m so excited for these!! I can’t wait until July when the peaches are ripe and juicy.

via My Baking Addiction

Check out some of the other popsicles on My Baking Addiction– the Somoa Pops would be perfect for your favorite Girl Scout.

1. Fire Cracker Ice Pops

Just like the red, white, and blue pops from the Ice Cream truck, but better. Perfect for the Fourth of July or any summer night.

via Martha Stewart Living

Martha’s got about 500 other popsicle recipes, just in case. You never know when you might have a Popsicle emergency.

PS: Looking for popsicle molds?


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Bright and Beautiful Cookie Pops for Mom!

Today, I’m featured over on the Boy Trifecta!  Welcome! I’m so glad to have you here. I am honored by Emily’s spotlight, especially around mother’s day! She is definitely one of the coolest moms I know. Like Emily, I have a passion for crafts- just of the sugar coated variety. We’ve got flower and butterfly cookie pops, the perfect hands-on activity for moms and kids.  It combines a number of my favorite elements- namely bright colors, food on sticks, and cookies.

To start, check out my last post on sugar cookie basics. For this project, you will need roll out cookie dough, royal icing (in the colors of your choice), and 8 inch lollipop sticks.  You’ll also want a vase or basket to display your handmade beauties. For a big bouquet for mom, you’ll want about 12-14 cookie pops. I can fit about a dozen in a large vase filled with candy or raffia. (Extra pretty is necessary for moms, right?) A trifle bowl, sand pail, or terra cotta pot would also be perfect.

You’ll also need cutters, like these:

Daisy, Tulip, Flower cutters. I also used a butterfly cutter

Once you’ve let your sugar cookie dough chill, you are ready to start. First, roll out your sugar cookie dough a little thicker, about 1/4 of an inch thick. Cut out the desired number of flowers.

Push the stick gently into the pre-cut dough

Next, bake your cookies according to the recipe instructions. If you are using Sweetopia’s recipe (I highly recommend this), bake for about 14-16 minutes at 350. Allow the cookies to cool. I like to let them rest for about an hour before I start decorating.  I usually make my royal icing during this time, but you might want to make it a head of time so you can play around with the colors and consistency.

Using a clear piping bag and a #3 tip, pipe out the outlines of the cookie, like below. If you are making daisies, you can pipe out the outline and then put a dollop of icing in the center, too. To make the chrysanthemums, pipe the royal icing in random circles. You want them to look ruffled, without a defined center. You will need to let the outlines rest for about 4 hours. Chill out, drink a margarita, do some laundry, whatever. I usually come back to check on the cookies periodically, and to pop any bubbles that have formed with a toothpick.

After a wee rest, we’re ready to flood the icing. I’m flooding the chrysanthemums with pink and white. Then I use a toothpick to swirl the two colors, marbling them.

Chrysanthemum, in progress

The daisies are even easier. Just flood the inside and use a toothpick to get the icing in the nooks and crannies.

For the butterflies, flood the middle. Then add dots of another color (I think yellow or black or dark blue would look amazing). I’ve been studying butterfly pictures, and I hope soon I’ll be creating anatomically correct butterflies.

Allow the cookies to dry at least 4 hours before arranging them (or eating them). You want the icing to harden so that it doesn’t bleed.

Et voila! Colorful cookie pops for mom. Thanks to Nicole Hodac for photographing me in action!


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