• Brownie Pizza

    This essay/recipe are courtesy of my friend Caycee Peters, all credit goes to her for this delicious concoction.

    How to Take the Ordinary Out of Brownies
    When people think of brownies, they think of just plain ole fudge brownies and their ideas of livening it up are still pretty basic and ordinary.  Honestly, how much more tasteful can walnuts and chocolate chips get?  Eventually, that gets boring too.
    Today, I’m going to tell you how to make a “Bomb Ass Brownie Pizza” to liven up those taste buds of yours and make your brownies the talk of the town.  Don’t be alarmed, Marijuana will not be an ingredient; unless of course that’s what you want, but let’s face the facts here people, that gets boring after awhile too,  It’s so boring it puts you to sleep.  Baht ump bum! tuush!
    First you will need a 15″ pizza pan, preferably a deep one, about a half an inch deep should be sufficed.  Two 20 ounce boxes of brownie mix, yes, brownie mix, I’m too lazy to make it from scratch, if you’ve got the time, have at it; as for me, I’ve got a party to go to.  (This would be a good time to turn on your stereo, baking shouldn’t take place without the sounds of some great tunes playing in the back ground.)
    Okay, now we’re getting down to business, you’ll need the following ingredients:
    1-8oz package of cream cheese, softened
    1-8oz can of crushed pineapple, drained, reserve the juice, you might need it later.
    2 Tablespoons of sugar
    2 bananas, sliced and tossed in lemon juice (to prevent browning)
    1 cup fresh strawberries
    1 cup fresh kiwi, peeled and sliced
    1/3 cup maraschino cherries, sliced in halves
    1 cup chopped nuts
    1-8oz package of shredded coconut
    Hershey’s chocolate syrup-YUM!
    Once you have all the ingredients, preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Bust out the brownie mix and follow the directions on the box, combine the two boxes together, it’ll save you time.  (Wink)  Once you’ve mixed that together, grease the pizza PAN with PAM.  Pour the brownie mix into the pizza pan and put it in the oven for about 35-45 minutes, refer to the brownie box for cooking times in thickness.   I don’t remember the exact time off hand, I’m the voyeur type, (I like to watch) and then make an assessment with my fork as to when I think it’s done.
    While that’s baking, you’ll want to prepare the “Sauce”.  You’ll beat the cream cheese with the crushed pineapple and two tablespoons of sugar, until it’s white and yellow specked (blended).  During this time, you can use the reserved pineapple juice to soften the spread for consistency.  However, I don’t think you’ll need to use all of the remaining pineapple juice; you can just drink it, if you don’t want to waste it.  (Better yet, mix the juice with some rum and OJ and you’ve got yourself a “Square cow”!)  Anyway, where was I?  Oh yeah, set the spread aside, check the brownie to see if  it’s done, take it out and let it cool for about 20 minutes.
    Now for the fruit!  Cutting it is pretty self explanatory, just watch your fingers!  With regards to cutting the strawberries, if you want to dazzle the eyes of your friends, cut them in pointed triangular shapes.
    Once the brownie’s been cooled, you’ll take the cream cheese spread, “Sauce” and spread it all over the top of the brownie, as if you were saucing up a pizza.  When you’re done with that, outline the brownie pizza with the strawberries, from the outer side going inwards with the pointed part of the slice facing outward.  Ya dig?  Then you want to scatter the rest of the fruit anywhere on top of the brownie, as if you were making an actual meat pizza.  When you’re done with that, sprinkle the chopped nuts and the shredded coconut all over the top, like you would with shredded cheese.  Last but not least, you’ll drizzle that yummy chocolate syrup all over the place (on the brownie, and not the kitchen or your person) and VOIA LA!  You’ve got yourself a “Bomb Ass Brownie Pizza”!  Not only is it a party to your taste buds, but it’s tantalizing to the eyes, it screams FIESTA!

    Brownie Pizza

  • Restaurant Review: Acquerello

    This review is from almost a year ago, but the experience is still so fresh and perfect in my mind that I thought I’d share it here.

    One word comes to mind when I think of Acquerello… WOW

    The atmosphere, presentation, service, and food were all spectacular. Though this was my first fine dining experience in SF, it will not be my last, and certainly will not be forgotten.

    My date and I both opted for 4 courses, Here’s just a quick rundown of what we had:

    Wine – an excellent Italian Sangiovese suggested by the Sommelier. It truly complimented every dish and we savored every last drop.

    First Course – Roasted peppers stuffed with tuna, Piemontese style. This was beautifully presented, full of color, and bursting with flavor. We both enjoyed this dish immensely.

    Second Course – I opted for the Ridged pasta with foie gras, scented with black truffles and Marsala. Just a warning – this dish was very rich, but if you’re ok with that, then I would highly recommend it! My date opted for the Wild forest mushroom filled ravioli which were also to die for.

    Third Course – I went for the Baked halibut over fregula with shellfish, peas, and saffron vinaigrette. Only one word can describe this dish… delicious! My date chose the Seared Meyer’s ranch New York steak – his review – the best steak he has EVER had.

    For the fourth course I decided to go for the cheese plate while my date chose a fruit tart. We we’re both very pleased with our choices.

    Finally, as a complimentary after dinner treat we were brought house made biscotti (I normally do not care for biscotti, but this was soooo good I asked to take some home!) and our choice of tea or coffee.

    All in all this meal was simply perfect. I can’t wait until the next time I visit Acquerello.

  • Eggplant Parmesan Casserole


    1 large eggplant, peeled
    1 cup cooked spaghetti squash
    2/3 cup sliced mushrooms
    1/2 cup sliced sweet onion
    1/3 cup bread crumbs
    1 cup cheddar cheese (or cheese or your choice)
    1 jar Ragu garlic and onion flavored spaghetti sauce
    Pam olive oil flavored cooking spray
    Garlic salt

    Cooking Directions:

    1. To cook the spaghetti squash – cut in half and pierce squash several times with a fork. Place face down on baking sheet and bake in oven at 350 degrees for 45 min or until squash can be easily scraped out of shell with a fork.
    2. Peel eggplant and cut into 1/3in thick medallions. Lightly spray each medallion with Pam cooking spray and dip in bread crumbs to lightly coat each side. Place on a baking sheet and bake in over for 8 min on each side at 375 degrees.
    3. Coat the bottom of a 9×9 glass casserole dish with a thin layer of sauce. Place one layer of baked eggplant. Cover with 1/3 cup of spaghetti squash, 1/3 cup sliced mushrooms, 1/3 cup cheddar cheese and 1/4 cup diced onion. Carefully spread another layer of spaghetti sauce over top. Repeat layering process until all ingrediants are used except last 1/3 cup cheese. Top with a layer of spaghetti sauce, basil and garlic salt.
    4. Bake at 375 degrees for 30 min, sprinkle the last 1/3 cup cheese on top, and continue baking another 5-6 min or until cheese is melted.Eggplant Parmesan Casserole
  • The Perfect Sauce Recipe

    Need a sauce to spice up your dish? Following are the 5 ingredients key to all sauces. Get creative and make your own tasty sauce following these guidelines. Credit to Laura Stec for the guidelines.

    Five components that make up a satisfying, delicious sauce:

    base (such as stock, tomatoes, vegetable puree, olive oil, nut or soy milk, nut  butter or tahini)
    salt (soy sauce, miso, or umeboshi vinegar)
    acid (juice: such as lemon, lime, or orange; or vinegar: such as brown rice or umeboshi)
    thickener (arrowroot, kudzu, flour, grain, or roux–oil/flour mix)
    extras (herbs and spices for a heat factor).


  • Southwestern Pasta

    This is a tasty dish that is quick and easy to make and will make you the talk of the dinner party (I know, I just took it took it to one and was receiving compliments all night!). It’s a bit on the spicy side because it has chipotle peppers in it, but if you don’t like spicy you can leave out the peppers and still enjoy a delicious dish.

    Pasta Ingredients:
    2 green onions
    1/2 cup cilantro sprigs
    1/4 cup toasted sunflower seeds
    8 ounces brown rice pasta
    2 Tbsp olive oil or chicken stock
    4 ounces goat cheese

      Sauce Ingredients:
      3 Tbsp chicken broth
      2 Tbsp olive oil
      2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
      2 Tbsp soy sauce
      1 chipotle chili, minced (available in cans)
      1 Tbsp brown sugar
      2 tsp cornstarch or 1 Tbsp flour
      1 tsp ground cumin seeds
      1/3 cup chopped cilantro
      4 cloves garlic, finely minced

      For Advance preparation: precook pasta, this can be done the day before. Combine sauce ingredients, this may be completed up to 8 hours before you put the dish together and serve.

      Cooking Instructions: Lightly salt the water, cook the pasta.  When the pasta is done cooking (al dente), drain in a colander. Crumble the goat cheese.  Chop the green onions and cilantro.

      Return the empty pasta pot to the stove over high heat.  Add 2 tablespoons olive oil or chicken stock (for a lower calorie option).  When the oil becomes hot, add the pasta and the sauce.  Toss until evenly combined and well heated.  Transfer to a platter or dinner plate.  Sprinkle on the goat cheese, green onions, cilantro, and sunflower seeds.  Serve at once.

      Southewestern Pasta with Chipotle Lime sauce, Goat Cheese and Fresh Cilantro

    • Ricotta and Spinach Stuffed Portabella Mushroom

      This is one of my favorite dishes to make, and its relatively simple. Feel free to manipulate the spices, I never actually measure what I put in there,

      2 large portabella mushrooms, washed
      1 cup low fat/non fat ricotta cheese
      1/2 cup parmasan cheese, separated
      1/2 cup chopped Kalamata olives (optional)
      1 cup drained frozen chopped spinach
      1/2 cup marinara sauce
      1 t Italian seasoning
      1/4 t basil
      1/4 t oregano
      1/4 t pepper

      Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Place portabella mushrooms on an oven tray (I use foil on top of the tray so it’s less messy) and bake for 25 min. Take mushrooms out and drain any excess fluid. Be careful as they will be very hot.

      To prepare the stuffing: mix 1 cup ricotta with 1 cup spinach, 1/4 parmesan cheese, olives (optional) and all spices.

      Fill bottom of caps with 1/4 cup of marinara sauce each and place stuffing into mushroom caps on top of sauce, packing in. Bake at 450 degrees for 15 min. Remove and place remaining 1/4 cup parmesan cheese on top and continue to bake for 5-10 min until cheese is melted.

      Serve hot with side dish of choice (I made bowtie pasta with marinara sauce and sauteed zucchini). Makes 2 portions.

      Stuffed Portabella Mushroom

    • Vine Ripened Tomato Salad with fresh Cilantro and Goat Cheese

      One of my coworkers was kind enough to bring in some delicious red and orange tomatoes fresh from her garden, so I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to make a tomato salad, throwing in some fresh cilantro and goat cheese for taste and style. Recipe below:

      1 large red vine ripened tomato
      1 medium orange vine ripened tomato
      1 oz goat cheese, crumbled
      1 T fresh chopped cilantro
      salt and pepper to taste

      Cut tomatoes in wedges and place on a plate in a circular pattern with red on the outside and orange on the inside. Sprinkle on goat cheese, cilantro, and salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately and enjoy.


      Makes 1 full lunch or dinner portion or 3-4 side dish sized portions.