Monday, March 28, 2011

Don't Be Scared.

Every home cook has a number of recipes under their belt - they are cool, calm and confident when in the kitchen dolling these dishes out. But.....there are also a few recipes where we've scratched our heads or perhaps shied away from making them because there's fear or uncertainty.

When I pick up a latte at a coffee shop, sometimes I pick up a scone. And let's face it, most of us have experienced what certain retailers define as a "scone" but when in actuality it should be marketed as a "dry, flavorless piece of cardboard". Hmmmm....I wonder how the marketing gurus at Starbucks would come up with a smart marketing campaign for those?!?

Anyhow, I've been on a scone rant lately (an internal rant) and I realized that I've avoided baking scones for a while. Back in the day, I made them every so often, but never was overly thrilled with the results. No matter how many articles I digested, there wasn't a recipe that turned out exactly how it should. One could argue there are a variety of reasons for that - badly written recipe, oven temperature issues, over-handling of the dough, butter wasn't chilled enough, etc. Really and truly, I hope one doesn't go into therapy over this, but as you can tell a failed batch of scones can send someone into a deep depression.

Alas, this wasn't the case on Sunday. In between recuperating from helping out with a fundraiser on Saturday and cleaning my kitchen, I got the energy to make a batch of scones and I do have to say I was a happy girl. I didn't spend too much time pining over recipes, I relied on my trusty copy of The Art & Soul of Baking. The recipe is for Cream Scones and I added a scant 1/2 cup of dried cranberries.

Cream Scones with Dried Cranberries (adapted from The Art & Soul of Baking)

2 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 c. sugar
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 stuck unsalted butter, cut into cubes and chilled
1 c. chilled heavy whipping cream
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tbs. sugar
1/2 c. dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 425 degrees and position an oven rack in the center. Line the baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Place the flour, 1/2 c. sugar, salt and baking powder in a food processor and process for 10 seconds to blend well. Add the cold butter and pulse 5 times at 1-second intervals, or until the butter is cut into medium pieces. Add the cream and cranberries and pulse another 20 times, or until the dough holds together in small, thick clumps. Use a spatula to scrape the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Gently squeeze together until they form a cohesive dough.

Pat the dough into a circle about 7 inches in diameter and about an inch thick. Use a chef's knife to cut the dough into 8 equal wedges and transfer to the prepared baking sheet, spacing them about 2 inches apart.

Brush the tops with a thin coasting of the lightly beat egg. Sprinkle evenly with the sugar and bake for 14-16 minutes, until firm to the touch and golden brown. Transfer to a rack and let cool for 5 minutes.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Lamb Meatballs 101.

I think it's safe to say, you either fall into the "I love meatballs" camp or you fall into the "I can live without meatballs" camp. For most of my life, I believe I fell into the "I can live without meatballs" camp, but every now and then a recipe will rear it's cute lil' face and entice me into trying it. One thing is for sure, I'm more into the non-traditional meatball as opposed to the typical spaghetti and meatballs (for an example, I wrote a post about two meatball recipes that were to-die-for here).

Years ago I started a project, organizing recipes I had pulled from magazines and newspapers - recipes I had the noble intention of trying at least once. Recently, I looked at the growing pile of magazines and the folder project and decided to come up with a more technologically saavy way of organizing said recipes. I spent a portion of a weekend going through the recipes I had collected and weeding out the ones that still tripped my trigger. One of those recipes happened to be a recipe for Northern Indian lamb meatballs featured in a Martha Stewart Living magazine circa January 2005.

So I spent Sunday evening making these delectable balls of juicy lamb which simmered in a tomato based sauce fragrantly spiced with turmeric, cayenne, coriander and garam masala. The method was a tad different then my prior experience with making meatballs, but the results absolutely yielded the most tender, flavorful meatballs I have ever made.

To accompany the meatballs I heated up some garlic naan from Trader Joe's and I made an impromptu yogurt sauce from scratch. Here's my very own yogurt sauce recipe:

1/2 c. greek yogurt (plain)

1/4 tsp. kosher or sea salt

1/2 tsp.-3/4 tsp. garam masala

1/4 tsp.-1/2 tsp. cayenne

1 shallot, minced

1/4 c. flat leaf parsley, finely chopped

Mix together in small bowl and chill prior to serving with meatballs and naan.

Monday, March 14, 2011

YOU'RE ALL WINNERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Hello friends, well since 8 lovely individuals took the time post something on Madame Munchies, you all will get a copy of my zine!!! Thanks for continuing to support my blog, much love to all!

P.S. - E-mail me your address ( and I will mail you a copy of the zine this week!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


For the last 9 months or so, I've been stewing and brewing up my very first ZINE!!! What's a zine you ask? It's an independently published magazine. They can be about anything you can imagine and it's a unique subculture amongst the zinesters out there.

So without further ado, Bitchin' Kitchen presents Cake Geek Volume I - my first foodie zine dedicated to cake recipes! These are easy cakes, perfect for any occasion!

Want to win a copy for FREE???? Just post a comment below on the blog and be entered to win! Comments can be posted until Sunday night 11:59 pm PST. FIVE WINNERS WILL BE SELECTED and (using will be revealed on Monday, March 14th! SPREAD THE WORD!!!!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Lime Cilantro Dressing.

A couple weeks ago I wrote about my slight obsession with a tahini dressing that Jessica Hilton turned me onto and now I want to "twalk" more dressing. This time it's a recipe from Rick Bayless - his lime cilantro dressing. It's one of those dressings that needs no introduction, and is the star of the show. Just tossed with romaine lettuce is a perfect side dish to any Latin inspired entree. Mr. Bayless even recommends tossing over steamed veggies (which I'm going to give a try this week).

In the salad pictured above, I added julienned peppadew peppers, sliced scallions, diced tomato and cucumber, topped with crispy tortilla strips.

Lime Cilantro Dressing (adapted from Rick Bayless' recipe)2 1/2 tbs. fresh lime juice
zest of one to 2 limes
2 small cloves of garlic
1/2 hot green chile (jalapeno or serrano)
1 1/2 tbs. chopped fresh cilantro
2/3 c. canola oil
3 tbs. feta cheese
salt, about 1/2 tsp depending on saltiness of feta (I bought my feta from Trader Joe's and I use 1/4 tsp. salt)

Saturday, March 5, 2011

O is for Osteria and M is for Mozza.

Brace yourself friends, after reading this post, you may find yourself salivating, drooling at the corners of your mouth and/or hungry. You may also wish to sue me for taunting and teasing, but let's hope that's not the case. And being that I am a legal professional, I'm confident that taunting and teasing is not a felony or misdemeanor, but you take that up with California statutes.

If you follow Madame Munchies you are aware of the "list". This isn't just any list, it's my restaurant list, which I started well over a year ago. It's where I keep track of restaurants I want to try out and last night I crossed Osteria Mozza off that list. I hate to admit that it's been sitting on that list, dusty, like an old pair of shoes, but it wasn't for not. This joint is so popular, getting a reservation is like going to war.

The benefits of going to OM with a party of seven is getting to taste a variety of dishes and we definitely ordered a larger variety of dishes, some of which will be pictured but I may not write about. I will focus on the dishes I ordered for time management's sake.

To start, I ordered the red endive, fennel and parmigiano reggiano salad with an anchovy-date dressing. It's the stacked salad pictured above. A beautiful presentation, the crunchy endive was layered with paper thin slices of sweet fennel and rectangles of a nutty parmigiano.

Prior to visiting OM, I had spent a considerable amount of time studying the menu and scheming exactly what I would like to order and when I scrolled to the pasta section, I knew I wanted to try the gnocchi with duck ragu. The last place I had gnocchi was at Angeli Caffe and I had a hard time believing that OM's gnocchi would surpass my expectations. The gnocchi were miniature and were lovingly dressed with a rich, comforting duck ragu. The gnocchi weren't necessarily better, they were just different. The best way to describe them is ultra-potato-ey. They were hearty, but not heavy.

The sauteed broccolini with vinegar and chiles were addictive. Tart, bright flavors with a splash of heat, easily devoured by all sitting at the table. For dessert, I had to go with the bombolini with a huckleberry marmalade and vanilla gelato on top of a lemon mascarpone cream. The bombolini are fried donuts tossed with sugar. The warm fritters of dough with the tangy huckleberries and lemon mascarpone were amazing.

It was definitely a night to remember, I'm looking forward to trying out the pizzeria next.