Saturday, March 26, 2011

Truffled Pasta with Potatoes and Arugula

It's been too long since I've done a post! The dance company drove back to Utah from Nevada last Friday night after our show. The eight hour over night drive turned me into a zombie for most of the weekend. Then this week, the company is teaching creative dance to elementary school kids in the mornings, and let's just say teaching kids can put you in that zombie tired zone too! I  give sooooo much credit to teachers!! NOT AN EASY JOB!!

First things first, I came up with this pasta recipe last week and my taste tester (my husband), thought it was pretty amazing! I decided to enter it into Saveur Magzine's Home Cook Challenge. If you get a chance please go to the site and vote for my recipe before Monday, March 28.

 Here is a link to the voting site :

This recipe is based on one of my favorite pizzas that has pretty much all of the same ingredients except the pasta, stands in for the pizza dough. You might think it's weird to include pasta with potatoes but Yukon Gold potatoes with their buttery flavor and thin skin are a surprisingly good combination. The pasta I used was Garofalo Organic Casarecce which I bought at Costco. I usually buy whole wheat pasta but for this special recipe this pasta is perfect! Casarecce is a scroll pasta from Italy designed to seep in all the sauce it can. If you can't find it where you live, you can easily subsitute gemelli, or fusilli pasta.


Recipe by Elizabeth Kelley

1 1b. (16 oz.)  Casarecce pasta
3 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, diced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup vegetable broth
1/2 cup onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup fontina cheese
2 oz. goat cheese
2 cups arugula
pepper to taste
White truffle oil to taste (about 2 tsp.)

Heat saute pan over medium heat, add olive oil, onions and garlic, sauté until onions are just about translucent. Add potatoes, let cook for about 5 minutes until they start to color. Add chicken broth, let come to a boil and cook until potatoes are tender and broth has reduced away, about 15 minutes. Add more broth if it gets too dry. Add pepper and set aside.

Meanwhile, cook pasta in boiling salted water.  Drain pasta and save 1/4 cup of cooking water.  Toss with potato mixture, fontina and goat cheese, arugula, and add pasta water until desired consistency is reached.  Add truffle oil and lightly toss. Top with more pepper, serve and enjoy!

The Yukon Gold goodness !


The melted fontina and goat cheese mixed with truffle oil!

The final delicious treat!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

HAPPY ST. PATRICK'S DAY with semi-vegan cupcakes!!

HAPPY ST. PATRICK'S DAY EVERYONE!! I am Irish and I love to wear green, so I've always loved this holiday. I was so excited that I got up this morning (March 16) and put on my green socks and shirt only to look at the TV and when they started talking about their big St. Paddy's special on tomorrow, did I realize by looking at my phone, that I had one more day to go. So I changed my shirt but kept my socks on (I own three pairs of St. Paddy's Day socks!). The company is currently on tour in Nevada so I'm using that as my excuse for being off on my days. We had a show last night in Elko which went fairly well except the music stopped during the last piece of the show! We danced in silence because the show must go on. Then we desperately tried to find someplace to eat and after three failed attempts of closed restaurants we thought we'd give one more try to the casino restaurant across from our hotel. As we crossed/jaywalked across the dead street we were then followed by a cop who pulled us aside and threatened us with $72 dollar tickets! Yikes! I'm glad he gave us a warning! The food at the restaurant was okay and they did have cheap/good wine for $3.50. Today we drove five hours to Yerington, NV. A very small town and the accommodations are questionable (I bought myself a pillow at the grocery store...). However, the theatre is quaint and tonight we had a gathering of local dance groups (Aztec dancers, Native American Paiute dancers, jazz and hip hop) to come up with a little performance to do tomorrow. They were all very inspiring and collaborative. Small towns do always amaze me with their sense of community.

Now, since I'm away from my kitchen, (one of the things I really dislike about touring!) I did manage to bake some amazing cupcakes this weekend! I have not baked many vegan items before but I wanted to give these a try after some yummy cake was brought in for some co-workers birthday's from a local vegan bakery. The only disclaimer is that these are SEMI-VEGAN. You could easily make these totally vegan but I had to add real whip cream and I used real Baileys.

These cupcakes have two of my favorite things: Baileys and Guinness beer! My Grandmother always puts Baileys in her coffee and it's tradition that my mom, brother and I do the same. My dad and husband don't like it but they love their Guinness. I used the Earth Balance vegan spread as the butter substitute. Try it out and I think you will love it. It's soooooo good! So in honor of my Irish heritage and my love for beer and baileys I present: GUINNESS CUPCAKES WITH BAILEY'S IRISH CREAM.

Makes 12 cupcakes      
Adapted from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World

3/4 cup vanilla almond milk
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour
1/3 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup Guinness
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup canola oil
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Making the cupcakes:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a small bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, whisk together the almond milk and the vinegar. Add the Guinness, sugar, oil, and vanilla to the almond milk mixture and beat until foamy. Add the dry ingredients in two batches and beat until well incorporated.

Fill your cupcakes containers of choice 3/4 full. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean and the top springs back when lightly touched. Transfer to a wire rack and allow cupcakes to cool completely before frosting.

Making the Filling:
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons Baileys Irish Cream
A couple drops of green food coloring 

Whip the cream until soft peaks form. Then add Baileys and food coloring and beat just until stiff peaks form when the beater is raised. Makes about 2 cups. Place whip cream in pastry bag or Ziploc bag with round tip.  


1 stick Earth Balance spread
2-3 cups confectioner's sugar
2-3 tablespoons Bailey's Irish Cream
4-5 drops of green food coloring

To make the frosting:
Beat the butter in the bowl of an electric mixer until creamy and smooth. Add the Bailey's and half of the confectioner's sugar and beat until smooth. Add the second half of the sugar, add the food coloring, and beat until smooth.

To fill and frost the cupcakes:
When the cupcakes are completely cool. Take a pairing knife and cut small cone shapes into cupcakes. Take out cone and save. Take whip cream filling a squeeze into hole. When all are filled replace cones over the filled holes. Then take frosting bag and frost whatever design you want. Top with sprinkles if desired! 

Most of all enjoy these!! Life is too short not to enjoy cupcakes. I must say they are addicting so maybe make them, eat one or two and take them to work or give to some friends or family. Mine were left home for my husband to enjoy while I am gone! The Guinness gives these such great texture and I could eat the frosting all day. What can I say, I'm a frosting girl!! I'll post more soon......

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

It's Fat Tuesday! Pancakes for dinner please!

 Happy Fat Tuesday everybody! Growing up, it was always tradition for us to have a big pancake dinner on this day. I think that's one reason why I love to have breakfast for dinner. It's comforting and just darn tasty! So here is a healthier version of pancakes that have a little adult twist. I add some amaretto in the batter just to sweeten it up. I put together a side fruit cocktail that also has some adult additions. However, you can easily make either of these without the alcohol! Hope the week is going well! We had a huge snowstorm last night but it looks like everything well melt soon. Spring is on the way!

Whole Wheat Buttermilk Pancakes
*adapted from Cooking Light


3/4  cup  all-purpose flour

  • 3/4  cup  whole wheat flour
  • 3  tablespoons  sugar
  • 1 1/2  teaspoons  baking powder
  • 1/2  teaspoon  baking soda
  • 1/2  teaspoon  salt
  • 1 1/2  cups  low-fat buttermilk
  • 1  tablespoon  vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon amaretto
  • 1  large egg
  • 1  large egg white
  • Cooking spray
  • 3/4  cup  maple syrup
  • 3  tablespoons  butter


Lightly spoon flours into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Combine buttermilk, oil, amaretto, egg, and egg white, stirring with a whisk; add to flour mixture, stirring just until moist.
Heat a nonstick griddle or nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium heat. Spoon about 1/4 cup batter per pancake onto griddle. Turn pancakes over when tops are covered with bubbles and edges look cooked. Serve with syrup and butter.

Tip: Keep pancakes warm while cooking by placing them on a baking sheet in a 200 degree oven.

21+ Fruit Cocktail 

2 oranges, chopped
1 banana, sliced
10 maraschino cherries, chopped
1 tablespoon Bourbon
1 tablespoon Amaretto
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 8oz. container Fat-Free Greek yogurt
   (I used peach flavored)
1 teaspoon cinnamon


Combine bourbon, amaretto, vanilla, with yogurt. Add chopped and sliced fruit. Mix in cinnamon and serve!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Soaked Sunday: Portobello Cheese Steaks and Tahini Cookies

Happy Sunday everyone!! It was a rainy day here but we still managed to get outside for a run.We were soaked by the time we got back home but I felt very refreshed by a dose of running in the rain! We managed to do a 5 mile run getting back around 4pm. Since we hadn't eaten since breakfast, we were starving! A quick veggie "cheese steak" that has a meaty taste to it because of the use of portobello mushrooms is perfect for this weather. We felt like dessert but nothing too heavy. I bought some tahini awhile back but I haven't gotten around to making hummus. So why not use it for some cookies!? Whole Foods has a great Tahini Chocolate Chip Cookie in their stores that I love. I found a recipe on Eating Well Magazine's website that I must say is pretty delicious. Give them a try! They would be great traveling or hiking cookies!

A few notes: For the cheese steaks I chose to use Flatout Bread in Light Italian Herb. I thought it would be healthier than the traditional pita flat bread. I liked the bread but my husband didn't really like the texture compared to real pita bread.

The cookies were slightly adapted from the original recipe. I used Earth Balance spread in the stick form for the butter. Then I added the almond extract because I think it gives such a nice touch to the taste of the dough. In these cookies it really mixes well with the cinnamon and tahini!

Portobello “Cheese Steaks”

2 medium portobello mushrooms (about 4 oz. each), stems removed
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 medium yellow peppers, thinly sliced
1 jumbo sweet onion (1 pound)–Vidalia, Walla Walla or Peruvian
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. coarsely ground pepper
2 Tbsp. water
1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
4 (7-inch) pocketless pitas
2 c. (8 oz.) mozzarella cheese, shredded

Preheat oven to 400. Heat a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Brush both sides of the mushrooms using 1 Tbsp. olive oil. Add mushrooms to skillet and cook until tender and lightly browned, about 5 minutes on each side. Transfer mushrooms to cutting board and cut into 1/4-inch thick slices; set aside.
In the same skillet, heat remaining 1 Tbsp. oil over medium heat until hot. Add yellow peppers, onion, salt, black pepper, and water; cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are tender and golden, about 15 minutes. Stir in vinegar; remove from skillet from heat. Gently stir in sliced portobellos.
Meanwhile, place pitas on large cookie sheet; sprinkle with mozzarella cheese. Heat pitas until cheese has melted, about 5 minutes.
Roll each pita into a cone; tightly wrap bottom half of each with parchment paper or foil to help hold its shape and prevent leakage. Fill pita cones with warm mushroom mixture.

Almond Tahini Oatmeal 
Chocolate Chip Cookies

*adapted from Eating Well Magazine


  • 2 cups rolled oats, (not quick-cooking)
  • 1/2 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup tahini
  • 4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg white
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tablespoon almond extract
  • 1 cup semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

    1. Position racks in upper and lower thirds of oven; preheat to 350°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
    2. Whisk oats, whole-wheat flour, all-purpose flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl. Beat tahini and butter in a large bowl with an electric mixer until blended into a paste. Add granulated sugar and brown sugar; continue beating until well combined"the mixture will still be a little grainy. Beat in egg, then egg white, then vanilla and almond. Stir in the oat mixture with a wooden spoon until just moistened. Stir in chocolate chips and walnuts.
    3. With damp hands, roll 1 tablespoon of the batter into a ball, place it on a prepared baking sheet and flatten it until squat, but don’t let the sides crack. Continue with the remaining batter, spacing the flattened balls 2 inches apart.
    4. Bake the cookies until golden brown, about 16 minutes, switching the pans back to front and top to bottom halfway through. Cool on the pans for 2 minutes, then transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely. Let the pans cool for a few minutes before baking another batch.

    Friday, March 4, 2011

    Midway, Utah: Travel Journal #2

     Like most people, my husband and I don't get a lot of time off with our jobs. With my job, when I do get time off it's usually not paid. With my husband working full time and in graduate school, finding time to to travel together is always a little challenging. Luckily, the last couple of years we have been able to find some time in the summer around our anniversary to travel someplace for a weekend trip to relax and unwind. We've gone to Santa Barbara (for our honeymoon), Napa, Santa Fe, and last year we went camping to Capitol Reef National Park (if you love National Parks you must go to this one!). This year however, I will be in France with the company on tour. We've been trying to find time before I leave to go on a trip. This past weekend we decided to try a little Stay cation and drive up to Midway, Utah in the Heber Valley.  Midway is only 28 miles from Salt Lake City and includes a very scenic drive. The town was founded in 1861 by Swiss immigrants and has lots of Swiss character with chalet style homes and shops. Each year the town hosts Midway's Swiss Days which will happen September 2-3, 2011. There are a couple of resorts and a few bed and breakfasts in the area. We decided to stay at the Blue Boar Inn and it is definitely worth checking out!

    We drove up in a snow storm Saturday afternoon and arrived up in Midway just in time for lunch. I had heard good things about a Mexican restaurant on Main Street. We found it easily with our GPS but the Main St. is so small that it would be easy to find on it's own.  The restaurant is called Tarahumara, which is named after a group of indigenous people living in Northern Mexico. My husband was really excited because they are the tribe that is talked about in the book "Born to Run" by Christopher McDougall. Tarahumara is a gem in this small town. The food is fresh affordable and the service is wonderful. They also have a yummy assortment of bakery items. We tried one of the chocolate chip sandwich cookies stuffed with some tasty frosting. However, there were some cinnamon rolls that were secretly telling me to come back and try one next time!

    The restaurant is located at 380 E. Main Street
    The salsa bar is amazing!!

    Delicious chips and salsas

    Chile Rellenos

    Veggie Burritos

      After our bellies were a little too full we headed to The Blue Boar Inn to check in. What a beautiful setting! I felt like I had just been transported to Switzerland! Each room at the inn has a theme modeled after famous literary writers. We chose the Robert Frost room for two reasons. My favorite poem is
      The Road Not Taken and we really liked the wooden snowshoes on the wall (they're just like my Dad's!).

      The Blue Boar Inn is conveniently located right next to Wasatch Mountain State Park.
    Here you can cross country ski, go snowmobiling, and best of all because it's free, go snowshoeing. We were two of the only people on the trails and it took us about two hours to do the Visitor Center Loop and Spring Loop trails. If you go into the visitor center they will give you an easy to read map. There was  really deep snow in some areas but that's part of the fun of snowshoeing!

     After the hard work of snowshoeing it was time for a glass of wine! The Blue Boar Inn has their own pub! The Truffle Hollow Pub is the place to go to enjoy a drink and pretend like you are not in Utah anymore (except for the watered down mixed drinks!).

    After our aperitif, we went in to the dining room for our dinner. It's really nice to have a restaurant that is in the same location as the rooms. You don't have to worry about driving back anywhere! The dining room is cozy, intimate, and warm. We decided to both have salads and entrees. The salads were delicious and both were large servings. For our entrees, we both had meat! I was surprised my husband wanted to but he said since he was at the Blue Boar Inn, he should try the boar. I had the braised lamb shank with puy lentils. We agreed that while the meat was good, we don't miss not eating it that often. Besides, my favorite part my entree were the lentils and carrots!

    Bibb Salad: Creamy Parmesan Dressing, Fines Herbes, Smoked Parmesan Crisp 

    Blue Boar Salad: Mixed Greens, Tomato, Parmesan, White Balsamic Vinaigrette 
    Braised Lamb Shank with Puy Lentils, Baby Carrots, Rosemary Demi

     Dijon Rubbed Wild Boar Chops with Sautee of Red Cabbage, Apple & Walnuts,
    Fingerling Potatoes, Lingonberry Sauce 

    Just the right thing for dessert: chocolate boars!

      While you're eating in the restaurant, there is turn down service in your room. This includes robes, a beautiful red rose, chocolates, and a miniature book of poetry and writings from the famous literary writers! It had my favorite poem in it!

     Finally, the best part of The Blue Boar Inn: THE BRUNCH!!! It's amazing and it's included with your overnight stay. We were there on a Sunday and it was so delicious. Almost too much food but probably because I was still full from dinner! You get coffee, juice, pastries, a fruit martini, Swedish pancake, entree and a dessert!

    Fresh Berry and Melon Martini

    Warm Swedish Pancake with Berry Marmalade

     Mediterranean Omelet
    Chopped Spinach, Roasted Pepper, Kalamata Olive, Artichoke, Red Onion, Prosciutto and Goat Cheese, With Lyonnaise Potatoes and a Light Herb sauce

     Cinnamon Marbled Brioche French Toast

    Lavender Honey Scone
    With Creme Chantilly and Fresh Berries

     A few more photos from a great weekend:


    Places mentioned in Travel Journal:

    Tarahumara Restaurant              
    380 E. Main Street                      
    Midway, UT 84032                        
    (435) 654-3465                              

    The Blue Boar Inn                
    1235 Warm Springs Road         
    Midway, Utah 84049 

    Wasatch Mountain State Park

    Tarahumara on Urbanspoon Blue Boar Inn and Restaurant on Urbanspoon


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