Category Archives: Recipe

Sunday Pasta: Spinach Walnut Pesto and Asparagus

Cupcakes for Breakfast: Sunday Pasta with Spinach Walnut Pesto and Asparagus

Last night my friends reminded me about some of the joys of blogging. The writing, the eating, how it can be so simple, how it’s part of who we are and how we communicate. You should read their blogs – Eat More, Drink More, District Brit, Frijolita, Florida Girl in DC – especially if you’re in DC. Beyond their blogs, they inspire me in many many ways.

We were also talking about restaurants with menus that haven’t changed. We were split. If it was a good restaurant, we had a great experience, but yet it’s not a place we frequent often, are we satisfied with the same menu every time? Jenna wants to go back and have her favorite dish there – a simple but lovely pesto gnocchi. Russell wants to see what else they can do. They both come from a place of adoration.

Cupcakes for Breakfast: Sunday Pasta with Spinach Walnut Pesto and Asparagus

It reminded me of my Sunday pasta routine. Sometimes I just want the same thing over and over. After all, the point of Sunday pasta is ultimately comfort – at the end of a busy weekend, at the start of a busy week. But seasons change and so does the produce at the market, and new ingredients and combinations get my creative vibes moving at a time when they’re probably programed to wind down. It’s good for me. (Hint: Nikki, do this more often.)

The ingredients are really the way I’m going to get somewhere new. Everything else remains the same…the boxed pasta (sorrynotsorry that I don’t have time to make fresh pasta every weekend), the garlic and olive oil and butter, tossing everything together in a big pan, making a mess, West Wing or a 90′s pop music playlist playing in the background, my mom calling halfway through.

In this case, I changed things up with a spinach walnut pesto. Nothing groundbreaking here, but it was different than just typically throwing the spinach into the pasta to wilt a bit. Sautéing the asparagus instead of roasting it, kept the dish feeling lighter and added some texture. And how can you not be inspired by that bright pop of green? I’m sooo healthy even though this is full of carbs, yeah? Let’s pretend.

Cupcakes for Breakfast: Sunday Pasta with Spinach Walnut Pesto and Asparagus

Sunday Pasta: Orecchiette with Spinach Walnut Pesto and Asparagus

In a food processor, combine handfuls of fresh spinach, fresh basil, walnuts, olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper until volià you have pesto. Chop asparagus in small pieces and sauté in butter and olive oil until cooked through (depends on how much of a crunch you’d like). Add the pesto and cooked pasta to the pan. Toss. Buon appetito!

Cupcakes for Breakfast: Sunday Pasta with Spinach Walnut Pesto and Asparagus

Strawberry Sage Mascarpone Tart

Cupcakes for Breakfast: Strawberry Sage Mascarpone Tart

This might just be my new favorite summer dessert. For many reasons. Fresh strawberries and beautiful sage from the farmer’s market. A combination of sweet almond and zesty orange cookies as a base. Mascarpone cheese (’nuff said). Fluffy whipped heavy cream. And no oven required.

How can something be so good when there’s no chocolate in it?

Cupcakes for Breakfast: Farmer's Market Strawberries

Cupcakes for Breakfast: Strawberry Sage Mascarpone Tart Cupcakes for Breakfast: Strawberry Sage Mascarpone Tart

The no baking part is especially wonderful. It’s not even that hot outside yet, but I prefer to not crank my oven up high in the summer. This tart just highlights the best of the best. My first pick of strawberries of the season and quality mascarpone cheese. I’ve been really into berry + herb combinations recently. Blueberry basil, raspberry mint, strawberry sage. Fantastic on a tart or in your cocktail. I think I’ll spend all summer exploring these combos. Adding gin, heavy cream, honey, prosecco as I’d like.

Now on to this perfect tart…

Cupcakes for Breakfast: Strawberry Sage Mascarpone Tart

Strawberry Sage Mascarpone Tart

For the filling:

  • 1 large egg
  • 2 Tablespoon sugar
  • 8oz cups mascarpone cheese
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 pound strawberries, sliced thinly
  • 1/2 Tablespoon fresh sage, chopped

For the crumb base:

  • 7 tablespoons butter
  • 10 oz almond and orange cookies
  1. Make the base: Melt butter. Crush cookies to a crumble in a food processor. Mix the crumbs with butter. Spoon the crumbs into a round tart pan with a removable bottom. Smooth into the corners and up the pan sides. Refrigerate until set.
  2. Make the filling: Separate the egg, putting the yolk in a bowl with the sugar and beating for a few seconds until mixed. Beat in mascarpone and vanilla extract. With a clean whisk, beat heavy cream until it’s whipped, and then fold it into the creamed mascarpone.
  3. Assemble: Spoon mascarpone filling into the cookie crust, spreading it to the edges. Arrange sliced strawberries and fresh chopped sage on top of the mascarpone. Keep cold until serving.

Cupcakes for Breakfast: Strawberry Sage Mascarpone TartCupcakes for Breakfast: Strawberry Sage Mascarpone Tart

Sunday Pasta: Ramps, Roasted Asparagus, Spinach, Burrata

Cupcakes for Breakfast | Sunday Pasta: Ramps, Roasted Asparagus, Spinach, Burrata

While between trips and traveling, I’ve been able to get back to a semi-normal routine the last two weeks. That means getting back to the farmer’s market on Sundays, stocking my fridge, and cooking again. It’s great to feel some sense of normalcy while in the kitchen. Like this is my thing. This is my home.
Cupcakes for Breakfast | Sunday Pasta: Ramps, Roasted Asparagus, Spinach, Burrata

This Sunday pasta is basically just me being super stoked about everything new and green at the market – spinach, ramps, asparagus – and putting it together. Oh and treating myself to $10 burrata. Roasting the asparagus adds a deeper flavor to the light pasta. The creamy burrata pulls the whole dish together. I basically want to live inside this pasta when it’s spring.

Cupcakes for Breakfast | Sunday Pasta: Ramps, Roasted Asparagus, Spinach, Burrata

Spring Cappellini with Ramps, Roasted Asparagus, Spinach, Burrata

Preheat oven to 400°. On a baking sheet, toss asparagus and garlic cloves with olive oil and sea salt. Roast for 25 min. Meanwhile, sauté ramp bulbs in lots of olive oil and butter. Add in ramp leaves and let wilt down. Add in a bunch of fresh spinach and let cook down. Remove asparagus and garlic from oven, chop, and stir into the ramps and spinach. Grate in fresh parm. Cook pasta and toss with veggies. Stir in fresh, creamy, burrata.

Cupcakes for Breakfast | Sunday Pasta: Ramps, Roasted Asparagus, Spinach, Burrata

Banana Cupcakes with Dulce de Leche Cream Cheese Frosting

Cupcakes for Breakfast: Banana Cupcakes with Dulce de Leche Cream Cheese Frosting

This post is for my family. Mostly for my older brother who loves every banana. And is graciously letting me film My Family Recipe Rocks with Joey Fatone at his apartment.

It’s a week away and I’m a bit stressed out about it, honestly. Forget the whole spending a day with Joey thing (just trying not to think about that.) But I have a cook some complicated recipes on camera, which is new to me.

Cupcakes for Breakfast: Banana Cupcakes with Dulce de Leche Cream Cheese Frosting

So I’m practicing a lot beforehand. Testing out the recipes, talking to my mom and aunts and uncles about how they make them. While I have so many nerves, I’m feeling more and more connected to the food I’m cooking. They’re recipes that mean something to me and my family. They so many memories attached to them. This is another reason this show means so much to me. It’s not just about Joey or making my tween dreams come true. This show is about everything that means something to me. Food and family and passions.

Cupcakes for Breakfast: Banana Cupcakes with Dulce de Leche Cream Cheese Frosting

This banana cupcake recipe is like everything else I’m preparing for the show. Simple, sweet, and full of flavor memories. These might just be the cupcakes I bake for Joey next week!

Cupcakes for Breakfast: Banana Cupcakes with Dulce de Leche Cream Cheese Frosting

One-Bowl Banana Cupcakes

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 large ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 Tablespoons milk
  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Line muffin tins with 24 paper cups.
  2. In a bowl of a stand mixer combine flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Slowly incorporate the eggs, oil, bananas, milk, and vanilla.
  3. Pour evenly into cupcake tins and bake for 20 minutes, rotating pans half-way through, or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  4. Cool on to a wire rack completely before frosting.

Dulce De Leche Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 1 block cream cheese, softened
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup dulce de leche
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter and cream cheese. Add in dulce de leche and vanilla.
  2. Slowly incorporate confectioners’ sugar until sweetened to your liking. Frost cupcakes.

Cupcakes for Breakfast: Banana Cupcakes with Dulce de Leche Cream Cheese Frosting

April Rules: Chocolate Chunk Brownies with Salted Fudge Frosting and Pistachios

Cupcakes for Breakfast: Chocolate Chunk Brownies with Salted Fudge Frosting and Pistachios

April 1st is probably my least favorite day on the internet. Why did anyone ever think pranks were fun? Like running marathons and tequila shots. Just don’t get it. But April 1st is also the beginning of my birthday week and the start of my favorite month. Things happen in April. Trees bloom and ramps grow and people get happier because they’re walking around drinking lemonade and eating fro-yo in the sunshine and how could that not make you happy?

On the note of happiness and birthdays, it’s not surprising I want celebrate with something chocolate and fudgy. While I prefer cake, these Chocolate Chunk Brownies with Salted Fudge Frosting and Pistachios would absolutely do the trick. Use whatever is your favorite brownie recipe, then add this salted fudge frosting – kicks them up a notch to be birthday-worthy. Chopped pistachios bring in one of my favorite spring flavors (and colors).

Don’t be gullible…April rules. Just add chocolate.

Cupcakes for Breakfast: Chocolate Chunk Brownies with Salted Fudge Frosting and Pistachios

Chocolate Chunk Brownies with Salted Fudge Frosting and Pistachios

  • 6 oz dark chocolate chips
  • 12 oz semisweet chocolate chips divided in half
  • 8 oz butter
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/3 cup cocoa
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Melt dark chocolate, half of the semi-sweet chocolate, and butter in a small saucepan over low heat and stir until melted and smooth. Let cool.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the sugar and eggs. Mix in cooled chocolate. Slowly incorporate the flour, baking powder and cocoa and mix to combine. Stir in the remaining chocolate chips.
  3. Pour into a greased cake pan and bake for 35-40 minutes or until set.

Salted Fudge Frosting

  • 1 large egg
  • 2 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat egg with 1 1/2 cups sugar on low speed, add the cocoa into egg mixture. Add remaining 1 cup sugar, vanilla, butter and sea salt and beat to combine. Spread onto cooled brownies. Sprinkle with chopped pistachios.

Cupcakes for Breakfast: Chocolate Chunk Brownies with Salted Fudge Frosting and Pistachios