Chocolate Raspberry Torte


This recipe came from one of the first books I ever worked on as a project editor. The final product looks harder to make than it actually is — that can be your little secret. It’s super rich, so cut it into small pieces.


  • 2 ounces (2 squares) unsweetened chocolate
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • dash of salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup seedless raspberry jam
  • 1 tablespoon Eau-de-Vie Framboise (or other raspberry liqueur)
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • fresh raspberries and extra jam to garnish the top


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Butter a 9-inch round cake pan and line the bottom with a circle of buttered wax paper (I urge you not to skip the wax paper; it will only end in tears)
  3. Gently melt the unsweetened chocolate and butter together.
  4. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl.
  5. Whisk eggs, sugar, jam, and Eau-de-Vie in a large bowl. Add melted chocolate-butter mixture and whisk until smooth. Whisk in the flour mixture. Add the chocolate chips and stir.
  6. Pour mixture into prepared pan. Bake 25-30 minutes. (Center should be moist and edges not too dry.)
  7. Cool the cake in the pan for 5 minutes, then invert it onto a plate and remove waxed paper. Spread a tablespoon of jam over the top surface of the cake while it is still slightly warm but not hot.
  8. When cool, add a circle of fresh raspberries around the edge. Serve plain or with vanilla ice cream.

Basil Chicken

The basil smelled really good at the farmers’ market on Sunday, so we picked some up with the plan of making basil chicken (I totally forgot that Rebecca is growing a huge pot of basil on her back porch). This recipe comes from Rachael Ray with a few minor tweaks (e.g., she uses twice as much crushed red pepper).


  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 4 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced onion, plus 1 cup finely chopped onion
  • 8 cloves garlic, finely chopped (about 3 tablespoons)
  • 1-1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 cup torn fresh basil leaves


  1. In a small bowl, combine water,  fish sauce, soy sauce, sugar, and crushed red pepper. Stir to dissolve the sugar; set aside.
  2. Heat a wok or large, deep skillet over medium-high heat until hot, about 1 minute. Add 2 tablespoons oil, then the sliced and chopped onion, and garlic. Stir-fry until fragrant and softened but not browned, about 3 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and set aside.
  3. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil to the skillet and heat for about 1 minute. Working in 2 batches if necessary, spread the chicken in a single layer in the pan without crowding and cook, undisturbed, until the edges change color, about 1 minute. Turn and continue cooking, tossing now and then, until lightly browned all over, 2 to 3 minutes.
  4. Add the reserved sauce and onion mixture and cook, tossing occasionally, until the chicken is cooked through and evenly coated, 2 to 3 minutes longer.
  5. Remove the pan from the heat and add the basil, tossing until slightly wilted.
  6. Serve the chicken over rice or noodles.

Creamy Salsa Dip

From the Dannon yogurt lid, a yummy dip recipe (and a good way to use the rest of the plain yogurt orginally needed for Chicken Tikka Masala).


  • 2 C plain yogurt
  • 1 C salsa
  • 3 1/2 T chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 t sea salt


  1. In a bowl, combine all ingredients and mix well.
  2. Cover and keep refrigerated until ready to use.

Chicken Tikka Masala (Cook’s Illustrated)

I’ve never made anything from a Cook’s Illustrated magazine–I’m one of those goofy people who loves to read recipes without feeling like I have to actually cook them–until now, that is. Renae posted an absolutely delicious Tikka recipe courtesy of Bethany’s blog. The recipe I’m posting is slightly different and had me enjoying the process of cooking for the first time in a long time! Also, I’ve never broiled chicken before; the flavor (due to spices, yogurt AND cooking style) was a-mazing.

Ingredients (Chicken Tikka)

  • 1/2 t ground cumin
  • 1/2 t ground coriander
  • 1/4 t cayenne pepper
  • 1 t table salt
  • 2 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts (I used less)
  • 1 C plain whole-milk yogurt
  • 2 T vegetable oil
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed through garlic press (about 2 t)
  • 1 T grated fresh ginger

Ingredients (Masala Sauce)

  • 3 T vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced fine (about 1 1/4 C)
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed through garlic press (about 2 t)
  • 2 t grated fresh ginger
  • 1 serrano chile, ribs and seeds removed, flesh minced
  • 1 T tomato paste
  • 1 T garam masala
  • 1 (28oz) can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 t sugar
  • Table salt
  • 2/3 C heavy cream
  • 1/4 C chopped fresh cilantro leaves

Directions (Chicken)

  1. Combine cumin, coriander, cayenne, and salt in a small bowl.
  2. Sprinkle both sides of chicken with spice mixture, pressing gently so mixture adheres.
  3. Place chicken on plate, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30-60 minutes.
  4. In a large bowl, whisk together yogurt, oil, garlic and ginger; set aside.

Directions (Sauce)

  1. Heat oil in large Dutch oven (a large pan will work – RT) over medium heat until shimmering.
  2. Add onion and cook, stirring frequently, until light golden, 8-10 minutes.
  3. Add garlic, ginger, chile, tomato paste, and garam masala; cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 3 minutes.
  4. Add crushed tomatoes, sugar, and 1/2 t salt; bring to boil.
  5. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. Stir in cream and return to simmer.
  7. Remove pan from heat and cover to keep warm.

Directions (Chicken) #2

  1. While sauce simmers, adjust oven rack to upper-middle position (about 6 inches from heating element) and heat broiler.
  2. Using tongs, dip chicken into yogurt mixture (chicken should be coated with thick layer of yogurt) and arrange on wire rack set in foil-lined rimmed baking sheet or broiler pan.
  3. Discard excess yogurt mixture.
  4. Broil chicken until chicken until thickest parts register 160 degrees on instant-read thermometer and exterior is lightly charred in spots, 10-18 minutes, flipping chicken halfway through cooking.

Directions (Chicken and Sauce)

  1. Let chicken rest 5 minutes, then cut into 1-inch chunks and stir into warm sauce (do not simmer chicken in sauce).
  2. Stir in cilantro, adjust seasoning with salt, and serve.

Roasted Dragon Meat on Hobbit Bread

Also known as “Slow Cooked Italian Beef Sandwich” by Karma Larsen. Check out my blog for an explanation of the more creative title.


  • 2-3 lb boneless beef roast
  • 2 T crushed basil
  • 2 T crushed oregano
  • 1 C water
  • 1 env dry onion soup mix
  • hard rolls


  1. Add ingredients to a crockpot and cook on low for 6-8 hours.
  2. Shred meat and serve on hard rolls.