two skinny jenkins


090709 – Mediterranean Barley Salad
090909, 10:49 am
Filed under: DINNER | Tags: , , , , , , ,

Barley Salad

Thank you SK!  This was delicious!  I rarely buy fresh herbs, but since i am making another parsley-heavy dish tonight, i went ahead and got some. I had been looking for a NEW eggplant recipe for some time when i finally went to Smitten Kitchen and found her recipe.  It was a little involved – one of those dishes where you can spend the SOLID 50-60 minutes washing, chopping, baking, and working the stove top.  But it was worth it.

I will definitely make this one again someday.  It was filling and tasty, with enough depth of flavor so that I didn’t feel bad not serving it with anything.  A wonderful midweek recipe that you can actually look forward to eating chilled for lunch the next day.

  • 1 1/2 lb eggplant, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (I used 4 baby eggplants)
  • 1/2-3/4 lb zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 10 T evoo
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 t black pepper
  • 1 C chopped scallion (or yellow onion)
  • 1 1/2 t ground cumin
  • 1/2 t ground coriander
  • 1/4 t red pepper
  • 1 1/4 C pearl barley (8 oz)
  • 2 C chicken or veggie broth
  • 1/2 C water
  • 2 T lemon juice
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 t sugar
  • 1/2 lb cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1/2 cup Kalamata or other brine-cured black olives, pitted and halved
  • 1/2 C thinly sliced red onion, rinsed and drained if desired
  • 1 C chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  1. Put oven racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat oven to 425°F.
  2. Cook barley: Heat 2 T oil in a large pot over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then cook scallion, cumin, coriander, and red pepper, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add barley and cook, stirring until well coated with oil, 2 minutes more. Add broth and water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until all of liquid is absorbed and barley is tender, 30 to 35 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand, covered, 5 minutes. Transfer to reserved shallow baking pan and spread to quickly cool, uncovered, to room temperature, about 20 minutes.
  3. While the barley is cooking, toss eggplant and zucchini with 5 tablespoons oil, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 3/4 teaspoon pepper in a bowl, then spread in 2 oiled large shallow (1-inch-deep) baking pans. Roast vegetables in oven, stirring occasionally and switching position of pans halfway through baking, until vegetables are golden brown and tender, 20 to 25 minutes total. Combine vegetables in 1 pan and cool, reserving other pan for cooling barley.
  4. Make dressing and assemble salad: Whisk together lemon juice, garlic, sugar, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and 3 tablespoons oil in a large bowl. Add barley, roasted vegetables, and remaining ingredients to bowl with dressing and toss until combined well. Serve with slices of feta cheese.


090721 – Anniversary Cake
090721, 9:48 pm
Filed under: DESSERT | Tags: , ,

Anniversary Cake


Today was Joe’s and my two year anniversary, and I wanted to mimic our wedding cake as a gift to Joe.  I found this recipe on Gourmet.com that sounded just right.  Of course, i had to improvise a little bit, as usual. It took nearly all day to make.  I wanted to make sure that i did things right and gave the cake sufficient time to cool before decorating.

The cake was way too heavy.   This is the second cake i have ever made in my life (the first being my father’s birthday cake back in April).  I guess i should have known that pound cake was heavy.  The texture of the pound cake was all wrong for this otherwise light and fruity flavored cake.  If you couldn’t tell, this was nothing like my wedding cake.

The Cake:

  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/4 C low-fat buttermilk
  • 2 1/2 t vanilla extract
  • 2 C cake flour (not self-rising)
  • 1 1/2 t salt
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 C sugar
  1. Put racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat oven to 350°F. Grease cake pans and line bottom of each with a round of parchment or wax paper. Grease paper and dust pans with flour.
  2. Whisk together eggs, milk, and vanilla in a medium bowl. Whisk together flour and salt in another bowl.
  3. Beat together butter and sugar in bowl of stand mixer at medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Reduce speed to low and add flour and egg mixtures alternately in 3 batches, ending with egg mixture and mixing until just incorporated.
  4. Divide batter among pans, filling each one to 1 inch from top. Put 12-inch pan on upper rack and other pans on lower rack 20 minutes. Gently turn pans around and bake until a wooden pick or skewer inserted in center of cakes comes out of each with a few crumbs adhering, 10 to 20 minutes more, depending on cake size. Transfer each one as done to a rack to cool.
  5. Cool layers slightly (12-inch layer for 20 minutes), then invert onto racks. Peel off paper, turn cakes right side up, and cool completely.
  6. Put each layer cut side up on a plate. Brush tops generously with syrup. Stir jam until smooth, then spread about 1/3 cup on one layer. Invert another layer (on plate) onto jam.  Spread about 1 cups frosting on top of layer. Scatter a layer of blackberries over to cover frosting. (If berries are 1 inch or larger, first halve them lengthwise.) Slide the third 12-inch layer, syrup side up, onto berries (discard cardboard) and press down gently. Spread about 1/3 cup jam on layer and invert last 12-inch layer (on cardboard) onto jam, discard cardboard.
  7. Spoon 1 1/2 cups frosting onto top of 12-inch tier and cover cake with a thin coating.

Lemon Syrup:

  • 1/2 C lemon juice
  • 1/2 C sugar
  • 1/4 C water
  1. stir sugar into lemon juice until fully dissolved and add water.

Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 4 (8-ounce) packages neufchatel cream cheese, softened
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 box confectioners’ sugar
  1. mix cream cheese on medium speed in an electric mixer until soft.
  2. add butter and sugar (slowly) and mix on low speed until fully combined.
  3. keep refrigerated, pull it out of the fridge about 10 min. before applying to the cake to soften.



090715 – watermelon lemonade
090715, 10:07 pm
Filed under: DRINKS | Tags: ,

watermelon lemonade

Okay, so I was set on making this the instant that I saw it on Smitten Kitchen’s site.  Joe bought a somewhat sub-par watermelon whilst I was at the beach, so it seemed like the perfect opportunity to make lemonade of it.  I made some alterations to taste while putting it together, so I feel okay about posting the recipe.  I guess that’s how recipe blogging works…

  • 2 C watermelon puree (using immersion blender)
  • 1/2 C simple syrup
  • 1 C lemon juice (gasp – from a bottle)
  • 2 C water

Just mix it up and add ice to the serving glasses.  Joe and I added a little gin to ours…




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