two skinny jenkins

090731 – Grilling Out
090801, 11:34 am
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Blue cheese burgers

We braved the mosquito-y back deck at my parents house (well, Joe did) to grill up some GREAT blue cheese burgers.  We are crashing with my rents for a week, and then Joe’s for a week before heading up to Boston.  I made sweet potato fries using Joe’s recipe and discovered that the taste can vary considerably using someone else’s spices.   My mom’s taco seasoning was a lot heavier on the red pepper than ours and needed to be balanced out by more cinnamon.

Joe wrapped the corn in foil and cooked it on the (hot) grill for 12-15 min.  The kernels practically fell off into your mouth and yet were not too soft.  The brown areas were nicely caramelized and sweet.

Sweet Potato Fries for 4

  • 3 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into fries
  • 3 T canola oil
  • 3 T taco seasoning
  • heavy pinch of cayenne powder
  • heavy pinch of cinnamon
  • 1 t salt
  1. toss the fries together with all the seasonings in a large bowl.
  2. spread out as far apart as possible on 2 baking sheets.
  3. preheat oven to 425° and bake for 25 min, then flip them and bake another 20 min, until brown on both sides.
  4. serve with ketchup!


090701 – Crostini
090701, 10:46 pm
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Duo Crostini

Ever since i was little, i have preferred to eat like a bird… just a little bit of everything.  Just ask Joe about my peppermint patty eating technique!  I am a big snacker and I love to have little bites of things for dinner.  I am a big fan of tapas-style eating.  So, when Joe and i have leftover rustic bread, i jump at the chance to turn it into crostini or bruschetta.

Crostini Di Firenze Recipe

  • 1 clove fresh garlic
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 pinch black pepper
  • 1/4 pound (frozen!) strawberries
  • 1 large ripe tomato, diced
  • 5 fresh mint leaves, chopped
  1. Slice the baguette into 1/2-inch slices, discarding the two end slices. Grill the bread over a gas grill or electric grill, or toast the bread in a toaster or conventional oven. Turn to grill or toast both sides, if necessary.
  2. Peel and finely mince the garlic. Place the garlic in a small bowl. Add the olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. Whisk well to blend. Set aside.
  3. Rinse the strawberries and drain thoroughly, then remove and discard the leaf caps. Coarsely chop the strawberries (about 1/4-inch pieces) and place, along with the juices, in a small mixing bowl.
  4. Core and seed the tomato and finely dice it. Add the tomato and any juices to the strawberries as you chop. Rinse and dry the mint leaves and finely chop them, adding them to the bowl.
  5. Just before serving, whisk the oil mixture to recombine and add it to the strawberry mixture. Stir well. Place the toasted (or grilled) bread on a serving platter and spoon 2 heaping teaspoons of the topping over each bread slice. Allow the slices to stand for about 5 minutes so the juices can penetrate the bread, then serve immediately.
  6. Each serving has about 75 calories (40 percent from fat), 3 grams fat (0.5 gram saturated), no cholesterol, 1 gram protein, 10 grams carbohydrates, 1 gram dietary fiber and 85 milligrams sodium.

Beef + Caramelized Onion Crostini:

  • 1 loaf rustic bread, thinly sliced
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 sweet onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 C dry red wine
  • 2 T red wine vinegar
  • 1 1/2 T packed light brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 T honey
  • 1 piece (24-ounce size) beef tenderloin
  • 2 T blue cheese for topping
  1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Preheat a grill to medium-high heat.
  2. Brush the bread slices with the olive oil. Place on a sheet pan and grill until crispy, about 5 minutes. Set aside.
  3. In a medium saucepan, combine the onions, wine, vinegar, brown sugar, and honey. Stir constantly over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes, until the sauce is the consistency of marmalade.
  4. Grill the beef tenderloin, turning to mark all sides, until medium rare, about 10 to 15 minutes total. Let rest for 10 minutes, then thinly slice the meat. Place a slice of beef on each crostini and top each with a teaspoon of onion marmalade and sprinkle with blue cheese.

With the crostini we had truffle and mushroom risotto (packaged truffle risotto to which i added sauteed porcini mushrooms) and a salad.

090620 – burger night
090620, 6:47 pm
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so, this is the selfish, food-diary portion of the blog.  our burgers are not very complicated, or unique, but we think they’re good.  they were easy to make for our last dinner here at the beach.

  • 1 lb lean ground beef (we use Laura’s beef from Whole foods – no hormones)
  • sprinkle of Worcestershire sauce
  • splash of soy sauce
  • bit of garlic powder on each side
  1. for well done burgers, heat grill on high and cook each burger for about 12 minutes total, flipping at 6 minutes.

also, for appetizer, we had crostini (from the bread bakers apprentice challenge Ciabatta) with a bit of sauce from last night’s pizza, and the tapenade i made earlier in the week.


090522 – lasagna(e) nite
090523, 7:22 am
Filed under: DINNER | Tags: , , ,


Joe’s family came to visit this weekend, and that makes 5 of us in our little apartment.  so instead of our usual pizza Friday, we opted for lasagna(e).

Joe found a very well rated recipe on and adapted it a bit to meet or taste.  Basically omitted the sausage, added some spinach, and tweaked the spices.  In the end, it is a very similar lasanga to my Uncle Tom’s recipe, but a better sauce.

  • 1 3/4 pound lean ground beef
  • 1/2 C minced onion
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 (6 ounce) cans tomato paste
  • 2 (6.5 ounce) cans canned tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 T white sugar
  • 1 1/2 t dried basil leaves
  • 1 t oregano
  • 1 t fennel seeds
  • 1 T salt
  • 1/4 t ground black pepper
  • 1/2 t cayenne pepper
  • 4 T chopped fresh parsley
  • 12 lasagna noodles
  • 16 ounces ricotta cheese
  • 2 boxes frozen spinach, thawed (or 4 C fresh spinach)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 3/4 pound mozzarella cheese, sliced
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  1. In a Dutch oven, cook ground beef, onion, and garlic over medium heat until well browned. Stir in crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce, and water. Season with sugar, basil, fennel seeds, 1 tablespoon salt, pepper, and 2 tablespoons parsley. Simmer, covered, for about 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.
  2. In a mixing bowl, combine ricotta cheese with egg, remaining parsley, and 1/2 teaspoon salt.
  3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
  4. To assemble, spread 1 1/2 cups of meat sauce in the bottom of a 9×13 inch baking dish. Arrange 6 noodles lengthwise over meat sauce. Spread with one half of the ricotta cheese mixture. Top with a third of mozzarella cheese slices, then spinach. Spoon 1 1/2 cups meat sauce over spinach, and sprinkle with 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Repeat layers, and top with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. Cover with foil: to prevent sticking, either spray foil with cooking spray, or make sure the foil does not touch the cheese.
  5. Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes. Remove foil, and bake an additional 25 minutes. Cool for 15 minutes before serving.

090513 – lasagna
090513, 10:08 pm
Filed under: DINNER | Tags: , , , ,

lasagnaAt long last… my ‘famous’ lasagna recipe!  A few people have been, ahem, pestering me to post this one.  It tastes better than it looks – promise!

this was originally my uncle’s recipe and i had to improvise the quantities.  He is one of those cooks who magically throws ingredients together and makes it come out just right.  I think this tastes a like his, but was a tad watery, probably from the frozen spinach i used.

  • 1 lb ground beef (we use Laura’s 92% lean)
  • 1 T evoo
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 4 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 32 oz. cans of whole tomatoes
  • 1 t fennel seed
  • 1 t mustard powder
  • 1 t onion powder
  • 2 t basil
  • 1 T salt
  • 2 t sugar
  • 4 C spinach (i used frozen- it was all i had on hand)
  • 15 oz. ricotta cheese
  • 1 T thyme
  • 1 bag mozzarella cheese
  • 1 package (no boil) lasagna noodles
  1. brown ground beef in a large saucepan, rinse and drain.  heat oil in the saucepan and saute garlic and onion.  before adding the tomatoes, slice them into chunks using a sharp knife in the can.
  2. Preheat oven to 450° F.
  3. add the tomatoes, fennel, mustard powder, onion powder, basil, salt, and sugar and bring to a boil.  stir in meat and continue simmer.
  4. mix ricotta cheese, thyme and 1/3 C of mozzarella cheese.
  5. layer, starting with sauce, then noodles, ricotta mixture, and spinach.  Repeat, finishing with noodles, then sauce, and remaining mozzarella cheese.  I like to sprinkle a little exra basil on top.
  6. Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes.

090505 – cinco soft tacos
090505, 10:05 pm
Filed under: DINNER | Tags: , ,

guac so good

not to brag or anything, but there were two things that made this meal good.  the guacamole and the gin + tonic.  the taco meat was prepared per the back of the McCormick seasoning package.  it was good, but nothing i can take credit for.

Guacamole recipe (posted on 090421)

090425 – burgers + brownies
090424, 10:49 pm
Filed under: DESSERT, DINNER, MULTISPORT | Tags: , , , ,

we biked and bricked the course this morning.  it was 90° outside, but we biked it 10 minutes faster than last time, a month ago.  the park was packed with cars and there were at least as many bikes on the road as cars.  there are at least 8 good hills on the course, and on the last one, the man biking in front of me sort of slumped over off the road.

dinner: burgers:

initially, i didn’t really feel like grilling the burgers.  didn’t we just eat burgers 4 days ago?  but i REALLY COULDN’T after giving myself second degree burns with the spatula… i had left our metal spatula sitting apparently too close to the grill exhaust while it was preheating.  i now have a very neat imprint of the  spatula handle on my right palm.

joe ended up cooking the entire meal himself, while i pathetically clutched a cold beer can…


dessert: brownies:


before burning myself, i had managed to make the RICH DARK CHOCOLATE brownie recipe found on the back of the King Arthur flour bag.  luckily, i made a half batch becuse these are really to die for.

  • 1 C sugar
  • 1/2 C butter
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 3/4 C Hershey’s special dark cocoa powder
  • 1/2 t baking powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 t vanilla
  • 3/4 C King Arthur all purpose flour
  • 1 C semisweet chocolate chips
  1. melt butter in medium sized, microwave safe bowl. add sugar and heat heat again if necessary to make it smooth (maybe 30 sec. more).
  2. stir in cocoa, salt, baking powder, and vanilla until smooth.
  3. add flour and chocolate chips
  4. bake at 350 in a