Cramped Kitchen on Hiatus

I am doing most of my food blogging over at Two Coast Table right now. I've moved recently and have been using my parent's large kitchen. Please check it out.



The Garlic Zoom

One of my new favorite kitchen tools is the Garlic Zoom from Chef’n. I got this in the swag bag from the We Are Not Martha 2 year Blogiversary. This is super easy to use and what I think is the best part is how easy it is to clean. The blade pulls out and you can just rinse everything. I use garlic in almost everything I cook. Granted I could just use a knife to cut the garlic, but what fun is that?

(posted originally on Two Coast Table)


Peanut Butter Cookies

My family & I went sledding this past weekend and when we came in I made some hot chocolate and these cookies. Nothing is better than coming inside from the cold to have a nice cup of hot chocolate, Swiss Miss, of course!

The recipe is adapted slightly from the Magnolia Bakery Cookbook.

Ingredients & Directions:

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup peanut butter at room temperature (I like smooth better, but you can use chunky too)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For sprinkling: 1 tablespoon sugar, regular or superfine

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine the flour, the baking soda, the baking powder, and the salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat the butter and the peanut butter together until fluffy. Add the sugars and beat until smooth. Add the egg and mix well. Add the milk and the vanilla extract. Add the flour mixture and beat thoroughly.

Place sprinkling sugar — the remaining tablespoon — on a plate. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls into the sugar, then onto ungreased cookie sheets, leaving several inches between for expansion.

Using a fork, lightly indent with a crisss-cross pattern (I used the back of a small offset spatula to keep it smooth on top), but do not overly flatten cookies. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Do not overbake. Cookies may appear to be underdone, but they are not.

Cool the cookies on the sheets for 1 minute, then remove to a rack to cool completely.


Banana Blueberry Lemon Muffins

My favorite thing to make with really ripe bananas is banana bread, but this time I wanted to make something different. I was going to make plain banana muffins, but then came across this recipe on Dragon’s Kitchen and knew what had to be done. Fortunately, I had all the ingredients for these muffins, because who wants to go to the grocery store in a snow storm?

Ingredients & Directions:

  • 2 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 large ripe bananas, mashed
  • 2 eggs
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 2 tablespoons grated lemon rind
  • 3 tablespoons sugar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line muffin pan with muffin liners. Grate your lemon now if you don’t already have some in your kitchen and set aside. Combine flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and 1 tablespoon of the lemon rind. Stir in dry ingredients until blended.

Beat together bananas, eggs, brown sugar, butter, lemon juice and vanilla until blended.

Fold in blueberries just until combined.

For the topping, combine sugar and remaining lemon rind in small dish.

Fill muffin liners almost to the top. Sprinkle Lemon Sugar mixture evenly over the muffins. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden.

These muffins were delicious. I warmed one up the next morning on a griddle with a tiny bit of butter for breakfast. Seriously, these are some of the best muffins I have ever made.

This is from my other blog Two Cost Table.


Vanilla Peppermint Cupcakes

I found this on Oprah’s website while searching about how to become a guest on her show. Just kidding (not really). I brought them to my Aunt & Uncle’s house for Christmas Eve dinner and everyone loved them, or at least they told me they did.

Ingredients & Directions:

Vanilla-Peppermint Cupcake:

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour , sifted
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. coarse salt
  • 1/2 cup whole milk , room temperature
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. peppermint extract
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter , room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg , room temperature
  • 2 large egg whites , room temperature

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with cupcake liners; set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt; set aside. In a small bowl, mix together milk and extracts; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter on medium-high speed, until light and fluffy. Gradually add sugar and continue to beat until well combined and fluffy. Reduce the mixer speed to medium and slowly add egg and egg whites until just blended. With the mixer on low, slowly add half the flour mixture; mix until just blended. Add the milk mixture; mix until just blended. Slowly add remaining flour mixture, scraping down sides of the bowl with a spatula, as necessary, until just blended.

Divide batter evenly among prepared muffin cups. Transfer muffin tin to oven and bake until tops are just dry to the touch, 22 to 25 minutes.

Transfer muffin tin to a wire rack and let cupcakes cool completely in tin before icing.

Vanilla-Peppermint Frosting:

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter , firm but not cold
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 3 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar , sifted
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. peppermint extract
  • 1/2 tsp. milk

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the flat beater, beat the butter and salt on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Reduce the speed to low, gradually add the confectioners’ sugar and beat until incorporated. Add the extracts and milk and beat until smooth and creamy.

Do not overmix or the frosting will incorporate too much air; it should be creamy and dense, like ice cream. Add additional milk, 1 teaspoon at a time, if frosting does not have a spreadable consistency.

Top with crushed candy canes!

This is from Two Coast Table, where I am doing most of my food blogging these days. Check it out! Hope you had a great Christmas.



Pumpkin Creme Brulee

Every year on Thanksgiving I make Pumpkin Creme Brulee for dessert. I only make once a year to keep it special and it is always my favorite dessert I eat on Thanksgiving. This recipe is super simple and I recommend it to everyone.

Ingredients & Directions:

2 C heavy cream
2 tsp vanilla
8 egg yolks
1/3 C sugar
1 C pureed pumpkin
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 C sugar (for caramelized tops)

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. In a large bowl, whisk together heavy creme, vanilla, egg yolks, pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. Blend well. Strain into a large bowl to remove foam or bubbles.

Divide mixture among ramekins (I usually use 6-8 ramekins). Place in a water bath, and bake until set around the edges, but still loose in the center. Approximately 35-45 minutes.

Remove from the oven and leave in water bath until cooled. Remove ramekins from water bath and chill for at least 2 hours, or up to 2 days. When ready to serve, sprinkle about 2 teaspoons of sugar over each custard. Caramelize sugar (I used my little torch, but you can place in broiler). After caramelizing, re-chill for a few minutes before serving.

I wrote an entire post about my Thanksgiving dinner at my other blog Two Coast Table. Check it out!


California Chicken Club Bites

Occasionally I take something out of the freezer without knowing what I’m going to make for dinner. Last night I took chicken and bacon out with the idea of doing some play on a California Chicken Club Sandwich, without bread (since I didn’t want to go to the store). I decided to make California chicken club bites instead of a sandwich. If I were to make these again I would definitely add some tomato and use fresh mozzarella probably resting on top of the chicken.


Chicken breasts or tenders, sliced into bit sized pieces
1/2 C Mozzarella Cheese, shredded
Avocado Spread (see below)
Olive Oil

I started cooking the bacon first, then placed the chicken in the electric frying pan with a little garlic, salt, pepper, and olive oil. Cook the bite sized pieces until they are full cooked and lightly browned on each side.

Avocado Spread:

1/4 C extra-virgin olive oil (plus more if needed)
1 ripe avocado-halved, peeled and pit removed, and chopped
4 garlic cloves, peeled
1 onion diced
2 tsp salt
1/4 C mayonnaise

This one is simple. Place all ingredients into a food processor (I used the magic bullet) mix until it is smooth or desired consistency.

You may need to add more olive oil to make it smoother. Set aside if using right away, otherwise refrigerate.

Putting together the bites:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Once the bacon and chicken is cooked you can start the process of making the bites. I sliced the chicken in half lengthwise. Placed some avocado spread on one piece and then bacon on the other.

Repeat for each piece of chicken you have. Put the two halves together and then place on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with some mozzarella cheese and cook in the oven for about 3-5 minutes, or until cheese melts.

You can serve these as an appetizer or with your favorite side for a meal. I ate some brown rice with these.