November 10, 2015

October 2015 iPhonetography

A little behind this month… as it goes with everything else in my life as well.  October brought our much-anticipated beach week in Avalon with a group of our friends from DC.  An entire glorious week with some of my favorite people, including long walks on the beach, lots of dog play time, pancake breakfasts, trips to Atlantic City, amazing beach weather (seriously… it was so beautiful and warm!), and an absolutely fantastic spa day.  And then… the sad realization that we have to wait another entire year to do it all over again.

(Sorry for the baby picture overload – aside from the beach, we really apparently did nothing else in the month of October, so I just took a lot of pictures of my kid.)

As usual, here’s a roundup in pictures of how we spent the past month.  Many of these come from my private Instagram account, but you can follow along on my public account here or my food-only account here.


1) Ryan and I took the train to Harrisburg for my grandfather’s 95th birthday celebration.  He was the total star of the party and now he can check off planes, trains, and automobiles, all before turning 6 months!  What’s next: sailboat?
2) When your parents were math nerds, you miiiight wind up in an “I’m acute kid” onesie.  It’s possible.
3) I took a back wrapping workshop to take my babywearing skills to the next level.  It’s safe to say that Ryan loves back carries, and especially the “superman toss” to get him up on my back.  Nothing but smiles and giggles from him.
4) Beach baby turned 6 months old while enjoying a gorgeous afternoon on the beach.
5) Six months brought along a period of intense grumpiness (teething? sleep regression?) – Ryan was not a happy camper at the beach.  Lots of wrapping and walking necessary to keep him in decent spirits.
6) Happiness is a beautiful beach all to yourself.  I love, love, love the Jersey shore in the off-season.
7) Dogs on the beach!  Dreidel had a great time with her friends Dragon and Marley (not pictured) for the week.
8) We spent a day in Cape May, where I spent every summer for the first 21 years of my life.  I was hit by such a flood of memories while we were there, including a trip up the lighthouse.  I look forward to passing on my Cape May traditions to Ryan.
9) I came home one day to discover that Dreidel wrapped herself up in one of my woven wraps.  I assume this is her way of asking to be worn?
10) Diagnosis: de Quervain’s tenosynovitis.  6-8 weeks in a brace, possibly followed by cortisone injections and physical therapy.  One big, fat, painful thumbs down.
11) I volunteered at the PAWS annual Mutt Strut again this year and had a blast!  Ryan tagged along – it’s never too soon to start volunteering.  We spent all day selling raffle tickets to raise additional money for PAWS and Ryan loved watching all the dogs in attendance.
12) After wobbling for a bit, Ryan mastered sitting this month – no hands necessary!
13) I normally make my cookies on the smaller side, but my Halloween costume called for giant cookies the size of my hand!
14) I gave a departmental talk dressed as Cookie Monster.  Everyone in my lab dresses up for Halloween every year (we are the only lab in the department to do so).  I already had a cobalt colored dress, leg warmers, and shoes, so I just needed to purchase a blue boa and some googly-eyes.
15) Halloween appropriate, but when your dad is a radiologist, you can wear skeleton jammies year round.
16) Happy Halloween from our happy little shark!

October 25, 2015

CSA 2015: Week 12

End of October and the produce is still rolling in.  I have to say, I’m really impressed with the fall variety from Greensgrow – with our previous CSA, it was all squash, potatoes, and kale this time of year.  While we’re definitely seeing some of the standard fall produce again this year, I’m really loving the greater variety.  And fresh cranberries – I’ve never cooked/baked with them before, so I’m looking forward to giving it a go (I do NOT care for dried cranberries, so I’m hoping for better luck with fresh).

This week we received:

  • 1 bunch arugula
  • 1 bunch kale
  • 1 bunch watermelon radishes
  • 1.5 pounds red bell peppers
  • 1 bunch carrots
  • 1 pound cranberries
  • 2 pounds white potatoes
  • 2 pounds fuji apples

Untitled(Photo from Greensgrow…obviously missing several things)

Last week we received the following, and this is how we used it:

  • 1 bag lettuce mix: salads
  • 1 bunch Hakeuri turnips: used in a pumpkin chili (recipe coming soon!)
  • 1/2 pint kiwi berries: eaten on vacation (I’ve never heard of a kiwi berry before, but they are aptly named – a berry that tastes like a kiwi!)
  • 1/2 pound cubanelle peppers: used for Cuban-inspired stuffed peppers with chorizo and manchego (recipe coming soon)
  • 2 sicilian eggplants: stewed with honey and spices – one of my favorite things I’ve made this year (recipe also coming soon!)
  • 1 head broccoli: sauteed and served alongside the pumpkin chili
  • 1 spaghetti squash: roasted and stuffed with sausage, ricotta, and kale
  • 2 pounds Stayman Winesap apples: used in my favorite apple cake – I still haven’t managed to take pictures, so no recipe quite yet
  • 1 piece Tussey Mountain Swiss Cheese: served as part of a cheese board when friends came over for an impromptu dinner
  • 2 Pequea Valley maple yogurts: eaten plain

October 22, 2015

Brown Butter Pear Tart with Shortbread Crust

We're starting to get our first taste of fall weather in these parts.  Not necessarily today, with a forecasted high of 76, but the evenings post-sunset are cool and crisp, we've already had our first morning frost, and tomorrow's high is a mere 51 degrees.  So I'm going to go ahead and call it: my favorite season has officially arrived!  But as much as I love the cooler temperatures, changing leaves, and lack of humidity that comes with fall (not to mention the puffy vests and tall boots), the seasonal fruit selection is a little... well... lacking.  Apples! Pears! More apples! More pears! How about some extra apples to go with those other apples?!  It's always a bit of a letdown after the amazing variety and abundance of summer produce.  Given the lack of variety, it's pretty much a guarantee that we'll get one or the other (or both) in our weekly CSA shares, and well, there's only so many apples and pears you can eat plain in a week.

brown butter pear tart with shortbread crust IMG_2962

As it just so happened, on a week we received both apples and pears from the CSA and, of course, had already bought other pears earlier in the week before knowing what would come in our CSA box, I heard my favorite phrase.  We invited over a former colleague of my husband's (and his wife) for dinner, and they graciously offered to pick up dessert to bring over, admitting that they aren't too great in the kitchen.  Of course, my husband told them not to worry about it -- dessert is my forte -- but asked the ever-important question: are you fruit dessert people, or chocolate dessert people?  "Well, if you're going to offer, we'd like something fruit based."  Ding ding ding, the magic response!  Time to put those pears to use.

brown butter pear tart with shortbread crust IMG_2954

But... what?  A pear pie?  Pear crumble?  Poached pears? Pear cobbler? Pear galette? Pear upside-down cake?  In the end, I settled on a simple brown butter pear tart with a shortbread crust, topped with homemade cinnamon ice cream (featuring my new favorite ice cream base -- will share soon!).  Simple, but flavorful -- the sweet pears, the nutty browned butter, the buttery soft shortbread crust.  And of course, ice cream always makes everything better!  Instead of thinly slicing the pears and arranging them along the crust, like I did with my blueberry peach coffee cake or the nectarine yogurt upside-down cake, I halved and cored the peaches and baked the halves, resulting in a firmer, more solid pear.  If you prefer them softer, go ahead and slice into small pieces, but I really liked the texture of the firm pears.  Using the halved pears worked beautifully with my rectangular tart pan*, but if you'd prefer to use a traditional 9" round tart, I'd double the filling mixture (the crust will work for either; just a bit thicker in the rectangular tart than the round tart pan). 

brown butter pear tart with shortbread crust IMG_2991

I really, really liked this tart.  I loved that it portions itself perfectly, slicing into 6 lovely sections around each pear half.  It's delicious and luxurious, but not over-the-top rich, like so many gluttonous chocolate! peanut butter! chocolate ganache! peanut butter chips! cream cheese! type desserts.  It's a perfectly in-season fall dessert, but something slightly different and unexpected, standing out in a sea of pumpkin pies, pecan pies, and apple pies that grace our tables this time of year.  I'd go so far as to suggest that it would even be a wonderful addition to your Thanksgiving table - pears are plentiful in North America through December or January.  A half-slice of this brown butter pear tart with a half-slice of pumpkin pie sounds like a spectacular dessert pear-ing (wink, wink).

brown butter pear tart with shortbread crust IMG_3002

Brown Butter Pear Tart with Shortbread Crust
A Bunsen Burner Bakery Original Protocol


  • For the crust:
    • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
    • 2 cups flour
    • 1/2 cup confectioners sugar
  • For the tart (double for 9" tart pan):
    • 1/4 cup sugar
    • 1 egg
    • 1/8 cup flour
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla
    • 1/8 teaspoon salt
    • 1/4 cup butter
    • 3 pears, peeled, halved, and cored


  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Using a mixer on low speed, beat together the butter, flour, and powdered sugar until combined.
  3. Press crust mixture into the bottom of a 14x5x1-inch tart pan.  Prick the dough several times with a fork. 
  4. Line the crust with foil and pie weights and bake for 10 minutes, until slightly brown and puffy.  Cool completely before filling.
  5. To prepare the filling, whisk together the sugar and egg in a small bowl.  Add in the flour, vanilla, and salt.  Set aide.
  6. Head the 1/4 cup butter in a small saucepan over medium heat until dark brown, approximately 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Pour the butter into the egg mixture, whisking constantly until combined.
  7. Arrange the pears, core-side down, on the cooled tart shell, alternating the direction of the pears.  Pour the brown butter mixture around the pears. 
  8. Bake tart for 40 minutes, or until set and golden.  Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack before serving.

*Amazon links are affiliate


brown butter pear tart with shortbread crust

October 15, 2015

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread

Oh, hey -- it's October, and here's a pumpkin recipe.  I know, could I possibly be more cliché (I really can't stand the overuse of the #basic hashtag, but yes, it probably applies here as well)?  I've found that my love of pumpkin has dwindled lately, inversely related to the increased rise in pumpkin popularity.  I think I liked it because it seemed almost special... there really weren't too many pumpkin-flavored foods (pumpkin pie, pumpkin ice cream, pumpkin bread) and they were available for such a short period of time.  But now?  Pumpkin Oreos.  Pumpkin Spice Marshmallows.  Pumpkin Spice Break-and-Bake Nestle Toll House Cookies.  Pumpkin Pie Greek Yogurt.  Pumpkin Spice Milano Cookies.  And of course, the ubiquitous PSL.  Stop the madness!

chocolate chip pumpkin bread IMG_3240

And yet here I am, contributing to your annual ridiculous pumpkin overload.  I kind of hate myself, too.  But somehow, it doesn't feel like fall unless I make this pumpkin bread at least once, and it's always a real crowd pleaser.  An easy crowd pleaser, to boot -- easy as in one bowl, one whisk, two loaf pans.  No mixer required, and very few dishes.  As I'm writing this, I'm sitting at a shore house in Avalon, NJ, with a group of friends for our annual Columbus Day Week beach trip.  It actually feels nothing like fall outside -- we've hit an amazing stretch of weather with sunny, 70 degree days, and have spent every day basking in sunny glory on the beach -- but the pumpkin bread has still disappeared, despite the uncharacteristically warm temperatures (we've were all ill-prepared and had to purchase swimsuits and shorts for our time spent on the beach).  Given the lack of fall-ness around here, I just may have to make this one more time this season... but that's okay.  I don't think anyone will complain.  Just like no one has complained about having to eat pumpkin bread while wearing aforementioned swimsuits and shorts and slathering on some sunscreen before another beautiful day on the beach.

chocolate chip pumpkin bread IMG_3244

This pumpkin bread is a little dense but not at all dry, thanks to the addition of yogurt.  I list vanilla yogurt in the ingredients list since that's what I typically use, but this time I went with some Pequea Valley maple yogurt from our CSA share.  The ever-so-slight hint of maple is barely detectable, but I love the nearly-hidden flavor, and will definitely experiment with different flavors of yogurt in the future.  Try it out yourself and see what pairs well... you could even use one of those pumpkin pie flavored yogurts hogging up valuable yogurt shelf-space this month.  I promise not to roll my eyes.. too much.

chocolate chip pumpkin bread IMG_3245

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread
A Bunsen Burner Bakery Original Protocol


  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups canned pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 3/4 cup vanilla yogurt (regular yogurt, not Greek)
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup chocolate chips


  1. Preheat oven to 350F.  Grease two 8x4-inch loaf pans.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, pumpkin, canola oil, yogurt, and eggs.
  3. Stir in the flour, cinnamon, salt, and baking soda until dry and wet ingredients are just combined.
  4. Fold in chocolate chips.
  5. Spoon batter into prepared loaf pans and bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes, or until a tester comes out with just a few moist crumbs.
  6. Cool pumpkin bread in the loaf pans for 10 minutes; then remove from the pans and cool completely on a wire rack.  Pumpkin bread is best if eaten within 3 days of baking; otherwise, freeze a loaf by wrapping it in aluminum foil and then sealing in a ziploc freezer bag.

chocolate chip pumpkin bread

October 13, 2015

Baked Eggs in Spinach

Phew!  It's been a while, hasn't it?  Life, man - it really gets in the way sometimes.  Let's ignore my lack of new recipes over the past month and start fresh... much like starting over with breakfast and a new day.  So!  Let's talk breakfast (see what I did there?).  I don't have a lot of breakfast recipes on my blog, because I’m honestly not a big breakfast fan (I know, I know…).  I like bagels with whitefish salad, huevos rancheros with sunny side up eggs, poached eggs on crab cakes, and that’s basically it.  And now I can officially add these baked eggs in spinach to that list, because they are delicious.  My husband falls on the exact opposite side of the spectrum – he likes pancakes, waffles, danish, and all those sweet breakfast options.  I make him pancakes just about every weekend, but stick with my bowl of cottage cheese and berries.  As you might expect, he was less than enamored with a big pile of spinach for breakfast, so your mileage my vary with this one.  (For what it's worth, everyone else other than my husband has really enjoyed this, and he's willing to eat it when I make it... it's just never his choice!)  If you like savory breakfast/brunch options, and enjoy eating your vegetables, do not delay in making this.

baked eggs in spinach IMG_2647

It comes together so quickly, and you can toss in whatever vegetables you have lying around.  The original recipe from Gourmet calls for just spinach and mushrooms, but I always add in some diced tomatoes as well.  I also double the recipe (the original uses 4 eggs) and thus bake it in a rectangular baking dish, rather than a skillet.  The baking time is easily adaptable based on how runny you prefer your eggs – if I’m making this for me, I like my yolks as runny as possible, but I always cater to the preferences of my guests.  Leftovers reheat beautifully, although the yolks do firm up a bit while baking the second time around.  I’ve made this the night before, baked until the yolks were just barely set, and popped it back into the oven for a few minutes the next morning before serving, which is perfect for mornings after parties when our guest rooms are occupied but I don’t want to wake up an hour before everyone else to start preparing breakfast.  This is vegetarian, gluten-free, and very filling – perfect for your brunch table (or breakfast-for-dinner!).

baked eggs in spinach IMG_2662

(As apparent from the picture below, my spinach-loving dog was all about trying to sneak a taste of this – which is also why I often wind up photographing pictures of things after all our guests have left.  Half-consumed food may make for some less-than-lovely photographs, but I do promise if you come to my house, the food I serve you will not have been licked by the dog.  No such guarantee if you raid my fridge for leftovers, though.  See also: I need a taller table.  Or a shorter dog.)

baked eggs in spinach IMG_5747

If you're like my husband and prefer sweeter breakfasts to savory and vegetable-filled breakfasts, allow me to suggest a few of my recipes that might be more up your alley, like baked peach french toast, blueberry blintzes, a chocolate bubble ring, or perhaps this blueberry peach coffee cake.  Happy Breakfast-ing!

Baked Eggs in Spinach
Adapted from Gourmet


  • 20 ounces baby spinach
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, diced
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 10 ounces mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 1 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes, drained well
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 8 eggs


  1. Preheat oven to 450F.
  2. Bring 1/2 inch of water to boil in a large (10-12 inch) skillet.  Add half of the spinach and cook, turning with tongs, until wilted (about 30 seconds).  Add the rest of the spinach and wilt in the same manner.  Cook the spinach, covered, over medium high heat for 2-3 minutes, until spinach is tender.  Remove spinach and drain in a colander, running under cold water until cool enough to handle.  Squeeze handfuls of spinach to remove as much liquid as possible, then coarsely chop.
  3. Cook the onion and garlic in butter over low heat until softened, 2 to 3 minutes.  Add the mushrooms and diced tomatoes and increase the heat to moderate, stirring until the mushrooms are soft and have released their juices.  Stir in the cream, salt, pepper, nutmeg, and chopped spinach and bring the mixture to a simmer. 
  4. Transfer the spinach mixture to a 7x11-inch baking dish (I find this to be the most useful size pyrex baking dish I own and recommend that everyone has one, but if you don’t, use a 9x9-inch square).
  5. Using the back of a spoon, make 8 large indentations in the spinach mixture.  Crack an egg into each indentation and bake, uncovered, until the egg yolks are set to your personal preference – 8 to 10 minutes for runny yolks, 15 to 20 minutes for well-done yolks.

baked eggs in spinach

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