food made by others

I've had some incredible luck lately in the food-made-by-others department. Thus, very few posts in the food-made-by-me blog.

As I type this one of my roommates is making pumpkin cupcakes with cream cheese frosting. Here's a picture of the process. And the other day? I got to eat this. Up until that point I totally thought baked alaska was a fish dish. Nope. It's an amazing hot/cold cake-splosion. Thanks, Heather & Roy for keeping me hopped up on sugar, and sorry to the rest of you for having to put up with the results.


key lime cheesecake with strawberries and blueberries

Birthday season is upon me. It seems I can only befriend Tauruses and Geminis. It makes sense, the Tauruses keep things steady and loyal while the Geminis spice up my rather fret-y and practical Virgo disposition. My good friend Jen's birthday on May 13th is the kick-off point, so I decided to go big. If anyone deserves some extra effort it's this girl. She loves key lime pie and cheesecake and I found a recipe that included both. Why not?

It was my first time making a cheesecake, so I was a little nervous but I hear it turned out alright. I had to drive to Des Moines this weekend (for another birthday party), so I wasn't able to try it. But don't feel too bad for me, I'm going out to dinner with Jen tonight and she promised to give me a piece afterward.*

The recipe called for mango ribbons, but that sounded incredibly hard with such a slippery fruit and also I just wasn't sure if Jen like them, so I opted for blueberries and strawberries instead. Feel free to try whatever. Also, I used bottled Key lime juice.

*Update: I did get to try the cheesecake and it was awesome. The crust turned out to be my favorite part, but I definitely recommend making this recipe.

Key Lime Cheesecake with Blueberries + Strawberries 

lightly adapted from Gourmet/May 2002

For crust
1 1/4 cups fine graham cracker crumbs (5 oz)
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, melted

For filling
2 (8-oz) packages cream cheese at room temperature
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
3/4 cup fresh Key lime juice (strained from about 1 1/2 lb Key limes) or bottled
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs

For topping
1/2 c blueberries

1/2 c strawberries, sliced 1/8"
1 tablespoon fresh Key lime juice (strained) or bottled
1/2 cup chilled heavy cream
1 tablespoon sugar

Make crust:
Preheat oven to 350°F and butter bottom and side of 9"-9 1/2"spring-form pan.
Stir together crumbs, sugar, and butter in a bowl with a fork until combined well, then press evenly onto bottom and one-third up side of pan. Bake crust in middle of oven 8 minutes and cool in pan on a rack.
Make filling:
Reduce oven temperature to 325°F.
Beat cream cheese with an electric mixer at medium speed until fluffy, then beat in sugar. Add lime juice, sour cream, and vanilla and beat until smooth. Mix in flour and salt at low speed, scraping down side as needed, until just incorporated, then add eggs all at once and mix just until incorporated.
Pour filling into crust and set springform pan in a shallow baking pan. Bake cake in middle of oven until set in center, 1 hour to 1 hour and 10 minutes. Cool completely in springform pan on rack. (Cake will continue to set as it cools.)
Run a thin knife around edge of cake and remove side of pan. If desired, transfer cake with a large metal spatula to a serving plate.
Make topping:
Gently toss blueberries + strawberry slices with lime juice.
Beat cream with sugar in a bowl until it just holds stiff peaks, then spread over top of cheesecake. Arrange fruit decoratively over cream.


zucchini + snow-pea salad

It finally feels like it might, maybe, at some point, become summer. Good thing I've found just the recipe for it. This salad is delicious and tastes so fresh and crisp- exactly what I want to eat in weather like this. It would be perfect with grilled meat or fish. But that's just an assumption, since I don't have a grill.

I think I may be a wuss when it comes to seasons switching. In the past I'd always blamed it on my hating change, but that's not really a problem anymore, so I'm not sure what it is. All I know is I feel full all the time, lethargic, and lonely. That last one isn't something I feel a lot. I really enjoy being and doing things alone most of the time, but for some reason this time of year makes me antsy and question myself. No good. No good at all. So I guess maybe I'm saying let's hang out.

Zucchini and Snow-Pea Salad

Gourmet  | June 2008
by Melissa Roberts

1 pound zucchini (about 2 medium)
1/2 pound snow peas, trimmed
1 1/2 tablespoons sesame seeds
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice vinegar (not seasoned)
1 teaspoon sugar

Very thinly slice zucchini and place in a large sieve set over a bowl. Toss zucchini with 3/4 tsp salt and drain 30 minutes. 

Meanwhile, blanch snow peas in a pot of boiling salted water (2 Tbsp salt for 4 qt water) 1 1/2 minutes. Drain and immediately plunge snow peas into an ice bath to stop cooking. Drain again and pat dry. 

Rinse zucchini under cold running water, then press gently to remove any excess liquid. Pat dry. 

Toast sesame seeds in a dry small skillet over medium heat, shaking skillet occasionally, until golden, about 2 minutes, then cool. 

Stir together remaining ingredients in a large bowl until sugar has dissolved, then toss with vegetables and sesame seeds.


roman-style pizza with roasted cherry tomatoes and cheese

I get Bon Appetit every month, savor it, look it over page by page, critique the photos and dog-ear the recipes I intend to make... and then put it in the stack of all the other Bon Appetits and rarely actually pick it up again. This is stupid.

Take this recipe, for example. Had I not started to feel really guilty about my choosing the internet over print I would probably have just forgotten about it and moved on. Luckily May's issue came smack dab in the middle of what seems to be an annual internal debate about the role of internet in our lives.

So long story short, I made this pizza. And it was so so good. I would make it again in a second.

Roman-Style Pizza with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes and Cheese

Roll or stretch the dough as thin as possible to get a classic thin and crispy crust.
4-6 servings
  • PREP TIME: 1 hour
  • TOTAL TIME: 2 hours 10 minutes (includes rising time)


2 tsp. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. active dry yeast
7 1/2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 tsp. kosher salt plus more
2 1/4 cups (or more) all-purpose flour
1 1/2 lb. cherry or grape tomatoes
Freshly ground black pepper
Semolina (for dusting)
2/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan, divided
2 cups grated mozzarella (about 8 oz.), or 6 oz. buffalo mozzarella, thinly sliced, divided

Chopped fresh basil


Combine 3/4 cup warm water (105°-115°), sugar, and yeast in a large bowl; let sit until spongy, 4-5 minutes. Mix in 1 1/2 Tbsp. oil and 1 tsp. salt. Stir in 2 1/4 cups flour. Turn out onto a work surface; knead until smooth and elastic, adding more flour if sticking, about 6 minutes. Grease a large bowl with 1 Tbsp. oil. Add dough, cover bowl with plastic; let rise until doubled, about 1 1/2 hours.

Meanwhile, position one rack in top third of oven and another in bottom third; place a pizza stone on top rack and preheat oven to 500°. Scatter tomatoes on a large rimmed baking sheet. Add 1 Tbsp. oil, toss, and season with salt and pepper. Place on lower rack; roast until skins split, 10-12 minutes. Let cool on rack. Continue heating pizza stone for 45 more minutes.

Sprinkle a pizza peel or rimless baking sheet with semolina. Divide dough in half; roll or stretch each into a 13x9" rectangle. Cover with kitchen towels; let stand for 15 minutes. Transfer 1 rectangle to prepared pizza peel. Brush with 2 Tbsp. oil, sprinkle with half of the Parmesan, then mozzarella, and top with half of the tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper.

Set front of peel at far edge of stone; gently jiggle peel side to side, sliding pizza onto stone as you remove peel. Bake until crust is browned and crisp, 9-10 minutes. Using peel, transfer pizza to work surface. Garnish with basil. Slice and serve.

Repeat to make second pizza.