Sunday, November 13, 2011

Spaghetti Mizithra with Fresh Basil & Vine Ripened Tomatoes

This is my most requested recipe, by far! Everyone loves this and it's easy to make. Serve with a green salad and garlic bread. I will add pictures next time I make it! 

Spaghetti Mizithra with Fresh Basil & Vine Ripened Tomatoes

12 oz. spaghetti
2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup chopped garlic (approximate)
1 or 1 1/2 tsp sea salt (depending on your taste)
3 oz chopped fresh basil
2 vine ripened tomatoes, diced and seeds removed
2/3 cup grated mizithra cheese

Put olive oil, garlic, and sea salt in a flat bottom wok (or large, deep skillet). Cook spaghetti noodles until al-dente, strain and set aside. While spaghetti is cooking, chop basil, dice tomatoes, and grate mizithra cheese.

When spaghetti noodles are ready, heat the wok or skillet on medium high with the olive oil, garlic, and sea salt until the olive oil starts to sizzle. Add spaghetti. Stir fry the spaghetti for a few minutes, making sure it has all been thoroughly mixed with olive oil. Add basil and toss. Remove from heat. Serve on a pasta plate. Sprinkle mizithra and top with a small spoonful of diced tomatoes. Serves 3-4.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

You like-uh shiny shoes?

Taking a step back in time today. This is from my old website on geocities I started in the year 2000. This story always makes me chuckle. It was such a surreal experience, I still remember it very clearly! Here ya go:
August 30. 2002

Yesterday I went to the Salvation Army in the International District to look for furniture for my new apartment. Whilst browsing the knick-knack section, an old Asian man approximately 75 yrs old approached me and started pointing at my foot and saying "I like-uh I like-uh." I had a lot going on in my ankle region, so I wasn't sure if he was referring to my china doll shoes, the tattoo on my foot, or the embroidery on my pants. I just politely said "thank you." He continued nodding his head, smiling and saying "I like-uh I like-uh" repeatedly. His accent was so thick I could barely decipher a word he was saying. Here's how the conversation went:

Old Asian man: "Where you get?"
Dali Pardon: "The shoes? Oh, I got them at Shiga imports."
Old Asian man starts pointing right at my tattoo.
Dali Pardon: "Oh, I see. You meant my tattoo. A friend of mine did that."
Old Asian Man: "Vehy vehy nice-uh, vehy nice-uh, I like-uh. You get here?"
Dali Pardon: "Yes, I had it done here."
Old Asian Man: "You from Seattle?"
Dali Pardon: "No."
Old Asian Man: "Where you from?"
Dali Pardon: "California."
Old Asian Man: "Vehy Vehy nice-uh."
At this point I'm walking towards the women's clothing section hoping Old Asian Man will not follow. Old Asian Man follows and stops me.
Old Asian Man: "You like-uh shiny shoes?"
Dali Pardon: "Shiny shoes?"
Old Asian Man: "No. Shhhiny shoes."
Dali Pardon: "Huh?"
Old Asian Man starts motioning like he's eating from a bowl of rice.
Dali Pardon: "Oh! Chinese food? Yeah, I like Chinese Food."
Old Asian Man: "You like-uh get uh bite-uh eat now? Real good shiny shoe round corner. You like-uh join me?"
Dali Pardon: "No thanks, I just ate lunch. Thanks for asking though."
Old Asian Man: "Real nice shiny bah-buh-q. Real good chicken. Sure you not hungry?"
Dali Pardon: "Really, I'm not hungry. I just ate lunch. I'm so full, I couldn't possibly...."
Old Asian Man: "You sure?"
Dali Pardon: "Yes."
Old Asian Man: "Real good chicken."
Dali Pardon: "Err...umm... no thanks."
Old Asian man: "You really not hungry?"
Dali Pardon: "No."
Old Asian Man: "Why don't you gimme your number me give you a call sometime me take you out for bite to eat when you hungry sometime?"
Dali Pardon: "That's awfully nice of you to ask but no thanks."
At this point I made a break for it and ran into the clothing section with the tall clothing racks. I seriously looked around for a minute expecting someone from Candid Camera to pop out of nowhere and surprise me. But no one did...

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


I cannot even express how much I love the flavor of white chocolate mints. I've been wanting to make something with them for quite some time. Months ago I tried to make ice cream with them. That was a fail. So, I decided to try baking with them. First, I made cookies. They tasted awesome, but the rosebud party mints melted outside the realm of the cookies like melted crayons. That's when I came up with the blondie idea. Yay! I made a winning recipe! I just made another batch yesterday and actually took the pictures to prove it.

Rosebud Party Mints
First, I must explain the various types of white chocolate mints. The type I use for this recipe is called rosebud party mints. You can find them in the bulk candy section at specialty grocery stores. They are about the size of a penny, and work well for baking. They are also around $4 a pound, $3 cheaper per pound than the Smooth 'n' Melty's! Score!

The second is the most well known white chocolate mint. The Smooth 'n' Melty, by Guittard. They come in three different varieties. Smooth 'n' Melty wafers, non-pareils, and mini non-pareils. Though the non-pareils are the prettiest of the white chocolate mints, they are not good for baking due to the crunchy non-pareils. The wafers are best for baking, but they are about the size of a quarter.

The third, is specifically made for baking. I wish I could find them at the grocery store! They are Guittard green mint baking chips. They would be perfect for this recipe, if you can find them. But, they are all green. Not pretty pastels like the others I have mentioned.

The last (but not least) is a seasonal candy. Hershey makes a Candy Cane Kiss. They are the shiznit. I hoard them every Christmas and slowly eat them throughout the year, so I don't run out. They are white chocolate mint flavored with little bits of candy cane. They are like crack, I tell ya!

Enough yammering. Here is the recipe!


1 1/2 cups cake flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened (3/4 cup)
3/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs, at room temp
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups rosebud party mints

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and lightly flour 9 X 13 baking dish. (I prefer to line the baking dish with parchment paper and leave a little extra on the sides, so I can lift the blondies out after they cool in the dish!)

Tip: Extra parchment paper on the sides!
In a small bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, and salt. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugars until smooth. Add the eggs and vanilla, beat well. Add the dry mixture, and mix thoroughly. Add the mints and mix. Spread batter into pan, evenly. Be sure to evenly distribute the mints, so there aren't clumps of them together. Bake for 35 - 40 minutes, until a toothpick comes out with moist crumbs attached. It should have a nice, golden color. Let  cool completely, before cutting and serving! (This takes at least a couple hours!)

*Note: Adapted from the Magnolia Bakery Blondies with White and Dark Chocolate Chunks Recipe!*

Thursday, September 29, 2011

September in the Kitchen

Hibiscus Lavender Popsicle!
It's been a while since I've posted a recipe. It's not that I haven't been busy in the kitchen creating new things. It's just that I haven't been documenting them very well. (Oopsy!) I think the favorite treat I've created in the last month is Smooth 'n' Melty Mint Blondies. I made a variation of these months ago in cookie form. They were absolutely delicious, but the mints melted like crayons and spread outside the realm of the cookie sphere. So, I thought to myself  'Next time I'm gonna make these into blondies!' It totally worked! I plan on making these again very soon, so I will document things better next time and post the recipe. They are amaza-zing! Another new favorite recipe I came up with is Hibiscus-Lavender popsicles. They were to die for! But, I am keeping this recipe top secret as I am planning to open an artisan pop business some time in the future. (I can't give away all my secrets!) 

I've also made a few things from Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams At Home. I made Buckeye State ice cream, which is a rich peanut butter ice cream, with chocolate flakes. It turned out well, but it was oh so rich! So, the next time I decided to use her ice cream base recipe and infuse licorice and fennel into it. Holy cannoli, is that good! It has an indescribable candy flavor that is seriously addicting! Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams At Home is the best ice cream book I've found thus far! The ice creams turn out nice and creamy. This is usually a problem with making homemade ice cream. She definitely spent a lot of time figuring out how to make her recipes work with a non-commercial home ice cream maker. I highly recommend this book! 

There have also been a few failures in the kitchen. Firstly, I made the dark chocolate vegan ice cream recipe from The Vegan Scoop book. It did not turn out so well. I did everything according to the directions, but it ended up tasting more like dark chocolate sorbet. But not a good dark chocolate sorbet. My other recipe failure was the vegan alternative sugar devil's food chocolate cupcake recipe from the Who You Callin' Cupcake book. I got this book for my birthday last year, and hadn't tried any of the recipes because they looked off. I finally decided I *needed* to try one of the recipes. I went with one of the vegan cupcake recipes, because we love vegan cupcakes in my house. So much, that the only book I usually make cupcakes from is Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World! Anyways, back to the godawful alternative sugar devils food cupcake recipe. The recipe called for 1 tbsp of baking soda and 2 tsp of salt. I hesitantly added them to the rest of the ingredients. My inner baker said "This is wrong, don't do it!", but I didn't listen and they turned out terrible! They were so incredibly salty. They also fell like a souffle when I took them out of the oven. They had a huge crater! I tried to save them by filling the craters with copious amounts of homemade nutella frosting, but even that didn't work. They are so getting tossed in the garbage when I'm finished writing this! I am also pretty displeased that I just wasted a lot of high quality organic ingredients to make a bunch of salty cow patties! There are so many problems with this cookbook. Another example is the lemon cupcake recipe. A dozen cupcakes don't need 8 cups of flour and 8 eggs!!! I could go on and on about the recipes that don't look right in this book. All I can say is, don't buy this book. It should not even be available for sale! They are still printing this book with all of the errors. I feel so bad that this was a birthday gift and I cannot use it. I contacted the Bleeding Heart Bakery and they told me that "the editor had a problem translating the author's recipes, and we've been fighting an uphill battle trying to get the book fixed." 

You can look forward to me posting a lot more recipes in the next month. The Smooth 'n' Melty blondies will be a must try recipe, and I look forward to sharing it with you all!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Nom Nom Nom (Curry Cheese Toasts)

Curry Cheese Toasts look funky, but are full of flavor!
A while back my cousin posted her family recipe for Curry Cheese Toasts on her blog. I’d been dying to try this recipe, since I had a vague childhood recollection of their yumminess. Anywho, they were a hit with my fiance. We both loved the ooey, gooey, salty, cheesy, curried goodness. Suggestion: If you use a sliced baguette instead of french bread, curry cheese toasts would make the perfect appetizer for a dinner party! Give’m a try! They are super easy to make and full of flavor.

                                                                                      Click here for the Curry Cheese Toasts recipe!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Anti Pasta Salad Recipe

This is the perfect summer pasta salad recipe. It makes enough to feed an army, so it’s perfect to take to pot lucks or barbecues. It is very easy to split the recipe in half, it you want to make a smaller batch.

Anti Pasta Salad Recipe:

32 ounce package of Rotelli pasta, cooked al dente!

1 red pepper, diced

1 yellow pepper, diced

1 small red onion, diced

1 variety basket of mini tomatoes (cherry, grape, pear, etc.). If you can’t find a variety basket, pick your favorite!

1 handful of fresh basil leaves, sliced into ribbons*

1 large can of black olives, drained

1 can of artichoke hearts, drained and quartered

2 jars of Napoleon marinated mushrooms, drained

1 cup shredded parmesan

1 bottle of Newman’s Own Oil & Vinegar dressing

Red wine vinegar (approx 1/4 cup)

Extra Virgin Olive Oil (approx 1/4 cup)

Salt, to taste (approx 1/2 tsp)

Cracked black pepper, to taste (approx 1 tsp)

The evening before: cook pasta until al dente. Rinse in cold water. When making pasta salad, it is important to rinse in cold water to remove all the extra starch, so it won’t be sticky or gummy! When water is fully drained, put the pasta in a large bowl, toss in Newman’s Own dressing.  Add the diced red pepper, diced yellow pepper, diced red onion, salt, pepper, parmesan and toss. When ingredients are mixed well; add the artichoke hearts, black olives, and marinated mushrooms. Toss lightly. Cover and put in the fridge.

Next day: When you are about ready to serve the pasta salad (or take it to a bbq), take the pasta out of the fridge. Drizzle some EVOO and red wine vinegar over the top. Chop fresh basil into ribbons, add to pasta. Add the tomatoes, and gently toss. Make sure and do a taste test to see if you need to add any more salt, pepper, EVOO, or red wine vinegar. ENJOY!

*How to slice basil into ribbons:
1) Stack basil leaves, about 5 leaves high.
2) Roll the stack of leaves, starting at the stem and moving towards the tip of the leaf.
3) Slice the roll with a sharp knife, like you’d slice a loaf of bread.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Old Timey Vanilla Ice Cream Recipe

A while back I created a recipe that tastes almost identical to the vanilla ice cream my family used to make. Back in the olden days, we would take turns hand-cranking the old White Mountain ice cream maker during summer barbecues. There were only two flavors we’d make; vanilla and cherry-vanilla. They were very simple egg-free recipe’s, but tasted oh so good! Here is my updated version:

Old Timey Vanilla Ice Cream

2 1/2 cups of half and half
1, 14 ounce can of condensed milk
3 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tbsp of cornstarch
2 tbsp of raw blue agave

Reserve 2 tbsp of half and half in a small bowl. Mix it with the cornstarch. Set aside. In a separate bowl, beat the condensed milk, the remaining half and half, agave, and vanilla until well blended. Mix in the cornstarch slurry and immediately pour into the ice cream maker. (FYI: If you let the mixture sit, the cornstarch will settle at the bottom of the bowl. This will screw up the results!)

Depending on your ice cream maker, it will usually take 20 - 30 minutes for the ice cream to reach the desired consistency.What is the desired consistency, you ask? It should be like soft serve.

When it reaches the right consistency, pour into a 1 quart freezer container and freeze for four hours. It should then be ready to scoop and serve!