Sophie’s Two-Bean-Fiddlehead Salad With Garlic Sauce

A colorful side salad with delicious beans, greens, and garlic sauce to function as the dressing. Enjoy.

1 can Fava Beans, Drained

1 can Chickpeas, Drained

Fiddlehead Ferns, Washed

1 Red Bell Pepper, Washed, Seeded, And Sliced

1 Green Bell Pepper, Washed, Seeded, And Sliced

1/4 Red Onion, Peeled And Thinly Sliced

Olive Oil

4 Garlic Cloves, Peeled And Minced

2 Tbsp Lemon Juice

2 Tbsp Honey

Fresh Parsley Leaves, Washed And Chopped

Salt and Pepper, to taste

For the fiddlehead ferns:

1. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil, and add the fiddlehead ferns. Cook until barely tender, stirring occasionally with a slotted spoon or “spider”. This should take 7-10 minutes.

2. Drain, and set aside.

For the garlic sauce:

1. Oil a pan, and add garlic. Sauté until slightly browned, and stir in lemon juice, honey, and chopped fresh parsley leaves.

For the finished salad:

1. Add fava beans, chickpeas, cooked fiddlehead ferns, red bell pepper, green bell pepper, and thinly sliced red onion to the pan with the garlic sauce, and season with salt and pepper. Sauté until slightly cooked, tossing to coat in the sauce, pour some into a bowl, and enjoy.

Yields: 6 servings

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Sophie’s Cheesy Scrambled Huevos Rancheros

A flavorful spin on huevos rancheros for those of you who prefer your eggs scrambled instead of fried. Enjoy.

2 Yellow Corn Tortillas

4 Whole Eggs

Salt and Pepper, to taste

Sazón, to taste

Cotija Cheese, Crumbled

Olive Oil

1 can Pinto Beans, Drained

1/2 Onion, Washed And Thinly Sliced

6 Garlic Cloves, Peeled, Divided Use

1 tsp Lemon Juice or White Balsamic Vinegar

Italian Seasoning, to taste

4 Tomatillos, Husked, Washed, And Quartered

Green Sweet Peppers, Washed

1/2 Red Onion, Peeled And Cut Into Wedges

Lime Juice

Granulated Sugar, to taste

Fresh Cilantro Leaves, Washed

Sweet Chili Sauce

For the original huevos rancheros:

1. In a small bowl, beat eggs, season with salt and pepper and sazón, and set aside.

2. Pour in beaten eggs into pan, and move them around the pan with a spatula.

3. Add some Cotija cheese, and cook until melted.

4. Heat oil in a cast iron skillet, and add one tortilla. Using tongs to hold it, pan-fry until crispy and golden brown on both sides, and repeat with the other one.

5. Remove from pan, and drain on a paper towel, season with salt and pepper and sazón, and set aside.

For the pinto bean dip:

1. Smash 2 cloves of garlic, and in a food processor, grind together pinto beans, thinly sliced onion, smashed garlic, lemon juice, salt and pepper, and Italian seasoning, and with the machine running, slowly stream in olive oil until it becomes a smooth sauce.

For the roasted tomatillo salsa verde:

1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F on broil.

2. Spread quartered tomatillos, green sweet peppers, red onion wedges, and remaining peeled garlic cloves onto a baking sheet, drizzle on olive oil, and season with salt and pepper.

3. Bake on the top rack until the tomatillo quarters and peppers are charred on all sides, and everything is soft, opening the oven to flip everything and or rotate the baking sheet when necessary in order to guarantee even cooking.

4. Remove from oven, and let cool. Use a knife to cut open the peppers (if you do not want a lot of charred flavor in the roasted tomatillo salsa verde, you can scrape off some of the charred skin of the peppers and the tomatillo quarters, and discard it), scrape out the seeds, and discard them. Slice the peppers, smash the roasted garlic, and place in the food processor along with roasted tomatillo quarters, roasted red onion quarters, lime juice, granulated sugar, and fresh cilantro leaves.

5. Season with salt and pepper, and pulse until it becomes a smooth sauce.

For the finished huevos rancheros:

1. Spread pinto bean dip on top of each tortilla, and top with eggs, some of the roasted tomatillo salsa verde, and sweet chili sauce. Sprinkle on some more Cotija cheese, and enjoy.

Yields: 2 servings

Sophie’s English Muffin Italian Tomato And Artichoke Cheese Breads

An awesome way to bump up your usual cheese breads with an easy shortcut involved.  Enjoy.

1 English Muffin, Sliced In Half Lengthwise

Mayonnaise

Parmesan Cheese, Grated

Sharp Cheddar Cheese, Grated 

2 Garlic Cloves, Peeled And Grated

Red Grape Tomatoes, Washed And Diced

1 can Artichoke Hearts, Drained And Diced

2 Scallions, Washed And Thinly Sliced

2 Tbsp Capers, Chopped

Fresh Basil Leaves, Washed And Chopped

1. In a small bowl, combine mayo, grated Parmesan cheese, grated sharp cheddar cheese, grated garlic, tomatoes, artichokes, scallions, capers, and chopped fresh basil leaves.

2. Spread mixture on muffin slices.

3. Cook in toaster on tinfoil until grated cheese melts.

4. Remove from toaster, let cool, and enjoy.

Yields: 2 English muffin Italian tomato and artichoke cheese breads

Season 2 Of Andi Mack Continues To Spread Positive Messages To Fans Everywhere

On Friday, October 27, the first episode of season two of the hit television series Andi Mack aired on Disney Channel, titled Hey, Who Wants Pizza?.  The show follows Andi Mack, a girl who, on her thirteenth birthday, is in for the shock of her life when her 20-something year old sister Bex comes home from years of traveling the world and reveals that she’s not her sister, but her mother, and her parents are actually her grandparents. Andi’s life is instantly turned upside down as she goes on a journey of self discovery, alongside her two best friends, Buffy and Cyrus, while trying to win the affections of the most popular boy in school, Jonah Beck. The show has many themes and messages, some of which include friendship, trust, love, and, of course, family.

In the second to last episode of season 1 titled Were We Ever?, Andi tells Jonah how ever since they met, she’s always done what Jonah wanted her to do, and never stood up for herself (this had to do with events that occurred in previous episodes), resulting in her ending their friendship.  In the season finale, Jonah breaks up with his high school girlfriend, Amber, as a result of him now developing feelings for Andi.

“I think you left because of her,” Amber had told Jonah after he had stormed out of The Spoon, the local cafe where the couple had been hanging out with Amber’s high school friends.  “You wanna know if she likes you.”

“Sh…she doesn’t,” stuttered Jonah.

“There’s one way to know for sure.  If she turns to look back at you, it means she likes you. And not just as a friend.”

And, just as fans had been hoping and craving for all season long, Andi looked back at Jonah.  But, surprisingly and shockingly, Cyrus did, too.  This was the first introduction of a gay storyline within the series, a series which was originally meant for families and that airs on a channel meant for kids.

I researched it online, seeing that many articles explained how Kenya surprisingly banned the show because of this content.  I think that there was no reason for that because it’s preventing yet another important message from being expressed to fans in that area, one about acceptance even if you’re different.  Andi Mack is like the new Girl Meets World for me; what happens to Andi and her friends just teaches fans valuable life lessons.  Friendship, trust, and more positive messages are being spread through this show, and I think these things are things people should know and understand, whether they watch this show or not.  In this day and age, people should be able to come out to be LGBTQ and not be discriminated against for it because they’re not so different than everyone else.  Teenagers often struggle to find themselves, and discover their true identities, and all Andi Mack is doing is demonstrating this.  Joshua Rush portraying a gay character is just showing what some teens go through in their lives.  It’s ok to be different, and that’s all this is trying to teach people.

Sophie And Digna’s Mung Bean Stir-Fry

A delicious and healthy side made with a Filipino staple, most commonly used in mongo, a bean stew.  Enjoy.

Mung Beans, Washed

Olive Oil

1/4 White Onion, Peeled And Diced

1/4 Red Onion, Peeled And Diced

2 Garlic Cloves, Peeled And Minced

1 Cup Broccoli, Washed And Chopped

Baby Spinach, Washed

1 Zucchini, Washed, Halved Lengthwise, And Cut Into Chunks

Red Grape Tomatoes, Washed And Halved

1/2 Delicata Squash, Washed, Halved, Seeded, And Sliced

Salt and Pepper, to taste

Soy Sauce, to taste

Hot Water

For the mung beans:

1. Place mung beans in a saucepan, and top them off with water.

2. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and cook until soft.

3. Remove from saucepan, and set aside.

For the finished stir-fry:

1. Oil a pan, and add garlic. Sauté until slightly browned, add white onion and red onion, and let cook.

2. Add tomatoes, and stir.

3. Add squash, broccoli, and zucchini, and cover to soften, uncovering occasionally to stir.

4. Uncover, add soy sauce, and stir.

5. Stir in cooked mung beans, some hot water, and baby spinach, season with salt and pepper, and let wilt slightly, stirring occasionally.

6. Serve warm over rice or farro, and enjoy.

Yields: 6 servings

Sophie’s Spooky Bread Pudding

A somewhat spooky, but delicious treat for Halloween when you have leftover cake because Plan A didn’t work out.  Enjoy.

2 Cups All Purpose Flour

2 1/3 Cups Granulated Sugar, Divided Use

1/4 tsp Salt

1 tsp Baking Soda

1 tsp Instant Coffee

1 1/8 Sticks Butter or Margarine, Softened

1 1/2 Cups Whole Milk or Half And Half or Heavy Cream, Divided Use

6 Whole Eggs, Divided Use

3 Tbsp Vanilla Extract, Divided Use

2 2/3 oz Unsweetened Chocolate, Melted

Peanut Butter

Betty Crocker White Decorating Icing

Chocolate Chips

For the peanut butter devil’s food cake:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together butter and 1 1/3 cups of granulated sugar until light and fluffy.

3. Add 2 eggs, one at a time, melted unsweetened chocolate, peanut butter, and 1 tsp of vanilla.

4. In a medium bowl, combine flour, salt, baking soda, and instant coffee.

5. Alternate adding the dry ingredients and 1/2 cup of whole milk into the batter, starting and ending with the dry ingredients.

6. Pour the cake into a well greased bundt pan, and bang it before putting it in the oven to release the air bubbles.

7. Bake for about 47 minutes. A toothpick inserted into the center should come out clean when the cake is done.

8. Remove from oven, and let cool. Run a serrated knife around the edge of the cake to loosen it, and invert.

9. Let sit out overnight, uncovered, to dry out slightly.

10. The next day, preheat the oven to 500 degrees F on broil.

11. Crumble the cake into a well greased baking tin.

12. Bake until toasted.

13. Remove from oven, and set aside.

For the custard:

1. In a small bowl, combine remaining whole milk, remaining egg, remaining granulated sugar, and remaining vanilla.

For the finished bread pudding:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Pour custard over stale crumbled cake.

3. Bake for about 45 minutes. A toothpick inserted into the center should come out clean when the bread pudding is done.

4. Turn the tin, so it is vertical, and spray the white decorating icing on top of the bread pudding to outline, and color in a ghost.

5. Press in chocolate chips for the eyes.

6. Cut, and enjoy.

Yields: 1 spooky bread pudding

Sophie’s Sausage Spaghetti Squash Carbonara With Sautéed Romanesco And Roasted Sunchokes

A pasta-like squash with a lucious sauce and and rare but yummy hard-to-find vegetables.  Enjoy.

1 Spaghetti Squash

Cooked Turkey Sausage Patties

Heavy Cream

3 Egg Yolks

Parmesan Cheese, Grated

Salt and Pepper, to taste

Olive Oil

1 Romanesco, Washed And Chopped

Sunchokes, Washed And Cut Into Cubes

For the spaghetti squash:

1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

2. Microwave for a few minutes to soften.

3. Remove from microwave, halve, and place cut-side down on in a baking tin.

4. Bake for about 30 minutes.

5. Remove from oven, and let cool. Scoop out the seeds, and use a fork to remove the squash from the peel. It will come out in strands that look like spaghetti.

For the carbonara sauce:

1. Heat heavy cream in a saucepan until warm.

2. In a small bowl, combine egg yolks and grated Parmesan cheese.

3. Pour some of the warm cream into the egg mixture to temper them, and add the cream-egg mixture to the rest of the warm cream mixture so that the egg yolks do not scramble, stirring the mixture until everything is incorporated.

4. Stir in cooked sausage, and season with salt and pepper.

For the sautéed romanesco

1. Oil a pan, and add romanesco. Let cook, and season with salt and pepper.

2. Remove from pan, and set aside.

For the roasted sunchokes:

1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

2. Lay the sunchokes in a baking tin, drizzle on olive oil, and sprinkle on salt and pepper.

3. Bake for about 15 minutes.

4. Remove from oven, let cool, and set aside.

For the finished carbonara:

1. Stir cooked spaghetti squash, sautéed romanesco, and roasted sunchokes into the carbonara sauce, put some into a bowl, and enjoy.

Yields: 2 servings

Sophies Herby Salsa Salad

A simple Mextalian salad that includes an herby basil pesto punch that proves that salsa makes an awesome dressing.  Enjoy.

1/2 can Black Beans, Drained

1/2 can Whole Kernel Sweet Corn, Drained

1 stalk Celery, Washed And Diced

1 Cup Carrots, Washed, Peeled And Diced

1/4 Red Onion, Peeled And Diced

1 Tbsp Capers

Salsa

Crème Fraîche

Basil Pesto

Feta or Goat Cheese, Crumbled

1. In a small bowl, combine black beans, corn, celery, carrots, diced red onion, and capers.

2. Stir in salsa, crème fraîche, and basil pesto, sprinkle on feta or goat cheese, and enjoy.

Yields: 1 serving

Sophie’s Individual Zuppa Ingleses (Italian Trifles)

Individual parfait-like desserts layered with vanilla bean microwave siphon sponge cake, grenadine, pastry cream, and grated dark chocolate.  Enjoy.

1 Cup All Purpose Flour

3/4 Cup Granulated Sugar, Divided Use

3 Whole Eggs

1 1/4 Cups Milk, Divided Use

1/4 Cup Olive Oil

1 Madagascar Vanilla Bean, Caviar Scraped And Pod Discarded

4 Egg Yolks

1/4 Cup Cornstarch

Lemon Zest

Grenadine

Dark Chocolate, Grated

For the vanilla bean microwave siphon sponge cakes:

1. In a medium bowl, whisk together whole eggs and 1/4 cup of granulated sugar until thick and pale yellow in color.

2. Sift flour over the mixture, fold it in along with caviar from vanilla bean, and stir in 1/4 cup of milk and olive oil.

3. Pour into a siphon, and whip according to manufacturer’s instructions.

4. Poke a few holes in the bottom of two paper cups for venting the air, divide the batter between them, and place in the microwave to bake for 1 minute to 1 minute and 30 seconds. Toothpicks inserted into the centers should come out clean when the cakes are done.

5. Remove cups from microwave, and let cool. Invert each onto a plate, and slice into circles.

For the pastry cream:

1. In a saucepan, combine milk, 1/4 cup of granulated sugar, and lemon zest, and bring to a boil.

2. In a small bowl, beat egg yolks, remaining granulated sugar, and cornstarch until thick and pale yellow in color.

3. Pour some of the hot milk into the egg mixture to temper them, and add the milk-egg mixture to the rest of the hot milk mixture so that the eggs do not scramble, stirring the mixture until everything is incorporated.

4. Cook slowly, stirring constantly, until thick, and it reaches a temperature of 160 degrees F, turn off the heat, and stir in butter. Let cool, and strain into a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing it directly over the surface of the pastry cream to prevent a skin from forming, and chill in the refrigerator until cold.

5. Remove from refrigerator, unwrap, and set aside.

For the finished zuppa ingleses:

1. Place one cake circle each into wine glasses, pour over grenadine, and let sit to allow it to absorb into it.

2. Spoon some pastry cream over each, and sprinkle over some grated dark chocolate. Continue this layering process one more time for each glass, and enjoy.

Yields: 5 individual zuppa ingleses (Italian trifles)

Sophie’s Squid Ink Pasta With Sautéed Calamari, Prawns, And Tomatoes And White Wine-Lemon Alfredo Sauce

A seafood friendly dinner with an extra creamy (and boozy) lemon alfredo sauce.  Enjoy.

1 package Squid Ink Fettuccine

1/4 Ib Calamari, Washed And Sliced Into Rings

10 Frozen Prawns, Thawed, Peeled, Deveined, And Cut Into Bite-Size Pieces

Red Grape Tomatoes, Washed And Halved

2 Garlic Cloves, Peeled And Minced

Salt and Pepper, to taste

White Cooking Wine, to taste

Heavy Cream

1 Whole Egg, Beaten

Lemon Zest

Parmesan Cheese, Grated

Fresh Basil Leaves, Washed

For the original pasta:

1. Cook pasta according to package directions, drain, and set aside.

For the sautéed calamari, prawns, and tomatoes:

1. Oil a pan, and add garlic. Sauté until slightly cooked, add tomatoes, and let cook.

2. Add calamari and prawns, season with salt and pepper, and stir occasionally, making the sure the insides cook all the way through. The calamari should turn soft, and the prawns should be pink.

For the sauce:

1. Deglaze the pan with white wine, let the sauce bubble and reduce slightly, and stir in heavy cream.

2. Pour some of the hot wine and cream into the egg mixture to temper them, and add the wine cream-egg mixture to the rest of the hot wine cream mixture so that the eggs do not scramble, stirring the mixture until everything is incorporated.

3. Stir in grated Parmesan cheese and lemon zest, and season with salt and pepper. Let simmer for a few minutes, and turn off the heat.

For the finished pasta:

1. Add the cooked pasta, cooked calamari and prawns, and tomatoes into the pan, and toss to coat in the sauce. Garnish with chopped fresh basil leaves, and enjoy.

Yields: 5 servings