Cutlery is King

There is nothing better than a sharp knife in cooking. Seriously, once you get your first sharp chef's knife you will instantly feel like the next Mario
Batali. You cook faster, more precisely and one good knife in your cupboard is all you need. My recommendation for you kitchen novices is to invest in one great knife. Chef's knives are best for this investment since they can really be used for anything. Every department store and kitchen store these days has tons of options that you can browse and actually try. Some are more expensive than others, but really you can stay within a reasonable budget and get a fab knife. I would also recommend that you get a knife sharpener. Since you will be whipping up tons of amazing meals with your new tool, you will want to sharpen regularly because as soon as it goes dull it loses it luster quickly. 

Above is a picture of my favorite knife that can be purchased at It is the Wusthof Classic Chef's knife. There are multiple sizes, but 6 inches is just perfect for your first knife investment. Enjoy your new tool! 



Chickpeas baby.

Chickpeas - love 'em. Can't get enough of 'em. I've always liked them (in moderation), but recently I've been buying them in bulk. Salads (chopped iceberg with salami, provolone, fresh basil, tomatoes, chickpeas), sandwiches (smashed with olive oil and other fixins'), I'd imagine they'd be great in pasta - you get it, they're versatile. Not to mention the fact that they're cheap, and we can all appreciate that these days. This is a recipe for my new favorite way to eat them - as a snack, roasted in the oven. They rival popcorn. Salty, crunchy, spicy. What more could you want in a snack? A (relatively) healthy snack to boot.

Roasted Chickpeas
*this is a combination of several different recipes I've found online

1 can chickpeas (also called garbanzo beans)
1 teaspoon (or so) olive oil
1/2 teaspoon (or so) salt
cayenne pepper (as much as you'd like - I like 'em hot)

*very technical recipe, I know

Drain and rinse the chickpeas. Heat oven to 425 degrees. Coat the chickpeas in olive oil, salt and cayenne pepper (to your liking) and put on a baking sheet. Bake for 30-40 minutes. Shake the baking sheet a few times while in the oven.

PS. One minute you'll look and they'll be bronzed, the next minute they'll be burnt - keep an eye on them.
PPS. Crunchy roasted chickpeas=awesome, soft roasted chickpeas=subpar.
PPPS. (Yeah I know, too many PS's for what seems to be a simple task). Eat them right away! They're just not as good the next day. This step will not be difficult. Trust me.


Raspberry Buttermilk Cake!

Baking - not my forte. I've just never really been that into it. Well let's face it, I just got into cooking in general about a year ago. (Full disclosure - when I lived alone I didn't even own silverware. I picked up take-out every single night. Embarrassing, I know.) Our wedding registry goods helped my cause (All-Clad + Le Creuset = motivated to cook!).

Smitten Kitchen has jumpstarted my love (that's overstating it a little, more "my like") of baking. With buttermilk in my fridge that was about to go bad, I read a recipe on my favorite food blog for Raspberry Buttermilk Cake. Yum! The photo looked too pretty to pass up, so I gave it a go. Hooked. I've tried it a few times since and it's good every time - and easy. And you probably have all of the ingredients on hand. Well, you may need to make a trip to the store for raspberries, but it's worth it.

After you make this, check out every single recipe on Smitten Kitchen. Seriously you will probably end up trolling the site for hours.

Raspberry Buttermilk Cake
copied verbatim from Smitten Kitchen (who adapted from Gourmet, June 2009)

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 stick unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup plus
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar, divided
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest (optional)
1 large egg
1/2 cup well-shaken buttermilk
1 cup fresh raspberries (about 5 oz)

Preheat oven to 400°F with rack in middle. Butter and flour a 9-inch round cake pan.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and set aside. In a larger bowl, beat butter and 2/3 cup sugar with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about two minutes, then beat in vanilla and zest, if using. Add egg and beat well.

At low speed, mix in flour mixture in three batches, alternating with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour, and mixing until just combined. Spoon batter into cake pan, smoothing top. Scatter raspberries evenly over top and sprinkle with remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar.

Bake until cake is golden and a wooden pick inserted into center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool in pan 10 minutes, then turn out onto a rack and cool to warm, 10 to 15 minutes more. Invert onto a plate.


PS. Again, I need photos. Next time. I promise!
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