Monday, September 27, 2010

City Cafe

finally winter vacation. i've done so much cooking, baking, dining in the past few months but because studying trumped all of that, i've had no time to do some blogging. i hope that in the next few weeks, i will be able to catch myself up with all the food fun that i have been involved in. it's a bit ambitious...but then again, i'm an ambitious girl.

let's take a journey back in time to august when i first was visiting scranton. the day that i signed my lease for my beautiful apartment, dad and I ventured to find a quick bite for lunch. little did we know, this little "city cafe" would be such a beautiful gem.

i already have this sore spot for mediterranean eats, so when i glanced at the menu before deciding this would be the place that we would dine, i was already sold.

to start, dad ordered the pasta fagioli soup which he really enjoyed. yes, my dad will order soup in the summer. the flavor and seasoning was there and the pasta was fresh. what more can you ask for?

i ordered a spanikopita (spinach pie) which had spinach and lemon seasonings. the spanikopita itself was really good but it was colder than i would have liked. It could have used some warmth that would have knocked it out of the ball park.

for our meals, i ordered the falafel wrap. It was served in a pita w lettuce, tomato, and tahini sauce. the falafel was super tasty and had a great seasoning. i only wish that it had a little bit more crunch to its shell but nevertheless, i really enjoyed it. each platter was served with a small pasta salad which was also really tasty and definitely helped fill you up with out weighing you down.

my dad ordered the chicken wrap platter which was served in a pita w/Lettuce, tomato, onion and Tzatziki sauce. He really enjoyed it and commented on that the seasoning was spot because it allowed the sauce to shine without being overshadowed by the other seasonings.

Overall, we really enjoyed our lunch and meal at City Cafe. It is a perfect lunch spot and offers up quality and authentic Mediterranean cuisine for an extremely reasonable price tag.

Grade: B+

POSTED: December 27th
Visited: August: 19th

Monday, September 20, 2010

Fire Roasted Gnocchi

A while back, I had a dinner with good buddies of BOOF, Clairebear and Brookster. We were at Clairebear's place and she cooked this delicious meal featuring a Gnocchi recipe that I knew I had to recreate. Apparently, one of her good friends had been making it for her for the past few years, so she thought she would try and recreate it herself. Now, here I am trying to recreate her recreation! That is how these things work though...the beauty of passing recipes along. :-)

Unlike my previous Gnocchi recipe, this one was not simmered in a cream base but rather a spicy tomato marinate. Honestly, I like my gnocchi any way that it comes, but I really enjoyed the nice kick that this one gives.


1 16-ounce package of shelf-stable gnocchi
1 Medium yellow onion (Thinly sliced)
4 Garlic Cloves Minced
1/2 Cup of Water
6 Cups of Spinach (or Swiss Chard)
1 150ounce can of diced tomatoes (I used the tasty fire roasted ones from TJ's) :-)
1 15-ounce can of white beans, rinsed (i used garbanzo because that is what I had on hand)
1/2 cup of Shredded Part Skim Mozzarella Cheese
1/4 Cup finely shredded Parmesan Cheese
Salt and Pepper
Olive Oil


1) Heat 1 Tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat.

2) Add Gnocchi and cook, stirring often, until plumped and starting to brown (5-7 minutes). Transfer to a bowl.

3) Add another 1 teaspoon of oil and onion and saute over medium heat (approx 2 minutes).

4) Stir in garlic and water and cover and cook until the onion is soft (4-6 minutes).

5) Add spinach and cook until it begins to wilt (1-2 minutes). Stir in the tomatoes, beans and peppers and bring to a simmer.

6) Stir in the Gnocchi and sprinkle with mozzarella and Parmesan. Cover and cook until the cheese is melted and the sauce is bubbling (approx 2-3 minutes).

7) Enjoy and Share (and pass it on to your friends too!)

This recipe is super good and you should pass it on. Well, make it for you and your friends...and then pass it on. ;-)

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Summer Berry and Peach Crisp

Yeah, Yeah, Yeah. Not the band but I know it is no longer summer. Although with these recent warm weather days, it has definitely felt like it. Nevertheless, I made toward the end of the summer to capitalize on the last of my summer fruits, but never posted about it. I am sorry that I have hidden this gem from you but better late than never?

Adapted from: From the Board Room to the Barn


1 cup of fresh blueberries
1 cup of fresh blackberries
1 cup of fresh strawberries (quartered)
3 ripe peaches, peeled, pitted and sliced
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon flour
1/4 cup to 1/3 cup sugar (depending on the sweetness of your fruit)
1 cup regular rolled oats
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
4 tablespoons unsalted butter,chilled and cut into very small pieces
Pinch of salt


1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2) Butter an 8-inch square baking dish. Put the berries and peaches in a large bowl. Add the lemon juice, flour and sugar to the bowl.

3) Gently toss and let sit for a few minutes until the sugar dissolves and the mixture thickens.

4) Meanwhile, combine the rolled oats, flour, cinnamon, brown sugar, butter and salt with a pastry blender or a fork. Mix together until the mixture is crumbly.

5) Pour the fruit with all the juices into the prepared baking pan. Evenly distribute the topping over the fruit.

6) Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes, until top is brown and the berries are starting to bubble up through the topping. Serve warm or at room temperature with vanilla ice cream.

7) Enjoy and Share!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Oatmeal Craisin Cookies

For Close Buddy of BOOF's Birthday a while back, I wanted to send her something to celebrate her special day despite my inability to be there in person. I knew that I was going to include my staple Eggless Chocolate Chip Cookies , but I wanted to mix it up and try out something new. I like Oatmeal but I hate raisins...but I love Craisins, so I decided to try them out in the oatmeal cookie form. There it is not a huge difference between Craisin and Raisin, so I pretty much just used a standard Oatmeal Raisin Cookie and just morphed it a little bit.


1 cup butter, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups quick cooking oats
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 Cups of Craisins
1 teaspoon of Cinnamon* the Secret Ingredient!
1 teaspoon of Nutmeg* Secret Ingredient # 2!


1) Beat butter, sugars, eggs and vanilla for 5 minutes. In another bowl, combine oats, flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add to butter mixture 1 cup at a time.

2) Mix in Craisins

3) Round in 2 inch balls and bake for 12-14 minutes at 350 degrees F.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

My Version of a Moroccan Cous Cous...Kinda Sorta

So, you may remember my review of SOUK, and how I ordered the cous cous...which was good but not that great. I really like the idea of adding something sweet and chewy to the cous cous, but there version left me wanting something more. Although my version is still not as flavor packed as I would like, it is definitely a start to my creating the best possible imitation Cous Cous.


2 Cups of Uncooked Cous cous
1 Cup of Halved Cherry Tomatoes
1 Cup of Craisins
1 Cup of Feta
1/2 Cup of Chopped Walnuts
1 Tablespoon of Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to Taste
1 Teaspoon of Cinnamon

Directions (Easy Peasy)

1) Cook Cous Cous according to package directions
2) Meanwhile, halve your tomatoes.
3) Once Cous Cous is finished cooking, transfer all additional above ingredients.
4) Mix well
5) Enjoy and Share!

I would have liked more of a kick and maybe something green in there, so perhaps on the next go around I might throw in some sugar snaps, snow peas or some other green pea like ingredient. I am also considering adding a more substantial protein because as it is now, I think it serves better as a side dish than a main meal, and my end goal is a main meal...maybe next time.

But, it definitely is a tasty side as is. And pretty too!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Pasta Primavera

Continuing the romp through "Cooking Light Pasta".

Unlike the previous pastas, it was not until that I flipped through the cooking light book that I had any desire to make any of those dishes. They were...different...not your typical pasta recipes. However, I saw this one dish and was like OMG, I love this pasta and I've had it in the seafood variety (and in my non-pescatarian days, the chicken variety), and I want to make Actually, because I made this dish so long ago now (yeah, I'm 1+ month behind...don't judge me), I saw the pictures and immediately put it on my list of recipes to re-create again soon. Gah, it was so delicious. Anyways...drum roll please....

Pasta Primavera! (Veggie Styleee)

This recipe is a bit time consuming with the chopping and sauteeing and simmering, but it is definitely worth it and you will have lunch for days. And when you re-heat it for your lunch, all of your peers will awkwardly lean over your shoulder because the aroma is just so delightful and it looks so delicious. True that. Be prepared to be the envied.


2 Cups of Uncooked Fusilli (Whole Wheat for meee)
2 Cups of Asparagus (Quarter them...but make sure you leave off the last 1/4...the stem)
1/2 Cup of Shelled Green peas (in my adaptation, I used about a cup of sugar snap peas...and they were PERFECT)
1 Small Yellow Bell Pepper
1 Small Red/Yellow Onion
2 Garlic Cloves
1 Cup of Cherry Tomatoes (Halved)
1/3 Whipping Cream (I just used milk)
2/3 Cup of Chicken Broth (I omitted it)
Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
Salt and Pepper
Shredded Parmesan Cheese
Fresh Basil

1) Cook Pasta according to directions with salted water but in the last couple of minutes while the pasta is cooking, add asparagus and sugar snap peas. Drain to Large bowl and set aside

2) Meanwhile, saute bell peppers, onions and garlic on a large skillet for about 5 minutes.

3) Add tomatoes to the pan and continue to saute for about a minute, and then stir in whipping cream (or milk).

4) Add in salt, pepper and red pepper flakes and cook for a couple more minutes while all of the flavors are marinating together.

5) Add the items from the large skillet to the pasta, asparagus and sugar snap peas.

6) Top with Parmesan and Basil

7) Enjoy and Share!

Like I said previously, I am making this dish again soon because it was so delicious. That's about it. Go make it.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Fusili with Spinach, Beans and Asiago Cheese

first things first. the original recipe called for Cavatappi pasta, but I just used what I had in my cupboard and it was just as tasty.

maybe we can call this the 30days of pasta through "Cooking Light". It sure has felt that way. My tummy has been too full with veggies, beans, and deliciousness. Now onto this quick and easy recipe, perfect for any low on time 20 vegetarian.

4 Cups of coarsely chopped spinach leaves
2 of uncooked Fusili (or Cavatappi)
1/2 Cup of Shredded Asiago Cheese
2 Tablespoons of Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper
2 Garlic cloves
1 19oz can of Cannellini Beans (White beans)

1) You are going to kill me for how easy this is
2) Cook pasta of choice
3) Meanwhile mince garlic cloves and shred Asiago
4) Drain pasta and transfer to medium sized bowl
5) First, add asiago and spinach mix around and then cover for 4-6 minutes
-- This allows the cheese melt and the spinach to wilt
6) Remove cover and add garlic cloves, olive oil and white beans and stir well
7) Season to taste with salt and fresh ground black pepper
8) Enjoy and Share!

I would make this again in a heart beat. I usually really like to put garbanzo beans in my pasta dishes so the switch to Cannellini beans was a nice change of pace. I really enjoyed them in this dish and I definitely recommend covering the pasta with the asiago and spinach because it definitely enhanced the flavor of the asiago. I would also dabble with the idea of using Swiss chard or arugula instead of spinach, but we'll have to see about that. :-)

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Orzo Salad with Chickpeas, Dill, and Lemon

Now, you're going to be like WHYYYY are you making so much pasta? that is a poop load of carbs. I will not disagree with you there, but I will have you know that I am one of those whole-wheat pasta at least I have that going for me? right? Actually, although the past couple of recipes have just come out of whatever I wanted to make, this next slew of recipes is courtesy of my "Cooking Light: Pasta" book. I mean, low carb and full of tasteeee. What more can a girl ask for?


1 cup uncooked orzo
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions ( I used regular yellow)
1/2 Cup crumbled feta cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
1 can Chickpeas
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon cold water
1/2 tablesppon of salt
2 minced garlic cloves

1) Cook pasta according to package directions
2) Drain and rinse with cold water
3) Combine cooked pasta, onions, feta, dill and chickpeas in a large bowl and stir gently to combine
4) Combine lemon juice, olive oil, water, salt and ginger in a smaller bowl and mix well and toss over pasta mixture.
5) Stir well and season with additional salt and pepper to taste
6) Enjoy and Share!

I really liked this dish. It was a quick and filling meal with left overs for lunch the following day. it is perfect for a busy 20something, but can easily work well for a pot luck or family dinner. :-)

Friday, September 3, 2010

Orzo with Brussels Sprouts, Cherry Tomatoes and Goat Cheese

I love Brussels Sprouts. There was a time that I never thought I would say those words, but it is true. I do. They are like little mini bite size cabbages, and I love cabbages so it only makes sense that I love Brussels Sprouts. I really think this "like" was a big kid development, but that is no big deal.

Anywho, I think Brussels Sprouts, like most vegetables, can find their way in some sort of pasta dish. So, I did just that. The only time consuming part of this dish is making the brussels sprouts, and this does not even take that long.


2 Cups of Brussels Sprouts
1 Cup of Cherry Tomatoes
1 Cup of Orzo
1 Cup of Crumbled Goat Cheese
1/3 Cup of Parsley
Olive Oil


1) Preheat Broiler
2) Boil Orzo until cooked (approx 7-8 minutes)
3) Halve Brussels Sprouts and mix in bowl with olive oil, salt and pepper
4) Broil for 4 minutes on one side and then flip and broil on the other side for another 3-4 minutes until browned
5) Remove Orzo from stove and transfer to another bowl
6) Add in Brussels Sprouts and cherry tomatoes and mix well
7) Mix in goat cheese and season with salt and pepper to taste
8) Top with parsley
9) Enjoy and share!

I really enjoyed switching up this normal pasta with veggie and adding in those brussels sprouts. Not only do they add their own texture but they also add a nice warmth to the dish.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Pesto Pasta with Tofu, Olives and Cherry Tomatoes

Oh hey, off the book recipe. I've got a couple of those coming to you. This is a pretty simple one. Just add some stuff to some pasta and there ya go. Except, you should probably really make this one because it is super tasty and good. And if you have a gluten allergy, throw some gluten-free pasta in this bad boy and have yourself a little party. YUM.


1 Cup of Uncooked Penne
2/3 Cup of Diced EXTRA firm Tofu
1/2 Cup of Cherry Tomatoes
4 Tablespoons of Pesto
1/2 Cup of Kalamata Olives
1/2 Cup of Fresh Mozzarella

1) Salt water and boil penne until cooked

2) Meanwhile, saute exta firm tofu in oil in large saucepan with salt, pepper and some red chili flakes for 5-6 or until browned.

3) Halve Cherry Tomatoes and add them a long with Olives and Mozzarella to the drained pasta.

4) Add your pesto and tofu and also about another tablespoon of olive oil.

5) Mix ingredients well and season to taste with salt and pepper

6) Enjoy and Share!

I found that the red chili pepper flakes added a nice yeah. Make this. :-)