Saturday, August 31, 2013

More Stuff My Husband Says!

Oh yes, school has begun, and posts are now appearing in dramatically reduced frequency. But since my response to the "Share a highlight from your summer" prompt that I made all my students talk about on the first day has to do with my darling husband, it seems fitting to share a few more quotes from him! Again, my apologies if these make no sense or aren't funny out of context. Really, hanging out with this guy in person is just delightful!

On the Goat Cheese and Strawberries with Balsamic Glaze dessert I made from my Cheese cookbook, in which I beat together goat cheese, cream and sugar:

"I just want to keep licking this plate forever... This... I will remember what you did to this goat cheese..."

On enjoying a lazy Saturday morning with the latest baseball and football video games:

"I'm in sports video games heaven! Also, I have a woman walking around in her underwear! All I need is a bowl of chips."

On almost running into the coffee table I moved into the hallway so I could do my exercises (which is especially hazardous since he's visually impaired):

"Nice try, table."

On almost running into the table again 5 minutes later:

"You're very good, table, but I'm better."


One of the sub-goals of this blog is to tell tales of teaching. So here's this: Another highlight of my summer was have MY comment featured in a Dan Meyer post. Dan Meyer is a pretty big name in the "how do we teach math better" circles, and his blog is huge. So, basically, having my comment featured is a pretty big deal, in my world.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Zucchini Fritters

As summer winds down, my bones sense that my endless free time will soon come to an end. And they tell my stomach, apparently, because I start baking and cooking like a real housewife. Tonight, the menu was zucchini fritters, fresh sweet white corn and Trader Joe's new (to me) marinated chipotle chicken skewers. My husband may have complimented the meal by saying it was as good as ... some other fun things we do with free time.

Boiling corn cobs and baking frozen chicken aren't anything particularly complicated, so today I will share with you my recipe for those fantastic Zucchini Fritters. Pinterest has led me to a few delicious recipes for Zucchini Fritters. The one at Plant Food Fabulous utilized some mint that I didn't know what to do with, and the one at Life's Ambrosia opened my eyes to some good spices to throw in. So with those as my inspiration, and a need to use up the goat's cheese from my Caramelized Pluots delicious adventure, I made some downright delectable fritters, and gluten-free as a bonus!

First step, grate your zucchini. You'll also want to drain it, so put it in your strainer while you get everything else ready, and then smash it with a paper towel to get as much of the moisture out as you can.

Then you'll mix together breadcrumbs, cheeses, spices, garlic, the zucchini and an egg.

Finally, make it into little patties (I make 6, but you could probably do 8), and fry them up with some olive oil. More patties = crisper patties, I suppose. But I really like the softness inside contrasting with the crispiness of the outside.

They take 4-5 minutes on each side. You want them nice and golden brown.

Yum. I serve them with a little dollop of greek yogurt on top, and they are perfect!

Zucchini Fritters


1 Zucchini, grated (about 2 cups)
1/4 cup Parmesan, grated
1/4 cup Goat Cheese, crumbled
1/2 cup Bread Crumbs (I used gluten-free)
1 Egg
1 clove Garlic, minced
1/4 tsp Paprika
a hefty pinch of Nutmeg
a hefty pinch of Salt
several shakes of Black Pepper
2 tbsp Olive Oil 
2 tbsp Greek Yogurt (optional)


1. Grate the zucchini and leave it in a strainer in the sink while you prepare the rest of the ingredients. Put all the ingredients except the olive oil into a bowl. (Really, you could use 1/2 cup of any crumbly cheese - feta also works well, or all parmesan, etc.) Wring the water out of the zucchini by pressing it against the walls of the strainer with a paper towel. Add the zucchini and mix everything well.

2. Add olive oil to a large pan over medium heat. When the pan is heated, arrange 6-8 patties and gently flatten a little. Cook 4-5 minutes on each side, until golden brown.

3. Serve hot, with a dollop of greek yogurt.

This served the 2 of us, 342 calories each.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Caramelized Pluots with Goat Cheese, Pecans, and Honey

I am officially loving summertime, the freedom of summer vacation, and the variety of our CSA boxes! I was inspired by the image on a Pinterest pin I saw with apricots and goat cheese by Domestic Fits, and I decided to play with it a bit and adapt it to the ingredients we had on hand. And thus, Caramelized Pluots with Goat Cheese, Pecans and Honey was born! This dessert is easy, looks fancy, and tastes quite sophisticated and delicious.

When we got back from Santa Cruz this weekend, we found all of our fruit bursting with ripeness. I've made my way through the nectarines by chopping them up with greek yogurt and granola in the mornings, but we still had these two little pluots, begging to be enjoyed.

So, while the oven heated up, I cut each in half and took out the pit. Not easy! They were so ripe that they threatened to squish everywhere and ruin my plans. Strong will and gentle fingers were required.

Next I put them in a baking dish and sprinkled them with a little bit of brown sugar.  

They were so juicy the sugar started to melt in as I took the pictures. Yum. Then into the oven to broil on the top rack for 9 minutes.

I almost ate them right then, because they were so bright and even more juicy. But I held firm to my vision.

Then I rolled a dollop of goat cheese into a ball and placed it into the hollow. I sprinkled chopped pecans, pushing some into the goat cheese so they wouldn't all roll off. And finally, I drizzled just a touch of honey over the whole thing.

My husband's only complaint? "Next time, you have to make 20."

Caramelized Pluots with Goat Cheese, Pecans, and Honey


2 ripe Pluots
1/2 tsp Brown Sugar
4 tsp Goat Cheese
2 tsp Toasted Pecans, Chopped
1 tsp Honey


Turn the oven on the high broil and move a rack to the top shelf. Wash the pluots and carefully remove the pits. Place in a baking dish, flesh side up. Sprinkle with brown sugar. Bake for 9 - 12 minutes, until the brown sugar caramelizes.

Place a teaspoon of goat cheese in each hollow. Sprinkle with pecans, pressing a few into the cheese. Lightly drizzle with honey. Enjoy!

Serves 2, but leaves you wanting more, so you should probably just eat it all yourself.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Cantaloupe Popsicles!

So we love our CSA, but as much as I know it will be delicious because it's fresh from the farm and whatnot, I just have a hard time motivating myself to eat cantaloupe. We were about to leave for a weekend trip, and this guy had been staring me in the face for 2 weeks. Clearly, time for Cantaloupe Popsicles.

These are ridiculously easy - cantaloupe, lemon juice and a little sweetener (I used Simple Syrup). If your cantaloupe is sweet and fresh, you can probably skip the sweetener, but I like to play it safe when it comes to sugar.

For the uninitiated, Simple Syrup, as its name implies, takes very little time or skill. Combine equal parts sugar and water (say, 1/2 cup of each) in a pot and heat until the sugar dissolves. Set aside to cool.

Next, get your cantaloupe ready to be blended. Scoop out the seeds.

And then chop it up so your blender can handle it. Or use a food processor, if you have one and don't mind cleaning all those small parts.

Add the cantaloupe, 1 tsp lemon juice and simple syrup to taste and blend away! All the popsicle and ice cream books say that it should taste slightly too sweet before you freeze it. Something about the freezing process makes it less sweet.

Fill up your molds! Leave a little space at the top.

Freeze and enjoy. Pro tip: Run the molds under hot water for a minute for easy removal. Or, do what my husband does and just hold it in your warm hands until you can pull it off.

Cantaloupe Popsicles


1 small cantaloupe, seeded and cut into chunks. About 4 cups.
1 tsp lemon juice
1/3 cup simple syrup, more or less to taste


In a blender or food processor, blend the cantaloupe, lemon juice and simple syrup until smooth. The liquid should taste slightly too sweet. Pour into popsicle molds and freeze (4-6 hours). Run under hot water to remove.

And a recommendation...

If you're in the Bay Area and interested in joining a CSA, I highly recommend Farm Fresh to You. CSA's give you fresh, local produce, and they guarantee local farmers a market for their goods: it's a win-win. Farm Fresh to You is a group of several local farms and they have several different types of boxes (we get the Small Mixed) and you can get them as often as you want (we do every other week) and you can exclude anything you want and they replace it with more of something else (because let's be serious, we will never consume a head of lettuce or a bunch of celery). If you use the code 6164 and the name Laura Hawkins, you get $10 off your first delivery!

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Stuff My Husband Says

As promised, a few items from the "Stuff My Husband Says" files. I recognize that I may be the only person to find these entertaining, since they likely are a "you had to be there" sort of thing. But what is the Internet if not to entertain me?!

On Authority

After being called both Chief and Boss by our waiter: "Well, it's clear that I'm the head of something."

On Why I Should Stop Going On About How He Doesn't Know The Original U2 Version of "One"

"Oh yes. I just played the race card, and I played it well."

On The Definition of "Home"

Upon waking up in our AirBNB place the first morning: "Let's get computers and internet codes and leave our socks places! I feel at home."


For additional bonus enjoyment, here's Oslo, the cat that came with our AirBNB house. When we were done being tourists, we let ourselves watch Netflix like we do at home. Oslo is a big fan of Battlestar Galactica. Big fan.

Oslo the cat MAY be a Cylon.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Inaugural Post AND Delicious Gluten-Free Cookies

So here's the deal. My darling husband, who never forgets, frequently makes comments that are too charming, clever, or ridiculous for me to keep to myself. In this space, I will from time to time share some of the gems.  

My husband recently learned he has a gluten allergy, giving my baking skills a new challenge. So I will also present evidence of my baking triumphs, like today. Although I need to take more pictures next time - could be a persistent problem since we devour everything I make immediately. 

I might even share some of my thoughts on teaching math. Thanks for reading my first attempt!

And now I present...

Gluten Free Relatively Healthy Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies

I adapted this recipe from The Skinny Fork, making it slightly less healthy. I added an egg, because gluten-free cookies can sometimes be so dense (and just because gluten hurts his stomach doesn't mean the poor man needs to eat vegan). And I added a bit of brown sugar, because you can't really go wrong with adding brown sugar.

These cookies are downright delicious, with no modifiers like "...for gluten free cookies" or "... for healthy cookies." They're just yummy. I can't speak to how they taste at room temperature, because we didn't let them get that far. (Knowing how we are, I only made a half batch.) But with the chocolate warm and melty, and the outside toasted and the inside soft, they are fabulous! My husband has declared that they should be a regular part of my baking rotation.

Peanut Oatmeal Cookies, chocolate chips glistening!

2 Ripe Mashed Bananas
1/3 cup Peanut Butter (I used smooth)
2/3 cup Unsweetened Applesauce
1 Egg
1/8 cup Brown Sugar
1 Tsp. Vanilla
1/2 tsp. Salt
1/2 tsp. Cinnamon
Dash of Ground Cloves
Dash of Ground Nutmeg
1 1/2 cup Quick or Old Fashioned Oats
1/4 cup chopped Nuts (I used pecans)
1/2 cup Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips
1/4 cup Shredded Coconut (Optional)

Preheat the oven to 350ยบ and grease 2 cookie sheets, or line them with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, combine the bananas, peanut butter, applesauce, brown sugar, egg, vanilla and spices. Then mix in the oats, nuts, chocolate chips and shredded coconut.

Drop by heaping tablespoonfuls onto the greased cookie sheets, about an inch apart. (They don't spread very much.) Bake until the tops just start to brown, 20-25 minutes. Makes a solid two dozen.