Sunday, June 30, 2013

Our Wedding Photo Book

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Aaron and I just finished our photo guest book for the wedding with photos from our three years together. What do you think?

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Cranberry Orange Quinoa Muffins

Between working full time, writing thank you notes for my amazing shower, and addressing wedding invitations, I've also been balancing how much I should hangout on the College Cuisiner versus how much I should be developing the new blog.
That’s right. You heard it first. We’re moving!
I hope to go live in a few months, (most likely AFTER the wedding) with an established theme and gorgeous design by the lovely and amazing Jennifer. hint hint. Yet, I want to continue to post at least a little here for all of you if that's agreeable.
Say yes.

With that, I made these Cranberry Orange Quinoa muffins and few weeks ago and was incredibly impressed. It may be passed my amazing tea shower but you can still host one of your own with these scone-like muffins.

I did get the plain Quinoa muffin recipe from Martha Stewart but made them my own with the tart and sweet cranberry orange combination. In my version, these muffins also use whole wheat flour and Turbinado Sugar that I like a lot better. So if anything, these muffins are a little healthy than their coffee shop alternative.

I also like that these muffins are not overly sweet, rather more like one of the traditional fruited scones I ate by the truckloads in England.
All these little babies need is some tea, butter or clotted cream if you have these! They are also very customizable from raisin (sultanas) to blueberry or even cherry basil.
Oh, and here are some sexy more muffin shots, simply because I took so many and couldn't decide:

 Do you like your muffin buttered?

Would you like someone to butter you muffin for you?

Cranberry Orange Quinoa Muffins
(adapted from Martha Stewart)

Makes 8-10 muffins


1 cup quinoa, rinsed and dried (see this for the best fluffy quinoa)
1 ½ cups water (for quinoa)
1/4 cup vegetable oil, with extra for the pan
2 cups all-purpose whole wheat flour, plus more for pan
3/4 cup packed raw Turbinado Sugar (dark brown sugar works too)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup whole milk
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
½ cup dried cranberries
4 medjool dates, finely chopped
Zest and juice of half a large orange (equaling 1/4 cup)

Note: this is a great recipe for leftover cooked quinoa. Just make sure you have two cups for the recipe. If you have leftover quinoa when making this recipe, save it for another use.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

In a medium pot, toast quinoa  over medium heat for one minute until nutty smelling. Slowly add 1 1/2 cups water to quinoa and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cover.  Cook quinoa for about 15 minutes or until soft and fluffy and water is absorbed. Once taking quinoa off heat, do not open lid for five minutes for fluffiest quinoa. Remove lid and fluff with a fork. Set aside. You will need two cups cooked quinoa.
Meanwhile, brush 8 cups of a standard 12-cup muffin pan with oil, then lightly dust with flour. Then gently tap out excess flour from the pan. 
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, dates, cranberries, and 2 cups cooked quinoa. 

In a small bowl, whisk together oil, milk, egg, orange zest and juice, and vanilla. Add wet mixture to flour mixture, and stir just until combined. 

Then divide batter among the prepared 8 muffin cups.
Bake muffins for 25 to 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Be sure not to over bake or muffins will be dry. Cool the muffins in pan for 5 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Serve with your favorite cup of tea, butter or clotted cream!
Muffins can be frozen in a freezer safe plastic bag for up to one month. Simply take out and thaw, then heat up in toaster oven until just warmed.

The College Cuisiner

Oh, and here is a picture of the cutest Pixie-bob to walk the planet--Liam.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Tangy and Spicy Asian Potato Salad

I must admit: I have a love-hate relationship with potato salad. My mom makes the best red-white-and-bleu potato salad with new white and red potatoes and you guessed it-- homemade bleu cheese dressing. But when it comes to the standard bright yellow deli section version, I won't go near it.

So this week, along side tuna burgers from a back issue of Food & Wine, I made this tangy and slightly spicy Asian potato salad to go along with another the fusion-themed summer staple—the burger. Because for me, nothing says Summer than a burger and potato salad.

I like to think this Japanese- fusion; Asian inspired potato salad is the best of both worlds. Tangy and spicy with now familiar spiced flavors of your favorite sushi restaurant without the hopefully "too-fancy flavors" that would scare away deli-section purists. And it's brightly colored; so maybe that will evoke fond memories of the yellow mush version.

But with all seriousness, this is a delicious side for any meal: such as the grilled tuna burgers and edamame I served it with, or as a dish to take your nest summer barbecue or picnic. Either way, be adventurous and give this a try…

Tangy and Spicy Asian Potato Salad 
Makes 4-5 side servings


5-6 medium red potatoes or 10-12 small new potatoes, washed and cut into 2 inch chunks (don't peel, rather cut away rough bits with a knife or grater.)
¾-1 cup mayonnaise (depending on how creamy you like it)
2-3 tablespoons sriracha (adjust for preferred spiciness)
1 tablespoon Chinese mustard or Colman’s spicy English mustard
2-3 tbsp. finely minced fresh ginger
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1/2 cup finely chopped shallots or green onions
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tbsp. soy sauce
2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp. toasted sesame oil


Bring 3 quarts of salted cold water and raw potatoes to boil in pot. Boil for 20 minutes or until potatoes are easily pierced with a fork. Immediately drain, rinsing with only a little cold water.

Meanwhile add all other ingredients except shallots and 1/2 of the cilantro into a small bowl, whisking together. Set aside.

When potatoes are finished, pour half of the dressing over the potatoes and gently coat the potatoes in the dressing with a wooden spoon. Try not to crush potatoes as best as possible.

Be sure to coat potatoes while still hot, allowing them to soak up the dressing.

Once dressed, allow potato salad to cool or for best results, make a day ahead and refrigerate overnight.

Add the rest of shallots and cilantro and adjust seasoning to taste.

If you like the flavors of a fancy chef special sushi roll, you'll love this potato salad:

Too spicy or not as creamy as you would like? Add a little more mayonnaise to taste.

Not spicy enough? Add some more sriracha, Chinese mustard and fresh ginger

Need more tang? Another splash of soy sauce or sriracha should do the trick.

As always, enjoy.


The College Cuisiner

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Strawberry Limonada Cocktail

It’s summer again people. Let’s start acting like it!

With that said, a lot of my upcoming recipes are Summer-related as well as some twists on classic favorites. 

On Monday, look out for my Spicy Asian Potato Salad that will knock the yellow mushy store bought version out of the water!

But today I have a summer favorite with a grown up twist:

Who doesn’t love strawberry lemonade? It’s refreshing, crisp, and perfect for the heat. My version gives that fun, refreshing tartness with a grown-up addition crisp prosecco and tart-sweet limoncello. This is a drink for those of use who like pulp. Aaron doesn’t, so for once I got this delight to myself.

This is good served in a traditional champagne flute, highball glass with ice, or in an old-fashioned glass also on the rocks. Try making this in a pitcher for guests, or a single drink as listed below.

Pull up a comfy beach chair and your favorite magazine-it’s time for Summer. Enough talking…let’s drink.

Strawberry Limonada Cocktail
Makes one drink


2 0z. limoncello- lemon liqueur
4 oz. Prosecco, brut (enough to top off glass)
4 fresh strawberries, tops off, cut into chunks
1 oz. Simple syrup (try rosemary or hibiscus simple syrup for something different!)


Blend strawberries, simple syrup, and limoncello with a hand blender until mixture is a slightly chunky, yet smooth liquid.

Add liquid to desired glass and ice. Top with prosecco. Adjust simple syrup for sweetness.


Some of my other Summery drinks to look at: