Tuesday, March 20, 2012


Sweet Pea's Kitchen is taking a little hiatus. Check me out at a Penderful in the meantime.

Here's the deal: the whole idea when I started Sweet Pea's Kitchen was to keep track of all my kitchen adventures while I was living in my first apartment all on my own. I was blogging everything, whether it was totally delicious or less than edible.

But when I graduate from college in August 2011 and now I'm living back at home with my parents. We still eat, but I'm not doing as much of the cooking and definitely far less of the planning. It just doesn't seem to fit in with the Sweet Pea's Kitchen schtick anymore. So until I'm living on my own in my second apartment, come visit me at a Penderful! I sure would love to have you.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Meatless Monday: Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup

Tomato Basil Soup and Grilled Cheese Croutons

Surprisingly, I never ate this as a kid. Maybe it was my serious aversion to tomatoes (except for ketchup, of course) or maybe it was my "I don't like that" phase. It's really nothing short of a miracle that the picky eater that I was turned into such a food lover. Whatever it was, I didn't realize grilled cheese and tomato soup was a "thing" until college.  Yes, I said college. I wasn't into it in college, either, because somehow the cafeteria couldn't make a decent grilled cheese. At some point, though, my mom started making lots of soup. We're a skiing family, and god knows we can't afford to buy lunch at the ski resorts every weekend, so my mom would make soup at home and pack it in a thermos. Every time was better than the last. She was (and is) always finding new ways to build flavor.

Well one day she must have made soup and a grilled cheese and that's how I got hooked. Unfortunately for Campbell's I'm still not into the canned tomato soup. My grilled cheese and tomato soup combo tends to be a bit fancier: Tomato Basil soup and a grilled cheese with red onion and basil. 

I know. 
It's amazing.

Thank goodness for Pinterest or I may never have thought to make grilled cheese croutons! You don't even have to dip- just scoop one up with your spoon. We kept it simple by serving this with veggies and dip, pickles, and fruit salad. Sometimes simple is better.

We kept it simple by serving this with veggies and dip, pickles, and fruit salad. Sometimes simple is better.

Tomato Basil Soup

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • butter or olive oil
  • 2 big cans of tomatoes
  • 2 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • chicken stock
  • basil, chiffonade 
  • salt
  • 1 jar roasted red pepper
  • milk, cream, or half and half

1) Saute 1 onion until soft in a pot with a bit of olive oil or butter. Add canned tomatoes, tomato paste, some chicken stock, and basil to the pot. Season with salt to taste. The soup is going to cook down to concentrate the tomato flavor. Feel free to add more chicken stock as needed. 
2) After the tomato has cooked down and seems thicker and has a strong tomato flavor, add some pieces of roasted red pepper. The whole jar may be too much red pepper flavor, so you may want to start with half the jar and add more to taste.
3) Put the soup in a blender or use an immersion blender to make it smooth (or smoothish if you like chunkier soup). Be VERY careful not to splatter hot soup on yourself.
4) Slowly stir in some milk, cream, or half and half to the soup and enjoy!

Grilled Cheese Croutons

  • Thinly sliced bread
  • butter (salted)
  • herbs (whatever you have- thyme, rosemary, basil, etc)
  • cheese (whatever melts well, like cheddar or gouda)

1) Let some butter come to room temperature and mix in chopped herbs.
2) Heat a skillet over medium heat. While it is getting hot, butter one side of each slice of bread with your herb butter.
3) When the skillet is hot, lay half of the bread slices in the pan butter side down. Layer cheese on top of each piece of bread. Top each slice with another slice, butter side up.
4) When the bread is golden and crispy and the cheese is melty, flip.
5) When the next side of the grilled cheese is done, take them out of the pan and let them cool for a bit. Cut with a large knife into 1/2" squares. 
6) Put them on your soup and devour!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

More soosakooki, please!

Greek Pita w/ Lamb and Tzatziki

"May I have some more soosakooki, please?"

Um... what?

Last night we stuffed greek salad into a pita with mini lamb burgers and tzatziki. Or if you're my dad, you slathered it with "soosakooki". This recipe came from Great Food Fast and it's just that: it tasted great, it was food, and it was totally fast. Plus, with the unseasonable 60-something temperatures we've been having here in Michigan, grilling up those lamb burgers on the grill was a real treat!

Greek Pita w/ Lamb
  • 1 1/2 lbs ground lamb
  • 1/2 small onion, minced
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tsp. chopped fresh oregano (or 1 tsp. dried)
  • S&P
  • 4 Pitas
  • Greek salad (follow your heart on this one)
1) First, make the lamb patties. Put the lamb, onion, parsley, and oregano in a medium bowl and mix it together with a fork. Gently form the mixture into about 16 small patties being careful not to over-handle them. They should be about 3/4" thick.
2) Start the grill. While it is heating, put salt on the cucumbers for the tzatziki to draw out the water. Combine the rest of the tzatziki ingredients in a bowl while the grill heats up.
3) When the grill is hot, put the lamb burgers on and cook until medium-rare (about 2-3 minutes per side). When those are done, put them on a clean plate and "tent" it with foil (don't cover it tightly- leave the sides not pressed down). Go back to the cucumber and squeeze it to get the water out of it. Mix it in with the rest of the tzatziki ingredients.
4) Put the pita on the grill for a quick minute to get it warmed up. And now it's time to eat! Spread some tzatziki in the pita, stuff some greek salad in there, and add a lamb burger or two.

Note: This is supposed to serve 4, but I found that there were lots of extra lamb burgers.

  • 1/2 English cucumber, peeled, seeded, and grated
  • 1/2 c plain yogurt
  • 2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tsp. chopped fresh mint
  • 1 small garlic clove
  • S&P
1) Sprinkle the tzatziki with salt. Let it sit for a few minutes on a paper towel and then squeeze out all the liquid.
2) In a medium bowl, combine the cucumber, yogurt, lemon juice, mint, and garlic. Season with S&P to taste. Cover and refrigerate until you're ready for it.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Meatless Monday: Pizza

Pizza Margherita + Salad Pizza

Once again we embark on another Meatless Monday. This time we're bringing you everyone's favorite delicacy... PIZZA!

Pizza Margherita is a classic combination of tomato, fresh mozzarella, and basil. It's a little tangy from the tomato and a little creamy from the cheese and, well, it's delicious.

As for Salad Pizza, it's something we sort of made up that was inspired by a pizza from California Pizza Kitchen. Basically, it's a yummy mixed greens salad thrown on top of a pizza crust. Really. There's nothing to not like about salad pizza. My favorite combination is mixed greens, balsamic vinaigrette, dried cranberries, toasted walnuts, and goat cheese. However, you could easily put any salad at all on top of a pizza crust and call it Salad Pizza.

Making pizza at home is a lot of trial and error, especially with stretching the dough from a ball into something that resembles pizza. Be patient. You'll get it. Here are some tips:
  • Turn the fan on above the stove if you have one. 
  • Making pizza is a great way to test your smoke detector. Be ready because it WILL go off.
  • Use plenty of cornmeal underneath the uncooked pizza dough. You should be able to shake the cookie sheet and have the dough slide easily.

Pizza Margherita
  • tomato pizza sauce (recipe follows)
  • fresh pizza dough from the store or your local pizza shop
  • fresh mozzarrella
  • fresh basil
  • corn meal
1) Preheat oven to as high as your oven will go. Put a pizza stone in there and let it heat up for about 45 minutes.
2) Spread your pizza dough into a pizza shape. First, pat it into a disc shape. Use your knuckles and gently stretch the dough at the ends.
3) Sprinkle corn meal on an edgeless cookie sheet. Put the pizza dough on top and make sure it will easily slide off.
4) Spread some sauce on the pizza dough, layer slices of mozzarella, and tear basil on top.
5) When oven and pizza stone are preheated, with a quick, swift movement, slide the pizza dough onto the pizza stone.
6) Let the pizza cook until it looks delicious!

Salad Pizza

1) Make a salad and keep it in the fridge so it doesn't get soggy.
2) Cook the pizza dough the same way as above.
3) When the pizza crust is golden and looks tasty, take it out of the oven.
4) Toss salad with dressing and pile it on top of the pizza crust.
5) Enjoy!

The Easiest Pizza Sauce Ever

1) Saute some chopped onion in a pan until soft. Add chopped garlic and cook for about 30 seconds so it doesn't burn.
2) Pour a can of San Marzano tomatoes (or any kind of tomatoes) into the pan, add some tomato paste, and some torn fresh basil. Let it simmer for a good while until it's a nice consistency.
3) Cool sauce before using on pizza

Monday, March 5, 2012

Over here!

I'm over here today! Just a little something about the next big thing in tasty treats!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Merci, MBC

French Dip from Michigan Brewing Company

I have a one track mind. When I get a craving for something, it's all I can think about until I fulfill said craving. Last week I had a taste for a French dip and was trying to find any opportunity to go out and get one.

Well the time finally came. My boyfriend and I went to the Michigan Brewing Company in downtown Lansing and alas! I got my French dip.

Those little geniuses know how to make a French dip! They had all the basics: hoagie, roast beef, melted cheese, au jus.  AND AN ONION RING. It was like finding a $5 bill on the ground but way more delicious. I don't think I can ever go back to French dip sans onion rings ever again.