Monthly Archives: May 2014

Peanut Butter Cupcakes – Three Ways

IMG_5305 IMG_5316

Peanut Butter Cupcakes

3 ways – Naked, Chocolate Chunk & Raspberry Jam

Author: Sweet Green Kitchen’s Jen Jones

A birthday blog for Skyler, my extraordinary daughter, who on the day she was born, forever transformed my life in the most amazing way.  These cupcakes are most especially for YOU…..HAPPY BIRTHDAY…..and Enjoy – xo –


Strangely enough, I adapted this recipe from “Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World” and made them most decidedly NOT vegan.  They are oh so delicious, moist and peanut buttery and of course I make them three ways to satisfy all tastes and demands.  With that said they are perfect just as they are, naked if you will or adorned with just a light drizzle of melted chocolate or topped with a dollop of fresh barely sweetened whipped cream or the frosting of your choice.  BUT, if you’d like to take them to the next level, I like to top each individually (rather than mixed throughout the batter) with a few broken pieces or just one big chunk of the best milk chocolate I can find.  Or for the jam lovers in your life (hello Evan!), a swirl of your favorite jam or preserve mixed into the batter of each individual cupcake just before baking, yum, yum, yum…. IMG_5374


Makes about 15 cupcakes (is it just me, or is it impossible to create a recipe that actually makes exactly 12 cupcakes?) OR 12 regular size cupcakes plus about 6 minis.


3/4 cup Buttermilk

1/2 cup Natural Unsweetened Chunky Peanut Butter

2-3 extra Tablespoons Natural Unsweetened Chunky Peanut Butter

1/3 cup Canola Oil

2/3 cup granulated Natural Cane Sugar

2 Tablespoons Maple Syrup

1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract

1 Egg

1 cup All Purpose Flour

1 teaspoon Baking Powder

1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda

1/4 teaspoon Salt


A few ounces milk chocolate chunks (I use Lindt)


A few Tablespoons Jam of your choice (I prefer Raspberry)


Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.  Line muffin tin with paper liners.

In a large mixing bowl, cream together the 1/2 cup of Peanut Butter, Oil, Sugar, Maple Syrup and Egg until well combined.  Add the Buttermilk and stir until fully incorporated.

IMG_5368Sift in the Flour, Baking Powder, Baking Soda and Salt.  Stir to combine. Then drop in the remaining 2-3 Tablespoons of Peanut Butter a little bit at a time to gently swirl through the batter.

Fill the cupcake liners about two thirds full.

Now if you like your peanut butter cupcakes straight up and simple, pop them in the oven and bake for about 22-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.IMG_5404

OR, if you’d like to have a little fun, break up a few ounces of chocolate, leaving big pieces and then drop a piece on top of each muffin cup filled with batter.  Bake as above.IMG_5287

OR, swirl a small spoonful of jam (about 1/4-1/2 teaspoon) into the top of each cupcake. Note, the jam topped cupcakes may take a touch longer to bake.

Allow cupcakes to cool a bit on a rack before removing them from the pan.  Cool completely before topping with anything.  Enjoy! IMG_5396

Click here for printable version

Lemon Dijon Asparagus


Lemon Dijon Asparagus

Author: Sweet Green Kitchen’s Jen Jones

I found the most beautiful fresh asparagus at the Croton-on-Hudson farmer’s market the last two Sundays.  It was sold loose and I was able to pick through and choose each individual spear, they ranged from super skinny and spindly to medium and large, and oh so very tender.  I decided they were too lovely to roast or steam and they were absolutely delicious raw, so I chose to delicately bathe them in a light and lemony Dijon vinaigrette, so so good.

IMG_5355 Lemon Dijon Asparagus


Asparagus – about 20 spears, roughly 1/2 pound


2 teaspoons Olive Oil

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

Zest of 1/2 Lemon

1 teaspoon Lemon Juice

Flaked Sea Salt – to taste

3-4 sprigs of Thyme IMG_5343 Lemon Dijon Asparagus

IMG_5344 Lemon Dijon Vinagrette


Snap or cut off the ends of each Asparagus stalk.  IF your Asparagus is not quite as fresh, you may also wish to peel off a little of the stalk’s skin at the bottom.   Place in a shallow dish.

Mix together the dressing ingredients and pour over the Asparagus.  Mix around so each spear is equally covered in the dressing.

Serve cold or at room temperature, whatever you prefer.  Enjoy!                                

Click here for printable version



IMG_4434 Spanikopa Sorta


Author: Sweet Green Kitchen’s Jen Jones

I adapted this from the Barefoot Contessa’s recipe for Spanikopita, I made quite a lot of changes; adding ricotta cheese, changing the herbs, swapping her scallions for leeks, eliminating bread crumbs and of course using a LOT less butter and olive oil, until it no longer seemed as much a spanikopita as it seemed sort of spanikopita, sort of not, so it became Spanikopasorta.  Unlike a traditional spanikopita which is layered and baked as more of a casserole, this is rolled up roulade or struedel style.

I like this served with either a green salad or tomato salad, either way great for lunch or dinner served hot or at room temperature.  This would also make a great party appetizer or hors d’oeuvres.

Makes 2-3 roulades/struedels


2 Leeks – washed and sliced – white and tender green

2 Garlic Cloves – chopped

1-2 teaspoons Olive Oil

1-2 teaspoons Butter

1 10-ounce package Frozen Spinach – defrosted

1 cup Ricotta cheese (whole or part skim) – half of a 16 ounce container

¼ cup Parsley – flat leaf – chopped

2 Extra Large Eggs

6 ounces Feta cheese – chopped and crumbled (do not use pre-crumbled)

¼ – ½ teaspoon ground Nutmeg

Fresh Thyme – a few sprigs

Salt & Pepper

Phyllo Dough – about 20 sheets, more or less

Melted Butter – about 3 Tablespoons


Preheat oven to 400 F

Heat Olive Oil and Butter in a large non stick sauté pan.  Add the chopped Leeks, cook for a few minutes and then add in the chopped Garlic.  Continue cooking until the Leeks are softened and browned a bit on the edges, but not completely.IMG_4384 Chopped Leeks for Spanikopa SortaIMG_4386 Sauteed Leeks and Garlic

Meanwhile, squeeze out the water from the Spinach.  Turn off the heat and add the Spinach to the pan with the Leeks and Garlic and toss around a bit.IMG_4797

In a medium to large bowl, add the Ricotta, chopped Parsley, Eggs, crumbled Feta cheese, Nutmeg, Thyme leaves, Salt and Pepper.  Stir to combine and then add in the slightly cooled Spinach, Leeks and Garlic, stir again. IMG_4390 Chopped Parsley for Spanikopa SortaIMG_4804IMG_4808

Lay out 2 sheets of Phyllo and brush all over with a little bit of melted Butter, then continue layering 2 sheets at a time with butter brushed in between until you have used 10 sheets.IMG_4811

To make Struedel style – Spoon either 1/3 or 1/2 of the Spinach & Cheese mixture down the center of the Phyllo stack, leaving about 1 inch at each short end without filling. Fold over the two sides and then wrap one long end over the filling and finish by folding the last end over the top and brush with a little more butter to seal.  Carefully move struedel to a baking sheet. IMG_4813

To make Roulade style – Spoon either 1/3 or 1/2 of the Spinach & Cheese mixture to cover the whole sheet of Phyllo, leaving a border about 1 inch around.  Next fold over the short ends and then begin rolling the Phyllo over the filling, finishing with a little brush of melted Butter.  Carefully move to a baking sheet.

Repeat with remaining Phyllo and filling until you have 2 or 3 roulades or struedels.  Whether you end up with 2 or 3 is merely a matter of personal preference, depending on your preferred ratio of filling to pastry.

Bake at 400 degrees F for about 20 minutes.   Divide each struedel into slices 1-2 inches thick or larger pieces if you prefer.  Serve hot or at room temperature.  Enjoy!   IMG_4439 Spanikopa Sorta


Recipe Notes:

Leeks – most recipes instruct to use just the white and light green parts of the leek, but I really prefer to use almost the whole leek including the darker green.  I slice through most of the leek and as I get toward the dark green less tender end, I peel away the outer layers and then continue to slice through the more tender inner layers.

Phyllo dough is sold frozen, not be confused with puff pastry.  Phyllo is thin and papery.  It tends to dry out quickly, so I just unroll as many sheets as I need for the moment, leaving the rest wrapped until needed.   

Click here for printable version 


Tofu Summer Rolls with Miso Dipping Sauce

IMG_5004 Tofu Summer Rolls with Misco Cashew Dipping Sauce

Tofu Summer Rolls

Author: Sweet Green Kitchen’s Jen Jones

These summer rolls are so flavorful, light and fresh tasting, perfect for the warm days of Spring and Summer.  They make a great appetizer or party hors d’oeuvres and are perfect as a light lunch or dinner served alongside a nice salad or Asian slaw.


1 12-ounce package of Extra Firm Tofu – drained and pressed

1 Avocado – thinly sliced

1 Mango – thinly sliced

Fresh Mint leaves

Baby Arugula

Rice Paper a.k.a. Spring Roll Wrappers

Flaked Sea Salt (or other Salt)IMG_4955


Miso Marinade/Dipping Sauce Ingredients:

 1 Tablespoon White Miso

1 Tablespoon lite Soy Sauce or Wheat Free Tamari (to make it gluten free)

2 Tablespoons Apple Cider or Rice Vinegar (or 1 Tablespoon of each)

2 teaspoons Honey, Agave or Maple Syrup (Agave or Maple to make it Vegan)

1/4 teaspoon (more or less to taste) Sriracha Sauce

1 Tablespoon Olive or Sesame Oil

IMG_4949 Miso Cashew Dipping Sauce

 Alternate (Miso Cashew) Dipping Sauce Ingredients:

1 Tablespoon Cashew Butter (Almond or Peanut Butter would also be good)

1 Tablespoon White Miso

1 Tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar

2 teaspoons Honey or Agave Syrup

1 teaspoon lite Soy Sauce or Tamari

1 teaspoon Water

1/4 teaspoon (more or less to taste) Sriracha Sauce

A sprinkling of white or black Sesame Seeds – optional



Starting with drained and pressed Tofu, slice the Tofu block into approximately 8 even slices and the then halve each slice lengthwise, leaving you with about 16 strips.  Season lightly with salt.

Meanwhile heat a large non stick pan and drizzle a bit of oil (I use olive, canola or coconut oil).

Saute each piece of Tofu over a medium to high flame, adjusting temperature as needed, until golden brown on both sides.  Beware of splatters when cooking.

IMG_4715 Golden Tofu in Miso MarinadeWhilst cooking the tofu, prepare the Miso Marinade.  Add the cooked Tofu to the Marinade and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to a few hours or even overnight.  Refrigerating the cooked tofu allows the texture to firm up and also gives it time to absorb the flavors of the marinade.

To make the Summer Rolls:

Fill a pie dish or other similarly sized bowl with warm water.  Working one at a time, soak 1 Rice Paper wrapper in the water until it softens.  Beware, if you’ve never worked with rice paper wrappers before, they are delicate and prone to tearing, but don’t worry about small tears they should still wrap up fine.

On a flat surface, like a cutting board lay out the softened Rice Paper (you can place a paper towel on top of your board if you like to help absorb a bit of extra moisture and prevent it from sticking to your board).

Begin to layer your filling – start with 2 -3 leaves of Mint placed vertically down the center of the rice paper.  Next, line up 2 slices of tofu on top of the Mint, then 2 slices of Mango and 2 slices of Avocado, finishing with a small handful of Arugula and a little sprinkle of flaked Sea Salt.IMG_4970 IMG_4993IMG_4988

IMG_4981Now to wrap, if you’ve ever rolled up a burrito this is very much the same.  Start by folding up the ends over the filling, then , fold up one side over all the filling tucking it to make it tight, then roll the whole thing over the last end until it is completely wrapped, tucking as you go to make a nice tight roll.  Using a sharp knife cut the roll in half (I like an angled cut).  Now repeat.

Place the completed rolls on a platter until done and then serve with either the leftover marinade or the miso cashew dipping sauce.  Enjoy!

Recipe Notes:  These rolls take a little pre planning as you need to first cook and marinate the tofu before moving on to make the rolls, if you want to save time, you can use already baked and marinated pre-packaged tofu. 

Click here to view printable version

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Oatmeal Maple Scones

WP_20140427_043 Maple Oatmeal Scones

Oatmeal Maple Scones

inspired by the Barefoot Contessa

Author: Sweet Green Kitchen’s Jen Jones

Inspired by the Barefoot Contessa’s Maple-Oatmeal Scones, but with a whole LOT less butter, Ina also tops her scones with a maple glaze while I do not.  I’m personally not a big fan of glazes as they tend to be a little too sweet for me, instead I chose to make a little maple mascarpone spread based on the idea of a traditional British scone being served with clotted cream, but totally different.  If you like the idea of a glaze, you can find it here , you could also skip the mascarpone spread and just use a little butter on the warm from the oven scones or jam of your choice.  This recipe bakes just as scones should (in my opinion at least), a little bit dense, a little bit moist and (preferably eaten) a little bit warm from the oven.  If Goldilocks were here in the kitchen, I think she might feel compelled to utter “just right”.



1 1/2 cups Unbleached Flour

1/2 cup Whole Wheat Pastry Flour

1 cup Old Fashioned Rolled Oats (regular Oatmeal not instant)

2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar

1 Tablespoon Baking Powder

1 teaspoon Cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon Salt

4 Tablespoons cold unsalted Butter (1/2 stick)

2/3 cup Plain Greek Yogurt (I use non fat)

1/4 cup Maple Syrup (the real stuff)

1/4 cup Low Fat Milk (I used unsweetened Almond Milk, since that’s what I have)

1 large Egg

1 tsp Vanilla Extract

1/4 heaping cup chopped Walnuts


Preheat oven to 400 F.  Lightly butter or spray a large baking sheet, or cover with parchment.

IMG_4721 Maple Oatmeal Scones Dry MixIn a large bowl stir together dry ingredients (flours through salt).  Cut the butter into 1/2 inch cubes and cut them into the flour mixture, until the mix resembles coarse crumbs.


In a small bowl stir together yogurt, egg, maple syrup, milk and vanilla extract.  Add to the flour & butter mixture.  Stir to combine.  Mix in the nuts.  The dough should come together to form a slightly sticky ball.WP_20140427_005

IMG_4736 chopped walnutsIMG_4737

IMG_4742Gently roll out the dough to about 3/4 to 1 inch thick. Cut dough into whatever shape you like.  I used heart shaped and round fluted cutters about 3 inches across, because when your baking assistant is a tyrannical/terribly sweet not quite 5 year old, mama does not get to choose and why use one shape when three are better (for the record I insisted on the fluted edge heart cutters).

IMG_4743Place scones on prepared baking sheet.  Sprinkle with a little coarse raw sugar if you like.

Bake for 12-14 minutes, or until top is lightly browned and toothpick comes out clean.

Remove baking sheet from oven and allow to cool a few minutes, before transferring scones to a wire rack.  Enjoy!  

Makes about 12 – 15 or maybe even 18, scones depending on the size.

Click here to view printable version

IMG_4752 Maple Oatmeal Scone


Recipe Notes:  I served my scones with both Blueberry Mascarpone and Maple Mascarpone Spreads.  For the blueberry version, I simply stirred together a few tablespoons of mascarpone with some really good blueberry preserves and then for the maple version, just a little maple syrup and a sprinkle of cinnamon into the mascarpone, amounts to your desired taste and stirred until creamy.   IMG_4753 Maple Oatmeal Sone

A Note on Shapes:  I rolled out my dough and used a combination of fluted edge round and heart shaped cutters measuring about 3 inches across and also a smaller 2 inch heart shaped cutter.  If you don’t have cutters of this size on hand, you can use the open end of a juice glass or tea mug as makeshift cutters or if you like simply free cut squares out of the shaped dough with a sharp knife.  I would stick to shapes that are fairly uniform across and steer clear of pointed edges such as stars or trains with their pesky smoke stacks (if you have a young boy at home you’ll know just what I’m talking about).     

Additional Notes:  A recipe for Baking Powder

So on my last test of this recipe, I found myself in the very unfortunate situation of reaching into my baking powder container and coming up with a Tablespoon measure only 2/3 of the way full. My baking powder was empty! Now my policy is to always stock up on sale and never ever ever not have a backup of frequently used (and some not so frequently used) items and this is especially the case in the kitchen.  Plus I was so certain that I had an extra container of baking powder hidden away which is probably why I ignored the fact that it was nearing empty on my recent trips to the market.  I searched and searched through my overstocked pantry, the baskets on top of the fridge and everywhere else I could think of, to only come up empty on the baking powder front.  Mind you this was all taking place early on a Sunday morning when I sometimes like to spend a little alone time in the kitchen before the family chaos begins and my time before my four year old invaded my world was ticking by fast.  After a bit of panic, I remembered that my brother-in-law Josh had sent me a link to an article about the difference between baking powder and baking soda a month or two ago.  So I went to my computer, waited for it to wake up (this actually takes awhile, as I’m repeatedly told by my husband and daughter that it’s old and it sucks and it desperately needs to be replaced, but that’s a story for another day), and then searched through all my old emails for the one in question, the one that would hopefully save the day.

So according to the link sent by Josh,,one can make baking powder using a recipe of baking soda and cream of tartar, great!  One problem, I had no cream of tartar, in fact my dad had given me some not too long ago for a cake decorating class I was taking (don’t even remember what it was supposed to be used for), but then I gave it back to him, d’oh!  But, then I read on and discovered that in the absence of cream of tartar, lemon juice could be used, and lemon juice is one thing I am never out of, woo hoo, my morning and my scones were saved!.   I’m not going to get into the science of it all and the exact ratios, for that you can go to the link above, but long story short, for my missing 1 teaspoon of baking powder, I replaced it with ½ teaspoon of baking soda plus 2 teaspoons of lemon juice.  I added the baking soda in with my dry ingredients and the lemon juice in with my wet.  The recipe worked, I noted no discernible difference between this batch of scones and previously tested batches using the full Tablespoon of baking powder.  So now you know, no need to panic if out of baking powder, but if you end up with an empty box of baking soda, you’re on your own. : – )


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