Tuesday, December 22, 2009

christmas gifts part 4: chocolate truffles

on the hunt for more christmas food gifts, i found this recipe via foodgawker. these are way easier to make than one would think, but just be prepared for the delicious mess when rolling them out. on singforyoursupper, where this original recipe is posted, she splits up the chocolate to make different kinds. i was lazy/in a hurry/didn't have some of those things but had more crushed peppermint, so i did just plain chocolate rolled in candy canes.

here is the recipe

1 cup heavy cream
12 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup sugar (I like mine a little sweeter)

bring the cream and sugar to a boil over low heat, pour over the chocolate and stir until smooth. cover and chill the chocolate for at least 4 hours or overnight. roll into walnut size balls then refrigerate again for at least 20 minutes. roll in crushed peppermint candy. store in refrigerator.

Monday, December 21, 2009

guest posting: homemade marshmallows

my latest post on your heart out also makes a great gift. homemade marshmallows.

melt in your mouth delicious.

Friday, December 18, 2009

christmas gifts part 3: chocolate sauce

this is supposed to be a secret recipe but, since i'm posting it on the internet, i think that just went out the window. i'm not positive where this recipe originated from but i got it from my mom and let me tell you, it's pretty legit. i'm not a huge ice cream person and i almost always choose caramel over chocolate sauce but i'd eat ice cream just to have this sauce (tough life, right?) so, my gift to you—internet, is this recipe...

2/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2/3 cup butter
1 cup whipping cream
1 cup chocolate chips
1 teaspoon cornstarch mixed with 3 teaspoons water (this is a new addition of mine to make it slightly thicker)

in medium saucepan, combine brown sugar, butter and whipping cream.
bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. reduce heat;
simmer 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. add chocolate chips; stir
until melted and smooth. add cornstarch mixture, mix well. serve warm
over ice cream or dessert.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

christmas food gifts: part 2

this is a fantastic food gift. it makes a lot, it's in bar form so it's not messy, and there aren't too many who would turn down two kinds of chocolate and peppermint on a cookie. also, everyone at work liked them so, that's proof, right?

2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 large egg yolk
6 oz. bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup finely chopped red-and-white striped hard peppermint candies or candy canes (about 3 oz - i beat up 6 medium sized candy canes to get this amount)
2 oz. high-quality white chocolate (i used white chocolate chips, cause that's all they had at the grocery store)

preheat oven to 350. spray 13x9x2 inch baking pan with nonstick spray. line bottom of pan with long strip of 9 inch wide parchment paper, leaving overhang on both short sides of pan.

whisk flour and salt in medium bowl. using electric mixer, beat butter in large bowl until creamed, about 2 minutes. gradually beating sugar. continue beating until mixture is light and fluffy, stopping occasionally to scrape down sides of bow, about 3 minutes. beat in vanilla, then egg yolk. gradually add flour mixture, beating on low speed just to blend.

drop dough by tablespoonfuls into prepared baking pan, spacing evenly. using moistened fingertips, press dough to form even layer over bottom of pan. pierce dough all over with fork.

bake cookie base until light golden brown and slightly puffed and edges begin to come away from sides of pan, about 30 minutes. place pan on rack; immediately sprinkle bittersweet chocolate over. let stand until chocolate softens - about 3 minutes. using small offset spatula, spread bittersweet chocolate over top of cookie in thin even layer. immediately sprinkle chopped peppermint candies over.

stir white chocolate in metal bowl set over saucepan of simmering water - (with 2 tablespoons cream) - until melted and smooth. remove from over water. using fork, drizzle white chocolate all over cookies. chill until white chocolate is set - about 30 minutes. (make sure to make the white chocolate right before you use it or it will thicken up too much to drizzle)

using paper overhang as aid, lift cookie from pan and transfer to work surface. using large knife, cut cookie into irregular pieces (i just cut them in squares.)

**i got this recipe from my mom who got it from someone else, i'm not sure who the original source is, so i apologize.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

christmas food gifts: part 1

with so many people to give to and the fact that i'm not rich, i'm giving almost everyone food gifts this year. i just hope everyone likes sugary foods as much as i do...

here is a foolproof food gift.

spritz cookies. easy, cute and perfect.

tomorrow: i'll share the chocolate peppermint bark cookies i made for work gifts.

Monday, December 7, 2009

ok, i've been crazy swamped so i haven't had time to make things and blog and take pictures, etc. but i did make this pumpkin black bean soup last night and it's delish! i highly recommend it. all i want to eat is soup lately, so i love finding new recipes.

also, i really, really want to make/eat this gingerbread apple upside cake. but i think i'll try it with pears. dreamy!

ok, i'll try to blog soon. i'm already dreaming of all the christmas food that is awaiting me when i visit home later this month.

Friday, November 27, 2009

holiday wish list

my parents are incredible gift givers. they shop year round and are very thoughtful in their purchases. i wish i was as good at gift giving as they were, but alas, i don't have the same patience for shopping. i'm totally wracking my brain to think of what to get them and my other friends and family this christmas. i did however think of a bunch of things i would like. so if you know anyone who is into kitchen gadgets and things of the like, these are pretty great gifts.

the pastry queen by, rebecca rather

progressive measuring flour sifter. found via thekitchn

and this really nice set of serving utensils from nigella lawson

what's on your wishlist?

Monday, November 23, 2009

refrigerator bran muffins

these muffins were a family staple growing up. they are so much lighter than most bran muffins i've had. and how convenient that you can just make a few each morning so they are always fresh. such a great and hearty morning treat. 

2 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoons salt
3 cups whole bran cereal (i use all bran original cereal)
1 cup boiling water
2 beaten eggs
2 cups buttermilk
1 1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup canola oil
1 cup raisins

in a medium mixing bowl, stir together flour, baking soda and salt. set flour mixture aside. in a small mixing bowl combine the boiling water and 1 cup of the whole bran cereal and set aside. in a large mixing bowl, combine the eggs, buttermilk, sugar, cooking oil, and the remaining bran cereal. add flour mixture to the egg mixture; stir until just moistened. then add the soaked bran and stir till well combined. fold in the raisins. transfer the batter to a covered container and refrigerate it overnight or for up to a week. to bake, put in greased muffin tins. bake at 400° for 15-20 minutes or till the tops spring back when lightly touched. makes about 24 muffins.

Friday, November 20, 2009

pecan pie bars

i made food for an event last night for mondo fine art. i was dumb and didn't bring my camera, but i took a couple of shots with my phone. i made pumpkin bread pudding with cinnamon caramel sauce, gingerbread chocolate cookies and pecan bars.

i've been wanting to make pecan pie bars for ages now, but whenever i've tried one of these bars at a bakery or restaurant, they seem to be really dry and not have the consistency anywhere near pecan pie, so i was put off. and as i've noted before, i looooooove pecan pie. love. (love). but i couldn't be daunted for too long, so i did some research and created a fusion between a few recipes. and someone in this room (me) is happy with the result.

i got the crust recipe from the lemon bars on brown butter shortbread recipe from tartine that i posted before. and i got the filling recipe from my mom who found it in but i doubled it and made a couple of tiny tweaks. use an egg wash on the crust to keep the filling from seeping into it too much. you just put an egg white on the crust and swish it around till it's covered the entire surface of the crust, then you pour off the excess then bake.

1/2 cup confectioners sugar
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temp.

1 cup brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup maple syrup
3/4 cup corn syrup
4 eggs, room temp.
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
pinch salt
6 tablespoons melted butter
2 1/2 cups pecans

pour the filling on top and bake for 50 minutes at 350°. after the bars cool for 15 minutes, run a knife around the edges to make them easier to get out later. i think these taste best when they are made the day before and served cold. 


Monday, November 2, 2009

halloween 2009: doughnuts and wassail

it seems as if i've become a bit of a party pooper in my old age. the last thing on the planet i want to do is don a costume and party hop on halloween. i want to make the traditional doughnuts and wassail and watch cheesy movies with friends. i really wanted to re-learn the thriller dance but that was as festive as i was feeling. the thing is, it was a ridiculously enjoyable day and night. which goes to show, it's not where you are but who you are with, and what you are eating. that's sort of a saying, right? i didn't get a chance to take images of these recipes last year so here is some photographic evidence of doughnuts and wassail.

the doughnuts actually turned out better than they ever have before, which was a nice treat for me.

here is the recipe:

beat till frothy:
3 eggs

add, beating well:
1 1/4 c. sugar

add, stirring well:
2 T. melted butter
1 c. milk

stir in:
1 t. baking soda
2 t. baking powder
1/4 t. salt
1 t. nutmeg
2 t. cinnamon (i like to add a little more)
4 c. flour (probably added more like 5 1/2 cups when all was said and done)

mix well—can chill for easier handling. Fry at 375° (i tried that first but it seemed too hot so i dropped it about 100°) until done.

here is the wassail recipe:

1 quart water
2 1/4 c. sugar
10 cloves
8 allspice berries
2 sticks cinnamon
1 piece of candied ginger
2 quarts apple cider or juice
1 quart orange juice (i like the extra pulp kind)
2 c. lemon juice

mix water and sugar; boil for 5 minutes. remove from heat. stir in cloves, allspice berries, cinnamon and ginger. let stand 1 hour or more. strain. stir in apple cider, orange juice, and lemon juice. serve warm.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

flourless fudge cookies

i saw a post about cookies like these on thekitchn last week and not even a few hours later my friend julia sent me the same link. we discussed it and decided they needed to be made, so i found this recipe from the king arthur flour site that someone had recommended. this is one of the most unique recipes i've made and it seems sort of unnatural considering how little ingredients it has, and with no egg yolks or flour, it's practically good for you (yes, i think you should forget about the 2+ cups of powdered sugar it has in it and concentrate on no flour, butter or egg yolks! egg whites have protien people! and cocoa has flavonoids, right?)

anywho, my friends said they are divine (very rich so i can only eat a bite here and there, but for dark chocolate lovers, this is your scene.)

2 1/4 cups confectioners' sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon espresso powder, optional but good
1 cup cocoa powder, dutch-process (european-style) preferred
3 large egg whites (i had to add an extra because my batter was too thick)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

preheat the oven to 350°F. lightly grease two baking sheets. or line with parchment, and grease the parchment (or use a silpat but if you do, make sure to cool the cookies completely before trying to remove them). stir together all of the ingredients till smooth. scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl, and stir again till smooth. drop the dough onto the prepared baking sheets in balls about the size of ping pong balls, about 1 1/2"; a tablespoon cookie scoop works well here. bake the cookies for 8 minutes; they should spread, become somewhat shiny, and develop faintly crackly tops (they get more crackly when you remove them from the oven, so don't wait for them to be perfectly crackly while in the oven). remove the cookies from the oven, and allow them to cool right on the pan.

Friday, October 23, 2009

guest posting: pumpkin pancakes

check out my latest post on yourheartout.com. pumpkin pancakes and cinnamon syrup. the love affair with pumpkin continues...

Monday, October 19, 2009

pumpkin cake with apple crisp topping

i've been thinking for a while now that apples and pumpkin should make friends. they use the same spices and they are both fall friendly. so i decided i needed this. pumpkin cake, caramelized apples, and a crispy topping. so that's what i did.

here is the cake recipe:
2 cups flour
2 tsps ground cinnamon
2 tsps baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp ground giner
1 2/3 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
4 large eggs, room temperature
1 15 oz. can pumpkin

grease a 13 by 9 inch baking pan. whisk the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, salt, allspice, and ginger together in a medium bowl.

in a large bowl, beat the sugar, oil, and eggs together with an electric mixer on medium high speed until thick & fluffy, about 5 minutes. reduce the mixer speed to low and beat in the pumpkin puree until combined, about 1 minute. slowly beat in the flour mixture until just incorporated, about 30 seconds.

give the batter a final stir with a rubber spatula to make sure it is thoroughly combined. scrape the batter into the prepared pan, smooth the top, and gently tap the pan on the work surface to settle the batter. bake the cake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, 30-35 minutes. (bake at 350°)

but i baked it for about 20 minutes, then added caramelized apples. for this, i sliced up two golden delicious apples, and sauteed them in about a tablespoon of butter and added cinnamon and cloves and dark brown sugar to taste.

and to top it off, i made the crisp topping from this recipe (but halved it, as shown below).
1 c. sugar
1 c. flour
1/2 c. butter
2 t. cinnamon

then i baked it another 15 minutes. until a knife inserted in the center came out clean. and voila! you have yourself a fall dessert with two of my favorite ingredients.

Monday, October 12, 2009

chocolate chip gingerbread cookies

i've made these before but i had to post again because i love them sooooo much. this is absolutely one of my favorite cookies of all time. and it's a martha stewart favorite as well. so, you really can't go wrong. again, my changes were just using regular semi-sweet chocolate chips and only cooking them for 10 minutes, so they have a more truffle-like consistency. so do yourself a favor and make these for yourself!

7 ounces best-quality semisweet chocolate (i just used chocolate chips)
1 1/2 cups plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
1/2 cup dark-brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup unsulfured molasses
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup granulated sugar

in a medium bowl, sift together flour, ground ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and cocoa. in another bowl, beat butter and grated ginger until whitened, about 4 minutes. add brown sugar; beat until combined. add molasses; beat until combined.

in a small bowl, dissolve baking soda in 1 1/2 teaspoons boiling water. beat half of flour mixture into butter mixture. beat in baking-soda mixture, then remaining half of flour mixture. mix in chocolate; turn out onto a piece of plastic wrap. pat dough out to about 1 inch thick; seal with wrap; refrigerate until firm, 2 hours or more.

heat oven to 325 degrees. roll dough into 1 1/2- inch balls; place 2 inches apart on baking sheets. refrigerate 20 minutes. roll in granulated sugar. bake until the surfaces crack slightly, 10 to 12 minutes (i do 8 to 10). let cool 5 minutes; transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

pumpkin bread pudding with cinnamon caramel sauce

i love fall. i love boots and scarves and cardigans and changing leaves. i love thinking about apple cider, molasses infused treats and most of all—PUMPKIN. i keep thinking of new recipes to try which involve pumpkin. in fact, during the spring and summer i have to restrain myself from busting out my pumpkin and whipping up a pie or cookies using this marvelous ingredient. but, i have to stand by my principles, using/wearing/eating/listening to things that are seasonally appropriate. so, finally i've been able to experiment and i'm quite pleased with my first endeavor. i'm pretty sure i've mentioned how much i love bread pudding a few times on this blog and combining these two loves is a match made in fall heaven. i made my mom's recipe for pumpkin bread and combined it with an altered version of the recipe she sent me for a bread pudding from this bed and breakfast in mendocino, ca. dreamy. dream-fest. dream come true. so yeah, i like pumpkin and stuff...

8 large eggs

3 ½ cups milk

2 cups sugar

1 ½ cups whipping cream

1 t. vanilla extract

1 1-lb loaf pumpkin bread

butter a 3 quart baking dish. whisk eggs in large bowl to blend. add milk, sugar, cream, and vanilla. whisk to blend well. stir in bread. pour mixture into prepared baking dish, push down the bread crumbs, making sure they have all been coated by mixture. cover and refrigerate for 1 1/2 hours. cook for 1 hour, 45 minutes, or until it is set – 350 degrees (i had to up the tempurature to 375 degrees for the last 40 minutes). before serving, dribble some cinnamon caramel sauce over the top and serve with freshly whipped cream.

cinnamon caramel sauce

1 cup (packed ) golden brown sugar

1 cube butter

½ cup whipping cream

¾ t. cinnamon

stir brown sugar and butter in heavy medium saucepan over medium heat until melted and smooth, about 2 minutes. add cream and cinnamon and bring to simmer. simmer until sauce thickens and is reduced to 1 ½ cups, about 5 minutes. serve warm.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Monday, September 21, 2009

peach-ginger-blueberry cobbler

i want to hug peaches. they are so delightful that i buy a bunch at the end of the season and cut them up and freeze them. i admit that i HATE peeling and chopping them (although that little trick where you boil the peaches at a hard boil for 1 to 2 minutes really makes it so much easier.) even so, peaches are a dream. i was craving them last night so, when i was looking for good cobbler recipes, i found my cousin's that she sent me a while back. i added some blueberries and halved the original recipe so it fit in an 8x8 square pan. plus a few spices that i was in the mood for. which seemed to work well because my friend said it tasted like christmas in a bowl (i'd say that's a pretty awesome compliment.) here is the original recipe:

7 cups peaches (peeled, sliced and chunked)
1/2 cup sugar
2 tbsp. flour
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. almond extract
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt

(i added about 1/2 tsp. of nutmeg and cloves. and about 1 tsp. fresh ginger.)

Mix together and put in a 9x13 pan.

1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
2 tbsp. butter, softened
1 egg

mix topping ingredients together and spoon over peach filling.

bake 375 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until the topping is browned and thoroughly cooked. you could top with ice cream, or english custard like i did.

Monday, September 14, 2009

granola with coconut and dried apricots

i'm always looking for nutritious snacks and with no preservatives that don't taste like stale cardboard. luckily, i found this granola recipe on smittenkitchen.com but made a few adjustments to make it less of a granola bar and more loose granola i could eat as cereal or just munch on.

2 cups old-fashioned oatmeal
1 cup sliced almonds
1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
1/2 cup toasted wheat germ
1/4 cup flax seed
3/4 cup honey
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon coconut extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 1/2 cup dried apricots

preheat your oven to 350°F. butter a 9×13-inch pan.

toss the oatmeal, almonds, and coconut together on a sheet pan and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned. transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl and stir in the wheat germ and flax seed. reduce the oven temperature to 300°F.

while the mixture is still warm, stir in the honey, vanilla, coconut and almond extracts and salt until the mixture is well coated, then the dried fruit. pour the mixture into your prepared baking dish and press, press, press it in (wet fingers and/or a silicon spatula work great for this) until the mixture is packed as tightly as possible.

bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until light golden brown.

store these in an airtight container at room temperature for a week or two.

(with milk and bananas - dreamy!)

Monday, August 31, 2009

how to be a domestic goddess recipes: chocolate peanut butter bars

like most foodies, i saw the "julie and julia" movie and loved it. my friend and i were inspired to go through a cookbook as well. so we decided on nigella lawson's book, "how to be a domestic goddess". the tagline of the book is: "baking and the art of comfort cooking" - which is totally up my alley. whenever people ask me what i like to bake and what my style is, i always say that it's baked comfort food, stuff your (my) mom would make. so it's the perfect book to go through. this was my first recipe to try cause i had the ingredients mostly on hand, it included chocolate and it took almost no time to make. awesome. the taste of these is very similar to peanut butter bon bons so that's pretty dreamy, but a simple approach to the same concept. anyway, enough chatter... get to making these!

ingredients for the base:
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 1/3 cups confectioners' sugar
1/4 cup unsalted butter
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter

ingredients for the topping:
7 ounces milk chocolate (i didn't have milk chocolate, so i just used 11 oz. of semi-sweet instead of the milk and bittersweet)
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate
1 tablespoon unsalted butter

stir all the ingredients for the base together until smooth. press the sandy mixture into a 9-inch square brownie pan and make the surface as even as possible.

to make the topping, melt the chocolates and butter together (in a microwave for ease, for a minute or two on medium) and spread the base. put the pan in the refrigerator to set. when the chocolate has hardened, cut into squares (after you let it sit out for a bit for the chocolate to soften just a touch, otherwise it will crack when you cut it)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

plum jam

my new obsession is plum jam. why did i not know about this earlier? so easy to make, really inexpensive and the recipe i found (at thechefinyou.com) is so made in a couple of simple steps and with only a few ingredients. plum jam + brie + french bread and fresh pear = heaven.

approx. 5 cups of plums, chopped and pitted
2 T. of freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 packet powdered fruit pectin (i had the liquid kind and just boiled it all longer)
1 cup honey (increase or decrease as per taste) -- i love that this calls for honey instead of straight sugar
1/2 cup water

mix the plums, pectin and lemon juice in a heavy bottomed pan (i used my dutch oven pot) and cook in medium heat. the plums will start liquifying slowly. while slightly mushy, add 1/2 cup water, stir well and cook until it comes to a boil. remove the foam that forms on the top (or to make the foam go away easily you could just add a little butter.) add the honey or sugar, mix and cook for another 10-15 minutes until it all starts coming together as one thick syrup consistancy.

instructions for the canning process:
alternatively with soapy water, clean the jam can well, along with the lid. lightly dry it and then drop them in a big pot of water. bring them to a boil. lift them carefully (don’t burn your hands) and lightly dry them with paper towels. they should feel hot since it will make sure that the bottle does not break when your pour the jam inside. slowly pour the jam into the jar up to about 1/2-1/8 inch on top. close the lid tightly and invert the bottle to help the jam set well for about 5 minutes.

now slowly place it, straightup, inside the hot boiling water and leave it for another 5-8 minutes. this is done to help make the jam keep longer. if you live in higher altitudes, then leave them for about 10min. too much boiling can make the jam runny, as well.

remove and refrigerate the jars once completely cooled.


Monday, August 24, 2009

rhubarb-raspberry jam

it's official, your grandma and i should be best friends. i spent all day yesterday making jam, knitting, and watching old movies. all i need now is a hip replacement for it to be even more legit. i made two kinds of jam. a plum jam (which i'll post later this week) and this rhubarb-raspberry jam. i've only made freezer jam before, so i was excited to try making the cooked kind. i can't remember how i found this recipe, but i did, and i'm thankful for it. i found it here and it's so much simpler than i thought it would be.

Rhubarb-Raspberry Jam - from The Rhubarb Compendium - makes about enough to fill up four 8-oz jars

4 cups 1-inch pieces fresh rhubarb (about 1 1/2 pounds)
2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 1/2-pint basket raspberries
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

combine rhubarb pieces, sugar and fresh lemon juice in heavy large dutch oven. cover and refrigerate until juices form, stirring
occasionally, at least 8 hours or overnight.

bring rhubarb mixture to simmer over medium heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. increase heat to high and boil until rhubarb mixture thickens slightly, about 5 minutes. add raspberries and boil until mixture is thick, stirring occasionally, about 6 minutes longer. remove jam from heat. stir in ground cardamom. cool jam completely.

(i boiled my jars in hot water and filled them up with the hot jam, then turned them over for 5 minutes, then boiled them for ten more minutes—right side up—to get a better seal so that my jam will last longer)

Monday, August 17, 2009

i want: pop savor from prepara

i need these in my life. how cute are they? i found these on thekitchn.com (one of my favorite food sites/blogs). i'm always sprinkling salt or red pepper flakes or sugar on something and this is such a great design. and would be darling gifts. i think i'll have to get some for myself and some of my foodie friends.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

banana coconut muffins

my biggest pet peeve about muffins is, they are so good fresh that i want to eat a whole dozen. which i obviously cannot do. but when you store them they lose their texture. i've tried on a plate with foil (they get dry), in tupperware (they get that moist, almost waxy look, and lose any crisp edges), fridge (they get hard)... etc. and so on. if anyone has any tips they know of, please, PLEASE, let me know. my waistline demands it. moving on...

i got this recipe from one of my sisters, and make just a few tweaks (namely coconut and brown sugar) and i love it.

4 big ripe bananas
1/3 cup oil
3/4 cup sugar

blend together with a blending wand or a blender - something to make it super smooth.

1 cup wheat flour
1 cup white flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
(i added, 1 teaspoon vanilla and 1 teaspoon coconut flavoring)

(also, i added brown sugar and coconut on top. just a sprinkle of brown sugar to get a little crispy, and enough coconut to satisfy)

fold the rest of the ingredients together until blended. pour into muffin pan. (sprinkle brown sugar over the top of each muffin then sprinkle coconut) bake at 350 for about 20 minutes.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

flourless peanut butter cookies

i first found these on joy the baker's site. and i heard my sister talk about pretty much the same recipe, so i had to try it. and i'm soooooo glad i did. best peanut butter cookies of my life! and since they don't have any flour, it's pretty much pure protein at that point, right? sure, whatever.

1 c. smooth peanut butter
1 c. sugar (1/2 c. brown sugar and 1/2 c. granulated sugar)
1 t. vanilla
1 egg
1 t. baking soda

preheat oven to 350°. in a mixer combine peanut butter and sugars until well combined, about 2 minutes. add egg and baking soda and mix for another 2 minutes. roll into walnut sized balls and create a cris-cross pattern with a fork, dipped in sugar. bake for 10 minutes, until lightly browned.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

pineapple upside down cake

there are some people who are like "i don't like warm fruit" and that totally harshes on my gig (remember that line, amy?) because think about it, peach cobbler, apple crisp, blueberry buckle, pineapple upside down cake... that's some good stuff right there. pineapple upside down cake is always a great summer cake. or winter, or any season really. i was trying to think of something to make for my family that would be pretty easy and of course, delicious. so, hello warm fruit. i actually doubled this because i was making this for my family, and it adjusted perfectly.

1/2 c. firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 c. butter, melted
6 canned pineapple slices, drained
2 eggs, separated
1/2 c. sugar
3/4 c. flour
1/2 t. baking powder
1/4 t. salt
1/4 c. pineapple juice

(for high altitude: add 3 T. flour and bake at 375° for 30-35 minutes)

heat oven to 350° F. in a small bowl, combine brown sugar and margarine; blend well. spread in bottom of ungreased 9-inch round cake pan. (again, i doubled this, and adjusted for altitude so i did this in a 9x13 and cooked it at 375°). arrange pineapple slices over brown sugar mixture. set aside.

in a small bowl, beat egg yolks until thick and lemon colored. gradually add sugar; beat well. add flour, baking powder, salt and pineapple juice; mix well.

in another small bowl, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. fold into batter. pour batter evenly over pinapple slices.

bake for 30-35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. cool upright in pan 2 minutes. invert cake onto serving plate. serve warm.

(recipe from the pillsbury complete cookbook)

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

i want: oven thermometor

so my new oven is a gas one, which i've never used before. and i'm thinking i need one of these to make sure that the temperature is just right. has anyone used one of these before? i hear they are a necessity, pretty much no matter what oven you use. i really could have used one at my last place, that oven was quite wonky.

oh and ps, here's a partial view of my new kitchen that i'm in love with.

and pps, recipe coming soon. sorry, work wants to own my soul!

Monday, July 27, 2009

can't live without: my serrated peeler

this was another fantastic christmas gift from my parents. i always just thought a peeler was a peeler, until i used this. it's amazing. i am always peeling yams or carrots or apples, and this makes things SO much quicker and smoother. i highly recommend it! (oh, but if you are clutzy and hurt yourself in every task that you do—like me—i would just say, be careful and don't get too carried away or you'll end up with serrated thumbs.)

Friday, July 24, 2009

coconut macaroons

i love, love, love macaroons. if i was a poet, i'd insert "an ode to coconut" right here. anyway, i have made a few different recipes but wanted to try nigella lawson's macaroons. i got how to be a domestic goddess for my birthday (thanks, rach!) and have been itching to make something from it ever since. i love the flavor of these—the coconut extract adds so much. i definitely want to try these again because i don't think the texture came out quite how i wanted it, but the flavor is on point.

2 large egg whites
1/4 t. cream of tartar
1/3 c. sugar
2 T. ground almonds
pinch of salt
1 t. vanilla extract (or coconut extract, should such be available)
1 c. plus 2 tablespoons shredded coconut

preheat the oven to 325°.

beat the egg whites until frothy—no more—then add the cream of tartar and continue beating, until soft peaks are formed. add the sugar a teaspoon at a time and whisk until the peaks can hold their shape and are shiny. fold in the almonds, salt, vanilla, and coconut. the mixture will be sticky but should, all the same, hold its shape when clumped together.

(you can form this into larger balls or smaller ones, i wanted more so i made them smaller, and doubled the batch. they might stay more round if you make them larger, so i might try that next time i need them for fewer people.)

cook for 20 minutes or until they’re just beginning to turn golden in parts.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

lemon-yogurt-poppy seed muffins

these were the first thing to break in my brand new oven. not a bad way to go, cause if you've spent any time with me at all lately, you'd know i'm obsessed with all things lemon. at least three times a day i mention my insatiable desire for a lemon slushy like the one i had at bakesale betty's. which i have yet to find again here in salt lake.

back to the muffins. you should probably make these.

1/2 c. unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 c. sugar
2 eggs
2 t. vanilla extract
juice of 1 lemon
zest of 1 lemon, finely minced
1 t. lemon extract
1 c. plain yogurt
2 1/2 c. flour
2 1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1/4 t. salt
2 T. poppy seeds

lemon syrup:
3/4 c. water
1/4 c. lemon juice
1 t. lemon extract
1 c. sugar

preheat oven to 375°. arrange oven rack to middle position. line muffin pans with paper liners. cream butter until smooth and creamy. blend in sugar and then eggs, vanilla, lemon juice, zest, lemon extract, and yogurt. blend well; fold in flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and poppy seeds. scoop batter into prepared muffin cups. bake until golden and set, about 25 minutes.

for lemon syrup, simmer water, lemon juice, extract, and sugar over low heat for 5 minutes. cool well. brush baked poppy seed muffins 2 or 3 times with lemon syrup wile they are still warm. let cool 5 minutes before removing from pan.

(recipe from "a passion for baking" by marcy goldman)

Sunday, July 19, 2009

while i've been gone

ok, so i'm back and not living in chaos anymore. i LOVE my new place and broke in my new oven and range this weekend. dreamy. anyway, i'm posting some pictures of some foods i ate during my trip to southern california. as always, my trip revolved around food and it was delicious. i only took a few pictures, but they are pictures of really good things.

delicious bread pudding that my sister-in-law's mother made. i LOVE bread pudding. LOVE.

one of my very favorite treats: it's-it. mmmmmm

and thrifty's chocolate malted crunch ice cream. so divine. most of my childhood memories revolve around riding my bike to thrifty's and eating this or the black cherry ice cream.

and this incredible guacamole my sister made. i have the recipe somewhere?? i think i'll have to be asking for this again cause i have no idea where that ended up. and i know i need it. it's the perfect summer guacamole. i could use some right now, actually...

ok, so that's a little bit of my trip, i'll post my muffin recipe from this morning later this week, now that i'm functioning again (for the most part anyway).

Thursday, July 9, 2009

don't be mad

but, it's been a minute since i've been able to post. i was out of town for family events and now i'm packing up my apartment and living in chaos because i'm moving into a condo i'm buying.

i'm so excited because i get to cook on this:

(i literally hugged this when i first saw it)

i probably won't be able to post again for another week because work is insane right now, but i'll see if i can even dig up some inspiration or something. ok, back to the chaos and anxiety...

Monday, June 29, 2009

busy little bee

this weekend my gorgeous and fabulous friend, liz gillman of fleur de sel catering hosted a beautiful croquet party and had me make some goodies for it. i made a double batch of lemon bars and some snickerdoodles. but the star of the show had to be liz's fig pizza. it's one of the best things i've ever had! oh so delicious! it was a very lovely and bourgeoisie (bougie) event, and i was so happy to be a part of it. thanks, liz!

Monday, June 22, 2009

blueberry crumb cakes

i was going to have brunch with a friend of mine this sunday and i was trying to think of something pretty quick and easy, but still fancy enough to be brunch worthy. i was hoping muffins or coffee cake would do the trick, however i wanted to try something new. i ended going through my family cookbook and found this recipe for crumb cakes. i added the blueberries to the recipe and i think it's the perfect addition. but let's be honest, blueberries make just about anything better.

1 cup flour
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 t. baking powder
1/4 t. baking soda
1/8 t. salt
1/8 t. cinnamon
1/3 cup buttermilk
2 T. butter, melted
1 egg
1 t. vanilla
2/3 c. blueberries

1/2 c. flour
1/3 c. brown sugar
2 t. cinnamon
4 T. cold butter, cut into pieces
(cut with pastry cutter or two knives until crumbly)

preaheat oven to 375°, grease 12-cup muffin tin. combine dry ingredients till well mixed. whisk wet ingredients till combined. add wet ingredients to dry ingredents and mix with fork until just combined. add blueberries and mix unti l just combined. divide batter between 12 cups (i actually only got 10 cups out of mine, and i used a cookie scoop to divvy up the batter). top with topping and pat down. bake for 12 - 14 minutes. cool 5 minutes and transfer to wire racks.