Like just about anyone, I believe that foods that are non-messy to eat are wonderful for car trips, and as I was going to be traveling about 1500 miles over this Christmas break... I knew I would need nourishment. If you have been following this blog long, you know I love pies of any kind, but particularly hand pies for my adventures of the house (For instance). I have been on a kale kick this whole season anyway, thanks to the delicious kale salad at Rustik by my house, so when I saw this recipe for chicken and kale handpies by Martha Stewart I knew exactly what my roadtrip food would be. They turned out well though next time I will probably use a different crust and put cheese the pies as I found the crust to be a little difficult to work with.
The flavors of these pies melded together perfectly though, and kept me full through my long drives. The only other thing that I did different from Martha was the fact that I prefer the half moon shape because I feel like you can get a better seal. Also, they are a little smaller which is helpful to me who likes to only eat a little at a time.
On another note. My resolution for this blog is to get back into posting everyday. I will try my best to do so, but am not promising anything. What I ask of you is to let me know what you would like to see: style advice, recipes you want me to try, anything... just comment or shoot me an email and let me know! Thanks and Happy New Year to you all!
I have been having a craving for using some fresh rhubarb lately... I guess it is summer that makes me crave it. There is something about how tart and light it is that is refreshing from the dark chocolate-y desserts I enjoy during the winter months. Don't get me wrong, I don't give up on the chocolate desserts during the summer, but I definitely do munch on fruity sweets much more. I am drawn to the fruits that have that lip-puckering punch packed in them like rhubarb or passionfruit because you can pair them with a lot of surprising things, or just something syrupy sweet that other fruits can't handle. I didn't want to do my strawberry rhubarb pie since I wasn't in my kitchen, so I looked around for interesting recipes and decided on one from Smitten Kitchen called Rhubarb Snack Cake. It reminded me a lot of the boy bait I made but with a delicious crumble on top, it was also meant to be a bit thinner like a brownie I just put mine in a smaller pan because it is what I had, and I wanted it a bit thicker.
This cake definitely did not disappoint me; the streusel on top added a perfect crunch. I can picture myself having this many times in the future, over coffee with my grandparents, patio parties with my friends, out at the lake catching rays... ahh, summer is here alright, and my daydreaming is going on full throttle.
Let me know what you think? What are your favorite summer desserts? Anything you have been wanting to try?
Chicken Cordon Bleu is one of the dishes I think I make best... I know it's an easy one, but it's the easy ones that trip me up. To be fair, I do switch it up from the classic recipe though. Chicken doesn't photograph that well (or at least I don't photograph chicken well), so forgive the photographs, and try this recipe. Trust me... you'll like it.
I didn't like the sound of Chicken Cordon Bleu before I had it because as much as I love most parts of pigs... ham is not my favorite and while I love cheese in most forms... swiss is not my favorite, so I didn't understand why you pick those two ingredients. This is where I came up with the idea to change from ham to proscuitto and from swiss to fontina. It is amazing how much more I like it with such a simple fix. Recipe follows for this great southern chicken dish.
Chicken Cordon Bleu
Can't get enough coffee these days-- I am actually having a cup every hour that I should be sleeping. Maybe it's not healthy, but law school is almost over. Since, I was getting tired of just having coffee in a cup, I decided to combine it with one of my other favorite things: cupcakes. I did some searching online for fluffy coffee cupcakes, but it took some time to find the right one. I am quite particular about my cupcakes, I did find this recipe that used coffee and macadamia nuts... and a light dusting of 100% cacao on top. It reminded me so much of my time in Hawaii that I had to make it. I even got Kona coffee just for authenticity. I don't think it would really matter what kind of coffee you used though. I adapted the recipe a little bit and you can find those changes below
Coffee Macadamia Nut CupcakesIngredients
For the icing
I have been having a serious chocolate craving the past few days, and since I'm not worried about looking pretty in a light colored fitted satin dress anymore-- I indulged. I was surprised at how easy this chiffon cake is to make, with the hardest part being remembering to only use four of the egg yolks, not six. (Call it the sleep deprivation I am suffering from that caused me to mess that up at first). This cake is perfect with the hot tea I have been drinking plenty of lately because of it's rosewater frosting, which I must warn you to make sure not to be heavy handed in your use of the rosewater, as it is very bold and can be overwhelming.... and no one wants to feel like they are eating a bouquet, no matter how much they like flowers. My favorite part of this cake is that it is fluffy and very chocolate-y, definitely hit the spot for my late night study sessions.
So last weekend was the shower thrown by us bridesmaids, and, I believe, it was a success. I completely failed as a blogger when I forgot to take pictures, but I wanted to at least share our menu (Watermelon Salad, Baked Southwest Eggrolls, and Mini-Neopolitan Cakes) with you guys since it was such a hit. I tried to make sure that I was keeping things on the healthy end of the spectrum, since half of the attendees are going to be in light colored silk satin on Saturday. (Yikes!) I am so looking forward to the wedding, and the madness is starting with the out of town guests starting to arrive. The shower was out at a lovely ranch style house in the country that we decorated with wildflowers, a couple of hand-painted table markers, and a collection of white frames. We played a version of "The Newlywed Game" that I called "The Almost-Wed Game" and opened gifts... though we all couldn't wait to finish opening presents and get in the hot tub for girl talk.
Chocolate chip cookies are a part of my daily diet, but normally I just go with the frozen Otis Spunkmeyer variety. Since they have stopped selling them at my H.E.B. and I am much too lazy to go about trying to figure out having them order them for me... I am back to making my own. I have made a couple other kinds of chocolate chip cookies (here and here) but though they are delicious, I have continued my search for the ultimate recipe. When you search around on the internet for the best chocolate chip cookies, this recipe from the New York Times always comes up. They are really delicious, though the waiting for the dough to set for 24-36 hours is almost impossible. I waited... but I took some samples of the dough along the way. I don't know if it was worth it, but I can say they are yummy caramel flavors that develop.
What makes this recipe so good?
1. The mixture of the cake flour and the bread flour. Cake flour is finer and the bread flour has gluten, both important.
2. The size of the cookies. When you make your cookies too small they dry out faster and get too crunchy.
3. The chocolate. Sorry, Toll House. And don’t even think about the generic supermarket brand. I only use Ghiardelli 60% Cacao chips — they’re pretty widely available the best chips you can buy at a grocery store.
4. The sprinkle of sea salt on the top really brings out the chocolate flavor.
5. Make sure your ingredients are room temperature, I never realized how important this was until the past year.
Anyone who knows me knows that I love garlic and old folks, but the latter is neither here nor there in this post. What I am trying to say is that I love garlic... a lot. I have been looking for something that I want to make that is not cereal or dessert, with little to no avail, until last night when I was flipping through my Seasons cookbook and saw this roasted garlic and ricotta pasta recipe. It really hit the spot, though I did end up making some chocolate chip cookies for dessert, just for good measure.
Roasted Garlic and Ricotta Pasta
from Donna Hay, Seasons
10 cloves garlic
2 cups (300G) pitted Kalamata olives
1/3 cup (80ml) olive oil
2 tbsp. salted capers, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup (40g) pine nuts
1/3 cup oregano leaves
1 tbsp. lemon juice
375g fresh lasagne sheets, cut into wide strips [I used extra wide homemade pasta instead]
sea salt and black pepper
1 1/2 cup finely grated parmesan
Preheat the oven to 355 degrees. Place the garlic, olives, and one tablespoon of oil in a baking dish and toss to coat. Roast for 15 minutes or until the garlic is tender. Peel, mash, and set aside. Place the remaining oil in a non-stick frying pan over medium heat until hot. Add the capers, pine nuts, and oregano for 2-3 minutes until oregano is crisp. Add the lemon juice, remove from heat, and set aside. Cook the pasta in a saucepan of boiling water for 5 minutes or until al dente. Drain and return to pan. Add the olives, mashed garlic, pine nut mixture, salt, pepper, ricotta, and parmesan and toss to combine. Divide and serve. Serves four.
When it comes to desserts, I have found, that the sillier the name, the more delicious it is. I have always been a fan on "cobbler" or "grunt" or though it's technically a sandwich a "fluffernutter" and just as much for their funny names as for how they actually taste. I am not ashamed to admit this, and the fact that a good name can convince me to buy just about anything: nail polish, a book, a new flavor of cupcake at the local cupcake shop, really anything. Marketing works on me and I am not ashamed to admit it.
So when I was browsing around for things to make just to fill my urge for cooking nothing seemed right until I stumbled upon a recipe for blueberry boy bait from brown eyed baker. I decided that I would love to make it because it looked like a mixture of blueberry muffins and buttery yellow cake... but I had to make a few adjustments based on reviews that I had read of the recipe and personal preferences. For instance I am not the biggest fan of blueberries, but I can eat raspberries and blackberries until I am sick.
This is my altered recipe:
Razzleberry Boy Bait
altered from Blueberry Boy Bait
For the Cake:
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus 1 teaspoon
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon table salt
12 tablespoons (1.5 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
¾ cup packed light brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
1 cup skim milk
½ cup raspberries½ cup blackberries
For the Topping: ¾ cup mixed blackberries and raspberries
¼ cup granulated sugar
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1. For the Cake: Adjust the oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 13×9-inch baking pan.
2. Whisk 2 cups of flour, baking powder, and salt together in a medium bowl; set aside. With an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugars together on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until just incorporated. Reduce speed to medium and beat in one-third of the flour mixture until incorporated; beat in half of the milk. Beat in half of the remaining flour mixture, then remaining milk, and finally remaining flour mixture. Toss the blueberries with remaining 1 teaspoon flour. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold in both type of berries. Spread the batter into the prepared pan.
4. For the Topping: Scatter the berries over top of the batter. Stir the sugar and cinnamon together in a small bowl and sprinkle evenly over the batter. Bake until toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes. Cool in pan 20 minutes, then turn out and place on serving platter (topping side up). Serve warm or at room temperature. (Cake can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.)
So, why is it called Blueberry Boy Bait? Well, they say that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. Apparently, that applies to teenaged boys as well. At least, that’s what Renny Powell was thinking when she developed her award winning Blueberry Boy Bait recipe for the 1954 Pillsbury Bake-Off. The 15 year-old amateur baker from Chicago took second place in the youth division of the contest that year with her creation. When asked why she named her cake Blueberry Boy Bait, Powell explained that it was named after the effect it had on teenaged boys – “one bite and they were hooked”! I know that I was... I couldn't stop eating it and am so glad it is gone now because I lost all self control! :)
The Academy Awards are this Sunday, which is my favorite of the awards shows (Golden Globes is a very close second, but lacks some of the pomp and circumstance that I love about the Oscars) and I always have my girls over for snacks, cocktails, and judging of outfits. I was looking for recipes that I wanted to serve and thought "what goes with movies?... Popcorn" so then I started looking at ways to jazz up popcorn and found these gems below. I think I will make two or three of these to have around, but I don't know which to pick they all look so good. Of course, we will have the traditional sushi and very chocolatey dessert, but I think these popcorns will add a great salty taste for grazing on. Besides the food: I am going to have ballots for everyone to cast their vote, comfortable floor seating, and a signature cocktail. My favorites of the nominees are The Artist, Midnight in Paris, and The Descendants, so that's where my ballot votes will be cast if you were looking for tips. I didn't make my goal of seeing every movie nominated, but then again I never do... maybe next year. What are your Oscars plans? Who are your favorites to win? and the even bigger question... Who do you think will be best/worst dressed on the red carpet?