Archive | February, 2010

Sunday Bake Day Photo

28 Feb

Midterms are this week and I have 3 exams, a paper and a project due so I’ll most likely be absent until next week when I can skip classes and bake and take photos and write about it for all of you lovelies. I’m kidding on the skipping classes part, mostly. I’ve gotten better at planning a bake session around my classes but sometimes I do find myself with 20 min left on something in the oven and 10 min before class starts. oops.

This is a pear clafoutis I made because we had some red pears and walnuts that I wanted to use. It turned out alright, a little too “eggy” for my roommate but it isn’t overly sweet so you feel ok if you eat it for breakfast. We still have half a pan since we celebrated a birthday this weekend and made loads of food for that. We constantly have sweets. Please come get them, I can’t live like this. My hips don’t lie.

Have a great week!

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Birthday Baklava!

24 Feb

My family came down to visit this weekend for my Dad’s birthday and for dessert I made this baklava. Both my mom and my brother have asked multiple times for me to make this for them, and I think my Dad secretly wants to ask as much as they do but holds back. Fortunately for them, I obliged this time and we all enjoyed a piece…before I could take pictures 🙂

I won’t tell you how old he is, for his sake, but I will say that through everything he has always been supportive and loving and for that I thank him. I am so lucky to have him as my dad and I can’t think of another person I would want to make this dish for. He is always willing to drop anything just to come pick me up or help me out. How can you ask for a better father than that? It’s amazing how blessed I am. I love my dad.

Baklava

For the baklava:

  • 1 lb. of chopped nuts (almonds, walnuts, or pistachios are best, or use a combination)
  • 1 lb of phyllo dough
  • 1 cup of butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup of sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • 1/3 teaspoon of ground cloves

For the syrup:

  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1/2 cup of honey
  • 2 tablespoons of lemon juice
  • 1 cinnamon stick

Lightly grease a 9×13 pan and set the oven to 350°F.

Roll out the phyllo dough and cut the dough in half so the sheets will fit in the pan. Cover with a damp towel to keep it from drying out.

Put the nuts in the food processor and pulse until in small, even sized pieces. Combine with sugar, cinnamon, and cloves. In a separate bowl, melt the butter in the microwave.

Place a sheet of phyllo dough into the pan. Using a pastry brush, brush the phyllo sheet with melted butter. Repeat 7 more times until it is 8 sheets thick, each sheet being “painted” with the butter.

Spoon on a thin layer of the nut mixture. Cover with four more sheets of phyllo, brushing each one with butter. Continue to repeat the nut mixture and four buttered sheets of phyllo until the nut mixture is all used up. The top layer should be 8 phyllo sheets thick, each sheet being individually buttered.

Cut the baklava into triangles or squares using a sharp knife. Bake at 350°F for 30-35 minutes or until lightly golden brown, and edges appear slightly crisp.

While baking, make the syrup. Combine the cinnamon stick, sugar, lemon juice, honey, and water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce to medium low heat and let simmer for 7 minutes and slightly thickened. Remove the cinnamon stick and allow to cool.

Spoon the cooled syrup over the hot baklava and let cool for at least 4 hours.

Recipe text adapted from Simply Recipes

WurstKuche

22 Feb

Eat here!

When I was out in LA last weekend we ate at Wurstkuche, an AWESOME sausage place that’s on the hip and trendy side of all things delicious. Our usual place is Cole’s, which is also beyond amazing but a different type of palate. (Think roasted lamb french dip. gah, I’m salivating just at the thought.) However, we chose to hit up the house of sausages to mix it up and hopefully find a new favorite to add to the list. We are discovering that Downtown is filled with spots  like these (Orachon Ramen, anyone?). Trust me when I tell you to go and eat here, especially if you like meat in the shape of tubes and drinks in the form of german beer. Vegetarian? They have something for you too! Seating is another fun part about it–beer hall-style. They also have a DJ on weekends and it’s usually packed beyond belief with the line constantly out the door. It doesn’t take long to get through because you order and then walk down a long, modern hallway to the “beer hall” and plop your hungry ass, beer glass, and order number on the table and chat up a storm with everyone around you. It’s a fun atmosphere and when our 4 (FOUR!!) sausages got to us the guys sitting across asked if they were just the two of us. Well, yes, they were. And they were gone in seconds.

Sunday Bakeday: Frozen Lemon Pie

21 Feb

Lemon is one of my favorite flavors and summer is one of my favorite seasons. This pie has both. Everyone has said it tastes like summer and lemonade and I think that has to do with the fact that it’s frozen until consumed. I don’t really like it but my roommate has said that it’s her favorite thing I’ve made so far. Really? I guess it just doesn’t do it for me, but it should. It has lemon (yes!), coconut granola crust (yes!) and is frozen (yes!).

I’m not saying you shouldn’t make this pie. This is easy and a crowd pleaser and a bit of sunshine in a gray winter day. Maybe I am just mad because I had to redo my egg whites since I over-beat them the first time. 3 wasted egg whites. Yeah, I might be taking out my frustration on the pie. I used my juicer to juice a whole lemon and threw in the juice, rind, and pulp. Very lemony. It’s adapted from Inside the Kaganoff Kitchen’s lemon icebox recipe and besides the crust I pretty much  followed the recipe.

For the crust I used some leftover granola we had and mixed it with some melted butter, patted it down firm into the pan and baked it for 8 min just to keep its shape. Worked pretty well and the coconut that was in the granola got toasty. Other than that there is stirring, whipping and folding.

Frozen Lemon Pie

  • 3 egg yolks
  • ½ cup + 3 tablespoons sugar
  • juice, rind and pulp of 1 lemon
  • 1 cup heavy cream, whipped
  • 3 egg whites
  • Graham Crackers ( I used granola and a little bit of butter and baked it for 8 min)

Over low heat cook egg yolks, a ½ cup sugar and lemon juice, pulp and rind until it forms a thick custard.

Fold in whipped cream.  Add 3 tablespoons sugar to the egg whites.  Beat until stiff but not dry.  Fold those into the cream/lemon mixture.

Crush Graham crackers and line a 9 x 9 pan with the crumbs. Pour in lemon mixture.  Sprinkle more graham cracker crumbs on top and freeze.

The Whoopie is in for 2010

19 Feb

Do you know what these funky things are? Say hello to the wonderful. colorful. Whoopie Pie! There has been a lot of talk from various ladies and gents on the blogroll about these little puff-taters. You’ve seen them in their standard garb- the chocolate, but also with a little sass in the red velvet. I wanted to step it up and make Friday a little more fun this week and bust out with a whole array of colors! Baloo blue, people eater purple, radical red, hamburglar yellow, golly green giant green. Don’t they just make you giggle looking at them? They’re like little dollops of color–BUT YOU CAN EAT THEM!

When we made these I didn’t think about how yellow mixed with brown would look, I just thought I would use a lot of yellow to get it right. I used all of the yellow food coloring and it still turned out like…that. We said they reminded us of Hamburglar from McDonlads, all it needs is some eyes and you’ll start to see it too. To do these I made the batter in the mixer and then divided it into 5 different bowls. Then I mixed. A lot. And then a lot more. It’s rough work getting these little pies to say “Whoopie” in different colors. By the way, does anyone else not like the word, “whoopie”? What else could we call these? Apart from the colors, my favorite part is the filling because it’s made from cream cheese and marshmallow fluff. Can I say WOW? It’s almost on the level of cheesecake, only not really. I just get excited when I like something similar to whipped cream, which I CANNOT tolerate. It gives me shivers just thinking about it.

I was turned on to this recipe by Iowa Girl Eats. She, too, got excited over these little cakes of goodness and has some fantastic pictures. I didn’t have any problems with the recipe and followed it true. These might become my default for a while because there is something about biting into these cakey, colorful, rich little sammys that I can’t get enough of. I’m giving most of them away tomorrow because they won’t last another second if I leave them in close proximity. This is my new addiction.

Whoopie Pies

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 1-oz. bottle red food coloring (2 Tbsp.)
  • 1 recipe Whoopie Pie Filling, recipe below

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line baking sheets with parchment; set aside. In medium bowl combine flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

2. In large mixing bowl beat butter on medium to high 30 seconds. Beat in brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla. Alternately add flour mixture and buttermilk, beating after each addition just until combined. Stir in food coloring.

3. Spoon batter in 1- or 2-inch diameter rounds, about 1/2-inch high on prepared baking sheets, allowing 1 inch between each round.

4. Bake 7 to 9 minutes for 1-inch cookies or 9 to 11 minutes for 2-inch cookies, or until tops are set. Cool completely on baking sheets on rack. Remove cooled cookies from baking sheets.

5. To fill, dollop Whoopie Pie Filling on flat sides of half the cookies. Top with remaining cookies, flat sides down. Makes 60 one-inch or 42 two-inch cookies.

6. Whoopie Pie Filling: In medium mixing bowl beat 1/4 cup softened butter and half an 8-ounce package softened cream cheese until smooth. Fold in one 7-ounce jar marshmallow creme.

7. To store: Refrigerate in airtight container up to 4 days. Let stand at room temperature 15 minutes before serving.

Just Add Hazelnuts

18 Feb

Everything is better with hazelnuts

A few weeks ago I made a coffee cake with my friend Justin and absolutely everything went wrong. It was supposed to be this cinnamon swirl delight but instead it turned into a dense log. It stayed tucked away until we needed the dish to bake something else. Something more worthy of a baking dish. There were mistakes at pretty much every step and it wasn’t even that nice to look at. This is not that coffee cake. This coffee cake has crunchy bits on top with a hazelnut-brown sugar layer in the middle. I also made it with sour cream and half whole wheat flour, instead of whatever useless concoction I thought would work last time. This one is still a little dry because I kind of over baked it but justice is done when served with ice cream or coffee or both. And who are we kidding, I had both because that’s how I roll.

Whole hazelnuts were on sale at the local grocery store that sells stuff in bulk and when my parents were down we stopped by to pick up some coffee and dried cranberries for my mom (She’s addicted to the unsweetened crans). She said I could get some stuff too (HELLO!) so I grabbed a bag of these along with some pistachios and pecans. Boy, do I love nuts. Nuts and cheese. Cheese and nuts. Anyway. There is something about toasted hazelnuts that just gets me giddy so this coffee cake turns me on a little just because of the mere inclusion of hazelnuts. Did you know that Turkey is the world’s largest producer of hazelnuts? In the United States they are produced mainly in Washington and Oregon. I’m thinking on making a trip to the northwest just because of that!

Hazelnut Coffee Cake

This recipe was taken from the Far Away Foodies with very minor changes. I didn’t have quite enough sour cream so I added in some yogurt and I used half whole wheat flour and half cake flour. I think that’s why mine was darker and a little more stiff. You can find the recipe they used here.

Smoothies for Breakfast

17 Feb

I had a dream about these smoothies. I also had a dream about pancakes, which given that yesterday was pancake day, I guess that’s appropriate. These smoothies invaded my brain last night and as soon as I woke up I knew I was going to make them and love them. I also had a dream about the almost-bad banana that I used. It was chasing me around and trying to crush me with its brown spots. My dreams are like this every night.

This smoothie is perfect even if you have 3 feet of snow on the ground like we have here. It’s cheery and makes you miss spring/summer but adds a little joy to your morning even if you’re dreading putting on your snow boots, buttoning up your coat, tying your scarf, putting on your gloves, snuggling into your hat, cursing the world before you open the door…all those great things you have to do because of the snow. Let’s focus on the positive with berries and bananas. That’s basically all it is: your choice of frozen berries, a banana, milk or water, and ice. If you don’t have ice in the freezer just walk outside and grab some (clean, if you like) snow. Yum.

Berry Smoothie

  • 1 banana
  • handful of frozen berries (I used strawberry and raspberry)
  • approx. 5 ice cubes
  • 1/2 cup milk/water

Put everything in the blender and blend/whip/liquefy until you get the consistency you like. In the words of Ken Nunn, “It’s just that easy.”

La Super-Rica Taqueria

16 Feb
Handmade tortillas make all the difference

Her job is to make tortillas all day.

I was reading reviews last night about this little taco stand in Santa Barbara and it seems there are mixed reviews- people hate it or love it or think there are too many white people eating there. Sure, understandable. Eat where the locals eat.

We're Open

Be prepared to wait in line.

No matter what people are up in arms about I’m still going to eat there every time I go to Santa Barbara. It’s a great little place to go to and it makes my mouth happy every time. Granted, my boyfriend has had mixed experiences but everyone has an off day once in a while.

Nom Nom Nom Nom Nom

Yes, I will take pictures of you eating.

Our meal was pretty great this weekend and I’m sure the fact that we hadn’t eaten yet helped. We ordered 5 entrees and split them all, except for the pasilla stuffed with cheese and chorizo–we each had our own. We also had a bowl of chorizo with melted cheese, chicken tacos with bell peppers, mushrooms, and onions, and steak tacos with bell peppers.

So much food to stuff into three tiny tortillas.

Chicken with bell peppers and onions.

Bowl of Chorizo = SO GOOD

We called this "Chorizo Soup". Chunks of chorizo and melted cheese made this my favorite.

I smashed that bowl of meat and cheese.

Even I get a photo while I awkwardly eat and smash the bowl of meat and cheese.

Our meal wasn’t complete without two beers. They were so perfect for the food and the moment. It was about 75 degrees and super sunny so why not enjoy a Corona along with it? Besides, I was about to be snow bound and stuck in a real-life snow globe. I had to get in all these luxuries in one weekend.

The one time I'll have a beer and enjoy it.

Corona with lime is one of the few beers I can enjoy.

I’m not a big beer girl. I think it tastes gross and don’t want to consume something that doesn’t appeal to me until I “acquire a taste” for it. That’s just not the kind of thing I want to do when there are so many great things out there that I abso love. However, once in a while I can appreciate the lime and Corona mix that goes well with greasy, messy food. I can get all over that.

Fro Yo Obsession

15 Feb

This is what I escaped to...

... and this is what I get after the beach.

I escaped to LA this weekend but came back to a snowstorm that made an hour trip home turn into almost 2.5. Rough. My flight left LA at 10pm and got to Indy at 5am and I didn’t get to bed until 8am. Phew.

I can officially say I'm obsessed with frozen yogurt.

The Midwest isn’t too crazy about fro yo. Sure, you can get it and you can enjoy it but there isn’t this craze here that SoCal seems to have. There is honestly a frozen yogurt establishment every 5 miles and there is always a line out the door. It used to be Pinkberry, but the hype is now around Yogurtland and I have to say for good reason. It’s self-serve, pay by the ounce, full of toppings, and all around yummy. I had in 3 times in 4 days. I’m not lying. I’m a sucker for the tart flavors like pomegranate & berry, pineapple, pistachio, coconut. My boyfriend is more of an extreme sugar rush person–peanut butter with chocolate, brownie bites, butterfinger “dust” and chocolate syrup drizzle. I’m not into the toppings, even the fresh fruit or gummy worms because I just like the simplicity of the tart flavors. They make me happy. I don’t need complex things to make me happy, just some fro yo.

Better when consumed on the beach.

Get some.

I Bleed Blue: Truffles

8 Feb

You might have noticed a little football game going on last night? Devastating. I’m a Colts fan and have crazy-fan earrings to prove it. Last night my team lost. In the Superbowl. ugh.

We had a Superbowl gathering because there is nothing better than getting together a group of people and screaming at an inanimate object for 3 hours. We clapped, shouted, cursed. We also ate, which is what makes this loss so much more heartbreaking because when the game is over and you have pretty team-colored foods they just make you mad. Good thing these Oreo truffles didn’t make it past halftime…

The Colts lost :(

These are probably the simplest and tastiest treat you can make in 10 min. It’s just Oreos and cream cheese, mixed together in a food processor and rolled into balls. Dip them in chocolate and they get even better. Last night, my friend Clair had 6 and kept debating if a stomach ache would be worse than eating another. I’m pretty sure she made everyone else eat the rest of them so the temptation was gone. When I went to the kitchen around the 3rd quarter they were all gone. If you want one you have to eat one before you share.

Don't make these by yourself. You will eat. all. of. them.

Oreo Truffles

  • 1 Package Oreos*
  • 1 8 oz package cream cheese

Process the Oreos in the food processor. Add the cream cheese and mix until thoroughly combined. Roll into balls and chill before dipping into melted chocolate. Decorate as your littler heart desires.

*I made these with my mom over Christmas and we bought the Double Stuft because that’s all the store had (what?!) and it was a mistake. Too much crème filling. They would only stay together if they were in the refrigerator and were a mess to roll into balls. Just buy the regular ones and you won’t have Oreo putty. Delicious, yes, but easy to clean, no.