August 28, 2012

What I did on my Summer Vacation…plus Lemon Mousse with Strawberry Compote

Lemon Mousse with Strawberry Compote

The mousse is very simple mixture of lemon curd (which only takes about 15 minutes to make and can be made up to a week in advance) and whipped cream. So simple! I make a big batch of lemon curd at the beginning of the week, then when dessert time rolls around I whip up a little cream and mix in a few heaping spoonfuls of curd. In 5 minutes you have a smooth-silky-light-fluffy-sweet-tart lemony treat. Bonus: the extra lemon curd is fantastic in yogurt, slathered on cake or muffins or just eaten by the spoonful!

And be sure to try this with Meyer Lemons when they’re in season again next year. I was lucky enough to find Meyer lemons very late in the season and this was one of the first things I made with them.


February 15, 2012

Lemon and Cream Cheese-filled King Cakes

Lemon and Cream Cheese-filled King Cakes

Even though I haven’t lived anywhere that celebrates Mardi Gras for a very long time, I grew up on the Gulf Coast and still have lots of fond memories of going to the parade every year. And since my birthday is in late February, Mardi Gras has fallen on or near the same day—the date changes every year, along with Easter—a bunch of times so I would usually have some kind of Mardi Gras themed party and we’d order a King Cake instead a normal birthday cake. This year, Mardi Gras happens to be next Tuesday, the day after my birthday, so I thought it would be fun to have a King Cake again.

King Cakes I’ve made in the past have always been huge, not only hard to handle and store but they’d wind up drying out before we could finish eating them. So this time, rather than making one giant cake I decided to make small personal-size cakes. I don’t think I’ll ever go back to full size again! This recipe makes four 6-inch King Cakes which are adorable and easy to carry and store. I think they’d …

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September 19, 2012

Caramel & Cinnamon Banana Oat Bars

I don’t know what it is about bananas but I always feel compelled to buy a huge bunch of them despite the fact that most of the time I eat three or four while the rest sit there and rot. But then I wind up standing in front of the bananas again at the grocery store and telling myself that this time I’ll really eat them all. THIS TIME. I’ll eat two a day! I swear! Yeah, right.

But now, I finally have a good excuse for letting those bananas blacken and it’s all thanks to this recipe. I’d been looking for something with oats that was healthy but still, you know, actually tasted good so when I saw a recipe that had oats and used up all my overripe bananas it seemed perfect. But I still wanted it to be healthier so I did some tests. Can I use whole wheat flour? Can I use less butter? Luckily, the answer to both of those was yes. In fact, it turns out you can completely substitute coconut oil for butter and it tastes just as good while giving you lots more health benefits.

June 28, 2010

Roast Beef with Peppers, Onions and Potatoes

Roast Beef with Peppers, Onions and Potatoes

Thanks to everyone who entered last week’s giveaway! You guys really love your mac n’ cheese, which makes me think I should post my favorite recipe for it. Anyway, if you haven’t commented on that post yet, you still can and you’ll be entered to win Everyday Food: Fresh Flavor Fast. Computer issues prevented me from posting on Friday like I had planned, so I’m posting the second giveaway today and will announce the winners of both cookbooks on Friday instead of Wednesday (barring other computer issues, which I’m still working through). If you comment on today’s post as well then you’ll get another chance to win!

July 13, 2009

BBA Challenge: Ciabatta

Ciabatta

The seventh recipe for The Bread Baker’s Apprentice Challenge was Ciabatta. This was one I was really excited about attempting but also pretty apprehensive. It’s probably one of the most complicated breads we’ve done so far and from surveying other BBAers on twitter and the forum it was pretty apparent that “results may vary”. Good Ciabatta is full of big giant holes and that involves having a very wet dough, which you can imagine, is hard to work with. In addition to working with the very wet dough for the first time, making this bread involves some special tools as well as setting up your oven in a very specific way, so there’s quite a bit of prep involved.

There were two different versions, using different kinds of pre-ferments: poolish or biga. These are just mixtures of bread, water and yeast that sit out for a certain amount of time to develop flavor and texture. Later you add the rest of ingredients to make the final dough. I chose the biga because the consensus seemed to be that it resulted in bread with bigger holes. I …

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December 7, 2010

Mint-Chocolate Bottom Shortbread Cookies

Mint-Chocolate Bottom Shortbread Cookies

These cookies have been on my mind for a while. You see, 10 months out of the year I make a pretty concerted effort to eat healthy. Obviously I splurge sometimes, many posts on this blog can attest to that, but for the most part I try to limit the really high fat/calorie foods to only a few times a month. But then Thanksgiving comes around and I go absolutely nuts. Did you know that the mashed potatoes I made had butter, half and half AND cream cheese. Yeah. And I didn’t feel even slightly guilty for eating them. Because they were damn good. There’s just something about the period from Thanksgiving until New Year when I just don’t care. I want to eat all my favorite foods no matter how unhealthy they are and the guilt I usually have isn’t there anymore.

So when everyone was talking about cookies last week on twitter it made me realize how much I’ve been wanting to make these. I made them a couple of years ago and every time I go through my recipe binder I think about making them again. Finally, with Cookie Week and my guilt on vacation, it was the perfect time.

Mint-Chocolate Bottom Shortbread Cookies Mint-Chocolate Bottom Shortbread Cookies

I decided to play with the original recipe a bit, but it still has the same components: shortbread, chocolate, peppermint. I honestly can’t stand most of those bland sugar cookies that everyone seems to make this time of year, I’d much rather have delicious, buttery, shortbread. Each shortbread cookie has a layer of peppermint infused chocolate spread on the bottom. Then I lightly brushed a peppermint glaze on top that soaks into the shortbread and I sprinkled on some colored sugar. If you want to go extra peppermint crazy, you can stick two cookies together with a layer of peppermint filling in between!

Mint-Chocolate Bottom Shortbread Cookies

If you think that sounds like too much peppermint, don’t worry because I used very small amounts of peppermint extract. Plus the buttery shortbread works well with the peppermint and doesn’t let it overpower the whole cookie. And you can always reduce the amounts to your own tastes. Or maybe even try another flavoring: I think orange extract would work really well.

These cookies are so good and highly addictive! I made them on Friday and Brandon and I had finished them off by Sunday. If you have lots of cookie lovers in your house, I would recommend doubling the recipe because they will go fast.

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June 17, 2009

Molten Chocolate Cakes

Molten Chocolate Cakes

I love chocolate cake. It’s one of my biggest cravings, one that pops up over and over again (almost always late at night). But in the last few years, I’ve noticed something disturbing (to me, at least): I don’t seem to be able to eat it anymore. Take last month, for instance:

Brandon was out with some friends so I was home alone. For some reason when I’m home alone I always want to bake so I decided I would finally indulge my chocolate cake craving and make a cake. After looking though my delicious account, I decided to try Smitten Kitchen’s Peanut Butter and Chocolate cake. So I went to all the trouble of making the cake layers and the two different kinds of icing and after a couple hours finally sat down with a delicious looking piece of it to eat. I took two bites, two bites, and I had to set it down. I couldn’t eat anymore. It’s not a bad cake, in fact, it’s a wonderful cake but it was just so rich that it was too …

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January 19, 2009

Mulligatawny (Indian Curry Soup) with Naan

Mulligatawny with Naan

So I’m finally back. We moved in to the new apartment about a week and half ago and I got the last few things unpacked and my pictures hung this weekend so I guess we’re officially settled in. After looking through my cookbooks I went on a grocery shopping spree last week and restocked my new kitchen (LOVE my brand new oven and dishwasher) and I’ve been cooking up a storm since then. Because, seriously, for the two weeks while we were moving, ALL we did was eat at restaurants and fast food places. I was sooooo tired of greasy food by the end of it and I think I’ve had my fill for the foreseeable future.

So for the next month (up until my birthday, exactly a month away), my goal is try as many recipes as possible from my Weight Watchers cookbook. I’m not going to be doing the whole point counting thing (though I have in the past and lost a substantial amount of weight) but I definitely want to concentrate on eating better (more vegetables, whole grains, etc.) and trying to be healthier …

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