March 9, 2011

Chocolate-filled Beignets with Chocolate Dipping Sauce

Chocolate-filled Beignets

I meant to post this recipe yesterday since it was Mardi Gras and beignets are pretty synonymous with New Orleans. Better late than never, right? I grew up on the Mississippi gulf coast (where they also celebrate Mardi Gras) and have spent some time in New Orleans so I know what a good beignet tastes like and this recipe is pretty perfect, but I put my own spin on it by adding some chocolate in middle. Why? I don’t know. Is “because it sounded like it would be awesome” a good enough answer for you? Because it really did (And guess what? It really is!)

But lets back up a bit. It’s possible some of you may not know what a beignet is, maybe you’re not even sure how to pronounce it. It’s very simple, actually: it’s a donut, covered in lots of powdered sugar. And it’s pronounced benYAY. You will really want to emphasize that “Yay” because eating these will make you a very happy person. A beignet is sort of the lazyman’s donut. I can just imagine some old french baker going …

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August 23, 2011

Peach Semifreddo with Blackberry Glaze

Peach Semifreddo with Blackberry Glaze

I am officially putting summer on notice. Seriously. Start packing up. Time to go. There’s only a week and half left in August and then it’ll finally be September. Even though fall doesn’t technically start for a full month, I consider September 1st the first unofficial day of fall. It’s like how they start putting out all the Christmas stuff right after Halloween. I am ready for fall and I don’t care what the calendar (or the weather) says. Here’s what you can expect in the coming months: lots of soup and pumpkin and cinnamon and apples. If you were with me right now, you would see I am laughing like an evil villain. Can you tell I love fall?

But anyway. Back to summer. Because it is still summer for a little while and I need to take advantage of all the awesome produce this summer has brought me. I still have tons of blackberries that I froze earlier this summer and my CSA informed me that it was the last week we would be getting peaches, so I wanted to do something fun with them. A semifreddo is …

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June 15, 2011

Cheesy Potato and Vegetable Frittata

Cheesy Potato and Vegetable Frittata

Eating more fresh produce has been a goal of mine since I started this blog. Before that, the few times a week when we weren’t eating at a restaurant or ordering take-out, most of the dinners I made came from boxes and the only produce I bought at the grocery store was maybe a few bananas, apples or potatoes. Heck, I can’t even say I bought potatoes all that often because Brandon still teases me about all the boxed mashed potatoes I used to prepare with pretty much every dinner back then.

I feel like I’ve come really far from those days whenever I look at my shopping cart and see that fresh fruit and vegetables take up the most space. And now I’ve finally committed to something that I’ve been interested in for years: I joined a CSA. I was always worried that we would never be able to eat enough of the produce every week and honestly, there was some extreme laziness involved when I thought about having to go and pick up the share every week. So when Brandon informed me that …

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September 5, 2008

Chicken Parmigiana

Chicken Parmigiana

This is probably one of those basic recipes that everyone in the world (but me) knows, but I’ve always been scared of making food that sounded, you know, foreign. Like just because it has a fancy-smancy name that means it’s also complicated to make, right? Well, there’s another cooking misconception down the the drain because I found out last night Chicken Parmigiana is just about the easiest thing in the world to make. And it turned out very very good with very little effort or time on my part. That’s definitely a recipe I can get behind for nights when I’m tired or just don’t feel like cooking, but I still want a nice meal instead of greasy take-out or pizza.

December 21, 2009

Christmas Cookies!

Christmas Tree Cookies

I may have gone a bit cookie crazy. Besides my Peppermint Fudge Pinwheels, I have two more cookie recipes to share. Well, it’s more like one recipe and one technique, but I’ll get to that.

I’ve never been able to find a sugar cookie that I actually like. I’ve tried about a million and they all just taste blah to me. But I think that’s just the kind of person I am. Brandon told me the other day that I have tendency to put too much flavoring in the things I bake and that may be true, but I just want something that tastes like…something. I hate blah food. Even something that has too much flavor is better than something that doesn’t have any. But I think this is just that age old debate of people who like vanilla ice cream and people who like chocolate. Of course I choose chocolate! The only time I’ll eat vanilla ice cream is if it’s covered in fudge or caramel.

Anyway, I’m not sure I even have a point other than to say that this desire for flavor translates into everything I cook and share on this blog. I make a lot of stuff that I don’t share here because it’s boring or basic. I always try to find recipes that are fun (at least to me). Which leads me to these totally adorable Christmas Tree Cookies. They are fun and easy to make and did I mention how adorable they are? But that’s not even the best part of them. The original recipe was for plain ol’ sugar cookies, but of course I modified them! The best part is that they taste just like cinnamon graham crackers, which are my absolute favorite. And my boyfriend, Mr. You-put-too-much flavoring, actually said that these were perfect! And he hates cinnamon, so if he likes these cookies, anyone will.

Christmas Tree Cookies Christmas Tree Cookies

I bet these cookies would be fun to make if you have kids. You divide the dough into three rolls which you cover in green sugar, then after they’ve chilled for a while, you just sliced them up and bake. I think kids would definitely have fun assembling the little trees; I did and I’m almost 30 years old! These would be really festive and pretty for a party and they keep well in an air-tight container. As with all Betty Crocker cookies I’ve made (or maybe it’s just a personal preference?) I think these taste better the day after you bake them.

Christmas Cookies

The other kind of cookies I made are technically called Stained Glass cookies, but I’m not sure that’s really accurate, especially after I modified them. I have seen recipes for stained glass cookies that actually have a little transparent window of sugar in them and these are not like those at all. These are just your basic sugar cookie recipe, but you divide up the dough and color parts of it with food coloring.

You are supposed to cut out shapes with cookie cutters in the uncolored dough and then cut up the colored doughs into little squares and arrange them on top of the uncolored cut-outs so that it looks like a stained glass window. But OH MY GOD, that is tedious. Seriously, I did about 3 cookies like that and I was done. It took forever and the colored dough kept getting too soft so I had to keep freezing it every 5 minutes. I was about ready to shoot someone and that is not the attitude you should have when making Christmas cookies! It’s supposed to be fun, not mind-numbing. So I pretty much just gave up on the whole “stained glass” thing and just cut out circles and whatever else I wanted. Then I took the colored doughs and cut them with cookie cutters and added more little details. It was much more fun when I could just do what I wanted to.

Christmas Cookies Christmas Cookies

Despite all that work, the cookies that came out were pretty but they were blah. Just about the blandest sugar cookies I’ve ever tasted: they weren’t even that sweet! So I won’t be posting that recipe, but the technique is still interesting and fun (as long as you do what you want and don’t try to kill yourself being “perfect”), and it should work with your favorite sugar cookie recipe.

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July 20, 2010

Homemade Buttery Croissants

I’m always up for a baking challenge so when Julie over at Willow Bird Baking challenged her readers to make croissants, I didn’t hesitate to sign up. I love croissants, but like donuts, I rarely eat them because of how bad they are for you. But there’s just something about making something from scratch that makes it seem less bad for you. I guess because you have to put actual time and effort into making it instead of just going into a store and buying it. Plus, it’s Brandon’s birthday this week and that is one of the 4 times of the year (along with my birthday, Thanksgiving and Christmas) that I let myself eat whatever I want without feeling guilty about it.

And these croissants? Are absolutely worthy of much guilt, but they’re just way too delicious and way too much work to feel guilty about. I mean, I made these croissants. From scratch. All by myself. That is an accomplishment, not something to feel bad about. These croissants taste better than any that I’ve had from a bakery or store. It could just be because …

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August 1, 2008

Classic Pot Roast

Pot Roast

I just rediscovered pot roast and I really like it. See what happened was, at some point in my childhood I decided I didn’t like beef. I don’t know why. There’s no rhyme or reason when you’re a kid, you just decide things like that. I wasn’t a vegetarian and it’s not like I never ate beef (I’d never turn down a hamburger), but I just refused to eat most dishes made with beef.

Slowly, I’ve been adding more beef back into my life. I like steak and I use ground beef for a lot of dishes. When I saw this recipe, it made me remember that my mom used to make Pot Roast all the time and I liked it. So why did I stop eating it? I guess maybe I thought it would be too complicated to make, but it’s really not. It’s quite easy to put together and then you just let it cook for a few hours. My mom made hers in a crockpot; I don’t have one, but it seems just as easy on the stove. I guess Pot Roast …

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November 11, 2010

Pumpkin Raisin-Bread Pudding

Pumpkin Raisin-Bread Pudding

I love bread. It’s probably my favorite food. When we order pizza, I take off the greasy cheese and just eat the crust. My favorite restaurants are the ones that bring you a basket of bread. Low-carb diets? I couldn’t make it more than a couple days. I have a pretty major sweet tooth, but if I was ever forced to choose between bread or sugar, well, this blog would have a whole lot less desserts on it. (But let’s really hope that “Sophie’s Choice” never comes to fruition, okay?) What I find really strange is that despite my love of bread, I have never had bread pudding before. I don’t know how that happened, but I have been meaning to rectify it for a while.

I had a loaf of raisin bread sitting around and getting stale so I finally decided this was the day! And when I found a recipe for bread pudding that also had pumpkin (which regular readers know I am obsessed with right now) it was a no-brainer. That was the recipe I had to make.