28 December 2011

my resolutions

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I know a lot of people think that resolutions are for dopes, but why not take the opportunity to be inspired to better yourself?  Even if it is nixed by February, at least you tried... right?  Here is my list of resolutions for 2012!

1. Drink miraculous juice (like this awesome beet + lemon + kale mix) multiple times a week, if not every day.

24 December 2011

Happy Holidays!

Pin It You didn't think I forgot about you, did ya?  This holiday I am giving the 254 people who read this blog everyday (and the other drop-bys!) my favorite raspberry ganache tart.

For the Tart Shell:
1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter (at room temperature)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg, lightly beaten

Cream butter and sugar in mixer.  Add vanilla and egg and beat until smooth.  Add salt and flour and beat for about 1 minute, or until dough comes together.  Press into disc and wrap in plastic.  Chill for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 400F.

After chilled, weigh down pastry with pie weights (or dried beans!) and bake for 5 minutes.  Turn oven down to 350F and bake for an additional 30-35 minutes, or until edges are nice and golden brown.

For the Filling:
8 oz chocolate
8 oz heavy cream
(+3 tbsp raspberry preserves, if desired)

Bring cream to light simmer on stove and pour over chocolate.  Let sit for 2 minutes and whisk carefully to emulsify.

Pour into tart and chill for about an hour before garnishing with raspberries.

19 December 2011

the luck of the pot

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Even though it's the holidays, you don't have to bring figgy pudding and eggnog to your friend's holiday potluck parties.  Okay... you should probably bring some nog, especially if it's spiked with rum.  OR you could do something totally different.  Enter: spicy peanut noodles.

This asian noodle dish comes together in twenty minutes or less and is pretty healthy, considering it's base is pasta.  With sauteed tempeh, ginger, and immune-kicking red pepper flakes, you'll be amazingly satisfied after eating these babies.

Recipe for Spicy Peanut Noodles
1 lb flat, wide noodles (or any variety), cooked and drained
8 oz crumbled tempeh
1 large clove garlic, minced
2 tbsp sesame oil
a few dashes of soy sauce
2 tbsp chili paste
1 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup honey
1 tsp grated ginger
1/2 cup unsalted peanuts
1/2 cup chopped green onions
3 tbsp sesame seeds
2 tbsp red pepper flakes

Sautee tempeh and garlic in wok with sesame oil and soy sauce.  When browned, add chili paste and ginger.  Toss in noodles, peanut butter,  and honey.  Stir and let simmer 2-3 minutes to combine flavors.  Garnish with peanuts, green onions, sesame seeds, and red pepper flakes.

Looks like holiday food to me, no?

18 December 2011

Chocolate Snowflake Cookies

Pin It It's even hard for me to understand why I come home and bake after long days of working in a bakery.  There's just something different about being in your own quiet kitchen, late at night, doing whatever you want.  I mean, where else can you take two hours to make these pretty little chocolate snowflake cookies?  Not in a fast paced bakery, I tell ya.  No sir.

These are your basic chocolate wafer cookies (think oreo).  The dough is sort of finicky, but they are delicious and sophisticated.  Kind of like little high maintenance princess cookies.

Added bonus?  You get to make them extra fancy with stencils (I used metal ornaments).

Recipe for Chocolate Snowflake Cookies
1 cup flour, plus more for rolling
3/4 tsp Baking Powder
1/4 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 tsp Salt
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup Granulated Sugar
2 oz Unsweetened Chocolate, melted
1 large Egg
2 tbsp Milk

Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in bowl and set aside.  In another large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar until smooth.  Add vanilla, melted chocolate, and egg, and beat until incorporated.  Slowly add dry ingredients while continuing to mix.  Finish off by adding milk.  Beat another 20 seconds, or until dough is firm.

Divide dough in half and press into discs with 1/2 inch thickness.  Wrap in plastic wrap and place in fridge to chill for 20-30 minutes.  Preheat oven to 400F.  After dough is chilled, remove and roll out (using lots of flour on your surface and pin). If dough becomes too soft, place back in fridge to firm.  Cut out shapes (I do it directly on the baking mat to avoid messing up shapes when transferring) and bake for 10 minutes, or until semi-firm.  Remove and let cool.

After cookies have cooled, place stencils (flat metal ornaments, paper cut-out snowflakes, or even doilies) on cookies and sift powdered sugar over evenly.  Remove stencils to reveal your fancy chocolate snowflakes.

Gorgeous, dahling.

What's your favorite holiday cookie recipe?

12 December 2011

Jackson 5 + Elvis + Sugar

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Part of me despises Christmas music.  Let's be honest... there's some really bad material out there.  The OTHER part of me embraces it privately in my apartment Jackson 5 style.  Oh, and Elvis.  He makes some pretty good ones.

You know what goes good with Elvis?  Sugar cookies.  

more juice!

Pin It I've been juicing like a madwoman.  Throwing every bit of produce in sight in my juicer has been quite the adventure, but for the most part, I've had pure gold streaming out of its little spout.

09 December 2011

keepin' it fancy

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It's Friday.  The work week is over and you have approximately 48 hours before you have to act like a productive member of society again.  Okay, maybe you have to work all weekend, too... but there is always tonight.

While we enjoyed these just layzin about the house, I dare you to serve these to guests.  They will be dazzled by your domesticity.  Envious of your glamour.  Buzzed off of brandy.  Everyone wins.

What makes this cocktail particularly glorious is the rosemary simple syrup.  Simple syrup is a fixture in bar mixology.  You can infuse it with anything: lemon, lavender, you name it.  All you need is:

1 cup sugar + 1 cup water + infusion of choice (or none)

Place your sugar and water in a saucepan (I added a few sprigs of rosemary) and bring to boil for 30 seconds.  Reduce down to a simmer until sugar is dissolved.  Pour into glass container and bring to room temperature before adding to cocktail (or tea?).  

We made our rosemary & brandy cocktails with:

1.5 oz brandy
.5 oz simple syrup
3 oz club soda
squirt of lemon
garnished with sprig of rosemary

07 December 2011

ginger and carrot

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My world has changed.  My juicer arrived on my doorstep this morning and I think I might OD on carrot and ginger juice.

I'm so pumped to juice everything in sight!  I've been reading a lot about juicing and the benefits of giving your body this pure, easily digestible nutrition.  This particular juice is great for your skin because of all of the vitamin A&E in the carrots and the the immune boosting properties of the ginger.  Do you have a juicer??  What are your favorite juicing recipes?

Recipe for Carrot Ginger Juice
5 large carrots, washed and topped
1/2 inch piece of peeled ginger

Feed it through and drink it up!  Just don't knock it over halfway through juicing.... I did.

06 December 2011

nana nut muffins

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Brian came up with the genius idea that I have a "breakfast challenge" on here.  He thinks that I don't know that this is his little way of getting me to bake him lots of sweet breakfast treats, but I'm no fool.  To tie him over a day or two, I made him some of my fluffiest banana nut muffins.  

The trick to making your muffins light and fluffy is all about the mixing.  Always mix by hand and never for too long.  I even stop when the batter still has a few dry spots!  You don't want these looking like cake batter before you bake 'em.

Recipe for Fluffy Nana Nut Muffins
2 ripe bananas
1 egg
1/3 cup melted butter
3 tsp vanilla extract
2/3 cup milk
1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1 cup chopped walnuts

Mash bananas with a fork in a medium sized bowl.  Whisk in egg, butter, vanilla, and milk.  In separate bowl, combine flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg.  Add to wet ingredient with walnuts and fold together until barely mixed.  Bake in 350F oven for 25 minutes (or until toothpick comes clean).

04 December 2011

Chocolate Fix

Pin It As healthy as I have been eating lately, there comes a time in every household when you need brownies.  Like any good american, I grew up with brownies from a box.  It wasn't until maybe a year ago that I realized that I could make these suckers way better than Duncan Hines.  Life changing, I tell ya.  Life. Changing.

I know what I'm about to say doesn't really make sense, but these are almost easier to make than the boxed kind.  You probably have all of the ingredients that you need, which saves you the time and money that goes into picking up the mix.  Also, you can brag that you made them yourself... and that's not difficult at all.

Recipe for The Best Brownies
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup walnuts

Preheat oven to 350F.

Combine all dry ingredients.  Whisk together oil and sugar.  Add eggs and vanilla and whisk until smooth.  Fold in dry ingredients and nuts (optional).  Pour into greased 9x9 square pan and bake for 20 minutes (or sides start pulling away from pan).

*This makes a fairly small recipe.  If you double it, bake for 30-35 minutes.