More of my favorites...

Saturday, April 23, 2011


I love cheese. 

I could eat cheese, a baguette, a pear, and a glass of wine for every meal for the rest of my life (although I may have to throw a little chocolate in occasionally).

Last week my mom and Mark brought me a little present - a slate serving tray for cheese and fruit, and three large chunks of Gouda cheese.

A single person should not have three chunks of Gouda cheese to herself.  No good can possibly come of that.

So as not to eat all of the Gouda myself - three chunks of cheese would go straight to my booty - I hosted a happy hour last Thursday evening!

A few of "the regulars," as we like to call them now, came, and a few guests as well. 

The slate serving tray is so fantastic because a) it looks cool and contemporary, and b) you can write the types of cheese you are serving with chalk!

And I had to get a picture of my display with the beautiful David - one of our regulars.

This photo is a very staged action shot of Sarah, Dillon and David.  It turned out really cute!



Thursday, April 21, 2011

A little feta salsa

On the same day that we were primping for boat party, I made a little something callled feta salsa.  I must warn you, it contains very strong flavors.  However, two people that HATE olives, tried it and could not stop eating it. Very delicious.

Feta salsa, modified from Smitten Kitchen

1/2 pound feta
2/3 cup sundried tomatoes in oil
1/2 cup pitted Kalamata olives
2 tablespoons fresh dill
3 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley
1 scallion
1/4 cup olive oil

Crumble feta in to a medium-sized bowl.  Chop your sundried tomatoes, kalamata olives, parsley and scallion.  Add chopped ingredients and dill to the feta, mixing in the olive oil to taste.  Serve with pita chips.

Mmmm.  Mmmm. Mmmm.



Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Chocolate chip butterscotch cookies

If you asked me if I liked butterscotch, I would likely say, "Eww.  No."  Lately, however, I have had a huge hankering for cookies with butterscotch chips.  Of course I can't have butterscotch with out chocolate, though!

Also, I am always looking for cookies that are more out-of-the-ordinary than your average chocolate chip cookie.  Not  to say that I am going crazy throwing butterscotch chips in to the mix, by any means!

I made a very large batch of cookies for a small gathering I hosted to get ready for our annual Boat Party - a.k.a. spring formal for my sorority.  For this recipe I used PW's Monster cookie recipe but skipped most of the extra add-ins.

I was a bit nervous about the way they baked, as edges browned quickly while the middle was still slightly doughy, but who doesn't love their cookies a little dough-y?!  Everyone thought they were delicious, and I would have to agree.

One great thing about the recipe is the perfect mix of sweet and salty.  Many recipes for baked goods call for unsalted butter (I always used salted), but PW insists on salted for these cookies.  Add 2 teaspoons of kosher salt and Mmm, Mmm; you have yourself one sweet and (a little) salty treat!

CAUTION:  Don't let the doughy centers fool you!  Once the edges are browned, the cookies are almost done, if not done already.  The centers will still look a little soft.  Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes before transferring elsewhere.

Chocolate chip butterscotch cookies, modified from the Pioneer Woman

2 sticks butter, salted
1/2 C granulated sugar
1 1/2 C brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs
1 T vanilla extract
1 1/2 C all-purpose flour
1/2 t baking soda
1 t baking powder
2 t kosher salt
1 1/2 C oats
Chocolate chips, as you like
Butterscotch chips, as you like

Preheat oven to 375.  Using an electric mixer, cream butter and sugars until smooth and fluffy.

Beat in eggs, one at a time, until smooth.

Add your dry ingredients and mix until combined, but do not over mix.

Using a spatula, stir in your oats, chocolate and butterscotch chips.

Spoon cookie dough on to a baking sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes, until the edges are golden brown.  Again, the center of each cookie will be a bit soft, but the cookies will set while cooling on the baking sheet.

Yum, yum, yum.



My new and improved recipes page

This will be quick -

Check out my new and improved recipes page.  I finally figured out how to make it easy for you all to access the recipes you are looking for without having to scroll through all of my old posts (what a pain that was!).  It was very much a "duh!" moment for me.

This also explains my four random posts on April 17th - the recipes were on my former, no-rhyme-or-reason recipes page.



Sunday, April 17, 2011

Chocolate covered popcorn topped with sea salt

Chocolate-covered popcorn topped with sea salt

1 C popcorn kernels
2-3 T vegetable oil
1 bag (12 oz) milk chocolate chips
2 T melted butter
Sea salt

Start by popping the popcorn.  If you have a stovetop popcorn popper, which is what I used, you can us that.  Otherwise use a large saucepan with a cover.  Heat the oil on medium.  Wait a few minutes until it is hot, then add the kernels.  If you are using a saucepan, you may want to shake it sporadically to get the kernels moving around.  Once popping is a few seconds in between, remove from heat and crack the lid to vent.

Voila.  The best kind o' popcorn.

Put half of the popcorn in to one large bowl, and half in to another large bowl.  That way it is easier to stir the chocolate in.  Pour 1 T of melted butter evenly over 1 bowl and 1 T evenly over the other.  Toss both bowls a bit.

Now the tricky part, melting the chocolate.  Pour your bag of chocolate chips in to  a microwave-safe bowl.  I microwaved the chips at 70 percent power, stopping every 30 seconds or so to stir the chips with a spatula, until they were melted.  Drizzle half of the melted chocolate over one bowl of popcorn and the other half over the other bowl.  Mix the popcorn until thoroughly coated.

Next I dumped all of the popcorn in to a paper grocery bag like so:

Shake sea salt over popcorn, little by little.  I am partial to Trader Joe's Sea Salt Crystals with grinder. Shake the bag in between each addition, until it tastes right - the perfect balance of sweet and salty.



Monster Cookies

Monster Cookies, Modified from Paula Deen

3 eggs
1 1/4 C packed light brown sugar
1 C sugar
1/2 t salt
1/2 t vanilla extract
1-12oz jar creamy peanut butter
1 stick butter, softened
1/2 C M&Ms
1/2 C chocolate chips
2 t baking soda
4 1/2 C old-fashioned oats

Preheat oven to 350.  Grease cookie sheets.  Beat eggs and sugars in a large mixing bowl.  Add the  salt, vanilla, peanut butter, and butter and beat until smooth.  Stir in your M&M's, chocolate chips, and baking soda, and oatmeal.  Super easy!

The dough will be very dense, and this is a half batch - which made 2 1/2 dozen cookies!

Place balls of dough, 2 inches apart, on to the greased cookie sheets.  Bake 8-10 minutes.



Rosemary roasted cashews

Rosemary Roasted Cashews

The first time I tried these cashews I didn't really understand what the hype was all about.  A few months later my mom made them again, and I couldn't stop eating them - so addicting (and delicious)!

1 1/4 lb salted cashews
2 T coarsely chopped rosemary leaves
1/2 t cayenne pepper
2 t dark brown sugar
1/2 t kosher salt
2 T melted butter.

Preheat oven to 375, and bake nuts on an ungreased cookie sheet until slightly browned, 10-12 minutes. 

Combine all other ingredients in to a large mixing bowl.

Mix well.

When the cashews come out of the oven, toss them with the buttery mixture until thoroughly coated.  They are best when served warm! 





Hana Mattern, this is for you girl.  You asked me for the recipe months ago!

1 can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
2 C diced tomatoes
1 garlic clove, pressed
3-4 green onions, chopped
Fresh basil, chopped
2 T olive oil
2 T balsamic vinegar
1/2 C grated parmesan

Mix all ingredients in a large mixing bowl.  Transfer to a decorative bowl to serve.

This is a very forgiving recipe.  My mom doesn't put basil nor parmesan in it;  I love parmesan, but I skip the basil.

Serve on toasted slices of French bread.  Colorful and so flavorful!



Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Blackberry orange bread with walnuts - you've never tasted anything like this

May I just say, this is my second day blogging IN A ROW.  Pretty good, eh? 

Anyway, can you imagine a loaf of quick bread crossed with a scone?  Scratch that, don't imagine it, make it!  There are two fantastic qualities about this bread.  One - it tastes like a cross between quick bread and a scone - dense yet moist.  Two - the mix of flavors is a kick for the taste buds - unique, refreshing, and delicious. 

I found the recipe for this bread on Eat, Live, Run.  This pastry chef turned blogger/food writer uses fresh cranberries in her recipe.  I did not have fresh cranberries, so I used fresh blackberries instead, which I would imagine is tastier than cranberries.  Maybe that's just me, but I would highly recommend trying the recipe with blackberries.

Realizing that I wanted to bake tonight, I hit the blogosphere looking for a great recipe - something new.  As I posted yesterday, it has been the same old, same old in my kitchen lately.  I hadn't used a recipe from Eat, Live, Run, but I figured it had to be good.  Jenna was trained as a pastry chef.  I was right;  the recipe is fantastic!

Blackberry orange bread with walnuts, modified from Eat, Live, Run

2 C all-purpose flour
2 C fresh blackberries
Zest of one orange
1 1/2 t baking powder
1 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1 stick butter, melted
1 egg
3/4 C sugar
1/2 C chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350.  Spray a loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray.

In a large bowl, combine flour, blackberries, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and walnuts.  Mix well.

In a smaller bowl, whisk melted butter, egg, and sugar.

Pour your wet mixture in to your dry one and mix.

The dough will  be thick and dense.  At a certain point I had to get my hands dirty.  I kneaded the dough until all ingredients were thoroughly combined.

Transfer the dough in to the prepared loaf pan and bake for one hour to one hour and fifteen minutes.

Ahh!  It's lumpy!  Don't let that fool you.  This bread should be sold at Great Harvest.

Let the bread cool completely before removing it from the pan.  I made the mistake of trying to transfer it to a cutting board too soon, and it kind of fell apart on me.



Monday, April 4, 2011

A few of my favorite things

I have been a failure in the blogosphere lately.  To be quite honest with you, I am completely uninspired when it comes to baking.  Lately I have only been inclined to bake goodies that I have already made.  No good I tell you!  I need to step up my game a bit!

While I am not baking, though, I will share with you a few of my favorite things. 

It is finally spring!  (Knock on wood)  Fresh spring flowers always add some life and color to the home - and in this case, the apartment.  I found these beautiful spring flowers at Trader Joe's.

I went on Sunday, and TJ's is a complete madhouse on the weekends.  There were probably about six bouquets left, and I was lucky enough to find this beautiful bouquet!

Another one of my favorite things, as of late, is eating a deliciously satisfying meal of cheese (tonight it was Brie, the other night it was Gruyere), a baguette, and fruit (tonight it was blackberries and asparagus, the other night it was a  D'Anjou pear).  And who can forget the wine?!  This meal is my latest simple pleasure.  I love it even more because it is so European!  And to feel even more European, I like to bike home from the grocery store with a baguette  sticking out of my bag.  I know I am only in Mpls (which - don't get me wrong - is fantastic), but a girl can dream, right?!

Now, inspire me!  What should I bake next?!