Feb 8, 2011

{double chocolate peppermint cookies}

Over the holidays I went to a friends cookie exchange party and had to come up with something creative to bring along. I found a recipe with the perfect combination of espresso, chocolate and peppermint that didn't look too difficult to put together since. List in hand, I headed to the store knowing that I needed to make 4 dozen cookies. For some crazy reason in my head, I thought all cookie recipes make only ONE dozen. So, naturally, I quadrupled my ingredients. Now, this was not a big deal except in regards to the chocolate chips. The math I did (again in my head) was that I needed to have about 10 bags of chocolate chips. mhm. 10. Wisely, upon returning home, I decided to actually check and see how many this recipe said it yielded...about 50. ehem. Well, I now have enough chocolate to last me the entire year.

Other than my lack of ability to read or do math, this recipe was really easy to do and turned out great! It would be a perfect end to your Valentines Day meal or just to fulfill any chocolate craving you might be having.

You can find the recipe here.

Jan 19, 2011

{daring cooks: cassoulet}

Our January 2011 Challenge comes from Jenni of The Gingered Whisk and Lisa from Parsley, Sage, Desserts and Line Drives. They have challenged the Daring Cooks to learn how to make a confit and use it within the traditional French dish of Cassoulet. They have chosen a traditional recipe from Anthony Bourdain and Michael Ruhlman.

Okay so technically this challenge was to make a confit (any kind of food that has been immersed in any kind of fat for both flavor and preservation) and include it in a cassoulet (a french slow cooked stew). Now, I have to be honest, I had planned to do the garlic confit but in the end decided to skip it. I saw no point to it and decided the dish would be fine without it.

The recipe I chose came from the same source that all of my recent slow cooker dishes have come from: Slow Cooker – The Best Cookbook Ever. Other than the fact that the original recipe did not fit inside my slow cooker thus causing it to boil over a few times, it turned out great! For the final 30 minutes of cooking I transferred the slow cooker insert into the oven to allow the topping to crisp up. I recruited John for this part since it was a bit of a feat...the cassoulet was practically overflowing.  We did enjoy it though and it made for some delicious leftovers.

Recipe after the jump

Jan 11, 2011

{creamy tomato bisque}

I am a HUGE fan of the tomato basil bisque at Dish in Charlotte, NC. Its simply fantastic. Since discovering it, I've been searching for a recipe to try on my own and well, I've found it. Not only is it very simple to put together, but the flavors are incredibly delicious and it does a great job of warming you up on these cold winter nights. Serve it with a grilled cheese sandwich and don't be shy about dipping it in the bisque for extra deliciousness.

I do need to mention that I was not only excited about trying this recipe but was also very exciting because I was able to break in my brand new immersion blender! I might have been a little too excited about this but man did it make puréeing the soup a breeze. If you do not own one (get one! you won't regret it), you can let the soup cool and then transfer it to a blender to puree.

Recipe after the jump

Jan 10, 2011

{a wintry shot}

Over the xmas holiday we had a lovely staycation that consisted of watching movies, making delicious food, climbing and just enjoying some quietness. We of course also indulged in a few beverages to honor the snow gods that bestowed their loveliness upon us. One of the shots we took to honor them came from a recipe Jamie Oliver created. Now, he used tequila, but I was more in a vodka mood...especially since thats what the snow gods prefer. We combined the vodka with some colorful pomegranate seeds in our frozen shot glasses and shot 'em back. Before swallowing, make sure to chomp down on those pomegranate seeds for a nice burst of flavor.

Recipe after the jump

Jan 6, 2011

{creamy loaded baked potato soup}

Its been nice and chilly outside giving me the perfect opportunity to use my crock pot to make all sorts of stews and soups. This week I attempted a loaded potato soup and I must say that it came out pretty delicious. I was all out of cheddar cheese so there is none in the soup but I felt it tasted just as good as if it had it in there. Leaving it out also made it a good bit healthier! If you have cheese I'd say leave it out of the soup but maybe add a little on top with the sour cream and bacon crumbles. Serve this up with a delicious sandwich or salad and you have a meal to warm you on these cold winter nights.

Recipe after the jump

Jan 3, 2011

{new years quiche}

{pictured above: our 2010 piratey card}
Happy new year! 2010 was a wonderful year filled with climbing, moving across states, concerts, traveling, baking + cooking and adventure. I realize I slacked off the last few months with posts and am making it a goal this year to post regularly. I have several recipes queued up including some lovely celebratory beverages but I wanted to start this morning off with my very first quiche! I've been wanting to make a quiche for some time now and finally, over our holiday vacation, decided to do it. Its a hybrid of a few recipes since I couldn't find anything with the ingredients I wanted to include and I have to say it came out quite perfectly.

The recipe below can be modified to include pretty much any filling. If you don't want as much prep work, leave out the bacon. Without the bacon the whole time should be about an hour including prep + cooking. If you include the bacon, add another 15 - 30 minutes. I loved making this quiche because it was really simple to put together and the results were amazing. You can easily serve this quiche to 8 people or make it on the weekend and reheat piece by piece for some delicious weekday breakfasts. Enjoy!

Pictures + recipe after the jump

Nov 29, 2010

{daring bakers: rustic apple crostatas}

The 2010 November Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Simona of briciole. She chose to challenge Daring Bakers’ to make pasta frolla for a crostata. She used her own experience as a source, as well as information from Pellegrino Artusi’s Science in the Kitchen and the Art of Eating Well.

This months Daring Bakers challenge was crostatas or tarts. Tarts are made up of a sweet short crust pastry dough and either fruit or pastry cream based fillings. With Thanksgiving coming up I decided to make an apple tart and since I had no tart pan, I went for the rustic look (which I think adds to the homeyness of it all). I adapted my filling recipe from Joy of Baking and used one of the pasta frolla recipes provided.

It was quite an adventure.

I wanted to serve the tarts on turkey day which meant I needed to assemble and bake these babies day of. I planed ahead with the hostess to make sure there would be space for me to work/bake and discovered she had three ovens! Awesome. I prepped my pasta frolla the day before and brought it with me along with the rest of the ingredients. After rolling out my dough, filling my tarts and folding over the rustic edges, I was ready to bake. I went to place my pan in the oven and what do you know, it doesn't fit! Not to worry, I thought, I'll go pre-heat the big oven downstairs and bake it in there. So, I place my tarts back in the fridge so they stay firm and run downstairs. Since there was no light indicator as to whether or not the oven was pre-heated, I decided to give it a half hour to get hot. Once the time had passed, I walked downstairs precariously holding my tarts and placed them in the oven...which wasn't really that hot but I figured it would be okay. Using my trusty iphone timer I set it for 30 minutes and walked back upstairs to mingle. The alarm goes off. I happily hop downstairs to check on the tarts and what do you know, the oven was warm enough to keep a plate warm and make my dough gooey. Fantastic. So along with some help I try to transfer the tarts to a smaller baking pan...let me tell you...gooey dough does not transfer. Thankfully, a fellow daring baker was there to advise me (and help me remain calm!) to place the pan back in the fridge to firm up again before transferring it to a smaller pan. This worked wonderfully and we ended up having the tarts with the late night turkey day snack.

Despite the bumps along the way, everything came out pretty delicious. I really loved the crust and the filling was nice and lite. I will definitely be making these again as I thought the whole process was actually fairly simple. Thank you Simona for a fun challenge!

See more pics and the recipe after the jump.