sugar britches

one day in international, i made curried shrimp. it was delicious and there is not photographic evidence of it.  there was, however, evidence all over my pants. I managed to get curry powder….everywhere. Including my hind quarters, and it wasn’t long before the nickname Curry A$$ was born.

after advanced dining room, we went to advanced patisserie (because i’m soooo advanced now), where on day 1 we made all kinds of fruit coulis. I made a delightful cherry coulis. and got it on my pants. enter Coulis A$$.  not nearly as catchy.  BUT i actually have pictures of what my hard work and soiled britches produced (props to our chef who required pictures of every plate in our final project).

our chef was awesome. cool, calm, and collected (as most pastry chefs are) and not afraid to beat into the teenagers’ heads the importance of taking care of your body in this industry–with both food and exercise.  only healthy snacks were allowed during lecture (i’m continually shocked by the amount of soda, cookies, and fast food consumed for breakfast here) and we all had to tell her what we do to keep ourselves fit.  Ironic in a lab full of cream, butter, and sugar, but that made it all the more necessary.

So–the treats! We worked in groups the first few days, with one person directing the plate design, then the last days we worked together for production, but plated our own desserts.  All these (well, the decent looking ones) went to the Advanced Dining Room for lunch service.

chocolate mousse with a tuile cookie, chocolate piping, and assorted fruit coulis

almond financier with red-wine poached pineapple, chocolate straw, lace spiral, and piping/sauces. (my plate design–chef said best of the day!)

lemon basil bavarian cream on a phyllo nest

fresh fruit tart with coconut cream

pear tatin with lace cookie (that awkward open space on the right side of the cookie is for ice cream). first dessert plated totally on my own!

lemon-scented cheesecake on a chocolate cookie with fresh raspberries and a sugar spire (sugar work is now my sworn enemy).

hand-pulled apple strudel with a cookie cup for ice cream and demerits for the fresh fruit because it didn’t go with the fall flavors of the strudel. whoops!

and my final! chocolate lava cake with (now tremendously melted) raspberry swirl ice cream. also imagine a beautiful piece of chocolate placed right through those delicately cut holes in the lace cookie. rough day, but i still made an A!

 

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per usual

Aw crap. So much for that quick follow-up with a Thanksgiving post. Well, lucky for you here it is in January now that we’re all in the post-holiday slump! Some remaining holiday cheer!

First night back in the district in 2.5 months–

Manfriend and I dine in the same establishment as the First Lady. For the second time in 3 years. What are the odds? The secret service agent had the courtesy to say “welcome home” as he was halfway up my thigh looking for concealed weapons. It was GREAT to be home.

The annual sh*tshaw thanksgiving was full of friendly faces and fantastic food! Our lovely hosts gave me a huge hug and said something like “hiitssonicetoseeyouCOME LOOK AT THE TURKEY.” I did nothing other than comfort the cooks– the bird came out amazingly delicious. I was tasked with dessert, per usual. I made the requisite pumpkin cheesecake, per usual.  I also threw out some pastry skills and made a chocolate cream pie. Then I forgot to take pictures, per usual. Here’s a couple stolen from Smash:

The mound of whipped cream hiding behind the tupperware is the pie, the orange squares are the cheesecake. I have a future in descriptive food writing, no?

The very next day all my favorite people came out to celebrate me turning another year of twenty-fun!

And then Manfriend and I were sent off to Delaware in style by Slow Motion, Liscious, and J-Bear with gigantic beers, ridiculous cocktails, and a little QT with tiny symbol of the season.

best. face. ever.

off we went to the First State where I took zero pictures. per ususal.  hope everyone else had a lovely thanksgiving (6 weeks ago) too!

SO–my one and only new years resolution (wait what happened to christmas? hold on) is to be much more on top of this here piece of the interwebs. with that, i’ll leave you, to return again soon (SOON!) with new class updates and an xmas recap.

 

the one where i moved far, far away

so i’m here! tuesday marks two weeks in the queen city. here are the last few weeks in (iphone) pictures.

i was sent off by the girlies in STYLE.

Mad Dog came to town (old town, to be specific) and in between navigating an enormous yellow truck on 495, we managed some lovely evenings.

Chart House

Jackson 20

Mad Dog and Manfriend GRACIOUSLY took the time to drive my self and my stuff all the way down here.

\

my poor attempt at documenting our entrance into NC. i took a lot of naps.

we’re heeeeeeeere!

that low building in the front is the NASCAR Hall of Fame. WHO'S YER DRIVER?!

After a looong day of unpacking (I use that word loosely. Mostly men moving my boxes around.), we celebrated the best way 3 Irish Catholics know how.

I think the bartender had a crush on Mad Dog. That’s all scotch.

The next day, Mad Dog used his 6th man-sense to guide us to Big Bird’s final resting spot.

After a delicious $4 lunch (!!), Mad Dog used his 7th sense to seek out….BOOZE.

You can buy beer and wine at gas stations and Target, but for liiiiiicker, you must enter a compound run by un-friendly ex-marine ABC agents.

The kind, patient gentlemen hung my girly curtains while I uncovered tools essential to my culinary education.

but only until the clock struck scotch-thirty.

Mad Dog drove off into the sunset to go visit my tremendously talented cousins in Asheville, and a few days later I said a temporary (but tearful) goodbye to Manfriend…and I was alone and unleashed on the Queen City. First things first: I went to Target and Trader Joe’s (suburbia!!). Then I got in the kitchen, to whip up a creature comfort: granola.

My old oven ran 25-50 degrees cold. This one does NOT.

I hung a picture of my patron saint, Chili Pepper Cat, and hoped next time he would guide me.

And, low and behold, the next venture turned out much better.

forget to buy flour? flourless peanut butter cookies to the rescue! (with TJ mini PB cups to boot)

Chili Pepper Cat also guided me–to a job! I start tomorrow. It’s a super cute (there are twinkle lights involved) restaurant/bar a few blocks from the football stadium.  There is cold beer, turkey legs, and no polyester suits for miles.

Speaking of poultry legs, Manfriend visited again this weekend and we inaugurated the kitchen properly. Balti Chicken, oven-roasted potatoes, and broccoli.

And here we are! I promise monster posts like these won’t become the norm. Especially if y’all come visit!

Lemon Yogurt Cakelettes

Happy Friday! Since mother nature is raining on our TGIF-parade, I decided to manufacture some sunshine (and I may or may not have had some citrus begging to be used in my fridge).

Molly Wizenberg’s book “A Homemade Life” is quickly becoming one of my most favorite books of all time. Half cookbook, half short stories, half memoir, all around inspiring and completely heart-warming.

This recipe was one of the first she posted on orangette, and that post prompted a man on the other side of the country to send an email to the author of this great blog. and then they got married. How adorable, right??

I’m not giving you the recipe so you have to go get the book yourself. Note that I did almost double the amount of zest she calls for. I like my lemon baked goods to smack you right in the face with flavor. I also used nonfat Greek yogurt, because my bathing suit was glaring at me from the second floor. They came out amazing-not too sweet, not too tangy, and fluffy but with enough weight they dont fall apart when you eat them. That lemony glaze on top really seals the deal.

I did cakelettes (NOT cupcakes. So over those.) and I think they’re pretty adorable too. Manfriend, hater of all things sweet, declared “these are REALLY good.” What is it about beefcakes and these cakes? (ba dum dum)

Hope these make for a happy Friday, Easter, heck a whole happy weekend!

20110422-015023.jpg

alright, already.

ok ok ok ok ok! enough with the hounding and the judging and the abuse! we’re back! you asked for it. there are pictures, but they ain’t all pretty.  and turns out if you don’t write things down, 4 months later you forget what recipe you used. so, here’s what we got:

one day in october, manfriend and i made meatloaf.

i’m 90% sure we based it off pioneer woman’s recipe, except we didn’t wrap it in bacon (forgive me!). it was still delicious. especially the sauce.

then, i revisited my childhood and played with lots of rainbow sprinkles.

i’m 50% sure i used this recipe. i know i looked at it for a while, at least.

and now the for the crime solving portion of the programming–apparently at some point in early november, a dish was made in my kitchen i have no recollection of. a crime!  from the evidence gathered, i’ve deduced there was a salad with sesame-crusted steak

exhibit a

that was seared.

exhibit b

there were mushrooms involved. apparently.

exhibit c

the whole business was dressed in….soy and cilantro, knowing the suspect’s m.o. there was probably some chili sauce and honey implicated as well.

exhibit d

resulting in the carnage below. quite a whodunnit.

seriously, i have only a very vague memory of preparing this. i'm sure it was sufficiently tasty. well, i hope.

moving right along. Liscious and I made ourselves a fantastic brunch of pumpkin-cream-cheese-streusel-muffins and a egg-tomato-prosciutto focaccia pizza. oh and just a splash of champagne. just a splash.

 

doesn’t that look fun?  oh and then she got married. parts of the day went better than others. example of the latter:

bridesmaid bustle bender.

and then i made pork chops.  this is BIG. i hate pork chops. i don’t like hating foods (except bananas, which is well documented and i believe, entirely justified) so i tried to give it another go.  the problem with cooking foods you’re not terribly fond of or familiar with is you tend to not be well-versed in preparing them. ergo, i over cooked the pork chops. manfriend said they were tasty (good manfriend) but i was not satisfied. their saving grace was the maple-sage pan sauce i made to go with them. that was a win.

christmas happened again this year, which was nice.  i had a good, long, and sufficiently eventful stay at the homestead. There was deep dish pizza, pink champagne, snowflakes, and funtimes with the sistafriend.

shortly after, 2011 showed up. we tried to get off on a good foot–

but the universe had other ideas. we’ll just have to return soon to kentucky, and try again at gettin’ lucky.

and so here we are! i’ve got a few tasty things coming down the pike (pipe?) which are really only scheduled to keep you mongrels satisfied. RAWR.

mass appeal.

It’s pumpkin season! Wahoo!! Oh wait, you’ve been hearing about nothing but pumpkin muffins, pumpkin lattes, and pumpkin pies for the last three weeks?  Well strap in because the pumpkin express has barely hit cruising speed.

This was pumpkin treat number #3 baked in a single day a couple weeks ago ( treat #1 and treat #2 here) and probably my favorite. No, the blondies. No, the granola. Yea definitely the granola. But, I realize that not everyone is the granola-type (ahem, manfriend) so this right here is something that will appeal to the masses. And by “appeal” I mean “disappear from your office kitchen in record time.”

Streusel-topped Pumpkin Bread

tasty kitchen

By: food for my family

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cups Butter, Softened
  • 3/4 cups Granulated Sugar
  • 3/4 cups Dark Brown Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla
  • 4 whole Eggs
  • 2 cups Pumpkin Puree
  • 3 cups All-purpose Flour
  • 3 teaspoons Baking Powder
  • teaspoons Baking Soda
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoons Ground Ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoons Allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoons Grated Nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoons Cardamom
  • 1/2 cups Buttermilk

_____

  • FOR THE STREUSEL TOPPING:
  • 1/4 cups Butter, Softened
  • 1/2 cups Brown Sugar
  • 1/4 cups Oatmeal
  • 1/4 cups All-purpose Flour
  • 1 teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 3 Tablespoons Ground Flax Seed
  • 1/4 cups Chopped Pecans (optional) (not)

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 F. Grease and flour the bottom of two 8 loaf pans. To make the topping, mix together all the topping ingredients using a fork or pastry cutter until combined thoroughly.
  2. In a large bowl or mixer, cream together butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar. Add vanilla and eggs and mix until incorporated. Stir in pumpkin puree.
  3. In a separate bowl, add flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ground ginger, allspice, nutmeg and cardamom. Whisk together until no lumps remain. Add half of the flour mix to the pumpkin mix, blending well. Beat in buttermilk. Add remaining flour mix and beat lightly until smooth.
  4. Pour batter evenly into the two prepared 8 pans. Cover each with half of the topping mix. Bake at 350 F for 70-80 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Slice and enjoy.

p.s. i promise to get back to things not involving mass quantities of butter and sugar…eventually.

ugly.

U-G-L-Y You ain’t go no alibi. You’re ugly. Yea. Yea, you’re ugly.

These little guys are not winning any beauty pageants. But MAN are they tasty.  Last weekend I went on an autumnal baking extravaganza. Manfriend’s only request was “like a brownie or a blondie or something.” Blondies* have never been my favorite thing–I associate them with kinda bland, dry cakey bars full of  nuts (which i detest in baked goods). But, I wanted to do something with pumpkin and I knew the flavor would get lost in regular chocolate brownies.  I whipped these guys up then realized: they had to bake for “35-40 minutes” which means “45-50” minutes in my oven.  It was 10:10am. I had a yoga class at 11:00. Dilemma.

Looking back, I could have just waited to bake them until I got back. But they were already in the oven and didnt think gently heating raw batter then letting it sit at room temperature would be the…safest thing in the world. So I let them continue baking and around 10:50, I turned the oven off. And left.  I returned to a cold oven and…this

Victory, right? Looks like its baked all the way through….feels like it’s baked all the way through. I let them cool and tried to slice them up. That’s where it all went wrong. Chef’s knife, serrated knife, nothing would give me a clean cut.

And, what I had originally feared had come true: the very center of the pan wasn’t raw…but I wouldn’t call it done. So, I tossed the middle 4 bars, tasted some crumbs (to make sure it doesn’t taste like soap or something), packaged away the survivors, and moved on.

Manfriend returned Monday night from his romp in Manhattan, so Tuesday morning I packed up some treats for both of us to take to work. I promptly got distracted by an absolutely incredible mocha milkshake from these guys and forgot about the treats.  Well yesterday I broke them out and HOLY HELL were they delicious.  All the spices definitely blended and enhanced the pumpkin so much more from the original bits I tasted.  Thanks to my brilliant yoga/oven maneuver, they were really moist and decadent.  Really, really freaking tasty. My fear of blondies has been conquered AND we’ve found a fantastic fall treat.

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Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Blondies

My Baking Addiction

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 (15 ounce) can pure pumpkin puree
  • 2 cups chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line bottom and sides of a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with parchment, leaving an overhang on all sides. Grease with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugars on medium-high speed until smooth; beat in egg and vanilla until combined. Beat in pumpkin puree. If the mixture looks curdled, do not fret.
  4. Reduce speed to low, and mix in dry ingredients until just combined. Fold in chocolate chips and pecans.
  5. Spread batter evenly in prepared pan. Bake until edges begin to pull away from sides of pan and a toothpick inserted in center comes out with just a few moist crumbs attached, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool completely in pan.
  6. Storage: Store the pumpkin blondies in a single layer inside an airtight container for up to three days.

*the irony has not been lost on me that I am, in fact, a blonde. i hope you have a good giggle over this.

Technology: 1/2 DTMS: 1/2 (you know I don’t like to lose)

So wordpress makes a super cool blackberry app. It looks cool, its easy to use, and for the life of me I cannot get it to post to the blog! We’re going mid-tech (not low, not high) and posting via email.

So, just to fill you in, dc had the worst freaking winter imaginable. We’re now enjoying almost a month of straight 90-100 degree days. This kind of smite makes me think god is a Republican.

For the most recent office birthday, I thought everyone could use a little help beating the heat: ice cream sandwiches!

Rumor had it the birthday girl enjoyed both coffee and chocolate ice cream. I had starred this post a while ago and the cookie choices looked like they would go perrrfectly with her favorite ice creams. Peanut butter cookies with chocolate ice cream, and chocolate cookies with coffee ice cream. Oh yes and rolled in m&m’s and toffee bits.

The sandwiches were a huge hit, but the untold story is that both of these cookie recipes are amazing on their own. The PB cookies are insanely easy and peanutty, abd the chocolate cookies are simple, clean, fantastic chocolate wafer-esque cookies.

Stay cool!

i am legend

This is the stuff of legends.  I had been hearing about this wonderful, mythical creation for a while.  Was it worth all they hype? I had only read glowing, GLOWING reviews of any of the momofuku restaurants in NYC, but it wasn’t until I saw the episode of No Reservations when Anthony Bourdain sits down with the man behind the myth, David Chang. He seemed like a dude. A cool dude who just liked good food. Someone you wanted to sit next to at a bar (not W. style, don’t get me wrong). I was sold, I had to make Crack Pie.

What better an occasion to try it out than the legendary event itself, Crabfest.  Every summer, Manfriend’s friends get a whole mess of crabs, and a whole mess of friends, and have a great time.

So what was it like? Did it actually taste like or have the addictive qualities of illicit narcotics? Who would I be to debunk this myth…you’ll just have to try it for yourself.

Momofuku Milk Bar’s Crack Pie
(from The Los Angeles Times)

Servings: Makes 2 pies (6 to 8 servings each)
Note: This pie calls for 2 (10-inch) pie tins. You can substitute 9-inch pie tins, but note that the pies will require additional baking time, about 5 minutes, due to the increased thickness of the filling.

Cookie for crust

Ingredients
  • 2/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon (3 ounces) flour
  • Scant 1/8 teaspoon baking powder
  • Scant 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) softened butter
  • 1/3 cup (2 1/2 ounces) light brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons (1 1/4 ounces) sugar
  • 1 egg
  • Scant 1 cup (3 1/2 ounces) rolled oats
Method
  • Heat the oven to 375 degrees.
  • In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer using the paddle attachment, or in a large bowl using an electric mixer, beat the butter, brown sugar and sugar until light and fluffy.
  • Whisk the egg into the butter mixture until fully incorporated.

  • With the mixer running, beat in the flour mixture, a little at a time, until fully combined. Stir in the oats until incorporated.

  • Spread the mixture onto a 9-inch-by-13-inch baking sheet and bake until golden brown and set, about 20 minutes.

  • Remove from heat and cool to the touch on a rack.

  • Crumble the cooled cookie to use in the crust.

Crust

Ingredients
  • Crumbled cookie for crust
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons (3/4 ounce) brown sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
Method
  • Combine the crumbled cookie, butter, brown sugar and salt in a food processor and pulse until evenly combined and blended (a little of the mixture clumped between your fingers should hold together).
  • Divide the crust between 2 (10-inch) pie tins. * I used one round tart pan and one rectangular tart pan.
  • Press the crust into each shell to form a thin, even layer along the bottom and sides of the tins.
  • Set the prepared crusts aside while you prepare the filling.

Filling

Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 cups (10 1/2 ounces) sugar
  • 3/4 cup plus a scant 3 tablespoons (7 ounces) light brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup plus 1 teaspoon (3/4 ounce) milk powder
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, melted
  • 3/4 cup plus a scant 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 8 egg yolks
  • 2 prepared crusts
  • Powdered sugar, garnish
Method
  • Heat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, brown sugar, salt and milk powder. Whisk in the melted butter, then whisk in the heavy cream and vanilla.
  • Gently whisk in the egg yolks, being careful not to add too much air.
  • Divide the filling evenly between the 2 prepared pie shells.
  • Bake the pies, one at a time, for 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to 325 degrees and bake until the filling is slightly jiggly and golden brown (similar to a pecan pie), about 10 minutes.
  • Remove the pies and cool on a rack.
  • Refrigerate the cooled pies until well chilled. The pies are meant to be served cold, and the filling will be gooey. Dust with powdered sugar before serving.