Monday, December 27, 2010

A Very Moo-ey Christmas

Look what I got for Christmas!! That is a cow print cappuccino maker. Isn't it adorable?! I've been eyeing it for YEARS and Santa finally brought it to me.

I love cows, you see. Since I was little my nickname was "vaquita" which means little cow in Spanish*. As a result the cow has become my favorite animal. I have cow print ice cream bowls, a cow angel for my Christmas tree, and cow salt and pepper shakers.

Hope everyone is having wonderful holiday season! As part of my resolutions for the new year I'm going to try to cook and blog more. See you all in 2011!

*the v sounds like a b...which makes "vaquita" sound more like Becky

Monday, December 13, 2010

In Pictures: Thanksgiving dinner

Wow. It's been a while. I've been super busy. And I moved. And I have had some serious cook's block. It was bad. But, I've been cured! How? It was simple, really. All it took was two days of cooking for Thanksgiving- every foodies favorite holiday!

Day 1 was for baking:

Pumpkin cookies with butterscotch chips were quickly made into ice cream sandwiches.

That's the beginning of an apple tarte tatin which, along with the cookies, are courtesy of Joy the Baker. If you haven't checked her out you MUST. I want to bake with her and be her friend.

Day 2 was for everything else:

Stuffing with apples and Black Forest ham. A new (and delicious) recipe!

Brown sugar glazed sweet potatoes. You really don't need dessert when you have these.

I turned these butternut and acorn squash into a creamy and dreamy soup! MMM.

And FINALLY...the main event...Bacon wrapped turkey. That's all I have to say about that.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Sweet Sunday: Chocolate Chip Cookies

These chocolate chip cookies are perfect. Now, I know everyone has an opinion on the perfect chocolate chip cookie. Chewy or crisp? To me the perfect chocolate chip cookie is a little bit of both. Slightly crisp on the outside but soft and chewy in the middle. And that's exactly what you'll get from this recipe. I found this recipe on the Food Network website years ago and have never made one's that good. In fact, one of my friends declared them "the best chocolate chip cookies ever!". Let me know what you think!

Chocolate Chip Cookies
makes 32

1/2 cup unsalted butter
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 12 ounce bag of semisweet chocolate chips
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. fine salt

Place two racks in the middle of the oven and preheat to 375. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

Melt butter and let cool lightly. Whisk sugars, eggs, butter, and vanilla in a large bowl until smooth. Whisk flour, baking soda, and salt in another bowl. Stir dry ingredients into wet ingredients with a wooden spoon. Add the chocolate chips and stir again.

Scoop heaping tablespoons of dough onto the prepared baking sheets. Wet hands slightly and roll the dough into balls. Space the cookies two inches apart. Bake until golden but still soft, about 10 - 12 minutes. Let cool.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Sweet Sunday: Fail

Broken pipe under kitchen sink = flooded kitchen = many dirty dishes = no baking today


Sunday, August 15, 2010

Sweet Sunday: Devil's Food Cupcakes with Chocolate Ganache

What better way to end your weekend than with something sweet? I can't think of one. Every Sunday I'll be whipping up something to satisfy your sweet tooth and give your work week a delicious start!

This recipe is originally for an absolutely gorgeous layered Devil's Food Cake with Strawberry Cream, but I don't have a cake pan. I know, right? I think it got lost in one of my many moves. Anyway, I decided to ditch the cream filling and make cupcakes instead. They came out lovely. I really wanted to top each ganache glazed cupcake with one red raspberry, but Harris Teeter didn't have any. Next time...but for now, chocolate on chocolate will do just fine!

Devil's Food Cupcakes with Chocolate Ganache
adapted from Tempted: 150 Very Wicked Desserts by Joan Glynn
makes 16 cupcakes

2 1/4 cups self-rising flour
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 eggs, lightly beaten
2/3 cup butter, softened

1 1/2 cups dark chocolate chips
5 tbsp. butter

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a muffin tin with paper liners and set aside. Sift the flour, cocoa, and baking soda into a large bowl. Add the sugar, eggs, butter, and 1 cup of water. Using and electric mixer, beat on low for 1 minute. Increase the speed to high and beat for another 4 minutes. Spoon into the cups until they are 3/4 of the way full. Bake for about 20-22 minutes until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool completely before glazing.

For the ganache, melt the butter and chocolate in a double boiler until silky smooth. While it's still warm, dunk the tops of the cupcakes into the glaze.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Veggie and Orzo Stuffed Peppers

I sure hope you guys like asparagus! In the next few days I need to use up two huge bunches. I'll be throwing it into everything from omelettes to pasta; breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Don't be surprised if I turn green by the end of the week.

Veggie and Orzo Stuffed Pepper
serves one

1 bell pepper, cut in half and seeds taken out
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
salt and pepper
15 asparagus spears, cut into bite-size pieces
1 cup frozen peas
1/4 cup orzo
3 tbsp. parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cook the orzo for half the amount of time suggested on the box. The orzo will continue to cook in the oven later. Meanwhile, heat the olive in a small pan. Saute the garlic and asparagus for 2 minutes, until the asparagus is bright green but not fully cooked. Combine the asparagus, peas, orzo, and 2 tablespoons of cheese in a bowl.

Spoon the orzo mixture into the pepper halves and place them in an oiled baking dish. Cover with foil and bake for 40 minutes. Uncover, sprinkle with the remaining cheese, and bake for another 5 minutes.

Best Week Ever

I'm spending this entire week house sitting for a family with cable TV, a microwave, a dishwasher, and this adorable doggie:

I may never want to leave!