Saturday, June 30, 2012

Kale and Spinach Pocket Pies

After making chicken pocket pies, I knew I wanted to make the recipe for spinach pocket pies.

I made these last week, and instead of only including spinach, I added 1/2 spinach and 1/2 kale instead. It created such a unique and delicious flavor, especially with the cream cheese dough!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Strawberry Icebox Pie

With the exception of a few great desserts, I usually do not make the same dessert twice. This icebox pie has definitely became one of those desserts that I will make again and again. I've already made it twice in the same week!

This pie has 3 great components: 

graham cracker crust: made out of graham crackers (of course), held together with a little bit of butter, and sweetened slightly with a touch of sugar, this graham cracker crust stays together when you cut into it (but it's not super hard either)! Some of the graham cracker crusts I've made in the past just crumble and break into pieces when you run a knife through them. Not this one, though! 

strawberry filling: consists of 4 cups of sliced strawberries, cranberry juice, and a few other ingredients. Chilled for a bit, then topped with... 

whipped cream: perfect match for the strawberries to wrap together all of the sweet flavors in this pie.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Green Beans with Almonds

I am always looking for new food combinations to try. I had heard of the almond + green bean one before, but had never tried the two together. I love almonds, and I love green beans, so I made this dish last week along with kale and spinach pocket pies.

I loved this new way of serving green beans, and the almonds added an extra crunch and delicious taste to the beans. 

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

     I have never been able to make successful chocolate chip cookies.

It's super embarrassing because they are so classic and should be simple, but every chocolate chip cookie recipe I've tried to make has turned out not too great.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Pretzel Mozzarella Rolls

Although I've only made soft pretzels once, I absolutely LOVE them! I love how soft they are and the taste of the pretzel dough.


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Black and White Angel Food Cake

My aunt Anne is currently in town to help my cousin and his wife with their new house. Jessica has a blog for fashion, jewelry, and more as well as an Etsy shop for her handmade jewelry! 

We helped remove wallpaper in their dining room today, and I brought this cake over to their house because I thought we would end up having cake there. My aunt Anne and Jessica ended up coming over for dinner and we had this cake for dessert.

 I was a little nervous about how this cake would turn out because I had a bit of an issue with our hand mixer dying in the middle of whipping the egg whites, but all my worries and fears were erased when I tasted it. This cake is light, how angel food should be, but filled with chocolate inside and out. It was a perfect dessert at the end of a great day!

And, a year ago today, I started this blog and published my first post! My photography skills still aren't too great or anything, but this blog has given me an excuse to cook and bake more, which I love.

Black and White Angel Food Cake
makes 1 10-inch cake
from Shutterbean

for the cake:
1 lb. superfine sugar, sifted
1 1/3 cups sifted cake flour
1 1/2 cups egg whites, room temperature
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup coarsely grated semisweet chocolate

for the glaze:
1/2 pound semisweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup + 1 tablespoon heavy cream

Preheat oven to 350F.
Sift together 1/2 cup of the sugar and the sifted cake flour 4 times. Set aside.
In the bowl of an electric with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites, salt, and cream of tartar on high speed until the eggs form medium-stiff peaks. Sprinkle the remaining superfine sugar over the beaten egg whites with the mixer on medium speed. Beat on high for several minutes until stiff and shiny. Add the vanilla and beat for about another minute until the mixture is still very thick. Transfer this egg white mixture to a large bowl. Sift 1/4 of the flour and sugar mixture into the egg whites and fold until combined. Continue to add the flour and sugar mixture in 3 equal additions by sifting and folding until incorporated. Finally, fold in the chocolate.
Pour this batter into an ungreased 10-inch angel food tube pan and bake 35-45 minutes, until it is brown and springs back when lightly touched. Remove from oven and invert pan on a flat surface. Allow to cool completely before running a knife along the edges of the pan to remove the cake. Lightly tap the bottom of the pan if needed.
For the ganache, combine the chocolate chips and heavy cream in a double broiler. Stir until chocolate melts. Pour this over the cake until the top is completely covered and it drizzles down the sides.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Chicken Pocket Pies

I really enjoy making variations of basic food dishes. While I love making regular pies, I just couldn't pass up these chicken pocket pies. They are just like a regular and delicious chicken pot pie, but in a pocket with cream cheese pastry dough. Let's get started!

First, start out making the dough for the pocket pies. This particular dough starts with cream cheese, butter, and whipping cream. 

After you add the dry ingredients, the dough is rolled into 2 disks and stuck in the fridge for about 30 minutes while you make the filling.

For the chicken, I just seasoned 2 chicken breasts (which equaled about 1 lb) with salt, pepper, and a little garlic powder and grilled them for a bit.

First, saute the celery, onion, carrots, and peas with a little bit of butter. 

Add flour, dill, and salt.

 Followed by the chicken and Parmesan!

Now, place the filling in the fridge to cool a bit while you prep the dough.

Take the dough out of the refrigerator, roll out into about a 10-inch circle, and form circles with a bowl about 5 inches in diameter. Make sure not to roll the dough too thin (like I accidentally did).

Take your filling out, and place in the dough circles. 

Rub each pie with egg wash and place in the oven!

Wait 5-10 minutes before eating so they have time to cool down a bit. You don't want to eat them straight out of the oven when they're still super hot.

 I served these with sauteed spinach and sliced strawberries; it was so delicious.

Make them this weekend! 

Chicken Pocket Pies
makes 9 pies
from Shutterbean

for the dough:
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened slightly but still cold
4 ounces cream cheese, softened slightly but still cold
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1 1/2 cups + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling out dough
1/2 teaspoon salt

for the pies:
1 heaping cup of shredded cooked chicken
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/3 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/3 cup chopped carrots
1/2 cup frozen peas
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon dill
1 large egg + 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash

In a food processor or by hand, process the butter, cream cheese and heavy whipping cream. Add the flour and salt and process until just combined and the dough clings together into a ball. Place the ball of dough on a well-floured surface and divide into 2 pieces. Flatten each of the 2 pieces into disks and individually wrap each piece in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, melt the butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the chopped onion, celery, peas, and carrots and saute 2-3 minutes. Add the salt, dill, and flour and cook for an additional minute. Add the chicken broth and stir until the mixture thickens, about 2 minutes. Stir in the heaping cup of chicken and Parmesan. Allow to cool in the fridge slightly.
While the mixture is cooling, roll out the disks of dough. Flour a rolling pin and a work surface. Roll each disk out, one at a time, until the dough is about 10 inches in diameter. Collect the dough scraps and form additional circles until you have 9 circles of dough. You don't want the dough to be too thin.
Preheat oven to 375F. Line a baking sheet with parchment. Set aside. 
Take the slightly cooled mixture out of the fridge and place 1/4 cup of the filling on one side of each of the dough circles. Rub water around the edges of the dough circle and fold the dough in half to form a semicircle around the filling. Crimp the edges with a fork. Repeat with each dough circle and place on the prepared baking sheet. Rub each pocket pie with the egg wash and bake 20-25 minutes, until golden brown. Let rest 5 minutes before serving.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Chocolate Cake with Nutella Whipped Cream Frosting

I don't normally bake or cook with other people, but yesterday I made this chocolate cake with a friend. 

I absolutely love her kitchen because it is so spacious and it has an island! I have always wanted an island in our kitchen but it is way too narrow and small.

(And she has an adorable dog!)
Prior to making the recipe, I wasn't really sure how it would turn out, but it ended up being so delicious!

Although it looks pretty messy and isn't really iced properly, the cake was so moist and the icing was light and flavorful. I think the icing would have been even better with a little more nutella, but it was still delicious as is.

We added some strawberries to the top of the cake, which were very tasty with the chocolate.

They reminded how good the strawberry + chocolate combo is!

So good until the last bite.

Chocolate Cake with Nutella Whipped Cream Frosting
makes 1 2 layer 8 or 9 inch cake
from Pamela Brandao

for the cake: 
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup canola oil
2 large eggs
1 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee

for the frosting:
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 1/4 cups nutella

To make the cake, preheat oven to 350F. Grease 2 8 or 9 inch round cake pans. Set aside.
Combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla in a medium bowl. Set aside. 
Sift together the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, and baking powder into the bowl of an electric mixer. Add the salt. Combine on low speed with a paddle attachment until combined. Slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients with the mixer on low speed, scraping the bottom of the bowl as needed. While the mixer is still on low speed, add the coffee. Divide batter evenly between the prepared pans and bake 35-40 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.
Cool the cakes in the pans for 15 minutes and then turn onto wire racks to cool completely.
To make the frosting, whip the heavy cream until thick and fluffy. Place the nutella in a separate bowl and gradually fold the whipped cream into the nutella. Add nutella to taste.
FFrost the cake rounds with the frosting and serve.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Crunchy Kale Coconut Rice Bowls

I was originally interested in this recipe because it involved 2 ingredients that I really like: coconut and (most importantly) kale. Then, I looked further into the recipe and realized it had soy sauce and sesame oil. These oils + kale + coconut just did not sound appetizing at all, but I thought I would try the recipe anyway. 

Let's just say I am so glad I decided to try it! I love the crunch and taste that the kale and oils provided in addition to the coconut.

And, as always, it was so simple. To start, mix the kale and coconut together in a large bowl and the oils together in a separate small bowl. Combine!

The original recipe said to mix in 2/3 of the dressing at this stage and then add in the remaining after it comes out of the oven but I forgot and ended up just adding all of the dressing. I loved it!

Place it across 2 baking sheets

and bake until crispy and brown!

Place in a bowl

and serve with brown rice.

If you like kale chips, you'll love this recipe!

Kale Coconut Bowls 
makes about 4 servings 
from Shutterbean and Joy the Baker 

1/3 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons soy sauce
15 ounces kale, central stems removed
1 cup large flake or shredded coconut
2 cups cooked brown rice 

Preheat oven to 350F. 
In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, sesame oil, and soy sauce. In a large bowl, toss the kale and coconut with the oil dressing.
Spread the kale mixture evenly across two baking sheets and bake until the coconut is golden and the kale is crispy, 12-18 minutes, tossing once.
Remove from oven and transfer kale mixture to a medium bowl. Divide the brown rice between bowls and top with the kale mixture. Serve immediately!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Coconut Panko Shrimp with Pineapple Salsa

STOMP STOMP STOMP STOMP... BANG! quiet. Repeat all night and all morning.

There is a list of things I love, and then there is a much longer list of things I do not like and that annoy me. One of the pet peeves highest on my list is my dad's footsteps, most prominent when he is packing. I cannot stand the sound of his shoes as he paces around upstairs. I do not understand how they are so loud.

I am a person who likes quiet and likes to cook in a quiet and calm environment (loud footsteps = chaos and stress brewing). Although I feel as if I might go crazy right now if the sound of these footsteps do not go away, I am calmed by the fact that these shrimp were made in a quiet and calm kitchen just earlier this afternoon.

This recipe is so simple and delicious that you could concentrate on it even when there are noises and loud obnoxious voices all around you.

To start off with the shrimp, you just need flour, egg whites, panko breadcrumbs, and coconut. How simple! How nice!

The shrimp are only in the oven for about 10 minutes, and the breading stays on the shrimp throughout the entire process! I usually have the problem (and/or fear) of the breading falling off, so I am always thankful when it stays on. I think it was the egg whites that made this possible.

While the shrimp is cooking, it's time for pineapple salsa with cilantro and sriracha.


And in the end, everything comes together. This time, at least. 

Coconut Panko Shrimp with Pineapple Salsa
from Shutterbean

for the shrimp:
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut, toasted
3/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
3 large egg whites
8 oz. medium shrimp
salt and pepper, to taste

for the salsa: 
1 cup chopped fresh pineapple
1/4 bunch cilantro, chopepd
1/2 teaspoon sriracha

Preheat oven to 450˚F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil, place a wire rack on the sheet and set aside.
Place the flour in a shallow dish. Place the toasted coconut and panko in a second shallow dish. Next, whip the egg whites until they are foamy, but not holding peaks yet.
Cover the shrimp in the flour, shaking off the excess, and then cover completely in the whipped egg whites. Finally, completely coat the shrimp in the coconut and panko mixture.
Place the breaded shrimp on the wire rack and season with salt and pepper. Bake until golden, crisp, and cooked through, about 8-10 minutes.
Meanwhile, puree the pineapple with the cilantro and sriracha until almost smooth.
Serve the shrimp with the pineapple salsa.


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