Monday, August 12, 2013

Summer Vegetable Tian

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If I had to describe summer with a single dish, it might possibly be this tian, or a peach pie. With all of these colorful vegetables packed into a tart pan, it just screams summer.

For the main vegetables, I used zucchini, squash, tomatoes and potatoes. You could definitely try eggplant or change it however much you want, though.

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Friday, July 26, 2013

The Best Honey Wheat Bread

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Next to pie and popsicles, homemade bread is one of my favorite things to make. From round loaves to sandwich bread loaves, one of the more satisfying things in life is pulling a loaf of bread out of the oven and then cutting into said loaf while it is still warm right after baking.

When it comes to this honey wheat bread, it truly is one of the best breads I've ever tasted. It is super soft and makes a great foundation for a sandwich or as toast with butter and jam. Plus, it makes two loaves so you can enjoy one and then give one away so another person can enjoy this great bread. I hope this bread can brighten your day and someone else's if you ever just knead (see what I did there?) some bread!

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Friday, July 19, 2013

Arugula Walnut Salad with Fig Balsamic

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This June, I took part in a student exchange where I stayed with a super nice French host family in a town in Normandy called Caen. The father cooked dinner pretty much every night, the mother made me lunch, and my host girl and I ate breakfast together every morning while their cat drank cucumber water. And every morning, we had tea and toast. There was a cabinet in their kitchen full of tea from Earl Grey to Darjeeling and Twinings to Dammann. I'm no tea connoisseur, but I did bring back a bag and a tin of loose tea. Alongside our tea, we had toast with jam.  Similar to the tea, they had about every kind of jam you could think of. My favorite? Fig.

Although I've never been a huge fan of jam because I don't like how sweet it is, this fig jam was the perfect amount of sweet and I just cannot express how much I love this fig jam. So, I brought a jar back with me. Unfortunately, it was gone within about 2.5 weeks (I have since found another jar of fig jam at the store), but before I parted with the last of my favorite jam, I made this salad.

So, what might fig jam have to do with this salad? The dressing. Oh yes. This salad has a really incredible dressing with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, red onion and fig jam. Fig jam! In a salad! It's genius.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

a sandwich, deconstructed

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I love making sandwiches. They are so simple and easy to make, and you can make so many different variations. Today I thought I would share one of my ideas of a simple sandwich on a baguette. Baguettes seem to take sandwiches to the next level and make them even more delicious, don't you think? I want to try fig jam on my next sandwich! For now, though, what are your favorite ingredients to put on a sandwich? 

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Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Watermelon Cucumber Salad

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Watermelon is one of those foods that I never think of to cook with. Since it is so perfect on its own, I don't think I've ever really eaten it any other way than just on its own. However refreshing watermelon is solo, its sweetness and juiciness go perfectly with cucumber. Then, when you add lime juice, mint and cilantro, its just a food party that you simply cannot miss! Oh, and let's not forget about the feta.

This is also a great time to make this simple salad as a meal or a side because we're in the middle of summer and so many foods are at their prime. So, take advantage and combine them together to make something great during the week or to celebrate the weekend. Happy Wednesday for now!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Tricolor Popsicles

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Since today is the fourth of July, I thought it would be appropriate to celebrate with popsicles. This annual independence day always me think of popsicles, and sparklers. Although we've never had a yearly tradition celebrating with these two festive items for the fourth day in July, I always like to think that they should be included on this day. So, I made these tricolor treats.

Raspberries, coconut milk and blueberries make up the red, white and blue stripes. The white and blue blended into each other a bit, but I loved the way these turned out. Plus, you can also make them for Bastille Day as well!

Happy fourth!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

a return, in pictures

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Well, hello there! Long time, no blogging. The long, extended break I have just had from this blog was not intentional, but something that happened and played out by itself before I knew it. It was not only a time where I lost inspiration (just a bit) to write consistently about new foods I've made, but when I also found myself wrapped up with other commitments that drew me away from not only my blog, but other blogs as well. I have not been reading as many blogs recently, and have obviously not contributed to my blog, but this break has filled me with ideas for what I want to do and so many things that I want to make.

Although I haven't spent quite so much time on my blog, I have been spending time in the kitchen. Not as much time as usual, but I still made a bunch of delicious goods during this blogging break. Even though I haven't blogged about everything I have made in these crazy three months (!) I've been absent, I have taken pictures and would like to share these with you today. These are a collection of pretty much all baked goods I made this past spring but have not shared here. I would like to do a separate post for pretty much all of the things I have made and have not blogged about before, but that would become a bit boring and repetitive since I only have one or two different kinds of photos for each thing I have made. So, I just decided to compile them into one giant post.

However, I am looking forward to posting new recipes in the future, and am happy to get back into being active again with not only my blog, but other blogs that I love and have sadly fallen out of touch with. I have still been reading many of my favorite blogs, but have not been commenting or waiting quite as anxiously as I usually do for each new post. To come back to blogging, though, I will now tell you about (almost) everything I have made during the break .

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Spring Gardening

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To celebrate spring starting last Wednesday, we went out and bought several greens to grow in the next couple of months. Although it snowed here this morning and definitely did not look or feel like spring, the next week of weather looks promising and great for our new plants.

We have primarily just grown herbs and tomatoes in the past, but this year we bought three types of spinach, parsley, brussel sprouts and lettuce. We also want to buy several basil plants in a couple of weeks and plant them somewhere since we use a bunch of basil for pesto. Also, we already had a whole clump of oregano that survived from last year as well as a small bunch of parsley and lots of rosemary.

If you have any gardening tips or suggestions, please send them my way because I want to know as much as possible to help these greens thrive and be happy as the temperature rises a bit. Happy spring gardening!

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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Triple Chocolate Biscotti

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I feel like I do not always realize how great something is until long after everyone else has already had their initial excitement about said great something.  

One thing that I feel I have been missing out on are sprinkles. As to why have I not been excited about sprinkles before now, I do not know, but they are just so colorful and exciting and I want to sprinkle them on any cake and cookie that I can. And, as you can see by this post,  the latest baked good I have sprinkle-ized are these incredible biscotti. 

Biscotti was on my list of foods to make in 2013 and now that I have made my first batch, I am so excited to make another version (with sprinkles, only of course). 

Monday, March 18, 2013

French Toast Pancakes

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Although this a recipe for pancakes, it is also a recipe for french toast. Basically, this is a baked, doughy pancake, but when you cover it in powdered sugar and maple syrup, it tastes like a doughy piece of french toast slammed into a pancake, except no griddle is involved. So, instead of waiting beside a hot griddle for pancakes or french toast, you can wait by a warm oven for your breakfast (or lunch, or dinner) to bake.

Even though there is the traditional way to make french toast with eggs and bread, this is a different method that has it's own crispy edges made better with powdered sugar and maple syrup.

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Friday, March 15, 2013

Candied Citrus Peel

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I don't know about you, but I've always liked sour patch kids. Maybe it's because it's not something to commonly DIY at home, but I love their texture and sourness. Although I was not set on making homemade sour patch kids when I had these citrus peels in mind, after I finished making these peels they tasted so much like the sweet candy I love, except they aren't sour. The texture and taste are pretty similar, especially the lemon peels.

I have had candied grapefruit peels in the past, but never lemon peels. I actually liked the lemon more, even thought the grapefruit is still really delicious. I really want to try candied orange peels next, and maybe even lime!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Brown Butter Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies with Nutella and Sea Salt

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Woah. So many words in the title! So many flavors!

I love simple foods and baked goods, and that is what these cookies are, but they do have a lot of flavors smashing together to create one crazy good cookie.

Basically, these cookies have a nutella center surrounded by a brown butter dough with chocolate chips and peanut butter chips. The finishing touch is the sea salt to balance out all these sweet flavors. The glob of nutella at the core is melty and great after the cookies come out of the oven, but once the cookies cool, the nutella gets hard. So, when you eat leftover cookies, just zap them in the microwave for a couple of seconds to warm them up a bit and soften the nutella.

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Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Salted Caramel Chocolate Shortbread Bars

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I don't know about you, but one candy I am not a big fan of are twix. I like the idea of twix with the chocolate, caramel and crisp cookie part, but there's something off about this candy to me.

However, these bars are pretty close to what you could call perfect. They have chocolate, caramel, and soft shortbread, plus they are sprinkled with salt. The salt really helps bring the flavor of the caramel to its full potential and is just the best with the other components of these bars.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Brown Butter Cookie Dough Rice Krispie Treats

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Today has been a day I have been looking forward to for the last two months since today is the first day of March! I don't have a specific month that I call my "favorite," but if I did, it would probably be March and definitely not January, February or August. Those three months just have bad vibes radiating from them.

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I love March because it is not super hot (or isn't supposed to be) and not too cold, either. It is the start of spring and other great things like days with more sunlight.

So, naturally, we can celebrate by making dessert, right? How do these rice krispies sound? Because they are really amazing. I guess it is hard to go wrong when brown butter and cookie dough meet in a rice krispie treat.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Buttermilk Cornbread

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I live in the south, and because of this, there are many great foods around here. Cornbread is just one of the many great traditional southern sides, but I did not grow to like it until I had it about two years ago on new years day. I'm not sure what clicked that day, but I have really grown to love it. My mom usually makes it whenever she makes chili, but I recently had it at my grandmother's house a couple weekends ago and it totally sparked me to make it myself. Hers was on the sweeter end of the cornbread spectrum, and while that version is delicious, I like a cornbread that is not as weighed on the sweet side.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Truffles

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I feel like there is a large distance between chocolate chip cookie dough and actual baked, warm, chocolate chip cookies. I know that many love the final cookie product, but I lean more towards the colder dough product. I really do not like it with raw eggs, though, but of course there is an egg-free option, which is in these truffles. Not only do these truffles contain cookie dough, but there are smothered in chocolate. Woah!

It's like the opposite of a chocolate chip cookie with a gooey, chocolate-stuffed center. But those are for me to share with you later, not now.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Fluffy Buttermilk Pancakes

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There seems to be a a super secret and special way to scoop pancake batter, pour it onto a hot griddle and then flip it in order for the pancakes to come out looking pretty and round. It seems easy enough to do, but I just have trouble with pancakes. When I scoop and pour the batter they always come out slightly deformed and not looking like a nice and circular pancake should. They are not terrible looking, but I do want to master how to make the perfect and pretty pancake. So, when I could not get these pancakes out of my head, I just dove in and made them.

The pretty factor aside, though, I actually really do enjoy making pancakes. Especially when the end product is fluffy, evenly brown and maple syrup is involved.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Salted Caramel Brownies

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Brownies are the ultimate food that you can turn to when in need of a quick dessert, a reliable recipe or a way to make a friend. You can jazz them up or down as much as you like with frosting, filling, different kinds of chocolate and so much more. In this case, we have a filling.

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This really is not just any other chocolate and caramel combo. Their marriage together, in this brownie, creates a wonderfully fudgy and delicious dessert that is just one of the best things ever.

The caramel sauce that goes in between the two brownie layers half disperses into the rest of the brownie part and half creates a layer of it's own. It gives a salted caramel taste throughout the entirety of the bar.

I really liked this because the caramel layer doesn't ooze everywhere and make a mess out of everything (which, in its own way and place is wonderful), but melts out just a bit so it's enjoyable but not all over your hands. It really is a perfect brownie.

And I'm not one to say the word 'perfect' often.

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Sunday, February 17, 2013

Strawberry Lime Paletas

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Winter has really brought out my craving for summer fruit, and I am just waiting for the local strawberries and other fruits to be ripe and in season. However, I was not patient enough to wait a couple more months for the fresh strawberries, so I went ahead and made these frozen treats.

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Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Chocolate Butter Pecan Sandwich Cookies with Peanut Butter Filling

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Call it grilled cheese. Bring two pieces of toast to the conversation. Fill with ice cream. Smash a classic flavor combo together. Bake in oats because they are just the best when paired with peanut butter.

Whatever the details may be, sandwiches are great on so many different levels. Sweet or savory, filled with icing or cheese, for dessert or lunch, I really love the idea of having an icing or multiple components smashed between two cookies or pieces of bread.

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So, these sandwich cookies were originally composed of a chocolate cookie a brown butter pecan filling, but I was into more of a peanut butter feeling. The brown butter pecan sounds super delicious, though. Ice cream would be wonderful, too! So many crazy and wonderful flavor combinations that you can make out of sandwich cookies!

In conclusion, change these according to your own preference if you want, because there are so many ways to create a great dessert out of two soft cookies and filling!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Rainbow Birthday Cake

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Birthdays are pretty much my favorite days ever. Cards, cakes and candles are really exciting to me, and I love memorizing the dates of people's birthdays. If I know you, I most likely know your birthday date as well. I also have a book specifically for birthday dates, just in case I need a refresher.

And, as you might have guessed, this cake is a birthday cake because today is Jessica's birthday!

Of course, I had to make her cake, so after looking around, I decided on this rainbow cake. I made it about two years ago for another birthday, and it was amazing, so I thought that it would be the perfect thing to make for this weekend.

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Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Lemon Blueberry Muffins

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Let's say you made Brown Butter Blueberry Muffins one day and feel in love. You haven't tried another blueberry muffin recipe since, because you already have a perfect recipe. Why would you try another kind and betray your amazing, delicious muffins, only to be disappointed? Well, you just have to go out on that branch, jump into a new recipe, and try it because you never know what you're missing until you swim and talk with other variations.

Pretty much, ever since I made those perfect, and I mean truly perfect, blueberry muffins, I really have not wanted to try another recipe that involved baking blueberries into muffins. However, as you can see, I tried another recipe. And it was great! I will confess that I still love my other beloved recipe a little more because of the brown butter and the crumble that it involves, but variation is a good thing and you can still really like two different kinds of variations, even if you like one just a bit more than the other.

Now that is not to scare you off from this post. No! The two blueberry muffins are just different. This recipe includes brown butter, a crumble topping, and are a little lighter.

These muffins that you see in this post include lemon, many different types of fat, and are a heavier muffin. They are denser and have a firmer crumb to them, if that makes sense.

Pros and cons.

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Sunday, February 3, 2013

Lemon Eclairs

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Eclairs are just one of those foods that I had never tried before until this past summer, but once I did, I was so hooked. Mostly just because they are fun to make, but also because of the endless flavors and fillings that can jazz up the simple dough.

For these particular eclairs, I decided to fill them with whipped cream and lemon curd. I think that a strawberry whipped cream or a caramel pastry cream would also be super delicious. If you want a vanilla and chocolate recipe, you could adapt these cream puffs.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Chocolate Peppermint Sandwich Cookies with Candy Cane Filling

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Call me crazy, because I totally am. I am the weirdo that is still holding onto candy canes from over a month ago when February is just hours away. Maybe most people have thrown the seasonal winter treats out of the way, but I could not resist this recipe. Plus, February brings Valentine's Day, and these cookies have a pale pink filling. That justifies making these, right? Since they're pink?

Also, I kept thinking about this recipe because they reminded me of Trader Joe's Candy Cane Joe Joe's. Then, I made them, and this recipe definitely produces a homemade version of candy cane joe joe's. One difference, though, is that the chocolate cookie part is not quite as crisp. The cookies are softer, and have a slight brownie texture to them. They are wonderful.

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Monday, January 28, 2013

Roasted Asparagus with Mozzarella and Croutons

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I love to cook meals with multiple components and lots of ingredients that require a generous chunk of time, but a lot of the time, I really love just a simple lunch or dinner as well. Sometimes, I guess it is better to tone things down a little and simplify them. This lunch is definitely an example of simple.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Apricot Scones

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Apparently, we have been in the new year for 25 days. That's crazy! It's really insane how fast time can go, and how very slow as well.

Remember when I wrote about 13 foods that I want to make in 2013? Well, I have finally made one item off  of that list: scones! I've made scones before, but I wanted to search for a really perfect scone recipe in the new year, so I just attached it onto my list.

How very lucky and fortunate was I to have made the ultimate scones this past weekend. And, with apricots. It can be so easy to mess up a scone, but this is such a solid and amazing recipe that I cannot wait to make again. Although I was planning to make blueberry muffins this weekend, they might just turn into scones...

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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Quinoa with Chickpeas and Feta

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Although I've been baking like crazy the past few months and days to keep away from the cold, I am so ready for the light and freshness of spring. I am excited for the days to be lighter for longer, for the temperature to be slightly, but not too much, warmer, and for the first fresh strawberries.

Right now though, we are stuck in January, and then February, for just a little while longer. I am so excited for fruit and warmer temperatures, so I decided to make something a little lighter, not baked. I always associate fall and winter with heavier baked goods, and spring and summer with lighter fare.

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Monday, January 21, 2013

Chocolate Chunk Brownies

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I try to be adventurous and different with the things I make and eat, but in reality, I'm not really the person to go out and try some crazy flavor combination. I like to try new things, but I tend to lean towards things I know well, such as cookies, grilled cheese and apples. And pretty much the ultimate food I know the best? Brownies, of course! 

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Friday, January 18, 2013

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

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I may or may not have discussed this subject before, but I am not a great cake decorator. I love making cakes, don't get me wrong, but I just do not have that great hand of arranging the icing. Not yet, at least. I really need to push myself to make cakes more often so I practice my icing skills more, but pretty much nothing frustrates me more than having a cake in front of me I'm having trouble icing. So, I'm going to try and start icing 6-inch cakes. Hopefully their smaller size will prove to be more manageable for me and my decorating troubles. In the meantime, though, does anyone have any sources or advice for great cake decorator? I want to read all about it!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Avocado White Cheddar Grilled Cheese

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Some things are really easy to mess up. Examples include going a full day without tripping, taking a bad photograph and letting flowers die.

On the contrary, some things are really easy to get right. Examples include procrastinating and tearing paper.

Now it is time for another category: things that are super easy to do, but at the same time, you can seriously mess up if you just cross that thin line. This category includes walking, cooking caramel and making grilled cheese. Grilled cheese is so easy, simple and delicious to make, but it can turn out to be pretty terrible, too. Hard, burnt and plasticy orange are not components that should be in a grilled cheese.

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