3.25.2013

Easter Recipes 2013

.  Easter is this weekend, my dear readers.  Can you believe it?  I still stand strong with my notion that it's just not right to have Easter in March.  But what can you do about it?  I'll tell you...nuttin.'  I guess it's just a weekend or two sooner that we get to chow down on those dishes our families save especially for the holidays.  Can't complain about that!

I'm sure many of you have already started planning your spread [or maybe not!].  But in my usual fashion, I'd thought it'd be fun to share a few Easter recipes I have on LSM that have possibly gotten buried beneath the other posts.  It never hurts to have one more dish, right?  I also threw in a few breakfast/brunch recipes for those of you having family/visitors in town.  I stuck with things that are easy to throw together and some that can be prepared the night before so your mornings aren't any more hectic than they need to be.  

I'm actually heading back to Minne[sota] Tuesday night [I took the rest of the week off from work, yippee!] to be with my family one last time in the city I still call home.  A lot has been going on lately and I know I've forgotten to mention that my parents are moving back to Seattle this April.  It's been an absolute blessing for them to move closer to all of our family but I know my parents are also quite sad to be leaving behind their friends they've known for ages.  But I guess that'll make for some fun visits!

Anywho, more to come on that later.  I'm excited to get back to the Woodhood to see my besties and spend some quality time with my parentals.  Hope you all have a blessed and relaxing Easter weekend, until next week!  .

3.19.2013

TWD Baking with Julia: Mocha Chocolate Chip Cookies

.  Mmm it's good to be back.

Back to Tuesdays with Dorie, I mean.


I have been anything but consistent with my TWD posts, so I'm glad I'm finally getting back to it. After all, you'll be hard pressed to find anything out of the Baking with Julia cookbook that won't blow your mind.  True statement.

So let's get into these cookies.


I've never made any type of cookie with coffee and for the life of me, I can't figure out why.  I'm an avid coffee drinker [grande Veranda blend from Starbucks is my morning routine] and obviously I love a good ol' cookie.  So putting those two things together only seems right.  Right?

You bet!

These cookies were beyond delish [and I use the past tense because they've definitely been cashed already].  The cookie dough base itself is scrumptious.  Buttery scrumptious.  And the hint of coffee [a.k.a. mocha] in the cookies only exacerbates the three types of rich chocolate chips studded throughout the crispy-edged, chewy cookie.  And yes, I said three types of chocolate chips.  Just imagine biting into a cookie and having chunks of dark, milk, and white chocolate dancing across your taste buds.  Uh, YUM.  This is one of those recipes that has indeed been mastered.  So don't mess with it.


And now that I've convinced you [or scared you away] of the perfection of this recipe, head on over to our host for this month, Galettista, to get the Mocha Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe.  Do it!  .  

My Notes:





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  • Keepin' it real, if you don't like coffee you more than likely won't like this cookie.  The coffee flavor isn't overly powering but it's definitely there.
  • I opted to skip the apricots in the cookie but I think it was more because I was lazy.  Feel free to use them if you'd like though!
  • You most definitely don't have to use three types of chocolate but I do think it makes the cookie that much more exciting.  But to make it easier, use what you have on hand.

3.18.2013

Secret Recipe Club: Creamy Smoked Salmon Dip

.  Annnnnnnd.

It's SRC time.

This month I was assigned a scrumptiously interesting and bilingual blog: Canela Kitchen.  Yes, a bilingual blog.  Who knew?!


Anywho, searching through Canela Kitchen recipes made my mouth water from the vast array of appetizers, desserts [more mousses and puddings than I thought possible!], soups, and so much more.  But Canela Kitchen has been in existence since 2007, so of course they have loads to share!  And back to this bilingual thing, each and every post written in English is followed up by the same post written in Spanish.  Nifty, huh?!  Very internationally friendly.

But when I stumbled upon the Smoked Salmon and Cream Cheese Dip recipe, there was no need to search any further.  I was hooked from the moment I saw 'smoked salmon.'


And it is official this dip has made it on to my go-to appetizer recipes.  HOLY SMOKES, this dip is too good, if that's even possible.  But I guess any time you throw smoked salmon into the mix, it's gotta be good.  Plus some salty capers, crunchy onions, refreshing cucumbers, tangy dill, and a creamy base.  On a baguette.  Hmm, guess who won't be sharing?


The great thing about this dip [aside from the fact that it's so dang tasty], is that you're turning a potentially expensive appetizer into one that's much more affordable.  I mean, we all know smoked salmon isn't cheap.  So mixing it into a dip really spreads the salmon much further [pun intended].  I'm totally envisioning this dip in our Easter spread this year.  Yes, my family, you will get to enjoy this creation just as I have.  Lucky ducks.

Thanks again, Canela Kitchen, for a superb dip recipe!  Until next month, SRCers!  .


Adapted from Canela Kitchen

Ingredients:
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 c. light sour cream
6 oz. smoked salmon, chopped
2 tbsp. dill, chopped
1 tbsp. capers, chopped
1/2 of a red onion, chopped
1/2 of an english cucumber, seeded and chopped
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. lemon zest
1 tsp. lemon juice
1 tbsp. chives, chopped (garnish)
1 French baguette, sliced

Directions:
  1. In a large bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth.  Fold in sour cream, smoked salmon, dill, capers, red onion, cucumber, salt, pepper, lemon zest, and lemon juice, until thoroughly combined.  Transfer to serving bowl, cover, and refrigerate one hour.
  2. Garnish with chives and serve with sliced bread.
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3.14.2013

National Pi Day!

.  3.14.

March 14.

Get it yet??

If you don't, we may need to have some words.  Or maybe it's just a nerdy baker thing.  Who knows!

But regardless, it's National Pi Day and that means only one thing: Pies.  So in honor of this wondrous holiday [yep, it's official] I've compiled a couple of my favorite pie recipes made by, drum roll please.....me! 

Duh.  You should have seen that coming.

So enjoy scrolling through the next few pics and don't be shy, get to whipping one up!  Trust me, they're easier than they look.  Happy Pi day everyone!  .

3.11.2013

Cadbury Creme Fudge

.  Did anyone else realize that Easter is in March this year?

Not gonna lie, it just seems wrong.  I didn't even know that Easter in March was actually possible.  Well Easter has shown me up obviously.


But regardless, I guess it's about time I pop out an Easter post then, eh?  Can you tell that I've been working on publishing themed posts prior to the actual holiday?  Usually the special days creep up on me so you don't see the recipes that go with the event until after the holiday is over.  Oopsies!

However, I managed to knock out an Easter holiday well in advance this year.  And probably because it's a recipe I pinned last year before Easter but for one reason or another never got to making it.  My bad.


And I'm still not sure why I would put off making one of the most iconic treats known to Easter.  I mean really, who doesn't love those Cadbury Creme Eggs?!  And if you don't, I don't know what you like then.  Because those chocolate cases surrounding creamy, sugary goodness are one of  a kind.  And deliciously addicting.  If it weren't for the fact that you know you probably shouldn't be eating handfuls of them, then I would.  Eat handfuls of them, that is.  Especially those caramel ones.  Nummyyyy!


Anywho, this 'fudge' is super easy.  I'm not quite sure I would call it fudge but at the moment I'm at a loss for another name.  But it's easy because it's a couple of layers of a couple of ingredients and voila, your very own Cadbury creation!

Now I'll be honest [because that's what we do here], this recipe wasn't exactly what I hoped it would be [see My Notes below...].  But ironically, Robbie [who is the KING of all things Cadbury] actually loved these.  He said 'if you like Cadbury Eggs, you'll like these.  They taste just like the real ones.'  And that's a direct quote, no if's, and's, or but's.


So if you're wise, which I know you are, you'll take Robbie's word and get to whippin' this 'fudge' together.  Your Cadbury-lovers will bow at your feet ☺  .


My Notes:
  • The only 'issue' I had with this 'fudge' is the texture.  The [white/yellow] filling was a little thicker than I think I was expecting.  I also think it would be interesting to use milk chocolate chips rather than semisweet to really give it that sweet chocolate flavor.  Lastly, I found that this is the best at room temperature, because the filling gets really gooey and the chocolate is nice and soft.
  • I poured over this recipe quite a bit afterwards because I felt like I could have made it a bit more presentable.  One of the ideas I came up with was using a mini muffin tin and layering the chocolate and filling.  Then you'd end up with a nice little layered Cadbury fudge piece.  Cute, huh?!
  • I did find that the fudge was a bit hard to cute due to the thickness of the chocolate.  So be sure to use a good knife and odds are you won't get perfectly clean cut pieces.  But it still tastes just as good!

Ingredients:
1/2 c. light corn syrup
1/4 c. butter, at room temperature
3 c. powdered sugar
Yellow Food Coloring
1/4 tsp. salt (optional)
2 c. semisweet or milk chocolate chips

Directions:
  1. Line a 8-inch baking dish with wax paper; set aside until ready to use.  In a medium bowl, beat together the light corn syrup and butter.  Slowly mix in powdered sugar and salt until combined [mixture will be very thick].  
  2. Separate one third of the mixture and place into a small bowl.  Add the yellow food coloring until you reach the desired color.
  3. Press the white filling into the prepared pan and top with the yellow filling.
  4. In another medium bowl, melt chocolate chips in microwave until smooth.  Pour the chocolate over the white and yellow filling and spread evenly.
  5. Refrigerate for a couple of hours or until firm before cutting and serving.
Yield: 24 servings

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3.05.2013

A Birthday and Chocolate Chip Scotchies


.  So I kind of held out on you guys.

No, nothing really worthwhile like a groundbreaking, decadent recipe.  I wouldn't do that to you.

Nope.  But it was my birthday yesterday.  Ya, ya, happy birthday, woopdy doo.


Just kidding guys, I'm not that much of a grinch.  But not gonna lie, this birthday 1) crept up on me and 2) I wasn't all too excited for it.  Why, you may ask?  Well...26 isn't much to get excited about, you know?  Last year I was surprised for my quarter-of-a-century birthday by my irreplaceable family and friends here in Omaha so I guess number 26 had a lot to live up to.  And being a 'Monday' birthday wasn't something to get revved up for either.

But you know what?

I had one of the most memorable birthdays I can recall.  No, seriously.  I really did.


The day started out rather ordinary, nothing too crazy at work but the usual busy-ness as of late.  But after lunch, the front desk called me down where I found a lovely box of a dozen cupcakes from Bliss Bakery, a local spot in downtown Omaha that holds a special place in my heart because it was started by two sisters.  Gotta give some respect to the entrepreneurs of this world, right?!

Anywho, it was my lovely parents who had the special treats sent to my work.  My mom's reasoning is that since she couldn't be there in person to bake me a cake [as you may know, my parents live in MN], then the cupcakes were going to have to be the next best thing.  Hey, I ain't complainin'!  But really, what wonderful parents I have.  Can't say this more than enough.


So the rest of the afternoon was spent attempting to get some things done at work while also chatting with some fellow co-workers and trying to dish out these [ridiculously] beautiful [and even better tasting] cupcakes.  But then I got another call from the front desk because lo' and behold, I had flowers.  I had flowers?!  Honestly, the first thing that went through my head was wtf?  Because I knew my parents hadn't sent them...

But guess who did?!?!?!

Yep, MEL!  Remember the lady I ranted and raved about a few weeks back because she was coming to visit me?  Yep, her.  I had talked to her a few days prior to my birthday and told her I wasn't too amped about the upcoming day because it was just a typical ol' Monday.  Well, she took the liberty of sending me flowers to take away those Monday Blues and duh, it worked.  I was overly delighted and for the second time that day, couldn't believe that someone had taken the time to send me something.  Geesh.  She's beautiful and thoughtful!  But sorry guys, she's taken.


So, in summary, I had an exquisitely simple birthday but one filled with reminders of all of the extraordinary people I am so blessed to have in my life.  I honestly think people take for granted the simple gestures in life, seemingly 'little' things that you may not even realize how big of an impact they have on someone's day.  Or better yet, their life.  All in all, in a good reminder.

And now that you've gotten a full recap on my birthday [whether you wanted it or not], I guess it's time for these cookies.  They're legit.  Simple as that.

Coming into my birthday weekend [yes, birthdays have apparently now rolled into weekends], I was craving a cookie.  A simple, classic cookie.  I know, hold your gasps.  Because that rarely happens.  As my dad would know [and jokes constantly about], I tend to gravitate towards recipes with a little twist and tend to steer away from the staple recipes because well, you see them everywhere.  So sue me.


To fulfill my craving, I headed straight to my Milk and Cookies book because I knew I'd surely find a winner.  Remember my White Chocolate Cherry Oatmeal Cookies?  Those came from Milk and Cookies and are undoubtedly one of the best oatmeal cookies I've ever had.  And that was exactly what I was looking for.

So I opted for the Scotchies, which consist of the oatmeal cookie dough base I can't get enough of.  But then you add in a generous dose of cinnamon to fill every nook and cranny and jam pack the dough with addicting butterscotch chips.  But to adhere to my reputation, I had to add something in!  So I threw in a good helping of milk chocolate chips just for the fun of it.  Again, sue me.


These cookies were nothing short of amazing and fulfilled every dream I had of an oatmeal cookie.  Crisp edges, chewy centers, buttery, cinnamoney, and butterscotchy flavors all throughout.  What's not to love?  That's right...nuttin'!  So get baking!  .



My Notes:
  • I substituted some of the butterscotch chips for milk chocolate chips.  But the great thing about this recipe is that you can use any types of chips you can get your hands on, just make sure it all adds up to two cups!
  • When scooping out your dough, I found it best to make sure the dough is pretty packed together.  Otherwise some of my cookies spread out way too much and even burned a bit.


Adapted from Milk and Cookies

Ingredients:
1 recipe oatmeal cookie dough base (excluding orange juice, cherries, and white chocolate)
1 c. milk chocolate chips
1 c. butterscotch chips

Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 350°F.  Light spray a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray; set aside.
  2. Once cookie dough base is mixed but still streaky (do not overmix), using a wooden spoon, gently stir in milk chocolate and butterscotch chips.  Cover with plastic wrap and place in freezer for about 10 minutes or until dough firms up.
  3. Using a tablespoon or cookie scoop, place scant balls of dough onto prepared baking sheet about 2 inches apart.  
  4. Bake 15 minutes or until lightly browned around the edges (centers should be slightly soft to the touch).  Remove from oven and transfer to wire rack to cool completely.
Yield: 3 dozen cookies



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