Saturday, March 20, 2010

Roadtrip Planning 101

We are planning a roadtrip for Spring Break - leaving in just a week!
  • Two couples with many common interests - BBQ, baseball, and outdoor fun.
  • One big conversion van equipped with 4 capt chairs, a TV/DVD player, and hook-ups for a Wii or PS2.
  • 1600 miles
  • 26 hours of driving
  • Too many BBQ joints ruining the beach bod's along the way!!
How do we decide? Well - there are a couple of websites dedicated to finding the PERFECT restaurant along your roadtrip: The most memorable local eateries along the highways and backroads of America
 - Jane and Michael Stern can be heard on the Splendid Table weekly on public radio. They find fun stuff!

Southern Foodways: Grab a napkin and go!
 - Driven by an initiative to capture the Oral History of the southerners who grow, create, serve, and consume food and drink.

Do you have any other great resources?

Saturday, March 6, 2010

This Week's Wish List

A lack of Time and Talent might be keeping me from baking at the moment - but it doesn't keep me from thinking about what I WISH to bake~! Here are some recent recipes that have made it to my wish list for the week. I hope you have the time to build up your talent!

1. Orange Strawberry Cream Cake from Savour Fare - this just looks like SUMMER!
2. Chocolate Dipped Shortbread Cookies from the Brown Eyed Baker
3. Chocolate Coconut Cookie Bars from Chef Catherine
4. a Sweet and Salty Chocolate Cake by Baked NYC from Amy Atlas
5. Home Cured Corn Beef from Wasabimon - curing at home would be fun and perfect for St. Patty's Day - plus, Corned Beef Hash is H's FAVORITE breakfast!

That's enough to keep me dreaming about baking!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Cooking Together: Homemade Ravioli

Valentine's Day 2010: a night at home cooking, eating, and watching the olympics!

Homemade Ravioli.
Homemade pasta is a breeze if you have a pasta roller - but you still should hand knead for 10 minutes for proper elasticity.
While letting the dough rest for about 30 minutes - H made the filling for our ravioli: a mixture of Ricotta, Parm, ground pork, ground veal, basil, and garlic.

I rolled out the small nougets of dough - about 2x bigger than an egg. I rolled as we needed it to avoid drying and help it stick together without water. H. got to work filling, folding, and squeezing.

IMPORTANT: when filling and folding, you must get all air out of the pocket - this prevents tearing or splitting later.
We froze most of the batch - and kept out enough for dinner. Freeze flat on a sheet for about an hour, then transfer to a ziplock in serving sizes. Do not thaw before cooking.

Cook at a HIGH SIMMER [not a rolling boil]. The rolling boil is too violent for the little handmade wonders and they tend to split.

Served with butter and parmesan. YUM.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Wish List

Reading about our great Constitution is sending my mind into the kitchen. I keep seeing great recipes that get saved in my "favorites" tab under "recipes" - hopefully to bake soon!

1. Joy the Baker - top 10 quick breads. These sound and look great! A nice variety to change things up.
2. Amy Atlas gives you two great Valentine's Recipes that involve lots of chocolate. TASTY!
3. The Flavor Vault's Oatmeal Craisin Cookie - with white chocolate and pecans.
4. Amateur Gourmet's Banana Pudding
5. Baking Obsession: Double Chocolate and Cherry Scones with Creme Fraiche and Cherry Preserves

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Winter Blahs? Feeling S.A.D.? Plan a Party!

Smile inducing photo

Seasonal Affective Disorder is common in my neck of the woods. But who would call it that? Usually, at the beginning of the winter - I am excited for the increased "carb cravings" and becoming more of a "homebody." I didn't think there was anything SAD about it. Now that it is January - well, I'm looking forward to warmer temps. Looking forward to that Spring Break trip to a warmer climate and putting away the wool socks! My brother told me that he has a happy lamp in Alaska... i'm not sure whether he's telling me a story or if its true.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

What's for Dinner? Thai Chicken Burgers!

It's january. I want healthy. I also want SPICY to deal with the cold weather. I want COLOR to combat the white [turning dingy] Minnesota landscape. I want EASY to deal with a law school schedule.

Chicken Burgers - and damn good ones at that. Hits all the elements that are required for this particular dinner - with the added bonus that I got to use some fun kitchen gadgets [though not required!]Check out the recipe here and see how I fared.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Tangerine and Olive Oil Cake

Heavenly Housewife had a great idea to make a citrus/olive oil cake. I used tangerines instead of clementines - and liked how juicy they were. The visual of the cake (which i hope to upload when i get home) - is too close to a pound cake in my opinion. I look at a "loaf cake" - and i think rich, with a thick hearty crumb. Instead, it's super moist and delicate. No complaints - it's just messing with my visual taste buds - like a tease!

Tasty - for sure. With 1 cup of juice and the zest - it's just slightly tangy and sweet. I think this would be GREAT in a 8" round - single layer - with a sprinkling of powder sugar. That - or just make a citrus pound cake!

Gotta love trying new recipes!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

MPLS: Breakfast ideas from The Good Day Cafe

Best Breakfast i've had in - well, awhile - was at the Good Day Cafe in Golden Valley, Minnesota. Idea # 1: A dessert/Appetizer before breakfast - freshly made beignet with sugar, served before the breakfast comes out. YUM!

Idea #2: Fried Egg sandwich - on brioch! The sandwich could be easily replicated at home - fried onions, tomato, fried egg, shaved ham and avocado slices.
Idea #3: Eggs Benedict - with guacamole instead of meat. There was something magical about the lemony hollandaise over a pile of guac. This particular sandwich could have used half the guac (a little overwhelming) but the effect was nice. Could be replicated at home if I felt like making hollandaise in the morning. Maybe this one is best left to the experts!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Friday Night Special: Roasted Root Veggies and Steak au Poivre

You know its Friday when you can open the bottle of wine while getting the ingredients together - and not in any hurry or rush, but just enjoying the act of making dinner. I love making dinner when time is not an issue, it just isn't the same on a school night.
This particular Friday night's menu included slow roasted root vegetables, and a relatively quick steak au poivre paired with a bottle of old vine red that was on sale at Surdyks. The vegetables needed 90 minutes in the oven, so I wanted to get that started first. This recipe is quite easy - and can be adapted to include things you might already have onhand. Read more for the recipes.

Monday, January 11, 2010

January Desserts: Tres Leches Cake

Alton's finished version
picture/recipe credit: Alton Brown's Tres Leche Cake
January is all about cold - without the holidays. There still seem to be plenty of post-holiday gatherings where you cannot get away with pulling out the holiday cookies because everyone knows that they are at least 2 weeks old (and probably much older!) - so you need a fun alternative. This is great because it is (deceptively) light in this health-concious month.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Bread Pudding

I love when you have homemade bread - and too much of it! Bread pudding is one of those great recipes that turns leftovers into a fantastic dessert!
Choose your own baking adventure:
Individual Bread Puddings: bake in buttered ramekins [25-30 minutes - depending on size]
Bread Pudding Bread: Use a little less bread and pack the mixture into a buttered bread loaf tin after letting the bread soak in the liquid for at least 30 minutes. You can then slice the loaf and serve with brunch. [bake 30-45 minutes, until set. Let cool completely before slicing.]
One Dish Wonder: use any casserole dish, cake pan, or even a lasagna pan for big crowds [bake 35-45 minutes until set]