Sunday, December 5, 2010

Carrot and Garlic Soup

5 Large full carrots, peeled and sliced thin ((GRATING Might make the process even faster))
1 medium onion, diced smallish
4 small red potatoes, sliced thin and then julienne
5 cloves roasted garlic
1 carton chicken stock
1/4 cup butter
sour cream

Slice your carrots thing (Half way through the agonizingly slow slicing of the carrots I lost interest and got out the grater. Grated remainder of the carrots, and it came beautiful).
Throw your butter in a large pot or dutch oven with carrots, and then dice up your onions. Throw onions in, sauté for 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, slice up your red potatoes. Add them in, along with 3/4 your chicken stock. Boil for about 20 minutes, or until your carrots and onions and potatoes are nice and ridiculously soft. Add 5 cloves roasted garlic (Mine were small small cloves, maybe 3 large) and take off heat. Cool slightly and add to blender. Blend half and half until smooth.
Add back to pot or dutch oven, pour 1/4 stock into blender and pulse once or twice to get carrot puree of of the walls of the blender. Pour stock/carrot mixture into pot with the rest of the soup.
Heat through, and when warm add in two scoops sour cream, or to taste. Salt and pepper, or let everyone scoop theirs into their bowls and then salt and pepper. I found I didn't want much salt, but a good dash of black pepper.
Serves 2 ravenous people or 3 hungry people.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Lemon Buttercream Macarons

I received the holy grail of birthday presents from my parents last week.

(Angels sing)

The weirdest thing about FINALLY getting my Kitchenaid Stand Mixer was not knowing what to do with it. I had no idea where to start! I've gotten along until now without it, and now I'm like...whaaa?

I needed a push to bust it out. And I got that push yesterday!

My best friend in the universe got engaged yesterday! She is the sweetest, sunniest girl, and in junior high school we used to call her "Butters" because she looked so good in yellow. Lame, but we were like, 13.

So, on my drive back up to Duluth after seeing her and seeing her GORGEOUS ring (Kudos, Ryan!) I was inspired to whip up a buttery, yellow cookie that I have dreaded attempting...

The Macaron!

I've been wanting to try these tricky little fellas and I finally did. Honestly, not so tricky. I found a doable recipe over at Becoming Lola ( and was pleasantly surprised. The thing that attracted me to this recipe is that it didn't call for a silapat baking sheet (which I don't have the money to splurge on!).

You have no idea how excited I was to see the little feet pop right up on my cookies! I used Trader Joe's almond meal (NOT Blanched, they are a more rustic looking macaron, which I like) and put a little yellow food coloring to make the cookies a sunny yellow. You can find the recipe on Lola's site!

The filling, however, was all my own. It was a lemon buttercream that was the perfect paring of sweet and tangy.
The recipe issss....

1 stick softened butter (I like salted!)
1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
The zest of one whole lemon
The juice of half that lemon
Enough milk to get the right consistency (specific, I know.)

Throw the butter and sugar into the bowl of the mixer, zest the lemon into it and turn on medium. Squeeze the lemon in as it turns, and as it goes, add a splash of milk to get it to combine. Turn it off and scrape the sides to incorporate, and turn it back on high until it gets a little fluffier.

Confession: I did not bake the cookies long enough. I got scared because they were browning a little bit, but I should have just turned the heat down a smidge and left the oven door open. I will totally try again this weekend and experiment with some flavors!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Pumpkin Pudding Cookies

Today is my last day of freedom before I start my new job tomorrow. The Beau and I were going to walk to the beach, get ice cream at the Malt Shop, all of those fun summer things.
And then it decided to rain all day long.
Suddenly unseasonably cold, I spent the day making a pot of french onion soup. It was starting to feel (scarily) like fall, which tempted me into baking these incredibly easy peasy fall inspired cookies.
Now, JELLO only releases this pumpkin spice pudding at thanksgiving time, and I make sure to stock up on it for my friend Amanda's favorite Pumpkin Chiffon Pie. I ended up with 5 spare boxes, and used them in this little cookie recipe. The result is beautiful and delicious.

2 sticks (1 cup) soft butter or margarine
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 (3.4 ounce) package JELL-O Pumpkin Spice instant pudding
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 eggs
2 cups flour
Powdered Sugar for dusting

Preheat oven to 325 Degrees F and cover two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Combine sugar, baking soda, and pudding mix in a bowl using a fork or whisk, and then plop the butter on top. Mix it all until nice and fluffy using a hand beater. You'll need to scrape the sides plenty. The pudding must make it extra sticky or something.
Crack in one egg at a time, beating well after each mix.
Incorporate flour, a half cup at a time, until everything is mixed.
Now, at this point, for some reason, I decided to spoon the dough into a pipping bag. The consistency is EXACTLY that of a good chocolate chip cookie without the chips, so this step is not an important one. Feel free to spoon the cookies onto the parchment covered pans, and you can shape them a little with your fingers. Keep them spaced far apart from each other, because they expand like nobody's business.
Bake for 10 minutes, rotating once halfway through (I'm tempted to say you might have to keep them in for a few minutes more, my oven is unreasonably hot and the cookies were done in only 10).
Cool on baking racks and dust with powdered sugar.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Fresh Peach and Dulche de Leche Tart

Peaches are my all-time favorite fruit. Being so far north, we only get good peaches for a few weeks in the summer, so I wanted to grab as many as I could when I went to the store last. I knew I wanted to make a dessert, so I adapted an caramel apple tart recipe I had.

Peaches and Caramel are besties.

Here it is!

Fresh Peach and Dulche de Leche Tart

For the crust:
3/4 cup margarine
1 cup flour
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons water
1/8 t salt

Melt butter, water, sugar and salt in the oven (Yes! In the oven. If you don't believe me, check out this awesome blog by David Lebowitz. His recipe is a titch different but the method is the same). I use my smallest circular casserole. Take butter mixture out after about 10 minutes at 400 degrees F. Add flour, half at a time, and you will get a rich, yellow dough. Dough will be hot!

Dough will fit a 10 inch quiche pan perfectly. Plop it in there and spread with a spoon until evenly covered. Prick all over with fork and then stick it back in the 400 degree oven for 10 minutes (sometimes I am impatient and it doesn't really make it 10 minutes in is very forgiving).

For Tart:
2 Large peaches (or 3 medium peaches)
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoons nutmeg and allspice (OK! I never measure the cinnamon, nutmeg, and
3 tablespoons butter allspice. It's up to your tastes.)
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Place 3 tablespoons butter into a small ramequin and soften. Mix with 2 tablespoons sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon until you have a lovely little paste. Spread this on the cooling tart crust (it'll melt, it's fine).

Cut your peaches into spices. My slices are always different.
I always slice my peaches around the pit, cutting first four equal sections...
and then dividing the sections. The slices always come out easily

Place peaches in bowl and sprinkle with sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice. Stir gently to coat.

Lay your peaches on top of the butter mixture, starting at the outer edge and then moving in.

Bake at 400 degrees F for 10-15 minutes, or until peaches are looking bubbly and syrupy.

Melt your dulce de leche down a bit and drizzle all over tart.

This baby is not only beautiful, but so fresh and delicious. It looks so gourmet but is so easy to make, and will impress the snot out of your summer guests.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

A Bacony thought.

I've never been super obsessed with Bacon. I like it and all, but I'd never been so inclined to order it with breakfast and I never really would just eat a slice of bacon.
But things with bacon-y flavor, for some reason, I love. Like, artificial bacon....I don't know. I'm messed up. Or something.
Like, Bacon bits (which are predominately soy protein, depending on what brand you get) or turkey bacon, which I absolutely adore even though I'm sure it's just processed turkey bits with bacon flavor injected into it. Whatever. Inject away. It is amazing.

But I had something tonight that was so super, I had to share it.

Bacon Vodka.

You have simply no idea. My family went out to "Moscow on the Hill", a Russian restaurant near Grand Avenue in St. Paul. It's a pretty spendy place, but I'm guessing people don't go there for the food. They have over 200 different types of Vodka, and we had fun ordering different drinks (I got a "Blond Bomb", which I thought was fitting-it was electric blue and made from blueberry stoli and lime juice. My sister ordered an Anastasya, made with raspberry stoli and french chambord). I ordered a beef stroganoff, which might arguably be my favorite meal (it was alright).

At the end of the meal, it is customary to finish with a shot of vodka. My mother chose a ginger flavored Polish vodka, and the waitress asked my sister and I if we had chosen any. I said no, unless she had bacon flavored...I was completely kidding, but she quickly replied that she did! They had just gotten it in, and it was not even on the menu yet.

Let's just say the Blond Bomb had made me a little overly excited, and I didn't even give myself time to be scared before ordering a shot.

The shot came with a pickle sitting on top of the glass. The waitress instructed us that the shot goes first, pickle Kirby and I bravely bottomed-up and...

It was SO super!

The vodka itself had no bite to it, didn't make me shiver or cringe. It was so smooth, and the taste was really delightfully...bacony. The pickle really did the job, though, and I will most DEFINITELY be ordering a bottle of Bakon Vodka online for Christmas.

I found this recipe through google.
I am, however, too nervous to try making it myself. Something about meat sitting out for two weeks (in 100 proof, I understand there is no worry of spoiling, but still, it's the principle of the thing)...maybe, just maybe one day, I will try and we will see if the result is as wonderful at the shot from Moscow on the Hill.

Also, on a side note, we saw many prostitutes and their pimps at Moscow on the Hill...Did we uncover a mail order bride situation? Interesting.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Chicken, Potato, and Onion Risotto

Ok. I'm starting something that I hope will become "a thing" on this blog. The first of many! This thing is....

boxed dinners.


It's ok. Really, it's gonna be fine. Let me explain.
I love me some Kraft Dinner. All of those boxed things, macaroni and cheese, cous cous, risotto, pre-made meals are really super for poor college kids like me. But it always seems like at the end of the week, when we've eaten all of our fresh produce and planned meals, I've got these poor lonely boxes. I've sort of become a master of editing these little guys to create something meal worthy.

Or so I thought.

This guy kind of stumped me, but I'm all for challenges.

THE BOX: Lundberg Organic Tuscan Risotto, Tomato, Garlic, and Onion flavor.

Also, I need to take this moment to comment on the fact that my digital camera stood up and WALKED OUT OF MY HOUSE. Tis GONE. As I'm home at the rent's house for the week (Poor Beau, he will miss me so...) I've found a weird old digital camera with no LCD takes so so photos, so we are just gonne deal.

The best thing about end of the week meals is that it's a great way to use up your extras stuff (frozen chicken breasts left over, the last of your potatoes, onions, etc). This recipe is totally forgiving and you can put whatever you like in it. I'm using the Lundberg Tomato Onion Garlic Risotto, but you could use any brand and any flavor. Just edit the additions.

So here's the cast of characters:

Boxed Risotto
1 Large chicken breast
1 Medium onion
2 Large red potatoes
1/2 Cup dry white wine (I used a funny little sutter home chardonnay bottle, which was fun because I got to drink the rest. And then write this.)
olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
2 cloves minced garlic

Aluminum foil for the bag

I guess I don't have in process photos because of the blurriness of this stupid camera. But.

Make the boxed risotto to the instructions on the back. However, only cook half the instructed time. For example, my box told me to cook for 10 minutes covered, 10 minutes uncovered. This was pretty much perfect for me because I just did the first 10 minutes.

While risotto is cooking, whip up a bag out of your aluminum foil. If you haven't done it before, it's super easy. Just rip a big ol piece of foil, probably a foot and a half long. Fold up the long sides a little way, and fold up the short sides so that you have a square in the middle. squirt some olive oil in there to coat the bottom.

Slice your two potatoes about 1/4 inch thick and lay half on the bottom of the bag. Chop up your onion to your liking, I like half inch chunks. Layer half in there.

Grab your risotto and spoon it into the bag. Mine had a whole lot of liquid, and I put almost all of it in there. But limit the liquid to a cup and a half, because this is where you are putting your white wine. Pour that wine on top of the risotto.

Cut up your big chicken breast into inch hunks and nestle them into the risotto.

At this point I ground some pepper and salt onto it all at this point, and then the minced garlic (ok, I used pre minced garlic from a jar...)

Go ahead and put the rest of the onions on top and then lay the rest of the potato slices on top. Spray a little more olive oil on top and then close up your bag!

Put it in the oven at 400 degrees for 40 minutes.

I topped mine with some parmesan and more pepper. It was really really good, don't get me wrong, but there was something so...brown about it. I feel like some chunked red peppers and maybe some zucchini slices would have made this off the hook.

See what I mean about the brown thing? It was very brown. But the taste was very good. And, if you take out the chicken and the parm at the end, it's totally veggie/vegan. And see what I mean about the camera thing? Stupid blurriness. I hope The Beau finds my camera when he cleans the house this week while I'm gone.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Pear and Bacon Grilled Cheese

This recipe is short and sweet, but the result really packs a punch. Unfortunately, I am doomed to enjoy this lunch all by myself for the rest of my life because...and this is the first of what I'm sure will be many, many complaint...
The Beau doesn't eat cheese.
It saddens me. It dismays me. We've had "conversation" after "conversation" about it and he will not budge. It's really more of a phobia, I've discovered, stemming from an unfortunate grilled cheese incident that ended with him puking everywhere.
Should I stop talking about puking and start talking about food? Ok.
As you can see, I really went classy with the ingredients. That is most definitely generic white bread, a nameless grocery store pear, and some sort of white cheddar. Feel free to be more classy than I am. Use a nice aged cheddar and some sour dough, maybe, and while I'm pretty sure I used the dreaded oscar meyer bacon, your options are as endless as your bacon brands.
I bet this would be nice with some turkey bacon.
Anyway, fry your bacon.

Get it nice and crispy to stand out against that gooey cheese. Go ahead and drain the bacon, and then stick it on top of the cheese-bread. Cover the bacon with thin slices of pear.

I threw out half the fat of the bacon and put a half tablespoon of butter in the hot pan. Throw the sandwich in there, and this is where my fun bacon press comes into place.

Isn't he pretty? I have yet to name him. He is perfect for making various hot sandwiches, including Greek or Turkish Toast. I'll make sure to put that recipe up here. Anyway, Mr. Bacon Press is just heavy enough to sit on top of my sandwiches without me having to do any work and to get them that perfect shade of golden brown. All you pressless people out there will have to go old school and use your spatula or a plate.

Wait, is there anything more old school than a bacon press?

Anyway...flipper and you may have to add a bit more butter to the pan for side two. And Voila!

You have this incredibly beautiful salty sweet buttery gooey melty bit of heaven.

It is seriously good. So seriously good I had to photograph my last bite to remember it by.

So go eat and be merry! This guy is a great fancy picnic sandwich because it is so easy to make and really durable-wrap it in tin foil and a towel and head out with your fella or lady.

Unless you're me and will be stuck eating this Beauless and alone.