Sunday, March 18, 2012

Time for Change and a New Blog

I have definitely enjoyed blogging here on Connect Via Recipes, but I decided it was time to start a new blog when I decided I am definitely going to leave New York.  I don't know when, I don't know where I am going, but I know that  it is time to start making those decisions.  I also knew that meant doing all those things I meant to do during the first five years I've been in the city.  Not that I didn't do many things during those years, but there are plenty of things that I never got around to and maybe I should have started this sooner, but I want to document them. 
I was already toying with the idea of starting a new blog that was and expansion of my Connect via Recipes blog.  I have a lot of little side projects that I do and I tell people about them, but never really show them.  Plus, there are all the experiences that I wanted to share here and there, pictures promised that I never sent.  I decided a blog expansion was the way to go and then I decided it was time to start a new blog all together.  
All of my previous posts on this blog have been added to my new one: Perishable Item, and I hop you continue to follow me as I continue to cook and bake and also share my experiences, projects, and the changes to come. 

via Apartment 34

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Beef Gravy over Mashed Potatoes

I have been craving beef gravy and mash potatoes lately.  Like the horrible absolutely amazing  kind they served for school lunch back in the day.  I think I caught a whiff of something walking by a diner one day and it's been stuck in my nose ever since.  My roommate was some how given a bunch of russet potatoes, so I had everything I needed to make this happen with no time to waste. 

I searched online for a couple recipes and decided to go with the one that would require me to make the gravy from scratch, so it was a white gravy.  It was good, but I think I wanted a brown gravy flavor.  Noted for the next round.  I got fancy with my potatoes and mixed up some creamy garlic mashed potatoes from the Food Network.  Absolutely delicious, although maybe too much garlic for this recipe.  I made enough for dinner for me and my roommate Sunday evening and lunch for the rest of the week.  It took some time, but it was really simple to make and I love not having PB & J's for lunch every day.   

Beef Gravy over Mashed Potatoes
8 to 10 servings 

Mashed Potatoes
  • 3 1/2 pounds russet potatoes 
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt 
  • 16 fluid ounces (2 cups) half-and-half 
  • 6 cloves garlic, crushed 
  • 6 ounces grated Parmesan 
Beef Gravy
  • 1.5 Pounds of Hamburger 
  • 1 Medium Onion chopped
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 4 cups milk
  1. Peel and dice potatoes, making sure all are relatively the same size.  Place in a large saucepan, add the salt, and cover with water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and then reduce heat to maintain a rolling boil. Cook until potatoes fall apart when poked with a fork.
  2. While the potatoes are cooking, brown the hamburger and the onion in a large skillet until cooked.  Drain off the fat and set aside. 
  3. Return the skillet to the heat and add the melted butter then the flour with the salt and pepper.  Once it starts to clump up, add the milk and stir until the gravy begins to thicken, about 10 to 15 minutes. 
  4. Once the gravy thickens add the beef and onion back in to the skillet. 
  5. When the potatoes have finished cooking, drain them and set aside.  In the pot heat the half and half with the garlic over medium heat until simmering, stirring frequently. 
  6. Add the potatoes back the pot and mash them with the garlic and cream mixture. 
  7. Pour the gravy over the mashed potatoes and serve. 

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Brussel Sprouts!

I have not made brussel sprouts in a long time.  Try over 10 years ago in some high school home ec class, (the closes to domestication I ever got).  That was the first time I ever tried them too.  I remember we steamed them and I did liking them, mom was shocked.  After that I've had them here and there, but never really sought them out.  I have been really excited to make something with them and have collected several recipes.  These past few weeks I have been having the same issue with brussel sprouts that I was having with carrots, and kept forgetting about them.

I finally roasted some up and they were delicious and I always remembered.  I used a recipe from poppytalk but I cut the spouts amount in half but otherwise I stuck pretty close to the recipe.  I hope you like them.
I know they don't look amazing, but they are! 

Spicy Roasted Brussels Sprouts
2 servings 

  • 1/2 lb brussels sprouts
  • 1 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 400F.
  2. Trim the sprouts by cutting off the stem end and peeling back a layer of leaves. Cut the sprouts in half.
  3. Soak sprouts in a bowl of cold water, giving them a good shake so that any dirt falls to the bottom of the bowl.
  4. Scoop out the sprouts and dry them with a clean tea towel. Place on a cookie sheet and drizzle with olive oil.
  5. Use your hands to roll the sprouts around so that all the sprouts get evenly coated. Sprinkle with salt (I like tobe generous here) and the aleppo pepper or cayenne.
  6. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, giving the tray a shake once or twice, until crispy and tender. Serve immediately.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Chicken Milanese and Carrots

I was sooo excited to roast some carrots, or do something with them.  Problem is, I have been crazy busy lately and not been able to do much cooking or had much desire to the one free night I have a week.  So I bought this lovely bunch of carrots and was set to make something, I can't remember what anymore, but it took me a week or so to get to it.  When I pulled the carrots out, they had gone soft.  I was seriously, very sad.  I really wanted to make whatever with those carrots and now I couldn't.  My dinner was ruined.  I don't remember what I ate instead, probably a bowl of pasta with a bit of salt. Tear. 

On the next grocery run I picked up carrots again and made a point to use them as soon as possible.  I also had the recipe for Chicken Milanese bookmarked in my Fresh Flavor Fast, so I decided to give it a try and add the carrots as a side.  I use a quick recipe from Great Food Fast  to make the carrots.  It all turned out great.  It was fast, yummy and great as a leftover.  I don't have a rack that I can put in the oven so I used a pizza pan that has holes in it to bake the chicken on over a pan.  It seemed to work fine.  While the chicken was in the oven, the carrots cooked up quickly and everything was ready pretty close to the same time.    I kept the onion with the dressing separate from the arugula so that it didn't wither or go brown waiting for the next meal.  

Chicken Milanese
4 servings 

  • 1 1/4 cups plain dried breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 6 ounces each)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, plus lemon wedges, for serving
  • 5 ounces baby arugula
  • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss breadcrumbs and oil until well combined; spread on sheet. Cook, tossing once, until golden brown, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl. 
  2. Place flour and eggs in separate bowls; season with salt and pepper. Place a rack on another rimmed baking sheet (or make it up like me!).
  3. One at a time, place chicken breasts between two large pieces of plastic wrap. Using a meat mallet or bottom of a small heavy pan(I used the pan route), pound until 1/2 inch thick. 
  4. Coat chicken on both sides with flour (shaking off excess), then dip in eggs (allowing excess to drip off); dredge in breadcrumbs, pressing firmly to adhere.
  5. Bake chicken on rack, without turning, until opaque throughout, 10 to 15 minutes.
  6. In a bowl, whisk together remaining 2 tablespoons oil and lemon juice; season with salt and pepper. Add onion and toss.  Top a bed of Arugula with the onion mixture and place the chicken on top. 
Roasted Carrots
4 servings (unless you're like me, then its 2)

  • 9 carrots (1 1/2 pounds)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Pepper
  1. Quarter and cut carrots into 2-inch lengths. 
  2. In a skillet, bring carrots, sugar, 1/2 cup water, butter, and salt to boil.  Reduce heat; simmer, partly covered, 6 minutes.
  3. Cook uncovered, over high, tossing often until tender, 3 to 4 minutes.  Season with pepper.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Montana Birthday

Last week I was in Bozeman.  I love it there.  Seriously wonder why I left.  I mean I know why, but seriously would love to go back.  Anyway, I was crashing my friends boys trip, skiing and snowmobiling.  When the guys next door said they wanted to go skiing in Montana, I was all in, without an invitation:)  The lack of true winter here has possibly made this winter more depressing than any real winter ever has been.  Getting to go play in the snow was so wonderful.  To top it off, my wonderful friend Greg who was letting us stay with him, was also celebrating his golden birthday.  This of course meant that I got to make a cake! 

I was flipping through my blog reader when I came across this post on Eat, Live, Run and showed the picture of the strawberries piled on top of the cake to Greg.  He approved and I started looking up recipes for yellow cake.  In the end, since I was not in my own kitchen and short on time, I completely cheated on this cake.  I didn't make anything from scratch. 

 A box of Betty Crocker Super Moist Yellow Cake, Betty Crocker Whipped Butter Cream Frosting. a tub of Cool Whip and some strawberries makes a great cake.  I made the cake in two 9" round pans by the box directions.  While they cooled on a rack, I sliced the strawberries up, just like the picture.  I spread the cool whip on top of one of the cakes and layered strawberries on top with one more layer of cool whip on top of that.  Then I placed the other cake on top and frosted the top and sides with the butter cream frosting.  On top of that I layered the strawberries.  I like to think that it looked good enough to convince people I did bake it from scratch.  

After showing off the cake to Greg and to the boys, we packed everything up to head down to West Yellowstone and tragedy struck.  I wasn't sure if I was mad at Kurt, mad at myself for not doing it myself, or if I wanted to cry.   Kurt carried the cake out to the car with a bowl over the top and some foil to seal it and the plate.  Unfortunately, in away I have yet to figure out, it fell. On the floor of the car.  Some how the plate slide out from the bowl... I'm not really sure, I honestly counldn't figure out how it happened.  1/3 of the cake was on the floor, the rest still had the plate under it, and most of the strawberries on the top were gone.  In my panic to decide what to do, I picked it up and put it back on the plate.  Cleaned off anything that looked suspicious and took it back inside.  Wrapped what was left in plastic wrap so that only a catastrophic fall would cause a second disaster and took it back to the truck.  

Yep.   That's right.  We ate it anyway.  There wasn't any time to do it over again.  Greg was like, 'I already sent a picture to my mom,' so we took it with and ate it.  I got a small rock but otherwise it was fine, I mostly cut only pieces from the side that did not touch the car floor, so maybe the few other pieces that were left had a few other surprises.   In any case, no one has died yet, and Greg said that our day of snowmobiling and finishing the day at the local bar was one of his best in a while.  YEAH! 
The aftermath

Enjoy! (without the rocks!)   

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Chocolate Brithday Desserts: Flourless Chocolate Cake

As mentioned in my previous Chocolate Birthday Desserts post, it was my friend Eriks Birthday this past weekend and I put myself in charge of desserts.  There was going to be a lot of people and I need a gluten free dessert that hopefully everyone would enjoy.  The first thing that came to mind was a flourless chocolate cake.  Any time I have had this cake, it has been really dense and rich, so you only need a tiny peice of it, which meant a 8" round cake would feed lots of people. 

This recipe came from Martha Stewart's Fresh Flavor Fast Cookbook and was super quick to whip up, it just needed pleanty of oven time.  I was a bit afraid I was going to really screw this up.  You have to beat the eggs whites twice to two different consistancies and they are basically the cake.  I assume because of the eggs, this cake was suprisingly light compared to similar cakes I've had.  It was still very rich, but was a bit more spongy in the center.  Maybe I didn't bake it long enough, I couldn't tell if it was pulling from the pan edges, but it had been in the oven 15 or more minutes than the recipe time, so I decided it needed to come out.  It was still super yummy and Erik was pleasently suprised by his second dessert that came out with candles and a loud, bar filling version of "Happy Birthday."  Give it a try, it's not as hard as it sounds!
Cooling, precandles

Flourless Chocolate Cake
8 to 10 servings
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for pan
  • 8 ounces semisweet chocolate chips (I had a bit less, so I added a tiny bit of dark chocolate chips)
  • 6 large eggs, separated
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • Confectioners' sugar, for dusting
  1. Preheat the oven to 275 degrees with the rack in the center. Butter the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan. Set aside.
  2. Place butter and chocolate in a large heatproof bowl and place over, not in a sause pan of simmering water.  Stir occasionally until almost melted.  Remove from heat and stir until completely melted.  Whisk in egg yolks. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually add granulated sugar, and continue beating until glossy stiff peaks form.
  4. Whisk 1/4 of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture; then gently fold in remaining egg whites.
  5. Pour batter into the prepared pan, and smooth the top with a rubber spatula. Bake until the cake pulls away from the sides of the pan and is set in the center, 45 to 50 minutes.
  6. Cool completely on a wire rack; remove sides of pan. Serve at room temperature, dusted with confectioners' sugar.
He was very excited about this cake

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Chocolate Birthday Desserts: Compost Cups

My friend and neighbor Erik had his birthday bash this weekend.  He is normally out of town on an annual ski trip, so he rarely has a bithday party with his New York friends and he wanted a big party this year.    It was an excellent party at a great bar, Local 61, in Brooklyn which could accomadate his massive guest list, friends from Ohio and Boston made a trip out for the extravaganza.  I made it my job to make a cake or dessert of some sort.  At first he claimed he didn't want one, and it always seemed like he and his brother were not much for sweets, so I wasn't going to do anything.  But I doubled check the night before to make sure he didn't want anything and found out that he apparently LOVES chocolate.  How I did not know this after three years is beyond me. 

Chocolate made my search much narrower and since it needed to be gluten free, a Flourless Chocolate Cake was the first thing that came to mind.  At breakfast the next morning with a couple of our friends the idea came up to make the dirt cupcakes that you see at a kids birthday with the  gummy worms coming out.  Why?  Because Erik is a Master Composter.  In his spare time he helped set up a composting program at the Gowanus Canal Concervancy and currently oversees the Grow NYC Compost Program.  Needless to say, he is serious about his compost.  So I decided I would be making two desserts, there were going to be a lot of people anyway.

I flipped through my cookbooks and recipe binders until I found a flourless chocolate cake, which I will share next, and a Chocolate Ricotta Mousse recipe from Real Simple.  I added some crushed Gluten Free chocolate cookies to the top and placed a gummy worm and Swedish Fish in little terra cotta pots I bought for muffin making.  They turned out super cute and were very rich and yummy.  The blending of the ricotta and chocolate smoothed out texture of the ricotta and made is silky.  The cookie crumbled added a nice crunch to the texture.  I was not a fan of eating the gummies with the chocolate, but they certainly good on their own.  You should definately give this recipe a try. With or with worms.

Compost Cups
6 servings
  • 15 oz ricotta (one container)
  • 2 tbsp powdered sugar
  • 4 oz semisweet chocolate
  • 2 or 3 chocolate cookies (gluten free if desired), crushed
  • milk chocolate shavings
  • gummy worms
  • Swedish Fish
  1. Melt the semisweet chocolate chips in a microwave dish.  Make sure you do not burn it so start with one minute on high, stir and put it back in for increments of 15 to 20 seconds, stirring in between each time.  There should be a few unmelted chunks the final time you stir them, and the stirring will finish melting it all.  It shouldn't take more than three minutes total in the microwave, depending on you machine.  
  2. In a blender (or food processor if you have one), blend the ricotta, sugar, and melted chocolate until smooth.  Make sure to stop the blender and scrap down the sides to get everything mixed well.
  3. Line six terra cotta pots with parchment paper and place a gummy worm in each one.   Fill the pots with the chocolate mousse mixture.  Sprinkle the crushed cookies on top.
  4. Put them in the fridge to set up for bit, then stick the Swedish Fish in, they should not sink down once the mousse is a bit thicker, and sprinking the chocolate shavings on top.
  5. Real Simple's recipe says that you can store this in the fridge for up to two days and to bring it to room temperature for serving.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Banana Bread

For a couple weeks I took a break from my scones, not because I wanted to, but because there was cornbread to be had and then banana bread.  My freezer was filling up with too many bananas again and it was time to get rid of some, plus I was in a baking mood.  I've already shared my number one way to use up bananas.  Banana bread is number two.  I guess I really shouldn't say that, it just depends on my mood.  This time I gave my roommate the option and he went for the bread.  

Since I was kinda leaning toward cake when I asked, I drizzled some icing over it. I wanted to make it to take for breakfast, I I opted to make a couple mini loaves and 6 muffins, but normally I would just make one big loaf or 4  mini ones.  This is another recipe that I have been making forever.  For the life me I don't know why, but almost every time I forget the walnuts.  They are, in my opinion, what makes the bread.  I end up dumping them in after it's been poured in the pan and trying the swirl it around a little bit.  I remembered this time before pouring the batter in the pans:)  We're improving! 

Banana Bread
makes 1 regular loaf  or 4 mini ones
  • 3 or 4 over ripe bananas (if frozen thaw)- mashed
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/4 melted butter
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 to 2 tbsp milk
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. 
  2. Cream the sugar and bananas together with the butter.  
  3. Mix in the remaining ingredients- saving the walnuts for last.
  4. Pour into a greased 9" bread pan.  Bake for 1 hour.  If you use muffins, they will take about 30 to 40 minutes and the mini loafs will still take about an hour.  Start checking them at 40 minutes, just to make sure.  A toothpick will come out clean when it is done. 
  5. Let cool.  While it is cooling mix the powdered sugar and milk together in a small bowl.  Add milk one teaspoon at a time until the mixture is no longer clumpy but a smooth mixture that is not too runny. (Clear as mud?) 
  6. Drizzle over the bread. 

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Gumbo Party (& Cornbread)

Melissa had to stand on her toes
see in the massive pot! 
A few weeks ago when it was as cold as it seems to be getting around here, my Louisiana roommate decided it was time for some more gumbo.  I was very excited for this since the first round was so delicious.  The smells floated through our apartment all day long.  Several friends came over during the remaining hours and we pretty much sat around salivating.  It was painful waiting for the final product.  I again had nothing to do with the gumbo preparation, but I did make some cornbread.  Which was weak in comparison to the gumbo, but a good side/dipper none the less.  Melissa made a tasty savory cornbread with chilies and cheese while I made a sweet one.  
I've been using the same recipe forever.  I never really thought about it being a "sweet" recipe.  It's the way I have always had it.  the recipe does have an "if desired" written next to the sugar.  Compared to Melissa's it was definitely sweet, but I still like it that way better.  I assume I got it from my mom and I normally make it every time I make chili which is not often enough.  I then have leftover to smother in syrup for breakfast.  It's a simple easy recipe that you can whip up in a few minutes.  If you want to double the recipe, you can bake it in a 9 by 13 inch pan for the same amount of time. 

Golden Cornbread
makes a 8x8 pan about 16 serving

ahhh breakfast! 

  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 vegetable shortening
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Combine all the dry ingredients. 
  3. Add the milk, egg and shortening.  Mix until just combined and fairly smooth- about a minute. 
  4. Bake in a greased 8" square pan  for 15 to 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  5. Cool a bit and serve. 

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Homemade Little Debbies: Oatmeal Cream Pies

I am happy to report that I am not the only person who has been craving Oatmeal Cream Pies... I think mine started when I saw and empty wrapper lying on the sidewalk.  Bake Perfection seemed to have the same "Oh my gosh I need to make some of those now!" thought when she decided to make hers.  I had been trying to decide what to take for my friends Superbowl party, I was told I needed to bring something amazing and sweet.  These had to be up for the task.

And that they were! I would have liked the cream to be a bit more flavorful, but they were still really good.  I started making the cookies a bit big I think, so I started making smaller ones and ended up with 20 1/2 pies.    If you're having trouble finding the marshmallow fluff like I was, check the jelly and peanut butter section... it was tucked right in there. 

Homemade Oatmeal Cream PiesMakes 20 to 24 pies
Love the retro fluff label
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 cups quick oats
Cream Filling
  • 2 teaspoons hot water
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 (7 ounce) jar marshmallow fluff
  • 1/2 cup vegetable shortening
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Look at all those cookies! (& that mixer:)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Combine flour, salt, baking soda, and cinnamon in a bowl.  Set aside.
  3.  In large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugars.  Add in eggs, beating after each.  Finally beat in molasses and vanilla. 
  4.  Add to the flour mixture to creamed mixture and beat until just blended; mix in the oats with a wooden spoon. 
  5.  Drop dough by tablespoons on parchment lined sheets, with plenty of space in between. 
  6.  Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until just starting to brown around the edges, they will look underbaked in the center.  Let sit on cookie sheet for about 5 minutes and then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.
  7. While the last cookies bake, prepare the filling: In small bowl, dissolve the salt in the hot water. Set aside and allow this to cool. 
  8.  Combine marshmallow cream, shortening, powdered sugar, and vanilla in a bowl; mix on high until fluffy (3-4 minutes). Add the cooled salt water and mix well. 
  9.  Spread filling on flat side of one cookie, press second cookie on top. 

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Chicken Pot Pie

Look at those tasty veggies! 
Ok- I must appologise for my mini hiatus.  I  have posts lined up to go, but just haven't finished them to get them online.  It has been a busy couple of weeks with Architecture for Humanity NY  stuff going on and other architecture related events.   I promise to try and get myself back on track!  
Today I bring you a yummy recipe from Real Simple  that I have been holding on to from the February 2009 issue.  It was cold around here for about, oh... five minutes?  In that time I was so excited for hearty, warm comfort foods like this Chicken Pot Pie.  In fact I really want it to get cold again for two reasons: I want to have an excuse for more meals and soups like this and I have a trip to Montana planned at the end of this month to do some skiing and snowmobiling- I NEED SNOW!  Oh and I want to wear my amazing warm and fuzzy winter boots and this 40 degrees weather is too warm for such things.  They require cold.  Freezing.  Snow.  I might be going through withdrawals...
Sorry, I'll get back to the recipe, I just really love snow.  OK- so, even though this recipe is a bit time consuming with all the vegetable chopping and cook time it is completely worth it.  I made it on a Monday and it was my lunch for the rest of the week.  (I love not having to think about what I am going to take for lunch every day or what dive near my office I will be getting lunch from!)  I thought about making my own crust, but since I knew  I would be making this on a week night, I stuck with the store bought crust.  Unlike the recipe, I used both crusts, (two came in the package), for a top and bottom, I have a soft spot for crust.  One think I kind of screwed up, was I did not cut the carrots small enough.  Everything tasted fine, but the carrots were still a bit crunchy after all of that cooking and baking.  I substituted dry thyme for fresh since I didn't have any.  I hope some of you are still able to enjoy your winters and can whip this up, because it is so tasty.  
Chicken Pot Pie
Makes 6 to 8 servings

  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 onions, chopped (about 1 pound)
  • 4 carrots, diced (about 1 pound)
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 2 cups  milk
  • 1 10-ounce package frozen peas
  • 1/2 tablespoon dried thyme
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • 2 9-inch store-bought pie crusts, thawed if frozen
  1. Heat oven to 400° F. Cook the chicken in a pot of simmering water until cooked through, 10 to 12 minutes; let cool, then shred.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a saucepan over medium heat.  Add the onions and carrots and cook, stirring, until they begin to soften, 6 to 8 minutes (do not let them darken). 
  3. Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.  
  4. Add the wine and cook until evaporated, about 5 minutes. 
  5. Add the milk and simmer until the sauce thickens, 2 to 3 minutes. 
  6. Stir in the chicken, peas, thyme, ¾ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper.  
  7. Place one of the crusts in a shallow 1 1/2 to 2 quart baking dish.  Transfer the chicken and vegetable mixture to the dish.
  8. Lay the crust on top, pressing to seal the crusts together.  Cut several vents in the crust.  Place the pot pie on a baking sheet and bake until bubbling and the crust is golden, 30 to 35 minutes.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Spiked Mulled Cider

When I was making Cider Doughnuts over Martin Luther King Weekend, I had a half gallon and cider minus one cup and I needed something to do with it or it would sit in my fridge forever.  I took to the internet and found a recipe on one of my favorite sites, Simply Recipes for Hot Mulled Cider.   It meet the main requirement of having alcohol in it since I was told one should not be frying things with out a drink in hand.  (FYI: I was not drunk when I burned my wrist and it is looking like it might not scar.) 

It was so good that Kurt next door bought another half gallon to make more the next day.  I modified the spices and used clementines instead of oranges.  The second round I added star anise to the mixture.  We tried it with both brandy and bourbon.  I like it either way and since we tend to have bourbon on hand in the building somewhere, it will probably be the go to in the future.   I didn't put the alcohol in it until it was in a glass so that people could make it as strong as they wanted.  In all cases it was good and you should definitely give it a try. 

Spiked Mulled Cider
Makes 8 servings

Guess what's missing from this picture.

  • 1/2 gallon of fresh, unfiltered apple cider
  • 1 clementines
  • 2 teaspoons cloves
  • 4 3-inch sticks of cinnamon
  • 15 allspice berries
  • 1 teaspoon of nutmeg
  • 7 pods of cardamon
  • 2 or 3 star anise
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  1. Pour apple cider into a 3-quart saucepan, cover, turn the heat on medium-high. 
  2. While cider is heating up,cut the clementines in half.  Place clementines, cloves, and the rest of the ingredients into the sauce pan with the cider. Keep covered and heat the mulled cider mixture to a simmer and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 20 minutes on low heat.
  3. Use a fine mesh sieve to strain the hot mulled cider away from the clementines, cloves, and other spices. 
  4. Add a shot or so bourbon or brandyto spike it up. Serve hot. Add a cinnamon stick to each cup if desired.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Carrot Soup

It has finally started to get cold here.  It even snowed for the first time since Halloween this weekend.  I have been on a bit of a soup kick and I like to have it for lunch since I spend most of the morning in my office typing in mittens.  I have been wanting to try a carrot soup for a while, but have never got around to it until last weekend.  Big Girls Small Kitchen posted up a recipe for Roasted Carrot Red Curry Soup and it sounded delicious and not too time consuming.   
I personally did not think the recipe had enough curry paste in it.  After I doubled the amount, I just keep tossing in teaspoons until I decided it was enough- I think I probably quadrupled it.  That was the only thing I really changed in the recipe.  It was a bit cool for my liking, so I would suggest warming it more before serving, or at least testing it before hand. I also have to keep stealing the neighbors blender/processor since mine broke and then I have to repay them in soup.  I might need to invest in an attachment for my Kitchenaid sooner than later...

Roasted Carrot Red Curry Soup
Makes 4 servings

  • 1 pound carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces 
  • 2 small red onions, quartered
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 inch ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves roughly chopped
  • 1 to 2  tablespoons Thai red curry paste (some of you may want to start with less and do taste test as you go adding more. 
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • One 15-ounce can coconut milk 
  1. Preheat oven to 425°F.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, toss carrot and onion with oil, sugar, and salt. 
  3. Spread the veggies evenly on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Roast in the oven for 30-40 minutes, until browned and tender, stirring once halfway through.
  4. Transfer the vegetables to a food processor or blender along with the ginger, 1 teaspoon curry paste, and the stock.  Blend until incorporated. 
  5. Add coconut milk and blend until smooth. Taste for seasoning and add salt and additional curry paste if you like. 
  6. Reheat and serve. 

Angeletti Cookies- Round Two

Remember this post from Thanksgiving two years ago?  And then this semi failure first round?  Well I finally got around to trying another recipe that I found on Real Simple, but this one's frosting did not have any anise in it.  I made it up by dividing the amount of vanilla in half and using anise extract for the other half.  
I had to get these sprinkles, they were so pretty! 
The frosting was really tasty, but I didn't mix up enough of it.  I always have too much most of the time so I halved it.  I don't advise it on this recipe.  It's too tasty to not have the cookies completely covered.  I think these cookies without the frosting were better than my Thanksgiving mother's cookies.  Maybe if I had the frosting right, they might have been close to perfection.  Much better than round one. 

Angeletti Cookies
makes about 24 cookies

  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter,
  • melted
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, spooned and
  • leveled, plus more for rolling the dough
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2/3 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon anise extract plus a teanny bit more- overflow
  • 1/8 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • sprinkles, for decoration (optional)

  1.  Heat oven to 375° F. 
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the butter, granulated sugar, vanilla, and eggs until blended.  Add the flour, baking powder, and salt and mix until just combined (do not over mix).  
  3. With floured hands, roll level tablespoonfuls of the dough into balls and place on parchment-lined baking sheets, spacing them 2 inches apart. 
  4. Bake until puffed and the bottoms are pale golden, 7 to 8 minutes.  Transfer to a rack to cool completely. 
  5. Make the glaze: In a small bowl, whisk together the confectioners’ sugar, 2 tablespoons water, and the vanilla until the mixture forms a thick but pourable glaze (add more water if necessary). 
  6. Dip the top of each cookie into the glaze and let set, rounded side up, on a rack set over a piece of parchment paper. Sprinkle the tops.   Allow the glaze to set, about 20 minutes.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Currant Scones

I don't know why I thought scones were difficult to make.  So far they have been easy and so delicious and these Dreamy Cream Scones from Smitten Kitchen are the best yet.  So light and absolutely yummy.  The freeze and bake method is still working fine.  I have been enjoying these all week and am going to make them again for next week since I have extra currants.  I might try them with dried cranberries like she did.  If I do that though,  I want them to be orange cranberry... I might have to email her to if she knows how do to that.  Anyone here know how?  

Until I figure it out, you should waste no time making these.

Currant Scones
makes 6 to 8
  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose f lour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 5 tablespoons chilled, unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
  • 1/2 cup currants
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  1. If baking right away- adjust oven rack to middle posit ion and heat oven to 425°F. 
  2. Place f lour, baking powder, sugar and salt in large bowl and whisk together.
  3. If making by hand, use your fingers (or if you have one, a pastry blender) to quickly cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse meal, with a few slightly larger butter lumps. 
  4. Stir in currants. 
  5. Stir in heavy cream with a rubber spatula or fork until dough begins to form, about 30 seconds.
  6. Transfer dough and all bits to countertop and knead dough by hand just until it comes together into a rough, sticky ball, 5 to 10 seconds. 
  7. Form scones by patting the dough onto a lightly f loured work surface into a 3/4-inch thick circle and cutting pieces into about 3" circles. (you can, of course, us a biscuit cutter if you have one.)  Press remaining scraps back into another piece and cut until dough has been used up. 
  8. If you're baking them right away place rounds or wedges on ungreased baking sheet and bake unt il scone tops are light brown, 12 to 15 minutes.
  9. If not, wrap individually in parchment paper and freeze.  Bake when ready for 15 to 20 minutes. 
  10. Cool on wire rack for at least 10 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Apple Cider Doughnuts

I would like to start by saying that this is one of the yummiest things I have made to date.  Seriously- it was worth all the pain.  I promise.  I saw the Apple Cider Doughnut recipe back in December on The SoHo and have been wanting to make them every weekend since.   They made me think of the one and only thing that I think Starbucks had right and then discontinued, (probably for my good since I was eating way to many of them), an apple doughnut.  Every time I go into a Starbucks, I look for them and get disappointed with only the sight of an apple fritter.  NOT the same thing.  These apple doughnuts being made from scratch are so much better.  So.  Much.  Better.  
Enjoy with some mulled cider! 

See, it's not so bad
The only thing that will keep me from making them all the time is how long they take to make and all the oil you have to use to fry them.  Oh and the possibility of burning myself again.  Yep that picture there is the aftermath of my doughnut making experience, beyond the few pounds I have gained.  Just pay attention to what the thermometer is doing when you are trying to flip over the doughnuts.  It might flip out and catch you on the arm and then you do some cussing and wait to see how bad you burned your skin.  Never leave the doughnuts unattended no matter how much pain you are in.  They are worth  the pain.  Just so you know, it didn't really hurt that bad. 

A few notes beyond how not to burn yourself with a thermometer.  I don't have a doughnut cutter, so I used a drinking glass for the large circle that was around 3" in diameter and a shot glass that was about 1" in diameter for the center hole.  It worked fine, some of the holes may have not been perfectly centered, but I swear the tasted the same.  You should definitely try a few of these plain with no glaze or sugar.  They are absolutely tasty even plain.  I agree with the Southern Hostess on using the glaze for the doughnuts and the sugar mix for the holes.  Last, I used canola oil instead of vegetable, my southern fry king roommate said its better for such things. 

Now- take this recipe to your kitchen and get baking.

Apple Cider Doughnuts
Makes about 18 doughnuts and doughnut holes

For the doughnuts:

  • 1 cup apple cider
  • 3 1/2 cups flour, plus additional for the work surface
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 4 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk 
  • Canola oil for frying
For the glaze:
  • 1 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 3 tablespoons apple cider
For cinnamon-sugar mixture:
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cinnamon

  1. In a saucepan over medium or medium-low heat, gently reduce the apple cider to about 1/4 cup, 20 to 30 minutes. 
  2. Set aside to cool.  Meanwhile, in a bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and soda, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg.  Set aside. 
  3. Using an electric mixer on medium speed (with the paddle attachment, if using a standing mixer) beat the butter and granulated sugar until the mixture is smooth.  
  4. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, and continue to beat until the eggs are completely incorporated.  Use a spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl occasionally. 
  5. Reduce the speed to low and gradually add the reduced apple cider and the buttermilk, mixing just until combined. 
  6. Add the flour mixture and continue to mix just until the dough comes together. 
  7. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment or wax paper and sprinkle them generously with flour. 
  8. Turn the dough onto 1 of the sheets and sprinkle the top with flour.  Flatten the dough with your hands until it is about 1/2 inch thick.  Use more flour if the dough is still wet.  Place the dough to the freezer until it is slightly hardened, about 20 minutes.  Pull the dough out of the freezer. 
  9. Using a 3-inch doughnut cutter, (or your glasses), cut out doughnut shapes.  Place the cut doughnuts and doughnut holes onto the second sheet pan.  Refrigerate the doughnuts for 20 to 30 minutes.  (You may re-roll the scraps of dough, refrigerate them briefly and cut additional doughnuts from the dough.) 
  10. While the dough is in the fridge mix up the glaze and sugar mixture.  Make the glaze by whisking together the confectioners' sugar and the cider until the mixture is smooth.  Set aside.  For cinnamon-sugar mixture, combine cinnamon and sugar in small bowl.  Set aside.
  11. Add enough oil to a deep-sided pan to measure a depth of about 3 inches. Attach a candy thermometer to the side of the pan and heat over medium heat until the oil reaches 350 degrees. Have a plate lined with several paper towels ready. 
  12. Carefully add a few doughnuts to the oil, being careful not to crowd the pan, and fry first side until golden brown, about 60 seconds.  Turn the doughnuts over and fry until the other side is golden, 30 to 60 seconds.  (They will be very brown, I was concerned they were over done, but the one I pulled out earlier, they were a little doughy.)      
  13. Drain on paper towels after the doughnuts are fried.  
  14. Dip the top of the warm doughnuts into the glaze or cinnamon-sugar and serve immediately.  
  15. Follow steps 12 to 14 for the doughnut holes as well. 

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Swirl Blondies

I needed a recipe to try out my new Kitchen Aid mixer last Wednesday, I mean it couldn't sit on the counter for more than 24 hours without use.   I also needed one that I had all the ingredients for.  I still have not done any real grocery shopping since returning to New York, like, two weeks ago.  Opps.  Luckily Eat Live Run came to my rescue with these Blondies

They were quick and delicious and the perfect balance of sweet and salty.  I don't know if that was because of the peanut butter I used, or if they are always like that, but they were perfect.  The only change I made was the peanut butter because I didn't have any creamy.  I was also concerned that I did not brown the butter enough, but it was fine.  I whipped these up in less than an hour, perfect for a week night. 

Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Blondies
Makes 20 bars
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup chunky peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 and butter an 8-inch square pan.
  2. Brown your butter by melting it over medium heat on the stove until it becomes a golden caramel color.  Be careful not to burn the butter—you only want to brown it.  This will take several minutes and it’s easiest to keep swirling the pan with your hand while it browns.
  3. Pour the browned butter into the bowl and add the brown sugar.  Beat for about four minutes, until creamy. 
  4. Add the egg and beat again. Then, add the flour, salt and vanilla extract.  Beat until combined, then add peanut butter and gently mix so the batter is just swirled.
  5. Fold in the chocolate chips. 
  6. Spread out mixture in your buttered pan and bake for 25 minutes, or until edges begin to pull away from the sides of the pan.
  7. Let cool before slicing into squares.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

New Year Buttermilk Pancakes

After our awesome New Year's Eve party, the tenants of 731 needed a bit of recovery time and a delicious brunch to start the new year.  Plus it was Melissa's 26th birthday, she needed pancakes and I love making pancakes.   After cleaning up the mess from the night before and getting some coffee in our systems, I started mixing.

We had buttermilk leftover from the night before, so I decided to use it up and make buttermilk pancakes from the great Betty Crocker Cookbook.  I also needed to make the gluten free, so instead of doubling a batch I made one gluten free and one whole wheat batch of pancakes.  Both were absolutely delicious, as a pancake should be.  To make the Gluten free pancakes I used Bob's Red Mill all purpose flour in place of all flour.  

Regular on the left and GF on the right.

Buttermilk Whole Wheat Pancakes 
Makes 3 servings

Perfect circle.
  • 1egg
  • 1 cup of buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup of all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt 

  1. Beat egg. Add remaining ingredients in order listed and beat with whisk until smooth. 
  2. Grease heated griddle with a bit of butter. 
  3. Pour 1/4 cup of batter onto hot griddle. 
  4. Turn pancakes as soon as they are puffed and full of bubbles break. 
  5. Bake on other side until golden brown.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

The Best Christmas Present Ever. EVER.

I have been wanting this gift for as long as I can remember.  Once I opened the little package of a box with a picture of this taped on it,  I told my mom I now had no reason to get married, (cause I had everything I could want out a wedding, except maybe the honeymoon).   She thought about taking it back and not letting me order one.  

Are you ready for this? 

taking over my counter space:)


Pretty sure my life will easily be broken in to life pre-Kitchenaid Mixer and post-Kitchenaid Mixer.   I'll try not to make you too jealous in future posts, talking about it too much, taking to many pictures, etc.  
On its first run making blondies!

Now I just need to decide which accessories to purchase...