Vacation Break

Hey all,

Just wanted to let you know that I probably won’t be updating much over the next couple weeks as I’ll be on vacation in Istanbul. I’ll try to share as much as I can, but no guarantee. However be prepped for when I get back to blow your minds!

Enjoy yourselves!

Guacamole Skins

Avocados are my favorite fruit. Yes, that is right, they’re a fruit (at least biologically). On summery days, or just days ending in “y” I like enjoying some avocado in its many forms.

For this post I was inspired by summer entertaining and how to dress up some guacamole, especially when some people have different tast preferences. By serving it in the peel you can either a) make it party-for-one style or b) you can make different spice levels at a party and put some chips out and your guests can just take a “guacamole skin” spiced to their liking and add some chips, hoorah!

Guacamole Skins
serves 2

1 medium avocado
1 lime (cut in half)
2 tbsp cilantro
2 tbsp onion (diced)
2 tbsp tomatos (diced
– for individual I used cherry tomatoes)
salt & pepper to taste (aprox 1/8 of tsp)

To add spice dice a jalapeno (as much as your tastebuds can handle!)

1. Cut an avocado in half, then take one half and slice it, turn and slice the other direction so that you have it’d cubed in the peel. Spoon it out into a bowl.

2. Add the cilantro, onion, tomato, salt, pepper, and jalapeno(optional). Mash together with a fork. Taste, add more salt and pepper if needed. (Same for jalapeno.)

3. Spoon the fresh guac back into the skin. Serve with chips. I love blue corn chips! 

If you’re going to make different spice variations for a a party you can top them with a little slice of jalapeno for medium and maybe a chili pepper for hot.

Enjoy!

Homage to Britain: Bubble and Squeak

So awhile ago I was introduced to a fun new leftovers dish. My boyfriend, who’s Australian, had whipped up this dish called “Bubble and Squeak”. I, peering into the bowl, was slightly skeptical but seeing that it was comprised of potatoes, veggies, and bacon was more than willing to give it a go. Boy, I’m glad I did!

This dish traditionally is made from leftovers from a big Sunday lunch. I don’t usually have big Sunday lunches, so both times I’ve had it, it’s been made it from scratch. It’s more of a “what’s in the fridge?” kinda moment. Still leftovers inspired though I’d say.

I’m sure if you’re like me when you read the name you wonder where it comes from. Maybe you’re super smart, or from a country that serves this and know already.  The name is referring to the noise it makes when you’re cooking it. Kinda cool right?

Bubble and Squeak

2 russet potatoes
1-2 cups of veggies (Whatever you have on hand, I used a mixed veggie mix I had in the freezer)
3 tbsp of butter
3 strips of bacon
2 tbsp of heavy cream

1. Boil the potatoes until you can stick them with a fork easily. Remove them and mash them with either a fork, masher, etc. Add in the butter and heavy cream.

2. While you’re boiling the potatoes you can also cook up the veggies and bacon that you have, so that you can just mix them in once you’ve made your mash.

3. Garnish with some shredded cheddar. I used white cheddar.

Enjoy!

Farfalle with a Brown Butter Sauce

I love pasta. If you read my post List-a-licious you’ll note that it’s number one on my list of things to learn to make. I’m still working on that, but I wanted to share a quick easy “dressing” with you guys who share my love of pasta.

For some reason, Farfalle seems fancy to me. Maybe it’s because they could be little bow-ties. For such a fancy pasta, it needs a fancy topping. When I’m in a hurry and want something easy but super tasty I make brown butter. If you haven’t heard of this phenomenon, brace yourself.

It’s really simple, for about a cup of pasta, take 1-2tbsp butter and cook it on med-high heat in a saucepan. You can also use any other pan you like, but preferably not one with a dark bottom because it makes it harder to see the brown flecks. You want to cook it, stirring often, until it goes clear and then the beautiful brown flecks will appear. You’ll know it’s ready by the smell. The aroma floats through the air and just makes me all warm and fuzzy inside.

For this dish I also added some steamed spinach, which you can do if you have a steam basket, on top of your pasta as it cooks. Two birds, one stone. You’ll have to lift it every so often, so that the water doesn’t boil over.

Just cook some pasta, according to the instructions given, add some greens, a bit of tomato. Maybe even some chicken if you have it handy. I like to top it with a bit of parmesan cheese. Then eat. It’s quick and easy way to make a tasty lunch or dinner. The best part is you can just make enough for you, or however many your serving. (In case you eat, party for one, style like me sometimes.)

Enjoy!

Cran-tastic Lemon Scones


I’m a breakfast person. If I don’t eat in the morning I become this big grumpy monster. It’s not pretty. To make matters worse, time is scarse, I like sleep, and I’m often in a rush to get out of the door in the morning. This is why grab-n-go breakfast is an amazing thing all round.

I love a meaty scone in the morning with a mug of tea. It’s perfect for a morning car ride. (Just wrap it in either a ziplock,  or napkin, if you’re not afraid of crumbs, and eat on the go.)

Being that it’s summer, it is always nice to have some fruit included. This recipe calls for lemon and cranberry but who’s to say you couldn’t swap out the lemon zest for orange, or the cranberries for blueberries. GO CRAZY!

Cran-tastic Lemon Scones
Adapted from Candice Kumai’s Lemon Cran Scones

3 cups – whole wheat flour (plus extra for shaping)
1/4 cup – sugar
1/4 cup –  light brown sugar
1 lemon – juice and zest
1 tsp – baking powder
1 tsp – baking soda
1 tsp – sea salt
4 tbsp – unsalted butter (cubed)
3/4 cup – buttermilk
1/4 cup – applesauce
1 1/4 cup – cranberries (dried)
1 cup – confectioners sugar

1. Preheat the oven to 375 F. Combine the flour, sugars(brown and granulated), lemon zest, baking power, baking soda, and salt. Whisk together.

2. Combine the buttermilk and the applesauce, whisk together.

3. Add the buttermilk mixture with the dry ingredients until just combined.

4. On a slightly floured surface divide the dough into two round discs. Cut into 1/4’s about 1 inch thick.

5. Place the scones onto a parchment line baking sheet. Bake until golden brown, aprox 15 minutes.

6. While the scones are cooling make the glaze by adding the lemon juice and the confectioners sugar together, whisk vigorously. Drizzle on cooled scones, allow 5 minutes for it to set.

This recipe comes from Candice’s cookbook Pretty Delicious. If you  haven’t had the chance to check it out, I highly recommend that next time you’re in Barnes and Noble to have  sit and thumb through it. You won’t be sorry.

Enjoy!

Doughnuts with Joy the Baker

This summer has been a crazy one to say the least. I apologize for my sporadic posting.
Summer is funny in that it’s when everyone decides to everything because the weather is usually so accommodating. For me thus far, it’s meant lots of studying (hurrah for summer school!), fun birthday weekends, and wedding festivities. In between I’ve trying to make real the fun cooking and baking ideas that I have in my head, in what little time I have.

A little while had the please of meeting with Joy the Baker as she taught a class at The Gourmandise School. It was a fun couple of hours filled with doughnut making and sparkling wine drinking, curated by Whitney Adams.

Let me start off by saying I totally felt like a badass to be in a class with these two lovely ladies. The wealth of knowledge was both awe-inspiring and intimidating (in a good way). Additionally doughnuts are now on the list of can do, win!

I wanted to share this recipe with you guys, for those of who don’t read Joy’s blog and haven’t seen this yet.

IMG_2610

Pink Raised Doughnuts with Toasted Coconut
(From Joy the Baker)

makes 12-14 doughnuts
recipe adapted slightly from Top Pot Hand-Forged Doughnuts

For the Doughnuts:

3 tablespoons (four ¼ ounce packages) active dry yeast
1 cup warm water (about 105 degrees F)
½ cup granulated sugar, plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
2 teaspoons iodized salt
4 to 4 ½ cups bread flour, plus more for dusting, rolling, and cutting
¼ cup vegetable shortening
3 large egg yolks
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
canola oil for frying
toasted coconut for topping

For the Glaze:

4 cups sifted powdered sugar
2 teaspoons light corn syrup
¼ teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 to 3 drops red or pink food coloring
scant 1/3 cup hot water, plus more if necessary

To Make the Doughnuts:

In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, whisk together the yeast, water, and 1 tablespoon of sugar.  Let stand for 5 minutes until mixture is foamy and frothy.  That’s how you know the yeast is alive and ready to doughnut!

In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, baking powder, nutmeg, salt, and 4 cups of bread flour.  Set aside.

Break up shortening and add to the yeast mixture.  Add the egg yolks, and vanilla extract and beat on low speed using the paddle attachment.  This will deflate the yeast bubbles and help break up the shortening.

With the mixture on low speed, add one third of the dry ingredients.  Blend until flour disappears.  Add another third of the dry ingredients.  Beat until flour disappears.  Switch to the dough hook and add the last amount of flour.  Mix on low speed until no flour bits remain.  Add a bit more flour if necessary.  The dough should clean the sides of the bowl, and not stick to the bottom in a pool.

Knead for 2 minutes.  The dough will be glossy, and just a bit sticky… but it shouldn’t stick to your hands.

Transfer the dough to a baking sheet that has been sprinkled with 1 tablespoon of flour.  Shake into a 6-inch circle and dust the top with flour.  Cover with a dishtowel and set in a warm place to double in size.

The Top Pot Cookbook has an awesome way to create your own proofing box!  Bring a large kettle of water to a boil.  Pour about 8 cups of water into a large baking dish.  Set it on the floor of your oven.  Place the sheet tray with covered dough on the middle rack above the steaming water, close the oven door and let rise for about 1 hour.

Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and roll out into a roughly 12-inch circle, about ½ inch thick.  Cut into 12 doughnuts and 12 holes using a 2 ¾-inch and 1 ¼-inch round cutter.  Gently transfer the doughnuts and holes to two baking sheets that have been sprinkled with flour.  Set the doughnuts for their second rise about 2 inches apart.

Let rise in the oven for another 30-45 minutes, using another hot water proofing bath.

In a medium or large, heavy-bottom saucepan, heat canola oil that is 2-inches deep.  Use a candy thermometer to bring the oil to 350 degrees F.

When the doughnuts have doubled in size place a few doughnuts into the oil to fry.  Don’t overcrowd the pan.  Fry for 30 seconds on one side, flip and cook for another 30 seconds.  Doughnuts will darken slightly as they cool, so don’t cook them too dark.  Transfer to a few layers of paper towel to cool.  Bring the fry oil back to 350 degrees F before frying new batches of doughnuts.

Allow to cool completely before glazing.

To Make the Glaze:

Place the sugar, corn syrup, salt, and vanilla in a large mixing bowl.  Add the food coloring and hot water and use a whisk to incorporate.  Blend until entirely smooth.  If the mixture seems to thick to easily dip doughnuts, add more hot water 1 teaspoon at a time.

To ice the doughnuts, dip one side of the cooled doughnuts into the freshly made icing.  Sprinkle with toasted coconut.  Let dry and set for 10 to 15 minutes before serving.