Tuesday, September 30, 2008

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TWD: Creme Brulee

Mari of Mevrouw Cupcake has made an incredible selection for Tuesday With Dorie this week. Creme Brulee is one of my favorite desserts and it's something I'm only used to having after a fancy dinner. I always thought it was a tough dessert to make, but once I saw the recipe I was stunned. How could something so delicious only consist of 6 basic ingredients? I couldn't believe it. I've always had the ingredients in my kitchen and never knew that I could combine them to create creme brulee. The only problem we had with this dessert was getting our little torch to work. After caramelizing the sugar, we dug right in and enjoyed the creamy, silky, consistency of the custard. It was so delicious and such a nice way to end the weekend.

Don't forget to check Mari's blog for the recipe and th TWD site to see what everyone else thought of this dessert.

Creme brulee bubbles.

Ready to bake.

All done!

Yum! Despite the bad lighting.

Monday, September 29, 2008

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My Sin.

I feel like such a gluttonous fool when it comes to this one recipe. I usually only make it for Thanksgiving but the mood around the house was grim and I needed something to take us out of our funk. This recipe came at the right time because Alex was pleasantly surprised to see that I had made it and I spent the next 12 hours eating 3/4 of the batch I made. My belly was beyond happy and Alex was thrilled to see a Thanksgiving classic pop up before Thanksgiving. This recipe is so easy to throw together and it is the best thing on the planet!

Corn Bread Casserole

1 stick of butter, melted
1 egg
1- 8 3/4 oz can of creamed corn
1- 8 3/4 oz can of whole kernel corn
1 package of Jiffy corn bread mix

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine all ingredients until moist. Pour into a 9-inch round pan or a 9 x 9 square pan and bake for 45-60 minutes.

Fresh out the oven.

Scrumptious from all angles...

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The Sweet 100

There have been a few 100 lists going around and I have yet to do one of them. But when I saw this 100 list on Cakespy I couldn't resist. I love everything sweet and wanted to see how I stacked up. Here are the instructions:

1) Copy this list into your site, including the instructions!
2) Bold all of the sweets you've eaten!
3) Cross out any of them that you'd never ever eat.
4) Consider anything that is not bold or crossed out your "To Do" List.

If you don't know what some of the desserts are, go to Cakespy's website because they have links for almost all the desserts.

1. Red Velvet Cake
2. Princess Torte
3. Whoopie Pie
4. Apple Pie either topped or baked with sharp cheddar
5. Beignet
6. Baklava
7. Black and white cookie
8. Seven Layer Bar (also known as the Magic Bar or Hello Dolly bars)
Fried Fruit Pie (sometimes called hand pies)
10. Kringle
11. Just-fried (still hot) doughnut
12. Scone with clotted cream
13. Betty, Grunt, Slump, Buckle or Pandowdy
14. Halvah
15. Macarons
16. Banana pudding with nilla wafers
Bubble tea (with tapioca "pealrs")
18. Dixie Cup
19. Rice Krispie treats
20. Alfajores
21. Blondies
22. Croquembouche
23. Girl Scout cookies
24. Moon cake
25. Candy Apple
26. Baked Alaska
27. Brooklyn Egg Cream
28. Nanaimo bar
29. Baba au rhum
30. King Cake
31. Sachertorte
33. Tres Leches Cake
34. Trifle
35. Shoofly Pie
36. Key Lime Pie (made with real key lime)
37. Panna Cotta
38. New York Cheesecake
39. Napoleon / mille-fueille
40. Russian Tea Cake / Mexican Wedding Cake
Anzac Biscuits
42. Pizzelle
43. Kolache
44. Buckeyes
45. Malasadas
Moon Pie
47. Dutch baby
48. Boston Cream Pie
49. Homemade chocolate chip cookies
50. Pralines
51. Gooey butter cake
52. Rusks
54. Green tea cake or cookies
55. Cupcakes from a cupcake shop
56. Crème brûlée
57. Some sort of deep fried fair food (twinkie, candy bar, cupcake)
58. Yellow cake with chocolate frosting
Jelly Roll
60. Pop Tarts
61. Charlotte Russe
62. An "upside down" dessert (Pineapple upside down cake or Tarte Tatin)
63. Hummingbird Cake
64. Jell-O from a mold
65. Black forest cake
66. Mock Apple Pie (Ritz Cracker Pie)
67. Kulfi
Linzer Torte
69. Churro
70. Stollen
71. Angel Food Cake
Mincemeat pie
73. Concha
74. Opera Cake
75. Sfogliatelle / Lobster tail
76. Pain au chocolat
77. A piece of Gingerbread House
78. Cassata
79. Cannoli
80. Rainbow cookies
81. Religieuse
82. Petits fours
83. Chocolate Souffle
84. Bienenstich (Bee Sting Cake)
85. Rugelach
86. Hamenstashen
87. Homemade marshmallows
88. Rigo Janci
89. Pie or cake made with candy bar flavors (Snickers pie, Reeses pie, etc)
90. Divinity
91. Coke or Cola cake
Gateau Basque
93. S'mores
Figgy Pudding
95. Bananas foster or other flaming dessert
96. Joe Froggers
97. Sables
98. Millionaire's Shortbread
99. Animal crackers
100. Basbousa

I've Tried... 43 desserts
I won't try...12 desserts
"To Do" list...45 desserts.
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Daring Bakers: Lavash Crackers

I almost forgot about this month's Daring Baker's challenge. It wasn't until I saw a few posts in my Google Reader that I realized that I had yet to make the Lavash Crackers Natalie of Gluten A Go Go and Shel of Musings from the Fishbowl chose. I was really looking forward to making these crackers because (a) I had never made crackers and (b) I was happy to not have to make another dessert. And let me just say that it felt great letting out all that law school aggression while kneading the dough. I seasoned my crackers with salt, pepper, and paprika and I was amazed at how addictive they were. We could barely keep our hands off of these little goodies. I ate the crackers with guacamole and completely forgot to take pictures, so you guys will have to make do with pictures of the crackers alone. Sorry!

Make sure to check out the blogroll to see what everyone else did with their crackers and to check out The Kitchen to see what us Daring Bakers are up to.

P.S. The recipe is on Shel and Natalie's amazing blogs, so go check them out!

Kneaded Ball.

I forgot about the dough and it tripled in size.

All rolled out and seasoned.

Right out of the oven.

Lovely crackers.

Close-up of spices.

Friday, September 26, 2008

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Dining at My Namesake

We went to Stephanie's on Newbury ages ago for brunch. While the food was great we left there feeling like we overpaid for what we got. This was before we realized what kind of business brunch was in Boston and a few months later we realized that Stephanie's prices were right on par with all the other local restaurants serving brunch. We never went back to Stephanie's because we felt that it was a trendy restaurant where people mostly went to be seen (yes, I am referring to those people who eat at night with sunglasses on). But one night some weekend ago we had no restaurant plans and Alex thought it would be great to stay local and give Stephanie's another shot. I am happy to say that it was worth going back and that our dinner was amazing. While it seemed like a good chunk of people went to Stephanie's for the trend factor, there was still another chunk of people who went there because they actually liked the food.

They start out by bringing you crackers and Irish Soda Bread. The bread is incredibly addictive because it is a sweet and soft bread that goes perfect with butter. The best part was that they brought out a little piece of paper with the recipe to the bread.

We ordered the Warm Vermont Goat Cheese appetizer and wow. One word can describe this appetizer: amazing. This is definitely the appetizer to order if you are a cheese lover. The cheese had such a crisp, clean, intense flavor that went well with the toasted bread it came out with. Alex and I were literally fighting over who got to scrape the plate last.

For the entree I ordered the Mac & Cheese. This dish is colossal. What they served me is typically what I make for the two of us at home. I was barely able to get through a third of the dish. The mac and cheese was topped with buttery bread crumbs that did a perfect job at hiding the gooey cheesy goodness underneath. This was the perfect mac and cheese because there was a great ratio of cheese sauce to pasta. I don't know what three cheeses were used in the sauce because they blended perfectly together, but I'd assume that parmesan was probably one of them.

Alex was in the mood for a burger so he ordered the Oversized Stephi Burger. This is the most appropriate name for a burger because the thing was not a burger; it was a baby cow on your plate. This burger was a burger lover's dream because the burger was huge and moist and topped with cheddar cheese, caramelized onions, bacon, and sauteed mushrooms. Alex loved the burger and his only regret was not being able to eat it all.

For dessert we attempted to share the Belgian Waffle Sundae. It was such a poor showing because we barely ate half of it. The dessert was vanilla ice cream, banana brown sugar sauce, sliced strawberries, fudge, whipped cream, and wam waffles. This dessert was incredibly delicious.

Stephanie's is a great place to eat and the servings are perfect for sharing. I don't have a bad thing to say about our experience or the quality of food we had. You should definitely check them out!
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I'm Just Not Om.

Maybe I'm just not balanced or maybe my mind, body, and spirit aren't one. I don't know what it is, but I just wasn't feeling OM Restaurant. The restaurant itself is beautiful and made me want to chant om and go on a Mediterranean escapade. The bar area was very active and hip (I feel old saying hip, but I can't think of a better word) and the second floor was romantic and had a great view of Harvard Square. I thought the decor was so appropriate for the name of the restaurant. I was taken by the look of the restaurant. The food, on the other hand, didn't leave as big of an impression on me. Alex enjoyed his meal because he says you can never go wrong with steak.

We didn't order an appetizer because there wasn't anything on the menu that appealed to the both of us (it's a lot of salads or seafood items). So we dove right into our entrees. Alex ordered the Steak Frites. The steak came with parmesan truffle fries. The steak was juicy and tender, but a little on the small side. The fries were crunchy with a hint of parmesan cheese. The fries were topped with a sauce that didn't balance well with the fries because of its lemony flavor.

I ordered the Almond Crusted Halibut. I found the fish to be bland and the almonds over toasted. The one thing I really liked about this dish was the roasted "potatoes." I put that in quotations because I think the potato was actually taro. The only reason I even had this feeling was because we ate a lot of taro when we went to Hawaii two years ago.

For dessert I ordered the chocolate cake. The chocolate cake itself was delicious and very moist. The dessert came with a hazelnut brittle that was so good I had to share with Alex. I was disappointed in the banana ice cream because it didn't taste like it had ripe bananas in it. It tasted like they used bananas that they bought earlier in the day and didn't let ripen.

Alex ordered the creme brulee and, well, he likes creme brulee any way you can make it. There was absolutely nothing wrong with this dessert.

Going to OM wasn't a bad experience but it wasn't a great experience. I personally was not wowed by the food but I wouldn't mind going back and enjoying the bar scene.
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Obsession of the Week

I have become obsessed with looking up the show schedules for all the local theatres. Earlier this year we saw Wicked and La Slyphide, which were both amazing shows. A couple of weeks ago we saw A Chorus Line and this weekend we are seeing Cirque du Soleil's Kooza. We also went to a theatre open house and now I can proudly say that I have the schedule for just about every show for the 2008-2009 season. I love the theatre because there is something about being a part of the raw and contemporaneous emotion of the actors and dancers. The experience is so different from watching TV or going to the movies. There's no time for retakes, so what you see if what you get. The next big show (it's actually a ballet) I plan on seeing is Cinderella and I am giddy just thinking about spending a night at the theatre. I think part of what makes it so fun is seeing how gorgeous the theatres themselves are. There is something about their grandiosity and gaudiness that is entrancing.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

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I Am Alive.

I have not fallen off the face of the earth, instead I have fallen into the abyss of law school. There definitely aren't enough hours in the day to get everything done and, any time I do have a free moment to think, I start dreaming of how good it's going to feel once this semester is over. As of 12:35am there are 65 days, 13 hours, and 15 minutes til my last class and 84 days, 15 hours, and 15 minutes til my last final. But in the meantime this blog needs some serious updating, so be prepared! I may be biased, but I think there's lots of good stuff coming up :)

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

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A Warm Reminder.

It has been getting cooler around my parts. It's still September but it feels like it's the end of October or even the beginning of November. The weather is very bittersweet. I like the cooler temperatures because it's actually enjoyable to be outside but at the same time it's a sad reminder that winter is around the corner. With this in mind I tried my hardest to hold on to the last few days of summer by making cupcakes. Not just any cupcakes either, Pina Colada Cupcakes. I had seen these cupcakes a while ago and was smitten. It was a recipe that I absolutely had to try. I was so happy I did because the cupcakes were great. They were so moist and dense and the frosting was absolute perfection. Alex paid me the biggest compliment by saying that the cupcakes tasted similar to this cupcake shop in the North End.

Make sure to check this post on Good Things Catered for the cupcake recipe and this post from Yum. for the frosting recipe.

Try it and enjoy!

I left out the coconut topping...

...and added more pineapple juice to the frosting.

I used vegetable oil but I think canola would have been better.

It was still scrumptious though!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

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Conquering the Gloom Quiche-Style

Alex has been in a mood as of late. It's amazing how one can have mixed feelings about something. On the one hand he's excited about finishing school forever and on the other hand he's extremely stressed about the impending residency application season. Graduation is only as good as matching and having your first doctoral position secured. There is very little I can do to lift his spirits and, at times, this is incredibly frustrating. The one thing I have figured out that will always put him in a better mood is making food that he likes and doesn't expect me to make. A perfect example was the mini quiche I made this weekend. As soon as he saw what I made his face lit up. Whoever said that the way to a man's heart is through his stomach must have said that with Alex in mind. Not only was he in a good mood afterward, but he was also looking at me with googly eyes as he ate.

The recipe and presentation was a hybrid of posts from Elizabeth's Edible Experience and Scrumptious Photography. I definitely recommend making these because of how easy they are to make and how amazing they taste.

Mini Quiche
Makes 8 mini quiche

~2 Tbsp butter
1/4 cup bread crumbs
4 oz ham, diced (I used sandwich ham and cut it up)
4 oz shredded cheddar cheese (can also use sliced cheese, just cut it up)
2 large eggs
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4-1/2 tsp pepper

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Butter 8 cavities of the cupcake/muffin pan. Lightly coat each cavity with the bread crumbs.

Heat a small skillet with 1 Tbsp of butter and add the ham. Cook until the ham it is crispy. Spread the ham evenly among the 8 cavities and then top with the cheese.

Whisk together the eggs, milk, cream, and pepper. Pour the egg mixture in the cavities until about 3/4 full.

Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and let it cool to desired temperature.

Serve and enjoy!

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Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

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TWD: O.M.G. Cookies

I had been debating how to write this post because I was afraid I would come off as vulgar, but then I saw Sweet Stiletto's review of the Chocolate Chunker cookies and I figured, well why can't I be upfront about these cookies? As soon as I bit into the cookie I melted. Holy cow. Amazing. Wow. Isn't this a sin? I think we need a moment of silence. No, that won't do. How about a day of silence? Right after eating 3 cookies I sent an email to some of my friends about the orgasmic qualities of the cookie. I just had to let them know what they were missing out on. Yes, this cookie is that good. It takes you to a whole different plane of sensory pleasure. This cookie was meant to be eaten and enjoyed in an unfiltered manner. Do not fight the urge to let out a huge "mmmmmmmm." Dorie has done an amazing job with this recipe (I left out the nuts and the fruit so it was pure chocolate) and she obviously meant to make the world a happier place with this cookie. Thanks to Claudia of Fool for Food for choosing this recipe. I think I will forever be indebted to you. I HIGHLY recommend going to Claudia's blog for the recipe and checking out the other TWD blogs.

Ready to bake.


Is your temperature rising yet?

How about now??

Sunday, September 14, 2008

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I love Dorie's book Baking From My Home to Yours. Almost everything in this book is great. I usually don't venture off to try new recipes from the book because I figure that TWD will eventually get to it, but I couldn't resist giving the biscuit recipe a try. The biscuits were so easy to make and the only thing I did wrong was that I cut some of the biscuits too thin. It wasn't a complete loss because the thin biscuits ended up tasting like crackers. The ones that did come out like biscuits were awesome. They were buttery and crumbly and so delicious!

Source: Dorie Greenspan's Baking From My Home to Yours

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 stick cold, unsalted butter, cut into 12 pieces
3/4 cup cold whole milk

Center a rack in the oven and preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper of a silicone mat.

Whisk flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt together in a bowl. Drop in butter and, using your fingers, toss to coat the pieces of butter with flour. Working with your fingertips cut and rub the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture is pebbly.

Pour the milk over the dry ingredients and with a fork toss the ingredients until you have a nice soft dough. Reach into the bowl with your hands and give the dough a quick, gentle kneading (3 or 4 turns).

Lightly dust a work surface with flour and turn out the dough. Dust the top of the dough very lightly with flour and pat the dough out with your hands or roll it with a pin until it's about 1/2 inch high.

Use a biscuit cutter to cut as many biscuits as possible. Transfer the biscuits to the baking sheet. Gather together the straps, roll out again, and cut out more biscuits.

Bake the biscuits for 14 to 18 minutes, or until they are puffed and golden. Transfer them to a serving basket.

Serve and enjoy!