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Thursday
Jul032014

Almond Biscotti

Almond biscotti

Sometimes, there is nothing better than sitting by the window with a cup of tea, soaking up the summer breeze. Sometimes, the only thing that makes that moment better is a biscotti to dip into that cup of tea. These, my friends, are the perfect biscotti for just that moment. They also pair well with some frozen yogurt, and they may or may not have served as my breakfast for the past few days too…

1 cup Sugar
1/2 cup Butter, melted
2 teaspoons Almond Extract
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
3 Eggs
2 3/4 cups Flour
1 1/2 teaspoons Baking Powder
1/4 teaspoon Salt

Place all ingredients in a large bowl and stir until thoroughly combined. Cover and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes. While the dough is chilling, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Divide the chilled dough into 2 equal halves and shape each half into a loaf that is about 16x2 inches. Place the loaves onto the prepared baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool for 15 minutes, then slice each loaf into 3/4-inch pieces. Place the pieces cut-side down back on the prepared baking sheet and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes, or until lightly golden brown. Cool and store in an airtight container. 

SOURCE: One Sweet Appetite

Monday
Jun232014

Pickled Beet Salad

Pickled beet salad

It’s Secret Recipe Club reveal day again. This month, I was assigned to Susan’s blog, The Wimpy Vegetarian. Susan has so many delicious and healthy recipes on her blog, which made it so hard to narrow it down to just one. While I was searching through her archives, I had to make a folder on my desktop for all of the recipes that I wanted to make! When it came down to it, I decided to make this beet salad because I am completely obsessed with beets and anything pickled! There is a local company that makes pickled beets and on a rare occasion, I will buy a jar, but at over $7 per jar, it is a rare treat. For way less than that, I was able to make this delicious pickled beet salad, which yielded so much more than I would have gotten in that jar. I’m so glad to have this recipe in my repertoire now. If the beets I planted in my garden do well, I know what I want to use them for! Thanks for the excellent recipe, Susan. I look forward to trying the other recipes I’ve saved from your blog!!

For the Salad
4 medium-sized Beets
Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper
1 medium-sized Shallot, minced
1/4 cup Lemon Juice
3/4 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
3 tablespoons Sugar
1 teaspoon Salt
1/4 teaspoon Black Pepper
1/4 cup Feta Cheese
2 tablespoons Chive Oil, see below
2 tablespoons Spicy Pepitas, see below

Scrub the beets and cut off the root and tail ends. Drizzle with olive oil, salt, and pepper and roast, wrapped in foil, at 400 degrees for about 45 minutes, or until tender. Once cool enough to handle, peel the beets with a paring knife, then dice the beets and place them in a large jar/bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together the shallots, lemon juice, vinegar, sugar, salt, and pepper. Pour the mixture over the beets, cover the jar/bowl, and refrigerate for 3-4 hours as the beets marinate. When ready to assemble the salad, drain the pickling liquid. Toss in the feta cheese and the chive oil, and top with the pepitas. 

For the Chive Oil
Large handful of Chives, chopped fine (~1/4 cup)
2/3 cup Olive Oil

Combine the ingredients and allow the flavors to mix for about 24 hours. Use within one week.

For the Spicy Pepitas
1 cup Pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
1 teaspoon Olive Oil
1/4 teaspoon Salt
Pinch of Ground Cayenne Pepper
Pinch of Ground Paprika

Combine the ingredients in a small bowl. Heat a skillet over medium-low heat. Add the mixture to the skillet, tossing frequently, until golden brown. Cool and store in an air-tight container.

SOURCE: The Wimpy Vegetarian

Sunday
Jun082014

S'mores Scones

Smores Scones

Do you like camping? We used to camp when I was a kid, but to be completely honest, the only part I really liked was sitting by the fire and making s’mores! Even now, whenever I have the chance to make s’mores, I get excited. The melty chocolate, crunchy cracker, and creamy marshmallow with the slightly burnt flavor is the perfect summertime treat. My cousin Bridgette is getting married this summer, so my aunt hosted a shower and asked us all to bring a sweet treat to share. I immediately turned to my favorite summertime treat and made mini scones. I even tried to make them cute by using a flower shaped cookie cutter, but the shape got a little lost once they were topped with the marshmallow. They sure were a hit, though! There are only a couple left and if you’ll excuse me, I think it may be snack time for me...

For the Scones
2 cups Whole Wheat Flour
1/4 cup Light Brown Sugar, packed
2 teaspoons Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
3/4 teaspoon Salt
6 tablespoons Butter, cold and cut into cubes
2 Eggs, beaten
1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon Buttermilk
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1 cup Chocolate Chunks

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the butter cubes and rub them into the dry ingredients until they are the size of peas or oat flakes. In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla extract. Add the wet ingredients to the flour mixture and stir to incorporate. Add the chocolate chunks and continue to stir until incorporated. Dump the dough onto a floured surface and pat the dough into a 1-inch thick circle. Use a biscuit cutter and place the cut out scones onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Put the baking sheet into the fridge while the oven preheats to 375 degrees. Bake the scones for 12-14 minutes, or until lightly browned. Remove from the oven and cool slightly.

For the Topping
2 Egg Whites
3/4 cup Sugar
1/4 cup Light Corn Syrup
Pinch of Salt
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract

In a large heat-proof bowl, whisk together the egg whites, sugar, corn syrup, and salt. Fill a sauce pot with 2-inches of water and bring to a simmer. Place the bowl over the simmering water and whisk as it heats. The sugar will dissolve within about 5 minutes. Don’t let the bowl get hot enough to cook the egg. Transfer the sugar mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer and beat with the whisk attachment for about 5 minutes, until stiff peaks form. Beat in the vanilla. Once the mixture is smooth and glossy, generously spread it on the top of the scones. Place the scones under the broiler for a few minutes until the marshmallow topping has become browned. Serve warm or at room temperature, preferably the day that they are made.

SOURCE: Joy the Baker

Shower

Happy Shower, Bridgette!! 

Sunday
Jun012014

Banana Bread Granola

Banana bread granola

Two years ago, both of my sister-in-laws had babies within a few months of each other. This year, it's happening again! My brother and his wife are having baby #3 in less than a month, but while we wait for that little one, Joel’s sister and her husband had baby #2 this past Tuesday! So, once they were home from the hospital on Thursday, Joel and I gathered a few things and walked over to meet our adorable new nephew, Lucas. Since time isn’t something that parents of newborns (and young children) have, I whipped up some mac and cheese, as well as some granola, so that they didn’t have to think when it came to meals for the first few days. As soon as Kim saw the bag of granola, she got excited and asked if it was her favorite (a recipe she had given me years ago that I had made for her when our first nephew was born). While this isn’t the same recipe, I thought it sounded delicious and knew they would all like it. Hopefully, I’ve introduced her to a new favorite granola. In all honesty, who couldn’t love a granola that tastes exactly like banana bread! It might just be my new favorite…in fact, as soon as we came home from meeting the baby, I mixed up a second batch for us to enjoy at home, too! 

3 cups Rolled Oats
3/4 cup Walnuts
1/2 cup Pecans
3 tablespoons Raw Sugar
1/2 teaspoon Sea Salt
1/2 tablespoon Cinnamon
1 tablespoon Flax Seed
1/4 cup Coconut Oil
13 cup + 1 tablespoon Maple Syrup, Agave, or Honey (I used maple syrup)
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1 Ripe Banana, mashed (about 1/2 cup)

In a large bowl, mix the oats, walnuts, pecans, sugar, salt, cinnamon, and flax seed. In a small saucepan over medium heat, stir together the coconut oil, syrup, and vanilla until the oil has liquified. Remove from heat and whisk in the banana puree until well combined. Pour over the dry ingredients and mix well. Dump the mixture out onto a large baking sheet and spread it out into a single layer. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-28 minutes, or until the granola is visibly browned, tossing once during baking. Remove from the oven and cool completely on the baking sheet before breaking it up and storing in a jar. Granola should keep for a few weeks, but I guarantee it won’t last that long!

SOURCE: Minimalist Baker

Tuesday
May272014

Homemade Shake Shack Burgers - Guest Post

I surprised Melissa with a trip to New York for her birthday. It was mostly a foodie trip, taking in the sights and smells of Lower Manhattan with notable visits to some of the Momofuku-family: Ssam Bar, Booker and Dax, and Milk Bar, the beautiful West Village restaurant August, taking a pilgrimage of sorts to Sullivan Street Bakery (whose pizza recipes we've featured on this very site), Bouchon Bakery, and a couple very good old fashioneds at the famous jazz club The Village Vanguard. One of the highlights of course was the Madison Square Park mainstay Shake Shack. After all the food we ate over the long weekend, the thought that we couldn't shake (cough cough) were the fries and burgers we ate under a clear blue sky in the shade of a tree. I'm sure the specially-brewed Brooklyn Brewery ShackMeister Ale helped.

With the help of this article on Serious Eats I was able to recreate the burger with great results. While the author of the article calls for a specific blend of meat to be ground for the patty, I just grabbed a pound of 90% Lean Ground Sirloin instead of the custom mix. Most of the Shake Shack flavor is in the sauce anyway, so I don't think you'll really notice, but feel free to comment and convince me otherwise.



Ingredients

Burger

1 pound 90% lean ground beef sirloin
2 tablespoons butter, melted
4 Burger Rolls
4 leaves of green-leaf lettuce, clipped
8 center-cut slices ripe plum tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon vegetable oil
Kosher salt and fresh-ground black pepper
4 slices yellow American cheese


Sauce

1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon ketchup
1 tablespoon yellow mustard
4 slices kosher dill pickle (I used on whole pickle quarter)
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon paprika
Pinch cayenne pepper


Recipe 

Sauce

Combine all ingredients into a food processor and blend thoroughly. Set aside.

Burgers

Roll the ground sirloin into two inch thick pucks. Place the four pucks on a plate and season the top side with salt and pepper. Put the oil on the pan by rubbing it in with a paper towel (The key to a good brown crust is to use only as little oil as needed). On medium-high heat, place the one of the pucks on the pan, seasoning side down. Salt and pepper the other side of the patty, the one facing you now.

Take a spatula and place it on the puck and firmly push down (You can use another spatula or spoon for leverage) so that the puck spreads out into a proper burger size. Depending on the size of your pan, you may need to cook in batches.

Brown the patty on one side, cooking about two to three minutes, and flip it over, cooking an additional two to three minutes. Melt one cheese slice on each burger patty.

Buns and Assembly

Slice the buns in half but not all the way through. Brush melted butter on each side, and toast or broil so that they have a nice browned surface. 

Apply ample amounts of the Shake Sauce to the roll's toasted surface. Place the lettuce, tomatoes and cooked patties on the roll. Serve with french fries, preferably crinkle cut for that authentic Shake Shack Feeling. I even covered a small Amazon box in wax paper to serve them outside in our yard. 

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