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Posts Tagged ‘Dessert’

Pi day Pie

Having a Math Nerd for a husband (and many Math Nerds as friends) means that there are little things my family may do differently than your average family.  Take for example Pi Day (3/14)…a whole day devoted to a number…or for me, a whole day of eating pie!

making the pie

I was really happy to finally use up the cherries that I canned over the summer.  I didn’t have enough of either sour or sweet cherries for a full pie, so I decided to  put them together to make one Super-Cherry Pie.  It made for interesting flavors.  I also, of course, made the vent in the shape of the Pi symbol, on Mike’s request.  It may be my very favorite part of the pie!

Slice of Cherry Pie

My friend Stephanie made a very delicious strawberry pie, which was beautiful, and tasted even better than it looked…I went back for seconds!

Stephanie's Strawberry Pie

Stephanie's Strawberry pie, detail

The second pie that I made (which of course I didn’t take pictures of….sorry!!) was a chicken/tomato/parmesan hand pie.  I know you can’t see what it looked like, but it was delicious!

Chicken Parmesan Hand Pies

  • 2 chicken breasts, rinsed and patted dry
  • 1 large can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 batches of Pate Brisee (omit the sugar)
  • 1/4-1/2 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups grated mozzarella
  • ice water
  1. Heat a medium pan over medium-high heat.  Drizzle olive oil in the bottom of the pan.  Saute garlic and onions until the onions are transluscent.  Add tomatoes, oregano, nutmeg, and red pepper flakes, bring to a boil.
  2. Place chicken breasts in sauce and cover pan with a lid.  Adjust heat to bring sauce to a simmer.  Simmer the chicken breasts in sauce until they are fully cooked.  Turn the chicken once or twice while cooking to coat in sauce.
  3. Remove chicken from pan and allow to cool on a plate.  Cool the sauce as well.  Cut chicken in thin strips against the grain of the meat.
  4. Roll the dough out to 1/8″ thickness and cut into 4″ circles (work in batches if needed).  Place the circles of dough in the frige for 30 minutes.
  5. Place dough circles on baking sheets.  Fill each piece of dough with a couple strips of chicken, a tablespoon or two of sauce and a sprinkling of mozzarella and parmesan. 
  6. Dab ice water around the edges of the circles, fold one half of the circle over to the other side, and pinch closed with a fork or your fingers.  Make a small slit in the top or stab it a couple of times with a fork.  Refrigerate hand pies for another 30 minutes.
  7. Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees F.  Place pies in the oven for about 15-20 minutes, or until golden (May take more or less time depending on your oven.  Go by the color, not the time!).
  8. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly before enjoying!

 Have you ever celebrated Pi Day?  or Pie Day??

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Baklava

A piece of Baklava

Probably the number one thing pregnancy is known for is the cravings.  So far, there have not been too many weird things that I crave (though once I ate a whole jar of green olives).  My main problem has been TV commercials.  Everytime a new food item pops up, I feel like I have to have it.  Lately I have taken to looking away, or concentrating on something else when commercials come on so that I won’t have to worry about craving a huge Big Mac with extra-large fries and a Coke!

One of the things I have given in to however, is Baklava.  I figured since I have already made this twice (in the last 7 days), I ought to share it with you.  The first time I made Baklava was for Valentine’s day last week.  I thought it was a special dessert that went perfectly with the kabobs and humus that Mike and I were having for dinner that night.  What I didn’t know was how much I would love it.  The kind of love that makes you wonder where this has been your whole life.  I proceeded to have it for breakfast for the rest of the week.  I ended up taking some of the dessert to work so that I wouldn’t eat any more of it.

tray of baklava

But now, I’ve made it again.  Luckily, this time I have another social function that I can take leftovers too as well…assuming I don’t eat the whole tray over the next few hours.

I only made one tiny adjustment to the recipe…instead of filling the pastry with a mix of walnuts and almonds, I only used walnuts, because for the second time in a row, I forgot to purchase almonds.  Um yes…I also have a severe case of pregnancy brain.

What is the craziest craving you have had, or experienced a friend having?

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Pumpkin Pies

This weekend I found myself wondering where fall went, and how I had suddenly stepped right into winter.  We had our first snow, which came a bit early this year, and nothing seemed more fitting than staying home and eating pumpkin pie.

I got the recipe for the pie at Martha Stewart, and made it into a bunch of tiny pies instead.  One recipe of her Pate Brisee made 24 mini pies, and there was plenty of filling left over at the end, which I froze so that we could have pumpkin pie again in a few weeks.  I basically followed the recipe, except for cooking time.  I cooked the pies at 450 degrees F for 5 minutes instead of 10.  Then I switched the oven to 350 degrees F and cooked them for about 15 minutes more.  I kept a careful eye on them, though because they cooked much faster than their full-sized counterpart.  If you don’t have a mini tart/pie pan, you could use a muffin tin instead.

For the whipped cream on top, I made up a recipe as I went along, and it turned out absolutely delicious.  It is so incredibly quick and easy, and the difference in taste between this and the store bought whipped cream is huge.

Maple Whipped Cream

  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Pour heavy cream into a clean glass bowl.  Whip on high until it holds shape.  Slowly drizzle in the maple syrup and vanilla with the mixer on low.  Mix until fully incorporated.

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Hosted by Abby.

{See}

– The sudden changes in weather.  Mid-Spring one day, Mid-Winter the next.

{Smell}

– Sweet Cardamom Cookies (recipe below), baking.

– Fresh snow falling outside, laying a thick blanket over the earthy-sweet fragrances of Spring.

{Taste}

– Freshly baked cookies and Good Earth tea, from my favorite mug.

– A simple quesadilla with black beans.  mmmm.

{Touch}

– The warmth radiating from the fireplace.

– Freshly ironed fabric…ready for the many projects I have in queue.

{Hear}

– The sewing machine, marching onward all day long.

– The wind howling outside, while I am bundled up inside.

This week we experienced some really odd weather…a sudden storm dumped over a foot of snow in one day, so we were pretty much confined to our apartment.  I made this recipe up using ingredients we had on hand, and I have to say, it turned out deliciously!!  Cardamom is one of my new favorite spices!

Cardamom Cookies

  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/3 cups unbleached AP flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cream the butter and sugar on medium until fluffy and lighter in color.  Add the egg and vanilla and mix until combined.  sift flour,  baking soda, salt and cardamom into the butter mixture.  Mix on low speed to combine.  Be sure to scrape down the sides once with a spatula to make sure you combine everything evenly.  Drop cookies about the size of a tablespoon onto a greased or parchment-lined cookie sheet.  bake in oven for 12 minutes, turning half way through.  The cookies will be done when they are just slightly golden on the very edges.  Place cookies on a cooling rack until cool.  Enjoy with a tall, cold glass of milk, or some tea!

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I’m just not sure what Valentine’s Day would be without chocolate.  And really, does anything say love like freshly made, traditional truffles?  I made these for my husband and a coworker for Feb 14th this year (shhh!) instead of buying expensive chocolate for a couple of reasons.  First, I think that like so many other things connected to holidays, chocolate truffles are so expensive!!  I really have a hard time justifying the purchase when they are so easy to make at home.  Another reason for making my own is I love giving hand-crafted gifts.  I think it is so much more meaningful to give something that I put a little effort into rather than something I bought at the store.  My final reason for making these at home is they are just so dang tasty!  Inevitably, I will end up having a few of these little guys, and I am really picky about chocolate.  Seriously, this is not a joke!  I really hate Ghirardelli and Hershey’s, and when I make the truffles at home, I know exactly what goes into these.  Also, you can make them stronger by using chocolate with a higher percentage of cocoa in it.

Robert Linxe’s Chocolate Truffles (found and adapted via Smitten Kitchen)

Gourmet, February 2001

  • 11oz of 54% chocolate (I got Chocolove bars, because its Valentine’s Day <3)
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • cocoa powder

What else you will need:

  • a parchment-lined baking sheet
  • a large Ziploc bag

Chop and place 8 oz of chocolate in a bowl.  Heat cream on stove or in microwave until just simmering.  Pour cream over the chocolate, and let sit for a few minutes. 

Starting in the middle of the bowl, slowly stir together the chocolate and cream, working outwards, until the  mixture is smooth.  Allow to sit for about an hour, or until firmer, but still pliable.

Place the chocolate mixture in the Ziploc bag, and cut off one tip. 

Pipe onto the parchment-lined baking sheet, in mounds equaling about 1 teaspoon.  If there are pointy tips on the mounds, pat them down a bit.  Place baking sheet in freezer for about 15 minutes.

Place the remaining 3 oz chocolate in a heat safe bowl over another bowl filled with boiling water.  (I heated some water in my kettle and poured it into the bowl).  Slowly stir until smoothe.

Remove the mounds from the freezer and place about 1/2-1 cup of cocoa powder into a shallow bowl.  Smear some chocolate into the palm of your hand (use rubber gloves if you have them), pick up a mound and coat with a thin layer of chocolate. 

Place in bowl with the cocoa powder and toss with a fork, making sure the outside is fully covered.  Remove and place on a plate.  Repeat with the rest of the mounds.

Place truffles, a few at a time, into a fine sieve and toss to get rid of excess cocoa powder.  Store in the refrigerator until ready to eat.

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Sharing the Love

Hello everyone!  I’m sorry I wasn’t here on wednesday, it was Mike’s birthday, and I had much to do with all the preparations.  To makeup for it, I will combine two blog posts into one Super Post!

I would like to thank Domestic Cents has given me the Butterfly Award (with apologies for the grammatical error)!!  It was so sweet of her to think of me!  Now it is my turn to share this award with more bloggers that I love!

I am passing this along to Soule Mama and Craftlog.  These are blogs that I love and visit daily.  Thank you for being a part of the blogosphere!

 Here are the rules:

  1. Put the logo on your blog
  2. Add a link to the person who awarded you
  3. Award up to 10 other blogs
  4. Add links to those blogs on yours
  5. Leave a message of your awardees on their blogs

To the bloggers that I awarded, if you prefer not to post the award, that is ok with me, I just wanted to make sure that I recognized you!

I also want to share a recipe with you…Orange-Vanilla Bean Cake with Whipped Chocolate Ganache.  This may be one of the most delicious cakes I have ever had!  I got the idea from the February 2009 edition of Martha Stewart Living.  In it, there was an article on cupcakes, and the tastiest looking one was Orange-Vanilla Bean Cake with Orange frosting (or something like that anyways).  Well, when I looked in the recipe section for said cake, there was no Orange-Vanilla Bean Cake recipe! 

This was truly a catastrophe at this point because I had told Mike what  I was making and we both kind-of had our hearts set on it.  With a quick search of Epicurious, I found a great recipe with a high rating.  I only made two changes: I added 1/2 a vanilla bean instead of the vanilla extract, and I made this into cupcakes instead.  The cupcakes took a fraction of the time (about 20 minutes in my oven).

Another thing you should know is that this recipe made a HUGE amount of batter.  I had enough for 2 dozen cupcakes and 1 two layer cake, with some batter left over.

Orange-Vanilla Bean Cake with Whipped Chocolate Ganache

For the Cake: Gourmet, March 2002

  • 2 1/4 cups cake flour (not self-rising)
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 7 large egg yolks
  • 3/4 cup fresh orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons grated orange zest
  • 1/2 vanilla bean
  • 9 large egg whites
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar

For the Frosting: Martha Stewart Living Cookbook

  • 1 lb. good quality semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 2 1/2 cups heavy cream

Preheat oven to 320 degrees.  Sift the flour, 3/4 cup sugar, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl (really large bowl!).  In another bowl (medium will be fine) whisk together the oil, egg yolk, orange juice, orange zest, and the vanilla bean pulp (to do this, slice the vanilla bean in half, length-wise, and scrape out pulp with the back of a knife).  Whisk this mixture into the flour mixture until smooth.  In another large bowl, beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt until they are foamy.  Add the cream of tartar and beat until they hold stiff peaks.  Add the remaining 3/4 cup of sugar, a little at a time and beat until they hold stiff glossy peaks.  stir one third of teh whites into the batter to lighten it and fold in the remaining whites gently but thoroughly.  Spoon the batter into cupcake cups, filling them to about 2/3 full.  Place in the oven.  Check after about 10 minutes, and adjust time from there.  Mine took about 20 minutes, but I am at a higher altitude.  Remove when done and cool completely before frosting.

To make the frosting: Place chopped chocolate into a heatproof bowl.  Place cream into a saucepan over medium-high heat.  Heat until just boiling.  Pour hot cream over chocolate and let sit for 10 minutes.  Stir gently until chocolate and cream are fully incorporated.  Place mixture in the refrigerator until cool to the touch, stirring every 5 minutes or so to keep the temperature even.  When it is cool, beat on high with an electric mixer until the frosting just begins to thicken.  Place back in the refrigerator for about 10 minute.  Stir the frosting.  Place into a ziploc bag and cut off one of the tips.  Use this to pipe onto the cooled cupcakes.  If you like, dust the top with some shaved white chocolate.

With Valentine’s day fast approaching, I will be spending this weekend working on a few projects…stay tuned for some cool ideas for the holiday!

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I think we made this recipe up one night when we needed a sweet/salty/crunchy snack one night, and our pantry was empty.  We made homemade kettle corn (or I guess, something fairly similar), and have never gone back!  This is definately our after dinner snack of choice.  It is especially great right now…its the begining of the new year, and we are aiming to make healthier food choices, as well as save money.  This snack is both relatively healthy and cheap.  I put the information for this recipe in a nutrition calculator, and if you eat half, your intake is about 176 calories,  not to shabby!

IngredientsSometimes my sister makes a more savory version by adding a couple teaspoons of chopped fresh rosemary instead of the sugar.  This is also very good!

  • 1 Tablespoon vegetable or canola oil
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup popcorn kernels

Directions

Pour oil, sugar, and salt into a cheap stainless steel mixing bowl.  *Note: we use a separate mixing bowl from our others because, as you can see from the picture, cooking this way can cause charring on the bottom of the bowl, and I don’t want that to happen to my nice ones.  I think we got this bowl for under $3 at the grocery store.  You could also try a thrift store for a cheap one.

Pour popcorn kernels on top of these items. 

Cover bowl with foil, and place over high heat.  Shake vigorously until popping slows (I always us oven mitts or a dish towel to protect my hands from the heat). 

Remove from heat and transfer to a new bowl…there will be a lot of hot steam, so be careful. 

Enjoy!

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