Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Easter!

Hope all those who celebrate it have a lovely Easter.

via (and for those who don't get the reference, it's a katamari)

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Thursday, March 28, 2013

Passover Biscotti

Another goodie transformed into a Passover treat. Coffee's perfect dunking companion, biscotti. You can really add in any sort of mix in to these (dried fruits, different types of nuts, citrus zest...), be creative!

Passover Biscotti
3/4 cup matzoh cake meal
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon light brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
2/3 cup sliced almonds, toasted
optional: extra chocolate for dipping and drizzling over the biscotti

Preheat oven to 325. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat.

Mix together cake meal, baking soda, cream of tartar and salt together in a small bowl and set aside.

Cream together butter and sugars in a large bowl until fluffy. Mix in eggs one at a time, fully incorporating after each addition. Add in cake meal mixture and stir until well combined. Fold in chocolate chips and almonds.

Shape dough into a flat, rectangular loaf measuring approximately 12 x 4 inches. Bake for 25 minutes, rotating pan halfway through.

Remove from oven and let cool for about 5 minutes, or until comfortable to the touch without burning yourself. Using a long, sharp knife, cut  into pieces about 1/2 inch thick. Turn the cookies onto their sides (with a cut side up), and return to the oven for 5 minutes. Flip biscotti and then cook for a last 5 minutes. Let cool completely and drizzle with chocolate, if desired.

  Passover Biscotti

Passover Biscotti

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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Matzoh Trash Bars

Desserts can be super tricky at Passover. The inability to use flour (and so many other things) makes the whole thing complicated, and substitutions can create a sub-par result. There have definitely been some very good ones, but I am always looking for something new.

This is a based off of the White Trash Bars I made pretty recently. While I was making them I had the epiphany that it would work well with matzoh, so I had to give it a go!

Matzoh Trash Bars
1/2 box of matzoh
1/2 teaspoon salt (if your matzoh is unsalted)
1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1 1/3 cup toffee bits (check the ingredients to be sure they meet your Passover standards, since everyone keeps it a little differently)
1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350. Grease an 8x8 pan.

Crush matzoh into very small pieces (I put mine in a plastic bag and went over them a few time with a rolling pin) . Stir together with toffee bits, salt (if needed), and condensed milk until thoroughly combined. Pour into prepared pan and press into an even layer.

Bake for about 20 minutes, until golden brown.

Remove from oven and let sit for a couple of minutes, then sprinkle chocolate over the top and let sit until melty, then spread into an even layer over the bars. Let cool completely before cutting into them.

Matzoh Trash Bars

  Matzoh Trash Bars


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Monday, March 25, 2013

Chag Semeach

Sundown tonight begins the week-long holiday of Passover. This means lots of food and family, and an overall celebratory feeling. For the next week there are lots of dietary restrictions, but there are also lots of special yummy things that are enjoyed at this time of year.

One of my favorite parts of the Seder (the dinner which begins the holiday, where we read the story of Passover), is when we say 'dayenu' or 'it would have been enough.' This section focuses on how many miracles occurred, and how if just one had happened, it would have been enough. I love this focus on being content with what happens, and overjoy of so many wonderful things happening. It's a really uplifting message.

Seder Plate

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Friday, March 22, 2013

Choosing the Right Seat

Alex Cornell recently created an amazing chart of different table scenarios and where your best seat might be in each instance. There truly is a lot of strategy involved when trying to sit at a dinner party; study up!

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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Coffee & Cream Cookies

I pretty much enjoy anything that tastes of coffee, so these cookies are basically a slam dunk for me. They're incredibly delicious and hard to stop eating.

Coffee & Cream Cookies (from here, with a couple tiny changes)
1 1/2 cups old fashioned oats
1 cup + 2 tablespoons flour
2 Tbs. ground coffee (not instant)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 egg + 1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup white chocolate chips

In a bowl, whisk together the oats, flour, coffee, baking soda and salt, set aside.

Mix together sugars and melted, cooled butter until well combined. Add in eggs and vanilla and stir until combined. Pour in the flour mixture and stir until well incorporated. Fold in white chocolate chips.

Refrigerate dough for at least an hour before baking.

Preheat oven to 325

Scoop dough and roll into balls (I did mine with a couple tablespoons of dough in each for larger cookies.

Bake for about 10-13 minutes.

Coffee and Cream Cookies

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Monday, March 18, 2013

Maple Sugaring Tour

Yesterday Greg and I headed up to Topsfield to go on a maple sugaring tour, yesterday was the last day of the sugaring season around here so it was then or waiting until next year. Though parts of the tour seemed to be kind of geared towards the kiddos in the group, we still had fun and learned a lot about the maple syrup process, and it was a lovely day to walk in the woods (with hats and gloves).

Sugar Maple
our tour guide in front of a sugar maple tree

Sap Bucket
a bucket for collecting the sap

Collecting Sap
a bucket full of sap

Sugar House
heading into the sugar house where the sap gets turned into syrup

Syrup
the syrup maker showing us the nearly finished product, it was so steamy in the sugar house from all the sap being boiled down into syrup, and it smelled amazing in there from the wood fire and the maple

DSC_0016
bottles of syrup in the shack, and samples of the different grades

Syrup Shot
we ended the tour with a syrup toast

Maple Sap Hot Dog
then we headed into the barn to warm up by the fire for a bit and had hot dogs that had been cooked in maple sap
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Thursday, March 14, 2013

Happy Pi Day!

Happy Pi Day (March 14 = 3.14) everyone! Will you be celebrating by making a delicious pie? Or perhaps with some math?


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Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Coffee Cake

Cake for breakfast is an awesome thing, especially if it's a more...socially acceptable type of breakfast cake. Which coffee cake is! This one comes together so quickly (perfect for a weekend morning) and has the most delicious crunchy streusel topping, and a moist, tender crumb. It's amazing with coffee (of course), or just on its own.

This recipe makes two cakes (perfect if you need to take someone a baked good, or with a bit of math, you can 1/2 the recipe).

Coffee Cake (from America's Test Kitchen Feed)

topping:
⅓ cup packed light brown sugar
⅓ cup  granulated sugar
⅓ cup all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons  unsalted butter, softened
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 cup pecans or walnuts, chopped coarse (optional)

cake:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon salt
1¾ cups sour cream
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
7 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled

Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour two nine inch cake pans.

topping: 

Combine the topping ingredients together in a bowl, working the butter into the dry ingredients using your fingers until the mixture resembles wet sand. Stir in the nuts (if using) and set aside.

cake:
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the sour cream, sugars, cooled butter, and eggs until smooth. Pour the wet mixture into the bowl with the dry ingredients and fold gently until just combined. Divide batter into the prepared pans and evenly top with the streusel.

Bake for about 25-30 minutes (until an inserted toothpick shows just a few crumbs), rotating the pans halfway through.

Coffee Cake 

Coffee Cake

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Friday, March 8, 2013

Pantone Pairings

I am in love with Pantone Pairings, a site that features photos of food as pantone colors. Prints are coming soon, and I know I'll be ordering some for my kitchen, though it will be really hard to choose which ones, since they're all pretty amazing. See all the pairings here.







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Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Julia's Kitchen

I've been in Washington, D.C. for the past four days for a conference for work. While I was exceedingly busy and barely had time to sleep, let alone sightsee, I did (miraculously) find myself with a couple free hours on my last morning there. So I headed over to the Smithsonian Museum of American history to go visit something I've been wanting to see for many years: Julia Child's kitchen.

It was a really well done exhibit, filled with lots of things from Julia's life, and the kitchen itself had a clear wall (that once held pans) so you could look into the full kitchen, and there will little nooks so you could step a little further in to see more and feel like you were inside of Julia's kitchen. It was such an amazing experience for me. I really didn't want to leave. 

Smithsonian Museum of American History
Julia's Kitchen
Julia's books

Invisible pegboard
  Kitchen Tools

Ecole Des Trois Gourmandes

 Julia's Emmy

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Monday, March 4, 2013

Portraiture a la Renaissance Paintings

Bill Gekas, like any good dad who's a photographer, takes lot of pictures of his daughter. These portraits have a bit of a twist as their style is inspired by Renaissance paintings, and he really nails the palette, lighting, and overall emotion of the paintings in these photos. See all of the portraits here.

Bill Gekas Photography: The Gallery &emdash; Athena Ballerina

Bill Gekas Photography: The Gallery &emdash; The merchant's daughter

Bill Gekas Photography: The Gallery &emdash; The Letter

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