Thursday, August 30, 2012

Potato Soup

In my previous post, I demonstrated how to make julienne potatoes. The problem with julienne potatoes is that they leave a lot of excess potato, and there's no sense letting it go to waste, right? Rather than toss it out, I put the excess potato to good use in a creamy, cheesy, potato soup. It was my first time making soup from scratch, and it's not an especially difficult recipe either, so follow along and you'll have yourself some delicious soup in no time.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Parmesan Julienne Potatoes

A Julienne cut is defined as being 1/8 inch x 1/8 inch x 2 inches. It's a very specific measurement, and only one of a staggering number of ways to cut a potato (or pretty much any vegetable for that matter). How to properly julienne a potato is one of the first things I learned at culinary school, but don't let that fool you into thinking it's easy. To julienne by hand is a pretty laborious process, but the resulting matchstick fries, as they are more commonly called, are crispy and delicious.

In this post, I'll walk you through how to properly julienne a potato, and in my next post, I'll be detailing a creamy potato soup that I made using the left over potato trimmings. So stay tuned!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Strawberry Hand Pies

The first time I attempted to make a pie, the results were a little mixed. As good as the berry pie tasted, the filling came out a bit runny and the crust was not at all flaky. But with company coming for dinner, I decided to give pie another shot, but with a twist this time. Rather than make one large pie, I opted for more conveniently sized strawberry hand pies, with a nutella cream dipping sauce on the side.

This time, things turned out very differently than my first pie attempt. These came out perfectly crispy and flaky, and the strawberry filling was sufficiently thick rather than runny. You can practically SEE how flaky they are just by looking at them! I won't lie to you, though, this perfect flakiness comes at a cost - this is not an easy recipe to prepare, with many steps to perform and long periods of waiting for things to freeze or chill. Of course, I'll walk you through it step by step as always, but just know that it isn't for the lazy or faint of heart. They are, however, well worth the effort, and I consider them one of my most resounding dessert success stories to date.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Brown Butter Cinnamon Breakfast Muffins

These days, my days start bright and early. Well, not really bright, since the sun is not out yet when I wake up at 4:15 am to start getting ready for school every day. My point is, I never have the time to sit and eat breakfast on weekdays, so I needed something I could make in advance and simply take with me. These muffins were just the ticket! They're very simple to make, and you really can't go wrong with the sweet, delicious combination of brown butter and cinnamon sugar.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Beef Milanese

Milanese style is one of my favorite ways to prepare meat. I've loved the turkey version of this breaded and fried entree for many years, but this time, I decided to give it a shot with beef instead. It's a relatively easy, if somewhat labor intensive, means to prepare meat, but it is well worth the effort. Serve with garlic fettuccine and a vegetable of your choice for a complete, and completely delicious dinner.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Chocolate Pavlova

And now for something completely different! That picturesque beauty you see above is a Pavlova, a dessert created in either New Zealand or Australia (there has been some debate as to the actual country of origin) in honor of the Russian ballet dancer, Anna Pavolva. It's a meringue-based cake with a crispy shell and a soft, airy interior, and I topped mine with homemade whipped cream, nectarine puree, strawberry, kiwi, and mini chocolate chips.

If you're going to attempt this recipe, you absolutely MUST have a stand mixer, otherwise whipping up meringue could take an exceedingly long time. It also turns out that I'm a bit on the clumsy side when it comes to separating egg whites from their yolk, and I wasted more than a few eggs in failed attempts here. What I'm saying is, make sure you've got some spare eggs available just in case.

As a side note, I've been having some computer issues lately, so I'm posting this from my tablet. There could be some formatting issues, so just bear with me while I get it all ironed out.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Chocolate Chip S’mores Brownies

S'mores Brownie

If the mention of s’mores doesn’t conjure up fond memories of campfires and roasted marshmallows, well, you’ve led a more sheltered life than most. But it’s never too late to create new memories, and let me tell you, you’ll never forget these s’mores brownies. They’re adapted from a fudge-like brownie recipe that’s been in my family for longer than I’ve been alive, and what better way to preserve their legacy than to share them with the world so that everyone can love them as much as I do? They’re quick, they’re moist, they’re easy, they’ll change your freakin’ life.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Baked Jalapeño Popper Chicken

Jalapeno Popper Chicken

Is there anything more delicious than meat which has been stuffed with more meat? Of course not, don't be silly. With that simple philosophy in mind, I set out to find a stuffed chicken recipe that would be sure to blow my mind. Well, I found one. Just imagine the makings of a jalapeno popper stuffed inside a chicken breast - jalapenos, cream cheese, cheddar, green onions, and ground sausage, all wrapped inside. It tastes just as great as it looks and sounds, so get ready for one spicy dinner!

On a side note, I’ve begun working a new job, and next week I’ll be starting classes at Le Cordon Bleu to earn my culinary arts diploma. As exciting as all of this is for me, it means I probably won’t have the time to update the blog quite as often anymore. But don’t despair, I’ll still be making updates as often as possible!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

The Burning Dinghy – A Spicy Baked Egg Boat

Spicy baked Egg Boat
The first time I made baked egg boats, it was for a family brunch and I hadn’t yet started this blog. They were a hit with the family, praised for the combination of a toasty bread shell with a soft, egg and cheese center. I kept it mild, however, as not everyone in my family is as much a fan of spicy foods as I am. This time, I had no such restrictions chose to do what I always do – made it spicy as hell. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the Burning Dinghy!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Mini Molten Lava Cakes

Lava Cake

Lava cake is one of those extraordinarily rich and decadent desserts that you often see on the menu of a fancy restaurant. The truth of the matter, however, is that there’s really nothing all that fancy about lava cake. It can be made quickly and easily, and with pretty basic ingredients. When done correctly, what you get is less like an actual cake and almost more like hot pudding that’s wearing a cakey hat. It’s creamy and delicious, and the perfect dessert to top off that impending food coma.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Nutella Chocolate Chip Cookies

Nutella Cookie

If you’ve never tried Nutella, that rich, sweet spread made of chocolate and hazelnuts, do yourself a favor and go buy some. There’s a reason Nutella is so popular these days – it’s delicious. Having never actually baked with it before, I decided it was time to jump on the Nutella train and whip something up. Cookies are often the least labor intensive choice when it comes to baking, so I went with a simple and tasty sounding Nutella chocolate chip cookie recipe. I’m pleased to report that they're every bit as good as they look, so check it out and bake up a batch of your own!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Mac & Cheese Pies

Mac and Cheese Pie

Macaroni and cheese is one of those old standbys that pretty much everyone with taste buds can love. I’ve had it so many different ways that when it was suggested to me that I make some as a side dish, I really had to dig to find something interesting to do with it. My digging yielded some tasty treasure in the form of baked mac & cheese pies – I’ve definitely never had mac & cheese like this before!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

100% Bacon Burger – The Bacon Lucy

Bacon Burger-Header

So last night I found myself craving a burger, but was disappointed to find that there was no ground meat in the house. I’d almost resigned myself to making something else when I discovered a nearly full package of bacon in the fridge. “I don’t have any ground meat” I thought, “but I could certainly do something crazy and grind up that bacon”. And what better way to say screw your diet than with a burger patty made entirely out of bacon?

The fact that I served this on my spicy cheddar beer bread instead of a normal bun made for a staggeringly rich and filling meal. I basically couldn't move at all for about half an hour afterward.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Spicy Vodka Sauce

Vodka Sauce

Pasta is something I eat pretty often, but mostly I’ve been content using store-bought sauces. This time, I decided to try to make one of my favorite kinds of sauce from scratch – Vodka Sauce. I was mostly inspired by the fact that I had a huge, mostly full bottle of vodka sitting in the fridge. I wanted to put some of it to a use that wouldn't actually be damaging to my liver, and I was quite pleased with the final result.

Spicy, flavorful, and creamy, vodka sauce goes great with almost any pasta dish, and it’s not even particularly difficult to prepare. I made mine with spaghetti rigati and Juicy Lucy meatballs, and boy was it good!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Egg in the Clouds – Cloudy with a Chance of Bacon


So here’s a method I’m willing to bet most of you have never used to prepare an egg. It’s called Egg in the Clouds, and that name carries more meaning than just referencing the obvious visual similarities between this and actual clouds. The fluffy meringue also has an incredibly airy texture – one might go so far as to call it cloud-like. Just be sure you have a nice, powerful, electric mixer to form the meringue, otherwise you’re going to have one sore arm when this is all over.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Crack Pie

Yes, this is called Crack Pie. You may be wondering why it’s called Crack Pie, but you won’t once you try it - it’s bad for you and you won’t want to stop once you start. It’s got a sweet, but slightly salty oatmeal cookie crust, and a rich, thick, sugary filling. Until today, pecan pie was my favorite kind of pie, but that honor now belongs to Crack Pie. That’s how much this thing rocked my world.
Oh, and as an added bonus, it’s not especially difficult to prepare.