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Showing posts from June, 2012

coffee battenberg

Remember how much my family loved the mocha marble cake?This cake has the same, milky coffee flavor and is frosted with my famous coffee buttercream.
Battenberg is a traditional English sponge cake with a gorgeous checkered pattern on the inside. The cake was originally created to celebrate the marriage of Princess Victoria and Prince Louis of Battenberg -- the four cake panels panels symbolize the four princes of Battenberg. I thought this irresistibly festive cake would be the perfect way to celebrate the Queen's Diamond Jubilee across the pond.
Traditionally this cake is filled with jam or fruit preserves, and coated with marzipan; but since Nutella is awesome and my family is quite opposed to marzipan, I filled mine with Nutella and frosted it with my famous coffee buttercream. 
What's your favorite traditional British dessert?
With love,
Erica


Ingredients 3/4 cup butter
2/3 cup sugar
3 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 cups cake flour 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder 1/2 teaspoon salt
4 ts…

provencal tomatoes

I took a trip to the farmer's market this past weekend and picked up some gorgeous tomatoes.  Almost too pretty to eat.  These are nothing like the spongy, flavorless "tomatoes" that I find at the grocery store -- these are juicy and bursting with flavor. This means that they only need simple treatment to be turned into a fabulous, healthy meal.
These provencal tomatoes are perfect for a light and refreshing summer dinner. They are a great side, but also make a stellar meal when served with some crusty bread to soak up all the juices. I took my beautiful, flavor-bursting tomatoes from the market, and filled them with aromatic provencal flavored breadcrumbs, garlic, and freshly grated Parmesan cheese.  What is your favorite summer vegetable? With love,  Erica Ingredients
4 tomatoessalt and pepper1 lemon1/3 cup fresh rosemary, thyme and basil2 cloves garlic (minced)1/2 cup breadcrumbs1/3 cup parmesan cheese (grated)Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Slice the tops off the toma…

crispy cinnamon toast crunch french toast {sunday brunch}

What's better than cinnamon swirl toast? cinnamon swirl french toast. This recipe was inspired by one of the many wonderful people I have met through this blog, Chloe from Every Craving. She is another teenage food blogger, and she takes beautiful photographs and has tons of unique, fun and delicious recipes on her blog such as Honey Nut Cheerio French Toast -- which gave me the crazy idea to coat my french toast in Cinnamon Toast Crunch! 
I used the leftover half of my (already decadent) cinnamon swirl brioche, followed (my idol) Alton Brown's world famous french toast recipe, and coated each of these thick buttery slices of brioche in crunched up cinnamon toast crunch cereal. 
The result was something out of this world. The toast had a crunchy, sweet, caramelized cinnamon crust, and a custard-y, eggy, soft interior. Cinnamon Toast Crunch Perfection in every bite. Nonetheless, this will definitely be one of my new go-to brunch recipes. What's your favorite breakfast cereal?…

salmon guacamole greens salad

Here is a recipe for my Guacamole Greens Salad -- its super tasty, and has all the flavors I love in guacamole! I use salmon as my protein source, because I've never really been a chicken person, but feel free to use any type of meat you prefer. 

Ingredients
1 avocado3 tomatoes (or a bunch of baby tomatoes)2 salmon patties (or protein of your choice)1/2 red onion (diced)handful tortilla chips (crunched)lime cilantro vinaigrette
1/2 bunch cilantro (chopped)juice of 4 limes 2 tablespoons vinegar3/4 tablespoon brown sugar1 clove garlic (minced)1/2 cup olive oilsalt and pepper to taste Combine all of the salad ingredients in a large bowl.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients
Toss the salad
Enjoy!

chunky chocolate pecan salty oat cookie

Oatmeal cookies tend to get a bad rep. They always seem to be the last ones left on cookie platters (after chocolate chip, sugar, snickerdoodles etc.). But these are different. These are salty oat cookies. Even those of you who cringe at the thought of an oatmeal raisin cookie will fall in love with these salty-sweet bundles of buttery, oat-y goodness.

A true D.C. specialty, the salty-oat was made famous at one of my favorite D.C. restaurants, Teaism. They sell three varieties: salty oat, chocolate oat, and my personal favorite, chunky chocolate pecan.
Don't get me wrong, I love their variety (it is the original after all...), but nothing beats whipping these babies up at home. (Plus one cute little cellophane-wrapped pack of six will cost you $12!)

This isn't your run-of-the-mill oatmeal cookie coated in sea salt. These chubby little mounds are chewy, oat-y, and delicious. The sweet warm spices of oatmeal, buttery pecan pieces, and dark chocolate chunks are accented by the …

cinnamon toast

I have always loved Cinnamon Toast Crunch and never fail to "crave those crazy squares". However, I've always wondered what exactly that little baker named Chef Wendell was really baking up in his jolly little bakery. Well I found out for myself. I baked my own cinnamon toast.
I love any excuse to fill my house with the spicy, warm aroma of cinnamon sugar (cinnamon sugar croissants, quick cinnamon buns, churro cupcakes... you get the idea). Nonetheless, this bread was a surefire winner. Sweet, but not too sweet, with a soft melt-in-your mouth texture, and a golden crunchy, cinnamon sugar crust -- with beautiful, sweet cinnamon swirls running all throughout. Chef Wendell would be proud. It reminded me of one of my favorites from Panera Bread -- their famous cinnamon crunch bagel.
I used the brioche dough recipe from one of my all-time favorite books,  Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. What is so amazing about this recipe is that the dough is surprisingly easy to make, …

iced lemon poundcake {starbucks copycat}

I have a confession. I love Starbucks. Every time I walk past that iconic green sign, I can't help but wander in. Even more embarrassing, the baristas at my neighborhood Starbucks know me by name, and get my favorite drink (coffee frappuccino) ready when they see me on the sidewalk. I've probably had so many coffee frappuccinos in my life that I could rightfully be called a coffee frappuccino connoisseur...
Alas, every time I buy one of Starbucks' enticing baked goods, I can't help but feel guilty that I just paid 3 bucks for something I could have easily baked at home. That's when I had a revelation.


I don't need to deal with sassy baristas, a long line, and high prices to enjoy all of my favorite Starbucks treats. I am taking on the challenge to recreate all of my Starbucks favorites in my own kitchen (for a fraction of the price and a little bit of homemade magic) in a new series called Starbucks Copycat.

I am starting this series off with one of my all-t…

eggplant parmigiana

For all of you out there who think you hate eggplant, I dare you to give this dish a try. Even you so-called-eggplant-haters will fall in love with this delicious and comforting eggplant parmigiana. Crisp, thin slices of eggplant fried to golden brown perfection. Topped with hot, gooey mozzarella cheese and warm tomato sauce. If that's not enough to convert you eggplant-haters, this recipe is so versatile. It can be served over pasta, between bread, with a side salad, or as I served it here, with fresh garlic toast! The eggplant has such a hearty, meaty texture that even you meat-lovers out there will fall in love with this veggie dish. Are you team eggplant yet? With love, Erica Ingredients:
1 medium eggplant
1 cup all-purpose flour
3 eggs, beaten
2 cups panko bread crumbs
1 cup Parmesan cheese
1 lb. fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced into rounds
Olive oil, for frying
2 cups tomato sauce
Fresh thyme, rosemary and basil
Slice the eggplants into 1/4-inch thick slices
Mix the panko, thyme, rosem…

summertime supper

We are enjoying delicious June weather here. -- perfect for blissful early morning runs and lazy afternoons spent reading magazines outside. There is so much to do now that the weather is nice and school is out! My grade is taking a class trip to Six Flags this week, and I'm psyched to get my swimsuit and sunscreen out again for the first time this summer! Tonight, I fixed a simple dinner to honor the succulent summertime flavors that are just beginning.

My ratatouille tart is one of my go-to summer recipes, it is fresh, healthy, and showcases colorful summer vegetables beautifully.  Ratatouille a favorite at my house (check out my recipe for the best-ever ratatouille!) in the cold months of winter. In the summertime, instead of serving it in a big, warm casserole dish, I like to serve it in a lighter, prettier way -- arranged on thin, buttery, flaky sheet of puff pastry.

I served my tart alongside a tomato watermelon salad. This salad has a beautiful contrast of sweet, salty, and …

strawberry rhubarb pie

Happy Memorial Day! Memorial Day marks the kick-start of summer for many of us (although the official start of summer isn't for a while...). One of my favorite pies to make this time of year is strawberry-rhubarb pie. I love it's old-fashioned, summertime charm.

There is something so harmonious about this pie -- the sweet strawberries against the citrusy tart rhubarb, the refreshing, juicy filling contrasting against the flaky, golden crust; it has the perfect yin-yang relationship in each slice.
 Luckily, the farmer's market here in D.C. was overflowing with intensely red strawberries and fresh stalks of rhubarb -- all begging me to be baked into this pie. This would be the perfect end to a picnic, barbeque, or summer cookout -- with a big scoop of fresh vanilla ice cream of course!
So tell me, what is your favorite summertime dessert?
With love, Erica

strawberry rhubarb pie
ingredients
1 recipe double-crust pie dough of your choice
4 rhubarb, cut in in 1/2-inch thick slices
3 1…