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Showing posts from August, 2012

curry mushroom samosas

Today, I was in the mood for some appetizers. I was just at home, trying to perfect the art of doing nothing before school rolls around. At lunchtime, as I stared into my everyday, refrigerated quinoa salad... something inside of me was yearning for some deep-fried-one-bite-fancy-little-finger-foods. Behold the samosa. 


 Samosa is a stuffed pastry that is popular in Southern Asia. It is a fried, triangular pastry with a savory filling; such as potatoes, onions, curry, lentils, or ground meat. Today, I filled my samosas with diced mushrooms and onions sprinkled in curry powder. Mushrooms are the perfect filling for vegetarian samosas if you don't want to sacrifice the meaty taste.

I fried up six of these for lunch -- just for me. Since the recipe makes a lot, I folded all of the other samosas, put them on a plate in the fridge, and fried them up for dinner. If possible, these really must be eaten right out of the fryer. These would be perfect for a dinner party, or any occasion wh…

cinnamon crumble banana bread

I believe some people are born banana bread lovers, and others aren't. For better or worse, I was born in the former category. I asked my dad to "taste test" a bit of banana and tell me which one he liked better. He has the ability to simply take a bite out of each slice, and put it back on the plate. When it comes to banana bread, I do not have the ability to simply "take a bite". After he left, I finished both of his slices. In the past few hours, I have devoured almost half of each loaf. I'm telling you, its not me -- its the banana bread.


I also made Orangette's dark chocolate ginger banana bread -- which I devoured quite quickly due to its unique flavor combination. However, of the two banana breads, this one was the winner. I might be a bit biased due to my slightly insane love of cinnamon, but either way, this loaf disappeared the fastest.

It's a bit like a cross between a banana bread and a coffee cake. With a crisp, cinnamon crumble toppin…

banana bread with dark chocolate and ginger

I know the combination sounds weird, but that's why I love this banana bread.
You take the first bite, expecting to taste sweet walnuts, or milky chocolate. Instead, you bite into sharp, spicy, crystallized ginger, mellowed by the sweet bananas and bittersweet chocolate. It is an amazing sensation.
As banana breads go, this is a nice, dense loaf with a fine crumb -- and (dare I say), it would be delicious even without the filling. {but please add the ginger and chocolate! You will not regret it!}

I told myself I would wait for the bananas in the kitchen to get all brown and splotchy before making this banana bread (the uglier the bananas, the better the bread). But those bananas must have have been eternally yellow -- I couldn't stand to wait any longer! Here is a trick for all of you impatient ones like me who want splotchy-banana-banana-bread without splotchy bananas.

Peel the bananas and put them in a microwave safe bowlMicrowave for 2-3 minutesTake out of the microwave and…

everyday vita: back to school

1) For breakfast, I have been loving blueberry coconut chia pudding. The combination of blueberries and fresh ginger is so refreshing. I think I will be making this when school starts up again, because its easy to prepare the night before. In the morning all I have to do is shake the tupperware and eat.  I would do a blog post on it, but I cannot possibly make it look as pretty as Cara does. Check out her recipe here.


2) I can be indecisive sometimes. Especially when it comes to dessert. I really wanted to make Orangette's Dark Chocolate Ginger Banana Bread. Then I realized she also has a recipe for Cinnamon Sugar Banana Bread (you know cinnamon is my weakness). Instead of killing brain cells trying to choose one -- I decided to make both, in little mini loaf pans. They are in the oven as I type, and I will be doing a post on both of them (and I will tell you which one I like better).

3) School is starting up again in about a week. I have been slowly getting my things together …

olive oil french toast

As much as I love smoothies, muesli, cereal and toast, Sunday mornings are the perfect time to really enjoy a hot breakfast.  One of my favorite warm breakfast treats is french toast. For some reason, it always reminds me of vacation (which is a much needed reminder now that school is about to start!). It’s a bit fancy, special, and quicker than pancakes.

As I was reading Orangette's book A Homemade Life, her dad's french toast recipe stuck out to me. It's just regular french toast: eggs, milk, a dash of vanilla. But it's cooked in a generous glug of oil -- not butter. Call me crazy, but this is the one time that I believe that oil works better. It doesn't burn in the pan like butter does -- and lightly fries the bread to a crispy, golden-brown crust. *no soggy french toast here!

In addition to the technique, I believe that really good French toast starts with really good bread. I made mine with a day old loaf of my Sweet Hawaiian Bread, which added a subtle, swee…

sweet hawaiian bread

This is an extremely easy recipe for sweet, Hawaiian bread. It is quite similar to the King’s Hawaiian Sweet Bread rolls at the grocery store. This bread is extremely easy to make in the bread machine. Nothing beats homemade bread -- and the bread machine makes it so easy. This bread is sweet, sunny, and fruity, just like the Hawaiian Islands. It also makes amazing french toast!
Ingredients
3/4 cup juice (I always use Nantucket Nectar's Orange Mango, but any mango, pineapple or orange juice will work) 1 egg  2 tablespoons vegetable oil  2 1/2 tablespoons honey   3/4 teaspoon salt  3 cups bread flour  2 tablespoons dry milk  2 teaspoons fast rising yeast or 2 teaspoons quick-rising yeast
Place ingredients in bread machine in order directed by manufacturer.  Cycle: white, sweet, no timer.  Setting: light.

brown butter peach shortbread bars

This morning at the farmer's market, my dad bought $50 dollars worth of peaches.
$50 dollars worth of peaches. 
These were not "designer" or expensive peaches -- about $3 a pound... you can do the math.
I was going to make another crunchy and custardy tart, because the last one was so good. But I decided to be adventurous and make these peach shortbread bars instead.

These bars are elevated to the next level with the addition of brown butter. I am obsessed with the stuff.  With that deep, nutty, salty aroma calling my name; I may or may not have eaten some with a spoon...

(Erica, did you really just admit to eating butter with a spoon? Yes.)


I got the ingenious idea of freezing the brown butter from Deb of Smitten Kitchen. It may seem like extra work (butter is butter right? WRONG), but you can really taste the sweet, nutty flavor in the crust and crumb topping.

Simple, buttery bars with the flavors of perfect summer peaches and nutty brown butter -- what more could you …

lemon blueberry sunshine cake

This cake was sitting pretty in the freezer for about a week, and I finally decided to cut myself a piece. OH MY GOD. It was like eating sunshine in the form of a cake. I am now obsessed with the lemon-blueberry combination. These bright flavors are the perfect way to celebrate as the summer season comes to a close.

This is a supremely moist cake due to the sour cream. It has a sweet, puckery lemon flavor and is bursting with bright, juicy blueberries. I iced it with my favorite, simple buttercream, but it would also be delicious with some luscious cream cheese frosting.
This cake freezes beautifully -- as a matter of fact, I enjoy my cakes best after they have been in the freezer for a day or two (or even a week!).
With love,

Erica

Ingredients

For the cake:

2 cups plus 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups fresh blueberries
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup whole milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon pure lemon extract
1 teaspoon lemon zest

cream scones

I had half a carton of heavy cream in the fridge. Although I was tempted just to pour it over cereal, I decided to bake it into something. I'm glad I did, I'd choose these scones over cereal any day.


These scones are all over the internet -- and I can see why. They are moist, tender, and a cinch to make.


For the longest time, I did not like scones. I thought they were quite boring compared to fluffy muffins and buttery pastries. Coffee shop scones often resemble heavy, dry hockey pucks. These scones are different. And although they are simple, there is nothing borning about them.

Because this recipe uses heavy cream instead of butter, there is no need to whip out the food processor, or crumble butter with your fingers. With a quick stir of a fork, the scones are nearly done. They go into the oven looking like sad, little bricks, yet emerge as lofty scones with a sweet, golden crust.

Hot from the oven, these scones melt in your mouth. I left mine plain, simply brushing them w…

dorie's crunchy and custardy peach tart

Lately, the farmer's market has been overflowing with ripe peaches. My mom and I picked up around a dozen on Sunday. My dad was returning from Newport, and picked up another full bag on his way home. Since we had so many peaches rolling around the kitchen counter, I decided to make one of the many peachy recipes that I had saved. I cannot tell you how glad I am that I did.


All of the elements and textures of this tart come together so harmoniously.
Fruity sweetness from fresh peaches.
Satiny richness from the custard
Crunchy flavor from the streusel. 



The streusel topping really gives this tart an extra layer of nutty, buttery, crunchy goodness. The custard filling bathes the peaches in a voluptous, sweet, creamy mixture. And what really makes this tart so stellar are the fresh, aromatic summer peaches.

My mom especially loved this tart, proclaiming that it was the best dessert I have baked yet (even better than my morning buns!). Please, do yourself a favor and whip this up while w…

raisin bran muffins

I am a bit obsessed with breakfast -- and you guys are used to me whipping up dishes like cinnamon cloudcakes swimming in pools of melted butter, and french toast casserole oozing with blueberry syrup.

But let's talk muffins. I pinned this recipe a few months ago, and it got overlooked in lieu of more exciting dishe such as nutella swirl cookies filled with coconut mascarpone. However, I was getting tired with my daily bowl of Quaker Oats, and this was just the thing. 
 These aren't your streusel-topped, butter-laden, monster muffins (a.k.a breakfast cupcakes). These are just simple, wholesome, and delicious muffins. They allow me to start my day on a good, energized note.

I love to eat one of these on a weekday morning alongside a big cup of milky coffee, or with a little pot of strawberry yogurt. Another way I love to enjoy these is crumbled on top of one of my "smoothie bowls" instead of granola.

What is your favorite make-ahead weekday breakfast?


With love,
Eric…

avocado salmon toast

Sometimes, the best lunches are the simple ones that happen on a slice of bread. Today, I am going to share a recipe that's less of a recipe and more of a guide to one of my favorite lunches.  This is a summery take on one of my all time breakfast favorites: lox and cream cheese on a bagel. The avocado melts into the toast like some sort of magical green butter. Top that off with some thin, salty slices of lox and some briny capers, and you have one of the simplest delicacies of life.

With love,
Erica

Ingredients
slices of your favorite breadavocadoloxcapersfreshly ground peppermixed greensolive oil Toast your favorite bread until nice and warm. Spread the avocado (I usually do about 1/4 avocado per person) onto the bread. Top with thin slices of lox. Sprinkle with capers and freshly ground pepper. Toss greens and about a tablespoon of olive oil and serve on the side.

DIY: organize your recipes

Whenever I thumb through the latest issue of Living, or Bon Appetit, I say to myself in my head:
"Ohhhhh I'll make that, and this, oh, and that, and YUM that too, and that would go perfectly with mom's broiled salmon..."
But in reality, I end up going on Pinterest and printing out most of the recipes I make.
This was largely because whenever I tore out a recipe from a magazine, or snagged a take-out menu from a restaurant, it would end up in a big, expandable folder -- never to be seen again.
Yesterday, I took on the task of organizing my daunting pile of recipe clippings, and it turned out to be fun. No, really. I used some of the techniques that I learned at an Art Journaling Workshop about a month ago.
Think more "arts-and-crafts" rather than "organization."

You need:
A large notebook (I used a graphing notebook leftover from my trigonometry class this year)A pile of magazine clippings or scans of cookbookssome magazines or odds-and-ends to dec…