In honor of Josh’s birthday on Monday, I made pies. Little tiny pies. Our family is having a birthday lunch for him today and I asked him if he wanted a cake, cupcakes or miniature pies and he went for the miniature pies. Because let’s face it–everything is cuter when it’s tiny.
Now, I have to give credit for this to bake-tastic blogger Bakerella, whose Easy as Pie post gave me the idea and made me think, “Hey I could do that.” Normally, the thought “Hey I can do that” combined with actual baking is a dangerous, dangerous thing that just leaves my kitchen covered in flour and me swearing that I will never bake again and stick to what I do best, which is…well, as yet undiscovered, but will most likely be something covered in barbecue sauce. Continue reading
So this post is a shout out to Jill, of U-M’s Family Medicine Dept., who very sweetly gave me a book on cookies. No, no, the book on cookies. Better Homes and Gardens’ Ultimate Cookie book to be precise. 500 cookie recipes. Five. Hundred. Cookie. Recipes. Right now at this very moment, Cookie Monster himself is attempting to break down my front door. (“Cookies are a sometimes food” my butt).
So as a thank-you to Jill, I decided to (have Josh) pick a good looking recipe out of the book and make it, so that Josh could bring it in and Jill et. al could enjoy the deliciousness of the gift. And because thank-you notes are better dipped in chocolate and banana. Continue reading
So this lemon walks into a bar.
Bartender looks him over, thinks about it, says,
“You know, I like you. You got a lot of a peel.”
What do you call a benefit concert for sick lemons?
The local bar was so sure that its bartender was the strongest man around that they offered a standing $1000 bet: The bartender would squeeze a lemon until all the juice ran into a glass, and hand the lemon to a patron. Anyone who could squeeze one more drop of juice out would win the money. Many people had tried over time (professional wrestlers, longshoremen, etc.), but nobody could do it. One day this scrawny little man came in, wearing thick glasses and a polyester suit, and said in a tiny, squeaky voice, “I’d like to try the bet.” After the laughter had died down, the bartender agreed, grabbed a lemon, and squeezed away. Then he handed the dried, wrinkled remains of the rind to the little man. But the crowd’s laughter turned to total silence as the man clenched his fist around the lemon and SIX drops fell into the glass. As the crowd cheered, the bartender paid the $1000, and asked the little man, “What do you do for a living? Are you a lumberjack, a weight lifter, or what?” The man replied, “I work for the IRS.”
Little chocolate breads. How can you not love everything about that fragmented sentence? I mean, really.
I found this recipe on Epicurious and, loving all things French and chocolate as I do, decided I had to make them for myself. They’re very quick to make, very easy and super customizable. Josh liked them, and now wants a batch made with jam. I personally think they’d be better with a bit of cinnamon sprinkled on top as well. I can see us easily making these on a regular basis for when you just want a little something to pick you up. Continue reading
These were pretty quick to make and fabulously easy, which I appreciate. They were also very light and fluffy and soft, partially because I only had about half the granulated sugar I needed for the recipe, so I substituted powdered sugar for the other half (1 3/4 c. packed powdered sugar per 1 cup of granulated sugar needed). If you want a crispier cookie, use just the granulated sugar that the recipe calls for.
These cookies are like lemony clouds of deliciousness, if deliciousness were a cloud….wait, that doesn’t make any sense. Not that it’s ever stopped me before. Continue reading
I gained a new superpower in the last…oh, two hours or so. I mastered ice once. Now, I have mastered fire. Well, dry heat. The oven. Specifically bananas in the oven.
I know what you’re thinking. Okay, I don’t know what you’re thinking, but if I were you, I would be thinking, “Who the hell puts bananas in an oven? What kind of deranged Pop-n-Fresh monkey business is this?”
I’ll tell you: roasted banana bars.
I got the recipe from Cooking Light (that means it’s healthy! Okay, maybe not healthy. Light. Lighter. Light enough to not feel guilty) and immediately I added it to my Evernote, which is where I store all my recipes (I’ll write more on that another time), because Josh loves anything and everything banana. And this one is indeed bananariffic. That’s not really a word. But we’ll pretend it is. Continue reading
…in my freezer.
Seriously, there’s a whole comic book in the works and everything.
Tonight, it was a particularly useful skill–I mean, superpower–because it was 84F today and while I really wanted to fry some strawberry pies or bake a cheesecake, I just didn’t want to heat up the apartment and thereby waste the hard effort the air conditioner was putting out in order to keep Josh from melting into a puddle of human goo. Clearly what we needed tonight was a nice, cool dessert, a good compliment to the (grilled) dinner of barbecue pork sandwiches and (store-bought and therefore no cooking necessary) chips and raw (i like crunchy) carrots. So I fell back on one of my favorite healthy cold desserts: frozen bananas dipped in chocolate.
Wait a minute! You want to yell out in a classically drawn speech bubble with italicized, bolded AND uppercased letters. How healthy can a banana be dredged in chocolate?
Well, duh–it’s dark chocolate.
And coconut. And walnuts. So that’s like, calcium and healthy fat and antioxidants all right there.
Moving on (at the speed of melting chocolate, another of my superpowers), this dessert is one of the easiest ever to make, and less rich than say, my strawberry tiramisu and less formal than the semifreddo (mmmm semifreddo).
This recipe serves 6; I cut it down to just make one banana each for me and Josh, but I’m putting the full recipe (adapted from a Whole Foods recipe) below:
Chocolate Dipped “This Day is” Bananas!
Serves 6 Continue reading
I’m just going to come out and say it.
I’m not a baker. I am a cook. I love to cook things. I do not like to bake things. I do, however, love baked things. And sadly, sometimes the only way to get quality baked things is to bake them yourself. So I do. But deep down I rebel against it and would rather be grilling a pizza.
There’s another thing I’m not. And that’s an artist. My mother, sister and cousin and grandmother are excellent artists. I did not get that gene. I got every artistic gene but that one. So why I thought I could pull this off, I have no idea.
I blame Josh. For insisting that some day I’m going to be one of those moms who make little artistic culinary renditions for her kids’ birthday parties. And I blame Bakerella, for making me want to be one of those moms. And I blame the Ann Arbor library, for carrying the book Hello Cupcake!, which I inadvertently came across last week and which briefly convinced me that I, too, could create irresistible, playful creations. Damn you, cupcake book. Damn you. Continue reading
I just wanted to post pictures of cookies.
Similar to the ones here, only with dark brown sugar, half cake flour/half regular flour, 1.5 tbsp sugar, 1/2 cup flaked coconut, 1 cup oatmeal and 10oz milk chocolate chips. The cinnamon is a must; it adds such a great undertone to the oatmeal and chocolate.
For dinner tonight, Josh and I decided we would go where no man has gone befo–no, wait, scratch that, we decided to go to Arbor Brewing Company in downtown Ann Arbor, where many a man has been before. But not me. I’ve heard good things about it, but it’s not usually on my radar of places to go. I thought today would be a good time to check it out.
Having skipped lunch, we were having an early dinner (4:30ish) so we beat the Saturday evening crowd and since it was a lovely 81 degrees Fahrenheit, we decided to eat outside (“we” being “me” and “Josh grudgingly agreeing because he knows how much I love hot weather and how little of it I get in Michigan and besides, there was a breeze and thanks to the bevy of tall buildings on E Washington, we’d be in the shade anyway”). The weather was lovely, the sidewalk seating was great, the staff was excellent and the menu was modest but delicious, which works out well for me because sometimes too many choices is a terrible thing. Like the cereal aisle of a grocery store. How can I possibly make up my mind? More on that another time. Continue reading
So…I like semifreddo. I like the word “semifreddo.” It’s Italian for basically, “semi frozen.” There’s many varieties of this dish but what originally got me hooked on it was a cookies and cream semifreddo from Tyler Florence, which I made Josh for Valentine’s Day.
So tonight I felt like making a variation on that one, with oreo cookies and chocolate whipped cream. It’s a first iteration–it needs some work, so I’ll be trying it again and again and adjusting the recipe as I go along.
Josh is a fan of blueberries. A picky, picky fan of blueberries who will only eat fresh ones in season, never in pancakes, and who makes delicious blueberry muffins. Last summer we picked our own blueberries on a farm in West Michigan, near where Josh grew up. Because of that, we now have stacks of frozen bags of blueberries in our fridge. Stacks and stacks.
Flash forward to this summer. I know the cycle will continue. So I’m determined to use up some of those blueberry stores before Josh gets a hankering to go pick some more. That, coupled with a request for more baked goods for his office, divided by my desire to procrastinate from doing the video work I should be doing and multiplied by the inspiration of a cupcake book I picked up from the library today equaled one thing: blueberry crumble bars.
I like tiramisu. I like the idea of it even more. I don’t make the traditional version at home because I don’t keep coffee in the apartment (for anything, ever) and Josh doesn’t like the taste of coffee anyway. Also, it’s a bit indulgent and we wouldn’t want to eat a whole tiramisu ourselves. One summer I really wanted a lighter, fresher version of the dessert though and luckily, a few weeks later Giada de Laurentiis did a raspberry version on her show and then I found a recipe for a low-cal tiramisu in Everyday Food. . I thought, I could do something with this, with a bit of inspiration from FoodTV. I picked strawberries because they are one of my top three favorite foods (the other two being chocolate and barbecue), not to mention healthy and delicious.
And thus, the recipe below:
1 8oz package lite cream cheese
8oz heavy whipping cream
1/3 c. sugar
1 small jar sugar-free strawberry jam
1 c. fresh strawberries, cut
few pinches of powdered sugar
1 small baked angel food cake
Mix the cream cheese, whipping cream, and sugar until soft peaks form. Layer a little on the bottom of a large dessert pan or bowl. Cut the angel food cake into flat slices and layer on top of cream. Spread more cream on top of the cake slices, and then spread strawberry jam. Layer with more cake, and then cream and jam until almost all the cream is gone. Top the final layer with the cream mix, then top with fresh strawberries. Sprinkle with powdered sugar. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour and a half.
So some of my chocolate chips may have melted a bit in the mixing process but whatever, they still tasted good.
Recipe follows: Continue reading
You will need:
1 quart fresh whole strawberries, washed and sliced
4 1-inch slices poundcake
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tsp vanilla
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
2-3 tablespoons vanilla sugar (or just regular sugar) Continue reading
Poundcake topped with macerated strawberries and homemade whipped cream!
I told Josh that I would make him cookies tonight and I did—I made cookies based on my chocolate chip granola bar recipe. They have everything the bars do–oatmeal, chocolate chips, cinnamon, coconut and walnuts (okay, not everything; there’s no honey or oil).
I got this recipe on Bakespace from user idreamofdessert, who got it from the Barefoot Contessa Ina Garten. I added a bit of color to mine with some fresh raspberries. The cupcakes were dense but flavorful and sweet.