Sunday, October 27, 2013

Superb Sunday

It's another Sunday and that's superb!!

Superb Light Bite: Crab, Dill and Dijon Quiche

I made this for a potluck at my neighbor's house a few weeks ago and it was hit.  Do yourself (and your friends) a favor and splurge on the good, lump crab meat.  You can tell it's real because it's spelled with the letter C.  I didn't top mine with avocado because I don't know how to make a list, so I forgot it.  It was still good.  

Quiche




Superb Advice: The Voice

Shel Silverstein knows what he's talking about.  You should always listen to your inner voice; it's usually right. 






If you've never had Mexican chocolate or hot chocolate, change this.  Right now.  I'll wait...

Oh hey, you're back!  And you discovered that there is chili powder in the chocolate and it's freaking amazing, in a kind of indescribable way.  I think it's because it seems balanced to me, with the spicy and sweet.  Whatever it is, I'm totally making these. 

Mexican Hot Chocolate Cupcakes




Superb Silly: Mean Girls Harry Potter

It's my two favorite things.  Amazing. 






Buffalo chicken, pizza, French bread?  Yep....amazing.  Also, I love this blog.

30-Minute Buffalo Chicken French Breads I howsweeteats.com





Superb Immaturity: Valentine's Day Cake Fail

I think it's pretty well documented that my sense of humor is on par with the average 10 year old boy. Couple that with my intense dislike of Valentine's Day as a concept, you should understand why I think this is the best cake ever made. 

Holy Shit I Love You

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Baklava

Well this is kind of an old story, but a while back I made some baklava.  See, my delightful neighbors took care of Milton for me while I was away one weekend, so I told them that I would make them treats as a thank you.  And then I'm pretty sure this happened next:

Delightful Neighbor: hmmm, what should I ask her to make? Oh, I know, I'll do some Googling.  The Googles know everything. 

Google!  What are some really difficult desserts to make? 
Google: Thank you for asking, delightful neighbor!  Have you considered baklava?
Delightful Neighbor: No, but that is a great idea.  Thanks Google, you're the best :) 


So I made baklava.  Here's the thing: it's not as scary as it seems.  Yes, phyllo dough is kind of a pain, and there are about a billion steps, but it's not really difficult.   Just time consuming and labor intensive.  Needless to say, this is not something I will be making on a regular basis.  However, as a special treat, it's totally worth the effort.



How to Make Baklava - The Kitchn

So, for once in my life, I actually followed all the directions as written.  I figured that for something as notoriously difficult, this was a good idea. 

8 ounces walnuts
8 ounces plus 1/4 cup shelled pistachios (I used salted and it was AMAZING.  It cut some of the sweetness)
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 sticks unsalted butter
1 package frozen phyllo sheets, thawed
For the syrup:
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup water
3/4 cup honey

Pre-heat the oven to 350.  While that's heating up, prepare the filling.  Just put the nuts, cinnamon, and sugar into the food processor and pulse a few times.  You don't want to make powder, so err on the side of caution. 





Melt the butter in a sauce pan over low heat.  Turn the heat off when it's almost melted and allow the remainder to melt off the direct heat. 

Now comes the labor intensive part.  Set up a work station with the unwrapped, covered phyllo dough (I used a very lightly damp kitchen towel), butter, filling, and pan.  You want to be able to move quickly, so set it up however makes the most sense to you. 

Now, all you have to do is spread a little butter on the bottom of the pan and layer the phyllo. Alternate butter/phyllo for 7 layers.  It's EXTREMELY helpful to have a pastry brush here.  

Now, sprinkle half the nuts on the phyllo.  Then just repeat with seven more layers of the dough and the rest of the nuts. 

Top with seven more layers of dough.  If for some reason you're adverse to the number seven, I'm not here to judge, just switch to a number that makes you more comfortable. 

Before you put it in the oven, pre-cut it.  It's very flaky and sticky when it comes out of the oven, so you want to make sure it's pre-cut before you put it in there.  That way it won't tear as much when you take it out.



Bake at 350 for about 45 minutes, rotating the pan half way through, so that it browns evenly. 

While it's cooling, make the syrup.  Now, as you may know, I'm not a huge sweets person (my office thinks this is great, they get all kinds of treats because I have a baking addiction and no sweet tooth), so next time I think I'd use less syrup.  However, this was still freaking amazing, so I might not.  

To make the syrup, put the honey, water, and sugar into a sauce pan and bring to a boil.  Once boiling, allow to boil for 10 minutes.  During this time, run your knife through the baklava again, just to make sure it's well cut.  

Pour the syrup over the baklava; make sure you get syrup on all the pieces, it's KEY.  Serve and watch people pass out from the excitement.  Or go into a sugar coma.  Either way.  

What's the most complicated thing you've ever made? 

Monday, October 21, 2013

Root Vegetable Chili

So I have this problem.  It's a good problem to have and it most definitely falls into what my mother calls "white girl problems" (also, Mom, there's a whole website about these http://whitewhine.com/ and it's amazing).  See, I have too many farm fresh vegetables.  I know, I know, a little bit of a ridiculous problem. Luckily, I'm a problem solver, so instead of submitting my own issues to White Whines, I set out to do something about it.  I made chili.

I understand that many people probably don't consider this chili, as it has no meat.  But I'm a pretend vegetarian, so it makes sense to me.  I've made delicious vegetarian chilis in the past with many more beans, once with lentils, and I've been looking at some other versions with everything from quinoa to chocolate.  This was entirely my own creation though.  I figured I had a ton of veggies that needed to be eaten and I'm not crazy about vegetable soup, so I made chili.  As with many things that I make, basically you chop up a bunch of stuff, put it into a crock pot, and then eat in about 7 hours.






Root Vegetable Chili:

2 Medium Potatoes
1 Small Butternut Squash
4 Carrots
1 Parsnip
5 Small Sweet Potatoes
1 28 ounce can of crushed tomatoes
1 15 ounce can of black beans
1 Heaping Teaspoon cumin
1 Teaspoon chili powder (less if you don't love spicy)
1 Tablespoon Soy Sauce
2 Tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar
Salt and Pepper

First, peel and chop all of your vegetables.  This is the only part about this recipe that can be considered actual work.  Try to get them all around the same size, so that they cook at the same rate.  Don't obsess though, this is chili, not spinal surgery.



When you've chopped them all, toss them into the crock pot.  Then add the tomatoes.  Fill the can about halfway up with water after you pour the tomatoes into the pot, it needs a bit more liquid.  Then, rinse the beans and add them.



Next, add your spices, cumin, chili powder, salt, and pepper.



Finally, add the vinegar and soy sauce. 



Now, and this is EXTREMELY important, plug the crock pot in before turning it on.  You see, I had this great idea.  I was going to have the chili cook while my friends and I took the dogs to Blue Hills to burn off some energy.  Then, after a few hours of pretending to be outdoors women, we'd come home to a hearty bowl of chili that had been cooking while we were gone.  Except genius here plugged in the blender instead of the crock pot.  So we went to Dogwood instead.  Don't be like me.





Top with a little bit of sour cream or greek yogurt and some cheese.  Feel free to add whatever other things you usually put on chili as well.  This is a much more soupy chili than what many people make, so it probably won't be a great topping for potatoes, but it's still darn good. 



In other news, my favorite season is here.  Although I'm not obsessed with the Pumpkin Spice Lattes like many are, I do love the leaves and the ability to wear leggings in public as an actual outfit.

Funny Seasonal Ecard: If you say “Pumpkin Spice Latte” 3 times in front of a mirror a white girl in yoga pants will appear and tell you her favorite things about Fall.




What is your favorite season?  

Do you have a favorite chili recipe?