22 April 2010

Hello Kitty and homemade sushi

Hello Kitty bowl and matching chopsticks

My friend, Gregie, who currently resides in Japan, sent me a gift a while back. Except he wouldn't tell me what it was exactly. So when it came I opened the box to find a Hello Kitty bowl and matching chopsticks!

Hello Kitty bowl and matching chopsticks

He asked that upon receiving the gift, I'd feature it on my blog with sushi. Um. This all went down a few months ago. I'm sorry. I obviously was purposely procrastinating not because I thought sushi was out of my skill level, but because I don't really like the stuff. Maybe I'm not white enough (seriously, I'm part Hispanic), maybe I had issues with the texture. Whatever the reason, I remembered the last time I tried some and almost choked to death. No lie, true story.

Because of this, I have not used the bowl and cute little chopsticks at all up until now. I felt guilty. And so, finally, I decided to make the sushi so I could use the gift and quit being rude.

homemade sushi

After finding a really simple guide to homemade sushi through a search on Photograzing, I was on my way.

I assembled the required ingredients of sticky rice (which I cooked in the microwave, one of the simplest ways to prepare it outside -- literally, of a rice cooker) which was seasoned (I should have stopped there), nori, the seaweed sheet, my fillings of choice which consisted of carrot ribbons, slivered green onions, and a fake crab filling (I wasn't afraid of using fish, but since I didn't think I'd like the sushi at all I wasn't going to go out of my way to find sushi grade fish, and I knew everyone would be fine with that) flavored with wasabi horseradish, ginger powder, and fresh garlic.

homemade sushi

The wooden-not-sure-if-it's-actual-bamboo mat was lined with a sheet of plastic wrap, then topped with a sheet of nori. The rice was patted out, leaving about a 1-inch border at the top, using moistened fingers to keep the rice was sticking. I'm not sure how much rice I used per sheet, but I cooked 2 cups of rice and the entire batch made four rolls.

homemade sushi

The only difficult part, and it's not all that difficult, is making sure the first roll is rolled over the filling, if that makes any sense. The bamboo mat and the plastic wrap is what you use to aid in making that first roll really compact, which will hold the filling in place as you slice and serve it. Really make it tight.
After this, I lifted the mat off and kind of peeled the plastic wrap off that got stuck in the center a bit, then I proceeded with the rolling of the sushi. Press tightly when you get to the end, and use the ends of the plastic wrap to hold the roll in place. Refrigerate it while you prepare the next roll.

homemade sushi
homemade sushi

I ended up with four rolls of sushi. You're supposed to slice these with a really sharp knife, which apparently I don't have, but I had excellent results using a serrated knife.

homemade sushi

I was very, very happy with the results, and it looks so pretty, especially in my Hello Kitty bowl! But. Sushi just isn't for me. I'm not counting out sashimi, but sushi, I don't know, I cannot eat it. At least the traditional version. Maybe a dessert sushi, or a sushi with a thin egg omelette wrapper instead of nori.

Hello Cat eats sushi!

In fact, this slice of sushi was the only slice I was able to eat. I definitely liked it better dipped in soy sauce, which kind of masked whatever I didn't like about it. Until I ate it.

So I had a lot of fun making it, at least! And now I can go around telling people I made sushi and listen to their praise, which will make up for not being able to eat it.

General instructions for making sushi -- The rice seasoning liquid was incredible. I think I'd prepare the rice like this again, but serve it with a stir fry.

Microwave sticky rice recipe -- Don't have a steamer or rice cooker? No worries. You can easily make sticky rice in the microwave!

I suggest going to an Asian market/store to find the ingredients needed, like the nori sheets, rice wine vinegar, etc., because it will be cheaper than buying it from the ethnic section of the grocery store. Obviously, go to the grocery store if that's the only place available.

Thanks again, Gregie!

homemade sushi


20 April 2010

I'm awarded with Honest Scrap

It's a funny sounding award, really. Anyway, Mica from MicaPie gave me this award the other day, and upon receiving it I'm supposed to reveal ten honest things. But don't except any personal revelations here, I'm just sticking to surface-level facts that I haven't spoken about due to being out of context.

  1. I'm not addicted to coffee. Truth. I may be able to down more than 5 cups in a day, but the truth of the matter is that I simply enjoy the taste. The interesting part is that I'm able to go from 50 cups to zero the next day without suffering caffeine withdrawal headaches, which is why I can say I'm not addicted because I never feel like I NEED it so much as want it.

    Currently, I'm cutting back to 1-4 cups daily because it's affecting my hydration when I run.

  2. I'm really lazy. When I do something, I don't take shortcuts or procrastinate too much, but personally I'm quite lazy. Knitting projects? Forget it. I'll put them off until right before the earth will explode in 2012, when I'll be in a corner knitting furiously to finish a hat or something.

  3. As healthy as I typically am, lately all I want to eat is cookies and ramen noodles.

  4. I like to watch TMZ, and I think Lara Spencer is stupid.

  5. Often, I feel that people make their daily minuteness more important than it truly is.

  6. I feel that I compete and compare myself with people too often, but I'm too lazy to actually do anything about it. This actually might be an instance where my laziness is good, because it keeps me from going into hyper-psycho mode.

  7. I get mad when cars drive past me when I run.

  8. Google Reader is really cool, but it's also the devil. There are times I won't even open it because I know that I haven't checked up on your blogs in a while. This isn't because I think you're waiting for me to comment, but I really do like to read your blogs and comment and I kind of feel bad when I don't.

  9. I don't think I've truly been "in shape" before, and I feel that I need to do this now before it's too late. Or I succumb to ramen and cookies.

  10. I actually think I can be a pretty good runner if I ever get myself to run consistently for more than a year.

Now I'm get to pass this treasure along to someone else, but I honestly don't feel like it. So, if you want to take part, I'm giving away three free award spots! That's lame, I know. Basically, if you want to do this just take the picture and blog away.


19 April 2010

Blog Award

Last week, Lazaro Cooks! won their first blog award, the Sunshine Award. Congrats on your first blogger award! If you haven't read their blog yet, go do so. They have really delicious, flavorful recipes that are perfect if you've gotten in a food rut and need new ideas.

The requirement for receiving the award is to choose 12 blogs you enjoy reading to pass it along to, and they chose She Runs, She Eats as one of them. Thanks! And sorry for taking a while to blog about it.

So now, these aren't the only blogs I enjoy reading, but the ones I currently take great inspiration from, be it food or running.

1. Teenage Glutster -- Dude's got a lot of talent and reading his reviews is the next best thing to being at the restaurant yourself, though you shouldn't read his blog unless you have a snack with you.

2. Sugar Plum -- She's just flat-out inspiring. From her many recipe creations, the food contests she enters and wins, and her dedication to her blog, she's by far one of the best food bloggers out there.

3. MicaPie -- Mica is hilarious. And she's a runner with a great sense about the sport, and I love it.

4. The Sweets Life -- Natalie always blogs about such delicious recipes!

5. Obsessed With Baking -- But it's a good obsession! Steph is a very talented, young food blogger and her talent is incredible.

6. Bo's Bowl -- Bo's blog is another one I turn to when I need fresh ideas in the kitchen. Flavorful, different recipes that are Bon Appetit level.

7. Ambitious Delicious(ness) -- I love Esther's blog! The many Asian recipes she blogs about always make my mouth water, and I love her unique spin on recipes in general. Beautiful pictures!

8. How To Eat A Cupcake -- Who wouldn't love a blog about cupcakes? I do. She also blogs about so much more than cupcakes, and her skill is very apparent. I also love her cupcake polls where she lets us decide the next cupcake she makes. It's almost like I actually get to eat the cupcake!

9. Healthy Exposures -- I cannot decide whether it's Jess' photography or the quality of her food that I like the most about this blog, but her blog is definitely one you should check out.

10. Chew On This -- Laurel has a really fun blog, and right now I see all sorts of things I'd like to eat, like carrot cake. And candied orange peel.

11. Knitter in the Kitchen -- Besides cooking and running, I also enjoy to knit. Caitlyn's blog combines her creations from the needles and the kitchen into one blog, and I really like it! The food she blogs about is equally as fantastic as what she knits. All-around talent, right here.

12. Tri to Cook -- An triathlete, runner, and cook makes for an interesting blog!


chocolate chip and pecan scones

chocolate chip and pecan scones

Scones always make breakfast seem a bit more special. Essentially, it's not entirely different than eating a fancy muffin for breakfast, but I think scones are more fun to make, and I like the texture.

I liked this particular recipe because it had chocolate chips, and last night I decided that breakfast needs chocolate and so that's what I had to have. Also, these scones seemed a bit lighter, as there are only 6 tablespoons of butter for the entire recipe, and my batch made 12 drop scones. They also use buttermilk, which I think imparts a better flavor than using cream.

chocolate chip and pecan scones

With chocolate, pecans (which I added at the last minutes -- next time I'd toast them first), and a bit of lemon (that helped to brighten the scone more than give it a burst of lemony flavor), the taste was really delicious. The scone itself was moist and soft. Not as flaky as other scones, but that was okay. These weren't heavy at all, and for a breakfast scone I prefer that over one that sits like a rock in the pit of your stomach. Unfortunately, these scones, even stale, would not work to keep in your purse or backpack to throw at anyone attacking you, or taking your shopping cart, or getting to the back of the line before you, but sometimes you have to sacrifice taste for weaponry. If you left the chocolate out, though, you could take one on a run to throw at a dog who starts chasing you.

I only made one small change to the original recipe by using the whole egg instead of just the yolk, purely out of laziness. The extra liquid wasn't a big concern since I was going to scoop these out instead of patting the dough to make shapes. I might just decrease a few tablespoons of the buttermilk if I wanted to shape them, though.

chocolate chip and pecan scones

The recipe can be found at my new favorite blog, The Food Librarian.

Chocolate Chip Drop Scones


16 April 2010

pasta with a pureed pea and cauliflower sauce

pasta with a pureed pea and cauliflower sauce

I'm not sure what this dish started off as being, but it ended up as a pasta recipe. Actually, I had intended to make pasta all along, though it was the sauce that I came up with as I went.

Tomato sauces get a bit old after a time, and I wanted something a bit richer than a simple olive oil-garlic sauce with add ins. I've really been enjoying recipes with the addition of pureed vegetables and I figured I'd turn that into a sauce.

Admittingly, I wasn't altogether sure of what I was doing, and the thought of split pea soup atop pasta didn't really sound very appetizing. Really, doe that sound appetizing? Anyway. I also added some cauliflower that wasn't really enough to use on its own, and I seasoned the sauce with thyme, paprika, and white pepper. The white pepper flavor ended up being my favorite part because it contrasted the pea taste quite nicely. So I ended up using a higher amount of it than I would normally, so the taste was the prominent flavor, but not overpowering. Adjust to suit your own taste, though.

pasta with a pureed pea and cauliflower sauce

Confession: I haven't really felt like blogging much. I don't really feel like composing the picture to photograph, to then edit to blog about. Maybe it's a lack of enthusiasm for the recipe, or maybe I just want to eat without thinking too much about it. Maybe I'm going through a moon cycle. So, this wasn't even going to make it to the blog until I decided right after I dished it out to take a picture. The recipe wasn't written down as I went, but I think I'm gotten it all down from memory.

Does anyone else go through phases with their blogging? Whenever this happens I try and at least get 2-3 posts up a week just to maintain a rhythm.

Recipe after the jump

Print this recipe

pasta with a pureed pea and cauliflower sauce
recipe by Christina Provo

ingredients ~

1 large onion, sliced
3 large garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 head cauliflower, broken into florets
1 16 ounce pack of frozen peas
1 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2-1 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 teaspoon paprika
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 1/2 cup chicken or vegetable broth, plus additional
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
16 ounces pasta
Mozzarella cheese

directions ~
  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil with 2 teaspoons coarse salt.
    in a large skillet heat olive oil over medium heat. Once shimmering, add onions and garlic and saute for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add cauliflower florets and stir to coat, followed by frozen peas (break up any chunks before adding). Stir in thyme, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, paprika and salt; saute for 4 minutes. Pour chicken broth over contents of skillet. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to maintain a steady simmer. Cover and cook for 10-15 minutes, or until cauliflower can be pierced easily.

  2. One cooked, puree pea mixture in batches in a blender. You will probably need to use more broth. Once mixture is all pureed, return to skillet and keep at a low simmer. Taste for seasoning, adjusting accordingly. Whisk in sour cream and parsley.

  3. When water in pot has reached a boil, cook pasta for two minutes less than stated cooking time. Stir in 1 cup pasta water into pea sauce, then add drained pasta to sauce and continue cooking until al dente. Serve with mozzarella cheese.


14 April 2010

coffee bars with espresso shortbread crust

coffee bars with espresso shortbread crust

Before I explain this picture, I'd like to thank everyone for their comments on the race report post. I really looked forward to sharing it with you guys, and I hope it was a bit informative to read, as well.


I had what I thought was an epiphany during Easter when I made lemon bars with my brother. Why not make... COFFEE BARS? I figured I'd just decrease the sugar and sub cooled coffee in place of the lemon juice. Instead of making the crust normally, I'd add espresso powder. In theory, this was a brilliant idea.

coffee bars with espresso shortbread crust

As the crust baked, I whisked up the mixture of coffee, sugar, eggs, flour, a bit of cocoa powder and espresso powder for enhancement, and salt. All the ingredients required for a great time.

Unfortunately... There's like an eggy layer that separated during the baking process, clearly visible. It's like an eggy layer of flan with a smooth pudding layer underneath. Taste wise, it wasn't that bad, but I found myself wishing I had more espresso shortbread. I had one during lunch today, and maybe it was because I forgot to cover it overnight, but it solidified into an edible mass of a rubber texture. Ew. Perhaps the temperature, which was at 375°, should have been lowered after the crust finished partly baking so the custard had a lower, even temperature. Thoughts?


I don't think I'll be posting the actual recipe here because I wasn't very pleased with the outcome, but I will leave the shortbread recipe since it was delicious.

Recipe after the jump

coffee bars with espresso shortbread crust

espresso shortbread
From an Allrecipes.com recipe for lemon bars

ingredients ~

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

directions ~
  1. Preheat oven to 375°. Grease a 10-inch square baking pan, then line with a sheet of wax paper or parchment, leaving an overhand on two sides. Grease paper and set aside.

  2. Whisk together flour, sugar, espresso powder, and salt. Using a wooden spoon (channel your inner Luddite, folks), mix in the butter until curds start to form. It'll look almost like pie crust after you add the liquid, so it shouldn't be completely powder and it'll stick together when pressed. If you mix it until it comes together in a ball, it'll be a bit more tricky to press in the pan.

  3. Dump mixture in baking pan and press, spreading to the edges, in an even thickness. You can score the top with a fork, if you'd like. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a light golden brown. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes. Use paper overhang to remove to a cooling rack, and cut into preferred sizes.


11 April 2010

Holy Half Marathon, Batman!

This was my first race that took place on a Sunday, and it was definitely a strange experience because I was bouncing off the walls on Saturday, waiting to race. Oddly enough, I went to bed early, though I also woke up too early and never really was able to go back to bed. You can tell how I felt about that from this picture.


For breakfast, I settled on the breakfast of champions: Yams. It works for Usain Bolt, so it'll work for me. Since I'm a Texan, my yams originated from the state you don't mess with. I paired this with a waffle with syrup and butter, plus an orange FRS energy drink that tastes like orange juice mixed with crushed vitamins. I actually drank the FRS an hour or two after the yams and waffles, which I really drank with a few cups of coffee.


Once awake and at Notre Dame, the weather was a little chillier than I expected, but it warmed up at the start of the race. A bit windy and overcast, and I really was glad it wasn't sunny.

I arrived about an hour and a half before the start of the race, so we waited around in the LaFortune center on the campus of Notre Dame, where I represented the orthodontist responsible for my smile, and who I hope will acknowledge this endorsement.


Meanwhile, I snacked on:


Chocolate covered espresso beans, a chocolate chiperoo cookie, a Gu that actually went into my pocket for the race, and water.

To end it right now, my time was 1:51:19, which was much better than I had been expecting due to the way I had been running lately. I'm very happy about this time, especially since it means I met my goal!

To continue on, here's a rundown of my splits, which are off because I missed quite a few of the markers. More on this later.

First, these guys are nuts.


A posse of Waldos! And this is why we have multi-colored duct tape, right here.


1-3 miles: 24:55 - The race started and there's no visible starting line, so I wasn't sure when to start the watch. 9 minutes passed and I didn't locate a marker. 18 minutes came and by then, again missing the marker, I went back to what I've been working on in my running, which was memorizing how I feel during different paces. I started off quickly, but not too fast. When I spotted the 3 mile mark and saw the split, I knew I was right on target based on a recent 3 miler time.

Somewhere on the course were these fools:


4-5: 16.53 - Just under an 8:30 pace. I felt pretty good. I didn't get any water around mile 2-3, so I grabbed some around here.


6-7: 17.19 - A bit of a slow down. I took a Gu around what I thought was mile 6, but unfortunately had to wait 1.5 miles before I got to the next water station.

8: 8.35 - Wow, a visible marker! And a water station! I remember feeling fine up to this point, though I started to become fatigued just a little.

9: 7.51 - I don't believe this split. A lady came up behind me around where the third mile mark should have been, and said, "10 miles to go!" I looked back to see who said it, and maybe I had my trademark look on, I'm not sure, because she apologized. Then I said, "Actually, around mile one I said to myself, '12 to go!'"

We started talking and kept pace with each other for a few miles, and we agreed that mile 9 must have been short.

Of note: Two Waldos passed me. One Waldo was hot.


10-11: 18.20 - We missed mile 10. Obviously I slowed down unintentionally, either it because we were talking to each other, I started getting tired, or because this was the trail section of the race (just a regular compact sand-gravel trail). Or all of the above.


At this point, Phyllis, whom I had the pleasure of running with for a few miles, sped up and I wasn't able to match her pace. If you're reading this, congrats on your finish!

12: 9.29 - I was definitely beginning to feel tired. To top it off, there was a bit of a long, low hill. I felt like I slowed down, but I didn't feel trashed so I probably could have kicked the pace.

13.1: 7.25 - Just after the hill and starting to feel tired. I focused on my form and breathing, which I had been focusing on throughout the entire race as I felt it was the key to not crapping out. I did start to run faster. I've been running the last mile of all my runs much faster than overall pace to work how I'd feel during a race, and it paid off. I sprinted at the end and passed three runners playing "red rover".

Total: 1:51:19.

The primary reason I signed up for this race was as an award of sorts for running through the winter. And not just running, but putting in really great, consistent mileage for me. The price was also cheap. I had been running more 10 milers than I ever had before, along with an increase in 8 milers. I wasn't paying attention to speed at all, just kept an even pace. It was winter and running in the snow is not fun, especially when you try any sort of speed workout.

The streaking in February greatly helped not just because I ran the most miles ever, but the consistency and being able to recover by the next day to run again. It worked for my body, and greatly helped my running. I began to notice that I was running a quicker pace, too.

In March, I took quite a few unintentional breaks due to a cold, then my running just deteriorated. I was beginning to be anxious about this, so I decided to stop worrying and use the rest to my advantage. I added a few fast 3 milers, a tempo run, and if I was feeling a faster pace, I went with it.

What made this race different from all others (which I've never felt anything about) is the ability to keep my pace based on effort. I guess I trusted my ability more and that was a really cool feeling.

P.S. This was a very disorganized race. I said screw it to the awards ceremony and headed over to Chipotle. After snagging />10 breadsticks and two Rockstar energy drinks. And an orange, which I never ate because I didn't have the energy to peel. There were no bananas, I'd like to add.

P.S.S. I feel it's important to mention that I raced faster wearing arm warmers, sort of like why swimmers wear body suits. Go buy some. A volunteer told me to "run like a leopard in the jungle hunting down prey!" His name was Rick something. My parents asked him if "he took requests" and it turns out that's how he knew my name, not because he has insanely good eyesight and could read the name off my bib as I ran by.

10 April 2010

it's all in your mind

I'm so used to racing on Saturdays, not Sundays, and I think that's why I woke up early today. In my daze I stared at my watch wondering what I was supposed to do, then I realized I was a day early!

So this post will be about my half marathon tomorrow. My running has been a bit wacky the past two weeks so I wasn't sure if the trend would continue through the weekend, though my run yesterday was really nice and if it's any indication I should be all set. I'm thinking I just lost steam and needed more than a few down days to fully recover, I don't really know, but I seem more energized as of late. I've also been getting psyched up and it's a rather cool feeling, as I generally try to maintain an even temperament for races. I wonder if this has a negative effect in the sense that come race time, I don't really think of it as any different than a regular run (and I still do maintain an element of that, which helps with nerves, i.e., "I've run this before, I can go the distance...").

Anyway. I've decided that my pre-race (today) meal will consist of waffles, and I'll freeze a few waffles for tomorrow to eat for breakfast a couple hours before the race. I also have an FRS energy drink. Readers will know from the past that my game day meal consist of whatever plus an energy drink, even a few cups of coffee thrown in. The energy drink is because I get a blast of energy as well as extra calories. The problem is that the bottles are so large and carbonated that I end up feeling fuller than I want. I switched to FRS because it's smaller and not carbonated, and the orange flavor is practically like drinking a tricked out glass of orange juice, but not because I don't normally drink OJ for breakfast.

My goal for this half is to sub 2, or I'll retire.

Just kidding.

But I feel my goal time is relative to what I'm capable of right now, not just a benchmark I've set for this particular distance. The weather looks to be good, a tad on the warm side at 50 degrees at the start, but sunny and lovely. The course has two loops around the Notre Dame campus, each measuring out to 6.5 plus I'm sure the extra (dreaded) .1 is thrown in at the end. We go around the stadium that's as old as Rockne and has the stadium seats to prove it. We go around the campus lake that apparently has killer swans. (Might make for a tasty mid-race snack!) I think this might be the funnest race I've ever run, but that remains to be seen. The course should be pretty flat since it's on campus and there aren't many hills.

Let's see... I'm rambling, but I had something else I wanted to say that I can't remember. I still need to get my running clothes and stuff ready for tomorrow. Packet pickup is the same day as the race so I have nothing to show you guys until probably Monday, when I'll recap the day before and the day of the race.

And with that I think I'm done for now. Wish me luck!


09 April 2010

chocolate chiperoos

chocolate chiperoos

Everyone has a recipe that's been in their family for ages, be it an actual family recipe or one that's been given to you by a friend. This recipe for chocolate chip cookies is from a friend of my mom's, and had been by go-to chocolate chip cookie recipe before I wanted to branch out and find which version I liked the best. My search is far from over, and I'll always be curious enough to try out different versions and techniques, but going back to basics (with a few new tricks I've discovered) has shown me that sometimes the best is what you've always had.

chocolate chiperoos

What's different about these cookies from all others? For one, the use of all brown sugar instead of part granulated sugar, which lends a chewier texture and more flavors of caramel. Secondly, two spices are present, cinnamon and ginger, which lends a depth to the caramel without totally dominating. Thirdly, you roll the cookie balls in confectioners' sugar before baking. This really adds more flavor than you'd think. The original recipe also states to let the dough chill for at least an hour, and though it's probably more because it prevents the cookies from spreading out too much, it's funny considering the current trend of letting the dough rest to develop the flavors.

My changes were relatively minor, and I feel they help improve an already delicious cookie instead of differing the heart of the recipe. For half the flour I used bread flour, I replace half the butter with shortening (gasp all you want, cry in terror, it's just that I never could get these cookies not to overly spread until I used half shortening, though feel free to use all butter), added one teaspoon of instant espresso powder and increased the salt by a quarter teaspoons. Also, I sprinkled a bit of kosher salt on top of the cookie balls, too.

chocolate chiperoos

These cookies are every bit, and more, as delicious a chocolate chip cookie as any other. Their simplicity is what really shines through, and the texture just can't be beat. The spices really make the cookies, though the confectioners' coating the lingers in spots on the baked cookies makes for a delicious bite.

Try them out and see what you think for yourself!

Recipe after the jump

Print this recipe

chocolate chiperoos
Recipe adapted from a family friend

Makes about 48 small cookies

ingredients ~

1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups dark brown sugar, packed
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup bread flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ginger
3/4 teaspoon coarse salt
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup confectioners' sugar, and more if needed
additional coarse salt

directions ~
  1. Preheat oven to 350°. In a medium bowl, whisk together flours with baking soda, spices, and salt.

  2. In a large bowl, beat the shortening and butter with the brown sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3-5 minutes. Add the egg and beat to mix, followed by the vanilla and espresso. Slowly add flour mixture to butter mixture just until combined, then stir in the chocolate chips until blended. Transfer dough to a container and chill for at least two hours.

  3. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the confectioners' sugar in a wide, shallow bowl or pie pan and place next to baking sheet. Portion out rounded tablespoons of cookie dough to fill sheet. Roll into balls, then roll until completely coated in sugar. Using the back of a spoon or your thumb, make a shallow indent on the top of the balls and sprinkle a few grains of coarse salt on top.

  4. Bake for 11 minutes, until tops are just set and edges are barely beginning to brown. Remove from oven and place on a cooling rack, cookies still on baking sheet, and let cool for 10 minutes before transferring cookies from the sheet to the rack to completely cool. Repeat process with remaining dough.


08 April 2010

Bodum Tea Press Giveaway Winner

Hey everyone! Thanks so much for entering the giveaway, and now I also have new teas to try.

The winner for the giveway is... cue killing suspense... cue drumroll... Sheila!
Sheila said...

I am a fan of the green tea with a lemon twist.
02 April, 2010 11:59


Congrats, Sheila! You'll now be able to host tea parties and throw clean cups at your guests whilst wearing insanely tall hats. Please email me at caudagaliATyahooDOTcom within 24 hours.

Thanks again for entering!


06 April 2010

apple doughnut muffins

Apple Doughnut Muffins

From what I can gather, doughnut muffins are supposed to be a much simpler way to get a doughnut, somewhat of a cross between an actual muffin and a cake doughnut. Even if it's nothing like a doughnut at all, it's still very tasty in its own way

Apple Doughnut Muffins

There are two methods to make doughnut muffins, one being creaming butter with sugar to create a really tender crumb, then there's the standard muffin method of dry ingredients mixed with wet ingredients. When I found this recipe online, which originated from Joy of Cooking, I decided to use it a) because I was lazy and it used the wet-dry method, b) it had yogurt and I figured it would enhance the taste, plus the variation of the original method used confectioners' sugar as the topping and it made the muffins all the more tastier.

Apple Doughnut Muffins

Most recipes call for rolling the baked muffins in butter and shaking it in cinnamon-sugar, but that seemed unnecessarily messy so I used a pastry brush to coat the muffin tops, then dipped the tops in confectioners' sugar with some apple pie spice. Not only did I use less butter (I only melted 1/4 cup to begin with), but it made it easier to eat.

My other change was to replace the vanilla extract with lemon extract, add a bit of freshly grated nutmeg, and a grated Granny Smith apple. The apple seemed to break down and mix with the batter so it wasn't detectable at all, but the flavor was really great.

Apple Doughnut Muffins

Were these almost like the cousin of a cake doughnut? In a way, it was. The crumb, while light and melty, wasn't quite as spongy but tighter. The tenderness was incredible, and I enjoyed the flavor more with the few minor changes I made.

Recipe after jump

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apple doughnut muffins
Recipe modified by me, from here

Makes 12

ingredients ~

2 cups flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
Gratings of fresh nutmeg
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled and grated
2 large eggs
1 cup plain yogurt
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tsp lemon extract
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/3 cup confectioners' sugar
½ tsp apple pie spice, or cinnamon and nutmeg

directions ~
  1. Position oven rack in the middle position and preheat oven to 400-degrees F. Line a standard muffin pan with paper cups. (I just thoroughly greased the cups; I forgot to try the Cook's Illustrated method of only greasing the muffin cup bottoms.)

  2. Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together grated apple, eggs, yogurt, sugar, oil, and lemon extract. Add flour mixture and mix with light strokes until the dry ingredients are just moistened. Don't overmix; batters should not be smooth.

  3. Divide batter among the muffin cups and bake until a toothpick inserted in one or two of the muffins come out clean, 15-20 minutes.

  4. While the muffins are baking, melt the butter butter and place in a bowl just large enough to hold a muffin. Combine confectioners' sugar and apple pie spice in a small, shallow bowl. As soon as the muffing are done, brush the tops with butter and dip in sugar mixture. Set on a rack to cool.


03 April 2010

i'm makin' waffles!

I'm Makin' Waffles!

Move over, pancakes, and make room for waffles. I enjoy a nice stack of pancakes, but there's no denying my true love of the cratered, crispy waffle with moist and fluffy innards. I vary between recipes quite a bit, opting for a simple and quick buttermilk or regular milk version, sometimes whipping the egg whites separately from the yolks if I don't mind the noise and have time to spare.

I'm Makin' Waffles!
I'm Makin' Waffles!

My ultimate favorite kind of waffle, however, is a yeast waffle. In fact, what really separates a Belgian waffle from the normal version isn't so much the Belgian waffle maker as it is the addition of yeast to the batter. What you end up with is a waffle that retains its crispy outtards longer than most waffles with an incredible depth of flavor, a light sourdough essence. (And if you want a real experience, make some Liege waffles -- your world will never be the same.)

I'm Makin' Waffles!

Normally, when I think ahead of time (which is always easier to do in retrospect), I make an overnight yeast waffles from America's Test Kitchen. When I don't, and this is my usual waffle experience when I want waffles NOW, I either resort to the quick, standard version. However, if you're not hasty and can spare two hours, you can most definitely enjoy yeast waffles TODAY!

I'm Makin' Waffles!

I came across this particular recipe for yeast waffles through either Foodgawker or Tastespotting (yeah, that's some memory fail right there). After just one second of staring at all the pictures on her blog, there was no way I was walking away without the prospect of waffles in my immediate future.

I'm Makin' Waffles!

There are so many different waffle toppings to choose from, like a "fruit salsa with a lime glaze", "ants" in the form of raisins and chocolate chips (I will give you a shout out on this blog if you order "ants on waffles" the next time you're at a restaurant), peanut butter, cream cheese or sour cream, various flavored syrups, chicken and gravy. When I eat yeast waffles, though, I prefer to keep the toppings at a bare minimum to keep from overpowering the flavor. A few pats of butter, maybe some fruit, a light coating of syrup (enough to mostly fill the craters), and a sprinkling of powdered sugar for beauty.

So GO. Waffles. Go eat some waffles!

I'm Makin' Waffles!

(Recipe after jump)

Print this recipe

yeast waffles
Original recipe here. Below is my modified version.

ingredients ~

2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
1/4 cup sugar
2 cups milk, heated to 100-110
4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
grated rind of 1 lemon
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs
1/4 cup melted butter, cooled
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon extract

directions ~
  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the yeast and 1 tablespoon sugar with the milk. Set aside until bubbly, about 5-10 minutes.

  2. In a separate bowl, whisk the flour with the remaining sugar, cinnamon, lemon rind, and salt. In a small bowl, whisk the eggs with the butter and lemon extract until combined.

  3. Stir the egg mixture into the yeast, followed by the flour mixture, making sure to mix thoroughly. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let rise for two hours; the mixture will be thick, elastic and bubbly.

  4. Heat waffle iron. When ready, scoop batter into center of grid. Since this batter is thicker than that of normal waffles, it won't spread like you might expect. It will expand whilst cooking, so make sure to fill the grids about 3/4 full (experiment and find what works best). Cook according to waffle iron instructions. Serve with butter and syrup.


02 April 2010

dinner for breakfast ~ butternut squash mac & cheese

Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese for Dinner and Breakfast

Most people know of the concept of eating breakfast for dinner. Who doesn't love a stack of pancakes in the PM, or a plate of piping hot waffles with craters of maple syrup. Don't forget the eggs and bacon!

Well, I like to reverse that concept and eat dinner for breakfast. Think of a plate of enchiladas with a poached egg on top, or the new concept of breakfast pizza that Jamie Oliver would probably not approve of (except that this version has eggs on top). So when I made Butternut Squash Macaroni and Cheese for dinner one night, I knew I really made it so I could have leftovers for breakfast.

Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese for Dinner and Breakfast

This recipe features the traditional bechamel-type of white sauce with the addition of cheese whisked in. But what drew me in to this recipe in particular was the pureed butternut squash that is also in the sauce, giving it a unique taste that compliments the cheesiness. The squash, being the same orange hue as cheddar cheese, blends right in to create a creamy emulsion that's almost undetectable.

For breakfast, when I reheat pasta dishes I serve out my portion and sprinkle with some water. This helps separate the noodles, which tend to cling together once refrigerated. While this heats up, I simply poach an egg or two and plop it on top with extra salt, pepper, and finely chopped parsley.

That's all there is to it, and it makes a very tasty breakfast. Don't forget your coffee, or tea. Don't have a teapot? Head on over to the Bodum Tea Press Giveaway, why don't you, and don't forget your clean cup!

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