Friday, March 30, 2012

Lemony Pasta with Asparagus

I do strange things. Like find something I really like and go through phases of eating that for like a lot of meals. Last night after a painfully long (and boring) day of classes, I made this pasta and what do you know I'm sitting here eating it now for lunch. At 3:15. I needed something nutritious after the spoonfuls of cake batter I shoveled down earlier today.

I'm blaming the cake batter shoveling on last night. Chuck's may have gotten the best of me...

In two weeks, yes two like April 12th I will no long have classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays. (Or Fridays, but I never did). What in the world am I going to do with myself. How is it already April? (basically) Time surely must slow down.

Lemony Pasta with Asparagus
adapted from: Food 52 

1 pound asparagus
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 pound spaghetti
2 tablespoons butter
Juice of 1 lemon
Grated parmesan
4 tablespoons ricotta
Crushed red pepper
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
Salt and pepper

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cut the asparagus into 1/2 inch pieces.
2. Heat the oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for about 1 minute. Add the asparagus and season with salt. Cook for about 6-8 minutes. Remove from the burner
3. Cook the spaghetti until al dente. Reserve 1/3 cup pasta water. Drain the remaining water. Add the spaghetti to the asparagus along with the butter. Add lemon juice and toss. If the spaghetti is dry, add some pasta water.
4. Season with salt and pepper. Liberally sprinkle with parmesan and dollop with ricotta. Lastly, sprinkle with parsley and red pepper flakes!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Lemon Doodles

So many things about this recipe called out for me to make them.

1. It's lemon. Anything lemon must be made because of me and cousin's love for lemons.
2. They remind me of these bad boys which cousin and I used to consume by the box.
3. I have this weird thing where I call everything a doodle, don't ask me why, I just do.

Getting back into the swing of things after a break is always a struggle but this week was a good one indeed:

The weather has made campus come so alive this past week, the quad is full to the brim and people are everywhere, music blaring from the frats and footballs being thrown everywhere you turn. It just calls out day drinking and summer activities making it oh so hard to concentrate.


 A big W for the Cuse Thursday night, hello elite eight. Thank goodness we were out and about with friends and a bit distracted to not realize how freaking close the end of the game was or it would have been heart attack central.

Of course, the weather turned grey and cold come weekend when we really could have enjoyed it, but oh well. These cookies made it seem like I was frolicking in a field on a summer day.

Lemon Doodles
source: Sweetpea's Kitchen 

For the Cookies:
2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons cream of tarter
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, softened
1 3/4 cup sugar, divided
2 eggs
Zest of 2 lemons

For the Lemon Frosting:
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
Zest of 1 lemon
3 tablespoons lemon juice

1. Preheat the oven to 350. Spray 2 baking sheets with non-stick spray.
2. In a large bowl, mix together flour, cream of tarter, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and 1 and 1/2 cups of sugar at medium speed until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides with a rubber spatula as needed. Add the eggs and lemon zest; beat on medium speed until combined. Add dry ingredients and beat at low speed just until combined.
4. Place the remaining 1/4 cup sugar in a bowl. Roll a heaping tablespoon of dough into a 1 1/2 inch ball, roll the ball in the sugar then place it on the baking sheet. Continue until you run out of dough.
4. Bake until center is just set and begins to crack, 10-12 minutes. Cool the cookies for 5 minutes on the baking sheet then transfer to a wire cooling rack. Cool to room temperature.
5. Prepare the frosting by beating the butter, powdered sugar, lemon juice and zest in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until light and fluffy. After cookies have cooled completely, frost with a butter knife.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Spring Break through my iPhone

Here comes picture overload:

It appears that I spent the majority of my break eating. Which sounds about right....

And here's a few snap shots from Boston:

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

A thank you Cookie

I feel like I have filled out application after application since Christmas. Non stop madness between school work and internship applications. Now that I've completed internships, it's on to scholarships. It never ends!

For one of my internships, I needed letters of recommendations and I knew exactly why I wanted to ask as I thought they would be best for the internship I was applying for. I was so grateful that they all said yes without hesitation. It means so much to me that they were willing to take time out of their busy lives to help me and write such well written letters about me. I think each one brought a tear to my mother's eye. To show my appreciation, I did what I knew would bring a smile to everyone's face: baked cookies. These are the cutest little cookie cups. Basically their chocolate chip cookies baked in mini muffin tin topped with frosting. What more could you ask for? I wanted to eat them all. Yet, I couldn't even have 1!

18 days until I can stuff my face with chocolate again. Not that I'm counting. Nor will I stuff my face. Well maybe after this long without it.

Frosted Cookie Cups
source: What Megan's Making

Cookie Cups:
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter flavored shortening
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon water
2 cups mini chocolate chips

1 stick butter, softened
3 cups powdered sugar
2-4 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 325. Spray 40-48 mini muffin tins with non stick spray and set aside.
2. In a bowl, mix together flour, baking soda and salt.
3. In the bowl of your stand mixer, cream together the sugars and shortening and vanilla until creamy. Beat in the eggs one at a time and then beat in the water.
4. Add the flour mixture, gradually, beating to combine.
5. Stir in chocolate chips and spoon dough into the mini muffin tins about 2/3 full.
6. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until the tops turn golden brown. Cool in tins for 10 minutes then remove to cooling rake to cool completely.
7. To make the frosting, cream together butter, sugar and vanilla. Add in milk a little at a time until the frosting has reached a desired consistency. Pipe (or spoon) frosting on top of cookie cups! Top with sprinkles if desired!

Monday, March 19, 2012

White Bean and Ham Soup with Corn Bread Croutons

Sunday Soup Day is back again. Despite the warm weather that would make most people run the opposite way. It's probably the last thing you're thinking of eating with the weather in the 70's but this soup was a winner, no matter the weather.

As I was typing up the recipe I realized I don't have our go-to corn bread recipe on the blog, which is a major problem as it is 1. delicious and 2. a specialty of cousin and me.

If you're using homemade corn bread, make it the day before you plan on having the soup so it's a little drier and easier to work with. You could always go with store bought if you're in a pinch, but homemade is definitely better.

I'll be sure to add corn bread to my list of items that need to be blogged!

White Bean and Ham Soup with Corn Bread Croutons
source: Williams-Sonoma

4 thick-cut bacon slices
1/2 pound cooked ham steak, cubed
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small yellow onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 celery stalks, diced
2 cups chicken broth
2 cans (15 oz, each) cannellini beans, drained
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

For the corn bread croutons:
1 day old batch of corn bread, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 tablespoon butter

1. In a large pot over medium-high heat add the bacon and cook until crispy. Transfer to a paper towel lined plate. Let the bacon cool, then crumble into bite size pieces. Set aside in a bowl.
2. Add the ham to the pot and cook, until browned about 4 minutes. Add the ham to the bacon bowl.
3. Add the olive oil, onion, garlic and celery to the pot and saute until the vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes. Add the brother and beans and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and light cool slightly.
4. Puree half the soup with an immersion blender or in a blender. Return the puree to the pot along with the bacon and ham. Stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper.
5. To make the corn bread croutons, in a frying pan over medium heat, melt the butter. Make sure it gets nice and hot but doesn't burn. Add the corn bread cubes and cook, turning once until golden brown on both sides.
6. Serve the soup, topped with croutons.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Sea Bass with Tomatoes, Olives and Capers

Friday's are deemed Fish Fry Fridays in our house. Most Fridays, especially during Lent we order fish frys from Clawson's and everyone is pleased as punch. No one has to cook and everyone, including B eats them happily.

We are on a health kick now a days per my father who is currently losing weight, quite successfully if I might add so last Friday was not FFF. We opted for a more healthy decision and oh my goodness it was so, so so, good. Father and I went to Lombardi's Friday afternoon and picked up fresh fettuccine and garlic bread to have with the sea bass, it was dynamite and super easy to make.

Sea Bass with Tomatoes, Olives and Capers
adapted from: CookSmart

4 teaspoons olive oil
Four 5-ounce sea bass fillets (or other white fish)
2 small onions, diced
1 cup dry white wine
2 cans diced tomatoes, with their juices
1 cup pitted and chopped calamata olives
4 tablespoons capers, drained
4 cups lightly packed baby spinach leaves
1 pound fettuccine
Salt and pepper, to taste

1. In a larger skillet heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the fish and cook until opaque in the center. Transfer the fish to a serving platter and tent with aluminum foil to keep warm.
2. Heat remaining olive oil in same skillet and add the onion and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.
3. Cook pasta according to package directions.
3. Add the wine and cook until reduced by half, about 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and simmer for about 5 minutes. Add the olives and capers and cook for 1 minute. Stir in spinach and cook until it is wilted, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
4. Spoon the sauce over the fish and pasta.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Roasted Vegetable and Ricotta Pizza

The thing I was most excited about break was 1. having nothing to do 2. trying recipes that have been bookmarked for forever. I've had an appointment of some sort every day this week, including today but yesterday I was appointment free so naturally I went to the mall. Again. I just so happened to find myself at the mall Tuesday after my car appointment. Hate when that happens.

Then I came home and made pizza dough. Yeast freaks me out a little. I was a bit nervous I was going to have to call my mom and say what's your thoughts on going out to dinner? But it was a success! We made pizza dough a few weeks ago when I was home but deemed it too sweet so I used a different recipe and I could have kept eating slice after slice if I wasn't so full.

Crusty Pizza Dough
source: Kitchen Aide

1 package active dry yeast
1 cup warm water (105-115 degrees)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 1/2 to 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon cornmeal

1. Dissolve yeast in warm water in warmed mixer bowl. Add salt, olive oil, and 2 1/2 cups of flour. Attach bowl and dough hook to mixer. Turn to speed 2 about 1 minute.
2. Continuing on speed 2, add remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time and mix until dough clings to hook and cleans side of bowl, about 2 minutes. Knead on speed 2 about 2 minutes longer.
3. Place dough in greased bowl, turn to grease top. Let rise in warm place, free from draft, about 1 hour or until doubled in bulk. Punch dough down.
4. Sprinkle pizza stone with cornmeal and press dough across bottom of pan.

Roasted Vegetable and Ricotta Pizza
adapted from: My Recipes

1 pizza dough recipe (above)
2 cups cremini mushrooms, sliced
1 cup zucchini, sliced
1 medium yellow pepper, sliced
1 medium red onion, cut into thick slices
1 handful cherry tomatoes
Salt and pepper, to taste
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 tablespoon crushed garlic
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper, optional
1/3 cup ricotta cheese

1. Preheat oven to 500
2. Combine mushrooms, zucchini, yellow pepper, red onion and tomatoes in a large bowl and drizzle with 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil. Spread out on a baking sheet and season with salt and pepper. Bake at 500 for 15 minutes.
3. Combine remaining olive oil and garlic in a small bowl. Brush on to pizza dough. Sprinkle mozzarella cheese over garlic-olive oil mixture. Sprinkle crushed red pepper, if using. Top cheese with vegetable mixture. Dollop pizza with ricotta. Cook pizza for 11-15 minutes until crust is golden.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Snickerdoodle Muffins

Being on any form of social media when breaking news about your beloved school's basketball team is unfolding is torture. Pure torture.

Also, being at the mall while you get close to the worst news ever about your beloved school's basketball team is dangerous. Like buy more shoes that you don't need and clothes just happen to find their way into your arms when you approach the cash register.

You'd think we'd all be used to this by now..but nope it doesn't get any easier the hundredth time around. Okay maybe not hundredth time but that's what it seems like this season.

I could really have used a big bowl of chocolate ice cream to drown my sorrows. But that will have to wait 26 more days.

These muffins would do. But there all gone. Shipped off to work Monday morning with mom. But I did sneak one and man were they good.

Snickerdoodle Muffins
adapted from: Sweet Pea's Kitchen

2 1/4 cups flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup sour cream
1/4 cup buttermilk

For the topping:
2/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cinnamon

1. Preaheat the oven to 350. Line 16 muffin cups with muffin lines (don't use cooking spray).
2. In a large bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cream of tartar and salt. Set aside.
3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla extract. Add half the dry ingredients. Beat in sour cream and buttermilk. Finally, add remaining dry ingredients until just incorporated. Batter will be soft and sticky.
4. Make the topping by combining the sugar and cinnamon in a bowl.
5. With an ice cream scoop, scoop batter into the bowl with the cinnamon sugar mixture and roll around until coated. Place ball in muffin line and repeat with remaining batter. Sprinkle remaining cinnamon sugar on top. (I had plenty extra, I didn't use it all)
6. Bake 18-22 minutes. Set on wire rack to cool slightly then remove muffins from tin.

ps, sorry cousin not a dinner recipe, but I'm sure J-Squared will find these delicious!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Funfetti Whoopie Pies

This is an old recipe. Well old in the sense that we made them forever ago. But they started my love affair with sunbutter and fluff sandwiches. Hello best invention in the entire universe known to man kind I would gladly eat one of those sandwiches daily.

Funfetti Whoopie Pies
Source: Sweet Pea's Kitchen 

For the Whoopie Pies:
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
3 tablespoons vegetable shortening
3/4 cup sugar
1 large egg
White of 1 large egg
3/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup sprinkles, plus more for garnish

1. Preheat oven to 375. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. In a medium bowl, mix flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
3. Beat butter, shortening and sugar until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add egg and egg white and beat until combined. Add half the flour mixture and half of the milk to creamed mixture. Beat at medium speed just until blended. Add remaining half of flour, milk and vanilla. Beat until blended. Fold in sprinkles.
4. Drop heaping tablespoons onto the prepared baking sheets. Bake until the cakes begin to crack and are firm to the touch. Cool completely.

For the Marshmallow Filling:
1 1/2 cups marshmallow fluff
1 1/4 cups vegetable shortening
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1. Beat together fluff and vegetable shortening until mixture is smooth and fluffy.
2. Add the confectioners' sugar and the vanilla and beat on low until incorporated. Increase the spead to medium and beat until fluffy, 3 minutes more.

1. Drop a large dollop of filling on the flat side of a cookie, place the other cookie flat side down on top and press slightly so the filling spreads to the edge of the cookie.
2. Roll edges in sprinkles.

I always thought marshmallow was spelled marshmellow. I like it better with an e.

Every time I typed fluffy it turned out fluffly.

Is this not the cutest thing you ever saw?

Crinkle Cookies

True life I have insomnia. It is currently 3:11 am and I am wide awake.

True life I have yet to chronicle all the cookies we made for Christmas.

My mom and I spent a day long in the kitchen whipping up batch after batch of cookies.

I love, love, love crinkle cookies. They don't always make the cut but this year I insisted they did. So we pulled out the recipe from the book and I'm reading off the ingredients, getting them all out (as I was taught) and then I got down to the directions and realized it said baking soda and I had baking powder out because that's what the ingredients told me! So off I went searching for another recipe and found one exactly like ours just with the correct baking substance we needed.

Crinkle Cookies
source: Two Peas & Their Pod

2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup canola oil
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted
2 cups granulated sugar
4 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup confectioners' sugar

1. Combine flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
2. Beat oil, chocolate and granulated sugar on medium speed until blended. With the mixer running, add the eggs, one at a time. Next add the vanilla and scrap the sides of the bowl if necessary.
3. Add dry ingredients and mix on low speed, scraping down the sides once. Mix until incorporated, 2-3 minutes.
4. Gather the (sticky) dough into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least 2 hours or over night.
5. Preheat the oven to 350 and line baking sheets with parchment paper.
6. Roll the dough into 1-inch balls and drop into the confectioners' sugar and roll until all sides are coated. Place on baking sheet.
7. Bake for 10 minutes, rotating pans halfway through baking.