June 26, 2013

Pin It Nutter Butter S'more Bars

Taken From Something Swanky
I don't know why, but I felt compelled to make these.  I didn't have most of the ingredients on hand, so it look a special trip to the store, and I didn't even have an occasion to make them, but somehow it all seemed worth it.  They are ridiculous and I'm sure terrible for you, but they were really easy...so that all balances out, right?
It takes very few ingredients as you can see above, and very little prep. 
I did have to take out my food processor for the crust, but that was the most exertion involved. 
After you bake your butter/Nutter Butter crust for 10 minutes, remove and pile on the s'more bits.  Then smother the whole thing with the secret (worst thing for you ever) ingredient: sweetened condensed milk.  Bake for 35-45 minutes, until the top is golden.
They are delicious right out of the oven; ridiculously gooey and sweet.  Once they've cooled they are sticky and crunchy and equally ridiculous and sweet.
I probably won't make them again (not that they weren't good) but come on, you can really only get away with something like this once :)

June 20, 2013

Pin It Mint Pesto Pasta with Asparagus and Shitake Mushrooms

Taken From A Food For Thought
I did it! I made dinner...and it was good!  I haven't been very good about making dinner lately, so putting this together after work and bootcamp, plus getting my food processor out was quite the feat. I bought all of the ingredients last weekend with the intention of making this at some point, but it took me a while to actually work up the energy to get it done.
I thought the mint pesto would be pretty overwhelming in flavor, but it was actually mild and lovely. I'd never made anything like this in the past (although I have dabbled in roasted red pepper, broccoli, cauliflower, and almond pestos) and the mint was a nice change from some of the more traditional pestos.
Despite having to get on a chair to get my food processor down, this didn't take long at all to throw together.  Just a little blending, chopping, sauteing, and boiling some pasta (I used brown rice pasta from TJ's, my new favorite) and we were really to roll.
I topped it with extra parm (because more cheese is always necessary) and it was delicious. It kept nicely for a few days and will likely be worked into our monthly rotation.

June 14, 2013

Pin It Red Velvet and Raspberry Supreme Cake

Taken From Sweetapolita

It's been a while since I've been able to whip up something totally ridiculous, as a crowd is really required for an event like that. Not only do I need people to witness the creation, but I need them to help me eat it!

To go with Bonnie's Louisiana inspired dinner on Sunday, I decided to continue with the theme and make this red velvet cake. I've never made a three-layer cake before and I always feel a little discouraged by cakes from scratch.  I just feel like boxed cake mixes (although totally cheating) tend to turn out so much better (lighter, fluffier, moist-er) than cakes from scratch.  However, I'm not a cheater so a from scratch cake is what I delved into.

I followed the directions as closely as I could to make sure my efforts were not totally in vain.  I baked my cake using two non-stick pans and one that's not coated, and the non-coated pan produced a taller cake.  I've definitely ranted about my dislike of non-stick baking sheets in the past, but I'm not sure if my flatter cakes can really be blamed on the pan. I don't think I have a large enough sample size to definitively say it was the pans, but it's a theory I'm going with.
After I made the cake I got started on the frostings...yes, frostings. This recipe calls for 3 different frosting, which I thought was a little overkill.  I decided to skip the pink whipped vanilla cream frosting and just doubled the marshmallow cream cheese frosting recipe (and added red dye, of course). Doubling the marshmallow cream cheese frosting worked out to be the perfect amount, plus I didn't have to go out and buy gelatin, so that was nice.
After allowing my cakes to cool completely (they spent a little time in the fridge) I started to assemble the cake.  I'm not sure why Sweetapolita says to but down a dollop of frosting on your cake pan, so I skipped that step. 
Also, from her photos it looks like she put the layer of raspberries between the bottom and middle layer, although that's not what her directions said. Probably best to put them near the top so they aren't supporting as much cake weight, so that's what I went with.
After the layer of raspberries had been placed (takes about a pint of raspberries) I slathered on a thick layer of mallow cream cheese frosting to seal them in place.
I put on my top cake layer and placed it in the fridge to chill.
While that was happening I make the chocolate frosting, which turned out delicious and fluffy.  Then I got to frost my cake!
I had made this the night before so I wanted to wait until the day of to put on the raspberries, lest they bleed their juices onto my delicately frosted masterpiece.
I may have gone a little overboard with the raspberries on top AND around, but overboard is really the theme of this cake, so why not?!
People were impressed by the sight and size of this thing but I really had no idea how it was going to look on the inside or how it was going to taste. Turns out, pretty good on both counts. I was really happy with the slice profile and thought everything looked pretty even, which was a nice surprise. 
The cake had been chilling overnight and Sweetapolita said to bring it to room temperature before serving. Even after 4 hours out of the fridge mine never really got there. Just something to keep in mind if you ever make this cake. It's a big mama jama so there is large volume that needs to warm up.  It may have been a little lighter in texture if it hadn't still been cold, but was delicious just the same.  

It's hard to serve a three-layer cake in moderate slices, so everyone had a pretty hefty chunk.  Unless you're hard-core, I'd say try and make the slices pretty skinny so you don't give you guests sugar overload.  I couldn't even finish my piece and I love me some sugar.

June 5, 2013

Pin It Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad

Taken From Ambitious Kitchen

So as you may have noticed, I've completely given up on the Cook the Books challenge, likely for the remainder of the year.  BUT I'm ok with it and I hope you are too :) With my new job there is just a lot less free time and my posts have definitely taken a back seat.  My plan from here on out is to post new recipes when I can, hopefully once a month. They may be recipes I find online, they may be from my cookbooks.  Who knows...it'll be a surprise!
With a little bit of time on my hands I decided to actually make dinner this week.  With some vacations and a busy field work schedule, dinner has mostly been an afterthought at the end of my day, either consisting of a bowl of cereal or eating out.  Today I managed to muster up the energy to not only go to the store and get ingredients, but to throw it all together in time for dinner.

I made a few adjustments to the original recipe based on what I had and personal preference. I ended up really liking this salad.  It felt very healthy and the dressing made it super flavorful. I definitely preferred it over the other Brussels sprout salad I'd made in the past.

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon zest
3 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons mustard
1/4 teaspoon salt
5 cups Brussels sprouts, shaved
1 yellow peach, chopped
1/2 cup blueberries
1 avocado, diced
Feta cheese, for serving

I know the idea of raw Brussels spouts may weird some of you out, but try and think of it like a slaw. Brussels sprouts are essentially mini cabbages and I know everyone is ok with slaw from time to time.

I would absolutely make this again.  It felt very healthy and cleansing and was a great light summer dinner (or side dish).