Tuesday, December 3, 2013
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12
I know I was bad and skipped Fashion Friday this past week (hey, it's hard taking pictures of yourself) but here is a little tid bit of fashion to make up for it. This year I am (still) obsessed with all things black, coffee, obnoxiously large statement necklaces, and sloths. What is one thing you are really hoping for this year?
Monday, December 2, 2013
A LOT is going on right now (nothing unusual there) I could potentially have some big news coming up soon (a.k.a. this week) if all goes well, that's all I'm gonna say for now because I do not want to speak too soon but... it's exciting! I also can't believe that we are already into the third day of December! This year has probably been the most frustrating/wonderful/emotional/stressful year of my life and I can officially say I am really looking forward to all the changes that will (hopefully) take place in 2014. Until then, I will buckle down, study for finals, and eat my weight in these pecan bars.
I am gong to be straightforward with you, these bars are straight up unhealthy. There is no denying it. I usually try and tweak a recipe to make it not AS bad but there is no saving this one, this is pure, unadulterated, buttery goodness in all it's glory and it is good. Man is it good.
I used to refer to these bars as Pecan Pie Bars but I thought that was an ill-fitting name. When I think of pecan pie a gelatinous nut sugar comes to mind (bleh) but these, THESE are chewy, sweet, and just a touch bit salty with the shortbread crust. They are ammmmazing, I must warn you though, I would highly recommend you make these in small batches because you will most likely consume them...all of them...in a matter of days....or ya know, hours (don't judge me).
Toffee Shortbread Pecan Bars
makes 12 bars
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
½ tsp salt
1 stick (½ cup) unsalted butter
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup honey
2 TBS heavy cream
2 cups chopped pecans
1.Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line a 9x13-inch pan with foil, leaving enough for a 2-inch overhang on all sides.
2.First make the crust by creaming together the butter and brown sugar until fluffy in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add in the flour and salt and mix until crumbly. Press the crust into the foil-lined pan and bake for 20 minutes until golden brown.
3.While the crust bakes, prepare the filling by combining the butter, brown sugar, honey and heavy cream in a saucepan and stirring it over medium heat. Simmer the mixture for 1 minute, then stir in the chopped pecans.
3.Remove the crust from the oven and immediately pour the pecan filling over the hot crust spreading it to cover the entire surface. Return the pan to the oven and bake an additional 20 minutes.
4.Remove the pan and allow the bars to fully cool in the pan. Use the foil overhang to lift out the bars and transfer them to a cutting board. Peel off the foil, slice into bars and serve.
Friday, November 29, 2013
I hope everyone out there had a wonderful Thanksgiving! I for one was very thankful that I did not have to work and I was able to spend time with the ones that I love and consume endless slices of tasty pie! All those black Friday retail workers out there have my sympathies. I have never been a big jamming/canning fan, I made a couple in culinary school but other than that I haven't been that into it, that is until a friend dropped off a crap ton of kumquats at our door the other day. Kumquats are a pretty freaky fruit, they're probably the ONLY fruit whose skin is sweeter than the actual fruit itself, it is because of this that the Kumquat is a prime candidate for a marmalade. I read up on some marmalade recipes and they all seemed so complicated...reserve the juices for this, strain a certain amount of that, conserve x amount of seeds, and so on. This recipe is pretty straight forward and if you're willing to put in the time in cutting up these tiny pieces of fruit, you will be rewarded with some delicious sweet golden marmalade!
3 cups whole kumquats (roughly) sliced thin
2 small oranges, sliced thin
2 cups water
1 and 1/2 cups sugar
1.Wash the kumquats and drain. Slice the oranges and kumquats ad this as possible, doing your best to disregard any seeds you come across (this will be time consuming but it will be worth it).
2.Place fruit in a large non-reactive pot and cover with water (about two cups). Let soak for 12 hours or overnight (this will soften the skins).
3.Add sugar and bring mixture to a bowl, stirring occasionally so the mixture won't burn. Let cook for at least 40 minutes, until the skins are tender and the mixture starts to thicken.
4.Ladle the hot marmalade into the sterilized canning jars. Leave at least 1/2-inch of head space between the surface of the marmalade and the rims of the jars. Screw on canning lids. Process in a boiling water bath for 5 minutes. Once the jars have sealed, store kumquat marmalade away from direct light or heat. It will keep for at least a year. Opened jars must be stored in the refrigerator, where they will keep for several months.
Note: marmalades are unusual among sweet preserves in that they will continue to "set up" for days, even weeks after they cool in the jars. If your just-cooled marmalade seems slightly runnier than you'd like, try waiting for 2 weeks to see if it reaches a firm jell.
This spread is great on a crusty piece of bread or even as a glaze for chicken and seafood, I plan on using this for some tilapia fillets later on this week. They also make killer Christmas/house warming gifts, if you show up with a jar of homemade marmalade you're (obviously) going to be THE suavest person there.
Tuesday, November 26, 2013
The other day we found ourselves having lunch at Louie's, Harpoon Louie's that is. I heard great things about this place and their infamous fish sandwiches (according to my aunt). It's not exactly the fanciest joint in town but they have a nice outdoor patio and a pool tables indoors if that's your kinda thing (me, I am more a foosball type of gal). The menu ranges from affordable seafood dishes to salads, sandwiches, classic burgers, and buffalo wings with some vegetarian and vegan options.
To view their menu, click HERE
We ordered the spring rolls to start off, which probably wasn't the wisest of choices considering it was the only Asian inspired dish on the menu but what can I say, I'm a sucker for those crispy rolls of deliciousness. When they arrived I saw they were your typical shredded carrot and cabbage mix, deep fried and served with a sweet and spicy signature sauce. The outside was nice and crunchy and I appreciated that fact that they weren't swimming in grease but I thought the inside lacked some flavor, it could have used a nice splash of ginger instead of just plain old salt and pepper. The signature sauce was OK, my friend was a bigger fan of it than I was, there was an ingredient in there that I wasn't particularly fond of (I wanna say it was some sort of vinegar).
For my entree I decided on the fish tacos (since I've heard such great reviews about their fish) which were filled to the brim with lightly seasoned grilled fish fillets, southwestern red cabbage slaw, and mango salsa served with chips and traditional salsa. The fish tacos were good but not great. they had nice flavor and the fish was nice and tender and cooked well. The slaw was tasty but it was a little to wet because about half way through eating it my tacos turned into a soggy mess. The salsa you could tell was made in house (which I appreciate) but it tasted a little too earthy for my liking.
My friend ordered the shrimp salad sandwich which was succulent whole shrimp tossed in a creamy dressing served on a toasted croissant with lettuce and tomato with your choice of side, in this case, mixed vegetables. Usually anything tossed in mayo kinda freaks me out but I decided to try it and I was shocked at how delicious it was. The shrimp were fresh and cooked well, the seasoning was nice and the flavor of mayo was not overbearing. The vegetables were semi-cold and but you could tell that they took the time to grill which is nice compared to the typical steamed veggies restaurants usually serve.
Harpoon Louis is a casual joint that serves up some tasty classics. They offer some unique vegetarian and vegan options and have a wide variety of salads and sandwiches. The service is friendly and attentive but overall I would say that the food is just slightly above mediocre.
Sunday, November 24, 2013
Roasted Root Vegetables
Twice Baked Butternut Squash Topped with Parmesan Breadcrumbs
German Style Potato Salad
Healthy & Hearty Pumpkin Bread Topped with Toasted Pepitas
Cranberry & Lemon Tart
Cinnamon Sugar Coated Pumpkin Doughnut Muffins
Balsamic Roasted Apples and Brussel Sprouts
Mini Pumpkin Pies with Homemade Crust
Sweet Rosemary Cornbread
Savory Sweet Potato Souffle
Often times, the entire focus of Thanksgiving is the prized turkey, after all, it isn't nicknamed "Turkey Day" for nothing. MY favorite thing about this food obsessed holiday has always been the sides and the desserts, even before I was a vegetarian. I remember my grandma's mashed potatoes and fresh green beans, succulent stuffings and THE BEST EVER mushroom gravy. But the best feeling of the entire year was gazing upon the fabled pie table, yes, pie TABLE as in an entire buffet table dedicated to made from scratch pies as far as the eye can see. Pumpkin, blueberry. black cherry, apple walnut, the list goes on and on. When you stop and think about it, Thanksgiving is the only time where the sides outshine the main dish, it is the sides that provide all those comforting savory-sweet compliments that make the meal complete.