Goodbye, 2011

31 Dec

I still remember the first day of 2011 very clearly – I had woken up abruptly after not partying hard the night before because I had been scheduled to work a 12 hour shift at 7am on New Year’s day. I had woken up with a feeling of uneasiness and looked at my phone for the time. “What the….oh, crap!!!” It was 7:30am! I was supposed to be at work 30 minutes ago! Damn you, iphone! Ugh, I jumped out of bed and drove to work, which was about 50 minutes away. What a way to start the year right? Not only did I have to work a 12 hour shift on the very first day of the new year, but I was also very late.

I thought that having a bad start to the new year meant that 2011 was just going to be a terrible year, but boy was I wrong. It was an absolutely great year. In the past 365 days, I’ve started a blog, got a new job, experienced stressful meltdowns (meltdowns are normal for grad students right?), made new friends, played hours and hours of football, studied a lot (and I mean a lot), took tons of pictures of food, had my best friend move 3000 miles away from me, visited the breathtakingly beautiful Canadian Rockies, made Turkey for Thanksgiving for the first time, ran many miles, experimented with many recipes, and learned a whole lot about myself this year.

2011:

A chocolate chip cookie recipe coming soon!

“Healthy” Choco Chip Banana Bread

2 Nov

For the past two weeks or so, I’ve been preparing an hour-long powerpoint lecture on chronic headaches. And you know what I learned, aside from diagnosis and management of chronic headaches? I am absolutely terrible at self care! Nurses are great at taking care of other people, but sometimes they are just not so great at taking care of themselves – I’ve been sleep deprived…I haven’t been cooking…no exercise (other than my weekend football games of course). So, the instant I was done with my presentation today I came home and I decided to do something that makes me happy. I made banana bread!

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Gougeres

8 Oct

Hello! These are gougeres, a French choux pastry mixed with cheese. And what exactly is choux pastry you ask? Well, choux pastry is the type of pastry that’s typically used to make profiteroles (fancy name for cream puffs), éclairs, crullers, and beignets. Choux pastry is made up of flour, water, eggs, and butter, and uses a high moisture content combined with heat to puff the pastry. Thus, there is no use of a leavening agent, like baking soda or yeast.

In this particular recipe from the Tartine cookbook, the gougeres were baked with grated gruyere and thyme! Absolutely delicious! They were fluffy and light, and had an eggy custardy inside mixed with melty cheese. Perfect to eat with breakfast or just by itself!

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Chewy Brownies

14 Sep

Wait. What?! It’s mid September already?! Oh geez, time flies with a full time job! As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, I’ve started a new nursing position at one of the community clinics in San Francisco. I absolutely love the new job, but my summer plans of marathon training, baking like a mad woman, and lounging around as a couch potato, had to be put on hold.  And now that school is starting, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to reach my dreams of being a couch potato.

Okay, so I know I’ve been seriously behind with this blog. You see, these chewy brownies were made three weeks ago. They were gobbled up the very following day, and all I have left to remember them by are these pictures. I’m tempted to go and whip up another batch right now!

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Lemon Bars on Brown Butter Shortbread

29 Jul

Recently I’ve had little time to bake (or do anything else, really) because of a new nursing position I took at a local community clinic. With the new job came more responsibility, more hours, and unfortunately, less time to myself. Luckily, I somehow managed to get scheduled for only a half shift today, and rather than cross off a few of the million things I have on my to-do list, I decided to bake lemon bars!

Oh – but these lemon bars are no ordinary lemon bars! It just happens to be a recipe from my favorite bakery: Tartine. I was able to snag a signed copy of Tartine’s owners Elisabeth Prueitt and Chad Robertson’s book from Omnivore Books in San Francisco (an amazing little bookstore devoted to books about food!) If you have not been to Tartine, please do yourself a favor – find your way to San Francisco and go! Get the morning bun, the banana cream tart, a slice of tres leches cake, a cup of bread pudding, a chocolate croissant, an éclair, and a cup of tea. Yes, get it all (the cup of tea is optional.) Just do it. I promise you’ll enjoy it.

But back to the subject at hand- I think these lemon bars have just the right amount of sweetness and tartness and go perfectly with their buttery shortbread base. I chose to dust them with powdered sugar and garnish them with some candied blood orange zest (recipe to come!). Continue reading

Tres Leches Cake

15 Jul

Now, I don’t know about you, but I absolutely love condensed milk. I have it in my oatmeal, I put it in jello, I even spread it on toast. Basically, I can slap it on just about anything and call it a meal. So when my friend suggested the Tres Leches cake as my next blog post, I jumped at the idea. I started searching recipes online and finally decided on a recipe from a trusted cook, Alton Brown! Honestly, there has not been an Alton Brown recipe that I haven’t liked, and sure enough this was no exception! It was scrumptious!

Did you know that Pastel Tres Leches means Three Milk Cake in Spanish? It is a sponge cake soaked in three different kinds of milk – condensed milk, evaporated milk, and heavy cream (this particular recipe calls for half & half, rather than heavy cream). The cake part is spongy and airy, so it does a great job of soaking up the milks without becoming soggy.

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Ultimate Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting

7 Jul

Oh. Heck. Yes.

Chocolate? Check. Peanut butter? Check. Mini Reese’s peanut butter cups hidden in the middle of the cupcake? Check! These babies are decadent! My taste buds are dancing…

The chocolate cake is moist and not too crumbly. Oh and it’s packed with chocolatey goodness. Wanna know the secret? The chocolate chips and cocoa powder were melted in hot coffee, and instead of all purpose flour, the recipe called for bread flour (high in protein – to give this cupcake structure) and vegetable oil (for moistness).

I swear… if I didn’t care so much about my waistline, I would’ve drank the melted chocolate-coffee mixture. It smelled so damn good.

By the way, these cupcakes are best served with a glass of milk.

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