Sunday, November 28, 2010

cooking is so much more fun with family

finally had our thanksgiving feast on saturday! it was a bonafide feast with everything made from scratch-
top to bottom, left to right: turkey, garlic mashed red potatoes with mashed cauliflower, roasted cauliflower with paprika, cornbread stuffing (the recipe for the cornbread in the 2nd row is also from the nytimes recipe), roasted brussels sprouts, cranberry walnut sauce, krispy kale chips with lemon yogurt dip (the brussels sprouts also tasted delicious dipped in the yogurt), cornbread (so so so good), "three sisters" stew (very homey and warm), apple pie (prepared the same way as the ones before but this time with all all-purpose flour, i prefer half wheat flour), and coconut sweet potato pie

we also made vegetarian mushroom gravy for the first time (ate gravy with my mashed potatoes for the first time in years!) and it was very simple and tasty.

we taste tested the sweet potato pies and s3 went for the coconut sweet potato and mom, s2, s4, and i went for the other sweet potato pie (the one from my last entry). the coconut sweet potato pie is much creamier and smoother while the other one has an almost chunkier and heartier texture. we also toasted the coconut before putting it into the graham cracker crust which really adds to it (everything tastes better toasted!)

Thursday, November 25, 2010

food coma yet?

happy last few hours of thanksgiving! our family is celebrating on saturday when s2 comes home so today was a pseudo-trail run for the real thing:) which means lots and lots of baking! s4 came home on tuesday morning and we pretty much baked non-stop on wednesday except to eat and give the oven a break!
 first up is a sunflower seed bread from joy the baker. it's delicious. the only thing we would change is increasing to 3/4 cup of the sunflower seeds going into the bread and only 1/4 cup for sprinkling.

 this is a pumpkin pie ice cream cake from eating well. we decided to make it not so healthy and add chopped pecans into the crust (gingersnap cookies, eummmm) and use breyer's vanilla bean (half a gallon!). the pumpkin mixed into ice cream with cinnamon and nutmeg is unbelievably tasty, but i wish it were a bit warmer to enjoy the coolness of it. the pie tastes best after it has enough time to chill or else you start getting a little icy crystaly (any suggestions on storing an ice cream cake/pie?)

we have another coconut sweet potato pie but we're saving that until saturday so we made another version of sweet potato pie to do a little taste testing. this one comes from a recipe i used last year but we subbed in a graham cracker and toasted coconut crust. the pie mix is sweet potato, condensed milk, sugar, butter and spices. i'll try to find the link for the recipe!

 a glimpse of the oven- the sweet potatoes baking on top, sunflower seed bread and an apple crumble. we made another version of apple pie in a bundt pan that turned out really well. we took the other half of the KAF pie crust i made for pop tarts and covered chopped up apples mixed with cinnamon sugar in a bundt pan and it was just like apple pie...topped with ice cream. so so good. did i mention we ran twice today? haha.

there was real food today! pizza on naan! the left one was naan topped with pesto, onions, tomatoes and mozzarella. the back pizza has onions, tomatoes, salmon chunks (from frozen salmon burgers from bj's, which are really really good) and pepper jack cheese.

i think we baked something else but it's slipped from my mind. we're still making at least one more pie tomorrow (apple pie in a square dish!) and then starting the preparations for eating on saturday! anyone going black friday shopping to burn off some more calories?

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

sweets by s5

finally getting around to figuring out this cakebites/sweets bakery. so introducing s5
this is a prototype 1 pound box that holds 8 large cake bites. i'm still working on the logo and such, but i'm so excited to finally get around to this. i'll have several flavors. for more information-

Monday, November 22, 2010

apple pop tarts

man, today was a productive day! so after my swim, i had class, then i went grocery shopping to pick up bananas (i just can't live without bananas! unfortunately all the bananas were completely green, bleh) then came home and went on a baking frenzy. i guess thanksgiving is so close, but not close enough to warrant baking the pies already. so i baked everything except a pie! this included a spice cake mix (to try out spice cake bites), peanut butter blossoms (love love love these, and so simple- box of yellow cake, can of condensed milk, 1 egg, 1 cup pb, and wha-la, press in a hershey kiss after they come of the oven if you want some super cute chewy cookies), and attempt two at pie crust to make- homemade pop tarts!

the crust recipe comes from KAF from the baking demo little guide book and i cooked up three different apples (the parents went to catoctin on sunday and came back with bushels and bushels, yay for apple desserts!) with some fresh squeezed lemon, cinnamon and nutmeg. i finagled with joy the baker's pumpkin pie pop tart recipe.
my crust came out terribly (i used 1.5 cups all purpose and 1 cup whole wheat) b/c i don't think i added enough water (which worries me for thanksgiving since i had those now frozen crusts at the same consistency...i will just have to keep trying). but it actually turned out pretty well that my crust was falling into pieces b/c i used all the little pieces to make these mini apple rolls that were a perfect bite size piece. not the prettiest things around but man are these oh so delicious. 

i topped off some just-out-of-the oven pop tarts with vanilla ice cream and served it as dessert to the parents, success!

oh, and my run was wonderful. i had to eat something after class so then i was waiting for it to digest and then i get distracted by baking but i made it out for the beautiful sunny weather (and got a farmer's tan and vitamin D along the way). i did take my mp3 player but i've decided music makes me really happy and i was almost smiling my entire run. which was amazing. and i went out of my way to pass the blow up turkey (i'll try to get a picture!) which cracks me up. and breathe:)

finding my endorphins

i can't say definitively that my swim this morning was due to reading a book or from having a break day yesterday, but can i just say i had the best swim this morning and i found my endorphins again!

let me start with the book. i just finished reading born to run by christopher mcdougall which is his quest to find out why his body was giving out on him when he ran. it took him to the tarahumara indians in mexico, ultrarunners (and by ultra, i mean running 100s of miles per session) and ultrarunners around the world. the thing that really stuck out to me was that the tarahumara enjoy running, they don't look like they're about to pass out on a hill or anything. in fact, their real name is raramuri (the running people or something to that extent). running started out as something to get out and clear my head but it slowly became a chore and the after run high, those wonderful chemically charged endorphins, went bye-bye. after finishing the book late last night i wanted to immediately go out and run, but i didn't think a run outside at 10 pm would be the safest or smartest thing to start out in my own quest for that running fun.

which brings me to this morning. i woke up excited to swim hoping that the ideas of running would translate into swimming (even though a lot of the theories in the book were about how humans were evolved to run) but i figured as long as i could get my head into it i would hopefully get the same results. and wha-la, i only stopped swimming because i had to take a shower to get to class, but i felt that endorphin high again and i was smiling in the shower and just thinking "i wish i had my sneakers so i could go out for a run now" so on my next run i'm going to go without my mp3 player and i'm going to try to be light on my feet and just enjoy the motions of getting from point a to who knows where

so, how do you feel when you run?

Friday, November 12, 2010

KAF and persimmons

i went to a KAF baking demo today on pie crusts and tart shells. i've never been to one of their free traveling demos and i'm really glad i did! i've never been a fan of making pie crusts but she made it look so easy that as soon as i got home i followed their recipe and stuck the dough in the freezer, so now i'm set for thanksgiving (well, at least for the apple pie...i have to go get more butter for the pumpkin, sweet potato and whatever other pie concoctions i think of before then:) then, b/c i was feeling so pumped up with baking i decided to try baking with persimmons (they were on sale and we have pounds and pounds of fuyu persimmons!).
i didn't know this, but every september in indiana they have a persimmon festival and one of the desserts the state is known for is their persimmon pudding. now, this is clearly not persimmon pudding, but i went off the persimmonpudding website and found a persimmon cake recipe that looked like fun. mostly b/c it didn't really seem to have specific guidelines on cooking or amounts so i took some liberties with the recipe. it's getting gobbled up by the parents. it's moist and dense and the addition of walnuts makes it even tastier. i added nutmeg and cinnamon but i'm not sure how much or how little makes a difference to the flavor (fuyu persimmons don't have the strongest of flavors to begin with so i didn't want to overpower them). next time i think i will try making persimmon pie/pudding or a bread! and btw, persimmons are a good source of vitamin C and a very good source of dietary fiber, vitamin A and manganese. see recipe at the bottom on this entry.
this is a little something i made this week that i've finally gotten around to posting. this is another variety on my veggie chili. this time i added carrots and zucchini and i used an Amy's spicy chili seasoning packet and marinated the crumbled tofu in it for a bit before simmering and chowing down. don't forget to have this with some rice or bread to get a complete protein for those non-meat adding cookers!

Persimmon Cake (makes 16 small (but rich!) squares in an 8 x 8 pan)
2 cups persimmon pulp (about 6 fuyu persimmons)
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
it said "butter the size of a walnut" and i used up all my butter to make pie crusts so i took a medium spoonful of shortening....i think it gave the top a nice crunchy texture (like brownie)
2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (maybe next time toast these)

Preheat oven to 350 F and grease and flour an 8 x 8 pan. This was a kind of dump and mix method, but I tried to mix all the dry ingredients together first and then add the wet (the nice things about one bowl cooking). Drop mixture into pan (the mixture is very thick) and bake for about 50 minutes (or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean).

Monday, November 8, 2010

don't take a drug test:)

celebrated s2's birthday this weekend and got to try out a new recipe! this one comes directly from smittenkitchen with no changes. and it's delicioussss. i've never had poppyseeds before but anything with lemon and this much butter can't go wrong:)
the cake has a dense eggy buttery flavor which reminds me of some of the cakes/breads in korea. i wish the lemon flavor had come through a bit more, but really, it tastes wonderful and looks so pretty. it's perfect for those that don't like too sweet of a cake but still want a cake.
all the little seeds are taking over!