Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Most Delicious Cookies

I generally get the craving to bake at 10 at night. Why? I'm not exactly sure but I have a strong inkling that Pinterest may be the culprit. My craving Sunday night was chocolate chip cookies, but not just standard Toll House (which are still yummy by the way). I wanted something different. I may have stumbled upon the best chocolate chip cookie recipe ever while looking for the Neiman Marcus $250 recipe. The recipe calls for oatmeal and walnuts, which I am not a huge fan of so they were swapped out for almonds. Here's a fair warning: this recipe makes 100+ cookies so be prepared to share!

2 cups butter
4 cups flour
5 cups oatmeal
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
2 cups sugar
24 oz chocolate chips
2 cups packed brown sugar
1 tsp salt
8 oz bar of dark chocolate, grated
4 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla
3 cups almonds, chopped

Measure out 5 cups of oatmeal, then blend together into a powder. I don't make mine super fine, still like some of that oatmeal texture in there!

Next cream both sugars and butter together. Then add in eggs and vanilla. Combine oatmeal, flour, salt, baking powder & baking soda. Once everything is mixed together, stir in chocolate chips, almonds, and the ground chocolate bar.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Roll the dough into small balls, about the size of a Munchkin, and place 2" apart on a nonstick cookie sheet. Bake for 10 minutes then cool on wire racks. Start dunkin!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Chicken Suizas

If you want a super easy weeknight meal, Chicken Suizas is the way to go. It's creamy, flavorful, cheesy chicken piled on top of a bun that bursts with flavor. I picked up a Mojo rotisserie chicken from Publix and just go to town shredding it. It's a meal you could prep and eat in under 20 minutes, and for that you may thank me!

Pulled Chicken Suizas Sammies
serves 4
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 small red onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
juice of 1 lime
1 tablespoon honey
1 1/2 cups salsa verde
2/3 cup sour cream
1 rotisserie-style chicken, skin discarded and meat shredded
4 sandwich rolls, split
1 cup shredded monterey jack cheese

Preheat the broiler. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until softened, about 2 minutes. Stir in the lime juice and honey, then stir in the salsa and heat through. Mix in the sour cream. Stir in the chicken to coat.
Pile the chicken mixture on the roll bottoms. Top with the cheese and broil to melt. Set the roll tops in place and serve with the chips.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Watermelon Agua Frescas

Being that I live in Florida, it feels like summer almost 365 days a year (yes I can wear a bathing suit on Christmas while you're shoveling snow- be jealous) However, summertime can be a little too hot for my liking. It's been hovering around 95 lately and by the time I walk from my office door to my car I am already sweating. I'm sort of regretting the leather seats as I have to peel my legs off of them every afternoon. The fact that my car is black doesn't help either, but let's continue. I've been in the mood for a fruity drink that isn't overly sweet like what you find in the grocery aisles. Something fresh.

What screams summer better than a sweet, juicy hunk of watermelon? This baby is made up of over 90% water and is perfect for what I was looking to make- Agua Frescas!
It's such a refreshing summer drink that can even be turned into a cocktail if you so wish. Hailing from Mexico, these "fresh waters" thirst quenchers can be made from any assortment of fresh fruits and herbs- think strawberries, melons, cucumbers, coconut, hibiscus. For the adult version, feel free to add as little or as much alcohol as you please. Hey, it's 5 o'clock somewhere..

(not my pic but it's pretty freakin awesome)


4 cups cubed, seedless watermelon pieces (I bought a quarter of a watermelon (seeded because that's just un and just cut it up into chunks)
1 cup water
3 limes + 1 for garnish
2-3 tbsp honey, melted
3 shots vodka (watermelon if you're wanting an extra kick of flavor)

Puree the watermelon and water together. Strain the watermelon in a colander over a pitcher or bowl. While that is strainging, squeeze some honey into a saucepan over low-med heat. You want to melt the honey down to a thin, drippy liquid (super scientific terms here) Add this to the already drained watermelon liquid. Squeeze the juice from 3 limes into the pitcher/bowl of watermelon juice and mix together. After a few minutes of straining, you need to re-puree the watermelon slush that is still in the colander and strain again. You want to get as much of that liquid from the watermelon! Discard the rest of the fleshy watermelon. Stir everything together and place in the fridge.  Or blend with 2 cups ice instead of water for a more slushy version.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Finally Back

Yes, I have fallen off the face of the planet for the last 2 months. I spent some time in Europe with my cousin and visited some of my sorority sisters in Texas. A few of my friends have gotten engaged and several family birthdays squeezed in between. Coupled with an office move and my birthday this week, I am trying to still readjust to being back. While I thought about my need to blog, that's about the extent of where it got. I currently feel like this:

I still am sorting through my massive amounts of laundry and looking for an apartment, but I will get back to blogging more this week!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Staycation weekend

Sometimes it's nice to get away from the everyday norm. My work schedule is a little busy this time of year and with the Europe trip less than a month away now, going anywhere that isn't driving distance wasn't really an option. So Parker and I enjoyed a little staycation in Sarasota recently that I've been wanting to share. 

St. Armands Circle is, as you may guess, a circle of restaurants and boutiques walking distance to the beach. Being the indecisive person I am, I had reservations for 2 different restaurants. A quick last minute decision when we got there landed us at Crab & Fin for dinner. All I can say about the food is wow. They change their menu daily to bring you the freshest ingredients. It was hard picking just one thing because it all sounded amazing. Parker ordered the Oyster Sampler and Shrimp Bisque. I ordered a half Caesar salad and an insanely sweet pound of Alaskan crab legs. So juicy and sweet, I don't think I've ever had better. Being messy as crab legs are, I didn't think to snap any pictures. They won me over with the finishing touch of a chocolate dipped piece of pineapple as the check comes out. 

The 2nd day, we stopped downtown for a light breakfast and stumbled onto the Saturday morning Farmer's market. We grabbed some apple and blueberry turnovers and coffee from Pastry Art and ventured around. After a couple hours at the beach and a very sunburnt boyfriend, we headed off to Tommy Bahama to visit their signature restaurant. They have a nice little balcony that overlooks the circle so we stole the last 2 seats and placed our order. Another totally amazing meal. 

I ordered the crab bisque soup which was very good (though I didn't quite care for the mashed croutons) and the star of the show: scallop sliders! Mini buns topped with 3 massive scallops, roma tomatoes, basil, chipotle aioli, crispy onions, and asian slaw. Amazing that it all fits on one lil sammy and they we're sooo freakin' good. 

Parker ordered the blackened fish tacos with a tomato relish, asian slaw, and chipotle aioli as well. Served with a side of sweet, grilled plantains. mmm mmm good!
And if you're craving a little something sweet head over to Le Macaron. It's a little dose of French patisserie in the heart of Florida.
Cute & Colorful
Crunch Praline & Coconut White Chocolate Macaroons

It was a great little weekend away together and I look forward to another one very soon!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Very Berry Cobbler Crisp

Berries are popping up everywhere now that they are in season for the summer. The weather has been crap- summer thunderstorms have begun leaving me wanting to curl up on the couch with a blanket, good movie, and a sweet treat. My craving for a warm, berry-filled dessert paired with a dollop (or 3) of ice cream has been obscene. Time to satisfy the craving. 

Publix was running a special on blueberries & raspberries so that was just an added push to get myself to the store to pick some up. But when I got there, the pickins were slim. I must not be the only one with berries on the brain. With head hung, I sloshed my way to the frozen food section to get some frozen berries instead. They're perfectly fine, don't get me wrong, by why by frozen when there is fresh. Saving grace- Ben & Jerry's was bogo so that perked me up a bit. I rushed home to make this, as I was more excited about dessert than making dinner.

Very simple to make- oatmeal, brown sugar, flour, butter, cinnamon for the crumble. Layer crisp on the bottom, Berries in the middle, and crisp on top. Into the oven for 30 minutes. About 10 minutes in and you can smell the oats and sugar baking in the oven. It made my house smell so amazing, even through this morning! I'm begging you-go make this now! Like right now. You won't regret it.

Very Berry Cobbler Crisp
For the crisp:
2 cups oatmeal
1.5 cups packed brown sugar
2 cups flour
1.5 tsp cinnamon
2.5 sticks butter, slightly softened (I didn't say it was healthy)

1 cup each of strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries
*note- if using frozen, buy 2 mixed berry packages as this is about 4.5 cups and use it all. Might want to let them drain/defrost for a good hour before baking so that they aren't frozen. Plus letting them sit in a strainer will help take out the extra liquid. I didn't so mine was a little liquidy in the middle and it doesnt let your crisp get as crispy.

Mix all the dry ingredients. Cut in the butter. I got down and dirty and just mixed it all with my hands. You don't want the butter to be runny or too soft, so just take it out of the fridge about 20 minutes before baking.Layer half of the oatmeal/butter mix into a 9x9 baking dish. Dump the berries on in. Top with the other half of the crumble mixture. Bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes. The top will turn a nice golden brown. Let stand about 10 minutes.

Get a bunch of that yummy gooey goodness into a bowl and top with a scoop of ice cream. I love when it starts melting into the cobbler. Oh yes, it IS that freakin' good. Hope you enjoy! I'm going for round 2.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

What NOT to do

Read a recipe entirely before starting to cook. Duh, right? Well, I didn't and my empty tummy paid the consequences. I was attempting to make this airy, coffee jelly-roll cake with a coffee cream filing. Sounds tasty right? I took out the ingredients it called for and set it up on the counter- 3 eggs, 1 egg white, 1/2 c each of sugar and flour, and some coffee grounds. I started reading Step 1: "Grease a 12x17 jellyroll pan..." and went about it. Now Step 2-6, til everything was poured into the pan and popped in the oven.

I pulled it out to cool for a few minutes and then attempted to get it out of the pan. This proved extremely difficult as you will see..

If I had read the whole direction before moving along I would have read "Grease a 12x17 jelly roll pan.. AND line with parchment paper".. The aha moment came a little late, as you must realize by now. So I currently have strips of random coffee cake. It is light and airy and with a just slightly sweetened coffee flavor. I am not one to let dessert (even a failed kind) go uneaten. So I've been layering strips of the cake with Cool Whip and going to town. I had to put it away otherwise it might be gone right now. It's so light though I barely feel guilty about it. Check back the next few weeks and I'll have a post on it done the right way.