Thursday, June 30, 2011

Buttermilk Blueberry Pie

This weekend I am going to be heading up to Lake Tahoe to visit my friend Kate and her family. I always love going to Lake Tahoe because Kate and her family are the nicest people, and we always end up doing something fun in the beautiful Tahoe scenery. Last summer we went horseback riding and drove around the lake on a boat, and this past winter we all went skiing in the enourmous and fluffy mounds of snow. This year I don't know what out activities will entail exactly, but I know it will be fun and relaxing and that my friend Sarah will probably make bananas foster like she does on every trip, which is really all any of us needs. But before I headed out on the road, I decided to make a Fourth of July-related recipe to post before I leave, and here it is! I've always liked blueberry pies, (like is an understatement), but have never tried to make one myself until now. Since I am kind of obsessed with blueberries, I decided to make it in a springform cake pan so that I could make it ridiculously deep and fit as many blueberries as humanly possible. I also baked it with a buttermilk custard, which went quite well with the berries. I love cutting fun patterns into the tops of pies, and since it is near the anniversary of the founding of our great nation, I used star cookie cutters to create a nice "spangled banner" design on the top crust. It doesn't really look like the flag, but there are stars on it so it's kinda close. The pie came out looking really lovely, I think I will make all of my pies in cake pans from now on so I can really pack in the filling. I hope you all have a lovely Fourth with your friends and families and eat a ton of good food. I know I will!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Mousaka with Butternut Squash and Sweet Potatoes

Things have been pretty hectic for me lately with the Page program, but this week my schedule is beginning to slow down again which is giving me more time to catch up on posts. Yay! I was pretty nervous before I started the program two weeks ago, so I decided to make one of my favorite comfort foods, which is mousaka. Mousaka is kind of like a Greek lasagna, which is traditionally made with layered eggplants, potatoes, ground lamb and cream sauce, and baked in the oven. For this version, however, I decided to use butternut squash and sweet potatoes to really emphasize the creaminess of the dish and give it a bit of a mildly sweet flavor to, you know, make it extra-comforting. So I put this dish together, not entirely sure of whether it would work out or not. In the end, of course, it came out wonderfully, otherwise I wouldn't be posting it here to share with you all. Yes, there are recipes and photos that have been locked away in the archives because they failed, miserably. Like my feta cheese attempt, but we will not go into that now... Ahem. Anyway, the sage went suuuper well with the butter and squash and sweet potatoes and nice rich lamb meat. Something about the fat in lamb just tastes particularly wonderful. I know it's not all that good for you, but I feel that if I make up for it by adding healthy vegetables to a dish, a little meat fat won't do me too much harm.

Mmmmmmm lamb.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Cornbread Cupcakes with Honey Frosting

I don't know if I've mentioned this, but I am kind of obsessed with cupcakes. I think I just really like the idea of a mobile form of cake that I can walk around with and enjoy on the go, without having to sit down at a table with a plate and fork. And the fact that they are ultra adorable is also a contributing factor. I decided to make cornbread cupcakes because I have a friend from the south who had mentioned that the secret to amazing cornbread is using creamed corn, so I decided to try it out here with this recipe. After having made a nice little batch of them, I came to the conclusion that it is 100% true. The little sweet pieces of corn in the cupcakes are fantastic, and the honey frosting goes perfectly with the corn, especially since honey and butter and the two best toppings for cornbread in general.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Chilled Avocado Soup

This month I participated in Food Buzz's Tastemaker Opt-In with California Avocadoes. They sent me a box of avocados and a couple cute little magnets, which I was particularly excited about because my home made magnets keep breaking. This does not reflect poorly on my crafting abilities, but on the quality of the glue I used to make them. (Boooo krazy glue!) It has been kind of warm lately here in southern California so I decided to make a chilled soup. I'd never made a chilled soup before, and I hadn't liked any of the chilled soups I'd tasted in the past, so this was a bit of a risky dish for me. After making it and eating it, I did like the flavors, but something about a cold bowl of soup still put me off. Soooo I made tacos and put the avocado soup on them as a topping, which was wonderful. If you like cold soups it will be fine as is, the flavor is great! There is just something about a cold bowl of soup that depresses my stomach. But, when put on a tasty Mexican dish, it somehow becomes acceptable. Don't ask me how or why this happens, just one of the many unsolved mysteries of the universe.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Roast Chicken with Winter Vegetables & a Pine Nut Stuffing

I am going to be honest with you. This is the best roast chicken I have ever had, and my Mom made a pretty awesome roast chicken growing up. But this just takes the cake. Sorry, Mom. I think what did it was the sweet potatoes, their sweetness seemed to ooze into everything in the pan, which went amazingly well with the caramelized flavor of the garlic cloves. Did I not mentions there are garlic cloves? There are a few in here....about 22 of them. Yes, it does sound like a ton of garlic, but after being roasted for a certain amount of time the intense, almost spicy, raw garlic taste fades away and reveals a sweet and soft caramelized flavor. Super addicting. I made a healthy-ish stuffing for the bird too using whole wheat bread, pine nuts, and some other less healthy things like butter and wine. The vegetables in here tasted fantastic, and the chicken cooked perfectly but a little faster than normal. I think it may have been because I cooked it in a metal pan and not a glass one, but I am not entirely sure.....suspicious. Anywho, it was delicious. Jeremy even said it was the best brussel sprout he had ever had. Not the roast chicken, but the brussel sprouts. There are carrots in it too! And shallots! So many nutrients!!!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Raspberry Cheesecake Cupcakes

 I have news. Big news. News warranting as excessive amount of cupcakes. I am going to be an NBC Page.

After going through an interview/screening process that has taken almost a year, I got a call a few days ago from NBC and was asked to be in their next group of Pages. I was shaking I was so excited. Sometimes getting what you want can be slightly overwhelming, I had previous engagements for the time period they asked me to start, so I didn't know what to do. At first I said that I wouldn't be able to join this group, and they said thank you and that they would keep me in mind for next time. Then, once I was off the phone, I sat and thought for a bit.