Sunday, October 30, 2011

Broccoli, Chard, & Bean Soup

I have been posting a lot of sweets and desserts lately, and while it would be nice to eat those all the time, I do actually eat pretty healthy the vast majority of the time. So, because of the approaching winter and the abundance of chard, I decided to post about one of my favorite comforting and healthy soup recipes. I love this soup because it has a nice and creamy texture from the beans, a bit of a crunch from the chard, and the wonderful combination of rosemary, Parmesan cheese, and broccoli. When you have a spoonful it tastes like you're eating a garden but in a good way, not in that terrible "cleanse" juice way that just tastes like grass and raw turnips. No, this is quite different, and much, much tastier. Sometimes I have a hard time eating soups as a main meal because I don't find them filling, but the high amount of protein you get from the beans really helps to make this a satiating meal. It just tastes so fresh and wholesome. Also, the recipe doesn't call for salt because the Parmesan cheese adds a good amount of saltiness to the dish, but some people, like my Dad, realllllly love salt, so taste it after you make it and feel free to sprinkle some more in there if you want.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Crab Cakes & A Special Request

First off, a bit of a special request to you all. My Pumpkin Chocolate Cupcakes are a finalist in a Halloween recipe contest, and all you need to do to vote for them is go here, scroll to the bottom, and click the Facebook "like" button next to the title of my entry, (it is the first one on the list). The winner is determined by votes, so every vote is helpful!

My Theio (Uncle) Soulis back home in Oregon has a knack for crabbing, and since he and my Theia Anna have a beach house on the Oregon coast, he goes crab fishing from time to time. He knows I really love crab, so he will bring some over to my parents house every so often and they put it in the freezer for me so that when I come for a visit I will have some tasty Oregon crabmeat waiting for me. Well, that is exactly what happened last week, so on Thursday I decided to try something new and make some crab cakes. It is strange that I've never made them before, now that I think about it, normally I'd just eat the crab meat plain with a little lemon juice on it, which is of course delicious, but crab cakes are just so fun and combine so many great flavors, especially these ones. I used some Old Bay Seasoning I made, and included the recipe for it here, but you can also buy it pre-made at the grocery store in the spice isle if you don't feel like going through the trouble of making it yourself. The Old Bay Seasoning recipe makes about 3 Tablespoons of seasoning, and this recipe makes about 8 palm-sized  crab cakes.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Apple Pie In A Can

Last week I hosted my first giveaway, a wonderful decorating and baking tool set from McCormick, and this week I am announcing the winner, who is.....

Crystal Tripp!

Congratulations on your lovely new Halloween goodies! McCormick will be sending them to you shortly :) I am continuing to get further into the autumn season, and now that I am home in Oregon for a brief visit, I thought what better treat to make than apple pie, since Oregon, and my parent's backyard, has a plethora of apples. I have also seen a ton of cake-in-a-can recipes, so I decided to try and make pie in a can to see how it would work. Well, it was pretty much the same as making a normal pie, except this time I had to do math to calculate the measurements of the piece of dough I had to cut to fit into the can correctly, which involved calculating circumference, something I haven't done in years. But do NOT worry people, I have figured all of this out for you, and if you just follow my directions, you won't have to do any math at all. You're welcome. The pie of course tasted great, and eating it out of a can was pretty fun. The individual serving size is completely adorable, especially if you tie a decorative string or ribbon around it.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Pumpkin Chocolate Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting & A Giveaway

I've been wanting to make some Halloween-themed cupcakes for the past few weeks and have been brainstorming about how to decorate them. Then, this past week, I was contacted by McCormick about hosting a giveaway of their "Tricks for Your Treats" goodie bag, which includes some of their decorating items along with a Halloween dessert decorating suggestion sheet. They also sent me a kit of my own, and once I went through it I decided to use one of their decorating tips and create some frosting pumpkins and ghosts with candy stems and sprinkle eyes. The cupcakes themselves are chocolate pumpkin-flavored with chocolate chips and some black food coloring to make them extra dark and eerie-looking. They tasted wonderful, and the frosting decorations were really easy to put together! To win your own McCormick "Tricks for Your Treats" kit, simply leave a comment below about your favorite aspect of Halloween and make sure to include your email address as well. One entry per person, and the drawing is only open to residents of the United States. The "Tricks for Your Treats" kit includes:

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Sweet Potato Custard

 It rained last week here in Los Angeles. Sure it was only for a few minutes and it was still in the 70's and partly sunny while it was happening, but it still means the same thing. Fall has officially begun!!! As I have said in many previous posts, fall is my favorite season, and so when it comes I completely embrace all things autumn and harvest-related, like pumpkins, squash, and sweet potatoes. I had a bunch of egg yolks left over from a marshmallow frosting I'd made last weekend, and decided to use them for a custard, and to make it fall-y, I decided to add roasted sweet potatoes to the mix. I based this custard off of the one I made with blueberries and syrup a few months back, but actually baked this one in a large loaf pan that was already lined with syrup (like how flan is prepared) rather than pouring the chilled syrup over the hot custard the way Greeks do. I really liked it this way because the whole outside of the loaf had this nice and sweet syrupy crust on the outer layer, with the soft and gooey custard inside. Also, the entire loaf was eaten within 12 hours by four people, so it's highly recommended!