Sunday, January 23, 2011

It's been a long while...

hey everyone (i really mean, every ONE, as in the one reader I have).

anyway. made this today. hope it inspires you...

Foccia or crusty italian bread loaf, sliced in half (open-faced)

1 medium onion, sliced and browned in 2 tbs of butter over medium heat in saucepan

1/4 cup chopped sundried tomatoes

5 oz blue cheese crumbles

layer ontop of bread, bake at 350 for approx. 20 min (until cheese is melted)

Sunday, March 28, 2010


I didnt make this. But it was made and it was good. Damn good.

Vanilla Syrup
1 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla & bean shavings

Heat and serve warm over pancakes.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Perfect Pudding

Here we are enjoying the original

Sometimes you run across a recipe that you know will be in your arsenal forever. This one is. The beaut of this is that its such a great base, you can change things out, but the base recipe is solid.

This is how it was discovered... I went to NYC. I ate at magnolia cupcakes (this was back in like 2002). I didn't love the cupcake. So, when I moved to the east coast a few years later, I ended up in the city more and more often. And everyone always wants to go to Mags. So I start ordering other things. Their Banana Cream Pudding (their self professed second best seller) quickly became my personal fave.

The thing about Magnolia is they publish their recipes! Woot, woot. Who believes in secret recipes anymore anyway? Secret recipes are stupid.

Ok, so I am about to present to you the original recipe, my two most favorite takes and then a recipe that you can personalize! Whoo, hooo.

Magnolia's Famous Banana Pudding

1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 1/2 cups ice cold water
1 (3.4-ounce) package instant vanilla Jell-O pudding mix
3 cups heavy cream
1 (12-ounce) box Nabisco Nilla Wafers
4 cups sliced ripe bananas

In a small bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, beat together the sweetened condensed milk and water until well combined, about 1 minute. Add the pudding mix and beat well, about 2 minutes more. Cover and refrigerate for 3-4 hours or overnight, before continuing. It is very important to allow the proper amount of time for the pudding mixture to set.

In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, whip the heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Gently fold the pudding mixture into the whipped cream until well blended and no streaks of pudding remain.

To assemble the dessert, select a large, wide bowl (preferably glass) with a 4-5-quart capacity. Arrange one-third of the wafers to cover the bottom of the bowl, overlapping if necessary, then one-third of the bananas and one-third of the pudding. Repeat the layering twice more, garnishing with additional wafers or wafer crumbs on the top layer of the pudding. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and allow to chill in the refrigerator for 4 hours - or up to 8 hours before serving.

Ok, that right there is perfection. Oh, I should mention, unless I care a lot about presentation, I do not layer, I just throw it all in and mix.

Ok, so you can see how adaptable it is, here is what I did tonight.
1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
1 1/2 cups ice cold water
1 (3.4 oz) package instant chocolate fudge pudding mix
3 cups heavy cream
1/2 baked chocolate pound cake, cubed
6 oz peanut brittle
Chocolate sauce drizzled on top

Another summer option that is a good one:

1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
1 1/2 cups ice cold water
1 (3.4 oz) package instant lemon pudding mix
3 cups heavy cream
2 pints blueberries
12 oz ginger snaps

As you can see, play with it, have fun. It is going to be delicious!

So you need
1 (14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
1 1/2 cups ice cold water
1 (3.4 oz package ANY FLAVOR pudding mix
3 cups heavy cream
approx 3 cups of ANY chopped fruit or candy
approx 2 cups of ANY bread, cookie, or candy

Enjoy suckers.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

These are a few of my favorite things...

There are a few things in life that are simply better then the rest. I am one of them, and the following foods are also on the list. I am a snob with it comes to a few foods. I am so brand loyal to these companies that if the market ever catches up with them and starts producing equally as good products, I will probably still swear by these brands alone. They are consistent. Shockingly, not always the best. Sometimes another will come along for a one time showing or a brief novelty... but my favorites are the ones that have proven themselves; that have made the cut; that are THE BEST.

In no particular order, here they are:

Heinz Ketchup:
John Kerry knew what he was doing. Other ketchup tastes like plastic & yes, I know what plastic tastes like. The only exception here is McDonalds ketchup, and it probably is Heinz, I just don't want to look it up and find out.

Savannah Bee Company Honey:
I really love honey and all the different flavors it can be. I love the concept that different flower/bee combinations produce completely different outcomes. I love that some honey is rare and that it is a regional food. I also love to collect honey from my world travels; I am a connoisseur of sorts. And I tell you, Savannah makes the best honey. My favorite right now is Winter White. But they are all drool worthy.

Dietz and Watson Whole Grain Dijon Mustard:
Spicy, crunchy, bold. Whats not to love?

Now, dang, who knew that condiments were really an issue for me? Anyway, moving on to other foods:

Grown Up Cereal:
I hate kid cereal. Even when I was a kid, I hated it. Here are my favorites, they are the only ones I will buy and I will NEVER buy the store brand, unless its trader joes, otherwise store brands are yucky.

And, will you look at that, they are all Post Cereals, really, I had no idea they were all the same maker. Apparently I hate General Mills, who knew? Ok next...

King Arthur Flour:
It really makes a massive difference when baking. Its a couple bucks more per bag, so really the one time use cost difference is nominal. Another thing I like about this brand is they publish recipes on their site and blog that don't disappoint.

Thats all for now, perhaps another installment will come soon enough, but for now I ask: what are your loyal products?

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Pumpkin Chocolate Loaf Plus+

I got this book (Baked: New Frontiers in Baking) and that says a lot since I rarely (almost never) buy cook books... there is a WEALTH of recipes online and among friends, why spend money for these recipes? Well, I am so glad I bought this book. 1.) Its beautiful 2.) It inspires 3.) It is creative and you actually can't find these recipes online 4.) There are fun little bio's of the recipes, like where they came from and how they came about 5.) It gives small quick tips on baking throughout.

I adapted a quick bread recipe in the book, here is my version:

Mix dry ingredients and wet ingredients in different bowls:

DRY, combine the following:
3 1/4 c. flour
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp ginger
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp salt

WET, whisk in this order adding things one at a time:
15 oz. pumpkin puree
1/2 c. oil
1/2 c. apple sauce
3 c. sugar
4 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 c. chocolate chips
1/2 c. cinnamon chips
1/2 c. grated apple w/ skin

Fold dry bowl into the wet bowl. Do not over mix.

Bake in two greased/floured loaf pans in pre-heated oven on 350 degrees for 1 hour and 15 min (or until toothpick comes out clean). I like to lightly sprinkle the tops of my sweet breads with pure white sugar before baking.

NOTE: This bread is not overly sweet. This bread is not the usual powerful pumpkin flavor you might be used to. The flavors are subtle. It would go great with many different flavors of honey, jams, hot coco, or mulled cider.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Martha Stewart Chocolate Pistachio Torte

I made this for Christmas. It was scrumptious. Enjoy!

Here is the recipe:

Serves 10

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces, plus more for pan
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled), plus more for pan
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 8 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk
  • 3/4 cup shelled, unsalted pistachios, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 4 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup shelled, unsalted pistachios, coarsely chopped


  1. Make cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour an 8-inch round cake pan; line bottom with parchment or waxed paper. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, salt, and baking powder. Set aside.
  2. In a large heatproof bowl set over (not in) a saucepan of simmering water, melt butter and chocolate, stirring frequently, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove bowl from pan. Whisk in sugar and vanilla, then eggs, buttermilk, and pistachios. Fold in flour mixture just until combined.
  3. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, 60 to 70 minutes. Let cool in pan 5 minutes; run a knife around edge, and invert onto a wire rack. Remove paper, and let cool completely, about 3 hours. (To store, wrap in plastic, and keep at room temperature, up to 3 days).
  4. Make ganache: In a small saucepan, bring cream to a simmer; remove from heat. Add chocolate, and let stand 5 minutes; whisk until smooth. Let cool until mixture falls back in ribbons when lifted with a spoon, 2 to 6 minutes.
  5. Set cake on a serving platter; tuck strips of parchment paper under edge of cake to prevent ganache from dripping on platter. Pour ganache onto center of cake; using a table knife, spread evenly over the top and down the sides. Let set, about 30 minutes. Remove paper from under cake; sprinkle top with pistachios.
Here is the link to the original recipe:

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

cakes and such

Here are a couple cakes and things I have done over the past couple months...

Barbie Cake: I used a medium sized Pyrex bowl to bake the "base" and then put a naked doll upper body on top, frosted the entire thing (the doll too).

Yankee's cake: Freehanded the logo.

US Capitol: One rectangle pan, one square pan, one mug of cake shaved/shaped post baking.

For the elephants, I simply piped on the ears and nose, chocolate chips for the eyes and used the birthday candles for the tusks.

and here is the "doctored" up cupcake recipe that I always use:

1 box cake mix
1 cup sour cream
4 eggs
1/2 cup warm water
1/2 cup oil