Monthly Archives: February 2013

Apple Crisp

My roommate had a large quantity of apples leftover that she said she wouldn’t be able to finish and asked if I wanted some. Naturally, I decided to bake something. I found a few apple crisp recipes online and some muffin/cupcake recipes in a book I had, but I decided to go with a crisp because I already had all the ingredients. Here’s the recipe I used with some adjustments.

Ingedients:

5 cups sliced apples (about 3 medium apples)
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 Tablespoon vanilla
a pinch of salt
1/2 cup water
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup butter (1 stick, room temperature)
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup brown sugar

Recipe:

1. Place sliced apples (chopped relatively the same size, shape doesn’t matter) in bottom of 8×8 or 9×9 baking dish.

chopped apples

2. Add half the cinnamon, half the nutmeg, and half of the vanilla. Pour the water over the apples (though I recommend using slightly less than the listed amount. Mine was a little goopy.)

with the spices

3. In a separate bowl, cream together butter and sugar. (This will be easiest if your butter is room temperature.)

apart

together

4. Add the rest of the vanilla, nutmeg and cinnamon to flour mixture and distribute evenly over the apples. Spread the brown sugar evenly over the top.

ready to bake

5. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 30 minutes. Check and bake in 5-10 minute increments until crust is browned (but not burned) and apples are tender. Mine took about an hour and ten minutes total, but I don’t want you to take my word for it and burn your crisp! Carefully remove from oven and enjoy! This is great with vanilla ice cream.

remove and enjoy

Post & Photos by: Melissa


Pizza!

So I made a pizza with a pre-made dough ball from Publix. And it turned out so much better than I even thought was possible! The best part is that they were recently buy one get one free, so I have another in my freezer to use soon. Just thought I would share that with you.

this is the frozen one

So, I took the pizza dough, after letting it rest on the counter for an hour, and with floured hands, pressed it down into a circle-shape on a Pam-ed pizza sheet.

totally a circle

I then used some pasta sauce that contains sausage and garlic (though yours doesn’t have to!), which I had previously heated on the stove to make it thicker because I didn’t see pizza sauce at the store, and spread that on top of my pizza crust. I also added spices to the sauce while I was cooking it on the stovetop. I topped this with grated mozzarella cheese and then sliced mushrooms and basil.

looking gooooood

I placed the pizza in my 400 degree Fahrenheit oven and baked for 25 minutes (though I ended up checking it at 10, 20, and 25 minutes.)

tah-dah

It turned out beautifully and tasted great!

nom nom

This was so easy and a great way to make your own pizza/choose whatever you’d like to have on it for not a lot of money. The pizza dough was BOGO (as mentioned above) and only $2.69 regular price. The crust wasn’t soggy at all, it was very firm throughout and I feel like even with just cheese this would’ve been great. ūüôā

Post and photos by: Melissa


Black bean and guacamole tostadas(?)

I’m not sure exactly what to call these, but I got my idea from this recipe so I’m going to call them tostadas. This recipe makes a really easy snack, lunch, or dinner (and I suppose breakfast, but I think that would be a little weird.) Here’s my version:

Ingredients:

3 large tortillas (your choice)
6 Tablespoons grated cheddar cheese (or more if you’d like!)
1 can black beans, drained
1 Tablespoon of taco seasoning (from a packet)
Cilantro (shredded, to taste, I used about 2 Tablespoons)
3 large spoonfuls of guacamole (I made mine with a powder mix+avocados)

Recipe:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the drained black beans in a small saucepan and heat over medium. Add taco seasoning and stir, then add cilantro and stir to combine. Cook for a few minutes, until heated through.

all stirred in

 

2. Spoon some of your black bean mixture onto a tortilla, and top with guacamole.

toppings

 

3. Fold your tortilla as desired, and top with cheese.

topped with cheese

 

4. Bake for about 10 minutes. Then, raise heat to “broil” for about 3 minutes, with oven cracked open, or until cheese has slightly browned. Remove from oven (carefully!)

crispy cheese

 

5. Enjoy!

so cheesy! :D

 

Post by: Melissa
Photos by: Melissa


Tallahassee: Birthday food (Kool Beanz Cafe)

Today was my birthday and I went out to get a bunch of food. I stopped at Starbucks for my free birthday drink (which you can get for registering a Starbucks gift card) and my free pastry at Panera (a “candy” cookie which I got for opening a mypanera card.)

candy cookie!

I also headed over to Au Peche Mignon, which I’ve mentioned in a previous post, for some other sweets. I got a pistachio/pistachio macaron, a rose/strawberry preserve macaron and a pistachio/chocolate macaron. I also got a raspberry tart. (All were delicious.)

tart and macaron

tart close-up

les macarons

Later, for dinner, I went to Kool Beanz cafe which I’ve been meaning to try for a while now and it is DEFINITELY my favorite restaurant in Tallahassee. The menu changes often, or so I’ve heard, but I had the duck and it was amazing. I also tried my friend’s shrimp and it was great. The raspberry-jalapeno jam that came with my meal might have been my favorite part though.

tried to capture the menu

(sorry its dark)

I had the “boneless duck breast, raspberry-jalapeno jam, Brussels sprouts, sweet potato mash” and my friend had the shrimp and I would definitely come back for either dish or anything else on the menu because most of it sounded amazing. Overall, a nice food-filled birthday.

Post & Photos by: Melissa


Asiago Cheese Bagels (1st attempt at bagels)

I love bagels and asiago cheese. So asiago cheese bagels are the best! I’ve been intimidated by making my own bagels for some time, and interested in baking bread, so I thought I’d give it a try when I saw this recipe on one of my favorite food blogs, How Sweet it Is.

I have to admit that as a first attempt this did not turn out perfectly. I also halved the recipe, because this was supposed to make 12-15 bagels and I certainly don’t need that many. I ended up with 6, though one was horribly¬†misshapen¬†and they all ended up more like mini asiago flatbreads. But they had the right texture and taste for asiago bagels, even though they did not have the full roundness of a bagel. I think I would try a different shaping method next time, but overall I’m satisfied with the flavor, if not the look, of these “bagels.” This is also the first time I’ve used bread flour. And as a last note on the recipe, I also do not have a fancy mixer (so I used a spoon.) Because I’ve posted the link to the recipe, I’m going to simply list the ingredients and my step-by-step simple instructions with pictures here, but recommend referring back to the original recipe for best results (hopefully even better than mine!)

Ingredients:

10-12 oz. grated asiago cheese
2 cups warm water
2 packets active dry yeast
2 Tablespoons honey
3 cups all-purpose flour
2.5 cups bread flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon brown sugar
vegetable oil for brushing/coating

Recipe:

1. In a medium bowl, combine the water, yeast and honey and stir to combine. Let sit about 10-15 minutes, or until foamy. 

foamy

2. Once foamy, gradually add salt, 2 cups of all-purpose flour, and 2 cups of bread flour while mixing at a low speed. If dough remains sticky after around 5 minutes, add remaining bread flour and 1/2 cup all-purpose flour and combine.

3. Remove dough from bowl and knead a few times, and form into a ball. Add remaining all-purpose flour if dough is still sticky. Brush a large bowl with oil and place dough inside, turning to coat. Leave in a warm place for one hour, until dough has doubled in size.

coated in oil

4. Once dough has doubled in size, punch down and divide dough into 12-15 equal pieces that are about 2.5-3 oz each. Roll dough into balls and place on oiled baking sheet. Cover and let rise about 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

5. After 30 minutes, fill a large pot with water and the brown sugar and slowly heat it to boiling. While it’s not too hot, add a dough ball and poke ¬†hole in the middle with your finger, then gently twirl to create a bagel shape. Re-place on cookie sheet while you wait for the water to boil. Repeat with all bagels.

6. After water is boiling, add bagel to water and boil 2 minutes on one side, then flip and boil 30 seconds on the other. Remove and press gently in the cheese to coat, then re-place on cookie sheet for final baking. Repeat for all bagels.

full of cheese

so cheeeeeesy

7. Bake for around 28-35 minutes at 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Bagels are done when dough is cooked and cheese is golden and crisp.

and here she is, ms. america (I mean asiago bagels...)

there they are!

Trust me, they taste great! I’ve had two already and it’s only been one day. But I won’t be continuing at this rate, don’t worry!

Post by: Melissa
Photos by: Melissa


Baked sweet potato chips

I’m always interested in healthier alternatives to snack food, so when I came across this recipe on Minamalist Baker¬†(yet another food blog I’m addicted to now) I knew I wanted to try it.

I was pretty satisfied with how these turned out. Overall I think I should have added a bit more salt and baked adjusted the baking time and temperature a little so some wouldn’t be overly-brown. But they were crispy and delicious, despite the look. These also would’ve been easier to make if I had a sharper knife to chop with, or a mandolin slicer. I halved the recipe for my experiment, but will reproduce the original for you here.

Ingredients:

2 large sweet potatoes
1-2 Tbsp olive oil
A pinch of salt (to taste)
(I also peppered mine, but don’t think it added much)

Recipe:

1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Cut sweet potatoes thinly into rounds.

sweet potato

cut it up

2. Coat slices in olive oil.

3. Place on baking sheet and sprinkle with salt or desired seasonings. Make sure they are not touching.

waiting for baking

4. Bake for 1.5- 2 hours, flipping at least twice to ensure even cooking. I flipped these around 5 times because I get paranoid. I also took a few off the sheet earlier than others, because they were slightly smaller. Make your own judgments about your chips. Remove from sheet and cool on wire rack when golden brown and crisp.

crispy

5. Let cool, then enjoy! They’re a great snack and alternative to store-bought chips, and I would definitely make them again!

piled high

Post by: Melissa
Photos by: Melissa


Nutella walnut brownies

As I had a rather large quantity of leftover Nutella, and a desire to bake, I searched online for a Nutella brownie recipe. I came across this one and decided to use it, with the addition of walnuts (because I had those too and brownies are always better with nuts!)

It was super easy to follow and they turned out really well, so I thought I’d share my experience with anyone who wants to make something special for Valentine’s Day or really any other brownie-appropriate occasion.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup Nutella
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup unsalted, melted butter (room temperature)
Walnuts (if you’d like, I think I used 1/2-3/4 cup)
A dash of cinnamon

Recipe:

1. Melt your butter. Let it cool till it is room temperature and set aside. You may also preheat your oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit at this time, because the prep time for these brownies is minimal.

2. Mix your flour and salt in a bowl.

salty flour mmmmm

2. In another bowl, combine your eggs, brown sugar, Nutella, and vanilla. Whisk until smooth. This is also when I chose to add my walnuts.

appetizing

all the walnuts!

walnuts!

3. While mixing at a low speed, alternate adding dry ingredients and the melted butter.

texture

4. Butter or grease your square baking dish, or use parchment paper, with the parchment overhanging the lip of the pan to make for easy removal. Spread your mixture evenly in the pan. I greased mine a bit too vigorously but in the end it was fine. Sprinkle the cinnamon on top.

spread it out

5. Put your brownies in the oven and bake for about 35 minutes (mine took about 40.) Brownies are done when a toothpick inserted in the center (or a fork/knife which is what I had to resort to as I don’t own toothpicks)comes out clean. Allow to cool for two hours, after which you can easily cut them into squares to serve.

brownies

6. Enjoy!

closeup deliciousness

Post by: Melissa
Photos by: Melissa