Wednesday, February 29, 2012

White Chocolate Layer Cake with Blueberry Curd Filling

Today wraps up a full month of Hubby-approved recipes. It's been a fun way to honor the foods he loves. Today I'm ending on a sweet note with a cute little layer cake. Since Hubby isn't a huge fan of chocolate desserts, I decided to go with the subtle flavor of a white chocolate cake to pair with the Blueberry Curd that I had made.



Making layer cakes is so much fun and it gives me a chance to practice my cake decorating skills. I love how this one turned out. This cake was tender but it wasn't obvious that there was white chocolate in the batter. The white chocolate shavings on top definitely helped to boost that flavor.



I used my favorite Swiss Meringue Buttercream for this cake. Because it's awesome. And smooth, silky, delicious, and not overly sweet. An overly sweet frosting would have over-powered the other flavors in this cake.

One Year Ago: Lemon Curd
Two Years Ago: Alton Brown's Stovetop Macaroni and Cheese
Four Years Ago: Cinnamon Cookies
Four Years Ago: Fake Apple Pie A La Mode


Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Blueberry Curd

As I was browsing ideas to use up the last of our frozen blueberries, I was thinking about other fruit recipes that I've made and loved in the past. I was remembering how much I really enjoyed this raspberry curd and figured blueberry curd would also be awesome. So I hit up Google, and came across this recipe from Amanda at Fake Ginger.



I whipped up this curd and was shocked at how PURPLE it came out. You don't normally see a whole lot of purple foods out there, so I was excited. The recipe made just one small jar of curd which had delicious blueberry taste.


Hubby and I were contemplating how to use up this little jar of Blueberry Curd and came up with a few ideas. I ate some spread on graham crackers with some buttercream that I had in the fridge.



Hubby on the other hand, spooned some over some vanilla ice cream. Be sure to check back later to see what I did with the rest of the curd.

One Year Ago: Roasted Carrots with Thyme and Goat Cheese
Four Years Ago: Butternut Squash Risotto


Monday, February 27, 2012

Lobster Mac and Cheese

After the first time I made this Publick House Mac and Cheese, I knew I'd be making it again soon. With lobster. As I mentioned, Hubby loves when The Publick House has this special on their menu and I wanted to recreate it for him.



I decided to get pre-cooked lobster meat instead of cooking the lobsters myself. I headed over to Wulf's Fish Market where they did the hard work for me. I did have to wait for the lobster meat to be removed from the freshly cooked lobsters, so I ran other errands and came back for it. I got two lobsters worth of meat which came out to about 3/4 of a pound.

I mixed the lobster in to 1/3 of the mac and cheese that this recipe makes. I actually made a whole batch of the mac and cheese and used part of it for this Lobster Mac and Cheese and I mixed roasted vegetables into the rest of it.

Two Years Ago: Spaghetti Squash with Spinach and Raisins
Three Years Ago: Creme Brulee - two ways
Four Years Ago: Cranberry Applesauce - take two


Friday, February 24, 2012

Crockpot Hawaiian Pulled Pork

We all agree that pulled pork is awesome, right? I mean, it cooks on low in the crockpot for hours and is just falling apart and so tender. There's really nothing better. For quite some time now, I've been making this Crockpot Pulled Pork. It gets rave reviews. It's delicious and everything you could ask for in a saucy spicy pulled pork.



But sometimes you don't want saucy. And you don't want spicy. You just want porky. (Is that a word? I'm not sure, but I'm going with it). This pulled pork is AMAZING. I literally woke up the morning after I put it in the crockpot - did I mention I cooked it for 20 hours? - anyways, I woke up the next morning and was confused. I saw Hubby still snoring away in bed. But I smelled bacon. Who was cooking bacon in my house that Saturday morning? I stumbled in the kitchen, clearly confused. Then upon seeing my crockpot, remembered that we had pork cooking low and slow. For 20 hours. Yea, just let that one process for a minute.



When Hubby did wake from his slumber, he hit up a local bakery for some rolls and we enjoyed Crockpot Hawaiian Pulled Pork sandwiches. I topped them with provolone and melted the cheese under the broiler for a minute. It's seriously amazing what you can make with three simple ingredients and 20 hours in the crockpot.

One Year Ago: Crockpot Pulled Chicken
Two Years Ago: Sesame Crisps
Three Years Ago: Crockpot Beef and Peppers


Thursday, February 23, 2012

Deviled Eggs

Hubby LOVES Deviled Eggs. Honestly, loves them. Whenever we make them for get togethers, I have to hide the fact that they're being made until right before people arrive so he doesn't eat them all. Sometimes, when he's stressed, I'll whip up 2 or 3 eggs worth for him and he starts smiling instantly.



Deviled Eggs are such a classic appetizer and I know a lot of people have their own family recipes for making them. I learned from my mom and I really just throw things together and taste as I go. But when I set out to make our Family Cookbook, I forced myself to use measuring spoons and write it up as a recipe. I even posted these, over 4 years ago, but didn't have measurements in that recipe.



One last note about Deviled Eggs. If you are like me and don't have one of those special egg plates to serve your eggs, you can simply line a serving tray with leafy greens. Not only will it prevent your eggs from sliding all over the place, it also adds a great splash of color.

One Year Ago: My Favorite Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting Recipe
Two Years Ago: Rice and Beans


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip and Bacon Blondies

I've been on a big bacon kick lately. I'm not sure why, but I've just been throwing bacon into everything. No one is complaining about this recent obsession. I needed a sweet treat to share with friends and my mind instantly went to bacon. I found this recipe and knew it would be a hit.



I decided to throw some bittersweet chocolate chips into the blondie batter. And once again, I used Peanut Butter and Co's White Chocolate Wonderful in the frosting (which was AMAZING). After initial taste testing, we decided they needed more bacon so I crumbled more bacon on top than the original recipe listed. I have reflected my changes in the recipe below.



Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Herbed Bread baked in a Dutch Oven

Literally every time I make bread at home, I tell myself to do it more frequently. It's really not difficult at all and the results are always AMAZING. This bread was no exception. In fact, the four of us devoured this entire loaf along with our Roasted Garlic and Chicken Soup in one setting. The bread was still warm when we sat down for dinner.



Last year, when my mom gave me my new dutch oven, this bread was one of the things I new I would be making with it. I read the instruction manual that came with my dutch oven and it indicated that the black plastic knob was only safe in the oven up to 350 degrees. Since most things that you cook in a dutch oven are low-and-slow, that won't cause an issue. However, this bread gets baked at 450 degrees F, so I instantly ordered a new knob for my dutch oven. If you're going to make this bread, just be sure to check how hot your bakeware can handle.



I was a bit worried when I threw this bread into the oven because it hadn't risen very much. Luckily, it rose quite a bit while it was baking. I used thyme in my bread since there was thyme in the soup, but I'm sure any herbs that you have on hand would be delicious.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Roasted Garlic and Chicken Soup

Remember when I posted How to Roast Garlic and talked about Hubby would bathe in the stuff if I let him? I'm pretty sure he'd also bathe himself in this soup. It uses 3 whole heads of garlic so I knew he'd love it.



The biggest disappointment with this recipe was that it only serves four. So the night I made it for dinner with friends, we didn't get to enjoy leftovers. Have no fear, I made it a couple days later for Hubby and I to enjoy just the two of us.



The fact that I made this recipe twice in one week is a testament to how good it is. I rarely remake recipes. It just doesn't make sense with the huge list of recipes I want to try. But this was worth the effort. I would recommend roasting your garlic in advance if you want to save yourself some time when you're making this. I served it with freshly baked bread.

Two Years Ago: Cinnamon Roll Monkey Bread
Three Years Ago: Red Velvet Cupcakes


Friday, February 17, 2012

30-while-30 8 Month Update

I honestly can't believe how fast this year is FLYING by. They say time speeds up when you have kids. I can't even imagine... It's time again to check in on my 30-while-30 list. I marked a couple things off the list this month!!

Food / Blogging
  • Brownie Mosaic Cheesecake - Done! I made a holiday version by adding peppermint!
  • Gnocchi
  • Donuts 
  • Eggs Benedict
  • Laminated dough (either danishes or croissants)
  • Make bread at least 4 times 
  • Bake at least 4 layer cakes - 1: Neapolitan Cheesecake Cake
  • Buy a whole coconut. Open it. Do something (delicious) with it.
  • Make at least one thing from each cookbook I own - any cookbooks that don't get used in a year, donate or giveaway on here - I started making my list of cookbooks. I plan to post it on here shortly.
  • Cook with 3 new foods - Being part of a CSA this summer was AMAZING. I've definitely already cooked with 3 new foods, including this Summer Shrimp Salad.
Relationships
  • Send birthday cards to my and Hubby's families (including siblings, parents, nephews, etc) - So far, so good on this one
  • Continue to bake for a good cause - I was able to participate in an online bake sale on The Spiffy Cookie, I hosted a Holiday Cookie Swap where $0.10 was donated to Cookies for Kids Cancer for every cookie exchanged, I donated cookies for an online bake sale on The Kitchen Misfit
  • Go see my sister's new house - Done! We got to see Brooke's house while we were in the Midwest for Thanksgiving
  • Go on a girls weekend getaway - Done! I spent a weekend in St Louis with my mom and two sisters in July. It was a great time.
  • Volunteer 4 times
Random
  • Get another tattoo - I have been working on a design for this one! 
  • Pay off my car - Done!
  • Decide on a signature / go-to cocktail - I'm working very hard on trying new cocktails to make this decision... I have a good idea but I want to master making it at home first...
  • Watch a sunrise
  • Read 4 books - 1. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows 2. Water for Elephants 3. The Hunger Games 4. Catching Fire 5. Mockingjay  
Healthy living
  • Walk another Avon Walk for Breast Cancer - Done! Recap here
  • Continue to work out on a regular basis - I've been a working out machine recently. It's been awesome.
  • Treat myself to 6 massages - five down, 1 to go
  • Get my first facial
Travel and Life in Boston
  • Go to the Head of the Charles - This one didn't happen. It was really sad. The Head of the Charles weekend was beautiful. Hubby and I were getting ready to head out to walk over to see the races and I started feeling sick. It was a combination of allergies and something else. I tried to stay strong and power through it, but about a mile into our walk, we had to turn back. I had a horrible fever and just wasn't doing so well. Hopefully we'll make it to the HOTC next year...
  • Visit the New England Aquarium
  • See the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
  • Go to Top of the Hub for cocktails  - I went to Top of the Hub on Sunday with some friends for cocktails. It was a beautifully clear (and cold!) day and we had great views of Boston. We had great service while we were there. One of my friends ordered a martini that was poured tableside. They left her the shaker to top off the rest of her drink. When she poured the rest of her martini in the glass, there was a tiny little bug in there. We informed the waitress and she took the glass away. My friend didn't want another drink  so we were just hoping they would take her martini off the bill. When the waitress returned she said they comped our entire bill, which was totally unnecessary! The manager even came over to apologize about the drink. We were all very impressed by that service. I'll definitely be going back here with Hubby some time.
  • Visit 3 new cities - 1: St Louis, 2: Niagara Falls 3: Keene, NH 4: Exeter, NH
Reader's Choice
  • Post more how-to tips (including videos) on here (thanks to Mary and Sarah for the suggestion!) - Check out my new How-To tag. I've posted a few how-to posts this month already!

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Thursday, February 16, 2012

Salted Caramel Pecan Brownies

I may have misled you guys the other day when I was talking about that Salted Caramel Sauce. Sure, I gave away most of it as gifts. And sure, Hubby enjoyed it on top of ice cream. But one of the real reasons I wanted to make it was so that I could make these Salted Caramel Pecan Brownies.



If you like turtles, you'll love these brownies. I made these while my mom was visiting since she loves turtles. I whipped them up in no time and then we had to wait the brutal couple of hours for them to chill and set up. We all really enjoyed these brownies. They were very decadent without over-doing it.

One Year Ago: Chocolate Hazelnut Baklava
Two Years Ago: Two Potato Chowder
Three Years Ago: Smashed Chickpea Salad
Four Years Ago: Lemon Cupcakes


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Publick House Mac and Cheese

Fellow Bostonians, have you been to The Publick House in Washington Square? If you haven't been there, you need to go this weekend. It's one of our favorite places to go. And we happen to live right down the street. Score!



Hubby is pretty predictable when it comes to his order at The Publick House. He always gets the mac and cheese or the moules-frites. (I always go with the veggie burger). I decided I wanted to find a recipe for this famous mac and cheese for a recent dinner with friends. Luckily, there was a recipe posted on Boston.com.


I grabbed all my ingredients and got ready to make this mac and cheese. First, I cut the recipe in half. I was cooking dinner for 4 people and the recipe said it serves 8. Hubby helped by shredding the cheeses while I was cooking the bechamel sauce. Once the cooked macaroni was stirred into the cheese sauce, it was then baked for 20 more minutes. This mac and cheese is definitely a labor of love. But's it is so worth it. I took a couple bites and really enjoyed it. Hubby and our guests enjoyed it as well!

One Year Ago: Dulce de Leche in the Crockpot

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Salted Caramel Sauce

Caramel sauce might be one of Hubby's favorite things ever. He will always choose a caramel treat over a a chocolatey treat. I've just recently gotten more comfortable making my own caramel sauce. It actually is so much easier than I thought it was. Having a candy thermometer is a must for making caramel at home. But that's really all you need. If you haven't made your own caramel sauce, do it. Trust me, it's worth the minimal effort required.



I ended up making a triple batch of this salted caramel during the holidays. I ordered some cute jars online and gave them away as gifts to some family members. Hubby also enjoyed a bunch of this caramel sauce heated up over vanilla ice cream.



One Year Ago: Crunchy Nut Encrusted Chicken Tenders
Two Years Ago: BBQ Chicken Pizza Sticks


Monday, February 13, 2012

Peanut Butter Caramel Corn

Caramel corn is one of my favorite snacks. I can eat my way through more than I should in one sitting. Because of this, I rarely make it at home. I whipped up this Peanut Butter Caramel Corn for hanging out with some friends a couple weeks ago. Everyone really enjoyed it.



I used Peanut Butter and Co's White Chocolate Wonderful peanut butter. I think it has a hint of caramel flavor in it and figured it would pair well with the caramel. I think this would be delicious with regular old peanut butter, but I really enjoyed the flavor using the white chocolate PB.



Two Years Ago: M&M Cookies
Three Years Ago: Vegan Chocolate Banana Caramel Cupcakes


Friday, February 10, 2012

Warm Chickpea, Mushroom, and Brussels Sprouts Salad

Hubby and I LOVE brussels sprouts. When they're roasted, they are my favorite vegetable. We probably eat roasted brussels at least once a week. Sometimes more like three times a week. They're just SO GOOD. And I'm proud to say that I introduced them to my family and now my 17 year old sister makes them at home for dinner.



As much as I love roasted brussels, I also like to mix things up sometimes. I made this recipe for the first time as an excuse to try that Cardamom Candied Bacon. Let me tell you, we've been mixing this Warm Chickpea, Mushroom, and Brussels Sprouts Salad pretty often since that first time.



If I don't have candied bacon, I just use regular old bacon. I honestly couldn't notice a difference when the bacon wasn't candied. The hardest part of this recipe is just slicing the brussels. Luckily, Hubby enjoys this dish so much, he offers to slice the brussels for me while I cook the bacon. This salad is great fresh off the stove and it also reheats well and is a perfect addition to a packed lunch from home.



Two Years Ago: Mixed Berry and Cream Cheese Filled King Cake
Three Years Ago: Crockpot Red Curry Chicken with Butternut Squash


Thursday, February 9, 2012

Cardamom Candied Bacon

I think we can all agree that bacon makes everything better. (except maybe those brownies I posted a couple weeks ago). But how do you make bacon better? You candy it. With cardamom. Yep, candied bacon is amazing. And cardamom is one of my favorite spices. I love the citrusy, spicy flavor.



Hubby and I enjoyed this bacon next to eggs for breakfast. I also used this bacon in the Candied Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies that I made recently. And be sure to check back tomorrow for a savory recipe to use this bacon.

One Year Ago: Triple Layer Oreo Cake

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Amazingly Blueberry-ey Blueberry Muffins

Last summer, Hubby and I went blueberry picking with some friends. We came home with tons and tons of blueberries (15 pounds to be exact!). I whipped up a bunch of blueberry treats, like Cinnamon Blueberry Rolls, Blueberry Cobbler Bars, and even some Blueberry Salsa over Grilled Mahi Mahi. Even after all these yummy blueberry treats, I still frozen quite a few blueberries so we could enjoy them all year.



Hubby likes to sit down with a bag of frozen blueberries and just snack on them. But he lets me bake with some of them as well. These muffins really are Amazingly Blueberry-ey Blueberry Muffins. They're bursting with berry deliciousness. The blueberry jam swirled into the top of the muffins add an extra burst of flavor. I love this idea and can't wait to try it with other fruit muffins.



One Year Ago: Black Forest Cupcakes for Frosting for the Cause
Two Years Ago: Chinese Restaurant Almond Cookies


Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Cherry M&M Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

I saw these cookies on Picky Palate over the holidays. They reminded me of these Oatmeal Chocolate Cinnamon Cookies that I love. I decided I had to find some cinnamon M&Ms. Then I found out the hard way that getting my hands on some cinnamon M&Ms was going to be much easier said than done.



I looked in every place I could think of for those silly cinnamon M&Ms. Apparently everyone else in Boston was sitting at home snacking on them while I was out searching for them. Or maybe they just didn't make it to Boston. Either way, I was ready to give up.



Then I was at the store and noticed they had candy out for Valentine's Day. I thought maybe they'd have some of the mysterious cinnamon M&Ms since they're red. No such luck. But they did have these red cherry M&Ms. I decided to give them a shot and just give up on the cinnamon ones.



I followed the same recipe and even included the ground cinnamon which turned out to be the right decision. The cinnamon gave a great boost of flavor to these cookies.



I ran out of M&Ms for the last few cookies and I have to say, this chocolate chip cookie recipe without the M&Ms is pretty tasty too.

One Year Ago: Colorful Cumin Quinoa Salad

Monday, February 6, 2012

Black and Tan Brownies

It's Secret Recipe Club time again. This group has been so much fun because it's so low pressure and I get to meet new bloggers and try new recipes. My matchup this month is Itzy's Kitchen.



Back when we were dating, Hubby would order a Black and Tan on a regular basis. He was the first person I had ever seen order one. I'm not a huge fan of the original black and tan (made with Bass and Guinness), but I do enjoy some of the variations, especially mixing Blue Moon and Guinness Some places call this a Black Moon or a Black and Blue. Although be careful when you order a Black and Blue. Some places will mix blueberry beer with Guinness. Weird!



When I saw the pictures on Itzy's Kitchen the bars looked a little thin and I definitely enjoy thicker blondies/brownies. I decided to make the entire recipe but use a smaller pan. I definitely got a thicker bar, but the ratio of batter wasn't 50:50 like I was expecting. I double checked the ingredients and I definitely put everything in, so it's a mystery why the tan layer was so thin.

Even with the thin tan layer, these were delicious. The Guinness keeps the black layer very moist and the nuts in the tan layer provide a nice crunch.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Candied Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies

After I made those disappointing Bacon Bourbon Brownies, I couldn't get the thought of a bacon-ey dessert out of my head. Luckily there are plenty of bacon filled desserts out there on the internet. I was so happy when I took my first bite of these cookies. The bacon lends a smokey saltiness that isn't too overpowering but very well appreciated.



I took these cookies to work and had fun listening to people's reaction when they saw the label on the ziplock bag. Some people were instantly turned off by the idea of bacon in a cookie. Others were intrigued and a few of them didn't believe there was actually bacon in them until they took a bite.



I chopped the bacon pretty small so you don't see huge chunks of bacon. I wanted them to be about the same size as a chocolate chip and I think that size worked well. You could definitely use larger chunks to get more of a wow-factor just by looking at the cookies.



Two Years Ago: Spicy Sweet Pretzel Party Mix
Three Years Ago: Alton Brown's Overnight Cinnamon Rolls
Four Years Ago: Chocolate Cupcakes and Stuffed Chicken Burgers


Thursday, February 2, 2012

Roasted Garlic Hummus

Now that you all know how simple it is to roast garlic at home, you can make all sorts of delicious treats with it. First up is some Roasted Garlic Hummus. I always like to have some fresh vegetables at any sort of party, including parties for the upcoming Superbowl. I like to give people the option to have something lighter and healthier on their plate.



Once you have some roasted garlic that has been cooled to room temperature, whipping up the hummus only takes a few minutes. Serve it with some fresh veggies and pita chips.

One Year Ago: Peppermint Patty Cupcakes
Two Years Ago: Spinach and Artichoke Dip
Three Years Ago: Pork Chops with Blue Cheese Gravy


Wednesday, February 1, 2012

How to Roast Garlic

Today kick's off Hubby's birthday month! The crazy thing is that he's not a big birthday person. But I am. I would celebrate my birthday the entire month of June if he let me. Usually I'm lucky to get just the one weekend of my birthday dedicated to me. But that's ok. I like making a big deal out of other people's birthdays almost as much as my own.



So this month, I'm going to feature some of Hubby's favorite foods. Or foods containing his favorite foods.

It's pretty easy to predict if Hubby is going to like something. For one, he's not a picky eater at all, so really, there are very few things he won't like. I don't think there's anything he absolutely won't eat. He claims to not like peanut butter in desserts, but he still eats them... I've been told that as a boy, he often requested liver and onions for dinner. I can tell you one thing. If you serve something with one of these foods, he's going to love it:
  • lobster
  • caramel
  • coffee
  • creme brulee
  • garlic
  • bacon
  • blueberries


So to kick things off today, I'm going to show you how to roast garlic. It's quite simple and roasted garlic is so sweet and fragrant, it's worth the small amount of effort that it requires. Hubby would bathe in this stuff if I let him. Instead, I let him smear it on bread by the spoonful.

One Year Ago: Oven Roasted Chickpeas
Two Years Ago: Chocolate Overdose Cake


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