Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Homemade Pizza

I haven't posted in toooo long! I've been settling back into the college life, and haven't had much time for anything other than homework (unfortunately). Though I won't be able to cook much here at school, I took plenty of pictures over the summer so that I can keep posting! For one of the last dinners that I cooked home, I made "semi-homemade" pizza. Instead of using store bought dough, or creating dough from scratch, I buy a round of dough from my favorite pizzeria. It only costs a few dollars, and I save myself quite a bit of time [if I were to make it from scratch]. For this pizza, I used pesto for the sauce, then topped it with fresh mozz and thinly sliced home-grown tomatoes.

1 round of pizza dough
whatever toppings you like

- coat bake pan (with 1in lip on edges) with olive oil
- pound out dough, making sure to get rid of bubbles
- spread a thin coating of sauce onto dough, and put in preheated 400 degree oven, bake for 10 minutes
- lower oven to 350, and add another layer of sauce, cheese, and topping
- bake for additional 15 - 20 minutes, or until dough is golden brown and sounds hollow when you tap on it


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Berry Picking

There's something to be said about fresh produce picked straight from the source. I've always wanted to try picking my own fruits, but never had the time or knew where to go. So, I made it a mission that before I went back to school I would find a pick-your-own farm. After some research I came across Alstede Farm out in Chester, NJ, where you're able to pick blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, peaches, apples, tomatoes, and more. So, after figuring out how to get there, my boyfriend and I made the trip and picked the most delicious fresh berries I've ever had.


(I now want a blueberry bush in my backyard, so delish)

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

maple syrup sweets

When I was a little kid, syrup was one of my absolute favorite foods (along with the frozen dinosaur chicken nuggets, pancakes, and sweet potato baby food; I obviously had a very mature palate). On the mornings that I was allowed to have pancakes of waffles for breakfast, I would drown them in ooey gooey syrup. Once I was done - and it pains me to admit this - I would lick the left over syrup off the plate. To say that I liked the sweet stuff was an understatement. So when my mother asked me to create a few desserts for her book club using maple syrup as the key ingredient, I had plenty of ideas.

First I did a maple bread pudding. I used a fresh loaf of cinnamon raisin bread and let it sit out a bit to harden up so it would absorb more of the liquid ingredients. The result was a mapley, raisiny pan of french-toast-like goodness. Here's the recipe!

Then, because I had extra maple syrup (and because it would have been a shame to let it go to waste), I made maple spice cupcakes with a maple buttercream frosting, topped with a sprinkle of crushed candied walnuts. I think next time I would add the walnuts to the batter and make muffins instead, but they were delicious either way.

You can find the recipe here!

Friday, July 2, 2010

cheaters cupcakes

When I was in 8th grade, I won an award for being the most active member in one of the clubs I was in. The real reason I won the award? I was the only one who baked for any of the bake sales. Cupcakes were my favorite, and whipping up boxed-cake-mix delicacies were my specialty. Now however, as a somewhat serious baker, I don't love using boxed cake mix. But when I'm short on time and know that the crowd I'm feeding won't recognize the difference I'll skip the hassle and use boxed. For a birthday bbq last weekend I made regular yellow cake cupcakes and used buttercream and milk chocolate frostings. So they weren't so boring, I made sure to decorate them nicely.

[ aren't they cute?!]

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

street fairs & iced tea

After a monotonous week, Saturdays are always highly anticipated. There's so many possibilities - especially in the summer - and yet many times I find that I waste the day. This past Saturday I started early and went to a local street fair. I love outdoor shopping, and that combined with the abundance of people and music made it a great event. My friend and I decided to check out a cafe that neither of us had ever been to, called the Rolling Pin Cafe. The decor alone was adorable, but their delicious sandwiches and homemade iced teas have me dying to go back.

[ I'm now on a hunt for these adorable glasses]

Sunday, June 27, 2010

blackberry crumb heaven

I love making pies, especially in the summer when there's tons of fresh fruit available. Last summer I experimented with which fruits worked the best, and discovered that blackberries create a thick and sweet, not to mention delicious pie. Instead of using a top layer of crust to contain the berries, I sprinkle a brown sugar crumb topping over the pie instead.

Here's the recipe!

- 4 cups fresh blackberries
- 1/2 c white sugar
- 1/2 c all-purpose flour
- 1 recipe pastry for a 9 inch pie crust (for this pie I used frozen pillsbury dough, I didn't have enough time)
- for crumb topping: 1 cup brown sugar, 1 cup all-purpose flour, and 1/2 c butter diced (combine these until the topping is crumbly)

- combine 3 cups of the berries with the sugar and flour and cook in a saucepan until berries have slightly reduced
- spread the cooked berries over the bottom of the pie crust and pour remaining fresh berries on top.
- sprinkle crumb topping over the berries and bake at 425 degrees F for 15 minutes, then reduce temp to 375 degrees and bake for an additional 20 to 25 minutes

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

the Father's Day tart that never was

Father's Day is, oddly enough, one of my favorite holidays. Yes, I love my dad, but that's not why. Father's Day represents the beginning of the summer. School's finally out, it's hot enough to use the pool, and it's the first big bbq of the season. This year, I decided that I would bake a soft chocolate and blueberry tart for a bit of a fancier dessert than the usual cherry pie and ice cream. Everything was going according to plan, when the oven broke.

Of course things only go wrong when you need them the most. The finished (but still unbaked) tart shell sat in the freezer while the oven struggled to preheat past 200 degrees. Finally at 8 o'clock, after my family had left, it started working. I finished the rest of the tart and popped it back into the oven.

This tart comes out perfectly each time, soft and decadent with just a little tartness from the blueberries. And the short bread crust could honestly be eaten alone, it's that good.

You can find the unaltered version of the recipe here!