Sunday, July 31, 2011

mini peach-basil puff pastry pie

I saw the movie Because I Said So this weekend. It's all about this mother who tries to find a boyfriend/husband for her youngest daughter since all of the men that the daughter has chosen for herself have not been compatible matches.

They don't mesh.

I've been going through that.

To be honest, for the past 6 months or so I've been meeting men who I don't mesh with causing me to swear off dating.

Let me list the scenarios:

Man 1: My friend introduced us and after only 1 time together it was evident that we would never get along. Not only was he late to meet up with me, but he then proceeded to SCOLD me during a discussion. What?! Ok, bye.

Man 2: We met at the now defunct Borders bookshop. Really normal, right. Well as time went on I found out that he was lying to me about his age (22 instead of 27) and his job (unemployed instead of high-school football coach). What?! Dear God; why me.

Being 22 and unemployed is not a horrible thing. The fact is he lied to me. But, chances are if you're 22 and unemployed I probably won't date you, so...

Man 3: He was obsessed with his cat. Gross. I tried  to not be judgmental about that one, but I already have my own negative feelings toward cats so when you add the obsessive component, I couldn't really mesh with him. It was over before it started--once again.

After Man 3 I decided that I am done for the rest of 2011.

So, while I haven't found anyone that I'm compatible with, I relish in the fact that there are certain things that you think shouldn't go well  together, but they magically do!

Like peaches and basil.

Peaches and basil are perfect together. ALWAYS.

It's one of my favorite flavor combination's and using it as a filling for these mini puff pastry pies was genius.

So while I keep striking out with these weirdo men, I'll keep in mind that more often than not I'll be able to make things go well together in my tiny and cozy little kitchen. :)

I served these alongside rich vanilla ice-cream and it was d-e-l-i-c-i-o-u-s.

Mini Peach Basil Puff Pastry Pies--Adapted from O, The Oprah Magazine
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • A big handful of basil leaves (I don't remember how much I used--maybe a cup)
  • 3 whole peaches peeled, pitted, and cubed
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch (I actually don't think this was necessary)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (or just vanilla)
  • 1 sheet of puff pastry
  • 1 egg + 1 tablespoon of water for egg wash  as well as turbinado sugar
1. Bring the water and sugar to a boil for about 3 minutes until  it thickens but not changing color.

2. Take off the burner and let it cool for a bit. Transfer it to a food processor or blender along with the basil. Pulse it until it's combined. Taste and add more basil  if you want more basil punch.

3. Take your cubed and peeled peaches and mix it with the basil mixture, vanilla,and cornstarch. Cover it with plastic wrap and let the flavors meld for about an hour.

4. When ready, preheat oven to 400 degrees, unroll your puff pastry and cut out eight 4 inch circles. Spray a muffin tin with oil and then line a muffin tin with the first four pastry circles.

5. Spoon peach mixture into the tins lined with the pastry and then take the remaining pastry circles and top each muffin cup making sure to seal them tightly. Brush tops with egg wash and turbinado sugar.

6. Bake for 25-35 minutes until golden brown. Serve and enjoy!

Linked to:
A Well Seasoned Life
Sweet As Sugar Cookies

Sunday, July 24, 2011

coffee ice-box cake

One of my biggest unfulfilled dreams was to be a “Zoomer”--one of those kids on that ZOOM television show.

I would have been SO good.

I know this because when I was younger, I would practice for hours on end the opening song and dance, the closing song and dance, the transition chants, and I’d come up with new Fannee Doolee riddles.
I absolutely love fresh whipped cream!

I remember the exact day when I knew I could have been better than the currently casted Zoomer’s.

I was 11 years old and just came home from school and saw Lynese making a “zebra” cake---also known as an ice-box cake. She was so…eh.  I would have been so much more entertaining and engaging with the at-home audience. And, I would have never said “Like so” or “axe” instead of “ask”. I also didn’t like how she dragged out her lines during 2:11 to 2:16. I wouldn’t have done that. I'm bitter. So what.  ;)

You can see her take below:

I would have been so  much better, right?! LOL, just humor me…

Anyways, I got to thinking about the zebra/ice-box cake this week because it has been so unbearably hot!

I know its July, but this heat is getting to be kind of disrespectful, no?
So hot!

FACT: 85% of the reason why I left Miami, my hometown, was because the heat there is just too reckless.  I don’t deal well with heat and humidity. Yech.

So, because it was so hot and I ate foods that were mostly cold, I figured I’d make this zebra/ice-box cake since it’s a no-bake.

This cake is so good! It's basically cookies and cream which is always an awesome combination.

I added instant espresso powder to the whipped cream to make it coffee flavored and, mmmm!!

Try this cake the next time you need an easy and cool dessert. :)

P.S. I also wanted to be on Barney and Friends and Kidsongs Kids--none of which happened. I blame my mother.

Coffee Ice-Box Cake
  • 1-3/4 cups cold heavy cream
  • 1 tsp. of vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon instant espresso powder
  • 1-2 tablespoons of sugar (most  recipes call for 1, but I like my cream sweet)
  • 2 packages Nabisco Famous Chocolate Wafers
1. Whip the cream, sugar and espresso powder until stiff peaks begin to form.

2. On a plate, arrange 2 rows of 3 cookies and put dollops of cream onto each one.Stack another cookie on top and keep doing so until you reach desired  height.

3.When you reach desired height, spread the rest of the cream around the entire cake and then refrigerate for at least 4 hours. Serve and enjoy!

Linked to:
A Well Seasoned Life
Sweet As Sugar Cookies

Sunday, July 17, 2011

smothered tater tots w/ pulled pork

I recently got a Crock-Pot (to my mother’s chagrin) and have been cooking up some things in it to try and see what it can do.

I remember BEGGING my mom for a Crock-Pot when I was like 8 years old. I read about it in a Ramona Quimby book and thought it was like “the coolest thing ever!”

Long story short, I never did get one because my mother was absolutely APALLED at the fact that people cooked their family meals in a ceramic pot for 8 hours while they did other things.

“Where is the love”, she would say.


That’s me madre for ya.

Well, now that I have a Crock-Pot, throwing the ingredients in there while I tend to errands is one of my favorite parts about it!

Take today for example—While my pork cooked for 7 hours I managed to:

Do my laundry-

Paint my nails-

Celebrate National Ice-Cream Day-

And, before I knew it the pork was finished!

Exciting stuff, man. :)
These smothered tots are a dish that I first had a couple months ago during a happy hour after work.

Crispy tater tots layered with BBQ pulled pork and then smothered with cheese.

Man, it is so good!

The secret to having the perfect smothered tots is to make extra sure that the tater tots are really crispy. This dish needs to have texture and crunch, so make sure of that.

Give it a try and I’m sure you’ll enjoy it!  :)

BBQ Pulled Pork
--Adapted from Taylors at Home
  • Pork Tenderloin or shoulder “butt” roast
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 cup Dr. Pepper
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • BBQ sauce (I used Honey BBQ)
1. Place sliced onion, garlic, Dr. Pepper and water in the crock pot.

2. Put the pork in next and pour the worcestershire sauce and about 1/2 cup bbq sauce on top. Cook on low for 7-8 hours.

3. Drain the extra liquid and discard the fat. Shred the pork with two forks and add more bbq sauce to your desired consistency.

Smothered Tots
  • BBQ Pulled Pork
  • Really crispy Tater Tots (homemade or store bought)
  • Shredded Cheddar and Provolone cheeses
  • Sour Cream
  • Scallions
1. Cook tots and when ready place them on the bottom  of a plate.

2. Pile on the pulled pork and cheeses. Finish with a dollop of sour cream and  scallions.

3. Enjoy!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

homemade funnel cake

Whenever I make something it’s always for other people.

The majority of things I make goes to work, a get-together , mailed out, etc.

Rarely do I make these sinful treats for myself.

Well, sometime today after my car got towed and before I slammed my front door on my left foot, I decided that I wanted funnel cake.

You know, those fried dough thingy’s that you get at your local fair?

Yea, those.
You actually use a funnel to make them. Funnel Cakes!

You can’t pack them up and send them  off—they’re only good right at that moment.

And, since I’ve been both a loser and unlucky
all weekend, I decided why not continue in my loserdom and make something really fatty and delicious all for myself?

I did---the aforementioned funnel cake.

You guys.

They were so freaking good.

They tasted BETTER than the ones that I’ve ever had at a fair.
They were crispy and doughy and fresh and delightful.

So freaking good.

As I was eating them standing by my sink full of dirty dishes, I happened to see a forgotten jar of Nutella in one of my open cupboards and thought, “Hmmm.”

Yea, I did it—and it was oh so good. I added bananas too.  :)

So good.

I am physically trying to restrain myself from frying up some more of those bad boys.

But, I’m not going to.

No need to add anymore gluttony to my already sloth filled
weekend.  =)

Homemade Funnel Cake--From Tasty Kitchen
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cups sugars
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3 whole eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2-1/4 cups milk
  • Powdered Sugar (for Dusting)
  • Canola Oil, For Frying (I used Crisco)

1. In a large, deep pan, heat the oil to 350 degrees.

2. Mix dry ingredients then whisk in the eggs, vanilla extract, and milk. Add a dash more milk if need to  achieve the proper consistency (the batter should resemble thin pancake batter).

3. Pour 1/2 cup batter through a funnel (while making circular, swirling motions) into the hot oil. Fry for 2 to 3 minutes, flipping halfway through. Drain on a paper towel, coat with powdered sugar, and enjoy!

Monday, July 4, 2011

4th of july flag cake

Hey friends! Happy Fourth of July!!!

I absolutely love the 4th because it’s always a great time to see friends, eat good food and just have fun  going from cookout to cookout.

It’s awesome!

I have been DYING to make this cake ever since I saw it on Elissa’s blog about 2 years ago.

It was seriously one of the coolest cakes that I had seen in a long time and I wanted to give it a try.

I’m actually taking it to a BBQ this afternoon, so whoops---I already sliced into it to get a picture.

LOL! So ghetto. They’re my friends so they’ll understand…I hope. ;)

As you can see, my cake is kinda jacked, no?

I am the worst at torting cakes which causes my layers to always be uneven.

That makes me sad.  I want to take cake decorating classes.

My mom of course would frown upon that. I can already hear her now: "Why do you Americans need to take a class to learn how to do everything!"

Don't ask--she is who she is. I whole-heatedly embrace my Americanism.

The cake itself is delicious. I simply used a white cake mix and added lemon zest and lemon extract to the batter. I then iced it with a lemon cream cheese icing.

So good! (I planned to slide the cut slice back into the cake, but I ended up eating it. That’s how I know it’s good.)

Well that’s the story of this cake. It was pretty fun to make and I will definitely try it again next year!

I hope you all enjoy the holiday with your loved ones--if anybody has tips on helping me help myself torte a cake, please feel free to school me. 

Lemon Cake
  • 1 box of white cake mix and all other necessary add ins
  • 1 tablespoon lemon extract
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest

    1. Bake the cakes as you normally would---you will need 3 layers of red, white, and blue.

    2. Now for the rest of the directions, I will direct you over to Elissa's blog. She explains it better.

Lemon Cream Cheese Icing
  • 1/2 cup of butter, softened
  • 8 oz of cream cheese, softened
  • 2 cups of powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest

    1. In a bowl, mix butter, cream cheese, and lemon juice until fluffy--about 3 minutes.

    2. Add  sugar one cup at a time and then lemon zest. Use it to ice whatever you'd like!