Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Fresh Blackberry Muffins

 

 I've always been a big fan of muffins, but the summer before I went off to college, I developed a full-blown addiction. I was working as a counselor at an arts day camp that summer, and we each got one extended break per day, which, believe me, was SO welcome. I usually liked to get out of the building and often found that my break would lead me to the diner up the street. The muffins themselves weren't even that good--they were clearly ordered by the flat from some big distributor--but they would split them in half for you and toast them on the griddle with a near-obscene amount of butter. Even the most sub-par muffin takes on a life of its own when it is soaked in butter and cooked until it develops a crispy, golden crust. (They were SO. Good.) I didn't get them often, since I was trying to save my money for college and not spend it all on baked goods, but that didn't stop me from wanting to get one of those muffins every single day.
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Thursday, April 11, 2013

Birthday Party Cookies

  

Sometimes, you just need to indulge your irrational side and make cookies for no good reason. The only real reason I made these cookies in the first place was that the tub of sprinkles in the pantry was calling me. (And really--who can resist the call of sprinkles?) I always like the idea of Funfetti-like sprinkle cookies, but the usually lack depth of flavor to me, since I fully believe that chocolate improves just about everything. I also had some milk chocolate waiting to be used, and I figured the creamy, sweet milk chocolate would compliment the sprinkles by adding the the birthday party flavor profile and aesthetic. (Sorry--sometimes my inner English major comes out. It doesn't help that I teach the verbal portion of the SAT around this time of year!)

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Turkey Chile Verde Quesadillas

 

 Quesadillas are one of those foods that, for a really long time, I thought could not be made successfully at home. Which didn't make a lot of sense, since they have a lot in common with grilled cheese, in their simplest form. Since I love them, I found myself ordering them out at Mexican restaurants a lot, but that felt like a bit of a waste. There are plenty of dishes on the menu at Mexican restaurants that take hours and slow cooking and special ingredients and techniques to make, unlike quick-cooking quesadillas. Why pay for the easy thing?

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Homemade Birthday Cake Oreos



 The bag looked innocent enough--standard Nabisco blue, illustrated with cute, celebratory 100th anniversary Oreos and a few extra graphics. The cookies within appeared to have a special birthday stamp on one side and cream that was flecked with bits of color. Adorable, but I figured they would just taste like regular Oreos with some sprinkles in the frosting, nothing too special. Still, the call of a special, festive Oreo was alluring, so, after debating for a moment and deciding that I was indeed feeling impulsive, I splurged and bought the birthday Oreos. 

It wasn't until a few hours later that I ripped open the bag and took a sniff of the store-bought Birthday Cake Oreos. Wow. They certainly smelled better than normal Oreos. I took a bite... and another... and then I couldn't stop. All the normal goodness of crispy, chocolatey Oreos was supplemented by the jaunty, sprinkle-filled cream, which tasted--unbelievably enough--just like cake batter. There was no question--these were the best store-bought cookies in the universe.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Marshmallow Peep Ice Cream


If there is one true statement we can make about Easter, it is this: everybody loves marshmallow Peeps. Even if you don't like eating them, you have to love looking at them. (I mean, just look those little pink bunnies--how cute are they?) Anyway, my point in this is that, whether you still wait up anxiously for the Easter Bunny to deliver them your way or you buy them on sale the day after Easter, you will probably find yourself with some Peeps in your life, come Monday. And sure, you could eat them right away. You could leave them out and let them get a little stale, like I love to do, and then consume them in a day or two. Or you could do the most wonderful, mad scientisty thing imaginable: you can turn them into ice cream.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Leftover Makeover: St. Patrick's Day Edition (Potato Boxty)


It seems like, after every holiday, we either have one of the following leftovers quandaries: either we have so much of the meal left to eat that we get tired of it quickly and bits sit around for ages, or we have bits and pieces of everything, but nothing that equals a full dinner for everyone, so the bits and pieces sit around for ages. Fortunately, I've got a great suggestion for a humble little dish that can unify the bits and pieces left over from your St. Patrick's Day feast--and maybe even utilize some of the leftovers itself!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

St. Patrick's Day Cocktail: Ginger Pear Cider

 

I always feel slightly left out, especially around St. Patrick's Day, because I don't like beer.  Guinness is authentic and green beer is wonderfully tacky and theme-y, but, while I'll cook with it, I have no interest in actually drinking beer ever. I also don't really like those girly "fake beer" type drinks, like Smirnoff Ice or Mike's Hard--they just taste like a lot of sugar to me. So when I discovered hard cider, I was thrilled to finally find something in bottle form that I enjoyed. I really don't drink often, but it's nice to have options--especially options that are slightly less costly.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Irish Coffee Whoopie Pies


Ok, this is going to be the least authentic recipe you're going to see from me this week--but it's DELICIOUS, so it's ok! (I don't know when I switched from thinking that everything green or mint clearly meant St. Patrick's Day to my current "must stay somewhat authentically Irish" mindset. It probably had to do with studying abroad in Ireland, but maybe it's just me being me.) Regardless of whether you feel compelled to be authentic on St. Patrick's Day or not, you'll love these Irish Coffee Whoopie Pies.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Fresh Blackberry Muffins

 

 I've always been a big fan of muffins, but the summer before I went off to college, I developed a full-blown addiction. I was working as a counselor at an arts day camp that summer, and we each got one extended break per day, which, believe me, was SO welcome. I usually liked to get out of the building and often found that my break would lead me to the diner up the street. The muffins themselves weren't even that good--they were clearly ordered by the flat from some big distributor--but they would split them in half for you and toast them on the griddle with a near-obscene amount of butter. Even the most sub-par muffin takes on a life of its own when it is soaked in butter and cooked until it develops a crispy, golden crust. (They were SO. Good.) I didn't get them often, since I was trying to save my money for college and not spend it all on baked goods, but that didn't stop me from wanting to get one of those muffins every single day.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Birthday Party Cookies

  

Sometimes, you just need to indulge your irrational side and make cookies for no good reason. The only real reason I made these cookies in the first place was that the tub of sprinkles in the pantry was calling me. (And really--who can resist the call of sprinkles?) I always like the idea of Funfetti-like sprinkle cookies, but the usually lack depth of flavor to me, since I fully believe that chocolate improves just about everything. I also had some milk chocolate waiting to be used, and I figured the creamy, sweet milk chocolate would compliment the sprinkles by adding the the birthday party flavor profile and aesthetic. (Sorry--sometimes my inner English major comes out. It doesn't help that I teach the verbal portion of the SAT around this time of year!)

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Turkey Chile Verde Quesadillas

 

 Quesadillas are one of those foods that, for a really long time, I thought could not be made successfully at home. Which didn't make a lot of sense, since they have a lot in common with grilled cheese, in their simplest form. Since I love them, I found myself ordering them out at Mexican restaurants a lot, but that felt like a bit of a waste. There are plenty of dishes on the menu at Mexican restaurants that take hours and slow cooking and special ingredients and techniques to make, unlike quick-cooking quesadillas. Why pay for the easy thing?

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Homemade Birthday Cake Oreos



 The bag looked innocent enough--standard Nabisco blue, illustrated with cute, celebratory 100th anniversary Oreos and a few extra graphics. The cookies within appeared to have a special birthday stamp on one side and cream that was flecked with bits of color. Adorable, but I figured they would just taste like regular Oreos with some sprinkles in the frosting, nothing too special. Still, the call of a special, festive Oreo was alluring, so, after debating for a moment and deciding that I was indeed feeling impulsive, I splurged and bought the birthday Oreos. 

It wasn't until a few hours later that I ripped open the bag and took a sniff of the store-bought Birthday Cake Oreos. Wow. They certainly smelled better than normal Oreos. I took a bite... and another... and then I couldn't stop. All the normal goodness of crispy, chocolatey Oreos was supplemented by the jaunty, sprinkle-filled cream, which tasted--unbelievably enough--just like cake batter. There was no question--these were the best store-bought cookies in the universe.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Marshmallow Peep Ice Cream


If there is one true statement we can make about Easter, it is this: everybody loves marshmallow Peeps. Even if you don't like eating them, you have to love looking at them. (I mean, just look those little pink bunnies--how cute are they?) Anyway, my point in this is that, whether you still wait up anxiously for the Easter Bunny to deliver them your way or you buy them on sale the day after Easter, you will probably find yourself with some Peeps in your life, come Monday. And sure, you could eat them right away. You could leave them out and let them get a little stale, like I love to do, and then consume them in a day or two. Or you could do the most wonderful, mad scientisty thing imaginable: you can turn them into ice cream.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Leftover Makeover: St. Patrick's Day Edition (Potato Boxty)


It seems like, after every holiday, we either have one of the following leftovers quandaries: either we have so much of the meal left to eat that we get tired of it quickly and bits sit around for ages, or we have bits and pieces of everything, but nothing that equals a full dinner for everyone, so the bits and pieces sit around for ages. Fortunately, I've got a great suggestion for a humble little dish that can unify the bits and pieces left over from your St. Patrick's Day feast--and maybe even utilize some of the leftovers itself!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

St. Patrick's Day Cocktail: Ginger Pear Cider

 

I always feel slightly left out, especially around St. Patrick's Day, because I don't like beer.  Guinness is authentic and green beer is wonderfully tacky and theme-y, but, while I'll cook with it, I have no interest in actually drinking beer ever. I also don't really like those girly "fake beer" type drinks, like Smirnoff Ice or Mike's Hard--they just taste like a lot of sugar to me. So when I discovered hard cider, I was thrilled to finally find something in bottle form that I enjoyed. I really don't drink often, but it's nice to have options--especially options that are slightly less costly.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Irish Coffee Whoopie Pies


Ok, this is going to be the least authentic recipe you're going to see from me this week--but it's DELICIOUS, so it's ok! (I don't know when I switched from thinking that everything green or mint clearly meant St. Patrick's Day to my current "must stay somewhat authentically Irish" mindset. It probably had to do with studying abroad in Ireland, but maybe it's just me being me.) Regardless of whether you feel compelled to be authentic on St. Patrick's Day or not, you'll love these Irish Coffee Whoopie Pies.
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