Monday, October 29, 2012

When life throws rocks at you make rocky road

Let me apologize in advance for the poor photo quality. Hurricane Sandy is currently taking a stroll through my neighborhood and her presences doesn't make for the best natural light. So far we've been really lucky, there's no flooding in my neighborhood, we still have power, and I have an excuse to stay in and bake.
 As long as my power stays on throughout this storm I'll be in the kitchen concocting new things to share with you all. I can't wait!

Even though the photos are sub par I promise the recipe is top notch. How could butter, marshmallows, and nutella not lead to something good. This recipe was inspired by The Pioneer Woman's nutella crispy treats. I had gone into the kitchen to prepare that recipe but I decided to spin off on my own and take a rocky road approach. So I used chocolate cereal instead of regular ant topped the treats with chopped almonds and mini marshmallows. I like the slated almonds because it gives you that salty sweet affect. While whipping these up a few more adaptions popped into my head so stayed tuned for more cereal treats.

Rocky Road Puffed Rice Treats

4 Tbsp. unsalted butter
10.5 bag of mini marshmallows
2 spoonfuls of nutella
6 cups of chocolate puffed rice cereal
mini marshmallows
chopped roasted salted almonds


Measure cereal into a large glass bowl
In a medium sauce pan melt the butter and then stir in the mini marshmallows, stir until melted. Add in the nutella and stir until combined
pour marshmallow mixture over cereal and fold together with a rubber spatula that has been rubbed with butter or sprayed with no stick spray.
Once evenly coated pour the mixture into a buttered 9x13 casserole dish, top with mini marshmallows and chopped almonds. Allow the treats to set for 30-60 minutes.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Pumpkin fever.

Whenever last September rolls around and the days start to get crisp something seems to sweep over the internet like a zombie plague. The pumpkin fever. This sickness can be summed up by this simple yet insightful meme.

I must admit I'm a victim of the pumpkin fever myself. Most of my recipe testing has centered around pumpkin or pumpkin based products in the last few weeks. So brace yourself and make sure you're stocked up on can's of Libby's and jars of pumpkin pie spice. The fever doesn't usually pass until after Thanksgiving, when it's replaced by more zombie like activity, mall roaming.

The idea for this weeks recipe occurred to me while I was participating in the new national pass time of women, wasting time on Pinterest. I kept seeing recipes for pumpkin French toast casseroles. A little light bulb switched on in my head and I realized that if I made bread pudding with a loaf of Pepridge Farm pumpkin swirl bread it would up the pumpkin flavor. Here's the recipe that resulted

Pumpkin Spice Bread Pudding

1 loaf of Pepridge Farm pumpkin spice swirl bread
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups half and half
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 Tbsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp vanilla
15 oz can pumpkin
1/4 cup of nuts

Preheat oven to 350.

cube the loaf of bread and place in the oven on a cookie sheet to toast for 10-15 minutes.

While the bread is toasting whisk together the eggs, half and half , then add the sugars, spices, and vanilla. Once the mixture is combined whisk in the pumpkin until smooth.

Transfer the toasted bread to a 9 by 13 casserole dish. Lay the bread out in an even layer and pour the liquid over it and sprinkle the top with nuts. Bake for 30-45 minutes depending on how wet you like your bread pudding..

Serve warm. Top with caramel sauce, whipped cream, or ice cream.

Monday, October 15, 2012

The pie that didn't win the day

As some of you may know I live in the middle of nowhere. Let me illustrate this more clearly. My neck of the woods just got a Walmart two years ago. We are slow up the uptake to say the least. So it's not surprising that this summer was the first time that our community had a farmers market. Despite the fact that we are surrounded by rolling fields and an ocean and a bay full of seafood eating local is just catching on here.
 So I was super excited to go and check out everything the local vendors had to offer. My family has been lucky enough to enjoy everything from onion bagels, to bacon, to oysters for the market. This weekend I got a chance to participate in my first cooking competition at the farmers market.
 A few weeks ago I signed up for the fall pie contest. I spent countless hours brooding over how to be crush the competition with a homemade pie that incorporated fresh local ingredients. I figured most people would probably opt for apple pie so I decided to do something completely different butternut squash.
The resulting pie was the result of a lot of brain storming and recipe testing. unfortunately I didn't win but since they only announced the winner my mom keeps telling people that I came in second. She knows how to make me feel better. So here is the recipe for the pie that didn't win the day.

NOTE:The pie pictured behind mine, pie number 9, was the contest winner.

  Butternut Squash Crunch Pie 
Single pie crust recipe of your choice pre-baked 

 Squash filling 
2 cups of roasted butternut squash 
1 cup heavy cream 
1/2 cup milk 
4 eggs 
2/3 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed 
2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
 pinch of salt
 1/2 tsp vanilla extract 

 Crunch Topping 
1/2 cup brown sugar 
1/2 cup flour 
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice 
pinch of salt 
 2 Tbsp. cubed butter 
1/2 cup chopped pecans 

 Preheat oven to 375. 
 Mix together the cream, milk, eggs, sugar, spices, salt, and vanilla. Add the cooked squash to the other ingredients and whisk to combine. Use a hand blender or food processor to give the mixture a nice smooth texture. 
 To make the crumb topping combine the brown sugar, flour, spices, and salt and cut in the butter using either a pastry cutter or a fork. Once the mixture forms a crumb the texture of wet sand stir in the chopped pecans. 
 Pour the squash mixture into the pre-baked pie crust and bake for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes sprinkle to crumb topping over the pie filling and bake for an additional 45 minutes.

Back in black

Hello all! I officially checked out for a blog hiatus over a year ago due to a busy school schedule, work load, social life and life in general. However I am now officially a college graduate and like many of my fellow graduates I have returned to my childhood home, a part time job that has nothing to do with my major, and a somewhat fruitless job hunt. Aside from a two month stint writing for a local newspaper my writing opportunities have been limited. Circumstances being as they are, I realized a few weeks ago that I need a creative outlet. I need to throw myself into something that I love, this blog seemed to be the best answer. Some good has come out of my time off however. Over the past year I have been building up a portfolio of original recipes. So things will be changing around here. I'm operating under the same name but the rules have changed a bit. In the past this blog has been a mix of 75% other peoples recipes and 25% my own recipes. Now that I have a lot of time on my hands and another year of cooking under my belt I'm striving for mix of original and family recipes. Now that the new rules have been established here's what's been new with me. I spent my senior year of college living in a suite with old friends and new friends
I graduated with a B.A. in Communications with a concentration in Journalism.
I spent a week in California with my aunt where I happily dined on Pink's hot dogs, Phillipe French dip, amazing Japanese food, and two Mario Batali meals. I was in food heaven.
After all of the excitement of summer I've settled myself into a comfortable routine of work, flooding the job market with my resume and crying over my B.A. ok maybe not the last one, but the rest is true. I'm happy to add blogging back to the list of things I'm doing. I can't wait to share what I have in store for you guys. Stay tuned for: pimento cheese, pie, trifle, sandwiches, and lots more.