Posted by: crispygoldenflaky | June 7, 2012

a list of 13 must-dos!

Wow. I’ve been so busy in the past seven months that I just haven’t gotten around to updating this baby. I’ve made a lot of food, exercised a lot, and grown some plants on my patio. I now know what the next step of my career is, as well!

I’m going to start a post-bac program at Temple in August!! A year of advanced science classes before medical school at Temple. So excited to move to Philly! Right by the Schuykill. Boathouse row. Perfect.

Okayyyy. So onto things that I’ve learned in the past couple of months.

1. Put cocoa powder in your chili. Then top with sliced jalapenos, sour cream, and a blend of cheddar and jack cheese! Perfect for blistery New England winter days. Or blustery winnie the pooh days.

For this, I used this recipe, but I added some green chiles, black beans, and red peppers. And ditched the vinegar.
http://smittenkitchen.com/2007/07/a-mea-culpa-meal/

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in my trusty green pot

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sliced jalapenos are a necessity

2. Make something elaborate for your boyfriend’s birthday. For Sam’s birthday, I went back to smittenkitchen for ideas. I settled on the most decadent I’ve ever experienced. This was my first time making cheesecake, and it needed to be finished in less than 6 hours, so I used a boxed brownie mix. The mosaic brownie cheesecake concept is very simple: cube up a pan of brownies and embed those brownies into a cheesecake so that when you cut it open, you get a beautiful mosaic of brownies squares on white! I got the idea from http://smittenkitchen.com/2007/08/alexs-choice/ yet again! The cheesecake sat on a layer of chocolate teddy graham
bits (+butter+sugar). Sacrifices had to be made for yumminess. The bears totally understand.. part of the job description. The top of the cheesecake was chocolate ganache (chocolate and heavy cream) and then frosted with cream cheese frosting. I definitely didn’t wait long enough for the cheesecake to solidify. Now I know!

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The brownie cubes get baked first

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teddy graham butter sugar crust

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cheesecake base down

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me, sam, and the r. nels!

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I clearly frosted this too early.  Whoops.  The ganache slash cake may have still been hot when I frosted it.

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Side view!  This obviously needed to set for longer 🙂

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more food porn

3. Take a cooking lesson with a friend! Annnnnd… if your only friend in CT is Sam, take a cooking lesson with Sam! This was my birthday present to him because when we’re in the kitchen together he randomly gets nervous and hands me the whisk. or the spatula. but really he is sooo capable of doing everything I can!! (and probably more) It was a date night themed cooking lesson and we… marinated tuna, pan seared tuna, charred asparagus, made goat cheese truffles (with pink sea salt and truffle salt), made a pepper relish, and made a cabernet risotto! mmmmmm. My only complaint about the class was that everything was already prepped for us and all we did was just transfer ingredients (pre-measured, pre-sliced) from small glass bowls to larger glass bowls. It is really nice when all the prepwork and clean-up is taken care, though! And when a professional chef is in the background answering all of your questions…

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sooo focused

 

 

4. Make elaborate cupcakes. This cupcake was well-received at lab. Twist open double stuff oreos. Put the side with the creme into a cupcake liner (creme-side up).

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Make a layer of chocolate cake batter on top of that. Then a dollop of dark chocolate fudge. Then another layer of chocolate cake batter. Bake normally. Meanwhile, take the other half of the split oreos and crumble in a food processor (or if you’re me and like to be hands on… put the oreos in a ziploc bag and pound away). Mix the crumbs into homemade cream cheese frosting (a million times better than store bought!) Top cupcakes with the cookies and cream frosting and garnish with a mini oreo.

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Pooh is drooling

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close up!

5. Use a million egg yolks on a pasta carbonara recipe.  The recent egg issue of Bon Appetit reminded me of our egg day in culinary cultures class at Duke.  I could eat poached eggs for every single meal for the rest of my life.  On salads.  On fresh buttered toast.  Just plain…. with truffle salt.  But really I think it’s the strategy behind dealing with the yolk that brings me back every time.  Should I mop it up with the toast?  Should I mix it into my savory cheesy steel-cut oats?  The options are endless.  Not to worry though, Bon Appetit’s recipe for the creamiest pasta carbonara will solve your personal inner struggles regarding the perfect incorporation of egg yolks into your digestive system.  OR rather.. your arteries.  THIS RECIPE WAS RIDICULOUS.  Delicious, but definitely don’t have this all the time.  7 egg yolks, 1 full egg, a few pounds of pancetta, pancetta grease… oh my.  The freshly cooked pasta gets rolled in this silky mixture until the thin sauce becomes a wonderfully thick and smooth pancetta and egg home air freshener.  Perfect.  Indulge.  And do find a pasta that has a lot of surface area for that sauce.

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6. Use more frosting than cake on your cupcakes. These are my peanut butter frosted chocolate mayonnaise cupcakes. Very moist. MY FAVORITE PEANUT BUTTER FROSTING RECIPE EVER:

you’ll need:
-1/2 cup soft butter
-1 cup creamy peanut butter
-3 tablespoons milk
-2 cups confectioners’ sugar

do this:
-beat the butter and peanut butter together
-add the sugar slowly and mix in milk if it gets too thick
-beat until it’s smooth and fluffy

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Mayonnaise cake!!!

(Get a stuffed animal to pose in food pictures.  Pooh is photogenic.  And likes small smackerels of things that are sweet.)

7. Make oven-fried chicken!!  My favorite recipe in the “Cooking with Faith!”  Ask and I will send.  Uses breadcrumbs, secret cajun seasoning (yum!), buttermilk, olive oil, and cornflakes.  One of my favorite stress relievers is pounding things out in a ziploc bag.  Cornflakes… graham crackers…

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Pre-marinade.  Which is pretty much just buttermilk and lemon zest 🙂

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After baking!

8.  Take an aerial silks class!  It has been awesome for my shrinking flexibility.

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9.  Grow your own herbs.  And make a delicious tomato, basil, mozzarella, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, shallot concoction from the basil!!!!  The first hint of summer!  I love tomato season more than anything in the world.  Such a simple, fresh, perfect lunch.

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Here is some basil and mint from my mini patio garden!

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ATTENTION: SUMMER IS HERE!

10. Oh, grow some tomatoes as well.

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First maters of the season.

11.  Dress up like a carrot for farmer’s market opening day! And participate in a lettuce toss! And laugh at the person in the corn outfit because your costume only goes up to your neck, so you have a catching advantage.

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12. Make your own pizza.  Here, I drizzled some olive oil onto whole wheat pasta dough.  Spread it around.  Sprinkled sea salt on the olive oil.  Layered on sliced fresh mozz.  Caramelize some onions with brown sugar in a skillet.  Layer onions onto pizza and ripped up proscuitto!!!  Top with arugula post baking.  YUM!

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13. GET ENGAGED!!!! AHHHHAHAWERLAKSJDF  To the best person in the world!  Sam set up a scavenger hunt around Durham in some lovely places when we were down for my friend Sarah’s wedding.  It was beautiful.  What a glorious world this is.  I am lucky as HELL!  More to come later about the full story.

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🙂

LOVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Responses

  1. Ahhh I’ve missed your tasty cooking and your smily face. Congrats on the engagement and the badass carrot costume!


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