Dreaming of Pop tarts

The other day I woke up and knew I had to make homemade pop tarts, the timing of it wasn’t super great since I woke up at 9 and had to be somewhere by 10:30…but alas I knew I wanted to make them so it had to happen.  Thankfully the hardest part is rolling out the dough, and the effort was well worth the end result.  Take this format to remake your favorite flavors with your own twist, either way, your brunch game is going to be elevated!

Ingredients:

Dough

  • 2 cups of flour +extra for rolling
  • 12 tablespoons butter
  • 8 tablespoons water
  • 2 pinches salt

Filling

  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1 teaspoon flour, 1 tablespoon apple sauce
  • raspberry jam
  • chocolate chips and marshmallow

Icing

  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar with orange zest and 1/4 teaspoon water
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar with cinnamon and brown sugar 1/4 teaspoon water
  • Nutella

How to:

  1. Begin by making the dough.  This is a basic pie dough and it is most vital to have very cold butter and cold water. I use a food processor to combine everything and pulse the butter into pea size pieces.
  2. Pour onto a surface and form into a loose ball.  Use your palm to flatten parts of the dough ball, spreading out the butter.  This will make the flakiest crust.  Once you get all the butter spread, form into a loose ball and place into a freezer for at least 20 minutes.
  3. Roll out to 1/4 inch, then cut into a square and cut into additional 2×2 inch squares.
  4. Roll these into long rectangles as thin as possible and place on a parchment lined baking sheet.
  5. Once you have all of these laid out, fill half with whatever filling you choose.  Then fold over into a small pocket and seal each side with a fork.
  6. Throw on a quick egg wash and bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes or until golden brown.
  7. Let cool slightly before putting on the icing. Eat and enjoy!

Cinnamon Buns: The Easiest Thing You Didn’t Know you Could Make

Cinnamon Buns always have been a treat in my house, we nearly exclusively had them on Christmas morning and other select holidays.  I will also admit that most of these occasions they were made from a can, therefore I always assumed they were difficult to make.  But the new year blessed me with a new gift: my grandmother’s 30 year old kitchen aid perfectly restored by my Uncle.  So I had to christen it with something special, something I have never thought to make before.  I am so happy I did, because the result was well worth it.  This recipe is so easy and it lasted me a week of indulgent breakfasts.  Make them over the weekend and your future self and all the friends you bless these with will thank you.  So be intimidated no longer, make these today, tomorrow, every weekend until the end of time.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of warm milk
  • 1 tablespoon fast rising yeast
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tablespoons softened butter
  • 3 cups flour

For the filling:

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter

 

How to:

  1. Begin by attaching the dough hook onto the kitchen aid.  Add in the warm milk, yeast and sugar to the mixer.  Let stir on low for 5 to 10 minutes until fully incorporated.
  2. Add in the salt and butter and let stir then add in the egg and turn up the speed just to get everything incorporated.
  3. Begin to add in the flour one cup at a time until the dough begins to pull away from the walls of the bowl. I used just about 2.5 cups of flour with about half a cup left over for rolling out later.
  4. Once the dough has mixed for an additional 7 minutes, transfer to a greased bowl and let rise for an hour.  My dough had a tendency to not rise significantly, don’t be alarmed, as long as if you poke it, it bounces back a bit, its ready.
  5. On a floured cutting board roll out the dough.  You made need to add a bit of flour to the top to make it easier to roll out.  Spread the melted butter all over the rolled out dough, be generous about it.  Then combine the cinnamon and sugar together and heavily (and evenly) dust the whole dough with the cinnamon sugar. Roll up tightly along the long ways.
  6. The easiest way to cut these is actually with dental floss. Begin by cutting it in half, then 1/4, then 1/8 so you have about inch think rings.  Place into a pan with about an inch of space in between pieces, and let rise for another 45 minutes.
  7. Then bake at 350 for about 20 minutes until golden.
  8. I purposefully left out an icing recipe, 1 because I was eating it without them and 2 I didn’t make a icing I felt was worthy of these excellent rolls, so experiment for yourself and see what you like!
  9. Enjoy these every weekend!

 

 

For a savory rendition check back in a few days, because I have a twist on this great recipe!

 

Cotechino Sausage with Cous Cous Saute

Last week I went to hear Mario Batali talk at Harvard, and everything he talked about brought me right back to Italy this summer, and my god I missed it.  After listening to him talk and watch him cook for an hour, I kicked myself for letting my passion for cooking and maintaining this blog fall by the way side. But it is a new month, soon to be a new year, and the time to change is now. This recipe took parts from what I saw while at Mario, and turned it into a new dish.  This sausage was what Mario made for us and I am obsessed.  It has so much flavor, probably from how many types of meat are in it and it also comes from Modena, so naturally it is fantastic. This can be made vegetarian and is a simple fantastic meal to enjoy whenever.

Ingredients:

  • Cotechino sausage (or other Italian Sausage)
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1/2 white onion
  • 3/4 cup cooked cous cous
  • 1/2 tablespoon butter
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons Parmesan
  • salt and pepper
  • balsamic vinegar

How to:

  1. Slice the sausage into disks.
  2. In a pan, place your butter in and then cook the sausage until crispy and a dark/golden brown on the edges.
  3. Remove the sausage from the pan and place on the side.
  4. Take your zucchini and onion and shred them.
  5. Then add them into the same pan your were cooking the sausage in, add in the garlic
  6. Add a pinch of salt and pepper and cook down until everything is tender.
  7. Add in the cous cous and continue to cook for a few minutes until incorporated.
  8. Add in the parmesan and cook on low heat until everything gets cheesy.
  9. Remove from heat and add the sausage back in.
  10. Drizzle with a bit of balsamic dressing and more cheese, and enjoy!

 

Potato Flowers Bring Mimosa Flowers

I have found a new found appreciation for brunch now that my weekends are not filled with projects or homework assignments.  But I still desire to not change out of my pj’s on the weekend.  The best way to find a compromise of both is to do in home brunches.  This egg and potato dish are so easy to make but looks like it should be an overpriced dish at some fancy brunch place. So skip the crowds and savor this dish with some sparkling mimosas in the comfort of your own home!

Ingredients:

  • 3 red skinned potatoes
  • 1/2 white onion
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 once cheese (I used fontina but anything will do)
  • 2 tablespoons cream/milk
  • salt and pepper
  • thyme
  • 1 tablespoon butter

How to:

  1. Begin by slicing the potatoes nice and thin.  Begin to layer them in a round pie pan in a circular pattern.  Every few slices add in some onion. Until the whole thing looks a bit like a flower.  Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and thyme.  Add dollops of butter scattered around the pan.
  2. Bake in a 350 oven for 25 minutes until the potatoes are tender.
  3. Beat the eggs and cream together and then pour evenly over the potatoes. Scatter the cheese around and bake for another 15 minutes until golden.
  4. Easy right?
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Pasta Carbonara With Peas

As you saw from my previous post I made a delicious Italian meringue buttercream, which was awesome but left me with several egg yolks with no purpose.  Although a pasta dish isn’t exactly what I wanted after a meal based completely on cake, I couldn’t let the opportunity to try this classic pasta dish pass me by.  This was definitely different then I expected when making this, but it was delicious and surprisingly simple.  I added peas, which isn’t traditional, but having little bits of green made me feel better about a dish full of bacon and pasta. Try this dish when you have extra egg yolks on hand, or if you just want a really delicious meal.

Ingredients:

  • 1 small onion
  • 3 tablespoons parsley
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 strips of bacon (or pancetta)
  • 1/2 cup frozen (or fresh) peas
  • 1/2 dry white wine
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 3/4 cups shredded Parmesan
  • 1/2 cup pasta water
  • 1/2 pound spaghetti
  • fresh ground pepper

How to:

  1. Begin by getting your salted water ready to boil.
  2. Chop up your bacon and onion.
  3. In a pan begin to heat up the oil and once hot add in the bacon and the onion.
  4. Cook for 8 minutes until the bacon starts to brown and the onions start to tender.
  5. Then add in your wine and peas, cook until it has begun to reduce.
  6. At the same time, in whatever bowl you will be serving the pasta in, add the egg yolks, parsley, and cheese. Whisk together with a fork.
  7. Once the bacon and onion has reduced, turn off the heat and let cool for a few minutes.  You don’t want to add it too hot to the eggs or it will cook them, which will make the sauce stringy.
  8. Your water has hopefully boiled during this time and your pasta is on it’s way to being perfectly al dente.
  9. Right before it is done and ready to be strained, add the bacon mixture to the egg mixture and stir.
  10. Once your pasta is ready, strain and transfer right away to the egg/bacon mixture.  Add in the pasta water to help create a creamier sauce.
  11. Flavor with fresh pepper and a bit of salt, and of course cheese.
  12. Eat quickly since it is only hot because of the pasta.


 

A Party Without Cake is Just a Meeting

There is a quote from Julia Child that says “a party without cake is a just a meeting” and I thought that was a wonderful theme for a party! So I decided to have a tea and cake party and try my hand at making three different types of cakes.  The results were wonderful! I will admit that these three cakes have three different levels of work, so you can choose accordingly. There is so much to celebrate, so don’t forget to take a break and enjoy some cake!

The cakes:

  • Matcha Mille Crepe Cake with honey whipped cream and raspberry jam
  • Cheese Cake
  • Orange Cake with Mango filling and an Italian Meringue Butter Cream

Cheese Cake

The easiest to make is the cheese cake.  You can make this with any of your favorite cheeses but the ones I chose were Edam (with the beautiful red wax shell), a wheel of brie, and colby jack cheese sticks.  Basically you are going to make a “cake” out of different cheeses, and decorate using some cream cheese “frosting”

How to: Begin by making the cream cheese “frosting”.  Mine was sun dried tomato and basil flavored, but you can do whatever flavor you desire. Take block of cream cheese. Add in 1.5 tablespoons of sun dried tomato chopped or dried, one teaspoon of basil, and 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder. Salt and pepper to taste.  Add a bit of water and whip together to soften it and make it pipe-able. I added a bit of dye to make it a bit more red.

Cutting the cheese sticks into cubes and make a circle layer base. Then top with the brie, then the edam.  I topped it with a few sprigs of basil and filled the plate with crackers.  This was a lovely presentation, but just know you will have to take it apart to eat most of it.

Matcha Crepe Cake

This is an average hardness level recipe.  The components are all simple together, but are a little time consuming to put together.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon matcha powder
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 raspberry jam

How to:

  1. In a large bowl add your flour and matcha powder and make a well.  Add the eggs to the well and begin to beat them into the flour.  Slowly add in the milk and whisk the mixture until smooth. Let sit for 30 minutes.
  2. In a nonstick pan, spray with a little pan spray and set to medium low heat. Then ladle in the crepe batter, about 1/4 cup per crepe.  Make sure the batter is even across the bottom of the pan.  If cooked on low they will cook through so you don’t need to flip them.
  3. I made these the night before and put them in the fridge until the next day.  You can make this all the same day but depending on your filling you will want the crepes completely cooled.
  4. To make the whipped cream, simply whip the cream, add honey and a tough of vanilla and boom. Done.
  5. Begin layering the crepes. I did a layer with whipped cream (just a ring around the outside and a bit in the center), then a layer of thin raspberry.  Traditionally it should be at least 20 layers tall, but I lost count.
  6. I love color so I made the whipped cream bright blue, but you don’t have to do that.

The last cake is a labor. I wanted to do it to test my culinary skills but it has a lot of components, and without a stand mixer, it was a bit of a bear.  So with a stand mixer, this could be a breeze, but if you don’t have one, would not recommend. I also am not going to post this recipe yet because I can definitely improve it, so when that happens, it will be here! For now enjoy some of the pictures!  I can’t wait to develop my decorating skills.