Monster Sushi

Posted: December 9, 2010 | Author: Alyssa | Filed under: Alyssa | No Comments »

Sushi makes me happy.  From what I can tell it seems to be one of those things that people either truly love or truly hate.  Let me assure you I am in the first category, except…..if I’m going to be completely honest with you all (and myself)  I’m kind of a candy ass.  By that I mean I tend to shy away from the crazier stuff on the menu like fish eggs, octopus…etc.  I love my spicy tuna, salmon rolls and yellow tail, but throw me a crazy curveball  and I will usually do everything I can to avoid it because there is nothing worse in my mind than this scenario:

You finally work up the courage to try something new (or someone tricks you into it), but just as you are in the middle of that first bite it hits you that you are eating something that normally you would deem gross.  Then, if you have my awesome sense of timing, you start REALLY thinking about it and thats when it happens….that gaggy feeling that does not allow you to keep food in your mouth at any cost.  So then you go into the awkward dance of trying to figure out how to be very discreet while simultaneously getting it the hell out of your mouth. 

I like to do my best to avoid this horrible scenario, although I have to say for those around you it provides some impressive entertainment. 

Anyway, I got a text the other night asking if I was up for sushi, and seeing as it has been an excessive amount of time since my last good sushi meal, I was on board.  See, the beauty of sushi is that even though I love every second of the meal, I can walk away feeling a lot less guilty (and sluggish) because for the most part it isn’t so bad for you.  Sadly, the evening in question fought hard against my ‘sushi is a healthy treat’ theory. 

The place we went was new to me, so I was super excited.  The coctails were good (and strong) and everything on the menu looked good.  My friend ordered a sushi boat (seriously it comes on a boat) and for some reason I got it in my head that this was the night when I was going to be adventuresome and try something outside of my comfort zone.  Little did I know how that decision would rock my world.  It may have been the four liquors in my drink, but when the waitress came to our table and described something called a tuna volcano, I couldn’t resist!  So I ordered the special volcano roll and a Boston roll.  I knew what to expect with the Boston roll, but the volcano?  Ohh the volcano.  Let me tell you what was in this bad boy: Spicy Tuna, salmon, jalapeno, asparagus, cucumber, avocado and tobiko (flying fish roe).  All of that was rolled up and then deep fried and topped with sea scallop, eel sauce and tempura flakes. 

So apparently I had only heard about every third word that she had said because I did NOT expect this gigantic mountain of crazy.  It was freaking huge and I was a little intimidated, so I made my friend try a piece with me, because if you can’t beat em, make your friends look stupid with you :) .  Once I got past the challenge of actually eating it, I realized that even though I was eating fish eggs, I didnt get the terrible gaggy feeling.  It was delicious! 

As cheesy as it sounds I was proud of myself for trying something new, and as a foodie, I feel like I need to constantly be pushing myself to try new things.  My sushi was really delicious and I am pumped that I had the guts to eat it even though it looked like it could take me in a fight.  The only problem is, now I’m craving sushi again…

In other news this weekend begins my holiday bake-straviganza, so keep an eye out for some yummy recipes and possibly some hilarious but epic failures.


Breaking Tradition

Posted: December 3, 2010 | Author: Alyssa | Filed under: Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

I love Thanksgiving.  It gives me an excuse to do two of my favority things: cook for others and eat.  I couldn’t ask for more! Of course, I don’t really get down with all of the traditional Thanksgiving foods.  I’m not a fan of sweet potatoes, and pumpkin pie is probably one of my least favorite things ever.  I like pumpkin, but not when it is super dense, sweetened and from a can.  So this year I decided to go in a different direction.  I felt this was appropriate as this Thanksgiving was a little different than previous years.  Normally we are at my parents house with one sister and her family, and this year we were at my other sister’s house with her family.  So I was feeling a little non traditional to begin with. 

I had seen this recipe for brownsugar merigue pie in my Southern Cooking book, but seeing as its normally just me, I’m not really in the business of making pies on a regular basis.  So Thanksgiving was a great time to try this out without ending up eating it all myself. 

On the morning of Thanksgiving day, I got to work.  This pie has two separate components, but there is some overlap so preparation and planning are KEY.  It takes some work and makes a bit of a mess, but trust me, it is totally worth it!

Start by blind baking a 9″ crust. 

For the filling:

  • 1  cup  firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1/3  cup  cornstarch
  • 1/8  teaspoon  salt
  • 2  cups  half-and-half
  • 4  egg yolks (lightly beaten)
  • 2  teaspoons  vanilla extract
  • 1/4  cup  butter, cut into pieces
  • Put the brown sugar, corn starch and salt in a medium saucepan.  Stir in the half and half while cooking it over medium heat.  Stir it continually until it boils and thickens.  Once it thickens, let it boil for about two minutes while you beat the egg yolks.  Remove the pan from the heat and pour about 1/4 of the mixture into the yolks, beating them constantly.  Then pour the egg mixture back into the pan again, stirring constantly.  Put the pan back on the heat and cook for a few minutes while continually stirring (this pie is also a good arm work out).  Remove it from the heat and then stir in the butter and vanilla.  Set that off to the side while you make the meringue.  You may want to cover it because, as with most puddings and custards it tends to get a little solid on top if it cools uncovered. 

    For the meringue:

  • 3/4  cup  firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 2/3  cup  granulated sugar
  • 6  tablespoons  water
  • 5  egg whites
  • 1/2  teaspoon  cream of tartar
  • Combine water, sugar and brown sugar in medium saucepan and cook over medium heat stirring constantly until the sugar has fully dissolved.  Bring it to a boil and cook it until it reaches 250 degrees. You have to stir it regularly, but not constantly.  If you have a candy thermometer this is firm ball stage.  If you are like most home cooks and don’t have a candy thermometer here is what you can do.  When you think its at the right stage, take a small spoonfull and drop it into cold water.  Let it sit for about 30 seconds and then pull it out.  Once it forms a firm, yet pliable ball then it is good to go.  **Sometime around this stage you should start preheating the oven to 375, that way you don’t have to wait once everything is put together. 

    While the syrup is cooking, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar until it forms soft peaks.  I used a hand mixer which made it more difficult to work simultaneously with the syrup and the egg whites, so if you have a stand mixer use it!  Pour the syrup slowly into the egg whites while beating on high until it forms stiff peaks.  It should still look smooth and shiny.  If it starts to look chunky or curdled, you have beaten it too much. 

    Pour the filling into the pie crust and spread evenly.  Top with the meringue in dollops (I know, I hate that word too but its the best I’ve got right now) and spread to the edges.  Make sure you ‘seal’ the edges along the crust.  Bake for 9 minutes, just until the meringue is golden brown and delicious looking. 


    Total Satisfaction

    Posted: November 23, 2010 | Author: Alyssa | Filed under: Alyssa | Tags: , , , | No Comments »

    If you’re anything like me (god help you) you sometimes get things stuck in your head and become a little fixated, ok obsessed, with them. For me this happens a decent amount. Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t get fixated on people and hide in bushes and stuff. That kind of stalking is just too damned exhausting for me to keep up with. For me its more things like songs, ideas, and recipes. The song thing I’ve learned to deal with by playing it repeatedly in my car until it loses some of its appeal. not so much that I can’t stand it, but just enough so that I don’t have it stuck in my head all day every day. Ideas I usually try to follow through on, or I quickly realize that I’m setting myself up for impressive amounts of failure and thus abort mission. Recipes, well the only way to get those out of my head is pretty obvious, make the dish!

    My recent obsession in the kitchen has been a two part situation. I discovered a recipe for ravioli in a balsamic brown butter sauce that sounded amazing, and perfect for me because I LOVE ravioli, but ravioli in red sauce sometimes makes me a little gaggy. Not because of the flavors, but I think something about the combined textures some times makes me a little queasy. So this new sauce seemed like a perfect fit for me: butter, no tomato, and less sauce overall since the oil from the butter would allow the ravioli to be coated in flavor without running the risk of over saucing. Then, being one who needs to complicate all things, I discovered a recipe for balsamic braised short ribs (thank you culinary cell phone apps). It immediately clicked in my head that with the common denominator of balsamic, these two things would go together perfectly, and not to brag, but I was damn right.

    Now some of you are probably thinking, why waste time becoming fixated, why not just cook it dumbass? And while you have a valid point, I have a better one :) . This is a recipe that requires some love and attention, as well as a decent amount of time which is a pretty rare thing in my life these days. So I waited until I knew I would have time and then i got to it. I went to my local butcher (luckily he’s about 500 yards down the road so its pretty sweet) and got my short ribs and I was ready to go. So here it is: Ravioli in a Balsamic Brown Butter Sauce with Braised Short Ribs.

    For the ribs:

    You will need about 4 pounds of short ribs. Pat the ribs dry and sprinkle them with salt and pepper. In a greased dutch oven over medium-high heat, brown the ribs on all sides. This takes some finageling (yeah thats a word) because it requires some weird balancing of ribs, but trust me its worth it because the more you brown the meat, the more flavor you are going to get. Once the ribs are browned, pull them out and set them aside for a few minutes (you may have to brown in batches). Add 2 cups of diced red onion to the pan and brown. Once brown add in 12 cloves of garlic, diced, and cook for about a minute until you can really smell the garlic. Put the ribs back in the pan and add 2 cups beef broth, 3/4 cup of balsamic vinegar, 1 cup red wine, 2 cups diced tomato and 1/3 cup of packed brown sugar.

                                                                          Cover the pan and put it in a 275 oven for about 2 hours, or until the meat is tender. Once its done in the over, let it cool a little and then put it in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours. I let mine sit over night, but that was more a time issue rather than a recipe issue. About an hour before you are ready to serve it, pull it out of the fridge and skim the fat off the top. Heat it on the stove over medium heat until everything is hot.

    While the meat is heating up, prepare the ravioli. For this one, I used a prepared mushroom ravioli because I haven’t yet mastered the art of pasta and if I can’t do it better than I can buy it, why bother? You can also prepare the balsamic brown butter sauce while everything else is cooking.

    Over medium heat, cook 6 Tbsp of unsalted butter. It will melt, then foam, and then begin to turn brown. Once it begins to turn brown, turn off the heat and let it sit for one minute. Then add 2Tbsp of balsamic vinegar and a pinch of salt and pepper. Add about a half a cup of the braising liquid, and cook the liquid until it reduces enough to coat the spatula. While the sauce is reducing, slice up the short ribs and toss them in with the cooked ravioli. Once the sauce is ready, pour it over the ravioli and toss to coat. Top with some shavings of parmesan and enjoy!

    There is something truly satisfying about eating a meal after you have put in so much time and effort, to me its the ultimate in comfort food.  Rich delicious food that I have had to work for and prepare.  When a recipe comes together and tastes so homey and good, its a sense of satisfaction that can’t be duplicated. 

     


    Easy Fall Treats

    Posted: November 4, 2010 | Author: Alyssa | Filed under: Alyssa | 2 Comments »

    Have you ever worked your butt off cooking a meal with multiple courses, complex cooking technique and about three days of planning and inevitably everyone is blown away by the amazing dip you made which took three minues?  Maybe thats just me.  The point I’m trying to get at is that people seem to enjoy the majority of food that I make, but it always seems to be the simplest things that really give them that  ”holy cow amazing food” feeling.  I find this especially true with teenagers.  I will make chocolate mint brownies with chocolate ganache from scratch and they are happy, yet they squeal with amazement when I bring in Dunkin Donuts.  Tonight has been no exception.  I am on duty in the dorm and normally I try to bring treats every time I’m on, since this is their home for 9 months out of the year.  I have brought cupcakes, cookies, brownies, you name it and tonight is the night that my treats are gone in approximately 45 seconds.  If you want a RIDICULOUSLY simple crowd pleaser here it is:

    All it takes is a bag of marshmallows ( I tend to use vegan when I can get them, especially when I am making for other people), a couple ounces of semisweet chocolate, some pretzels and caramel (preferably home made, but I used Smuckers since I didn’t have the time or patience to make caramel, besides it comes in that convenient little squeeze bottle!) 

    Step One: Melt chocolate until it is smooth, I use the microwave stirring at 30 second intervals.

    Step Two:  While the chocolate is melting, crush up the pretzels into pieces, they don’t have to be fully smashed just in smaller pieces than a whole pretzel.

    Step Three: Dip half of marshmallow into chocolate and then roll in pretzel pieces.

    Step Four: Place on foil or parchment, once you have a full tray put in the fridge for a few minutes to set the chocolate. 

    Step Five: Drizzle with caramel and eat.

    Step Six: Make more, because your first batch is probably gone already.

    This is the quickest and easiest thing I have probably ever made and everyone LOVES them.  I’m not sure why they tend to feel like fall treats, but its probably something to do with the color scheme :) .  From start to finish this probably took about 10 minutes and that was with a couple of stops to hand out candy to the cutest trick or treaters I have ever seen. 

    Enjoy!


    Nurturing-esque Instincts

    Posted: October 31, 2010 | Author: Alyssa | Filed under: Alyssa | No Comments »

    I work with teenagers pretty much all day every day, so its hard to avoid caring about them and having some slight maternal instincts towards them.  The especially comes into play when I am on duty over a weekend.  Most of the kids can go home for the weekend but for the kids that live extremely far away, thats not possible.  Its part of my job to help make sure that they feel at home here and they like staying on the weekends.  to me, this means baking for them.  The majority of my last on duty weekend was spent in the dorm with cupcakes and Disney movies hanging out with the girls.  I had decided that I wanted to make them cupcakes because to me, they are the most comforting of the desserts.  So I started on a quest to the grocery store to pick up one ingredient for simple chocolate cupcakes with white frosting, and by the end of the 4 mile drive I had decided to go all out and try chocolate toffee cupcakes with buttercream frosting.  I’m not going to give you too many details because my mind is a scary abyss of sad, but here is the basic format of how I got from point A to point B:

    Hooray Cupcakes!! –> I love cupcakes, the girls are going to be so happy, I haven’t brought them food in a while –> Last time I brought them cookies –> mmm…I miss grammy’s cookies –> What were the ones that I always loved the most –> defintely the Skor cookies, those were pretty bomb –> oh god, the teenage slang is rubbing off –> wait, cookies, I like cookies, especially cookies with toffee….

    And I feel like you can figure it out from there.  SO when I got back from the store, I went to it.  I used a pretty standard chocolate cake recipe:

    5 oz Butter – softened

    5 oz superfine sugar

    6 oz self-rising flour

    3 eggs

    2 tbsp cocoa powder

    1 tsp vanilla extract

    I just throw everything in my mixer and mix for about 2 min on medium until everything is incorporated.  Then I threw in about 6 oz of toffee chips.  Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes.

    While the cupcakes are baking, you can throw together the butter cream.  You need

    2 cups unsalted butter

    2 cups powdered sugar

    1/4 tsp salt

    1 tsp vanilla

    1/4 cup buttermilk

    3 oz toffee chips

    In a small saucepan melt 1 cup of butter and the toffee until fully incorporated, then set aside to cool.  Once the mixture is cool, blend it with the remaining cup of butter and the sugar using a hand mixer.  Add the remaining ingredients and beat until fully incorporated and viola!  Toffee buttercream!

    I frosted the cupcakes and topped them with a couple of remaining toffee chips.  The only issue I had with these was that the toffee chips had a tendency to sink toward the bottom of the cupcakes, so I’m not sure how to combat that issue.  But overall these were delicious, and the girls loved them which was the ultimate goal.


    Bake Sale the Sequel: Brownies, Mice and Monkees

    Posted: October 28, 2010 | Author: Alyssa | Filed under: Alyssa | No Comments »

    Let me start by saying that the apartment I moved into this summer is wonderful except for two minor issues.  1)  Families can not live in my apartment because there is lead paint.  Apparently, instead of removing it the people in charge think it will be cheaper to pay for my chelation therapy.  2) I can see my basement through the floorboards of the living room.  Now, this isn’t a major issue except it shows exactly the level of energy efficiency i’m working with.  I am not exactly sealed off from the environment and therefore have had to deal with some critters in the house.  My first experience with this was about three days after I moved in.  I woke up around three in the morning hearing terrible scratching noises from the wall behind my bed.  Now, obviously, my first thought at that point was Holy Crap something is coming to steal my soul, but luckily I had been working like a feind all summer so I swiftly rolled back over and went to sleep.  When I awoke at 8am with a much clearer head I realised that rather than dealing with issues similar to the family in Paranormal Activity, I was dealing with issues common to most home owners: squirrels in the wall.  It then became really funny when my dog started following the squirrel running up and down my bedroom looking at me totally confused.  After a couple of days the moving stopped and I figured the situation had dealt with itself, until the fateful day that I made delicious treats for the GSA Bakesale…

    I have already discussed the fact that i was invaded by teenagers for a while, so I didnt get to start baking until about 9:30-10pm ish that night.  The plan was to make brownies with frosting and rainbow sprinkles and individual monkey bread.  I had already prepped the monkey bread to make my life easier.  All it takes is a couple canisters of refrigerated buttermilk biscuits cut into quarters, a mixture of cinnamon sugar, 2 sticks of butter and 1/2 cup of light brown sugar.  Its the same process as regular monkey bread, just in extra large muffin cups.  Roll the biscuit pieces in the cinnamon sugar mixture and place them in the muffin cups about 5-6 pieces in each.  In a saucepan melt butter and stir in brown sugar.  Heat while stirring until the mixture is smooth then pour evenly over each cup.  Bake at 350 for about 20-25 minutes.  These bad boys sold out in about 15 minutes.  I feel like I cant take much credit for that though, because high school students would eat their own shoes if you coated them in sugar and told them it was the cool thing to do. 

    While the monkeys were baking I threw together some brownies.  The brownies I make are pretty basic, one saucepan and done.  I have already posted about my Easy From Scratch Brownies so I won’t go into it again, but this time I also threw in an easy chocolate ganache on top which just increases the gooey deliciousness.  All you need is 1 cup heavy cream and 8 oz chocolate.  I use a combination of 6 oz semisweet and 2 oz dark chocolate to give it a little more intense flavor, but you can use whatever chocolate you prefer.  Break the chocolate into small pieces in a large bowl.  Then bring the cream to a boil and pour over the chocolate.  Let it sit for about 2 minutes and then whisk until the mixture is smooth.  TaDa!  Ganache!  I usually wait until my brownies are still a little warm to the touch and then pour the ganache over them to coat the top. 

    Since I was performing this feat of deliciosity at such a late hour, I figured I would just let my brownies sit out over night to cool and finish everything up in the morning.  This was a terrible plan.  When I came down the next morning to let the dog out and finish my baking escapades, I noticed something strange about my now cool brownies.  Foot prints.  And teeth marks.  Now I was tired the night before but I distinctly remember that there were no footprints on the brownies when I went to bed.  Apparently I have mice.  The major issue is that I know I need to get rid of said mice, but I can’t bring myself to kill them and I know the no-kill traps are fairly useless unless i follow the old cartoon adage of trapping a varmint and driving an impossible 1200 miles to the middle of Australia to drop it off, and with my schedule, I’m lucky if I find 20 minutes to go “grocery shopping” at the gas station down the street because its closer than the grocery store.  Forget about a nice little intercontinental road trip.   

    Moral of the story: One: Never assume the furry woodland creature situation in your house has ‘taken care of itself’ and Two: Always cover your baked goods.  No that is not a euphamism.

    Luckily I have learned my lesson and now I’m not a fool, I wrap my…brownies.  That was a euphamism. 

    TT


    Bake Sale!!

    Posted: September 30, 2010 | Author: Alyssa | Filed under: Alyssa | 2 Comments »

    Do you ever feel like you never stop working? For some reason, moving to a new school has made me something of a joiner.  I have already volunteered for a couple committees and I am one of the faculty sponsors of the GSA on campus.  While all this joining means less time in my personal life, it also means a lot of fun opportunity like helping to set up a bake sale in an effort to raise funds for equipment to make the school’s campus a safer place for the GLBTQ community.  Luckily the students did most of the work, I just baked a couple things and allowed some of the boarding students to come bake in my apartment.  The kids had it in their head that they wanted to do a rainbow cake, which actually turned out pretty awesome.  I wish had been able to get pictures, but it didn’t work out.

    I fully expected to watch the my entire kitchen become a war zone of cake batter, food coloring, and who knows what else, but I was very impressed by their ‘clean as you go method’ because no matter how long I have been cooking, I will never be able to master what two 17 year olds accomplished.  My kitchen was actually cleaner when they were done with it…how the hell does that happen? *Mom if you are reading this please refrain from any comments about how messy it must have been to begin with, because I had just cleaned it that morning. 

    After they had made the cake batter they just separated it into different bowls and then died each section with food dye.  Then just layer each color on top of the previous one and bake like normal.  When it first came out of the oven it was sort of a purplish brown color, but when you cut into it you could see all the individual colors.  I have done this with cupcakes before but never a whole cake so it was fun to see. 

    For the bake sale, I made fudge because I have a friend who has to be gluten free and I figured bake sales have to be like hell for her.  Fudge is gluten free and completely delicious, so how could that be a bad idea?  Answer: it is not the idea that was bad, it was the execution. Sad face.

    I apparently did not cook the fudge enough because after twelve hours in the fridge it had not set so much as gelatinized (also, I’m pretty sure I just made that word up).  When a recipe calls for soft ball stage, make sure you get an accurate temperature reading because while the fudge still tasted delicious (yeah, I ate it, so what, you wanna fight about it?)  it could not hold its shape for more than about 45 second and oddly enough no one wants to buy ‘fudge soup’…even for fifty cents.  Luckily I still had some other stuff to contribute to the bake sale, but you’ll have to wait to read about that in my next post entitled Bake Sale the Sequel: Brownies, Mice and Monkeys. 

    I know, you are on the edge of your seat already….


    The most amazing gift ever

    Posted: September 26, 2010 | Author: Alyssa | Filed under: Alyssa, Uncategorized | No Comments »

    I recently moved from Ohio to Massachussettes, which was a very large and complicated move, but for a very good reason (a kick ass job).  Unfortunately after I had opened all my boxes and unpacked everything, I realised that I had somehow forgotten all of my knives and the majority of my kitchen utensils back in Ohio…shit.  I have no idea how I missed two whole drawers, but apparently thats what happened.  After losing my mind a little (a lot), I tried to go through and figure out exactly what I was missing.  My amazing Forschner knives that were a Christmas gift, the ice cream scoop that belonged to my grand parents and is better than any ice cream scoop that they make today, the beater attachments to my electric hand mixer, and the list goes on and on.  I am still trying to figure out everything that is missing and slowly starting to replace things as I can, but it was a pretty devastating blow to lose all my stuff (and to realise how much of a flaming idiot I am).  Luckily for me, a couple great things happened.  My awesome sister happened to get new utensils and was willing to give me her old ones, so now I at least have a couple spatulas, a slotted spoon, and a ladle.  Crap i just remembered my sweet ladle with the graded measurements marked right on it.  Anyway, moving on.  the second great thing that happened was that Cutleryandmore.com had sale on Forschners, selling a 15 piece block for 65% off.  Now, even with the discount these knives are absurdly expensive, but being the foodie that I am I decided to make it my birthday gift to myself and get it.  After using extremely cheap knives for two weeks, and I mean EXTREMELY cheap, as in everything is serrated and you almost cut your hand off slicing cheese it was totally worth the price to have great knives again.  So I am slowly trying to rebuild my kitchenware collection and if anyone has any ideas or suggestions on things that I should buy, I would greatly appreciate it.

    On a more personal note, I also had to leave my amazing boyfriend in Ohio, so we are only going to be able to see each other sporadically in the upcoming months.  I mention this because he recently came to visit and brought me perhaps the most perfect gift anyone could have every gotten me for my birthday.  First, he got me two bottles of wine and a gift card to a book store (for those of you that don’t know, I’m a huge nerd).  However, when I opened the second box, I saw an eight inch chef’s knife engraved with: PrettyGirlsUseKnives.com.  It is beautiful, and it was so thoughtful I was speechless.  So needless to say, boyfriend did a fantastic job and I am simultaneously touched and impressed.  Check out the greatest gift of all time…


    AANNDDD I’m back!!

    Posted: September 23, 2010 | Author: Alyssa | Filed under: Alyssa, Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

    First, let me say how sorry I am for my longer than brief hiatus.  There is no excuse, but in my defence, I was without a kitchen all summer and then moved into a new apartment where the internet situation was less than stellar.  But the good news is, I am Back!!!  So I’m just going to dive right in and fill in some blanks as I go.  Lets do this…

    Once I left my fun, but kitchenless, summer job I was excited to get back to cooking, so I looked up some fun recipes.  It also helps that I got the “Whats for dinner” app for my phone so I was playing with that.  I found a recipe for grilled onion tarts and got wicked excited so I made that along with balsamic porkchops and a caprese salad. 

    The tarts were a little different than you would expect based on the title, but still pretty delicious.  It calls for 4″ puff pastry shells, but I have not been able to find them at any store (if you know where I can get them, let me know) so I went with the only shells I could find which were pretty little.  Bake the shells according to the directions on the box.  I have every intention of eventually trying to make these on my own, but I am still slightly (read: extremely) intimidated by puff pastry, so we’ll see when that happens.  The rest of the ingredients are as follows:

    Two cups, thinly sliced parboiled new potatoes, provolone cheese sliced, 1/2 cup cooked diced bacon, 8ish whole green onions, olive oil, salt and pepper. 

    Make sure the potatoes are almost fully cooked, because they will not have tons of time in the oven to cook.  Coat the onions lightly in oil, salt and pepper and grill or sautee for about a minute on each side.  Layer the potatoes in each of the pastry shells then top with cheese, place two green onions over the cheese and sprinkle with bacon pieces.  Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Bake in a 350 oven until cheese melts, about 8-10 minutes. 

    This was pretty good, although i was working with an over that was literally from the 1950′s so it was pretty tempermental and my potatoes were not cooked all the way through.  I would also like to try it with different cheeses because as much as I love provolone, its a little too mellow for me.  I prefer a more bold cheese flavor.  This is definitely a recipe I will keep working on, especially as I get into playing with puff pastry. 

    I also made balsamic pork chops which were good, but the real take away from that endeavour was that balsamic vinegar and chicken stock, when reduced, make a freaking delicious sauce that I would put on anything. Sauce, marinade, dressing, i would eat it with a spoon if I weren’t concerned about institutionalization (pretty sure thats not a word, but its fun to say).


    Brief Hiatus

    Posted: June 15, 2010 | Author: Alyssa | Filed under: Alyssa | 1 Comment »

    Dear readers,

    The big day is here!  I’m officially moving this week, and then going up to teach in a school in the mountains for the summer.  Good for me, if not slightly (hugely) terrifying and stressful, but less than good for you all.  What all this stuff means is that I will have limited to no computer access and pretty much zero kitchen access until mid-august.  Sad :(

    So I will be doing what I can, but for the most part I will be disappearing for a few weeks. I apologize for this pause in awesomeness, luckily you still have Bakezilla, The Improviser, and the Kosher chic (who are all more than just awesome) to post about their fantastic recipes.

    I will be back with more kitchen antics in a few weeks

    Love to all you food lovers out there,

    TT



    Johanna: The Improviser

    Never quite follows the recipe. Doesn't really measure. Tastes with her fingers. Somehow, it always works.

    Alyssa: The Triple Threat

    Can do it all. And modest to boot.

    Bakezilla: We Use Mixers Too

    She likes to bake. Actually, baking is the only thing she does. It's a passion.

    Rita: The Kosher Chick

    Restrictions have nothing on her.