Thursday, December 27, 2012

Peanut Butter Maple Bacon Fudge

Yes, that title is indeed correct. I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season and are planning your black-eyed pea recipes for New Years!

As I've mentuoned before, I make cookie bozes every year for friends and family. I usually make about 30 boxes with around 15 cookies in each box (5 different kinds) and some fudge pieces. I stumbled across this recipe on Pinterest (where else!) and decided it needed to be included in my cookie boxes this year. Funnily enough, the original article was from NPR. Who would have guessed?

I've made desserts with bacon before, and the salty/sweet combo is just awesome. This recipe is easy, salty, sweet, and fun. All of which make an excellent choice for a marathon baking session. The end result looks something like this, but keep in mind that this was doubled.

When I posted the above photo on Facebook, my aunt E commented: "Sick. Lusciously sick." Couldn't have said it any better myself. This fudge is so good, and honestly next time I might even leave out the peanut butter chips and just double up on the maple and bacon. Although they do look fun sitting in the pot together!

Here's the recipe, I hope you enjoy it!

Peanut Butter Maple Bacon FudgeOriginal recipe from NPR
Makes 49 squares
  • 12 strips maple-smoked bacon, with 2 strips reserved for garnish
  • 1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter chips
  • 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon maple extract
1. Cover an 8-inch-square pan with aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray.
2. In a large skillet over medium heat, cook bacon, turning several times, until browned and done, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Chop finely. Reserve 2 of the chopped slices for garnish.
3. Combine all ingredients except bacon in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir continuously until chips and butter are melted, and mixture is thick and smooth. Remove from heat. Stir in bacon.
4. Pour into prepared pan. Sprinkle the reserved chopped bacon on top and lightly press with your fingertips. Cover with aluminum foil and chill in the refrigerator until firm, at least 4 hours, or preferably overnight.
5. Slice into 7 equal rows to create 49 squares.Serve at about room temperature.

Do you have any bacon dessert recipes?

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

48 Hours in: Austin!

I'm so sorry I've been MIA. I'm in my second to last semester at school, I work part time as a server/bartender, I'm covering a maternity leave part time at a publishing company around my classes, and I'm freelance editing for the company I did my previous internship for. But I'd rather be busy than bored!

I have so many recipes to share within the next few weeks - I hope your ready!

Even with all this craziness, I did manage to sneak away for a weekend in September, so here's a rundown of that trip. I have a few more Texas posts coming your way, too. I promise, I'll be better now.

So, here it goes!
In September, I went to Austin, Texas for roughly 48 hours. For someone who has never been to Texas before, this was a slightly crazy undertaking. How can one expect to get a taste for a new city, especially one in a state as big as Texas in 48 hours? But my friends, I'm here to tell you it's possible!

My flight left Boston at 1:30pm, and I landed in Houston at about 5:00pm local time. I hate flying, so thank god things are bigger in Texas, because I quickly got my hands on the biggest beer I could find.

A quick flight later, and I landed in Austin. One of my good friends, Priyanka, lives in Austin because she is amazing and got her masters at University of Texas at Austin. Once we cleared the airport our minds were on one thing: food! We got chicken wings at a local Texas chain, because that's what we needed - so, so delicious.

On Saturday, we went to Magnolia Cafe for breakfast. I've seen this place on the Food Network, and was so excited when Pri suggested we try it. After a bit of a wait - but, god bless them, they had coffee in a carafe outside - we were seated, and oh my does this place live up to it's rep. We split a gingerbread pancake (had to) and each got our own meals (don't judge). I got Texas eggs benedict, and I apologize but I was far to busy devouring my food like a rabid animal so I forgot to take a picture. It was poached egg, over a biscuit, with a spicy hollandaise, and something else I'm forgetting but honestly, it's okay because I'm still drooling. It was so good. Order it. I swear you won't regret it!

After that, we drove to University of Texas at Austin so Pri could show me her school. The football stadium on the campus is unfathomable. It's GIGANTIC. This photo shows what's above the ground... it goes down a few levels, too.

It's a beautiful campus.

Sidenote: So Texas had been in a little draught for over a month when I arrived, and ironically it rained the entire two days I was there. Saturday was more cloudy than rainy, which is always a good thing.

Our next order of business was coffee, because well, that's what we do. We went to Mozart's on the water and I got one of the best chai lattes I've ever had. This place was adorable and I so wish Boston had more cafe type places like this one where you can plug in and study.

After that, we drove to Lake Travis and the Oasis overlooking the lake. The views are stunning, and I can only imagine what they look like on a sunny day. We got ourselves some pretty delicious Margaritas, and then headed to the gift shop and found amazing Texas souvenirs.

Next we played tourist some more and drive around the crazy houses on the Lake. The cool thing about  this lake is that Lake Austin, Lake Travis, and Ladybird Lake are all in and around downtown Austin and are reservoirs on the Colorado River. They create this amazing mecca for recreation with walking trails, boat ramps, and water sports galore.

After our tour, we went to dinner at Curna's Grill and then out for drinks on East 6th Street. Austin has a few designated "going out" areas and they are all fantastic. East 6th is where South by Southwest happens, so there is live music and a ton of jam packed bars and nightclubs.

Hi Pri!

Another area is Rainey Street, near Ladybird Lake where a few blocks of old bungalows have been transformed into cool outdoor bars. It's always so packed and of course, there was no where to park so we went to 6th. However, if your in Austin, definitely check out Rainey Street!

On Sunday, we drove to San Antonio. Austin to San Antonio is roughly an hour drive, and is a really cool thing to do.

We saw the Alamo (slightly disappointing!) and the San Antonio Missions (not at ALL dissapointing).

And Coyote Ugly! I was so tempted to go inside to see if I could find Piper Perabo...

We also got to check out the Riverwalk, but it was pouring so we couldn't walk it - next time!

Next stop were cowboy boots stores galore, food trucks, and then we were off to the bats!

There is a whole food truck park that is seriously the coolest spot. They were closed since it was rainy/later on a Sunday/ etc. but Priyanka promises amazing food there.

Under the South Congress Street Bridge, millions of bats live and every night they fly out of the bridge to hunt. The full story can be found here: Austin Bats

It is a sight to behold, slightly creepy but totally worth it.

I flew home early Monday morning, and Austin is definitely one of the coolest cities I've been to. I can't wait to go back and hopefully see more of Texas.

Does anyone have favorite parts of Austin or Texas in general?

Monday, September 24, 2012

Peach-Blueberry Pie

Hi. I like pie.

Always have, always will.

I've been baking pies ever since I can remember. Years ago, my grandmother taught me how to make pie crust. When I say years ago, I mean around 1993. Meaning I was 3. I swear my first words were "ice cold water." My dad's favorite thing is apple pie, and so whenever I went to my grandmothers she would have me make something for my mom (usually a heart shaped chocolate cake) and something for my dad (apple pie, every time). We spent hours upon days putting water in the freezer until it "frosted," mixing up vinegar, an egg, and always, always using crisco. She has a recipe for pie crust that is forever burned in my brain, however it is a tempramental recipe. I'll share it with you someday. But I wanted to sample other pie crusts, to see what they had to offer.

Recently, I had the pie baking craving, and since it's prime peach season, I decided on a peach blueberry pie. Glorious peaches, juicy blueberries, cinnamon, flaky crust. I refuse to acknowledge summer is over.

I used a recipe from Joy the Baker, and I must say it is fantastic! It uses a lot of steps, but don't be discouraged. You CAN make pie!

First, get your peaches and blueberries. Pile them in bowls, and drool over them.

Then start making your crust. Put the dry ingredients in a bowl. I'm sorry I gave up on the photoshop. Don't be like me. But it takes so long and I wanted to give you this recipe while you could still make it!

Then get your butter! Cold, cold butter.

Make your filling. Peaches, blueberries, spices in a bowl. Is there anything better?

Roll out your crust and assemble your pie. Brush the top with egg and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar.

Then, once its baked, you get this! See the filling bubbling out of the side? (Note: This was about 15 minutes before it was really, truly done. I would have taken another picture, but it got devoured. I'm sorry I'm not sorry.)

So, in conclusion, we should all eat more pie!

Peach-Blueberry Pie
Recipe slightly adapted from Joy the Baker

For the Crust:
  • 2 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cold, cut into cubes
  • 5 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons ice cold water
  • 1 teaspoon vinegar
For the Filling:
  • 6 ripe peaches
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1/2 to 2/3 cups granulated sugar (depending on the sweetness of your peaches)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • scant 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 egg, beaten, for egg wash
  • 2 tablespoons sugar and 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, for topping crust before baking

1. To make the crust, in a medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, and salt.
2. Add cold, cubed butter and, using your fingers, work the butter into the flour mixture. Quickly break the butter down into the flour mixture, some butter pieces will be the size of oat flakes, some will be the size of peas. 
3. Stir together the ice cold water and vinegar. 
4. Create a well in the butter and flour mixture and pour in the water and vinegar mixture. Use a fork to bring to dough together. Try to moisten all of the flour bits. 
5. On a lightly floured work surface, dump out the dough mixture. It will be moist and shaggy. Divide the dough in two and gently knead into two disks. 
6. Wrap each disk in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
7. To make the filling, peel and slice peaches. In a medium bowl, combine peach slices and blueberries.  8. In a small bowl, whisk together sugar, spices, flour, and cornstarch. 
9. Pour the sugar mixture over the fruit, and gently toss together with a wooden spoon. Stir in the lemon juice. Place bowl of fruit in the fridge to rest while you roll the crust out.
9. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place a rack in the center of the oven, and place a baking sheet on the lower rack, just below where you’re going to place the pie. This will catch any pie drippings without making a mess of your oven.
10. Remove one of the pie dough disks from the fridge. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough out into about a 13-inch round. Roll the dough a few strokes, then use your fingers to move the emerging circle around the floured surface. This ensures that the dough isn’t sticking to the work surface. Try not to get any tears in the rolled out dough, but if you do, they can be patched together with extra dough. When you roll the dough and you can see it start springing back, that means that the butter is warming and the crust shouldn’t be rolled out anymore. Gently lift the 13-inch round from the floured surface and center in the 9-inch baking dish. Place in the fridge while you roll out the top crust.
11. Roll out the top crust just as you did the bottom crust, moving the dough across the floured surface every once in a while, and creating a roughly 13-inch circle. 
12. Remove the bottom crust and fruit filling from the fridge. Gently pour the fruit filling into the pie dish. Carefully remove the top crust from the work surface and drape over the fruit in the pie dish. With a small knife, trim the crust, leaving about 3/4-inch overhang. Use a fork or your fingers to crimp the edges of the dough. 
13. Cut five small slits in the top of the crust so the juices and steam can vent. 
14. Brush lightly with beaten egg and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar mixture.
15. Place pie in the oven and bake at 400 degrees F for 15 minutes. Reduce the oven heat to 375 and bake for 45 to 55 more minutes. Remove from the oven when crust is browned and golden, and the juices are bubbling. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 2 hours before serving.


Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Tailgating: Seven Layer Dip

Last week, you may have noticed a post on Eat, Play, Roam about the wonders of CountryFest. If not, be forewarned: I love Kenny Chesney. With any event like CountryFest, where there's an absolute abundance of cowboy boots and cutoffs, or a football, there will be tailgating. Food tastes so much better eaten outside, on the bed of a truck, with loads of friends and beer. For our pre-concert tailgating, I made a couple snacks, including the following recipe for seven layer dip.

Let me tell you, there is not much better than salty tortilla chips and seven layer dip. With a side of a Bud light Lime-a-rita, of course! I sent the leftovers home with my good friend Katie, and heard she enjoyed it quite a bit! ;)

Everyone has a different way of making seven layer dip, for instance, I add guacamole to mine. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do! Make it for your last summer BBQ :) I don't care what anyone says, summer isn't over yet!

Ingredients! Please ignore my Starbucks and cooling cookies. I promise I'll share the cookies with you! But not my Starbucks. My apologies for the crowded photos, but my tiny kitchen was not made for picture taking!

Here we've got refried beans, chopped green onions, diced red onions, sour cream, salsa, lime juice, taco seasoning, mexican blend shredded cheese, and an avocado!

Mix the refried beans and taco seasoning in a bowl and spread along the bottom of your pan.

Spread the sour cream over the refried beans.

Make your guac: smash up an avocado with 1 tablespoon diced red onion, 1 tablespoon lime juice, and 1/8 teaspoon salt. I have no shame in admitting I eat it with a spoon!

 Spread it over the sour cream.

Then top with salsa, then cheese, then green onions and jalapeños if you'd like!

Yum! What's your favorite tailgating food?

P.S. Anybody know anything about enhancing food photos with photoshop elements?

Seven Layer Dip
  • 1 can refried beans (16 oz.)
  • 1 package taco seasoning
  • 1 container sour cream (8 oz.)
  • 1 cup guacamole (For my guacamole, I mash an avocado with 1 tablespoon diced red onion, 1 tablespoon lime juice, and 1/8 teaspoon salt)
  • 1 cup salsa
  • 1 cup shredded mexican blend cheese
  • 1/2 cup green onions, chopped
  • diced jalapeño (for garnish)

1. In a small bowl mix the refried beans and taco seasonings.
2. Spread the mixture in a 8x8 tin foil pan (easy for tailgating!)
3. Next, layer the sour cream followed by the guacamole and salsa.
4. Top the dip off with cheese, green onions, and jalapeños.
5. Serve with tortilla chips. Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Blueberry Cobbler

YUM. I love blueberries. I love oatmeal streusel toppings. Thus, I love this cobbler. Though really, I'd call it a crumble.

I first found this recipe on Orangette when Molly mentioned how she wanted to make it. At the time, I had oodles of fresh blueberries and decided to give it a shot. It came out delicious! The topping was perfect, crispy and yummy and the blueberries were delicious. I don't like runny fillings, and this was not at all.

This recipe came from a cookbook called The Farm, which is now officially on my wish list. Make this while there are still some summertime blueberries left!

Blueberry Crumble

For the blueberry filling:
  • 12 ounces (about 1 pint) fresh blueberries
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons lemon juice, depending on how tart the blueberries
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

For the crumble:
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup quick-cooking oats
  • 1/2 cup light or dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, cut into cubes and softened just a little, plus more for the pie plate

1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Generously butter a 9-inch pie plate.
2. Nibble a blueberry or three to determine how sweet or tart it is. Toss the blueberries with the sugar, flour, lemon juice, and salt, adjusting the amount of lemon juice according to the relative sweetness or tartness of the berries. Transfer the berries to the pie plate.
3. Stir together the flour, oats, brown sugar, vanilla, and salt in a bowl. Blend in the butter with your fingertips or a pastry cutter until well combined. Crumble the topping over the berries in large clumps.
4. Bake the crunch until the berry filling is bubbling and the crunch is set and browned in places, 25 to 35 minutes. Let the crunch cool slightly, but only slightly, before spooning it onto plates or into dishes and serving it warm with a scoop of ice cream plopped on top or on the side or even on the bottom.

Really though, serve it warm with ice cream. Dig in!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Cape Cod + Frosting

I love Cape Cod, it's lovely. This past weekend, I was able to visit to celebrate Scott's birthday. We are officially the same age again after a month of me being older! Happy Birthday!!

Cape Cod is the vacation destination for a lot of New Englander's, for good reason. There are beaches that look like this...

(I can't take credit for this picturing, only the Instagraming. Maybe Scott will be designated picture taker for this site, seeing he is infinitely better than I am. Don't tell him I said that.)

And food that looks like this...

This was from Arnold's, in Eastham. So delicious. Do not be put off by the line out the door, it's so worth the wait!

And bicycles...

My butt still hurts. I haven't ridden a bike in YEARS, but I rode that one (the green one)! We may have had small collision that was not my fault. The tire on the other bike may be bent from that collision. But only maybe...

I love Cape Cod. I think everyone should make sure to go and visit. It's such an easy trip from Boston, too. Between the food, the adorable houses, and the insane beaches it's the perfect nearby vacation destination. For a quick trip, we certainly had a great time.

For his birthday celebration, I also made Scott a cake. Yellow cake with chocolate malt frosting to be exact, his favorite combination. The cake was okay, reminiscent of a cornbread texture rather than a light, fluffy cake, so that still needs work. However, the frosting was delicious and I would never keep delicious frosting from anyone, so here is the recipe!

Chocolate Malt Frosting

1/2 cup butter (unsalted)
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups powdered sugar (confectioners sugar)
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup malted milk powder
7 tablespoons milk

1. Beat butter, salt, and vanilla extract together until smooth and creamy.
2. Mix together powdered sugar, cocoa powder, and malted milk powder in separate bowl.
3. Alternately add milk and sugar mixture in a little at a time until desired consistency is reached.