A lot has happened in the past few months of my absence from this blog; I had the toughest semester of college so far, was accepted to study abroad this coming fall in Sydney, Australia (!), traveled to London, England and Mykonos, Greece, and passed all of my teacher licensure exams! Only a few of these things lend themselves to great food pictures, so I'll let you take a look see! If time doesn't get away from me again, this blog will be up and running throughout my summer in New York and into the fall in Australia! Cheers!
Yesterday morning, in my still-in-bed-reading-through-my-Twitterfeed daze, I read this hilarious article about Ina Garten. In case you don't know of the so called "Barefoot Contessa," she is a connoisseur of all things "good quality" and purveyor of local Hamptons specialty food shops. The Contessa never fails to have an event to "throw together" some food for, whether it's her husband Jeffrey's Friday night dinner (roast chicken, of course) or her friend's daughter's boyfriend's aunt's twenty-seventh wedding anniversary. Anyway, all of this is not in hatred, as I truly am a HUGE fan of Ina. I have all of her cookbooks, and never turn Food Network off when she comes on, unlike some people. Tonight I made three of her recipes, her panko crusted salmon, her roasted vegetable orzo salad, and her apple/pear crisp. All were happily devoured by my roommate, friend, and myself while we watched the Top Chef finale from last night. Might I also add that I found out the winner IN THE WORST WAY POSSIBLE. Because we don't get Bravo live, and only on On Demand, I unfollowed anyone with anything to do with Bravo (or food, for that matter, which is a huge chunk of my Twitter communications) in order to avoid hearing the winner before watching. Tonight, while watching, I still had no idea who won UNTIL I went to fast forward in the break before what was either the win or a forced fifth round tie breaker, and noticed my show had only four minutes left. Thus, there was no fifth round, and the winner had to be the person with the most wins. Can you tell I'm angry about this? Anyway, I won't announce the winner here just in case, BUT I am very happy for her and hope to visit her restaurant sometime!
Well, you may or may not have noticed my lack of posting lately. And if you didn't, I don't blame you... but if you did, here's my explanation. The truth is, things get busy every once in a while, and this has been a rather long couple of weeks. Whenever I'm home for an extended period of time, this blog gets put on the back-burner (cooking jokes, ha) simply because I don't use a computer nearly as much at home as when I'm at school. Nevertheless, I have been back at school for nearly a month, so you might ask why I haven't gotten a move on with my blogging! Well the flu, followed by an impromptu trip home, followed by wrist surgery making it very difficult to type, all don't exactly add up to food-blog extraordinaire! But, I am working on it! Many of you know that I am living in Boston, aka the current ARCTIC CIRCLE. Seriously, Allston could easily pass for northern Scandinavia right now. There are snow drifts probably 6 feet high outside my front door. And, with the current sun, slush puddles are forming everywhere there ISN'T snow. It's honestly the strangest combination in the world. However, the snowstorm was a great excuse to get snowed in and do what I do best... make some food! And since my roommate and a few friends had NEVER HAD QUICHE (excuse me?), that was what we feasted on for a good chunk of ol' Nemo. Check these delicious, creamy, egg-y pies out!
And, I have to point this out. Even my MOTHER can make a quiche. And (sorry Mom) she can't even toast bread without burning it, without fail, EVERY time. So props to you BBL! And also, props for successfully tagging both me and my blog on Instagram. You're social media obsessed daughter is VERY proud!
Recipes are HERE!
A few weeks ago, my a few friends and I had the awesome opportunity of taking a tour of United Pickle factory in the Bronx, NY. Now, pickles are a love it or hate it item, and I happen to be a relatively recent convert to the "love it" category. And in fact, the pickle that broke my pickle virginity (if you will...) actually came from United Pickle! Making this an extremely sentimental trip, or at least as sentimental as one can be about pickles. Nevertheless, the pickle factory was, for me, even better than expected! We were shown huge barrels of 150 grain vinegar, the "secret formula" room, and basically how to make a pickle from start to finish! We even got to go up on a catwalk and stare down into the HUGE barrels of relish. This was truly a real life "Unrapped," and the best part was we got to take home TONS of pickles. I ate bread and butters, half sours, and garlic pickles for weeks. Just be sure to be in the company of pickle lovers when you're snacking on them, because garlic pickle breath is something to be reckoned with...
In the past two weeks I have enjoyed this meal a total of 4 times for dinner and NOBODY'S mad about that! This shrimp is one of my dad's signature dishes, and I have never met a soul who didn't love it. In addition to how delicious it is, it's also easy to make and only uses a dish or two. We made it not only for Christmas eve and Christmas day dinner, but also for a big group of my friends up at my cabin last week. After that, it was requested at one of their houses for Friday night dinner, and was possibly an even bigger hit with his parents! Be sure to give this awesome shrimp a try!
Recipe: Big Phil's BIG Shrimp
Coming later this week.... my trip to a pickle factory! Don't miss you
I'd like to start out by saying Happy New Year! I know my blog has been a little slow lately, but it's been a crazy few weeks what with winter break/Christmas/a short vacation/New Year's! Yet, non of that has been without some truly awesome food! Last night my friends and I decided to have a classy night, and we all dressed up and enjoyed some delicious hors d'oeuvres! Here are some of the highlights:
And now, in more exciting news... we have our winner for the holiday giveaway! To make the randomization as fair as possible, I ripped up 16 pieces of paper, wrote down each name individually, and had my sister blindly pick one out of a baseball cap. So BRANDON you will be contacted shortly so I can acquire your mailing address and send you your copy of The Pioneer Woman Cooks! Congratulations!
To celebrate the holiday season, and do some (much needed) cheering up, I will be running a holiday giveaway! The winner of this giveaway will win a copy of The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Recipes from an Accidental Country Girl! This book features a ton of step-by-step picture recipes from my all-time favorite food blogger, and I know you'll enjoy it too! Entry is easy: comment on this blog post with your favorite picture (by number, please!) out of all of the pictures posted below. The winner will be randomly selected and announced on January 1st, 2013! Please only one entry per person. I am so excited about all of the awesome feedback I've received for this blog throughout the year, and I really wanted to do something to thank you all! So enjoy the pictures, enjoy the holidays, and hopefully enjoy the Pioneer Woman's cookbook!
One important thing: make sure you enter your email when you comment! That way, when I select a winner, I have a way of contacting you to get your mailing information. Thanks again, everyone!
*Also worth noting, many of these pictures have not been on the blog but have been uploaded to my makingtakingcaking Instagram account!
This week, one of my friends asked for some baking help in making holiday gifts for her coworkers. We debated in the aisles of Star Market for a while, but eventually decided on Giada DeLaurentis's Holiday Biscotti! Instead of dipping the white chocolate in sugar like Giada recommends, we sprinkled them with some holly sprinkles (above). We also left about 1/3 of the batter without the pistachios and cranberries, and drizzled the plain biscotti with semi-sweet chocolate (below). Personally, I love the cranberry/pistachio combo. We made the cookies extra wide, and then cut each long biscotti in half before baking them the second time. These mini biscotti were perfect gifts, packaged in little tins and tied with some ribbon! Give these a try this holiday season!
Cavatelli are some of my Dad's favorite pasta, and I am SO excited to go home and make this for the family. I had a lot of leftover homemade ricotta from Sunday's study party, but store-bought ricotta should do the trick for this delicious recipe. If you've never had cavatelli, it's kind of like a gnocchi except it uses ricotta instead of potato, and is shaped a little differently. The dough is super simple to make, and you don't need anything but your hands to form the pasta into the simple shapes above. I tossed mine with a simple tomato sauce and some wilted spinach, and froze the unused cavatelli on a baking sheet. Once they were frozen, I transferred them into a ziploc and they should stay for a few weeks/months. If you don't have a pasta machine but want to impress your friends with some homemade pasta, this is definitely a recipe for you!
Recipe: Homemade Cavatelli
This weekend has been a pre-finals frenzy, complete with stress eating to the MAX. I started off on Friday night at Scoozi, a campus hotspot, and enjoyed an "Italian" panini. I always think these sandwiches are funny, throwing a bunch of deli meats onto a piece of bread and calling it an "Italian," but I digress.. the sandwich was great, the heat from the peppers combined with the salty meats was really what I needed after a week of paper-writing and studying.
But that wasn't all.... the School of Education girls came over yesterday for a study party. We played linguistics Jeopardy, but more importantly, ate! I put out a spread of breads from Clear Flour Bread, some prosciutto, salami (brought by Erin!), some homemade ricotta, and some delicious accompaniments. The theory of studying more in a good environment seemed to hold true, because despite eating quite a lot, we also got a lot done. And by the end of the night that cutting board looked pretty scary, covered in the remains of the antipasto as well as Hershey's chocolate wrappers, cookie scraps, and ripped up notes. Here's to passing the test!
Best bonus of this study party, a fridge full of leftovers! This morning I made these delicious Eggs "Italian" (haha). I'm hoping my protein packed breakfast fuels me for my final at 1pm...