12.30.2011

Split Pea Soup.

So - Let me tell you a little story about a girl who was traumatize by vegetables as a child. Her parents “forced” her to eat at least 5 bites of each veggie that was on her plate at dinner. If she didn't eat all five bites  - NO DESSERT! Awful right?! Then she grows up, moves across the country and can’t get enough of her veggies. So, I guess she wasn't all that tramuatize. 
(Thanks Mom and Dad for making me eat my veggies) :)

Seriously though, I didn’t really eat vegetables until college and didn't try peas again until last year because of said experiences (I remember crying at the dinner table one time because I hated them so much). I still don’t eat them on a regular basis, although, I wouldn’t be opposed to it. Split Pea Soup is one way that helped me re-introduced them into my life. 
This soup is thick, warm, and well...good.

My favorite way to eat it is with a little smoke gouda, croutons, a pinch of curry powder and dash of worcestershire sauce. Tonight, I had two bowls, one with curry and one without. Good stuff.


Also, I think this with be really great if you make it without the ham for a vegetarian version. Like this one from 101 Cookbooks.

P.S I know this soup is ugly. Really ugly. But it's good. Trust me.

12.24.2011

Chocolate Bacon Cookies!


I hope Santa likes these cookies because I sure did. I mean, how can you go wrong when you bake bacon with brown sugar and add it to chocolate cookie dough and bake again with sugar and bacon on top? Seriously. I mean, seriously. They are a perfect combination of salty and sweet. I tried to make them a few different ways, it was decided this one was the best (decided by the husband and I at least). The orginal recipe inspiration roots from a Chocolate Vegan Cookie Recipe by Joy the Baker. Sorry, this version, obviously, is in no way vegan.

Chocolate Bacon Cookies (adapted from Joy The Baker)
What You Need:
12 oz of Thick Cut Bacon
2 Tbsps Brown Sugar
2 1/2 Cups All-Purpose Flour
1/2 Cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder (I used Ghirardelli)
1 Tsp Baking Powder
1/2 Tsp Baking Soda
1/2 Tsp Kosher Salt
1 Cup Sugar
2 Eggs
1/2 Cup Unsweetened Applesauce
1/4 Cup Canola Oil
1/2 Cup of Dark Chocolate Chips or Chunks
1 ½ Tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
A bit of Sugar and Salt for topping

To Cook The Bacon.
Layer a baking sheet with heavy duty foil.
Line up bacon and sprinkle with the brown sugar, you can add as much or as little as you want. I found that 2 tablespoons did the trick.
Bake on the middle rack on 350*F for 20 minutes. Ovens vary, for mine, 20 minutes was perfect, but watch it carefully around 16 to see how crispy it is looking. You want it crispy, but NOT BURNT!
Once its done, place it on a cutting board to cool (it will stick to paper towels, so beware).
After it has cooled, chopped it all up and set aside. (You'll be mixing about 3/4ths of the bacon into the mix and saving the rest to top the cookies)
 Onto the Cookies.
  • Get out 2 medium size bowls.
  • In one bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa , baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  • In the second bowl, whisk together the sugar, eggs, applesauce, oil and vanilla.
  • The pour all the wet stuff into the dry stuff – BEFORE mixing it all together, add the 3/4ths of your chopped up bacon and chocolate chunks THEN mix is all together.
  • So you may find this mix to be pretty thick and maybe dry, don't fret, it will be. Just keep mixing it until all of the dry stuff is combined.
  • When it's all mixed, toss it in the fridge while you prep your baking sheets and the oven heats.


Turn the oven on for 350* again. Line two baking sheets with parchment papers. Once the oven is all heated up, take the dough out of the fridge and using a spoon, scoop out about a tablespoons worth of dough and mold into a ball with your hands. 
Then, using the heel of your palm, flatten the dough (they don't rise so the size you flatten it to will be the size is cooks). Sprinkle bacon, a little sugar and a very little bit of kosher salt and bake for 8-10 minutes. 
Cook on a rack for a few minutes before you burn your tongue.

A there you have it. Chocolate Bacon Cookies. 

Enjoy!

{Erica}

12.23.2011

Peanut Butter Pecan Biscotti


For some reason, I've been craving two things - French Pressed Coffee and something to dip in French Pressed Coffee! So I pulled out the ol' french press this passed weekend and made a yummy batch of coffee. It was great to sit on the couch Sunday morning and drink the heck of it. But I didn't have the dipper to go with it!
Problem Solved. Peanut Butter Biscotti.
New Problem. It was all eaten by the time I could make it with another batch French Pressed Coffee! Whatevs - I'll just have to make more.

Here are the goods
(from Joy The Baker, another amazing and inspiring blog I love to follow)
  • 4 Tbsp Unsalted Butter, Soft
  • 1/3 Cup Natural Peanut Butter (Whole Foods fresh ground honey roasted = amazing biscotti)
  • 1 Cup Granulated Sugar
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 Egg Yolk (save the whites!)
  • 2 Cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 Tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/4 Tsp salt
  • 1/2 Cup Chopped Pecans
  • Egg Wash (used leftover egg white from yolk above and add about a tablespoon of milk and stir)
  • Sugar For The Finishing Goodness

(P.S.In Joy the Baker's photos - she has French Pressed Coffee too!!)

Here's What Ya Do
  • Preheat to 325* with the racks in the middle of the oven.
  • Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
  • In a medium size bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.  Set aside.
  • In another medium size bowl, (mixer with paddle attachment) or use a good hand mixer and beat together butter, peanut butter and sugar.  Beat until its all mixed or there it is slightly fluffy in texture.  (3-4 minutes). When mixes, stop the mixer and add egg and egg yolk.  Beat on medium speed until well blended, about 2 minutes.  
  • Add the dry ingredients, and beat on low speed until just incorporated.  
  • Stop mixing and add pecans with a spatula  
  • The dough may be kinda dry, but that's OK.
  • Divide the batter between the two baking sheets and shape dough into two logs.
  • Brush with egg wash and sprinkle with sugar.
  • Place baking sheets in the oven and bake for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes are up, switch baking racks and bake for another 15 minutes until golden brown and cooked through. 
  •  Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the baking pans until cool enough to handle, but still soft.  Use a serrated knife to slice biscotti about 1-inch thick.  
  • Place cut side down on the baking sheet and bake for another 10 minutes or so.  
  • Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

I didn't get to have them with the French Press- but I had them with regular coffee and that was yummy!
Enjoy!
{Erica}

12.17.2011

Best Gift EVER!

I apologize for not blogging lately. The husband gave me a Birthday/Christmas gift that I have been very, very busy with. A Kitchen Aid!! Yay! I've longed for one of these beauties for some time now and now that I have been cooking and baking so much, it is the perfect time to have one in the house. My friend named her's the Tangerine Dream and now I feel compelled to give mine a name too. I feel it will make her feel more at home in my kitchen.


Isn't she lovely?!



I've made a lot of bread and scones with it this week, but I also made pita! (along with hummus and feta dip - recipes to be shared soon enough). I wasn't able to take photos of this process, but I was very impressed with myself. It was like real pita, I swear.


This morning I was really able to show my "skills" off because I invited some of my favorite runner friends up to my side of town for a run and breakfast. I made delightful french toast with my homemade bread and it was a hit!  I made a batch with the "traditional" bread and a batch with a loaf that I tossed fresh cranberries and pecans to the bread dough. Like I said, delightful!




Here is a photo on the Cranberry Pecan Bread.

12.07.2011

Early Christmas

Dan and I roadtripped 12 hours (16ish for me) down to Pensacola for Thanksgiving. While there, my family went ahead and celebrated Christmas since we won't be together in December. The food and the company were fabulous.

Last night I put to use for the first time my new Kitchen Aid Mixer. I almost peed my pants when I opened it! For awhile now I've been wanting one and would get bummed out anytime I came across a recipe I wanted to make that required the use of a dough hook or some other kind of fancy method of stirring. All that was put to an end!

For my first time using the mixer I decided to keep it easy and made a batch of chocolate chip cookies to take with me to my book club tonight. I used a recipe from the Indianapolis Star that my Grandma had cut out and sent to me awhile ago. It's definitely a keeper! And I watched in amazement as my beautiful dough came together. (I really did stare at it in awe!)

I can't wait to put my new mixer up to a harder challenge sometime soon!

For dinner last night I made the simplest, yet enjoyable recipe for Lemon Garlic Spaghetti. I'm not sure why I can't ever think of these things myself, but I'll be making this more often since most of the items I keep on hand. I made a few adjustments such as using rotini instead of spaghetti and I used sliced almonds instead of pine nuts. Can't wait to eat my leftovers for lunch today.

-Abbie

P.S. - I'm completely addicted to pinterest. It's happened.
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