thursday things

rain phoenix

GAH AUGUST IS ALMOST OVER I CAN’T BELIEVE IT! The weather is drying up and in just two short weeks FH and I will be en route to Cali to become MR. & MRS. EATS! So, I guess he will just be “H” then, huh? Or maybe Mr. Eats. I don’t know, we will have to discuss whether or not he is taking my blog-name after the wedding…

All that being said, we’ve been super busy planning and organizing and even though it’s a CRAZY SMALL wedding it is still amazingly time-consuming and stressful, so, not much going on around here outside of that whole ordeal.

We did find the biggest tomato ever. I’m pretty sure its mom cheated on its dad with a pumpkin and thus, he was born. Isn’t he beautiful?

tomato

Unfortunately I murdered him by cutting him into a bunch of tiny pieces and tossing him with some cucumber, shallot, salt, garlic, and a splash of vinegar. At least he was delicious.

I also finally tried two of the four Lay’s “limited edition” flavors (I put “limited edition” in quotes because the last 3 “limited edition” flavors are still out…. sooooo…)

chips

I will preface this by saying that I had EXTREMELY low expectations for these… and on that note, I didn’t hate them! I will say the bacon mac and cheese was underwhelming, but not disgusting. It didn’t really taste like mac or cheese but had a hint-o-bacon flavor. They probably could have just called it “bacon” flavor and been done with it.

The wasabi ginger though, brace yourself for this one, tasted like… WASABI AND GINGER. It kinda blew my mind. It wasn’t super spicy, I think I felt the spice starting to build up about halfway through the bag (this is why I only get the small bags for these things) and I definitely almost finished the bag in one sitting. OK, I did that thing where I left like three chips in the bottom to pretend like I didn’t eat the whole bag in one sitting… I wouldn’t say I loved the flavor or feel the need to buy it again but I was just so shocked that they were really able to nail the wasabi-ginger flavor.

Now I need someone in Canada to send me the Canadian flavors (cough-cough-nudge-nudge – I will totally pay you!) :)

Speaking of Canada – have you read Movita’s latest post? Because you really must. Not only did she make an amazing cake but you get to watch someone fall off of a stage.

I really hope you haven’t stopped reading after she cut back on her baking posts because if you have, my friends, you have been missing out on some real gems.

In other news…

Science proves that mozzarella is indeed the best cheese for your pizza.

Our local New Times gives us tips for keeping our bundts in one piece.

McDonald’s is testing ‘flavor your own’ McNuggets – if I was like 7 years old I would be totally pumped.

This is the coolest notebook ever (and I totally told FH about this idea in the form of having a notepad on the refrigerator that would sync with my Evernote app on my phone – HELLO GROCERY LISTS!) Looks like I missed out on hitting it big again! Dammit!

Here are the best things I ate in August…

Unfortunately we really didn’t go out much so this list is pretty short…

The Original Chopped Salad from The Gladly in Phoenix – this salad is so popular it has its own Facebook page.

It’s basically arugula, israeli couscous, smoked salmon, freeze dried corn, and their own trail mix. You can actually get the recipe here!

gladly salad

Next up was the seasonal corn dish (basically fancy creamed corn) from Cafe Bink in Carefree, AZ.

Consists of corn, peppers, butter, cheese, and croutons (for some reason?) – Who cares, it was delicious.

bink corn

And now a tiny pig running through grass because, why not?

EEEE look at his little legs go! It almost makes me feel bad about eating bacon….

Almost.

cherries and cream biscuit pops

cherry pop 1457 close

My love for Jenis Ice Creams is no secret around here.

I don’t let my inability to stop by their shop get in the way of my love. Aside from stuffing my face with ice cream and sharing their recipes on the blog, I harrased a number of I ran an impassioned e-mail writing campaign to bring Jeni’s to my local grocery stores. Though it may or may not have had an effect on the fact that I can now stop at my local grocer and pick up a pint of Jeni’s whenever the urge strikes, I like to give myself at least a little credit.

See, people,  if you annoy enough people if you chase your dreams and they really can come true!

My next goal is to get a local scoop shop! (Really guys, I will go in early and churn the ice cream just give me the storefront!)

I was so excited when I found out that my beloved Jeni’s was releasing another cookbook  that even FH knew about the book’s release – and totally surprised me by ordering me a copy FOR NO REASON! Seriously, how often do boys not only a> notice something that you like, or b> get you something out of the blue, let alone DOING BOTH AT THE SAME TIME.

Note: It is entirely possible that the real FH may have been abducted by aliens – but I like this new one so I think I’ll keep him.

The only downfall of this amazing plan was that the book arrived mere days before we started our Whole 30 diet. Sooooo, no ice cream for us.  As soon as the diet ended, though, I dove headfirst into the book and picked out any number of recipes that I decided I needed to make.

In the end I settled on Page 36 – Cream Biscuits with Peach Jam Ice Cream. I gathered my ingredients and got ready for a day of ice cream making… only to realize that my peaches mysteriously disappeared.

Does that ever happen to you? You go to the store and you know you purchased something but then as soon as you go to actually use it… it’s nowhere to be found? Happens to me all the time, guys. Seriously. ALL. THE. TIME.

I wasn’t going to let this hiccup derail me though, so what if I was missing one of the three main ingredients of making this ice cream? We are chefs, we improvise!

So improvise I did – with cherries. The other recipe I’m dying to make from this book is the White House Cherry Ice Cream, but it requires something called “cherry blossom extract” which is a bit outlandish for the home cook and I haven’t yet been able to justify the purchase… so I took the cherry swirl from that recipe and used it in place of the peach jam from my original recipe and – TADAA!

cherry pop 1

Cream biscuits with cherries and ice cream – but that’s a bit of a mouthful so let’s just call it “Cherries and cream biscuit ice cream.” I guess that’s a bit of a mouthful too.

The slight cherry syrup is bright and crisp and pairs perfectly with the sweet ice cream base and the not-too-sweet tender biscuits. Oh, and I made these into Popsicle molds because I couldn’t help myself.

They are amazing.

[ Note: THIS IS NOT A SPONSORED POST - Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams has nothing to do with this post and doesn't even know I exist - I just love them SO MUCH that I really think you should buy their books, check to see if they are at your local grocer, or even if you might be lucky enough to have one of their scoop shops nearby! ]

You can get their new book here: (It’s only $11.99 so you really have no excuse not to buy it)

or pick up a copy of their original book (it’s only $9.99 right now, guys!)

cherries and cream biscuit pops

Yield: 12 pops, with some left over

Ingredients

    For the ice cream base
  • 1 1/4 cups heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 3 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup sweet cream shortcakes (recipe below)
  • 1/4 cup cherry swirl (recipe below)
  • For the shortcake biscuits
  • 1 1/2 cups self-rising flour (or add 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder + 1/4 teaspoon salt to 1 cup all-purpose flour and whisk well to combine)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar (optional)
  • 1 1/3 cups heavy cream
  • For cherry swirl
  • 1 cup pitted cherries (I used frozen)
  • 1/4 cup dried cherries
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup water

Instructions

    Make your ice cream base:
  1. Fill a large bowl with ice water and set aside (this will be your ice bath)
  2. In a small bowl or ramekin, mix 1/4 cup of heavy cream with the cornstarch and set aside.
  3. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk cream cheese and salt together until smooth.
  4. In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, cook the remaining cream with the sugar and corn syrup until it comes to a boil.
  5. Boil the mixture for 4 minutes and remove from heat to whisk in the cornstarch mixture. Return the saucepan to heat and cook, stirring, until slightly thickened (about 20 seconds).
  6. Gradually whisk the cream mixture into the cream cheese until smooth, then stir in the buttermilk.
  7. Pour mixture into a 1-gallon ziploc bag and submerge in ice bath about 30 minutes.
  8. Transfer the ice cream base to the refrigerator until you are ready to churn your ice cream.
  9. Make the shortcake biscuits:
  10. Preheat oven to 450F and line a 8 inch baking pan with parchment.
  11. Pulse flour, sugar, and butter in a food processor until the butter is in pea-sized pieces. Add cream and pulse just unti lthe dough comes togehter.
  12. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and press it together.
  13. Fold the dough over itself, gently kneading, few times until it is no longer clumpy. Spread/press dough into the prepared pan and bake for about 20 minutes until golden brown on top.
  14. Allow to cool completely, then crumble shortcake until you have 1/2 cup of biscuit crumbles. Set aside.
  15. You will have a lot of shortcake left over. (What a problem to have!) I cut mine into individual servings and wrapped them and put them in the freezer for when the urge for shortcake strikes.
  16. Make the cherry swirl:
  17. Combine cherries, sugar, and water in a saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Boil about 5 minutes until sugar is dissolved, stirring frequently.
  18. Remove cherries from heat and allow to cool to room temperature.
  19. You have the option to drain and/or puree the strawberries, I left my sauce as-is and just didn't add all of the liquid when mixing the cherries into the ice cream.
  20. Churn and assemble the ice cream:
  21. When ready to churn, pour ice cream base into frozen canister and spin until thick and creamy.
  22. If making pops:
  23. Layer into ice pop molds (ice cream, cherries, biscuits, repeat) starting and ending with the ice cream. Leave 1/4-inch gap at the top of the ice cream molds (it will expand when it freezes). Top with lid and insert popsicle sticks - freeze until completely solid.
  24. You will have extra of everything - I layered my extra into a smaller storage container and had scoopable ice cream as well (hooray!)
  25. To remove mine, I wrapped whatever popsicle I was removing with a damp warm towel and wiggled until the popsicle came free.
  26. If making standard ice cream:
  27. Layer ice cream into storage container, layering with biscuits and cherries. Press parchment paper onto the top and cover with lid. Place in freezer and freeze until firm.

Notes

*You will have extra of everything - I layered my extra into a smaller storage container and had scoopable ice cream as well (hooray!)

*To remove my popsfrom their molds, I wrapped whatever popsicle I was removing with a damp warm towel and wiggled until the popsicle came free.

http://wee-eats.com/2014/08/25/cherries-and-cream-biscuit-pops/

thursday things – new oreos, the perfect butter knife, and my life lately

sunset

Happy almost Friday (which will really be my Thursday, because I work on Saturday so Saturday will be my Friday and then Monday will be my Sunday and I’ll be off kilter the whole week and have no idea what day it is ever!)

Both of my home cities have made national news lately, most recently here in AZ we have had some massive flooding. It’s monsoon season so storms are relatively normal but I haven’t seen flooding on this scale since I’ve lived here…

It’s been pretty exciting.

One thing about living in the desert is that nothing happens, generally speaking, so when something DOES happen suddenly everyone in your contacts list is a weatherman (or woman). You get texts all the time like “THERE’S LIGHTNING BY OUR HOUSE IS THERE LIGHTING OVER BY YOU?” or “THE WIND SURE IS PICKING UP!” or “OMG RAIN! HEADING NE FROM THE SW!”

Thanks, weathermen! I would be lost without all of you ;)

My other (original) hometown of Toledo, Ohio was made national headlines a couple of weeks ago too. Not for storms, though. For having toxic water. Like no drinking, no bathing, no touching, no boiling TOXIC WATER. My amazing niece even made a vlog about it.

Although I’m generally against vanity plate, I saw one that I love on my way home from the gym the other day…

beef plate

Meanwhile in the rest of the world…

Serious Eats explains why we can’t substitute dutched cocoa for regular cocoa (all the time).

pears02

China is eating pears that look like buddha.

This guy is making spiropancakes.

I’ve been ruining my steaks for all these years by thawing them before cooking them when I should be cooking them straight from frozen.

Frozen

For the record, I did try this method over the weekend. Although my steaks were cooked perfectly through, the process was rather messy. It requires starting off with a pretty good amount of oil in your pan on the stovetop and then transferring it to the oven. For me, that meant that I spent the time while the steak was in the oven cleaning oil splatters off of my stovetop, counter, microwave, nearby floor and just general surrounding area…

So, although your steak will be perfectly cooked, your kitchen will be covered in oil splatters so… maybe I’ll just stick to the usual way of cooking steak.

Meanwhile Nabisco has released caramel apple oreos for fall and pumpkin spice may be on the way… This whole oreo thing is getting a little out of control, don’t you think?

Humans have finally perfected the butter knife - Thanks, Kickstarter!

And yes, I pledged because I NEED THIS EFFING KNIFE! There are few things in life that are more enraging than tearing your bread when trying to spread cold butter on it.

Foodbeast taught us how to turn soft tortillas into hard taco shells (hint: it involves the microwave).

finished-tort

I discovered a fun new iPhone game. I didn’t download it (99 cents!? Do they think I’m made of money or something?!)  but the video advertisement is rather amazing… if it’s ever free I’m totally going to download it.

 

 

 

condensed milk pound cake

pound cake 1419

A lot has been going on in the world and I’ve just been sitting back and taking it all in…

I’m not one to dwell on these things but I lost a huge piece of my childhood with the passing of an amazing actor/comedian.

Cue the comfort food (and childhood movie marathon).

And what food is more comforting than pound cake? The best thing about this pound cake is that the sweet cake will absorb my tears and their salt will perfectly complement the cake’s sweetness.

pound cake

When I saw this recipe for a pound cake using sweetened condensed milk as one of the key ingredients and a food processor as the main mixing tool, I wasn’t 100% sure what to expect. However, since pound cake is basically impossible to mess up as it is, I didn’t really see how it could possibly go wrong.

So, what should you expect?

Once in the oven, the sweetened condensed milk in this batter fills your home with the aroma of dulce de leche caramel. Once out of the oven, a hint of caramel flavor of permeates this tender pound cake. It doesn’t have an overwhelming caramel flavor, but you can definitely pick up on the caramelly notes in the cake (especially in the browned edges).

So wrap yourself in a warm, caramel-scented hug (from the inside) with some condensed milk pound cake.

condensed milk pound cake

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Yield: 1 8-by-5 inch loaf

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (8 oz) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 3 large eggs, room emperature

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 325° F. And prepare an 8 by 5-inch loaf pan with parchment and baking spray (or flour and butter) and set aside.
  2. Whisk together the flour, salt, and baking powder and set aside.
  3. Add butter and sugar to a food processor and process until light and fluffy, scraping down the sides and bottom as needed. Add the condensed milk and pulse until well incorporated. Add eggs and vanilla and pulse again to combine.
  4. Add dry ingredients and pulse just until incorporated, being careful not to over-mix, scraping down the sides and bottoms if needed, and pour into prepared loaf pan.
  5. Bake until the top is dark golden brown and a tester inserted in the center comes out clean, about 70 minutes. Cool 20 minutes in pan, turn out onto rack to finish cooling.

Notes

Recipe from Boy Meets Bowl

http://wee-eats.com/2014/08/17/condensed-milk-pound-cake/

 

thursday things – how to up your watermelon game and the best things i ate in july

Another Thursday has arrived, my friends, and we must embrace it before it goes again!

Hopefully you were able to indulge in National Cheesecake Day. If you don’t have time to make your own, get to the Cheesecake Factory stat! They have half price off their cheesecake slices today (the catch – it’s “dine-in only”) and their lemon meringue cheesecake looks crazy fun.

CCF_Lemon_Meringue_lo_res

Just look at it!

Meanwhile, here’s how I’ve spent the last week…

Part of the week was spent covered in dust. Because we live in the desert.

Why would someone want to live in the desert? You got me there, I haven’t the foggiest idea who the first person was who got to Phoenix and said, “Hey! Let’s build a big city here so everyone can be hot and miserable and covered in dust! Sounds great!”

I spent way too much time laughing way too hard at this video of goats. Goats are like the new cats of the internet. You heard it here first, people.

Chef Thomas Keller was on NPR’s ‘Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me‘ last weekend.

Apparently, Americans have stopped buying cereal, among other things.I can only assume that’s because they haven’t heard of this stuff yet (Which, though delicious, just tastes a lot like peanut butter crunch. So if you can’t find it, don’t fret, just pick up some PB Crunch and be on your way!):

jif cereal

Don’t worry, cereal industry, I’m here for you. I will fall for all your fad cereal tricks. Don’t worry <3.

The age-old question of – “Can you cook a steak with lava?” was answered…

Oh, you never wondered about that? Well, now you know.

I learned that cutting watermelons is way easier than I’ve been making it look all these years… I can’t wait to completely destroy a watermelon when I attempt to do this one myself.

I’ve found yet another useless item that I need to aid me in dipping all my Oreos… My favorite part is that it will only work for Oreos (and their knock-off wanna be counterparts) making it a truly and completely inexcusable purchase.

oreo dipper

South Korean activists are sharing the love with their northern neighbors by sending them airborne chocopies.

I’ve decided to start calling donuts “sugar bagels” and gloves are henceforth known as “finger pants.” Thank you.

Oh, and this evil genius made a sugar bagel pie! I can feel my adult onset diabetes kicking in just looking at it…

donut pie

And China is trying to reignite its people’s passion for peaches. With sexy undergarments.

Best Things I Ate in July 

With the end of the Whole 30 and my ability to enjoy real food again and a trip to San Deigo – What were the best things I ate this month?

For starters, this creamy burrata from Grassroots Kitchen in Phoenix, AZ.  Served with dressed arugula, spicy tomato jam, and toasted (but not too toasted) ciabatta this stuff is like the nectar of the gods, people!  Other items on the menu that tantalized my taste buds included their brisket sliders and their baby back ribs, which were beyond tender and oh-so-delicious.

burrata

This panzanella salad with toasted country bread, heirloom tomato, aged salami, feta, banana peppers, caper berries, red onion, balsamic vinaigrette from Craft & Commerce in San Diego, CA… which had me practically licking the plate clean.

craft and commerce

This enormous apple fritter (which is also available with bacon!) from Donut Bar in San Diego, CA.

fritter

These Dang chips (haha- THEY’RE REALLY CALLED “DANG”) But seriously, they’re crunchy, sweet, and salty all rolled into one delightful snack.

DANG CHIPS