Sunday, September 14, 2014

Roasted Tomato Basil Soup

I don't know where summer went, but this weekend is definitely feeling like fall. It's so funny though, the leaves have not even started changing colors yet which is super late. So even though it feels like fall, it has yet to look like fall, a very strange combination. I'm not quite ready for the cool weather to start moving in, I want to eek out every last drop of summer that I can. Pining for summer, but dressing for fall, this soup is the perfect way to get the best of both worlds. A creamy and comforting tomato soup using fresh, perfectly ripe tomatoes from the farmers market and basil straight from the garden. It's pure summer in a bowl, yet warming enough to fight off the beginning of autumn chill that has decided to drop by, a winning combination. 


Sunday, September 7, 2014

Chocolate Fudge Cookies

As a huge chocolate lover, I'm always on the lookout for any recipe that will satisfy my chocolate craving. There are just days that desperately call for chocolate, and nothing else will do. Sometimes it's no problem to whip together a pan of brownies, or break into that secret stash of chocolate bars hiding in the closet, but what about those days where there is no time to bake something, and for some funny reason that chocolate stash seems to have disappeared? That's where this recipe comes in. With a batch of these cookies stored in the freezer for emergency situations, you will not have to worry about being without a chocolate fix, which is always a comforting thought. 

While I do already have this amazing death by chocolate chip cookie recipe, and these awesome double chocolate chip cookies on the blog, both of these recipes have a good amount of chocolate melted right into the dough. I love having this chocolate melted in, it makes the most intensely rich chocolate cookies, but there are times when I either don't have enough chocolate, or I don't feel like dealing with that. So these chocolate fudge cookies skip the melted chocolate and use only cocoa powder along with some strong espresso to bring out that chocolate flavor. 

Now, if you're afraid that this lack of actual chocolate will diminish their chocolate-ness, have no fear, they are still super chocolate-ty and awesomely rich. Trust me, you won't even miss the melted chocolate. In fact, these cookies are just fantastic. If you are in dire need of some chocolate, these cookies are exactly what you need. 

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Oat Bread with Dried Fruit and Almonds

Baking bread is one of my favorite things to do in the kitchen. I just love the whole process, kneading together a handful of individual ingredients and turning them into this live creature that rises and grows before your eyes. Tame it through shaping into loaves, and then into the oven for its final transformation where it becomes your desired creation. It is one of the most satisfying tasks in the kitchen.  Pulling out those final loaves, and seeing what you've been able to do with a few simple ingredients, some time and heat is simply amazing. 

These loaves are my most recent creation. I found the recipe online and for whatever reason it sounded so perfectly delicious that I had to give it a try. This whole wheat and oat sandwich loaf, slightly sweetened with honey and filled with roasted nuts and dried fruit called my name, I simply had to try it. It turned out a couple very large and beautiful loaves that have been perfect for a variety of sandwiches, a hearty snack and a healthy breakfast. 


Sunday, August 24, 2014

Preserving Summer - Canning Tomatoes

Growing up, there was a day or two every August set aside by my mom for a marathon canning session. She would spend all day in the kitchen canning jar after jar of beautiful Red Haven peaches to have on hand all winter long. It seemed like whatever day she decided to can was the hottest day of the whole summer. There she would be, spending all day in the hot, hot kitchen, stove burners on high, boiling water steaming up the entire room, sticky peach juice everywhere. It was worth all the effort however when, in the middle of the winter, she would head to the basement and come back up with a jar, one of these labors of love, adding peaches to the dinner menu and reminding us of the joys of summer produce. 

Over the last few years I've started to do some canning every summer. I've been trying out different recipes, deciding what I find worth while, and what I don't. While I haven't followed in my mom's footsteps by canning peaches, I have found some of my own favorites. My top food to preserve so far has been tomatoes. Tomatoes are probably my favorite fruit/vegetable (however you want to classify them). They are so utterly versatile and fantastically delicious when perfectly ripe. You can use them in so many different ways and in all kinds of different foods from countries all over the world. I just love them, so preserving them via canning has been a no brainer. 


Sunday, August 17, 2014

Blueberry Orange Muffins

Blueberry season is still going strong around here, and I am so happy that I have finally jumped on the blueberry bandwagon, they are just so good. It wasn't really until last summer that I truly began to love blueberries, but now there is no doubt that they are one of my favorite fruit. They are so sweet, and juicy, and so much fun to bake with. There is so much you can do with a blueberry. 

Today I'm sharing a classic, the blueberry muffin, but it's a blueberry muffin with a twist. To add some pizzaz and an extra punch of flavor to these muffins, grab an orange and add the zest and juice straight to the batter. Then whip up a nice chunky streusel and sprinkle on top. The sweet citrus notes from the orange and the buttery goodness of the streusel compliment the juicy blueberries and tender muffin. It's the perfect match, and one of the best blueberry muffins I've ever had. 


Sunday, August 10, 2014

Classic White Cake with Vanilla Buttercream

It was my mom's birthday this past week, and what do birthdays mean?? Cake of course! And the chance for me to make a cake, one of my favorite things to do. I'm lucky that I am on an easy rotation at school right now, so it wasn't a big deal to take some time out of my schedule and bake a nice birthday cake for my mom. She is a fan of white on white cakes, so that's what I made. Classic white cake, with sweet and sugary American buttercream frosting. Simple to be sure, but always a winner. 


Sunday, August 3, 2014

Baked Pita Chips

A few weeks ago I shared my favorite recipe for pita bread. It really is delicious stuff, perfect for filling with just about anything your heart may desire, or just eating straight up, fresh from the oven, either on its own or dipped in some homemade hummus or any other favorite dip of yours. Even though I love eating it fresh in sandwich form, I recently decided to try my hand at some homemade pita chips. I have to admit that I love Stacy's Pita Chips (so addicting!), so I wanted to see if I could make something similar at home. The answer is yes, I could, and so can you. 

It's a pretty easy thing to do, all you need is a couple of pieces of pita bread and some time. I took a few of my homemade pita, cut them into wedges, brushed with oil, sprinkled with salt and popped them in the oven. You're really just drying them out completely until they are crisp and crunchy, basically like making homemade croutons. And the options are endless, you can top them with pretty much any flavors you want; herbs, spices, cinnamon-sugar, whatever you feel like. It's totally worth trying this out, the perfect homemade snack.