June 30, 2011

.the abcs of what i eat.

Howdy folks. Super awesome good news, the man is home! Woot. With that in mind, there will probably be much more on my cooking list next week! For now I wanted to share something with y'all that has been making the rounds of the blogosphere. I've seen these "food ABCs" a couple different ways and just kind of picked one at random.

So here we go!

A is for Avocado: How do you like yours prepared?

Anyway I can get it! I love avocado. From a simple guacamole to slices in a sushi roll I really will eat avocado in anything.

B is for Bread: Regardless of nutrition, what is your favorite type?

Again, pretty much any way I can get it. I have a feeling this will be a reoccurring answer for me. I am a carbaholic. I love bread, tortillas, bread sticks, toast, all of it. Probably one of the most delicious loaves of bread I ever ate though was the white chocolate cherry loaf at Great Harvest Bread Co. in Anchorage. That thing was like heaven in my mouth!

C is for Chocolate: What is your favorite kind currently?

In terms of chocolate, the darker the better! I keep a bag of mini dark chocolate chips in the freezer for those days when I just want to grab a couple. These are, of course, also great for baking!  

D is for Doughnuts: You might not currently eat them, but what kind do you fancy?

Krispy Kreme regular glazed, all the way. I have, sadly, been very disappointed recently with many of the doughnuts in the Northern Georgia area so, I'm just going to hold out until I can get the perfect little pillow of air and fried sugar that is Krispy Kreme. Mmmm.

E is for Eggs: How would you like yours prepared?

I love, love, love scrambled eggs with all sorts of veggies added in. Put it all in a tortilla and it's even better.

F is for Falafel: Yay or nay?

Never had it so.... nay?

G is for Groceries: Where do you purchase yours?

Kroger's, Ingles, or (le gasp) Walmart.

H is for Hot beverages: What is your favorite hot drink?

Is there really any competition for hot chocolate? I don't think so. Give me some Abuelita's Hot Chocolate in the winter and life will be good.

I is for Ice Cream: Pick a favorite flavor and add a fun topping.

I just recently discovered Ben and Jerry's Red Velvet Cake ice cream and it is to die for. No extra toppings necessary!

J is for Jams or Jellies: Do you eat them? If so, what kind and flavor? 

I sure do! Strawberry jam, sugar free, in a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

K is for Kashi: Name your favorite Kashi product. 

I don't eat any Kashi products.

L is for Lunch: What was yours today?

I mostly did a lot of snacking today leading up to dinner. Around lunch time I think I had a nutrigrain bar and some almonds.

M is for Microwave: What is your favorite microwave meal/snack? 

Popcorn! I don't really use the microwave for any other specific microwave food, just to heat up leftovers.

N is for Nutrients: Do you like carbs, fats, or proteins best? 

As stated above, carbs.

O is for Oil: What kind do you like to use?

I almost exclusively use Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

P is for Protein: How do you get yours?

Meat, dairies, nuts, veggies. I'm an equal opportunity protein eater.

Q is for Quaker: How do you like your oats?

Is "in cookies" an acceptable answer to this? Cause if so, that. If not I like them hot and simple, with some milk and raisins.

R is for Roasting: What is your favorite thing to roast? 

Lately I have been roasting carrots quite often. The only downside is how hot the whole house gets! Yikes.

S is for Sandwich: What's your favorite kind? 

There is this sandwich at Magnolia Cafe in Austin called the Flamingo, swiss cheese, avocado and sprouts with mayo and mustard on rye. Most delicious sandwich ever.

T is for Travel: How do you handle eating while traveling?

I don't! I eat like crap when I travel. And usually have tons of snack type food. The man and I ate lots of goldfish, trail mix, granola bars, ramen noodles and spam sandwiches on our drive to GA from AK.

U is for Unique: What are some of the unique foods that you like?

I guess I should just say spam again, ha. I had never tried it before the move. The man likes to take it camping. It's very easy camping/travel food. We got spam "lite" if that makes a difference. Other than that I'll try anything once, but most of my go to meals involve fairly common foods.

V is for Vitamins: What kind do you take?

A prenatal, probiotics, and fish oil.

W is for Wiener Schnitzel: Do you ever recreate this traditional Czech food? 

Never have, and probably never will.

X is for X-RAY: If we x-rayed your belly right now, what food would we see? 

Sushi rolls!

Y is for Youth: What foods remind you of your childhood? 

Potato pancakes are up there. A nice cool Dr. Pepper takes me back as well.

Z is for Zucchini: How do you prepare it?

Sauteed with onions, roasted, or baked into bread!

There you have it. Lots of information you never wanted to know about me!


June 27, 2011

.daring bakers challenge: june.

I am clearly getting my strawberry fix this season!
Erica of Erica's Edibles was our host for the Daring Bakers' June Challenge. Erica challenged us to be truly daring by making homemade phyllo dough and then to use that homemade dough to make Baklava.

I was thrilled to read what this challenge was! Baklava has been on my "to make" list forever. Seriously, over a year now. And I just kept putting it off. I can't say I would have been adventurous enough to make my own phyllo dough though!

My notes about the challenge are pretty straight forward. The baklava turned our wonderful, but probably not all that traditional. I didn't use all the appropriate spices but it still tastes dang good. Also, homemade phyllo dough is ridiculously easy to make, but not so easy to roll! I think part of this, however, was thanks to my uber crappy rolling pin. I hate that thing. An ex-boyfriend's grandma gave it to me. I should have known then that she was just trying to pawn it off on someone! Ha.

To make the phyllo dough you simply combine 1 1/3 cups flour, 1/8 teaspoon salt, 1/2 water (plus more if needed), 2 tablespoons vegetable oil (plus a little bit more to coat the dough later), and 1/2 teaspoon cider vinegar. Mix all of these together until combined, adding a small bit of extra water if the dough is too dry, then use a dough hook to knead for 10 minutes, or knead by hand for 20 minutes, until a smooth ball of dough is formed. Coat the dough with a small amount of oil and wrap in plastic wrap. Let rest for about 2 hours. If I could go back, I honestly would probably have doubled this recipe for my dish.

That awesome new food processor I told you about? It was instrumental in taking this lovely lot of ingredients:

To this lovely lot of ready to go baklava filling!

Erica suggested using an adapted Baklava recipe from Alton Brown. Since Mr. Brown is one of my favs I took her advice and followed his recipe on foodnetwork.com. Like I said though, I did not use all the traditional spices, as I didn't want to buy allspice when I really have no other use for it and it would just sit in my cupboard. I also didn't use any rose water. Alton would be so ashamed...

Out of the oven, ready for syrup!
After everything is prepared and the dough has sat long enough you want to roll out the sheets. In order to do this tear off small, golf ball size pieces, and roll them out on a well floured surface. According to Erica you can't over flour! You want each sheet to be as thin as possible, but it will probably not be as thin as store bought phyllo dough. You want at least 20 sheets (which I didn't get, hence needing to make a double batch). Stack the sheets together after rolling them, with flour in between each sheet.

Just got a syrup bath.
Get the rest of your ingredients together and start the layering! I continued to follow Alton's recipe for this. A couple layers of dough, with melted butter brushed between them, a layer of the nut mixture, more dough layers, and so on and so on. Then the baklava goes into the oven. While it's cooking start the syrup (also found on Alton's recipe).

After resting overnight. Mmmmm.
The hardest part was letting this rest overnight so the syrup could soak in. The next day though I had my first piece and it was awesome. This is a great dessert for a large group of people. It's so sweet that a very small piece satisfies any sweet tooth! As it is, I have more than 3/4 of it left still! I clearly need more friends to come over and eat my cooking.


June 24, 2011


I am thrilled to announce that there is a new gadget in the Baking and Wine kitchen. And I think he will fit right in. 

Look at that chrome. 

Those blades. 

Yup, he's a big ol' hunk of machine and I have been eyeing him for quite some time. I'm just not going to tell the KitchenAid. He might get jealous. 


June 23, 2011

.good morning to you.

In an effort to kind of get out here more and blog on a more consistent basis I thought I would just do a little "hello and good morning," kind of post.

A lot of the time when I don't blog anything it's mostly because I haven't really cooked much, I haven't cooked something blog worthy, or I haven't cooked something new. This has especially been the case with the man being gone. I am, however, also trying to make an effort in terms of that as well.

Regardless, I thought I would share what a common breakfast has been for the past week or so. I have been devouring the granola I made in the beginning of the month, and actually only have one small bowl's worth left before I need to make another batch. All this week I have been adding a few fat, ripe strawberries to the bowl. Yesterday I also added a delicious bagel thin with a wedge of laughing cow swiss cheese. I also usually add some milk to the granola and strawberries.

The baby seems to appreciate starting the day this way and, what the baby wants, she gets! At least for now. This breakfast has also been great because it really keeps me full until lunch.


June 22, 2011

.fried goat cheese with cherry preserves.

That's really all that needs to be said. Seriously.

But, y'all know I have more to say so, let's just get to it. First of all, how incredibly excited was I to find this at Trader Joe's!

So excited. No joke. I heard they had one serving size goat cheese medallions and indeed they do! And in cute little 6 medallion bunches! I love it! I bought two bunches. If you don't have a Trader Joe's close to you.... well, I feel bad for you. Really, I do. But I will eat the hell out of my goat cheese medallions without guilt. Sorry.

In May I went to a restaurant with some family and one of the appetizers was fried goat cheese. I tried it and was so impressed. It was delicious. They combined it with a nice balsamic vinegar sort of thing and I could have eaten like 50 of them. So, when deciding what to make with my adorable little medallions I knew that I wanted to try to do a fried goat cheese side dish. Besides of course eating them on salads, sandwiches, and delicious pizza. Since I don't have any balsamic in my kitchen (which probably needs to be remedied) I decided to try some warm cherry preserves as a substitute. Whoa y'all. Whoa. This added a completely new dimension to the goat cheese and I highly recommend trying it.

While perusing recipes I found that fried goat cheese could be used in a wide variety of salad recipes as a topper. I decided to just enjoy mine as an appetizer sort of meal, with grapes and a spinach, fontina and garlic chicken sausage (also found at Trader Joe's). And, if you can't find single serving medallions, don't fret. You could just buy a log of goat cheese, they usually are 8 ounces, and slice it into 8 medallions. The tips I learned for slicing is to put the log in the freezer for 15 minutes prior to slicing, then wipe the knife clean in between each slice.

Fried Goat Cheese with Cherry Preserves serves one
2- 1 ounce goat cheese medallions
1 tablespoon flour
1 tablespoon bread crumbs
1 egg
A dash of dried thyme
Salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon of olive oil
1 tablespoon cherry preserves

Prepare a drudging station by placing the flour in one bowl, the egg, whisked, into a second bowl, and the bread crumbs and spices in a third bowl.

Place a small amount of olive oil in a pan and put over medium heat while drudging the cheese. Make the thickness of the cheese medallions as uniform as possible. They might crumble a bit, but that's ok, just form them back together. Place them first in the flour for an even coating, then into the egg, then into the bread crumb mixture. Then put them in the hot pan for roughly 2 to 3 minutes, flipping once.

Once they are brown and crispy on each side place them on a plate. Take a spoonful of the cherry preserve, roughly a tablespoon, and place it in the still warm pan. Once it's warm it will be much thinner, drizzle it over the fried goat cheese. Serve as an appetizer, or as a side dish.

As a side note, you could also probably try to use less drudging ingredients if only cooking for one. I had a lot of it left after drudging both medallions. The amounts listed would probably be better for 4, or maybe even 6, medallions.


June 21, 2011

.one year.

It is with utmost joy that I post this today. No, it doesn't have anything to do with food, but it was too important not to post.

One year ago today, in the gorgeous Chugach mountains of Alaska, I married the most incredible man I know, my best friend, my confidant, my soul mate, the love of my life.

It's been an incredible year, which makes me so excited for all that we have to come.

So, to my wonderful husband, I am so happy to call you mine and so proud to be your wife.

I love you Brian!


June 14, 2011

.daring cooks challenge: june.

Jami Sorrento was our June Daring Cooks hostess and she chose to challenge us to celebrate the humble spud by making a delicious and healthy potato salad. The Daring Cooks Potato Salad Challenge was sponsored by the nice people at the United States Potato Board, who awarded prizes to the top 3 most creative and healthy potato salads. A medium-size (5.3 ounce) potato has 110 calories, no fat, no cholesterol, no sodium and includes nearly half your daily value of vitamin C and has more potassium than a banana!

If all of that is not a good reason to eat potatoes, I don't know what else is. Oh yeah I do, they're super tasty! I will say, there is something about being pregnant that brings out potato cravings. Generally though the things people add to potatoes are what make them not the healthiest snack. Fried, covered in mayo or oil, stuffed with butter and sour cream... really takes down the health factor of potatoes. Jami wanted to challenge us to create a healthier potato salad that wasn't all mucked up by all those ingredients that taste really great but don't do anything for you if you're watching your waist line.

I decided to combine potatoes with one of my favorite things: avocado. I thought I would make a creamy avocado "sauce" to go with the potatoes and other vegetables instead of using any other condiments. This turned out so good y'all. The avocado went so well with the other ingredients and, although avocados are high in fat, they are high in healthy fats. They're pretty much nutritional power houses. I also used a little bit of olive oil, which is also a healthier fat when used in moderation.

Roasted Potato Salad serves 4
1 1/2 pounds baby red potatoes, quartered
1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
1 medium avocado
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Handful of chives, chopped, for garnish
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Toss the potatoes with a 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil and place on a baking sheet. Season with a sprinkling of salt and pepper. Bake for roughly 45 minutes, or until tender. Towards the end of the cooking time for the potatoes, start to saute the bell pepper, onion and garlic with the addition tablespoon of olive oil until they are tender and the onion is slightly translucent. Season with salt and pepper.

Mash the avocado in a large bowl with the lemon juice until the mixture is creamy. Add the sauteed vegetables and the roasted potatoes. Combine until the vegetables are coated with the avocado. Plate the dish then sprinkle the chives over the top.

For those of you who are interested, here's the nutritional breakdown of the dish. The potato salad went excellently with a grilled pork chop!

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 275 g
Amount Per Serving
Calories from Fat 
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 
Saturated Fat 
Total Carbohydrates 
Dietary Fiber 
Vitamin A 22%Vitamin C 132%
Calcium 3%Iron 9%
Nutrition Grade A-
* Based on a 2000 calorie diet

Nutritional Analysis

Good points


June 12, 2011

.first time for everything.

And a sort of, kind of fail for this first.

I had a good bit of spinach leftover in the fridge and I knew I wasn't going to eat it in a salad so I thought, hey, I'll jump on this green monster wagon. I grabbed some frozen strawberries, a couple handfuls of the spinach, a very ripe banana and about a cup and a half of milk and blended it all up. As a side note, if I 1) wasn't pregnant and 2) had a better blender I probably would only use 1 cup of milk. As it is, I need the extra calcium and my blender sucks a little bit... so he gets extra liquid.

What came out was very delicious, but not very green. As you can see it's a very light greenish pinkish  color. Not super appetizing looking but, as I said tastes damn good. I would never have thought of putting spinach in a smoothie but I think it really does a great job cutting down some of the sugary flavor from the fruit. Plus, it adds tons of extra nutrients! I'm thinking, in regards to the color, that I just didn't add enough spinach? Maybe? Any green monster aficionados read my blog?


June 8, 2011

.step 2 to delicious.

Alright folks. Sorry about that cliffhanger last night. After cooking dinner and making the granola I just didn't feel like cooking anything else for the night. This was definitely worth waiting for though!

I threw together a quick and easy strawberry peach crisp and I must say, it was completely awesome. The man agrees. In fact, he ate 2 ramekins.

This is something that doesn't really have a "real" recipe so I'll just give you the low down on what I did. I used roughly 2 peaches, chopped, and about half a pint of strawberries, also chopped. This was enough for 4 small ramekins. I mixed the berries together with about half a tablespoon of flour and a whole tablespoon of sugar. I put an equal amount of the berry mixture into the ramekins, covered the berries with the granola and then put roughly 1/4 tablespoon of chilled, cut butter onto the top of the granola. I popped them in a preheated 375 degree oven for 30 minutes and, voila! Berry crisp. You can pretty much use any fruit you want, as well as any variety of granola that you prefer. This also pairs nicely with ice cream or sorbet.


June 7, 2011

.step 1 to delicious.

Howdy folks! After my last slight baking failure I was hell bent on redemption. I still had some peach and I needed to make something completely awesome with them (I also just ate a few by themselves... because they are delicious like that as well, obviously). Based on what I had in my cupboards I made my plan, and the first step to this plan was granola.

Yes, I could have gone out and bought some at the store, like normal people, but where's the fun in that? Instead I decided to make my own and found an incredible recipe over at Oh She Glows. I used Mrs. Angela's Favourite Homemade Granola recipe, with some substitutions of my own using what I had. And yes, you have to spell it with a "u," cause that's how they do it in Canada (love it!).

The ingredients I used are as follows:
2 1/2 cups oats
1 cup raw almonds, chopped
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds
1/3 cup raisins
1 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of nutmeg
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 tablespoon agave nectar
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons apple sauce, unsweetened
1 tablespoon organic honey
2 tablespoons organic peanut butter
1/3 cup packed brown sugar

Whew! That's quite a list, eh? So, I had quite a few of the ingredients Angela used but not exactly all of them, and the granola still turned out awesome. With my ingredients I still followed her recipe exactly and it was super easy. Well, almost exactly. I accidentally got a little over-excited and added the raisins before baking, but it still turned out great. And, if any of you have ever eaten a Be Kind bar that is pretty much exactly what this granola smells like while baking. Yum!

She recommends eating this granola straight from the pan (just kidding, it will burn!) or with milk. I think it would also be great over fresh fruit and with yogurt. I'm going to do something a little bit crazier with it, but you'll have to wait until tomorrow to see what!

Mwahaha, do you like the cliffhanger?