Cronuts. (YES, that’s why I meant to type).

Has anyone else been hearing ridiculous things about a new foodie dessert originating in NYC that is a croissant-donut hybrid? Like this article? I’ve been tempted to book a flight just to stand in line in the wee hours of the morning to be one of the first to buy a fresh delicious “cronut” and I’m NOT a morning person. I can’t emphasize that enough. Image

This was my first attempt at cronuts (all though I guess technically these are “crescent donuts”). They didn’t turn out perfect but Brigitte gave me the inspiration I needed to even make this attempt. I’m happy with the outcome however not perfect it may be because it was absolutely delicious. Image

My flavor? Maple Bacon because well… Bacon. I’m perplexed as to what I’m supposed to do with all the oil I used to fry them and my kitchen needs to be thoroughly scrubbed so as to not attract ants but this west coast girl is happy. She finally got to try a “cronut.”Image

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Cinnamon Roll Pancakes.

This Sunday I decided to make Cinnamon Roll Pancakes for breakfast. I had seen them come up a bunch of times while browsing Pinterest and I realized that it was necessary that I attempt to make them. Thanks to RecipeGirl for the recipe and the tips (check out her Gingerbread Cinnamon Roll Pancakes entry too for helpful tips on making the cinnamon roll filling).

The Cream Cheese Glaze is beyond necessary as well. Let’s be honest… you could just use your go-to pancake syrup but then it wouldn’t make these “Cinnamon Roll” pancakes. So please take the teeny amount of extra time and make the Cream Cheese Glaze. You will not regret it.

I love how the cinnamon roll filling sort of becomes crunchy as it caramelizes on the skillet. It adds to the pancake eating experience. You’re getting a little bit of crunchiness, sweetness, savoryness (from the Cream Cheese Glaze) and the moistness from the delicious pancake.

I think you could definitely save yourself some time by just buying the pancake mix for the pancake batter but honestly… it didn’t take me that much more time to make the pancake batter from scratch.

Bacon and Champagne with Strawberries is also a good addition to this breakfast. Bacon because well… it’s bacon and Champagne because well… it’s champagne. If I have to give you a reason to add those two items to complete this delicious meal then we have a problem.

Take some time out of your weekend morning and make this yummy breakfast. It will really help you start your day off on the right foot. Now, it’s time for me to take a nice food coma. Have a great Sunday. Cheers!

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Shorty’s. Seattle, WA. September 16, 2012

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Brie and Apple Tarts.

This summer pretty much flew by. Before I knew it, I was moving out of the tiny town of Pullman, Washington where I attended school at Washington State University for the last two years and relocating to where my first job after college would be. I had hoped to make my last summer in Pullman as memorable as possible and I definitely succeeded.

I want to be more active with this blog again. I want to commit to one post a week every Monday. I’m working 50+ hours a week at my new job, but I think once a week is something that I can manage.

Let’s start this new chapter with a dessert that reminds me of fall: Brie and Apple Tarts.

I found a box of puff pastry sheets in the freezer section of the grocery store. Grabbed a beautiful granny smith apple and a wedge of brie and got to work.

These are so easy to make. Thanks BlogHungry for sharing this recipe. The brie is super mellow and not overpowering at all. The apple is sweet and tart and baked just enough to give the tart a little crunch. The puff pastry just melts in your mouth. All in all, I would say that this creation was definitely a success.

It was decided that a sprinkle of brown sugar on the outside of the puff pastry after it was sealed with egg wash was the finishing touches that would help make the tart even more yummier. Put the tarts on wax paper and kept in the oven at 350 degrees Farenheit for 15 minutes. I still can’t believe brie cheese goes so well with apple and cinnamon and brown sugar.

So glad I made this. Definitely will be making it again.

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Bacon, Caramelized Onion, Roasted Asparagus and Egg Pizza with Mozzarella Cheese: I’m back.

I’m back, and I’m all graduated from college and stuff. My online absence had something to do with this past semester being my last semester of my undergraduate career but it also had something to do with the fact that the camera function on my phone was broke and I refused to go get it fixed until this past Saturday. Obviously, the very next day my thoughts became consumed by one main theme: “What should I make and share with folks next?” The answer was pizza. Not just any pizza, Bacon, Caramelized Onion, Roasted Asparagus and Egg Pizza with Mozzarella Cheese.

The inspiration for this recipe came from Breanna over at Breanna’s Recipe Box. A couple of weeks ago, I attempted to make both of the pizza’s featured on that page. While both were good, the Roasted Asparagus, Egg and Prosciutto Pizza was definitely my favorite. The other pizza had bacon and caramelized onions on it and yesterday a light bulb sort of came on in my brain and I was like, let’s combine these pizzas. I left the prosciutto and ricotta off of this new hybrid pizza but all in all I would say that this is definitely one of my favorite pizzas ever.

Toppings for Pizza:

7-8 asparagus spears.

1 yellow onion

10 slices of bacon

8 oz of fresh mozzarella

6 large eggs

The asparagus were seasoned with olive oil, salt, pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice and then roasted at 425 degrees Fahrenheit for about 10-13 minutes depending on the size of the spear. Most of the asparagus spears were used to line the edges of the pizza but the remaining spears were roughly chopped up and sprinkled over the pizza.

The onion was sliced and sauteed in olive oil and seasoned with salt and pepper on medium low heat until the onions became translucent and slightly golden.

The bacon was cooked in a saute pan with a little olive oil on the bottom to help prevent sticking. Don’t cook the bacon all the way to crispy like you might for Sunday morning breakfast. They are going to continue to cook and get crispy in the oven when you bake the pizza and you don’t want them to be over-cooked.

I bought the fresh mozzarella balls that come in the plastic container filled with water to help keep them moist. Just spread the mozzarella balls evenly all over the pizza. I used all 8 oz but you might want to use less.

Definitely don’t need to use 6 eggs but we were trying to get an egg on each slice of the pizza and there is definitely a certain level of skill or creativity needed in order to achieve this. The eggs like to move around on the pizza and they never end up where they start.

A word to the wise… I would use 5-6 of the asparagus spears to make a sort of dam around the edges of the pizza to help prevent the eggs from migrating off the edge of the pizza and on to the floor of the oven.

We made the pizza dough from scratch but there’s no harm in buying one of those pre-made crust’s at the store. If anything I would applaud that because then you get to enjoy the pizza a little bit faster. If you do decided to make the dough from scratch, make sure to brush the dough with olive oil and season with salt and pepper before you add the toppings.

Also, add all of the toppings minus the eggs for the first 3-5 minutes of baking at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Then add the eggs and bake for another 10-15 minutes. You want to make sure the egg whites are completely cooked so check the pizza every so often until they are.

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Braciola: Welcome Home.

I’m sure you’ve noticed a trend with the food that I make being that majority of the dishes are Italian dishes or at least involve pasta. When I’m away at school, I like to make things that remind me of the food my mom and I like to cook together when I’m back at home. Seeing as I’m in the first couple days of my Spring Break (also known as: “SPRING BREAK 2012! Woo!”), I decided to share my favorite meal on the entire face of this planet. Braciola (or Braciole, depending on who you talk to). My mom bought Giada’s “Everyday Italian” and we found this little delight tucked away in its pages. If you don’t have her book, you can also find the recipe here.

Braciola is essentially a roll of meat that’s been slow cooked for 2 hours in tomato sauce. Oh, and it’s filled with cheese and breadcrumbs! It’s amazing. I wish I had an oven proof skillet back at my apartment at school because I would make this pretty much all the time.

Some advice: the filling is going to fall out after you roll the meat and tie it. The filling is also going to fall out some more when you flip the meat over to sear in the skillet. This is all okay. The filling falling out after you roll it up and tie it can’t really be helped. When the filling falls out in the skillet, don’t get down on yourself. This is going to add some amazing flavors to the tomato sauce when it gets poured over the meat. Also, you’re going to need to buy some bread to mop up the sauce leftover from cooking the braciola. I can’t even tell you how much of a crime it would be if you didn’t get a loaf of bread for this (my recommendation: the frozen garlic bread you find in the freezer section of your grocery store). Okay, so calling it a crime is a tiny bit dramatic but it would definitely be cruel, so just promise me you won’t do it.

Oh and I should mention that you’re probably going to get a little hungry when the braciola is in the oven and you have to take it out and baste it every 30 minutes. The smell is incredible and you’re probably going to want to just eat it right then and there. But Don’t! The meat probably isn’t cooked all the way. So avoid any potential hunger pangs by making sure you have a little snack tucked away somewhere. Just make sure it’s a little snack because you are going to want to be hungry when you finally get to devour the braciola.

Use a good white wine when you’re making this braciola too. My mom gets a random bottle of chardonnay which is fine, I mean, wine is wine. Only it’s not. When you are going to pour yourself a glass before cleaning up the kitchen after the feast you have made, you’re going to want a great glass of wine, not some random bottle that was on sale at the grocery store. I’m not saying you need to hand over Mr. Andrew Jackson for a single bottle of wine but at least look for a bottle that is more than $6. I’m sorry, if it’s $6 or less you’re probably holding a bottle of Arbor Mist (and don’t think I’m a snob or anything, it’s just that, this is no time for Arbor Mist).

The steak is tender and the sauce is delicious. Each slice is about the size of your fist which is great since you know it’s about a serving. It’s a little sad when it’s gone, but again, that’s what the bread is for. I’m not going to lie… I contributed nothing to the making of this braciola. I should have at least offered to help but it’s not really a two person job and my mom is better at making this than me. So… thanks for the braciola, Mom!

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Eggplant Parmesan with Linguine.

The day after Christmas, I got on a plane with my mom, aunt and two cousins and spent 5 days in NYC with another aunt and cousin. It was a family trip. It was an all-female family trip. More importantly, it was a “Hey, let’s introduce you to some amazing Italian food that’s located on the other side of the country” trip. It’s sad, but I have actually spent time thinking about what kind of logistics would be involved in me flying back to NYC just for some more Linguine with Eggplant Parmigiana from Vincent’s.

Before eating the Eggplant Parmesan at Vincent’s I had only eaten eggplant maybe one other time and I remember not really liking it. So, I don’t know what made me order the dish at Vincent’s but it turns out that I’m very glad I did (high-five gut instinct!). I’m so glad that I did, that I keep thinking about the dish and Vincent’s sauce and I decided that I had to try and make it for myself.

Thanks to Honey, What’s Cooking? for sharing this recipe. I really liked how easy the Eggplant Parmesan was to make (and the fact that it wasn’t fried) and I liked how the linguine is baked along with it.

Let’s start off with the fact that I had no idea that there are so many kinds of eggplants. The store I shop at had Japanese eggplant and it worked just fine. They are a little smaller than the one used in the recipe I was following, so I used two. I didn’t use the whole grain linguine or the Barilla sauce like the recipe I was following called for. I used regular linguine and an organic brand of tomato sauce that was at my store. I also didn’t really measure the cheese but I still used part-skim mozzarella and grated Parmesan. I wish they sold tomato sauce in bigger jars. I could have used more than the 25 oz jar, I had, supplied. Next time I will have to make my own sauce ahead of time that way I control how much sauce is used. I like making healthier versions of my favorite foods and, like I mentioned earlier, I loved that this recipe had me baking the eggplant instead of frying it. I’ve tried making Chicken Parmesan and I can never seem to fry it right. The bread crumbs are always falling off and then I’m always left with sauteed chicken with burnt breadcrumbs scattered about the pan. It’s just not a good look.

Cook the Linguine part of the way through since it’s going to continue cooking in the oven with the sauce and the eggplant. Be sure to cover the baking dish with foil like the recipe says to because you don’t want the cheese on top burning too quickly and you also want everything to bake together and the pasta to finish cooking without getting dried out.

I’m so glad that I made myself some Eggplant Parmesan, and I’m glad that I at least tried to make a healthier version. It’s not Vincent’s but it’ll help with the cravings until I can get myself back to NYC.

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