Monday, February 20, 2012

Turning to the Dark Side....and Gelato 101

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Dark Chocolate Gelato

Hi friends! How has every one's February been. Crazy that it's almost over isn't it? Don't forget we get that extra day at the end of the month this year. What to do with the extra time?! Make this gelato that's what.

Many people are confused on the difference between gelato and ice cream or think its the same. It's not the same, but its not rocket science either when distinguishing the two. Gelato simply comes with a hansom Italian man and ice cream comes with out one. Haha, if only.

Anyways, there is a technical distinction between them. Gelato is made with higher milk to cream ratio where ice cream has a higher cream to milk to ratio. Gelato is therefore lower in fat. This doe not mean a healthy version as it is still loaded with sugar and only slightly lower fat content than ice cream.

True gelato is also churned slower than ice cream, leaving it more dense because not as much air is whipped into the mixture.

Also, I found this quite interesting, the lower fat content in gelato make it so that the gelato does not coat the tongue in the same way. Between this and being served a slighter higher temperature then ice cream, you get a more intense flavor.

OK now that you can write a book on gelato, I will share with you this amazing recipe.

You actually do not need an ice cream machine for this and I recommend not using one unless you have a super fancy one where you can adjust the turning speed and time. I simply put it in an air tight container and let it freeze over night.

 Although it was not made in true gelato fashion it was still smooth and rich, and just ridiculously amazing. It took me back to being in Italy where I literally ate gelato several times a day.....ah those glorious Italian days.

Enjoy <3

  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1 1/5 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup condensed milk
  • 3/4 cup castor sugar (if you only have regular sugar that's fine it will just take longer to dissolve)
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 4 large egg yolks

  1. In a heavy saucepan heat the milk, condensed milk, and half the sugar until it begins to simmer.
  2. Stir constantly until the sugar is dissolved.
  3. Remove from the heat and add the cocoa and chocolate, whisking until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth.
  4. In a bowl beat the egg yolks, remaining sugar and salt until thick and pale.
  5. Add the hot chocolate mixture in a slow stream, whisking as you go.
  6. Pour into saucepan and cook this mixture over moderately low heat until it thickens making sure to stir constantly.
  7. Pour mixture through a sieve  into a bowl.
  8. Set this mixture over water and ice and chill until cold.
  9. Place into an airtight container and freeze overnight. Or, you can churn this in an ice-cream maker.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

All You Need is Love.....& Breakfast

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Brown Butter Cinnamon Waffles
with butter pecan sauce

 Happy Valentines Day!
 I dunno about you but I happen to have the best Valentine for a second year in a niece Kayleigh.
It's crazy how time flies. Look how incredibly tiny and adorable she was last year on her first Valentines Day

 .........and then now

 She's growing too fast I can't  take it.

Anyways, for all you lovers I hope you and yours truly enjoy this day, and all you anti Valentines day people, I hope you still remember to share a little love today.

Since we are talking about love. There are a few things in life I REALLY love. Such as breakfast. I love breakfast. Enough to eat it for dinner. Remember being a kid and having pancakes and eggs for dinner? It always seemed liked such a treat for some reason. I'm not sure we all would have felt as excited for spaghetti and meatballs for breakfast though. Who knows why breakfast for dinner is so fantastic, lets just accept that it is.

 The reason I say this is because I made these phenomenal, yes phenomenal, waffles for dinner last night. I really wanted something different and since its been way too long since my last waffle I decided to have breakfast for dinner.

I also wanted it to be semi-gourmet. I'm not sure you can call a waffle gourmet, but in my kitchen I can :). So i thought browning the butter and adding some cinnamon and nutmeg would be a great idea. I was right, of course.

These are great topped with some extra cinnamon and a sprinkle of brown sugar or the classic butter and syrup. However as I mentioned I wanted something gourmet. After all I was making this for my Valentines Day post.

So gourmet is what I did. Skip the syrup and butter and make a butter pecan sauce. All you need is some pecans, butter, and brown sugar. I added a tad of vanilla and cinnamon.

I  told you these were phenomenal. Get up, get moving and make these for someone phenomenal in your life.

Brown Butter Cinnamon Waffles
Makes about 6-7 waffles                                                                        

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup, plus 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 large eggs, separated
  • non stick spray for waffle iron
Butter Pecan Sauce
1/2 cup pecans, roughly chopped
6 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

  1. In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium-high heat.
  2. Continue cooking until the butter turns brown and has a nutty fragrance, about 5 minutes then remove from heat.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  4. Make a well in the center and pour in the buttermilk and the egg yolks and  together, gently working them into the dry ingredients until just combined.
  5. Add the browned butter and whisk until fully absorbed.
  6. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites with an electric mixer until soft peaks form.
  7. Gently fold the whites into the batter in two additions.
  8. Spray the the waffle iron with nonstick spray and cook the waffles according to the manufacturer's instructions.

For Butter Pecan Sauce
  1.  In a medium saucepan toast the chopped pecans for several minutes until fragrant, about 2-3 minutes.
  2. Add the butter and melt.
  3. Add the brown sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon, stirring until sugar is dissolved.
  4. Pour atop waffles and fall in love<3!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Movin on the east side

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Baked Tortellini
with veggie loaded marinara sauce

Hello hello! Long time no blog. Well I was too busy moving and then stranded and disconnected from the world with out cable and Internet. THE HORROR!

 The cable company just decided it wasn't important to show up and get us connected. Anyway, we are all connected now and I am able to be back to blogging.

Since we had to entertain ourselves with out tv and internet, I took the liberty of making my roommate my apprentice in the cupcake world. I figured I'd be doing a lot of baking here and could use the help. She was actually very excited and a great student! We made chocolate cupcakes with cream cheese frosting and she picked up the pipping really fast so they also looked great. We have lots left over so I am going to teach her how to make cake pops. Maybe I'll be neighborly and bring them to the family next store, with my business card of course ;).

Being in disconnect gave me lots of time to get out and enjoy my new location. I am only a few blocks from the beach and that is heaven! I have been walking up and down the beach everyday and totally enjoying the wonderful scenery and being active outside in this GLORIOUS weather we've been so lucky with this winter.


I also had some close friends over for dinner last week once everything was settled in. Even though we had to use stools, fold-able chairs, and tray tables because of  our tiny tiny kitchen table, it was such a fun night and I am so thankful for such wonderful friends. On the menu was peppercorn roasted pork loin, balsamic asparagus, and salad (and quite a bit of wine) MMM!

Speaking of MMMM, this recipe is great. You can never go wrong with pasta, especially cheesy baked pasta. This is quick and easy, unless you want to be crazy and make your own sauce like I did (worth it!), and has added healthy bonuses by using  extra veggies in the sauce.

I hope you enjoyed hearing about the move and I hope you make and enjoy this recipe as well.
Check back for some Valentines day treats<3!

Baked Tortellini
w/veggie loaded marinara sauce
  • 1 9oz package frozen cheese tortellini
  • 1 recipe for homemade vegetable marinara (recipe follows)
  • -OR-
  • 1 jar of vegetable pasta/marinara sauce (reccommend Giada De Larentis; available at Target)
  • 1 box frozen spinach, thawed and drained
  • 1/2 cup part skim shredded mozeralla (you can add more)
  • 1/4 tbs orgeano
  • 1/4 tbs garlic powder

  1. Pre-boil the tortellini as directed on package.
  2. Drain and set aside.
  3. Preheat oven to 350.
  4. In a large bowl stir together tortellini, sauce, and defrosted spinach and pour into baking dish.
  5. Cover the top with shredded mozerella and sprinkle with oregano and garlic.
  6. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes or until cheese is melted and sauce is bubbling.  

Veggie Loaded Marinara Sauce   
  • I made the recipe from this blog, it was AMAZING! The wine enhances the flavor and the dash of sugar actually does balance out the sauce