Sunday, February 17, 2013 Peppermint Patty Brownies

Part two of the present to my Valentine. (The first was this amazing bowl.) I had friday off so I took the opportunity to make these brownies, they're not hard but the cooling and setting of the three parts can take some time. If you're going to bring these somewhere I would recommend making them the night before. No surprise, the Brownies were a hit!

Saturday, February 16, 2013 a Few Favorites, February TwentyThirteen

I'm not sure how they are all Orange and Teal but maybe that's what's been on my mind. I'm taking a cue from one of my favorite blogs and her monthly favorites. It's always nice to read an honest review and see what other people have found recently.

The first favorite was the gift I gave for Valentines day:

Friday, February 15, 2013 my Funny Valentine

Sweet comic valentine.

You make me smile with my heart.

Point Loma's Sessions Public.

Short Rib Sliders.

Ricotta Beignets  with Chocolate Sauce.

From Sign to Divider.

Delicious Craft Beer.

Newsprint Window Covering.

Public ChalkboardSSSS.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013 a Rösti with Green Onion & Parmesan Yogurt

A little Lottie & Doof  Rösti, I thought there would be leftovers and we could scramble it with eggs for another meal. Turns out this thing was so delicious there was not a bite left with only 3 of us eating it. After which my willing guinea pigs came up with a dozen different variation on a delicious theme. I'll get into those later, but first let's get to the delicious potato base, the toppings will fall come to mind effortlessly.

The Rösti
2¼ lbs Russet Potatoes (about 3 large)
2 Tbsp  Butter
2 Tbsp Vegetable Oil
1 Tbsp Kosher Salt (sounds like a lot of salt but it's necessary)

*For the first step I got to use my Wonky Gnocchi trick! I'll try not to get too excited about it.*

Stab Potatoes with fork, cook on full power in the microwave for 5 minutes. Turn over, and continue to cook for 5 more minutes. Check to see if it's done, the fork will go thru easily, it might need a minute or two on each side. Peel Potatoes, then refrigerate until chilled, at least 1 hour. Grate Potatoes using the large holes on a cheese grater; set aside.

Heat Butter and Oil in an 8″ nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. Pour the melted butter/oil, and salt over the grated potatoes in bowl and mix. Transfer to preheated pan, use a spatula to gently press potatoes, molding them to fit the skillet. Cook, shaking skillet occasionally, until edges are golden brown, about 15-20 minutes.

Cover skillet with a large inverted plate, invert the rösti over onto plate, then slide it back into the skillet, cooked side up; cook until golden brown on the bottom, about 10-15 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board, sprinkle with salt, and cut into wedges to serve. 

My Topping
8 oz. Plain Greek Yogurt
1/2 Cup Parmesan, Grated 
1/3 Cup Green Onion, Thinly Sliced
2 Cloves of Garlic, Minced

Alternative Toppings
Sausage & Peppers
Salsa & Queso Fresco
Bacon & a Fried Egg
Cheese, pick a Cheese any Cheese

Sunday, February 10, 2013 Not Just Any Cornbread

Here's the Cornbread to go with the previous Chili recipe both perfect for the Super Bowl. Eat Live Run's Turkey and Bean Chili and Smitten Kitchen's Caramelized Onion and Goat Cheese Cornbread.

1 cup (6 oz) Polenta
2 cups Buttermilk
2 Tbsp Butter
2 Cups Onion in a 3/4-Inch Dice
1 3/4 cups Flour
1 1/2 Tbsp  Baking Powder
1/4 tsp Baking Soda
1 tsp Salt
6 ounce log of Goat Cheese
2 Tbsp Honey
1/4 Cup Sugar
3 Eggs
2 Tbsp Butter, Melted
2 1/2 Cups Frozen Corn Kernels
2 Tbsp Butter, for Greasing the Pan.

Two hours, or for as long as you can, soak the Cornmeal in the Buttermilk. Cover and leave at room temperature overnight.

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Heat a large saute pan to medium and coat the bottom with 2 Tbsp of Butter. Add the Onions and cook them until they’re well-caramelized with browned edges. Season with Salt and set aside.

Sift together the Flour, Baking Powder, Baking Soda and Salt and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, beat the Goat Cheese until fluffy. Add the Eggs, one at a time and scraping down the bowl between each. Add the Melted Butter, Honey, Sugar and Cornmeal/Buttermilk mixture and mix until smooth. Add the Flour mixture and stir until combined and then gently stir in the Corn Kernels, mixing them until the ingredients are evenly distributed.

Grease a 9 by 13-inch baking pan. Pour in the batter, spreading it evenly and sprinkle the caramelized onion evenly over the top. Remember to stir in the Corn Kernels before you pour the batter in, it's a simple mistake, could happen to anyone. Or maybe it's just me.

Bake for about 30-35 minutes, or until the Cornbread is firm and springing (the baking time will depend on the size and type of pan) and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Allow the bread to cool in the pan for at least 15 minutes before slicing it into squares. Serve immediately. And over this Chili or another Chili of your choosing.

Saturday, February 9, 2013 the Chili before Cornbread

I was looking for the perfect meal for the Super Bowl AND I got my first Dutch Oven. So I hunted down a few recipes for Chili and Cornbread and settled on Eat Live Run's Turkey and Bean Chili and Smitten Kitchen's Caramelized Onion and Goat Cheese Cornbread. I made a few alterations because of spices I didn't have or accidentally bought instead of the intended ingredients (cans of tomato sauce and diced tomato look surprisingly similar).

2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1½ Cups White Onion, Diced
1 Red Bell Pepper, Diced
4 Garlic Cloves, Finely Diced
2 Serrano Chili Pepper, Minced
1 lb Ground Turkey Meat
2 tsp Paprika
1 tsp Cumin
2-3 Pinches of Red Pepper Flakes
2 Tbsp Tomato Paste
3 oz Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce
1½  14-oz can  Tomatoes Sauce (this was an uh oh)
½ Cup Beer of Your Choice
1 15-oz Can Kidney Beans, Rinsed
1 15-oz Can Black Beans, Rinsed
1 15-oz Can Chickpeas (this was because I got the tomato wrong)
Salt and Black Pepper

Heat the oil in a large dutch oven. Cook the Onions and Bell Peppers until softened, about 5-6 minutes. Add Garlic, Serrano Pepper and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes. Add the Turkey and cook while using a wooden spoon to break up the meat. Continue cooking until the meat is no longer pink—about another 5 minutes.

Add the Paprika, Cumin, Red Pepper. Stir and cook for an additional minute. Stir in the Tomato Paste and Chipotle Peppers (if using) and then add in the Tomatoes Sauce. Gently stir in the Beer, Beans and Chickpeas. Bring the mixture up to a slow boil. Once it reaches a boil, lower the heat to a simmer. Simmer the chili partially covered, for about 30 minutes. Stir the chili every 10 minutes or so as it slowly thickens. Once it reaches your desired consistency, taste and adjust seasonings with salt and pepper as needed.

Serve the chili with Caramelized Onion and Goat Cheese Cornbread.

Friday, February 8, 2013 Slightly Wonky Gnocchi

Almost a year ago Mrs. M and I made this Butternut Squash Gnocchi and it was wonderful. And even before that I've wanted to make Regular Gnocchi, it seems like something every Italian should know.  The recipe I used is another Smitten Kitchen find. So here was my not quite failed attempt at it. I mean it still tasted good but my impatience got the better of me as I baked the potatoes and my Gnocchi dough came out a little stringy. Once boiled it was mostly smooth, so not a complete failure. Definitely not as pretty. Next time I'm going to opt for microwaving the potato, this is a nifty little trick I completely forgot about. It would have saved about 20 minutes or more and probably made for a better result. The best reason I can think of to bake a potato is crispy skin and for Gnocchi peeling the potato is the first step after baking them. While baking the potato might not be a requirement, a nice soft potato is so be more patient than I was and wait for the potato to cook through.

2 lbs Russet Potatoes (about 3)
1 Egg, Lightly Beaten
1 tsp Salt
1 1/4 to 1 1/2 Cups Flour, plus more for Dusting

Cook the  Potatoes: 
Option 1: Oven
Heat your oven to 400 degrees. Stab Potatoes with fork, bake them for 45 minutes to 1 hour, depending on size, until a thin knife can easily pierce through them.
Option 2: Microwave Oven
Stab Potatoes with fork, cook on full power in the microwave for 5 minutes. Turn over, and continue to cook for 5 more minutes.

Make the Dough: 
Let the potatoes cool enough to touch, then peel them with a knife or a peeler. Run the Potatoes through a potato ricer (oh I wish I had a ricer...) or grate them on the large holes of a box grater (grated baked potatoes will fall apart). Cool them to lukewarm, about another 10 minutes. Add the Egg and Salt, mixing to combine. Add 1/2 cup Flour, and mix to combine. Add the next 1/2 cup Flour, mixing again. Add 1/4 cup Flour, and see if this is enough to form a dough that does not easily stick to your hands. If not, add the last 1/4 cup of flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the dough is soft but only a little sticky, and able to hold its shape enough to be rolled into a rope. Knead the dough together briefly, gently, on a counter, just for a minute.

Divide the dough into eighths. Roll each piece into a long rope, about 3/4-inch thick. Cut each rope into 3/4-inch lengths. Place the gnocchi on a a parchment-lined tray.

[If you'd like to freeze gnocchi for later user, do so on this tray. Once they are frozen, drop them into a freezer bag until needed. No need to defrost before cooking them; it will just take a minute or two longer.]

Cook the gnocchi: 
Place the gnocchi, a quarter-batch at a time, into a pot of boiling well-salted water. Cook the gnocchi until they float — about 2 minutes — then drain.

Like I said, mine turned out a little wonky but still tasted delicious. And I didn't take process pictures, so three fairly similar pictures of the finished product is all I've got.

Thursday, February 7, 2013 .875 Architect!!!

I'm almost there! I passed my 7th of 8 tests!!! It's a little anticlimactic because I have to wait until the Fall to take the 8th and final test. 1404 working hours, that's what stands between me and the final test and from calling myself and Architect. I can't believe how long this process has taken but I'm ready to have a HUGE celebration when I make it, 1404 hours and 1 test from now.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013 a 'Winter' Weekend

Super Bowl Weekend, early February and well.... it's GORGEOUS here. I have a brother in Kansas and best friend in Texas who are both a little upset with me for throwing these pictures up on Facebook, but seriously, seriously. Blue skies, sunshine and 70 degree in February is about as good as it gets. Last year at this time I was living in the Pacific Northwest, and while there's beautiful scenery at every turn it is also grey, sooo grey this time of year. Here's a few pictures of my adventures with CPB this weekend.

Costa Mesa, California
That's a lot of beer on draft. Local & delicious.

BBQ, Bacon, Potato Chip Waffle Burger....and Waffle Fries!

Industrial furniture and indigenous plants.

And a little shopping around the OC Mart MIX

Super Bowl Funday Run....and accidental hike in Torrey Pines.
The only way down to the beach (we thought) was a craggily ravine. Turns out there were stairs not too far away. What good is a run with without a little adventure. 
There's a palm tree in there. Do you see it?

Running in sand is hard, I think I'm a bit of a sissy about it. 
Luckily I have a great coach.

Winter here is just terrible....


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