Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Coconut Curry Hummus

So, I'm back. I had an amazing summer at forestry camp. I don't even know where to begin when people ask me how my summer was. It was perfect. But now I'm back in civilization with internet and a kitchen, so I'm going to try and get back into this (at least for the next 3 weeks while I still have access to the internet and a kitchen before I start work).
I was living in Meadow Valley for the summer, which is right next to Quincy. Quincy was voted "The Coolest Small Town in the West, 2013" so you know its a cool place. In Quincy, there was a food co-op called Quincy Natural Foods. Loved that place. It had such good food. One of the best things they sold was Coconut Curry Hummus by Hopes Hummus. Such an interesting combo of flavors. My shanty-mate Allison and I loved it. I've been missing it a lot and knew it was one of the first things I wanted to try and recreate once I got home and back to a food processor. So last night thats just what I did.

I didn't use a recipe, just used my taste buds and knowledge of what makes hummus hummus. So the recipe at the bottom is going to be a very rough estimate of what I did. However, that is one of the great things about hummus. You have the main ingredients and then you add them little by little until it tastes the way you want it to and it is the desired consistency. It's not an exact recipe, it depends on a lot of different aspects, and you learn what to look for and what needs to be added when you make it more often. The coconut milk in this really helped with the consistency. It made it really smooth and tastes better than oil (at least I think so). Also, I went to Trader Joe's yesterday and was looking for tahini, but all they had was a tahini sauce that was premixed with garlic and lemon. But, those are ingredients I was going to add anyway, so I decided to go with it. It worked really well, and added a good flavor kick, however I think I'm more fond of the straight tahini.
If you are a fan of hummus, I definitely suggest you try this flavor combo!

Rough Estimate of the Recipe
(there are many versions online that you can try as well!)

2 cups of garbanzo beans
(canned or dried after being soaked and cooked)
1/2 cup of coconut milk 
(add more later if you would like the hummus to be smoother and thinner)
3 tbsp Olive Oil
1/4 cup Tahini sauce
(add little by little, also can use plain old Tahini)
2 tbsp Curry Powder
(also add slowly until reach desired flavor)
1 tbsp Cumin
(same note as curry powder)
1 tsp salt

Mix it all together in a food processor until smooth and ready to go. Then voila! You have a perfect snack dip.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Chocolate Swirl Buns

The number of times I've heard "You are getting more and more like your father each day" over the past month is slightly ridiculous. I've heard this from my mother, my sister, and even my father. I've even thought it a couple of times. It's been a little surprising, but I think I've known I'm my fathers daughter all along. My sister is definitely more like my mom and I am very similar to my dad, and it gets more apparent each year.

Things we have in common: He started college as an Earth Science major. He loved hiking and being outdoors. He has a goofy sense of humor. He loves chocolate and good food. And the list goes on.
This last one inspired me to bake up a storm for father's day. It has been awhile since I've been home for fathers day so I made up for it by making him a ridiculously chocolatey breakfast and a peach pie for dinner's dessert.
Making the filling. 1. Chopping up the chocolate. 2. mixing in the sugar and cinnamon. 3. After adding butter for a chocolate butter explosion.

I've been wanting to make these for awhile but I knew I should wait til father's day to make breakfast decadent. My dad unfortunately had to work father's day weekend, but I think coming home to the smell of warm chocolate in the oven helped a little.

The recipe was a little complicated. Lots of waiting for dough to rise, but it was 100% worth it. The dough was really easy to work with, and I made them the night before, so the next morning we just popped them in the oven for 15 minutes and they were ready to eat.

When I was in Pennsylvania, Sam's roommate made cinnamon buns and cut them with floss. I thought it was such a good idea so that's how I cut these. It works great because it cuts from the bottom and top at the same time and you don't have the problem of squishing the fluffy dough when you cut the roll into 1 inch pieces. To cut with the floss, just slide the floss about one inch underneath the roll. Wrap the floss around the roll, cross the floss over each other once (as seen in the picture) and then pull. It should easily cut it from the top and bottom and give you a nicely cut, one inch thick chocolate swirl bun.  

Ready to wait for the next morning.

I cut the buns, and then let them "rise" in the refrigerator overnight. They didn't rise that much but kept pretty well in the fridge. It made the next morning way easier too. I didn't have to wake up super early to make these, just 15 minutes before my dad got back home and then we had fresh chocolate swirl buns to enjoy. 

The dough was very fluffy and the chocolate was very rich. So yummy. I could only eat one before my pre-lunch sweetness meter hit the over-indulgent setting. I'm not usually a sweet breakfast kinda girl. I like my eggs and hot sauce. I usually save sweets for dessert, but these sure were delicious. My dad helped himself to three so I think I can call them a successful Father's Day breakfast treat. 

Layers and layers of chocolate and dough in each bite.

My mom also enjoyed these. She kept telling me to take a picture after each bite. It was funny. 
If you have a special occasion to make a decadent breakfast, make these. You wont regret it.

I love you, Papa!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Peach Pie

Not so long ago, I hated pie. As an eater, I thought the crust was dry and tasteless, and the center was always too sweet no matter what type of pie it was. As a baker, pie terrified me. I thought the land of perfect pie crusts was unattainable. If Polly's pies couldn't do it, neither could I. So I kind of wrote off pie as something only special people could do. (And by special people I mean Allison Arcos because she is a pie genius and completely changed my views on pie).                    A few months ago, I tried my hand at pumpkin pie, and I felt very accomplished. Allison would always bring pies with her to work and it sparked many coworker friendships. People like pie. People think home made pie is awesome. I think home made pie is awesome. I'm glad I've changed my views and have come into the pie world with an open mind. 

I went back to visit Stebbins last weekend. I couldn't visit without baking, and my friend Marc suggested pie. Done. On Sunday a few stebbinites went to the farmers market and gathered a lot of summer stone fruit. I love the first peach of summer. This one was especially sweet and juicy and I knew I had to use the rest in a peach pie. So Irene and I set to work. 

The smitten kitchen pie dough is my favorite. It's easy to bring together. Full of a ridiculous amount of butter and so easy to work with after it has chilled. Easily rolled. Easily cut. Easily arranged. And the final product? Flaky, buttery, delicious. 

I had never made a lattice top before but have always wanted to try. One of my favorite parts of pie is how pretty the presentation is. Lattice tops are beautiful and I was surprised by how easy it was.  


Irene and I made a very simple filling. We just cut peaches, mixed some brown sugar with cinnamon and threw them into the crust. Easy, and tasted delicious. 

We messed up on the edges a bit but it still tasted delicious. 

With a dollop of homemade whipped cream on top, this pie was a little slice of summer. Fun to make and fun to share. Hopefully there will be more pies this summer! 

My lovely roommate, Irene. Shotty iPhone picture. :/ 


For the crust I used this recipe
This link includes a lot of really great tips on how to make a good pie crust. I found it super helpful. 

For the filling we used approximately 10 peaches. We then mixed 1/2 cup of brown sugar, 1/2 cup of white sugar, as much cinnamon as we thought was enough (maybe a tbsp?), and a pinch of nutmeg. This made too much of a sugar mixture, so we probably used about a 1/2 cup of the mixture and mixed it in with the peaches. 

1. Make the pie dough, wrap, and refrigerate until chilled
2. Cut the peaches and make the sugar mixture
3. Cut the pie dough in half. Roll out half of the pie dough into a circle and arrange in a pie pan
4. Pre bake the dough for approximately ten minutes
5. Roll out the other half of the dough and then cut into long thin strands
6. Mix the peaches and sugar mixture then put them into the pre baked pie crust
7. Arrange the lattice top (I found simple instructions after googling it)
8. Bake for approximately 30 minutes, until the top is nice and brown
9. Enjoy

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Lemon Pound Cake

Lately I have been craving something warm, cakey and full of lemon. Pound cake popped into my mind and when I found this recipe and realized we had all of the ingredients, I got to work. This pound cake was a bit more involved than the easy-peasy lemon squeezy recipes I have been posting recently, but I enjoy a challenge, and this was a welcomed one.
I decided not to skimp on any of the directions, so I found our old, yet fun sifter and actually sifted the flour three times. I would be interested to see if it actually made a difference, but Deb insisted it was imporant, so I sifted on.
The next step was to whip up egg whites until they held soft peaks. I had to ask my mom for help with this one. She has 30+ more years of baking experience than I do and it's fun to learn some techniques from her. Together, we got these eggs to a great peaked consistency. Sometimes I am impressed with eggs. They can do so many different things.

                    Soft peaked egg whites                                                    Folding the egg whites into the batter

The batter was pretty easy to whip up. Cream the butter. Add the lemon zest and sugar. Then throw in some egg yolks. I added a step. I bruised the lemon zest in the sugar first. I learned this trick when I made her grapefruit olive oil pound cake a while back. I think it really brings out the flavor of the lemon. I also didn't have cognac, so I used 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract. Maybe next time I will try the cognac, see what difference it makes.

Bruising the lemon zest

The final step was to fold the egg whites into the batter. I was a little worried by this step. The egg whites made the batter lumpy and slimy looking. It was strange. But I looked back at Deb's post and noticed hers looked the same, so on I went. Learned another tip from my mother at this step. How to correctly butter and flour a pan. Usually I skip this step and just use parchment paper, however, this cake fell out of the pan with little to no effort. Thanks Mom, my future cakes thank you too. 

While the cake was baking, I whipped up a quick lemon glaze. I have yet to master the glaze. I think I put too much lemon juice in this one. It didn't stick like a glaze, just dripped right off and onto the plate. Oh well, next time. It did however, make the cake more moist and added an extra layer of lemon flavor. I also borrowed this from the grapefruit pound cake recipe. I really liked the flavor it added. 

The final product was a light, airy, moist, lemon-y, warm, lovely creation. I highly suggest it. It was also great the next morning with a cup of Earl Grey. Yum.
Recipe: Pound Cake

Recipe for the Lemon Glaze:
1 cup confectioner's sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Combine the sugar and juice until smooth. Pour over the slightly cooled cake. 

How to bruise lemon zest
In a bowl, rub the lemon zest into the sugars with your fingertips. This will bruise it and help release the oils trapped in the zest, bringing out the most lemon flavor possible.  

Monday, June 3, 2013

Swedish Chokladbollar

Yesterday I met up with my friend Johanna in Santa Monica. She is doing a quick road trip through California before returning to her home, in Sweden. She is amazingly sweet and I had the pleasure of living with her in Stebbins this past Spring. She helped cook dinner every Wednesday and one of my favorite things she made were these delicious chocolate oat balls. They are called chokladbollar in Sweden and apparently every child knows how to make them and they are very popular. They are very easy to make, require no baking, and they are quite yummy. This is definitely a recipe going in my archives of "easy to make, delicious to eat" foods.

After seeing her yesterday and being reminded how much I loved these little treats, I came right home and put some butter, sugar, chocolate, and oats in a bowl, then rolled them in coconut, chilled them and my family ate half of them before 30 minutes had even passed. This is a magical treat that you should definitely try!  


Recipe: Chokladbollar

Some notes about this blog:
So, I just graduated from UC Berkeley and moved out of Stebbins. No more snack on Tuesday. No more walk in fridge. No more walk in pantry. No more kitchen managers that buy me almost anything I could ask for. Unfortunately, also I now have less people to eat my concoctions. I'm sad and have kind of lost my desire to bake recently. However, even though I don't have an obligation to bake every Tuesday and snack is no longer my position, I hope to keep up with this blog. I'm still smitten with snack foods and I've really enjoyed making and sharing recipes, and I hope you have enjoyed this too. It will be updated less often, but hopefully every once in awhile I can concoct something to talk about. This summer I am going to spend 8 weeks in the forest without access to a kitchen, so that will be a long time without updating this, but hopefully when I return I can return to an oven as well. Enjoy your summer! and Thank you for keeping up with me :]

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

4 Ingredient Peanut Butter Cookies

Last week on Smitten Kitchen, Deb briefly mentioned 3-ingredient peanut butter cookies. I was in the middle of a hardcore week of extreme procrastination, so 20 minutes after reading it, I went downstairs and made 4-ingredient cookies (because even numbers are better than odd numbers, but really I super like the jam we have and peanut butter goes so well with good jam). They were soooooo easy, and are naturally gluten and lactose free! (When you live in a co-op where everyone has different dietary restrictions, this is a really big deal). I even have the recipe memorized already, its that easy. Memorizable recipes are my favorite. This is going in my list of things I can make with only thinking for about 20 seconds. Aka, my favorite list.
I'm going to apologize for this post. It's finals week which means I'm acting a little crazy. Sometimes I just have to stand up and do some star jumps*, or say something completely out of nowhere, or write a really wacky blog post about peanut butter cookies. Its happening. Its okay. Let it happen.

*Star jumps is what New Zealanders call Jumping Jacks, and is now what I want everyone to call jumping jacks, because I like it.

These cookies are sweet, peanut butter-y, and squishy. I loved them. I really like peanut butter. I really like our blackberry poppy jam. I really like cookies. Therefore, I really like these. Common sense, no?

Also, they are just adorable

Recipe! From my brain! I didn't even have to look it up or link it. Proud moment

1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 cup Peanut Butter (I used chunky)
Spoon fulls of yummy jam

Preheat oven to 350˚
Mix together ingredients until smooth
Roll into balls
Use your thumb to create thumbprints in the center of each ball
Use a spoon and place jam in the thumbprints
Bake until the look snazzy
Eat eat eat. Try to stop yourself after 3, but then eat another one, because you just made adorable cookies in 20 minutes after thinking for only 20 seconds. Do a star jump and then pat yourself on the back. Have a great week! 

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Mushroom and Leek Galettes (and Special Dinner)

There was no snack this Tuesday, instead we had our Special Dinner! In the co-ops it's tradition to end the semester with an extra special dinner to celebrate our time together. We spend way more money than we should on fancy ingredients, and cook way more hours than anyone thought was possible. Then at the end of the day we feast and drink to our hearts content. This semester the theme was 1950's Murder Mystery Dinner Party. It was the best special dinner yet, it was planned so perfectly and I couldn't believe all of the effort everyone put in to make the night memorable.
I decided to make Mushroom and Leek Galettes because I love galettes and wish I could eat them every single day. It was a lot of work, but it was worth it. The mushrooms and leeks worked really well together and I could talk for days about how much I love this crust. It is so easy to work with and somehow turns into a magic flaky perfection. Deb Perlman is a "pie" crust genius. I made 6 galettes for the 6 main tables, and it was plenty of food because we had so much other delicious food. I was so full by the end of the night.

  The evening started at 5:30 with a cocktail hour and appetizers including fresh oysters and bruschetta. Then it was dinner time. The tables were set beautifully and all the food was already plated. We sat down, made a quick toast to Thea, Sasha, Monika and Meg for all of their amazing hard work and dove into the delicious-ness. There were spring rolls, mussels, cioppino, duck, truffle mac and cheese (!!), butter dumplings, sushi, paella, pomegranate and walnut chicken, flank steak, tamales, veggie lumpia and ceviche. They all (well at least the vegetarian ones) tasted amazing. So many different flavors, but I appreciated each of them in their own way. Then there was dessert. I could not fit anymore food in my body but I made it work and enjoyed pavlova, truffles, frozen peach torte, berry cream pie, ice cream sandwiches, and beignets. Only a tiny bite of each of course. :] My taste buds were definitely satisfied.
The meal ended with a murder! Mr. Black stumbled into the room, bloody, and fell to the ground. It was very dramatic, but so fun to watch. We broke off into teams and went through 7 challenges together to get clues to figure out who the murderer was. My team was rambunctious but so entertaining, we weren't very good at the challenges but we still got the clues and at the end of the night we guessed the murderer right! It was Ms. Scarlett. Typical. My housemates played 7 different clue characters, and they pulled it off so well. We have some great actors here. After all the challenges we reconvened and arrested Ms. Scarlett then danced the night away. I had so much fun. Definitely one of the best nights of my college years. I am going to be so sad when I have to move out in a couple weeks. This house has definitely become a home and the people I live with are like family. 

Tres Magnifique

The recipe for the crust is here: Galette Crust
And I used this recipe as a vague guideline for the filling: Mushroom and Leek Galette

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Homemade Oreos

I honestly don't like oreos that much. Unless they are double stuffed, I probably won't eat them. (Side note, however, Vanilla Jo-Jo's (from Trader Joe's) I could eat an entire box in one sitting. So delicious.) I don't like oreos, but I love chocolate cookies, so this week I decided to make homemade oreos to see how I liked them. Conclusion: 100% better.
Homemade oreos are more chocolatey, and the frosting is creamier. They are more flavorful, and the sweetness was definitely more intense (next time, I would probably tone down the sugar a lot).
They were pretty easy to make and the amount of excitement I received from my housemates was well worth the trouble of sandwiching over one hundred oreos.

While I was in the kitchen making them I got a variety of reactions. My favorite one was, "HA! You can't make oreos, oreos are processed! Homemade oreos? That's so silly!" This comment came from our very own kitchen manager, Monika. It was a hilarious moment (sadly she didn't get to try any of them because she is gluten intolerant, sorry Monika!). I love that you can take items that are generally thought to be only found in the grocery store and make them at home, like Oreos and Cheez-its.

I ran out of frosting before running out of cookies, so I made a second batch. For the second batch I decided to spice up the frosting a bit and I added orange blossom oil that we had. You could definitely taste the orange blossom in the frosting. It gave it a subtle flowery taste, which I thought was almost soapy. Some people liked it, but the general consensus was that the original frosting was better, and I agreed. But sometimes, you have to be daring and try something that might not work. Regardless, homemade oreos with orange blossom frosting sounds way more legit than simple homemade oreos. Even though it didn't work, it was worth a shot. Next time, I want to try peppermint extract! Or peanut butter filling. Yum. So many possibilities.

Recipe: Homemade Oreos
(For the orange blossom frosting, I made the same frosting base, and then added a splash of orange blossom oil that we had in the house!)

Thursday, April 25, 2013


When I was in elementary school my Grandmother used to pick my sister and me up from school. We would go back to her house and work on homework and hang out until my mom picked us up. They were great times and one thing I will never forget is getting to her place and going straight to the freezer for a fudgesicle. Still, to this day, there is a never ending supply of fudgesicles in her freezer. I can't remember a time when I visited and did not enjoy a cold, chocolatey, delicious treat. Fudgesicles are something I will always enjoy and something that will always bring back memories of my Grandmother and her apartment.

about to go in the freezer

This week has been so hot, I felt like snack should be something refreshing. These fudgesicles however, were a cause of stress. First, I could not find popsicle sticks anywhere! I never found them, and compromised with little skewers. Next, I had a harder time finding small Dixie cups than I expected to. By four o'clock on Tuesday I had enough supplies to make it work but they weren't perfect.
Second, I had to multiply the recipe by twenty and it never thickened. The chocolate started to burn before it thickened so I said the heck with it and threw them in the freezer. They had 5 hours to freeze. That should have been plenty of time. It wasn't. At ten o'clock, they were half frozen. They still tasted good but you had to eat them with a spoon. Something I've learned from making snack for this house, one has to be okay with imperfection. I'm working on it. It's a learning process.

Partially frozen 

Despite all that, they tasted great. Tasted very similar to the ones you get at the grocery store, and were chock full of memory inducing flavors.

This is how I made them for 64 people. lots of dixie cups, lots of skewers. Popsicle molds deemed unnecessary. 

Shout out to my Grandmother for being the most wonderful, strong, loving, and independent woman that I know. I have looked up to her for my entire life. The love she has for everyone in my family is amazing and I thank the stars every day that I was born into her family. When someone asks me who my hero is I always say my grandmother without a second thought. I aspire to be just like her when I am her age (which of course is 37 since she hasn't aged a day since her 37th Katie day) I love you!!

Over night they froze, and this was the product the next day

RecipeFudge Popsicles

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Rosemary Lemonade

It has been so warm lately. I absolutely love it. I love being outside in just a shorts and t shirt and not being cold and not being too hot. Utter perfection. The other day I was walking home from class and past one of the huge rosemary bushes that are alllllll over Berkeley. The smell caught my attention and I picked some and rubbed it between my hands like I sometimes do to extract the plants oils and make my hands smell amazing. I kept walking but the smell was so great and the weather was so warm I instantly wanted a refreshing glass of rosemary lemonade. So I turned around picked some more rosemary sprigs and went home to make a simple syrup. While the sugar and water were boiling I went outside to our lemon tree and picked the biggest ones. I juiced them, mixed the juice with water and put it in the fridge so it could chill.

After the sugar dissolved and boiled the syrup was ready and I immediately put rosemary in it, covered it and let it infuse for half an hour. After I mixed the rosemary syrup with the lemonade and voila I had an absolutely delicious and 100% refreshing drink. One of my favorite parts was that I didn't have to buy the rosemary, lemons or the water All I needed was sugar, everything else was foraged. Urban foraging at its best. I highly suggest making this.


Recipe somewhat closely related to this, minus the booze: Lemonade

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Caramelized Onion Tart

There are few things I love more than caramelized onions. They take awhile. They are a little bit fussy and they can go all wrong in one moment. But, they are 100% worth it.

This is what 12 pounds of onions look like, and I cut them all with only shedding one tear. I have no idea how that happened. I wasn't even wearing our onion goggles! They took so long to chop. But I chopped along while listening to my half-sisters radio show. I love that I can hear her show even though she is all the way in Pennsylvania. Yay for live streaming!

Again, the joys of cooking for 64 means caramelizing twelve pounds of onions in three pans.

About to go in the oven

Our yeast rose!!!!! I did a little dance when this happened. Our yeast has been so finnicky this semester, but this week it decided to succeed, and it rose into a beautiful fluffy dough. I'm not sure how much I liked this dough, honestly, I would rather have a gallette crust full of butter any day of the week.

This tart has a super special secret (I have a thing for alliterations, its not really all that super special). The secret? A base layer of dijon mustard. Mmm yum. I've been so into mustard lately. Especially the dijon mustard we get in our house. Its tangy and sweet and absolutely perfect. It paired so well with the caramelized onions. Definitely added to the flavor profile. Also, fennel seeds were cooked along with the onion for the entire duration of caramelization. I'm not the biggest fan of fennel, but it was cooked long enough to tone its flavor down and leave just a hint of something you couldn't quite place but really enjoyed.

The finished project was muy delicioso (we are learning how to talk about preparing, ordering and eating food in spanish right now, aka my favorite chapter so far). I don't know if I would call this a tart though. It was very reminiscent of pizza dough. So it was kind of like caramelized onion pizza. But hey, who is complaining about that? Not me. 

RecipeOnion Tart 

Next time I would like to try this tart. This is more of what comes to mind when I think of a tart. Nomm