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

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Peanut Butter Chocolate Brownies

When four of my favorite things collide into one, euphoria ensues. Chocolate + peanut butter + cookie dough + ganache. Perfection. I could talk for hours about my obsession with the peanut butter chocolate combo, or how much I love ganache, but I will spare you this once. These were less brownie, more blondie. They were dense and almost tasted like chocolate chip peanut butter cookie dough, which was not a bad thing. Who doesn't like cookie dough? The only issue with it is the raw egg, but this version is cooked! So no raw egg here. The ganache on top was intensely rich. The kind of intensity that makes you say, "Woah, this is delicious!" And then your self control makes you not take another one because your taste buds were satisfied and can't really handle any more because of the risk of an overdose on sugar and butter. Yeah, that kind of intensity.

They were relatively simple to make. Especially thanks to our kitchen aid. I really don't know how I will survive with out one. Brownie consistency is usually more liquidy, but this one was light and fluffy, not like a texture I've ever created before. Cookie dough is typically denser, but this was airy and smooth. I guess that is what happens when you beat together butter sugar eggs and peanut butter. Who knew? I ended up mixing on the flour with my hands because the smooth fluffiness was so fun to dig into. I mean look at that! Pure fluff.

There was almost a small crisis. I thought I had enough heavy cream for the ganache, so I let the dinner cooks use some of it for dinner. However, when I went to pour 2 cups of cream into the pan to boil, I only had one cup. Tragic. Luckily we have two very level headed kitchen managers that calmed me down, handed me $20 in one dollar bills and sent me to the corner store. Crisis averted. I don't know what I would do with out these girls sometimes. They are so wonderful, and they always have solutions for crises of any size. Love them.

It was good to be back this week. Nice to get my hands back in 6 cups of butter. I didn't realize I missed being terrified for our arteries. Only 4 more weeks of Tuesday snack! *Cue internal crisis about graduating.*

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Egg Salad with Homemade Pickled Celery

So I made this sandwich and wrote this post ages ago, but for some reason, I never posted it. However, this felt like a proper week to share it since Easter just passed and I'm sure many eggs were boiled and dyed.

Side note, why do we do that? Why is it a thing to make eggs weird colors for Easter? How does that have anything to do with Jesus or Bunnies? I've never really put thought into it before and now I'm majorly confused by this tradition.

I love egg salad. I know many people are not big fans of it, but one of my favorite things about Easter is the leftover died hard boiled eggs used for egg salad sandwiches. I also love pickled things. All pickled things. So when Deb posted the recipe for egg salad with homemade pickled celery, I had to try it.
I liked the pickled celery so much. Vinegary and salty and delicious. I want to pickle everything now. Unfortunately, I have not attempted to pickle anything since. Laziness is besting my taste buds.

It was very easy and fast to make. I pickled the celery the night before and boiled the eggs, then threw everything together. The pickled celery really brought this egg salad up a solid notch. Yum, I want more right now.

I kept it open face for optimal egg salad on each half. I hate it when I'm eating a sandwich and all the squishing leads to a giant dollop of sandwich insides to escape. Especially when it misses the table and lands in your lap. So unfortunate. Leaving it open face almost erases this sad possibility.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Snacks for Traveling

There has been a serious lack in posting lately. This is because last week was spring break! Which means there was no snack, and this week I was just getting home from the airport at ten pm so I wasn't able to make snack this week either.
However! I made lots of snacks for myself for the twenty hours I spent traveling to get to my love Sam Harrison. This post will highlight two of them.

I've always wanted to bring snacks/ meals for traveling. But I'm really bad at planning ahead and I am usually packing until two am the night before I leave so making snacks gets put on the back burner. This time, however, I had a few days of spring break before I left Berkeley and I didn't have much to do, so time to make snacks was abundant. First, I baked some more of the thick chewy granola bars that I made a few weeks ago. They were full of almonds, peanuts, dried cranberries, chocolate chips, almond butter and honey. They were delicious and filling, but got a little too crumbly as they aged.

I tried roasting chickpeas for the first time as another snack. Somehow the oven got turned off halfway through roasting them, but eventually they were crunchy. I think I could have roasted them a little bit longer to make them more crunchy but they tasted pretty good. I coated them with a sesame soy glaze which was really yummy. This is one of my favorite flavor combos. However, it made them a little messy, and after eating them I had oil and sesame seeds all over my fingers.

I also made an almond butter and jelly sandwich, and threw a lot of trail mix together at the last minute. I grabbed an apple and some leftover chips I had and I was all set! I didn't buy any expensive airport food, or unhealthy fast food. It was great and it made my trip slightly better even though I was sleep deprived and spent time sleeping in an airplane, airport and on a bus.

Finally, I whipped up some more toffee as a thank you to Sam and her roommates for letting me stay with them. (I had a lot of extra time on my hands...) Toffee might become my staple. I love it and I love making it!

I had a great time in Pennsylvania. It was so interesting to see how different going to a small liberal arts college is. I spent time with Sam at Juniata, in central Pennsylvania, basically in the middle of nowhere. It was so nice to finally meet all of the people she always talks about. Her school was so quaint, all of the buildings matched! Her classes were so small and with all of the same people. It was fun to sit in on them and see how they worked. I loved spending time with her and her school friends and getting a glimpse into their lives in a small town at a small college.
I also spent some time with my friend Chris from high school. It had been way too long since the last time we saw each other so it was great to catch up on each others lives. We had both been so many places and done so many exciting things since the last time we were together. He goes to school at Haverford College, just outside of Philadelphia. It's in a great location and in a cute suburban town. All of the buildings matched on his campus too! I don't know why this amuses me so much. We went into Philadelphia, and saw the liberty bell. We also shared an amazing mushroom tart and some fancy cocktails while we sat outside in the sun that came out for a brief moment. It was a great moment.
Overall the weather was so cold, and everyone kept saying how abnormal that was for this time of year. Lucky me. But it made me really appreciate the glorious weather we have year round here in California. Also, all of the trees were dormant and all of the grass was dead, green things were hard to come by. It was so wonderful to come back to Berkeley and be in the garden today surrounded by green things. It really made me appreciate living here and while I loved visiting Pennsylvania, I love living here!