Sunday, January 24, 2010


So today Stacy, Daniel's sister-in-law, and I went and took a cupcake making class at Cookology (they can be found at It was a lot of fun and I am definately going to go back and take some more classes. But I did want to share the cupcakes that we made today.
1. Red Velvet Cake with a Cream Cheese and Goat Cheese Frosting.
2. Vanilla Cake with a Ameretto, Expresso, and Nutella Frosting and a fondant rose. And yes I made that rose myself, pretty impressive hunh!

3. Chocolate Cake with a Chocolate Ganache and Dark Chocolate Drizzle.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Jalapeno and Beer Baked Ribs and Sweet Potato Biscuits

Well it's been a great couple of weeks. I've been interviewing for a new job at GEICO. it was be a job as an AD trainee. Basically I would be training to be the person that looks at your car and assesses the damage after an accident. I really want this job because after 3 months of training in Va Beach I would be located in Falls Church, a much shorter commute than Fredericksburg. Also I wouldn't be tied to a desk, I'd be up moving around and actually interacting with people. Not to mention a pretty good pay raise. I"m supposed to find out if I got the job some time this coming week. So keep your fingers crosssed. Also this week I went back to school. I'm taking Federal and Colonial American Lit. It seems like it should be a pretty interesting class. I also discovered that they have done a LOT more building at GMU than I thought they had and I was breifly lost while on campus. And lastly the house hunt has been put on hold because there is no reason to pay rent in Fairfax for 3 months if I'm going to be living in VA Beach. This weeks recipies come to us from two different sources and Food and Wine Magazine.

Jalapeno and Beer Baked Ribs

Beef Short Ribs, cut into 3 inch peices
2 c. canned tomato sauce
1/4 c. red wine vinegar
1/4 c. firmly packed brown sugar
1 TBS dry mustard
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 large onion coarsly chopped
4 large jalapenos, chopped                                         TBS chopped green peppers
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 c. beer

1. Preheat oven to 425. Arange ribs in pan. Sprinkle onions around ribs.

2. Combine All remaining ingrediants except beer in a large saucepan. Simmer over medium heat until slightly thickened, stiring ocasionally, about 10 min. Cool slightly. I didn't have tomato sauce so I used 1 can Campbell's tomato soup.

3. Stir in beer. I used Dogfish Head 90 minute.

4. Pour mixture over ribs. Cover pan and bake aprox. 2 1/2 hours. I would make sure that the cover/foil does not touch the meat. Mine did and where it was touching it burned.

5. Remove ribs from pan and keep warm. Combine all pan juices in medium sauce pan. Skim fat from pan juice. Boil over medium heat until reduced to two cups.

6. Spoon sauce over ribs and serve.

Sweet Potato Biscuits
~ Food and Wine
1/2 lb sweet potato
1 3/4 cup flour
1 TBS brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
7 TBS butter
1/3 cup buttermilk

1. Preheat oven to 375. Poke the sweet poato all over with a fork and bake for about 45 min until tender.

2. Peel and mash the potato. Set aside 3/4 cup and let cool completely. Reserve the rest for another use. Raise oven to 425.

3. In a food processor pusle the flour with the brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

4. Add butter and pulse until the misture resembles coarse meal. My blender started having trouble once I added the butter so I moved it to a bowl and cut it with kives.

5. Add the buttermilk and 3/4 cup mashed potato and pulse until dough comes together.

6. Turn the dough onto a heavily floured work surface and knead 2 or 3 times until smooth. Roll out the dough 1/2 inch thick and cute eight 4-inch rounds.

7. Arrange on parchment lines baking sheet. Bake for about 15 minutes, until golden brown. I didn't have any parchment so I just greased the pan with a little crisco.

Overall I think that this was a delish dinner. I saved my leftover sauce, I'm planning on putting it on some chicken tomorrow night. And the biscuits were really good, though they were more muffiny than biscuits should be, but still really good!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Braised Beef Short Ribs with Tomatoes and Red Wine and Challah

Well we are one week into the new year and it's been a great week. I am still absolutally loving my new schedual. Getting home between 6:45 and 7:15, depending on the traffic is so much better than 8:30/9. And last Saturday after work Jordi Williams came up to visit and celebrate her recent engagement. Where we noshed on Sweet Potato Fries and Cheese Fries. I also tried a white Sangria, White wine, brandy, peach schnapps, peach nectar and fresh cut fruit. Sunday we looked at a house in Manassas and went to Dogfish for lunch. It was very yummy. This week the house hunt had continued. Made all the harder by my budget and wanting to get a puppy. This week we have two recipies. The first is based of a recipie from Wolgang Puck and can be found here. The second come to us courtesy of the cookbook Barrett, Marcy, and Trent gave me for Christmas; The Joy of Cooking!

Braised Beef Short Ribs with Tomatoes and Red Wine
~ Inspired by Wolfgang Puck, created by Me

4 to 5 pounds bone-in beef short ribs
Ground black pepper
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup diced celery
1/2 cup diced yellow onion
1/2 cup diced carrot
4 garlic cloves
3 cups dry red wine
1 tomatoe cut into 4
3 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
1 can beef broth
Splash chicken broth

1. Season the short ribs with salt and pepper to taste. In a large saucepan heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add short ribs and sear until browned, place on plate to the side.
2. Add the celery, onion, carrot, and garlic and saute for 5 minutes.
3. Add wine and bring to a boil.
4. Place short ribs in bottom of slow cooker. Add tomatoes, bay leaves, thyme, parsley and pepper corns. Add beef and chicken broth.
5. Cook on high for 5 hours.

6. Remove short ribs and place on serving dish. Skim Fat off liquid. Use salt and peper to taste. Spoon sauce and tomato over ribs. Serve.

~Joy of Cooking

1/2 cup warm water
1 package active dry yeast
3 cups bread flour
3 large eggs
2 large yolks
3 TBS vegetable oil
3 TBS sugar
1 1/4 tsp salt

1. Combine in a large bowl or the bowl of a heavy-duty mixer and let stand until the yeast is disolved, about 5 min, 1/2 cup warm water, yeast, 1/2 cup flour, 2 eggs lightly beaten, 2 yolks beaten, vegitable oil, sugar, salt. Mix by hand or on low speed until thoroughly blended.
2. Gradually stir in 2 1/2 cups bread flour.

3. Knead for about 8 min by hand until dough is smooth and elastice and no longer sticks to your hands or the bowl.Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl and turn it once to cover with oil. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until it doubles in size.

4. Punch down the dough, knead briefly, and return to the bowl. Refridgerate, covered, until it has nearly doubled in volumn.
5. Divide the dough into 3 pieces. On and unfloured work surface, roll into balls. Let rest covered with plastic wrap for 10 minutes. Grease a baking sheet and sprinkle with cornmeal. Roll each ball into a 13/14 inch long rope. Dust the 3 ropes with flour.
6. Place the ropes side by side, pinch the top ends together. Braid the entire length until you reach the ends. Tuck both ends underneath and set it on baking sheet. Whisk togehter 1 egg and a pinch of salt and brush over top of the loaf.
7. Loosely cover the braid with lightly oiled plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place about 45 minutes.
8. Preheat the oven to 375.
9. Brush the loaf again with egg wash. Bake until crust is golden brown. about 30-35 minutes. Cool on rack.
This was a really fantastic dinner. The beef was so tender. And I loved dipping the challah into the sauce. This is something that I would definately make again.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Lobster Pot Pie (Surf and Turf Pot Pie)

Happy New Year! I'm so excited about it being a new year. 2010 is going to be great. I'm going back to school, moving to hopefully my own apartment with no roomies. Yes it's a brand new year. I also had a great holiday season. I hope everyone else did as well. Christmas day, instead of being at work I went to Daniel's family. Which was fun. Got lots of stuff for going back to school! Then Saturday I went down to Lynchburg and had Christmas with the family. Which was amazing as always. My parents got me an amazing bedding set. I now am the proud owner of 8 pillows. My brother and sister in law got me a new cookbook to further my cooking exploration. And it is the best reading I've done in a long time. And my sister got me a swiffer! I love spending time with my family, it just made me sad that it was so short. Now this weeks recipe comes to us courtesy of Emeril Lagasse and The Food Network. I got the idea to make Lobster Pot Pie, however, when I was watching an episode of Gilmore Girls. It just sounded so good.

Basic Savory Crust

3 1/2 cups flour

1 tsp salt

1 1/2 cups cold lard

4 to 5 TBS ice water

1. Combine the flour and salt in a bowl.

2. Add the lard and work it in with your hands until the mixture resembles course crumbs. Add the water, 1 tablespoon at a time, working it with your hands. Add only as you need to make a smooth ball of dough.

3. Wrap the ball in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 min.

Lobster Pot Pie
6 TBS butter
1 cup chopped onions
1/2 cup chopped celery I used 1 full cup

ground white pepper
6 TBS flour
3 cups seafood or chicken stock
1 cup milk
2 cups diced potatoes, blanched
1 cup diced carrots, blanched I did not put these in

1 cup sweet peas

1 cup diced baked ham I substituted steak

1 lb lobster meat, cooked and diced I only used 7 oz

1/2 to 1 cup water

1/2 recipe Savory Crust rolled out to the size of the pan

1. Preheat the oven to 375F. Grease a rectangular baking dish.

2. In a large saute pan. melt the butter. Add the onions and celery and saute for 2 minutes. I used a full cup of celery. I like celery and I figured you can never have to much! Season with salt and pepper. Stir in the flour and cook for 3 to 4 minutes for a blond roux. roux: A mixture of flour and fat cooked together and used as thickening.
3. Stir in the stock and bring the liquid to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and continue to cook for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the sauce begins to thicken. Stir in the milk and continue to cook for 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from the heat.4. Stir in the potatoes, carrots, peas, ham, and lobster. I used potatoes, peas, steak, and lobster. Thus turning it into a surf and turf pot pie. Season with salt and pepper. Mix the filing thoroughly. If the filing is too thick, add a little water to thin it out. 5. Pour the filing into the prepared pan. Place the crust on top of the filing. Make sure to have several slits in the crust.
6. Place the dish in the oven and bake for approximately 25 to 30 minutes.

This tasted so good. And was definitely too much for just two people. We'll see how it reheats tomorrow for lunch. Have a wonderful start to your new year everyone!