Tuesday, June 11, 2013

chocolate popcorn

Today was Game 3 of the NBA Finals. I was sitting back, relaxing, and watching the Spurs come back from a disappointing Game 2. Halfway through the 2nd quarter, I realized I was missing something kind of important. Snacks. Not having anything to munch on at tip-off is seriously unacceptable in my book. But, during halftime, I was able to conjure up a quick batch of chocolate popcorn. Sweet sweet victory-- the outcome of the game and my amazing skills in pulling this off.

Popcorn is the perfect gametime snack, but the choco coating really makes this a treat. This chocolate popcorn is crunchy, not overly sweet, and so insanely addicting. Yes, I ate this whole bowl below in less than 3 minutes.. And then proceeded to go back for seconds. This was my dinner, by the way. But it's totally fine because I made sure to floss afterwards. Best Tuesday ever.

Chocolate Popcorn
Yields 8 Cups

8 cups popped popcorn (1/3 cup unpopped kernels)

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 cup white granulated sugar
1/4 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder, sifted
1/4 cup light corn syrup
2 tsp vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees F and line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Place popped popcorn into a large bowl.
3. In a saucepan on medium high, heat butter, sugar, cocoa powder, and light corn syrup. Stir with a wooden spoon and combine ingredients well.
4. Continue heating and stirring gently until mixture boils. Allow to boil for about 2 minutes, and then remove from heat.
5. Off the heat, stir in vanilla extract.
6. Pour mixture over popped popcorn. Carefully use wooden spoon to help coat all the popcorn with the chocolate mixture. 
7. Dump coated popcorn onto the parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes, stirring at each 10-minute interval.
8. Allow to cool on the baking sheet for at least 5 minutes. While the popcorn is still somewhat warm, break apart into pieces or clusters.
9. Serve or store in an airtight container.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

egg-in-a-hole with sausage and broccoli hash

Lately, I've been obsessed with featuring a runny yolk on my breakfast plate. This morning, I made egg-in-a-hole. If you don't know about egg-in-a-hole, then you have clearly been living on another planet. But let me break it down for you, anyway. It's a slice of bread with a hole cut out of the center and replaced with a fried egg. The bread gets toasted and the egg gets fried simultaneously. Amazing and easy. I wonder how people don't know about this.

I'm never quite satisfied with just an egg and toast, because I know I'll probably end up skipping lunch. So, I like to make my egg-in-a-hole extra hearty with some kind of meat and veggie hash. I absolutely love cutting into the yolk and having the bright yellow yumminess just gush all over the hash. So freakin good.

Egg-In-A-Hole with Sasusage and Broccoli Hash
Yields one egg-in-a-hole breakfast

1-2 Tbsp butter (use 1 Tbsp for a smaller slice of bread/smaller skillet and 2 Tbsp for a larger slice of bread/larger skillet)
1 slice of bread (I used a big slice of sourdough)
1 egg
1 uncooked hot sausage link, uncased (use whatever kind you like. I use one of the Johnsonville hot Italian sausages)
1/4 cup chopped broccoli, uncooked
2 Tbsp diced onion
salt and pepper

1. Cut a hole into slice of bread. I used a biscuit cutter but you can also use a glass, cookie cutter, etc etc. 
2. Heat a small skillet on medium high heat. Drizzle about 1 tsp into the skillet and saute onion and broccoli, stirring occasionally until tender but not overcooked (unless you like your veggies like that). Then transfer veggies to a bowl.
3. In the same small skillet, on medium high heat, crumble the hot sausage (uncased!). Do not touch the sausage pieces once they hit the pan. Allow them to brown up on that side, which will take a couple minutes. Then flip the over and allow the other side to brown, about another minute. Once the sausage is cooked, add veggies back into the skillet and stir it all together. Turn off the heat, the hash is done.
4. I tend to multitask, so I begin the egg-in-a-hole while the sausage is cooking. But if you are more comfortable, make the hash first. If you ever make fried eggs, you know that letting a fried egg sit around too long is no bueno. In another skillet (that will fit your slice of bread and it's complementary removed center piece) on medium high heat, add the butter. 
5. When the butter starts to bubble a bit (but don't let it burn!), place your bread and center piece both into the skillet.
6. Carefully, crack the egg directly into the hole in your bread-- you don't want your yolk to break!
7. Allow the bread to get toasted and the egg to cook. I usually check the center piece of toast on the side. When it's all nice and toasty a golden brown, I flip everything over. I have a habit of flipping my fried egg, which disguises the yolk. It's not as visually pretty when serving but breaking the yolk open and see all that yellow is so much more fun.
8. At this time, you can add a little more butter to your pan if you want to make you toast more gold on the other side. Cook for about 1 more minute. Then it's ready to eat. Don't let your egg-in-a-hole overcook and sit in the pan or else you will lose your runny yolk.
9. Add sausage and broccoli hash to your plate and top with your egg-in-a-hole. Sprinkle a pinch of salt and pepper on top.
10. Devour the whole damn thing.

crispy baked sweet potato chips

If you've ever attempted to make potato chips, you know that some recipes lie when they say "crispy", especially if they are oven-baked.

I've made potato chips every way possible. Frying requires so much oil. I'm usually so revolted as I'm watching the chips absorb the cups and cups of oil that my appetite immediately dissipates. Although frying them does seem to work well, I've been searching for the best way to bake my chips to crispytown.

White potatoes contain a lot of starch, requiring some kind of soaking technique. Eff that. Too much work. Sweet potatoes contain significantly less starch so, to me, the soaking thing isn't really necessary. This is why I like making sweet potato chips. And, they are also more nutritionally healthy, which is an added bonus (a.k.a. feel less guilty for eating a whole bowl).

There are just some things you shouldn't don't need a recipe to make. Sweet potato chips falls under this category (and these, too). But I'll tell you everything you need to know to make this crunchtastic snack.

First of all.. Yes, these are homemade. Secondly, they are also baked. And lastly (and most importantly), they are really crispy!

How to make Crispy Baked Sweet Potato Chips:

1. Slice sweet potatoes with a mandoline fitted with a thin slice blade. If you don't have a mandoline, get one. I firmly don't believe it's humanly possible to slice potatoes as evenly and thinly by hand. A mandoline will be your best friend-- as long as you remember to use the hand guard so you don't slice your fingers off. Seriously, this guy is helpful but can be harmful. It's better to waste the little bit of potato at the end of the guard than to have blood gushing everywhere.
2. Once your sweet potatoes are all sliced, put them into a large bowl. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. You want them coated but not drenched. There is a difference. It helps to start off modest and add more if necessary. Make sure the potatoes look coated but not too glossy. There shouldn't be excess oil at the bottom of the bowl. This is the time to season, as well. You can do the traditional salt and pepper. I like to do Kosher salt and cinnamon. So good. Again toss everything together well. You can also add more seasoning after they are baked, if necessary.
3. On a parchment-lined baking sheet, spread sweet potato slices out into an even single layer.
4. Bake in a preheated 200 degree F oven for 45 minutes. Flip sweet potatoes over. Then bake for an additional 45 minutes to 1 hour until sweet potatoes look super toasted.
5. Allow to cool on the baking sheet before serving. They will crisp as they cool.
6. Serve, eat, and enjoy this healthy chip alternative!

so much love for my Lover

Back in April, I shamelessly showed off my lover sweatshirt. Now that we're officially in the hot weather season, my manifesto is reserved for those occasionally chilly nights.

However, recently (kind of sort, of, not so much anymore that it's taken so long to get back to my blog), that selfie of me wearing my Lover made an appearance on a couple of my favorite blogs-- BaubleBar's The Post and Meg Biram! SO awesome despite my poor judgement taking a selfie with my naked bed in the background. My bed may never forgive me for this kind of public humiliation. Oh well. It's obviously more important that I happened to capture how happy this sweatshirt makes me. P.S. you can get your manifesto here.

 snapshot c/o BaubleBar's The Post

snapshot c/o Meg Biram's Blog

Saturday, June 1, 2013

gluten-free peanut butter campfire cookies

Happy June! I've been so preoccupied with the million new things in my life that I have been seriously slacking. I know. I'm sorry. I'll try to make it up to you. Not sure how, but I'll start with this.

For my gluten-free amigos, I have something sweet for you. Unfortunately, it is not Paleo. There's peanut butter (and we all know peanuts are a legume, not a nut!). And sugar. Duh. My best baking partner-in-crime. There's something about not using sugar that is somewhat disturbing when it comes to making baked goods. I know that's not really what some of you may want to hear from me, but you're going to have to get over it for now. Baby steps, people. Baby steps. That's all I can say.

Why don't we all just revel in the fact that these pb cookies are flourless? And have chocolate. And marshmallows. The only thing missing is a kumbayah sesh by the campfire. I'll bring the cookies.

Gluten-Free Peanut Butter Campfire Cookies
Adapted from The Girl Who Ate Everything
Yields about 21 cookies

1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup mini marshmallows
1/2 cup chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Mix together all ingredients except marshmallows and chocolate chips. When dough is well blended, fold in marshmallows and chocolate chips.
3. Form 1 1/2-inch dough balls. You can do this with your hands, but I like to use a small cookie scoop because it's easier and there's also more uniformity.
4. Place dough balls on a parchment-lined cookie sheet.
5. Pat down each portion slightly with the palm of your hand.
6. Bake in your preheated oven for 4 minutes, rotate your cookie sheet, and continue baking for an additional 5 minutes or until the tops begin to brown.
7. Allow to cool almost completely on the cookie sheet. I find it is best to not rush to get them off the sheet or they will likely crumble apart. Peanut butter cookies, in general, tend to be more delicate, especially when they are flourless. As they cool, they will be more of a cookie and less of a mess.
8. Carefully transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling. Eat while they are still warm or store in an airtight container for later consumption.