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You say pecan, I say pie.

I returned from a long, hectic Thanksgiving break to an empty room.  My roommates and friends were all still traveling.  What was I to do?

It about 6:00pm on Sunday night, and I was full of holiday cheer… and my fridge, with some eggs that were about go bad soon.

So, I looked in my cupboard and found a bag of pecans.

Pecan pie it was.  The only thing I needed was some brown sugar, so I went across the street to FoBoGro.

I added two extra special ingredients: some olive oil and lavender vanilla sugar I bought over break to the crust.  The olive oil made the crust extra gooey and moist, maybe something to try when you bake next time!

Everyone seemed to love the finished result and it was a nice tide-over until my pad thai was delivered.

 

The end result:

 

 

Here’s to the beginning of a whole season of holiday baking!

 

 

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Peanut Butter Gooey-ness

I decided to bake this recipe of peanut butter oatmeal pecan cookies and share them with my friends.  I did this in hopes of trying to clear out a little bit of my ingredients before I left for Thanksgiving.

 

They ended up actually very tasty, and they were gone in a matter of minutes!

 

Take a look at the finished product:

 

 

 

Cookies!

 

 

 

 

 

As an added bonus, my roommate made these:

 

Not so healthy, but so tasty

So as I said in an earlier post, my friends and I gather on Wednesdays at 10 to watch American Horror Story and it’s become sort of a “thing” that I bake for it.  Last week I made a chocolate caramel tart to bring upstairs as we watched.

This tart was particularly fun to make because:

1)you get to make chocolate dough

2)you get to make your own caramel, so you literally get to watch 2 cups of sugar melt

3)you get to make your own chocolate sauce with fleur de sel, creating this epic salty/sweet combo.

Here’s how it turned out (the pic makes it look a little weird and blurry):

Everyone seems to like it who has tried it so far! I would definitely recommend it as a recipe, but note that it contains 2 sticks of butter and 2 cups of sugar…so definitely not the healthiest thing I’ve ever made!

Hello, pumpkin

I still had leftover pumpkin puree in my fridge from when I bought that whole pumpkin!  So I decided to make some of my friends’ favorite–pumpkin pie and bring it up to their room for when we watched American Horror Story.

This was a caramel pumpkin pie, in which you brown some sugar in a saucepan to make your own caramel which is a fun process.  As per usual, I made my own pie crust, a recipe for which is in the pie recipe link.  Simply put, I do not use store-bought!

I will say that I was way too lazy to go the 3 blocks to Whole Foods to get heavy cream, so I just went to Fo Bo Gro across the street and used whipped cream as a substitution instead (whoops) …and to garnish with!  It seemed to have worked just as well as regular liquid cream.

Take a look at the results:

My friends really enjoyed the pumpkin pie, and my roommate said it was the best she’s ever had.  Well, gee, thanks!

Would you care for a gougere?

It was Halloween, so I decided to make a little something with my leftover pumpkin.  
Enter this recipe for pumpkin sage gougeres.  Gougeres, as I tried to describe them to my confused roommates, are kind of the like the puffy cream puff outer shells that envelop the cream.  This is otherwise known as a pate a choux.
This is made by combining flour butter and eggs over heat and baking the dough.  The dough should look like this pre-baking:


Then the pumpkin puree and sage is added.

The idea is for the gougeres to be piped out with a pastry bag and formed into perfect round balls so that they come out puffy and globular.  However, I left my piping supplies at home, so I spooned them out.
This did not achieve the same effect, as they came out looking like this:


Next time I need to use my piping supplies.  But! They still tasted pretty good.

Want some fries with that shake?

 

Burger, Tap & Shake

 

I have been waiting for forever for the restaurants to open at Square 54. So, I was really excited when I finally got to go to Burger, Tap, and Shake with my friend on Saturday.

To start off, I was a little disappointed because I thought there were beer taps at the tables. This is what I had read on a local blog. But this was not the case. O well.

However, the food was de-lish. My friend had told me he did not enjoy it when he went, but I have to disagree with him. I got the southern comfort burger, which was awesome. It had fried pickles and fried green tomatoes. Yes!

And don’t forget about shakes! I got the BTS shake because the cashier told me it was the best one in the restaurant. It was incredible…just tons of candy bits everywhere. (Image c/o BTS)

My friend and I had a good time there for some quick grub. It’s easy, fast, and tasty. I would def recommend it! On my way, I scoped the new place next to it–District Commons which looks amazing!

Serendipity (not the John Cusack movie)

Growing up outside of New York City, going to Serendipity III for frozen hot chocolate was kind of seen as a touristy thing to do.  Serendipity (as it is shortened to) is known for being overpriced and kitschy.  That, and being closed down for rat infestations. But kitsch was something I really needed after this past week, so I decided to indulge at the new one that opened in Georgetown. There’s a certain point where one is just thrown all sorts of elements, that one loses one’s aversion to all things cute and overly peppy, and is instead revived by them.  That is where I was at that point so I succumbed to the pink decor and oh-so-sweet treats.

I, of course, ordered a frozen hot chocolate.  I ordered the one made for one person, but I’m pretty sure I got the amount made for two.  I tried to add toppings but our Italian waiter told me to do otherwise as it would distract from the true taste of the dish.  How very Italian of him.  So I heeded his advice.

That was so big that I only drank about half and moved on to the crab and artichoke dip we ordered.  I’m pretty sure it was made with cream cheese because it was very thick and sweet.  This is, as you may come to find out, a theme in Serendipity’s food.

Next was the chicken pot pie which I barely touched it because I was so full so I’ll let you guys know how it was when I eat it as a leftover.

When there, we debated a few things about the decor:

1)Are the lamps real Tiffany’s?

What do you guys think?

2) Somewhere there was a quote written that serendipity is the marriage of luck and sagacity, or something like that.  This is a two-parter:

  • Is sagacity pronounced with a soft “g” or a hard “g?”
  • How much does being sage really have to do with something being serendipitous, or is it all some sort of teleological happenstance?

Any thoughts?

Blondies Have More Fun

Sitting in the middle of the 4th floor of Gelman during a study session with one of my roommates, I decided to make blondies.  They are always my go-to, feel-good thing to bake and since this past week has been pretty long and tough, it felt like just the right thing to make.

 

We went back to the room and used a hodge podge of a bunch of ingredients we all had bought for our room.  In the middle of it though, we realized we had baking powder and not baking soda and the recipe calls for both.  Feeling too lazy to run across the street to FoBoGro, our handy neighborhood grocery to buy any, we decided that baking soda wasn’t that vital to the recipe because it says you only need 1/8 of a teaspoon.  We kind of just thought baking soda and baking powder, which we had, were kinda the same.  Can’t make much of a difference, right? (Does anyone know the answer?)

The blondies, all finished.

The blondies turned out all right, not amazing.  I think my heart just wasn’t in making them after all and my head was in a million different places during this week filled of midterms and projects and papers.  Or it could be that the baking soda was just that important.

The Pumpkin King

I was browsing recipes online and happened across a recipe for orange pumpkin cloverleafs.  As the weather is getting cooler, I find myself jumping into fall and all things pumpkin.  This particular recipe caught my eye.  I decided on a whim to make them.  I headed to Whole Foods to go pick up some remaining ingredients.  iPhone in hand, I called up the recipe on Safari and looked around for the items.

However, much to my surprise, they were not yet carrying canned pumpkin puree yet.  I quickly looked up alternatives to canned pumpkin and found a forum that provided directions on how to make puree out of a whole pumpkin.  So I went outside of Whole Foods, picked up a pumpkin, brought it home to my room and carved it.  My roommates thought it was hilarious when they saw me chopping away at this whole pumpkin.

The pumpkin

The method calls for you to cut the pumpkin into chunks, wrap it in foil, and bake it until the meat softens and separates from the skin.  I did just that but added some maple syrup, brown sugar, and some cinnamon and nutmeg for it to be flavored with.

Heading into the oven

Then I blended it all up, and in the end it looked just like this:

Like the canned stuff, but better

From there, I followed the recipe as written on the website.

Make sure you have plenty of time to bake this as you must let the dough rise at two different times!

My favorite part was creating the shape of the bread.  To get the cloverleaf shape, you need to roll the dough into three separate balls and then place them around each other in a muffin baking pan.

I loved making this, and I think my roommates enjoyed eating them too.  So much so that they made me deliver some to them while they were studying in South Hall’s study lounge downstairs.

The finished product en route to being delivered to hungry roommates

PS- I also toasted the pumpkin seeds.  I just covered them in melted butter that had some brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in it.  Here is another idea for a pumpkin seed recipe if you’re looking to be a little daring.

The pumpkin seeds

Eat your tart out

Two of my classes were cancelled last Wednesday so I had a fairly easy day.  As a result, I decided to do some baking with my spare time.  Though, my spare time has been limited recently, as evidenced by the fact that I’m writing a post about it now.

I decided to make a rustic apple, walnut, gorgonzola and maple syrup tart.  The recipe can be found here.  I always have to make as much as I can from scratch, so I followed the link on that site  for the recipe to make your own tart shell.

The tart, completed.

The tart went fast!  I left out some for my roommates who ate it within about 2 days.  I came back from the Robert Gibbs event that evening to find a note next to the tart  from my roommate asking where I had found such a great recipe.

All in all, a success!  I would definitely recommend making this, especially if you like more savory desserts.