Friday, April 29

Edible Flowers: Borage

Borage: "Bright flowers and hairy leaves distinguish this European herb whose flavor is reminiscent of cucumber."- The New Food Lover's Companion

Borage is a tasty flower that is simple to grow! It makes for a fun and different addition to any garden.

Tuesday, April 26

Buttermilk Dinner Rolls

Unfortunately, the Easter Bunny didn't leave this for me in my Easter basket, so waking up early on Easter morning was a must to bake these beauties.  I used a recipe straight out of Beth's Basic Bread Book (one of the cookbooks I recommend). I cant admit that this was easy, because for me baking bread is always a task. Having it rise properly is always such a relief! They turned out delicious and totally cute! I love shaping the dough into clover rolls, perfect for spring.

Buttermilk Dinner Rolls
makes 16 rolls

1 package active dry yeast
Pinch granulated sugar
1/4 cup warm water
1 cup warm buttermilk (not too hot or else it will become cheese... yes, I accidentally made cheese)
2 tbl sugar or honey
zest from one lemon
1/4 cup unsalted butter, warm
1 egg
4 to 4 1/2 cups of flour

Combine the yeast, sugar and warm water in a small bowl and stir to dissolve. Let stand until foamy about 10 minutes.

In a large bowl using a whisk or a mixer with a paddle attachment, combine the buttermilk, sugar, zest, melted butter, egg and salt. Stir in 1 1/2 cups of flour and beat hard for a minute. Add 1/2 cup flour at a time until a soft dough forms and clears the sides of the bowl. I got up to 4 cups of flour.

Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic for 4-7 minutes. Lightly grease a large bowl and lightly flour the dough. Place the dough in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature for 1-1 1/2 hour or until doubled in size. 
* Dough will rise better when it's in a warm place. When I'm baking, I like to turn the oven on to heat up the kitchen.

After it has doubled in size, turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Grease a muffin tin. Divide the dough in half and cut the dough into eight equal portions. Pinch off three equal pieces of dough from each portion (total of 48 pieces) and shape each into smooth balls. Place three balls touching each other in each muffin cup. Then cover with plastic wrap and let rise for another half hour.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. After the final rise brush each roll with an egg glaze (one egg beaten with one tbl water). Sprinkle with sesame or poppy seeds. Place in the oven and bake for 15-18 minutes or when golden brown. When cooled a bit take out of the muffin tin and enjoy!

Sunday, April 17

Molten Chocolate Cakes



What can I say?... I'm a chocolate addict
If you've never eaten one of these beauties I recommend you stop what you're doing and start baking! They're absolutely delicious, elegant. satisfying and easy!

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons unsalted butter, plus 1/4 pound (1 stick)
  • 4 teaspoons all-purpose flour, plus 2 tablespoons
  • 6 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons cold heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch salt
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Grease and flour the ramekins with the 1 1/2 teaspoons of butter and 1 teaspoon of flour in each, tapping out the excess flour. Set on a baking sheet. In a double boiler set over a pan of simmering water, melt the remaining 1/4 pound of butter with the chocolate, cream, and powdered sugar, stirring until smooth. Remove from the heat. In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, egg yolks, sugar, vanilla, and salt until thick ribbons form, about 3 minutes. Sift 2 tablespoons flour into the egg mixture and fold together. Fold the chocolate into the egg mixture. Divide among the prepared dishes and bake until the sides of the cake are set and the tops are puffed but still soft, about 12 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool in the ramekins for 2 minutes, then unmold onto dessert plates.

* 12 minutes was is a perfect time to take the cakes out. I let them cook for 16 minutes and it was a bit too much...

Wednesday, April 13

Chocolate Blueberry Muffins

It seems as if I've been in a chocolate kind of mood the past few days... Probably because the stress of college and the instant gratification chocolate gives! But today, things seemed to finally come together the way I needed them. If you've felt like me lately, you need to indulge in these little guys! I used Ghirardelli's unsweetened baking chocolate with 100% cacao which made them extremely rich. Plus, I added a bit more blueberries just for fun!

Chocolate Blueberry Muffins

1/2 cup butter
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1 cup sugar
1 egg, slightly beaten                                                                      
1 cup buttermilk
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup unbleached flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F and grease 12 muffin cups. In a medium-size saucepan, melt the butter and unsweetened chocolate over medium-low heat until smooth. Remove from the heat and cool slightly. Stir in the sugar, egg, buttermilk, and vanilla. In a large bowl, whisk together the flours and baking soda. Gently mix with the liquid ingredients. Fold in the blueberries. Spoon the batter into well-greased muffin cups, filling to the top. Bake for about 25 minutes. Cool on rack. Drizzle the cooled muffins with the semisweet chocolate. Allow to set at least 15 minutes before serving.

Monday, April 11

Chocolate Creme Brulee

Aha! Cream Brulee is a must when you have lots of eggs to spare. Plus, Creme Brulee is my specialty. I got my torch, ramekins and cookbook on my 11th Christmas. So I've had a lot of time to practice!
 This recipe is great! Very rich and creamy, perfect for a chocolate lover.

Chocolate Creme Brulee
(makes six 4oz. ramekins) 

2 cups heavy whipping cream
4 eggs yolks
4 squares unsweetened baking chocolate, chopped
1 cup sugar, plus 3 tbl for torching
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp cinnamon
pinch of salt

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Add cream and chopped chocolate in a double boiler. Stir to combine until all the chocolate is melted in with the cream. Remove bowl from heat to cool a bit. While cooling, get another bowl and whisk together egg yolks, sugar, vanilla, salt and cinnamon until creamy. Add the chocolate mixture to the eggs slowly while whisking. Go slow and whisk well so the eggs don't curdle. Place the ramekins in a water bath. Fill the ramekins with the mixture and bake for 35-40 minutes or until firm.
Let the brulee cool and take out of the water bath. Place in the fridge for 4 hours up to 2 days. When cold sprinkle a layer of sugar and torch it until caramelized.

*If you have any heavy cream left over, make whipped cream for topping!

Sunday, April 10

Farm Fresh

 I love my parents house in the Sierra Nevada foothills of California. Local farms and orchards always make for a fresh and tasty treat! Aren't the eggs are so pretty with their different colors and sizes?! Now what to make with these beauties...

Saturday, April 9

Spring Things

 Who doesn't love kitchen accessories?! I got this lovely measuring spoon set at Anthropolgie.

Thursday, April 7

Homemade Ravioli

I love having a pasta maker! It's a great little investment that's fun to have. There are a ton of recipes for pasta dough that are simple to make. I mostly used semolina flour, but I learned that I'm going to incorporate more all purpose flour for a better texture. As for the filling, the possibilities are endless. I used Ricotta, Romano and Parmesan cheese, nutmeg and fresh basil. Super yummy!