Author Archives: Georgia

The Hunger Games Feast

Standard

Hi all! Today we present to you a feast inspired by the recent release of one of our favorite book-turned-movies, The Hunger Games. If you haven’t heard of this book and/or film, you probably have been living in a cave  (not unlike the one Katniss and Peeta take refuge in) for the past few weeks. If this is the case, I highly suggest you get off your derrieres, go to your nearest bookseller, and read it NOW. Then go see the movie. Both are phenomenal. I cried. Four times.

ANYWAY. Before going off to the movie on Friday, Caty and I (along with our wonderful friend and fellow chef Sophie) decided to cook a meal that could, arguably, be something the characters in The Hunger Games could eat. We concocted a mainly produce-based meal: Carrot soup, blackberry sauce with goat cheese (like Prim’s!) and caramelized apples. It was delectable, and actually pretty healthy, all things considered. The soup was creamy and garlicky, the apples sticky-sweet, the blackberry sauce rich with flavor. Tell me that doesn’t sound good.

Our ideas came from fictionalfood.net.

So, without further ado, here are our recipes:

Carrot Soup (slightly adapted from cookingnook.com)

3 tablespoons butter
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cups carrots, sliced
1 potato, peeled and diced
12 oz vegetable broth
1 cup water
3/4 teaspoon salt
Ginger
Salt and pepper, to taste

1. Sauté garlic and onion in butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add carrots and potato, stir to coat. Add broth, water, ginger, salt and pepper. Simmer, covered, over medium heat for 15 minutes until vegetables are well cooked. Add extra broth if the soup is too thick.

2. Purée the soup in batches using a blender, immersion blender or food processor until it is smooth. Pour the soup back into saucepan and serve.

Blackberry Sauce: Melt 1 tablespoon butter and 1-2 tablespoons brown sugar in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Add blackberries, cook for about 5 minutes. Serve over toasted whole-grain bread with goat cheese.

Caramelized Apples: Melt 1-2 tablespoons of butter in a saucepan. Add 2 tablespoons of brown sugar and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon (or measure to taste.) Dice apples and simmer, turning until they are evenly coated with butter/sugar mixture. Cook until soft and caramelized. Serve á la mode.

May the odds be EVER in your flavor.

Advertisements

Berry Pi

Standard

Happy Pi Day! In honor of everyone’s favorite irrational number (and because Caty and I need to find some way to make calculus class less dull) we have concocted some little treats for you all to enjoy. Pi-shaped dough on top not required. We used some frozen berries (the strawberries were actually Schnack-garden-grown, and were delicious) to make our mini pastries, and they came out awfully cute. So, celebrate Pi Day! Any excuse for dessert.

Berry Pi

Filling

Mix together: 1 cup blueberries (or strawberries)
1/2 tablespoon flour
1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
1- 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 tablespoon melted butter
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice (not for strawberries)

Crust

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
Pinch of salt
1 stick cold unsalted butter, cubed
1/4 cup ice water

  1. In a food processor, pulse the flour with the salt. Add the butter and pulse until the size of peas. Drizzle in the water and pulse until the crumbs are moistened; turn out onto a work surface. Gather into a ball, flatten, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  2. Roll out dough to 1/4 inch thickness or less and line ramekins or pie tins with it. You may want to prebake the crust for ten minutes or so, so it doesn’t get soggy when you add the filling.
  3. Fill with berry mixture, bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until crust is golden brown.
  4. Consume 3.14159

Rotini with Arugula Pesto and Roasted Peppers

Standard

Hello there! Caty and I are celebrating Meatless March, our month-long endeavor into vegetarianism. To welcome March in with some delicious veggies, Caty and I decided to make our own arugula pesto, a sauce surprisingly simple and delightfully delectable. It was easy to make, and homemade pesto is infinitely more yummy than the store-bought alternative. A tip I’ve learned for the perpetually busy? Make enormous amounts of pesto, freeze in ice cube trays, and pop out when needed for dinner in a pinch.

Arugula Pesto
adapted from Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything

2 cups arugula, well washed and dried
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 tablespoons walnuts or pine nuts, lightly toasted in a dry skillet
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
3/4 cup olive oil

  1. Remove any tough stems from the arugula. Place it in a food processor or blender with the garlic, nuts, salt, and about 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
  2. Add 1/4 cup olive oil and pulse a few times. With the motor running, add additional olive oil to make a creamy sauce, stopping the machine occasionally to scrape down the sides if necessary.

We served it with rotini pasta and roasted red bell peppers (place on a cookie sheet, add some olive oil, and broil until soft) for an early, scrumptious dinner. Enjoy!

Red Velvet Cookies

Standard

Happy (almost) Valentine’s Day.

In honor of everyone’s favorite day of love (or, in some cases, watching The Notebook alone with a bucket of ice cream) Caty and I have whipped up these lovely little cookies. They are perfect for sharing with a special someone (or your 74 cats). They are partially prefabricated, which is usually against our blogging morals, but in this busy day and age a little cake mix won’t kill you. Especially when the results are so adorable.

This is a recipe we found on the great blog Two Peas & Their Pod. Enjoy!

Red Velvet Cookies

1 box red velvet cake mix (I used Duncan Hines)
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 large eggs
1/2 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Powdered sugar, for rolling the cookies
Heart shaped cookie cutter, optional

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine cake mix and flour. Whisk until clumps disappear. In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix together cake mix, flour, eggs, oil and vanilla extract. Mix until smooth. Take about 1 tablespoon of cookie dough and form into a ball. Roll the ball in powdered sugar until fully coated. Place cookie dough balls on prepared baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes, or until edges are set and cookies begin to crack.
  3. Let cookies sit on baking sheet for 2 minutes. If desired, cut cookies into heart shapes, using a heart shaped cookie cutter. Transfer cookies to a wire cooling rack and cool completely.

Chocolate and Ginger Scones

Standard

Happy Post-Exams, everyone! Now that the first semester is over, we can actually post on the blog again! Rejoice!

On this lovely, warm January Saturday, Caty and I decided to incorporate both ginger and chocolate into a batch of sweet milk scones from The Best Recipe. Unfortunately, there was a small –shall we say– miscommunication regarding baking soda in the first batch, so we were forced to whip up a few more after discovering our light and fluffy scones were not, as promised, light and fluffy, but instead lay flat and dense on the cooking sheet like flaky, unappetizing little hockey pucks. Yum.

No matter. The correct recipe brought us some simply delicious scones, which are well worth making. But I suggest learning from our mistakes. Add baking soda the first time. It’ll save you a bit of frustration.

The zingy ginger combined with slivers of chocolate dot these scones, adding an interesting flavor perfect for a winter brunch. Enjoy.

Chocolate and Ginger Scones
Adapted from The Best Recipe

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-2 tablespoons sugar (optional)
4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1/2 cup chopped crystallized ginger
3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
3/4 cup whole milk

  1. Preheat oven to 450 and position a rack in the middle of the oven
  2. Whisk flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, salt and sugar in a large bowl. Add ginger and chocolate. With fingertips or a pastry cutter, cut butter into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse meal.
  3. Make a well in the center and pour in milk. Working quickly, blend ingredients together with a rubber spatula into a soft, slightly wet dough. Turn dough onto a well-floured surface.
  4. Roll the dough to 1/2 inch thick. Use a lightly greased and floured 3-inch biscuit cutter (alternatively, you can use the rim of a glass) to shape the dough into small rounds.
  5. Place the dough rounds 1 1/2 inches apart on a greased or parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake until lightly browned, about 10 to 12 minutes and serve immediately.

Cinnamon-Sugar Chips and Fruit Salsa

Standard

Happy Wednesday, blogosphere!

Usually, Caty and I aren’t able to post mid-week thanks to our busy schedules (jetting around the globe, dining with the president, et cetera) but today we decided to whip out a little snack for those of you who, like myself, get ravenously hungry after work/class.

When I was little, my babysitter used to make me these tortilla chips with cinnamon and sugar. They became inspiration for today’s recipe– a sweeter, yet still relatively healthy version of chips and dip. I especially liked heaping some of the tart fruit salsa on the chips and drizzling a bit of honey over the top. It was delicious, and I also don’t feel guilty for eating a ton of it, which is nice.

Without further ado, your new favorite snack:

Cinnamon-Sugar Chips

Flour tortillas
Butter (melted)
Cinnamon
Sugar

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Snip and/or cut tortillas into bite-size triangles
  3. Brush with melted butter
  4. Mix sugar to cinnamon in about a 3:1 ratio
  5. Sprinkle cinnugar (cinnamon + sugar, get it?!) on top of tortillas
  6. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until crispy and very slightly browned

Fruit Salsa (makes about 1 cup)

1/2 cup sliced strawberries
1/2 cup chopped kiwi
1/2 cup chopped mango
1/2 cup blueberries
1 teaspoon honey
Squeeze of lemon and lime

  1. Wash/prepare fruit as needed
  2. Put all ingredients in blender, pulse until finely chopped but not quite pureed
  3. Add lemon and/or honey to taste if needed

Enjoy!

Happy 2012, and Thank You Everybody!

Standard

Hey guys! Just wanted to give a big fat thank you to everyone who’s supported us this year. This blog started out as a result of grumbling tummies and has evolved into something that is far more fun and popular than either Caty or I imagined it would be. Above are some delicious cupcakes, courtesy of Caty, to commemorate the new year. Best wishes to everyone for 2012. Be sure to keep updated on our posts by subscribing and liking our Facebook page, and keep on Schnackin’! Happy New Year, all.

Espresso Chocolate Chip Cookies

Standard

These little rounds of deliciousness from Better Homes & Gardens magazine are pretty phenomenal. They may, in fact, be my new favorite cookies. (NOTE: I do not say this lightly–I take my baked goods very seriously). Caty and I whipped them up for a bake sale along with a few other baked goods, but I ended up liking their mocha-y taste so much that I actually went to the bake sale after I dropped them off and ended up buying back my own cookies. That’s right. These are magical little pastries. Something about their melt-in-the-mouth consistency in conjunction with their coffee/chocolate flavor… God, don’t get me started. I could go on for a while.

Anyway, here is the recipe. Beware, they do have coffee in them, so prepare to be a little wired/hyper, depending on how many you eat and how caffeine affects you. I might have been a little loco after eating them, but personally I don’t find that a bad thing.

Espresso Chocolate Chip Cookies

8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
5 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup butter
1 3/4 cups sugar
2 tablespoons finely ground espresso beans
1/3 cup sifted cake or all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips (we used white)

1. In a medium saucepan, combine bittersweet chocolate, unsweetened chocolate and butter; heat and stir over low heat until mixture is melted and smooth. Cool for 10 minutes.
2. In a large bowl, combine sugar, eggs and ground espresso beans; beat with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 2 to 3 minutes or until well cooled and color lightens slightly. Add cooled melted chocolate, beating until combined. In a small bowl, stir together flour, baking powder and salt. Add to chocolate mixture; beat until combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.
3. Cover surface of dough with waxed or parchment paper. Let stand for 20 minutes (dough thickens as it stands)
4. Preheat oven to 350. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper or foil. Using a 3-ounce scoop (or 1-2 tablespoons) scoop dough in mounds 2 inches apart on prepared cookie sheets.
5. Bake in preheated oven about 13 minutes or just until tops are set and the cracks on top do not appear moist. Let cookies stand on cookie sheet on a wire rack for 1 minute. Transfer cookies to wire rack; cool.
(Makes about 24 cookies)

Wild Blueberry Cobbler

Standard

Hello blogosphere! It’s been a while, but I am happy to be back cooking and eating after a ridiculously busy few weeks. Today, Caty and I finally found the time to whip up a delicious blueberry cobbler from The Quick Recipe cookbook by Cook’s Illustrated, the last of which I just polished off with my mother, á la mode. (The cobbler, that is. Not my mom.)

We used frozen Wyman’s Wild Maine Blueberries for this recipe, and I  highly recommend them. They have a strong, flavorful sweetness and are perfect for baking. However, I do not recommend wearing white while making this cobbler… the blueberry juice is deep purple and does not wash out of clothes easily. (Nor does it my mouth… beware, lips/tongue turn purple after consumption!)

Without further ado, dear readers, here is the recipe.

Wild Blueberry Cobbler

FILLING
6 cups frozen blueberries
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons grated zest plus 1 tablespoon juice from a lemon
1 tablespoon cornstarch

TOPPING
1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons yellow cornmeal
1/4 cup sugar, plus 2 tablespoons for sprinkling
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/3 cup buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

  1. Adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position and heat the oven to 425 degrees.
  2. For the filling: Place the frozen berries in a 9″ deep-dish glass pie plate. Microwave the berries on high power, stirring once, until thawed and the juices are running, about 5 minutes. Drain the berries in a colander set over a bowl to catch the juices and then return the berries to the pie plate. Add the sugar and lemon zest to the berries and gently stir to combine. To 3/4 cup berry juices, add the lemon juice and cornstarch and then vigorously whisk to remove any cornstarch lumps; discard the remaining berry juices. Add the thickened liquid to the berries, cover the pie plate with plastic wrap, cut vents in the plastic wrap with a paring knife, and microwave the berries on high, stirring once, until hot and bubbling, about 5 minutes.
  3. For the topping: Whist the flower, cornmeal, 1/4 cup sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl to combine. Whisk together the melted butter, buttermilk, and vanilla in a small bowl. One minute before the blueberries come out of the microwave (for the second time), add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir with a rubber spatula until just combined and no dry pockets remain.
  4. To assemble and serve: Remove the berries from the microwave and discard the plastic wrap. Pinch of 8 equal-size pieces of biscuit dough and place them on the hot berry filling, spacing the biscuits at least half an inch apart, not touching. Sprinkle each mound of dough with a portion of the remaining 2T sugar (we used cinnamon sugar). Place the pie plate on the baking sheet and bake until the filling is bubbling and the biscuits are golden brown on top and cooked through, 15 to 18 minutes. Cool the cobbler on a wire rack for 20 minutes, serve warm.


Butternut Squash and Apple Soup

Standard

Last night, my co-blogger and I had a dinner party. Not a “oh hey, let’s grab pizza and eat it on paper plates and call it a night” kind of dinner party, but a legitimate, sit-down, sparkling-apple-cider-and-bread-in-an-actual-basket party with more than just the two of us participating. Our guests loved it. They said it was a smashing success, that it was the best meal they have ever eaten in their lives, and that Caty and I should just become queens of the earth already. (This is not verbatim.)

We served butternut squash and apple soup bread and a side salad consisting of apples with Balsamic vinegar, dried cranberries and pecans. We hoped to caramelize the pecans as we did in our grilled peach salad, but chopping squash is more time consuming than you may think. For dessert we feasted on dark chocolate cupcakes with white chocolate frosting from the Ghirardelli cookbook. (Also, some Panera bread cookies that one of our lovely friends brought.) It was spectacular. Pure classiness. Enjoy.

The recipe for The Barefoot Contessa’s Butternut Squash and Apple Soup can be found here.

Note from Caty: Aside from the produce, we did not measure the ingredients exactly. Soup is one of those foods that shouldn’t be hindered by strict guidelines. So, if you prefer to have some freedom with your soup, follow these guidelines (was that a contradiction?):

– Cook onions until they are soft and fragrant. We didn’t time the cooking, but the onions were definitely cooked longer than 20 minutes. This adds more flavor. The same goes for the apples and butternut squash.

– Be generous with salt. I’m sort of afraid of it, but our friend Sophie helped me out with seasoning the soup to taste by liberally adding salt. You will not, as I told her, “die of salt” if you put 2 teaspoons in.

– Balance the liquid to your desired taste and consistency. This may mean adding a larger ratio of apple cider to water if you want a sweeter soup. We used 2 cups of water but only about 1 cup of apple cider.

– If you’re wondering how much “3 1/2 quarts” of soup serves (as we did), there was more than enough for 7 teenage girls.

Enjoy. Stay classy!