Mimosas

Today is my birthday. My husband decided to start the birthday celebration early by taking me to a full nudity gentleman’s club. We have tittie bar that we normally go to, but Bryan’s boss wanted to try something different. The end result was a horrible yet hilarious night where Bryan’s bosses wife got licked by not one but two strippers. One of which was coked out of her mind and smells of feces. But despite the comical circumstances – there were only four girls, one stage, and 3 filler songs between dances, we still had fun.

When I woke up I decided my whole day would be filled with mimosas.

And it was amazing.

Nothing screams Happy Birthday like mimosas and fajitas and cuddling half the day with your wolf and husky.

mimosa

Mimosa

1 oz of orange juice, pulp free
5 oz champagne

Directions

In a champagne flute, pour orange juice.

Top with champagne.

Makes 1.

I heart mimosas. I’ve been making them since college. They are the prefect societally acceptable drink at 9AM. And are perfect for a romantic breakfast.

I love how the champagne bubbles tingle my tongue as the taste of orange sweep over my taste buds. Whoever created this was a genius.

I really don’t need an occasion to make this. And the great part is you cant fuck it up. I’ve used Andres champagne which is as cheap as it gets and it came out perfect. You might want to use a little more orange juice if you do decide to use Andres to smooth it out. A more Brut champagne works best, so keep that in mind. I usually use Ballatore. It’s not as cheap as Andres, but not overly expensive. But if it makes you feel better, some of the most priciest wedding venues use Andres and no one can tell the difference.

Also, make sure it is pulp free. The last thing you want is pulp at the bottom of your glass. And it make clean up a cinch.

 

Brown Sugar Cookie

It’s like a snickerdoodle but not.

Yeah.

Personally, when I saw this recipe, I liked the thought of it. It’s different. Instead of a white sugar cookie, why not make a brown sugar one.

But, this is the funny thing: I don’t actually like cookies. I’m more of a brownie, cupcake, and cake girl.

Yeah. That is all.
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Brown Sugar Cookies

2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, melted
3/4 cups brown sugar
1 egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4cup (67g) white sugar for rolling

Direction

Mix the flour, baking soda, cornstarch, cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl.

In a medium size bowl, whisk the melted butter and brown sugar together until there are no lumps.

Whisk in the egg.

Add the vanilla.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix together until well combined. The dough will be very soft, yet thick.

Cover the dough and chill overnight. DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP!!!!

Take the dough out of the refrigerator and allow to slightly soften at room temperature for 10 minutes.

Pour the granulated sugar into a bowl.

Roll dough into 1 inch balls, then roll into the sugar.

Cook in batches of 12 on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet.

Bake at 325 for precisely 9 minutes.

Remove from the oven and gently press the top of the cookie down with the back of a utensil. Don’t use your fingers they will get burned.

Place back into the oven for 2 more minutes.

Makes 32 cookies.

These are amazing. Soft and chewy and totally addictive.

I usually don’t do chilled dough recipes but it came out so amazing that I might just try other recipes. Maybe.

Although Bryan isn’t too keen on sugar cookies, he did say these were the best ones he has tasted.

[EDIT: the amazing ladies I work with at the spa loved them and were amazed they were homemade.]
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Balls of cookie dough just waiting to be rolled in sugar and baked.

Cinnamon Toast

I still remember the day I was introduced to cinnamon toast. I was 8 and over at a friend’s house.

“Hey, let’s have cinnamon toast!” She said.
“What’s that?” I asked.
“You don’t know what cinnamon toast is?”
“Um, no.”
“OMG! We have to make it then. It’s amazing!”
“O…k…”

Maybe it was the fact that I was young, but it changed my whole idea of what you could do with toast. It never occurred to me that adding something as simple as sugar and cinnamon to it could make it into the most amazing carmelized cinnamon sweetness. I thought bread was made for sandwiches and buttered toast.

It changed my 8 year old life.

But I rarely make it. I find that this treat, albeit more of a snack than a breakfast, is great on those bleak winter days or rainy afternoon paired with tea or coffee.

You could do it the easy way which is microwave it, but the flavor isn’t as intense as when baked. That and I hate rubbery bread. Hate it!
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Cinnamon Toast

1/4 tablespoon of soft butter
2 slices of toast
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Directions

Place to slices of bread on a baking sheet or foil.

In a small bowl, mix the cinnamon and sugar.

Divide the soft butter into half and slather each half onto a slice of bread.

Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar over each slice of bread.

Bake at 350 for 5 minutes.

Makes 2 slices. Per slice.

This is definitely comfort food. And the whole house smells amazing while it’s being baked.

Italian Cream Stuffed Strawberries

I first made this for Mumika for her birthday. We went through roughly 2 pints of strawberries in one sitting and I ended up making three batches of these amazing perfect treats before I had to go back home.

I originally wanted to make her an awesome cake but she requested something I little more healthy. After glancing at various recipes online, I came across strawberry stuffed cheesecake and decided to use mascarpone cheese instead.

Italian cream stuffed strawberries were born.

I used about two tablespoons of powdered sugar in each batch that weekend. It didn’t even occur to me to reduce the powdered sugar and add vanilla extract until I made the Italian chocolate cream crescents.

After making those crescents I had an abundance of mascarpone that would go bad soon if I didn’t use it. I definitely was not going to let that happen. Its not that mascarpone cheese is expensive (although Mumika would disagree with that statement), I just can’t let something that tastes that good go to waste. Which reminds me, I need to make boba sometime this month before the pearls expire. Armed with dedication, I came across the strawberries at HEB that actually looked amazing and we not on the brink of molding and THEY WERE ON SALE!

Italian cream stuffed strawberries! That’s perfect. And Bryan hasn’t had them yet.

Today I woke up craving them. So we had them for breakfast.

It was amazing. When I brought them into the living room Bryan immediately stopped playing his video game and was grinning while he watched the plate being set down. He looked exactly like our wolf does when it’s she knows it’s steak night and she’s patiently waiting for her steak.
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Italian Cream Stuffed Strawberries

6 oz mascarpone cheese
1 tablespoon powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 pint strawberries

Directions

Using a 1/4 teaspoon measuring spoon, spoon the insides of a strawberry out making sure not to knick the bottom or sides. You can save and use the scrap strawberries for smoothies, lemonades, daiquiris, pie filling….get creative.

In a small bowl mix the mascarpone cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract until a smooth satin appearance forms.

Gently spoon the mascarpone mixture into the cavity of the strawberry.

Makes about 25 strawberries. Per strawberry.

I love these. Love them love them love them. They are perfect as a quick sweet treat. You could dip them in chocolate as an elegant dessert at a wine and cheese party. Or choose not to dip but drizzle chocolate over them for bridal showers, tea parties, tea time, baby showers, and any party, really, with a small spread. These are perfect for those parties where you want something sweet on the spread but you don’t want to do a cake, cupcakes, brownies, or cookies. Be daring, Be different and everyone will comment on how cute and amazing these are. If I owned a spa and did spa parties, I would definitely have this as part of the spa snacks. Man, I wish I had thought of this while I worked at my first spa and we had Spalicious.

These little gems would also be perfect as a sweet alternative to chocolates and a twist on chocolate covered stawberries on valentines day.

The creaminess and subtle sweetness of the mascarpone cheese pairs perfectly with the tart sweetness of the strawberries. So indulgent.

I’m in heaven when I eat one. Heaven.

 

Rice Pudding

I wasn’t raised on rice pudding. I knew what it was but the thought of it really didn’t appeal to me. Then again, I wasn’t even introduced to arroz con dulce until I happened to be in Puerto Rico during Christmastime when I was in my mid 20s.

Bryan, however, was.

“I love a good rice pudding.”

A few weeks ago, Bryan asked me to make arroz con dulce. He really likes the coconut in it as well as the texture and other flavors. I told him no. He gives me a pouty face and I’m all, “You know that I only make it during the holidays. The same thing goes with coquito.”

I am thrilled that he loves Puerto Rican food and asks for it. Mumika didn’t start cooking Puerto Rican food until after Dad died and I feel like the food is a big part of who I am. Hell, I used to take an avocado to school back in high school and eat it with a spoon for lunch.

I sort of felt bad denying Bryan his request, so I made him normal rice pudding. I’ve never made it and it looked simple. Not at all as cumbersome as sweet rice is. And I happened to have all the ingredients already and I love it when that happens. Although it is rare.

I did reduce the sugar from 1/3 to 1/4 cup in fear that the original measurement would make it too sweet. I wanted a rich creaminess to it, not a mushy sweetness. You don’t have to use whole milk, but I have always considered whole milk too creamy to drink in general which is why I used it.

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Rice Pudding

4 cups whole milk

1/2 cup raw white rice

Pinch salt

1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 large egg yolks

1/4 cup sugar

Directions

Dump the milk, rice, and salt into a large, heavy saucepan.

Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring constantly.

Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes.

Uncover and continue simmering, stirring frequently, until the rice is tender and the pudding is reduced to about 3-1/2 cups.

In a small bowl, whisk the egg yolks, sugar, and vanilla extract.

Slowly add a small portion of the cooked rice mixture to the yolk mixture.

Pour the contents of the small bowl into the saucepan, making sure to scrape the bowl.

Set the pan over medium-low heat and cook, stirring and scraping the sides and bottom of the pan constantly with a wooden spoon, until the mixture has thickened and coats the back of the spoon.

Remove the pan from the heat.

Makes 6.

I’m so happy I used whole milk. It has this nice rich creamy custard like taste to it.

You can garnish with a sprinkle of cinnamon to really highlight all the flavors of the rice pudding.

When first pouring the milk in the saucepan, I would try to make a mental note where 3 cups is that way you have some sort of basis later when reducing. This way you won’t have to stop everything and measure.

Although I do love this version, I miss the coconut undertone you taste in the arroz con dulce.

Next time I might try to make a rice porridge with strawberry or cherry jam/preservatives.

Fried egg

I know what you’re thinking. Really? I know how to make fried eggs.

But do you?

Do you really?

It’s so easy to screw fried eggs up. The whole point of frying an egg is to cut through the egg whites to that still liquid yolk. Overcooking is pretty much the downfall and ruin of a fried egg.

You might as well boil a bloody egg if the yolk hardens. You want that bright yellow liquid goodness to drip over everything it’s put on top of. Toast. Mushrooms. Pasta. Bulgogi. Hash browns. A Vietnamese bbq pork sandwich….I could so go for Nobi’s right now.

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Fried Egg

1 egg
dash of salt
dash of ground pepper
dash of paprika
1 tablespoon oil

Directions

Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat.

Crack an egg open, be careful not to puncture the yolk, and dump the egg into the oil.

Season the egg with salt, pepper, and paprika.

Once the edges of the egg white start to brown, carefully flip over.

Cook for about a minute and then plate.

Makes 1.

Welcome to fried egg happiness.

If the flip doesn’t go as planned, don’t sweat it. As long as it is yolk down, everything thing will be okay.

I really love how the paprika and the pepper gives a little heat and bite to the egg.

You can place the egg on anything and know when you cut into it, the angels from heaven will sing beautiful songs as the yolk runeth freely covering everything in sight as it descends to the bottom and hits the plate.

I really should be a poet.

Hash Brown Pancake

I always wanted to learn how to make hash browns. They’re like fries but not.

Bryan hearts hash browns. And I was going to make them but I realized the bigger hole grater was the devil. The chances of me granting the fuck out if my finger while using it is like 99.99999%. And I’m a massage therapist, so I need my finger to work.

I decided to use the smaller hole and they pretty much became pancakes. Taste like hash browns, look like pancakes. Go figure.

Hash Brown Pancake

1 potato, sliced in half longwise
1 teaspoon oil
1/8 teaspoon salt
Pinch of pepper

Directions

Shred the potato half cut side against the grater.

Season with salt and pepper, mixing with your hands until well combined.

Squeeze water out if potatoes.

Heat oil in skillet over medium heat.

Smash the shredded potato against your hands to form a patty.

Place patty into oil and cook until edges are brown.

Flip and cook for about 5 minutes.

Makes 1.

Italian Chocolate Cream Crescents

I love mascarpone cheese. I love texture. I love the bland subtle sweetness of it. I love anything that has it in it.

You might notice I’m on a crescent kick lately. I found a few tubes in my fridge that were about to expire and decided making normal ass crescents just wasn’t going to happen. So I made these awesome churro ones and now I’m making these.

I get excited over the little things.

The one thing that frustrated me was the use of white sugar. I always mix powdered sugar with the mascarpone. ALWAYS. It creates this beautiful Italian like sweetness that hits the spot perfectly. You can taste the Italian in the cheese. I fear white sugar wouldn’t even come close in doing that. I also reduced the amount because I didn’t need that much.

chococrescent

Italian Chocolate Cream Crescents
2 ounces mascarpone cheese
1 1/2 teaspoon powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tube of Crescent Roll dough
40 chocolate chips

Directions:

In a small mixing bowl combine the mascarpone cheese, sugar, and teaspoon vanilla extract. Mix until well combined and has a satin smoothness to it.

Pop the tube and unroll crescent dough.

Place a tablespoon of the mascarpone mixture onto the crescent triangle and spread it with a spoon.

Sprinkle 5 chocolate chips over the cheese mixture towards the large end of the triangle.

Gently roll the crescent roll dough towards the pointed end.

Place the rolls parchment paper lined baking sheet.

Bake at 350 for 15 minutes or until the crescents are lightly golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool before eating.

Makes 8. Per crescent.

It’s rich. I didn’t expect that. I should have with the richness of the mascarpone and the use of chocolate. Add cream to chocolate and it automatically takes on a rather rich flavor.

It was oozing chocolate goodness and is definitely one of those rather indulgent foods. The whole thing screams elegance. And will definitely satisfy any chocoholic.

What’s great is that it’s portable. Tired of feeding the kids pancakes and waffles, give them this instead. Hell, don’t have time to feed the kids, give them two crescents and scoot them out the door towards the bus stop.

Pair it with fruit for tea time or it would be a great snack with hot chocolate during the cold months.

Chicken Bruschetta Pasta

As I was cooking, I was absolutely stunned that amazing comedian and actor Robin Williams decided to take his life by suffocating to death. There is no worse way to commit suicide than through asphyxiation due to the fact that it is a tediously slow death. My heart goes out to those he left behind.

I haven’t felt such a grievance over a person I will never meet since John Ritter passed away. It must be because I grew up watching both of them on TV and in movies. Both were true comedic geniuses.

It’s the funny people that have the worst demons.

Anyway, as stated in a previous post, every time I go to TGIFriday I order the same thing. The chicken bruschetta pasta. The tomatoes, the garlic, the angel hair pasta, the balsamic vinegar. I absolutely love it.

Two days ago, I downloaded a free ecookbook filled with restaurant recipes. And in it, my favorite dish that I’ve been meaning to attempt to replicate. It’s a little easier than I though it would be, but it’s still rather complex to make. I think the fact that I’m going what seems like ten things at one time is what started to make me feel overwhelmed before even attempting to make it. But once I nixed a few things and realized I only needed a pot and a pan, it seemed rather easy.

This is why reading a recipe and visualizing how you are going to make it is important. If you do everything step by step (like my mother and mother inlaw) it takes 2 hours to make dinner. But if you start visualizing what you’re making, what you need to make it, a tedious process can be reduced to 30 minutes. That’s why I visualize. It helps me compartmentalize what I need to do and what I can do at the same time. I can cook spaghetti while cooking the meat and after I’m done with the meat, I can make the sauce in the same pan. By the time I’m done putting the sauce together, I can strain the pasta and add it to the sauce allowing me to make the reduction.

It’s all about visualization. And that’s how you cook without breaking into a sweat. This is why my food is more gourmet, I visualize.
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Chicken Bruschetta Pasta

Pasta:
1 pound angel hair pasta
Balsamic Glaze:
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
Tomato Sauce:
7 medium-size Roma tomatoes, diced
2 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 garlic cloves, chopped
2 tablespoon dried basil leaves
1/2 cup tomato sauce
Chicken:
6 thinly sliced chicken breasts
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
1/2 tablespoon butter

Directions

Put diced tomatoes, basil, and salt in a small bowl and mix until well combined. Refrigerate for one hour before using.

Boil pasta according to package instructions until al dente.

Place a huge skillet over medium heat. Season chicken with Italian seasonings and sauté in butter until browned. Put chicken on a plate, chop into strips and set aside.

Leaving the skillet on, heat the olive oil and cook the garlic until soft and tender

Add the tomatoes from the ridge and stir occasionally until juices start to simmer.

Add the tomato sauce and bring to a boil.

Add the pasta to the bruschetta sauce and mix until evenly coated.

Using a small sauce pan, mix the balsamic vinegar and sugar and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the mixture by 75%. The sauce will turn into a thick liquid. Cool to room temperature.

To plate: Place pasta on plate first. Top with 4 or 5 strips of chicken and drizzle the balsamic reduction over it.

Makes 6.

This is as good as in the restaurant. I really wish I had some parmesan cheese to kick it up a notch. But oh my god, it’s amazing. It’s tangy, there’s a beautiful acidity from the tomatoes and a cool evenness from the basil that cuts through everything. The angel hair pasta is the perfect base and the chicken it the perfect protein needed to make it a wholesome dish.

I love it.
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The pasta is good by itself with a little drizzle if the balsamic reduction.

Churro Crescents

I love cinnamon. I love it on toast, I love it in oatmeal, I love it on ground beef to make it more Mediterranean. It does not help lower my blood sugar as many tend to believe. I can’t tell how many times people have offered cinnamon as an advice to lower my blood sugar. I try to be nice about it and say that it doesn’t work that way but as always there are people that question you on it. In the end I rather curtly tell them that it works with type 2 not type 1. What cinnamon does, however, is help stabilize the blood sugar giving me some control over it when I don’t eat protein at a meal. Hence the use of it on top of oatmeal.

If I combine it with a food that I know can lower my blood sugar then I dip rather quickly which can end badly. I figured this out a year ago to the day about 4 hours before my best friend’s wedding. Mumika and I had breakfast at the hotel where I ate a bagel (which Mumika tried to take a bite out of until I yelled at her that I had already took insulin for it. Do not try to take diabetics food away from them after they’ve taken insulin, it always ends badly. You would think she had learned her lesson from a previous time, but she didn’t) and oatmeal with cinnamon, brown sugar, almonds, and cranberries. About 2 hours later as I was getting orange juice at a local grocery store, I came across sweet potato chips and proceeded to eat these chips as Mumika was doing my hair when we got back to the hotel. 15 minutes in, I feel it, the dip. Then the anger came, then lots of profanity followed by shaking. I was down to 75 and I could tell the dip wasn’t over. And that’s when I realized my error.

The cinnamon had made sure my blood sugar didn’t go sky high as I ate breakfast. Because of this, the insulin hit it’s mark before it needed to. It didn’t help that the snack I picked out naturally lowered my blood sugar.

Luckily, there was coke at the beach house Pam was getting married at.

When I came across this recipe, I decided to change it. It’s pretty straight forward and simple, but I didn’t feel there enough flavor. Well, that and I really hate the taste of canned refrigerated crescent roll dough. The bitterness gets me every time. I also felt that the icing or glaze was pointless and created a teeth decaying sweetness. I hate sickening sweetness. It’s pointless. Completely unnecessary.
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Churro Crescents

1 tube refrigerated crescent rolls
2 Tablespoons butter, melted
1/8 cup sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

Directions

Pop the tube and unroll the crescent dough.

In a small bag mix the sugar and cinnamon.

In small bowl mix melted butter with 3/4 of the bag of sugar and cinnamon. Spread mixture over crescent rolls and roll them up. Place tip side down on parchment paper covering a cookie sheet.

Sprinkle remaining cinnamon and sugar over the crescents

Bake at 350 for 15 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes before eating

Makes 8. Per crescent.

Tastes just like a churro. The cinnamon sugary buttery goodness of awesomeness. Love it.

I do recommend eating them while they are still warm. If they do co cold just warm it in the microwave.

This is perfect for teatime, brunch, breakfast or a snack.

If you do want to add the glaze on top and make it look all fancy (which I totally get) mix 2 tablespoons with 1/4 cup powdered sugar and 1/2 a teaspoon of vanilla. Drizzle over the crescents. Now you have bakery quality yumminess in half the time.