Livin' in the Kitchen

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Chocolate Cake and the Start of School

In Uncategorized on August 25, 2012 at 7:32 pm

Here’s to the sweet end of a beautiful summer.

Summer was 5 weeks of beautiful Italia, the pastry kitchen at Spiaggia, loud music, late nights with friends, and no shoes.

The day before school started my friend ordered a cake…. not because it was her birthday. She just wanted a cake.

People should be more like Anna.

With the end of a sweet summer comes the sweet start of Junior year. Not that I’m so sure it will be sweet. But with chocolate cake, how could it not be?

Chocolate Cake

* 2 cups sugar
* 1 3/4 cups flour
* 3/4 cup baking cocoa (dutch process or dark cocoa preferably)
* 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
* 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 2 eggs
* 1 cup milk
* 1/2 cup vegetable oil
* 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
* 3/4-1 cup boiling water (see note below)

Directions: 1. 1 Heat oven to 350°F. 2. 2 Grease and flour two 9 inch round baking pans or one 13×9 inch pan. 3. 3 In large mixer bowl, stir together dry ingredients. 4. 4 Add eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla; beat on medium speed for 2 minutes. 5. 5 Stir in boiling water by hand (batter will be thin). NOTE: I have tried it with 1/2 cup, 2/3 cup and 3/4 cup boiling water and we prefer it with less than 1 cup water. I usually use between 2/3 & 3/4 cups. The cake is still very moist but it doesn’t seem to “fall” as much as it cools. This might have to do with our high humidity or brand of flour or other factors so I don’t know if it will work for everyone. 6. 6 Pour into prepared pan. 7. 7 Bake 30 to 35 minutes for round 9-inch pans, 35 to 40 minutes for rectangular pan or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. (Do not use 8-inch pans or the batter will overflow.). 8. 8 Cool 10 minutes; remove from pan to wire racks.

Read more at: http://www.food.com/recipe/dark-chocolate-cake-2496?oc=linkback

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Circular Culinary Dreams

In Uncategorized on May 22, 2012 at 2:05 am

These past months have been filled with straight up craziness. I’m working on cooking through Gale Gand’s show, Sweet Dreams, and taking pictures of all the dishes for her website that’s being redesigned.

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I’ve also been busy going to classes at Cacao Barry where French men talk in French accents while making mini chocolate delights..

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Working/stashing at a gorgeous Italian fine-dining restaurant called Spiaggia downtown chicago where executive chef Sara Grueneberg has recently recreated her winning top chef finale courses for diners!

 (left: Cece Campise– Head Pastry Chef    Right: Sarah Grueneberg– Executive Chef)

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Was paid to help Cece make and plate desesrts for Stephen Hamilton’s magazine launch! –Who’s Hungry?

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Gale paid me to make 1,000 butterballs rolled in vanilla bean sugar as a texture component for the dessert she’d composed for the James Beard dinner. You wouldn’t believe it. But all 1,000 of these babies were baked in just 8 minutes thanks to the help of Andy and the Hilton Hotel’s magical multi-shelved ovens.

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Lately I’ve been doing everything I possibly can to make and save enough money to go to Italy for cooking this summer. Last month I recieved a scholarship for the Program in International living that gives me a half scholarship! So far I’ve raised, just from baking, $1,110 towards Italy.  I try to sell something at school almost every day, the most popular item has been our mini-rainbow cakes!

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A week ago I went to our Elawa Farm Sanitation class–  the class that signifies that Elawa farm is once again flourished with crop and ready for people to fill the kitchen again. As I sat in the sanitation class with all the familiar faces, I smiled. Life is a lovely circle, and with its arms wrapped around me I felt nothing but breathtaking happiness. People and food are a beautifully binding combination. And as I looked at Gale I realized that she’d known it all along.

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If you find time stop by Elawa farm in Lake Forest this summer! (Above are cupcakes that Gale Gand -head chef at Elawa Farm- designed for the Mothers Day Market!)

These past mont…

In Uncategorized on May 22, 2012 at 2:04 am

These past months have been filled with straight up craziness. I’m working on cooking through Gale Gand’s show, Sweet Dreams, and taking pictures of all the dishes for her website that’s being redesigned.

Image

I’ve also been busy going to classes at Cacao Barry where French men talk in French accents while making mini chocolate delights..

Image

Image

Working/stashing at a gorgeous Italian fine-dining restaurant called Spiaggia downtown chicago where executive chef Sara Grueneburg has recently recreated her winning top chef finale courses for diners!

 (left: Cece Campise– Head Pastry Chef    Right: Sarah Grueneburg– Executive Chef)

Image

Was paid to help Cece make and plate desesrts for Stephen Hamilton’s magazine launch, Who’s Hungry?!

Image

 

Gale paid me to make 1,000 butterballs rolled in vanilla bean sugar as a texture component for the dessert she’d composed for the James Beard dinner. You wouldn’t believe it. But all 1,000 of these babies were baked in just 8 minutes thanks to the help of Andy and the Hilton Hotel’s magical multi-shelved ovens.

Image

Lately I’ve been doing everything I possibly can to make and save enough money to go to Italy for cooking this summer. Last month I recieved a scholarship for the Program in International living that gives me a half scholarship! So far I’ve raised, just from baking, $1,110 towards Italy.  I try to sell something at school almost every day, the most popular item has been our mini-rainbow cakes!

Image

A week ago I went to our Elawa Farm Sanitation class–  the class that signifies that Elawa farm is once again flourished with crop and ready for people to fill the kitchen again. As I sat in the sanitation class with all the familiar faces, I smiled. Life is a lovely circle, and with its arms wrapped around me I felt nothing but a breathtaking happiness. People and food are a beautifully binding combination.

Image

Visit us at the farm this summer!

These past mont…

In Uncategorized on May 22, 2012 at 2:03 am

These past months have been filled with straight up craziness. I’m working on cooking through Gale Gand’s show, Sweet Dreams, and taking pictures of all the dishes for her website that’s being redesigned.

Image

I’ve also been busy going to classes at Cacao Barry where French men talk in French accents while making mini chocolate delights..

Image

Image

Working/stashing at a gorgeous Italian fine-dining restaurant called Spiaggia downtown chicago where executive chef Sara Grueneburg has recently recreated her winning top chef finale courses for diners!

 (left: Cece Campise– Head Pastry Chef    Right: Sarah Grueneburg– Executive Chef)

Image

Was paid to help Cece make and plate desesrts for Stephen Hamilton’s magazine launch, Who’s Hungry?!

Image

 

Gale paid me to make 1,000 butterballs rolled in vanilla bean sugar as a texture component for the dessert she’d composed for the James Beard dinner. You wouldn’t believe it. But all 1,000 of these babies were baked in just 8 minutes thanks to the help of Andy and the Hilton Hotel’s magical multi-shelved ovens.

Image

Lately I’ve been doing everything I possibly can to make and save enough money to go to Italy for cooking this summer. Last month I recieved a scholarship for the Program in International living that gives me a half scholarship! So far I’ve raised, just from baking, $1,110 towards Italy.  I try to sell something at school almost every day, the most popular item has been our mini-rainbow cakes!

Image

A week ago I went to our Elawa Farm Sanitation class–  the class that signifies that Elawa farm is once again flourished with crop and ready for people to fill the kitchen again. As I sat in the sanitation class with all the familiar faces, I smiled. Life is a lovely circle, and with its arms wrapped around me I felt nothing but a breathtaking happiness. People and food are a beautifully binding combination.

Image

Visit us at the farm this summer!

Banana Cream Pie and My New Philosophy

In Uncategorized on October 25, 2011 at 1:27 am

Lately, I’ve been taking more pictures than baking due to a developing syndrome I’m currently suffering deeply from: dish-syndrome. I can’t take them anymore. There are too many and they pile too high, too fast. Which is why, when stumbling upon this quote, I knew I had the perfect solution.

“If you have to dry the dishes
(Such an awful boring chore)
If you have to dry the dishes
(‘Stead of going to the store)
If you have to dry the dishes
And you drop one on the floor
Maybe they won’t let you
Dry the dishes anymore”

-Shel Silverstein, A light in the Attic

….I’ll let you know how my new plan works out. Just don’t tip off my mom.

Banana Cream Pie
From Allrecipes.com

3/4 cup white sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups milk
3 egg yolks, beaten
2 tablespoons butter
1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 (9 inch) pie crust, baked
4 bananas, sliced

1. In a saucepan, combine the sugar, flour, and salt. Add milk in gradually while stirring gently. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture is bubbly. Keep stirring and cook for about 2 more minutes, and then remove from the burner.
2. Stir a small quantity of the hot mixture into the beaten egg yolks, and immediately add egg yolk mixture to the rest of the hot mixture. Cook for 2 more minutes; remember to keep stirring. Remove the mixture from the stove, and add butter and vanilla. Stir until the whole thing has a smooth consistency.
3. Slice bananas into the cooled baked pastry shell. Top with pudding mixture.
4. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 12 to 15 minutes. Chill for an hour. (or not!)

Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownies

In Uncategorized on October 4, 2011 at 3:04 am

I love red velvet everything: red velvet cake pops, red velvet cake, red velvet cheesecake, red velvet brownies, red velvet french toast. I’ve even made Red Velvet pancakes for dinner but since I was babysitting I did what any responsible babysitter would do; I made homemade Mac and Cheese to accompany all the pancakes!

And while I was busy being responsible Tif, Mag, and I decided we needed Swirled Cheesecake Brownies. Afterall, doesn’t every kid each dessert before bed? My brothers do.

It was so easy, too! All we had to do was whisk (by hand) the eggs and cocoa powder together, melt butter in a pan, and then add all the ingredients and the pasty mixture of eggs and cocoa powder.

Then you can grease a pan and pour 3/4 of the batter in while your friends whip together the cream cheese mixture of  4 ingredients with a hand-held.

Now just spread the cream cheese mixture and pour the batter over the top in zig-zags or globs. Just use a knife and run it through the cream cheese and brownie mixture. Be careful not to over-use the knife making designs. You don’t want it to start looking sloppy. Wa-la. Bake and you’re done!

Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownies
Slightly adapted from Fruetcake’s Red Velvet Brownies
Red Velvet:
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup cocoa powder
Pinch salt
1 tablespoon red food coloring
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
2 eggs
3/4 cup flour

Cream Cheese:
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a round glass pan.
Melt the butter on the stove. Add all your ingredients into the pan except the cocoa powder and the eggs. Whisk together the cocoa powder and eggs until paste-y. Whisk into the brownie batter, then stir in red or pink die. Pour 3/4 of mixture into a greased 8*8 pan.
Whip together all the cream cheese ingredients until nice and smooth. Smooth over the top of the unbaked red velvet batter. When smoothed over, pour the reserved red velvet batter over the top unevenly and so you can still see the white. Run a knife through the top of the batter making swirls.
Bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Done!

Enjoy : )

Friday Nights and Monkey Bread

In Uncategorized on September 11, 2011 at 4:34 am

That is the face of a girl (me) thrilled to not be at a football game on a Friday night.

That is the face of a girl fully anticipating a dessert that sat in the oven for an hour.

And that is the reaction you get when someone eats the dish meant for picture-purposes. That white blop? That’s sour cream, not ice cream. Sigh. Poor Tiffany…. 

On the bright side Monkey Bread is comfort food at its finest. Without sour cream, that is.

Plus the process is so simple that you can make it in the most troubling of times. I’m pretty sure you could have tears rolling down your cheeks and this could still come out perfect… just make sure you hold back the tears long enough to zip your plastic baggie.

And when you’re flipping the pan make sure to wait the entire 15 minutes. Don’t wait 12 and think it’s okay. It’s not coming out whole. Trust me.

Not speaking from personal experience or anything. But theoretically if you were to tip the bread out at 12 minutes, I bet it would break on the side and make for a gorgeous picture. Just sayin’.

Monkey Bread
Slightly adapted from Pioneer Woman’s Monkey Bread
3 cans Buttermilk Biscuits -Non Flaky Ones- (I made my own! Check out recipe below.)
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
2 sticks butter
1/2 cup brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Cut the cylinder pieces of dough into 1/2-1 inch thick slices. Then slice those into four pieces.
Mix the sugar and cinnamon in a big plastic bag and add your dough, mix until the sugar coats the dough completely.
Melt the butter and brown sugar over the stove top until the sugar has dissolved, continue to stir until it does.
Place the cinnamon sugar dough into a bunt cake pan, pour butter mixture over the top, and bake for 30-40 minutes.
Allow to cool 15-30 minutes!
Enjoy!

Buttermilk Biscuits
Adapted from Alton Brown’s Southern Biscuits
4 cups flour
8 teaspoons baking powder
2/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 2/3 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons butter
2 cup buttermilk, chilled
Mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and butter together in a mixer. Add the buttermilk until combined. Beat for 30 seconds.*
Roll into 2 long cylinders and refer to above recipe.
*Remember that this recipe doesn’t call for flaky rolls which is why you’re beating it together. It’s also why I omitted the shortening. Don’t be afraid to mix this!

Stay Sweet and thanks for reading,
Jess : )

Confections of a High School Baker, Peanut Butter Pie

In Uncategorized on September 9, 2011 at 4:12 am

Hey guys! I know it’s been a while since I last posted… So you’re probably wondering what I’ve been up to.
A local online newspaper has been taking on bloggers and a couple of weeks ago, I applied! I don’t plan on leaving Livin’ In the Kitchen, but during the year it’s hard for me to keep blog traffic up. Having a community blog will fit really nicely into my busy schedule.

If you have time, check it out! And if you like what you see, click the recommend button and recommend me on facebook or twitter! Check out my latest post here : http://libertyville.patch.com/blog_posts/peanut-butter-pie-and-obsessions
It’s peanut butter pie! Yumm!

I also helped Gale Gand tonight with a cupcake decorating class at The American Girl Place, to give you an idea of what I’ll be blogging about soon!

Street Art and Pumpkin Pie

In Pie, Uncategorized on June 30, 2011 at 6:48 pm

I’m going to sound like my mother right here, but I can’t believe how fast I’ve grown up. I miss my babysitter Gina, and the Mac and Cheese she so willingly made me every single day of third grade summer. I miss the days I read over summer for enjoyment, instead of for assignments. But most of all I miss creativity being encouraged. Which is why, yesterday, I busted out the scissors, construction paper and sharpies and then proceeded to do the only socially acceptable thing a teenage girl with scissors and construction paper can do: street art.

We left everything up: A cluster of balloons taped to a blank wall downtown, a lightbulb in a thought bubble high on a bookshelf in the library, under a rusted green bridge next to colorful jagged graffitti- someone else’s art. Sometime someone will end up taking the art down. But before they do, I hope they smile. 

Life and food are directly linked. One could not exsist without the other. If the best kind of fun is a simple kind of fun, then what if the key to baking is simplicity, too? 

Pumpkin Pie

Crust Recipe
allrecipes.com

(I doubled this recipe, so if you’re only going to do the bottom crust, use this recipe. But if you want to make a pumkin or design on the top of the pie, you can double it!)
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, chilled and diced
1/4 cup ice water

1.In a large bowl, combine flour and salt. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in water, a tablespoon at a time, until mixture forms a ball. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.
2.Roll dough out to fit a 9 inch pie plate. Place crust in pie plate. Press the dough evenly into the bottom and sides of the pie plate.

Pie
You can take a person and dress them different. You can put different makeup on them, a wig even. You can have them change the way they talk or the way they walk. But at the core, they’ll always be the same person. And if you’re taking all this time trying to compress who that person is, then their true flavors can’t shine through. The point is, let pumpkin pie be what it is. It’s one of the very few you-can’t-mess-with-it foods in the culinary world.

However, if you have a burning desire to do something different with pumpkin pie, do it with the whipped cream. I kid you not. It’s super easy, and there are so many things you can do with whipped cream. And not just for pumpkin pie! You can add spices while you’re whipping the cream. I haven’t tried it yet, but I’ve read you can infuse the cream with a simple syrup that you’ve boiled down with fruit puree after straining. The possibilities are endless! In the end, though, the whipped cream should make the simple star of the dish shine even brighter.

Hard Boiled Egg Chocolate Chip Cookies? I think yes.

In Uncategorized on June 17, 2011 at 4:57 am

You never think that the seed you planted as a child could possibly be the towering willow tree that stands planted in your parent’s front yard. You don’t hold your child’s tiny hand inside your own, but think that that same hand will one day be embracing yours. The smallest moments are the ones that people want to pay a million dollars to go back to and enjoy.

I never thought that a hard boiled egg could turn a usual cookie into such a light, fluffy, wonderful treat. Nor did I ever think that a hard boiled egg could act so similar to its raw self. Seeds grow into tress, children gradually step into a new roll of being an adult, and a regular liquid egg turns solid at the hand of a bubbling pot of water. But at the end of the day, nothing is too different from the place it started.

 

Hard Boiled Egg Chocolate Chip Cookies
Slightly adapted from thegirlwhoateeverything
2 3/4 cups flour
1 cup butter (2 sticks), cut into small chunks
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup white sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 hard boiled eggs, peeled and diced finely
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven 350F
In a food processor, mix the butter (cut into cubes) and flour until in crumb-like form
Add the sugars, salt, baking soda, and vanilla. Pulse together.
Throw in the boiled eggs (I chopped mine up a little first) and pulse until mixture comes together.
Stir the chocolate chips in by hand (I’d say, try milk chocolate if you have it).
Roll into balls and bake 13-15 minutes.

I’m going to our cabin for a couple weeks, so if I don’t post, I’m swimming or catching frogs!