Saturday, January 13, 2018

Get You Some Wings and Fly Away - True Blood Style

Guess who got a mini deep-fryer for Christmas! This lady!! Now I can properly make ANYTHING fried! Muahahaha! Which is kind of funny because we rarely eat fried food but it was one of those...I need this is my tiny kitchen items he he! Ok let's be honest...I knew it might elevate my beignet game and I was all for THAT! 
The True Blood Cookbook has a great recipe for wings and for a long time I had wanted to make fried chicken for Craig. The man deserves some meat!  
First thing was marinating the chicken in some Tabasco for about an hour, refrigerated of course. Then pouring in more veg oil than we would have thought into the fryer and letting it heat up to 350. While we waited for the oil to heat up, it was time to get the chicken ready. Mixed up the flour with some salt, pepper and garlic powder and then in a separate bowl whipped eggs and milk together.
Craig was helping me prepare the chicken legs and it wasn't until I took one of the little cold thighs into my hands that the realization hit me...I am not okay with this. Not to bring down the True Blood magic but my vegetarian nature was coming out and handling the chicken bits was so unappetizing. I've never been super picky about touching meat if it meant helping someone else. Other people eat meat and I have accepted like a champ I battered those thighs....flour to egg to flour but after three I was done. It hurt my heart. Okay...back to the yummy.
Craig finished battering the rest of the legs/wings while I worked on the sauce! And nothing says southern comfort food like fried chicken with blue cheese sauce! This particular wing sauce included: crumbled blue cheese, sour cream, mayonnaise, minced shallot and fresh lemon juice. 
It was fun plopping the chicken into the basket and letting it work it's magic. I could only dream of the beignets...fries...funnel-cakes....who knows! We let the chicken fry until golden brown, about 5 mins really. This little cooker is freakin amazing!
 Once cooled and drained of excess oil these babies were ready to serve. Obviously I have no idea what they tasted like but Craig likened them to a picnic in the park. They satisfied that need for fried meat and took him back to younger days, siting on a checkered blanket and scarfing on homemade chicken. The blue cheese sauce was a nice touch and definitely elevated their flavor.
Even though it was touch and go for me, I was really happy to try out my new fryer! It works wonderfully! I can't wait to try other recipes now that I have this new weapon in my kitchen arsenal he he!
Thanks for readin!
Love, Bunny

Monday, December 11, 2017

Double Chocolate Bread Pudding

That's right! Double Chocolate Bread Pudding! 
One of my favorite creations...mixing my love of sweet bread and molten chocolate lava cake. Honestly I was missing New Orleans and bread pudding seemed like the cure, then I remembered that we were visiting my aunt and uncle! Perfect timing. There was no way that we could eat it all on our own and it was too special not to share. 
To start I set the oven to 325 and buttered a 13 x 9 inch pan. Next I whipped up the 6 eggs and set aside and sifted the cocoa powder into a bowl. Then I proceeded to cut up my Brioche bread into about 1 inch pieces and placed them onto a baking sheet to toast for about 10 mins (turning them halfway through). This added more structure to the bread, which would soon be drowning in chocolate goodness. Once golden brown I set them aside to cool and poured the pieces into the buttered pan.
I put the chocolate pieces into a bowl and then brought the milk, cream, sugar and salt to a boil in a large pot. After stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar I removed it from the heat and added in the vanilla. Then I held my breath and watched Craig pour it over the chocolate chips. The chips quickly began melting under the warmth. 
I let the mixture sit for about 5 mins then it was time to whisk to perfection. Slowly the milk turned into a rich hot chocolate. Next I took a 1/2 cup to whisk into the cocoa powder, added another 1/2 cup and then mixed in the eggs. The chocolate was getting big by that point so I transferred it to a larger bowl and added in the rest of the chocolate! Next step, pouring all but 1 cup over the bread. After this step you have to wait....
The last time I made bread pudding it was good but it didn't quite turn out how it was supposed to. This time, I really took the extra time to let it sit and soak. That made such a difference. I checked on the bread every 15 mins or so and pushed the pieces down and added in the extra chocolate mix to fully saturate the dish. 
Craig and I headed over the 17 to my aunt's house in Fremont to finish the dish. Bread pudding can take awhile and the car trip added some extra soaking time! With their oven at 350 I covered the dish with tinfoil and set it in a large baking dish with about an inch of water. After baking for 45 mins I removed the foil and let the pudding bake for another 25 mins (until it starts to puff in the middle).
As the pudding cooled I quickly started the caramel sauce. I combined the sugar and water in a saucepan, heating until the sugar liquefied. I continued to cook until the sugar turned a medium amber color. Turned off the heat and then added the milk, softened butter, Bourbon and salt. Mixed to perfection!
I don't think delicious is a strong enough work to accurately describe this chocolate bread pudding....scrumptious AF maybe. I don't even know if there is a word. The sauce was such an indulgent touch. Not too sweet and with a hint of rich bourbon flavor. I'm so happy I got to share this dish with family! So worth the wait! One of the best parts is that it saves well. I warmed up a scoop this evening, and some chilled bourbon sauce and my mouth almost wasn't prepared for it! So good and satisfying! My mouth already misses it!
Thanks! Bunny
This was my last piece...note the sad bunny...
Behind the scenes...

Friday, November 10, 2017

Little Damage Magic

Tucked into a busy corner in the heart of LA lies Little Damage. An adorably catchy soft serve ice cream shop, that i'm sure you've heard of. 
They popped up all over Facebook with awesome charcoal black ice-cream cones and equally colorful ice creams! It was all I had ever wanted in life, ice cream cones...yes as black as my soul. They looked so yummy! It took forever but Craig and I actually planned a SoCal trip, so I made sure Little Damage was our first stop in LA! 
First impression...SO CUTE! And they decorated for Halloween! These were my people! A few neon signs hung in the shop and they even have a photo-booth to commemorate your visit, completely free too. 
We tried a few of their flavors and I had already made up my mind to try the black ice cream...but then I tasted the Unicorn Tears. Sweet mother of god! Perfection! I can't pass up anything cake batter. I even got to choose some sprinkles to add to the unicorn magic! The black ice cream was yummy too, kind of an icy berry. Next time we are in LA I'll have to get a scoop. Craig went for the Smore Taco which looked amazing. He ate it so fast I didn't even get to try LOL!
I reluctantly left the sweet smelling shop but I did have a huge black ice cream cone filled with blue unicorn tears and two googly eyes. Little Damage, thank have my heart!
If you are ever in LA, check them out. Little Damage is family owned and rotate their flavors seasonally and add in some creative creations. So you never know what you will find!
Cheers, Bunny

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Millionaire's Shortbread

Hey there, 
What do you do when two lovebird soulmates are about to meet again after a few decades apart and separated by 200 years? The answer is, you make amazing chocolate caramel bars! This recipe was actually quite simple and didn't take long at all. 
First, butter the sides and bottom of a 9-inch pan. I chose to not use any parchment paper and the butter worked just fine. Then I started on the shortbread layer. Combine flour, sugar and salt in a large bowl. Grate in 1 1/2 sticks of butter and mix. Use your fingertips to blend the mix together until it resembles cornmeal then press the dough into the pan and poke with a fork. Bake until firm and golden brown, about 30 mins.
While the shortbread cools down, grab a saucepan and melt 4 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. Stir in the brown sugar and sweetened condensed milk. Bring to a gentle boil and stir frequently. Then reduce the heat and stir until it thickens for about 10 mins. Pour over the shortbread evenly and let cool.
Embarrassing but I didn't realize that caramel was just brown sugar and condensed milk. Sure you have to keep your eye on it to prevent burning, but it is quite simple! This caramel came together well, the texture wasn't as silky but the flavor was perfect. 
While waiting for the caramel to set, melt the chocolate and remaining butter in a double boiler. This way the chocolate melts evenly. Once smooth, pour over the caramel. 
Check out my poor-person makeshift boiler! 
I let the bars cool and then cut out a nice square to taste. The chocolate melted in my mouth with the delicious crunch of cookie and I was in heaven....SO GOOD! So rich! Craig's review..."These bars combined a bit of sweet and chewy crunchy decadence."  
Just the right amount of chocolate to caramel to cookie. Perfect! I even took some to work to share. They were a hit! Thank you Theresa Carle-Sanders!
They were indeed worthy of a great romance.
Thanks for readin!

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Funfetti Cookies

I was going though my baking drawer looking for cookies to make and came across my all time favorite cake mix! Funfetti! So I decided to take the cake mix, add some frosting and turn them into yummy cookies.
My instincts were right...they were amazing! The extra sprinkles added crunch and the frosting was creamy and sweet. Paired with some cold milk, funfetti perfection!

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Outlander Apple Fritters

Outlander is BACK! 
We waited for what seemed like hundreds of years for Claire and Jamie to come back to us. To celebrate I opened up my Outlander Kitchen Cookbook courtesy of Theresa Carle-Sanders and whipped up some whisky soaked apple fritters. 
To start mix together:
1/4 cup whiskey
1/4 cup whole milk 
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Zest from one lemon 
1/4 cup of sugar 
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp ground ginger 
A sweet whiskey lemon flavor filled the kitchen as I whisked letting me know, already, that these were going to be delicious. Next peel and cut up about 3 Gala apples into cubes and add them to the mixture to soak. I let them absorb every bit of goodness for 30 mins then drained the apples, saving the marinade into a bowl for later.
Next, making the pancake-like batter! 
In a bowl stir together:
1 cup flour 
1 1/2 tsp baking powder 
1 tsp cinnamon 
1 tsp salt 
Then whisk in both eggs, 1 tablespoon melted butter and half of the remaining marinade juice. Fold in the apples, making sure to coat every piece, and you are ready to cook!
Heat up a few inches of oil in a sauce pan, on high heat, and drop in spoonfuls of batter. Don't crowd the pan and fry until each side is golden brown. Once cooked, remove and drain on a paper towel. While still warm, serve with sprinkled powdered sugar. Voila! Perfect bites or yummy.
 As the Scottish melody opened the new season I took my first bite of fritter heaven. Dusted with some powdered sugar they came to life inside my mouth and I couldn't get enough. Such a savory and sweet combination. I will have to make these again! Thank you Outlander for coming back to us and Theresa for making such an amazing recipe.
Thanks for readin! 

Monday, September 4, 2017

Love of Pralines!

This weekend summer decided to have one more hot day before giving in to winter. The air was thick, sticky and just plain hot! Naturally this made me think of New Orleans. I couldn't help but remember wandering those packed streets, listening to jazz and stopping to take a peek in every unique shop. One in particular had pieces of pralines to try. So creamy and perfect bites filled with pecan flavor. I'm sure the cashier noticed as I would casually pass by the tray while I perused. Missing this delish staple of New Orleans, I went to my Damn Good Sweet cookbook for a simple praline recipe and it was simply delicious. 
To start I melted butter, cream, brown and white sugar together until they reached 220 degrees. Then I folded in the pecans and turned off the heat. Next I spooned out about 2 tablespoons per praline onto a baking sheet. 
I did not have any parchment paper, so tin foil had to do. *Just be sure to use something or your pralines will stick to the pans like glue! They did get a little messy, in the future I would want to use something to shape them into more perfect circles. I wondered how Aunt Sally's did it. They had achieved praline perfection! 
It did not take long for them to cool down and stiffen. Craig did try to pick at them before hand lol! I was surprised that they were ready to serve so quickly. I peeled one off the tray and took a bite...YUM! These pralines turned out pretty well, maybe a bit too sugary but each bite took me back to NOLA. Sweet with a bit of pecan crunch. They were not as creamy as I imagined but I think that might require more cook time or more cream. Either way I found another way to eat pecans and reminisce he he! Now this hot day didn't seem so bad.
I am definitely coming back to this sweets cookbook soon!
Thanks, Bunny