Thursday, May 28, 2009

Outragous Brownies

Phillip has never been so excited about a Barefoot Bloggers assignment! Eva of I'm Boring chose this classic Ina Garten recipe. We were given free reign to make any additions that we wanted, so I added peanut butter chips instead of walnuts. Warning: this recipe makes a very large batch. I took half to school with me and sent the other half to work with Phillip.


1 pound unsalted butter
1 pound plus 12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips, divided
6 ounces unsweetened chocolate
6 extra-large eggs
3 tablespoons instant coffee powder
2 tablespoons real vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, divided (1 cup for batter and 1/4 cup in the chips and nuts)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
12 oz peanut butter chips


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 13 by 18 by 1 1/2-inch sheet pan.

Melt together the butter, 1 pound chocolate chips, and unsweetened chocolate on top of a double boiler. Cool slightly. Stir together the eggs, instant coffee, vanilla and sugar. Stir in the warm chocolate mixture and cool to room temperature.

Stir together 1 cup of the flour, baking powder and salt. Add to cooled chocolate mixture. Toss the chocolate and peanut butter chips with 1/4 cup flour to coat. Then add to the chocolate batter. Pour into prepared pan.

Bake for about 30 minutes, or until tester just comes out clean. Halfway through the baking, rap the pan against the oven shelf to allow air to escape from between the pan and the brownie dough. Do not over-bake! Cool and drizzle with melted chocolate and peanut butter chips.

Source: Ina Garten, The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Dog Cake

If you've read my other blog, you know that I threw a birthday party for my dog LuLu in January. Since then, I've had commissions for two other dog birthday cakes. This evening, Phillip & I took LuLu to celebrate Marley's first birthday. There were at least fifteen dogs there (they didn't slow down long enough for me to count all of them), and they were all so good, they even shared the cake really nicely. I multiplied my normal recipe (below) by eight to make this big version. The normal size would probably provide a treat for about six dogs, so adjust accordingly.

Dog Cake


1 cup flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup oil
1 cup shredded carrots
1/3 cup honey
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350. Grease 6 inch round cake pan. Mix all ingredients well and pour into prepared pan. Bake for 30-45 minutes or until set through.

Dog Frosting


1/2 cup cottage cheese
1/4 cup confectioner's sugar

Mix cottage cheese and sugar in food processor until smooth, frost cooled cake.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Fried Calamari

I love calamari. If we're out for dinner and I have a choice of appetizers, I always choose these tiny morsels of seafood goodness. Why had I never made them at home? After making these tonight, I have no idea why. They were easy and just like we get out. I can't wait to make these for my in-laws who are calamari fans as well.

Fried Calamari

1/2 pound calamari, thawed if frozen (I like to use both the rings and tentacles)
1 egg
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic
1 tablespoon cornstarch
Canola oil for frying

Pat the calamari rings dry with a paper towel. In a bowl whisk together egg and milk to make an egg wash. In a large plastic resealable bag combine flour, salt, pepper, granulated garlic and cornstarch and shake to combine.

Dip the calamari rings into the egg and then put them in the bag with the flour. Shake bag to lightly coat calamari. In a large sauce pan add oil until you have about 2 inches. Heat over medium heat until oil is hot. Once the oil is hot, remove the calamari from the bag and shake off any excess flour. Cook calamari in batches until golden brown, about 3 minutes. It is very important not to overcook calamari or it will become rubbery. Remove from the oil, drain, and season with salt and pepper.

Source: Life's Ambrosia

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Fried Goat Cheese

When I saw this recipe posted on The Novice Chef, I immediately knew that I needed to make it for Phillip. He loves goat cheese, and I thought that they would make a great addition to a weeknight salad. I will for sure make these again, they only took about five minutes and they definitely spiced up our dinner.

Fried Goat Cheese

4 oz log of Goat Cheese
1 teaspoon Italian seasonings
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon crushed black pepper
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1 egg, beaten
Olive Oil

Mix the goat cheese, seasoning, salt & pepper together. Form goat cheese into balls. Dip cheese balls in egg and then cover in bread crumbs. Fry in a shallow pan of olive oil until golden brown. Serve warm over the salad of your choice.

Adapted from: The Novice Chef

Ashleigh's Bridal Shower

My friend Ashleigh is getting married, too! I threw her this shower on Sunday (busy weekend for me, huh?), and the day turned out perfectly. I can't wait until I get to celebrate her wedding day with her. The menu for the shower was as follows:

Chicken Salad Croissants
Mini Club Sandwiches
Cucumber Cups with Ranch and Shrimp Cocktail
Mini Quiches
Broccoli Salad
Cheese Platter
Vanilla Bean Black Cherry

Note: Ashleigh's future sister-in-law Jan took some of these photos. I was too busy running around to get very good pictures of all the food. Maybe I should hire her to take pictures of all my food, I think she does a better job than I do!

Sources: Annies Eats

Lynn's Bridal Shower

My friend Lynn is getting married! I helped throw her a shower this Saturday, and it was so much fun. I made these cupcakes from the book Hello Cupcake! and they turned out very cute. Lynn's sister Anne made all the other food, and she did such a good job, everything was so light and springy, perfect for the vegetable garden theme.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Lobster Cobb Salad Rolls

This week's Barefoot Blogger post is a little different. This month, Tara, our fearless leader gave us the chance to sub out one of the recipes with any other past recipe that we hadn't made. This recipe was a bonus recipe from a few weeks ago, chosen by a vote on the group's website. Phillip & I really enjoyed this, I'm going to have it again for lunch tomorrow and I can't wait!


For the vinaigrette:
1 1/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)
5 tablespoons good olive oil
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

For the salad:
2 ripe Hass avocados
1 lemon, juiced
1 bunch arugula, washed and spun dry
1 1/2 pounds cooked lobster meat, cut in 3/4-inch dice
1 pint cherry tomatoes, cut in half or quarters
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 pound lean bacon, fried and crumbled
3/4 cup crumbled English Stilton, or other crumbly blue cheese
8 hot dog rolls


For the vinaigrette, whisk together the mustard, lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper in a small bowl.

For the salad, cut the avocados in half, remove the seed, and peel. Cut into 3/4-inch dice and toss with the lemon juice. If the arugula leaves are large, cut them in half crosswise.

Put the lobster and tomatoes in a bowl. Sprinkle with the salt and pepper and toss with enough vinaigrette to moisten. Add the diced avocados, crumbled bacon, blue cheese, and arugula and toss again. Fill the hot dog rolls with the salad. Serve at room temperature.

Source: Ina Garten

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Basketball Cake

I did this cake for a birthday party last weekend. The birthday boy was very excited about his basketball cake and his bouncy castle!