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Pumpkin Cheesecake Brown Butter Blondies

Don’t even ask where I’ve been.

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You really don’t want to know.  Between being completely uninspired and perfectly content to eat crackers and fruit for dinner to finding out that the house I love for its immense windows and skylights gets either blindingly direct sunlight or tree obscured shade (neither of which is conducive to food photography) to finally   having some damn content to share and finding out my WordPress theme somehow got unsupported by my hosting, and so my admin panel is gone……yeah……I know it’s been a while.

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But things are looking up.

It’s fall, so obviously everyone (myself included) is totally pumped about apple picking, leaf peeping and cooler temps.  And pumpkin.

I want to tell you that I’m not as pumpkin obsessed this year, but when I saw that sugar pumpkins were on sale at my local supermarket, well, this year I’m definitely going to be attempting to make my own pumpkin puree.

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For this recipe though, it’s canned and that’s fine by me too.  After my husband tasted these, I asked him if I should carve up a few for him to bring to work.  His response was a flat out “no.” No, as in, these bars are too good to share.  So we devoured the whole pan greedily, enjoying each and every bite.

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One Year Ago: Carrot Cake Cheesecake

Two Years Ago: Lemon Blueberry Muffins

Three Years Ago: Apple Cider Caramels

Pumpkin Cheesecake Brown Butter Blondies

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 35 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes

Yield: Makes about 12-16 servings

Ingredients

  • FOR THE BLONDIE BASE:
  • 10 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup milk (I used 2%)
  • FOR THE PUMPKIN CREAM CHEESE SWIRL:
  • 6 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ cup pumpkin puree

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8 x 8-inch baking pan and set aside.
  2. Place the butter in a saucepan over medium heat and cook, swirling occasionally, until it turns golden brown and smells nutty, about 5-8 minutes. Quickly remove from heat so that it doesn’t burn, and let cool for 10-15 minutes.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt together in a small bowl, set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, combine the cooled brown butter and both sugars. Beat until combined, about one minute. Add the egg and egg yolk, and beat until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add half of the flour mixture; beat until combined. Then add the vanilla and milk and mix to combine. Finally, add the remaining flour mixture and beat until fully incorporated. Scrape 2/3 of the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly with a spatula. Reserve remaining batter.
  5. In a medium bowl, combine the cream cheese, egg yolk, sugar, butter and vanilla. Beat until smooth and combined, add flour, cornstarch and pumpkin, beating until the mixture is smooth and fully combined.
  6. Pour the pumpkin mixture on top of blondie batter and spread evenly. Spoon the remaining blondie batter over top and spread gently until the pumpkin mixture is covered. (It doesn’t have to be perfect.)
  7. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few crumbs, about 35 to 45 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before cutting and serving. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
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Adapted from Hungry Rabbit

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Mini Whole Wheat Blueberry Bundt Cakes with an Almond Glaze

Last weekend I went out to a local orchard with my dear friend KA and her boyfriend Bran.

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I was rather shocked to discover that the blueberry bushes still had some little gems clinging for life, even though most of the other pickers that afternoon (an older crowd, you could say) had a lot of difficulty finding anything worthwhile in the patch.  The key, we discovered, was getting low and all-up-in the bushes.  Obviously, all the good stuff had been stripped off the outer and upper layers, and our fellow orchard-goers were surprised to see our full buckets.

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We brought the berries back to our house and made a crisp that day to accompany a dinner of homemade pizza.  The crisp was great; almost completely devoured that night alongside a bowl of freshly whipped cream.  Summer at its finest, I’d say!

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I still had half the quart left, which I had hoped to munch on throughout the week. but these later season berries didn’t seem particularly hardy and started to wilt rather quickly.

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Clearly, they needed to be thrown into another dessert on the double.  Enter these whole wheat mini bundt cakes.

Even though we use whole wheat flour here, the cakes remain perfectly moist and delectable, aided by a fantastic almond glaze.  I sent one of these cakes into work with Luke, and was asked to send in bigger slices next time.  Guess I’ll have to try making this as a regular sized Bundt sometime!

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Two Years Ago: Peachy Pancakes

One Year Ago: Green Tea Layer Cake with Honey Buttercream Frosting

Mini Blueberry Bundt Cakes with an Almond Glaze

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: Makes 6 servings

Ingredients

  • FOR THE CAKE:
  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • Pinch of salt
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
  • ¼ cup vegetable or olive oil
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ cups fresh blueberries
  • FOR THE ALMOND GLAZE:
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • ¼ tsp almond extract
  • 1 Tbsp milk

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a two mini-Bundt pans with nonstick spray. (This is the one I have. If you don’t have a mini bundt pan, feel free to double the recipe and use a full-size one.)
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the egg and brown sugar and whisk until fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the oil and beat for another minute. Add half of the sour cream and the vanilla extract and beat until combined. Carefully add the dry ingredients, except for about a tablespoon and stir until combined. Add the remaining sour cream and beat until just combined.
  4. Toss the blueberries with the remaining flour and add them to the batter. Fold them in them carefully then scrape the batter into the mini bundt pan molds. Bake until the top of the cake is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean, about 20-25 minutes. Remove the cake from the oven and let cool in the pan for 25 minutes on a wire rack, then invert.
  5. For the glaze, combine the powdered sugar, almond extract, and milk in a small bowl and stir until smooth.
  6. Drizzle or pour the glaze over the cakes, garnish with sliced almonds and enjoy!
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Adapted from A Cozy Kitchen

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Triple Berry Maple Cake

After a little time at home, I’m back on the road.

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Thankfully this trip is going to be much shorter than my last stint in Baltimore; I’m in Pittsburgh this time, but only for two days.  The short and sweet trip is definitely more my speed, as being an extreme homebody away from home always makes me anxious.

My brain goes into hyperdrive worrying abut whether Luke turns off the AC before leaving for work, or if Izzy is secretly peeing in a corner of the couch or being destructive in other ways when she doesn’t get the attention she wants.

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I’ve been getting better at letting these things go—it’s been a necessity after this year and its four business trips (3 of them for two weeks or longer).  Otherwise I’d probably go insane from lack of control and worry.  I know, OCD much?

Now, I do dislike how the travel has been affecting this space though.  After moving into our new house, it feels like I still haven’t settled into a groove of baking/cooking and photographing, and I haven’t been feeling inspired lately at all.  I’m hoping it’s because my mind keeps pushing ahead to the next trip and wonders why I should bother, but after this one, I’ll have at least a few months before another possible trip to China.  I’m optimistic that once I get home at last, and actually feel like I’ve made the space my own, the recipes will start to flow.

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This maple cake was actually enjoyed at Father’s Day, but I think its flavors are still applicable as we move through the last days of summer.  Bursting with berries with a moist, dense crumb and a delectable maple glaze, this cake didn’t last long even in a house where a couple people “don’t eat dessert.”  If you’ve got any extra berries (or even some over-ripe peaches) hanging around your kitchen, I bet they’d shine in this awesome little cake.

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One Year Ago: Cinnamon Peach Cake

Two Years Ago: Peach Yogurt Mix-In

Triple Berry Maple Cake

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: Makes about 8 servings

Ingredients

  • FOR THE CAKE:
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup whole wheat flour (or use all all-purpose flour)
  • 1½ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ? cup real maple syrup
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ cup milk (I used 2%)
  • 6 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup fresh mixed berries or diced peaches (I used blueberries, strawberries and raspberries)
  • FOR THE MAPLE GLAZE:
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 3 Tbsp real maple syrup
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • ¼ cup powdered sugar, sifted

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly grease an 8-inch square pan and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the maple syrup, egg, milk and melted butter. Make a well in the middle o the dry ingredients, then pour the wet mixture in and mix just until combined. Gently fold in the berries or peaches. Pour the batter into your prepared pan, spread it evenly into the corners with a spatula and bake for about 25 minutes, or until the cake is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.
  4. While the cake is cooling, make the glaze. In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the maple syrup and salt, then stir in the powdered sugar. Cook until the sugar is completely dissolved, stirring constantly. Pour the warm glaze over the cake and use the back side of a spoon to distribute it evenly. Let the cake cool completely, slice and serve. Cover leftovers and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
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Adapted from Cook This Now

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Miso Soba Noodle Soup

I know I disappeared for a while there.

DSC_9827 I always feel a bit guilty letting my blog pages gather dust, but sometimes I’m just not in the best space for creating content, both literally and figuratively.  There’ve been a lot of changes and flux in my life recently, and sadly, Bashful Bao got shoved to the back burner, where the igniter is broken.

We had more work done on the house at the end of July (we put in AC!!!!) and having workers drilling, sawing, hacking and doing whatever else they do, really put a damper on my kitchen activities.

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And when I could be in the kitchen, I found myself frantically making food to store in the freezer for Luke, because I’ve been on a business trip since the first of the month.  I didn’t even get to enjoy the new AC at our house :( DSC_9835 I was sent to Baltimore at the beginning of August to run an orientation program for our incoming students in the area.  This is the first time I have ever met our enrolling students in person, and it’s been a very different experience for me. DSC_9831 I’ve been living in a hotel this whole time and it’s been rather grating.  Eating out and being separated from my kitchen and doing three jobs simultaneously has been taking a toll on me.   Luke flew down last weekend for a few days, which was like the calm before the storm.  Since he left, I’ve doing nothing but work and it’s been tough. DSC_9839 There are bright patches, like when I watch the kids eat pancakes for the first time, or when they point at an object while walking down the street, asking for its English name.  I did the same things when I went abroad for the first time and it’s quite the reversal for me to be on the other side now. DSC_9834 I made this soup a long time ago (back before we moved) and the pictures have just been sitting on my computer, waiting to be shared.  Since I’m going through a stressful time at the moment, I’m hoping that thoughts of noodle soup will calm my nerves. I really can’t wait to go home. One Year Ago: Sweet Corn Soup with Shrimp Two Years Ago: Fauxstess Cupcakes

Miso Noodle Soup

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes

Yield: Makes 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 4 cups water
  • 1 tsp powdered dashi (found at your local Asian supermarket)
  • 1/4 cup miso paste – (any kind will work, I used red)
  • 2 Tbsp dried wakame seaweed (also found in your local Asian supermarket or online)
  • ½ cup dried shiitake mushrooms
  • 2 bundles soba noodles
  • Diced scallion, for garnish

Instructions

  1. In a large pot, bring the water to a boil. Add the powdered dashi and stir to dissolve.
  2. Soak the dried wakame and shiitake mushrooms in a bowl of warm water for ten minutes to rehydrate them. After soaking, drain and add it to the pot along with the soba noodles.
  3. Lower the heat to a simmer, and pour a ladle full of broth into a bowl. Add the miso paste to the bowl and whisk until thoroughly dissolved.
  4. Add the dissolved miso mixture back into the pot, and stir to combine. Continue to cook over low heat until the soba noodles are tender.
  5. Serve with diced scallion on top and enjoy!
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White Chocolate Carrot Cake Blondies with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

I’ve heard people say that children grow up in an instant.

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You’re cradling your baby gently in your arms one moment, and the next, they’re dashing about on their own, a whirlwind of childhood glory.  Before you know it, they’re all grown up and independent and on their own, navigating the world as young adults.

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Or so I hear.  I’m still in the navigation stage myself, and I’m not really ready to drop anchor and tether myself to a human baby who will grow up too fast just yet—my rabbit baby fills the void in my heart for something cute and cuddly, and she makes A LOT less noise (but just a little less mess.)

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Still, it’s hard for me to believe that she’s already 3 years old this month.  I can remember the day, 3 autumns ago, when we were aimlessly cruising through the rabbit exhibit at the Topsfield Fair and realized that some of the bunnies were for sale.  When our eyes settled on this little girl, we knew we wanted to take her home, despite the fact that neither of us had owned a rabbit before.

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A terrible breed standard, but oh so cute to me!!

This month, we celebrate another year with this little (and currently molting) ball of fluff, with yet another carrot-cake inspired dessert.  I think I’m running out of ways to re-interpret carrot cake into different forms, but this manifestation is definitely a winner!

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I had to delay making it a bit since the recipe calls for browned butter and we just got our gas line up and running last week.  I guess I could have made it with plain, melted butter, but to me, that just wouldn’t fly.

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These chewy, white chocolate studded carrot cake blondies are amazing—deeply flavored by nutty brown butter and warm spices, and the cream cheese frosting is to die for.

Izzy even got some on her whiskers…Happy Monday!

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Two Years Ago: Peanut Butter Hummus

One Year Ago: Chinese Tea Eggs

White Chocolate Carrot Cake Blondies with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes

Yield: Makes 12 servings

Ingredients

  • FOR THE BLONDIES:
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, melted until browned and cooled slightly
  • 1 ½ cups brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg + 1 egg yolk, at room temperature
  • 1 ½ cup carrots, peeled and grated
  • 1 ½ cups all purpose flour
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips
  • FOR THE CINNAMON CREAM CHEESE FROSTING:
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
  • 6 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 cups powdered sugar

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F). Spray a 9x9" inch baking pan with cooking spray; set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, ground ginger cinnamon and salt. (Or dump everything in the bowl and give it a few stiff shakes to incorporate.)
  3. In a large bowl, cream the brown sugar and browned butter until well combined.
  4. Add the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla and beat until light and fluffy.
  5. Carefully stir in dry ingredients until incorporated, then mix in the carrots and white chocolate chips.
  6. Scrape the batter into your prepared pan, spreading evenly.
  7. Bake for 26-30 minutes, or until the edges are just golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Remove form oven and set on a wire rack to cool completely.
  8. While the blondies are cooling, make your frosting.
  9. Beat the cream cheese and butter together in a medium bowl until super smooth and no clumps of butter or cream cheese are visible.
  10. Mix in the vanilla and cinnamon, then add the powdered sugar 1 cup at a time, mixing until smooth after each addition.
  11. Once the bars have cooled completely, spread the frosting evenly over top, then cut and serve. Store extras in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to a week.
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Adapted from Baker By Nature

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Miso Infused Carrot Hummus

Over the weekend, Luke and I attended a graduation party for my last friend to graduate from college.  I now officially know absolutely no one still in college….that’s the kind of realization to make a girl feel her age.

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My friend has a very large multi-cultural family (of which I am just a pinch jealous) and during the party some Argentine guests were talking soccer, and one of them yells out, “Any Germans in the house?!”

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I immediately called out Luke, whose father was born in Munich, mostly because I know Luke has been following the matches and enjoys watching soccer, even without World Cup fever mixing in.  What ensued was a long (and friendly) conversation about soccer, ranging from the abilities of players, to why Liverpool games are being broadcast more in Boston thanks to John Henry.  Also, congrats to Germany for winning the World Cup!!

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Myself, a mildly interested in World Cup only soccer at best, quickly lost the thread of the conversation and turned to the another great aspect of the party: the food.

My friend’s mother cooked it all herself (impressive!) and it was amazing, especially the pulled pork.  There were also some fabulous dips and nibbles.

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Had it been a potluck-style party, I definitely would have brought along this carrot hummus, which would have been right at home between the assorted mixed nuts and the layered cheesy dip.

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Flavored by carrots poached in a miso-rich broth, the umami factor of this hummus is fantastic, shooting it to the top of my favorite hummus list.  (I don’t say that every time I post a hummus recipe, right?)

Two Years Ago: Five Spice Chicken and Mushroom Noodle Bowl

One Year Ago: Kyoto & Osaka Recap

Miso Infused Carrot Hummus

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes

Yield: Makes about 1 1/2 cups

Ingredients

  • 2 cups water
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • 3 medium carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 3 Tbsp red miso (white can also be used)
  • 1 (15 ounce) can chickpeas, drained and skins removed
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp tahini paste
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Heat the water and bay leaf in a small saucepan over high heat and bring to a boil. Add the miso and stir until mostly dissolved. Add the carrots and garlic, reduce heat to medium, and cook until very tender, about 10 minutes. Remove from stove and cool slightly.
  2. Combine the carrots, garlic and 1 ½ cups of the cooking liquid with chickpeas in a food processor. Puree until mixture is very smooth. Add olive oil, tahini and lemon juice and pulse until mixture is smooth. Season with salt and pepper and process again for a few more seconds. Scrape into a storage container and place in the refrigerator to let cool before eating for about an hour, and enjoy!
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Adapted from Aida Mollenkamp

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Banana Maple Sugar Cinnamon Rolls

We got the right dishwasher this time!!

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Unfortunately in our backwards kitchen, the old dishwasher could be plugged into an outlet (the new one needs to be hard wired) and the old cooktop was hardwired (the new one needs an outlet).  *Sigh* The saga continues.  I’m hoping all this will be wrapped up by next week.

Anyway, I know I should be posting recipes bursting with blueberries and peaches and other seasonal goodies, but I’ve been too busy stuffing my face with them.  Sorry about that.  Meanwhile, I have amassed a remarkable collection of overripe frozen bananas that stems from when we were living with Luke’s parents.

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I noticed that my mother-in-law would buy a bunch of bananas, and if they got too ripe, she would simply throw them away.  Disguising the look of shock on my face as I watched this, I immediately insinuated that it might be better for her to put those distasteful bananas in the freezer.  Then I could use them for banana bread later on.

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I probably made like 8 loaves of banana bread in the few weeks that we lived there.

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We were at their house again a little while ago for my brother-in-law’s birthday, when I received a present of my own.  Out of the freezer came a big plastic bag containing 14 frozen bananas.

Well, I didn’t think it was possible, but I was sick of banana bread (for a little while at least) and wanted to try something new.  I also happened to have a jar of maple sugar that we got in Vermont, and when I saw this recipe on Bakeaholic Mama, I thought I’d give it a try.

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The maple flavor is not too strong, which is good, since maple and bananas aren’t the first combination I’d think of, but I like the subtle way the deep maple flavor melds with the sweet bananas.  It’s definitely the break from banana bread I needed to recharge, since I still have so many bananas to use up (I got another half dozen today)!

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Have a great weekend, reader!

Two Years Ago:  Carrot Cake Truffles

One Year Ago: Taipei Recap

Banana Maple Cinnamon Rolls

Prep Time: 2 hours, 30 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours, 45 minutes

Yield: Makes about 1 dozen rolls

Ingredients

  • FOR THE DOUGH:
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 2 Tbsp active dry yeast
  • 2/3 cup warm milk
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 2 large ripe bananas
  • 3 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 5 cups all-purpose flour (plus more for kneading and rolling)
  • FOR THE FILLING:
  • 4 Tbsp (half a stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup maple sugar (or brown sugar)
  • 1 Tbsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp nutmeg
  • FOR THE MAPLE GLAZE:
  • 1-2 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 cup powdered sugar

Instructions

  1. First, make the dough. In a small bowl or glass liquid measuring cup, stir together the warm water and yeast and let sit until it starts to bubble and froth, about 8-10 mins.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the milk, eggs, banana, oil, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and maple syrup. Mix in yeast mixture, then switch to a wooden spoon and slowly mix in flour 1 cup at a time until the dough starts to come together. Once the dough becomes cohesive, turn it out onto a floured surface and knead for about 5 mins. If the at any point the dough is too moist you can knead more flour, a little at a time.
  3. Grease a large bowl and place the dough inside. Cover with plastic wrap or a damp towel and set in a warm spot to rise until dough has doubled, about 1- 1 ½ hours.
  4. Once dough has risen, turn out onto a lightly floured surface, and roll out with a rolling pin roll until the dough is a 8x16” rectangle (an estimation, don’t worry if yours doesn’t match that perfectly) about a 1/2-3/4” thick.
  5. Spread the softened butter over the dough, leaving about ½” around the borders, then sprinkle evenly with maple sugar and spices. Working lengthwise, roll the dough into a log.
  6. Give the log a slight press, and slice into 2” thick slices. Place onto a lined or greased 9x13” pan and let rise again until they have doubled in size, about 1 hour.
  7. Meanwhile preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  8. Once rolls have doubled, bake for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool while you prepare the glaze. To make the glaze, combine the maple syrup and powdered sugar in a small bowl and whisk until smooth. Drizzle the glaze over the cooled buns and enjoy!
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Adapted from Bakeaholic Mama

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Creamy Sweet Pea Soup with Za’atar

Does anyone else get frustrated by appliance deliveries?

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Here’s a nightmare for you—Sears has been to our house 3 times already.  The first time, they delivered our wall oven, fridge and gas cooktop, but only set up the fridge.  We had to have someone else come and install the others.  (The cooktop still needs electrical work and a gas line, so it’s just sitting pretty at the moment. The thought of not being able to stir fry or brown butter is very disturbing, so I try not to think about it.)

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The second time they delivered our washer and dryer, and they were supposed to deliver our dishwasher, but it was “damaged,” which they didn’t bother telling us until they arrived.  With no dishwasher.  Then, they finally delivered the dishwasher, and lo and behold, they delivered the wrong one!  The box had a label slapped on it that indicated the right model was the inside, but it was, in fact, completely different.

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Fail.  So now they are coming again today and I am making them take the dang thing out of the box to make sure we have the right one.

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Meanwhile it’s 90 degrees and 80% humidity and we have one AC unit in the whole house.  And here I am eating soup.

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But it’s pea soup, which is probably one of my all-time favorites, just behind this gem.  Za’taar is such a delightful seasoning (which I discovered recently) and I love the way it pairs with the peas.

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It seemed the perfect way to use up a bag of peas, and to create a light, simple weeknight dinner that I can enjoy for a few days.  Even if the weather doesn’t necessarily agree.

Two Years Ago: Beef Bolognese

Creamy Sweet Pea Soup with Za’atar

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Yield: Makes about 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, roughly chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 tsp za’atar seasoning, plus extra for topping
  • 10 oz thawed frozen peas
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • ½ cup milk (I used 2%)

Instructions

  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté for 5-6 minutes, or until the onions begin to turn golden brown. Add the garlic, salt, pepper, and za’tar and sauté for another minute, stirring often. Finally, add the peas and stir to combine. Continue to cook for another 3-4 minutes. Add the stock and bay leaves and bring the mixture to a boil. Immediately reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the soup from heat and stir in milk. Top with extra za’atar if desired. Serve immediately or store for up to 4 days, covered, in the refrigerator.
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Blueberry Almond White Chocolate Chip Cookies

I think it’s safe to say that at this point, we are more or less settled in at the new house.

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There have been some things to get used to, like not having a working cooktop or dishwasher, finding ants and mosquitoes in really random places and listening to the goats who live down the street yell at each other.

All in all, it’s still better than what we had to deal with at the last place: cleaning up the trash that got blown into our yard and listening to the sirens and neighbors yelling expletives at each other.

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Luckily, we did get our new double wall oven installed, and it is a beaut.  I have been doing pretty much all of our cooking with it; even if it heats up the whole house.  Did I mention we don’t have air conditioning?

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Anyway, I’ll be running through different parts of the house to share over time, so you can get a better feel for the place.  It really is a great house; I didn’t mean to start out with such negativity.

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I hope everyone had a great holiday weekend.  My mom and stepdad came up to visit and see the house for the first time.  It rained all day on Friday, but Luke and my stepdad managed to grill some burgers and corn by maneuvering the grill as close to the house as possible and using some carefully placed umbrellas.

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I didn’t serve these cookies for dessert (as I made them when we were still living in the old house) but I think they would have been a welcome addition.

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These chewy white chocolate chip cookies are studded with dried blueberries and sliced almonds; definitely a tasty summertime treat!

Two Years Ago: Boston Creme Pie Cupcakes

One Year Ago: Tokyo Recap

Blueberry Almond White Chocolate Chip Cookies

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: Makes about 2 dozen cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp almond extract
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ cup dried blueberries
  • ½ cup sliced almonds
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats; set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg and almond extract and continue to beat until smooth and combined.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add to the wet ingredients and mix until a soft dough forms. Add the dried blueberries, sliced almonds and white chocolate chips and mix again until just incorporated.
  4. Scoop out about 2 Tbsp of dough per cookie and spoon them onto your prepared baking sheets, leaving about 1” between them.
  5. Bake for about 15-20 minutes, or until edges are golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheet, then carefully transfer to a wire rack. Enjoy!
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Adapted from Eat, Live, Run

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Dah House

Hey darlings.

Don’t worry, I’m still alive.  Moving out to the countryside has not led to us being devoured by wolves or ravenous deer; at least not yet.

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It’s been peaceful out here, that’s for sure.  We’ve got a friendly bluebird who begs for food, some pretty awesome neigh-bors and a wonderful view to drive by on our new commutes to the highway.

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We also finally got Internet earlier this week (which was a total fiasco, and we have no idea if we’ll ever get cable).  Delivered today were a new fridge, gas cooktop (no gas installed yet…) and double electric wall oven.  Still sitting in boxes in our kitchen are said cooktop and wall oven because the contractor has yet to show up.  *Le sigh*  We’re getting there.

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At least this one is adjusting well.

Still to come next week is a washer and dryer, and new dishwasher.  All of the original appliances are just that, original to the house, which was built in 1985.  It’s time for an update methinks.  Once everything is installed, polished and in working order, I’ll post some more pics.  In the meantime, here are some my dad took when he came to visit last weekend.

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Also, I hope to be back to recipe-posting next week.  Settling in here has been harder than I thought (I am thrown wayyyyyy out of wack without an operational kitchen, so I appreciate your understanding and patience during this crazy time.

 

 

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