Sunday, October 30, 2011

Pumpkin Beer Ice Cream Float in my Tervis Tumbler!

It’s been a busy month, October has just flown by literally!  As part of the Foodbuzz Tastemakers program, I received a Tervis tumbler with the Foodbuzz logo on it in the mail a couple of weeks ago.  The tumbler we got is part of their Smartcup line, which I found out has a lifetime warranty, is microwave and dishwasher proof, has a self warming system for hot drinks and has a technology that prevents condensation rings on your table (no coasters needed!!). 

I put this cup to the test by making a Pumpkin Beer Pumpkin Ice Cream float!!  Earlier in the month I had gone out and had seen this on the menu.  I am a huge fan of both Pumpkin Ale and Pumpkin Ice Cream so I knew I had to try this.  While I didn’t order it while I was out on my date, I kept on thinking about making this for the next couple of weeks. 


Pumpkin Beer Ice Cream Float
inspired by a bar in Los Angeles

1 bottle Pumpkin Ale
2 scoops Pumpkin Ice Cream

The float totally held up well in my Tervis tumbler!  Unlike a Coke float, the beer float is enjoyed at a slightly slower pace.  The ice cream did not melt but instead turned into a lovely frosty texture and I had no rings on my coffee table when I was done!  I can’t wait to try out the many uses of my tumbler, next I’ll probably put it to the test to see how it holds up to a hot beverage.  

Have a Happy Halloween everyone!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Apple Toffee Blondies

Even though my apple picking adventure was sort of a bust, I was still in the mood for some apple flavored desserts!  I made these the other day for one of our USC football games.  My friend J who recently had a baby is still off chocolate, so I wanted to make a dessert that she would be able to enjoy as well.  I saw these and thought they were perfect for the game and for Fall!!  201

I had decided to skip out on the frosting in the original recipe and it was a good thing I did since it was in the high 80’s that day.  But I totally want to try it with the frosting next time around…

Apple Toffee Blondies
adapted from Cookies and Cups

2/3 cup butter, room temperature
2 cups light brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup chopped, peeled apples
2/3 cup toffee bits


1/2 cup powdered sugar
3 Tbsp maple syrup

1.  Pre heat the oven to 350 degrees and spray a 9 x 13 pan with baking spray.

2.  Cream butter and sugar until well mixed and smooth.  Add in eggs and vanilla and mix until smooth. 

3.  Add in flour, baking powder and salt.  Stir in apples and toffee pieces until evenly distributed.

4.  Pour batter into the baking pan and pop into the oven for 30 minutes, or until done. 

5.  Let cool and drizzle the maple syrup powdered sugar over the blondie pieces. 

The verdict?  These were totally yum and a hit with the boys, not sure if they ran out or not since I left my tailgate early to meet up with my former boss and sit with her at the game that week.  That game was a scorcher and I left with a crazy tan. 

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Apple Picking Adventure

For the past couple years my friend MC and I have been wanting to go apple picking.  For some reason or another we always seem too busy at the apple picking time of year.  This year we were determined to make it and we coordinated a month in advance with our “Cooking Club” and a date was set!  I checked the website and saw that they had a wide variety of apples at the farm, checked yelp and saw glowing reviews from people about their apple picking fun. 

Why then when we got to the Apple Farms in Oak Glen, CA- did they tell us that there were no apples to pick?  Turns out that this year due to weather there was not a stellar crop of apples, so it seems that only the first handful of cars that arrive actually get to pick some apples.  SO SAD!!!!  Not to worry, we turned the day around and made some fresh apple cider!  The farm also had u-pick pumpkins, raspberries, strawberries and flowers, however I think we all had our hearts set on the apples.  




The apple cider making was the highlight of our trip to Oak Glen….  You simply purchase a ticket at the General Store and you are set to make your own gallon of apple cider.  First picking the apples from a bin, then pressing the cider!




Somehow making the apple cider yourself makes it taste AH-Mazing!  Our cider dude was super nice and had a sarcastic sense of humor.  He told me he hadn’t seen anyone crank the apple cider mill as fast before, other than the 7 year old girl that came last week.  LOL damm!!!  While we didn’t get apples that we picked ourselves, we did hit the general store for an apple turnover, some apple butter, pumpkin butter and cinnamon apple jelly. 

Since our day was cut short without the actual apple picking, we did what any city girls would do and decided that we should hit the outlets since we just 30 minutes away.  The day was a success and we each went home with a bounty of Fall goods, (Fashion not apples!).

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Prosciutto Fig and Goat Cheese Pizza

Yikes I have been on the go for the past two weeks, I feel like I haven’t been home to just veg out for ages!  Not that I don’t love going out to dinner with new and old friends, visiting the Magic Castle and hitting up some great concerts- but sometimes a girl just wants to be home with a bottle of beer and sit in front of the TV. 

For those types of nights, this would be perfect!!  You know I love the prosciutto fig combo from these lovely bites of goodness.  And in order to get your last bits of figs in and in honor of the wedding that I am going to this weekend on a Goat Cheese Dairy farm I bring you this easy pizza. 

049Congrats to my friends Charlotte and Brock that are getting married and here’s to a weekend full on moonshine, goat cheese and some Southern BBQ!!!  Hoping to fit in a visit to Cracker Barrel and try some other regional goodies.   

Prosciutto Fig and Goat Cheese Pizza

1 pkg pizza dough
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/4 cup goat cheese
1/2 onion, caramelized
2 oz. prosciutto, tear into large pieces
6 fresh figs, cut in half
red chili flakes
olive oil

1.  Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Roll out pizza dough to a 12 inch circle and lightly sprinkle the top with olive oil. 

2.  Sprinkle mozzarella cheese, prosciutto pieces, figs, caramelized onions and goat cheese evenly on the crust. 

3.  Place into oven and bake for 10-12 minutes, or until cheese is melted and crust is golden brown. 

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Pizza Roll

The last tailgate we had was for a noon time game.  Those games are hard since that means that we need to get to campus around 8:30am and it’s a challenge to think of what to bring as well since its not really worth it to lug the grill to the game.  My friend Jenni was going to bring breakfast treats, so I decided to make Pizza Rolls as a quick and easy hand held savory treat. 

I had seen these before on the web and some other blogs before here is my own spin on it.


Pizza Rolls

1 pre-made pizza dough, separated into two parts
Pizza Sauce
2 cup mozzarella cheese
5 oz. Pepperoni
Italian Seasoning
garlic powder

1.  Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Roll out the pizza dough to the size of a sheet of paper.  Spread a thin layer of pizza sauce over the dough.  *If you do too much the sauce will make a mess when you roll and cut it, trust me I know.*  


2.  On each dough half, give a couple of shakes of the garlic powder and the Italian seasoning on each sheet of dough.  Lay out pepperoni over the pizza sauce and sprinkle with cheese.  Roll the dough (from the short side) like a cinnamon roll and slice into 1 inch pieces.   


3.  Place onto a cookie sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes or until slightly brown or the cheese starts to bubble. 

When it comes to food, it seems boys at football tailgates are easy to impress.  We threw these on the grill to heat them up and let the cheese melt a little more.  The boys all wanted to know how I made these, and for some reason the answer, “I made a pizza and rolled it like a cinnamon roll” blew their minds.  Haha we’ll blame that on the beers that went so well with these yummy bites!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Red Velvet Rice Krispy Treats

The next couple weeks are about to get a little crazy for me, but in a good way!  Between going out to DineLA (Los Angeles’ Restaurant Week), photography class, a trip to the Magic Castle and getting ready to go to North Carolina for a wedding it will be a busy few weeks.   I saw this on Runs with Spatula’s blog a month or so ago and I knew that this would be one of the first things that I would want to make for tailgating.  My team (the USC Trojans) sports a beautiful cardinal and gold!  And we always always have rice krispy treats, so these were right up our alley. 


I pretty much did her recipe exactly so head over to here blog and check it out here.  These were a total hit at the tailgate and I have even picked up some gold sugar sprinkles for the next game that I make it for.  Have a great week everyone!! 

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Manhattan Beach Post

Recently my friend Amy came back down to LA to visit with her husband for her birthday.  Knowing that she loves to hang out in the South Bay area, we decided to go to Manhattan Beach Post.  The chef David LeFevre has been at other well known spots in LA and he recently opened up this more casual/seasonal dining spot in Manhattan Beach.  The restaurant is a couple of blocks up from the beach and has a beachy contemporary industrial feel to it and the bar at the front of the restaurant looked like a fun place to hang out. 


We started off the meal with their delicious pretzel bread and a couple orders of the bacon cheddar buttermilk biscuits with maple butter.  This was seriously one of my favorite things we ordered, everyone on our table thoroughly enjoyed these.  Ok truth be told we had multiple orders of this, since everyone enjoyed it so much!!


We all tried some of the specialty cocktails, I didn’t really love what I ordered, but my friend ordered this lovely cocktail that smelt soooo good and looked so pretty.  Look at those peaches! 



We started with a delicious sashimi plate with Hawaiian Kanpachi with puffed black rice.  And of course we had to order the steamed mussels that was swimming in a green curry sauce.  The birthday girl and I both looooove mussels.  It’s always a toss up between mussels and steak tartar at any restaurant I go to.   




We also got a few more things off the seafood section.  The boys ordered the soft-shell blue crab with chili sauce and apple puree. (I have to be in the mood to eat soft-shell crab, I feel like it’s a lot of effort.  That might just be a crazy me thing though)  This fish was wood grilled Walu with Kalmata olives and a summer vinaigrette. 


This was one of my favorite dishes of the night,  See those yellow packets of goodness?  Those are corn agnolotti over braised pork belly.  So so good, I need to figure out how to make those corn agnolotti!!   


On to the meaty yumminess!  On the left it was a skirt steak with a red chimichurri sauce and on the right soy braised short ribs with grilled kim chee.  So many of these dishes were cooked in cast iron pans which sealed in the juices and seared the meats perfectly. 



Of course we had some veggies too….  Asparagus with a poached Jidori egg, roasted Brussels sprouts with emmenthal cheese, sage and hazelnuts, Fe Fi Fo Fum Fries (seriously so good) and a grilled sweet corn polenta dish.  Of these the stars were definitely the Brussels sprouts and the fries.  The Brussels sprouts were cooked to perfection and literally melted in your mouth.  The fries were thick, crispy and soft at the same time and the dipping sauces were amazing! 

LA 2011 018

Overall a delicious meal and a fun night catching up with friends! Come back again Amy so we can go to INK!!! 

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Lemon Crunch Cake

If you have ever been to Honolulu, Hawaii and made friend with a local, you may have been so lucky to hear about a place with great food and dessert, at a bowling alley called Aiea Bowl.  One of the things that they are famous for is a dessert called Lemon Crunch Cake.  I had been waiting for the perfect time to make this cake, and last weekends Crab Boil seemed like the perfect opportunity.  


Lemon Crunch Cake
adapted from Star Bulletin

1 box yellow cake mix
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup oil
1 tsp. lemon extract
3 eggs, separated
1/4 tsp. cream of tartar

Whipped Cream Frosting

2 cups Heavy Whipping Cream, whipped
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. lemon extract
1 package Heath bits

1 jar Lemon curd

1.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Empty cake mix into a large bowl and mix in water, oil, egg yolks, and lemon extract.  Mix for 1 minute or until combined. 

2.  In a separate bowl combine egg whites and cream of tartar.  Beat until stiff peaks form. 

3. Gradually fold in egg whites into cake mix batter.  Fold until both are combined.  Pour mixture into two greased and floured 8 inch round pans.  Bake for 30-35 minutes, until done.        

4.  Remove cakes and let them cool on rack.


5.  For the frosting in a large bowl combine the whipped cream, powdered sugar and lemon extract. 

6.  Spread a layer of lemon curd on top of the first layer of cake, then layer the whipped cream frosting and Heath Bar bits.  Spread a layer of lemon curd on the second cake and flip so that it lies on top of the whipped cream frosting.


7.  Frost the rest of the cake with the whipped cream frosting.  Gently pat the Heath bits around the edge of the entire cake.  Let chill in the refrigerator for 3 hours. 


This cake is the BIZ.  No joke, one of the girls made this cake a week later cause she couldn’t stop thinking about it.  It’s one of those kinda things.  She added some lemon zest for garnish and into the cake batter too- which is great if you want a really lemony taste.