Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Spiced Chocolate Torte Wrapped in Chocolate Ribbons

*** Top 9 on December 31, 2010***
Thank you everyone!

Check out my Video Tutorial for step by step instructions on how to create this masterpiece!
I've been doing a lot of baking lately and there's even more in the queue but it's the holidays and I've just been in a baking kind of mood. I have to warn you, this cake is not for the faint of heart, both in preparation or consumption. If you have ever been on a diet, are currently on a diet or may ever be on a diet this cake could be disastrous. It also takes a significant amount of time to prepare, but if you are willing to take the time, you will end up with a masterpiece well worth the time and effort.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Apple Turnovers

Today's post is a continuation of my Puff Pastry post from earlier this week. Now that you've spent over 9 hours creating your pastry dough, it's time to make something amazing with it! These Apple Turnovers are a great dessert to make although you can make numerous different things utilizing puff pastry. They're best served warm out of the oven and have the flakiest perfect crunch to them with a lightly sweet apple center.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Puff Pastry

I realize that not everyone is like me but when I spend an exorbitant amount of time creating something, it tastes even better to me when it's all done. So if you're anything like me, this next recipe is for you. If it's not for you, feel free to read on anyway. I'm going to walk you step by step through the process of creating a wonderful, flaky Puff Pastry dough that you can use in any number of fantastic pastries like Turnovers, Palmiers and Napoleons.

This puff pastry recipe takes upwards of nine hours to complete and that's not even making anything with it yet. It is such a fun process though and results in the best tasting, light  and flaky pastry that you will ever taste.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Peppermint Patties

*** Top 9 on December 19th, 2010***

One of our favorite restaurants here in Minneapolis is called Fogo de Chao. It is an amazing Brazilian restaurant but I think my wife really likes it because they have a basket of peppermint patties at the door that she loves to fill her pockets with. Ok, maybe it's me that fills my pockets with them but they're really for her. Really.

I found this recipe and decided to add it to my cooking day while we were stuck inside all day during a blizzard last week. After I finished them, I tossed the bag of candies in the freezer and I love to take a few out at a time and snack on them while they're still cold.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Spinach Quiche

Traditional quiche is typically a simple egg and cream mixture baked in a pastry crust but there are numerous additions that can make a fantastic quiche suitable for breakfast, lunch or dinner. This version adds crumbled bacon over the bottom and then spinach, pepper jack and sharp cheddar cheese mixed into the egg and cream mixture. Be creative with your cheese selections and create your own version of this quiche.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Cornmeal Jalapeno Ebelskivers

When I was younger I used to get to spend some time each summer with my grandparents in Wyoming. One of the things I remember each year was when my Grandma would make these little puffed pancakes that were so amazing. I don't remember having or seeing them anywhere else so they were always a special treat from Grandma each year.

Ebelskiver's come from Denmark and are made in a pan that has 7-9 round indentations that you place the batter in and then flip halfway through cooking. What you get is a small round puffed pancake that can be sweet or savory and filled with any number of fillings. If you choose to fill them, you put about a tablespoon of batter in the pan, add your filling and then place about another tablespoon over that.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Pumpkin Mousse Cream Puffs

I have made over 200 cream puff shells in the last two weeks. I started by making them for an appetizer and dessert for our Thanksgiving celebration and then again this week for a Christmas party at work. By the way, I love that the place where I am currently consulting still calls it a Christmas party.

I created this recipe in an effort to branch out a little from the traditional pumpkin pie but still maintain that great flavor profile that pumpkin brings to a holiday celebration. I love making cream puffs because honestly they really aren't that hard to make but they add an elegance and sophistication to pretty much anything. You can use them for desserts as well as appetizers like I did for our housewarming party a few months ago.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Cinnamon-Spiced Hot Chocolate Cookies

The holidays roll around and that typically means that all kinds of cookie exchanges come along with it. I've never really been interested in participating in any kind of exchange primarily because I really only like cookies when they're fresh. Cookies just lose all their appeal to me once they cool down.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Turkey Stock

I didn't take one picture of all the food I made for Thanksgiving. I made a few new recipes and had a great time with the families that we invited over to our home but was just too caught up to take any pictures. I'll remake a few of my favorites and post them in the next week or so.

For tonight though I thought I'd post my favorite new thing to do the day after Thanksgiving, and it's not shopping. It's making Turkey Stock! I love homemade stock but don't usually take the time during the rest of the year but I really should. Homemade stock whether chicken or turkey makes a huge difference in any recipe that you're making. It's so rich and flavorful and anything you make with it will be 10 times better than if you used canned or bouillon stock.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


Many of you are probably already familiar with our family tradition of Pancake Wednesday's. This tradition has been going on for over 10 years now and I've been using the same recipe now for that whole time. I have to admit, and I think I could get a few backers, that my pancakes are pretty amazing. For that reason, I rarely try any other recipe.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

There's just something about fall when it seems like everything should have some kind of pumpkin and spice in it. Of course there's your pumpkin pie and I also have been using pumpkin in a chocolate ship cookie recipe that I'll post later, however, it's also fun to find some new ways to add this great ingredient into new recipes. Pumpkin adds a great light flavor to breads and cakes and probably isn't as strong as you would think. It helps make a really moist dough and also gives the dough a nice light orange color.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Yale University Dining 2nd Annual Chili Throwdown

On Friday, November 5th 2010, Yale University Dining hosted it's second annual "Chili Throwdown." 22 different chili's were entered into the competition, one of which was a recipe created by my Dad, an Associate Chaplain at Yale. He came out in third place, beating out all of the Yale Chefs and other organizations except for the Chef of Berkeley college, who won first prize and the Chef for Saybrook and Branford colleges who took second.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Creamy White Bean and Chorizo Soup

I've been on the search for a great soup recipe for our church chili/soup cook-off this week and I think I may have found one that qualifies! I don't know if I could ever pick just one soup to be the best since I love so many different kinds of soups but it is fun to try out new things and I'm excited to see what everyone else brings to the dinner as well. There is nothing like a good bowl of warm soup in the fall and winter.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Sweet and Sour Chicken or Pork

Whenever I eat at a Chinese restaurant I usually end up getting Sweet and Sour Chicken, at least at the buffet's or restaurants of questionable quality. It's usually safe (at least I think so) and most people can get it so it at least tastes pretty good. I've experimented with making sweet and sour chicken before and I've come up with some pretty good variations but never anything that was just amazing, especially with the sauce.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Stir Fried Bok Choy Sum

It has been a beautiful Fall and the farmer's market in Minneapolis was still going on last week, so Breanne and the kids came downtown and we made our last stop at the market for the year. We had some great finds including some fresh Jalapeno cheese and a new ingredient for me; Bok Choy Sum. Similar to traditional Bok Choy or Chinese Cabbage but the Bok Choy Sum is thinner stalks and leaves with yellow flowers. It's a great looking plant and the little Asian woman assured me that I would like it much more than the traditional Bok Choy. Since I had never tried either I went with her suggestion.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Bagel Extravaganza

With all the bread I have made in my life, I don't know how I've never gotten around to making bagels before. I wouldn't say I'm a huge bagel fan but I really do like a good bagel, especially for a nice sandwich or toasted in the morning for a quick breakfast. The technique for making bagels, with boiling and then baking also intrigued me, so again not sure why I haven't ever tried it.

To make up for lost bagel making time, I've made them for the last two weekends now and gotten to experiment a bit with different flavor combination's. The first weekend I just made plain bagels just to try out the recipe and get a feel for it. Last weekend I went all out and mixed up four different flavor's: Blueberry, Cinnamon Raisin, Garlic and Parmesan and Sesame Seed. They all turned out great and it was a lot of fun getting to play with a new recipe.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Savory Crepes with Creamy Chicken, Bacon and Mushroom Filling

If you remember, last month I went to visit my parent's in Connecticut. We visited the River Tavern restaurant in Chester and had an amazing lunch. I had some amazing shrimp crepes and my Mom tried to track down a similar recipe and recreate it at home. She found this recipe from Emeril Lagasse and although it's not quite the same as what we had for lunch there, I think this may be one of my new favorite foods!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Apple Fritters

This month has been pretty amazing for Minnesota this year. The weather has been beautiful and even quite warm for a few days there at the beginning of the month. I love this time of year and we're trying to enjoy it as much as we can. The only part I don't like is that I know that it's going to start getting colder here quite soon. I ride my motorcycle up to the transit station every day and I've already noticed some mornings are getting a little chilly on the bike.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Pear Cobbler with Blueberries and Stone-Ground Corn Biscuits

I have to admit, I thought this recipe looked great but I was hesitant to make this with the pears and here's why: When I was younger, someone made our family a pear pie for some occasion. It was the most disgusting thing I have ever tasted. I love pears and I'm not sure what made it so bad, but it has made me avoid cooking with pears for over 10 years now.  I decided I was going to make it but substitute peaches to the recipe. My wife was with me though when we were shopping and she convinced me to get the pears.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Blue Cheese and Caramelized-Onion Squares

As Thanksgiving approaches, it's time to start thinking serious food! I know it's a little early but Electrolux Appliances has asked for submissions of appetizers and desserts for Thanksgiving and so it got me going down this track. This is my favorite food holiday and it's always fun to find new things to make for this great get together with family and friends.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Famous Chocolate Cream Pie

This is a post written by my Mom after a recent trip she had. She made this while I was visiting them in Connecticut and it was amazing! Check it out:

On a recent weekend trip through Vermont, my husband and I happened upon a small, nondescript cafe in Hartland named Stella's. It didn't take long after entering to realize this was not your average small-town eaterie. It was clean, filled with locals, and the specials of the day were artfully described on the whiteboard. The deal-maker, though, was when a question about one of the menu items sent the waitress back to "ask the Chef." The chocolate cream pie on the menu was preceded with the moniker "Famous", so I had to try it to find out why. It certainly lived up to it's name! The crust provided a crisp and chocolatey base for a deep chocolate custard, topped with peaks of sweetened whipped cream, sprinkled with mini-chocolate chips and dusted with cocoa powder. Chef John would only disclose that the delicious crust included crushed vanilla wafers and cocoa powder. Here is my adaptation, which may or may not become as famous. . . . but is just as delicious.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

French Toasted Breakfast Sandwich

 I'm having too much fun with the Foodbuzz Tastemaker Program. My Mom and I made a few recipes with some of the Nature's Pride bread that we bought out in Connecticut and then when I got home, I had received a coupon from them so I went and got some more. I think my favorite bread from them so far was the Country White Bakery Buns. Since I usually make our own bread, pretty much the only bread we usually buy are hamburger and hot dog buns. These make the best buns for sandwiches(we made sloppy joes with some of them too) and were perfect for our newest creation: French Toasted Breakfast Sandwiches!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Foodie Weekend in Connecticut

I had a flight voucher that expired at the end of September, so last week I took my 10 month old daughter( the only one left in our family that flies for free) and flew out to visit my parent's in Connecticut for the weekend. They just moved out to the the area a few months ago and we wanted to visit them in their new place. We had a wonderful weekend exploring the area, visiting historical sites, farmers markets, cooking some great food and eating at some fantastic restaurants.

I've already posted some of the great recipes that we made but I also wanted to provide some reviews of the restaurants that we ate at.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Come on in, my kitchen's always open

Close your eyes for a moment… come on, do it! Now picture this… On the plate in front of you sits a perfectly grilled pork chop, grill lines searing in a spicy rub and then covered in a wonderful smoky ancho chile sauce. Placed beside it is a charred poblano chile stuffed with fresh herbs and cheesy potatoes. Got your mouth watering yet? Here’s the catch: This meal isn’t at a restaurant or even a fancy get together with friends. Not that it couldn’t be, but in my kitchen this could be a late night meal for my wife and I on a Tuesday after a long day at work, just enjoying some time together or sitting on the couch watching one of our favorite shows.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Savory Bread Pudding

There's nothing quite like a good bread pudding. Soft bread cubes in a firm pudding with a great blend of sweet spices mixed with some raisins or other fruit. A bread pudding makes a great dessert to bring to a potluck or family dinner that is a bit different than your typical fare.  While most bread puddings are of the dessert variety, a savory pudding makes a great brunch on the weekend and the following recipe is a sure way to get requests for the recipe from any that try it.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Gruyere and Prosciutto Baked Omelette

I love to make omelette's, first because I love eggs, second because it gives you a chance to be creative and use things in your fridge and pantry to create a great breakfast or dinner. While I typically cook them over the stove, here is a great way to mix it up and bake it. Feel free to be creative with this, adding or substituting other vegetables and cheeses to make this one your own (although I do have to say, this version will definitely impress you the way it is).

Monday, September 6, 2010

Short Rib Osso Buco with Polenta Crust

I was going to Williams-Sonoma's website to check out some recipes that my Mom found and on the first page of recipes there was this amazing looking Short Rib recipe from Tuscany. I am a sucker for a good picture of food and this one caught me right away. I have to admit it wasn't just the food that looked good though. I saw that it was cooked in a ceramic dutch oven and I've just recently started cooking with them. I have just been cooking my no-knead in them and I really wanted to try some kind of stew in it as well. Since we were having some friends come over for Dinner Sunday night I thought that would be a good time to try it out. This recipe definitely takes some time to cook but there's really not a whole lot of time spent in preparation for the amazing results. After being cooked for over 4 hours the short ribs are completely tender and flavorful and the polenta crust is a perfect combination with the rest of the flavors.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Grape and Almond Bread Pudding

The recipe for the Grape Risotto I made last week had a link to a Grapes from California website that had many different recipes using grapes. It was so interesting to see all the different ways that you can use grapes. My wife and kids all love grapes so they don't usually last long and I don't really usually think to cook with them but I think I might try to confiscate some of them more often.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Roasted Grape Risotto with Hazelnuts and La Tur Cheese

I don't remember ever cooking or really even eating anything with grapes in it other than salads. A few nights ago there was an ad on TV from Food Network for a Roasted Grape Risotto. It looked so interesting  and I checked out the website and loved seeing all the other recipes with grapes in them.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Housewarming Party

We just moved into our new home about a month ago and we hosted a housewarming party this last weekend. I was excited to make some new appetizers I had found and I knew that it was going to take quite a lot of time to get them all baked and put together. My plan was to work on them Friday afternoon and evening and then get it all finished up Saturday morning before the party. However, early Friday morning, a Tornado hit our neighborhood! There was no major damage to our house but it took out a few of our trees and I spent most of the day cleaning all of it up.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Coconut -Piloncillo Ice Cream with Coconut Tortilla Chips and Fruit Salsa

I mentioned last week that while I was shopping in the Thai grocery store that I found some beautiful mangoes. I had seen this recipe for ice cream with the fruit salsa that looked so good but usually mangoes are so expensive. When I saw these I couldn't resist.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Coconut-Vegetable Curry

This last week as I walked through the Minneapolis Farmer's market I decided to pick out some ingredients that I haven't used before or not recently at least. I ended up with leeks, thai eggplant, thai and cayenne peppers, beets, green beans, eggplant and zucchini. I knew it would require some more research to use some of these but I needed some new inspiration.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Addicting Lemon Cookies with Lemon Candy Chunks

I have to warn you, these cookies are addicting. I've made them three times in the last two weeks and there are still some more in the freezer. I had a friend tell me awhile back about a bakery in Utah that makes these lemon cookies with chunks of lemonhead candies in them. They sounded so good and they got me thinking about a lemon cookie recipe that I used to make that sounded pretty similar. She sent me a package of them for my birthday and they are pretty similar to my cookies. I'll have to send her some of mine to determine who's are better.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Pork Chops with Chiles Rellenos and Ancho Sauce

I was traveling earlier this week so I didn't get on as soon as I'd like to post this week's blog and it also took me some time to figure out what I wanted to make. I didn't really have any particular ingredient or style in mind so I just went site searching for something that looked good. My first stop is typically followed closely by bonappetit won this time. This recipe just looked so good to start with and the ingredients looked intriguing. I hadn't ever cooked with cumin seeds before and poblano chiles are a recent favorite for me. I had an interesting learning experience as I shopped for the poblano's this time as well. The store I went to had some chile's that I thought looked like poblano's but they were labeled as pasilla's. I did some googling and found that this is apparently a mistake in many grocery stores. The pasilla is actually the dried version but the stores continue to call the poblano's by that name. Good to know for future purchases.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Can't Go Wrong with Fried Food

Anyone that knows me knows that I love just about anything fried. Not the healthiest choice but it just tastes so good. We went to a parade last week in Lakeville and there were food stands all over so obviously I came home craving something fried.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Stacked Chicken Enchiladas with Salsa Verde and Cheese

I love working in downtown Minneapolis. There are so many fun places to explore and discover. One of my favorite things to do in the summertime is visit the Farmers Market every Thursday. I don't always buy something but I love to walk up and down the street to see what is in season.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Pancake Wednesday

When I was a freshman in college, myself and a group of friends started making waffles every Wednesday night and inviting friends over to enjoy them with us. It was a great way to get together and meet lots of new people and I have always loved having breakfast foods for dinner anyway. When I came back to school after my mission, I continued the tradition but it eventually turned into my Buttermilk Pancakes. We could have anywhere from 10-30 people over so we went through a lot of pancakes each week.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The First Recipe

It took me awhile to decide on what recipe I was going to include in my first post but when it really came down to it, there was really no other choice, it had to be my bread. This is probably the recipe I am most famous for and I make it a lot. People always seem to be surprised to hear that I love to cook and even more so that I make all my own bread. We haven't bought store bread now for at least a couple years. I primarily make loaves out of this bread but it is such a versatile recipe. I make dinner rolls, cinnamon rolls and scones out of it quite often as well. For the ingredients that are in it, it is also one of the cheapest breads to make as it doesn't use milk or eggs and yet it is still so great!

Monday, June 21, 2010

A New Food Blog

For the last few months I have had the desire to start writing about the food that I cook. I have always enjoyed cooking and sharing that food with friends and family. Most of my early cooking and baking was done along side my Mom. She recently moved to Connecticut and has begun experimenting with the local foods and recipes of their new area. After talking with her, we felt it would be a great experiment to bring together our ideas and experiences into a joint blog.