Posts tagged ‘dessert’
A “Golden Weekend” is really a disappointing concept, I now realize as I sit here typing this. It simply means a 2 1/2 day weekend between rotations – no studying, no stress, no guilt. Only in med school do we get excited over 2 day weekends! Regardless of my sanity level, I spent my rare weekend off relaxing with girlfriends and visiting with my parents. Here is a recap of my weekend in pictures!
FRIDAY: Girl’s Night
When the boyfriend goes out of town, its time to get all the girls together for food, wine, and girly fun! It has been months since I have had time to entertain, so I loved being able to make a few recipes that have been collecting on Pinterest and test them out on a few friends. Coincidentally, they are both from Savory Simple… and are both amazing! We had some Jalapeno Poppers for an appetizer and Chocolate Covered Pretzel Peanut Butter Blondies (which I have renamed PMS Blondies) for dessert. Not only were they delicious, they were pretty simple to make!
SATURDAY MORNING: Lazy Baked Oatmeal
A friend slept over after the Girls Night, and we had noble plans to do yoga and have a productive morning. We decided a lazy morning would be slightly more restorative instead… This Baked Pumpkin Oatmeal from Chocolate Covered Katie fit the bill perfectly! I topped it with a few chopped almonds and fresh ground cinnamon, and enjoyed it with French Press hot coffee. (My cinnamon brew trick still works in a French Press for perfect Fall coffee!)
SATURDAY AFTERNOON: Parents and their Surprises
My parents drove up from New Jersey to celebrate my birthday with me, and spoiled me beyond belief! Not only did I get an iPad for my birthday (and finishing the boards and my two hardest rotations and Christmas!) but they also stocked me up on some Costco pantry essentials and a few Whole Foods treats!
SATURDAY EVENING: Family Dinner
After some major food shopping, what could be better than making dinner?! My parents asked where I wanted to go for my birthday, and after a month away from my kitchen, I decided nothing sounded better than a home-cooked meal. My aunt joined us for an amazing 3 course birthday dinner at home: cheese and crackers, lemon-herbed fish en papillote (loosely based on this recipe) with roasted asparagus, and leftover blondies with vanilla ice cream for dessert. The day was filled with laughs, stories, and great food – a perfect day!
SUNDAY: Oatmeal, Church, and Dim Sum
Our morning was off to a healthy start with oatmeal, my Banana Bread Oats more specifically! (If I can turn my Dad into an oatmeal lover, anything is possible… I swear these oatmeal recipes are magic!) After church, we finished off an amazing weekend with Dim Sum in Chinatown. Filled with dumplings of all shapes and sizes, it was a fun way to wrap up a fun weekend with my parents!
Question: What did you do this weekend? Did you try any new recipes or new restaurants?
It has been humid this past week in Boston, and so I have been craving cold salads and anything frozen. Last summer, I made a heavenly frozen treat that I nick named “Monkey Bites.” When I got around to making them again this summer, I found a way to simplify and clean up the process.
Smart, you say, right? I’d like to say that I am always that on top of my game, but we all know that is not true. More often than not, I am prone to some pretty hilarious blonde moments. Take the time I walked into my grandparent’s glass door in Florida trying to look at the alligator in their lake. They were nice enough to tape a napkin to the door for the rest of the week so I knew my boundaries. In my defense, my grandma is a very clean lady…
When I am not walking into doors or saying silly things, I am at least coming up with creative kitchen ideas! The recipe is about the same: bananas, chocolate, and peanut butter. But the method is simplified and cleaned up with some handy grill skewers. First, cut the bananas into bite sized chunks. Then, thread a few onto a skewer and pop them into the freezer for an hour or two. When they are almost frozen, melt down some chocolate and peanut butter. This is much easier than creating a peanut butter layer on each individual banana piece but still gets you some chocolate and peanut butter-y goodness in every bite!
Then, take the skewers, and rotate the banana pieces in the chocolate, using a spoon to make sure they get fully covered.
Pop ’em back in the freezer for 20 minutes, then slide ’em off the sticks and keep in a Tupperware in the freezer! They make a good snack or small dessert bite, perfect for steamy summer days. Enjoy!
Question: Are you prone to blonde moments? Leave a comment telling your funniest silly story!
Smarter than a Monkey Bite
3 medium bananas, very ripe, cut into chunks
3 standard chocolate bars of your choice
2 tbsp peanut butter
6 wooden skewers
Cut the banana into pieces. Slide, with space, onto skewers and freeze. Meanwhile, melt chocolate and peanut butter over a double boiler. Cover each banana piece with chocolate mixture. Freeze for 20 minutes on the skewers, and then remove to a storage container. See text of post for more detailed instructions.
A perk of spending a week at home, besides the aforementioned grill (and spending time with my family and friends, of course!), is full access to my dad’s well-stocked bar. I am not a big drinker, and usually go for a glass of wine or beer before a mixed drink. However, I like playing around with mixed drinks every once in a while! After adapting a sangria recipe and trying out Jenna’s Strawberry Rhubarb Margaritas, I was feeling inspired to dabble a little bit with cooking with liquor. I wanted to grill some fruit for dessert, and decided to spice things up a little bit. The pineapple was inspired by the margaritas, and the peaches combined a collection of flavors that I absolutely love.
The recipes are simple: mix together the alcohol and sugar, pour over the fruit, let it sit for an hour or two (while you are making and cooking dinner), and then throw it on the grill. Make sure the racks are clean, and then place the fruit directly on the grill. Let it cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Turn over the fruit and drizzle the rest of the marinade over the fruit. Be careful of flame ups, or skip this step entirely. Cook for a few more minutes, and then serve warm. The aroma of this fruit is irresistible – just ask my mom and my sister.
The pineapple flavor is simply enhanced, both by the tequila and by the heat of the grill. The peaches are transformed entirely – the texture softens until the fruit almost melts in your mouth, and the cinnamon, vanilla, and bourbon shine through. We ate these plain, but they would be amazing served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream as well! They make for a great sweet note for the end of a light, outdoor, grilled summer meal.
Question: What is your favorite summer dessert?
Tequila Lime Pineapple
1/4 cup tequila
1 tbsp lime juice
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 pineapple, sliced into rings or spears
Mix together the ingredients, then pour over fresh pineapple slices or spears. Allow to sit for one to two hours. Grill over medium heat for 5 minutes on each side.
Bourbon Vanilla Cinnamon Peaches
1/4 cup bourbon
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp vanilla
1 tbsp cinnamon
Mix together the ingredients, then pour over peach halves. (Should be enough for up to 5 peaches). Allow to sit for one to two hours. Grill over medium heat for 5 minutes on each side.
My friend discovered that the Au Bon Pain near where she worked sells their bakery items at a huge discount, and so she started bringing over fresh bread and treats anytime she would come for dinner. The coconut macaroons she brought once were huge, as big as a clementine, filled with dried cherries and covered in chocolate. I was in dessert heaven, a very indulgent place. I wanted to enjoy these treats again without making such a splurge. Of course, I passed some along to my friend as well. They are much smaller, slightly healthier, but every bit as tasty! They take a little longer than the 4 minutes promised in the original recipe, but these cookies are still super easy and a must try for any special occasion coming up! ;)
Question: Do you have any Valentine’s Day plans?
Chocolate Cherry Coconut Cookies
based on Chocolate Covered Katie’s Coconut Macroons
1 1/3 cup shredded coconut (I used sweetened since that is all I could find!)
1 tbsp whole wheat flour
1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp lite coconut milk
1/3 cup dried cherries, chopped
3 squares baking chocolate
In a small saucepan, combine the coconut, flour and coconut milk. Heat over medium low heat until the coconut starts to get sticky. Stir in the cherries. Form small balls and line on a cookie tray. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes, or until slightly browned. While cooling, melt chocolate. (I added a drop of coconut milk for smoother melting). Using a spatula, drizzle the cookies with chocolate. Allow to set completely; store in an air tight container.
The biggest roadblock for me over the past few weeks as a vegan has been community. I feel awkward accepting dinner invitations, hesitant to ask for restrictions on what my friends can cook but also unable to eat what I am served without question. Dining out can be difficult, depending on the menu. Hosting should feel like the easiest option, but I get nervous about my friends reactions to my “weird vegan food.” However, sharing meals with friends is an important part of my life, and I needed to face my fears of communal vegan eating head on this weekend.
I met up with friends for lunch and was terrified of not being able to order anything at the tiny diner we ducked out of the snow into. I scanned the menu, seeing fancy omelettes, pancakes, homemade muffins… and I panicked. But then I saw the life-saving asterisk: for vegans/vegetarians, all eggs can be replaced with tofu or tempeh. At no extra charge, this was a miracle! I got to enjoy tempeh with home fries and veggies, which was a really filling and satisfying lunch! As my friend said, “only in JP,” commenting on the characteristic residents of this notoriously hippie Boston neighborhood. Not all restaurants are so vegan friendly, but I was happy to have a small hurdle to conquer my fear!
My evening was spent catching up with a few friends from school over dinner, so I got to conquer my fear of serving friends “weird vegan food” as well. It was also an easy hurdle, since four of them were independently doing their own vegan challenge, and one was a former vegan. We laughed about experiences with friends, family, and servers; commiserated over the questioning of preparation methods and scanning of ingredients lists; and swapped recipes and new foods to try. It was such a great night, and the food was a hit!
To avoid the, “Um, what did you say that is?” reaction, I wanted to find a recipe recreation that would be familiar to people’s taste buds. I chose Mama Pea’s Thai Fried Quinoa, since it harkens Thai pineapple fried rice and can be customized with various toppings. It was a huge hit and definitely a recipe I will make again! On the side, I made Sesame Kale Chips. Kale is a veggie-lovers green, but I have never met someone who could turn down a crispy kale chip. Even my Dad loves kale this way, despite his usual turned up nose when it appears in soups and stews! I omitted the lemon juice, used a little less oil, and added a dash of ginger. I will definitely be playing with different seasonings for my kale chips from now on, since these were so flavorful and not just overly salty! The green stuff went faster than the main dish, which I think speaks volumes!
Vegan desserts on their own can be tricky, but another wrench was thrown in – my friends were also not eating any added sugar! Good thing I had these muffins on hand! A friend and I baked on Friday night, and certainly got our peanut butter and chocolate fix with these. I put out the rest of the muffins for dessert, and my friends were so excited to be able to enjoy a sweet treat at the end of the meal! You can’t go wrong with peanut butter and chocolate, and the natural sweetness comes from the dates. They are even healthy enough to fill the role of an on-the-go breakfast, making these another make again recipe!
What I learned from my Saturday: don’t let fear hold you back! It might take a little more creativity, planning and thought, but you can enjoy communal meals and laughter with friends, no matter what your current food lifestyle choices are!
Question: Have you ever been afraid of friends reactions to food you serve?