Sunday, December 14, 2014

14 Fabulous Food and Drinks from 2014

Here's some delicious and memorable things I ate or drank this year and where you can find them to try yourself! From the great city of Seattle, where I reside, to the Oregon Coast or visiting family in Montana, there was good food and drink around every corner.  I found classic dishes with unique and delicious twists, I rediscovered some and found some downright tasty and unforgettable.  I also tried some food and drinks for the first time and figured out what's been missing from my life.  Read: Italian Prosecco and cheese curds, where've you been all my life?  Here's my recap, in photos of no particular order, of fourteen fabulous food and drinks from 2014. 
Pepperoni Pizza from Delancey.  Oh so good and unforgettable.  If Ballard wasn't so far, with traffic, and the wait for a table wasn't so long, I'd be a regular. 

This unique and tart dessert is from Pioneer Square's Laika Lounge.  I loved the shortbread and lemon curd. 

This basket of fried yumminess comes from The Back Room in Columbia Falls, Montana.  This is my go to place to eat when I go home.  I adore the fry bread, especially with honey butter, and I never pass up the fried chicken. 

These pork sliders come from Marination Mai Kai on Seattle's Alki Beach.  This Hawaiian style eatery is the place to dine, especially in the summertime.  These sliders were so tender and the crunch and texture from the coleslaw didn't hurt either.  Don't forget to try the Mai Tai's and the Hawaiian shaved ice with vanilla ice cream.  I can't wait for more next summer when the weather's hot.

Seattle has many bakeries and I've yet to find a bad one.  Macrina Bakery is one that stands out.  This upside down cake with nectarines was light, sweet and unique.  The only problem at Macrina is deciding what to order. 

This year I celebrated at Duke's Chowder House.  I wanted some bubbles and I got them.  This Italian Prosecco was crisp, refreshing and sweet. 

For my birthday dessert I chose a chocolate éclair from Duke's.  I loved the touch of orange zest and the raspberry sauce.  It was the best éclair, ever.

In the beach town of Seaside, OR I found this tasty cocktail at the Boardwalk Restaurant and Lounge.  Named 'At the Pool' it had pineapple, Vodka and the rest is a mystery.  All I know is that is was delicious and I enjoyed it while looking at the ocean.  

Beer Battered Cheese Curds.  Do I need to say more? Quite possibly one of the best things I've ever ate, they came with a red pepper dipping sauce and the cheese tasted so yummy.  I want more.  You can find them in Astoria, OR at Buoy Beer Co.

Triple Chocolate Cheesecake from Buoy Beer Co.  Some of the best cheesecake ever.  I want more of that, too.

The salmon crepes from Crepe De France were memorable because the salmon was so fresh.  That's because this adorable crepe restaurant is located inside Pike Place Market so the fish is straight from the source. 

Ok, so these Jalapeño Poppers are from The Shooter Café in Whitefish, MT and I need to get some more.  I loved the bacon and cheddar cheese inside that made them so unique.  I loved the raspberry jam to dip them in.  I can't wait until I'm back in Whitefish.   

This Asian salad is from Montana Coffee Traders in Columbia Falls.  They turn out some good food from a place you'd think was just a coffee shop from its name.  I had a sandwich there in the past that was also high quality and above your usual lunch fare.   

Goat Cheese has got to be one of the tastiest things on God's green earth.  This seared goat cheese with Champagne grapes from the Harvest Vine didn't disappoint and I couldn't stop eating it.  My son loved it too, and now he is also a goat cheese fan. 

Friday, December 12, 2014

Cake Batter Truffles

To continue my Christmas baking I made Cake Batter Truffles.  These are dangerous to have around so I recommend whipping them up for friends or to take to a party.  I froze half of mine and then I will take them to my family's house Christmas Day.  They were relatively easy to make.  The extra effort with melting the white chocolate and dipping each one was worth it because the end result was festive and pretty.  And melt in your mouth rich and sweet, too...

Christmas Funfetti Cake Batter Truffles

Ingredients:

1 cup white cake mix
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon Christmas sprinkles + more for decoration
1 1/2 cups white chocolate chips or vanilla almond bark

Directions:

In a large bowl, whisk cake mix, flour and sugar. Stir in melted butter, vanilla, milk and sprinkles. Mixture should be moist and be able to hold its shape easily when formed. Using a cookie scoop, form mixture into even balls and refrigerate 20-30 minutes.
In the mean time, melt chocolate in a double boiler or slowly in the microwave. Using a fork, drop one of the cake batter truffles into the chocolate and roll around to coat. Tap off the excess gently and transfer to cookie sheet lined with wax paper. Top with more sprinkles, if desired. 

Since the truffles contain milk its best to store them in the fridge.  They set up pretty quickly in the fridge after coating them in the white chocolate. This makes 24 truffles.  I found the recipe for these on laurenslatest.com.   Enjoy!





Sunday, December 7, 2014

Chocolate Chip Snowball Cookies

It's Christmas time again. Time to bake lots of goodies to fill our tummies and warm our hearts.  Every year I make my chocolate walnut fudge and then I try at least two new recipes.  So yesterday I baked Snowball cookies with mini chocolate chips.  These are unique because they usually have nuts so this recipe caught my attention.  Anything with melted chocolate is never a bad idea.  And they were delicious.  Especially right out of the oven.  Two years ago I made the traditional ones.  I found the recipe for the chocolate chip ones here.   Happy baking!


Chocolate Chip Snowball Cookies
Ingredients:
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup mini chocolate chips
  • Additional powdered sugar, for rolling

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375°F.  Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.  Mix butter, 1/2 cup powdered sugar and vanilla with an electric mixer until fluffy.  Add flour and salt and mix until the dough comes together.  Stir in the chocolate chips.  If dough is too soft, chill it until you can work it easily with your hands.  Scoop 1 tablespoon balls of dough and place on prepared cookie sheet.
Bake cookies for 7-10 minutes until bottoms are just slightly brown.  Remove from oven and cool for just a minute, until you can handle them.  Fill a small bowl with powdered sugar and roll each cookie in the sugar until coated.  Place on a rack to cool.  (Once cookies are cooled, you may want to re-roll them in more powdered sugar.)  Makes four dozen cookies.




Thursday, December 4, 2014

National Cookie Day

Today is National Cookie Day!  As I gathered different cookie photos of mine to post, I realized just how many different kinds there are.  Oreo's are America's favorite cookie but let's not forget about the French Macaron, Madeline and Palmier.  I have a lot of photos I wanted to show but many of them are not on my desktop but rather backed up on disks near my desk.  So I'm running with the photos on my computer.  Because by the time I find all of my archive cookie photos it would no longer be National Cookie Day and that would be sad.  Then I decided to compile a slideshow in Flickr and then post it right into the body of my blogger post(this space here) but Flickr is no longer affiliated with Blogger.  So....I just posted pictures I probably already blogged about and you've probably already seen.  But...I did put the link at the end of the post for the flickr slideshow.  So happy cookie day and go eat a cookie!
 

The classic Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookie. Click here to see the recipe. 

Thumbprint Cookies with raspberry jam for Christmastime.  You can learn how to make them here.


Another Christmas Cookie- Snowballs with nuts and powdered sugar make these a favorite to eat at Christmas.  The recipe can be found here.

Peanut Butter Nutella Cookies.  Click here and see how I made em'.

Peanut Butter Cookies with chocolate hearts for Valentine's Day. You can click here to see the recipe.

Chocolate Chip Cookies with Peanut Butter and Sea Salt.  You can see the recipe here.

The famous French Macaron's from Laduree in Paris

A French Palmier from Sweet and Fresh Bakery in Seattle's Chinatown.

Cookies from Hello Robin in Seattle.

Crisp Graham Cookies.  Peanut Butter, Graham crackers and M&M's make up these cookies that I used to whip up for roadtrips.  Here's the recipe.
Here is the link to see my complete cookie slideshow. 
https://www.flickr.com/photos/kelliphoto/sets/72157649196984017/

Friday, November 28, 2014

Cinnamon Roll Breakfast Cake

Part cinnamon roll and part coffee cake, this recipe was a winner.  A plus?  It makes two cinnamon roll cakes.  So one went in the freezer for Christmas morning and the other was frosted and served Thanksgiving morning.  We had family in town so I served it with some eggs and coffee and we were good to go for breakfast.  My family loved it and they thought it was filling, which was good for running to the airport and getting ready for all that Thanksgiving prep.  I was short one stick of butter so I made only half the amount of cinnamon filling.  But it actually worked out better since my family doesn't like their breakfasts too sweet.  I found the recipe here, on shugarysweets.com and some people mentioned there was too much cinnamon so it actually worked out.  Who knew not having enough butter would be a good thing?  There's a first time for everything.  There was also enough left over for breakfast the next day, too.


Cinnamon Roll Breakfast Cake


Ingredients
         For the Cakes:
  • 3 cup flour plus 2 Tbsp, divided
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp cinnamon

  • For the Icing:
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. For the cake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease two 8inch cake pans, lining the bottom with parchment paper.
  2. In mixer, blend 3 cup flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, milk, eggs, vanilla and 1/4 cup melted butter. Divide batter evenly between cake pans.
  3. In another mixing bowl, beat 1 cup butter with brown sugar, 2 Tbsp flour, and cinnamon. Continue to beat until fully blended and fluffy (about 3 minutes). Using two tablespoons, drop butter mixture onto cake batter. Use a knife to swirl.
  4. Bake cakes for about 25-30 minutes. Remove from oven and cool in pans 10 minutes. Flip cakes out onto serving plates.
  5. For icing, whisk the powdered sugar with 1/4 cup milk and 1 tsp vanilla extract. Drizzle over warmed cakes. Enjoy! 
This is the original recipe but like I mentioned above you can use one stick less of butter for the cakes if you would like it on the lighter side. 





Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Crepes and Chocolates-A Visit to Crepe De France and Fran's

I just spent a rainy afternoon in downtown Seattle.  I wanted to bring my boys to Pike Place Market and show it off, even though they don't really know what they're seeing yet.  When they're a little older they will appreciate the fish being thrown through the air, the musicians performing on every corner and the fresh doughnuts, also being thrown though the air, into bags. 


But today, we had to maneuver the crowds in our double stroller and try and stay dry.  It being lunchtime, we were starved and looking for the perfect spot.  I'd always noticed a crepe place that looked fun and most likely delicious, because aren't all crepes delicious?  Crepe De France ended up working out so nice.  We were the only customers so we had the place to ourselves.  The workers doted over us and made sure everything was perfect.  And it was.  My husband and I shared a Mimosa and an Americana.  We each had a savory crepe- he had the salmon and I ate the ham and cheese.  Each crepe comes with two so one had ricotta and the other, mozzarella.  The boys loved the crepes, too.  All four of us loved the crepes.  Crepe De France is a hidden gem in the market. 


After lunch we walked a couple of blocks north to Fran's Chocolate's in the Four Seasons Hotel.  My husband tried a dark chocolate bar with dried fruit in the past that he had to go get again.  We bought a bar and it was tasty.  I loved the dried cranberries and apricots on top.  It was a specialty chocolate and well worth the price.  A couple years ago, we went to Fran's and got salted caramels that were downright decedent and unforgettable.  Today they gave samples of chocolate truffles, so we walked away full and sated from our afternoon in downtown. 









Crepe de France on Urbanspoon Fran's Chocolates on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Toll House Celebrates 75 Years

Toll House Cookies were the first thing I ever baked.  Over the years I've made their classic chocolate chip cookie recipe countless times.  There's really nothing better then biting into a hot cookie right out of the oven.  And sneaking some cookie dough?  You know you're not supposed to.  It's bad but oh so yummy.  And "cleaning" some off the beaters?  Oh man- I can't decide what I like better, biting into a cupcake or licking dough off beaters.  Both are up there as far as finding dessert bliss.  Toll House is celebrating 75 years and they have some new chocolate chip morsels for us all to indulge in.  Called DelightFulls, you can get em' in mint, cherry, peanut butter and caramel.  I chose peanut butter for my cookies and they were a hit.  I used the recipe on the bag but I didn't use any nuts.  Thanks, Toll House, for all the delicious years of chocolate chip cookies!


Nestle Toll House Peanut Butter DelightFulls Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1/2 cups Nestle Toll House DelightFulls Peanut Butter Filled Morsels
1 cup chopped nuts


Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Combine flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl.  Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixing bowl until creamy.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Gradually beat in flour mixture.  Stir in morsels and nuts.  Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake for 9-11 minutes or until golden brown.  Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racked to cook completely.  Makes 4 dozen cookies.