Easy Marshmallow Frosting

I’m going to ask you to brace yourself, because I can already tell that what I recently discovered is going to cause a whirlwind over here at Foodologie.

Marshmallow Frosting

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Why hadn’t I tried making this before? Oh I know why… it seemed too complicated and not worth my time.

Well, let me just tell you.  It’s totally worth it and not nearly as difficult or time consuming as I thought it would be.  All the recipes I read required 8-10 egg whites, too much cracking… corn syrup, um no.  But finally I found one without corn syrup that was easily to scale down and gave it a try.  Thank you, Martha Stewart, for introducing me to marshmallow frosting.

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Easy Marshmallow Frosting

from Martha Stewart

2 egg whites
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1 big pinch of cream of tartar*
1 pinch of salt

Place a glass bowl over a sauce pan that has about 1 inch of water in it, make sure the water is not touching the bottom of the bowl (aka build a double boiler).  Add egg whites, sugar, vanilla extract, cream of tartar and salt.  Mix together.  Heat, stirring constantly until the sugar dissolves and the egg whites are warm when you touch them.

Transfer egg white mixture to a stand mixer and attach whisk attachment.  Stir on low and turn up the speed every 15 seconds or so until it’s on high speed.  Beat 5-7 minutes or until glossy, stiff peaks form.

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Frost cupcakes and serve! Refrigerate if you’re not using it right away.  This recipe will make enough to frost about 8-10 cupcakes using a lot of frosting per cupcake (as I did in this photo), or 1 small 6 inch cake.   I would probably double the recipe if you are doing a larger cake or 2 dozen cupcakes. *Note: the original recipe called for 8 egg whites, 2 cups sugar, 1/2 tsp of cream of tartar, so when I scaled it down I just did a big pinch.  If you double this recipe, use 1/4 tsp cream of tartar. marshmallfrosting

I’m seriously amazed at how delicious and easy it was to make this marshmallow frosting.  I already have a million ideas for variations on this type of frosting.   What I really loved about it is that it’s super light and NOT sickeningly sweet like other frostings I’ve had.  I almost want to say I’d add more sugar next time, but I think this would be the perfect frosting for an already sweet cake.

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So be prepared for lots of cupcakes to come!

What’s your favorite type of frosting?   I usually love chocolate ganache or just plain whipped cream, but this marshmallow frosting is going to be on the top of my list now.

P.S. Two days left to enter the Peanut Butter & Co. Dark Chocolate Dreams Giveaway!  Head over to Facebook to enter! Click the Giveaway tab! Make sure to tell your friends and get extra entries daily by tweeting about the giveaway.

Lemon-Rosemary Cut Out Cookies

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I find holidays exhausting, and I can’t deal with the over-the-top decorations.  Pinterest is currently reeking of Valentine’s Day.  Everything is red and pink, dipped in chocolate and covered in bright sprinkles.  That’s fun, but sometimes it’s overwhelming.

For me, Valentine’s Day should be unique to you and your special someone.  This Valentine’s Day, skip the red velvet dark chocolate dipped strawberries covered in pink, red and white (<— not an actual thing), and give these a try.

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They’re different, interesting and tasty.  I don’t know about you but I love rosemary and lemon together. Perfect for Valentine’s Day, in my opinion.

And let me just go ahead and say… If you have a tea party, because every once in a while we need to relive our childhood and have full blown tea parties, I’m going to request that you make these cookies. lemonrosemarycookies1

Lemon-Rosemary Cut Out Cookies

adapted from AllRecipes

1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/4 cup vegetable shortening, room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
zest of 1 lemon
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh rosemary
2 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour (or all purpose)
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
white chocolate chip, sprinkles, royal icing, etc. for decorating

Beat together butter and shortening until fluffy, about a minute.  Add sugar and beat for another 2 minutes.  Add egg and beat another minute.  Add lemon zest and rosemary and beat for 1 minute.  Add flour, baking powder and salt.  Beat until combined.  Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm (about 1-2 hours).

Pre-heat oven to 350F.  Roll out dough on a clean floured surface.  Cut to desired shapes. I used small hearts and medium sized hearts, to keep with the Valentine’s day theme, but you can use whatever shape you like.  Lay on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and bake 8-10 minutes or until lightly golden on edges.  The baking time will vary depending on the size of the cookie.  Transfer to a cooling rack and allow to cool completely.

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Once the cookies have cooled, you can serve them as is, or decorate them.  I chose to dip mine in white chocolate and cover them in white sparkling sprinkles.  If you do, just microwave some white chocolate chips, add a bit of oil to get it runnier, then dip and place on parchment paper to harden for a few hours.  Alternatively, you can get your royal icing skillz on and decorate that way.  I gave that a whirl too, but still not pleased with my decorating skills so no pictures of that. lemonrosemarycookies4

You might be thinking: Rosemary in a cookie? Are you nuts?  But it works.  I promise.  Go ahead, take a chance and make these for Valentine’s Day or a tea party.

How do you feel about putting herbs in your sweets?  I’m a big fan of raspberry and sage together!

 

P.S. Don’t forget to enter the Dark Chocolate Dreams Giveaway.  Head over to Facebook and enter by clicking the “Giveaway” tab on my page.

Dark Chocolate Dreams Flourless Chocolate Cake + A Giveaway!

I love peanut butter.  We all know this.  I eat it by the spoonful.  It’s a problem I’m working on.

Last year, Allison and I threw a Peanut Butter Throwdown (aka an awesome party where we made crazy peanut butter sandwiches sponsored by Peanut Butter & Co.).  So to say I’m a fan of Peanut Butter & Co. is kind of an understatement.  A few weeks ago, they sent me and a few bloggers their new 31 Days of Dark Chocolate Dream cookbook, full of recipes featuring Dark Chocolate Dreams.

So after having the cookbook for a few weeks, eating spoonfuls of Dark Chocolate Dreams and mulling over which recipe to make, I finally decided on the flourless chocolate cake.

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Valentine’s Day is right around the corner and this is the perfect treat for you special peanut-butter-loving someone.

Dark Chocolate Dreams Flourless Chocolate Cake

from 31 Days of Dark Chocolate Dream

Nonstick Cooking Spray
Unsweetened Cocoa Powder, for dusting
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
2 cups Dark Chocolate Dreams Peanut Butter
1/4 tsp salt 1 (12 oz) bag Semisweet Chocolate Chips
8 large eggs, at room temperature

Pre-heat oven to 350F. Generously spray 10 inch round cake pan with nonstick cooking spray and dust with unsweetened cocoa powder.

Make a double boiled by filling a medium-sized saucepan half way with water and placing a large glass bowl on the top of the pan.  Bring the water to ta boil and add the butter, peanut butter, and salt to the bowl.  Mix until well incorporated and turn off the heat.  Add chocolate chips and stir until the chocolate is completely melted.  Remove the glass bowl from the double boiler.

Use an electric mixer to whisk eggs for 3-5 minutes or until the volume doubles.  Fold 1/3 of whipped eggs into the chocolate-peanut butter mixture and gradually add the rest of the eggs until mixture is well combined.

Pour mixture into the prepared cake pan and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the edges of the cake separate from the pan and the center is springy.  Cut and serve immediately with vanilla ice cream.

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So in real life, I halved this recipe and put it in a 6 inch cake pan.  I still baked it for 20 minutes, and it turned out perfect.  I topped it with whipped cream and a cherry, because cherries make everything a little more special.  So if you’re looking to downsize this recipe, that’s a great option!

Ok so are you ready to try this now?

Peanut Butter and Co. is being super awesome and giving away a 31 Days of Dark Chocolate Dreams Cookbook and a 28oz Jar of Dark Chocolate Dreams to a Foodologie reader!

To enter, head over to Facebook and enter the giveaway on my Facebook page click the Giveaway tab at the top.  The giveaway is open to US Residents and will end on February 14th at midnight!

You can enter by:

You know you want some free peanut butter, especially to make this cake, because it’s delicious.  Head over to Facebook now and enter. You’ve got nothing to lose 🙂

Colorful Quinoa Salad

I’m in the life stage where I’ve graduated and living with my parents again.  I somehow managed to skip this step when I graduated the first time around by going to India then grad school.  Since moving back home, I’ve made one major observations:  my family eats a lot of meat and very few vegetables.

I’m going nuts.

I offered to cook all meals for my parents.  They said no, because they would pretty much be exclusively meat-free meals.  So basically, I’ve given up on trying to get them to eat healthier.  Instead, I’m making stuff for myself and sharing leftovers.

Yesterday, I made a quinoa, bean, vegetable salad.

Surprisingly, everyone liked it (even though once they claimed to not like quinoa).

Colorful Quinoa Salad

1/2 cup quinoa
1/2 cup edamame
1/2 cup black beans
1 red pepper, diced (I used about 5 multicolored sweet mini ones)
1 mango, diced
1 cucumber, diced
1 tomato, diced
1 handful of cilantro, chopped
Juice of 4 limes
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp cumin powder
salt and pepper to taste

Cook the quinoa in 1 cup of water.  Bring to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes with some salt.  While the quinoa cooks dice your vegetables.  Place edamame, black beans, red peppers, cucumbers, tomato, mango and cilantro in a large mixing bowl.  In a small bowl, whisk together lime juice, olive oil, cumin, salt and pepper.  Once quinoa is done and slightly cooled, add to the mixing bowl with vegetables, pour in the lime dressing and mix.  Serve and enjoy!

Serves 4-6.

So I guess this is my new strategy: make healthy, tasty (to me) things I like and hope they’ll eat it as well.

Off to the gym I go! Have a great day!

R.I.P. Ipod

My nano is a goner.

As a result of my dead ipod, I went to the gym music-less today.  It wasn’t too bad at first because they play loud pop music in there anyway for example this came on:

So that was fine, until a woman decided the music was too loud for her so she turned it off. Boo!

She was polite enough to ask me if it was okay, but sadly my Italian is good enough to understand what she said but too bad to know how to say “can you just turn it down instead of off?”

The next half hour of my workout was in silence. Woh woh… Not as fun, but the 45 minutes went by pretty fast.  Apparently I have a lot on my mind.

On the bright side, there was basically no one there when I got there!  It was lovely since that place is pretty small.

After the sweaty work out and a shower, I made lunch.  This meal was a crazy mish mash of things that probably don’t really go together, but I sorta loved it.

Tuna Salad + Curried Potatoes with Peas (Aloo Mattar, sorta) + Green beans

Delicious!  I’ll be making those potatoes again. Super tasty and went great with the green beans.  Tuna salad (made with a small can of tuna, mustard, lemon juice, capers, onions, salt, pepper and a handful of garbanzo beans) surprisingly wasn’t bad when mixed with the curried potatoes.  But then again I’m generally a fan of mixing everything on my plate together.  I seem to have this idea that it heightens all the flavors.

True or False? Who knows!  Probably all in my head…

Enjoy the weekend!

Sunday Dinner

Sunday Dinner last night was the best.

First, because I didn’t cook.

Second, because it was just damn good.

Third, it was meat free, and I miss that.

Nancy made fruit salad and a spinach salad.

Kyla just got back from Ethiopia and brought spices with her.  So she made shiro and a delicious bean stew.

It was to die for.  I’m obsessed with the shiro that Kyla made.  Sooo good and so easy to make (given that you have the shiro spice mix).  It definitely came at a time when I’ve sorta been going crazy regarding Italian food.  Basically I’ve had enough.  I miss spiced food.  I cannot find cumin or cilantro in stores here!  I’m going to the “ethnic markets” in the immigrant neighborhoods this week to scout out spices.   So this dinner definitely helped with my spice cravings.

Spices, beans, grains, fruit, vegetables, friends!  What could be better?

Hostaria Farnese and Sara’s Betrothed

We basically spent the Biscotti Queen’s last day in Rome just eating.

I’ve eaten so much I don’t even want to look at food anymore.  The thought of pizza makes my stomach turn (more on that later).

But her last night, we made sure to go to Hostaria Farnese, a small restaurant between Piazza Farnese and Campo d’ Fiori.   The Biscotti Queen and her family had been to that restaurant 10 years prior and had take pictures with the family.  Biscotti Queen’s uncle Mark offered to buy us dinner if we went and took pictures with the family.

After a bit of wine (or maybe an entire bottle of sparkling wine between me and the Biscotti Queen), we all (Biscotti Queen, Lis and me) went to dinner.

After ordering, Biscotti Queen pulled out the pictures from 10 years before.

The old man and his son, Luca, were so pleased!  So we got a picture of Sara with the family!  Mission accomplished.

On to the food.  The three of us shared a spaghetti Carbonara (because it was Biscotti Queen’s last day in Rome and she had yet to have it)

Lamb with potatoes

and Artichokes.  They also gave us some of their house flat bread to try (and some wonderful anti pasti that I forgot to take a picture of).  They were awfully generous!

The next day, the Biscotti Queen left and it was back to work for me.  Super sad!

I had such a wonderful time with all my visitors.  It was nice to we around close friends again.  Everyone here in Rome is great, but they’re no match to friends from home.

After all these visits though, I’m sooo tired of food.  I’m starting a mini diet on Monday.  More on that soon.

The Time We Climbed 1 Million Steps…

Remember that time that decided to take a vacation. We walked, bused, trained, bused again and finally made our way to Amalfi, because let’s be honest, Rome is fantastic but the Amalfi coast is pretty much amazing.

First stop was our hotel.  L’Antico Convitto. 

Then it was time to venture out.  We walked about 200 meters to the Duomo, the main cathedral.

Our vacation ambitions somehow convinced us to shell out 3 Euro to take a tour of the Cloister, Catacombs and Cathedral.

Lovely!   Then of course, we fed ourselves, because Sara’s main goal on her trip to Italy was to gain 10 lbs.

Challenge accepted.

 

For lunch, pizza and gelato on the steps of the Duomo.

After there was no more food to eat (for now), we wandered, because really that’s what we’re good at and that’s what there is to do on the Amalfi coast.   There’s one main street in Amalfi.  We walked up and down it probably 20 times.  After we window shopped enough, we decided to wander through the neighborhoods.

The neighborhoods are not what you would imagine.  First off, Amalfi is built into the side of a mountain.  So the streets are made of tiny corridors full of many, many, many stairs.

After getting lost a few times, we referred to the map to try to get to the neighboring little town, Atrani.  After an hour of stairs, twists, turns, amazing views and a few more stairs, we made it.

Atrani was tiny.  We saw a main square, a bar, some people going to church, a restaurant, and two fisherman.  Then we turned around and headed back to Amalfi.  This time, we walked along the side of the road.  It took about 15 minutes to get back, compared to an hour and a half to get there… Stair free.

A few hours later, our friend Lis joined us!  By this time it was about 10 pm.  Most things were closed but luckily the restaurant we had scoped out in one of the random alleys off the main street was still open.  We then proceeded to have the best meal EVER.

Mussels with lemon and pepper.

Pasta with tomatoes and mussels

Grilled Calamari

Arancini (Risotto balls)

 

Then we proceeded to pass out in a food coma.

Life is good in Italy.

Mushroom-Spinach Risotto

Last Tuesday, after a full day of work and two hours of class, I went to the grocery store.  In my drowsy state of exhaustion, I decided I wanted rice.  Unknowingly I purchased arborio, the kind of rice used for risotto, instead of the regular longer grain rice that I’m accustomed to.  I don’t think it was a language barrier, as the box was clearly labeled “arborio.”  It was probably just that I was tired, hungry and not in the right state of mind.

Long story short.  I now have a box of arborio rice sitting in my kitchen cabinet.  Clearly, it can’t go to waste.  Neither can the huge bag of spinach that I purchased in a moment of desperation when I felt like I’d had it with carbohydrates.

But alas, carbohydrates can’t seem to escape me.  Luckily, they’re delicious.

Mushroom-Spinach Risotto

2 tbsp olive oil
1 cup chopped mushrooms
1 cup arborio rice
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 cup white wine
3 cups vegetable broth, warm
2 cups fresh chopped spinach
pepper to taste
1/2 cup fresh grated parmesan cheese (or more if you’d like)

Heat oil in a pot on medium heat.  Add mushrooms and arborio, cook for 5-10 mins until rice begins to turn translucent.  Add garlic and cook for an additional minute.    Add white wine, stir until it is almost completely absorbed.  Then begin to add the broth, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring until the liquid absorbs.  Repeat until you’ve used all but a bit of the broth.  Stir in the chopped spinach and the last bit of liquid.  Keep stirring until almost completely absorbed, then add the pepper and parmesan.  Once all the liquid is absorbed, serve immediately.

Serves 4.

I think I’m going to suck it up and pay the 195 Euro to use a gym for three months.  I think it might be worth it.

Even though I walk everywhere here, I don’t think it’s going to cut it.  I hadn’t realized how lucky I was to have a cheap gym so close to me in Ithaca.  While I don’t miss the snow, I definitely miss how easy it was to work out.

I’ll keep you posted on the gym dilemma.  Any thoughts?

Cena di Domenica

Let me start by saying that this title might be grammatically incorrect.  Surprisingly, being in Italy has yielded little opportunity to learn Italian.  However, I might leave fluent in French.  Today I spent the majority of the day reading reports in French, who knew I still can read it… but google translate helps… On to Sunday… Domenica!

A new tradition has started.  Well, at least, I hope it’ll catch on.  Inspired by the Biscotti Queen and her family, the grad students and I have decided to start a Sunday Dinner tradition.

My roommate and I both love to cook.  So it sorta works out.  Plus, he’s Sicilian and doesn’t fool around.

Now this wasn’t your average Sunday Dinner.  It started around 3:00pm and ended around 8:00pm, and it was amazing.

It started with an unorthodox, antipasti.  Not meats.  Instead, cream puffs.

Nancy and I love sugar and she stopped at a bakery before arriving.  They were amazing! Some were filled with lemon cream and others with a chocolate cream.

To die for.  So while Nancy and I munched on cream puffs and waited for the others to arrive, Joe started making primo piatto.

Once Lis, Kyla and her friend Giuseppe arrived.  We were ready.

Spaghetti ai Frutti di Mare

Delicious!

After some sitting and chatting, I made secondo piatto.  It ended up being some strange version of saltimbocca. Thinly pounded chicken breast, rolled with prosciutto and sage, cooked in a butter wine sauce.

Not bad.  For contorno, rosemary roasted potatoes.

 

Nancy and Lis both brought dessert.  However, I only remembered to photograph what Nancy brought (other than the cream puffs):

Some sort of delicious crostata! I was pleased.

After dessert and coffee, we were sufficiently full and basically ready for the night to be over.

Next time, I want to make primo and leave the meat making to someone who knows what he’s doing.