German Nachos (ish): Baked Fries with Sauerkraut, Sausage and Muenster Cheese Sauce

I love mustard.  No really.  Like a lot.  For as long as I can remember, mustard has been one of my favorite condiments.  Even the cheap yellow mustard you get on Subway sandwiches (no mayo, extra mustard please).  I love it.  It adds such a nice flavor profile to most foods.

But fancy mustard, that’s a whole different ball game.

Recently, I got in touch with the guys at Green Mountain Mustard.  They make fancy pants mustard, but in the least pretentious way possible.

But anyway, these guys know mustard.  They sent me two jars of their mustard so I could make an EPIC grilled cheese sandwich.  While the grilled cheese sandwich is still  in the works, I had this idea and had to make it asap.  It involved one of the mustard flavors they sent me: Deli Dirt.  Their Deli Dirt tastes like all the goodness of a deli put into one little jar, and this mustard is THICK.  It’s basically the consistency of hummus, which is awesome.

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I’m in love.  And thus, this creation was born:

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One of the things that I love about mustard is that it adds a ton of flavor to food without a ton of fat (or calories).  You know I like to make things as light as I can.  So while this looks fatty and decadent, it’s a little bit lighter than you would think (please note, I’m not actually saying this is healthy, but it’s better than eating something deep fried). mustardfries3

Oh and I should probably mention that I had no idea what to call this.  I couldn’t really call it a “Pile of Deliciousness,” which is what it is.  So instead I thought of a more Pinterest-friendly name: German Nachos (ish).  Ish is a really important qualifier here.  Enjoy.

German Nachos (ish): Baked Fries with Sauerkraut, Sausage and Muenster Cheese Sauce

3 large potatoes
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp Deli Dirt mustard
1 sausage (bratwurst are tasty. true story.), sliced
1/2-1 cup sauerkraut
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp flour
1 tbsp Deli Dirt Mustard
1 cup milk (I used non-fat)
3 oz Muenster cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Pre-heat oven to 425F.  Slice potatoes into fry shape.

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Toss with 2 tbsp of olive oil and 1 tbsp of Deli Dirt.  Sprinkle with salt and lay on a cooling rack that is placed over a baking sheet.

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This will help your fries get crisp all around and keep the bottoms from burning.  Bake 30-40 minutes or until fries are golden and crispy (start checking them after about 30 minutes, since everyone’s oven is different and you might have cut yours thinner than mine).  While your fries bake up, have a dance party.  This is not optional.

10 minutes before your fries are ready to go (aka 20 or so minutes after you put them in the oven), brown your sausage in a pan and set aside.  Then make your cheese sauce.

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Melt butter in a sauce pan, add flour and stir together.  Cook for 2 minutes or until golden.  Stream in milk very slowly while whisking to break up any clumps that form.  Once you’ve added all the milk and whisked smooth.  Whisk in the mustard and cheese.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Now assemble.  Lay some fries on a plate.  Top with sauerkraut (you’ll note in the recipe I said 1/2-1 cup, because I love sauerkraut and ended up adding a ton more after I photographed, but if you don’t care for it as much, add less) and sausage, then drizzle with cheese sauce.  Serve immediately.

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This recipe will serve 2-4 people.  Confession: Jesse and I devoured the entire thing.  I don’t feel guilty.

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The perfect bite will include a bit of potato, sauerkraut and sausage.  I promise it’s delicious.  If you wanted to keep this low carb, I bet this would be delicious if you replaced the potatoes with spaghetti squash.  Ok, I might have to try that ASAP.

I can’t wait to try more recipes with this awesome mustard.  Don’t worry, grilled cheese is coming soon!

Do you love mustard? What’s your condiment of choice?

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.

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread

What’s your go-to blog for recipes?  We all have them, because these days… it’s so much easier to Google than to search through an array of cookbooks.

Me and half of America have Smitten Kitchen as our go-to blog for recipes.  I haven’t made too many things, because most of the time I like inventing things but I’ve made a few and every one is great.

This past week I was dogsitting…

and had a massive zucchini from the garden to use.  First I made an zucchini mozzarella bake, which I will tell you about soon, but there I still had about 1/3 of the zucchini left.  I’m telling you this thing was the size of a small animal (probably roughly the size of the two pugs above). I wish I had taken a picture of it.

So with 1/3 of an enormous zucchini sitting on the counter as two pugs stared at me, naturally, I turned to Smitten Kitchen for direction.  Now, I have to tell you… I’m a terrible person.  I never actually read her blog posts.  I only ever look at the pictures and recipes.   Does anyone else do that?

We all have different motivations for following blogs, right? For me, Smitten Kitchen is all about pictures and recipes.

So back to Zucchini.  I made zucchini bread, because I was feeling traditional.

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I usually never do this, but I actually followed this recipe pretty much to the T (but omited the nuts and added chocolate chips).  I chose to add chocolate chips because for some reason chocolate and zucchini sounds like a natural combination.

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Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread

from Smitten Kitchen

3 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
1 3/4 cups sugar
2 cups grated zucchini*
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup chocolate chips

*Note: I didn’t measure the zucchini so I actually think I added more like 3 cups

Line two loaf pans with parchment paper.  Pre-heat oven to 350F.

In a bowl, beat together eggs, oil and sugar.  Once combined, add zucchini and vanilla extract.  Stir to combine.  Add dry ingredients and chocolate chips.  Stir until just combined.  Pour batter into two loaf pans.

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Bake about an hour (mine took about an hour and 10 minutes, remember all ovens are different).

Allow to cool completely.  Then remove from pan (parchment paper makes it super easy to pull out of the pan).  Slice and serve.zucchinibread3

I took these two loaves to work and they were gone in a day.  That’s probably because I ate half of it on my own.  It was pretty delicious. The loaves are sort of dense, but super moist, which is always appreciated.

Normally I hate chocolate chips in quick breads, but this was fantastic.  If you ever put chocolate chips in my banana bread or pancakes, we won’t be friends anymore, but in zucchini bread… bring it on!

So there you have it.  Sometimes you need a go-to blog for a recipe.

What’s your go-to blog for recipes?  Are there any blogs you read solely for pictures and recipes?

Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Mousse Filling and Peanut Butter Butter Cream

I think this title has the record for the number of times “butter” is in a blog title.  I’m totally cool with that.

I’m also cool with this

Peanut Butter and Chocolate is pretty much one of the most amazing combinations on the planet.  My mother would disagree, but I think 90% of America would think these cupcakes are amazing.  Fact.

Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Mousse Filling and Peanut Butter Butter Cream

using Hershey’s “Perfectly Chocolate” Chocolate Cake

2 cups sugar
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup  Cocoa Powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk (I used almond milk and it was a-okay!)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water
2 oz cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup peanut butter
3/4 + 1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 stick of butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)

Pre-heat oven to 350F.  Combine sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a large bowl.  In another bowl, combine eggs, milk, vegetable oil and vanilla.  Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients.  Once it’s just about combine, stir in cup of boiling water.  Pour 1/4 cup batter into about each lined cupcake pan (makes about 30).  Bake 15-18 minutes (depending on your oven) or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Remove cupcakes from cupcake pan immediately and place to cool on a wire rack.  Allow to cool completely.

Make mousse filling.  Using a hand (or stand) mixer, whip heavy cream.  Gradually add in 1/4 cup powdered sugar as it starts to form soft peaks.  Beat until stiff, careful not to overwhip.  In another bowl, beat together cream cheese and 1/4 cup of peanut butter until smooth.  Fold in whipped cream.  Chill for about half an hour (you can put it in the freezer to speed this up).

Next make peanut butter butter cream.  Beat together peanut butter and butter.  Add in powdered sugar (and some vanilla if you’d like) until it reaches a thick enough consistency for frosting, add milk if necessary.  If you’d like you can also add some cream cheese to the frosting.  It turns out great!

Using a sharp pointed knife, cut out a small circle from each cupcake.  Transfer mousse to a ziploc bag and cut off an end to make a sort of piping bag (or put it in a piping bag if you’re fancy pants like that).  Pipe some mousse into each cupcake.  Next frost as desired (pipe or spread).

Keep them in the fridge until ready to serve.

Peanut Butter and Chocolate is a sure-fire crowd please-r.   I took them to an office party.  They were a hit.  Who doesn’t love a delicious chocolate cupcake with a peanut butter surprise?

Rum Layer Cake with Coconut Custard Filling

In addition to being obsessed with weddings, I’m also all about birthdays.

Yeah, that’s me… I love birthdays (along with any opportunity to bake a cake).

So…I know cupcakes are all the rage these days, but I have an unnatural love for layer cakes and let’s face it, birthdays merit layer cakes.  There’s something about a fully assembled and frosted layer cake that makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside.

I can understand why people don’t like making them.  Let’s face it, they’re sort of labor intensive, but in my opinion totally worth it, especially for a special friend.

My friend, Rachel, totally deserves a layer cake.  In fact, she got this one.

Rum Cake with Coconut Custard Filling

adapted from Bacardi Rum Cake

For Cake:*

1 box yellow cake mix
1 package instant pudding (4 serving size)
1/2 cup dark rum
1/2 cup water or milk (I used almond milk)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs

For Custard:*

1 cup whole milk (I used 3/4 cup nonfat milk and 1/4 cup of cream and it worked fine)
2 egg yolks
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp corn starch
1 cup shredded coconut

Cream Cheese Frosting:

1 (8 oz) package cream cheese, softened
1 stick of butter, softened
1 lb powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
Food coloring (optional)

Make Cake. Preheat oven to 325F.  Grease and flour 2 9-inch round cake pans (you can also put it in 3 pans, bake it for less time).  Cut a piece of parchment paper to line the bottom of the pan.  Pour contents of cake mix and pudding mix into a large bowl. In another bowl mix together milk, rum, eggs and vegetable oil.  Pour wet ingredients into dry and mix until combined.  Pour into the prepared cake pans, bake approximately 25 minutes or until golden brown and cooked in the center.

Remove from oven and set aside to cool.  You can make this a day or two in advance, just make sure you cover it in plastic wrap to keep it from drying out.

Make custard.  Heat milk on low heat in a medium saucepan stirring occasionally to keep it from burning.  In a separate bowl mix together egg yolks, sugar, corn starch and vanilla. Stir in half a cup of the warm milk, then pour the mixture into the saucepan.  Keep stirring over low-medium heat until thick.  Pour into a bowl to cool, cover with plastic wrap.  Refrigerate a few hours until completely cooled.

Make Frosting.  Beat together butter, cream cheese, powdered sugar and vanilla (and food coloring if you choose to use it).

Assemble cake.  Cut off the tops of the cakes so you have a level surface.  Lay down the first layer, then put down a layer of the filling in the center, don’t spread it to the edges, it’ll over flow.  If you only do two layers then place the top layer.   If not, repeat.  Cover in a thin layer for frosting, then chill in the freezer for 15 minutes.  Apply a thicker layer of frosting, decorate, chill again and serve.

*Note: For a taller cake, double the recipe.  I used 1.5 of this recipe (had oven issues and had to throw away one of my 4 layers).
**Note: If you only make a 2 layer cake, half the custard recipe is enough for one layer of filling.

I’m usually opposed to box mix.  I know I’m a total snob, but this was just sooo good, I had to give in and make it.  Honestly, I’ll probably make it again. In fact, I feel like this should be a birthday tradition.

It was a hit at the Birthday Dinner.

Happy Birthday Rachel!

What’s your favorite kind of birthday cake?

Coconut Cream Pie but Better

I’m not completely sure what the difference is between a pie and a tart, other than the shape of the pan.  For all intents and purposes, what follows is a pie disguised as a tart.

Thus, it is a much fancier (almost French seeming, hey, it’s Bastille Day!) version of coconut cream pie.

Okay, let’s be honest.  I’ve never eaten coconut cream pie.  I don’t think I’ve ever even seen one in person.  That was until I made my version of what I think coconut cream pie should be like.

I have no idea if this is what coconut cream pie should taste like, but here’s my creation.  Karla’s new and improved version with rich chocolate whipped cream for topping.

I’m going to go ahead and call it a winner.

Coconut Cream Pie with Chocolate Whipped Cream

1 package of graham crackers
6 tbsp butter
3 cup finely shredded coconut
1 1/2 cup milk
1 (14oz) can sweetened condensed milk
4 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla
pinch of salt
1/4 cup corn starch
1 1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 + 2 tbsp cup powdered sugar
3 tbsp cocoa powder

For the crust:

Crush graham crackers and combine with 1 cup of coconut.  Melt butter and pour over graham cracker mixture, toss to combine.  Press into a pie or tart pan.  Refrigerate.

For Custard Filling:

In a saucepan, combine the milk, sweetened condensed milk, egg yolks, vanilla and salt.  Heat, stirring constantly, until nearly boiling.  Take some of the warm milk mixture and combine in a small bowl with the corn starch, stir until smooth.  Pour in the corn starch mixture and the 2 cups of coconut.  Continue to stir until thick (not too thick though!).  Put in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap.  Lay the plastic wrap directly on the custard.  Refrigerate until completely cooled, like so:

Once your custard is cool, fill the tart crust with the creamy filling.

Then make your whipped topping.

For the topping, sift together the powdered sugar and cocoa powder.  Using a mixer start to whip cream, gradually add in cocoa powder and sugar.  Whip until the cream holds firm peaks.

Lay it on there, or nicely use a piping bag.

Either way, it doesn’t really matter.  Even the worst spreading will be covered up with some divine toasted coconut.  Lay your coconut on a baking sheet or on a piece of foil and stick it in the oven or toaster oven for a few minutes.  Turn it every so often and watch out because it can easily burn.  Allow the toasted coconut to completely cool and sprinkle as much or as little as you’d like onto your beautiful tart!

Serve, enjoy and feel fancy while you eat it.

Bananas Foster Creme Brulee and How I’m Going to Find the Love of My Life

I’m pretty sure this is how I’m going to get a husband.

One sunny afternoon, I’ll be making this wonderful creation:

I’ll serve it up to that special someone. He’ll take a bite and propose to me right then and there. Simple as that.

Okay, so it probably won’t happen that way, but I can almost guarantee that if you were to feed this to a fella (or lady! Gentlemen, don’t be scared to get in the kitchen!) it would most certainly, at the very least, land you a date.

Worth a shot, right?

Bananas Foster Creme Brulee

6 prepared ramekins of custard for creme brulee
3-4 bananas, sliced
3 tbsp butter
3 tbsp brown sugar
3 tbsp hazelnut liqueur (or rum, optional)
6 tsp white sugar

In a skillet, melt together the butter and brown sugar. Add bananas and turn the heat up to high.

Add the hazelnut liqueur. Shake the pan a little bit then flip each banana. Once the liqueur has reduced (and nearly completely evaporated), turn off the heat.

Arrange bananas over custard.

Sprinkle with a teaspoon or so of white sugar.

Using a kitchen torch, burn the top of the bananas so you get a good caramelized crust.

Serve and wait for a dinner invite/proposal/confession of adoration/etc.

If this doesn’t work… then I’m pretty sure men are crazy, and I’m doomed to be an old maid.

Gelateria del Teatro

I like weird food.  I pretty much always want to try new weird combinations of things.  Honestly, I think it sorta frustrates my family around the holidays, maybe not so much my sister but definitely the rest of my family.  The probably spend hours wondering: why can’t we just have normal food for Christmas?  Why are there apples in the potatoes au gratin?

But really, who wants to eat boring things?

The same should be true for gelato.  A few years ago, I went to this ice cream place in Berkeley called Sketch (it’s on 4th street in case you’re in the area and want to visit) and had the most amazing fig balsamic ice cream.  I’ve been obsessed with unusual ice cream flavors ever since.

This weekend some friends and I went to a gelato place, Gelateria del Teatro with the promise of unusual flavors. With less than a month left in Italy, it’s time to eat some delicious gelato.

We take our gelato very seriously!

They delivered!  I got three flavors: White Chocolate Basil, Ricotta Fig with Almonds and Orange Sacher (chocolate apricot?).

Oh my, so good.  Totally worth it!  The white chocolate basil tasted like real basil that had been sweetened, not really like white chocolate.  It was pretty delicious and fresh!

Kyla got some crazy flavors too but sadly I don’t remember which ones.  Even more sadly, the pictures of Lis and Nancy turned out wayyyy to dark.

My parents are visiting next week, I can’t wait to go back because I’m dying to try the Raspberry Sage flavor.  Then again, maybe I should stick to traditional flavors with them…

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.