Strawberry Oat Bars

I don’t typically do much for breakfast, especially during weekdays when I normally just eat some store-bought granola bar with my coffee as I run out the door. I usually don’t have the time or appetite to have much more, but I did have the urge recently to improve on the quality of my breakfast, so trying my hand at my own granola bars seemed like a great place to start.

In addition to the obvious inclusion of oats and nuts, I also employed some spices (cardamom and ginger) as I thought these would rather nicely complement the filling: strawberries (since I know how nicely they can go together)! I was a bit worried that using fresh strawberries would result in a wet, mushy granola mess (since they macerate and get quite wet in the presence of sugar), so I sliced them thin and insulated the granola from them… click to read more…

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Baklava

Depending on where you hang your hat, baklava might mean different things to you–a Greek baklava is not a Turkish baklava is not an Arab baklava, and so on and so forth. The core idea is the same across all variants though: an absolutely delicious treat composed of layers of paper-thin, flaky phyllo dough, sweet, spiced, crunchy nuts, and a sticky, sweet syrup to bring it all together.

As exotic as baklava might be to some (to think, some have never had it before! If you haven’t, this goes on your dessert to-do list. Really!), making baklava is easy, albeit a bit tedious. Of course, if I didn’t use store-bought premade phyllo dough, it might not have been quite so easy ;-). At a high level, it really amounts to layering several sheets of the delicate, paper thin phyllo dough with a light brushing of butter between each with a thicker mid-section composed of sweetened nuts. Once this… click to read more…

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Very Strawberry Cupcakes!

As if cupcakes on their own aren’t spectacular, these cupcakes in particular were really something. I had aimed to work strawberry flavors into every element of this cupcake, as if the title of this post didn’t already convey that. Strawberry cupcake? Check. Strawberry cream-cheese frosting? Check. Strawberry Rhubarb jam filling? Check. Awesome? Yes.

Strawberry Rhubarb Jam Filled Strawberry Cupcakes with Strawberry Frosting and some indecisively placed strawberry garnish. I hate strawberries ;-)

With all of this strawberry action at once, you might be surprised, but the result wasn’t just getting hit in the face with strawberry. It actually worked quite harmoniously and each component kind of showcased a different side of strawberry: the cake was subtle, sweet, and floral, whereas the frosting was rich, creamy, and really a much more vibrant punch of strawberry. This is all in contrast to the strawberry rhubarb jam piped inside the cupcake. Oh, and funny thing, the only reason I thought of these cupcakes? I was shocked by how much jam I had made… click to read more…

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Sweet “Faux” Gras Pâté on Pear Chips…wait, wtf? Chicken for dessert?

Jeff at Culinary Disaster posed a challenge among a few friends recently to make a dish using chicken. I think we’ve all made many a chicken dish before, and seeing how dessert is where I seem to have the most fun, I thought it would only be appropriate that I try to do something a little odd and make a chicken-based dessert since I thought (a) that has to stand out and (b) that sounds like a hell of a challenge. I know…dessert…and chicken? You didn’t misread, so let that one sink in and bear with me (have I ever steered you wrong, dear reader?). Trust me, this one has a happy ending!

Obviously, one has to tread carefully to get a dessert out of a chicken, and leaning too heavily on eggs seems like a crutch (given how obvious they are in dessert, anyways). So I thought I might be better off looking away from the usual breast/thighs… click to read more…

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Strawberry Rhubarb Jam

Seeing how I knew my steamy love affair with strawberries simply wouldn’t last forever, I decided that jam would be a fantastic way to prepare myself for strawberries and I going our separate ways for the season. So to commemorate the tapering off of the winter strawberry harvest in Florida and to indulge my newly discovered pension for rhubarb, I made Strawberry Rhubarb Jam.

Strawberry Rhubarb Jam

This was my first ever jam-session ( *rimshot* ), so I approached with just about as much irrational fear as my first preserving experience. Something about saving fresh produce for many months to come just has me worrying that I’ll screw something up and give myself botulism or some other happy malady. But if you’re reading this, I’m still here, alive and well, so phew! 😛

In addition to not wanting to let the strawberry season… click to read more…

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Vanilla Bourbon Butter Pecan Ice Cream

The campaign for delicious home-made ice cream continues on! This week, I decided to take a break from the usual fruit-based flavors, and instead, opted for a more grown-up oriented flavor: bourbon. Specifically, vanilla bourbon butter pecan (now there’s a mouthful!).

Vanilla Bourbon Butter Pecan Ice Cream

I enjoy many a drink–a good beer, a nice bottle of wine, whatever. But if I had to pick one thing, I’m more of a whiskey guy. Some weeks, that means a good, single malt scotch, and others, a nice bourbon. Each have their charms. So why not combine a nice after-dinner drink with a nice after-dinner dessert? And so here we are.

But a bourbon-based ice cream wouldn’t quite be enough. Vanilla seemed like a natural combination (plus, it would mix very well seeing how the flavor of vanilla is extracted using alcohol), but I wanted a little something more. Seeing how that usually… click to read more…

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