I'm so happy to have you here with me sharing the delicious journey I have chosen! I am Carrie, a mom on a mission to find bliss in the kitchen. At least, as long as my kids allow me to. More of a baker than a cook, you'll find I love experimenting--baking is sort of like a mad scientist experiment, anyway, isn't it? It doesn't always turn out the way I plan, but that's part of the fun. ;)
I know I’ll never be wafer thin. You know, like those waifish models you want to shove a cheesecake down their throats. Floating around in their skeletal frames, withering away ounce by ounce, dying for fashion.
Most of the time, I’m okay with this. Sure, it would be nice to walk into any …
What is sfogliatelle? I can tell you one thing, it isn’t this:
Let me back up a little. Kate started work on the project early. She tagged me on Instagram and the next thing I knew, I was invited into her kitchen to see her progress. They turned out, but not in the …
After being away from the house most of the week, my routine interrupted, my refrigerator having special needs, it’s not easy getting back into the baking routine. I picked up a chest cold along the way and feel like, at any moment, one of my lungs may come up with these coughing fits. But it’s …
Life is a series of constantly changing events. Just when we think we’ve acclimated and know what we’re doing, the rug gets pulled out from under us and we have to adjust once again to the changing conditions.
For the last three years, I’ve been a college student. Yup, I’m the old lady …
Everyone needs a quick dessert she can whip up at a moment’s notice. Something that shows you made an effort even if you’re short on time. Magic Cookie Bars are just these treats. Just a few ingredients and a half hour in the oven and you’re well on your way to cookie heaven.
The traditional version is one everybody knows: layers of graham cracker, sweetened condensed milk, chocolate, coconut, and walnuts. In my family, we add butterscotch chips for a little more pizzazz. The formula works well as a base for a multitude of options. As long as you have the graham cracker crust and sweetened condensed milk, you can change it up to suit your mood. Have fun with it!
I had a jar of fancy raspberry peach champagne jam staring at me for far too long. It was languishing and needed something to add its uniqueness to! Thus, Raspberry Magic Bars were born. Feel free to change out the jam for an infinite number of iterations. A different magic cookie bar for every day of the week!
With Christmas coming soon, you’ll want to save this beauty! Perfect for the cookie trays you’ll be bringing to parties throughout the season!
I love this time of year. It could be that my birthday is at the beginning of October–perhaps I was born for it!–or maybe it’s the jewel tones adorning the trees, rarer and rarer as the season progresses. Crisp mornings and sunny skies make you feel alive. But really, it may just be the combination of smells that makes Fall irresistible. Dry leaves. Wood fires. And Pumpkin Spice everything. Breathe it all in and live in the moment. It’s gone in the blink of an eye.
You already know Kahlúa as the brand that makes White Russians and Mudslides possible–oh, such yumminess! With their latest addition, Kahlúa will accompany you throughout the Fall season, providing their own twist on the Pumpkin Spice phenomenon. Hallelujah! My beverages just got a whole lot more autumnal!
One of my favorite drinks is a dash of Kahlúa in my coffee on a cold, cold day. Simple and satisfying, with double the warmth and a nice little kick. Bliss. Today, I’m going to show you a variation that will make you want to run out and stock up on Kahlúa Pumpkin Spice before this limited edition flavor is a mere memory.
Kahlúa Pumpkin Spice Hazelnut Coffee is a delight! A nice little pick me up in the afternoon while lounging in front of a roaring fire, this beverage will become your new best friend. Pour a cup, take a seat, and watch the leaves fall lazily from the trees. Then drink another after you’ve raked all those leaves up. You’ve earned it!
We’re getting cheesy this month for First on the First! With homemade cheese, that is. Taking something into our own kitchens that we’ve only trusted professionals with before.
After reading The Whole Fromage for my virtual book club, From Left to Write, I became quite enamored with the idea of cheesemaking. France has this wonderful history of regional cheeses–hundreds, in fact–varying from village to village. I wish I could say I have intimate knowledge of a rich tradition like this, but alas, I do not. The oldest recipe in my arsenal comes from my mom–a method for making mac and cheese that we both learned from the high school Foods department. We just don’t have recipes passed down from generation to generation like that, and certainly nothing having to do with manipulating milk.
There was a short period in my life when I entertained the thought of raising goats. (And llamas. And chickens. For some reason, I seem to think I’m a farmer.) I went on a bender viewing The Fabulous Beekman Boys last year, fueling the fire. Reading The Lost Husband contributed further to my fantasy life. Romanticized ideas about goat farming danced in my head, squashed immediately by a husband dead set against any agricultural lifestyle I could imagine. It’s not meant to be.
What I didn’t realize is that I didn’t need the farm to make the cheese. Or massive caves in special terroir, either. Simple tastes could be satisfied with simple cheeses, right from my own kitchen.
Cheese is much more of a scientific journey than an interpretive dance. Exactness is key, often right down to the temperature reached and for how long sustained. This can pose some bigger challenges for neophytes. Kate‘s cheese, sadly, did not survive the process. She’ll share her experience with us in her Weekend Whisk wrap-up on Saturday. Anna expressed some concerns about hers, as well. More forays into the First on the First-ers’ cheesemaking can be found here:
Next month we’ll be twisting and turning away… making candy canes! Just in time for the holiday season! If you’d like to join us, click on the #FirstOnTheFirst tab above for more information. The more, the merrier!
And now, my homemade cheese. I discovered the method on The Italian Dish. While this isn’t a “true” ricotta in that it wasn’t started with whey from already-made cheese (ricotta meaning, literally, recooked), the end result is a close-enough substitute for the real deal, and certainly superior to supermarket alternatives. The procedure is quite easy and other than some babysitting of the pot to ensure you don’t scorch the milk, there isn’t a whole lot to it–including no need for thermometers and precise timing of a multitude of steps. This is the perfect cheese for the first-timer. Bolstered by this success, I’m looking forward to delving deeper in the future.
2 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (1 lemon should be sufficient)
Place a wire mesh strainer over a 2-quart bowl and line with 2 layers of cheesecloth. Set aside.
In a large, heavy-bottomed sauce pan (I used my 6-quart enameled cast iron pot), whisk together the milk, cream, and salt.
Cook over medium to medium high heat, stirring often, until it comes to a rolling boil. This will take a while. Be patient and don’t rush it, or you will ruin the milk.
Once the milk has achieved a rolling boil, reduce the heat to medium-low and stir in the lemon juice.
Stir constantly, continuing to cook for 2 more minutes.
Ladle the curds into the cheesecloth-lined strainer, allowing the whey to drain through into the bowl.
Let sit for about 20 minutes before transferring to a covered container and refrigerating. (You can let it drain longer, but it will be dryer; conversely, less time draining will make a moister cheese.)
Use within 48 hours.
*I highly recommend going with the highest quality ingredients possible here. If you’re going to go through the effort to make your own cheese, you may as well make the best cheese possible. Organic milk, therefore, is a must here. Next time, I will be trying to make this with raw milk. *The whey that remains can be used in breadmaking as a liquid replacement. Since there is no rennent in this cheese, however, it cannot be used to make other cheese.
Sliders may seem like a summer grilling weather kind of thing, but we enjoy them year-round. All you need are a seasoned cast iron pan and a medium to medium-high flame and you’re good to go, bringing your favorite summer treat to parties and sports gatherings for many months to come.
I recently attended a burger competition and at it, the judges stated that the bun is as important, if not more so, than any other item on the burger. If the bun is wrong, it’s hard to come back from that. KING’S HAWAIIAN ® Dinner Rolls are the perfect accompaniment to your burgers and sliders. They meet the softness criteria, having just the right amount of give, while adding a touch of sweetness to balance out the rest of the flavors. Whether you toast and butter them or use them as is, they’ll turn any burger into a winner, every time.
With the proper buns already in place around my burgers, I had to consider the filling. I decided to update my sliders for the season by incorporating flavors that speak Fall to me. You can’t have Fall in New England without cranberries in some shape or form! I spread some cranberry pepper jelly on the tops of the rolls to add some spicy sweetness and good ole’ New England flair. Add to that the peppery bite of arugula and sour creaminess of fresh goat cheese, and you have the perfect mini burger.
If you have a hard time finding cranberry pepper jelly, try the part of your grocery store that has the fancy condiments. Gourmet cooking stores will also be more likely to carry it than basic stores. It’s worth seeking it out for the unique flavor it brings to these burgers.
Festive Fall Sliders with KING’S HAWAIIAN ® Dinner Rolls
KING’S HAWAIIAN ® will be running a recipe contest November 4th through December 2nd and I would love to have your vote! By voting, you’re also entered to win moolah–so it’s worth the time spent casting your vote!! For more details, and to discover all the other fabulous recipes being entered, check out the KING’S HAWAIIAN ® Holiday Roll Call. (The page goes live on November 4th!)