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Monday, March 2, 2015

Rustic Italian Bread


Hi friends! Greg and I made this Rustic Italian Bread as a fun weekend project! We were doing some stuff around the house and figured – why not? We had all the ingredients and had some free time. The bread needs to rest for an hour to an hour and a half each time, so there is definitely some waiting around time needed.

We used the recipe from our favorite cookbook, America’s Test Kitchen. We had previously made dinner rolls from this cookbook for Christmas Eve last year, and they were phenomenal! We’ve also made a Holiday Bread Wreath for 2 years now and it’s a family favorite! Recipe from Food Network Magazine (see post here). So we have a little bit of bread making experience.

In terms of appearance and presentation, this bread is impressive! It rose very nicely. I scored the X on top a little too big, i'll know better for next time. In terms of taste, it was just good. Not great. I think it was a little bit dry. We sliced some and tried it with some olive oil and cheese and it was great. Tasting it alone left a little to be desired. I'm not sure if it was the recipe or us, but it didn't give us the WOW factor that we were looking for.

Another thing was the parchment paper. We baked the bread on our pizza stone. The cookbook said to leave the bread on the parchment paper to bake. I even trimmed the paper so it didn't hang over the edge of the pizza stone and burn. However, when it came time to transfer the bread to the cooling rack, the parchment paper was completely baked onto the bottom of the bread! We just cut off the bottom and it was fine, but I don't think I will bake on the parchment paper next time.

All in all it's a fine bread, just not EXCELLENT. There are variations of this bread within the cookbook, so perhaps we will try one of those next - bread baked with rosemary, nuts, etc.

Hope everyone had a great weekend! Thanks for reading!


Friday, February 27, 2015

Obica Mozzarella Bar - A Little Piece of Heaven in New York, NY




Hi friends! I just went to Obica Mozzarella Bar with a friend from work, and wanted to share my experience. Obica is a chain, they have various locations all over the globe. I have a passionate love for all things cheese, and was delighted when my coworker suggested that we go to Obica during lunch. There are two locations in NYC – we went to the one on Madison avenue and 56th street.

Atmosphere: Obica is inside a big atrium building – very high ceilings and the whole building is glass. It’s really beautiful! The restaurant is set up for two different dining experiences – there is a long, modern looking bar along the window (perfect for people watching) and a restaurant side with tables and chairs. Although the restaurant is inside, the restaurant mimics an outdoor dining experience – trees, tables with big umbrellas, and patio floors. Think chic cafĂ©.

THE CHEESE: The most important part, right? Obica does this awesome thing called Mozzarella Box. It just sounds glorious, doesn’t it? Basically you choose your cheese and your accompaniments as an appetizer:

Choose one mozzarella:
Mozzarella Selection: Bufala Classica Mozzarella - Delicate Taste
Bufala Affumicata Mozzarella - Naturally Smoked
Burrata Mozzarella - Deliciously Creamy

And accompaniments:
Cherry Tomatoes & Basil Pesto
Marinated Artichokes
Prosciutto Crudo Di Parma Dop
Bresaola Della Valtellina cured beef
Smoked Wild Alaskan Salmon
Selezione Di Salumi felino, crudo, mortadella and speck.

We chose the Burrata Mozzarella. It was so delicious and creamy. It was basically falling apart with yummy creaminess. The waitress brought over bread and olive oil to start, so my friend and I were spreading the mozzarella on the bread and making mini sandwiches. So good. For our accompaniments, we went with the Cherry Tomatoes and Basil Pesto and it did not disappoint! The tomatoes and pesto came arranged beautifully on another plate. I’m not a big tomato fan, but the basil pesto was probably one of the best pesto sauces I have ever tasted. It was so unexpectedly good – I put it on my cheese AND bread. It really complimented the cheese well.

The main course: My friend and I shared the Schiaffoni pasta with tomato and basil. It came with a little dollop of mozzarella on top. The flavor of the pasta was great, but it was cooked a little too al dente for my taste. I like my pasta soft, even though that’s not the proper way to prepare it. I was glad we shared the pasta dish – after the bread and olive oil and the burrata mozzarella with pesto, we were both in a carb coma!



In closing: I would definitely go back here. My friend and I went for lunch, but I could definitely see my husband and I going to have a glass of wine and sharing a mozzarella sampler before heading to a show or dinner. The presentation of everything is beautiful, and the cheese was fantastic! They also offer their food to go if you don’t have time to sit down. Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Huli Huli Chicken


How good does this look?! Continuing our journey of easy weekday recipes, I present to you: HULI HULI CHICKEN!

My sister in law shared her awesome meal prep idea with us and we have been trying it out. She buys 3 pounds of chicken breast at Costco, then cuts them all up in one day. She pre-portions them in ziplocks, and freezes them. Each ziplock bag is portioned for two people. When she wants to use the chicken, she defrosts it (you can stick it in the fridge the night before) and makes a sauce to go with it. She has a few sauces in her arsenal that she’s shared with us - they are easy, delicious and QUICK! This specific post is how to make Huli Huli chicken. Enjoy!



How to make the sauce:
3/4 cup ketchup
1/3 cup soy sauce
3 TBSP packed brown sugar
3 TBSP lime juice
1 TBSP grated ginger
4 cloves of garlic

How to cook the chicken:
In a skillet, cook diced chicken in pan with some oil until browned. Stir in sauce and cook together for 20 minutes. Serve over rice or egg noodles!

If you want to cut down on calories, you could use less brown sugar. We also used a little more lime. This sauce was great! We will definitely be using the chicken prep method going forward. It kinda sucks having to cut all the chicken at once, but it saves you so much time during the week. Hope you guys enjoyed!! xo



Monday, February 2, 2015

Muffin Pan Popovers


Hi friends! Hope everyone had a great weekend! The weather here in the NY/NJ area is just AWFUL and makes you want to stay in bed and binge-watch Netflix all day. Although there’s not many times that I DON’T want to do that. Anyway I digress.

My husband made this kick ass muffin pan popovers. They are like little works of art. I’ve never had a popover before, and I have to say – my first experience got me hooked! They are so delicate and light – kind of similar to a croissant but not flaky. We ripped our popovers open and slathered some butter right in the middle. AH-MAZ-ING. They are best served right out of the oven. I had 4 of them in one sitting. FOUR. Not proud of it but I couldn’t help myself. They are so light and airy that I felt like I could allow myself to have a few =)

So, let’s get down to it.

Here’s What You’ll Need:

• 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
• 2 large eggs, at room temperature
• 1 cup whole milk, at room temperature
• 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
• 3/4 teaspoon fine salt
• 1 cup all-purpose flour

How To:

1. Heat the oven to 425°F. Remove all of the racks from the oven except one arranged in the lower third position. Place a baking sheet in the oven while it heats.

2. Place 1/2 teaspoon of the butter into each well of a 12-well muffin pan; set aside.

3. Place the remaining 1 tablespoon butter, eggs, milk, sugar, and salt in a blender and blend until smooth, about 30 seconds. Turn off the blender, add the flour, replace the lid, and blend until just smooth, about 30 seconds. Set the mixture aside in the blender.

4. Place the prepared muffin pan in the oven on the heated baking sheet and bake until the butter sizzles, about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the muffin pan and the baking sheet from the oven. Pouring from the blender, fill the wells of the muffin pan halfway up with batter.

5. Return the muffin pan and baking sheet to the oven. Bake until the popovers are puffed and the tops are starting to brown, about 20 minutes. (Do not open the oven door during the baking time.) Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F and bake until the popovers are golden brown all over, about 15 minutes more. (Do not open the oven door until the popovers have baked at least 35 minutes.)

6. Remove the muffin pan and baking sheet from the oven and place them on a wire rack. Remove the popovers from the pan and serve immediately.



The original recipe is from Chow.com (click here for original). Hope everyone stays dry!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Make These Mini Cupcakes, Gain Friends for LIFE


How cute is this?!?!? I made these beauties for a bake sale at work which benefits the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. Unfortunately, the bake sale was cancelled because of this damn snow storm! I brought them to work anyway so my coworkers could enjoy them! See how to make them below =)


Makes about 24 mini cupcakes. Recipe adapted from epicurious.com

You'll Need for Cupcakes:
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • Mini muffin pan
  • Mini cupcake wrappers
How To Make Mini Cupcakes:

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. Line muffin cups with liners.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Stir together milk and vanilla in a small bowl.

Beat together butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add egg and beat until just combined. Reduce speed to low, then add flour and milk mixtures alternately in batches, beginning and ending with flour and mixing until just combined.

Divide batter among muffin cups, filling them two-thirds full, and bake until tops are pale golden and a wooden pick or skewer inserted in centers comes out clean, about 15 minutes. Invert cupcakes onto a rack and cool completely.

How To Make Vanilla Buttercream Frosting:
I didn't use the frosting recipe from epicurious.com. Here's how I made mine, super easy!


  • 3 cups of confectioner's sugar
  • 3/4 stick of butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 tablespoons of milk
  • 1 drop of red food coloring
  • Sixlets chocolate coated candies for the top of cupcake
Beat together butter and sugar. Add in vanilla extract. Add 2 tablespoons of milk at first and check consistency. If you want the frosting a little more spreadable, add another tablespoon. Mix in one drop of red food coloring to achieve the color I made above. Top with one chocolate coated candy or candy of your choice.

I think this particular frosting recipe is GREAT for piping. I don't usually pipe frosting for my cupcakes, simply because I was afraid I wasn't good at it. I gave it a whirl, and was pleasantly surprised by the results. Just one drop of food coloring gives you the most beautiful, light pink shade. My mom suggested topping them off with the turquoise candies, which was a great idea! 

Thanks for reading! Xo


Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Fried Risotto Cakes

Want to use that leftover risotto in a fun and tasty way?

Enter - RISOTTO CAKES!


My husband is always thinking up fun, new recipes and this one didn't disappoint! We had two risotto cakes each for lunch and they were the perfect snack on this snow day!

Here's what you'll need:

  • Leftover risotto
  • Flour
  • Eggs
  • Bread crumbs
  • Oil to fry in (we used vegetable)

Step 1 - Take leftover risotto and roll in flour, egg and bread crumbs in that order as seen below:



Step 2 - In a nonstick skillet, fry risotto mixture in hot oil until golden brown.

Step 3 - Shove in mouth like a beast.

Hope you guys enjoyed! Thanks for reading!

Monday, December 29, 2014

Old Fashioned Chocolate Cake Recipe

Hi dolls! I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday. This year, my husband and I hosted Christmas Eve and it ROCKED. It was so nice to have both families together under one roof. For the special occasion, I wanted to make a really awesome dessert. My boss is an avid baker, so I knew she would have some fun ideas for me. She gave me this recipe, and said that she makes it for every holiday at her home. Her family BEGS for it! I took her word for it, and she wasn't wrong. This cake is absolutely delicious! My husband is not a big chocolate person, and even he couldn't get enough of this cake.

I made a few minor tweaks to the original recipe (outlined below). What made this cake extra special to me was the sprinkles. A co-worker gave them to me - they are from her family in Holland. They are the real deal, no joke chocolate sprinkles and they were the perfect topping for this cake! She said when she visits her family in Holland, they melt these sprinkles on top of bread for breakfast (OMG). Check out the pictures below, and the recipe from Hershey's. Enjoy!






What You'll Need
3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) butter or margarine, softened
1-2/3 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup HERSHEY'S Cocoa
1-1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1-1/3 cups water
1/2 cup finely crushed hard peppermint candy (optional - I didn't use)
Buttercream frosting (recipe follows)
Additional crushed hard peppermint candy (optional - I didn't use)
Sprinkles (not from the original recipe, I added these)

Directions for Cake - Hershey's Old Fashioned Cake Recipe

1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round baking pans or one 13x9x2-inch baking pan.

2. Combine butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla in large bowl; beat on high speed of mixer 3 minutes. Stir together flour, cocoa, baking soda, salt and baking powder; add alternately with water to butter mixture, beating until blended. Add candy, if desired. Pour batter into prepared pans.

3. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely.

4. Frost with buttercream frosting. Just before serving, garnish with peppermint candy, if desired. Makes 12 servings.

Buttercream Frosting (makes one bowl)

6 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened
2-2/3 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup HERSHEY'S Cocoa
1/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Beat butter in medium bowl. Add powdered sugar and cocoa alternately with milk, beating to spreading consistency (additional milk may be needed). Stir in vanilla. About 2 cups frosting.



Hope you guys have a great New Year's! Until next time .. xoxo