Monthly Archives: July 2012

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jelly bean, drink, cocktail, martini, UV blue, blue, lemonade, sweet, tart, easy, fun, colorful, jellybean, rainbow, candy, sugar, easter, drink, party, sweet tart

Let me start of with a bit of an explanation for this concoction.

My brother-in-law, Matt, is without a doubt one of the funniest people I know. He's also incredibly neurotic and obsessive about certain things, which is why, when he decided to buy some jelly beans, he didn't half-ass the job.

Apparently he purchased about ten varieties of easter jellybeans, and did a blind taste test with my sister. The result was that Sweet Tart jellybeans had the best texture AND flavor.

When he told this story to Kevin and me earlier this year, we rolled our eyes and nodded our heads. Later, in the car, we discussed how insane he was. But when I saw a bag of them at the store, I bought them on a whim.

Oh.

My.

God.

From March-April, Kevin and I were averaging about 2 bags a week. I would make several trips to the convenience store during my lunch breaks to get my fix, and all of my teeth fell out. Ok, I lied about the last part, but I am not lying about the intense jelly bean cravings.

For example, this is one of my victory photos after an especially impressive Rite-Aid haul.  And to put it into perspective, this was my pre-easter stash. The Monday following Easter Sunday I went into full-out panic mode, and drove around to every store, buying out their supplies to stock up on my beans. I managed to score about 15 bags, hopefully enough to last me until Easter.

And if you think that's bad, my brother-in-law is hoarding over 30 bags of these. 

I'm not proud of this addiction, and went I look at the cupboard overflowing with candy, I'm a little ashamed. And when you have over 12 pounds of sugar, you start thinking of things to do with it.

Hence, the jelly bean-tini. ...continue reading

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bananas, foster, fosters, cupcakes, flame, fire, caramel, sugar, banana, banana bread, cream cheese, cinnamon, rum, dessert, decadent, delicious, easy, fun, frosting, butter, cream, sour cream,

Om nom nom.

That's the best way to describe these decadent cupcakes. Or, in the words of my coworker Paul, "That cupcake was amazing! Tastes like banana bread and applesauce cake but better!"

Thanks Paul.

bananas, foster, fosters, cupcakes, flame, fire, caramel, sugar, banana, banana bread, cream cheese, cinnamon, rum, dessert, decadent, delicious, easy, fun, frosting, butter, cream, sour cream,

I have two guesses as to why these cupcakes turned out so amazingly.

1. You actually MAKE bananas foster, and then incorporate it into the cupcake batter. There's no artificial flavoring here, it's straight up bananas, brown sugar, rum, and a little bit of fire. The result is a rich taste and the best texture ever. As Paul described, it had the texture of banana bread and applesauce cake, both of which are very dense, soft, and moist.

2. I had an amazing cooking partner for this. My friend Meredith came over one afternoon to help me whip up a batch of these, and she was fantastic! She had a great eye for design, had a lot of good ideas, and was just so bubbly and adorable that I think she poured some of her positive energy into the batter.

So next time you have overripe bananas, skip the banana bread and try out these cupcakes! ...continue reading

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I may not be able to get to a new post for a few days, because A. I have to finish a lot of stuff for work this week, and B. my computer is all messed up! YAY!

Turns out when you edit your photos in RAW format using the adobe suite, your computer very quickly runs out of space! And when I try to clear up some space, I just end up screwing everything up. So until Kevin can recover all my stuff this weekend, I might be playing it safe.

That being said, I was able to bake some awesomeeeeee Piña Colada cupcakes to celebrate my friend Ashley, over at Quarter Life (crisis) Cuisine, going on vacation to the amazing Atlantis Resort in the bahamas. I went a little crazy with the food styling (Sand. Sand everywhere), but I am so beyond thrilled at the final pictures. To entice you to go over and visit her site, and check out all of her delicious recipes, here's a little peek:

This is one of the photos that didn't make the final cut...can you imagine what the other ones look like?!

**Happy dance!!!**

So if I don't post for a few days, enjoy these pretty pictures that I spent hours taking, and know that I am busy vacuuming up sand. And missing you, of course!

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grilled, peanut butter, jelly, banana, strawberry, banana split, chocolate, honey, honey monkey, pineapple jam, jam, preserves, PB&J, grilled cheese, lunch, easy, fun, kid, children, weekday, weekend, toasted,

You know what? I think I'm getting way better at food photography and styling. 

Know how I know this? Because I have to spend WAY less time post processing my more recent photos, and when I look at the images I took, I am filled with an overwhelming sense of pride.

And hunger...

The recent additions to my photo "studio" (aka: dining room) have been my lovely macro lens, and two lowel ego lights. FINALLY I have a decent lighting set-up, and maybe, just maybe, one of my damn photos will make it onto food gawker. I'll tell you more about the lights and lens and how great they are later (probably by updating my Photography page), but now I want to talk about lunch.

If memory serves me right, I don't have any lunch recipes on my blog. Granted, I have a lot of meals that were reheated at lunch the following day, but never have I made and documented a dish specifically for the midday meal. Most of this stems from working 9-5 all week, but why not just make lunch on the weekends, Sarah?

Because I'm lazy. 

I've never been a sandwich person. I just haven't. You might try to tell me that sandwiches are the lazy man's ideal food, but from years of experience, I can assure you that a bowl of cereal provides an even faster way to fill your stomach. Bowl. Cereal. Milk. Spoon. Bam. Done.

None of this opening and closing refrigerator doors, aligning meat on the bread, spreading mayo and mustard and who knows what else, and to make matters worse, I rarely finish an entire sandwich. I have a tendency to get bored halfway through and walk away!

Now, you're probably thinking, Why are you telling us this? Because I found an amazing sandwich that will tempt even the pickiest, laziest eaters ever. I devoured mine, and then immediately had to stop myself from making another. There's always tomorrow though... ...continue reading

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dirty girl scout, cookies, chocolate, mint, boozy, alcohol, liquor, infused, thin mints, junior mints, drop cookies, espresso, 1920's, prohibition, gatsby, roaring, flappers, twenties

101st post! Yay!

So the weekend before my 24th birthday, I drove up to a friend's house for a Roarin' 20's party.

dirty girl scout, cookies, chocolate, mint, boozy, alcohol, liquor, infused, thin mints, junior mints, drop cookies, espresso, 1920's, prohibition, gatsby, roaring, flappers, twenties

Wow that's a large picture. 

Anyway, I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to try out some alcoholic cookies, you know, so I could sneak the booze past the coppers. They were also sort of inspired by the previews for the Great Gatsby, which will be released this coming Christmas. I thought that these chocolatey, minty, topped-with-candy cookies perfectly represented the 1920's. They are fun, flirty, easy to make, wonderful to share at parties, and best of all, liquor infused.

These turned out to be such a great success, and the best part is drinking the leftover alcohol! So grab your pearls and feathers, tuck your flask into your garter, and prepare to get tipsy.  ...continue reading

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AHHHHHHHHH!

(deep breath)

AHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

I cannot believe I've been doing this for so long! Less than a year, I know. But 100 posts?!?! And most of them recipes?!?! And most of them (well, some of them) are actually delicious, I would make this again recipes?

That's quite an accomplishment, don't you think? 

I keep stressing the amount I've grown in the past year. If you look back into the August, 2011 archives, you can compare my original posts with where I am now, in terms of actual cooking skill, variety of foods made, photography, and writing. I don't think my family (outside of my mother and sister) understand how important this is to me, how much I love food, and photographing food, and writing about food.

I'm no longer that finicky eater who refused to try anything new. Now I adore creating new dishes, experiencing new flavors, surprising myself and others. So to celebrate my 100th blog post, I'm going to count down my ten favorite recipes I've made so far!

Starting with...

#10: Flatbread pizza with arugula, goat cheese, roasted red peppers, zucchini, mushrooms, and truffle oil

This one is a great representation of how much my tastes have matured since I began this crazy blog adventure. Lets look back to August and see what my first pizza post was...oh, right. Spaghettios pizza. *gag*

Nowadays I would much prefer a gourmet flatbread, topped with fresh veggies, bright colors, and rich flavors.

#9 Arugula and grapefruit salad with shallot vinaigrette 

This one was a pleasant surprise. Again, the colors were stunning and bright, and the flavors came together perfectly. This is my go-to summer salad.

And this coming from the girl who refused to eat anything green until senior year of college...

#8: Ginger cookies

These thick, chewy, spicy cookies are out of this world. And more than that, they are symbolic. You see, I started working at the University of Rochester 3 months before I started this blog. It was there that I met Kevin, my boyfriend. But at the time I was dating someone else, and so to me Kevin was just that cute guy with the beard who made unbelievable ginger cookies.

Well, it's been just about 6 months now, and he's become the best cooking sidekick a food blogger could ask for. And he shared with me his recipe for these amazing cookies. awww

#7 Taco bites

These little bites were one of the first things I made without a recipe, and they were one of my most successful posts, thanks to reddit. They also gave me so much confidence, by showing me that it was ok to go off book sometimes. Granted, I've had many mishaps by doing this, but I tend to have the most fun. And creating a recipe can be as simple as making a taco and sticking it in a mini, crispy wanton wrapper.

#6 Matzo ball soup

This is another symbolic recipe for me. It represents the love and support I've received over the years from the Buran family, who have acted as my personal cheerleading team for my entire life. They've encouraged me, pushed me, and have been there for me. And they've done a great job at feeding me.

This matzo ball soup was the thing I looked forward to the most about holidays, and I'm so thankful to Marilyn for sharing it with me (and you!)

#5 Pasta with roasted butternut squash, sage, and creamy pumpkin sauce

This one is a autumn dish, there is no doubt about it. But it was so incredible that I'm almost hoping summer hurries up so that I can buy more pumpkins and make this again! Every bite was like creamy, pumpkiny heaven. It was another experiment for me of mixing together different flavors in new combinations, and I have to thank Tracy for the phenomenal recipe!

#4 Grilled lamb chops with tangerine rosemary rub 

This one was just...yeah. Expensive, choice cut of meat, grilled to perfection and topped with a bright and savory citrus rub. Perfect for spring and summer, and definitely a meal to impress people. It's gorgeous looking, tastes like happiness and rainbows, and it's surprisingly simple.

#3 Chardonnay white bundt cake with chardonnay glaze

This one was the first successful cake I had baked from scratch. It had pudding to keep it moist, bread flour to keep it fluffy, and Chardonnay to keep it boozy. Then you add the glaze (laden with even more wine), and it seeps into the cake, infusing it with even more sweetness, and giving it a little bit of a crispy crust. You find yourself wanting to grab handfuls of it and shove it in your mouth, it's that good.

#2 Biscoff cupcakes with chocolate ganache center and biscoff buttercream

This one is actually sort of an amalgam of multiple recipes. I took the biscoff cupcakes and added a ganache filling and brain frosting, but then scrapped the brain frosting for the original biscoff buttercream (though I was super proud of how cute they looked with the brains!). The result was an amaaaaazing cupcake. It's my go-to thing to bake, and I've made it 3 separate times since posting the original recipe.

People will love the biscoffy goodness, and the chocolate filling is a nice surprise. It also makes you look like a very skilled baker, when really, filling cupcakes isn't that hard. And when you stop to think about how biscoff sort of tastes like teddy grahams...you're basically eating a chocolate covered teddy graham, in cupcake form! :)

And finally, my favorite recipe from the last 100 posts is....

#1: The best damn veggie lasagna ever. Seriously. It's amazing. 

Believe me, I'm more surprised than you are. I know that my tastes have matured a lot in the past few years, but the fact that my single favorite recipe, the one I think about making the most, the one I wish I could eat for lunch and dinner every day is one that includes about 7 different vegetables, is something I'm still coming to terms with.

I season it liberally with cayenne, paprika, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, and chili powder to give it a bit of a bite, and the way that the veggies are diced (very small!) and cooked (sauteed and then simmered in tomato sauce) renders them soft and indistinguishable from one another. What that means is you can make this to please everyone. I have fed it to people who hate mushrooms, people who loathe onions, people who absolutely cannot stand peppers...and they all devoured it.

It's hearty, decently healthy, and incredibly addicting. I am going to make it this 4th of July weekend for my family in New Hampshire, and I am literally so excited to eat it again. And I think when my relatives see me making two huge veggie lasagnas, they'll finally realize that I've changed. And that this is the new and improved Sarah. 

Of all the recipes I've posted, which one has been your favorite? Let me know in the comments! :)