Archive for the ‘Dessserts’ Category

Double Whammy – Thai and Butternut

Okay, so it’s been over a month since my last post?!??  =(

A LOT has happened in a month and flying too and from Seattle is not the least of it even if it was after a hurricane…  This last flight from WA to NY has reconfirmed in my mind that red eye’s SUCK.  Hence, the reason I am posting at 3 4 am in the morning.  I failed to power through the day as I originally planned.  “Oh, I’ll just lie down on my bed for a little bit” turns into crashing all afternoon.  I find coming back east is harder to readjust to time than traveling west to east.

However, that didn’t stop me from eating and cooking, heavens no.   I actually ate out and cooked in the same day woot!  After coming back to the food desert that was my apartment, I decided to go grocery shopping AND treat myself to arguably the best lunch special in Ithaca: Taste of Thai Express!

They have lunch specials and a set 3 course lunch menu for $13!  I got Goong Salon for appetizer which is shrimp wrapped in noodles and then fried.  It’s like shrimp mummified in crunchy noodles.

Followed by Tofu Pad Thai:

And finished with Sweet Black Rice:

So much food for $13!  Okay, so more like $15 + tax and tip.  It’s enough for 2 meals pretty much.  I brought some containers and was literally packing it up as I ate.  Is that weird?  I’m pretty sure that’s what my server was thinking.  I did have a server at Maggiano’s tell me that bringing my own containers was ‘so cute’ and that she loved us (me + sister) because it saved her so much work.  She was a particularly honest server… haha.

Following that meal I completely crashed and woke up 4 hours later thinking about dinner.  I already had a plan of what to make.  Right before I left I picked up some awesome veggies at Dilmun Hill, the student farm.  Basically, in exchange for volunteering some time you get free, fresh, straight-from-the-ground, veggies!  I had that butternut squash in the back of my mind and I decided that some type of butternut squash pasta would be delish.  I had already google searched and shopped, for this How Sweet It Is recipe in the morning.  And how sweet it looks!

So that kinda looks like a glob with some cheese and seeds on it, but it tastes real good!  It was based off the How Sweet It Is recipe with a few changes.  1) Obviously used bowties (farafelle if you want to be Italiano) instead of penne, UWUH (Use What You Have) 2) Used soy milk because that’s what I bought 3) Increased the mozzarella cheese from 1/4 c to 4 oz ~1/2 cup because I was using a bigger pan 4) No sage or bacon.

   
All together it looked like this:

   

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This makes me all warm and fuzzy inside.  I will try and back post some of the other things that have gone on the past 5 weeks, but we’ll see how that goes.  Modified recipe below!

Roasted Butternut Squash Casserole  *from How Sweet It Is*

+ 1 sm-med butternut squash, peeled n chopped + seeds

+ 1/4 t salt

+ 1/4 t pepper

+ 1/4 t nutmeg, I used whole

+ 2 T unsalted butter

+ 1 sm shallot

+ 1 T flour

+ 1/4 c mascarpone cheese

+ 2/3 c milk

+ 1/2 lb whole wheat bow-ties/farafelle

+ 1/2 c freshly grated/chopped mozzarella

+ 1/4 c freshly grated parmesan

Roast chopped butternut squash and seeds (if desired) in olive oil, S+P, for 40 minutes flipping halfway through.  My seeds were a bit toasty after 40 so take out the seeds a bit earlier.  Mash roasted squash with a fork or potato masher and set aside.

Boil water for pasta and cook as directed.

Meanwhile, heat medium saucepan over medium heat and melt butter.  Add shallots and stir until butter and shallots are browned.  Add the 1 T of flour and stir til smooth for 1-2 minutes.  Add mascarpone, milk, squash, and spices.  Stir til combined.  You can save some pasta water to thin out the sauce if you’d like or add more milk.

Mix pasta with about half of the butternut sauce.  Pour into shallow baking dish (I used one a tad bit smaller than a 13×9 inch pan, maybe 8×11?) and spread remaining sauce over top.  Sprinkle cheese on top and bake for 20-30 minutes depending on the dish size.

Garnish with roasted seeds and eat til stomach’s content.

Gah, it is so late now I’m hungry again!  Night!

Bread Puddin

I had leftover rolls/roll bits in the freezer for a loooong time.  I don’t really care to saw how long because it would sound really unappetizing.  A waterpolo potluck came up and I saw a window of opportunity to use this frozen bread!  Bread pudding is delicious, no question about it.  What I love even more is that uses something you could say is ‘past its prime’ and turns it into something so scrumptious you would never know it.

The bread:

thawed out bread

I’m come away from this learning that bread freezes very well.  I tasted a bit just to make sure it wasn’t awful and it tasted like bread.  I actually had to stop myself from eating too much to be honest.  There were a few really dried, fridge tasting bits around the edges and it just ripped those off.

I used a bread pudding recipe that came up when I googled ‘bread pudding’ and modified it a bit.  So based off of the allrecipes.com Bread Pudding II, here’s the ingredients:

  • thawed, frozen bread
  • 3 T butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 7 med eggs beaten
  • 2 cups milk (I used SO Delicious coconut milk because that’s what was in the fridge)
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 1/2 t ground cinnamon
  • 1 t vanilla extract

Super easy.

1) Preheat oven to 350 F.

eggy, bready

2) Rip up the bread into small pieces and put into a pan.  The original recipe uses an 8×8 square baking pan and I used ~10inch round baking pan.  I figured I had about 1 1/2 times as much bread as the original recipe used so I scaled things accordingly.

3) Drizzle the melted butter over the bread and sprinkle the dried cranberries and chocolate chips on top.

4)Mix the remaining ingredients together in a bowl and pour over the bread in the pan.  Use a fork to poke the bread around to make sure it all gets coated.  I kinda turned them over and it also helped to get some of the cranberries and chocolate mixed in.

5) Bake for about 40 minutes or until the top is springy when poked at.

 

finished product!

Isn’t she a beauty??!  The outside is crispy and tastes more like bread, but you dive into the center and it’s a custardy goodness that melts in your mouth!  It was almost finished at the potluck I went to.  There was just enough for me to eat the rest for breakfast this morning =).  My friend who doesn’t like bread pudding even said it wasn’t so bad.  I’m not sure it took me so long to make this but it’s finally done!  I will definitely be making it again.

close up, smile puddin!

New York State Fair

Another first this labor day weekend was a trip to the great New York State Fair.  I had heard that the NYS fair was good but had never had the opportunity to go.  You really have to experience it for yourself.

plethora of food signs

Not only for the food, but also for the bunnies, cows, crafts, concerts, and activities.  There were so many animals…  cows, sheep, bunnies, chickens, other fowl, goats, and on.

lionhead bunny! there was this poster outlining how the lionhead bunny is a result of a mutation in ‘x’ gene and how it’s recessive so that means xyz… these people are serious about their bunnies!

All the animals were for show and they had all different breeds, colors, shapes, sizes of these animals.  Most people don’t normally see cows just chillin in a giant building with hundreds of other cows.  I saw someone literally blow drying a cow’s hair? fur? I assume to get ready for the show.  They were pretty cute and bony…

chillin dairy cows + boy…

And of course the udders…

udders…

I don’t really understand how they’re able to walk around with such udderly big udders.  And it is a bit strange to actually see where your milk comes from…  It’s so removed from the cow in a gallon jug that it’s easy to forget it ever came from an animal.  I don’t think that’s really a positive for our food system.

Other highlights:

I got to hold a chick at the 4-H booth!

chicky!!

There was a cheese carver and cheese samples.

she carvin the cheese

sample o feta

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The butter sculpture in the ‘dairy products’ building.  They had I ❤ Milk for sale for 25 cents and lots of ice cream.

the butter sculpture

And the food!

mo food

We ate gyros, bloomin onions, ice creams, and fried clam strips.  The food was inescapable and any type of fair food you could ever dream of from roasted corn and wine slushies to chocolate covered bacon and $1 baked potatoes (the line for which is literally 100ft).

maple soft serve

blackberry vanilla twist

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The maple soft serve was so rich and creamy your tongue was swimming through it and I love any blackberry flavored ice cream.

bloomin onion

Gotta have something fried.

You could go to the fair everyday it was open and not eat the same thing twice.  Plus, some of the prices are actually reasonable like a $2 soft serve at Byrne Dairy.  At the other end there’s the $9 gyro that’s still delicious.

I don’t even have pictures of the rides but of course my brother wanted to go on the spinny-est of them.  Is it sad when you feel old when you’re in your 20s?  My brain cannot handle those rides like when I was 10.  *sigh* youth

There are also free concerts every night.  The Band Perry was playing the day we went and I was so excited because I was obsessed with “If I Die Young” at work literally the week before.  Unfortunately, the concert started at 8pm and after being there since noon the rest of my family was to tired to stick it out so I didn’t even get to hear them play it.

They have other ‘headliners’ as well like monster trucks and the demolition derby which I’ve heard is quite the amusement.  Good ole Amurica, running cars into each other till they die.

Overall, it’s like a better fun, more diverse, cheaper, temporary, amusement park.  Parking is a breeze with a bazillion shuttle buses running around.  The worst part was the lines for the women’s bathroom…  It really was quite the experience with such a seemly unrelated set of experiences: pigs, the Space Roller, funnel cake, and demolition derby?  In any other place it would make absolutely no sense, but at the NYS fair it’s all just right.

The HEIGHTS

I’ve graduated and still am in Ithaca and there are still restaurants I haven’t been too!  The family came to visit for the holiday weekend and my dad suggested The Heights Cafe & Grille after perusing the interweb.

I may have a new favorite restaurant in Ithaca… Let me show you.

a whopping calamari appetizer and beet salad!

There was also bread, pita, and garlic hummus and we figured two appetizers would be good for four people.  This is the biggest appetizer serving of calamari I have ever been served in my life!  We stupidly asked for more bread right before the apps came out and we couldn’t even touch it we were digging into the calamari so fast.  Couldn’t even finish all the calamari to save room for the rest of the meal.  Not only a giant serving but perfectly crispy calamari with a chunky thousand island-ish tartar sauce.

Oh yeah, and the entrees came with salads choice of arugala or cesear.  I knew there was something missing in my pictures…  The portions were pretty generous with those as well.  Lots of dressing though.

The mains were as follows:

braised short ribs

burger

branzino

scallops with gnocchi

The scallops and gnocchi were to die for!  My mom who ‘doesn’t like gnocchi’ was a fan of the delectably soft potato dumplings and the scallops were just like scallops should taste: sweet and buttery.

Branzino was also good.  Not like the most amazing fish I have ever tasted but nothing to complain about.  Is it sad that I now think of the new Spiderman movie where Gwen Stacie’s mom makes branzino for dinner with Peter comes over to her fancy NYC apartment for dinner?  She did say it about a thousand times “My mom’s making branzino for dinner, braaannzino.”

Burger delicious and also giant.  There seems to be a theme here for the portions.

Spare ribs were also good, but I feel like there could have been more flavor incorporated into the meat.  It just be that I’m used to calbi when it comes to spare ribs?  I was slightly underwhelmed nonetheless.

Last but not least, desssert!

chocolate souffle with a frozen berry terrine

On the menu with entrees there was a little blurb that mentioned that the chocolate souffle had to be ordered with the entrees for there to be enough time to bake.  So we foolishly thought that that was the only dessert and ordered two to split.  Well, there were other desserts on their dessert menu but the chocolate souffle was delicious and the frozen berry terrine was cool.  I liked the figs most in the terrine and I think it’s my first terrine ever!

I have to mention the coffee though.  Instead of just the cream and sugar that usually comes with coffee there was a whole plate of rock sugar on a stick, cinnamon sticks, mini chocolate chips, raw sugar, and whipped cream to add into your coffee…  It was the most amazing coffee service ever and they didn’t even charge it since only my mom ordered it.

The website says it’s casual and it’s the most casual fine dining type place I’ve been to.  There are back servers and servers and the decor is elegant and understated.  The portions though were waaaaaaay bigger than I was expecting at a fine dining type place.  Someone at the table next to us ordered the steak and it was a giant pile of meat.  It might have been the way they cut it up and piled it onto the plate but it looked huge.

The prices were also more on the fine dining end but not ridiculous.  The burger was the cheapest entree at $19 but my big teen brother didn’t even finish it.  It was so much food we had leftovers which are now sitting in my fridge :).

Note to self, maybe order one appetizer for four people since there’s the bread and salad before the entree and there is more dessert than just the souffle.  Oh, and also order coffee even though I don’t really drink coffee but they give you so much stuff to add it is amazing.  If there’s one thing I can assure you, it’s that I will definitely be coming back to the Heights!

Lavender Festival, San Juan Island

A beautiful, bright, and sunny day on San Juan Island and there is a lot going on this weekend. Farmer’s market, art show, salmon sale, and lavender festival.  I rode to the lavender festival at Palindaba Farm with a few friends and this is what I saw.

It was just beautiful.  Rows and rows of different kinds of lavender for a few acres.  During a cooking demo (more on that later) the nice old man next too me said that they owner wanted to open a farm but wanted to grow something different to avoid competition with other farms.  I guess no one was growing lavender because there is a whole lot of lavender here!  So many different types.

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I bought some of their famous apple rhubarb lavender pie a la mode with lavender vanilla ice cream.

They even had crafts.  All sorts of things to make and buy, and the woman who made soap had leftover soap shavings you could make a soap ball with.  She was very nice.  I was really going to put a donation in the donation jar until I realized I had forgotten my wallet… >.<

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It wasn’t very large or but some arts and crafts vendors, some food, music, massage, and some demos.  There was a cooking demo and the chef was preparing samples of all these dishes with lavender:  Lavender hazelnut biscotti, blueberry lavender cobbler, apricot glazed lavender duck, and roasted apricot with raspberry and goat cheese.

It was funny, cuz as the demo was going on a man with a beard sat in one of the plastic chairs in the back where one of the legs was broken and completely fell over backwards.  The nice old couple were telling me that he was the owner of the farm and if it happened to anyone, probably best if it was the boss.  haha

I would have stayed longer maybe, but my ride had to go.  I wasn’t able to check out the store but they also have a store in town down by Friday Harbor so I will try to check it out before I leave.Lavender Fields are Foreverrr!

A Waterpolo Weekend at Cornell

Who has ever heard of water polo?  Water polo is sometimes confused with the horsey polo and some people actually think water polo is horsey polo in a pool but I assure you that is not the case.  I would describe it as a combination of swimming, soccer, and wrestling all in a pool.  There are 6 players and a goalie in the pool for 4, 7 minute quarters and the general idea is to put the ball in the other team’s goal.

Cornell in red, Columbia in white

This weekend was Cornell’s home water polo tournament within the NY division.  Cornell, the defending NY champs, won all 4 games but not without a little drama.  The first game on Saturday against Columbia was won through sudden death overtime, which was a tad stressful.  The victories in the pool this weekend sets Cornell up as the 1st seed in the championship tournament April 14th and 15th hosted by Columbia.  A win at Columbia would send Cornell to the national club tournament in Florida the first weekend of May.  For more information and results check out the Collegiate Water Polo Association’s website and for more photos like our facebook page!

Go Big Red!

yum yum Gingerbread

buttermilk gingerbread recipe

Nothing says winter like some gingerbread with a dollop of whipped cream on top. This recipe was one from the ‘organic naturals’ brand (or something like that) test kitchen that was good because it used buttermilk which we had in our fridge. My mom made some gingerbread from our Southern Living Cookbook a few days earlier and we decided that that one was less sweet and thicker.

It’s weird because gingerbread happens to look exactly like chocolate cake!  If you were expecting chocolate cake and took a bite out of it, it’d be like ‘Surprise!  I’m gingerbread not chocolate cake, but aren’t I just as delicious!’   just sayin.