Pizza for my Tummy

Every once in a while my tummy talks to me.  It has a low rumbly voice and it words are long and drawn out.  It will tell me it it wants nourishment, it will tell me it does not like what I put in it (not one bit) or, on rare occasions, it will ask for something specific.  Yesterday it asked for pizza.  There I was, sitting on the couch plodding my way though my accounting homework, when this voice percolated up from the depths of my insides, with only one word, “Piiiiiiiizzzzzzzaaaaaaaaaa”.  I tried to ignore it, tried to focus on credits and debits, adjusting entries and bank reconciliations, but that voice would not stand to be ignored. “Piiiiiiizzzzzzzzzzaaaaaaaaaaa!” it roared, until I could not ignore it any longer.  Into the kitchen I went and began to prepare pizza.  Zucchini, tomato and cheesy corn pizza.

Satisfied Tummy?  (and it was.)

Now because my tummy was so damn insistent I didn’t have time to wait for a full fledged pizza dough so I used the ‘Quick and Easy Pizza Dough’ from allrecipes.com.  I was pleasantly surprised with it and would recommend it to anyone else who has a very pushy tummy that won’t wait for proofing times…

For the toppings I took some fresh corn kernels, cut from the cob,  and mixed them with some diced garlic, 1/2 cup parmesan cheese and some sal and pepper to taste.  Spead that on the dough as your base, then drop dabs of tomato sauce over that.  I then thinly sliced some zucchini and tomatos and layered that over the tomato sauce, topped that with as much cheese as I pleased and baked!  I recommend using a baking stone if you have it, it makes for quite the yummiest of pizza experiences, and bake on high, 425-450 degrees until crust browns and cheese bubbles and darkens.

Then over the lips and through the gums, lookout tummy….here it comes!

Delicious Fourth of July Fruit Fraisier

I have been seeing pictures of fruit fraisiers popping up all over the internet for a while now, and every time I do I say, “Yes!  I must make one of those!” and then, well, then…I chicken out.  You see, pastry cream and I have not always been the best of friends, I suppose this comes from the fact that I have never had central air/heating and so my pastry cream turns to mush before my very eyes (damn need for temperature control!)  And being a vegetarian, enforcing my pastry cream with gelatin is not an option and so, I had to find another way.

This lead to my experimenting  with agar.  Yes, I mean EXERIMENTing, I had no idea what I was doing folks.  Now, let me tell you about the failures! I had one batch of pastry cream that more like playdough than cream, and one that was downright rubbery and chewy–yuck, but eventually I found a recipe that worked–it held-but not too much, it was creamy (not chewy) and didn’t mush!  Yay no mushy!

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Summer Brownies and Sangria!

Hi All!
Sorry for the hiatus, but it has been an eventful start to the summer, filled with hiking in the Poconos, some amazing theatre in NYC and then me geting used to not having my boyfriend around for the Summer!  (Damn those summer-stock theatre gigs that take him away from me!)

So what do you do when you feel like you might be turning into that lonely cat lady you promised your high school best-friend that you would never be?  You bake brownies–the kind that go really well with a dark red sangria–and take them to a showing of Puss N’ Boots in the park with your friends!

Most people call me crazy, but in baking I always prefer cocoa to baking chocolate, I find the flavor to be so rich and dark, I love it!  Try these brownies and see if I don’t convert you, I dare you!

Delicious Cocoa Brownies!!

(Adapted from Smitten Kitchen)

10 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 cup dark dutch cocoa powder
1/4 heaping teaspoon flaky salt
1/2 teaspoon pure mexican vanilla extract
2 large eggs, cold
1/2 cup cake flour

Combine butter, sugar and cocoa in double boiler and stir over simmering water until fully combined, it may look a little less than smooth, but don’t give up on it, it will smooth out as we go along.  You want the cocoa mixture to cool down a little bit before the next steps, this might be a good time to start your oven pre-heating to 325 degrees and lining you 8 x 8 square inch pan with parchment paper, and I am going to say, from experience, pay attention to the corners, it is tough to get the brownies out otherwise.

Once the cocoa mixture is cooled to a warm but not hot temperature add in the vanilla and  add in the eggs one at a time, be energetic while stirring in the eggs–think of it as your arm workout for the day.  Once the eggs are incorporated and the batter looks thick and shiny then add flour and give a good 40-50 good whisks before you retire that ol’ son of a gun.

Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Let cool, cut into bite sie pieces, consume, yum!

Then, again, I suggest you pair this with a nice dark red sangria, sweetened only with a little simple syrup, please don’t go for the fruit juice, just trust me, don’t do it.

3/4 cup simple syrup (equal parts sugar and water_
2 bottles red wine
3/4 cup brandy
1/2 cup triple sec
2 oranges, sliced into thin rounds
2 green apples, cored and sliced thin
2 lemons, sliced into thin rounds

Boil water + pour over sugar to dissolve. Cool. Combine all ingredients in a large pitcher and refrigerate, covered, 2 hours or up to 2 days. Serve over ice.

Tell me you enjoy!  Ok–off to business law, missing my roommate and baking!  Have a good summer!

VOTE FOR ME! (Bake My Cake 2012)

Hi Everyone!

I made it to the final round in the competition!  Please come out and support by voting for me! Click Here (http://movitabeaucoup.com/2012/05/01/bake-my-cake-2012-final-vote/) to go to the website and vote!  Please tell all your friends to vote too, this round is going to be much harder to win! Thank you in advance, I appreciate your support!

VOTING TODAY ONLY! (5/1/12)

Vote For Me! (Fun and Delicious Bake My Cake 2012 Submission)

I entered the Bake My Cake 2012 contest hosted by the wonderful Movita Beaucoup!  The rules?  Bust out a rockin’ cake, submit, then go enjoy said cake…mmmmm.

How did I go about doing this?  I picked all my favorite flavors and fun stuffs, and stacked them, layer by layer, until the cake was complete!  And it totally worked, I mean, who could ask for a better birthday cake?!

So, of course, the only question you want to ask right now is, “What all is in that amazing cake Eliza?!?!???” Don’t worry, I’ll tell you everything you want to know and more!

So, let’s sart off with the fact that this is not just any cake (that you must understand) but a birthday cake and those are always more special.  This is a birthday cake that is also not just a cake, but donuts too; and not just a cake and donuts, but full of strawberries!!  Oooh fresh strawberries are everywhere in this cake, inside-outside-underside-upside (even on the flipside baby!) and last, but certainly not least, this cake sparkles, because every birthday girl needs sparkles on their cake.
 Oh–and it is delicious.  This you must imagine for I cannot send you a slice, but imagine you will, and your mouth will water and your tummy will grumble; and though you may try to hold out you won’t be able to for long and you will race to the kitchen to bake this cake for yourself (yes, please, have yourself a very, merry unbirthday on me!)
So, I started with my favorite kind of cake, favorite because of its moist texture and rich flavor, the Burnt Sugar Cake.  Then I filled that cake with vanilla pastry cream and fresh chopped strawberries.  For the frosting I stuck with those deep caramelly flavors that are in the Burnt Sugar Cake and made a Brown Sugar Buttercream (lets just pause a moment here and give thanks for this delicious frosting!)…
Ok, So drizzled over these layers of strawberry cream filled cakes from heaven is a fresh strawberry milk glaze (blend up confectioners sugar, fresh strawberries and a bit of heavy cream–drizzle and let set) and then we adorned this wonderful cake with barrels of freshly made (straight from my deep fryer!–I love an excuse to use my deep fryer!) chocolate and buttermilk donut holes that have been bedecked in fresh strawberry glaze, strawberry milk glaze and sparkly pink sugar!
If it had been closer to the 4th, I would have gotten sparklers and stuck them amongst the donuts to create a true firecracker of a cake (because birthday girls need firecrackers)!  And oh how pretty that would have looked!
 
So I bequeath this cake to you, the birthday girls of the world (especially to Movita) in hopes that it will make your day a bit brighter and a whole lot yummier!

The voting starts tomorrow, April 29th, at 8AM, please visit Movita Beaucoup at her website and vote for me!

Zesty Shortbread Cookies for Spring!

Hi there!  Happy Spring!  Yes, Spring is here, with flowers and sunshine and jelly beans everywhere you look, and although I have to carry a box of tissues where ever I go, I love the spring!  Spring for me means brighter, lighter flavors, something crisp and clear.  No more heavy, full and creamy flavors, the time for that has past–we have sunshine to keep us going now!   So when I decided to enter this cookie contest proposed by amazing blogger Baker Bettie (bakerbettie.com) I knew that I would have to bust out those bright flavors so that these cookies could put some “spring” in your step! Continue reading

Cookie Dough Truffles!

Have you ever come home from a long day at work, every part of you aches, the thought of making dinner makes you cringe and all you want to do is sit on the couch, with a tub of ice cream, and watch watch episode after episode of Buffy until the day starts to fade away?

Oh good, it is nice to know I am not the only one.

And let me tell you, a big bowl of vanilla ice cream, topped with one of these little morsels totally makes your day fade into something delightful and yummy and those aches and pains just disappear.   Continue reading