Addicting Orange Rolls

This. Was. Amazing.

So delicious, I really wish I was eating it now.

They were light, fluffy, with a hint of orange and the most amazing frosting (not glaze).  It tasted like an orange creamsicle!

Ingredients (Adapted from Little Sous Chef)

Rolls
2 C warm water
2 Tbs active dry yeast (roughly 3 packets)
1/2 c sugar
1/2 c butter, room temp
2 tsp salt
2/3 cup nonfat dry milk
5-6 cups flour
1 egg

Filling
1/2 c semi-melted butter
1/2 c sugar
zest of 1 orange (we used a cara cara orange)

Frosting
8 oz cream cheese at room temp
1 c butter at room temp
1 tsp vanilla
zest from 1 orange (cara cara)
3 1/2 c powdered sugar

1. Combine water and yeast in the bowl of stand mixer, let stand for 5 min.
2. Add sugar, butter, salt, dry milk, and 2 cups flour
3. Turn mixer on low and beat until smooth
4. Gradually add the remaining flour until it starts to pull away from the bowl
5. Beat for 3 minutes until smooth and elastic – we used the dough hook, scraping down a few times
6. Place dough in a greased bowl and let sit until it has doubled in size
7. Make the filling by combining the butter, sugar and orange, set aside
8. Make the frosting by creaming the cream cheese and butter, then add the vanilla and sugar.  Finally, add the zest.  Set aside – but also taste it, it’s delicious!
9. Split the dough in half, roll each piece into a rectangle, spread with half the filling, and roll lengthwise – you want a long log.
10. Cut rounds roughly 1″ long – we used string, but a sharp knife will also work.
11.  Place in a pan so they aren’t quite touching.  Let rise.
12.  Bake for 18-20 min at 350, until slightly golden.
13.  Spread with a generous amount of frosting and serve!

Note: these worked great as a make ahead.  Once they were placed in the pan, we put them in the fridge.  The next morning, we let them sit out for an hour or so before baking.  Delicious!

Potato and Sausage Galette

We had a hankering for something potato-y and crispy this weekend, so naturally we picked the most time intensive dish possible.  A potato galette.  Thinly sliced potatoes filled with sausge, onions and eggs.  Delicious.

But it’s not for the faint of heart.

Ingredients – adapted from America’s Test Kitchen

~4 Medium sized red potatoes, thinly sliced (1/8″ or less)
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 package of Jimmy Dean Sausage
4 eggs
4 Tbs of butter
1 Tbs cornstarch
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

1. Move the rack to the bottom of the oven and preheat to 425-450F
2. Rinse the the thinly sliced potatoes and dry completely.  We spread them out on towels and patted dry.3.  Melt 4 Tbs of butter and combine with cornstarch, salt, and pepper.  Toss with dry potato slices (I know….this seems counterproductive, but it’s worth it!)
4. Begin heating a nonstick, ovenproof skillet over med-high heat.  Melt the remaining 1 Tbs of butter and spread around the pan.
5. Beginning laying down potato slices.  Start with 1 in the center and beginning working your way out and slightly up the side, continue layering the potatoes until you’re out – I was able to do approximately 3 layers.
6. Continue cooking the potatoes until they are a little translucent
7. Spray a piece of foil, lay on top of potatoes and place something heavy on top – i.e. pie plate with weights
8. Transfer the pan to the oven and bake for 20 minutes
9. While the potato cooks, carmelize the onions and cook the sausage
10. After 20 minutes, remove the pan of potatoes and add the onions and sausage.  Whisk the 4 eggs and pour over the top.
11.  Return to the oven and cook an additional 20 minutes.
12.  After 20 minutes, remove from the oven and serve!

Did you celebrate Pi(e) day?

I don’t normally celebrate this nerdy day, but since it was Saturday, and an epic Pi day (3/14/15), and I own a Pi(e) plate….you get my drift.  Nick actually suggested we buy one, then I offered to make one instead.  The rest, is history.  Delicious, delicious history.

Do you have a go-to pie recipe?  I’m an apple pie girl, through and through.  Warm apple pie and vanilla ice cream.  My current favorite is the sour cream apple pie that we make every year for Thanksgiving.  It’s delicious.  Apples with a touch of sour cream, it’s a delicious combination.

Want to give it a try?  Here’s the recipe!

6 to 8 Apples: Fuji, Granny Smith, Gala, Macintosh are all good – peeled and sliced
1 Egg (beaten)
1 c Sour cream (you can add a dash of cinnamon and nutmeg)
1/4 c Flour
1/2 c Sugar (use ¼ if you are using a sweeter apple)
1 tsp Vanilla
1 Pillsbury crust
Crumble
1 stick Butter (1/2 cup): soften and cut into pieces, using a pastry cutter
1/2 c Oatmeal
1/2 c Flour
1/2 c Brown sugar
INSTRUCTIONS
Combine filling mixture and pour into crust, bake for 30 min at 400F
Combine crumble and add to pie after 30 min of baking. Bake an additional 35 min at 350.
 Serve with vanilla ice cream!

Flourless, Peanut Butter, Oatmeal, Chocolate Chip Cookies

We had a hankering for something sweet on Saturday night.  After a major kitchen cleaning, we found a large amount of oats.  So instead of brownies from a box (which are delicious), we decided something with oatmeal would be good.

A google search for “healthy oatmeal chocolate chip cookies” came up with all sorts of recipes with applesauce and bananas.  And I don’t have those things just sitting around the house.  And I didn’t really need them to be that healthy.

I finally stumbled upon a recipe for flour-less, oatmeal, peanut butter, chocolate chip cookies. (Original Recipe from Tasty Kitchen)

The cookies turned out great and will probably be making their way into the cookie rotation, at least until we eat up our oats!

Ingredients

2/3 C Rolled Oats (I used closer to a cup and am going to try a little more oats the next time I make them, Nick isn’t excited about this modification)
1 tsp Baking Soda
1 C Peanut Butter (I used TJs creamy, salted)
2/3 C Brown Sugar
2 Eggs
1 1/2 tsp Vanilla
2/3 C Chocolate Chips

1. Combine oats and baking soda in a bowl
2. Combine peanut butter, brown sugar, eggs and vanilla in a mixer until smooth.
3. Add oats/baking soda and mix
4. Add chocolate chips and mix until just combined
5. Scoop the dough onto a cookie sheet (I used a cookie scoop and a jelly roll pan with a silpat)
6. Bake at 350F for about 10-12 min.
7. Let cool on a baking rack and enjoy!

Note:  The recipe made roughly 20 cookies, 2 batches of 10 in the oven, ~10×17 pan

Shepherd’s Pie

I made a version of shepherd’s pie last night and it was pretty tasty.

Ingredients

1 package of costco hamburger
1.5 c diced carrots2 bags of shallots (TJs)
1 bag sliced crimini mushrooms (TJs), chopped
2 strips of bacon, finely chopped
4 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 tsp worcestershire
1.5 tsp dried rosemary
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp pepper

1 head of cauliflower
3 Tbs butter
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 c shredded cheese (We used a parmesan/mozzarella combo)

1. Caramelize the shallots.  Finely chop and saute in about olive oil (1.5c shallots to 1/8c olive oil).  Cook for 4-5 min over med high heat, then reduce to low and stir – the longer the better.  I did this first and then prepped everything else, adding these at the very end.
2.  Brown the meat, drain the fat and set aside
3.  Saute the garlic in about 1 Tbs olive oil.  Then add carrots and bacon and saute for 3-4 minutes.  Add mushrooms and continue to saute.  Add worcestershire, rosemary, thyme, salt, better and beef and cook for an addition 2-3 minutes.
4.  Add the onions to the mixture.
5.  Pour into a 9×13 pan
6.  Break the cauliflower into florets, and steam until soft
7.  Combine steamed cauliflower and 3 Tbs of butter in a food processor.  Add the salt and garlic powder.  Process until smooth – you may need to add a little more butter or olive oil to get things moving.
8.  Spread the cauliflower over the beef mixture in the 9×13 pan.
9.  Broil until browned – OR refrigerate until ready to eat.  Then bake for 20 min at 350 and then broil to brown the top.

My Epic Gingerbread Space Needle

I’m an engineer who loves to bake and take pictures.  And last night, my 3 worlds collided.

Last week, I was perusing one of my favorite blogs, Not Martha, and noticed her adorable mini gingerbread houses!  So I went to the store after work and bought the supplies – mostly molasses and flour.  I sat down that evening and just couldn’t get motivated, so I asked Nick what he thought I should make.  After brainstorming a bit, we decided the house from Up would be “fun.”  After looking up pictures and sketching a few things out, I decided the house from Up would be WAY too much trouble.  And by the end of the night, I decided the Seattle Space Needle made WAY more sense.

So I sketched, and did math, and sketched, and did more math, and finally had a decent plan of attack.  I even busted out an arctan or 2!  Kids, stay in school and learn math.  It’ll come in handy one day, I promise.

I’ll spare you the details, but it involved a lot of gingerbread, royal icing, and sprinkles.  And Nick added in the 12th man flag for the added Seahawks touch.  We just happened to have the right color post-its.

There were a few tense moments, but it came together quite well!  The main support is solid gingerbread and icing.  A lot of icing.  And I guess the rest is also gingerbread and icing as well.  It’s technically all “edible” – less Emmett (anyone?).  But I wouldn’t eat it.  It’s structural gingerbread and flavorless icing.  Nick was a little disappointed.  BUT was quite impressed by the finished product.  Definitely a team effort, I needed all 4 hands in the house – and 3 cans of beans – to help put it all together.  I think Mochi was bummed I didn’t drop much on the floor :) Ready?!

seattle space needle made out of gingerbread seahawks Seattle space needle made from gingerbread seahawks seattle space needle gingerbread seahawks Happy Tuesday!

Thanksgiving 2014

2014-Thanksgiving How was your Thanksgiving?  Ours was perfect!  We headed down to Anaheim to spend our 8th Thanksgiving with Caresse and Tyler (and new addition, Isla).  I clearly didn’t get the plaid/flannel message!  We feasted on our usual spread of turkey, potatoes, stuffing, rice, gravy, sweet potatoes, green bean casserole, corn bread muffins, and mac & cheese – and don’t forget our 3 pies :)

We shopping big and local and even snuck in a little Disney.  On the plane ride home, we were able to stream the Apple Cup and spent a Sunday getting the house back together – shopping, laundry, and decorating!  Talk about a great week/weekend!  What a way to kick off December!

Portugal, and that time I ate an octopus tentacle

After Madrid, we were headed for Portugal.  We landed in Lisbon, a torrential downpour currently underway.  After grabbing our little Fiat, we headed for the tiny coastal town of Nazare, known for it’s north-shore-like waves!  Hungry, or was that hangry, from an early flight and no snacks, we stopped in the town of Torres Vedras for lunch.  Midi had great reviews, and we were ready for our first Portuguese meal.  On a tip from a Portuguese co-worker, I ordered the octopus.  3 tentacles served over a bed of greens and boiled potatoes.  So. Darn. Good!

The octopus was not chewy at all.  It reminded me of shrimp in both texture and flavor.  If you closed your eyes, I bet you couldn’t tell the difference.  Aside from the severe oil drenching of the greens, it was an outstanding meal to begin our time in Portugal.

Nick claimed he could feel the suction cups while he chewed, but I think he was fibbing a little on that one :)

 

Madrid is so delicious, and that time we got a bonus churro!

You could say I was a little underwhelmed with the Barcelona food scene.  I’ll chalk it up to it being our first city, and having a few misses, but so far we’ve been far more impressed with the food here in Madrid.

I will say that Barcelona served up one of the tastiest meals I’ve ever had.  Teresa Carles is a vegetarian restaurant, and I guarantee that I could become a vegetarian if she cooked my food everyday.  But it was more the exception than the norm.

Now onto Madrid!  We arrived and headed to the Mercado de San Miguel.  Right outside the Plaza Mayor, it’s very possible this place is a tourist trap.  But the food was delicious, so we didn’t care.

After a few trips around the market, we settled on the mozzarella guy.  Nick went a little more traditional, choosing a mozzarella/pesto/jamon/sundried tomato tapa while I chose the burrata/tomato jam/fig balsamic tapa (I’m a sucker for burrata – which is basically softer/creamier version of mozzarella).  OMG they were amazing.  They were also really big, so we only needed a few more small bites to curb our hunger.

food in madrid

We ended up deciding we needed a salad for dinner, so we got a pre-made Caesar from el Corte de Ingles (it’s a department store with a grocery store in the basement, random!).  Then we picked up a pizza from Pizzateca, just a few blocks away from our apartment.  I know what you’re thinking, “pizza?”! But it was the 2nd best pizza crust I’ve ever had – 2nd only to my dad’s crust.  The toppings could have used a few more spices, but we took it “to go” and missed our opportunity to add the typical (and not so typical) pizza seasonings at the restaurant.

Day 2 we headed to Ginger for lunch – on a tip from a fellow traveler we met in Barcelona (Ginger is near the Plaza Mayor).  She recommended their menu del dia for just 10.35 euros.  It’s a 3 course meal that comes with bread and wine.  I had a salad, the Spanish version of fish and chips, and this pear/orange dessert while nick had a quesadilla, meatballs and ice cream.  Delicious!  And the Spanish fish and chips were super tasty (FYI the chips are just seasons potatoes)!  The menu was Spanish only, and they spoke limited English, but you’ll be fine!

Dinner may have been Nick’s favorite meal so far.  The food to euro ratio had substantially improved and the meal also came with a beer.  Or rather, the meal came with the beer.  You see, there was a law passed in the 1800s that said you had to serve some food with alcoholic drinks.  People were drinking (or 2) at lunch, and afternoon productivity was on the decline.   So they passed the law in an effort to improve productivity.  And whether it’s still a law, or a just a tradition, we were happy to take part.

We headed to El Tigre on a tip from a friend.  Nick ordered a beer and walked away with this huge plate of food, all for 5 euros.  I said to him, “I think you could’ve gotten the same size plate if you’d ordered a smaller beer.”  To which he replied, “uh….but then I’d have a smaller beer.”  Touche.

so much food at el tigre in madrid

We ended the night in truly glutinous style with a trip to the famous Chocolateria San Gines.  The walls are adorned with the faces of all the famous people who have visited.  Yet, it was the cheapest churro/chocolate spot we’ve been to since arriving in Spain.  6 churros and a chocolate will set you back just 3.80 euros!  A steal!  And we even got a bonus churro! Win!

chocolateria san gines madrid

Barcelona, and the time I got a little hangry

Montserrat is a short, 1 hr train ride from Barcelona (see my notes below for tips on train tickets to Montserrat).  And it’s really pretty.  So we went.

Montserrat is a Monastery set amongst the mountains.  We didn’t think about this when packing, nor when we set off for Montserrat that morning, and we only packed our thin raincoats because there was rain in the forecast.  Turns out, it’s a bit cooler at Montserrat than Barcelona.  As we rode the gondola up the mountain, we looked around at our fellow travelers, most wearing snow pants and down jackets.  We were nervous.

Thankfully, it wasn’t actually that chilly on the mountain and we were treated to some pretty awesome hikes and views.

If you decide not to hike at all, you can still see some pretty awesome things.

But if you decide to go on a moderately sketchy hike, you can see this!

By the time we reached Montserrat, took the required gondolas and funiculars, and went on our hike, it was roughly 2:30PM.  We were running off almonds, cashews and a granola bar.  I was hungry, but the only food in sight was cafeteria food.  And everyone knows that food at the top of a mountain is always expensive and never that amazing.  Nick tried to convince me that we’d be happier eating something delicious back in Barcelona, but by that time I was hangry.  A little hungry and a little angry.  But logic overcame the hanger and we powered through back to Barcelona.

It’s about now that I need to mention Nick’s awesome Spanish skills.  4 years in high school + a few years running a painting business means Nick has pretty decent conversational Spanish skillz (yes, with a z).  This came in really handy when I accidentally sat on my metro card, making it unreadable.  When all was said and done, I had a new metro card.  Nick even threw in a “muchas” to his “gracias” which I thought was a nice touch.  This kid.

We finished the night at the Churreria Granja.  A little abuelita selling churros and chocolate.  Obviously we owed it to ourselves to try it.  We dipped them in the chocolate and they were delicious.  And we were hopped up on sugar for the next few hours.

NOTES on Tickets to Montserrat

I don’t think they make this as easy as they could.  But that’s ok.

1.  Go to the Plaza/Placa de Espanya station
2.  Find the R5 train
3.  Go up to the ticket machine. This is where it gets tricky.  There are a lot of options.  We went for the Trans Montserrat ticket – this ticket includes the train trip from Barcelona to Montserrat, the trip up the mountain, the additional funiculars once you are at the monastery, and 2 metro tickets (just because).  There are 2 ways to get to the top of Montserrat – either by cable car (5min, standing) or by funicular (15min, sitting).  It costs the same, but you have to choose (your own adventure, ha!) when you get the ticket.  And you can’t change your mind after.  The additional funiculars at the top of Montserrat take you to the many hikes at the top of the mountain, but this is where the views are pretty sweet and the hikes are kinda sketchy – don’t worry, there are lots of non sketchy hikes as well.
4.  Get on the train and take a snooze.  It’s going to be around 1 hr.
5.  There are 2 different stops depending on whether you go up the cable car or the funicular.  The cable car/Aeri stop is first, followed by the funicular stop.
6.  Enjoy your time!

A few more notes:

  • While the cable cars and funiculars are on a schedule, we found that they would skip or add a car from time to time.  We thought we were on the early cable car before our train home, but our cable car never showed up and we barely made it.
  • If you like climbing, there’s lots of climbing to be had.