Sunday, February 27, 2011

Harry Potter Party

One of the foods in Harry Potter: Pumpkin Pasties. These pumpkin pastries have a sugar cookie crust and are filled with spicy pumpkin goodness.

Good morning! Look at those beautiful faces.

 Our snacks throughout the day: Cockroach Clusters, Licorice Wands, and Fudge Drops. The Cockroach Clusters were by far the favorite.

Our friend, Rob, went and bought a Harry Potter poster--Lego style! It was legit.

Look what's for of Ron Weasley's favorites: Bacon Sandwiches (aka) BLTs. And some delicious baked french fries to finish off the meal.

One of the most tasty drinks: Butterbeer. Wow, that's all I have to say about this one.

A classic English dish: Shepherd's Pie. I really liked this dish. Rosemary and Parsley flavored well with the beef, and the garlic mashed potatoes. Hmmm :)

And don't forget about the Pumpkin Juice. I loved this, a lot.

Well if you haven't guessed, I made a bunch of food for a Harry Potter Party.  A group of us got together for a Harry Potter movie marathon.  Lots of good food and hours upon hours of movies.  Yeah, it was epic.

Pumpkin Pasties
  • 16 oz pre-made Pillsbury sugar cookie dough
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 (15 ounce) can pure pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup milk


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Cut sugar cookie dough into 12 separate pieces; press into the bottom of muffin tin, spreading as thinly as possible without leaving holes.
  3. Combine sugar, salt, cinnamon, ginger and cloves in small bowl. Beat eggs lightly in large bowl. Stir in pumpkin and sugar-spice mixture. Gradually stir in milk.
  4. Add 1 Tablespoon of pumpkin mixture into each cup.
  5. Bake for 17-22 minutes or until golden brown.
  6. Cool and Serve.

Cockroach Clusters
  • 12 ounces milk chocolate chips
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 2 cups thin pretzel sticks, broken into 1-inch pieces (or crushed pretzels)
  1. Place chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave for 2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds, until chocolate is melted.
  2. Remove from microwave and stir in raisins and pretzels.
  3. Drop by tablespoons onto waxed paper.
  4. Let stand until firm.

Licorice Wands
  • 6 ounces white chocolate
  • 24 licorice twists (any flavor)
  • sprinkles
  1. Place chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave for 1-2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds, until melted.
  2. Remove from microwave. Dip ends of licorice twists into chocolate and place on wax paper. Top off each one with colorful sprinkles.
  3. Let stand until firm. Serve in a tall glass.
Fudge Drops
  • 12 ounces any flavor chocolate chips
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • dash of salt
  • handful of sugar
  • 1/2 cup oats
  • powdered sugar
  1. In microwave-safe bowl, melt chocolate chips. 
  2. Stir in butter and cream. Mix in salt and sugar.
  3. Return bowl to microwave and heat for about 30 seconds.
  4. Stir in oats. Form fudge into 1-inch balls. Roll in powdered sugar.
  5. Cool on waxed paper.

Bacon Sandwiches (aka) BLTs
  • 4 slices bacon
  • 2 leaves lettuce
  • 2 slices tomato
  • 2 slices bread, toasted
  • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise


  1. Cook the bacon in a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat until evenly browned, about 10 minutes. Drain the bacon slices on a paper towel-lined plate.
  2. Arrange the cooked bacon, lettuce, and tomato slices on one slice of bread. Spread one side of remaining bread slice with the mayonnaise. Bring the two pieces together to make a sandwich.
Baked French Fries
Click here for the recipe...
Butter Beer
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon cider vinegar
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream (whipping cream), divided
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • 4-12 oz Cream sodas
  1. Combine the brown sugar and water in a small saucepan. Bring to a gentle boil over medium heat, stirring constantly.
  2. Stir in the butter, salt, vinegar and 1/4 whipping cream. Set aside to cool to room temperature. (Note: Can put it in the fridge or freezer to speed up the cooling.)
  3. Once the mixture has cooled, stir in the vanilla.
  4. In a medium bowl, combine 2 tablespoons of the brown sugar mixture and the remaining 1/2 cup of whipping cream. Use an electric mixer to beat until just thickened, but not completely whipped, about 2 to 3 minutes.
  5. To serve, divide the brown sugar mixture between 4 tall glasses (about 1/4 cup for each glass). Add 1/4 cup of cream soda to each glass, then stir to combine. Fill each glass nearly to the top with additional cream soda, then spoon the whipped topping over each.

Shepherd's Pie
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
  • 1 pound groundbeef
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh or dry rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon chopped Italian parsley
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup milk (any fat content)
  • Garlic salt to taste + garlic powder
  • Parmesan Cheese
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. In a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, heat the oil, then add the onion, carrot, and meat. Cook until browned, 8 to 10 minutes.
  3. Drain the fat and add the broth, tomato paste, and herbs. Simmer until the juices thicken, about 10 minutes, then add the peas.
  4. Pour the mixture into a 1 1/2-quart baking dish; set aside.
  5. Meanwhile, bring the potatoes to a boil in salted water. Cook until tender, about 20 minutes; drain.
  6. Mash the potatoes with the butter, milk, garlic salt and garlic powder.
  7. Spread them over the meat mixture. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
  8. Bake until golden, 30 to 35 minutes.

Pumpkin Juice
  • 1 (15 oz) can pure pumpkin
  • 2 quarts apple juice
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  1. In a saucepan, combine 2 cups apple juice with sugar and spices. Bring to a boil.
  2. Allow this mixture to cool. Stir in the vanilla.
  3. In a blender, mix together the pumpkin with the sugar mixture, incorporating the remaining apple juice.  (This will have to be done in 2 batches)
  4. In a large pitcher, stir all the batches together.
  5. Serve chilled.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

for the LOVE of food...

Valentine's Day with the roomies :)

Stuffed Chicken Valentino, Penne Alfredo, Parmesan Crusted Asparagus

Chocolate Molten Lava Cake

Valentine's Day. The day hated by singles, the day of chocolates and flowers, the day of giggly girls and blushing boys. For years, I have hated this day. But this year was wonderful because I got to make a romantic dinner for my roommates. I made Stuffed Chicken Valentino, Penne Alfredo, Parmesan Crusted Asparagus, and Chocolate Molten Lava Cake for dessert. I had a blast and the food was delicious, according to my roommates.

Stuffed Chicken Valentino
  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
  • 4 tablespoons cream cheese
  • 4 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup roasted red peppers and onions (see below)
  • 4 tablespoons shredded mozzarella cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Slice a chicken breast in half lengthwise, leaving the halves attached on one side: opened and laid flat, the chicken breast should resemble a butterfly. Place between two sheets of plastic wrap, and pound flat. Repeat with remaining chicken breasts.
  2. Combine Parmesan cheese and cream cheese with Italian seasoning and spread over chicken breasts. At one end of each breast, place 3 strips of roasted pepper. Top with 1 tablespoon shredded Mozzarella cheese. Roll each breast up, starting on the side with the peppers and cheese. Insert a toothpick in each roll to prevent unrolling. Place in an oiled baking dish. Season rolls with salt and pepper to taste, and drizzle with olive oil.
  3. Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes. Set oven to broil, and continue cooking for 5 to 10 minutes. Remove from oven, slice to display the colorful filling, and serve.
  4. *For the roasted peppers and onions: Cut 1/2 red pepper into slices. Cut 1/2 onion into slices. On a baking dish, drizzle pepper and onions slices with olive oil and garlic. Roast for about 30 minutes at 425 degrees, until soft.

Penne Alfredo
  • 16 ounces dry penne pasta
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 pint heavy cream
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 dash powdered garlic, or garlic salt
  • 1 cup grated Romano cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese


  1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add penne and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain.
  2. In a large saucepan, melt butter into cream over low heat. Stir in cheese over medium heat until melted; this will thicken the sauce. Add salt, pepper, and garlic to taste.
  3. Serve immediately with warm pasta.

Parmesan Crusted Asparagus
  • 1 pound thin asparagus spears
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup shaved Parmesan cheese
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar, or to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C).
  2. Place asparagus on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, and toss to coat. Arrange asparagus spears in a single layer. Spread Parmesan cheese over asparagus, and season with freshly ground black pepper.
  3. Bake 12 to 15 minutes in the preheated oven, until cheese is melted and asparagus is tender but crisp. Serve immediately on warm plates, sprinkling with balsamic vinegar to taste. 

Chocolate Molten Lava Cake
  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 8 ounces semisweet chocolate chips, or bars, cut into bite-size chunks
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 4 teaspoons flour
  • 8 extra-large paper muffin cups (or use regular paper muffin cups, which will make 12 cakes)
  • 1 cup raspberries or sliced strawberries
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar


  1. Melt butter and chocolate in a medium heat-proof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water; remove from heat. Beat eggs, sugar and salt with a hand mixer in a medium bowl until sugar dissolves. Beat egg mixture into chocolate until smooth. Beat in flour until just combined. (Batter can be made a day ahead; return to room temperature an hour or so before baking.)
  2. Before serving dinner, adjust oven rack to middle position; heat oven to 450 degrees. Line a standard-size muffin tin (1/2 cup capacity) with 8 extra-large muffin papers (papers should extend above cups to facilitate removal). Spray muffin papers with vegetable cooking spray. Divide batter among muffin cups.
  3. Bake until batter puffs but center is not set, 8 to 10 minutes (it is very important that batter is not cooked all the way through). Carefully lift cakes from tin and set on a work surface. Pull papers away from cakes and transfer cakes to dessert plates.
  4. Top each with strawberries or raspberries. Sprinkle with powdered sugar. Serve immediately.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

"Man-Catching" Beignets

Beignets are pastries made from fried dough and sprinkled with powdered sugar. The word beignet actually means "fried dough" in French. They are popular in New Orleans. The other day, my roommate and I were talking about the Disney movie: The Princess and the Frog. In that movie, the main character, Tiana, makes beignets (or "man-catching beignets" as she says). We thought they looked delicious (even for being a cartoon).  I decided to give them a try. They were super yummy, and let me tell you, they were definite "man-catching beignets" because we could not keep those boys out of our kitchen. I have never seen food go so quickly!

"Man-Catching" Beignets
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup evaporated milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 7 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 quart vegetable oil for frying
  • 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar

   1. In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add sugar, salt, eggs, evaporated milk, vanilla, and blend well. Mix in 4 cups of the flour and beat until smooth. Add the butter, and then the remaining 3 cups of flour. Cover and chill for up to 24 hours.
   2. Roll out dough 1/8 inch thick. Let it rise at room temperature for 30 minutes. Cut into 2 1/2 inch squares. Fry in 360 degree F (180 degrees C) hot oil. If beignets do not pop up, oil is not hot enough. Drain onto paper towels.
   3. Shake confectioners' sugar on hot beignets. Serve warm. *You can also add cinnamon to the powdered sugar...yum :)

Thursday, February 3, 2011


South Indian Curry, Coconut Cilantro Rice, Naan Bread

Naan Bread: puffed and delicious

Dinner Group. I was really hot and sweaty from cooking :)

I LOVE INDIAN FOOD! So much. It is just one of those things that brings a smile to your face. Warm, comforting, mouthwatering. I made a meal for my dinner group. I cooked up South Indian Vegetable Curry, Coconut Cilantro Rice, and Naan Bread.  They really liked it, and so did my roommates :)

South Indian Vegetable Curry

1 large onion, cut into 1-inch chunks (about 2 cups)
3 large garlic cloves, peeled
1 (2-inch-long 1-inch-diameter) piece peeled fresh ginger
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon garam masala
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 serrano chile, seeded, chopped
2 tablespoons tomato paste
3 cups vegetable broth
2 teaspoons (packed) golden brown sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice + 1 teaspoon grated lime peel
1 pound sweet potatoes (yams), peeled, cut into 1-inch cubes
12 ounces russet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 large carrots, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch rounds
1 yellow squash, sliced
2 tomatoes, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 can coconut milk (15 ounces)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

Puree first 8 ingredients in processor until paste forms. Cook in large pot over medium heat until aromatic, stirring often, about 10 minutes. Add tomato paste. Cook until mixture starts to darken and brown, stirring often, about 5 minutes longer. Add broth, brown sugar, and lime. Simmer 10 minutes, stirring often and scraping up browned bits. (This can be made 2 days ahead.) Cool, cover, and chill. Bring to simmer before continuing. Add sweet potatoes, russet potatoes, carrots, tomatoes, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper to mixture in pot. Stir in coconut milk. Bring to boil, then reduce heat to medium low. Cover and simmer until vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally, about 25 minutes. Stir in yellow squash and cook for about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer curry to bowl. Garnish with cilantro and serve.

Coconut Cilantro Rice

3 cups basmati rice
3/4 cup sweetened flaked coconut
1 tablespoon finely chopped peeled fresh ginger
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh jalapeño including seeds (from 1 chile)
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 cups water
1 cup coconut milk
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups packed fresh cilantro sprigs
4 scallions, chopped (1 cup)

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. Wash rice in several changes of cold water in a bowl until water is almost clear. Spread coconut in a shallow baking pan and toast in oven, stirring occasionally, until pale golden, 7 to 10 minutes. Cool completely. Cook ginger and jalapeño in 1 tablespoon oil in a 4-quart heavy pot over moderate heat, stirring, until chile is softened, about 2 minutes. Add rice and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Stir in water, coconut milk, and 1/2 teaspoon salt and bring to a boil, covered. Reduce heat to low and cook, covered, until rice is tender and water is absorbed, 12 to 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand, covered, 5 minutes. Fluff rice with a fork and transfer to a large bowl. While rice cooks, pulse together coconut, cilantro, scallions, and remaining 2 tablespoons oil and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a food processor until finely chopped. Add cilantro mixture to cooked rice and stir gently until combined well.

Naan Bread

1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
1 cup warm water
1/4 cup white sugar
3 tablespoons milk
1 egg, beaten
2 teaspoons salt
4 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons minced garlic (optional)
1/4 cup butter, melted
garlic salt

In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Let stand about 10 minutes, until frothy. Stir in sugar, milk, egg, salt, and enough flour to make a soft dough. Knead for 6 to 8 minutes on a lightly floured surface, or until smooth. Place dough in a well oiled bowl, cover with a damp cloth, and set aside to rise. Let it rise 1 hour, until the dough has doubled in volume. Punch down dough. Pinch off small handfuls of dough about the size of a golf ball. Roll into balls, and place on a tray. Cover with a towel, and allow to rise until doubled in size, about 30 minutes. During the second rising, preheat grill to high heat. At grill side, roll one ball of dough out into a thin circle. Lightly oil grill. Place dough on grill, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until puffy and lightly browned. Brush uncooked side with butter, and turn over. Brush cooked side with butter, and cook until browned, another 2 to 4 minutes. Remove from grill, and continue the process until all the naan has been prepared.
You can also cook bread in the oven. Preheat oven to 500 degrees F.  Place dough on a cookie sheet and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Brushed uncooked side with butter, and turn over. Brush cooked side with butter, and cook until browned, another 2 to 4 minutes. Remove from oven.
*Note: Naan bread does not necessarily have to puff up while cooking.
Before serving, brush warm bread with butter seasoned with garlic salt.

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