Monday, December 31, 2012

Enjoy Life Chocolate Products Review

It's become my policy that if I do not have a good amount of time to do a decent product review, I must wait until I do. So I finally found the time to sit down and write a review good enough for two of Enjoy Life's chocolate products: Double Chocolate Crunch Granola and vegan Mega Chocolate Chunks.

 
I love trying new things, especially those I cannot find easily myself. Soon after I received these bad boys I found the chocolate chips at Wegman's outside Philadelphia. If you do not have a Wegman's, they are pretty great and have a gigantic organic/all-natural wing of their already giant grocery stores.


Right before Thanksgiving, Enjoy Life Products sent me a box of some of their chocolate products. You might remember a while back when they were nice enough to send me a huge sampling of their delicious lentil chips, Plentils.


Before that I was introduced to Enjoy Life through their Gluten-free double chocolate cookie which was a part of a Go Picnic box of goodies.


After reviewing Plentils, Enjoy Life asked if I would be interested in trying some of their chocolate products. Which of course I answered, YES! After trying their other products I was really excited see what was in store for me.


When the box of their vegan chocolate mega chunks and double chocolate granola arrived I could hardly keep Aaron out of it long enough to take some photos. As I positioned the morsels of granola and made a delicious breakfast bowl (recipe below) I noticed a creeping hand slowly work into the shot going for a bite.

After taking the photos and slapping his hand away, I finally let Aaron have some. As if I really had a choice.

As I have yet to master vegan baking, I began using the mega chocolate chunks as I would normally. They melted and tasted just as delicious as very high quality semi-sweet baking chips you would normally buy, making them highly versatile for melting, baking, and eating. On the back of the package is a great recipe for vegan, gluten-free blondies I am dying to try along with tons of allergy-free recipes online!

I could not believe how chocolately and deliciously smooth the GIANT chunks were, I could hardly eat them in one bite!

I also love the three simple ingredients: Evaporated Cane Juice, Natural Chocolate Liquor (Non-alcoholic), Non-Dairy Cocoa Butter. And if the chunks are too big for you, they also make "mini-chips" great for baking!


The granola includes chunks of the same chocolate and a mix of brown rice flakes, crisps, bran, even flaxseed, and lots of iron. Their granola, like the rest of Enjoy Life products are vegan, gluten-free and free of the 8 most common allergens including egg, soy, fish, nuts, and dairy.

Their granola is all-natural and comes in three varieties: cinnamon raisin, very berry, and double chocolate.


When giving it a try, I paired the very crunchy and very chocolately granola with dark chocolate almond milk, Enjoy Life's mega chocolate chunks, chia seeds, and fresh pomegranate seeds for a chocolately yet healthy alternative treat for anytime of the day.


This granola would be great whether you have these common allergies or not. It is delicious in strawberry Greek yogurt, as part of trail mix with craisins and more chocolate, or any other way you could think of.

Here are some of the ways I incorporated these products:


• Brioche bread pudding with chocolate chunks, craisins, and walnuts with a cognac toffee sauce


• Vegan breakfast/dessert bowl with Enjoy Life granola, dark chocolate almond milk, chia seeds, and pomegranate seeds.

• Cookies, brownies….


• By themselves!

 

Along with their mega chunks and granola, Enjoy Life has tons of products both sweet, and now savory as well as chocolate, furit, and other varieties in cookies, granola bars, cereals and more! I would love to try their boom-choco-boom chocolate bars in both dark chocolate, and ricemilk varieties which are "truly" allergy free: gluten, dairy, nut, and  soy-free! 

Whatever you may use these enormous chocolate chunks or crunchy granola for, I hope you pick up a bag of them both. Make sure you tell me how you've used them!


Chocolate Almond Breakfast Bowl



Ingredients: 


 1/2-3/4 cup Enjoy Life Double Chocolate crunch granola
 Handful Enjoy Life Mega chunks
 1/2 cup dark chocolate almond milk
 1/4 cup fresh pomegranate seeds
 2 tsp chia seeds
 1 tbsp almond butter

Directions:

Add granola and mega chunks to the bowl and pour in almond milk. Top with pomegranate seeds, chia seeds and almond milk.

Serve and mix together.

Enjoy!

Love,

The College Cuisiner



Disclaimer: Enjoy Life sent me these products to try and review. I was not further compensated nor promised a positive review. All opinions are my own.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Tips for London Study Abroad

As we get closer to the spring college semester I’ve noticed more and more hits for my “What to Wear for Study Abroad in London” post. The first thing I state in my post is that this is not a fashion blog, but I had so much fun coming up with study abroad tips I decided to write another “What to do for Study Abroad in London”  post. Fashion was so huge for me but there were so many amazing things about living in London I feel I must share some of my tips. This is not a complete list but at least can give you a few ideas.


First steps: Your University or program will probably recommend these same tips, so you better listen!

• Apply online for your student Oyster card ASAP!

If you have to commute to school, (or even if you don’t) it is essential for you to get a student Oyster card. An Oyster card is like a Metro pass for the London Underground train (more commonly known as “The Tube.) As soon as you get your university ID card and information, go online to order your Student Oyster card. This will save you SOOOO much money as the Tube/buses will be your main source of transportation to get around the city.

An unlimited month pass for students will cost around £80, which is a lot but if you are using the Tube at least twice a day, it is totally worth it. Trust me! Do it immediately! You will need your London University’s ID card to get it.

• Get a 16-25 railcard for discounted travel around the UK.
 

If you plan on traveling around the UK (which you definitely should,) make sure you get a student Railcard as well. It costs about £30 but will save you 30% on all rail travel and will quickly pay for itself (especially if you take the train to Scotland, Wales, or Northern English cities such as York.)

• Register with the US embassy in the Mayfair neighborhood of London.


Just in case of an international incident or terrorist attack, this is just to be on the safe side. If you decide to visit the embassy (but you cannot get in without an appointment) I recommend going to Allen’s or Mayfair café right down the street and getting the orange tea!

• Plan your daily route to University before classes start.

Trust me, you be glad you know where you are going and where your classes will be held if you do not live on campus.

• Take a walk around your neighborhood to scout out the best grocery stores, pubs, clothing stores, and closest Tube station and bus routes.

• Open a UK bank account or get a Bank of America debit card for free ATM withdrawals from Barclays.

• Get a top-up mobile phone during your first few days at Carphone Warehouse or likeminded stores. You will need it for your various forms and just meeting with friends.

• Bring your own towels and sheets (1 set of both) as you will not be able to get these for a couple of days once you arrive. Also, bring your own adaptor that you can use for the UK and Europe (it is harder to find once you get there.) And leave your Iphone at home.

• Get a wallet that blocks electronic machines that can steal your passport and credit card information without even touching your handbag! This happened to a friend of mine.

• If you can, bring you own pillow whether or not it is provided. That is a long time to be without a good pillow!


• Mind your voice and attitude in public places and transportation: if you look and act like a tourist, you will be targeted by pickpockets and you will be sorry! Always keep your most important items in your front pants pocket.

• For the girls: Split the cost of a decent UK blow dryer, straightener/curling iron with your flatmates. Hair is your biggest fashion statement in London, don’t cheap out! I recommend going along with 3-4 other girls and buying the equipment for around £30 each. You’ll be happy you did.

• Argo’s (close equivalent of Target) is a great cheap place for bedding and other necessary items, but you must order ahead of time before picking up!

Because this is a food blog….

Food & Drink: Food in London and most of Europe is very expensive and you will easily blow your budget by going out to dinner, to the pubs, or to the clubs if you are not careful.


• Make a budget for your weekly food allowance and for your “going out” spending. Clubs are often expensive so if that's your thing, make sure you have a budget.


• If you have access to a kitchen, plan on cooking most of your meals and get easy breakfast items to save money. Since classes are often long you will most likely be away from home over lunch. Plan on packing your lunches to save the most money. It is so easy to go to Prêt à Manger, Eat or any number or very delicious fast options on a regular basis.


• If you plan on a lot of traveling that is when you should eat out the most. But with all the amazing restaurants and tea shops in the city you must explore them! Try to limit going out to tea or dinner only 1-2 times a week.

• Plan out your meals: While the food quality is much better for the most part, food has little preservatives so it goes bad in two-three days. Buy in small quantities, and plan to go to the market every two-three days.

Food Musts in London:


• Make sure you go to afternoon tea at least a few times! It was one of my most favorite things to do and it is fun to dress up a little and go to the various famous and not-so famous spots


• Don’t forget about the countless food markets: From the Borough Market under the London Bridge (my favorite) to the Marlborough Market, to so many more big and small, you will want to go to the markets! We went about once a week for fresh vegetables and so many amazing local vendors and specialty items. 


 I had one outside of my University on Thursdays! It is just as much fun to go to the markets for a fun weekend day as to shop. A great place to bring visiting family and friends!

• Make sure to get Indian, Bangladeshi, Pakistani, Persian, or other various ethnic foods while you are there since due to large immigrant populations the food is authentic and amazing! Naan, hummus, etc. are top notch!

• Try ethnic neighborhoods such as Chinatown, and Golders Green for authentic flavors.
• Find your favorite neighborhood pubs as this is where you will spend a lot of relaxing nights with flatmates and new friends. Try to find ones that are not “managed” as these are like chains and not the real thing any longer. You will be able to spot these from similar signs and menus.



• You must try: Full English breakfast, authentic fish-n-chips, sticky toffee-pudding, coronation chicken sandwiches, tea, Yorkshire puds, roast dinners, chocolate digestive biscuits, Ribena Blackcurrant, Victoria Sponge Cake, scones and clotted cream, and so much more! Whoever thinks London has bad food, they have obviously not been there in the last ten years.

 Stay away from: most Italian restaurants or pizza places- these are rarely what you think, kebab places open until 3pm (these are favorites of drunken young people but will often get you seven more sick!)

• P.s. If you are a regular coffee fan, you will have a very hard time finding it. “Drip” coffee as we know is not found often and you will instead get an Americano (espresso and hot water) if you ask for a “black coffee.” FYI.

Travel: You will want to travel all over Europe while you are studying in London, but don’t forget to explore the city and the UK itself!


• Coordinate early on with flatmates and classmates on destinations you both would like to visit and plan it out early so you can get good cheap flights and private hostel rooms if possible.

My recommended destinations abroad:


Paris, anywhere in France-Bordeaux, Nice, Normandy, etc.; Barcelona, Berlin, Strasbourg, Amsterdam, Bruges, Vienna, Morocco (surprisingly cheap and tropical, just make sure you bring a guy friend if it is only females), Riga, PRAGUE!!!!!

Other popular destinations: Ireland, Madrid, Canary Islands, Greece, Budapest, Bucharest, Krakow….

 Always make sure you know the location of the American embassy or consulate closest to you.

 Make sure to get a good amount of local currency from the airport ATMs are you will not want to pay foreign fees over and over again.

Recommended UK destinations:


Winchester, Bath, Cornwall, Edinburgh, St. Andrews, the Scottish highlands, Snowdonia and Snowdon Mountain in Wales, Oxford, Horsham, Rye Royal, Tunbridge Wells, Cambridge, Greenwich (outside of London proper); Harry Potter Experience at Warner Brother Studios, so many others!

Recommended London stops: Give yourself the first two weeks to do the tourist stuff and get it out of your system!


Abbey Road, Buckingham Palace, Hyde Park, High Street Kensington, Oxford Street, Trafalgar Square, the National Gallery, Borough Market, Greenwich, Mayfair, Marlborough, Portobello Road, Barnaby Street, the London Monument, Tower Hill (home of the famous Tower Bridge and Tower of London), Notting Hill, Chelsea, St. Pancreas and surrounding area, Harrods’s, Selfridges Department store, the theatre, the Royal Opera House and surrounding neighborhood, anywhere you would like and so many others!

Budget:

• Sign up for Livingsocial, Groupon, and other city deals. I found some of my favorite places through these services. Also good for the much needed three-month mark haircut, massages, manicures, theatre tickets, or trip deals


• Look for the many student deals around the city. Many places such as restaurants, clothing stores, and museums offer student discounts so do not be afraid to ask!


There is always something unique and awesome going on in London, you just have to look! Like the amazing Thursday night £5 Wine and food pairing tastings at Whole Foods Kensington (a.k.a. heaven)

• Make a budget and try to stick to it. Plan to spend $5,000-8,000 depending on the length of your trip and how many trips you plan on taking.

Most of all:

HAVE FUN! You are in one of the greatest cities in the world. Enjoy yourself!


There are so many places, tips, and ideas I could tell you. This is what I’ve thought of so far and I will probably recommend other things. I hope this helps some of you think about your experience and prepare.

If you have any tips of your own, please comment below!

Love,

The College Cuisiner

 

Thursday, December 27, 2012

WIAW #52: Christmas Eats 2012

A Merry Belated Christmas to All!

I could kick myself for missing the 100th What I Ate Wednesday party yesterday. But with Final exams just ending and my new six-days a week work schedule I've found little time for me or blogging. Plus with the wifi on the fritz it is a little hard to upload photos.

But none the less I guess it's better to be late to the party than to never show up. Happy 100th to Jenny at Peas and Crayons, our fearless hostess and everyone celebrating the fun.

This Christmas was definitely a good food holiday as usual. Despite the fact that I come from a German family, we had an overwhelmingly Italian themed Christmas this year. Here are the highlights in my opinion especially the homemade Sticky toffee pudding my sister Mackenzie made for one of my gifts. (recipe coming soon)  It was delicious.



He thought so too...



What I Ate on Christmas....

Christmas Eve Family Party

Stuffed shells: Turkey sausage and spinach shells with marinara; shrimp and chives with white wine cream sauce




Mackenzie’s Homemade Sticky toffee pudding

Christmas Day

Late Brunch




Smoked salmon and scrambled egg tortilla wraps with fresh dill, red onions, sharp cheddar
Tea, orange juice, almond bread braid

Dinner at Lisa’s house




Lisa’s Turkey sausage and mushroom lasagna, my roasted asparagus with prosciutto and sharp provolone


Lisa’s pear and blue cheese salad

Glass of malbec

Dessert

Homemade ricotta cookies and leftover sticky toffee pudding

Best of this year's Christmas recipes:




Brioche Bread pudding with Cognac toffee sauce



Sticky Toffee Pudding



Here are some of some of my favorite moments from this year's Chrsitmas:


My "nephew" Kade who I've mentioned before, and I share a birthday and since I missed his party this year we made up for it at Christmas.


His surprise that I had the nerve to really eat his cereal.


Don't you think about taking my remote girl...


Yep. That happened my dear Le Chien.

We actually had a very nice Christmas between my family on Christmas Eve and Christmas morning and spending Christmas Day with Lisa eating delicious food and watching every movie we've been waiting to see. i.e. Pitch Perfect. Hilarious.

Hope everyone elese had a great Christmas/holiday with your family and friends! I cannot wait to use the foam toppers my mom got me or the traditional silver samovar from my sister! So cool!


I hope to post both the bread pudding, the sticky toffee recipes, and some chocolate products I recently received from Enjoy Life foods next week. I am currently working six days a week, so do not let me forget!

Love,

The College Cuisiner

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

WIAW #51: Roasted Asparagus with Prosciutto and Sharp Provolone

Note: My phone has decided not to use any internet properly so there is a lack of photos in this post but at 9PM I decided I might as well post this anyway since this is Finals and it is pretty amazing that I was able to write this.

For the past four years, December has meant one thing: FINAL EXAMS. No, I wish the answer was Christmas, but sadly the holiday season often gets puts aside for papers, exams, and bad eating.
First of all, I will premise that with Jenn from Peas and Crayons’ “no judging” rule in place regarding What I Ate Wednesday, I will refrain from judging myself for bad eating. That’s part of the brilliance of her “healthy holiday” theme this month.


With that in mind I am finally posting a recipe from Thanksgiving: Roasted Asparagus with prosciutto and sharp provolone. While this recipe is by no means the absolute healthiest thing you can bring to a party, it is really delicious and in the grand scheme of things is homemade with quality ingredients…and is a vegetable after all.




But back to that in a minute. First here are my eats in the craziness of Finals. Since this year final exams go over the weekend I actually have a three-day break to make up for the fact I am working six-days a week over the break.

Still, this is a crazy time maybe because I spent Tuesday afternoon on one of the biggest grocery shopping trips of my own ever. Long story short, we were out of just about everything except some very strange exceptions so last night for dinner I made smoked salmon scrambled egg wraps with extra sharp cheddar cheese and baked hash browns. Let’s just say we needed a few things.

Now I am simply coming off the stressful adrenaline kick from my last paper on Monday and just needed to relax.

Breakfast (Before the grocery trip)
Fried egg on top of baked red potato and sweet potato hash browns and a fried tomato
Lunch (leftovers a work)
Half of a leftover Jimmy John’s Club Tuna Sub, Trader Joe’s apple strawberry fruit snack, and orange juice
Snack
Two dark chocolate sea salt caramels via impulse by from my major two-store shopping trip
Dinner (after grocery shopping you can tell)
Mediterranean baked salmon with tri-color quinoa, olives, feta, roasted red peppers and sautéed spinach
Another great eat this week:
My new favorite: Kick Start oatmeal from Umpqua oats. So delicious, all-natural and super packed with great stuff
What I wish I was eating right now:


Roasted Asparagus with prosciutto and sharp provolone (one side without prosciutto)


I usually do not post recipes on WIAW that I haven’t eaten that day but since this is a “holiday recipe” I really really wanted to share it with you all. I first had this at Dante & Luigi’s in Philadelphia, the oldest Italian restaurant in the city. This isn’t even on the regular menu but was an appetizer special the day we went for our special dinner there. We loved it and I immediately wanted to recreate it again for Thanksgiving. Fast forward the day of my family went nuts over it which made me happy since I am also in love with the recipe.

Part of the reason this recipe works so well in my opinion, is the homemade tomato sauce. This can be made the day before (as I did) and refrigerate overnight. Other than the tomato sauce, the recipe comes together quickly and easily. It is a great side dish for any holiday meal with or without the prosciutto (we had a meatless half too.) This would go great with baked ham or roasted turkey. If you are a 12-fish kind of family, this is an Italian recipe after all!

Roasted Asparagus with Prosciutto
and Sharp Provolone:

(Recreated from Dante & Luigi’s, Philadelphia)



Ingredients:
3 bunches of whole fresh asparagus, hard stems off
1 cup sharp provolone cheese, thinly sliced (not grated)
4 long slices of prosciutto, cut into strips and chopped into 1 inch pieces
Black pepper
Garlic salt
1 garlic clove, minced
Olive oil

Tomato Sauce:
35 oz. can of peeled tomatoes
5 oz. butter, cut into pads
1 yellow onion, peeled and cut in half
½ cup dry red wine

Directions:
In a medium sauce pan, bring to medium-high heat and add butter and onion halves. Add can tomatoes and its liquid to the pan. Bring to a slow boil, crushing tomatoes on the side of the pan. Reduce heat to medium keeping sauce as a constant simmer, stirring frequently.

Let sauce simmer for about 45 minutes or until sauce is noticeably thicker and butter bubbles appear on the top. Crush any remaining tomato pieces or remove and chop them up, then return to sauce.

With a slotted spoon, remove onions and discard from sauce. (You've already used all of their flavor.)

Cool sauce until needed. You can make the day ahead if you are able.

Make the asparagus and assemble right before you are ready to serve the dish so it is hot and fresh.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly coat asparagus working in two batches with a light drizzle of olive oil and a little salt and pepper. Spread asparagus out on a metal baking sheet and roast in oven for 10 minutes until asparagus is tender. Do not turn the oven off.

While asparagus is cooking, reheat sauce in a sauce pan. Add red wine, salt, and pepper as needed. The sauce should be delicious yet simple.

On two large oven-safe serving platters ladle enough tomato sauce to create a thin bed of sauce. Carefully lay roasted asparagus on top of the sauce. (You may have leftover sauce)

Evenly cover asparagus with prosciutto and then cover with the cheese. Place the platters in the oven carefully for a few minutes just until cheese is melted and bubbly and slightly browned. Take platters out of the oven and serve immediately with a little  more fresh cracked black pepper on top.

Enjoy!

Love,

The College Cuisiner

And because it is final exams week. Here is one of my favorite songs ever.



Your'e welcome.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Gingerbread Snowflakes

 For my best friend Nicole and I, Christmas cookie making is a bit of a tradition. Last Friday afternoon I picked her up from the regional rail train station closest to me with no actual plan in place. She got in my car with a bag of supplies and all I asked was, “what are we making then?” She decided it was gingerbread since she happened to have molasses lying around her apartment from the last time she made homemade root beer from sassafras root. Yeah, I have weird friends.



Nicole and I have been friends since we were about three years old. Now depending on which one of us you ask that timeline may be different. She may tell you I wasn’t cool enough to be her friend until we were at least five and I would tell you some stories about warnings she “wouldn’t be my friend anymore” if I didn’t exclusively play with her on the playground. Somewhere in the middle lies the truth, but today was about cookie making and as always we would have a blast.

 After a short trip to the store, which included dancing to the music in the frozen food aisle, we came back to my apartment to get to work. First, Nicole would have to take photos of me holding a tea cup and reading a book for her photography class assignment to photograph subjects in their natural habitats. Apparently reading Russian textbooks and sipping out of empty cups is my personal environment. Ah the illusion of film!

Finally after we actually read the recipe we managed to make the dough and then chill it for an hour. Of course between the two of us we hadn’t read “chill for an hour” until the oven was preheated and the cookie dough was made. We proceeded to shut off the oven and ordered Jimmy John’s subs, which really was quite fast if I do say so. After our dinner break, as it was now 7pm, we took out the dough and began to roll it out with drinking glasses and make our shapes. Nicole only brought a star and a turtle cookie cutters and silly me left the beautiful set of cookie cutters Lisa bought me last Christmas at my mom’s house. I need to get those back!

Improvisation is a key so to complete the gingerbread men and women I wanted to make I simply cut them out with a butter knife.

Probably why the following scene happened shortly after…

The process took us awhile as I only own one baking sheet but once we got cooking it was pretty simple.

If you couldn’t tell from the photos I really like decorating and have created my own technique for gingerbread snowflakes. But I know you would rather see our photo shoot two days later initialed:

SCU: Special Cookies Unit.



I hope no one is offended by this, Nicole and I are a little strange. Those faint of cookies, viewer discretion advised.


Murder she ate….



Vengeance is a cookie best served cold…

Let’s just say after this the bad cookie/crime references started flying! The best was Nicole’s deep Dragnet voice that had me rolling on the floor with laughter.

Cookie making isn’t cheap so that is precisely why we do it once a year. Honestly I don’t even eat the cookies, but I have so much fun making them it is worth the effort. I know everyone else enjoyed eating these especially since they are completely from scratch with my favorite homemade butter cream icing. You can choose your own design but I think these snowflakes are so pretty and impressive for Holiday parties. The only special equipment you need is a star cookie cutter and plastic sandwich baggies for the icing. (Pastry bags are obviously better if you have them but hey, I’m a college kid after all!)

Here’s an easy tutorial for homemade cookie cutters or you can use a star-stencil and knife.



 
 
Ingredients:

3 1/4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter (room temperature, softened)
 1/2 cup dark-brown sugar, packed
 1 Tbsp ground ginger
 1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
 1/2 teaspoons ground cloves
 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
 1/4 teaspoon finely ground black pepper
 1/2 teaspoon salt
 1 large egg
 1/2 cup unsulfured molasses

My own Butter Cream Icing:

½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened, not melted
2 cups powdered (Confectioner’s) sugar
2 tbsp. milk
Food Coloring

Directions:

In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, and spices. Set aside.

With a wooden spoon cream the butter in a large bowl. Add sugar and mix well until fluffy. Add in eggs and molasses to the butter mixture until smooth. Gradually add the flour mixture; the dough will get tougher to work as you add the flour. For the last bit of flour you may have to use your hands.

Divide dough in thirds; wrap each third in plastic wrap. Chill (or freeze) for at least 1 hour or overnight. Before rolling out, let sit at room temperature for 5-10 minutes. If after refrigerating the dough feels too soft to roll-out, work in a little more flour.

 3 Heat oven to 350°. Place a dough third on a large piece of lightly floured surface such as cutting board or wax paper. Using a rolling pin (or tall drinking glass,) roll dough 1/8 inch thick.

Refrigerate again for 5-10 minutes to make it easier to cut out the cookies. Use either your star-shaped cookie cutter or place a stencil over the dough and use a knife to cut into five-point star.
Transfer to ungreased baking sheets. Bake until crisp but not darkened, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from oven. Let sit a few minutes and then use a metal spatula to transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.

For Snowflake Icing:

While cookies are chilling or baking, cream softened butter in a medium bowl. Gradually mix in powdered sugar into the butter until no longer melting but firm with milk. You may have to add additional powdered sugar and milk if needed.

Once cookies are completely cooled, scoop a few dollops of the icing into a plastic sandwich bag. Try to get the icing in one corner closest to the tip. Seal bag and gently rip the corner of the plastic bag with your thumb and index finger (cutting with scissors will create too large of a hole.)

Start by outline the star cookie with the icing. Then, make a short line inside of each point
not quite going to the center. One each line, diagonally ice into the line making arrows. The icing should resemble a snow flake. Or just free-style it like Nicole. Can you tell which one she made?


Serve cookies for a party or just for you!

Enjoy!

Love,

The College Cuisiner

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

WIAW #50: Turkey Primavera Orecchiette

Are you sick of turkey yet? Do you even have any left? I know we spent all weekend eating up the leftovers from the THREE turkeys my family had. I know, it’s ridiculous. Now, in all fairness, one of those turkeys was just a breast and another was a smoked turkey we didn't know was coming. And the third one was 20 lbs...but that's beside the point here. What was good for us is there were plenty of leftovers and thrifty me got dibs on the carcasses! Yeah!
 


What did I do with all of those turkey bones? Well, the bones from the 20 lb. turkey and the breasts made a lovely whopping 9 cups of deliciously thick turkey broth I plan on making risotto and broth ice cubes out of for quick and easy weeknight meals. With the smoked turkey I am going to make a version of ham and bean soup I used to have as a kid but since I no longer eat ham, the smoked turkey will serve as a great substitute.



I never got around to posting my Thanksgiving eats mostly because I was exhausted but also because I didn’t get very many good pictures. So instead I just show you what I made with the leftovers!





But first one Thanksgiving recipe I was so proud of I need to share ASAP:



Roasted Asparagus with homemade tomato sauce, prosciutto, and sharp provolone

This is a recipe based off of a special appetizer Aaron and I had at a South Philly Italian restaurant a while back for our “It’s been three months since we’ve been to a restaurant! Celebration.”

Everyone at my Thanksgiving meal went nuts for this recipe and I must agree, it was delicious. I must post this soon so DON’T LET ME FORGET! This is a crowd pleaser!

But back to other eats:


 
Here’s what I ate after the food coma

Breakfast 



Enjoy Life chocolate granola with chocolate almond milk, chia seeds, almond butter, and pomegranate seeds


Lunch


Fried potato cakes (with leftover potato filling) with eggs and sautéed spinach


Dinner


Turkey Primavera Orecchiette


Dessert


An amazing Sarah Bakes Brownie from the Bala Cynwyd Farmer’s Market with Hagen Daas Coconut macaroon ice cream. Mmmmmm

 
With the leftover turkey meat, stuffing, potato filling, etc. this is what I've made over the last four or five days:


Arugula salad with turkey, pears, pecans, pomegranate seeds, chia seeds, and Dijon vinaigrette

 
Eggs noodles with sautéed carrots, tomatoes, and turkey (and kale gratin)
 

Thanksgiving Turkey sandwiches on brioche rolls

Coming home on Black Friday I had the desire to stop at the relatively new Wegman’s right off the Philadelphia turnpike exit just to look around. Well that turned into a $30 trip but hey! I got some good stuff including their store brand orecchiette which I am in love with. If you have never cooked orecchiette before, it’s time you start. It definitely isn’t the easiest pasta to find as it is often handmade to provide the shape of an “ear.” But it is heartier than your average variety since it is the high quality Semolina pasta and not macaroni like every pasta made in America. I love how easily it clings to the sauce and when cooked al dente, it’s perfect. 

So what better way to use some of my leftover turkey meat that a delicious primavera pasta with a light sauce? Basically the recipe is cherry tomatoes, zucchini, good quality shitake mushrooms (I’m converted from the regular button!) and a light wine, lemon, butter sauce. Yummy.

If you’ve already used your leftover turkey (like me) try this with leftover cooked chicken or just cook some chicken or turkey and add it in. Either way you will want to try this recipe. Aaron loved this and I made it again two nights later. If you have a splash of white wine USE IT if not, this is still a great recipe for any night of the week.


Turkey Primavera Orecchiette



Ingredients:

 1 1/2 cup dried Orecchiette
 1 cup shredded Turkey (or chicken)
 1 cup shitake Mushrooms, chopped into quarter sized pieces
 1 medium Zucchini, thinly sliced and cut into fours
 2 Shallots, finely chopped
 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
15-20 multi-coloured Cherry tomatoes, chopped in half
3/4 cup dry white wine
 Zest of half a lemon
Juice of half a lemon
Olive oil
2 tbsp. butter
Drizzle of Garlic oil
1 tsp. dried Oregano
 Parmesan for garnish
Black Pepper
Garlic salt
1 tsp. Crushed red pepper

Directions:

Cook pasta al dente according to package, about 13 minutes and drain.

Meanwhile in a large pan, heat olive oil with the shallots and half the garlic until shallots are tender.  Add mushrooms and zucchini and sautéed until lightly browned and soft. Add ½ cup of the wine and allow it to absorb.

Add shredded turkey and lightly brown. Lower heat and add rest of wine, 2 tbsp. butter, lemon zest and juice and stir. Season with oregano, a little garlic salt, black pepper, red pepper. Add tomatoes at the last moment and wait until a light sauce forms and wine cooks down alittle.

Take off heat and add cooked pasta. Lightly toss and serve with grated parmesan and a drizzle of garlic olive oil.

Enjoy! Happy leftovers!