Archive for the The Foodie in Me Category

Sepia

Posted in The Foodie in Me with tags , on August 3, 2010 by showsomemoxie

Beginning on my birthday this year I decided to start documenting all new restaurants I try. I splurged on the most elegant restaurant journal way back in January, but I simply have been too preoccupied with other things to write in it. Well, no more. And since I planned a special birthday dinner to a restaurant that I’ve been dying to try for over a year (last year it was impossible to get reservations), I figured it was the perfect time to begin detailing these experiences.

I invited a small group of my favorite people to join me for drinks and dinner at Sepia. People gradually trickled in as we all enjoyed some of the best cocktails I’ve had in Chicago. Although their cheese and charcuterie plates left something to be desired, their staff quickly fixed us some new ones when they failed to bring our half finished portions from the lounge to our table (which was in a secluded nook in the back – awesome). This kind of quality service sustained throughout the meal.

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Supreme Chocolate Chip Cookies

Posted in The Foodie in Me with tags on July 7, 2010 by showsomemoxie

When I offered to make my boyfriend whatever he wanted for his birthday, he fairly quickly settled on chocolate chip cookies. (Somehow I feel like if you asked 100 average American men this same question, this may be the most popular answer.) I was more than happy to oblige, as it gave me reason to kick off the first of many goals I have for my soon-to-be new life: revisiting old “keeper” recipes to see how they stand up. I’m pretty discriminatory when initially trying a recipe and I only end up copying probably a quarter of those that I try into my various permanent recipe files. And I love trying new recipes so much that I seldom revisit the majority of the ones I copy down, unless I’m entertaining and want something that I know I can trust. So all these good recipes are just sitting around waiting to be eaten again and then shared with the world!

Yes the Supreme is well deserved in this recipe, as these have a little bit of everything in them.

And your arm gets workout stirring all of the extras in, one at a time, until you have a pretty thick, chunky batter.

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Rich Chocolate Cupcakes

Posted in The Foodie in Me with tags on August 7, 2009 by showsomemoxie

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I like to bake. I wish I could do it more often. So any time I have a legitimate excuse to bake, I take advantage of it. This week we had both a departmental meeting at the library (which I usually try to make something for) and a birthday within the department. This warranted special baking, namely cupcakes. Normally I plan my recipes each week, but this was more of a last minute birthday cupcake so I had to work with what I had in the house, which did not include brown sugar, cocoa powder or an abundance of confectioner’s sugar.

Still I knew I wanted to make a chocolate cupcake and so I consulted my favorite cupcake cookbook, Crazy About Cupcakes by Krystina Castella. This cookbook is awesome for a couple reasons: 1.) every recipe I’ve tried has been good to absolutely amazing 2.) it provides very detailed information about decorating 3.) it also includes several indexes suggesting which icing recipes go best with which cupcake recipes or which cupcake recipes you can mix to make a marbleized cupcake. Despite the fact that I LOVE making cupcakes (who likes to bake and doesn’t like making cupcakes?), this is the only cupcake cookbook I actually own. I don’t need any others.

Here is the recipe for Rich Chocolate Cupcakes. I made 18 large cupcakes and 9 small ones with this recipe. I found the chocolate flavor to be less pronounced than in other recipes, but the texture of these cupcakes is spot on, super moist perfection.

  • 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3 oz. unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 large egg whites, at room temperature
  1. Preheat oven to 325. Insert liners into mini and/or medium cupcake pans.
  2. Place the butter and chocolate in a large bowl. Pour the boiling water over them, and let stand until melted. Stir to combine. Stir in vanilla and sugar.
  3. Add the sour cream and mix on medium speed until fully integrated.
  4. In a separate bowl combine the flour, baking powder, and baking soda.
  5. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the batter, mixing at medium speed until smooth.
  6. In another bowl with clean beaters, whip the egg whites until stiff. Gently fold the egg whites into the batter.
  7. Fill the cupcake liners three-quarters full. Bake mini cupcakes 10-15 minutes and medium cupcakes 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cupcake comes out clean. Cool cupcakes in the pan.

Normally I try to avoid making buttercream frostings because I have a habit of letting the butter get too warm. Then when I go to mix my sugar in the frosting just gets really soupy. It doesn’t taste bad, it is just really hard to decorate with, especially if I add food coloring because then it gets all granular looking. But I didn’t have any cream cheese (which I prefer and almost always opt for), so I cautiously attempted to adapt Castella’s Vanilla Frosting to an Almond Frosting by substituting the vanilla extract with almond extract. And it worked! While I thought it came out too sugary sweet, everyone else was raving about it.

  • 3 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons almond extract
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  1. Gradually add the sugar to the softened butter and cream together with an electric mixer.
  2. Stir in the almond and milk. Beat until smooth and of spreading consistency. Add a little bit more sugar or milk as needed.

I chose to top mine off with some espresso beans because it was simple and added another flavor element. A couple people told me the beans made the cupcake.

Food, Photography and Me

Posted in The Foodie in Me with tags , on August 6, 2009 by showsomemoxie

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At the beginning of 2009 I set out to photograph everything I cooked or ate at a restaurant. Because I am a true foodie I figured I could have some fun and maybe share my experiences with others. Then shortly after the new year started my mom surprised me by sending me my grandmother’s entire recipe file. After talking it over with some friends I decided to commit to only making grandma’s recipes. It seemed like the perfect union – a photo journal of my grandmother’s recipes.

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Unfortunately I found it wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be. First I realized that without an outlet like a blog, there wasn’t any truly good way to share. I posted on Flickr for a while, including lengthy notes about the pictures, but I knew few people really look to Flickr for food advice. And soon I became irritated with the quality of the photos I was taking. Because like many working folks I cook most of my food after the sun goes down, thus I was left with very little natural light to work with. Photographing food is challenging enough during the day, but without a fancy camera or equipment my pictures just made the food look rather unappetizing. Plus much of what I was making wasn’t that attractive to begin with, as grandma’s recipe box was packed full of casseroles and other “one pot” concoctions. Believe me its really hard to make recipes involving creamed soups, canned vegetables and chow mein noodles/crunchy onions/peanuts look delicious. Because…well usually they’re not. (Needless to say, my commitment to grandma’s recipes was a short lived two months.)

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And then I dropped my trustworthy Canon Powershot in the ocean while on vacation in Key West. I returned home thoroughly aggravated, but still continued to attempt the photo food diary with my boyfriend’s even nicer Fuju FinePix. It actually proved much better with low light situations, but even the slightest movement resulted in a blurry picture. At this point I was looking at more and more food blogs and becoming more and more envious of their beautiful photos. So I contacted several of my favorite bloggers about their camera choices and the majority of those who responded all used the same Canon Rebel SLR. So I knew what I had to do…

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Now I have had a brand new Canon Rebel SLR just waiting to start recording my every action for two months…and yet I’ve been mooching my boyfriend’s Fuji. Part of the problem is that SLRs are not pocket size. I can’t just throw my Rebel in my purse and be done with it. It requires a nice camera case, which I finally purchased today. It also requires some learning on my part. Despite the fact that I did begin my undergraduate studies as a Photo Illustration major, I don’t really remember anything about manual photography. And even if I did, I’m sure its much different now than it was in 1996. So this weekend I shall begin learning my way around an SLR. Hopefully a year from now I will be taking SmittenKitchen (see below) quality photographs. Hey I can dream!

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