Monday, November 28, 2011

Hot & Buttery

You voted and the results are in! Hot Buttered Rum is your favorite hot boozy bev. HBR's are the best because they're basically like dessert in a mug, and they can be made with rum, brandy, bourbon, whiskey (wait, are those the same?)…you name it. You can even leave out the booze and just have a hot buttery virgin mocktail. 

Full of warm wintery flavors like nutmeg and cinnamon, HBRs are the perfect drink for a cold night or a warm fireplace. And, believe it or not, the mix is a total breeze to whip up. Vanilla ice cream, brown and white sugar, spices, and buttah. Lots and lots of buttah. 

When you're mixing it up, you can taste as you go, and add other spices or flavors, like pumpkin pie spice or ginger…and then gift it! Just pour some mix into little jars, and add a tag with instructions. 

PS. My dad supplied the wood pile for the photo shoot. Thanks dad!

Hot Buttered Rum Mix
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup butter
pinch salt
2 cups old fashioned vanilla ice cream
2 teaspoon cinnamon
1.5 teaspoon nutmeg

Combine both sugars, salt, and butter in a saucepan. Heat over low until butter is melted and mixture is smooth, stirring occasionally. Combine warm buttery sugar mix with ice cream in a large bowl (of your stand mixer, if you have one). Add spices and mix /beat at medium speed until smooth. Can be stored in refrigerator or freezer. 

To serve, fill a mug 1/3rd full with HBR mix, add 1 oz. rum, and fill the rest of the way with boiling water. Add more mix (or rum) if desired. And whipped cream… whipped cream is always desired. 


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thank YOU!

I'm so, so, so, so over the moon thankful for all of you: family, friends, readers, fans (fans?!?). I hope you all have an amazing Thanksgiving. Draw some hand-turkeys, make a few celery cars with carrot wheels, curse at the yams, watch football (or the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade...we won't judge), drink too much "cider," try a new recipe or two, get up at 4AM for Black Friday shopping, buy 800 pairs of socks because you only buy them once a year (half-off on Black Friday!), relax and stop thinking about work, and be with people you love. 

PS. See those little gourds...the ones with tea-light candles in them? Yeah, those ones. They're unbelievably easy to make...and you'll totally have the best looking Thanksgiving table out there. Just carve (using your pumpkin carving kit, or a little drill, if you're Martha Stewart) a hole big enough for your tea-light, and voila, instant centerpiece! 


Saturday, November 19, 2011

Quiche Cups!

I worked from home last week, so you would think I might have had tons of extra time for cooking and blogging (considering I saved myself nearly an hour and a half in commute each day, not to mention 'getting ready' time). But, I was so busy taking care of my sick man-child, that I barely had time to cook anything other than chicken noodle soup. 

Turns out Evan has pneumonia, and it also turns out that pneumonia can be contagious, so my boss asked that I stay home, to avoid potentially wiping out my entire office. Quarantined! It was probably for the best though, since Evan was far too sick to even get out of bed. Sick men are more helpless than babies! After a couple days on antibiotics, he's finally on the mend… and that means I finally have time to do more in the kitchen than heat up soup and pour orange juice. 

After being home all week in this chilly fall-meets-winter weather, all I want to do is bake! (These pumpkin pie scented candles aren't helping, either). But, since I can't share potentially germy goods, I didn't want to make treats that I would have no choice but to eat all by myself.  So, instead of dessert, I made breakfast, lunch, and dinner: Quiche! And not just any quiche… individual quiche cups! 

Quiche is amazing, because you can add anything to it, and you can eat it warm, cold, or room temperature; next to a salad, or alongside a hot cup of joe. What was once reserved for fancy luncheons can now be eaten for any meal of the day, and these little individual cups pack up nicely for work (that is, if you're not quarantined at home). I use a press-in tart crust dough, so you don't have to chill and roll it—making these little cups of deliciousness even easier than a traditional quiche. I didn't pre-bake my crust, and though they still turned out great, for a flakier, crispier crust, I would recommend popping them in the oven first.

PS. My hot winter drinks poll is now closed, and I see rum in my future! more on that later!

Quiche Cups
Makes 12 cupcake sized quiches

1 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons cold butter, cut in small cubes
1 egg yolk (save white for filling)

Preheat oven to 425 (if you choose to pre-bake crust). Whisk together flour and salt. Using a pastry blender (or a fork or your fingers), cut in butter until mixture resembles small peas. Whisk the egg yolk and 2 tablespoons water together, and add to flour mixture. Blend (again, using pastry blender or hands) until combined and can be formed into a ball. Separate dough into 12 balls, and press into bottom and sides of 12 greased cupcake/muffin cups.  Poke each one with a fork, and bake for 8-10 minutes (until golden). Remove from oven and cool.

Reset temperature to 325.

Filling (inspired by The Grand Central Baking Book)
5 eggs (plus 1 white from dough)
1 cup half and half
1 cup grated swiss cheese
salt and pepper
1 large leek, thinly sliced and sautéed in a little bit of butter and olive oil, sprinkled with salt

Whisk together eggs, half & half, salt, and pepper. Mix in grated cheese.

To assemble:
In each crust, add a spoonful of leeks, and top with egg mixture. Bake for 20-30 minutes (at 325) until egg mixture is set in the middle. 


Thursday, November 10, 2011

Hot Cup of Democracy

I'm trying out something new! A poll...where you can vote! We all love voting, right? Look over there, to your right. See the poll in all its shiny, democratic glory? Go ahead, try it out! Vote for your favorite hot winter drink, and then I'll make it... and I'll blog about it!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

On the Bandwagon

Just because everyone is doing it, doesn’t mean it's a totally lame cliché . Clearly main-stream is in for a reason. Duh. Because it’s cool, that’s why everyone loves it.  You’re not a hipster for following the trends, you’re just hip! So, jump in line, join the club already, and make pumpkin gnocchi. And if you really want to follow the in-crowd, toss those pillowy clouds of goodness in sage brown butter sauce. 

You're pop.u.lar. Own it, honey.

Want to be an even bigger deal, hot stuff? Try this recipe (but add a little grated parm to the dough, a la this recipe), and toss with this sauce, plus thyme. But, word to the wise: you should maaayybe avoid serving buttery-rich pumpkin gnocchi alongside cheesy-rich Pumpkin Stuffed with Everything Good...or at least throw a little something green and leafy on the plate, for good measure. You're on top now, but those in-crowds, they're ruthless! 
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