Monday, August 30, 2010

My milkshake brings...happiness

Do not let some cooler weather trick you in to thinking that summer is over. There's still hot weather ahead and plenty of frozen drinks to keep enjoying. Speaking of which...

If you want an easy recipe to make as a nice alcoholic/dessert beverage, try a Brandy Alexander. It requires some Brandy:
Some Creme de Cacao:
And some ice cream (I went with Häagen-Dazs this time around):
Put it in a blender...
And voila! A wonderful milkshake that everyone (over the age of 21) enjoys!
Brandy Alexander (from my Mom's Best Recipes Cookbook - I think it's the only recipe of an alcoholic beverage in her book and all my friends are shocked that this goodness is from my saintly mother. Ha!)

1/2 gallon vanilla ice cream
1/4 C creme de cacao
1/4 C brandy
Mix as malts in blender.

For 2 servings:
2 C vanilla ice cream
1 T creme de cacao
1 T brandy

(Erika's Extras: Feel free to add chocolate syrup or a cherry on top.)
Bake well and prosper!

Update: I'm submitting this entry to the Quickies: Morning Noon & Night Cocktail Challenge hosted by Quickies on the Dinner Table and Lazaro Cooks! The contest is for a delicious sounding and sexy looking cocktail. Well, I'm not sure if this is as sexy as some of the entries are sure to be, but goodness, it's a crowd pleaser known to loosen guests up. And what's better than getting this recipe from my MOTHER? Ha! (I guess we could change the name to Brandy Alexandra to make it sound more coquettish...)
This is the prize that the winner gets - an awesome cookbook!

Friday, August 27, 2010

It Must Run in the Family

Sum-sum-sum-sum-sum-sum-summertime! I don't remember the last time I travelled so much during summer. I LOVE NY in summer, but unfortunately I've hardly been around.

I just came back from a trip to Texas, my homeland. My whole family got together to celebrate my parents' 40th anniversary. My oldest brother and I were in charge of the party. We were also in charge of the desserts. (Yep! That was totally my choice.)

I decided to make some of the most loved recipes on my blog. So, I made the cute Peanut Butter Cup Cookies again.

I also made the yummy and award winning Supernatural Brownies. Since I was in my mom's kitchen, had the space, and had to feed 85 people, I made a DOUBLE recipe. (This doesn't happen often in my small kitchen.)
Mmmm...double the chocolate in the DOUBLE boiler.

Double mm-mm goodness being baked in a double wide oven.

Don't worry about me not making a mess since I was in my mom's kitchen. A double recipe means double eggs...
and double the mess.
Speaking of messes, my brother Paul (no he's not a mess), made Lemon Bars and WOW! Did he make a mess on the kitchen island!     
Brother Paul squeezing lemons.

Brother Paul's messy kitchen island.

You can't quite see it in the picture, but he has issues with flour too. It was all over. Hmmm...this must run in the family.

Well, even with our messy traits, the anniversary party AND the desserts were a success. Check out the nice spread we had (and only about 12 pieces of dessert remained at the end of the party!):

Lemon Squares (from Joni Specht, a friend of my brother's. Paul says, "She's a lovely lady who often brings these lemon bars to work (Paul's a pastor) and they brighten everyone's day.)

1 C butter
1/2 C powdered sugar
2 C flour
1 t salt

Mix together and press into 9x13 inch pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 min.

5 eggs
2 1/2 C white sugar
1 1/2 grated lemon rind (optional)
6 T flour
10 T fresh lime juice

Combine and pour over baked crust. Bake 25 min at 350 degrees. Remove from oven and sprinkle with powdered sugar. Cool and enjoy!
Bake well and prosper!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

More Silliness

I really liked Off the Mark's comic today. It reminded me that I used double stuffed Oreos for my Oreo Ice Cream recipe. Thank goodness it wasn't oriels! See comic here:

Also, remember when I shared with y'all the cool little fellow I make with peas when I eat them? (If not, refresh memory here: I'm the Next Charlie Chaplan)

Well, guess what I discovered this morning with blueberries!
(Bad blackberry photo coming up - just deal...)
I wonder if the blueberry eyed monster wants the green peas eyed monster to buy her a drink....

OK. Enough silliness for now.

Bake well and prosper!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

My first OWN recipe!

This past Sunday, Robin and Mike hosted my boyfriend and me to their lovely NYC apartment for dinner. I LOVE their apartment. I'm such a big fan of good windows in apartments and their apartment has great tall ones that curve in at the top so you can peak up at the sky. Check out the windows in the living room:
After we had devoured the yummy tacos Robin put together, it was my turn to work some magic in the kitchen. I had been itching to try (yes, I grew up in TX) my hand at grilled peaches and thought I had read enough recipes to figure it out. So I brought over cinnamon and sugar, peaches, and vanilla ice cream.

Once there, I realized I needed BROWN sugar, not cinnamon and sugar, and Robin didn't have any. (Clearly she's more of a cook.) Oh well. This was truly going to be MY recipe now.

I grabbed a pan and threw in some butter. Once it was on its own melting way, I tossed in some cinnamon and sugar. I chopped up half a peach and threw the pieces in the pan. I stirred them a little and flipped them some.
They were probably in the pan for about 5 minutes and they looked soooo good!
I grabbed some of Robin's bowls, tossed in some scoops of ice cream, and took a quick picture before taking the dessert to the table.

I WAS nervous about it. I've always followed recipes...with the occasional dash of my own thoughts thrown in. But this dessert had no measurements or instructions. It was all up to me.....

And it was a success!!!! Everyone loved it. It reminded me of peach cobbler without the crust. Now, I realize that there are probably tons of these recipes out there, but hey! I used my noggin and not google to figure something out! Woohoo!
Erika's Peach Pieces
1 & 1/2 tablespoons of butter
1 tablespoon of cinnamon and sugar
1/2 a peach

Start melting butter in a pan. Cut up half a peach into nice chunks. Add cinnamon and sugar to the melting butter. Stir and then add the peach pieces. Make sure to keep the burner at a level where the butter isn't bubbling a lot. Burnt butter is sad butter. After 5 minutes, pour peaches and sauce onto ice cream (or whatever else you see fit.)

Bake well and prosper!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Salty & Sweet Pretzel Cookies

I'm not sure if you've ever noticed this, but under my blog title is "making it work in a small NYC apt since 2009." I realize I haven't shown many ways I "make it work" but today I will give an example.

There's not much counter space in my kitchen/kitchen hallway. I have two cabinets I bought to add more space. The counter tops are where I mix the items from a recipe or keep the items I'm about to mix. So, if I'm using a recipe from my laptop, where do I put my laptop? On the garbage can, of course.
Yeah, I wasn't kidding. That's where it was when I was using the recipe for these awesome cookies - Pretzel Cookies. (They contain pretzels, duh...oh, and chocolate chips and peanut butter chips.)
As you can see, there are a lot of small bits for this recipe and knowing me, the Messy Chef, the "bits" ended up on my floor.
No problem. I just swept them up into a tiny pile...
And then my silly boyfriend came running in to the kitchen to devour the tidbits.
OK, he didn't ACTUALLY eat them (it was WAY over time for the 5 second rule), but his instincts served him right. These cookies were a hit! (I made them for the beach weekend that he and I went on. However, I shared them with some coworkers before I left on Friday and I had to reject some requests for more because I needed to have some left for the beach! My coworkers and the families at the beach house loved them!)

Pretzel Cookies (from The Foodie and the Family who got the recipe from Sugar Cooking)

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1/3 cup sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup milk chocolate chips
1/2 cup peanut butter chips
1/2 cup pretzels, broken up
sea salt for sprinkling

Sift together flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. In a large bowl, beat butter, sugar, and brown sugar on medium speed until fluffy (2-3 minutes). On low speed, add the egg and vanilla extract. Beat to combine, scraping down the sides of the bowl. Add the flour mixture and mix until just combined. Stir in the chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, and pretzels. Cover and refrigerate for an hour.

Preheat the oven to 350°. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Scoop onto the parchment paper in well rounded tablespoonfuls about 2 inches apart. Sprinkle with sea salt and bake for 10-12 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes before removing to a wire cooling rack. Makes 24 Cookies

Erika's Extras: Don't sprinkle too much sea salt on the cookies. They are salty enough with the pretzel bits.
Bake well and prosper!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Oreo Ice Cream

Has anyone noticed it's summer? I have (and so has my bank account.) Summer in the city is like a 3 month long party. It never stops. There's always something to do and thank goodness this past weekend it wasn't blazing hot. (No AC underground on subway platforms when it's 95 and humid = Erika melts.)

So, just in time for non melting but still hot weather, here's an easy recipe for making some beefed up Oreo ice cream. Let me know what YOU'RE doing to keep cool this summer.

Oreo Ice Cream from Mom's Best Recipes Cookbook
1 large pkg Oreo cookies, crushed (19-20 oz)
1 large Cool Whip (12 oz)
1/2 gallon vanilla ice cream, softened
Mix all together. Pour into 2 9x13 pans. Freeze with foil on top.
Erika's Extras: Have pans already chilled in freezer before pouring ice cream into them. Also, if you are a nutty person and love nuts, feel free to add 1 1/3 C nuts to the mix before freezing.
Erika's Extra: If you are a maverick at eating this ice cream, you already know that the correct way to eat it is by making designs in the ice cream first and THEN eating.
Bake well and prosper!