Category Archives: Breakfast

Pumpkin Spice Latte

Pumpkin Spice Latte

I’m not sure what’s going on at the ‘bucks, but I haven’t been happy with their pumpkin spice latte’s as of late. My theory is that the drink got super popular and they cut costs by cheapening the pumpkin spice syrup…because something is seriously askew. Sugar substitute?? Perhaps it’s the unenthusiastic high school kid playing pretend barista that just can’t get it right??

Anyway, I’m not a coffee snob by any means, but over the years I got to liking this pumpkin spice latte – only to be let down on several occasions at a variety of shops, so you can imagine my frustration. It seems simple enough: robust espresso, undertones of pumpkin spice (i.e. ginger, nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon), and frothy milk with whipped cream and extra spice on top. Lately it’s more like: bitter espresso with a hint of pumpkin flavored robitussin – not cool. So I decided to take matters into my own hands – I mean how hard could it be to make a pumpkin flavored syrup?? Turns out it’s pretty easy.

Printable Recipe: http://bit.ly/aFTkpd

Pumpkin Spice Latte Syrup

first things first – make a simple syrup by combining:
1C water: 1C sugar – heat over medium-high heat until all sugar is dissolved
than get some of that good ol’ Libby’s Pumpkin Puree

Pumpkin Spice Latte Syrup

~2 (heaping) T should do the trick

Pumpkin Spice Latte Syrup

Spice mix: 1T cinnamon, .5t nutmeg, .25t ginger, .25t cloves

Pumpkin Spice Latte Syrup

whisk everything together over medium flame – simmer for about 5mins

off the flame whisk in 1T vanilla extract

Pumpkin Spice Latte Syrup

strain off the liquid – there will be some sediment in the bottom of the strainer just dump it

Pumpkin Spice Latte Syrup

store in a mason jar…

Pumpkin Spice Latte Syrup

or better yet – put it in a squeeze bottle…

Here’s how I make my coffee:
-add 1/4C milk to mug and froth until milk fills mug 3/4 of the way (http://bit.ly/cpSx2Y) OR if you’re a fancy pants with an espresso machine, steam your milk

-brew your espresso (single or doppio)

(working quickly now)

-add 1T pumpkin spice syrup to espresso and mix (you can always add more later)

-pour espresso into mug with frothed milk

-add a little sugar

-stir it up

-whipped cream (optional)

-sprinkle some spice on top

now go up to the barista at the nearest ‘bucks, put your hands at the side of your head with thumbs in your ears, wiggle fingers, stick out your tongue, then say “nana-nana poopoo, your pumpkin spice latte is stupid”

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Potato & Egg Frittata

Here’s a great meal for a weekend breakfast/lunch or even a lazy weeknight dinner any day. Buttery crisp yet soft potatoes and bacon are suspended in a creamy egg mix infused with American cheese, Pecorino Romano, and fresh parsley. This cheesy omelet certainly lends itself to interpretation, but any traditionalist making it won’t veer too far from the basic ingredients that meld so well together. Of course I had to tweak mine just a little bit, you know me…and since it disappeared lighting fast I guess I made the right moves. Make this for just the two of you, the whole family, or even as a breakfast for the post Friday night cocktail party that resulted in one person passed out on top of the dining room table…hey look it happens to the best of us, swallow your pride, take a sip of humility, and eat some of this damn good potatoes & eggs!!

p.s. follow my recipe for Artisan Bread here and make some hero’s (yes I called it a hero, you got a problem with that?!) OR make a batch of the effin’ White Bread here, toast some slices, spread with homemade butter here and spoil that inner hedonist!!

  • Serves: 6
  • Time: 30mins

Get yourself:

  • 8-10 Fresh eggs (I use Organic, free range)
  • 1 Big fat white potato weighing in ~1lb
  • 6 Strips of bacon cut into 1″ thick pieces
  • .5 Vidalia onion diced up
  • 5 Slices American cheese broken up into little squares
  • 1C Pecorino Romano
  • 2T Heavy cream or half-n-half
  • 2T Butter
  • 2T Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2T Fresh Parsley
  • s&cracked pep
  • A large skillet (now’s the time to break out the cast iron!)
  • Bread-n-Buttah
  • OJ (it’s just the right thing to do in this situation)

Let’s do this!Cube the potatoes

In the past I’ve sliced thin into chips and fried

Just get the potatoes fried up one way or another

Fry ’em up over medium-high in the butter and olive oil

Season with some s&cracked pep

While they cook, prep your other ingredients

Ahhhhh Bacon…it’ll never let you down, a true friend in good times and in bad

Chop it up (I like to use kitchen shears it’s easier)

Dice ’em up

Chopped American slices…don’t forget the Pecorino Romano

Scramble up your eggs then add the cream, Pecorino Romano, American, Parsley, a little s&cracked pep

Set aside while the potatoes finish up

Oh yea, if you haven’t already…

Bake up one of these bad boys

A classic NY style–come on say it with me…

HERO!

Once the potatoes are golden brown toss in your bacon and onions

Cook until onions get soft and bacon firms up

You can fry the bacon separately, cool, crumble, and then add to the egg mix…

…But I like to cook the bacon right in there so the fatty bacon goodness gets all over everything

Reduce flame to medium-low and dump in the egg mix

If the pan looks a little dried up add 1T butter to prevent any sticking

Using a rubber spatula work the sides of the omelet…

Let the egg set a bit then lift a side of the omelet with your spatula, lift the pan and let some runny egg fill in the gap

Do this all around until the egg sets nicely and it’s not too runny on top

Turn on your broiler with a rack set about 6″ away from flame

Pop it under the broiler to finish off

Keep oven door open and watch like a hawk or it will scorch

After all that work…you don’t want to be the person to scorch the eggs, not cool

After a couple of minutes take the pan out and work around the edges loosening up the omelet

If it’s still runny then pop it under the broiler for a little longer

Gently slide the omelet on a level cutting surface

Take your time to admire this artfully crafted potatoes & eggs

Slice it up like a pizza pie

Oh damn!

Look at that beauty!

So simple yet so delicious

Enjoy your potatoes & eggs!

(Post) Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day Objectives: RELAX and EAT.

…and so we did…all day.

We decided to kick things off with leftover cinnamon rolls from the Pioneer Woman (wifey froze half of the disturbingly delicious cinnamon roll dough from last time). Perfect.

And so the deliberate yet destructive eating began…

Our next venture was Oreo cookies…homemade, super chocolate-y, creamy, straight up milk dunkin’ OREO’s!…yea that’s right I made ’em and even colored the center…pause. Thanks to a little inspiration from Smitten Kitchen, I whipped up a big batch of V-day O’s, all pun intended…

The day turned to night…

We started dinner off with a lite, weight watchers friendly appetizer…

Swiss fondue with homemade bread

Take bread, dip repeatedly in warm, melty, gooey cheese. groan.

Repeat.

Note: Use a fondue pot if you have one. I battled it out with the cheese in this sauce pot for a good 20mins. You see, stainless steel pots heat too quickly and if the cheese gets too hot too fast it seizes up. I had to beat the seize outta my cheese. Here’s the recipe (click the pic to enlarge)…

Needless to say, dinner did not come immediately after. As a matter of fact, we both fell into a deep food coma and woke up an hour later. Of course I get blamed…

“Why’d you let me sleep that long?!”

“I didn’t let you, I was sleeping myself.”

“But, I thought you were cooking dinner?!”

“Are you seriously hungry after we just inhaled a pound of melted cheese and a loaf of bread?!”

“Well, I’m not starving…but we have to eat dinner.”

“We’ll eat later, in the meantime let’s drink.”

Drink of the night….

Chocolate Covered Cherry Martini

This seriously tastes like a chocolate covered cherry…got wasted

Get yourself: 2oz Chocolate vodka, 20z Black Cherry vodka, 2oz half and half, 2oz simple syrup, 6t Maraschino cherry juice + 4 cherries, 1T Ghiradelli Double Chocolate-Hot Cocoa mix, Chocolate syrup.

To make: Combine all your liquids into a shaker over ice and shake. Line rim of glass with chocolate syrup. Place cherries at bottom of glass. Pour drink in. Dust top of drink by putting cocoa powder in a sieve and tapping it. Sit down. If standing, grab hold of something stable such as a counter top or banister or such as…drink, enjoy, thank me later.

Okay, now that we’re feelin’ loose…let’s, uh, cook dinner?

Dinner

Sherry Baby Bella’s

Roasted Garlic and Parmesan (s)mashed Potatoes

Porterhouse for Two — Ruth’s Chris style

I wanted some classic sides to go with the 2.5lb hunk of beast I was serving so I thought sautéed mushrooms and mashed potatoes would be perfect. Then I thought, that’s boring.  So I tweaked them a little and now, lucky me, I can never go back to the classic way because it just pales in comparison.

Sherry Baby Bella’s

These mushrooms are bangin’!

Get yourself: 1 shallot, 5T butter, 2T extra virgin, 6 cloves roasted garlic mash, 2 packages of sliced baby bella’s, 1/4 cup dry sherry cooking wine, salt and cracked black pepper, 1T fresh chopped parsley

To make: In a skillet over medium flame heat up your 3T butter and 1T of oil. When butter foam subsides toss in your roasted garlic mash and stir to break up. Then add your shallots and cook for 5 mins until soft and starting to brown. Now toss in 1T of butter, let it melt, and then add the mushrooms. Toss to coat. Let mushrooms cook down a bit and get nice and soft. Now, raise the flame to high, add in your sherry wine and cook for a few mins scraping bottom of pan to deglaze. Reduce flame to medium and stir all together.Continue to cook mushrooms, they should be shrunken and slightly browned at this point. Add your last T of butter and olive oil. This will create a buttery, and velvety sauce for the mushrooms. Kill the flame. Toss in your parsley. Put the fork down.

Roasted Garlic and Parmesan (s)mashed Potatoes

This recipe yields a batch of (s)mashed potatoes like no other. There’s a hint of roasted garlic and Parmesan and the texture is silky smooth. Roughly mashing the potatoes leaves some chunks of potato and skin which gives the dish  contrasting textures.

Get yourself: 3lbs new baby red potatoes, 1 cup heavy cream, 2T butter, 6-8 cloves roasted garlic mash, 1T extra virgin, 3 handfuls of grated Parmesan, salt&cracked pepper.

First things first, cook your potatoes until fork tender. I like to throw mine in a huge Pyrex bowl, add 1/4 cup of water to the bowl, cover, and heat in microwave for 6-8 mins/lb. They will pierce easily with a fork. Dump any remaining water from the bowl and smash the potatoes.

Leave it chunky (it’ll break down when you stir later). In a large pot heat your butter and roasted garlic mash. When foam subsides on butter add the heavy cream, black pepper and Parmesan. Stir to make saucy. Toss in your potato mash and stir until the potatoes are somewhat creamy and take on a sheen.

I’m warning you may be tempted to eat half before it even gets to the plate!

Now, Ladies and Gentlemen, the moment you’ve all been waiting for…our headliner this evening….

weighing in @ 2.5lb and measuring 2″ thick…

Porterhouse (for 2)

Get yourself: a big slab of Porterhouse beef (I put in a special request at the local butcher), 2T butter, 1T fresh parsley, oven-safe serving platter, s&cracked pepper.

Can’t picture a 2.5lb porterhouse, see for yourself…

To make: All it takes to cook this is a quick sear ea. side over high heat and then it gets finished in the oven. First you will take the meat out at least 15mins before cooking so it gets to room temp. Preheat oven to 450F. Next, liberally salt and pepper the beef.  Heat a cast iron skillet grill pan until smoking hot. Sear the steak on one side for ~3mins then flip. Place 1T of butter on top of beef. Place skillet in middle of oven and check for doneness after 8-10mins. Once beef is done, put 1T butter on oven-safe platter and put under broiler for a few mins (watch that butter doesn’t burn). Take out and sprinkle with parsley.  Then place meat on platter and carve.

Make sure you have your stove exhaust on high bc this steak will hiss and smoke like crazy!

And there you have it…

be VERY careful, the plate is hot!

Caffelatte

Coffee, like food, is sensory. We first drink by seeing then by tasting. The Italians have done so for ages.  That’s why we have them to thank for the caffelatte or latte for short. Fresh whole milk, instead of being poured haphazardly into a mug of coffee, is heated, frothed, and dolloped atop a fresh cup of coffee or, for a macchiato, freshly brewed espresso is added to already heated and frothed milk.

I like to first add sugar and a sprinkle of cinnamon to the milk so the crystals are suspended in the froth. This way you get a taste of the sugar and/or cinnamon with every sip.

Either way,  drinking coffee at home will never be the same again.

You will need:

Fresh brewed coffee or espresso

Frothing tool such as: AeroLatte

Whole milk. I like organic, it’s a ripoff richer

Sugar and/or cinnamon

Add a little bit of milk to your mug

Heat in microwave for ~20secs

Milk should be warm NOT hot

Grab your frother

Add sugar and/or cinnamon to milk and froth until foam is halfway up mug

You can also directly brew espresso into the foam for a macchiato

In a separate mug, pour yourself a cup of coffee and leave room at the top

Gently dollop on top of coffee to fill to brim

Top off with a sprinkle of cinnamon and sugar

or while no one is watching a drizzle of caramel…

Enjoy!

You can also dollop on top of espresso…

Now that’s how coffee is drunk!

Sesame Cookies

Most people crave chocolate chip cookies at night, me, I got a hankering for friggin’ sesame cookies! The best part, I was fully prepared to make them–I mean, what person has at least 1 cup of sesame seeds on hand at any given time?!? If you never had these, they’re bangin’, eat ’em alone, after dinner with espresso, for breakfast, or, my fave–dunk ’em in coffee! Only three weeks into the new year and already my resolutions are out the window. Oh well, rules are made to be broken and food, well, it’s made to be eaten…and when it’s as good as this, it’s a sin not to indulge.

The cookies turned out great.  Firm,  sweet, buttery, nutty, and a little soft in the center. Also, these are great if you add a little citrus zest. I attempted to zest some clementines, but it didn’t work out to well. If you have an orange on hand zest about 1T and toss it into the cookie dough.

–Recipe Pictorial–

Not the right measuring cup, but I thought this pic came out dope.

Toss your sugars and butter into a mixer fitted with a whisk

Cream

Combine flour, salt, and baking powder-NOT SODA

I’ve made this mistake before…not cool

Mix eggs and vanilla together

Combine…

…until thick and stiff

You would addthe zest @ this pt.

Start to add flour a little at a time

Mixture will form a dough

Plop it out onto a floured surface and fold over onto itself a few times to shape into a ball

You can refrigerate @ this point to firm up

Or, if you’re impatient like me start shaping cookies now

Put sesame seeds into a shallow bowl

Fill a wide mouth mug up with milk

You’re going to break off 1T size balls and shape into little loaves

Dip in milk then roll in sesame seeds

Line on wax paper spaced about 1″

Bake @ 375F for 20-25mins. Bake longer for crispier cookies

Prepare to indulge.

–Ingredients–

3C AP flour

2 sticks of butter softened

3/4C Vanilla or plain sugar

1/4 C Brown sugar

1 1/4t Vanilla extract

3 Eggs beaten

1/4t Kosher salt

2 1/2t Baking powder

1C Milk

1C Sesame seeds

Wax paper to line cookie trays

1T Orange zest (optional)

Makes about 2 Dz