Saturday, August 27, 2011

Emilie Autumn's Cucumber Hatred Tea Sandwiches ~ Recipe Review

This week, I'll be reviewing a rather old recipe by Emilie Autumn. This recipe was originally found in Orkus Magazine October 2007 in an article called "Emilie Autumn's Mad Tea Party."

Here is a link to my copy of the recipe.(Also, I'm using a new method of presenting my recipes. Let me know what you think of the design!)

So. On to the review. 

First off let me go through my new checklist system.
Vegetarian: No
Vegan: No
Dairy: Yes

Right, so the recipe is very simple to follow and it's colored with the usual flavor EA gives her recipes. Essentially, you're making a cream cheese spread and adding basil and cucumber to make your sandwich. While this may be too simple for some, with the right pairings it is rather lovely. I however love tea sandwiches and I'll even eat them alone as a lunch or snack.

So the short version of the recipe: Blend cream cheese, cream, pepper, salt, and chives. Spread mixture on one slice of white and one slice of wheat bread. Lay cucumbers and basil leaves on top. Put the two together. Cut crusts and cut sandwiches into triangles.
The End.

The flavor of the sandwiches is very basic but very enjoyable. There is a special kick from the basil that I can't exactly describe but I know it's there. The white and wheat bread complement each other very well and the chives aren't overwhelming. Overall a very lovely tea dish.


Saturday, August 6, 2011

Getting Down to Business

So. I was planning to have a shiny new post for you today for Recipe Review Saturday but to be blatantly honest I haven't written one yet. I've been having a hard time with my laptop being dead so I just downloaded Blogsy on my iPad.

I'll be writing up a bunch of posts today so The Asylum Pantry will be ready for it's grand reopening on Tuesday with a video tutorial.

Thank you all for being so patient with me while I get everything figured out and organized. I promise I'll be imparting knowledge on you in no time.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

How I'm Going to Save this Blog.

So as you can clearly see, I've temporarily abandoned this lovely little blog. I've got a plan that I'm working on to remedy this.

Like with Tiny Pink Teacups I'm going to be employing a schedule to help me post often. My posts will be on the days I'm not posting on TPT. This will also include a few new tags.

Tuesday
Baker's Bounty - I do bake a lot so I'll be using Tuesdays to do either a video or a picture/text tutorial for something yummy.

Thursday
Tip Time- I'll be sharing helpful tips for around the kitchen for pretty much anything you can think of.

Saturday
Recipe Reviews - When I try a new recipe I'll be sharing the results, my thoughts, and my personal changes with you.

Right, so new tags are going to be: Baker's Bounty, Tip Time, and Recipe Reviews.

Alright lovelies, I've got to get back to fixing my laptop.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Turkey Burgers

1 egg, slightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 pound uncooked lean ground turkey or lean ground chicken
1/4 cup fine dry bread crumbs
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup jalapeno jelly, melted or barbecue sauce
Prepackaged shredded red cabbage, thinly sliced red onion, and/or desired toppings
4 potato rolls, kaiser rolls, or hamburger buns, split and toasted


In a bowl combine egg, salt, and pepper. Add turkey and breadcrumbs; mix well. Shape the chicken mixture into four 3/4-inch-thick patties.
In a large nonstick skillet, cook patties over medium heat in hot oil for 10 minutes, turning once halfway through cooking time or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the burger registers 165°F. Brush patties on each side with jalapeno jelly or barbecue sauce. Cook 1 minute more on each side to glaze.
To assemble, place cabbage and red onion on bottom of rolls and top with meat. Makes 4 servings.
 

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Pasta Primavera with Asparagus

So before I get to the recipe, I would love to hear some feedback from you guys. How would you feel about videos of me cooking? Its an idea I've been toying with for a while, and would love to know what you think.
 
16 thin stalks fresh asparagus
8 ounces dried long fusilli or ziti pasta
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons bottled minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 small red, orange, and/or yellow tomatoes, seeded and cut up
1 tablespoon butter or margarine
1/4 cup shredded fresh basil

Snap off and discard woody bases of fresh asparagus. Rinse. Cut or snap off the tips; set aside. Bias-slice asparagus stalks into 1- to 1-1/2-inch pieces; set aside.
Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and pepper; cook and stir for 30 seconds.
Add asparagus stalk pieces, wine, and salt to skillet. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Cook, uncovered, for 3 minutes or until asparagus is crisp-tender, stirring occasionally. Add tomatoes and asparagus tips; cook, uncovered, for 1 minute more or until the tomatoes are heated through. Remove from heat; stir in butter.
Drain pasta; add pasta and basil to vegetables in skillet. Toss gently to combine. Makes 4 servings.
 

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Ginataang Munggo

Before I give you the recipe,  I'd like to distract you to this wonderful article.


So this is one of my favorite foods. Its a breakfast, a lunch, and a snack all in one. Its a recipe that my mom's made since she was just a young girl in the Philippines.


2 cups sweet rice (glutinous rice)
12 oz corn
5 cups (approx.) water
1/4 cup toasted munggo (mung beans)
14 oz coconut milk (Preferably made in Thailand)
1/2 to 3/4 cups white sugar
1/3 cup small Tapioca pearls
1 tsp. vanilla extract (optional)

Toast the munggo until golden. While you are doing this, start boiling the tapioca. 
After the beans are toasted, add them to the water. Stir frequently so the tapioca does not stick to the bottom.
After the tapioca has cooked for about 20 minutes, add the rice. Let the rice fully cook before adding the rest of the ingredients. Continue to stir frequently.
Let cook for about 10 more minutes and then serve.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Gruyere and Cheddar Broccoli Soup

So soup is definitely great. Its even better when its a meal in itself.

1 medium head broccoli
3 cups chicken broth (You can also use beef stock)
1/2 (6 oz) large sweet yellow onion
1.5 Tbsp unsalted butter
2 cloves garlic
2 Tbsp flour
1/2 cup heavy cream
6 oz fine quality extra-sharp cheddar cheese
4 oz fine quality gruyere
1/4 tsp salt
freshly ground black pepper
 
1/2 Tbsp Paprika 

Add butter to a saucepan, and saute diced onion and garlic over medium heat until softened and slightly caramelized. Add flour and stir to combine. Slowly add a little olive oil and stir with a wooden spoon to combine until the flour looks velvety and begins to puff up while heating. Cook for four minutes.

Remove from heat. Stir in slightly warmed cream and the chicken broth while whisking continuously. Add broccoli .Return to heat and bring to a slow boil. Boil until broccoli is tender then remove from heat.  Slowly add the shredded cheese in small amounts, stirring to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste. 



 

Monday, March 7, 2011

Asylum Pantry Original Stir-fry

Before you panic, take a deep breath. Repeat after me. "It is okay to have a recipe with little to no measurements." Now actually believe it.


Yes, this stir-fry has almost NO measurements. Its mostly to taste and its very approximated. This is how we do things in this house. The only time the measuring cups come out is for baking and desserts. So relax and get ready to cook.

Now as for the ingredients, these are just suggestions based on the stir-fry I made for dinner last night. Also, this should be able to serve about 3 people generously.

1 small onion
3-4 cloves garlic
2 large carrots
 6 asparagus stalks
2-3 handfuls green beans
1/4 head green cabbage
1/2 small head cauliflower
1/4 sweet red and/or green pepper 
1 small can sliced Water Chestnuts
1lb pork
Salt
Pepper
Sesame Oil
Soy Sauce
Oyster Sauce

So get out your chopping board and start cutting. try to cut everything in a uniform manner. I usually go with diagonal cuts for everything except the cauliflower which I cut into bite size pieces.
With the goal in mind to cook everything evenly, I usually pop the carrots and the cauliflower in the microwave for a minute and a half and set them aside until I'm ready to use them.
 Coat the bottom of your pan with sesame oil. I use a shallow copper bottom dutch oven, but using a wok or just a regular frying pan works just as well. If you're cooking meat put that in the pan after your oil has time to heat up. Let the meat brown lightly and then add your garlic and onion. Brown those as well. Add salt and pepper to taste. Err on the side of caution with the salt since you're still adding soy sauce and oyster sauce.
 When cooking the veggies, start with the more dense and work towards the ones that will cook the fastest. Based on what I've listed above, this is the order that you should cook them:
Asparagus, Cauliflower, Carrots
Green Beans (I usually start adding in my soy sauce and oyster sauce here)
Cabbage (Add your water chestnuts here too)
Peppers

Each should be slightly tender before you add the next vegetable in. After everything has cooked for a minute or so, add as much of the soy sauce you want until the stir-fry tastes right to you.
Serve over Rice, Quinoa, or Stir-fry noodles.







Thursday, March 3, 2011

Highly Doubtful Teacake with Very Suspicious Creme

Okay, so I'm kind of cheating today. Only kind of. This is a slightly Emilie Autumn inspired blog, so using one of her recipes is not cheating. Its sharing. However I didn't bother to write it out. Its a magazine scan from Orkus that she did years ago near the beginning of the Opheliac era. So I present to you (rather lazily) Highly Doubtful Teacake with Very Suspicious Creme.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Marshmallow Fudge Recipe

On occasion Violet of Violet LeBeaux - Tales of an Ingenue posts a recipe. Usually I absolutely fall in love with them. I was reading today and saw her new post: Marshmallow Fudge. I tinkered with it a little and this is what I came up with.


Marshmallow Fudge

1 bag of large marshmallows (16oz)
2  3.7 ounce dark chocolate bars (I liked the taste best when using a  67% and an 85% bar)
1 1/4 Tbsp butter
Microwave safe bowl (Please don't use plastic! The chemicals that leech out are no fun)



Place the butter, marshmallows, and broken up chocolate into your bowl.
Microwave for 30 seconds. Add another 10 if needed. Be careful when melting chocolate, even if it looks like its still solid, when mixed with the other ingredients it will continue to melt as you mix.
Using a plastic or metal spoon mix well until the fudge is smooth and creamy.
Let cool in the fridge (or outside if its cold and you don't have room! That's what I did.)
Cut into squares and enjoy!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Update

So the Epic Macaroon Adventure was a bust. I couldn't get the batter to the right consistency. It was either too runny or too thick. I will revisit this in the future, but for now I'm giving up. I will post a recipe tomorrow, I promise, but for now I would like to direct you to my new blog: Tiny Pink Teacups

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Quick Update

So there will not be a recipe for today or tomorrow or possibly the next day. I'm going to be doing a large post about my Macaroon adventure. Its going to be step by step with pictures and everything. I'm going to be doing all the work today, and then editing tomorrow. So on Saturday or Sunday expect an Amazing Macaroon Adventure.


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Bacon Wrapped Tofu

I made these for a bento the other day and they were delicious! I just had to share them with you lovely people.

Bacon Wrapped Tofu

1 block firm tofu
Several Strips of Bacon
Brown Sugar
Soy Sauce

Drain and rinse the tofu and then pat it dry with a paper towel. Cut into bite size pieces that are about as wide as your tofu. Wrap each piece in bacon so that the ends overlap. You can cut the bacon if needed.
Heat up a non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat. Put the bacon wrapped tofu pieces with the overlapping edges side down. Cook until crisp, then turn. Keep cooking and turning until done on all sides.
A sweet-salty variation is to add a little bit of soy sauce to the pan, and a sprinkle (maybe about 2 tsp.) of brown sugar; stir rapidly to melt the sugar, then turn the bacon-tofu in the sauce until the moisture has largely evaporated.
Eat hot or at room temperature, preferably with plain rice as part of a Japanese meal. Also a nice appetizer or sake drinking accompaniment.


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Of Anniversaries, Garages, and Ankles.

Wow it hurts to be away for some time. Not posting yummy recipes has made me sad which actually surprises me. so I apologize for being away so long and hope you'll find my reasons good enough.

Monday, February 7th was my one year anniversary with my wonderful boyfriend. As he lives two and a half hours away and since our anniversary fell on a monday we celebrated on that Saturday. I met him around 2 and we spent hours cuddling on the couch watching movies, talking, and maybe making out just a little bit. We then got all dressed up for dinner. He wore a suit! I wore an amazing velvet mini dress and (by complete coincidence) the same tights I wore on our first date. We went to Falls Terrace in Tumwater and ended up both ordering the London Broil. Meduim rare of course. There was a wedding party there so it was loud and crowded. Either way it was still incredibly romantic. We'd tried to go there a few times before but either didn't get a reservation in time or had to cancel the reservation last minute. It was kind of nice being able to finally make it when we did. So long story short we ate amazing food and were too full for dessert. We told each other secrets and confessions we hadn't shared before. After dinner we went back to the apartment he was staying at and found two additional guests on the couch next to one of the two guys that lived there. We changed back into our jeans and staked our claim on two spost on the couch next to the others and watched Metalocalypse and Robot Chicken while they all drank terrible tasting beer. (It was like drinking acid I swear) so that was that and I drove home and watched a movie with my mom before heading off to sleep.

So this past week leads to the second reason. The garage. All by my lonesome I organized the entirety of our garage. No small feat I assure you. It took me three whole days just to organize everything and then another two days were spent painting doors and two of the walls.

So then, what happened to me today? Well I've been on my couch for the past seven hours. And when not on the couch, I've been hobbling around pathetically. Its been rainy and windy and cold so I really didn't want. To go out and get the mail. So around noon I slipped on a pair of old flats and pulled my hoodie tight around me and ran across the yard to the mailbox. I made it fine and got the mail and started on my way back to the house. Well we have a gopher problem so our ground is rather uneven. I've never had a problem with it before so I don't know if it was the rain or if I'm just clumsy, but I stepped on a bit of ground that caved in just a tiny bit which left my foot staying straight out in front of me and my body going to the left. So I hobbled my way inside and planted my butt on the couch. My day has been filled with tv and ice packs. My mom's making me a steak so I feel better.

Expect a recipe tomorrow.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

French Onion Soup

This cold has really taken a turn for the worse. I've been pretty much bedridden for the past few days watching reruns of Bones. Well anyways, I decided to get up the other night and make my self something simple to eat instead of just raiding the fridge for leftovers and the freezer for tv-dinners. I wasn't in the mood for cutting up a chicken to make soup, so instead I decided to make onion soup.

3 tablespoons unsalted butter , cut into 3 pieces
6 large yellow onions (about 4 pounds), halved and cut pole to pole into 1/4-inch-thick slices (Make sure you get Yellow)
Table salt
2 cups water, plus extra for deglazing
1/2 cup dry sherry
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth (They recommend Swanson Certified Organic Free Range Chicken Broth )
2 cups beef broth (They recommend Pacific Beef Broth)
6 sprigs fresh thyme , tied with kitchen twine
1 bay leaf
Ground black pepper
Cheese Croutons
1 small baguette , cut into 1/2-inch slices
8 ounces shredded Gruyère cheese (about 2 1/2 cups)

Adjust the oven rack to the lower-middle position and heat the oven to 400 degrees.
Generously spray the inside of a heavy-bottomed large (at least 7-quart) Dutch oven with a nonstick cooking spray. Place the butter in the pot and add the onions and 1 teaspoon salt. Cook, covered, for 1 hour (the onions will be moist and slightly reduced in volume). Remove the pot from the oven and stir the onions, scraping the bottom and sides of the pot. Return the pot to the oven with the lid slightly ajar and continue to cook until the onions are very soft and golden brown, 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 hours longer, stirring the onions and scraping bottom and sides of pot after 1 hour.
Carefully remove pot from oven and place over medium-high heat. Using oven mitts to handle pot, cook onions, stirring frequently and scraping bottom and sides of pot, until the liquid evaporates and the onions brown, 15 to 20 minutes, reducing the heat to medium if the onions are browning too quickly. Continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the pot bottom is coated with a dark crust, roughly 6 to 8 minutes, adjusting the heat as necessary. (Scrape any fond that collects on spoon back into onions.)
Stir in 1/4 cup water, scraping the pot bottom to loosen crust, and cook until water evaporates and pot bottom has formed another dark crust, 6 to 8 minutes. Repeat process of deglazing 2 or 3 more times, until onions are very dark brown. Stir in the sherry and cook, stirring frequently, until the sherry evaporates, about 5 minutes.
Stir in the broths, 2 cups of water, thyme, bay leaf, and 1/2 teaspoon salt, scraping up any final bits of browned crust on bottom and sides of pot.
Increase heat to high and bring to simmer. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove and discard herbs, then season with salt and pepper.

While the soup simmers, arrange the baguette slices in single layer on baking sheet and bake in a 400-degree oven until the bread is dry, crisp, and golden at edges, about 10 minutes. Set aside.

Adjust oven rack 6 inches from broiler element and heat broiler. Set individual broiler-safe crocks on baking sheet and fill each with about 1 3/4 cups soup. Top each bowl with 1 or 2 baguette slices (do not overlap slices) and sprinkle evenly with Gruyère. Broil until cheese is melted and bubbly around edges, 3 to 5 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes before serving.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Easy Tortellini Carbonara

I'm sorry about not updating recently, I've had a cold thanks to my wonderful boyfriend. I'm back though, and mostly better so without further ado, here's today's recipe.

So who doesn't love a good pasta recipe right? I mean, look around and see if you raise your hand. You didn't. Today I'm bringing you a recipe that is, as usual, absolutely delicious AND incredibly easy. Hope you enjoy!


1 package (9 ounces) refrigerated cheese tortellini
8 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup minced fresh parsley
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Cook tortellini according to package directions. 
Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, combine the bacon, cream, parsley and cheese; cook over medium heat until heated through.
Drain tortellini; toss with cream sauce. Serve immediately.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Matcha Green Tea Muffins

In case you didn't already realize, this blog is partially inspired by the wonderful Emilie Autumn. So, once a month I will post one of her recipes until I run out of them. After that? Who knows, but it sounds like a good idea now, so its going to happen. So, I present to you, Emilie Autumn's Matcha Green Tea Muffins, one of her latest recipes. Hope you enjoy!


~Makes around 30 muffins~

2 1/2 cups sweet sorghum flour
1 3/4 cups quinoa flour (a complete protein : ) !)
1 cup arrowroot flour
1 tbsp + 1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp sea salt
3 tsp xanthan gum (this takes the place of gluten and improves texture!)
1/4 cup matcha green tea powder
1 1/3 cups canola oil (if organic, canola oil is actually good for you!)
3 cups water
1 tsp apple cider vinegar (use raw ACV like ‘Braggs,’ combines with the baking soda to help muffins to RISE!)
1 tsp almond extract (REAL!!)
1 1/2 cups agave nectar (light or raw)
1 1/2 cups coconut nectar (the syrup/sap, not the milk)


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Sift the flours into a large bowl. Add the remaining dry ingredients and combine well.
In another bowl, combine all the wet ingredients.
Slowly whisk the dry ingredients into the wet until thoroughly combined. (If batter seems too try, add more water. Too wet? More sorghum flour.)
Pour batter into prepared muffin tins (use either cupcake liners or simply butter and flour the tins ~ otherwise your muffins will stick like MAD!) and bake for 15~20 minutes OR until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.

Please do not let batter sit around, but use it up as quickly as you can (it’s science stuff, just trust me on this one.)
Now, I know you’re thinking that this recipe looks very bizarre, expensive, and uses difficult-to-find ingredients. It is all of these things. It is also worth it, because, with your new ingredients, and a scientific approach to creating Gluten Free and Vegan (also soy-free and with no refined sugar!) delicacies that can bear any resemblance to (or often be better than) the versions we all know and love, you will be able to experiment and invent new recipes of your own — once you learn the basic formulas, you can do anything, but you have to learn the rules before you can break them. I highly recommend using all organic ingredients if possible — the flavor and health benefits far outweigh the costs. I also highly recommend dressing up as a Geisha and serving these as part of an elaborate tea ceremony for someone you’d very much like to kiss. Worked for me…
AND! Never forget that baking is pure science elevated to an absolute art, and that, when you bake, you are engaging in the ancient practice of alchemy, i.e. altering the form of a thing into an entirely different thing. When you bake, you are working magick in a very real way, so honor your kitchen, your tools, your ingredients, and yourself every time you put on an apron, and infuse your creations with all the joy and love you with so share with those you feed. Because you can change the world, one muffin at a time.

<X3 EA

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Scones, Three Different Ways

Ah the scone. How could we ever live without it? Today I will present to you three of my favorite scone recipes, one for Breakfast, one for Dessert, and a traditional fruit scone.

Bacon and Cheddar Scone 
 3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
 1½ cups grated cheddar cheese
4 green onions, thinly slices
10 slices bacon, cooked and chopped or crumbled into small pieces
1 cup buttermilk (plus up to ½ cup extra, if needed)
For the egg wash:
1 large egg
2 tbsp. water
1-2 tsp. ground black pepper (depending on your preference)
8 tbsp. cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes


Preheat the oven to 400˚ F.  In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the flour, baking powder, salt and black pepper; mix briefly to combine.  Add the cubes of butter and mix on low speed until the mixture is crumbly and the butter pieces are about the size of small peas.  (Alternatively, this can be done in a regular mixing bowl, using a pastry blender or two knives to cut the butter into the dry ingredients.)  Add in the grated cheese and mix just until incorporated.
Mix in the green onions, bacon, and 1 cup of the buttermilk into the flour-butter mixture.  Stir by hand just until all the ingredients are incorporated.  If the dough is too dry to come together, mix in the remaining buttermilk a tablespoon or two at a time until the dough can be formed into a ball.  Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and pat the dough into an 8-inch disk.  Slice the dough into 8 to 10 wedges.
In a small bowl combine the egg and water and whisk together.  Brush each wedge lightly with the egg wash.  Transfer the scones to an ungreased baking sheet.  Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.


Raspberry White Chocolate Scones

3 cups plain flour
6 teaspoons baking powder
pinch of salt
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 cup frozen raspberries
1 cup cream
1 cup lemonade (sprite) not diet.

icing sugar (confectioners sugar) for dusting the baked white chocolate scones.
freshly whipped cream to serve – optional.

In a large mixing bowl sift the flour, baking power and salt. Sifting the flour will help make the scones light.
Stir through the white chocolate chips.
Add the cream and lemonade. Mix through until almost together then add the raspberries. Fold through. The mix should still have some dry spots it should not be uniform like a cake batter.
Divide the scone recipe into three. Take each piece and put on a baking tray that has been lined with non-stick baking paper. Mound to a similar shape as in my photo, and mark the top using a knife into four. Four will give a generous serve so you may want to mark them into six. Cut down to almost half way, this will make pulling apart the baked scones easier.
If you want make them the traditional way then tip the mix out onto a floured bench and pat into a block that is about 5cm thick. I use a 5.5cm round cutter to cut 16 scones. 
Place them on a baking tray lined with baking paper. I actually place them into a 24cm (9”) square cake pan lined with baking paper in four rows of four. This way they bake together giving them greater height and I feel they lose less moisture during baking.
You won’t get all 16 cut out on the first go, just push the left over mix together and cut the remaining scones.
The mix can be sticky so you may need to keep dusting the cutter and your fingers with flour.
Bake in a preheated oven set at 200oC for 18-20 minutes.
Leave to cool slightly before serving. Dust with icing sugar and serve with freshly whipped cream.
Blueberry Scones
2 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar, plus more for sprinkling tops
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries, picked over and rinsed
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1/3 cup heavy cream, plus more for brushing tops
2 large eggs, lightly beaten


Preheat oven to 400 degrees, with rack in center. Place a baking mat on a baking sheet, and set aside.
In a large bowl, sift together flour, 3 tablespoons sugar, baking powder, and salt. Using a pastry cutter or two knives, cut in butter until the largest pieces are the size of peas. Stir in blueberries and zest.
Using a fork, whisk together cream and egg in a liquid measuring cup. Make a well in the center of dry ingredients, and pour in cream mixture. Stir lightly with fork just until dough comes together. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead a few times to mix well.

Pat dough into a 6-inch square about 1 1/4 inches thick. Using a floured knife, cut into four 3-inch squares. Cut squares in half on the diagonal to form eight triangles. Transfer to prepared baking sheet. Brush tops with cream, and sprinkle with sugar. Bake until golden brown, 20 to 22 minutes. Transfer scones to wire racks to cool.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Organic VS Conventional

We all know that organic is better for you right? Well, we're going to take a look at what you should buy organic, and what you're fine with just buying nonorganic.

The Dirty Dozen

If you pay attention to what you eat, you know that some food are just not clean. Pesticides attack these fruits and vegetables and that can lead to danger for you. For those of you that know these, think of it as a review, those of you that don't know about them already, look at this as your dirty dozen 101.

Celery

Since celery has no skin, it is highly susceptible to pesticide residue after you've washed it.

Peaches

Though peaches have skin, its a very very thin skin. If you can't find organic, then just stay away.

Strawberries

Did you know that strawberries can have as many as 59 pesticides on them!? Its even more dangerous to buy them out of season because they come from countries that don't have as strict regulations as the US does.

Apples

Even though you can remove the skin off of apples, that doesn't mean that you should buy conventional. Even though it helps a little, there is still lots of residue, and you're getting rid of a bunch of the nutrients that make them healthy

Blueberries

These have to be one of the most dangerous berries on the non organic market. Not only are they thin skinned, they can contain up to 52 different pesticides.

Nectarines

Just like peaches, these have a very thin skin. 39 different pesticides and poisons?! No thank you. Try to buy organic, and as with strawberries, try to buy them in season.

Bell Peppers

So what about these? Well, containing more pesticides than nectarines, these think skinned veggies may be delicious but that doesn't mean that they are worth the risk.

Spinach

Not only is spinach not very high in iron, it also is considered one of the most toxic leafy greens when it comes to the pesticide count. Since you aren't absorbing the iron (Oxalic Acids anyone?) either skip it completely or make sure that you buy organic.

Kale

Just like spinach, this leafy green, though hardy and generally resistant to pests and disease, this leafy green is still loaded with pesticides.

Cherries

This summer favorite isn't as safe as you'd think. Not only are they loaded with pesticides when foreign grown, but cherries in the US have been found to contain three times as many pesticides as those grown outside the country.

Potatoes

Potatoes are safe right? I mean, they grow underground! Well looks like we've both been fooled. Even though you can peel them, that doesn't change the fact that they're loaded with pesticides.

Grapes

Imported grapes run a much greater risk of contamination than those grown domestically. Vineyards can be sprayed with different pesticides during different growth periods of the grape, and no amount of washing or peeling will eliminate contamination because of the grape's thin skin. Remember, wine is made from grapes, which testing shows can harbor as many as 34 different pesticides.


So now that we know what to buy organic, what can you safely buy nonorganic?

Basically, the truth is that anything that has a thick skin is safe enough that you can skip buying organic. Bananas, Kiwi, Mangoes, Pineapple,etc. Also things like Broccoli, Cauliflower, Asparagus, Corn, and Onions.

So all in all, use your best judgement when you're buying produce. When in doubt? Buy organic. Its safer and it tastes a lot better.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Mac & Cheese - The Grown Up Version

If you were like any normal kid, growing up you loved your mac and cheese. If you're like me, you still do. This is my take on the classic kid friendly food, but with a gourmet twist on it that could impress even the most critical in-laws,  bosses, or future love interests.

4 ounces thick-sliced bacon
Vegetable oil
Kosher salt
2 cups elbow macaroni or shells
1 1/2 cups milk
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
4 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated
3 ounces extra-sharp Cheddar, grated
2 ounces blue cheese, such as Roquefort, crumbled
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Pinch nutmeg
Quarter loaf of French or Garlic Bread
2 tablespoons freshly chopped basil leaves

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.Place a baking rack on a sheet pan and arrange the bacon in 1 layer on the baking rack. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the bacon is crisp. Remove the pan carefully from the oven – there will be hot grease in the pan! Transfer the bacon to a plate lined with paper towels and crumble when it is cool enough to handle.

Drizzle oil into a large pot of boiling salted water. Add the macaroni and cook according to the directions on the package, 6 to 8 minutes. Drain well.

Meanwhile, heat the milk in a small saucepan, but don’t boil it. Melt the butter in a medium pot and add the flour. Cook over low heat for 2 minutes, stirring with a whisk. While whisking, add the hot milk and cook for a minute or 2 more, until thickened and smooth. Off the heat, add the Gruyere, Cheddar, blue cheese, 1 teaspoon salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Add the cooked macaroni and crumbled bacon and stir well. Pour into 2 individual size gratin dishes.

Place the bread slices in a food processor fitted with a steel blade and pulse until you have coarse crumbs. Add the basil and pulse to combine. Sprinkle the bread crumb mixture over the top of the pasta. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbly and the macaroni is browned on the top.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Russian Tea Cakes


These have to be one of my favorite things to make. They're lovely with a cup of Earl Grey, or a nice tall glass of milk. They also freeze very well, so I usually make two or three batches at a time since they're so easy. The simplest way to freeze these is just put them in a nice plastic container and keep them flat in the freezer.

Ingredients:

1 Cup butter, softened
1/2 Cup powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 1/4 Cup all-purpose flour
3/4 Cup finely chopped almonds
3/4 Cup powdered sugar

1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. In a large mixing bowl, beat butter with electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add 1/2 Cup powdered sugar and salt. Beat in vanilla till combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Beat in as much flour as you can with mixer. Stir in remaining flour. Stir in almonds.

2) Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Place 1 inch apart on un-greased cookie sheet. Bake at 400 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes, until bottoms are lightly brown. Transfer to wire rack to cool.

3) Roll cooled cookies in 3/4 Cup powdered sugar. Be sure to allow cookies to cool before doing this, otherwise powdered sugar will melt.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Vegan Red Velvet Cupcakes with Lavender Buttercream Frosting

 I'm gonna start this whole blog thing off with a favorite recipe of mine. Now, this is a completely Vegan recipe but for the record I'm not Vegan.


Cake
2 cups almond milk (or coconut milk, or soy milk, or rice milk)
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar (or 1 1/2 cups agave nectar)
4 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup coconut oil (or vegetabe oil. veg oil makes an almost too moist cake, still delish)
2-5 Tablespoons of red food coloring, basically color to your liking. If you want a REDDER cake you will need to use LESS chocolate. (OR you can use about 3/4 cup of BEET JUICE ((pureed or finely shredded)) for a natural red color, and the beet flavor goes undetected!)
4 teaspoons vanilla extract

Add vinegar to almond milk, and set aside to curdle.
Sift flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl.
Add vegetable oil, food coloring, and vanilla extract to the curdled almond milk, and mix.
Pour liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients, and mix.
Fill cupcake liners ¾ full.
Bake in a preheated 350° oven for 20 minutes or until done.

Frosting
1/2 cup nonhydrogenated shortening
1/2 cup nonhydrogenated margarine, we use Earth Balance
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted if clumpy
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 cup lavender almond milk (bring milk and a handful of dry lavender to boil, take off heat and let steep for 10 mins then let cool before making frosting)

Beat the shortening and margarine together until well combined and fluffy. Add the sugar and beat for about 3 more minutes.
Add the vanilla and lavender almond milk, and beat for another 5 to 7 minutes until fluffy.
Add a couple drops of purple food coloring if you want!

Welcome to The Asylum Pantry!

Goodness its been a long time since I've blogged. Not that anything ever took off... However, here I am, and here you are. I welcome you wholeheartedly and hope you'll stay for a while.

So. Who am I you ask? Well, I'm Raayvhen or at least that's what you need to know, and I'm here to share with you a vast number of wonderful recipies. Sometimes they will be baked goods, other times just good food. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

Adieu for now,
Raayvhen