Friday, March 19, 2010

Breakfast Pasta AKA Hickory Smoked Bacon Pasta Carbonara

The birthday boy gave this dish the official name of "Breakfast Pasta", also known as my "Hickory Smoked Bacon Pasta Carbonara". What could be tastier than pasta, cream, bacon, eggs, and alotta Parmesan cheese all in one dish? Instead of making this classic dish with pancetta, I decided to cater the main ingredient of this dish to the guests who were in attendance. A large group of bulky ex-college wrestlers AKA bacon lovers! The dish was a hit and even after I made two huge heaping servings the insatiated party guests wanted more. It's filling, savory, smokey, meaty, cheesy, rich, creamy, and extremely simple to make! While living in Florence I found this dish to be a classic Italian staple...eaten any time of the day and served up in almost any Italian trattoria. I even had the pleasure of making this dish for our Parisian couchsurfing hosts David and Vladia while my sister and I were traveling through France last summer. They loved it! The greatest thing about this dish is that no matter what country you are in the ingredients are all very basic and simple...and easy to find! I substituted parsley with basil while in Paris. Either will do!

Hickory Smoked Bacon Pasta Carbonara

8oz Hickory Smoked Bacon (chopped)
2 cups heavy cream
salt & pepper
2 eggs
2 cups freshly grated Parmesano Reggiano
chopped parsley
2 cloves garlic (chopped)
1 lb. fettuccine

1. Cut the bacon into 1cm strips and fry over a medium heat. Add garlic and stir fry with bacon for a minute.
2. Place the fettuccine into a pot of salted, boiling water and cook until al dente
3. In the mean time, once the bacon is cooked add the cream and salt and pepper to the pan and simmer to reduce until thick and creamy.
4. Whisk together the egg and Parmesan
5. Once the pasta is cooked, drain and add it to the pan and stir it through the cream sauce.
6. Finally, add the egg and Parmesan to the pan and stir again.
7. Serve immediately garnished with parsley.

*Note: when adding the egg and Parmesan mix incorporate slowly while stirring pasta to avoid from scrambling the eggs in the heat of the pasta. this keeps the pasta smooth and creamy!

made with love,


The story of my twice baked carrot cake!

If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. Sounds cheesy but it's soo true! After successfully executing Frank's M&M and Kit Kat colorful and delicious birthday cake, I was so confident going into making a delicious carrot cake for my best friend Jeremiah's 33rd surprise birthday! And this is what happens when you get a little too confident and foolishly "clever". Baking, I must say is a new enterprise to me. In so many ways it is such a science and a bitch to figure out, however, it many ways with my sweet tooth I really do love getting elbow deep in flour, using my sweet red kitchen aid to make sweet doughs that are accompanied by sweet aromas which fill my small little apartment, and most of all: adding and subtracting and substituting parts of the recipe to my liking!

This two layered carrot cake was going to be the king of all carrot cakes and I was even going to attempt to make some mini carrots and a frog out of fondant. Boy was this a major endeavor in only having 5 hours to complete it! I used a well trusted food blog "Real Life Foodie Adventures" who posted a recipe that has been passed down through the generations and been perfected over many years. I thought I might as well try it and liked that there were substitutions in this recipe that make the cake unique and healthier. These include the addition of diced pineapple and applesauce! These keep the cake uber moist and delicate.

So I decided to get smart with the recipe and with limited time, decided to pour the entirety of the batter into one large spring form cake pan. I decided that I could bake it, cut it neatly in half, and icing the two layers after they have been cooled. BIG MISTAKE. In an effort to save time, I turned what was supposed to be an alotted 3 hour window of time to turn my cake baking fiasco into 6 hours and alotta frustration. I baked the cake at the recommended time and temperature however, no matter how long I baked it the middle always came out doughy (with my toothpick test). The longer I put it in the oven, the outside became darker and harder while the middle remained doughy. I should have gone with my original instinct to pour the cake batter into two separate cake pans to allow for evenly distributed heat and a fully cooked cake. Argggghhh...

Now that time was no longer on my side I had to think fast. I decided to scoop out the raw dough from the middle of my partially baked cake and make mini carrot cakes. Hence, the way this "twice baked carrot cake" got it's name. I took my melon baller and scooped away into my mini bite sized cupcake pan and continued to bake until my toothpick came out clean. I used the cream cheese frosting from the recipe but added a little vanilla bean to give it some extra flavor pizazz and hoorah. I used my ever-so-loved frosting piping bag to pipe a nice swirl of frosting on each cupcake. I decided to top each mini cake with a candied pecan that I bought in the peanut aisle. You wouldn't believe that candied pecans costs about half as much as buying raw pecans! I got the "pecan flavor" of whole candied pecans and I was worried about how these might take away from the flavors of the cake itself but they were a great and most delicious addition!

So some quick thinking turned a mess of a mistake into 33 little bite sized and delicious twice baked carrot cake! Exactly 33. One for each year of the birthday boy. A candle in each. One hard huff and puff of all the candles. And there you go! By the next morning these little cakes were all everyone could talk/text/facebook about! Ahhhhh....

I guess no one really has to know how the little delicious cakes came to be but it just goes to show how one can turn a major mistake into a mouthwatering miracle!

made with love,


How would you like a slice of sweet random pie?

This became my official "sweet random pie" because so far it has been my most successful pie I've ever made out of all the random things I could find in my kitchen cabinets! We've all been there! Too lazy to find a new recipe, drive to the store, etc etc. Some of the most amazing food I've ever had has resulted from an impromptu meal made from random things in my refrigerator! Like my chicken, mozzarella, and heirloom tomato pesto nann bread panini? To die for!

Here is the recipe for my "sweet random pie" could also be known as "Jasmine's chocolate caramel pecan pie". It's super simple, easy, fast, and Delish! What more could a chef ask for?

Sweet Random Pie

Pie Filling:
8oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 Cup brown sugar
1 Cup Unsalted Butter
1 Cup whole pecans

Pie Crust:

3/4 Cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2 Cup granulated sugar
2 Cups cake flour

To make the crust, in a large bowl, use a wooden spoon (or Kitchen Aid Mixer) to combine the butter, egg, and granulated sugar. Add the flour and mix until a homogeneous lump of dough forms. Roll into a ball, cover in plastic wrap, and refrigerate at least 2 hours or up to 8 hours.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Butter a 9 1/2 inch tart pan. Unwrap refrigerated dough and place on a floured work surface. Lightly flour rolling pin, roll dough out into a round. Line crust into greased tart pan. (This tart in particular is my favorite because it's taste and texture reminds me of a shortbread cookie--my favorite!). Bake pie in oven for about 30 minutes until pale dry.

Sprinkle chocolate chips right on top of pie crust. Spread around evenly. Place in oven for 2 minutes or until chocolate has completely melted. Spread melted chocolate with a spatula into an even layer.

In a small pot melt butter and brown sugar and mix together on medium heat. Mix until thoroughly combined and let boil for 3 minutes. Pour caramel mixture from pot into pie tart pan over chocolate and spread. Allow yourself to make beautiful swirls with the caramel and chocolate mixture. Top with pecan nuts (whole or chopped).

Allow to cool until warm to touch and serve warm with a large dollop of vanilla bean gelato (or whatever choice of ice cream you want!). For garnish top with mint leaf.

Enjoy to the fullest! If you think that the pie filling is too sweet you may always opt for using milk chocolate chips. I brought the pie over to a friend's place and needless to say the pie tart pan was the only thing I came home with! Well received by all who tried this "sweet random" creation and maybe if you're lucky and really really nice to me I will replicate it for you!

As always...

Made with love,


Thursday, March 4, 2010

soft chewy ginger molasses cookies baked to perfection!

I wanted to explore the horizons beyond the traditional chocolate chip or oatmeal raisin cookie. For rainy season I believe the mind, body, soul, and taste buds craves something sweet, spicy, cinnamony, and a baked good that is the perfect accompaniment to a nice warm cup of joe or hot chocolate.

Behold the soft, chewy, decadent ginger molasses cookie. By luck I found this recipe on Tastespotting, my go-to site for all wonderful recipes networked by other food blog enthusiasts and also what I like to refer to as "food porn". If you are one to feast with your eyes (which we all do to some degree) this would be the site to check out. There's also a search box where you can type in any recipe ingredient to filter out all recipes that include that ingredient! This is perfect for left over ingredients in your fridge or when trying to find what to make for the produce you found on sale but have no clue as to what you might make with it. The only thing better than checking out this site is actually eating the food itself! Maybe one day I might make a fortune for inventing taste-a-blog...forget smell-a-vision! Taste-a-blog is the future!

Linda Balsev, the author of the food blog "Taste Food" posted this recipe and by chance, I found it among 20 other ginger molasses cookie recipes. I discovered these cookies to be wonderfully textured and had the most delicious blend and balance of spices. Thick, chewy & crumbly at the same time, each cookie turned out perfect in size, texture, and flavor! In order to get each cookie consistent in size, I recommend using a 2 oz. stainless steel spring loaded ice cream scooper before balling the portioned dough in your hand and rolling them in a powdery bath of sugar.

I am still exploring the baking world, one cookie, cake, and pie at a time! The saying goes that baking is more of a science than an art, but I must beg to differ! Although ingredients may be more difficult to work with and substitute for, it is just as much an art as any other art form! Please, bake, taste, enjoy, and spread the word about these wonderful wintery treats!

as always...

made with sweet sweet love...


a simple fruit tart ala mode

As a thank you to "the boys" for helping us out in prepping and cooking our last event we decided to make them an ultimate "Delish" meal! We ended our delicious endeavor with a wonderful simple fruit tart ala mode. Our tart crust was extremely simple and resembled a buttery flaky shortbread cookie. A little flour, butter, sugar, and eggs, and wallah! We had a decadent pie crust. Our recipe is just too great to publicize. Afterall every great chef has their share of secret recipes that we shall take to the grave, right?! I brushed the perimeter of the crust with simple egg white so they would turn a beautiful golden brown in the oven. Bananas and rasberries (you can use whatever fruit happens to be on sale at the store or farmer's market) were our pick of fruit as one may use almost any fruit to top this tart. We sliced bananas very thin and and layered them right on top of the crust. Most fruit tarts have a sort of custard layer between the crust and fruit however the banana added a great consistency and tied the different layers together very well, thus no need for a custard. I've never been a real big fan of custards anyway. Then we topped the banana with rasberries and sprinkled powdered sugar on top for added bite of sweetness and a beautiful snow powdery finish! We sliced the cake as it was still warm out of the oven and accompanied each plate with a nice sized dallop of french vanilla ice cream! I wish we could say the ice cream was homemade but that's another endeavor for another day! The only thing I think we could have done differently was to bake the crust with a weight (bag of unbaked beans or something) to keep the surface of the crust flat before plating the fruit. I made the exact same fruit tart a few days later (I was on a fruit tart frenzy for a week) but used blueberries instead of rasberries. The only downside I noticed were that the blueberries tended to roll around everywhere. On the plate, off the plate, off the table, and onto the floor when serving! This immediately reminded me of an old childhood song "On Top of Spaghetti". This is when I think a layer of custard would be useful to act as the glue to keep the smooth rolly polly blueberries in place! Perhaps a banana infused custard? I also think these tarts would be a wonderful delight as small little bite sized tarts. Sweet, simple, and delicate for a lady's afternoon tea or perhaps even a baby shower. Hmmm...

made with love,


Wow...what a difference a month makes!

Hello everyone! It has been one crazy month as so much has happened! To start, I was recently laid off from my job but before you start to have pity, I must say it is a true blessing in disguise! The timing could not have been any better as I now have time and energy to devote all my time to Delish, a company I believe in full-heartedly.

I am currently collaborating with all my contacts in regards to Delish and going full force into establishing our name in the community and expanding! I'm making it a full-time effort and so far it seems that these efforts have been paying off! Our website is in the last stages of being complete and our good friends and family have been great referrals for hosting future events! Kim and I have been working our our business plan to identify our goals, vision, target market, costs, expenditures, profit margin, etc. All that business stuff is an absolute necessity as we cannot afford NOT to have all the research and business plan in place! We are also an official sponsor of the Sacramento Midtown Triathlon Club and have been catering monthly board meetings and other social events.

This month we are planning to film a commercial for our website, collaborate with a local comedy club to cater a benefit comedy show for a friend and donate sample tastings to local radio stations and community television stations for a few seconds of air time. Kim and I are also making efforts to continue learning new skills/techniques/recipes/flavors by enrolling in cooking classes at William Sonoma and Sac Foods Coop. As longs as we are business we will never stop learning, practicing, and perfecting new and old favorite recipes. I think my friends and family have finally gotten used to me snapping pictures of food prior to eating and tolerated my incessant inquiries about how the food tastes and how I could make it better.

Upcoming Catering Events Include:

March 6 Frank's 27th Birthday Bash
March 14 Post Shamrock'n Half Marathon Cocktail Party
March 20 Baby Birthday Party
March 27 Bridal Shower

In the works: Wedding, all girl's dessert party, grand opening of a local restaurant.

Kim and I will continue to blog weekly about all of our Delish kitchen experiences and hope that you will all stay tuned and keep us in mind the next time you or someone you know has an event that needs catering! Our philosophy will always be to provide healthy, organic, elegant, beautiful, locally grown, personalized, high-quality, homemade food and service that is delicious and made with love...