Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Chocolate Peanut Butter Oat Squares



How is almost March already?   2017 is moving much faster than I was anticipating!

So far, I've been alternating adventures every other weekend or so:  Joshua Tree,  Maui,  Disneyland, and Rancho Cucamonga.   You might have to look up R.C. on the map.  I know that I had never heard of it before.  If you head into the Inland Empire of California, can I recommend lunch at North Woods Inn?  You need the cheese bread and red cabbage salad in your life.  Also cheese butter for your baked potatoes?  WHAT!

We don't speak of winter much in San Diego so I was excited to go to the snow last Friday!  

SNOW!

We went skiing at Snow Summit in Big Bear.    My legs remembered what skiing was like, even after four years.    As you know, ski trips require snacks and that's where these oat squares come in.    A short list of ingredients, no baking required, and you've got peanut butter chocolate goodness in the palm of your hand.

What You Need

1 cup butter/margarine
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups rolled oats
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup chocolate chips
3/4 cup peanut butter (I used natural creamy)

What You Do

Line a 8x8 pan with foil.

In a saucepan, melt the butter with the brown sugar and vanilla over low heat.   Then add the oats, cinnamon and salt.   Stir constantly for 4-5 minutes.    Remove from heat and press half the oat mixture into the bottom of the pan.

In a microwave safe bowl, combine the chocolate and peanut butter.   Heat for 30 seconds, stir, and then heat for another 30 seconds (or more) until smooth.     Pour the chocolate mixture over the oat layer, reserving a small amount of the chocolate for drizzling over the top.

Spoon / Crumble the remaining oat mixture over the chocolate layer, press it down a little if you can, and drizzle with remaining chocolate.    Chill for at least 4 hours or overnight before cutting into squares.   


What are your favorite snacks to make for skiing or other winter fun?    


Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Eating In Hungary

Vegetables are fun in Hungary

Happy November!

One of my favorite things about travel is enjoying new and different foods.   Earlier this fall, I went to visit a friend living in Téglás, Hungary before meeting up with my mom in Budapest.  We went to the Cabbage Festival in Hajdúhadház and my friends had me get something from all the food vendors. Best way ever to enjoy the local flavors.    If you're heading to Hungary, here are some of the things you might get to try!  


Team Cabbage Fest


Kürtőskalács 
Defined as a "spit cake."  Don't let it deter you.  It's a yeast dough wrapped around a wooden spit and roasted over charcoal.   This one had cinnamon and sugar on it...yum!  


Potato Pancake
Cooked in a pan over a small fire at the festival.   
Plus, I got to pose with these party pants.


Cabbage Rolls
Cabbage rolls with sour cream and also cabbage and pork.  
What would a cabbage festival be without it?



Apple Strudel
Pastry all the days of my life.   Please.


LángosFry bread with sour cream, garlic and cheese.   The ultimate fair food.



Coffee
This cappuccino was especially cute.   Coffee is often strong in a small cup.   
I need my Nescafe fully diluted. 


Sausages and Pickled Vegetables
The Wisconsin in me loves a sausage on the grill.   Sausage, bread, and big pickles for a solid lunch.
Peppers and pickles stuffed with cabbage from the grocery or deli are also a hit.




School Lunch
When was the last time you had school lunch?    I went to school with my friend, a teacher, and enjoyed a filling lunch.    If you think this looks like soup with soup?   You're right.


Fruit Soup
Why isn't there more fruit soup in life? 


Do you have a favorite Hungarian food?    Where have your food travels taken you recently? 

Friday, July 29, 2016

Raspberry Lilikoi Oatmeal Bars



I love the San Diego farmers markets.  

California grows so much produce that there is so much good, fresh food.  And the local markets are my favorite source.    I can buy just the quantity I want.   If I just want a handful of green beans and a singular pluot?  No problem.  No judgment.

I can buy one pluot, but I need a whole basket of raspberries

The lilikoi (passionfruit) here are mostly purple on the outside instead of yellow.   The insides are the same juice, pulp and seedy mess.   A delicious mess.

Cali grown passionfruit

In Maui, I didn't have to buy my lilikoi, they grew in my friend's backyard.    Here in San Diego, the market is my source.    I've been missing the tropical flavors of Hawaii since my move.   How could I fix that?  Oh yes, baking.

This recipe uses Maui Upcountry Lilikoi Curd.   I may have just moved a jar or two with me to California.    You could modify this recipe to be lemon and raspberry by using lemon curd instead if that's easier to find.  

What You Need

For the bars:
1/2 cup butter or margarine,  melted
1/2 cup granulated sugar   
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup flour
3/4 cup old fashioned oats
pinch of salt
1/4 cup lilikoi curd
1/2 cup (heaping) fresh raspberries

For the lilikoi glaze:
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
2 teaspoons of fresh lilikoi juice

What You Do

Line an 8x8 pan with foil and spray with cooking spray.  
Preheat oven to 350.

In a large microwave safe bowl, melt the butter.   Whisk in the two sugars and the vanilla.    

Add the flour, oats and salt, stir to combine.   Reserve 1 cup of the mixture.

Press the remainder of the dough into the bottom of the 8x8 pan.    

Spread the lilikoi curd on top of the dough.   Sprinkle (or deliberately place) the raspberries on top of the lilikoi curd layer.  

Break apart the remaining dough in your hands and sprinkle/crumble on top of the raspberries and lilikoi curd.   

Bake for 25-30 minutes until the topping is set and slightly golden.   

Allow bars to cool and then cut into pieces.

To make the glaze, stir together the lilikoi juice and powdered sugar.   If there are little lumps of powdered sugar, put the glaze in the microwave for 10 seconds and stir.   Those lumps should be gone!   Drizzle over the bars and store in the fridge until ready to eat.


Adapted from Averie Cooks

Other Lilikoi Recipes I Love:






Saturday, June 25, 2016

Now with more San Diego!


Aloha Friends!

The last three months have sped by at record speed.   At the end of March, I started the interview process for a promotion & transfer.  In mid-April I had a job offer, and in mid-May all my stuff  was put on a ship, they put me on a plane and BAM here I am in San Diego.

Umm...that is the simplified version.  
The long version included hugs, tears, cleaning, cocktails, packing, leis, ziplines, volcanoes, teppanyaki and a pie in the face.

The teppanyaki in question
Kobe Japanese Steakhouse, Lahaina

In Maui we, rightfully so, referred to our island home as paradise.    Residents of San Diego also consider their home paradise.    So which one is it?

Maui

San Diego

I'm going to find out.  

If I'm lucky, they are both equally awesome.   That's my feeling so far.

Last week, I made my first new recipe in my new kitchen:   Coconut Pound Cake.   Before I could make anything,  I had to stock my new kitchen.  The recipe came from The View from Great Island and it was so good.   

I've started a new restaurant list for San Diego, of course.    There are so many great neighborhoods and I'm excited to explore and dine my way around the city.    If you are Maui bound, my restaurant list there is up to date too.

San Diego Eats List
Maui Eats List 

This deliciousness can be found at
Mastiff in the Liberty Public Market
 
If you have recommendations of things I should do or places I should eat in San Diego, send them my way.     Thank you for joining me on this new adventure.   
  

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Potato Chip Candy Brownies



Word on the street is that it's spring.   Is that true?

We've had more winter-type weather here in Maui, it's been cool and windy.   
In fact, I've seen some puffy coats.

We combated the cold last Monday by celebrating National Potato Chip Day in our office.    There are 6 of us, and we brought in 13 different flavors of chips to celebrate....everything from Ono Shrimp Chips with Furikake to Grilled Cheese flavored chips.     Good times.

I  felt that to celebrate properly, I should at least bake something using potato chips.   

Let's celebrate, shall we?

What You Need

1 box of brownie mix (1 lb 3.2 oz  to make a 9x13 pan) with the necessary eggs, oil and water
3/4 cup M&Ms candy, divided
1 1/4 cup of ridged potato chips, broken by hand
20 Rolos, unwrapped and coarsely chopped

What You Do

Preheat the oven per the brownie mix instructions.    Line a 9x13 pan with foil and coat with cooking spray.   Make the brownie batter per package instructions (I substituted half of the oil with applesauce and it turned out great).  

Pour the batter in the pan.    Sprinkle 1/2 cup of the M&Ms over the brownie batter, then sprinkle the potato chips.    Sprinkle remaining M&Ms over the chips.

Bake per instructions (normally 24-26 minutes).    Take the brownies out 5 minutes early and sprinkle the Rolos on top, then put back in the oven for the last 5 minutes.   

Let brownies cool before slicing.   Enjoy that sweet and salty combination!

Meanwhile in Maui


I went on a snorkel trip to Lanai last weekend and we saw so many spinner dolphins.   AWESOME!

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Lilikoi Lime Bars



Last Monday I brought these bars in to work.   One of my coworkers in another department sees me with the container while I'm checking out my keys and give me the "I want one" eye.   One bite and she was sold...bringing by a friend from her department to get in on the Lilikoi Lime Bars before they were all gone.    

And they were gone within one day.   Truly the sign of a winning recipe.  

For those of you who don't recognize the word lilikoi, it's the Hawaiian word for passion fruit.  Here, they are yellow (in the picture, the upper right), but you might find purple ones in the store near you. I've heard rumors that they might be $3 a piece on the mainland, but here, they grow in the backyard.  

This recipe is similar in ingredients to Easy Key Lime Pie.   Graham cracker crust, juice, egg yolk, and sweetened condensed milk make up the majority of the ingredients.  

What You Need

Crust
12 graham cracker sheets (or 24 squares), crushed
5 tablespoons melted butter/margarine4 tablespoons brown sugar
pinch of salt

Filling
zest of one lime
6 tablespoons fresh squeezed lime juice  (2 limes)
1/3 cup fresh lilikoi (passion fruit) juice
3 oz cream cheese, room temperature
1 (14oz) can sweetened condensed milk
1 egg yolk

What You Do

Preheat the oven to 325.    Line a 9x9 pan with foil and coat with cooking spray.

To make the crust:
Use a food processor to crush the graham crackers into crumbs easily.   Combine crumbs with melted butter and brown sugar.    Press the crust in the bottom of the pan and bake for 15 minutes.   Cool while making the filling.  

To make the filling:
In a medium bowl, zest your lime.    Then juice that lime, and one other, to get your 6 tablespoons of lime juice.    Whisk together the lime juice, zest, lilikoi juice, cream cheese, sweetened condensed milk and egg yolk together until smooth (or smooth as possible....cream cheese might leave a few small lumps).     

Pour the filling over the baked crust and bake for 20-25 minutes until filling is set (no jiggling in the middle).    Chill in the refrigerator before cutting and serving.    

Notes
If you'd like a thicker crust and filling layer, try an 8x8 pan.  

If you've never tried getting juice from a lilikoi...it's full of seeds.   You'll want to use a strainer to push as much juice and pulp through without getting any of the black seeds.    Depending on the size of your fruit, you might need 3-5 lilikoi to get 1/3 cup juice.   

If you're feeling tropical, you might enjoy:






Meanwhile in Maui


I have a friend from Colorado visiting and yesterday we did the road to Hana (and past Hana for that matter).    Each time I explore, I find new places to enjoy, like this quiet pool.  

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Lilikoi Bars




In the two plus years that I've lived in Hawaii, I've learned new words,  eaten different foods,  worn fewer clothes, and gained an appreciation for SPAM.

My first month on Maui, I went to a party and was introduced to lilikoi margaritas.    I had no idea what a lilikoi was other than it grew on their fence and it was mighty tasty with tequila over ice.

Lilikoi is the Hawaiian word for passion fruit.   Here it's popular as a syrup for shave ice and in cocktails.  Lilikoi is not something you'll often find in the grocery store (but maybe at a farm stand)...more likely you'll get them from friends and neighbors.

There is a young lilikoi vine growing in my backyard.    I've gotten six fruits from it this month.   Friends and neighbors took care of the rest....and they consider it a fair trade - fresh produce for baked goods.

Backyard produce
I've mentioned  the size of Maui produce before, including the epic Haiku avocados and farmers market lemons the size of softballs.    I just picked up this giant lemon at the  market.   I used the zest from the whole thing, but only used juice from half (about 4 tablespoons).   The rest of the lemon was put to good use in lemonade.

Lemons the size of kindles
I found the recipe for these bars over on The Little Ferraro Kitchen, plus great instructions on how to actually get juice from the fruit.  So amazing in every way!

What You Need

Crust:
1 cup (half pound) butter, softened at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups of flour, sifted
1/8 teaspoon salt

Filling:
6 eggs, room temperature
2 cups sugar
1 cup lilikoi juice (10-12 lilikoi, depending on their size)
1 cup flour
4 tablespoons lemon juice (half of the monster lemon above)
zest of 1 lemon

What You Do

Line a 13x9 pan with parchment paper and preheat the oven to 350.   You can  wait a little on the oven, as the dough needs to chill, and if you haven't prepared the lilikoi juice, that will take a few minutes as well.  

To get the lilikoi juice, you have to do a little work.   Slice the fruit in half and scoop the juice, pulp and seeds into the food processor.    Pulse briefly, 20-30 seconds just to help separate the pulp from the seeds.   Pour the contents of the food processor into a strainer over a glass liquid measuring cup. Use the back of a spoon to push as much juice as possible through the strainer.    

To make the crust, beat butter with a hand mixer.   Add sugar and cream until light and fluffy.   Add flour and salt until just mixed.  Turn the dough out onto a floured cutting board, form into a ball and then flatten dough in preparation for putting in the pan.    

When the dough is in the bottom of the pan, use floured fingers to push it all the way to the edge and to build a little lip all the way around (to help hold in the filling).   Put the pan with dough into the freezer for 15-20 minutes while you're making the filling.  (Now is a good time to preheat the oven if you haven't already)

To make the filling, whisk the eggs, sugar, flour,  lilikoi juice, lemon juice and lemon zest, until combined.   It will smell wonderful.    When the crust is done chilling, and the oven is preheated, pour the filling over the crust.

Bake 30-35 minutes until the filling is set.    I set my timer for 30 minutes and the middle was still jiggly, so I ended up baking for 35 minutes.

Cool before slicing.   
I put my bars in the refrigerator to chill before slicing and then for storage afterwards.     
You won't have to store them long...they're that good!

Meanwhile in Maui

It's whale season again.   Hooray!


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