Wednesday, December 14, 2011


Do you ever find yourself just realllly craving an ooey, gooey,warm, delicious cinnamon roll, but just don't want to go to all the trouble and waiting to get it? I have discovered the solution. I found this recipe for cinnamon biscuits on this fun blog, Two Peas and Their Pod. It's a perfect quick fix for a morning delicacy, or even a late night snack. The biscuits are made with heavy cream instead of butter, and the vanilla cream glaze is to die for.

I'm not an icing kind of person (too sweet usually) but this one balances the cream and the sweet perfectly. I even use this glaze now on my regular cinnamon rolls.

Speaking of cinnamon, I recently discovered a Penzey's Spices store in town. They have all sorts of tasty things, but their Penzey's Blend Cinnamon is soooo good. It actually makes the plain, run of the mill cinnamon taste like dust. I'm officially ruined. It just brings a whole new level of tasty to all your baked goods.
Anyway, I made a few changes to the original recipe, so here's my version. Make some, and have a cinnamonly delicious day!


2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups heavy cream

Ooey, gooey filling:
1/2 cup butter
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup brown sugar

Vanilla Cream Glaze:
1/2 cup of cream
3/4 cup confectioner's sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Heat the oven to 425°F. Lightly grease an 8 x 8-inch baking pan and set aside.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, 1 tablespoon brown sugar, baking powder, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, and salt, breaking up any large clumps in the brown sugar. Pour in 1 1/2 cups of the cream and mix just until combined. Dump the dough onto a lightly floured surface and pat into a long, thick rectangle. The dough will be firm, yet wet and sticky. In another bowl, combine all the filling ingredients (1/2 cup of butter, 1/2 cup of brown sugar, 1 tsp of cinnamon) and mix with a pastry cutter, until they form a crumbly mixture.

3. Slice the rectangle into 8 equally-sized squares. Lay four of the squares in the prepared baking pan. Sprinkle the crumbly filling over each square, reserving a few tablespoons for the top of each of the biscuits. Place the remaining biscuit dough squares on top and lightly press the edges to seal. Top the biscuits with the remaining filling.

4. Bake for 14 to 16 minutes, or until the biscuits are slightly golden brown on the outside and just cooked through.

5. Whisk together the remaining 1/2 cup cream, confectioner's sugar, and vanilla extract. Lightly drizzle the biscuits with this glaze. Serve immediately.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Mmm, mmm, good

Oh soup season. Here we are again. Cold, dreary nights. Snowy, windy days. Warm, hearty, tasty soups. It just goes so well together. A week or two ago, on such a snowy and stormy day, some friends came over and brought along a delicious soup. Oh, it was tasty. To say that my husband loved it would be a gross understatement. The man couldn't stop talking about it! So, I knew this was a soup I had to master. One of the unusual things about it was that it had breakfast sausage in it. We don't typically have a lot of sausage around here. I'm not sure why, it just doesn't usually make it into the daily rotation of meals. But Hubby...he loves sausage. So he really loved the soup. Anyway, today I gave it a shot. And it was a raging success. So, here's my take on Sausage and Corn Chowder. Do enjoy. :)

Sausage and Corn Chowder

1 Lb Sausage (I used Farmland's Pork and Bacon Sausage)
1 small onion, chopped
2-3 minced garlic cloves
3-4 potatoes, cubed
2 cans of whole kernel corn
2 cans of creamed corn
1 can of evaporated milk
Chicken Stock
1 cup and 1/2 cup of heavy cream
1/4 cup of flour or cornmeal
1 1/2 Tbs Basil
salt, and pepper to taste

Brown sausage in the bottom of a large saucepan. When the sausage is cooked, add the garlic and onions and saute until soft. Add potatoes and saute for a couple of minutes. Pour in the cans of corn (no need to drain) and the evaporated milk. Add enough chicken stock to make it as soupy as you would like. Add basil. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are tender. Once the potatoes are cooked, mix the 1/2 cup of cream with the 1/4 cup of flour (or cornmeal) to form a roux. Add to the soup and stir. Allow to simmer for another 5-10 minutes, then add the other 1 cup of cream. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Sunday, December 4, 2011


Sorry it's taken me so long to reveal what those funny things in the last post are! My computer broke, so I've been unable to post for awhile. But, we're back now!
Ok, mysterious object number one...

Cannoli forms! I love cannoli. Such a tasty treat! In case you don't know what it is, it's an Italian dessert of a hard pastry shell filled with a ricotta cream. Mmmm. So, these forms are what you use to wrap the dough around, and then you fry them in oil to make the hard shell. Can't wait to try them!

Number two...

Basil seeds! I've been aching for an herb garden, and basil is my most favoritest herb. : )

And number three...

This funny little thing is actually a crepe spreading tool! You use it to spread the crepe batter thinly and evenly in the pan, to make perfectly round and delicious crepes. We're trying this one out tonight! Hope it works!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Birthday Fun

These three funny looking thing-a-ma-jigs are what my honey got me for my birthday!

Any guesses on what they are? : )

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Mini Cakes

It was my birthday a couple weeks ago. Usually my sweetie makes me a cake, but my parents were here and things were crazy, and it slipped by without an actual cake getting made. So, a couple days after, when I was home and all my family was gone, I decided to brighten my own day by making myself a cake. Instead of baking and frosting one giant one that I knew we would never get through, I decided to make a couple individual size cakes.

I still made a large sheet cake, but cut out circles and made mini layer cakes. Fun! Plus, I ate the scraps of the cake much faster since all I had to do was grab a chunk and chow down, without all that extra frosting fluff to weigh things down. Hehheheh...

The result was perfectly tasty! It was lovely to have a bitty cake to share with my honey, with all the tasty toppings, but not have to worry about having tons left over. I made my favorite Deep Dark Chocolate Cake for the base. It's my aunt's recipe, and I've made it since I was a kid. I haven't found a richer, more moist cake yet! The only change I made to her original recipe was to use buttermilk instead of regular milk and coffee instead of water. The coffee intensifies the chocolate flavor. Lovely!

Then I made a vanilla-brown sugar mousse for the filling, and to finish it off a nice, shiny chocolate ganache. The mousse was perfectly creamy and dreamy, and the ganache provided the perfect dark chocolate finish. So much better than a typical buttercream!

Then I sprinkled a bit of cinnamon on the top. I love, love, love the pairing of chocolate and cinnamon!!! The cinnamon brings such a great warmth to the chocolate, and just complements it perfectly. Mmmm.

Deep, Dark Chocolate Cake

1-¾ cup
2 cups Sugar
¾ cups

1-½ teaspoon
Baking Soda

½ teaspoons
Baking Powder

1 teaspoon
2 whole Eggs
1 cup

½ cups

2 teaspoons

1 cup
hot coffee
Combine dry ingredients. Add remaining ingredients except coffee; beat on medium speed for two minutes. Stir in coffee (batter will be thin). Pour into two greased and floured 9″ pans. Bake at 350F for 30-35 minutes.

Vanilla Brown Sugar Mousse

1 1/2 cups of cold whipping cream
1 small package of vanilla pudding
3 tbs brown sugar

Beat cream until stiff peaks form. Mix in pudding and brown sugar until smooth.

Dark Chocolate Ganache

1/2 cup of heavy cream
1 cup of chocolate chips

Warm chips and cream over a double boiler until melted. Add cream as needed to thin ganache to smooth, pourable consistency.

To assemble Mini-Cakes:

Use a round biscuit cutter to cut even layers for your cake. Place a cake layer on plate, spread with mousse, and repeat twice more. Frost the entire cake with mousse, including the top. Next, spread ganache over top and sides of cake. Sprinkle top liberally with cinnamon.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Cheese, glorious cheese!

Well, I've been busy. Busy eating lots and lots of cheese! Sadly, however, all my cheese is now almost gone. : ( So, I will have to occupy myself with blogging about it's tastiness. Until I can make it back to Denver...*plotting*
So! Here are the lovelies I picked out. It was so hard to choose! But, I finally narrowed it down to these five.

Fromage d’Affinois

Region: Castilla- Rhone-Alpes, France
Cheese type: Bloomy- buttery and rich
Milk type: Pasteurized cow
Age: 2 months
The official description:
"This French innovation may look like pudgy brie, but it's actually much creamier. The mild, buttery flavor has a sweetness that goes very well with champagne and fresh fruit. Fromage d'Affinois may remind you of a triple-creme, so loaded it is with silky fat. But that texture is achieved by "ultra filtration," which breaks down the fat molecules in the milk in order to further disperse them through the paste. The result is a thick, nearly whipped spread of tangy, milky goodness. It's one of Our Top 10 sellers, every year, without fail"

This is the one that I discovered awhile ago at Whole foods. I blogged about it here.
I loved it so much, that I decided to buy a nice large wedge of it again. Good decision! It was just as creamy and delicious as the first time around.

This little beauty is quickly making it's way into my favorite cheese list. I'd love to have it around all the time! It was also the cheese that got eaten the fastest!

Smoked Mozzarella

There isn't a listing on the website, so you'll just have to rely on me for this one!
When I picked this, I was expecting the soft, fresh mozzarella with a bit of smoke flavor. Smoked mozzarella is something I've been wanting to try for a long time, so I was excited to find it. However, it was less soft and fresh than I was expecting. It was kind of a blend of an older mozzarella and a fresh one. And, the smoke was a little overwhelming.

So, at first I was a bit disappointed. But, then I decided to try it in a quesodilla, with some Tomato Basil Soup. Ooooh buddy. It was a hit! The sweetness of the mozzarella really came out when it was dipped in the acidic tomato, and the smokiness was toned down to just the perfect hint. Mmmm.


Region: Castilla- Basse-Normandie, France
Cheese type: Hard, dry and caramelly
Milk type: Pasteurized cow
Age: 18-24 months
The official description:
" This hardy cheese from Normandy couldn't be more different from its neighbor Camembert. Looking like a cratered, dusty cannonball, Mimolette is infamously difficult to open for its super-hard, craggy countenance. Inspired by Dutch Edam, it has since gone in a unique direction; the appearance and floral aroma of the rind is the work of tiny mites, specially evolved to cheese. The French call them 'tiny affineurs' for their important role in the aging process. Its electric-orange paste has sweet, caramelized depth and smooth, fudgy finish."

This one I've been DYING to try since I first discovered Murray's! It just sounds soo tasty. I was expecting something more like the Five Year Gouda, with a bit more sweetness and crunch. But, I was surprised to find that it tasted almost more like a hard cheddar.

It also was a bit smoother, without the crunchy bits of a Gouda. It does have a hint of sweet, caramel notes, but really has the depth of a full bodied cheddar. Husband really loved this one. I enjoyed it as well, but still would go for an aged Gouda first. : )


Region: Castilla- Emilia Romagna, Italy
Cheese type: Hard, dry and caramelly
Milk type: Raw cow
Age: 2 years
The official description:
"A distinctive buttery aroma hints at the barrage of nutty sweetness and spice followed by a salt-caramel finish. We're quite sure that the squat 80 pound kegs of cheese are made from raw, partially skimmed milk in Parma - thanks to strict D.O.P regulations. We choose 24 month wheels; any younger and we miss the intensity, any older and the salt and sandy texture overwhelms. Those white specks there are clusters of amino acids. They reflect proper aging and create a delightful crunchy texture. You can put parm on anything, but a traditional approach might involve ribbons of proscuitto and a swirl of Lambrusco."

This one I got for the pure classic value! I had just learned that this is actually the only authentic version of parmesan there is, so I thought I'd give it a whirl. Boy, is it tasty! It just has that extra depth of flavor and bite that just isn't quite there with the knock-off kinds. And it smells sooo good. Of course, it's a bit too expensive for every day use, so I will still use the generic stuff for normal cooking. But it's fun to pretend that we live in Italy every once in awhile. : )

Vignotte Triple Cream

This one is also not listed on the website, but here's the little description that was on the packaging.
"Vignotte has milky sweetness, that pleasant mushroomy aroma, fluffy spreading texture, plus it's socially sanctioned to smear on crackers and eat straight-up."
The texture of this little cheese was unbelievable! So silky. It literally just melted right into your tongue. Mm. The flavor was a tad bit strong, but mostly just tasted like a really strong Brie. We ate some of it, but also mixed some into mashed potatoes. Brie makes a great mashed potato, and it balances out the mushroomy flavor so nicely!

Saturday, October 15, 2011


I have a confession to make. I think my hobby has turned into an obsession.'s so addicting! It's even started to take over the hubby! : ) But it sure is a fun obsession!
This week was my husband's fall break, so we took the day on Thursday to head to Denver and have some fun. The day started off fulfilling a long time dream of mine. You all know how much I love Murray's Cheese, a gourmet cheese shop in New York City. I've blogged about it. I've dreamed of visiting it. I've drooled over their fabulous selection online. I've even ordered from them. Well, a few weeks ago I discovered that they have a small branch in two King Soopers in Denver! Oh boy! So we went. And I was like a kid in a candy store...or a junkie in a cheese shop. :) It was so. much. FUN! I was just beside myself. I absolutely can't wait to go back. I wanted to take my camera in and take pictures of all the cheese, and really document my experience. But someone thought that would be too embarrassing. So, I will have to paint you a picture with just my words.
It was just a modest sized cheese counter, tucked back behind the edge of the dairy department. There was a big orange Murray's banner, declaring the goodness beneath. I think there were something like 150 different varieties of cheese. I was in pure, cheesy bliss. There were enormous wheels of craggy Parmigiano-Reggigiano, little balls of fresh, white mozzerella, mounds of cellophane wrapped wedges of bloomy bries, stinky washed rinds, and pungent blues. Oh the options.
It was an awesome experience. I spent thirty minutes just browsing, reading the descriptions, smelling them, feeling them, soaking in each little version. It just fascinates me that so many incredible varieties and flavors can all come from the same simple thing- milk! It's just such an art. It was so fun to be able to have the sensory filled experience, to be able to take all the time to browse, and to be able to buy smaller amounts and more types for my money. We also went at the perfect time, as we were the only ones in that department. Perfect!
I finally picked out five little wedges to take home. Then the cheesemonger told me we could sample anything we wanted. Ooooh boy. I started asking him what his favorites were, and he took us on a tour of his personal favorites. He said his very favorite cheese is Gruyere. I tried Gruyere once. It tasted like dirty socks. And smelled even worse. But, this was before I'd tried many cheeses, and it was most likely an inferior quality, as it was just something we'd picked up at the grocery store. And it seems like every cheese connoisseur I've ever heard of loves the stuff. But still, I haven't quite had the guts to try it again. Maybe next time. :)
Finally, he gave us a little bowl of five cheeses that he recommended and we requested. What a treat! We paid for our other five choices, then finally left. With one very happy cheese lover!
So, in this post I will share the samples we tried in the store, then I will post later about all the ones we brought home.
The first cheese we actually tried was Butter KÄSE. It's a German semi-soft cheese that was similar to a provolone or muenster. It literally means "buttery cheese" and that is the perfect description. It was very mild and buttery with a slight swiss cheese flavor to it. Mmm, tasty!
Here is what was on our tasting tray, starting with the largest one on the bottom right, and moving clockwise:

Cabot Clothbound Cheddar
Rosemary and Olive Oil Asiago
? He threw this one in for us, and I can't remember what it was called...oops.
Five Year Aged Gouda

Cabot Clothbound Cheddar
Region: Vermont, USA
Cheese type: Firm, supple and grassy
Milk type: Pasteurized cow
Age: 10-14 months
The official description:
"a delicate balance of sharpness, slight nuttiness, and a caramelized, nearly candied sweetness. We like a firm, slightly crunchy paste that’s never waxy, and unfolds with layers of toasted nut and cooked fruits. Produced from the pasteurized milk from a single herd of Holstein cows, our wheels hover in the 12-14 month range. Here, we’ve found complex flavors that balance the crisp crunch of fall apples and the nuttiness of big Brown Ales."

This one was phenomenal! Probably the best cheese we tried. We ended up wishing we'd bought a big chunk of that to bring home, but we didn't try it until we'd left, so we didn't have the option. Next time!
It was a very unique cheddar- slightly fruity, salty, yet with a sweet, caramelly crunch. We both thought it was amazing, and could snack on that cheese alone for days and not get tired of it.

Region: Castilla-La Mancha, Spain
Cheese type: Firm, supple and grassy
Milk type: Pasteurized sheep
Age: 3-6 months
The official description:
"Perhaps the most famous Spanish cheese, Manchego is a D.O. (Denominacion de Origen) protected cheese, meaning that only 100% Manchega sheep’s milk is used in a traditional recipe.
Young and spry, a Manchego better for melting at three months than its aged counterpart, and more fun at parties."

This one was much more mild. After the Cabot, it was almost bland. It had a nice, simple flavor that was slightly salty. Very tender.

Rosemary and Olive Oil Asiago
Region: Veneto, Italy
Cheese type: Hard, dry and caramelly
Milk type: Pasteurized cow
Age: 3-5 weeks
The official description:
"Asiago is a D.O.P (protected designation of origin) cheese produced from the pastureland in the Po River Valley to the Alpine meadows on the Asiago plateau and in the province of Trent in northeastern Italy, area covered within the regions of Veneto and Trentino Alto Adige. Asiago D.O.P. is produced in two distinct ways that correspond to aging time, offering two unique cheeses. Aged Asiago ("vecchio") is reminiscent of the fragrance of yeast and dried fruit. To the touch, it is fairly solid; slightly elastic if relatively young, and Harder when fully matured. The darker shades of straw yellow typical of this variety can sometimes reach the intensity of amber. The sweet taste can acquire a somewhat more savoury flavour and ranges to slightly piquant. Made of raw cows’ milk. "

This particular asiago had olive oil and rosemary added to it. It was a wonderful pairing! It was nice and smooth, with a beautiful balance of rosemary and olive oil. Not too overpowering. Hubby even mentioned that he typically doesn't like rosemary, as he thinks it's too strong, but he loved this cheese. It makes a great snacking cheese.

The Question Mark
Well, this one I can only give you our impressions. It was tasty, had a bit of a salty bite, with a relatively strong aftertaste. It was tangy, but smooth. And that's all I've got on that one. It was an enjoyable taste, but not one I would buy probably, so I'm ok not knowing what it is. : )

Five Year Aged Gouda - the closest description I could find on this on the website was the 1-2 year aged gouda. The five year was significantly stronger and crunchier than the two year, but here is a description to give you a base of reference.
Region: Holland
Cheese type: Hard, dry and caramelly
Milk type: Pasteurized goat
Age: 1-2 years (obviously, the five year was aged five years... :)
The official description:
"In Holland, a country inundated with gouda, this is probably the most unusual export. Younger pasteurized goat gouda, only aged for several months, has a supple snow-white paste that’s mild and vaguely sweet with no typical goat-y flavors. This aged version is held for at least one year before release, resulting in a rough and stony wheel with a deep toffee-colored interior smattered with white patches of crystalline minerals. The milky sweetness of the younger version intensifies into a caramelized, burnt sugary treasure with a similar crunchy texture to boot. "

This one was a huge hit with me, although Hubby wasn't so crazy about it. I'm discovering thought that I love crunchy, caramelly, sweet-salty cheeses. This one was actually quite strong, but it had a lovely crunchy bite to it. It was sweet and salty, very caramelly, and crumbly-crunchy while still somehow creamy. Oh, it was good. Another one I wish I had bought!

So sorry I don't have more photos...I tried to get pictures of each one as we tried it, but gave up after the first try when the moving car and bumpy road made it next to impossible. I'll make up for it in the next post, with an overload of cheese-y snapshots!
Next time...

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Confessions of a Cheese-aholic, Part Three

I do believe I promised a review of my Triple Cream St. Andre cheese experience. Oops. : ) Well, it's here now. Let's review the description of St. Andre.
"one of the most luscious cheeses in the world."
"with a reputation as a blend of the perfect brie mixed with equal parts of thick, sour cream and whipped sweet cream. St. André is made from cow's milk and enriched with pure cream. St. André is also fairly rare. Containing no less than 75% butterfat for every 100 grams of cheese, St. André is commonly agreed to be 50% richer than the average Camembert. This cheese is a favorite for cheese boards!"
Oh, they know how to get my attention! I'm just a sucker for cream.

So! The verdict. It was tasty! Rather like a brie, but with a firmer texture. It tasted brie-like as well, but with a stronger flavor. The rind was stronger too. To be perfectly honest, it wasn't as fabulous as I expected. The stronger flavor just wasn't what I expected. But, I did have a brilliant idea. I had heard of honey on cheese, so I drizzled some on a bite and had an instant transformation. It paired quite well with the sharper flavor, and sweetened it up enough to make it quite tasty! Over all, I definitely liked the Fromager D'Affinois better. I've been making plans to go back and buy more of that! But the St. Andre was a fun cheese to try, and I certainly wouldn't turn it down if I run across it again!
I'm hoping to get a chance to pick up some new cheese sometime in the next couple weeks. The thirst for fantastic dairy treats is back. :)

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Eat your vegetables!

Well, if this won't convince you to eat your good old, healthy veggies, I don't know what will! I stumbled across a Vietnamese recipe for Sweet Avocado Smoothies the other day, and was instantly intrigued. Sweet avocados? Apparently, in places like Vietnam, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Brazil avocados are eaten as a sweet dish, instead of a savory one. As I said, intriguing. So, we gave it a whirl, and guess what? Loved it! My husband was especially fond of it, which quite surprised me. Anyway, I think this will become a fun treat in our house!
The flavor is mild and buttery, and bursting with avocado-ness. The texture was my favorite part. The buttery avocado transformed into a perfectly smooth, silky concoction, and it was just like a milkshake.

If I didn't know better, I would have thought it had ice cream in it! The sweetened condensed milk gives it just the right amount of sweetness, without overwhelming the flavor it making it too sugary. How lovely! Give it a try, and shake things up a bit!

Sweet Avocado Smoothie

Makes about about 2 1/4 cups, enough to serve 2 or 3

1 ripe medium avocado (6–8 ounces)

1 cup ice (8 ice cubes)

1/3 cup sweetened condensed milk

1/4 to 1/2 cup milk

Scoop the avocado flesh into a blender. Add the remaining ingredients, starting out with the least amount of milk and puree until completely smooth. Taste and add additional milk, depending on the avocado type and if a thinner consistency is desired.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

So Cherry, Cherry Tasty

The moment I saw this recipe, I knew I HAD to try it. I didn't even have a moment of hesitation. It was meant to be. You see, I love cherries and cream. I like to buy frozen cherries, sprinkle them with a bit of sugar, and then drizzle (ok, pour) cream over them. Mmm. And that's basically what this recipe is! Cherries, sugar, and cream! Tasty, frozen perfection. This is so going to be a regular in my ice cream arsenal. To mix it up a little, we tried pouring lemon lime pop over a bowl. It adds a little zip and fizz, for a bit of a different flavor. Fun!


  • 3 cups Fresh Or Frozen Cherries, Pitted.
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 1-1/2 cup Whole Milk
  • 1 Tablespoon Heavy Cream
  • Juice Of 1 Lemon

Preparation Instructions

Add cherries to a saucepan with sugar. Bring to a slow boil and cook until cherries are soft and liquid is syrupy. Cool to room temperature.

Add cherries and juice to a blender or food processor. Blend until smoooth, stopping short of totally liquefying it if you'd like a little pulp. Add milk, cream, and lemon juice and blend briefly.

Freeze according to your ice cream maker's instructions, then transfer to an airtight freezer container and freeze for at least 24 hours before serving.