Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Kit's Italian Ice

You're three ingredients away from a surefire way to beat the heat!

I know it's all a manner of perspective and what you're used to, but honestly, I can't imagine what it must have been like to live in a time before air conditioning. I don't love being cold or the darkness that comes along with winter, but I do wilt very quickly in high heat, especially when it's humid, so finding ways to keep cool (or just stay in a climate controlled area) are definitely always a priority for me, especially by the time August is rolling around.

(I heard a radio DJ saying that August usually is a cooler month than July, and all I could think of was seriously? Have you ever lived through August before?)

It just so happens that I stumbled upon this recipe in one of my old folders of post ideas and figured hey, why not? Is there a better time of year to have Italian ice than the Dog Days of summer?

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Grace's Root Beer Float Cupcakes

My long search for the key ingredient is over!

Can you believe it's August already? I feel like the last two months have gone by way too fast. I'm neck deep into packing for my big move, and am trying my very best to keep up with blog stuff until I'm out the door and on the road.

People keep insisting that I shouldn't kill myself trying to make sure blog posts go out on time, and they're right! But the fact is, I want to do as much as I can before I start my next adventure. I intend to continue posting here and learning more about food history, but since none of us know what the future holds, might as well make the best of things while we can, right?

One thing I knew I wanted to do before I left was feature this unusual but extremely tasty cupcake recipe. Much like the flourless chocolate cake I made earlier this summer, this is a recipe I've been wanting to feature for a really, really long time, but there was one thing keeping me from committing to it: root beer extract.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Samantha Makes the Roosevelt's Fat Rascals

A presidential family favorite!

Love him or hate him, there's no question that Teddy Roosevelt was probably the most influential American in Samantha's era. As the youngest US President, he presented a certain vitality to the American public that was just as exciting and interesting to them as his colorful personality and military background. Part of his appeal was that he had a large, young family, all of which were the subject of media attention and enthusiasm... not always in a good way!

For that reason, I've been really interested in featuring a Roosevelt family recipe on the blog for a while now. There are a couple floating around the internet for the interested, but I decided to go with this one because I had no idea what a fat rascal was. Was it a scone? Biscuit? Cookie? No idea! So I dove in and gave it a shot.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Emily's Cream Tea

The perfect light meal, any time of year!

I really enjoy tea, both the drink and the semi formal meal by the same name. Living in the States, it's relatively uncommon to be invited to or have an afternoon tea that comes with sandwiches and treats unless we're going out of our way to have a special occasion, but the handful of times I've had opportunity to enjoy high tea, boy, have I enjoyed it.

As it turns out, there's a simpler, more informal version of tea you can enjoy that's known as cream tea, Devonshire tea, Devon cream tea or Cornish cream tea. The tradition's history is a little murky, but it seems to have gotten its start in Devon back in the 1100's with just bread and jam, well before tea had been imported to Britain! Essentially, it's just a scone (or scones) with cream, jam and tea, and it's a nice way to tide yourself over if you've had to skip lunch or are having a late dinner... or if you're just in the mood for some tea and a tasty baked good!

Although this tradition is especially popular in Devon and Cornwall, it's not unusual to hear people talking about a Devonshire tea in the UK or other Commonwealth countries like Australia. It was kind of a dark, moody day, so I decided it seemed like a good day to give this tradition a whirl.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Maryellen's Key Lime Pie

An easy way to bring a Florida favorite into your home!

I've had very mixed experiences making pie. Some of them have turned out awesome, and some have been kind of a hot mess. Key lime pie was a dish that I was totally intimidated to try making, because in the past, I've usually seen it served in the form of a curd and a meringue topping. I'd like to think that I'm pretty brave in the kitchen, but sometimes, you just want something simple and easy, you know what I mean?

Fortunately, I stumbled upon a really simple version that sounded and looked delicious. No fussing with making a curd or a meringue, and thus the perfect thing for me to make for a Sunday dinner dessert.

Easy, time saving recipes are what the 50's are all about, for better or worse, so although this isn't an authentically 50's recipe, I think it's something Maryellen - a Florida native - and her family would approve of!

Well, except for one thing.

I didn't have key limes.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Cécile's Beignets

Also known - as per Lottie LaBouff - as Tiana's Man Catching Beignets.

I've always been intensely intimidated when it comes to deep frying. Frying anything in oil is bad enough because if not done properly, it makes a huge mess, can start fires, and might leave you with annoying or extremely painful burns all over your hands, wrists, face, etc.

So, needless to say, I've always talked myself down from trying to make any doughnuts, especially after the mess I made making latkes for Hanukkah in 2013, when I was quasi forbidden from ever frying anything ever again because the oil took so long to clean up.

Well, that changed. I'm still not sure I'm ever going to become a deep frying guru or rabid enthusiast, but I did give it a shot, and things went pretty awesome, if I do say so myself. Somewhat ironically, the person who encouraged me to give this a try was my mom, the person who originally said she never wanted me to fry anything ever again! It turns out with the proper equipment, deep frying is not as hard as it seems and can create some pretty tasty treats to enjoy in the comfort of your own home.

Even if it's still a lot to clean up. And kind of makes your house smell like oil for hours and hours.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Grace's Flourless Chocolate Cake

Or, the dessert I promised my sister I'd make three years ago. Sorry, Abby!

July has worked out to feature two recipes I'd never thought I'd make in my own kitchen that turned out pretty darn amazing, if I do say so myself. You'll see the next one in a couple days, but right now, I want to take a minute to talk about one of the best desserts I've ever made. I know, I know, I say that basically every other week, but every once and a while, I really truly mean it.

Okay, I actually mean it every time I've said it, because I have made and eaten a lot of really fun, tasty stuff.

But this kind of holds a special place in my heart because it really was never something I thought would be simple and delicious to make and eat at home. I'm sure most of us have at least seen if not tasted a flourless chocolate cake at a restaurant. It's a pretty standard dessert offering, usually paired with raspberry sauce and/or vanilla ice cream, and I've enjoyed it many a time, figuring hey, this probably doesn't turn up on people's picnic tables because it must be really hard to make.

As it turns out, not only is that not true at all, but you probably have all the ingredients to make it in your own home right now! Talk about awesome, right? My life is never going to be the same.