Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Read me today at Les Petites Joies

While my best friend Haley and her husband are having a fabulous time in Europe, she asked friends to fill in for her at Les Petites Joies.  Today, I wrote a guest post about my journey to the Old Country and the Alps.

Read about what made me blush here at Les Petites Joies today! 

Read about my European vacation today.

Yinzers & the Klondike Bar

As many of you already know, I visit Pittsburgh frequently.  My boyfriend Robert lives there and is studying space robots at Carnegie Mellon, or something like that.  Isn't he smart? Anyway, I had the best time when I visited him last weekend.  

Our first stop was lunch at Primanti Brothers in Market Square. I had been dying to go because it is revered by foodies as a Pittsburgh institution.  Make no mistake, this isn't a fancy place.  All the sandwiches are served with fries and coleslaw, on the inside. These are hearty, Pittsburgh sandwiches. I had the Kielbasa and Robert had the roast beef.  And they were delicious.  Robert ended up finishing mine, but I don't think he minded. 

My sandwich according to instagram

On Saturday we went to the Strip District. I LOVE THE STRIP DISTRICT. It reminded me of the French Market in New Orleans or Eastern Market in DC. It is one of those city market places with international foods and goods lining the street.  So much to see and eat.  We stopped in Mon Aimee Chocolat and I drooled over German chocolates. I couldn't help but feel a little sentimental when I saw the sweet gold packaged marzipan fruits.  Oma always had them as a treat and she topped her cakes and pastries with the delicate candies. I bought some Kinder chocolates which also reminded me of her, especially the Happy Hippos ... which I also instagrammed. 

Throughout the Strip District, I was reminded repeatedly of a Pittsburghism that was emblazoned on a lot of home town merchandise. The word "Yinz."  Yinz, like y'all, means you all.  And Pittsburghers pride themselves in this colloquialism, calling themselves Yinzers. 

But how does "you all" become yinz?  

Yinz comes from you ones, which stems, apparently, from Scots-Irish.  You ones evolved in Pittsburghese to Yinz.  And the city takes pride in the word.  Much like I take pride in the word y'all and Ninth Warders who say "Where Y'at" (like my family) call themselves Yats.

What would you do for a Klondike Bar? 

Or at least some AC

I should mention that Sunday we were sweating it out ... or escaping to Crazy Mocha to drink mint tea and beat the heat. You see my boyfriend's Lawrenceville place doesn't have AC — a concept I have trouble with because I grew up with at least 80 degree temperatures most of the year.

So, with summer heat on my mind, I decided to give a chilly recipe this week ... which also happens to hail from Pittsburgh.  The Klondike Bar, with its famous jingle (1,2), started in Pittsburgh as a beloved local ice cream dish at Isaly's.  Though there seems to be some debate online about whether the dish is indigenous to Isaly's first location in Ohio or its early Pittsburgh operation.

Homemade Klondike Bars 

Coconut Oil
Milk Chocolate
Ice Cream or Frozen Yogurt of your choice

Freeze a baking sheet. When cold, lay down parchment paper and scoop ice cream onto surface.  Cut into circles or squares with cookie cutter.  Freeze again for 30 minutes to an hour. I only made four palm sized circles.

Melt milk chocolate.  I used one bag of chocolate chips total. So melt half of the bag and stir in 1.5 tablespoons of coconut oil.  Allow to cool slightly but don't let chocolate harden. Pour it over the ice cream squares/circles. Freeze again for 30 minutes to an hour.

Flip the bars over and melt the other half of the chocolate chips, stirring in 1.5 tablespoons of coconut oil.  Allow to cool slightly but don't let chocolate harden. Pour it over the ice cream squares/circles. Freeze again for 30 minutes to an hour. Serve.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

A lot on my plate.

Yeah, it's a little like this. 

Sorry y'all, but for the first time in a year and a half of blogging, I just plain old missed a post. 

 I have a lot on my plate right now.  Don't worry, all is well.  I am just on several deadlines.  But, I'll be back next week with something delicious. 


Tuesday, June 11, 2013

How to throw a Pride Party

Special Tuesday Post because tomorrow is going to be an extra busy, but exciting day ... 

See you next Wednesday!

Last week was Pride here in DC, so I compiled a helpful handbook on how to throw an awesome Pride Party ... 

1.  Dress up your pets in matching rainbow bandanas.

2.  Cook a lot of colorful food.

3.  Be on the Pride Parade route. 

Let's go back to number two ...
& explore my pride recipes 

Rainbow Pasta Salad 

12-14 oz tri color pasta
1 1/2 - 2 chopped cucumbers
1 onion chopped 
A dozen quartered cherry tomatoes
1 cup Italian dressing (I used light Newman's)

Cook pasta as directed.  Allow to cool.  
Layer vegetables, pasta and dressing. 
Allow to cool for a minimum of two hours.

Rainbow Cupcakes 

1 box white cake mix
Food coloring. 

My cupcake baking according to instagram. 

Mix cake as directed.
Separate batter into as many bowls as colors you wish to make.
I wanted to use six colors, so I set out six bowls.
Dollop one spoon of color at a time, filling cups 3/4 of the way.
Bake as directed.
Cool and apply icing.
And sprinkles.

Make a Rainbow Veggie Tray
& set out some Rainbow Fruit

So, there you have it ... 
I had a fabulous time at my first DC Pride Parade. 
But, it honestly just made me miss Mardi Gras, 
which no offense but it certainly didn't have the pageantry I am used to.  
I guess I just have to get used to non-New Orleans parades ... 
or go home for Mardi Gras every year :)

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie Gets its Day

June 9th is National Strawberry Rhubarb Pie Day. The best way to celebrate? Pie, duh.  

Hand Picked, Homemade Strawberry Rhubarb Pie with FroYo

Ever since I moved to DC (in the late Spring) everything has been strawberry rhubarb, from popsicles to gelato to tea to macarons.  Strawberry rhubarb's blend of tangy and sweet is a seasonal, East Coast staple — thanks to a revolutionary American beginning.

Just like the bifocal and the lightning rod, we can thank Uncle Ben for this summer treat.  In the late 1700s, Benjamin Franklin introduced rhubarb to the East Coast. This fruit and veggie pie — yes, rhubarb is a vegetable — later came into vogue during the early 19th century.

And as a recent convert to strawberry rhubarb, I am definitely on board to celebrate the holiday with fresh, local East Coast produce. On Sunday, my friend Leah did just that.  She used locally grown rhubarb from the farmers market and fresh strawberries she picked the day before at Hollin Farms to make one delicious strawberry rhubarb pie.  

Leah strawberry picking according to her instagram. 

Leah used Smitten Kitchen's famous strawberry rhubarb pie recipe, with only a couple of tweaks.  See the recipe below from Smitten Kitchen.

1 recipe butter pie dough or double-crust pie dough of your choice (see my crust recipe here)
3 1/2 cups (about 1 1/2 pounds, untrimmed) rhubarb, in 1/2-inch thick slices
3 1/2 cups (about 1 pound) strawberries, hulled and sliced if big, halved if tiny
1/8 cup granulated sugar (Leah adjusted this to 1/8 because of the strawberries' freshness)
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup quick-cooking tapioca
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

1 large egg yolk beaten to blend with 1 teaspoon water (for glaze)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. On a well-floured counter, roll half of pie dough into a 12-inch circle and carefully transfer to a 9-inch pie plate. (I like to fold my gently into quarters, to transfer it more easily, then unfold it in the pie plate.)
Stir together rhubarb, strawberries, sugars, lemon, salt and tapioca in a large bowl. Mound filling inside bottom pie crust and dot with bits of unsalted butter. Roll second half of pie dough into an 11-inch circle and cut decorative slits in it. Transfer it to center over the pie filling. Trim top and bottom pie dough so that their overhang beyond the pie plate lip is only 1/2-inch. Tuck rim of dough underneath itself and crimp it decoratively.
Transfer pie to a baking sheet and brush egg yolk mixture over dough. Bake for 20 minutes then reduce temperature to 350 degrees and bake for an additional 25 to 30 minutes, until the pie is golden and the juices bubble visibly.
Transfer pie to wire rack to cool. When full cool (several hours later) the juices gel.

Once again, thank you Smitten Kitchen

When Leah served the pie, she had a fan club.
 You all know Rasco, and Oscar is Leah's little  guy. 

The people enjoyed it too! 

Blogging tips