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I’m not going to vouch for the authenticity of this recipe–even if the original author has dubbed her recipe “Taqueria Style Tacos.”   For one, the recipe contains soy sauce.  I wasn’t too keen on trying it…and I moved my mouse to close out the recipe–but how do you ignore a recipe that has 4.5 stars out of 5 and has close to 600 reviews.  So I begrudgingly gave it try…and you know what?  It’s pretty darn good!   Mike had no idea I used soy sauce in the marinade (to be fair, i cut down the soy sauce–i couldn’t bare to use that much!) and he loved it.  We both came to the conclusion that this definitely wasn’t the authentic dry rub flavors we associate with carne asada.  BUT in the end, we both really enjoyed it and would definitely make it again.  While not Mexican, there’s something great about the marinade.

That being said, if you make some pico de gallo and throw on some avocado or guacamole–you’ll find life is good all the same.

Carne Asada

3 pounds flank/skirt steak
1/3 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup soy sauce (*original recipe called for 1/2 cup)
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (original recipe called for 2 limes, juiced–but my coworker swears by OJ–as that’s how his family has made it his entire life)
1/2 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon ground white pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon paprika

Pico De Gallo

1 white onion, chopped
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 tomatoes, diced
1 jalapeno, diced–seeds removed
1 lime, juiced
salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Lay the flank steak in a large glass baking dish. In a medium bowl, whisk together the vinegar, soy sauce, 4 cloves of garlic, juice of two limes, and olive oil. Season with salt, black pepper, white pepper, garlic powder, chili powder, oregano, cumin and paprika. Whisk until well blended, then pour over the steak in the dish. Turn over once to coat both sides. Cover with plastic wrap, and marinate for 1 to 8 hours.
  2. In a small bowl, stir together 1 chopped white onion, tomatoes, jalapeno, cilantro, and the juice of 1 lime. Set aside to use as a relish for the tacos.
  3. Grill steak to your liking
  4. Warm tortillas (corn or flour) and serve with your favorite garnishes.  I threw on freshly sliced avocados.
Carne Asada Recipe Adapted from Allrecipes.com
Pico De Gallo recipe is my own.
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Happy New Year!  I can hardly believe it’s already 2011.  I hope everyone enjoyed themselves…I know I did!  3 day weekends are just heavenly–and I would have loved mine a bit more if I hadn’t woken up to a cold the other day.  That aside!  I’m sure we all have general ideas of goals we’d like to achieve this year.  I’m not one for New Year’s resolutions.  I don’t know if I’ve ever been all too serious about any resolution I’ve ever made, but this year seems rather important.  I’m getting married in the fall of 2012–which doesn’t give me a whole lot of time to get into the physical shape I want to get in (well, considering the fact that I’d like to keep this blog up and running with baked goods). I guess that means I’ll just have to give away more.  I guess, I could also try to make a handful of healthy items. Ehh, we’ll see.

Okay, onward to all things yummy.  I know that the holidays are over and people tend to ignore pumpkin for the October rolls around again…BUT I adore pumpkin. Not only is it scrumptious–it’s also very, very forgiving.  Cut a little bit of sugar here and there, accidentally leave the dessert in the oven for a few minutes longer than expected and you know what?  It’s nearly perfect anyway.

This year for Christmas, I decided to give all of Mike’s aunts and uncles some baked goods–something loafy that would package well.   They’re not huge of anything overly sweet (although I think they secretly like cream cheese frosting), so I ruled out anything that would need glaze.  After taking a look in my pantry and fridge, decided on the Elvis Presley Pound cake I made earlier in the month and this pumpkin walnut bread.

This pumpkin walnut bread–it’s amazing.  It’s perfect.  Not too pumpkin-y, but wonderfully spiced.  The bread is wonderfully moist and keeps well for days.  Mike’s aunt called me a few days later just to tell me how much she liked it and asked me for the recipe.  This bread got rave reviews across the board.  I will make this again and soon.  Pumpkin should be seasonless.

Oh–and here’s a note when you’re testing for doneness:  If you insert a toothpick inserted in the center of the bread comes out slightly damp—it’s okay as long as the rest of the bread is cooked.  You don’t want to burn the bread waiting for the center to cook.  Since you are leaving the bread in the hot pans for 15-30 minutes, the bread will continue to cook.  And it will be perfect.

Pumpkin Walnut Bread

Ingredients

1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
4 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
2/3 cup water
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup brown sugar
2 cups white sugar
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon all spice
1 cup of walnuts

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease and flour two loaf pans.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together pumpkin puree, eggs, oil, water, vanilla and sugar until well blended. In a separate bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients.  Stir the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture until just blended. Add nuts and stir in well.  Pour into the prepared pans.
  3. Bake for about 40-50 minutes.  Bread is done, when toothpick inserted in middle of the loaf comes out relatively clean (remember note above).
  4. Remove from oven. Allow bread to rest in pans for 15-30 minutes.  Remove and place on cooling rack.

Enjoy! Tastes even better the next day!

I found the recipe in an old binder I had in college.  Where this came from…I have no idea!

 

Umm…I feel a tad embarrassed about coming back after such a long hiatus.  But so much has happened in just the last 2 months!  Michael and I were saving for our vacation to France and Italy…and it really left me with no extra money to squander on butter and all the other wonderful things that come together to make amazing desserts.  And well, after two weeks indulging in wine, prosciutto, gelato, croissants, and all the deliciousness that is Europe–we came back engaged.  Yes, engaged!  After a dozen years together, we’re finally one step closer to making it official 🙂  I can’t tell you how happy I am or how truly blessed I feel.  In my heart, we’re as good as married…but there’s truly something chillingly amazing about seeing someone on one knee asking you to marry them. And my ring?  It’s the  most amazing thing I’ve ever seen in my life.

So while I haven’t been around to share any recipes (but they’re coming…), I thought I’d just share bits of my summer with you.  I just want to make a note, that I intended to post pictures of beautiful landmarks–only to realize most of the shots…are of food.

So this past weekend, I completed my first cupcake order!  I can’t tell you how excited I was about putting the order together.  I love making cupcakes–the finished product brings such joy to my life 🙂  Well, Sareth and her boyfriend were putting together a birthday for his sister.  So after a few email exchanges, she decided on Red Velvet with cream cheese frosting and S’more cupcakes.  Okay…so I have a confession.  When she decided on the S’more cupcakes…I was a bit worried.  I didn’t really have a whole lot of success the first time around.  I made them for Mike’s birthday, but they were a bit of a failure.  I was soooooo overwhelmed with Mike’s birthday–making a whole dessert buffet, cocktails, and decorations–that I kinda let the S’more cupcakes fall victim to time.  But if you’re reading this Sareth,  I knew I would be able to fix it! And fix it I did, because these these S’more cupcakes may be my FAVORITE thus far!  Not only are they tasty as heck, but they’re adorable.  What a presentation!

Here are some pictures and I’ll follow-up with some recipes!

Either way, just wanted to thank Sareth for thinking of me 🙂  For anyone thinking of placing an order, I offer a HUGE discount on your first order.

Forgive me, but for the next 3 seconds, I’m going to sound like like a bratty 5 year old. That said–“I want, I want, I want!”  While I love going to internet blogs for ideas and inspirations, there really isn’t anything quite as satisfying as holding a book physically in your hand.  Maybe I’m just old school like that.  I love the feel of the paper, I love turning the page, and I especially love seeing these books in my bookshelf.  There’s just something wonderful about having the physical books in your home–it’s almost as if the cookie or cupcake itself is already in your home.

Well, my friends, you’re looking at the next 6 books headed for my bookshelf.  Scratch that–make that 5–since I just bought Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes from Amazon.  Getting it on Thursday–yeah!  You may have noticed, but my selection is a bit Martha heavy, but she’s a domestic genius.  I’ve yet to try a bad Martha recipe.  The woman is amazing in the kitchen.  David Lebovitz is chocolate king, and Baking Illustrated…it’s like having Alton Brown in your home and at your disposal.  This book may not be for everyone (I own Cook’s Illustrated, and let me tell you that book is the size of my Bio text books in college…and I don’t think that Baking Illustrated is any different), since it’s a lot of text and kinda skimpy of the pictures,but if you’re looking to learn–this is it.  As far as Sherry Yard goes, I’m going to plead ignorance.  I have no idea who she is and I really have no idea what’s in her book.  What I do know is this–the cover is fabulous and the reviews on Amazon are great.  So, Miss Sherry Yard,  I’m going to give you a test run.

And believe me…I’ll be sharing my experiences.

My boy friend Michael turned 27 last week and I really wanted to do something special.  Not just because it was his birthday, but because he’s been inundated with so much school work.  For those of you who do not know, Mike decided to go back to school this year to get a Master’s in Computer Science.  I assure you, it’s no easy feat and my wonderful boyfriend has worked extraordinarily hard to keep his 4.0 (He would kill me for saying this–since this is only his first year…but I’m so proud and I can’t help it! I cough it up to his modesty).

We were all set to go out and grab some BBQ at Naples Rib Company in Belmont Shore with a handful of great friends and head back to our place for some drinks and general socializing.  And what says 27 like a dessert buffet?  If you say otherwise–you’re just crazy.

On the menu? I decided the birthday cake itself would be a fresh strawberry cake with strawberry frosting.  I would then finish up the dessert buffet-o-rama with: Banana cupcake with Maple Frosting, Red Velvet Cheesecake Cups, and S’more Cupcakes.

I started baking around 8pm Friday night and my friends–I was up until 6 in the morning.  Baking so many things in my tiny kitchen was such a fiasco!  I even doze off about 10 minutes around 3am–rendering my red velvet cheesecakes overcooked!  So I threw those out and started again from scratch.  By the end of the first night, I had finished all the banana cupcakes, strawberry cake, and red velvet cheesecake. After a 4 hour nap, I went back to work on the S’more cupcakes and all the different frostings.

I was insanely tired by dinnertime, but I’m happy to report that the evening was a success!

I’m posting some pictures and I’ll follow up this post of some recipes!

I’m a bit hesitant about starting a blog.  Like many before me–I’m left wondering what this blog is really going to be about.

With some encouragement from friends, I set out wanting to create a blog that would chronicle my culinary adventures.  I am a proud novice–taking pictures of everything that comes out of my kitchen.   With all the excitement, I didn’t stop to really think about the reality of it all.  While I don’t consider myself to be a workaholic, my days are long and I’m rather drained by the time I get home.  I don’t get home until many have already had their dinner. When would I ever find the time to really make this work?  In the end, I just have to see where this goes.

I suppose if one thing should be said and known it’s my overall goal in this.  Aside from entertainment, I really hope to better myself.  I hope that this inspires me to cook and bake on a regular basis.  I hope that as this becomes a more regular activity, that it sparks creativity and ingenuity.  In 10 years, who knows…maybe I’ll be an awesome soccer mom with all the best treats.

Well, thanks for taking an interest in my blog.  Hopefully, we’ll inspire each other.

Cheers.