Sunday, October 30, 2011

Pumpkin Spice Latte

And now for a guest post by my dear roommate Sarah. At my request, she learned to make pumpkin spice lattes.  I often refer to her as my fairy godmother, because she frequently makes my wishes, be they decorating or food or latte related, come true.  Here's how to bring some of the magic into your own kitchen:

Now that Fall is finally here in Phoenix (by that I mean the high has dipped under 90 degrees), it’s time to bring out the Pumpkin Spice Latte. While the rest of the country is wrapping up leaves-changing-colors season, we here in the valley search for any hint of a normal Autumn experience. Not all of us can afford to purchase the tasty yet pricy seasonal drink, which makes the DIY version a great alternative. Inspired by my roommate, Annalise (the owner of the espresso machine and the one who found the syrup recipe), I learned how to make this drink in our kitchen this weekend.

I first had to learn how to make espresso (an intimidating feat, but not so hard, really). The next ingredient is the pumpkin spice syrup. I used this recipe, but I think that next time I might add more pumpkin for a stronger flavor. To make the latte I used 1 shot espresso, 2/3 cup milk steamed (using the espresso maker), and 1 tablespoon syrup. If you don't own an espresso machine, the espresso can be replaced with 2 ounces hot coffee. The latte is especially delicious when served in a mason jar (also ideal for sealing and saving for later) and topped with homemade whipped cream.

Sunday, October 23, 2011


I just noticed.... we've got 99 entrees!  (but a blintz ain't one). 

Green Tomato Spice Cake with Chocolate Chips & Cream Cheese Frosting

It's been quite the Indian Summer in Denver, but we finally had a frost warning last week.  I covered my healthiest 2 tomato plants and picked the green tomatos from the rest.  A few ripened up after some time with an apple in a paper bag, and the rest led me to the same solution overzealous zuchini growers know so well:  spice bread.  Well, OK, except even better, a sweet, soft, fragrant spice CAKE.

I started with this recipe, took note of some suggestions in the comments, and made some changes of my own (mostly in the "why eat raisins when you could eat chocolate chips" vein).  Can I just note, I love being a grownup and turning vegetables INTO CAKE if I dang well want to. 


4 cups chopped green  tomatoes (these will be blended so you could skip chopping them up and just halve or quarter them - in that state, they'd probably fill 5 or 6 cups)
1/2 an apple

1/2 cup butter
2 cups sugar
1 egg

2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1.5 tsp ea cinnamon and nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt

1 c chocolate chips

1.  Throw the tomatoes and apple in the blender and puree.  Then pour the puree into a mesh sieve over a bowl.   Quite a bit of liquid will drain right out - I saved this to throw in a soup later.  You should be left with about 2 cups of puree.  If you have too much, squeeze a little more liquid out; too little, put some back in or puree a couple more tomatoes.

2.  Cream together butter and sugar, add egg and tomato puree and mix well.

3.  Sift dry ingredients into a large bowl.  Stir in chips and wet ingredients.

4.  Pour into a greased 9x13 cake pan and bake at 350 for 45 minutes.

Frosting:  Like so.

And now, I will probably not set foot in my kitchen for another three weeks, when I have my first trial!   So, we'll see how long I can subsist on this cake and a freezerful of tamales.  Wish me luck. 

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Peanut Butter Pecan Cookies with Chocolate Espresso (Gluten Free!)

How's that for an over the top title? Fitting for these over the top cookies, which are basically a riff on my incredible (-y easy) pb cookies.

Preheat oven to 350. Gather the following:

1 cup peanut butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 large handful chopped pecans
1 large handful chocolate chips, chopped
1 small handful chocolate covered espresso beans, chopped

Mix all at once in a stand mixer, if available (this gets the peanut butter all chocolatey), or by hand until well-mixed. Bake at 350 for 18 minutes.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Real Simple Black Bean and Cheese Taquitos

Somehow, getting engaged led to P and I getting a subscription to Real Simple. P loves the magazine and gets really excited about the recipes. Normally I balk because their staple ingredients don't align with mine, and I am really obsessive about centering the week's meals around shared ingredients for budget purposes. Well, this was not the case with their bean and cheese taquitos. All you need:

Black beans, cheese, corn tortillas, olive oil, salsa. Avos or greek yogurt are value added but not necessary.

So, so good. I mean, we eat lots of beans and cheese and corn tortillas--we're even serving our wedding guests tacos--but frying them really took it up a step. Next up: Pete and Kate, taco molds, and a fryer. (Kidding. Sort of. Ok not at all. Make these!)