Saturday, February 27, 2010

Weekend edition: perfect pancakes

If you are lucky enough to have a lazy day with no plans you should make these gorgeous and delicious-looking pancakes from Honey and Jam (one of my fave baking blogs). Click here for the recipe.




{Photo credits: Honey and Jam}

Happy Saturday!!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Guest post: rani in the kitchen part 4

Today's guest post is part 4 in the series "Rani in the Kitchen", written by my friend Amy. Click here for parts 1-3.
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Today's recipe is a fantastic north Indian recipe I received from Jay's mom and it is a true culinary adventure. If you're not from the Southern part of the U.S. (or even if you are!) you initially may be a little put-off by this Bhindi Masala (Okra Masala) recipe. Trust me though, I have had avowed okra-haters rave about this recipe and there is one reason - it is not as gooey as southern Okra recipes often are- and tastes ten times better. The reason the okra is not gooey is because of the way you dry, cut, and saute the okra. The recipe takes some time - usually an hour or so - but I find cutting the Okra (the most time consuming part) a methodical and peaceful exercise. So turn on some music, get out your Indian spices, and get ready to cook something new and different!

Most of you should be able to find fresh Okra at any major supermarket. If you're local supermarket does not have it, an Indian supermarket surely will. Do not use frozen okra, it just does not turn out the same. When selecting Okra, look for green pods that are tender, but not too soft or tough. This recipe goes really well with Indian bread (Naan or Roti). I always buy the Indian breads -maybe this blog is an excuse to start making them!

Bhindi Masala

1 lb of fresh okra
4 oz of vegetable oil
1 teaspoon of salt
1 large yellow onion
1 teaspoon black pepper
3 cloves of garlic (or teaspoon of garlic paste if you have it)
2 tablespoons of ground coriander
2 tablespoon of turmeric
1 teaspoon of red chili powder (more or less if you like it more spicy)
1 and 1/2 tablespoon garam masala
2 oz of canned tomato paste
Cilantro (optional)

1) Wash and individually dry very very well each piece of Okra. (I use paper towels).

2) Cut off the tops and the tips (tails) of the Okra and cut the okra into 1/2 inches pieces wiping the knife with a paper towel in between each slice. It is important to wipe the knife while cutting the Okra.

3) Put the Okra in a dish and sprinkle with black pepper.


4) Peel the onion and slice thinly.

5) Peel and mince the garlic (or use garlic paste).

6) Heat the oil in the sauce pan on medium-high heat, and fry the onion and garlic until they are softened.

7) Add the coriander, chili powder, and garam masala and cook for another minute. Stir well to ensure the spices do not stick to the bottom of the pan.

8) Add the Okra and cook for another 15-20 minutes or until the Okra starts to char or blacken a bit. Gently turn the okra as you are cooking it, but be careful not to crush the it- otherwise this makes it mushy.

9) Add the tomato paste and gently toss with the Okra. This is suppose to be a dry curry, but you can add a little (couple of tablespoons) of hot water if it appears to be sticking to the pan. Cook for another 4-5 minutes or until the Okra is soft and brown.

10) Add the salt at the end of the recipe as the salt tends to draw out moisture.

11) Garnish with chopped clinatro if you have some!


Thursday, February 25, 2010

A very special birthday

My husband turns 30 today. It's been a big month for both of us with birthdays.

Erik's favorite dessert is cheesecake. I TOTALLY cheated and made him a no-bake cheesecake. I had to save time somewhere because I will be spending hours preparing his favorite meal of all-time, chicken and dumplings (German/North Dakota style). Think lots of heavy cream, slow-roasted chicken and dumplings as big as heads (ok, not that big...). Erik's mom taught me how to make this meal when we were spending the holidays in North Dakota. I am a bit nervous because steaming the dumplings seems a bit tricky. Wish me luck!

Welcome to the 30's my dear. I hope you have a wonderful day!!!


{Photo credit: AZ Cookbooks}

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Gorgeous cupcakes

I couldn't resist posting these gorgeous Enjoy Cupcakes I found while browsing one of my favorite blogs, Style Me Pretty. Check out some of their amazing flavors, I'd love one of the Citrus Sauvignon Blanc cupcakes (Sauvignon Blanc soaked cake, with fresh grapefruit, lemon curd center and frosted with a wine, cream cheese frosting that’s speckled with citrus zest and topped with wine soaked sugar crystals). Wine + cupcakes = yes please!

Unfortunately for us in Minnesota, Enjoy Cupcakes is located in Southern California but they do ship overnight!!

These images are totally perfect eye candy.




{Photo credits: Jose Villa}

Monday, February 22, 2010

Real party: a very fabulous 30th birthday

I turned 30 a couple weeks ago and instead of freaking out, I embraced it. The day was inevitable so why not be happy and celebrate? So that's exactly what I did. I threw myself (with the help of one fabulous sister and a few friends) a lovely, fun, pretty party at Loto Life Cafe in Lowertown St. Paul.

I've decided that 30 is the new 21. I don't know anyone that has turned 30 and didn't get ridiculously drunk. I sure did. And it was great.

Here is the inspiration board I created and photos from the party.



Thanks to my sister for the awesome dessert display. The cupcakes were made by Loto and everything else was brought in.





The cupcakes were yummy.

Lovely Scribbles did all the calligraphy for the dessert labels and menu.

I got china mums from A Day in Provence. They originally were white then sprayed pink.

Clear cylinder vases with pink and ivory floating candles plus small votives were everywhere, which created a nice, warm glow.

I had a signature drink of sparkling rose with raspberries. I brought in 8 bottles of Astoria Lounge.





The menu was fun, not fancy, and very tasty.

I had many glasses of the sparkling rose.

We had a huge platter of fruit, another platter of cheese and tons of bread.

Mini burgers! These were awesome.

And my favorite...the french fry cones. These fries were really good.

Thanks so much to all my friends, family and coworkers for coming out and helping me celebrate, and embrace, turning 30!!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Weekend edition: Sunday sweetness

I've been spending too much money at Cocoa and Fig the past couple weeks. Their new retail location just opened up in Gavidae Commons in Minneapolis, which is only one block from where I work. I walk by the adorable store every morning and everything looks so delicious and pretty. I end up buying too many sweets and giving them away. Don't worry, I taste a few things, too.

Below are cake ball lollipops, macarons, a vanilla cupcake with chocolate buttercream and a carrot cake cookie sandwich.








Friday, February 19, 2010

Real party: let them eat cake!

These cute photos were sent to me from Jessy, the gal behind Fairytale Frosting blog. She recently had a birthday party with a "Let them eat cake and celebrate" theme. Jessy spent days baking desserts for the elaborate display. My favorite items are the adorable cookies. How sweet would those be for a bridal shower??






Thursday, February 18, 2010

Twitter!

I've been on Twitter for about a year using a profile with my full name. I thought it would make more sense to have a branded Eat Drink Pretty Twitter page, so here it is! I would love love love if you would follow me. I worked with Studio Chic Designs to match the Twitter design to my blog page. Love it!


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Brides magazine - March 2010 issue

A couple photos from Erik and my "post wedding" session got published in the March 2010 issue of Brides magazine! Very, very cool. Click here if you are interested in seeing more photos from that session. It's funny because our actual wedding was the complete opposite of what the magazine says is the typical Midwest wedding (outside of the cities, at Great Lakes resorts, or on farms).

Photo credits to Sewell Photography.



That's us kissing in front of the barn.

More kissing, isn't Erik the cutest? This one is a full page!!!!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Guest post: rani in the kitchen part 3

Today's guest post in part 3 in the series "Rani in the Kitchen" by my friend Amy. Click here for part 1 and here for part 2.
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Today's recipe is one of just a handful recipes I cook that are non-vegetarian. Several months ago, my finance and I were watching Rachel Ray's cooking show. Rachel was making a Chicken Tikka kabob recipe that my finance exclaimed "looked delicious." I took a portion of her recipe, and gave it my own spin. After realizing how quick and easy it was for me to cook, and the fact that my finance thought it was delicious, I've stuck by the recipe as an quick and easy way to feed my non-vegetarian friends. If you're a vegetarian like me, you may also like this recipe because it involves minimal interaction with the chicken- something that is good because I'm not very adept at cooking chicken!

The original recipe also calls for "curry powder." Recall from my earlier post that curry powder is not really used in Indian households, but if you have some you can use it in this recipe! (Jay and I actually inherited a bottle, so we do have this on hand).

If you do not have curry powder, here is a simple curry powder recipe:

3 tablespoons of turmeric
2 tablespoons of ground coriander
1 tablespoon of ground cumin
1/2 tablespoon of black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon of chili powder or paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground caradmom pods

optional to your curry powder
1/2 teaspoon clove
1/2 teaspoon dried garlic and/or onion
As with most Indian cooking, there are a million different ways to make curry powder (just google it!) And now my Chicken Tikka Recipe

Easy Chicken Tikka

1 cup plain yogurt (non-fat is ok, but tends to make the recipe a bit more watery)
1 heaping tablespoon mild curry powder
1 teaspoon ground ginger*
1 teaspoon chopped garlic*
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
Pinch of Salt and Black Pepper
A handful (3 tablespoons) cilantro leaves, finely chopped
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast meat, cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes (you can use frozen chicken breasts too)
1 teaspoon black mustard seed (omit if you do not have black mustard seeds - do not substitute for yellow)
2 tablespoons oil
* Alternatively use ginger and garlic paste.

1) In a large bowl, combine yogurt, lemon juice, curry powder, ginger, garlic, chili powder, salt, and cilantro.


2) Chop chicken into bite size pieces. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
3) Stir chicken into yogurt mixture, cover, and marinate for 20-30 minutes.
4) Heat oil over medium medium heat and put in mustard seeds. Cook mustard seeks for 10 seconds, or until they begin to pop.
5) Take pan off heat to allow to cool down for 45 second - to one minute. Add chicken/yogurt mixture into pan.
6) Saute chicken for 10-15 minutes on medium heat or until cooked through.


7) Sprinkle some chopped cilantro on top and serve with warm bread or rice. Enjoy!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Blueberry banana bread

This blueberry banana bread is delicious and simple. The oatmeal streusal topping sets it apart from typical banana bread. Prep is quick but the baking time is not. I had it in the oven for about 75 minutes (it was worth the wait).





Blueberry banana bread (recipe from My Recipes)

Ingredients

1 cup fresh blueberries, rinsed and drained, or frozen blueberries
2 cups plus one tablespoon all-purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup mashed ripe bananas (2 to 3)
1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk
6 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
1 large egg

Oatmeal Streusel

In a bowl, combine 1/4 cup each all-purpose flour, regular rolled oats, and chopped dried banana chips; 2 tablespoons each firmly packed brown sugar and butter, cut into chunks; and 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon. Mix with your fingers until fine crumbs form.

Note - I skipped the chopped dried banana chips.

Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 350°.

2. In a small bowl, gently mix blueberries with 1 tablespoon of the flour.

3. In another bowl, blend remaining 2 cups flour, the sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.

4. In a third, large bowl, whisk bananas, buttermilk, butter, and egg to blend. Stir flour mixture into banana mixture just until evenly moistened; the batter will be stiff. Gently stir in blueberry mixture.

5. Spread batter level in a buttered 5- by 9-inch loaf pan. Sprinkle with oatmeal streusel and press in lightly.

6. Bake bread in preheated oven until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 60 to 70 minutes.

7. Let bread cool in pan on a rack for 10 minutes, then run a knife around edges to loosen. Invert bread onto a plate, remove pan, and turn over onto rack to cool completely, about 45 minutes.


Nutritional Information
Calories:319 (31% from fat)
Protein:4.8g
Fat:11g (sat 6.8)
Carbohydrate:51g
Fiber:1.8g
Sodium:347mg
Cholesterol:48mg