The EGGNOGstravaganza part II: bacon stuffed eggnog french toast

9 Jan

This is a ridiculously decadent and delicious breakfast.  Crispy salty bacon, sweet maple filling, and rich eggnog.  You can make this without the leftover eggnog (use eggs+milk+sugar instead), or without the bacon.  It’s so good.

Pros to this dish: all delicious ingredients, all delicious.  There's no way this is BAd, no CONs at all, even if you forget the bacon

Pros to this dish: all delicious ingredients, all delicious. There’s no way this is BAd, no CONs at all, even if you forget the bacon.

I did not know about the best way to cook bacon until I made this dish!  There’s even a website devoted to it.  Just put your bacon into a baking pan and put into the cold oven.  Set to 400, and set the timer for 20 minutes.  That’s it!  Magical crispy bacon every time.

Bakin bacon

Bake in a pyrex

Don't bake on the stove!

Don’t bake on the stove!

And that way you can prepare the rest of the dish while the bacon is cooking.  Make the filling: mix cream cheese with brown sugar and a dash of maple syrup.  I used half a block of cream cheese, and a little less than that amount of brown sugar.  You can’t really have too much of this filling.  It’s SO GOOD.

If you needed to translate the first person direct object pronoun into the most widely spoken aboriginal language in Canada, you could say to a speaker, "Cree me"

If you needed to translate the first person direct object pronoun into the most widely spoken aboriginal language in Canada, you could say to a speaker, “Cree me.”

And if the largest group of First Nations people in Canada made their own concoction a la Mississippi pie, they could call it Cree Mud

And if the largest group of First Nations people in Canada made their own concoction a la Mississippi pie, they could call it Cree Mud

The big plus of using eggnog for french toast is that you don’t have to measure anything, really.  Just whisk (number of people) eggs in with some eggnog (1/2 c per person or so).  A pie tin is the best vessel for this, so you can dip your bread.

Then spread your bread with the deliciousness, and put a piece of bacon in every other piece of bread.

This bread is like the CBS daytime lineup, ready for Phil-ing (though CBS uses the doctor and we'll use bacon)

This bread is like the CBS daytime lineup, ready for Phil-ing (though CBS uses the doctor and we’ll use bacon)

Make little sandwiches of wonderful, and quickly dip them in the eggnog mix.  Fry for about 3 minutes on each side, or until they’re nice and brown and yummy looking.

Filled!

Filled!

If this bread was wearing underwear would it be a diphthong?  Unfortunately I'm pretty bad at telling what a diphthong is (Vietnamese is full of them)

If this bread was wearing underwear would it be a diphthong? Unfortunately I’m pretty bad at telling what a diphthong is (Vietnamese is full of them)

Everyday is FryDay!

Everyday is FryDay!

No need for makeup here, we certainly don't need any brownzer

No need for makeup here, we certainly don’t need any brownzer

Usually people serve french toast with syrup but this basically has syrup inside it.  It’s very good with a side of bacon.

IMG_20141221_112446087 IMG_20141221_112658982

Bacon stuffed eggnog french toast.  This is ingredients per person.

Two pieces of good bacon-one for stuffing and one for eating.  If you’re using the thin little slices double this.

Two pieces of white bread (white soaks up the egg better)

One egg

1/2 cup eggnog

1 oz cream cheese (so I made four servings and used half a package)

~ 1 TB brown sugar

~1 tsp maple syrup

A little bit of butter (for frying)

If you’re literally making this for one person, don’t dirty another pan and just cook your bacon in the pan you’re planning on using.  If more, though, use the bacon method- line a pan with bacon and put into a cold oven.  Turn to 400 degrees, and set a timer for 20 minutes.

Beat the egg and eggnog together in a pie pan.

Mix the cream cheese, brown sugar, and maple syrup together.  Spread on the bread slices.

Break a piece of bacon in half and put into a sandwich.  Dip both sides of the sandwich into the eggnog mixture, and fry in a skillet over medium heat until nice and brown on both sides.  Serve with the other piece of bacon.

Back to basics: algebra and variables (nytimes and sony)

3 Jan

I’ve had many students get tripped up over the concept of variables, which is the key idea in algebra.  Unfortunately these were calculus students, so we had to try to catch up on algebra while learning calculus (also needed to review trigonometry and geometry.  No joke, once a student asked me how to find the area of a rectangle while I was proctoring a calculus exam.  I was speechless.  I checked back later and student had figured it out.)  But it’s not just calculus students who have trouble with algebra.  I ran into this tweet last week:

Snark aside, I want to solve the problem in this article.  First, let’s go way back to basics and talk about variables.  It’s absolutely a leap to go from the concrete world of numbers to something more representational.  Instead of jumping straight into abstraction, let’s use analogies!

First, note that variable implies something that varies.  While we used to use just numbers and equations like 8+2=10, now we have expressions like 8x+2 or x*x.  The value of this expression varies depending on what value we assign to x.  This is the tricky part, because we’re used to things that stand by themselves and don’t vary depending on some other context.  OR DO WE?

Let’s take this expression:

I had a yen for cookies.

By itself, the sentence is ambiguous.  Are you saying you are buying extremely cheap cookies in Japan or Hawaii?  Or do you feel like eating some scrumptious small baked goods?  Or am I hanging out in your kitchen helping you bake?  In this expression, “yen” could mean three different things.  And depending on what value you put in for “yen” you’ll have completely different meanings.

whichone

How can we resolve the ambiguity?  Well, we could add some context.  For instance:

  1. He offered me cake, but I had a yen for cookies.
  2. I couldn’t afford a real meal, but I had a yen for cookies.
  3. I have lots of helpful culinary friends named Yen.  I had a yen to make bread; I had a yen roasting meat; and I had a yen for cookies.

By adding context we narrowed down the sentence meaning to be unambiguous.  This is like adding an = sign to an expression.  So with 8x+2, the value of the expression could’ve been 10 (if x=1), or 0 (if x=-4), or 3000 (if x=374.75), or anything really.  But if we add an = sign and have 8x+2=18, then we’ve declared that 8x+2 is unambiguously 18.  So is unambiguously \frac{18-2}{8} = 2.

Sometimes we still might have multiple solutions to an equation.  My sentence could be “I was in Japan, and I had a yen for cookies.”  In fact, sentences like that basically make up all the captions in this blog.

So I could have an equation like x*x=1, and we’d have two solutions: x=1 works, and so does x=-1.

That’s that for the concept!  Let’s apply some algebra to that tweet.

We have a total of $15,000,000 brought in.  Some of this is from $6 digital rentals, and some is from $15 sales.  And we have 2000000 transactions in total.  So let’s figure out how many transactions came from rentals, and how many from sales.  Then we can figure out how much money sales brought in, and how much money rentals brought in.

That was a heavy paragraph, so let’s break it down.  What do we want in the end?  How much money came from rentals, and how much came from sales.  How can we calculate how much money came from rentals?  Well, we can figure out how many rentals there were, and then multiply by 6, since each rental is $6.  Similarly, we can figure out the number of sales, and multiply by 15.  So let’s figure out the number of rentals and sales, using algebra.

First, we name our variables.  Let’s use for the number of rentals occurred, and use for the number of sales.  We know that R + S = 2,000,000 because there were two million transactions.  Also, we know that 6R + 15S= 15,000,000 because that’s how much money was brought in.  To make this a little easier to read, let’s cut out the 000,000 and add it in at the end.  Our system of equations is now:

  • R+S=2
  • 6R+15S=15

Now let’s solve.  If we solve the first equation for R, we’ll have R=2-S.  Notice that we have a variable in our solution for R, since the value of depends on the value of S.  But we can resolve the ambiguity by plugging this equation into our second equation.  Then we have

6(2-S)+15S=15

So, distributing, we have

12-6S+15S = 15

and grouping like terms gives

9S=15-12=3

Which means that S=3/9=1/3.  Going back to that solved equation earlier, this means that R=2-S=2-1/3=5/3.

So there were 1/3 million sales and 5/3 million rentals.  Going back to our “what are we looking for” paragraph, this means that $10,000,000 came from rentals, and $5,000,000 came from sales.

Of course, you could’ve just put this into wolfram instead of breaking it down into all the pieces like we did.  This post was mostly aimed at my old math 34a students at UCSB.  Likely the people who usually read the math posts on this blog won’t be interested in this post, but maybe you can pass it on to someone else!

an EGGNOGstravaganza! Part I: eggnog

22 Dec

I remember the first time I had eggnog- it was at my childhood best friend’s house, back when we lived in Minnesota.  I must’ve been ten or so, and I immediately loved this ridiculously rich, creamy, mildly spiced drink.  I loved it so much that I’ve only had it five times or so since.  Including a disastrous attempt to make homemade eggnog in high school, back before we knew how to use allrecipes and followed an old Joy of Cooking cookbook I had lying around.  That tasted like raw eggs sitting in milk, which is what it was.  That’s also what my first attempt at eggnog this year ended up as, which explains the coming posts of eggnog bread pudding, eggnog loaf, and bacon-stuffed eggnog french toast (no need wasting perfectly good eggs and cream!)  But my second attempt was AMAZING.  I know I raved about how great ambrosia is during my last post, and that I’ve talked about how pavlova is the best thing I’ve ever made, but damn.  This eggnog.  Definitely the best drink I’ve ever made.

So let’s start with the eggnog, shall we?  I did a comically awful job taking photos of the eggnog because it was SO GOOD that I totally forgot to take a picture of the finished product.  I had to go to the store to buy cream, but other than that I had all the ingredients on hand: butter, milk, nutmeg, cinnamon, vanilla, sugar, and (optionally) rum.  Actually I didn’t have cloves so I used star anise instead and I HIGHLY RECOMMEND USING STAR ANISE.  It’s so sweet and so spicy and just a great, underused ingredient.

“Illicium verum 2006-10-17″. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons -

Also note that this is an overnight recipe.  It’s really really good as soon as you make it but it’s even better the next day.

First, steep your milk with the spices.  If you had a cinnamon stick lying around now would be a good time to take it out.  I just put in ground cinnamon and a few star anise, then heated the milk on low while I separated the eggs.

This would make an at first delightful smelling STEEPlechase, but then the milk would go sour and everything would be bad

This would make an at first delightful smelling STEEPlechase, but then the milk would go sour and everything would be bad

The recipe I used called for a dozen eggs, but I got tired of separating eggs so I used seven.  It still turned out great!  I think six at minimum.  Honestly a dozen eggs might be too rich, though not if you add rum (I made some non-alcoholic by omitting rum).  Anyways, for a note on how to separate eggs see this old post.  Separate your eggs.

Very clearly separate and not equal

Very clearly separate and not equal

Once everything is separated, turn the milk heat up to high.  Cover the whites and put them in the fridge or freezer.  I put them in the freezer and it was a pain in the butt to thaw them the next day so I’m not sure why I did that.  You will use the whites the next day though so hang on to them!

Whisk the yolks with the sugar until nice and fluffy.  I was thinking about using the stand mixer for this, but the hand whisk worked just as well.

This is a labor oF LUFF. Alternate caption: Instead of naming planes after numbers like F-10s, maybe they should include the airline name too.  So you could have a F-LUFFthansa

This is a labor oF LUFF.
Alternate caption: Instead of naming planes after numbers like F-10s, maybe they should include the airline name too. So you could have a F-LUFFthansa

Now pour some of the hot milk (which is now hot because remember you turned the heat up?) into the egg bowl and whisk some more.  You’re tempering the eggs so they don’t turn into scrambled eggs sitting in milk (oh high school).  This is a mildly technical task but you know me- I don’t care too much about details (it still turns out awesome), so don’t worry.

I want some of those tamper evident stickers but change them to say temper evident.  Then I could put them on custards and on my baby

I want some of those tamper evident stickers but change them to say temper evident. Then I could put them on custards and on my baby

Just keep adding a little hot milk and whisking until the mixture looks pretty smooth.  Dump it back into the pot with the rest of the milk and stir constantly over medium heat until it gets thick, or until you get tired of mixing (which is what I did).  It’s about three minutes either way.  Let it cool for an hour, then add the cream, vanilla, nutmeg, and rum if you’re using it.  Also take out the star anise.  Throw it in the fridge overnight.

We want a pitcher, not a belly itcher!  Well, we have one.  Actually, if you think about how my stomach felt during pregnancy, we also have the latter

We want a pitcher, not a belly itcher! Well, we have one. Actually, if you think about how my stomach felt during pregnancy, we also have the latter

The next day, take out your egg whites and let them come to room temperature.  Throw them in a stand mixer or use an electric one and mix them until they’re frothy and stiff, like in the next photo.

If I get a dog, maybe I'll get a couple of small greyhounds- I always seem to need two whippet(s) This is  both an old photo and old caption

If I get a dog, maybe I’ll get a couple of small greyhounds- I always seem to need two whippet(s)
This is both an old photo and old caption

Use a rubber spatula to gently fold the egg whites into the chilled eggnog, and serve.  SO GOOD SO FLUFFY SO TASTY.  Sorry for lack of photo.

Amazing eggnog, adapted from allrecipes

6-12 eggs, to your taste (12 makes it super rich, 6 is light and delightful.  I went with 7)

1 qt of milk (2 pts, 4 cups)

1- 1 1/2 c sugar, also to your taste (1 1/2 is way sweet, 1 is light.  I did a bit over 1)

2 c rum, also to taste

3 c cream (I used a cup of cream the previous day so I had this much.  You could also use 2 or 4)

1 TB vanilla

1 cinnamon stick and/or 1 tsp ground cinnamon

3 star anise pods

1 tsp nutmeg

Over low heat, combine the milk, spices, and 1 tsp of the vanilla.  Let it steep for five minutes, or however long it takes you until we mention this again.

Separate the eggs, putting the whites into a container for the fridge and the yolks into a medium-large bowl.  Refrigerate the whites.  Turn up the heat to high on the milk.  Whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add in a little hot milk (I did about 1/2 c at a time) and whisk until smooth.  Do this about three times until you have a very smooth and warm egg-milk mixture.  Pour the bowl of egg milk into the pot of milk, and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, for three minutes.  Let cool for an hour.

Take out the star anise pods.  Add the cream and remaining vanilla.  If you’re using rum, add it.  Refrigerate overnight.

About half an hour before you want to serve the nog, take out the egg whites.  About ten minutes before serving, beat the whites on high until foamy and stiff.  Then use a rubber spatula to gently fold the whites into the nog.  Best served in a punch bowl, as a pitcher will leave the foamy stuff out.  Garnish with some more ground nutmeg, fresh if you can get it.

I am [not a] bro (sia)

5 Dec

The first time I had ambrosia was in my college’s dining hall salad bar, senior year.  I saw the label “ambrosia” and noticed mandarin oranges, so I grabbed a scoop.  FOOD OF THE GODS.  Who knew mini marshmallows, mandarin oranges, pineapple, and coconut went so well together with whipped cream?

Since I’m sometimes interested in health (or since I always dislike the idea of cool whip and sometimes dislike the idea of washing my mixing bowl and beater), I used full-fat yogurt + honey + vanilla instead of whipped cream.  Honey makes everything better!  The tang of yogurt + honey really complements the pineapple and sweetness of everything else.  I also added some green grapes and toasted pecans for color and texture.

I had to make an extra broceries trip since I don't usually have mini marshmallows in my house

I had to make an extra broceries trip since I don’t usually have mini marshmallows in my house

This is one of those cut up everything, mix, and let sit sort of “salads”.  More like a dessert which happens to live in the salad bar.

The bodega downstairs is called Go Grocer, but only men seem to work there so my friend calls it Bro Grocer

The bodega downstairs is called Go Grocer, but only men seem to work there so my friend calls it Bro Grocer

I wish I could tell you how to cut pineapple.  If I wasn’t operating on such sleep debt I would have looked up several links/researched, then taken step by step photos of the process.  But instead I just hacked at the pineapple and tried to cut out the eyes using a paring knife, which didn’t work great.  The point is, you need your pineapple in bite size chunks.  Canned pineapple would also work, but theoretically fresh will be better (because it’s not soaked in syrup).

I wonder if the star of The Pianist was in a frat.  They'd call him Adrian BROdy.  Oh they already call him that.

I wonder if the star of The Pianist was in a frat. They’d call him Adrian BROdy. Oh they already call him that.

My husband prefers ambrosia without pecans- I’ve made it three times since having the baby, with/without grapes and with/without pecans.  I like the nuttiness that helps weigh down the salad, but that also keeps it from tasting like angels are breathing into your mouth, which is maybe the point of ambrosia.  If you opt for pecans, chop em up and throw them into a frying pan on medium heat for a few minutes.  I left them for as long as it took me to cut the pineapple and grapes.  You can tell when they’re done because they’ll start smelling toasty and nutty and yummy.

According to urban dictionary, I am not a bronut- I am not your friend willing to share my donut.  Nor am I a crazy friend.

According to urban dictionary, I am not a bronut- I am not your friend willing to share my donut. Nor am I a crazy friend.

So you’ve got half a pineapple, a big handful of grapes, a handful of pecans, about a cup of mini marshmallows, a can of mandarin oranges, and a cup of shredded sweetened coconut tossed together in a bowl.  Now stir up your yogurt + honey + vanilla, and toss the whole thing with the dressing.  Let sit for at least an hour for the flavors to meld, and enjoy.  I think it’s better if you let it sit overnight so the marshmallows and coconut melt a little bit due to the acidity of the pineapple.

IMG_20141112_162530443_HDR

If these captions aren’t enough I can just tell you straight up I know zero about bro culture.

IMG_20141112_162945823_HDR

Health-conscious frat guys love their brogurt!

This dish just bros me away

This dish just bros me away

Ambrosia- cobbled together from the internet

1/2 fresh pineapple or a can of pineapple

1 c mini marshmallows

1 c green grapes, halved

1 c shredded sweetened coconut

1 c pecans

1 can mandarin oranges

3/4 c plain yogurt

1 TB honey

1 tsp vanilla

Toast pecans in a frying pan over medium heat until fragrant, maybe five minutes while you cut up the pineapple and grapes.  Mix yogurt, honey, and vanilla in a small bowl.  Add all ingredients to a large bowl and toss.  Leave in fridge for at least an hour, preferably 6-8 or more.

 

Apple blueberry yogurt pie

26 Nov

This is an old pie I made for a party I went to on the 4th of July.  I always liked the look of those whipped cream-strawberry-blueberry 4th of July cakes, so I had blueberries in the hope of making one.  But I didn’t get strawberries, and our friendly visiting postdoc made an AMAZING pie crust and had left the extra dough in our fridge.  So I went with apple pie for the America! theme.

This was in a sublet apartment- i was just borrowing the Pad.  It was a good place to store Apples.

This was in a sublet apartment- i was just borrowing the Pad. It was a good place to store Apples.

So I did the usual peel and slice the apples, top with sugar and cinnamon, put into a pie crust.  But ALAS!  Three apples wasn’t enough to fill the pie!

This sin(namon) is so scandalous, that [go to next caption]

This sin(namon) is so scandalous, that [go to next caption]

I am APPalLEd!

I am APPalLEd!

After seeing my pie crust sadly filled about halfway, I raided our fridge.  I found a package of blueberries and a container of yogurt, so thanks to google I rescued the pie!

I wonder if this happens every time the person who played Storm in X-men tries to bake anything

I wonder if this happens every time the person who played Storm in X-men tries to bake anything

Basically it’s a normal apple pie, plus yogurt and blueberries.  The creaminess of the yogurt really makes this pie special and different.

I wish this recipe had been written by a guy named Barry.  So there'd be no more need to feel blue, Barry to the rescue!

I wish this recipe had been written by a guy named Barry. So there’d be no more need to feel blue, Barry to the rescue!

For fruit pies I always prefer a streusel topping.  Actually, for anything I prefer a streusel topping.  If streusel is at all appropriate I say go for it (so toss it on top of any cake or bread/muffin possible, but maybe avoid the pavlova).  I like it so much I rarely use a recipe for it anymore: just mix flour and brown sugar (equal parts), and then cut in slightly soft but chilled butter until you have crumbs.  I use a fork and knife like the butter is a very soft steak.

If you're running low on butter you may find yourself in a streu-seller's market.  I had to investopedia "seller's market" to write this pun

If you’re running low on butter you may find yourself in a streu-seller’s market. I had to investopedia “seller’s market” to write this pun.

Then sprinkle the streusel over the pie and spread it out so the whole top is covered.  You want some of this deliciousness in every bite.

I thought not enough apples would be a pi(e)ty, but pie with only apples is really a piety of our time (again you have to look up the alternate definition of piety here)

I thought not enough apples would be a pi(e)ty, but pie with only apples is really a piety of our time (again you have to look up the alternate definition of piety here)

Bake, let cool, and eat!

IMG_20140704_131539112

IMG_20140704_131554568

 

Apple-blueberry yogurt pie, adapted from allrecipes

One pie crust

3-4 Granny Smith apples (note: tart apples make better pies)

1 c blueberries

1 c plain yogurt

1/2 c sugar

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1 c flour (note: if you have oats, try replacing half the flour with oats)

1/2 c (1 stick) butter

1/2 c brown sugar

 

Preheat oven to 350.  Slice and peel apples, toss with blueberries, yogurt, sugar, and cinnamon.  Put into pie crust.

Using two knives or a pastry blender or a fork and knife, cut the butter into the flour and brown sugar until coarse crumbs appear.  Top pie.

Bake for 45 minutes or until bubbly and golden brown.

Essentially, carrot cake without carrots (pumpkin bars)

4 Nov

Carrot cake is my favorite kind of cake almost everyday (if you catch me on a nostalgic day I’ll say funfetti).  I love the moist sweetness and spice of carrot cake plus the surprise of raisins, and cream cheese frosting makes everything better.  But it takes forever to peel and grate carrots-even with a food processor you still have to clean the food processor afterwards.  This cake tastes surprisingly like carrot cake, without the texture of carrots.  Next time I’ll definitely add raisins and tell people it’s carrot cake and see if anyone believes me.  Good thing I have friends who don’t read this blog!

Another plus of this cake: two bowls!  One if you’re real lazy!  The recipe says “bars” but it really is just like a short cake.  I made it in a fat cookie sheet with tall sides, but if you put it in a 9″x13″ it’d be a normal sheet cake size.

Though pumpkin Be major part of this recipe, you have to watch out for the sharp (edges of the can) [this is a music theory joke]

Though pumpkin Be major part of this recipe, you have to watch out for the sharp (edges of the can) [this is a music theory joke]

Original recipe called for a cup of oil, which seemed like a lot, so I subbed in yogurt for some of it.  Super moist and delicious!

Also, peeve: doesn’t it make more sense to mix dry ingredients with a whisk first, then mix the wet with that same whisk, then mix them together?  Often when I read recipes it says to do the wet first.  But then you have a wet whisk going into dry ingredients.  Unless you’re fancy and use more than one whisk.  Anyways, you mix up all the wet ingredients: pumpkin, egg, yogurt, oil, sugar.  And separately, the dry: flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices.

Sometimes I whisk I had a pun-making machine.  Then I remember I have myself!

Sometimes I whisk I had a pun-making machine. Then I remember I have myself!

If I remember right, the protagonist of A Wrinkle in Time gets made fun of in school a lot because her family's a little crazy.  I think a great nickname would be NutMeg.

If I remember right, the protagonist of A Wrinkle in Time gets made fun of in school a lot because her family’s a little crazy. I think a great nickname would be NutMeg.

Then mix the two together, and pour into a greased pan.  Turns out I own some nonstick bakeware (whaaaat?) so I didn’t bother greasing.  Or taking a photo.

I have a baby now, but of course he's not in the kitchen when I cook- I keep him back in the living room where I can see him.  Baby got back.  (because I'm mix-a-lot here)

I have a baby now, but of course he’s not in the kitchen when I cook- I keep him back in the living room where I can see him. Baby got back. (because I’m mix-a-lot here)

While that bakes, make the best part: cream cheese frosting!  Beat up some butter, cream cheese, powdered sugar, and a bit of vanilla.  This is now a thick buttercream frosting.  Add some milk, a bit at a time, until it’s the right texture for you- this’ll change depending on humidity etc.  I used two tablespoons.

Cream cheese is a pretty popular flavor, so if you want to choose a less traveled by option you could make all the difference via Frost-ing

Cream cheese is a pretty popular flavor, so if you want to choose a less traveled by option you could make all the difference via Frost-ing

After the cake cools a bit, frost it and cut it into bars.

This is the wrong order- frost, then cut.

This is the wrong order- frost, then cut.

This cake is SO DELICIOUS that 28 hours after baking it, I had one square left to take a picture of.

IMG_20141103_213227225_HDR

 

Pumpkin bars with cream cheese icing, adapted from Taste of Home

4 eggs

1 1/2 c sugar

1/3 c vegetable oil

1/2 c plain yogurt

1 can pumpkin

 

2 c flour

1 tsp nutmeg

1 tsp ginger

1 TB cinnamon

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

 

Optional: 1/2 c raisins and/or 1/2 c walnuts

 

1 package cream cheese (8 oz)

2 c powdered sugar

1/4 c butter, softened (1/2 stick)

1 tsp vanilla

1-3 TB milk

 

Preheat oven to 350.  Mix first five ingredients together in a bowl.  Separately, mix the dry ingredients.  Then mix the two together.  Add raisins and/or nuts, if using, now.  Pour into a 15″x10″ pan if you have one, or a 9″x13″, or whatever you want.  For the 15″x10″, bake 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Let cool.

Beat the cream cheese and butter together.  Add powdered sugar and vanilla and beat.  Then add milk 1 TB at a time until you have the consistency you want.  Spread on bars.

Pumpkin gnocchi with sage brown butter

26 Oct

In my last two weeks of pregnancy I really, really wanted cinnamon rolls.  Turns out cinnamon rolls are one of those things that are everywhere when you aren’t looking for them, and then mysteriously disappear as soon as you want them/are super gigantic and can’t travel very far.  I ended up getting some from the grocery store (the Mariano’s ones were way better than the Whole Foods ones), and an un-iced one from the bakery down the street (why would you have an un-iced cinnamon roll?!)  These were not satisfying, so the last thing I baked before baby came was those awesome vegan pumpkin cinnamon rolls that I always make when I want cinnamon rolls.

Cinn-fully delicious.  This is apparently a standard cinnamon roll pun.

Cinn-fully delicious. This is apparently a standard cinnamon roll pun.

They were packed with butter because I’m not actually vegan.  I should’ve made cream cheese frosting for them instead of the vegan simple white icing (powdered sugar + milk + vanilla).

Anyways, almost every time I make those cinnamon rolls I end up making pumpkin gnocchi, because they don’t use an entire can of pumpkin.  They leave just enough leftover pumpkin to make a recipe of gnocchi.  Pumpkin gnocchi = way easier/faster than potato, though probably the same if you start from raw pumpkin.  It’s taken me three hours to make potato gnocchi, while pumpkin come together in about half an hour if you don’t bother to do the dimpling (which I don’t because I’m lazy).

Cinnamon rolls are not a necessary ingreedyent, but make them if you're feeling greedy.

Cinnamon rolls are not a necessary ingreedyent, but make them if you’re feeling greedy.

So few ingredients!  Flour, pumpkin, eggs, salt, pepper, nutmeg.  Also, in our defense I made the gnocchi the day after the cinnamon rolls.  So that’s why we’ve already eaten four of them.

Orange you glad I make so many puns for you?

Orange you glad I make so many puns for you?

The key to gnocchi is to not mix it too much- a very, very light touch is needed, or else the dumplings get gluey/chewy instead of pillowy.  Start your pot of water boiling now.  Once your ingredients are barely mixed, you need to lightly roll the dough into four ropes (about half an inch in diameter) and cut the dumplings with a fork.

Let me show you the ropes, kid.  These are the ropes.  No literally.

Let me show you the ropes, kid. These are the ropes. No literally.

This would be a terrible pillow fight

This would be a terrible pillow fight.

I cut one rope at a time, then toss that batch of gnocchi into the pot.  It takes about the same amount of time to cut a rope as it does for one batch to cook.  The gnocchi are done when they rise to the top of the water.  Use a slotted spoon to pick them up.

I wonder if the author of Tortilla Curtain makes pasta a lot- you know, b/c he's Boyle all the time

I wonder if the author of Tortilla Curtain makes pasta a lot- you know, b/c he’s Boyle all the time.

Leave them in a colander and toss them with a little olive oil so they don’t stick to each other.  IMG_20140926_120122557

 

I have a windowsill herb garden so I threw tons of sage leaves into a most of a stick of butter.

When horses take photos, I wonder if they go "Say Gee!" (sounds like sage)

When horses take photos, I wonder if they go “Say Gee!” (sounds like sage)

Sage brown butter, if you haven’t had it before, is amazing.  Just put butter into a pan until it sizzles, then stops sizzling (that’s the browning part), and then put in a ton of sage leaves.  Recipes on the internet call for eight leaves, which is crazy.  Put in as many as you can.  The crispy sage leaves are delicious!  And they impart such a rich flavor to the butter.

Once the sauce is done, throw the gnocchi in the pan, toss, and eat with some grated parmesan on top.

IMG_20140926_121350251_HDR

 

Pumpkin gnocchi with sage brown butter sauce

Gnocchi recipe is unadapted from The Skinny Fork, so I won’t write it here.

Sauce:

Melt 6-8 TB of butter in a pan, until it sizzles, foams, and subsides.  Butter will be nut brown.  Add 8-20 sage leaves and let them fry for a few minutes.  Don’t let them burn!  Eat with anything.

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