Nutella Grilled Cheese

That’s right. Nutella Grilled Cheese. Trust me, I was doubtful too. Nutella is typically in desserts, but that doesn’t mean that can be it’s only purpose in life. It can be part of grilled cheese! Why? Because cheese makes everything better.

nutella grilled cheese

That isn’t to say that this is the best grilled cheese I’ve ever had. No no, that’s reserved for bacon stuffed french toast grilled cheese. But it was edible. And enjoyable too, in one of those this is so weird why am I eating this ways that food can be simply delightful.

To make it I used cinnamon swirl bread, spread Nutella on one side (I tried it on both slices and it was just TOO MUCH). Put 2-3 slices of American cheese, close it, butter the outsides, and then cook grilled cheese style until both sides are lightly brown.

nutella grilled cheese

Like this

Let it cool slightly. And then eat it. Enjoy it. Savor the moment.

I won’t bother posting an actual recipe because I trust in your intelligence. And everyone has their own grilled cheese method and I don’t want to start a Lid On vs. Lid Off battle right now (but seriously, a lid makes the cheese melt better).

Would I make this again? Absolutely. It satisfied my chocolate, hazelnut, and cheese cravings all at once. So awesome.

Caramel Filled Chocolate Chip Hazelnut Cookies

Before my summer semester took over my life I had made a bunch of new recipes with a couple friends of mine. I intended to set them up, and schedule them to post automatically while I was busy with school. Clearly that didn’t happen. However! I now have a few recipes ready to go!

Caramel Chocolate Chip CookieThat long-ago day was a fun day of cooking with my friends. We also worked on ideas for their websites as well. Davin had us help her with her T-shirt yarn (I took the pictures!!!), and Sarah had us help her come up with ideas. And we had fun making cookies, Nutella Grilled Cheese, and experimenting with weird cookie flavor combinations. FYI: American cheese does NOT taste good inside of a chocolate chip cookie.

 

But caramel does taste fantastic

But caramel does taste fantastic

Mostly we just ate a lot and hung out, but it was mildly productive!

This caramel cookie was inspired by the coworker who sits next to me. He showed me a picture of a caramel filled cookie and asked me if I would make then. I said I would. And I did. And my friends helped.

I didn’t make many changes to the original recipe. The only addition was hazelnuts, because I still had a ton leftover from other recipes. And the recipe had called for milk chocolate chips, which are the bane of my existence, so I used dark chocolate instead.

These need to be eaten warm, otherwise the caramel will harden and make life sad. If you’re eaten it the next day, just heat it up in the microwave for about 5-10 seconds and you should be good!

breakbreak2

 

 

 

 

Lightly adapted from Cake ‘n’ Knife

 

Caramel Filled Chocolate Chip Hazelnut Cookies
Recipe type: Cookie
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
 
Gooey tasty caramel melting out of a warm chocolate chip cookie.
Ingredients
  • 2½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups dark chocolate chips
  • ½ cup hazelnuts, lightly toasted
  • 1 14oz bag of soft caramels
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 325.
  2. Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl.
  3. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar. Mix in eggs and vanilla until just blended.
  4. Add flour, and blend until mixed.
  5. Stir in chocolate chips and hazelnuts.
  6. Using a tablespoon or small ice cream scoop, scoop dough into balls. Flatten each one in your palm, place a caramel in the center, and fold the dough around it until it is completely covered.
  7. Place seam-side down on a parchment lined baking sheet.
  8. Bake 20-25 mins until golden brown.
  9. Allow to cool for a few minutes before eating (the caramel will be HOT)

 

 

 

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Philly

Eat Write Retreat 2013

This past weekend I attended my first Eat Write Retreat event in Philadelphia.  Was it awesome? You betcha! I met a lot of really great food bloggers, sponsors, and even was able to reconnect with an old friend. Plus, I got a lot of wicked cool swag! I’m going to go ahead and reminisce now, k?

EWR13 Swag - Calphalon, OXO, In the Raw

So much swag!

I was really nervous at first. I’ve had this blog for a few years now, but have only really gotten serious with it over the past year. I wasn’t sure if I would really belong. The first question everyone asked was “What’s your blog about?”  …..I hadn’t really thought about it before! It got me thinking though, is there a running theme here? Then I realized that there is! I’m cheap! I reuse the same ingredients in different ways because they’re inexpensive and I get bored if I have too much of the same flavor or texture. I frugally create recipes based on whatever was cheap at the grocery store! Turns out I DO have a theme, and it started all because I’m perpetually poor. My first lesson of the weekend was how to describe my blog, and I learned it within the first 5 minutes!

The first day, after a long 4ish hour drive, I finally arrived at the hotel. The first person I met was my roommate for the weekend, Susan from The Girl in the Little Red Kitchen. She was very helpful with directing me on where to go to pick up my swag!

On my way to pick up all my cool new kitchen gadgetry, I ran into Kelly from Kelly Bakes! This was exciting not only because she’s a great food blogger (whose recipes and pictures always make me hungry), but also because I grew up with her and haven’t seen her in years. Does this count as our 10-year high school reunion?

salty chocolate

I sat at the wicked awesome Chocolate Terrine table!

After picking up my swag it was time for the meet and greet with the sponsors and all of the other attendees. I got to learn all about Calphalon, OXO, Jarlsberg, and more! I also met Heather from Real: the Kitchen and Beyond, Deanna from Teaspoon of Spice, Linda from Giggles, Gobbles and Gulps, and many many more interesting people! Then there was dinner, followed by cocktails made with Safest Choice Eggs, a photo-booth, and more hanging out. It was a fun day.

Cocktails with Safest Choice Eggs

Cocktails with egg whites? Actually kind of delicious!

 

Mushrooms

Cool mushrooms!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Saturday and Sunday were kind of a whirlwind! I met more great people! I hung out with Mary Beth from Red Mittens, talked with Marisa from Food in Jars (and bought her book because the recipes look amazing), I chatted with Jeanine from Small Indulgences Bakery (and bought her book too because the cupcakes in it were too tempting).

Philly

Philly skyline during the Saturday night Gala

We had a great lecture by Monica Bhide about writing sponsored posts and maintaining our voice,  we did a water tasting, learned about growing mushrooms, grilled flat-bread pizzas with potatoes on a gorgeous Calphalon grill, were taught about SEO optimization and web basics, and got time management tips. And more!

OXO Gift Basket

I won the OXO Salad Gift Basket!!

After it all ended, I wandered around the area a bit with one of my new friends as we attempted to get Philly Cheesesteaks. Unfortunately we had bad timing, since it was around dinner time, and the places we saw had lines going out the door and we didn’t have enough time for all that. Oh well! She managed to get a sub-par cheesesteak at the airport, and I had a random Starbucks sandwich on my drive back. My drive was fairly uneventful, except for a well-timed thunderstorm that lasted just long enough for my journey across the George Washington Bridge.

philly2

Philly had some cool/weird buildings

So was the weekend worth all the money, travel, and nervousness? Absolutely. Would I do it all again? In a heartbeat!

Couscous, Spinach, and Fig Salad

Israeli Couscous, Fig, and Goat Cheese Salad

I’ve been spending too much money on lunch lately and was looking for a filling, delicious salad that I could make instead. I had figs, I had hazelnuts, I had Israeli Couscous. It was a start! What was it missing? Cheese! And I guess some sort of salady something to make it pretty and healthier. And so this salad was born:

Couscous, Spinach, and Fig Salad

It was really freaking delicious. My recipe was enough for four very satisfying lunches. I love it when I can eat a salad for lunch and actually feel full! If you’re wondering why I chose Israeli Couscous (other than the fact that I had it in my pantry) it’s because I thought it would work better in a salad than the regular, smaller couscous. It mixed in well with everything, and didn’t really sink to the bottom. I used a baby spinach based mix the first time I made this, and a regular baby greens mix the next time. I say you should just pick what you like!

Israeli Couscous, Figs, Goat cheese, spinach salad

I went home this past weekend, and thought it would be nice to make it for my family’s Memorial Day picnic. I chose to double the recipe, and it made for a very delightful picnic salad. Also it was super convenient because I was able to make it the day before. People seemed to like it, and I promised I would have the recipe on my website, and I never lie! I’d write a more fun story, but I have lots of homework to pretend to do now.

Here’s the recipe! Enjoy!

Israeli Couscous, Fig, and Goat Cheese Salad
Author: 
Recipe type: Salad
 
A perfect summer-time salad with a very simple lemon dressing.
Ingredients
  • 1 cup Israeli Couscous
  • ½ cup chopped hazelnuts, lightly toasted
  • 1 cup dried figs, quartered
  • ½ cup crumbled goat cheese
  • 5 oz baby greens mix (spinach, baby lettuce, etc.)
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • ⅓ cup fresh lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Cook the couscous in lightly salted water according to the package instructions.
  2. Drain and rinse with cold water.
  3. In a large bowl mix cooked couscous, figs, toasted hazelnuts, and olive oil. Cover and let cool in refrigerator at least 10 minutes.
  4. Once cooled, add goat cheese and salad.
  5. Toss with lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Keep chilled before serving.

If you aren’t sure how to toast hazelnuts, here’s how I do it:

On the stop top, spread the chopped hazelnuts out in an ungreased pan. Keep heat on medium/medium-low, stir hazelnuts frequently until they are lightly toasted. Make sure you watch them so they don’t burn! It should only take a few minutes. Remove them to a separate bowl once finished, so they don’t continue to cook in the hot pan!

cookie

Monk Fruit in The Raw Sugar Cookie

Another Eat Write Retreat challenge! I’ve recipes so many goodies from this conference, and it hasn’t even happened yet! This one is the “Show Your Raw Talent” challenge. I was mailed a bag of Monk Fruit in the Raw Sugar along with a recipe. I had to use the  recipe, make the cookies, and then decorate them all pretty! YAY! Only one problem: I am not very good at decorating cookies. So I decided to try, see what happens, and not get too worked up over it. If nothing else, I had the chance to try out a really interesting new product and make lots of delicious cookies!

cookie

I decided to just stick with classic black and white. The white frosting is a cookie decorating frosting I found at Michael’s, and it worked SO WELL. It dried quickly and was easy to write on with the chocolate. The chocolate swirls were made from melted semi-sweet Ghiradelli bars, and I simply filled a pastry bag, made a very small snip in the end, and had fun. The result is the simple, fun, loopy swirl joy fest. To make the shape I used round cookie cutters, cut out circles, then cut them again using only half of the cookie cutter. I thought this was a fun shape and I wanted them to be smaller.

I bet you want to see the recipe now, right? Check it:

Monk Fruit in The Raw Sugar Cookie
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 10 Tbsp unsalted sweet butter, softened
  • ⅔ cup sugar
  • 1 large egg plus 1 yolk, at room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ⅔ cup Monk Fruit In The Raw Bakers Bag
Instructions
  1. In a bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt, and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, use an electric mixer on medium-high to beat the butter until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the sugar and beat until the mixture is incorporated for 3 minutes. Add the egg, yolk, and vanilla, beating well between additions. Add the Monk Fruit in the Raw Bakers Bag and beat until just combined. Reduce the beater speed to low and gradually add the dry ingredient, beating until the mixture is clumpy. Stop blending and use a flexible spatula to complete mixing the dough by hand.
  3. Turn the dough out onto a counter covered with plastic wrap and divide it in half. The dough will be soft and sticky. Using plastic wrap to flatten the dough, shape it into a rectangle 4 to 5 inches wide by 6 inches long. Wrap dough and chill overnight in refrigerator.
  4. To roll, place one cookie rectangle on a floured non-stick surface. Working quickly lightly dust top of dough with flour and roll out with rolling pin to ¼ inch thickness and 12 x 9 inch rectangle. Using a large 3-1/2 inch cookie cutter, cut out 6 large cookies. Repeat with the second dough. Place cookies 2 inches apart on parchment lined baking sheets. Let rest.
  5. Preheat oven to 350.
  6. Bake cookies on center rack. Bake 10-12 minuted or until cookies are firm when pressed in the center and evenly pale gold in color. Let them rest 1 minute on the baking sheet. Transfer to wire rack to cool completely.
  7. Decorate.

cookie 2

 

Like I said, decorating isn’t really my scene. But I still think these came out well. The cookie was sturdy enough that it was easy to work with, and tasty enough that it was easy to eat. All in all, it was a good experience!

Wine Poached Figs

Wine Poached Figs in Prosciutto Pie Bowls

Figs! For my Eat Write Retreat Culinary Apps Challenge I received a box of California Figs in the mail and had to come up with an amazing appetizer featuring them. I have never  cooked with figs before, so this was actually really exciting for me. Since I have no notion of what to do with them, I can just go crazy, right? Right! Luckily there was a handy information packet included in the box with the figs. For example, I didn’t realize that they are known to be a part of a Mediterranean diet. This is quite useful, because I wanted to try to eat a more Mediterranean style diet for the next few weeks so I can learn how to cook fish. Now I have all these figs that I should try to incorporate into this plan! Also, just 3-5 figs give you 5 grams of dietary fiber, so that’s pretty awesome too!

 

Wine Poached Figs

When I think of appetizers, I always think of some sort of something on some sort of bowl or plate made of food. Real specific, I know. So for this challenge I decided to go with a bowl shape. In my research, I found lots of recipes with figs being wrapped in other ingredients, like prosciutto. I figured this is a good chance to change things up a bit and rolled prosciutto, Pecorino Romano cheese, and dried basil into a pie crust, and used that as a bowl. And it worked!  Bonus: the pie bowls can be made the day before!

Look! Prosciutto, cheese, and basil!

Look! Prosciutto, cheese, and basil!

The majority were shaped with the prosciutto facing up, because I was worried the cheese might stick to the pan. The four that faced down didn’t stick at all, and looked really cool. Next time I’ll definitely make them all like that.

bottom

See, these look just fine, and didn’t stick at all!

I wanted to make sure I kept the figgyness of the figs figgy. I like the texture of them and wanted to use other ingredients to enhance their flavor. I still felt the need to alter them in some way, so I poached them in white wine, honey, and a bit of orange juice. I used Pinot Grigio, and it was fantastic.

with wine

And then I obviously had a glass of wine too

With the shipment of figs I also received some tools from OXO. They really came in handy. Especially that measuring cup that twists up! It was perfect for measuring the honey and getting it to actually pour out of the cup. The cheese grater worked really well too!

Tray

And, to make this all even better, I made it for Mother’s Day so my parents were able to be my test dummies!

Ok, is it recipe time yet?

Wine Poached Figs in Prosciutto Pie Bowls
Author: 
Serves: 12
 
Savory prosciutto pie bowls and a figs poached in a lightly sweet dressing
Ingredients
  • 1 pie crust, thawed
  • 1.5 oz prosciutto, chopped
  • ¼ cup Pecorino Romano cheese, finely grated
  • 1 Tbsp dried basil
  • ¾ cup white wine
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 2 Tbsp orange juice
  • 6 dried figs, halved
  • 1 cup Spring Mix salad, loosely packed and ripped into smaller pieces
  • Optional Garnishes: grated Pecorino Romano, and orange zest
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 450.
  2. In a small pan, cook prosciutto until it's lightly crispy, and remove to a paper towel lined bowl and let cool.
  3. Roll out pie dough, and evenly sprinkle cheese, basil, and ¾ of the prosicutto. Press into dough, then use a rolling pin to lightly roll ingredients into the dough.
  4. Cut into small circles, and shape to fit into mini-muffin pan cups. Lightly prick each with a fork.
  5. Bake 6-9 minutes, or until lightly browned. If made the day before, store in an airtight container.
  6. In a small saucepan, bring wine, honey, and orange juice to a simmer. Add halved figs, and simmer for 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove figs, and continue to simmer until the liquid is reduced by half.
  7. Toss salad with the remaining ¼ of prosciutto and 1 Tbsp of warm poaching liquid. Place leaves into pie bowls, and top each with a piece of fig. Garnish with orange zest and romano cheese.
White Wine Poached Figs
Cheesy Rice

Changes!

There are some changes happening to Cheesy Rice, as you may have already noticed! A few weeks ago I was talking with my friend Kelly about how I really wish I could come up with a good idea for a logo, and she turns to me and says, “Well, your site is called Cheesy Rice, right? Why not have it be chopsticks holding a piece of cheese?” And BAM I had a logo idea.

But then I remembered that I’m not an artist. So I asked my friend Vic if he would design it. He said yes, and then the next day it was done! Just like that! MAGIC. And it was perfect! Great! A logo! I immediately used it to design a business card, because I’ve always wanted business cards. Then I started working on incorporating it into my website layout.

cheesy rice1

 

Which led me to want to design a layout from scratch. Unfortunately, I don’t know  how to do that yet. So moral of the story is: please bear with me while I try to learn how to build a website/logos rock.

Visit Vic’s website to check out his art, and visit his Etsy shop to buy some of it. I’m sure if you harass him he’ll design a logo for you too.

Boston

Boston Area Food Festivals 2013

One thing I love about Boston is all of the summer time food festivals! It’s always nice to share, so here are a few I plan on going to, or would like to go to, this year. If you know of any others, please let me know!

The Hot Dog Safari – May 18th, 12-4pm – Lansdowne St. – $10-20 depending on when you get your ticket

This event is brought to you by the Phantom Gourmet! It looks like just a big fun festival of eating different local foods, such as hot dogs. According to the website, “The Phantom Gourmet Hot Dog Safari is MORE than hot dogs and ALL to benefit Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. This indoor and outdoor event features parties inside the restaurants plus food and fun all over Lansdowne Street.”

hot dogs

Jimmy Fund Scooper Bowl – June 4-6 (12-8pm each day) – City Hall Plaza (Gov. Center T stop) – $10

I love love love love the Scooper Bowl! It takes place in City Hall Plaza, and it’s just tons of local ice cream companies handing out free samples of multiple ice cream flavors. It’s all-you-can-eat ice cream! And since it’s for charity the calories aren’t real. So eat as much as you can! This is my favorite event of the year.

The Cambridge Food Truck Festival – June 8 – 11am – Kendall Square

This is pretty much what it sounds like: a festival of food trucks in Cambridge. The areas best food trucks will be there, so stop by and try something new!

BBQ Beach Party – June 21-23 – City Hall Plaza (Gov. Center T stop) – $5 in advance, $10 at event

BBQ, Music, Drinks, Fun! The food isn’t free, but I think the summertime atmosphere will be worth the price. BBQ teams from around the world show up to make delicious food. I can’t even begin to imagine how wonderful City Hall Plaza will smell during this! This is another event brought to you by The Phantom Gourmet. Check it out.

Boston Jerk Fest – June 29 –  Benjamin Franklin Institute Technology (South End) – $15 adults, $6 kids, $35 all-access pass

This is a Caribbean style food-festival and will have tons of spicy awesome for for sale. It’s an indoor/outdoor event. It sounds both tasty and education, so hopefully I can check it out this year.  Plus, if you pay  $35 you get an all-access pass which includes the festival as well as the Rum & Brew tasting, featuring music and unlimited drinks!

Food Festival – September 29 – 12-4pm – Lansdowne & Ipswitch – $40 in advance, $50 at event – 21+

This one is a little more pricey, but the ticket includes sampling 100 of the Phantom Gourmet’s favorite foods, so….might be worth it! Also, it’s a 21+ event, and that just seems AWESOME.Drinks aren’t included in the ticket price, which stinks, but no kids around makes up for it. By request of the Phantom, please wear purple if you attend this event.

boston

Tabouli

Life!

I’m pretty freaking excited to be going to the Eat Write Retreat Conference in Philly this year. No lie, it’s going to be awesome. A whole weekend hanging out with other food bloggers, learning how to make my website awesome, networking, and eating? Yes please.

This past weekend I received my Culinary Challenge package for the conference. I’m going to have to come up with an amazing appetizer using the California Figs that were mailed to me, and then hope my appetizer is the best so I can win prizes. I have never actually cooked with figs before, so this is a really exciting challenge! With the figs I also received goodies like a tote bag, wine glass, stationary, measuring cups, graters, and a calendar. I love getting things!!

I also received a package for the conference’s Monk Fruit in the Raw challenge. With this one I have to make the cookie recipe provided, and then decorate it all fancy. I have no idea yet how I will decorate them, but I’m looking forward to trying out different techniques!

And so I shall be thinking, and recipe developing, and decorating, and thinking some more, and hoping for optimal sunlight during photographing time.

In the meantime, check out one of my first posts from way back in the day: Tabouli

 

Tabouli