Zucchini Bread

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breadWe’ve got so much zucchini and what is a girl to do!? Make zucchini bread of course!

After much deliberation, I decided to make two kinds because both recipes sounded delicious. One was a Paula Deen recipe that I made with walnuts. The other was a chocolate chip zucchini bread recipe I found on Pinterest.

I made them both in mini loafs so I could spread the calories to my friend and family! Luckily, they thanked me 🙂

I’ve got to say, both breads were delicious and have made my “make it again” list. However, the Paula Deen zucchini bread recipe was totally my favorite of the two. I loved the sweetness with the hint of nutmeg and cinnamon. Plus, eating it while it was still warm… heaven! Really, you’ve got to make it; you can thank me later!

Enjoy!

Alissa

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Gourmet Popcorn

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Party, party, party! This year Dan and I had a Belated Birthday Bash BBQ and outdoor movie night. I figured it was the perfect time to test out some 946911_10152976035500316_1249586162_ngourmet popcorn recipes I found on Pinterest. Here’s what I made and how I would rate them.

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Marshmallow Brown Sugar Popcorn

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup corn kernels
  • 1 Stick butter
  • 8 oz marshmallows
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar

Directions:

  1. Pop popcorn
  2. Heat the butter in a small sauce pan until melted.
  3. Add marshmallow and brown sugar and stir until it turns into a thin sauce.

Note: I put mine in the fridge because it was so gooey. It helped somewhat. Just expect to have sticky fingers when consuming.

Stars: 3.5 / 5

Smoky Bacon Popcorn with Burnt Sugar and Sea Salt

CLICK HERE for the recipe! Note: Best if eaten right away!

Stars: 4 / 5

Sriracha Basil Popcorn  

CLICK HERE for the recipe! I’m not a hot person, but this one wasn’t bad at all. If you choose to make this one be prepared to eat it right away. My popcorn shriveled up and the longer it sat the more gross it looked.

Stars: 3 / 5

Rosemary White Truffle Popcorn

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup corn kernels
  • 1 table spoon margarine
  • 2 tablespoons white truffle oil
  • 2 tablespoons rosemary
  • salt to taste

Directions:

  1. Pop popcorn
  2. Heat the margarine in a small bowl in the microwave for 30 seconds, or until melted.
  3. Add the truffle oil to the margarine and mix together. Pour mixture onto the popcorn and shake it for even distribution. Season with salt, rosemary, and serve.

Stars: 5 / 5

Sea Salt & Butter Popcorn 

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup corn kernels
  • 1/2 stick of butter
  • Sea salt to taste

Directions:

  1. Pop popcorn
  2. Heat the butter in a small bowl in the microwave for 30 seconds, or until melted.
  3.  Season with salt and serve.

Stars: 5 / 5

Sea Salt & Caramel 

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup corn kernels
  • 1/2 stick of butter
  • 8 oz caramel
  • Sea salt to taste

Directions:

  1. Pop popcorn
  2. Heat the butter in a small sauce pan until melted.
  3. Add caramel to melted butter and stir into a sauce
  4. Pour mixture onto the popcorn and shake it for even distribution. Season with salt and serve!

Stars: 3.5 / 5

 

Zucchini Tots

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I came across this zucchini tot recipe on Pinterest, and since our garden is producing so much zucchini I just had to make them. The recipe was easy to follow, and I was pleased with my end results. They were crunchy, zesty, and a hint of sharpness from the cheese. Of course I added garlic, because garlic is awesome. I thought it would be a good addition and indeed it was delicious. Over the past few weeks, I have made this recipe a few times with a few variations. Personally yellow onions, parmesan, garlic, and panko style bread crumbs make the best tots. Note: If you make them, be sure to pat off as much water as possible from the shredded zucchini. Otherwise, you’ll get soggy tots (boo!). CLICK HERE for the recipe and enjoy!

 p.s. Try them with an aioli sauce… you’ll thank me 😉

tots

Cooking Class in Marrakech

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Over-the-top amazing is quite a bold statement right?! Well, this cooking class at Faim d’Epices, really was. At this point Dan and I have invested in quite a few classes. Every time we walk away with new knowledge and a tasty meal. This class, on the other hand, has raised the bar on what I should expect from a cooking class. I walked away with a delicious meal and new cooking challenges for myself.

Here’s why I though it was so amazing:

  1. Everyone got their own cooking station. What you create, you ate. GENIUS! In my experience, many classes divide the recipes up. Therefore,  you may be learning how to cook scallops, but your table of four other people will just make the salad. STUPID!
  2. We learned about and identified spices used in our recipes via a blind smell test. BRILLIANT! My sense of cooking smell has reached new heights.
  3. We also learned new knife skills and alternative ways to use common kitchen tools.
  4. And we just had fun! Michel one of teachers / owners always kept us entertained. You could tell he loved what he did, and he truly wanted us to learn while having a good time. A passionate and fun teacher makes all the difference in any classroom setting… and this cooking class nailed it!

It might not seem like much, but those few items really helped me learn so much more about cooking. I can’t wait to get home and try the recipes again. Here’s what we made and if you visit, maybe I’ll make it for you!

Salad of eggplants (Zaalouk)

Salad of cucumbers

Moroccan salad with cumin

Bread on the stove (Batbout)

Patties (Msemen)

Tajineof veal with fresh peas

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Antigua, Guatemala – Cooking Classes

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Yesterday, we realized our time was short in Antigua and we still hadn’t crossed off one thing on our to do list, cooking classes. I had given up on the idea of finding a class but, last night as we were looking for a place to eat dinner and we discovered cooking classes. Our chances were slim of actually getting to take the class because the only time we had available was the following morning but, luck was on our side. Not only did we get to take the class, just the two of us, we got to make tamales, frijoles volteados, rellenitos, and we got to meet La Bailarín De Antigua, who just happened to be our translator for the class. Needless to say, it was the best meal we’ve had on this trip. I think Dan was pretty excited about the day as well. He always says, “Cooking classes are the best investment you can ever make in a marriage or relationship. You get a date, you get dinner, and you improve your standard of living for the rest of your entire life.” I expect that he will now want me to make tamales and black beans every opportunity we get.

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p.s. If you’re curious about La Bailarín De Antigua, you can read her story on www.offbeatballerina.com as soon as I get her interview, photos, and videos edited!

 

ÂĄAdiĂłs!

Week 41, 42, 43, 44

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Can you tell 2011 has been busy for the Baird’s? I haven’t posted anything since January, and still have my Cooking Challenge 2010 to complete. Better late than never right?!
Here’s Week 41 Chili Verde – The only thing I changed was the meat. I’m not a fan of pork so I made it with chicken. No joke, this soup was so good I made it twice in one week. I would have made it again, but I bought all of the anaheim peppers and tomatillos left in Naperville.

Week 42 – Mexican Lasagna – The perfect cheat day cheesy meal. My picture doesn’t look as good as Rachel Ray’s, but it sure did taste good!
Week 43 – Alissa’s Mexican Breakfast Pie – Yes, I made up my own recipe this week and to my surprise it tasted pretty good. I combined eggs, cheese, black beans, a jalapeno, onion, garlic, salt, pepper, and red pepper. I popped it into the oven for about thirty minutes. Then, topped with tomatoes and scallions. So quick and easy!

Week 44 – Seared Mahi Mahi with Zesty Basil Butter This recipe is totally staying in my recipe book. I’m not a huge fan of fish, but I could eat this every week.

Week 40

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This week was super crazy! It was so hectic that I made this recipe and didn’t even get to taste this it before running out the door to teach. Dan had to finish cooking, and take the pictures!
This week I made Chicken with Balsamic BBQ Sauce, and roasted veggies on the side. From what I could tell, it looked and smelled good. I did try the BBQ sauce and thought it turned out alright. Although, Dan didn’t think it was all that amazing, so I’m glad I didn’t miss something spectacular.