Attempted Muffin-Tin Biscuit Pizzas and the Tin-less Recipe

Thanks to Pinterest and the array of cooking blogs that I follow, I can safely say that I’ve hopped on the muffin tin bandwagon. What’s that, you ask? Well, there exists a whole subculture of people (okay, everyone on Pinterest..) who like to cook things in muffin tins. They’re individual sized, good for portion control, and well let’s face it they just scream precious. There are muffin tin lasagnas, muffin tin quiche, and even baked quinoa bites made in muffin tins.

There’s only one problem with the Pinduced muffin tin craze. As blogs like Pintester make abudantly clear, not everything that looks good on Pinterest works well in real life. Case in point: muffin tin biscuit pizzas.

Three flavors and a whole lot of biscuit

I saw these babies in a couple of different places, and thought, “Muffin tins? Canned biscuit dough? Everything I’ve ever wanted.” Since I always have cheese and marinara sauce on hand I figured it’d be a super easy recipe. And in order to class it up, I did different toppings on mine, with a set of plain cheese pizzas, a set of broccoli & ham, and a set with caramelized onion, spinach and goat cheese.

Don’t get me wrong, these were tasty. But they didn’t need to be made in muffin tins. In fact, they would’ve been about a million times better without the muffin tins. Just a baking sheet, biscuits, and pizza-y goodness.

 

The toppings I chose, however, were fabulous and without fault. If you’re a pizza traditionalist I’d say go for just marinara, cheese and some pepperoni for good measure (though without meat they make a great Meatless Monday option). If you’re feelin fancy like me, the caramelized onion and goat cheese pizzas were amazing, although I’d recommend chopping up the onions so that you don’t pull them all off in one bite. Then broccoli and ham? Fail-proof.

Enjoy my awkward reflection in the plate

Instructions? Well they’re sketchy, but they are as follows.

Impromptu Tin-less Biscuit Pizzas

  • 1 can biscuits
  • Pizza sauce
  • Shredded mozzarella cheese (or cheese of your choosing)
  • Toppings as desired. Options: pepperoni, broccoli, ham, green peppers, onions, goat cheese, spinach

Oven heated according to the instructions on your biscuits.

Pull apart each biscuit into two, unless you want a crazy thick crust that tastes mostly like biscuit with a tiny bit of cheese. There should be a clear dividing point on the biscuit, at least if you use the Grands biscuits. Put the half biscuits on a baking sheet and bake them for about half the time listed on the biscuits (e.g. if they should be baked for 10 minutes, put them in for 5 here).

Take them out, top them with whatever sauce, cheese and toppings you’re going to use, and pop them back in for the rest of the baking time.

If you make them this way you’ll get a lot less of the intense biscuit taste and bit more of a pizza balance. A fabulously easy snack or lunch for when you’re lazy and hungry.

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October Foodie Pen Pal–still to come!!

Because of my chaotic life I didn’t actually manage to get my pen pal package on time this month. Major sadface. It’s totally my fault, ’cause I had a missed package notice, but my schedule just didn’t allow me to get to pick up the package from the post office or find a convenient redeliver time. Check out the package I sent Emily over at Life on Food. And look out for the post about my package this weekend!

Just thought I’d post the rules anyway for anyone interested in getting involved! Foodie Penpals works like this:

-On the 5th of every month, you will receive your penpal pairing via email. It will be your responsibility to contact your penpal and get their mailing address and any other information you might need like allergies or dietary restrictions.
-You will have until the 15th of the month to put your box of goodies in the mail. On the last day of the month, you will post about the goodies you received from your penpal! 
-The boxes are to be filled with fun foodie things, local food items or even homemade treats! The spending limit is $15. The box must also include something written. This can be anything from a note explaining what’s in the box, to a fun recipe…use your imagination!
-You are responsible for figuring out the best way to ship your items depending on their size and how fragile they are. (Don’t forget about flat rate boxes!)
-Foodie Penpals is open to blog readers as well as bloggers. If you’re a reader and you get paired with a blogger, you are to write a short guest post for your penpal to post on their blog about what you received. If two readers are paired together, neither needs to worry about writing a post for that month. 
-Foodie Penplas is open to US & Canadian residents.  Please note, Canadian Residents will be paired with other Canadians only. We’ve determined things might get too slow and backed up if we’re trying to send foods through customs across the border from US to Canada and vice versa. 

If you’re interested in participating for October, please CLICK HERE to fill out the participation form and read the terms and conditions.

You must submit your information by October 4th as pairings will be emailed on October 5th!

Out to eat: a most dangerous game

I tend to eat out a lot more when I’m in San Francisco, partly because I always feel like I’m in the way in Patrick’s house when I’m cooking and partly because Patrick eats out a lot, and so I wind up doing the same. It’s hazardous to my waistline, and even more troubling for my wallet. However it does mean that I wind up eating a lot of phenomenal food. I have my complaints about this city but a lack of good food is not one of them.

Just last week we went to La Folie for a one-year anniversary/my birthday dinner and it was great. I had to ride the bus there all dressed up and felt totally ridiculous, but it was more than worth an uncomfortable bus ride and some stares. The meal was indulgent and fabulous. Patrick loves tasting menus so we did the chef’s tasting menu, which for once didn’t entail an unfathomable amount of food. Just an unreasonably large amount. With the exception of some rather bland frog’s legs the entire meal was to die for.

What a dapper looking date I had

The standouts for me included the steak which came with a bone marrow custard and a croquette of bearnaise sauce. And then the dessert. Oh, the dessert. I could write a poem about that dessert. On the menu I sort of glanced over it, but when it came it was exactly what I wanted at the end of the meal. We were served olive oil ice cream, a hazelnut sponge cake and some sort of tapioca, all with fresh berries what I, a non-educated food person, can only describe as a fresh-berry cracker? To die for. And while I’m normally a chocolate person I would’ve been way too full for a rich chocolatey dessert.

Post-dessert petit fours

This isn’t the only over-the-top meal we’ve done, and other great places we’ve been include Alexander’s Steakhouse, Gary Danko and, further north, Farmhouse Inn. All delicious, all have left me wanting to die because I ate so much.

But lest you think my life is all ridiculously large and decadent meals, my waistline/wallet have also suffered from some local indulgences: tacos at Dos Piñas, brunch at Plow, burgers at Chez Maman and of course a double-double animal style from In-N-Out. Oh San Francisco, you will be the death of me.

Any good suggestions for my next indulgent meal in San Francisco?

August Foodie Pen Pals

It’s officially the end of August which means two things: 1.) I’m crying inside because an entire summer passed and I’m still unemployed and 2.) It’s reveal day for Foodie Pen Pals!

But you’re asking, Foodie Pen Pals? Is that something you made up to make it seem like you have more friends, Molly? For once, no. It’s a real honest-to-God thing. It was started by Lindsey at The Lean Green Bean and you can find a more thorough explanation here. The basic premise is that you sign up, get assigned a person who also signed up, and you send them a box full of food goodies. Someone else gets assigned to you and sends you a box of food goodies. Then at the end of the month those people with blogs write posts about their delightful food goodies. SO MANY FOOD GOODIES. I’ve included the guidelines at the end of the post.

This was my first month participating and since I love all things food-related I obviously got way too excited. I sent a package to Anna in Boston filled with all sorts of semi-healthy snacks, since she requested things she could snack on at work or on-the-go. Assigned to me was Linda whose business bakeforyou.com ships made to order baked goods! I knew I was in for a treat.

Tingling with anticipation

I got weirdly excited opening my box, it was kind of like my birthday (which luckily will fall right before the September reveal day). ..which probably says something about me and my relationship with food: too close and needy. However the box most certainly didn’t disappoint. In fact, it was about as great a set of foods as I could’ve asked for. I didn’t give Linda any instructions, and yet she gave me a bunch of things I loooved.

A basket of goodies just waiting to be devoured by my inner fat kid

Linda sent the items in a cute little basket, and the Michael’s craft nerd in me just kept thinking why didn’t I thinking of that!?

“Life is short – eat well & enjoy!”

She even included some words to live by, although I don’t think anyone would ever accuse me of not eating well. I’d say every other day Patrick and I text each other something related to food, usually bacon.

All my treats arranged in an orderly manner

As for the actual contents of the basket?

  • Cinnamon cranberry granola: I don’t eat a ton of granola because I always find it too sweet or too similar to rocks and twigs. This, however, was some damn tasty granola. I’ve been having a little in some almond milk with fruit in the morning and it’s pretty much the perfect breakfast.
  • Salad Essentials – Roasted and Spiced Almonds: These I’ve only tried a couple times, once on some salad and the other time on some edamame, but they add a nice crunch to salad. I never think of things like this to add to salad, but I’m usually to broke/lazy to buy enough vegetables to make good salads this would be a good thing to keep around to spice up an otherwise boring pile of leaves and peppers.
  • Cookies from Bake For You: Linda was awesome enough to include some of the cookies from her business,which me and my sweet tooth greatly appreciated.
  • Zorba’s Natural Food sesame lemon rosemary crackers: One hyphenated word: crack-laced. These were so addictive they were gone in about a day. I’ve been eating “healthy” and tracking my food, so I kept having to go back into the app and add more crackers to my daily total, ’cause I’d eat them every few minutes. I know that you’re thinking hey it’s a cracker who cares? But this is not just a cracker, my friends, it’s a lifestyle. Or it’s just a cracker but it’s a damn good one.
  • Torie & Howard candy: I don’t know how I’d never heard of this before, but these little candies quickly became a purse staple. I turned into your great-aunt Mildred who keeps hard candies in her pocket, and I’m not even a little ashamed. I decided they didn’t count as candy and instead were a filler for when I wanted to eat something bad for me and instead I popped a grapefruit sucker in my mouth. Dee-licious.

So if you couldn’t tell I kind of loved everything in my package. Needless to say there is nothing left after two weeks of having had this around (except the salad toppers ’cause, well, that’d be weird if I’d finished a whole bag of that by now). Thanks a million Linda!

Since it’s not only the very bittersweet end of August but also Labor Day Weekend, I’m headed off to Philly to visit some friends. Lucky for me that means another weekend of buses galore, and hopefully this time I’m not next to the seatmate from hell (4 hours of too-loud Mariachi music blasting from her headphones, despite THREE requests that she turn them down ’cause she’s ruining my audiobook experience please and thank you).

Anyway, now for some more details about Foodie Pen Pals. If it sounds like something you’re interested you should definitely get involved, I had a blast this month.*

-On the 5th of every month, you will receive your penpal pairing via email. It will be your responsibility to contact your penpal and get their mailing address and any other information you might need like allergies or dietary restrictions.
-You will have until the 15th of the month to put your box of goodies in the mail. On the last day of the month, you will post about the goodies you received from your penpal! 
-The boxes are to be filled with fun foodie things, local food items or even homemade treats! The spending limit is $15. The box must also include something written. This can be anything from a note explaining what’s in the box, to a fun recipe…use your imagination!
-You are responsible for figuring out the best way to ship your items depending on their size and how fragile they are. (Don’t forget about flat rate boxes!)
-Foodie Penpals is open to blog readers as well as bloggers. If you’re a reader and you get paired with a blogger, you are to write a short guest post for your penpal to post on their blog about what you received. If two readers are paired together, neither needs to worry about writing a post for that month. 
-Foodie Penplas is open to US & Canadian residents.  Please note, Canadian Residents will be paired with other Canadians only. We’ve determined things might get too slow and backed up if we’re trying to send foods through customs across the border from US to Canada and vice versa. 

If you’re interested in participating for September, please CLICK HERE to fill out the participation form and read the terms and conditions.

You must submit your information by September 4th as pairings will be emailed on September 5th!

Have a good labor day weekend everyone!

*The fact that I just said “had a blast” indicates that I am slowly but surely turning into my mother and very much need to move out of my home. Immediately.

Summer Baking: Cherry Peach Galette

Perfect summer dessert

By now it should be pretty clear that I’m a stress baker, and the job search has got me just a wee bit stressed these days. This weekend I realized that even with the blackberry kick I’ve been on, I haven’t made any truly fruit-based desserts. So when I stumbled across this Cherry Peach Galette recipe on Eat Drink Love I couldn’t resist. It had everything you need for a summer dessert: easy, fruity, and damn tasty.

I haven’t dabbled in crust-making much, so I stuck with the Pillsbury refrigerated crusts. Honestly, I think the Pillsbury crusts are pretty good for a store bought crust and since easy was high on my list I’m pretty happy with that choice. Plus it makes this the perfect dessert for those who don’t consider themselves bakers.

…those pleats were too pretty not to take a picture

I will warn that the only part of this that takes a long time is pitting cherries. Your hands will be bright red and your table/cutting board will too. Not to mention you’ll have cherry under your nails for quite some time. Does anyone know of a better way to pit cherries than cutting them open and forcing the stupid pits out with your nails? ‘Cause I’m definitely making this again, cherry difficulties or not.

Yes, it was as good as it looks

Cherry Peach Galette (Recipe from Eat Drink Love)

  • 1 refrigerated pie crust
  • 2 peaches
  • 2 cups cherries
  • 2 Tbs. sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp. cornstarch
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • dash of salt
  • 1 tbs. lemon juice
  • 1 egg white (the original called for milk but I didn’t have any)
  • Turbinado sugar (natural brown sugar, or sugar in the raw)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Peel and slice peaches. Halve and pit cherries. Combine fruit in a large bowl.

In a separate bowl mix sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon and salt. Mix the sugar mixture into the fruit and then mix in lemon juice.

If the pie dough is not already in a 12 in. round then roll it out. Place the dough onto parchment paper on a baking sheet. Pour the fruit mixture into the middle of the dough, leaving a 2 inch border around the outside. Fold the sides up, pleating so that it forms a border around the fruit. Brush the crust with the egg white or milk. Sprinkle the crust with turbinado sugar.

Bake 25-30 minutes. Crust should be golden brown.

Olympic Weekend Essentials

The 12-year-old girl in me still wants to grow up to be her

I admit it, I’ve been infected with Olympic Fever. Not having a job makes this a lot easier, since I can pretty much watch every event. Yesterday I sat and watched Women’s Judo because, well, why not? I’ve discovered within me a strange ability to care about white water kayaking, and my love of watching gymnastics and love of watching water sports have met in the middle at synchronized diving. In short, the Olympics are awesome.

And, yes, I’m one of those people who whine about the NBC coverage (they didn’t even show the Russians on the podium getting bronze and silver in the women’s gymnastics all-around, panning right to Gabby Douglas). But I also play right into their hand by watching all four hours of prime time coverage.

So in honor of the Olympics I’m doing an extended roundup of Olympic-related Weekend Essentials.

Get your national pride on this weekend

Watch

The Olympics, silly! Although, if you’re feeling NBC fatigue you can extend that Olympic spirit with a little movie break–Miracle, anyone? There’s no way you can watch Miracle and not get wrapped up in a little bit of USA chanting. Or, if you’re pressed for time, just watch this forever adorable video of the little boy reenacting the Herb Brooks Miracle speech.

Read

There is no lack of Olympic coverage to read, but in my opinion the Grantland articles have been great. Check out this piece by Brian Phillips on Olympic Rhythmic Gymnastics. It’s an entertaining read, but also raises some interesting points about issues around the sport, including gender and intensity. He notes that it’s often the female sports that are relegated to the “It’s not a sport” category (e.g. rhythmic gymnastics), despite the fact that they require extraordinary skill and athleticism.

Fierce

Eat

There are a lot of options here. The most obvious, of course, is to eat Olympic-themed food. Check out Six Sisters’ Stuff for a great roundup of various Olympic snacks, from Olympic ring cookies and donuts to Olympic torch cupcakes.

Snacking in style

If you’re not particularly interested in baking Olympic goodies, there’s always the pretend-you’re-in-London route. Eat fish and chips and drink a cold beer (or cider if you’re me). This also gives you the opportunity to go to a pub or sports bar where you can be surrounded by aggressive amounts of Olympic spirit.

Grease in its finest form

Listen

Pretty much your only option here is to listen to the Chariot’s of Fire song on repeat. Ideally you’d run down a beach while listening, but you can substitute pretty much any slow-motion action and be fine.

If you’re trying to get into Olympic shape, however, you can check out these workout playlists from Women’s Health. I spent half of last night making some workout playlists of my own since mine were a little tired, and they actually have me a little tiny bit excited to work out (but not that much..).

Lust

I highly recommend getting your Olympic sparkle on in a gold, silver or bronze dress that is wholly inappropriate for summer. Topshop can deck you out out in this entirely sequined dress that has the benefit of being the color of a medal with the pizazz of a gymnast’s hair glitter.

Be the medal

As with food, however, you’re not without options. Getting into the Olympic style here in the States might require more patriotic apparel.

Flag-tastic

My personal favorite approach, however, is to watch the Olympics casually in this Vivienne Westwood Union Jack gown, paying tribute to England and the London Olympic Games. Nothing screams “sports fan” like a floor length gown.

With all the money saved not going to the Olympics it makes sense to spend $3800 on this dress

Lounge

While you’re watching you may just want to support athleticism in general, forgoing national pride. In that case, Ashish has the sweatshirt for you. And while you’re at it you may want to check out the nail art of Olympic swimmers. I know that personally this option (wearing a sweatshirt and painting my nails while watching the Olympics) is the most likely plan for my weekend.

No need to pick sides with this look

I apologize for the excessive amount of Olympics-related links you were just inundated. Can you tell I’ve gotten a little to into it? #TeamGabby

Go forth and get into the spirit Or don’t.. whatever..

(Image sources: Gabby Douglas, Rhythmic Gymnastics, Olympic ring cookies, Fish and Chips, Clothing images from associated links)

Bibimbap-ing Back to Real Life

I never cease to be amazed at how quickly the summer months can fly by. It’s August now which means the end to my month of travel and a return to the real world (or whatever you want to call my strange life in limbo). I had such a good month spending time with friends, catching up with family, exploring new places and eating my face off. However, after a month that included 4 flights, 2 train rides, 2 bus rides and a 6 hour drive to and from the wedding I must say it feels nice to just sit still for a bit. I got home after a red eye flight and bus ride back to Providence and immediately collapsed into my bed.

The only downside to all my travels? I was in vacation mentality, which meant I was in vacation eating mentality, which obviously meant I ate more than my fair share of tacos and wedding cake and pastries and cheese and everything delicious I encountered, not to mention all the airport food. I was bad to my body. When I woke up from my nap/sleep hybrid I realized my body was screaming for vegetables and water.

My goal: to incorporate as many vegetables as possible into my meal while still forcing myself to be adventurous. Which is how I came to make bibimbap for dinner. Bibimbap, for those who don’t know, is a Korean dish that literally means “mixed rice.” It consists of rice, vegetables and protein in the form of meat and an egg. The nice thing is you can use any vegetables you want, even if it makes the dish a bit less authentic. Traditionally it’s often made to use up leftovers since the vegetables are ones often served as sides with other things.

It took me a while to make because I didn’t have any leftovers, having just returned home, and hot damn is it hard to julienne a baby carrot. I also had to marinate the meat, cook the rice and prepare a few different vegetables. Let’s just say I didn’t plan my time very well (I was almost done with everything else when I realized I hadn’t made any rice).

Damn that girl can julienne a carrot

In the end though it turned out wonderfully, and it had the simple, clean flavors that my body was begging me for. For vegetables I used cucumbers, carrots, spinach and bell peppers, with some baby bok choy on the side. The only real seasonings to the veggies came from a little sesame oil, garlic and sesame seeds, along with a bit of salt at the end. I also used kimchi, which-fun fact-is supposed to be amazing for digestion and health. I wanted some meat too so I used sirloin steak marinated in a bit of soy sauce, sesame oil, ginger, garlic and agave nectar.

When I put it all together it looked so tasty. And I got my rice on my plate in such a nice round shape. …If I sound proud it’s because plating is never my strong point.

Bibimbap in the making

My supermarket didn’t have gochujang, the chili pepper paste traditionally served with bibimbap, so I improvised with some sriracha mixed with a dash of honey, soy sauce and sesame oil (a trick I found on this blog).

Because everything’s better with sriracha

And finally I topped it all off with a sunny side up egg. I’m much more of an over-easy girl myself, so on my first attempt I broke the oh-so-delicate yolk all over the pan. My second attempt, however, resulted in a perfectly sunny-side-up egg to top off my masterpiece with.

My finished bibimbap

As anyone who has eaten bibimbap knows, part of the fun of this dish is that it looks so well composed when you serve it, but then you immediately mix it all together when you eat it. That runny yolk gets mixed in with the beef and rice and veggies and it all comes together into one delicious messy dish.

Eaten with chopsticks whilst getting my Olympic pride on watching gymnastics

There’s really not much to it since the steps are: rice, veggies, meat, egg. If you want a little more direction than that (including which vegetables are most traditional), this post on Living and Eating takes you through the steps.

In the end, I’d call my foray into bibimbap a resounding success. It was more food than I needed (I didn’t finish everything on the plate), left me full for hours, and eased me back into a world of vegetables and simple food.