Last night, I made my final creation for my 365 project. Since it was New Year’s Eve, I decided that a fancy beverage would be the perfect thing so I whipped up a batch of Elk’s Own cocktails. I followed the recipe in my Mr. Boston Official Bartender’s Guide but added a bit more sugar so as to mimic the drinks I’ve had at establishments like The Whistler and Scofflaw in Chicago. They turned out pretty good–impressive considering it was my first time ever even using a cocktail shaker–and the port wine in the recipe gave the drinks a lovely color. See below for the recipe.
Here’s Jim enjoying his Elks’ Own and looking rather dashing in his suit.Christina was celebrating the night (which was New Year’s Eve and her birthday!) by dancing around with the flowers her husband gave her. She also wore the party hat I made for her all night. Yay!
To maintain some semblance of order, Christina wrote our name on all of our drinks. Here’s mine next to Jenny’s drink. She’s my roomie now, but she’s moving out at the end of January. I’m going to miss her!
Annnnyways, it was a fun night and a nice way to end a good year. I had many good times with friends and family over these past 12 months (examples: a lovely March campfire in my parents’ backyard, Sunday dinners with friends, an amazing birthday party), and I also feel like I achieved a lot with my 365 project. I made so many things, learned so much, and really proved to myself that I could take on such a difficult challenge.
Thanks so much to all my friends, family, and blog followers for all your support this year! You’ve been wonderful!
Elks’ Own Recipe
1 and 1/2 ounces rye whiskey (I used Old Overholt)
3/4 ounces good port wine
Juice of 1/4 lemon
2 teaspoons of simple syrup
1 egg white
Add all the ingredients to a shaker and shake vigorously until a soft foam forms. About 30 seconds.
On Monday, I made these delicious onion tarts in order to use up some some of the extra onions we have leftover from Thanksgiving. I think we had five large purple onions and a whole bag of small yellow onions (we still have plenty left, anyone need some onions?) Although it took awhile to make the dough, caramelize the onions, and do the assembly, the tarts were really easy to make.
These would make for an impressive hors d’oeuvre for a party!
Tip: Since you’re already caramelizing onions for this, my recommendation is to make some extra and keep them in a ball jar in the fridge. I cut up an entire extra purple onion for this, and just had a piece of toast with the stuff. So good!
Eek! The onions hurt my eyes. I should have gotten out some safety goggles or turned on a fan.
It’s pizza in a tart shape. Yum! Note that you could pretty much fill these with anything: pasta sauce and mozerella; goat cheese and tomato; chorizo and chihuahua. It would all be good.
To make these beautiful little onion tarts, you’ll need about 1.75 hours. It’s a lot of time, but it’s worth it!
1 batch of dough made with the Joy of Cooking pizza dough recipe. Note that if you’re using salted butter for browning the onions, you should cut the salt in half for the pizza dough recipe.
1 very large purple onion
1.5 tablespoons of butter (I used salted butter)
.75 tablespoon of olive oil
1 cup of shredded gouda
1 cup of shredded mozzarella
Muffin tins or small muffin-sized ramekins for a ten tarts
Start by making the pizza dough using the Joy of Cooking recipe linked above. Again, if you’re using salted butter for the onions, cut the salt in half.
While your dough is rising,which takes about an hour, dice the onions and add them to a frying pan. I used my enameled cast iron skillet.
Add the butter and olive oil to the same pan and then set the heat to medium-low. Cook the onions until they caramelize and turn a deep brown. This will take 45 minutes to an hour.
When the pizza dough is ready, roll it out to be about the thickness of about two or three stacked quarters (a.k.a. 25 cent pieces) in thickness
Cut the dough into circles with a 4 inch diameter, give or take. I used the top of my Bodum french press to do this, which is kind of funny. Basically, you just need a circle of the right size to use as a cutter or to cut around.
Spray you muffin tins (or ramekins) with cooking spread and then lay the dough circles into them. You just want to press the dough into the muffin tin so it follows the contour of it.
Mix the gouda and mozzarella together and then add about one tablespoon of the cheese mixture into each dough cup.
Add about one tablespoon of the caramelized onions into each dough cup.
Top each little proto-tart with a tablespoon or so of the cheese mixture.
Cook at 450 degrees for approximately 18 minutes (or until the tarts look fully browned)
And that’s it! The tarts keep pretty well in the refrigerator. Just zap them in the microwave for about 15 seconds or heat them in the oven for a few minutes to revitalize them.
Last Wednesday, I made a breakfast scramble bread filled with sausage, egg, and cheese for a bake sale my friend was hosting to raise money for the Night Ministry, a non-profit organization that provides housing and health care for the homeless and those struggling with poverty.
To make the bread, I used my mom’s reuben bread recipe, but instead of filling it with reuben ingredients, I filled it with one cup of cheese, 4 eggs, and about a half pound of crumbly sausage. Note that I cooked the eggs and sausage before I put it into the bread.
The bread turned out pretty good, and I was happy that it may have helped my friend raise a few dollars for a good cause.
Last Tuesday, I made a vegetarian chili using the America’s Test Kitchen recipe as the basis and then making a few alterations, including substituting corn with steel cut oats, which sounds weird but was actually quite delicious!
We had an All-American themed potluck at work on Friday, so on Thursday night I made a loaf of reuben bread for the first time ever. I’m pleased to say that the bread was a big hit–in fact, one co-worker even said I’m heretofore required to make reuben bread for every potluck. What a compliment!
Thanks, Mom, for the recipe!
3 1/4 c flour
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 package yeast
1 cup hot water
1 tbsp butter
1/4 c thousand island dressing
8 oz. shaved corned beef
1/4 lb. swiss cheese
8 oz. sauerkraut
1 egg white
Mix 2 1/4 c flour with sugar.
Add salt, yeast, hot water and butter.
Add remaining flour to make soft dough.
Kneed dough four minutes.
Roll out to 10″ by 14″ on baking sheet.
Spread dressing down center 1/3 (14 inches). Top with cheese, meat and kraut.
Cut strips 1″ wide on each side and alternate over meat.
Brush with egg
Cover. Let rise 15 minutes over large pan of boiling water.
On Sunday morning, I was super excited about making a kale frittata, first because I figured it would taste awesome and second because it would help me use up lots of the languishing ingredients in my fridge, including some fresh but wilting kale and a few types of cheese. I used this recipe from Eggs on Sunday as inspiration, but pretty much made everything up as a went along. It turned out great!
– 3/4 of one small red onion, chopped
– 2 cloves of garlic, pressed
– 2 teaspoons of olive oil
– 2 and 1/2 cups of chopped kale, packed tightly
– 8 eggs
– 1/2 cup Parmesan
– 1/2 teaspoon salt
– 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees
Add the olive oil and onion to a cast iron skillet or oven safe pan and saute until onion has browned
Add the garlic and continue sauteing from one minute
Add kale, eggs, Parmesan, salt, and pepper to the pan and then top with mozzarella
Put the whole pan into the oven and cook for approximately 25 minutes until the eggs have set
Slice and carefully remove pieces with a pie server.
On Tuesday, I pulled out the grill to make these delicious Korean-style beef tacos from the June issue of cooking light. The recipe involved making quick pickled cabbage, putting together a marinade, and skewering and then grilling the beef, which all together meant that cooking these tacos took a bit of time, but I think it was worth it. The beef was absolutely delicious and I really liked the cabbage.
I will definitely be making this recipe again, although next time, I think I’ll use a bit less sugar in the cabbage and also not grill the tortillas since I thought it made them a little dry. Then they will be perfect!
On Monday, I made some delicious tomato and cheese barley. I didn’t really follow a recipe, but checked out this vegan recipe before I started cooking. Apparently, it’s actually based on a recipe from Vegan Yum Yum. Anyways, here’s the recipe I created.
2 cups of barley, dry
5 cups of water
1 can of chicken broth
4 small tomatoes, cut into chunks
4 tablespoons of tomato paste
3/4 cup of cheese (I used leftover chihuahua cheese, but mozzarella would work)
1/2 tablespoon of dried oregano
3/4 tablespoon of dried basil
1 tsp salt
pepper to taste
Cook for 45 minutes or until water has absorbed and you have a nice creamy, cheesy barley dish.
Tomorrow I’m having a big dinner party/potluck, for which I’m making three dishes. To get a head start on the cooking, I made a white bean spread today (in my amazing yellow vintage blender!). I used this recipe from Giada. It’s pretty good, but it asks you to salt it “to taste.” I always find that kind of annoying. Just tell me how much salt to add!
One of my co-workers, Maria, is going to Nicaragua in two weeks to serve as a translator for Hope Clinic International. According to Maria, “The purpose of the trip is to provide medical and surgical help to children that would otherwise not receive medical attention. The medical team cares for between 80 and 100 children per day, conducting walk-in pediatric clinics in partnership with the Saint Vincent DePaul Society in Nicaragua.” Very cool.
In order to raise money for her trip, Maria is conducting a bake sale all week at my office. To help out, tonight I made the jalapeño cheddar scones from Smitten Kitchen. I already tasted one, and it was pretty good. Hope everyone at the office likes them!
p.s. If any readers out there are interested in making a donation towards Maria’s trip (even a few dollars would help!), leave me a comment and I’ll get in contact with you about how. Thanks!