Flavor of the Week: Grapefruit Lime Sorbet

This week has been really interesting, it’s like as soon as I posted last weeks flavor this online dating project took off! I know this is the part where I give all the juicy details, but, like all good food. I’m letting it simmer. So you’ll just have to keep reading 😉 But I will say, it’s been a reaaaaallllly good week. And I’ll tell you all about it real soon. Until then, make some sorbet won’t you? 

Grapefruit Lime Sorbet
1 cup sugar
2 cups water
2t Grapefruit Zest
1t Lime Zest
2 cups Grapefruit and Lime Juice
1/4 cup Heavy Whipping Cream
(I know the cream technically makes this a sherbet due to the butterfat content, but sherbet is a weird word.) 
Start by combining water and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer, and allow to simmer for a few minutes until it thickens a little bit and the sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature. Once cooled add remaining ingredients and stir well. Freeze according to manufacturer’s instructions. 
I loved the smoothness the cream created in the sorbet. The grapefruit and lime is a really tart citrus kick and the cream toned that down, without making it dripping in sugar. 
This is the part you’re waiting for, 
Hi, My name is ****** am nice and fun person I am here for friends date or married, i would like someone who want to be my best friend and have fun together,
if you would like to know any thing about me you can email me lol

lol… that escalated quickly. 

Tahitian Vanilla, Brown Butter Cookies

Hello Sunday!

I’m tanking you guys, vacation is FOUR days away and I’m hanging by my unpainted fingernails. (add that to the to do list.) I usually try to not to tell my mom when I go into work.. or how long I stay there. It only takes one “Oh my sweet baby.” To put into perspective how tired you are. Definitely caved this week, and well Dr. Mom has confirmed this girl is tired. (Are you tired of hearing how tired I am?) Good news is, I’m still happy. Happy and loving every minute in the kitchen.

This weeks Sunday Sweet is the brain child of I need gourmet/fast/I don’t want to go to the grocery store. Which is a bonus if you can’t run to the store. Double bonus if you’re a “complete” eater like me. If I have something sweet I need to counter with salty. Delicate balance.

My Mother taught me that like make up, there really is no substitute for “the good stuff.”
I’ve always loved Nielsen Massey, and been a loyal lover of their Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla.. but there was something about the teal label that pulled at my apron. i.e. Need this now. I’ve been waiting for something “worthy” of my new vanilla and then it hit me. Simple. Butter. 

 Brown Butter.

Brown butter isn’t something you can buy at the store. Don’t worry, it’s incredibly simple to make, and your house will smell like buttery, caramel magic. Not like the movie theater greasy butter, but the magic baking butter. I use unsalted for this very reason. If you haven’t made brown butter before this tutorial is the best one I’ve seen.

After you brown your butter, let it cool for 30-35 minutes. It won’t solidify in this time, but it’s necessary to let it cool so it doesn’t cook your eggs.

1c Unsalted Butter

2 1/3c AP Flour

2tsp Corn Starch

1tsp Baking Powder

1/4tsp Baking Soda

1/2 tsp Salt

1c Packed Brown Sugar

2 Large Eggs

*Preheat your oven to 350*

Start by browning your butter in a pot with tall sides. I turned it down to medium while I combined all my dry ingredients.

Add your brown sugar to the cooled butter. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix again. Another reason why I waited to add the vanilla until after it cooled a little bit is because Tahitian Vanilla is much more delicate than your typical Mexican or Madagascar. Tahitian Vanilla is more of a floral, fruity cherry-like  vanilla. The brown butter in these cookies gives the cookies a more nutty flavor, so I wanted to lighten it up.

(you will be tempted to use this as a sugar scrub.. no judgment if you do..)

Add the butter, sugar, vanilla mixture to your dry ingredients.

Don’t panic if it’s all crumbly. That’s how it’s supposed to look. When you roll the cookies into balls it’ll stay together.

No need to grease the pan here, you’ve got plenty of butter to take care of that. 
Press each ball of dough down a little bit with a fork 
Bake for 9-12 minutes. 
So here’s the thing. Where’s the picture of the final product?? About that. These smelled like magic and I ate four before I knew what was happening. I may or may not have slept-ate another significant portion.. and well they’re gone. 
Without taking the final picture.
Which is saying something. I have a lot of self control, I can taste a pastry without eating all of it, I’m surrounded by delectable sweets on a daily basis. But these cookies pulled me in and it was one of those near-religious experiences where you sit on the kitchen floor in silence, smiling to yourself because it’s just THAT good. 
So forgive me, and trust me.
I promise I’ll update this post as soon as I make them again. 
Bake on Lovelies! 
p.s. So in love with your Three Things on the last post. If you haven’t joined the party go now! 

Birthday Pork Roast

Sunday’s require a good piece of meat, don’t they? I think everyone comes from one of two families. You’re either meat & potatoes people, or know what a vegetable is. Kidding. I am from a meat & potatoes family. My Grammy Frost makes THE BEST pot roast. In fact, her roast pot is one of our family’s prized possessions. When my Dad got her roast pot as a Christmas present, I called dibs. Priorities.

So when Poppa Bear and Momsie came to visit for my Birthday (still surreal they made that happen for me.) I was making a roast for Sunday Dinner. Grammy and I once had a long conversation about how to make her signature roast, but until I get that pot, it’s me and a crockpot. Rather than traditional beef I opted for pork. My individual family loves pork roast and couscous.

In the name of meat, I don’t cut corners. I committed to a nine hour slow roast. In culinary school they teach you “Fat carries Flavor”. Why I hadn’t applied this concept to meat until now is beyond me.

I didn’t use any water.

I used BUTTER.

yeah, a whole stick.

was I completely panicked that it was going to burn in Sunday School? You betcha.

but it didn’t.

I created magic in a crockpot.

It was the most tender piece of meat I’ve ever had. Not only that, the butter created a majestical crust locking in the seasoning around the outside, while the butter carried the flavor through the inside.

The three of us took a moment of silence after the first bite. It was that good.

Did I mention it’s only five ingredients? Including the meat?

You’re welcome.

I can’t take all the credit for this recipe though, I found it on Pinterest. Which, not all of the recipes you find there turn out. (Don’t even get me started on that salted caramel cheesecake 65k of you repined. Nasty.)

 So here’s my honest review. Make.this.roast.

Birthday Pork Roast

4-5 pounds   Pork Roast/Chuck Roast
1 envelope   Hidden Valley Ranch Seasoning
1 envelope   McCormick Au Jus Gravy Mix
5-6               Pepperoncinis
1                  Stick Butter  – I use unsalted religiously, to each their own.

 If you aren’t one for spicy food don’t worry, It’s not spicy at all, I wouldn’t skip the peppers, but if you’re worried maybe reduce it to 3-4.

These are going to be tougher than the directions on the back of a pop tart box.

  • Put raw roast in crock pot
  • Sprinkle seasonings directly onto the roast
  • Place stick of butter onto roast
  • Place Pepperoncinis around the stick of butter
  • Put lid on crockpot – I added this step so it looks like an advanced recipe 
  • Cook on low for 8-9 hours
I also recommend a Poppa Bear singing Maggie May while you cook.
I promise we had green beans too 😉 
I served my Roast with homemade Limeade, Green Beans, and Parmesan Garlic Couscous. I wish I could say I made it from scratch, but I love this brand too much.  
*Skip this next part if you don’t want to read about the science and temperatures of meat*
So let’s talk about pork shall we? I am a HUGE advocate for sanitation. Probably to a fault. It does however come in handy when it comes to meat. As a Food Service Professional my biggest fear is a sanitation mistake harming my consumer. Who wants food poisoning? Not me. Back in 2011 the USDA changed the internal temperature requirements for pork from 160° F to 145° F. With the change they also added a three minute rest time from the time you reach 145°. A “rest time” is the amount of time the product remains at the final temperature, after it has been removed from a grill, oven, or other heat source. During the three minutes after meat is removed from the heat source, its temperature remains constant or continues to rise, which destroys pathogens. Those pathogens are also destroyed if you cook it to 160°F without the rest time. I prefer the new 145° method because it means juicier meat for me. 

If you opted for the Beef Chuck Roast please cook it to at LEAST 145°F internally. You shouldn’t have a problem if you’re cooking it for eight hours, but still. 145°F. Beef also requires the three minute resting time. Which in my house would be equivalent to calling everyone to dinner and saying grace. 

Pumpkin Spice Donuts

So, funny story. I hate the smell of pumpkin. Almost as much as I hate the smell of raw bananas. My Dad plugged my nose every year we carved pumpkins. I even wore rubber gloves and basically hated it. When I was in culinary school I fell in love with a pumpkin bread, and reassessed my priorities to appreciate baked pumpkin. 

Sitting in church on Sunday, I was thinking about what to make for dinner, and it smelled like fall and I needed to consume fall. I wanted my kitchen to smell like the leaves falling and watch a pick up game of football from my kitchen window. After some recipe research I decided I needed donuts. 

Maybe the smaller size makes you feel less guilty?

maybe we can go to the gym after we pass out on the couch because we ate 12 of these little gems?

I warned you, these are hardly shareable. I had a hard enough time holding off on eating them before they could be photographed. Holy goodness, plus I got to play with my donut maker. Where’s bad? 

Pictures by the fabulous Rosie (ps. go look at her new blog!)

Petite Pumpkin Spice DonutsMakes 24 mini donuts
Adapted and Loved from The Blue Eyed Bakers

For Donuts:
1 3/4 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/8 teaspoons ground cloves
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup milk
For Coating:
1/2 cup butter, melted
2/3 cup sugar
1-2 tablespoons cinnamon
Do NOT skip soaking them in butter. I’ll see you at the gym. 

Raspberry Cheesecake

I love summertime desserts. The succulent berries and juicy watermelon just beg to be made into something incredible ( or not if you’re a purist 😉 ). I was on my way home from work and stopped at the grocery store to pick up something quick for dinner.

Somewhere between the sale on butter and four pounds of cream cheese in my cart I spied the most gorgeous red raspberries. I couldn’t help but make a cheesecake. Don’t worry Mom I made myself something “real” for dinner too.

So here’s the recipe, adapted with love from my girl Martha.

Raspberry Cheesecake

Raspberry Swirl Cheesecake
serves 8-10
adapted from Martha Stewart Living May 2004 
(cupcake version can be found in Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes)
1 cup (5oz) finely ground graham crackers
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons granulated sugar

6 ounces (1 1/2 cups) raspberries
2 tablespoons sugar

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
4 packages (32 ounces total) cream cheese, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
pinch salt
4 large eggs, room temperature

pot boiling water, for the roasting pan

Pre-heat the oven to 350°F.

Place a 9″ spring form pan onto a double layer of wide aluminum foil. Wrap up the sides of the pan to make it water tight. You don’t want any foil seams or edges on the bottom or low on the sides of the pan, or water may creep in while it is baking.

Combine the graham crackers, 2 tablespoons sugar and the melted butter in a large bowl and mix. Firmly press the crumbs into the bottom of your spring form pan. I find that a flat bottomed ramekin or coffee cup is useful for pressing the crumbs evenly and tightly into the pan.

Bake the crust until set, roughly 10 minutes and then allow it to cool on a wire rack.

Reduce your oven’s temperature to 325°F.

Purée the raspberries and then strain out the seeds and any solids. Add 2 tablespoons of sugar to the strained puree. Pour into a small sauce pan and bring the raspberry sauce to a bare simmer over medium low heat. Reduce the sauce for 1-2 minutes until it has thickened slightly and then set aside to cool.

In the bowl of your mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese on medium speed until smooth and fluffy (roughly 3 minutes). Reduce the mixer’s speed to low and add the 1 1/2 cups of sugar in a slow steady stream. Beat in the salt and vanilla and then on low speed, beat in the eggs, one at at time. Adding the next after the first has been incorporated. Take care not to over mix as the eggs can trap air in the batter and this leads to all sorts of cheesecake trouble.

Once you’ve mixed in the last egg, pour the batter into your prepared crust. Put your springform pan in a roasting pan. Put both pans in the oven before pouring water into the roasting pan. Promise you’ll thank me later. Try not to spill water on the top. Bake for 60-65 minutes. The top should be set with a little bit of wiggle to it. If it starts to brown to early, you can put tin foil on the top. Let it cool completely before releasing it from  the pan.

As always, pictures from the talented Rose
Happy Baking! 

Homemade Marshmallows

I’ll admit, I adore Pinterest. Yes, there are the boards with pins of things I actually want to make, and boards dedicated to hilarious things I just want my sisters to see. Then there is my board dedicated to pretty pastry.

I love having a place to be inspired, it’s easy to find inspiration anywhere, but its very convenient to have a thought and pull up hundreds of pictures. This year my goal has been sugar cookie work, but I’ve been noticing really fun, colored marshmallows making appearances on dessert tables.

These were on the Amy Atlas homepage. Once I saw the purple marshmallows I was hooked.

Marshmallows are really simple, and they taste SO much better when they’re homemade. I had never made them before, but what’s the harm in trying? I did some research and went to YouTube. Recipes with pictures will only get you so far. If  I’m trying something new I want to see a real person, making real mistakes, with real ingredients.

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I used Denver Bargain’s Marshmallow recipe and loved it. I added a full tablespoon of Amaretto instead of peppermint flavoring. 
They’re stinking delicious.
Homemade Marshmallows

.75-oz unflavored gelatin (3 envelopes of Knox gelatin)
3/4 cup water, divided
2 cups granulated sugar
2/3 cups light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 tsp peppermint extract (optional)
red food coloring (optional)
1/4 cup powdered sugar
2 T cornstarch
Lightly grease a 9 x 9-inch baking pan. If you have a flexible silicon pan, use it! If not, you can use any metal or glass pan.  It’s just easier to remove the marshmallows from the silicon pan.
In a large mixing bowl (or bowl of a stand mixer if you have one), sprinkle the gelatin over 1/2 cup cold water and allow it to dissolve for about 5-10 minutes.
Combine sugar, corn syrup, and 1/4 cup water in a small saucepan. Bring the mixture to a very  hard boil and cook for one minute (no need for a candy thermometer).  Make sure you stir it frequently, and be careful – this mixture is very hot!
Pour the boiling syrup on top of the gelatin and begin whisking on high.  A stand mixer will make this job much easier, though I’ve used a hand mixer with no problem.  Just be aware it’s possible that you could burn up your mixer using it on high for this long!
Add the salt and whisk on high for about 10 minutes.  At about 8 minutes in, I begin dipping my finger into the mixture and dropping a small dollop on the counter to test how close it is to “done”.  If you drop a dollop on the counter and within 30-60 seconds, it starts to firm up like you would imagine a marshmallow would, you can probably stop whipping.  Ten minutes is usually enough; you can go as long as 12 if you’re unsure.

At the end of the mixing, add the vanilla and food coloring if you want. Allow the marshmallows to set until firm – usually about 4-5 hours.
Once firm, combine 1/4 cup powdered sugar and 2 T cornstarch in a bowl.  Use a pair of kitchen scissors to cut the marshmallows into cubes.  It helps prevent sticking if you dip your scissors in the powdered sugar mixture between each cut.
Toss each marshmallow in the powdered sugar mixture and that’s it – you’re done!  Store in a semi-airtight container. 
Easy enough right? I think next time, I might try them in silicone molds instead of cutting them. 

Sunday Sweets: Sorbet

It’s pretty hard to keep me out of the kitchen, but in the summertime the heat makes it pretty hard to want to turn on the oven. Thankfully I have a sorbet/ice cream maker. Hot and Cold Desserts was one of my favorite classes in school. I could make flavor combinations all day long.

Blackberry – Lime, Pina Colada and Watermelon
Blackberry – Lime Sorbet
3/4c Water
3/4c Sugar
4c Blackberries Fresh or Frozen
3/4c Lime Juice
Bring water and sugar to a boil and let cool. I puree my berries with the lime juice to give it a more uniform flavor. You can add the lime juice after you puree the berries if you want separate flavors. Once pureed, run the berries through a mesh strainer to get rid of the seeds. Combine with the syrup and let chill in the freezer for an hour.
Freeze in your ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions. I have a Cuisinart Sorbet/Ice Cream Maker and it took 25-30minutes for the sorbet to churn itself. 

Watermelon Sorbet

recipe adapted from the Culinary Philosopher 
1¼ cup sugar
1¼ water
6-7 cups fresh seedless watermelon chunks (about half of the melon)
3 tbsp. fresh lime juice (approximately 3 1/2 medium-sized limes)

Boil the sugar and water until the sugar is dissolved. Let this cool. Puree the watermelon and lime juice until liquefied. Run the liquid through a fine mesh strainer. Combine watermelon liquid with your syrup. The syrup will probably still be a little warm, so let the whole sorbet base chill in the fridge for an hour. Don’t skip this part. If it’s too warm when you put it in your ice cream maker it’ll never freeze and when it does you’ll have a weird texture. Not worth it. Freeze according to your ice cream makers instructions. 

Pina Colada Sorbet

adapted from skinnytaste.com

3 cups fresh pineapple, peeled and cored
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup coconut milk

I used lite coconut milk and canned pineapple chunks. It was what I had in my cupboard, which is the best thing about sorbet. You can really combine whatever you want/have and still end up with a delicious dessert. 

Blend all your ingredients in a blender and chill in the fridge for an hour. Freeze according to your ice cream maker’s instructions. 

Rosemary Foccacia and Garlic Cheddar Potato Soup.

I’m pretty sure in National Treasure they talk about how they didn’t need a crazy person, they needed a passionate person. I’m pretty sure I walk that line daily. You know you love what you do when you work a 13 hour day and go home to spend the next 4 hours in the kitchen. 🙂 I’ll take it.

After an incredibly long day at work, I walked out to my car into the most beautifully, dreary storm. Dark clouds, wind blowing through the trees just begging for homemade soup and bread to be made. I love soup days. I think there’s emotion associated with all food, one of my favorites has got to be stick-to-your-ribs love type food.

It’s tradition in my family to always serve cheese potato soup on Christmas Eve, it feeds a lot and is something you can always stretch further for the straggler who’s heart needs a safe place to be during the holidays.Peeling the potatoes and grating the  cheese remind me of my dear Grandmother Donnarae’s hands. Whenever you find a recipe you love, make sure you look at their hands. I can tell you exactly how my Momma’s hands look when she kneads bread on a Sunday afternoon, or the way my Grandmother Shirlyn holds a wooden spoon while she makes raspberry jam. I think a persons hands tell a lot about them. Look.

9-12 Medium Russet Potatoes
1 Onion ( I use white)
4-5 Cloves of Garlic. ( All flavoring is personal preference, I love garlic)

Sharp Cheddar Cheese
Parmesan Cheese
Gruyere ( super expensive, but one of my favorite cheeses:) )
1/2c Heavy Cream
Salt and Pepper

I cubed the potatoes and rough chopped the onion. Cuts don’t have to be perfect here. It’s a scrap soup. 🙂 I did dice up the garlic fairly small and boiled all of them together. Boil until your potatoes are soft. At this point I drained off some of the water. Maybe 1/2 inch above the potatoes. I mashed everything with a pastry  cutter until it was the consistency I wanted. then I stirred the cream into the mix and added shredded cheese. Probably close to three cups total of the different varieties. Taste, Taste, Taste. A little bit of salt and pepper and let it get thick and bubbly. I ate it with crumbly bacon. So worth it!

Let’s not forget the bread.. I used this recipe from a copy of Gourmet Magazine. It’s my all time favorite when it comes to simple bread. Plus it’s pretty hard to go wrong with homemade garlic oil.

  • 6 large garlic cloves, halved lengthwise
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 3 (1/4-oz) packages active dry yeast
  • 2 1/4 cups warm water (95°F-105°F)
  • 7 cups all-purpose flour, plus additional if necessary
  • 1 tablespoon table salt
  • 1 tablespoon coarsely chopped fresh rosemary
  • Coarse salt for sprinkling
  • Freshly ground black pepper for sprinkling

  • Preheat oven to 300°F.
    Combine garlic and oil in a very small metal bowl and set on a baking sheet. Bake in lower third of oven 1 hour. Cool on a rack 30 minutes. Pour oil through a small sieve into another bowl and discard garlic. Whisk together yeast and warm water in bowl of a standing electric mixer and let stand 5 minutes, or until creamy.
    Stir 1/3 cup garlic oil into yeast mixture. Whisk together 7 cups flour and table salt and stir half of flour into yeast mixture. Fit mixer with dough-hook attachment. Add remaining flour and mix on low speed 3 minutes, or until dough pulls away from side of bowl, adding more flour if necessary. Knead dough with dough hook on medium-high speed, scraping down hook and side of bowl as needed, 5 minutes, or until dough is soft and slightly sticky. Transfer dough to a large oiled bowl, turning with floured hands to coat with oil. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let dough rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour. Preheat oven to 450°F.
    Oil a 17- by 11-inch baking pan with some of garlic oil. Gently press dough into pan, allowing dough to rest 5 minutes if difficult to work with. Cover dough with oiled plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 30 minutes.
    Make indentations in dough at 1-inch intervals with oiled fingertips. Drizzle with remaining garlic oil and sprinkle with rosemary, coarse salt, and pepper. Bake in lower third of oven until deep golden on top and pale golden on bottom, 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer bread to a rack and serve warm or at room temperature.

    When I went to buy herbs for the bread they had the most adorable herb plants for sale, I just couldn’t help myself. My window box smells incredible. 

    Tasty Tuesday

    I threw my big sister a royal baby shower this weekend.. which is a coming post, I just wanted to give my darling sister dibs on the pictures first. I will however share my favorite recipe from the party.

    So, the guest list *started* at 40.. and well it just got bigger in true McGuire fashion. Who’s complaining ? 😉 I decided soup would be the easiest to feed the masses, and I decided on an Italian Sausage Tortellini Soup. I found a recipe on Epicurious and bought everything for a double batch. Turns out you should check the yield before you decide on a recipe. Turns out the recipe I picked had a yield of 6 servings. .Ah Whoopsie. Clock is ticking so I decided to wing it.. and it actually paid off. Everyone seemed to enjoy it!

    Jessica’s Italian Sausage Tortellini Soup

    Beef Stock/Beef Bouillon – 7cups
    Zucchini – Two Large, about a pound
    Hot House Tomatoes – Two cups, diced ( man up ladies, dice them yourself.. it’ll pay off promise. )
    Garlic – Two Full Cloves (diced)
    Yellow Onion – One Large
    Sweet Italian Sausage  – One Pound
    Tortellini – 12oz ( I used Cheese Tortellini, uncooked.)
    S&P – To Taste

    I made my own beef broth with Better than Bouillon paste. Bring to a simmer in a large stock pot. In a large frying pan remove the sausage from the casings. Brown until your kitchen smells delectable. Pour sausage into a separate bowl keeping grease in the pan. Dice your garlic and onion.Saute in sausage drippings. You want to cook them until the onions become translucent. Add your tomatoes and turn the heat down. Slice your zucchini into thin rounds. Add to stock pot of broth. Add garlic, onion, tomato and sausage to large stock pot. Add parsley and oregano.. I like a lot. Personal preference here. Simmer for two hours. The purpose of simmering, is to give the flavors time to really come out. This part of the soup can be made up to two days in advance.

    If you make it in advance, heat it back up to a simmer and add the tortellini. Cook pasta until al dente.

    Add fresh Parmesan cheese on top if you want.


    I forgot to take a picture.. but this is almost identical.


    Jessica Nan