joyeux cuisine

a blog about good food, family, friends, and life.

chocolate chip pecan pie.

Happy Easter! He is risen indeed!

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I know you’re all probably still full from your delicious meals that happened this afternoon (I know I am!) but I have to share this pie with you. Have to. It’s delicious and easy. Literally dump, stir, bake. So dang good.

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This recipe comes from my dear Aunt Karen. I love her. She’s my dad’s sister and she’s one of the strongest women I know. She’s a crafty person like I am, quilts like a boss, and also loves her cats. Love her.

I’ve been meaning to make this pie for awhile, and I finally got a reason: Easter dinner with some dear friends that haven’t been together in a long time! Em, Ang, B, RaeMa, and I got to spend a weekend together and it was glorious. Ang flew in from North Carolina, RaeMa took a bus from Kansas City, and Em drove from Chi-town. The only one of us missing was Muff-Muff. We hung out at B’s apartment for the weekend an ate food, knitted, watched movies, and swapped stories. (Sidenote: these aren’t their real names, just nice ones we have for ourselves.)

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(Ang, Em, RaeMa, Joy, and B)
I love these women. They are encouraging and real. They build me up and make me a better person. We laugh together and cry together. I hope everyone has friends like these.

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(Em and I rocking our Easter dresses)
Make some pie, watch Pitch Perfect too many times, hug your friends. Be happy.

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Chocolate Chip Pecan Pie
makes 1 9-inch pie
1 cup sugar
3 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup (one stick) butter, melted and cooled
1-6 ounce package semisweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup shredded or flaked coconut
1-9 inch frozen pie shell

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all ingredients in a medium sized bowl. Spoon into unbanked pie shell. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until the top is golden brown and the center of the pie is set. Cool slightly and serve warm with ice cream.
You can also make this a day ahead an warm up in the oven at a low temperature for a few minutes before serving.
Store leftovers in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

(P.S. I wrote this blog post on my phone. So that happened.)

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now playing. (1)

I had a Now Playing page up there, but I decided that it would be way easier to just do a post every couple weeks about musical happenings in my life. If you haven’t seen the Now Playing page this is how it started out:
In addition to being a lover of baking I am also a musician. I am an oboist and am currently working on a bachelor of arts degree in music. That means this year I’ll be performing a recital which sounds super scary to me. In this page I’ll be sharing some of the pieces I’ll be learning for this year. As well as some that I have learned and just like playing. And maybe some that I’ve learned and just want to complain about.
As much as I love playing music I also love listening to it. So in addition to sharing different oboe pieces I will also tell you about music I’ve discovered or that I’ve fallen in love with. Pretty much anything is up for grabs in the category from pop to folk to classical to alternative (has anyone decided what that is yet?) and you can follow me through all of it. These will often be the soundtracks of my baking and recipe searching.

So. All that to say, I’ll be posting a new page with a couple of pieces or songs (hopefully!) every week. I’ll also talk about oboe pieces I’m working on and other exciting things like that. I know. You’re excited.

I’ll start with a ‘classical’ piece today. In one of my classes, Instrumental Literature and Conducting, we’re assigned to listen to pieces for every class. Last week we listened to Shostakovitch’s Festive Overture. I love this piece and I’ve played the band version but not the orchestral version. And this version is awesome. Love it. Shostakovitch is awesome.

And for the other song of the day: My love for Paramore goes way back. (And just to clarify: old Paramore, not new Paramore.) It takes me back to freshmen year in my dorm room. Ah, the good ol’days. Or not. This song, The Only Exception, is off the album Brand New Eyes and is one of my favorite songs ever. I listened to it today while writing a paper and it made me so much happier. (Don’t listen to the Glee version though. That one just makes me sad. Ugh.) Enjoy this one. Hug a friend. Be well.

Happy listening!

P.S. I finally got my stand mixer out of the box in my apartment today. So: Baking. Soon.

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lasagna soup.

Soup. Day 2.
(aka: I realized I haven’t made anything with pasta in it in a couple days…)

We had a snow storm yesterday. We’re on Spring Break. Spring. Break. Nature is super weird sometimes. My dad’s school had a snow day. Those lucky kids. Apparently they closed all the offices at my college as well. Of course we would have a snow day over a break. Of course.

I’ve never really been a big soup person, which sounds crazy after two soup posts in a row, but it’s true. Also, I don’t know if I’ve every posted 3 days in a row. That’s what happens on a break where super cool parents buy all your ingredients. (Word.) But this year has been a big soup year for me. It started last summer when I was living at school and my boss at the time and her husband had all their student workers over to watch the Marvel superhero movies and eat food. The night I went we had soup and watched Thor. We had delicious soup and fantastic company. What more do you really need?

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Creamy soups are my favorite. Broccoli cheddar is a big favorite. Preferably from Panera, but I won’t (usually) be picky. We used to have this restaurant in my town called the Dollar Diner where you could get anything for $1. It was great. Not a super awesome date place though. Trust me on that one. They had all these different soups and lasagna soup was one of them. That was my first experience with this kind of soup and unfortunately it wasn’t a super great one. Oh well, live and learn.

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I’ve been wanting to recreate this for awhile and finally found a really good recipe. I halved and changed it a little bit because I made it for my parents and I (little brother hates soup). But it is amazingly delicious. You can use any kind of pasta you want, I used ditalini and it was the perfect soup pasta. There’s so much flavor in this broth and the noodles soak it all up and become extra delicious. And there’s a cheesy surprise in the middle. It can’t get any better than that. Unless you add garlic bread. Yeah. Now it’s better.

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Make some soup. Play in the snow. Knit some stuff. Have family time.

Lasagna Souprecipe adapted from a farm girl’s dabbles
serves 3-4 people

for the soup:
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 pound Italian sausage
1 white onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 Tablespoon tomato paste
1 14-ounce can fire roasted diced tomatoes
2 bay leaves
3 cups vegetable stock
2 cups pasta

for the cheese:
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
salt and pepper

Heat olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the sausage, break it up into bite sized pieces, and cook until browned, about 5-6 minutes. Add the chopped onions and cook until softened, about 3-4 minutes. Add garlic, oregano, and red pepper flakes. Add tomato paste and stir well. Cook until the tomato paste darkens, about 2-3 minutes. Add diced tomatoes, bay leaves, and vegetable stock. Cover soup and bring to a boil. Uncover, reduce heat, and simmer for 25-30 minutes. Add uncooked pasta and cook 3 minutes under the time the box says.
While the soup is cooking, make the cheesy center. Mix ricotta, Parmesan, salt, and pepper.
Place a dollop of the cheese mixture into each bowl. Ladle soup over/around cheese and top with shredded mozzarella cheese. Serve immediately.

If you have extra, store it in the fridge in an airtight container. Reheat on the stove over medium-low heat.

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baked potato soup.

Cheese. Bacon. Potatoes. Butter. Sour cream.

That’s a list of delicious things. I don’t know if you knew or not.

I’ve been looking for a baked potato soup recipe forever. Eventually I figure out the basics of the soup and then I found a recipe to inspire me the rest of the way. The internet is great for that.

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I love baked potatoes. Making it into soup on a snowy day just makes sense. There’s just something about standing over a pot on the stove stirring a concoction of cheese, cream, and potatoes. It just makes everything feel a little more okay.

Make some soup. Curl up on the couch. Watch a movie. Eat some cookies.

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Baked Potato Soup
adapted from seeded at the table
serves about 6 people

2/3 cup butter
2/3 cup flour
7 cups milk
4 large potatoes
4 green onions, chopped
1 package bacon
1 and 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 8-ounce jar sour cream
salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste

Clean and poke potatoes with a sharp knife. Bake at 400 degrees for about 15-20 minutes or until tender. Allow to cool (seriously don’t burn yourself). Peel with a paring knife and cut into small cubes. Set aside.
While potatoes are baking, fry bacon in a large skillet. Allow to cool and crumble into chunks. Set aside.
In a large soup pot or Dutch oven melt the butter over medium-low heat. Add the flour and whisk until combined well with butter. Add milk and stir until thickened, about 10 minutes, over medium heat. Increase heat by a little bit and bring soup to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes. Add the sour cream, crumbled bacon, and cheddar cheese. Stir until cheese is melted and potatoes are slightly broken down. Ladle into bowls and serve topped with extra cheese and bacon.

If you have extra, store it in an airtight container in the fridge. Reheat on the stove over medium-low heat.

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turtle cookies.

It’s been a busy couple of weeks in my life. Lots of things have been happening since mid-February. Midterms got in the way. I started going to a Zumba class to make a fool of myself in public. March showed up. Spring showed up for a few days and then left again. We had a snowstorm at school. And now it is Spring Break and I get to bake and knit and hang out with my cat to my heart’s desire. I also have a long list of things to do, but they probably aren’t gonna happen until Friday or Saturday.

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Big news! For graduation my awesome parents got me a stand mixer! I’m so excited about it that I can’t even put it into words. It’s ‘imperial gray’ which is one of my favorite colors. It’s so pretty and gorgeous and I am in love with it. (That’s cool, right?) I made cookies with it tonight. They were awesome. So was the mixer. I’m in love.

Sometimes instead of paying attention in class I write recipes. Two and a half hours is a long time to sit in class and not do anything, so my mind tends to wander. Or I fall asleep. It’s just real life. I can’t stay awake that long talking about….stuff that I can’t remember right now. It just happens and I feel no shame…okay. Maybe a little shame.

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These cookies are delicious. I thought of these cookies in my night class. There was also soup on my brain that night. That’ll come later this week. My family has this awesome cookie that we use all the time. My mom found it in a magazine forever ago and we just adapt it to different things whenever we want to. The chocolate cookie base is awesome by itself; cakey and chewy. But when you add things to it and it takes this cookie over the top. This one includes pecans, caramel bits, and some milk chocolate chips. Eat one right out of the oven and you will know. Amazing.

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When we lived in this tiny town there was this store called Country Cupboard. We used to go there all the time to buy Beanie Babies (because they’re awesome). They sold all these handmade candies and one of them was called the Mississippi Sliders or something like that. It was caramel and pecans covered in chocolate; basically a turtle. But my 12 year old self loved those things because I felt like such an adult for liking something so fancy. These cookies aren’t exactly fancy, but they take me back to those simple days where the only concern was which Beanie Baby to pick out. Now there’s real life to worry about. Scary stuff, man. I’m just going to eat a lot of cookies until everything seems okay.

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Make some cookies. Make a fool of yourself at Zumba. Get coffee with one of your best friends. Don’t fall asleep in class.

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Turtle Cookies
adapted from Quick Cooking 2000
makes about 3 dozen cookies

2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1 and 1/2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 eggs
2 cups flour
2/3 cup cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 and 1/2 cups caramel bits (or just chopped caramels if you can’t find bits)
1 and 1/2 cups chopped pecans
1/2 cup milk chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
In a small bowl combine flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Cream butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment. Mix until fluffy then add vanilla and eggs one at a time. Mix well. Gradually add flour mixture to the butter mixture and stir well in between each addition. Fold in caramel, pecans, and chips with a spatula. Using a medium sized cookie scoop spoon onto parchment lined cookie sheets.
Bake for 8-11 minutes depending on the size of the cookies. After baking cool on the cookie sheet for 2-3 minutes and then move to a cookie rack to complete cooling.
Store in an airtight container for up to a week.

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