Celebrate, Day 13 [breakfast burrito cups]

Ever since Ali brought Ella Claire Inspired’s breakfast burrito bites to Brunch in the Country, I’ve had them on my mind.  And made them for many an occasion.  They are just right at an early morning tailgate on a crisp fall day, or a staff breakfast when you need something to offset the carbs you’re inhaling.

breakfast burrito cups.

I set these up the night before, and bake them in the morning.  It’s super easy, and the best part is, you can do whatever you want in terms of toppings.  Pick your favorite omelet toppings, or use up whatever is left in the fridge.  These have spinach and tomatoes, with cheddar on top.

IMG_4090

To make 12 egg cups, you will need:

  • 3 tortillas, cut in quarters
  • 8 eggs
  • 1/4 milk or cream
  • salt
  • pepper
  • toppings (there’s no set amount here)
  • 1/3 C shredded cheese of your choice, if that’s your thing (that is so my thing)

breakfast burrito bites.

The night before:

Spray the you-know-what out of your muffin tin with cooking spray.  Seriously.  I’ve tried to butter them generously, only to be kicking myself for hours at the sink trying to was gunked on egg out of individual muffin tins.  Not.  Fun.  In lieu of cooking spray, cut squares of parchment to line your muffin tins, as I did above.  Butter them for good measure if you, too, have spend hours at a sink trying to wash out gunked on egg.

Press a tortilla piece in the bottom of each well.  Add toppings.  Cover with foil and refrigerate.

In a medium bowl, whisk eggs, milk, salt, and pepper.  Cover and refrigerate.

The morning of:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Fill muffin tins about 2/3 full with egg mixture, and top with cheese.  Bake 20 minutes covered.  Uncover, and bake 5 more minutes.

Celebrate, Day 11

champagne and fried stuff.

My husband and I celebrated our anniversary just the way we wanted, at our favorite little, local restaurant.  It’s the kind of place where everybody knows your name; rare is the trip in which we don’t see someone we know.  This particular go round, we ran into some of our new neighbors, who happen to almost share our anniversary, and who were kind enough to send us glasses of champagne (which paired perfectly with our fried food).  We have been met with nothing but kindness and open arms by everyone in the ‘hood, and for that, I am incredibly grateful.

Celebrate, Day 10 (or, On 5 Years)

wedding high five.

I remember being told “October is the new June” about 8,000 times throughout the planning process.

I remember finding the most gorgeous dress 3 days before the rehearsal and without one second thought, scrapping what I had planned to wear.

I remember giving out gifts during the rehearsal dinner and bursting into tears talking about how much I loved the people in our wedding party.  I love the people in our wedding party.

I remember Cari Faye running around and hugging my husband about a zillion times between that Friday and Saturday.

I remember standing up on the steps at the front of the church, trying desperately to listen to every word, but spending too much time thinking how much my feet hurt.

I remember looking out at an entire pew of my coworkers sitting together and getting choked up when I realized that where I work is special and not everyone loves each other that much.

I remember when the band introduced the bridal party, and my fellow Terps wanted to recreate the opening lineup introductions for a basketball game.

I remember dancing with Pops.  So glad we went with a fun song.

I remember being served immediately any time I came within 20 feet of the bar.  I remember thinking I should drink while wearing a long white dress more often.

I remember trying so hard to slow down and take it all in, right before being whisked off for something else.

I remember that Pops; and Wooden Nickels’ toasts made me both laugh and cry.

I remember being bummed that we got the flavor cake my husband picked for our slices, not the flavor I picked (Don’t worry, I ate the entire top layer over the course of a week about a year later.).

I remember a moment in the reception where I realized that the people we loved most in the world were all under one roof with us.

 

Celebrate, Day 9

Allison is asking 31 bloggers 35 questions in 31 days.  I am not one of the bloggers.  But I liked the questions.  Here are my answers:

 1.  A bit about yourself.  Where did you grow up?

I grew up in the suburbs of Philly and never thought I’d leave.  And now, over ten years later, I find myself entrenched in the suburbs of Maryland, renovating a house that looks practically identical to the one I grew up in.  I’m complicated.

2. Main subject of your blog?

Cooking, food, and the stories behind my life and what I make.

3. Was a design background something you were interested in when you were young?

My dream was to be an interior designer.  Sous Chef Lauren and I used to spend hours perfecting the designs in my Playmobil house.  Her work on “The Red Room” is legendary.

4. Fall or spring?

For the flowers, spring.

5. If you could have a different profession, would you?

If money were no object, I wouldn’t work another day.  Because we’re about to pay for a giant renovation, no, I like the job I have.

6. If so, what would that be?

I still think being an interior designer would be amazing.  If I worked with clients who shared my exact taste and style.

7. What style do you usually post about?

Ummm, something to do with piping icing?  I think this is n/a

8. What is a style that you are drawn to, but isn’t part of your normal material to talk about?

Hmmmm.  Again, n/a

9. East Coast or West Coast?

East coast girls are hip.

10. Main go-to colors?

Navy and grey and pink and white.

11. Color combo’s you have been dying to try?

Blue with yellow.  Maybe.  I don’t know if I can betray navy and grey and pink and white.

12. Antiques or new pieces of furniture and decor?

Antiques, given the time and energy to shop for them.

13. Avid DIY’er or would you rather buy it finished?

I would love to be a DIY’er and I am so not.

14. Favorite Music to work to?

It changes with the season.  Fall is for Pearl Jam.

15. Early Bird or Night Owl?

Either, so long as I’ve had plenty of sleep.

16. Eat in or Go Out?

Eat in!  Invite friends!

17.  Coke or Pepsi?

No soda for me.

18. Carpet or Hard Flooring?

Hardwoods downstairs, carpet in bedrooms.

19. Country you want to visit?

Norway.  Again.

20.  What do you do to unwind?

Watch mindless TV, which is a terrible idea.  Scan Instagram, which isn’t much better.  Go to barre when I’m doing it right.

21. Who is your Design Icon?

Sarah Richardson.  Whyyyyyyy aren’t your shows on in America anymore?  And it wouldn’t be right if I didn’t include my main girls Carolina Herrera and Ina Garten here too.  For different design purposes.

22. Outside or Inside?

Inside.  Or at the beach.

23. Piece of work that still makes you proud till this day?

I don’t know that I’ve ever produced a “piece of work.”

24. What is the movie that you can watch over and over and it never gets old?

The Wizard of Oz.  Gone with the Wind.  And if you’d like to round out 1939, Ninotchka.  But also Bringing Up Baby.  Breakfast at Tiffany’s.  Meet Me in St. Louis.  A League of Their Own.

25. Favorite Social Media Platform?

Instagram forever.

26. What movie character do you think you identity the most with?

Ninotchka.

27. Cupcakes or Cake?

Hah!

28. Best gift you have ever received?

My engagement ring.

29. Best gift you have ever given?

I don’t know.  I thought long and hard about this and I came up short.  Gift giving stresses me out, so maybe that’s why.

30. Would you rather talk to or text someone?

Talk on the phone or text?  Text.  Talk in person or text?  Talk in person.

31. Coffee or Tea?

Iced Grande Caramel Macchiato, please.

32. One thing you cannot live without?

Iced Grande Caramel Macchiato, please.

33. Favorite type of flower?

Peonies!  And hydrangeas.  And ranunculus.

34. Best thing about this year?

Our new house.

35. What are you most looking forward to in the upcoming months?

Decorating our new house.

Celebrate, Day 8

While I sit and ponder what to celebrate for the remainder of the year, let me remind you that one way I love to celebrate my friends is to bake them (cup)cakes for their birthdays.  I found a recent winner in chocolate cassata.  It’s a chocolate cake with a cannoli-esque filling, topped with an indulgent layer of ganache.

chocolate cassata.

If you were to appear in my life and bake me a cupcake, I would hold it in my hands, savor the cuteness of it, unwrap is slowly, and enjoy each bite, ooh-ing and aah-ing over the time you took to make something for me.  My praise would flow freely and be genuine.  But I am incredibly picky about my own baking and indeed, my own harshest critic.  The cake is too dense, the frosting missing that perfect butter : sugar ratio, the cookies don’t achieve the right balance of crunch and smush. 

chocolate cassata cross section.

The ganache on this cake is the best I’ve ever made.  The best I’ve ever eaten.  But don’t take my word for it.  My French co-worker agreed.  If that isn’t the highest honor one’s ganache can receive, I don’t know what is.

To make chocolate cassata*, you will need:

For the cake:

For the filling:

For the ganache:

  • 1 cup unsweetened baking cocoa
  • 3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon espresso powder, optional
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) butter, preferably at room temperature for easiest mixing
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

 

To make the cake:

Preheat the oven to 325°F. Lightly grease an 8 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ loaf pan.

In a medium-sized mixing bowl, beat together the butter, sugar, salt, vanilla, baking powder, espresso powder, and cocoa to make a sandy, somewhat clumpy mixture. Don’t worry; the eggs will smooth things out.

Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl midway through this process. Add half the flour to the bowl, beating at low speed to combine. Add all of the milk, beating at low speed to combine. Add the remaining flour, beating gently just until the batter is smooth. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.

Bake the cake for about 70 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. The top may look a tiny bit damp; that’s OK. If you have an instant-read thermometer, the center will register 210°F to 215°F, while just under the top will register about 198°F to 200°F.

Remove the cake from the oven, loosen the edges, wait 10 minutes, and turn it out of the pan onto a rack to cool.S tore completely cooled cake well wrapped, at room temperature, until ready to fill and frost.

To make the filling:

Stir together the ricotta, sugar, vanilla, and chocolate chips. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

To make the frosting:

Sift the cocoa, confectioners’ sugar, and espresso powder into a bowl.

Bring the cream to a simmer on the stove or in the microwave, and whisk into the cocoa mixture. At first the mixture will look grainy; continue whisking for a minute. You’ll see the lumps disappear as the sugar dissolves and the cocoa hydrates. Set aside to cool to room temperature.

Place the butter, salt, and sifted confectioners’ sugar in a large mixing bowl. Beat until the mixture is smooth and fluffy. Beat in the vanilla.  With the mixer running on low speed, add the cocoa mixture a spoonful at a time until it’s all incorporated. Scrape the bowl, then beat at medium speed for 1 minute.

To assemble the cake: Split the cake in thirds lengthwise, to make 3 layers. Brush the cut side of each layer with simple syrup or vanilla syrup; this will help keep the cake moist.

Place the bottom layer on a serving plate. Spread with half the ricotta filling. Top with the second layer, and spread with the remaining filling. Place the third layer on top.

Ice the cake — top and sides — with the frosting.

Serve immediately; or refrigerate, well-wrapped, until ready to serve, preferably not longer than 24 hours. Cut in crosswise slices to serve

*some notes:

  • I didn’t have a loaf pan, so I used an 8×8 pan.  I only cut my cake in two layers because it was not nearly as tall as if I had used the proper pan.
  • I prepared the cake and filling one day, then prepared the ganache and put everything together another.
  • When assembling, spread the filling until just before you reach the edge of the cake layers.  When you place the next layer on top, the filling will spread all the way to the edges.

Celebrate, Day 7

After a week of posting daily, I don’t feel anymore in the swing of things, but I do feel like this celebrate word I’m supposed to carry out for a couple more months has a tad more meaning.

I spent January – February celebrating letter writing.

I spent March – May celebrating less.

And I spent June – August celebrating reading.

#AndThenWeBoughtAHouse

Up through my Book A Day challenge, what I was celebrating fell in my lap.  I read about something someone was doing online, and knew it connected perfectly with my own life.  That’s the power of the Internet, isn’t it?  But nothing has grabbed me lately (save for the idea of a capsule wardrobe), and we’ve been knee deep in renovation details and decisions, and here I sit, on day 7, realizing that I need to decide what to celebrate between now and the end of the year.  I can’t just wait for it to fall in my lap.

Without delving too far into the depths of despair here, dear readers, life has not been spewing rainbows and sunshine at us over the last month or so.  And yet, it has gone on.  Days pass, one after the other, and I am going to work, and baking cupcakes for people’s birthdays, and frantically trying to find papers before heading to the MVA to switch my registration and plates over to a new state for what I can only pray is the last time.  Life goes on.  (Ob-la-di, ob-la-da.)

So I’m pondering my word celebrate, before charging ahead into the last couple months of the year.  It wouldn’t be right to let another blogger give me the inspiration for this final push.  It has to come from me.  Stay tuned, dear readers…