Thursday, October 27, 2011

Daring Bakers - Povitica

On a recent Friday at work, we had ourselves a party.  It was a party that is probably right up your alley.  It was called Bake-toberfest and it was for charity.

For Bake-toberfest, the kitchen-saavy members of my company took to their ovens (and a couple to their cars and the grocery store) and produced some seriously delicious treats.  I wish I had pictures of the tables.  There were pies, cookies, cakes, bars, cupcakes, tarts and even a jell-o dish, lining over fifteen feet of table.  The bakers had really outdone themselves.

You might be asking what we did with all of these treats?  Were we baking and sharing just to pig out and drink all of the milk in the lunchroom fridge?  No, it was all for charity.  For a mere $5, you were allowed to come in the room and enjoy the buffet of sugar.  For a scant $10, you could not only enjoy the treats at work, but you could bring as much home and you could carry.  It was a brilliant idea, because once someone glanced over the table of treats, there was no way that $10 wasn't making its way into the till.

The Daring Baker's October 2011 challenge was Pivitica, hosted by Jenni of The Gingered-Whisk.  Povitica is a traditional Eastern European Dessert Bread that is as lovely to look at as it is to eat!  I decided that it was the perfect item to bring in for Bake-toberfest.  It was totally different from anything else on the table and quickly disappeared.  Even a coworker who tried to stay away from the buffet, couldn't help herself from trying a piece.  When I asked her why, she responded "We have this at home, it's a treat we eat during the holidays!"  My coworker is originally from Romania, and was very happy with this recipe.  She suggests you eat the end pieces, because they are the best!

In the end, Bake-toberfest was able to raise almost $800!  Quite the feat for a table full of goodies.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Newman's Pizza

I arrived home to a package recently.  It was filled with delicious goodies.  I was particularly struck by this pair of items.  Mostly because of the label on the pasta sauce...

Do you see it?  No, it's not those mysterious lady hands, growing out of the bottom of the bottle.  No, Newman's is spelled correctly.  It's up there, on the top left...  See it?  Yep, it says "Industrial Strength."  Why?  I have no idea, it didn't taste like it was extra strength or full of special chemicals (I'm a chemist, trust me on this).  It actually just smelled like tomato, and basil.  Have you ever opened a bottle of "Pasta sauce with basil" and you couldn't taste/smell the basil?  Well, you won't have that problem with this jar.  Mmmm, basily. 

It made one delicious pizza...  Look at all that deliciousness!

That basil flavor persisted, even after being layered over with sausage, peppers, onions and cheese.  Lots and lots of cheese...  Mmmmmm...

Oh, and I made a salad too.  Because vegetable are good for you.  Eat your vegetables.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad

By the time this recipe makes its way to the internets, I will be winging my way over the Pacific ocean!  That's right, the Wilde household has flown the coop and we're on our way to Thailand.  It's our first trip over the Pacific ocean and we'll be in the air for sixteen hours.  That's one long plane ride.  I'm sitting here, trying to figure out if the whole trip is going to be in the dark, flying in perpetual night.

The way that I'm thinking my way through this "forever in the dark" question is as follows...  We are taking off from New York at 1:00 in the morning, Thursday morning.  We will be flying away from the rising sun as it comes up over the Atlantic.  As we cross the international dateline (somewhere over the Pacific), we will cross into Friday morning.  We will land Friday morning in Hong Kong, effectively skipping out on Thursday and travelling into the future.  I'm like the Doctor!

Catch you on the flip side!  (heehhheee, get it.  I'm on the other side of the world!)

Monday, October 17, 2011

Chicken and Herb White Pizza

First, I want to thank everyone for their birthday wishes!  Well, my blog would like to thank you for your birthday wishes.  And really, writing without having all of you out there to read and chat with would just be no fun at all!  I can't believe it's been a whole year since I started Wilde in the Kitchen. 

I remember the first time that I got a comment from someone that I didn't know and how excited I was.  I thought "I've made it!"  Then there was the first time I broke ten pageviews, fifty, one hundred, one thousand!  I look back at some of the crazy recipes that I've posted, the oddball stories that I've told and the unusual pictures that I've taken.  Everyday is exciting when writing a blog and I've got to thank you all for following!  You've made it all totally worth it.

On other news, I'm going on vacation!  It's my first, official as a member of the workforce, vacation, taken with earned time off!  As of October 4th I had been at my job for a full 90 days and gained access to the use of my days off.  Sure, I took vacations when I was a graduate student and as a Postdoc, but this is different.

As a member of the academic working class, taking vacations is nerve-wracking.  You realize that the longer you stay away from the lab, the longer you'll be there.  For every week you take off, you add a week to your tenure as a student.  So, you try to minimize vacations (especially if you have a crazy boss) (which I didn't!  Hi former bosses!) and feel bad when you are away.  Toward the end of your vacation you are edgy and want to get back into the lab.  Gotta run that reaction!  Let me at my chemicals!

Now that I've made it into the real world, I've worked hard and earned my vacation days and I'm really going to enjoy them!  This Thursday morning at 1:00 am, boyfriend and I are boarding a plane and flying halfway around the world.  We're heading to Thailand!  We'll be spending half of our time in Bangkok, then heading south to Phuket for some fun in the sun.  Well, hopefully sun, it's the tail end of the rainy season and it's been raining and flooding in Thailand.

Worry not, I've got you all set up for some delicious meals while I'm gone.  I'll try to pop in and update you on our trip through Thailand, although I'm not promising anything...  I tend to fall asleep early when I go on vacation...  All that sun!  Here's hoping for lots of sun, not only for boyfriend and I, but also for the people of Thailand, stuggling to clean up the flood waters.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Mini Reeses Cupcakes

If my blog were a person, it wouldn't be my friend anymore.  You might be asking why this is the case?  Well, I kinda forgot it's birthday.  And I'm not just talking a few days late here.  My blogs birthday was way back in July!  I feel like such a terrible blog momma, how can you forget your own blog birthday?  I'll tell you how...

July 6th I began my new job.  While my new job came with the perks of evenings and weekends off (something that I haven't had in almost eight years), it also came with lots of new information that I had to cram into my brain.

June 30th I moved in with boyfriend.  After seven years of living long distance and making it work that way, boyfriend and I decided to give a go of it and live together.  While things have been working out grandly, he takes up a whole bunch of my time, in a good way of course.  We go out and do things on my newly free weekends.  Also, while I cook two or three times as often as I did before, I've been going for old favorites of mine, rather than striking out with something new each night.

July 1st I bought my first monthly rail pass.  A monthly rail pass to where?  Why, to New York City.  This makes it extremely easy to just hop on the train and head into the city on these newly free weekends.  What happens when you go to the city on the weekend instead of spending time in the kitchen?  You wind up celebrating your blogs birthday three months late.

I'm sorry blog, I love you!  Happy birthday!  Have some cupcakes!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Caramel Brownies

Once upon a time I lived in a cold, frigid land with howling winter winds and a lack of parking in the university center.  The evil professors took all the parking for themselves and left the poor, lowly graduate students to take to public transportation.  In the bright and sunny days of June, July and August, there were none happier than the graduate students as they waited for the busses to come and whisk them to work.  However, as the summer gave way to fall and the trees shed their leaves, the temperatures began to drop as well.

One early winter morning, a bright-eyed first year graduate student bounced out the door in a fire-orange wool jacket, ready for the day ahead.  Only this was not any normal morning, it was the morning of her first Midwestern winter and the graduate student was ill-prepared in her beautiful orange coat.  While her faithful coat protected her from the milder winters of the East coast, it was no match for the winds that tore down the streets. 

The graduate student was no longer bright-eyed, instead she was chilled to the core, red-nosed and buried under layers of sweaters and scarves.  Week after week the winter winds grew stronger, the temperatures plummeted and the graduate student realized that her orange coat would not be enough. 

Armed with her trusty credit card, the graduate student ventured out to find the coat to face all winters.  One that would stand up strong to blustering winds and laugh off snow as it came pelting down.  Searching store after store, the graduate student tried on coat after coat.  Short ones, long ones, puffy ones and sleek ones.  None seemed up to the task of providing her the protection she needed. 

As all hope was dwindling away, the graduate student found it, the perfect coat.  More down-filled comforter than jacket, just the right length and the perfect mocha color.  This coat would allow the graduate student to not only handle the Midwestern winter, but conquer it. 

The blanket jacket protected the graduate student as she waited for her early morning bus and it kept her warm in the evening hours or her return trip home.  The years passed and the jacket provided just the right amount of warmth when the graduate student moved to the milder winters of the Colorado Rockies and it hugged her tight on her long walks home from the lab when she moved back to her beloved East coast.

As the years passed, the blanket jacket became thinner and thinner, yielding its downy filling to the hands of time.  As the graduate student prepared to make her way out into the real world, she realized that it was time to say goodbye to her longtime companion.  The corporate world is no place for a blanket jacket.  Packing it up with loving care, she sent it off to the hands of the Salvation Army, hoping that someone would love it just as much as she had.

Now don't worry, the story doesn't have a sad ending.  While wandering her new hometown, the former graduate student found a new coat.  A beautiful, plum-colored, wool coat, perfect for her new life in the real world.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Parmesan Chicken and Thyme Gnocchi

Sometimes you just need to eat something unhealthy for dinner.  I'm not advocating going to Popeyes (Love that Chicken!) every night for dinner, stopping at the cupcake factory on the way home and washing it all down with a two liter of soda.  No, no, no!  I'm just saying that there are those days, the days that you some how struggled through, scratching and clawing to the finish line.  You barely make it through the safety of your front door and when you do, it feels like a victory.

You need to make a little victory lap around the foyer as you shed your coat and shoes.  You're high fiving your roommates, spouses, children and pets as you drop your purse/briefcase.  The day is finally over and you deserve something special, something delicious, but most importantly, something simple.  A day like this doesn't need to be topped off with an hour in the kitchen.

My Thursday was that kind of day.  Usually Thursday is a great day because Thursday is bagel day at work!  Unlike most Thursdays, this week we had a meeting.  The king of all meetings.  The monthly meeting.  It was scheduled to last from ten o'clock until three o'clock.  We all knew that this was a lofty goal and were all unsurprised when we stumbled out of the room at four o'clock.

After my long day sitting in a meeting, I was looking forward to a quiet trip home on the train.  Apparently the New York Yankees didn't think that was a good idea and had to play a game last night.  The train was packed with dudes, drunk dudes, drunk dudes wearing Yankees jerseys, LOUD drunk dudes wearing Yankee jerseys.  Ugh, so much for doing my crossword puzzle in peace.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Pumpkin Pie Mallomars

 Hello there!  I'm a Nabisco Mallomar!  I was born way back in 1913 and sold in a grocery store in Hoboken, New Jersey.  You've never heard of me?  Well, if you live outside of the tri-state area (New York, New Jersey and Connecticut), you probably won't find me at your local grocery store.  70% of all mallomars are sold to the fine people on the east coast!

I'm super delicious!  Look at my rich, chocolatey coating.  It's so... oh, hello over there!  Who are you?

What are you?  Are you a fried egg?  Maybe you're a delcious ravioli?  Hmmm, you do look kinda familiar.  Have we met before?  Ohhh, I know, we're cousins!  You're from the Wilde side of the family!

Let's be friends! 

Look, we're so much alike!  I'm a vanilla cookie, topped with fluffy vanilla marshmallow!  Do you like my coat?  It's made of pure chocolate!

Oh wow, look at your outfit!  Look at that thick, white chocolate coat you have!  I'm so jealous!  My coat is a little thin, I get cold sometimes.  And is that a graham cracker cookie?  And pumpkin marshmallow?  Wow, you're like Fall in a bite.  Well, more like three or four bites, how did you grow so big?

Hi Nabisco Mallomar, no need to be jealous!  We're each special in our own ways.  You're a classic, people love you!  I'm a little wacky and crazy and I'm perfect for Fall!  People should definitely run out and buy some of your friends, you're only available at this time of year!  I'm also only around in the Fall because who wants a pumpkin pie in April?

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Blue Moon Burger Bash 2011

Did you know that this weekend is the Food Network - Food and Wine Festival in New York City this weekend?  The city smells of delicious food, it's flowing with wines from all over the world and it's abuzz with some of the best chefs around.

Last night, boyfriend and I were lucky enough to attend the Blue Moon Burger Bash.  The evening was set underneath the Brooklyn Bridge, in the old Tobacco warehouse in Brooklyn bridge park. 

What did Burger Bash entail?  Twenty-one of some of the countries greastest chefs doling out some of the most delicious burgers you'll ever taste.  Those of you that know me are a little puzzled right now, those of you who are new friends might be curious as to why. 

For the past fifteen years, I haven't had a steak, hamburger or other beef product, yet there I was yesterday, walking through the smoke from all the grills. It has been many, many years since I've had a hamburger and last night was a good night to start having burgers again.

Mini hamburgers, quarters of hamburgers, burgers on focaccia, burgers on brioche.  There were sides of fries, pickled zucchini and cole slaw.  Tables were slinging gougeres, potato chips and some seriously delicious fried pickles (thank you Custom Burgers!).  With over twenty burgers to try (and one hot dog), boyfriend and I were getting a little full. 

We decided to try and hit as many stands as possible, but split the tables offerings.  How the judges ate each and every single burger, I have no idea.  We probably ate ten and were completely full.  Who were the judges?  You might be asking...  Well, we got to rub elbows with some of Foods biggest stars!

Andrew Zimmern, I think he was sad there was no Brain Burgers..
Guy Fieri, although he only showed up at the very end of the evening...
Bobby Flay, busy stomping for his table "Bobbys Burger Palace"
Duff Goldman and his delicious milkshakes!
And...  The lady of the evening...  Whoopi Goldberg!

Oooo, Whoopi likes this burger!
Some other fabulous people we got to meet were Giada DiLaurentis, Anne Burell and Sunny Anderson.  While it was fun meeting some of my favorite Food Network personalities, the people who deserve the most attention were the chefs behind the tables.  These people made me happy that I broke my fifteen year burger drought.

After eating way too many hamburgers and seriously delicious hot dog, boyfriend and I had decided on our personal favorites.  We voted (using our Blue Moon token) for some pretty delicious hamburgers and I would recommend you check these places out next time you're in their neck of the woods...

My favorite - Benoit's Lamb Burger.  It should be of no surprise, that after fifteen years of not eating beef, I went with a lamb burger.  Not that I didn't enjoy quite a few of the beef burgers!  This lamb burger was topped with roasted tomatoes, eggplant, zucchini confit, raw fennel and sat inside of the most delicious bun I've ever had, a small focacci with black olives.

Boyfriends favorite - Porter House New York's - Two Bites Burger: it's the COPPA.  It was the first one we had and one of my favorites as well.  Boyfriend said it tasted like nachos.  It was an all-beef patty, topped with hot coppa, hand-pulled mozzarella and jammy roma tomato.

My favorite side - There were two.  First, Custom Burgers fried pickles.  Crunchy and tangy, these were some seriously delicious bites.  Second, Smash Burger was doling out miniature cones of bourbon caramel ice cream covered in magic shell and peanut brittle.  I love Shake Shack, I just hate waiting in that long line!  Go on a rainy day to get fast service.

Boyfriends favorite side - Abe & Arthur's Truffle fries.  This was the judges favorite burger, we thought that the fries really made a complete meal.  We ate all of the fries.

Now, you might not be able to head to New York City (or New Jersey) and hit up these delicious burger joints, so I brought something back for you!  Boyfriend and I got to attend a cocktail party before the event where Andrew Zimmern was signing books and answering questions.  I got two extra copies, just for you!  If you're a fan of Andrew Zimmern, like to eat weird foods or are just looking for a good read, you should enter my first giveaway!

Look!  Two signed copies of Andrew Zimmern's new book!

To enter the giveaway you have a few options!

Most importantly - Leave a message and tell me about your favorite burger!

To get additional entries, do any of the following, then leave me a message saying that you're done so!  You can really rack up entries if you do all of these things!

1. Follow Wilde in the Kitchen on Twitter (@WildeKitchen)
2. Tweet about the giveaway on Twitter, tell your friends, they like to read too!
3. "Like" Wilde in the Kitchen on Facebook
4. Subscribe to Wilde in the Kitchen, join the party!

The giveaway closes on Wednesday, October 5th at 10:00pm.  From the first few chapters that I've read, this book is a pretty fun read!  Good luck everyone! 

And, meet my new best friend...

Not really, I grabbed him mid-burger bite, right before he had to run off to the stage!
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