Pear Tart

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Hello everyone! I just got back from vacation in Asia, where I basically ate non stop. However, this post isn’t about that haha. This is a recipe for a pear tart I made recently for people at work. There was a recent stretch where I was making a dessert a week for my colleagues, but that has stopped for now due to mounting expenses haha. I got the recipe from here and followed it pretty closely. The only thing that differed was how I laid out and designed my pears. This was my first try and overall it was a huge success!

Ingredients:

  • 3 tbsp butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup  flour
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped walnuts
  • 1 package (8 oz) reduced-fat cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tsp sugar, divided
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 Red pears, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

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Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 425º
  • In a bowl, beat butter, sugar, and cinnamon together until crumbly.
  • Beat in flour and walnuts into the mixture
  • Press into 9″ tart pan coated with cooking spray
  • For filling: beat cream cheese and 1/4 cup sugar until smooth, then beat in the egg and vanilla
  • Spread over the crust and arrange sliced pears
  • Mix sugar and cinnamon together and sprinkle over the tart
  • Bake 10 minutes, then reduce oven to 350º and bake another ~20 min
  • Let cool and refrigerate before eating
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Chocolate Strawberry Cake

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So now that I have been baking a lot recently, I have been tasked with making cakes for my family’s birthdays.  We celebrated my sister’s birthday recently and she requested a chocolate cake, but one that incorporated strawberries somehow.  I think its safe to say that we all have a thing for strawberries. So I scoured the internet for recipes because I am not yet at the point of winging cakes, especially not for a birthday… That’s when I came across this cake from a Taste of Home.  It turned out really well. Rich and moist,  a little too much chocolate for my taste, but everyone else seemed to love it. Enjoy

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Ingredients:

  • 1 package chocolate cake mix (regular size)
  • 1 package (3.9 ounces) instant chocolate pudding mix
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 4 ounces semisweet chocolate, melted
  • FROSTING:
  • 2 cups butter, softened
  • 4 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 3/4 cup baking cocoa
  • 1/2 cup 2% milk
  • GARNISHES:
  • 2 ounces semisweet chocolate, melted
  • 1 pound fresh strawberries, hulled
  • GANACHE:
  • 4 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

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Instructions

  • Grease 2 9″ cake pans
  • Combine all the cake ingredients in a large bowl and beat on low for 30 seconds, then for 2 minutes at medium speed
  • Pour evenly into 2 pans
  • Bake at 350 degrees for ~30 minutes until done (toothpick comes out clean)
  • While cake is cooling, make the frosting
  • Beat the butter, sugar, and cocoa until fluffy, then add milk in and continue to mix until smooth
  • Spread the frosting inbetween and around the cooled cake
  • For the ganache, heat the whipping cream over medium heat or in the microwave
  • Then mix in the chocolate and stir until melted and smooth
  • Pour over the cake and arrange strawberries as desired
  • I also used extra frosting to pipe designs onto the cake if that is something that interests you
  • Cut, eat, and celebrate!

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Panko Parmesan Crusted Halibut

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So Jenn was over one weekend and I decided to cook for her (as is kind of the point of this blog). She obviously gets the better end of this deal now that I think about it. She is always wanting to eat healthier and encouraging me to do the same. I oblige as much as I can, but c’mon, you can’t not eat ribs, burgers, fries, steak, pizza, dessert, etc if they’re in front of you. And let’s be honest, I make it a point to put them in front of me. So, I had a few vegetables in my fridge and in order to be healthy, I decided to make fish. But me being me and wanting to make it nice and do this “chivalrous” thing for the gf, I went out and got halibut (Costco really does have good deals). I basically had everything else in my pantry, so it worked out great. I loosely followed a recipe by For the Love of Cooking. All in all, it turned out pretty dang good, crispy and flaky, the way it was supposed to be. Try it out and let me know what you think!

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Ingredients:

  • halibut filets, no skin
  • 1/2-3/4 cup panko crumbs
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 tbsp parsley, finely chopped (or dried I suppose)
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • salt and pepper
  • lemon juice (maybe 1/2 a medium lemon)
  • olive oil
  • cooking spray

Directions:

  • Preheat the oven to 450 degrees, wash and pat dry the halibut
  • On a plate, combine the panko, parmesan, parsley, and garlic powder
  • Brush both sides of the halibut with olive oil, and squeeze some lemon juice on them
  • Season the halibut with salt and pepper
  • Dip and coat the halibut with the panko mixture
  • Place the halibut on a cooking/baking rack and spray with cooking oil
  • Bake for ~15 minutes
  • Let sit for ~1-2 minutes, garnish with some chopped parsley and enjoy!

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Chili and Cast Iron Corn Bread

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We had the slow cooker out from making the hummus and decided to use it again to make chili. What goes well with chili? Cornbread of course! Corn bread made in a cast iron skillet to be exact. So we put everything in the crock pot before going to work and came home to an apartment filled with the smell of chili, and in no way was that disappointing. Then we whipped up the cornbread and ate a terribly unhealthy, but terribly delicious meal. Got the recipe for the cornbread from here.

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Ingredients for chili (semi made up from a hodgepodge of other recipes Ive seen in the past)

  • 2 lbs ground beef
  • 2 yellow onions, diced
  • 5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup chili powder
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • dash of pepper
  • 3 cans of stewed/diced tomatoes
  • Shredded cheddar cheese and chopped onions for serving

Directions

  • In a large pan on medium heat, cook the onions and season with salt until soft
  • Add the garlic and chili powder and stir for a minute
  • Add the beef and cook until brown
  • Drain the majority to almost all of the oil and transfer to a slow cooker
  • Cook the chili in the slow cooker on low for 8 hours

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Ingredients for corn bread

  • 8 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 1/4 cups finely ground yellow cornmeal
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp fine salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk

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Directions for corn bread

  • Heat oven to 450 degrees
  • put 2 tbsp butter in a cast iron skillet and set aside, melt the other 6 tbsp of butter in a small dish
  • Whisk cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl
  • Whisk eggs in a large bowl until frothy, then mix in the buttermilk
  • Pour egg mix into the flour/cornmeal mix and stir until dry streaks are incorporated (easier if you use a rubber spatula), but careful not to overmix
  • Fold in the melted butter and let stand for 5 minutes
  • When the oven is hot, place the skillet with the 2 tbsp butter in for 5 minutes
  • Remove the pan and coat the bottom of the pan with the melted butter
  • Pour the batter into the skillet and bake until golden (~15 minutes)
  • After removing the pan from the oven, let it rest for about 5 minutes
  • Cut and enjoy

This meal was pretty damn good. It was hearty and nostalgic, but on the downside it lacked any form of real vegetables whatsoever. The chili was pretty oily in the cooker, so before we mixed and served it, I spooned out most of the oil that had risen to the top. I also added a little bit of cornstarch to the chili to thicken it up. The cornbread turned out perfectly, but next time we might add some cheddar cheese to the mix, and maybe some jalapeños too.