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Last Wednesday I had the day off of work and I decided I was really going to use the whole day very wisely.  So I got up, walked the dogs with Brad, showered, did some Christmas shopping, came home, made some crumb cake, went to Sam’s Club with Brad and then made some chili.  Oh and then went to our town’s Christmas Main Street lighting thing and drove downtown Indy to see all the Christmas decorations.

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Like I said, I wanted to use my day wisely…  I think I accomplished my goal.

Ok, so every once and awhile I get on Pinterest.  Is Pinterest sill the thing to do?  I jumped on the wagon a little late and I feel like now no one uses it anymore, but I don’t really know.  Either way, I probably get on it once a week because I feel like the same recipes are always on there, but usually if I get on once a week I can find something new.  Anyway, so I was on Pinterest and realized that I am a dork because I have pinned some 100 recipe but have pretty much never made any of them.  And what better thing to do on a day off than to make some random recipe from Pinterest!?

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The reason why I had originally “pinned” this recipe and decided to make it was because it literally looks exactly like the crumb cake we spent like $20 on from Carlo’s Bakery in Hoboken, NJ (aka Cake Boss) when we went to visit friends over my birthday in March.  Brad had seen it out of the corner of his eye in their case and asked that we get it and I, of course, was not going to pass it up.  However, we had thought we’d be getting just like a slice of it, maybe the size of an index card, but that’s not really how they do things there.  Instead we got a whole slab of crumb cake that was at least the size of a sheet of 8 1/2″ x 11″ paper.  When I saw the girl put it in the box I thought to myself that we would never eat it all and that I hoped it was ridiculously good because I knew we were going to really pay for that thing.  Luckily and not surprisingly it was incredibly delicious.  Delicious enough that I am pretty sure we ate every last crumb of that thing within like 2 days.  It was basically too good to be true.  And so when I saw the photo on Pinterest and realized it looked exactly the same, I knew it was worth a try!

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Now, it doesn’t taste exactly like the one from Carlo’s Bakery (I swear theirs had a hint of lemon to it), but this was still pretty freaking good.  It it’s made with ingredients that most people have laying around the house.  The only thing is that it requires cake flour.  The recipe states at the very beginning to not sub all-purpose flour, but I’m a dork and thought I had more cake flour than I actually did.  So I cheated and used all-purpose flour for the crumb part.  And what do you know, just as the original recipe said, it was dry.  And of course, just as I had put everything together, my mom called me about something and I told her that I was making a crumb cake and that I cheated and used all-purpose flour and exactly like a mom, she told me I could make my own cake flour easily.  Wah.  It was too late.  But I’ll supply a link below to help you not have this situation yourself.

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Ok, so like I said, you should have most, if not all, of the ingredients and it’s really not complicated to make at all.  It probably took me 10 minutes to whip it all together.  It takes about 40 minutes to bake and in case you are wondering what you can do in those 40 minutes, I’ll tell you: You can eat the remaining 5 leftover steak fries from the night before, lick both the batter bowl and the crumb bowl clean, wash those bowls and all the other dishes including the ones that should have gone in the dishwasher had you thought to wait to start the dishwasher instead of doing it 1 1/2 hours before you made this crumb cake… dry all those dishes, clean up some dog vomit (twice) because one of them (I still don’t know who) got freaked by the FedEx man knocking on the front door… and after all of that, you will still be able to watch a good 15 minutes of Parenthood.  You’d be amazed at what you can accomplish in 40 minutes!

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Anyway, the crumb cake is easy and awesome and I am really excited to make it for Christmas morning because it just seems like a good thing to make for Christmas morning.  It would also make a great gift!  Everyone loves a crumb cake, right!?  Oh and warning: it is pretty crumbly, but let’s face it, the crumbs are what makes crumb cake so amazing.

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Crumb Cake
Taken straight from Smells Like Home (found on Pinterest)
Makes 1- 8″x8″ pan

For the Crumb Layer:
1/3 cup of granulated sugar
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 pinch salt
1 stick of unsalted butter, melted
1 3/4 cup cake flour (don’t have cake flour?  Learn how to make it HERE!)

For the Cake Layer:
1 1/4 cup cake flour
1/2 cup of granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened but still solid, cut into 6 chunks
1 whole egg
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup buttermilk (don’t have any?  Learn how to make it HERE!)

Powdered Sugar for dusting (I forgot this part.  Oops)

To make the topping: Whisk sugars, cinnamon, salt, and butter in medium bowl to combine. Add flour and stir with a spoon until mixture resembles thick, cohesive dough; set aside to cool to room temperature, 10 to 15 minutes.

To make the cake: Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Cut parchment paper to cover the whole inside of the an 8″ pan.  I did this in 2 pieces, it works better.

In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with paddle attachment, mix flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt on low speed to combine. With mixer running at low speed, add butter one piece at a time; continue beating until mixture resembles moist crumbs, with no visible butter chunks remaining, about 1 to 2 minutes. Add egg, yolk, vanilla, and buttermilk; beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 1 minute, scraping once if necessary.

Transfer batter to baking pan; using rubber spatula, spread batter into even layer.  Break apart crumb topping and spread it evenly over the batter. Bake until crumbs are golden and wooden skewer inserted into center of cake comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Let it cool for at least 30 minutes. Remove cake from pan by lifting parchment overhang. Dust with confectioners’ sugar just before serving (but not while it’s still hot!).  YUM!

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Well, I’ve spent most of my week trying to NOT be sick.  Nothing is more stressful and upsetting than starting to have symptoms of being sick less than TWO WEEKS before TOUGH MUDDER.  I have been freaking out on the inside, while trying to hold it together on the outside.  I’ve been drinking more Kombucha than what is probably good for me, I’ve been gargling down Airborne like my life depends on it and I’ve been drinking more water than I think my bladder can handle.  Along with blowing my nose non-stop.

And after all of that… I have still manged to wake up this morning with green stuff coming out of my nose, achey joints and back and literally sounding like I’ve been smoking since I was a baby.  However… I am DETERMINED to power through this.  I’ve been training for months for the damn Tough Mudder and I’m not going to let some silly cold get in my way!

See?  I’ve gotten tougher since we started this whole training process!  But I wanted everyone to know that I was sick, so that’s mainly why I wrote about it.  I’ll be fine.  Once I get some proper (stupid) medicine in me, I’ll be good to go.  I have to be because I have some serious baking to do today that you’ll all learn about in about a week!  Hhmmmm

I promise, I didn’t just make this post to write about being sick.  I want to tell you about my first time making and eating Pasta Carbonara!  Yep!  Never made it, never had it!  I was skeptical of it, definitely had my doubts… but I am here to say that it turns out, pasta carbonara is pretty good!  The whole raw egg thing freaks me out.  No wait, it’s not raw, the egg is cooked by the heat of the pasta, but either way, I have been scared to try it due to that factor.

We went to the Zionsville Farmer’s Market on Saturday morning (we drug Cash along with us, he was quite a hit) and stocked up on fresh, homemade pasta and bacon straight from the farm.  I was hoping to find peas, but I didn’t want to have to mess with taking them out of their shell (plus we had a bag of frozen peas at home), so I didn’t get any of those and we already had a dozen brown eggs in our fridge.  So what I had hoped to be an all farmer’s market meal, turned into a half farmer’s market meal.  But that’s ok.  The important stuff came from the farmer’s market, so I was able to come to terms with it.

For those of you who don’t know what pasta carbonara is, allow me to enlighten you.  It’s pasta (wow!) with bacon and peas and then a cream sauce made of, well, cream and eggs.  But you don’t cook the sauce.  You simply pour it over the hot, cooked pasta and let that heat cook the eggs.  I was pleasantly surprised by how delicious it was.  It’s a very creamy pasta dish with wonderful saltiness from the bacon (don’t even bother adding any extra salt) and a teeny hit of sweet from the peas (I love peas).

Remember how in my welcome post I said there are some healthy recipes and some not so healthy recipes?  Weeeelllll…. this will be one of those not-so-healthy ones.  But it’s ok.  We’re all allowed to eat heavy cream and bacon every once and awhile.  But I did try to lighten this up by using half cream and half skim milk and it still turned out delicious.  I felt a little better after eating an entire plate of it, knowing that I only used half of the heavy cream.  Yea… I focus on the little things.

Anyway, go make this dish sometime.  It’s a really great pasta dish and even better with fresh pasta.  I can’t wait to go back to the market and buy all the different kinds they have!  Enjoy!

Pasta Carbonara
Makes about 4 servings
Adapted from Pioneer Woman

12 ounces pasta
8 pieces of bacon, chopped
1/2 of an onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
3 eggs
3/4 cups parmesan cheese, grated
3/4 cups heavy cream (to make it healthy, do half of that cream, half of that milk)
Salt and Pepper
1/2 cup peas

Fry up the bacon in a skillet until crispy.  Remove from the pan and drain on a paper towel lined plate.  Pour out all of the bacon grease, but don’t wipe out the pan.  Return the skillet to the stove and reheat.  Add the garlic and onion and saute until golden brown.

Cook your pasta according to the directions.

In a bowl, mix together the eggs, heavy cream (and hopefully milk), parmesan and salt and pepper.

When the pasta is finished, drain (but reserve about 1 cup of pasta water, just in case) and pour into a bowl.  Slowly add the egg mixture while constantly mixing (you need to do this otherwise the heat of the pasta might scramble the eggs).  Sauce should be thick and coat the pasta, but if you want it a little thinner, add a little bit of pasta water at a time.

Stir in the cooked bacon, peas and cooked garlic and onion and you are done!!  Serve immediately… however I did find that it’s pretty good the next day!



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