Sunday, August 25, 2013

Sunday Night Dinner: Take 29

Another Sunday night, and once again...another yummy Sunday night dinner! Tonight, I got to enjoy the company of my girlfriend Alison and catch up on our busy lives. It was a great evening and I look forward to more nights like tonight in the near future!

We started with some fresh watermelon juice and had some tasty olives too! Soon after, she was digging into the Soft Pretzels I made last night! They're so good, even after freezing. And the main course was just as good - salmon with herb garlic butter, roasted brussels sprouts and herbed basmati rice. YUM! We both were stuffed and completely satisfied!!

The Best Soft Pretzels Ever!

While visiting my brother and his family in Kansas City, I met an amazing woman named Heather. She is a foodie like me and we clicked almost instantly! I soon found out about her Soft Pretzel Bites and KNEW I would be making them when I got back to California. 

After telling a friend about them, I couldn't wait any longer and made them last night. I made the whole batch, and was able to freeze more than half. I got a craving for one today while editing these photos and I can tell you they are just as amazing microwaved right out of the freezer. I will be making these again soon, even if it's just to stock my freezer with these tasty little treats!

Take a look at how I made some of the best soft pretzels I've ever had! Oh and you should also make them yourself - you WON'T be sorry!!!

The Goods:
Vegetable Oil
Baking Soda
Kosher Salt
Sea Salt
Egg Yolk
Active Dry Yeast

Combine the warm water, kosher salt and sugar.

Add the yeast and let it do it's thing.

Using the dough hook attachment, mix in the flour and butter.

Kneed on medium speed for 4 to 5 minutes - 
until the dough is pulling away from the sides of the bowl.

Oil bowl/dough, cover with plastic wrap and let rise for about an hour.

Until it looks like this!

Roll it out onto a lightly oiled surface.

Divide into eight equal portions and roll our until 24 inches long.

Form pretzels or cut into bite sized pieces. 

Place all pieces on lightly oiled, parchment lined baking sheets.

Bring water and baking soda to a rolling boil.

Boil each pretzel individually for 30 seconds and return to baking sheets.
(Or 10 bite sized pieces at a time) 

Bake for about 10 minutes.

Remove from baking sheet and brush a little extra butter on top.

And serve with some jalapeno cheese - my fave!

Thanks Heather. I already cannot wait to make more!!!

Summer Vacation In Kansas City!

I recently took a week vacation to visit my brother and his family in the Kansas City area. It was so great to see everyone! I had an amazing time and I cannot wait to see everyone again - hopefully sometime soon!!! Because pictures are better than me rambling on and on, take a look at just a few of the many pictures I took during my summer vacation to the Midwest.

My only request was to eat some yummy barbecue.
And that I did!!!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Sunday Night Dinner: Take 28

Tonight's Sunday Night Dinner was pretty simple, but finding all the pieces to make it a success was far from simple!  One would think that it'd be easy to find pretzel rolls, correct? Especially now that they're pretty trendy. Well...not really! After going to 4 different stores, I was finally able to purchase pretzel slider rolls from a store I'd seen them at MONTHS ago. Why I didn't start there in the first place...that's another story! 

Now that I had pretzel rolls, I could make what I'd picture as an amazing dinner! I made turkey burger pretzel roll sliders with cheddar cheese, mustard, lettuce and pickle slices. They were simply amazing and even better than I thought possible! With them, I enjoyed some grilled zucchini and roasted brussels sprouts. Both were very tasty and oddly enough, a great compliment to the sliders.

Elina and Robyn Make...RIBS!

If you follow my blog, I'm betting that you already know how much I love to cook and bake! I love the process, but I think I love the outcome of the tasty food even more. And recently, I've discovered that cooking and baking with one of your best friends is a whole lot of fun!!!

In the last year or so, I've made quite a few delicious things with my neighbor Elina, who also happens to be one of my best friends. I love cooking with her and I think we make a pretty good team! I've blogged about a few things we've made in the past, but after some thought I decided to start a new section called "Elina and Robyn Make...".

So without saying much more, I hope you enjoy reading about what we make and take a look at the first post of this awesome new section:
Elina and Robyn Make...RIBS!!!

While we were trying to decided exactly how we wanted the ribs to taste, we looked up many different recipes. We didn't use one specific recipe, or even two, but instead we used multiple recipes as inspiration to come up with our own homemade rib rub and homemade BBQ sauce!

The Goods:
2 Racks of Baby Back Ribs
Cayenne Pepper
White Pepper
Brown Sugar
Garlic Powder
Onion Powder
Smoked Paprika
Chili Powder
Ground Nutmeg

Cut each rack or ribs in half.

Measure out the spices for the rub mixture.
Try some measurements similar to  this, or research a few like we did!

And combine them well. 

Generously rub the mixture...

o!n both side of the ribs

And wrap each half rack in foil. 

Line the wrapped ribs up on a cookie/baking sheet to catch any drippings. 

Put the ribs in the oven that has been preheated to 250 Degrees.

Cook them for 2 hours to start.

While the ribs are in the oven, it's time to start on the sauce!

The Sauce Goods:
Apple Cider Vinegar
Vegetable Oil
Brown Sugar
Chili Powder
Worcestershire Sauce
Frank's Red Hot Sauce
Diced Onion
Minced Garlic

Mince the garlic and dice the onion.

Combine all the sauce ingredients in a saucepan and let simmer for 30 minutes. 

Strain the onions and garlic from the sauce...

so it looks smooth and delicious!

After the ribs have cooked for2 hours,  it's time to add the sauce!

Unwrap the ribs from the foil...

Lay them out on a foil lined cookie/baking sheet...

And brush the sauce on both sides!

Return them to the oven and cook 30 more minutes.

Add sauce to both sides ONE MORE TIME and return to the oven.

After 30 more minutes in the oven, they should be falling off the bone and ready to devour!

Yup - READY for eating!!!

And serve with something equally as delicious!
We enjoyed our ribs with homemade french fries, grilled apricot/goat cheese salad and corn bread.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Happy Birthday Alison!

Today - August 4th - just so happens to be one of my BEST FRIEND'S Birthday's! I couldn't wait to celebrate with her and snapped a few shots to document our amazingly fun night!

We started off the evening by opening presents and I'm SO happy that she loved what I got her. She immediately was asking to take pictures to send to her sister. Success!!

Elephant Necklace - SO cute!!

After presents we finished getting ready and headed to dinner at King's Fish House.

We took a few quick photos before starting our FEAST! 

The Birthday Girl!

And ME!

Crab cakes, Shrimp Cocktail, Fish and Chips, Soup, Salad, Wine, Beer and of course...

Delicious Birthday Cake!

Can't forget to make a wish!!!

I had a great time celebrating with this amazing lady and I wish her nothing but the best in the years to come!

Happy Birthday, Alison! I love you and am SO happy to have you as a friend!

LA Visitors!

I've mentioned in a few past post that my parents visited me in Los Angeles recently. What I didn't mention was that my mom and dad were just two of the visitors I had stay over that weekend! 

I got to spend some quality time with my brother after we surprised our parents one night. My parents had NO idea that he was going to be in LA too, so it was an extra special night. 

Please excuse the fake smile and deer in the headlights look...

The next night, my grandma and cousin came up to join us at the Dodger's game! 

Excited for the game!

Our seats were AMAZING - 5 rows from the field! I can't believe how close we were. It was my cousin's first MLB game, so it was another extra special night!

Let's Go Dodgers!!!

My parents, grandma, cousin and myself all enjoyed breakfast at a family owned place really close to my apartment. We went there as a group of five once before, so now it's become a tradition! 

Proof that Grandma drank Iced Coffee!
She never drinks coffee!!! 

Post Breakfast pictures with Grandma and Aly.

And one with Mom, Dad and Grandma too!

Over the long weekend, I got to spend a lot of relaxing quality time with my parents, which unfortunately is something that doesn't happen often enough. As usual - the visit was far too short, but I look forward to seeing them again soon!