Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Brown Butter Cashew Shortbread

Recipe for Brown Butter Cashew Shortbread by freshfromthe.com

As soon as I said the name of this recipe out loud, my boyfriend said something like "that sounds amazing." And I have to agree, anything that has brown butter in cashews in it sounds pretty dang awesome. He is also a big fan of shortbread in general, and has been eating cashews with abandon lately. So is the recipe a winner?

Well, the glaze ended up being more like frosting than a typical glaze when I made these, as I only had heavy cream rather than milk. You would think that wouldn't make much of a difference, but as you can see, it was pretty thick! And, pro tip - adding water will not help matters! It won't incorporate and will just make the glaze stuff a bit weird. So, yes, milk. Get milk.

Recipe for Brown Butter Cashew Shortbread by freshfromthe.com

The shortbread itself is pretty crumbly, and a very simple recipe, as you can see below. Normally I would say shortbread on its own can be pretty good, but in this case I would say the frosting is actually really needed here. It adds some needed sweetness to an otherwise very pie-dough type shortbread. The frosting on its own seems way too overpowering, but the two together work quite nicely.

I apologize for the pictures not being hugely amazing. Been having some camera difficulties lately and was trying a different lense, which wouldn't zoom in quite so close as I am used to. I also was just not feeling up to going full-on food prettifier. Not that I'm the best at that in the first place, but oh well! Hope you enjoy anyway!

Recipe for Brown Butter Cashew Shortbread by freshfromthe.com


Brown Butter Cashew Shortbread

Prep time: 20 minutes, plus 1 hour for chilling
Cook time: 25 minutes
Yield: 24 bars
Ingredients
  • 2/3 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 to 3 Tablespoons milk
  • 2 Tablespoons finely chopped toasted cashews
Cooking Directions
  1. Line an 8x8 inch pan with foil, extending the foil over the edges (makes it easier to pull it out later). In a medium saucepan, brown the butter. Remove from heat, and cool slightly. Set aside 2 tablespoons for later. Stir in vanilla into the remaining browned butter. Chill that for at least an hour until firm (easiest in the freezer).
  2. Preheat oven to 325F. In a medium bowl, stir together the flour and brown sugar. Using a pastry blender, cut in the chilled brown butter until it resembles fine crumbs. Press the dough firmly into the bottom of the prepared 8x8 pan. It will be pretty dry but the butter bits will expand as it bakes, don't worry.
  3. Bake for about 25 minutes until the shortbread is firm but not brown. Immediately lift the bars out of the pan using the foil, then cut them into bars. Transfer the bars on the foil onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  4. For the icing, stir together the 2 tablespoons of brown butter you saved from earlier (best if it is melted), the powdered sugar, and enough of the milk to make it more of a glaze. Drizzle that over the cooled shortbread, then sprinkle with cashews. Enjoy!

Recipe via Better Homes and Gardens: The Ultimate Cookie Book
Recipe for Brown Butter Cashew Shortbread by freshfromthe.com

Friday, February 27, 2015

King of the Nerds 3x06 "Murder at Nerdvana"

Tonight's episode gave me a little trip down memory lane. So much so that I thought to myself, dang, I would've been good at that Nerd War. Why was it so memory inducing, you may wonder? Well, let me get there, sheesh, calm down.

Recap/review of King of the Nerds 3x06 'Murder at Nerdvana' by freshfromthe.com
After last week, Colby was feeling a bit down, and honestly you really blame him when everyone seems to be focused on getting him out? Though everyone is still friendly and really do genuinely seem to want to be friends, it is a bit tough when you know that if you lose the Nerd War, the other team will nominate you to go into the Nerd Off. Jonathan states that he will volunteer to go up against him if their team loses at the top of the hour as well, because he feels bad for sending in Heather. Does this hold true? Well, first they would have to lose for that to matter, duh!

So let's get to the Nerd War. House Hooloovoo and Team Smash had to go head to head in a forensic battle. No, not the speech kind, but the forensic science variety. Basically, they would have to study a fake crime scene to determine who committed the murder of Pom Pom Kitty. Am I supposed to know who and/or what Pom Pom Kitty is referring to?? Yikes.

As I mentioned this challenge brought me back to my high school days. Like some of the contestants on the show, one of my classes had a similar challenge to this, where we had to look at hair follicles and fingerprints to try to determine who was the culprit in a "crime." Though I think we also had shoe size or something, rather than blood splatter, which sounded much more complicated. So, yes, the two teams had to figure out who was the culprit of the murder by studying fingerprints, blood splatter, hair follicles, and DNA samples.

And to be quite honest, House Hooloovoo pretty much creamed Team Smash. It's not as fun when the competitions aren't very close, so that was a bit of a bummer, but it was a bit of Smash's own fault for not reading the instructions correctly in the first place, just sayin'. And yes, for those who were wondering, I may or may not have been the first one to solve my own forensic crime test back in high school. Nerd alert!

Recap/review of King of the Nerds 3x06 'Murder at Nerdvana' by freshfromthe.comNow some politics came into play. While Jonathan had previously stated that he would definitely volunteer himself to go into the Nerd Off, Lily had a sneaking suspicion that the Nerd Off would have to do with horror films, since that was part of the theme of the Nerd War. That put a wrench in Jonathan's plan, because he doesn't know hardly anything about horror films, while Amanda knows a lot. But would that really be the theme of the Nerd Off?

Only time would tell. Hooloovoo voted Colby in as predicted, and in the end Smash voted in Amanda, hoping for the horror challenge. Curtis tried to fake them out by saying it was going to be a math challenge, but it was, indeed, a horror challenge after all. To be more specific, the challenge was all about horror movie quotes. There were three different difficulty levels - easy, medium and hard. Depending on which difficulty you answered, then you could go smash in the brains of one, two or three zombies, respectively. Those would then give you points. So, one part skill, one part luck.

Though both Colby and Amanda got their first medium questions right, Colby got his second one wrong, while Amanda still got hers right. Colby had a comeback in the final round when he got a hard one right and got some big points, but alas, Amanda also chose hard and got it right, and just barely managed to sneak in the win.

Which means it's time to say farewell to Colby. I felt kind of bad for him, because they kept voting him in to everything, which isn't so great for one's self esteem. But, as Raychelle said, he has already won Jeopardy, so is it entirely fair for him to be in the competition? I also find it a bit funny that there are only two guys left and four girls still there. Will we have another female champion? The teams are officially disbanded, so now it's every person for themselves!

Also, what the heck? No preview for next week?! The horror!

Previous Episode

Friday, February 20, 2015

King of the Nerds 3x05 "Nuclear Nerd Games"

Tonight's episode was a lot of fun, no? Honestly, I love me some games, so an episode dedicated to party games and puzzles is right up my alley. That's right, tonight was all about games. When the two teams were told about the Nerd War, there wasn't a lot of studying or preparing they could do. How do you study for party games when you don't know what they're going to be, exactly?

Recap/review of King of the Nerds 3x05 'Nuclear Nerd Games' by freshfromthe.comAnyhow, when it was time for the Nerd War, the two teams were given help by each having a celebrity guest join their teams - for Hooloovoo it was Penn Jillette, and for Smash it was Rachelle Lefevre. I suppose Rachelle gets to be considered a nerd because she's on a Stephen King show and was in Twilight? Doesn't really matter, though, because she actually fits right in.

The War consisted of three rounds. In the first round, each team would give one word clues to their captain, who would then have to guess who they were talking about based on said clues. So, like, saying Star Wars and whatnot is a clue for George Lucas, etc. Hooloovoo chose Ben to guess while Smash chose Colby, and the two teams tied that round. Round two was all about pictionary. Each member of the team would get three minutes to try to get their team to guess whatever nerd related thing they were drawing, ranging from Back to the Future to an invisible jet. Hooloovoo got one more right than Smash in this round, giving them a slight advantage. Finally, in the third round, they had to basically do charades, acting out various nerd things a la Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead, and The Matrix. Though things were very close once again, Hooloovoo managed to pull out the win.

Which, of course, meant Team Smash had to head into the Nerd Off. And this is where things get interesting. The Secret Six alliance is still in effect, so they want Colby to be the one who goes home. But, they know he's going to be hard to beat, so they decide that they, in Team Smash, will vote Colby into the Nerd Off and leave the decision of who else to send in up to the rest of their team members in Hooloovoo. But, both Heather and Amanda tell the other members that they think Jonathan is the only one who has a chance against Colby.

Well, this gets back to Jonathan via Raychelle, and he decides it's time to take action against the Secret Six in order to save his own skin. He finds Kaitlin and tells her all about the secret alliance and suggests they team up to send either Amanda or Heather in instead of him, creating a new sort of alliance with the two of them plus Raychelle. Now, whether this was actually going to go anywhere was left a mystery until the votes for the Nerd Off.

Team Smash voted in Colby per their earlier agreement. But who does Hooloovoo vote in? Jonathan? No! It's Heather. So Jonathan's plan worked, leaving him to fight another day. That meant Colby and Heather would face off against each other in some kind of puzzle game. Kaitlin pretended to be secretly sabotaging Colby, but in fact she was helping him study how sudoku works because she really wants him to stay.

Recap/review of King of the Nerds 3x05 'Nuclear Nerd Games' by freshfromthe.com
The Nerd Off itself turned out to be more of a word problem than anything involving sudoku. They had to dig through some barrels of sludge to find letters that they would then unscramble to fit into a saying on the board, with certain special letters in there then answering another puzzle at the bottom. Quite frankly, Colby killed it. They tried to up the drama by making it seem closer, and he did mess up there at the end by misspelling the final puzzle, but Heather wasn't even very close in solving the original jumbled word problem. So it's farewell to Heather.

When Colby was on Jeopardy, I thought he was kind of cocky. I actually took to calling him Eyebrows as he was always doing these crazy things with his eyebrows whenever he was on the show. Seeing him on here, however, has made me like him quite a lot, though. He's pretty funny, and obviously very smart, and though he's confident, I wouldn't say he's necessarily cocky. He's there to compete and he's going to be hard to beat in these challenges that play into his strengths. Now, if it were a pictionary drawing Nerd Off, he might be in trouble.

I think my top three in the competition now are probably Jonathan, Colby and Kaitlin. I kind of like Amanda too, though I'm not sure what her strengths are quite yet? We've already seen that Colby and Kaitlin are hard to beat in the Nerd Offs, and soon enough the team dynamic will be kaput so it will be every person for him or herself.  What about you? Who do you want to win?

Previous Episode -- Next Episode

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Molten Chocolate Cake

Molten Chocolate Cake by freshfromthe.com

Long-time readers of this blog may be thinking to themselves... hmm... this looks familiar.

Or maybe not, because I didn't include pictures back then of the actual molten part of the molten chocolate cake! But, yes, back in 2011 (egads!) I did post about molten chocolate cake. And to be perfectly honest, I didn't change the recipe here, though I did neglect to use semi-sweet baking chocolate and just used unsweetened, which made these more like dark chocolate cakes than super sweet ones, but I digress.

Molten Chocolate Cake by freshfromthe.com

I also feel like I still didn't get very good photos, though you may argue that these are least better than the last ones. But I was having a tough time with the camera for some reason in the low light, and had to end up using the flash, which is never a great idea for food photos.... but I couldn't not take photos right when they came out because then they wouldn't really be "molten" anymore. Man, it was tough, let me tell you.

Well, tough until, you know, I got to eat some warm molten chocolate cake. Because, really, what is there to complain about when you've got that going on? Especially when it's so frickin' easy to make?! 

Like, for real. You're probably thinking whoa, I can't make something that has a gooey middle center like that, that seems super hard. Well, you're wrong. These are super easy and quick and will surely impress if you have any guests.

Molten Chocolate Cake by freshfromthe.com

Plus, who can resist something that is baked in a cute little ramekin? Come on.


Molten Chocolate Cake

Ingredients
  • 4 pieces (squares) semi-sweet baking chocolate
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 6 Tablespoons flour
Cooking Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Spray 4 custard cups with cooking spray and place on cookie sheet.
  3. Microwave chocolate and butter in large bowl on high for about 1 minute, until butter is melted. Whisk until chocolate is also melted.
  4. Stir in sugar until well blended. Whisk in eggs and egg yolks. Stir in flour.
  5. Divide between cups.
  6. Bake 13-14 minutes until sides are firm and center is soft. Let stand 1 minute before serving. You can either eat straight from the cup or dump it out onto a plate and dig in to see the inside chocolate melt all over.
Molten Chocolate Cake - super easy and delicious! by freshfromthe.com

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Supernatural 10x14 "The Executioner's Song"

After some more lighthearted episodes, it's back to business this week. Finally, the showdown with Cain. But wait, you say, wasn't Cain okay before? Wasn't he just holed up on a farm somewhere? Well, as the saying goes - that was then, this is now.

Recap/review of Supernatural 10x14 "The Executioner's Song" by freshfromthe.comBecause Cain has succumbed to his darker urges. He's been taking out murderers and other evildoers across the globe, centering around those that have descended from his bloodline, because it's all tainted and such. But that means he's starting to leave a trail, one the Winchesters pick up on without knowing it's his at first. Castiel has also managed to track him down after some tortuous bits with a demon, wherein he learns about his agenda.

Of course, Team Free Will, which I suppose is still relevant even now, is not so into Cain's idea of a culling of the bloodline, particularly when next up on the list is a boy of twelve who just happens to be the son of a murderer. Thing is, Cain's pretty dang strong. The only thing that can kill him at this point? You guessed it - the first blade.

Which means the team is going to need Crowley to bring it on over to them. He's still hanging out in his bunker of sorts, bored to tears despite his mother actively trying to manipulate him into helping her kill some grand coven mother. He doesn't seem easily fooled by her, but then again, she does have a way at touching at his sore spots. One of which happens to be that he's helping the Winchesters when they wouldn't do the same in return. But Crowley isn't having none of that, particularly not after Dean tells him he's on Cain's kill list (even though he isn't), so he heads off, blade in tow.


The whole gang is ready for their trap for Cain, using the kid he wants to kill as bait. Or, pretend bait, as they use an illusion spell thing Rowena was going to use for something else to make it just appear like the kid was there, and trapping Cain in a devil's trap. Which means it's time for Dean to take up the blade and go meet his "maker." Dean gets beat around quite easily, even with the blade in his hand. Cain manages to get the blade away from him, and does the one thing all villains should never do - pontificates about how he's saving Dean from going truly dark side, because he believes that one day the Mark will take over, and Dean will end up doing what Cain did - kill his brother.
Recap/review of Supernatural 10x14 "The Executioner's Song" by freshfromthe.com
Well, today is not that day. Dean manages to use Cain's own knife against him, cutting off his blade-wielding arm. So we must then bid farewell to ole Cain, as Dean has no choice but to use the blade on him when he says he'll never stop with the mad killing stuff. Slightly anticlimactic when you compare this scene to another where Dean is confronting a big bad demon - On the Head of a Pin, anyone?

Dean doesn't let the blade overtake him after their confrontation, but he doesn't give the blade back to Crowley like he said he would either. Instead, he gives it to Cas, who hides it in points unknown, leaving Crowley to go home and be berated by his dear mum for, you know, being a terrible King of Hell and all.

Meanwhile, back at the bunker, Dean is putting on a brave face, and so is Sam, but neither of them seem all that optimistic about Dean's prospects. In case you couldn't figure that out, Sam spells it out for us by telling Cas that Dean's in trouble. You think?

Random Thoughts:

- Was anyone else a bit distracted by some of the music in this episode? It seemed to be a bit loud in some of the talking scenes. Maybe I'm just nutty.

- I mean... I kind of wanted more from a showdown between Cain and Dean. Like, a lot of build up for not a lot of reward here. And it was kind of... melodramatic? I suppose maybe because we know Dean is going to get out of this Mark business somehow that all of the near tears feels little like yeah blah blah okay. Or maybe I'm just being cynical, who knows.

- Does anyone know what the heck Cas' goal is for this season apart from helping Dean? There was that whole bit with Hannah earlier rounding up wayward angels, but is that still his thing? The even bigger question: do we care?

- Similarly, what the heck does Crowley want? I suppose that's sort of what he's trying to figure out, as he's so very clearly bored of his day to day King duties. But he needs to get some kind of goal, stat.

- Now the show is taking a bit of a break until mid March, when it moves back to... Wednesdays. Good? Bad? No difference?

Quotes:

Dean: Bass fishing, needlepoint, that's a hobby. Collecting serial killer stats, that's an illness.

Cain: I prefer to be thorough.

Previous Episode
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...