Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Dip & Salsa Tasting With Trader Joe's

Dip & Salsa Tasting With Trader Joe's

Last night, hubby and I had a dip and salsa tasting from products we purchased at Trader Joe's. We love Trader Joe's Organic Corn Chip Dippers. They are delicious and have a nice crunch. Each chip is aptly shaped for dipping so you should have just the right amount in each bite. Only gripe was we found broken chips in the bag so I don't know if this is always the case.

Trader Joe's Organic Corn Chip Dippers
I have had raita before and loved it but I cannot say the same for Trader Joe's Raita An Indian Style Yogurt Dip which I did not like at all. I felt there was way too much mint which overpowered the other ingredients instead of complementing them. I did not enjoy the taste at all. I will not purchase this again.

Trader Joe's Raita An Indian Style Yogurt Dip
We actually purchased Trader Joe's Pineapple Salsa in Livermore, CA on our summer vacation before I knew a Trader Joe's was opening on the Upper West Side. This salsa is so delicious and chunky. It has a perfect balance since it is not too sweet or spicy. The taste is just right. If you don't want spicy, I recommend it. It has a wee bit of a kick but not much.

Trader Joe's Pineapple Salsa
I have always been a fan of hummus and love Trader Joe's Mediterranean Creamy & Smooth Hummus. Just mix the contents well before you serve. This hummus is very tasty and has a nice texture. I love it and plan to eat the rest with raw veggies instead of the dippers.

Trader Joe's Mediterranean Creamy & Smooth Hummus
-Sophia & Allen/Two Frys

Monday, September 27, 2010

Goodies for the Kitchen and Chives Lemon Aioli Recipe

Like many New Yorkers, we live in a small apartment but I tend to buy gadgets and things for the kitchen I have no space for. Anyways, the week of my gallbladder surgery my hubby got me this adorable Cheeseburger Timer to cheer me up. I love it and use it all the time!

Hamburger Timer
Shopping at Target last week, I bought Nordic Ware International 101 Cookie Cutters (why not 100?). Since I am planning to do more baking and plan to participate in the Great American Bake Sale, I thought this would be fun to have and it costs less than ten bucks. I have used many of the shapes already. To make sure the dough does not stick to the cutter put it in flour first and then do your cutter shapes in the dough. The cutters work great. At target, I also purchased this nifty Chefmate Cake Carrier which is very handy when I bring my baked goodies to my family.

Nordic Ware International 101 Cookie Cutters
These are some of the cookie cutters
Chefmate Cake Carrier
Another thing I did not have until yesterday was a Lemon Squeezer (thanks hubby). I used it last night when I made Chives Lemon Aioli for burgers and much more juice comes out than if you were to squeeze the lemon with your hand. You also don't have to worry about the pits falling in your recipe. I have a Lime Squeezer as well but if you can only get one now, buy the Lemon Squeezer since a lime will fit in it and is more versatile since it is larger. I saw an Orange Squeezer on the Food Network the other day and hope to get one soon.

Lemon Squeezer
Chives Lemon Aioli
2 tablespoons of Mayo
Squeeze juice of 1/2 lemon
Thinly chop 7-8 chives
1 teaspoon of coarse black pepper
For an extra kick, add 1 teaspoon of Sriracha HOT Chili Sauce
Mix together and chill for 2 hours
Serve on burgers, as sandwich spread or dip for veggies, very yummy!

-Sophia/One of Two Fry's

Great American Bake Sale:

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Spinach Ricotta Ravioli and Cheesy Breadsticks

Spinach Ricotta Ravioli and Cheesy Breadsticks

In the spirit of Sandra Lee's technique of semi-homemade with store bought ingredients, I whipped up this delicious dinner tonight in about twenty minutes. Recipe below.

Spinach Ricotta Ravioli and Cheesy Breadsticks
Trader Joe's Spinach Ricotta Ravioli with Fiore's Famous Garlic Sauce Bring large pot of water to a boil
When boiling add 1 teaspoon of olive oil
Add coarse kosher salt
Carefully drop in ravioli and cook for 4-5 minutes

1/4 cup of Fiore's Famous Garlic Sauce
1/2 cup of Chicken Stock
1 teaspoon of Olive Oil
Simmer for ten minutes on low heat
Mix drained ravioli with sauce
Top with Grated Parmesan and a handful of roughtly chopped flat leaf parsely and serve immediately

Cheesy Breadsticks
Pillsbury Breadsticks Original
Follow package instructions
Bake for about ten minutes then take out real quick and generously sprinkle each breadstick with shredded cheddar cheese
Return to oven for another 2-3 minutes
Mind your oven as they are all different
Serve along the pasta

-Sophia/Two Frys

Friday, September 24, 2010

Trader Joe's Opens on the Upper West Side, NYC

 Trader Joe's Opens on the Upper West Side, NYC

Trader Joe's 72nd Street and Broadway, Grand Opening
Allen and I were thrilled when we found out Trader Joe's was opening a store on the Upper West Side. Finally, this would be the closest location to us and it wouldn't take as long on the crowded subway to get home than Trader Joe's downtown Union Square location. Trader Joe's opened its doors on Monday and we went Friday evening. It was very crowded but we were able to move around just at a slower pace. We wanted to see everything first time around so we know where eveything is on subsequent visits. I was happy to see favorites like Goddess Dressing. The store has everything I have seen at other locations so I was very happy with the selections in all categories.

When you enter the store, you take an escalator or elevator down one level to shop and there is a second lower level for even more shopping. We were there around 5pm on a Friday evening so unless you live around the area and are just going in for a few things go earlier or later. In the future, we will try and avoid heavy crowds at this time. The lines were so long but employees helped to keep it organized and it went real fast. There are so many registers so don't let long lines deter you from shopping.
Hubby with 3 of our bags from our Trader Joe's shopping
You can buy Trader Joe's cool selection of green reuseable bags from $1 and up or bring your own. You can ask for paper bags for no extra cost instead of using plastic bags. We brought two bags from our August vacation in California we purchased when we stayed with hubby's parents in Livermore. We filled up both these bags, bought another one and in total, came out of Trader Joe's with four bags of goodies. We are so happy Trader Joe's has opened in this location.

-Sophia and Allen/Two Frys

Friday, September 10, 2010

Ina Garten's Beatty's Chocolate Cake & Coconut Cake

Barefoot Contessa
At Home Cookbook
When I first saw Ina Garten make Beatty's Chocolate Cake and Coconut Cake on the Food Network it wasn't long before I made both. I was not much of a baker until I started baking these two cakes and now I am hooked. I also love cookbooks and consider Ina Garten one of the greatest chefs in the world so it's no surprise I own alot of her cookbooks. Ina is a big inspiration to me much like Julia Child. I bought Barefoot Contessa At Home since it has both cake recipes and soon fell in love with the other recipes in this cookbook and the others I own. I recommend trying Ina's cakes and let me know what you think. You will probably love them so much you will bake them all the time like I have for my hubby and family members. These cakes are incredibly rich tasting.

Beatty's Chocolate Cake -
Butter, for greasing the pans
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
2 cups sugar
3/4 cups good cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup buttermilk, shaken
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee
Beatty's Chocolate Cake
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter 2 (8-inch) [I use 2 9-inch] round cake pans. Line with parchment paper, then butter and flour the pans.

Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix on low speed until combined. In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry. With mixer still on low, add the coffee and stir just to combine, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool in the pans for 30 minutes, then turn them out onto a cooling rack and cool completely.

Place 1 layer, flat side up, on a flat plate or cake pedestal. With a knife or offset spatula, spread the top with frosting. Place the second layer on top, rounded side up, and spread the frosting evenly on the top and sides of the cake.

I made it for my hubby's birthday, love the candle (hee hee)
Chocolate Frosting:
6 ounces good semisweet chocolate (recommended: Callebaut) [I use Ghirardelli]
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 extra-large egg yolk, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
1 tablespoon instant coffee powder

Chop the chocolate and place it in a heat-proof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Stir until just melted and set aside until cooled to room temperature.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium-high speed until light yellow and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg yolk and vanilla and continue beating for 3 minutes. Turn the mixer to low, gradually add the confectioners' sugar, then beat at medium speed, scraping down the bowl as necessary, until smooth and creamy. Dissolve the coffee powder in 2 teaspoons of the hottest tap water. On low speed, add the chocolate and coffee to the butter mixture and mix until blended. Don't whip! Spread immediately on the cooled cake.

Coconut Cake -
3/4 pound (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for greasing the pans
2 cups sugar
5 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract [I use 2 teaspoons]
1 1/2 teaspoons pure almond extract
3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the pans
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup milk
4 ounces sweetened shredded coconut

Coconut Cake
For the frosting:
1 pound cream cheese, at room temperature [I use 1 8 oz.] 
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract [I use 1 tablespoon]
1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract
1 pound confectioners' sugar, sifted
6 ounces sweetened shredded coconut

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease 2 (9-inch) round cake pans, then line them parchment paper. Grease them again and dust lightly with flour.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium-high speed for 3 to 5 minutes, until light yellow and fluffy. Crack the eggs into a small bowl. With the mixer on medium speed, add the eggs 1 at a time, scraping down the bowl once during mixing. Add the vanilla and almond extracts and mix well. The mixture might look curdled; don't be concerned.

Coconut Cake
In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the dry ingredients and the milk to the batter in 3 parts, beginning and ending with dry ingredients. Mix until just combined. Fold in the 4 ounces of coconut with a rubber spatula.

Pour the batter evenly into the 2 pans and smooth the top with a knife. Bake in the center of the oven for 45 to 55 minutes, until the tops are browned and a cake tester comes out clean. Cool on a baking rack for 30 minutes, then turn the cakes out onto a baking rack to finish cooling.

For the frosting, in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the cream cheese, butter, vanilla and almond extract on low speed. Add the confectioners' sugar and mix until just smooth (don't whip!).

To assemble, place 1 layer on a flat serving plate, top side down, and spread with frosting. [Instead of frosting I use pineapple preserves.] Place the second layer on top, top side up, and frost the top and sides. To decorate the cake, sprinkle the top with coconut and lightly press more coconut onto the sides. Serve at room temperature.


-Sophia/Two Frys

Monday, September 6, 2010

Pumpkin Cream Pie

Last fall, I made Sandra Lee's Pumpkin Cream Pie three times for the family. It was a hit so thank you Sandra! This is very easy and so delicious. With the weather cooling and fall approaching, I cannot think of a better pie to make and I plan to make it again real soon. You should really try this recipe. You will not be disappointed.

Pie right out of the oven
Pumpkin Cream Pie Recipe - For Pie:
4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin puree
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
3 large eggs
1 (9-inch) frozen pie crust shell, removed from foil tin and placed in glass pie pan

For Brown Sugar Whipped Cream:
1 cup heavy whipping cream
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and arrange a rack in the bottom third of the oven.

In a medium bowl, combine the cream cheese, pumpkin puree, cream, brown sugar and pumpkin pie spice. Using electric hand mixer, add the eggs, 1 at a time incorporating completely between each addition.

Pour the filling into the pie shell and bake on a sheet tray until the filling is mostly set and the crust has browned, about 50 to 60 minutes. The center will still look slightly loose. Remove from the oven and cool to room temperature.

Whipped Cream Added, Ready To Serve
For Whipped Cream:
In a chilled bowl, beat the heavy cream with a hand mixer until beginning to thicken. Add the brown sugar and pumpkin pie spice and continue to beat until soft peaks form. Spread the whipped cream over the pie and serve immediately or hold in the refrigerator for up to 2 hours before serving.


-Sophia/Two Frys

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Fiore's Famous Garlic Sauce, Rocks the Kitchen

Fiore's Famous Garlic Sauce, Rocks the Kitchen

In one month, the word and taste about Fiore's Famous Garlic Sauce is spreading fast with the Fry's.

The secret is NOW UNLEASHED. We found a GREAT cooking ingredient at the Atlantic City Food and Wine Festival and it is already a staple in our kitchen as well as my mother's and soon my lovely Aunt AJ's place. This means word (the taste) has conquered state boundries and our family is already using Fiore's in NYC, California and soon Maryland.

That is some great stuff and a great addition to a million recipes. I have used it in Pasta, Rice, Beef, Chicken, Ground Turkey, on Breads and more.

More home recipes to come also.

Allen/Two Frys

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Lindt Pistachio - Pure Decadence

Earlier in the week, I bought a chocolate bar and put it in the fridge. It wasn't just any chocolate bar but Lindt Pistachio Bar. It cost about $4.50 but this ain't no Hershey bar. It was speaking to me today so I popped it out of the fridge and my chocolate fix was fulfilled. Lindt Pistachio exceeded my expectations.

Lindt Pistachio

What I love about this bar in particular is that each square contains a whole pistachio nut enveloped by a velvety rich white almond creme topped by Lindt's delicious Swiss milk chocolate so you can enjoy just one square or the entire bar. Each square is delightful in a dreamy sort of way.

-Sophia/Two Frys