Tag Archives: Baking

Blueberry Cream Scones


Oh hey there blogosphere.

Apparently, I decided to take an extended vacation from blogging. The sad thing is that I don’t really have an excuse. Posting kept being pushed back with another, “I’ll do that next week,” or, “I’m too tired to write tonight,” or, perhaps even worse, “That’s not blog-worthy.” Fail, Rosemary, fail.

The other sad thing is that it’s not like I haven’t been cooking. I have so many pictures of food it’s unhealthy. I’m totally that hipster who only takes pictures of food–but I don’t post them to Instagram or a tumblr. I’m like the not-cool, cool kid. Whoops.

So today marks my return to blogging. And I bring you some blueberry scones as a peace offering. These were absolutely delicious. I LOVE scones. Love them. They take about ten minutes to put together, fifteen minutes to bake, and the reward is amazing. These scones are a good mix of flaky and fluffy (is that weird?), and they taste great the next day. I personally like them slightly warm so the berry juice gets flowing, but they taste just as good at room temperature.

Happy Eating!

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New York-Style Cheesecake

First of all, I’m sorry for not posting lately. I’m finally finished with residency selection, and, now that my nerves have calmed and my current rotation is a bit easier, I can focus once more on the blog. You should be hearing more from me in the next few months.

And now, on to the food!

Who doesn’t love cheesecake?

Well… actually, I don’t. In fact, I can’t stand it.

…But my sister does!! This thanksgiving, we were discussing what desserts to make for dinner, and I asked if we could do something other than pumpkin pie. Why, you may ask, would I not want serve this staple of the American Thanksgiving table?

Not gonna lie, I don’t like pumpkin pie either.  I know, sacrilege.

I convinced my sister to let me try making something different, and she, ahem, kindly agreed to give me a shot at making a different dessert. I picked pumpkin cheesecake, because 1) as stated above, my sister loves cheesecake, and 2) there is no better dessert repellent for me than the aforementioned item.  Talk about killing two birds with one stone! Well, four packages of cream cheese, one can of pumpkin and a box of graham crackers later, I was staring into a gaping crack that could have been the grand canyon of cheesecakes. On the plus side, no one could tell once I covered it in marshmallow sour cream topping (most delicious topping ever- recipe to come later.)

Two days later, I made another cheesecake for a family event, and this one turned out wonderfully! Not a single crack whatsoever. I think the reason behind the success of this cake may have been that it was baked at a lower temperature and allowed to cool in the water bath for a few minutes once outside the oven. I figured since I put in the effort I might as well try a bite, and I have to say that for a cheesecake, it tasted really good!

Lessons learned:

  1. Baking cheesecake at a lower temperature (325 degrees) results in less cracking in the center.
  2. When the cheesecake is in the oven, don’t open the door and allow it to bake for the recommended time (you can even let it go 5 minutes less.)
  3. Making cheesecake isn’t difficult at all, and you should definitely try it out over holidays for the cheesecake lover in your life.
  4. Heating up a microwave with nothing in it will cause it to light on fire and then you will owe someone a new microwave. I kid you not.

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Red Velvet Cupcakes and a New Blogger

Hello, all!

So, as you may have noticed, the blog has been missing a third kitchen for quite some time. Shortly after starting the blog, Ursela realized other commitments would prevent her from continuing to participate, and we’ve been on the hunt for a replacement.

Turns out, the solution has pretty much been under our noses the whole time. I’m excited to introduce you to our new third “kitchen:” Liz.

What makes this funny is the fact that Liz is actually my older sister. To be honest, she started cooking first. While her early attempts at cooking (like those of  most people) were at times interesting, she is a FANTASTIC chef. People fight over her cupcakes. No. Seriously. I’ve had friends issue death threats to one another over these things. People have broken vegan diets for them. They are THAT good. Needless to say, we have a new resident baker here at A Tale of Three Kitchens, but don’t let her baking expertise fool you! Liz also has some great Thai, Chinese, Turkish, and Mexican recipes up her sleeve that are sure to please even the pickiest of eaters. She’s a pretty talented medical student.

Thus, with no further ado, I give you Liz and her delicious red velvet cupcakes:

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Peach Pie

The District is suffering from quite a heat wave. As most of you know, there seems to be a “heat dome” making its way east after tormenting the Midwest. According to the Washington Post, heat waves and compressed air particles are to blame, along with streams of hot, humid air moving north, but, regardless of the cause, this heat is unbearable. If I could submerge myself in an ice bath and consist on a diet of smoothies and ice cubes, I would.

There are redeeming features to this time of year, however. The most important one of all is that stone fruit season is upon us! In terms of fresh produce, this is quite possibly my favorite time of year. While I hate summer heat, I adore the variety of fruits and vegetables that the season brings, and nothing makes me quite as happy as a grocery bag full of peaches, plums, and nectarines. My mom loves stone fruit even more than I do, so our house is always well stocked with a variety of juicy fruit.

Ever since I was a senior in high school, I have made peach pie at least once every summer. I don’t know how or why this tradition started, but I get antsy when July is coming to a close and I have yet to bake one of these. The recipe I use is incredibly simple and took less than an hour to assemble. The recipe for the crust comes directly from Williams-Sonoma and doesn’t even need to be chilled; the filling is always the result of randomly dumping in the ingredients that I have on hand. I almost added blueberries in this time around, but we’re pie-purists in my house and the blueberries were saved for pancakes this weekend.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy this recipe. As with all fruit desserts, taste the fruit before you add sugar. Happy eating!

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Chocolate Lava Cakes

Dessert lovers, beware. Your diets are about to go downhill.

Who doesn’t love a spoonful of molten chocolate? Well, minus me. Sure, I generally opt for the fruit dessert, but even I can’t resist a warm chocolate cake sometimes.

After reading Megan’s last few dessert-oriented posts, I couldn’t help but think how great a spoonful of gelato would taste atop a warm chocolate cake. I first made this dessert when my friend Lucy came to visit me. Lucy studied abroad in Florence at the same time that I did, and I was lucky enough that she was already living with my host family when I arrived. She was a great resource when I first moved to Italy, and I’m glad to count her among my friends. I wanted to make a special treat when she came, so I chose to make these chocolate lava cakes as the perfect ending to our Italian meal.

This recipe produces a dessert that is quite rich, and the cakes taste great with a dollop of whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla (or crème fraîche!) ice cream. The molten chocolate inside is always a great surprise to guests, and the instant gratification of a warm, gooey cake is hard to beat!

I hope you consider making these next time you are craving some chocolate. Even better, make this with some crème fraîche gelato; I’m pretty sure that’s a pairing that’ll be hard to beat! Happy eating!

….and on a completely unrelated note: If you haven’t had any artichokes yet this season: RUN. I am currently eating a bowl of lightly braised baby artichokes with garlic and onions, and I am in foodie heaven. GAH.

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Chocolate-Almond Tart

I seem to have ended my pasta kick and moved on to chocolate. I don’t know how or when this happened, but something tells me that the housemates are not entirely opposed to this transition. I promise to move on to something less sugary (in my defense, I’ve eaten crazy amounts of salad for the last two weeks!). I’m thinking of making pide or attempting to recreate my mom’s recipe for tandoori chicken next time around.

In any case, I figured that the housemates and my friend Cara could use a post-spring break pick-me-up, and, knowing the food preferences of the roomies, I decided to go with something chocolate-y. The solution? Chocolate-Almond tart.

I was originally going to follow some sort of recipe, but I wound up just making one up as I went along. Now, as I’ve already noted, I am not the biggest fan of chocolate, so this wasn’t exactly my cup of tea. My housemates, however, loved this tart. I highly recommend serving with a dollop of fresh whipped cream to help cut through the dense chocolate!

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Biscuits from a Guest Chef

Cooking runs in my family. My mother is a fantastic chef. She can honestly make almost any dish that she attempts, all while adding her own touch. Her forte tends to be Indian food and other savory dishes. I honestly love coming home, as I know a warm, spicy meal always awaits.

My sister, Liz, is an expert in her own right, but her focus as of late has been on baking. From remarkable cakes (examples: here, here, here and here) to delicious brownies and cookies, I will readily call my sister a kitchen goddess. The fact that she does all of this as a sleep-deprived, medical student? Insanity.

Today’s post features my sister’s go-to recipe for biscuits. She uses Dorie Greenspan’s basic biscuit recipe and sometimes adds to the dough as she sees fit (for example, she put some cheese in today’s leftover scraps of dough). The biscuits are incredibly fluffy, and her experience indicates that letting the dough rest for a few minutes before baking causes them to rise more in the oven. Liz also recommends brushing the biscuits with a little bit of butter before putting them into the oven, then, with two minutes remaining, giving them another light coat. It helps you get that golden crust.

So, go forth. Make biscuits. Your friends around the breakfast table will thank you.

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Double-Chocolate Brownies

My house is oozing chocolate from its pores. 

Now, I’m not the biggest fan of chocolate. According to my housemates/almost every individual that I know, this is nothing short of blasphemy. Oops. This week, however, required chocolate. Tired after the last several weeks of the never-ending drudgery of school, I decided to treat my housemates and myself to a pan of warm brownies. I texted my friend Sam to find out what recipe she normally uses, and she suggested turning to my personal culinary goddess Martha Stewart for her version of Double Chocolate Brownies.

Oh. My. Goodness. These brownies are INSANE. The double-dose of chocolate makes these incredibly rich, so you can really only need a small piece. I recommend cutting through the chocolate with a tall glass of milk or, in the case of our house, a red wine with berry-tones. The best part of these, however, might be how quickly they come together. The batter took less than 15 minutes to prepare – and that includes the time it took to melt the chocolate and butter!

I hope that these satisfy your chocolatiest cravings. Have a happy weekend!

Apple-Blueberry Pie and The Modern Americans

This week, we will be doing some guest blogging for the blog The Modern Americans.  Nicole, one of the creators of The Modern Americans, and a dear friend of mine, has created this blog as a means to tell the stories of real Americans throughout the United States.  Inspired by Robert Frank’s work The Americans, Nicole and her fellow-bloggers have dedicated the year of 2011 to visiting all 50 states and giving their readers the opportunity to take a glimpse into the lives of our country’s people.

Our first guest post tells the story of my Grandma DeWall’s pie crust and my apple-blueberry pie.

I hope you enjoy.


Chocolate Pots de Crème

First of all, I hope everyone had a lovely Valentine’s Day!

My husband, Brandon, and I decided, once again, to forgo the restaurant scene and make dinner together for the holiday.  Knowing Brandon would probably be working the official night of V-Day, we chose to celebrate the evening before.

Celebrating over the weekend provided me with the extra time needed to prepare a special, indulgent dessert.  With our dinner menu consisting of duck breast with orange gastrique, duck fat potatoes, and roasted broccolini, I wanted to whip up a French-inspired, chocolate dessert (what could be more romantic?).  My first thought was chocolate mousse.  I’ve made it before and enjoyed it thoroughly, but it requires melting chocolate and whipping eggs in several different bowls, and I just wasn’t in the mood for such a heroic clean-up effort. Continue reading

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