Categories
Mucho Gusto

Sweet, Salty, and Crunchy

Ahh, the beginning of May marks the end of the school year and the start of every student’s favorite time … Finals season. Although it feels like the work never stops at Boston College the beginning of May is no doubt the busiest time of the year. We crack open the books, brew the coffee, and sit in the library for hours at a time. Finals are full of stress, sleepless nights, and burnout but eating yummy food has always been my go-to break. 

Whether it is taking a minute and walking to get White Mountian, or ordering delivery food from a local restaurant in Newton enjoying food with others is an opportunity to relax amidst the stress. Snacks are an important part of any long study season and as many of my close friends know my go-to study snack is a trail mix packed full of nuts. 

Some may say I have an obsession but every bite is uniquely satisfying. Want something sweet? Dark chocolate almonds. Need something salty? Roasted lightly salted cashews. Want some spice? Cajun peanuts. Trail mix offers the perfect boost of energy and satisfies all your late-night cravings. The options are endless and concocting a trail mix to snack on always makes studying more appealing for me. This specific trail mix recipe is inspired by many late nights in O’Neil studying Spanish and days in Shiller drawing biology diagrams on whiteboards. Keep on studying and snacking! 

Ingredients:  

2 cups plain popcorn 

2 cups mini pretzels 

1 cup corn Chex 

1 cup cinnamon Chex 

½ cup lightly salted cashews

½ cup plain almonds 

½ cup plain pecans 

½ cup honey-roasted peanuts 

¾ cup peanut butter m&m’s 

Instructions: 

In a gallon-size ziplock bag combine all the ingredients. Tightly close and shake until the mixture is mixed all together. Portion the mix into smaller bags and grab them on your way to the library! 

Cover photo courtesy of Chelsea’s Messy Apron

Categories
Quick Bites

An Ode to Mount Soccer: Buffalo Chicken Dip

I was introduced to buffalo chicken dip at my first high school soccer pasta party. I had never heard of it before and to be honest, I thought it looked extremely unappetizing. My teammates thought otherwise, and each grade was designated to bring their own tray to enjoy since it was in such high demand. The scorching metal tray with blistering orange-reddish chicken was placed on the freshman table; my classmates dove in like vultures. I was hesitant to try it, as I thought there was mayonnaise in the dish (Kuffners and mayonnaise do not mix), but once I took a bite, there was no going back. 

The creaminess of the chicken, the spice of the buffalo, and the crunch of the tortilla chip made for a perfect combination. I became hooked like all my teammates. Now, buffalo chicken dip is my favorite dip and one of my go-to appetizers for holidays or functions. Don’t be fooled by looks. You don’t want to miss a chance to have your chip in this dip!

Ingredients:

1 pound chicken breasts

4 oz cream cheese 

½ cup ranch

1-1½ cups Red Hot

Salt and pepper to taste

½ cup cheddar cheese 

1 bag of tortilla chips

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the chicken breasts in an oven-safe dish, and season with salt and pepper. Add ½ cup of water to the bottom of the dish and about ¼ cup of Red Hot. Cover the dish with aluminum foil. Bake for 45-60 minutes or until the chicken completely shreds. Make sure to check every 15 minutes after the first 30 minutes to see how tender the chicken is. Once shredded, let it cool for a few minutes and then use two forks to further shred the chicken into smaller pieces. Mix in the cream cheese, ranch, and Red Hot. Mix until everything is combined. Add more Red Hot depending on your spice preference. Top the dip with the cheddar cheese. Place it back in the oven for approximately 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted and slightly crisp. Serve with tortilla chips and enjoy!

Cover photo courtesy of getrecipecart

Categories
Quick Bites

PB Copycat Crumbl Cookie

Crumbl Cookies have crazed social media, and now locations are popping up all around the country. These massive cookies come in a variety of flavors, ranging from fruity pebble and caramel popcorn to a simple chilled sugar cookie. The cookies look and taste delicious, but unfortunately, there are no Crumbl Cookie shops in the close vicinity of Boston College. So, grab your whisk and butter for my take on a copycat peanut butter crumble cookie. 

Ingredients 

Sugar Cookie Base 

1 cup salted butter, room temperature

1 cup granulated sugar

2 eggs, room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla

3 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder 

PB Buttercream 

3 sticks butter, softtend 

1 cup peanut butter

3-4 cups powdered sugar 

½ teaspoon vanilla extract 

Toppings

Homemade caramel 

Roasted, salted peanuts

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter on high. Once fluffy, add the sugar. Once incorporated, add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add the vanilla. Beat on high for 2-3 minutes until light and fluffy. Slowly add in the four and baking powder, ensuring not to overmix the dough. Scoop out a ¼-⅓ cup of dough, roll it into a ball, and flatten it on a cookie sheet. These cookies are meant to be big! Bake for 8-11 minutes or until slightly golden. Let cool. 

In a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add the butter and beat on high for 3-5 minutes or until a pale white color is reached. Whip in the peanut butter. Slowly add the powdered sugar. Add the vanilla. You may need to add more or less powdered sugar depending on your tastes, but a slightly thick consistency is needed.

Once the cookies are completely cooled, fill a piping bag fitted with the Wilton 1M tip with the PB frosting. Starting from the middle of the cookie, pipe outwards in a circle to create a rose look. Drizzle caramel over one side and garnish with 3 roasted peanuts. Serve chilled or at room temperature to impress all your friends. 

Categories
Quick Bites

Overly-Easy Breakfast Hash 

Growing up every Saturday I would wake up to the smell of sizzling bacon and butter browning around pancakes. Breakfast foods are an absolute staple within the Kuffner household no matter the day of week or time. Without fail, every single Saturday my dad made us a full breakfast spread filled with heaps of bacon, different types of pancakes, and of course his world-famous scrambled eggs. 

As a child, I would only ever eat eggs that my dad made. They had to be from him, and they had to be scrambled. The gooey yolk in over-easy or sunny-side-up eggs freaked me out, and I refused to try them. In my mind they were raw, and that was not how eggs were supposed to be eaten. I held this notion until one day my best friend Eimile made me her famous avocado toast with a runny egg on top. My world was rocked and I instantly fell in love with the gooey inside of an over-easy egg. 

Now my interpretation of a perfect egg is a slightly crispy white with a mostly-runny yolk that can be soaked up by freshly made bread. Fried eggs evolved into my go-to enhancement to any dish, and my new favorite breakfast food. This recipe combines a take on my dad’s famous hash browns and my newfound favorite food. It’s a testament to the breakfast foods of my childhood and my new changing tastes as an adult. So grab your cast iron skillet and love for breakfast foods, and make this revamped Saturday breakfast dish for one. 

Ingredients

2 fresh sausages of your choice (out of the casing)

½ onion diced

1 large sweet potato, cubed

½ red bell pepper, sliced

½ yellow bell pepper, sliced

½ teaspoon garlic powder

½ teaspoon onion powder

½ teaspoon paprika

Salt and pepper to taste 

1 over-easy egg

Handful of fresh cilantro 

Instructions

In a large cast-iron skillet, break the sausage into pieces and cook until browned. Remove the sausage from the skillet and add the onion. Sauté until lightly browned. Next add the cubed sweet potatoes, along with some water to the pan. Place a lid on the skillet and steam the potatoes for approximately five minutes. Stir and cook until the potatoes are soft. Add the sliced peppers and the garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, and salt and pepper. 

Once the hash is cooked through and has slightly crispy parts, in a separate non-stick pan crack the egg. Cook for approximately two to three minutes so the bottom is crispy but the yolk is runny. Place the egg on top of the hash, sprinkle with cilantro and enjoy 🙂 

Categories
Quick Bites

A Real Bean Pot

The annual Beanpot hockey tournament is currently in full swing, and students across Boston are repping their schools more than ever. This 66-year-old tradition brings the four major Boston-area university hockey teams together for an epic showdown to show who truly dominates. 

Sadly, our coveted Boston College eagles plummeted to defeat in their game against Northeastern on Monday, Feb. 7, and now must face Harvard in the consolation game on Monday, Feb.14. The seats were filled, but the BC spirit and Screaming Eagles Marching Band were not enough to rally the team for a win. 

Now, sad and defeated students must recover and watch from the dorms as Boston University takes on reigning champion Northeastern in the final game. Even though we lost the Beanpot hockey tournament, you can still indulge in the spirit and make this winning bean pot of chili. 

Recipe

1 tablespoon olive oil 

1 medium onion, diced

1 green bell pepper, diced

1 red bell pepper, diced 

3 cloves garlic 

2 tablespoon tomato paste 

2 pounds ground turkey 

1 15-ounce can tomato sauce

1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes 

2 14-ounce cans kidney beans 

3 tablespoons chili powder

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon cumin 

1 teaspoon cayenne 

½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1 teaspoon salt 

1-2 cups water

Instructions 

In a large pot over medium heat, sauté the onion until translucent. Add the diced peppers and garlic. Once slightly brown, add in the ground turkey. Sauté until the meat is fully cooked. Add the chili powder, garlic powder, cumin, cayenne, red pepper flakes, and salt. Mix thoroughly until the meat is covered in the spice mixture. Add the tomato paste and stir until the mixture comes together. Add the tomatoes and drained beans. Stir and add at least one cup of water before simmering. 

Simmer on low heat for a minimum of one hour, or until the desired flavors have been met. The longer it simmers, the more flavorful it will be. Before serving make sure to taste the chili, and adjust the spice level based on your preference. 

Enjoy, and GO EAGLES!!

Cover photo courtesy of Cooking Classy

Categories
Mucho Gusto

Pizza Friday’s

Sizzling cheese, ruby red sauce, and crispy crust. This is pizza for me. My dad, Ed, is New York through and through, so pizza has always been held to the highest of standards in the Kuffner household. A Dominos or Papa John’s box has never entered our house, and we only order from our local pizza place Tony’s. The owners learned the trade from the famous Smileys Pizza in New York, so the pies are up to Ed’s standards, and it is the only place we will order from. As a kid, I remember running into Tony’s with a $20 bill in my hand, saying hi to the counter lady, and grabbing the piping hot box. Every week I would wait for Friday to come because I knew that that meant we were eating pizza. As a family, we rarely ate out since my mom always cooked homemade meals, but on Fridays, we feasted. 

Pizza originated in Naples, Italy, and gained broad popularity in the 1940s when Italians immigrated to the United States. Now, pizza is one of the most popular foods in our lives and the food that I personally associate with my formative memories. Birthday? We had pizza. After winning a soccer game? Get pizza with your team. Fun movie night with friends? Order a pizza. Pizza is a light yet comforting food that excites your taste buds, fills you up, and makes you smile with glee all in one bite. Its simplicity is what makes it perfect. When ordering from a pizza place, my go-to is two slices of plain cheese pizza with extra basil. I love trying new places wherever I travel, and it is a time-old debate in my house over what is the best pizza we have ever eaten. 

For me, nothing will beat the piping hot pie I had while sitting on the edge of the Mediterranean Sea in Panza, Italy. I was on the brink of a cliff sitting on a rusty blue picnic table when the owner, who spoke no English, came out carrying the pizza in a century-old iron pan. The pie emulated typical Sicilian pizza found in the states, but its crust was perfectly crisp, and the sauce was bursting with flavor. This pizza was made with love, and I haven’t eaten anything as good since. 

Even though Tony’s will never be up to par with the Panza pizza, I still look forward to pizza Fridays, and now I make flatbreads and pizzas for the occasion. At Tony’s, I stick to plain, but at home, I love to look in the refrigerator and let my creative instincts kick in, enabling me to utilize whatever ingredients I have to make a mouthwatering pie. These four flatbreads offer something for everyone with a classic plain pizza, a hearty meat lovers pie, a fresh greek flatbread, and a sweet fig ricotta flatbread. As I have grown up, my palette has expanded and I enjoy indulging in elevated pizzas while bringing different tastes and textures to our Friday night tradition. 

Classic Plain 

1 package pizza dough 

¼ cup flour 

1 cup fresh tomato sauce

1 cup fresh mozzarella 

½ teaspoon oregano 

1 spring basil for garnish 

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 475℉. Spread the flour on a clean work surface to prevent sticking. Slowly knead and spread the dough using the palm of your hands until it is about ¼ inch thick all around. Spread the tomato sauce using a ladle evenly around the dough. Sprinkle the mozzarella around, and bake the pizza for 10-15 minutes or until the crust is crunchy and the cheese is lightly browned. Once removed, sprinkle with oregano and top with basil.

Meat Lovers Pie

2 chicken breasts 

2 teaspoons pesto

1 package pizza dough 

¼ cup flour 

1 cup fresh tomato sauce

1 cup fresh mozzarella 

½ cup sliced Italian soppressata 

½ teaspoon oregano 

Instructions 

Preheat the oven to 475℉. Cut the chicken breasts into 2-inch pieces and season with salt and pepper. Heat a skillet pan with oil on medium heat and once sizzling, add the chicken. Cook until fully cooked and then add the pesto, ensuring all the chicken is coated. Spread the flour on a clean work surface to prevent sticking. Slowly knead and spread the dough using the palm of your hands until it is about ¼ inch thick all around. Spread the sauce on the dough and then sprinkle the cheese evenly around. Place the soppressata and pesto chicken around the pie. Bake for 10-15 min or until golden brown. Sprinkle with oregano. 

Greek Flatbread 

1 flatbread crust 

1 medium onion, diced

5 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup spinach 

½ cup zucchini, sliced 

½ cup yellow squash, sliced

½ cup cherry tomatoes halved

¼ cup red onion, sliced 

1 cup feta cheese

1 tablespoon olive oil 

½ teaspoon parsley 

Instructions 

Preheat the oven to 475℉. In a small skillet pan over medium heat saute the onions until sweated. Add the minced garlic and cook until fragrant and lightly browned. To assemble the flatbread, spread the onion and garlic on the bread, and top with the spinach, zucchini, and squash. Add the tomato halves and red onion. Sprinkle the flatbread with the feat cheese, drizzle with olive oil, and top with the parsley. Bake for 10-15 minutes until the vegetables are cooked and the flatbread is lightly browned. 

Fig Ricotta Flatbread

1 flatbread crust 

1 cup fresh ricotta cheese

⅓ cup fig jam

8 dried figs, sliced 

Balsamic reduction drizzle 

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 475℉. Spread the ricotta evenly around the flatbread, top with the fig jam. Add the sliced figs and bake for 8-10 mins or until the flatbread is crispy. This flatbread will cook very quickly. Once removed drizzle with balsamic reduction and serve.

Categories
Mucho Gusto Uncategorized

Margaret’s CCC Cake

My curiosity for baking started as a meager first-grader intently watching Food Network. I was mesmerized by the enormous cakes Buddy Valastro concocted and the 1,000-piece displays on Cupcake Wars. My eyes were glued to the screen, and I was in awe of how the final products looked so real yet were edible. I studied how bakers frosted cakes or piped roses and would attempt to emulate their work. As a child, I dreamed of one day owning my own bakery and constructing five-tier wedding cakes. So, as a determined little girl, I set out aiming to achieve just that.

At age six, I designed and constructed my inaugural cake for my brother John’s birthday. It consumed me for hours and the final product was a five-car steam engine train sculpted by hand and embellished with candy as mechanical parts. The cake was crumbly, but I still felt unstoppable. I could not have been a prouder sister. Making this cake consumed me for hours and established my love for baking.  Thankfully, my skill has grown from there. 

After years of failed experiments, from burnt bottoms to curdled frosting, I now create original recipes and make the tiered cakes I dreamed of baking as a child. With cakes, I envision the cake as my canvas and the piping bags as my paint. The magic begins when my artistic instincts kick in, allowing me to swiftly pipe designs without a predesigned plan and transform the cake into a showpiece. Designing cakes is an outlet for me in which I am fully present in the moment and can create something that will bring people together and enlightening their taste buds.  Cakes have a deep symbolism in our culture, so I take pride in being the person people turn to for birthdays, weddings, and other celebrations.

Cake is no doubt my favorite food group and will always be present in my life. The possibilities are endless. Today, I’m sharing my chocolate chip cookie cake recipe, which has been on my mind ever since I perfected making the chocolate chip cookie. With no better combination of two desserts, this recipe offers a twist on the quintessential American comfort food. This cake boasts a chocolate crumble cookie crust with layers of fully chocolate chip vanilla cake, smothered in a decedent brown sugar buttercream, and topped with freshly baked cookies. This blend will simply delight your taste buds and the crowd. 

Ingredients

Chocolate cookie crumble 

1 ⅓ cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons cornstarch 

1 cup granulated sugar 

1 ⅓ cups cocoa powder 

½ teaspoon salt 

12 tablespoon melted butter 

Vanilla Chocolate Chip Cake 

2 ¼ cups & 2 teaspoons all-purpose flour 

2 ¼ teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon salt 

¾ cup unsalted butter, room temperature 

3 large eggs, room temperature

2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup whole milk, room temperature

1 ½ cups semi-sweet chocolate chips 

Brown Butter Buttercream 

1 ½ cups light brown sugar

⅓ cup water 

2 ½ cups (6 sticks) unsalted butter, softened 

9 cups powdered sugar 

1 teaspoon vanilla

3 chocolate chip cookies

Instructions

Begin by making the chocolate cookie crumble. Preheat the oven to 300 ℉. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, cornstarch, sugar, cocoa powder, and salt. Pour the butter into the dry ingredients and combine until it is a crumb consistency. Grease three 9-inch circular cake pans, evenly distribute the cookie crumble among the pans and use the back of a spoon to set the crumble in place. Bake for 12 minutes and let cool while preparing the cake batter. 

Moving on to the vanilla chocolate chip cake, increase the oven temperature to 350℉. In a small bowl, crack the eggs and add the vanilla, allowing them to sit for 5-10 minutes to enhance the vanilla flavor. In another medium-sized bowl, combine 2 ¼ cups of flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium speed until fluffy for 2-4 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla mixture in three additions, making sure it is fully incorporated after each addition. Whip the batter for 3 to 4 minutes until light and fluffy. Alternate adding the flour mixture and milk, starting with flour and using three additions of flour and two of milk. Fully incorporate after each addition. Dust the chocolate chips in the remaining 2 teaspoons of flour and mix them into the batter. Once combined, evenly pour the batter on top of the pans with the chocolate cookie crumble. Bake for 20 to 25 mins or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Allow cakes to cool completely.

While the cake and crumble are cooling, move on to make the brown sugar buttercream. Begin by combining the brown sugar and water in a small saucepan. Stir over medium heat until a soft boil, approximately 5 minutes. Set aside and let it cool slightly. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip the butter until light and fluffy, approximately 3 minutes. Slowly add the powdered sugar, scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition. Next, slowly pour the slightly warm brown sugar mixture into the mixer. Add the vanilla. Beat on high for 3 to 5 minutes. If the buttercream is too warm, place it in the refrigerator for 30 to 60 minutes. Whip once again before using. 

After all the elements have been created, it is now time for the construction of the masterpiece. Start by placing one cake layer, cookie crumble side down, on your board using a dollop of frosting to keep it in place. Spread one cup of frosting on top, ensuring that it is level. Repeat this process with the remaining two layers. Spread a thin layer of frosting around the whole cake using an offset spatula. This crumb coat ensures that the crumbs are locked into the first layer and will not show for the final product. Freeze the cake for 10 minutes. Once slightly frozen, completely frost the cake, saving one cup of frosting for piping. Once completely frosted, use the Wilton 1M tip to pipe a ribbon along the top. Cut the pre-made or store-bought cookies in half and place them on the top of the cake. Enjoy:)


Recipe Adapted from Cake by Coutrney’s Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake

Cover Photo courtesy of Margaret Kuffner