Baking with Blaire: Haystack Cookies and Boneyard Brownies

Today’s recipe is brought to you by Blaire, one of Dinners With Dan‘s featured contributors!  

Halloween is just around the corner.  Decorations are starting to go up, invitations to parties are being sent, and the air is starting to have that familiar Autumnal crisp.  From pumpkin carving to making costumes, there are endless activities this time of year, but there’s one thing that unites them all: delicious Fall and Halloween food.

This week, in her second Baking with Blaire post for Dinners with Dan, Blaire is introducing us to two of her favorite Halloween-themed sweets.  I can’t wait to try them!

Haystack Cookies Cover

I want to be Kate Middleton.  There, I said it.  Any of my friends can tell you that I have royal fever, bad.  Since this is the season for pretend and make believe, I’m even considering being her for Halloween.  Baby bump or no baby bump, I haven’t decided.  Tiara, obvi.

What draws me to Kate, I think, is because she’s normal and yet still able to be a part of the ultra-exclusive clique known as the royal family.  I’m normal.  I’m polite.  I can wave. Why can’t I be a member too? I guess this falls in line with my undying, not-so-subconscious desire to be one of the cool kids.  Thanks for that, grade school.

Anyway, if we’re being completely honest, she’s livin’ the dream (and forgive me as I shrug off the immense responsibility of being a royal). She has the power, the looks, the clothes, the house, the money, the Prince (Albeit, not my first choice.  Team Harry, anyone?).  What I would give to be called “Your Highness,” to vacation with the Queen at Balmoral, to have my little Moo-cat frolic with the royal corgies; to work “Cheerio” and “bullocks” into my vernacular; to host a royal tea party.  The last one especially, I think I might die if I could kick it with Queen Elizabeth over some tea and tasty treats.

Now, Halloween is the time for parties, but I don’t think the Queen would tap in and join me for some tequila shots, so I’ll settle for tea as the beverage of choice.  But I can’t just serve tea, there would have to be snacks. Festive snacks.  Even us mere commoners have the problem of what to serve at our holiday parties.  What festive treats could I serve?  Scones? Boring. Crackers with caviar?  Disgusting. Cucumber tea sandwiches? Puked a little in my mouth.  After some deliberation, I finally settled on my Haystack Cookies and Boneyard Brownies.          

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Recipe: Vodka Penne with a Cream Sauce

So, I apologize  for how long it has been since I’ve posted a recipe.  I’ve been going through quite a lot of life recently – I went to Chicago for a wedding, worked every weekend, and have gone through a period of small change culminating in starting a new job.  Needless to say, I thank every single one of my fantastic contributors who have been keeping Dinners With Dan up and running!

Over the last few weeks, I’ve also run into a slight problem – I’ll make something, but completely fail to write down what I did or take pictures!  My close friend Meg had a barbecue at her place a couple weeks ago and I brought some chicken I marinated overnight.  I never wrote down what I did, as I honestly just looked around my kitchen and pulled a marinade together (I’m pretty sure it was a combination of soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper, sugar, oregano, and Italian seasonings, but I honestly don’t remember), but after it was on the grill, that chicken just turned out magnificently.  I also still have pictures and need to post the recipe I promised everyone (a strawberry-stuffed French Toast) – and I meant to do that during the “International Week,” and I just never got the chance.  I plan on doing a breakfast-themed Dinners With Dan post soon instead.

However, for my first recipe back from my hiatus, a short while ago, two of my friends, Alix and Lauren, came over for dinner.  I didn’t know what I was going to make until I got to Trader Joe’s.  And even then, as Lauren can attest, I picked up quite a few things before setting them down again and going for something completely different.

I decided to make a Vodka Penne with a Cream Sauce.  I looked up a few recipes and then promptly ignored almost all of their advice and just went for it.  I don’t have any pictures of the final result because I wasn’t thinking about it (I just wanted to eat!), so you’re just going to have to take my word that this was absolutely fantastic =).  Enjoy!

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Recipe: Panko Fried Pacific Black Cod

Today’s recipe is brought to you by Eric and Brian, Dinners With Dan‘s newest featured contributor!  

Thanks again to all my friends and contributors who have kept the blog up the last few weeks.  I’ll have a delicious recipe of my own up tomorrow, and I’ll be back to posting regularly =)!  More on why the long pause tomorrow, but I’ll do my best to make up for lost time!

However, before then, I’m really excited to take Dinners With Dan from the land to the seas.  Eric and Brian, Dinners With Dan‘s newest contributors, come to us from Alaska where they have worked in the restaurant industry and can’t wait to share a lot of their experiences and fantastic recipes with us.  They’re starting with a recipe for Panko Fried Pacific Black Cod.  Please welcome Eric and Brian to the blog and give this delicious recipe a try!

Panko Fried Pacific Black Cod

Living life Alaskan involves an appreciation for proper cooking with seafood.  The delicate balance of seafood and seasoning is essential.  It is fairly easy to over-season a beautiful cut of fish and finding someone who knows how to perfectly balance the two deserves respect.  For tonight’s dish we have selected one of the easier species of fish to cook with in Alaska.  Pacific Black Cod is a delicious deep water fish that many people enjoy along with halibut.  I know most people consider halibut to be the coveted fish to catch but it can be very difficult to find a proper black cod that you can cook with.

For tonight’s dinner, we have chosen several 6 ounce filets that required us to filet the skin off in order to bread them.  In keeping with Alaskan tradition, we used an egg-based batter and Italian seasoning with a nice Panko breading.  To complement the fish: roasted potatoes and sautéed asparagus with garlic.

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Baking with Blaire: Pumpkin Patch Cookies

Today’s recipe is brought to you by Blaire, Dinners With Dan‘s newest featured contributor!  

The weather may be starting to cool down, but Dinners With Dan is about to heat back up.  Thanks to all my friends who are contributing to the blog, and for all of you for being patient these last couple weeks while I’ve gone through some big life changes.  More on that to come, but I’ll be back up and posting myself very very soon!

In the meantime, I’m extraordinarily excited to introduce the newest feature at Dinners With Dan: Baking With Blaire.  One of my best friends from college, Blaire is going to be sharing a couple of her favorite baking recipes with us each month, and I couldn’t be more thrilled. The recipe she is sharing today definitely put me in the mood for some Fall treats, and I hope when you’re finished reading, not only do you want to try this delicious recipe, but you want to bake and get out to the pumpkin patch too!

Pumpkin Patch Cookies

Fall is by far my favorite season. It has my two fave holidays, Halloween and Thanksgiving. Nature throws a party with confetti colored leaves.  I get to wear all my fall clothes and boots. But most of all, I can start making all the Fall and Winter baked goods I’ve been craving since the start of Spring.  Zucchini bread, banana nut muffins, cranberry bundt cake, and above everything else, PUMPKIN ANYTHING. Seriously guys, I’m obsessed.  I have a problem.  So, in order to feed my addiction, the first thing I bake when September 1st rolls around are my Pumpkin Patch Cookies.

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Recipe: Geschnetzeltes Zürcher Art mit Rösti

Today’s recipe is brought to you by James, one of Dinners With Dan‘s featured contributors!  

Welcome to part 2 of Dinners With Dan‘s first “international” week.  Yesterday, Alex gave us her Poulet de Terre recipe, and today, James is sharing a traditional Swiss dish with us.

My mouth watered and my stomach growled as soon as I saw this, and I know yours will too.  Enjoy!

Zürcher Art

This is a traditional Swiss farmer dish, very hearty and the perfect meal after a hard day’s work. Every Swiss household has its own recipe, from the amount of sauce to the type of meat. For instance, traditionally one should use veal in this recipe, but I have opted to use chicken instead as it suits my tastes better.

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Recipe: Poulet de Terre (Le repas des Pauvres et Paresseux)

Today’s recipe is brought to you by Alex, Dinners With Dan‘s newest featured contributor!  

Are you ready?  This week, Dinners With Dan is going international.

First up we we have a wonderful recipe from my very good friend Alex who is currently studying abroad in France!  I hope you get as much of a kick out of this recipe as I did =).

Poulet de Terre

 

The most difficult part of being a college student is finding ways to eat healthy. I know my friends and I will go to events we don’t care about at all just because they had a flyer saying “Free Food”. It’s a real struggle, especially if you’re studying abroad in a country you have never been to before, and you can’t recognize the labels on the food that you buy. However, my philosophy is: if it tastes good, doesn’t make me sick, and is cheap, I’ll usually eat it again.

I’ve been studying literature in France for the past month and there is a small grocer down the street from my dorm. Basically, once a week I go to the grocer with an empty backpack, grab whatever looks good, and hope I live to see the next day. In keeping with my newest tradition of “trying new things” (which is a phrase middle-aged women use as an excuse to date 20-somethings) I decided to use our disgusting kitchen for more than just swallowing spoonfuls of Nutella with milk and actually cook something!

 

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Recipe: Asian-Roasted Chicken

Today’s recipe is brought to you by Simmy, Dinners With Dan‘s newest featured contributor!  

Up to this point, the recipes that have been posted on Dinners With Dan have been relatively quick – they have been recipes you can put together easily at night when you come home at the end of the day.  Well, there are plenty of recipes that take a lot more time and preparation, and that are quite rewarding to make!  Once a month, Simmy is going to be posting a recipe that takes a little bit more time, or a little bit more work – as Simmy likes to call it, “Your Monthly Food Project.”  For her first recipe, she’s kept the concept and ingredients simple, but she’s added in the added dimension of time.  I can’t wait to try this recipe, and I hope you can’t wait to either!

Asian Roasted Chicken - Pre-bake

On a recent Sunday, as I was scouring the internet for my next food project, I decided I wanted both roasted chicken and something with Asian flavors. So I decided to make my own Asian roasted chicken.

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The First Dinners With Dan Dinner Party!

Dinners With Dan Dinner Party!


Last Thursday was the first Dinners With Dan Dinner Party, and it was a great success!  I’m already looking forward to the next dinner party this month!  (And I learned a lot from this first one, like make sure to get recipes the day of or right after so I’m not posting this a week late =).)

My friend Simmy hosted the evening and it ended up being a small and intimate gathering as my friends Meg, Ashley, and Kristen also joined in the festivities.  The recipe for the evening was simple: bring a dish to share (anything was fair game!) so we could all enjoy a great dinner and I would post pictures and the recipes after!

I made my All-Vegetable Lasagna for the dinner party, but read on to find out about the other amazing dishes we all enjoyed!

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Recipe: James’ Junk Salad

Today’s recipe is brought to you by James, one of Dinners With Dan‘s new featured contributors!  He is sharing one of his go-to meals and it looks absolutely delicious, so keep reading!

James' Junk Salad

The following recipe is my twist on a pasta salad resulting from far too many leftovers, a desire for something simple yet delicious and a love of pasta. It’s a recipe that came from my own taste buds and those of my friends and family.

This recipe originally came about from my need of a food source that would get me through engineering exams I had 24 hours to complete and that usually took between 12 and 18 hours of solid work. There were therefore a few requirements that had to be met:

1)    It had to be something simple, containable and not messy. I wanted something I could snack on without it getting all over my books, notes or computer, yet was easy to make and versatile enough that I could substitute a variety of ingredients, without compromising taste. I was terrified I would finish a design, only to see it covered with pasta sauce, so I had to think of an alternative.

2)    There had to be a steady supply. Although taking a break during a long exam period is highly suggested, you don’t want to be forced to take a break and perhaps spend 20-30 minutes cooking a meal. You should have the flexibility to take a break when your BRAIN needs one, not when your stomach needs filling!

3)    It had to be something I wouldn’t tire of. Obviously I would have other snacks and meals planned, but when I got a hankering for food, I wanted to be able to turn to something that I knew I would enjoy time in and time out. As you will find out, I am a huge fan of pasta.

In the end pasta salad seemed like the only reasonable choice.

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Recipe: All-Vegetable Lasagna

 

This past Thursday I got together with a few friends for the first Dinners With Dan Dinner Party.  It was an absolute blast!  I will post about all of the dishes in a little bit, but I wanted to at least share with you the dish I made for the evening, and that I think turned out extraordinarily well: an all-vegetable lasagna.  I had never made the recipe before, and I’ve adjusted it below to how I made it, but I definitely recommend this!

 

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