Tuesday, August 31, 2010

0 Gluten Free Finds of the Week

Below are links to two gluten free blogs that I found this week! I especially enjoy the blog with chocolate-lovers posts...



Monday, August 30, 2010

0 Metroids and Flailing Plastics...

Tomorrow the next Metroid game, Metroid: Other M, is released in stores. Across major video game publications, it seems to be received rather well. I guess this will have to subdue my inner Nintendo fanboy until the release of Donkey Kong in November and the next Zelda in 2011...

1up Metroid: Other M review

More Zelda News (Hey, Listen!...)

Sunday, August 29, 2010

4 Lemon Banana Cream Bars

Helloo, helloo!

Next time, I will include photos, promise =0)

This is the modified vegan version of Ms. Rachel Nablo's (aka my baking guru) absolutely delicious Lemon Bars.

What you'll need for the "cake":
- 2 sticks unsalted buttery spread
- 1/2 cup splenda sugar blend
- lots and lots of lemon peel (think 1 lemon's worth)
- 1 banana, cut into small pieces
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 1/4 cup flour of your choosing
- powdered sugar

For the syrupy goodness:
Mix 1/4 cup splenda sugar blend and roughly 1/2 cup lemon juice together

*** if you want to use regular sugar, just double the amounts***

Step 1: Baking the cake:
Soften the buttery spread. I usually nuke it in the microwave for about 20 sec or leave it out for 10 min or so. Mix with peel, sugar blend, baking powder and banana. Gradually add flour. Mix until there are no banana or flour lumps and the mixture is super smooth. Put your work into a lightly greased pan and bake at 350F for 25-30 min.

Take cake out and poke holes (the more the better) with a toothpick and drizzle the syrup all over. Let it stand and cool for a few minutes and then put powdered sugar on top.

Step 2: EAT and Enjoy!

1 Raspberry Balsamic Steak

This past weekend I wanted to experiment and combine tangy, sour flavors with  the richness of steak. After entering Whole Foods, I saw fresh raspberries on sale and decided to use them in a sauce. Also, this is a very flexible recipe, so the steak can be easily substituted with chicken. Enjoy!

1 lb steak
3 handfuls fresh raspberries
juice of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 clove garlic
1 tablespoon your favorite barbecue sauce
salt and pepper

1. Rinse and quarter the raspberries. Place the berries into a saucepan with the lemon juice, and turn the stove to a medium low. Keep the berries moving and cook them until the berries have cooked down, like in the image below.

2. Once the berries are cooked down, strain the berries through a fine strainer into a pot to remove all of the seeds.

3. Add the vinegar, garlic, salt and pepper to the juice. Mix the sauce thoroughly and taste. If you feel the sauce is too source, add another tablespoon of balsamic. Heat the sauce until it reduces down to a glaze, and pull off the stove.
4. As the sauce is reducing, cook the steak until a good medium or medium rare. Once the steak has cooked, let it stand for 6 minutes.
5. After the steak has cooled, slice and drizzle the glaze over the steak. Enjoy!

0 Dark Chocolate Brownie Recipe

We tried this recipe this past weekend and loved it! If you want to make a gluten-free variety, just replace the flour with your favorite gluten-free blend (don't forget the xanthan gum!)

Image property of bhg.com

Friday, August 27, 2010

0 Blog Additions

Hi everyone,

This past week there's been a few additions to my blog. First off, one of my amazing friends Elena is now an author on this blog as well! Her first blog post is her awesome Peach Pie recipe from earlier this week.

Second, I've added a comments widget on the right toolbar, so feel free to leave any general comments. As always, you can still post comments on individual posts.

Third, I've added a short poll to try to help me figure out how to improve the blog. I'd love for feedback, so feel free to fill it in.

Thanks everyone, and Happy Friday!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

2 Why Get Excited over Portal 2?

For those who don't know, the original Portal was an amazing puzzle game that involved creating portals to take advantage of physics. Portal 2 takes it to a whole new level...

0 Things I Knew: Fractals

Things I Knew: Fractals: "So talking to my little brother the other day led me to relearning some math and even a bit of chaos theory. Thanks, Dave! The two of us w..."

0 Key Lime Pie

One of my friends makes the most amazing key lime pie I have ever had, and this recipe is the closest thing I've ever gotten to replicating it...enjoy!

Key Lime Pie Recipe @ All Recipes

0 Peach Pie...Cheap and Easy

Call me a suck-up, but I mostly make this for my boss, who is vegan. However, I love this recipe because it is basically idiot proof, quick, easy AND most importantly of all - modifiable to meet most dietary allergies/restrictions:

1. Ready? Get set - GO!
Begin by pre-heating your oven to 375 F before you do anything else

2. Make the pie shell:

Pie Shell

- 2 1/2 cups of flour
- Pinch of Salt
- 1/2 cup Oil (vegetable/cooking)
- 1/3 cup Milk (I use Rice milk, I find it gives the crust a better consistency than Soy)
- Foil Pie-tin thingy (can be bought at any supermarket)

Optional Spices that I really LOVE, but can be skipped:
- 1-2 table spoons vanilla extract
- Dash of either cinnamon or apple spice

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl. The dough will be slightly crumbly at first, BUT JUST KEEP KNEADING IT! It will be great - promise =0) On a flat surface, divide the dough into two balls, one about twice the size of the other. Roll out the big ball, and place dough in tin pie shell. Bake shell for about 10 min to avoid soggy bottoms.

3. Filling + Lattice

- About 8 peaches.
- 1/4 cup sugar or splenda/your sweetner of choice equivalent
- 2 tbsp flour
- Dash of milk (again, I use rice milk)

Don't worry about pealing the peaches, it's much more trouble than it's worth. Instead, dice your peaches to smallish cubes. In a bowl, combine all ingredients and mix well with a spoon. The flour will add a more hearty consistency to your pie <3

Lattice: I like to add a lattice top (which is what the smaller ball is for). This explains how to do it.

Alternatively, you can just roll out the second ball, and add a few slits once it comes time to cover your pie.

4. Final Steps

Take out pie shell from oven, add filling, add top and bake at 375 for 45 min or until golden brown =0)


0 Nintendo dates several of its games for the holiday season!

Nintendo's dated their games out by end of year. Note that the new Zelda game is pushed back to Spring 2011. I personally can't wait for Donkey Kong Country Returns to come out...Full list at GameSpot: http://www.gamespot.com/news/6273669.html

First-party Wii games

Metroid: Other M--August 31
Kirby's Epic Yarn--October 17
Donkey Kong Country Returns--November 21

Third-party Wii games

GoldenEye 007--November 16
Epic Mickey--Holiday

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

0 Balsamic Pork

I don't have any pictures for this recipe because I was tired while making it, but believe me, it turned out amazingly!

2 pork chops
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp chopped basil (approximately 2 leaves)
salt and pepper

1. In a bowl, mix everything but the pork.
2. Start a pan on medium low heat, and oil it so the pork does not stick to the pan.
3. Once the pan is hot, dip both sides of the pork chops into the mixture, and place on the pan.
4. Cook for about 3-4 minutes on each side, or until the pork chops are cooked.

Enjoy, and happy Tuesday!

Monday, August 23, 2010

0 More on Brookville in Charlottesville

Here's the blog about the new Brookville restaurant that just opened this past week in Charlottesville, along with a few reviews and comments. Enjoy, and visit Brookville when in Charlottesville!

2 Awesome Lemonade Recipe

Below is an awesome lemonade recipe from Simply Recipes! Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

0 Peanut Butter Squares

Anything that tastes like a Reese's cup really satiates my sweet tooth. Below is one of my favorite recipes for getting a Reese's taste in more of a traditional dessert format. I love making this for a group of people or for potlucks so I give my sweet tooth what it wants without eating an entire pan of peanut butter and chocolate...

1 cup melted butter
2 cups graham crackers (traditional or gluten-free) crumbs
2 cups confectioners sugar
1 cup peanut butter
1 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

1. Mix everything but the chocolate chips until well combined. Spread the mixture into a 9x9 or larger pan.
2. Melt the chocolate chips over a double boiler until smooth, and pour over the peanut butter mixture. Refrigerate the mixture until solidified.


Saturday, August 14, 2010

0 More Metroid

Here's a trailer featuring some of the gameplay from the new Metroid game, out at the end of this month. Courtesy of Game Trailers.

0 Gluten Free Pancakes

The right blend of flours and other dry ingredients is the key to making gluten free pancakes that have similar taste and texture to wheat flour pancakes. This recipe has a lot of ingredients, but the actual steps of making the pancakes is fairly easy and straightforward. This recipe makes 1 dozen pancakes.

Dry Ingredients:
1/2 cup rice flour
1 1/2 tsp tapioca flour
1/6 cup potato starch
1 tbsp sugar
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp xanthan gum

Wet Ingredients:
1 egg
1 1/2 tbsp canola oil
1 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla

1. In a large bowl, mix together all of the dry ingredients until they are well blended.
2. Add the wet ingredients to the bowl, and mix until well blended.
3. Heat a griddle pan to 375F or a flat pan to medium heat. The pan is ready if drops of water evaporate when dropped onto the pan. Spray with cooking spray or butter the pan.
4. Using a 1/4 cup spoon the batter onto the pan. Wait until the side have solidified and bubbles form in the pancake to flip.
5. Wait a few minutes for the other side to cook, and remove from pan.
6. Repeat steps 4 and 5 until all batter is cooked.

Enjoy the pancakes, and happy Saturday!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

0 Basic Meatball Recipe

Here's a simple, healthy meatball recipe. The blend of ground beef and pork combines the taste of red meat with the light healthy flavor of pork, while the fresh ingredients that accentuate those flavors.

1/2 lb ground beef
1/2 lb ground pork
5 leaves basil ( or about 1 tbsp dried basil)
1/2 of a medium yellow onion (a little bit less than half if it is a large onion)
3 cloves garlic
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tbsp Worcester sauce
1 tbsp ketchup
Salt and pepper

1. Dice the basil, onion and garlic.
2. Place all of the ingredients into a bowl. Mix with your hands until the mix is fully incorporated.
3. Start a pan on the stove top over medium heat, with a tablespoon of oil in the pan.
4. Roll the mixture into 1 inch diameter balls, and cook in the pan for approximately 8 minutes, moving the meatballs often to minimize sticking and for even cooking.

Let the meatballs rest, and use in your favorite pasta dish such as spaghetti or macaroni and cheese.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

0 Arkham Asylum Sequel Titled and Dated

This week the sequel to what's generally agreed as the best Batman video game created, Arkham Asylum, has been given a title and a general release date.

Say hello to Batman: Arkham City in Fall 2011.

0 Meringues, with a Variety of Flavors

Below I have a simple and easy recipe for French meringues, with a few flavor variations that anyone could make.

Simple Meringue Recipe:
3 egg whites
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
3/4 cups superfine or confectioners sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla extract

1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F. Either butter and flour a baking sheet, or line it with parchment paper.

2. With an electric mixer, beat the egg whites until they become foamy.
3. Add cream of tartar until the beaten eggs start to have peaks.
4. Add the sugar little by litte until the meringue starts to form into firm peaks.
5. Beat in the vanilla.
6. Spoon or pipe the meringues onto the cookie sheet, and place into the oven for 1.5 to 1.75 hours. Once the meringues appear fairly crisp, turn off the oven and crack it open. Leave the meringues in the oven overnight.

Below are some various flavor variations. For all of these, add in the additional ingredients after adding the sugar.

Mocha Meringues:
Simple Meringue Recipe ingredients
2 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tsp instant coffee or espresso

After the meringues have cooled, sprinkle lightly with additional cocoa powder

Peppermint Meringue:
Simple Meringue Recipe Ingredients
1 tbsp peppermint oil

Lemon Meringue:
Simple Meringue Recipe Ingredients
1 tsp lemon juice
zest of one lemon

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

0 More Donkey Kong

The original Donkey Kong Country on the Super NES was probably my second favorite video game on that system after Super Mario World. I remember being impressed by the visual quality of DKC on a 16bit system, whose visual style still holds up today years after it was released. Aside from the graphics, the original DKC blended some of the best platforming in a video game with beautifully composed musical pieces.

Retro Studios is in the process of developing another sequel in this series called Donkey Kong Country Returns. This sequel maintains the classic style of two dimensional platforming, the class DKC music, and the spirit of the original games. It also embraces the artistic style of the original while adding new artistic ways of presenting the game.
Below are some impressions of the game thus far:

Monday, August 2, 2010

1 Looking for people to contribute!

Hey everyone, in an attempt to try to make this blog grow from a little internet seedling into a more mature blog, I was wondering if anyone would like to contribute recipes, or author some recipe blog posts. If so, please let me know via email or comment!

And don't worry, I'm not looking for people to contribute on a regular basis, just any recipes that you would like to share. Thanks!

0 Strawberry Balsamic Salad

Below is a recipe for what is possibly my favorite summer salad, Strawberry and Mozzarella Salad with a Balsamic vinaigrette. This salad combines the sweetness of the strawberries and balsamic, the creamy saltiness of the mozzarella, and the crunchy nuttiness of sliced almonds for some texture.

One bag of your favorite lettuce or greens, avoid ones with a bitter taste
1 pint strawberries
Fresh mozzarella
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar for the dressing, 2 tsp for the strawberries
3 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper
sliced almonds, optional

1. Clean and slice the strawberries and place them in a small bowl. Add the 2 tsp to the bowl, and let the strawberries marinate for about 10-20 minutes
2. In another small bowl, whisk together the remaining balsamic and oil, and add salt and pepper to taste
3. Slice the cheese into cubes, and toss together the lettuce, strawberries, and dressing. Sprinkle the sliced almonds on top.

Its that simple! Enjoy this fresh and delicious salad!