Holiday Gift Guide: 2015

Holiday Gift Guide: 2015

Here’s your gift guide for this holiday season. Whether you’re buying for someone you love or for your office’s white elephant exchange, I’ve rounded up some great nerdy options.

Stocking Stuffers (under $15)

Personal Potato Chip Maker

Personal Potato Chip Maker ($9.99 – ThinkGeek)

Erlenmeyer Shot Glasses – Set of 4 ($9.67 – Amazon)

Zombie Apocalypse Magnet Set

Zombie Apocalypse Magnet Set ($9.99 – ThinkGeek)

My Neighbor Totoro Gray Apron ($6.59 – Amazon)

Space Capsule Tea Infuser

Space Capsule Tea Infuser ($9.99 – ThinkGeek)

My Neighbor Totoro 2-tier Bento Lunch Box ($11.71 – Amazon)

The Constellation Mug ($14.95 – Amazon)

Grow Your Own Coffee

Grow Your Own Coffee Kit ($9.99 – ThinkGeek)

Star Wars R2D2 Christmas Ornament ($7.99 – Amazon)

 

Under the Tree ($15 and up)

Chemist's Spice Rack

Chemist’s Spice Rack ($49.99 – ThinkGeek)

Star Wars Death Star Waffle Maker ($39.99 – Amazon)

R2-D2 Ceramic Teapot

Star Wars R2D2 Ceramic Teapot ($39.99 – ThinkGeek)

Star Trek Klingon Bird of Prey Ornament ($17.99 – Amazon)

Planetary Glass Set

Planetary Glass Set ($34.99 – ThinkGeek)

Harry Potter House Tumbler Cup – Set of 4 ($29.34 – Amazon)

BB-8 Desktop Lamp

Star Wars BB-8 Desktop Lamp ($39.99 – ThinkGeek)

Gears and Wheels Wine Bottle Storage Rack ($60.67 – Amazon)

Alien Abduction Bookends

Alien Abduction Bookends ($24.99 – ThinkGeek)

Star Wars R2D2 Light String  ($20.49 – Amazon)

Seasonal Foods

I’ve never been a big fan of the “pumpkin spice” trend.

pumpkin spice latte pumpkin spice

Sure it tastes good, I love cinnamon and nutmeg, but when Autumn comes, that’s not the seasonal flavor that gets me excited.

When it comes to a certain coffee corporation, the words “Salted Caramel” fill me with glee on their arrival and sorrow on their departure.

season christmas holidays starbucks red cup

I also get a warm tingly feeling somewhere deep when cartons of Eggnog start filling the shelves of my grocery store.

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Limited seasonal foods are some of the most delicious, and maybe that’s because we only see them for a couple months out of the year, but that doesn’t stop us from diving on them the moment we catch a whiff.

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What are some of your favorite seasonal foods?

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Do you love them for their own sake, or do you think if you had access to them year round that you wouldn’t consume them as much?

 

Brie’s Favorite Cooking Channels

The internet is an amazing place.

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For me, there was nothing, and then there was PBS with reruns of Julia Child, and episodes of America’s Test Kitchen, and then there was Food Network that was on all day.

Now there’s a plethora of amazing chefs to watch any time I want with the click of a mouse.

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So, here’s some of my favorite YouTube cooking channels that are definitely worth checking out.

Cooking with Dog

Food Wishes

My Drunk Kitchen

Great Depression Cooking

Sorted Food

Buttermilk Fried Chicken

Buttermilk Fried Chicken

For this past Qwerty dinner the one thing I knew I wanted was Cheddar Bay Biscuits, and what goes better with biscuits than fried chicken?

buttermilk fried chicken 4

I had never *really* attempted fried chicken before; I think I half-assed it once and it turned out so poorly that I didn’t want to try again.

buttermilk fried chicken 1

This felt like the right time to give it a shot though, so brushed off my Google-fu, got some temperature/time approximations and just went for it.

buttermilk fried chicken 3

Besides for briefly setting the kitchen on fire with a silly oil spill over, this recipe really worked out well. The chicken was cooked perfectly and turned out so crispy and delicious, I don’t know what had me nervous in the first place!

Buttermilk Fried Chicken
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Serves: 4-6 servings
Ingredients
  • 6 pounds chicken drumsticks (or other favorite chicken parts)
  • 2 cups Buttermilk
  • 4 tablespoons Franks Red Hot, or any other hot sauce
  • 3 cups flour
  • 3 tablespoons fresh ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 2 teaspoon onion powder
  • Oil for frying
Instructions
  1. Place the drumsticks in a large plastic bag (or divide between two) and pour in the buttermilk and hot sauce.
  2. Seal the bag and massage so that the hot sauce and buttermilk mixes and coats the chicken.
  3. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or overnight.
  4. Heat about 1½ to 2 inches of oil in a large deep pan to 330 degrees.
  5. Mix the flour with all the spices together in a shallow baking dish and using tongs and a fork, take the drumsticks out of the bag, place in the flour and completely coat.
  6. Place off to the side until all the chicken is prepped.
  7. Once the oil is heated, carefully place the drumsticks in a single layer in the pan (you may need to do two batches) and cook for about 25 minutes, turning them over once about 10 minutes in.
  8. Maintain the heat at 320 degrees, and remove once an instant read thermometer in the meat reads at least 165 degrees.

 

Qwerty Cafe’s Halloween Spooky Snacks Roundup

Here’s some of my favorite Qwerty recipes that I think would be great for any Halloween party you may attend or host this year.
Or, you know, make them for yourself Halloween night, shut off all your lights, turn on a movie, and ignore anyone who comes to your door.

You do you.

Pumpkin Spice Rice Cripsy Treats

Pumpkin Spice Rice Crispy Treats

Vampire Repellent – aka – Garlic Deviled Eggs

2

Buffalo Chicken Egg Rolls

Buffalo Chicken Egg Rolls

Fried Macaroni and Cheese Balls

Fried Macaroni & Cheese Balls

Queso Blanco

Queso Blanco

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

Soft Pretzels

Recipes from a Hat: Soft Pretzels

Silent But Deadly: Cream Cheese Things

SBD: Cream Cheese Things

Shi**y Food Porn – Adventures in Blogging

When we decided to tackle the great adventure of food blogging, we didn’t know a lot about what we were doing and just figured we would learn as we go. We have learned some, but we still don’t a lot about what we’re doing.

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This blog is a fun experiment for us and a way to try to stay creative and challenge ourselves a little, but we still want to provide good content for whomever so should chose to read.

One of the things I’ve struggled with the most in the two years plus that we’ve been doing this is with taking the time to get decent pictures.

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We eat everything we make, and most often as soon as its finished cooking, it needs to go right in our belly. I would like to be able to schedule my life in such a way as to be able to spend more time carefully arranging photo shoots to make our food look as good as it tastes, but being a full time student takes up a lot of time.

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I think overall, what we post for you turns out looking pretty good, but there is a lot that I make that I either just don’t have time to photograph at all, like the Buttered Rum Cupcakes I made for Halloween based off of this recipe.

Or, I’ll half-heartedly try to take pictures, but  be too constrained for time to get anything that I can even try to make them look good for you.

Basically, it’s a learning process for us, for me, and I hope you can see our improvements, but I also wanted to share of what hasn’t made it to the blog.

My personal delicious successes, but not so delicious photos.

Like these biscuit dough donuts rolled in powdered sugar.

bisquit donuts

Or this cheesey baconey onion quiche…

cheesey bacon tart

And sometimes they’re super delicious, but not quite photographable, or shareable like this hotdog and cheese sandwich.

hotdog sandwich

And here’s an amazingly delicious pear caramalized onion gorgonzola tart that only got this one photo before being consumed.

onion gorgonzola tart

And these insanely delicious sloppy joe nachoes with creamy queso that I don’t think will ever photograph well.  sloppy joe nachoes <3

 

Chocolate Pots de Creme – Recipe Review

Chocolate Pots de Creme – Recipe Review

Cat and I cook well together because often my issue is lack of inspiration, and Cat’s issue is lack of desire to do the thing.

So when she finds something she’s interested in eating, it’s great because I’m usually interesting in making it!

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To go with our Pizza Balls the other day Cat suggested we try this recipe for Chocolate Pots de Creme from Food Network and I was psyched about how easy the recipe looked.

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They ended up being exactly as easy to make as they looked, and as delicious as I thought they would be. Incredibly rich and very chocolaty.

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The main issue I had with these was that though I followed the recipe to a ‘T’ (not something I usually do), and gave them greater refrigeration time then said necessary, they turned out to be not as thick as advertised.

I would suggest that when you make this recipe that you either give them at least 4 hours in the refrigerator before eating, and or mix about a teaspoon or two of cream of tartar in with the sugar.

Secondly, not an issue with the recipe, but a heads up that this would lend itself perfectly for flavor ad-ins! Mint extract, orange extract, vanilla, almond! So many possibilities!

Chocolate Pots de Creme
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 6-8
Ingredients
  • 9 ounces high-quality semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1½ cups whole milk
  • 1½ cups heavy cream
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 5 tablespoons granulated sugar (add an extra tablespoon if using bitter chocolate)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon confectioners' sugar
Instructions
  1. Place the chocolate in a blender. Whisk the milk, 1 cup cream, egg yolks, granulated sugar and salt in a heavy-bottomed medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly with a heatproof spatula, until the mixture is thick enough to coat the spatula and almost boiling, 5 to 6 minutes.
  2. Immediately pour the milk mixture over the chocolate in the blender. Cover and hold the lid with a thick kitchen towel; blend until combined and smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides of the blender as needed. Divide the chocolate mixture among ramekins or small cups and refrigerate until set, about 2 hours.
  3. Whip the remaining ½ cup cream and the confectioners' sugar with a mixer or in the blender until soft peaks form. Top the chilled pots de creme with whipped cream.

I will definitely be making these again with some of those flavor adjustments.

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4 Stars (4 / 5)