Strawberry Basil Lemonade

I realize that this is probably a beverage that I should have posted in the summer, so my apologies for just getting around to it. The good news is, I live in Texas, where it is almost always hot enough to make this refreshing beverage.

To spice things up, try this lemonade with vodka. This last time I made it, my friend Natalie mixed it with a little bit of white wine and it tasted very similar to Sangria. Both great ideas, if you feel that this beverage is a little too virgin for you.

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SBL Recipe

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Model Citizen-don’t leave home without it. Another way to devirginize your lemonade.

Almond & Banana Pudding Cake

As promised from the NYC Food Porn post, I made my very own version of a Banana Pudding Cake. When I started to think about how I wanted to do it, I knew that I would use a banana nut cake. Banana nut bread is one of my favorites, but too dense to be a cake. I decided to make some modifications and came up with something delicious.

My big brother, Lawrence, had his birthday on April 12th. Lawrence’s favorite dessert happens to be banana pudding. In fact, right after I ate a piece of the Banana Pudding Cake in Harlem, NY, I texted him and told him how amazing it was. I just so happened to be going to Victoria on the 13th (this past Saturday). So, my excuse to make the cake was well planned out. I made the cakes and icing, put them on ice and traveled to my hometown ready to build it.

When I asked Lawrence if he preferred walnuts or pecans, he responded, “almonds.”  When I thought about how the almonds would crunch inside of the cake, it didn’t go well in my head. I guess because almonds can go stale, it’s not the same as baking in pecans or walnuts. Therefore, I decided to use almond meal in place of some flour and almonds for garnish instead of crushed up vanilla wafers. Thus, I present the Almond & Banana Pudding Cake by Dutch Lovin’.

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Cake[Click on the recipe to enlarge it.]

icing and garnish

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 Kyle and I made this much smaller version on Friday night and shared it with my little brother and friend. I still have some, come and get it!

Hand-Dipped Chocolate Strawberries

It’s that time of year again, when you walk through the grocery store and there is a station for fresh hand-dipped chocolate strawberries. They smell great, they look great, you can’t help yourself because you know they are going to be amazing.

However amazing they are, they can get quite expensive! Let’s face it, 4 might not be enough, especially if you have to share. The steps of making these hand-dipped, decadent goodies are very simple, much less expensive than purchasing some, and can be a treat to more than 2 people.

These are great for parties or work well as gifts for family and friends. I also like to do these around Mother’s Day, as Moms are usually suckers for chocolate and strawberries. The upside of knowing how to do this is that you can have them year-round and not just for Valentine’s Day or other special occasions.

pretzels and strawberries

As pictured, you can do this same thing with pretzels. I prefer to use honey wheat pretzels.

Chocolate Strawberries

A similar version of this was originally posted by Sous Me Alchemy on 2/19/2012.

Fruit Bouquets and Where the Hell Has DL been?

Sorry to say it, but I do not regret the hiatus that I have taken from blogging. My life has been filled with a beautiful mess. My boyfriend, Kyle, and I rescued a dog from a terrible living condition in November, just before Thanksgiving. On December 10th, she popped out puppies, six to be exact. It was very crazy and the timing was not so convenient, since we left for NYC on the 14th.

Needless to say, with surprise puppies, a trip to New York, and starting a new (and awesome) job, life has kept me insanely busy. Our time has been completely consumed with many great life experiences, but has left us wondering where all the time has gone. Don’t get me wrong, I still cook on daily basis, however, there has just been no room for blogging. Now that we have found homes for all of the puppies, we are going to have a little bit of extra time on our hands.

Our trip to New York was pretty awesome. We were hosted around by the best, we saw so many cool things, we ate a lot of good food, and the competition went pretty well too. We didn’t actually place, but Dutch Lovin’ was one of the Food Republic’s Top 5 Picks. Other articles with coverage from the competition can be found herehere, and here. We made a lot of good contacts and had a lot of positive feedback on our dish. All in all, it was great fun and a huge success.

In other news, The Food Experiments are making their way back to Austin and the theme this year is smoke. As Texans, we are all very thrilled. I know I am at least! Unfortunately, I will be doing this competition without Kyle, but his replacement is going to do great. Kyle decided that he didn’t want to do it this year, as his birthday is March 12th and always very close to the competition. Kyle makes a good point, “I don’t think I should have to work so hard before my birthday.”

My new partner this year will be Pat, a very good friend of mine. Pat and I met years ago when we worked at Which Wich? together. Hands down, he was one of the hardest workers I have ever met. When I got a job at the Wine Cellar as a gourmet chef, I eventually got Pat a job there too. We were both professionally trained by Master Chef John Lopez. I have no doubt that he and I are going to do really well. We are looking forward to great food and a lot of fun. The experimenting has already begun and the creative juices are definitely flowing.

Now that we are semi-caught up, I made this pretty cool fruit bouquet for my boss’ birthday yesterday. I thought I would share it with you. I find that it is very easy to do and much less expensive than an edible arrangement. Plus, it’s more meaningful when you put the work in yourself.

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I built them starting at the bottom and in this order:

1. 5 Blueberries

2. 1 Kiwi Half Moon

3. 1 Cantaloupe Triangle

4. 1 Pineapple Chunk

5. 1 Strawberry, Cut Like a Rose

Valentine’s Day is just 2 days away, there is still time to make your own chocolate covered strawberries. I will be posting a recipe for that later today from the old website…stay tuned.

Pumpkin Empanadas

This recipe is strictly a baking empanada. There are other recipes for fried empanadas and they usually come filled with meat, cheese or veggies. Kyle and I have done fried empanadas before and I am sure we will post a recipe for those sometime in the near future.

The great thing about empanadas is that there are so many varieties. I have had them before with different kinds of filling, including: sweet potatoes, pineapple, cherries and apples. However, I have only made the kind that I prefer the most and those are pumpkin empanadas. You can pretty much fill your empanadas with any same filling that you do for pie.

I had someone just tell me the other day that she tried making empanadas and her dough didn’t come out the way she anticipated. I assure you, if you use this dough recipe and follow the directions, your empanadas will come out great. Remember to egg wash them so they will come out golden brown. You may not be able to do these with fresh pumpkin until next year, but you can certainly try them with any other kind of filling.

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Empanadas Recipe

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Loaded Oatmeal Cookies

Hello! I do apologize for being so out of touch this past month. Working a new job and keeping up with life has kept me very busy!

The Cocktails and Mocktails Recipe Challenge was a lot of fun and a great success. Dutch Lovin’ came in a very close second place and could not have done it with out your help. Major thanks to all of my (very big) family and friends for all of your support. We are thrilled to have been apart of our first ever (and hopefully not the last) online recipe challenge for Marx Foods.

In other news, Kyle and I have booked our trip to New York for The Food Experiments‘ National Championship, sponsored by  the Brooklyn Brewery. We are very excited, as this will be our first time to ever go to New York. The competition will be on December 16th. Please, tell all of your friends that are in the New York area, because we are going to be cooking up something extra special. The experimenting will commence this weekend.

As for the cookies, I made these a couple of weeks ago as a gift for a friend at work. They were super delicious and honestly, the most decadent oatmeal cookies that I have ever made. Don’t let the picture fool you; those are definitely dried blueberries. Someone did mention to me that there were a lot of ingredients and I concur. However, every ingredient is worth the flavor. I hope you enjoy them as much as we did. Happy baking!

Loaded Oatmeal Cookies[Please click on the image to enlarge the recipe.]

Watermelon and Cucumber Gazpacho

Kyle happened to bring home this amazing seedless watermelon the other day. He found a man on the side of the road selling them off of the back of his truck. Cucumbers were on sale this week, 3 for a dollar. This was definitely something we were not going to pass up.

Today, I was out and about and it was really hot outside. I had to make a quick trip to Central Market and came up with the idea to make some refreshing Gazpacho. Since I already had the watermelon and the cucumber, making this decision was obvious. So, I picked up the rest of my ingredients: a serrano chile, some fresh dill, cilantro, and feta cheese.

This recipe is super simple to make. All you need to make this Gazpacho is a blender. Also, this is a very light meal; I suggest serving it as an appetizer or snack. If you are serving it immediately, it would be best to have the watermelon and cucumber already cold.

Since this is a dish that doesn’t require any heating or cooking, it is best served in a cold dish. Set your bowls in the freezer ahead of time. Rinse the bowls before putting them into the freezer to make them extra icy (just like beer mugs or pint glasses at a bar).

If you don’t want to serve it right away you can let it chill in the refrigerator. Enjoy!