San Francisco Treats

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I recently took a trip to San Francisco and quite heartily enjoyed their selection of food. I might have even gone a little crazy with avocado. Can you blame a girl. It is avocado. And yes, I do have more avocado recipes to share. I’m not stingy.

I’ve decided to share some of the tasty treats I found with everyone. Cuz they were amazing.

First stop: North Beach

Cafe Divine

We stopped for breakfast here our first morning and were no disappointed at all.

I gained an appreciation for biscuits and gravy when I moved to Missouri, so of course once I saw these on the menu, my interest was piqued.  But these were no ordinary biscuits and gravy.  These were Cheddar and Scallion Biscuits with bacon gravy.  I still dream about them.  Absolute magic.

Julie also fell in love with her selection: waffles with cheddar and bacon topped with maple syrup. 

Second stop: Castro

Cafe Flore

I found a Groupon for Cafe Flore and menu looked so good, we had to give it a try. 

The cafe was hopping, no doubt partly because of the amazing food and the Castro Street Festival was occurring at the same time.  But the food was spectacular and the service amazing.  The set up is a little different.  You order your food at the entrance, then you go and hunt down a seat.  Beverages are ordered separately.  I ended up getting their sangria… yum.

I’ve never had as much fun at a restaurant as I did at Cafe Flore.  I ordered the Avo-Gobbler Sandwich… and it was amazing.  I’ve had many a sandwich with grilled chicken and avocado.  But this one was really tasty.  Possibly the dressing they put on it?  Who knows.  I would recommend visiting this place, just to sit and have drinks even.  But if you order the food, you can’t go wrong.
Last stop: Union Square

Sears Fine Food

We stumbled upon Sears by complete accident one morning as we were hunting for breakfast.  We figured the line probably indicated it was more than worth a shot.  And it was.  We probably waited about 15 minutes.  But they serve up a fine breakfast and once you are inside, you don’t wait long.

Here I found Swedish Pancakes and chicken apple sausage.  So Swedish pancakes, as you can see, are small little mini pancakes.  No other way to describe them.  They just melt in your mouth.  If you have never tried Swedish pancakes, you should.  I’ve never found one I didn’t like.

But Sears is a busy restaurant, filled with lots of nostalgic items, including old ovens (yeah… I have a soft spot for old ovens) and upon leaving you are given a coin to try and win a free breakfast from the slot machine!  How awesome is that!

 

So if you are even in San Francisco, now you have three suggestions on where to go!  Also, if you are a garlic person, try the garlic fries…. they smelled amazing and made me oh so jealous to be allergic to a food.  But they are sold everywhere!

 

Chocolate Covered Cherry Cheesecake

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Chocolate covered cherries, to me at least, are one of the best treats on Earth.  So naturally, finding a way to turn them into a cheesecake, was necessary.  And ingenious!  I found a recipe from Sweet Anna’s and modified it slightly, as in, I added more chocolate.  Can you blame a girl?  I know I have a picture somewhere… until I locate it, go and take a gander at the pictures on Sweet Anna’s page and drool there.

As I was making this dessert for a diabetic I used as many sugar-free or low sugar ingredients I could get my hands on.  Those that I found included sugar-free oreos, low-sugar cherry pie filling, sugar-free chocolate chips, and Splenda.  I will say it did make it a little sweet for my tastes, but that is the trade off for using sugar-free ingredients.  I don’t think it would have been as sweet if I had used regular ingredients.  I would also recommend using a darker chocolate for the glaze, it would really set off the flavour.

Ingredients:

For the Crust:

25 Oreos, finely crushed
4 Tbsp butter, melted

For the Filling:

4 – 8 oz packages of cream cheese, room temp (works great with 1/3 fat cream cheese!)
3 – large eggs
3/4 cup – sugar
1 tsp – cherry extract (vanilla or almond also work great)
1/2 cup – heavy cream
1 – 21 oz can of cherry pie filling
1/4 cup – cocoa powder
1/4 cup – maraschino cherries, chopped

For the Glaze:

1/2 cup – heavy cream
1 cup – chocolate chips

Let’s Make Bake some Magic

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

In a medium bowl, stir together the crushed Oreos and melted butter. Press mixture evenly into the bottom of a 10″ spring-form pan, creating about an 1 inch crust along the sides.

In a larger bowl beat the cream cheese until smooth. Beat in the eggs, one a time until well blended. Beat in sugar and cherry extract until smooth. Beat in heavy cream. Divide mixture in half, placing one half into another bowl. Add the cocoa powder to one half and beat until well blended. Add the chopped cherries to the other half.

Pour chocolate half of the mixture onto the crust. Carefully spoon about 2 cups worth of cherry pie filling onto mixture. (Since I love cherries, I used the whole can). Carefully spoon remaining half of the mixture on top of the cherries.

Bake for 1 hour to 1 hour, 15 minutes or until the cheesecake is just set. Cool in the pan. You really want to make sure the cheesecake has had time to completely cool, as the center will break during the next step if it is still warm.

In a microwaveable bowl, heat the heavy cream until it is simmering (about a minute). Add the chocolate chips to the heavy cream and stir until melted and smooth.

Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Run a knife along the edges of the cheesecake to release it from the pan, then remove the sides of the springform.

Apply the glaze by smoothing it over the top of the cheesecake, letting it fall off the sides. Refridgerate for at least 3 hours or even better, overnight.

Enjoy!

Irish Soda Bread

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To make a traditional Oberlies birthday cake, one needs buttermilk.  But what to do with the spare buttermilk?!  Make soda bread of course!  The first time I came across soda bread,  I was quite young — perhaps 12?  In Girl Scouts we had annual Tasting Tea, an event where troops from across the area came together to introduce the world to each other.  Each troop represented a different country, we learned about the history of the country, traditional foods and drink, handicrafts and dances.

I don’t recall much else about this Tea where we represented Ireland, except making the soda bread, and the importance of using a wooden spoon.

Soda bread has a wonderful flavour and texture – slather on some butter and you’ll forget to add anything else to your meal!  Honestly my best comparison is KFC biscuits.  It is super easy to make – 4 ingredients!

Ingredients:

4 c – flour
1 tsp – baking soda
1 tsp – salt
2 c – buttermilk

Mixin’ it up:

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.  Grease a cake pan or 9×9 pan with cooking spray and lightly flour.

Shift together flour, salt and baking soda.  Create a small well in bowl.  Mix the buttermilk in gradually, stirring with a wooden spoon between each addition, until create sticky dough.

Spread some flour on a counter/cutting board and lightly (and I mean lightly) knead the dough.  Form into a ball, flattening slightly.  With a knife, cut an ‘X’ into the top of the bread.

Bake bread  for about 40 minutes until golden brown.  You can tell the bread is done by tapping it, it makes a hollow sound.

It’s Tradition!

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In my family there is a cake that all little Oberlies’ eat on their first birthday.  It’s a once a year kinda cake… and its magic!

Serve it up with a big glass of ice, cold milk and sit down and enjoy!

It has a rich cocoa taste, that is moist.  It is crumbly, but I think that adds to its wonder, cuz as every girl knows, crumbs don’t count.   If you are a coffee fan, then the icing will make your day!
So how do you make it?  — Well let’s hope I’m not breaking any secrets by advertising.  Let’s cross our fingers Grandma doesn’t hunt me down.

Ingredients:

3 c – flour
2 tsp – baking soda
3 heaping TBSP – cocoa
pinch of salt
1 c – shortening
2 c – sugar
2 c – buttermilk
1 tsp – vanilla
2 eggs

Mix and Bake:

Grease and flour two 9 inch round cake pans and preheat oven to 350  degrees F.

Shift flour, baking soda, cocoa, and salt together; set aside.  Combine shortening and sugar; blend till creamy.  Add eggs and vanilla.  Add flour mixture and buttermilk, alternating between.

Pour into pans and bake for 30 minutes.  Turn out  to cool on racks.

While waiting for cake to cool, make the icing!

Creating Icing:

6 Tbsp -butter, melted
6 heaping Tbsp – cocoa
6 Tbsp – coffee, brewed
1 tsp – vanilla
Powdered sugar

Add cocoa, butter, coffee, and vanilla until well mixed. Add powdered sugar until icing thickens.

Enjoy!

Baked Avocado Fries w/Chili Ranch Dip

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So it isn’t a dessert — but it is a tasty treat.  I’m a fan of the nutrious (and tasty!) nature of Avocado’s so I jumped for joy when I found a recipe for Avocado fries… that are baked!!  I ran across the recipe on Baked In and alterated it to fit ingredients I had on hand.   These are delicious and have just the right amount of crunch to them – even more impressive, they stay green even after being in the fridge for several days!  I decided to pair it with a chili ranch dip, because let’s be honest, avocado doesn’t have much flavour naturally.  It added just the right amount of zing!  

Baked Avocado Fries

To make the Avocado fries you’ll need:

  • 2 ripe avocados (they should be slightly firm, but not soft)
  • 1/2 c – flour
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 c – panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 c – grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 TBSP – melted butter
  • 1/2 tsp – garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp – powdered cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp – salt
  • 1/4 tsp – pepper

Let’s Bake!

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with foil and spray lightly with cooking spray.

Slice avocados lengthwise – you’ll get around 22 slices.

Set up three bowls.  In the first bowl, place 1/2 cup of flour  and add a pinch of salt and pepper.

Crack the eggs into the middle bowl and beat lightly.

In the last bowl, combine the panko and melted butter and mix with fork.  Add garlic powder, cayenne pepper, paremsan cheese, salt and pepper.  Mix.

Coat each avocado slice in the flour, then the egg, then thoroughly with the panko.  Place on baking sheet.

Bake for 10-12  minutes, then turn and bake an additional 10-12 minutes, until panko is lightly brown.  Cool for about ten minutes and serve with dipping sauce!

Note: If you don’t have panko breadcrumbs on hand, this does work with regular breadcrumbs, it just doesn’t have that lovely crunchy nature of panko!
Chili Ranch Dip

To make the chili ranch dip you’ll need:

  • 1/4 tsp – dried oregno
  • 1/2 tsp – salt
  • 1/2 tsp – garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp – cumin
  • 1/2 TBSP – cayenne pepper powder
  • 1/2 TBSP – chili powder
  • 2 1/2 TBSP – dry ranch mix
  • 1/4 c – fresh chopped cliantro
  • 1 c (8 0z) – sour cream
  • 1 c (8 oz) – mayo
  • 3 green onions, chopped

Mix ingredients until well blended.

Note: If you prefer a less spicy only add chili powder, or add more sour cream.

Enjoy!

Cherry Blueberry Muffins

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Today was a muffin day.  I’ve been mulling over making some muffins for the past couple of days.  The original plan was to make raspberry peach muffins, but when I had excess blueberries hanging out in the refigerator that changed to blueberry peach muffins.  Then I remembered, I love peaches, but I hate the fuzz on peaches.  It makes me itch like nothing else, and that just wasn’t in the cards.

So!  Cherry blueberry muffins sounded marvelous!!

I took a raspberry peach muffin recipe I’d found years ago (no idea where at!) and morphed it to my needs.

These turned out marvelous.  They are moist and not overly sweet, the fruit is allowed to stand on its own, which is perfect for a muffin.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups flour
1/2 cup half and half
1 cup fresh blueberries
1 cup fresh cherries, cut in half or quarters

Mix it Together:

In a bowl cream together the sugar and butter until fluffy.  Add in eggs one at a time and mix well after each.  Blend in vanilla, baking powder, and salt.  Fold in 1 cup flour and then 1/4 cup of half and half.  Repeat using the rest of the flour and half and half.

In a separate bowl, toss the fruits in a bit of flour to coat them so they do not sink to bottom of batter.   Gently fold into batter.  Spoon into greased muffin cups (or liners), sprinkle with sugar, and bake at 375 degrees F  for about 20-30 minutes.
Makes about 18-20 muffins.

Enjoy!

Oreo Cookie Happiness!

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I love Oreos.  Who doesn’t love Oreos?   Back in March, that lovely cookie celebrated its 100th birthday!  I decided it was imperative for Gabe and I to celebrate.   I discovered a wonderful recipe from the Lovin’ From the Oven blog, which I heartily recommend to all!

Gabe and I broke out our kitchen gear to make Chocolate Chip Oreo Cookies — seriously they are as good as they sound.

What You’ll Need:

  • An awesome sous chef to assist you in your baking happiness
  • Rolling pin
  • Ziplock bags
  • Oreos
  • Chocolate chips
  • Toffee bits

Ingredients: 

  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 6 TBSP sugar
  • 6 TBSP brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 11 Oreos, broken up/crushed
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup toffee bits

Alternative — If you don’t like toffee, just add 1 cup of chocolate chips

Let’s Get Baking!!

First off – tell those Oreos that you love them and you don’t want to beat them up with the rolling pin, but sometimes, you gotta do, what you gotta do.

Place the Oreos into a ziplock bag and using the rolling pin lightly, break ’em up.

Gabe the sous chef,  shows you how its done.

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Mix the butter and sugar together until creamy.  Add the egg and vanilla and mix well.

In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and salt.  Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients.

Stir in Oreos, chocolate chips and toffee pieces, until combined.

I taught Gabe to stir by telling him to pretend to be a witch stirring his cauldron,  two hands on the spoon, while I hold on to the bowl.  The reason for this – practicality – when he tried stirring like me, we ended with with tons of dough outside the bowl.  This cookie is not an easy job with combining the Oreo, chocolate chips and toffee bits.

Drop spoonfuls of dough onto a cookie sheet and bake for about 10 minutes.  You want them to be still a little soft.  Remove from oven, let sit for 3 minutes and then transfer to cooling sheet.

Enjoy!