apple picking and apple baking
Hi there! I'm just going to warn you that at this very moment, as I'm typing, I'm a little tipsy and just ate Taco Bell for the first time in maybe 8 years... it was just one of those nights. I can't guarantee that you're not going to read anything weird. Anyways, happy almost weekend! What do I need to catch you up on? Let's see... I went home to Cleveland this past weekend! It was so great! I'm feeling extra chubby but that's the price you have to pay for some quality family time. At least in my family. Cleveland was so peaceful. The air was breezy and crisp. The trees were just starting to turn into my favorite color - orange! The cousins and I went apple picking with our mommas and our grandma. To be honest, some of the apple trees were more like apple bushes, but it was still super fun and festive to wander around in search of the perfectly round and crisp apple. My grandma got very into apple picking and it was very cute. She's an incredible gardner and grew up in the rural countryside of Southern China, so I think it was her natural instinct to get picking. We took home way too many apples for us to consume, but I used up a few to make an apple galette and apple crisp to share at the family dinner later that night. It was a hit : )
I woke up at 4am EST on Sunday morning, hopped on an airplane, and was back in San Francisco by 8:30am PST. Just in time to grab breakfast at one of the only Dunkin' Donuts in the Bay Area, which is conveniently by the airport. Hooray for clean eating! Flying is just so crazy isn't it? One minute you're in Cleveland sleeping in your childhood bedroom and then the next minute you're in the middle of San Francisco surrounded by dumplings. Weird. 2 cocktails seems like a lot now...
Going home was so great. But another great thing happened this week! I work for an awesome interior design firm, Studio O+A, and they wrote an incredibly sweet article about this very blog! Al, our amazing staff writer interviewed me and wrote kind words about Eat Cho Food. When I found out that he read every post, I was legitimately embarrassed. Like, an actual writer read my words and actually thought it was okay???? WHAAAAA? There are like a million grammatical errors and misspellings in each post. But he captured the spirit of this little page so well! Here are my two favorite quotes from the article:
The result is a kitchen diary that combines good cooking, luscious photography and spicy writing to tell the story of a young woman living with her sweetheart in one of San Francisco’s great neighborhoods and spreading love to friends and family in the form of mouthwatering meals and snacks.
Eat Cho Food is an on-going journal of happiness.
Al hit the nail on the head and I don't think I could have said it better myself... actually, I definitely couldn't have. My goal for this blog is for it to be more than just recipes. I want it to be filled with stories, memories, and thoughts that simply make you happy, even if it's just for a moment during your day. This blog is a product of joy. The world is a pretty messed up place sometimes. So if I can make it just a tiny bit brighter, I feel like I'm doing something good with my life. If you want to read the article check it out here!
Alright, so what is a buckeye? The official state tree of Ohio is the Buckeye. The tree produces seeds that look like this. The mascot for The Ohio State University is a buckeye named Brutus. The creative people of Ohio started making peanut butter and chocolate confections to mimic the look of our state tree nut. Everyone in the state of Ohio without a peanut or chocolate allergy eats them. That is the terrible abridged history of the chocolate buckeye! If it wasn't entirely clear, a buckeye is essentially a ball of peanut butter mixed with powdered sugar and then dipped in chocolate. It's a like a peanut butter cup and truffle hybrid... but looks like a buckeye. You get it. It's really hard to explain if you're not from Ohio.
I've upgraded the traditional buckeye by making my very own pistachio butter! If you haven't tried pistachio butter yet, you must! Don't buy the jar stuff though. A jar of pistachio butter is like $15!!! Hell. No. Buy a bag of pistachios for $8 at Trader Joe's and grind it up yourself. That way you can control how sweet or chunky you like it. You'll feel super accomplished. I've adjusted this recipe so that it is not "ah! I'm going to get so many cavities" sweet, which is how buckeyes typically are. These actually taste like pistachios and have a bunch of salt in it to counteract the sugar. They make a perfect and cute gift for when one of your best friends shows up for a surprise lunch date, or if you want to do something nice for your nut butter loving girlfriend.
If I ever get the opportunity to write a cookbook one day, I definitely want there to be a chapter called "The Homesick Ohioan." There would be buckeyes, pirogies, Skyline coneys, copycat Jeni's ice cream, copycat Steak n' Shake burgers, and more things that my slightly tipsy brain can't think of right now. Doesn't that sound great?!
Pistachio Butter Buckeyes
makes about 16 buckeyes
1 1/2 cups roasted unsalted pistachios
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup honey
1 tbsp sea salt
1 cup pistachio butter
6 tbsp melted butter
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tbsp sea salt
8 tbsp semi-sweet chocolate chunks
1. Add roasted pistachios into your food processor and process for 4-5 minutes until it is crumbly and starting to get creamy. Slowly drizzle olive oil and process for another 2 minutes. Add honey and salt. You can adjust depending on taste. Mix for another minute until creamy. You should have about 1 cup of pistachio butter.
2. Combine pistachio butter, melted butter, powder sugar, and salt in a bowl and mix until combined. Add a little more salt to taste if you like. Place bowl in the freezer and let the mixture firm up for 15 minutes.
3. Remove bowl from the freezer. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Scoop out about 1 tbsp of the pistachio butter, enough to make a 1" ball. Roll between your hands to form a ball. Place on parchment paper. Repeat until all the pistachio butter is used up. Stick the baking sheet in the freezer and let the balls firm up for 30 mins.
4. Right before you're about to take out balls, melt your chocolate. Either melt your chocolate in a double boiler or in the microwave. If going the microwave route, slowly melt the chocolate by placing it in the microwave in 15 second intervals and mixing in between. It takes awhile, but you have to do this to avoid burning the chocolate. Trust me!
5. Take the balls out of the freezer. Use a toothpick and stick it into a ball and then dip into the melted chocolate. Allow the top portion of the pistachio butter ball to remain exposed to give it it's buckeye appearance. Shake off any excess chocolate and place back on the parchment paper. Repeat with all the pistachio butter balls. Use the back of a spoon or small offset spatula to carefully smooth over the hole from the toothpick. Stick the sheet in the fridge for 15-20 minutes until the chocolate and pistachio butter filling has firmed up.