Archive for September, 2010

September 30, 2010

Sesame Noodles

These can be a meal… if you plan on eating a small meal or you add protein. However, alone they make a good almost meal.

I didn’t know what to think of them at first. I didn’t grow up with Sesame Noodles like I did pancakes (which I loved) and casseroles (which I avoided). But I saw this recipe, and I paused to think. Then, I bought ingredients.

Sesame Noodles
Inspired by For the Love of Cooking

12 oz cooked thin noodles (I used linguini.)
1/4 c soy sauce
1 T sugar
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 T rice vinegar
5 T extra virgin olive oil
1/2 t sweet chile sauce
2 T hot water
3 to 4 green onions, sliced thin
1 T sesame seeds

Whisk together soy sauce, sugar, garlic, vinegar, sesame oil, chile sauce, canola oil, and water in a bowl.

Cook noodles. Mix noodles with the sauce until completely coated. Add green onions and sesame seeds.

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September 29, 2010

Hummmmus

About the title:: I had to do it. Lots of m’s?! Delicious food! It’s only fair.

I have been making hummus (Normal number of m’s there. I can show restraint. [Unless we’re talking about M&Ms or chocolate chips. No restraint there.]) for a few or a couple of years now. I’ve gotten consistent and good… and fast. Please picture me, still in preschool teacher garb, coming home from school absolutely famished. I was crazed. I had a timer. I set it to time. I set to work; I was out of that kitchen in less than 3 and a half minutes with a cheese and spinach quesadilla, freshly made hummus, and tortilla chips. I’m that good.

Well, anyway, the hummus is that good:::

Necessary to the process:
1. Food processor
2. Tahini (ground sesame seeds in a jar)
3. Lemon or lemon juice

Hummus
Inspired by: Martha Stewart

1 (15 oz.) can of chickpeas, drained
1/4 c lemon juice
2 T tahini
1/2 t Jane’s Crazy Mixed-Up Salt (*optional)
1/2 t McCormick’s Grill Master Montreal Steak Seasoning (*optional)
1/4 t cumin
1/4 c extra virgin olive oil

In the chassis of a food processor place drained chickpeas, lemon juice, tahini, and spices. Give it a whir until it looks like it’s beginning to combine but a little too chunky. Add extra virgin olive oil. Give it another whirl until it begins to look smooth and ready.

Taste to check seasoning. Add more if/as necessary. Whir (grind, chop, or pulse) to combine. Then take a spatula to remove the hummus first from the blade into storage container. Then the rest into the storage container. Let it chill in the refrigerator a couple of hours. (Ha. Or scoop it right out of the food processor, being careful to avoid the blades.)

*If you opt out of these very specific but basic spices in my household, you can always exchange them for sea, or kosher, salt and two cloves of garlic. I’ve also made a roasted red pepper version that’s delicious!

September 28, 2010

Cinnamon-Apple Cookies

The preschool treat I did take. (See Definitely Cannot Force Three-Year Olds to Try) The theme for the week was Apples! The letter of the week: A. I went through a lot of back up ideas when I realized I couldn’t take the muffins I had intended to take:: dried apricots, asparagus, animal crackers, applesauce, American cheese cut out in the shape of an “a,” apoplectic muffins, armageddon cookies, accidental food, angry teddy grahams, and Apple Jacks.

I didn’t go with any of those. You’re very welcome, bugslies.

Cinnamon-Apple Cookies
Inspired by Cate’s World Kitchen

1 1/8 c A-P flour
2 t cinnamon
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
2/3 c brown sugar
1 large egg
1/2 t vanilla
1 c grated golden delicious apple

Stir flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl and set aside.

Cream the butter and brown sugar with hand mixer until fluffy.

Beat in egg and vanilla then the flour mixture.

Mix in the grated apple. Then cover and chill for an hour. (Or thirty minutes for if you’re too impatient to distract yourself for another thirty minutes. But try to wait.)

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Drop rounded teaspoons of dough and bake for 12 to 15 minutes. Cool on cookie sheet for two minutes then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.


September 27, 2010

Vanilla Bean Scones

Oh. My god.

Petite Vanilla Bean Scones
Inspired by the Pioneer Woman

3 c A-P flour
2/3 c sugar
5 t baking powder (or 1 T + 2 t)
1/2 t salt
2 sticks of butter, chilled
1 large egg
3/4 c heavy cream
2 whole vanilla beans

Glaze
3 c powdered sugar
1/2 c heavy cream
1/8 c milk
1 whole vanilla bean
dash of sea salt

Preheat oven to 350 degree F.

Split the vanilla beans, and scrape out the insides. Mix with heavy cream.

Sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.

Cut cold butter into pats, then use two knives to cut the butter into crumbs.

Mix vanilla cream with egg, then combine with flour mixture. Gently fold until combined.

Turn dough onto floured surface and lightly press together until it forms a rough rectangle. Rectangle should be about 1/2 in to 3/4 in thick and will definitely be very crumbly.

Use a knife to trim into a more refined rectangle. Then, cut the rectangle into 12 equal squares. Cut squares diagonally to form two triangles.

Transfer to baking pan. Parchment paper or silpat would be very handy here.

Bake for 19 minutes, removing the oven just before they turn golden. Allow to cool for 15 minutes, then transfer to rack to cool completely.

For glaze::
Split the vanilla bean in half and scrape out all the insides. Stir the vanilla into the milk/cream mix. Let it sit for a bit. Mix powdered sugar with the vanilla milk (add more powdered sugar or milk to get right consistency). Whisk until completely smooth.

Dunk each scone (one at a time) into the glaze, turning it over to coat all sides. Let set for about an hour before devouring. I mean, before serving or packing up. These can keep several days, if they last that long.

September 26, 2010

Apple Streusel Muffins

**Disclaimer::: These are muffins that I made. I’m not entirely sure why they weren’t the GREATEST MUFFINS EVER. But they weren’t. If you can think of ways to make them better, I’d love to know. ***

Streusel. Mm. I guess it’s a thing with me. Maybe it’s partly because I know the practice of spelling streusel correctly. “U” after the “e”!! Maybe it’s also because I like new and more complex things, and I’m still getting the handle of it.

I intended for the muffins to work for my preschoolers, hoping the three year olds would delight in the slightly sweet but not overly sugary concoction. And also enjoy being introduced to new textures. (See My Opinion About Textures) Ugh. What was I thinking?? I made these muffins, but did not take them into school. I like the textures. I like the subtly sweet. I like the crumbly streusel. I like the small apple chunklettes. (There’s got to be a nicer word for that.)

Apple Streusel Muffins
Inspired by Emeril Lagasse

Muffin
1 1/2 c A-P flour
1 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1/4 t salt
1 1/2 t ground cinnamon
2 large eggs
1/2 c plain Greek yogurt
4 T melted butter
1 c packed light brown sugar
1 c chopped golden delicious apple

Streusel Topping
1/4 c rolled oats
1/4 light brown sugar
1/8 c A-P flour
1/2 t ground cinnamon
2 T melted unsalted butter

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

In a large bowl, sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. In another bowl, whisk eggs, yogurt, and melted butter. Add the sugar and whisk to combine. Add to the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Fold in the apples.

Spray a 12-cup muffin tin (I splurged! I have one now.) with cooking spray and divide the batter amongst the tins. Only fill about 2/3 full or less if you think you’re going to be serving them to three year olds and you also have an extra 6-cup muffin tin you’d like to use for the extra.

Streusel topping: Combine all the ingredients and mix until combined and crumbly.

Sprinkle about 1 T of streusel over each muffin.

Bake about 25 minutes or until tester comes out clean. Let them cool in the tin for 10 minutes. Continue cooling on wire rack before serving.

September 25, 2010

Undeniable Salmon

Super Simple Salmon. Sensational Salmon. Salivation-inducing Salmon.

All of these options for post titles ran through my head but none of them made the cut, because it’s morning; I haven’t gotten my coffee yet; and alliteration seems like the wrong direction to go.

How do you feel about salmon? About most fish? I want to know, because it was only about three years ago that I learned to love and adore salmon with all the adoration it deserves.

I made up the sauce myself a few years ago then discovered that it’s actually a pretty common combination, but still feel very proud of this recipe. Here you are.

Salmon

Sauce
1 part soy sauce
1 part brown sugar
2 parts orange juice

This sauce can act as a marinade or … sauce. For marinade usage:: place salmon in flat-bottom container. Pour marinade over fish. Seal (with plastic wrap or container cover). Let marinate in refrigerator for two to many more hours.

Then take out and either stove top cook it or place it in the oven.

For oven preparation: Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Cook skin side down for 25 to 30 minutes, basting it with the sauce about halfway through cooking. Check for doneness by making sure the salmon is opaque and flakes easily with a fork.

For stove top preparation: Place sauce into a saute pan. Heat (medium heat) the sauce for a couple of minutes. Place salmon in the pan skinside up.

Allow to cook and bubble for about 3 minutes.

Turn over and cook another 5 minutes or until the sauce becomes thick and starts to caramelize.

Take the salmon off the heat. With the sauce. Turn the heat up to high.

This is how the cat will feel about that.

Then, this is the part where it doesn’t look very pretty but it’s totally worth it. Take the salmon which you lovingly set aside and place into the pan. Then, press down with a spatula (The industry of food products is now calling these “turners.”) until you break up the salmon into smaller pieces.

I said it wasn't pretty.

Allow the sauce and the salmon to sear and cook fully. Take it off the heat as soon as the salmon is opaque and flakes with a fork.

Make sure you have the above-stove fan on for this one.

And enjoy. Edamame or green beans accompany this well. Or a salad. Or just a plate.

September 19, 2010

Cinnamon Streusel Muffins

Sunday morning. Freshly baked muffins, freshly brewed coffee, and reading the newspaper online. You don’t have to make these muffins strictly on Sunday. I would hedge my bets that these muffins would be good wrapped in a paper towel and devoured on the way to work. They might even aid in helping a Monday morning, rushed to the car and to work, feel like a Sunday mid-morning. Ahh.

Close

For this recipe, I used three different mixing bowls, two sticks of butter (almost), and one cup of rolled quick oats (because that’s what I had on hand).

Cinnamon Streusel Muffins
Inspired by: King Arthur Flour

Topping
1/3 c brown sugar
1/2 c rolled oats
1/2 c A-P flour
3 T soft butter

Filling
3 T butter
1/2 c brown sugar
1 1/2 T ground cinnamon

Batter
1/2 c butter, melted
3/4 c milk
2 large eggs
1 3/4 c A-P flour
1/2 c rolled oats
2 T cornstarch
3/4 c granulated sugar
1 T baking powder
1/2 t salt
1/4 t ground cloves
1/8 t ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

For topping:: Mix ingredients until crumbly. Set aside.

For filling:: Beat (low speed) butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Pat together with large spoon to bring together. Set aside.

For batter:: Whisk together melted butter, eggs, and milk until combined. In a separate bowl, mix all dry ingredients. Add dry mixture to liquid, stirring until combined.

Spray muffin tins with cooking spray. Divide half the batter evenly among the muffin cups. Dollop 2 t of filling into each muffin. Top with remaining batter. Then, sprinkle topping, press in lightly.

Bake muffins for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven. Wait 5 minutes to remove them to a rack. Continue to let them cool.

Object of Affection

September 17, 2010

Lemon Poppy Seed Cake

Oh, boy. Oh, boy. Ohboyohboyoh.

Lemon Poppy Seed cake. It’s my boyfriend’s favorite muffin. Favorite. After much research and browsing through quite a few trusted cake sources, I figured out what would probably work. Reasons why this cake is awesome:  (1) Egg whites in the cake but, no worries, because the yolks are used in the center; (2) lemon. Poppy Seed; (3) lemon frosting; (4) cake!; and (5) birthday.

___

And now, some warnings:

1. I had WAY to much raspberry curd filling leftover. Now, I’ll be forced to use it on pancakes, waffles, or, worse, yogurt (I’m looking forward to all of these).
2. I almost didn’t have enough lemon frosting. Don’t snack too much on this!
3. It looks homemade in these pictures; it is. I’m still practicing my cake decorating skills, and still working on growing my baking collection. (Please note my “cake stand” is the pan, flipped upside down, just on a plate.)
4. This recipe calls for Cream of Tartar (I went to the grocery store in my apron.) and 36 tablespoons of butter, two lemons, five eggs, three cups of powdered sugar, and raspberries.

Ooh. Finished product.

Lemon Poppy Seed Cake
Inspired by Eliza

2 1/3 c minus 2 T A-P flour
2 3/4 t baking powder
1/4 t salt
2 T poppy seeds
5 lg egg whites, at room temperature
1/4 t cream of tartar
1 1/2 c sugar
2 T finely grated lemon zest
12 T (1 1/2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
1 c milk

8 T butter (1 stick)
12 oz raspberries, fresh or thawed
5 lg egg yolks, lightly beaten
3/4 c sugar
pinch of salt
2 or 3 t lemon juice

16 T (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
2 T finely grated lemon zest
3 c confectioners’ sugar
3 T fresh lemon juice

For the cake:: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F, checking to make sure rack is positioned in the middle. Whisk the flour, baking powder, salt, and poppy seeds in a bowl. In another bowl for stand or hand mixer, beat (medium speed) egg whites with the whisk attachment until frothy. Add cream of tartar and up the mixer speed to medium-high until stiff peaks form.

In new bowl with what I refer to as the regular attachments, beat (medium speed) the butter until smooth. Add the sugar in increments until incorporated. Add lemon zest. Beat (medium-high) until light and fluffy. Go ahead and measure out 1 c of milk then from that, pour 1/4 c into mixture; beat until blended. With mixer on low, gradually add the flour mixture and alternately the milk in three installments, mixing until incorporated between each addition. Once blended, fold a quarter of the egg whites into the batter. Add the rest of the egg whites and gently fold until all is combined.

Coat two 9in round pans in butter and flour. Pour batter evenly between the two. Bake for about 25 minutes or until golden and can pass the toothpick test. Cool in the cake pan about 10 minutes. Then, allow to cool completely on a rack out of the pan.

For the raspberry curd filling:: Melt butter over medium heat. Add raspberries, egg yolks, sugar, and salt. Mash the berries; stir occasionally until it starts bubble. Then continuously stir for 10 minutes. Strain really well through course strainer (not a colander; mine was too seedy). Strain into a bowl, making sure you get as much liquid as possible. Cool to room temperature, thereby letting it solidify. Stir in lemon juice to taste. Cover and put in the fridge for more cooling.

Raspberry Curd

For the frosting:: With the beaters attached to the electric mixer, beat the butter and lemon zest on medium speed until light and fluffy. Gradually add the sugar and beat until smooth. Add the lemon juice and beat for another minute.

For assembling the cake:: Layer the cooled cake rounds with the cooled raspberry curd. Frost the cake.

Litly


September 7, 2010

Whole Wheat Fig Newtons

I really like fig newtons. I forgot how much I do until I made these from scratch.

They remind me of my childhood and visiting my grandparents. I knew the difference between kid bread (white)  and grown up bread (multi-nutty-grain), but I never considered these as grown up cookies. Lucky me.

I adjusted this recipe since I made it. I used all whole wheat flour, but next time, I will most certainly use a mix.

Figgy Netwon

Whole Wheat Fig Newtons
Inspired by CatesWorldKitchen.com

for filling:
6 ounces dried black mission figs, chopped
1/2 c boiling water
1/4 c evaporated cane juice (or granulated sugar)

newton dough:
1/2 c softened butter
1 T milk
1 egg
1 t vanilla extract
1/2 c granulated sugar
1/2 t salt
1/2 t baking soda
1/4 t cinnamon
1 c whole wheat flour
1 c A-P flour

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Soak the figs in the boiling water for about 20 minutes.

Stir in the sugar then cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, for about 20 minutes, or until it has a jam-like consistency. Set aside to cool.

Cream the butter in a stand mixer, then beat in the egg, vanilla, and milk. Gradually add the sugar and mix well. Add the flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon, and stir just until combined. Divide the dough in half.

Working on a sheet of wax paper or plastic wrap, pat half the dough into a long, thin 18″ x 3″ rectangle. Spread the fig filling down the center. On a separate sheet of wax paper or plastic wrap, make a similar rectangle and carefully place this on top of the dough with the fig filling. Press the edges together, then cut crosswise into 1″ lengths.

Place the cookies on a cookie sheet and bake for 15 minutes, or until just beginning to brown.

September 1, 2010

Peach Cupcakes, Brown Sugar Frosting

This recipe is nearly directly from Deb at SmittenKitchen.com. Oh, goodness. She might be my favorite food blogger out there. I usually try to twist and change recipes to my liking or for the sake of experimentation. However, her recipes…. How can you change a masterpiece??

I give it to you with minor adjustments based on what I had on hand (and I don’t like nutmeg). And I will also link you to her exact version of it.


Peach Cupcakes with Brown Sugar Frosting

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
Pinch of cinnamon
3/4 cup (or 1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup dark or light brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups (12 ounces) Greek yogurt (I think I used half plain and half vanilla flavored.)
3 large peaches cored and chopped into fairly small bits (Not too small!)

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Prepare about 28 muffin tins– line them with paper or spray them with cooking spray.**

Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon and set aside. Cream the butter and sugars together, beating until fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl between each addition, and then the vanilla. Gently mix in the yogurt. Stir in the dry ingredients and fold in the peach bits. (That’s a “b,” not a “p.” Be careful, people.)

Divide the batter evenly among the prepared cupcake tins. Bake for 18 to 22 minutes, or until a tester inserted into the center of cupcakes comes out clean. Cool the cupcakes for five minutes in the tin, then turn them out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

**I have to cook muffins and cupcakes in batches, because we only have 2 six muffin pans. If you, too, can only bake twelve cupcakes at a time, cover the cupcake batter and place in fridge until you’re ready for it. Make sure that you wash your cupcake tin and use cool water to bring the pan back to normal temperatures before baking your next batch.

Brown Sugar Frosting (a.k.a. The Best Frosting Ever, a.k.a. The Most Dangerous Delicious to Have Just Sitting In Your Fridge, a.k.a. Dinner)

1 1/4 cups light brown sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 8-ounce packages of cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup (4 ounces or 8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a small bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, cornstarch and powdered sugar. In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and butter until fluffy. Add the sugar-cornstarch mixture and vanilla, beat until frosting is smooth and light. Chill the bowl in the refrigerator about 30 minutes, then spread on cooled cupcakes.

[Deb, If you read this, then thank you for brown sugar frosting. And for peach cupcakes. Who would’ve thought?]