Archive for November, 2010

November 30, 2010

Oh, Salad.

Salad. For months now my thoughts about salads have not been kind. Ugh. All that effort for raw vegetables??? Boy, was I wrong. To all the bags of spinach and hearts of romaine, please forgive me for throwing you away after you just sat in wait in a crisper for weeks on end. I’m sorry!! I’m so very sorry.

Salad is terrific. Case in point:: today.

Oh, what a bounty I got when I went to the grocer’s today– vegetables, meats, dairies. I’m very excited about cooking. I think Thanksgiving renewed that for me. Thank you for all the support, family. Your encouragement meant a lot to me. More than I even realized before today. (I had a really hard time not spelling “toady” just now.)

Simply Chopped Tossed Salad
**A note:: You can substitute, add, or subtract anything you wish with this “recipe.” I love when that happens, because you can let your imagination work for you.

Vegetables::
Romain lettuce
Broccoli
Carrots
Celery
Cilantro

Rinse and chop each vegetable. Add to bowl.

Now, your salad bowl should be piled high with delicious.

In the bowl you’ll eat out of, mix your salad dressing. I used one of the simplest, most delicious dressings I know.

Dressing::
Dijon Mustard
Honey
Olive Oil
Freshly Ground Peppercorns

I think I used about 1/2 t each of mustard and honey and enough olive oil to make me smile (1 T??) and a little bit of pepper.

Then, whoosh, whoosh, whoosh.

Then, add your salad on top of that. Then, mix it all together.

And, yes, this picture is blurry. But no, I’m not going to give you another. Because I feel it necessary to convey my excitement over this delicious salad. Here you go, my excitement, in the form of a wobbly picture of some vegetables.

 

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November 28, 2010

Ginger Snap Cupcakes

Inspiration comes in all forms– music, a passing phrase, a “mis”interpreted glance from the corner of your eye, or a tub of delicious, wonderful, incredible cookies.

Ginger snaps. With three forms of ginger– candied, ground, and fresh. And Thanksgiving just passed. And it was an evening for cupcakes.

I made up a recipe from nothing. Oh, how I love doing this. I consulted quite a few sources. However, this recipe– all me and our house’s need for cupcake. And good ol’ ginger snap.

Ginger Snap Cupcakes

For the batter::
2 c cake flour
2 t baking powder
3/4 t salt
1/2 t cinnamon
1/2 t ground ginger
1/4 t groung cloves

3/4 c plus a little more milk

1/2 c brown sugar
1/2 c granulated sugar
1/2 c (1 stick) unsalted butter

3 large eggs, room temperature
2 t vanilla extract

For the frosting::
**Note: There was twice as much frosting as I needed. If you don’t want extra frosting, halve this recipe.

1/4 c brown sugar
1 c powdered sugar
2 (8-oz) packages cream cheese
1/4 c butter
2 t cinnamon
1 t vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

The dry team:: Sift it all together– cake flour, baking powder, salt, ground ginger, ground cinnamon, and ground cloves.

Next, cream the brown sugar, granulated sugar, and butter together.

Cream, cream, cream.

It’ll start to look crumbly. Don’t stop yet.

Then, it’ll look a little smoother. Keep on mixing.

Ahh. Smooth sailing. Now, you’ll mix in one egg at a time. Crack the egg into the bowl, then mix until completely incorporated. Repeat. Repeat.

Now, I have a confession to make. The second egg was twins!!!

I wasn’t sure what to do at first. So, I thought of all the friends I have who are twins. What would they do in a situation like this? As a twin, it is important to be treated as an individual. Instead of counting this egg as one egg, I thought I need to count it as two. What would you have done in this situation?? Did I do the right thing?

As soon as I got past the soul delving, I went on with cooking. We can go on, too.

Add a portion of the dry into the wet ingredients. Mix until completely incorporated.

Add a splash of milk. Mix until completely incorporated.

Repeat.

Keep repeating until dry mix and milk are gone:: dry, mix, milk, mix, dry, mix, milk, mix, dry, mix, milk, mix.

Now dollop batter into prepared muffin tins. Fill 3/4 to the top.

Cook for 20 minutes. But start checking on them at 15 minutes.

While they are baking, make the caramel!!!

For the Caramel Sauce::

4 T butter
1/2 c brown sugar

In a sauce pan, melt butter with heat on medium. Add brown sugar, stir until everything is all mixed up. Allow to cook for two minutes, continuing to stir the whole time. Then, set aside.

Then continue on to the frosting.

Put sugars and cinnamon into mixing bowl.

Add cream cheeses and butter. And cream all together. Oh, yeah. Add vanilla extract, too.

Look! It’s all creamed together. Oh, man. Look at that cinnamon. Place in the refrigerator, covered until you’re ready to use it.

Core out the cupcakes once they get a chance to cool a bit. I just used a knife. I don’t have one of those neato cupcake corers, but I didn’t need one. I just used a knife to core the cupcakes and then added the caramel to the center.

Smush up some ginger snap cookies.

Top with frosting and smushed ginger snaps.

Enjoy!

Make sure you put the frosting away really quickly. Before you discover how delicious the frosting is with ginger snaps. Store it in the refrigerator. And have someone else put it in there so he or she knows where it is but you don’t… just so you don’t eat all of it by yourself.

 

November 24, 2010

Picture of the Week

Happy Thanksgiving.

November 19, 2010

Sesame Tuna

The Best Food Cooking Partner questions any meats with red. Wary of disease and unpleasantness, he stays away from anything less than Well.

Things are changing around here. Yep. Things. Not everything. We still have the cat; the kitchen is still smaller than a bathroom; and the hardwood floors are still great for sliding around. So really, B.F.C.P. is starting widen his meatanese… meateatease.

I give you– Tuna Steaks! Medium Rare.

This is an easy recipe that doesn’t have a lot of ingredients and tastes incredible. Who could ask for anything more?

Sesame Tuna

1 lb Ahi Tuna steaks
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Soy Sauce
Sesame Seeds

(Yes. That’s it!! The ingredients list ends there.)

Place steaks onto cool saute pan.

Sprinkle both sides with olive oil.

Then with soy sauce.

Once it starts sizzling, let the steaks cook for three minutes (for medium rare, two minutes for rare). And then turn over to cook for another three minutes (or two if you’re cooking rare).

Remove from heat and top with sesames.

I served the tuna with Basmati Rice with Artichoke Hearts.

November 14, 2010

Cranberry Blueberry Coffee Cake

I almost didn’t create this post. Almost. I don’t know how I feel about nearly repeats. What do you think? This is a variation of a certain Blueberry Sour Cream Coffee Cake which you might remember. Click here if memory needs jogging (I know my memory and I both need a little bit of that.)

Okay, okay. So that was that. Now, I have autumnized the recipe a bit and made it Thanksgiving-appropriate. Just around the corner; isn’t that crazy?

Cranberries! I added cranberries. And I could eat the whole coffee cake all by myself. But after that I’d probably jog. Probably. Maybe. Or just make this cake again.

Blueberry Cranberry Coffee Cake
Inspired by Atlanta Journal Constitution, June 2010

1/2 c packed brown sugar
1/2 c chopped pecans
1 t ground cinnamon
1 c fresh or frozen blueberries
1 c fresh or frozen cranberries
1 1/2 c plus 2 T A-P flour, divided
1 t baking powder
1/4 t salt
1 1/2 c granulated sugar, and then a bit more for dusting the pan
1 c (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
Zest of 1 lemon
2 eggs
8 oz sour cream
2 t vanilla extract
Confectioners’ sugar for dusting

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a small bowl, combine sugar, pecans, and cinnamon, then set aside.

In a second small bowl, combine blueberries and cranberries with 2 T flour.

In the third small bowl, stir the rest of the flour, salt, and baking powder; set aside. Grease and dust (with granulated sugar) a 9-inch fluted or tube pan.

In a mixing bowl, cream sugar and butter. Add lemon zest, then add the eggs one at a time. Beat in the sour cream and vanilla extract. Mix well. Add half the flour mixture, mix, repeat. Beat until combined. Beat for an additional 30 seconds. Then, fold in the blueberries and cranberries. Gently.

Spread half the batter in the pan. Sprinkle half the brown sugar mixture. Swirl the brown sugar mix with a knife or small spatula. Pour second half then top with the remaining brown sugar mixture.

Cook for about an hour or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean. Allow it to cool in the pan for 20 to 30 minutes. Then run a knife around the edge, carefully separating any renegade blueberries that might have stuck to the sides of the pan. Invert the cake onto the serving platter. Just before serving, sprinkle with powdered sugar. The powdered sugar will cover up any rips or tears and help you embrace mistakes as delicious.

Slice it up to share.

Try not to eat it in one sitting.

November 9, 2010

Chicken Brunswick Stew

It’s that time. Of life or of year. Both, really. When we need comfort food– its warmth, “everything will be okay”-ness, and deliciousness. The slow cooker comes out and awaits direction.

Here, slow cooker! Go this direction!!!

Chicken Brunswick Stew
Inspired by Cooking Light’s Slow Cooker

2 large onions, chopped
3 chicken breasts
1 (14 3/4 oz) can cream-style corn (no salt added)
1 (12 oz) package frozen corn
2 (14 1/2 oz) cans diced tomatoes (no salt added), undrained
1 1/2 c organic turkey broth (chicken or vegetable broth would work fine, too)
1 can tomato paste*
1/4 minus 2 T granulated sugar*, **
2 T molasses*, **
2 T vinegar*
dash of cinnamon*
dash of cloves*
1/4 c butter, cut into small pieces
2 T Worcestershire sauce
2 T cider vinegar
2 t ground mustard
1/2 t freshly ground black pepper
1/2 t hot pepper sauce
Freshly ground black pepper

*Or 1 (12 oz) bottle chili sauce.
**Or 1/4 c brown sugar.

Place chopped onion into slow cooker.

Top with chicken. Add corn,tomatoes, broth, chili sauce (or the ingredients for your own), butter, cider vinegar, ground mustard, and black pepper. Stir well. Cover and cook on high for 1 hour.

Reduce heat to low, and cook 6 hours until chicken is tender.

Go stare out a window. It’s a nice thing to do, and it aids in time’s passing.

Once it has cooked for 6 hours, fish out the chicken (Ironic, huh?) one by one. And go to town, shredding the chicken with two forks. Like so. Before::

Post-shred::

Add the chicken back to the stew, and stir.

Then, serve one bowl at a time adding hot pepper sauce (the kind with whole yellow peppers in vinegar) and freshly ground black pepper to the dish.

Definitely serve it up in a bowl. It’s up to you whether you want to use a spoon or a fork.

Might I recommend a spork??

November 6, 2010

Roasted Butternut Squash with Feta

I meant to make muffins. I’d never tried savory muffins, so I thought, “Oh, boy, adventure.” Also, I’m not sure that I’ve ever had butternut squash, and I most certainly have never personally cooked with it. Sadly (deliciously), these butternut squashes did not make it to muffin form.

You see, the first step of this muffin-making process was to roast the chopped butternut squash. (For those astute readers, yes, I had to chop the butternut squash then season them first. Before roasting them. But first step in the general sense…. Does that count?)

Okay. So several steps into process, the original recipe requires you to roast butternut squash. When I took them out of the oven, they sizzled and smelled. Oh, how they smelled! So wonderful. So butternut squashy. I cut out the muffin part, served it as a side dish, and I am VERY happy to bring you the results.

Roasted Butternut Squash with Feta
Inspired by 101 Cookbooks

2 medium sized butternut squash, chopped into 1/2 inch cubes
Pepper and salt, to taste
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 c feta
2 t ground mustard
1 1/2 t parsley

Preheat oven to 405 degrees F. Chop butternut squash into cubes, place onto cookie sheet. Drizzle extra virgin olive oil over squash cubes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.

After 15- 20 minutes of roasting, remove from oven and place onto serving dish. Think to yourself, “Hm, I probably should’ve cut those smaller.”

Top with feta, parsley, and ground mustard.

Enjoy!!! Then, think to yourself, “Hm… I should’ve saved some for others to try instead of eating it all myself.”

Update:: I’ve got it. The perfect solution. You can just tell your loved ones that you wanted to practice this recipe before you forced them to try it. Then, you make a fresh batch just for them and try not to eat all of that. Eh?!! Eh?

November 4, 2010

Traveling, Part 2

Brunch. It’s one of the most exciting events in a day. In a vacation. In a lifetime. (My own, personal belief.)

I am one of those (lucky) souls who could eat breakfast at any part of the day (Read:: All meals of the day, everyday.) and feel perfectly content about the life I lead. This vacation was no exception.

That’s right. A break feast. Mmmm… Thanks, LA.

Thanks, French Toast. Thanks, powdered sugar. Oh!! And thank you so much, smoked mozzarella over scrambled eggs.

Thanks, eggs over easy and potatoes at breakfast time.

Thanks, egg white omelet. And I’m sorry that I was so skeptical at first about your goat cheeseyness and your only whiteness.

I should go on vacation more often!! Well…. I’m really looking forward to being back in my own kitchen!

November 3, 2010

Traveling, Part 1

I’ve been in the car with two boys for about 5,000 miles. We stopped for gas and food and tag teamed the driving. Oh, boy.

This means that the only food I cooked was a “Thank You for House/Cat Sitting” batch of cookies before we left town. But you’ve seen oatmeal chocolate chip cookies before. So, food on the road!!!

Food on the road: Sure that’s fine. But it is nothing.

Nothing compared to Destination Food. The kind of food you get to sit down. And stare at.

And savor.

And talk about for days.

Then return for another round the next night.