Saturday, January 30, 2010

I think this one might be close

So, I know I didn't previously use this recipe from Smitten Kitchen because she just put it on her website. However, I am going to try it soon and cross my fingers and hope two things. 1. That they are better than the ones from the first recipe/post that I tried 2. That I can try it before I lose this new recipe too! (as back up I am going to put it onto a Word Doc. on my computer... just for safe keeping, you know!)

Cross your fingers for me too PLEASE!

Friday, January 29, 2010

A long-time favorite

I've been trying to make new ways to jazz up my grilled cheese sandwiches..... and I think i found one of my new compilations. American cheese, Havarti cheese (If you haven't tried it yet put it on the top of your list!), and some tomato slices (I've already started looking forward to fresh summer tomatoes).

Does anyone have any other ways they serve their grilled cheese gooeyness?

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Learning the Art of Poached Eggs

Last weekend my roommate Jenna taught me how to poach an egg without a poacher! I have never attempted nor tried a poached egg. It always sounded so fancy and I just assumed that meant very very difficult to make with fancy equipment. But I learned that it is actually really really easy and doesn't require hardly any equipment. Just the stuff you more-than-likely already have in your kitchen cupboards: a frying pan, eggs (of course), bread, and a splash of vinegar, spoon/measuring cup, a ladle or spatula. The vinegar is supposed to keep the egg white together.

1. In a medium sized frying pan simmer water and a splash of vinegar enough liquid to reach 1 1/2 to the bottom (or about 1/2 of an inch from the top lip). 2. Put your egg in a measuring cup or spoon and gently set it into the middle of the simmering water. I am told that you can push on "the white" to keep it close to the yolk (however I haven't tried this yet). 3. The egg should be done after 3-5 mins. Take it out of the water gently. I used a ladle to do this. I can imagine you could also use a spatula. 4. Set the egg on a piece of toast (or by itself) and chow down! It breaks really easy and it doesn't have a ton of grease all over it.
I am feeling really redundant, but Smitten Kitchen also has a really great "how to poach an egg" recipe (I swear she doesn't pay me to advertise!). How do you poach your egg? Any advice on mine??

Monday, January 25, 2010

Peanut Butter Cookies Like My Grandma Used to Make

My grandma Betty used to make some of the worlds BEST peanut butter cookies, and I have never been able to find a recipe I liked as well as I did hers. It was a cookie taste that we spin me back to when I was a wee little girl, sitting in the kitchen with my grandma (although she never sat down)!

Well these cookies aren't hers, but they are now sitting right up there on the top of my list! These are fantastic little guys to snack on (or devour as a meal...). They have a crunchy, sugar crystallized exterior with a inside that is as soft and fluffy as a cake.

Once again, I adopted this recipe from one of my favorite blogs Smitten Kitchen. She has a fantastic cookie line-up. Check it out in her recipe archives!!

Peanut Butter Cookies
adopted by Smitten Kitchen
Makes about 2 dozen
1 1/4c flour
3/4tsp baking soda
1/2tsp baking powder
1/4tsp salt
1c peanut butter (I always prefer crunchy)
1/2c unsalted butter, softened
3/4c sugar (I used pure cane sugar)
1/2c packed brown sugar
1 large egg, at room temp.
1tbsp milk
1tsp vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 1. Mix flour, soda, powder and salt. 2. Blend butter and peanut butter until fluffy. 3. Add sugars and mix. 4. Mix in egg, milk, and vanilla. 5. Finally mix the flour mixture in with the peanut butter mixture. 6. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of sugar on a small plate and roll the cookies in the sugar to coat before placing onto an non-greased baking sheet. Use a fork to make criss crosses on the top of the cookies (being careful not to press too hard). Pop these bad boys in the oven and wait for 10 mins. to take them out!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Perfect, Simplest Spaghetti Sauce

I pulled this recipe from one of my favorite "webcookbooks" Smitten Kitchen and adopted it to my own tastes. This recipe is very easy; it will be even more wonderful in the summer when tomatoes are in season and abundant. This recipe also inspires me to can some whole tomatoes this summer so I can easily whip some up next winter!


Whole Canned Tomatoes

Simmering Sauce

Finished Product
(Yes, I always get whatever I am cooking all over my stove...)

Tomato Sauce with Butter and Onions
adopted from Smitten Kitchen
Serves about 4 (I would add another half recipe if you have garlic bread that you like to load with sauce!)

24oz of whole peeled tomatoes from a can
1 medium yellow onion
5 tbsp of butter
Pinch of salt
Clove of garlic (minced)
Pinch of Italian seasoning

Put can of tomatoes, butter, onion (half chopped, other half whole) in a medium pot, garlic, and sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Turn the oven on to a simmer and let the pot of sauce ingredients simmer slowly for 45mins. Check on it occasionally to stir. When the tomatoes start to soften after about 30mins. squish them on the side of the pot with a wooden spoon to crush. Discard the half onion. I served this over angle hair pasta that I seasoned with the Italian seasoning (you could also sprinkle some into the sauce while it is simmering) with garlic bread! Mmmm...!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

I'm very sad to inform you:

...that I couldn't find my dark cocoa brownie recipe in all of my cookbooks and all of my recipe blogs. I've even spent the last two days tracing my footprints. :( This is sad for both you and I. When we both cross paths in the future I will be sure to tell you about it. Dry your eyes. (I understand. It took me a while to dry my tears too).

My two favorite cheeses at the moment.

One of my life goals (this may sound really cheesy and childish) has been to be able to state a favorite beer, wine, and cheese. Well, I am happy to state that I have found all that I feel proud to state publicly in front of mature beings.

(Mature Being: "What is your favorite wine?" Me: "Um... red...")

So.... Here are my top two favorite cheeses:


Found in Switzerland, this cheese is made from cows milk and fully matures in 5 months to a year. When young, it is said to have a creamy, nutty taste, and with age it develops more into a more complex and earthy cheese. Wikipedia (yes I believe it is credible to source) says that this cheese is one of the finest cheeses to bake with because it complements food verses overpowering them. It is best paired with Riesling and other white wines. And beers such as Bock and also sparkling apple cider.

Havarti was named after a farm in Denmark. It is made from cows milk and is aged for at least three months. It has a buttery tangy taste, and as it ages the taste gets more complex; it becomes more salty and tastes like hazelnut. This cheese is very popular on sandwiches because it slices well. Wikipedia says it "Havarti is popularly matched with lesser-oaked Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, or light-bodied Pinot Noir wine and occasionally accompanied with figs; smoked turkey; raisins; walnuts; hearty bread; pears; apples. The cheese also is an excellent snack on (sometimes salted) thin wheat crackers."

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Dark Chocolate Brownies

Unsweetend Cocoa PowderFloured Cake Pan
Out of the Oven!I sprinkled some powder sugar on top, and cut them into squares!

These brownies were fantastic! They weren't your average brownie. They were made with unsweetend cocoa powder so they are more rich than sweet (which I love). Second, they didn't get the typical brownie top. They were a little dry and not as gooey as brownies typically are, however, I do like this change for brownies. When I have my bakeshop I will have both! These are great for a chocolate snack that isn't loaded with sugar! Recipe to come...

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Red Velvet

Here's the Red Velvet Cake recipe I told you about a couple days ago. Adopted from Pinch My Salt. I didn't change much of anything. Check out the recipe on Pinch My Salt and get inspired by her beautiful food photos!

Red Velvet Cake
Adopted from Pinch My Salt

2 1/2 cups sifted cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons cocoa powder (unsweetened)
2 oz. red food coloring
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature1 teaspoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon baking soda

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Flour and butter two 9-inch round cake pans
2. Sift together the cake flour, baking powder, and salt into a medium bowl, and place aside. In a small bowl, mix food coloring and cocoa powder to form a paste (without lumps).
3. In a large bowl, using a hand mixer or stand mixer (or your own arms and a whisk if you would like the exercise), beat butter and sugar together until fluffy, about three minutes. Beat in eggs, one at a time, then beat in vanilla and the prepared red cocoa paste. Add one third of the flour mixture to the butter mixture, beat well, then beat in half of the buttermilk. Beat in another third of flour mixture, then second half of buttermilk. End with the last third of the flour mixture, beat until well combined. Make sure to scrape down the bowl with a spatula!
4. Make sure you have cake pans readily prepared and nearby. In a small bowl, mix vinegar and baking soda. (Yes, it will fizz!) Add it to the cake batter and mix well. Working quickly, divide batter evenly between the cake pans and place them into the preheated oven. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Check early. cake is done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Cool the cakes in their pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes. To remove the cakes from the pan, place a flat plate on top of the cake pan and flip, then gently lift the pan. Allow cakes to cool completely before frosting. Frost with buttercream or cream cheese icing (recipe below).

Cream Cheese Frosting
16 oz. cream cheese (2 packages), softened
1/2 cup unsalted butter (one stick), softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
pinch of salt

With an electric mixer, blend together cream cheese and butter until smooth. Turn mixer to low speed and blend in powdered sugar, salt and vanilla extract. Turn mixer on high and beat until fluffy. Use immediately or refrigerate, covered, until ready to use. If refrigerated, the frosting will need to be brought to room temperature before using (after frosting softens up, beat with mixer until smooth).
If you want it to taste sweeter add more powder sugar, but I prefer the tangy cream cheese taste (as did the birthday girl!)!

This is usually what my kitchen looks like while I occupy it...

Its small and I'm easily distracted with many projects at one time. But I love it! Play ISPY... any similarities to yours??

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

OH yeah... Here are my other favorite blogs at the that continually update! Their not all foodies, but they are all really creative girls that I am constantly finding inspiration from.

Prudent Baby
- all things creative and within budget!
Cakies - Momma obsessed with designing and food!
Lovely Morning
- Designer, gardener, cook
Notebookworthy - foodie!
A Cup Of Jo - writer, designer, foodie
Pinch My Salt - foodie, writer, adventurer
Smile and Wave - A Crafty Momma
Fresh360 - this food and cooking blog just moved to its own web page!

You're Right, You're Right...

Yeah yeah, so I haven't delivered as promised yesterday. Will you except my apologies?!

So, today I got home from work and decided to make some banana bread (background: I've been trying to raid our refrigerator and freezer to find items that have been hiding and we haven't been using. Well I hit the jackpot and found 12 [YES 12!] perfectly blackened bananas that I keep contributing to. I decided to take inventory and diminish a little.).

Sooooo... I went to a site that I just recently discovered. It is called Simply Recipes, and it is wonderful. She has great recipes, and a really good archive to look up recipes from!
Tada! This is a recipe that is so simple and so moist. I will definitely be coming back to this one!

Banana Bread Recipe
Taken from Simply Recipes

Ingredient List
3 or 4 ripe bananas, smashed
1/3 cup melted butter
1 cup sugar (3/4 c was plenty for me!)
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. 2. With a wooden spoon, mix butter into the bananas in large mixing bowl. Mix in the sugar, egg, and vanilla. Sprinkle with the baking soda and salt. Stir. Add the flour last. Mix. 3. Pour into a bread pan (4x8 inches) and bake for 1 hour. Cool on rack. Remove from pan and slice and serve. Fool proof in my opinion!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

I am very excited.... share some new food blogs that I have discovered over break.. tomorrow. =) How FANTASTIC are these beauties! I want to make many in different styles. I found out how to make them... (I will let you know when I run across it again!). You can find this one here and you can find many of the different styles here. These would make my coffee taste just a hair better I believe ;)!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Follow Up!

In my last posting I left you all with some hints as to what I have been up to this holiday season. I was truly spoiled rotten by the wonderful food that my grandmas, aunt, parents, and other relatives made, the gifts that I received, and the free time I got to spend with everyone. Here is my summary of the wonderful winter break I had! (Okay, okay, so my semester hasn't technically started, but I am back to work)This guy is my gem! He is my sweet Wrangler! Whenever I get a chance to go visit my parents in the country I get to see my pup (he was a pup when I first got he is 4 years old!). He is a ball of energy, and loves to play and run outside. When I was packing my car to head back to the cities he tried to hop in!My very very sweet friend Ann Yin at Local D'Lish in Minneapolis gave this knife to me for Christmas (check out her website that she just recently updated)! It is on of my new favorite kitchen partners! I didn't even know what I was missing until she put this into my hands. It cuts like butta. =)This one of my other new kitchen companions, given to me by my brother, Brandon! My only bread knife went missing in September, and my brother came swooping in to my rescue. You should have seen me struggle with my dull, non-serrated knifes while I feebly wrestled pieces off of baguettes. It was an embarrassment; lets not talk about it.
Dan and I got together with a small group of friends and played darts to chime in the new year. On the 2nd of January it was my sweetie's birthday! This is Jenna (Hi Jenna). She turned 22 and Dan and I made her this red velvet cake. Red velvet is her favorite! I will post the recipe for it soon (tomorrow maybe).
And finally, last night Dan and I made this Basil Chicken in Coconut Curry Sauce from Simply Recipes (I didn't get any pictures then because my camera was on the fritz. This pic is leftovers! =o Don't tell!). I only used a few minor changes:

Basil Chicken in Coconut Curry Sauce
Adopted from Simply Recipes

1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom (didn't have this)
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon Cayenne powder
1 lb skinless, boneless chicken thighs (we used 4 small chicken breasts)
1 medium red onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced
2 Tbsp olive oil or grapeseed oil
1 14-oz can coconut milk
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
3 Tbsp fresh basil leaves, chopped (we only had dried so we did about 1 tablespoon)
1 Tbsp finely chopped fresh ginger

1. Mix together spices through cayenne pepper. Set aside. 2. Rinse chicken, pat dry. Cut into bite size pieces. Put into a bowl and sprinkle the spice mix over all the pieces. Coat and let sit for 30 minutes at room temperature or in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 hours. 3. In a large skillet heat 1 Tbsp oil on medium high heat. Add the onions and jalapeƱos and cook for 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more. Remove the onions, peppers and garlic from the pan and put into a medium sized bowl. Set aside. Use the same pan for the next step. 4. Add 1 Tbsp oil to the skillet and heat on medium high heat. Add one half of the chicken pieces, spreading them out on the pan so they are not crowded. Brown for a few minutes on each side. When the chicken pieces are cooked through, and no pink remains, remove from pan, add to the bowl with the onions. Cook the second batch of chicken pieces the same way. Remove from pan, add to bowl with onions. 5. Add the coconut milk, minus a couple tablespoons, to the skillet. In a small bowl, mix the remaining coconut with the corn starch to dissolve the corn starch. Add the corn starch mixture back to the skillet with the coconut milk. Cook on medium heat and stir till thick and bubbly. Mix in the Worcestershire sauce. Add chicken mixture, basil, and ginger. Cook 2 minutes more to cook through. Tada!

The recipe recommended to pour this over rice or pasta. We used angel hair pasta, and we both decided that we would make it a little different for each. For the pasta, we decided it would taste better to get the spices in the sauce and not just on the chicken. Blend it more throughout the entire dish. For rice, we thought that it would be perfect as stated above to keep the rice creamy and keep the chicken holding the majority of the flavor. Try it out for yourself!

So Much to Update, So Few Hours in the Day

Here is a time capsule of pictures that I will be explaining soon! They are not in order because I don't want you to be able to guess what I am thinking! ....or you could try!

Hint: There are three events that I am going to tell you about.... one of them has nothing to do with Dan outside or camping (the picture is just being used to tell you all something about him).

I've come to realize... my camera isn't the best for taking food photos, and our kitchen is cluttered and crowded and doesn't have a good back drop for food pictures. These are things I am going to try fix for 2010!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Happy 2010!

I hope everyone has had a great start to their new year!