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I’m determined to start blogging again. Stay tuned…

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Spiced Pumpkin Pancakes

I’ve been craving everything pumpkin for the last several weeks and on the top of that list was pumpkin pancakes. I finally broke down last Sunday morning and whipped up a batch. They were so amazing! You have to try this recipe.

Prep time: 25 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Level: Easy
Yield: 12 pancakes

1 1/4 cups unbleached all purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice (I used nutmeg and cinnamon)
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/3 cups whole milk
3/4 cup canned pure pumpkin
4 large eggs, separated
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Vegetable oil
Maple syrup

Whisk first 5 ingredients in large bowl to blend. Whisk milk, pumpkin, egg yolks, melted butter and vanilla in medium bowl to blend well. Add pumpkin mixture to dry ingredients; whisk just until smooth (batter will be thick). Using electric mixer, beat egg whites in another medium bowl until stiff but not dry.

Fold whites into batter in 2 additions. Brush large nonstick skillet with oil; heat over medium heat. Working in batches, pour batter by 1/3 cupfuls into skillet. Cook until bubbles form on surface of pancakes and bottoms are brown, about 1 1/2 minutes per side. Repeat with remaining batter, brushing skillet with oil between batches. Serve with syrup.

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New 124

This is not your usual chocolate chip cookie recipe. I decided to try the recipe because it sounded interesting and I was curious what it’d taste like.  I think the main difference from a typical recipe is the melted butter and the use of bread flour. These two things give the cookie a soft, chewy texture. I liked how this recipe turned out but I prefer a slightly more crispy chocolate chip cookie so I’m not sure if I would make it again. It’s important to follow this recipe exactly as it’s written below in order to get the soft and chewy texture.

This recipe is adapted from Alton Brown.

Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Level: Medium
Yield: 2 1/2 dozen cookies

Ingredients

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 2 1/4 cups bread flour
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Directions

Heat oven to 375 degrees F.

Melt the butter in a heavy-bottom medium saucepan over low heat. Sift together the flour, salt, and baking soda and set aside.

Pour the melted butter in the mixer’s work bowl. Add the sugar and brown sugar. Cream the butter and sugars on medium speed. Add the egg, yolk, 2 tablespoons milk and vanilla extract and mix until well combined. Slowly incorporate the flour mixture until thoroughly combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Chill the dough, then scoop onto parchment-lined baking sheets, 6 cookies per sheet. Bake for 14 minutes or until golden brown, checking the cookies after 5 minutes. Rotate the baking sheet for even browning. Cool completely and store in an airtight container.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Simple Tomato Sauce

Tomato sauce pasta

I had been craving pasta all last week and this simple recipe looked absolutely to die for. Neil was actually the cook on this one, but I’ll attempt to take the credit.

Tomato Sauce with Butter and Onions
Adapted from Marcela Hazan’s Essentials of Italian Cooking

Serves 4 as a main course; makes enough sauce to lightly coat most of a pound of spaghetti

  • 28 ounces whole peeled canned tomatoes
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 medium-sized yellow onion, peeled and halved
  • salt to taste (be careful if your tomatoes are already salted)
  • We also added fresh basil

Put the tomatoes, onion and butter in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Bring the sauce to a simmer then lower the heat to keep the sauce at a slow, steady simmer for about 45 minutes, or until droplets of fat float free of the tomatoes. Stir occasionally, crushing the tomatoes against the side of the pot with a wooden spoon. Remove from heat (we added the basil here), discard the onion (we ate the onion, it tasted so good), add salt to taste and keep warm while you prepare your pasta.

Serve with spaghetti and grated parmesan cheese.

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Hummus & Tabbouleh

My good friend Sara came over for dinner last Wednesday night. When we were discussing what to make, she mentioned Iranian food. Sara is semi vegetarian (she eats fishies) and I was having a hard time thinking of good vegi Iranian dishes. So I decided to go Middle Eastern instead. Hummus is not really an Iranian food, in fact I had never even heard of it before I came to the states. I believe Hummus is more an Israeli and Lebanese dish. Tabbouleh salad is very Lebanese but it’s also consumed in Iran.  We ate both dishes with warm naan. Here are the recipes I used.

Hummus

1-1/2 cups dried chick peas
2 teaspoons salt
3 cloves garlic, peeled, chopped
Juice of 1 lemon, strained (I like mine very lemony so I used more)
1/4 cup tahini
Olive oil

Place chick peas in a large pot. Cover with water and let sit overnight. In the morning, drain the water. Return the beans to the pot. Cover with fresh water add salt. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 1 hour, or until the beans are tender. Drain the beans, saving 1/2 cup of cooking liquid. This seems like a lot of work, but trust me using dried beans instead of canned will taste sooooooooo much better.

Place the cooked beans in a food processor. Add the garlic, lemon, tahini, and 1/2 cup cooking liquid. Pulse. Add olive oil until a smooth paste is formed. Serve in a bowl as is, or with bread.

I like to drizzle olive oil over the top and sprinkle some paprika.

Note: Warm chickpeas are easier to handle than cold ones. Plus, warm hummus tastes amazing.

Here is the Tabbouleh recipe I used.

  • 2 cps boiling water
  • 1 cps bulgar wheat (I like mine with a lot less bulgar so I used about a 1/2 cup)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 cups of finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/2 cup of finely chopped fresh mint
  • 4 ripe, medium size tomatoes, chopped into small cubes
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 5 TBS good olive oil
  • Bring water to a boil
  • add salt
  • add bulgar
  • let stand about 15 minutes or until all water has been absorbed (if it’s not all absorbed drain through a fine sieve)
  • fluff with fork and place in large bowl
  • add parsley and mint leaves
  • add tomatoes
  • mix well
  • combine olive oil and lemon juice
  • wisk with fork and pour over bulgar mixture.
  • fluff with fork and refrigerate at least 1 hour.

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Christmas!

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season. Neil and I spent Christmas Eve with my mom and brother this year. We had a great time cooking, baking and drinking wine. Here is what was on the menu this year:

Strawberry – Goat Cheese Salad, which includes salad greens, fresh strawberries, goat cheese and glazed walnuts. I tried to glaze my walnuts with sugar and water in the microwave and ended up breaking the dish because it got too hot. So then I decided to do it in the oven. I first roasted the walnuts for a few minutes in the oven, then I mixed 3/4 cups of sugar with 1/4 cup of water and mixed in the walnuts. Then pour out the mixture on a baking sheet and stick under the broiler till they start getting a little brown. They burn really quick so keep an eye on them. I used a simple balsamic vinegar and olive oil dressing with fresh ground pepper.

The main dish was a beef and vegi stew. Unfortunately I don’t have the recipe or a final picture of the stew but here is a pictures of all the veggies we put in the stew. It turned out pretty well but we decided to leave out the parsnips next time and add green peas.

For dessert Neil made a chocolate cream pie. This recipe came from the Joy of Cooking.

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Goat Cheese and Mushroom Pizza

Pizza is probably one of my all time favorite foods. I absolutely love it. Here is a recipe that I tried out at home.

I used Bobby Flay’s tomato-red pepper sauce recipe:

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large Spanish onion, coarsely chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 roasted red peppers, peeled, seeded and chopped
2 cups canned plum tomatoes, with juice, pureed
Salt and pepper

Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook until soft, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add red peppers and tomatoes and cook until thickened. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Puree in a food processor until smooth. Let cool slightly.

I cheated on the crust and used Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free crust, which I won’t use again because it didn’t turn out very good.  I really love Flying Pie Pizza’s gluten-free crust but unfortunately they won’t sell it.

I topped my pizza with mushrooms and goat cheese. But you could use sautéed onions or fresh basil or anything else you want to top it with.

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