Running with kitchen shears.

breakfast, lunch, dinner, cupcakes, tastiness.

I did it! There’s no stopping me now! July 9, 2009

Filed under: food,recipes,win — Mox. @ 7:22 pm
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Thanks to all the beautiful images on Tartelette and Mad Baker‘s sites, I was totally inspired to make macarons. Not macaroons, macarons. These aren’t those giant mounds of coconut that instantly come to mind (at least for most Americans)-they’re beautiful, delicate, and often colorful sandwiches of awesomeness (and also French). After deciding that I must make them, I searched high and low for a recipe that wasn’t measured by weight (as I haven’t been fortunate enough to purchase a kitchen scale yet). Then I realized that many of the recipes included statements encouraging the baker to continue on after screwing the batch up. Was it really going to be that difficult of a task? Surely not-I’m good at this! Finally I found a recipe on Mr. David Lebovitz’s website that was sure to do me right. With nerves of steel, I set to my task.

I had recently purchased a large quantity of liquid egg whites due to a diet plan and set out to “age” the equivalent of two egg whites (as recommended by Tartelette) for a day. Now I know, all you that are versed in making meringues are rolling your eyes at this, but I learned my lesson. DO NOT attempt to use liquid egg whites to make a meringue. You will beat and beat your egg whites until your mixer threatens to jump off the counter top and steal your car, and all you’ll have is sweetened foam. Save yourself the time and irritation and just use egg whites from whole eggs. Seriously.

I didn’t expect them to look anything like they were supposed to when I checked the oven, as I’m a noob and didn’t have the right size piping tip. Imagine my surprise when I checked in the oven and they had little feet and everything! Yay! I did end up screwing up the ganache (I attempted the chocolate one on Mr. Lebovitz’s website but didn’t realize I didn’t have enough chocolate until too late, and tried to halve the recipe-which did not work. I ended up making some strange chocolate ganache/peanut butter concoction that tasted pretty darn good).

Huzzah! I will definately be attempting more flavors soon.

 

 

Let’s get some f*cking french toast! July 2, 2009

Filed under: food,recipes,win — Mox. @ 6:46 am
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God bless Mrs. Apatow.

As an American, I think I am legally required to hate France and the French. Unfortunately, the CIA or Office of Homeland Security or whoever does this sort of this will most likely be showing up to ship me off to some awful place that serves only freedom fries due to my recent Frenchfest. It all started with the French breakfast, of which I felt compelled to tell everyone that will listen: Take a slice of lightly toasted baguette, butter it, and top it with sliced radishes (even better if they’re the “French Breakfast” variety of radishes!). SO delicious. Yes it sounds weird, yes I was a little afraid the first time I ate it, and yes, afterwards I was totally tempted to make an entire sandwich out of bread and butter and radishes. I didn’t intend for it to become a Frenchfest, but after this came the best French toast that I have ever made or eaten. This was followed by the macarons that were also amazing and will be posted about very soon. I learned, when making this French toast, French bread sliced and left out overnight kicks the ass of regular old sliced sandwich bread any day (sorry Mom)! Also, putting maple syrup in the batter ensures that your husband/wife/domestic partner will never leave you for someone who cooks better breakfast.

French Toast

French toast!

-2/3 c whole milk, heavy cream, or half-and-half (I used half heavy cream, half vanilla soymilk to keep it from getting too heavy)
-4 large eggs
-2 Tbs pure maple syrup (or sugar, but remember what I said above)
-1 tsp vanilla
-1/4 tsp salt
-6 slices white or egg bread, with or without crusts (or sliced baguette left over from your “French breakfast”!)
-2 Tbs butter
-powdered sugar

1. Whisk the whole milk, eggs, maple syrup, vanilla and salt together in a shallow bowl. You could also use a pie plate, in which case whisk the ingredients together in a medium mixing bowl and then pour into the pie plate. I tried to just whisk it in the pie plate-thank Mothra I was wearing an apron, it was a mess!

flipping the bread

2. One or two at a time, add the bread to the mixture. Turn the slices in the egg mixture until thoroughly saturated but not falling apart. In a skillet, melt the butter over medium heat.
3.Add as many slices of bread to the skillet as will fit without crowding (with my baguette it was 4 pieces, but I also made 8 total since the pieces were smaller) and cook until the underside is golden brown. Turn the bread and cook until the second side is golden.

You can see some of the mess from whisking in the pie plate here...and my stove is funny.

Serve immediately or keep warm in a 200 degrees F oven while you finish cooking the rest. Dust each slice with the powdered sugar and serve with more pure maple syrup (it won’t need much!) and your choice of bacon, ham, sausages, or vegetarian fake out meat.

I was quite popular with J for the rest of the day as he went off to his oh-so-difficult 2 hours of work on a full stomach.

This recipe is from The Joy of Cooking, my favorite vanilla-stained go-to guide.

 

Cheap and quick-just like you like it. June 24, 2009

Filed under: food,recipes — Mox. @ 5:52 am
Tags: , , , ,

So I FINALLY got all registered for school for this semester-I’m going to be doing full time (12 credit hours) for Fall 2009, starting in August, and with working full time, it should be interesting. I promise I’ll try my best to not abandon you, oh loyal reader! In the meantime, I’m also going to try to keep cooking tasty meals even though I’m going to be exhausted. This one is definitely one that fits the bill-plus, it’s approximately $1.91 per serving, according to the calculation by Woman’s Day (where this recipe is adapted from).

Bow Ties with Spinach & Cherry Tomatoes

-12 oz bow-tie (farfalle) pasta (I used 16 oz because I couldn’t see the sense in keeping back 4 oz of the box I found, and I knew J would eat it)
-3 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
-1 Tbs minced garlic (about 2 to 3 medium-sized cloves)
-1 (9 or 10 oz) bag spinach, tough stems removed if still attached and leaves torn bite size (in the 9 oz bag I purchased, they were already bite size-not much bigger than baby spinach)
-1/2 tsp each salt and pepper, divided
-1 pt cherry or grape (which I used) tomatoes, halved

1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and transfer to a large bowl; set aside.
2. Meanwhile, heat 1 Tbs of the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add half the garlic; cook 30 seconds. Add half the spinach and 1/4 tsp each salt and pepper; saute 1 minute, or until spinach wilts. Add remaining spinach and cook until wilted.
3. Add remaining 2 Tbs oil and rest of garlic to skillet. Cook 30 seconds. Add tomatoes and remaining 1/4 tsp salt and pepper. Cook 1 to 2 minutes, or until tomatoes release their juices. Add to bowl with pasta. Toss to combine.

This is the way I made it, at least. In the original recipe, after you are done cooking the spinach (after “cook until wilted”), you are supposed to add it to the bowl with the pasta. I did not do this-I left it in there while I was cooking the tomatoes. I also did not “transfer to a large bowl”-I put the pasta back in the emptied pot it had cooked in-what’s the point of dirtying up an extra dish when J won’t care about presentation as long as it tastes good? This was SO delicious and garlicy and tomatoey and really a wonderful summer dish. You should go make it-NOW! Or, you know, later.

 

Inappropriate Party Foods, or, How to Make Your Guests Uncomfortable Just by Reading a Menu June 15, 2009

Filed under: events,recipes — Mox. @ 7:21 pm

To try and get myself over my anti-socialness and just for the fun of it, I threw a party (with assistance from J) this past Saturday. I invited almost 20 people and purchased lots and lots (and lots) of alcohol and prepared quite a bit of food. I made a recent adaptation of Buffalo Chicken Pizza (I was thinking I had posted that on here but it doesn’t seem that I have…I’ll have to get around to that-it’s awesome!), Dirty South Sausage Balls (given the name by the oh-so-talented and risque Chef Blythe Beck), and Spiced Nuts. The balls and nuts were um…huge…hits with all 3 of my guests that bothered to come.

Dirty South Sausage Balls

-2 lbs bulk pork breakfast sausage (half mild and half spicy)
-8 oz softened cream cheese
-1/4 c snipped chives or green onions
-1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
-salt and pepper to taste
-Juice of 1 lemon
-3/4 c panko or unseasoned dried bread crumbs
-2 sheets of frozen puff pastry dough, thawed (1 lb)

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
2. In a large bowl, combine pork sausage, cream cheese, chives, cayenne, salt, pepper and lemon juice. Fold bread crumbs into meat mixture until fully combined (feel free to use your hands!). Roll mixture into 1-inch balls.
3. Wrap a 1.5″ square of puff pastry around each ball, stretching to cover. Pinch seams to seal. Place seam-side down on greased cookie sheet and bake at 400 degrees F for 10 minutes. 
Makes about 24 small balls.

This was adapted from a recipe by Chef Blythe Beck .

Oh my gosh were these good. I felt a little naughty (as Ms. Beck intended me to, I’m sure!) eating all that pork + cream cheese. What an evil and awesome combination! My version calls for less bread crumbs than Chef Beck’s does. I would have sworn on my life that I had a big-ass thing of bread crumbs in my pantry-turns out I had a couple tablespoons and had to make up the rest of what I used with crushed crackers. I made two batches after having some technical difficulties with my second sheet of puff pastry, and froze the second one.  My first batch resembled funny little meaty pastry purses, but the second batch I made a little more “clean” looking by trimming off the excess puff pastry with my dear kitchen shears and rolling them again in my hand to smooth out the seams. Those are sitting in my freezer right now, waiting to pounce on J’s unsuspecting poker buddies this Thursday evening.

And on to the nuts!

Spiced Nuts

-2/3 c sugar
-2 1/4 tsp kosher salt
-2 tsp ground cinnamon
-1 1/2 tsp chili(e) powder
-1/2 tsp ground allspice
-1/4 to 1/2 tsp cayenne
-1 large egg white
-4 c mixed nuts (pecans, walnuts, almonds, pistachios, and/or cashews-I bought a big ol’ container that also had peanuts even though this part of the recipe didn’t say peanuts were okay. I didn’t die)

1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Whisk sugar, salt and spices in a small bowl. In a large bowl, whisk egg white until light and frothy (don’t use your mixer-I know it’s tempting-you’ll end up with entirely the wrong texture altogether). Add nuts and toss until evenly coated with egg white.
3. Sprinkle sugar and spice mixture over nuts and toss well.
4. Spread nuts in single layer on baking sheet and bake until dry, 45 to 50 minutes, stirring once or twice. Cool to room temperature.

These were also well received. It’s more of a fall flavor, but the hint of spicy mingled in with the sweetness was really refreshing compared to boring old honey roasted nuts.

 

Soup of Lies June 10, 2009

Filed under: Light,recipes — Mox. @ 7:52 pm
Tags: , , , ,

Mmmm delicious lies. I picked this recipe out of a Family circle, did a quick read-over, and picked it for one of the dinners for this week. It’s called “Tortilla Soup” but that’s very much a misnomer. I can’t believe it didn’t click when I read through it, but I didn’t realize until I was almost through cooking that the only tortillas in the damn thing are the few strips sprinkled on top as garnish. That’s like calling a delicious steak dinner “Parsley Dinner” because of the tacky piece-o-green on the side of the plate. Culinary misrepresentation aside, this soup got high marks from myself and J alike.

Tortilla Soup of Lies

-2 Tbs olive oil
-1 large onion, trimmed and sliced (I used a combination of a medium yellow onion and some leftover sliced red onion)
-4 cloves garlic, trimmed and smashed
-1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
-1/2 tsp dried oregano
-1/2 tsp ground chile powder (I used “Chili Powder”-gasp!)
-3 Tbs fresh lime or lemon juice (I used lemon, but lime really is best…also mine was bottled-don’t shoot me)
-1/2 tsp salt
-1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
-1 can (14 1/2 oz) tomato sauce (low-sodium is good if you’re watching your salt intake)
-1/2 c shredded pepper-jack cheese
-handfull of thinly sliced flour tortilla or 4 Tbs prepared tortilla strips (of if you’re feelin funky-crush a few tortilla chips)

1. In a medium-size saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, red pepper flakes, oregano and chile(i) powder. Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until onions have become more translucent are softened.
2. Add 3 cups water, lime or lemon juice and salt. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook 12 minutes or until cooked through. Remove chicken to a cutting board and let cool slightly. Using an immersion or upright blender, puree onion mixture until smooth. If using an upright blender, cuss loudly when you drip soup onto your toes while ladling it into the blender carafe. Return to saucepan, cursing as you splash it on your shirt (seriously-why weren’t you wearing that apron with the crude saying en espanol to prevent this); add tomato sauce. Cook 5 minutes over medium heat.
3. Meanwhile, shred chicken into bite-size pieces (you should have around 2 cups-I didn’t…might have had something to do with giving the cats some snacks so they’ll love me). Place about 1/2 c shredded chicken into a bowl. Lade 1/4 of the soup into the bowl. Top with 2 Tbs of the shredded cheese and top with tortilla strips. Repeat for all servings.
4. Sit back and gather compliments while trying to not burn your tongue on the frikkin’ awesome soup.

This was adapted from a Family Circle recipe.

 

*Gasp!* June 7, 2009

Filed under: Light,recipes — Mox. @ 4:29 pm

I’m sorry, loyal reader-life has been…well, pretty crazy the past few months and has left me little time for thinking about blogging, much less for the actual blogging itself. I promise to rectify this soon. I had a birthday, surgery, and a good deal stuff I just didn’t want to deal with. Good news is, I’m getting my ass back to school for the Fall semester. I won’t be able to take any of my actual culinary classes due to scheduling restrictions (one of my coworkers will be taking maternity leave in October so I’ll have to pick up part of her shift), but I’ll have all of my core classes completed-yay! I have two new recipes just today, some nifty cookies from the queen of awesome and entertaining, Martha Stewart, and a super-easy dinner that I was shocked to receive official “J approval” on. Onward!

Cowboy Cookies

 
Cowboy Cookies

-2 c all-purpose flour
-1 tsp baking soda
-1 tsp salt
-1/2 tsp baking powder
-8 oz (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
-3/4 c granulated sugar
-3/4 c light-brown sugar
-2 large eggs
-1 tsp pure vanilla extract
-1 1/2 cups oats
-1 c semisweet chocolate chips (or 6 oz semisweet chocolate, cut into 1/4″ chunks)
-3/4 c roughly chopped walnuts (or pecan halves)
-1/2 c shredded coconut

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line baking sheets with parchment. Sift flour, baking soda, salt, and baking powder into a medium bowl.

2. Beat butter and sugars with a mixer on medium-high until pale and creamy, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to meium. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla (I forgot to do this until after the next step-oops! Martha, thankfully, didn’t pop out of a corner and sock me in the eye).

3. Reduce speed to low, and slowly add flour imxture, beating until just incorporated (if you have a Kitchenaid, I had best luck adding this on the “Stir” speed). Beat in oats, chocolate, nuts, and coconut until combined. (At this point, the dough can be refrigerated up to 3 days. I made them right away.)

4. Using a spoon, drop dough onto baking sheets, spacing 3 inches apart.

5. Bake until edges of cookies begin to brown, 11to 13 minutes. Transfer baking sheets to wire rack, and let cool for 5 minutes. Transfer cookies to racks. Let cool. (I baked the cookies for 6 minutes, then rotated the baking sheets and finished baking to ensure even doneness).

The recipe states that it makes about 5 dozen, but that would be seriously tiny cookies. We don’t like tiny cookies around here (except for macarons-they’re allowed as they’re just special like that). I made about 25 cookies about the size of my palm. These were awesome because I had the exact amount of walnuts, coconut, and chocolate chips I needed just sitting in my pantry begging to be used and taking up space. This recipe is adapted from Martha Stewart Living’s October 2008 Cookie of the Month.

 

Tomatillo Roll-Up

-1 (3 1/2 – 4 lb) rotisserie chicken, shredded
-1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
-1 c tomatillo sauce (green salsa/salsa verde)
-3 roma tomatoes, diced
-1 head broccoli, cut into small florets and steamed
-4 pcs thin flatbread or tortillas, warmed
-1just-ripe avocado, diced

1. In a medium bowl, combine chicken, onion, tomatillo sauce and tomatoes. Add the steamed broccoli and toss.

2. Divide among the flatbread or tortillas, top with avocado, and roll up.

I told you it was easy! Usually, if I don’t cuss or sweat at least once during making dinner, J doesn’t like it but he was a big fan of this, thank God! I’ve been working on finding quick but still decent meals (the kind that don’t make me angry and also don’t involve processed cheese or anything out of a squirt bottle-those things also make me angry).

I missed you, my one faithful reader (hi Mom!)-I promise I’ll be back more frequently, and with more pictures too!

 

Doin’ it for tha shorties… January 14, 2009

Filed under: events,win — Mox. @ 7:27 am
Tags: , , ,

…to quote Sir Loin .

I still seethe a bit over the “Timmy vs Sally Struthers” incident which led to my HOA not being able to hold our Great American Bake Sale (benefiting Share Our Strength). Hopefully getting this word out will help:

Share Our Strength  has launched a brand new campaign to raise funds to help end childhood hunger. “Operation No Kid Hungry” responds to President-elect Obama’s call to action to end childhood hunger by 2015.

Share Our Strength has partnered with AT&T to offer two great ways that you can support and participate in “Operation No Kid Hungry”:

1.Donate by text: Text “SHARE” to 20222 on your mobile device to donate $5. AT&T will match all text donations up to $100,000. Help us meet this challenge grant! Find out more at http://strength.org/get_involved/text_donation/

2.Hold a food drive: Beginning January 19th, a national day of community service, help feed those in need by holding your own community food drive. Visit http://Strength.org to find a food bank and a list of the most needed
nutritious foods.
For more information about “Operation No Kid Hungry” and how you can help end childhood hunger, visit Share Our Strength’s website: http://strength.org.

 

 
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