Thursday, November 27, 2014

Restaurant-Style Hummus

I've been meaning to make a batch of hummus for weeks now. I even special-ordered tahini from the internet because goddamned if I can find any in my area of Pennsylvania (not even at Wegmans!). But I had a feeling that there's something out there that's better than recipes I've tried before, and I WAS RIGHT.

It should come as no shock that the recipe is adapted from Cook's Illustrated - a magazine known for its rigorous testing of different methods and ingredients to make the best possible recipe for a simple dish. And this really is great. You know how the hummus you order in restaurants is perfect and silky and smooth? This is that. It's wonderful.

I did double the amount of garlic because I wanted a garlicky hummus, and I reduced the amount of cumin because my gentleman hates cumin (but it needs at least some to taste authentic). I didn't bother with the fancy presentation and instead just dumped it in a bowl to eat all day, but if I were making this for a party I would garnish it as recommended. I just love this. I will make this again and it shall become my standard hummus recipe from now on. I'm going to have to buy a lot more tahini at this rate!


Restaurant Style Hummus
Cook's Illustrated, 5/2008 via What Did You Eat

1/4 cup water
3 tablespoons lemon juice
6 tablespoons well-stirred tahini
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 15 oz. can drained and rinsed chickpeas
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cumin
Pinch of cayenne
About 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro

Combine the water and lemon juice in one bowl, and the tahini and oil in another. Set aside about 12 of the whole chickpeas for a garnish.

Put the chickpeas, salt, garlic, cumin, and cayenne in a food processor and process for about 15 seconds. Scrape down the sides of the processor. Then add the lemon water mix through the feed tube with the processor running for about 1 minute. Scrape down the sides several times. Then add the oil and tahini, with the processor running, until the hummus is fluffy.

Put the hummus in a bowl, garnish with the cilantro and whole chickpeas, and drizzle with some olive oil if you want.

Thanksgiving #1

I think this year we finally embraced the fact that the holidays are terrible. I lack motivation to cook, and my family recently had the tragedy of putting one of our dogs down (Ramone, the chihuahua). Thanksgiving sucks. So my gentleman and I are not "celebrating" today. We will drink beer and watch football. I did make onion dip to eat while watching the parade, because some things can't be changed, but that's the extent of it.

But! This past weekend we went up to visit my family and had our traditional dinner. The only thing I contributed was a batch of Cheesecake Thumbprint Cookies at Erica's request. I've made those a bunch of times before and they were delicious as usual. We ate some food, it was good, and then the dog had a stroke. Bah-bah-baaaah.

{Here is my plate.}

Sorry this isn't an uplifting post. We're doing Second Thanksgiving at my gentleman's family's house on Sunday so perhaps I will have more to report at that time.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

The Bibimbappy

There are just so many weird grilled cheese sandwiches in the world, and I want to eat all of them. Forever. And I likely will continue to make a lot of them throughout the winter. So be prepared.

Continuing with my Korean food obsession lately, last night I made this sandwich adaptation of one of my favorite meals (Bibimbap). I got to use my gochujang and kimchi, so that was good. I added a little extra layer of cheese on top to help bind everything together, which worked well. I used a microwave packet of coconut rice, which was a bad idea because it was kind of gross on its own, but I wouldn't leave it out. Next time I would just make my own rice.

I didn't love this as much as the ramen-Kimchi one I made the other night, but this was still pretty awesome. It's so much fun!


The Bibimbappy
Grilled Cheese Social (The best website ever for grilled cheese)

3 ounces sharp white cheddar cheese -- grated
1 1/2 tablespoon kimchi
1 tablespoon gochujang
1 green onion
2 tablespoons coconut rice
1 fried egg
2 pats salted butter
2 slices sourdough bread

Spread some gochujang on the bread.

Add on some of the cheddar cheese. After that, add some coconut rice. (To make it yourself, add a tablespoon of coconut oil to rice before cooking.)

Next, add kimchi and diced green onion.

Add the rest of the cheese and the top piece of bread. Butter the bread.

Heat up a pan or panini press to medium-high and cook for a few minutes on each side.

Take it off the heat and let it sit for a minute or two. After the cheese has thickened a bit, gently open the sandwich up and add the fried egg.

Servings: 1

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Apple Cider Baked Donuts with Maple Glaze

We bought this amazing apple cider from Grimm's Orchard around Halloween and have been obsessed with cider ever since, but the cider I bought last week from the local grocery store sucked. Instead of tossing it, I used it to make these donuts on Sunday morning.

THEY ARE SO GREAT. Similar in taste to the Apple Cider Donuts I've made in the past, but much better, and with a MUCH better texture. Loved them so much. I didn't go overboard with the glaze, just kind of drizzling it over each donut, which I think was the right thing to do. The maple flavor was SO subtle because I didn't have any maple extract, so if you have access to maple extract (or even maple sugar, probably!) I would definitely use that. Otherwise it's just a syrupy sugar glaze. Which is fine.

So we loved these. I made six in my donut pan and had a little bit of batter left over. And we ate all of them.


Apple Cider Baked Donuts with Maple Glaze
From Brazil To You

For the Doughnuts:
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4-1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 large egg, room temperature
1/2 cup fresh apple cider
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
4 tablespoons unsalted butter

For the Glaze:
1 1/4 cups confectioners' sugar
3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1 tablespoon dark corn syrup
1/2 tablespoon water
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon maple flavoring (optional)

Preheat oven to 350ºF.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, sea salt, and cinnamon. In a small separate bowl, whisk the egg. Set both aside.

In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, combine the apple cider, sugar and butter, stirring continuously until butter has just melted. Remove from heat, let cool for 2 minutes, and stir in the apple cider vinegar, vanilla, and whisked egg. Slowly pour the wet ingredients into the dry; stir well with a whisker until combined and almost no lumps are visible.

Using a tablespoon or a cookie scooper, spoon/scoop batter into a donut pan (3/4 full). Bake in the oven for 12-14 minutes (standard-size baked donuts) or for 6-7 minutes (mini baked donuts), or until light brown and cooked through. Let cool for 2-3 minutes on a rack. Then, remove baked donuts from pan and place them directly on a rack to cool completely before dipping into glaze.

For the Maple Glaze: Whisk everything together in a small bowl until smooth. Set rack of donuts over a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Dip the top of the baked donuts into the maple glaze, turning to coat well. Let baked donuts rest on rack until glaze sets.

Yield: 6-7 standard-size or 24-26 mini donuts

Saturday, November 08, 2014

Kimchi Ramen Grilled Cheese Sandwich

I'm on this big Korean food kick right now. I recently procured some gochujang (Korean chile paste) and gochugaru (Korean chili powder, basically) and have been going ham with it. I always have kimchi in the refrigerator now, for some reason. I also have been making a lot of grilled cheese sandwiches. This sandwich, obviously found on Pinterest, was perfect because it's a combination of everything I love the most right now.

It was pretty epic. I do have to say this. It was amazing. I added in some of the gochujang and gochujaru. I used "Oriental"-flavored ramen. If you're feeling like getting a little weird for dinner, this is the sandwich for you.


Kimchi Ramen Grilled Cheese Sandwich

1/2 package ramen, any “flavor”
1/2 ramen seasoning packet
Handful of kimchi, chopped and squeezed of excess liquid
1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
2 tablespoons butter, softened
2 thick slices very sturdy bread
Handful of mozzarella or jack cheese
Handful of American or cheddar cheese

Bring a pot of water to a boil over high heat. Drop the ramen noodles in and cook until the ramen noodles are soft, about 5-8 minutes.

Drain the ramen noodles, then put the noodles back into the pot or into a bowl. Pour the contents of half the seasoning packet over the noodles. Toss the noodles to combine. Set aside to prepare sandwich.

Heat olive oil in a frying pan over low heat.

Spread the outside of both slices of bread with softened butter. Place both slices of bread buttered-side down in the oil in the pan. Pile one slice with mozzarella/jack cheese; pile the other slice of bread with American/Cheddar cheese. Cook until bread is toasted and cheese has melted.

Remove the grilled bread with cheese to a plate or cutting board. Pile as much ramen noodles on one slice of the bread as you’d like. Add chopped kimchi on top. Close the sandwich with the other slice of grilled bread and cheese. Press together firmly.

Yield: 1 sandwich

Thursday, November 06, 2014

White Chocolate Funfetti Bundt Cake

This week is "Patient Transporter Week" at the hospital, which honors the brave ladies and gentlemen of the transport department, who faithfully push our patients around the hospital to tests, other rooms, ICUs, the lobby, etc. They are ignored, berated, and quite literally shat upon at times. They are the unsung heroes and I love all of them, so I wanted to contribute to their Week. And how better to celebrate than with a cake?!

After doing a brief study of approximately two people, I determined that the majority of transporters would like a Funfetti cake. Not wanting to stick to something normal, I found this Funfetti-ish bundt cake. While it starts with a cake mix, it is unique and interesting and fun.

The only real change I made was that I used coconut oil instead of shortening in the icing. I thought this actually worked really nicely because it gave the cake a subtle coconut flavor. I liked it. I also didn't bother putting the icing in bags and instead just drizzled it with a spoon. Lazy, but effective.

So how do I know I liked it, if I brought an intact bundt cake for their department? Because I found some mini bundt silicone molds in my cabinet so I made a few of those, for myself, my gentleman, and a couple of friends. If you do this, please note that they only required about 25 minutes to bake instead of 55. I liked this a LOT. I would make it again.


White Chocolate Funfetti Chip Cake
Inside BruCrew

1 white cake mix
1 box instant white chocolate pudding mix
1 cup plain greek yogurt
4 eggs
1/ cup oil
1 cup milk
1 cup mini chocolate chips
1/4 cup rainbow sprinkles
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1 teaspoon shortening, divided

In a mixing bowl, combine the cake mix, pudding mix, yogurt, eggs, oil, and milk. Beat on low for 1 minute, then beat on medium for 2 minutes. Stir in the sprinkles and mini chocolate chips by hand. Pour batter into a greased 10 inch bundt cake pan. Bake at 350* for 55 minutes. Let cool in the pan for 15 minutes before turning out onto a plate to cool completely.

Place the chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl with 1/2 teaspoon shortening. Heat for 30 seconds. Stir until melted and creamy. Place in a plastic baggie with one tip cut off and drizzle over the top of the cake. Repeat with the white chocolate chips. Top with the extra sprinkles. Let set before serving. Keep covered on the counter for 4-5 days.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Pumpkin Cake Roll

Pumpkin Roll is a big thing here in Pennsylvania. It's everywhere this time of year. It's a spongy pumpkin sheet cake, rolled up around a cream cheese filling. I decided to try it last weekend because I felt inspired and I had all the ingredients available. It turned out surprisingly well and didn't fall apart! I was pretty proud of that. I did have some feelings though: the spices just weren't right, and the nuts did not belong at ALL. I had asked my gentleman prior to baking it if he wanted me to add nuts, and even though he'd never seen a pumpkin roll with nuts, he said we should try it out. Well, don't. Why mess with a good thing? It isn't that the nuts didn't taste good. They were just really odd and out of place. I'd love to try making another pumpkin roll but it will need to be a different recipe.


Pumpkin Cake Roll
Better Homes & Gardens

3 eggs
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup canned pumpkin
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 cup finely chopped walnuts
Powdered sugar
1 8 ounce package cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Allow eggs to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, grease a 15x10x1-inch baking pan. Line bottom of pan with waxed paper or parchment paper; grease paper. Set pan aside. In a small bowl stir together flour, cinnamon, baking powder, ginger, salt, and nutmeg; set aside.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In a large mixing bowl beat eggs with an electric mixer on high speed about 5 minutes or until thick and lemon color. Gradually add granulated sugar, beating on medium speed until light and fluffy. Stir in pumpkin and lemon juice. Beat in flour mixture on low to medium speed just until combined. Spread batter evenly in the prepared baking pan. Sprinkle with walnuts.

Bake about 15 minutes or until cake springs back when lightly touched. Immediately loosen edges of cake from pan and turn cake out onto a clean kitchen towel sprinkled with powdered sugar. Remove waxed paper. Roll towel and cake into a spiral, starting from a short side of the cake. Cool on a wire rack.

Meanwhile, for filling, in a medium mixing bowl beat cream cheese, butter, and vanilla on medium speed until smooth. Gradually beat in 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar.

Unroll cake; remove towel. Spread cake with filling to within 1 inch of the edges. Roll up cake; trim ends. Cover and chill for 2 to 48 hours.

Yield: 8 servings

Friday, October 17, 2014

Sweet Potato Bowl with Chimichurri

This week, I again felt inspired to make myself dinner. This didn't take as long as I'd expected it to, which was nice. It was a good way to use up the last of my parsley from the garden (SO SAD). The chimichurri was a little strong, but that's likely my own fault. And my sad attempt to toast the quinoa did result in it being stuck to the pan, but it was still edible and tasty. Otherwise this was a very simple, yummy meal.


Sweet Potato Bowl with Chimichurri
Vegetarian Times (Still one of my favorite magazines!)

Chimichurri has its roots in Argentina, where it is usually slathered over grilled meat. Here, it lends spicy, garlicky goodness to a hearty bowl of sweet potatoes and quinoa.

2 large sweet potatoes, finely diced
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 cup red quinoa, rinsed and drained
2 small ripe avocados, sliced

1/4 cup olive oil
3 cups loosely packed torn fresh parsley leaves
3 tablespoons lemon juice
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

To make Sweet Potatoes and Quinoa: Preheat oven to 425°F. Toss sweet potatoes with oil on large baking sheet, and spread in single layer. Season with salt and pepper, if desired, and roast 15 to 20 minutes, or until soft, stirring halfway through.

Meanwhile, bring quinoa and 2 cups water to a boil in small saucepan. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and cook
15 minutes, or until tender. Season with salt, if desired.

To make Chimichurri: Warm oil in small saucepan over medium heat. Blend parsley, lemon juice, garlic, paprika, and red pepper flakes in food processor until coarsely chopped. Pour in warm oil, and pulse quickly until blended.

Divide sweet potatoes and quinoa among 4 bowls. Top each serving with 3 Tbs. Chimichurri, and garnish with sliced avocado, if using. Drizzle with extra Chimichurri, if desired.

Servings: 4