Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Cadbury Mini-Egg Cookies

I was in Connecticut to visit my family this weekend because my best friend Erica and my brother just got engaged! TO EACH OTHER! That's completely crazy and so wonderful and I am so happy!

So while I was there, my mom and I baked the cookies for Monday. I've seen multiple recipes for chocolate-chip cookies made with chopped up Cadbury Mini-Eggs (like big candy-coated chocolates; not the creme-filled ones) on Pinterest but I decided the easiest thing to do would be to just make a half-batch of my standard Pudding Cookies and use the mini-Eggs as the mix-ins. Perfect! I thought the candy coating was a little weird in the cookies but everyone else liked them! Thanks, mom, for your help!

cookies

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Spanish Rice

For dinner on Tuesday I decided to make tacos. I made fish tacos with frozen fish sticks (DON'T JUDGE ME) and my gentleman made some chicken. I chopped up some avocado, tomatoes, and purple cabbage, and made a chipotle crema to put on top. They were yummy and delicious, but needed a side dish. So! I found this recipe. It is supposed to be the best recipe ever. I was shocked that it actually is. It rivals the best rice I've had at any Tex-Mex restaurant. I used a can of Rotel tomatoes in place of the tomato paste on a recommendation from the comments on the original blog post, and it was an excellent idea. Also based on comments, I added a sprinkle of Adobo seasoning and a little saffron for color. This made some delicious, perfect rice. I would definitely make it again.

rice

Spanish Rice
Simply Recipes

Spanish rice is browned first with onions and garlic, then cooked in chicken stock with added tomato.

2 tablespoons olive oil -- (can use up to 1/4 cup)
1 onion -- chopped fine
1 garlic clove -- minced
2 cups medium or long-grain white rice
3 cups* chicken stock -- (or vegetable stock if vegetarian)
1 heaping tablespoon tomato paste or 1 cup of diced fresh or cooked tomatoes -- strained
pinch oregano
1 teaspoon salt

*Check the instructions on the rice package for the proportions of liquid to rice. They can range from 1:1 to 2:1. If your rice calls for 2 cups of water for every cup of rice -- then for this recipe, use 4 cups of stock for 2 cups of rice.

In a large skillet brown rice in olive oil, medium/high heat. Add onion and garlic. Cook onion rice mixture, stirring frequently, about 4 minutes, or until onions are softened.

In a separate sauce pan bring stock to a simmer. Add tomato sauce, oregano, and salt. Add rice to broth. Bring to a simmer. Cover. Lower heat and cook 15-25 minutes, depending on the type of rice and the instructions on the rice package. Turn off heat and let sit for 5 minutes.

Yield: Serves 4 to 6

Sunday, April 06, 2014

Kimchi Noodles

I randomly found some kimchi (a Korean spicy fermented cabbage) at the grocery store the other day and had to buy it because I love it. Stinky but delicious. But what to do with it?

I found a recipe on Pinterest for kimchi noodles that utilized a kimchi paste in the noodle mixture. I skipped the kimchi paste and instead just threw the kimchi in, in place of the paste and the bok choy the recipe originally called for. I also added some chile-garlic paste to the final product because it wasn't spicy enough for me. Probably you won't need that.

Instead of spending $3.50 on a package of curly noodles, I spent $1 for 10 packages of ramen noodle. I made the noodles without the flavor packet, since it would just be flavored from the soup anyway.

So after everything, this was lovely. It was a really enjoyable dinner. I have a ton of ramen noodles now, so I will likely make this again very soon!

kimchi

Kimchi Noodles
Loosely adapted from Great Secret of Life

1 package ramen noodles
1/2 cup kimchi (or more, or less)
Cubed or sliced tofu, pan-fried
1/4 cup thinly sliced carrot
1 finely chopped onion
1 clove minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger
Salt, to taste
1 teaspoon oil (I used coconut)
1-2 green chiles, sliced

Heat the oil in the pan. Pan-fry the tofu, set aside. Add the onion and saute until transparent. Add the garlic and ginger. Saute for about 30 seconds. Add the carrots and kimchi. Saute for about 1 minute. Then add 2 cups of water and the salt. Bring it to a boil. Add the fried tofu and let it boil for another minute.

Meanwhile, cook the noodles according to the instructions on the package. Omit the flavor packet. Drain and place the noodles in your serving bowl.

Pour the hot soup over the top of the noodles. Garnish with sliced green chiles.

Yield: 1-2 servings

Thursday, April 03, 2014

Baby Shells with Spicy Butter Roasted Tomato Sauce & Fresh Ricotta

Despite this extremely long title, this is actually a very simple dish. Dump some tomatoes and garlic in a casserole dish with some other stuff, roast it until it's a nice consistency, mash it up, toss with pasta, top with cheese. Super easy. I used some really nice San Marzano tomatoes and thought they worked nicely. The butter adds a really nice flavor and consistency to the sauce. Yes, I am a weirdo who has anchovy paste "just lying around" so I did use that in the sauce. It was lovely. I might have the leftovers with some shrimp or scallops or something later tonight. Hopefully it's just as good warmed up?

Oh! And I used mini-farfalle and mafalda pasta because I did not have shells. Sorry.

shells

Baby Shells with Spicy Butter Roasted Tomato Sauce and Fresh Ricotta
Clara Persis via Pinterest

28 ounces whole peeled plum tomatoes
8 garlic cloves, crushed
1 teaspoon anchovy paste
1/4 cup salted butter, cut into pieces
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
Kosher salt and black pepper
12 ounces small pasta shells
Finely grated Parmesan cheese
Fresh basil
Fresh ricotta

Preheat oven to 425°. Combine tomatoes (crushing them with your hands), garlic, anchovies, butter, and ½ tsp. red pepper flakes in a 13×9” baking dish; season with salt and black pepper. Roast, tossing halfway through, until garlic is very soft and mixture is jammy, 35–40 minutes. Using a potato masher or fork, mash to break up garlic and tomatoes.

Meanwhile, cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until al dente. Drain, reserving ½ cup pasta cooking liquid.

Return pasta to pot and add tomato sauce and pasta cooking liquid. Cook over medium-high heat, tossing until sauce coats pasta, about 3 minutes. Serve topped with Parmesan, a dollop of ricotta, and fresh basil.

Yield: 3-4 servings

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

I Want To Marry You Cookies

No one is getting married. I feel like I need to put that out there immediately to quell any confusion.

In fact, as these were coming out of the oven, I said to my gentleman, "I don't care how good these are, don't you get any ideas." This is funny pretty much only to us, because marriage is something that will never happen between us - and we are both perfectly happy with that.

So. Anyway. Apparently these cookies are so good that they make people want to marry you. I actually can't really disagree with it. They're good cookies, and they turned out a little bit harder than I wanted them to be, but people loved them. The addition of the cinnamon and the pecans makes these a little different than just a chocolate chip cookie. I also found a spring-colored mix of chocolate and baking chips (pink and yellow!) from Nestle so I used those for a little color. Don't skip the oats - they add a nice texture. Make sure to toast the pecans, because they really are a prominent ingredient. And keep in mind that the cookies generally keep the shape you dropped them in, so take your time and make 'em look nice.

cookies

I Want to Marry You Cookies
The Café Sucré Farine via Pinterest

1 cup butter
1 1/4 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups flour
1 cup uncooked rolled oats
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup roughly chopped, toasted pecans

In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat until melted. Remove from the heat.

Add the brown sugar and granulated sugar and stir until sugars are incorporated and smooth. Chill the mixture for 10 minutes.

Remove from the refrigerator and stir in the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla.

Add the flour, oats, baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and cinnamon and mix together.

Stir in the white chocolate chips, chocolate chips and pecans.

Roll by hand into medium-size balls or use a scoop, and place on sheet pans. If desired tuck extra chips and pecans over tops of dough mounds for a lovely appearance.

Chill, on sheet pan for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 325°F. Remove the cookies from the refrigerator and bake for 14-18 minutes, or until golden brown. Allow to cool for several minutes on pan, then transfer to cooling rack.

Yield: 2-3 dozen depending on size

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Sriracha Egg Salad Sandwiches

Last year I posted about my love of egg salad sandwiches. I eat them pretty frequently - at home, at least. I still stick to my general recipe but every once in awhile I do try things out, like adding horseradish, or curry powder, or caraway seeds. My friend Scott recently tried to recommend chopping up green olives but I told him to go back to 1950 and have his olivey egg salad with a side of tomato aspic, because that is just gross. Normally I don't bother to post about these sandwiches anymore, but the other night I tried a specific recipe I found on Pinterest so I feel the need to share it.

Sriracha! You know I love it. I had to add way more to this recipe than was called for because the mayonnaise kept tempering the spiciness to a level that I could barely detect with my high tolerance for heat. The addition of onion powder and garlic salt (a small change I added) gave it a full flavor, and the green onions were a nice surprise. I didn't have the fancy oatmeal walnut bread it calls for and instead used some country white bread, but it was still delicious. The recipe calls for a softer-boiled egg so its yolk mushes in with the sauce, but I hate liquidy yolks intensely so I cooked them all the way through. I really enjoyed this and will add it to my mental arsenal of egg salad recipes.

The blog post I stole this from on Parsley Sage & Sweet has a great tutorial on how to make perfect hard-boiled eggs. Also for soft-boiled if that's your thing. But if you need to learn about eggs, that's a great resource. In addition, they posted a recipe for the oatmeal walnut bread, which I'm sure would have been delicious. My bread-baking has been unsuccessful lately and I can't handle more failure at the moment so I'm going to bookmark it and come back to trying the bread later.

egg

Chunky Sriracha Egg Salad
Loosely adapted from Parsley Sage & Sweet

2 large hard boiled eggs, peeled, rinsed, dried, and coarsely chopped with a fork (my method)
1-2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
2-3 tablespoons sriracha, to your spice level
1 scallion, sliced
Freshly ground black pepper
More salt if the garlic salt is not enough to taste

Mix it all together in a bowl and put on toasted bread.

Yield: 1 big sandwich

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Lemon Ricotta Pasta with Peas and Seared Scallops

Here's what I had: Ricotta cheese, lemons, some frozen tiny bay scallops, and mini-farfalle pasta. This was super quick to throw together and made for a lovely little dinner. My gentleman made the scallops because he always cooks them perfectly. I added the butter/oil from the scallops pan into the pasta as well just to add a little more fatty goodness. It was a really nice, springy dinner, which is mildly ironic since we just got more snow overnight.

I doubt I'd make this again but it was great just to throw together.

scallops

Lemon-Ricotta Pasta with Peas and Seared Scallops
From Crumb via Pinterest, of course

1 box pappardelle or fettuccine pasta
12 large fresh sea scallops
4 tablespoons good-quality olive oil, divided
1 tablespoon butter
Zest of 1 lemon
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 1/2 cups fresh green peas, shelled and blanched
4 tablespoons fresh thyme, minced
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 container ricotta cheese

Cook the pasta per package directions until al dente.

While pasta is cooking, rinse scallops and pat dry. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil and 1 tbsp butter over high heat in a skillet until foamy. Sprinkle scallops with a little salt and pepper; place in skillet in single layer. Cook, turning once, until brown on outside and just opaque in center, about 2 minutes per side. Remove from pan and set aside.

Drain pasta and return to the pot over low heat. Stir in lemon zest, juice, remaining 3 tbsp olive oil, peas, and thyme. Toss to coat, then season with salt and lots of pepper. Add the ricotta and mix gently until pasta is coated evenly.

To serve, divide the pasta between four plates, topping each with three scallops and a sprig of fresh thyme.