Friday, June 29, 2007

Chocolate-Chip Ice Cream Sandwich Cake

Yesterday was my birthday. I am now 23. For my birthday, I decided I wanted something that wasn't too "cakey" or "frosting-y." So I decided on this ice cream cake that involves creating two giant cookies and sandwiching ice cream in the middle. It was very easy and came together nicely, even though my cake pans were 8 inches and my springform pan was 9, so it was a little messy, but it was delicious. We really liked it a lot! It was a perfect birthday 'cake' for me this year. :)

Oh and we used chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream. You could probably skip the butterscotch sauce and use storebought, but it was kind of fun to make.

CHOCOLATE-CHIP ICE-CREAM-SANDWICH CAKE WITH BUTTERSCOTCH SAUCE
Bon Appetit, March 2001

Here’s a party-size ice cream sandwich that everyone will love. We use two 9-inch-diameter cake pans so that the cookies keep their round shape when baking. And there’s no need for last-minute fuss; this can be made up to three days ahead.

Butterscotch Sauce
3/4 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
1/2 cup dark corn syrup
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, diced
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Cookies
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
9 tablespoons (1 stick plus 1 tablespoon) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips (about 9 ounces)

3 pints chocolate or vanilla ice cream, slightly softened

For butterscotch sauce: Combine first 5 ingredients in heavy medium saucepan. Stir over low heat until both sugars dissolve. Increase heat and boil until large bubbles break on surface and sauce drops thickly from spoon, stirring constantly, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat; whisk in cream and vanilla (mixture may bubble vigorously). (Can be made 3 days ahead. Cover; chill. Rewarm slightly over low heat before using.)

For cookies: Preheat oven to 350°F. Line two 9-inch-diameter cake pans with 1 1/2-inch-high sides with parchment paper; butter paper. Sift flour, baking soda and salt into small bowl. Using electric mixer, beat butter and both sugars in large bowl until well blended. Add egg and vanilla and beat until smooth. Beat in flour mixture. Stir in chocolate chips. Drop half of dough by large spoonfuls into each prepared pan; spread evenly. Bake cookies until light golden, about 18 minutes. Cool cookies in pans on racks. Carefully turn out cookies; peel off parchment.

Place 1 cookie, top side up, in 9-inch springform pan with 2 3/4-inch-high sides. Drizzle 1/4 cup sauce over. Spread evenly with ice cream; drizzle with 1/2 cup sauce. Top with remaining cookie, top side up; press gently to adhere. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons sauce. Cover pan and freeze ice cream cake at least 5 hours. Cover and chill remaining sauce. (Cake and sauce can be prepared 3 days ahead.)

Cut around cake with small knife to loosen. Release pan sides. Let cake stand until ice cream is slightly softened, about 20 minutes. Rewarm butterscotch sauce over low heat. Cut cake into wedges; serve with sauce.

Yield: 10-12 servings

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Cheesy Mac 'n' Cheese

I was talking to my friend Lisa awhile ago about lightening recipes for macaroni and cheese. I was saying how, with the right substitutions, it would be possible to make a lower-fat version of this delectable dish. She said screw it, and stuck with the fatty versions. I now, after having tried many light versions, agree with Lisa.

Tonight's dinner sucked! It was a macaroni and cheese recipe from the January 2007 issue of Shape magazine, and it had the word "cheesy" in the title. I thought it would be yummy. I was wrong. We did omit the tomatoes because they do not belong in a macaroni and cheese. But the entire thing was just...not cheesy. And bland. Very bland. It wasn't good. We ordered pizza.

Here is the recipe, but don't make this.

Cheesy Mac 'n' Cheese
Thanks to the sour cream, evaporated milk, and cheddar cheese, one serving is an excellent source of calcium, providing nearly half your daily needs.

12 ounces uncooked elbow macaroni
1/3 cup reduced-fat sour cream
1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
1 12-ounce can evaporated fat-free milk or 1 1/2 cups nonfat milk
4 ounces reduced-fat cheddar cheese, shredded (1 cup)
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 tablespoons dry bread crumbs
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain, reserve 1/3 cup of the pasta water, and transfer pasta to a large bowl. While pasta is still hot, stir in sour cream, reserved pasta water, and diced tomatoes. Set aside.

Scald milk by heating in a medium saucepan over medium heat until tiny bubbles just appear around the edges. Add cheese, mustard, pepper, and nutmeg and simmer, stirring constantly, until cheese melts.

Fold cheese mixture into pasta and transfer to a casserole dish (mixture will be thin but will thicken as it bakes).

Mix together bread crumbs and Par-mesan cheese and sprinkle over pasta.

Bake uncovered 20 to 25 minutes or until top is golden brown.

Yield: 4 servings

Monday, June 25, 2007

Garlicky Greens Dumplings & Sesame Sauce

This recipe is from Vegetarian Times. I made the dumplings yesterday and froze them, then steamed them like potstickers tonight at dinnertime. They are really yummy and have a good blend of flavors. The sauce is good too, although it doesn't smell very good while cooking. I omitted the tahini because I didn't feel like buying a whole tub of tahini just for this recipe (since I already had to buy black bean sauce, haha). Instead, I just poured in some sesame oil. They were really good and were a great make-ahead weeknight meal. I would make these again.

Garlicky Greens Dumplings & Sesame Sauce

These dumplings are sure to be a hit, and they’re substantial enough to serve as a light meal. If you can’t find hot sesame oil, use regular sesame oil, and add 1/4 tsp. of crushed red pepper.

Dumplings
2 tsp. hot sesame oil
4 cups snow peas, thinly sliced crosswise
8 cups mustard greens, stems removed, leaves coarsely chopped
1/4 cup minced green onions
6 cloves garlic, minced (about 2 Tbs.)
2 Tbs. black bean sauce
1 Tbs. low-sodium tamari or soy sauce
1 Tbs. honey
Cornstarch for dusting pan
32 gyoza wrappers
1 large egg, lightly beaten

Sesame Sauce
1/4 cup low-sodium vegetable stock
2 Tbs. tahini
1 Tbs. creamy peanut butter
1 Tbs. honey
1 Tbs. grated fresh ginger
2 tsp. low-sodium soy sauce
1 tsp. rice vinegar

1. To make Dumplings: Heat oil in large wok or skillet over medium-high heat. Add snow peas; stir-fry until softened, about 1 minute. Lower heat to medium; add mustard greens, and cook until just wilted, 7 to 10 minutes. Stir in onions, garlic, bean sauce, tamari and honey. Cook, stirring occasionally, 7 to 10 minutes, until no liquid remains.

2. Dust baking sheet with cornstarch. Arrange several gyoza wrappers on work surface. Put 1 Tbs. filling in center of each, and brush egg on half of edge. Bring edges together to form half-moon shape, and press to seal. Place dumplings on baking sheet; cover loosely with plastic while assembling the rest. Cover tightly with plastic, and refrigerate up to 24 hours, or freeze.

3. To make Sesame Sauce: Whisk all ingredients in small pan, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, and whisk until thickened, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Cool, and serve in small dipping bowls.

4. To steam Dumplings: Lightly oil heat-proof plate or metal steamer insert. Cook dumplings—on plate set on cake cooling rack over boiling water or in steamer—8 minutes. Serve hot with sauce.

Yield: 32 dumplings

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Grilled Eggplant Panini

This is from Eating Well and is extremely tasty. We really liked it. I think the secret is to use high-quality fresh bread and good olive oil. I was bad and used a little more than it called for, which made the bread nice and crispy. Yum. We used provolone instead of mozzarella, and dried basil versus fresh. I also chopped the onions into small pieces and mixed them in with the mayonnaise, because I hate when the onions fall off of my sandwiches. Oh and we used the grill pan, because we are not allowed to have outdoor grills. I would definitely make this again.

Grilled Eggplant Panini

2 tablespoons reduced-fat mayonnaise
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
8 1/2-inch slices eggplant (about 1 small)
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
8 slices whole-grain country bread
8 thin slices fresh mozzarella cheese
1/3 cup sliced jarred roasted red peppers
4 thin slices red onion

1. Preheat grill to medium-high.

2. Combine mayonnaise and basil in a small bowl. Using 1 tablespoon oil, lightly brush both sides of eggplant and sprinkle each slice with garlic salt. With the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, brush one side of each slice of bread.

3. Grill the eggplant for 6 minutes, turn with a spatula, top with cheese, and continue grilling until the cheese is melted and the eggplant is tender, about 4 minutes more. Toast the bread on the grill, 1 to 2 minutes per side.

4. To assemble sandwiches: Spread basil mayonnaise on four slices of bread. Top with the cheesy eggplant, red peppers, onion and the remaining slices of bread. Cut in half and serve warm.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Crisp Chipotle Shrimp with Corn and Scallions

When I saw this recipe on Epicurious, from the June 2007 issue of Gourmet, I immediately knew we would love it. Shrimp, panko, corn, chipotle, scallions - all things we LOVE!!! So I made it tonight, and I was right! It was very delicious and we both loved it. It is a definite repeater. Yum yum!!

Crisp Chipotle Shrimp with Corn and Scallions

1/3 cup mayonnaise
2 teaspoons finely chopped chipotle chiles in adobo plus 1 teaspoon adobo sauce
3/4 teaspoon salt
4 cups corn (cut from about 7 ears)
1/3 cup water
4 scallions, thinly sliced
1 pound peeled and deveined large shrimp (about 21 to 25 per pound)
1 to 1 1/2 cups panko (Japanese bread crumbs)

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 475°F.

Stir together mayonnaise, chipotle with adobo sauce, and salt in a bowl.

Pulse 1 1/2 cups corn in a food processor with water and 2 tablespoons chipotle mayonnaise until coarsely puréed. Transfer mixture to a shallow 2-quart gratin dish. Stir in scallions and remaining corn.

Toss shrimp with remaining chipotle mayonnaise in bowl to coat.

Put 1 cup panko in another bowl, then add shrimp in small batches, tossing to coat evenly and shaking off excess (add more panko if needed). Arrange shrimp in 1 layer on top of corn. Roast until crumbs are golden and shrimp are just cooked through, about 18 minutes.

Yield: 4 servings

Photo added 7/6/09:
shrimp

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Curried Couscous with Broccoli and Feta

Tonight's meal comes to us from DesertCulinary, my favorite food blog (besides my own of course). I will suggest that if you make this, mix up the spices, oil, and vinegar in the bowl before adding everything else to make sure they get all mixed and dissolved. Other than that, it was very yummy and quick. I will take some in my lunch tomorrow. I would make this again.

Oh note: it calls for two kinds of curry powder - a basic, mild curry, and then the hot Madras curry. We went ahead and just used the Madras, because we like spicy. I just bought a big jar of it from Penzey's and this was our first time trying it out - wow! So much spicier and more flavorful than the McCormick brand we've been buying at the grocery store. Ok the end. Here is the recipe.

Curried Couscous with Broccoli and Feta

1 cup vegetable both
3/4 cup water
1 cup dry whole wheat couscous
1 1/2 cups small broccoli florets
1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
1/3 cup shredded carrot
1/4 cup golden raisins
1/4 cup dry-roasted cashews, chopped
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon sugar
3/4 teaspoon curry powder
3/4 teaspoon hot madras curry powder
1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
3/4 teaspoon salt
15 ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
3 ounces crumbled feta cheese

In a medium saucepan, add broth and water - bring to a boil. Gradually stir in couscous, cover and remove from the heat. Let stand 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork.

Meanwhile, steam broccoli florets, covered, for 2-4 minutes or until crisp tender.

In a large bowl, toss together couscous, broccoli, onion, carrots, raisins, cashews, vinegar, oil, sugar, curry powders, ginger, salt and chickpeas. Scatter with feta cheese before serving.

Yield: 4 servings

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Marinara Magnifica

Tonight we ate some of the Marinara sauce we made a few weeks ago and froze. It was a very good weeknight dinner.

Sorry I haven't been cooking as much!!!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Spinach & Artichoke Dip

Tonight we are eating my favorite Spinach and Artichoke Dip. Yum yum.

I am sad to say that the quinoa salad I made on Sunday to bring with me for lunches this week is not amazing. It fails the lunchbox test. Bleh.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Garlic and Rosemary Cloverleaf Rolls

In addition to everything else we made, we baked these rolls from the November 2003 issue of Cooking Light. The dough was sticky, and the rolls came out looking more like muffins than clover-shaped rolls, but they are fantastic. They have a great, mild garlic and rosemary flavor. We ate two of them as snacks earlier and froze the rest, as per the directions. This way, we can have delicious homemade rolls at random meals during the week, without having to make them that day. We will definitely make batches of these again to have on hand once we've depleted our stash.

Garlic and Rosemary Cloverleaf Rolls

These rolls freeze well. Bake, cool completely, wrap in heavy-duty foil, and freeze for up to a month. Thaw completely, and reheat in foil at 375° for 15 minutes or until warm. The recipe doubles easily if you're baking for a crowd.

1 whole garlic head
1 package dry yeast (about 2 1/4 teaspoons)
1 cup warm 2% reduced-fat milk (100° to 110°)
3 1/3 cups all-purpose flour, divided
2 tablespoons butter, softened
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh or 1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary
Cooking spray
1 tablespoon butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350°.

Remove white papery skin from garlic head (do not peel or separate the cloves). Wrap head in foil. Bake at 350° for 1 hour; cool slightly. Separate cloves; squeeze to extract garlic pulp. Discard skins.

Dissolve yeast in milk in a large bowl; let stand 5 minutes. Add garlic pulp. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Add 1 cup flour, 2 tablespoons butter, sugar, salt, egg, and rosemary; beat with a mixer at medium speed until combined. Add 2 cups flour, and beat until smooth. Turn dough out onto a floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic (about 8 minutes); add enough of remaining flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, to prevent dough from sticking to hands (dough will feel tacky).

Place the dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat top. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 1 hour or until doubled in size. (Gently press two fingers into dough. If indentation remains, the dough has risen enough.)

Punch dough down. Divide dough into 12 equal portions. Divide each portion into 3 pieces, and shape each piece into a ball. Coat 12 muffin cups with cooking spray; place 3 dough balls in each muffin cup. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 30 minutes or until doubled in size.

Preheat oven to 400°.

Uncover dough, and brush tops with 1 tablespoon melted butter. Bake at 400° for 12 minutes or until browned. Remove from pans; serve warm.

Yield: 1 dozen

Miso-Glazed Sea Bass with Asparagus

Tonight we decided to try this fish recipe, mostly because I have a huge tub of miso paste from the salad last week and would like to use it up. We substituted tilapia for sea bass, because there was no sea bass at either store we went to. It was extremely quick to put together, which is wonderful. Unfortunately, it was pretty bland. We won't make this again.

MISO-GLAZED SEA BASS WITH ASPARAGUS
from Gourmet, June 2007

2 tablespoons white miso (fermented soybean paste; not sweet or labeled "saikyo")
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon water
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1 pound medium asparagus, trimmed
2 teaspoons olive oil
4 (5- to 6-ounce) sea bass fillets with skin (1 inch thick)

Garnish: lemon wedges

Preheat broiler. Lightly oil a 17- by 12-inch shallow baking pan.

Whisk together miso, sugar, lemon juice, water, and pepper in a bowl.

Toss together asparagus, oil, and a pinch of salt in a large bowl.

Arrange fish, skin sides down, in baking pan and spread miso mixture evenly on top. Arrange asparagus in 1 layer around fish and broil 5 to 6 inches from heat until fish is just cooked through and asparagus is crisp-tender, 8 to 12 minutes.

Yield: 4 servings

Warm Quinoa Salad with Edamame and Tarragon

Today I made this recipe, posted on DesertCulinary, to take with me for lunches this week. It's supposed to be eaten warm, so I figure I'll just leave it in my car til lunch time. Hahaha.

It's pretty good. I substituted bulgur for quinoa, since I couldn't find any quinoa. The tarragon taste is very strong, which I kind of don't like. But otherwise it's yummy. I'm sure it will be a good, tasty lunch this week. Doubtful that I'll make it again, though.

Warm Quinoa Salad with Edamame and Tarragon

1 cup dry quinoa
2 cups vegetable broth
2 cups frozen shelled edamame, thawed
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped roasted red peppers
1/4 cup chopped walnuts, toasted

In a large skillet, toast quinoa over medium heat, stirring often, until the grains turn a light golden and they begin to crackel - about 5 to 10 minutes. Place quinoa in a sieve and rinse thoroughly - drain well.

In a medium saucepan, bring broth to a boil. Stir in quinoa and bring back to boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 8 minutes. Add the edamame into the pot, without stirring, and re-cover - continue to cook until the edamame and quinoa are tender, about 8 minutes longer. Drain away any excess liquid if necessary.

In a large bowl, whisk together lemon zest, juice, oil, tarragon and salt. Stir in chopped peppers and the quinoa mixture - toss to combine. Serve each portion with an equal amount of the toasted walnuts on top.

Yield: 4 servings

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Spicy Cucumber Noodle Salad with Edamame

I drove all over the place to find freakin' white miso paste. Balduccis, Trader Joe's, Bloom, none of them had it. I finally spent my lunch break calling around and located some at Whole Foods. So there you go. That is where you can find it. And no, you can't omit it from this recipe because it does provide a necessary flavor. Plus you can use the rest to make quick miso soup. :)

The only thing I changed was the noodles. I don't like udon noodles, so we used whole-wheat organic spaghetti instead. This change was fine. We both thought the meal was pretty good, but nothing jaw-dropping. I will keep the recipe so I can use the sauce in sushi though, because the little note attached to the recipe mentioned that it is sometimes used in sushi - and I recognize it from some of our favorite rolls at a nearby restaurant. I won't make this whole recipe again, but I will take the leftovers for lunch tomorrow!

Spicy Cucumber Noodle Salad with Edamame
Cooking Light, April 2007

This cool noodle salad has a spicy-hot zip from the chile paste in the mayonnaise. A similar spread is tucked into some varieties of sushi.

8 ounces uncooked soba (buckwheat noodles)
1 cup frozen shelled edamame (green soybeans)
1 cup diced English cucumber
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions
1/4 cup reduced-fat mayonnaise
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
2 teaspoons white miso (soybean paste)
1 teaspoon low-sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoon chile paste with garlic (such as sambal oelek)
1 teaspoon dark sesame oil
1 1/4 cups fresh bean sprouts

Cook soba in boiling water 2 minutes; add edamame. Bring to a boil; cook 2 minutes. Drain; rinse with cold water. Drain; cool. Place soba mixture in a bowl. Add cucumber and onions.

Combine mayonnaise and next 5 ingredients (through oil); stir with a whisk. Pour over the soba mixture; toss well. Top with bean sprouts.

Yield: 6 servings

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Cuban Black Bean Patties with Pineapple Rice

Tonight we made Cuban Black Bean Patties with Pineapple Rice again. Very tasty again. We left some of the pepper-jack cheese as chunks, which made little melty pockets of cheese in the patties. That was delicious.

Also, the banana pudding from Sunday continues to increase in deliciousness each day.

Monday, June 11, 2007

French Tuna Salad

Every Saturday we go to Trader Joe's to buy groceries, and every Saturday there is a lady giving out samples of a recipe concocted from TJ's ingredients. A couple weeks ago she was handing out these delicious sandwiches. We loved them, so we took a copy of the recipe. I made them for dinner tonight, with some boxed lemon-spinach couscous, and we were very happy. I would definitely make this again. I will be taking the leftovers in my lunch tomorrow.

French Tuna Salad
from Trader Joe's

2 cans TJ's unsalted Tongol Tuna, well drained (Note: this is tuna in olive oil)
1/2 cup diced celery
1/4 cup diced red onion
1/4 cup diced TJ's Cornichons
1 Tbsp juice from the cornichons
1/2 cup TJ's Mayonnaise of your choice
2 tsp TJ's Dijon Mustard
1/8 tsp ground black pepper
2 pinches salt

Combine the above ingredients. Serve on whole-grain bread with baby spinach.

Yield: 3-4 servings

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Not Yo' Mama's Banana Pudding

As the universe's way to make up for our horrible dinner, the banana pudding we put together this morning and ate for dessert this evening was absolutely fantastic. It wasn't fatty, either (tough for a Paula Deen recipe, but do-able). We used sugar-free fat-free pudding mix, sugar free Cool Whip, 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, 1% milk, etc. I did use real Chessmen cookies because they are necessary to making this so delicious.

It is fantastic, and my mom - who made it a couple weeks ago for herself - says it gets better every day. I love it! I will definitely make this again.

Not Yo' Mama's Banana Pudding
Paula Deen

2 bags Pepperidge Farm Chessmen cookies
6 to 8 bananas, sliced
2 cups milk
1 (5-ounce) box instant French vanilla pudding
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 (12-ounce) container frozen whipped topping thawed, or equal amount sweetened whipped cream

Line the bottom of a 13 by 9 by 2-inch dish with 1 bag of cookies and layer bananas on top.

In a bowl, combine the milk and pudding mix and blend well using a handheld electric mixer. Using another bowl, combine the cream cheese and condensed milk together and mix until smooth. Fold the whipped topping into the cream cheese mixture. Add the cream cheese mixture to the pudding mixture and stir until well blended. Pour the mixture over the cookies and bananas and cover with the remaining cookies. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Grilled Sesame-Ginger Swordfish

It's rare that we have complete disasters. Sometimes things aren't that great, but to have a full blown disaster only happens a few times a year. Tonight was one of those disasters. Everything went wrong with this dish, it didn't taste yummy (though the spinach mixture was tasty) and now we are waiting for the delivery woman to bring us our Chinese take-out.

Grilled Sesame-Ginger Swordfish
Cooking Light, 8/97

2 teaspoons anise seeds, crushed
2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons white pepper
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon olive oil
4 (6-ounce) swordfish steaks (about 1 inch thick)
4 cups trimmed watercress or spinach (about 2 bunches)
1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 tablespoon dark sesame oil
2 teaspoons water
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 teaspoons sesame seeds, toasted

Combine first 5 ingredients in a small bowl; set aside.

Brush olive oil evenly over steaks. Rub anise seed mixture over both sides of steaks. Prepare grill. Place steaks on grill rack; grill 5 minutes on each side or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork. Set aside.

Combine the watercress and onion in a large bowl. Combine the vinegar and next 6 ingredients (vinegar through black pepper) in a jar. Cover tightly, and shake vigorously. Pour over the watercress mixture, and toss gently. Arrange watercress mixture on a platter, and top with steaks. Sprinkle the steaks with toasted sesame seeds.

Yield: 4 servings

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Veggie Nachos

Tonight we made Veggie Nachos and ate them while watching Pirates of the Caribbean II, since I still had not seen it.

Also, thank you to Lisa for sending me the list of Coldstone Signature Creations. I'll have to pay a little more now for all the mix-ins, but at least I can continue on my quest to eat all of them, mwahahahaha.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

One Skillet 'Bacon' Breakfast

Tonight's meal comes from a cookbook my friend Jessica gave me one year, called 101 Things to Do with a Potato, by Stephanie Ashcraft. It is general knowledge that I love most things involving potatoes, so this was a good cookbook for me to acquire.

We followed the recipe as written, except used soy bacon, a little more egg, and added cheese. Everything is yummier with cheese, and we both agreed it wouldn't have been as good without it. So if you make this, add some cheese!

One Skillet Bacon Breakfast

1-2 Tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 cups grated russet potato, raw
1 cup chopped onion
4 eggs, beaten
3 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
Salt & Pepper to taste
4-6 English Muffins

In a large frying pan, heat olive oil. Cook potatoes and onion in hot oil over medium-high heat, covered, 6-7 minutes. Stir and turn potatoes every 2-3 minutes, or until potatoes are tender and onions are transparent.

Pour beaten eggs and crumbled bacon over potato mixture. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Reduce to medium-low heat. Cover and cook an additional 3 minutes. Flip egg and potato over, and cook an additional 2-3 minutes, or until egg is thoroughly cooked. Serve on toasted English Muffins.

Yield: 4-6 servings

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Open-Faced Jerk Vegetable Sandwiches

Tonight I made Open-Faced Jerk Vegetable Sandwiches again. I made the vegetables last night, so it came together quickly. Tasty as usual!

On a more somber note, Coldstone Creamery has reduced its menu of Signature Creations, and I am angry. Why am I angry, when I could just mix in what I want regardless? I am angry because for 3 years I have been slowly working my way through the menu, eating every creation. And now it is gone. GONE! I am mad at them. Sigh.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Bibimbap

Last night I got home from class and was just not in the mood to cook, so we went to Taco Bell. Yum yum.

Tonight I made Bibimbap, one of our most favorite meals. It never fails to be delicious and easy and quick. Vegetables and sesame and rice and sriracha. Yay!

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Marinara Magnifica and Garlic Bread

When we originally made Marinara Magnifica a couple months ago, I posted that we probably wouldn't make it again unless we had some wine lying around. Well, I was wrong. We found a little $1.50 bottle of Sutter Homes wine and went ahead and made a gigantic batch of this sauce. Our reasoning was that we need to make things ahead and freeze them, and this sauce freezes extremely well. So we cooked it all day, had some for dinner, and will freeze individual portions for the weeks to come. Delicious!

To go with it, I decided to make garlic bread. I'm trying to find a good recipe that replicates garlic bread at nice Italian restaurants - with no luck so far. This recipe came from Everyday Food, and it was yummy but it still didn't attain the restaurant quality I am looking for. It was good, but not a make-again.

Garlic Bread

4 garlic cloves
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted
1 baguette (24 inches long) halved crosswise, then lengthwise

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Make garlic paste: coarsely chop garlic, and gather into a pile. Sprinkle generously with coarse salt. Place flat side of knife blade on top of garlic with sharp side of blade away from you; press down firmly while pulling knife toward you. Repeat until a paste forms.

2. Combine garlic paste, butter, and 1/8 tsp salt and pepper in a small bowl. Brush butter mixture on cut sides of bread; sandwich together. Place on a baking sheet and bake until heated through and crispy, about 12 minutes. Slice and serve.

Yield: 8 servings

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Sesame Halibut en Papillote

We've decided to try to eat fish or seafood at least once a week from now on. That means I need to learn to like fish! I figured this meal might work well because I LOVE sriracha sauce and sesame oil. And I was right! We both really liked this dish and will definitely make it again.

Note: I couldn't find halibut so we subbed tilapia instead. It worked very nicely.

Sesame Halibut en Papillote
From Cooking Light, December 2004
En papillote refers to the method of baking food in parchment paper. Steam is trapped inside, and this keeps the food moist and flavorful. The impressive presentation belies this dish's simple preparation.

1 tablespoon dark sesame oil, divided
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 cups shredded bok choy
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon chile paste with garlic
4 (6-ounce) halibut or flounder fillets (about 1 inch thick)
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon sesame seeds, toasted

Preheat oven to 400°.

Heat 1 teaspoon sesame oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic; sauté 30 seconds. Add bok choy and 1/4 teaspoon of salt; sauté 5 minutes or until crisp-tender. Remove from heat; stir in chile paste. Sprinkle fish evenly with 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper.

Cut 4 (15-inch) squares of parchment paper. Fold each square in half, and open each. Place 1/2 cup bok choy near fold; top with 1 fillet. Drizzle each serving with 1/2 teaspoon oil; sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon sesame seeds. Fold papers; seal edges with narrow folds. Place the packets on a baking sheet. Bake at 400° for 18 minutes or until paper is puffy and lightly browned. Place 1 packet on each of 4 plates, and cut open. Serve immediately.

Yield: 4 servings

Strawberry Fields Forever

Today we realized that the pick-your-own farm nearby had opened, so we spontaneously decided to go pick...

berry
Strawberries!!!

Here I am, picking some berries:
me

Here I am with our bounty:
berries

So many strawberries!
berries


When we got home, we divided them into three purposes: 1)Berries to make lemonade. 2)Berries to dip in chocolate later while watching tv. 3)Berries to freeze to use all year 'round. We have a huge ziploc bag full of them now! I'm so excited.

We made this strawberry lemonade from Emeril Lagasse to go with dinner tonight. It took a long time and was not at all spectacular. It was yummy and we loved the strawberriness. We will not make it again, though.

Strawberry Lemonade

2 cups water
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon grated lemon peel
1 cup fresh lemon juice
1 pint fresh strawberries, hulled and halved
2 cups cold sparkling water or club soda
Ice
Mint sprigs, garnish
Whole strawberries, garnish

In a medium saucepan, bring the water and sugar to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves. Add the lemon peel and lemon juice, stir, and remove from the heat. Let cool completely, then strain into a clean pitcher.

In a blender, puree the pint of strawberries and add to the pitcher with the lemon juice. Stir well to combine and refrigerate until well chilled.

Add the sparkling water and stir well. Pour over glasses filled with ice and serve, garnished with mint and strawberries.

Yield: 4-6 servings