Sunday, August 31, 2008

Double-Chocolate Brownies

I was originally going to make these brownies for a picnic with our friends on Saturday, but it got rained out. So I made them today instead. It's a little bit time consuming compared to other brownie recipes, what with the melting of the chocolate and the whisking of the eggs and then combining it all into a very thick batter, and then it cooks for longer than most brownie recipes. But they turned out really nicely. They're definitely more cakey than fudgy, and I preferred them better when they were warm. Now that they've cooled they're a little crispier and I'm not sure I like that. I probably won't make these again, but we do like them.

brownies

Double-Chocolate Brownies
Martha Stewart Living, February 2006

6 tablespoons unsalted butter
6 ounces semisweet chocolate
1/4 cup best-quality unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Vegetable oil or cooking spray

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Line an 8-inch square baking dish with parchment paper, leaving a 2-inch overhang on 2 sides. Coat with cooking spray; set aside.

2. Melt together butter, chocolate, and cocoa in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Remove from heat. Stir until smooth; let cool slightly.

3. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl; set aside. Put eggs, sugar, and vanilla into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat until pale, about 4 minutes. Beat in chocolate mixture. Add flour mixture; beat until just combined, scraping down sides of bowl as needed.

4. Transfer batter to prepared pan, and smooth top with an offset spatula. Bake until a cake tester inserted into brownie between edge and center comes out with a few crumbs, 30 to 35 minutes. (Do not overbake.) Let cool 15 minutes; lift out of pan, and transfer to a wire rack. Let cool completely. Cut into 8 rectangles. Brownies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature up to 3 days.

Yield: 8 servings

Vegetarian Pad Thai

Tonight we had Vegetarian Pad Thai (the BEST pad thai recipe!), cooked in our awesome new wok from my high school math teacher. It was quite delicious, but I think Gibby feels overloaded on Asian foods. I feel bad because I've scheduled a lo mein dish for Thursday, so hopefully he'll be able to handle one more. Then we'll take a break and I'll become obsessed with a new cuisine for awhile.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Teriyaki Salmon Supper

Anyone who reads this blog probably knows that I am generally opposed to "cheater" recipes. I like to make things from scratch. There are some that I do make and enjoy, though. Tonight's dinner was not one of them. Why did I try it? I wanted to make salmon, all the marinades and salmon were on sale at the store, and I had everything else on hand... it just seemed like a good idea. But no. The marinade makes the rice super-sweet (we used Lawry's Sesame-Ginger Marinade with Orange because the A1 one was not carried). The rice did not cook well with the method they suggested (I had to put it back on the burner and boil it some more until it was cooked through). And the marinade didn't stand out with the salmon, so it was all fishy tasting. Not a fan. It might work for other people though who like salmon, or if you use a marinade that has a lower sugar content.

supper

Teriyaki Salmon Supper
KraftFoods

3/4 cup A.1. STEAKHOUSE Marinade for Seafood Ginger Teriyaki with Orange, divided
4 salmon fillets (1 lb.), skin removed
2 cups small broccoli florets
1 cup short thin red pepper strips (about 1 medium)
1 can (14 oz.) fat-free reduced-sodium chicken broth
2 cups instant white rice, uncooked
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions (about 1 medium)

POUR 1/2 cup of the marinade over salmon in resealable plastic bag. Seal bag; turn to evenly coat salmon with the marinade. Refrigerate 30 min. to marinate.

PREHEAT broiler. Remove salmon from marinade; discard marinade. Place salmon on rack of broiler pan. Broil, 4 to 5 inches from heat, 6 to 8 min. or until salmon flakes easily with fork.

MEANWHILE, cook remaining 1/4 cup marinade in medium saucepan on medium-high heat until heated through. Add broccoli and peppers; cook 2 min., stirring occasionally. Add broth; bring to boil. Stir in rice; return to boil. Cover; remove from heat. Let stand 5 min. or until all liquid is absorbed. Stir in onions. Serve salmon with the rice.

Yield: 4 servings

Friday, August 29, 2008

Bibimbap

Today was my first day at my internship, and it was great! However, Gibby's week has been stressful so it was nice to sit in front of the TV with some big bowls of Bibimbap and watch our wedding video (which finally arrived!!).

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Bean Dip

Fall semester has officially begun, and I am doing my internship two days a week, and class on Wednesday nights and Thursday evenings. So yesterday I didn't cook anything since I didn't get home til 9, and tonight I wanted something super-quick.

I turned to my trusty bean dip, which I made a nice plate of and just poured some chips into bowls. Voila, dinner! Not the healthiest or fanciest dinner, but it was good.

dip

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Black Bean Burgers and Moomie's Buns

Tonight we had Black Bean Burgers with Spicy Cucumber and Red Pepper Relish. It was delicious, especially because the cucumber, bell pepper, and red onion came from a vegetable stand near Gibby's grandma's house (we visited her last weekend). The fresh produce was so much better than the stuff we get at Giant... Someday I will have a vegetable garden! I declare it to be so!

To go with our sandwiches I whipped up a batch of Moomie's Beautiful Burger Buns, sans bread machine because I didn't want to pull that out since I already had The Griddler out to make the burgers. I just stirred up the dough in a bowl and then kneaded it by hand. It worked out well.

We love this meal!

Simple Vanilla Ice Cream

We've been wanting soo badly to use our ice cream maker that my grandparents gave us, but we just haven't had the time to set it up and make it. So of course when my mom visited, she said, "OMG We HAVE to make ice cream!" and thus the process began.

Except we didn't really know how to use it and it took a long time for the freezer bowl to freeze properly and many messes were made. But then last night we tried one more time and it worked!

ice cream

It didn't turn out perfectly - the bowl still could have been a little colder, and due to the low-fat nature of the ice cream it probably wasn't as thick as it could have been. It also melted very quickly. But it was yummy! Especially since our machine does mix-ins! I mixed-in Heath Bar pieces and Butterfinger pieces, and they mixed-in mini M&Ms. We put it all in a waffle cone bowl and topped it with caramel. Yummy!!!!

The recipe is obviously made for the machine but could easily be adapted to any ice cream maker. It's very yummy and does not taste low fat at all! We enjoyed it.

sundae

Simple Vanilla Ice Cream
Lower Fat Variation
From the Cuisinart Recipe Booklet that came with the machine

1 cup reduced fat milk (2%)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 cups half-and-half, well-chilled
1 to 2 tsp pure vanilla extract, to taste

Place milk and sugar in a medium bowl. Use a hand mixer (about 1 to 2 minutes on low speed) or a whisk to mix until the sugar is dissolved. Stir in the half-and-half and vanilla to taste. If not making ice cream immediately, cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Turn on ice cream maker and pour in ingredients. Allow to mix and freeze until desired consistency is reached. Begin checking consistency after 12 to 15 minutes of freezing. If ice cream is not thick enough, pour back into the freezer bowl and continue mixing/freezing until desired consistency is reached, checking every few minutes.

Serve in cups or cones, adding mix-ins while dispensing ice cream.

Yield: About 10 1/2-cup servings

Monday, August 25, 2008

Three-Cheese Pizza Bianca

As I've said with previous attempts, we LOVE white pizzas. Cheesy garlicky pizza with no sauce and no toppings, just delicious cheese.

This recipe is pretty good. It doesn't even come close to the pizza we get from our local Italian restaurant, but it is still yummy. And it's incredibly easy. The most difficult part was prying it off of the pizza stone, which is why the photo is of it before I cut it into pieces. We might make this again, but we might try different white pizza recipes instead.

white

Three-Cheese Pizza Bianca
Joe's Blog, adapted from CL

1 tablespoon olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
about 12 ounces prepared whole-wheat pizza dough
cornmeal, for dusting
3/4 cup ricotta cheese
salt and fresh ground black pepper
3 ounces shredded Gruyère cheese
1 ounce fresh grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 450 degrees with a pizza stone placed on the lowest rack.

In a small skillet, heat oil over medium. Stir in garlic and cook until very fragrant and just beginning to turn golden, about 1 to 2 minutes. Set aside and cool while stretching out dough.

Stretch and roll out dough to a rough 12 to 14" circle on a lightly floured surface. Sprinkle enough cornmeal to slightly cover a pizza peel and transfer the pizza on top.

In a small bowl, stir together garlic mixture and ricotta - season with salt and fresh ground black pepper. Spoon ricotta mixture all over the pizza dough and use an off-set spatula to spread the mixture even and smooth, leaving a 1" border. Scatter the top with the Gruyère and Parmesan cheeses.

Slide pizza onto the stone and bake until golden, about 12 to 15 minutes.

Makes about 4 servings.

Something Fun

I saw this posted on Culinary Adventures of a New Wife and thought it would be fun to do! Obviously I'm going to cross out all of the meat-related items so don't assume I'm doing it because I'm skittish - I just haven't eaten meat since 1997! Although last night I had a dream that I was being forced to eat chicken and I was crying and crying...very weird.

Onto the game!

The Omnivore's 100 is a list compiled by Very Good Taste and includes foods that Andrew thinks every good omnivore should have tried at least once in their life. The list of foods ranges from the mundane (PB&J sandwich) to the totally obscure.

Try it out and let me know how adventurous your taste buds are! See anything I must try? Have anything you'd like to add to this list?

Here's the simple rules:

1) Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.
2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten.
3) Cross out any items that you would never consider eating.
4) Optional extra: Post a comment here at www.verygoodtaste.co.uk linking to your results.

My Score: 55/100

Omnivore's 100
1. Venison
2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos rancheros
4. Steak tartare
5. Crocodile
6. Black pudding
7. Cheese fondue
8. Carp
9. Borscht
10. Baba ghanoush
11. Calamari

12. Pho
13. PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo gobi
15. Hot dog from a street cart

16. Epoisses
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes

19. Steamed pork buns (though I do love other steamed buns!)
20. Pistachio ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries

23. Foie gras
24. Rice and beans
25. Brawn, or head cheese
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper
27. Dulce de leche
28. Oysters
29. Baklava
30. Bagna cauda
31. Wasabi peas
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl
33. Salted lassi
34. Sauerkraut
35. Root beer float

36. Cognac with a fat cigar (no cigars)
37. Clotted cream tea
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O
39. Gumbo
40. Oxtail
41. Curried goat

42. Whole insects
43. Phaal
44. Goat’s milk
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more
46. Fugu
47. Chicken tikka masala (other tikka masalas! Just not chicken)
48. Eel (Friday night, actually!)
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut
50. Sea urchin
51. Prickly pear
52. Umeboshi
53. Abalone
54. Paneer
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal
56. Spaetzle
57. Dirty gin martini
58. Beer above 8% ABV
59. Poutine
60. Carob chips
61. S’mores
62. Sweetbreads
63. Kaolin (wikipedia says this is clay. I will not eat clay)
64. Currywurst
65. Durian
66. Frogs’ legs
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake
68. Haggis
69. Fried plantain
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette
71. Gazpacho
72. Caviar and blini
73. Louche absinthe
74. Gjetost, or brunost
75. Roadkill
76. Baijiu
77. Hostess Fruit Pie
78. Snail
79. Lapsang souchong
80. Bellini
81. Tom yum
82. Eggs Benedict
83. Pocky
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant.
85. Kobe beef

86. Hare
87. Goulash
88. Flowers

89. Horse
90. Criollo chocolate
91. Spam
92. Soft shell crab
93. Rose harissa
94. Catfish
95. Mole poblano
96. Bagel and lox

97. Lobster Thermidor
98. Polenta
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
100. Snake

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Red Chile-Cheese Enchiladas

I had some New Mexico guajillo chiles that I thought I'd be all snazzy and chop up in the food processor, but it turns out that no, you really do need a spice/coffee grinder to do that effectively. So I tossed those and used a mixture of chili powder (made of ancho chiles) and crushed red pepper flakes to make the sauce. I don't think this affected the outcome.

The outcome was pretty boring, in my opinion. I think my mom's recipe for cheese enchiladas is way better. Although I might substitute cottage cheese for the sour cream in her recipe next time I make it. But I feel like hers is much creamer and the components are separated, whereas in this one everything kind of soaked together and was just a big mushy mess.

It didn't taste bad - it was actually pretty good, but I would have liked more cheese and more creaminess. I would not make this recipe again.

Sorry the picture sucks, it was ugly food.
enchiladas

Red Chile-Cheese Enchiladas
Cooking Light, 12/07

New Mexican enchiladas, especially those made simply with tortillas, chile sauce, and cheese, are often served layered like lasagna.

3/4 cup fat-free cottage cheese
2/3 cup (2 1/2 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack cheese
2 tablespoons finely chopped onion
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 cups Red Chile Sauce (recipe follows)
Cooking spray
12 (6-inch) corn tortillas
1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded reduced-fat extrasharp cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 400°.

Place cottage cheese in a food processor; process 1 minute or until smooth. Combine cottage cheese, Monterey Jack cheese, onion, and salt, stirring well.

Spread 1/4 cup Red Chile Sauce in bottom of an 8 x 8-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Arrange 4 tortillas over sauce, overlapping slightly. Spread 1/2 cup cottage cheese mixture evenly over tortillas; top with 1/2 cup Red Chile Sauce. Repeat the layers once with 4 tortillas, remaining cottage cheese mixture, and 1/2 cup Red Chile Sauce. Arrange remaining 4 tortillas over sauce, overlapping slightly; spoon remaining 3/4 cup Red Chile Sauce over tortillas. Sprinkle evenly with cheddar cheese. Cover and bake at 400° for 10 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 10 minutes or until cheese melts. Let stand 5 minutes. Cut into 8 squares.

Red Chile Sauce:
New Mexico dried chiles have a moderately spicy heat. If you can't find them, you can try substituting ancho or dried California chiles. Make this sauce up to three days ahead, and refrigerate until you're ready to use it.

5 dried red New Mexico chiles (about 1 1/4 ounces)
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth, divided
2 cups water
1 teaspoon crumbled dried oregano
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon masa harina

Remove stems and seeds from chiles; coarsely chop. Place chiles in a spice or coffee grinder; process until finely ground to measure 1/4 cup.

Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic to pan; cook 3 minutes or until onion is tender, stirring frequently. Add ground chiles; stir well. Stir in 1 cup chicken broth. Add the remaining 1 cup chicken broth, 2 cups water, dried oregano, and salt; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer until reduced to 3 cups (about 20 minutes), stirring occasionally.

Sprinkle masa harina over chile mixture; stir well. Bring to a boil. Cook for 1 minute or until slightly thick; remove from heat. Let stand 10 minutes. Place half of the chile mixture in a blender. Remove the center piece of blender lid (to allow steam to escape); secure blender lid on blender. Place a clean towel over opening in blender lid (to avoid splatters). Process until smooth. Pour into a large bowl. Repeat procedure with the remaining chile mixture.

Yield: 8 servings

Classic Waffles

I haven't posted since Thursday because my mom was here for the weekend! She came down from Connecticut to meet her new grandpuppy and to visit us. We went out to dinner on Friday (sushi) and Saturday (IHOP), but I thought it would be fun to have waffles before she left this morning to drive back up to Connecticut.

This recipe was posted on the CLBB but apparently came from AllRecipes originally. It was touted as being the best waffle recipe of all time.

Maybe not of all time, but it really was a very delicious, perfect, plain waffle. If you're not wanting something with fruit or chocolate chips, this is the waffle for you. Although you could totally toss in chocolate chips or top it with fruit or do whatever you want. It's versatile. It came together quickly, cooked wonderfully, and was delicious. Yum yum! Perfect Sunday breakfast. Definitely a make-again.

This picture looks like every other waffle photo.
waffles

Classic Waffles
CLBB/SheRa

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons white sugar
2 eggs
1 ½ cups warm milk
1/3 cup butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. In a large bowl, mix together flour, salt, baking powder and sugar; set aside. Preheat waffle iron to desired temperature.

2. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs. Stir in the milk, butter and vanilla. Pour the milk mixture into the flour mixture; beat until blended.

3. Ladle the batter into a preheated waffle iron. Cook the waffles until golden and crisp. Serve immediately.

Yield: 5 servings

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Black Bean Nacho Pizza

I was in the mood for a fun pizza, so I decided to try this recipe from Eating Well. It was fast and tasty. I enjoyed it a lot. The black bean-red pepper sauce is delicious. You could probably swap out the tomatoes and jalapenos and just substitute salsa if you wanted. I also didn't bother with the flipping of the crust and just put everything straight on the pizza stone at once. It worked out fine. We did the oven-baking method since we have no grill. Oh and I skipped the olives because I felt they were unnecessary. This was really yummy and we would definitely make it again.

nacho

Black Bean Nacho Pizza
Eating Well July/Aug 2008

Break out the napkins! This pie is an over-the-top, vegetarian concoction with black-bean spread, Jack cheese, tomatoes, scallions, olives and pickled jalapenos; it’s part nacho, part pizza. For an even more decadent treat, serve with low-fat sour cream. Beer pairing: Spicy foods need spicy beers—go for an India Pale Ale (IPA). If you’re not a hop-head, the malty sweetness of brown ales work well with the sweeter elements on the pizza.

1 cup canned black beans, rinsed
1/2 cup chopped jarred roasted red peppers
1 medium clove garlic, quartered
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
Yellow cornmeal for dusting
1 pound Easy Whole-Wheat Pizza Dough or other prepared dough
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
2 medium plum tomatoes, diced
4 medium scallions, thinly sliced
1/4 cup chopped pitted ripe black olives
2 tablespoons chopped pickled jalapeños

1. Preheat grill to low. (For charcoal grilling or an oven variation, see below.)
2. Place beans, peppers, garlic, chili powder and salt in a food processor and process until smooth, scraping down the sides as needed.
3. Sprinkle cornmeal onto a pizza peel or large baking sheet. Roll out the dough (see Tip) and transfer it to the prepared peel or baking sheet, making sure the underside of the dough is completely coated with cornmeal.
4. Slide the crust onto the grill rack; close the lid. Cook until lightly browned, 3 to 4 minutes.
5. Using a large spatula, flip the crust. Spread the bean mixture on the crust, leaving a 1-inch border. Quickly layer on cheese, tomatoes, scallions, olives and pickled jalapeños.
6. Close the lid again and grill until the cheese has melted and the bottom of the crust has browned, about 8 minutes.

Variations:
Pizza on a charcoal grill: Light 6 quarts (about 1 large chimney starter full) of charcoal and burn until the coals are mostly white, about 20 minutes. Spread the coals in an even layer. Place a grate over the coals. Let the coals burn until they are about medium-low. (Grill any toppings for the pizza while the coals are burning down.) To test the heat, hold your palm about 5 inches above the grill rack; if you can hold it there for about 8 seconds before you need to move it away, the fire is medium-low. Transfer the crust to the grill rack, cover the grill and cook the crust, checking once or twice, until lightly browned, 3 to 4 minutes. Flip the crust, quickly add the toppings, cover the grill and cook until the toppings are hot and the bottom of the crust has browned, 5 to 8 minutes. If your crust browns faster than your toppings are cooking, slide a baking sheet under the pizza to keep the crust from burning while the toppings finish.

Pizza in the oven: Place a pizza stone on the lowest rack; preheat oven to 450°F for at least 20 minutes. Roll out the dough and place on a cornmeal-dusted pizza peel or inverted baking sheet, using enough cornmeal so that the dough slides easily. Slide the dough onto the preheated stone and cook until the bottom begins to crisp, about 3 minutes. Remove the crust from the oven using a large spatula and place it uncooked-side down on the peel or baking sheet, making sure the underside of the crust is completely coated with cornmeal. Quickly add the toppings and slide the pizza back onto the stone. Continue baking until the toppings are hot and the bottom of the crust has browned, 12 to 15 minutes.

Individual variation:
The dough can be turned into 4 or 6 personal-size pizzas. After kneading, divide the dough into 4 or 6 equal balls. Brush with oil and place 3 inches apart on a baking sheet. Cover and set aside until doubled in size, about 1 hour. Roll each portion into a 6-to-8-inch circle.

YIELD: 6 Servings

Rice & Peas

Last night Gibby made Rice & Peas (Risi e Bisi) for dinner while I came home from work. It is the last Wednesday night meal we'll have for a long time because next week I start a year-long course that meets Wednesdays right after work until 8:45 :(

But I will graduate in May with my master's, and then no school ever again, so whatever.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Soba Salad with Soy-Wasabi Vinaigrette

I saw this recipe posted on Joe's Blog recently and thought, "Oh man, I want to make that but I'll never find chukka soba." So I didn't put it on my meal plan that week. And then, of course, I discovered a lone package of chukka soba in the International Foods aisle at Giant. I purchased it so I could make it this week. So tonight we had our chukka soba.

Chukka soba noodles are basically ramen noodles, minus the flavor packet. In a pinch, you could definitely use ramen noodles. I liked the chukka soba noodles though because they were a little more substantial than ramen. Anyway. The recipe turned out just alright - not great. We liked the noodles and the veggies, but something about the sauce was a little off. Maybe our wasabi isn't strong enough? I don't know. We thought the dish was interesting, but not a make-again.

soba

Soba Salad with Soy-Wasabi Vinaigrette
Joe's Blog, adapted from Cooking Light

6 ounces dry Japanese curly noodles (labeled as chucka soba)
1 cup frozen shelled edamame
4 ounces snow peas, trimmed and halved crosswise
4 ounces whole baby carrots, quartered lengthwise
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon prepared wasabi paste
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 cup thinly sliced radishes
1 garlic clove, minced

In a large pot of boiling salted water, add pasta and cook according to package directions. Drain and rinse under cool water - drain well.

Add edamame, peas and carrots into a steamer basket and steam until crisp tender, about 4 minutes. Shock vegetables in icy water to rapidly cool them down - drain well.

In a large bowl, whisk together vinegar, soy sauce, oil, wasabi and garlic. Add noodles, steamed vegetables and radishes - toss gently to coat to serve.

Yield: 3-4 servings

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Vegetable and Chickpea Curry

For dinner I made Vegetable and Chickpea Curry. I had a lot I wanted to accomplish today so I thought it would be best to get dinner in the crockpot nice and early so we could eat on a whim. Worked out perfectly and we are happy and our refrigerator is filled with leftovers for the week.

Puffy Chocolate Chip Cookies

The caption that Cooking Light printed with this recipe for Puffy Chocolate Chip Cookies says, "This is one of the best chocolate-chip cookies you'll ever make--and it doesn't scrimp on chocolate." This would be true if a) by "best" they mean "crappiest," and b) by "puffy" they mean "spongey and weird."

The applesauce is not hidden very well and gives it a weird taste. The cookies are not remotely puffy and have a spongelike consistency. They don't taste terrible but they are not really good. And the weirdest thing is that they don't have bottoms. It's not like the bottoms stuck to the pan and I scraped it off; they really just don't have bottoms. It's like cutting the top off a muffin. It's really stupid.

When I took the picture, I flipped one over so you can see how weird the bottoms are.
cookie

Puffy Chocolate Chip Cookies
CL

"This is one of the best chocolate-chip cookies you'll ever make--and it doesn't scrimp on chocolate. Applesauce is the secret."

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup applesauce
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 375°.

Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl; stir well with a whisk.

Spoon applesauce into a fine sieve over a bowl; let stand 15 minutes. Discard liquid. Scrape drained applesauce into a large bowl. Add sugar and butter; beat with a mixer at medium speed until light and fluffy (about 2 minutes). Beat in vanilla and egg. Add flour mixture; beat at low speed until well-blended. Fold in chips.

Drop by level tablespoons 2 inches apart onto baking sheets coated with cooking spray. Bake at 375° for 10 minutes or until almost set. Cool on pan 2 to 3 minutes or until firm. Remove cookies from pan; cool on wire racks.

Yield: 3 dozen (Note from Lauren: NOT EVEN CLOSE; maybe 18?)

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Wasabi Salmon Sandwiches

I've been wanting to try this recipe for a long time but never did because I didn't have wasabi powder (to make the paste). Then I got the wasabi powder and forgot that I had this recipe. While making the week's meal plan, I remembered! So I decided to make it.

What a disappointment! It's not bad, but the marinade does very little to flavor the salmon, the wasabi sauce is not even noticeable and the dressing on the spinach doesn't really add much. I am sad to say we would not make it again.

salmon

Wasabi Salmon Sandwiches
Cooking Light

Fish:
1/3 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup minced shallots
2 Tbsp brown sugar
2 Tbsp minced peeled fresh ginger
1 Tbsp minced garlic (about 3 cloves)
3 Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
1 1/2 tsp wasabi paste
4 (6 oz) salmon fillets (about 1 inch thick), skinned

Ginger-Garlic Mayonnaise:
2 Tbsp low-fat mayonnaise
2 Tbsp plain fat-free yogurt
1 tsp wasabi paste
3/4 tsp grated peeled fresh ginger
1/2 tsp rice vinegar
1 garlic clove, minced

Remaining Ingredients:
1 Tbsp dark sesame oil
4 cups baby spinach leaves
8 (1 oz) slices ciabatta bread, toasted

1. To prepare fish, combine first 7 ingredients. Place 3/4 cup shallot mixture in a large zip-top plastic bag. Set remaining shallot mixture aside. Add fish to bag; seal and marinate in refrigerator 30 minutes, turning once.

2.To prepare ginger-garlic mayonnaise combine mayonnaise and next 5 ingredients, through 1 garlic clove.

3. Preheat broiler.

4. remove fish from bag; discard shallot mixture in bag. Place fish on a broiler pan; broil 10 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork.

5. Combine the reserved shallot mixture and dark sesame oil in a large bowl. Add spinach, toss well.

6. Spread about 1 Tbsp ginger-garlic mayonnaise evenly over each of four bread slices; top each bread slice with one fillet. top each fillet with about 1 cup spinach mixture; top with remaining bread slices.

Yield: 4 servings

Friday, August 15, 2008

Gourmet Scrambles

Yes, this is a Rachael Ray recipe. Shut up.

The accompaniments were stupid and pointless, but the eggs were really good. We did not use truffle oil because I could not find any. We used some herbed Laughing Cow cheese wedges instead of the Boursin/Alouette because it was cheaper and lighter. I also did not cook the eggs in butter - I just used cooking spray. We liked the eggs a lot but we will probably not make them again.

I hate you, Rachael Ray.

scramble

Gourmet Scrambles
Rachael Ray, Cooking 'Round the Clock

6 large eggs
Salt and pepper
1/2 tsp hot sauce, such as Tabasco
1 tsp truffle oil or white truffle oil
2 Tbsp chopped or snipped fresh chives
3 Tbsp herb cheese, Boursin or Alouette, cut into bits
2 Tbsp butter
1 plum tomato, seeded and finely diced
2 slices whole-grain bread, toasted

Heat a medium nonstick pan over medium heat. Whisk eggs together with salt, pepper, hot sauce, truffle oil, chives, and herb cheese. Add butter to pan and let it melt. Add eggs and scramble to desired consistency. Serve eggs garnished with diced fresh tomato and a slice of whole-grain toast on the side.

Yield: 2 servings

Orange-sicle Spritzer

I decided I wanted our dinner to be like a visit to the diner. And what do we often get at diners? Milkshakes. I was particularly intrigued by this super-quick recipe for an orangesicle-flavored milkshakey thing. We got some good-quality vanilla ice cream, some diet soda, and voila! Orangesicle. We weren't very impressed with it, but it was still fun.

spritzer

Orange-sicle Spritzer
Michael Chiarello

1 pint vanilla ice cream
16 ounces orange soda
1 orange, sliced thin, for garnish
1/4 cup sugar, for garnish

Place 2 (1/4-cup) scoops of vanilla ice cream in each of 4 serving glasses. Equally top each glass with orange soda. Dip orange slices in sugar and place on rim of glass for garnish.

Yield: 4 servings

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Whole-Wheat Spaghetti with Hazelnuts and Asparagus

Despite the simplicity of this dish, I had high hopes for it. Unfortunately, it was pretty bland and not very special. The asparagus wasn't very noticeable, and it was just very meh. Not bad by any means, but just not special. We would not make this again.

spaghetti

Whole-Wheat Spaghetti with Hazelnuts and Asparagus
Real Simple, June 2006

Tip: To toast hazelnuts, place them on a baking sheet in a 350° oven until they're barely browned and fragrant, 7 to 12 minutes. To remove the skins, transfer the hot nuts to a large kitchen towel, fold one end over the nuts, and rub briskly.

12 ounces whole-wheat spaghetti
1 bunch asparagus, ends trimmed
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup (about 2 ounces) hazelnuts, toasted, skinned, and roughly chopped (or substitute pine nuts)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 small wedge (about 2 ounces) Parmesan

Cook the spaghetti according to the package directions.

Meanwhile, with a vegetable peeler, shave the asparagus lengthwise into long ribbons. Add the asparagus to the pasta water during the last 2 minutes of cooking. Drain the spaghetti and asparagus and return them to the pot. Add the oil and hazelnuts; toss. Season with the salt and pepper; toss again. Divide the spaghetti among individual plates. With the peeler, shave the Parmesan over the top.

Yield: 4 servings

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Hash Brown Quiche

For dinner tonight, Gibby made our favorite Hash Brown Quiche, which was ready by the time I got home from work! Perfect. He's a good husband.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Grilled Vegetable Salad

Our friend Kat gave us this amazing contraption called The Griddler. I've been wanting one for a long time because Joe uses it a lot in recipes on his blog, and also it serves to create a larger grilling/griddling space than we usually have.

griddler

So what is the Griddler? It has interchangeable "plates" that help it to be either a grill surface or a griddle surface for pancakes. In addition, it can lay flat or it can fold up to be used as a panini press. It is a magical thing indeed.

Tonight we used it flat with the grill plates to grill the vegetables for our dinner.

griddler2

While this isn't really a "salad," it is exceptionally good and we really enjoyed it. We still had some queso freso from last week so we used that up. I used one little portobello mushroom to add to my bowl so he wouldn't have to eat it. Paired with our Texas Toast, we had an excellent summer meal. This is a very yummy dish and we would definitely make it again - possibly as a side dish if entertaining during the summer. It's very pretty and can be served warm or cold, so it would be great for a party. Oh and yes, I used fresh herbs! Chives and basil at least (since we are growing basil). I still used dried parsley.

salad

Grilled Vegetable Salad
Cooking Light, June 2008

Tailor the types of vegetables to the bounty of your garden or that of farmers' market vendors. Thin asparagus spears may need to cook only four minutes.

Vinaigrette:
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
1 tablespoon extravirgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons honey
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Salad:
8 ounces asparagus, trimmed
2 (4-inch) portobello mushroom caps (about 6 ounces)
1 medium zucchini, cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick slices
1 yellow squash, cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick slices
1 small red onion, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
1 red bell pepper, halved and seeded
Cooking spray
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
6 tablespoons crumbled queso fresco

1. Prepare grill to medium-high heat.

2. To prepare vinaigrette, combine first 6 ingredients in a large bowl; set aside.

3. To prepare salad, coat asparagus, mushrooms, zucchini, squash, onion, and bell pepper with cooking spray. Place vegetables on grill rack; grill 4 minutes on each side or until slightly blackened. Remove vegetables from grill; cool slightly. Cut vegetables into 1-inch pieces.

4. Add vegetables, basil, chives, and parsley to vinaigrette; toss gently to coat. Sprinkle with cheese.

Yield: 6 servings

Texas Toast

As a side dish for dinner, we made some Texas Toast from Bobby Flay's show Boy Meets Grill. It was super easy and very yummy. We made it on our Griddler and it was great. I think it would be even yummier on an outdoor grill so we will try it there sometime.

And obviously we significantly reduced the recipe - we only used about 1 1/2 Tbsp of butter and a big spoonful of garlic for our two pieces of toast.

texas

Texas Toast
Bobby Flay

2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
8 cloves garlic, pureed
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 loaves good white bread, cut into 1-inch thick slices

Mix together the butter and garlic in a bowl and season with salt and pepper to taste. Brush both sides of the bread with the butter and place on the grill. Grill the bread for 1 to 2 minutes per side until lightly golden brown.

Yield: 12-15 servings

Cinnamon-Sugar Cookies

In my class, we had a group project due last week and one of my group members did a LOT of the work for us, so I told her I would repay her with cookies. And then another of my classmates said that if I'm making Janelle cookies, I would have to make her cookies too. So I'm giving 1 1/2 dozen to Janelle, and about a dozen to Angie. We're left with 1 1/2 dozen for me and Gibby, so everyone wins.

Oh, I made these Cinnamon-Sugar cookies, one of my best cookie recipes. Sooooo good.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Mexican Chocolate Streusel Cake

Another venture into Rick Bayless's Mexico: One Plate at a Time. This time I decided to try a chocolate streusel cake. It just sounded very yummy. Our grocery store has a great ethnic-foods aisle so I knew I'd be able to find some inexpensive Mexican chocolate. I meant to make this last weekend but I didn't buy enough chocolate and then we didn't have enough eggs.

I am sad to say that I couldn't really lighten this... I only used about 2/3 of the streusel topping, and I used 1/3-less-fat cream cheese in the cake batter, but I think there is still quite a lot of butter and eggs and chocolate. Oh well. Small pieces, people. Small pieces.

It's pretty good, but it's nothing spectacular. We enjoyed that it tastes different from what we expected. It's a mildly sweet basic cake with flecks of chocolate throughout, and the streusel on top (though it kind of sunk into the batter and melted). We liked it but probably won't make it again due to the nutritional factors.

I did not dust it with powdered sugar.
cake

Mexican Chocolate Streusel Cake (Pastel de Chocolate Mexicano)
Mexico: One Plate at Time by Rick Bayless

Tightly wrapped, the finished cake keeps beautifully for several days. You might want to rewarm pieces of the cake in a low oven before serving.

One 18 or 19 oz package Mexican chocolate, roughly chopped

For the streusel topping:
1 large egg yolk
Salt (optional)
3 1/2 oz (7 Tbsp) butter, at room temperature
1 cup (4 1/2 oz) all-purpose flour

For the cake:
1 3/4 cups (8 oz) all-purpose flour
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
One 8oz package cream cheese, at room temperature
8 oz (1 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup granulated sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature

Powder sugar for dusting the cake

1. The Streusel Topping. In a food processor, pulse half of the Mexican chocolate until it is the consistency of coarse crumbs. Remove and set aside for the batter. Add the remaining chocolate to the processor and process it to the consistency of coarse crumbs. Mix the egg yolk and 1/2 tsp salt (if using salted butter, omit the salt) in a small mixing bowl, stirring to dissolve the salt. Add to the processor along with the butter and the flour. Pulse just until everything is thoroughly combined - it should look crumbly, not be processed to a paste. Set aside.

2. The Cake. Heat the oven to 350. Butter and flour a 13 x 9 inch baking pan. Sift together the flour and baking powder.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beating on medium speed, combine the cream cheese, butter, and granulated sugar. Beat until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes. One at a time, add the eggs, beating until each one is thoroughly incorporated before adding the next. Add the sifted flour mixture, scrape down the sides of the bowl, and beat for 1 minute, just until the flour is incorporated. Last, use a large spoon to stir the reserved chopped chocolate into the batter.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Crumble the streusel topping evenly over the batter, making sure there are no large lumps - lumps may sink during baking. Bake in the center of the oven until springy (the edges will have just begun to pull away from the sides of the pan) and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 35-40 minutes.

Cool on a wire rack (in my opinion, this cake tastes best when still slightly warm), then cut into squares and serve dusted with powdered sugar. Vanilla, caramel, or cinnamon-scented ice cream sure goes well with a bite of this pastel.

Yield: 12 servings (BIG servings - this can definitely feed more than 12)

Friday, August 08, 2008

Veggie Nachos

Tonight we made Veggie Nachos again and they were yummy. I thought we had a picture but I was wrong. I have failed you.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Rice Noodles with Tofu and Bok Choy

Usually we like quick Asian tofu-noodle dishes, but this one is just really boring. It was bland and the noodles kind of clumped together. It's too bad because it only took like 10 minutes to make. This is not a make again.

boring

Rice Noodles with Tofu and Bok Choy
Cooking Light, June 2003

1 (6-ounce) package rice noodles
1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon dark sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
Cooking spray
2 cups (1/4-inch) red bell pepper strips
5 cups sliced bok choy
1/2 pound firm water-packed tofu, drained and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

Cook noodles in boiling water 6 minutes; drain. Combine soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, oil, and crushed red pepper, stirring well with a whisk.

Heat a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Add bell pepper strips; sauté 2 minutes. Add bok choy; sauté 1 minute. Add tofu and garlic; sauté 2 minutes. Add noodles and soy sauce mixture; cook 2 minutes or until thoroughly heated, tossing well to coat. Sprinkle with green onions and cilantro.

Yield: 4 servings

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Grilled Peanut Butter and Banana Split Sandwich

I thought this might be a fun dinner so I picked it out. It was easy to make, but he didn't like it. He said it was very weird. I liked it but I don't think it's good for a dinner. Maybe a brunch or a snack. It has a lot of flavors and it's fun, but it is weird. Not a make-again for us unless we babysit Ingrid's kid. Hah!

banana

Grilled Peanut Butter and Banana Split Sandwich
CL, January 2006

This fun, kid-friendly indulgence was a hit at taste testing and received our highest rating. The recipe can easily be multiplied to make as many sandwiches as you need.

2 (1-ounce) slices firm white sandwich bread, divided
1 teaspoon butter, softened
1 tablespoon creamy peanut butter
2 teaspoons honey
1/2 teaspoon semisweet chocolate minichips
1 large strawberry, thinly sliced
1/2 small banana, cut lengthwise into 3 slices (about 2 ounces)
1 tablespoon pineapple jam

Spread one side of each white bread slice with 1/2 teaspoon butter. Combine peanut butter and honey; spread over plain side of 1 bread slice. Sprinkle with chocolate chips; top evenly with strawberry slices and banana slices.

Spread pineapple jam over plain side of remaining bread slice. Carefully assemble sandwich.

Heat a small nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add sandwich; cook 2 minutes on each side or until lightly browned.

Yield: 1 sandwich

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Coconut Waffles with Berry-Mango Compote

I wanted to use our waffle maker again so I pulled out this recipe for coconut waffles topped with strawberries and mangoes. Despite how it sounds, the waffles are not particularly coconut-y and are not too sweet. It makes for a very nice balance along with the fruits. I tried to reduce the fat by using light coconut milk and reducing the sugar, but I just couldn't reduce the butter so I'm sure that is probably why it tasted so yummy. Hahaha. The recipe is from Oprah's magazine (I got it off a message board somewhere) and I was surprised that it turned out well considering the the last mango-strawberry concoction we tried from the O magazine.

We did like this and would make it again.

waffles

Coconut Waffles with Berry-Mango Compote
Oprah magazine

Flavored with coconut and mango, these waffles take on a tropical note. Let the fruit compote stand at room temperature for at least thirty minutes before serving—you wouldn't want to put cold fruit on hot waffles! Use whatever berries are handy—this is good with raspberries and blueberries too, or a combination.

Compote:

* 1 ripe mango, peeled, pitted, and cut into small cubes
* 1 pint strawberries, hulled and sliced
* 1 tablespoon sugar

Waffles:

* 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
* 2 tablespoons sugar
* 1 tablespoon baking powder
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
* 1 cup milk
* 3 large eggs, beaten
* 1/2 cup coconut milk (not sweetened cream of coconut)
* 1/4 cup shredded sweetened coconut
* Fresh mint, for garnish

Toss the mango, strawberries and sugar in a medium bowl. Cover and let stand until the fruit gives off some juices, about 90 minutes.

Heat a waffle iron according to the manufacturer's directions. Lightly oil the grids.

Meanwhile, whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl to combine. Make a well in the center and pour in the melted butter, milk, eggs and coconut milk. Whisk just until smooth; do not over-mix. Mix in the coconut.

Spoon about 1/4 cup of the batter into the center of each quadrant of the waffle iron and close the iron. Cook until the waffle is golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes.

Serve the waffles hot, spooning the compote on top. Garnish with the mint leaves.

Yield: 12 four-inch waffles (or about 8 giant waffles)

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Chicago-Style Deep-Dish Pizza

Now that I have my cast iron skillet, I was finally able to try this deep-dish pizza recipe that I've had for awhile! It's very different from the pizzas we typically eat, in that a Chicago pizza is drenched in sauce, whereas we usually either order light-on-sauce or no sauce at all. Our favorite pizza is a white pizza from a nearby Italian restaurant that just has garlic and a bunch of cheese. So this was something new and I really didn't think we would like it. Especially since I replaced the sausage with spinach and onions and extra mushrooms.

It was very easy to make and it looked really nice when it came out of the oven. It's a little messy to cut and eat. But it was really good! We both liked it. I don't think I'll make it again just because it isn't our style, but we did enjoy it. I would recommend it to anyone who likes to go to Uno's or who wants a traditional deep dish pizza.

If you decide to try it vegetarian, I used about 5 oz thawed frozen spinach and one chopped yellow onion and sauteed them with the mushrooms. Bell peppers would be yummy in it too.

unos

Chicago-Style Deep Dish Pizza
Cooking Light, November 2005

Tomato sauce layered on top of mozzarella cheese and a biscuit-like crust distinguish this fork-and-knife pizza from other styles around the country. You can prepare the dough the night before and let it rise in the refrigerator overnight, if you prefer.

Dough:
1 teaspoon sugar
1 package dry yeast (about 2 1/4 teaspoons)
1 cup warm water (100° to 110°)
3 cups all-purpose flour (about 13 1/2 ounces), divided
1/4 teaspoon salt
Cooking spray

Topping:
1/2 pound turkey Italian sausage (about 2 links)
1 cup finely chopped onion
1 (8-ounce) package presliced mushrooms
1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil, divided
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed
2 (8-ounce) cans tomato sauce
1 tablespoon cornmeal
1 1/4 cups (5 ounces) preshredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
2 tablespoons grated fresh Parmesan cheese

To prepare dough, dissolve sugar and yeast in warm water in a large bowl; let stand 10 minutes. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Add 1 cup flour and salt to the yeast mixture, stirring with a whisk until well combined. Stir in 1 3/4 cups flour, stirring until a dough forms. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead the dough until smooth and elastic (about 8 minutes); add enough of remaining 1/4 cup flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, to prevent dough from sticking to hands (dough will feel sticky).

Place 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, dough has risen enough.) Punch dough down; cover and let stand 5 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375°.

To prepare topping, heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Remove casings from sausage. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add sausage and onion; cook for 5 minutes or until sausage is browned, stirring to crumble. Drain; set sausage mixture aside.

Return pan to medium-high heat. Add mushrooms; cook 5 minutes or until moisture evaporates, stirring frequently. Remove mushrooms from pan, and set aside.

Return pan to medium heat; add 1 teaspoon olive oil. Add garlic; cook 30 seconds or until lightly browned, stirring constantly. Add tomato paste; cook 1 minute, stirring frequently. Stir in oregano, fennel, and tomato sauce; simmer for 5 minutes or until sauce mixture is slightly thickened.

Coat a 12-inch cast-iron skillet with remaining 1/2 teaspoon oil, and sprinkle cornmeal over oil. Place dough in skillet, gently stretching edges to evenly coat bottom and sides of pan. Sprinkle mozzarella evenly over the bottom of dough; top evenly with sausage mixture and mushrooms. Top mushrooms with sauce mixture; sprinkle Parmesan over sauce. Bake at 375° for 40 minutes or until crust browns and topping is bubbly. Let pizza stand 10 minutes before serving.

Yield: 8 servings

Chocolate Pudding and Pretzels

My baking plan for the weekend was to make a Mexican chocolate cake by Rick Bayless (I've been making a lot from his cookbook - have you noticed?). But then I realized I didn't have enough butter or Mexican chocolate, so that was out. Then I got depressed because I really wanted something chocolatey.

Enter Food Network. I was watching a show that I've never watched before, Cooking For Real with Sunny Anderson, while I was folding the laundry. Suddenly she made this super-easy chocolate pudding topped with pretzels. Exactly what I was craving. Perfect. And I had all the ingredients on hand. Double-perfect.

I got the ramekins into the refrigerator within about 10 minutes and stored the pretzels in Tupperware until we were ready to eat. I'm not going to pretend it was the best chocolate pudding ever (especially since I burned the sugar a little), but it was exactly what I was wanting today.

Not a make-again, but it sure did make me happy.

We sort of went overboard with the pretzels, so imagine all the chocolatey goodness under them.
pudding

Chocolate Pudding and Pretzels
Sunny Anderson

1 cup pretzels, lightly crushed
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 cup sugar, plus 2 tablespoons
1/2 cup cocoa powder
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 cups milk
1 egg
1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
Special Equipment: 4 (4-ounce) ramekins

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. On a sheet tray, gently toss pretzels, butter and 2 tablespoons sugar. Bake until sugar melts and crystallizes on the pretzels, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, whisk together the cocoa, 1/2 cup sugar and cornstarch. Form a well in the center and slowly whisk in milk over medium heat. This helps prevent the cornstarch from clumping. Bring mixture to a boil to thicken. Remove from heat. In a small bowl, whisk a little of the milk mixture into the egg to temper. Add egg mixture to the pot of milk. Heat over low until mixture thickens to a pudding-like consistency, about 3 to 5 minutes. Mix in chips until melted and combined well. Pour pudding into ramekins. Chill at least 1 hour. To serve, top with pretzels.

Yield: 4 servings

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Cambodian Summer Rolls

Though these are technically an appetizer, I decided to try them for dinner tonight. They're easy and don't really require cooking, so it seemed like it would be a good summer recipe to make.

The problem was that they were really soggy and hard to pick up. We ended up eating them with a fork and knife. In addition, the mint was really overpowering. I need to remember that in the future, because it seems that whenever I use mint in a savory dish, it overpowers the whole thing. Anyway, we were pretty disappointed with this. It tasted yummy, but it was just inconvenient to eat and not very impressive.

summer rolls

Cambodian Summer Rolls
Cooking Light, Sept 2007

Novato, California, reader Cathy Jo Belford sent us this Asian-inspired appetizer for the April 2002 column. The fresh herbs, sweet shrimp, slight spicy heat, and crisp lettuce offer well-balanced taste and texture.

Rolls:
6 cups water
36 unpeeled medium shrimp (about 1 pound)
4 ounces uncooked rice noodles
12 (8-inch) round sheets rice paper
1/4 cup hoisin sauce
3 cups shredded red leaf lettuce
1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh basil
1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh mint

Dipping sauce:
1/3 cup low-sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon minced peeled fresh ginger
1 teaspoon chile paste with garlic (such as sambal oelek)
1 garlic clove, minced

To prepare rolls, bring 6 cups water to a boil in a large saucepan. Add the shrimp to pan; cook 3 minutes or until done. Drain and rinse with cold water; drain. Peel shrimp; chill.

Place noodles in a large bowl; cover with boiling water. Let stand for 8 minutes; drain.

Add cold water to a large, shallow dish to a depth of 1 inch. Place 1 rice paper sheet in water. Let stand 2 minutes or until soft. Place rice paper sheet on a flat surface.

Spread 1 teaspoon hoisin sauce in the center of sheet; top with 3 shrimp, 1/4 cup lettuce, about 2 1/2 tablespoons noodles, 1 teaspoon basil, and 1 teaspoon mint. Fold sides of sheet over filling, roll up jelly-roll fashion, and gently press seam to seal. Place roll, seam side down, on a serving platter; cover to keep from drying. Repeat procedure with remaining rice paper, hoisin sauce, shrimp, shredded lettuce, noodles, basil, and mint.

To prepare dipping sauce, combine soy sauce and remaining ingredients in a small bowl; stir with a whisk.

Yield: 12 appetizer servings