Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Single-Serve Coffee Cake

One of my new favorite places to find recipes is on Pinterest. If you're not on there, that's probably okay, but there are a lot of great recipes posted. Lucky for you, I'll end up trying them and posting them here so you'll get them regardless.

Last night, I HAD to try this recipe I found on Pinterest: A Cup of Coffee Cake in Under Five Minutes. It was amazing. I was telling people about it all day long. My guess is I probably will make it a zillion more times just because it's SO EASY and SO GOOD. Summary: mix stuff up in a coffee mug, microwave. Done. Cake.

cake

Single-Serve Coffee Cake
Summarized from Prudentbaby.com

1. Put a tablespoon of butter in a coffee mug or cup. Microwave 10 seconds until soft but not melted.

2. Stir in 2 tablespoons sugar, for about 30 seconds, until fluffy and creamy. Add in 1/2 an egg (more or less, as you choose) and stir it up. Add 2 tablespoons sour cream (yogurt is an acceptable substitute) and a drop or two of vanilla. Finally, stir in 1/4 cup flour and 1/8 teaspoon baking powder.

3. Make the crumb topping by mixing 1 tablespoon butter, 2 tablespoons flour, 1 tablespoon of brown sugar, and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon in a bowl with your fingers until crumbly. Sprinkle crumb topping on cake in mug.

4. Microwave for 1 minute, then for ten-second increments thereafter until the cake is done to your liking. I did mine for 1 minute 30 seconds and it was perfect. Let cool, then eat.

Servings: 1

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Orecchiette with Roasted Brussels Sprouts

You know how much I love roasted brussels sprouts. We have a deep, deep, unbroken love that is pure and true. I love roasted brussels sprouts. You know what else I love? Pasta. And cream cheese. And wine. So it should come as no shock when I tell you that this is wonderful. Absolutely wonderful. I didn't have orrecchiette ("little ear" shaped pasta) so I randomly used bowties. It's delicious and I absolutely would make this again. I'm taking the rest of it for lunch today. I'm unsure how well it will reheat, given that roasted brussels sprouts are so appealing because of their crispiness, but I will keep you posted.

brussels

Orecchiette with Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Taste of Home, February/March 2012

2 pounds fresh Brussels sprouts, halved
5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
3/4 teaspoon pepper, divided
3 3/4 cups uncooked orecchiette or small tube pasta
6 green onions, sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup butter, cubed
3/4 cup white wine or chicken broth
4 ounces cream cheese, softened and cubed
Minced fresh parsley
Grated Parmesan cheese, optional

1. In a large bowl, combine the Brussels sprouts, 3 tablespoons oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; toss to coat. Transfer to a greased 15 x 10 x 1 baking pan. Bake, uncovered, at 400 for 30-40 minutes or until tender.

2. Meanwhile, cook orecchiette according to package directions; drain, reserving 1 cup pasta water.

3. In a small skillet, saute onions and garlic in butter for 1-2 minutes. Stir in wine. Bring to a boil; cook until liquid is reduced by half.

4. In a food processor, combine the onion mixture, reserved pasta water, and the remaining salt and pepper. Cover and process until smooth.

5. In a large saucepan, combine the Brussels sprouts, orecchiette, onion mixture, cream cheese and remaining oil. Cook over medium heat until heated through and cream cheese is melted, stirring frequently. Garnish with parsley and, if desired, Parmesan cheese.

Servings: 6

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Warm Spiced Lentil Bowl with Yogurt and Smoked Almonds

After a bunch of days last week in the 50s, all of a sudden the temperature dropped and I am back to being cold. I already had nearly everything to make this, so I decided to stick it on the meal plan. I mean, the first word in the title is "warm," and that automatically makes it sound like comfort food. Right? Right. And it was a success! Comfort food, indeed! It's one of those types of meals that has a seemingly random assortment of ingredients that come together to make one lovely little dinner. It was easy and took very little time to prepare. I would definitely make this again.

lentils

Warm Spiced Lentil Bowl with Yogurt and Smoked Almonds
Vegetarian Times, December 2011

2 1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
2 1/2 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
1 medium carrot, chopped (1/3 cup)
1 rib celery, chopped (1/4 cup)
1 medium leek, trimmed and chopped (white and light green parts)
3 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
1 cup brown lentils, rinsed and drained
3 cloves garlic, minced (1 Tbs.)
1/3 cup smoked almonds, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt

1. Heat oil in large saucepan over low heat. Add cumin seeds, and cook 1 minute, or until fragrant. Stir in carrot, celery, and leek. Increase heat to medium-high, and sauté 3 minutes. Stir in broth and lentils. Bring mixture to a simmer, reduce heat to low, and cook 20 minutes, or until lentils are tender. Stir in garlic, and cook 5 minutes more. Season with salt and pepper, if desired.

2. Ladle lentil mixture into 4 bowls, and garnish with almonds and yogurt.

Yield: 4 servings

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Portobello Paprikash Over Wilted Spinach

I was kind of excited for this and it turned out to be really boring and crappy. I even used an amazing smoked paprika from Penzeys. Poo. I've been having a lot of misses lately, and it's very disappointing.

paprikash

Portobello Paprikash over Wilted Spinach
Vegetarian Times, December 2011

This Hungarian-inspired recipe uses meaty portobello mushrooms instead of chicken and smoked paprika in lieu of bacon for a light-but-rich-tasting dish.

1 cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt
1/3 cup evaporated milk
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
5 teaspoons garlic oil, divided
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 pound portobello mushroom caps, sliced
2 cups chopped red onion
10 ounces baby spinach leaves (12 cups)

1. Whisk together yogurt, evaporated milk, and mustard in bowl. Set aside.

2. Heat 3 tsp. garlic oil and paprika in skillet over high heat. Add mushrooms and onions; sauté 12 minutes. Add mustard mixture to mushrooms, and heat until warmed through.

3. Heat remaining 2 tsp. garlic oil in separate skillet over medium-high heat. Add spinach in batches, and cook 2 to 4 minutes, or until spinach is wilted and bright green. Season with salt and pepper, if desired. Divide spinach among plates, and top with mushroom mixture.

Servings: 4

Thursday, February 23, 2012

More Make-Agains

I've had a busy, busy week and haven't had a lot of opportunity to make food! Monday night was really my big night. I made Spaghetti Pie for dinner, and then I made S'mores Bars and Peeta's Sugar Cookies for a women's group meeting on Tuesday.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Sour Cream Muffins with Poppy Seed Streusel

In the middle of the week, I suddenly felt the need to bake. I've been having that urge pretty frequently, which bodes well for friends and coworkers as they get to eat the finished product. So I had all the ingredients to make these muffins, so I did. Oh my GOSH. They are really, really good. They continue to be good for a few days, too. They don't dry out as long as you keep them in a container. The streusel is delicious, the orange flavor is delicious, and it's just great. I would make these again.

poppy

Sour Cream Muffins with Poppy Seed Streusel
Cooking Light, November 2005

Keep these orange-scented muffins around during the holidays for a quick breakfast or sweet snack.

Streusel:
3 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon butter -- melted
1 teaspoon poppy seeds

Muffins:
2 cups all-purpose flour -- (about 9 ounces)
3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup fat-free buttermilk
1/4 cup butter -- melted
1 tablespoon grated orange rind
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg -- lightly beaten
8 ounces reduced-fat sour cream
Cooking spray

1. Preheat oven to 375°.

2. To prepare streusel, combine first 4 ingredients in a small bowl; set aside.

3. To prepare muffins, lightly spoon 2 cups flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine 2 cups flour, 3/4 cup sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk. Make a well in center of mixture. Combine buttermilk and remaining ingredients except cooking spray in a small bowl; add to flour mixture, stirring just until moist. Spoon batter into 15 muffin cups coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle streusel evenly over batter. Bake at 375° for 18 minutes or until golden brown. Remove muffins from pans immediately; place on a wire rack.

Servings: 15

Sweet Potato Black Bean Enchiladas

A couple make-agains this week: my favorite Vegetarian Reubens (always delicious), and my favorite Vegetarian Pad Thai. Definitely two of my most-repeated recipes.

So, regarding last night's enchiladas. I have a picture for this, but I just can't use it. It just looks THAT BAD. The recipe itself is not terrible, nor is it particularly ugly. It just is weird and didn't photograph well. One of the major issues is that everything is super dry. This was a problem with the texture when it was done, as well. The filling is very dry, the beans are very dry, all the liquid cooks off, and then you cover the enchiladas with just cheese. Which is dry. No sauce. You can slather on sour cream and salsa at the end, which is good, but it still is dry. It tasted very good. I had an enjoyable meal. But I really just wasn't a fan of the mealy, dry texture. I wouldn't make this one again.

Sweet Potato Black Bean Enchiladas
Penzeys catalog

5-6 large flour tortillas
2 large sweet potatoes, peeled if desired
1/4 cup soy sauce, regular or low sodium
2/3 cup apple cider vinegar, divided
2 leeks, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, chopped (or 1 teaspoon Penzeys Minced Garlic)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 dried hot chili pepper, crushed (your choice - sanaam, arbol, tien tsin)
1 15 oz. can black beans
3 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese, divided
Vegetable or corn oil

Optional:
1/2 lb chorizo
1-2 cups salsa
1/2 - 1 cup sour cream
1-2 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro

1. Preheat oven to 375.

2. Wash and cut the sweet potatoes into bite-sized chunks. Put the potatoes, soy sauce, and 1/3 cup of the cider vinegar into a large pot and boil until the potatoes are very soft and the liquid is mostly absorbed, about 30 minutes.

3. In the meantime, saute the leeks, chorizo (if using) and garlic (if using fresh) over medium-high heat in a little oil with the cumin until you can smell it halfway out the door. Then add the remaining cider vinegar, the chili pepper, the black beans, and the garlic if using dry. Turn the heat down to medium, cover the pan, and take a break until the potatoes are done.

4. When the potatoes are finished, mash them, leaving a fair number of lumps. Fold the beans and 1 cup of the cheese into the potatoes. Fill the tortillas with about a handful of filling, roll and pack tightly into a lightly greased 9x13 baking pan. Top the enchiladas with the remaining cheese, and bake at 375 for 25 minutes, or until the cheese starts to bubble. After it's finished baking, broil for about 5 minutes, to get the cheese really golden brown and toasty. Serve hot, with lots of salsa, sour cream, cilantro, and napkins.

Yield: 3-6 servings

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Couscous with Pine Nuts and Currants

Earlier this week, I ran out of things to bring for lunch and, while the hospital has a great cafeteria, it is crazy overpriced. So I found this recipe in my giant recipe collection. I pulled this together in less than 10 minutes, portioned it into tupperware containers, and took it for the rest of the week. It worked out perfectly and definitely passed the lunchbox test, particularly since you don't really need to refrigerate it or reheat it during the day. I used dried cranberries instead of currants because it's what I had on-hand. I also used some Penzeys Tuscan Sunset sprinkled in for extra flavor instead of the fines herbes, which was a good idea. I also did not have a cucumber, so I just omitted that. No issues there. It was interesting and good, though I don't think it's something I'd make again unless under similar "must make lunches now!" circumstances.

couscous

Couscous with Pine Nuts and Currants
Self, September 2005

1/8 cup sesame seeds
1/8 cup pine nuts
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup dry whole-wheat couscous (made from semolina, which is used to make pasta)
1 15 oz. can chickpeas, drained
1 cup peeled, seeded and finely diced cucumber
1/8 cup dried currants plumped in water
1/4 cup fines herbes (or minced mint, cilantro and parsley)
Lemon juice
Red pepper flakes

Heat oven to 400°F. Spread sesame seeds and pine nuts on a cookie sheet and bake until golden, about 5 minutes. Remove from sheet and set aside. In a large saucepan, boil 1 cup water with butter and salt. Remove from heat and add couscous. Stir, cover and let stand 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork. Toss couscous with sesame seeds, pine nuts, chickpeas, cucumber, currants, and fines herbes. Season to taste with remaining ingredients and salt and pepper. add your own note

Servings: 4

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Squash-Stuffed Cannelloni with Roasted-Shallot Sauce and Hazelnuts

For Valentine's Day I decided to make a fancy-ish, more involved dinner for myself than I usually do. I used up the rest of my frozen butternut squash from last summer's CSA in the process. This was... I don't know. Not as spectacular as one would hope. Obviously I vegetarianized it and didn't add the bacon, but I'm sure that isn't the reason it was just mediocre. I don't know. Maybe it was. I wouldn't make this again.

pasta

Squash-Stuffed Cannelloni with Roasted-Shallot Sauce and Hazelnuts
Cooking Light, December 2003

Prepare the creamy filling up to a day in advance. For a vegetarian version, use vegetable broth in place of chicken broth, and sauté the shallots and garlic in oil, omitting the bacon.

Filling:
10 cups cubed butternut squash -- (1/2-inch) (about 4 pounds)
1/4 cup chopped shallots
2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
Cooking spray
1 tablespoon butter -- melted
1/2 cup fat-free sour cream
1/4 cup half-and-half
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Sauce:
3 slices applewood smoked bacon -- chopped
1/2 pound shallots -- peeled and halved
2 garlic cloves -- crushed
1/2 cup dry white wine
14 ounces fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons half-and-half
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Remaining Ingredients:
16 cooked lasagna noodles
3/4 cup shredded fontina cheese -- (3 ounces)
1/4 cup chopped blanched hazelnuts -- toasted

1. Preheat oven to 400°.

2. To prepare filling, combine first 3 ingredients on a jelly roll pan coated with cooking spray. Drizzle with butter; toss to coat. Bake at 400° for 25 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring occasionally. Place squash mixture in a large bowl; mash with a potato masher. Stir in sour cream, 1/4 cup half-and-half, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.

3. To prepare sauce, cook bacon in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan, reserving 2 teaspoons drippings in pan; set bacon aside. Add 1/2 pound shallots and garlic to drippings in pan; sauté 5 minutes or until browned. Bake at 400° for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Place pan on stovetop over medium-high heat. Add wine, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Add broth; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 5 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in 2 tablespoons half-and-half, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.

4. Spread 1/4 cup filling over each noodle, leaving a 1/2-inch border on each short end. Beginning with a short end, roll up noodles jelly-roll fashion. Place rolls, seam sides down, in a 13 x 9-inch baking pan coated with cooking spray. Pour sauce over noodles; sprinkle evenly with cheese. Bake at 400° for 25 minutes or until cheese is golden. Sprinkle with bacon and hazelnuts.

Servings: 8

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Red Velvet Cake Whoopie Pies

I have a whole cookbook devoted to Whoopie Pies and I have tons of whoopie pie recipes but I've only ventured into them a couple of times. I decided that I might as well pull out the big guns and celebrate my first Valentine's Day alone in 15 years (really) with a snazzy dessert. And really, what's more Valentine's-y and snazzy than red velvet? I was a little bit concerned because this red velvet cake does not have vinegar or typical red velvet ingredients, but the buttermilk and applesauce work surprisingly well. It's delicious. The mascarpone cream in the middle is so good that I ate some with a spoon because I'm terrible. I brought these into work yesterday and the feedback was that they were delicious (except my friend who has bad reactions to red food coloring: if you have a bad reaction to dye, this is not your recipe). I did not use my whoopie pie pan and instead went the conventional method of "a cookie sheet," and they kind of turned out better than they would have in the pan. I would DEFINITELY make these again. Absolutely.

Out of the oven:
red velvet

Assembled:
red velvet

Red Velvet Cake Whoopie Pies
BakingSheet

Cookies:
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 tablespoon buttermilk
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 large egg whites
1/2 teaspoon red food coloring (more if necessary)

Mascarpone Cream Cheese Filling:
4 ounces mascarpone cheese -- room temperature
4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 tablespoon milk
1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar

1. Preheat oven to 375F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt, then set aside.

3. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy, then beat in the egg whites, followed by the applesauce, buttermilk, vanilla extract and red food coloring. Add additional coloring, if needed, to reach desired color. The color will dim slightly with baking, but try to shoot for a burgundy/brown color. Stir in flour mixture until batter is smooth and no streaks of flour remain.

4. Drop batter two tablespoonfuls at a time onto the prepared baking sheet, forming 2-inch in diameter rounds.

5. Bake for 10 minutes, until set but not browned. Cookies should spring back when lightly touched, like a cake.

6. Allow to cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

7. Beat together mascarpone and cream cheese until well combined. Beat in vanilla and milk. Add in confectioners sugar, scraping down the bowl as you go. When it has all been incorporated, beat on high speed for 1-2 minutes, until icing is very smooth and thick, but not stiff. Add more confectioners sugar, if necessary.

8. Spread filling between pairs of cooled cookies.

Servings: 20

Monday, February 13, 2012

Fettuccine Alfredo

I can make really complex recipes with no problem sometimes, and then very simple ones I manage to destroy. I have no idea how I screwed up something so easy as fettuccine alfredo. It turned into this horrible, gluey, watery mess. It was NOT creamy OR delicious. I am also 100% sure it was cook's error, though I'm not positive where (or how many times!) I went wrong. It was just a disaster from start to finish. I'm not going to try it again - I've ruined it for myself. I'll try another recipe some other time. Anyone else want to try it out and tell me how it goes?

alfredo

Fettuccine Alfredo
Everyday Italian - Giada de Laurentiis (Food Network)

18 ounces fresh fettuccine
2 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
12 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 cups grated Parmesan
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
pinch freshly grated nutmeg
Salt and freshly ground white pepper

1. Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 4 minutes. Drain .

2. Stir 2 cups of the cream and the lemon juice in a heavy large skillet to blend . Add the butter and cook over medium heat just until the butter melts, stirring occasionally, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat.

3. Add the pasta and toss. Add the remaining 1/2 cup of cream, and Parmesan to the cream sauce in the skillet. Add the lemon zest, nutmeg, salt, and white pepper. Toss the pasta mixture over low heat until the sauce thickens slightly, about 1 minute.

Servings: 6

Friday, February 10, 2012

Bean-and-Veggie Sliders

I don't know what my deal is with sliders this week. Tonight I made Middle-Eastern Chickpea Miniburgers, and last night I made these Asian-inspired sliders. As a side note, tonight's repeater recipe was not, in fact, worthy of making it again. This is why I have a "worth keeping" pile - to try things out to determine if they really are worth making more than once or twice. And that recipe is not worth keeping around.

Neither is this bean-and-veggie one, for that matter. It's kind of neat, using the rice as a binder in the burger. It holds together nicely. The mango is an interesting twist. These were alright, but I feel like they were missing something exciting and I'm not sure what. I wouldn't make them again.

sliders

Bean-and-Veggie Sliders
Martha Stewart Living, January 2011

These mini bean-and-veggie burgers take inspiration from Vietnamese banh mi sandwiches. Blended beans and rice are the basis of these sliders, which are supercharged with grated carrots, broccoli, and ginger. Top them with cilantro and sliced mango for the brightest burgers ever.

2 cups cooked kidney beans
1 cup steamed jasmine or basmati rice
1/2 cup shredded carrot
1/3 cup shredded broccoli
2 tablespoons grated ginger
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 recipe flavor base (follow recipe in pot of beans, below)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
12 small whole wheat rolls, split
Garnishes: Chili Mayonnaise (see below), lettuce, mango, red onion, and cilantro

1. Pulse beans in a food processor until mixture resembles ground meat. Pulse in rice. Stir bean mixture in a bowl with carrot, broccoli, ginger, cilantro, and flavor base. Form into twelve 2 1/2-inch round patties (1/4 cup each). Cook in hot oil over medium-high heat until golden, about 3 minutes per side. Sandwich in rolls, adding garnishes.

2. For the Chili Mayonnaise: Stir together 3/4 cup mayonnaise, 1/2 teaspoon Asian chili paste (such as sambal oelek), and a dash of toasted-sesame oil.

Servings: 12

Pot of Beans
Beans:
1 pound dried beans, such as kidney, cannellini, navy, pinto, or black
8-10 cups water, plus more for soaking
Flavor Base:
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 fresh chile, chopped
Coarse salt
Optional flavor add-ins (see below)

1. Make the beans: Place beans in a large bowl; cover with water by several inches. Refrigerate, covered, overnight. Drain. (For a quick soak, cover beans in a saucepan with water. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat. Let stand, covered, for 1 hour. Drain.)

2. Make the flavor base: Heat oil in a pot over medium heat. Cook onion, garlic, chile, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and any add-ins until onion and garlic are soft, about 5 minutes.

3. Add beans, 8 cups water, and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat. Simmer, partially covered, adding water as needed to keep submerged, until tender, 35 minutes to 2 hours, depending on type of bean. (Start checking for doneness after 30 minutes.)

Tips
Stir a few tablespoons of any of these into the flavor base: bell peppers, sausage, bacon, tomatoes. Or season with herbs and spices (cumin, paprika, cayenne, oregano, thyme, rosemary, bay leaf).

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Some Make-Agains

Last night I made Asian Dumpling Soup with some vegetable dumplings I picked up from Trader Joe's last time I was in Connecticut. (I don't have Trader Joe's here in PA! Booooo.) I made it even faster by using a pre-shredded cabbage mix (napa, carrot, celery). I also added a few drops of hot chili oil at the end. Yum!

Sunday night I made Broccoli Cheese Rice Casserole with the intention of being able to take it to work every day this week for lunch. I used the last of my frozen farm-picked broccoli from last year, and I made some fresh basmati rice to use in it. Perfect!

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Double Peanut Butter-Chocolate Chewies

The request was: a chocolate cookie with peanut butter chips. The result was: a tasty cookie, maybe a little flatter than I'd hoped, that met expectations but did not exceed them. It was definitely good but wasn't as impressive as I anticipated. I packaged up about a dozen of them and mailed them to friends, and I am nervous that they will not make it to their destination in a good way since the cookies left in my house have hardened significantly in the past day or two. I emailed my friend and said, "I promise they were good before I sent them..." So, I guess we'll see how they survive the transit. Ultimately, I would try a different recipe next time.

cookie

Double Peanut Butter-Chocolate Chewies
Eating Well, November/December 2009

These soft chocolate cookies have a big peanut flavor since they use peanut butter and peanut butter chips.

1 cup chunky natural peanut butter
1/4 cup canola oil
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
3 tablespoons low-fat plain yogurt
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup rolled oats
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup trans-fat-free peanut butter chips -- such as Sunspire
1/4 cup turbinado sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

2. Beat peanut butter, oil, brown sugar and granulated sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed until the sugars are blended. Beat in eggs, yogurt and vanilla until combined.

3. Whisk flour, cocoa, oats, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl. With the mixer on low speed, gradually add the dry ingredients to the peanut butter mixture until blended. (It will be sticky.) Stir in chocolate and peanut butter chips.

4. Using a small cookie scoop or slightly rounded tablespoons of dough, place cookies 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets.

5. Dip the bottom of a glass in water and then in turbinado sugar. Use the sugared glass to flatten the cookies slightly, leaving a thin layer of sugar on top, rewetting the glass as needed.

6. Bake the cookies in batches until they are just set and the tops appear cracked, 8 to 10 minutes. (Do not overbake or they will be dry.) Cool on the baking sheet for 2 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool.

Yield: 3 dozen

Sunday, February 05, 2012

Sweet Potato Fritters with Smoky Pinto Beans

When I read reviews for this on the Eating Well website, all the notes said that the fritters were pretty bland and encouraged adding in spices and seasoning. I did that, and it was STILL pretty bland. It was good when I ate it along with the beans or with some of the chard I made for a side dish, but in general this recipe was kind of a dud. Disappointing! I wouldn't make this again.

fritters

Sweet Potato Fritters with Smoky Pinto Beans
Eating Well, September/October 2010

These easy sweet potato fritters have a crispy crust and a tender middle. The beans are flavored with smoked paprika, but sweet or hot would work well too. To give it a Mexican-inspired twist, use chili powder as the spice instead of the paprika.

1 large sweet potato -- (about 1 pound)
3 tablespoons canola oil -- divided
1 medium onion -- chopped
2 large poblano peppers or small green bell peppers -- chopped
15 ounces pinto beans -- rinsed
1 1/4 teaspoons smoked paprika -- (see Note) divided
3/4 teaspoon salt -- divided
3/4 cup fine yellow cornmeal
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 large egg -- lightly beaten
1/4 cup water
4 lime wedges for garnish

1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray.

2. Prick sweet potato in several places with a fork. Microwave on High until just cooked through, 7 to 10 minutes. (Alternatively, place in a baking dish and bake at 425ºF until tender all the way to the center, about 1 hour.) Set aside to cool.

3. Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and peppers and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 4 to 6 minutes. Set aside 1/2 cup of the mixture. Add beans, 1/2 teaspoon paprika and 1/4 teaspoon salt to the pan. Cook, stirring occasionally, until heated through, about 2 minutes. Cover and set aside.

4. Whisk cornmeal, flour, baking powder, the remaining 3/4 teaspoon paprika and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl. Peel the sweet potato and mash in a large bowl with a fork. Stir in the reserved onion-pepper mixture, egg and water. Add the cornmeal mixture and stir until just combined.

5. Form the sweet potato mixture into eight 3-inch oval fritters, using a generous 1/4 cup for each. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Cook 4 fritters until golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining fritters and oil.

6. Bake the fritters until puffed and firm to the touch, 8 to 10 minutes. Serve the fritters with the reserved bean mixture and lime wedges, if desired.

Servings: 4

Chipotle Cheddar Chard

I needed a good side dish for my dinner last night, and reviews on the Eating Well website said to make Chipotle Cheddar Chard. I have made this before in the form of a quesadilla but had not made it just as a side dish. And since I made it almost 5 years ago, I decided it was worth revisiting. And you know what? It wasn't. I don't know why it consistently gets such high reviews because it's really nothing special at all. It went well with my dinner, but it's not great. I officially won't make this again.

chard

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Panko-Crusted Asparagus Spears

Well.

This is amazing.

I thought it would be time-consuming but it wasn't at all, and the result was phenomenal. The dipping sauce is delicious and the asparagus is delicious and everything is just wonderful. I will admit I roasted them a little longer than they needed to because I forgot to check, so they were a little more toasty than they should have been. But that was not a bad mistake at all! Very forgiving, in fact! I would definitely make this again. Maybe even this week if I can find some more miso paste (I finally ran out after what, like, 3 years?). Usually I can find it in the international or "healthy" sections of grocery stores, so hopefully I can find it. Hoorah! You should probably try this if you like asparagus. And if you're worried it will be too spicy, just reduce the chili paste/sriracha.

Also a note: I used yellow miso. What's the difference? You can buy it at Asian Food Grocer, small local Asian food stores, Whole Foods, Wegmans, Trader Joe's, etc.
asparagus

Panko-Crusted Asparagus Spears
Eating Well, March/April 2011

Warm from the oven, these crunchy asparagus spears make a tasty side dish or cocktail nibble. Before being coated in panko breadcrumbs they are rolled in a flavorful sesame-miso sauce that doubles as a simple dipping sauce.

Cooking spray -- preferably canola oil
1/3 cup low-fat mayonnaise
2 scallions -- trimmed and finely chopped
2 tablespoons white miso
1 teaspoon chile-garlic sauce
1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1 bunch asparagus -- (about 1 pound) trimmed
3/4 cup Japanese-style panko -- (see Notes)
1/4 cup sesame seeds

1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Line a baking sheet with foil; coat with cooking spray.

2. Combine mayonnaise, scallions, miso, chile-garlic sauce and oil in a small bowl.

3. Place asparagus in a shallow dish and toss with half the miso mixture (about 1/4 cup), making sure the asparagus is well coated.

4. Combine panko and sesame seeds in another shallow dish. Working with one spear at a time, roll in the panko mixture and place on the prepared baking sheet, leaving a bit of room between each spear. Coat the prepared spears with cooking spray.

5. Roast the asparagus until the coating is browned and crispy and the asparagus is tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Serve with the remaining miso mixture as a dipping sauce.

Servings: 4

Sesame Farfalle with Roasted Tofu

This was good, but this was the kind of recipe that made me pause and look up on this blog to see if I'd already made it before. I hadn't, but it felt like I did because this is similar to so many other things I've made. It was definitely good, but there wasn't anything that set it apart from anything else. I'd make it again if I had the ingredients.

tofu

Sesame Farfalle with Roasted Tofu
Cooking Light, June 2004

Baking the tofu in a mixture of soy sauce, ginger, sesame oil, and chile paste accomplishes three goals: It creates a golden crust, gives the tofu a firmer texture, and adds flavor by cooking the seasonings into the tofu.

Salad:
2 cups halved shiitake mushroom caps
1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoon minced peeled fresh ginger
1 teaspoon dark sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon chile paste with garlic
14 ounces extrafirm water-packed tofu -- drained and cut into 1-inch cubes
2 cups uncooked farfalle -- (about 8 ounces uncooked bow tie pasta)
3/4 cup slices green onions -- (1-inch)

Dressing:
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons dark sesame oil
1 1/2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 garlic cloves -- minced

1. Preheat oven to 425°.

2. To prepare salad, combine first 6 ingredients in a 13 x 9-inch baking dish; toss gently to coat. Bake at 425° for 40 minutes or until mushrooms are tender and tofu is golden brown.

3. Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat; drain and rinse under cold water. Drain. Combine pasta, tofu mixture, and green onions in a large bowl.

4. To prepare dressing, combine the cilantro and remaining ingredients, stirring well with a whisk. Drizzle dressing over salad; toss well to coat. Cover and chill at least 1 hour.

Servings: 6