Sunday, January 31, 2010

No Butter! Vegan sloppy joes and chocolate brownie cupcakes.

So, this is the opposite of a crepe off. My roommate (Amanda) is a vegan, so we decided to make some vegan recipes this weekend while we were snowed in (I am from Florida so I refuse to drive in the snow- I am pretty sure I would drive right into a tree).

The first recipe we made was Sloppy Joes from a vegan cookbook: Skinny Bitch in the Kitch (appropriate because that is kind of my nickname). I was excited about this recipe because I really like the flavor of sloppy joes but I don't really like meat that much. I thought they were good, but they were too watery which may have to do with the fact that we didn't use soy protein (I don't even really know what that is) but vegan Boca burgers instead. If you make this (which I'm sure you guys are going to go out and make them tonight :) I would cut the water.

2 tbsp coconut oil (I used olive oil)
1 green bell pepper cut into 1/4 inch dice
1 stalk celery diced
2 large onions diced
4 oz thinly sliced mushrooms (about 2 cups)
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2 cups water
1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce
8 tsp soy sauce
1/4 cup ketchup
1 1/2 cups textured soy protein (I used Boca burgers)
4-6 vegan whole wheat buns
2-3 tbsp vegan Parmesan cheese (optional)

Heat oil in 10-12 inch skillet over med-high heat. Add pepper, celery and cook for 2 mins. Add onion and cook 4 mins. Add mushroom, chili powder, salt, and pepper cook 2 mins. Stir in water, tomato sauce, soy sauce, and ketchup. Stir in soy protein increase heat to hight and bring to boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook stirring occasionally for 20 mins.

For the green beans (not in the cookbook) I put some olive oil in a pan and heated it on med-high for a while. Then I put in sliced garlic and took it off the heat for a bit and let it cook in the hot oil. Then I added the fresh green beans and garlic salt let them cook for a while while I finished the sloppy joes. I really like the crunchy garlic in them.

The vegan cupcakes (from cookbook vegan cupcakes take over the world) were actually pretty tasty. Meli, the foreword is by Tegan and Sara- don't you like them? There was a lot of chocolate in them so I don't really know how you can go wrong with that :) Although my whole dinner was vegan, I was not able to eat a chocolate cupcake without a glass of milk. Oh well, I was impressed with my one vegan meal :)

2/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup soy yogurt
1/2 cup black cherry preserves
1/2 cup soy milk
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup canola oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract (I didn't have this so I omitted it)
2 tbsp bourbon or whiskey (despite my impressive liquor cabinet- I didn't have any of that so I used cherry brandy- which is a weird liquor to have)
1 cup and 2 tbsp all purpose flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
chopped walnuts for garnish (yuck- I omitted)

For frosting:
2 tbsp melted margarine
1/4 cup cocoa powder
3 tbsp soy milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 confectioners sugar

Preheat oven to 350. Line muffin pan with cupcake liner and spray with nonstick cooking spray (whoops I just realized I forgot this which explains why they stuck).

Melt chocolate in double boiler (I miss that Meli!).

Mix yogurt, preserves, soy milk, sugar, oil, vanilla, almond extract, and bourbon in bowl. Preserves should be mixed in very well and there should be no large clumps.

Sift flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix thoroughly- if using handheld mixer for 3 mins on med speed. Incorporate melted chocolate.

Fill liners and bake for 24 to 26 mins. Tops may come out shiny soft and undone but that is OK, they should look that way. Transfer to cooling rack and let cool before frosting.

For frosting:

Beat together margarine, cocoa, soy milk, and vanilla. Add sugar in cupfuls until incorporated.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Crepe Off, Part I

Welcome to the Crepe Off, fine readers & contributors! First up on our list this weekend are Julia's entree crepes. More specifically, Gateau de Crepes a la Florentine. (I don't know how to do accents and whatnot, so just imagine that they're there.)

If you don't have counter space right next to your stove, then I recommend the TV tray fix. By the last crepe, I had a nice little system going on. The crepes themselves are quite tasty all rolled up by themselves.

1 cup cold water
1 cup cold milk
4 eggs
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
4 Tb melted butter
A rubber scraper (don't you love that she includes equipment in the ingredient list?)
An iron skillet or crepe pan with 6-7-inch bottom diameter
cooking oil or bacon fat

1. Put the liquids, eggs, & salt into the blender jar. Add the flour, then the butter. Cover and blend at top speed for 1 minute. If bits of flour adhere to sides of jar, dislodge with a rubber scraper and blend for 2 to 3 seconds more. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. [I did mine the night before.]

2. Rub the skillet with the bacon fat or brush it lightly with oil. Set over moderately high heat until the pan is just beginning to smoke.

3. Immediately remove from heat and, holding handle of pan in your right hand [presumably she means your dominant hand -- what a right-handist], pour with your left hand a scant 1/4 cup of batter into the middle of the pan. Quickly tilt the pan in all directions to run the batter all over the bottom of the pan in a thin film. This whole operation takes but 2 or 3 seconds.

4. Return the pan to heat for 60 to 80 seconds. Then jerk and toss pan sharply back and forth and up and down to loosen the crepe. [I don't find that part necessary. I just lift and flip with my hands.] Lift its edges with a spatula & if the under side is a nice light brown, the crepe is ready for turning.

You can't really tell from this picture, but I wanted to show all the pots and pans that are required to cook out of this cookbook. No one-pot cooking for Julia!

Sauce Mornay (bechamel with cheese)
5 Tb flour
4 Tb butter

Cook the flour and butter slowly together in the saucepan for 2 minutes without coloring.

2 3/4 boiling milk (I just realized I accidentally used 2 1/4 cups, and it didn't make a difference)
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
Big pinch of nutmeg

Off heat, beat in the boiling milk and seasonings. Boil, stirring, for one minute.

1/4 cup whipping cream
1 cup coarsley grated Swiss cheese (I used less than a cup of goat cheese)

Reduce to simmer and stir in teh cream by tablespoons. Sauce should be thick enough to coat the spoon fairly heavily. Remove from heat and correct seasoning. Stir in all but two tablespoons of the cheese. Film top of sauce with milk to prevent a skin from forming.

Spinach filling
1 Tb minced shallots or green onions (I used green onions)
2 Tb butter
1 1/2 cups blanched, chopped spinach (I used baby spinach, so no chopping)
1/4 tsp salt

Cook the shallots or onions in butter for a moment in an enameled saucepan. Add spinach and salt, and stir over moderately high heat for 2 to 3 minutes to evaporate moisture. Stir in 1/2 to 2/3 cup of the cheese sauce. Cover and simmer slowly for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Correct seasoning and set aside.

Cheese & mushroom filling
1 cup cottage cheese or 8 oz cream cheese (I used cream cheese)
Salt & pepper
1 egg

Mash the cheese in a mixing bowl with the seasonings. Beat in 1/3 to 1/2 cup of cheese, and the egg.

1/4 pound minced mushrooms (I used 8 oz of baby bellas)
1 Tb minced shallots or green onions
1 Tb butter
1/2 Tb oil

Saute the mushrooms and shallots in butter and oil for 5 to 6 minutes in a skillet. Stir them into the cheese mixture, and correct seasoning.

Forming the mound
A round baking dish about 9 inches in diameter and 1.5 inches deep (I used an 8 inch square)
3 Tb grated cheese
1/2 Tb butter

Butter the baking dish, and center a crepe in the bottom. Spread it with a layer of cheese and mushroom filling. Press a crepe on top and spread it with a layer of spinach filling. Continue with alternating layers of crepes and filling, ending with a crepe. Pour the remaining cheese sauce over the top and sides of the mound. Sprinkle with the 3 tablespoons of cheese and dot with 3 or 4 pea-sized bits of butter.

Bake 25-30 minutes in upper-third of 350-degree oven to heat thoroughly and brown the top lightly. (Mine never browned, but it still tasted good!) To serve, cut into pie-shaped wedges.

Voila! The end product was delightfully delectable. Every part of it was artery-clogging deliciousness. I am highly incredulous that other crepes will be able to compete in this crepe off. We shall see.

Friday, January 29, 2010

50 Chocolate Desserts

Chocolate Creme Filled Cake
Chocolate Chip Pie

Some people say they are more into savory, others more into sweet. I am an equal opportunity food lover, and today I am focused on chocolate.
I plan to focus on my chocolate craving this weekend. I found this dangerous link with 50 chocolate desserts to satisfy the chocolate lover.

Check out the recipes here!

Here are some pics of the recipes I am choosing from.
Which do you think I should make?

Chocolate Banana Cream Pie

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Squash Apple and Cheddar Soup (or squappdar soup)

I am glad this is not a blogging contest because I would be losing.

For a little bit of back story- I decided to make this soup because I really love another butternut squash soup I make and I thought this one would be worth a try. I made the other soup (not this one) for my family last time I went home. I really like it, but it is from cooking light (which isn't typically my style :) I served it to my sister. She said she liked it, but I saw her digging around in the bowl. Apparently she was looking around for bacon and cheese (not typically included in the cooking light recipes). So when I saw this one, with a high cheese and bacon to squash ratio, I thought it might be Lindsay approved. So here it is.

I made it for my mini-american idol party last night and it got pretty good reviews. While I was making it I wasn't sure how it would taste with the apple, but I really liked it. I used turkey bacon instead of prosciutto. I actually thought it was better the second day.

I give this recipe 4 and a half stars, and one Lindsay thumbs up.

Ingredients (this is from the Dec '09 Food Network Magazine)

* 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
* 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
* 2 medium apples, thinly sliced
* 1 large white potato, diced
* 1 1/2 cups chopped peeled butternut squash, fresh or frozen
* Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
* 1/2 teaspoon dried sage
* 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
* 1/3 cup apple cider
* 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
* 1 cup milk
* 2 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto, torn into bite-size pieces
* 2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese, plus more for garnish
* Chopped chives, for garnish (optional)
* Crusty bread, for serving (optional)


Melt 4 tablespoons butter in a large pot over medium-low heat and add the onion, apples, potato and squash. Season with salt and pepper and cook until the onion is soft, about 8 minutes. Stir in the sage and flour. Add the cider and cook over high heat, stirring, until thickened. Add the broth and milk, cover and bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer and cook, stirring, until the potato is soft, 8 to 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the prosciutto and cook until crisp, turning occasionally, about 2 minutes. Drain on paper towels.

Add the cheese to the soup and stir over medium-low heat until melted. Puree in a blender in batches until smooth; season with salt and pepper. Garnish with the prosciutto, more cheese and chives, if using. Serve with bread, if desired.

Per serving: Calories 532; Fat 34 g (Saturated 19 g); Cholesterol 117 mg; Sodium 807 mg; Carbohydrate 35 g; Fiber 5 g; Protein 24 g

Oscar Wilde Guinness Cupcakes

To encourage myself to keep up my reading for fun & to give myself ideas of things to cook, I've decided to cook food that is thematically tied to whatever I'm reading. The next book on my list is about the daughter of migrant workers from Mexico. That one's pretty easy. Of course, I decided to start this when I'm in the middle of reading about the Stonewall riots. It took a little more thinking to figure out what to cook. First, I thought about just going with bar food. (Depending on how long it takes me to read the book, I might end up going with that as well.) Second, I thought about Greek food, for Sappho and the island of Lesbos. That was a bit of a stretch, since the vast majority of the Stonewall's patrons were men. Oscar Wilde crossed my mind a couple of times, but I couldn't think of anything Irish except for beer. Sarah Green helpfully suggested Guinness cupcakes. I wanted to go for rainbow sprinkles, but all they had was pink. Behold the culinary gayness: Oscar Wilde Guinness Cupcakes with Pink Sprinkles

Alright, so my decorating & food photography skills could use some serious help. Perhaps my baking skills too? I wasn't in love with this recipe. I think maybe it's just that I don't care for Guinness and am not much of a dessert person. They're good enough that I'm going to take them to work and try to make other people eat them. Hopefully this won't lead everyone to conclude that I am unable to cook. [EDIT: upon further reflection, I have decided they are quite tasty as long as they have icing on them--the icing-less ones are not as appetizing.] Here's the recipe (from

  • 1 (12-ounce) bottle Guinness stout
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa, plus more for garnish
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

For the frosting:

*I used store bought cream cheese frosting. Some commenters on Chow suggested substituting some or all of the heavy cream with Bailey's.

  • 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1 pound confectioners’ sugar
  • Cocoa powder, for dusting
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the Guinness, milk, vegetable oil, and vanilla. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Mix in the sour cream.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the cocoa, sugar, flour, and baking soda. Gradually mix the dry ingredients into the wet Guinness mixture.
  4. Butter 24 muffin tins and divide the batter among the muffin tins.
  5. Bake 25 minutes, until risen and set in the middle but still soft and tender. Cool before turning out of the tins.

Make the frosting:
  1. Beat the cream cheese in a bowl until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in the heavy cream. Slowly mix in the confectioners’ sugar.
  2. Top each cupcake with a heap of frosting and dust with cocoa.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Egg-in-the-Hole Grilled Cheese

This won't be the most popular post, but I made a grilled cheese egg-in-the-hole. I liked it. So there.

Pasta Escarole

I made this pasta last night, and thought it was fantastic and worthy of our blog. If you are in the mood for a quick tasty pasta... I would go with the pasta escarole. You can see how beautiful and delicious the picture in Food Network Magazine looks, and then compare it with my less than stellar photograph below.

It is pretty easy and took me about an hour. If I hadn't been watching Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, I bet it would have taken me 30 minutes tops! What's 30 minutes extra if I get to watch tv too.

It makes about 4 servings, so I am looking forward to eating it while Brandon and I watch American Idol... er uh I mean The State of The Union. :) Good food and tv, I don't think it gets better than that. Seriously I don't.

Kosher salt (I used regular salt)
12 ounces gemelli, fusilli or spaghetti (I used spaghetti)
1 head escarole, roughly chopped (called Endive at the grocery store)
1 T pine nuts (used seseme seeds)
2 T extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling (emphasis on the MORE)
2 T breadcrumbs
Freshly ground pepper
1/4 pound pancetta, cut into thin strips (I used Prosciutto because the deli said it was similar and they didn’t have pancetta)
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced (I used the diced stuff in the jar)
1 red jalapeno pepper, thinly sliced (I used green because the store didn’t have red)
2 T grated parmesan cheese (I also used asiago cheese, and I used a lot more than 2 T)
Grape/cherry tomatoes (my addition)
Spinach (my addition)


1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until just al dente, about 10 minutes. Add the escarole and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 2 more minutes.

I got distracted with other components and left the escarole in longer than 2 minutes and it was fine.

2. Meanwhile, toast the pine nuts in a large skillet over medium-high heat, about 1 minute. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil, the breadcrumbs, and salt and pepper to taste; cook until golden, about 2 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a plate.

I added garlic to the mixture, and it took a lot less than 2 minutes. When I first cooked it for 2 minutes it was dark brown, not golden, so I redid it and cooked it for a lot less time.

3. Wipe out the skillet, add the pancetta and cook until crisp, about 5 minutes. Transfer to paper towels and blot dry.

I used prosciutto, and it is so thin that I had difficulty cutting it. However, after cooking it, it looks like bacon. I bet regular bacon (or creepy turkey for Stephanie) would work as well, and be a lot cheaper. It was 5 dollars for less than ¼ pound of the pancetta.

4. Add the remaining 1 T olive oil to the skillet, then add the garlic and jalapeno and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.

I sauteed the jalapeno mixture for a little bit longer because I was a worried about the heat from the jalapeno. Also, I didn’t bother to measure the amount of olive oil I added.

5. While doing the above steps, you can sauté the tomatoes with olive oil. When the tomatoes are soft add the spinach and then sauté together until soft.

6. Drain the pasta and escarole, reserving 1 cup cooking water, and add to the skillet. Add half of the pancetta and toss, drizzling in enough pasta water to moisten. Season with salt and pepper.

I did this step differently, because I used a small skillet for the previous steps and used more cheese.

After draining the pasta/escarole, I put it back into the big pot and turned the burner to low. I then added all of the pancetta and some of the reserved water. I then added most of the grated cheese and stirred it around. This helped the pasta have moisture and a subtle cheesy coating. I then add the tomato spinach mixture and the jalapeno and tossed it around.

7. Divide the pasta among bowls, top with the breadcrumb mixture and the remaining parmesan. Drizzle with olive oil.

The bread crumb mixture is to give the pasta a topping without feeling obligated to add a lot of cheese. (I of course still added the extra cheese, but the breadcrumb mixture is good).

As I made the dish, Brandon kept warning me that an entire jalapeno would make the pasta too spicy, but it was perfect. There was very little kick, and I almost forgot the jalapeno was there. Brandon and I both thought the tomato mixture made the dish. It gave the dish a hint of sweetness that I think would be missing without it.

Brandon and I both thought the pasta was great. Because there is no actual sauce, the pasta dish is lighter than most dishes, and we didn’t feel totally ridiculous afterward. Brandon said his favorite part was the different textures in the pasta. I think my favorite part was the hint of sweet provided by the sautéed tomatoes…. Oh yeah and all the extra cheese.

This meal is one of the 500 calorie dishes from the food network magazine, but I think my extra cheese did me in. That and the fact that I skipped the gym to make the pasta…

PS My camera broke... the display doesn't work, so I can't see what my pictures look like until I load them onto the computer. :(

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Michelle's World Famous Raisin and Bran

Michelle posted this under my cookie post, and I thought it was funny enough to enjoy a more prominent placing.

Let me add to this blog:
Raisin Bran Crunch (people with jaw problems need not read further)
1. Take out a huge bowl
2. Pour in an amount of cereal that would only be considered a single serving size in America.
3. Pour skim milk in the bowl until if covers the cereal and goes about an inch over
4. Enjoy this delicacy no more than three times per day.
5. For dessert, repeat steps two and three with Fruity Pebbles.
6. Rinse bowl, put in dishwasher, and go on with your life!

Asian Market Hunt of '10: Target Identified

I have found my Asian Market, and I had no need to go to multiple markets looking for a decent one. I was talking to the departmental secretary, and she told me about Jungle Jim's in Ohio. Based solely on the website description (it will probably be a few weeks before I make it there myself), Jungle Jim's bears close resemblance to my idea of heaven: Forty varieties of rice, 78 types of olive oil, fine chocolates from the world's great chocolate makers, and, most amazingly, 1400 different cheeses!

As for the Asian department, they claim to have everything you need, "from soy sauce to rice vinegar to dried squid to kim chee and cans of caterpillars." Surely I can find what I need there. I can't wait to visit!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Panera Broccoli Cheddar Soup, Take II

Prep bowls! See all that yummy cheese? Deeeelightful. This recipe also calls for almost a stick of butter! I'm currently cooking the onions in it. The smell of butter cooking is like all of your wonderful childhood memories rolled up into one gift-wrapped olfactory present.

Here we have the soup, pre-blender. All that white = cream and butter.

Enjoying the product of my efforts! And because I live alone, I get to do things like eat straight from the dutch oven.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Build your own crepes

So I got this recipe titled Crepe Buffet (from the Dec 09' food network magazine) showing you how to throw a build-your-own-crepe party. Naturally I decided to cook a recipe with the words buffet and party in it for myself for dinner (yes only myself). I have a lot of leftover crepes, but they were delicious so I didn't mind. And now I will be ready when I have to throw a crepe party.

I made it with buckwheat because that is what the recipe called for and I thought it was quite good, but you could just use regular flour if you want. I also just made the fillings from suggestions in the magazine, but you can put whatever you want in them.

I give this party 5 out of 5 spoons (use your imagination for the picture/likert scale- I am working on it.


Buckwheat Crepes
Active time: 25 mins (longer for me)
Total: 1 hr 25 mins
Serves: 6 (12 crepes total)

5 tbsp unsalted butter plus more for skillet
2/3 cup buckwheat flour
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 3/4 cups whole milk (I didn't have whole milk and regular milk worked fine)
3 large eggs
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley (optional)
1/2 tsp salt

1) Melt 5 tbsp butter in 8-inch nonstick skillet. Combine melted butter, both flours, milk, eggs, and salt in blender and process until smooth (set skillet aside). Let batter rest at room temperature at least 1 hour or overnight. Stir in parsley if desired.

2) Preheat oven to 300. Heat skillet over medium heat until drop of water sizzles in it. Lightly butter the skillet then add scant 1/3 cup batter ans quickly swirl to coat the bottom of the pan. Cook until the crepe sets and browns around the edges, about 2 minutes. Carefully lift with a rubber spatula, flip over and cook about 30 more seconds. Transfer to plate.

3) Repeat with remaining batter, adding more butter as needed and stacking the finished crepes. Wrap the crepes in a damp dish towel and place in the oven to reheat, about 10 minutes. (You can make the crepes a day ahead. Just wrap in plastic and refrigerate, then reheat before assembling.) Serve with assorted fillings.

Assorted Fillings

1) Sauteed spinach- heat 2 tbsp olive oil in large skillet over med-high heat. Add 12 ounces spinach and cook until wilted (about 4 minutes). Season with salt and pepper.

2) Sweet onion- heat t tbsp butter in large skillet over medium-low heat. Add two sliced onions and 2 thyme sprigs. Season with salt and pepper and cook until the onions are lightly browned, about 20 mins.

3)Creamy mushrooms- heat 3 tbsp butter in large skillet over med-high heat. Add 1 lb chopped wild mushrooms and 2 thyme sprigs; saute until mushrooms are golden, about 10 mins. Season with salt and pepper and add 2/3 cup heavy cream; toss to warm through. Remove from heat and add a handful of parsley.

Cool Baking Tip

Cool baking tip I learned!!!

I have a gas oven that cooks hot and unevenly. The first time I cooked a frozen pizza half was burnt and the other half was raw. So, to help the hot factor I use an oven thermometer (not the new tip don't worry). To help with the uneven cooking, I read you can place a pizza stone in the bottom rack and helps the heat distribute more evenly. I don't know if it is true, but I have used it since then and my frozen pizzas come out perfectly (as well as cookies, pies, and brownies).

PS Because I pronounce thermometer as therm- monitor, I had to ask Brandon to help me spell thermometer. I still don't understand why it is thermometer and not term-monitor.

Asian Market Hunt of '10: A Preview

Not surprisingly, there do not seem to be any Asian markets in Richmond. (That's Indiana, for all of our many followers out there, not Virginia.) I have tentatively identified a few possibilities, none closer than an hour away. Given that I had to go to three Asian markets in Greensboro before I found a decent one, I'm expecting this to be a drawn out hunt. Wish me luck!

Chocolate Cocaine Cookies (aka double chocolate chip cookies)

So I named these cookies chocolate cocaine because (1) they are addictive and (2) I sprinkled powder sugar on them to look like cocaine. I know you are impressed with my originality.

Story for the roomies:
After dreaming of chocolate for the past 3 days, I decided to make cookies this morning. As usual, I had everything but 1 little ingredient. While weighing my options of remaining on the couch in my comfy clothes or venturing out to the store in search of brown sugar, my desire for chocolate won out. As I got off the couch to start my trip to the store, I realized I was in
Brandon's sweatpants and t-shirt. I could have changed into more respectable clothing, but Brandon was sick in bed and I didn't want to wake the sick boy up. To be a good wife, I went to the store in Brandon's clothes. To make my trip even more remarkable, I was wearing no bra, I hadn't brushed my hair, and the only shoes I could find were the dress shoes I wore to last night's girls night out.

Was it worth it you may ask? Yes, the cookies are delightful...and who knows maybe my trip to the store got me one step closer to appearing on What Not To Wear. Five thousand dollar shopping spree here I come!

Well I am off to enjoy these cookies in my sweatpants and dress shoes while watching some football.
This recipe is from Nestle Toll House with a few additions.

2 c all-purpose flour

3/4 c baking cocoa
1 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1 c butter or margarine, softened (I used 1/2 c crisco and 1/2 unsalted butter so the cookies would be less cakey and more gooey)
2/3 c sugar
2/3 c packed brown sugar
1 t vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 3/4 c semi-sweet chocolate chunks or chips
powder sugar to sprinkle on top

  1. PREHEAT oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. COMBINE flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl. Beat butter, sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in a large mixing bowl until creamy. Beat in eggs. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in chunks. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets.
  3. BAKE for 9 to 11 minutes or until cookies are puffed and centers are set but still soft. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Knock Off Panera Broccoli-cheddar Soup

I made this broccoli cheddar soup last week, and it was amazing. It is a fun soup to make because everything happens in stages, so you don't feel too rushed while cooking.

Unfortunately, I can't take credit for the soup because I took it from the Food Network Magazine Jan/Feb 2010 issue, and they are trying to imitate Panera's version. So if you don't mind being totally unoriginal, you must try it. It was so good. Sorry there is no pic... I had already eaten it before I thought I should take a picture of its deliciousness.

PS... I love having a new way to not do work!!!

6 T unsalted butter
1 small onion, chopped (I used white)
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 c half-and-half
3 c low-sodium chicken broth
2 bay leaves
1/4 t freshly grated nutmeg (I used ground netmeg that wasn't so fresh)
1/4 t Kosher Salt (I used regular salt)
1/4 t freshly ground pepper
4 c broccoli florets (about 1 head)
1 large carrot, diced
2 1/2 c (about 8 oz) grated sharp white and cheese, plus more for garnish (I of course added at least a 1/2 c of cheese)
** at Panera it is served in a sourdough bread boule, I lightly toasted some sour dough bread and served it as bread/croutons on top of the soup**

1. Melt the butter in a large Dutch oven or pot over medium heat (because I am the only roomie without a Dutch oven, I had to go with the pot)
2. Add onion and cook until tender, about 5 minutes
3. Whisk in the flour and cook until golden, 3 - 4 minutes
4. Gradually whisk in the half-and-half until smooth
5. Add the chicken broth, bay leaves, and nutmeg
6. Season with salt and pepper
7. Bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, uncovered, until thickened, about 20 minutes.
8. Add the broccoli and carrot to the broth mixture and simmer until tender, about 20 minutes.
9. Discard the bay leaves.
10. Puree the soup in batches in a blender, or use an immersion blender, until smooth. (Wahoo for my lovely immersion blender). There will still be flecks of broccoli and carrots.
11. Add the cheese to the soup and whisk over medium heat until melted.
12. Add up to 3/4 c water if the soup is too thick
13. Garnish with cheese (and sourdough bread if you want it to be extra good)

Chiang Mai Soup w/ Coconut Rice

This is two recipes combined, and the coconut rice is more than good enough as a small meal on its own. In fact, I was pretty full from nibbling on the rice by the time I actually got the rest of it cooked. I got both of these out of my Rice & Noodle Cookbook.

Coconut Rice
2 1/4 cups Jasmine rice
2 cups Coconut milk
1 cup water
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp sugar
(Calls for shredded coconut for garnish, but I left that out.)

Wash the rice in several changes of water until it runs clear. (The directions on the rice didn't call for this, but I did it anyway. It took 5-6 changes of water for it to run clear.) Put everything in a heavy-bottomed sauce pan. (I used my pretty new dutch oven!) Cover & bring to boil. Lower heat & simmer for 15-20 minutes. Take off heat & let rest for 5-10 minutes, then fluff the rice.

Chiang Mai Soup
2 1/2 cups coconut milk
2 tbsp red curry paste (I used this before, but I didn't have any this time -- still tasted fine)
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 lb chicken thighs, boned & cut into bite-sized pieces (I used 2 frozen chicken breasts, thawed)
2 1/2 cups chicken stock
4 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp dark soy sauce (I don't know the difference b/w dark & light. Kikoman seems to work fine.)
juice of 1/2-1 lime (I used bottled lime juice. I just squirted some in there -- I don't think it needs to be precise. You can put more in any time if it is a little bland.)
salt & water to taste
[The recipe calls for egg noodles, but I didn't use them -- I used the rice instead]

1. Pour ~1/3 of the coconut milk into the saucepan & bring to a boil, stirring frequently until it separates. (This separation thing -- I'm not entirely sure mine ever did, but it started looking vaguely like tapioca at some point, and I decided that was good.)
2. Add the curry paste & ground turmeric, stir to mix completely and cook for a few minutes until blended.
3. Add chicken pieces & stir-fry for about 2 minutes. Ensure all chunks of meat are covered in paste. (It is not as paste-y if you don't use the curry paste.)
4. Add the remaining coconut milk, stock, fish sauce, soy sauce, & seasoning. Simmer for 7-10 minutes. Remove from heat & add lime juice to taste.

5. The direction here call for you to add the egg noodles. I just poured it over the rice & mixed it up. If you have leftovers, it will save for a long time. The rice just soaks up the soup, which is great, because you don't get that tough leftover rice thing the next day. I ate for several days in a row.

As always, particularly with Asian food, use your prep bowls! Have everything ready to go when you start. If you try it, let me know what you think!