27 April 2009

MEATBALL CHALLENGE! call for entrants

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_Q68rWxXV8VI/SchJSzjSyPI/AAAAAAAAAKw/rNOqn6T2URA/s400/saucy.jpg

(photo stolen from here, where there seems to be a yummy pasta sauce recipe)



A new challenge, albeit not very hot on the heels of our last one.

Keep your eyes out over the next few days for our entrants in the MEATBALL CHALLENGE. A few tradition breakers coming up! And be sure to vote when all the entrants have posted.
If you have a meatball recipe of your own (with pictures please!), either email or say so in the comments and we'll consider you an intermural competitor!

25 April 2009

Stuffed peppers with a Hungarian* twist

















. *This recipe was created by a good Hungarian friend of mine. She followed a rough recipe from the internet but added a lot of her own style.

Ingredients:
  • 3 or 4 peppers, any colour.
  • rice (enough to serve 2)
  • half a pound mince meat
  • mushrooms
  • courgettes
  • onion
  • garlic
  • chilli powder
  • salt/pepper/basil/oregano
  • olive oil
  • tomato puree
  • tin chopped tomatoes
  • sour cream
  • cheese. Very strong cheeses are best, when cooked they compliment the flavours in the dish very well. Use a mixture of any types that you want.
  • Vegetable stock
















1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Chop the peppers in half, wash and clean out all the seed. Place in a dish side by side and drizzle a little olive oil into each one. Whenever the oven is fully heated, place into the oven for 10 minutes, to soften the peppers. Leave for 10 minutes only, then remove and leave aside for when you are ready with the filling.
2. Cook the rice in a saucepan of boiling water.
2. In separate a saucepan, heat some oil, then add in the chopped garlic, onion, and mince meat. Stir constantly until the meat is browned.
3. Add in the tomato puree, salt, pepper, and chilli powder.
4. When the rice is cooked, drain it well, and add it into the meat. Then mix in the tinned tomatoes, and chop and add all the vegetables you will use.
5. Stir the entire mixture together, tasting and adding in any more herbs as necessary.
6. When this is finished, take the dish of peppers and spoon the mixture into all the peppers. You will have far too much so once the peppers are filled, spoon it around the peppers throughout the dish, until all of the mixture is in the dish.
7. Mix some vegetable stock into a little water, not much, maybe 50 mls. Pour this into the bottom of the dish. (To stop the dish drying out while in the oven).
7. Spoon all of the sour cream on top of the rice/meat filling, covering the whole dish.
8. Slice all the cheese into nice thick slices and place it on top of the sour cream.

















9. Put into the over and cook for 30 - 40 minutes. Leave uncovered for the first 10 minutes, and after this cover with tin foil and leave to cook for the remaining time.
10. To serve, spoon out each pepper onto a plate with all of the surrounding filling. Best accompanied by salad and coleslaw methinks, but of course anything that tickles your fancy will do!


23 April 2009

moue mag: banoffee pudding

http://www.yourfamily.org.uk/__data/assets/image/0015/3246/02_Bannoffi_size_01.gif

So, to help make up for my absence over there, please check out a creation courtesy of the editor at Moue Mag ... it sounds like Brandy makes a mean banoffee pudding.

(The picture is totally stolen from a different place, so for an alternate recipe you can check here.  Brandy you gotta take pictures, ya hear?)

21 April 2009

Banana Bread, Martha Stewart Style

I recently made banana bread for the first time. In "long time listener, first time caller" fashion, I've loved banana bread for an eternity, but never ventured out to make my own until a few weeks ago. I decided I would have to do it right, therefore I looked up Martha Stewart's banana bread recipe. I figured she would not steer me wrong. Turns out she even has a secret ingredient. Following is Martha's easy recipe to make your own banana bread. I customized mine by adding cranberries as well, you can certainly get creative:

Ingredients

(Makes 1 loaf)

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, at room temperature, plus more for pan (try this trick for softening butter quickly)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups unbleached flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup mashed very ripe bananas
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
  • Optional: cranberries, blueberries, chocolate chips... you get the idea, it is customizable.

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-by-5-by-3-inch loaf pan; set aside. In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, and beat to incorporate.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt. Add to the butter mixture, and mix until just combined. Add bananas, sour cream, and vanilla; mix to combine. Stir in nuts, and pour into prepared pan.
  3. Bake until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, about 1 hour 10 minutes. Let rest in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a rack to cool.

19 April 2009

rainbow chard gratin

So apparently a gratin is any dish that is delivered to your eaters topped with a brown crust. This definition informs this rainbow chard gratin that I made according to the culinary stylings of Barbara Kafka. (Ed. Note: In retrospect, probably also inspired by this). I'm not going to write out the whole recipe because I ignored most of it and ultimately, ate a tiny ass piece before putting the whole thing in tupperware to be ignored until it went bad.

But I did learn how to be less afraid of chard. All I'd ever done with it before was stuff peppers with it, which was hardly relying on it as a signature flavour. The boiling-for-five-minutes technique was pretty easy, and I'd do it again. I took some okay pictures, but please learn from my example and if you try a similar recipe try not to replace more than half of the ingredients because it'll turn into an EGGY MESS. An EGGY MESS I tell you!



17 April 2009

More bubbles.........oh yea and strawberries :-)

šampaňské s jahoda sirup

Ingredients:
  • 1 champagne flute
  • 2 tsp Strawberry simple syrup (directions below)
  • low-meduim grade champagne (anything with bubbles will suffice)
  • 1 fresh strawberry per glass as a garnish
Directions:
  1. Pour 1 tsp of the strawberry simple syrup in flute
  2. Fill glass with bubbly alcoholic solution leaving room at the top
  3. Add last teaspoon of syrup to flute and garnish with fress strawberry
Commentary:
My friend Workout Queen asked me what she could do with with some Grey Goose, seltzer, strawberries and cranberry juice. I walked her through the strawberry simple syrup process and it reminded me about doing the same thing with champagne. The idea behind her drink with vodka is to flavor the seltzer with the syrup and add vodka to taste. My drink is simply adding a nice refreshing strawberry flavor to your bubbly. I dont suggest doing this to Moet or anything bottle over $40 unless you find it to be very dry and tasteless. This recipe will do wonders for your cheap bubbly and anything that is a bit 2 dry for all day consumption. The simple syrup recipe is can be flavored with any fruit and is great for summer time champagne drinking :-)!! I hope you enjoy.


Strawberry simple syrup
  • Boil down 1 cup of water 2 cups sugar and 1 cup of diced strawberries until it is at least half the volume it started with. The more you boil down the more concentrated the sweetness. Dont boil down 2 much or you will end up with candy....you need water in it.
  • cool in fridge and use with your favorite drinks. If you make a thick one it can be drizzled over food.

15 April 2009

tiny little quiches

Ever since we read this post from bread & honey, we've been meaning to make mini crustless quiches. Really, they're the perfect dinner - easy (most of these ingredients are just measured with your hand, like in antiquity... or with horses), small portions (and thus good for leftovers), healthier than with crust, and made pretty much only with ingredients already found in the fridge. You can modify this in pretty much any possible way you want, so we omitted some of the stuff we didn't have.



Mini crustless quiches (makes 6-8, depending on how big your handfuls are)

Veggies (we used some grated carrot and a handful of broccoli)
4 eggs
3/4 c milk
garlic (one clove is suggested, but we tossed in some more for good measure)
handful chopped spinach
large handful of grated sharp cheddar
pinch of flour
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350. Saute your chosen vegetables with garlic until they soften.

In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, spinach, cheddar, and pinch of flour. Season with a small pinch of salt & some pepper.

We used muffin cups, which were actually a little messy and yielded a poor presentation, but you can grease a muffin tin with some butter. In the bottom of each cup, spoon in a small amount of sauteed vegetables. Use a large spoon to drizzle egg mixture over each muffin cup. You can fill almost all the way, since they don't puff up much.

Bake for about 20-25 minutes, until firm and puffy. Allow to cool a little before attempting to remove.


Keeping with the "whatever's in the apartment" mentality, we ate these with a slice of bread, but for leftovers we'll probably whip up some brown rice for a good starchy side.

coke totally won.


The masses have spoken, all 8 of them. Coke is the undisputed champion, Allie.

13 April 2009

Coke or Pepsi?

Which do you prefer, Coke or Pepsi?

It is no secret that I am a former Coke addict. Back in college I used to drink 4-5 Cokes in a day. Looking back, I don't know how my stomach survived. I am now down to maybe a couple or a few a week. I still have a hard time resisting a nice cold Coke in a can, but I buy it less, so out of sight, out of mind. It helps that there is no Coke machine where I work.

I found a great history of Pepsi's and Coke's logos side by side... check it out:




Looks like Pepsi keeps trying to prove itself... I have news for you, Pepsi. No matter now many makeovers you give yourself, and no matter how many cool commercials you produce, you will never be the real thing.

11 April 2009

D.E. LICIOUS Dipped Strawberries


There is an easy way to celebrate that it's strawberry season! Make these! The berries are very cheap right now, so go get em. This recipe is a little self explanatory. I'll keep it short, line a cookie sheet with parchment paper,

Grab a small dish to mix the chocolate,
















Mix in one cup of Nestle Premier White morsels (only use these, they're the best!),

Place in Microwave for 4 15 second intervals, mixing well each time,

Dip Strawberries, slightly twist, and place on cookie sheet,

Wait for them to cool, then feed to your loved one!!


09 April 2009

Italian Blood Orange Champagne Cocktail

MMMMMmmmmmmm Bubbles!!!

Ingredients:
  • 1/2 shot of Grey Goose or other premium vodka (1 shot if the sun has set)
  • 1/3 cup of Trader Joes Italian Blood Orange Soda
  • 1 cup mid-premium champagne (cava or the American stuff works as well)
  • 2-3 Kumquats for a garnish
  • 2-3 Frozen strawberries
Directions:
  1. Find 16oz - 20oz glass
  2. Add Italian Blood Orange Soda to glass
  3. Add Vodke to glass
  4. Dump 1/4 of champagne in glass with enough force that bubbles mix things up a bit
  5. Slowly pour in the rest of champagne and garnish with your fruit
Commentary:
I think this is the best champagne drink I have had in a while!!! It is nicely tart and fully of bubbles....yummmmmm. I am on my second as we speak and it only gets better! If you like your drinks sweeter I think a splash of grenadine or some OJ will do the trick. Oh I have to thank eSecLending for the wonderful glass and the opportunity to make this drink at 4pm in the afternoon....ha. I hope you all enjoy!!




deglaze me










Through word of mouth, and more importantly a mouth that has eaten some of the food in question, I've come across deglaze me. Check out this MA-based food blog's interesting innovations like her controversial butternut squash mac & cheese! It looks amazing.

07 April 2009

simple salad



So I've been cheating on the signature a little bit. I was at Picco in Boston and was served just the loveliest, simplest salad. The ingredients are too few to even merit bullet points. One bag of mixed baby greens, drench with olive oil and lemon juice. Garnish with sunflower seeds.

Perfect for when you don't want to overwhelm the main course.

05 April 2009

linguine with mushrooms

So for this meal I started off with some intriguing spinach and chive linguine courtesy of Trader Joe's.  I'm sure you could make it with regular linguine, but I'd amp up the seasonings to account for that.


ingredients
  • pack of linguine
  • chopped baby bella mushrooms
  • a zuchinni
  • fresh baby spinach
  • crushed garlic
  • olive oil
  • crushed chili flakes
  • salt/pepper
  • grated sharp white cheddar to top
  
  
  
Above you'll see the pre- and post-cooked goodness of the veggies.  The whole mess looked less appealing when dumped on top of the pasta and covered in cheese, but I can assure you it was delicious.  I won't give instruction on this, basically chop, simmer/boil and serve.  If it seems too dry, add more olive oil.  

03 April 2009

01 April 2009

Quinoa Bread

Quinoa is a “grain” that I haven’t experimented with a whole lot, largely because I don’t really like the flavor. But you don’t have to poke around for too long before people start extolling its nutritional virtues—namely its high protein content, but also other stuff.

This quick bread, from Deborah Madison’s tome Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, is my favorite (and only so far) way to use quinoa on a regular basis. It's great with breakfast. The method is really easy and basic in terms of quick breads—fold wet ingredients into dry; bake. It calls for quinoa flour, the price of which gave me a seizure at the supermarket, so I’ve always just ground quinoa up in a coffee grinder and not had any problems. To Madison’s recipe, I added 1/2 t cardamom, which I think is nice, but not necessary. This can be made in a regular loaf pan (though you want the smaller of the two—I think it’s a one-pound loaf—and even so it will end up being a shallow loaf because this doesn’t make a ton of batter), muffin tins, or mini-loaf pans, which is my personal favorite.

Also, how about all these photographs?!



Quinoa Bread

1 cup whole-wheat flour (or whole-wheat pastry flour, if you have it)
1 cup quinoa flour*
1/4 t salt
1 t baking soda
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 t ground cardamom (or cinnamon, or a few gratings of nutmeg)
1 egg
1/4 cup melted butter or vegetable oil
1-1/4 cups plain yogurt
1 t vanilla extract
1 cup cooked quinoa**

Preheat oven to 375.

Combine the dry ingredients—the flours, salt, baking soda, brown sugar, and cardamom. In a separate bowl, combine the wet ingredients—the egg, butter, yogurt, and vanilla. Stir with a spatula until combined, then stir in the cooked quinoa.

Scoop the batter into greased and parchment-papered loaf pan(s) or muffin tins. Bake for 20-35 minutes, depending on pan size, until a toothpick comes out clean.

* Quinoa flour: make your own by grinding it in a spice grinder.
** Combine 1/2 cup dry quinoa with 1 cup water in a small saucepan. Bring to boil, and then simmer, covered, for 15 minutes, until the water is mostly absorbed. Drain excess water off before stirring into the batter.

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