26 February 2010

Middle Eastern Roasted Eggplant

  • 2 large eggplants, washed and diced
  • 2 teaspoons salt, divided
  • 3 tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1 Red onion, thinly sliced into rings
  • 2 cups of cherry tomatoes
  • 1 head garlic, unpeeled, cloves separated
  • 1 bunch of fresh marjoram, on stems, washed
  • 2 teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 lemon
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sesame seeds

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl season the diced eggplant with one tablespoon of salt, mix and let sit as you prepare the rest of the dish. Thinly slice the red onion and place in a large roasting pan. Toss in cherry tomatoes to the pan, add the diced eggplant and fresh majoram and coat in the olive oil. Add more olive oil if need be...you want a generous amount in the pan...about a quarter of an inch high. Add the remaining salt, pepper, cinnamon, and red pepper flakes and stir so that the spices evenly coat the veggies. Last add the individual garlic cloves to the pan - unpeeled, push them down into the mix so that they are coated and covered. Cover the pan with a tight fitting lid and place in the oven for 45 minutes - when you can really smell the mixture roasting. Take pan out of the oven, juice the 1/4 lemon over the mixture, give it a good stir and place back into the oven for another 15 minutes. Remove from the oven-the vegetables should be very, very soft. Carefully (because the pan and mixture will be hot) fish out each of the unpeeled garlic cloves. The inside of the cloves will be very soft. Using your fingers, squeeze the cloves into the roasting pan, discarding the skins (or putting them in your frozen bag of veggie ends to make stock in the future!). You can either let the cloves cool or use gloves to handle them so you don't get burned. Place the pan on top of the stove and turn the heat up to medium high heat. Stir the mixture vigorously with a heavy spoon, breaking up the cherry tomatoes and incorporating the roasted garlic, about 4-5 minutes. Add the sesame seeds and stir into the mixture, let cook for another 3-5 minutes, stirring vigorously to make sure nothing burns to the bottom of the pan.

Either serve the mixture hot as a side dish or as a main dish with rice or soft bread. This mixture can also be served well cold as a dip with crackers or as a spread for bread.

NOTE: This is a delicious and healthful dish that is very easy to make, using an interpretation of the Middle Eastern spice mixture known as Za'atar.

25 February 2010

Can you say Kung Pao?

Two weeks in Beijing made me realize that for those of you foodies, this may not be the city or country for you. The answer to that age old question - "is it like the Chinese food we have here" is YES. i was shocked (and disappaointed). The vast majority of the food in Beijing is very similar to our American Chinese food - a little less soy and a little more veggies in cornstarch sauce or pickling juice. The clearest demonstration of this you ask? Kung Pao is indeed exactly like we have it here and on the menu at every restaurant, and no, I didn't even go near the tourist restaurants - I was there for buisness afterall.

That being said, I did manage to venture out and find some unique (and sometimes tasty) bits:

Fish soup: for this, you pick a fish (and by that i mean you point to one in a tank and they take it out and strip it for you at the side of the table) and they put it in with many herbs. What I liked best about this dish is they use Chinese Peppercorns, which look a lot like typical peppercorns, but are within the Opium family, so when you eat them, first your mouth goes numb and then as you digest, your entire body gets a fabulous dose of what i would call superman strength aspririn (or vicadin).

Street food:
two main streets are lined with street vendors, who for the most part have skewers of meat and fish that they put dry spice on and grill quickly, although some fruit does exist as well. I tried 4 skewers: Octopus, Lamb, Beetles, and Fruit and 2 dishes: fried egg on sweet potato and pork bun. The Beetles were by far the best.

Peking Duck: I am a self-proclaimed duck lover, but after this trip I have amended this to be a self-proclaimed FRENCH duck lover. Peking Duck was drier than i exepcted and you don't get to relish in the wonders of the fattiness or rarity that makes it so juicy.

24 February 2010

Dan Aykroyd Wines

As I was perusing Kappy's for some cheap wine, I happened upon a $2.99 bin. I will admit - $2.99 for a bottle of wine is a bit questionable, even for someone like me who decides based on prettiness of the label, but this bin of wine was full of Dan Aykroyd Chardonnay! And - if you are wondering - YES, it is THE Dan Aykroyd. Dr. Raymond Stantz. Elwood Blues. Beldar. Harry Sultenfuss. Dan Aykroyd has a wine company. Well, that was reason enough for me to make a purchase. And maybe even to follow his blog.

23 February 2010

Drunken Irish Stew

NYC was lucky enough to be hit with a mini-blizzard the week before last, and we were lucky enough to get out of work early to "get a jump start on the commute". What that really means is "spend these two extra hours making stew," which, along with some red wine, is the only way to spend a snowy evening.

This recipe comes courtesy of Bake's sister, who lives in Florida, so we can't figure out when it would be cold enough for her to make a dish this hearty. But for those of us in locales where the temperature hits freezing, warm up with all the booze in this Drunken Irish Stew (or save it until St. Patrick's Day).

We just couldn't wait to start eating, which is why this bowl is half full. It's surprising we could pause long enough to take this picture.

Drunken Irish Stew
adapted from Davislife Magazine

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1-1/4 pounds stew beef, cut into 1-inch pieces
7 large garlic cloves, crushed
1 cup red wine
1 cup Guinness
6 cups beef stock (or broth)
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1-1/2 tablespoons white sugar
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon dried thyme
4 bay leaves
2 tablespoons butter
1 pound russet potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (peeled or unpeeled, gentleman’s choice)
1 pound baby red potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (again, gentleman’s choice)
4 stalks celery, chopped
2 cups carrots, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 large yellow or white onion, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon cornstarch + 1 tablespoon water
salt and pepper, to taste

1. Heat the olive oil in a heavy, large pot over medium-high heat. Add the beef stew meat and sauté until brown on all sides, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add garlic cloves and sauté another minute, until fragrant.

2. Add the beef stock, red wine, Guinness, tomato paste, sugar, Worcestershire sauce, thyme, and bay leaves. Stir to combine and bring the mixture to a boil. When boiling, reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for one hour. Stir occasionally to prevent burning.

3. In another large pot, melt the butter over medium heat until slightly foaming. Add the potatoes, celery, onion and carrots, sautéing until golden, about 15 minutes. Set aside until the stew has simmered for one hour.

4. Add vegetables to beef stew and simmer uncovered until vegetables and beef are tender, about 30 to 40 minutes. Mix 1 tablespoon cornstarch with 1 tablespoon cold water until combined. Add slowly to the stew, stirring for 1 minute until thickened. Discard the bay leaves and remove any fat that may have accumulated on top. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serves 6-8.

*This can be prepared in advance and kept refrigerated for up to three days

19 February 2010

Stuffed Squid

A friend of mine showed me how to do this about three years ago and I came across the photographs the other day! It was a pretty disgusting task, took a long time, and we STANK afterwards (both clothes and skin - book time for a shower afterwards!), but it was a fun afternoon and the results were goooood.

  • Whole Baby Squid
  • Egg
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Salt and Pepper (all for stuffing)
Preparing the Stuffing:
1) Chop the onion and garlic, beat the egg, and mix all together in a bowl with some salt and pepper.

Preparing the Squid:
2) First, cut off the squid's tentacles. Make sure that you separate the squid's tooth from the tentacles when doing this. You can feel the tooth in the very middle of the tentacles, either cut it off with them and remove, or cut the tentacles from above the tooth.

3) Chop up the tentacles and place in the bowl with the stuffing ingredients.

4) Take the squid, and place the knife behind its head. Push down to slice through it and then pull away from the body.

5) Use the knife to pull out the spine and gut the squid. With the spine out, all the squid's insides should come out easily, all together in one go.

6) Rinse out, and place the body to one side - repeat 2 - 5 until you have gutted all of them.

7) Stir the egg, onion, and tentacle mixture, then take the body, and holding it upright, use a teaspoon to pour the stuffing into the squid.

8) Using a toothpick, pierce through the skin and seal the opening.

9)Line the stuffed squid on a greased tray and pop in the oven for about 20 minutes.

18 February 2010

Workout Queen's Bacon Relleno con Pollo

Aside from the camera malfunction...we'll just have to use our imaginations. Just place in your head, a beautiful red piece of chicken with bacon....RED!!! Haha...read below to find out why!
This dinner/lunch meal is about 7 minutes away from fast food that is overdone, over-fattening, and just plain disgusting...What that really means is that I made this is about 7 minutes flat and I would dare you to make it faster. Instead of putting all the yummy seasonings that we all oogle and google over in the supermarket, this is a one-packet champ, filled with yummy spices. This is how it's done.

  • Chicken breast
  • 2 slices of turkey bacon
  • 1 packet Sazon Goya con culantro y achiote
  • 2 tbs. water
  • 2 tbs. olive oil
  • assorted veggies
  1. Place your chicken breast in a sandwich ziplock bag. Add the water.
  2. Add the Sazon packet to the water and the chicken. Swirl around till you get a rich red.
  3. Add the olive oil to a pan, where you carefully place the chicken.
  4. Cook about 5 minutes.
  5. Place bacon in the pan. Cook till it isn't floppy anymore.
  6. Strategically wrap the bacon around the chicken.
  7. Add cooked veggies.
Voila!! The easiest healthy, after gym dinner made. It is that easy. And that's how the Queen does it up most of the "on the diet" nights.

17 February 2010

Popsicle Treats

Last week I was under the weather with a super bad sore throat. So, I put my Magic Bullet to work and made up some tasty treats to soothe my symptoms and give me a boost of Vitamin C. I decided to make a bunch of different flavored frozen fruit pops. Here were the best three I whipped up.

Blueberry Lemon Popsicles (makes 6 servings)

1 cup sugar
3 cups frozen blueberries
3/4 cup lemon juice
3/4 cup water
1 Tablespoon lemon zest

Peach Strawberry Popsicles (makes 6 servings)

1 1/2 cup frozen peaches
1 1/2 cup frozen strawberries
1 1/2 cup water
1/2 Tablespoon lemon zest

Chocolate Cherry Yogurt Popsicles (makes 6 servings)

3 cups fat free vanilla yogurt
3 cups frozen cherries
3/4 cup chocolate syrup

  1. Blend all ingredients in a food processor
  2. Pour into Popsicle mold
  3. Put in the freezer for 3 hours or until frozen solid

16 February 2010

Spinach Cheese Soufflé

Now that we've hit that part of winter when we begin holding our breaths for spring, we might need some help getting through the dreary days ahead. Try this "incentivizing" cheese soufflé—an indulgent dinner that requires some elbow grease and silent conspiring with God.
Spinach Cheese Soufflé: Preheat oven to 400° F. Generously butter six ramekins or coffee mugs. Separate 6 eggs, and keep the whites in the refrigerator in a large, clean bowl until ready to use. Steam or boil 10 ounces of spinach. Transfer to an ice bath to cool, squeeze out as much water as possible, and then chop finely. In a medium saucepan, melt 4 tablespoons butter over medium-low heat. Sprinkle 6 tablespoons flour over it, stirring constantly for two or three minutes, until it darkens slightly and smells nutty. Slowly whisk in 1-1/2 cups warm milk in increments so as to avoid any clomps forming. Stir constantly until the mixture thickens considerably, about 5 minutes. Now you’ve got béchamel! Whisk in the egg yolks and off the heat. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, a few gratings of fresh nutmeg, the chopped spinach, and 4 or 5 ounces bleu or goat cheese, and let be. In the cold bowl the eggwhites are in, beat them until stiff peaks form. Fold them into the custard mixture. Scoop into the prepared cups using a ladle, filling each an inch from the top. Wipe the rims clean with your finger (this allows the soufflés to rise evenly). Bake for about 20 minutes, until puffed up and golden brown; they’ll be a little bit jiggly in the center. Serve IMMEDIATELY.

15 February 2010

food stuff: essential vinegars to have on hand

it never occurred to me that there were a ton of different types of made specifically for different things. if someone told me to buy vinegar, i would probably just buy balsamic because thats what i'm most familiar with. but the kitchn has set me straight! check it out here. what is your favorite type of vinegar?

13 February 2010

tiny bites

(this is dave, not sure how it ended up posting as jabootay)

If, like me, you are bereft of party tricks, please think of bringing these to your next festive gathering. Courtesy of Lisa, these lovely appetizers arrived at our pre-thanks get together back in November. She arrived with her materials, which were fairly few but all the more delicious for their simplicity. Here's a close up:

And the madtasty scientist herself .... please don't mind the messy kitchen behind her.

12 February 2010

Carrot and Ginger Soup

  • 2 potatoes
  • 1 onion
  • all the carrots you need to get rid of....!
  • a chunk of ginger
  • butter
  • vegetable stock
1. Peel and chop all the vegetables

2. In a pot, saute the onion and potato in butter for 10 minutes. Cover with some paper towel while the vegetables are soaking in the butter.

3. After 10 minutes, add all the carrots and ginger to the pot, and stir. Heat in the butter for another few minutes.

4. Add in the vegetable stock. Cover the pot, and let the vegetables simmer for between 30 and 45 minutes.

5. Once the vegetables are cooked, use a mixer or blender to blend all the ingredients.

6. Serve and enjoy!

10 February 2010

Chocolate Mint Delights

The cookies yielded from this recipe, originally from the SBH Insurance blog (random?) are SO good. They are the perfect blend of mint and chocolate. When I completed this recipe successfully (it is easy, I got it right on my first try), I felt like a gourmet baker. Enjoy!

Chocolate Mint Delights
Yield: 2 dozen

1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 ¾ cups flour
½ cup cocoa
1 ½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
24 bite size chocolate peppermint patties.

In a large bowl cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla. Combine the flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture. Shape dough into two 6” rolls; wrap each in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 2 hours or until firm.

Unwrap and cut into 1/4” slices. Place one slice on waxed paper; top with a peppermint patty and a second dough slice. Press edges of dough together to completely cover the peppermint patty. Repeat.

Place 2” apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 325 for 11-13 minutes or until set, watching carefully. Cool for 5 minutes before removing to wire rack to cool completely. When cool drizzle icing over cookies.

Top it with this Icing:
18 bite size peppermint patties, 4 ½ tsp butter.
In microwave melt peppermint patties and butter; stir until smooth. Drizzle over cookies.

09 February 2010

Spiced Almonds Based on the Gramercy Tavern's Mix

This Spiced Nut mix was adapted from the Gramercy Tavern recipe for mixed nuts, via the blog Gluten-Free Guide. At the Gramercy, this spicy and sweet mix serve as the perfect bar snack, keeping you consistently thirsty for more Manhattans and fooling you into thinking you've eaten more than a handful of nuts for dinner. At home, once the hangover has cleared, we've made them to hand out as Christmas gifts.

In the real recipe, there are a variety of nuts. We just used almonds, and you shouldn't let the high-price of pecans make you spend a fortune on making some yourself. The spice ratios can be altered however you like, but the key to making this mix work is the cumin and cayenne, which give them an almost Indian flavor. The Gluten-Free Guide has the exact measurements, but below is a more casual approach. The key note is to not overdo any one spice so that they all can stand out.

Cook up some simple syrup (2 cups sugar to every cup water) and combine with corn syrup, enough to coat the nuts. You can also use maple syrup or honey if you want to add another flavor. Once the nuts was sugar-coated and sticky, toss them with salt, cinnamon, cumin, cloves, cayenne, and nutmeg. Spread evenly on a baking sheet and toast for 15 minutes, turning the pan every five minutes.

If you've done it right, every bite of the final mix will taste different. Some are very sweet, some boast that comforting cinnamon-clove flavor, and some will knock you out with spiciness. They are an ideal bar snack, but be sure to give them to people with adventurous tastebuds.

08 February 2010

food stuff: eating by candlelight

i'm a little disappointed that i didn't think of this first, but an excellent survey was posted at the kitchn and i thought we could do our own poll here. in honor of valentine's day, how often do you eat dinner by candlelight?

06 February 2010

Quick Decadence

So... long time not post. Schools started again and I feel like I have NO as in ZERO time...but a girl still needs to eat right? And why not eat well?

Here is my 8 minute pseudo home-made meal.

  • 2 Trader Joe Crab Cakes
  • 1 Bag washed spinach
  • 1/2 pint baby tomatoes
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt Pepper

Get out two saute pans. 1 large and 1 medium.
Get out one small baking tray

Turn on toaster/oven 400 degrees.
Place tomatoes on this sheet. Pour some olive oil over them and add salt and pepper.
Roast for 10 minutes (until they start to pop)

Turn on the fire to medium under both pans.
Add olive oil to both.
Add Crab cakes to the medium and spinach to the large.

Wait a minute...pour yourself some wine.

Stir the spinach. After a few minutes flip the crab cakes.

When the spinach is all wilted.

Put on a plate. Add the tomatoes to the plate. Put the crab cakes on top.

EAT... get back to your excel sheets....

05 February 2010

Kitchen Basics: Veggie Stock… Wait! Hear me out.

  When I was 26, I spake as a 26-year-old, I understood as a 26-year-old, I did 26-year-old things… like buy a drafty condo with oil heat. But, when I became a man, I learnt how to cook.

Luckily, said apartment is on the second floor so a lot of the drafting comes in the form of warm air from the neighbor below. (we totally luck out on this trade: we get heat, she gets footsteps - second floor is the way to go) Yet, being the cheap bastards that we are, and because oil is more expensive than the alternatives, my roommates and I rarely turn on the heat. This makes the apartment's ambient temperature a reliable 50-55º F. While this is perfect for brewing lagers, it is sub-optimal for keeping women around (or individuals of whatever gender you prefer to have naked in your room).

Here is a great way to
   1. get some free heat
   2. make your apartment smell nice (if you like warm earthy aromas that were not designed in New Jersey)
   3. save money on vegetable stock
       a. free flavor!
       b. free vitamins!
       c. use it as a base for soup
       d. use it to make rice instead of water.
       e. tc.
   4. use all the parts of “the buffalo” (by which I of course mean vegetables) which makes jesus and gaia both really happy.

Every time you bust out your web browser and open to the Mad Tasty section, save the vegetable ends in a bag in the freezer: Below I present quite possibly the ugliest picture ever posted on a food blog, in spite of my efforts to make it look like a cornucopia. Look closely (if img fidelity permits) and you’ll see
   1. carrot butts and greens
   2. three batches of cilantro we didn’t get through before they wilted beyond appetizing
   3. a large portion of celery with a similar fate
   4. a number of pieces of pepper (go ahead and leave the stem on)
   5. carrot peels
   6. ends of red and yellow onions
   7. stems of chard
   8. stems of kale
   9. something borrowed
   10. something blue

Your stock will taste a little different every time because its not a set recipe. Don't worry, it will be usable in all the same ways. You may want to remember what's in there or taste it and see what you think it will be best with. Lately, I've tended to have a lot of cilantro in the broth, so last time, instead of the chicken soup I usually make, I went with a vietnamese-style pork and beef soup. If you find you've got a lot of carrots and your broth is pretty sweet, you may want to try using it to make rice for a green curry, or maybe use it in a turnip soup. I think most people end up with a lot of aromatics and lean toward basic chicken soup, but you never know what your freezer is gonna throw at you!

I digress, in the above picture is also, a pair of garlic heads that I pulled off the top of the refrigerator. They are getting dry and will not be used. I peel these (crush method!), but you may not need to – oh that reminds me, I also take off the skin of the onion, but save that tough outer layer that you never use in your salad or stir fry.

This is a great time to clean out the fridge. You are about to boil the ƒμ¢ℵ out of this stuff so don’t worry if its wilty or if part of it looks a little slimy (I mean do your best to remove the slime). Look! I found some spinach that I bought like 5 days ago:

As indicated, put it all in a stock pot or the largest pot you have and fill it up with water. (Before I got this stock pot, I would occasionally use two side-by-side pots) Use hot water to save time boiling.

Now, make yourself a martini and start assembling your blog post.

You have a few hours. Some people only boil for 1 hour, I like to generously overshoot an hour (because I love martinis and macs). At least one friend of mine boils her stock for closer to four hours which seems a little extravagant to me.

Once you see good color and can taste that vegetable flavor, add salt and pepper to taste in the last 20 min. Strain the deader-than-dead vegetables out of your stock and put them in the COMPOST HEAP! Whoa, did we just get three uses out of these fruits of the earth? I think so!

Pat yourself on the back, but don’t forget, viri is not the plural of virus, but of man.

So in my estimation, 32 oz veggie stock costs like $3.50 and were making close to 2 gallons, and if it costs (very rough estimate) $1000 to heat an apartment of this size for the winter, that’s 10 bucks a day. So this whole process saves you $15 – $25, which is kinda worth it.

madtasty twenty minute meal

So, I've been having far too many Rachel Ray evenings lately, where I can barely bring myself to cook.  This meal is for me a step up from "my version" of the quick fix that Alana made.  The key is relying on exceptionally tasty (probably very high sodium, I'm afraid to look at the back of the box) rice-in-a-box:

For accents and some protein, I'm all about the crisp green goodness of shoots.  In this case, pea shoots:

 Since everything I make turns into a curry regardless of whatever I'd hoped to make at the start, this time I actually made on on purpose.  Have a look at some of our curry recipes to learn how.  I focused on cauliflower, carrots, white beans and corn in this one.

 The rice takes an exact twenty minutes to simmer, which gives you just enough time to chop vegetables, throw on a medium high heat and get to currying.  And I can't get over how great the pea shoots look when you're plating things.  They look good even if you just use one or two for garnish.  And they last forever in the fridge. 

  But there you go.  Twenty-five minutes from start to finish.  Rachel Ray can go climb a tree.

04 February 2010

Workin it out with Classic Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

One of the best books I bought on my last trip to America was about 1001 Cupcakes, cookies, and delightful treats. And the best thing about it was that there are pictures for each and every recipe. So, naturally I had to copy one and revise it for me. These cookies are soft, with a little bit of crunch on the outside, and are really just delectable. Oh and let me mention that they are semi-healthy too!

Ingredients: (Makes 30 cookies, give or take)
  • 3/4 cup butter or margarine
  • 1 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 4 tbsp water
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 1/2 cups plain oats
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • (optional) Add 1/2 cup of chopped raisins
  1. Get out your baking sheet and grease it with butter or pam.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350F/180C.
  3. In a bowl, combine the butter and sugar and beat it together until it is light and pretty fluffy.
  4. Add the egg, water, and vanilla. Mix it together until it is smooth.
  5. Mix the oats, flour, salt, and baking soda together in another bowl.
  6. Gradually mix the oat mixture into the creamy mixture. Combining with each new addition.
  7. Once the mixture has all been added together, begin lumping spoonfuls on the baking sheet. (Add your raisins now if you'd like)
  8. Bake the cookies for approximately 15 minutes or until golden brown.
I definitely have a sweet tooth...but it's no good to make something so yummy, and not share, so I brought these to some friends to enjoy. Of course, eat them in moderation, but definitely eat them!

03 February 2010

Apple Pear Crisp

This year, for Christmas, I got, not one, but two apple peeler/corers. I don't mind peeling my ingredients by hand, but this is quite the invention. It peels, cores, and spiral slices anything you stick in it with just a few turns of a crank.

So I decided to finally try it out and make a apple pear crisp. It came out delicious and took half the time that it normally would have.

  • 3 Bosch Pears peeled, cored, and sliced
  • 3 Granny Smith Apples peeled, cored, and sliced
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 2 tsps all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsps lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsps and 2 teaspoons water
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup quick cooking oats
  • 2/3 cup butter, softened
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. In a medium size bowl, toss apples with sugar, flour, cinnamon, lemon juice, and water.
  3. Spread evenly into a 8x8 inch pan.
  4. In another bowl, mix together flour, brown sugar, oats, and butter.
  5. Spoon mixture evenly over apples.
  6. Bake in preheated oven for about 45 minutes.
  7. Let cool for 20 minutes and serve.

02 February 2010

Steel-cut Oats

Oatmeal is one aspect of childhood I seem to have missed out on. It’s a texture thing, because I also hated cereal with milk in it (still do), bananas (still do), yogurt (now I’m kinda “meh”), and any kind of cooked egg (I’m totally over that, thankfully). It's taken me twenty years to work though my fear of “soupy,” gluey foods, foods that might drip down your chin in a sticky panache of different consistencies, and I still haven't made much progress.

Somewhere in my brain I knew that it was possible to make oatmeal—or steel-cut oats, or rolled oats, or quick oats (note to self: learn the differences)—from scratch, but I've mostly believed that the life of oatmeal ended at individual Quaker Oats packets. Aside from backpacking, when one is willfully desperate, I wanted to keep those things away from me.

I recently reread Heidi Swanson’s Super Natural Cooking—which is just such an awesome cookbook, everyone should own it—and came to her recipe for Steel-cut Oats. Feeling brave, I decided to gave it a try. I’m happy to report that steel-cut oats have revolutionized breakfast for me. I have reason go get out of bed. This oatmeal is deliciously chewy, will fill your kitchen with the handsome aroma of a slow-cooked grain, and is super-dooper easy.
Homemade Steel-cut Oats

4 servings

The genius of Swanson’s recipe is that you make a large batch at once, and then just reheat it in the morning. Still, I halve the recipe because I’d rather just make it twice in a week than have it sit in the fridge for seven days.

To do this you’ll need 3 cups water, 3/4 cup steel-cut oats, and a big pinch of salt. There are two cooking methods:

1) Boil water, stir in oatmeal and salt, and cook over low heat until it’s reached desired consistency.

2) Pour boiling water over oatmeal and salt, stir, cover the pot, let sit overnight. Reheat in the morning.
I’ve tried both methods, and they both work, though for the latter method I had to finish cooking the oatmeal in the morning—it was still a little too “soupy” for my tastes.

The other genius thing about her recipe is that she offers seven different toppings—one for each day of the week! I’m still stuck on #1: toasted walnuts plus a drizzle of pomogranate molasses (I also add a pinch of brown sugar, which is no-no in Swansonland because it’s highly processed, but: baby steps). If you’re new to pomogranate molasses (reduced pomogranate syrup, a staple of some Middle Eastern cuisines) and you try it on oatmeal, you might find yourself wanting to add it to everything you eat. It's tart jolt is impossible to hide, and a little goes a long way.

Confetti Cornbread

This year, we were charged with making Christmas dinner for the family. Since we were responsible for every course (ham, whiskey/apricot marmalade glaze, beans Anglais) and tweaking them for the family's dietary restrictions (no olive oil, no garlic), we decided to make this super easy and colorful cornbread as our requisite carb. This recipe is more dense and moist than many of its crumbly cornbread counterparts, but we're cool with that. It's great for a Super Bowl party or barbecue.

Confetti Cornbread (clipped by Bake's mom from Parade magazine)
  • 1 c flour
  • 1 c cornmeal
  • 3 tsp sugar
  • 1 1/4 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 c milk
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 c finely diced mixed peppers (red, green, and orange are recommended for color, and feel free to add in some jalepeno for more of a kick)
This tiny specimen was, somehow, the only whisk in Bake's parents kitchen.

Preheat oven to 400 and butter an 8- or 9-inch square pan.

Whisk all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Separately, whisk milk, butter, and egg together. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry and gently stir until the batter is evenly moistened. Add the peppers and stir to combine.

Bake for 25 min or until a cake tester (cornbread tester?) comes out dry. Cool for 15 minutes before serving.

01 February 2010

food stuff: cleaning hot pans

the kitchn has a great post answering a reader's excellent question on how does one clean a hot pan? i have DEFINITELY been burned before so this was helpful for me. what are your burn stories?


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