Wednesday, January 28, 2009
And I found this...
which I find appropriate to post now because I had asparagus on Monday, and well... you know.
And for those of you who don't think your pee smells after you eat asparagus, it does, you just can't smell it. No seriously, read this if you don't believe me.
(Click picture for a larger version.)
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
I freaking LOVE beans.
So that fact, coupled with my Arkansan-upbringing should make it a no-brainer that I am a huge fan of red beans and rice. In general, Cajun cooking is right up my alley, but I’m quite picky. Seafood is not an option, and quite a few Cajun staples revolve around fishy flavors. So as a kid, while everyone else chowed down on Jambalaya and fried catfish, I always migrated towards a hearty helping of the red beans and rice.
The following recipe is one of my favorites so far. And, the magazine it came from listed it as only costing approximately $3.00 per serving, which my budget very much appreciates at the moment.
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 small green pepper, finely chopped
1 rib celery, thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1½ teaspoons Cajun seasoning
½ teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon dried thyme
½ pound dried red kidney beans
1 large chicken bouillon cube
3 cups water
½ pound light kielbasa, cut into ¼ inch half moons
¼ teaspoon black pepper
3 cups cooked white rice
Rinse beans and pick over. Then bring to a boil in 3-4 cups of water. Boil 2 minutes, then take off stove and let sit for one hour with lid on. (If the instructions on the package of your dried beans differ, follow those steps here.) When beans have sat for an hour, put back on stove and simmer in large pot while you follow the next steps. Meanwhile, heat oil in a medium-size skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, green pepper and celery. Cook, stirring, for 7 minutes. Add garlic; cook 1 minute. Then scrape contents of skillet into pot to cook with the beans. Also add Cajun seasoning, oregano, thyme, bouillon cube and some water, if it needs it. Then allow the mixture to keep simmering (covered, with lid tilted to let out steam) for 1½ to 2 hours. When beans are tender, stir in kielbasa and black pepper. Cook until heated through. Serve over rice.
Per Serving: 344 calories; 8 g fat (2 g sat.); 8 g protein; 48 g carbohydrate; 11 g fiber; 890 mg sodium; 24 mg cholesterol.
But, I have managed to trick some people into letting me write for them.
And now I’m hoping I can trick you into reading it!
It’s a bit long, but if you stick with it you get a surprise at the end. A special, special cupcake-filled surprise. (Really, it’s just an interview with the owners of Crumbs Bakeshop, which is…uuummmm…awesome!)
So either go here or here to check it out. It’s the same story, just two different newspapers/websites.
Thursday, January 22, 2009
Brownie Hearts on Chocolate Brownies with Basic Buttercream and Handwritten Valentines on One-Bowl Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Glaze. Ah, the obligatory Valentine’s Day spread. Props for including a cupcake for brownie fans!
Strawberry with Strawberry Buttercream. This was included in the Valentine layout as well, and it looks DELICIOUS. Valentine’s Day, my birthday, Groundhog Day, whatever. I’ll take a dozen, please.
Last, but certainly not least—the cutesy cupcakes. That hedgehog on the lower left-hand corner kills me. Look at his little almond prickles! And the black section of the sunflower cupcake is actually chocolate-covered sunflower seeds. I know someone who would probably nibble those off quite gleefully.
I would nibble on any of these gleefully.
(As I said before, I wasn't able to find online recipes for all of these. Click on the highlighted ones to be directed to the proper recipe on the Martha Stewart site.)
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Just in time for Valentine’s Day, the February issue of Martha Stewart Living gives us what we need to spend that day (and every other day) happily ever after—cupcakes. And since we all know these would turn out disastrous in my incapable hands, I’m giving them to you in pure, Martha-perfected form. You may now commence with the ogling and drooling.
Pistachio and Raspberry Cupcake. The nut and fruit combo of this cupcake make it seem more like a muffin to me, but I like the originality. It’s certainly different than your average sprinkle and frosting variety.
Chocolate Chip with Chocolate Chip Frosting and Banana with Caramel Buttercream. These are the two that I am most likely to make. And eat.
(I wasn’t able to find recipes online for every cupcake pictured. Ones that do have recipes are highlighted. Click the links for recipes from MarthaStewart.com)
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
While I could probably think of a million resolutions I don’t care about or ever intend to keep (dieting? Umm, yeah. Right. Saving money for [insert something special here]? Yes…with my nonexistent income. You get the picture.), I’ll spare you and share something that floated into my email inbox a few weeks ago. I receive daily email newsletters from Ideal Bite, a website that dispenses easily digested tips on how to slowly green your lifestyle through small steps. Ideal Bite calls its tips, “bite-sized ideas for light green living.”
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
1) I feel like bragging.
2) I really wish the cookies and fudge were still around.
3) You can make this stuff any time of year.
So, I did a ton of baking, as the long list of recipes show. And I probably ate a majority of what I made, with the exception of the biscottis (those I made for my mother’s stocking, and she said they taste wonderful with the coffee from her new coffee maker. Testimonials, I have them.).
I made Dish Pan Cookies and Fudge (FUDGE!!!), with Jon’s grandparents one morning. They were nice enough to let me help them, even though I completely botched an egg-custard pie. No seriously, it cooked for like 4 hours and never got past the runny stage. Not good. Luckily, I did not burn the fudge. I might have cried if I had. And no one wants to see that.
As for the ‘Sploding Snowball cookies, since everyone calls them different things—snowballs, wedding cookies, cocoon cookies, etc.—I decided to name them for their exploding effect. Touch one too hard—explosion of flour and powdered sugar all over the floor. Don’t nibble on one delicately enough—explosion in your face. And yet, they taste so good if you can hold onto one long enough to get a taste.
Dish Pan Cookies
From Bill and Shirley, my BF’s awesome grandparents
2 cups oil
2 cups brown sugar
2 cups granulated sugar
2 Tbsp. vanilla
1 Tsp. salt
2 Tsp. baking soda
4 cups all-purpose flour
1½ cups uncooked oats
4 cups cornflakes
Cream eggs, oil, brown sugar, granulated sugar and vanilla together. Sift flour, soda and salt. Add to mixture. Fold in oats and cornflakes. Drop teaspoons of dough onto greased cookie sheet. Bake for 7-8 minutes at 350 degrees.
Makes: A LOT. You’ll be eating these for weeks, which isn’t a bad thing, I promise.
From Bill Jones, AKA Jon’s Pappaw
¾ cup (1½ stick) margarine
3 cups sugar
2/3 cup evaporated milk
1 package (12 oz) semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 jar (7 oz) marshmallow crème
1 cup chopped nuts
1 tsp. vanilla
Mix margarine, sugar and milk in a heavy 2½ to 3 qt sauce pan. Bring to a full boil, stirring constantly. Continue boiling for 5 minutes over medium heat or until candy thermometer reaches 234 degrees. Stir constantly to prevent scorching. (This is an important step! Stir the entire time and have someone help if your arm gets tired. Bill was my stirring partner there in the end.)Remove from heat and gradually stir in chips until melted. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Pour into greased 9 inch square or 13X9 inch baking pan. Cool at room temperature. Cut into squares.
Makes 3 pounds.
From Lori Sander, my mom’s BFF-izzle
2 sticks margarine, creamed
2½ cups sifted flour
2 Tbsp. powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups chopped nuts
Add all ingredients together. Mix well. Roll dough into small ball shapes and place on a cookie sheet. Bake at 325 degrees until light brown. (This part is a little bit trial and error, but keep a close eye on them and take them out if they start to develop cracks.) Cool slightly, then roll in powdered sugar.
From the November 2008 Family Circle
2¼ cups all-purpose flour
1½ teaspoons baking powder
Pinch of salt
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
½ cup light-brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup dried cherries, chopped
½ cup pistachios, chopped
3 ounces milk chocolate, melted
Heat oven to 375 degrees. Mix flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Beat butter, sugar in second bowl until creamy. Beat in eggs, one at a time. (Definitely do it one at a time. I added both eggs together and the dough was a nasty, lumpy mess until I busted out the electric mixer.) Add vanilla. Stir in flour mixture. Add cherries and nuts. Gather dough in a ball; divide in 2 halves. With floured hands, roll dough into two 12-inch logs. Place on a large ungreased baking sheet. Flatten logs slightly so each is 2 to 3 inches wide. Bake at 375 degrees for 23 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove to rack to cool. Lower oven temperature to 325 degrees. Cut loaves into ¾-inch-thick slices (about 16 per log). Place, cut-side-down, on sheet. Bake 10 minutes. Turn over; bake an additional 10 minutes. Cool on rack. Dip one end in melted chocolate; let dry on waxed paper.
Makes about 2½ dozen
Per cookie: 95 calories; 4 g fat (2 g sat.); 13 g carbs.
Friday, January 9, 2009
Monday, January 5, 2009
P.S. Ummm....my beloved cookies were actually recalled in October 2008, since they were manufactured in China and may be contaminated with melamine. So, even though I love them dearly, you should probably steer clear for a while. Actually, this explains why I could only find the pancake flavor, as those were not recalled, while the King Size and Family Pack chocolate, strawberry, white chocolate and chestnut flavors were. Yeah, thanks China. Thanks a lot.
Friday, January 2, 2009
So in honor of my current lasagna craving, and my October ambition in the kitchen, here’s the recipe in all its cheesy, noodle-y, tomato sauce-y glory.
Warning: This lasagna took a while to cook and was A LOT of work, so I don’t recommend this for a weekday dinner, unless you have a severe case of the unemployment boredoms like I do, in which case CARRY ON!
1 lb lean ground beef
½ medium sweet white onion, diced
½ large green bell pepper, seeds and veins removed, diced
½ lb dry lasagna noodles (requires 9 lasagna noodles – unbroken)
¼ cup sugar
1 28 oz can tomato sauce
½ 28 oz can stewed tomatoes
½ 6 oz can tomato paste
1 lb Ricotta cheese
1½ lb Mozzarella cheese (large flat square slices)
¾ lb freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Parsley diced (fresh flat leaf preferred)
1 garlic clove, minced
White wine vinegar
Directions for the sauce:
Brown lean ground beef in skillet until lightly browned and cooked through. Put a few layers of paper towels in large bowl. With slotted spoon remove browned beef from skillet draining off excess beef fat and put on top of blotting towels. After all the browned beef has been removed from the skillet, drain off and dispose of excess beef fat. Wipe skillet clean with paper towel. (If your ground beef is sufficiently lean, there won’t be any excess fat to drain.) Add diced green pepper and onion to skillet. Brown for a few minutes on medium high heat, add browned beef back to the skillet, lower the heat to low and continue to cook for 5 more minutes stirring frequently. Transfer browned beef, green pepper and onions to 3 quart pot. Add tomato sauce, tomato paste, open stewed tomatoes and dice, then add. Add oregano, parsley, Italian Spice Mix to taste, probably 2 teaspoons of each. Add a pinch of garlic powder and a pinch of garlic salt, to taste. Add a dash of white wine vinegar. Add sugar a couple of teaspoons at a time, until desired level of sweetness, no more that ¼ cup of sugar. Stir and allow sauce to simmer 15-45 minutes to thicken. Stir frequently and be careful not to scorch the bottom. Remove from heat.
Putting it all together:
Cook 1 lb lasagna noodles in 6 quart pot per cooking directions on box. Stir often to prevent from sticking and be sure that water remains at a low boil during the entire cooking to prevent noodles from sticking. Drain in colander and place in a pan filled with cool water to keep the noodles from drying out and sticking together. Then in a dry lasagna pan, ladle one cup of sauce and spread along the bottom of the pan. Apply a layer of noodles 3 length wise, edges overlapping. Ladle sauce sparingly into center of the noodles. Apply a layer of mozzarella cheese slices on top of sauce. Place ricotta cheese dollops every 2 inches in center of noodles on top of mozzarella. Then sprinkle with a thin layer of grated parmesan. Repeat until you run out of room in the pan or ingredients! Sprinkle the top with grated mozzarella and parmesan. Tent lasagna pan with aluminum foil without letting the foil touch the noodles or sauce. Bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes.