29 April 2011

skillet cookies

I have a new blog crush. I recently stumbled upon 101 Cookbooks, or the blog of Heidi Swanson. I've been following it for about a week and I'm already just about to fork over the cash and get her brand-spanking-new cookbook from Amazon. Her specialty is natural, generally veggie-friendly cooking. I follow a lot of lovely blogs, but most are baking-oriented, or I have to just toss in some veggie broth instead of chicken broth, or add tofu cubes and hope it does an okay job of approximating something tasty. This blog actually is easy for me to cook from, and as a vegetarian, I am positively thankful for that. That being said, she does a little baking here and there.

So un/fortunately, here's my introduction to her fantastic cooking -- skillet cookies! Hey, at least it's whole wheat flour, right??  Have you ever want to bake cookies, but aren't too keen on some of the details, like rolling little uniform balls of dough? Well then just grease up a cast-iron skillet and press the dough into it, and you will make people smile with your giant cookie.

Oh yeah, and as I post this, I am eating the last (sad!) of my leftover Coconut Red Lentil Soup. Guess where I got the recipe.... sorry folks, no photos of it this time. Hey, dinner was ready to be served the other night at 9:30, I was hungry, and I'd just read an article confirming the glow of crappy overhead lightbulbs does in fact yield disappointing photos, so I ate my soup. 

28 April 2011

orange cornmeal pancakes

Valuable lesson: Do not attempt to bake, cook, or otherwise make a recipe that has no associated picture. 

Case and point: I found this reasonable-sounding recipe to use a picture-perfect red pepper and purple cabbage. And, of course, cheese. Come on! Cheese makes everything great, right?? Note that the recipe only shows you a delightful still life of the main ingredients.

Truth: There's no picture of said gratin anywhere on the New York Times because in real life, once finished, it totally looks like roadkill:
Because I care, I made this photo small. I do not suggest you click on it to enlarge it.
Sorry, I had to do that. It was a valuable lesson. Food, in most cases, has to look good. Ugh.

Moving on. Pancakes. For Easter Sunday, my husband and I did our usual pancakes, but used Easter as a general landmark for the coming of spring, so we busted out the citrus-zesty pancakes. Check these out, way more delicious in appearance I promise (large picture! Yay!):
The recipe can be found here, and the only change I made was to add 1/4 c. corn starch to the batter. This was a good call, trust me.

20 April 2011

southwest veggie burgers

So the plan is to start cooking new things. I picked out five new recipes and hit the grocery store. Project Try New Things! started off on a high note for sure! I picked out some delicious multigrain rolls from Breadsmith (also apparently following my trend of lavender-flavored baked goods! I was cool before they were cool! Harrumph. Also, why must they share a space with Jamba Juice? C'mon! Too irresistible! Double harrumph.) specifically to motivate myself to make this. 

No doubt, homemade veggie burgers aren't new around our place. We make a mean curry tofu burger. Alas, not terribly photogenic, so not yet incorporated into this here blog. This one, however, was unbelievable. And so very easy too! Another win for new recipes in our usual rotation, and another win for food52 stealing my heart.

I did tweak this recipe a bit, so here's the rundown:

Southwestern Sweet Potato Veggie Burgers 

**makes 6 meal-sized burgers**

  • medium sweet potato
  • (15-oz) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • (8.5-oz) whole kernel corn, rinsed and drained (frozen is okay too, thaw first)
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 tsp. packed fresh cilantro
  • 1 tsp. chipotle Tabasco 
  • 1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
    1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Lightly grease a baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.
    2. Microwave the sweet potato for 5 minutes. Remove from microwave, split in half and scoop out the flesh. Discard the skin. Place the flesh in the bowl of your food processor along with half the black beans, half the corn, and then all of the flour, garlic, olive oil, salt, pepper, coriander, paprika, chili powder, and cilantro.
    3. Process until almost completely smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Transfer blended mixture to a bowl and add in the remaining beans, corn, and the crumbled feta cheese.
    4. Form mixture into six patties (mixture will be soft) on the prepared baking sheet. Bake in the oven for 45 minutes, flipping gently half way through baking and adding grated Parmesan cheese on top if desired. Remove from oven and allow to cool on baking sheet for 10 minutes. 
We served our burgers with baby spinach on top. I liked mine with lebni on the bun. If you are lucky enough to own a toaster oven, do toast the buns before serving. A good chipotle salsa would also be tasty. And, as it is a burger, a good beer goes well with this. I really like dark beer, so Abita's Turbodog was just perfect to me.

14 April 2011

My apologies. And, cake.

Clearly, time has flown past. I swear I have actually made stuff in my kitchen. I could tell you I haven't posted because my hard drive crashed and I lost some pictures. True, I lost some, but I managed to recover many of them later thanks to the genius of Apple's Time Capsule feature (lesson learned: back your computer up more than once every ten months!). I could tell you I haven't posted because I was out of the country for two and a half weeks (Jordan is lovely this time of year!). I could tell you that upon my return I caught a cold that knocked me on my ass for the next two weeks and I really wasn't too happy about cooking, or really doing anything other than blow my nose.  I could tell you that I've been baking way too many adorable treats for my dog and her doggie pals.

But really, I've been cooking a fair amount, and even photo-documenting it! I've just been terribly indecisive when it comes down to choosing which recipe to post.  For this, I apologize.

I've also discovered a new food website that is totally going to dominate my cooking repertoire for a good long while. Readers, meet food52. It's pretty much the foodie snob version of Epicurious. I love that they do weekly contests, the recipe searches turn up with well-tested recipes first, and that I can tag recipes that I'd like to try at some point. I've been trying to find new recipes to try out, since the spring thaw is making me crave fun produce. Does anyone else do this -- get through winter, with all your favorite warm one-pot recipes, and then suddenly be bored to death with them come the first sign of spring? Who knows, maybe some day I will actually get the nerve to post something.

Also, I want to direct your attention to Eat Your Books. If you love your cook books, but hate trying to remember, oh I don't know, where that one recipe that used soba noodles was (ahhh drives me crazy!!!), subscribing to this site will allow you to Google your own cook books. If you aren't immediately sold, go check for your favorite cookbooks. Turns out everything we have, aside from Williams-Sonoma cookbooks, are there. I will probably suck it up and subscribe in the near future. Be prepared for updates.

And, as an apology, I've got cake for you. Okay, it was for my husband. His birthday, that is. So really, here's a picture of cake for you to look at:

Specifically, chocolate butter cake with raspberry italian merengue buttercream frosting. For realz.

Remember how cake from scratch was one of my big culinary fears? Well, check out CakeLove. Warren Brown is here to show you that it is totally fun to make cakes. It doesn't say so in the book, but if I can make one that turned out so well on the first try with my little hand mixer, anyone can do it. If it didn't require me to stockpile butter like it's nobody's business, I would make them for any little occasion. Oh yeah, and if I owned a snazzy cake-transporting device. Hmm...