Sunday, January 30, 2011

Kale, Spinach, and Pear Smoothie

 I’ve been feeling blah this week. That means that I’ve been eating lots of soup (with garlic!), drinking lots and lots of tea, and watching Netflix like crazy. Oh yeah, and doing homework. Anyway, this smoothie is getting me back on the mend. Lots of greens for breakfast or dessert and it tastes fantastic? Yes please! Plus, it starts with almond milk, which is my favorite nondairy choice.

Kale Spinach and Pear Smoothie from Joy the Baker:

Makes 1 dynamite smoothie

1 c. spinach leaves
1 c. chopped kale leaves
½ pear
1 frozen banana
1½ c. cold almond milk
1 Tb. honey (I used lavender honey)

Remove kale leaves from their rough center stalk and coarsely chop. In a blender or food processor, combine kale, spinach, and almond milk. Blend until no big kale bits remain. Stop and add banana, honey, and pear. Blend until smooth. Enjoy immediately.
You can make this all the way vegan easily by subbing in another natural sweetener for the honey. You might get spinach or kale in your teeth, but it’s tasty and good for you! Win!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Chicken and Waffles

What do you do when you make too much pancake/waffle batter? You stick in the fridge and then have chicken and waffles for dinner. You can modify these any way you like, but make sure it's spicy or you're missing the point.

Chicken and Waffles:

Serves 2

For the waffles-
½ recipe waffle batter
1 head broccoli, diced small
½ c. cheese (white cheddar rocks!)
2 tsp. red pepper flakes
2 Tb. cayenne pepper
2 Tb. granulated garlic
2 Tb. dried minced onion
Freshly cracked pepper

For the chicken-
2 chicken breasts
2 eggs
2 tsp. cayenne pepper
2 tsp. granulated garlic
Freshly cracked pepper
Salt to taste

To make the waffles, mix everything in with the batter, and get it going in a waffle iron. You should have enough batter to make four small waffles.

To make the chicken, mix in the cayenne pepper, garlic, pepper, and salt with some flour. Dredge the chicken through the flour, then the egg wash, and then the breadcrumbs. Cook in pan with hot olive oil over medium-high heat until cooked through.

 Place the chicken on a waffle, cover with hot sauce of your choice, and top with another waffle. Serve with syrup. These are sweet and spicy and so delicious. The broccoli adds color and a bit of texture and the cheese is a perfect complement to all of the spice. It’s hearty and works day or night.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

In cucina con amore

Sophia Loren is fabulous. We all know this. This cookbook looks like so much fun. David Lebovitz found it here. If I ever get to Switzerland, I'm going there.

Well, and eating chocolate and cheese too.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Salmon Pasta

This is a really simple recipe from last summer and while I don’t remember exactly what I did, it looks like something I do fairly often in the summer and I know it’s good.

Salmon Pasta:

Serves 2

1 large wild Alaskan salmon fillet
Herbs of choice (here is rosemary, dill, and tarragon)
Olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
3-4 cloves garlic, diced
Cooked pasta (pappardelle is great for this dish)

 Salt, pepper, and herb your salmon. In a medium size pan over medium-high heat with a bit of olive oil, grill it until done. Fish cooks quickly, so watch it. When done, set aside. In the same pan, add more olive oil and sauté the onion and garlic until tender and fragrant. While this is happening, break up the salmon into bite size pieces. Remove pan from heat, return the salmon to the pan with the cooked pasta, and mix together. Serve immediately.

This is a fast recipe and it rocks with some grilled summer vegetables or salad.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Things I Love Thursday: Jan. 20, 2011

It's a wonderful and wacky world of food out there folks. I hope you're all having a great week and are eating well.

Beer Does a Body Good?: I like basically everything about this. Beer plus exercise plus a Mediterranean  diet. Yes, yes, and also yes! It's science that I enjoy.

Whiskey Now Comes in a Can: And in the complete opposite direction from the above beer study, the world now has a can. This just screams bad idea. If you watch SNL, this might sound an awful lot like when they had Jason Sudeikis be the creator of Four Loko and how he told everyone they were drinking it wrong. You drink it by the serving size!

Chocolate Cupcakes with Flaming Strawberries: Uhm, yum? And beautiful. Also, doesn't flaming strawberries sound like a band name?

(yes, I love Star Wars. I think that should be pretty obvious by now)

Romanian Birds Died from "Binge Drinking": Along the lines of funny headline for a not-so-funny thing, at least this wasn't avian flu. Wine is delicious and I guess those birds just didn't know when to stop indulging.

Food Trend Predicition - Finger Limes: I have never even heard of these before, but I want one right now! They look amazing and now I am probably going to spend far too much time and effort trying to find them.

Fast Food Ads versus Reality: This is really fascinating. Though I don't eat a lot of fast food, it's interesting to see how far reality is from advertisement. It reminds me a lot of when I was in home ec in the 7th grade and we were shown a video about how much work goes into fast food advertising. It is still very, very true.

Lemonbasil has a few awesome photo posts of Oregon in the fall. Deep in the depths of this weird Portland winter, it's just nice looking at fall again. Right now I'm staring at a bunch of fog and sad trees. If you're missing pretty days too, check out this one and this one. It might make you happier.

Hass Avocado Board Press Release: "Football fans are expected to consume an estimated 69.6 million pounds of Hass avocados during Big Game festivities, as announced today by the Hass Avocado Board (HAB). That's enough to cover Dallas' Cowboys Stadium® football field (which will be hosting the Big Game on February 6), end zone to end zone, 26.9 feet deep in avocados." - Hass Avocado Board. Yes, this is true. And man, do I love avocados. And guacamole. I am looking forward to contributing to the large number of avocados eaten on Super Bowl Sunday!

And speaking of guacamole, how about cheese dip? Back in October, North Little Rock, AR had their first World Championship Cheese Dip Competetion. Oh man, to have been a judge? Heaven!

(I'm obsessed with sea otters and today just seemed like a good day to post this. It's eating ice! Yes! As an aside, my dog loves eating ice too. I think I just like cute things eating ice.)

I'm also loving: Apizza Scholls (my mouth is full of garlic and I don't care!); Mama Lisa making more popcorn every time the bowl runs out at Classic Movie Night; waffles, waffles, and even more waffles; peanut butter on pancakes; taco night with Aaron; pumpkin seeds; ordering nachos and Kirsten saying "of course"; spicy bloody marys; Super Bowl planning; finding even more soup recipes and even better, soup recipes finding me; finally organizing my overflowing personal cookbook; getting free lunch with Adam; conversations about restaurants at work that are always punctuated by "sooo good!"; finding out that there's food that Anthony Bourdain WON'T eat; "Always start out with a larger pot than what you think you need." - Julia Child.

What are you loving this week? 

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Chicken Paprikash

This recipe comes to us from Aaron's dad. Again, this is a recipe Aaron first did awhile ago and I forgot to blog about it. It's been done multiple times since then and is really, really tasty.

Chicken Paprikash modified from Betty Crocker:

Serves 4

2-2½ lb. chicken breast
1 large onion, chopped
1 pepper (your choice of color), chopped
1 Tb. paprika
15 oz. can tomato puree
1 c. sour cream

Saute the chicken, onion, and pepper, add the puree and paprika and simmer until chicken is tender. Add in sour cream and serve over egg noodles.

Simple, delicious, and it looks like you took a lot more time than you did.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Kale and Potato Soup with Sausage

Soup is wonderful. It satisfies and usually doesn’t take too much time or effort. Though the weather has been all over the place here in Portland, Aaron and I are both still craving soup. I think the Le Creuset has something to do with it. Can I just take another moment and talk about how wonderful it is? While making this soup, some of the onions did that thing they do and made some black crusted on stuff on the bottom of the pot. I freaked out a bit because when I made this soup in another pot, the same thing happened. Only with that one, I spent the better part of a week soaking it and trying to get that stuff off. Not with the Le Creuset. It came right off in the wash. I call that a win.

And so is this soup. It’s hearty without leaving your stuffed and is the perfect vehicle for a crunchy, crusty bread. It was also really easy to throw together because I had basically everything already in the house. I substituted veggie broth for the chicken broth, chicken sausage for the pork sausage, and a very large russet potato for the Yukon Gold, but I think my version is probably similar to the original and very, very good.

Kale and Potato Soup with Sausage slightly modified from Serious Eats:

Serves 4-6

¼ c. extra virgin olive oil
½ lb. chicken sausage, casings removed
2 medium onions, sliced thin
5 cloves garlic, chopped (1 more than the original)
1 large bunch kale, stems removed and cut into ½” ribbons
1 lb. potatoes, peeled and sliced thin
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 c. veggie broth
Parmesan cheese

Heat olive oil in Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add sausage and cook, breaking up with a wooden spoon, until crumbled and beginning to brown, about 4 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and reserve.

Add onion and cook until soft and beginning to brown, 10-12 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, 1-2 minutes more. Add kale, potatoes, and reserved sausage, along with a couple pinches of salt. Cook about three minutes longer, then add veggie stock and bring to a boil. Simmer until the kale and potatoes are tender, about 30 minutes.

Season to taste with salt and pepper. Divide into bowls and top with fresh black pepper and grated Parmesan. Serve immediately.

This soup is so good! I really like the way the caramelized onions add some depth to the soup. The only thing I would change about it would be slightly more garlic. I only went one above the original and though I used fairly large cloves of garlic, it really could have used a bit more of that garlic flavor. Still, this is a very good and easy soup and I will be trying it out again soon.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Margarita Chicken

This might be a little sad, folks. I remember eating this and I remember it being very, very good, but I'm not exactly sure how it was put together. I think this will mostly be pictures, but I can give you a general idea of what happened and how you use it. I really should write things down when I make them. Or when Aaron does.

Margarita Chicken:

4 chicken breasts
Juice of one lemon
Juice of one lime
Big pinch of sugar
2 Tb. salt
1/4 c. olive oil

 Marinate chicken breasts with the above ingredients for at least half an hour in the refrigerator. Grill breasts in a medium size pan with olive oil. Once cooked through, set aside and cool until you can touch them comfortably. Shred and make tacos, nachos, burritos, or whatever you like.

The Recipes I Forgot

I'm on my laptop right now, looking through my food blog folder and I just came across a number of recipes and pictures I never posted. Most are from last summer, when life got so crazy I forgot about almost everything except for school. So this week and maybe next week, along with a couple of new things, I'm going to try to post everything that was left behind. Some of it was season appropriate, so if you like it, hang onto it. I'm sure summer will be here before we know it.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Things I Love Thursday: Jan. 13, 2011

Another week, another year (first TILT post of 2011!) and more things to love. Let's get to it!

(see the whole post here. It's similar to the article I posted in August)

Three Delicious Ways to Spike Your Hot Chocolate: The weather has been very wacky lately here in Portland, but I know a lot of the rest of the country is buried in snow and freezing their collective buns off. I have peppermint schnapps just for spiking cocoa, but these seem like fun! I'm sure the temp will take a dive again soon and I'll be ready!

Cookies and Cream Cheesecakes: These remind me a lot of these cupcakes I made back in the day and I know a certain someone who definitely like to give these a try. Plus, after making mini cheesecakes last year for the Super Bowl, I know better on how to do them.

How to Take Care of Your Knives: David Lebovitz to the rescue once again! Did you get an awesome knife set over Christmas? Did you recently upgrade in your kitchen? Learn how to keep your knives going for years of awesome meals.

(more shots available here) 

Kimchi Crisis!: Okay, I don't love this (lack of food is not something to love), but the title is kind of hilarious.

Cooking with Italian Grandmothers: My grandmothers are not Italian, though for a period of time I really wished the family was thanks to repeated viewings of The Godfather at a young age. Somehow I skimmed all of the violence and really focused on the huge Italian family dinners with all of the arguing and pasta. One of my favorite parts in the whole movie is when Clemenza lets Michael in on his secret for tomato sauce. Brillant! Anyway, this cookbook sounds amazing and I like the strong connections between food, family, and culture.

(sure it's New Trilogy, but I do like Star Wars cookies)

Automatic Cake Decorator: One thing I really struggle with is making my delicious baked goods actually look as good as they taste. This amazing creation could save me so much trouble! Now if only I had space for it... I guess I'll just have to learn to actually make food look pretty on my own.

Never Said About Restaurant Websites: So funny! Sometimes all you want is a phone number and address. Actually, most of the time that's all you want! This is well covered territory, with Portland Food and Drink having already talked about how awful they often are. It's similar to problems with university websites. Get it together restaurants!
Dinosaur Pancake by Jim of Jim's Pancakes (seriously, check out the rest of his awesome pancake creations. Okay, now I'm hungry for pancakes!)

I'm also loving: Aaron's food challenge (inspired by our friends Corey and Lisa and the Ground Rules blog); twice-baked potatoes with lots of broccoli; the fancy veggie slices at Mississippi Pizza; staring at food websites with Kirsten; pimento cheese and the planning of making many varieties (also with Kirsten); Turner eating one of my cupcakes and responding with "cupcake joy" (makes me feel awesome!); Mama Lisa making me feel better with peppermint tea and crackers while curled up on her couch watching The Sound of Music; spiced apple cider (warm or cold); re purposing halibut dishes; my Le Creuset (soooo happy!); pasta with so much garlic; warm dinners at home on cold, cold nights.

What are you loving this week? 

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Roasted Vegetable Soup

Look what Aaron got me for Christmas!
He is so awesome! And, as it turns out, really into getting me stuff for cooking. Even before I had made this post, he had already purchased me my very first Le Creuset. So there it was, beautiful and blue, and I needed to come up with something to cook in it. Soup, obviously, because it's a soup pot and you shouldn't cook something non-soup the first time. Not in this pretty French baby, oh no.

Anyway, last week it was very cold and we were very hungry. Based on what we had in the house and the very low temperature outside, I decided that instead of just having roasted veggies, which I love, we should have roasted vegetable soup. It's delicious, pretty quick, and you will be so happy and warm.

Roasted Vegetable Soup:

Serves 6

½ onion, diced
3-4 garlic cloves
1 ridiculously large potato, chopped
2 small sweet potatoes, chopped
3 c. broccoli
1 c. corn
½ c. peas
2 Tb. butter (optional)
3-4 c. veggie stock
Large pinch herbs de provence
Olive oil
Grated parmesan (optional)

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Take chopped potato, sweet potato, and broccoli and spread on a large baking sheet. Sprinkle with olive oil. Bake for about 20 minutes. You don’t want these to be all the way cooked through, but getting soft and the broccoli should be looking slightly browned and crispy. Set aside.

In your amazing Le Creuset or other heavy bottomed soup pot, heat butter and a little bit of olive oil over medium-low heat. I like the flavor combination of butter and oil, but you can make totally vegan without it and it will taste fine. Add onion and cook, 3-4 minutes or until softened and slightly brown. Add in garlic, corn, and peas. Add in roasted vegetables and herbs de provence (French herbs for my French pot!) and cook for another couple of minutes. Add in veggie stock, cover, and simmer for about 15 minutes. It’s done when you can get a fork easily into the potato pieces.

Serve immediately with bread and a little grated parmesan.

I love vegetable soup and I think roasting the veggies first makes it just that much more delicious. A good veggie stock is key to a good soup and I think my veggie stock is awesome. Make a bunch and freeze it. It's not hard and making your own is just that much better. I had two large bowls that day and then two more the next day. It’s perfect for these cold winter nights and is flexible enough to match the produce you have in your house.

Plus, it’s a great way to break in your soup pot. Clearly I am very happy about this!

Thursday, January 06, 2011

New Year's Eve Champagne Cupcakes with Kir Royale Frosting

A holiday rolls around, and I decide to bake. It's becoming my own little tradition. At almost the last minute, Aaron and I ended up hosting at NYE party at our place. After asking everyone to bring a drink or a snack if they could, I hunted through my ridiculous number of starred dessert recipes (160 and counting!) and when I found these, I said perfect and got rolling.

And then I realized, while baking, I had run out of powdered sugar during the baking extravaganza and hadn't replaced it and we were short on eggs. Lucky for me, I have a corner store and it saved my cupcakes! I didn't have any creme de cassis, the traditional liquor of a kir royale, but I did have some black raspberry liquor, which I decided was close enough. Though my frosting wasn't purple at all (I should have added more), it was very delicious.

New Year's Eve Champagne Cupcakes with Kir Royale Frosting slightly modified from 52 Cupcakes:

Makes 15 large and 12 mini cupcakes

For the cupcakes-
2¾ c. all-purpose flour
3 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
2/3 c. butter
1½ c. sugar
¾ c. champagne (go for sweet versus dry)
6 egg whites

For the frosting-
¾ c. vegetable shortening
1½ sticks of unsalted butter, room temperature
4 Tb. champagne
1 Tb. black raspberry liquor
16 oz. powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a cupcake pan with liners.

In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until very light and fluffy. Sift flour, baking powder, and salt together, and then blend into creamed mixture alternately with champagne.

In another large clean bowl, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Fold 1/3 of the whites into batter to lighten it then fold in remaining egg whites. Fill the cupcake liners about 2/3 full.

Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean.

While they cool, make the frosting. In a large bowl beat the shortening and butter until combined. Add the champagne and black raspberry liquor. Slowly add the powdered sugar and beat until smooth. If necessary, add additional champagne to achieve desired consistency. I ended up adding more and may have come close to ruining the frosting, but it was so cool to watch the fizzy bubbles mix in. The key to great frosting is really letting everything mix in together and then beating it a little longer. The champagne helped too.

I added the gelt on top because I bought too much for Chanukah and I thought they looked festive. These are really tasty! The cake is like a slightly sweet cornbread, which sounds a little weird, but really works. It’s a sweet, but not too sweet dessert and a great way to celebrate. Like, for the birthday of someone special (happy birthday Renai!).

I hope you all are having a great start to 2011!
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