Fresh!

August 8, 2012 § Leave a comment

I’m not sure why this didn’t publish yesterday; it was supposed to. Bad blog! No cookies! Oh, wait — yes, there will be cookies soon.

Way back last month when I was in New Hampshire, I had the opportunity to go to out dinner with my good friend Sarah. We went to a lovely little Italian restaurant, where we were immediately marked as a lesbian couple who must be quickly fed and then hustled out of the restaurant. We had some fun with that, I can tell you. But I digress. One of the specials was a Caprese salad, which I had never heard of but which apparently consists of tomatoes, basil, and fresh mozzarella. Sarah got one for herself, and a couple of weeks later when the heat got super-oppressive, I remembered how cool and fresh that salad sounded, and I determined to make one for myself. I’d been having a yen for pasta salad, too, though…so I thought why not combine the two?

How much more fresh could it be? None. None more fresh.

I grabbed some whole wheat penne, because I like the nuttiness of whole wheat pasta, and I thought it would be a good, earthy undertone with the basil and tomatoes. I tossed it together with some fresh mozz, some grape tomatoes, and some fresh basil (it’s a variety called Opal Basil, which is why it’s purple and not green), then dressed it with a drizzle of olive oil and a splash of balsamic vinegar. The result? Well, to be honest…it was too fresh. I know, it sounds insane. But it was just really, too fresh. It needed something earthy (more than the pasta) to balance the intense brightness of the flavors, I think. Maybe a creamy yogurt dressing instead of the vinegar and oil. It was good, just not spectacular. I’m going to try it again with the creamy dressing and see how that works out for me. So hopefully I’ll have a good recipe for you out of this experiment soon.

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Cake-tacular!

November 15, 2011 § 2 Comments

Cake shown with glaze and berries

It occurs to me that my practice of linking to online recipes rather than including them here is likely to backfire on me at some point, when  a recipe gets moved or the blog I found it on is gone, or any number of other things. So, from now on, I’ll be adding those recipes to the blog as well as linking to the source. The first one of these is a scrumptious, versatile, and just stupidly easy yogurt cake, which I discovered via the magic of Pinterest. (I’ve also added my go-to bread, blackberry cobbler, and lime cupcakes to the Recipes page, so those are there now.)

The recipe I found was modified from a recipe found on another site, but I went ahead and modified it even further. I’ve made this recipe twice now, and both times I used the 170ml size yogurt  that’s commonly available here in the US (I used Chobani both times, honey flavor the first time and strawberry the second). I also just used regular ol’ sugar, though the original recipe calls for caster sugar (which is much finer than regular granulated sugar). Finally, the biggest mod I made was, the first time, an accident.

Zacky and I were in the middle of throwing our ingredients into the bowl, and I popped open the fridge to grab the milk…which we were out of. We had already added both wet and dry ingredients, so stopping for a trip to the market wasn’t really an option. I asked myself: what do I have that’s liquid and non-alcoholic? The answer: apple juice. My biggest concern was for the texture of the cake, and I have to tell you, it came out incredibly moist. It was dense without being heavy, had a nice crumb while still being silky on the tongue. I so ❤ this cake. That one got eaten without any glaze or anything.

This past weekend, we had another shindig to go to and I decided to bake another one of these cakes, only to take it a step further and go with OJ, which I also used for the liquid in the glaze. As noted above, I used strawberry yogurt this time and also put some lightly macerated berries between the layers and on top. So good. Oh — one more thing: the first time, I baked the cake in an angel food cake pan, and this time I baked two rounds. Both came out just fine.

I’m gonna make another one for the party we’re going to this weekend. I think I have finally found a go-to cake recipe, and I love that it’s so, so easy. Did I mention the best part? You use the yogurt cup for all your “cup” measurments, plus it’s a one bowl recipe. Love. It.

Recipe

(originally discovered on The Boys Made Me Do It, via Pinterest)

Ingredients:

 Note: YC = Yogurt Cup

  • 1 YC yogurt
  • 1 YC  all purpose flour
  • 2 YC self rising flour (make your own)
  • 2 YC sugar
  • 1 YC juice (you pick the flavor!)
  • 1 YC vegetable oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tsp baking powder

Pre-heat oven to 350°. Grease a bundt, angel food cake, or two 9″ round pans. Mix all ingredients until smooth. Pour batter into prepared pan(s). Bake for 40-50 minutes (a toothpick inserted halfway between edge and center should come out clean). Allow to cool in pans, then remove and top as desired.

It’s Not Always About You

November 1, 2011 § Leave a comment

While skimming through posts to move over to this blog, I came across this pasta recipe that I posted over on the old blog. There is no accompanying post, but I know I posted it so I could find it again, because the pasta recipe in my Italian cookbook is kinda meh and doesn’t come together as nicely as this one. And then, of course, I promptly forgot I had done that. So, when I came across it today I thought, “Hey! I should totally put that on TD!” and so I am, because that seemed like a Really Good Idea(tm) to me, and also, will work out nicely when I put the meat sauce recipe up later this week (or possibly next week — we are still without power from the storm so I’m trying to cram getting everything done into the very limited daylight hours I have available to me). Mostly, I’m putting it over here so I can find it again (if I remember to look here instead of in a cookbook!), but you are welcome to share the fruits of my labors.

Without further ado, here is my go-to pasta recipe:

Recipe

(adapted from Tyler Florence’s Pasta Dough for Ravioli)

Ingredients:

  • 1 3/4 c all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1/4 c grated pecorino romano cheese
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 large eggs, plus 1 for egg wash
  • 2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp water

Combine flour, cheese, and salt in mixer w/ dough hook. Add one egg at a time, mixing continually. Add oil. Continue mixing until dough forms a ball.

Dust work surface with flour. Turn dough out onto surface and work for 5-10 minutes, until dough is elastic. Form into a ball, wrap in plastic, and let rest for 30 minutes.

Divide dough in half and rewrap one half (to avoid drying). Form other half into a rectangle and run through pasta machine on widest setting 2-3 times. Run through middle setting 1-2 times, flouring as necessary. Lay rectangle out on floured work surface. Brush with egg wash (made by beating one egg w/ 1 Tbsp water).

For raviolis:
Dot with filling app. 1″ apart 1/4 – 1/2″ from one long edge of pasta. Fold strip over to enclose filling. Press air out around filling. Cut apart with sharp knife. Crimp edges with fork tine. Boil for 4 minutes in well salted water.

I didn’t say chicken, I said kick his butt!

August 17, 2011 § 2 Comments

This weekend I was in a “play around in the kitchen” kind of mood, and I was also in a “chicken and mushrooms” kind of mood. I originally thought I might make a chicken marsala, but I didn’t have wine on hand and didn’t feel like stopping to get any, so I decided to use the beer I did have. I also felt like playing with spices a little instead of just dosing everything with oregano and basil (though you know I do love my basil). What I came up with ended up tasting pretty much like I expected — and wanted — it to taste, so this one’s a definite keeper. And it’s ridiculously easy, too, so bonus!

Noms.

This dish is great served over rice or pasta and topped with a little cheese. It has a very rich but subtle flavor, so a sharp or strongly flavored cheese really stands out nicely (I threw on some sharp cheddar the first night and then used some shaved asiago on the leftovers. Both were quite tasty).

Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. chicken, give or take
  • 1 lb. crimini or portabello mushrooms, give or take
  • 1 12oz. bottle of beer (I used Honey Brown because it’s what I had on hand)
  • 1 tsp dry ground mustard
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • app. 1 Tbsp flour, if necessary

Cube chicken and slice mushrooms (I sliced the mushrooms while the chicken was cooking). Pour 3/4 of the beer into a saute pan and heat to simmering. Add mustard, paprika, and chicken. Allow chicken to simmer in liquid until cooked through. Remove from pan with a slotted spoon, leaving as much liquid as possible in the pan. Add butter to the remaining liquid and allow to melt. Add the remaining beer and allow to heat back up to simmer. Add mushrooms and cook through. If the liquid is still a bit thin, thicken with flour as desired.

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