9.30.2013

Citrus Cyclones

Hi, blog. It's been awhile but I was putting effort into my other blog for awhile. I'm back with a new recipe! I started using Pinterest which I'll admit completely confused me for awhile. I kept seeing rainbow swirled cookies and wanted to give it a try. I tried to take pictures while making them and I now have a much greater respect for Pioneer Woman. Food photography is hard. 

Here are the ingredients:  
  • 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 5 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • zest of 2 lemons
  • zest of 2 limes
  • zest of 1 orange
  • multicolor sprinkles
  • food coloring
And here is a photo of them sitting pretty on my counter.

 

Start by creaming the sugar and butter together in your mixer until well combined.
 

Next, add the eggs, vanilla, baking powder, salt and 2 cups of flour and mix until combined. 

Divide the mixture into 3 bowls, making sure each bowl has an equal amount. This was fairly difficult to eyeball using three different sized bowls so if you have equal size bowls you should use them. 

Zest the 2 limes into one bowl, the 2 lemons into the next bowl, and the orange into the last bowl. Follow your food coloring's directions to make the dough with lime zest green, the dough with lemon zest yellow, and the dough with orange zest orange.

Add one cup of flour to each bowl and combine. You may have to use your hands because this will form a thick dough. You will end up with one lime green dough ball, one lemon yellow dough ball, and one orange orange (hehe) dough ball.
 

I ended up transferring my dough balls into smaller bowls. Cover these with some plastic wrap and pop them in the fridge for an hour. 


Preheat the oven to 350F.

To assemble a cookie, make 3 golf ball sized balls of dough- 1 of each color.
 

Roll those 3 balls together in your hands to form 1 larger ball. 
 

 Use your hands to roll the large ball into a snake about 10 inches long. Depending on how you orient the ball before you roll it out, the colors will turn out a little differently on each cookie.


Form a spiral with your long piece of dough. You can twist the dough first before you spiral it or just spiral it as is. I did some each way to get as much color variety as possible. 

 
  
 For the edges, I poured a mixture of orange, yellow, and green sprinkles on a plate. I rolled the completed cookies' edges in the sprinkles. Place the finished cookies on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. They took about 8 mins to bake.

These have a really fantastic citrus flavor and you can taste each flavor individually if you peel it apart like a cinnamon roll. 

If you don't like citrus, you could skip the zest all together and just dye the dough to match whatever occasion you're making them for. More than 3 colors is possible as long as you divide up the last 3 cups of flour evenly between how ever many colors you use (i.e. using 4 colors would mean 3/4 cup of flour per bowl.)
 

6.11.2012

world's best chili- seriously




Here it goes...

Ingredients
1 pound lean ground beef
1 pound chicken  Italian sausage- mild
2(15 ounce) cans chili beans, 1 drained
1 (15 ounce) cans diced tomatoes with juice
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 large yellow onion, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
2 Anaheim  peppers, seeded and chopped
2 cubes beef bouillon
1/4 cup water
1/8 cup chili powder
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
3 cloves  minced garlic
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons Tapatio
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon white sugar
Extra virgin olive oil as needed

1. In your Dutch over, brown the ground beef, drain, and set aside.  Keep the olive oil near by in case either meat needs help to avoid sticking to the pan. 
2. Brown the sausage in the same pan, drain if needed, and set aside.  It's important to do these separately because if the pan is overcrowded the meat will steam instead of brown.  You won't get any tasty brown bits.
3. In the same pan, add onion, garlic, celery, bell peppers, Anaheims and let cook on medium for about 2 minutes stirring occasionally.  
4. Add all remaining ingredients (including the cooked meat), saving the water and cornstarch for last.  Add the water first and stir to combine, then sprinkle the cornstarch in an even layer over the top and stir to combine again.
5. Drop the heat to low and put your lid on it.  I hope you didn't use a pan that you don't have a lid for. Let it go for as long as you can, at least 2 hours.

I'd like to mention a few things here:

First, this seems like a huge ingredient list but I had most of this already on hand and you'd be surprised what you can find in your spice cabinet.

Second, I considered doing this in a crock pot but it hasn't been tested and I'm not sure how much effort it would save you.  You really need to do everything up to and including step 3 on the stove top and that's the majority of the work.  I wouldn't recommend doing your crock pot transfer until between steps 3 and 4. 

4.17.2012

shrimp tacos with poblano pesto

One of my favorite breakfast spots is The Ridgeback Cafe. They make delicious savory breakfast crepes and are topped in poblano sauce. Since that first taste, I've been on the lookout for a poblano sauce recipe to rival theirs. This is a pretty good substitute. It's a poblano pesto recipe adapted from this one at Foodnetwork.com.

Ingredients:

  • 2 poblano peppers, seeded
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • salt to taste
Put all of the ingredients in the food processor and mix until it reaches your desired consistency. All you need to do next is decide how to use it.

I poured the entire batch of pesto in a nonstick frying pan with 1 pound of fresh shrimp and let it all cook together for about 4 minutes on medium high until the shrimp was done. I put the shrimp on warm tortillas with some coleslaw mix (the dry kind in the bagged salad section.) Then I just spooned some extra pesto out of the pan on top.

4.16.2012

these are the best cookies ever

I was in the mood to bake today and I'm pretty sure I created the best cookie of all time.  It started with an adaptation of this All Recipes sugar cookie recipe: The Best Rolled Sugar Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups butter, softened
  • 2 cups cane sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • zest of 1 lemon

Mix the butter and sugar in a large bowl until combined.  Then add eggs, vanilla, baking powder, salt, lemon, and two cups of the flours.  Mix until combined, slowly adding the remaining flour.  Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour.  It's up to you whether you want to roll them out for cutting or make drop cookies.  They cook in a 400F oven for 5-6 minutes.

They're topped with a citrus glaze which can be used on all kind of other deserts besides these cookies. 

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/3 cups powdered sugar
  • zest of 2 limes
  • juice of one lemon (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 2 tablespoons of water
Mix until combined and brush onto completely cooked cookies with a silicone brush. The frosting should be fairly thin however it should not run down the sides of the cookies when applied.  Keep extra water and powdered sugar on hand so you can adjust it thicker or thinner to your liking. Let the frosting harden before storing the cookies.  

The cookies as shown are about 2 inches in diameter and this recipe made about 50 of them.  This is definitely a party sized recipe but you can keep the dough in the fridge for a few weeks in a tightly sealed container and have fresh cookies on hand whenever you want them.

4.09.2012

mango salsa

On my days off I like to try to make something new.  Today I tried a mango salsa adapted from an Emeril recipe here


1 mango
1 poblano pepper
half of 1 red bell pepper
1/4 of a red onion
2 cloves of garlic
1/2 cup white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons cilantro
salt to taste



Cutting the mango was a trick I learned at work this week. You can see it step by step here.




Chop up everything and combine it with the vinegar and salt.  I let it marinate in the fridge for 4 hours but according to the original recipe you can let it go up to 24 hours. 


 I used the salsa to top store bought Thai coconut crab cakes.


The salsa definitely got better the longer it was in the fridge so I'd recommend making it ahead.  It seems like you can get mango on sale everywhere right now so take advantage of them while they're cheap. 

4.08.2012

The sun: it has risen

Today was a beautiful sunny day in the upper 60's. We took a walk around the farmers market and got some daffodils for the house. I felt compelled to instagram them which I think looks fairly ridiculous. I'm admittedly an instagram noob and still don't understand why it looks like a Polaroid that was left to bake in the sun. This is probably worse for hipsters than when they let the Android users in.

In other news, tonight I finally mastered a brown butter and sage sauce. I had been undercooking the butter for fear of burning it but tonight it was just right. It went on homemade (from the farmer's market) wild boar stuffed pasta with knot rolls from Tall Grass. The rolls came right out of the oven when we bought them. It was a pretty spectacular Easter dinner.

I hope everyone had a nice Easter!

4.02.2012

achievement unlocked: 27

I can't remember the last time I worked a normal workweek. Couple that with spending a large portion of the last 3 months sick and there isnt enough time or energy to go around. I've definitely been neglecting the blog along with most other things.

I almost forgot about my own birthday. Nate got me an iPad (which I'm now attempting to blog on) and cleaned the house for me. I can't decide which is the better gift. We went out to my favorite restaurant and had funfetti cupcakes for dessert.

I will definitely try to keep up here more. I have a better schedule at work so hopefully I can find more time to keep up with hobbies.

1.02.2012

falafel mix


Today I learned falafel mix makes an excellent breading for chicken! Just toss the chicken in a bowl with just enough olive oil to coat it.  Add enough falafel mix to coat your chicken and toss everything together.  I made bite-sized pieces which was 425F for 8 minutes with the convection fan on. 

To go with it I made a slaw with hummus instead of mayo dressing.  I took a bag of slaw mix (shredded cabbage) and sliced some radish into it.  Then I thinned out some hummus with some lemon juice to dress the slaw.  After I mixed the slaw and the dressing I added freshly chopped parsley, salt, and pepper.    

I warmed up whole wheat tortillas to put everything in.  The recipe I adapted this from is here.  The pita bread they show in the picture is the driest substance known to man.  Get yourself some good whole wheat tortillas like I did (8 inches should be plenty.)  TWSS.  Or to treat yourself, get some soft and fluffy naan.  Either way, stay far away from the pita pockets shown.    

12.25.2011

french ovens vs. dutch ovens

Apparently they're the same thing.  My parents sent me a red French oven for Christmas which I immediately tested by cooking stuffing. I don't have a lot of experience cooking with cast iron.  First of all, wow it's heavy.  Second, it cooks evenly!  I was able to brown the sausage and vegetables on the stove top then transfer the pot into the oven to finish cooking.  Win!  I'm going to have a lot of uses for this pot.

In other news I slept 11 hours last night and it felt amazing!  I'd been working long hours at work and needed the rest.  I'm looking forward to having a more normal schedule in a week!  My blogging frequency definitely decreased on this crazy schedule I've been working.

12.04.2011

getting into the holiday spirit



I feel like my eyes are always doing something weird.  I'm either squinting or blinking.  Whatevs.

Anyway, my job has been going really well and even though I don't work on the Adventures I was itching to try one.  This one was Wreath Making and Three-Course Lunch at Smash Wine Bar in Wallingford.

When we arrived, we went inside where we had a choice of hot buttered rum, hot chocolate or cider.  They had a breakfast spread laid out with the best banana muffins either of us had ever had.  They were super moist and had a complex sweet and spicy flavor.  While people nibbled, they went over a wreath-making demonstration.

Because I thought "arrive 20-30 minutes early" was for noobs, we arrived promptly at 11.  It hadn't occurred to us to arrive early to secure your wreath-making station.  So we had stations outside in the 35 degree cold.  Fair enough- sort of our own fault.  Each station had a gigantic pile of fir for your base plus pine, juniper, holly, and eucalyptus for accents.  Making the wreaths wasn't as hard as we thought.  All of the tools we needed were provided plus other accents like bows and pine cones.  The glass of wine that was served during the wreath making helped as well.  It turned out to be a fairly physical activity and only my feet were cold.

When we moved inside for lunch, there was one little two person table right by the window that was perfect for us.  We warmed up while enjoying a delicious three-course gourmet lunch.  I had mixed greens with apple and cranberry, buttermilk crispy cumin turkey tenderloin beside sweet potato frites (their description lols), and chocolate caramel lava cake topped with cranberry sauce served with ice cream.  Since the Adventurers had the whole restaurant, the courses had a nice, natural pace.  No rush to turn over the tables.

The whole event was organized and the staff was super helpful.  I felt like it was definitely worth the money and I'm happy we tried it.  Our wreaths are making the house smell like Christmas!