Saturday, October 30, 2010

chinese chicken salad

Any salad I can dress with galeos miso dressing usually is a winner for me.  Couple that with a base of napa cabbage and I am typically licking the bowl.  I styled this salad after a chinese chicken salad at a local restaurant.  Brad really likes the salad here.  I kinda like the salad and that is after I ask for no dressing, extra chicken and combining two half portions of separate salads.  Not sure that classifies as liking something.  This to me is much better.  Occasionally I toss on mandarin oranges when in season and it makes it taste even better.  

chinese chicken salad
source: sweetflours

1 head napa cabbage, sliced thin
1 head romaine lettuce, sliced thin
1 bunch green onions, sliced thin
3 ounce package ramen noodles (discard seasoning pack)
3 ounce slivered almonds
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
2 cups shredded chicken 
2 mandarin oranges, peeled and separated
* 1 bottle galeos miso dressing

Preheat oven to 400.  Crumble ramen noodles and combine ramen noodles, almonds and sesame seeds on rimmed baking dish.  Bake for 2-4 minutes until golden brown in parts.  Let cool.
Combine chopped cabbage, romaine, and green onion in large bowl.  Top with shredded chicken. *Mandarin oranges if using*
Top salad with ramen and almond mixture.  Toss with galeos dressing.  Enjoy!

Friday, October 29, 2010

buttered green beans and cremini mushrooms

Obsessed ... I am obsessed with my organic box delivery.  It is making me find so many new ways to incorporate this bi-weekly bounty.  The past two weeks there have been long, bright, crisp green beans.  Last week I was not very creative with them.  This week I elevated simplicity with this side dish and ps  it only has 120 calories ... the whole recipe.  When I saute vegetables on the stove I typically prefer them in butter over olive oil.  My go to is butter on the stove and olive oil in the oven.  Not sure why but, that is how I roll.  The butter mixed with the garlic and the salt and coating these fresh beans and mushrooms is a filling and versatile side that leaves you satisfied. I have made it twice this week and I still have more beans!

buttered green beans and cremini mushrooms
adapted: cooking light
  • 6 ounces  green beans, trimmed
  • 1  tablespoons  butter
  • 5  ounces  cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 1/2  teaspoon  kosher salt, divided
  • 1/4  teaspoon  coarsely ground black pepper, divided
  • 1 garlic clove, minced

1. Steam green beans, covered, 4 minutes or until crisp-tender. Plunge beans into ice water; drain. Pat dry with a towel; set aside.
2. Melt butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper; sauté 8 minutes or until mushroom liquid evaporates. Stir in garlic; sauté 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, remaining 1/8 teaspoon pepper, and green beans; cook 3 minutes or until thoroughly heated, tossing to combine.

Monday, October 25, 2010

yigandes me spanaki

Opah!  Opah in Greek is a declaration of celebration or joy.  Supper club was Greek theme this month and after my work week and knowing the ladies I would be spending the evening with I was running to dinner and screaming opah down the street as I left my house.  I love my kids but, mama needed some ouzo.  I counted on the company being good but, I had no idea how amazing the meal would be.  Everything from the ouzo heavy greek goddess martinis to the sweat and nutty baklava was down right delicious.  I had a side dish.  I wanted to stretch the bounds a bit and try a traditional greek side.  I love the combination of spinach, leeks and feta so, I was drawn to this recipe.  Many of the side included yigandes beans which are basically a large lima bean.  The fact that this incorporated the bean as well intrigued me.  My box this week happened to include spinach, leeks and tomatoes which was nice to be able to include farm fresh ingredients.  The side dish was good and definitely had the greek flavors.  Next time I will up the spinach slightly and possibly another tomato for a bit more liquid.  The recipe said 1 hour and 30 minutes cook time but, after an hour it was done and possibly a bit too dry.

yigandes me spanaki: 
spinach, bean and feta casserole

  • 1 pound of fresh spinach (or16oz frozen chopped spinach)
  • 1/2 pound of yigandes beans
  • 1 leek, just the white stalk; finely chopped
  • 1 bunch of green onions; finely chopped
  • 1/2 bunch of fresh dill, thick stems removed, finely chopped
  • 6 oz of feta cheese; crumbled
  • 2 large ripe tomatoes; seeded, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup of olive oil
  • 1/2 cup of dried bread crumbs
  • 1 teaspoons of sea salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon of freshly ground pepper
* Soak the beans in a large bowl of water overnight. The next day, drain and transfer to a large soup pot. Cover with cold water (at least 3 times as much water as beans) and bring to a boil over high heat. When a full boil is reached, reduce heat and cook at a slow boil for 1 hour. Transfer to a colander to drain and set aside.

* Clean spinach well, trim roots, and discard any damaged leaves. Chop coarsely and put in a large bowl or plastic tub. (If using frozen defrost and let drain in a colander).

* Taking one handful of spinach at a time, squeeze gently but firmly over the sink to remove most excess liquid, and place spinach in a colander. When all the spinach has been squeezed, toss with salt and set aside to drain. 

* Preheat oven to 340°F.  Oil an medium roasting or baking pan (with 2 1/2 inch sides).

* In a large bowl or plastic tub, combine spinach, onions, leeks, dill, and 1/2 the feta cheese. 

* Distribute 1/2 the spinach mixture evenly over the bottom of the pan. Add the beans to make an even layer, and place the remaining spinach mixture on top. Sprinkle with remaining cheese, then add the chopped tomatoes. Sprinkle with pepper. Pour oil over the top, and finish with an even dusting of bread crumbs. 

* Bake for about 1 hour.

Remove from oven and let sit for 20-30 minutes before serving. This dish is generally served warm or at room temperature.

Monday, October 18, 2010

cookies and cream ice cream cake

The birthday festivities seem to continue on for Carter.  Each set of grandparents wanted to have a more intimate birthday celebration so, they could watch him open presents and enjoy the event without 25 kids jumping and screaming in a bounce house.  He is very loved.  We had Brad's family over to finish off the celebration and as I mentioned the day was 80+ degrees so, I hit up my trusty celebration cookbook sky high irresistible triple layer cakes and found a recipe for ice cream cake.  I have wanted to use my ice cream maker more, there were sleeves of oreos left and a quart of heavy cream.  All signs were pointing to a cookies and cream ice cream cake with left over sprinkles.  I was never a fan of cookies and cream ice cream growing up.  It is not that I did not like it but, I just could never pass up ice cream with peanut butter in it.  It was just one of those flavors that got quickly over looked so, I really don't have a favorite store bought to compare this to.  I was concerned about the yellow tint I saw in the base due to the yolks but, one it got moving in the machine it turned that creamy color that I suppose cookies and cream should be.  It was creamy, sweet, rich and full of chunky oreo bites.  We all really liked the ice cream and I actually think next time I could use one and a half to two batches of the homemade ice cream in between the chocolate layers to really make the ice cream shine in this cake.  The one batch of ice cream made the cake almost feel like an ice cream sandwich which wasn't bad at all but, I would have liked a little more ice cream.

cookies and cream ice cream cake
1. Bake layers.
2. Line 8" square cake pan with plastic wrap.  Allow enough plastic wrap to hang over sides.  Dump softened (right out of machine) ice cream into lined pan and pack down evenly.
3. While ice cream is still soft, set one of the cake layers on top.  Press down gently to remove gaps.  Cover with plastic wrap and place in freezer for ~ 2 hours.  Wrap remaining layer in plastic wrap for later use. 
4. Make glaze.  1/4 cup cream and 1 tbsp corn syrup heated to a simmer in a small saucepan.  In a heat proof bowl chop 4oz semi sweet chocolate.  Pour cream mixture over and let stand for 5 minutes.  Whisk until smooth and then let stand an additional 2 minutes to cool.  
5. Remove cake from freezer and unmold by pulling excess plastic wrap and invert cake untop cake plate cake side down.  Top with remaining layer.
5. Pour glaze in center of cake and spread it around allowing it to drip over the sides.  Decorate top with sprinkles and or candies and return to freezer for 2 hours.
6. May need to allow cake to sit at room temperature for 10 minutes to get knife through it.

one bowl chocolate cake
adapted: sky high: irresistible triple layer cakes
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups sugar
1.4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/3 cup canola oil
1 cup water
1 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven to 350.  Butter 2 8" square pans.
Sift flour - salt into large mixing bowl.  Use a wire whisk and blend ingredients.
Add oil and 1/2 cup of water to dry ingredients and whisk until smooth.  Add another 1/2 cup water and vanilla and again whisk until smooth.  Divide batter between the two pans.
Bake for 18-20 minutes.  Let coll in pans for 10 minutes and then remove to wire racks to completely cool ~ 1hour.

1/4 cup cream
1 tbsp light corn syrup
4 oz. semi sweet chocolate; chopped

Cookies and Cream Ice Cream
source: annie eats
1 cup whole milk
2 cups heavy whipping cream
6 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
15-20 Oreo cookies, quartered
Combine the milk and cream in a saucepan over medium heat.  Heat until bubbles form around the edges.  In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until smooth and well combined.  Slowly add the warm milk mixture to the egg yolk mixture, whisking constantly to prevent curdling.
Pour the mixture back into the saucepan.   Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, about 5-8 minutes, until the mixture is thickened and coats the back of a spoon (about 175 degrees F on an instant read thermometer).  Pour the liquid through a fine mesh sieve into a bowl.  Stir in the vanilla extract.  Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator until completely chilled.
Once the mixture is well chilled, pour into an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions.  Once the mixture is softly frozen, transfer to a storage container and add Oreo pieces then fold in gently with a rubber spatula.  Freeze until completely hardened.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

peanut noodles

We had Brad's family over for dinner this weekend to finish off the last of Carter's birthday celebration.  I love having them over but, it gets a bit stressful for me when it comes to developing a menu.  We have a few that don't eat red meat, several non-vegetable lovers, those that don't like spicy and kids that all hardly eat but, they all hardly eat different things.  I came up with a menu this time that I feel had likable components for everyone.  It was based on the cool fall weather and then out of no where an 80+ degree day and I was back to the drawing board.  A mix of asian flavored beef and chicken kebabs were the basis and then a few simple sides.  My sesame peanut noodles that I make are packed with fresh crispy and crunchy vegetable such as cucumbers, carrots, bell peppers and snap peas.  I knew that would not go over well so, I found a more tame version that focused on noodles and peanut butter.  This was a kid friendly dish and made a ton of left overs.  The next day I browned some ground turkey meat in some teriyaki sauce and stir fried it with the noodles and some vegetables for another quick meal.  I think that is what is great about this recipe.  It is a good basic foundation that can be served as is or dressed up with additional ingredients to give it a new more complex twist.

peanut noodles
adapted: allrecipes
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons peanut butter
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoons hot chile paste
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 8 ounces spaghetti or udon noodles
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions
  • 1/4 cup chopped peanut
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add noodles and cook until tender according to package directions. Drain.
  2. Meanwhile, combine chicken broth, ginger, soy sauce, peanut butter, honey, chili paste, and garlic in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat until peanut butter melts and is heated through. Add noodles, and toss to coat. Garnish with green onions, peanuts and sesame seeds. 
  3. Serve warm or room temperature.

Monday, October 11, 2010

salsa two ways

We were invited over to our neighbors for dinner and asked to bring salsa.  Sounds easy.  Part of me just wanted to pick up a few premade types from the store but, it was our first invite and did not want to show up with store bought.  I make salsa but, there are so many types of salsas and everyone has a favorite.  There is smooth, chunky, smoky, red, green, mild, spicy, fruity and well the options just go on forever.  I like spicy fresh pico de gallo.  I made a standard pico de gallo and then a more traditional restaurant style.  I kept the heat toned down and actually really like the restaurant smooth style a lot more then I thought I would.  Salty chips and spicy fresh salsa is just heaven in my mouth.  It is a classic and although there are so many variations I feel as if the combo is always a hit.  These salsas have become a critical component in one of my new FAVORITE breakfast dishes which I will post later this week.

salsa two ways
Source: sweetflours

Pico de Gallo
5-6 roma tomatoes
1 small white onion
2 jalapeno peppers
~ 1/4 cup cilantro
lime juice
salt to taste

Seed and chop jalapenos and tomatoes.  Chop onion into a very small dice. Chop a handful of cilantro. Put all of these ingredients together in a bowl and stir.  Squeeze the juice of half of one lime into the bowl. Add salt to taste and give a good final stir.  Cover and chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour.

Tomato Salsa
3 slicing tomatoes; scored
1-2jalapeno; roughly chopped
1-2  garlic clove; roughly chopped
1-2 tsp of salt
1/2 white onion; chopped
1/4 cup cilantro; chopped

Drop the scored tomatoes into boiling water.  Boil tomatoes until soft to the touch.  Transfer tomatoes directly into a food processor with jalapeno, garlic and salt.  Pulse processor until finely chopped but, not pureed.  When the mixture cools and onion and cilantro and chill.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

quick chicken gumbo

Fall is my favorite season, my favorite flavors in both cooking and baking and my favorite type of food.  I am so excited for fall.  It keeps starting to show its face around here and then we get shocked with a warm Indian summer day.  Last week we had two chilly days so, I was ready to smell cinnamon in the house, make pots of soup, braise meat and roast vegetables.  Work is getting very busy as is the kids schedules so, I am going to need to rely on the slow cooker, the dutch oven and quick staples like rotisserie chicken and pre cut veggies to get dinner on the table these days.  I love gumbo the spicy smoky sausage, the creamy broth, the shredded chicken and okra.  I eat it kicked up with hot sauce and warm corn bread.  I realized that I am the only one in this house that feels that way.  This is quick and yummy.  I froze this in single servings for nights Brad is gone or working late so, I don't have to stomach another dino nugget.  Looking forward to more one pot meals this fall.

quick chicken gumbo
adapted: everyday food
1 tablespoon canola oil
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 red bell peppers (ribs and seeds removed), chopped
1 medium white onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 teaspoon dried oregano
4 cups of water or chicken broth
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 package (10 ounces) frozen cut okra
8 ounces smoked (precooked) andouille sausage, halved lengthwise and sliced 1 inch thick
1 rotisserie chicken (about 2 1/2 pounds), skin and bones removed, meat shredded (about 4 cups)

1.In a 5-quart Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot, heat oil over medium. Add flour, and cook, whisking constantly, until pale golden, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in bell peppers, onion, garlic, and oregano; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are crisp-tender, 10 to 12 minutes.

2.Add 4 cups water or broth; stir in okra and sausage. Bring to a boil. Stir in shredded chicken, and warm through, 1 to 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

cookies and cream cupcakes

Keep it simple.  That was the thought behind Carter's fourth birthday party.   We choose a one stop shop location.  The kids bounce for an hour and a half and then eat pizza.  The locations sets up and cleans up for you.  Easy.  Well I can't leave good enough alone.  I had to do the cupcakes.  Last year I did 3 flavors of cupcakes.  This year I was going to do 3 again but, decided to repeat two flavors from last year and try a sugar cookie with royal icing as a favor.  In theory seems simple but, when you are working, chasing a one year old around and trying to sift, measure and frost things get out of hand.  These cupcakes are always a hit.  I have made different variations in the  past and different frosting but, I think the combination below is a winner.  Typically I garnish with an oreo and a few crumbs but, needed to keep it in spiderman theme.  The big chunks of oreo and the cookie on the bottom and so yummy and such a nice surprise when you bite in.

cookies and cream cupcakes
adapted: annie-eats

24 Oreo halves, with cream filling attached
2¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
8 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 2/3 cup sugar
3 large egg whites, at room temperature
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup milk
20 Oreo cookies, quartered
For the frosting:
8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
4 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
* 1-2 tbsp heavy cream if frosting cake

Preheat the oven to 350˚ F.  Line the wells of two cupcake pans with 24 paper liners.  Place an Oreo halve in the bottom of each liner, cream side up.  In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt; stir together with a fork to blend and set aside.  In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the butter and sugar and beat together on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Blend in the egg whites one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Blend in the vanilla extract.  With the mixer on low speed, beat in half of the dry ingredients just until incorporated.  Add the milk and beat just until combined, then mix in the remaining dry ingredients.  Gently fold in the chopped Oreos with a rubber spatula until evenly incorporated, being careful not to over-mix.
Evenly divide the batter between the prepared cupcake liners.  Bake for 18-20 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through baking, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Allow to cool in the pans 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
To make the frosting, combine the cream cheese and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat on medium-high speed until smooth, about 2-3 minutes.  Blend in the vanilla extract.  Beat in the confectioners’ sugar until incorporated and smooth. 
Frost the cooled cupcakes as desired. 

Sunday, October 3, 2010

spiderman sugar cookie with royal icing

 Happy birthday Carter ... my little spiderman.  Carter's love of spiders at 2 evolved into a love of spiderman at 3.  I have learned so much more about spiderman, the green goblin, and doctor octopus then I could have ever imagined.  Carter's 4th birthday has revolved around spiderman.  I wanted to give something other then the standard goodie bag at his spiderman themed bounce house party so, I thought I would try my hand at spiderman sugar cookies.  I have never made a sugar cookie or used royal icing.  I practiced drawing spiderman all week.  I was pretty good webs and all.  For the cookie my original intention was to add webs to the head but, once I got going I realized the web detail was way over my head.  I was pretty happy with how they turned out for my first go but, as Brad said they looked like the were made with love.  I guess that is all I can ask for because it is true all I have is love for my little guy.

spiderman sugar cookie with royal icing

sugar cookie

1 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar
1 egg
1 ½ tsp almond extract
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp salt
2 ½ cup flour,  sifted 

Cream butter. Add powdered sugar. Blend in egg, almond extract, vanilla, salt until combined.  Slowly add flour. Chill dough until firm (~2 hours). Roll to ¼” thickness on well-floured surface. Cut with cookie cutters. Place on greased cookie sheets. Bake at 375° for 8-10 min. Cookies should not brown. Frost and decorate when cool. 

royal icing
source: wilton

4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
3 tbsp. meringue powder
6 tbsp. water

Combine all ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Mix on low speed until the sheen has disappeared and the icing has a matte appearance (about 7-10 minutes).  Transfer the contents of the mixing bowl to an containers.  Add water a very small amount at a time and stir by hand until fully incorporated.  Continue until the icing has reached a consistency appropriate for piping. After piping you can add water to thin out for flooding.  If you go too far and the icing is too thin, add more sifted powdered sugar to thicken it again.  

Tips, recipes and help from: annie-eats
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