Archive | April, 2012

Whole Wheat Craisin Scones

25 Apr

Monday 5:50am. Stuck scones in the oven and dashed to shower while they baked… Ate 2 fresh scones on my way out and brought the rest in to work for my colleagues, making me– a Monday Morning HERO. Recipe based on this, but adapted.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/3 c flour
  • 2/3 c whole wheat flour
  • 2-3 tbsp sugar
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/3 c cold butter
  • 1/2 c craisins
  • 3/4 c skim milk

Instructions

  • Preheat to 425. Whisk all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl.
  • Cut butter into small chunks and mix into the flour mixture, using your hands, but try not to work it too much since you don’t want the butter to melt. Consistency should be coarse.
  • Stir in craisins. Then stir in milk until it keeps together, but don’t over-mix (especially since the overmixing the whole wheat flour makes it taste more leaden).
  • Flatten into a rectangle on a floured surface– about 1/2 in thick. These made ~12 small triangle scones. Place on parchment paper-lined baking sheet and bake for 15-20 min. OR layer with parchment paper in a tupperware to store in the fridge overnight, so you can be a Monday Morning HERO like me…
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Best Chocolate Chip Cookie

25 Apr

After going out a little too hard with some colleagues and Danielle on Saturday, Sunday was a bit of a recovery day, sitting around drinking lots of water and watching Mad Men (I’m just getting into it now! On Season 2 now)… In the evening, I decided to whip up some cookie batter. Rafe and I keep rolled balls of cookie batter in the freezer, so whenever we want cookies (or just cookie dough), we can have some without making a huge batch each time.

The reason why these cookies are so damned good is 1) the mix of brown and regular sugars and 2) the use of coconut for texture and deliciousness.

Ingredients

  • 2 c flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 c unsalted butter
  • 1/3 c sugar
  • 2/3 c brown sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 c chocolate chips
  • 1/2 c (or more, if you want it) sweetened coconut flakes

Instructions

  • Preheat to 350
  • Whisk flour, baking soda, and salt together in a small bowl.
  • Cream butter and sugars together with an electric beater in a large bowl (I used our new Kitchen Aid stand mixer).
  • Add vanilla and eggs to the butter and sugar mixture. Then, once combined, add flour mixture in. Stir in chocolate chips and coconut flake.
  • Drop large spoonsized drops onto baking sheets (lined with Silpat or parchment), and bake until golden brown and delicious. OR roll balls and store in tupperware in the freezer for whenever you just want a few cookies (line each layer with parchment so the balls don’t stick together).

Easiest Goat Cheese Tomato Soup

20 Apr

I really needed something to calm my stomach, and get me back in working order. Rafe left on Thurs to go visit his parents in SC, and I was solo for the weekend (read also, “hadn’t gone to the grocery since he left”)… But I did have a bunch of random ingredients that go into tomato soup! I also managed to have honey goat cheese on hand, which was basically like crack to me. You could also add some pasta into the soup as well, to make it more of a tomato noodle soup. Basically, this soup was the easiest thing I’ve made recently.

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 can (28 oz) whole San Marzano tomatoes (the can I used had basil in it as well)
  • pinch sugar
  • 1.5 c chicken stock
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp dry Italian herbs (or use fresh if you have em)
  • 3/4 c whole milk (2% or skim would probably work as well)
  • heavenly goat cheese (honey chevre was a plus)
Instructions
  • Heat olive oil in pot over medium heat. Once warm, add onions and saute until glassy. Add garlic and cook until fragrant.
  • Add tomatoes, sugar, stock, and spices. Cook for ~15 min.
  • Blend soup (in batches if you need to) in a blender on medium so that the onion bits get smoother. Transfer back to pot on low heat. Add milk and stir.
  • When serving, add a spoon of goat cheese into the bowl, so that the taste of the goat cheese is distinctive as you eat it.

(This recipe was adapted from here.)

Hot Cross Buns

13 Apr

Yes. This post is almost a week too late. I’ve been freaking busy! I don’t really do Easter (Jesus as a walking zombie is a ridiculous idea, don’t you think?), but I do love the sweets and the baking involved…

This recipe was not easy, nor does it use few ingredients, but it was delicious. We had leftovers every morning this week! This recipe made 12 buns.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 c raisins
  • juice of one orange
  • 2 c flour
  • 1/2  c whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • zest of one lemon
  • zest of the orange you just juiced
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 1/4 tsp yeastt
  • 1/2 c warm skim milk
  • 4 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 Tbsp water
  • 1 large egg white
  • Glaze: 1/2 c powdered sugar, 1 tbsp milk, 1 tsp lemon juice

Instructions

  • Soak raisins in orange juice in a small bowl; let stand 10 minutes.  Drain fruit in a colander over a bowl, reserving fruit and juice.  Meanwhile, sprinkle yeast over 1/4 cup of warm water and allow to sit for 5 to 10 minutes.
  •  Combine flours, salt, zests, spices and yeast together in a stand mixer with the dough hook attached (whisk to combine).  Whisk together orange juice, milk, honey, butter and eggs in a separate bowl.
  • With the stand mixer on low, add in milk mixture to the flour mixture and mix at medium-low speed until combined (6 min).  Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and add raisins.
  •  Knead dough for a few minutes until elastic. Add a little bit of flour if needed, to prevent sticking.  Place dough in a large bowl coated with Pam, cover and let rise for ~1 hour.
  • Punch dough down, cover and let rest for 5 minutes.  Then, divide dough into 12 equal portions (halve, halve again, and then third).
  • Place rolls in muffin cups coated with cooking spray.  Cover and let rise for 1 hour in the muffin tins.
  • Preheat 350.  Whisk together 1 tablespoon water and egg white.  Gently brush rolls with egg white mixture.  Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown, rotating pans once during baking.
  • While the buns are baking, prepare the glaze. Whisk together powdered sugar, 1 tablespoon of milk and 1 tsp. lemon juice.  Microwave on high 15 seconds.
  • Remove buns from pans and cool on a wire rack. Spoon glaze on top of buns when ready!
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Japanese Cheesecake

13 Apr

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Mmmm. Made this last weekend– it was SO easy, and ridiculously tasty, especially for only having 7 ingredients in it (how is it that recipes with fewer ingredients somehow manage to taste better?). Adapted from this recipe. I’m not exactly sure about what makes this “Japanese” except for its airy, light texture, but it is basically amazing, and I would make it again and again…

Ingredients

  • 8oz (one package) cream cheese (I used fat free)
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 3 eggs, separated
  • 1 tbsp, plus 1/4 c sugar
  • 1 1/2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1/2 c milk (I used skim)
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla

Instructions

  • Preheat to 350. Put the egg whites in a small bowl and stick in the freezer until the edges start freezing and coming off the sides.
  • Blend cream cheese on high until creamy, then melt butter (nuke for ~30 sec) and blend with the cream cheese for ~2 min. It should be airy and light.
  • Add 1/4 c sugar to egg whites in another large bowl until you have a relatively soft meringue.
  • Add cornstarch, milk, and 1 tsbp sugar in a metal bowl (or double boiler) with the yolks. Whisk everything and place in double boiler, stirring always, until mixture becomes thicker. Add this mixture back to the cream cheese mixture and combine well.
  • Folding in egg whites to the cream cheese mixture (about a 1/3 at a time).
  • Pam/grease a glass 9×9 pan. Pour the batter into the pan, and place into a water bath (covering up to about 3/4 in of the side). Bake at 350 for 15 min, then lower to 320 and bake for another 25 min. Then turn off heat and let the cheesecake stay in the oven for another 40 min before taking it out. Don’t open the oven at all during this time if you can help it! Refrigerate for a few hours and serve (or try not to eat all at once). I’m sure it would taste brilliant with fruit sauce.
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Sweet Potato and Zucchini Frittata

7 Apr

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Mmmmm. Went rock climbing this morning and then had all of 20  min to get showered and meet our realtor at a property to check it out. YIKES. Also, we still haven’t been back to the grocery, so our refrigerated assortment is dwindling. So threw together what ended up being a delicious frittata. Mmmm. Protein + veg = tasty and super duper way to get food in your belly before seeing a bunch of homes (trust me, you need to see homes on a full belly, or else it is possible that you will start looking through people’s pantry “just to see what’s it would look like if we lived there”).

Ingredients

  • 1/3 c grated sweet potato (peeled before you grate it)
  • 1/2 of medium zucchini, grated
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • Splash of skim milk (literally, a splash, maybe 1-2 tbsp)
  • 1/3 c grated cheddar
  • salt and pepper

Instructions

  • Throw the sweet potato and zucchini with salt & pepper on a skillet (greased with Pam) heated to high. Stir until slightly fragrant, a few minutes. Meanwhile, beat eggs with milk, and add grated cheese to eggs.
  • Take the sweet potato and zucchini off– just toss on a plate. Re-Pam the nonstick skillet and pour egg mixture on skillet. Top with sweet potato and zucchini mix (if you add the eggs on top of the veg mix, it’ll be harder to flip).
  • Once frittata is ready (pulled away from edges and firm enough on underside), flip. Let it cook for another 2-3 min, then take from heat and SCARF down. Eat with salsa on top (we used Newman’s Own black bean and corn salsa). Then run to your appointment with the realtor to see a bunch of homes that stink. 😦
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Sweet Potato and Black Bean Cakes

6 Apr

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Haven’t been feeling so hot since I got back from a short work conference earlier this week… Kind of run-down, not sleeping so much or so well, etc. And basically, we have so few things in the kitchen, I’m not sure how we’re going to make it to the weekend. Yikes.

So I whipped up a stone-soup of sorts for dinner… Sweet potato and black bean cakes. And it was delicious, so much so, that I had leftovers for lunch today. Ta-da! Super healthy and very easy.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 can of black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 sweet potato, peeled and grated using a box grater
  • 1/3 c cooked quinoa (or just add more beans or sweet potato if you’re not like me and have cooked quinoa in the fridge)
  • 1 egg
  • liberal dashes of salt & pepper
  • 1-2 tsp curry powder
  • 3 tbsp corn meal
  • 3 tbsp bread crumbs

Instructions

  • Preheat to 400/425.
  • Put bean in a bowl, lightly mashing about half of them– leave some unmashed for a little bit of texture. Add sweet potato, egg, and spices.
  • Stir in corn meal and bread crumbs, adding slightly more dry ingredients until it is a thick enough consistency.
  • Grab about a handful of the mixture, and roll into a disk, placing on baking sheet and flattening down a bit. Continue until you have a bunch of little balls…
  • Bake ~5 min, flip and then bake for another 3-5 min, or until golden and crisp.
  • Serve hot, with lime yogurt (just take plain yogurt and add the juice of a lime) or homemade bbq sauce (mix ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, vinegar, and some curry powder) or both sauces.
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Strawberry Lemon Bars

1 Apr

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Mmm, our friends Kimberly and Mike had us over for another brunch, this one with a Mexican theme. Their fajita meat was amazing, as was the queso (with chorizo!), and the strawberry ritas. For dessert, I brought strawberry lemon bars… They are very similar to traditional lemon bars, but slightly less sweet (they rely on the sweetness of the berries), and PINK.

A busy week is coming up, and boy, I kind of wish we could have an extra weekend day to enjoy the sun and splash by the pool.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 c sugar
  • 1/2 c butter
  • 1 1/2 c flour
  • 1 c lemon juice
  • 2-3 tsp lemon zest
  • 1/2 c pureed strawberries (a generous 3/4 cup berries)
  • 1 1/4 c sugar
  • 5 eggs
  • 1/4 c flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Instructions

  • Preheat to 350. Pam grease a 9×13 glass baking pan.
  •  In a large bowl, cream together sugar and butter with an electric beater. Working at a low speed, gradually beat in flour and salt until mixture is crumbly. Pour into prepared pan and press down into a flat layer with your fingers. Bake for about 15 minutes.
  • While crust is baking, combine lemon juice, zest, strawberry puree, sugar and eggs in food processor. Add in flour, baking powder and salt, then pulse until smooth.
  • Pour the filling over the hot crust. Return pan to oven and bake for 25 min, until the filling is set (when you jiggle the pan, nothing moves!).
  • Let cool for ~15-25 min, then sprinkle the with some powdered sugar through a strainer.