Wednesday, December 1, 2010

White Russian Cake



Well, Jeremy requested a White Russian Cake for his birthday. Years ago we saw an episode on food channel where 'Ace of Cakes' made one for some Big Lebowski party. Unfortunately I couldn't find any recipes I liked online so I decided to wing it... and it was awesome!!

I used the recipe for my coconut cake, but substituted half and half for the coconut milk, omitted the coconut extract and added a shot of Kahlua to the mix.

Can I just take a minute here to show you something? Everyone has probably seen a box cake mix being poured into a cake pan right? Very thin, pours right out. Here is what a made from scratch cake looks like, see the difference?



I had to scoop this stuff out of the bowl, it doesn't pour at all. So besides tasting better this is why cakes made from scratch have such a great texture. Anyway,back to the recipe.

As soon as the cakes came out of the oven I poked holes all over the top of it with a fork and poured Kahlua and vodka all over the top. I let the cakes sit in the pans for about 15 minutes to let all that goodness soak it. Then I made a cream cheese frosting with, you guessed it, more Kahlua. Any cream cheese frosting will work but here is what I ended up doing.

8 oz cream cheese softened
1/4 c butter softened
2 Tb half and half
2 Tb Kahlua
3 - 5 cups powdered sugar

Beat the first four ingredients together until they are smooth. Add one cup of powdered sugar at a time beating on high until frosting is smooth and spreadable.

Here is what I love about recipes and baking. When I first started baking I thought it was an exact science, but the more I bake the more I realize as long as you have some basic understanding of ratios and what stuff should look/feel like you can manipulate any recipe into something completely different.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Spiced Apple Cream Cheese Danish


To begin with:

A) I can't believe I made this.
B) I can't believe how easy it was.
C) I can't believe how well it turned out.

As soon as I saw this post over at Annie's Eats I knew I had to make and devour it. And since today was my amazing husband's 30th birthday it seemed like a good day to splurge and eat this butter filled treat for breakfast.

I started it on Friday morning. Made the dough, made the butter square (that's right, a butter square) then played with Jake for a bit. Rolled out the dough with the butter square.






Went and ate lunch at school with Alexis, came home and rolled it out again (looks the same as above) and made the fillings.



So this morning all that was left to do was roll it out the last time, fill it, braid is, bake it and devour it.





We didn't take the time to take a picture of the whole thing before we dug in!
It does take time, but 90% of that time is just waiting, it only took about 15 minutes to roll it out each time I actually had to do something. Now, this thing seems to be so packed full of calories I won't be making it weekly or anything but I will be making it again and I will use the dough recipe to make croissants some time soon!

Head over to Annie's Eats for the recipe. The only thing I did differently than her was the apples. I added a whole teaspoon of cinnamon, 1/4 tsp nutmeg, 1/4 tsp cloves and a dash of ginger to the apples before throwing them into the pan.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Apple-Raisin Bars



This is a great and easy little recipe that I make all the time. Jeremy eats it or breakfast if he is running late and the kids eat it for afternoon snack. The only person in out family who doesn't eat it is Alexis because as she says "I don't like stuff in my food".

1 c flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1/4 c butter softened
1 tsp vanilla
1 large apple diced
1/2 c raisins

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9 X 9 pan. In a medium bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.
In a large bowl cream together sugar, eggs, butter and vanilla until smooth.
Gradually add flour and mix until just incorporated. Stir in apples and raisins. Spread into pan evenly.
Bake at 350 for 35 – 45 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely before cutting into bars.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Unexcused Absence

We were on a roll there posting once a week and then all of the sudden, one month with no posts... what's with that?

Our computer's hard drive crashed, so we lost all of our pictures and recipes.... but now we are back up and hopefully back in working order. I'll try to get something up here soon.

For now though - for all of you who are hosting Thanksgiving dinner and cooking a big turkey, I would like to share with you the biggest thing you can do to make your turkey amazing. Ready?

Brine it.

I wish I had all my pictures from last year to show you how to do this but instead I'll point you to a great web site that I love. The Pioneer Woman. This link has a step by step guide on how she makes her turkey brine each year.

Turkey Brine Recipe

Please brine your turkeys people, it will revolutionize your Thanksgiving meal!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Easy Weeknight Dinner

This is a super easy dinner that you can get on the table pretty quickly. The first few times I made it were a disaster but I think I've tweaked the recipe enough that it now comes out great every time.



Chicken Milano

1 Tb butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 c chicken broth
½ c sun dried tomatoes, drained and chopped
1 c heavy cream
1 lb chicken breasts
salt and pepper
1 Tb olive oil
2 Tb chopped fresh basil

In a large saucepan over low heat, melt butter; add garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes and chicken broth; increase to medium heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for about 10 minutes or until the tomatoes are tender. Add the cream and bring to a boil; stirring. Simmer over medium heat until the sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
Start water boiling for pasta. Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper on both sides. In a large skillet over medium heat, sauté chicken in olive oil for about 6 minutes per side or until is no longer pink inside. Drop pasta into the water when you flip the chicken over.
Drain pasta, cut each chicken breast into 2 to 3 diagonal slices. Transfer the pasta to serving plates; top with chicken and coat with the cream sauce; sprinkle with basil; serve.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup



This is a butternut squash. I have never ever purchased a butternut squash before but as I stood in the produce section of my grocery store last week it seemed like a good purchase and made me feel like fall. So, for most of last week it sat on my table while I tried to decide what to do with it.



After several "butternut squash recipe" google searches I decided I wanted to make a soup. So I read about a bagillion recipes and came up with my own. I knew I wanted to start off by roasting the veggies, I just couldn't decide whether I wanted to roast the onions or not. Also I couldn't decide whether I wanted to roast them at 350, 375, 400... So I choose a random temperature and went with it. (Why don't people ever cook at 380?)



I ended up cooking the onions in the stock pot instead of roasting them, I thought I had some white wine I could throw in there to deglaze the pan but I didn't. I'll have to try that next time.



All in all, it turned out really well. We ate this with grilled cheese sandwiches for dinner. Even Alexis and Jake said it was good!



1 large butternut squash
4 medium carrots
olive oil
salt
butter
1 onion
1 clove of garlic
2 c chicken broth
salt
pepper
¼ c heavy cream or half and half

Heat oven to 380 degrees. Peel and cube the butternut squash and the carrots. Toss with salt and olive oil and spread out onto a sheet pan. Roast for 45 minutes.

In the mean time, chop up the onion and garlic. Melt butter in a large pot and sauté the onion until it starts to turn brown, turn the heat down low and let the onions cook down for about 20 minutes. Make a space in the center of the pot and add the garlic, let it cook for a few minutes. Add chicken broth and vegetables. Bring to a simmer for 5 minutes.

Using an immersion blender (or in batches in a counter top blender,) blend soup until smooth. Add heavy cream and bring back up to temperature before serving. Season with salt and pepper.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Quick Molasses Stout Bread

I have a folder on my desktop full of recipes that I have seen and would like to try one day. Every once in a while I'll go through it and pull something out, this is one of those recipes and I am SO GLAD I finally made it. This bread is awesome, and as the name implies, quick to make. It is in the banana bread/zucchini bread family of breads so it's great for an afternoon snack or with your morning coffee. We ate it with honey cinnamon butter.



3 cups flour
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
½ c sugar
1/3 c molasses
12 oz beer (stout)
butter

Preheat oven to 350. Spray a loaf pan with cooking spray. Stir together the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Pour in the beer and molasses. Stir ingredients just until combined.

Pour batter into the loaf pan and bake for 40 – 50 minutes. Let it cool 5 minutes in the pan then turn onto a cooling rack. Brush with soft butter.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Black Bean and Corn soup

Don't you just love fall? In the fall I stop wanting to eat salads and light foods and I start wanting to eat soups, stews and braises. Here is a super easy recipe for black bean soup to start off your fall. Serve it with cornbread or cheese quesadillas.



Olive oil
2 c corn
3 c cooked black beans
1 can diced tomatoes
1 ½ c chicken stock
cilantro
salt and pepper to taste
sriracha sauce

Heat a Dutch oven over medium high heat. Sauté the corn in the olive oil for a few minutes until lightly browned. Combine stock and 2 c black beans in a blender and blend until smooth. Add bean mixture and remaining ingredients to corn stirring well. Let it heat up then reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Serve with sour cream and more cilantro.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Lavash



Those of you who know me know that I very rarely follow recipes exactly as they are written. I like to take a recipe and use it as a starting out point. I take what I like from the recipe (the ingredient list, the cooking method, the idea, etc.) and then change everything else to make it into something I would enjoy making/eating. Sometimes the change is small, like adding black beans to a recipe, or oregano. At other times the change is huge. Taking a recipe for blue berry bread and making lemon ginger muffins for example. With this recipe; however, I made it exactly as I was told to, and having made it I wouldn't change a thing. It's perfect as is.

I got the recipe from a blog called "at the bakers bench"



1 ½ c flour
1 c whole wheat flour
2 Tb brown sugar
1 tsp instant yeast
1 tsp sea salt
2 Tb wheat germ
2 Tb sesame seeds
¾ c water plus more if needed
2 Tb olive oil
1 c mixed seeds (sunflower, flax, poppy, sesame) for topping



Combine all the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl and add water and oil. Mix and knead until dough is smooth.

Place dough in a greased bowl; cover and let rise for one hour.

Divide dough in half. Work with one half at a time keeping other half covered. Roll out dough to 1/8-inch thickness. As you roll sprinkle with seed topping, pressing them into the dough. If the dough springs back as you are rolling it out, cover it with a clean kitchen towel and let it rest for 10 minutes, then continue rolling. Repeat with other half of dough.

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Place the sheets of rolled dough on parchment and prick all over with a fork. Cut each sheet of dough into strips or diamonds with a pizza cutter. Let the dough rise for 20 minutes and preheat oven to 350.

Bake for 20 minutes rotating sheets halfway through baking. Turn off oven and let crackers sit inside for an additional 15 minutes until crisp and browned. Remove crackers from oven, cool, break apart and store in an air-tight container.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Gingersnap Cookie Sandwiches



Ginger and lemon. A Classic pairing. Pretty much anything that has ginger and lemon together tastes great in my book. This was just my normal gingersnap recipe. I altered it a tiny bit, I put in chopped crystallized ginger to make up the ginger flavor a bit then made the cookies half the size I usually make them. Then I filled them with this easy lemon frosting recipe. THEN I moved them around the house before they set trying to find good light which caused them to slide all over the place. But, they still taste awesome.

Here's the filling recipe.

2 Tb butter
2 Tb lemon juice
powdered sugar

Beat the butter until light and fluffy, add the lemon juice and beat until totally incorporated. Add as much powdered sugar as is necessary to make it into a good frosting consistency. Let cookies set before serving, or photographing.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Sweet Potato Hummus



Basic hummus is a Mediterranean/Middle Eastern dip made from chickpeas, tahini, olive oil, lemon juice and garlic. After that you can go crazy with it. Everyone you talk to has a different ratio of ingredients and everyone likes to add something different. Parsley, paprika, roasted garlic or cumin for those who like to play it safe. If you are adventurous you can add anything from artichokes, olives or red peppers to fresh fruit, sriracha sauce or wasabi. There are people out there who substitute black beans, white beans, lima beans or even lentils for the chickpeas, but since hummus litereally translates to chickpeas I wouldn't consider those dishes hummus. Although white bean hummus does sound better then white bean dip.

Hummus is relatively good for you (for those of you who might care). Chickpeas are full of protein and fiber, the tahini and olive oil add "good" fats and if you eat it as a dip with raw veggies it can be a filling lunch with nothing else added. I kept this recipe pretty basic and just added one sweet potato which I had peeled, cubed and steamed.

¼ c tahini
¼ c fresh lemon juice
1 garlic clove chopped
2 Tb olive oil
2 tsp cumin
salt & pepper
1 can chickpeas
1 lb sweet potatoes, steamed

Put the tahini and lemon juice into a blender and blend until it's frothy, white, and creamy. Add the garlic, olive oil, cumin, salt and pepper and blend it into the cream.

Drain and rinse off the chickpeas in a strainer. Gradually add the chickpeas and sweet potato making sure each addition is well blended, until the cream has thickened, but isn't too thick. Add salt to taste.

Scoop the hummus onto a plate, drizzle good olive oil over it, and sprinkle some parsley and/or cumin on top if you like.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Tahini




So a while ago Jeremy and I got a chance to go out for dinner just the two of us, no kiddos, and Jeremy decided to take me to Tin Angel. It was wonderful. We shared the local platter appetizer which included, among other things, cornbread crostini and sweet potato hummus. Ever since that night I have been craving it. So finally this past Friday, since it doesn't look like we will be visiting the Tin Angel any time soon, I decided I was going to make it myself. A quick look in the cupboards showed I had all the ingredients save one. Tahini.

Now, we live pretty close to Nashville but we do NOT live in one of the ethnically middle eastern areas. I know from experience that the grocery stores around here do not carry tahini nor have the people who work there even heard of it before. The last time I went looking for tahini the conversation went something like this:

me: "Excuse me do you know if you carry tahini?"

grocery worker: "ta what?"

me: "tahini"

grocery worker: "What?"

me: "ta - he - knee"

grocery worker: "What's that?"

me: "It's a paste made of sesame seeds."

grocery worker: blank stare

me: "Sesame seeds? It's paste made from them, you use it to make hummus..."

grocery worker: "What's hummus?"

me: "It's like a dip made from chickpeas."

grocery worker: blank stare...crickets chirp...paint dries

me: *sigh* "I miss Seattle."

grocery worker: "what did you miss?"

me: "Nothing, thanks for your help."

So my options are to drive 15 minutes north to a store that might have tahini, drive 30 minutes south to a store that probably does have tahini or google homemade tahini and take my chances. Taking into account the fact that it is about a bagillion degrees outside and my car's A/C isn't working I decided on the last option. I looked at 5 or 6 different homemade tahini recipes and they all had different ratios of sesame seeds to olive oil but the process was the same. So I decided to just dive in and wing it.

First you place the sesame seeds in a sauté pan over medium heat (here's what they start off looking like).



and toast them until they turn golden brown, pull off immediately and let cool. (here's how dark mine got).



I was just barely on this side of burnt so I would definitely not let them go as long next time.

Once they are toasted just put them in a food processor and begin to process them drizzling olive oil in a little at a time until a paste of medium thickness comes together. Scrape down the sides of the processor thoroughly to make sure everything is evenly blended. I used all mine up that night but I read you can keep it in the fridge tightly covered for up to a week.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Chocolate Oreo Cupcakes



These cupcakes are crazy. First of all - they are a great chocolate cupcake with out any additions. The crumb stays light and moist even in the fridge overnight and they taste kind of like chocolate ice cream. The recipe was actually a sheet cake recipe from the Pioneer Woman. Then just to make them amazing. I added oreo cookies to them and frosted them with a vanilla cream cheese frosting. Just to make sure there would be enough oreo goodness to go around I even put half an oreo with the cream on it in the bottom of each cupcake.



24 oreo halves with cream
2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
¼ tsp salt
12 – 24 oreos cut in fourths
2 sticks butter
4 heaping Tb cocoa
1 cup boiling water
½ cup buttermilk.
2 beaten eggs
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two muffin tins with liners and place a half an oreo in each liner.
Combine flour, sugar, salt and oreo fourths in a mixing bowl.
Melt 2 sticks butter in a saucepan. Add cocoa and stir together, add boiling water, allow mixture to boil for 30 seconds, then turn off heat. Pour over flour mixture, and stir lightly to cool.
In a bowl beat together buttermilk, eggs, baking soda and vanilla. Stir buttermilk mixture into chocolate/flour mixture. Fill cupcake liners almost to the top. Bake for 20 minutes or until set.

Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting

8 oz cream cheese softened
6 Tb butter softened
4 ¼ c powdered sugar
2 Tb vanilla
2 Tb half and half

Beat cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy. Add sugar and beat until well mixed. Add vanilla and half and half. Mix slowly until incorporated and then beat on high to “whip” frosting to desired consistancy.




Go ahead, take a bite, I know you want to :)



Apparently there weren't very many oreo chunks in this one and the half an oreo floated to the top! Told you they were light.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

My New Favorite Appetizer



These are the easiest fastest apps to make and SO GOOD! Especially if you are using good homegrown basil leaves. I've been making these a lot lately and eating them for lunch. Chickpeas are full of protein so these will fill you up and this recipe is just a basic jumping off point. I've added sriracha sauce, tyme, and plain yogurt so far.

1 cucumber
1 can chickpeas
lemon juice
salt
pepper
basil

Cut cucumbers into ½ inch slices. Rinse and drain chickpeas then mash with a potato masher adding salt pepper and lemon juice to taste. Spread a tsp of the chickpea mixture on each slice of cucumber and sprinkle chopped basil on the top.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies

I've been doing a lot of baking this week getting ready for family to come visit and I thought I'd try these out. They've been in my "want to try" file for a long time because they looked really time consuming. They do take longer than the average cookie but it really wasn't too bad. I think if I were to make them again I would wait until I had someone to help to make it go faster.



1 ½ c flour
½ c cocoa powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ c sugar
½ c brown sugar
½ c butter
¼ c peanut butter
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg
¾ c powdered sugar
¾ c peanut butter

In a small bowl blend together flour, cocoa and baking soda.
In a large bowl beat sugar, butter and ¼ c peanut butter until light and fluffy. Add vanilla and egg, beat. Stir in flour mixture until blended and set aside.
Combine powdered sugar and peanut butter to make filling. Roll filling into 1 inch balls.
For each cookie, with floured hands, shape 1 Tb dough around 1 peanut butter ball, covering completely and pat flat. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet.
Bake at 375 for 8 – 10 minutes.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Falafel



This is definitely not an "easy 30 minute weeknight meal". However it is totally worth the time and effort and I'm sure that now that I have the process down it will go much quicker next time.

To start with I made a variation of the Black Bean and Quinoa Salad. This one had red peppers and a honey-lime dressing on it instead of cilantro-lemon. I'll have to take some good pictures and post the recipe later.

I also made Tzatziki Sauce but instead of using the blender I grated the cucumber, chopped the garlic and mixed it all together.



Then I made the falafel mixture and let it sit in the fridge for a few hours. While that was waiting I made homemade pita bread.

Then comes the moment of truth. You have to fry these suckers which I am usually horrible at. Most of the time I wait until Jeremy is home and pass off the frying job to him but today I decided to just go for it. Here's a picture of the first one in, I was very nervous.



And guess what! They were perfect!!! It made my whole day :)



So here is the recipe. Try it out... healthy, vegetarian, and really it is easy, just a bit time consuming.

1 can chickpeas drained and rinsed
1 medium onion roughly chopped
3 cloves of garlic
¼ c chopped fresh cilantro
2 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cumin
1 squirt srirachi sauce
¼ c flour or so

In a food processor place the chickpeas, onion, garlic, cilantro salt and cumin. Process just until blended. Turn out into a bowl and mix in the flour. Cover and refrigerate for a few hours.
Form mixture into little balls about 2 Tb each. Heat oil to 350 – 375 in a wok and fry balls a few minutes on each side until golden brown. Drain on a paper towel.

Serve with pita bread, tomatoes, lettuce, olives, and Tzatziki sauce or tahini thinned with water.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Chicken with Tarragon Cream Sauce



This is one of my go to dinner recipes when I need something fast and easy that the whole family will like. And it is relatively healthy for you. Add mashed potatoes and a veggie and dinner is on the table.

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp freshly ground pepper
3 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
¼ c finely chopped shallots (or onions)
½ c chicken stock
½ c dry white wine
1 Tb Dijon mustard
1 Tb sour cream
1 Tb chopped fresh tarragon
Season chicken on both sides with salt and pepper. Heat 1 ½ tsp. oil in a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook until well browned, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate and tent with foil.
Reduce heat to medium. Add 1 ½ tsp. oil to pan. Add shallots; cook, stirring, until softened, 2 to 3 minutes. Add broth and wine and bring to a simmer. Cook until reduced by half, about 3 minutes.
Return the chicken and any accumulated juices to the pan; reduce heat to low. Simmer until the chicken is cooked through, about 4 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a warmed platter. Stir mustard, sour cream and tarragon into sauce. Season to taste with salt and pepper and spoon over the chicken.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Chocolate Cobbler



This recipe is awesome. I got it off of the pioneer woman, she got it off of her member submitted recipe website, the tasty kitchen, the lady who originally posted it apparently got it from her grandma because her recipe title was "My Grandma's Chocolate Cobbler". Regardless... you have to try it. The directions sound a little weird but just go with it. This turns out to be a cake with it's own chocolate sauce. I thought about serving it with vanilla ice cream but after some deliberation I came to the conclusion that the only thing that can make chocolate better - is more chocolate. SO I served it with chocolate ice cream that has chocolate cookie crumbles in it. Here you go.

1 c flour
2 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
7 Tb cocoa powder, divided
1 ¼ c sugar, divided
½ c milk
1/3 c melted butter
1 ½ tsp vanilla
½ c brown sugar
1 ½ c hot water

Preheat oven to 350
Stir together flour, baking powder, salt 3 Tb cocoa powder and ¾ c sugar. Stir in the milk, melted butter, and vanilla to the flour mixture and mix until smooth. Pour into an ungreased 8 inch baking dish.
In a separate bowl, mix together the remaining sugar, brown sugar, and cocoa. Sprinkle evenly over batter. Carefully pour the host tap water over all and do not stir.
Bake for 40 minutes or until center is set.
Let is stand for a few minutes. And serve warm with ice cream.

I doubled the recipe and made it in a 9 X 13 dish and it turned out great.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Dr. Pepper Cake

This is one of those things I HAD to try once I heard about it. Dr. Pepper.... in a cake... hmm... and actually it was REALLY good! The frosting just kind of soaked into the cake and it was very chocolaty. I'll be making this again for sure.



1 ½ c dr. pepper
½ c canola oil
1 stick butter
4 Tb cocoa powder
2 c sugar
2 c flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 eggs
½ c buttermilk

1 stick butter
4 Tb cocoa powder
8 Tb milk
4 C powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 and grease a 9 X 13 pan. Combine Dr. Pepper, oil, butter and cocoa powder in a saucepan over medium heat. When it comes to a simmer. Mix well and turn the stove off.
Mix the dry ingredients together; add to the dr. pepper mixture and mix well but don’t over beat. In a small separate bowl, lightly beat the eggs and buttermilk together, then add them to the saucepan and mix the batter well.
Pour into prepared pan and bake at 350 for 20 – 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
In a saucepan, combine butter, cocoa powder and milk over medium heat, stirring occasionally until melted and smooth. Add in the powdered sugar a little at a time, combining after each addition until smooth. Pour over warm cake.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Why The Kurds Rock

Nashville has the largest concentrations of Kurds outside northern Iraq. No lie. Look it up. While I know next to nothing about them I DO know that their bread product rocks. Naan is what Kurds eat every day.

I happened upon, by pure chance (and the fact that I thought that an Indian spice shop would be open at 7 in the morning, but that is another story), one of the biggest naan bakeries in Nashville. It is behind a Kurdish food store (that just so happens to be next to the Indian spice shop and does open at 7 am). The shop also carries some AWESOME smoked sardines...a recent obsession of mine.

Naan.

Sardines.

Pizza.



I couldn't help myself.

On the left is extra virgin olive oil, garlic, salt, black pepper, and sardines. Moments after the pic was taken it was doused in Romano cheese.

On the right is a classic with a twist: crushed tomatoes, sardines, garlic and mozz.

The left dominated the right.

I found a new favorite snack.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

What Jeremy Had For Dinner (AKA - What Happens To Jeremy When Left At Home Alone For Any Period Of Time)

Here is how it goes in my head:

I'm not hungry.

Who are you kidding, of course you are. You should eat something.

Yes, yes, but something small.

Of course!

Like an egg or two, just enough to keep the metabolism up...you've got to study.

Agreed, lets get ready.

Hey look! Some potatoes on the counter.

Awesome, maybe a bit of hash browns.

Rad, but then there are those onions and garlic.

No problem, they can join the party.

Might as be all inclusive and add the eggs as well.

It would only be prudent.

Frittata it is.

You are the only one eating, might as well add the pimenton your lovely wife doesn't like.

Sure, and some cumin too.

Hey look! Sausage from the other day.

Heck, there is a tomato and some olives too.

Perfect, the acid will cut through the fat a bit.

So will some red wine.

Genius.

How should I top it off.

Romano cheese sounds good.

It always sounds good.

--------------

Original plan - egg on a plate
Estimated time - 5 minutes

Finished plan - Uber-Frittata
Actual time - 40 minutes



Awesome.

Best part - I'll probably finish this entire thing given enough time.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Balsamic Vinegar Chicken with Almond Peppers

This is a pretty easy weeknight meal. While the chicken is finishing cooking in the oven you can be working on the peppers. Serve it with mashed potatoes or rice pilaf.

6 chicken breasts
3 Tb dry breadcrumbs
3 Tb grated Parmesan cheese
¼ cup all-purpose flour
1 egg
2 tsp olive oil
2 Tb balsamic vinegar
2 Tb chicken stock
2 large red bell peppers
2 large green bell peppers
2 tsp olive oil
1/3 cup raisins
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
1 ½ tsp sugar
¼ tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
¼ cup slivered almonds, toasted

Combine breadcrumbs and cheese in a shallow dish. Place flour in a shallow dish; dredge each chicken piece in flour, and dip in egg. Dredge chicken in breadcrumb mixture.
Heat 2 tsp olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken, and cook for 3 minutes on each side or until browned. Remove to a 9 X 13 glass pan and put in oven until cooked through. (about 10 minutes).
Add 2 Tb vinegar and stock to pan; stir with a wooden spoon to loosen browned bits. Keep warm.



Cut bell peppers into 2 x 2 1/2-inch strips. Heat 2 tsp olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add peppers and sauté 8 minutes. Add raisins; sauté 1 minute. Add ¼ cup vinegar, sugar, salt, and black pepper; cook 1 minute. Remove from heat; stir in almonds.



Serve chicken and peppers with pan sauce drizzled over top.



I forgot about the pan sauce! It was still great food. :)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Cinnamon Rolls

I hate cinnamon rolls that are just dry white bread with a little cinnamon in them. Good cinnamon rolls should be gooey and very bad for your health. Otherwise they are just not worth eating!! This recipe has pudding in it which helps combat dryness and I always put cinnamon in the bread itself to make it even yummier. Beware - this recipe makes a LOT of rolls! Make sure you really roll it out to 34 X 21 inches. And don't crowd the pan. You can see I didn't try to cram them into one or two pans. You want to give them plenty of room to grow in the second rise.



½ cup warm water
2 packages dry yeast
2 Tb sugar
3 ½ oz. pkg. vanilla pudding mix
milk
½ cup butter melted
2 eggs
1 tsp salt
1 Tb cinnamon
6 cups flour

In a bowl combine water, yeast and sugar. Stir until dissolved. Set aside. In large bowl, take pudding mix and prepare according to package directions. Add butter, eggs, cinnamon and salt. Mix well. Then add yeast mixture. Blend. Gradually add flour; knead until smooth. Place in a greased bowl. Cover and let rise until doubled. Punch down dough and roll it out on floured board to 34 x 21" size. Take 1 cup soft butter and spread over surface. In bowl, mix 2 cups brown sugar and 4 tsp cinnamon. Sprinkle over top. Roll up very tightly. With knife, put a notch every 2". Cut with thread or knife. Place on lightly greased cookie sheet 2" apart. Take hand and lightly press down on each roll. Cover and let rise until double again. Bake at 350° for 15-20 minutes. Remove when they start to turn golden.
DON'T OVER BAKE.

Frost warm rolls with Cream Cheese Frosting
To make frosting, mix all ingredients until smooth.
CREAM CHEESE FROSTING:
8 oz cream cheese
1/2 cup butter
1 tsp vanilla
3 cups confectioner's sugar
1 Tb milk