Wednesday, October 12, 2011
Monday, October 10, 2011
Here's what you'll need:
1/4 cup Blanched Almonds
2 cloves Garlic
1/2 cup Olive Oil
2 tsp. Vinegar
2 tsp. Lemon Juice
Pinch of Salt and Pepper
This is going to be super easy to make. Just watch. Throw the almonds and garlic into a food processor.
Pulse until finely ground. Pour the olive oil in, in three or four parts, pulsing in between pours until fully incorporated.
Add the rest of the ingredients, and pulse until smooth.
That's it. It shouldn't have taken you more than 5 minutes. You now have a Spanish salad dressing that is pure deliciousness. You can put it in an airtight container and store it in the fridge for at least a couple weeks. When using it from the fridge, make sure you leave time for it to reach room temp, because the olive oil sometimes solidifies when chilled. And it's totally okay to lick the plate.
Sunday, October 9, 2011
Seven years ago today, this Girl married her Physicist. When planning our wedding, the food and cake took precedence over a lot of other details (I may have shocked the florist by saying "It's a fall theme, you're a professional, I'm sure whatever you do will be fine."). And, when deciding on the food and cake, The Physicist was an active participant.
A reception is the first dinner party you ever throw as a married couple, and it has practically everyone you know and care about at it. We went to a tasting at our venue, and were overjoyed that everything we had was amazing. But this led to other problems: If everything is good, what do you serve? I think we were up to 2am, agonizing over the possibilities when it hit us what we had to serve. Our guests joined us in a traditional Thanksgiving meal, turkey and all the trimmings, a month and a half early. I think the sensory memory associated with Thanksgiving, really helped us set the tone for the day.
But, I think the aspect we were most excited about was The Cake. We had set up several appointments for cake tastings . . . and cancelled them after the first one. After that first forkful of Konditor Meister cake, we knew we had found our bakery. Each layer was a different flavor: chocolate with raspberry filling, pumpkin with pumpkin apricot mousse, apple spice with maple mousse, and the top was tiramisu. When we decided to add a fourth layer of cake, The Physicist even wrangled a second cake tasting, "to help decide on the flavor" (which we had already picked).
We have wonderful memories of that day, and we believe the food and the cake played a big part in making that day a success. I think that theme has spilled over from our wedding and into our marriage. Food and cake play a big part in our lives, and sometimes the food is great, and sometimes it's a disaster. But, as the years have gone by, our menus have become more complex, a little more sophisticated, we've learned what works and what doesn't. And overall, things just get better and better.P.S. I know I missed a couple days, but we were celebrating our anniversary in DC, and the hotel wanted $10 a day for internet. I'll do double posts Monday and Tuesday to make it up to you. :)
Thursday, October 6, 2011
2 Tbsp. Sugar
1/4 tsp. Cinnamon
1/4 tsp. Ground Ginger
1 Tbsp. Butter
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with some parchment paper. Yes, you have to. You can find some in the baking aisle of your grocery store. Then unroll your ready made pie crust. Yup. It's that easy. You didn't even need a pie plate!
Now, peel, core, and slice your apples. In this one, the apples show, so it helps if you're careful and make nice even slices, while keeping the apple half together, as pictured to the left. You'll see in a second why.
Wednesday, October 5, 2011
3-4 lbs. Whole Chicken, giblets removed, rinsed out and off, patted dry
Salt and Pepper, in a small bowl
1 Lemon, halved
1 Head Garlic, cut in half crosswise
1 Bunch Fresh Herbs; Sage, Rosemary, Thyme
2 Tbsp. Olive Oil, in a small bowl
1 Onion, cut into wedges like an apple
Preheat the oven to 475 degrees. Place the chicken, breast side up, into a roasting pan, or oven safe pot big enough to hold it. Tuck it's tiny little arms under it. (The Physicist: "They're wings! Jeez!") Salt and pepper the cavity, then shove both halves of the lemon, both halves of the garlic, and the bunch of herbs in. Cram it all in there, you can do it. Close the little skin flaps over it, and secure 'em with toothpicks. Brush the whole bird with the olive oil.
Then massage the salt and pepper all over, into the skin and squeeze all the onion wedges around the bird.
The whole thing should look like the picture to the left. ("You can take off the gloves now.")
At this point, you can put it in the oven, and set a timer for about an hour and fifteen minutes. It might need more time than that, but a food thermometer into the thigh should read 160 degrees when it's done.
We did it! We roasted a chicken! We can do anything! (Except remove the giblets.)
Tuesday, October 4, 2011
About a year ago, I was looking into ways to try and eat healthier and came across a whole bunch of articles waxing poetic about Wheat Grass. I looked further into it, and though not a lot is scientifically proven about it, it's definitely not bad for you. The only thing is that it cannot be heated, or whatever good it does you is lost.
So I picked up a single serving package of Berry flavored GREENSuper Food at Whole Foods and decided to experiment. While checking out, the cashier asked if I had had wheat grass before. I told her I hadn't, and asked what I should stir the powder into. "I like mine mixed with water. You can really taste the swampiness." THE WHAT?!?! The look of mortification must have been clear on my face, because the girl who was bagging our groceries held up my chocolate soy milk, emphatically pointing to it, while mouthing the words "Use this."
For the last year, 4-5 days a week, pictured above is what I have for breakfast. Does it taste a bit like lawn clippings in chocolate milk? Yes. Do I feel better on days when I have that for breakfast rather than something like delicious banana pancakes? *sigh* YES. There is a notable difference in my energy levels, I feel healthier, and my digestion is more, shall we say, "regular".
Now, using soy milk cuts down on how thick the smoothie tastes, as soy milk has a thinner consistency than milk. Chocolate DEFINITELY masks a LOT of the grass flavor. The powder does have to be whisked into the soy milk, or it clumps, and it should be consumed quickly after it's been whisked. I usually get it down in three gulps. I know, this has not been the most glowing recommendation, but I do suggest you pick up some packets and some soy milk, and give it a try for a week. You might think it's worth it.
Monday, October 3, 2011
The Physicist does not like the typical bananas you find in the store, which are the Cavendish variety. He thinks they taste "too banana-y" (that's a technical term). But, my fears of never being able to enjoy banana pancakes with him were averted when we found baby (or mini) bananas. The Physicist absolutely *loves* to snack on these, and by the end of the week, usually some have turned the overripe black color that means it's time to mash them into the bottom of a mixing bowl and heat up the griddle.
I am not going to give you a recipe for pancakes. I make mine from a mix (Jiffy!), and have found that most people already have a favorite pancake batter. I'm not here to mess with your pancakes.
I will give you a few tips though.
1) Pancakes are for anytime. These were our dinner. :)
2) Mix-ins are your friend. Adding fruits, nuts, chocolate chips, or even bacon can liven up your pancakes. We had some chocolate chips in our banana pancakes.
3) Don't pour the batter on your griddle until it's hot enough that water drops dance (not just sizzle, not evaporate, but a skittering dance) on the surface.
4) Don't flip the pancake until bubbles form in the middle (see picture above). They don't have to be fully formed bubbles if you like your pancakes a lighter color, but they do have to at least be forming.
Sunday, October 2, 2011
The Physicist's Raspberry Melba BBQ Sauce
7 oz. Raspberry Preserves
2 Tbsp. Apple Cider Vinegar
1/8 tsp. of Onion Powder
1/4 tsp. Chili Powder
1/8 tsp. Cloves
1/4 tsp. Cayenne
1 1/2 tsp. Worcestershire Sauce
1 tsp. Horseradish
2 Tbsp. Honey
Stir and simmer all the ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat until thick, about 15 minutes. That's it. This one is for those looking for a fruity flavor and just a little spice.
The Girl's Sweet & Spicy BBQ Sauce
1/2 cup Tomato Puree
1/2 cup Brown Sugar
2/3 cup Orange Juice
1 tsp. Thai Red Curry Paste
1 tsp. Sriracha
3 tsp. Hoisin
1/2 tsp. Ground Ginger
1/2 tsp. Cayenne
2 Tbsp. Maple Syrup
2 Tbsp. Lemon Juice
Stir it all together and simmer it over medium heat for 15-20 minutes, until nice and thick. This sauce has a lot of heat, particularly slow heat that sneaks up on you, but it balances nicely with the sweet.
The Girl's Mild Mustard BBQ Sauce
1/2 cup Tomato Puree
1 Tbsp. Tomato Paste
7 Tbsp. Yellow Mustard
1/4 cup Brown Sugar
1/8 tsp. Chili Powder
1 Tbsp. Lemon Juice
1/2 tsp. Onion Powder
1/4 tsp. Curry Powder
1/2 tsp. Garlic Powder
1/8 tsp. Wasabi Powder
1 tsp. Horseradish
2 Tbsp. Maple Syrup
1 Tbsp. Apple Cider Vinegar
1 tsp. Paprika
Same thing, stir it all together and simmer over medium heat until the flavors all meld and it thickens up a little, about 10 minutes. This one is VERY tangy and mustard-y, but light on spice.
Saturday, October 1, 2011
Monday, June 13, 2011
The Physicist LOVES to garden. Because of this, every summer, we tend to have a LOT of produce. Right now, I'm in the thick of our strawberry season. Last week, he picked about 7 pounds of strawberries. I'm giving them away, having them at every meal, making jams and ice creams to store them. And I'm making Almond Strawberry Quick Bread. I found a recipe online (for Walnut Strawberry Bread), decided I didn't like half the ingredients, changed it around, and made it. Then I decided it had WAY too much sugar! (Strawberries are already sweet, people!) It was like eating candy. So I changed it again, cutting WAY back on the sugar. Now, the bread tastes like strawberries. And you know me, I like things with fruit in them to taste like the fruit. :)
1/2 cup Almond Flour (finely ground almonds if you can't find almond flour, it's the same thing)
1 1/2 cups All-Purpose Flour
2/3 cup Sugar
1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
1/2 tsp. Salt
1/4 tsp. Cinnamon
1/2 tsp. Ground Ginger
1 Tbsp. Lemon Zest
1 1/4 cups Mashed Strawberries (10 oz.)
1/2 cup Vegetable Oil
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and grease and flour a 9" x 5" bread pan. (I like the Pam Baking for this.)
In a medium bowl whisk together the almond flour, flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and ginger. Set aside. In a large bowl, mash those strawberries if you haven't already, and then add the zest, eggs, and oil, whisking that all together. Now add your dry to your wet and make sure they're combined. It should be pinkish-purple.
Pour into your bread pan and bake for 55-60 minutes. Don't take it out until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out with no goo. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes, then take it out of the pan and let completely cool on the rack for an hour. Slice and enjoy!
Wednesday, June 8, 2011
1/2 pound Really Good Chocolate (Dark or Semi-Sweet)
3 Tbsp. Dutch-Process Cocoa Powder
3 Tbsp. Boiling Water
1 1/2 sticks Unsalted Butter, Room Temp
1/4 cup Powdered Sugar
Pinch of Salt
Okay, first we melt the chocolate by placing it in a heat proof bowl (like Pyrex), over, but not touching, some simmering water in saucepan. This is pretty much making your own double boiler. Turn off the heat, and stir until the chocolate melts completely. Set this aside and let cool to room temp. While your waiting, combine the cocoa and the boiling water until the cocoa is dissolved. (It is important that both the chocolate and the cocoa mixture cool to room temp, or you'll melt your butter!)
Once everything is room temp, place your butter, powdered sugar, and salt in the mixing bowl of your electric mixer and beat until light and fluffy with the paddle attachment for 3-4 minutes. (No mixer? Get your wooden spoon and work those arms!) Add the melted chocolate, beat until combined. Then add the cocoa mixture. Scrape down the sides, and beat until smooth.
Tuesday, June 7, 2011
You will need:
1 stick Unsalted Butter (Room Temperature)
3/4 cup All-Purpose Flour
3/4 cup Cake Flour
1 1/2 tsp. Baking Powder
1/4 tsp. Salt
7/8 cup Sugar (or 3/4 cup + 2 Tbsp.)
1 Tbsp. Vanilla Extract
5/8 cup Milk (or 1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp.)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter two 6 inch pans, line the bottoms with parchment circles, butter the parchment, and flour. In a medium bowl, sift together both flours, baking powder, and salt.
Fit your electric mixer with the paddle attatchment (or decide to give your arms a workout and get your wooden spoon and big mixing bowl ready). Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Add the vanilla extract. Take the mixer down to low speed and add the flour mixture in three parts, alternating with the milk, beginning and ending with the flour. Make sure every addition is completely combined before adding the next.
Divide the batter between the two cakes pans and smooth the tops with an offset spatula. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer pans to a wire rack for 20 minutes to cool, then invert the cakes, remove the parchment, turn 'em right side up, and let them cool completely.
Trim the tops and frost 'em. I'll try and post a 6 inch chocolate frosting recipe tomorrow.
Monday, June 6, 2011
You will need:
2 1/2 cups All-Purpose Flour
1 tsp. Baking Soda
1/2 tsp. Salt
1 1/4 cups Brown Sugar
1/2 cup Sugar
1 cup Butter
1/4 cup Peanut Butter
1 Tbsp. Vanilla Extract
3 cups Oats (I use Quaker Old Fashioned)
2 cups Chocolate Chips
1 package Reese's Mini Unwrapped (8oz.)
Preheat your over to 375 degrees. Whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl, and set aside. In a large mixing bowl, cream together brown sugar, sugar, butter, and peanut butter. Add the eggs, one at a time, and add the vanilla extract. Gradually add the flour mixture. Now, if your using an electric mixer, stop at this point, because adding the oats will kill it. Stir in the oats by hand (work those muscles!) and then add the chocolate chips and peanut butter cups. Scoop out dough in tablespoons onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Try to make sure there is at least one peanut butter cup in every cookie. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Let cool and enjoy.
Monday, January 17, 2011
Okay, so I wasn't so ready to move on. This is the first cake in several years that just wouldn't let go of the pan. In my defense, I've never made Red Velvet cake before. I *did* tweak the recipe (which in hindsight, was a terrible idea). When The Physicist came home, I showed him the pieces that were supposed to be the cake, and then told him I was going to throw it out. He said, "Frost it." So, I did. He's enjoying right now.
On the bright side, I also made cupcakes with the other half of the batter. They turned out lovely.
P.S. I've decided that a post once a month is probably more realistic. :)