Thursday, November 22, 2007

Monday, November 19, 2007

The Potluck

Last week we had a few close friends over for a potluck. Everyone brought dishes to share. I found a recipe on one of my favorite blogs Leslie from the blog had invited a number of college students over and cooked these great burritos and I was inspired. They were quick easy and quite good. Our potluck was like a Mexican Fiesta. Teresa brought taco dip, Nathan and JP brought pie, ice cream and some bread and parm for a pre dinner snack. I provided guac, chips and salsa, sour cream and of course the burritos. They were a hot.
Diego getting ready to eat!
Chicken and White Bean Burritos

1 rotisserie chicken, chopped into small cubes
1 cans white beans, drained and rinsed
1 block of cream cheese, softened
Salsa verde:
1 can green enchilada sauce
1 small can green chillies
6 cloves garlic
3 cups onions

1. Place the green enchilada sauce, green chilies, garlic and onions in the blender and blend away.
2. Mix the chicken, beans, cream cheese and 1.5 cups of the green stuff together.
3. Roll as per beef burritos.
4. To bake, top with the rest of the green stuff, and a bit of cheese. Bake at 350F for 30 minutes.
Black Bean Burritos

1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic
1cup frozen corn
1 red pepper, chopped
1 cans black beans
1 can red enchilada sauce
1 T cumin
1 t oregano
a few shakes of chili powder
hot sauce
3-4 T olive oil

1. In a large pot (6 qt!), heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and garlic. Cook until softening. Add the corn and peppers.
2. Add the beans and enchilada sauce and spices. Continue to cook until almost all of the liquid has evaporated (if your filling is liquidity, you will have soggy, watery burritos....gross).
3. Wait for your filling to cool and stuff burritos.
4. To bake, top with more red enchilada sauce, and then cheese. Bake at 350F for 30 minutes.

Making Bread

Last night my good friend Katie came over and taught me how to bake bread. It's amazing! The smell, the taste the look. I'm probably going to go crazy and make tons of different kinds now that I know how to do it. We used the recipe (below) from Julia Child's baking book.
Julia Child's White Bread Recipe
2 1/2 cups water (105-115 F)
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
7 cups bread flour or all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon salt
1/4-1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened

Pour 1/2 cup of the water into a bowl and mix with yeast and sugar til foamy. Let sit for 5 minutes until creamy. Put the yeast mixture, rest of the water and 3 1/2 cups of the flour into the mixer with the dough hook. Mix slowly until blended then add the rest of the flour. Increase speed and scrape down the sides til the dough comes together. (If it doesn't add a tbsp of flour at a time til it does.) Add salt and mix at medium speed for 10 minutes (or do half in mixer and half kneading) til dough is smooth and elastic.
Back in mixer add butter 1 tbsp at a time (dough may come apart, but mixing will pull it back together).
Turn dough out on lightly floured surface and shape it into a ball then place in a large buttered or oiled bowl. Turn dough so it is completely coated in the fat, then cover in plastic for 45 minutes to an hour, til it has doubled in size at room temperature.

Butter 2 loaf pans. Deflate the dough, cut in half and turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Roll out into a 9 x 12-inch rectangle. With the short end facing you, fold the dough into thirds like a sheet of paper to go into an envelope, creating a roll. Pinch the seam closed, and pinch the ends enough so it will fit in the loaf pan. Drop in the loaf pan seem side down, and repeat. Cover the loaves with buttered plastic wrap and allow to rise again in a warm place (80°F) for 45 minutes, until they double in size.

Preheat the oven to 375°F and put the rack in the center of the oven. Bake for 35-45 minutes til they are honey brown. Immediately turn out of pans onto a rack to cool. Once almost completely cool, they can be cut. Store in a brown paper bag for a day or two. Once cut, turn cut side down onto a cutting board and cover with a kitchen towel.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Peanut Noodles

I've been getting tired of the same old meals and since kickball is done I thought I would branch out. I had a craving for some kind of dish with a peanut sauce. So, I looked on and found a recipe they call Soba with Chicken and Peanut Sauce. The recipe looked a little basic to me to I added tons veggies and some extra additions of my own.
1 pound chicken cutlets or tenders
10 oz package soba or buckwheat noodles
1 small head of broccoli
1 bunch of pea pods
2 carrots peeled and cut
2 TBL oil
2/3 cup creamy peanut butter (not natural)
1/4 cup soy sauce, maybe less
1 tablespoon Asian sesame oil
2 teaspoons Chinese chili garlic paste (preferably Lan Chi) or Sriracha (Southeast Asian chili sauce) plus additional for serving
1-2 TBL of lemon juice
1/4 cup chopped scallions
1 cup of peanuts

Cut chicken into 1/2-inch-wide strips, then cook in a 5- to 6-quart pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until just cooked through, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer chicken with a slotted spoon to a bowl (drain any excess liquid), reserving water in pot. Return water to a boil, then cook noodles, stirring occasionally, until just tender, 4 to 8 minutes. Reserve 3/4 cup noodle-cooking water and drain noodles in a colander. Rinse noodles under cold water to stop cooking, then drain well. While noodles are cooking saute broccoli, pea pods, carrots, garlic and ginger in oil. Whisk together peanut butter, soy sauce, sesame oil, chili paste, and reserved cooking water until smooth. Divide noodles among large serving bowls. Spoon about 1/4 cup peanut sauce over noodles in each bowl, then divide chicken, veggie saute, scallions and peanuts among bowls. Serve immediately with remaining sauce and additional chili paste. Stir noodles just before eating.

When you dip we dip she dips...

Janine and Sarah's Artichoke Spinach Dip
So the story behind this one is set about 4-5 years ago. I was living in Uptown and had invited my friend Janine over for New Year's. We both love to cook, so we had decided to make this huge dinner for ourselves. The artichoke spinach dip recipe below came from a concoction that we threw together from various recipes that night, all the while finishing many bottles of wine. The result was great and we ended up just having the dip for dinner.

1 can artichoke hearts

1 bag frozen spinach, thawed

4 oz cream cheese

1 cup sour cream

1 cup mayo

2 cloves of garlic or more depending on your taste

salt and pepper

1 1/2 cups parmesan cheese

lemon juice from 1 to 1 1/2 lemons

Preheat oven to 350. Combine artichoke hearts, spinach, cream cheese, sour cream, mayo, garlic, S&P, 1 cup parm and lemon juice in food processor. Scoop into glass baking dish. Add 1/2 cup or remaining parm to top of dip. Bake at 350 for 10-20 minutes covered. Uncover and bake another 5 minutes until golden brown.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Soup, Soup I Can't Get Enough

Curried Parsnip Soup

1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons curry powder
1 pinch of cumin
6 cups low-salt chicken broth
6-7 medium parsnips, peeled and cut
2-3 medium carrots, peeled and cut
2 medium apples, peeled and cut
2/3 cup of cream
1-2 shots of hot sauce

Melt butter with olive oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion and sauté until translucent, about 3 minutes.

Add curry powder; stir 30 seconds.

Add parsnips and carrots let saute for 5-10 minutes until tender. Add salt and pepper.

Add apples, chicken broth and cumin. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer uncovered for 20 minutes.

Working in batches, puree soup in blender until smooth. Return to pot. Add cream and salt and pepper to taste.

Serve with Grandma's cornbread.