Friday, February 26, 2010

parmesan crusted salmon with shrimp in a garlic cream sauce

I grabbed my camera after I had already begun eating and mixing things around my plate.

There are no measurements for this recipe. That's how it goes when Andrew cooks. I'm his sous chef. But basically, here is what happened:

1) In a saucepan, heat olive oil, minced garlic, salt, pepper, butter and lemon juice. Heat to "infuse the oil". Stir in the shrimp and let marinate until you're ready to get things going.

2) Cook pasta.

3) Make a cream sauce in a pan by mixing a little whipping cream, skim milk, butter, garlic, salt, pepper. Stir until thickened. We wanted it thin and so our sauce wasn't thickening- we didn't add enough cream. So, I made a quick thickener of water and flour and poured in just a little bit until it coated the back of a spoon.

3) Salt and pepper the salmon fillet. Press parmesan cheese and minced garlic onto one side of the salmon (you may want to add more spices here- ours needed more salt after). Heat some vegetable oil in a skillet until hot. Put cheese/garlic side down and cook for about 4 minutes. Put cheese on the side facing up. Flip and cook 4 more minutes.

4) While the salmon is cooking, heat the shrimp.

5) Mix pasta, sauce and shrimp together.

6) Place the pasta and shrimp on a plate with the salmon and enjoy! We added extra salt and parmesan because it needed it.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

the best soft gingersnap cookies

I love these cookies with a glass of cold milk. Ah! I probably make them every 2-3 weeks. The best part of these cookies, aside from the flavor and the softness, is how easy they are. I can make a whole batch while Nathaniel is asleep without batting an eye. They're even fast enough that if he's awake, I can usually get them made up and in the oven before he starts fussing. You throw everything in the same bowl, mix, add a little more flour and you're ready to put them on the cookie sheet.

I probably also love these because I have a nostalgic, good memory associated with these cookies. After I had Thanny, my mom came out to visit. I wanted something sweet (being a mom has given me a killer sweet tooth) and she offered to make me peanut butter cookies. But on the same page of the Better Homes and Gardens Cook Book were gingersnaps. I wanted those instead. And she made them for me. My first comment when she came back downstairs was: "They're done already?" Then I went and ate one...then two...then three and came down raving. My sweet mom took care of me as I took care of Nathaniel. Thanks mom.


2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup shortenig
1/4 cup molasses
1 egg
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 cup sugar to roll the cookies in

In a mixing bowl, combine about half of the flour, brown sugar, shortening, molasses, egg, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon and cloves. Beat with electric mixer on medium-high speed until thoroughly combined. Beat in remaining flour. (This will be a thick, stiff dough)

Shape dough into 1 inch balls. Roll in sugar. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 8-9 minutes until set and tops are crackled. (I cook them 8 exactly- they're soft but set up a little more on cooling.) Cool on a wire rack.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Orange Chicken


We LOVE this chicken. It is great with white rice, but homemade fried rice might be even better!

Chicken Ingredients
2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into bite sized pieces
1 egg
1 1/2 tsp. salt
white pepper
oil (for frying)
1/2 cup cornstarch plus 1 Tbl. cornstarch
1/4 cup flour
1 Tbl. ginger root minced
1 tsp. garlic minced
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 cup green onion chopped
1 Tbl. rice wine
1/4 cup water

Orange Sauce Ingredients
1 1/2 Tbl. soy sauce
1 1/2 Tbl. water
5 Tbl. sugar
5 Tbl. white vinegar
zest of 1 orange

1. Mix egg, salt, pepper and 1 Tbl. oil in a bowl. Add chicken and stir to coat.
2. Stir cornstarch and flour into a separate bowl.
3. Heat oil in wok or fry pan to 375 degrees (or until the oil sizzles and bubbles when a piece is dropped in)
4. Coat chicken in flour mixture in batches.
5. Add chicken in small batches to the oil and cook for 3-4 minutes or until lightly golden brown
6. Remove chicken and set aside. Empty oil and clean wok.
7. Heat 1 Tbl. oil. Add garlic and ginger until fragrant- about 10 seconds.
8. Add red peppers and green onions. Add rice wine (optional) and stir for a few seconds only.
9. Add prepared Orange Sauce and cook until it comes to a boil.
10. Add cooked chicken and stir.
11. Stir 1 Tbl. cornstarch into water and add to chicken and sauce. Stir and heat until sauce is thickened and coats.

Note: We used rice vinegar since rice wine has alcohol. I thought it tasted fine but Andrew would leave it out next time- he thought with all the white vinegar it was too acidic. He may have also substituted some of the orange juice (from the orange we zested) in place of half of the white vinegar in the sauce.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Waffles with Strawberry Compote

9 o'clock church does not lend itself to making a good breakfast. Instead, I made Brad a Valentine's breakfast today. (Why is it that on a holiday we are up and ready for the day by 8 but on Sunday it is always a rush? Does that make sense to anyone else?)

I made waffles with strawberry compote and fresh whipped cream. It was delicious!

For the waffles I just used a Belgian waffle mix. A good one, but still a mix.

I got this recipe off of Bloom. Taylor used mixed berries, but I just used strawberries. (Side note: if you've never had Taylor cook for you, you are missing out! Mmm...)

Here is the recipe:
1 heaping cup frozen berries
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons lemon juice

Combine in a small saucepan. Cook on low/medium for 20 minutes. Check frequently to make sure there is enough water. If it gets too thick, add more water.

I used just strawberries. Next time I would at least double the recipe-we like lots of strawberries on our waffles! I would also use less lemon juice. I think the lemon juice is a good amount for mixed berries, but it made just the strawberries taste a little like raspberries. I also put the compote in an ice bath to cool it down quickly.

Here's the result:

It was so good! And the fresh whipped cream really gave it that extra umph!

yes, sometimes it just doesn't this flat apple pie

I seriously don't know what I do wrong. I have a few ideas that I could try if I was willing to try this yet again. But, I tried making this darn Flat Apple Pie two times already and I'm just done. The Pioneer Woman made it look so easy that I went in completely confident that I could do it in no time flat also. I don't know how she does it! I tried it with my pie crust recipe and her pie crust recipe (which I think is really cool, actually. I need to try it in a regular pie pan with a regular pie now) and both times went so wrong...

My First Attempt:

I intended to make this for my little brother's birthday treat. This good idea came to such a sad end. The first time, I made the apples before I had the crust ready. Because of this, I had to let them sit around while I made Ree's pie crust. Then I saw that she freezes her crusts. So, I had to bag them up and freeze them. I couldn't wait that long so I then made my own pie crust and tried to use that. After all the sitting, the coating (sugars and flour) turned into a liquid syrup.

#1 I rolled out my pie crust
#2 I put the apple filling in the center (there were probably too many apples)

#3 I turned up the edges and put the butter on top

#4 I cooked it in the oven. After moments, the filling started running out the bottom, over the parchment paper and burning onto the cookie sheet. There was no salvaging this, though I tried to spoon some back onto the center.

#5 I baked it the whole time, took it off and let it cool on the sheet. It looked fine, though it had no gooey center. It was purely apples and crust. I guess luckily, Nathaniel was being stood up on the island next to the cooling rack and in one easy side swipe of the foot knocked the rack and disastrous pie onto the floor. It was kind of a relief- I didn't have to decide what to do with it.

Needless to say, Brett didn't get this apple pie for a birthday treat. Bummer. Or maybe it was a good thing so he didn't have to eat kind of a yucky dessert.

My second attempt:

The recipe makes two apple pies so I had extra apples. I decided to rinse off the left over apples and remake the filling. This time, I wouldn't have the runny syrup. I thought if I had the dry coating on the apples, I wouldn't have the yucky running. I also decided to use the freezer pie crust I had from Ree's recipe from the day before. I thought maybe that was part of the problem too- trying to use my own. Now, I've never had a pie crust like this. The taste is really good (from snitching some unbaked dough) and I look forward to using the rest of this crust in my next pumpkin pie. So, I tried again the next morning with enthusiasm that I was going to master it this time.

#1 According to her directions I thawed and rolled out the crust first and put it on parchment that covered the entire cookie sheet (should the dripping happen again)

#2 I had already measured out the dry ingredients but hadn't put them with the apples until I had rolled out the crust. But, it took me 30 seconds tops since all I had to do was throw the apples in the sugar mixture. Then I used a little less apples and put it in the center of the crust.

#3 Then I folded up the edges, dotted the butter and pressed around the bottom edges making sure everything was sealed tight. I even double patched some places with extra dough to ensure no leakage. I felt pretty confident.

#4 Cue the leaking (see the leaking in the first attempt) and by the end of the 30-40 minutes I had charred filling. Again, dry apples, no filling and nice flaky crust.

# 5 As promised, you can cut this pie with a pizza wheel. It was dry, a little tasteless since there was no sugary goodness left inside. I did try a bite and it wasn't so bad when it was warm. I tried saving it to have a little later and it was just not good. Boo.

If you can figure out this recipe, please let me know. The recipe is at the top if you click on "Flat Apple Pie".

Some good things that came from this disaster:
1. I found a new crust recipe to experiment with
2. I remember how much I love my pie pans
3. I realized that I should plan ahead when trying a new recipe for events such as birthdays and not let my baby around my newly baked goods or they will meet a sad, sad end.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Sometimes it just doesn't work...

I don't usually have recipes fail. Here's a little tribute to Martha Stewart:

It's hard to tell, but this cake is completely sunken. Plus a whole lot of butter dripped into the oven and it reeks. Here's what happened.

I used this recipe. I had used it before and remembered that the cupcakes turned out flat. I read the comments and someone mentioned that the video called for 2 TBSP baking powder but the recipe only called for 1. So I decided to try the 2. Mistake number 1.

The recipe did not call for softened butter. I let my butter soften for a little while, but not all the way. As a result, my batter had huge clumps of butter that melted and dripped out in the oven causing a mess. Mistake number 2.

The extra baking powdered caused the batter to expand too much that it fell. The picture is har to see. The cupcakes rose so much that they spilled over the sides. Now I have butter and cake batter on the bottom of my oven. Nice.

One day I will try this recipe again, but it will be a little while. I need to take a small break.

Grilled Red Potatoes

This recipe is awesome. It's really easy, too. This side works great with grilled chicken, steak-really anything grilled.

1 lb red potatoes (the really small ones are the best)
1/4 cup olive oil
9 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon rosemary
1 teaspoon salt (I think it needs a little more)

Wash the red potatoes. Cut in half-if the potatoes are large, cut them in more pieces. We had really big red potatoes so I cut them in eighths. Place the potatoes onto wooden skewers all facing the same way. Place on a plate in a single layer. Poke the potatoes with a fork. Set aside.

Heat oil over medium heat. Add garlic, salt, and rosemary. Cook for about 3 minutes. Basically you are infusing the oil with the flavors. Strain the mixture. Reserve 1 TBSP solids and oil in a separate bowl (it works best to just put it right into the serving bowl). Discard the remaining solids.

Brush the potatoes with the infused oil. Cook in the microwave for 8 minutes. They should be almost done.

Grill over a medium-high heat until potatoes are completely cooked, about 10 minutes.

Take the potatoes off the skewers and toss with the reserved oil and solids.

And enjoy!

Shortbread Chocolate Pie-lettes

This was my valentines treat to Andrew!

This recipe was a disaster making because I kept getting distracted, had bad timing and was in a big rush- but turned out ok- even better than ok. They are even really tasty! A few tips:

#1- Stir the filling on the stove constantly. Duh. I know this one! It only took 30 seconds to go from nothing to clump. I got distracted reading a page in my book while I waited. The story: I made the chocolate filling and got really antsy waiting for it to thicken so I turned up the heat a little more (which would have been fine) without stirring the WHOLE time and it started to clump. I had some little clumps... but you couldn't tell in the tiny tarts. And I threw the rest away since it wouldn't be good to eat on its own with clumps. The cookie covers it.

#2: Put the filling in a bowl and place that bowl in an ice water bath while stirring CONSTANTLY if you need it to cool faster.

#3: I did this one and it was great. Put the cooled filling into a sandwich bag and pipe it in.


Shortbread Crust (makes 32 little pies)

1 c. butter at room temperature
1/2 c. powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
11/2 c flour
2 Tbl. cornstarch
1/8 tsp. salt

Cream butter and sugar together (about two min) with electric mixer.
Beat in vanilla.
In a smaller bowl whisk flour, cornstarch and salt.
Gradually add this to the butter mixture until just incorporated.
Let chill for 1 hour.

Divide into 32 balls. Press up the sides of a mini pie tin (with cupcake cups or in a greased tin).
Freeze for 10 minutes until firm.
Bake at 325 degrees for 18-20 minutes. You will need to poke down with a fork atleast 1-2 times halfway through to keep the indentation! It will puff up in the center and there will be no where for the pudding to go if you don't keep making the indentation. I finally used a mini spoon to make the center empty after it kept filling in.

Homemade Chocolate Filling

I halved this recipe and still had extras. You may want to third it if you are only making the pie-lettes. However, you could make it all and use the rest of pudding or a chocolate pie.

1 c sugar
1/2 c. flour
3 egg yolks
1/3 c. cocoa
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
2 c. milk

Combine sugar, flour, salt and cocoa in a saucepan and mix.
Add 1/2 c. milk and egg yolks and beat.
Pour in remaining milk.
Mix and heat on low until thick- stir constantly! (I left mine alone for a few min. and it started to clump.)
Add vanilla and mix.
Cool before using.

Assemble by piping cooled filling into cooled shortbread cookie pie. Top with whipped cream and whatever topping you'd like- I used cocoa powder.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Chicken Satay

Again, not my picture, but the general idea. I didn't have my camera around when I made this dinner.

I served this Chicken Satay with the Garlicky Baked Butternut Squash.

1 tsp. garlic
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. white pepper
2 Tbl. soy sauce
1 Tbl. molasses
2 tsp. lime juice
2 lb. chicken strips (I cut 3 chicken breasts into strips)
2 Tbl. vegetable oil (This is one time that veg oil is better than olive- the olive oil will try to smoke in the broiler)
Skewers. (soak these in water before broiling so they don't burn)

Combine garlic, salt and pepper in a bowl- mash with the back of a spoon into a 'paste'
Mix in soy, molasses and lime juice.
Add chicken strips and toss to coat.
Refrigerate for 2 hours.

Remove chicken. Thread of skewers. Place skewers on a broiler pan. Brush oil over the skewers.
Broil 5-10 minutes, turning occasionally throughout.

Garlicky Baked Butternut Squash

I am sad to say that I don't have a picture of this recipe. It was de-licious. Even Andrew enjoyed it and he's not a big fan of squash.

The biggest pain was getting rid of the skin and cutting up the whole squash. But, it was well worth it.

1 Tbl. + 1 tsp. parsley
1 Tbl. + 1 tsp. olive oil
1-2 cloves of garlic, minced
3/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
2 1/4 lbs. butternut squash peeled in 1 in. cubes
3 Tbl + 1 3/4 tsp. parmesan cheese

In a large bowl, combine the parsley, oil, garlic, salt and pepper. Add the squash and toss. Place in an ungreased baking dish. Bake uncovered at 400 degrees for about 40 minutes (or until tender but not mushy) stirring occasionally.

You can either add some of the cheese in with the 'squash toss' and some later or add it all on top at the end. I did half and half.

*Note: The original recipe I had said to bake for 50-55 minutes. It does NOT take that long. Mine may have only taken about 30 or so. Just keep stabbing it until it is to the doneness you like.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Challah Bread: Attempt One

This is a bread adventure that I already posted on Los Frost. I was a little disappointed in how it turned out. However, we used it for French Toast that night which was DELICIOUS!

I felt like there was too much egg washing which made it too hard. It also got cooked a little too long. Here is what it looked like last time...I'll be trying it again very soon. When I do, I'll include the recipe.

Homemade Oreos

I read Nie. She talks about how much she loves eating homemade oreos and how they often keep her going. My sweet tooth was going nuts this afternoon. I hadn't eaten anything sweet yet for the day, I had exercised this morning and I had just put the babe down for a nap. What was I to do? Make homemade oreos. I had to try them. I had to have something chocolate. So, I quickly looked up a recipe for them.

The recipe I found was pretty general across the board. They were SO easy to make. But my confession: I haven't really eaten one assembled yet. I snitched at dough. I licked the frosting beaters. I had a cookie when it came out the oven before it was cool. And then I had a little bit of frosting on a cookie. I still haven't had a full on put together one. And then my sweet tooth was so finished that I had to have bread and butter to counter act. But, I think they will be delicious! Maybe because I think they're so sweet, I'll only be able to eat 1-2 at a time!

Homemade Oreos

1 package devils food cake mix
2 eggs
1/2 cup oil

1/2 stick butter
4 oz cream cheese
1 1/2- 2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix cake mix, eggs and oil in a bowl with a wooden spoon. Roll out into balls and place on greased cookie sheet. Gently squish them down to flatten slightly. Bake 8-9 minutes.

In another bowl, mix butter, cream cheese and vanilla. Add sugar gradually until it is the consistency you like.

Put the frosting into a plastic sandwich bag and cut a hole in one corner. Squeeze frosting onto the back sides of half of the cookies. Put together and enjoy!

PS- So good that I have been forbidden to make them for a long time because Andrew had no self control while they were around... and me too for that matter!

The Food Network is my favorite channel

I love looking at other people's cooking blogs. I felt inspired. I needed a place to put all of my "cooking adventures" as Andrew calls our single or joint experiments and creations in the kitchen. This way, I can look up the recipes and yummy things that I made when I want them again- sort of like an online cook book for me and my friends.

I'll confess, my kitchen cooking adventures are not always wonderful... I usually have a couple of disasters or mediocre selections for every one that turns out deliciously ambrosial. But, that's the fun of it! I just look at what I want to change and try to tweak.

Some of these recipes will be things that Andrew and I made together. We love to cook together. We love to make up things or change basic recipes together. Some will be things that I make during Nathaniel's nap time. And hopefully, some will be from my friends who also make yummy things in their kitchens!

From time to time I may post about crafts and other things I'm doing at home. Modpodging, scrapbooking, organizing etc etc. Just things that make me happy :)