Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Peking Duck at Gourmet Garden was an excellent idea! I only wish i'd had my real camera...

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The pound cake of your dreams

This recipe comes from my granny, Ruth Cox. She got the recipe from a friend at a bridge party, long ago. How come no one plays bridge anymore? This cake is heavy, literally and figuratively.
Here's the recipe, in my granny's words:
Sponge Pound Cake
3 sticks butter (or 2 butter and 1 marg)
6 eggs
1 box powdered sugar
1 box (powdered sugar box full) of twice sifted flour (cake flour)
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
Cream butter, add sugan, then eggs, beating well after each. Add flour, then vanilla, using slow speed of mixer.
Bake in greased and floured large tube pan in 300 degree oven for 2 hours.
Invert on to rack leaving pan over cake till it drops onto rack then cools.
**Laura's notes: You should make sure everything is at room tempurature before mixing! Also, as you can see from the picture, you can also bake this in two loaf pans. Just shorten the time to about 50 minutes. You can also sprinkle powdered sugar on the cake if you want to gild the lily.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Thai Chicken Noodle Soup: It'll cure what ails you

Thai Chicken Noodle Soup:
I know it looks like a long recipe, but if you have everything out, it really isn't hard. It is yummy and fairly healthy, and it keeps and you can reheat it. It's better than boring regular chicken noodle soup. And in all fairness, I didn't invent this, this is pretty much a recipe from cooking light, but I made a couple (tiny) changes.

First take:
2-3 chicken breasts
Boil them until they are no longer raw. Then REMOVE THEM FROM THE WATER, BUT DON'T DUMP THE WATER OUT. Chop up the chicken. (Or you can skip this and just use 2-3 cups already cooked chicken, like those cute little rotisserie chickens from the grocery store. In which case, start the next step with 4 cups boiling water).

Then take:
3 cups baby spinach leaves
1/2 lb or so snow peas
and put these in the boiling water for about 30 seconds. The spinach will wilt and the snow peas will turn a slightly brighter green. Remove these and drain in a colander, then put them in a big bowl, but once again DO NOT DUMP OUT THE WATER!

Now take:
1 package of rice sticks/pad thai noodles (the wide ones, fettucine-width, NOT angel hair-
Put these in the ever boiling water for about three minutes, then drain (now you can dump the water). Put them in the bowl with the vegetables. They will form a clump in a few minutes and you'll think you ruined them, but don't worry - they'll loosen back up in the soup.

Now heat over medium-high in a big pot (all the soup will end up in it):
1 Tbs vegetable oil

2-3 thinly sliced shallots, or frankly, 1/4 sliced regular onions
2-3 tsp red curry paste (comes in a little jar next to soy sauce etc. in most grocery stores)
2 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground tumeric
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
Saute these for a minute or so, and stir, stir, stir

Now add:
6 cups chicken broth
Let it come to a boil, then add:
1 can coconut milk
Reduce the heat, simmer 5 minutes

Now dump the chicken in and add:
4-5 chopped green onions (green and white parts)
2 Tbs sugar
2 Tbs fish sauce (nam phoc, i think. Again, check with the various asian sauces, or go to an
asian grocery store and get some. It is cheap and it keeps, plus it's a key ingredient for pad
thai, so there you go. I use the brand with the picture of three crabs on the front, if anyone
Handful chopped cilantro OR several cubes of frozen chopped cilantro, which they sell at
trader joe's and are very handy, especially if you don't love cilantro (Tip: too much cilantro
tastes like soap!)

Cook for a couple minutes to let all the flavors blend. Now, taste it and add salt if it needs it, which it will unless you used really salty broth.

Last of all, dump in the clump of noodles and vegetables. Stir it around to loosen up the noodles. Squeeze in a lime and add some Sriracha sauce (has a picture of a rooster on it, if that helps) or other hot sauce i guess would work.

Garnish the bowl with dots of sriracha and lime wedges, if asthetics mean anything to you.


Ok, you could easily substitute tofu or shrimp for the chicken. You could also sub the broth for vegetable broth. You could toss in some chunks of peeled lemongrass, then take them out before serving. You could probably get away with adding a little rice vinegar in place of lime juice if you didn't have limes. And you could add a bunch more and/or different vegetables. Basically if you have the spices, the fish sauce, the curry paste, and some kind of broth, you could throw in whatever, and it would probably be pretty good. You could likely substitute the noodles without anything dire happening, too.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Good bye summer bounty -an homage to the farmers market

Here are some pics from the farmers market this summer. Isn't summer produce pretty? Makes me wish I lived somewhere with a longer growing season...naw, cause then we wouldn't have fall and all the things that go along with it, like cider and donuts and apple orchards. Anyway, check out the plate of stuff near the top of the plate --that's a plate of deliciousness from Pilar's Tamales. Sooo good.
BTW if anyone happens to read this, and has a good recipe, for anything, PLEASE send it to me. I loves collecting recipes.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

No I don't have the munchies

Here's a new taste treat -- Doritos with avocado. It's really good. My mom invented it. I'm not sure if she really wanted the credit for that or not, but there it is! Actually, I've been sitting on the couch most of today, and this is the perfect thing to eat while you sit around, only we are all out of Doritos. I thoroughly enjoyed this low-brow hors d'eouvre the other evening while watching the train wreck that is The Two Coreys. I'm pretty sure there is a new episode on tonight so I may just have to hook up a tray of these bad boys while I watch those (former) bad boys. I love the Coreys.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Summery food!

Mmmmmm. I did not make this food. The credit goes to Jane, the girlfriend of one of my childhood friends, Topher, and she is really a great cook. The corn and korean bbq ribs were awesome, and she also made a great tiramisu. Topher's mom, Judy, also made a delicious angelfood cake with yummy cream cheese frosting. Everything was great --thanks you guys!
Here is the corn recipe:
Grill the corn. Scrape a thin layer of mayonnaise on it for "glue". Roll in grated cojita cheese, and sprinkle with chili powder and lime zest, and serve with lime wedges.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Bi bim bop

Hey everyone - I made this delicious bi bim bop with tofu the other night when my dear brother came over for dinner. The tofu is so good, even if you don't like tofu, you'll like this.

1. Cut up a block of extra firm tofu.

2. Make marinade:

2 1/2 T soy sauce

1 T sugar

1 T rice wine

1 T sesame oil

1 clove of finely minced garlic

1/2 tsp minced ginger

several green onions, sliced

1/4 tsp toasted sesame seeds

1/8 tsp pepper


(this is really bulgogi marinade, so try it with beef too. Really, I don't usually measure, I just dump some of each of the above in a ziploc bag and throw in whatever, you can't really screw it up)

3. Add tofu to marinade.

4. Cut up your vegetables into thin slices or julliene. I bought this nifty tool at the grocery store called a "julliene grater" (see photo), it is like a vegetable peeler, but serrated, so you just run it along the carrot or whatever, and it makes perfect little ribbons. So easy.
I used carrots and cucumber because they are cheap, and pretty. Like me!
5. Oh yes, you should be cooking some rice now. Preferably short grain rice with this. The brand I used is called Calrose, I think.
6. Ok, now just cook a few eggs into an omelet and slice it up, or just scramble them, which is what I did because I'm lazy.
7. Now, cook the tofu in a little oil. If you want it crispy, you should probably try to drain off the marinade first. It is really good in the marinade though, so you could throw it in a pan and heat it through. It is good cold in the marinade, also. That's the beauty of tofu -- no salmonella!
8. Now really you just assemble it. Rice, tofu, vegetable, top it with some hot sauce - I had some awesome Korean hot bean paste given to me by my dear friend. Thanks Christi!
9. You can also garnish it with more green onions.
10. I don't know if this is authentic bi bim bop, but I don't care.

Happy friggin fathers day

On what will have been our last holiday spent as a cohesive nuclear family, Ross made a brisket for fathers day. Actually it was really good, here is the recipe: Mix together chili powder, paprika, cumin, salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, and brown sugar and rub it onto a brisket. The next day grill the brisket over very low heat for most of the day. Let it rest for 30 minutes or so, carve it against the grain, and eat it.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Cuba Libre!

Ok, these are not the most appetizing pictures. I forgot my camera so I had to use a cell phone. HOWEVER... the food was DELICIOSO at Cafe Habana, where these lovely shots were taken. The top is a view of the ropa vieja (literally "old clothes" but don't let that put you off), which was a spicy stew-like wonder with beef, tomatoes, peppers, etc. and served with yellow rice and fried plantains...mmmm. The bottom picture shows a fish taco (on top of my ropa vieja) which was AWESOME, for lack of a more sophisticated word. Really good, and the first fish taco I've seen since on a menu since California. So, so good, and served with "lime crema" which was the perfect tangy companion. One more reason to go to Cafe Habana....perfect mojitos.
If this put you in the mood for Cuban food, here's a recipe for cuban-style black beans that I made the other day. Actually, I can't really vouch for their authenticity but they do the job.
1 bag dried black beans
2 onions
several cloves of garlic
1 can diced tomatoes, or several non-canned tomatos that you have diced
bell pepper, if you have one
olive oil
dried cumin
salt and pepper
(Start the day before you want to eat)
1. Rinse the beans and discard any with odd appearance. This is no time to be accepting of those who are different.
2. Boil a kettle of water. Put the beans in a big heavy pot, and pour the boiling water over to cover them by several inches. Leave overnight.
3. Drain and recover with water, or don't bother.
4. Quarter one of the onions, add to the pot, and bring to a simmer. Simmer for several hours until the beans are tender and NOT al dente.
5. Take out the big onion chunks. Dice the other onion, and the pepper if you have it, and saute these with the tomato in some olive oil, in a different pan. If you wanted, you could use bacon fat instead of olive oil, I bet it would be yummy. Add the garlic, minced, and saute until soft, but don't let it burn!
6. Add a scoop or two of beans to the onion/tomato mix and saute away for a minute or two. I think I may be abusing the word "saute", but you know what I mean. Cook it in a pan.
7. If you have people around you who object to visible chunks of tomatoes or onions, you should now put the contents of the pan (onion/tomato mixture) into a blender and blend until smooth. If noone objects to the chunks, you should just mash the mixture with the back of a spoon until the beans are nice and pasty.
8. Now add the onion/tomato mash or puree back into the big pot of beans and continue to cook for a spell, until nicely thickened.
9. Serve it with rice, baby
I'll mention here that this is a good thing to make on the weekend and then eat during the following week because a) while incredibly easy, it takes forever to make, and b) it gets better the next day and the next. Now that I think about it, you could probably make these in a Crock Pot if that is your bag

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Best brownies evah

Look at these brownies we devoured...I'm pretty sure this picture was taken later in the day they were made. Brownies are sooo easy, you can mix them in one bowl, scrape it into a pan and call it a day. This recipe is from, yes, once again, the Martha Stewart Baking Handbook. I highly recommend this book to anyone who likes to bake. Martha knows from baking, and she has never let me down. Oh, except I did have to bake these brownies for about an hour, versus the recommended 40 min. I love me some chewy brownies, but not liquid brownies. And here is a tip for brownie making: Trader Joes has giant bars of bittersweet chocolate for much less $$ than those other grocery stores. TJ - you my boy!

Monday, May 5, 2008

The anti-Atkins diet

I know I have a post about challah already, but this is different. This is challah from Great Harvest Bread Company, so it's a whole different phenomenon. I once ate half a loaf of it just on the way home. It smells great in there, and they will give you big, hearty, samples that you can slather with delicious soft butter. I got a loaf of challah (beware - they only make it on Friday) and a loaf of "extreme cinnamon" which was a whole-wheat-y, fabulously soft, filled-with-cinnamon-and-sugar, carbohydrate dream. We demolished these loaves over two days (plus the sugar cookie pictured at bottom, purchased for Cal as a reward for going into yet another store), along with a stick of butter.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Murgh Makhani, a.k.a Butter Chicken, a.k.a. Awesome

So, after going to two Indian restaurants in a week, I was absolutely craving Indian food. I decided to try to make Chicken Makhani, sometimes called Butter Chicken, because it is delish and because I had Chicken in the freezer and I am trying to use things I already have. However, upon beginning, I realized I didn't have all the spices. So I went to By the Pound, which is a great store on South Main in Ann Arbor. It has all manner of bulk food, but especially cool are the bulk spices. I bought about 15 different spices. Then, I made Garam Masala. For this, I had to spread all these spices on a cookie sheet, toast them, then grind them. Really, it was easy. Cumin, coriander, pepper, cinnamon, cloves, fennel, & nutmeg were in this Garam Masala, which I got from a nifty little book called Curries without Worries.

Cal and I made Parathas to go with the Chicken. I got the recipe from a cool blog ( with lots of good looking vegetarian Indian recipes. These parathas are flatbreads, stuffed with spiced potatoes, and fried. The picture shows Cal folding the dough around the filling, before rolling it out. She makes a great sous chef.
And here is a picture of our dinner: Murgh Makhani, basmati rice, stuffed parathas, yogurt, and cucumbers. It was DEEELICIOUS!
The recipe I used for the Chicken Makhani was from Since these are not copyrighted, I don't think I'll be breaking any laws by putting the recipe here. If I am wrong, please let me know! I am an upstanding citizen. Don't let the length of the recipe put you off. Just make it on the weekend. Or, marinate the chicken the night before you want to make it.

Makhani Chicken (Indian Butter Chicken)
Submitted by: RKOZELRated: 4 out of 5 by 80 members
Prep Time: 1 Hour Cook Time: 15 Minutes
Ready In: 5 Hours 15 MinutesYields: 6 servings
"This fragrant, spicy Indian butter chicken recipe is from the owner of the India Cuisine restaurant in Seattle, Washington. Serve with hot Indian bread."
1 3/4 pounds skinless,
boneless chicken breast halves
- cubed
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon chili powder
salt to taste

1 cup yogurt
salt to taste
2 tablespoons garlic paste
1/2 tablespoon garam masala
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 tablespoons ginger paste
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon garam masala
1 tablespoon ginger paste
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1 tablespoon chopped green
chile pepper
2 cups tomato puree
1 tablespoon chili powder
salt to taste
1 cup water
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 teaspoon dried fenugreek (I could not procure these, so I left them out - no harm done)
1 cup heavy cream
To Marinate: Place chicken in a nonporous glass dish or bowl with lemon juice, 1 tablespoon chili powder and salt. Toss to coat; cover dish and refrigerate to marinate for 1 hour.
Drain yogurt in a cloth for 15 to 20 minutes. Place in a medium bowl; mix in salt, garlic paste, garam masala, butter, chili powder, ginger paste, lemon juice and oil. Pour yogurt mixture over chicken, replace cover and refrigerate to marinate for another 3 to 4 hours.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
Place chicken on skewers. Place skewers in a 9x13 inch baking dish and bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes, or until almost cooked through.
To Make Sauce: Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in garam masala. When masala begins to crackle, mix in ginger paste, chopped garlic and green chile peppers. Saute until tender, then stir in tomato puree, chili powder, salt, garam masala and water. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring in honey and fenugreek.
Place chicken in sauce mixture. Continue cooking for another 5 minutes, or until chicken is no longer pink inside. Stir in fresh cream.

Monday, April 28, 2008


I have been to two Indian restaurant lunch buffets in the last week, and really, I could go every day.

The first one was at Temptations, on Washtenaw in Ypsi. The top picture is of Christi's artfully arranged plate at Temptations.

Here's what Temptations had at their buffet:

Onion Bhajii (spiced fried onion rings),

Vegetable pakoras,

Tandoori Chicken

Murg Makhani (butter chicken)

Vegetable Chettinadu

Channa Masala

lemon rice and plain basmati rice

and, naan

Also, a few assorted types of chutney, and rice pudding

All-you-can-eat, for about $8.50. Everything was good, although the Vegetable chettinadu was clearly made of frozen mixed vegetables. And the health inspector came in and stuck a thermometer in various dishes, which was mildly disconcerting, although everthing must have been ok, because we did not have any ill effects afterward. Except wanting to take a nap.

Then, I went to Raja Rani, on the corner of Division and William, in Ann Arbor. The second picture down is my plate, and the third down is Nick's. Also for about $8.50, and also all ya can eat, when I went they had:

Vegetable pakoras

Tandoori chicken

Chicken Tikka masala

Chicken Makhni

Palak paneer (spinach with cheese cubes)

Pakora curry (vegatable dumplings cooked in yogurt)

Mushroom mataar

Channa chatt (spicy, fresh, cold chickpea salad/relish)

carrot halwa, rice pudding


best chai ever

MMMMmmmmm. Everything was absolutely delicious. I can't even pick a favorite, but the the
pakora curry and channa chatt were new to me and soo good. And I could drink that chai all day. The buffet is the way to go, because you can try so many things. I'm not sure if they have it on weekends, but I'll find out. I grabbed a menu, and regular entrees range from 8 bucks for all vegetarian entrees to 12.50 for Tandoori shrimp. The menu is not as extensive as Temptations, but judging the buffet choices only, Raja Rani gets the edge. I'll have to go back to Temptations before I can do a more thorough analysis.

When I got back from Temptations, I made naan (bottom pic). My dear friend Christi hipped me to this recipe. I am too lazy to type it, but you can find it at Just type in "naan". The recipe I used is the one submitted by "mic". It is good and easy, and makes about 30 (smallish) pieces of naan! This led to some unorthodox naan uses, including naan with jam, and naan-dogs. And Jules learned a new word.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Mrs. Wakefield rocks my world

Guess what Mrs. Wakefield invented in the 1930's? Thats right --the chocolate chip cookie. It is her inspired recipe that is on the back of every package of Nestle Tollhouse chocolate chips. And while I don't usually use Tollhouse chocolate chips (sorry), I always use that recipe because it is the best. That is not opinion, it's fact. By the way, if you don't have any eggs in the house (or if you are a vegan, or otherwise don't eat eggs), just replace the two eggs in the recipe with one really well mashed banana. I know, it sounds disgusting, but truly it is delicious. Actually, you can replace the eggs with banana in other cookies. Just use the ratio of 1/2 banana: 1 egg. It really works, and it really doesn't make the whole thing taste banana-y. It actually makes cookies really chewy and moist, and sort of caramalized on the bottoms. Mmmmm. It works really well in oatmeal cookies. You should try it.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Chicken Maxine -- make it today

My dear mother made this for us and it was deelicious. It is called "Chicken Maxine" after my great aunt Maxine. And here is the recipe along with my mom's lovely memories of Maxine herself:

Chicken Maxine
3 or 4 large chicken breasts (with skin on)salt & pepper2 tablespoons butter1/4 cup sherry wine2 pkgs frozen broccoli spears2 cans cream of chicken soup1 cup mayonnaisejuice of 1 lemon2 cups grated cheddar cheesebuttered cracker crumbs*====== Place chicken breasts in baking dish. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, dot with butter, and pour wine over all. Cover and bake in a 350 degree oven for about 1 and 1/2 hours, or until chicken falls from bones. Cook broccoli according to package directions, undercooking by about 2 minutes; drain well in colander. Butter a 3-quart (or 2 smaller) casserole. Line bottom of casserole with broccoli. Skin and bone chicken and tear into good-sized hunks. Place chicken on top of broccoli. Mix together the undiluted soup, mayonnaise, and lemon juice (no other liquid), and pour over chicken. Sprinkle grated cheese on top. Sprinkle buttered crumbs over cheese, cover casserole with lid or foil, and bake in a 325 oven for 30-45 minutes, or until it is bubbly. This can be made a day ahead, refrigerated at once before baking, and baked as needed. Serves 6 ("or 3 like us", said Maxine). *to make buttered cracker crumbs: Put about 18-20 saltine cracker squares into a plastic bag. Roll with a rolling pin to make fine crumbs. Melt 3 tablespoons butter, stir crumbs into butter until all are covered. This can be made in larger quantities and stored in a covered jar in the refrigerator for instant use.===Mary's note: This recipe is from my aunt, Maxine DeWitt. She was married to my mother's big brother, Bob (whom my mother called Brother). Maxine was my most glamorous relative--beautiful, with black hair and brown eyes and always the coolest glasses. She was a wonderful cook. She and Uncle Bob lived in a big house in Highland Park, a beautiful tree-lined town within Dallas, Texas. Uncle Bob looked and sounded like Big Daddy--huge, with a deep bass Southern voice. He always drove a big Cadillac (my favorite one was pink), and he gave us silver dollars. Maxine was elegant and witty and I can still hear her rich warm voice calling us "darling".

Ode to a grocery store

I have a problem. I go grocery shopping pretty much every day. Look at my pantry pictures for a glimpe into my descent into ingredient madness. Here's the problem- I try to plan ahead, but there is really no way to predict on, say, a Friday, what I'm going to want to make, much less eat, the following Tuesday. So I buy a bunch of stuff, which I am then not in the mood for later. So I have to buy more. The other problem I have is the fantasy of things which I may possibly make at some indeterminate time in the future. This is why I have twelve different kinds of pasta, five kinds of flour, and such esoteric delicacies as "kelp powder". Alas, even with a pantry stuffed to the gills, nothing seems to add up to anything, thus requiring additional trips to the store. Oh well. Today I went to one of my favorite grocery stores for, I swear, orange bell peppers AND THAT IS IT. I wrote a poem about the experience when I got home. I call it:
Oh, Trader Joe, Why Do You Seduce Me With Your Adorable Signs, Then Take All My Money?
I went for orange bell peppers
and I found organic cheese,
Lovely, dainty haricot verts
ready for deep freeze,
Bars of Belgian chocolate
weighing in a o'er a pound,
Korma sauce and whole trimmed leeks
were among the goods I found,
A quart of Ben and Jerry's
and chocolate croissants too,
Ten types of rice -jasmine, basmati, wild,
to name a few,
Fire roasted peppers
for a dollar ninety-nine,
sweet potato french fries
that were looking mighty fine,
Tahitian vanilla, carne asada-
they leave my heart a-flutter,
tiny cupcakes, micro-greens,
and - plugra (that's butter)
It's time to go, dear Trader Joe,
Though I'll be back I must confess,
I'm out the door with so much more,
And yet - a hundred dollars less.

I really need to stop making cookies

When I got around to taking pictures of these cookies, I found only one lonely cookie left in the jar. It really wasn't even the prettiest one, because the other ones had sparkly turbinado sugar sprinkled on top. So I put it on my prettiest plate to dress it up a little. Oh well. These cookies are calle Sparkled Ginger Cookies, and they are from the cookbook "Vegan with a Vengence" by Isa Chandra Moskowitz. This is an excellent cookbook, even if you are not a vegan or even a vegetarian. Everything I've made from it has been good. Don't be afraid --check it out! Plus, you have to admire a cookbook that has a whole chapter on cupcakes.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Thai salad, and Why you should not buy Organic Apples from Krogers

Well, I had some Pad Thai ingredients sitting in the fridge, so I made a salad. It was good. Basically, I just mixed lettuce, and the leftover julienned veggies, and chopped peanuts with a dressing I made out of Pad Thai sauce and oil (1 tsp each of Tamarind concentrate and sugar, 1/4 tsp fish sauce, and approximately 1 Tbs veg oil --this is enough for one smallish salad.) You know what would have made it better? Grilled shrimp, or tofu, or chicken or something. How about shredded rotisserie chicken --easy, no?

And another thing -- Don't buy bags of organic apples from Krogers. Every single apple in the bag had multiple bruises. I should have taken them and demanded a refund, but I am just too lazy. So I chopped them up and made applesauce, kindof. When life gives you crappy apples, chop them up and make some sort of stewed apple concoction that you then try to pass off to your children as applesauce. Actually, they liked it.

Why are Afternoon Delight's muffins so good?

Really, how do they make those muffins? Allow me to sing the praises - Afternoon Delight (on the corner of 5th and Liberty) has awesome muffins that are dense and whole-wheaty without tasting too "healthy". So, I tried to recreate them, and while these will not keep me from visiting Afternoon Delight for delicious muffins, they are still pretty good. And they have fiber- Bonus !

Oat-bran Blueberry Muffins:
1/3 c oat bran
1/4 c milk
1/2 c vanilla yogurt
6 Tbs melted butter
1 egg
1/2 c whole wheat flour
1/2 c all purpose flour
1/2 c baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 c + 2 Tbs sugar
1 c blueberries (I used frozen)
raw sugar (completely optional)

1. Mix oat bran with milk and let soak for a few minutes. I don't know if this does anything, but I feel like it might keep the oatbran from tasting too dry. (If you don't have oatbran, I'm sure everything would work out fine if you just used 1/3 c more whole wheat flour and skipped this step. But know this --at Hillers they have little tubs of oatbran, kindof over by the produce. It's probably about a cup worth, for something like 79 cents. So if you get some, you can add it to baked goods and oatmeal, to up the fiber content, if you care about that sort of thing.)

2. Add the yogurt, butter, and egg to the milk mixture, and stir/mix until all is incorporated.

3. Mix together all the dry ingredients. Then mix in the bluberries.

4. Pour the wet mixture into the dry and mix until there are no huge pockets of dry flour, but do not fret about lumps - overbeaten muffins are tough (and not in a good way)

5. Put into muffin tin (with little paper cups) and sprinkle the tops with raw sugar, or regular, or none.

6. Bake 30 minutes at 350 degrees farenheit (if you use fresh berries, probably more like 20 min)

P.S. Somebody was watching me make these and she shreiked for "boo boos" when she saw the blueberries, so that is a picture of her enjoying boo boos whilst I finished the muffins

Monday, April 14, 2008

"I'm hungry for dessert"

Somebody (not me) declared she was "hungry for dessert" -- I think the implication was that she was not hungry for an apple, more dinner, etc. Anyway, she suggested ice cream with strawberries, so that is what we had, but I tarted the strawberries up just to be fancy.

Strawberry sauce:
1 cup chopped strawberries -I think frozen would work fine too
2-3 Tbs sugar or more -depends on strawberry quality -ours was poor
1/4 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch salt
1 tsp cornstarch

1. Put strawberries, sugar, vinegar, vanilla, and salt into a small saucepan over med-high heat, add maybe 1/3 cup water, cook for a few minutes until strawberries start to break down, and mixture starts to bubble
2. Meanwhile, mix the cornstarch with a little bit of water, until it makes a little paste, of pourable consistency
3. Pour cornstarch mixture into strawberry mixture and cook a couple minutes more until thick
4. Let it cool a couple minutes, then pour over ice cream and serve to people who have room in the dessert compartment of their stomach

Falafel folly

Here is what we had tonight: falafel (from "fantastic world foods" mix), plus hummus and pita from Exotic Bakery, and delicious pilaf made by mi madre, plus some curried potatoes that were left over from the other day - good anyway. Also, I made some za'tar and tahini dressing. It was all pretty good, although the falafel would have been better if I had fried it. I baked it instead, as I was trying to atone for the 10 pieces of peanut butter chocolate bars I already ate today. Anyway, even Cal ate the falafel, albeit doused with ketchup.

Here's the Za'tar and Tahini dressing recipe:
2 Tbs tahini
1 teaspoon za'tar (middle eastern spice mix)
half a lemon
2 Tbs or more of olive oil

Whisk all together, add more oil and or lemon until the taste/consistency is on

Don't be a tofu-phobe

I recently bought two pounds of tofu, so now I have to cook it. Many people fear tofu, including people in my own household. But tofu is good, good for you, and cheap, and so I keep persisting. Here is a new creation, with which I am very much pleased:
Glazed Tofu
1. First, make sure you have firm or extra-firm tofu, packed in water, not the vacuum packed silken tofu.
2. Take the tofu out of the package and rinse it, to remove any sourness from the water. If you are not using all the tofu, put the remainder in a container and cover with fresh water and refrigerate --change the water every day until you use the tofu (I know this seems weird)
3. Now, press your tofu. Fold up some paper towels and put them on a plate, then put the tofu pieces on (you can slice them in two width-wise to make this go faster). Now put more paper towels on top, then a cutting board and a pan, bowl, couple of cans, or what-ev. Let it sit for half an hour, flip the pieces, then press for another half hour. (You don't have to press the tofu, but it makes the texture denser, and thus, more appealing, at least to me)
4. Now, in a shallow dish or pie plate, mix 3-4 Tbs each: dark brown sugar, soy sauce, sherry(*Note: This is for 1/2 pound of tofu, which is enough for two people probably. If you use more tofu, adjust the marinade accordingly!).
5. Marinate the tofu in this mixture about 3-5 minutes per side. Meanwhile heat a large flat skillet.
6. Now, put the tofu in the pan --save the marinade for pete's sake, don't throw it out.
7. Cook the tofu about 2 minutes, then flip and add the marinade to the pan, cook 2-3 minutes more.
8. Take the tofu out, and squeeze half a lime into the pan. Let this cook for another minute or so, until somewhat syrupy. Now pour it over the tofu.
9. Eat it over rice, duh.

Ross makes chocolate peanut butter bars

Ross made these chocolate peanut butter bars from Nigella's Domestic Goddess cookbook. They were like DIY reeses peanut butter cups. Peanut butter+butter+sugar+ chocolate=delicious.