Tuesday, March 31, 2009

New Recipe! -sorry it's late

Sorry this recipe is a day late. I just got back from spring break and it has been a little hectic. Anyway, I chose to make this recipe because I am a huge fan of Chinese food and I love having a themed dinner. (and I usually have just about everything on hand already. And if I don't it's usually something that I can do without) When I'm done with this recipe, I usually cook rice in the sauce. Then just add a few egg rolls and some chop sticks to your meal and you are set!

Sweet and Sour Chicken Meatballs

recipe image
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 large carrots, chopped
1 (14.5 ounce) can chicken broth
1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup distilled white vinegar
1 (8 ounce) can crushed pineapple with juice
1/4 cup ketchup
1 slice white bread
2 tablespoons milk
3/4 pound ground chicken
1/2 zucchini, shredded
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
2 cups instant rice
1. Heat oil in a large skillet. Add onion, green pepper, and carrot. Cook for 5 minutes, until onion is softened. Stir in broth, tomato sauce, brown sugar, white vinegar, pineapple with juice, and ketchup. Simmer for 10 minutes, or until vegetables are tender.
2. Meanwhile, soak bread in milk in a large bowl until milk is absorbed. Mix together with ground chicken, shredded zucchini, egg, salt, black pepper, and garlic powder. Shape into 12 meatballs, about 2 tablespoons each.
3. Drop meatballs into simmering sauce. Cook 15 minutes, or until cooked through, turn over once during cooking.
4. Remove skillet from heat. Stir in rice. Cover, and let stand 5 minutes. Fluff rice with fork before serving.

When did you start baking / cooking?
I don't remember. I have been baking/ cooking for a long time, ever since I was little. My mom made sure her kids were well trained in all the domestic chores.

What is your favorite kitchen tool?
Um, I don't have many to choose from. Sadly my kitchen supplies aren't what I'd like them to be. But I'd have to choose a pastry blender.

Do you have a favorite spice? If so, what is it?
Not really. I like different spices with different things so I can't really say I have a favorite.

What is your favorite book?
Again, there is no way I can pick a favorite. I love reading and I have a lot of favorite books. If I'm totally into the book I'm reading at the moment it is usually my favorite, but the minute I start a new book, my favorite changes. But some favorites that will never change are Harry Potter Series, the Twilight Series, and the Emeralds and Espionage Series.

If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?

If you had to change your first name right now, what would you change it to?
If I HAD to, I guess I'd just shorten it to Mel. But if that's too close and doesn't count, I'd change it to Jade. I have no reasoning why.

Where do you currently live?
In Chicago- the Twin Towers to be exact. But not for long! I'll be moving to Alexandria, VA in about 6-7 weeks.

Where are you from?
I am from Morgan, UT. A beautiful little valley in northern Utah, where I grew up working on the family dairy farm, riding horses, and playing sports. I'm a country girl. It's the good life!

If you could eat one thing for every meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Probably cereal:)

- Melanie Crockett

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Danielle's Lemon Loaf

Yum! I was really impressed with this recipe. I like lemony things, but this was even better than I expected! The cake had such a well-rounded flavor, and I think it just may be the best lemon cake/bread I've ever had.

I also only made a half-batch (one loaf is plenty for the two of us). Based on what Melanie said about the butter, I only used 1.5 sticks instead of the 2 it called for (I generally try to use as little butter as I can get away with) and I thought it was perfect. I think the butter is what gave it the well-rounded flavor, but it didn't have a definite butter taste. I also used a little more lemon juice and zest because I had so much extra.

I was too impatient to wait for it to cool completely, and I'm so glad I didn't. The slightly warm cake was fantastic! I actually kind of wished I hadn't put on the glaze because the warm cake was so good by itself. I'm kind of torn about the syrup and the glaze. While the cake was warm, it would've definitely been better without the syrup and glaze. After the cake sat overnight, it tasted pretty good with the syrup and glaze. I think next time, though, I'll try either a plain sugary glaze (not lemon flavored) or a glaze with only a slight lemon flavor. I really just loved the cake itself, and the syrup and/or glaze are non-essential additions in my opinion.

I will definitely be making this again some time.

Friday, March 27, 2009


I don't know about anyone else, but I have had a hard time making the recipes on time because I have already gotten my groceries for the week and the featured recipe calls for something that I don't have. I'm wondering how people would feel about posting what the recipe is going to be a week or two earlier than usual so that we have a heads up and can plan accordingly.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Melanie's Lemon Lemon Loaf

I'm glad someone else picked this recipe to make, because I probably wouldn't have picked it myself. It's not that I don't like lemon, I just don't love lemon. So it was fun for me to make something out of my ordinary.

I was surprised to find all the ingredients here! They weren't all the exact same as you'd find in the US...the sour cream was a bit more yellow, the lemons here are green on the outside though yellow inside (I was worried the lemon zest would turn it green but it stayed a nice yellow color) and the butter (all dairy here for that matter) has a strange odor and taste. But I think it turned out fine nonetheless.

I opted to half the recipe because I only have one bread pan, plus Josh is gone this whole week and I didn't think I could eat two whole loaves by myself! I used regular flour and medium eggs instead because that's what I had, I made a few minor measurement modifications due to the high elevation, and I used a blender rather than a food processor. The bottom and sides got a little too dark, but that's what happens when your oven only has temperature settings of low, medium, or high. I used both the lemon syrup and the glaze, but I think I would have preferred to only use the glaze. I thought the syrup was a little too much, but the glaze is definitely a must! I also thought there was a little too much butter for my taste.

I liked it better after it sat overnight probably because it gave the burnt bottom time to soften some, and I've already eaten half the loaf! Even though I like it, I probably won't make it again. I'd rather spend my energy on a different kind of bread.

Cami's Lemon Lemon Loaf

This is very lemony! I love it. I really like the extra umph the glaze provides. I would highly recommend doing the glaze even though the recipe says it is optional. I think this would be good with strawberries on the side. It would make a good breakfast or dessert.

I used whole wheat pastry flour instead of cake flour because that is what I had. I also used my Kitchenaid mixer instead of a food processor. I don't think it really makes a difference. I'm sure you could also do it by hand. Although, when I was folding in the flour mixture by hand, my arm got really tired, so it would probably be a lot of work to do the whole thing by hand.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Lemon Lemon Loaf

This week's recipe is Lemon Lemon Loaf on Page 41 of the 'Baked' cookbook. I chose it because I really love lemon and thought this sounded like something new and different.

It didn't turn out as I had hoped, but that is my fault. I tried to get cake flour, but didn't leave myself enough time. So in the end I had to run downstairs to the Market in the Park only to find bugs crawling all over in the "pastry flour." So I ended up using all-purpose flour only.

From that point on, I was a little preoccupied and forgot to put in the melted butter (oops).

So mine turned out not as soft as I'd have liked, but I loved the tart taste. It wasn't too sweet and I will definitely try it again in the future.


When did you start baking/cooking?

I didn't really start trying anything until I was married and forced to. During college I lived in a sorority house that had someone to make our meals (of course I paid for it, but I kinda miss those days).

What is your favorite kitchen tool?

Just a basic wooden spoon. I find I am always in need of more.

Do you have a favorite spice?

I think it might be pepper or sugar, is that a spice?

What is your favorite book?

I really love The Count of Monte Cristo & The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time.

If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?

Growing up I always wanted to go to Egypt to see the Pyramids. That would still be neat, but if I were going right now, I'd pick Switzerland.

If you had to change your first name, what would you change it to?


Where do you currently live?


Where are you from?

Farmington, Utah

If you could eat one thing for every meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?

STEAK! I am a carnivore.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Danielle's Curry

So I forgot to take a picture of my dish. Go figure huh. But we had people over for dinner tonight, and I was caught up with just getting dinner finished in time.

Anyway, Max and I both thought the curry dish was very good. I noticed after we were already eating that I forgot to put a few things in (salt, lime juice, and cayenne pepper), but it was still very good. I put a little salt and pepper on the food on my plate and I thought that was an improvement. So I'll make sure to remember the salt next time (I'm not a fan of garlic salt so I'll use regular salt instead) and maybe I'll add some black pepper instead of the cayenne pepper (I don't think it really needed any boost in spiciness).

I doubled the veggies and added some extra broth (I used vegetable broth instead of chicken broth) to make it go farther. I also cut out most of the sugar. I tasted LuAnn's dish the other night and thought it was too sweet for my tastes. I put in just a small spoonful of brown sugar. I think my dish could've used maybe a little more sugar but not much.

Overall, I appreciated the simplicity of the dish - easy to shop for and easy to make. I always love a meal that I can get all the ingredients for at the produce market! And it was flavorful and tasty. Good pick Melanie!

Melanie's Coconut Chicken Curry

This recipe proved to be delicious once again! It even got grandma's stamp of approval! (Josh's grandma is here visiting us this week). I think it was probably slightly better the first time I made it though. I think it is because this time I put a little too much lime juice (I used 2 limes because they were small), and the rice was not very good...too sticky. I'm the worst rice cooker! But I love the chunky vegetables and the great combination of flavors. I added more chicken broth, about 3/4 cup because I thought it would be too thick if I didn't. I used 3 Tbsp. of curry powder, but I could have used more as the curry flavor wasn't very strong. But that might be just because the Ecuador brand of curry powder isn't very strong. McCormick's or other US brands of curry powder probably have a stronger flavor. I am happy I'll have yummy leftovers to eat tomorrow!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Link to Food Blog

Hey everyone. My mother in law emailed me this food blog that looks pretty good. I thought I'd post it for anyone else who might be interested.

Our Best Bites

My curry dish is coming soon...

Friday, March 20, 2009

Jess's Coconut Curry Chicken

This dish was a lot of fun for me. It was my first Curry experience
I used about 3 1/2 tablespoons of Curry but 3 is plenty.
I opted for red potatoes just because I think they are pretty but they did add an extra earthy flavor which was nice.
I used Jasmine rice which added another subtle depth of flavor.
That's what this dish is all about....flavor country.
Next time I make it I will try it with shrimp!
Thanks Melanie.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Cami's Curry

I love curry. This dish did not disappoint. There were a lot of flavors which made it really tasty. At first I tasted the coconut milk (sweet) and then the curry which had a little kick at the end. It was so good. I added 3 tablespoons of curry powder and thought it was perfect.

I realized a little too late that I didn't have rice, so I substituted with orzo. It was still very good and I don't think it changed the flavor much. I also had some celery in the fridge that wasn't going to be used otherwise, so I threw that in. Again, it didn't change the flavor but I did like the extra crunch.

I will definitely make this again. Thanks for such a good recipe Melanie!

Monday, March 16, 2009

This Week's Recipe: Coconut Chicken Curry

Hi, this is Melanie Wallbrecht posting. The cooking recipe for this week is Coconut Chicken Curry. It didn't come from a cookbook since I don't have any cookbooks with me here in Ecuador, so I got it online from one of my favorite recipe websites- allrecipes.com. Actually, I think it's a compilation of a few different chicken curry recipes from that site. I made it once before a couple months ago, I liked the way it turned out, and this is the recipe I saved on my computer. I remember it having a good hearty flavor. You can add more or less curry to your liking.

Coconut Chicken Curry

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 white onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast halves - chopped
1 small head broccoli, chopped
1 carrot, diced or cubed
2 potatoes, cubed
3-4 tablespoons yellow curry powder
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 (14 ounce) can unsweetened coconut milk
1/3 cup chicken stock
few dashes of cayenne pepper
juice of 1 lime
salt and pepper to taste

1. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Stir in the onion and garlic, and cook until tender. Mix in the chicken, and cook 10 minutes, or until juices run clear.

2. Mix the broccoli, carrots, potatoes, curry powder and garlic salt into the skillet. Pour in the coconut milk, chicken stock, and brown sugar. Season with cayenne pepper, lime juice, salt, and pepper. Reduce heat to low. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, 30 minutes, until vegetables are tender. Serve over rice.

Now a little more about me:

Q: When did you start baking/cooking?
A: I think I've always baked and cooked, always helping my family when I was younger. I never felt I didn't know how to cook, but it wasn't until I was married that I realized my cooking/baking skills were in need of expansion. I don't consider myself super skilled by any means, but in the past few years I've found I enjoy trying new recipes and new ingredients, and eating a variety of different foods. I enjoy cooking and baking equally as much.

Q: What is your favorite kitchen tool?
A: Can't live without my rubber spatulas.

Q: Do you have a favorite spice? If so, what is it?
A: I love the smell of ginger, but don't use it a whole lot. I probably use black pepper the most, especially since my husband loves a lot of it in everything.

Q: What is your favorite book?
A: I honestly don't have a favorite book. The last two I read were Congo and As Summer's Die.

Q: If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?
A: I would love to visit Australia.

Q: If you had to change your first name right now, what would you change it to?
A: I don't know, never thought about it. Maybe something shorter like "Amy" or "Ann" or "Rae" because my full name has so many letters!

Q: Where do you currently live?
A: I currently live in Quito, Ecuador. I've lived here since last October and I'll be here until the end of June. Then I will be moving back to Chicago.

Q: Where are you from?
A: Mesa, Arizona

Q: If you could eat one thing for every meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?
A: Maybe a Jimmy John's sandwich, because they are quite tasty plus it would have a well-balanced variety of ingredients.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Melissa's Bundt Cake

So, there will be no picture which brings me to my first thought on the recipe. Generally when I make a cake I use the approach of butter and flour to keep it from sticking. Well, this time since the recipe recommended and it is easier I "generously" sprayed it with nonstick cooking spray, and the result was half the cake in the pan and half on the cooling rack. Not a great picture, but when I close my eyes I imagine it looks like Danielle's. Anyway, I recommend using the butter, flour approach.

Once we tasted it Ned declared it was the best cake he had ever tasted and it was the kind of cake you get in the bakery. He is an easy audience, but I thought it was pretty tasty too. The first bite I could taste the root beer, but after that I felt like it had a bit of a salty taste and not so much root beer. I probably would have liked it to have more of a root beer taste given the explanation at the beginning of the recipe. I really liked the frosting, and agree that it made quite a bit. We are eating the left over on graham crackers one of my favorite snacks.

I am not sure if I will make it again probably only if Ned wants me to.

Hyeyoung's Root Beer Bundt Cake

I have to admit that I was not a big fan of this cake. Not that it was bad, but I didn't think it was as good as other chocolate cakes I have made in the past. I liked the idea of using root beer in the batter and had high expectations for it (and so did my children), but in the end, it was a little disappointing. My three-year old who helped me make it said, "it doesn't take like root beer, but it's still good." But then again, I noticed later that she just ate the parts with the icing and left the middle of the cake on her plate--this from a little girl who usually devours all things chocolate. The recipe cautions against over-mixing the batter, and despite my best efforts not to overmix, the cake was dry and I had little lumpy flour bites in the finished cake.

However, I thought the icing was great (not too gooey or sweet) and I liked the idea of making it in a food processor. I normally have powdered sugar flying all over the place when making icing and this way, everything was nicely contained. And since the recipe makes a ton and I didn't end up using it all on the cake, the leftover icing was fabulous as a dip for fresh strawberries.

Overall, I don't think I would make the cake again--but I will definitely file away the icing for some other tasty concoction.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Cami's Root Beer Bundt Cake

I'm so glad Danielle chose this recipe. It seems like a weird concept but it is so good! I took Danielle's advice and used a little extra flavoring. We used to make root beer and so I had some flavoring in the cupboard. I used one teaspoon because I wasn't sure what it would do. I think if I were to do it again I would add two or three. You can definitely taste a root beer aftertaste, in a pleasant way.

I didn't add any extra flavoring to the frosting but wish I would have. I can't taste root beer in the frosting at all. It is really good though!

I highly recommend serving this cake with ice cream. It is a bit rich without it. I don't have a food processor, so I just used my KitchenAid with a whisk attachment. It turned out great. And as Danielle said, it makes tons of frosting! Lather it on thick.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Root Beer Bundt Cake

This week's recipe is Root Beer Bundt Cake on page 87 of the "Baked" cookbook. I made it over the weekend and I have a few comments.

First, I was disappointed that the cake didn't taste like root beer at all. We used Mug brand root beer, so I don't know if using a different root beer makes a difference (maybe Barq's or IBC would be better?). But my husband and I couldn't taste the root beer, and the flavor didn't "intensify" by the next day. You might want to try adding a little bit of root beer extract or making it with root beer schnapps. Second, go easy on the salt in the frosting. And the frosting makes a ton so lay it on thick!

Overall, the cake tastes great as just a chocolate cake, but the root beer flavor was lacking.

And now for Cami's questionnaire:

Q: When did you start baking / cooking?
A: I've been baking and cooking since I was a kid, and I've always liked it. Although, I've been much more excited about cooking since a couple of years ago when I got a cookbook that I love. I never used to use cookbooks, but now I love a good cookbook (good = hard back, lots of full-page pictures, and healthy-ish) I also wasn't much of a baker (beyond cookies) until recently.

Q: What is your favorite kitchen tool?
A: I'm not sentimental about my kitchen stuff, but I like my metal measuring cups, my bamboo spatula, and my large Cutco knife.

Q: Do you have a favorite spice? If so, what is it?
A: Black pepper. Makes just about everything taste better.

Q: What is your favorite book?
A: Recent favorite - Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl

Q: If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?
A: We want our next big vacation to be to Hawaii. I recently watched a special about the history of the Polynesian Cultural Center, and now I really want to go see it. Also, I hear Hawaii is amazing. :)

Q: If you had to change your first name right now, what would you change it to?
A: It's never occurred to me to want a different name. But if I HAD to change my name... I'd change it to Nelly since Max calls me that already anyway.

Q: Where do you currently live?
A: Chicago

Q: Where are you from?
A: Las Vegas

Q: If you could eat one thing for every meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?
A: I'd get sick of anything I'd have to eat for every meal. But if I had to eat the same thing for every meal, I'd probably pick black beans and brown rice. Cause it's filling and healthy.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

The Time Has Come

I am so excited to start! This is the first week we will be baking a recipe from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking. Danielle will announce our recipe tomorrow. We'll also get to see answers to a few questions about her baking experience and tidbits about her. I can't wait!

Obviously you can make the recipe any time this week. It has been suggested that we post pictures and our opinions of the recipe as we bake it throughout the week. I love this idea and totally agree. So, you don't have to post on Mondays. You can post any time during the week. This will allow us to see what changes other people would make to the recipe before we baking the recipe ourselves if we want to.