Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Stella & Kirt's Sloppy Joes

Unfortunately Stella & Kirt ran into problems trying to post, so I'm going to do it for them. If anyone else has problems please let me know and we'll try to get it figured out. It makes 20 ppl servings. We have only made it once and it was for my parents, siblings and their kids and there was plenty. So we used the full recipe.

Kirt is in blue and Stella is in green.

When did you start baking / cooking? 14 12
What is your favorite kitchen tool? my mixer, Crock pot
Do you have a favorite spice? If so, what is it? garlic powder Almond extract(not sure if that is a spice)
What is your favorite book? The Big Red cookbook from Betty Crocker same as Kirt
If you could travel anywhere, where would you go? Hawaii anywhere my husband is
If you had to change your first name right now, what would you change it to? wouldn't change it Me too
Where do you currently live? Hermiston, OR same
Where are you from? Hermiston, OR Same
If you could eat one thing for every meal for the rest of your life, what would it be? spigetti and my bread sticks
Turkey and Ham sub

Danielle's Smore Bars

Max and I made these last night. We made quite a few alterations, but we really like how they came out. The only complaint I have is that the crust calls for way too much butter. I may not have used enough graham crackers, but I think I will use a lot less butter next time. Butter was pooling at the top when it cooked. Did that happen to anyone else? I dabbed a bunch off the top, but I think it was still way too much.

I thought it was odd that the recipe didn't specify whether to use large or small marshmallows. Even if it seems obvious, you should still be specific. Anyway, we used small ones and just poured them in till we thought it was a good amount. We didn't put any nuts in our bars, and we added more marshmallows to make up for it.

And based on what Melissa and Cami said about melty marshmallows, we put the pan of bars in the oven for a little while after we put it all together so the marshmallows would melt a little. We also threw some extra marshmallows on top before putting it in the oven so the ones on top would get puffy and browned (just like a perfect smore marshmallow). After pulling it out of the oven, I ran a butter knife through it to swirl the marshmallows a little. Putting it in the oven worked out really well.

And finally, we drizzled some caramel on top after we pulled it out of the oven. We both would rather have caramel on top of our smore bars than nuts. We let it cool in the fridge for a couple of hours before trying it. I wanted to try it before we went to bed and it was too late to wait the full three hours. I'm glad we tried it when we did. It was slightly warm and the marshmallows were still melty, although the chocolate wasn't set. I tried a little this morning, and I liked it both ways -- warm and cooled.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Future recipes

Since we're keeping track of the recipes on the sidebar it doesn't look like we need the completed recipes page. So, I'm going to start using it as a future recipes page. You can access it from the main delish page or you can see it here. As I receive recipes from those selecting cooking recipes, I'll post them here. If you have any questions let me know.

Cami's S'more Nut Bars

These were really good. I think they were almost everything I had hoped for. The graham cracker crust was honestly the best I've ever made. It seemed to hold together better than those I've made in the past. I guess adding brown sugar is the secret. Any time I need to make a graham cracker crust, I'm going to use this recipe.

I really like the chocolate. I think it is the perfectly smooth consistency and just the right amount of bitterness. I love dark chocolate though. Thanks to Melissa's suggestion I added more marshmallows. I think I added 12 or 13 and could have added 1 or 2 more I think. I liked the marshmallow chunks but I can see how gooey marshmallows would be good as well. In order to do that I think I would add the marshmallows to the chocolate before you add the boiling cream so they melt a little. Maybe next time I'll try that.

These cut very nicely and would be great for a picnic or potluck. They would also make a nice ending to a lunch date.

Monday, April 20, 2009

S'more Nut Bars

I decided on the recipe because for as long as I can remember I have loved S'mores. I just love the gooey marshmallows paired with the melting chocolate it is to die for. So, when I saw this recipe I knew I had to do it. I made this yesterday and I liked it, but it was not exactly what I imagined. It did not have the gooey marshmallow with the melting chocolate so right there I was a little disappointed. I think a more accurate name would be "Rocky Road Bars".

I have a few comments. Since I don't really like peanuts I changed it to walnuts and it was great you could probably do any nut of choice. I actually added a little salt to the recipe since my nuts were not lightly salted, but I think I could have done without. Also, I thought the dark chocolate was a little over powering and I love milk chocolate so in the future I would make it with just milk chocolate. Finally, I think in the future I would have either cut up more marshmallows or cut them smaller, because there were times when I had a few bites of just chocolate and I think it needs the marshmallow to cut the intensity of the chocolate. Overall I would make it again with a few modifications.

*I am having some camera problems so I will add pictures soon

And now for Cami's questionnaire:

Q: When did you start baking / cooking?
A: I have always baked I can remember pretty much every Sunday as a child baking something new. When I moved away from home and lived with roommates I stopped baking and thanks to this group I am back baking again. I forgot how much I enjoyed it. I started cooking once I had Lucas because I was at home and I had extra time. I could use a lot of help in the cooking area, but I have been enjoying it the more I try.

Q: What is your favorite kitchen tool?
A: I really love these measuring cups that are made for liquids I have four in total and the smallest measurement is 1 tbls up to 4 cups. I use them everyday.

Q: Do you have a favorite spice? If so, what is it?
A: Probably salt, it is hard to decide.

Q: What is your favorite book?
A: My favorite book for years has been Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand.

Q: If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?
A: My sister lives in Qatar so it would probably be there.

Q: If you had to change your first name right now, what would you change it to?
A: I always wanted my middle name so I guess Lynne.

Q: Where do you currently live?
A: Chicago

Q: Where are you from?
A: Mobile, AL

Q: If you could eat one thing for every meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?
A: Cheeseburger and french fries with a Dr. pepper

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Melanie W.'s Split Pea Soup

To be honest, I wasn't in love with this recipe. At least, I wasn't in love with the way mine turned out. Josh liked it a lot though. First of all, I couldn't find smoked port hock, so like Cami, I also used regular raw pork. I'm not even sure it was a hock, but I'm pretty sure it was a similar cut. I also chose not to add any ham. Anyway, the flavor from the pork and the pork bone ruined it for me. I'm not sure why because I usually like meat, but I'm thinking it might have tasted better with the smoked pork? Not really sure. I think I would have preferred to just use ham instead, or skip the meat altogether.
What I did like is the variety of veggies in the soup! It seemed very healthy. I did add potatoes and also added more peas as was recommended, but I wish I had added even more. It definitely didn't end up as thick as I was envisioning. I even poured off some water before pureeing and it still seemed too thin. I was happy to find marjoram here (though no bay leaves). I think it was my first time using marjoram and I liked the smell of it.
I'll keep this in my list of recipes, and next time I'll make a few modifications and then I'm sure I'll be happy with it!

Cami's Split Pea Soup

This is a terrible picture of a delicious soup! I really liked the rich flavor of the soup. I did a few things wrong differently. I couldn't find smoked ham hock so I got regular or non-smoked I guess. I don't know enough about ham hock to know the difference. I also couldn't find green split peas at Treasure Island and since I didn't want to go to another store I bought yellow. It seems like it still turned out. Jason doesn't usually like split pea soup but he liked this. I did add the potatoes and extra ham. I didn't get the meat out of the ham hock. I just removed it once the soup was done. I still think it tastes great and will make it again. Heck, maybe I'll try it the right way!

Monday, April 13, 2009

This Week's Recipe: Easy Split Pea Soup

I used to hate split pea soup. Literally, my mom had to coax me into eating it every time she served it. I'd pinch my nose and swallow hoping that my two bites would be enough to make it go away.

Somewhere along the line my tastes changed.

It could possibly be from this recipe alone. Really, it's quite tasty! I've made this soup countless times and it's never failed me. My family loves it on a chilly day. Serve it up with a crusty bread (I often cheat and buy the 2-loaf pack of whole wheat baguettes from Costco) and some slices of cheddar cheese. I know it's springtime now, but try it out before it starts defrosting too much.

Easy Split Pea Soup
Bon Appétit | May 1996
by Patricia Murray: County Kerry, Ireland

2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
1 large onion, chopped
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped peeled carrots
1 1/2 pounds smoked pork hocks
2 teaspoons dried leaf marjoram
1 bay leaf*
1 1/2 cups green split peas
8 cups water
1 potato, peeled and diced into 1/2 inch cubes*
1/2 cup of cooked, cubed ham chunks*

Melt butter in heavy large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion, celery and carrots. Sauté until vegetables begin to soften, about 8 minutes. Add pork and marjoram; stir 1 minute. Add peas, then water, and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low. Partially cover pot; simmer soup until pork and vegetables are tender peas are falling apart, stirring often, about 1 hour and 10 minutes.

Transfer hocks to bowl. Puree 5 cups soup in batches in blender. Return to pot. Cut pork off bones. Dice pork; return pork to soup. Season with salt and pepper. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Refrigerate until cold, then cover. Rewarm before serving.)

Cook's Notes:
~I added the asterisked ingredients (I like potato and extra ham-- just add after pureeing)
~Needs longer than 1 hour 10 minutes-- probably about 2 hours
~Can be made in a crock pot (just add the potatoes and extra ham the last hour of cooking, after the soup has been pureed)
~I like to add more peas to make it a thicker consistency
~If you have an immersion hand blender, I highly recommend using it! A regular blender works alright, but the hand kind is MUCH easier.

Cami's questions:

Q: When did you start baking / cooking?
A: I can remember helping my mom in the kitchen from the time I was about 8. I made a pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving that year and have been making it for my family every year since. My mom also let me help her make tortillas. I loved eating the dough!

Q: What is your favorite kitchen tool?
A: Heat-resistant spatulas

Q: Do you have a favorite spice? If so, what is it?
A: Garlic and maybe black pepper, too

Q: What is your favorite book?
A: A tough one! I love so many. Maybe "The Hiding Place," or "A Prayer for Owen Meany," or "Harry Potter" ...

Q: If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?
A: The Greek Islands

Q: If you had to change your first name right now, what would you change it to?
A: I've always thought the name Ophelia was cool...

Q: Where do you currently live?
A: Goleta (Santa Barbara), CA

Q: Where are you from?
A: Van Nuys (The San Fernando Valley), CA

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

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Chelsea's Flourless Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Ganache Glaze

So, this was really really good. I served it for Easter dinner and everyone absolutely raved about it. It was quite rich and very chocolatey...perfect!

When making the cake, it was actually kind of hard to decide when it was done. The book says it should be firm to the touch and to not over bake it. It was firm but a little springy. We decided that cakes are springy and so it was declared done. I think we were right, in the end, but we were a little nervous.

When the cake was cooling, the middle sunk in. I'm not sure if it was supposed to do that-it may have been a result of not baking quite long enough. I have a suspicion, though, that it was supposed to happen because it worked really well when glazing the cake. It made a perfect little bowl for the first layer of ganache.

I made the mistake of trying to take the parchment paper off before the cake completely cooled and when I went to flip it (with my hand) it cracked almost completely in half. Luckily I stopped it before it was too late and after putting the glaze on, you couldn't tell that any damage had been done.

I think that the glaze was very good, but the cake was good enough to stand alone (perhaps with whipped topping or ice cream, as they suggest.) I thought it was an amazing dessert and it's great that it is gluten free without sacrificing any of the taste. We will definitely keep this in our list of desserts to make.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Chelsea's Lemon Lemon Loaf and Curry

So, I don't know if it's a major breech of etiquette, but I'm going to post pictures of some past recipes that I didn't have a chance to make at the time.

First, the Lemon Lemon Loaf:

This was really good. It had a very tangy flavor and was very rich. We tried it with ice cream the second night we ate it but I think it is better alone. I think it tasted best the first night and then slightly lessened in quality. It was fun to make, though, and my husband absolutely loved it! (Always a plus.) Oh, and I don't know how in the world the rest of you got enough lemon zest. I grated for a half hour and only came up with about a third of the amount we were supposed to use. It still had plenty of zing, though. I will probably make this again, for special occasions.

As for the Coconut Chicken Curry:

This was really good, though I had two disappointments. One was that we couldn't taste the coconut at all. The second (which may have caused the first) was that I put a little too much cayenne pepper in which made it pretty hot. Something that I loved, though, was the potato. I think it added that hearty flavor and texture that everyone talked about. I've never had potato in a curry before, and I think it was a great addition. I love how healthy and well rounded this meal was. I will definitely make it again!

*Oh, and I will be posting the Chocolate cake soon. We're serving it for Easter dinner, so I haven't made it yet.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Cami's Flourless Chocolate Cake

Let me first explain why my flourless chocolate cake looks like two 4 inch torts stacked with chocolate ganache glaze in between. Well, I made a dessert for someone and sent them home with my springform pan. So, I have 4 inch springform pans that I used instead. I did scale back the baking time to 25 minutes and they came out perfectly.

I loved these. They were so good and rich and chocolatey. Honestly I think it is more the chocolate ganache glaze than the cake. The cake did improve overnight though.

I think you can make it even if you don't have a springform pan. It may stick to the bottom a little but it shouldn't be too bad.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

LuAnn's meatballs

No picture from me either, but I thought these were really tasty. This was my first time making meatballs. I've never been very interested in them because like Danielle, I'm not into ground meat...and I can't see what's in them. But I like the fact that these had a variety of fruits and veggies in the sauce and meat. I was thinking that the carrots, peppers and onions were going to go into the balls so I chopped them really fine. I actually chopped the carrots and onions and half of the green peppers in my mini food processor. If I realized they were going into the sauce I would have left them in bigger pieces. But the sauce was still really tasty.

I let the meatballs cook in the sauce for 25-30 minutes because my meat was defrosted just enough for me to stir it. Since I didn't have room in the pot to put in any rice I put my precooked sushi rice in a 9x13 dish, poured the meatballs and sauce on top and put it in the oven for about 10 minutes...uncovered so the sauce would thin. It turned out just right.

I'm wondering how this could be frozen. I think if I cooked the meatballs for 15 minutes in the sauce and then put it into a casserole dish with the rice. Then I would freeze it and when ready to eat I'd let it defrost for an hour and then put it in the oven for 20 minutes or so. Thoughts?

I'm also wondering if I could add some nutrients by using a small can of tomato sauce and a small can of tomato paste...I've heard tomato paste is the healthiest form of tomatoes...even more so than the tomato itself. Can anyone verify that? I might also consider adding some pureed spinach to the meatballs (this idea inspired by Jessica Seinfeld). More thoughts?

P.S. I have to note that I made this dinner and it was ready at 6:30 even though Jeff had class until 6. This was a major breakthrough for me. I chopped most of the veggies earlier in the day (this was Danielle's suggestion for me when I said how hard it was to make dinner with 2 kids awake and getting hungry) so it didn't take much to put it together at dinner time. Danielle...you should be so proud...this was the 2nd day in a row that we had a real balanced meal from scratch. Today we'll eat leftovers! Maybe I can do this.

*I thought I'd add a picture of my little helper since I have no picture of the food. I was so absorbed in scooping and dropping those meatballs into the sauce that I honestly had no idea he had emptied the entire drawer onto the floor and he was less than a foot away.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Flourless Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Ganache Glaze.

My decision for the recipe this week is inspired by my sister-in-law who has Celiac Disease. She is allergic to anything that has gluten in it (wheat, barley, or rye) so it is very hard for her to find good food to eat. I'm really excited to try this cake partly because of her but also because it sounds very chocolatey...something I love.

This recipe does require a spring form pan. It may be fine to not use one, I'm not sure, but if anyone wants to borrow mine, you are welcome to (except for when I make mine.)

As for the questions...

When did you start baking / cooking?
I have been cooking for a long time. My cousins and I used to have "cooking shows" in our kitchen with commercials advertising ingredients we were using and everything. Baking has not been a regular hobby, but in the last few months I have really started baking a lot. It makes me happy.

What is your favorite kitchen tool?
Probably my cheese grater...I use it often. What can I say, I love cheese!

Do you have a favorite spice? If so, what is it?
Cinnamon has to be one of the best.

What is your favorite book?
The Harry Potter series is awesome, as is Believing Christ. I know, very similar...

If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?
So many places! Top on my list right now is Disneyland, Disney World, New York City, Europe, and the Holy Land. Basically, I think that there are so many places that are so beautiful and I want to see all of them.

If you had to change your first name right now, what would you change it to?
Frederica. At least that's what Jonathan's always saying our next child will be. :)

Where do you currently live?
Chicago, Illinois

If you could eat one thing for every meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Cereal. We pretty much do that anyway (okay, that's a little bit of an exaggeration.) But seriously, cereal is pretty good.

Cami's Sweet & Sour Meatballs

Yummy. I really liked this. I've never used ground chicken before and found it pretty easy to use and rather tasty. I liked how the flavors mixed together. I also liked how many of the ingredients I seemed to have on hand. My sweet and sour seems a little less saucy than others, but it was very good. I would make this again, for sure.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Danielle's Sweet and Sour Meatballs

Sorry, no picture again. I have a feeling I'm not going to be very good at getting pictures of the meal recipes. I like to eat as soon as it's done!

Anyway, so I accidentally skipped the last step in the recipe that says to stir the rice into the sauce. My brother was helping me make it, and he just said, "Oh, there's rice with it." And I said, "Oh yeah! Rice!" and started making some instant rice separately. So my sauce was also too runny. But oh well.

I thought it was tasty, but I don't know that I'll make it again. I'm not a big fan of ground meat of any sort. But I'll keep it in mind for an easy, fairly quick meal that can feed a lot of people.

Melanie W.'s Sweet and Sour Meatballs

Mine actually turned out to be sweet and sour beef meatballs. I couldn't find any ground chicken, or even ground turkey, though I know I had seen it before. Oh well. Other things I had to modify: no tomato sauce here, so I used canned diced tomatoes and blended them up. No crushed pineapple here, so I got sliced pineapple and also blended it up. Worked fine! And I used regular rice instead of instant, because again...don't have it here.
I really liked this recipe! I don't make meatballs very often, even though I like them. I guess becuase they're sort of messy to make. I also don't like all the grease that cooks into many meatball recipes. Here in Ecuador, I was able to buy super super lean ground beef for super cheap, so I didn't feel like I was eating a ton of grease!
I think my food would have turned out a little bit better if I'd been able to use instant rice because it would have helped soak up some of the juices as it cooked. Instead, I just cooked my regular rice separately and poured the meatball sauce on top of the rice. The sauce ended up being a little too runny this way. But it was still delicious, and I think I would definitely make this recipe again! Thanks for the recipe Melanie!