Thursday, July 29, 2010

Who Doesn't Like Nachos?

These nachos were posted a year ago. My 2nd time making them.

We like anything that involves chips.

I can live without chipotle chiles, so I left them out. And my mango was funky so I added canned pineapple to make up for the lack of mango. It's better with just the mango.

It was yum of course. My mom, hubby, and son thought so too.

I don't make anything a second time unless it's tasty.

Thanks Danielle. It made it onto my official recipe list.

Melanie W.'s Flap Jacks

Wow, another post, I'm on a roll!

When making these I exchanged 1 cup of regular flour for whole wheat flour. I thought the batter was a bit thick so I added a few extra tablespoons of buttermilk til it looked right and poured a little easier. Glad I did that, and they were still plenty fluffy and thick. I added blueberries to my batter and topped them with strawberries and syrup. So yummy! I only got 8 pancakes rather than 12, like the recipe says. Oh, and I didn't wipe the butter off the griddle beforehand, I thought that was a waste of time and paper towels, plus I kinda like the look the bubbled butter gives the pancakes. :)

We love pancakes at our house but I'm usually too lazy in the mornings to make them for breakfast so we often eat them for dinner. These were a little easier than the buttermilk pancake recipe I had been making, and they were just as tasty if not slightly better so I'll for sure make these again. I also like that I have more instant pancake mix waiting in my pantry now. I'll be able to whip them up in no time at all!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Melanie W.'s Hummus

Just doing a little catch up. I've made hummus only once or twice before, but I don't know why I don't make it more often! It's really easy, plus it's way cheaper than buying it in the store. I'm not usually a fan of the store bought roasted red pepper hummus, but this homemade variety was good! I probably didn't add the full amount of red peppers called for which might be why I liked it- the flavor wasn't too strong. My hummus was a tad bit on the dry side, but I could have easily fixed that with a little olive oil or something. I look forward to making more hummus in the future, especially since I have a bunch of tahini in my fridge that needs to be used up!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Maren's Chocolate Pie

I think I ought to start with an apology to Deanna. I loved the idea of trying chocolate pie but after drinking soy milk in a smoothie every morning for three years, I developed a soy allergy and can no longer eat raw soy products. *sigh* But I've never made chocolate pie and really wanted to try it, so I made the one from Baked that was also mentioned in her post.

I don't know what it is with me, but I simply cannot make a good crumb crust! Graham crackers, ginger snaps, and now wafers--they've all come out too crumbly and stick to the pan instead of the filling (as you can see in the picture). Do I need to butter the pie plate first? With this pie, I was also unsuccessful twice in finding chocolate wafers (weird!) and so used vanilla. Not bad, but the point of chocolate pie is to be very chocolatey, so I can't help but think that chocolate wafers would be better.

The filling worked up beautifully, however. I used 4 oz. 60% cocoa chocolate and 3 oz. semi-sweet, and the whole thing came together very nicely. I used cocoa powder (2 Tbsp.) instead of the Ovaltine. I am wary of too much whipped cream on my desserts, so I only whipped 1 c. for topping and thought that was quite enough.

I liked the intensity of the chocolate and texture of the pie very much, except that it seemed to be a little too salty, so I think next time I make it I'll cut down on the salt a bit. All around, I'd say this pie was definitely a success. (My tasters also agreed!)

So thanks to Deanna for the inspiration, even if I couldn't make the exact pie she chose. :)

Cami's Moo-less Chocolate Pie

This was ridiculously easy and really tasty. I think it rivals any other chocolate pie I've ever made, including Baked. I also bought a pre-made crust because I had a lot of things going on this week. I don't feel like it detracted from the pie at all.

Since I didn't want to use coffee liqueur I used 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream instead. I think this did a lot of things. It decreased the overall sweetness and I think it made it more smooth overall. I will definitely make this again.

I made homemade whipped cream, which was really easy but makes it seem extra special. I recommend this. You couldn't taste tofu at all.

Flap Jacks.

Pancakes are a regular event at our house.

We are a breakfast kind of family.

What can I say? They were good pancakes.
I followed the recipe ingredients and directions.
But, I cut the recipe down to 1/3 so I wouldn't have leftovers. They were not sweet. Just fried bread. Mmmm. I recommend fruit and syrup on top.

Normally I add spinach, flax seed, and 1/2 whole wheat flour to my pancake recipes. I will continue to do that. And you should too. You can't taste the spinach or flax if you blend it with the milk in a blender for a minute or two. They turn out green, but just tell your kids they're Christmas pancakes and Santa's favorite. That works on my picky toddler. Every time. (Insert evil laugh)


P.S. Try them for dinner, if you're not a breakfast person.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Melanie W.'s Cornbread

I have yet to find a homemade cornbread recipe that I love. I was hoping this one would do it for me, but it didn't. It was a little dry (could be my fault), not sweet enough (even though I quadrupled the sugar), I don't like chunks of corn in my cornbread, or perhaps it was the strong rosemary flavor from my creamed corn, I don't know. For now I'll stick to my boxed mix (those little Jiffy boxes are great!)

Aside from increasing the sugar and decreasing the salt a pinch, I followed the recipe. If I were to go back and remake it I might add a little extra buttermilk, maybe it would have helped with the dryness? And, as you can see, I don't have a cast iron skillet so I cooked it in this glass dish. (but a cast iron skillet is on my kitchen wishlist!)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Melanie W.'s Creamed Corn

This was simpler than I expected. Sure, it took a little bit of time to cut the corn off the cob (I decreased the recipe down to 5 ears), but once that was done it took no time at all! I did have to go buy some turmeric because I didn't have any, but it was worth it because I've made a handful of recipes lately that call for it.

I didn't use a fresh sprig of rosemary so I threw in some dried rosemary leaves. I wish I had read all the directions beforehand because then I would have known you're supposed take the rosemary sprig out at the end and it doesn't stay in the corn! Knowing that I wouldn't have used dried rosemary, or at least used less than what I did. My corn had a nice rosemary flavor, but it was a bit on the overpowering side.

I like this corn recipe a lot, but I don't think I'd make it very often. I'm not really into creamy vegetables and plain corn is equally as good, and healthier. Like someone else said this would be good for Thanksgiving or something.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Moo-Less Chocolate Pie

I do love a good chocolate pie. I really loved this chocolate pie from Baked but thought it was kind of a lot of work. When I was flipping through Good Eats and found Alton's recipe for Chocolate Pie featuring Tofu as the main ingredient, my curiosity sky rocketed.

Here is the link for the online recipe. It comes from an episode called Tofuworld and can be found in the book on page 192.

It's been in the high 90s-100s here in my part of California for almost a week now. Generally we get some relief from the fog that rolls in from the Bay at night, but not during this heatwave. It's been miserable. I don't think I've had a good night's sleep in five nights. So when I was picking my recipe, I knew I'd have to find something that did not require me to turn on the oven. Although this recipe includes a Chocolate Wafer Crust which you bake for a short period, I cheated and bought one of those pre-made Oreo cookie crusts at the store. I'm sure Alton's crust is much better, but it's just too hot here. In retrospect, I should have just used Baked's cookie crust recipe since it doesn't require an oven, but oh well.

I think this pie is WAY too sweet. When I try it again I will only use only 1/2 the package of chocolate chips (6 oz). I love chocolate and I couldn't even finish a small slice of this pie. I think the tofu is a great idea though so I will be playing around with this recipe to make it just right for me. I love finding ways to incorporate tofu into my food since it's so good for you and has relatively no taste.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Cami's Creamed Corn

Let me just say it's hard to get a good picture of corn.

Corn hasn't ever a favorite of mine. I think it's because I only had canned corn growing up and when we had corn on the cob stuff got stuck in my teeth. It didn't seem worth it. Since I've been married I've made more corn on the cob because Jason really likes it. I've grown to appreciate it but this is awesome! It's all the flavor and firmness of corn on the cob without the junk getting stuck in your teeth.

I didn't have rosemary but I did buy turmeric. I am going to search out more recipes to add it to because I like the flavor. I liked having onions in it as well. I never would have thought to do that on my own.

This will definitely be a go to side dish. I served it with spinach, strawberry and poppyseed salad. It was perfect for a summer meal. Although I agree with Maren that this would be good on Thanksgiving too.

Whitney's Creamed Corn & Cornbread

I have never eaten creamed corn, so I really didn't know what to expect. It had an interesting flavor and I really liked it. I halved the recipe, didn't have rosemary, but did get some tumeric. I doubt I'll make it very often since we SO enjoy eating the frozen corn (from Costco) with just plain old butter, salt & pepper. But all in all, I was glad I tried it and will keep it on hand just in case someone needs a creamed corn recipe or I want to refer back to it.

I cooked the cornbread in a 8x8 glass baking dish and used butter instead of oil and it cooked just fine. I also doubled the sugar, but really I wish I would have quadrupled it. I like my cornbread a lot sweeter (so I'm eating it topped with honey). I have also never tried to make it from scratch before (I have box mixes to thank for that), and overall it was a pretty good experience. Nothing like cornbread in 115 degree weather in Mesa, AZ, right?! :)

Lisa's Funky Corn.

I learn something about myself.
I'm not a fan of stripping ears of corn.
While doing it, I doubted it would all be worth it.

Glad I was wrong.

My creamed corn tasted great, but doesn't look so hot. It looks sickly. Same with the bread.

I used 2 large sprigs of rosemary in the cream.
And I used stone ground whole grain corn meal instead of yellow meal.

Oh well. As long as it tastes good.

Next time I'll use less rosemary and yellow meal.

And I halved the salt, tripled the sugar, and halved the oil in the bread. It's perfect to me. Besides the green hue.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Maren's Creamed Corn

Corn on the cob is one of the most delicious things about summer, I think, so the idea of creaming fresh corn was appealing to me, as well as being entirely novel. I never imagined that creamed corn could be something to get excited about until I read Danielle's post and the accompanying recipe.

I was lucky enough to find cob corn on sale yesterday when I went shopping, so I made the creamed corn recipe tonight. It was delicious! My husband quite liked it too. I halved the recipe, like Danielle did, and I didn't have any turmeric and also had to resort to a pinch of dried rosemary. My corn turned out kind of ugly since I had significant kid-interference and the bottom of the pan burnt and some of the brown got into the corn. But even that did not affect the tastiness of this dish. It's what I imagine the pilgrims' first Thanksgiving tasted like and now I want to eat it at Thanksgiving too, so I guess I'll have to try it with frozen corn this fall. :)

And although I adore eating corn straight off the cob, this was a nice change, while still getting that fresh corn texture and flavor.

(Sorry about double-posting--I'll try to be more organized next time.)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Maren's Popcorn

I'd like to share my experience doing homemade microwave popcorn. I've done it many times and there is a bit of trial and error involved since microwaves' power varies so much, but it's tasty and well worth experimenting with.

I got better pop--that is, more kernels successfully popped--using a bit more oil: more like 1 Tbsp. (although mostly it was an eyeball measurement). I didn't try the jalapeƱo seasoning, but I've tried just salt, salt and fresh ground pepper, and salt and garlic powder (or you could use garlic salt). I like all those but just with salt is probably my favorite. I definitely recommend using popcorn salt (as the recipe suggests). I've tried regular table salt but it really doesn't distribute over the popcorn as evenly.

My dad made popcorn on the stove for me and my siblings all the time while I was growing up, so this popcorn's flavor really rings true for me. But I never could get the kernels even close to being as big and fluffy as commercial-popped; they always came out smaller and crunchier. I like crunchy kernels pretty well, but overall they don't look as nice as the fluffy ones.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Recipe Rotation

I've updated the recipe rotation based on the responses I've received so far. You can check it out here. If you want to select recipes but aren't on the list please let me know.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Ear Apparent

This week's episode is Ear Apparent -- about corn. I had some fresh corn on the cob in my fridge, so I was attracted to this episode.

Here's the link to the episode on the Food Network. And it's pages 136 - 141 in the cookbook.

Apparently, in the episode on tv, Alton Brown made his own microwave popcorn, but that recipe is not included in the book (it is on the website though). I'm very intrigued by the idea of homemade microwave popcorn, so I want to try that sometime. But today I made the other two recipes -- creamed corn and cornbread.

I wasn't originally interested in making creamed corn, but the cornbread recipe calls for it (or you can use canned) so I figured I'd give it a shot. So glad I did! The creamed corn was so delicious! Max and I both loved it. I halved the recipe but otherwise followed the directions, and it turned out great.

As you can see in the picture, we had the creamed corn on top of the corn bread. They went great together. Of course, I suppose it would be difficult to for corn to clash with corn. :)

The cornbread was good, but it's not really my favorite kind of corn bread. I generally prefer a lighter sweeter cornbread. If I were to make it again, I would half the salt and double the sugar. Also, I think the amount of oil it called for was overkill. I guess it gave it a nice crunchy outside, but I think I could've gotten away with using only one Tbsp of oil instead of two.

Friday, July 9, 2010

More on Good Eats

First, I want to clarify how recipe picking is going to work with the Good Eats cookbook. Because the book is broken down by episode, we will be selecting episodes each week instead of specific recipes. Some episodes focus on one dish, but many episodes have two or even three recipes. You can choose to make any of the recipes included in that episode. We thought that would be a nice way to give everyone more flexibility in making something that appeals to them.

All the recipes are available on Food Network's website, but for the benefit of those who will be following the book, we want to limit selection to just the episodes included in The Early Years. You can find a list of episodes HERE. The Early Years goes through episode #611 (in season 6), "Casserole Over".

Additionally, I want to make a plug for buying the book. As Cami said, you don't have to buy the Good Eats cookbook to participate in the rotations going forward, but I strongly encourage you to! I've already learned so many interesting tidbits just from flipping through it and stopping on pages that catch my interest. This is no mere cookbook -- it's practically a cooking encyclopedia. But the information is presented in a concise, entertaining way.

I've been watching Good Eats for about a year now, and I've learned so much from it. The cookbook has a lot of the same useful information as the show. Alton Brown teaches a lot about how to shop for, store, and prepare ingredients. It really is a great resource!

New Book

As we are nearing the end of Baked recipes everyone wanted to try we have decided to switch things up a bit. We are so excited to announce the new cookbook we'll be using; Good Eats: The Early Years. This is going to be fun! The book has a wide variety of recipes including appetizer, main coarse and dessert.

You can choose not to buy the book as the recipes are available online at the Food Network's website. If you do choose to buy the book you will get additional tips and suggestions from the authors. I plan to buy it as it comes highly recommended and I hope to learn a lot from this new book.

As always, everyone is welcome to join in the recipe selecting or posting, so please let us know if you want to do either and I haven't contacted you yet. Danielle is going to start off the rotation on Sunday, so get ready to cook again!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Catch Up--Elise's Turkey Burgers

I'm glad I finally made these!

Here's what I did differently:
  • added two extra grated carrots
  • added an extra tsp. of thyme (this was by accident, but turned out to be a delicious mistake)
  • grilled onions with the patties
We served them on regular buns with grilled onions, lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, and cucumbers. I'm not a big beef person, so for me these were a great change from the regular ground beef burger. And especially in the heat of summer (when meat just feels too heavy to eat), these are lighter than regular burgers. If you haven't made these yet, go make them!