Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Chewy Granola Bars

Last March when Sharona and I went to London, Sharona brought homemade granola bars to snack on. They were really good. She told me they were easy to make, so I filed the thought in the back of my head for future reference.

Mr. Snowgoose and I eat a lot of granola bars. I've had a recipe from vegetarian Times in my idea folder since last summer and I finally decided to make some.

Guess what? They were totally easy to make and tasted wicked good. So good in fact I think I'll just make a batch every week rather than buy granola bars.

Chewy Granola Bars
makes 25 squares

Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour (I used regular flour)
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt, divided
2/3 cup chopped dried apricots (I used a dried fruit mix)
1/2 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips (I used regular size)
1/2 cup walnuts (skipped this but added raisins)
1 cup packed light brown sugar (I used dark since it was what I had on hand)
1/2 cup maple syrup (I used sugar free)
1/2 cup almond butter (I used reduced fat peanut butter since I am not a fan of almond butter)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 large egg whites

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat 9x13 inch baking dish with cooking spray
2. Combine oats, flour, baking soda, and 1/4 tsp salt in bowl. Stir in apricots, chocolate chips, and walnuts.


3. Beat brown sugar, maple syrup, almond butter, oil and egg whites with electric beater until smooth.


Stir in oat mixture.
4. Spread mixture in prepared baking dish and pat down firmly. Sprinkle top with remaining salt. Bake 30-35 minutes or until firm.



Cool 20 minutes before slicing into bars. Unmold, and store in an airtight container.

Per square: 202 calories, 4 g protein, 8.5 g total fat, 2 g fiber.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Fakeout Takeout: Crockpot Eggplant and Pea Curry

It is finally crockpot season out in the PNW, especially now that it only ever seems to rain. It had been awhile since I made Indian, and I had been itching to use my new digital crockpot which we received as a wedding gift and try an eggplant and pea curry from the cookbook "The Gourmet Slow Cooker: Simple and Sophisticated Recipes from Around the World."

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon coriander seed
1 tablespoon cumin seed
2 cinnamon sticks, broken into pieces
2-3 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 large yellow onions, finely chopped
2 large cloves of garlic, minced
1 tablespoon grated or finely minced ginger
1 tablespoon ground turmeric1 tablespoon ground paprika
1/2 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 large tomatoes, peeled and chopped, or 1 14-oz can crushed tomatoes
2 large eggplants, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 cup fresh or frozen peas
salt
1/4 cup coarsely chopped cilantro for garnish
rice

Directions:
Combine the coriander, cumin, and cinnamon in a mortar or coffee grinder and grind to a fine powder

Heat a large saute pan over medium-high heat and add the oil. Add the onions and saute, stirring frequently, for 10 minutes, until lightly browned. Add the garlic and ginger and saute for 30 seconds. Add the spice mixture, turmeric, paprika, and pepper flakes and stir foe 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes, or until some of the liquid evaporates.



Transfer the mixture to a blender (or use an immersion blender in the pan) and puree until almost smooth.

Place the eggplant at the bottom of the slow cooker and pour the pureed vegetables over the top. Stir gently.

Cover and cook on low for 3 to 4 hours, until the eggplant is tender. Stir in the peas during the last 15 minutes of cooking and season with salt to taste.



Transfer to a serving dish and garnish with cilantro.

Serve over rice with naan bread.



Cook's notes:
1. I know the combination of spices makes it a true Indian dish and that Indian cooks don't use curry powder, but using curry powder instead of running around the bulk spice bins at QFC would have made the dish a bit easier and saved a few bucks. And considering how I don't grind my own coffee and therefore do not have a coffee grinder. I tried to use a cup to grind the spices but it was a pain in the butt. Eventually I just used some ground cinnamon and left the seeds whole. Also, I used fresh tomatoes but didn't bother to peel them.

2. I've mentioned this before, but I hate having to COOK my food before putting it in a slow cooker. Doesn't it defeat the purpose of a crockpot? You should just be able to dump everything in the crockpot (once chopped, of course) and let it cook. or just cook everything on the stove.

3. It turned out kind of bland and made a ton. Mr. Snowgoose was nice about it but I could tell it wasn't his favorite, yet his still was willing to take leftovers for lunch.

Would I make this again? No. Would I recommend this to you? Heck, no.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Mr Snowgoose makes mushroom risotto

When Mr. Snowgoose and I got married in August, we had the most delicious mushroom risotto at our dinner reception. It was so good I ate two plates of it in addition to my steak. Since them I've been dreaming about it.

We got a cookbook as a wedding gift called Boston Uncommon. We'd been eating the boxed version from Trader Joes which was acceptable. But we wanted the real stuff, and since Mr. Snowgoose was feeling ambitious, I let him take over the kitchen.

Ingredients:


2 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 ounce dried porchini mushrooms
2 cups lukewarm water
2 tablespoons evoo
1 tablespoon butter or margarine
2 tablespoons finely chopped onion
1 cup arborio rice
1/4 cup white wine
1/3 cup freshly grated Romano cheese
1 tablespoon butter or margarine
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 cup button mushroom, sliced, lightly sauteed in 1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup freshly grated Romano cheese

Directions

1. Bring the broth to a simmer in a saucepan over low heat.
2. Soak the dried mushrooms in the lukewarm water in a bowl for 30 minutes.
Remove mushrooms from bowl by hand and squeeze out as much water as possible. Strain the soaking liquid through a coffee filter to remove any residue. Save that water! Rinse the mushrooms several times and pat dry with a paper towel. Coarsely chop mushrooms and set aside.
3. Heat the olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter in a heavy pan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until translucent. Add the rice.



Cook for about 2 minutes. Stir in the wine. Cook for 1 minute or until the liquid is evaporated. Add the hot broth 1/2 cup at a time, simmering after each addition until the broth is completely absorbed.


>

When the rice has cooked for 10 minutes add the dried mushrooms and 1/2 of the mushroom water. Cook until the water is evaporated, stirring constantly. Repeat with the remaining liquid. Continue to cook the rice for about 20 minutes, adding the broth as needed, until the rice is tender but firm to the bite. Remove from the heat. Add 1/3 cup cheese and 1 tablespoon butter; stir until cheese melts and clings to rice. Season with salt and pepper. Top with the button mushrooms. Serve immediately with 1/2 cup cheese.



Makes 4-6 servings.


This risotto was a pain in the ass. It turned out okay but it took ages and the dried porcini mushrooms grossed me out. In the unlikely event we were to recreate this, we'd leave them out.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Hungry Cougar's Super Yummy Homemade Applesauce

I recently went apple picking, as I love to do every fall, and ended up with the usual abundance of apples that I had no idea what to do with. So I went looking for applesauce recipes, and found this great, easy recipe that I modified a bit. I did a small batch to see how it went, but I'm sure you could easily double it. This was also my first time using my slow-cooker, and wow do I ever love that thing. Sorry I have no pictures, me and the fiance ate it too fast.

Ingredients:
5 apples (I used Macintosh and Courtland), peeled, cored and chopped
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup white sugar
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon (I was a little more liberal with the cinnamon)

1. Add everything to slow cooker and stir a bit.
2. Cook on high for 3-3 1/2 hours.
3. Depending on how chunky you like your applesauce, you can leave as is or mush it up a bit.
4. Chill and enjoy!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Broccoli-Cheese Cornbread Muffins

These were recommended to me by another mom with a picky eater. For a kid who really only likes to eat cheese and carrots, my daughter likes these a lot.

Ingredients:
4 eggs
1/2 cup butter, melted
3/4 tsp salt
1 box cornbread mix (I used an 8.5 oz Jiffy)
1 10oz bag frozen broccoli florets, thawed, drained and chopped finely
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
(1 medium onion, chopped)

Preheat oven to 350. Prepare a muffin pan with liners.
In a bowl, combine eggs, butter and salt.
Stir in cornbread mix until just blended; stir in remaining ingredients.
Pour into muffin pan and back for about 25 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
Serve warm.


Notes:
I always leave out the onion to make them more kid-friendly.
They look a little moldy, thanks to the broccoli, but still taste great!
They freeze really well - just let them cool completely and toss them in a freezer ziplock bag. Reheat for about 20 seconds in the microwave.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

the easiest vegetarian lasagna ever

I love Mark Bittman as much as the next person, and I actually own the cookbook and use it quite frequently. But over the years I've devised my own semi-vegan, sorta lowfat lasagna method, which now M makes when we have people over for dinner. People luv it. And it's way easier than Mark's.

you need:

lasagna noodles
2 jars pasta sauce or you can make your own (I make pasta sauce all the time, so I often have some kicking around)
2 packages tofu: one soft, one extra-firm*
1/2 cup grated parmesan (grate it yourself! on the small holes. don't buy pre-grated, blech.)
2 eggs
frozen spinach OR sauteed fresh spinach and garlic OR sauteed mushrooms and onions OR slices of baked eggplant
one package veggie ground (the fake ground meat stuff), optional
grated mozzarella or cheddar for the top (again, grate it yourself!)

and here's how you do it:

first) consider your veggies; ie, saute your mushrooms, defrost your spinach, bake your eggplant, etc.

second) mash the whole package of soft tofu and half the package of extra-firm tofu* with the two eggs. Add the parmesan cheese and some salt and pepper.

third) don't cook the pasta! You don't need to. And you don't have to buy special "no-boil" pasta. It just doesn't matter. If there are any exposed edges they might get a tad crunchy. Whatevs.

fourth) construct. Layer as follows in a big glass baking dish:
on the bottom: about 1/3 a jar of pasta sauce, ish
pasta, in one layer
tofu/cheese/egg mixture
spinach/mushrooms/eggplant/whatever veggie you're using
about half the package of veggie ground, no need to cook it first
Keep layering. You'll run out of stuff as you go. No biggie. End with pasta and then another layer of sauce on top. You need lots of sauce in this lasagna, since you didn't cook the pasta first.

fifth) on the top: a whole lot of grated mozz or cheddar. I really like cheddar for this, and as a plus, I always have it in the house. Also add lots of Italian seasoning (or any fresh herbs you may have). Sometimes it's nice to add cherry tomato halves, nestled facing up amongst the cheese.

sixth) bake at 350 for 45 minutes, covered with tinfoil. At this point, take the tinfoil off and bake for another 15 minutes. Let it sit for 15 minutes after you take it out; this helps it stay together.

* About the tofu: this recipe works best with 1 1/2 packages of tofu. Therefore, I always do one soft and one half extra-firm, since I am way more likely to use the leftover extra-firm in a stirfry before it goes bad. By all means use two softs and then you can use the extra half block of soft for something else. Smoothie? Pudding? I have no idea.

Take that, Mr. Bittman!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

The Most Complicated Vegetarian Lasagana Ever

I love, love, love Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything Vegetarian: Simple Meatless Recipes for Great Food. It's chock full of delicious things (but no photos), and if I had more room for cookbooks in my hallway bookshelf I'd buy my own copy instead of repeatedly borrowing it from the library.

It seems like it has been a billion years since I made vegetarian lasagna. Now that the weather has turned crisp I've been itching to make it. Bittman has a wonderful recipe for it and at first glance it seems like every other vegetarian lasagna recipe I've made in the past. But here is where it gets complicated- Bittman's recipe called for fresh pasta (ha! I'm not where near that yet) and homemade sauce (which I have not made before but curious to try). Then he suggests 11 options for layers in the lasagna including:
Broiled or Steamed Greens
Roasted Artichoke Hearts
Grilled or Broiled Eggplant
Eggplant Slices with Garlic and Parsley
Sauteed Mushrooms
Caramelized Onions
Roasted Red Peppers
Oven Roasted Fresh Plum Tomatoes
Butternut Squash, Braised and Glazed
Panfried Pumpkin with Tomato Sauce
Baked Mixed Vegetables with Olive Oil

Now the recipe already calls for 3 cups fresh spinach so I didn't want to go overboard with veggies (actually I did, but Mr. Snowgoose who didn't). Mr. Snowgoose requested the grilled eggplant and since we had received a grill pan earlier in the week as a gift, I was glad to oblige him.

Before I continue I should show you exactly how small my kitchen is. I've had bigger bathtubs.

My small kitchen made the lasagna quite difficult. For starters the grill pan take up most of the stove top, so I had to grill the eggplant first and set it aside. Then I boiled the noodles (though we don't have a large pot to boil in yet) and started the tomato sauce. During the process I ran out of counter space and had to get creative on where I made my work stations.

Here is a breakdown of the recipes:
Lasagna
Ingredients:
Salt
1 recipe any fresh pasta, rolled into sheets, or 12 dried lasagna noodles
2 tablespoons softened butter or extra virgin olive oil
2 recipes Fast Tomato Sauce
3 cups cooked spinach, squeezed dry and chopped or any other dropped vegetable
3 cups ricotta, plus more if needed
2 cups freshly grated Parmesan, plus more as needed
Freshly ground black pepper

Directions:
1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt it. Cook the noodles (6 at a time for dried noodles) until they are tender but underdone (they will finish cooking as the lasagna bakes). Drain and then lay the noodles flat on a towel so they don't stick.
2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Grease a rectangular baking dish with the butter and olive oil, add a large dollop of tomato sauce, and spread it around. Put a layer of noodles in the dish, trimming any overhanging edges; top with a layer of tomato sauce, 1/3 spinach, and 1.4 of the ricotta and Parmesan. Sprinkle some salt and pepper between the layers of tomato sauce and spinach as needed.
3. Repeat the layers twice and top with the remaining noodles, tomato sauce, ricotta and Parmesan. I added 1 layer of grilled eggplant instead of a layer of noodles.




4. Bake until the lasagna is bubbling and the cheese is melted and lightly browned on top, about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let rest for a few minutes before serving.





Grilled Eggplant
Ingredients:
2 medium or one large eggplant
1 teaspoon minced garlic
4-6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Directions:
1. Peel the eggplant if the skin is thick or the eggplant is less than perfectly firm; cut it into 1/2 inch thick slices. Heat a charcoal or gas grill or the broiler to moderately high heat and put the grill rack about 4 inches from the heat source or the broiler rack 4 to 6 inches from the heat source.
2. If you like, stir the garlic into the olive oil, then brush one side of the eggplant slices with the oil. Place oiled side down, on a baking sheet or directly on the grill. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, then brush with more oil.
3. Broil or grill until browned on both sides, turning once or twice, brushing with more olive oil if the eggplant looks dry and adjusting the heat or position as necessary to keep the eggplant cooking steadily without burning. , usually less than 10 minutes. Serve hot or at room temperature.



Fast Tomato Sauce
Ingredients:
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil or butter
1 medium onion chopped
one 24-36 ounce can tomatoes, drained and chopped
salt and freshly ground pepper
Freshly grated Parmesan
chopped parsley or basil leaves for garnish

Directions:
1. Put the olive oil in a 10-12 inch skillet over medium high heat. When hot, add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft 2 or 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes, along with a sprinkling of salt and pepper.
2. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes break up and mixture comes together and thickens, 10 to 15 minutes. Taste, adjust the seasoning, and immediately toss the pasta (garnish with cheese or an herb if you'd like)or use in other dishes.



The tomato sauce is really good!

Cook's notes:
The whole cooking process took over 2 hours, but was worth it. We took the lasagna over to my Father in Law's house for Sunday dinner. Both he and Mr. Snowgoose ate several helpings and took leftovers to work for lunch for two days. Mr. Snowgoose even requested we eat the lasagna two nights in a row. I suppose it helped I made an extra side dish of it.



Would I make this again? Probably, though I'd make the sauce ahead of time and probably just use caramelized onions and sauteed mushrooms, though the grilled eggplant was a nice addition.

Also, I just mixed the ricotta and spinach together to make it easier to spread for the layers.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Really, Really Simple Creamy Pesto Gnocchi with Green Beans

I love gnocchi. I order it whenever I am out and it is on the menu. The best gnocchi I've ever had was for my birthday last year when Mr. Snowgoose took me to a local vegetarian restaurant. I actually didn't order the gnocchi, Mr. Snowgoose did, but that didn't stop me from eating his. Since then I've been craving gnocchi.

Much to my delight, the September issue of Real SimpleI Magazine had a recipe for gnocchi.

Since it is from RS this means I didn't have to make the gnocchi by hand, I could buy frozen.

Since the magazine arrived in my mailbox over a month ago I've been walking around with the recipe in my wallet searching for frozen gnocchi. When I lived in Boston I often saw gnocchi at the grocery stores near my house; however, despite that I live near six grocery stores I hadn't been able to find any. Finally, last Friday I found some at Trader Joes in the frozen foods. Chances are, if you live near a large grocery store you should be able to find gnocchi.

Ingredients:

1 pound gnocchi (refrigerated or frozen)
Kosher salt and pepper
1/2 pound green beans, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 2 cups)
1 8-ounce container store-bought pesto (about 1 cup)
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup ricotta

Directions:

Cook the gnocchi according to the package directions. Drain and return them to the pot.

Meanwhile, bring a large saucepan of water to a boil and add 1 tablespoon salt. Add the green beans and cook until tender, 3 to 4 minutes; drain.

Add the pesto and cream to the gnocchi and cook over medium heat, stirring, just until heated through, 2 to 3 minutes. Divide among bowls and top with the green beans, ricotta, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.



Substitution: If you can't find gnocchi, try this quick and easy pesto and cream sauce on pasta. Frozen peas are a fine stand-in for green beans.



Yield: Makes 4 servings

NUTRITION PER SERVING
CALORIES 631; FAT 37g (sat 13g); CHOLESTEROL 56mg; CARBOHYDRATE 55g; SODIUM 1344mg; PROTEIN 22g; FIBER 6g; SUGAR 7g

Cook's notes:

When I bought the gnocchi I failed to notice that it came with giant frozen chunks of Gorgonzola cheese. It wasn't until Mr. Snowgoose poured the the frozen pasta into the frying pan that we saw it. Since the cheese was giving the gnocchi a creamy consistency, we agreed to skip the cream and it turned out fine.





I would recommend using peas instead of green beans, I think it would have tasted a bit better, though I personally enjoyed the green bean and pesto combo and I don't even like pesto that much.

And it's totally vegetarian.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Really Simple End of Summer Vegetable Soup

I know I'm a couple of days late with this post considering Fall started Monday (right?), but if you're like me and refusing to acknowledge that summer is over (and clinging desperately to the hope of an Indian Summer and sunshine) or if you have leftover summer veggies that are thisclose to rotting in the crisper, then I have the perfect soup for you, courtesy of the September issue of Real Simple Magazine.

Note: it is not vegetarian, but you can make it by swapping out the chicken broth for vegetable broth.

Also the recipe is for a make ahead version. I just cooked the whole thing and then froze what I didn't eat.

Ingredients:

4 cups low-sodium chicken broth

1 15.5-ounce can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 large zucchini, cut into bite-size pieces
1 large yellow squash, cut into bite-size pieces
1/2 pound green beans, cut into bite-size pieces
2 cups corn kernels (cut from 2 ears, or frozen)
1 medium onion, finely chopped
Kosher salt and pepper

In a large bowl, combine the broth, cannellini beans, zucchini, yellow squash, green beans, corn, onion, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Divide the mixture among freezer-safe containers. Freeze until ready to cook, up to 3 months.

Cook It
Frozen soup mixture
1/4 cup fresh dill sprigs

Transfer the frozen soup mixture to a saucepan. Simmer over medium heat, partially covered, for 10 minutes. Uncover and simmer until the vegetables are tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in the dill.




Yield: Makes 6 servings

NUTRITION PER SERVING
CALORIES 140; FAT 1g (sat 1g); CHOLESTEROL 3mg; CARBOHYDRATE 26g; SODIUM 273mg; PROTEIN 9g; FIBER 6g; SUGAR 6g


Cook's notes:

I used chicken bouillon cubes rather than plain broth because it was what I had on hand.

Also, I didn't add any dill, but I added a lot of garlic. And by a lot of garlic I mean vampires are afraid to come within a ten block radius of my kitchen.

I ate the soup the day I made it. The green beans were a little crunchy, but after I started reheating and eating the soup the green beans became softer and more manageable. And I totally used frozen corn.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Moonblush Tomatoes

Hello again.

Remember the too-many-tomatoes conundrum? It continues. So here is a better, easier, sexier way of roasting them, via your fave food goddess Nigella Lawson. Even the recipe's name is sexy, don't you think? Nigella, you tease, you.

Preheat oven to 450.

Put many cherry tomatoes (sliced in half; such a good way of using up all those split ones that were left on the plants too long) in a glass baking dish.

Throw in olive oil, salt, pepper, fresh thyme, fresh basil, dried Italian seasoning, crushed red pepper, whatever you've got.

Mush around.

Here's the fiddly part: the tomatoes really like to be right side up. I understand if this is not possible, but I've tried it both ways and they really come out better if they're facing up. Plus they look very cute and eager.

Put them in the oven. Now turn the oven off. Leave overnight. No peeking!

In the morning you will have lovely roasted tomatoes that are fantab over pasta or couscous for lunch. I swear to you this is true!

Enjoy.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Fake Out Take Out: Curried Rice and Shrimp

Welcome back to another edition of Fake Out Take Out, where I create an authentic ethnic meal without picking up the phone.

Today's meal comes from the September issue of Real Simple Magazine, so you know that recipe is ridiculously easy and fast.

Ingredients:


1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 teaspoons curry powder
1 cup long-grain white rice
Kosher salt and pepper
1 1/2 pounds large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/2 cup fresh basil

Directions:

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and carrots and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, 6 to 8 minutes.

Add the garlic and curry and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 2 minutes.

Add the rice, 2 1/2 cups water, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes.



Season the shrimp with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and nestle them in the partially cooked rice. Cover and cook until the shrimp are opaque throughout, 4 to 5 minutes. Fold in the basil and serve.


Yield: Makes 4 servings

NUTRITION PER SERVING
CALORIES 431; FAT 7g (sat 1g); CHOLESTEROL 259mg; CARBOHYDRATE 50g; SODIUM 757mg; PROTEIN 39g; FIBER 3g; SUGAR 3g


Cook's notes:


I used brown rice to make the dish slightly healthier. I also added a simple salad to the meal.



As for the shrimp, I totally just used a bag of frozen shrimp from Trader Joe's. I didn't even thaw them, just dumped them frozen in the pan. It's cheating, but seriously who doesn't cheat at cooking?

Look! It looks just like the picture in the magazine!



I also added extra curry just for fun. My apartment smelled like an Indian restaurant for three days. I'm sure my neighbors were thrilled.

But it a really good meal. I will make it again, only toss in a few other veggies. And there was plenty left over, so Mr. Snowgoose had Fake Out Take Out for lunch. I'll be his coworkers were jealous.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Zucchini Bread, Plain and Simple

Sunshine has all these variations on zucchini bread, and I got curious enough to make my own. Also, this version has a ton of actual zucchini in it, so you can feel slightly virtuous when eating it - despite the oil and sugar. This counts as one of your 5-a-days, right?

prep time: 20 minutes
cook time: 1 hour
makes 2 large loaves, 6 mini loaves

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
1 1/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups grated zucchini (green)
1 cup chopped walnuts

Ingredient Notes:
The original recipe called for all white sugar, but after reading some of the reviews, I opted to use half brown, half white.
I am a big fan of cinnamon, so I used heaping teaspoons of the spice.
You can use 1/2 cup of oil and 1/2 cup of unsweetened applesauce to cut the fat content.
I left out the nuts so that my toddler could eat it.

Grease and flour two 8 x 4 inch pans. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).
Sift flour, salt, baking powder, soda, and cinnamon together in a bowl.
Beat eggs, oil, vanilla, and sugar together in a large bowl. Add sifted ingredients to the creamed mixture, and beat well. Stir in zucchini and nuts until well combined. Pour batter into prepared pans.
Bake for 40 to 60 minutes, or until tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan on rack for 20 minutes. Remove bread from pan, and completely cool.

Baking notes:
Use Pam with flour - so easy!
I think I slightly over-cooked mine, so they were not quite as moist as promised, but next time I will just take them out of the oven sooner.
Still delicious though - I will definitely make this again.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Really Simple: Garlicky Broiled Salmon and Tomatoes

From the September 2008 Real Simple Magazine.

For my new Father-In-Law's birthday, I wanted to make something that was easy yet tasted like I had spent most of the day in the kitchen (which was true about the dessert: chocolate zucchini cupcakes).

I chose the Garlicky Broiled Salmon and Tomatoes because Real Simple claimed it would take 15 minutes from start to finish and because it looked good. Since there was only three of us, I modified the recipe and only bought 1.15 pounds of fresh salmon from the market.

Ingredients:

3 6-ounce pieces skinless salmon fillet
4 medium tomatoes, cut in half
1/2 teaspoon paprika, preferably hot
2 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt and pepper
8 sprigs fresh thyme
4 cloves garlic, sliced

Heat broiler. Place the salmon and tomatoes, cut-side up, in a broiler proof roasting pan or on a rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle the salmon with the paprika.

Drizzle the salmon and tomatoes with the oil and season with 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Scatter the thyme and garlic over the top.

Broil until the salmon is opaque throughout and the tomatoes are tender, 8 to 10 minutes.

Yield: Makes 3 servings



Since I packed up all the ingredients and brought them to Mr. Snowgoose's dad's house, I forgot the garlic. Since he didn't have any, I added a garlic rub and garlic pepper but it wasn't as garlicky as I'd have liked.

Since I added the easy edamame salad and booked some instant brown rice (I love boil in a bag rice!), the total time was more like 20-25 minutes.

This was the end result:




Next time I'll add more paprika and garlic to the tomatoes.

Chocolate Zucchini Cupcakes

This is a similar recipe to my famous blueberry-zucchini bread. Sharona made a chocolate zucchini cake and bragged about how good it was, so I had to check it out for myself. It's from the Bon Appetit Cookbook (2006).

Since I don't have cake pans (yet), I opted to make cupcakes so that I could share some with Mr. Snowgoose's dad (for hos birthday) and send Mr. Snowgoose into work with some.

The recipe claims to make 12 servings, but it made 24 cupcakes.

Ingredients:

2 1/4 cups sifted all purpose flour (sifted, then measured) (note: I did not sift. I do not own one of those sifter things).
1/2 cup unsweetened coca powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups sugar (I used Splenda for Baking)
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup buttermilk (I used soymilk. When Sharona made it she used a combination of milk and yogurt.)
2 cups grated, unpeeled zucchini (about 2 1/2 medium)
1 6 oz package semi sweet chocolate chips (about 1 cup)
3/4 cup chopped walnuts (I used 1/2 cup)

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
2. Line and grease two 12-cup cupcake tins with cupcake wrappers.



3. Sift flour, cocoa powder, biking soda, and salt into medium bowl.
4. Beat sugar, butter, and oil in a large bowl until well blended.
5. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.
6. Beat in vanilla.
7. Mix in flour mixture alternately with buttermilk in 3 additions each.
8. Mix in grated zucchini.



9. Mix in chocolate chips and nuts.



10. Bake cake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 30 minutes, Cool cake completely.



These turned out pretty awesome, if I do say so myself. We wound up serving them with ice cream.

Easy Edamame Salad (as seen at Whole Foods)

I found this recipe at Whole Foods. The description was kind of funny: "Edamame are protein rich and kids love them. This salad is good enough to make them eat their vegetables. It holds up well in the lunch box and comes together quickly. Let the kids help with the grating."

Serves 4

Ingredients:
one- 16 oz bag of shelled edamame
3 carrots, peeled and grated (using the large holes of a box grater)
1 zucchini, peeled and grated (using the large holes of a box grater)
8 radishes, quartered

Toss together all the above ingredients with your favorite bottled sesame dressing.

Note: I forgot the zucchini.



I used it as a side in the birthday dinner I made for my new Father-In-Law. His verdict was "While I wouldn't ask you to make the salad again, I would eat it again if you made it and laced it in front of me."

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Fake out Take out: Chinese Chicken and Rice with Veggies

It's no secret that I don't really like Chinese food. It makes me feel gross and I'm hungry like 15 minutes after eating it.

But I do like brown rice and chicken and veggies.

A few weeks ago, while shopping at my neighborhood Trader Joe's when I discovered Soyaki Sauce.



Since Mr. Snowgoose likes Chinese food (and pretty much everything) I decided to make my own version of Chinese take out.

It's relatively simple and quite filling.

Ingredients:
3 or 4 tablespoons Soyaki Sauce
garlic cloves, crushed (as much or as little as you like)
frozen peas
three or four small chicken breasts
frozen edamame, unshelled
2 cups instant brown rice cooked
frozen broccoli
2 tablespoons olive oil

Directions:

1. Cook brown rice as directed
2. In a skillet saute chicken in garlic, olive oil, and soyaki sauce
3. When chicken is nearly cooked, toss in frozen veggies and saute with additional sauce.
4. Mix everything in a big bowl.
5. Serve.






If you're a vegetarian, this is relatively easy to modify. Switch out the chicken for tofu or just add more veggies.

Fast French Toast (with apples)

For our first breakfast/ brunch as a newlywed couple, I decided to make Mr. Snowgoose and I French Toast. It also helped that in the freezer I had some stale french bread, and exactly two eggs left over from the zucchini bread and an apple that was about to go bad.

From the Better Homes and Garden Cookbook (page 125)

Ingredients:

2 beaten eggs
1/2 cup milk (we used soy)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
5 1-inch thick slices of French bread or 6 slices of normal bread
1 tablespoon margarine, butter, or cooking oil
maple-flavored syrup
1 apple. sliced and de-cored.

Directions:

In a shallow bowl beat together eggs, milk, vanilla, and cinnamon. Dip bread into egg mixture, coating both sides.

In skillet or a griddle cook bread in hot butter (or cooking spray like we did) over medium high heat for 2-3 minutes on each side or until golden brown.

Serve warm with syrup. Makes 5 or 6 slices.

Since I had left over egg mixture I dipped my apple slices in it and let them soak it up. then I threw them in the skillet after the French Toast was done. Then I tossed everything together.

Without syrup:


With syrup:



Serve with your favorite coffee and yogurt. I think if I'd had soem bacon it would have made it even better.

what to do with an overflowing garden

Look, I'm back! Woo hoo. Anyway.... our little community garden plot has been producing loads of stuff. We're overloaded with tomatoes and jalapenos in particular. You start getting that vegetable guilt, you know, when you look at the windowsill and twenty tomatoes are there staring at you petulantly, developing black spots, because you just ate twenty yesterday and just picked a hundred from the garden today and frankly it's a little overwhelming. (And no, I don't can; the initial buying output is too much for me.)

So I roast! Load many many tomatoes in a baking dish (all kinds of tomatoes, cut into wedges, and you can use cherries as well). Slick with good olive oil. Also salt and pepper. I use my hands to stir, it's easier, although then it's helpful if someone's around to turn the faucet on for you. Throw in the oven for 20 minutes or so at 425. Serve plain as a side dish, or on pasta, or on bread as bruschetta. Consider also whirring in a blender and turning into soup.

As for the jalapenos: if you know people who love them some heat, try jalapeno salsa. Chop coarsely as many jalapenos as you want, including seeds and pith in maybe half. (Although you could go nuts and throw all the seeds in, who am I to judge.) Put them in a food processor (or the chopper thingie of your immersion blender) with a tomato or two (deseeded), salt, pepper, lemon juice, olive oil. And whir! This went over very well at a recent burrito party. It's lovely and green with little red flecks, and makes a nice counterpoint to your standard homemade pico de gallo (also a nice use of tomatoes).

That's it from this urban farmer! If you're in my neighborhood, come on by and visit. We've planted about thirty turnip plants for the fall. Anyone know any good turnip recipes??

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Smoked Gouda Pasta Salad

contributed by stillme, with help from loutre and Mimi.
This is a dish we found in a Southern Living magazine (which was available because Loutre is from Louisiana) and modified to our own tastes. The result was significantly fresher, lighter and healthier than the original. It's very nice for a hot day, and makes great left-overs.

makes 6 servings
prep: 20 minutes
cook: 12 minutes; chill 1 hour

1 can marinated artichoke hearts in brine
1 8oz package rotini pasta, cooked
1 red bell pepper, cut into strips
1/2 lb smoked gouda, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1/2 5oz bag baby spinach leaves (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 4.5oz can chopped green chiles, drained
1/2 cup spicy brown mustard
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 t pepper
garnishes: tomato wedges, baby spinach leaves

Drain artichokes, reserving liquid. Cut artichokes into strips and place in a large bowl.
Add pasta and next 4 ingredients, and gently toss.
Stir together reserved artichoke liquid, mustard and next 4 ingredients until blended. Add to pasta mix, stirring to combine.
Cover and chill.
Garnish if desired.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Real Simple: Golden Gazpacho with Feta Cheese

Mr. Snowgoose and I were making dinner for his dad last Sunday and since it was super hot (in Seattle standards) I thought gazpacho and a salad seemed like a good idea. Plus we were headed to the farmer's market and we could pick up pretty much everything we needed except for the yellow pepper and feta cheese.

Has anyone else noticed how expensive tomatoes are? We were buying local and they were still $4 a pound. The recipe called for 3 pounds of yellow tomatoes but since there was only three of us eating soup I got away with buying 2 1/4 pounds (six tomatoes total).

This also came from Real Simple Magazine, the August 2008 issue.

It wasn't like the traditional gazpacho recipes of my past that were spicy. It was kind of sweet and obviously really simple.


Golden Gazpacho with Feta
Real Simple

Ingredients:
3 pounds yellow tomatoes (about 6), cut into large pieces

1 yellow bell pepper, cut into large pieces
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
Kosher salt and pepper
4 ounces Feta, crumbled (1 cup)
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, torn
1/4 cup pine nuts
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 pound thinly sliced prosciutto and/or salami (optional)
8 bread sticks (optional)

Working in batches, puree the tomatoes and bell pepper in a food processor and transfer to a large bowl.

Stir in the vinegar and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. Divide among serving bowls and top with the Feta, basil, pine nuts, oil, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Serve with the prosciutto, salami, and bread sticks, if desired.

Yield: Makes 4 servings

NUTRITION PER SERVING
CALORIES 255(69% from fat); FAT 20g (sat 6g); CHOLESTEROL 25mg; CARBOHYDRATE 15g; SODIUM 1116mg; PROTEIN 9g; FIBER 3g; SUGAR 2g

Notes: I lost the grocery list and recipe somewhere between the farmer's market and grocery store so I forgot the pine nuts. They weren't missed at all. Mr. Snowgoose's dad wound up reheating some leftover flank steak and we had a large cheese and salami plate beforehand so we would up not eating much of the garden salad or any of the bread.

Repeat: Zucchini-Blueberry Bread

Remember this?

Since I picked up yellow zucchini and a flat of blueberries for wicked cheap at the Farmer's Market last weekend I decided to finally break out the Kitchen Aid mixer and stoneware loaf pans and bake some bread. Well that and it was really gloomy out and I wanted the apartment to smell liked baked goodness when Mr. Snowgoose came home.

Here's a recap of the recipe:

Ingredients:

2 eggs, lightly beaten or equivalent egg replacer
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 cup shredded zucchini (I peeled mine first) I used 3 small yellow ones.
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp baking soda
1/2 tbsp ground cinnamon
1/2 pint fresh blueberries (or about 1 1/2 cups frozen)

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease two mini loaf pans.
2. In a large bowl, beat together eggs, oil, vanilla, and sugar. Fold in the zucchini. Beat in the flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and cinnamon. Gently fold in the blueberries. Transfer into mini loaf pans.
3. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 50 minutes (slightly longer if you double the recipe like I did). Let cool for 20 minutes before transferring to a wire rack.


Notes: I had no idea how heavy the mixer would be! But it was a life changing experience using it. How did I exist before without it?

Just as I was getting ready to bake at 5 o'clock I discovered we did not own any vegetable oil so I had to pop out to the closest grocery store (6 blocks) in the rain. I suppose I'll get used to it.

But the bread turned out pretty good. The yellow zucchini worked just as well as green zucchini. In fact a whole mini loaf was devoured by me within 12 hours.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Real Simple: Pasta wuth Yellow Zucchini and Goat Cheese

I'm back in the kitchen after a brief hiatus in which I packed up all my stuff (including kitchen supplies) and drove cross country with my friend and occasional guest blogger, Hungry Cougar.

Since I don't have a job (yet), I've been cooking more. Mr. Snowgoose has been reaping the benefits of my unemployment.

We have an awesome farmer's market in our neighborhood that we've been frequenting every Sunday.

I found yellow zucchini! (photo to come) It's not squash. It's really zucchini that is yellow.

Since I had fresh zucchini and goat cheese in the fridge, I opted to surprise Mr. Snowgoose with this pasta dish from the June 2008 Real Simple Magazine:

Ingredients:
12 ounces (3/4 of the box) linguine
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound zucchini, sliced into thin half-moons
Kosher salt and pepper
1 clove garlic, chopped
5 ounces fresh goat cheese, crumbled
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest

Directions:
Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Reserve 1 cup of the cooking water, drain the pasta, and return it to the pot.

Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add the zucchini, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and cook, stirring, until the zucchini is tender and any liquid has evaporated, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook 1 minute more.Add all but 2 tablespoons of the cheese to the pasta. Add the reserved pasta water, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Stir until creamy.

Serve the pasta topped with the zucchini, lemon zest, and the remaining cheese.

Tip: Fresh goat cheese is creamy and soft, which makes it ideal for incorporating into pasta dishes. Buy a log and crumble your own; the precrumbled bits sold in stores often don't melt as well, and they can be more expensive.

Yield: Makes 4 servings

NUTRITION PER SERVING
CALORIES 455(24% from fat); FAT 12g (sat 6g); CHOLESTEROL 16mg; CARBOHYDRATE 68g; SODIUM 746mg; PROTEIN 20g; FIBER 4g; SUGAR 6g

They weren't lying, this recipe is really simple.

I made a few changes though: I used a whole package of this whole wheat colored pasta we got from someone as an early wedding present. I only had 4 ounces of goat cheese and I left out the lemon zest, so the end result was a little less creamy. And I probably only used half a pound of zucchini since it is not Mr. Snowgoose's favorite vegetable.


Served with salad and slightly stale french bread.



And we had plenty left over so Mr. Snowgoose had two more lunches worth of pasta and goat cheese.

The end result:

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

On Hiatus

Since I'm in the process of moving to Seattle, I won't be posting anything until mid August.

Coming attractions include: mussles, "Danielle" spaghetti, and more!

In the meantime, enjoy the summer and all the awesome produce.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Cut Cookies

These are a family favorite that recently went public at a friend's baby shower. They take a lot of work to make them look pretty, but you can ice them in solid colors to simplify things. After all, patterns don't change the taste.


Cookies:
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
flour for rolling out dough



Cream the butter and sugar. Add the egg.
In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg.
Note - I love the taste of cinnamon and nutmeg, so I always put in slightly heaping teaspons of the spices.
Slowly add the dry mix to wet ingredients.
Wrap dough in waxed paper and freeze for 3-4 hours, or overnight.
Dough can be frozen for up to 6 months.

Let dough thaw slightly.
Sprinkle work surface and rolling pin with flour.
Roll out dough fairly thin for crispy cookies or thicker for chewy cookies. Cut into shapes with cookie cutters.
Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes.
Note - We like them less done, so I cook them for 7-8 minutes.
Transfer to cooling racks. When cookies are cool, decorate with icing.
Depending on the size of the cookies, makes 3-4 dozen.



Icing
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup Crisco
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
about 5 cups confectioner's sugar (powdered sugar)
2-4 tbsp milk
gel food coloring (optional)



Beat together butter and Crisco. Add vanilla.
Alternate adding sugar and milk until desired consistency is reached. If you are planning to pipe the icing, thicker and stiffer consistency is better.
If tinting icing, separate into bowls and add food coloring. Spoon icing into pastry bags and pipe onto cookies.



Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Three Bean and Goat Cheese Salad


It's summertime and that means one thing: salads.

I went through this faze last summer where I ate only lettuce-free salads. I have nothing against lettuce except that everytime I make a salad using it, my salad somehow winds up slimey and gross. This could be because I'm lazy and my bag o'salad (as my family calls it) and I usually bring said salads to work for lunch. This means that the salad has sat in it's fake tupperware for hours soaking up olive oil and vinegar dressing.

But I digress.

Lately for lunch, Hungry Cougar and I have been hitting up the local Au Bon Pain for their ginormous salad bar. The other week I noticed they had three bean salad out.

I love, love, love three bean salad.

I know what you're thinking:

three bean salad? That's the food of choice for potlucks and picnics. My grandmother makes that.

This isn't your grandmaother's three bean salad, I promise you.

The secret ingiedient (which isn't a secret because it's in the title of the post) is goat cheese. A few weekends ago I visited Mr. and Mrs. Butter in Indianapolis and had the most wonderful local goat cheese from their local farmer's market. The minute I got home I went to my local farmer's market and picked what I can only describe as goat cheese heaven.

It was goat cheese with olive oil and garlic. It was divine.

I hadn't intended originally to put the cheese in the salad but I threw it in at the last minute and it seriously brought the whole meal together.

Three Bean and Goat Cheese Salad (a Wicked Good Cook Original)

Ingredients:

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
6 scallions, chopped
1 cup green, red, and orange bell peppers,diced
1/2 cup cucumber diced into 1/2 inch cubes
1 cup mixed olives
1 cup pepperchinis (optional)
3-4 oz goat cheese
3 tbsp italian dressing

Directions:
Mix all ingriedients in a large bowl

Chill for 30 minutes.

Enjoy!

The best part about this recipe is that you could literally throw anything into the mix: feta cheese, tomatoes, red onions, celery, carrots, ect. After all it is a salad.

You could serve it as a side dish, or on top of lettuce, or even eat it as a meal. Just remember, there are a lot of beans. Eat at your own risk.

It's a totally veggie friendly meal. Make it vegan by taking out the goat cheese.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Tale of two (mini) Cheesecakes

I recently had a request from a friend in Belgium for a cheesecake recipe. Apparently the cheesecakes over there aren't so hot.

Since cheesecake isn't an everyday treat in my world (if it was I probably wouldn't fit into my jeans), I've been waiting for the perfect occasion to make it.

Sadly, there have been no birthdays or promotions that call for celebratory cakes. Last night my friend Steve came over for tacos. He also just so happened to have hit his 10-year anniversary at his job. It was time for cheesecake.

My problem with cheesecake is that there's so much of it. I knew I didn't want to make a whole cake (otherwise I'd be eating it for breakfast), but I'd never made a small cheesecake before. I searched for some "mini" cheesecake recipes. Basically I wanted something that could be done in my muffin/cupcake tin. I didn't want to make a zillion mini cheesecakes. Fortunately allrecipes.com allows you to manipulate the number of servings and sizes the recipe accordingly.

Earlier this week I printed out a copy of the recipe, made my grocery list, and promptly lost the recipe. I printed another recipe out, one that I thought was the right one.

This was what I had intended to make:

Mini Cheesecake 1.0

Ingredients:
1/3 cup graham cracker crumbs
1 tablespoon white sugar
1 tablespoon melted margerine
1 8 ounce package of cream cheese (softened to room temperature)
1/4 cup white sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees (165 degrees C) . Grease a 6 cup muffin pan.
2. In a medium bowl, mix together the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and margarine with a fork until combined. Measure a rounded tablespoon of the mixture into the bottom of each muffin cup, presing firmly. Bake in the preheated oven for 5 minutes, then remove to cool. Keep the oven on.
3. Beat together the cream cheese mixture into the muffin cups, filling each 3/4 full. Bake at 325 degrees for 25 minutes. Cool completely in pain before removing. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Makes 6 servings

The one I actually made
Mini Cheesecake 2.0

Ingredients:
1/2 (8 ounce) package vanilla wafers (I just used graham crackers)
1 8 ounce package of cream cheese
6 tablespoons white sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees (175 degrees C). Line muffin tins with paper liners
2. Crush the wafers or graham crackers and place 1 teaspoon into each paper cup.
3. In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar, eggs, and vanilla until light and fluffy. Fill each muffin liner with this mixture, almost to the top.
4. Bake for 15 minutes. Cool.

Cook's notes:
As you can see, they aren't that different. Mini Cheesecake 2.0 actually called for the use of "mini" muffin tins and "mini" paper liners. Since I only have "normal" sized tins, I modified the recipe so that it would make 6 servings. The changes are reflected in the indredients list above.

I really liked using muffin liners. It made the cheesecakes easy to pop out of the tin. I can't imagine how it would have been without them.

The only problem was that the cheesecake sometimes stuck to the paper as you unpeeled it. But it was really good and the perfect portion size.

You could likely top the cheesecakes with pie filling or jam or fresh berries or even some chocolate. These really are the perfect size. And they're pretty easy to make.

Steve even took the leftovers home with him.

There are no photos because I bought a new camera and haven't figured out to use it yet. But I do plan on making them again, probably for my annual 4th of July Party, so I'll post photos then.

Happy Baking!

Monday, April 28, 2008

Pre race Fuel: No Boil Baked Ziti

The night before the marathon I wanted a good, homecooked meal. And by homecooked I mean one I didn't have to make.

My mom and Mr. Snowgoose were in town for the big race, so my mom made dinner. While Mr. Snowgoose and I saw a movie, my mom made baked ziti.

I borrowed this recipe from the internet. I think it's a Ragu recipe.

Ingridients:
1 (26 oz.) jar Ragu Pasta Sauce
1 1/2 cups water
1 (15 oz container ricotta cheese (we used whipped cottage cheese)
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
8 ounces uncooked ziti pasta

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees

2. Combine sauce and water. Stir in cottage cheese, 1 cup mozzarella and Parmesan, then uncooked ziti. Spoon ziti mixture into a 13 x9 baking dish. Cover with foil.

3. Bake 55 minutes

4. Remove foil and sprinkle with remaining mozzarella. Bake uncovered for 5 more minutes.

Serves 8.

I know what you're thinking- only 8 ounces of pasta? Seriously?! But it was enough. We used whole wheat pasta and I don't think my guests noticed the differance.

Serve with a salad and french bread.

Sorry no photos! Next time I make it I'll take some.

This is by far one of the easiest recipes to make. And it's super yummy!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

From the Freezer: Quick Scallops and Asparagus Risotto

This is another from the freezer meals. I found the recipe at Whole Foods in their Meals for 4 under $20 pamphlet.

I had been wanting to make risotto (from scratch) for ages. I invited my friend Steve over for dinner promising scallops and risotto (two of my favorite foods to eat out). The day he was supposed to come over for dinner and a scrabble rematch, I went for an epic training run. I came home tired and sore and I had no desire to slave in the kitchen, but I didn't want to cop out and order a pizza.

This recipe was really simple yet tasted like a million bucks. I was tempted to lie and say the risotto was from scratch, but instead I told the truth.

Ingridients:
1 6 oz box Tomato and Basil Risotto
1 TB Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 10.6 oz package of scallops
1 small bunch of fresh asparagus cut into 1" pieces (note: I cheated and bought frozen aspagus which was already pre cut into 1" pieces)

Directions:
1. Prepare risotto using olive oil according to the package, adding asparagus and all but 12-16 of the scallops to the simmering rice after 5 minutes.

2. Continue cooking, stirring a few times while simmering.

3. When the risotto is almost finished, saute the reserved scallops according to package directions.

4. Top each serving of risotto with a few sauted scallops.

Cook's notes:
1. I sauted all of the scallops in olive oil and garlic before adding to the risotto.
2. I also sauted spinach in olive oil and garlic and served it alongside the risotto (in addition to frozen french rolls which I heated up).
3. From start to finish the meal took less than 30 minutes.

It was super good and the perfect recovery meal post run (lots of protien and carbs). I will definately make it again since it was so easy and fairly cheap. And Steve loved it.

Sorry no photos. Maybe next time!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Ricotta Pancakes

A short story about ricotta pancakes.

When Mr. Snowgoose and I began our courtship in 2004 he wooed me with ricotta pancakes. I wasn't the biggest breakfast fan then (and living in a dorm) but often on weekends when I would be hanging out at Mr. Snowgoose's apartment (with a big kitchen!) having epic Scrabble tournaments, he'd make me ricotta pancakes. I'll tell you a secret: there's nothing I love more than a man in the kitchen. The way to my heart is seriously through my stomach.

So it's appropriate that the morning after Mr. Snowgoose and I got engaged in Seattle, we walked to the market and bought supplies to make celebratory ricotta pancakes.

The recipe comes from the Food Network website and actually calls for homemade Banana-Pecan Syrup, but Mr. Snowgoose and I opted to just use regular sugar free syrup and instead we added frozen blueberries to the batter just for kicks.

Ingredients:

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs, separated
2 cups milk
4 ounces ricotta, well drained (1/2 cup)
Butter or vegetable oil

For the Ricotta Pancakes:

Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, and salt together onto waxed paper or a plate.

Beat the egg whites in a medium bowl with an electric mixer or whisk until stiff but not dry.



Beat the egg yolks, milk, and ricotta together in a large bowl until well blended and smooth.

Add the dry ingredients and mix gently with a large spoon. Stir a spoonful of the egg whites into the batter to lighten it, then fold in the remaining egg whites with a rubber spatula.

Warm a serving platter in a 200 degree F oven.

Heat a nonstick flat griddle or large nonstick skillet over medium high heat until hot.

Grease with butter or vegetable oil.

Pour 1/4 to 1/3 cup batter per pancake onto the pan and cook for about 2 minutes, or until bubbles form on the surface, then flip the pancakes over using a large wide spatula. Cook on the other side for 2 minutes, or until golden brown.


Transfer the pancakes to the warm platter.

Serve immediately or hold in the oven while you cook the rest of the pancakes. Serve the pancakes on heated plates topped with the syrup.



They turned out pretty good. I won't lie, they do take some time to make (a bit longer than regular pancakes, but they're worth it because they are so light and fluffy they practically melt in your mouth. It's a perfect addition to Sunday brunch (along with the NYT!)

We did have some help in the kitchen: Elsa the kitten.

Monday, March 31, 2008

From the Freezer: Ravioli and Edamame in Parmesan Sauce

I know it's been awhile since I posted, but March has been a crazy month: a trip to Seattle, an engagement, a trip to London, and Marathon training. I've had to rely heavily on my freezer for meals. Under normal circumstances my freezer houses a bad of frizen peas (for injuries. it's better than a bag of ice), some hard liqour for parties, and coffee. This month my freezer has been home to girl scout cookies, frozen berries, edamame, scallops, ravioli, and lots of frozen veggies. Since I've been traveling so much it's been easier to just pop frozen green beans into my pot of ziti or zap frozen corn for my bean burritos rather than having to deal with fresh produce gone bad because I was away for a long weekend.

I found the following recipe for Ravioli and Edamame in Parmesan Sauce in the March 2008 issue of Heath Magazine. It was ridiculously easy and good and the perfect post-run meal.

Ravioli and Edamame in Parmasian Sauce

Prep: 3 minutes; Cook: 7 minutes.

Ingredients
1 (9-ounce) package whole-wheat cheese ravioli (such as Buitoni brand)
3/4 pound frozen shelled edamame
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1/2 cup reduced-fat sour cream
1/2 cup preshredded fresh Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


Preparation
1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. While the water is heating, measure remaining ingredients.




2. Add the ravioli to the boiling water and cook for 5 minutes. Add the soybeans and cook an additional 1–2 minutes or until tender.

Drain the ravioli and soybeans, reserving 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid.

3. Return ravioli to the pot and stir in thyme. Whisk together sour cream, Parmesan, salt, pepper, and reserved cooking liquid. Toss the pasta mixture with the sour cream mixture, divide among 4 bowls, and serve immediately.



Yield
Makes 4 servings (serving size: about 2 ounces pasta and 3 tablespoons edamame)

Nutritional Information
CALORIES 394; FAT 16g (sat 7g,mono 2g,poly 0.0g); PROTEIN 23g; CHOLESTEROL 62mg; CALCIUM 304mg; SODIUM 634mg; FIBER 8g; IRON 3mg; CARBOHYDRATE 37g


Cook's notes:

1. The only whole wheat ravioli I found was spinach and cheese, so I used that.
2. Instead of sour cream I used a half cup of my favorite whipped cottage cheese. It was only a modeate success. I would recommend that everyone stick to sour cream, unless of course they want the extra protien.
3. I did not have fresh thyme. I used a pinch of dried. You could even leave it out.
4. It tasted better the second day. I even liked it cold.