Sunday, January 25, 2009


I tried making pretzels for the first time in awhile last night. They came out pretty good, except that they used a lot of flour (5 cups!) and not enough anything else. I followed this recipe, and was pretty pleased except that the high flour content made them tricky.
The recipe I will be following next time is the Joy of Cooking Recipe, even though it calls for bread flour, which I don't buy because I usually have two kinds of flour already. You can find substitutions, or maybe you buy bread flour.
1/2 cup warm water
1 package active dry yeast (if you buy 2lb bags of yeast at costco, about 1 tbsp is enough)
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups bread flour
2 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup warm water
1. Start by mixing the 1/2 cup water and yeast. Let stand 5 minutes.
2. Add flours, butter, sugar, and salt.
3. Mix by hand or on low speed while slowly pouring in 1/2 cup warm water.
4. Knead for 10 minutes by hand or with dough hook on low speed until smooth and elastic.
5. Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl and turn it once to coat with oil.
6. Let rise for an hour to an hour and a half. Then punch down dough and divide into twelve equally sized balls. Let rest for 10 minutes.
7. Grease 2 baking pans.
8. Roll dough into an 18 inch long rope and shape into a pretzel.
9. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Boil 8 cups of water and 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon baking soda.
10. Reduce heat to maintain a simmer - using a slotted spoon, gently slide several pretzels at a time into the water. Simmer for 30 seconds, then flip them over and continue to simmer until puffed, about 30 seconds longer. Return to baking sheets and sprinkle with coarse salt.
11. Bake until deep golden brown, until 15 minutes.

Thursday, January 22, 2009


Today is blog for choice day. Choice means a lot of things to a lot of people. To me it means having the power to make choices about everything that affects me, and leaving other people to their own choices. Other people disagree, and I respect their choice to disagree.
Today I choose cheesecake. This recipe is straight from, but it looked pretty good and I think I'll try it this weekend - it uses low fat cream cheese and fat free condensed milk.
  • 1 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3 (8 ounce) packages low fat cream cheese (NOT tub cream cheese)
  • 2 tablespoons Pillsbury BEST® All Purpose Flour
  • 1 (14 ounce) can EAGLE BRAND® Fat Free Sweetened Condensed Milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
  • 2 teaspoons grated orange peel
  • 3/4 cup egg substitute product, fat free, cholesterol free
  • 9 inch springform
  • Mixing bowl
  • Mixer
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Spray bottom of 9-inch springform pan with non-stick cooking spray. Combine graham cracker crumbs and sugar; sprinkle evenly on bottom of pan.
  2. In large bowl, beat cream cheese until fluffy. Slowly add flour; mix well. On low speed, add sweetened condensed milk. Mix until smooth. Add vanilla, lemon and orange peel and egg substitute product; mix just until blended. Pour filling into pan.
  3. Bake 40 to 45 minutes or until center is set. Cool 10 minutes; with thin knife, carefully loosen cheesecake from side of pan. Cool. Chill.

Dump Cake

So apparently I've never posted the recipe for Dump Cake. I am hosting some friends for a birthday festivity on Saturday, and since I'm a busy bee, I was concerned I would not have time to make a cake. Plus, dump cake is fantastic, everyone loves it, and apparently I can make it in my slow cooker. And if I put it in the slow cooker, it will be warm and delicious when we do eat it.
Dump cake is so called because you dump the ingredients into the pan.
  • 1 can crushed pineapple
  • 1 can/bottle maraschino or other cherries (supposedly cherry pie filling works too)
  • 1 box yellow cake mix
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
  • Spray
  • Slow cooker or 9x13 pan.
  • Pyrex measuring cup
  1. Spray inside of slow cooker or pan
  2. Dump in pineapple and cherries (distribute evenly, do not mix).
  3. Dump box of cake mix on top (maybe for slow cooker)
  4. Melt butter in microwave
  5. Pour butter on top
  6. Cook in slow cooker for 3-6 hours or until delicious; cook in 350 oven for 20-30 minutes or until delicious.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Food as Culture

Okay, so I firmly believe in food. I wouldn't have started my own cooking blog if I didn't. I wouldn't have eaten a full serving of mint M&M's (easily one of the best things about Christmas) since I got home if I didn't love food. Okay, so I'm also a nervous stress eater. And I eat to make myself feel better. This is how I gained weight. But my weight gain is neither here nor there. The bottom line is, I love food. Awhile ago, I contemplated what it means to be friends with somebody, and what you look for in a friend. I genuinely believe that finding friends is similar to dating. Some people are your type, some people are not. It's okay if they aren't. Anyway, one of the things I look for in a friend is a similar love of food. I enjoy eating food, cooking food, and talking about food. I love trading recipes with people. I love going out to new restaurants or trying old favorites. I love having potlucks, going to potlucks, and hosting fun, funky themed food parties. (The breakfast-for-dinner-party? Going to become annual.)
Mr. Redline is a friend of mine from the neighboring state of PA, but honestly, he is one of the truest Washingtonians I have ever met. Sorry man, you are one of us. Anyway, he's going back to Pittsburgh this weekend and wrote a post about things that everybody should know about Pittsburgh. Of course, it is about food.
I'm pretty sure though, every great city can be defined by its food. So what is your favorite place to visit, and what are the culinary reasons why?
I dream of going back to Italy and paying 19 cents for a box of pasta, 50 cents for a thing of pesto, and mixing the whole thing up back in the apartment; I think about getting a pizza-by-the-pound at the corner market; I miss those mozzerella, tomato, and basil sandwiches at the cafe across the street from the AUR; and man, gelato. Oh man. Gelato is delicious. Okay. I'm now searching for flights to Italy over spring break. Ooooh maybe if I can't find a job, I can just study abroad this summer. Not having a job just started to look a whole lot brighter.
I dream of going back to England and making macaroni and cheese with fancy English cheddar, stopping on the street to buy a cornish pasty, buying a sandwich at the market outside of Southwark, pasta with a feta cheese alfredo sauce (technically Scotland); and oh man...scooooones. Tea and scones. Crumpets are pretty good too.
Boston had great breweries - and I am a vegetarian who looooooves pub food (and hates beer). Plus there was this crazy little taco place that was dirt cheap and fantastic.
Baltimore. Crab on everything. And sweet pototo fries. Duclaw and Mad River have the best crab pretzels in town. Plus, The Brewer's Art.
I'm not even gonna start on Bethesda, as it is derived from the latin meaning "great restaurants" but the original Cal-Tor is there, and the Pines of Rio Grande, if you like your mexican food meaty. Tara Thai, which is a (I think) local chain; Giffords for ice cream. And just...those places on Cordell which "looked good" and you would go into.
What food defines your favorite cities/countries?

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Feb 09 Fitness Recipes

So here are some good looking recipes from fitness I wanted to jot down before I lose/spill something on the magazine. I'm gonna skip the usual formatting here.
Goat Cheese, Caramelized Onion, and Spinach Quesadilla
1 tbsp olive oil
2 cups thinly sliced onions
1 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
9 oz baby spinach
4 ounces semisoft goat cheese
4 8-inch while wheat flour tortillas
2 medium tomatoes, thinly sliced.

Heat oil, add onion, sugar and salt; cook until onion is dark golden brown. Remove from pan. Add spinach and 1 tbsp water to pan, wilt spinach. Spread a quarter of the goat cheese on each tortilla and top with tomato, onion, and spach, fold closed and press lightly. Heat the skillet and place two folded quesadillas in it; cook two minutes per side.

Pasta e Fagioli
1 tbsp olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp dried rosemary, crushed
2 carrots, chopped
4 cups low sodium veggie broth
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes with italian seasonings
1.5 cups small bow tie pasta
2 15oz cans white cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup grated parmesean cheese

Heat the oil in a large pot. Add onion, garlic, rosemary, and carrots; cook 5 min. Add the broth and tomatoes; bring to a boil. stir in the pasta and cook 8 minutes. Add the beans, cook 2 minutes. Top with cheese.

Curried Lentils and Rice
1 cup jasmine rice
1 tbsp canola oil
1 tbsp curry powder
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped celery
4 cups water
1 cup brown lentils
1 tsp honey
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup reduced-fat sour cream

Cook rice according to package directions. Heat the oil and curry powder together in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and celery, cook 5 mnutes; stirring occasionally until vegetables are soft. Add the water and lentils and bring to a boil; reduce heat. Cover and simmer 22 minutes, until lentils are soft. Remove from heat, stir in the honey, vengar, salt, and sour cream.
Ladle over bowls of rice. Top with cilantro if using.

More later, as long as I don't destroy the magazine.

Sweet Potato Casserole

This is one of my new favorite slow-cooker recipes. It will be great for a thanksgiving or christmas dish.
  • 2 cans sweet potatoes, drained and mashed (or two sweet potatoes, cooked and mashed)
  • 1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons margarine or butter, melted
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons brown sugar, divided
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon OJ
  • 1/3 cup chopped pecans
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • Crockpot
  • Hand mixer
  • Large bowl
  1. Lightly grease slow cooker
  2. Mix sweet potatoes, margarine, sugar, brown sugar in a bowl.
  3. Beat in eggs, milk, and OJ.
  4. Transfer to slow cooker.
  5. Mix pecans, 1/3 cup brown sugar, flour, and 2 tbsp margarine.
  6. Cover and cook on high 3-4 hours.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Dinner Party at the Treadhoffigans

We had one of my law school friends and his wife over for dinner tonight. I got to play with some of my new toys - namely my new rolling pin and my Le Crueset baking dish.
I made - breaded and sauted talipia, green beans with garlic and butter, spinach pinwheels, sweet potato casserole, and salad.
Spinach Pinwheels - super easy, super delicious. Buying crescent roll dough in bulk at Costco is a smart move, because you can make so many great appetizers out of it at the last minute which end up being delicious and tasting like they are harder to make than they are.
Ingredients -
1 8 oz package crescent rolls
4 oz cream cheese, softened
fresh or dried herbs (I used fresh thyme and oregano, and powdered garlic)
5 oz (1/2 square package) frozen spinach, thawed & drained

Cookie sheet
cutting board
rolling pin

1. Preheat oven to 400
2. Open crescent dough and break in the middle (there is a perforation there).
3. Roll the dough out into a rectangle (about 8" by 10")
4. Combine cream cheese and herbs, spread on dough.
5. Sprinkle spinach on top of the cream cheese - try to make sure it is even
6. Roll dough widthways into a log. Cut log into 3/4 slices and place them on the cookie sheet.
7. Bake for 12 minutes.

The green beans were pretty easy - just chop up some fresh green beans and put them in a small baking dish with slices of butter on top and some minced garlic - my new le Cruset pan was a great size for this - less awkward than a 9" square baking dish, plus it looked nice on the table. Bake at 350 or 400 until they look done, stirring a couple times through to redistribute the butter and garlic. I cooked them a little too long, but my friends said they were good.

Next up: Sweet Potato Casserole!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009


So I'm a stress eater and a stress exerciser. Usually I just channel my stress into exercise. This past semester though, that was less possible than I would have liked.
I don't diet. I'm not a fan of diets. I try not to eat crap, which went to hell during finals. So naturally, my pants do not fit. Maybe this is because they got washed on hot and went through the dryer. But one can only make excuses for so long. And I really don't want to have to buy new pants.
So how do I go back to eating "right"? And what does eating right even mean?
For me, because I'm a vegetarian, eating right is the right balance of protien/carbs/fats. Lately I've been short on protein. And on fruits and vegetables. The farmers market is now closed for three months; our local Shoppers has crappy produce; and I'm starting to get a bit tired of salmon and shrimp.
(Sidenote: trying to get my eating on track has nothing to do with a new years resolution of any kind. It has to do with wanting to feel comfortable in my own skin, and no longer getting nasty stomachaches from eating too many carbs or too much cheese; it has to do with wanting my skin to feel less dried out and for me to feel less tired all the time.)
So here are the following questions that I have to determine the answers to while I am on a quest for a healthier existance:
1) What fruits and vegetables are currently in season?
2) How do I cook fish that isn't salmon?
3) How do I fancy up frozen fruits and veggies?