Thursday, December 30, 2010

Meat substitutes

We've picked up the Morningstar Farms meat-substitute crumbles a few times now.  They are good and add a depth to chili or meat sauce that is otherwise missing and can't really be met with veggies.  I'm not a huge advocate for using "fake meat" and I have this discussion with friends on a regular basis.  One friend argued that if he was going to make something vegetarian on the grill, he would rather put on portabella mushrooms or something that looks like a vegetable.  The problem with that is that mushrooms have no protein, and veggie burgers do.  I would also say that most veggie burgers taste nothing like meat, and they aren't trying to be something they're not.  There is something to be said for having protein and vegetables in a convenient grillable format - and for vegetarians not feeling left out at the barbecues.  

But with the veggie crumbles and the Chick'n patties that I sometimes like to eat, there is no getting around it - they are fake meat.  They are vegetables in meat clothing.  Actually, I don't know if the veggie crumbles taste anything like meat - I haven't had ground beef in 10 years.  I went vegetarian and it was no great loss because I don't like meat very much, so I don't miss it.  I don't eat crumbles because I miss meat, but because chili with ground meat substitute tastes very different from chili that is made with beans, and it's pretty good.  I like the chik'n patties because they taste different than a standard veggie burger - even if they don't taste much like chicken, they do taste like breaded deliciousness.  Variety is important, and having quick, healthy, easy to make meals is also important.  One of my usual go-tos is tacos, but I suspect that spaghetti with meat sauce and frozen vegetables will also become a go-to.  I also want to try hamburger helper with crumbles, because my college roommates used to make hamburger helper and it looks really good.  In that "a cat just vomited this up" kind of way.  

Any suggestions for things I can do with veggie crumbles?  How do you feel about fake meat?  And are those breakfast sausage patties any good?  I kind of want to try one, but I've never liked sausage.  But it's been 10 years and maybe I should give it a chance?  

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Leftovers

So you say, I had a very merry Christmas.  But I'm sick of holiday foods.  I'm not ready to start dieting just yet, but I want something simple, delicious, and that is going to use up that bag of sweet potatoes I bought at Costco.

Look no further.  These are amazing.  Mr. Barefoot loved them with the blue cheese, I loved them with sharp cheddar cheese.  I highly recommend them as a leftover meal.  Or, if like us, you are doing second Christmas tomorrow, do them for Christmas tomorrow.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Saving

My sister brought us this awhile ago. I mean, two years ago. We thought we would save it and use it for something really special. But recently, I've been helping my hoarder parents clean out their house. And I realized I wanted to use the chocolate, even if it wasn't for something special, for something now, rather than letting it go bad. So, for my husband, I made chocolate dipped shortbread stars.

Then I ate a bunch of them. They were amazing - and I don't like shortbread.



Recipe here - I halved it to get a workable amount of dough, and since it was just the two of us. I was pleased by how easy they were to cookie-cutter - I used tiny stars from the Creative Cutters set and the tiny size is probably key.

I burned one batch. Use an air-bake pan and the oven timer.
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Monday, December 20, 2010

Gingersnaps

My husband and I are thieves.  Sometime in our lives, we stole from a roommate a Betty Crocker cookbook.  I'm pretty sure it was him that did the actual thieving when he moved from one apartment to the other, but because he thought it was mine.  Once upon a time, we didn't live together and I kept a few cookbooks at his place.  (And a toothbrush, but the cookbooks moved in first.)  It was actually this relationship dynamic that led to this blog (since I never knew where my recipes were).  Anyway, we stole the cookbook.

I've made a few things from it - lemon bars, and pineapple upside down cake.  Both are really good, really easy, really solid recipes.  I suppose there is a reason this cookbook is on it's 10th edition, but everyone still makes fun of Betty Crocker.  Go figure.

I needed to make gingersnaps for the thanksgiving cheesecake recipe and I turned again to this book.  The dough was delicious, and the cookies are too.  I modified the recipe a bit to get softer gingersnaps.

Ingredients:
1 cup packed brown sugar (I used light)
3/4 cup shortening (I used 1 stick of butter and 1/4 cup oil)
1/4 cup molasses (spray the measuring cup with pam first and the molasses slides right out)
1 large egg
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp salt

Procedure:
Cream brown sugar, shortening, molasses, and egg with electric mixer on medium speed.

Add in everything else.  Mix until it looks like cookie dough.

Chill overnight in refrigerator (you don't have to do this, but I did, so let me know how they turn out).

Lick beater and bowl.  Avoid eating batter with spoon, it's unseemly.

Then put on ungreased cookie sheets 2 inches apart and bake at 375.  (I baked mine at 350 and they came out delightfully soft and gingerbready.)

Even the softer gingersnaps crushed right up in the food processor for gingersnap crusts.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Butternut Squash Macaroni and Cheese

I went to make butternut squash pizza tonight and realized we didn't have any pizza crust on hand.  We did have macaroni, evaporated milk, and cheddar cheese, so I whipped up this macaroni and cheese.
You will need:
1 small butternut squash, sliced and diced into small pieces
1 onion, chopped
1/2 box macaroni
1 shallot
3 cloves garlic
Olive Oil
Flour
1 can evaporated milk
2 cups cheese
Breadcrumbs

Procedure:
1. Cook butternut squash and onion in oven on 400 degrees until soft, about 30 minutes.  Chop into additional pieces if necessary (the mixture should be a somewhat soft mash).
2. Boil water, cook pasta until al dente.
3. In a separate pan, saute shallot and garlic in olive oil.
4. Add flour and allow to cook for a minute in the oil.  Add evaporated milk.  Allow to cook for about 5 minutes, stirring.
5. Add butternut squash and onion to milk.  Add cheese.  Add pasta.  Add salt, pepper, spices to taste.  Top with breadcrumbs.
6. Bake pasta on 350 until bubbles - about 10 minutes.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

More bread? More bread!

I made bread from scratch today.  Like, made up my own recipe.  I based it off the Simple Dollar bread recipe, but swapped out a few quantities and ingredients.  I was pleased that a bread with milk in it finally didn't taste..off.  I made two loaves of wonderfully chewy sandwich bread.  I cooked them a smidgen too long, but just shy of burning them, so they are still edible.
Ingredients:
2 tbsp yeast
2 tbsp honey (or more. just pour a generous amount in)
2 cups water
several pinches salt
olive oil (around 3ish tablespoons, just pour)
1/2 cup milk (I used skim. Anything that tells you to use whole milk in baking is usually wrong. Skim is fine.)
a lot of flour (I think it will come out to around 6 cups)

Procedure:
Pour water, yeast, honey together.  Wait until bubbly.  Add milk, salt, oil and mix.  Add in flour by the cup until you have an actual dough and it is somewhat handleable (but still very sticky).
Put in an oiled bowl, let rise for an hour. Divide, put in two loaf pans.
Let rise for another hour. Preheat oven to 400.  Cook for 30 minutes.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Holiday Gift Guide

Kitchen Stuff makes great holiday gifts.  We have a few wonderful items we've received as wedding gifts that I think would make great holiday presents.
For the more serious cook :
This is a great pot - it's wonderfully nonstick, etc.  and the lid lets you drain the water out like the Amazing Pasta Pot on those infomercials.  Also, the pour spout is fantastic.

For the from a box chef:
This opens cans smoothly, and the lids come right off.  It's amazing.  Totally amazing.  If there is a convenience cook in your life, this is the perfect gift.

For the baker:
I LOVE this bowl.  LOVE it.  The lid is perfect.  It goes onto the bowl, and locks on and stays, but isn't hard to put on.  It's great for mixing because of the higher sides - the stuff is easier to mix.  
For the wine enthusiast: 
This is a great, cheap alternative to the Rabbit corkscrew set.  It's sooooo much easier than a crummy ordinary corkscrew - it's unbelievable.  

Any specific requests for gift suggestions?  

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Butternut Squash Apple Soup

Mr. Barefoot and I went out recently to spend a gift certificate we got at a silent auction and tried a wonderful butternut-squash apple soup.  I found this recipe when I was looking for healthy recipes to eat during the stressful and overindulgent holiday season and plan to try it this week.  It combines leeks, apples, ginger and butternut squash, so I feel like it must be delicious.
Ingredients:

1 1/2 Tbsp ginger root, fresh, grated  
1 medium leek(s), white part only, coarsely chopped  
4 3/4 oz frozen apple juice concentrate (undiluted), about 1/2 cup  
3 large apple(s), Golden Delicious, peeled, cored and cut into eighths  
3 pound(s) butternut squash, peeled, seeded, cut in chunks (about 1 large squash)
4 cup(s) canned chicken broth, divided (I'll be using veggie bullion)
1/2 tsp table salt  
1/2 tsp black pepper  
1/2 cup(s) fat-free half-and-half

Procedure:

Combine ginger, leek and apple juice concentrate in a large pot; cover and simmer until leeks are tender, about 10 minutes. Add apples, squash and 1 cup broth; cover and simmer until very tender, about 1 hour. [I will probably do this in the slow cooker.]

Purée soup in pot using a hand-held immersion blender. Or purée soup in a blender in small batches (be careful not to splatter hot liquid) and return puréed soup to pot.

Add remaining 3 cups broth, salt and pepper; simmer until heated through, about 10 minutes. Stir in half and half and serve. Yields about 1 cup per serving.

I'll be updating as soon as I've tried this.  We'll probably serve it with goat cheese crostini.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

The deliciousness

Green beans with radishes

Pumpkin Cheesecake

Sausage stuffing with homemade croutons

Homemade crescent roll dough with brie and cranberries

Mashed potatoes
With a LOT of garlic
Squash Casserole
With cheese
The Barefoots cook Thanksgiving dinner

Recipes to follow! Hope you had a great holiday!  

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thanksgiving Begins

So I received a lovely recipe card box and recipe cards from my sister in law at my bridal shower.  For a little while, I was like, "I have two recipe binders...how could I possibly also use recipe cards?"  Then I started dealing with using several unwieldy cookbooks in the kitchen and decided that I should transfer my thanksgiving recipes to the cards.  
So now, instead of a cookbook or laptop, I just have the cards.  I'm also a sucker for tradition, and I love the idea of having a box of traditional holiday recipes, even if I don't make every one every year.  I also love the idea of handing these down to my kids one day.  This one is for gingersnap crusted pumpkin cheesecake, which I'm taking to my grandmother's tomorrow.  
I found the recipe on Allrecipes and changed it a little bit.  
Crust: 
Ingredients:  
  • 1 1/2 cups gingersnap cookie crumbs
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • Procedure:
  • Mix brown sugar, crumbs, and butter together with a mixer until it reaches paste-like consistency.  
  • Press into a springform pan.  This was really hard.  The crumbs did not stick to my nonstick pan, and it was very hard to press evenly or get a nice line.  This is the first time I've made a cheesecake in a springform pan though, so I think next time will go better.  


For the filling:
3 sticks cream cheese (or half a log from costco)
1 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 cups solid-pack pumpkin (in re-reading the recipe, I used 1 1/2 cans which is actually almost 3 cups...oops)
1/2 cup heavy cream 
1/3 cup maple syrup (remember to spray pam on your measuring cup before you measure this - it slides right out)
1 tbsp vanilla (I forgot this)
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon 
1/2 tsp ground allspice 
4 eggs

Oven at 325.

Procedure:
1) Cream brown sugar and cream cheese together with an electric mixer until fluffy.  
2) Add pumpkin.  Add heavy cream and maple syrup.  Add spices.  
3) Beat in eggs, one by one.  
4) Pour into filling and put in oven.  Cook for 90 minutes, let cool for 30, and then refrigerate overnight.  

Results:
1.) My cheesecake leaked.  I'm not totally sure what this is, but the pan that I baked it on came out sopping wet.  
2.) This is a very tall cheesecake, I think the 1.5 extra cups of pumpkin don't help.  Not totally sure what the crust will look like.  According to the reviews, as it cools, it will continue to cook and also possibly cave in.  

This is beginning to feel like a bad idea. 

Monday, November 22, 2010

Thankful

Dear Matt & Heather: 
Thank you so much for the lovely cheese grater.  We really love it and it was so helpful with all of the cheese grating that we had to do for first Thanksgiving last night.  We had to grate several cups of cheese, and as we all know, fresh grated cheese > packaged cheese, especially when it has that powdery stuff that makes my mac and cheese get all clumpy.  So thanks again! 


XOXO, 
The Barefoots

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Tofu alla Vodka

I'm a terrible housewife.  (I'm hoping I'll get fired.)  Last week, Mr. Barefoot went to work without lunch, because I hadn't cooked anything all week.  He asked if I wanted to meet up to go to lunch, or bring him lunch so we didn't have to spend money on eating out.  I asked him if he wanted to come home for lunch, and he agreed.  He works a quick bike ride away, so it was possible and I immediately hopped in the kitchen and started whipping up lunch.  Only...we don't have that much food and I haven't watched 30-minute meals in a really long time.  So I made pasta, with vodka sauce, and then I threw in some tofu and some baby spinach we had.

It was delicious.  I tried to fry up the tofu first, but it was a waste of time and cooking oil - instead, you should cut the tofu up into really small pieces and scramble it a bit, then pour the vodka sauce on top to cook.  This recipe would probably be better with time to marinate, but it was pretty good.

Ingredients:
-tofu (half a block)
-spaghetti
-vodka sauce
-baby spinach

Procedure:
1) Cook spaghetti.
2) Cut tofu up into tiny pieces and fry in a saucepan on medium heat.  Then add the vodka sauce.
3) Drain the spaghetti.  Add to saucepan.
4) Stir to combine.
5) Add leaves of baby spinach.

Serve and enjoy.  Like everything else in life, this probably would be better with cheese.  And some garlic.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Asparagus Frittata

The other night, I didn't feel like making anything complicated for dinner.  So I made a frittata.  We had asparagus and it needed to be used, so I googled "asparagus frittata".  The recipe that came up was this one, and I had everything it needed, except I subbed in some cheddar cheese.  Apparently frittatas can be made with pretty much anything, and they come out fairly delicious.  So I'll be making more, but here is the procedure for this one, illustrated TPW style.
1.) Crack a few eggs.
2.) Melt butter in a pan
3.)  Chop the veggies.   
 4.) There is very little in life that isn't improved by garlic.  Mr. Barefoot HATES our garlic press, but I think it's awesome and I love how quickly I can add garlic to dishes I'm already trying to do super-fast.
5.) Saute everything in a pan.  I found it didn't take as long as the recipe said - I think I only sauted everything for about 4 minutes total.  
6.) Pour in the eggs.  
 7.) Top with cheese, toss under the broiler for four minutes.
8.) Serve and enjoy!  

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Butter and Me.

I have a complicated relationship with butter.  I had high cholesterol as a child and a mom who believes that fat = the devil.  In high school, I started baking on my own and began to understand something that is entirely separate from fat and cholesterol and calories:  I don't really like butter.

I don't add butter to things - MIL Barefoot was appalled that I didn't butter my toast before adding jam, Mr. Barefoot was confused that I don't put butter on a cheese and tomato sandwich (seriously? gross), I put syrup on my pancakes but it doesn't occur to me to break out the butter.  Sometimes I make a buttery noodles dish with Parmesan and yes, I like butter on toast.  When I bake cookies, I often search for a recipe that doesn't involve a sickening amount of butter (I don't like them if they taste too buttery).  If a recipe involves more than two sticks of butter, I typically steer clear.  As a health student, I hang on to the teaching about saturated versus unsaturated fats, so I usually pick olive oil over butter.

I read a number of cooking blogs - some that think that butter is unhealthy, some think that it is crucial and that nothing tastes good unless you use butter.  Such bloggers take the Paula Dean approach - scolding the rest of us for not using butter.  Some go another step and say things like, "what does low-fat mean?"  I know a few people who act like this too, and then complain about how many fat people there are.

As a person who used to be considered "obese" and now fluctuates between "overweight" and "normal", I'm sensitive to these attitudes, because I think they create an unhealthy dichotomy.  Some people act like they eat a full stick of butter every day, and it makes people like me feel like they got the short end of the stick, metabolism wise.  Which, frankly, a lot of us did.  But we don't need it rubbed in our faces like that.

My point with all of this is: I don't cook with a lot of butter.  And every Thanksgiving, I have a series of conversations about the use of butter in cooking.  I firmly believe that there is very little at Thanksgiving that requires as much butter as people put into it.  I also think that people use Thanksgiving as an excuse to overindulge and make food with at least six sticks of butter.  Which isn't necessary, because frankly, if you add enough salt and garlic to anything, it will still be delicious.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Registry Reviews: Noritake Colorwave

Back in March, we went to Bed Bath and Beyond and registered for stuff.  Some of it was cooking, some was housewares, some was boring but necessary (towels.)  I really wished there was some way to find out things about the china that we registered for, and I didn't see many recommendations - most of the stuff I found was "look at how pretty and classic our Vera Wang China is".  That is not helpful.

We were very very fortunate to receive most of what we registered for, including our china.  I'm sharing it here because what we chose to do, particularly with our china, is a little unorthodox but it makes us happy, and it was very hard for me to find information on what kind of china to register for, how it fit in the cabinets, and what type of person it suited. (And a lot of people nowadays register for white china and white china is boring.)

We registered for four different colors of the Noritake Colorwave China.  It's a fairly heavy, dishwasher safe, glazed stoneware and it looks both elegant and whimsical, especially because we got the square.  We find that having different colored plates and bowls can be helpful in knowing whose dish is whose, and livens up the table.

This is our everyday-ware and our fancy-dinner ware, so we were happy to get plates that served both purposes.  As you can see, they are pretty tall (much taller than our old Corelle), but everything stacks together really well, meaning there is very little "wasted" space in our cabinet.  And we finally have enough bowls for both soup and cereal.

I actually love the mugs.  I was so against getting mugs and wanted to just register for open stock, but it cost the same to get the set with the mug and was easier for our guests.  First of all, they are actual mugs, not "teacups", there are no saucers, and they fit a reasonable amount of hot cocoa.  I find myself using these rather than our (large) collection of mugs because I like how they feel in my hand and the inside is a bit easier to clean than some of our mugs.  

The bowls are on the larger side, and they are flatter, which makes them great for things like both soup and cereal.  Our old Corelle bowls were okay for cereal, but too high for soup. Since they are large, they aren't ideal for ice cream, but we actually eat ice cream out of ramekins anyway.  For dinner, we usually use the smaller plates, which are still big enough for a reasonable one-pot type of meal, without a lot of side dishes.  If we're serving a main course and sides, we break out the big plates.  

If you are uptight and want fine china, this is not the set for you.  But if you want nice matching plates that double as fine china and everyday, this is definitely a great set to consider.  They also come in round, and you can get all of the same color if that is how you roll.   

Friday, November 12, 2010

"Who Brings the Sprouts?"

My father in law is a difficult man to impress.  I try very hard but the best I get is an ironic smile and a compliment I'm never sure is genuine on food I'm not sure is good.  So early on, when we began sharing holidays, he asked who in my family brings the sprouts on holidays.  Ever since, I have made an effort to be the one who brings the sprouts.  I tried cooking them in cream; I tried cooking them with maple syrup.  They were...edible.  Mr. Barefoot and his sister preferred them to the usual steamed brussels sprouts, but FIL Barefoot seemed unmoved.

Undaunted, and refusing to allow steamed sprouts a place at my table, I'm searching for sprouts recipes.  I think maybe these golden crusted sprouts.  Or, since I'm a sucker for anything with balsamic, I might give these a try.  

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Cornbread

Tonight I made cornbread and chili for Mr. Barefoot while I went to a job thing.  I made the Pioneer Woman's Skillet Cornbread.

It came out just fine, if you like your cornbread dry and tasteless.  I like sweeter, moister cornbread, so I will continue hunting for a recipe that mimics the #10 cornbread I had in the Caymans.  

Do you have a good cornbread recipe? Is it moist and delicious? Please share.  

Mashed Sweet Potatoes

Mashed sweet potatoes are one of those really beautiful things in life, because they don't have to be very complicated.  The other night, I made amazing mashed sweet potatoes with just three ingredients:
-1 sweet potato
-2 tbsps cream cheese
-salt

Chop sweet potato into small pieces, boil until fork-mashable, then drain.  Put in a glass bowl or measuring cup and mash with a fork.  Add cream cheese and mix together.  Add salt until delicious.

Win.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Try.

Awhile ago, I realized I wanted to marry Mr. Barefoot.  Cuz I love him and think he's really cute and all that.

Now that we are married, I find myself struggling with the gravity of it all and what it means to be married.  Over the weekend, while "we" were cooking - by which I mean I was cooking and he was breathing down my neck and nagging me and taking up space in the kitchen, I realized something.  We will have this fight that we have semi-regularly, and we will be angry - but we will not leave.  We're both going to stay.  I'm not going to get a divorce over something as silly as how I stack the dish drainer.

So we're in it.  So then I realized that means I might as well try.  Since I'm not going anywhere, and neither is he, I might as well try to empty the draining rack and put things away before doing the next load of dishes.  (Yes, I usually just load wet dishes on top of dry dishes until something falls out and I admit defeat; or until he puts the dishes away.)  I might as well try to clean as I cook, rather than making a big giant mess.  I might as well try to use fewer pots and utensils as I cook.  I might as well try to make sure the kitchen doesn't look like a war zone when he comes home from work.  (And while we're on it, I might as well try to get a job because I suck at being a housewife.)

I promised more pictures and recipes, while I wax philosophic about marriage, so here is a recipe for homemade croutons (made with homemade bread).

You will need a loaf or so of bread, about a quarter cup of olive oil, some garlic powder, salt, italian seasonings, and an oven at 400 degrees.  

Cut the bread into cubes.  Put them in a bowl.  Mix the olive oil, garlic powder, salt, and seasonings together. Pour over cubes, then stir cubes until they are mostly well coated.  Spread on a pan (coat with foil if you really want to avoid cleanup), and then bake for 15-20 minutes at 400 degrees.  

Delicious and cheap, and an excellent use of a loaf of bread that I wasn't a huge fan of.  We probably won't buy croutons again.  

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Green Beens Sauteed with Radishes and Rosemary

This recipe is delicious.  Not enough people use radishes.  Try 'em! This recipe got rave reviews when I made it for a dinner party.  From "Cooking from the Garden".
Ingredients:
-3/4 lbs green beans, snapped in half
-5 lg red radishes
-1 tbsp butter
-1 tbsp olive oil
-1 1/2 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
-3 scallions, finely sliced
-1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
-1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper

1.) Blanch beans in approx 6 cups salted water (put beans in boiling water for 4 minutes)
2.) Drain and put in ice water bath
3) Cut radishes into matchsticks - a mandoline is helpful for this.
4) In a nonstick saucepan, melt butter on low heat and add olive oil.
5) Increase to medium and add rosemary.  Let cook for 3 minutes.
6) Add beans, radishes, scallions, balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper.  Saute for 4 minutes and serve immediately.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Thanksgiving Menu Plan

When you only have 5 people coming for thanksgiving, you do not need to make 10 side dishes.  I learned this the hard way last time, and was a major stresscase.  This year I think I will limit us to cooking:
-Turkey (Turkey Breast in the crockpot)
-Stuffing (Brought by MIL Barefoot)
-Roasted redskin potatoes in the crockpot (I may just cut them and put them under the turkey in the crockpot to cook in the juices and then make myself a small separate batch)
-Vegetarian main course (still deciding)
-Green beans with radishes (recipe tomorrow)
-Brussels Sprouts (my FIL always asks who is bringing the sprouts - I'm sure there is a recipe in one of our new cookbooks)
-Corn Pudding (brought by my SIL)
-Dessert (brought by my MIL)

This still looks like a lot of food, but it means Mr. Barefoot and I are only cooking 5 things and that two of them are in the crockpot and involve a minimal amount of work).  I can also enlist MIL and SIL barefoot to help cook vegetables once they get down here.  I'm also not going to make gravy - I think I'm going to use store-bought gravy.  Any recommendations?

I'm also going to serve a goat-cheese cranberry log with crackers.  Usually I do brie and cranberries, but I'm going to mix it up a bit - Mr. Barefoot often accuses me of being a one-trick pony.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Pumpkin Bread Pudding

Tonight we had our good friends over for dinner.  You know how you have that group of friends that every time you call them, they've got something going on and it's impossible to meet up?  Well, these aren't those friends - we have those friends too.  But somehow, the one night a month that we are free and have nothing planned, and we call them, it's miraculously the same night they have free and have nothing planned.  So we get together and eat food and play board games and it's awesome.  We usually play Ticket to Ride, but sometimes we go for Settlers of Catan.

Tonight, I made baked cod (this recipe, but I used garlic parmesean dressing and regular panko instead of croutons) with a leek and pea risotto and pumpkin bread pudding for dessert.  I made pumpkin bread yesterday, but when I went to take it out of the loaf pan it self-destructed and I got a mess of pumpkin bread - perfect for bread pudding.  So I tossed everything in the crockpot with some milk and it was pretty good - could have been improved with vanilla ice cream, but definitely something I would consider making for the holidays, especially for people that don't really like pumpkin.  Mr Barefoot doesn't care for it, but he made extra-sure to tell me how good the pudding was.  (I didn't use the allspice that the recipe called for, since we were out - I think that helped.)  I adapted the recipe from the "Best Loved Slow Cooker Recipes" cookbook we have, which is a great general slow cooker guide.

Pumpkin Bread Pudding:
Ingredients:
1 loaf pumpkin bread, left sitting on the counter all night because you were too lazy to put it away (or baked in the oven at 200 degrees for 20 minutes to dry it out.)
1 3/4 cups milk
2 small apples, peeled, cored, and chopped
1/2 cup dried fruit (cranberries or raisins)
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup melted butter
1 egg
1 8oz container greek yogurt (I used vanilla but you could probably use plain)

Procedure:

  1. Cut bread into 1-inch pieces, place in a greased slow cooker
  2. Pour milk over bread, let soak in for 10-20 minutes while you core and chop the apple
  3. Stir in dried fruit and apple pieces 
  4. Combine egg, butter, yogurt, brown sugar, and any spices you would like into a small bowl
  5. Pour over bread and apples.
  6. Allow to cook on high for 2 hours (if you have a demonic slow cooker like ours) or on low for 4 hours.  

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Let's Talk Turkey

Oh wait. I'm a vegetarian.  We're hosting the in-laws for Thanksgiving this year, so in addition to making a turkey (I think we will crockpot turkey breast because it's only 4 carnivores) I need to make a delicious, not scary, vegetarian entree for myself that will also be a good side dish for others.  I'll be making mac 'n cheese for the Big Barefoot Thanksgiving, so I didn't want to do that twice.  The only requirement is that there must be some form of protein in the entree, and also I don't really want to do a soup.  I would also like it if the dish was vegan, so that I can bring leftovers to Thanksgiving the next day (we do it on the Friday) for my vegan cousin.
Some candidates (I would love more suggestions - particularly anything that has to do with butternut squash or sweet potatoes):
PUEBLO CORN PIE
6 to 8 servings

This layered casserole is adapted from a Native American recipe.
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium green or red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked fresh or thawed frozen corn kernels
  • 2 1/2 cups canned or cooked pinto beans
  • 2 cups chopped ripe tomatoes, or one 16-ounce can diced, tomatoes, lightly drained
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Salt to taste
Cornmeal topping:
  • 1 1/4 cups cornmeal
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup grated vegan Monterey Jack or Cheddar cheese, optional
Heat the oil in a large skillet. Add the onion and sauté until translucent. Add the garlic and bell pepper and continue to sauté until the onion is golden brown. 

Add the corn kernels, pinto beans, tomatoes, and seasonings. Stir well and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes. Season to taste with salt. Remove from the heat. 

Bring 5 cups of water to a rolling boil in a heavy saucepan or double boiler. Slowly pour the cornmeal into the water in a thin, steady stream, stirring continuously to avoid lumping. Add the salt and cook over very low heat, covered, for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. 

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. 

Oil a shallow, 1 1/2-quart baking dish and line the bottom with half of the cooked cornmeal. Pour over it the skillet mixture and sprinkle with the optional grated cheese. Top with the remaining cornmeal, patting it in smoothly. 

Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until the cornmeal is golden brown and crusty. Let stand for 10 minutes, then cut into squares to serve. 


Sweet Potato Gratin 

  • 1 t oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 T lime juice
  • 1½ t lime zest (grated peel)
  • 2 T fresh cilantro, chopped
  • ½ t dried thyme
  • 1½ t salt
  • ½ t pepper
  • 2½ c coconut milk
  • 4 c sweet potatoes (about 1½ pounds), peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 c cooked rice
  • 1½ c cooked black beans (or 15 oz can, drained)
  • 1½ c fresh spinach, cleaned, de-stemmed, and finely chopped
  • ¾ c cornmeal
  • 1 T vegetable oil
  • ½ t dried thyme
  • ¼ t cumin
  • ¼ t salt
Preheat oven to 350, and lightly oil the baking dish.
Combine garlic, lime juice, lime zest, spices, and coconut milk in the medium bowl, and pour a third of it into the dish.
Spread half of the sweet potatoes in the dish, then half of the rice, beans, and then spinach. Pour another third of the coconut milk mixture on top, followed by the rest of the sweet potatoes, rice, beans, and spinach. Top with the rest of the coconut milk.
Mix cornmeal, oil, thyme, cumin, and salt and sprinkle over the gratin.
Bake for 30 minutes, rotate the pan in the over, and bake another half hour, until the topping is golden and the sweet potatoes are tender. Remove from oven and let sit for a few minutes, until any remaining liquid has been absorbed.


Mushroom And Spinach Galette
Nicole Spiridakis for NPR
My mom makes a delicious mushroom galette for me each year at Thanksgiving, and I've taken that idea as my inspiration here. I've removed the cheese and butter to make it lighter and vegan-friendly.
Makes 6 servings
Crust
1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 to 5 tablespoons olive oil
2 to 3 tablespoons cold water
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix the flour and salt. Drizzle the olive oil over the flour and cut in with a fork, combining lightly until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Sprinkle water over the flour, a tablespoon at a time, and mix lightly with a fork. With your hands, press the pastry lightly into a ball, wrap in waxed paper, and let rest in the refrigerator at least 20 minutes.
Filling
2 shallots
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup red wine
10 white mushrooms
2 portobello mushroom caps
1 bunch spinach, washed and coarsely chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon herbes de Provence
Chop the shallots and place them in a frying pan with the olive oil. Saute over medium heat until they begin to soften. Lower the heat and add the wine. Slice the white and portobello mushrooms, and add them to the pan, cooking until they soften and release their liquid. Add the spinach, salt, pepper and herbs and cook until the spinach is wilted.
On a wide surface, roll out the dough between two sheets of parchment paper until it becomes a 1/4-inch-thick circle. Arrange the vegetable mixture in the middle of the dough, and loosely gather the dough around the filling, leaving an opening at the top (the dough won't close completely). Place the galette on a new sheet of parchment paper on a baking sheet and bake in the middle of the oven until filling is bubbly and crust is lightly browned, about 35 to 40 minutes.
Slice and serve.

Monday, October 25, 2010

White Bread

Since I wanted to start things slow with Darth, I opted to start with a super-easy bread recipe.  Unfortunately, it's so good that I don't have any incentive to try anything more challenging. It makes two loaves and I froze one.  We finished the other one off in a few days.  Mr. Barefoot wants to try making it in the crockpot during the day so we come home to fresh baked bread.  Any tips? Anyone know where I can get a rack for my crockpot?
I did also use Darth to mix up some of my famous foccacia bread - I've been making this recipe for years and it's a real crowd pleaser.  It's so nice to not have to knead the bread myself - it means that I can make bread on a whim without getting all flour-y. 
When I made the foccacia bread, instead of using the Italian seasonings, I used Old Bay, garlic powder, and minced onion (I need to get powdered, but I don't have it yet).  I topped it with cheddar cheese.  Next time, more Old Bay, but otherwise it was pretty good. 

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Mrs. Barefoot is back!

Okay, so I'm like, the lamest cooking blogger ever.  The truth is, I've been pretty short on time to cook lately.  What with the bar, the campaign, and getting married, cooking has fallen by the wayside.  So I'm excited to be back and to finally get to use all of the fabulous new toys that have been filling our apartment.  (Registries are fun.  It's like having the most practical birthday ever, which, when you are super-interesting like me, is AWESOME.)
We got a lot of interesting products that I'm excited to use and will be reviewing a bit here, like a cusinart food processor, Le Cruset French Oven, and Ultimate Mandoline.
One of the things I have to say nice things about so far is this pan which is pretty easy to clean and a good size for general use.  I love calphalon generally, and I really like using stainless steel - we only registered for a few pots and pans, because we have found that we don't really use that many pots and pans, and having space is nice.  I think we'll end up with 2 3-qt pans, a 10-inch fry pan, a 12-inch deep skillet, and a big pot and frying pan.  We're not really sure what the best combination is, so any guidance is appreciated.
I also got gifted several cookbooks at my shower, which are all awesome looking - many of them are vegetarian, green, local, or otherwise delicious - so I'll be reviewing and relaying recipes from those as well.  So far, Cooking from the Garden has some really interesting recipes which are delicious.
Cilantro Lime New Potatoes from Cooking from the Garden (in the Le Creuset French Oven)
We also got this slightly controversial gift.  If you know me, you know how I feel about these guys.  I'll admit...I was pretty excited when this showed up, since we didn't register for it (I felt too guilty...)
Meet Darth:


I'm going to get him a lightsaber.  He makes delicious bread that is super easy.  I think that will be the next recipe that comes up here.  Also, Cheesy Onion Souffle Mac & Cheese, which is more delicious than it looks.  (And I think it looks pretty good.)

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Sharing

Two things:
1. Even without bacon and green onions, this salad is amazing. I'm not sure if I shared it before, but it's really good.
2. Kraft now makes homestyle mac and cheese, which is basically velveeta with breadcrumbs.  It's meidocre on it's own but it's fantastic with barbecue sauce and baked in the oven on 425 for 10 minutes.  

Monday, July 12, 2010

Blueberry Crumble

There should be a picture here, but uh, we ate it too fast.

I bought fresh blueberries at the farmer's market yesterday and they were pretty darn fantastic.  I'm not a huge blueberry person, but I like them with yogurt.  Last night it occurred to me that we still had vanilla ice cream we hadn't eaten, and I should make a crumble with the blueberries.  It was going to be a crisp, but uh, there were bugs in my oatmeal when I pulled it out.  Ew.

I used this recipe only I made a half-ish batch with about 1.5 cups of blueberries.  I think I used too much butter and not enough flour or something, because it wasn't quite as crumbly as I'd hoped.

If you are cooking a small casserole like this for two, I highly recommend owning a small stoneware dish for cooking them in.  Or two of these.  Either way, if you put it in the toaster oven, the whole thing cooks in about 15 minutes instead of 30.  Serve with vanilla ice cream and remember that, in spite of the bar, summer tastes delicious.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

How to serve a vegan

Ever since my cousin became a vegan, vegan-ness has been more on my radar screen.  We've been to a few events together and I feel like there is a lack of knowledge about how easy it really is to cater to vegan tastes.  People think it is so exhausting to read all of the ingredients, and vegans get the short end of the stick.
Some suggestions:
-Crudites.  Clearly vegan.  However, the dip that is usually served with them? Not so much.  Try hummus.
-Chips and dip.  Try a black bean dip, an eggplant dip, or plain old tortilla chips and salsa or guacamole.
-Pasta salad.  Please, you don't have to make pasta salad complicated or with mayonnaise.
-Bread and dipping oil - a nice garlic/pepper and olive oil combo and some crusty french bread is great.  You can go the next step up and whip up some bruschetta.
-Nuts, olives, or other small foods.
-Pasta salad.  Cook a box of pasta, toss with Italian salad dressing, maybe some balsamic vinegar, and voila.
-If you're grilling, boca burgers (or another *vegan* burger - read the labels for this one) for the grill.  I had a friend tell me that he thought that making veggie burgers was icky and he would rather just grill a vegetable, like a giant portabello.  The problem is that mushrooms don't actually have any protein in them, so don't serve me one and act surprised that I ate the entire rest of everything you served.

For dessert, a fruit plate and maybe some vegan chocolate (dark, high quality chocolates are more likely to be vegan) or some vegan baked goods.  (Think they're hard to find? Check this list.  Substitute applesauce for eggs and make sure to use oil instead of butter/shortening.)

I hate linking to Peta, but this list generally is pretty helpful for anybody shopping for or serving a vegan.
Any suggestions for obvious and easy vegan suggestions for party food that I missed?

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Moving

Okay, so a few moving tips, because I know summer is a popular moving time.
1.) Pack the can opener WITH the canned goods.  I'm serious.  It sounds so simple, but it's so key.
2.) Shut down the kitchen 1+ week before you move.  Last Sunday, I made pasta salad and a pasta casserole and we lived off that for the week.
3.) Just order takeout.  I think last time, we didn't do this.  This time, we ate takeout for three days straight and it was a major stress reducer.
4.) Use the crockpot once you move.  It means you only have to clean one thing, and you don't have to put anything away, since you don't know where anything goes yet.  Win-win.

That being said, here is my original recipe for pre-moving/clean out the fridge eggplant pasta:
Ingredients:

  • 1 half eaten box of pasta (any shape, I used mini bows)
  • 1 half-full jar of pesto 
  • 1 eggplant
  • 1 yellow squash
  • 1 onion
  • Garlic
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
Procedure:
  1. Put eggplant, squash, garlic, onion in crockpot with some olive oil on high for 2 hours. 
  2. Add half box of pasta, dry.
  3. Add diced tomatoes with juice.  Add half a can of water.  
  4. Cook for another 2 hours or until pasta is tender.
  5. Add pesto.  
  6. Stir. 
  7. Eat.  Or put in tupperwares.  Good with goat cheese.  Or feta.  
Are you moving? What are some moving meals that you make?

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Pasta Salad with Arugula

This is from my Mac & Cheese cookbook - Macaroni and Cheese by Marlena Spieler, for my friend Susan, who I told I would post this for, because she has a CSA share and a lot of arugula.  But you should try it too, because it is amazing.  (And amazingly easy - the best kind of amazing.)
Ingredients:
1 large unwaxed lemon
12 ounces orecchiette (I used those piccolini bow-ties the last time and I think shells before that. Any pasta is okay, but I'd go for something flat if possible.)
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
8-10 ounces Bulgarian, Israeli, or Greek feta cheese (I use President from Costco.)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 cups loosely packed arugula leaves (washed)

Process:
1.) Zest the lemon, put in a small bowl.  Squeeze lemon juice into the bowl. Mind the seeds.
2.) Cook the pasta until al dente, drain.
3.) Put pasta in a large bowl (I love a stainless steel mixing bowl for pasta salad since it transfers heat so much better in the fridge.)
4.) Add lemon juice and olive oil to the pasta, set for up to two hours to cool.
5.) Before serving, toss with feta, salt, and pepper.  Serve w/ arugula at room temperature.

This is great for bar review lunches and dinners, btw.  Anything I can eat cold is fantastic.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

What kind of cookbook would you write?

While studying my mind often drifts to what I would have done with
my life if I hadn't wanted to be Ms. Barefoot, J.D.

Today I thought about what cookbook I would write.

I think it would be called "variations on a theme". It would have several types of mac&cheese, varieties of pizza, different flavors to mix with a salmon breadcrust, herb and spice mixtures for foccacia, and all the weird stuffings my family has eaten over the past ten years.

Because it occurs to me that I regularly cook about 5 things, but anything can taste different with different cheeses.

What's your cookbook?

Monday, June 7, 2010

Gone Quiet

Apologies to all for the recent lapse and total failure of recipes.  I'm studying for the bar.
Studying for the bar is an arduous thing at best, but when you have a night bar review course, it also means that your eating habits go to hell.
I'm in week three now, and I still haven't figured out a great system for eating.  It seems that the best thing to do is eat a high-protein second breakfast after Bar Review Mandated Exercise, then hold off on lunch until about 2 or 3 pm, when I eat lunch.  Then, I just have some high protein snacks and eat them through bar review and come home to dinner.  Or come home to bed because I am no longer hungry.  It's not the best plan.

But what I wanted to write about is not my lousy eating habits during the bar.  It is how to freeze casseroles, then thaw and reheat them.

Last summer, when I went to Michigan, I made and froze a few lasagnas.  I read a great tip once that you can make mini-lasagnas in aluminum loaf pans.  Just follow the lasagna directions on the package, but put 3 noodles and the filling in each pan, then top with cheese.  Cover with foil and put in the refridgerator until cool, then freeze.

It turns out they freeze for up to a year, because we just ate the last one tonight.  To thaw, just put in the fridge the night before or the morning of.  Bake at 375 for awhile (Mr. Barefoot's very specific instructions) until warm and delicious.  

Any other suggestions for casseroles (vegetarian) that freeze and reheat well?

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

On my own

Mr. Barefoot has been out of town for, essentially, the last month.  This kind of stinks, because he was doing all the cooking this semester and surprisingly, I liked it that way.  I got used to it.  So now, I'm living like I lived in college - I get home, stare at my kitchen, and make food that comes in a box.  I haven't had time to go grocery shopping, so I'm now down to my pantry and concerned about scurvy.
Tonight, I had my last law school class, and I threw something in the crockpot before I left so I didn't have to stand up and cook (I ran a half marathon over the weekend and the doctor no longer recommends standing.)  I've been using my small crockpot as a rice cooker lately and it's great.
Crockpot black beans and rice:
1.) Put 1 cup rice, 1 can black beans, and 1.5 cups water in a crockpot.
2.) Add salt, pepper, garlic powder, dried onion, oregano, cumin, and a little chilli powder.
3.) Plug in crockpot.  Cook on low for 2-2.5 hours.
4.) Eat (garnished with cheese, if you are high maintenance).  Marvel at how easy it is to cook a healthy, cheap meal for yourself while you are at tax class.

What are your favorite single person recipes?

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Remember the Vegetarians!

I recently had the pleasure of organizing the food for my last honor society event, and I picked a pasta dish and a grilled vegetable dish.  (It was the first time I've ever ordered exactly the right amount of food - I was pleased.)  Neither dish had any meat in it, and I did this not to further my own goals as a tree-hugging vegetarian, but because of what happened at our fall event.
In the fall, I ordered meat taquitos and quesadillas for 30+ people (we had about 30 people in attendance), and ordered veggie quesadillas for an additional 10-15 people (because we had myself and a few other non-meat eaters.)  By the time I finished serving the sangria, there was a half a plate of meat quesadillas left, but the veggie ones had all been scarfed up!  I think I got one!
What happened is what always happened: damn carnivores!  They take their meat, and then they see the veggie stuff, and think, "ooh, I want to try something of everything, I'll take some of this."  So as a general rule, when ordering for a function, order equal amounts of the veggie and meat dishes, or more of the veggie if you know you have a lot of vegetarians.
For last night's event, I ordered pasta and grilled vegetables for 16 people (for a 30-40 person event), plus salads and bread, plus an order of chicken sate skewers for those who wanted meat.  I highly recommend this approach when planning an event - rather than assuming everyone is a carnivore, assume everyone will eat the vegetarian foods, and then add in enough meat to satisfy your meat eaters.  (If I had ordered a meat-based and a vegetarian pasta dish, we wouldn't have met our budget since there was a 10-person minimum for each dish.)
If you are not a vegetarian, and you are at an event where the vegetarian population has not been properly served (i.e. there is a small platter of side veggie things next to a lot of meat), please, remember the vegetarians and take only a small (or no) serving of the vegetarian dish.  We appreciate it!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Recipe Cards

I've recently been invited to a few bridal showers.  In the envelope with the invitation came an index card for me to write down a favorite recipe and bring to the shower.

Oooooh, you're thinking.  What a nice idea.  It's really not.  Mostly because my recipes do not fit on an index card, and also I would much rather just hit print.  Being aware that most people do not archive all of their recipes on a personal cooking blog though, I will admit that many people's recipes are in a cookbook or on their own cards.  Still, wouldn't these just be easiest to make a copy of and bring with you, instead of transcribing?  So I digress, and should explain that I think that recipe cards are a poor way to store information.  They are small, and easily lit on fire. 

You know what is a great way?  The 3-ring recipe binder.  You can go fancy, or you can get a 3-ring binder and a bunch of sheet protectors.  That way, you can print, copy, or handwrite a recipe into the binder.  That way I don't have to rewrite a recipe into a teensy-tiny index card and constantly mess up, cross things out, and confuse the reader.  One shower I went to asked me to just bring a recipe on an 8.5x11 sheet of paper, and then we put them in sheet protectors at the shower.  It was very nice.  And way easier.

So if you are currently planning a shower, a recipe binder makes a great gift, and just ask the guests to bring a recipe to go in it.  Or send out a recipe card, with wide lines and a lot of room to write! (And don't write "Recipe for" at the top, because some moron will write in the bride's name and not what the actual recipe is for!  They will do this in pen, and feel like a doofus.)

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Spinach-Artichoke Quiche

I made quiche for Easter last weekend - I picked it because it was easy to make it, and doesn't need to be kept warm.  I used pre-made crusts, but if you're ambitious, you can make your own.  I actually filled two crusts and just added extra cheese.
Ingredients:
  • 1/2 bag frozen spinach
  • 1 can of artichokes, drained and minced
  • 5 eggs (or any combination of egg whites and yolks that adds up to 5 eggs)
  • 1/2 cup of milk (a lot of recipes call for heavy cream, but that's really not necessary)
  • 1 bag of cheddar cheese (or parmesean)
  • salt, pepper, garlic powder
Procedure:
  1. Preheat oven to 425. 
  2. Saute spinach until thaw and cooked.  Add artichokes to the pan, and season with salt, pepper, garlic powder. 
  3. Put in a bowl and add the eggs.  Mix together, either with a spoon or an electric mixer.  
  4. Line the bottom of the crust with cheese.  Pour in egg mixture.  Top with more cheese.  
  5. Bake at 425 for 20 minutes.  
  6. Lower oven temperature to 350 and bake for an additional 30 minutes. 
Quiche is a great vegetarian party dish, and never fails to impress people, particularly topped with cheese.  Quiche also isn't nearly as bad for you as everyone says - particularly if you omit the cream, and maybe leave out a few egg yolks. 

Friday, April 9, 2010

Chili Cook Off

We had a chili cook off at school this week and I made seitan chili, which is delicious and almost won for best veggie chili. 

I had the following conversation with the event organizer:
"Doesn't seitan have peanuts in it?  Should we be concerned about allergies?"-Organizer
"If I had a serious food allergy, I probably wouldn't eat anything some stranger brought in a crockpot.  Also, Seitan is wheat-based...and it's just wheat and wheat germ, I think....I really don't think it has nuts." -Me
"I really thought it had nuts...wait, what is that stuff on a skewer called?" -Him
"Satay?" -Me
"Yes! That's what I'm thinking of." - Him
"That has nuts.  Also chicken.  So it's probably not vegan." -Me

How do you make veggie chili?  Really, you need a recipe?  Okay, here's the recipe.  Get some cans of beans, some tomato paste, some cans of diced tomatos, a whole lotta chili powder, some seitan, and some peppers.  Maybe some chipotles in adobo.  Some onions and garlic.  Saute those and the pepper, then throw everything in a crockpot and cook until delicious. 

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Passover Meringues

It's that time of year.  When all my Jewish friends show up with matzoh sandwiches and complain about not eating carbs.  I invited my friend and now neighbor Boston over for passover dinner tomorrow night - fortunately, she's chill enough to use my regular dishes and not make me sweep out my apartment with a feather - so I made some meringues which are kosher for passover (I think.)  I checked to make sure that cream of tarter was allowed, and read the ingredients list on my chocolate chips package to check for leavening.  I think they're sufficient, but I could be wrong.  They are sufficiently delicious, and I know my sister will eat them if my friend doesn't.
Ingredients:
2 egg whites
dash of salt
dash of cream of tarter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2-1 cup mini chocolate chips


Procedure: (preheat oven to 225)
1.) Place egg whites, salt, and cream of tarter in metal mixing bowl.
2.) Whip egg whites with electric mixer
3.) As egg whites stiffen up, slooooowly pour in sugar.  
4.) Once egg whites are stiff and glossy, add chocolate chips.
5.) Spoon out onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
6.) Bake for 1 hr on top rack and 1 hr on bottom rack. 

Monday, March 8, 2010

Banana Bread Muffins

We had a few overripe bananas lying around, so they went into banana bread.  I like to use this recipe from The Simple Dollar, but today we were out of butter, so I substituted 1/2 cup applesauce for the butter.  
Our loaf pan was currently in use, so I poured everything into muffin tins.  It made 12 very full muffin tins, and cooked for about 45 minutes.  
I put most of the muffins in ziploc bags in the freezer, so they can just be grabbed and microwaved, and we don't feel the need to eat them all this week before they go bad.  

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Eggplant steaks

Tonight, I finally got back in the kitchen.  (It's been a busy week, and Mr. Barefoot has been doing all the cooking.)  I made eggplant steaks - and man, were they delicious.


You will need:

  • 1 eggplant, sliced into 3/4 inch thick steaks.
  • 4-5 cloves garlic (if you don't like that much garlic, well, why are you reading this blog?)
  • 2 tbsp (ish) olive oil
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • Italian seasoning 
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Parmesan cheese (optional)
Equipment:
  • Baking sheet
  • Indoor grill (or maybe a frying pan)
  • Oven at 350
  • Basting brush
  • Food processor
  1. Preheat the oven to 350.  
  2. Put eggplants on a baking sheet, bake for 10-20 minutes, flipping midway.  
  3. Meanwhile, put 4-5 peeled garlic cloves in food processor; dice.  Add olive oil, balsamic vinegar, spices, salt, and pepper.  Process until well combined.  
  4. Take eggplant steaks out of the oven.  Brush both sides with oil/vinegar mixture.  Allow to sink in while grill heats.  
  5. Place on grill, close grill.  Grill for 3-5 minutes.  
  6. Stack eggplants in a tower, with cheese between each eggplant.  
Mr. Barefoot says this is the best eggplant I've ever made.  My only problem is that there is not enough protein in these as a main course, so I got hungry again a few hours later and needed a snack.  We served these with polenta cakes and zucchini sauted in the same sauce as the steaks.