Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Irish Soda Bread

This one is a nice addition to the previous post (Guinness and Beef Stew). It is definitely best served warm. Use it to sop up the left-over stew or slather with butter and honey.
Irish Soda Bread
an adaptation of a Cooking Light recipe

2 1/4 c. whole-wheat flour
3/4 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 c. oats
2 tbsp. brown sugar
1 tbsp. wheat germ
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 c. 2% milk
1 tsp. vinegar
1 egg

Preheat oven to 325. Add vinegar to milk and set aside. Line a loaf pan with parchment paper and spray with cooking spray. Combine whole-wheat flour, all-purpose flour, brown sugar, wheat germ, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl (and whisk together). Add the egg to the milk mixture and beat lightly. Combine wet ingredients with dry ingredients in the large mixing bowl. Stir just until combined. Dump into the loaf pan and bake for 1 hr. and 5 min. Remove from oven, and remove bread from loaf pan using parchment paper to lift out. Makes 12 slices.
And as if that wasn't enough, here she is bathing in calories:

Guinness and Beef Stew

In honor of St. Patrick's Day...

Guinness and Beef Stew
an adaptation of a Cooking Light recipe

1 1/4 lb. lean stew beef, cut into 2" pieces
3 tbsp. olive oil
1/4 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 onion, chopped
1 tbsp. tomato paste
4 c. fat-free low-sodium beef broth
1 (11.2 oz.) bottle Guinness
1 tsp. caraway seeds
1 tsp. thyme
5 carrots, cut into diagonal slices (or baby carrots)
5 red potatoes, cut into long strips
4 celery stalks, cut into long strips
1/2 lb. mushrooms, whole
2 tbsp. parsley

Heat a dutch oven/soup pot with olive oil in it over medium-high heat. Sprinkle 1/2 tsp. salt on stew beef and dredge through flour. Brown the beef pieces on at least two sides (should take about 5 min.). It works best to cook half the beef at a time, and then place to the side. After all beef is cooked and out of the pan, add the onions to the pan and cook until translucent. Add tomato paste, Guinness, beef broth, caraway seeds, thyme and 1/2 tsp. salt. Deglaze the pan (scrape brown bits off the bottom and let become part of the broth). Return meat to the pan. Bring to a boil and then lower heat and simmer for 1 hour, covered, stirring occasionally. Add carrots, potatoes, celery, mushrooms and parsley and bring to a boil. (The veggies will fit better in the pan once they're cooked a little, but if the liquid looks low, you can always add a little more beef broth.) Lower heat and simmer for an additional hour (or until veggies are tender). Serves 8

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Spaghetti & Meatballs

Oh-so-good. David hails it as my best spaghetti ever! On a practical note: this one takes some time, but it's worth it. If you typically don't really enjoy taking time in the kitchen, don't make this on an average weeknight, save it for when you have some time on your hands. On the other hand, if you love making things from scratch, go out and buy these ingredients immediately.

Spaghetti & Meatballs
an adaptation of a Pioneer Woman recipe

1 lb. lean ground meat (I prefer turkey)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 c. Italian breadcrumbs
2 large eggs
1/2 c. grated parmesan cheese
1/8 c. dried parsley
1/8 tsp. salt
Several tbsp. olive oil (to cook meatballs in)

1/2 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
A pinch of red pepper flakes
1 28-oz. can whole tomatoes (if you really like chunks, if not, go for petite diced)
1 28-oz. can crushed tomatoes
1/3 c. white wine (optional)
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. sugar
1/4 c. parsley, minced (or dried)
1 lb. spaghetti, cooked

To make the meatballs, combine meat, garlic, breadcrumbs, parmesan, eggs, salt and parsley in a mixing bowl and mix thoroughly. Roll into 16 1 1/2-inch balls and place on a cookie sheet. Place in freezer for 5-10 minutes to firm up.
To brown the meatballs, heat olive oil in a large pot (what you will eventually cook the sauce in) over medium-high heat. Add meatballs 8 at a time, turning to brown. Remove and drain on a paper towel after each batch. Set meatballs aside. (Meatballs won't be cooked all the way through - they will finish cooking in the sauce, just try to brown the outsides.)
In the same pot (don't empty out the leftover meatball goodness left inside!), add the onions, garlic and a pinch of red pepper flakes and cook for a few minutes, or until onions are translucent. Pour in tomatoes and wine. Add salt, pepper, sugar and parsley. Stir to combine. Add meatballs to pot and stir gently. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes, stirring very gently a couple of times during the simmer.
Serve over spaghetti. Sprinkle with extra parmesan. Serves 4 (probably with leftovers).

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Chocolate Stout Cupcakes with Buttercream Icing

Ok, I can't say that this one is good FOR you, but it is definitely delicious. It might be better for the soul than the body. The cupcakes aren't overly sweet, and you can definitely taste the stout, but the buttercream is deliciously sweet and REALLY rich. It's a great combo.

Chocolate Stout Cupcakes with Buttercream Icing
Cupcakes by Bon Appetit (discovered by Julie Lindbergh); Icing a combination of Martha Stewart recipes

1/2 c. stout (Guiness)
1 stick unsalted butter
1/3 c. cocoa powder
1 c. all-purpose flour
1 c. sugar
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/3 tsp. salt
1 large egg
1/3 c. sour cream

Preheat oven to 350. Bring stout and butter to a simmer in a small sauce pan over medium heat. Add cocoa powder and whisk until mixture is smooth. Cool slightly.
Whisk flour, sugar, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl to blend. In a large bowl, beat eggs and sour cream together. Add the stout mixture and beat just to combine. Add flour mixture and beat briefly on slow speed just to combine.
Spoon batter into a large muffin tin filled with paper liners. Bake for 15 minutes. Allow them to cool completely before icing if you want the icing to stay on the cupcakes. If you don't care, eat them warm with the icing - it's delicious. Makes about a dozen cupcakes.

2/3 c. sugar
3 large egg whites
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened and cut into tablespoons

In a heatproof bowl, set over (not in) a pan of simmering water. Whisk together egg whites and sugar until teh sugar dissolves (takes several minutes, but whisk sporadically throughout). Pour mixture into a stand mixer and beta for 15 minutes (until stiff peaks form). Reduce mixer speed to medium-low and gradually add butter, beating until fully incorporated (3-5 min).

If you haven't made buttercream icing before, be forewarned that it is VERY hard to get to spread well. It has to be exactly the right temperature, and won't stay combined for long (it will start to separate). If the icing gets too cold, it will clump as you would expect butter to do. So, ice immediately before serving. It's delicious and totally worth the hassle, but will probably work best for low-key events/guests. If you need a more fool-proof recipe, try looking up a buttercream recipe that involves confectioners sugar and butter.

Shepherd's Pie

This is one of Mom's recipes. Nothing says comfort food to me like this recipe, but really, its' quite good for you. Tons of veggies and some meat! Can't beat that! Make this recipe your own by topping it with your own favorite mashed potatoes recipe (I never write mine down - it's just whatever we've got in the fridge).

Mom's Shepherd's Pie

1 lb. lean ground meat (I like turkey)
1 small onion, chopped
1 8oz. bag frozen peas and carrots
1 can of chicken broth
3ish tbsp. flour
1 egg
1 lb. mashed potatoes (bought or homemade)
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
1/2 c. cheese (optional)

Preheat oven to 350.

Meat/Veggie Part
Start browning the meat and add in the onions once the meat is half-way cooked. Once the meat and onions are thoroughly cooked, assess whether or not it's worth draining off the residual liquid and do so. Add 1/2 the can of chicken broth and some flour, 1/2 tsp. of salt and 1/2 tsp. pepper. Make sure the flour doesn't lump as you mix it in. Add in the frozen veggies. Pour in the rest of the chicken broth. You know you need more flour if your mixture is runny, but you know that the mixture will thicken up as you cook it. All ingredients should be well coated with teh flour/broth mixture, and there should be some extra in the bottom of the pan. The consistency of the flour/broth mixture should be thicker than water, but runnier than gravy. It'll kind of look like a stew. Make sure the veggies get to be heated through.

Potato Part
Either thaw or make your mashed potatoes as you usually would. After cooked, mix in an egg. Try to temper adding the egg so that the hot potatoes don't cook it. Mix in 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. pepper in addition to what you usually add.

Grease a 9x13 baking dish. Add in the meat/veggie mixture. Spoon and smooth the potato mixture on top. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake for 5 more minutes. Let cool for at least 10 minutes or be prepared to burn your mouth.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Summer Lunch

Yes, the middle of winter is an odd time to post a summer lunch... but, if you're like me, sometimes on those cold, dreary days, I need reminders of warmer days. So, flip on a Corona commercial, plug in the space heater and let your mind drift to tropical times.
Summer Lunch
Recipe inspired by Joyce Sloop

1 cucumber, diced
1 tomato, diced

1/4-1/2 sweet onion, diced
1 tsp. dill

3 oz. crumbled goat cheese (or feta if you please)
1 tsp. coarse salt

Combine all ingredients and serve. Serves 2 - if you want a big lunch (keep in mind that you'll probably need to eat a little more than you're used to if you usually eat meat-y lunches - veggies will hold you over til dinner, but you definitely need to load up on them). :)

Be forewarned: There is just something about fresh tomatoes and refrigerators that don't mix. If storing in the fridge is a must, reserve the cheese until you're ready to eat it. Don't let that cheese sit in there with the acidic tomatoes, it doesn't end well. The tomatoes will do alright until about Day 4 in the fridge. If you make a bunch of this, and keep the cheese out until the last minute (which is a must) the tomatoes will be fine until about Day 4. So, it's definitely a good recipe, just make sure you can eat it within 2-3 days.
Side Note: If you're having a salty craving, you can make an Asian version. Delete the dill and goat cheese and drizzle the rest with soy sauce and rice vinegar. Mmmmm! The crunchy/salty/vinegary-ness will usually hold off my salt-and-vinegar chips cravings for a few days.

Brussels Sprouts

Weird post, I know. But, I feel like this veggie gets bad press. It's pretty delicious! I mean, who doesn't love a tiny cabbage? It's makes a great side dish, but if you're having company, I would check to make sure they don't have any childhood baggage related to this vegetable first.

Basic Brussels Sprouts
by Lori Lewis

1 lb. brussels sprouts, stems chopped off and sprouts cut in half
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 c. olive oil
1 can low sodium chicken broth

Heat olive oil in a skillet and add Brussels sprouts and garlic. Saute until Brussels sprouts turn a slightly more vivid green. Add chicken broth to the pan and simmer until Brussels sprouts reach desired tenderness (I like mine with a little crunch left in them). Serves 3-4.

This is them hanging out in the chicken broth after having been sauteed.