Sunday, December 25, 2011

Chewy Peanut Butter Cookies with Chocolate Candied Bacon

Yesterday I dipped sugared bacon in chocolate. No biggie.

These cookies were a hit at our friend's open house yesterday night! Just be careful - the bacon is well disguised in the chocolate, so give your vegetarian friends a heads up. Despite the bacon, know this cookie is sweet, not sweet/savory.

It's been a cozy Christmas over here so far, including toad in a hole, a pot of coffee, Christmas music on spotify, and youtube yule logs. Todd even surprised with a Christmas stocking like his family does! Can't wait to skype with them later!

Food for Todd in front of one of my favorite homes at Winterhaven

Happy Holidays from Food for Todd!
Thank you for reading, and we wish you a beautiful holiday surrounded by loving family and friends!

Chewy Peanut Butter Cookies with Chocolate Candied Bacon
From How Sweet It Is, makes about 20 cookies 

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup peanut butter
2/3 cup brown sugar 
1/4 cup white sugar 
1 egg 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour 
1/4 teaspoon salt 
1 teaspoon baking soda 
4 slices cinnamon-sugared candied bacon (mix 3T brown sugar, 1/2 tsp. cinnamon. Pull bacon through mixture and pat lightly. Heat oven to 375. Lay bacon strips on wire rack sitting atop a cookie sheet and bake for 25 minutes, maybe slightly longer depending on how thick your bacon slices are). 
1/2 cup chocolate chips, melted 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Dip candied bacon slices in melted chocolate and let come to room temperature while preparing the dough. If needed, stick them in the fridge for a few minutes. 

Cream butter, peanut butter and sugars together in the bowl of an electric mixer until fluffy – about 3-4 minutes. Add egg and vanilla, mixing until combined. Add flour, baking soda and salt, mixing until just combined and dough forms. Crumble bacon and fold it into dough. Drop tablespoon-sized dough balls on a baking sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Sweet Potato Beer Fries

Todd and I had a family business meeting tonight.  Seriousness.  

We discussed important things, like visiting Chicago in the summer and Michigan in the winter, going to lindy-hop events (Camp Hollywood505 Stomp, & ABQLX), paying for Bar exam prep courses (already!?), and LIFE goals (have you ever read Getting Things Done?).

To keep things interesting, I made sweet potato beer fries.  

They were good - sweet, salty, and great rosemary flavor.  The only problem was that they weren't crisp enough.  I figure I crowded my sweet potatoes too much...

Note: if you don't want to use oil, you could use egg whites to get the seasonings to stick.

Note 2: you might also experiment with broiling to finish off the fries.

Sweet Potato Beer Fries
From The Edible Perspective
3lbs sweet potatoes
1 bottle brown ale beer
3T olive oil
2 large garlic clove, minced
1 sprig rosemary, finely chopped
1t salt
black pepper

Preheat oven to 425.
Scrub potatoes.  Leave skins on and cut into fry-like shapes (thinner fries cook faster).
In a large bowl, soak the cut fries in one bottle of beer.  Let soak for 15 min, tossing 1-2x.
Drain beer and toss with olive oil, rosemary, salt and pepper, until well coated.
Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and lay fries on pan in a single layer.  Use two pans, if needed.  You don't want to layer your sweet potatoes.
Bake for 45 min to 1 hour (I did 1hr., 20 min.), tossing every 15 min.
Add more salt and pepper, as you wish :)

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Acorn Squash Stuffed with Quinoa and Herbs

But before this, came this - 

Packages = best mail ever, right?

Todd's parents have a tradition of giving the kids an ornament every Christmas, so that when they start their own families, they'll be set with a bunch of meaningful ornaments.  Since we put up a tree this year, Todd's mom sent some ornaments special to us!  Todd had fun unpacking them :)

Dinner tonight was acorn squash stuffed with quinoa and herbs.  

His & Hers:

Quinoa, which I believe smells like broccoli when cooked properly, is a complete protein that is also high in fiber and magnesium.  It looks a little like couscous, but it doesn't contain gluten. 

The dish comes together easily and has a lovely presentation, making it a great side dish to serve for company.

I might add that this meal went over really well, both on the blog where I found it and here - it's 9:30 p.m., Todd and I just got back from rehearsal for the gig tomorrow, and Todd is digging into the quinoa for round two - my pride is swelling ;)

Stuffed Acorn Squash with Quinoa and Herbs
From A Couple Cooks, serves four

2 large acorn squash (about 2 1/2 pounds each) or 4 small acorn squash
2 cups quinoa (white, red, or mixed)
1 pound leeks (we used 2 medium leeks, about 1/2 pound each)
1/4 cup fresh sage
1/4 cup fresh thyme
3 1/2 tablespoons olive oil (divided)
1/2 cup walnuts
Kosher salt
Fresh ground pepper

1 Roast the squash: Preheat the oven to 425°F. Cut each squash in half, and scoop out the seeds with a spoon. Drizzle 1/2 tablespoon olive oil over the cut side (or 1/4 tablespoon over each if you use 4 smaller squash) and season with kosher salt and fresh ground pepper. Place the halves cut side down on a baking sheet, and roast for about 20 to 35 minutes, until slightly browned and easily pierced with a fork. (The time will be less for smaller squashes; test with a fork after 20 minutes; if the fork doesn’t go all the way through, cook a bit longer.)

2 Make the quinoa: add two cups of quinoa to a saucepan then pour three cups of water on top.  Add a couple pinches of kosher salt.  Bring to a boil then cover and simmer for 15 minutes.  Take off heat and let sit for five minutes.  Fluff with a fork.

3 Prepare the fresh ingredients: Chop off the dark green stems of the leeks, then slice them in half length-wise. Place each leek half cut-side down on the cutting board, then chop it into thin slices (resulting in half-moon shapes). There will be dirt in between each layer of the leeks, so when you’ve finished chopping them, rinse them thoroughly in a colander. Remove the leaves of the thyme, and chop the sage leaves. If not already chopped, roughly chop the walnuts (we usually place them in a bag or towel and hit them with the back of a spoon).

4 In a skillet, heat 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil. Add the leeks, and saute about 4 minutes, just before they begin to brown. While you saute the leeks, toast the walnuts – place them in a small skillet and toast over low heat, until slightly browned. (Make sure to watch so they don’t burn!)

5 When the quinoa is done, stir in the sauteed leeks. Then add the fresh sage, thyme, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, and fresh ground pepper. Taste, and add more salt or pepper to taste, as well as a drizzle of olive oil if desired.

6 When the squash are done, spoon quinoa generously into each half. Top with walnuts and serve immediately.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Weekend in Pictures

Cake!  The band put on such an awesome show at the Rialto - the lead singer really engaged the audience, and they played a lot of our favorite songs.  Love the vibraslap!

Salad beast with apple cider vinegar, stone ground mustard, lemon juice, and freshly ground black pepper.

Big Love Season 5 available for download on iTunes!

Plan for the rest of the day includes errands, rehearsal for the lindy-hop performance next week, some law school stuff, and maybe a recipe... Have a wonderful Sunday!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Break time (for at least a few hours)

Hi Bloggies!  
I'm up early for body pump, and it's looking to be an amazing, exam-free day! 
Evidence exam was on Monday, so it's finally time to take down this beauty - 

 the Federal Rules of Evidence in flowchart format.  Todd graciously allowed me to decorate our house with it the entire semester =D

Agenda for the day:
- Body pump at the gym & cardio
- Fill out paperwork and get fingerprinted for internship next semester
- 2 writing assignments
- Dance practice tonight - sounds like we'll be swing dancing for a church performance next week...

Have a wonderful day, all!

Recent Finds:
Interpreting the Constitution in the Video Era (radio segment on Fresh Air)
Joy the Baker fried pickles - Lord, help us!
15 Hair Tutorials
Ladies Charleston Performance at Lonestar Champs

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Spaghetti Squash with Sausage

Oh yes.  This so happened.  After more than a year of marriage, my wedding dress is finally ready to be shipped off for a cleaning.  Who knew I'd feel such weight lifted off my shoulders? 

And then there was spaghetti squash.  How have I not told you about spaghetti squash?  It makes an appearance around here often as a simple meal for busy weeks.  Normally, we just bake it then add pasta sauce, but tonight we dressed  it up with sausage and cheese - so tasty without being over the top.  Todd thinks this dish would be better cooked with beer - maybe add some beer at the end then let it simmer...?  

Thought for the Evening:
The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, worry about the future, or anticipate troubles but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly. -- Buddha

Spaghetti Squash with Sausage
From White on Rice Couple, serves 3-4

1 Spaghetti Squash (@3lbs or 1365g)
2 T (30ml) Olive Oil (divided in two parts)
5 or 6 medium Shallots, thickly sliced
3 cloves Garlic, crushed or finely minced
3/4 lb (340g) uncooked Sausage (any kind you prefer)
1 c (60g) coarsely grated Parmigiana Reggiano
1 T finely chopped Oregano, or other complimentary herb to the sausage
Sea Salt and fresh Cracked Pepper to taste

Preheat Oven to 375°F.

1. Slice spaghetti squash in half lengthwise. (Use the tip of the knife to first pierce and get the cut started. Once you get the first cut started the rest of the squash should slice easily.) Scoop out the seeds and strands, then place cut side down on the prepared sheet pan.

2. Bake for 45 minutes, or until the squash flesh separates easily into strands with a fork. Finish loosening and removing the “spaghetti” from the shells and set aside.

3. Onto a large sheet of butcher paper or similar, pinch and pull small balls of sausage out of the casing, laying them so they stay slightly separate. Continue for all of the sausage.

4. Heat a large saute pan over medium heat. Heat second 1 T of olive oil in pan, then add shallots and garlic. Cook until soft, stirring every 30 seconds, then add sausage. Cook untouched until bottom side of sausage starts to brown, then stir. Continue cooking and stirring occasionally until the sausage is cooked through (@2-3 minutes depending on heat and size of sausage).

5. Add spaghetti squash strands to the sausage and continue cooking until heated (usually less than a minute.)

6. Remove from heat. Toss in Parmigiana Reggiano and oregano. Season with sea salt and fresh cracked pepper (remember the cheese will have a bit of “saltiness” to it already.) Serve immediately.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Spinach Pesto with Cremini Mushrooms

Our first Food for Todd creation turned out pretty well! I used cashews here, but next time I think I'll experiment with pistachios. 

Finals time is closing in for law students - only 2 weeks now! I'm striving for a productive evening over here, and if you're studying, too, here's some inspiration:

“Forget about likes and dislikes. They are of no consequence. Just do what must be done. This may not be happiness but it is greatness.” - George Bernard Shaw 

Spinach Pesto with Cremini Mushrooms
By Food for Todd

- 1 bunch spinach, stems removed
- About 3/4 cup roasted cashews (or walnuts or pistachios)
- 4-5 (or 6?) cloves garlic
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 boxes cremini (button) mushrooms, roughly chopped
- 1 bag farfalle pasta
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese 
- salt and pepper to taste
- lemon juice

In food processor, add spinach, cashews/walnuts/pistacios, garlic and process until smooth. Then, slowly add the 1/4 EVOO.

Cook your pasta. BAM!

While pasta is cooking, cook mushrooms in a large skillet over medium-high heat for about 10 minutes.

Drain pasta then add to mushrooms and toss. Add pesto on top. Add your cheese on top of that and mix. Add lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Okra Gumbo with Chickpeas and Kidney Beans

Okra Gumbo!  

Isn't okra the happiest looking vegetable?

I found this gumbo on Post Punk Kitchen, a vegan cooking and baking and blog.  Admittedly, it's good (mild, creamy, loaded with vegetables), but I think it'd taste better with some spicy pork sausage - would you try it and let me know? :)

Okra Gumbo with Chickpeas and Kidney Beans

Post Punk Kitchen
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup flour
1 medium sized onion, diced large
About 3 cloves garlic, minced
1 large red bell pepper, diced large
1-28 ounce can of diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon salt
Fresh black pepper
2 bay leaves
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
4 teaspoons thyme
2 1/2 to 3 cups vegetable broth at room temperature
2 cups okra (about 10 oz) sliced 1/4 inch thick or so
1 1/2 cups cooked kidney beans (a 15 oz can, rinsed and drained)
1 1/2 cup cooked garbanzo beans (a 15 oz can, rinsed and drained)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

First we’re going to make a roux, but it has a little less fat than a traditional roux, which means it doesn’t get as goopy. If you’d like a more traditional roux, just add 3 more tablespoons of vegetable oil. Okay, so, let’s proceed.

Preheat a large, heavy bottom pot over medium-low heat. The wider the pot the better, so that you have lots of surface area to make your roux.

Add the oil and sprinkle in the flour. Use a wooden spatula to toss the flour in the oil, and stir pretty consistently for 3 to 4 minutes, until the flour is clumpy and toasty.

Add the onion and salt, and toss to coat the onions completely in the flour mixture. As the onions release moisture, they will coat more and more. Cook this way for 5 minutes, stirring often. Add garlic and stir for 30 seconds or so.

Add the peppers and tomatoes and cook down for about 10 more minutes. If using cherry tomatoes, place a cover on the pot to get them to cook faster and release moisture. As the tomatoes break down, the mixture should become thick and pasty.

Season with fresh black pepper, add bay leaves, smoked paprika and thyme and mix well.

Stream in the 2 1/2 cups vegetable broth, stirring constantly to prevent clumping. Add the okra and beans, then turn the heat up and cover to bring to a boil. Stir occasionally.

Once boiling, reduce the heat to a simmer and let cook uncovered for 30 to 45 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the stew is nicely thickened and the okra is tender. If it’s too thick, thin with up to 1/2 cup vegetable broth. If it’s not as thick as you like, just cook it a bit longer.

Add the lemon juice, and adjust salt and pepper to your liking. Let it sit for 10 minutes. Remove bay leaves and thyme stems (if you can see them) then serve in a big, wide bowl.

Monday, October 24, 2011

White Bean Stew with Spicy Pork Sausage

Popping in with a quick and hearty recipe in anticipation of fall weather!  I adapted this recipe from Simply Recipes - omitting the bacon, adding more sausage, using canned cannellini beans instead of dried lentils to trim the cooking time, and seasoning with red pepper.

I think it's gonna be a homework night over here. xoxoxoxo
Can't wait for Albuquerque Lindy Exchange this weekend!!

White Bean Stew with Spicy Pork Sausage
Adapted from Simply Recipes

1 large yellow onion, chopped 
2-3 large carrots, diced
2-3 large ribs celery, diced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 can cannellini beans, drained
1.5 cups chicken stock
1/2 teaspoon dry thyme
1 bay leaf
3 spicy pork sausage sliced
1 teaspoon sherry vinegar (can sub cider vinegar)
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley, with a little extra for garnish
crushed red pepper (optional)

Heat a large, thick-bottomed pot (6 to 8 quart) on medium  high heat. Add the carrots, onions, celery, and cumin. Stirring frequently, scraping up the browned bits at the bottom of the pan, cook until softened, about 5-7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook a minute more, until fragrant.

While vegetables are softening, cook Italian sausage in a skillet.

Add the beans, stock, water, thyme, bay leaf. At this point add a teaspoon of salt and some pepper. You will season more to taste later. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook partially covered for about 15-20 minutes, adding in the Italian sausage at about the 10-minute mark.
Add sherry vinegar and parsley to stew. Add salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste (I also added crushed red pepper to the top of mine and really liked that).

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Erica's Baby Shower Menu

Congratulations, Erica!  I think all the ladies had a lovely time at the shower today, and Erica and Adam have some seriously awesome baby stuff!

Special thanks to the lovely Kate and Kadie for helping pull everything together at the last minute, And of course, my amazing husband Todd, who has been a major trooper, even waking up with me at 5:15 a.m. this morning after running 520 Swing yesterday night. 

Here are the details of what I made for the shower.  Enjoy!

Mary Quite Contrary Garden Salad
Pink of Perfection
10 ounces mixed greens
3 ounces blue cheese (my heart flips for for the cow’s milk Bleu d’Auvergne)
1 sweet and tart apple (like honeycrisp), chopped
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

Whisk together extra-virgin olive oil, cider vinegar, pure maple syrup, and mustard. Season dressing with coarse salt and ground pepper. In a large bowl, combine greens with apple. Drizzle dressing over and toss gently until leaves are thoroughly coated. Sprinkle with blue cheese and serve.

Miss Muffet's Lemon Curd
Honey and Jam
Makes 1 cup (240 g)
1/2 cup (125 ml) freshly-squeezed lemon juice

1/3 cup (65 g) sugar (or 1/2 cup, 100 g, if using regular lemons)

2 large egg yolks

2 large eggs
pinch of salt

6 tablespoons (85 g) unsalted butter, cubed

1. Place a mesh strainer over a bowl, and set aside.
2. In a medium saucepan, whisk together the lemon juice, sugar, egg yolks, eggs, and salt.
3. Add the butter cubes and set the pan over low heat, whisking constantly until the butter is melted.
4. Increase the heat and cook over moderate heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture thickens and just begins to become jelly-like. It’s done when you lift the whisk and the mixture holds its shape when it falls back into the saucepan from the whisk.
5. Immediately press the curd through the strainer. Once strained, store the lemon curd in the refrigerator. It will keep for up to one week.

Cream Scones
Honey and Jam
2 cups (10 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour, preferably a low-protein brand such as Gold Medal or Pillsbury

1 tablespoon baking powder

3 tablespoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

5 tablespoons chilled, unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch cubes

1 cup heavy cream

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 425°F.
2. Place flour, baking powder, sugar and salt in large bowl or work bowl of food processor fitted with steel blade. Whisk together or pulse six times.
3. If making by hand, use two knives, a pastry blender or your fingertips and quickly cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse meal, with a few slightly larger butter lumps. If using food processor, remove cover and distribute butter evenly over dry ingredients. Cover and pulse 12 times, each pulse lasting 1 second. (it definietly took me more than 12 pulses to get the rid sized butter bits!) Transfer dough to large bowl.
4. Stir in heavy cream with a rubber spatula or fork until dough begins to form, about 30 seconds.
5. Transfer dough and all dry, floury bits to countertop and knead dough by hand just until it comes together into a rough, sticky ball, 5 to 10 seconds. Form scones by pressing the dough into an 8-inch cake pan, then turning the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface, cutting the dough into 8 wedges with either a knife or bench scraper.
6. Place rounds or wedges on ungreased baking sheet and bake until scone tops are light brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Cool on wire rack for at least 10 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Butternut Squash and Caramelized Onion Galette
Smitten Kitchen
Click Here for Recipe!
Note: you can also use a bag of frozen butternut squash for this recipe, which will save you loads of time!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Baby Shower Baking

Some of the prep work for the baby shower tomorrow ... 

More food photos to come after the shower!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Baked Sweet Potatoes with Chili Beans

Hi bloggies!  Hope you had a great Wednesday!  Mine's been busy.  I'd like to think if I can just get through all the stuff due this week, things will be better, but I can't really see a breather at the moment :/

I have a new recipe for you!  Todd and I thought this recipe was good, but we're going to tweak it for next time.  For instance, the original recipe doesn't call for red pepper, but I thought it'd taste good with it as we were eating, so I added it then.  Of course, next time I'll just season the whole pot ;)  Also, make sure to add some red onions and avocado - we didn't do that, and we thought it tasted like it was missing something.


Slightly adapted from Sprouted Kitchen

4 Small Yams/Sweet Potatoes
1 drained can of pinto beans

1 drained can of black beans
1 Yellow Onion
2 Cloves Garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. Chili Powder
1 tsp. Cumin
1/2 tsp. Paprika
1 tsp. Salt
28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
Bunches and bunches of shakes of crushed red pepper (optional)
Chopped Red Onion
Sour Cream or Whole Milk Greek Yogurt

1. Preheat the oven to 400. Pierce holes in the sweet potatoes/yams, lightly wrap them in foil, and bake on the middle rack for about 45-55 minutes (or just cook potatoes in microwave.  We put out potatoes in the oven for 45 min, but since they still weren't done, we nuked them in the microwave to finish).
2. Thinly slice the onion. Over medium heat in a heavy bottomed pot, cook the onions and garlic until softened. Add the spices and the jar of tomatoes. Bring to a simmer and reduce for about 20 minutes while the beans finish cooking.
When the beans are cooked, drain and add them to the tomato mix, cook another 10 minutes for all the flavors to marry. Taste for salt and spices, add more if desired.
3. Split open the baked sweet potato/yams and create a little cavern down the middle. Fill the cavern with the chili beans and add toppings as desired.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Picnic in the Park

Todd and I went on a picnic in the park date yesterday!  We've been especially meaning to go on a picnic since we received some cool picnic gear forour wedding...

We hit up Trader Joe's for some snacks, including red wine salami, Gruyere, crackers, edamame, and apples.  Since we went hungry, we ended up with way more food than we needed ... I hope no one minds if I bring crunchy veggie sticks to the law library ;)

There was also some beer, per usual.  Ranger IPA for him and Fat Tire for her.


After eating, Todd and I strolled around for a bit then saw The Debt. I loved, loved, loved that movie.  It's suspenseful and a great story!  Admittedly, my eyes were covered for certain portions :)  

What was really scary, though, was the preview for Dream House.  I flipped out big time, like  I'm pretty sure people turned in my direction.  Still, l want to see it!? 

Todd and I are off to get in a leg workout and some cardio at the gym before dinner with Adam and Erica at the new Acaica for Arizona Restaurant Week.

Oh and check out my blingin' new hair accessory.  I got it Claire's!  Definitely forgot about that place when I turned 13 - thanks Cat for reminding me about it ;)

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Macadamia Nut Brownies

Oh, hai!  Todd and I have been having super productive day today!  

The lovely Katy R. and I gossiped over iced tea on the porch at La Encantada while the Mr. Food for Todd met up with a friend at Sparkroot downtown.  I also finished the last of the baby shower invitations!  I can't believe there's going to be a baby so soon!  Happy!

Then Todd and I did back and biceps at the gym.  Here's what it looked like:
Gravitron, 3 sets of 12
Bicep curl machine, 3 sets of 12
Low back machine, 3 sets of 12
High row, 3 sets of 12
Compound row, 3 sets of 12
Bicep curls with free weights, 3 sets of 12 on each side
Traps with free weights, 3 sets of 12
Bicep w/ EZ bar, 3 sets of 12

We also picked up some groceries, including the ingredients for these brownies.  I'm testing these brownies out to see how they work...  forgot to roast/toast the nuts beforehand, so that action will need to happen next time.  I also think I got a little overzealous with the stirring, as they turned out kinda crumbly - or at least I think that's why they turned out crumbly (I know that's why cornbread muffins can turn to crumbles).  Or maybe I let them cook too long.

Or, maybe, just maybe, it was not my overzealous stirring but rather our overzealous eating that caused us to nom these when we should have let them cool longer...

Macadamia Nut Brownies
From Cooking for Seven
  • 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
  • 2/3 cup butter
  • 2 cup sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup chopped roasted and salted macadamia nuts plus extra for garnish (optional)
1) Preheat oven to 350° F. Butter a 13×9x2-inch baking pan.
2) Melt the chocolate and butter in a large heavy bottomed saucepan over low heat, stirring frequently to make sure the chocolate doesn’t burn. Mix in sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Stir in flour, baking powder, salt, and nuts. Spread in pan. Sprinkle with remaining nuts.
3) Bake in preheated oven for approximately 30 minutes, or until the brownies begin to pull away from the sides of the pans. Do not overbake. Remove from oven and cool slightly. Cut into bars and serve warm or at room temperature. Store in an airtight container.
Makes approximately 24 bars

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Eggplant and Chickpea Curry

This dish is a winner in our book.  We tend to make a lot of curries, but this one stands out among them.  It's a nice compromise between super spicy and bland, and I really like the addition of eggplant.

Some of the prep ....

Once the eggplant is done roasting, making this goes by quickly.

So, I have a confession.  I may "make" a meal but I always seem to give Todd the most difficult assistant task ;)  Here he is peeling the eggplant ...

And can I brag about Todd a little more?  Here's how I found him one afternoon after coming back from the library! 

And one more picture for the road....

Eggplant and Chickpea Curry
Slightly adapted from Fat Free Vegan
1 large eggplant
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 red bell pepper seeded and diced
1 1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 minced garlic clove
14 ounces diced tomatoes (fire-roasted preferred)
2 teaspoons ginger paste
1/2 teaspoon cayenne or other hot red pepper (less or more, to taste)
15 ounces chickpeas (don't drain)
1/4 teaspoon curry powder

Preheat oven to 400F. Prick eggplant with a fork several times and place on a baking sheet. Bake for 40-45 minutes, until eggplant is sunken and soft all the way through. Remove from oven and set aside until cool enough to handle. Peel and chop the eggplant flesh.

Heat a non-stick skillet and then spray it lightly with vegetable oil. Add the onion and cook until it begins to turn golden. Add the bell pepper and cook for a few more minutes. Clear a spot in the center of the skillet and sprinkle the cumin seeds directly on the hot surface. Stir and toast them for about a minute, until they become fragrant. Stir them into the onions and peppers and add the coriander, turmeric, garlic, tomatoes, ginger paste, and red pepper. Add the eggplant and cook over medium heat, pressing eggplant with the back of a spoon to break up large pieces, for about 10 minutes. Add the chickpeas in their water, cover tightly, and turn heat to low. Cook for at least 15 minutes, stirring periodically, until sauce has thickened and flavors have blended. (You can hold this dish on low for up to 45 minutes while you prepare the rest of your meal, but add additional liquid as needed and don't forget to stir, scraping the bottom.)

Just before serving, add curry powder and salt to taste. 

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

G-Ma's Famous Mac and Cheese - This Time, With Beer

Todd snapped a pic of me on my way to my first class of 2L year!  Good morning, Evidence!  

(Do you see my yoga mat poking out?  I've got my schedule set so I can go 1-2x during the week to break up my day.)

And when I got home, Todd was pulling his grandma's famous mac and cheese out of the oven!  I'm such a lucky girl!  

We've made some slight modifications to the original recipe - we subbed flour for cornstarch and added ham, and beer (!).

Enjoy this everyone, and give your grandma a hug!

G-Ma's Famous Mac and Cheese, with Beer 
Serves 4, probably should serve 8
From Grandma McMullen

1 box of cooked elbow pasta

2 T butter
2 T flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp dry mustard
1/8 tsp pepper
2 full cups of milk, may just a splash more
1/2 can of beer (we used Epicenter, which tastes like Kiltlifter)
2 cups (or more!) sharp (extra sharp?) cheddar cheese
Pre-cooked ham cubes (enough)
Italian bread crumbs

In a small, heavy saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons of butter over low heat.
Blend 2 tablespoons of flour into the melted butter.
Add dry mustard powder, salt and pepper.
Cook over medium-low heat, stirring, for 4 to 5 minutes.
Slowly add the the beer, followed by the milk, stirring constantly.

Remove from heat and add the cheese.  Stir into cooked macaroni, then mix in ham cubes.  Pour into a casserole dish.  Sprinkle with bread crumbs.  Bake at 375 for 20 minutes.