January 31, 2011

Honey Cinnamon Whole Wheat Waffles with Southern Fried Apples

More waffles and the first of several recipes that use honey as a sweetener instead of sugar. If you can, use local honey as it is supposed to help with allergies. Local, fresh honey has a wonderful, rich flavor. Try it - I guarantee you can taste the difference from store-bought.

These waffles tasted like they were made with apples because of the cinnamon, but my mind was playing tricks. So what better topping than apples! These apples are quick and you can use as little sugar as you'd like.

Honey Cinnamon Whole Wheat Waffles
from King Arthur Flour adapted by Andrea's Recipes

1 1/2 cups (192 g) whole wheat flour, white or traditional
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg, beaten
1 1/2 cups (360 ml) buttermilk or lowfat yogurt
2 tablespoons honey, warmed
1/3 cup (75 g) melted butter

1. In a medium bowl whisk together the whole wheat flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.
2. In a small bowl stir together the egg, buttermilk, honey, and melted butter.
3. Add the buttermilk mixture to the flour mixture and stir just until combined.
4. Cook according to your waffle iron manufacturer’s directions. You can keep cooked waffles warm in a 250° F oven while making the rest, just lay them directly on the oven rack, and they will even crisp a little.

Southern Fried Apples
from Andrea's Recipes

3 Red Delicious apples, peeled, cored, and cut into 8 wedges
1 1/2 tsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp cinnamon sugar, or to taste (mix 1/2 c. sugar w/ 1 Tbsp. cinnamon)
1/2 Tbsp butter

1. Sprinkle lemon juice over the apples as you cut them to prevent browning.
2. Melt butter in the skillet and add apples. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Cook stirring over medium heat for about 5 minutes.
3. Cover and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook until apples are fork tender, but not mushy, about 15 minutes. Serve warm.

January 27, 2011

Greek Scrambled Eggs

I love eggs! This combination of ingredients is a favorite of mine. Feel free to add a variety of vegetables, like bell peppers or mushrooms. Eggs aren't just for breakfast...try this for a meatless dinner along side your favorite waffles.

Greek Scrambled Eggs

1/4 c. red onion, chopped
1/2 c. baby spinach, sliced
2 Tbsp. feta cheese, crumbled
4 eggs, beaten
salt and pepper
milk or cream

Beat eggs in a bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste and a splash of milk. Add feta cheese.

Melt a tablespoon of butter in a frying pan. Add red onion and saute until softened. Add spinach and saute just until wilted. Pour egg mixture over top and use a spatula to mix and scramble the eggs. Cook just until eggs are set.

January 25, 2011

One-Pan Dark Chocolate Chunk Skillet Cookie

My friend sent me this recipe (curse the day). Click off this post now if you don't want to be tempted. This recipe is so easy and yields gooey chocolate chip cookies quicker than a traditional cookie recipe. The suggested serving is warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream; I can't wait to try it that way.

After the cookie cools and firms up, cut up whatever leftovers there are into squares and store in an airtight container.

One-Pan Dark Chocolate Chunk Skillet Cookie
from Sophistimom

1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 egg
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup chocolate chunks

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt butter in an 8 inch cast iron skillet set over medium-low heat. Stir in sugars and vanilla and remove from heat. Let rest until pan is warm, but no longer very hot, about 5 minutes.

2. Crack an egg onto the butter and sugar mixture, and use a fork to whisk it well into the mixture. Place flour, baking soda, and salt on top, and very carefully stir into the mixture until smooth and well-mixed. Stir in chocolate chunks. Place in the oven for 15 minutes, or until starting to turn golden on the top and around the edges, but soft in the center. Serve with vanilla ice cream.

January 24, 2011

Sweet-Tart Orange Cranberry Bread

The tartness of cranberries paired with orange zest in this bread (or muffins) makes for a refreshing winter baked treat. I've tried this bread with dried cranberries, but I highly recommend fresh. Dried cranberries usually have added sugar, so the tartness is diminished, and they're not as juicy as fresh.

Sweet-Tart Orange Cranberry Bread
adapted from Recipes for IBS

3 c. flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 c. granulated sugar
2 Tbsp cornstarch
1 c. milk
1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
2 oranges, zested (2 Tbsp) and juiced (1/2 c.)
1/4 c. canola oil
1 cup chopped fresh or dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl sift together dry ingredients, and stir well with a wire whisk or fork to thoroughly blend. Set aside. In a small bowl combine vinegar and milk and set aside. In a medium bowl whisk together orange juice, zest, oil, and vinegar/milk mixture. Blend well. Stir cranberries into wet ingredients. Add wet ingredients to dry with a few swift strokes of a wooden spoon just until blended. Pour into non-stick loaf pan sprayed with cooking oil; smooth batter evenly with a rubber spatula. Bake for about 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted in to the center of the loaf comes out clean. Cool on rack.

For four mini-loaves: pour batter evenly between four greased mini-loaf pans. Bake for 25 minutes.

For a dozen muffins: pour batter into greased or paper-lined muffin tins, about a dozen. Bake for 18 minutes.

January 22, 2011

Simple Roasted Chicken

I've long considered myself a cookie expert. Whole chickens, turkeys, roasts - not so much. I cook them, sure, but haven't quite reached the point where I want to give others advice from my techniques. This recipe for a simple roasted chicken seems so failproof that I've started to gain a little confidence in my abilities. Or maybe it's just this recipe.

This chicken turned out very moist with a crispy, tasty skin. And it didn't require brining or any other lengthy preparation. Even trussing the bird wasn't hard after watching a tutorial. I will definitely be making this again. We ate some of the chicken as a main dish, then I shredded the remaining chicken for another meal, and last made chicken stock out of the remaining bones.

Simple Roasted Chicken
from Epicurious

One 2- to 3-pound farm-raised chicken
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons minced thyme (optional)

Unsalted butter
Dijon mustard

Preheat the oven to 450°F. Rinse the chicken, then dry it very well with paper towels, inside and out. The less it steams, the drier the heat, the better.

Salt and pepper the cavity, then truss the bird. Click here for a quick tutorial about how to truss a bird.

Now, salt the chicken by sprinkling about 1 tablespoon salt evenly over the chicken. Season to taste with pepper.

Place the chicken in a sauté pan or roasting pan and, when the oven is up to temperature, put the chicken in the oven. Roast it until it's done, 50 to 60 minutes. Remove it from the oven and add the thyme, if using, to the pan. Baste the chicken with the juices and thyme and let it rest for 15 minutes on a cutting board.

Remove the twine. Separate the middle wing joint. Remove the legs and thighs. Cut the breast down the middle and serve it on the bone, with one wing joint still attached to each. Slather the meat with fresh butter. Serve with mustard on the side and, if you wish, a simple green salad.

January 20, 2011

Sweet and Salty Brownie

I checked out an amazing new cookbook from the library called Baked Explorations by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito. They toured the country looking for classic baked goods (some are more regional) and then created a classic recipe, but usually with a twist.

Take brownies, for example. Of course, brownies are a classic American treat. In Baked Explorations, they take the brownies over the top with a subtle inner caramel layer and a sprinkling of salt on top. The end result is very familiar, but with more depth.

I didn't have fleur de sel and instead used Maldon sea salt, which is similarly very flaky. I'm not sure I could recommend any other types of salt as substitutes. Table salt is definitely out, and coarse sea salt or kosher salt is probably too chunky.

Carefully follow the instructions when making the caramel. I burned my first batch.

I love the singular title of brownie instead of brownies. Does that mean we're only supposed to eat one?

Sweet & Salty Brownie
from Baked Explorations by Lewis and Poliafito

For the caramel filling
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon fleur de sel
1/4 cup sour cream

For the brownie
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons dark unsweetened cocoa powder (like Valrhona)
11 ounces quality dark chocolate (60 to 72 %), coarsely chopped
1 cup ( 2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1 inch cubes
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
5 large eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

For the assembly
1 1/2 teaspoons fleur de sel
1 teaspoon coarse sugar

Make the Caramel
In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar and corn syrup with 1/4 cup water, stirring them together carefully so you don't splash the sides of the pan. Cook over high heat until an instant read thermometer reads 350 degrees F, or until the mixture is dark amber in color (keep a close eye on the caramel at all times, as it goes from golden brown to black and burnt very quickly), 6 to 8 minutes. Remove from the heat, and slowly add the cream (careful, it will bubble up) and then the fleur de sel. Whisk in the sour cream. Set aside to cool.

Make the Brownie
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Butter the sides and bottom of a glass or light colored metal 9 by 13 inch pan. Line the bottom with a sheet of parchment paper, and butter the parchment.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt and cocoa powder.

Place the chocolate and butter in the bowl of the double boiler set over a pan of simmering water, and stir occasionally until the chocolate and butter are completely melted and combined. Turn off the heat, but keep the bowl over the water of the double boiler, and add both sugars. Whisk until completely combined and remove the bowl from the pan. The mixture should be at room temperature.

Add three eggs to the chocolate mixture and whisk until just combined. Add the remaining eggs and whisk until just combined. Add the vanilla and stir until combined. Do not over beat the batter at this stage, or your brownies will be cakey.

Sprinkle the flour mixture over the chocolate. Using a spatula, fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until there is just a trace amount of the flour mixture visible.

Assemble the Sweet & Salty Brownie
Pour half of the brownie mixture into the pan and smooth the top with a spatula. Drizzle about 3/4 cup of the caramel sauce over the brownie layer in a zigzag pattern, taking care to make sure the caramel does not come in contact with the edges of the pan or it will burn. Use your offset spatula to spread the caramel evenly across the brownie layer. In heaping spoonfuls, scoop the rest of the brownie batter over the caramel layer. Smooth the brownie batter gently to cover the caramel layer.

Bake the brownies for 30 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the baking time, and check to make sure the brownies are completely done by sticking a toothpick into the center of the pan. The brownies are done when the toothpick comes out with a few moist crumbs.

Remove the brownies from the oven and sprinkle with fleur de sel and coarse sugar.

Cool the brownies completely before cutting and serving.

The brownies can be stored, tightly wrapped at room temperature, for up to 4 days.

Baked Note
Don't be tempted to add more than the amount of caramel called for in the recipe. If you build too much of a caramel layer, it more than likely will seep out and burn during baking. You can drizzle your leftover caramel on the brownie post baking if you are a caramel addict.

Brownies freeze well-allow the brownies to cool to room temperature. Wrap them in two layers of plastic wrap-wrap the brownies directly as opposed to wrapping a pan of brownies. Place them in the freezer.

When you are ready to defrost, remove them from the freezer and place in the refrigerator for 8 hours or overnight. Then remove them from the refrigerator and let them sit at room temperature for at least 1 hour. They should keep in the freezer for up to 1 month.

January 19, 2011

Carmelized Tofu with Brussels Sprouts

This recipe was one of the first I made from 101 Cookbooks. And because it was surprisingly super good, I trusted that anything else from the site would be just as good. I haven't been let down.

I'm not usually a tofu person, but this dish showed me that tofu can be delicious. My mom made it with the same results - she and my dad now eat this dish regularly. An idea from my mom (and one I have also tried) is to substitute shredded cabbage for the brussels sprouts.

Caramelized Tofu
from 101 Cookbooks

7 - 8 ounces extra-firm tofu cut into thin 1-inch segments (see photo)
a couple pinches of fine-grain sea salt
a couple splashes of olive or peanut oil
2 medium cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup pecans, toasted and chopped
3 tablespoons fine-grain natural cane sugar or brown sugar
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1/2 lb. brussels sprouts, washed and cut into 1/8-inch wide ribbons

Cook the tofu strips in large hot skillet (or pot) with a bit of salt and a splash of oil. Saute until slightly golden, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and pecans, and cook for another minute. Stir in sugar. Cook for another couple of minutes. Remove from heat and stir in cilantro. Scrape the tofu out onto a plate and set aside while you cook the brussels sprouts.

In the same pan (no need to wash), add a touch more oil, another pinch of salt, and dial the heat up to medium-high. When the pan is nice and hot stir in the shredded brussels sprouts. Cook for 2 - 3 minutes, stirring a couple times (but not too often) until you get some golden bits, and the rest of the sprouts are bright and delicious.

Serves 2 - 3 as a main, 4 as a side

January 17, 2011

Gingerbread Apple Upside-Down Cake

This cake is one of my favorites - fabulous for fall and winter. The apples, gingerbread cake, and caramel topping really are a perfect combination. I love it served warm, with or without the whipped cream. Deb at Smitten Kitchen surely knows how to do upside-down cakes; this is the second of hers I've posted recently.

I apologize for this photo - the coloring is all wrong.

Gingerbread Apple Upside-Down Cake
adapted from Smitten Kitchen

4 tablespoons butter, plus extra for greasing pan
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
Pinch of salt
2-3 apples (about 1 3/4 pounds), peeled, cored and cut into 1/4-inch wedges

1/2 cup (1 stick or 4 ounces) butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg
1/3 cup dark molasses
1/3 cup honey
1 cup buttermilk
2 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon

to serve: very softly whipped cream

Make the topping: Preheat the oven to 325°F. Grease a 10-inch cake pan. Melt butter in a small saucepan. Add brown sugar and simmer over moderate heat, stirring, four minutes, then swirl in salt. Remove from heat and pour into the bottom of your cake pan. Make circles of overlapping apple slices on top of the caramel. Chop any remaining slices and place them in the gaps.

Make the batter: Using a mixer, blend 1/2 cup butter and the sugar on medium-low speed. Increase the speed to high and cream until light and fluffy.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg, molasses, honey and buttermilk. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, ginger and cinnamon. Alternate mixing the flour and molasses mixtures into the butter mixture, adding the next once the last has been incorporated.

Pour the batter into the pan. Bake at least 45 to 50 minutes or until a wooden tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Let cool on a rack for 10 to 15 minutes, then turn out onto a platter.

Serve warm or cool with very softly whipped cream.

January 15, 2011

Focaccia alle Erbe

A few friends and I used to have a cooking club. We would meet about once a month and spend the good part of a day making our favorite recipes. I really enjoyed it, but we all got busier and the club disbanded. This focaccia bread recipe is the one shared recipe I still make regularly. Since it makes so much, I cut up the leftovers into large squares, wrap each piece in plastic wrap and foil, and then put the pieces in a ziploc bag to store in the freezer. Then I can pull out one large square, heat it up in a 400 F oven, cut it into serving sizes, and eat it hot with a meal. This bread really tastes best hot and crispy.

This time was my first to make focaccia with fresh herbs. If you don't have them on hand, go ahead and use dried as both work fine.

Focaccia alle Erbe
from Ingrid T

2 1/2 tsp. active dry yeast
1/2 c. warm water (105-115 F)
1 1/2 c. milk
6 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
5 c. (1 1/2 lb) unbleached all-purpose flour
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. chopped fresh thyme or 1/4 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary or 1/4 tsp. dried rosemary
1 tsp. chopped fresh sage or 1/4 tsp. dried sage
coarse salt to taste

In a small bowl, sprinkle the yeast over the warm water and let stand until creamy, about 5 minutes. Stir until dissolved. Add the milk and 4 tablespoons of the olive oil and stir to combine.

In a large bowl, using a wood spoon, stir together the flour, salt, thyme, rosemary, and sage. Add the yeast mixture and stir until a soft dough forms, about 2 minutes. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. Shape it into a ball.

Oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl, and turn it once to coat the top. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rise in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.

Oil a 15x10x1-inch jelly-roll pan. Punch down the dough, transfer to the prepared pan, and flatten it out with your hands to cover the bottom completely. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise again in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.

Preheat an oven to 450 F.

Using your fingertips, press down firmly into the dough to make dimples about 1 inch apart and 1 inch deep. Drizzle the entire surface with the remaining 2 tablespoons oil and sprinkle with the coarse salt.

Bake until golden brown, 25-30 minutes. Slide the focaccia onto a wire rack to cool completely. Cut into squares to serve.

January 14, 2011

Spiced Persimmon Shake

Besides trying new dishes like Palak Paneer, I've been adventurous in trying new fruits. I was at a produce market when I spied persimmons. Having never tried one before, I bought two. After searching for some recipes, I settled for this simple shake. It wasn't the best thing I've ever slurped, but it was decent. The spice combination was just right. It was a good introduction to this uncommon fruit.

Spiced Persimmon Shake
Cooking Books

1 completely ripe hachiya persimmon
1/8 teaspoon garam masala
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon maple syrup
Milk to just cover
Ice, if desired

Cut the persimmon in half and scrape the pulp out of the skin and into the bowl of a blender. Add the rest of the ingredients and blend until smooth.

January 11, 2011

Palak Paneer

I don't go to restaurants often; I've never developed the habit. My parents didn't go out to eat much, and even less with us kids. Then for almost my whole adult life, I've been living the student lifestyle, and so I still don't go out to eat very often. My husband is not too adventurous, so when we do go out, he likes to make sure he can order a good steak or ribs. All this is to explain why I haven't had many international food experiences.

My current boss is a restaurant-aholic, and a group of us sometimes go out for lunch. I have to go, right? A few months ago we went to a nice Indian buffet. Hands down, my favorite dish was palak paneer. Primarily made of spinach, this dish somehow tastes like dessert to me!

I did a cursory search online and found out paneer cheese is pretty easy to make. Fresh cheeses, like paneer and ricotta, are actually all very similar. The main difference is that paneer is pressed to get out more liquid than ricotta.

This is the second recipe I've made of palak paneer, and this one pretty closely resembles the dish I had at the buffet. It probably should be supplemented with naan, but instead I ate it all by itself for several heavenly meals.

Palak Paneer
from Indian Simmer

1 pound fresh green spinach
8 oz packet of paneer cut into cubes (or try making your own, see below)
1 cup red onion, chopped
1 cup tomato, pureed
3-4 cloves garlic
1 1/2 inch ginger
2-3 thai green chili
1 tsp fennel seeds
3-4 cloves
1/4 cup heavy cream or 2 tbsp sour cream
2 tbsp coriander powder
1 1/2 tsp curry powder
3 tbsp olive oil/cooking oil

Boil spinach in a big pot adding fennel seeds and cloves to it. Drain and reserve water for later. Let the spinach cool and blend it in a blender, still leaving it chunky.

Grind onion, ginger, garlic and thai chili making a thick paste.

Heat oil in a medium sized pot and add the ground paste of onion, garlic and the other ingredients.

Cook everything until the paste starts changing color from light pink to darker pink and then slowly towards golden. Then add salt.

Stir for a minute until the onion starts losing some oil. Then add coriander powder and curry powder.

Mix it all together and add pureed tomato.

Cook everything until the paste is thicker and all the liquid from the tomato is cooked. Add the pureed mixture of spinach, fennel seeds and cloves.

Turn the heat to low and continuously stir for a minute or two. Cover the pan with a lid to let it cook. If the gravy is too thick, add a ladle or two of the saved boiled water from the spinach and then cover the pan.

In a separate sauce pan boil salted water, turn off the heat and add the paneer cubes. Let it stay in hot water for 2-3 minutes while the curry is being cooked. This helps drain all the excess fat from the cheese making it softer.

Add cream or sour cream to the spinach curry. Mix well. Drain paneer cubes from the salt water and add it to the gravy. Give the mixture one quick boil and serve.

January 10, 2011

Sparkling Cranberries

I've been thinking about these cranberries for over a year. I saw them on 101 Cookbooks and have been waiting for the right time to try them. I don't know why now was the right time, but it was.

Not only do these look beautiful, they are so fun to eat! The tartness of raw cranberries is definitely tempered by the sugar. I ate some plain and along with some chocolate chips.

For Christmas, my sister gave me a few props to help stage photos for my blog. Thanks to her, these cranberries look so elegant in this setting.

Sparkling Cranberries

from 101 Cookbooks

2 cups cranberries, rinsed and picked over
2 cups water
2 cups sugar (raw cane, real brown, granulated sugar, or a mixture all work)
More sugar for coating (something with a small grain, like granulated)

Place the cranberries in a medium glass bowl and set aside.

Make a simple syrup by bringing the water and sugar just to a simmer in a medium saucepan. Let the syrup cool for a couple minutes and then pour it over the cranberries. If the syrup is too hot the cranberries will burst, so be careful. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

The next day, drain the cranberries and toss them with larger grained sugar until they are well coated. Use a scoop of sugar at a time, and small batches of cranberries, so the sugar doesn't get too damp. Place the coated cranberries on a baking sheet to dry for a few hours.

Do a second toss with the regular granulated sugar, this typically takes care of any sticky spots on the cranberries. Let dry another hour.

Makes 2 cups of sparkling cranberries.

January 8, 2011


For some reason I was craving Asian food this week, and made four dinners containing soy sauce! Besides soy sauce, Asian cooking can be a great way to add more vegetables to meals.

Bibimbap is a Korean dish that means mixed bowl. Often served in a heated stone bowl, rice goes on the bottom, and then various vegetables, meat, a fried egg and a spicy sauce are arranged on top. It's quite pretty! Then you mix it all together and eat it. Yum.

The flavor comes primarily from the sauce - kochujang. I wanted to go to an international grocery store and get some, but that hasn't happened yet. So I made my own. I'm not really sure what authentic kochujang tastes like, but my concoction worked quite well. I did have miso in my fridge (it was the first time I've bought it), which I got a bit ago at Whole Foods. I've used miso in several dishes and have actually grown to love the flavor. So if you don't have miso or kochujang, you'll have to come up with some other tasty sauce to make this work.

This dish is very flexible and is great for using up odds and ends from your fridge. I used bok choy, carrots, bean sprouts, cucumber, and pork.


1 Tbsp soybean paste or miso (can be omitted if unavailable - but will change the taste)
3 Tbsp finely ground red chile pepper
1 teaspoon sugar
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon roasted sesame seed oil
water as needed

Mix all together and add water until desired consistency is reached. The sauce should be thick, but able to be distributed when mixed into the bibimbap.

UPDATE 4/18/11: I went to an awesome international grocery store and found Korean red chile paste. Here's a recipe for Kochujang using the paste instead of miso and red chile pepper:

1 tbsp Korean hot red chili paste
1 1/2 Tbsp chicken stock
1 tsp sugar
1 1/2 Tbsp sesame oil

Combine all ingredients.

adapted from J3ss Kitch3n

serves two

at least 3 vegetables: cucumbers (julienned, don't blanch), carrots (julienned), bean sprouts, mushrooms (sliced), spinach, zucchini (julienned)
1 chicken breast, cut into thin strips or pork tenderloin, sliced thinly
2 servings hot steamed rice
1 onion (cut into thin slices)
1 clove garlic, minced
2 eggs
dollop of kochujang

Meat Marinade
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp crushed garlic
1 1/2 tsp sesame oil
pinch of black pepper
2 tsp corn meal

Combine marinade ingredients in a bowl and add the cut chicken or pork. Let sit for 15 minutes.

Bring a medium saucepan of water to boil. Add each vegetable separately and blanch for a minute or two (test one piece to ensure cooking time is correct). Scoop out with a slotted spoon and immerse the vegetables in ice water. Remove from ice water and set aside. Repeat with each vegetable.

Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a frying pan and fry the minced garlic and onion slices until fragrant. Add the marinated chicken or pork over medium heat and stir-fry until well done, 5-7 minutes. In the same frying pan, add more oil and add the eggs, one at a time if the pan is too small. Fry until set.

Add a serving of hot rice to a bowl, and arrange the vegetables and meat on top. In the middle, add the fried egg and a dollop of kochujang. Repeat in the second bowl.

Serve immediately.

January 6, 2011

Steak Salad with Orange-Honey Dressing

Winter is citrus time! I especially love eating clementines in the winter. I needed a quick meal and had some steak and clementines, so I decided to make this salad from the latest Everyday Food magazine. As always, good dressing usually makes the salad, and this combo of orange juice and honey worked well.

This recipe is for one, so make sure you increase quantities if more than one person is going to eat it.

Steak Salad with Orange-Honey Dressing
from Everyday Food

serves one

1 1/2 tsp. olive oil
1 eye of round steak, fat trimmed (4 ounces)
coarse salt and ground pepper
1 medium orange, peel and pith removed
1 Tbsp honey
1 small heart romaine lettuce, coarsely chopped
2 Tbsp thinly sliced red onion
1 small carrot, shaved with a vegetable peeler

1. In a small skillet, heat 1/2 tsp oil over medium-high. Pat steak dry; season with salt and pepper and cook until medium-rare, 6 minutes, flipping halfway through. Transfer to a cutting board and let rest 5 minutes. Thinly slice against the grain.

2. Working over a medium bowl, cut out orange segments, then squeeze 1 Tbsp juice from membranes. Whisk in honey and 1 tsp oil; season with salt and pepper. Add lettuce, onion, and carrot and toss to combine. Transfer salad to a plate and top with steak.

January 4, 2011

Lemon Olive Oil Cupcakes with Rosemary

I've seen rosemary trees at the grocery stores for a few years now. This year, I finally bought one and am so excited. It smells lovely and I've already used it in several recipes. I just hope I can keep it alive.

These cupcakes are very lemony, so if you don't have lemon extract, just leave it out. The rosemary adds a faint flavor, but, as is my reaction with anything with fresh herbs, it adds a freshness.

I was excited to try out my new jumbo silicone muffin cups. The cupcakes popped right out.

Lemon Olive Oil Cupcakes with Rosemary
from The Creative Pot

1 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup olive oil
3 large eggs
2 cups cake flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/2 tsp lemon extract
2 sprigs of rosemary, finely chopped

For the icing:
1/4 cup cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
1-1/2 cups icing (confectioner's) sugar
1 or 2 sprigs of rosemary, finely chopped
zest of one lemon (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350. Combine sugar and olive oil in a mixing bowl and beat until light and creamy.

2. Add eggs one by one, beating after each addition.

3. Sift dry ingredients together, then add bit by bit to the egg mixture, alternating with the lemon juice. Stir well to combine.

4. Add lemon extract and rosemary and stir through.

5. Line a 12-cup muffin tray with cupcake liners and divide the batter evenly amongst the liners.

6. Bake for 20 minutes or until lightly golden on top. Remove from oven and allow to cool on a wire rack.

7. Beat all the icing ingredients together until smooth, then use to frost cupcakes. Sprinkle lemon zest on top, if using.

January 2, 2011

Greek Dip with Pita Chips and Hummus

This appetizer is the best of Greek flavors and vegetables in an irresistible dip with homemade pita chips. I thought this was a fresh and fairly healthy way to start off the new year.

I also included a simple hummus recipe that I used instead of buying pre-made.

7-Layer Greek Dip
from the Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook, adapted by Our Best Bites

1 8-oz. package cream cheese, softened
1 tsp. dill weed or Greek seasoning
3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
2 tsp. lemon juice
1 1/2 c. hummus (see recipe below)
1 c. seeded, diced cucumbers
1 c. seeded, diced tomatoes
1/2 c. chopped Kalamata olives
1/3 c. chopped green onions (about 3 green onions completely chopped)
1/2 c. crumbled Feta cheese
1/8-1/4 c. minced fresh parsley

With an electric mixer, combine the cream cheese, seasoning, garlic, and lemon juice until light and fluffy. Spread in the bottom of a pie plate or a small, shallow baking dish. Then spread a layer of hummus. In order, create layers by sprinkling the cucumbers, tomatoes, olives, onions, Feta cheese, and parsley. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 2 hours. Serve with pita chips, fresh vegetables, and/or flatbread.

Pita Chips

pita bread
olive oil

Separate the bottom and top halves of the pita bread with a knife. Using kitchen shears, cut pita bread into pieces. Spread chips on a baking stone or cookie sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Use a pastry brush to evenly spread the oil on each chip. Lightly sprinkle with salt. Flip the chips over and repeat with olive oil and salt. Bake at 400 for 15-20 minutes, flipping chips halfway for even crispness. Watch the chips carefully, as they brown quickly at the end.


1 can chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans)
1/4 cup tahini (or substitute sesame seeds)
juice of 1 lemon
1 clove of garlic
1/2 tsp cumin
olive oil
warm water

Drain and rinse chickpeas. Add everything but water and oil to the processor and slowly blend in the liquids as you whirl. Taste, add more seasonings as desired. Process until smooth.