Archive for January, 2011

citrus almond muffins

January 27, 2011

it’s citrus season. i love citrus season. i’m pretty sure my digestive system does too, especially while dealing with the blockage issues of pregnancy, but that is another post alltogether.

i found a recipe online for lemon almond muffins that made like fifteen dozen muffins. i didn’t want that many muffins and i wanted to use some of the other citrus i had lying around the kitchen and i wanted to use some cream (because hello, who doesn’t love things made with heavy whipping cream instead of milk?!?!), so i totally made up my own recipe. and it worked and everything.

next time, i might try joy the baker’s fancy idea of rubbing the zest into the sugar before mixing everything, but for now i’m pretty happy with the flavor of these muffins.

citrus almond muffins

for muffins:

½ cup butter, softened

1 cup sugar

1 tablespoon citrus zest (i used a Clementine and some of a grapefruit)

2 eggs

¼ cup heavy cream

¼ cup orange juice

1 ¼ cups cake flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

½ cup sliced almonds

 

for syrup:

3 tablespoons citrus juice (I used lemon and Clementine)

¼ cup granulated sugar

2 tablespoons brown sugar

2 tablespoons heavy cream

2 tablespoons butter

preheat oven to 400. cream butter and liquid ingredients. add in dry ingredients, being careful not to over-mix. pour into lined muffin tin and bake until set, about 15 minutes.

whisk together ingredients for syrup and bring to a boil, cooking down and whisking to a syrupy consistency (this happens in less than ten minutes). poke holes in the tops of warm muffins and spoon the syrup over.

shrimp, soup, and scones

January 24, 2011

my menu got switched a bit after doing the egg thing yesterday, so tonight i’m making the balsamic shrimp with soup and scones. for the scones, i’m using this recipe from last week, halved, minus the cheddar and bacon and double the chives. i am not actually making any soup; i am heating ferrer’s wild mushrooms soup and serving it with some shrimp. i am totally in love with the five of these soups that i have had so far; central market sells them for $3.99, and they are ridiculously tasty.

shrimp with balsamic reduction

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons honey

1 tablespoon butter

1/2 pound shrimp

2 cloves garlic, diced

salt and pepper to taste

in a small sauce pan, whisk vinegar and honey over low heat. whisking every two or three minutes, cook down until you get a syrupy consistency (all the recipes on the internet i found kept insisting this would take ten or twelve minutes. it took me closer to 30). set aside to cool.

in another pan over medium heat, melt butter. saute shrimp with garlic, salt, and pepper just until pink. serve hot with soup or salad with a simple vinaigrette, drizzling balsamic reduction over plate to serve.

sausage frittata

January 23, 2011

i don’t have a frittata pan. this makes me very sad. it did not, however, stop me from using a shallow, round casserole dish and my oven to make a frittata for brunch this morning. i served this with brabant potatoes, which are just cubed home fries that have been boiled for a couple of minutes before frying to get all the starch to the surface.

i have a sneaking suspicion that this would have worked much better with a really big, buttered parchment round stuck in, or maybe in a cast iron skillet. the sides of my casserole dish were quite eggy when all was said and done. also, i did not drain the sausage mixture when i made this dish; i added that step to the recipe because it would have been much nicer plating-wise if i hadn’t had to drain my completely cooked egg dish of sausage and tomato juice.

i also think this would have been nice garnished with some fresh torn basil.

sausage frittata (even though it’s not really a frittata because it’s so thick)

1/2 lb. italian sausage

1/2 small yellow onion, diced

4 large eggs

garlic powder

salt

pepper

3 oz fontina or fontinella (which is a little harder and stronger), diced

3 oz fresh mozarella, torn small

preheat oven to 375. brown sausage, onion, and tomatoes on stovetop until sausage is crumbly and cooked through and onions are translucent. drain on a paper towel and spread evenly in round casserole dish. in a small bowl, whisk together eggs, seasonings to taste (you won’t need much salt), and cheese; poor over sausage mixture. bake in oven until set, about 10-14 minutes. turn up to broil until golden brown, about 2-3 more minutes.

menu

January 22, 2011

i have to go grocery shopping on the weekends even though i don’t have a job because if i wait until monday, i don’t have the necessities to pack scott’s monday lunch on sunday night and i am NOT going to the grocery store twice. so here is my menu for next week. it’s all about what central market has on special this weekend. also, i only planned five dinners because i am unashamedly hoping sophie shows up some time this week. i am so damn pregnant.

sunday – balsamic shrimp w/ zucchini soup

monday – arroz con pollo

tuesday – shrimp pomodoro

wednesday – sausage frittata and brabant potatoes

thursday – sausage, basil, and tomato pizza

winner, winner, chicken dinner

January 20, 2011

me : do you want scones or garlic lentils with dinner tonight?

scott : yes please 😉

so i made these cheddar bacon scones, which will be nice to heat and send with scott for breakfast tomorrow, to go with thomas keller’s favorite chicken. i wish i’d had fresh thyme instead of ground, but whatever. for the lentils, i just covered about a cup of the little fellas with chicken broth, added four diced cloves of garlic and some salt, and let them simmer down to mushy town because scott likes his lentils really, really soft.

cheddar drop biscuits

January 19, 2011

after all my talk of protein, i baked two things today; a cake and some cheddar drop biscuits. these are a lot like the red lobster version, but i like mine better. there are a ton of variations on them all over the internet, but i really like the sharp cheddar and chives added. i also like fresh garlic in the brushed butter way more than garlic powder, but it’s a pain in the ass to dice garlic THAT fine.

2 cups flour

2 tsp. baking powder

½ tsp baking soda

¾ tsp. salt

½ tsp cream of tartar

1 stick unsalted butter, melted, plus 2 tablespoons, melted

1 cups buttermilk

¾ cup grated sharp cheddar cheese

2 tablespoons fresh chives

1 tsp garlic powder or 2 cloves garlic, very finely diced

preheat oven to 475.

mix together first five dry ingredients. in a separate bowl, mix together melted butter and buttermilk until clumps start to form. stir liquid mixture into dry ingredients slowly, just until dough starts to form and pulls away from the sides of the bowl. fold in cheese and chives.

drop by heaping tablespoon onto baking sheet lined with parchment paper (this recipe should make 13-14 biscuits). bake until tops are golden brown, or 13-15 minutes. while biscuits are cooling, melt remaining 2 tablespoons of butter with garlic. brush over finished biscuits to serve.

best. cake. ever.

January 19, 2011

with way too much time on my hands today, i decided to make the cocoa layer cake in this month’s issue of bon appetit. oh my god. this is the greatest thing i’ve ever put in my mouth. it is so rich and fluffy and perfect.

i am ashamed to say that this is the first time i have ever used cake flour instead of all purpose flour. i feel as if every attempt i’ve made at a baked good before today has been a half-assed waste of time.

also, when this recipe warns you that the cake is very tender, it is not fucking around. you WILL get this shit all over your hands. just lick it off and move on. the frosting will forgive the fingerprints.

Cocoa Layer Cake

10 servings
  • PREP TIME: 1 hour
  • TOTAL TIME: 3 hours (includes chilling time)

Recipe by Alice Medrich

February 2011

Ingredients

cake

  • 1/2 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder (spooned into cup to measure, then leveled)
  • 1 cup lukewarm water, divided
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 cups cake flour (spooned into cups to measure, then leveled)
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature, beaten to blend

frosting

  • 10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1 1/3 cups (packed) golden brown sugar
  • 1 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

special equipment

  • 3 9-inch-diameter cake pans with 11/2-inch-high sides

Preparation

cake

  • Position 1 rack in top third and 1 rack in bottom third of oven; preheat to 350°F. Butter three 9-inch-diameter cake pans with 1 1/2-inch-high sides. Line with parchment paper rounds; butter parchment. Whisk cocoa and 1/2 cup warm water in small bowl. Whisk buttermilk and 1/2 cup water in another small bowl. Sift flour, baking soda, and 1/4 teaspoon salt into medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat both sugars and butter in large bowl until pale yellow and fluffy (mixture will appear granular), about 5 minutes. With mixer running, gradually add beaten eggs, then beat until smooth and fluffy, about 15 seconds. Add cocoa mixture; beat to blend. Add flour mixture in 3 additions alternately with buttermilk mixture in 2 additions, beating to blend after each addition. Divide batter among pans (about 1 3/4 cups each).
  • Bake cakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean, reversing pans halfway through baking, about 18 minutes. Cool completely in pans on racks.

frosting

  • Melt butter in medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in sugar, cocoa, espresso powder, and 1/2 teaspoon (scant) salt. Gradually stir in cream. Stir until mixture is very hot and just begins to simmer at edges. Reduce heat to low; stir 1 minute to let flavors blend. Transfer to medium bowl; stir in vanilla (frosting will resemble chocolate sauce). Chill until just thickened, stirring occasionally, about 1 1/2 hours. Let stand at room temperature.
  • Run knife around cake sides. Carefully invert 1 cake onto plate (cake is very tender); peel off parchment. Spread with 1/2 cup frosting. Invert second cake onto palm of hand. Position cake 2 inches above frosted cake layer. Carefully slide cake onto first cake layer. Peel off parchment. Spread cake with 1/2 cup frosting. Repeat with third cake layer. Spread remaining frosting over top and sides of cake. Do AHEAD Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover with cake dome; let stand at room temperature.
  • Cut into wedges and serve.

atkins diet flashbacks

January 18, 2011

so because of a blogger friend of mine, i’ve been thinking about protein today.

almost seven years ago, i followed the atkins diet for a while. i was at my highest weight ever, and while i understand perfectly well that the first phase is not a healthy way to live your life, it totally kick-started my metabolism and helped me kick a pretty serious sugar addiction.

now that i’m good and pregnant, i’m really internalizing more about how diet and nutrition work. one of the biggest issues with pregnito nutrition is getting enough protein; lack of protein in your diet leads to higher blood pressure, increased morning sickness, lack of energy, etc. i’m pretty convinced that it’s not just lack of protein that contributes to these, either; it’s the fact that when you are NOT eating protein, you are PROBABLY eating carbs.

i know, i know, carbs are not the devil. i love freshly baked bread. i love potatoes. i love ice cream. but i’m really glad i had my little brush with atkins back in the day because it helps remind me how important it is to save those things for last. i could easily eat three or four slices of buttered toast. and then i would be full. but for the same amount of calories, i can eat some tuna fish salad and some fresh spinach and one piece of buttered toast, be equally full, and not go into diabetic sugar shock when all that white flour converts into bullshit in my body within a couple of hours.

so anyway, here are my most recent favorite ways to get more protein into my diet:

– condensed cream of tomato soup prepared with skim milk and a serving of sliced raw almonds (12 g protein, 3 grams fiber)

– cottage cheese sprinkled with flax seed (16 grams protein, 4 grams fiber)

– broccoli dipped in roasted garlic humus (8 grams protein, 4 grams fiber)

– greek yogurt with raisins (13 grams protein, 5 grams fiber)

– tuna salad on celery sticks (20 grams protein, 4 grams fiber)

granted, i’m still eating way more calorie-wise than i would be if i were not baking a fetus here, but this whole protein battle has been just that; i’ve had to add calories to my diet, and it is SO MUCH EASIER to add carbs than it is to add protein. finding new snacks to add to the mix each week has been extremely helpful, especially since this last stretch is the part where many more women develop complications due to poor nutrition.

menu planning

January 17, 2011

stolen idea from rebekah. i totally plan my menus each week, but at least once or twice every seven days, i get sidetracked or lazy or both and just end up eating out. it seems like if i write it down here (as opposed to on a grocery list that has already been thrown away), i will be more likely to stick to the plan.

sunday shrimp fried rice

monday seared salmon over squash with bearnaise

tuesday broiled rib eye over lentils with gravy

wednesday roasted chicken with yeast rolls

thursday rib eye chili

friday chicken and broccoli casserole

saturday JENG CHI, BITCHES! (it’s only my favorite chinese food ever. soup dumplings. yum.)

this menu planning is especially pointless because the fetus is ‘due’ to become a baby on wednesday. i’ve no doubt she’ll take after her father’s side of the family and be late for fucking everything, though. seriously, i’m sure i’ll have at least one more week of planned menus before i have to start cooking with a baby at the boob.

cheater, cheater, sauce mix eater

January 17, 2011

i am a lazy cheater today. i am making dinner WITH A SAUCE MIX. mostly because i don’t have any shallots or white wine for the béarnaise, and if i go get those things, i will use the parts i don’t need. this would not be a bad thing with the shallots. with my luck, however, i would go into labor after two glasses of white wine and then i would be exhausted. so the mix it is.

seared salmon with béarnaise over mixed vegetables

1 package bearnaise mix (or go make the recipe from martha stewart if you’re not a lazy bitch like me)

2 tablespoons butter, divided

1 cup scrubbed and cubed yellow squash and zucchini squash (leave the peel on. it’s pretty)

1 clove garlic, finely diced

one small lemon, cut in half

1/2 lb fresh salmon (2 filets)

salt, pepper, and fresh dill (finely chopped)

follow mix instructions on mix package and leave sauce over VERY LOW heat while finishing dinner. in one pan over medium heat, sauté squash and garlic in 1 tablespoon butter with salt, pepper, and dill to taste. remove from heat. sprinkle salmon filets with salt and pepper. in a second pan over medium heat, sear fish in remaining butter, two minutes per side (or more if you don’t like barely-done fish in the center). to plate, place a large scoop of veggies in a shallow serving bowl. top with salmon filet. spoon over sauce and top with fresh dill.

i might serve this with parmesan popovers. but only if i get my lazy butt out of the apartment for more eggs.