Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Maple-Roasted Root Vegetables

Root VegetablesThis was my second recipe from the veggie section of The Newlywed Kitchen Cookbook. I have to be honest, I have actually never bought or used sweet potatoes before even though I am a huge potato fan. The three root veggies used in this recipe were carrots, sweet potatoes, and parsnips. They were coated in oil and herbs and tossed in the oven to roast. I used two cookie sheets and set the oven to convection for even roasting. Unfortunately, some got a little toastier than others anyway.

I'm starting to think I need to plant another rosemary plant in my herb garden, I have been using it a ton this year and my poor plant is just about bare. I didn't use as much of it as I would have liked in this dish. The recipe called for sherry vinegar though I couldn't find any at the grocery store so I ended up using red wine vinegar that I already had instead.

The serving size was 8 to 10 for this recipe, much larger than past recipes I've made from the cookbook. There were plenty of leftovers. Other than some getting a little over-roasted, they turned out great. The little bit of sweetness from the maple syrup made me think this would be a good breakfast or brunch side dish.

Root Vegetables
Roasted Root Vegetables
Maple roasted root Vegetables with Sherry Vinegar

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Coconut Snowballs with DIY Cupcake Liners

Coconut Snowballs with DIY Cupcake LinersI finally made some cupcakes out of the cookbook I won off of twitter, Cupcakes! from the Cake Doctor. I had a bunch of leftover coconut from the Pina Colada Pancakes I made last month and already had some coconut milk so I had everything I needed for this recipe except the cake mix which is an ingredient in all the cupcake recipes in this cookbook. I thought this was a little strange, and still do. It's not a cookbook I would have ever bought. But I have it, so I might as well try a few recipes. The cookbook is all about turning ordinary cake mix into something different.

It turned out, cake mix wasn't the only thing I was missing. I was also missing cupcake liners. I could have sworn I still had some but I couldn't find any anywhere. I had planned to hold off on the recipe another week and get the liners the next time I went to the store but @slowdumbshow suggested I make my own using parchment paper. I gave it a whirl and they turned out just fine and they gave the cupcakes a little more character. The frosting was a simple whipped cream frosting with a bit of confectioners sugar. I shared them with Mark and brought some to work and the vanpool and everyone enjoyed them.

DIY Cupcake Liners
DIY Cupcake Liners Filled

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Loaded Otsu Noodles (Sesame Soba Noodle Salad)

Sesame Soba Noodle SaladI had the privilege of testing out one of Michael Natkin's (Herbivoracious) recipes. He is working on a cookbook and had sent a request for recipe testers over twitter. I was one of many that volunteered. I told him I was interested in cooking with new ingredients. I haven't done a lot of Asian cooking so this was a good one for me to try. I got most of the Asian ingredients at Uwajimaya in Bellevue. The only thing I couldn't find was an optional ingredient called "long pepper", primarily grown in Indonesia but can be found at some specialty spice stores. It kind of looks like an elongated pine cone. It was my first time cooking with eggplant and tofu. The recipe calls for frying the tofu in oil. Luckily I had a splatter screen. Even though I patted down the tofu to get rid of excess water, it still splattered oil like crazy.

Overall I was happy with the recipe and how it turned out. Since it's a cold salad dish, it would be perfect for potlucks. If you'd like to try the recipe yourself, he has it posted over on his blog. If you'd like to test one of the recipes before his cookbook is published, send him an email and he'll send you a recipe to try out. You could win a cookbook from the Harvard Common Press cookbook catalog for testing a recipe.

Asian Ingredients

Veggies Cucumber and Eggplant

Eggplant Slices

Loaded Otsu Noodles

Monday, November 15, 2010

Roasted Parmesan Broccoli with Toasted Bread Crumbs

Broccoli FloretsThis was my first recipe from Losing the Newlywed 15, Healthful Vegetable Side Dishes section of The Newlywed Kitchen Cookbook. I'm not really sure what is meant by that title and what the significance of 15 is. I didn't find any explanations and even Googled "Newlywed 15" and wasn't very successful in finding anything.

This was a pretty simple recipe compared to most others I've made from the cookbook so far. It makes for a great side dish. I prepared it with some panko breaded fish fillets. There was also toasted panko crumbs that topped the broccoli but I didn't find the addition of the topping to add much to the dish. There wasn't as big of a contract in textures as there was with the creamy mac & cheese dish. Instead of drizzling the oil over the broccoli I tossed the florets with the olive oil in a bowl to get more coverage and then sprinkled the toppings on before baking. It's a quick and easy side dish that I will probably make again.

Broccoli Spears
Roasted Parmesan Broccoli

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Taiwanese Beef Noodle Soup

Star Anise on RecipeThis was another recipe from the Comfort Food section of The Newlywed Kitchen Cookbook. This recipe contained lots of Asian ingredients that are most likely only found in Asian food stores. Mark and I took a trip to the Uwajimaya in Bellevue last Friday to shop for ingredients. We found almost everything needed for the recipe. I'm not all that familiar with Asian ingredients which made it a little difficult to find some things. The only thing I had to leave out of the recipe was the Szechuan peppercorns which I wasn't able to find. There was also some confusion on the soy sauce. Who knew there were so many different varieties? This recipe called for dark and light soy sauce. All soy sauce looks dark to me so figured. I made a bad assumption that everyday soy sauce was dark soy sauce. I could only find one soy sauce labeled as "light" and figured the soy sauce I had already was dark. I didn't find out until later it was the other way around. I picked up a few other soy sauces for another recipe I'm making for next weekend so I now have 4 different kinds. For the Chinese rice wine, I bought a bottle of cheap sake.

I made some beef broth the night before to use in this recipe. I didn't have any bones on hand so I went to Fred Meyer and asked if they had any beef bone scraps I could have and they packaged some up for me. I think I paid around $2.50 for a package. So I get everything all done for the soup and I take my pictures and am just about to sit down and eat and I smack my head realizing I forgot to add the noodles. How could I forget the main ingredient? The recipe calls for "Asian noodles" which is pretty broad. There are so many different varieties. I asked Lorna what she recommended and she mentioned some noodles at Uwajimaya that come in a refrigerated green package and are labeled as vermicelli. The noodles aren't dried so they only take a couple of minutes to cook. So I had some noodles ready to add to the soup in a jiffy and took a few more pictures before we dug in.

The soup was rather spicy, I'm guessing it was from the chile black bean sauce. I even added an extra cup of water to make it a little less spicy but that apparently wasn't enough. There were plenty of leftovers and I added more water to the leftovers to turn down the heat which made it just right.

I normally don't post recipes from cookbooks but I was given permission to post this one since it's posted on the internet already. So enjoy!

3 whole star anise, or 1/2 tsp ground star anise
1 1/2 tsp whole Szechuan peppercorns
2 to 4 small fres red chilies, seeded
2 Tbsp vegetable or peanut oil
3 lbs bone-in beef shank or short rib
8 cloves garlic, lightly smashed
5 slices peeled fresh ginger, cut 1/4 inch thick
5 green onions, cut into 4-inch pieces
3/4 tsp Chinese five-spice powder
3 Tbsp Chinese chili black bean sauce
1/4 Cup Chinese rice wine
1 small piece Chinese rock sgar
1/3 Cup light soy sauce
2 Tbsp dark soy sauce
6 Cups low-sodium beef broth
2 Cups water
1 bunch or more baby bok choy
3/4 lb Asian noodles, cooked and drained
2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish
Chinese chili oil, for garnish (optional)

1. In a cheesecloth, combine the star anise, peppercorns, and red chilies, and tie the bundle with a piece of string.

2. In a large heavy-bottomed pot or dutch oven, heat the oil over high heat until it is smoking. Brown the beef on both sides, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Add the garlic, ginger, and green onions to the oil and stir until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the five-spice powder, chili black bean sauce, rice wine, rock sugar, light and dark soy sauces, broth, and water, as well as the spices bundled in the cheesecloth. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to medium-low and cover. Simmer for 3 1/2 to 4 hours, until the meat is very tender and falling off of the bone.

3. Remove the meat from the pot and discard the bones. Cut the meat into bite-sized pieces. Strain the broth and discard the cheesecloth bundle, ginger, green onions, and garlic.

4. Cook the bok choy directly in the hot broth for 3 to 4 minutes, until tender. To serve, put a portion of the cooked noodles in each bowl and ladle the soup over the noodles. Add some of the beef and bok choy to the bowl, and garnish with a bit of cilantro and a dash of hot chili oil.

Soy Sauce Collection New Spices
Garlic and Green Onions Fresh Ginger To Be Bundled Rock Sugar
Browned Beef Shank Chopped Beef
Korean Style Vermicelle
Taiwonese Beef Noodless Soup
Taiwonese Beef Noodle Soup

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Four Cheese Mac and Cheese

Four Cheese StackThis is the recipe I've been waiting for. I've seen several people tweet about how good this dish is and I knew I had to try it. It was my first selection from the "Who Gets the Remote?" Comforting Meals for Lazy Nights section of The Newlywed Kitchen Cookbook. I've only made homemade mac and cheese a couple of times. LizzyDishes Stilton Mac and Cheese is my favorite and would be a hard one to beat.

The four cheeses used in this recipe are blue cheese, gruyere, parmigiano-reggiano, and mozzarella. I was able to find all four of them at Fred Meyer. I was thinking I might need to go to Whole Foods to pick some up, but I didn't. I am kind of wishing I had though. The quality of the cheeses there are so much better. The Stilton I got just did not smell right to me. I almost didn't use it at all but it tasted ok so I went ahead and used it anyway and it turned out fine. I think it would have been even better if I had used better quality cheeses though.

I almost made a double batch because I was hoping for lots of leftovers and the serving size listed on the recipe was 2-4. I ended up not since I didn't buy enough cheese for that. Probably a good thing because the recipe made just the right amount and we had lots of leftovers. One of my favorite elements was the topping of toasted panko bread crumbs. It added just the right amount of crunchy texture to each bite. I even brought the bowl of panko crumbs to the table so we could add more as we ate. I garnished it with a bit of varigated marjoram from my garden. I would have used chives but the chives in my garden aren't good for picking right now. I might have a new favorite mac and cheese. I'd like to try it again with some better quality cheeses though.

Peppered Bacon
Four-Cheese Mac and Cheese

Ranch Deviled Eggs

I found this recipe in the November, 2010 issue of Better Homes and Gardens. This recipe by Susan Asanovic won the Easy Appetizer Challenge. It puts a ranch flavored twist on the traditional deviled egg.

Have you ever made deviled eggs and not had enough filling to fill all the eggs? I know I have. This recipe has you add 4 of the egg white halves to the filling. I never even thought of doing that before, but it's a great idea and it worked well. There was plenty of filling left to also fill some tomato and jalapeno pepper halves. This recipe called for fresh tomatoes but I decided to roast mine in the oven for a little while before filling and they were my favorite of the three. I think the ranch dressing was a little too strong for my taste and I didn't even put the entire packet in the filling. I think half of a packet would probably be enough. I thought it was a fun recipe though and liked using the filling in the other vegetables. You can also find a printable recipe here.

Ready for FillingIngredients:
4 jalapeno peppers
4 small roma tomatoes, halved
8 hard-cooked eggs, peeled & halved
1/2 Cup plain Greek yogurt
2 Tbsp snipped fresh cilantro
1/4 Cup thinly sliced green onions
1 1oz pkg ranch salad dressing
3 Tbsp olive oil
4 garlic-stuffed green olives, sliced (optional)

1. Coat a small skillet with vegetable oil; heat over medium heat. Cook peppers for 5 minute, turning occasionally, until lightly charred. Cool.

2. Halve peppers; remove seeds and membranes. Scoop out tomato halves. Set halves aside.

3. Remove yolks from eggs and place in a medium bowl. Add 4 of the egg white halves to bowl; mash with a fork. Stir in yogurt, cilantro, green onions, dressing mix, and oil. Spoon mixture into halved jalapeno, tomatoes, and egg whites.

4. Cover and chill up to 8 hours. Top with olive slices, if you like. Makes 14 (2-appetizer) servings.

Ranch Deviled Eggs