Sunday, November 29, 2009

Becky: Iron Chef Blogger Challenge Cranberries

Coconut and Cranberry Cookies

1 cup butter, softened
scant 3/4 cup superfine sugar
1 egg yolk, lightly beaten
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut
1/2 cup dried cranberries

1. Preheat the oven to 375F/190C. Line 2 cookie sheets with baking parchment.

2. Put the butter and sugar into a bowl and mix well with a wooden spoon, then beat in the egg yolk and vanilla extract. Sift together the flour and a pinch of salt into the mixture, add the coconut and cranberries, and stir until thoroughly combined. Scoop up tablespoons of the dough and place in mounds on the prepared cookie sheets spaced well apart.

3. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until golden brown. Let cool on the cookie sheets for 5-10 minutes, then using a metal spatula, carefully transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

I got this recipe from my sister-in-laws cookie cookbook, 1 Dough, 100 Cookies by Linda Doeser. Originally I was going to make cranberry and orange muffins, but after taking off to my in-laws house for Thanksgiving in a hurry, I realized halfway up that I forgot to take the orange peel that I bought with me, along with my recipe. Rather than turn around, my sister-in-law let me use her cookbook and I thought that these cranberry coconut cookies looked delicious so I decided to give them a try.
The only thing I changed about this recipe was the coconut. Instead of the unsweetened coconut I used sweetened because that was all I could find. I'm sure the cookies tasted a little more sweet than they were supposed to, but the cookies still came out absolutely delicious. Even my husband, who does not like cranberries, liked the cookies, along with the rest of his family. They were absolutely addicting too. You definitely could not eat just one. Let me tell you though, after eating these cookies, I will definitely be working out tonight! Definitely not the healthiest cookie seeing as though they required 2 whole sticks of butter!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Becky: Iron Chef Blogger Challenge Coconut Milk

Note: Becky is one of our Iron Chef Bloggers who will be guest blogging on Two Friends Cook.

Indonesian Coconut Chicken

2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
2 tsp. ground cumin
2 tsp. ground coriander
1/2 tsp. ground fennel
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 lbs. chicken drumsticks
2 medium onions, finely sliced
1 cup coconut milk
1 cup water
1 Tbs. lemon juice
1/4 cup scallions, sliced, for garnish

In a small bowl, combine the garlic, salt, pepper, cumin, coriander, fennel, and cinnamon. Rub the mixture all over the chicken drumsticks. Place the chicken, any leftover seasoning mixture, onions, coconut milk, water and lemon juice in the Crock-Pot slow cooker. Cover; cook on Low 6 to 8 hours (or on High for 3 to 4 hours). Garnish with scallions.

I got this recipe from The New Creative Crock-Pot Cookbook, by Robin Taylor Swatt. Part of the reason why I chose this recipe was because it sounded easy to make, plus most of the ingredients I already had on hand. The only things I needed to buy were the onions, the chicken, the coconut milk and the scallions. Another reason why I chose this recipe is because I thought not only would I like it, but my husband would like it as well. He's a pretty picky eater, but he does like Asian cuisine. The fact that this recipe was Indonesian also sparked my interest seeing as though me and my family may be moving there for a couple of years sometime in the future because of my husband's job. I thought it would be fun to taste one of the recipes that Indonesia has to offer.
I ran into a couple problems shopping for the ingredients. For one thing, I could not find a 2 lb. package of chicken drumsticks. The closest I could find was only 1.75 lbs. I didn't think it would make that much of a difference, but in the end it became a small problem because we were still hungry after dinner! I also could not find scallions. Neither the produce section nor the Asian food aisle had them, so I ended up doing without. Also, when I got home I realized that the coriander and fennel I had were not ground. I mixed them up anyways and them tried to grind the spice mixture in the blender, but it didn't make much difference. Also, there wasn't nearly enough of the spice mixture to evenly coat all of the drumsticks.
I prepared this dish early in the morning, so I chose to cook the chicken on Low instead of High. In my experience with crockpot cooking, I've found that the food typically tastes better if it's cooked on the Low setting anyways. All in all, I was satisfied with this recipe. The chicken was both spicy and sweet at the same time, if that makes sense. The cumin and coriander made it spicy, but the coconut milk and the cinnamon balanced it out. One thing that I like about crockpot cooking is that the meat always seems to just fall off the bone, and this was no exception. I gave a little piece to my daughter, and after that first bite she seemed a little skeptical. I thought maybe it was too spicy for her, but the next thing I knew she was chowing down faster than I could get the pieces of chicken on her high chair tray, so I think it's pretty safe to say that she was a fan. My husband also said it was delicious, but thought that there was too much onion.
If I ever make this dish again, I think I will take the time to buy ground fennel and coriander, because every once in awhile I would bite on a coriander seed and it was just too much spicyness. Also, I don't think the recipe needed quite as much onions. I think just one sliced onion would've been fine. But all in all, I give it a thumbs up. I just wished that there was more. Usually I'm often left with leftovers when I cook but that was not the case this time.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Wednesday Night Dinner: Stuffed French Bread Pizza

Pizza is definitely one of my favorite foods. It's also one of those foods that comes in a million different ways, usually all delicious. For this week's Wednesday night dinner, I decided to go with a French bread pizza and found this Rachael Ray Super Stuffed French Bread Pizza recipe. I didn't want to deal with all of those ingredients, not to mention, make dinner a little cheaper, so I adapted the recipe a little bit. It was pretty delish, and came together easily and quickly.

Stuffed French Bread Pizza
1 loaf of French bread
4 Italian sausages
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 bell pepper, diced
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 big can of crushed tomatoes
1 small can of tomato sauce
olive oil
salt and pepper
Italian seasonings
1 package of shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Cut loaf of French bread into quarters and hollow it out.
Throw crushed tomatoes and tomato sauce with minced garlic, salt and pepper, and Italian seasonings into a pot and let simmer for 15 minutes.
Remove sausage from casings and crumble. Throw a few tablespoons olive oil into skillet over medium high heat. Cook diced onions until translucent then add sausage. Brown sausage then add bell pepper and cook until tender.
Stuff bread with sausage mixture, pour marinara sauce over mixture, then top with mozzarella. Put into oven and bake till cheese melts and bread is crisp.
Serves 4-5.

Carrie: Iron Chef Blogger Challenge Coconut Milk

I was the lucky blogger who got to choose the ingredient for Week 2 of our Iron Chef Blogger Challenge. After last week's adventure searching for rhubarb, I decided to select an ingredient that I thought would be relatively easy to find. I also wanted something that was versatile and inexpensive. After much back and forth on ingredients, and much cooking blog browsing, I settled on coconut milk. It's an ingredient that I grew up around, as my mom often used it in her cooking. I, however, have never cooked with it myself. I also didn't create a rule, but instead told everyone they should try and challenge themselves with the recipe. I took my instructions to heart and decided to try and find a recipe that would require baking.

Maybe you've noticed, but I don't bake very often. Sarah Michelle is clearly the baker of the two of us. I don't mind baking once I'm doing it, but it always seems like such a production that I'm just not willing to get into. It makes a horrible mess of my kitchen and I don't have enough counter space and really, I don't even eat baked goods so they also tend to just sit around waiting for other people to eat them. So baking was my challenge.

I found this coconut scone recipe on Baking Bites. I always thought scones should be this really difficult thing to make, and actually, it was a breeze! The scones were delicious and everybody who ate one agreed. The best part? I felt like a baking rock star afterward. The only thing I would change is that I would add a little more shredded coconut, maybe 3/4 of a cup.

Coconut Scones (from Baking Bites)
2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
6 tbsp butter, chilled and cut into pieces
1/2 cup sweetened, shredded coconut
approx. 1/2 cup coconut milk

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Add butter and toss to coat.
Using your finger tips, rub the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles very coarse sand. A few larger bits are ok, but most should be smaller than a pea. Stir in shredded coconut.
Add in about 1/3 cup of coconut milk and stir into dough with a fork. Add remaining coconut milk as needed until dough comes together into a shaggy ball. Knead lightly with your hand until dough is smooth.
Divide dough in to two balls and press each into a disc about 1/2-inch thick on prepared baking sheet. Cut each disc into quarters and separate slightly.
Bake for about 15 minutes, until scones are a light golden brown on top.
Cool on a wire rack before serving.
Makes 8.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Sarah: Iron Chef Blogger Challenge #2 Coconut Milk

Thai Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce and Cilantro rice

2 lbs white meat chicken, cut into 1 inch strips
Bamboo satay sticks
2 cloves garlic
1 tbsp curry powder
1 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp butter
3 tbsp light cream
1/2 c. coconut milk

1. Mix last 7 ingredients together. Add chicken. Marinate for at least 2 hours.

2. Skewer chicken. Broil until cooked, basting from time to time.

Peanut Sauce

1 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp peanut butter
1 1/2 c. coconut milk
1 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tbsp curry powder
Dash chili hot sauce

1. Mix all ingredients together.

Cilantro Rice

1 cup long-grain white rice
coarse salt
1/2 cup fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 garlic clove

1. Bring 1 1/2 cups of water to boil. Add rice and 1/4 tsp of salt. Cover and reduce to a simmer. Cook until all water is absorbed (about 16-18 minutes).

2. In a blender combine all other ingredients and 2 tablespoons of water. Blend until smooth. Stir into cooked rice.


I made this for Sam and I since Brandon is out of town for the next few days. We both really liked all of it. The three flavors were really great together. I don't know that the peanut sauce is the most necessary thing in the world, but it was alright (a little too creamy for my liking).

Sam really loved the rice, and I did too even though I am not the biggest fan of cilantro.

The picture is really washed out. The dish was actually really greatly colored. I forgot my camera, and Sam couldn't find hers, so I took the picture with my phone.

Overall- Good. Good good good.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Pasta a la Betsy, and Sarah, and Brandon

1 lb penne pasta
1 lb large shrimp
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small white onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 14.5 oz can of tomato sauce
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
Dried basil
"Season All"
Garlic powder
Cayenne Pepper
Sweet Cooking Sherry

1. Peel shrimp, rub with a good amount of Season All, garlic powder and cayenne pepper. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a small skillet. Cook shrimp until opaque. Put to the side. Start to cook penne as per the box.

2. In a pot melt butter and add olive oil. Put in the onion and garlic. Cook till onions are opaque.

3. Pour in tomato sauce and reduce heat to low. Stir to combine.

4. Pour in cream. Stir to combine and take heat to a simmer.

5. Cut up shrimp, add to the pot. Stir to combine. Add parsley.

6. Now comes the feel it out part. Add 3 swigs of Sherry, some salt and a dash of cayenne pepper. Add lots of basil. Taste. Add more of anything as you see fit.

7. Add in the penne and mix (being sure to mix from the bottom so that all scoops will get shrimp and onions.


So... it started out that Brandon wanted to make a zesty tomato sauce with penne and shrimp. And then I whined, because I've been in a bit of a whining mood lately. Then he told me to come up with something better and I thought of Pioneer Woman's "Pasta a la Betsy".

But... I didn't have wine (and the grocery stores in Denver don't sell wine... and liquor stores aren't open on Sunday nights), so there was a bit of improvising going on.

As in all of Brandon's wonderful recipes (or non-recipes) the amounts of everything that you put into this sauce should be done according to how you want it to taste (Except the Sherry, because that was my addition not his, and I really like following recipes and I made up adding it in. Use three swigs. Live with it.).

Pear Crisp Pie

(Ok, so I forgot to take a picture of my pie by itself, and this picture is a bit blurry. This is a picture from the Pie Off Brandon and I attended last night, and my pie is the one directly to the left of the white one.)

Pie Crust

3 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1 egg
5 tablespoons cold water
1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar

1. Combine flour and salt. Add in shortening and work together with a pastry cutter (or fork, or whisk) until the mixture resembles tiny pebbles.

2. Lightly beat egg with a fork then add it to the mixture. Add water and vinegar.

3. Remove 1/3 of batter from bowl and put it in a large plastic bag. Flatten slightly with a rolling pin. Close bag tightly. Repeat with rest of dough, using 1/3 at a time.

4. Put in freezer for at least overnight (this will make the dough more flakey, but you can use it right away if you'd like. Thaw dough for 20 minutes before rolling and putting in a pie tin.

5. If you want to pre-bake your crust, fill with pie weights (or pinto beans or rice on tin foil) and bake for 10 minutes on 400.

Pear filling

4 green pears (the harder the better)
Pinch of Salt

1. Peel pears with a vegetable peeler. Cut lengthwise, spoon out seeds and stem. Cut into 1/2 pieces.

2. Add "a good amount" of sugar (this is a direct quote from Pioneer Woman, I just poured the sugar in till I felt warm and happy inside). Add pinch of salt. Mix all around.

Crisp Topping

1 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Dash of nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 lb cold butter (1 stick)

1. In a medium bowl mix together all dry ingredients.

2. Cut butter into 1/2 inch squares. Put in bowl with dry ingredients and mix together with your hands (really squeeze together) until mixture resembles a coarse meal.


1. Roll out pie crust. Pre-bake pie as directed above.

2. Take crust out of oven, pour in the pears. Cover with the crisp topping.

3. Cover with foil, bake for 15 minutes at 350. Remove foil, continue baking for 30 minutes more.

4. Take up the heat to 400, bake for 10 more minutes.


Brandon told me on the day of the Pioneer Woman signing that we were going to go to a Pie Off. I knew it was fate.

While Ree was signing my book I told her about the contest and asked her what I should make. I told her that I have a boyfriend that loves peach cobbler and she told me how she thought I could adapt her Pear Crisp recipe to make it into a Peach Cobbler Pie.

Well, turns out peaches are out of season, so I tried canned peaches. Horrible. Tried apples. No good. Stuck with the pears.

In the end I used three different recipes of Ree's and combined them to make a (contest winning) kick ass pie.

Apple Sauce Cake

¾ cup (175 mL) margarine or butter, softened
3 eggs
2¾ cups (675 mL) sifted flour
1½ tsp (7 mL) salt
1½ tsp (7 mL) baking powder
¾ tsp (3 mL) baking soda
¾ tsp (3 mL) nutmeg
¾ tsp (3 mL) cinnamon
1 14 oz (398 mL) can sweetened applesauce

Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C).

Cream together margarine and sugar until light and fluffy. Blend in eggs. Sift together dry ingredients. Add to creamed mixture, alternating with applesauce, beating after each addition.

If you like, stir in ¾ cup (175 mL) chopped walnuts before pouring batter into loaf pans.

Pour into two prepared (sprayed or rubbed with a bit of butter or margarine) 8-by 4-in. (20-by 10-cm) loaf pans. Bake for 1 hour or until done. (Start checking at the 50-minute mark.)

Remove and let cool for about 10 minutes before removing from pans and putting on rack to cool completely.

Sugar Glaze:

Combine ½ cup (125 mL) sifted icing sugar with 1 tbsp. (15 mL) water. Pour over cake.


This is super easy to make (as long as you don't decide to fix the alignment on your mixer in the middle of making the batter), can be made without really having to buy any extra ingredients (if you have a baker's pantry like I have accumulated) and was a big crowd pleaser.

Note that you are going to need 2 bread loaf pans. I didn't and therefore I had to grab the closest thing that I had to another bread pan, and being flustered and on the phone I forgot to oil it before pouring the batter in. I knew immediately and should have poured it out, oiled, re-poured in, but I didn't. There is a reason there are no pictures of that cake above.

While this was a wonderfully delicious cake, I didn't really taste any apple, which is something that Patient in the Pantry said made this cake her favorite. I am not 100% sure that adding more apple sauce would fix this (maybe I was expecting too much apple) because it just bakes away. Next time I'm going to add a little more and she how it goes.

Also note, Brandon hated how this cake baking made our house smell (you know, like any baked good with cinnamon and nutmeg in it), and I will admit that I was super surprised at how the smell infiltrated our whole house. I liked the smell.

Michele: Iron Chef Blogger Challenge #1

Check out Michele's Rhubarb Crisp at: Michele's Delicious Life

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Carrie: Iron Chef Blogger Challenge Rhubarb

I was so excited when Sarah Michelle suggested the Iron Chef Blogger Challenge. I think it's going to be a great way to incorporate new ingredients and recipes into my cooking repertoire as well as a great way to connect with all of the other Iron Chef Bloggers. I'm really looking forward to seeing what everyone comes up with for these challenges.

Like Sarah Michelle, I've never eaten or cooked rhubarb so this was definitely an adventure. After a mad Wednesday evening hunt, a Facebook comment led me to AJ's Fine Foods, where I was able to pick up a bag of frozen cut rhubarb. For my recipe, I Google searched recipes with rhubarb and found this little gem. I'm not much of a baker, lacking in both time and patience, and so I was pretty excited to find this dinner recipe, Wild Blueberry Rhubarb Pork Chops.

It was pretty simple to put together, though my sauce ended up a little chunkier looking than the image pictured on the site. Not a big deal. Probably needed to let it reduce more, but it was already 9:00 and I was ready for dinner. My sister really enjoyed the pork chop, and I thought it tasted good, but I'm just not a sweet person, and this was definitely a sweet sauce. It had a hint of tartness, but still, not really my cup of tea. I think this would also work excellently in desserts and as a fruit compote over pancakes or French toast.

Sarah: Iron Chef Blogger Challenge #1- Rhubarb

Rhubarb Pudding Cakes

1/4 cup (50ml) water
1½ tsp (7 ml) cornstarch
1 cup (250 ml) sugar divided
3 cups (750 ml) chopped fresh rhubarb stalks
1 cup (250 ml) all-purpose flour
1¾ tsp (8 ml) baking powder
1/2 tsp (2 ml) salt
1 large egg
1/2 cup (125 ml) milk
1/2 cup (125 ml) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 tsp (5 ml) pure vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 400°f (200°c), ensuring the rack is in the middle. Butter 4 individual 1-cup (250-ml) ramekins.

Mix together water, cornstarch and half of the sugar in a small pot, then add therhubarb. Simmer, stirring constantly for about three minutes. Remove from heat.

In a bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and the remaining sugar.

In a second bowl, whisk the egg, milk, melted butter and vanilla. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and whisk until just combined. It will make a thick batter.

Reserving ½cup (125 ml) of the rhubarb mixture, divide the rest of the fruit and syrup among the ramekins. Spoon the batter evenly into each dish over therhubarb. Top each ramekin with a portion of the remaining rhubarb syrup mix.

Bake until a tester inserted in the middle comes out clean and the tops are slightly golden, about 25 to 30 minutes. Cool slightly and then serve.


I got to pick the ingredient and rule this week for Iron Chef Blogger Challenge. Having seen rhubarb a lot, but never worked with it or eaten it, I thought that it would be a great way to start off the competition. The only way I had ever heard of anyone eating rhubarb before was in pies, so I knew right away that I would make this week's rule "No Pies".

Did you know rhubarb is seasonal? I didn't. Wikipedia didn't either. I spent quite a lot of time looking for rhubarb this week, and actually had to drive 20 minutes north of the city to get to a grocery that even had any (and frozen at that).

I love baking. More than math homework. More than Gray's Anatomy. Almost more than getting my nails done.

And I love cupcakes. More than real cake. More than chicken. More than cucumbers. So when I saw this recipe on a blog I frequent, Patient in the Pantry, it stuck in my head as what I should make this week.

But no. No first I looked around and found a rhubarb and potato thing that I had even intention of making as to expand my cooking experience. I made a shopping list and everything, but I just couldn't do it. I ripped up the list, laughed maniacally and did a little happy dance in front of my oven.

So I love the cake on these, but found the rhubarb a little too tart to enjoy without a big chunk of cake. How to fix it? I'd recommend adding a little sugar over the rhubarb mixture before putting the batter in.

Also, don't fill the cups up too much. I used 6 ramekins and almost all of Mine overflowed. I'd say fill the cups less than 2/3 full with the rhubarb mixture and then put the batter in.

Introducing "Iron Chef Blogger Challenge"

So the other day I was thinking about how much I love to cook new things and how much I love to talk to my friends. Suddenly the clouds parted and it became clear what I had to do.

Introduce the world (of my friends) to my Iron Chef Blogger Challenge.

Three friends and I have been working on the first challenge all week.

Essentially, the program goes as follows. One participant will choose a secret ingredient and cooking rule for the week and email it out by Saturday at 9pm PST. Contestants then have till the following Saturday at 7pm PST (so about 7 days) to cooking with the ingredient and rule, and create a blog entry about the experience/recipe. Every participant will get to pick an ingredient, and we are going in the order of which people join to program.

As I know that not everyone that is into reading a blog is into blogging... so if anyone who would like to participate and publish their information on this blog is welcome to.

By no means does everyone have to participate each week, just let me know if you do not want to participate for that week before the ingredient is announced!

I think that this program is going to be a super fun way to keep in touch with current friends, make some new ones and explore new cooking techniques/ingredients.

If anyone wants to join please just message me and I'll make sure you get on the email list!!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Wednesday Night Dinner: Teriyaki Ginger Pork Chops

Quiet dinner this week. I had to adjust tonight's dinner slightly because I couldn't locate an ingredient. Instead, I marinated boneless pork loin cuts in teriyaki ginger sauce and pan fried them. Mashed potatoes and veggies tossed in garlic and soy sauce on the side.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Rice and Black Bean Tacos

1 box mexican style rice (and ingredients as per package)
1 can black beans
1 can corn and peppers
1 package flour tortillas
Additional fixings as you like (we use lettuce, cheese, sour cream and salsa)

1. Cook rice as per package.

2. Warm beans and corn.

3. Warm tortillas in microwave just before serving.

4. Taco up.


This is a pretty simple dinner. You don't really need a recipe, but it has become a staple here at my house (with rotations of usually once a week). It's easy, good and fun.

It also reminds me of Carrie.

Cherries and Brie Breakfast Pastry

1 can cherry pie filling
1 wheel Brie
1 puff pastry sheet

1. Thaw puff pastry sheet. Place Brie in middle of sheet and cover with cherry pie filling.

2. Fold up corners of pastry sheet and twist so that they hold together like a bundle.

3. Bake as per puff pastry box instructions. Brie should be melted and bubbling.

--- Review---

I made this back in LA with my friend Michele one weekend (except with raspberry jam) and loved it so much that I took it home for Brandon to eat. I love cherries more than raspberry, so I made it for breakfast on a good cold Denver morning and B and I gobbled up the whole thing.

The Brie has a great salty flavor that goes well with the sweetness of the cherries... and who doesn't like puff pastry? Seriously.

I like it with crackers. B likes it with a fork.

Brandon's Scallop and Gnocchi Pasta

Recipe to be added by B tonight!!

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

2. Sift flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg (its not in the recipe, but I add about 1/8-1/4 tsp of ground cloves, too) into a mixing bowl.

3. Beat butter, brown sugar, sugar, eggs, and vanilla with a hand mixer at medium speed.

4. Sift flour mixture into butter mixture and mix well.

5. Fold in chocolate chips and oats.

6. Spoon 1.5 inch balls onto non-stick cookie sheet.

7. Bake at 350°F for 6-9 minutes, rotating half way through baking. (Should be lightly firm in the center when done) Be careful -- oatmeal cookies don't look done when they are, so they are very easy to over cook.


Sorry for the real weird formatting up there. I copied and pasted from the recipe website and it seems to have made the text go all weird.

Anyway, these cookies were really good. They are B's favorite type, and so when I saw them featured on a blog that I frequent quite often I knew I had to make them THAT DAY.

I took the cookies out as soon as thy started to look even a little brown on the edges to avoid burning. This made them super soft, and they stayed that way.

I will not go on and on about how B took these to school, left my Pyrex container there and I haven't seen it since. Not going to talk about it. Not even a word... now I know how my mother feels.

Makes about 3 thousand cookies.

Soy-Glazed Salmon Steaks with Sesame Green Beans

Soy-Glazed Salmon Steaks

1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
4 salmon steaks

1. Heat broiler with rack set 4 inches from heat. Line baking sheet with aluminum foil. In small bowl whisk soy sauce, honey and ginger.

2. Place salmon on baking sheet. Brush with mixture. Broil till brown on top and opaque throughout (about 5-6 minutes). You will need to flip salmon to cook throughly, brush bottom side (as top) with mixture to fully saturate.

Sesame Green Beans

1 lb fresh green beans
2 teaspoons rice vinegar
1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
coarse salt and ground pepper
1 teaspoon sesame seeds

1. Set steamer basket in large pot. Fill with enough water to come just to below basket. Bring water to a boil. Add green beans to basket. Reduce heat to simmer. Cover and cook till beans are crisp-tender (15-20 minutes).

2. In medium bowl whisk together vinegar and oil. Season with salt and pepper. Add green beans and sesame seeds. Season with salt and pepper and toss.


This was my first time cooking fish, of any kind, and it turned out quite well. The original recipe didn't say that you would need to flip the fish, which you will, so I didn't reserve any of the marinade, which would have been good to flavor the fish more. Still, it tasted quite good.

For the green beans I subbed olive oil as opposed to sesame oil, and don't think we really missed out on anything. They were quite good.

A good family dinner to share with Sam and B.

Spooky Brownie Cookies

1 package your favorite brownie mix
1 stick of butter
1 egg
1 bag Halloween M&Ms
Marshmallow cream for decorating

1. Preheat oven to 350.

2. Combine brownie mix, butter, egg and M&Ms ( I didn't use the whole bag, but most of it).

3. Roll dough into 1 inch balls. Set about 2 inches apart on a baking sheet. Bake for 11-13 minutes.

4. Let cookies cool. Decorate with marshmallow cream.


I made these for a pumpkin carving party B and I hosted, and while I don't really love brownies, the cookies were pretty alright. I served some with the marshmallow cream and some without, but most people preferred with.

My marshmallow cream was actually marshmallow ice cream topping, which is a bit thinner than the regular cream. I had meant to make spiderweb designs, but the topping was harder to draw with than I had anticipated.

Makes a ton of cookies.

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Icing

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 can (15 oz) pumpkin puree
1 container pre-made cream cheese icing

1. Preheat oven to 350. Whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and spices in a medium bowl.

2. In a different bowl, whisk together butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar and eggs. Add dry ingredients, whisk till smooth. Add pumpkin puree. (The batter will be fluffy, don't be concerned.)

3. Fill lined cupcake pans halfway with batter. Bake about 20-25 minutes, until inserted skewer comes out clean.

4. Let cool before icing.


Let me start by saying that I don't usually like pumpkin anything. I don't like pumpkin pie, pumpkin lattes... I don't even like Halloween.

But, I LOVED these cupcakes. Loved. I made them for a pumpkin carving party B and I hosted and almost ate all of them myself.

The original recipe that I found called for the cook to make their own icing. I couldn't find "icing sugar" at the grocery, so I just bought pre-made.

Makes about 18 cupcakes.

Recipe found here.

Pear Pancakes

2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup pear nectar
2 medium Anjou or Bosc pears, thinly sliced lengthwise
1 cup half and half
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
Confectioners sugar for serving

1. Preheat oven to 435. In a saucepan combine 1/3 cup granulated sugar, pear nectar and pear slices. Sprinkle pears with 1 tablespoon granulated sugar. Cook on medium-high until sugar caramelizes (about 10 minutes).

2. In a blender combine half and half, eggs and vanilla. Add flour, salt and remaining granulated sugar. Blend for 30 seconds on high. Scrape the sides of the blender and go for 10 more seconds.

3. Move pears to a glass or cast iron baking "bowl" (like a Pyrex container), pour batter over top of pears. Bake until light brown (about 15 minutes). Lower heat to 350 and bake until an inserted skewer comes out clean (about 10 more minutes).

4. Sprinkle with confectioners sugar before serving.


Maybe it was because it was snowing outside when I made this for a Saturday breakfast, but this was one of the best breakfasts I have had at home. Brandon really liked it as well, and went for seconds (and thirds I believe).

Next time I am going to branch out and try some different fruits, perhaps apple or guava.

Here's a hint- you don't have to but a large jar of nectar for this recipe. You can buy individual cans of fruit nectar (usually found in the "Hispanic Foods" section) and you'll have more than enough!

Sherried Tomato Soup

1 medium white or yellow onion
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) butter
Two 14.5 oz. cans diced tomatoes
One 46 oz. bottle or can tomato juice
3 to 6 tablespoons sugar
1 or 2 tablespoons chicken base, or 3 chicken bouillon cubes
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup sherry
1 1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
1/4 cup chopped basil

1. Dice onion. Melt butter in large pot and cook onion till translucent.

2. Add diced tomatoes and tomato juice.

3. Add 3-6 tablespoons of sugar to combat tomato's acidity (I used 6 because I love love sweet tomato soup).

4. Add chicken base.

5. Add LOTS of ground black pepper. Heat soup till almost boiling and then turn heat off.

6. Add sherry and heavy cream. Stir.

7. Add the herbs. Add more pepper.


At first I thought that the sherry was a little too overpowering, and considered suggesting that it be cut down to 1/2 cup in the future. But after letting the soup sit overnight I realized that the sherry is amazing. This soup is amazing. And it is my new favorite.

Being a vegetarian (or at least a recent vegetarian), I don't have any chicken base, so I left that out. Soup came out fine. Also, I sprung for some fresh herbs, which is totally not my style, and I think that it was totally worth it.

My new favorite tomato soup. Even better than Tucson's own Beyond Bread Tomato Basil Soup.

I'm back...

So, it's been a while. And I can bring on the excuses.

I've existed in 4 different states since the last post. 4! FOUR! I've been busy.

I've also been trying to set up a house. A WHOLE HOUSE! I've got a case! I do!

I've been cooking. A lot, actually. So I'm going to do some ferocious back posting now.

But while you wait, please admire this wonderful picture of me and none other than THE Ree Drummond. You know, Pioneer Woman. She recently released a cookbook and it so happened that there was a signing at a cute little bookstore down the street (ok, a few streets) from my new home in Denver.

She talked about her spanks. She really is lovely.

My Favorite Foods: Flan

For last night's Wednesday night dinner, Suzie made us a flan for dessert. It's one of my favorite desserts. In case you've never tried it, it's a custard dessert covered in a caramelized sugar sauce.

Wednesday Night Dinner: Pesto Pasta with Chicken

Last night for dinner I tossed together some thin spaghetti and browned chicken breasts with a jar of basil pesto. Simple, but delicious. And Suzie made fresh sourdough bread that she turned into garlic bread and served a flan for dessert. See next entry for the flan.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Wednesday Night Dinner: Turkey and Black Bean Chili

It got cold this week in Tucson, for a few days anyway, and this meal ended up being the perfect way to usher in lower temperatures. Just a simple turkey and black bean chili topped with shredded cheese and sour cream.

Turkey and Black Bean Chili
ground turkey
two cans of black beans, drained
two cans of diced tomatoes
three tablespoons of tomato paste
one medium diced yellow onion
chicken broth
salt and pepper
ground cumin
chili powder

Saute the onions till translucent, then add ground turkey and brown. Add diced tomatoes, black beans and tomato paste. Season with a few teaspoons of spices and let simmer. If it looks too thick, add a little chicken broth, maybe about half a cup. Taste and add more spice if necessary. Allow chili to simmer for at least 30 minutes. Serve with sour cream and shredded cheese.