Thursday, October 28, 2010

ICBC Pumpkin

This is the first time probably since this Iron Chef Blogger Challenge started that I've actually cooked an ingredient during the week it was selected. Blanca, our newest Iron Chef, chose pumpkin as the secret ingredient, perfect for the season! For my secret ingredient recipe, I found this recipe on one of my favorite food blog sites, Annie's Eats. Annie makes a lot of amazing looking baked goods, and also has a lot of really accessible recipes for the type of cooking I like to do, simple, homemade stuff. Here's a link to her recipe, Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins.

I ended up making two dozen muffins, and still had batter left over. The muffins are pretty delicious, and I love the surprise of finding the cream cheese in the center. There's a little too much clove in it, so I would probably recommend taking the clove down to a 1/2 teaspoon or 3/4 teaspoon. But the cream cheese balances the spice in the muffin nicely. And overall, I would say the effort behind the recipe isn't too bad. For a little bit of bragging, I made these muffins in the morning before I went to work.

Here's a link to La Monica's Iron Chef Blogger Challenge, Pumpkin.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Tuesday Night Dinner: Roasted Tilapia with Potatoes and Lemons

For Tuesday night dinner last week, I found a really simple but tasty looking recipe in the October issue of Real Simple. I am a huge fan of this magazine. It always has really handy tips, excellent personal interest stories, and delicious but simple recipes. For instance, this roasted tilapia I made for dinner. This was probably one of the easiest meals I've thrown together. It all goes in the oven, and you just need to give it time to bake. I served it with some sauteed green beans and steamed broccoli and squash on the side, but you could just as easily throw together a nice green salad to serve on the side.

Roasted Tilapia with Potatoes and Lemons (from Real Simple)
1 pound red potatoes, halved
1 lemon, thinly sliced
8 sprigs fresh thyme
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon olive oil
kosher salt and black pepper
1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives
4 6-oz skinless tilapia filets
1/2 teaspoon of paprika

Heat oven to 400 degrees. On a large rimmed baking sheet, toss the potatoes, lemon, thyme, 2 tablespoons of oil, and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Arrange in a single layer. Roast, tossing once, until the potatoes begin to soften, about 20 minutes.
Toss the olives with the potato mixture; nestle the fish in it. Drizzle the fish with the remaining oil and season with paprika and 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper.
Continue to roast until the potatoes are golden brown and crisp and the fish is opaque throughout, 12 to 15 minutes.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

ICBC: Cooking Stock

When I saw that chicken/vegetable/beef stock was the secret ingredient some weeks ago, I got very excited, because I have so been looking to make soup. I chose to combine the secret ingredient with a Tuesday night dinner meal, and served some minestrone soup for dinner a couple weeks ago. Minestrone is probably one of my favorite soups. What I particularly like about this soup is that it has a nice variety of stuff in it, and it feels like a good healthy soup. Of course I've never made minestrone, so I went to my favorite site FoodGawker, and browsed through minestrone recipes until I hit upon one that I liked the looks of.

Here's the link to the minestrone soup recipe I based my dinner off of, from Disgustingly Good.

I followed the recipe pretty much exactly, except I think I quadrupled it. It was a good soup, well-liked by all my dinner attendees, and it was really nice and fresh. I think to make it healthier and heartier, I would try a more veggie-filled minestrone next time, perhaps something with kale or spinach too. Either way, a delicious soup recipe for the coming winter (as though Tucson gets that cold).

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Carrie: ICBC Buttermilk

Ages ago, I started this entry, and then got too lazy. Now I'm finally going to finish it. Several weeks ago, the secret ingredient was buttermilk and I decided to make drop buttermilk biscuits for a Tuesday night dinner. I found this recipe via FoodGawker, and it's a Cooks Illustrated recipe adapted by Two Peas and Their Pod. The biscuits were easy to prepare and quite delicious, especially with a little honey on top.

Drop Buttermilk Biscuits (from Two Peas and Their Pod)
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon sugar
3/4 teaspoon table salt
1 cup cold buttermilk
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly, plus 2 tablespoons melted butter for brushing biscuits

Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar and salt in large bowl. Combine buttermilk and 8 tablespoons melted butter in medium bowl, stirring until butter forms small clumps.

Add buttermilk mixture to dry ingredients and stir with rubber spatula until just incorporated and batter pulls away from sides of bowl. Form small balls of dough and drop onto parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake until tops are golden brown and crisp, 12-14 minutes.

Brush biscuit tops with remaining 2 tablespoons of melted butter. Transfer to wire rack and let cool 5 minutes before serving.