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Yay! A girly food blog where we can share all our recipes! :D

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Buffalo Mac and Cheese

I used to live near a bar that used to offer this as an appetizer and it was so delicious I had to replicate it at home.  The recipe is for one box of pasta which feeds two hungry people for dinner with leftovers for lunch the next day.

Ingredients:
  • Pasta (elbows, shells, twirlies are all good)
  • Cheddar (for one box of pasta I used 2 cups shredded)
  • Blue Cheese (you can buy the crumbles or a wedge, however much you want)
  • Milk (you will only need a bit so if you're not a milk drinker or coffee-er just buy the smallest amount.  Any percent is fine, I use skim because it's what I drink and there isn't a noticeable difference)
  • Cooked Chicken* (2 breasts)
  • Frank's RedHot sauce (I just dump and taste but I'm going to guess 1/3 cup)
Directions:
  1. If you bought your cheese in blocks, shred it now
  2. Put a pot of water in to boil.  Dump some salt in.
  3. When it boils, add the pasta.
  4. When the pasta is done* drain it and dump it back in the pot.  Do NOT run it under cold water.  Then turn the burner to the lowest setting
  5. Dump in the cheddar and some blue cheese (I only put a bit in at this point) and mix until evenly coated.  If the cheese looks stringy, don't worry.
  6. Dump in one "glug" of milk and mix until thoroughly combined.  If it still looks stringy, put a bit more milk.  You are going for a creamy or gooey sauce texture.  You shouldn't need more than two glugs of milk for this.
  7. Dump in the Frank's and mix until combined***.
  8. Scoop a bowlful and top with additional blue cheese crumbles for a fancy dinner!

It is tasty without chicken too but not as filling.
Make sure to add the Frank's last.  If you add it before the cheese, the cheese doesn't melt right and it ends up as these little bitty globs instead of a nice creamy sauce.  The flavor is the same but the texture is not as good.
If you are ambitious and want to screw around in the kitchen you can try making the cheese sauce separately by starting with a roux.  This has been quite finicky in my experience and is more trouble than it's really worth.

*I most recently made this with chicken I made in the crockpot.  To make the crockpot chicken, simply place the chicken in the crockpot and turn it on low for 6-7 hours.  Then shred.  If you want to make this right now, pan frying the chicken works as well.  Simply dice your chicken, then dump it into a skillet with a bit of oil until it is cooked through.
**You can do what the box says or you can stand around stirring it every couple minutes and then taking one pasta out, running it under cold water, and eating it to see if it's un-crunchy yet.
***If you aren't sure how much to put, dump a little less than you think, mix, and taste.  It is not an exact science.  Not enough Frank's? Add a bit more?  Too much?  Add more cheese!  Wayyyy too much? Better luck next time :/

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Ada (a grilled cheese sandwich)

In Brooklyn there is a fantastic bar called Noorman's Kil. They serve whiskey and grilled cheese.  I could not recommend this place enough.  If you ever go to NYC with me, I will probably drag you there.  Anyway they decided to have a grilled cheese competition and of course I decided I would enter it (why not!).  I tested out at least eight different recipes and this one was the clear winner.  I submitted this recipe and they picked it as a finalist so I got to compete in their grill-off.

Ingredients:
  • Bread*
  • Smoked Gouda
  • Cheddar**
  • Gruyere**
  • Vidalia Onions (you will caramelize them)
  • Butter
  • Balsamic Vinegar
Directions:
  1. Chop your onions.
  2. Heat some butter in a heavy pot and when it's melted, dump in the onions.
  3. The goal here is to caramelize the onions, so basically keep it pretty low, stir it every once in a while but not too too much.  If you have never done this before, look it up.  There are far better directions on other sites.
  4. Once you have caramelized onions,, take them off the heat and add some balsamic vinegar.  Don't go too crazy.  Taste it and add more if you need it.
  5. Grate your cheeses.  If you slice it, it won't melt as evenly.  You can go the lazy route but if you have a nice grater*** it's not too much extra effort.
  6. Assemble your sandwich. Bread. Tiny sprinkling of cheddar/gruyere. Thick layer of smoked gouda. Thin layer of balsamic onions. Thick layer of cheddar gruyere. Bread
  7. Press that sandwich on a panini press.  If you don't have one, you can try cooking it the regular way in a pan but it's going to be trickier.
  8. Slice in half and enjoy.

In case you were wondering, I came in first place. If you go during May of this year (2014) you can order it off of their menu.

* For the competition it was required that we use Orwashers bread so I used their Chardonnay Miche. For testing I used Trader Joe's Tuscan Pane Loaf.  You can use anything similar.
** If you have a Trader Joe's you can use their "Cheddar Gruyere Melange" cheese.  That's what I did.  If you don't, you can buy some of each kind of cheese and just mix them yourself.
*** I think this is the one I have.  It is definitely worth the money.  I've had it for years and it is hands down the best cheese grater I have used in my entire life.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Banana "froyo"

Do you own a food processor?
Do you like bananas at all?

If you answered "yes" to both of those you should seriously try this.  Not only is this delicious, it's also healthy and vegan!

Ingredients:

  • Bananas
Optional Ingredients:
  • Peanut Butter
  • Cocoa Powder
  • Chocolate
  • Caramel syrup
  • Nuts
  • Anything else you can think of
Directions:
  1. Wait for your bananas to get brown spots.
  2. Peel the bananas and break them into 1.5" (ish) chunks and put them on a wax paper lined plate in the freezer.
  3. Once frozen, transfer to a bag until ready to make banana "froyo"
  4. Put the fully frozen bananas in the food processor
  5. Turn the food processor on
  6. Wait
  7. The bananas will turn into little bits that are about dippin' dots size.  This is a good time to turn the food processor off and add any mix-ins
  8. Scrape down the sides and turn the food processor back on
  9. The bananas will form a giant glob and barely touch the blade.  When this happens, take a break from processing and smush the blob down to sort-of evenly distributed around blade-level
  10. Process some more until fully blended and froyo-like consistency
  11. Eat immediately
The banana "froyo" stores ok but not great so it's best if you blend this up when you are about to eat it.  You can try re-blending the frozen froyo too but it won't be quite the same.
Brown bananas are best since they are sweeter than the yellow and green ones, also the nearly mushy consistency that makes them less desirable for regular snacking is what makes them blend so well.
Don't skip step 2.  Bananas are way easier to peel and cut before they are frozen.
The result tastes like banana flavored froyo.  Some people will tell you this doesn't taste like bananas at all but they are lying. 

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Vegan "Shepherdess" Pie

I'm vegan for lent this year (as I have done before) and this is so far my favorite vegan dish of all time.  So good in fact that you can serve it to your non-vegan friends.  Brian even said it was "really good".  If you're not vegan and not feeding vegans you can substitute the soy products with their dairy equivalents.

Ingredients:
  • Mushrooms (I used 1 to 1.5 of the 10 oz cartons of both "white button" and "cremini")
  • Onion (I used a med-large yellow onion)
  • Garlic (3 cloves?  depends on how much you like garlic)
  • Carrots (I used 2-4 handfuls of baby carrots because that's what I had.  Full size is fine too)
  • Peas (frozen is fine, I used between 1/2 and 1.5 cups)
  • Potatoes (a potful of any mashable sort)
  • Soymilk (PLAIN!)
  • Vegan butter substitute (I used Earth Balance which tastes just like butter)
  • Mustard
  • Red wine or vermouth (I used sweet (red) vermouth because I didn't have any wine open)
  • Rosemary and maybe Thyme
  • Salt/Pepper
Directions:
  1. Set a pot of water on the stove and peel your potatoes.  If you're smart you'll do this part first.
  2. Add your potatoes to the pot of water and turn it on to high.
  3. Cut up your mushrooms, onion, and garlic.  I cut my mushrooms to pretty small dice to kind of mimic ground meat and I cut the onion to about pea-sized bits.  Do the garlic however you want, some people are smashers and some people are mincers and some people use a garlic press.  Whatever.
  4. Add all that stuff to a pan with some olive (or other) oil.  I did this in my cast iron skillet and it was lovely.  A regular frying pan should do just fine though.  You will most likely need to do this in parts, allowing the mushrooms to cook down a bit.  I just added them as I chopped but if you're slow at chopping you might want to get a head start.
  5. This is probably a good time to preheat the oven.  350 or 375 is good I guess.  I'm not very good at this.
  6. Cut up the carrots while all that is cooking down.  I cut my baby carrots into 4-5 cylindrical pieces each)
  7. Make a well in the center of the pan and add the carrots.  Put some of the mushroom/onion mixture on top.
  8. Check on your potatoes and see if they are done yet
  9. Mix the vegetables up again and make another well in the center for the peas.  
  10. Add the peas.
  11. Add a generous sprinkle of rosemary (thyme would probably be good too but I'm out). Add some brownish kind of mustard.  I made some circles and called it art.
  12. Mix it up.
  13. If your potatoes still aren't done, just put your veggies on the lowest setting and stir periodically until the potatoes finish.
  14. Drain your potatoes and mash them up with your soymilk and fake butter (I promise these are very convincing mashed potatoes)
  15. If you used a cast iron skillet you can just plop your mashed potatoes on top of your veggies, if you used a pan that isn't oven safe, put your veggies in a casserole dish and put your potatoes on top.
  16. Put the whole ensemble into the oven for 20 minutes or so
  17. Eat.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Paprika Chicken


When I'm less lazy, I'll type this up to be more readable, but I'm just going to put this scan up for Kathryn until I get around to that.

Also, feel free to add more chicken and/or onions than the recipe calls for because the proportions as written make a shit-ton of extra sauce. This works great over rice or with bread for dipping.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Brian's Favorite Risotto

I decided I ought to know how to make a risotto since they show up on Iron Chef practically every other episode and this year was the year that I finally got around to it. This recipe is so good I can't stop eating it, so be careful.

Ingredients:
  • 1.5 c arborio rice (yes it must be arborio, they usually sell it in plastic jars)
  • 4-6 hot Italian sausages
  • 4-6 cups chicken broth
  • 1/4 c white wine or vermouth
  • 4-6 cloves garlic (I like more)
  • 1 medium onion
  • other vegetables (I usually pick two of the following: sliced fresh mushrooms, spinach, bell pepper, eggplant, but that's just what I've used so far)
  • 1/3 c parmesean cheese
Directions:
  1. Put the broth in a pot, turn the heat on low. Continue on to step 2 but when it boils, reduce it to a simmer.
  2. Chop the garlic and vegetables and toss them into a large frying pan with a little bit of olive oil over high heat.
  3. Once the veggies start to cook, add the sausage (this is the fun part) If you bought bulk sausage, break it up into little bits. If you bought sausage-y sausages, squeeze the meat out of the casing and break into little bits. I put the casing in because I like eating them, but most people don't like them so you may wish to keep track of them and separate them out.
  4. When the sausage is cooked on the outside, add the rice and stir.
  5. Add the wine/vermouth and stir.
  6. Add 1/2 cup of (hot!) chicken broth.
  7. Stir.
  8. When the broth evaporates, add another half cup.
  9. Stir.
  10. Repeat the last few steps until the rice is tender.
  11. Remove from heat, add cheese, and stir.
I've forgotten cheese on this a couple of times. It's easy to do. Without cheese it tastes really good. With the cheese it's really really hard to stop eating.
This recipe makes a large frying pan full, which ought to be enough for at least 5 people in theory but can easily be consumed by two.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Ordinary Everyday Hummus

For the amount that pre-packaged hummus costs in a grocery store, maybe you'd expect it to be a little more difficult to make. But that is not so!

First, make sure you have a food processor.
Then, purchase or reaffirm possession of your ingredients!

1 can of Chick Peas, aka Garbanzo Beans
1-2 tablespoons of Sesame Tahini
1-2 tablespoons of Olive Oil
1 teaspoon of Lemon Juice
1-3 cloves of Garlic
1/2 teaspoon of Cumin


"...that's it?"
Yep!


Start by draining the liquid in the can of chick peas into a small bowl. Put the chick peas in the food processor and add about a third of the reserved liquid. Then, add one heaping spoonful of tahini. Just start with that for now - you can always add more to taste later.
Grind up those beans! While they're spinning, pour in one or two teaspoons of olive oil. The balance of olive oil, tahini, and chick pea liquid defines the texture of the final hummus, so don't be afraid to play around a little bit (I like to use more oil and tahini for a creamier, thicker hummus).
Chop/mince/grate up the garlic (start small, maybe one clove...you can always add more) into an appropriate size based on the power of your food processor and your desire for chunks. Throw them into the food processor along with about half a teaspoon of lemon juice - just a couple squirts to get a tangy flavor in there to cut through the thickness of the sesame tahini.
Now, add the cumin. This spice is an important one! It conjures up the smells of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern food, and is the "secret ingredient" that some more basic homemade hummus misses. Don't add too much in the beginning - it's easy to overdo it with this powerful spice.

Grind it all up and taste! If the flavor is off, compensate with garlic, cumin, or lemon, or try adding a pinch of salt. If the texture isn't quite right, play around with the tahini, oil, and chick pea liquid.

Voila, basic hummus :D

It's extraordinarily versatile; you can put it on sandwiches, plain with pita, pair it with lamb or beef, dip falafel in it, or a mixture of any of these! A pita sandwich with falafel, hummus, lettuce and tomato? Yes please.

==========

HUMMUS EXPANSION PACKS!!!

You can add all sorts of things to hummus as long as you reconcile the texture of the added ingredient with the original recipe. For example:

Roasted Red Peppers - so very tasty, but they add a lot of liquid. Don't add the chick pea liquid til after the peppers are in the mix, and only add it if the hummus is too sticky.

Black Beans - replace the chick peas with black beans, and the lemon juice can also optionally be replaced with lime juice for a more classic flavor combo.

Peanut Butter - I know it sounds weird, but if you're in a pinch and have run out of sesame tahini, then natural peanut butter is a great replacement. They have mostly the same texture, with the peanut butter being perhaps slightly more chunky, but peanut butter and cumin is quite an adventure. In a good way!

You can experiment with your own ingredients as well. On my list to try:
Avocado Black Bean Hummus with Lime
--Same as above, just add some avocado! At what point does this become a fancy salsa?
Sweet Blueberry Hummus
--Perhaps some mango instead of garlic for this one...
Strawberry Nutella Hummus
--Actually, you may want to try this with bananas for a better texture - I just can't because I'm allergic :(