Foodie Penpal Reveal: September

This is the fourth month I’ve participated in the most fun event on the web: Foodie Penpals. What is foodie penpals you ask? Here’s a breakdown:

  • On the 5th of the month you receive an email pairing you with information about who you’re paired with. You email that person to get information pertaining to allergies and dietary restriction.
  • By the 15th you put together a box of treats and mail them to your partner.
  • On the last day of the month you post a blog post about your box of treats

This month I received a box of goodies from Sara from Connecticut. Sara sent me a box that was inspired by fall and apple picking. I wish there was a place I could pick apples fresh around here, but my quick google search tells me there isn’t. Though . . . There are places I could pick green beans and that would be equally cool. I don’t know why the idea of picking my own produce off the vine, or the tree, or plucking it from the ground seems so much more appealing than someone else doing it for me, and then having to pay the mark up incurred from farm to grocery store.  I do go to the farmer’s market to offset that some, but it would still be really cool to get to pick some produce myself – though I’m not going to say it would be cool to grow it too, because that’s too much work.

Anyway – off track. Sara’s box for me was packed with goodies from Connecticut inspired mainly by apples and the fall. This is perfect considering the first day of fall was just a week ago.

Sacramento heat is horrible right now. Sacramento heat doesn’t like chocolate very much (or it likes it too much??) I, on the other hand, love chocolate melted or solid. By the time I got the chocolate it was just soft, but it was still very edible. As I was sitting on the couch opening up my box of yums, Matt grabbed these chocolate cups before I could even get a glimpse at what they were. I snatched them back and told him there had to be a photo first – he couldn’t steal something from the box every time without me snapping a shot first! Anyway, we both got one and they were heavenly. I wish I could get these locally.

Sara also included this kit for apple muffins. In the letter she wrote me she told me that she envisioned a warm muffin with a cup of hot tea. I haven’t made the muffins yet but I do intend to buy apples at the farmer’s market this weekend and make the muffins then. I’m really looking forward to the breakfasts following.  And actually, by the time you read this post I’ll probably have already made the muffins because I’m writing this post early (on the 28th) so I don’t forget to do it later.

Sara also included this jar of Local Connecticut Honey. I actually have some of it stirred into my tea right now. The honey I buy here is a Buckwheat honey and is darker than the honey Sara got me. There’s no reason we opt for the buckwheat except that Matt and I have an inside joke about it. The Connecticut honey is a lot lighter than my buckwheat honey and has a vaguely different taste to it. I love it and will find many uses for it.

Lastly Sara got me this apple cider jelly. Delicious, delicious, delicious, delicious! I don’t think I can say it enough: THIS JELLY IS DELICIOUS! It’s not overly sweet, especially considering the fact that it’s apple cider and not just apples. The texture is really nice and, I don’t even have words for this jelly.

The jelly is the item that made it into my recipe to share for this reveal also!

My cookies aren’t as good as the jelly. And this isn’t the jelly’s fault. It is entirely my fault for rushing things and not refrigerating my dough. But I was tired. I’m impatient. And really, I just wanted a cookie!

How would you use the apple cider jelly?

Thumbprint Cookies

Ingredients
1 stick butter at room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg, with the white and yolk separated
pinch of salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup flour
1/2 cup crushed walnuts
6 tbsp apple cider jelly

Directions

1. In the bowl of a stand mixer add the butter and sugar. With the paddle attachment, cream the sugar and butter together.

2. Add the egg yolk and vanilla to the butter; beat until combined. Add in the flour and salt and continue to mix until combined.

3. (Do this step, because I didn’t.) Cover the dough and place in the refrigerator for a half hour. Preheat the oven to 350.

4. Beat the egg whites until frothy with a fork. Take the dough and roll into balls about 1-inch in diameter. With half of the cookies, roll in the egg whites and then roll into the crushed nuts. Place on a cookie sheet.

5. Use your thumb to press a well into the cookie. Fill the wells with jelly.

6. Bake 15 minutes. Let cool before eating and enjoying.

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Announcing Food ‘n Flix for October: Attack of the Killer Tomatoes

This is the month of spooks and treats, tricks and costumes. I love October because I love Halloween. To celebrate my love of October and Halloween, I decided that the month of October needed to have a movie that bordered more on a Halloween theme than most foodie movies reflect. So forgive my crazy movie choice this month, it is only because it’s Halloween this month and I guess at Halloween we need to be scared of something – even if it’s being scared of killer tomatoes.

 

This is a comedy horror movie, known for being a spoof off of B movies. It is not intended to be a box office hit.

The only thing I ask you this month is to have fun with the movie. Find a way to make this non-foodie movie involving killer food into something to tickle your taste buds. Be inspired by these killer tomatoes!

HOW TO PARTICIPATE IN FOOD N’ FLIX:

1. Watch the chosen film (Attack of the Killer Tomatoes). Using the film as your inspiration, use your culinary skills to create something.

2. Post about it on your blog with a link back to this post and post a link to Food ‘n Flix. You can use the Food ‘n Flix logo if you wish!

3. Your post must be current (during the month of October). The post may be linked to other events. The more the merrier!

4. Have fun with it!

5. Email me at elizabeth@crabtech.net by the deadline and include the following:
a. Your Name
b. Your Blog’s Name an URL
c. The name of your dish and the permalink to the specific post you’re submitting
d. Attach a photo of your dish (or give me permission to pull one from your post)
e. Indicate “Food ‘n Flix” in the subject line of your email

DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSION: October 28, 2012
I will attempt to have the roundup posted Halloween day!

Presto Pasta Nights Roundup

I sprained my ankle last week and was essentially banished from the kitchen. My boyfriend ended up making dinner and there was no pasta involved. It appears most people this week also had reasons to not participate in Presto Pasta Nights.

I did get one entry though.

Janet from The Taste Space shared Spicy Peanut Udon Noodles with Tofu and Broccoli.Though Janet didn’t make this dish, Rob did, she devoured it. Peanut sauce? Sriacha? I’d like a bowl too!

 

I hope next week there’s more pasta to go around, because I’m feeling carb-hungry right now. Share your pasta dishes with Ruth by Thursday to be included in the next roundup.

 

Presto Pasta Nights

For the second time, The Law Student’s Cookbook will be hosting Presto Pasta Nights! I am very excited about doing this and seeing all the delicious pasta dishes that you guys share.

What types of noodle dishes are on your menus? I hope you share them this week with me so we can have a great pasta roundup!

 

Share your pasta dish with Presto Pasta Nights!
Write a blog post about it, mention Presto Pasta Nights, and email me your URL to elizabeth@crabtech.net by Thursday September 27 to be included in next Friday’s roundup. If you don’t have a blog but have a pasta dish to share, you’re still welcome to join. Just send me an email!

Orange Peel Beef

 

I probably should have served this beef recipe with rice, but in the moment I didn’t consider it. I paired it with an Asian Asparagus and Orange Salad, which was good but not something I would add to my recipe cards. The beef on the other hand was absolutely something I would make over and over again. It was a simple recipe with very tasty results.

Orange Peel Beef
(source)

Ingredients
3/4 lb thinly sliced beef, cut into pieces
1 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tbsp + 1/2 tsp cornstarch
1 tsp dark sesame oil
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tbsp frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed
1/2 tbsp rice vinegar
1/2 tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tbsp peanut oil
3 cloves garlic, mined
1/2 tbsp fresh ginger, minced
1/2 tbsp orange zest
1/8 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

Directions

1. In a large bowl combine the beef, 1/2 tbsp of soy sauce, 1/2 tbsp cornstarch, 1/2 tsp of sesame oil, and baking soda. Cover and refrigerate for about 3 hours.

2. Heat the peanut oil in a wok or large skillet.  Stir in the garlic, ginger, orange zest, and red pepper flakes. Cook until the garlic begins to brown, about 20 seconds. Add the beef, cooking until the beef begins to crisp and is no longer pink.

3. Whisk together the remaining soy sauce, orange juice concentrate, rice vinegar, the rest of the sesame oil, brown sugar, and 1/2 tsp cornstarch in a small bowl. Stir into the beef and cook until the sauce has thickened, about 30 seconds.

* serves 2
* 303 calories per serving
* Shared with Mealtime Monday & Mix it up Monday

Slowcooker Barbecued Chicken Five Ways

This past week’s slowcooker meal made my life very easy. It made two dinners and three lunches. I sort of felt like I had pulled chicken coming out of my ears there was so much. But it really made my cooking this week easy. I tried to vary the chicken in my meals so it wasn’t the same chicken sandwich over and over again. I think I succeeded!

Out of this one slowcooked chicken recipe I got:

– Pulled chicken sandwiches
– Taco salad
– A pasta dish
– Hash
– Chili

I’ll break down the dishes like this: First I’ll post the slowcooker recipe for the chicken. Then underneath I’ll break down each dish into it’s own mini-recipe using the slowcooked chicken.

The entire recipe makes 10 servings. Each mini-recipe below serves 2.

Slowcooked Barbecued Chicken
(source)

Ingredients
3 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 can tomato sauce
3 chipotles in adobo, finely diced
2 tsp of the adobo sauce from the canned chipotles in adobo
1/4 cup orange muscat champagne vinegar (from Trader Joe’s)
1/4 cup honey
1/2 tbsp paprika
2 tbsp tomato paste
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp dry mustard
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 large onion, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced

Directions

1. Whisk together the tomato sauce, chiptoles, adobo sauce, vinegar, honey, paprika, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, salt, and cayenne.

2. Spray the slowcooker with cooking spray and place the chicken inside.

3. Scatter the onions and garlic evenly over the top of the chicken and pour the sauce over the top.

4. Cook on low for at least 5 hours. I cooked mine for more like 10. Place the chicken in the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment on. Turn on for a minute, allowing the paddle to shred the chicken. If you don’t have a stand mixer, allow for the chicken to cool enough so that you can touch it and shred it with two forks.

DAY 1: Pulled Chicken Sandwiches

Ingredients
1/5 of the barbecued chicken
2 hamburger buns
2 pickles

Directions

1. Toast the hamburger buns.

2. Put 1/2 of the chicken onto each bun.

3. Serve with a pickle.

DAY 2: Pulled Chicken Taco Salad

Ingredients
1/5 of the barbecued chicken
2 cups shredded lettuce
2 oz tortilla chips (~30 chips)
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 tomato, diced
2 tbsp sour cream

Directions

1. Take two bowls. Fill each bowl with the tortilla chips. Top with lettuce and tomatoes. Place the shredded chicken in the center and top with sour cream. Sprinkle the top with cheese.

DAY 3: Barbecued Chicken Pasta

Ingredients
1/5 of the slowcooker chicken
6 oz pasta in a shape of your choice
1/4 onion, diced
1/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled

Directions

1. Put the chicken in an oven proof dish and bake at 350 for about 10 minutes.

2. Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain.

3. Mix the onion, cheese, and chicken into the pasta.

DAY 4: Barbecue Chicken Hash

Ingredients
1/5 of the chicken
2 red potatoes, diced
2 slices of bread, toasted

Directions

1. Mix the chicken and potatoes together in a bowl with your hands.

2. Bake the chicken and potatoes together until the potatoes are tender.

3. Serve with toast.

DAY 5: Barbecued Chicken Chili

Ingredients
1/5 of the chicken
2 tsp vegetable oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 onion, diced
1/2 sweet potato, cubed
1/2 cup frozen mixed vegetables
4 cups chicken broth

Directions

1. In a deep pot heat the oil. Cook the onions and garlic until they begin to brown. Add the sweet potatoes and mixed vegetables.

2. Pour in the chicken broth. Mix in the chicken.

3. Heat for about 30 minutes, until the sweet potatoes are tender.

* Shared with Mix It Up Monday & Mealtime Monday

Baked Portobello Mozzarella

 

Oh man.

I’m such a meat eater. I know I don’t need to use meat as the star of every recipe I cook, but I typically do. I mean, I love chicken, and I love beef, and if I want to be full I always eat meat. But maybe I’ve been wrong.

I made this Baked Portobello Mozzarella and was so pleasantly surprised at how wonderful the dish was. The big mushrooms were bought at the farmers’ market this last week and were beautifully shaped. I’m really glad I decided to do this with the mushrooms instead of cutting them up, because these guys deserved to be the star of the meal.

The mushrooms tasted wonderful. You get the mushroom taste through the cheese and sauce. It definitely ranks up there pretty high in my favorite recipes.

Baked Portobello Mozzarella

Ingredients
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1 cup parmesan cheese, divided
1 tsp paprika
2 tsp salt, divided
3 eggs, beaten
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp oregano
4 portobello mushrooms
1 1/2 cups mozzarella, shredded
1 cup tomato sauce

Directions

1. Clean your mushrooms. To do so, pull the stem out of the mushroom. Then take a spoon and scrape the gills off the bottom of the mushroom.

2. Preheat the oven to 400. Line a baking sheet with foil. Place a wire rack on top of the sheet.

3. Combine the breadcrumbs, 1/2 cup of Parmesan, paprika, and 1 tsp salt into a shallow pan. Set aside.

4. In another bowl, combine the eggs, 1 tsp of salt, pepper, oregano, and garlic powder. Mix well.

5. Dip the mushroom into the egg mixture, covering both sides. Dredge the crumb mixture until both sides are completely coated with bread crumbs. Place the mushroom on the prepared wire rack, stem side down. Spray the tops with cooking spray and bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and raise the heat to 450.

6. Turn the mushrooms over. Fill each mushroom with 2 tbsp of Parmesan, 1/4 cup of mozzarella, and 1/4 cup tomato sauce. Return to the oven for 10 minutes.

* serves 4
* Shared with Full Plate Thursday & Show Off Your Stuff Party

Coconut Milk Toasted Marshmallow Ice Cream

This month at Food ‘n Flix we watched It’s Complicated. The announcement post can be found over at Beyond the Peel. I saw It’s Complicated in theaters when it first came out. I liked it then and I liked watching it the second time.

It’s Complicated is the story of a man and a woman, years divorced. He’s remarried to this young hottie with an annoying kid. She’s not, but she does have her kids. In this movie the divorcees begin to have an affair . . . with each other. Then she gets involved with her architect and it’s a rom-com for sure!

Jane Adler, played by Meryl Streep, owns a bakery. She makes wonderful dinners for her family and is just generally great with food. And by the way, I am so jealous of the kitchen in her house. I would give just about anything.

My favorite line from the movie?

“I always make ice cream when I can’t sleep, so I’m glad someone was here to eat it.”

This was after she made some beautiful Honey Lavender Ice Cream.

I was inspired by this to stay up late and make ice cream. I didn’t follow Jane’s steps entirely with her ice cream though and decided instead to make another flavor combination.

I can’t take credit for this recipe though. That is all thanks to How Sweet It Is. There was no way I could compete with the recipe, but I wanted to make it so bad. And trust me, it was worth staying up late for.

Coconut Milk Toasted Marshmallow Ice Cream
(source)

Ingredients
3 1/4 cups coconut milk
1 1/2 tbsp cornstarch
2/3 cups sugar
2 tbsp light corn syrup
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup marshmallow fluff
8 marshmallows

Directions

1. In a small bowl mix together 2 tbsp of the coconut milk and the cornstarch until smooth. Set aside.

2. In a large saucepan, add the coconut milk, sugar, and corn syrup, whisking together. Bring to a rolling boil, but don’t allow to boil over. Boil for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and slowly whisk in the cornstarch mixture. Put back on heat and again bring to a rolling boil, stirring which the mixture thickens for about 2 minutes.

3. Fill a large bowl with cold water and ice. Place a ziplock bag in the bowl and pour the coconut mixture into the ziplock. Let the coconut sit in the ice bath for at least 30 minutes. Add more ice if needed.

4. Pour the ice cream into your ice cream maker and churn according to the directions. As the ice cream is churning char your marshmallows over an open flame or place them in the broiler for a minute.

5. Once the ice cream has churned for 15 minutes, add in the vanilla and the marshmallow fluff. After 5 more minutes, add the toasted marshmallows. Add only one at a time and make sure they get mixed in.

6. Once your ice cream is a desired consistency, place in a freezer-safe container, cover with a lid, and freeze for at least 2 hours (but the longer, the better.)

Carrots with Sausage and Rosemary

 

In my attempt to stuff more vegetables into my face, I found this carrot recipe. I know, I know, it’s not exactly a vegetable dish, because one of the ingredients is sausage, the sausage really did add an element to the carrots that I don’t know how you’d recreate without it. The combination of the rosemary, carrots, and sausage was perfect. I couldn’t ask for a better veggie dish.

Carrots with Sausage and Rosemary

Ingredients
3 lbs carrots, cut into slices
2 tbsp olive oil
3/4 lb turkey sausage
1 onion, finely chopped
1 tbsp rosemary, chopped
1 tbsp tomato paste
1/2 cup water

Directions

1. In a large pot of boiling water, cook the carrots over high heat until tender, about 7 minutes. Drain the carrots in a colander.

2. In a large, deep skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the sausage and cook over moderate heat. Break up the sausage while cooking and cook for about 4 minutes, until no longer pink. Add the onion and rosemary and cook for about 6 minutes, until the onion is softened. Stir in the carrots and cook until heated through.

3. Stir together the tomato paste and the water. Add to the carrots and stir well.

* serves 12
* 113 calories per serving
* Shared with Mealtime Monday

Fried Rice Two Ways

 

Since Monday this week was a holiday, I had time to make dinner and didn’t need to rely on the slow cooker. But just because Monday allowed enough time to make dinner, Tuesday still did not. Because of this, I knew I needed to make enough dinner Monday to have on Tuesday and also to change the dish up a bit so I could have it two ways.

Clearly I’m not very good at keeping up with challenges I keep for myself (as you can see my 52 Week Around the World Challenge) ended short, but at least through this semester there should be a dish a week that I make two ways just because my schedule sort of forces it.

This fried rice made use of the crystallized ginger Rose sent me a few months ago in my Foodie Pen Pal box. Because it was cut up very fine, it wasn’t overpowering but to get a piece of that sweet ginger was excellent in the rice.

 

Day 2 got a bowl of fried rice soup, which was an easy way to make the dish into something else. In retrospect though, it could have used more broth.

Day 1: Fried Rice
Day 2: Fried Rice Soup

Fried Rice

Ingredients
3 tbsp vegetable oil
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups shrimp, shelled, deveined, and cut into pieces
1 10-oz package frozen peas
3 cups cooked rice
1/4 cup soy sauce
3 tbsp white wine
2 tbsp crystallized ginger, finely chopped
4 tsp toasted sesame oil

DAY 2 EXTRA INGREDIENTS
1 cup chicken broth

Directions

1. Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until medium. Combine the eggs and pour into the skillet. Cook, stirring, until scrambled, about 1 minute. Break into small pieces and transfer to a bowl.

2. Add another tbsp of oil. Add the onion and the garlic to the pan, and cook for 2 minutes. Add the shrimp and peas. Cook until the shrimp are cooked through, about 3 minutes. Transfer to the bowl with the eggs.

3. Heat the remaining tbsp of oil in the skillet of medium-high heat until hot. Add the rice and cook, stirring occasionally, until crispy.

4. Stir together the soy sauce, white wine, ginger, and sesame oil. Add to the skillet along with the egg. Cook until heated through.

5. DAY 1 INSTRUCTIONS: Serve as is.
DAY 2 INSTRUCTIONS: Heat the chicken broth and the rice in a large pot until simmering. When warm, serve.

* makes 4 servings of rice (DAY 1 & DAY 2 each make 2 portions)
DAY 1 CALORIES: 498 calories per serving
DAY 2 CALORIES: 503 calories per serving