Saturday, May 31, 2008

Tasty Travels: Praiano, Italy

Tim and I ate very well on our 8-day trip to Italy.

Our first stop was Praiano, on the Amalfi Coast.

From the restaurant La Strada:

Seafood Risotto

From the Trattoria S. Gennaro Pizzeria:
Green salad with sliced fresh fennel
Pasta Carbonara

...and some Limoncello at the hotel Le Fioriere to finish off our last night.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Tasty Travels: Ravello, Italy

Tim and I had the honor of attending a wedding in Ravello, Italy on the Amalfi Coast. The beautiful wedding was at Villa Cimbrone, and the wedding meal was held at Hotel Caruso.

Our menu:
Proscuitto di Pietraroja, Stringata e Capocollo, Sausages with Fennel Seed, Fresh Mozzarella, Marinated Eggplant Strips, and Sundried Tomatoes
Pizza MargheritaThe Amalfi Coast's Seafood Risotto
Neapolitan's Classic LasagnaGrilled Selection of Vegetables with Olive Oil and Parsley; Potatoes Gateau with Peas and Melted Cheese
Wedding CakeFriandiesEspresso
... and later on, a little Limoncello

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Breakfast Scrambler

Yukon Gold potatoes sitting in my potato bin and this recipe.

  • 5 medium Yukon Gold or red potatoes, diced with peel
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 8 eggs
  • 8 T whole milk or half and half
  • 1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese (optional)

  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F (220 degrees C).
  2. Arrange the potatoes and onions in a greased 9x13 inch baking dish so that they are evenly distributed. Season with garlic powder, salt and chili powder. Drizzle with olive oil. Stir to coat potatoes and onions with oil and spices.
  3. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes in the preheated oven, until potatoes are fork tender and slightly crispy. Stir every 10 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, beat eggs with milk, using a wire whisk or a fork.
  5. When potatoes are tender, pour egg mixture into pan and stir. Return to oven, stirring every 2-3 minutes or until eggs are cooked to your liking.
  6. Remove from oven and sprinkle with cheese. Wait about 5 minutes for the cheese to melt before serving.

Notes: You could scramble the eggs separately, if desired. This was not as spicy as I thought it would be, but that is not a complaint. It was really good.

Tim's Rating: 8/10
Liz's Rating: 8/10

Product Rave: Annie's Naturals Organic Ketchup

Tim and I are trying to live a trans-fat-free and high-fructose-corn-syrup (HFCS)-free lifestyle.

One HFCS-containing item that I know Tim would not give up is ketchup. I found this HFCS-free ketchup at our grocery store, and we actually like it better!

Annie's Naturals Organic Ketchup

Friday, May 23, 2008

Giada's Pasta alla Caprese

Modified from Giada's "Fusilli alla Caprese" recipe.

  • 10 ounces whole-wheat farfalle pasta
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 pints grape or cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup packed fresh basil leaves, torn (do not use dried basil)
  • 8 ounces fresh mozzarella, diced (about 1 1/4 cups)

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain pasta into a large bowl and reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid.
  2. In a medium skillet heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, salt, and pepper. As the tomatoes cook and soften, smash them with a potato masher or a fork. Continue to cook until the tomatoes make a chunky style sauce, about 4 minutes. Transfer the tomato sauce to the bowl with the pasta. Toss to combine. Add the basil leaves and mozzarella. Stir to combine. If needed, add the reserved pasta water, 1/4 cup at a time, until the pasta is moist. Serve.

This was a great fresh-tasting recipe. It was relatively quick to make, except for quartering the tomatoes. If you're in a huge rush, you could probably substitute the fresh tomatoes with drained canned tomatoes, but it would lose a bit of "freshness."

Tim's Rating: 8/10
Liz's Rating: 8/10

Curried Red Lentil and Swiss Chard Stew with Garbanzo Beans

A recipe from Bon Appétit Magazine

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 5 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 8 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 large bunch or 2 small bunches Swiss chard, tough stalks removed, coarsely chopped (about 12 cups)
  • 1 pound red lentils (about 2 1/4 cups)
  • 1 15-ounce can garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained
  • Plain yogurt

  1. Heat oil in heavy large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion; sauté until golden, about 13 minutes. Mix in curry and cayenne. Add broth and chard. Increase heat; bring to boil. Add lentils and garbanzos; reduce heat to medium.
  2. Cover; simmer until lentils are tender, stirring twice, about 10 minutes. Divide stew among bowls. Top with yogurt.

Notes: Serves 4-6

Tim's Rating: 9/10
Liz's Rating: 9/10

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Going Veggie: Eat Food. Not Too Much. Mostly Plants.

A few of my readers are attempting to "go vegetarian" for a few weeks or a month. They're inspired by Michael Pollan's mantra: Eat Food. Mostly Plants. Not Too Much.

With that in mind, here are a few ways to make some of my recent recipes vegetarian.

Vegetarian Pizza
Using the Prosciutto and Arugula Pizza recipe, remove the prosciutto! The pizza will taste great without it. Alternatively, use the base pizza recipe and top with your favorite toppings: mushrooms, onions, spinach, red or green bell pepper strips, olives, pineapple, or any combination of the above.

Vegetable Soup
Using the Hamburger Soup recipe, omit the hamburger and replace with a can of your favorite beans: black, kidney, garbanzo would all be good. Drain and rinse beans before adding. Don't like beans? How about adding a package of frozen spinach which has been thawed and thoroughly drained? A sliced zucchini or summer squash would be a delicious addition. Replace the beef broth with vegetable broth.

Pizza Rolls
Again, follow thePepperoni Rolls recipe and replace the pepperoni with your favorite pizza toppings. You could steam broccoli and add it with some cheddar. Or, sauté onions, mushrooms, and/or spinach with a little olive oil, salt and pepper before adding.

Giada's Lasagna Rolls
These rolls would be delicious just by removing the shrimp! You could replace the shrimp with sautéed spinach, if desired. (Especially if you are trying to eat "mostly plants" )

"Tuna" Melts
Using this tuna melt recipe, replace the tuna salad with this mock version.

Cherry Pasta Salad
Just remove the chicken from this pasta salad. Delicious!

And of course, a big salad at every meal is healthy and tasty!
So there are some ideas for you.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Vegetarian Bean and Corn Quesadillas

An attempt to eat more meatless meals

  • 8 whole-wheat tortillas
  • 1 2-cup bag of shredded Monterey Jack or Mexican Blend cheese
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup corn (either cut from two ears or frozen, not canned)
  • 2 T minced red onion
  • Sour cream and salsa

  1. Heat oil in a large non-stick skillet on high.
  2. Meanwhile, lay out four tortillas on a flat surface. Sprinkle 1/4 cup corn, 1/4 cup beans, 1/2 T red onion, and 1/4-1/2 cup cheese on each.
  3. Make sure oil is hot. Place quesadilla in oil; reduce heat to medium.
  4. Cover with other four tortillas.When tortilla has browned, flip and cook until cheese is melted.
  5. Cut into quarters and serve with sour cream and salsa.

Notes: Serves two to four.

Liz's Rating: 9/10

Mexican Sour Cream Rice

This post on Brooke's blog, with the original recipe coming from

  • 1 cup uncooked long grain white rice
  • 14 ounces chicken broth
  • 1 cup reduced fat sour cream
  • 1 (4 ounce) can diced green chile peppers
  • 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese, divided
  • Kernels from two steamed ears of corn (or 1 cup frozen kernels)
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • salt and ground black pepper to taste

  1. In a large pot, bring the rice and chicken broth to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer 20 minutes.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a 1-1/2 quart casserole dish.
  3. In the pot with the cooked rice, mix the sour cream, green chile peppers, 1/2 cup Monterey Jack cheese, corn, and cilantro. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to the prepared casserole dish, and top with remaining cheese.
  4. Bake uncovered 30 minutes in the preheated oven, until cheese is bubbly and lightly browned.

Tim's Rating: 10/10
Liz's Rating: 9.5/10

Microwaved Corn on the Cob

Is there anything better than fresh corn? My mom taught me this technique.

Ears of corn, in husks

  1. Remove silks from corn. Do not remove husks. Replace husks around corn.
  2. Microwave for 2-3 minutes per ear, depending on size. You can microwave 4 husks for 8-12 minutes, for example.
  3. Corn will be VERY HOT when finished microwaving. Let sit so you don't burn yourself.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Lunch Lady Bars

This post on Sherri's blog (appropriately entitled "Yum."")
She found the recipe on

  • 2 1/2 c. Flour
  • 1 t. soda
  • 3/4 t. salt
  • 1 c. oil
  • 1 c. brown sugar
  • 1/2 c. granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • 1 c. mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
  1. Combine dry ingredients. Set aside.
  2. In bowl mix together oil and sugars. Add eggs one at a time. Add vanilla. Gradually add dry ingredients. Mix in 3/4 c. of chocolate chips.
  3. Spread into 9x13 pan. Sprinkle remaining 1/4 c. chips on top.
  4. Bake at 350 for 15-25 minutes or until light golden brown.

Notes: These are very rich, and very delicious! They totally remind me of the soft chocolate chip cookies served at my own high school. Thanks, Sherri!

Tim's Rating: 9.5/10
Liz's Rating: 9/10

Product Rave: Penzeys Soup Bases

I highly recommend Penzeys soup bases. They are much easier to store than canned broth, and the broth tastes much better, too!

Available flavors include Beef, Chicken, Ham, Pork, Seafood, Turkey, and Vegetable.

I prepare the broth by boiling water in my teakettle, putting the necessary amount of base into a pyrex measuring cup, and then mixing it together. Very easy!

14 ounces = 1 can of broth

Kitchen Essentials: Cookbooks

One of my readers ("insomniac") has suggested that I post ideas on setting up a kitchen. I am starting a new series that I'll call "Kitchen Essentials."

Today's topic is Cookbooks.

In my opinion, a beginner-medium-level home cook only needs two cookbooks:

Joy of Cooking


How to Cook Everything
by Mark Bittman.

(Vegetarians may prefer How to Cook Everything Vegetarian.)

With these two books, you'll have all the basic knowledge: how to bake, how to cook vegetables, meats, poultry-- everything the home cook needs.

I also keep a binder of recipes that I've printed from and other blogs. I'll shuffle through them if I am looking for inspiration. I also like allrecipes for its ingredient search-- you can either search for a recipe incorporating items you have on-hand, or you can search for a recipe that omits an item that's not tasty to you.

So-- there you go!

Next time: Kitchen Essentials: Knives

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Spicy Garlic Wings with Blue Cheese Dip

My love for Buffalo Wild Wings' Spicy Garlic Wings
This sauce recipe
These wing and blue cheese recipes

Spicy Garlic Wing Sauce:
Makes 1 1/2 cups

  • 1 cup Frank's cayenne pepper
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 teaspoons water
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  1. Combine all ingredients except egg yolk, water, and cornstarch for sauce of your choice in a small saucepan. Heat sauce over medium heat until boiling, then reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove pan from heat and allow it to cool, uncovered, for 10 minutes.
  2. While sauce cools, vigorously whisk egg yolk with 2 teaspoons water in a medium bowl for about 2 minutes or color is pale yellow. Whisk in cornstarch until dissolved.
  3. Drizzle sauce mixture into egg yolk mixture in a steady stream while rapidly whisking. This will create a thick, creamy emulsion that will prevent oil from separating.
  4. Cover sauce and chill until needed.

Baked Buffalo Wings:

  • 2 lbs chicken wings (about 12 wings)

  1. Cut off wing tips (discard or reserve for other use such as making stock). Cut wings at the joint. Put chicken wing pieces in a plastic bag. Set aside.
  2. Pour all but 2 tablespoons of the sauce over the chicken pieces in the plastic bag. (Reserve sauce for coating after the pieces come out of the oven.) Seal bag and let marinate at room temperature for half an hour. When marinating is finished, drain marinade and discard bag.
  3. Place wing pieces on the rack of a broiler pan. Broil 4 to 5 inches from the heat for about 10 minutes on each side, until chicken is tender and no longer pink. Remove from oven and baste with reserved marinade.


Blue Cheese Dip:


  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 Tbsp white wine vinegar or white vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic, minced


  1. Combine dip ingredients - sour cream, mayonnaise, blue cheese, vinegar, and garlic - in a blender or food processor. Blend or pulse until smooth. Cover and chill up to a week.
  2. Serve with wings and celery sticks.

Notes: I was not impressed with the baked buffalo wings. The skin was not crispy. Since I don't want to buy a deep fryer, I probably won't make wings again at home. The wing sauce was delicious, and I will definitely try it with another recipe in the future. The blue cheese dip was so good-- would be a delicious salad dressing too.

Tim's Ratings: Wing Sauce: 9/10; Wings: 7/10; Blue Cheese Dip: 9/10
Liz's Ratings: Wing Sauce: 9.5/10; Wings: 6/10; Blue Cheese Dip: 10/10
Mom's Rating: Blue Cheese Dip: 10/10

Worcestershire Burgers

A nice Sunday afternoon

  • 2 lbs. ground beef (not too lean)
  • 2 T Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup chopped scallions (white and light green parts only)
  • Lawry's season salt
  • Cheese, buns, condiments as needed
  1. Combine first four ingredients in mixing bowl.
  2. Mix, being careful to not compress beef too much.
  3. Shape beef into 6 balls slightly larger than a tennis ball.
  4. Flatten balls into burgers, making sure that the burgers are equally thick in the middle and around the edges.
  5. Grill burgers and serve.
Tim's Rating: 8/10
Liz's Rating: 8/10

Friday, May 16, 2008

Strawberry and Spinach Salad


  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon minced onion
  • 10 ounces fresh spinach - rinsed, dried and torn into bite-size pieces
  • 1 quart strawberries - cleaned, hulled and sliced
  • 1/4 cup almonds, blanched and slivered

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the sesame seeds, poppy seeds, sugar, olive oil, vinegar, paprika, Worcestershire sauce and onion.
  2. Cover, and chill for one hour.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the spinach, strawberries and almonds. Pour dressing over salad, and toss. Refrigerate 10 to 15 minutes before serving.

Notes: I don't have a photo of the finished dish, because I assembled it at a friend's house.

Tim's Rating: 9/10
Liz's Rating: 9/10

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Shredded Beef Enchiladas

A beef roast, no desire for pot roast, and this recipe.

  • 3 pounds beef chuck roast
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 (4 ounce) cans chopped green chile peppers
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sour cream
  • 3 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese, divided
  • 1 cup oil for frying
  • 20 (6 inch) corn tortillas
  • Salsa

  1. Place roast in slow cooker. Pour in water, vinegar, chili powder and cumin. Cover tightly and reduce heat to low. Cook on low for 10 hours or until the beef falls apart when you try to pick it up. Shred the beef, using 2 forks or your fingers. Place shredded beef back into the slow cooker with all the juices, and let cool to room temperature.

  2. In a large skillet, saute the onion until just soft, not browned. Mix in flour and green chilies. Stir constantly for 2 minutes to cook the flour taste out. Stir in sour cream and 2 cups of Monterey Jack cheese. Cook on low for 10 minutes, stirring often, until the cheese is all melted and mixed. Set aside and let cool.

  3. In a large heavy skillet, heat the olive oil. Using tongs dip the tortillas, one at a time, into the oil for 30 seconds each side. Drain on paper towels.

  4. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Spread 4 tablespoons of sour cream mixture down the center of the tortilla. Top with about the same amount of beef. Roll up and place seam side down in one or two 8x11 inch baking dish. Repeat for each tortilla. Continue until you are out of the filling. Sprinkle with remaining Monterey Jack cheese.

  5. Bake in a pre-heated oven for 30 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbling.

  6. Serve with salsa.
Notes: These were a bit labor intensive. They tasted great, however. The meat was delicious, and I will be using this shredded beef in other Mexican recipes! If you don't have a slow cooker, you can cook your roast using the original recipe.

Suggested beverage: beer

Tim's Rating: 10.2/10 ("One of my favorite things that you've ever made.")
Liz's Rating: 9/10

Thai Chicken and Cashews

On our recent trip to Thailand we had a few versions of Thai chicken and cashews. They were at relatively upscale places, so I didn't get any photos, but ... so delicious! The Thai version of chicken and cashews bears no resemblance to the gooey mess typical of American Chinese take-out.

I found this recipe from Gourmet magazine, and it turned out great! Is there anything better than fresh ginger, garlic, and scallions?

  • 1 bunch scallions
  • 1 pound skinless boneless chicken thighs
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped (optional; I omitted because we don't care for bell pepper)
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped peeled fresh ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried hot red-pepper flakes
  • 3/4 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 cup salted roasted whole cashews
  • Cooked white or brown rice

  1. Chop scallions, separating white and green parts. Pat chicken dry, then cut into 3/4-inch pieces and toss with salt and pepper. Heat a wok or 12-inch heavy skillet (not nonstick) over moderately high heat until a drop of water evaporates immediately. Add oil, swirling to coat, then stir-fry chicken until golden in places and just cooked through, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate with a slotted spoon. Add bell pepper, garlic, ginger, red-pepper flakes, and scallion whites to wok and stir-fry until peppers are just tender, 5 to 6 minutes.

  2. Stir together broth, soy sauce, cornstarch, and sugar, then stir into vegetables in wok. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in cashews, scallion greens, and chicken along with any juices accumulated on plate.
Suggested beverage: white wine, like a pinot grigio or sauvignon blanc

Tim's Rating: 8/10
Liz's Rating: 9/10

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Mother's Day Breakfast

We won't be celebrating Mother's Day until Sunday, May 18th, because my parents and my sister will be in town that weekend.

I will be serving:

Friday, May 9, 2008

Prosciutto and Arugula Pizza

A recipe in the Top Chef Cookbook (from Frank, season 2), modified to include arugula.


Pizza Sauce:
  • 1 T extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 yellow or white onion, minced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 15-oz. can tomato puree
  • 1 T tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh oregano
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh basil
  • 1 teaspoon sugar, or to taste
  • salt and freshly-ground black pepper
Crust and Toppings:
  • 4 whole wheat pita bread rounds
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • salt and freshly-ground black pepper
  • 12 oz. fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced
  • 8 slices prosciutto, torn into pieces
  • 1 bunch arugula, washed, stemmed, and torn into pieces
  • Balsamic vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, kosher salt, and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste

  1. Preheat the oven to 400F.

  2. In a medium saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté until soft, about 1 minute. Add the tomato puree, tomato paste, wine, oregano, basil, sugar, and salt and pepper to taste and stir to combine. Bring to a simmer, cover, then reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes for the flavors to blend, stirring occasionally. Set aside to cool slightly.

  3. Drizzle the pitas with the oil and season with salt and pepper.

  4. Spread the sauce over the pitas, then top with the cheese.

  5. Place the pizzas on a baking sheet, transfer to the oven, and bake until the cheese is melted and the crust is crisp, about 20 minutes.

  6. Meanwhile, toss prosciutto and arugula with a little olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper.

  7. Remove from the oven and scatter the prosciutto and arugula mixture on top. Cut each pizza into 4 slices and serve immediately.
Notes: The sauce is delicious. The pitas were crispy. I will be using and continuing to modify this recipe in the future!

Suggested beverage: red wine

Liz's Rating: 10/10 for the sauce and toppings, 8/10 for the pita crust.
Tim's Rating (he had a pepperoni version): 8.5/10 (When he was done eating: "I'm sad it's over.")

Bittman's Mini "Quiches"

Mark Bittman

  • 1 cup cream (or half-and-half, milk or a combination) gently heated just until warm
  • 3 eggs, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup grated Gruyère
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8-1/4 teaspoon cayenne, or to taste
  • Butter as needed


  1. Heat oven to 325 degrees and set rack in middle of it. Combine all ingredients except butter and beat until well blended.
  2. Pour into 4 to 6 buttered ramekins and bake for 20 to 30 minutes, or until almost firm; it should still jiggle just a little in middle. Cool on a rack, then serve warm or at room temperature.
Suggested beverage: grapefruit or orange juice, espresso

Tim's Rating: 10/10 ("This is the best quiche I've ever had. It's much better than the big quiches.")
Liz's Rating: 10/10

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Hamburger Soup

Lots of ground beef from Batalden Farms in my freezer!

  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 6 cups beef broth
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 16 oz. frozen corn
  • 1/2 large onion, chopped
  • 1 14-0z. can diced tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  1. In large chef's pan or pot, brown ground beef and drain.
  2. Add remaining ingredients and mix. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 1.5 hours.
Notes: Very quick and easy, aside from the time it takes to simmer.

Tim's Rating: 8/10 ("It's good but I like chili better.")
Liz's Rating: 8.5/10

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Peanut Butter Cookies

Tim's request for "peanut butter cookies with the fork marks"
A recipe found in Joy of Cooking, a gift from my friend Jaime

  • 2.5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1.25 teaspoons baking powder
  • .5 teaspoon baking soda
  • .25 teaspoon salt
  • .25 cup vegetable oil
  • 2/3 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 1.5 sticks softened butter
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk
  • 2.5 teaspoons vanilla

  1. Preheat oven to 350F and grease cookie sheets.

  2. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

  3. Beat oil, peanut butter, butter, powdered sugar, and brown sugar on medium speed until very fluffy and well blended.

  4. Add egg, extra yolk, and vanilla, and beat until well combined.

  5. Stir in flour mixture until well blended and smooth. Let the dough stand for about 5 minutes to firm slightly.

  6. Pull of pieces of the dough and roll into generous 1-inch balls. Space about 2-inches apart on the sheet. Using the tines of a fork, form a crosshatch pattern and press each ball into a 1.5-inch round.

  7. Bake, 1-sheet at a time, until the cookies are just tinged with brown at the edges, 9-12 minutes; rotate the sheet halfway through baking for even browning.

  8. Remove the sheet to a rack and let stand until the cookies firm slightly. Transfer the cookies to racks to cool.
Notes: These are buttery/crunchy, not chewy.

Suggested beverage: cold milk

Tim's Rating: 9/10
Liz's Rating: 9/10

Raisin Bran Muffins

Everyday Food

  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil, plus more for tin
  • 1 1/2 cups raisin bran cereal
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup whole-wheat flour (spooned and leveled)
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup packed dark-brown sugar

  1. Preheat oven to 400. Lightly oil a 6-cup standard muffin tin. In a medium bowl, combine cereal and milk; let stand until softened, about 5 minutes. In a small bowl, whisk together flours, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.
  2. Stir oil, egg, and sugar into cereal mixture. Fold in flour mixture. Divide batter among cups. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool in tin 5 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack; let cool completely, or serve warm. Store up to 5 days at room temperature in a resealable plastic bag.
Notes: I think that they're good, and healthier than most muffins, but they don't really taste very much like raisin bran. I think I will add more raisins next time!

Suggested beverage: hot black tea

Tim's Rating: 9/10 ("These were supposed to be raisin? I don't think I had raisins in mine.")
Liz's Rating: 8/10

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Kentucky Derby Party!


Beer, Wine, and Mint Juleps!