Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Tropical Chocolate Chip Cookies

I'll be honest. My favorite chocolate chip cookies would have to be Nestle Toll House chocolate chip cookies from the tube or tub straight out of the oven. The only thing better might be some nuts. So why bother with the effort if the chocolate chip cookie recipe I plan on using is off the back of the Nestle bag (minus the nuts)?

A better solution: mix it up a bit. Since I plan on taking the cookies to school, nuts are out of the question to be on the safe side. I've made the recipe with peppermint extract in place of vanilla, and liked the result. But today I felt like using coconut, but I knew there'd have to be something else in there to balance it out, such as flaked coconut, but I threw out the flaked coconut over the weekend.
Banana chips! (I just failed to buy enough, underestimating the proper amount.)

Tropical Chocolate Chip Cookies
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. coconut extract
2 large eggs
2 cups (approx. 11 ounces) semi-sweet chocolate morsels
1/3 cup banana chips, broken up and crushed

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl.

Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and coconut extract in a large bowl until creamy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in chocolate and banana.

Drop by rounded tablespoons (or cookie size of choice) onto baking sheets.

Bake for 7-11 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool slightly and transfer to cool completely (if they can even make it that far...)

Makes 3-5 dozen cookies depending on size.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Grilled Chicken Noodle Soup

Dad made dinner while I was in the shower. He used leftover noodles cooked with some ricotta cheese, turkey broth he made, and leftover grilled lemon chicken, and added some spices and parsley. It made for a nice departure from the usual chicken noodle soup (though I will admit, mine usually has nasty chicken from a can).

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Persimmon Salsa

I'd say this went over well with the crowd (this house and those from the family of Michelle.

Persimmon Salsa
1 Fuyu persimmon, diced
1/2 small red onion, minced
lime juice from 1/2 lime
1/2 jalepeƱo, seeds and veins removed, minced
handful of cilantro, chopped

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl. Serve with tortilla chips.

It would also probably taste nice with grilled chicken or on quesadillas.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Sweet Potato Pancakes

I wasn't around when Dad made these, well I was around when they came out of the oven, but not before that. All I know is that they at least involve leftover Maple Mashed Sweet Potatoes from Thanksgiving and eggs and were baked in the oven.
Not to mention they were delicious with orange cranberry relish.

Eat Some Bird!

Thanksgiving was a good day.

The food was all edible and no freak outs from me. That's an accomplishment in itself.

Dad made the turkey and Mom and I made the sides.

Recap in photos (appetizers provided by Aunt Barbara and Ed, as well as Colin (not all are pictured):

Uncle Larry brought dessert, but I failed to take pictures of it.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Poached Pears by the Numbers

Mom bought the November issue of Bon Appetit this week when she stopped at the grocery store hoping it would cheer me up as consolation for her working so much this week (I don't understand the reasoning, but oh well.) Flipping through it in Spanish class I came across the recipe for CORNMEAL POUND CAKE WITH ROSEMARY SYRUP, POACHED PEARS, AND CANDIED ROSEMARY and just knew I had to try it. It serves 8, so I got home and asked "Mom, can Maddy and her parents come over for dinner on Saturday night? I have a dessert I want to make, and I haven't seen Maddy in forever!"

Now to the pears. To make the poached pears, you need:
3 cups water
2 cups sugar
1 cup Riesling
3 fresh rosemary sprigs
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
1/4 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
8 Forelle pears

First, I washed a dried the pears and rosemary (1). Then, in a large saute pan, I combined the water, sugar, Riesling, rosemary, vanilla bean, and peppercorns. (2)
I then peeled the pears, leaving the stems intact, and using a melon baller removed the part at the bottom. Forelle pears size make them hard to core, so I didn't core them completely. I cut off any bad parts of the pears and placed them in a bowl filled with cold water.
Once all 8 pears were peeled and ready, I went back to the stove and put the pan over medium heat, stirring, until the sugar completely dissolved. (3) I added the pears (4) and turned up the heat to bring to a boil, turning the pears occasionally (with my fingers and spatula.) After it came to a boil, I reduced the heat to medium-low to a simmer and covered the pan (5), occasionally checking on the pears for tenderness for about 20 minutes. Then I removed the pan from the heat until the syrup cooled a bit.
I then placed the pears in a container and poured the syrup over them (6) and refrigerated them, uncovered until dessert time!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Wednesday Morning

First, I'd like to apologize for the terrible picture. I wasn't quite awake yet.

Wednesday morning Dad made a wonderful breakfast. The eggs were scrambled with poblano pepper and onion.
Dad asked me if I wanted to know the recipe for the apples. Of course I did. Here's what he told me:
Apples in some olive oil, butter, and cinnamon.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Hot and Cold Salad

Mom used a cookbook she bought in August for the first time to make this interesting salad. The peppers were where all the flavor was. It had canned beans, but the way the salad was, the cold canned beans left something to be desired. Some of the faults though came from Mom trying to figure out what to do as we waited for Dad to come home. It wasn't as spicy for lunch the next day.

Egg on Toast (II)

I guess its even possible on a Monday morning.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Le Creuset and Osso Bucco

Mom, Dad, and I went shopping Sunday, and I couldn't help but talk them into a gorgeous new Dutch Oven (or I suppose it would be a French Oven). We have a dutch oven, but ours is nonstick, and it feels awkward putting it into the oven. Enameled cast iron means perfect for one-pot meals.

Dad decided to make dinner in it to christen our new pot. After stopping at Whole Foods on the way home, the result was a delicious Osso Bucco with buttery orzo. Talk about a melt in your mouth meal!

Friday, November 10, 2006

August 28: Portobello Pizzas

Based off a recipe found in the Vegetarian Times Complete Cookbook for Portobello Pizza. Since it was for dinner nearly two and a half months ago, I'm not quite sure of what exactly went into it, except I know it did not have soysage, and that it had diced peppers in it. It was good, but I remember there was something about it that bothered me, but only me. I just can't remember what it was.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Egg on Toast

Having days off of school does have some perks. Such as a weekend style breakfast on a Thursday morning, and still getting your parents off to work on time.

Eggs with Tomato-Onion on Toast
Serves 3
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 large onion, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/8 teaspoon turmeric
2 tomatoes
3 eggs
3 slices bread, toasted
cilantro, to garnish

Heat oil in large nonstick skillet with lid over medium-high heat. Add garlic cloves and stir until fragrant. Add onion, stirring occasionally for about two minutes and stir in turmeric. Continue cooking until soft, around 2 to 3 minutes longer.
Meanwhile, dice tomatoes. Remove lid, lower heat to medium and add tomatoes. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally 4-6 minutes.
Reduce heat to low. Crack eggs individually into a small bowl and slide on top of tomato-onion mixture. Cover and cook for 8 minutes or until white is completely set.
Serve over toast and top with chopped cilantro, if desired.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Teeny Plates & A Spicy Cilantro Dressing

I felt like doing something a bit different for dinner tonight. I made a salad, and a dressing for it, but wanted to do a bunch of small courses. Unfortunately, my orthodontist appointment interrupted some of my planning of the smaller courses. However, Mom and Dad were impressed.
Dad liked the dressing, but Mom and I found it a bit too spicy. I finally managed to get a kick from the cayenne, I suppose I'd just been using far too little of it.

The other courses were titled Lamb and Chicken. The first one, lamb, being cubes of stewed lamb and the beans from Sunday's Ghormeh Sabzi on top of a cracker. "Chicken" was a reconstructed chicken quesadilla, with tortilla chips in place of the tortilla.

Cilantro Lime Dressing
3/4 cup cilantro
juice and zest from 1/2 medium lemon
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon cayenne (1/8 or less is probably sufficient though)
4 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon water

Place all ingredients in a food processor or blender and process until well mixed but not yet smooth.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Pantry Prepared Dinner...

I've been preparing for this meal for a while. Not when exactly it would occur, but I was prepared for it.
And there was no need to worry because the entire dinner could be attributed to pantry staples. Except they aren't, but they last (in freezer and in fridge) well enough to be such.

It was a bag of frozen stir fry vegetables, "seasoned vegetarian stir-fry strips" (seasoned seitan), some red chili paste, peanut oil, and some rice. Quite simple, and even simpler to have on hand.