Saturday, November 19, 2011

Taco Time!

Chorizo Tacos

The problem with feeding just myself is that I frequently eat the same thing over and over and over again, with tiny variations. (The other problem is that since I share my fridge with three other people, I tend to lose my food to the depths of the fridge as one of them really likes to shop and stock up on things.) But somehow, by the time I ran out of Trader Joe's Soy Chorizo, I still wasn't sick of these. Maybe because they're super quick to make, and incredibly comforting. Maybe I have a strange idea of comfort food, but I'm okay with that. At least I've moved past my fish and chips phase of last month.

But in case you're wondering how I do it, here you go.

They key is the chorizo (onions, bell pepper, jalepeno, chorizo, extra chili powder.) Just finely chop the onions, bell pepper (I used orange), and jalepeno and saute them until soft. Add the chorizo and some extra chili powder, and heat through. Tasty and simple. Top with whatever you have on hand.

In a smaller pan, I heat up corn tortillas over medium-high heat, and then transfer them to a plate where I top them with some of the chorizo filling, and then depending on my mood, some of the following: salsa, cheese, cilantro, sour cream (I never actually choose this one), eggs.

Maybe it's not the healthiest, but it sure is tasty.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Gooey Butter Cake Cookies

Gooey Butter Cake Cookies

It's been over a month since I've last posted, and it's not for a lack of cooking. Or photographing my food. It's just that whole problem of either having a good recipe or having a good photo, but rarely both. And then being pressed for time. Or writing half a post and never posting it because by the time I finish it, I've forgotten what I did if it's something I came up with, or if it's something I adapted, I can't find the original recipe and/or forgot my modifications.

But I'm not posting now to tell you all the things I haven't done, but to tell you what I have done. To remind myself of what I've done, I made an album on flickr of food I've made at school. Sure, it dates back to stuff from freshman year, but now it's organized! So if you see anything there that looks tasty and lacks a link back to this blog, then pester me and I can try to figure it out and post about it! Most of them say coming soon, but that might be a lie. I may never blog them because I'm forgetful (and, in the case of this cake, I found it underwhelming.)

And then, when I'm not cooking or baking (which definitely doesn't happen enough) I'm either in class, watching The OC with my roommate, studying, writing papers, or doing stuff for My Car And My Guitar or something. I'm not going to provide you with some exhaustive list you don't want, because that's just less time I can spend talking about these cookies. Which are an abomination by the way.
Gooey Butter Cake Cookies

Yeah. See those ingredients? I seriously can't believe I made them. Not only that I made them, but that I've made them four times. Or maybe it's five. They're easy, affordable, and comforting. A twist on that St. Louis classic, Gooey Butter Cake, in cookie form! And they're not too expensive or anything, especially when cake mix is on sale and you can get it for $1 or less, and then the 75 cent stick of butter, the 20 cent egg, and the $2 cream cheese. I keep forgetting about powdered sugar, but it's like 45 cents of that probable. Five bucks and an hour of my time (including clean up) isn't too bad for around 3-4 dozen cookies!

And okay, I forgot some ingredients in the picture above. So here's the correction:
Gooey Butter Cake Cookies

But I never use the vanilla anyway.

But, like I said: Easy. Simple. Quick. Crowd-pleasing. So what are you waiting for?

Gooey Butter Cake Cookies
Gooey Butter Cake Cookies
Makes 3-4 dozen cookies

1 box yellow cake mix
1 package (8 oz) cream cheese
1 stick (4 oz) butter, at room temperature
1 large egg
1/3 cup powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350ºF and line 2-3 cookie sheets (or just bake in batches!) In a large bowl, beat together cream cheese and butter until smooth. Beat in egg. With a spatula or wooden spoon, stir in the cake mix. It will be very thick, and may take a while.

Gooey Butter Cake CookiesGooey Butter Cake Cookies

Pour powdered sugar into a small bowl. Roll heaping teaspoons of dough into balls and coat one side with powdered sugar. Place on baking sheet face up. Flatten slightly.
Gooey Butter Cake Cookies

Bake cookies for 7-10 minutes, or until bottoms are browned and tops are crackly and dry. Enjoy!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Omelet for One

Sunday Morning Breakfast

If there's one thing I love about having a kitchen, it's being able to eat breakfast on my own schedule on the weekends. I don't have to worry about carrying pans and food to a dorm kitchen to cook, eat in a too large room by myself, and then immediately clean up. There's nothing relaxing about that, and that's something breakfast should be on a weekend morning.

With two of my roommates out of town, and another not allowed to eat until after her blood work, I took my time and made myself a nice breakfast. While making my dinner the night before, I'd cubed some potatoes and sauteed some half-frozen mushrooms that had stuck to the side of our fridge with garlic. I chopped up some onions, threw them in a pan, and cooked them up with potatoes. Having recently learned how to cook potatoes, I'm still really excited by this. Unfortunately, I'm not sure what I do. I think I just poke them until I think they're done. Meanwhile, I reheated the mushrooms, adding in some spinach with them.

In a small bowl I beat together my eggs with some milk, and poured it into a nice small pan, lifting the egg up as it cooked to let the runny egg flow underneath. Once it seemed almost cooked, I added the mushrooms, spinach, and some cheese, put a lid over the pan for about 30 seconds to let it finish cooking. I removed the lid, folded over the omelet, and slid it onto my plate along with some potatoes. Then it was time for Sunday Morning. Bon Appetit!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Eggplant Day


Do you have those foods that at one point you absolutely detested and would avoid any dish at the mention of their name? Yeah, me too. But the number's gone down drastically in the past ten years. But there was a point in my life when, unless I didn't know it had eggplant in it, or it was nice and creamy like kashk-e bademjan, I wouldn't touch it. Just the thought of it grossed me out. It was gross and bitter with a weird texture.

Clearly, my opinion on eggplant has changed. I get super excited whenever my dad roasts eggplant on the grill knowing it means some sort of delicious garlicky eggplant dip is in my future. My mouth waters at the mention of fresh eggplants from my aunt's garden. And at the sight of gorgeous graffiti eggplant from a nearby farm at the grocery store for 99 cents a pound, I can't help but grab a gorgeous globe, just thinking of what I can do with it.

And then, I find out, that like me of the past, my roommates all detest eggplant. One will only touch it if it's deliciously fragrant and disguised, which isn't something I've mastered, and another is allergic, which is an acceptable excuse. Leaving me to come up with something easy and simple for one. And with my failure of planning while at the grocery store, I didn't have much to work with. I thought about making a pan-fried eggplant sandwich with carmelized onions, and somehow that turned into a really ugly, but tasty, dish. Layers of thinly sliced eggplant and tomatoes topped with garlicky sauteed onions and fresh mozzarella. Yum!


Monday, August 29, 2011

New School Year, New Post

Spicy Double-Chocolate Mango Cookies

It seems that somehow this gets more neglected over the summer. Summer, when in theory I have abundant free time, easy access to groceries and a kitchen, and willing test subjects in the form of my family. Unfortunately, those three things don't quite add up, and it's difficult to cook and take pictures whilst spending 28 hours a week commuting (and out of that, about 100 minutes a day actually on various trains and buses, the rest of the time was spent standing still at stops or walking. I now have a love/hate relationship with the CTA.) And in addition to that, I'm also one-half of My Car And My Guitar, a music news/reviews site.

But now that I'm back at school, it seems for the first time since the week I left I have something to post, following in what seems to now be a tradition (the mini gluten-free cupcakes from last year, and the Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies from the first Friday of my freshman year). And these aren't even the first thing I've made since I've been back. My first morning here, I borrowed my roommate's skillet and made a nice big (and bland) spinach omelet for three, and later that evening whipped up a batch of chocolate crinkles, with delicious smells wafting through our spacious apartment.

But last night, after being sadly (and predictably) disappointed by the VMAs (and the PDA in the living room), I opted to bake something interesting and bloggable. And with that, I present to you Spicy Double-Chocolate Mango Cookies (if you can come up with a better name, please, let me know.)

These tasty cookies pretty much require a glass of milk or your preferred equivalent. Rich and chewy, strong and spicy, they pretty much come on as a full-force attack. And didn't lead anyone to question my sanity before biting in as with those corn brownies I made freshman year.

So if you find yourself with a tiny bit of time on your hand, a Trader Joe's nearby (or time to put sugar, cayenne, and paprika on your mangoes), a warm oven, and a craving for something a little spicy, give these cookies a try.

Spicy Double-Chocolate Mango Cookies

Spicy Double-Chocolate Mango Cookies
Makes about 3 dozen cookies

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 egg
1 1/2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 ounces chili-spiced dried mango, chopped
3 ounces milk chocolate, chopped or 1/2 cup milk chocolate chips

Preheat he oven to 350ºF. Line 2-3 baking sheets with silicone baking mats or parchment paper.

In a large mixing bowl beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, baking soda, and cinnamon until well combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Beat in eggs until combined. Beat in melted unsweetened chocolate.

With a spatula or wooden spoon, stir in flour, followed by chopped dried mango and milk chocolate.

Place spoonfuls (I use a 2tsp. scoop) of dough 2 inches apart on prepared pans. Bake in oven for about 10 minutes. Let cool slightly and serve, or transfer to wire cooling rack and let cool completely before storing.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Modified Tuna Boats Not The Best Idea

Zucchini Boats with Tuna

Coming home, I learned something new about my father. He doesn't really like tuna. After spending the unusually steamy May day job hunting, steaming hot food was the last thing I wanted to eat. So I set my eyes on making a macaroni salad, something I eat far too much of when I'm at school. The one I eat at school is elbow macaroni, roasted red peppers, parsley, and chunks of creamy smoked gouda and salami in a balsamic dressing. But I wanted to do something different, and after a failed brainstorming session with myself and some browsing, I came across something delicious looking on Simply Recipes A tuna macaroni salad that looked tasty and for which I had half the ingredients. I quickly texted my parents to make sure they were okay with the idea, and I got a quick, and brief, response from my dad: "No."

Since I like to make people happy, the macaroni salad was out of the question. And with that, my mind switched from being set on eating macaroni salad to having canned tuna for dinner. And my favorite recipe using a can (or two) of tuna would have to be these simple zucchini boats I've made quite a few times over the past four years. But this time, I decided to mix it up. Instead of basic and oven-roasted tomatoes, I decided to go with roasted red pepper and a jalapeno mayonnaise. Gorgeous tiny zucchini was just 69 cents a pound at the store, and I probably did not take advantage of that as I should have. With all my ingredients in my basket, I headed home and started prep on dinner.

Roasted Red Pepper
After a failed attempt at roasting a red pepper (it kind of worked, my hand cramped up from holding the tongs before it had cooked long enough) and discovering that our mayonnaise had expired a few months ago after pureeing the jalapeno pepper in it, I made some quick swaps (some questionable greek yogurt and a generous dose of ancho chili powder and a dash of cayenne) that probably decreased the tastiness and increased the safety. But it worked, it was just... different. And not as good as usual, which is quite tasty.

So I'm not adding this variation to my list of things I've succesfully made. However, when Dad isn't around, I'll still make these zucchini boats.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

There's a pie in my cupcake!

Surprise Cupcakes

Happy April! I'm a little belated with posting this, given that it's no longer April 1st, but they're fun for a party, and if decorated, I'm sure they'd actually be pretty. My butter just wasn't being nice, and neither was the microwave, so I opted out of frosting these cupcakes.

Over the summer, my friend texted me a picture of a chocolate cupcake with white frosting on top and a mini cherry pie in the middle that he saw online. I was intrigued, and told him I was tempted to try to make them. His birthday was a couple of weeks ago, and since it was midterms week, I decided to try to cut down on the weight of my groceries and the amount of time I'd spend on it, even if that meant sacrificing quality, so he could have a cupcake with a tiny pie in the center.

They're pretty simple to make, though because of the two steps, a bit more time consuming that just making plain chocolate cupcakes from a box, but only by about 20 minutes or so.

Surprise Cupcakes
Surprise Cupcakes
makes 12 surprise cupcakes, but can easily be stretched to make more

1 box chocolate cake mix (and the oil, eggs, and water the recipe calls for)
1 package refrigerated pie dough for a double crust pie
a can of cherry pie filling (you'll need about 2/3 cup or so of filling, maybe less)
frosting of choice, optional

Preheat oven to 450ºF. Cut pie dough into 12 2" circles, and press into a mini muffin pan. Fill each with a spoonful of cherry pie dough. Cut out 12 1" circles from remaining pie dough, and top each pie with the dough, pressing edges together. Bake for about 8-10 minutes, or until edges are golden. Remove from oven and let cool until you can remove them from the pan, about 5 minutes. Decrease oven temperature to 350F.

Meanwhile, prepare chocolate cake mix as directed.* Line a muffin pan with 12 liners, and scoop a heaping tablespoon of batter into each one. Place a mini pie in each muffin cop, and top with another heaping tablespoon of batter so that they are completely covered. Bake in 350ºF oven for about 15-20 minutes, or until tops are dry and spring back when pressed lightly. Remove from oven. Cool slightly in pan, and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Ice or enjoy as is!

• Since it should make enough for 24 cupcakes, you'll have extra batter. Alternately, you can buy/make more pie dough, or make more mini pies, and make that number of the cupcakes as described enough (my guess is around 30 total) or just make extra plain cupcakes with the remaining batter. A package of pie dough should have enough crust for about 14-16 mini pies. My guess is that a small can of cherry pie filling will probably make about 20 or so pies.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Another Cake With Alcohol

Guinness Cake

I'm not an alcoholic, I promise. I don't even drink the stuff, and not just because I'm underage. I like water. And tea. And that's about it. But when I saw this recipe in the very first issue of Vegetarian Times that I ever bought, back in March of 2006, I decided I wanted to try it. I searched through the house, and couldn't find any Guinness, and there was no way I could make a "Guinness Cake" with the random bottles of beer I found in the fridge. So I put it in the back of my mind to try sometime, at a later date. And now, almost exactly five years later, I pulled out the magazine and gave the Guinness Cake a try. And I have a pretty good reason.

When I'm at home, I have dinner with my great-aunt and uncle on Friday nights. My great-aunt is Irish. She likes beer (thought not Guinness). And yesterday was her birthday. The first detail was irrelevant, but the last two reminded me of this cake, and provided me with the excuse I've needed to try it out. I sent a frazzled mother to the grocery store before breakfast (which, here, starts selling alcohol at 8 AM, meaning she had to wait a while) for beer, gathered up the rest of the ingredients, and whipped up this fairly simple cake. I couldn't get my cocoa/beer/butter mixture to be nicely mixed and smooth, but that didn't seem to ruin the final product. Not even my aunt's dislike of Guinness kept her from liking it, because the cake does not taste like Guinness. The beer instead seems to add some moisture and depth to the flavor of this nice and simple chocolate cake.

Guinness Cake

Also, like usual, I didn't follow the recipe exactly. We usually have yogurt in the house, so it didn't make sense to go out and buy sour cream unnecessarily. The recipe below reflects the changes. And, for some reason, the recipe on the VT site has a different name than the printed one, and mentions Guinness nowhere. Instead it suggests Darcy's Dublin Stout or Samuel Smith Imperial Stout as examples of black stouts to bake the cake with.

Guinness Cake
Guinness Cake
adapted from Vegetarian Times, March 2006
makes a 9" round cake, serves 8 or so

2/3 cup stout, room temperature (I don't know how to measure beer. It was too frothy at the top, so I ended up using 2/3 cup+ with the froth since I did a bad job pouring)
10 Tablespoons butter
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
2/3 cup strained yogurt or sour cream
powdered sugar, for dusting

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Butter a 9" round pan and line with buttered parchment or dusk with cocoa powder.

In a heavy saucepan over medium heat, bring stout and butter to a simmer. Whisk in cocoa until smooth. Cool slightly.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt.

Beat egg, egg yolk, and yogurt with an electric mixer in a large bowl until smooth and blended. Add beer-chocolate mixture and beat to combine.

Beat in flour mixture for 15-30 seconds on lowest speed. Fold batter using rubber spatula until completely combined. Don't fold too much. Pour into prepared pan.

Bake about 45-50 minutes, or until tester inserted into center of cake comes out clean. Cool about 10 minutes on rack. If cake needs loosening from sides of pan, run a small knife around edges. Turn out cake onto rack (if using parchment, peel off) and let cool completely. Sift powdered sugar over top of cake just before serving.

Friday, February 18, 2011

The Gluten-Free Layer Cake

Peach Schnapps Layer Cake

Last semester while talking to one of my roommates, it was discovered that she likes peach schnapps. She really likes peach schnapps, and, it's not something that makes her sick. Well, in moderation. I'm sure if she got a little too excited and drank a bit too much, she wouldn't feel so great. But since schnapps happen to be gluten free, she can imbibe in the candy-sweet alcohol as long as nobody's carding her.

It's not a secret that I don't shy away from baking, cooking, or lowering freezing points with alcohol, so it shouldn't come as a surprise that I decided to challenge myself to make a gluten-free cake incorporating the sickeningly sweet smelling schnapps.

Unfortunately, she never did get to try the cake that was originally imagined for her birthday, but all the gluten-tolerant tasters thought it was quite tasty. One even remarked, "Is this really gluten-free? It's really good." And, unless my checking all the labels failed me, it really is!

Making this cake was not without some slight hitches, mostly because of my lack of sleep and attention. I took all the ingredients out to bake the cake layers at 7pm last Friday night, after sleeping a mere 2 and a half hours in the previous 36. I failed to notice that I was looking at a recipe that made 80 mini cupcakes. A 6" cake does not require 4 pounds of batter, which I think is what I ended up with. I started divying up the batter by weight, hoping to make equal layers, and when the first one came out of the oven, I realized if I used more than just that for the cake, I'd end up with a leaning tower. I baked off a dozen cupcakes and a slightly smaller cake layer that I ended up omitting from the cake, deciding to go with a slightly shorter cake (If you follow the recipe below, yours may end up a bit taller than pictures from this recipe, but no worries! There's just enough frosting to take care of that!) Plus, it never hurts to have an extra 12 ounces of cake lying around. With the addition of some whipped cream and frozen fruit, it can be turned into a tasty (but extremely unphotogenic) mango trifle later in the week!

Peach Schnapps Layer Cake
Peach Schnapps Layer Cake That Just So Happens To Be Gluten-Free
makes 1 6" 3 layer cake

For cake layers:
1 cups (200 g) granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/4 cups gluten-free rice flour all-purpose mix (I used 200 grams of Gluten Free Pantry All Purpose Flour)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup milk
*add a teaspoon of vanilla extract, especially if you want to skip out on the schnapps

2/3 cup peach preserves

For peach schnapps syrup:
1/4 cup (50 g) sugar
1/2 cup water
2 Tablespoons peach schnapps

For peachy buttercream:
1 cup/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
pinch salt
1/4 cup peach preserves

To prepare cake layers:
Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease a 6" round cake pan (mine's 3" deep).

Beat sugar and eggs in large bowl of electric mixer at medium speed for one minute. Add flour, salt, baking powder, xanthan gum, oil, milk, and vanilla and beat at medium speed for about a minute, or until batter is smooth.

Scoop batter in prepared cake pan. Place pan in center of oven and bake for about 45 minutes or until top springs back when lightly touched or a toothpick in the center comes out with only a crumb or two. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack for a few minutes, remove from pan and cool completely.

To prepare sugar syrup:
Heat water and sugar in a small saucepan, stirring, until sugar is completely dissolved. Remove from heat and let cool. Stir in schnapps.

To prepare frosting:
Place butter in a medium bowl and beat until fluffy. Add powdered sugar and salt and beat until smooth. Beat in peach jam. (If planning on piping frosting, you may want to set aside some frosting before adding jam to prevent getting clumps stuck in your bag.)

To assemble cake:
Level the top of the cake. Slice cake into three layers. Place the base of the cake on a cake plate or large plate, sliced side up. Brush with syrup. Spread 1/3 cup peach preserves over cake layer, and top with another layer of cake. Brush with syrup and spread remaining 1/3 cup preach preserves over the layer. Top with the remaining layer of cake and brush entire cake with remaining syrup.

Scoop about 1 cup of frosting on the top of the cake and spread over the top and sides of cake, adding more frosting as necessary. Smooth sides and top, and, if desired, pipe designs with remaining buttercream.

Store in refrigerator for up to 2 or 3 days. Take out about 20 minutes before eating or it'll be too cold and not taste as awesome.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Truffles for Your Valentine

Chocolate Raspberry Cream Cheese Truffles

It was approaching seven at night, and upon receiving a text from my friend about receiving a box of chocolates, I realized that it was Valentine's Day. And with Valentine's Day comes an excuse to eat chocolate whether you're single or otherwise preoccupied.

The dessert cases here at school had heart and red-themed treats within them, but if I was going to enjoy something chocolate or red, it was going to be on my own terms, and while celebrating the nice break from schoolwork. I was going to make truffles a week or so ago and bought the ingredients, and decided, what's a better thing to treat myself to on Valentine's Day?

Raspberry Jam

I decided to add a festive twist, and with that, I cranked up the Taylor Swift, whipped out the cream cheese, chocolate, and raspberry preserves, and while covering the table and microwave in chocolate, made these yummy little morsels. I wiped the chocolate off my face, and then proceeded to wander around and share them with a grin upon my face.

Chocolate Raspberry Cream Cheese Truffles
Raspberry Chocolate Cream Cheese Truffles
makes about 36

1 8 oz. package cream cheese or neufchatel, softened
8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, melted
1/3 cup raspberry preserves
10-12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate (melted but later on)
decorations (i.e. sprinkles, chopped nuts, etc), optional

Beat the cream cheese until fluffy and beat in the chocolate and raspberry preserves. Chill until firm enough to handle and then scoop and shape teaspoonfulls into balls.

Chill for half an hour or so, and then dip into melted chocolate and place on a sheet of wax paper or silicone mat (and top with sprinkles or something if desired).

Refrigerate for a few hours until chocolate is set.


Wednesday, February 09, 2011

An Alternate Stir Fry

refried stir fry

Being at school, it's rare that I make my own dinner, unless you count the chips and leftover bean dip from the super bowl that I called "dinner" Monday night. Or there was that time I had brownies for dinner last semester...

Neither of those really qualify as dinner. However, repurposing leftovers to make something similar, but different, counts. And that's exactly what I'd been planning to do as soon as I realized that there was no way I would finish my original stir fry from dining services here.

The leftover stir fry (brown rice with some assorted veggies, tofu (that I'd eaten all of), and a sesame ginger sauce) served as my base. It was kind of old, so I made sure to heat it really well, meaning I brought it practically to a boil, which was probably terrible for the integrity of the vegetables, but I really don't want to die.

I added some torn up spinach (leftover from a tuna fish sandwich I made a week or two ago. I really need to work on using things quicker) and a bit of chili garlic sauce. I made a well in the center of the pan, added a bit of sesame oil, and cracked two eggs into the well, breaking up the yolks with my spatula. I let them cook a bit and then stirred everything together and left it in the pan as I washed some dishes, broke it all up so it wouldn't be a gigantic egg and rice patty, washed out the pan, and then came back up to my room to enjoy it as I did some reading for my environmental psychology class.

For the effort, I'd say it was quick, easy, tasty, and affordable. Unlike the cake I plan on attempting this weekend. Let's just say I should have a peachy time.

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Pumpkin Pancakes!

Pumpkin Pancakes

Last week was a breakfast week. Thursday morning was an attempt to satisfy my curiosity of what would happen if I stuffed eggs into wonton wrappers, and Friday was less "adventurous." That is unless you consider pumpkin pancakes chock-full of dark chocolate and toasty pecans adventurous.

Coming home from the Art Institute on Thursday night, still too full from a delicious late lunch of jibaritos to even think of dinner, I turned our thoughts to breakfast instead, asking my friend what he wanted to for breakfast. As soon as he started to open his mouth, I was quick to add "that isn't waffles." Well, that was solved quickly: pancakes. With chocolate chips. I added that I thought I had a can of pumpkin puree at home, and if that was the case, would pumpkin pancakes be alright with him. He wholeheartedly approved the motion. So the next morning, as I waited for him to wake up and greet the day (and help me with breakfast, but sometimes I get a little impatient), I puttered around the kitchen, looked up some recipes, and threw these together.

He approved. My mom approved of them cold out of a bag in the fridge the next day. And my Dad ate the few that remained this morning, and he thought they were tasty as well.

Pumpkin Pancakes
adapted from Sweet Potato - Pecan Pancakes
Serves 4 (maybe)

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon*
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg*
1/8 teaspoon ginger*
1/8 teaspoon allspice*
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons chopped pecans, toasted
1/4 cup (1.5 ounces/45 grams) chopped dark chocolate
1 cup milk
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon canola or vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
190 grams (about 3/4 cup) pumpkin puree

Heat a large nonstick pan or griddle over medium heat (the way I learned to gauge the temperature was by flicking a drop of water, if the water rolls and then sizzles, it's the correct temperature.)

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice, and salt. Stir in pecans and chocolate.

In a medium bowl, whisk together milk, brown sugar, oil, vanilla, eggs, and pumpkin puree.

Make a well in the middle of the flour, and pour in the liquid mixture. Stir until no dry clumps remain.

Ladle 1/4 cup circles of batter onto the pan as fit. Cook until sides look cooked and there are bubbles all over. Flip over and cook until pressing down lightly on the center of the pumpkin leaves no indentations.

Serve with butter and maple syrup, or bourbon pecan sauce.

*Instead of the spices, you can substitute 1 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice.)

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Breakfast Pot Stickers

Breakfast Dumplings

I like breakfast. It's probably one of my favorite meals of the day. I love eggs, homemade muffins, and other tasty, breakfasty sweets. But mostly, I like eggs. With vegetables. Actually, I'll eat that for any meal, but it seems most acceptable at breakfast time.

Since I bought wonton wrappers to make short rib ravioli for breakfast Monday night, I figured I'd try to use the wonton wrappers for something other than what I usually use them for: Pea Salad Cups

I haven't been home much lately for meals other than breakfast, so I figured, since breakfast burritos are so tasty, why not use a similar idea, but make potstickers instead of burritos. I scrambled some eggs with peppers, filled some wonton wrappers with the eggs, and pan fried them.
Breakfast Dumplings

And it was tasty. All that was missing was a tasty spicy salsa to dip the potstickers in. Next time.

Breakfast Dumplings
Breakfast Dumplings
serves 2-3, depending on appetites

20 wonton wrappers
3 tablespoons minced onion
1/2 bell pepper, finely chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded if less spice desired, finely chopped
1/2 serrano pepper, seeded if less spice desired, finely chopped
handful of cilantro, chopped
3 eggs
3 Tablespoons milk

Heat a bit of oil in a saute pan over medium-high heat. Saute onion in pan for about a minute, or until fragrant. Sprinkle with a bit of salt Add peppers and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 5 minutes.

In a small bowl, whisk together eggs and milk. Lower heat and add eggs to pan. Let cook about 30 seconds, and then, using a spatula, scrape the eggs, stirring occasionally, until cooked but not dry.

Remove eggs from pan and transfer to a small bowl. Spoon a rounded teaspoon of egg into a wonton wrapper. Wet edges of wonton wrapper with water and press together to seal. Repeat with remaining eggs.

Heat about 1/4 inch of oil over medium-high heat in a large pan until shimmering. Add pot stickers to pan and cook a minute or two, or until golden, and flip over and repeat with remaining side. Be careful not to get sprayed with hot oil.

Remove from oil and place on a paper-tower to drain. Serve, and enjoy with salsa if desired.