Monday, August 31, 2009

Indian Deliciousness

UPDATE: When I originally wrote this, I forgot to tell you that when Tony was asked his opinion of this meal, he said it made him want to dance in a train station.
I bought some okra from the farmers market this weekend, and decided to try this okra/tomato curry recipe. It was ok, but nothing special- it needed a little less of the cinnamon-y flavor and a little more heat, I think.

The other dish fared a little better: spicy Indian potatoes. Chuck made these and they were really tasty. We used a pound of small mixed potatoes- purple, red, etc.- rather than the 2 Russets the recipe called for. We didn't peel them.

Neither dish is much to look at, as you can see from the photo. But the potatoes are definitely worth making again! Served with rice and some garlic naan from Whole Foods.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Phyllo Cups with Brie, Jam and Pecans

So... I made these a couple years ago for Barbara and Mark's engagement party. However, I used pre-made phyllo cups then. Today, for Meagan's going-away party, I wasn't able to find the pre-made cups, so I bought a package of frozen phyllo dough and made my own, using a Googled recipe. Not too bad, although maybe I would cute the squares smaller next time to eliminate some of the excess dough, which flailed all around uselessly.
My aim in making the cups was to fill each with tiny square of brie, 1/2 tsp of jam and a pecan, which I did. Mmmm. I used peach jam from my CSA, but you could use whatever- raspberry, apricot, etc.

Melon Skewers with Lemon Mint Dressing

Inspired by the cantaloupe that came in my CSA share last week, as well as this Giada Delaurentis recipe, I made these watermelon and cantaloupe skewers with a lemony/mint dressing.
I didn't follow Giada's instructions to the T by any means- I winged it. No amaretto, eyeballed the amounts, etc. Also, I fashioned it as a fingerfood rather than a salad since I didn't want to bother with forks.
Everybody ate them up. Definitely a pretty addition to any summer party.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Warm Creamy Crab Dip

So each the McCarthys knows this recipe like the back of his or her hand... but for those non-McCarthys reading this: make this crab dip for your next party. It's super easy and everybody loves it.
I usually double-down on the onion and horseradish. You can serve it with toasted baguette slices or crackers. Delicious.

Crab Dip

8 oz cream cheese
1 tbs milk
1 can of crab, drained
2 tbs finely chopped onion
1/2 tsp horseradish
1/4 tsp salt
dash of pepper

Mix all ingredients
Put into oven-safe dish (we like one with more surface area to get brown and bubbly)
Bake for 15 minutes at 375 degrees

Friday, August 28, 2009

Stovetop Mac & Cheese: Partial FAIL

So... Chuck was craving mac & cheese this week, so I thought I would try out this stovetop method I found online. It was super easy- akin to boxed mac & cheese.
Out of laziness I used some American cheese that was in the fridge because I didn't have any cheddar. Bad idea. I thought using American would be fine... not gourmet, for sure, but fine. It was icky, though. Gummy and tasteless.

I think the method would work if I had used nicer cheese, though. I'll try it again some time when I want mac & cheese quickly. If I have more time, though, Ina Garten's baked mac & cheese is fabulous- I made it for Tim's birthday party and it was a hit. I used panko bread crumbs as the topping, and omitted the tomatoes- awesome.

Garlic Parmesan Swiss Chard Bread

I saw this recipe on the Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day website... and I had a bunch of CSA Swiss chard on the verge of going bad in the fridge, so I gave it a try. It uses the challah dough that we like around here and adds garlic and parmesan- how could it be bad?
I was worried after my last stuffed bread experiment went awry, I was worried about this one cooking all the way through. But it worked! It was really good, too.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Tony's Low Fat Hot Legs

Tony's no-longer secret recipe:

1) bring large pot of water to a boil
2) salt the water
3) add chicken drumsticks
4) boil for about 45 minutes
5) pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
6) remove skin and fat from chicken drumsticks
7) place drumsticks in pyrex baking sheet
8) liberally sprinkle with Texas Pete hotsauce (approximately 2 cups for 10 huge drumsticks)
9) season each drumstick with Old Bay
10) place pan in oven
11) bake for 15 minutes or until top of drumsticks look dry
12) flip drumsticks
13) season with Old Bay
14) continue to cook for another 10 minutes, or until drumsticks are dry
15) remove from oven
16) coat drumsticks in sauce
17) serve with extra sauce

Saturday, August 22, 2009

New Jewels

Made this necklace for my "mentee," Shaunise, for her 16th birthday, which is in a couple weeks. Blue is her favorite color (and the color of her birthstone, sapphire). The beads are Czech glass and Swarovski crystal.
This one is made with a vintage brooch that Theresa gave me- I refashioned it as a pendant... I think it looks pretty cool!

Eggplant, Tomato and Goat Cheese Sandwiches

I got some eggplants, Roma tomatoes, garlic, and goat cheese at the farmers market this week. Along with some basil from the Aerogarden, we threw together these easy grilled veggie sandwiches. They were pretty good- not the most amazing sandwich ever, but easy and good enough for government work!
Please excuse the terrible photo- it's a camera phone shot. I was too lazy and hungry to go upstairs to retrieve my camera.

Edamame "Hummus"

Since Tony loves hummus more than life itself, I sent him this recipe for edamame "hummus" in case he was interested in shaking things up a bit. He was.

Here is the result of his shaking:
This was tasty and super healthy. We added some more garlic (2 more cloves) than the recipe called for, as well as a little bit of lemon zest, as the first time we tasted it it was a little bit bland.

Corn Chowdah

To all my loyal readership (ha!): I apologize for the break in regularly scheduled programming. I spent the week in Iowa on a "biofuels tour," which involved visiting corn and soybean farms, touring ethanol and biodiesel plants, and generally being harassed by industry representatives.
So in honor of my trip to Iowa (the corn state, the state where there are more hogs than people), I made a corn chowder, using this simple recipe from Tyler Florence, and sprinkled it with bacon bits. I used purple potatoes, corn, onion and parsley from my CSA, and substituted chicken broth for the veggie broth, and half-and-half for the heavy cream. Delicious and super easy! Say it, Frenchie: CHOW-DAH!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Grilled Summer Succotash Pasta with Roasted Garlic Sauce

This week's Washington Post food section included a recipe for a grilled vegetable pasta with roasted garlic and lemon sauce. This recipe was good- very fresh. The veggies the recipe called for were exactly what came in my CSA share this week, including sweet corn on the cob, zucchini, garlic, and one that I was nervous about: lima beans.

Turns out that fresh lima beans aren't half bad! They're kinda a pain to shell (see the photo below for an idea of what they look like in and out of the shell), but tasty.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Happy Birthday, Chuckie: Take Two

For Chuckie's birthday kegger, I made a million (well, 72, minus the 7 or so I accidentally flipped onto the bottom of the oven) bite-sized chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter frosting. Tasty!
I doubled-down on this easy chocolate cupcake recipe, and made 2 times Ina Garten's PB frosting recipe. Since I was using the mini-muffin tins, I sprayed the tins rather than use paper liners, and I cooked the cupcakes for 10 minutes.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Lobstah Salad

Yer Basic...for a buttah lovah...

Pound o' lobstah
1/2 cup buttah
1/2 cup mayo
some celery
salt & peppah

We stopped by my favorite armenian bakery last Friday and got some syrian bread and put it on that...rather tasty!

Lobster Salad Stuffed Eggs

I was going to make lobster salad for dinner from leftovers from my THREE POUND b-day I thought I would attempt an appetizer that went along with the seafood theme. I saw this recipe and it looked good. I left out the radishes after finding out that I couldn't really replace them with anything (thank you Meg) and I used langostino for the seafood portion of the recipe.
In the words of Calvin...BLECH! Martha liked them but they were icky in my opinion. Then again...I have texture issues. Not a fan of slimy items. The filling would be better on a cracker and not in an egg.


"Clafouti" is fun to say: CLAFOOOOOOOTIIIII! Chuck said it like 900 times as this thing was cooking. Clafouti is kinda like a giant poofy pancake or a soufle or something... kinda reminds us of the swedish pancake thingy Martha makes in the cast iron skillet.
I think clafouti is traditionally made with cherries, but due to our glut of peaches and blackberries, we went with that. Typically I turn to David Lebovitz for his amazing ice cream recipes, but I read this Washington Post article about him, and thought his clafouti recipe sounded delicious. I would make it again- super easy! You could make it with basically whatever fruit you like...

Stuffed Zucchini: Part Deux

Monday, August 10, 2009

Blackberry Galette

This recipe looked like a simple way to use up some of the blackberries I picked yesterday... and it was simple. I'm not sure I'm totally in love with the dough recipe, but I would give it another try and switch some things up.

Goat Cheese, Corn and Bacon Stuffed Jalapenos

Mmm... loosely based on a Bobby Flay recipe, these stuffed jalapenos and cherry peppers were great. We added some cooked and crumbled bacon, which was awesome with the corn, baked them instead of grilling them, and skipped the red pepper sauce, since none of us here is enamored of red peppers.
The stuffing was so good, you could probably just make that and warm it in a pan in the oven and serve it with chips, crackers or veggies. Kinda like Martha's crab dip, but with corn and bacon instead of crab.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Peach Mustard Chutney

Peach recipe #2, also for those peaches that got a little crushed on the way home from the farm: peach mustard chutney. Served with crunchy baked chicken pieces (like little chicken tenders) and an arugula salad with mini-heirloom tomatoes, lemon dressing and shaved parmesan.
Pretty tasty recipes! The chicken is pretty flexible- use different herbs in the yogurt or bread crumb mixtures, or switch up the flavors in the chutney and you've got a completely different meal.

Burgers a la Sasha Vujic

And for the main course, Jennifer resurrected an oldie but goodie, care of Sasha Vujic... burgers with onion, Worcestershire, brown sugar, olive oil and S&P.
Served with CSA tomato and lettuce.
Little dent in the raw burger is Bobby Flay's advice... prevents the burgers from poofing up once they hit the grill.

Peach Ice Cream

Peach recipe #1, for those peaches that barely made it out of the orchard and home from Bluemont without dissolving into supperipe mush: David Lebovitz's peach ice cream from "The Perfect Scoop."

This is my favorite kind of ice cream recipe, in that it doesn't involve tempering any egg yolks, which I think is a pain in the ass. Cook the peaches slightly, whiz with sour cream and heavy cream, freeze in ice cream maker... devour.

(Served here with blackberry galette)

Salt and Pepper Crusted Shrimp with Lemon-Basil Dipping Sauce

Jennifer made these tasty shrimp and their associated dipping sauce as a pre-burger appetizer. Used some basil from the all-basil Aerogarden I've got going right now.

Peaches and Blackberries!!!

Sooooo... Meghan and I took advantage of Amy's CSA's free/reduced price pick-your-own blackberries and peaches this weekend while Amy was in Cali, introducing her future husband to her family.
Her CSA farm has a really fun you-pick set-up:
a petting zoo, hayrides, and most importantly, A FREE WINE TASTING!
We're totally going back this fall.
(more farm photos coming soon)
Also, we picked a thousand pounds of superripe peaches and 6 pints of the ripest, sweetest blackberries ever. So expect some postings on peaches and blackberries in the near future.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Brownie Ice Cream Sandwiches: FAIL (mostly)

I ran out of time and couldn't make my own ice cream to sandwich inside the brownies, so I used store-bought coffee and vanilla. I was planning on rolling the vanilla ones in sprinkles for some color, and Jennifer suggested nuts for the coffee ones. However, the logistics of handling the super thin sheets of brownies and the melty ice cream totally screwed me! Hence the FAIL.

BUT: they were received more than warmly by the dinner party guests, and they did taste good despite their messiness and general unattractiveness. Hence the (mostly).
I shall try again and attempt to devise a way to make them without having the ice cream squirt out everywhere.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Happy Birthday, Chuckie!

When she was little, Chuckie had an obsession with those Little Debbie Oatmeal Creme Pies... so we re-created them for her birthday, in lieu of a birthday cake. And by "we," I mean Tony baked them on his day off while I provided moral support to him over IM from my cube at work. He's a novice baker, but after a few minor missteps, he was victorious in the end. And now he knows what "cream" means in the baking context... and knowing is half the battle.
Using a recipe I found on a blog, they came out pretty close to the original- soft oatmeal cookies with a gooey marshmallow frosting on the inside. I think maybe if we were to make them again, we would try to use less sugar... they were borderline cloyingly sweet. But tasty nonetheless.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

100th Post! Kale Quiche with Potato Crust!

Hey all! It's the blog's 100th post! Woo!
This is another Frankenrecipe... cobbled together from a couple sources:
  • The potato crust I found from Emeril and from this blog... shredded potato mixed with a little oil and salt, pressed into a pie plate, baked at 425 degrees for 1/2 hour until brown and crispy.
  • The custard part of the quiche is just onion, garlic and kale, sauteed until soft, then thrown in the parbaked crust, topped with shredded gruyere, salt and pepper, and a mixture of 4 eggs and 1/2 cup of cream.
  • Bake the whole thing at 350 degrees for 25 minutes, or until the custard is set.
Pretty tasty! The potato crust is probably healthier for you than pastry pie crust.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Cookie Dough Ice Cream

This is not your typical cookie dough ice cream. It would probably be more accurate to call it brown sugar/browned butter ice cream with chocolate chunks. I saw this recipe on Joy the Baker's blog and immediately had a Pavlovian response: drooooooool.
Chuck can attest to the fact that I have trouble making chocolate chip cookies. Trouble meaning I can barely get the dough onto the cookie sheet without a re-route to my mouth.

This ice cream is pretty awesome... it has an amazing caramel flavor. It's definitely not traditional cookie dough ice cream- the boring vanilla with those anemic and strangely grainy faux cookie dough bites. This stuff is hard core delicious.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Spicy Lentil Tacos

Excuse the poor photo... the stupid lentil tacos wouldn't stand up on their own. It reminds me of that commercial where the little kid creates the flat bottom taco shell and is cheered and revered by his whole town. I love the kid's face! I totally needed those.
Anyway, this meal was inspired by a recipe I saw on The recipe was a little semi-homemade, but I rolled with it since it was lazy sunday. I kinda wish I hadn't... the lentils were a wee bit salty because of the store-bought taco seasoning I used. Next time I will make my own seasoning and I'll dial down the salt.

The texture of the lentils was good, though. You could barely tell it wasn't ground beef. I'd make these again.

Cantaloupe Salsa

I saw this post on cantaloupe salsa from Smitten Kitchen, and it's like she had some inside knowledge of what my CSA had in store for me the following week... cantaloupe, sweet Walla Walla onion, jalapeno.

Sweet, spicy and limey. Mmmm.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Summer Rolls with Spicy Peanut Sauce

Another Steamy Kitchen recipe... this time a Vietnamese summer rolls with a spicy peanut dipping sauce. I always wanted to try my hand at making these, and this week I had mint, a cucumber, and Bibb lettuce from my CSA. I had the rice noodles and rice wrappers from a trip to Eden Center with Jennifer many months ago.
These were delicious. I added some basil in there, and used lemon zest in place of lemongrass for marinating the shrimp, as Jaden recommends. I omitted the mango because the ones I saw in the store weren't really ripe yet. I considered adding nectarine or peach instead for a little bit of a sweet factor, but the peach just turned into a pile of mush when I tried to make it into matchsticks with the mandoline. We didn't miss it, though.

Warning: these things are very hard to wrap! Mine were pretty messy looking. My lack of skills may have been due to the 3 margaritas and hookah full of cinnamon tobacco I had on Amy's roof just prior to making these, though.