Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Project: Egg Sandwich

I am proclaiming a project!
If you read the List of 2011 post, you'll know that #4 on this list was to create the hypothetical menu for my extremely hypothetical dream-restaurant, called Egg Sandwich.

In another life, if I had strayed from design, I would have levitated toward a career in food (big surprise). So, in an effort to build my design portfolio, I proclaim that I will design the menu to Egg Sandwich! (Though, as a disclaimer, I must tell you that I am a terribly busy person, and will definitely abandon this project if another equally or more demanding project comes up. You have been warned.)

First thing's first. I need a menu. Though in the past I have been known for my legendarily delicious egg sandwiches, I certainly have not made up enough to make an entire menu! This is where you come in: if you do so fancy, I'd LOVE to hear any suggestions for menu items to be listed on Egg Sandwich's menu. It can be anything, from specialty egg sandwiches to drinks or even desserts. Anything goes. Hop to! Help a girl out, drop a menu-item-comment @ the bottom of this post.

Foodie foodie!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Mocha-Cocoa Muffins with Espresso Glaze

Well hello everyone!
I've neglected you, so sorry about that. But I have something that will cheer you up!
Mocha Cocoa Muffins :]

After a long weekend of studying, I couldn't imagine a better way to unwind than to make muffins. Like I do every Sunday, I scoped the web for a new recipe (and after a lemon-poppyseed disaster that I will probably re-attempt later) I found this recipe from Joy of Baking for mocha muffins. With a few slight alterations, they turned out amazingly!

Mocha-Cocoa Muffins with Espresso Glaze

You'll need:
2 eggs
1/2 C buttermilk (or milk w/ white vinegar added)
1/2 C canola oil
1/4 C espresso
1 tsp vanilla
1 3/4 C flour
1/4 C cocoa powder
1 C brown sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp cinnamon 
1/2 tsp salt
1 bag of semi sweet chocolate chips
2 tbs esperesso
3 tbs powdered sugar

Preheat the oven to 375º and line a muffin pan with muffin papers (I used cute polka-dotted papers). In a medium sized bowl, whisk the eggs, buttermilk, oil, espresso, and vanilla all together until well incorporated. Set this aside.
Then, in a larger bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt and chocolate chips together.
Then, pour the wet ingredients into the larger dry ingredients bowl. Use a rubber spatula to fold the ingredients together. Be careful not to overmix... this will yield a tough muffin.
Next, fill the prepared muffin papers up about 3/4 full (I filled them a bit higher, but oh well!) Bake the muffins for 15-20 minutes. You might want to test them with a toothpick (and see if it comes out clean).

While you're baking the muffins, now would be a good time to make the glaze. Simply mix the powdered sugar and remaining espresso together and presto!

Once the muffins are room temperature, drizzle the glaze on top of the muffins in a swirly pattern. The glaze will harden in about 10 minutes so don't worry.
Take a moment to admire the glory of the mocha-cocoa muffin, and enjoy!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Viva Muffin Monday!

Thank you to everyone who pitched in for Muffin Mondays!

you guys are the greatest
Viva Muffin Monday!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

this afternoon

This is what my afternoon looks like. 

oh... and homework too. of course.

p.s. thanks mom and dad for letting me borrow your amazing camera!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Oven "fried" chicken

My friend, Ashley, came over to make dinner last night! Once in a while we get together, pitch in for ingredients, and cook something delicious... and make lady drinks. Lady Drink ["lay-dee dree-nk"] -noun- a girly cocktail, typically including a clear liquor, a very fruity component, and fizzy finish. Of course, also includes a ridiculous garnish such as a twist of orange zest.
Last night it was lemon drops and white wine spritzers. :)

Anyways, Ashley brought over chicken drumsticks, and the only application I could really think of was fried chicken. Well, if you guys have caught on.. I don't do fried. It's not that I don't enjoy eating crispy, amazing, nom nom delicious fried food- it's that I prefer to remain pleasantly curvy rather than unfortunately spherical.

I remembered hearing about a baked fried chicken recipe, so I turned to one of my favorite food blogs, Simply Recipes, to find a baked fried chicken recipe.  
For a sidedish, I remembered my rockstar designer friend, Tory, telling me about her discovery of fennel. I'd never made fennel before, so I decided to give it a whirl. Here it goes! 

Baked "fried" Chicken
(modified from Simply Recipes)
You'll need:
1/4 c Mayo
1/4 c dijon mustard
1 tsp Siracha
1/2 tsp dried dill
3/4 C dried breadcrumbs
1 clove garlic finely chopped
3 tbs finely chopped green onion
6 chicken drumbsticks

Sauteed Fennel
You'll need
1 large bulb of fennel (about 1-2 cups, chopped)
olive oil
1 tsp butter
1/2 tsp dried dill

For the chicken, preheat the oven to 450º mix the mayo, mustard, siracha, and dried dill together. In a separate bowl, mix the bread crumbs, green onion, garlic, salt, and pepper together. Take each drumstick,  dip it into the mustard mixture, and then roll it in the bread crumbs.  Place the drumsticks onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. 

Bake them for 20-25 minutes, until they are delicious and amazing!

Next, for the fennel, simply chop, and sautee in a pan (I used my enameled cast iron pot) with olive oil, butter, dill, salt and pepper. Simple enough, right?

Ashley brought a cucumber salad that was amazing (I promise to tell you the recipe as soon as I get it!) Dinner was delicious... and as I sit her sincerely regretting the lady drinks, I wish you a happy Saturday!

Foodie foodie!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Pizza pizza pizza

Well, here it is! Pizza.
A while back, I received a request for a homemade pizza entry from my friend, Ryan from In Search of the Perfect Pie, a lovely pizza blog.  I decided to go easy on this one, and make something fairly simple. This is why I chose to use pre-made pizza dough (from Trader Joe's). Let it be known that certain people may not like whole wheat crust, I, however, have nothing against whole wheat anything! So, I used Trader Joe's whole wheat pre-made pizza dough. If you don't like whole wheat pizza crust, feel free to use the white variety.
I definitely plan on making my own pizza dough in the future for y'all, just haven't had the time yet. 
Hope you enjoy:


Caprese typically consists of mozzarella, tomatoes, basil, olive oil, salt, and pepper. I had all of these ingredients and added onions and sundried tomatoes (ooohhh!)  

You'll need:
flour to sprinkle work surface
One package of Trader Joe's [whole wheat] pizza dough
2 tomatoes
1 small red onion/shallot
2-4 oz. of mozzarella cheese (depends on how cheesey you like it)
About 3 tbs fresh basil (5 or 6 big leaves)
3-4 sun dried tomatoes, cut into strips
olive oil
2 tbs corn meal
garlic salt

First thing's first: take the dough out of the refrigerator, sprinkle your clean work area with flour, and form a neat little ball of dough. Let it hang out there and come to room temperature for at least 20 minutes.
While that's hanging out, you can do some of your other prep work. Preheat the oven to 450º (500º is even better if your oven will go that high) and chop the tomatoes as thin as possible. Do the same to the red onion. Cut the mozzarella into slices (I used low moisture mozzarella for this, but you could use the fresh kind that's stored in the tubs of water or maybe even shredded) and rip the basil into pieces.

Once the dough has done its time, either hand stretch (I'm terrible at this) or use a rolling pin to make it into a circle/blob shape that is roughly 12 inches in diameter. Try to keep the thickness fairly consistent if you can. Mine ended up being around 13 inches with a wide variety of thicknesses... but oh well. Now, if you have a pizza stone, by all means, use it. Otherwise, you can do what I did: take a large baking sheet and line it with parchment paper. Sprinkle some cornmeal onto the parchment paper (trust me, you want the parchment paper and corn meal. The last time I tried this without the paper or cornmeal, the pizza literally stuck itself to the baking sheet. No fun.) Sprinkle a tad more cornmeal onto the rolled out dough, and flop it (cornmeal-side-down) onto the lined baking sheet. Next, drizzle the dough with olive oil, add salt and pepper, and lay down the tomatoes in one rough layer (a little overlapping is okay). Salt and pepper again!

Add the tomatoes, onion, cheese, sundried tomatoes, and basil on top of the dough like so:

Now you're ready to stick this baby into the oven! Put it in there for 15-20 minutes or until the cheese is nice and bubbly-golden brown and amazing. Horray! Easy, fast, amazing, pizza!

yuuummmmm. This recipe is really simple, and I'm sure there are variations of this floating around somewhere... these flavors are such a classic combination that is sure to please. Give it a try!

Foodie foodie!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

noodle night!

Oh yes, my friends. Noodles. NOOOOOO-DAAAAHHHHLLSS!!!!! And I am not talkin Top Ramen here, kids. I'm talkin real, true to cherry blossom Japanese noodles, people.


I love noodles. I don't think I know of anyone who doesn't like noodles. Noodles are yummy, relatively easy to make, and satisfying. Unfortunately, noodles have gained a bit of a bad rap for being unhealthy. Lots of carbs.... and if topped with high calorie toppings, even worse. Fear not, there are noodles that can be healthy and delicious. There are even noodles with no calories. And no, I'm not kidding. There is such a noodle in the world with literally zero calories, and I'm going to tell you about it. Better yet, I'm gonna show you a way to cook them. (Raaahhh!!! the crowd cheers!!!!!!!!)

As I've previously mentioned, however, not everyone who frequents my apartment for dinner should be eating zero calorie anything... because they happen to burn through enough calories to sustain a baker's dozen of five-year-olds, (cough cough-Brian). In fact, they should be eating hearty but healthy noodles with good useful calories (as opposed to empty-calorie-noodles like Tom Ramen). So, I will show you how to make two kinds of noodles: Soba (Japanese buckwheat) noodles and Shirataki (yam) noodles. Hold your applause, I haven't even started yet!

Noodle Night:

You'll Need:
1 bundle of soba noodles
1 package of Shirataki noodles 
about 1 1/2 C chicken broth
1 tsp hoisen sauce
1 tsp rice wine vinegar
1 tsp teriyaki marinade
1 bundle of asparagus (about 1 lb.)
1/2 red onion
1 tsp fresh ginger (grated) 
olive oil
3 eggs
1 tsp soy sauce
1 1/2 tsp sugar
vegetable oil
about 9 oz. of smoked turkey sausage (I used this as my protein in the dish, but you could substitute for tofu, chicken, or any other type of protein you want!)

A note on noodles (a noodle-note!)
Soba noodles come  packaged in little bundle-servings and can be found at most grocery stores and certainly at all Asian grocers. They typically come in packages containing 5-10 bundle/servings.
Also, true Shirataki noodles are typically only found at Asian grocery stores, but a more American version with tofu incorporated can be found at most chain grocery stores- these, however, have about 20 calories or so per serving. 

click to enlarge
So, let's start with the Shirataki noodles. I know you must be dying to know about them, and to see if I'm just pulling your leg about the whole no-calorie thing. Well, no. I'm not, look: 

As you can clearly see, there are absolutely no calories in these noodles. Consequently, there is also absolutely no flavor in them either. There is, however, a strange smell that accompanies them right after you open the package. Don't worry, I'll go over how to get rid of it. And please don't let it deter you. The smell is really not an indication of something going awry, it's just how it is!

So, open up the package and drain the contents directly into a colander stationed in your sink. Run cold water over the noodles for about two minutes. Periodically use your hands to shuffle them around in the colander to loosen them up.The smell of the noodles will go away, I assure you. As you can see, the noodles I used are pure white. There is another variety (also 0 calorie) that is a light brown color. These are simply colored using seaweed, and also have no flavor. You can easily use those in this recipe, and there'd be no difference.

While the noodles are rinsing off, pour the chicken broth into a medium saucepan along with the hoisen, rice wine vinegar, and teryaki marinade. Mix it thoroughly and let it do its thing over medium heat. This will eventually become good friends with the noodles, and will the the source of all of their flavor. I ended up dropping a small clove of garlic in there as an afterthought. After the noodles are thoroughly rinsed, shake the colander to get rid of excess water and add the noodles to your broth mixture. Lower the heat to medium/low and cover it. These will remain this way until you're ready to serve.

Next, the Soba noodles. These are a bit more like the Western pastas that we're used to. It comes in bundles that are a serving size each. Just boil water in a large pot, drop the noodles in, let it come to a boil, reduce the heat, and let it simmer for about 5 minutes. Then, drain, rinse with cool water, and return to the pot. At this point, I like to add a good amount of salt as well as a little sesame oil if you've got it. 

For these noodles, I've picked a few healthy toppings. Partly because they're yummy, and partly because they were what I had on hand. If you have another favorite veggie you'd like to put on top of the noodles, by all means, go ahead. But this went well:

Wash the asparagus and snap off the woody ends. Chop the red onion into a size of your liking. Put these onto a baking sheet, give them a light drizzle of olive oil, add salt and pepper, and grate the fresh ginger on top. If you don't have ginger, you could always try lemon or maybe garlic. Put these into the oven at 400º for about 20 minutes (or until they're fork-tender).

Next comes the tamago-yaki. That's a Japanese egg omlette. Crack the three eggs into a bowl and add the sugar and soy sauce. Beat these together with a fork or whisk. Put a nonstick pan onto the stove at medium/low heat and spread a little vegetable oil onto it with a paper towel. For most people who have not done a rolled tamago-yaki, I just tell them to scramble the eggs. But, for those of you who are feeling adverturous, check out the video to see the method of how to roll the tamago-yaki:(fyi I did not make this video, but I thought it did a good job of showing the method)

I later learned from my mother that the goal of making a tamago-yaki is to have the whole thing be an even yellow color, and not brown at all. I, of course, have not mastered the technique, so mine turned out a little brown. Oh well!

Lastly is the turkey sausage. The kind I bought came pre-cooked, so all you've got to do is pop it onto a pan and heat it through. Easy enough.

Finally, get yourself some bowls, one for the Shirataki and one for the Soba, put the noodles in (and broth with the Shirataki) and add the toppings! HORRAAAAAYYY!

noodle night noodle night

Brian's Soba

My Shirataki


Just some other notes about noodles:
Soba is absurdly more healthy than noodles like Top Ramen or the cuppa noodle type noodles. They are made from buckwheat, which isn't what we in America are used to in our pasta/noodles. It doesn't have the same bite that whole wheat pasta does, it actually has a softer feel. Traditionally, Soba is served cold and is considered a summer-time food in Japan.

Shirataki noodles have no calories (as if I haven't yapped on about that enough) and are most commonly used in the Japanese dish, Sukiyaki, a soup that usually consists of a flavorful broth, thinly sliced beef, and vegetables.

Well, I know that was a long one, and it certainly wasn't a 20 minute meal. But, if you're feeling adventurous, nothing would make me happier than to hear about your experience with this (or a similar) recipe! Drop me a comment, we'll talk noodles.

Foodie Foodie!!!