Friday, April 27, 2012

Curried Cauliflower

So if any readers have a background in curry, you'll know that this is an extreme cheat and probably an insult to any true curry lovers . . . I am okay with that. This recipe is quick and delish, which fits my time budget tonight. I don't cook with curry much, but I like that it's semi-sweet and spicy. I like to add cumin to the mix for a fuller flavor. The curry I use is McCormick brand - so it's definitely authentic. (Joke.) 

Cauliflower is one of those veggies that is so meh until you load it with spices. This is very nomable. As in nom nom nom. Addicting, kind of like an Indian potato chip, but with a weird albino broccoli imitator. Next time I may chop up cherry/grape tomatoes and roast them with the cauliflower. Anyway, I'm in a weird mood, so I'll save you the mumbling and let you get to the recipe. Hope you like it!

Curried Cauliflower
1 head cauliflower
2 teaspoons curry
1 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons olive oil

  1. Preheat the oven to 425F.
  2. In a large bowl, combine your spices, salt, and 1 tablespoon oil. Stir well.
  3. Cut the cauliflower into bite-size pieces. Add in batches to the bowl, stirring in to coat with spice mix. As you add cauliflower, add 1 teaspoon oil at a time to keep the mixture moist. I ended up only needing 2 teaspoons, but feel free to use more or less.
  4. Spread cauliflower in the bottom of a roasting pan, trying to spread into a single layer.
  5. Bake at 425 for 20 minutes, more or less.
  6. Nom.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Chili Cheese Egg Puff

I cannot believe today is my last day of undergrad classes. To be totally honest, it doesn't feel any different. I think I'm in denial. I love school. I love learning. I'm a total nerd. Whatever. Last class in an hour with a fantastic professor and a best friend. Good way to roll out.

Anyway, with only a week left in my Bloomington apartment, I've been finding ways to cook all the leftover food in my fridge. I needed breakfast for a week that was quick (read microwaveable). This egg dish is awesome hot or cold, and goes great with my increasing coffee addiction. I used to be able to get away with two cups, but lately I've been pouring a third. And considering a fourth. 

Mom made this dish for the first time at Christmas this year. It's lighter than the traditional egg casserole we normally bake Christmas morning. I think it has more cheese than eggs but I'm not complaining. When it's fresh out of the oven it's light and airy, but it becomes denser once you refrigerate it. The chiles add a little zing but no kick, so for those of you that fear spice, no worries, this dish is pretty mild.  I halved the original recipe; this serves five and is made in an 8x8" pan. The full would be made in a 9x13" and serves 10. Also, I made this dish the night before then refrigerated it overnight to save time in the morning. Make your life easier.

Mrs. Shap's Green Chili Egg Puff
5 eggs
1/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 oz shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1 cup small curd cottage cheese
1 (4oz) can green chilis
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  2. In a large bowl, beat together the five eggs.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt, stirring thoroughly to mix.
  4. Sift the dry ingredients into the eggs, whisking together until well-combined.
  5. Add the Monterey Jack, cottage cheese, butter, and chilis. Whisk to combine.
  6. Pour egg mixture into an 8" x 8" baking dish. Bake at 350 for 35 - 45 minutes, until the middle is set.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Roasted Fennel with Parmesan and Lemon

Life is not about finding yourself, it is about creating yourself.

- George Benard Shaw. What a beautiful quote. Seriously clicked. You don't have to search, you just have to be. Be yourself. Have fun. Do what you love and try new things. Be spontaneous. 

For me, this semester has been of discovery, rediscovery, and living in the moment. When you do what you love, nothing is a chore and giving your all is what you want to do. I want to cook, and this blog has been fun. I rediscovered swimming and threw myself whole-heartedly into my workouts. I started lifting and running in the mornings, swimming in the evenings, and I feel stronger, more energetic, and happy. I still find time to ride and dedicate myself to the discipline of dressage. I enjoy my school projects, go on hikes with friends, and lay in the grass on lazy afternoons. It's a good semester, and a fantastic end to my college career.

I'm a planner. I make lists, create countdowns, and enjoy order. But recently I've taken to being living without a to-do list, without a plan, and letting the days take me where they will. It's worked out so far. Met up for a sushi dinner with a very dear, long-lost friend. Let a guy buy me a drink. Went to a grill-out and bonfire with a group of people I barely knew. Booked a trip to Scotland. Danced to live music. And tried fennel - clearly the most exciting of these. Every spontaneous decision has worked out wonderfully. I smile about all of them. 

Picture doesn't do it justice; I didn't have good lighting
Fennel is a vegetable that tastes surprisingly like licorice. I am not a fan of licorice, but when I saw they were on sale I decided to give it a go. I'm so glad I did! This dish is simple, and roasting the fennel mellowed the licorice flavor. It's savory yet slightly sweet, and the parmesan and lemon compliment the flavor nicely. I hope you'll go out on a limb and try this recipe too - you won't regret it!

Roasted Fennel with Parmesan and Lemon
2 bulbs fennel
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt & pepper
Parmesan cheese
*Squeeze of fresh lemon juice

  1. Preheat the oven to 355F.
  2. Slice the fennel bulbs into rings about 1/3" thick, discarding the top and bottom rings ("the butts", as I call them).
  3. Toss the fennel rings and olive oil in a bowl, stirring to coat evenly.
  4. Shake into a roasting pan,  trying to make sure they're spread into one layer. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Bake at 355F for 45 minutes, more or less.
  6. Once finished roasting, throw on some parmesan cheese and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Yum!
*End Note:
To save the leftover lemon for later use, simply wet a paper towel, cover the cut/open end of the lemon and place towel-side down in a small, air tight bowl. Keep in the fridge for up to a week for the next use.

Goat Cheese, Prosciutto, and Watermelon over Baby Lettuce

This is a simple salad, easy to toss together that has an elegant feel to it. I used the leftover ingredients from the Prosciutto & Goat Cheese Egg Casserole, so this literally came together in under five minutes. It's quick, light, and healthy.

Feel free to omit whatever you don't have or dislike. Most of my salads are born from leftovers, and as long as there are veggies (and in this case goat cheese, because you could coat leather in goat cheese and it would be delicious), I'm sure it'll taste great and free up your fridge shelves.  Enjoy!

Goat Cheese, Prosciutto, and Watermelon over Baby Lettuce
Baby spring lettuce (I like Full Circle organic brand)
Goat cheese, crumbled
Few slices of prosciutto, torn
Watermelon, diced into small cubes
Cherry tomatoes, quartered
Balsamic vinaigrette 
  1. Throw baby lettuce into a bowl and top with goat cheese, prosciutto, watermelon, and tomatoes. Drizzle with balsamic and combine. Et Voilá - beautiful salad. 

Monday, April 23, 2012

Chili Lime Kale Chips

A. What is Kale?
B. Why don't you just eat chips made from normal things?

A. Okay, kale is a type of cabbage, that appears more like thick lettuce. It's high in calcium, vitamin K, vitamin C, and beta carotene. It kind of packs a punch in the nutritional department.

B. Regarding "normal things", I'm not a huge fan of potatoes, and most things made from them (fries, chips, tater tots, even mashed potatoes). I do not include sweet potatoes in the potato category however, because anything sweet potatoey is an instant win in my book. Why kale? It seems to be a fad on Foodgawker, my obsession, and I decided to try it out. 

I have to admit, I was a bit skeptical about chips made from leaves. But these guys are fun, fast, easy, and definitely satisfy that salty craving (just with way less calories!). This particular rendition is pretty spicy, but you could easily use less cayenne to make it more appealing to your palette. 

Chili Lime Kale Chips
1 bunch of kale
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon red chili powder (cayenne pepper)
zest from one lime
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  2. To prepare the kale, wash it and make sure it is completely dry. (If it's not dry, it will simply steam and wilt instead of becoming crispy and chip-like.)
  3. Once dry, cut out the stems, and tear the leaves into bite size pieces.
  4. In a medium bowl, mix together the oil and salt. Add in the kale, stirring to coat evenly.
  5. Spread the kale in a single layer on two baking sheets, making sure none are covering the others. 
  6. Bake at 350 for 10 to 12 minutes. If they're not crispy, bake another 2-3 minutes, just watch them carefully so they don't burn.
  7. Enjoy warm or or at room temp; store in an air-tight container.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Pumpkin Spice Pancakes

Good morning! 

Looks delicious, right?
We've had a beautiful week in Bloomington with the cooler weather and Little Five. I can't believe earlier this week we hit the eighties - it's in the high forties now. But I'm not complaining. Had a great ride earlier today with Bond Boy and people have been barbecuing and holding bonfires all week. It's like fall all over. And who doesn't love fall?

Bond Boy

So, in honor of our April Autumn weather, I'm about to share with you my secret recipe for a perfectly lazy fall morning. Pumpkin Spice Pancakes. Think pumpkin bread in pancake form. Or think pancake in healthy, fiber-full form. They're very filling, and the recipe serves a lot. I love me some pancakes, but I can only do two or three of these guys because of the pumpkin. So invite friends over. Either way, if you eat these pancakes with a banana and some coffee I can guarantee you'll be off to a great start. 

Pumpkin Spice Pancakes
Dry Ingredients
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
dash cloves
dash ginger
Wet Ingredients
1 cup milk
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1 large egg
2 tablespoons canola oil

  1. In a medium bowl combine all of the dry ingredients together; stir with a fork until well-combined.
  2. In a measuring cup, combine your wet ingredients, whisking together.
  3. Pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, whisking together until just combined.
  4. Warm a pancake griddle or in a skillet over medium/medium high heat. (You'll have to monitor this.) Spray with Pam.
  5. Using a 1/3 or a 1/4 cup, scoop the batter into the pan two or three at a time. I push the batter into a circle to thin it some; if you don't do this they take forever to make - read: "I burn them".
  6. Allow to cook on one side until you see bubbles begin to form. Flip and cook the other side. 
  7. Eat with coffee, banana, and tons of syrup. Have a good morning!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Hoosier Hummus

Little Five at Indiana means lots of hoosier pride (read "alcoholic beverages").

I could have tried to concoct a fun drink, but I've been stuck in team meetings all week. So instead, I made a cream and crimson hummus, featuring roasted red peppers and feta cheese. Yum! And, it's easy on the stomach for those of you not feeling so hot this week...

Roasted Red Pepper and Feta Hummus
1 (15 oz) can garbanzo beans (drained, liquids reserved)
1/2 cup roasted red pepper
1/4 cup feta cheese
2 tablespoons tahini
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
1 generous teaspoon cumin
1/4 (very generous) teaspoon paprika
pinch sea salt

  1. Place all of the ingredients in a food processor and combine until well-blended.
  2. Using the left over liquid from the bean can, add until you reach your desired consistency.
  3. Serve with pita, celery, carrots, peppers etc. Garnish with paprika, parsley, and more cheese.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Raspberry Buttermilk Bread

Good morning everyone!
Ready to start your day with some dessert, I mean breakfast, bread? I am.

This bread + two cups coffee + bowl raspberries = sunshiney day 
Have a sunshiney day :)

*You can use fresh or frozen raspberries. Fresh will sink to the bottom while frozen will stay on top. Don't ask me why, it just happens.
*This batch of "bread" tasted too buttery for me, next time I'll decrease the butter by two tablespoons - you may want to try this too.

Raspberry Buttermilk Bread
Adapted from Zoom Yummy Blog
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 cup sugar, plus 2 tablespoons sugar, divided
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
3/4 cup buttermilk, shaken
1 (6oz) carton raspberries

  1. Preheat the oven to 355F. Grease an 8" x 8" glass pan.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, beat together the butter and one cup sugar until well-combined.
  4. Add the vanilla extract to the egg and sugar, beating in. Add the eggs to the mixture, beating until well-combined. 
  5. Add the flour mixture in three batches to the egg mixture. 
  6. Add the buttermilk, beating until just combined.
  7. Pour batter into the baking dish. Top with raspberries and sprinkle with two tablespoons sugar.
  8. Bake at 355F for 35 - 45 minutes until golden. Toothpick test to be sure it's done.
  9. Let cool and enjoy with a big glass of milk. 

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Hunger Games Chicken with Potatoes, Carrots, and Leeks

So today I made the long drive back to Chicago. I get home and smile. I genuinely love going home. I'm greeted with hugs from siblings and two barking poodles and a sun-splashed backyard. Spring in St. Charles is beautiful. I'm so blessed to come home.

So I quickly grabbed the camera and set off with the dogs into the woods. Revelation hits. Apparently, the Hunger Games took place in my backyard. What an awesome place to grow up. My playground was a huge wood, currently full of wild flowers in full bloom, dense ponds, and spring-green grass. I love going back there. I hope wherever I end up there are woods. I belong out there. It was a stunning walk; we didn't see any deer, but plenty of busy birds, an eagle, and some ducks. The dogs had a blast running around chasing all the wildlife away (-yes even 14 year old Jazz got some goofy-dog-run in). 

After a wonderful walk I was greeted by a very aromatic kitchen and Mozart playing in the background. Mom was making a beautiful dinner, which I'm coining the Hunger Games dinner, maybe because of the walk or maybe because it uses fresh spring food. Either way, it's simple yet restaurant-worthy. Mom found the recipe in America's Test Kitchen, and it was awesome! Alsatian-Style Chicken refers to type of cuisine that blends French and German tradition. This was my introduction to it, and based on this dish, Alsatian is fantastic. Thank-you, Mom, for a great meal!

Quick Alsatian-Style Chicken Braise
Serves 4 -5
Cook time: an hour or so
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/2 pounds baby red potatoes, scrubbed and cut in half
Salt & pepper
8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 1/1/2 pounds), cut in half
2 leeks, white and light green parts only, chopped
4 carrots, peeled and sliced 1/2 inch thick crosswise
1 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup créme fraîche (or heavy cream)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

  1. Cut 1 tablespoon butter into 4 pieces and toss with potatoes in microwave-safe bowl. Season with salt and pepper, cover, and microwave until potatoes are tender, 8 - 10 minutes, tossing potatoes halfway through. 
  2. Meanwhile, pat the chicken dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Melt an additional 1 tablespoon butter in  a large skillet over medium-high heat until foaming. 
  3. Cook half of the chicken until lightly browned on one side, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a plate and tent with foil. Repeat with the additional 1 tablespoon butter and remaining chicken.
  4. Add the leeks, carrots, and remaining butter to the empty skillet and cook until softened and starting to brown, about 4 minutes. Stir in wine, scraping up any browned bits, then add chicken and any accumulated juices. 
  5. Reduce heat to medium, cover, and cook until the chicken is tender, about 15 minutes. Transfer chicken to a plate and tent with foil.
  6. Reduce the liquid in skillet until slightly thickened, about 4 minutes. Then remove from heat and whisk in créme fraîche, lemon juice, and parsley. Season sauce with salt and pepper. 
  7. Arrange chicken and potatoes in serving dish, and pour the sauce on top. Serve hot, and thoroughly enjoy! Goes great with white wine!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Tahini Broccoli Salad with Cashews

This super flavorful salad comes together in under five minutes and is good warm or cold. It's a great "pantry cleaner" as it uses a little bit of multiple items (garlic, cashews, onions, EEOO, etc).

Here are a few notes/thoughts:

  • The broccoli should be lightly steamed, but not fully, as you want a crisper texture for a salad without the raw taste. 
  • I added hot sauce to mine to make it a little more exciting, but between the garlic, onion, and sesame, it's already got a lot going for it! 
  • If using salted cashews, you may want to decrease the salt content to 1/8 teaspoon (eye-ball it)
  • For those of you who've never heard of tahini, tahini is a paste made from sesame and has a nutty flavor. It's a great thickener for the dressing and it's often used in hummus too.

Tahini Broccoli Salad with Cashews
Adapted from For the Love of Food blog
1 head of broccoli, cut into bite-sized pieces
1/4 cup tahini
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 clove garlic, minced
handful of cashews (preferably not salted)
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
sprinkle of red pepper flakes
a few very thin slices of red onion
Sriricha hot sauce (optional)

  1. Lightly steam the broccoli for 2 - 3 minutes, until tender yet crisp.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix together the tahini, olive oil, salt, and garlic. 
  3. Toss in the broccoli and stir until well-coated. 
  4. Sprinkle the cashews, sesame, red pepper, and red onion on top. Enjoy!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Baked Cod with a Tomato Feta Sauce

Easter dinner is meant to be delicious. And this was scrumptious.

Homemade tomato sauce and white fish with white wine, spring salad, and crusty french bread to soak up all that sauce. I've made it before, and even Ali, who doesn't like fish loves this dish. It's a little different every time, but it's always good. I'm planning on using the extra sauce for omelets tomorrow morning. 

 Although the fish turned out pretty well, our french bread turned extra crunchy when left under the broiler too long. This is the aftermath. The bread was legitimately on fire. ON FIRE. Hilarious, smoke detector went off, whole house smelled like burnt bread, and we tossed those bad boys Hunger Games-style. Luckily we had a whole other loaf, which did not get toasted or put in the oven. Funny. Welcome to Cook the Namesake Cooking.

Happy Easter everyone, and enjoy your Sunday mornings. I hope Bunny is good to you, and he makes his rounds. I saw a hawk circling today, so hopefully Bunny made it through the night. 
Happy Easter, and yay for Jesus for resurrecting.  

Baked Cod with a Tomato Feta Sauce
4 (6oz) fillets white fish (cod, tilapia, mahi mahi, halibut, whatever's on sale)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 yellow/sweet onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
chili pepper flakes, to taste
1/4 cup white wine (I used a chardonnay)
1 teaspoon oregano
2 - 2 1/2 pounds fresh tomato, diced
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1/4 cup fresh dill, chopped
1/2 cup feta for sauce plus more for topping
salt and pepper to taste

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  2. In a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium high heat.
  3. Add the onion and sauté for 5 -7 minutes.
  4. Add the garlic and chili pepper and sauté until aromatic (roughly 1 minute).
  5. Add wine and simmer, uncovered, 5 minutes.
  6. Add tomatoes and oregano, and simmer covered for 15 minutes, until the sauce thickens.
  7. Remove from heat and add the parsley, dill, and feta. Stir until well combined. Season with salt and pepper.
  8. Place the fish in a 13 x 9 pan and pour the sauce over the fish. 
  9. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes, or until the fish flakes easily and is no longer opaque. 
  10. Serve with crusty bread to soak up at that nommy sauce. Nom Nom NOMMMM

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Coca Cola Cupcakes

Happy Birthday to Colin and Emily! 

For their birthdays, I made these Coca-Cola cupcakes and these Rainbow Cupcakes. Both were fun and easy to make, although to be honest I preferred the rainbow ones. These were quick but more or less tasted like chocolate cupcakes. I was hoping for a bigger coke kick. Esentially, instead of eggs and oil, these cupcakes use coke. That's it. They were fun to frost and decorate though. Also, looking back, I would add a moschino cherry to the tops of the frosted dollop ones - decorative and tasty!

The Coca-Cola cupcakes were inspired by our swim team's trip to Atlanta for Nationals. While there, we visited the Coke Museum - very cool! Got to try tons of flavors from all around the world (my favorite was Frosty Melon Fanta, Thailand). It was a great meet, and I loved being able to see a new city. 

Birthday Buddies! Colin & Emily
Coca Cola Cupcakes
1 can Coke (need to use regular)
1 package Devil's Food Cake mix
1 package icing
Cherries (optional)
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a muffin tin with aluminum cups.
  2. In a medium bowl thoroughly combine just the mix and coke (don't add ingredients mentioned on the box-we keep it simple).
  3. Fill the cups to 2/3 full.
  4. Bake at 350 for 18 minutes, or until they pass the toothpick test.
  5. Let cool completely, then frost.

Rainbow Cupcakes

Rainbow. Cupcakes. 
Every bite will blow your mind. 

Haha they just look really cool. It's made with a normal cake mix and food dye, but the colors are too fun, and pretty easy to make. You just divide the batter into separate bowls and color them accordingly - kind of like dying Easter eggs but way more fun to eat then a hard-boiled egg. I made my own colors, so these look a bit like psycho tennis balls, but it works, right?

For step by step pictures, visit this blog, where I got the idea:
CosmoCookie Blog: Rainbow Cupcakes

Rainbow Cupcakes
1 package french vanilla or white cake mix
(Plus any ingredients mentioned on the back: oil, eggs, water)
Food dye - at least three colors

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a muffin tin with aluminum muffin cups.
  2. Make the cake batter according to instructions. Separate evenly into at least three bowls. I used four bowls and had about a cup and a quarter batter per bowl.
  3. Add food dye to each of the bowls and stir. Be careful not to mix utensils or you'll change the color. Have fun making your own colors!
  4. Using a spoon, place one spoonful of batter  (Color A) at the bottom of each muffin tin. Clean your spoon and then place one spoonful of batter (Color B) on top of those layers. Continue with the rest of your colors until the tins are about 2/3 full. DO NOT STIR THE COLORS. See the link above for step by step pics if your confused.
  5. Bake at 350 for roughly 18 minutes, or until they pass the toothpick test. 
  6. Unwrap, bite in, and be amazed!