Wednesday, October 28, 2009

brussels sprouts adventure 2009

Actually, this will probably be the only brussels sprouts adventure I have....at least for awhile. Don't get me wrong they were delicious, despite common brussels sprouts belief.

So how did I come across this monstrosity? The farmers market, of course! And you should've seen my excitement when I came across it, I bet I looked like a little kid on Christmas. And to make it even better, a 15-year old girl was telling me, the older, wiser, maturer 22-year old all about brussels-sprout-growth. Wow. I kinda felt like an idiot.

Me: "These things grow on stalks???"
Girl: "Uhhhh, ch-yeah."

And then I learned all about brussels sprouts harvesting, growing, plucking of the sprouts off the stalk - you name it.

And the best part? The fact that the stalk can be a number of imaginary things....unicorn horn, peg leg, Pinocchio nose, extremely long buck-tooth. Way too many possibilities.

Let the pluckage begin!

An all bare stalk. How sad. :(

So if you are so inclined to make brussels sprouts starting from the stalk, be sure to dunk 'em in a bowl of water to get the dirt off, if there is any. Who knows what's been on those things. I then sauteed them in a pan with a little bit of olive oil and then seasoned them with sea salt and pepper. Garlic would be great with these, too, but they really don't need much. Cook them till they're bright green.

Mmmmm. Okay, so there's only one brussels sprout in this picture, but oh well. I mixed a bunch of random veggies I had sauteed earlier, melted some mozzarella on them, and gobbled them up. It's tastier than you think it may be. I guarantee it. :)

Friday, October 16, 2009

I WANT CAKE. please. :)

It hasn't even been two hours since I've been home, and there is already a cake in the oven. I've been having wicked cake-cravings for the past 48 hours. I really don't know why, but I have a sneaking feeling that the cake I made for Wednesday's dinner triggered it. And this is no CHOCOLATE cake craving, but for something more like....carrot cake. With cream cheese or vanilla frosting. Or maybe I am just craving more of the same cake from Wednesday....which is why I just whipped another one up. :) I also came home to homemade applesauce, so it was clearly meant that this cake be made again!

One of the best parts of being home-home? 72 OUNCE BAGS OF NESTLE CHOCOLATE CHIPS, HECK YES. And I know it might sound weird, but there is a big difference between Kroger and Nestle chocolate chips. Being the poor college student that I am, the cheapest chocolate chips usually win in my book. But Nestle....oh yeeeeah.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

apple sauce + banana bread + chocolate chips + vanilla frosting = cake

So everything is in this cake. Okay, not everything, but a lot of different ingredients that you wouldn't necessarily bake together. Something like....bananas + chocolate chips + homemade cinnamon apple sauce. Sound good? It is.

So I didn't start out making cake...I originally wanted to make homemade apple sauce because I had three apples in the fridge that had been there for about two weeks. Yeah, time to use those puppies up.

Peeled apple. How lovely.

So into this went three apples, 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1 tsp. cinnamon, and a little bit of water. But there was way too much brown sugar, so I recommend using about half the amount. I wasn't patient enough to let the apples cook down enough till they were "saucy", but they were cooked decently enough. IMPORTANT NOTE: Water is key to successful applesauce sauciness. Without it, you will burn the apples, and that is not good. So add a little to start, and then keep adding it as need be.

Next up on the baking agenda was a dessert for a dinner with my friends, Raluca and Yvan. I was going to make chocolate chip cookies and then cut them out into out initials (yeah, yeah, cutesy-tootsy, I know), but there wasn't a single sprinkle of white sugar in my house! I know, blasphemy, right?! So the overripe banana in my freezer inspired me to make banana bread, since that uses brown sugar - no white sugar needed. But then....I realized I had no loaf pain. Fail, again. But lo and behold, I had a 13x9 pan. Voila....banana cake.

And wow, was it good. I mean, don't want to toot my own horn or anything, but......yeah. Really good. :)

Applesauce Banana Bread Cake

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs, beaten
2 cups mashed overripe bananas
1/3 cup cinnamon apple sauce
About 1/2 cup chocolate chips

4 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup butter, melted
2-4 tbsp. milk
2 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 13x9-inch pan with nonstick cooking spray.

In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt. In a separate bowl, cream together butter and brown sugar. Stir in eggs, mashed bananas, and applesauce until well blended. Stir banana mixture into flour mixture; stir just to moisten. Stir in chocolate chips. Pour batter into prepared loaf pan.

Bake in preheated oven for 20-30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center of the cake comes out clean. Let cool.

Prepare frosting. In a medium bowl, mix whisk together powdered sugar, butter, milk, and vanilla until frosting consistency. Set aside

Cut cake into two equal parts. Place one part on the bottom of a plate. Cover with half the frosting. Top with remaining cake layer. Frost with remaining frosting. DEVOUR.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

black bean vegetable soup

Look at me go!!!! Making all this real-food and such! My med school friend, Elizabeth, says I am turning into a real-person by making all these foods....maybe she's right, haha. All I know is that I will have to make something realllly unhealthy in the very near future. And I'm thinking it's going to involve the jumbo-size bag of Resee's cups I bought yesterday for an intense studying session with Raluca. So stay tuned for Resee's brownies, or something like that. :)

This recipe came from my mom's food science class that she took last semester. She made it while I was home for the summer and it was SO GOOD! So I thought I'd give it a try. I never realized how easy soup is....you just open some cans, cut up some veggies, onions, and garlic and let it all get happy in the pot. So easy. I think I'll be making soup more often, now. AND it's kind of like cereal - a meal in a bowl! Only two dishes to wash! Brilliant, really.

Black Bean Vegetable Soup

1 tbsp. olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 carrots, chopped
2 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. ground cumin
4 cups veggie stock (or chicken or beef, whatever your heart desires)
1 (15 oz.) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (8.75 oz.) can whole kernel corn
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
1 (14.5 oz.) can stewed tomatoes

In a large pot, heat oil over medium heat; cook onion, garlic, and carrots, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes, or until onion is softened. Add chili powder and cumin; cook, stirring for 1 minutes. Add stock, 1 can of beans, corn, and pepper. Bring to boil. Meanwhile, in food processor or blender, puree together tomatoes and remaining can of beans; add to pot. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until carrots are tender.

lucky yellow limoncello: sugar edition

Yep, it's that time, again. Limoncello time! Two months have gone by, which means it is time to add that second round of delicious Burnett's (sarcasm) and sugar mixture.

Eight cups of sugar and 10 cups of water were heated until "thickened"....which didn't happen for awhile. The recipe said 5-10 minutes, but was obviously lying since it took more like 20 minutes. This is probably because we doubled the recipe....eight cups of sugar is quite much, haha.

Then, the lemon schtuff was split up between four milk jugs and the sugar mixture divided into fours.

Hmmmm....can limoncello cause "serious injury"? Hah. We'll see how strong it is when it's all done!


And, of course, I had to try a little....and it tasted reallllly really strong. Hmmmm. Hopefully the next 1-2 months will do the trick into making it delicious.