Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Beef Stroganoff

One of my (very many) favorite meals for Winter.  My only complaint:  I ALWAYS overcook the beef.  It really only needs to cook for 5 minutes, and I never get the timing quite right.  Still, a problem with my timing, not the recipe.

It only takes a half hour to make, including time to slice the onions, mushrooms, and steak. 

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Apple Pie

The classic... best if it's not too sweet and, ideally, served warm with vanilla ice cream.

Short of that, good at room temperature, too.  (On a technical note, I'm in love with my new camera.  That photo was taken without a flash and in crappy lighting conditions-- just our dining room overhead light and one lamp.)

Monday, December 14, 2009

Double Pie Crust (again)

I've written about how to make a pie crust before, but here's a slightly easier way to do it.  With better pictures.

The crust is rolled out between a folded-over sheet of waxed paper idea (SO much easier, and it means that your rolling pin doesn't get all sticky.)  The wax paper idea is from an episode of Good Eats.  

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Hot cocoa

It snowed over the weekend!  Yes, I'm only writing about it now.  In the meantime, I finished my Christmas shopping AND addressed my Christmas cards.  So I haven't been completely slacking off.  Anyway, it was a good excuse to cook up some hot cocoa on the stove...

Adapted from my mom, who uses what turns out to be the exact recipe on the side of a box of Hershey's cocoa powder.  A surprising number of our old family recipes come from packaging. 

Monday, December 7, 2009

Bacon corn bread

This was a very rich corn bread; plus, bacon makes everything better!  This is crunchier and less dense than the last corn bread I made.  The outside edges are cooked in bacon fat, and as such are delicious.  Next time, I'll crumble the bacon into smaller pieces to get more bacon throughout instead of fewer, larger pieces.

Adapted, as ever, from How to Cook Everything.

Monday, November 30, 2009

New Camera!

I can't wait to use it... but this just came today!  Now I just need a memory card.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope you have a wonderful holiday, filled with lots and lots of good food, family, and friends. 

Although it may be a little late for this year, my Thanksgiving recipes can be found here

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Tuna melt

This is one of my favorite lunches when it's cold out.  Nearly too simple for a recipe.

1 can tuna
a couple of tablespoons mayo, to taste
1 T pickle relish, to taste
2 slices cheese, any sort (pictured above is cheddar and swiss)
2 thick slices of bread

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Mix tuna, mayonnaise, and pickle relish, to taste.  Spoon tuna salad onto bread; put cheese on top.  Bake in 400 degree oven until cheese is bubbly and just starting to brown, about 10-15 minutes; bread will be toasted by this point.  

Monday, November 23, 2009

Fast Sausage Ragu, now with less weird coloring!

The fast sausage ragu from Bitten looks much prettier if you use white wine instead of red.

It gets rid of the green eggs and ham problem-- the food is now the appropriate color.  You should, however, rinse out the measuring cup you use for your wine before you put milk in it, otherwise the milk curdles ever so slightly, which you will not notice until you stir it into the rest of the sauce.  It's still delicious, though. 

The wine used here was Woot Cellar's Triacipedis.  They have consistently delicious, reasonably priced wines.  Plus amusing descriptions.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Turkey sandwich

I'm a firm believer that turkey only reaches its full potential after the main Thanksgiving meal is over.  My very favorite turkey dish by far is not the glorious whole roast turkey, but the humble turkey sandwich. 

No recipe, really; just cold turkey on thick slices of homemade bread, with a generous spread of mayo and cranberry sauce.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Roast Turkey

Only a week to go until Thanksgiving!  Do you have your turkey lined up?  It is, after all, the centerpiece of Thanksgiving dinner:

This is a fairly simple, straightforward way to roast a turkey, taken from the always excellent How to Cook Everything.  It uses very high heat to start, which means nice, crispy skin; plus, it only takes 3 hours to roast a 12-lb. turkey, which means you get to sleep in a little the morning of Thanksgiving.  My only complaint is that it was a little bland; next time, I'll try brining.  However, the skin was crisp and the meat was moist. 

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Vegetable Pot Pie

This is an amazing side dish for Thanksgiving; there's no reason pie has to be restricted to dessert!  Also works as a vegetarian centerpiece dish.

I was extremely pleased with myself for coming up with this; it's very, very loosely based on a chicken pot pie recipe.  Also only goes to prove, once again, that while vegetables are delicious, add about a pound of butter and they're AMAZING.

Double Pie Crust

This is a good, all-purpose double pie crust, adapted from the Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book.  I believe it's easier with a good food processor, but here's how to do it by hand.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Sage Bread Stuffing

I'm actually not a huge fan of stuffing that was actually, you know, stuffed inside a turkey, but I do like this baked in a casserole.
Apologies for the terrible picture (it looked even worse blown up to full size) -- in the rush of cooking all the Thanksgiving foods, I didn't take the time to get good pictures of everything.  This is the only photo I have of the finished product, and was cropped down from a photo of the whole spread. 

Which was amazing.

This stuffing is pretty basic-- very simple, just a few ingredients, but also very tasty.

Hint:  The secret to really good stuffing, like so many other things is to use a lot of butter.  In this case, an entire stick.  

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Cranberry Sauce, part 2: Cranberry-Orange Relish

Mmm... zingier than the regular sauce-- tart and tangy.  I haven't yet decided which is better on turkey sandwiches, despite extensive lunchtime field research.  They're both really good, so I've been combining them. 

It's also very easy to assemble, and can be done ahead of time, but a food processor is a must.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Cranberry Sauce, part 1: Whole Berry

This was a bit of a revelation... I'd only had the kind straight out of a can before.  Which is fine.  This, however, is almost as easy as opening a can and is much brighter tasting-- fresher, more tart.  Just tastier.

This recipe is straight off the side of a bag of Ocean Spray cranberries

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Beurre Blanc over Brussels Sprouts

This post brought to you by the letter B.  Obviously.  Beurre Blanc is a butter-based sauce with some white wine, lemon, and shallots for flavor.  It is good on absolutely anything, but particularly veggies and fish. 

Actual pictures of the sauce after the jump... it's so fattening that even looking at it could go straight to your thighs.  Above, however, are some very healthy brussels sprouts, about to be steamed.

The sauce is also so delicious that rather than just convincing my husband that brussels sprouts are OK, it made him tear up a little bit.  

Monday, November 2, 2009

Chocolate Chip Pancakes

A wonderful Sunday morning treat.  Pretty quick, too, unless the only non-stick skillet you own is a 6" one.  Then, not so much.  If you have a griddle, use it, or or just use a lot of butter on a regular large frying pan.

Butter and maple syrup is always good, of course, but my favorite thing on these is peanut butter.  It adds a little saltiness to the sweet, and is just amazing.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Brown Butter Apple Cake

Continuing my baked apple dessert kick... this is somewhere between a cake and a cobbler.  Either way, it's great hot with ice cream.

I like it even better the next day, after the flavors have blended a little bit.

Bye Bye Borders

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Thanks to Garden Bloggers.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Chicken Salad

This is not so much a recipe as a way to use up stuff you happen to have in the fridge or on the shelf.  The only essential:  leftover chicken.

Happily, I had a leftover leg and roughly half a breast from a roasted chicken languishing in the fridge, as well as celery and apples. 

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Pork Roast

This is so simple, it barely qualifies as a recipe.

The steps are:
1.  Throw a hunk of meat in the oven.

There is no step two. 

Friday, October 23, 2009

Polenta Pecan Apple Crisp

It isn't fall until I've eaten some apple crisp.  This makes a nice, cobbler-y type topping and is, of course, amazing eaten hot with ice cream.  Or cold for breakfast.

Not that this blog necessarily endorses ice cream for breakfast.  At least not all the time.

Also, does anyone know the difference between a crisp and a cobbler?  I use the terms interchangeably, but I could be missing some fundamental dichotomy.  

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Polenta with Zucchini and Ragu

I love it when leftovers come together to make something different and delicious.  I already had leftover polenta and sauce, so it wasn't a huge leap to put one on top of the other and add cheese.

Still, this was fairly different from and actually more filling than just sauce on pasta.  Admittedly, my attempt at frying up polenta resulted in more of a blob than the neat wedges I was going for, but it was still quite tasty.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Beef Stew with Polenta

This beef stew is perfect for when there's a chill in the air.  Unlike many stews, this one is good on the first evening, although it's just as good leftover.

As with most soups, once the chopping is done, this requires a minimal amount of time actually spent at the stove.  The polenta takes 15-20 minutes total, concurrent with the last bit of stew simmering.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Fast Sausage Ragu

This turned out really well; I was a little leery of putting milk and tomato paste into the same sauce (although it's amazing with cream, so why not?), but it was fantastic.  And it only took about 20 minutes, start to finish.

For all that I keep wanting to color-correct this photo, the sauce did turn out purplish, since I used red wine instead of white... but I needed to open a bottle anyway, for the next day's stew.  Hence, purple sauce.  C'est la vie... it was delicious.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

New Header!

Because there can never be enough cassata cake photos on the blog.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Holy Wide Layout, Batman!

Blogger added an "XL" photo size, so I've changed my layout to accommodate even BIGGER close-ups of cookies.  I've gone back and changed the sizes of the October pictures; older pics are still the same size, but centered so the layout isn't too wonky in older posts.

Thanks to Independent Fashion Bloggers, who have step-by-step instructions on how to do this without losing your sidebar, as I did the first time I tried it.

And if you're interested in such things, the settings that work best for me with this new picture size are:
header wrapper = 910
outer wrapper = 910
main wrapper = 660
sidebar wrapper = 220 (unchanged)

Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Mmm... just spectacular.  The perfect plain chocolate chip cookie.  Soft and chewy, not at all cakey.

I used Alton Brown's recipe exactly-- didn't change a thing.  Although I'm pretty sure that my cookies are bigger-- I used a regular ice cream scooper, as I don't have a #20 disher.  Also, I got 21 cookies instead of 36, and I didn't eat all that much dough.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Favorite Roasted Chicken

What makes this recipe incredible isn't the chicken-- roasted chicken is ALWAYS good-- but the potatoes.

These are, without exaggeration, the greatest potatoes you will ever have.  And they SO simple:  potato slices, garlic, and fresh herbs roasted in chicken fat.

Best.  Potatoes.  Ever.

The only downside to this recipe is that you will need to wash your oven rack after, and if you're not very careful taking out the chicken, may need to clean your oven as well.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Maybe I should start shopping at Costco

Sunday's New York Times had an interesting article about food safety and hamburger... I think I'm swearing off pre-formed patties altogether and may start getting individual pieces of meat ground at the grocery store.  I wonder if Giant would do that?

Apparently, in addition to having superb steak, Costco actually tests for E. Coli before grinding its meat.  It's fairly unique among big producers in this policy.

Sample quote:
"Cargill records show that the hamburgers were made from a mix of slaughterhouse trimmings and a mash-like product derived from scraps that were ground together at a plant in Wisconsin. The ingredients came from slaughterhouses in Nebraska, Texas and Uruguay, and from a South Dakota company that processes fatty trimmings and treats them with ammonia to kill bacteria."


Lemon Shortbread

I wanted to make something along the lines of the lavender shortbread cookies at the Dairy Godmother, but, sadly, Giant didn't have any lavender.  And I'm now restraining myself from typing the entire rest of this post about how amazing their custard is.  And their lavender cookies.  Mmmmm.

 Next best thing:  Lemon, which allowed me to finally break out my new microplane grater.  And what a good idea!  Sweet, lemony, buttery, goodness.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Pumpkin Pie #1

Good, but not great... I think I like Betty Crocker's recipe better.  And no pictures (see last week's memory snafu)... still, Pumpkin Pie is pretty easy.  No slicing fruit, just open a can.  Even if you use a premade pie crust, it's still SO much better than anything you'd buy in a store.

Friday, October 2, 2009


And... back at long last, delayed all week because I ran out of space on my hard drive and so my pictures were marooned on my camera.  Happily, I now have purchased an entire TERRABYTE of space (1,000 gigs!) which is, like, a zillion close-ups of bread crumb and such.


I made these kebabs because there was a grill available, and steak night was already taken.  They turned out really well; next time I will just make sure to cut the beef into more uniform chunks.  Mine were too large and took FOREVER to cook to medium.

Friday, September 18, 2009


I'm off!  Hopefully I will make lots of yummy food the whole week and be back with a new post on Monday, September 28.

In the meantime, how good does this sound?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Soft oatmeal bread

This bread completely reaffirms my love of no-knead breads.  This is super tasty, but so much more work, and produces a completely different kind of bread.  It takes about 3 hours from start to finish, which is of course much faster than the no-knead kind, but also requires a solid 30-40 minutes of actual work time, plus WAY more cleanup.

It does make a really soft, fluffy bread, though.  I'm pretty sure it will make fantastic sandwiches. 

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Oatmeal-cranberry-white-chocolate-chip cookies

These were kind of disappointingly cakey, although I should've realized that ahead of time just by seeing that there is an entire teaspoon of baking soda. C'est la vie... I suppose every cookie can't be perfect.

From the back of a craisins bag.

2/3 c. butter, softened
2/3 c. brown sugar
2 eggs
1/2 t vanilla
1-1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
1-1/2 c. all purpose flour
1 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1 6 oz. package (1-1/3 c.) Craisins or other dried fruit (I bet dried cherries would be good)
1 c. white chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375.

Cream butter and sugar; mix in eggs and vanilla.

In a separate bowl, combine flour, oats, baking soda, and salt. Mix dry ingredients into butter mixture in several additions. Stir in craisins and white chocolate chips.

Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets; bake for 10-12 minutes.

Makes ~32 cookies.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

No-knead oatmeal bread

Another variation on no-knead bread; again, super easy and delicious. Kind of softer and chewier than whole wheat, and makes amazing sandwiches and toast.

1 c. rolled oats ('old-fashioned', NOT instant)
2 c. bread flour
1-1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. rapid rise yeast
1-1/3 c. water
1 T honey

Mix together dry ingredients; stir honey into water.

Stir sweetened water into flour mixture; dough should form into a shaggy ball.

Cover tightly with plastic wrap; let sit at room temperature for 8-12 hours, until bubbly.

Stir dough to punch it down; glop it into a well-oiled loaf pan. Sprinkle top with more oats. Cover loosely with plastic wrap; let rise 2-4 hours, until doubled in size.

Bake at 350 for 45-50 minutes.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


Some of my favorite things to put on salads: strawberries, blue cheese, and basalmic vinegar.

This was: Romaine lettuce, onion, cucumber, chicken, strawberries, blue cheese, and olive oil and vinegar.

Monday, September 7, 2009


I love a really good sandwich.

Turkey, Swiss, avocado, tomato, and just a little mayo on homemade rye bread.

Saturday, September 5, 2009


This is a very Ohio dessert... Midwesterners know and love these. In honor of OSU football kicking off this afternoon:

They're easy, but fairly time consuming.

Buckeyes (makes a fridge full-- 5 or 6 dozen.)
2 c. smooth peanut butter (NOT the natural kind-- you need the oil to not separate)
1/2 c. butter, softened
1/2 t vanilla extract
5-6 c. powdered sugar
2 12 oz. bags of semisweet chocolate chips
2 T shortening

1. Cream peanut butter, butter, and vanilla. On low speed, beat in powdered sugar until it forms a doughy consistency.

2. Scoop out teaspoonfuls of dough; roll into 1-inch balls and put onto cookie sheet covered in waxed paper.

3. Put peanut butter balls into freezer for 30 minutes; when they are chilled, they are less oily and the chocolate sticks better.

4. In double boiler, melt chocolate chips and shortening. Stir until smooth. If, like me, you don't have a double boiler, put a metal bowl over a barely simmering pot of water.

5. Using a toothpick, dip each peanut butter ball into chocolate.

Put back on waxed paper; refrigerate until chocolate is set. Transfer to covered containers; chill until serving.

Notes: You may have to transfer the peanut butter balls back into the freezer periodically as they warm up to room temperature; it's probably best to work in batches. Also, this will take over your fridge; make sure you have room BEFORE you are trying to rig up shelves using beer bottles and cookie sheets. It's less stable than I thought.

Also, you will end up with extra melted chocolate; have other things to dip on hand, like strawberries or pretzels.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Corn bread

As fond as I am of Jiffy corn muffin mix, sometimes it's nice to have a heartier cornbread that doesn't double as dessert. Especially along with chili.

This made a super dense, savory corn bread.

From How to Cook Everything, using more or less the 'Corny Corn Bread' variation. I'm quite excited to try the 'Bacon Corn Bread' listed right under it, but thought it might be a bit rich with chicken chili.

Corny Corn Bread
1-1/4 c. buttermilk (or, as I used here, regular milk with 1 T white vinegar stirred in)
3 T butter
1-1/2 c. cornmeal
1/2 c. flour
1-1/2 t baking powder
1 t salt
1 T sugar
1 egg
kernels from 1 ear of sweet corn (or 1 c. frozen corn)

Preheat oven to 375; make sour milk if not using buttermilk.

Put butter in pan or skillet; heat on stove (if pan is stovetop safe) or in oven (if not). It will melt and turn all nutty smelling; take it off of the heat before it burns.

Mix together dry ingredients in a bowl; mix the egg into the buttermilk. Stir the buttermilk mixture into the cornmeal mixture. Stir in the corn.

Pour the batter into the pan; bake for 30 minutes.

NOTE: Yes, the milk with vinegar looks icky and smells weird. It's sour milk; it's supposed to. (Sadly, the picture of the lumpy milk-- white lumps in a white liquid-- did not come out on my little point and shoot.)