Archive for the ‘Vegetarian’ Category

Sweet Potato Experiments

For the longest time, I would wander through the produce section and look dreamily towards the sweet potatoes wondering why they were there if it wasn’t November or December. What a waste.

But guess what?!

I have two amazing, quick, and EASY options for your sweet potatoes! I am always looking for meals/sides I can prep on Sunday and munch on throughout the week. Every week I have the hardest time deciding which of the two following spices to use!

Littlest over at The Schell Cafe loves sweet potatoes cubed and tossed with olive oil and cinnamon in a ziploc, and that was the original go-to snack of mine.

Until the fabulous guys over at the The Bitten Word posted a slight variation. They claimed that cubed sweet potatoes tossed with olive oil and fajita seasoning (I use the chicken variety) would please anyone.

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I decided to try these out one night when I had a group of my favorite guinea pigs over for dinner! 3/5 of us supposedly disliked sweet potatoes. I told them that it was hypothesized by the chaps over there that anyone would love them.

 

After observing and collecting data, the conclusion of this experiment supported our hypothesis! Not only did all 3 of them totally dig the potatoes, a few beers and games of wii bowling later they were digging through my fridge looking for the remaining cubes.

So try them I say, you will be pleasantly surprised (and so will your guinea pigs).

 

Disclaimer: If you have guinea pigs, I wouldn’t recommend dropping the leftovers in the bowl, don’t know how the olive oil would do in their squeaky little systems!

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Enjoy!

Kettle Corn!

Sorry for my absence; iphoto was being awfully rude and not allowing me to upload any pictures! 

Back to why you are here :

How long has it been since you had homemade popcorn?! I mean really? I was a child because I’m pretty sure in the 80’s it was super cool to have an air popper because it was what we did at sleep overs! Or was it a 70’s thing the folks got for wedding presents?!  

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There are three reasons why I love this recipe: 

1.  Economical: I laugh in the face of the Recession while eating my $0.15 snack!

2.  Ingredients: Popcorn, Oil, Sugar; have you checked out the ingredients in your 100 calorie snack packs? 

3.  Burnt Kernel Free! (Well the first time I was nervous about them being all popped, but really no reason to worry, Popcorn isn’t available rare)!

For 6 cups popped pop corn: 

1/3 cup kernels

2 tsp oil (Alton Brown claims peanut oil is best, but I’m all for Olive Oil. You tell me) .

2 tsp* granulated sugar (optional, without is Naked Corn). 

Items needed: Wok and spatter gaurd

  • This amount of sugar results in a subtle sweetness, not the intense sweetness your used to at fairs; increase sugar if want more sweet.

Pour oil and sugar into wok, stir to incorporate and add kernels, stir once again to coat. 

Place spatter guard over kernels and shake vigorously close to fire for ~10 seconds and resting for ~10 seconds, repeat until kernels start popping (~2 minutes). 

Now you need to shake to keep the popcorn on top and the heavier kernels at the bottom near the heat (This is where the convenience of the rounded wok comes in). Continue until it seems as if all kernels have popped. Don’t overcook (see comment number 3 above).

It really is simple, you can’t walk away from the microwave. But I am serious when I tell you that this popcorn taste much better than bagged popcorn! But of course you’ve been doing your memory exercises and taking your Ginkgo Biloba and remember the taste from your youth.

I have also seen popcorn made with: 

 A metal bowl and aluminum foil

Brown paper bag and a stapler

Enjoy!

Romanesca Cauliflower

Happy Monday!

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I am so addicted to the farmer’s market. The last trip, I couldn’t take my eyes off this strange vegetable, it was the most splendid thing I’d ever seen and I couldn’t wait to purchase it and show Nerd. 

 

Which I have to resort back to calling Nerd because of his comments of this plant. Observe. “Wow. This is the most mathematically perfect plant I’ve ever seen. It’s a perfect example of Fibonacci as well as Mandelbrot’s fractal… blah blah blah.” 

🙂

Whatever. It’s a mighty cool looking plant to me.

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I baked this guy with a bit of olive oil and garlic cloves (both to taste), but I think simply steaming it would be delicious! The vendor said that it steams quicker than cauliflower. 

Thought I’d share this interesting find!

How do you save your parmesan?

Happy Friday!

img_6187Note: Old picture, new question. 

 

I’ve heard many possibilities. 

 

I wrap mine in a wet paper towel, then cover in aluminum foil. Is this right or wrong in your opinion? I never seem to keep parmesan that long, but just curious incase I do someday. 

Lots of fun recipes next week! Stay tuned!

German Chocolate Cupcakes

Before I begin, let it be known that this was on of the most intricate recipes I’ve ever followed. If that doesn’t scare you away, maybe the fact that a dog ate more of the cupcakes than humans did will, but that is a story for another time.

However, if I made this as a cake, as it was intended to be, it would have cut approximately 1 hour of prep time down. The fact that I got the recipe from David Lebovitz, one of the most well known pastry chefs of our time, doesn’t help either. If I can’t be honest here, where can I?
All in all, they were deliciously light and fluffy and… delicious.

I decided to make the recipe into cupcakes because it was for a late night birthday celebration, which means booze. Basically, I didn’t want anyone to handle a knife or forks. I plan on making the cake for my father’s birthday in May, and perhaps I will make an addendum to this post (if you remind me).

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I am posting the original cake recipe. For cupcakes I filled the cupcakes wrappers, in a cupcake pan 2/3 full then dress each individual cupcake with syrup and icing. This recipe yielded approximately 36 cupcakes.

Cake:
2 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate chopped
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
6 tablespoons water
8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 ¼ cup + ¼ cup sugar
4 large eggs, separated
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Filling:
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup sugar
3 large egg yolks
3 ounces butter, cut into small pieces
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup pecans, toasted and finely chopped
1 1/3 cups unsweetened coconut, toasted

Syrup:
1 cup water
¾ cup sugar
2 tablespoons dark rum

Chocolate Icing:
8 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 ½ ounces unsalted butter
1 cup heavy cream

1. Butter two 9-inch cake pans, then line the bottoms with rounds of parchment or wax paper. Preheat the oven to 350°.

2. Melt both chocolates together with the 6 tablespoons of water. Use either a double-boiler or a microwave. Stir until smooth, then set aside until room temperature.

3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, or by hand, beat the butter and 1 ¼ cup of the sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Beat in the melted chocolate, then the egg yolks, one at a time.

4. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

5. Mix in half of the dry ingredients into the creamed butter mixture, then the buttermilk and the vanilla extract, then the rest of the dry ingredients.

6. In a separate metal or glass bowl, beat the egg whites until they hold soft, droopy peaks. Beat in the ¼ cup of sugar until stiff.

7. Fold about one-third of the egg whites into the cake batter to lighten it, then fold in the remaining egg whites just until there’s no trace of egg white visible.

8. Divide the batter into the 2 prepared cake pans, smooth the tops, and bake for about 45 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Cool cake layers completely.

While the cakes are baking and cooling, make the filling, syrup, and icing.

 

To make the filling:

1. Mix the cream, sugar, and egg yolks in a medium saucepan. Put the 3 ounces butter, salt, toasted coconut, and pecan pieces in a large bowl.

2. Heat the cream mixture and cook, stirring constantly (scraping the bottom as you stir) until the mixture begins to thicken and coats the spoon (an instant-read thermometer will read 170°.)

3. Pour the hot custard immediately into the pecan-coconut mixture and stir until the butter is melted. Cool completely to room temperature. (It will thicken.)

 

To make the syrup:

1. In a small saucepan, heat the sugar and water until the sugar has melted. Remove from heat and stir in the dark rum.

 

To make the icing:

1. Place the 8 ounces of chopped chocolate in a bowl with the corn syrup and 1 ½ ounces of butter.

2. Heat the cream until it just begins to boil. Remove from heat and pour over the chocolate. Let stand one minute, then stir until smooth. Let sit until room temperature.

 

To assemble the cake:

Remove the cake layers from the pans and cut both cake layers in half horizontally, using a serrated bread knife.
Set the first cake layer on a cake plate. Brush well with syrup. Spread ¾ cup of the coconut filling over the cake layer, making sure to reach to the edges. Set another cake layer on top.

Repeat, using the syrup to brush each cake layer, then spreading ¾ cup of the coconut filling over each layer, including the top.

Ice the sides with the chocolate icing, then pipe a decorative border of chocolate icing around the top, encircling the coconut topping.

 

 

David says to use all the chocolate icing at all costs and you won’t be sorry, and I definitely look forward to using it all for the cake I make for my father, because I used about a third for the cupcakes and left so much good quality icing! I definitely think that each bite would benefit from an ample amount of icing.

Enjoy!