Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Oriental Slaw

To go with my potstickers, I made salad with some of the left over napa cabbage. It was so yummy!

The recipe is approximate because I just chopped this and squirted that and ended up with a salad, you know?

Remember how I made the potstickers two nights in a row? Well, I made this salad two nights in a row also. The first picture is how it turned out the first night, and the second picture is how it turned out the second night. The main difference is that on the second night I added cucumbers and tomatoes and forgot to grate in the carrot. Both were good!

Oriental Slaw

Bok Choy Cabbage
shredded carrot
green onions
minced garlic
toasted sesame oil
minced ginger
Thai sweet chili sauce
soy sauce
cashews or peanuts
chopped tomatoes
sliced cucumber
whatever else you can think of!

Edited to add: I forgot that I left Rice Vinegar off the list! I had rice vinegar in the salad too! Sorry!

Tuesday, August 29, 2006


I'm steel reeling from the beauty of this experience. I'm not sure if I have words to describe how good this recipe was. My kids were begging me to make this more often before I had even finished cooking it! They hadn't even tasted it. Once it got to the table, they were fighting over just how much they could eat. Of course Hypatia didn't like it, but she doesn't like anything exept for rice, noodles, eggs and kiwis (well, maybe more than that, but not much more, lol).

I got this recipe from the February 2006 Cuisine at Home magazine. It was in an article featuring chef Martin Yan. While this recipe tasted excellent, I had a hard time making it look as good as the photos. But who cares? I practically had my family falling to their knees praising my name this time! Dylan wants me to make some for him to take for school lunch. He says, with a huge grin, "I would love to see the other kids faces when they see me eat this!" Good idea, Dylan, but there is never any left over for lunch the next day!

One more thing. Chef Yan says that if you can't find the round wrappers, thats ok, just buy the square ones and cut them round with a biscuit cutter. I couldn't find round, so I used square. End of story, no cutting involved.


Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt:
2 1/2 cups napa cabbage, thinly sliced

8 oz. ground pork or chicken
1/4 cup chicken broth (I left this out for some reason)
1 tablespoon soy sauce (oops, I accidently left this out too)
1 tablespoon cornstarch (ok, I've lost my mind. I left this out too. Was I high or something? Maybe this was why it didn't turn out perfect, duh)
1 tablespoon scallions (is that the same as green onions? I used green onions)
2 teaspoons fresh ginger, minced
1/2 teaspoon white pepper (I used black)
I added 2 cloves garlic, minced

Fill, brown, and steam
30 potsticker or gyoza wrappers
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2/3 cup water, divided

Toss with:
Hot and Sour Chili Sauce (recipe follows)

Sprinkle cabbage with salt and let stand for 15 minutes. Squeeze cabbage tightly in your fist to remove all excess liquid (I didn't do this).

Add remaining filling ingredients and combine thoroughly.

Fill each round wrapper with a teaspoon of filling, wrap and seal. Heat a large saute pan over medium until hot; add 1 1/2 tablespoons oil, swirling to coat. Add half the potstickers, seam side up and cook until bottoms are golden brown, 3-4 minutes. Add 1/3 cup water, cover, reduce heat to medium low, and cook until water has evaporated, 5-6 minutes. Remove potstickers and keep warm. Wipe out the pan with a paper towl, then brown and steam the remaining potstickers. Toss the warm potstickers with sauce to coat.

Hot and Sour Chili Sauce

3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
2 tablespoons sweet chili sauce
2 tablespoons scallions (green onions?), minced
2 teaspoons hot chili oil
2 teaspoons fresh cilantro, minced
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced

Combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl and set aside.

UPDATE: Since I had exactly enough ingredients left over to make this again, I made it again the next night. This time, I remembered the forgotten ingredients and I didn't really steam the potstickers like the instructions said. I put extra water in, but I didn't put the lid on. They turned out prettier, and they tasted heavenly!

The first picture in the post is from when I made it the second night. The second and third pictures are from the first time I made it. I think it definitely looks better the second time I made it.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Buttermilk Biscuits and Sausage Gravy

Once in a rare while, I go all out and make biscuits and gravy. My kids adore it, and Sean is getting used to it. Of course Sean eats the biscuits like crazy, but he prefers them with homemade strawberry freezer jam, which, I admit, is pretty darn good.

Dylan says, "Mom, you make the best buttermilk biscuits!"

Thanks, sweetie. Its not my recipe, though. I just use the Better Homes and Gardens recipe.

Buttermilk Biscuits Supreme

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons sugar (I usually forget this, lol)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 cup shortening (I always do half shortening, half butter)
3/4 cup buttermilk

Stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, cream of tartar, and salt. Cut in shortening (and butter) till mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Make a well in the center; add buttermilk all at once. Stir just till dough clings together. Knead gently on a lightly floured surface for 10 to 12 strokes. Roll or pat to 1/2-inch thickness. Cut with a 2 1/2 inch biscuit cutter, dipping cutter in flour between cuts. Transfer to an ungreased baking sheet. Bake in a 450 degree oven for 10-12 minutes or till golden. Makes 10 to 12 biscuits.

Sausage Gravy

To make really flavorful breakfast gravy, you need to cook either sausage or bacon, and then use the pan to make the gravy. All of those crispy bits of sausage or bacon will make that gravy taste yummy!

The basic recipe is this: For every cup of milk, you need 1 tablespoon of grease (butter or oil) and 1 tablespoon of flour. We usually only make the recipe with one cup of milk, which doesn't seem like a lot, but its just right for us.

In the pan where I cooked the sausage, I sprinkle a tablespoon of flour into the drippings. If there is enough grease (at least a tablespoon) leftover from cooking the sausage, then I just stir in the flour with a whisk till smooth. If not, I add a bit of oil or butter, and then stir.

Heat up 1 cup of milk in the microwave (cold milk increases your chances of lumpy gravy), and pour it into the grease/flour mixture slowly while whisking. Heat to boiling, stirring the whole time.

When thickened, remove from heat and salt and pepper to taste.

Oh yeah, I usually add a crumbled sausage patty to the gravy.



Sprinkle some Feta on your pizza next time. You'll be glad you did!

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Chicken Salad

This was a lazy Sunday afternoon supper. You know the kind that you look into your pantry and fridge to see what's there and make dinner accordingly. Well, this is what was there.

Oh, this was sooooo delish! I had it all planned out, and then I saw the lone avocado, sitting there on the counter. I diced it up and tossed it in. Wow. What a great addition! I found myself anticipating each bite, wondering if it would be one of the ones, you know, with avocado in it!

I had a can of mandarin organges in the pantry, so thats what I used, but I imagine that any variety of fruits would work, such as grapes, pineapple, mango, peaches, etc. This is a variation on a pretty basic recipe.


Chicken Salad

2 chicken breasts, cooked in lemon juice and curry powder, shredded
2 stalks celery
1/2 cup chopped red onion
2 cloves garlic
1 15 oz can mandarin oranges, drained
1 avocado, chopped
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
1-2 teaspoons curry powder
juice of 2 or 3 lemons
Some mayonnaise (or 1/2 mayo, 1/2 yogurt; or all yogurt, if you like)
salt and pepper

Mix all ingredients but the avocado and mandarin oranges. Stir to combine. Add the avocado and mandarin oranges right before serving, and gently stir (just trying to keep them from falling apart).

Serve on lettuce leaves, with a dinner roll. Of course, I didn't serve on lettuce leaves, but I thought that would look nice if you wanted to do it that way.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Chocolate Chip Cookies

My son was begging me to help him make cookies. I finally gave in. He wanted Cherry Walnut Oatmeal Chocolate Chip cookies. I told him we were out of dried cherries and oatmeal. So we made Chocolate Chip Cookies with walnuts. Later I found the cherries and oatmeal (can we say disorganized?). I guess I didn't look too hard for them because I didn't really want them in there. I like my cookies simple!

This particular recipe came from a cookbook called Lee Bailey's Country Desserts. He called for chocolate chunks; I just used chocolate chips.

I'm not giving the recipe since its pretty much like any other chocolate chip cookie, which is to say that it tastes great!

This is Dylan, helping. He loves doing this sort of thing.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Confetti Chowder

Sean thought that Confetti Chowder was a dumb name, but that's what the soup made me think of, so that's what I'm naming it.

I usually make this soup as a potato corn chowder. I didn't have any frozen corn, so I had to do something else. I had zucchini, carrots, mushrooms and broccoli, though. It was a very good meal!

Its sort of a cheater meal in that it uses canned soup. If you make it with corn and none of the chopped up veggies, it goes together in a very short time. Adding the veggies increases the cook time and the prep time.

Confetti Chowder

Step 1:
3 medium Russet potatoes, diced
1/2 medium onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 head cabbage, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 can chicken broth
1 can cream of chicken soup

Combine ingredientsa in a pressure cooker and cook for 4 minutes on high pressure. Release pressure immediately by placing cooker in the sink and running water over it. Open and check softeness of potatoes. They should be soft.

Step 2:
Add to pot:
1 zucchini, grated
1 carrot, peeled and grated
4 mushrooms, chopped
1 stalk broccoli, peel and grate the stalk, and chop the top part

Reseal the lid and cook for 5 minutes, total time. Do not worry about pressure. If you cooked at 5 minutes high pressure, then you would have mush. We just want to lightly cook the veggies. Again, release steam immediately by running water over.

Step 3:
Stir into soup:
1/2 cup cream
1 cup cheese, shredded (any kind: cheddar, swiss, pepperjack)
1 teaspoon rubbed sage
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup cooked, diced chicken

There you have it!

If you want it to be only corn then skip step 2 and just add a cup or 2 of frozen corn along with step 3.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Garlic Lime Chicken

If you've ever eaten Cajun barbequed shrimp, then you'll know what this tastes like. Its spice mix is very similar to a cajun seasoning, and then its cooked with a lot of lime. I really enjoyed this recipe!

As per usual, I didn't use a full 6 breast halves, and I cut the breasts into strips. We just don't eat one whole huge breast per person in this family. That's a lot of meat!

I also forgot to add the paprika. Am I ever going to make a recipe in which I don't forget something?!

Of course I used fresh garlic instead of powdered, but I'm sure you knew that already.

Garlic Lime Chicken

1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon garlic powder (or a couple cloves of fresh, minced)
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon thyme
6 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 tablespoons lime juice
1/2 cup chicken broth

Hmm...lemme see, I think I cooked the chicken breasts in the spices and oil and butter, and then added the lime juice and chicken broth near the end. When the chicken was done, I took it out of the pan and boiled the broth and the juice for a while until it reduced a bit.

Garnish with parsley if desired, and then eat!

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Maple Walnut Topping

This topping is incredible on a good quality vanilla ice cream. It is decadent, elegant and down home all at the same time. Sean wanted to copy Haagen Daz's maple walnut topping, so we searched the internet until we found a suitable recipe. Actually, it was the only recipe we found for it.

Sean is the one who makes this recipe, because he likes to take it past the edge of reason. He overloads it with way too many walnuts. He even admitted it this time. I like just a reasonable amount of walnuts. Of course we use real maple syrup.

Sean loves this recipe, and the following picture is how he likes to eat it, with a banana and whipped cream. When I eat it, I don't have a banana and I try to have less of everything else.

Its pretty expensive to make and we don't keep it on hand all the time. We just make it for special occasions. Sean usually doesn't let the children eat it, and he can barely handle it when I eat it. He gets crazy when it comes to his special treats!

There is too much whipped cream in this picture. We are not always that indulgent (ok, sometimes we are!), but I think I got carried away, knowing I was going to take a picture of it!

Click here for the recipe:
Maple Walnut Topping

I thought I'd also add that if you want to make a copy of Hershey's Chocolate Syrup, then Hillbilly Housewife has a simple, perfect recipe. The texture and appearance is the same and the flavor is better. I won't be buying chocolate syrup anymore.

Chocolate Syrup

Messed Up Lemon Bars

Well, you're not getting a recipe for this because it was all wrong. It turned out more like a shortbread cookie with a thin lemon top. I've made lemon bars before, but you'd never know it with the way these turned out. I realized after I started that I was using the wrong sized pan, so I doubled the recipe and it didn't work at all, lol! I was making them to take to a pot luck. I was going to take them even though they were messed up. But I forgot to bring them, lol!

I wasn't going to take a picture because I knew that I wasn't going to post the recipe, but I couldn't stop myself. I had to take a picture anyway. The sun was shining so bright in the window, I knew it would be a nice picture, and it is.

Sean told me that I shouldn't post every little thing I make, including the mistakes. But my thinking is that I'm just trying to show what I cook and how it turns out, even if its a failure. It didn't make sense to him, though.

Here ya go!

Messed Up Lemon Bars

Monday, August 21, 2006

Father's Day Trifle

For Father's Day this year, our family went to my parents house. If I remember correctly, my mother was out of town, so my brother's family and my family made sure our Dad had a decent Father's Day. One of Sean's favorite desserts in the whole wide world is what we call trifle. We got this recipe from Sean's parents who got it from an English couple they know well. Its still not a totally authentic English trifle, I think; there is no sherry soaked cake. It is a fabulous dessert, though! Its best when made with fresh fruit, and we had just picked up a few gallons of fresh blueberries a few days before. So, for Sean, my brother (Stuart), and my Father, I made trifle for Father's Day.

Since I made it before my food picture obsession craze started, I was thinking that I didn't have a picture of it. Well, I had forgotten that my sister-in-law, Esther, had taken a picture of it for me. It looks oh so good! Hannah had helped me design the top with a blueberry heart. Take a look:

Blueberry Trifle

To make the trifle:

Make or buy a plain cake with no frosting. I used this recipe: Yellow Cake Mix. When the cake is cooled, put it in the bottom of a trifle bowl, keeping it in one piece or breaking it into chunks. Make some red Jell-o with cranberry juice instead of water. Pour the warm Jell-o over the cake to fully saturate it. Cover it with saran wrap and chill for several hours or overnight. Meanwhile, make some vanilla pudding. You could make it from scratch, but I often use a box of pudding mix. Chill that too. Once the pudding and cake are fully chilled, layer the pudding over the cake. Then put a layer of blueberries over the pudding. Whip some cream with sugar. Spread it over the top of the blueberries. Top with more blueberries. Make sure it is a nice pattern. Don't want a confusing jumble of berries or anything, do we?

Take a picture and then eat it!

These two pictures show us enjoying the trifle. Dylan is my son, age 10, Hypatia is my daughter, age 6. Wade is my son, age 2. John is Stuart and Esther's foster son. Emma is their daughter. Sean is, of course, my husband. Some chubby woman is me. And Janell is my sister.

By the way, this by no means represents anywhere near all of my family. I come from a family of 10 children. Only Stuart and I live near enough to my parents to be there for these little holidays. Janell was only there for a short visit.

Spicy Chick Pea Stew

This recipe is from a Weight Watcher's cookbook that I borrowed from my parents. They never use it, so I figure they'd never miss it! I did ask for it and I'll happily give it back if they want.

The overall flavors in this recipe are good. Ultimately, I like it. Its just good vegan style eating, which makes Sean a little nervous. I guess I just used the recipe as a guideline, because it seemed off kilter to me. It called for a pound of dried chick peas, cooked, and a whole eggplant. But then it called for a tablespoon each of chopped onion, carrots and celery. Um, what? I love chickpeas, but I thought this recipe could do with a little less of them, and definitely more carrots, onion and celery. In the end, I had to use less chickpeas because as soon as they were cooked, my kids were looking for a snack and I let them eat some, plain, with a little salt. By the time they were done, I had about half of the chickpeas left, which turned out to be just the perfect amount for the recipe.

I think I screwed up the eggplant. I normally like eggplant, but this time it had a slimy texture that really turned me off, so I ended up picking it out. Afterward, I remembered that when I set my eggplant in a colander to drain (like most recipes call for), I forgot to salt it first, so no liquid drained out. Maybe that made it slimy? Or maybe this was just a bad eggplant. I don't know.

Other changes: I added some tomato sauce and extra diced tomatoes, and I forgot to put the peas in at the end, like the recipes tells me to do. I did remember to add them in when we ate this as leftovers.

Spicy Chick Pea Stew

1/2 eggplant, diced
1 teaspoon salt
olive oil
1/2 cup onion, diced
1 carrot, sliced
1 stalk celery, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, minced fine
4 cloves garlic, minced finely
handful of raisins
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 cans of petite diced tomatoes
1 8oz can tomato sauce
1/2 cup frozen green peas

Toss eggplant cubes with salt and place in a mesh strainer or colander; drain for 30 minutes. Press out excess liquid with wooden spoon.

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat; add onion, carrot and celery. Saute, stirring occasionally , until vegetables are wilted, about 5 minutes. Add ginger and garlic; cook 30 seconds.

Increase heat to medium high; add eggplant. Toss and saute until eggplant begins to soften, about 5 minutes. Add raisins, cumin and cinnamon; stir well. Add tomatoes, tomato sauce, and hot pepper sauce; bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to medium-low; simmer, stirring occasionally, until eggplant is tender, about 15 minutes. If mixture becomes too thick, add hot water gradually, until sufficiently thinned.

Add chickpeas and green peas; simmer, stirring occasionally, 10 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley if desired, and serve over couscous (or rice).

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Teriyaki Chicken with Zucchini and Noodles

If you haven't tried Soy Vay Veri Veri Teriyaki Sauce, now is the time! It has become a favorite among my family. My kids can't get enough zucchini when its sauteed in this stuff!

This is an easy, throw together meal. Nothing fancy; it hardly qualifies as cooking. Saute some veggies, debone a rotisserie chicken, and cook some noodles, and you're done! I had some roasted garlic on hand, so I threw some into this meal, but usually I just chop a few cloves of fresh garlic.

Teriyaki Chicken with Zucchini and Noodles

3 medium zucchinis
1/2 med onion, sliced
1 tablespoon fresh garlic, minced, or roasted garlic, mashed
Some Soy Vay Veri Veri Teriyaki Sauce (my kids use too much)
a cup or so of shredded chicken (I often use a rotisserie chicken)
2 tablepoons chopped cilantro
1 teaspoon sesame oil
addtional cilantro and sesame seeds for garnish
fresh oriental noodles, cooked

Saute the zucchini, onion, and garlic in a few splashes of teriyaki sauce. Add the chicken and heat through. Stir in some toasted sesame seed oil and add the noodles. Top with cilantro and a sprinkle of sesame oil. At this point I add in more teriyaki sauce until its flavored to my (kids) liking.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Sticky Buns Revisited

Update:find an updated recipe at Evolution of the sticky bun.

Remember my popular Walnut Sticky Buns? Well, I made them again, but this time I had a bag of pecan halves. I loved the walnuts, and I don't want to be a traitor to their cause, but I thought I'd use pecans this time. Yum!!! Like children I give birth to, I can't pick a favorite. I love both nutty buns (and children) equally. :)

I made one change to the recipe (aside from the kind of nut). I thought that the sticky goo was slightly too chewy when it cooled. I wanted it to be softer, even when it was cooled. So I thought that I could add a bit of cream to the sticky part of the recipe. Thats what I did, and it was PERFECT! I'm pretty sure I added 2 tablespoons of cream (it could have been 3).

Oh Wow! This really is one incredible recipe!!!

Avocado with my Favorite Breakfast

A friend of mine, from this blog, suggested that when I make my Favorite Breakfast, I should add diced avocado. So, this morning, I tried it! It was most excellent!! Thank you, Val!

Laurie's Favorite Breakfast, with Avocado Added!

When I looked at all the pictures I took this morning of my breakfast, they all had a sort of fuzzy, ethereal quality. A haze surrounded the right side of each picture. did this happen? I thought back to the past day. Hmm.... Using my keen intellect, I was able to reconstruct recent events, and I realized that my 2 year old had smeared his grimy fingers on the lens when he felt the need to return my camera to me from a place where I had put it away (he can climb). Ack! I've wiped it off with a lens cloth and maybe it will be alright.

My poor little camera is suffering anyway. It takes pictures just fine, but you have to know how to hold it just right or it thinks that the lens cover is closed instead of open. The track is broken and so it doesn't put enough pressure on the mechanism that tells the camera...blah...blah...blah. I won't bore you further, but I'm really wanting a new camera now that I'm taking pictures of food! I'm hinting to dh that I need a Canon Digital Rebel XT. Its what many of the foodie (and non-foodie) bloggists use. I want...I want...I need...I need. 'Nuff said.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Roasted Garlic Quesadillas

I've made tortillas a couple of times, about 5 years ago. So, I thought I'd try making tortillas again. Maybe I'll try it again in 5 more years. I'd roll 'em out so thin, but when I put it on the griddle, they'd shrink up and be thick. They weren't really too thick, but I wanted them perfect, you know? And round. They definitely were not round. I also had some uncooked tortillas (you buy them raw and cook them yourself, and they are soooo good!), so I used them too. Then I made roasted garlic. I didn't actually roast a whole chicken, though. I cheated and bought a rotisserie chicken.

I remember making something similar to this a couple of years ago. Whenever I think of adding roasted garlic to a quesadilla, I get excited and imagine my family eating it and falling to their knees, overwhelmed with the beauty of the experience, praising my name forevermore. Somehow, that didn't happen last time, and it didn't happen this time. They liked it ok. Just ok! What in the H E double hockeysticks did I make homemade tortillas for??!!! Its a good recipe, but I guess it isn't spectacular. I liked it, though!

I used Cabot Extra Sharp Vermont White Cheddar (our everyday cheese, its so good!), but I imagine that this recipe would be better with Tillamook brand Pepper Jack.

Ok, guess which picture is of my homemade tortilla, and which is raw storebought, but cooked by me. I'll tell you at the end of the post.
Quesadilla #1

Quesadilla #2

Ok, the recipe: Its pretty simple to make, and definitely nothing too fancy.

Roasted Garlic Quesadillas
1 1/2 cups chicken, shredded or chopped (I used a deboned rotisserie chicken)
juice of one lime
1 teaspoon cumin
2 green onions, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
2 heads roasted garlic
shredded cheese (cheddar or pepper jack)

Combine the chicken, lime, cumin, green onioin, and cilantro in a skillet and heat through (with a little olive oil if you want or need it). Add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

In a small bowl, squeeze out the garlic from the cloves and mash to make a paste.

Heat a skillet and add a little olive oil.

Assemble the quesadillas:

Spread the paste thinly on a tortilla, sprinkle with cheese and top with chicken. I only put the chicken on 1/2 the tortilla, but put the cheese and garlic thinly on the whole tortilla. Fold the tortilla in half and toast in the skillet, about a minute or two on each side, til cheese is melted.

I served this with a mixture of chopped tomato, green onion and cilantro. If I were to do it again, I'd chop the tomatoes finer, more like a salsa. I think avocado and/or sour cream would be excellent also.

Ok, I made the tortilla in picture #1. I only cooked the tortilla in picture #2.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Roasted Garlic

Have you made roasted garlic before? If you haven't, you really need to. It's easy and the result is heavenly! You will need to heat up a big oven for just a little garlic, so if you happen to be baking some potatoes (or anything else), then that is the perfect time to roast a few cloves of garlic.

When you roast garlic, the flavor mellows and is very easy to handle, gastronomically speaking. There is none of the sharpness associated with raw garlic. It also becomes very soft, and you can just mash it into a paste which can be spread directly on to bread or stirred into almost any recipe.

I roasted 3 bulbs of garlic the other day and used them to make my roasted garlic quesadillas. I had plenty left over, and so I would mix a bit of the roasted garlic in just about any savory dish I made. I stirred some into my egg mixture for my favorite breakfast, and wow! It was fabulous! It improved every recipe I added it to. Oh, wait, lemme use some proper English...It improved every recipe to which it was added. There, no hanging participle.

This is a popular, tried and true recipe that has been around for many years (I'm thinking centuries). If you haven't tried it, do it now!

Some links for directions:

What's Cooking America

I was baking some sweet potatoes to go with my chili, so I put 3 bulbs into a loaf pan and covered the pan with foil and let them roast alongside the potatoes. It turned out perfectly!

This garlic has been prepped and ready to go into the oven. The top was sliced off and olive oil was rubbed onto it.

As it comes out of the oven. Notice the beautiful carmelized color and the aroma, oh it smells good. Yum!!!!

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Black Bean Chili

I've adapted this recipe from a church cookbook that I got years ago. I like the unique spice combinations given. The cinnamon and clove are not too strong, yet they impart just a touch of their own flavor.

I also used a fresh Aneheim chile instead of using canned. While this is not among the hottest of chiles, I found that it did leave a residue on my hands that burned when I touched my face. You may want to use plastic gloves while cutting. If you want a very hot chili, feel free to substitute something much stronger, like jalepeno, serrano, or, heaven help you, habenero chiles. Definitely wear gloves if you use one of these chiles. Sean once had a friend who was cutting a fiery chile and absentmindedly wiped his forehead with his chile coated hand. He had a line of blisters across his forehead!

I used ground turkey instead of ground beef, but you may use whichever you prefer. Alternatively, you could leave out the meat altogether and substitute a variety of vegetables.

Crescent Dragonwagon, in her book, Passionate Vegetarian, suggested that black bean chili is best when eaten over sweet potatoes. I tried it, and I heartily agree. I often eat it over plain mashed sweet potatoes. The flavors accent eachother nicely.

This is a picture of Aneheim chiles, the kind I used in my chili.

Black Bean Chili

1 pound dried black beans, cooked and drained
1 pound ground turkey (or beef)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1 Anaheim chili, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/2 teaspoon basil
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon clove
1 can petite diced tomatoes
1 can tomato sauce
1 can chicken broth

If the meat is very lean, then saute the meat, onion, peppers (bell and anaheim), and garlic. If not, then cook the meat first and drain off the fat, then saute the vegetables and add the meat. When vegetables are soft, add paprika, cayenne pepper, black pepper, cumin, oregano, thyme, basil, cinnamon, and clove. Stir to combine.

Add diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, chicken broth, and beans. Simmer for up to 1 hour until the chili is thick.

You may top it as pictured: over sweet potatoes and with a bit of sour cream. Yum!

Saturday, August 12, 2006


This is a classic beverage that is worth making. If I'm going to drink lemonade or limeade, this is what I'm going to have. No Country Time for me!

I'm lucky though. I never actually make it. Sean makes it for me (well, its really for him, but I reap the benefits too!). We have one of those citrus presses that helps make the job a bit easier.

For the recipe, I remember I heard someone on a cooking show making lemonade and I wrote down the proportions and its what we have used ever since.

We always have mint growing by our door, so we pick some and toss it in. It is a wonderful complementary addition.


1 cup lime juice (of course you can use lemon if you want)
1 cup sugar
4 cups water
Mint leaves

Mix the lemon juice, sugar, and water. Stir, stir, stir. Add mint leaves. Refridgerate untill chilled. Stir once more before drinking.

You could make a simple syrup by boiling the water and sugar first, then cooling and adding the lemon juice. I never bother.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Happy Anniversary!

Thats our engagement photo from thirteen years ago, and a picture of us today. We were married on August 11, 1993.

Happy Anniversary to us!

Dylan came home!

My 10 year old son, Dylan, has been staying in Georgia with his grandparents for a while during the summer vacation. He has only been a little homesick. He has uncles, aunts, cousins, and grandparents to keep him busy. The granparents took him and his cousin on a great trip to HiltonHead. They had loads of fun. They even had a cheese tasting party.

These are two pictures of Dylan. One is before he got his hair cut, and the other is after (obviously!)

Anyway, his twin uncles brought him home last night! We've been missing him, so we are glad to have him back.

I think my 6 year old daughter, Hypatia, thought that she had finally gotten rid of Dylan for good.

Our conversation yesterday:

Me: The twins are going to be here tonight. They are bringing Dylan home.

Her: Why? Is he sick?

Me: He's been gone a long time. Its time for him to come back.

Her: Oh

Me: Did you think that he was going to live there forever?

Her: Yeah

Me: And you were happy about that?

Her: Uh huh

So much for my kids loving their siblings.

Pasta Salad

I was needing something to take to a friends house for a sort of a potluck thing. I thought a pasta salad would be nice. I wasn't really planning on putting it on the blog, so I really didn't measure the ingredients. Of course, once I made it, I figured I could go ahead and take a picture, just in case. Once I had the picture, I thought I might as well post it. So here it is. Nothing fancy, just a quick and easy pasta salad.

This is one of those salads that you just look in your fridge to find your ingredients. A big ripe tomato and some cucumber are definitely needed, but after that, you could add whatever you can find. Some good additions to this salad would be broccoli, cauliflower, fresh spinach, carrots, zucchini, and mushrooms. I can't give exact measurements for the dressing; I just poured the ingredients right in without measureing. If you must measure, I think that you could find a recipe for basalmic vinegar salad dressing and use that.

If you love garlic, put plenty in. Because it isn't cooked, the flavor will be quite strong, so if you aren't sure you can handle it, start with just one clove. If you know its not a problem for you and your spouse adores garlic breath, then add 2 or 3 cloves of garlic. If the pasta sits overnight, the flavors meld and the garlic gets even more potent.

Oh yeah, one more thing. If you are an olive snob, then by all means, use better olives, like kalamata, or some other fancy type. I love good olives, but I didn't have any on hand. They are wonderful, but they cost a lot of money! So I just added a can of plain ol' black olives.

Summer Pasta

About 12 ounces penne pasta, cooked
One whole big juicy ripe tomato, chopped
3 green onions, sliced
black olives
1/2 cucumber, chopped
pecorino romano cheese, grated
a quick pour of olive oil
a glug or two of basalmic vinegar
a squirt of mustard

Cook the noodles and set aside. In a bowl thats big enough to hold everything, add the rest of the ingrediets. Stir to combine. Add the pasta and toss to coat.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

My favorite breakfast

I came up with this breakfast over a year ago. I love it and I eat it regularly. I am the only one in my family who eats it, though. Sean and the kids all prefer cheese with their eggs (usually omelette style), and I wanted to avoid adding too many extra calories. This recipe has about 250 calories. If you need more calories, then you can add avocados. Its a fabulous addition!

In the time that I've been making this recipe, it has gone through its own little tomato metamorphosis. Originally, I ate it with RoTel style tomatoes (canned tomatoes and green chilis). When summer hit and I had tons of garden tomatoes, I made it with my freshfromthegarden tomatoes, and I would top it with a little sriracha sauce. After the summer tomatoes were gone, I found that I didn't like the RoTel on it as much as I thought, and I started using the canned petite diced tomatoes, which I actually like a lot. Instead of using the very spicy sriracha sauce, I started adding a light dusting of cayenne pepper, which added just the right amount of spice. So now when I make it, I use either garden tomatoes or canned petite diced tomatoes.

Should I delete that last paragraph? Does anyone really care? LOL! Without tomatoes, this recipe would be nothing. I have to eat it with the tomatoes, or I don't eat it at all.

Oh yeah, one more thing. When I try to cook this like an omelette, it doesn't really stay together well. The finished product turns out somewhere between an omlette and scrambled eggs.

Um, yet one more thing. Theoretically, freshly roasted red peppers would be best to use. If I could get red peppers cheaply, I would use them. Well, that, and if I weren't lazy too. But, I can get a jar of them at our local grocery store for $1. Cheap, and easy! So that's what I use.

Laurie's Breakfast Eggs

2 eggs
about 2 tablespoons minced onion
about 2 tablespoons chopped roasted red pepper
salt and pepper to taste
tomatoes, chopped
cayenne pepper

Heat a skillet. In a bowl, wisk the eggs. Add the onion, roasted red pepper, salt and pepper. Wisk briefly.

Lightly oil the hot skillet. Pour the eggs onto the hot skillet and cook for a minute or two. fold over like an omelette and then flip over. Cook until desired doneness.

Transfer to plate. Put tomatoes on the side and top with cayenne.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

My Weekly Menus

I've decided that I'm going to put my current weekly menu in the sidebar. Each week I plan a flexible menu. I plan 5 or 6 dinner recipes and one desert recipe for the week. Breakfast and lunch pretty much work themselves out, so I don't really write out menus for them. My daily post doesn't coincide with what I'm actually making each day because I'm a week or so ahead of myself. What I'm making today will be posted around the 17th or 18th of August, and what I'm posting today, I made last week.

Here is a sneak peek of the recipes that will be posted next week:

  • My Favorite Egg Breakfast

  • Pasta Salad

  • Fresh Lemon/Limenade

  • Blueberry Pancakes with Blackberry Syrup

  • Roasted Garlic Quesadillas

  • Teriyaki Chicken with Zucchini and Noodles

Last week I was writing out my menu and shopping list for this week and Sean came and looked over my shoulder.

"Whatcha doin? Making plans for next weeks pictures?"

Guilty as charged, lol.

Cashew Chicken

A Delicious Stir Fry! I got this recipe from a book called Saving Dinner by Leanne Ely. The only changes I made were to use fresh garlic and fresh ginger as opposed to powdered. I also used less chicken, so I had plenty of extra sauce. Oh yeah, I forgot, I also added some mushrooms because I had some that needed to be used.

Sean is, for some reason, not a lover of stir fry. He puts up with it, but its best if I don't make it a lot. I think he became jaded towards them when I started cranking them out using the frozen stir fry vegetable mixes. I liked them just fine, but he got sick of them. Now, if I make stir fry, it has to be good. Sean declared this one among the best. I think the fresh ginger is what put this stir fry solidly in that category.

I used something called ultra gel to thicken the sauce. Sean likes a less thick sauce, so if I were to use cornstarch, 3 tablespoons seems like way too much. Personally, I would cut it back to 1 or 2 tablespoons.
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Cashew Chicken

3/4 cup orange juice
1/3 cup honey
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced finely
1 tablespoon fresh garlic, minced finely
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
Some red onion, sliced
2 large carrots, sliced
1 celery stalk, sliced
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, cut into 1 inch strips
1 cup cashews

In a bowl, combine juice, honey, soy sauce, cornstarch, garlic, and ginger.

In a wok or large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil until it begins to smoke. Stir fry vegetables for several minutes until the onions become fragrant. Set aside and keep warm.

In the same skillet, heat another tablespoon of oil until smoking and stir-fry chicken strips until browned and tender.

Add cooked vegetables, cashews, and sauce mixture. Continue cooking until sauce bubbles and thickens.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Navy Bean Soup

I'll be honest. The picture turned out better looking than the actual thing. I really liked the look of the soup before adding the tomatoes, and I seriously considered not adding them. I added the tomatoes anyway and I was right. The soup was more asthetically pleasing without them. I didn't have high hopes of getting a decent picture. Since I am now unable to eat anything that hasn't been immortalized in photo, I had to take a picture anyway. Lo and behold, I think the bean soup photo is now one of my favorites so far. Life is full of suprises!

This recipe is just your basic bean soup fare. Its tasty, but could probably be tastier with the addition of a ham hock, chopped ham, or cooked bacon. Its up to you!

I cooked a pound of Navy Beans in the pressure cooker. You may cook them any way you choose. Oh, heck, you could even use canned beans. I'm not sure how many you would need, maybe 2 or 3 cans?

Navy Bean Soup

about 1/2 to 2/3 pot of a pound of cooked Navy Beans
1 tablespoon oil
1 cup of carrots, sliced
1 stalk celery, sliced
1/2 medium onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 can chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon sage
1 bay leaf
1 can petite diced tomatoes
salt and pepper to taste

In a large saucepan, combine the carrots, celery, onion, and garlic. Saute with a bit of oil. When the onions are soft and fragrant, add the chicken broth, sage, and bay leaf. Add about 1/2 of the cooked beans (drained). I think I added more than half of them. More like 2/3 of them. Simmer until the carrots are just like you like them (crunchy or soft, its up to you), stirring frequently. Add the tomatoes, and simmer a minute or two more. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Big Overstuffed Chairs

My brother just moved and is looking for that perfect chair to go in his house. He wrote this, and I thought it was great, so I'm posting it. Its not food related, but the comfort of a big, overstuffed chair rates right up there with the comfort of good food. So I thought it would work here.

I like big, soft chairs. I like the kind of chairs that you can get lost in with a book and a cup of cocoa. The kind that someone might walk past without noticing that you’re in there. The kind in which you could choose any direction to face- forward, left, right, even backward and still not fall out. Have you ever sat in a short little chair and as soon as you sat down you started sliding forward toward the edge of the seat? Yeah that’s not my kind of chair. In my favorite chair you might need climbing gear to get back out once you get in. The kind of chair I could fall asleep in- alone, or with Lori, or with T-Bone-the-dog. A nap chair. An easy chair that doesn’t need a lever on the side because it already is comfortable without any special reclining mechanism. My kind of chair is the reward at the end of a long day. It works great for TV, listening to music, or just staring out the window and day dreaming. It has armrests like giant pillows, that spread out like wings to carry me off to la-la land. I can sit cross-legged or curl my knees up or throw my legs over one side and my arms over the other- if I wanna. I could even put my back on the seat and my legs on the backrest and pretend I’m blasting off in a mercury-atlas rocket into space- if I wanna. I could even bring my wireless laptop and surf the internet and post weird things on like I’m doing now. In my chair, my favorite chair. Not the kind of chair with stiff sides that rise straight up. Not the kind with squeeky plastic coating, oh no no no. Not that kind of chair.

I haven’t found it yet but I’m still looking. Oh I've sat in chairs that I liked a lot but not the perfect one, not yet. I might need to build a new addition onto my house when I find it. Because I like big chairs.

German Pancakes and Homemade Syrup

My husband's family lived in Germany many years. I don't know if they learned to make German pancakes from the Germans, though. I'll have to ask them. Whether or not this is an authentic recipe, it is fun and exciting to make. Be warned, it is chock full of eggs and, (gasp), plenty of butter. If that is just not something you can bring yourself to eat, well then, just consider your reading of this particular blog entry to be solely academic. No one is forcing you to make this, ok? It does taste good, though!

German Pancakes

1 cup milk
1 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 eggs
1/3 cup butter

Place a 9x13 pan in a 375 degree oven. Allow to heat. In a blender, combine all ingredients except butter. Blend until smooth. Don't overblend. Once the oven is hot, place the butter in the pan in the oven and allow to melt. As soon as it is melted, pour the batter into the pan. Bake for about 20 minutes.

Growing up, my parents never bought pancake syrup. They always made it. The same was true in Sean's family. I think its a Mormon thing. Anyway. I never buy syrup. I don't like store bought syrup and why buy it when it is so cheap and easy to make your own? Homemade syrup is thinner, especially when its hot (it thickens up a bit when its cooled).

I bought some pancake syrup about a year ago for a camping trip and its still sitting there, in my pantry. We just don't like it. The flavor isn't as good and the thickness is just so fake and off putting.

Just try this. Once you are used to it, you won't want to buy syrup anymore.

Homemade Syrup

1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup water
1 teaspoon maple flavoring
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a small sauce pan, bring the sugars and water to a boil, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, allow to cool slightly and add the maple flavoring and vanilla extact. Stir to combine. That's it!

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Another Blueberry Banana Bread

I'm not going to give a recipe, because it is the same as this one, minus the things I said I wouldn't do again. So, this time, I put only 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, and no molasses. It was perfect. I really like the blueberries in it.

Did I say that I really like the blueberries in it? Because I do.

But its still not perfect because it has no walnuts in it. (I'm still out of walnuts!). When I FINALLY make Walnut Blueberry Banana Bread, I'll let you know!

Friday, August 04, 2006

The Origins of My Blog

I started blogging about 1 year ago. At the time, the blog was called "My Dumb Blog". I am not a talented writer and I just posted things here and there. I didn't tell anyone about the blog and I really didn't want anyone to read it. I didn't know anything about food blogs and I had never taken pictures of my food before. My blog had no direction.

Then I found a food blog. Then another, and another. This was pretty cool! These talented people take really nice pictures of their food. Not that I could do it, but thats nice that they do. So I would read and enjoy.

One day, a few weeks ago, I made a cake. I took a picture. It was ok. Nothing special. I posted it on my family's message board for fun. A few days later, I took another picture of another cake. It turned out sort of nice. Then I took another picture, and another. And, to my HUGE suprise, the pictures weren't half bad!

I guess I should have started a new blog, but I started adding these food entries to my old blog. Then I decided that I didn't want anyone reading my old entries, so I resaved them all as drafts. But they were still listed in the sidebar! Sigh. Whatever. I have now reposted them and my year's worth of posts are there for you to enjoy. Read them if you want. I don't care. I'm not a talented writer.

Knock yourself out.

Mushroom Bacon Swiss Meatloaf

I was doing some research on Once A Month Cooking a few days and stumbled across a recipe that looked pretty good. I'm not sure if I'll ever try OAMC (as it is referred to), but I definately wanted to try this. I adapted the recipe a bit, and I used ground turkey instead of ground beef.

When I make meatloaf, I like the fat to drain off as much as possible. So the thought of cooking it in a loaf pan (letting it swim in its own grease) always seemed yucky to me. I eventually came up with my own way of cooking it. I form it into a ring on a broiler pan. The result is something like a meatloaf bundt cake. Then the fats and grease drip into the bottom part of the broiler pan. I had always done this with my ground beef meatloaf recipe with excellent results. I substituted ground turkey this time and the mixture just seemed too fragile for this sort of treatment. I was sure that there was no way it would hold up on its own. In order to avoid having one big flat turkey patty, I cooked it in a loaf pan. The turkey was low fat (97/3) anyway, and so there wasn't much grease.

Mushroom Bacon Swiss Meatloaf

1 lb ground turkey
1 egg
1/3 cup milk
1/3 cup crushed crackers
1/2 medium onion, chopped
4 button mushrooms, chopped
1/3 cup cooked and chopped bacon
1/3 cup shredded swiss cheese
A few squirts of ketchup

If you have just cooked the bacon, remove the grease from the pan, reserving 1 tablespoon. If not, then add one tablespoon of oil to the pan. Saute the onions and mushrooms for about 2 minutes. Combine all ingredients except ketchup. Mix thouroughly. Pat into loaf pan. Top with ketchup, and spread evenly. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Thai Peanut Sauce and Cucumber Relish

I was first introduced to Satay shortly after I married my husband. His parents were living in Berlin, Germany at the time, and we were visiting from the states. They took us to a wonderful Thai restaurant that had a very lavender interior. I ordered a yummy peanut chicken. It seemed the oddest thing at the time, but I liked it very much. That was my first exposure to peanuts being eaten as anything other than peanut butter, roasted peanuts, or in candy.

Since then, every time Sean and I go to a Thai restaurant, we always order their Satay. It is usually served as an appetizer with woefully few cucumbers.

I started looking in books for recipes. I ran across a book called Real Thai : The best of Thailand's Regional Cooking by Nancy McDermott, in the local library. The Satay recipe in this book is the one I have used now for years. I haven't made any of the other recipes in the book, but they are probably good too! Her recipe calls for pork (Moo Satay). You can use any meat you want. I have used pork and chicken and both are equally excellent.

I really didn't like the marinade given for the meat, so I use something different (see previous post). Deal with it. Also, this dish is not traditionally served with rice, but when I make it for dinner, we eat it with rice. I make no apologies to the Thai's for this grave error. I like it this way and I'm not going to change.

Oh yeah, a word about Thai Curry Paste. You can make your own or buy pre-made paste in the oriental store. I buy mine. This stuff is very spicy hot. I usually use a little less than a tablespoon in this Satay recipe. Get to know your paste before you commit to 2 full tablespoons.

One more thing. This recipe seems like it has too much liquid and will be really runny. But there is something about the mixture of peanut butter and coconut milk. When its heated, it thickens nicely. Don't overcook it or the oil in the peanut butter will separate out. Just cook it gently until its nice and thick. I have made this sauce with Jiffy style peanut butter, homemade peanut butter (I crushed the peanuts myself) and all natural peanut butter. I prefer it with either homemade or all natural peanut butter.

Now, for the best peanut sauce recipe in the world!

Thai Peanut Sauce

1/2 cup coconut milk
Up to 2 tablespoons Red Curry Paste
1/2 cup chunky peanut butter (I use smooth too. I like it either way)
1/2 cup chicken stock
2 tablespoons Tamarind liquid or lime juice (I've always used lime juice)
3 tablespoons palm sugar or brown sugar (I usually use brown sugar)
1 tablespoon fish sauce (I know it stinks, but put it in anyway! Just do it!)
1/2 teaspoon salt

Warm the coconut milk in a small sauce pan over medium heat. Stirring occasionally, heat the milk until it reaches a gentle boil and tiny beads of oil glisten on the surface, about 5 minutes. Add curry paste and stir occasionally until it dissolves into the milk and releases its fragrances, about 3 minutes. Add the peanut butter, chicken stock and sugar and cook gently until the sauce is smooth, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and season with lime juice, fish sauce and salt. Taste and adjust for a pleasing balance of sweet, sour and salty. Cool to room temperature.

Now on to the relish:

I love this relish! The recipe calls for 3 tablespoons chopped purple onion, but I love the onion so much that I just slice 'em big and put in plenty. Yum! You could easily cut back if you can't stomach that much onion (what's wrong with you!?).

I never worry about the chopped peanuts, to be honest. I never have them on hand and it just isn't a big deal to me, especially since I always eat this with the peanut sauce.

Traditionally, when this is served with the Satay, the relish is always freshly combined. They don't let the cucumbers sit in the vinegar and turn into pickles. I love it both ways. So I make plenty so I have leftovers and I can eat some the next day. By then they have a nice, sweet pickled flavor.

Cucumber Relish

1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon fresh hot chili, chopped, or thai chili paste
1/2 cup red onion, sliced
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1 lg. hothouse cucumber or 2 regular cucumbers
1 tablespoon chopped peanuts

Combine vinegar, water, sugar, and in a small sauce pan over medium heat. Bring to a gentle boil, stirring to dissolve. Cool to room temperature. Just before serving time, peel cucumbers, slice them crosswise, about 1/4 inch thick. Combine the cucumbers with the vinegar dressing, onion, and chilis. Top with peanuts and cilantro.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Hot Fudge Brownies

I was ready to make banana bread since we needed to use some bananas anyway, but noooo! Everyone else in the family had their hearts set on brownies for some reason. So, of course I ended up making brownies. I still haven't bought any walnuts since making those gorgeous sticky buns, so I had to make walnut free brownies. I'm not sure just how long to bake this recipe. This is one recipe that I just keep an eye on and when it looks right, I take it out of the oven.

I'll tell you the truth. I don't love brownies. I like them, but I just don't love them. I have NEVER liked brownies from a mix. They really turn me off for some reason. This is not a snobbishness that I developed as I got older. I couldn't stand brownies even when I was a kid. It wasn't until I tasted homemade brownies that I decided that they had any redeeming value. Trust me, homemade brownies have PLENTY of redeeming value. With all that chocolate, butter and eggs, how could anyone go wrong? So now, I eat brownies, even if I don't want to marry them.


1 cup flour
2 cups sugar
1 cup butter
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla
4 eggs, beaten
1 cup walnuts, roughly chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt butter and add cocoa. Stir until smooth. Mix dry ingredients in a bowl. Add eggs and vanilla. Stir until moistened. Add cocoa and butter mixture. Stir until smooth. Fold in chopped walnuts. Bake in greased 9 by 13 pan. Its done when the edges are set and the center is only barely set.

Now, about the hot fudge sauce:

I have a couple of hot fudge sauce recipes. I couldn't make the one I originally planned to make because I discovered that I was out of evaporated milk. So I thought I'd make the one that uses chocolate chips and sweetened condensed milk. I got the idea to tweak it a bit and use squares of unsweetened baking chocolate instead of the chocolate chips. I really liked the result. The sauce turned out to be less sweet, more like a dark chocolate sauce.

I got a little hasty when I melted my chocolate and almost ruined my sauce. I had the heat a bit high. Don't do that! You need to melt it over a nice, even, low heat (a double boiler would be nice). The chocolate was starting to stiffen up over that high heat, so I added some sweetened condensed milk to smooth it out a bit, and I think it caused the chocolate to sieze. Uh Oh. I turned the heat down, added the rest of the milk, and stirred like crazy. Ultimately, the recipe turned out ok, but I thought it was history for a minute there!

Hot Fudge Sauce
1 can sweetened condensed milk
4 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla

Melt chocolate in a small sauce pan. Stir in sweetened condensed milk. Heat through. Remove from heat and add butter and vanilla. Add water to thin to desired consistency.

I'm sure you don't need directions on how to make hot fudge brownies, but here you go:

Top a square of brownie with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and some hot fudge sauce. Eat.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Thai Marinated Chicken

I love this chicken. This is some awesome stuff! I use this instead of the marinade given in my Satay recipe because I just like it better. I made the Satay recently and I'll give the recipe soon. Mmmm...yummy!!!

This is best when cooked on a grill, but I also cook it under the broiler with good results.

It can also be sauteed in a fry pan, like a stir fry (without the skewers of course!). For a really awesome treat, throw in some fresh basil leaves at the last minute.

For those of you who aren't familiar with fish sauce: It stinks like crazy. But it is essential in Vietnamese and Thai cooking. I could eat Thai food without it, but I wouldn't want to. I always have some on hand

Thai Marinated Chicken

raw boneless skinless chicken, cut into thin srips (I used breasts)
2 tablespoons soy sauce (preferably low sodium)
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
2 tablespoons thai chili paste (Its very spicy hot. You may want to use less.)
2 tablespoons fish sauce (nam pla)
3 or 4 cloves chopped garlic
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

Mix all ingredients except the chicken in a bowl and stir. Add the chicken, and mix well to coat. You can add some water to thin it a bit. Its pretty thick and salty otherwise. Allow to marinate for an hour or more. If you are threading onto bamboo skewers, then make sure they have been soaked in water for a while first. I have these big long metal shish kabab skewers that I used. Cook on your outside grill until done!