Friday, July 30, 2010

cookie cookie cookie! (and beans)

EDW and I have a big weekend ahead of us. We're going to Asheville to look for places to live (hey, blog stalkers who aren't my friends on FB: the Arnaudins are MOVING to Asheville!!!), visiting with my in-laws, and celebrating my favorite nonogenarian. My granny turned 90 (yes, ninety) Thursday and we're having a big Mize celebration in her honor.

We're supposed to bring a side or a dessert, but I decided to bring both.

(Sidenote: I had a hard time deciding the order in which to introduce my two recipes. Beans would come first in a traditional multi-course dinner, but the cookies! Oh, the cookies!)

I made almond toffee chocolate chip oatmeal cookies. Yes, that's the name. Best name ever, if you ask me, because when you tell someone the whole name they immediately want one of these cookies. I mean, how could you not? Almonds? Toffee? Chocolate Chips? Oatmeal? Yes, please!

I had some Heath baking bits, so I just used those instead of whole Heath bars. I used 3/4 cup. Maria warns us, and she's right: the batter is really thick. How could it not be when you're adding such riches to sugar, butter and flour? Don't you wish you could pretend this is a healthy trail mix? A breakfast granola? Feast your eyes:
And that's just the cookie toppings! There's dough, too!

Please ignore the sloppy parchment paper. I need to invest in silpats (or stop being too lazy to cut my parchment to fit).
I love these cookies. There's so much going on, and I love each and every bit of them. The almond extract and oats reminds me of my cousin Laura's oatmeal cookie hearts, which I have incorporated into my own fancy Valentine's tradition. The almonds add a nice crunch, and who doesn't love toffee? I almost wish I had used more Heath bits-- maybe next time?
I got 33 cookies out of this recipe. I know 33 is a totally random number, but I wasn't sure how many I was supposed to get from the dough so I just started hand-rolling.

I don't exactly have 33 to bring with me to Granny's party...

But I do have bean salad!

I know. I know. Bean salad sounds so unexciting after the cookies.

But I'm really pumped about it. I love chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (remember when I discovered them?) and I love beans. I made chipotle barbeque bean and corn salad.

Let me tell you: this almost didn't make it past Thursday night. There's the magic flavor of the chipotle peppers mingling with beans and cilantro and oregano and sweet summer corn, and it's hard to stop after just a taste. This is one of those dishes I could park myself in front of at a party and go to town (like the time I ate a whole wedge of Brie at Mr. Merrell's). It's not really spicy, just kicky. And satiating. And beany.
Maybe my family will pull a payback and refuse to eat my food the way I refused to eat their [delicious to me now] non-white foods when I was a child?
Send happy thoughts to Buncombe county this weekend-- EDW and I need a place to live stat. And make plans to come visit in Asheville. I'll make you cookies. And beans.

I hope you like it. I made it.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

chickpea and spinach salad

I made chickpea and spinach salad for dinner Tuesday night. I don't actually know who Ellie Krieger is-- all I know is food bloggers mention her sometimes and she is on the Food Network. I really liked looking through her recipes, though. They are healthy and most sound absolutely delicious.

This is a basic chickpea salad with a special yogurt dressing. I used Fage and loved the orange essence! Edwin and I really enjoyed this, but I only got 4 main dish servings out of it (the recipe says it makes 8, but that's gotta be for sides). We finished it for lunch Wednesday, and I'm going to make more soon. It's exactly the kind of thing I like on hot summer days (along with homegrown tomatoes that you didn't grow).
Easy. Cold. Refreshing. Delish.

I hope you like it. I made it.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

pork tenderloin tacos with radish salsa

I made pork tenderloin tacos with radish salsa for dinner Monday night, and wowza! This is officially going into rotation-- it might be my second favorite discovered-and-then-blogged-about recipe so far (the first is absolutely spicy garbanzo bean burritos). It combines many of my favorite things: pork tenderloin, avocado, cilantro and radishes.

I love radishes.

I don't know anyone who has lukewarm feelings about radishes. It seems to me you either love them or hate them.

I really, really love them.

My wal-mart didn't have radishes in a 6 ounce package, which is what Southern Living called for, so I just bought a bunch. It was 16 radishes total, if that helps you in your planning. I'm sure I overdid it on the radishes-- no way is this 6 ounces. But I don't care! They're radishes! They're so crunchy, and they look so pretty all chopped up.
The salsa is really an odd color, but I promise, it's divine.
The pork cooks up quickly, and then you're ready to go. I used multigrain flatbread for my tacos, since that's what I had in my drawer, and I added spinach to the mix.
Um, hello lovely.
This is seriously an amazing recipe. I had the leftovers for lunch on Tuesday, and I just made a cold salad out of it. It was fantastic.
I hope you like it. I made it.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

smoked salmon salad

I made this smoked salmon salad for dinner Sunday night. It was light, satisfying, and very delicious. The fennel won me over immediately, but it took EDW a bit to warm up to it. I made enough of it for us to have leftovers for lunch Monday, and by then Edwin was officially aboard the fennel appreciation train. The salad's a bit like a nicoise, and really scrumptious.
I hope you like it. I made it.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

the muffin chronicles, part IX

EDW and I burned through the zucchini-lemon muffins this week (I, personally, was just trying to get through them. They really aren't special), so I was ready for muffin baking on Thursday night. I had more zucchini to use, and I found this recipe for apple-zucchini bread on tasty kitchen. I also had everything I needed for this bread already in my kitchen, so I went for it.

I used all whole wheat flour and applesauce instead of oil. I didn't want my muffins to be super sweet, so I reduced the sugar to 2/3 of a cup.
Skwishface is right-- this batter is alarmingly thick! It was almost like cookie batter, and I really was hoping the moisture in the zucchini and apple would help.
Oh, it did!
I got 12 muffins and 2 mini-loaf pans out of the batter. It took my muffins about 20 minutes to bake, and the loaves needed about 25 minutes.

Delicious! These taste hearty and wholesome and are just sweet enough, and I love the cinnamon and nutmeg flavors. With the reduced sugar, it seems more like a fruity bread than a sweet muffin, and I'm perfectly happy (EDW is too).
I hope you like it. I made it.

Friday, July 23, 2010

banana oatmeal chocolate chip cookies

I found this recipe for banana oatmeal chocolate chip cookies online a few weeks ago. Our friends Tara and Abigail are visiting this weekend, and I decided to make them a little welcome treat.

It takes no time to throw the cookies together, and they end up looking like the two-bite treats Whole Foods sells.
They taste fantastic. I love that they're slightly healthy (whole wheat flour, oats, flaxseed meal) but still really sweet (agave nectar, banana and chocolate chips). I baked mine for 14 minutes and they were still quite soft and and slightly chewy. If you like oatmeal cookies and banana bread, make these cookies. Today.
I hope you like it. I made it.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

pasta peperonata

I made pasta peperonata for dinner on Wednesday night, thanks again to Real Simple's August issue. I used whole wheat penne and 2 red peppers and 1 yellow pepper.
Instead of heating my pine nuts in the oven, I toasted them in my skillet before I started the pepper sauce (is it a sauce? condiment?). I let them warm over medium and I shook the skillet every once in a while. After a few minutes, they started to smell amazing and turned golden brown. It was all I could do not to eat the handful then and there.
This is an easy recipe, except for chopping the capers. Is there a method I'm missing? They're so small and it seemed odd to make them smaller, but maybe rocking a knife over them (which is what I did) released some extra capery goodness.
There really isn't much else to say about this except YUM. I loved the saltiness of the olives and capers, and the red peppers have a really rich taste with all that olive oil. I will make this again and again.
I hope you like it. I made it.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

pork chops and peaches (twice)

Real Simple's August issue had this recipe for roasted pork chops and peaches, and I knew I had to try it Sunday night. I used boneless pork loin chops (thanks, Walmart) and fresh peaches. It's an easy recipe and it all smells so good when it comes out of the oven.
I served it all over spinach and didn't do the couscous.
The pork chops are good, but I think the stars of the show are the peaches and onions. Roasting them together makes them special-- roasting most things, it seems, makes them special.

We had the leftovers as a salad on Monday night. I just sliced the pork thinly and put it all on spinach. I splashed a little more white wine vinegar with the leftover juices and created a dressing, and it was tasty. The onions look nasty in the phote, but I promise they were delicious cold.
I hope you like it. I made it.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

the muffin chronicles, part VIII

Wanda gave me a zucchini from her garden, and I thought I'd use it for zucchini-lemon muffins. I added a few things to the recipe: 1 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp vanilla extract and 1/4 cup chopped walnuts. I sprinkled the walnuts on top of the muffins before they went in.
This batter is very thick, but it really does just make 12 muffins.
Guess what? These looked like muffins! I suppose it could have to do with the tablespoon of baking powder in them. I had to double check my printed recipe online when I read that-- I don't think I've ever used a tablespoon to measure baking powder.
Maybe it's the baking powder, maybe it's the recipe, but whatever the reason, these muffins are a disappointment. They're chewy and not very flavorful, and the lemon really doesn't shine at all (I even used a whole lemon to give me probably a tablespoon of zest). They taste pretty good, but after sweet potato banana and ginger peach, they seem so ordinary.

That being said, EDW and I will eat these without problems. They aren't bad, they're just not special. They are, however, pretty.
I hope you like it. I made it.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

light lunch

Mommers and Eddie are visiting us this weekend which, besides a number of things, means we're going to the Sweet Tooth for a treat this afternoon. I made a light lunch today, so we'd all have plenty of room for an avalanche (up today for me: butterfinger avalanche with chocolate ice cream).

I made cool cucumber soup, my personal favorite soup of the summer, and sweet corn salad. I used a green pepper and didn't seed my jalepeño. The corn, tomatoes and jalepeño came from Wanda and Gail's gardens, which made it extra tasty. I added black beans to make it a heartier dish, and we all loved it. The recipe makes a ton, and we gobbled most of this up.
I'm alone on the cold cucumber soup train, it seems. Everyone ate it, but I think I'm the only one who thinks it's magic. I just love it. Regardless, this was a great lunch and I'm ready for my sweet treat.
I hope you like it. I made it.

Friday, July 16, 2010

mexican stuffed peppers

When I was in elementary school, my sister Susanna and I shared a friend. Su and I each had our own friends and didn't overlap much, but we were both friends with Sally and that made her special. Her dad was on a macrobiotic diet and her brother William loved to play with Barbies (with us, or by himself).

One Saturday I was spending the night with Sally, and her mom made stuffed peppers for dinner. I was horrified, being the child-who-didn't-eat-things-that-weren't-white-or-yellow that I was, and probably a little annoyed that there wasn't pizza available to me for the sleepover. I'm sure Sally's mom made me a peanut butter sandwich, but all I remember from that night is sitting in front of a stuffed pepper and trying to keep a polite face.

I eat vegetables now. Lots of them. And this recipe for Mexican Stuffed Peppers* sounded delicious to me. We had corn and tomatoes from other people's gardens, so I was all set.

Sautee onion and garlic and then add chopped tomatoes, spices and fresh parsley. I don't see why you couldn't use cilantro instead. Then mix in fresh corn and black beans and let it all simmer together for a while. After that mixture has made your kitchen smell like heaven, you stuff your peppers.
Don't my peppers look so optimistic, so ready to be stuffed? The recipe calls for you to steam the peppers first, but I like my veggies crispy and figured they'd cook enough in the oven. I was right.

Sprinkle the peppers with parmesan cheese (I'm trying cheddar or monterey jack next time) and bake for 20 minutes.
And voila! Stuffed peppers!
It's amazing how wonderful these looked to me, considering my first stuffed pepper memory. They're tricky little suckers to eat, though, and I ended up toppling mine and chopping it all up to eat.
EDW and I looooooooved these. I can't wait to make them again. Maybe I should call Sally and her family and apologize for hating their peppers 20 years ago. I'm not sure what was in them, but I bet I would love them now.

I hope you like it. I made it.

Lind, Mary Beth and Cathleen Hockman-Wert. Simply in Season. "Mexican Stuffed Peppers." p.130.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

summer vegetable pasta

I made this pasta Saturday, with fresh vegetables from friends. I really like that EDW and I work in a library-- people are always bringing in their surplus crop, and we are more than happy to take some.

It's supposed to be gnocchi with summer vegetables, but I had this fancy buckwheat pasta I wanted to use. My camera was wigging out again, so excuse the cell phone pictures.
I loved this buckwheat pasta. So delicious and so brown. I boiled it and followed the sauce recipe from Martha.
Here's a phote of the leftovers on Sunday, when my camera decided to work again.
It reheated nicely, went great with a spinach salad, and really hit the spot. I will definitely make this again.

I hope you like it. I made it.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

the muffin chronicles, part VII

I love peach season. I even love it a little more than Girl Scout Cookie season, which is saying a lot. I wanted to make peach muffins this week, but I couldn't find a recipe that inspired me, so I decided to make up another recipe.

I used rhubarb ginger peach muffins as my starting place, and here's the actual recipe I came up with:

Ginger Peach Muffins
Yield: 24 muffins

Ingredients

(generous) 2 cups chopped peaches
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup pecan chips

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Spray muffin pan generously with cooking spray.
Combine wet ingredients.
In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients.
Pour wet ingredients in with the dry ingredients and gently blend. Don't overmix!
Fold in peaches.
Spoon batter into muffin pans. Sprinkle pecan chips on top of each muffin.
Bake for 20 minutes, or until done.
Cool in the pan 10 minutes, and then remove muffins to cooling rack.
Since I only have a 12er muffin pan, I had to make these in two batches. I didn't do a good job portioning my batter out, so my second batch had smaller muffins. The second batch also rose better-- is it maybe because the batter had time to rest?
Obviously, I overmixed, but these are delicious! They are super sweet and moist and I'm putting them as my number 2 in muffin hierarchy. Sweet potato banana still reigns supreme, but EDW and I both agree that these are near the top.
I hope you like it. I made it.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

best salad of my life

The digi is flaking out again, so the photes I took for this post are pathetic and sad. I used my cell phone and texted them to my email account. Please don't be turned off by this salad because of the bad images-- and don't be weirded out by the combination. Seriously it is the best salad of my life. You need to make it. You really, really, really need to make it.

It's wild rice salad with yogurt vinaigrette from Joy the Baker, and it makes my heart sing.

Combine wild rice, artichoke hearts, chickpeas, blueberries, spinach and potatoes (I used roasted sweet potatoes. Heavenly). Mix in the yogurt dressing, which has all kinds of yummy spices (I added basil to mine, too). I looooooove this salad. It's so unique and tasty and magical. I want to eat it every day.
I hope you like it. I made it.