Monthly Archives: October 2012

Perfect Brown Rice

I can’t walk and drink at the same time.  Even with a straw it’s awkwardly done.  I can’t really even walk straight for that matter.  I zig and zag a lot, and have blamed many a missteps on my poor dog.  While I accept that I am clumsy and prone to any accident you can think of, I really just can’t handle the basics.  Whether I subconsciously will myself to fail or if I just can’t understand it, certain basic things are just really hard for me.

If you will entertain me, rice is one of those things.  I don’t know why but I had a propensity to mess it up.  Too dry.  Too mushy.  Undercooked.  Whatever you want to say, it was always off.  And, then I baked it, which I thought was the answer.  It was perfectly cooked and tasted wonderful the day of.  However, leftovers were back to being slightly dry.

Then, I went to my mother.  Why was she the last resort?  If you met my mother, you would understand that I would never hear the last of it.  I haven’t.  But, it was well worth it.  Unlike most people and sites I have checked, my mom does not let the water absorb into the rice (the way I make quinoa).  She boils the rice and strains.  Never mushy.  Perfectly cooked.  And, the test that it works – leftovers are perfect, as well.

Perfect Brown Rice

from my mother

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 5 cups of water

Directions:

  1. Clean the rice by rinsing it thoroughly under cold water.
  2. Bring water in a large pot to boil on high.
  3. Once boiling, add rice, bring back to a boil.  Immediately reduce the heat to medium and cook for 30-40 minutes, until the rice is tender.
  4. Once ready, remove the pot from heat.  Drain the rice and put the drained rice back into the pot (off heat).  Cover with a lid until ready to serve.

*You can increase the water if you want more rice, of course.  Just make sure the rice is completely and utterly covered and has enough room to boil.  Think similarly to pasta and water.

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Filed under Side Dish, Vegan, Vegetarian

Pumpkin Spice Latte Ice Cream

There’s always room for ice cream.  That is my motto.  Always.  There is no wrong time for ice cream.  That’s the sub motto.  All in all – ice cream is my favorite.  I usually make it often, but this summer days went and I never got around to it.  Recently, I saw this ice cream and I bookmarked it instantly.  What a way to preserve summer while also embracing fall.

It’s also a great way to embrace coffee.  Around this time, Starbucks becomes a regular part of my life with the reintroduction of the pumpkin spice latte.  Now, I can have my coffee and dessert in one beautiful bowl…for breakfast.  The flavors in this ice cream – the pumpkin, the spices, the coffee – totally stand out in the most harmonious way.

Pumpkin Spice Latte Ice Cream

barely adapted from Annie’s Eats via My Kitchen Addiction

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 3/4 cups sugar, divided
  • 1 and 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp granted nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • Dash of ground cloves
  • 1 cup whole coffee beans
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1 tbsp instant coffee powder
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree

Directions:

  1. In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the cream, milk, 1/2 cup sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves.  Whisk occasionally until the mixture is fully heated and the sugar has melted.
  2. Stir in the coffee beans.
  3. Heat to just under a simmer, then remove from heat, cover and let it steep for an hour.
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and 1/4 cup sugar.  Return the saucepan to the stove and heat again over medium heat.  Once the mixture has warmed through, using a ladle, pour a thin stream of the milk mixture into the whisked eggs, whisking constantly so as to not cook or curdle the eggs.  Once fully incorporated, return the egg mixture into the milk mix in the saucepan, whisking constantly.  Cook, stirring occasionally until the mixture is thick enough to lightly coat the back of a spoon (170-175F).
  5. Pour the custard through a mesh strainer into a fridge-safe storage bowl.  Whisk in the instant coffee powder and canned pumpkin until fully incorporated.  Let the mixture cool slightly, cover and place in fridge until completely chilled.
  6. Place in ice cream maker and freezer per your machine’s instructions.

 

 

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Filed under Desserts, Ice Cream

Chocolate Chip Pancakes

I have had my fair share of pancake fails.  Miserable fails usually dealing with add ons (i.e. bananas) usually result in an awkward mess and some cursing.  With a baby that slept in for once in a blue moon, I woke up with a spring in my step and walked over to the kitchen to start our Saturday morning right.

And, it cannot get more right than chocolate chip pancakes.  Binks’ favorite breakfast food has now become one of mine.  While I am partial to eggs benedicts whenever I get breakfast, I always steal a couple of bites of Binks’ chocolate chip pancakes.  I deem it the breakfast dessert to my savory eggs.

Although this dish is perfectly sweet and satisfying as it is, top it with pure maple syrup and the only thing lacking would be crawling back in my warm bed to eat more pancakes.

Chocolate Chip Pancakes

adapted from Allrecipes.com

Ingredients:

  •  1 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp granulated sugar
  • 1 and 1/4 cups milk
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tbsp butter, melted and cooled.
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk together milk, egg and butter.
  3. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir to thoroughly combine.  Stir in the chocolate chips.
  4. Heat lightly oiled pan over medium heat.
  5. Pour about 1/4 cup of the pancake batter and cook until golden brown on both sides.
  6. Serve hot with or without syrup.

 

5 Comments

Filed under Breakfast

Slutty Brownies

Now more than ever, it has become apparent that life is truly a fine balance.  In college, a day spent in front of the TV with a hangover could easily be made up for by the next day spent cleaning, studying and running errands.  Being able to fit in studying, hanging out friends, binge drinking, errands, cleaning and TV, and still getting up to go to class everyday, I was convinced that I was living the high life.

Now, with a job and most notably, a baby, time is quite valuable and inflexible.  I unfortunately learned the hard way that a late night spent watching TV (The Walking Dead, specifically) doesn’t mean I can sleep in the next morning.  Rather, my alarm is replaced by baby squeaking and other like baby sounds, which if left unattended could easily turn into wailing.  And, there is no snooze button.

Days go by where the balance is a distant goal that I’m stumbling towards.  And, in those days I think I can’t have it all.  For instance, I can’t spontaneously catch happy hour with friends, which turns into dinner and after-dinner drinks lasting until 2 a.m.  Long.  Gone.

But, those days when “having it all” means not deciding between a brownie, cookie and America’s favorite cookie, I promise you really can have it all.  And today as I slowly enjoyed each rich and beautiful bite, I did not focus on fat, calories, carbs, hips, and/or thighs.  I fully intend on spending the whole day on the elliptical tomorrow.

For this recipe, you can totally make it easy and just buy a family size refrigerated cookie dough, family size brownie mix and of course, Oreos.

Slutty Brownies

slightly adapted from Kevin and Amanda

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 2 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 package Oreos (I ended up using 24 Oreos)
  • 1 Family Size Brownie Mix

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.  Spray a 9×13 baking pan with cooking spray and line with parchment paper.  Making a sling is the best method as it helps you get the brownies out easier.
  2. Cream the butter and both sugars with an electric mixer on medium speed for 3-5 minutes until pale and fluffy.
  3. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix well to combine.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt, then slowly incorporate into the mixer until the flour is just combined. Stir in chocolate chips.
  5. Spread the cookie dough in the bottom of the baking pan.
  6. Top with a layer of Oreos.
  7. Prepare the brownie batter. Pour the brownie batter over the cookie dough and Oreos.
  8. Bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes. Remove foil and continue baking for an additional 10 minutes.
  9. Let cool completely before cutting and serving.

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Filed under Uncategorized

Tortilla Rollups

I think back and laugh at my high school self.  So immature and just plain stupid.  I remember the day I went to see the Backstreet Boys in concert, my first concert ever.  A friend of mine scored free tickets off the radio (something that would never happen to me), and after considerable begging, my dad let me go.  My sister was totally jealous.

After belting “I Want It That Way” and “Larger Than Life” with a group of girls younger than me, and attempting to get the attention of my dream man, Kevin, I was hoarse the next day.  At church, I bragged to anyone that would listen that I went to the concert.  Aside from my little sister who was interested in Nick, no one cared.  Still reeling from the experience, I went to school on Monday and told everyone.  As if I wasn’t uncool enough, I really solidified my place on the high school popularity totem pole, right above the algebra teacher.

I had these tortilla rollups for the first time in high school.  Specifically, a classmate made them for the Spanish class potluck.  While I promised myself I would make these forever and always, like my interest in Backstreet Boys, I have only had these at get-togethers.  I recently made them – just for myself and I swear on Kevin that it is wonderful.

Tortilla Rollups

Ingredients:

  • 1 (8 oz) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 tbsp shallots, minced
  • 2 tbsp parsley, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup bell peppers (use either red, yellow, and orange – or a mixture of them), minced
  • 1/2 cup celery, minced
  • 1 tbsp kalamata olives, minced
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, finely grated
  • 1/4 tsp of Tabasco sauce
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 5 large flour tortillas

Directions:

  1. Mix together cream cheese, shallots, parsley, garlic, bell peppers, celery, olives, Parmesan, Tabasco, salt and pepper.  Cream until well combined.  Add more salt if necessary.
  2. Spread a thin layer on each tortilla.  Roll up the tortilla tightly and set on a plate.  Once finished spreading and rolling, place the tortillas in the fridge for an hour to set.
  3. Slice each into 1/2 inch slices, and serve.

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Filed under Appetizers, Vegetarian

Lemon Raspberry Cake

 

I love lemon cakes.  Bright and full of flavor, I recently made this loaf cake to take along with us on a road trip to New Orleans.  The latter of that deserves a different post.  For now, let’s talk cake.  As fall is finally here, I try to take an inventory to clean out and restock.  In my freezer, I had frozen raspberries calling to be used.

Reminiscent of raspberry lemonade, the citrus flavors lighten this denser cake.  This cake is perfect for breakfast, accompanied by a cup of coffee or tea, and Mumford and Sons playing in the background.  Add celebrity gossip to the mix and you get my routine during the baby’s morning nap time, which has now become my most favorite part of the day.  And, you know, cake always helps.

Lemon Raspberry Cake

barely adapted from Smitten Kitchen via Ina Garten

Ingredients:

  • 1 and 1/2 cups + 1 tbsp all-purpose flour, divided
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
  • 1 cup + 3 tbsp white granulated sugar
  • 3 extra-large eggs
  • 2 tsp grated lemon zest (from 2 small lemons)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp almond extract
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 and 1/2 cup raspberries (fresh or frozen, which should be thawed)
  • 1/3 fresh squeezed lemon juice

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.  Grease an 8 1/2 by 4 1/4 by 2 1/2-inch loaf pan.  Line the bottom with parchment paper.  Grease and flour the pan.
  2. Sift together 1 and 1/2 cups flour, baking powder, and salt into 1 bowl.
  3. In another bowl, whisk together the yogurt, 1 cup sugar, the eggs, lemon zest, vanilla and oil.
  4. Slowly whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients.
  5. Mix the raspberries with the flour to coat.  Add the raspberries to the batter and gently fold in so as to not bleed color everywhere.
  6. Bake in preheated oven for 55 minutes, or until a toothpick placed in the center of the loaf comes out clean.
  7. While the cake is baking, cook the lemon juice with the 3 tbsp sugar over medium heat until fully dissolved.  Set aside.
  8. Once the cake is done, remove from oven and leave in the pan to cool for 10 minutes.  Then, remove the cake from the pan and poke holes in the cake with a toothpick.  Pour the lemon syrup over the cake to absorb.  Let the cake fully cool.

 

5 Comments

Filed under baking, Cake, Desserts