Recent Recipes

A Non-Foodish Update

Comments (0) | Saturday, December 26, 2009

Happy Belated Xmas, Happy Boxing Day, Happy Kwanzaa, etc. I am pro holidays in pretty much every regard (except for National Puppy Kicking Day...that one I can do without).
Because of my AmeriCorps job, I can't really talk about my religious affiliation or lack of religious affiliation. That suits me fine. In regards to December, I believe that it should be a month long party in which everyone celebrates everything.
Anyway, good news for Anne Can Cook. I know this blog is pretty pedestrian. It's pretty much my own trials and errors and stuff. However, my pedestrian blog will now be fortified with PICTURES courtesy of my totally rad new camera.
My other plans (or you can call them New Year's Resolutions) have to do with content as well. Especially when I'm visiting my parents, I feel very confined. No one wants to eat balsamic glazed carrots or flan here. So I end up eating way too much junk food and processed food etc. The point is that I plan to branch out more once I get back to my apartment. I look at the amazing things being made on other food blogs and I immediately think, "I could never make that." I'm starting to ask myself, "Why?" Why don't I think I can make complicated things? What's holding me back? The answer is: myself. There is no real reason that I can't attempt some of the wonderful things out there (and you all should too)! Therefore Resolution Number One is to branch out and cook whatever I think looks awesome, regardless of the process.
My other content issue is more specific. I have a kitchen phobia and it's embarrassing to admit. Ok. Here goes: I'm afraid of bone in chicken. It intimidates me! It's not the cooking it. I'm sure cooking it is no problem. In stews, I'm assured, everything just slides off the bone. The issue is eating it. I'm intimidated by eating meat off the bone (unless it's pork ribs or crown roast or something simple). Resolution Number Two, therefore, is to conquer my fear of bone-in poultry. Maybe by the end of the year I will even roast a Cornish game hen, something I've always wanted to try but have been too frightened to. (So many bones! And innards! Ew)!
I have offered to cook dinner while I stay here at my parents' for the holidays. If I actually do, I'll post about it. Otherwise, I'll be back in 2010 with my favorite curry recipe.
So Happy Everything! Love, Anne.

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Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Almond Bark

Comments (0) | Tuesday, December 22, 2009

My good friend Carolyne came across this recipe last year, and it is has already become a winter time staple amongst my friends and family. I believe the original calls for whole, smoke-flavored almonds. I actually prefer it with sliced almonds. It's incredibly easy and incredibly delicious. I've given this as a holiday gift to many a person this year.

1 package of dark chocolate chips (I recommend Hershey's Special Dark if you can find them)
1 small package (about 1 cup) of sliced almonds
sea salt

In a microwaveable bowl, melt the chocolate in intervals. I usually do a 1 minute interval to start with, and follow it with 20-30 second intervals. Stir the chocolate between each interval until smooth.
Once the chocolate is completely melted, stir in about half of the almonds. Pour the mixture into some sort of baking dish. I usually use an 8" x 8" glass pan lined with parchment paper.
Shake the dish to settle the bark evenly. Sprinkle the top with the remaining almonds and the sea salt. Just eyeball the sea salt amount. You want the grains to be visible, but you don't want it to be too salty. You'll know when it's right.
Place the dish in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight. Once the bark has hardened, you can break off pieces as you go or you can take a sharp knife and break the bark into chunks.
If I'm giving this as a present, I usually lay the bark between layers of parchment paper in a tin.

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K-new Apartment and Knishes

Comments (0) | Wednesday, December 16, 2009

A lot has happened since I updated last. I was camping out in my coworker's living room for about a month and a half. While we did some cooking together (mostly the mock Alfredo and some stir fries and things), I haven't really added anything new to my repertoire.
Last Friday, I moved into a new and massive apartment by myself. I love it. I even love it's imperfections (uneven floors). Most of all, I love the kitchen. It's huge, there is a ton of counter space and storage, and the oven works! What more could I ask for.
I broke in my new kitchen by eating a take and bake pizza from the local grocery store. That thing fed me for two whole days. By the end of the weekend, I was ready to start cooking again. As luck would have it, the glory that is StumbleUpon and the brilliance that is my friend Carolyne sent me a recipe for Cheddar-Thyme Potato Knishes. I have already declared my love for mashed potatoes, and so putting them in a pastry seemed like an excellent idea to me. The recipe is from BrokeAss Gourmet :

  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten, divided
  • 1 tsp salt, divided
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling and dusting
  • 2 large russet potatoes, scrubbed and diced with peel intact
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1/2 tsp fresh thyme (about 2 twigs)
  • 1/3 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the over to 325F. Lightly coat a baking sheet with olive oil, set aside. Combine 2 beaten eggs, 1/2 tsp salt, baking powder, vegetable oil and flour in a mixing bowl. Stir together until a soft dough forms. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead 8-10 times, until dough becomes slightly elastic. Cover dough and allow to rest for 15-20 minutes.

While dough rests, bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add diced potatoes and cook until very soft, 12-15 minutes. While potatoes cook, heat butter in a medium frying pan over medium-high heat. Add onions and thyme and cook for 5-6 minutes until onions are lightly browned and very fragrant. Remove from heat and scrape into a mixing bowl. Once potatoes have cooked, drain them and add them to the bowl with the onions and thyme. Add cheese and mash with a fork or potato masher until potatoes have very few lumps. Add remaining 1/2 tsp salt and fresh ground pepper to taste and set aside.

Once dough has finished resting turn it out onto a floured surface. Knead a few times and form dough into a cylinder, about 8” long. Cut dough into 8 equal pieces. Use a rolling pin to roll each piece into a 4-5” circle. Scoop 3-4 tbsp of the potato mixture into the center of of each circle and pinch the ends together, so it looks like a little bundle.

Beat remaining egg together with 1 tbsp water. Use a pastry brush to lightly brush the tops of the knishes with the egg wash.

Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until knishes are golden brown.

Serve hot, with sour cream if desired.

When I made this recipe, it called for two tsp. of vegetable oil for the dough. So my dough never got elastic. It was flavorful to be sure, but it was also heavy and awkward. Anyway, I commented on the recipe at BrokeAss Gourmet and they have since changed it to the proper proportion. Good job, folks.

The knish filling is marvelous. Cheddar-y, thyme-y mashed potatoes. Yum. I added about a tsp. of garlic powder and used Penzeys Shallot Pepper instead of freshly ground. I also added about a tsp. of Penzeys Bouquet Garni to the onions while they were cooking. More herbs, more better in my opinion.

Would I make these knishes again? Yes. Definitely with the update to the dough and maybe with a little cream cheese added to the potatoes. They are very comforting and kept pretty well. I had two for dinner the night I made them and two leftovers last night, plus leftover mash.

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