Recent Recipes

Look What I Made: Pumpkin Spice Scones with Ginger Molasses Drizzle

Comments (3) | Saturday, October 9, 2010

Last week, some of my coworkers had a dessert and wine potluck. I had metric tons of pumpkin lying around, so I decided to dig out my old pumpkin spice scone recipe. Trouble was, I had misplaced my old recipe notebook from college.

Luckily, some mad Google skills reunited me with the site I had taken the recipe from in the first place. I hadn't even remembered it was Pinch My Salt, which is a thoroughly delightful blog that everyone should check out.

Anyway. The day was saved, the scones were made, and one of my coworkers described them as "like taking a bite out of fall."

My only recipe issues were with the Ginger Molasses icing. It's obviously from Pinch My Salt's pictures that the icing should have a frosting-like consistency.

It is obvious from my picture that I never got there.

Light icing is obviously one of my cooking weaknesses. I never mastered the cinnamon glaze, either.

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Cuttin' Up Pumpkin

Comments (1) | Monday, September 27, 2010

Last weekend, when Andrew and I went to the orchard, I bought a pumpkin. Not a Jack-o-Lantern sized pumpkin. I bought a small, 4-5 pound little pumpkin.
And I must be crazy, because my intention was to cook it. Which is exactly what I did.

Anne Can Cook Presents: How to make your own pumpkin puree in 8 sort of easy steps.

Step One:
Halve the pumpkin
It doesn't have to be perfect.

Step Two: Scoop out the seeds.
I am suffering here from what Pioneer Woman would call Purple Alien Hand Syndrome. Anyway, I scooped the seeds out (for roasting!) with my hands. It is sort of like when you comb your hair with fingers, only much slimier.

Step Three: Scrape off the slimy stuff.
A good, old-fashioned spoon should do the trick. When you're done, you're left with this:
Step Four: Cut into manageable chunks.

May your knife be sharp and your muscles sturdy. This is where the "sort of" easy comes into play. Cutting up a pumpkin is intense work, particularly if you're a wuss with a knife of questionable durability (like me). I made it through, though, and so can you.

Step Five: Cut your manageable chunks into even smaller chunks.
Like this.
Yes, they have their skins still on in the pot. Trust me here.

Step Six: Boil that biz.

I boiled them for about an hour, and then dumped them in the colander.

Step Seven: Cut off the skin.
The pumpkin's tough skin comes off much easier once the flesh is soft. I used a butter knife to separate the skin from the flesh. How particular you want to be is up to you.

Step Eight: It's pureeing time!
The pumpkin was really soft, so a few pulses with my hand blender more than did the trick. A food processor would be wonderful, or you can do things the old-fashioned way and use a potato masher. Whatever floats your boat.
Once everything is smooth, you can use the pumpkin right away or you can freeze it. I froze about 2/3 of and am reserving the rest in the fridge for a pumpkin curry later this week.

Ultimately, here is the deal with pumpkin: it is a real pain in the butt to prepare a pumpkin for pureeing. However, it does make a person feel immensely accomplished.

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Grilled Cheese and Thoughts on Food Trends

Comments (2) | Sunday, September 19, 2010

I know that grilled cheese is not a big deal to make, and it seems like a weird thing to feature on a food blog. The reason I'm including this at all is to comment on my own cooking style.
I am very much a "toss stuff together and see what happens" sort of cook. I often don't post things that I make because they're either A) tried and true recipes that have already appeared here or B) something I have just thrown together. For example, this past Thursday I made spaghetti with spicy cheese sauce, because I had about an once and a half of New Zealand cheddar and an old serrano chile I needed to use. It was really tasty, but I didn't measure anything past the basic roux formula.
Is something I can't necessarily replicate worth putting on the blog? Those sorts of things don't seem like a big deal to me, since they're just me futzing around in the kitchen.
Then I start to feel guilty because I haven't updated in two or more weeks and I really need to stay on top of this because it is a project I care about. How do more legit and serious food blogs do it?

So here we are.

If you haven't gathered this already, I really like dishes that provide a base for various embellishments. Things like pasta and chicken are great because you can season them in a million different ways.

Grilled cheese is like this, too. You can make it with whatever cheese you want. You can add seasonings or not. You can add veggies or meat, or not. The bread is up to you. It's basically a blank canvas.

Here's what I did last night.
Andrew and I went on a country adventure yesterday in which we visited an apple orchard and Minnesota's Largest Candy store. The latter was the significantly more exciting and interesting, and, in addition to all the candy, I picked up some applewood smoked mozzarella and a locally made jalapeno-garlic hot sauce (which is the green stuff at the bottom of the picture).

Since I had this incredibly tasty cheese, grilled cheese seemed like a good, easy option for our late dinner. The bread is Italian sandwich loaf, and there's bacon and the aforementioned mozz AND a sprinkle of Fox Point seasoning. Grill together on a Foreman grill (tip: these are AWESOME for grilled cheese and melts), dip in new jalapeno sauce, eat, be happy.

I also wanted to comment/ask about personal food trends. Do you ever notice that you get really into certain foods? I'm talking about food phases. Lately, I've really been into:
Green Chiles
, especially jalapenos and serranos. Poblanos sometimes, too.
Beer, because Minnesota actually has a pretty rad craft beer scene. Plus, my friend Kim's beer blog is inspiring me to understand and appreciate beer even more than I previously did.
Jams and Fruit Butters, which is really weird for me because I'm not a fruit person. This all started back in August when some friends of my got married and handed out homemade preserves as wedding favors. In addition to their apple butter and vanilla-berry preserves, I've also picked up lingonberry jam from IKEA and pumpkin butter. Plus, I have some rhubarb jam from this summer I haven't opened yet. What is the deal?

What are your current food trends? How often do you go through food phases? Is this even a thing?

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Hold on to your hotdog, Grandma!

Comments (1) | Saturday, September 4, 2010

Today, Andrew and I went to the Minnesota State Fair. We got up early and took the nearest park and ride, which put us at the fair around 8:45. We returned home around 6.

What I'm saying is: it was a long day.

State fairs are a Big Deal in this part of the country. I've been to the Iowa State Fair a handful of times, but this was my first time at the Minnesota State Fair. I know this means I'm letting Iowa down, but I think I preferred the MN State Fair. The reason for this is the sheer quantity of food here in Minnesota. There is food EVERYWHERE. There is a food building, there are food stands up and down all the streets, and there is food in all of the areas-grandstand, midway, old west themed craft town, and my favorite, the international bazaar. Of course, most of it is fair fare. I wouldn't call it a foodie's dream or anything. However, I did eat some excellent things today. I also ate way too many fried things, much to my stomach's chagrin.

Andrew and I entered the fair armed with a coupon book. Here is our story.

MORNING:We didn't really eat breakfast before we left this morning since we were planning to eat at the fair.
Despite my love of things like pastries and cinnamon buns and eating cookies for breakfast, I actually don't handle sugar too well in the morning. Therefore we settled on crepes (from French Crepes), which had plenty of savory options. I seriously considered the bacon and cheese crepe, as well as the asparagus and cheese crepe. Ultimately I let Andrew choose, since we were going to share. Hence, we ended up with the cranberry and brie crepe. I also got a generous cup of coffee, which was surprisingly good. I had thought to pop across to French Meadow for coffee, but I'm glad that I didn't.
To my pleasure and surprise, the cranberry portion of the crepe was more like a cranberry jam, which had a nice tartness without too much astringency. This contrasted nicely with the crepe itself, which was just mildly sweet in addition to being light and chewy. The brie was clearly brie, and we were happy to discover that there was also a smattering of walnuts.
This was the best thing I ate today. I don't know if I feel that way because this was the first thing and it set the standard or what. What I do know is that this was fantastic and I want one for breakfast everyday for the rest of my life.
Andrew said: It's good! I still taste walnut in my mouth!
Then he tried to spout some hoity toity nonsense to make himself sound deeper and more articulate.

The crepe was not enough breakfast for Andrew, so we popped over to the Food Building and stopped at My Sausage Sister and Me, which is apparently a sausage company run primarily by women.
Andrew got the biscuits and gravy. I'm not a sausage person, but I had a tiny, non-sausaged bite, and I have to say these were pretty good.
Andrew said: Very good. The gravy's very creamy and peppery. The biscuits are fluffy and slightly buttery. The sausage is very good, there's no gristle. Excellent consistency. Slightly spicy. The sausage doesn't overpower the gravy, and it's slightly fennel-y.

After this stop, we walked around for awhile. We visited the goat building, and I had my hands licked and nibbled on by several goats. It was pretty great.

At mid-morning, we stopped for Deep Fried Fruit on a Stick. We had a coupon and Andrew likes fruit. Had I been by myself, this isn't something I would have gone for.
Andrew liked this more than I did. Our stick contained random fruit, though for a few dollars more you can customize it. The strawberry (pictured) was pretty good. It gave me the impression of a crumble or something similar. Really, it's like hot fruit encased in funnel cake. It made my stomach hurt. If I were to eat it again, I would get a custom one with nothing but strawberries and pears. This is not something I'd seek out, however.
Andrew said: Good variety. Sort of like pie on a stick or something.

Dying to eat something other than fruit, we made our way back to the food building. Andrew went off to find some lemonade, and I went towards The Mouth Trap, which I think might be something of an institution at the fair. The line was immense, but it went really quickly since all they sell are deep fried cheese curds.
They were really good cheese curds, too. They had a nice balance of cheesiness and greasiness. The salt content was just right. Something about the coating had a satisfying back-of-the-mouth flavor/feeling that read as really homey and fantastic. I ate these plain, but plenty of Mouth Trap patrons ate theirs with ketchup.
Andrew said: Cheesy, lightly battered...
Me: I just need a base reaction.
Andrew: ...Good.

Andrew wanted a more substantial lunch, so we swung over to Dino's, which serves fast Greek food. Andrew loves gyros. Andrew might even love gyros more than chicken tenders.
I didn't taste the gyro, but Andrew gave it a pretty good review.
Andrew said: Good. Messy. The tzatziki needs more cucumber. Good, fast food gyro.
Because he's a pretty nice guy, and because he knows the quickest way to my heart is through my sweet tooth, Andrew bought me some baklava at Dino's as well. It was pretty decent baklava-flaky and syrupy sweet. On an awesome baklava scale of 1-5, I'd give it a 3.5.
After more walking around, we decided it was Fudge Puppy time. Fudge Puppies, from Granny's Kitchen, are something I'd never heard of until Andrew started talking about the Minnesota State Fair. They are essentially a Belgian waffle on a stick, dipped in chocolate and topped with whipped cream and sprinkles. Or, as I phrased it in my notes, a waffle with sundae toppings.
We shared this. I don't know. I'm very much a sweets person, but this didn't knock my socks off or anything. The waffle was really good. It was sweet and fluffy and basically anything you could want from a waffle. I thought the chocolate was kind of grainy, though. The Puppy was too warm for the whipped cream, which kept melting and sliding off.
Andrew said: The chocolate was very good. I thought the flavor was right. Warm. Waffley. Chocolately.

Eventually I decided it was beer time. Summit Brewery, which is a local brewery that's been around for about as long as I have, has Summit On A Stick. These are three Summit beers in little 7 oz. glasses on a wooden paddle. I wish I had the beer reviewing skills of my friend Kim of Will Write for Beer. Alas, I do not.
Normally I am a dark beer person, but my favorite of these was actually the Extra Pale Ale, which was nice and smooth with a lightly bitter background. Andrew liked the Oktoberfest. The Horizon Red was bitter and piney/citrusy.

Immediately after our beers, Andrew took me over to the Horticulture Building and bought me something I'd been really excited to try: Wine Ice Cream.
The ice cream was made by Saint Paul ice cream company, Izzy's, using regional wines. There were three flavors, and the other two were raspberry based, so I steered clear. This one was Apple Cinnamon, made from a white wine called Johnny Appleseed.
This is my favorite dessert thing I ate all day. The ice cream was good-light, icy, and creamy with a mild spicy apple flavor and a distinct wine tang. It also didn't leave that sickly sweet aftertaste I usually get from ice cream. Plus: wine. You had to be at least 21 to order this. Awesome.
Andrew said: I liked it.

After much walking around, and much sitting down, and much complaining (on my part) of aching shoulders and hips, we set off for our final fair goals. We had a coupon for onion rings from Danielson's and Daughters Onion Rings. I had also just read about this company in Minneapolis/St. Paul magazine, so I was curious to try them out.
I squirted a bit of Frank's Hot Sauce in one corner with the intention of dipping, but I really ought to have drizzled it all over the rings. I thought they were a bit bland, and I also should have taken advantage of the salt sitting out at Danielson's and Daughters' booth. The batter was quite crunchy, and the onion was sweet. The ones that did end up soaked in Frank's were particularly good. If I ever get these again, salt and Frank's is definitely the way to go.
Andrew said: I liked them. They're better than most onion rings. A light distribution of Frank's would have been good.

And so, having eaten a lot of fried food and walked a lot, we made our way back to the bus and headed home.

I had a pretty excellent time today. I'm sure it was tedious for Andrew having me whip out my camera and notepad every time we bought food, but it was much more fun for me that way.

The title of this post is something we overheard at the fair today, and we could not stop giggling about it. The full quote is: "Hold on to your hotdog, Grandma! There's a bump!"

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I like books!

Comments (0) | Thursday, September 2, 2010

Hey hey!

I think I am also going to blog about books (and maybe bath stuff?) at my old tumblr. If you're interested, it's here.

I will still food blog, though!

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Sesame Broccoli with Rice Noodles

Comments (0) | Monday, August 30, 2010

Last weekend, my youngest aunt and her family were in town for a preseason football game. They were gracious enough to bring me up some stuff from home.

I suspect my mom got a bit carried away with cleaning out her cookbook cupboard, because she sent me something like twenty editions of Taste of Home Quick Cooking.

But I love Taste of Home, so this is totally okay.

I was on my own for dinner tonight, and so I turned to my latest acquisition for guidance. Sure enough, I had barely flipped through the pages of my random edition before I found something that sounded perfect. The entry is called "Sesame Broccoli," and it was submitted by someone named Myrna Innes for the July/August 2003 edition.

I did add a bit to Myrna's recipe, but not much. I'll note my changes.
"Sesame Broccoli" (with Rice Noodles)
1 cup water (Note: I almost always ignore the amount of water for boiling things. Fill pan with water. Boil things. Done).
1 pound fresh broccoli spears (or, in my case, 1/4 bag of frozen broccoli spears)
*Approximately 1 oz of dry rice sticks
1 Tbsp. sesame seeds
*3 cloves garlic, pressed
4 tsp olive or canola oil, divided
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. lemon juice (I used lime juice. It's just what I grabbed first).
1 Tbsp. soy sauce.

*Stuff I added to the original recipe.

In a saucepan, boil the water and add the noodles and broccoli. Boil until tender. Meanwhile, heat 1 tsp. oil in a small skillet. Once hot, add the sesame seeds and saute until brown. This goes surprisingly fast. Don't think you can walk away during this part. It seriously took me about fifteen seconds, tops.
Remove the skillet from the heat. I added some pressed garlic here, since the skillet was still hot enough to cook it a bit.
Add the sugar, lemon (or lime) juice, soy sauce, and the rest of the oil. Mix well, set aside.

Once the broccoli and rice sticks are done, drain them well, then toss with the sesame seed mixture.

I sprinkled some lemon pepper on top, because I've been into it lately.

This had an incredibly homey flavor to it. The progression went something like this for me:
1st few bites: Yeah, this is okay.
Middle of eating: OMG this is soo good. Broccoli! I love broccoli! Pasta! Mmm. Lime in the background! Mmmm! This tastes like something mom would've made!
End of eating: I'm sort of full but I. Can't. Stop.


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Internet and Spices

Comments (0) | Saturday, August 21, 2010

We're back!*

Andrew and I have had the Internet for approximately one full hour now. That means posting can continue with some regularity soon!

Until I cook something worth mentioning, I thought it might be fun to share my spices spreadsheet with you all. I feel like I am always plugging Penzeys, and so I thought you might want to see what I have in my spice cabinet and what I like about each one. I am kind of new to Google Docs, but it seems to have uploaded just fine. Here is the link.

Anyway, that's it for the moment. In the meantime, comment here or on my facebook page and tell me what your favorite spices are. Or maybe, if you're not a Penzeys person, tell me about your favorite spice company.

*A Dinosaur's Story.

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Look What I Made: Creamy Chicken Angel Hair

Comments (0) | Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Aw, the first meal made in our new apartment.
I think I've mentioned on here that Andrew and I have a less than perfect track record when it comes to me cooking for him. I think I'm a pretty decent cook, but when I've cooked things for him, it's never turned out just right.
Consequently, he always seems a bit hesitant to let me cook anything beyond (his favorite) chicken tenders.

We do not have the internet at our place yet, so the other day we sat around and flipped through some of my Taste of Home cookbooks, tagging recipes. This one I pulled out of the Taste of Home Ultimate Chicken Recipe Book. It was quick(ish), easy, and really pretty tasty. I should note that I halved this recipe for the two of us, and we still had enough for seconds AND lunch time leftovers.

Creamy Chicken Angel Hair

"1 pkg angel hair pasta
1 1/4 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into 1" cubes
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
3 Tbsp olive oil, divided
1 large carrot, diced (I used a handful of baby carrots)
2 Tbsp butter
1 medium onion, chopped
1 celery rib, diced (I left this out, but I'm sure it would a good addition)
3 large cloves garlic, minced
2 cups heavy whipped cream
5 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled
3 Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1 c. Parmesan cheese

Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, saute the chicken, salt and pepper in 2 Tbsp oil until no long pink. Remove and keep warm.

In the same skillet, saute carrot in butter and remaining oil for 1 minute. Add the onion, celery and garlic; saute 3-4 minutes or until tender.

Stir in the cream, cooked bacon, lemon juice and Italian seasoning. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 2-3 minutes or until slightly thickened, stirring constantly. Return the chicken to the pan.

Drain pasta; toss with chicken mixture. Garnish with Parmesan cheese."

Pictures soon! Andrew really liked it, and I have photo proof!

ETA: I told you so!

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Post Script

Comments (0) | Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Anne Can Cook has a Facebook page now! Check it out, like it, tell your friends!

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Look What I Made: Spaghetti with avocado cream, almonds, and thyme

Comments (3) |

I didn't think anyone in my family was interested in any of the weirder stuff* I cook. While I was looking around for recipes to try while I'm at my parents' house, I came across this recipe for what I've been calling avocado spaghetti. I thought it sounded interesting, and like it might be a nice, summery alternative to heavier spaghetti sauce.
My parents weren't too interested, however. Amazingly, my younger brother agreed to give it a try. Since it was just the two of us for dinner tonight, I went for it.
Since the website is in Italian, and GoogleTranslate can only do so much, I made a few guesses on the preparation. For instance, I toasted my almonds in the toaster oven, since I have no idea what pentolino refers to.
Gaps in translation aside, this was incredibly easy to assemble. I toasted the almonds and mashed up the avocado cream while waiting for the water to boil. It took me maybe 10 minutes to do all of that.
In terms of flavor, it was about what I expected. The flavor of the avocado is dominant, with hints of thyme. Running across little toasted almonds is pretty delightful, but it is apparently just as good without. My brother skipped them on his and he loved it.
The bread in the picture is a three-cheese foccacia from the local grocery store bakery. I can't stop eating it.

*includes curry, pesto, and anything with avocados.

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AmeriCorps Post-Mortem

Comments (1) | Tuesday, July 20, 2010

I finished my first AmeriCorps term this past Saturday, and I promised a reflection in my last post. I can't recall if I ever discussed my reasons for going into AmeriCorps here before, so let's recap.
During my senior year of college, my thoughts for the future included grad school and not a lot else. Long story short, I dropped the ball on things like taking the correct GRE test and it became apparent that I wasn't going to make the deadlines for grad school applications.
I did what any well balanced English major would do. I had a little melt down. Then I went and talked with my adviser, who mentioned that her eldest daughter had done a term of AmeriCorps before enrolling in law school.
Now, I admit, I was knee deep in what I like to call the Catch-22 of Service. My only real volunteer experience came from being required to serve for various classes. I was really bitter about this, because it seemed like being required to volunteer defeated the purpose. However, without requirement, it seemed very unlikely that I or any of my classmates would get out and volunteer.
However, AmeriCorps has the draw of being very vast. You can apply to serve in any number of capacities and industries.
I didn't come to this right away, though. At first I saw this as an opportunity to hang out at my alma mater for another year. Which, admittedly, is the best or most noble reason to apply, and it is probably for the best that I did not land the position at my campus. Instead, I lucked out and landed a job that fit more conveniently into my interests in education.
Here I am, an entire year after I accepted this job that was formatting to take shape as it went. I only had a vague idea of what it would entail, and so did everyone else.
It was an entire year of playing things by ear, and I actually enjoyed it a lot.
My year in AmeriCorps has redefined my thoughts on service. I think the best thing I have taken away from this year is a desire to be useful. If I could pick buzzword for my year, it would BE "useful." It is no longer enough for me to keep my head down and achieve my goals. That's all very well, but I am not the only person on the planet. Instead, I have discovered this desire to be useful in anything I do.
My VISTA year has also reaffirmed for me that education is definitely the career industry I should be in. I did not anticipate loving the eighth grade classroom, but I did, and I cannot wait to work exclusively in a junior high this year. While my ultimate goal of being a college professor hasn't changed, I now have passions in pre-college education that I fully intend on continuing forever. I also feel, in terms of the bigger picture of service, that education is the springboard for everything and anything. In education, I achieve my new primary goal of feeling useful.

Most people do not do more than one term of AmeriCorps. One of the other VISTAs at my site this year was very determined to land a "real job" after the end of his term, while another sought something similar that would be, perhaps, more political. For me, another AmeriCorps terms seems ideal. For one, I will be in a job that suits my interests even further while providing me an outlet to be useful. I am also going to be moving to the Twin Cities, which I have always loved and always dreamed about moving to. This is all very win-win to me.

In terms of anyone considering AmeriCorps, I would recommend checking it out. Look through the available positions and search through your interest clusters. For this secondary term, I applied primarily in the education and environmental clusters, but there is really something for everyone. Having said that, doing a year of AmeriCorps is not necessarily for everyone. VISTA and NCCC do not allow you to have outside jobs, but are also usually full time, year long positions. VISTA is usually office work and behind the scenes jobs, while NCCC is an intensive hands on ordeal. State and National allow outside jobs, but are usually part time and vary in length from a few months to about a year.

Anyway. I liked my AmeriCorps term. I liked my job, and I liked my coworkers. I liked my apartment. My only real issue was feeling isolated, as the other VISTAs at my site already had built in social circles. I think that sort of potential varies from site to site.

It feels weird now to have this little hiatus between terms. I mean, I slept in until 1 this afternoon. Ridiculous.

I'm hoping food posts will resume soon. I made this Moroccan Couscous for my family last night (no pictures, sorry!) and it was their first time eating couscous ever.
I'll be here at home for another week and a half or so before moving north. Hopefully things will settle down at that point.

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Look What I Made: Blackberry Muffins

Comments (0) | Thursday, July 1, 2010

This weekend, Andrew and I will be doing some apartment hunting. We're trying to eat in more, so I thought it would be fun to bake something for the weekend. Andrew's not a big breakfast guy, but I think muffins are good any time of day.
Technically these are supposed to be a surprise, but I keep posting about them, so Andrew will probably figure them out.
The recipe is from Simply Recipes, which I found by googling "blackberry muffins."
Google wanted me to search for blueberry muffins. Nice try, Google.

In non-food related news, my current AmeriCorps term with Iowa Campus Compact ends in about two weeks. In terms of logistics, I'll be moving back in with my parents for about two weeks before heading up to Minneapolis. Andrew and I are going to move in together, and I'm going to start another VISTA term with the St. Paul Public School Foundation in early August. I'm very excited about the whole prospect, but apartment hunting is hard work! It's definitely been more stressful than I anticipated, and I'm looking forward to finding the right place so we can be done with it.

I'll probably post a reflection about my current VISTA term sometime soon. Now, however, I need to pack for the weekend and get some sleep.

Happy Canada Day to my Canadian friends, and happy Fourth of July weekend to my American friends!

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Look What I Made: Jalapeno Chicken

Comments (1) | Sunday, June 20, 2010

On my last trip to the Twin Cities, I bought a container of fresh jalapenos. I promptly brought it home and said, "Ok, so now what do I do with all these jalapenos?"
Enter this simple recipe from Cooks.com.
Of course, I did things slightly differently. I just used one chicken breast, which I vigorously poked with a fork in an attempt to mimic a meat perforater. The whole point of that process is to allow the marinade to get down into the meat so that it flavors it throughout out. At least, I'm pretty sure that's how Alton Brown explained on "Good Eats" that one time.
Anyway, it totally worked. Instead of grilling the chicken (which I'm sure would also be good), I baked it at 350F for about 30 minutes. I also baked some of the jalapenos, because I like them.
The flavor of the marinade made it into the whole of the chicken, with the wine being the primarily flavor. The jalapenos gave the whole thing a nice after-burn, but it wasn't too spicy. Well, the baked jalapenos were pretty spicy, but I like that. You may feel differently.
I cheated and served ate this with some Knorr Rice Sides Spanish Rice. I've sort of gotten away from that sort of thing, but I can't deny how convenient they are. They also taste perfectly decent.

In other news, I also tried my hand at homemade pop tarts yesterday morning. I used Smitten Kitchen's blog post as a guide. Again, I cheated and used store bought pie crust. I regret it. The store bought stuff wasn't awful, but it wasn't good either. It had that distinctive Pillsbury taste (you know what I mean?) which is strange considering it was store brand. The texture was fine, but the taste distracted from the filling, except for the tarts I had rolled extra thin. I'm not sure how that might differ using SK's dough, but for store bought, the thinner the better.
I ended up with a dozen small (about 3" x 3") pop tarts. I did 6 with blackberry preserves, and 6 with Nutella. The Nutella ones turned out better, and were also incredibly sinful.

I think I'm going to try my hand at homemade ginger ale this week. I had some really good unfiltered Jasmine Tea Ginger Ale when I was in the Cities last week, and I've been itching to try to duplicate it.

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Look What I Made: Guacamole

Comments (1) | Tuesday, June 8, 2010

I had a craving for guacamole. I did a little research, and it turns out that most premade guacamole dip you can buy at the grocery store doesn't contain any actual avocado. Insane! Luckily, it's not too hard or expensive to make your own, or so I learned from BrokeAss Gourmet.
I didn't look closely at the recipe while I was whipping this up, so I ended up with 1/2 onion and 1/2 tomato. Otherwise, the ingredients are the same.
Somehow mine turned out a bit bitter. Maybe too much onion? Too much cilantro? I'm not sure. A hearty dose of lemon juice seems to have helped.
If I were to do it over again, I would omit the tomato and add more garlic. Hmm. I'll have to ponder this.
Oh, I also gave this a run through with my new immersion blender for a smoother texture.

Summer is for dip!

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Look What I Made: Earl Grey Tea Cookies

Comments (2) | Tuesday, June 1, 2010

I caught the baking bug.
Recipe here: Shutterbean's Early Grey Tea Cookies
I didn't do anything different, except leave out the orange zest. They are flaky and tea-y and exactly what I was hoping for.

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Taco Lasagna Casserole A la Bowmans in Bavaria

Comments (0) | Tuesday, May 25, 2010

My lovely friend Melinda, of Bowmans In Bavaria, asked for folks to test out her Taco Lasagna recipe. I jumped on the opportunity, and boy am I glad I did. It's basically anything you'd want from taco night in one place-cheesy, meaty, tortilla-y, you know. The whole nine yards. Here we go:
"Taco Lasagna Casserole - by Melinda Bowman
1 pound ground meat (like hamburger, turkey or mix of pork and hamburger)
3 tomatoes, chopped*
1 onion, chopped
1 jalapeño, diced (or feel free to use more or spicier chilis if you like)
Juice of 1 lime
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small bell pepper, chopped*
4 Tbsp taco seasoning (I like Penzeys)
(optional: 1/4 tsp ancho chili powder, 1/4 tsp chipotle powder, if you like more chili flavor)
2 Tbsp tomato paste
1/2 cup hot water*
1 cup sour cream (can substitute plain yogurt)
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup shredded Colby Jack or Mozarella cheese (no Colby Jack in Germany, sniff sniff)
1 cup shredded Cheddar Cheese

Corn or Flour Tortillas for two layers in a 9 x 13 dish (about 10 small tortillas, maybe 6-8 larger ones?) --It only took me 4 eight inch tortillas! Plenty left over for quesadillas and wraps.

*I omitted the tomatoes and bell peppers and, instead, used about 1/2 cup of salsa. If you do this, make sure you up the water to 1 cup so that you get a good, saucy consistency.

1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius, 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Grease a 9x13 baking dish.
3. In a skillet, brown the meat. Add tomatoes, onion, jalapeño, bell pepper, lime juice and garlic. Cook over medium heat until vegetables are soft, stirring to keep from sticking. Add the water, spices and tomato paste. Stir well, bring to a simmer, then set aside.
4. In a separate bowl, mix together the sour cream and eggs. Then add 1 and 3/4 cup of the cheeses (set aside 1/4 cup of the cheese). Stir well.
5. Spread a very thin layer of meat sauce on the bottom of the 9x13 pan. Cover the sauce with a layer of tortillas. Then spread with cheese, then meat sauce. Put on another layer of tortillas, cover with cheese and meat sauce. Then sprinkle the remaining cheese on top.
6. Bake for 20 minutes until bubbly.

I used ground turkey and light sour cream, so really this is a relatively healthy dish. Well, healthy by my standards at least. It also yields quite a bit, so you might consider halving it and using an 8 x 8 baking dish instead if you're only feeding yourself. As it is, I have enough taco lasagna to last me the rest of this week! Which works out, because it is much too hot here to heat up the oven.

I have to thank Melinda for sharing her recipe with me. I've already sent it on to my parents, and filed it away to use when I move in with my boyfriend later this year. It's very versatile, very tasty dish. I think the next time I make it, I'll throw in some cayenne pepper to up the heat. It would also be great with some pepperjack instead of colby jack.

I have spicy on the brain, can you tell?

Thank you again, Melinda!

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Look What I Made: Pesto Pizza with Roasted Garlic and Potatoes

Comments (0) | Saturday, May 22, 2010

I don't think I've ever mentioned it before, but I am a big fan of StumbleUpon, which is sort of like internet roulette with your relevant interests. You install a toolbar into your browser, hit the "Stumble!" button, and get taken to a random website. I have found so many excellent food sites this way. My food bookmarks through StumbleUpon are so full of stuff that I will never be able to cook it all.
A couple of week ago, StumbleUpon brought me to this pizza recipe, and I knew I had to make it. It has so many things I love: pizza, pesto, potatoes, and garlic. I couldn't resist it, especially since I had just received a mandolin slicer in the mail and had yet to test it out.

Now, I have a few things to say about the logistics of the recipe. I think it's more complicated than it has to be. Admittedly, I used store bought dough, which immediately made quite a few of the instruction irrelevant. There was no need to let it rise, for example. There was also no need to knead the dough or to flour anything or to find a pizza peel (peal?). I just rolled my crust onto a standard cookie sheet and spread it out to meet the edges. Easy, and it tasted just fine. Oh, and I also baked the pizza on the cookie sheet. No worrying about trying to slide the pizza onto the baking stone. My baking stone wasn't large enough for that, anyway.
What I'm getting at here is that you can follow the directions precisely if you'd like, but you don't have to.
I also want to comment on the amount of potatoes this calls for. Granted, I sort of halved the recipe, since I didn't need to make two pizzas (one alone is going to feed me for the next few days). However, I didn't even make it to two potatoes before I said, "This is way too much potato." Maybe the authors were slicing their potatoes more thickly than I was, but one potato would have been sufficient for me. As it was, I probably sliced one and three-fourths potatoes, and ended up with enough slices to cover the pizza, make microwave potato chips, and STILL have a good two dozen slices left over.
My new mandolin slicer rocks, by the way. This could be the source of my issue:

Look at those! They're translucent they're so thin. They may even be waffer thin. (I will give ten points to anyone who gets that reference)
Anyway, my experience is that 2 thinly sliced potatoes is too much.
Dough and potato opinions aside, this pizza was pretty awesome, if a touch salty. The potatoes had a really great texture, and the garlic was soooo good.

I did make one major mistake, though. I over-oiled the baking sheet when I should have floured it instead. Therefore, my crust was a little overly oily on the bottom. Overall, though

I can't complain.

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Quick Cooking: Cream Cheese and Bacon Cups

Comments (0) | Wednesday, May 19, 2010

This week, I did something I've never done before: I mapped out my dinner menu for each night. It went really well for the first few nights. I stuck to the plan, I shopped for the plan when I went grocery shopping. I had my spaghetti and my mom's enchiladas. Tonight, I was going to make those knishes from Broke-Ass Gourmet, when I remembered that I didn't pick up potatoes because my grocery store doesn't sell red potatoes individually. Then I came home from work and discovered that the outlets on one side of my kitchen had stopped working, and, of course, the fridge was without power. So after I fixed that (hello, extension cord), I didn't feel like making knish dough or going to get potatoes or doing much of anything. That's when I remembered I had some all purpose Pillsbury dough in the refrigerator. Assembly to cook time took me all of 20 minutes, and then I had these little puffs of delight:
Cream Cheese Bacon Cups
1 roll of multi-purpose dough, cut into 12 squares
5 pieces of bacon, cooked and crumbled
Onion powder
Shredded cheese
Cream cheese (I used whipped, because I like it)
Penzeys Fox Point seasoning (or whatever you like, but really, get some Fox Point)

Preheat your oven to 375F and grease a muffin tin! Place one square in each muffin indentation and form a little cup. Divide the bacon crumbles evenly amongst the twelve dough cups, sprinkling some in the bottom of each. Add a dash of onion powder to each cup. Add a pinch of shredded cheese (about a Tablespoon) to each cup. Place a dollop of cream cheese on top of each cup. Finally, add a dash of Fox Point on top of the cream cheese.
Bake for about 15 minutes. Remove from the muffin tin to cool.

These would be really great little appetizers, or you can do what I did and eat them for dinner. I have no shame.

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Mom's Enchiladas

Comments (2) | Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Most of the people I've met in my life have one dish that makes them think of home. It varies from person to person, tastebud to tastebud, but it's one of the things that everyone has.
For me, it's my mother's enchiladas. Mom often makes these when I'm going home for an extended period of time. She also used to make up a pan, unbaked, and send them with me back to college to bake for my roommates.
I love my mom. She spoils me.
Mom has always insisted that these are really easy to put together. She's right, but even without a ton of effort, mine weren't as good as Mom's. Of course. They are still my favorite meal, though. My home meal.
Mom's Chicken Enchiladas
8 Flour tortillas
2 tbsp butter or margarine
1/2 c. chopped onion
2 or 3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 4oz can diced green chilies, drained
1/2 c. sour cream
1 can condensed cream of chicken soup
1 1/2 c. cubed cooked chicken
1 c. shredded cheese, divided
1/4 c. milk

Remove tortillas from refrigerator. Preheat the oven to 350F. In a medium saucepan, melt butter. Saute the onion & garlic until tender. Stir in the chillies, sour cream, and cream of chicken soup. Stir thoroughly, and set aside 3/4 cup of the soup mixture. To the remaining soup mixture, add 1/2 of the cheese and all of the chicken.

Grease a pan (I used an 8"x8" for four enchiladas, you can use an 8"x12" for eight enchiladas). Fill your tortillas with a few spoonfuls of chicken mixture. Roll them up and place them seam side down in the pan. Take the reserved soup mixture and mix with the milk. Spoon over the enchiladas, and bake for 30-35 minutes until bubbly. Turn off the oven, sprinkle enchiladas with the remaining cheese, and let set in the oven for another 5 minutes while the cheese melts.

Serve with hot sauce and sour cream.

Mmm. Home.

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Look What I Made: Spaghetti with Cheese and Black Pepper

Comments (0) | Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Sounds and looks simple, doesn't it? It is, really. I wasn't looking for complicated last night when I was thinking about dinner. I just got back from my service trip, and there is very little for food in my house. I was really excited when StumbleUpon pulled up this Smitten Kitchen recipe.
The only changes I made were halving(ish) the recipe and using some Dubliner aged cheddar instead of Pecorino Romano.

I successfully used the last of my spaghetti. It's very strange to think that I have no spaghetti in my house right now.

The pasta was good. Peppery. Cheesy, Creamy. Simple. I love dishes like this, dishes that are borderline fancy because of their simplicity.

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Out of Town-Why I Fail At Updating Yet Again

Comments (0) | Wednesday, April 21, 2010

It's been crazy hereabouts. I've had job interviews and banquets and lots of planning to do. Next week I will be in Colorado, so I've been scrambling to get the details together for that.

So, no updates. I promise I'll get back on the ball when I come back. Right now I'm chowing down on some modified Pioneer Woman Mac & Cheese, and I'm about to watch My Name Is Bruce on Netflix.

Cheers, all! See you in a week or so.

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Look What I Made: Indonesian Peanut Chicken

Comments (3) | Sunday, April 11, 2010

For my birthday, my grandma gave me the Taste of Home Healthy Living cookbook. I love me some Taste of Home, so I was pretty stoked to start going through it to find recipes. This one is really easy, but it's also really spicy. I'm not totally sure how to cut down the spice, since the chili sauce it calls for is a large part of the overall sauce. Maybe by using a mild wing sauce instead? I'm not sure.
Even though I had to have two glasses of milk to eat it, the results of the recipe were pretty good.

Indonesian Peanut Chicken:
1-1/2 lbs. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cubed (I just used one and it was fine-not too much extra sauce or anything)
1/3 c. chopped onion
1/3 c. water
1/4 c. creamy peanut butter (they recommend reduced fat, but I used the creamy Skippy Natural I had on hand)
3 Tbsp. chili sauce
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
brown rice
ToH also recommends 6 Tbsp salted peanuts and 6 Tbsp. chopped sweet red pepper for garnish, but I didn't have these on hand so I just left them out.

Place chicken in a slow cooker. In a small bowl, combine the onion, water, peanut butter, chili sauce, salt, pepper, and cayenne. Pour over chicken. Cover and cook on low for 4-6 hours, until chicken is tender.
Shred the chicken. Serve over brown rice. Sprinkle with peanuts and peppers if desired.

EAT. Put out the fire with milk!

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Look What I Made: One Bowl Brownies

Comments (0) | Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Monday was my birthday. Our office was closed for Easter break, so I didn't go to work or do anything special in particular, really. I did, however, promise my coworkers I would bake something. I picked One Bowl Brownies from AllRecipes. The comments offer a modification with 12 Tbsp of cocoa and 3 Tbsp of oil, which is what I did. I also added about 2 Tbsp of Penzeys cinnamon and (shh!) a dash of cayenne, because I like spicy chocolate.

This is a pretty decent brownie recipe. My coworkers sure liked them.

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Team Cooking! Chicken With 40 Cloves of Garlic and Garlicky Baked Fries

Comments (0) | Tuesday, March 30, 2010

I was in the Twin Cities last weekend for a job interview with another AmeriCorps organization. My aunt and I decided that we should do some cooking while I was in the area, and I told her I'd gladly blog about it.
We decided on this Chicken With 40 Cloves of Garlic recipe and The Purple Foodie's Garlicky Baked Fries. It was one garlic-y night, let me tell you.
Here is my aunt Linnea, getting creative with the notion of pounding chicken flat. We decided to split up. She took the chicken recipe, and I did the potatoes.
My uncle Dave, cutting garlic. I think we ended up with more like 20 cloves of garlic, but it was still awesome.
Here I am, stirring up the taters.
Andrew (my boyfriend) helped too, mainly by fetching me various things.

Check out the final product!
Oh yeah.
For one, I think this is the best food photograph I've ever taken. For two, this was as good as it looks. Aunt Linnea is a rockstar.

You pretty much can't go wrong with these potatoes, though I think I may have baked them a smidgen too long. I think we used Yukon gold potatoes instead of russets, which accounts for the yellow color. Well, that and the garlic infused olive oil. Mmm, garlic.

It was really fun to tag team with Aunt Linnea while I was up in the cities. Hopefully, I can snag a Twin Cities position next year so we can do this again.

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Food Meme

Comments (0) | Tuesday, March 23, 2010

I thought I'd do a food meme (and I'm sure this is ancient) for fun, and as a way to lay out my kitchen philosophy. Well, I say kitchen philosophy, but what I mean is food I like vs. food I don't like.

1. Can you cook? If yes, do you like to cook?
Anne can cook! Or at least I try to. My friends and I seem perfectly happy with my cooking, but my boyfriend doesn't seem to agree.

2. When do you eat with your whole family?
Since I don't live near my parents anymore, I only really eat with my whole family on holidays or visits. Holidays involve large, home cooked meals. Brief visits usually involve pizza.

3. What do you eat for breakfast?
Usually granola and milk and a cup of black coffee. Sometimes I mix it up and eat my granola with yogurt instead.

4. When, where and how do you eat on weekdays?
I eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I also usually snack twice a day, and that snack is usually a granola bar or a cookie. For lunch, I usually eat at my desk at work. For breakfast and dinner, I usually eat on the couch at home. I am really bad about sitting at the table.

5. How often do you eat out (in a restaurant)?
Pretty rarely. When I visit my boyfriend we tend to go out more than we stay in, and I visit him about once a month. Otherwise, I tend to stay in.

6. How often do you order delivery/take-out?
I ordered pizza for the first time since I moved here two weeks ago. I've been living in the area for eight months, and in my current apartment for three.

7. Regarding no. 5 and 6: Say there weren’t financial reasons would you do this more often?
I don't know about more often because I do love to cook. I think if money weren't an issue, I'd go to fancier places. I really enjoy hoity toity presentation.

8. Are there any “standard dishes” you serve regularly?
Pasta. There's a sesame chicken recipe I keep coming back to. Yesterday's curry frequents my kitchen pretty often, as well. At this point in my cooking development, though, I'm so busy trying to learn how to cook new things that I don't have a lot of staples.

9. Have you ever cooked for more than 6 persons?
Not on my own. I've helped my grandma in the kitchen for Thanksgiving, though.

10. Do you cook every day?
No, because sometimes you just want frozen pizza. I probably cook 2-4 days out of the week.

11. Have you ever tried recipes from blogs?
All the time!

12. Who cooks more frequently at your home?

I live alone, so me.

13. And who cooks better?
Me, and sometimes me.

14. Do you cook totally different compared to your mother/parents?
Yes and no. I think I cook weirder stuff than my mom, but I still defer to her methods for things like baked chicken and pasta.

15. If yes, do you nevertheless eat at your parents?
Sure! Even if Mom uses Velveeta, I still love her and her cooking.

16. Are you a vegetarian or could you imagine being one?

I could probably do it. I do not eat beef or seafood, and so I would just have to cut poultry and bacon. I would miss those things, but I could go without.

17. What would you like to cook which you haven’t dared to make yet?
There are a lot of things I'd like to try. Whole roasted chicken. Macaroons. Anything complicated at all. It's partly a resource issue. I mean, I don't even own a cupcake tin right now.

18. Do you prefer cooking or baking?
I'm pretty fond of both. I try not to bake too often, though. I have a really large sweet tooth.

19. What is your greatest misery in the kitchen?
I hate doing the dishes. Hate hate hate. And I don't have a dishwasher. It sucks.

20. What do you dislike?
Seafood. Green beans (and really all beans, except chickpeas). Fruit, except mangoes, strawberries, blackberries, and the occasional apple. I don't dislike beef, but I don't eat it because it upsets my stomach. Bleu cheese--I think it tastes like crayons. Tomatoes. Country music. Jane Austen novels. Romantic comedies.

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My Favorite Curry Recipe

Comments (0) | Monday, March 22, 2010

This is another recipe from the back of a Penzeys label. My favorite curry powder is Penzeys Rogan Josh. I like it because it has just the right amount of heat, and tons of flavor.

According to the label, Rogan Josh style curry is made with beef or lamb cubes. I adapted the recipe to a single chicken breast, because that's how I roll.

(Sorry for the weird photo quality on this one. I promise it looks more appetizing in real life)

1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 boneless, skinless chicken bread, cut into small chunks
1/2 white onion, chopped
1 Tbsp. Rogan Josh seasoning
1/2 c. water
1/4 c. plain yogurt

Heat up the oil in the skillet and brown the chicken, then set the chicken aside. Brown up the onion. Add the curry powder and stir for about a minute. Add the chicken back in and stir. Slowly add the water and yogurt. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer the whole thing for about an hour.

Eat it with rice and naan bread if you've got it! I ate mine with some asiago garlic bread and it was just as tasty.

The greatest thing about curry is that it takes pretty much no effort.

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Go-To Pasta

Comments (0) | Sunday, March 21, 2010

This is another quick update that involves pretty much no technical expertise at all. I have been feeling very lazy (and somewhat down) lately, and my kitchen reflects that. Hopefully I'll perk up now that it seems like spring is probably maybe here to stay.

I think I've mentioned before that I am not too crazy about red sauce. Tomatoes and I just aren't buds. The only red sauce I've ever loved is my friend Carolyne's family recipe red sauce, which has a pretty high acidity to it and pretty much no sweetness. It is delicious and Carolyne refuses to share the recipe with me. I still love her, but I wish she would jar that business and send me some (hint, hint Carolyne).

Regardless of my dislike of red sauce, I consumed a lot of pasta growing up. I love pasta. It is my favorite food, right after mashed potatoes. My mom is incredibly good to me, and, instead of making me eat the dreaded red sauce, always served my spaghetti with some herbs, garlic, and melted mozzarella cheese.

Pasta of any kind is my go-to meal when I don't feel like cooking. Now that I'm a grown up, I try not to eat it too often. Maybe more like once a month instead of once or twice a week. Once I moved out on my own, I experimented a little with pasta preparation. I'd eat it with Alfredo sauce, with wine sauce, and with pesto (which I love). However, my favorite preparation is the one suggested on the back of the Penzeys pasta sprinkle package.

Penzeys pasta sprinkle is essentially a pre-blended version of my mom's herbs and garlic. I think the blend is basil, oregano, and powdered garlic. It's awesome. Penzeys suggests you serve your pasta like this:

2 Tbsp butter or bacon grease (or olive oil, as I sometimes use)
a few tsps of Pasta Sprinkle (I always eyeball it)
A splash of red wine or balsamic vinegar

I always top it with some cheese, too. I love cheese.

I use this preparation for all sorts of pasta-fettuccine, spaghetti, tortellini, etc. It has never failed me. It's my red sauce hating kid's pasta, all grown up.

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Brief Update: Curry Chicken Crock Pot

Comments (0) | Wednesday, March 17, 2010

No pictures for this, since it's cooking away at my house right now.

I did not come up with this recipe. I got it from one of the incredible ladies over on SmartChat. It's easy and curry-tastic.
Here's what's up:
Veggies (today I'm using carrots, celery, onions, and garlic, but I know I've used broccoli before. Use whatever you like best).
Boneless skinless chicken breast (I think one per person, so one for me).
A can of Lite Coconut Milk
Green Curry Paste (The kind I have is mild. Use whatever you prefer and how much you prefer. I use about a Tbsp).

I also doctored this up a bit with some Rogan Josh seasoning and a drizzle of sriracha.

Layer your crock pot like this: veggies, then chicken, then liquid. Put the lid on and cook on low for 7-8 hours. Shred the chicken and serve the whole mess over rice. Mmm.

I have been eating pretty terribly lately, so a good crock pot recipe with a high propensity for leftovers is much called for.

These past few weeks have been surprisingly busy, and next week looks busy too. We're kickin' it into high gear for spring!

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Look what I made: Spinach Hummus

Comments (1) | Thursday, March 11, 2010

Apologies for the weird color quality of this picture. This Spinach Hummus recipe is not nuclear green, but it is super tasty. I've been thinking about it since I stumbled across it on Food Gawker.
My friend Babs tells me that you have to try pretty hard to screw up hummus, and I agree. Go forth and make hummus!

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Spinach and Cream Cheese Spaghetti

Comments (0) | Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Sauces and I are not traditionally friends. My favorite way to sauce a pasta is either to fake a cream sauce with cream cheese or to open a jar. I think the only pasta sauce I ever successfully made without incident was the cheese sauce for The Pioneer Woman's mac and cheese.

Spinach and I are friends. I love spinach, and would even go so far to say that it is my favorite leafy green foodstuff. The problem with spinach is that I can never eat an entire pack of it before it goes back. Grocery stores need to sell 1/2 or 1/4 packs for people who live alone. Anyway, in an attempt to up my vegetable intake, I bought a package of spinach. I've been using it almost daily on sandwiches and things, but I've barely made a dent in it.

How else could I use the spinach? I did some pondering the other night and decided that a creamy spinach pasta would be a delightful dinner.

Well, it was not without its flaws, but it was tasty.

Firstly, I didn't put in nearly enough spinach. Secondly, I started the sauce/spinach saute much too early, so it reduced too much by the time I needed it. It was pretty tasty, though. Especially when I paired it with some warm garlic bread.
I eyeballed basically everything and I have no idea how much spaghetti I used. The goal was to use enough to for leftovers for lunch the next day, which I had. I also had about a serving and a half at dinner. So enough spaghetti for about three servings?
1 Tbsp. butter
4 minced gloves of garlic
2 cups of fresh baby spinach
3/4 cup of white wine, divided
1/4 cup of milk
1 oz fat free cream cheese
1 Tbsp. cornstarch (added because the sauce was not to the thickness I wanted)
1/3 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
Enough spaghetti for three servings

In a pot, get the water going for the spaghetti. I started the sauce before the spaghetti and it was a huge and obvious mistake. Once the water is boiling, toss in the spaghetti and let it cook for the amount of time it states on the package.
In a small pan, melt the butter. Once the butter has melted, add the garlic and cook for a minute or two. Add in the spinach and allow it to wilt down. Stir it all up. Add 1/2 cup of the wine and let it bowl and reduce a little bit.
Strain the spaghetti and put it back on the stove top on low heat. Add in the spinach/wine mixture and stir. Add the cream cheese, milk, and the rest of the wine. Stir. If the sauce doesn't thicken to your liking, add cornstarch. Finally, stir in the Parmesan cheese and serve. I ground some pepper on mine, but don't feel obligated if that isn't your thing.

Cheesy, garlicky, spinachy. I wish I had added way more spinach, but there you have it. I love cooking with white wine, by the way. There's something about it that adds such an excellent flavor.

The garlic bread was a take and bake loaf I picked up at my local grocery store. It wasn't very garlicky, but it was still quite good and was an excellent addition to the pasta.

I'm not sure what else I have planned for this week in the food department. I'm still pawing through my new cookbooks. This week, in comparison to last week, is very quiet and somewhat slow. I feel like busy week and not-so-busy weeks tend to be equally draining at the end of the day.

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Brief Update!

Comments (0) |

I'm hoping to post about Sunday's pasta experience tonight. Until then, here is some brief news:
Anne Can Cook now has a twitter account! You can find it by clicking the twitter icon at the top of the page, or by going here: http://www.twitter.com/annecancook.

I also have an email address specific to the blog now: annecancookblog@gmail.com. If you have any questions, comments, concerns, recipe requests, or pontifications about the universe, feel free to send them there.

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Cake and Chicken

Comments (0) | Sunday, March 7, 2010

Sup, Broccolis? It has been some week. I've had essentially two blog posts ready to go, but since I've been running full throttle without time to blog, we'll do a twofer. Before we get going, let me spill some of my personal beans.
AmeriCorps VISTA positions are contracted for one full year. When I first applied, I thought I would just do a year and then go to grad school. Well, once I got started and life kept happening, I decided another year or two in AmeriCorps would be a good thing for me. I applied for Teach for America, an AmeriCorps program that places volunteers in low income schools as teachers for two year increments. I do not have enough good things to say about the program, and would encourage anyone with a love of teaching to check it out and apply.
Due to my VISTA contract and TFA's time line, I opted to apply in the very last application tier. Applications were due February 19th, and decisions regarding progression in the application process were made public on March 2nd.
Unfortunately for me, I did not progress in the application process and, in essence, went back to the drawing board. I'm still planning to do another year of service somewhere, and am currently working on another AmeriCorps application.
Now, I can't say that not making TFA didn't bum me out. Of course it did. Luckily for my coworkers, my celebration methods are not dissimilar to my mourning methods. I made a cake. A blackberry swirl almond sour cream cake with my grandma's secret frosting recipe and shaved chocolate on top. Yes ma'am. Here is the cake, unfrosted:

Pretty, right? I should mention here that my favorite kind of cake is yellow and chocolate marble cake, and I would be lying if I said the aesthetics didn't play a part in that.
The recipe is from Tasty Kitchen user melja56. The only thing I did differently was use three whole eggs instead of four egg whites, since I had three eggs and not four. The blackberries were my own addition as well. I ran about 1/4 cup of them through the Magic Bullet with about a Tbsp. of sugar. Then I plopped spoonfuls of the rough puree into the cake better and swirled it with a spoon.
I mentioned my grandma's secret frosting recipe. Maybe someday I'll tell you what that is, but for now I'm guarding it with my life. Suffice to say that it is something like an almond vanilla butter cream, but better.
My coworkers loved the cake, and I was pretty happy with how it turned out, too. It was definitely not the worst eat-your-feelings cake I'd ever had.

On Thursday, my Taste of Home order arrived on my doorstep! Taste of Home had a $5 cookbook sale a couple weeks ago (apologies that I didn't share this with you at the time), and I picked up four books since shipping was automatically free at $20. One of the books I picked up was Ultimate Chicken Recipes, and I am so glad I did. There is a ton of good-looking food in that book, and it was solo cooking AND crock pot sections. I have an ingrained love of Taste of Home cookbooks, due to my mom and my grandma's long term devotion to the brand. I mean, when I found out Taste of Home was having a sale, I immediately called my mom who, in turn, placed her own intense order. That's how much we like their cookbooks.
Anyway, I didn't even get five pages into the chicken cookbook before a found a recipe I had to try: Hot Chicken Swirls

Doesn't look very much like a swirl, does it? It's not, exactly. Hot Chicken Swirls call for crescent rolls, which I did not have on hand. I did, however, have Phyllo dough in the freezer. So, using the filling from the Hot Chicken Swirls recipe as inspiration, I made something that was more like a Hot Chicken Bundle. Here is what I did:
1/2 c. cooked chicken
1 oz cream cheese
2 Tbsp. prepared ranch dressing
1/8 c. shredded colby jack cheese
1/2 Tbsp. Penzeys Fox Point Seasoning
1 Tbsp. Frank's Hot Sauce
A few sheets of Phyllo dough.

Mix everything in a bowl except the Phyllo dough, then plop the filling on the dough and form a roll/bundle/whatever you can get the dough to form into. Bake at 375F for 10 minutes.

This recipe only mildly resembles the original, but it was still pretty good. It would have been better as crescent swirls, though.

Phyllo dough is a real hassle to work with, by the way. I'm going to have to play around with it until I figure it out.

I have grand cooking plans for tonight, so I hope I'll have a post for you all tonight/tomorrow.

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