Recent Recipes

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!

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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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