Thursday, October 30, 2008
JJ was unprepared, and was crazy google image man tonight, and found something he liked, but I had my design planned for a few days. He decided to go big or go home...
He decided he didn't want everyone to know which pumpkin belongs to him and me, but I think it's kind of obvious....
I would like to note I used only a carving knife, and he was able to get out his kit from anatomy class for dissecting cadavers... BIG advantage! But anyway... Please vote as to who the winner is. Last year I conceded from the race... but we're not going talk about last year's pumpkins...
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
When I saw the photo of this soup, I knew it was going to be perfect for this week, as temperatures have topped out at 50 or so! I love to mix in vegetarian meals during the week, and this one, though vegetarian, has lentils and chick peas, making it hearty and healthy!
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
I love carrots, especially the sweet baby carrots in a sugary glaze... yum! I was drawn to this one because it has some sugar, some vinegar for tang, cilantro for a brightness, and lots of spices!
When I stumbled upon this recipe, I knew I had to make it. Not only is it a superfood/anti oxidant rich salad, but it's got so many elements that contrast and pair so well, and it's delicious! Also, I finally found pomegranates in season! After removing the seeds (and a tiny bit of juice), I understand why a bottle of pom 100% juice is $5! This was a wonderful salad!
As I was browsing thru Morocco Modern, I found many recipes for tagines. Unfortunately I don't have a tagine - the traditional Moroccan cooking vessel. I read what the tagine's purpose is though, and decided that I could use a pyrex dish with a lid and it would work just as well. A tagine isn't meant to brown meat, it's meant to slowly cook and steam the food due to the shape of the vessel.
The spice mixture and flavors in this dish was delicious! The egg in the middle looked intestering, but I gave it to JJ so I don't really know how it was. I served these meatballs over what cous cous.
Moroccan Meatball Tagine
Makes 3 c.
1 tbsp. dried crushed chili
1 tbsp. sweet paprika
1 tsp. grated ginger
½ tsp. saffron threads
1 onions, diced
2 bay leaves
1 tbsp. ground cumin
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 tbsp. flat leaf parsley, chopped
2 tbsp. chopped cilantro
½ preserved lemon, sliced thin
½ c. EVOO
Juice of ½ lemon
Mix all ingredients together, leave for half an hour before use. Store in refrigerator for up to 7 days.
Moroccan Meatball Tagine
Serves 4 (I made 1/3 recipe for 2)
2 tbsp. EVOO
1 c. charmoula marinade
28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
8 oz. frozen peas
½ c. dried breadcrumbs
½ c. milk
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tbsp. parsley
1 tbsp. cilantro
2 tbsp. EVOO
2 ¼ lb. ground beef
Salt and pepper
2 tbsp. parsley, chopped 1 egg, for serving Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Soak breadcrumbs in milk until soft, add remaining ingredients and combine. Form into golf ball sized meat balls. Bake for 10 minutes to seal.
For the tomato sauce, heat the EVOO in a saucepan and fry the charmoula marinade for about 5 minutes, until softened. Add the tomatoes and simmer on low heat for 20 minutes. While the sauce is simmering, prepare the meatballs.
Add peas to tomato sauce, add the meatballs, coat in sauce, simmer for 5 more minutes.
Place tajine over low, add meatballs around the outside, sprinkle with prslet, break raw egg into the middle. Gook gently for a few minutes to set the egg. Serve immediately.
Moroccan Modern by Hassan M'Souli. Interlink Publishing Group, Inc. Northhampton, MA.
2 tbsp. parsley, chopped
1 egg, for serving
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Soak breadcrumbs in milk until soft, add remaining ingredients and combine. Form into golf ball sized meat balls. Bake for 10 minutes to seal.
Sometimes when choosing my country challenge winner, I browse thru the cookbooks at the library, which is how I chose this week's country. I found a cookbook called Modern Moroccan, which had the most delicious looking photographs. I have to say, if a cookbook has photos, I'm immediately drawn to it, and this cookbook has gorgeous photos. The cookware is beautiful, the ingredients are so colorful, and the dishes are so elaborate, but simple, with clean, bright flavors and not an abundance of ingredients.
Officially called the Kingdom of Morocco, it is located in Africa's northwest coast. It is the only country in Africa that isn't a member of the African Union, and one of the United States' major non-NATO ally.
Morocco has been inhabited since 8000 BC, originally by the Berbers. Through the Roman Empire and Byzantine Greeks time, the Berbers were able to maintain control over most of modern Morocco. In the medieval times, Islamic expansion made it's way into Morocco.
During the American Revolution, Moroccan rulers were the first to recognize America as a nation, and allowed the ships free and safe passage in their waters. The American-Moroccan Treaty of Friendship stands as the US's oldest non-broken friendship treaty.
In the 1800's, Morocco became an interest to European countries. In 1906, Spain and France policed Morocco jointly. Tension increased over the years, and the Treaty of Fez was signed, which made Morocco a protectorate of France.
Nationalist parties arose, however, and conflicts developed between France and Moroccans as they wanted independence. After France exiled Sultan Mohammed V, Moroccans attacked the French until Mohammed was allowed back into leadership. The revolution was called "Taourat al-malik wa shaab" - the revolution of the King and the People- is celebrated every August 20.
In 2006, Morocco celebrated it's 50th year of independence.
Currently, maps of Morocco differ. The Western Sahara region is currently under dispute.
As for the cuisine, it is very diverse because of many influences, including Berber, Spanish, Portuguese, Turkish, Arab, and Jewish.
Spices are used extensively, and many popular ingredients are mint, olives, oranges, lemons, chicken, and cous cous.
Tagine cooking is very popular, and one of the most common national dishes is Harira.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
For the side, I went with his all-time favorite, baked white cheddar mac and cheese. I am using Cabot's 50% less fat white cheddar, which alters the taste a bit, but since I make a béchamel, it is still very creamy and flavorful.
So sorry I'm 2 months and 1 day late, JJ, but Happy Birthday!
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
A few weeks ago pie pumpkins were on sale at Kroger, so I picked up 4. I cooked 2, and left 2 on the front porch. I was browsing through the many pumpkin recipes online, and saw one for a pumpkin stuffed with cous cous and sausage – sounded great! I didn't bookmark the recipe, but I took the 3 main ingredients I could remember and added in a few things that I thought would pair well! I was looking for butternut squash to add in, but I found a golden acorn squash that looked so pretty, so I used that instead.
Since then, he’s constantly asking me when I’m going to cook Guatemalan food and post a photo of me in my apron.
One week after he returned, JJ and I hosted a BBQ for the new Athletic Trainers at IU. One of them, Will, is Guatemalan! I couldn’t believe it when his wife told me because just a week earlier my dad was there. Allison (Will’s wife) told me that his birthday was coming up, and he wanted his favorite traditional Guatemalan dish, black beans with eggs and tortillas, something his mom always made. I tucked that little piece of information away, knowing I'd beg her for the recipe when I started blogging again!
Now that I’ve restarted my Country Challenge cooking, I just had to talk about Guatemala. Not only to please my dad, but because I have the most authentic dish out of every challenge I’ve done so far!
And thanks to Will's Mom, Will, and Allison for getting this authentic recipe to me and allowing me to blog about it!
Because I will be away this weekend, I cooked and researched this week's country early - Guatemala! I chose Guatemala for many reasons (see next post)... so here's a little background on the country that borders Mexico (which I didn't know) and is actually not too far from us here in the states!
Archaeologists have found remains that lead them to believe there was civilization in Guatemala as far as 12,000 BC. Between the years of 250 and 900 AD, the Mayan Civilization was at it's peak in Guatemala, and many cities and states were built. The cities were all abandoned around 900 AD as famine broke out and killed off the population.
After the Spanish arrived in the Americas, there were many expeditions thru Guatemala. The contact with Spaniards by the natives resulted in widespead disease, and again killed off much of the population. Guatemala was then claimed as an Audiencia, and supplied Spain with sugarcane, cocoa, dye, and wood used for building churches.
In 1821, Guatemala claimed Independence from Spain, and incorporated itself into the Mexican empire, however it dissolved. In 1871, the "Liberal Revolution" occured, which modernized Guatemala, and brought new manufacturing and agriculture, including coffee, a major export.
As far as Modern history goes - America supplied Guatemala with arms and machinery during the Cold War. Guatemala was also involved in providing air strips for the Bay of Pigs Invasion. Many years followed with leaders stepping up and being overthrown, invasion, and guerrilla groups. In a scorched earth style of warfare, 45,000 Guatemalans fled to Mexico as civil war erupted in 1982. The war carried on for many years, finally ending in 1996. The UN negotiated talks between the guerrillas and the government. Since the war ended, Guatemala has had very successful government elections and has prospered in creating trade agreements.
Monday, October 20, 2008
Sunday, October 19, 2008
Every now and then I miss chicken fingers and fries. So unhealthy, but so good! After my long run on Saturday, I decided to indulge in a healthier version of chicken fingers and fries, and they were delicious! I love seasoned fries and ranch chips, so I combined the two to make spicy ranch oven fries, and made my usual bonesless buffalo chicken tenders, always a favorite!
I served this up with a garden salad with blue cheese dressing.
1 tsp. smoked paprika
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1.5 lbs. of boneless skinless chicken breasts or chicken tenders
1 cups flour
1 cup wing sauce (recommended Frank's Red Hot)
2 cups Panko bread crumbs (found in the Asian food area)
Note: I prepare potatoes, put them in the oven on the top rack, then make the tenders, and put them on the bottom (about 10 mins. later)
When I flip the potatoes with 10 mins. to go, I also flip the chicken.
I am extremely lucky to have joined a sorority in college, Zeta Tau Alpha. Not only have I made some friends for life, but I have been able to really get involved in Breast Cancer Philantropic Events, as that is our national philanthropy. Because of the many college bakesales and events, I was a veteran in pink ribbon cooking long before my mom ever got breast cancer.
When I found out her race was in Charlotte, I knew I'd have to go and have some of my sorority sisters join me in cheering her on, as I went to school in Hickory, NC, about an hour away.
However, in order to get them to come, I promised baked goods... So I decided to use the extra M&M's and make some cookies! I used the Levain copycat recipe. These cookies are delicious, they're moist and dense, but at the same time they're cakey and soft. I based my recipe off of a Levain bakery copycat recipe.
3/4 c. sugar
3/4 c. light brown sugar
2 eggs at room temp.
1 tsp vanilla
3 1/2 c. flour
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
1 cup oil
1 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1. In a bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
2. In a large bowl, mix together the sugars with the oil.
3. Add vanilla and eggs one at a time, mixing well.
4. Gradually add dry ingredients.
5. Stir in 3/4 cup of the chocolate chips.
6. Line a 9x13 pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil (if you use foil, spray with non-stick spray).
7. Spread the dough into the pan, then sprinkle the remaining chocolate chips on top.
8. Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 25 minutes until light golden brown.
Posted by Ashlee at 10/19/2008 03:45:00 PM
Today my husband made a request, which is very stange - he never requests meals! He asked me for "The LR Special" which is the one thing our college cafeteria made well, creamy tomato soup and grilled cheese with bacon. I didn't have any bacon in the freezer, so I told him it would have to be plain grilled cheese with white cheddar, but I could make some tomato soup from scratch. I made it up as I went along, clearing out the herbs in the areo garden to really add a nice fresh flavor!
Saturday, October 18, 2008
1 c. water (less or more)
2-3 tsp. salt
1 lb. lamb, chopped into small pieces (I used ground beef)
1 green chilie pepper, finely chopped
1 tsp. ground black pepper
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 tbsp. tomato puree
1 tbsp. chopped cilantro
16. oz. yogurt (chaka)
In a kitchen aid using the dough hook, add the flour and 1 tsp. salt. Turn the mixer to low and stream in water, about a cup, more or less. Let the dough knead for 5 minutes. Cover in plastic and refrigerate for at least an hour.
In a small bowl, combine the lamb, chilie, pepper, cumin, and 1-2 tsp. salt. Set aside.
Divide the dough and roll out to 1/16” thickness. Cut into squares. Spoon 1 tbsp. of the meat mixture into each piece of dough, pull the sides up and press together, but do not seal the pasta.
Grease the steamer, place the mantu on and steam for 30-45 minutes over medium heat.
While mantu steam, prepare tomato sauce. Heat oil in a skillet, add the tomato puree and bring to a bubble. Turn heat to low until mantu are ready.
Plate mantu, cover in sauce, and sprinkle with cilantro. Serve with chaka.
“Afghan Food and Cookery”, Helen Saberi. Hippocrene Books: New York, 2000.
1 lb. okra
6 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 oz. split peas
1 7 oz. can tomatoes
Salt and pepper
1 tsp. powdered dill weed
Clean the okra and cut off the stalks.
Heat the oil and fry the onion until brown. Add the okra, fry until they are coated in oil, add the split peas, tomatoes, salt and pepper. Stir until combined. Add water to cover the okra, then add the dill. Bring to a boil, then turn to a simmer and cover. Cook for 30-45 minutes or until the sauce is thick and reduced. Serve.
As I was browsing thru the cookbooks at the library, I found one called “Afghan Food and Cookery”. I picked it up right away because right now, I believe many people associate Afghanistan with war and terrorism. However, there is an amazing history and culture in the country, including a delicious and interesting cuisine, and that is what I like to focus on, the people, the tradition, and the food.
Afghanistan is located in such a place that many armies through the centuries have stormed through, leaving their impression on the culture. Alexander the Great, Genghis Khan and the Mongols, Babur, and the British have all invaded Afghanistan, and sometimes stuck around for a few years!
Afghanistan is also situated on the Silk Routes, which meant traders traveled thru the country, leaving Indian spices, Chinese Teas, and many other ingredients that have influenced the country.
Hospitality is extremely important in Afghan culture, and guests are treated very well. Meals are eaten on the floor on cushions and pillows. Usually there are large platters of rice and many different condiments are laid out, such as chutney, pickled vegetables, and breads. It is traditional to eat with your right hand, and no silverware is used, except for nan (unleavened bread).
Through all of my reading, I found many pieces of literature that discussed grapes, which grow extremely well in Afghanistan; a few other common and popular ingredients are pomegranate, cilantro, chickpeas, onions, eggplant, and yogurt.
All information paraphrased from “Afghan Food and Cookery” by Helen Saberi.
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
7 Layer dip is a family favorite for football games, so I made a big bowl for us to snack on during the Ohio State Game. It may not look pretty, but it tastes great! There are a million ways to make 7 layers, but this is my favorite...
4 haas avocados
Chop the garlic and sprinkle with salt, paste it together. Dice the avocado, add to a bowl, squeeze lime juice over, add garlic paste and cumin, stir and cover with plastic to keep from browning.
Over the weekend I wanted to serve a nice brunch for the fam before they headed home, so I made a pair of frittatas along with the cinnamon buns and fruit. I chose these 2 combos because they're so tasty and vegetarian, which much of my family tends to eat.
I was going to cook these like I do my normal frittatas (in a skillet and under the broiler) but I only have 1 nonstick skillet, so I had to find another method. I didn't want to make a quiche, but figured baking them in a pie plate would be best. I remembered seeing Trish's crustless quiche, and thought the only difference was some breadcrumbs on the bottom, so I tried it out and it worked very well!
1/4 c. crumbled fat free feta
Splash of milk
Monday, October 13, 2008
The plan on Saturday was to watch football, eat and drink. We were very successful!
I saw 5lb. bags of potatoes were on sale, so I decided to do a baked potato bar. However, it sounded like everyone liked the idea of just chili cheese potatoes, which was a lot easier! I deviated a bit from my standard chili, but it came out fantastic, hearty and healthy!
8 russet potatoes, cleaned, pierced and wrapped in foil
12 oz. 96% lean ground beef
1 large yellow onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 green bell pepper, diced
15 oz. can dark red kidney beans
1/2 bottle of corona light
1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
2 c. chicken stock
Salt and Pepper
1 tbsp. mexican chili powder
2 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. smoked paprika
Dash of cayenne
2 c. 2% cheddar cheese
1 c. light sour cream
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place wrapped potatoes in the oven and bake for 1-2 hours (depending on size)
In a large pot over medium high, brown meat. Drain, and add onions, garlic and peppers. Cook for 3-4 minutes. Deglaze with the beer, turn to low. Add beans, tomatoes, stock, and spices. Simmer for a hour or two. Taste and adjust seasonings.
Put potatoes in a bowl, top with chili, cheese and sour cream.
Over the weekend, we took my parents and sister and brother in law to Oliver Winery, a local winery that offers tastings, tours, and has a beautiful terrace outside for picnics. They encourage you to buy a bottle and sit on the patio with it. They sell picnic food, but I brought some from home.
Trail Mix (Dried cranberries, cherries, raisins, pecans, pepitas, almonds, and chocolate chips)
Hummus Trio and Veggie Dippers
Italian Bread with Crab and Veggie Cheese Spread
Everything was wonderful - except for the bees!
Posted by Ashlee at 10/13/2008 03:00:00 AM
Sunday, October 12, 2008
Also, after I took the photo, I put the buns back in the oven and baked them for 5 more minutes and added more icing.
Friday, October 10, 2008
I stopped for a few reasons... One is I had a few not so good meals, I also was running out of cookbooks at the library to check out, another is because while trying to cook as authentically as possible, I had a hard time finding ingredients, and lastly, those ingredients are expensive!
However, I did really enjoy learning about and discovering new countries and their food, and it sounds like people actually enjoy learning too!
I'm going to start it back up!
However, this time around I might just do one or two meals, and not an entire week.
Also, please leave feedback on this post, did you like how I did an intro to the country and tell you a bit about it? With the map and flag, or do you just like recipes?
I still read all about it, I just don't want to bore people :)
Posted by Ashlee at 10/10/2008 08:55:00 AM
Even though I tend to use the same recipes over and over if I like them and they work, I can't help but want to try something new! I decided to go with Hershey's Chocolate Cake and Frosting recipes for the Chocolate cupcakes at the bake sale. They were delicious, but I do think I like my standard chocolate cake from Ina a bit better (though the recipes are so similar).
2 cups sugar
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup Hersheys Cocoa
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 tablespoons red food coloring
1 teaspoon white distilled vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 (12-cup) muffin pans with cupcake papers.
In a medium mixing bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder. In a large bowl gently beat together the oil, buttermilk, eggs, food coloring, vinegar, and vanilla with a handheld electric mixer. Add the sifted dry ingredients to the wet and mix until smooth and thoroughly combined.
Divide the batter evenly among the cupcake tins about 2/3 filled. Bake in oven for about 20 to 22 minutes, turning the pans once, half way through. Test the cupcakes with a toothpick for doneness. Remove from oven and cool completely before frosting.
Cream Cheese Frosting
2 packages of cream cheese, at room temp.
1 stick of butter at room temp.
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. salt
3 lbs. of powdered sugar
Cream together cream cheese and butter. Add salt and vanilla. Add powdered sugar 1/2 c. at a time. If icing is too thick, add a splash of milk to thin, if it's too thin, add more powdered sugar until desired consistency is reached.
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
If you were a devoted reader from the beginning, you may notice I've made this dish before. As much as I try to not repeat any meals, I had a few reasons for repeating this one. One is it's just so delicious, and today was so cold and rainy. It was perfect. Secondly, I have decided that I'll eventually make my blog into a cookbook, and I'd like to have more photos (hopefully better) of some dishes to use in the cookbook. I used the same recipe, one I made on my own after making this dish a few times. The green beans are non-traditional, but I like to add veggies whenever possible, and it grabs an element from the vegetarian version of this soup - Minestrone.
In a soup pot on medium high, brown ground beef for 6-8 minutes. Drain if necessary.
Monday, October 6, 2008
I've been trying to make more classic dishes lately because some people think I make stuff that's too out there (cough:trish:cough...just kidding!)... so I decided to do my take on Italian Wedding Soup! I love meatballs poached in soup, they're so tender, and I love spinach and how it has a creamy taste in a broth based soup. It's actually very healthy, and easy! I served it with some crusty bread and a tossed italian salad.
1 tbsp. fresh minced italian herbs
1/2 small onion, grated
1 clove minced garlic
2 tbsp. grated parmesan
1/4 c. breadcrumbs
6 oz. lean ground beef
1 tbsp. EVOO
1/2 yellow onion, grated
2 garlic cloves, grated
8 c. chicken broth
1/2 c. stars pasta
1 c. frozen leaf spinach, thawed and drained well
Salt and pepper
2 tbsp. fresh flat leaf parsley, minced
1 tbsp. fresh minced oregano
Pinch crushed red pepper flakes
Heat a large soup pot over low heat. Add EVOO, onion and garlic. Season and sweat out veggies for 5 minutes, do not brown!
Add stock, and turn heat to high. Cover and bring to a low boil.
While stock begins to boil, mix together all meatball ingredients. Divide into fourths. From each fourth, form 6 mini meatballs.
Turn the stock down to medium heat, and drop in meatballs as they're formed.
Once finished, add in stars and cover. Cook for 8 minutes.
Add in spinach and herbs. Taste and season.
Serve immediately, top with grated parmesan.
Note: If you're not serving this immediately, you might want to cook the pasta serperately, and stir into the soup when you're ready to eat so the stars don't overcook.
PS - It's hard to take photos of broth based soup!!!