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!
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
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
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.
Sunday, October 19, 2008
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 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
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.
Sunday, October 5, 2008
Lovely photo, right?
After a marathon of baking Friday and Saturday, I was on my last item in the packages, Chai Latte Brownies. I knew my oven had been a little hot all day (I had it set at 200 and things were burning), but after my brownies were in a "350 degree oven" for 10 minutes, the oven started beeping FIRE and smoke came POURING out of the oven. So I removed the scorched tray of brownies and turned off the oven, because I had to go to the store to get new/more ingredients. Well about 15 minutes later, it starts beeping FIRE again, and smoke is pouring out AGAIN!
Finally I figured out, my oven was stuck on at about 500 degrees!!! I called maintenance and they told me to turn off the circut breaker, so I did. Then I turned the circut breaker back on, and the oven automatically came back on to 500 degrees again! Ugh.
So I had only one way to make the brownies, our little toaster/convection oven that JJ uses to make his sandwiches every day!
I had no pans that fit in there besides pie plates, so I made 12 batches of brownies in pie plates in what JJ called, "my easy bake oven." NOT EASY! Well, easy, but time comsuming!
So, all who ordered packages, appreciate the Chai Latte Brownies, ok?! Thanks :)
We should be getting a new oven Monday... so I'm without an oven for 3 days... ugh.
Now on to the brownies... YUM! I love chai, chocolate, brownies, everything about these scream YUM! I did find the recipe was a little dry, so I adjusted it a bit and I think it came out much better.
1/4 cup 1% low-fat milk (I used 1/3 c.)
3 cardamom pods, crushed
3 whole allspice, crushed
3 whole cloves
1 (1-inch) cinnamon stick
1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup butter
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (I used 1 1/4)
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa (I used 1/3)
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 350°.
Combine first 5 ingredients in a small saucepan; bring to a boil. Cover, remove from heat, and let stand 15 minutes. Strain milk mixture through a fine sieve into a large microwave-safe bowl; discard solids. Add chocolate chips and butter to milk mixture; microwave at HIGH 20 seconds or until chips and butter melt, stirring until smooth. Cool slightly; add eggs, stirring with a whisk.
Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour and the next 5 ingredients (through salt) in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add flour mixture to chocolate mixture, stirring just until combined. Spread evenly into a 9-inch square baking pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until center is set. Cool 10 minutes in pan on a wire rack. Cut into 20 pieces.
In a heavy saucepot, melt butter, add in sugar, pumpkin and evaporated milk. Bring to a boil over medium high, then turn to medium and let mixture cook for 10 minutes. Continue to stir it as it bubbles.
Turn heat off, add in chocolate chips, marshmallow creme, spices, and vanilla. Stir vigorously until combined, pour into the casserole dish. While it's still warm, press in pepitas.
Set aside and cool for 2 hours before cutting.
1 c. sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp. vanilal extract
1 c. sweetened dried cranberries
Add flour, baking soda, poweder, and salt to butter mixture gradually, beating at low speed until blended. Stir in oats, white chocolate and cranberries.
Drop cookie dough by tablespoonfuls onto lightly greased baking sheets.
Bake at 350° for 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly browned on bottom. Remove to wire racks to cool completely.
Posted by Ashlee at 10/05/2008 12:10:00 PM
I have seen this cookies made a million times, but never came across a recipe. I was reading a magazine and saw a giant ad with the cookie and this recipe! I had heard about Pumpkin Spice Kisses, and thought they would be great in these rather than plain kisses. I had no luck findind them, but I did find caramel kisses, and they are delicious! These cookies are so cute, easy and a real crowd pleaser!
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup creamy Peanut Butter
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
I am not a huge icing fan because it's just so sweet, but i could eat this stuff by the spoon fulls! I decided to use a basic sugar cookie as to not overpower the icing, and they made cute little sandwiches. The icing keeps the cookies moist, and they're just so festive.
2 sticks of unsalted butter at room temp.
1/2 c. pumpkin puree
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ginger
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 lbs. confectioner's sugar (more or less)
In a stand mixer, cream butter and pumpkin. Turn to low, add in cinnamon, ginger, salt and vanilla. Slowly add sugar 1/2 c. at a time until the buttercream is creamy and no longer seperating (the pumpkin will make it look grainy if there isn't enough sugar mixed in).
Store in a tupperware container at room temp for a week, or in the fridge for a month, or freezer forever!
1 cup granulated sugar, plus more for rolling cookies
3/4 cup butter, at room temperature
3 tablespoons molasses
2 cups flour, sifted
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
2. In a medium bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, and spices. Add to butter mixture and blend well.
3. Fill a shallow bowl with granulated sugar. Break off walnut-size pieces of dough and roll into balls; roll balls in sugar. Arrange on greased cookie sheets and bake until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Transfer to cooling racks.
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (about 6 3/4 ounces)
1/4 cup cornstarch
3 tablespoons finely chopped pecans, toasted
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup ice water
2 tablespoons turbinado sugar
Preheat oven to 350°.
Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Unwrap dough; cut each log into 16 slices using a serrated knife. Place dough circles 1 inch apart on prepared baking sheets. Sprinkle tops evenly with turbinado sugar, gently pressing into dough. Bake at 350° for 18 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from baking sheets; cool on a wire rack
Friday, October 3, 2008
1 tsp. baking powder