Saturday, June 25, 2011

Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies

I'll start this post with a warning. These cookies come out entirely too tasty and they are entirely too easy to make. The recipe is even incredibly simple to memorize because there are no 3/4 measurements or even 1/3's. There are dangerous waters ahead but I'll share it anyway. I think the main appeal of this cookie to most people is that it is gluten free. There is no flour in it at all. I on the other hand love them because they have peanut butter in them and taste delicious. Gluten or no, they work for me.

The recipe is from Emeril
Ingredients
1 cup creamy peanut butter (try to use one with no sugar added)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup chocolate chips

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Add all of the ingredients to a medium bowl and stir with a wooden spoon until well combined.

2. Divide the dough into 24 portions of about a tablespoon each, roll into balls, then plane about an inch apart on a cookie sheet. Take a fork and flatten the dough with a crisscross pattern. Bake for about ten minutes.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Toad in a Hole

As I continue on in my experiments of cooking for one I remembered a trick that a friend once told me that happens to be one of the best ways of preparing an egg. I think that over the course of this blog I have made it very apparent that I absolutely love eggs. I have been tinkering with going vegan and I know that there are plenty of egg substitutes for a vegan diet. I’ve made scrambled tofu before and I like it. In baking, the egg can be replaced with flax meal or other fake egg products. The one thing that couldn’t be replaced though—as far as I know—is a plain old egg with a just cooked white and a runny yolk. See Huevos Rancheros, Eggs in Purgatory and this very blog post for delicious examples of eggs with no vegan alternatives. Those are what I would truly be missing. I love this recipe (though really with only three ingredients it’s more of a technique…) because it’s so whimsical and simple. It also gave me a much needed excuse to use my extensive collection of cookie cutters. Essentially it’s a piece of toast with an egg fried inside of it. It ends up being so simple and good. I can sense that this technique and I will be friends for a good long time.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Yummy Granola Bars


I’m sort of a peanut butter fiend. If there is any amount of peanut butter in my apartment I can just sit with that jar and eat it with a spoon. I’m working on my recovery though. I try to use it up in snacks like these (and delicious peanut butter cookies) as soon as I can. I also try to buy peanut butter where the ingredients are only peanuts and salt. This way when I eat half a jar mindlessly in front of the TV one night, I don’t have to feel too guilty. Another love I have is that for portable snacks.  I’m always packing lunches for work and school so any snack that I can throw into a bag quickly is ideal for me. It also helps when the portable snack in question is delicious like this one. The goo that holds it all together is just peanut butter, agave nectar and some applesauce. I don’t know how I feel about agave nectar normally. I don’t like it in my tea and by itself it tastes really strange to me (I know that you aren’t supposed to eat it plain but I just wanted to try it before I used it in a recipe). Mixed with peanut butter and baked though it tastes very good and I can brag that my granola bars have no sugar in them. All in all I would say that they are pretty healthy actually.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Mini Rhubarb Crumble

I made a strawberry rhubarb pie a while ago with a friend to watch Pushing Daisies which I have discovered is a completely adorable show and it always makes me want pie. It was a good night but I was left with one awkward stalk of rhubarb. I thought I would eventually have to throw out this lone stalk of rhubarb, but then I got creative. I decided to make a rhubarb crisp for one in a little ramekin. Now I’m feeling slightly like a genius and that this fruit crisp for one may become a trend in my kitchen. I have this problem with dessert in that I like making it. So when I’m craving a cookie (a frequent occurrence), I make the recipe for four dozen or so cookies and then even though I wanted a cookie, I end up with dozens. I am not strong enough to have only one at this point. With this tiny fruit crisp though, I crave dessert, I make it, then I eat the one small portion it makes and I’m done. It’s a pretty pathetic side note but I think I deserve a little credit for including fruit in my dessert choice too. O and that crunchy crust on top? It has some whole wheat flour in it too… also a lot of butter, but still I think this route is way better than my normal cookie binge.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Tahini Carrot Salad

 I decided that there must be life for tahini outside of hummus otherwise I would have a large jar of tahini sitting in my fridge used only once a month or so for the rest of my life. I found this recipe that along with tahini included some of my other favorites like maple syrup and curry powder. It also has a bit of lemon juice in it which I think creates some sort of chemical reaction with the tahini and it turns it into a rock. There was no more stirring after this point. At this point I had to shake it up with the rest of the ingredients. Hopefully it works out a bit better for anyone else attempting this recipe. Luckily, it didn't affect the taste at all. This makes a really nice salad or you can add tofu and just make it a meal like me.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Spinach Strata

I had quite the adventure this weekend because despite being completely overwhelmed by finals and school, I agreed to help my friend cater a movie shoot she was doing. For twenty people. So I had quite the stressful adventure putting this together. I decided the best way to feed so many people would be a strata, even though I had never made one before (it should become apparent at this point that I am frequently responsible for my own stress). But I was very excited by the concept of a strata as I am about all brunch-y sorts of food. It's basically a savory bread pudding quiche hybrid thing. Boy o boy is it easy and tasty.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Hummus

 I have realized recently that hummus is an amazing snack. It's so useful for everything and incredibly easy to make. So here is my second recipe I've put up recently involving a bunch of ingredients thrown into a food processor and whirred away to produce an incredible versatile condiment. Eerie similarity of my recent cooking habits aside, I love me some hummus.There is something so easy and amazing about all dips and hummus really takes the cake here. You can dip veggies (though I do this rarely), pita chips, and pretzels (I do this frequently) into it but it can also be used as a spread like on sandwiches or as a sauce for pasta or pizza. It's phenomenal. Can't say enough about hummus.

I would also like to use this opportunity to make an advertisement for tahini. I know a lot of people that don't like it much in their hummus and I will admit that it is kind of weird. I put it in the fridge and it separates into thick on the bottom and oily on top. It's impossible for me to stir without getting it everywhere and all over the container. It's relatively expensive and something that you can't use in much else unless you get creative (though I have proof that I've used it before and I like to mix it with honey then eat it just like peanut butter). Now that I have bashed tahini, I will say that I think it makes hummus extra special and creamy. I definitely think it's worth all of its flaws.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Caramel Corn

I got a fancy new hot air popper for my birthday and to christen it I decided to make some caramel corn. Not just any caramel corn though, I wanted the caramel corn of my childhood. So as per usual, I went begging to the matriarch of my family for the recipe. So I went a-snooping through her recipe box until I found it and I was on my way to snack city.

I wish that I could say that this is the perfect movie snack but to do so would be limiting it. This became my walking-through-the-kitchen snack and my driving-to-Colorado-Springs snack and my sitting-around-at-work snack.It's sweet and crunchy, just barely salty and overall pretty perfect. I added pepitas because I had them on hand but really anything that would taste good covered in caramel will work too.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Cilantro Pesto

I have solved another semantic dilemma recently. When I think pesto, I think basil, pine nuts, and parmesan cheese all blended together to make that delicious sauce we all know and love. The semantic dilemma came in when I asked myself, if I use cilantro to make a pesto, is it still pesto? Technically, yes. The word pesto originates from the Genoese word pesta which means to crush or grind (think mortar and PESTle). This leaves a lot of room for calling substances pestos, including my cilantro pesto. That being said, I food processed mine which involved a lot of fast, whizzing, chopping and not so much with the crushing.

Semantics aside, I love pesto. I love that cilantro is delicious to me and only fifty cents a bunch whereas that much basil would probably cost me my rent money. Not to mention the truly expensive factor in the equation, the pine nuts. I used pecans in this instead because A)I save a little money, B)I had them on hand, and C)they are pretty sweet so they contrast well with the bitter cilantro. Since making this delicious concoction I have been using it for everything. I add it to my eggs, I use it as a pizza sauce or pasta sauce, I've been adding it to black beans, and practically anything with Mexican flair could use some cilantro pesto.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

1 (or 2... or 3...) Ingredient Ice Cream

As far as bananas go, I'm not too crazy about them. I like them because they are portable and easy but truthfully they aren't the best tasting to me. I buy them though and I think that now I just wait for them to get inedible so I can use them for fun banana experiments like this.

This recipe is literally just bananas. I added coconut milk for flavor and I would also recommend some peanut butter or cocoa powder. Just banana by itself is good though, it doesn't taste too potently like banana (which is ideal for me). The texture of only frozen banana is exactly like that of soft serve ice cream. It's uncanny.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Oat Bran Granola

If there are two things that I can appreciate, it's homemade granola and recipes that use up oat bran. My family is pretty notorious for purchasing enough food to last through the apocalypse so there are always multiples of everything. The thing to beat in terms of amount of duplicates though has always been oat bran. God knows why this ingredient gets purchased every time there is a grocery shopping trip but it does and as the child living away from home, I am frequently the beneficiary of their excessive oat bran.

I have made oat bran muffins before and I still make them from time to time but...

Really? Bran Muffins? Could I be more generic?

And so now some creativity makes its way in to my kitchen with some oat bran granola. It uses up a half cup of oat bran and it happens to be an excellent and delicious snack. I'm not so sure about nutritious but it certainly isn't terrible for you and oats are kind of a super food. This recipe will take a bit of planning though (or at least it did for me) because it uses powdered milk-- an ingredient I don't frequently have a need for. It is very much so impossible to buy a paltry half cup of powdered milk though so prepare yourself to continue cooking with it.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Portobello Fries

I don't think it has been any secret that I am wholeheartedly obsessed with mushrooms. I think that becoming a vegetarian has made my relationship with mushrooms so much stronger and being a vegetarian without meaty mushrooms on my side would be brutal. I would say that I rarely eat them as a snack though. When I think mushrooms, I don't think quick and easy. My love for them also frequently prevents me from seeing them as a side dish. This recipe has opened my eyes. People may notice that it is eerily similar to the baked zucchini fries post I made not too long ago and that is because they are really really similar. I guess I'm getting boring but I will not rest until I have sliced, breaded, and baked every vegetable (and fungus?) out there. It's such an easy, effective, and simply awesome snack to have with some marinara sauce.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Drunken Monkey Bread

I had monkey bread for the first time on Thanksgiving last year. It was a very exciting experience for me that opened up a whole new world of handheld sweet breakfast breads. Since Thanksgiving I have been dreaming of making my own and then I found this recipe that combines the monkey bread I had been craving and some whiskey. Finally.

 Maybe I should explain though because monkey bread sounds pretty weird. Fun, yes, but also weird. The premise is that balls of dough are so thoroughly coated in a buttery, sugary syrup that they will stick together while baking but be easily pulled apart. It's really easy and fun (and preferable I would say) to eat with your hands here. Similar to a monkey.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Candied Orange Peel

I've been putting off posting these for a while but I think it's finally time for me to reveal my secrets. They were such a huge hit and I kind of fell in love them as well. They seem really special and I will admit that they are but they are surprisingly easy. Easy to me means full of very simple tasks like boiling in water and slicing and dipping in chocolate but it in no way means quick. These took a very long time to make but it was not labor intensive, just a lot of waiting around. Attention is really only needed for about an hour of the total preparation time and I say that isn't bad. Not bad at all.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Red Pepper and White Bean Dip

I was looking for a good dip recipe just for fun. I don't know what came over me but I really wanted dip and celery sticks and pita wedges. Who knows. Sometimes I have incredibly vague cravings I guess. I was looking through some recipes and it seems like every dip out there has a ton of mayonnaise in it. Ok, I can get over that but then on top of the mayonnaise there is sour cream and then generally some form of melty cheese.

I know, I know, it sounds delicious. I have encountered a problem though. If I was in a restaurant and was served a dip that had these abominably unhealthy ingredients in them, I would never know and thus could eat away without care. When I make it myself, I am fully conscious of all of the ingredients and simply can't bring myself to do that to myself. It's a complicated psychological battle.

I found this dip and it is my savior. It is very similar to a hummus but a bit creamier and clearly much more colorful (doesn't it match my bowl perfectly?).

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Huevos Rancheros

My love affair with the egg is continuing on strong but this time in a different language. Te amo los huevos. Correct me if I'm wrong but I think that mean "I love eggs" in Spanish. I was actually recently thinking that the name of my blog should have been Trina of the Eggs because there are so many more egg recipes than beans.

I must say that these were absolutely delicious and so easy. Essentially it is a fried egg on a tortilla with some cheese and I have no problem with that. I was making only one at a time as my roommate but they looked so good that we couldn't wait until there was one for each of us and each took a fork and shared. We stayed in the kitchen standing up, cooking and eating until we were so full of huevos we fell down. Almost.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Cinnamon Swirly Bread

It sure has been a long time since I made a quick bread but I am very glad that I saved myself for this one. To be more precise, it has been a long time since I have made anything let alone added it to this site. I have just started school and I'm taking six classes and on top of that I'm moving on February 1st. As a natural consequence of these two combining my cooking has been pushed aside. Enough about me though and on to this great bread. I would like to profess my love for the entire population of quick breads and their sweet and dense yeast-free greatness. This one was just a basic bread but with swirls of cinnamon running through it. I think it was actually supposed to be more like two lines of the cinnamon sugar but mine had a mind of its own and decided to go where ever it pleased. I was ok with that. It's sweet, quick and easy. And O ya, it has a full two tablespoons of cinnamon in it so this recipe is not for the faint-hearted. Now that I've given you fair warning...

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Baked Goat Cheese in Marinara

This is the only picture I have from this adventure in appetizers but I can explain. It was mah jong night! There are even a few rogue tiles in the picture. Over the past few weeks, I have become at least mildly obsessed with this amazing game. I think it is kind of like rummy or gin but with tiles but just to clarify it is not at all like the game that comes with some PC's.  It requires four players and for the first time we all went to a Chinese tea house to play but became so hooked that we bought our own set. Now there is time for mah jong night and for the occasion I whipped up an Asian snack-- crostinis with goat cheese slices baked in marinara sauce. Asian right?

I should also mention that this recipe set me off on one of my semantics tirades. Here it is: what differentiates marinara sauce from any of the other tomato sauces out there? Really there are so many, a bolognese, spaghetti sauce, tomato sauce and I think pomodoro is one too. So I will not answer what the rest are but the impression that I got after my vast research was that marinara is a meat-free tomato sauce with lots of basil that is cooked relatively quickly. Any other takers to tackle this dilemma?

I did really like this though, as simple as it was and you shall soon see just how little effort this required. The goat cheese gets melty and slightly brown on top and though I will eat goat cheese in any setting, drowned in marinara is preferable. It may seem like it keeps it is still just a slab of goat cheese in sauce but underneath it is gooey and becomes one with the marinara.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Tofu Bacon Sandwiches

I can already read the minds of everyone reading the title for this post. Tofu bacon? Blech! I will not make any claims that this tofu is any better than the fatty pig parts everyone seems to adore so much but I will make a stand for this delicious substitute: for those among us who have not tasted bacon in years, this is by far the best substitute available. On top of that, I call this bacon because the recipe called it bacon but I would be happy with calling them salty and amazing baked tofu slabs for sandwiches. I know that there is fake meat because people want meat, but as someone who has no real craving for meat, I'm happy with calling it as it is, be it tofu or seitan or what have you.

All semantics aside though, this was a very satisfying sandwich that felt slightly healthy. I'm in love actually.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Baked Zucchini Fries

I found the perfect snack ever and am so happy to share it with the world. It's one of those many snacks that I love so much because I can tell myself that it is healthy without it being raw celery sticks. Not that I have anything against raw celery sticks... It's just that I would prefer these baked, breaded zucchini sticks. I don't think I'm alone. They were very simple to make though perhaps a bit time consuming. To make really great fries it is kind of necessary to dip them in the egg white and bread crumbs individually. They bake and get this delicious crunchy coating on the outside so it could probably be anything inside and it would still taste amazing. I served these with ketchup mixed with sriracha. It's my favorite dipping "sauce" for fries.

The original recipe called for whole wheat bread crumbs which would be great but the cheapest bread crumbs were the ones that I got. They were just some panko but it made me kind of sad that the healthiest options are consistently the most expensive. yet people believe that with nutritional education alone we can solve obesity problems. It's just a weird and depressing situation the world is in.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Almond Butter Granola Bars

I'm a big fan of granola lately but not the sugary corny stuff from the store but making my own. I saw this recipe for almond butter granola bars I knew that I would fall in love because I also like to make my own almond butter. I felt like this seemed really healthy too and like a great, energizing snack. It uses mashed bananas and some almond butter instead of a bunch of sugar and syrup. There are also whole almonds, pepitas, and some dried raisins and sour cherries. I must make note of the sour cherries because they were so amazing. I found them in the bulk bins at whole foods and they were kind of expensive so I only got a little bit more than I needed but the extra cherries ended up being my breakfast. Delicious! This is also my first experience with pepitas and they were really good in these bars.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Curry Tofu Salad

 I was looking across the posts of my blog when I noticed a trend uncommon to many vegetarian blogs-- a distinct lack of tofu. Or any vegetarian protein for that matter unless you count mushrooms and black beans (which I kind of do since they are the majority of my diet, but it is still inexcusable). I really like to get tofu and other proteins when I go out to eat but I guess I have had little desire to cook with them. I even have a cookbook just for tofu which was a goodwill find and isn't all that great because many of the recipes combine tofu with chicken or something like that. No thank you. Ultimately though, it was time and I had an idea of what I wanted to make. I wanted to recreate the curried tuna or chicken salad that was common in tea sandwiches or just eating plain but completely vegetarian. I got to cooking.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Banana Pancakes

I really love to bake with bananas but I also really love to eat bananas so it is a difficult struggle to get them ripe enough. The reason I enjoy using them in baking recipes is that you need to add only a minuscule amount of sugar (if any) to achieve the desired sweetness. I'm always a fan of tricking my taste buds and I think these pancakes do the trick. They are actually relatively healthy but they still taste great.

One downside to making banana pancakes? That damn Jack Johnson song that one simply cannot escape. So while I'm sure that everyone is humming it now. I will not mention it again for the duration of this post. It is not fair that such an innocent food is now forever doomed to be associated with a song. I will end by saying that these pancakes are not a gimmick, they are actually delicious in their own right.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Eggy Muffins and Corny Beans

My obsession with egg dishes has been made obvious quite a few times on this blog but this dish had something that other egg dishes lack: the adorable factor. I saw these in a magazine featuring some dishes from Jessica Seinfeld's new cookbook and I learned that she is pretty insane. These initially called for pureed cauliflower and nearly every other recipe called for some other vegetable puree. Probably healthy but certainly not practical. Everything was whole grain and vegetable purees and chocolate is only for the weekends. This was NOT how I imagined Jerry Seinfeld lived his life. It was shocking to say the least. These little eggy muffins looked so adorable though that I was more than willing to overlook the crazy that came with them and made a few adjustments to make them more approachable but still healthy in my mind (but I am able to convince myself that everything I really want to eat is healthy so you be the judge). I also made a bean side dish to take these eggs south of the border so to speak. I really ended up loving them because they were so cute but they were also delicious.