kitchenklutz: spoons and bowls (Default)
For Christmas, my ever-lovable sister got me an unusual cookbook -- "Homemade Winter", by Yvette Van Boxen. I was immediately intrigued by it -- it's laid out in a very nonstandard, flowing, I-just-wrote-this-recipe-down-by-hand manner. It's got scads of apparently hand-drawn illustrations to go along with the directions, so visually it definitely catches the eye.

This morning, I decided while making breakfast that I was going to give one of the recipes a shot -- Gingerbread, or Pan D'Epice. )

Mixing the dough is probably best accomplished with a standing mixer. I initially tried mixing it both with a wooden spoon and by hand, and the dough was so sticky as to coat my hands with scads of gingery flour that had to be scrubbed off under the faucet.

That said, I'm quite happy with the final, modified, result. The adapted recipe produced a lovely loaf of bread -- light, moist, subtly spiced, and quite delicious. I'll no doubt make it again in the future, keeping my modifications in mind.

Enjoy!
kitchenklutz: tomato sauce ladle (saucy ladle)
Wow, more than a year since I last posted -- a lot's been going on! I bought a house, for one thing, and I've been going back to college. In the meanwhile, though, I'm still cooking. I came across this recipe a few weeks back, and it produces without doubt some of the most delicious meatballs I've ever had. Enjoy!

Tasty Meatballs )

This recipe goes particularly well with my Meaty Red Sauce, less the meat in that recipe. Simply cook this separately while simmering the sauce, and combine with pasta afterwards for a fantastic meal.
kitchenklutz: spoons and bowls (Default)
Recently, I asked an acquaintance for baking requests. I like baking (if that hadn't already been abundantly clear *grin* ) and I'm always curious to find out new recipes and new ways of putting things together. So when she suggested brownies with walnuts and chocolate chips in them, I started looking around for new recipes to try out. After all, just grabbing a box of instant brownie mix off the market shelf isn't any kind of cooking challenge!

Fortunately, I'd bought a handful of Ghiradelli baking chocolate bars a while back, and on the back of the foil wrapping was a recipe for brownies. I adapted it slightly, and this is what I came up with.

Ghiradelli Classic Brownies (Walnut Remix) )

My batch just got finished baking, so I haven't tasted the finished product yet -- but the batter alone tasted absolutely amazing!

Aaaaand... wow. They're light and fluffy, with an incredibly rich chocolate flavor and very subtle spices. I'll definitely be making more of these in the future. (This recipe makes the brownies turn out rather cake-like in texture -- for a fudgier, denser brownie I'd recommend omitting the baking powder or substituing baking soda instead.)
kitchenklutz: spices in bottles (spice bottles)
Note to self: although parchment paper works great underneath cookies for baking, putting a layer of it underneath fudge in a 9x9 pan really doesn't accomplish the desired goal at all. *wry grin* Next time, I'll know.
kitchenklutz: spoons and bowls (Default)
OK, so I'm on a bit of a chocolate baking roll. I did a broad Google search for recipes involving chocolate, and one of the recipes I stumbled over was one for rum raisin chocolate chip morsels. However, as it went for an entirely non-gluten/organic angle (the ingredients of which could be rather difficult to easily get one's hands on) I modified the original recipe substantially. Nonetheless, for what was basically a lot of improvisation off of my past experience, these cookies turned out uniquely and surprisingly tasty.

Rum Raisin Chocolate Chip Cookies )

Moist, subtle, and with a definite rum kick, these were one of the tastier recipes I've experimented with all year. This recipe is definitely going into my book as one to make again -- it's worth it!
kitchenklutz: cookie sheet (cookie sheet)
I've been tinkering with a mint chocolate chip cookie recipe for a while now -- started back this spring, when I was putting together a bunch of different baked goods for the Adam Ezra Group hunger fundraiser. Recently I tried another variation on it, once again adapted from the classic Tollhouse recipe, and it turned out well enough that I thought I'd post it here.

Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies: Redux )

Overall, I was favorably impressed with the way these turned out. Minty enough to tantalize but not to overwhelm, soft and chewy but not cake-like, and with sufficient chocolate to satisfy your average chocoholic, these are fantastic with milk. Enjoy!
kitchenklutz: tomato sauce ladle (saucy ladle)
I had a guest over last night, and decided to delve into a new cookbook I'd just bought -- Giada de Laurentiis' Everyday Italian. A bit of poring through said cookbook later, we decided on an appetizer and a main dish -- prosciutto-wrapped breadsticks (p. 45) and penne pasta with the sun-dried tomato pesto sauce (p. 73). One quick stop by the market for the various ingredients (the total cost of which -- for two packages of fresh basil, the sun-dried tomatoes, the bread dough, the freshly-cut prosciutto, and the pasta -- came to just over $20), and we got to work.

Prosciutto-Wrapped Breadsticks )

Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto Sauce )

After boiling some penne pasta and prepping these two surprisingly easy dishes, we had a feast with what felt like hardly any effort at all! Although the pesto sauce seemed less like sauce and more like a spread to me, it was surprisingly delicious and served as a perfect counter to the pasta and the prosciutto wrapping the bread. Overall, a very easy and straightforward cooking session, which yielded plenty of leftovers and was well worth the effort. I would absolutely make it again.
kitchenklutz: spices in bottles (spice bottles)
A week or so back, work brought a selection of sandwiches and side dishes for lunch -- including a very tasty macaroni salad. Naturally, this led me to go in search of macaroni salad recipes. I made this one this afternoon, taking ideas and ingredients from a handful of recipes online, and overall I'm quite happy with it.

Sweet & Spicy Macaroni Salad )

Easy to make, prepares tons of servings, and extra tasty -- just the thing if you're looking to feed a lot of people for a 4th of July party. Enjoy!
kitchenklutz: cookie sheet (cookie sheet)
I snagged this recipe off of a baking LJ comm a while back and gave it a wee bit of modification. Overall, though, I'm quite happy with the way it turned out. Really tasty, all in all. So, no further ado, the recipe:

Triple Chocolate Cranberry Cookies )

They're usually a big hit for being awesomely chocolate-y with extra cranberry tartness. Hope you like them as much as I usually do!
kitchenklutz: cookie sheet (cookie sheet)
Yesterday was the Adam Ezra Group's Ramble (which was, by the by, awesome), and as last year there was a bake-off (with cookies for free to anyone, and you put money into the jars of the cookies you liked the best, all proceeds going to charities to help feed the hungry). Determined to impress, I made not one but four different batches of cookies: traditional oatmeal raisin, triple chocolate cranberry, my spicy ginger cookies, and an experiment...

Peppermint Chocolate Chip Cookies )

Aside from uncertainty over the color of the cookies (which is why I say the addition of the food coloring is completely optional), these were generally well received. People said, and my experience with a test cookie matches, that they ended up tasting pleasantly like Thin Mints.

(And on a side note, although I didn't get recognized as having one of my batches raise the most contributions -- I came in a close third -- I'm quite happy that the combination of all four different batches just around tripled what anyone else's single batch did. All in all, I'm quite happy with that, particularly since the proceeds all go to charity. *wry smile* )
kitchenklutz: tomato sauce ladle (saucy ladle)
I'm signed up for a number of recipe mailing lists, and occasionally (OK, more than occasionally) I print out dishes I want to try out. Recently, I snagged a recipe for pan-fried chicken and ancho chili salsa (to go on flatbread/pita). Although I haven't actually made that recipe yet, I was experimenting with the salsa itself -- which, interestingly, doesn't actually appear to have any ancho chili pepper in it! Go figure.

Anyways, this is my first attempt at the salsa recipe, my notations, and thoughts.

First Draft Salsa )

First reactions: the taste is just about right, but the visual of the salsa itself seems almost too... pink, rather than the rich hearty red I was hoping to achieve. I'm not sure whether that's because of using the wrong tomatoes at first, or throwing in the whole lemon rather than just using lemon juice. I'm tempted to try making this recipe again using one Roma tomato and one 14.5-oz can of diced tomatoes, complete with juice, just to see if I can get the color "right".

Anyone have suggestions on how this salsa might be improved? Visually or tastewise?
kitchenklutz: (pad thai stirfry)
Yesterday for the Superbowl, I wanted something out of the ordinary... so I went back to my old favorite, homemade Chinese. I considered homemade dumplings for a while, but in the end passed on that to make something old, and something new.

Something old: Kung Pao Chicken )

... and something new: Szechuan Braised Meatballs )

Both were extremely tasty, and went perfectly with the white rice I had steamed up earlier.

Kung pao chicken is an old favorite of mine, something I grew to love back when I lived in California and couldn't find a satisfactory take-out version of on the East Coast -- which was, among other things, what prompted me to start experimenting with cooking my own Chinese food. Too often in the East, what seems to pass for "kung pao chicken" is just diced chicken with peanuts drenched in hot oil -- yuck! My recipe has a great deal more going for it, though it's still spicy enough to raise sweat on your brow.

Szechuan braised meatballs was a new recipe for me, and I didn't quite have an image in mind when I began making it. Regardless, it turned out delicious -- the five-spice powder and Szechuan sauce combined with the beef broth to make a tasty, well-spiced side dish. The only complaint I have about it was that it seems like there aren't enough meatballs! Next time I might up the amount of ground beef to 1.5 lbs., because the broth (and my skillet) are definitely enough to contain another 6 - 8 meatballs.
kitchenklutz: tomato sauce ladle (saucy ladle)
I'm aiming for a lower-carb diet as part of the exercise regimen I'm on. A diabetic co-worker of mine recommended a particular brand of pasta (Dreamfields) as much lower carb than the usual stuff, but still better tasting than the generally bland whole-wheat pasta which is more widely out there.

I checked out the brand the next time I was in the market, and there was quite an interesting recipe on the box. I adapted it and changed a few things (not a big fan of the recipe-recommended shrimp), and the result turned out to be extremely tasty.

Angel Hair Pasta with Chicken, Tomatoes, and Basil )

Sweet, spicy, and delicious sauce over angel hair pasta -- fantastic! A little tricky to make, at some part (multiple pans going at one time), but all in all a very tasty dish. I'd definitely make it again.
kitchenklutz: spices in bottles (spice bottles)
A few years back, on a trip to the American southwest, I randomly picked up a bottle of Mrs. Dash's Southwest Chipotle mix. It turned out to be a my favorite, near-perfect thing to add to scrambled eggs, chili, and other needing-to-be-spiced-up dishes. Unfortunately, it's not really sold around here -- and though I could get a half-dozen bottles online from Amazon or similar places, it would take me something like a dozen years to use all that spice.

Instead, I started screwing around with making a spice mix of my own, working off of the list of ingredients on the side of the Mrs. Dash's bottle. It took a little experimentation, and a lot of "shake my spice mix in bottle and compare scent to original Mrs. Dash's mix", but I finally got the proportions worked into something I'm fairly happy with.

Southwest Chili Pepper Spice Mix )

It might not be precisely the same as the Mrs. Dash's mix, but it's certainly close enough in appearance, scent, and taste for my purposes. Enjoy!
kitchenklutz: spices in bottles (spice bottles)
A while back I made me some chocolate mint brownies, which turned out reasonably well. However, after making them I still had quite a bit in the way of creme-du-menthe liqueur left over. Ever since, I've been looking for minty recipes to use it up on. I decided, what the heck, why not try cupcakes? And as it happens, they turned out pretty damn well!

Vanilla Cupcaks with Minty-Green Cream Cheese Frosting )

Tasty cupcakes, with just enough mint flavoring to add some zing. Alternatively, substitute in 2 teaspoons Triple Sec (or other orange-flavored liqueur), 2 teaspoons grated orange zest, and 1/8 teaspoon each of red and yellow food coloring to swap it from minty-green to orange-flavored frosting.
kitchenklutz: tomato sauce ladle (saucy ladle)
With the overblown failure of an overspicy glazed ham on Christmas, I found myself with an overabundance of leftover and somewhat too spicy ham. I put out a request for soup suggestions to use it in, and got more than a few suggestions for ham and potato soup. A little bit of Google-fu later, I had a printed out recipe. I tweaked it, added a few spices, and came up with the following very tasty recipe.

Savory Ham and Potato Soup )

Savory, thick, and tasty soup -- perfect comfort food for a cold winter's night. I am definitely making it again.
kitchenklutz: spices in bottles (spice bottles)
With the chilly weather coming on, I find myself more and more in favor of comfoting, savory soups. This weekend is no exception -- and with a Penzey's Spices quarterly/recipe book in hand, I decided to try a variant on chicken and dumplings.

Spicy Baked Chicken & Dumplings Soup )

Thick, savory stew with plenty of chicken and tasty dumplings to top it off -- an absolute winner in my book! For me, adding the lemon pepper spicing to season the chicken breasts made it particularly delicious, but for others that may be a touch too spicy.

The original recipe calls for double the amount of dumpling mix, which was way too much for me. I made the full amount and dropped the dumplings into the broth, but rapidly found myself out of space in the pot for more dumplings. Thus, I've halved the amounts for that part of the recipe. Honestly, I feel as though the recipe could even use a bit more broth -- with that much chicken and veggies as a base, the soup pot was crowded even before the dumplings went in.

Overall, though, I will absolutely be making this recipe again. Simple, straightforward, not too long to cook, and incredibly tasty -- four things that make it a winner in my book.
kitchenklutz: spoons and bowls (Default)
Finally back home from Thanksgiving, and all the feasting got me once again inspired to try out some various types of cuisine. So I pulled out a Chinese cookbook that I haven't drawn heavily from -- one of my first, actually -- and started glancing at bookmarked pages to see if anything caught my eye. One did, I made a few adjustments in mid-stride, and this is what I ended up with.

Stir-Fry Pork with Oyster Sauce )

Not quite as spicy as I'm used to, but I'm fairly content with it. The original recipe didn't include the chili garlic sauce or the celery (among other things); I threw both in to give a little extra texture and bite. Overall, not bad -- I'll certainly try making it again in the future.
kitchenklutz: cookie sheet (cookie sheet)
First time attempting this recipe, so it'll be interesting to see just how it turns out in the end. Nonetheless, it certainly looks promising, and although the dough's cooling now the filling smells enticing.

Poppyseed Spiral Rum Cookies )
kitchenklutz: tomato sauce ladle (saucy ladle)
This morning I woke up with a tenacious headache, and with the weather outside grey and gloomy I decided to crack open my old soups cookbook (Maryana Vollstedt's Big Book of Soups & Stews) and find something tasty I hadn't made before. In the end, I settled on

Reuben Soup )

Overall, it was amazingly tasty, and absolutely hit the spot for me. The toasted rye bread that I floated on the soup rapidly grew soggy, but using the other toasted slices for dipping turned out to be ideal.

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March 2015

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