kitchenklutz: knife and onions (knife and onions)
Last week I was down with the seasonal death flu: four days of being bedridden, exhausted, fevered and dizzy. After the first two days of attempting to go for takeout and fast food (and let me tell you, you've not lived until you've spent half an hour trying to shovel your car out of a snowdrift while running a fever of 102), I deliriously inventoried my fridge to see what ingredients I could combine into something that was both tasty and easy to make.

The first things that came to mind were a pound and a quarter or so each of ground turkey and Italian sausage patties I'd bought the week before and not used -- thus, my quest for meatloaf. After Googling for a likely-looking recipe, I adapted it into a "throw in whatever ingredients and spices sound tasty", and the result was surprisingly good. Best of all, it only required about 10 minutes of prep, and then I could leave it to bake for an hour while I coughed and hacked away under the covers.

Easy Sweet-and-Spicy Meatloaf )

This recipe absolutely hit the spot and gave me leftovers for a week of meals. Highly recommended and I'll definitely make it again.
kitchenklutz: (fresh baked bread)
I've got a great new cookbook that I picked up on the discount table some time back -- The Best Ever Book of Bread, by Christine Ingram and Jennie Shatter. Given my desire to learn how to bake a lot more, I thought it an excellent investment, and as I've been looking it over the past week or so it definitely looks like it's worth it.

I've been paging through it and dog-earing recipes that look like they're particularly worthwhile, and the first one I tried out was Monkey Bread. )

Rising time: 1 - 2 hours
Total prep time: 2 - 2.5 hours
Cook time: 35 - 40 minutes

Overall, I was pleased with the resulting monkey bread. (Side note: no one, even Wikipedia, seems to know where this name originated! Lots of theories, though.) It was sweet, sticky and tasty, with any number of chunks easily torn off for finger food. The coating-bits that popped free were incredibly delectable in and of themselves!

However, regardless of the tastiness of the coating the dough itself was a bit on the dry side and was a bit plain. I may end up adding a little more water and milk to the initial dough to aim for a moister end product, and perhaps a little additional sugar to the starting dough to get it sweeter.

Additionally, given my desire to use less in the way of throwaway materials in my cooking and baking, I'm curious to know what alternatives there might be to using plastic wrap/plastic bags during the rising process. I know I've heard of some just draping a damp kitchen towel over the top of the bowl/pan -- how has that worked for others?
kitchenklutz: spices in bottles (spice bottles)
Over Thanksgiving my mom and stepdad came out to Boston to visit, and we had many a culinary discussion. One of the things that came up was mention of a traditional Sicilian cookie that my stepdad has made, which (I believe) he inherited from a distant grandmother from the old country. Called "cuchidades", these are fig-stuffed cookies -- like fig newtons, after a fashion, but sooooo much better.

I managed to track down a recipe online and then modified it to my own satisfaction. The result has been wildly popular with pretty much everyone I've introduced it to.

Fig-Stuffed Sicilian Cookies (Cuchidades) )

The first time I made this, I made the icing with milk and vanilla; the second time I made it with orange juice and orange extract. Overall, I'm far more satisfied with my second batch, but your mileage may vary -- try both and see which one you prefer!
kitchenklutz: cookie sheet (cookie sheet)
Back sometime last year I got inspired by a cup of hot chai tea. Soooo tasty... were there any recipes that could duplicate that particular taste in a cookie? I did a little searching and turned up no existing recipes out on the web.

So what goes in chai tea? A little more creative Googling and I'd turned up the various ingredients that most commonly go into chai tea mixes. From there I started experimenting on cookie doughs, and after half-a-dozen drafts I finally arrived at a final result I was satisfied with. Now, at last, I feel comfortable sharing it with the world. Try these out, and let me know how you like Chai Cookies. )

I always have a fun time handing these to people and asking them to tell me what they think it tastes like. Many of them can identify some of the ingredients, but rarely all of them... and when I tell them they're chai cookies, this look of dawning comprehension always comes over their faces and they immediately agree. Try it and see for yourself!
kitchenklutz: spoons and bowls (Default)
This was another recipe that I tried out for the autumnal get-together back in November. It was the first time I'd ever attempted to make a potato salad, and I feel that the end result was reasonably good.

The original recipe came from Penzey's. I was IM'ing with a friend of mine while making it, so there were a number of modifications and changes suggested and I improvised quite a bit.

Spicy Potato Salad )
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: 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: 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: 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: spoons and bowls (Default)
After the fun of the Ramble Bake-Off, I decided to start experimenting more with cookie recipes. I spotted one recipe on a Livejournal site that included Heath Toffee chips, and immediately thought about adapting it for use in one of my own baking projects. The result was better than I expected, and the cookies themselves turned out both subtle and savory.

Toffee Chip Cinnamon Molasses Cookies )
kitchenklutz: spoons and bowls (Default)
Last week, I made some of my cinnamon carrot raisin muffins for co-workers, and they were such a hit that I've gotten requests for other types of muffins since. One request in particular was for chocolate chip muffins, so I went to a number of sources, looked at muffin recipes I'd baked before, and tinkered about to end up with this:

One Dozen Chocolate Chip Muffins )

All in all, these turned out much better than I was expecting for a first attempt. Light and somewhat airy, with just enough sweetness and an excellent aroma of cinnamon.
kitchenklutz: knife and onions (knife and onions)
For the last month and a half -- call it work busy-ness, call it Thanksgiving burnout, call it flu season -- I've been singularly unmotivated to try out or post new recipes. Thankfully, I think that period of culinary blah has finally begun to move on.

So, I'll begin anew with Emeril's Spicy Meatloaf )

Overall, I was very favorably impressed by this recipe. The meatloaf is solid and flavorful, and the varied hot spices and veggies in it were enough to make my brow break out in sweat. Incredibly tasty, and with quite a few reasonably-sized servings -- I'll definitely be making this again. Overall prep time was about 30 - 45 minutes, and then the additional cook time of nearly an hour, means one needs a decent span of time to get everything together... but it's certainly worth it, in my opinion.
kitchenklutz: spoons and bowls (Default)
I decided to get a bit of an early start on the whole 250-new-recipes-in-a-year project, and after a quick stop by the grocery store for various supplies got home and began working on my first piece. (This recipe is straight from Emeril's Potluck, page 267.)



Glazed Lemon Pound Cake )

... with Lemon Glaze. )

Despite my complete inexperience with making cakes (I've only made cookies, muffins, and the solitary attempt at bread in the past), this turned out astonishingly good. It's sweet, light, incredibly delicious cake and the sweet tartness of the lemon glaze adds an excellent kick. I just about had a foodgasm when I took my first bite. Highly recommended, and I'll no doubt be making this again in the future... either for others, or to keep all to myself. : )

Crossposted from Kitchenklutz.
kitchenklutz: cookie sheet (cookie sheet)
A while back, I took a recipe that was on the back of a Nestle white chocolate chip morsels package and tweaked it a bit with some varied spices (my holy trinity is cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves). The end result, which I'm actually quite proud of, is my White Chip Spice Island Cookies. )

They always turn out delightfully tasty, with some intriguing hints of spice and flavor that somehow always leave me pleasantly surprised.
kitchenklutz: cookie sheet (cookie sheet)
Last Monday, I'd tried out a recipe for big soft ginger cookies on AllRecipes.com. They turned out alright, but not quite as good as I'd hoped -- they were actually a bit softer than I would've preferred, and not quite as gingery. I modified the recipe, and I came up with Crisp Ginger Cookies. )

Overall, I was quite pleased with the way this batch turned out. Well-spiced with ginger, aromatic, and just crispy enough while still remaining chewy. The cayenne adds a warm afterburn that hits just as the main taste of the ginger is beginning to fade - overall, as near to perfect as I've ever gotten with a ginger snap.

Crossposted from Kitchenklutz.
kitchenklutz: spoons and bowls (spoons and bowls)
Typically I just improvise when I'm making scrambled eggs for breakfast, but today I decided to actually jot down my various ingredients. So this morning, along with a dozen pieces of bacon (mmmmm, cholesterol!) I made Savory Scrambled Eggs. )

Goes great with traditional breakfast fare -- fresh fruit, toast, bacon, orange juice, and that sort of thing.

Crossposted from Kitchenklutz.

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