Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Baba Ghanoush

Posted by: Maggie

I ate a good third of this recipe as my dinner the other night. I decided that since eggplant is a vegetable, and since olive oil contains good fats, and because garlic is good for blood pressure that it was ok to scoop up this delicious concoction with half a baguette. Whatever. Still a health food.

I always go back and forth with which middle-eastern dip I like better - this, or hummus.  They're basically the same recipe, except one has chickpeas and one has eggplant. When it comes to my homemade versions, baba ghanoush is the clear winner. As for packaged versions, hummus wins. Packaged baba ghanoush is kind of tasteless, which is precisely why you should make this.

Serve this with sliced baguette, pita chips, cut up pita bread triangles, tortilla chips, or crackers. Serve it warm right after you make it, or chilled (I like it best warm, but I did enjoy the chilled leftovers for lunch the next day.) Whatever you do, just make it as soon as possible.

What you'll need:

3 medium eggplants
4 Tablespoons Tahini
4-5 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup lemon juice (about 2 large lemons)
3 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/3 cup fresh parsley, minced
Kosher salt, to taste

Prick the surface of each eggplant several times with a fork so that it can release steam while cooking. Preheat your broiler to high, and place eggplant on a foil lined baking sheet. Blacken the eggplant under the broiler for about 25 minutes, turning every few minutes. You want to get the eggplant really shriveled, and super tender. (Side note: You could also do this on a grill, but I wouldn't recommend an indoor one - mine was far too weak, and I gave up and switched to the broiler.) If you don't mind heating up your kitchen, a broiler is the way to go.

Set eggplant aside to cool for 5 minutes. Cut the eggplant open, and scoop out as much of the flesh as possible into a large bowl. Mash the eggplant with a fork, and mix in the remaining ingredients.

I have to stop blogging about foods that I've been out of for days. Now I just want to make this again.

Source: The Pioneer Woman

Friday, May 20, 2011

Chocolate Ice Cream

Posted by: Maggie

Happy Friday! Is anyone doing anything fun this weekend? I'm going to see Bridesmaids tonight with one of my girlfriends and I'm super excited. I have the gross-out sense of humor of a 14-year old boy, and I hear that this movie will strongly appeal to that side of me. I'm really not big on serious or sad movies. I'll watch them on occasion if something really interests me, but I think life is too short to spend 2 hours watching something that will just depress you.

I present to you today the only recipe for chocolate ice cream you will ever need. It is perfectly rich, perfectly creamy, and unless I'm in a major time crunch I don't ever see myself buying chocolate ice cream from the store again. It comes from David Lebovitz's "The Perfect Scoop" cookbook, which Annie was kind enough to give me for my birthday last month (in addition to an ice cream machine!)

I'm feeling kind of brain dead this morning, so instead of rambling on about uninteresting drivel, I thought I'd share this little game I've been seeing on some of my favorite blogs over the past few months. I don't know about you, but I'm incredibly nosy, and curious about the lives of bloggers outside their blogs. So I hope this doesn't bore you to death - I'd love to see your own "ABCs" in the comments and learn more about our readers!

Age: 27 (hellooooo scary age)
Bed Size: Full, much to my dismay. I used to live in an old rowhouse in DC, and when I bought my bed I was worried a queen wouldn't make it up our narrow staircase.
Chore you Hate: Unloading the dishwasher.
Dogs: I like dogs, and grew up with a very sweet pug named Humphrey, but I am honestly more of a cat person. Since my apartment is tiny I don't have any pets, but I like to pretend that our family cat Pumpkin, who lives far, far away in New Jersey is mine. Isn't he cute?

Essential Start To Your Day: Diet Coke. At least two of them. Preferably from a nice chilled can, but I've been known to drink it from a warm bottle out of desperation.
Favorite Color: Green!
Gold or Silver: White gold. That's right, I'm difficult and didn't choose one of the actual options.
Height: 5'6 3/4" according to the doctor, but I round up to 5'7"

Instruments that you can play: I have played the piano since I was 5, and I was a band geek in high school. I played flute mostly, but halfway through senior year I started playing piccolo on occasion.
Job title: I'm a contractor for the Department of Justice.
Kids: None yet, but I like them!
Live: Old Town Alexandria, Virginia

Mom's Name: Patricia/Patty/Tricia...Mom? Do you read this thing still? Love you!
Nicknames: Well, the name on my birth certificate is Margaret, so Maggie is a nickname. Some of my friends from kickball started calling me Muh-G-G. My college roommate's boyfriend called me Magnum. A friend from middle school/high school called me Meeeg (long e.) My grandpa called me Bird Turd. My boyfriend has been known to call me Devil Woman. Apparently I'm a very nicknameable person.

Overnight Hospital Stays: Other than when I was born, just one. I got really dehydrated back in 6th grade from a bad case of the flu, and spent 2 nights hooked up to an IV at Monmouth Medical Center. Good times.
Pet Peeve: I could write a whole separate blog about all of my pet peeves, but slow walkers annoy the crap out of me. I try to be patient. I work one block from the White House, and I understand that it's a beautiful and historic area. But at rush hour, I just want people to get out of my way so I can get to/leave work.

Quote from a Movie: One of the few serious movies that I love, love, love is "Blow." I've always liked this quote: "So in the end, was it worth it? Jesus Christ. How irreparably changed my life has become. It's always the last day of summer and I've been left out in the cold with no door to get back in. I'll grant you I've had more than my share of poignant moments. Life passes most people by while they're making grand plans for it. Throughout my lifetime, I've left pieces of my heart here and there. And now, there's almost not enough to stay alive. But I force a smile, knowing that my ambition far exceeded my talent. There are no more white horses or pretty ladies at my door."

Righty or Lefty: Righty
Sibling(s): Annie and Emma
Time you Wake Up: I set my alarm for 6 a.m. and usually make it out of bed around 6:30 a.m. On weekends I get up around 9.
Underwear: I can only think of hilariously gross things to write here that are not food blog appropriate, so I'm moving on to the next letter...

Vegetables you Dislike: The only one I can think of is Yellow Squash, but I haven't tried it in years. I probably like it now - I'm really the least picky eater ever.
What makes you Late: I procrastinate getting ready in the morning. I always have to check facebook, read my email, etcetera, and that majorly slows me down.
X-Rays: Too many to count. I'm accident prone.
Yummy Food You Make: I like to think everything, but these are some of my favorites.
Zoo Animal: I'm a fan of the pandas.

Anyone still there? Have I bored you to tears?

If you're still around, here's what you'll need to make some delicious ice cream:

2 cups heavy cream
3 Tablespoons Dutch Process Cocoa Powder
5 ounces bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
1 cup whole milk
3/4 cup sugar
Pinch of salt
5 large egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a medium saucepan, warm 1 cup of the cream with the cocoa powder, whisking to thoroughly blend. Bring to a boil, and then reduce the heat and simmer for 30 seconds, whisking constantly.

Remove from the heat, and stir in the chopped chocolate until smooth. Stir in the remaining 1 cup of cream. Pour the mixture into a large bowl and set aside.

Using the same saucepan, warm the milk, sugar, and salt. In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks. Going very slowly so you don't cook the yolks, pour the milk mixture into the yolks, whisking constantly. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan. Stir the mixture constantly over medium heat with a spatula, and scrape the bottom of the saucepan as you stir. When the mixture thickens and coats the back of the spatula, remove from heat.

Pour the mixture through a mesh strainer into the chocolate mixture, and stir until smooth. Mix in the vanilla extract. Stir the mixture over an ice bath until cool. Chill the mixture in your fridge for at least 8 hours, and then freeze according to your ice cream maker's directions.


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Best Ever Potato Salad

Posted by: Annie

I have always been somewhat close minded about potato salad that does not come from my mom's kitchen.  I have always preferred my mom's classic potato salad, and had little interest in exploring other varieties - until now. About two weeks ago, we hosted a party at my house for my roommate's birthday. We were having a cookout, and I immediately thought that the first cookout of the season must have potato salad.

I remembered reading on Brown Eyed Baker about a potato salad that involved bacon drippings, and decided I would venture out of my safe potato salad bubble and make a new dish. Let's just say, I am no longer only loyal to my mom's potato salad (sorry ma!)

Bacon drippings combined with red potatoes all sorts of deliciousness completely won me over.

What you'll need:

4 cups cubed red potatoes
10 slices bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
4 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
1 stalk celery, diced
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 medium green pepper, chopped

Boil the potatoes until they are soft enough to be pierced with a fork. Drain the potatoes and put aside. While the potatoes are boiling, fry the bacon in a skillet over medium low heat. Using a slotted spoon, remove the bacon and drain on a paper towel lined plate. Pour out all but 2 Tablespoons of the bacon drippings. Stir in the sugar, mayo, mustard, and salt and whisk together. In a large bowl, mix together the potatoes, eggs, celery, onion, and green pepper.  Mix in the dressing, and stir well to coat all the ingredients. Finally, mix in the bacon. Cover, and chill in the refrigerator for up to 3 hours before serving.


Monday, May 16, 2011

Chocolate Chip Crumble Bars

Posted by: Annie

I learned something about myself as a baker. I SUCK at crumbling. These are supposed to be chocolate chip CRUMBLE bars, and mine kind of just look like normal bars. Don't get me wrong, they were delicious (I may have even eaten one on my way to work at 6:30 am with a Red Bull - epitome of health you are talking to here,) but my crumbles kind of baked all together to look like non-crumble. Crumble-fail.

I was actually very surprised at the texture of my Chocolate Chip non-Crumble Bars; they were very cakelike and incredibly moist. I made these bars for my good good good friend Jinnely who just received her master's from Temple University in Education! We have been friends since middle school (awww,) and now work together as teachers in Philadelphia. She graduated on Thursday evening and walked in to a big plate of these bars on her desk the morning of her big day.

Me and Jinnely!

What you will need:

2 cups flour
2 cups brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick butter
2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (1 cup for the topping, 1 cup for the batter)
1 egg
1 cup milk (I used fat free)
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large bowl combine flour, brown sugar, butter and salt. Mix well and use a fork to crumble the mixture. Reserve 1 cup of the crumb mixture and set aside. Stir in 1 cup chocolate chips, egg, milk, vanilla and baking soda. Mix well and pour into a lightly greased 9x13 pan. Add 1 cup chocolate chips to the reserved crumb mixture and sprinkle on top of the batter. Bake for 30-35 minutes until the crumb topping is golden brown. Cool and cut into bars. 


Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Bourbon Glazed Salmon

Posted by: Maggie

Everyone who knows me is aware that I enjoy a drink or three on occasion on Fridays, Saturdays, and Thursdays during kickball season. I'm mainly a beer or wine girl, but I really don't discriminate - except when it comes to tequila. Let's just say that I used to travel to San Antonio frequently for my old job, and had enough tequila on those trips to last the rest of my life.

I tried bourbon for the first time last fall at a karaoke bar. It made me feel all warm and tingly (probably because I was drinking it straight up), and I instantly fell in love. I don't drink it often, because a) if I'm drinking liquor I insist on a decent brand, and I don't like buying $15 cocktails on the regular, and b) I feel tipsy after one, whereas with beer I'm sober as a judge after three. I may be drinking it more often in the near future though, since making this recipe required the purchase of my very own bottle of Jim Beam.

This recipe was absolutely delicious, and if the glaze wasn't the consistency of maple syrup I probably would have attempted to drink it. The original recipe recommends broiling the fish to get it crispy, but the inside of my oven looks like this, and so I just cooked it on my countertop grill:

What can I say...I don't have a lot of kitchen storage.

Here's what you'll need:

3/4 cup bourbon
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground mustard
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon worcestshire sauce
4 6-ounce pieces salmon 
Coarse salt
Olive Oil

In a small saucepan, whisk together the first seven ingredients and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce to a simmer, and whisk frequently for 8-10 minutes, or until mixture reduces by half. Transfer the glaze to a bowl, and allow to thicken and cool while you make the salmon.

Rub your countertop grill (I use the Cuisinart Griddler and LOVE it if you're looking for a recommendation) or grill pan with olive oil, and heat over medium heat. Lightly brush both sides of the salmon with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill to desired doneness - I take mine off when it is just barely opaque in the thickest part.

Brush cooked salmon with glaze, and serve immediately.

Source: How Sweet It Is
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