Monday, January 30, 2012

Onion Dip

Posted by: Annie

Oh dip, how I could eat it for every meal. One of my favorite dips has always been French Onion, but I confess - I have always made it from those delicious little Lipton powder packs and mixed with a container of sour cream. This homemade version of onion dip is a delicious and easy replacement, and is a perfect option for any upcoming Super Bowl parties!!

What you will need:

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 cups onions, diced
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups sour cream
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt

In a large skillet over medium heat, heat oil. Add onions and 1/4 teaspoon salt and cook approximately 20 minutes until caramelized. Remove from heat, and allow onions to cool completely. In a large bowl, combine sour cream, mayonnaise, garlic powder, pepper, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Mix in cooled onions. Chill for at least one hour for best flavor.

Serve with your favorite pita chips, pretzels, or veggies!

Source: Alton Brown

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Goat Cheese and Prosciutto Pizza with Fig Jam and Arugula

Goat Cheese and Prosciutto Pizza with Fig Jam and Arugula

Posted by: Maggie

It just took me about 7 hours to write the name of this post, because I couldn't figure out how to properly stuff all the goodness of this pizza into the title.  

Therefore, this is going to be a short post, with none of my usual rambling.

I will just leave you with this:

Goat cheese, good.
Jam, good.
Prosciutto, gooooood.

Here's what you'll need:

For the crust: (Makes a lot of dough, you'll use 1/4 of it for this recipe) 

1 teaspoon active dry yeast
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

For the toppings:

Extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling
5-6 tablespoons fig jam or preserves (I found this in the fancy cheese section, not in the jam section)
2 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
1 ounce prosciutto, torn (about 2 slices)
Kosher salt, to taste
1 handful of arugula (I have man hands, so let's call this one LARGE handful)

To make the crust, sprinkle the yeast over 1 1/2 cups warm (not lukewarm) water. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine flour and salt. Turn the mixer on low speed, and slowly drizzle in the olive oil, until it is combined with the flour. Next, slowly pour in the yeast/water mixture and mix until just combined.

Coat a large mixing bowl with olive oil, and transfer the dough to the bowl. Cover tightly with plastic wrap, and transfer to the fridge to rise for at least 24 hours.

When it's time to assemble your pizza, divide the dough into 4 equal portions, and stick 3 portions back in the fridge for another time. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees while you're at it. Rub a small baking sheet with olive oil. Stretch your dough out into an awkward hybrid of an oval/rectangle, and place it on the baking sheet. Lightly drizzle the dough with olive oil. Next, smear the fig preserves on, followed by the goat cheese, prosciutto, and a light sprinkling of kosher salt.

Bake in preheated oven to 10-12 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown. Let stand for a few minutes before slicing, and top with arugula immediately before serving.

Source: crust recipe adapted from The Pioneer Woman, and toppings are from yours truly, but they really aren't a unique concept.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Pepperoni Pizza Dip

Pepperoni Pizza Dip

Posted by: Maggie

Does anyone else out there only care about the Super Bowl for the commercials and the food? Good, me too. This year, I tried valiantly to get into football, only to lose interest 3 weeks into the season. You may remember that I even joined a fantasy football league, only to get fed up with my players' inability to run around for a few hours without injuring themselves. Lame. 

I think one of the big reasons I've always wanted to like it is because some of my favorite movies and television shows involve football - The Blind Side, Remember the Titans, Varsity Blues, and Friday Night Lights to name a few. I've determined that if professional football was shot in slow motion and set to dramatic music I would be super into it. I love Hollywood-generated football. Just not the real kind.

I know the Super Bowl is still almost 2 weeks away, but I wanted to post this recipe far enough advance for you to include it on your game-day menu. This spinach dip recipe used to be my favorite appetizer on the blog until I made this recipe. It is absolutely delicious, and super quick to whip up.

Here's what you'll need:

12 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
Generous pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
1/2 cup pizza sauce
Pepperoni slices, halved (I didn't measure these, just eyeball how much you want)
3 scallions, green parts thinly sliced

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Using a mixer, combine cream cheese with spices. Evenly spread mixture in the bottom of a pie plate, and top with half of the mozzarella. Top mozzarella with the pizza sauce, and then layer on the remaining mozzarella.

Top with pepperoni slices and scallions, and bake for 15-20 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes, and serve with toasted baguette slices or crackers.

Source: Adapted from Salad in a Jar

Friday, January 20, 2012

Oreo Cheesecake Cookies

Posted by: Annie

Isn't there some saying that every seven years your taste buds change? Maggie and my mom are constantly mystified/annoyed with me because in their opinion, the list of foods I eat and don't eat is constantly changing. Unfortunately, about two months ago my taste buds decided I didn't like cheesecake. What? It's not like I had even eaten cheesecake recently, it's just that the idea of cheesecake was grossing me out. 

Now I can accept my taste buds fickleness to some less desirable foods, but cheesecake is a dessert I need to like. Well, these Oreo cheesecake cookies brought my love of cheesecake back to life. The cookie combination reminds me of a cookie and cream cheesecake, and I hope now that cheesecake will stay on my like list for a bit longer - at least until I eat all the cookies.

What you will need:

1 stick butter, at room temperature
3 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup mini-chocolate chips
1 cup Oreo crumbs

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar on medium speed until creamy and smooth.

Mix in sugar and vanilla and beat on medium until combined.

Stir in flour until incorporated.

Using a rubber spatula, stir in chocolate chips.

Place Oreo crumbs in a small bowl. Roll the dough into 1.5 to 2 inch balls and coat in Oreo mixture.

Place on cookie sheet and bake 12-15 minutes. Cool cookies on baking sheet for 2 minutes before transferring to a wire rack. Store cooled cookies in an airtight container.

Source: Adapted from Brown Eyed Baker

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Homemade Poppyseed Bagels

Posted by: Maggie

Betcha didn't know that food blogging can be a dangerous hobby. 

It's true. On Monday, while attempting to photograph my bagels from above, I grossly overestimated my sense of balance, and fell when the brown chair you see below violently swiveled to the right the second I managed to stand up straight on it.

The scene of the accident:

Fortunately, my ego was bruised worse than my bottom, and I carefully clambered back onto the chair and got my money shot. In the future though, I plan to invest in a stepladder before attempting any more overhead food photography. Or, perhaps I'll start wearing my bike helmet when taking photos that necessitate standing on my brown chair. Maybe I'll get one of those "I've fallen and I can't get up" medical alert devices for good measure. I mean, I may be 27, not 87, but I live alone, and have klutz tendencies. It just makes good sense. 

Here's what you'll need for 5 large bagels:

3 1/2 cups bread flour, plus a bit more if necessary
4 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 1/2 cups warm water
Vegetable oil, for greasing
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar (not packed)
Cornmeal, for sprinkling

In a mixer bowl, combine the bread flour, instant yeast, granulated sugar, and kosher salt. Add the warm water, and beat with the paddle attachment, and switch to the dough hook when the mixture comes together. Knead for 5 minutes (using the dough hook,) adding in small amounts of additional flour if the dough seems too wet.

Transfer the dough to a large, greased bowl. Cover the bowl with a clean, damp tea towel, and allow it to rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.

30 minutes into the dough's rise, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Put a large pot of water on to boil. Sprinkle a large baking sheet generously with cornmeal, and lightly grease another.

When the dough has risen, deflate it, and divide into 5 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a ball, poke your thumb through the center, and form into a bagel shape. Rest the bagels on the greased baking sheet for 10 minutes.

Your water should now be boiling. Add the dark brown sugar, let dissolve, and return to a boil. Drop 2 of the bagels into the boiling water. Allow to simmer for 1 minute, then flip them over and simmer for 1 more minute. Remove with a slotted spoon, return to the oiled baking sheet, and repeat with the 3 remaining bagels.

Transfer the bagels to the cornmeal sprinkled baking sheet. Sprinkle on poppyseeds. Bake for 25-35 minutes, until golden brown.

Source: Adapted from "Make the Bread, Buy the Butter" by Jennifer Reese

Monday, January 16, 2012

Chocolate Chip Graham Cracker Cookies

Posted by: Annie

You can never have too many versions of chocolate chip cookies! My kitchen is finally starting to come together, and these are the first cookies I have made in my new house - AND, the first thing I made using my brand new KitchenAid mixer :) 

These cookies combine the flavors of graham crackers, dark chocolate, and peanut butter, and fill your house with one of the most delicious smells ever.

What you will need:

1 1/2 sticks butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/4 cup flour
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup peanut butter M&Ms
2 cups dark chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugars on medium speed until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, graham cracker crumbs, salt, and baking soda. Slowly add the flour mixture into the butter mixture and beat on medium-low speed until well combined. Finally, fold in M&Ms and chocolate chips.

Using a large cookie scoop, drop dough 2 inches apart on an un-greased cookie sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes until golden brown. Remove from oven, and cool on a wire rack.

Source: All Recipes

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Cranberry Orange Walnut Tea Bread with Sweet Orange Glaze

Cranberry Orange Walnut Tea Bread with Sweet Orange Glaze

Posted by: Maggie

Back in December, my Aunt Sharon sent me a message on Facebook recommending a cookbook called "A Passion for Baking," by Marcy Goldman. Aunt Sharon happens to be an excellent baker and cook, and I knew she wouldn't steer me wrong, so within minutes of reading her message, I clicked over to Amazon and snagged myself a gently used copy. 

I strongly suggest that you all follow suit and go get a copy too, because this cookbook is awesome. It is full of just the kind of baked goods I like to make - delicious, simple, and non-pretentious. I decided to tackle the cranberry bread recipe first, partially because it was one of the recipes Aunt Sharon recommended, and partially because my friend/college roommate/former DC roommate, Rachel, recently asked if I had a good cranberry bread recipe. I didn't when she asked, but I totally do now!

Don't skip making the glaze for this bread - it really imparts a lot of moisture and flavor, and makes the bread extra delicious!

Cranberry Orange Walnut Tea Bread with Sweet Orange Glaze

Here's what you'll need:

For the bread:

1/3 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 small orange, zested
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon pure orange extract
1/2 cup orange juice (I used bottled, I didn't bother juicing the orange that I zested)
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 cups all-purpose flour + 1 teaspoon, divided
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup cranberries, half of them coarsely chopped
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

For the glaze:

1/3 cup orange juice
1 teaspoon lemon juice
3 tablespoons granulated sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and generously spray a 9x5 inch loaf pan with cooking spray. When I say generously, I mean generously. My bread was a bitch to get out of the pan even though I thought I sprayed enough. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and place the loaf pan on it. Set aside.

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in orange zest, egg, and extracts. Beat in orange juice and buttermilk. In a medium bowl, whisk together 2 cups flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Switch mixer speed to low, and beat in dry ingredients until just combined.

Gently toss cranberries with the remaining 1 teaspoon of flour (this prevents them from sinking to the bottom of the loaf) and fold them, and the walnuts into the batter.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, and bake for 55-60 minutes, or until bread is lightly browned, and springs back when gently pressed. Cool for at least an hour on a wire rack before removing from the pan.

To make the glaze, combine the orange juice, lemon juice, and sugar in a small saucepan, and simmer for 5 minutes. Set aside to cool for a few minutes.

Using a skewer, poke small holes in the bread surface. Drizzle glaze over cooled bread, and let stand for 20 minutes before cutting.

Source: Adapted from "A Passion for Baking" by Marcy Goldman

Monday, January 9, 2012

Peanut Butter Nutella Brownies

Posted by: Annie

These brownies almost didn’t happen - but I am oh so glad they did. Last weekend, Scott and I moved into our first place together! Super exciting, super fun, but also SUPER exhausting. I designated Wednesday as my first free opportunity to bake and I set forth to make Peanut Butter & Nutella brownies. Well, the universe was certainly working against me.

First, I realized that I did not have baking soda (woes of moving into a new place - baking staples need to be replaced,) so I had to stop at the food store on my way home. I arrived home, put on How I Met Your Mother, began to bake and finally began to relax… and then I realized I did not have any eggs. I literally sat on the floor of my kitchen in defeat (or maybe because we don’t have a kitchen table yet) and briefly considered giving up on my brownies, but decided that it was a waste of perfectly good ingredients, so I bundled back up and went out to the store. 
When I arrived at the store I ended up buying not only eggs, but American cheese and beer?? I took my eggs and impulse purchases home and finished mixing up the brownie batter, to only realize that I had greased a 9x13 pan, did not have my 8x8 pan and the recipe clearly was made for a smaller pan…
At this point I stomped around and was debating cooking my brownies in a sauce pan (just kidding - sorta,) and then realized that duh… I could just double my recipe.
So, many issues later, I give to you Peanut Butter Nutella Brownies!

What you will need:

1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
1 stick of butter (melted)
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup chocolate chips
1/4 cup nutella 
1/4 cup peanut butter
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Next, grease a 8x8 baking pan or line with parchment paper.
In a small bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt.
Next, in a large bowl combine melted butter and sugar. Stir in eggs individually, and then add vanilla. Stir in dry ingredients and chocolate chips.
In a small microwaveable bowl, melt Nutella and peanut butter (approximately thirty seconds) until runny. Fold into brownie batter.
Transfer batter to the prepared pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool completely before cutting. 
Source: Adapted from Food Fondness 

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Chipotle Sweet Potato Soup

Posted by: Maggie

Let me tell you a story about a gal named Bethany.* 

*Totally not her real name.

I used to work with Bethany, and while she was a decent person deep down, she drove me batshizz crazy. Pardon my salty language.

I could probably write a good thirty blog posts about things Bethany did that made me want to put her in a poorly constructed cardboard box and ship her to [redacted state that she desperately wanted to move back to,] but you don't come here for that kind of negativity. Instead, I'm just going to share one Bethany story.

Most people know that it's rude to comment negatively on the appearance of someone's food - particularly while they're eating it. Bethany was not most people. She was blissfully unaware of manners and social mores, and informed me one day that the homemade black bean soup I was enjoying for lunch looked like "runny cow poop." That, my friends, is a direct quote. She then proceeded to talk about cow poop for 5 minutes, while I attempted to tune her out by playing scenes from The Room in my head.

Anyway, the point of me sharing this story is to acknowledge that this soup, at best, looks like regurgitated baby food. I can say that because I made it. I encourage all of you to make it as well because it's spicy, healthy, and gosh-darn delicious, and that's what matters. However, if the Bethany in your life comes into your office while you're eating leftovers for lunch and tells you that it looks like you're eating the sludge from the bottom of a spray tan booth drain, I fully support your right to:

a) pour this soup in her hair
b) punch her in the ears
c) call her a whiny strumpet
d) all of the above

Just don't come crying to me when you're charged with assault.

What you'll need:

15 baby carrots, diced
2 stalks of celery, diced
1 medium yellow onion, diced
2 teaspoons minced garlic (about 4 cloves)
2 pounds sweet potatoes (about 2 large potatoes or 3 small ones,) peeled and cubed
4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
2-4 chipotles in adobo, chopped
2-3 tablespoons adobo sauce, from can of chipotles in adobo
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
Juice of 1 lime
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Garnishes: sour cream or greek yogurt, pecans

In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium low. Add the baby carrots, celery, and onion, and cook for 10 minutes (if they start to stick add in a tablespoon or two of water.) Add in the garlic and cook for 1 additional minute.

Add in the sweet potatoes, vegetable broth, chipotles, adobo sauce, and spices. Bring to a boil, then simmer with the lid on for 20-25 minutes, or until the potatoes are very tender. Remove the soup from heat, and using an immersion blender puree completely. You can probably use a regular blender for this too, but I think you're supposed to let it cool first to avoid a freak steam explosion.

Season to taste with lime juice, salt, and pepper. Garnish with sour cream and/or pecans, and serve. This soup tastes even better the day after making it!

P.S. Christmas present shout-outs! Thanks Emma for the immersion blender, and thanks Annie for the creme brûlée dishes that I repurposed as soup dishes for this photo!

Source: Adapted from Homesick Texan

Monday, January 2, 2012

Chicken Gyros

chicken gyros

Posted by: Maggie

Happy New Year everyone! 

I'm pretty sure if I posted a cookie or cupcake recipe today, on the day after 83%* of people vow to eat healthier, you'd all find out my address, break into my apartment, pin me down, and force feed me leafy greens and oatmeal. That's not to say that I don't like greens and oatmeal...I just don't want a bunch of angry health nuts assaulting me.

In the interest of not being a diet saboteur, I bring you this chicken gyro recipe. It's one of my favorite low-calorie dinners that doesn't taste low-calorie. If you want, you can make it healthier with whole wheat pita...I just couldn't do that. I've expressed how I feel about most whole wheat bread products before. I love whole wheat sandwich bread, but I just can't do whole wheat pita bread.

You will have a lot of leftover tzatziki sauce if you follow the recipe as written, but I like to have it on hand as a dip for baby carrots and pita triangles, so I make the full amount!

*I made up this statistic.

What you'll need:

For serving:

4 pitas or flatbreads, warmed for 20 seconds in the microwave between damp paper towels
Diced tomatoes
Diced red onion
Dried parsley

For the chicken:

2 teaspoons garlic, minced (about 4 cloves)
Juice of 1 lemon
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 heaping tablespoons non-fat greek yogurt (I recommend Fage)
1 tablespoon dried oregano
A few shakes of salt and pepper
4 boneless, skinless, chicken breast halves

Combine all of the above ingredients except for the chicken in a dish, and whisk together to make a marinade. Add in chicken, and turn to coat. Cover, and place in the fridge for 1 hour to marinate.

Meanwhile, make the tzatziki sauce:

16 ounces non-fat Greek yogurt
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded, and very finely diced
1 1/2 - 2 teaspoons minced garlic (3-4 cloves)
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
Salt, pepper, and fresh lemon juice to taste

Using a thick stack of paper towels, squeeze the diced cucumbers to remove as much water as possible. Repeat if necessary. In a medium bowl, combine cucumbers with all of the above ingredients. Cover, and place in the fridge.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

After the chicken is done marinating, place on a foil lined baking sheet and bake for 20-30 minutes, or until it is cooked thoroughly and juices run clear. 99% of the time that I make chicken I use these. They are relatively small, cook evenly, and are done in 20 minutes flat. The ginormous breasts (heheh) that I often see at the store might need even longer. Make sure they're cooked to 165 degrees to be safe. (Can you tell I'm kind of neurotic about cooking chicken?)

After your chicken is thoroughly cooked, allow it to rest for a few minutes, and then slice it into strips.

Assemble gyros with chicken, tzatziki sauce, tomatoes, onions, and dried parsley, wrap in foil for ease of eating, and enjoy!

Source: Adapted from Elly Says Opa
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