Recipe: Nearly-Flourless Chocolate Cake

22 Jun

A few weeks ago, some of my friends had a massive birthday party to celebrate their combined birthdays. The party started at one of their houses, with a barbecue dinner and snacks and alcohol (of course!). Guests were asked to bring some alcohol or a snack to share, and I love an opportunity to show off. Yup, I admitted it. I cook tasty things to impress people. Also to trick them into befriending me. Muahahaha! (Wait…)

My original idea was just to make some chocolate cookies from the leftover dough I had in the freezer, but then I decided that I should put in more of an effort. I have this teeny little cookbook (in the shape of a slice of cake!) called “The Chocolate Lover’s Cookbook”. I don’t remember where it came from but it is fair to guess that my mom gave it to me.

I chose the recipe because I had all of the ingredients for it and it was rich enough that I wouldn’t need to make any frosting. I am personally not a fan of flourless-type cakes (I think they are too rich and sweet) but my mom and sister LOVE THEM so I figure I am just a weirdo and that the cake would be a hit. My initial idea was to stencil “Happy Birthday” on the cake with powdered sugar, but that went terribly. It was a crazy, messy, blurry mess of powdered sugar so I smeared it around and voila! Cake. I tried a bite at the party and I have to say, it was really good, like a crazy delicious rich brownie. It got many compliments from other people at the party, so I’m going to call this one a win. It’s so easy too, so you really have nothing to lose. This cake is NOT a lie.

6 oz semi sweet chocolate, chopped, or 1 C semi sweet chocolate chips

1 stick butter, softened

2/3 C sugar

3 eggs

1/2 C flour

Confectioner’s (powdered) sugar to dust on top

Preheat the oven to 350˚. Line a 9″ round pan with parchment paper (or grease thoroughly and shake with flour).

Melt the chocolate in top of a double boiler. I always use a glass or metal bowl and set it on top of a saucepan in place of a true double boiler.

Beat the butter until light and fluffy.

Beat in the sugar, then pour in the chocolate and mix. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Gently mix in the flour until it just disappears. Don’t over mix! Pour the batter into your prepared pan, smooth the top, and bake for 25 minutes or until a tester comes out clean. I usually use a fork or a knife.

Allow the cake to cool in the pan, then invert it onto a plate and top with powdered sugar.

Yum yum yummmm. I feel that this cake would also taste very very good with a little bit of raspberry jam, or with fresh raspberries. It is summer, after all.

Cut into wedges to serve, maybe with some of those berries we were talking about?? I don’t have serving pics because I brought it to a party. If I showed you pictures it would be of drunk people shoving cake into their mouth and while those are super-entertaining it doesn’t really showcase the food in the way I’d like. 🙂

❤ Stef

Recipe: Fiddleheads, Fiddleheads (Pasta…)

6 Jun

Oh, the fiddlehead. What a strange little veggie. I had literally never seen them until a few weeks ago when I walked into Whole Foods and they were situated right in front of the produce section. I thought they were very cool looking, and the sign said that they tasted like asparagus. Plus, they were LOCAL! Hooray! I bought about 1/2lb ish.

I read a few articles about how best to prepare and cook them. I don’t usually have to do this but these little buggers are baffling. Plus the Whole Foods sign had warned about them being slightly poisonous if eaten raw, and I didn’t want to take any chances.

At least one of the articles said to trim the outer stem up to the coil, and then to cook them it was recommended that you steam them first, then stir fry in butter or olive oil and herbs, garlic, what have you.

Trim. If your fiddleheads have long handle-like stems, cut them to just where they begin to tightly coil. Discard the stems.

Rinse the coils with some water, because they can have little particle bits caught in them.

Steam them using a veggie steamer if you have one. If you don’t, that’s ok. You can just put them in a frying pan with a very little bit of water-let the water boil then put in the fiddleheads and cover with a lid. If you’re using a veggie steamer, fill a pot with an inch or two of water, put your fiddleheads in the steamer basket, put the steamer basket in the pot and set the pot at medium-high and cover.

Veggie steamer! So Sci-fi.

I steamed them for about 10-12 minutes, and I think that was too long. I would go for 7.

I made them into pasta, and it was quite delicious. If you want to go this route, have some water boiling for pasta. Boil whatever kind of pasta you like according to the package directions, but shave 2-3 minutes off of the cooking time.

When the fiddleheads are done steaming, put them in a big frying pan with about 2 TB olive oil, 1-2 tsp garlic, some parsley, about 1tsp lemon, and salt to taste. Stir fry them around for a minute or so, then add the cooked pasta and 1C chicken broth (or veggie broth if you want to keep it vegetarian-friendly). Keep it on medium-high heat and cook until the broth has reduced to about 1/2-1 inch.

Serve with lots of parmesean cheese and pepper.

Yummy yum yum!

❤ Stef

Adobo Throwdown!

24 May

Last weekend, I participated in an Adobo Throwdown. For the uninitiated, Adobo is a Spanish word that refers to multiple different kinds of spices, dishes or rubs, but in this instance it refers specifically to a Filipino dish made with chicken or pork and stewed in vinegar, garlic, sugar, soy and pepper. It’s funny because adobo can refer to either the Spanish dish or the Filipino dish. It all dates back to the Spanish invasion and occupation of the Philippines back in 1500-whatever.

So-my fiance is Filipino. Sort of.

Anders the Red!

No one ever believes us because of how he looks – plus he’s 6’5. It’s strange, because his Grandmother is full Filipino which makes Anders 25% – and my Grandfather is full Greek which makes me 25% Greek – but I consider myself much more Greek than Anders considers himself Filipino. I don’t know if this is because my father’s family kept the Greek Orthodox religion and thus all of the traditions and language and food, whereas (from what I can tell) Anders’ family’s Filipino ties are his Grandmother and her adobo. I’m really not sure what the difference is, I just think it’s interesting.

A few years ago, I asked Anders’ Grandmother for her adobo recipe. I honestly didn’t think she would give it to me, but she did! I’ve been making it for Anders and various friends for the past 4-5 years. A few weeks ago I heard about this Adobo Throwdown via Twitter. One of my favorite San Francisco food carts, AdoboHobo, entered, so I decided to. I mean, hey. I had the recipe, and it was pretty good! Plus I thought it might be a nice way to honor Anders and his family. I had to name my adobo recipe, so I named it for his family.

My application was accepted, the day came, and I made 20 pounds of chicken adobo in 5 pound batches. I borrowed a gigantic pot from my father to hold all of that chicken, and Anders and I made our way to the competition site in a taxi.

We get there (this is going to sound super-racist) and we appear to be the only white people competing. (Side note: this wasn’t true. There was one other white competitor, she just wasn’t in my kitchen area). I IMMEDIATELY feel out of place, and we both start freaking out. I have to keep my freak out under control though, because I’m carrying a vat of chicken and I came there to COMPETE dammit, and that’s what I was going to do. Anders starts to mention that maybe we should just leave the chicken and run. There is a part of me that feels this is a good idea, but the other more rational part knows that I made 20 pounds of chicken and I said I was going to show up and there is a sign bearing my name and the name of my adobo, and I am not going anywhere. So we just start doling out the adobo and try to ignore the fact that we feel really out of place and unprepared.* All I brought with me was adobo, but lots of contestants had fancy garnishes, dishes, accompaniments, and decorations for their booth. I had NOTHING! I felt like such a slacker.

My face says, oh shit. (That's my adobo vat in the back to the left).

After sticking it out, a magical thing starts to happen. People begin to tell me that they LOVE my adobo! They ask me where I learned, and I tell them about Anders and his Grandmommy. They ask if Anders is still in the picture, and I tell them that Anders is the big bearded guy helping me serve adobo. They all stare in confusion, and it’s pretty funny.

I have to prepare a sample dish for the judges, and though the competition organizers said they would have rice for participants, they are out of rice. I have to use old crappy rice for my sample dish.

I also have to tell the judges and the crowd about the adobo and the ingredients I used. This is totally nerve wracking for me, and I rarely get stage fright!

I know, I'm a big giant bag lady.

I make it through. We go back to my station, wait on more rice, and continue serving the adobo. More and more people are telling me how much they like it, and I’m starting to feel a little bit better.

Towards the end of the competition while we are waiting for the winners to be announced, the real surprise comes. There are two competitions – the taster’s choice, and the judge’s choice, for a total of six prizes. I win third place in the taster’s choice competition! I am SO surprised. So are the people giving me my prize!

What is this girl doing here? (I'm not sure).

Buuut I win them over with my irresistible charm.

I don't know why this was my first instinct.

Sometime during or between these pictures one of the lovely ladies told me that I could marry a Filipino boy now. I just laughed. I was way too flabbergasted to say that I kind of am. ❤

Accepting my prize!

Anders told me later that he didn’t snap any pictures of me (these are from the event’s photo page) because he didn’t think I would win and as a result didn’t get the camera from me! That’s ok. I didn’t think I would win anything, either.

I am so honored to have won anything. I have my little plaque in my kitchen in Boston, and it’s so awesome to think that I make anything that I can really call award winning! It wasn’t really me, though. It was Susan, Ander’s grandmommy, who gave me that recipe so I feel like it belongs more to her than to me. Without her, or without Anders, I wouldn’t have won anything at all.

Now I know you’re salivating for the recipe. I normally wouldn’t have a problem giving it to you, but Anders is super-protective of it. I gave it to a friend once and he was SO MAD! So, what I will say is this.

Always use dark meat chicken. The award winning batch I made had chicken thighs with the skin and the bone on.

Cover your chicken pieces in water.

Use 1 part vinegar.

1/2 – 1 part soy sauce.

1/2  part sugar.

LOTS of garlic

and black pepper.

Boil until you have about an inch of sauce, and serve over white rice.

❤ Stef

*I know you’re probably wondering why I thought a FILIPINO food competition wouldn’t be populated mostly by Filipinos. I thought it was a competition put on by the Art Institute’s new International Culinary School, where the competition was held. It was actually part of the Asian Culinary Forum’s 2010 Symposium, and they had borrowed/rented the facilities at AI. That said, it was an awesome experience. It also made me think about race-something no one ever wants to talk about. People in my class at BC will sympathize, because we spend a lot of time talking about race. But the competition did make me wonder about my minority status within that particular gathering. Do I, as a white person, never consider race because mine is the dominant one (within the US)? Are my feelings of awkwardness, of “not-belonging” experienced more often by people of other races when confronted with mostly white people? Food for thought, ladies and gents.

Drumroll, please…

27 Apr

As a general rule, I try to keep this blog recipe-based, meaning no silly little musings in between recipe posts and definitely nothing non-food related. I figure waxing poetic (or moderately snarktastic and psychotic, as the case may be!) is ok as long as it’s over a recipe I’m showing you. I try to keep things simple.

I know I haven’t been keeping up with my promised once a week schedule. I suck. I’m trying, but my next two weeks are going to be totally insane.

The real point to this post is that on Saturday my boyfriend proposed via a video game that he made and named after this blog! The game is called Dinner Love and the Quest for Soup. I had to play through the game as a little avatar of myself, as I tromped through the streets of San Francisco and collected foods. At the end of the game was the proposal!!

If you want to see the proposal video (and you know you do!) it’s on YouTube here:

If you are interested in playing the game, there is a link in the video description.

So, anyway, I’m engaged! Squee!!

❤ Stef

Recipe: Bouef Bourguignon

3 Apr

So I watched Julie & Julia the other day (I know I’m a bit late to the party) and Julia Child’s Bouef Bourguignon is elevated to some kind of magical cult status in that movie. It will ease your worries! Soothe your soul! Impress your friends, relatives, and newspaper columnists!!!!

So I kind of figured, geez. If this one dish can single handedly transform my life, why WOULDN’T I want to make it? And immediately, if not sooner. I found the recipe online and began my Saturday morning trek for the ingredients. I live across from a Whole Foods so most of the ingredients were not difficult to find, but I forced myself to venture to Trader Joe’s for the wine. I’m a “starving” grad student, and Boston liquor stores are a total effing ripoff for wine. I regularly find bottles of wine I would pay $5 for in a grocery store in California being peddled for $8-10 at your friendly neighborhood liquor store. Boo. TJs it was.

I gathered my ingredients. Beef, bacon, veggies, wine, broth, flour, seasonings. I looked at the instructions. SO MANY STEPS. I decide to take it slow, one step at a time. Don’t overwhelm yourself, Steffany! You’re going to do this right! If Julia Child tells you to cook the mushrooms separately, you will cook them separately goddammit! You will remove the bacon to a plate before you cook the beef! None of your laziness!

So I do. And it takes FOUR HOURS. And I divided the recipe in fourths, so it would take at least six to make as written. In the third hour of cooking, I began to think to myself that the next time I went to a restaurant and they tried to charge me $20 for a serving of bouef bourguignon I would pay it gladly, because some poor schmuck had to stand in front of a stove for god knows how long making the damn thing. In the end, I had bouef bourguignon. I also had sore feet, an aching back, and I was slightly lightheaded (that was probably my fault – I didn’t eat all day because I was making something EPIC and didn’t want to spoil my appetite). It was good. Really good. And if you refrigerate the whole thing and wait until the next night, it will be really REALLY good. But I couldn’t help but think that there were much easier ways to make beef stew. There is one step that I will probably elect to skip should I ever make this dish again, and that is when you separate the broth from the meat and veggies after taking the whole thing out of the oven. I’m sure it’s there for a reason, but I found it wholly unnecessary (especially since you just turn around and add the broth BACK to the meat!) and kind of difficult. You’re supposed to pour the stew into a sieve set over a saucepan, set aside the meats, wash out the casserole, put the meats back in the casserole, simmer the liquid in the saucepan and add broth if it’s too thick, then put the liquid back in with the meats that you just separated it from. (AGH! WHY?)

I had actual homework to do that day. Instead, I made bouef bourguignon. Now, to be fair, it tastes different from any beef stew I have ever tasted. It is meant to go over boiled potatoes or rice or pasta, so it kind of has more of a ragu-like texture and is not particularly soup-y. I think it is worth trying, just be prepared to lose your day to it!

6 oz chunk of bacon

3 lbs lean stewing beef

1 sliced carrot

1 sliced onion

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

2 TB flour

3 C red wine, NOT cooking wine. In fact, you should never buy cooking wine. Only use a wine you would drink in your cooking. If you wouldn’t drink it, why in god’s name would you bother eating it??

2-3 C beef stock

1 TB tomato paste

2 cloves mashed garlic

1 bay leaf

18-24 small white onions, brown basted in stock (we’ll go over this)

1 lb quartered fresh mushrooms, sauteed in butter

ALRIGHTY. Here we go.

Remove the rind from the bacon a cut it into sticks 1/4″ thick and 1.5″ long. I used bacon slices.

Simmer in a pot of water for 10 minutes, drain and dry. Heat your oven to 450˚. Saute the bacon in 1TB of olive oil for about 10 minutes, or until lightly browned. Remove to a side dish with a slotted spoon. Conserve the oil, that is what you will be browning the beef in.

Cut the stewing beef into 2″ pieces. Mine are probably more like 1″, but I wanted to trick myself into thinking there was more meat than there actually was. I do this a lot…!

Dry the beef in paper towels in order to ensure that it browns. Heat the oil until it is nearly smoking. Saute the beef in the oil a few pieces at a time until it is nicely browned on all sides. Add to the plate with the bacon.

Saute the carrot and onion in the same oil until they are browned.

Pour out any excess cooking fat, then return the beef and bacon to the pot with the veggies. Add the salt, pepper and flour and toss to combine. Set the casserole uncovered into the preheated oven for 4 minutes. Take the casserole out and stir the ingredients, then return to the oven for 4 minutes more. Remove and reduce heat to 325˚.

Stir in the wine and stock so that the meat is just covered. Add the tomato paste, garlic and herbs. Bring to a simmer, then cover, take off the heat, and put in the oven. Allow to cook in the oven for 2.5 – 3 hours. Try to regulate the heat so that the stew is at a gentle simmer the entire time.

While the beef is cooking, prepare the onions and the mushrooms. Slice the mushrooms into quarters and saute in butter (I used 1 TB for 1/4lb of mushrooms). You may not want to use all that butter, which is fine by me. You can always use olive oil instead, or an olive oil/butter mix. Mushrooms sauteed in butter are really, really good though! Maybe just this once, eh? Saute until they are browned and delicious looking. Set them aside until the meat is done.

You’re basically going to do the same thing with the onions. Mrs. Child says to brown-braise them in stock, but I the recipe I downloaded from some website didn’t have the page with those specific instructions on it. So I made it up, but it seems pretty authentic to me! Peel your onions and leave them whole. Saute them with butter and when they are starting to look a little brown, add some beef stock (I used 1/2 C stock for 9 pearl onions). Cover and cook for 5 minutes. Then uncover and swirl the onions around so they get a nice deep brown color on their edges. Keep them aside with the mushrooms until the meat is ready.

This is when the recipe gets to the crazy part that I hate. The recipe says that, once the meat is done, to pour the contents into a sieve set over a saucepan. Mmkay. I used cheesecloth. That was a bad idea. Should you choose to follow this step, use a colander.

So you pour the meats into the colander/sieve/cheesecloth, separating the liquid from the meat. The liquid should all be in the saucepan. Wash out the casserole dish and return the bacon and beef to it. Add the mushrooms and the pearl onions.

Return to the liquid, and simmer for a minute or two, skimming the fat off of the surface (I saw no fat. Maybe you will). You should have about 2.5 C of sauce thick enough to coat a spoon. If it is too thick, add some beef broth. If it is too thin, boil it down some.

Pour the sauce over the meat and veggies.

You are supposed to serve it over some boiled potatoes or, failing that, some rice or some buttered noodles. I was starving so I ate it with buttered bread.

Good luck and godspeed, my friends!

❤ Stef

Recipe: Butterbeer Part 2, Tudor Style!

6 Mar

After months of empty promises, I finally bring you the post you’ve all been waiting for.

Butterbeer, Tudor Style. Yesssss.

The Tudors were an interesting culinary bunch. They ate lots of funny meats (badger, anyone?) and insisted that beaver was a fish so they could get around the “only eat fish on Fridays during Lent” thing. Inventive, or just plain stupid? I  guess that’s just up to you and your level of scientific propriety. They also used a really fascinating device called a trencher – basically a stale piece of bread used as a plate, which was either eaten with sauce or given to the poor upon completion of the meal. You heard that correctly folks, the pious Tudors gave away stale bread that they had ALREADY EATEN ON to the poor. Yum?

I was sent this recipe by a friend about six months ago. He wanted me to make it so that he could drink it, unwilling to try his hand at the recipe himself, perhaps? Either way, it reminded me of a type of butterbeer I had made back in high school when my friends and I were all cracked out on Harry Potter. (Nothing like we are now, of course). (Much…) That recipe used root beer and hot buttered rum mix-probably not very authentic, but super-delicious nonetheless.

I’m not sure if this Tudor style butterbeer is any closer to approximating the kind that Harry and his friends drank at the Three Broomsticks, but it’s entertaining.

2C LIGHT beer (I used a pale ale, and the end result was slightly bitter tasting. I would use a lager or maybe a cream ale next time, something really light, like Boddington’s or even just Miller or Coors).

1/4C sugar

Pinch of nutmeg

2 egg yolks

1TB butter

Put the beer into a large pot on the stove, and heat until the beer becomes steamy and slightly foamy.

Mix together the egg yolks, sugar and nutmeg.

Slowly add about 1/2 C of the hot beer to the sugar-egg mixture, stirring all the time to combine. You are doing this to temper your eggs, slowly cooking them so that they don’t become scrambled when you add them to the hot beer.

Turn off the heat and pour the beer, sugar and egg mix into the large pot of beer and gently whisk. Add the butter and whisk some more.

When it looks like all your ingredients have been successfully combined, pour the butterbeer into a large glass and drink!

A note on the taste.

As I said before, I believe my selection of beer made the resulting butterbeer slightly bitter, which is why I suggest using a really light beer. This is not the time to get all snobby about beer (which is just part of my nature). When you think about it, the Tudors used beer as a water substitute because actual water was literally too dirty (full of SEWAGE) to drink. Beer probably wasn’t all that complex. Suck it up and use MGD.

With that said, Jakey Jake LOVED IT.

Me? Not so much.

This is why I try not to experiment alone! I would make it again using a different beer, though. I think that is where I went wrong.

So, to wrap up.

Butterbeer = weird. Try some!

❤ Stef

Recipe: Goat’s Milk CHEESE!

28 Feb

I finally got around to hauling out my kit from Urban Cheesecraft and making some queso.

And it was AWESOME.

I love making things that you usually have to buy (marshmallows, anyone?) because it makes me feel oddly powerful. Like, eff you world! I can MAKE SHIT. If the zombie apocalypse came tomorrow, you would definitely want me with your roaming band of survivors. I’m not a big fighter, but I can knit (which means I carry pointy sticks, more conducive to vampire slaughter, but still), I can sew, and I can cook. I know how to make bread and butter, though we will have to find a suitable lactating animal for the latter. You know, cow or goat. When the zombie apocalypse hits you won’t want to be too picky. For all you smartasses who think you can’t make butter from goat milk, YOU’RE WRONG.

So my cheese-making experience was fantastic, except that I almost over heated my milk. One of the crucial steps in cheese making is separating the curds from the whey, which occurs when you heat your milk. I assumed that I would be able to very visibly see the curds separate, that they would be able the size of cottage cheese curds. Not so! The curds were so tiny I could hardly see them and I thought I hadn’t heated the milk enough. Fortunately I read the FAQ over at Urban Cheesecraft and discovered that not all curds are large. In my case, I ended up dipping a metal spoon into the heated milk, and when I pulled the spoon out it was dotted with tiny white specks. Curds!

So, what follows is your basic goat cheese making technique, found in the recipe book that came with my Urban Cheesecraft kit. You can find online recipes, too, but I highly recommend buying a kit from the good people at Urban Cheesecraft! It’s not as though you can’t make cheese without it, but they make it so much easier. Mine came with yards of butter muslin, molds, a thermometer, vegetable rennet, citric acid, cheese salt, and recipe booklets.

Soft Goat’s Cheese

I cut the original recipe in half.

1 quart goat’s milk

1/2 tsp citric acid

1/4 C water

cheese salt (which is just flaked kosher salt). Make sure the salt you use doesn’t have iodine or anti-caking agents.

butter muslin (very fine cheesecloth)

thermometer

colander

big bowl

cheese mold (optional)

Grab your goat’s milk.

This is the first time I had ever bought goat’s milk. I was understandably curious.

Tastes just like moo cow milk. Yum!

Dissolve the citric acid into the water and put aside.

Pour your goat’s milk and the citric acid/water mix into a large pot and clip a thermometer to the side of the pot. You want to make sure your thermometer tip is not touching the bottom of the pot, it should be suspended in the middle of the milk so it can take an accurate reading. Don’t use an aluminum pot, either.

Slowly heat the milk to 185˚F, stirring occasionally. Keep the heat at medium-low. You do not want to over boil the milk, nor do you want to over stir. (So, just make sure you aren’t stirring constantly and you’ll be fine!)

Once the temperature reads 185˚ the curds should have separated from the whey. If you can’t tell (and like I said, I couldn’t), grab a metal spoon and dip it in to the milk and take it out. If it has little white dots on it, the curds have officially separated.

These are curds. I know, I can't see them either.

Turn off the heat and let the milk sit for about 10 minutes. While you are waiting, grab your colander, line it with the cheesecloth, and put it over a large bowl.

Slowly pour the milk into the cheesecloth lined colander, and allow to drain for 15 -30 minutes.

Once it has drained, add the salt and herbs if you like. I added a bit of rosemary, but although it flavored the cheese well, the rosemary itself was a little bitter. If I were to do it again, I would use something sweeter like basil or thyme.

Gently stir to combine.

Line a cheese mold with cheesecloth and place it over another bowl or a plate. Scoop the curds into the mold.

If you don’t have a mold that’s ok. You can just scoop the curds into a piece of cheesecloth and tie off the top. This way would probably work better if you suspend the bag over a bowl somehow, maybe by tying it to a cabinet handle with a bowl on the bottom. The reason you’re scooping the curds into the cheesecloth bag or mold is to further drain and shape the cheese. The longer you leave it to drain, the more firm your cheese will be. Regardless of which method you choose, allow to drain anywhere from 15 minutes to 3 hours. I left mine for about an hour.

Now that your curds are chillin’, you’ve got lots of whey to worry about.

Pour it into an airtight container. It will keep for about 2 days. Urban Cheesecraft gives lots of suggestions for how to use whey. You can feed it to your kitty, use it in place of broth in soups and stews, or make hot chocolate with it instead of using milk or water. Basically, you can use it in any recipe in place of milk or water. They do give this warning, though-whey has LOTS of lactose.

When your cheese is ready, remove it from the cheesecloth or mold and put it in a container. The cheese will keep for a week or two.

You can use it however you like! The first thing I did was put it on some leftover caramelized onion pizza.

I also made two batches of pasta – sun dried tomato and goat cheese, and brussels sprout, sausage, and goat cheese. Yum!

❤ Stef

Recipe: Marshmallows!

8 Feb

I know you were probably hoping for cheese. Sad day. But I got distracted yesterday when I realized that I had all of the ingredients for marshmallows in my cupboard (yeah, this is what happens when you cook a lot. You end up with random bits of foodstuff, like envelopes of gelatin and corn syrup from that one time you made that cake/pie/candy thing).

So as I was saying, I was sitting around thinking about how much I wanted some hot chocolate, but we all know that hot chocolate isn’t really worth it unless you’ve got some whipped cream or at the very least some marshmallows and I didn’t have either of those things and I didn’t want to go to the store. So I lay despondently around in total depression (tiny violin playing in the background) until I remembered that I could actually make my OWN marshmallows.

Yes.

This is the full recipe, but I actually cut everything in half. I also stole the recipe from Alton Brown. It’s ok though, he’s used to it.

3 envelopes of unflavored gelatin

1 C cold water, divided

1.5 C granulated suagr

1 C light corn syrup

1/4 tsp kosher salt

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 C powdered sugar

1/4 C cornstarch

Nonstick spray, or olive oil.

Put the gelatin and half of the water in a large mixing bowl.

Mix the corn syrup, sugar, salt and the rest of the water in a saucepan, cover and heat over medium-high heat for 3-4 minutes. Uncover, and using a thermometer heat the mixture to 240˚ F. I used my super-spiffy meat thermometer.

You can do the same, as long as you have a thermometer that goes up that high. You just have to be careful that the thermometer tip is not touching the saucepan at all, or it will mismeasure the temperature. I employed the use of a rubber band.

Once the mixture hits 240˚, take it off of the heat immediately. While you wait, grab a pan (mine is 8″x8″) and grease it all over using the cooking spray or olive oil. In a separate dish, mix the cornstarch and powdered sugar. Coat the pan using the cornstarch mix, and reserve the leftovers for later use.

Now, you’re going to combine the gelatin with the sugar mixture by slowly drizzling the heated sugar mix into the gelatin, while you constantly whisk it all together. This is super-easy if you have a stand mixer. I do not. In fact, I don’t even have a hand held electric mixer, so I used my whisk and MY HANDS. My shoulder kind of hurts, but I have fabulous muscles.

Any way you choose to mix, it takes between 10 – 14 minutes to reach the correct consistency. It will get really fluffy.

And then, it will start getting super-glossy and very difficult to whisk. That’s about when it’s done. You want to add the vanilla in the last 2-3 minutes of whisking.

Pour into your prepared pan, using an oiled spatula (or spoon, what have you) to evenly distribute.

Sprinkle the top with enough of the cornstarch mix to cover, again reserving the rest.

Let the marshmallows sit uncovered for at minimum 4 hours. Once this time has elapsed, turn the marshmallows out onto a cutting surface and cut into squares. You might need to coat your knife with some of the cornstarch mix.

Coat the cut marshmallows with the remaining cornstarch-sugar mixture.

You can store the finished marshmallows in an airtight container for up to three weeks. Enjoy!

❤ Stef

The Cheese Kit Cometh!

6 Feb

Yeah. You heard me.

A few months ago I found this amazing Etsy shop called Urban Cheesecraft. They sell, yup, cheese making kits. I sent the link to Anders with a mention that a cheese kit would make an awesome gifty for muah, and lo and behold! He remembered!

The kit comes with everything you need to make 30 batches of cheese. Each batch makes between 1 and 1.5 lbs of cheese, so I have enough to make 30-45 POUNDS of cheese. CHEESE.

Also included are cheese molds, thermometer, vegetable rennet, citric acid, cheese salt, instruction booklets (you can make mozzarella, ricotta, chevre, queso blanco and paneer), and ultra-fine muslin.

I haven’t decided which cheese I am going to make first, but I am currently leaning towards chevre, which means I need to buy some goat milk. I’ve never purchased goat milk before. This should be awesome.

So wait with bated breath my friends! Coming soon – DinnerLove, homemade cheese edition.

❤ Stef

Recipe: 5 Minute Microwave Cake

21 Jan

Weird. That’s what you are thinking, I know. Microwave cake?? Intriguing and yet dubious. So many questions – will it taste good? You can make cake in the microwave? Should this recipe be trusted?

Fear not! For I am here to answer your questions.

It all started when I got back from my break in San Francisco (which was lovely, thank you!) and found that the pilot light in my stove wasn’t on, and I couldn’t light it. I called the gas company and they said that they gas wasn’t off, but they couldn’t figure out what was wrong remotely so they would have to send someone out. Thanks, gas company. I’ve been living without a stove for the past two days, which resulted in my discovering alternate uses for my waffle iron and eating a lot of microwave food. Last night I googled “microwave oven meals” and I happened upon the microwave cake. WHOA.

Microwave Cake

4 TB flour

4 TB sugar

2 TB cocoa powder

1 egg

3 TB milk

3 TB oil

1/2 square of bittersweet chocolate, chopped OR 3 TB chocolate chips, both optional.

1/4 tsp vanilla extract

Microwave safe mug

Mix together all of your dry ingredients.

Add the egg, milk and oil.

Now is the time to MICRO!

The actual recipe says to microwave for 3 minutes at 1000 watts. I have a 950 watt microwave, and I microwaved for 2 minutes and that was plenty of time. In fact, if I’d left it in for the 3 minutes suggested I probably would have had sad, rubbery cake. So, I’d say to start with about 1.5 minutes and go from there.

The cake will puff up and make it look like your mug is wearing a square-shaped afro. This is ok, and is in fact very entertaining.

It gets taller.

Remove from the microwave.

Most recipe say to take it out of the mug, but I didn’t. Why bother?

But is it delicious? you ask.

This is not the most incredible cake ever, but it is good. I would recommend eating it with some nutella, cool whip, whipped cream or jam because it gets a teensy bit dry if you let it cool (dude, if you poured caramel or melted chocolate on this cake right when you take it out of the microwave and let it cool like that, it would be AMAZING!) but this is something that I would definitely make – and eat – again. Just don’t over cook it! Overcook BAD.

Now go and eat tasty five minute cake!

❤ Stef

UPDATE!

I finally got around to eating my entire mug of cake (that was really fun to say!) and I have to say that it was surprisingly delicious. It might help that I am slathering it with nutella (I totally recommend this) but still. Cake in five minutes! I can’t get over the awesomeness.