Sunday, October 24, 2010

baked cheese rangoons: who needs fried?

It's been one of those weekends. An attempt at french onion soup was satisfying in taste (sweet and buttery) but lacking in color . But these - my new addiction - came out very nicely. The deep fried ones from your local chinese takeout are so good but so bad, so I looked for a baked alternative. Hardly any fat is needed. Two ingredients: wonton wrappers and cream cheese. Some people use duck sauce, but I like my condiments to be made out of real food and not chemicals, so I tried a mix of Sriracha sauce and apricot jam. The result: the best sweet and spicy sauce I've ever had. No joke.

Friday, October 15, 2010

roast chicken

Roast Chicken
My first roast chicken - I bought the Halal version because it says it's free of antibiotics. The downside was the head was attached and the poor thing just looked so sad and pathetic, I almost became a vegetarian right there. But um... back to the recipe! I based mine off Thomas Keller's which is so simple it seems almost wrong. Making sure the chicken is very dry after washing, and not adding extra liquids or basting during roasting, he says, makes for a crispier skin. But I couldn't leave well enough alone, and threw some root vegetables in the pan, and stuffed the chicken with garlic and lemon. A weird fact, the lemon turns the garlic an unnatural bluish green! The skin still came out very cripsy the white meat very juicy and the dark meat falling off the bone. A pretty successful first try, if I do say so myself.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Apricot Thumbprint Cookies

Apricot Thumbprint Cookies
I don't think know which I like better. Making food to photograph and post about or eating the finished product. The recipe is from Joy of, but I had some extra lemon zest from lunch so I added that in. Lemon zest never hurts a recipe in my experience. You press an indent in the middle of the cookie with your thumb and fill with your favorite jam, in this case, I had some rose apricot jam from Austria (found in my local supermarket).


Will eating a bunch of vegetables cancel out the 4 pieces of korean fried chicken I just ate? Probably not. But it makes me feel a little bit better and it is better than eating another 4 pieces of chicken... mm, chicken....


I bought a couple of fresh beets yesterday. They're one of those miracle health foods that had me give them a second try. My first encounter with beets were from a can and as you may agree, most canned vegetables taste like metallic flavored mush and and bring back unpleasant memories of the school cafeteria. But fresh beets are much more crisp and substantial if you don't cook them that long. The easiest way to cook, I've read, is to quarter them and steam with the skin on for 15 minutes. But since I didn't have a steam wrack, I boiled them whole (with skins) for about an hour. They're even better with a little butter too.

Kale Chips with Cheeze

Cheeze is the vegan/raw substitute for cheese. This version is made of uncooked cashews, lemon juice, onion and garlic powder and sea salt. The first time I tried a store bought version I wasn't expecting much, but the taste was amazing - intense, flavorful and similar to the filling of spinach pie. I tried to recreate the flavor but since I don't have a dehydrator and am perfectly fine eating my food cooked, I baked the 'chips' in a 300 degree oven for 20 minutes. Since they're healthy, I don't feel as guilty eating a whole bowl full.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Oeuf à la coque (Soft boiled egg)



As Anthony Bourdain so charmingly said, "I am a total egg slut." But it's true - I love eggs. I recently learned how to cook the perfect hardboiled egg so that the yolk doesn't turn that unappetizing green on the outer edge. (Put eggs in a pot covered with water and cook 10 minutes after it begins to boil. Remove and rinse with cold water.) Since then, I've been seeing soft boiled eggs with toast soldiers on my food shows, a common English comfort food, and who am I to pass up another excuse to eat runny egg yolks? I didn't have the traditional egg cup, so I used an espresso cup and sat the egg in a cushion of sea salt. Now to go egg cup shopping! *For soft boiled eggs, repeat the same process, but only cook for 4 minutes after the water begins to boil.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

samosas and biscotti



Yes, a strange combination that involved juggling oven time and only one sheet pan. I've been trying to make things using as many ingredients as I have at home, so I guess that's what happened. The almond and lemon biscotti is taken from Giada DeLaurentis' show last night, but minus the decadent white chocolate she dips them in. Still very good.

The peas and potato filled samosas are Anjum Anand's of my new favorite - the Cooking Channel. I've been on an Indian-food-cooking craze, and I like that the new breed of Indian cooking shows give healthier and lighter versions of a cuisine that is thought to be full of rich, buttery and cream laden dishes. I know it's ignorant to think all Indian food is like that - much like America's misconceptions of Chinese food. These samosas don't have the traditional fried doughy skins, but are wrapped in filo dough using a minimal amount of butter and baked.

applesauce brownies


I was craving something sweet and chocolately, and I found a few boxes of brownie mix under a chair in a bag. I don't consider it "real" baking since it's from a box, but it was there and I was desperate. I was also short on butter, and wanted to make the recipe healthier (1/20 of the end result is 170 calories!) so I searched for a good substitute and found you can use applesauce. Of course, I saw this fact on the box after searching online... but oh well, it came out pretty good, even sweeter and fruitier. You just use 1/3 cup of applesauce instead of butter and one less egg. And for portion control, I scooped the batter into a mini cupcake pan.