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Archive for January, 2011

by Sarah Steimer

Still delicious despite my stupid mishap.

  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 1/2 cup popcorn kernels
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Heat oil in a 4-quart pot, add three kernels and cover. Once you hear the kernels pop, add the rest of the popcorn along with the sugar. Stir quickly then cover the pot.  Shake the pot pretty constantly to make sure the kernels  and oil don’t burn. Remove the popcorn from pot immediately once the popping slows and pour into a bowl. Add salt and mix.

I’ll admit it, I burned some of mine at the bottom, even after following the directions perfectly. I’m actually typing this with one hand because the other is being iced. I grabbed a blackened kernel to throw away but it was waaay too hot (covered in molten oil and sugar) and I burned my finger. It seems this recipe works best if you have one of these popcorn cookers that let you stir constantly. Someone should really create a business that rents out kitchen appliances, etc. you know you’ll only use once.

Today’s lesson: No one’s perfect and don’t touch burned popcorn too soon.

Recipe: I found the same recipe on most sites…

Photo: Sarah Steimer

*More popcorn recipes by Caitlin that are probably safer can be found here.

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by Caitlin Saniga

This quesadilla is three layers of awesome. And don't even kid yourself — you can't eat it on your own.

  • 4 8-inch flour tortillas
  • 1 8-ounce package peeled chopped butternut squash, cut into 1/2- to 3/4-inch cubes
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
  • 1 cup chopped white onion
  • 1 15- to 16-ounce can black beans, rinsed, drained
  • 1/2 cup salsa, divided
  • 2 garlic cloves, divided
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 cup coarsely grated hot pepper Monterey Jack cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • sour cream, if desired
  • additional salsa
  • fresh cilantro sprigs (for garnish)
First layer: black bean mixture (black beans, salsa, chili powder and garlic) plus cilantro

First layer: black bean mixture (black beans, salsa, chili powder and garlic) plus cilantro

Preheat broiler. Put tortillas in a single layer on a baking sheet. Brush lightly with oil. Broil until toasted, 2 or 3 minutes. Turn; set aside.

Second layer: cheese

Place squash in a microwave-safe bowl. Sprinkle water over, cover with plastic wrap and microwave until just tender, about 3 minutes; drain.

Third layer: squash and onions

Third layer: squash and onions

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and saute until beginning to brown, about 3 minutes. Add squash; stir 1 minute. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Spread out the  squash in an even layer over 1 tortilla. Add 1 tablespoon oil to skillet. Add beans, 1/4 cup salsa, garlic, and chili powder. Using a potato masher, crush until beans are coarsely mashed; season with salt and pepper. Stir in 1/4 cup salsa. Spread over second tortilla. Sprinkle cheese over third tortilla. Leave fourth tortilla plain.

Broil tortillas until cheese melts and vegetables are browned in spots, about 3 minutes, watching to prevent burning. Transfer black bean tortilla to plate; sprinkle 1/4 cup cilantro over. Top with cheese tortilla, squash tortilla, then plain tortilla. Cut into 4 wedges. Garnish with sour cream, salsa and cilantro sprigs.

Makes 4 servings.

Recipe: Bon Appetit

Photos: Caitlin Saniga

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by Caitlin Saniga

Use a spoon to stir the drink between sips — or all cinnamon and cayenne pepper will rise to the top (and you'll get one hell of a gulp).

Use a spoon to stir the drink between sips — or all the cinnamon and cayenne pepper will rise to the top (and you'll get one hell of a gulp).

  • 3 1/4 cups 2% milk
  • 6 ounces white chocolate, chopped
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Place the white chocolate in a medium metal bowl over a pan of barely simmering water, or in the top half of a double boiler. Allow the chocolate to melt, stirring occasionally until smooth. Stir in the cayenne pepper and cinnamon. Whisk in the egg until smooth.

Gradually whisk in one cup of the milk until completely incorporated, about 2 minutes. Gradually whisk in the remaining milk, and heat until hot, but not simmering. You do not want a skin to form on top of the milk. It will be ready to drink when either the taste of the cayenne is masked by the temperature of the milk (the spiciness of the pepper will remain), or when the hot chocolate is at a desired temperature. Ladle the hot chocolate into mugs and garnish with a sprinkle of cinnamon.

Makes 4 servings.

Recipe: AllRecipes.com

Photo: Caitlin Saniga

*During the month of January we’ll post six hot chocolate recipes as part of Loving Cup, all of which can be found here.

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by Caitlin Saniga

I used a medium-roast coffee, but if you want a bolder coffee flavor, use a dark-roast coffee for this brisket. And I served mine with rye bread. Yum.

  • 1 medium onion, peeled and quartered, stem end left intact
  • 1 pound new potatoes (about 12)
  • 1 pound medium carrots, cut into 2 1/2-inch lengths
  • 2 1/2 pounds beef brisket, trimmed
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 6-ounce can tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup brewed black coffee
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • country bread (optional)

In the bottom of a 5- to 6-quart slow cooker, combine the onion, potatoes and carrots. Season the beef with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoons pepper and place on top of the vegetables.

In a small bowl, whisk together the tomato paste, coffee, Worcestershire sauce, and brown sugar; pour over the beef and vegetables. Cover and cook on LOW until the beef and vegetables are tender, 7 to 8 hours.

Slice the beef across the grain and serve with the vegetables and sauce, sprinkled with parsley. Serve with the bread, if desired.

Makes 4 servings.

Recipe: Real Simple

Photo: Caitlin Saniga

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by Sarah Steimer

I wish I would have thought of Irish hot chocolate when I had snow days in college.

For the hot chocolate

  • Your favorite hot chocolate recipe
  • Baileys Irish Cream liqueur, as much as you’d like

Combine the two. This isn’t so much a recipe as it is a good idea. And you’re welcome.

For the whipped cream

  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Whip cream until white peaks begin to appear. Add the sugar and vanilla and beat a little more until it’s at a whipped cream consistency you know and love. Makes about two cups. Add to your Irish hot chocolate and garnish with some shaved chocolate. Dab a little of the whipped cream on your nose for extra pizazz.

Recipes: Sarah Steimer

Photo: Sarah Steimer

*During the month of January, we’ll post six hot chocolate recipes as part of Loving Cup, all of which can be found here.

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by Sarah Steimer

Why dislike Brussels sprouts? They're just little heads of lettuce, basically.

  • 5-6 Brussels sprouts, quartered
  • 3 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 1/2 pound of pasta
  • shredded Parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper
  • olive oil

Sprinkle the quartered Brussels sprouts with olive oil, salt and pepper and roast in a 375-degree oven for about 15 minutes or until browned and the outside leaves are crisping.

In the meantime, cook the pasta. Add a little oil to a pan and toast the pine nuts a little. When all ingredients are ready, toss the Brussels sprouts and pine nuts over the pasta and add cheese. (By the way, grate your own Parm, it’s so much better than the pre-grated cheese in the bags.) Serve immediately.

Makes about two or three servings.

Recipe: Sarah Steimer

Photo: Sarah Steimer

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by Sarah Steimer


These would probably be killer for the holiday season.

  • 1 cup raw walnuts
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt

Heat a nonstick or sprayed pan over medium heat. Add walnuts and roast for 4-5 minunts until fragrant and toasted. Meanwhile, mix the other ingredients together in a bowl. Coat the walnuts evenly and continue heating until absorbed. Transfer to a plate and cool before serving.

Recipe: Fairy Spoon

Photo: Sarah Steimer

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by Caitlin Saniga

These remind me of the Ukrainian potato pancakes my Baboo (grandma) used to make.

  • About 2 pounds zucchini, eggplant or turnips, peeled if necessary
  • 1/2 onion peeled and grated
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 cub bread crumbs or flour, plus more if needed
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper
  • 1-4 tablespoons butter or extra-virgin olive oil

Grate vegetables by hand or with grating disk of a food processor. In a bowl, mix together all ingredients except the butter or oil. Mixture should be fairly loose but not liquid; add a little more flour or bread crumbs if necessary.

Put butter or oil in a large skillet and turn heat to medium-high. When pan is hot, put large spoonfuls of batter in pan. Cook, turning once, until nicely browned on both sides, 10 to 15 minutes total. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Makes 4 servings.

Recipe: The New York Times: The Minimalist

Photo: Caitlin Saniga

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by Sarah Steimer

These are cupcakes, not muffins, even though they don't have icing.

  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 cup cranberries, fresh or frozen
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips

In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg and beat until well blended. Stir in the milk. Add the flour and baking powder. Gently fold in the cranberries and chocolate chips.

Spoon the batter evenly in lined cupcake tins and bake at 350 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Transfer to a cooling rack.

Makes 12.

Recipe from: The Pastry Affair

Photo: Sarah Steimer

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by Caitlin Saniga

I liked this cocoa because the coconut flavor is subtle and the drink isn't overly sweet.

  • 1 1/2 cups coconut milk
  • 1 1/2 cups milk (I used 2%.)
  • 5 ounces dark chocolate, coarsely chopped or broken in pieces (I used the cheapest bar of dark chocolate I could find, Cadbury. I had no complaints!)

Mix coconut milk and milk in a small pot over low heat. Cook until simmering, about 3 to 5 minutes.

With the heat still on low, add in chocolate and stir until it’s melted and fully incorporated with the milk. Remove from heat, ladle into cups, and serve immediately.

Makes 4.

Recipe: Appetite for China

Photo: Caitlin Saniga

*During the month of January, we’ll post six hot chocolate recipes as part of Loving Cup, all of which can be found here.

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