Friday, December 31, 2010

Whole Wheat Brownies


It was around ten o’clock one evening no so long ago, when I decided to make brownies and the only flour to be found in the pantry was whole wheat. Whole wheat brownies? A little heavier than usual, but delicious! Dutch process cocoa powder has a more intense flavor than natural cocoa powder, and I think that made a difference. The photo above depicts only the last brownie because we ate the rest so quickly.

3/4 c butter
1-1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 c cocoa powder (Dutch process if you have it)
1/2 tsp sea salt 
1 c. sugar (raw, brown, or white... take your pick)
3 eggs
1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 cup whole-wheat flour

Cream the first seven ingredients together, then stir in whole wheat flour. Spread in a greased 8-inch pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 to 45 minutes. 

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Considering the Garden

Today of all days I started thinking about this year's garden. I am realizing two new things this time around. The Twin Cities have a shorter growing season than Chicago. Our deck gets minimal sunlight.

I've played around with the idea of putting a Roma tomato plant in a container near our front steps, which face south. Other ideas include lining the east side of the building with herbs and other veggies that can do without full sunlight. Our backyard is HUGE but all shade (great for parties and hanging out, not great for growing).

Also, this year I will learn to preserve food. Like canning. Here is a slideshow of inspiration.

Friday, February 05, 2010

Fried Egg Sandwich with Salsa


It was a bright (and really cold) morning when J suggested we go for a walk before breakfast. As we walked around our neighborhood like penguins trying to not fall down on icy sidewalks, the decision was made to visit the bakery/coffee shop a couple blocks away. We arrived back home with a huge loaf of 100% whole wheat bread and I was compelled to weigh it: 34.5 ounces. Maybe that's more standard than I realize, but wow.

Breakfast is not something I usually cook. But on a morning when I'm putting off research as long as possible, it happens. Lately we've been hooked on fried eggs with salsa between two slices of lightly toasted bread. Timing and process are important in making this, because I think it's best eaten hot.

For each sandwich:
• Have two slices of bread ready.
• Put one slice of bread in the toaster, and simultaneously heat fat in a skillet for egg frying. The fat can be olive oil, butter, bacon grease, anything you'd like.
• Crack egg into the fat once it's hot.
• Toast will probably pop up now. Butter one side if you'd like (I do) and place on a plate.
• Put second slice of bread in the toaster.
• Check egg, and cook to your liking. I don't do runny eggs and often attack the yolk to make sure it is completely cooked through.
• Place egg on buttered toast, top with a little salsa.
• Second piece of toast should pop up at this point. Butter, place on top, and eat.

Make this your own by adding cheese, vegetables, last night's leftovers... the list goes on and on...

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Tortillas Rodriguez


I realize this video has been around for a few years. But here's the big deal: I did it. I really did it. I made Robert Rodriguez's tortillas from his Sin City 10-Minute Cooking School video. They are superb. And totally worth the time. I will never buy packaged tortillas again!

He suggests using butter or lard, but I didn't have any of the latter.  J and I both thought butter tasted great, even though we didn't really have a comparison because we've never had tortillas made with actual lard (except maybe at La Pasadita back in Chicago… they probably use lard… and they are very good...)

I wrote the ingredients down while watching the video, stopping every few seconds to capture what he's saying. I'll leave the 'how to' part up to him (because he's the master), so please take a look at his technique.

Total side note, one of my favorite food quotes ever is from this video: Not knowing how to cook is like not knowing how to ____________. You fill in the rest.

Robert Rodriguez's Tortillas from Sin City 10-Minute Cooking School
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup fat (like lard... butter...)
3/4 cup water (more or less)

Mr. Rodriguez, will you please please write a cookbook? Or just start a food blog?

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Roast Chicken in a Cast Iron Skillet


Hey I'm back! Quite a bit has happened since I last posted. I'm in my second semester of grad school, and J is in his first. Life has changed since leaving Chicago and, uh, earning a salary. However, the Twin Cities are fantastic and here we are getting through our first arctic winter. I'll be doing my best to post frequently though be warned, meals in our house tend to have the following characteristics: healthy, fast, familiar, and cheap. So let's see what happens.

I really wanted to make roast chicken this week. I find that odd because normally I can't stand eating or seeing it. It's the first whole (raw) chicken I've purchased in awhile, and I bought it at Super Target. For real. It was weird to do this, as that's where I go to buy things contact lense solution and toilet paper. Alas, this box store wonder carries a chicken that is vegetarian fed, cage/hormone free, from a Minnesota family farm, and cost less than a rotisserie chicken meeting the same criteria at Whole Foods. Sold.

While I hung out in the kitchen listening to Talking Heads, this 3.5 pound bird roasted at 400 degrees in a cast iron skillet, atop a bed of potatoes and garlic, drizzled with lemon juice, olive oil,  and sprinkled with sea salt and cracked pepper. It took close to an hour and fifteen minutes, until juices ran clear. I'd give you a recipe, but this is about as detailed as I can get.

Eat it with the potatoes and savor those juices!