Friday, July 29, 2011

Yummy Daiquiri

I went on a Mediterranean cruise a year ago, and the only disappointment was that I was unable to have a daiquiri the whole time I was there! Seems that there could be strawberries for breakfast, but they were unable to make a frozen strawberry cocktail without a mix! Since the cruise, I have been working to create my own perfect strawberry daiquiri.

The Recipe
  • 1 -16 oz package of frozen strawberries
  • 2 Tsp sugar/splenda mixture
  • 1.8 cup lime juice
  • Enough Sprite to make it blend
  • 3/4 cups rum

I ended up adding a bit more rum at the end, which took the balance a bit off. Overall, I'm feeling quite satisified. What a perfect drink to have along with some cinnamon buns!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Easy, Simple Cornbread

The problem with making Challah is that there is egg wasted in the wash to make the crust all shiny. There is most of an egg that remains after this wash has been applied. This time, I decided to do something with that egg (and tiny bit of water in with it)... Corn Bread!

The dry ingredients and the egg whites leftover from the challah.

I love corn bread. It has always been one of my favorite treats, and a big weak spot. Instead of trying bread mixes in the box, I decided it would be worth trying some recipes that use plain corn meal. The first recipe I decided to attempt comes from the side of the box.

It took me less than 3 minutes to assemble the ingredients and mix the batter. The only waiting came from the fact that my oven was in use baking the challah. As soon as the challah was done, I sprayed the bread pan, poured in the corn batter and happily awaited my first "from scratch" cornbread.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Raisin Challah

I love having a bread machine. I use it frequently whenever I want French Bread, or pizza dough... but the big bread winner is my Challah recipe. As a child, I grew up on raisin challah... but with yellow raisins!

This bread my grandmother would get for every holiday occasion, and I never found anything close to it anywhere else. So as soon as the bread machine came into our lives, I knew I needed a good Challah recipe. After some trial and error, I found a recipe that I've fallen in love with.

Raisin Challah Recipe. I always use yellow raisins.

Setting up the dough in the bread machine.

The dough is ready to be braided. I do not separate the dough in half as the recipe recommends, but I braid all of the dough into one loaf.

It's funny, but I think that depending on the humidity, the dough will come out more or less sticky each time. Who knows!

Before (above) and after (below) the egg wash.

The bread comes out moist, sweet and tastes just like the bread from my childhood. It is definitely comfort food!

I'm sick of the remaining egg wash going to waste, so I decided to use it in... Corn Bread! Stay tuned for the next ChemEats post to find out how it came out.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Beef Teriyaki Stir Fry

I love to stir fry. I joke about how bad I am about baking meat, but why would you take 40 minutes to wait for dinner when you can fry it up in 15? The dish I am going to describe today is one of my favorites to cook. There is no recipe here because you find the stuff you have and toss them in together.

This dish revolves around an amazing teriyaki sauce by Culinary Circle (see below). The sauce is sweet, but not too sweet and whatever spices in it are perfect to hit all of my taste buds. For the beef, I tend to choose whatever is on sale, but with a preference for steak tips or other small cuts of beef. I slice it thin, and leave it to marinate in the sauce for a few minutes before I begin cooking.

My favorite frozen vegetable mix is the frozen sugar snap stir fry by Birds Eye. I will defrost the vegis a bit in the microwave, using a tiny bit of water and some plain teriyaki sauce. After the vegis have defrosted, I pour out the water (and sauce) from the bottom to keep it from diluting the sauce in the finished dish.

In today's batch, I'm going to add some old rice (not quite fried rice, but it's an easy way to warm it up). The final component is some shelled edamame. I will either shell it myself, or use frozen pre-shelled. I add this to the stir fry at the very end, and don't bother defrosting it at all. It cooks really fast and gives the dish a nice crunch.

And here you go, a nice big pan full of deliciousness. This is a well r0unded meal all in one pot, and since there are only two of us this lasts for longer than one meal!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


Take a look inside an arancino!

Keith has craved arancini (fried rice balls) every since we came home from Italy. He found a recipe that indicated they were not outside our ability to recreate. To make our first attempt easier, we started with store bough risotto from Trader Joes. After Keith defrosted the risotto, we had to let it sit for a while to cool off so we could help it form into the arancini balls.

We mixed cheese and some bread crumbs in with the risotto, and then formed it into balls. Well, Keith formed the rice balls, I covered them with bread crumbs so most of the crumbs would end up on the rice, and not our hands!

We considered baking the arancini, but decided that it was worth making them properly (fried) the first time. Next time I may try baking them to see if they will still be tasty.

Keith had to give this experience a thumbs up!

We used a lot of paper towels to soak up the excess oil after the arancini were fried.

Some arancini and a side of marinara. What could be better than this?

Overall, the experience was a success! It was a little sad to realize that Trader Joes actually sells arancini bites, but I still think that our homemade ones were superior!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Matzana vs Lasagna

There are one differences between lasagna and matzagna: Noodles vs Matzah.

I observe Passover, but Keith doesn't... at least not intentionally. If I'm the one cooking, then I'm making kosher for Passover food, so he hasn't had much choice. Until now. This year, I decided to create a lasagna for him to get through these 8 days without leavened bread, and Matzagna for me. Side by side, same recipe, just different starch.

Ingredients for Simple, Easy Lasagna AND Matzagna. If you're only going to make one, then you can half the cheese and sauce!
  • Lasagna: no cook noodles (one box)
  • Matzagna: ## Pieces of Matzah
  • part skim ricotta cheese 15 oz
  • part skim mozzarella - 24 oz
  • 1 standard sized jar of tomato sauce (42 oz)
Assembling the Layers (The steps are the same for both) (in a 9x13 pan)
  • Sauce
  • Noodles/Matzah
  • ricotta+mozzarella
  • sauce
  • (repeat noodles/matzah through sauce until top layer)
  • On top, place noodles (or Matzah), sauce and then mozzarella.
  • Mix a little bit of water into the extra sauce jar and pour around the edges
Cook at 350 degrees F for 40 minutes. Allow it to cool before serving.

Can you tell the difference?

And the verdict? Keith likes the lasagna better, but says that the Matzana is only a hair behind!

Building the layers: Side by side

The same pan, ready to begin!

First some sauce on the bottom

Followed by a layer of matzah/noodles

I add ricotta cheese directly on top of the noodles

Mozzarella goes on top of the ricotta, and then you add sauce.

Add noodles and repeat!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Why am I so bad at baking meat?

Every time I have to look it up to do.

Remember, Rebecca: Cook chicken at 350 degrees for 40 minutes!

I have yet to serve undercooked chicken, but I always expect it to take less time than it actually does!

Chicken baking with a Old Bay Spice rub

Friday, July 1, 2011

Mango Lassi

Mango Lassis, what a great way to help use up ingredients in the fridge. I had yogurt around for a recipe, but I don't really care for plain yogurt that much. Mix it together with some mango pulp, and voila a wonderful drink!

  • 1 14 oz package mango pulp (Goya)
  • 1/2 package plain yogurt (~16 oz)
  • small dash of milk
  • 1 large spoonful of brown sugar