Monday, August 29, 2011

Chicken Dinner

I love the Culinary Circle brand of sauces. Each of them has a lot of depth of flavor, and they are very affordable. They can all work in many different situations, but each of the sauces I've functions as a fantastic chicken marinade.

Chicken breasts marinated in Roasted Garlic Peppercorn sauce.

This was such a simple dinner to create. I am getting more and more comfortable using the oven to prepare meat courses rather than doing everything on the stovetop. I will roast a whole bird (chicken or turkey) before the end of this year!

Yes, I decided to bake my (unbraided) challah at the same time as the chicken.

I am a bigger fan of couscous than Keith, but I think it makes a nice side to backed chicken. I cook it with some chicken broth to help give it a little more flavor.

Besides the flavor, I love how fast couscous cooks up!

I am very pleased when I am able to put together a whole dinner with all of the appropriate food groups. It can be exhausting to be the primary one in charge of our meals, but I would not have it any other way. (Keith is a great cook, he just has a lot less time than I do!)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Corn Meal Mush

When you are about to move across the country, you start trying to find new ways to use all of the items in your pantry. In an attempt to use up some more corn meal, I decided to try the "Corn Meal Mush" recipe.

I cut the recipe in half, and then added some honey to help give the mush some more flavor. It took a total of 3 minutes to cook, and was actually pretty good. There isn't too much texture, but adding some nuts or fruit would help it out.

Keith says that he would eat it again, so this "gruel" is a winner!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Waffles with Rhubarb Sauce

Now, I'm perfectly content to just eat strawberry rhubarb sauce plain, but it makes a great topping for waffles and pancakes. I am a fan of bisquick, as it makes so many breakfast tasks almost brainless.

Preparing for breakfast!

The waffle iron we have makes small crevices, which isn't ideal for a lot of toppings. However, the resulting crispy waffles are delicious. The problem is that the iron doesn't have a built in timer. It will beep when it is up to temperature, but you have to set an additional timer to know when the waffles are done. I used setting #4 for 3 minutes with the bisquick batter.

When I make pancakes, I have a bad habit of eating some while I'm cooking (so then I end up not sitting down to breakfast!) Since there are fewer waffles, it was hard for me to not start nibbling on them before I had put on the rhubarb sauce!


Sunday, August 21, 2011

Strawberry Rhubarb Sauce

What is it about 2 lbs of rhubarb that makes me giddy? I love, love, LOVE strawberry rhubarb sauce, and it's hard to skip an opportunity to make it!

Many recipes out there use a lot of sugar in the sauce, some even have you add food coloring. Personally I think that adding food coloring to rhubarb sauce is silly, you get such a great color already from the strawberries!

Rhubarb Sauce Ingredients
  • 2lbs rhubarb, cleaned and chopped. (I use fresh)
  • 2lbs strawberries (frozen is fine.)
  • 0.5 cup sugar (to taste)
  • 1/2 c water
  • if you want it to thicken more, some

  • wash rhubarb, cut stalks into 1 inch long pieces.
  • cut frozen strawberries in half (You don't really have to do this. If you cook the sauce long enough the strawberries will turn into sauce readily. I tend to just cut the really big ones )
  • Put into a pot with half a cup of water.
  • Bring to a simmer over low-mid heat (covered)

  • Cook until the rhubarb is tender (~30 min)
  • Add 1/2 cup raw agave nectar

  • to thicken, simmer uncovered and/or add a little corn starch

Let it cool enough until you can eat it. Enjoy!


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Bisquick Biscuits

A while ago I made my own batch of bisquick, which actually was really good. This is something that I will do more in the future, but in the period before my defense I decided to buy a batch of real bisquick so that I would be able to have biscuits whenever I wanted.

This biscuits are so easy, just mix and milk, and they are delicious and fresh. These aren't close to buttery southern biscuits, but they serve a different craving.

Sometimes I'll add chocolate chips to them. This time I added a little bit of salt and honey to a single batch. Since there are no raw eggs, I add these ingredients to taste to the dough.

What a yummy and easy breakfast!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Keith's Defense Cake

I wanted to make a fun cake for Keith, and we had a ton of cake mixes at home. I decided to mix Party rainbow Chip and Triple Chocolate Fudge cake mixes to create a CRAZY marbled cake.

The cake mixes for this epic cake

To create the marbled layers, I slowly poured the "white" cake batter out of the mixing bowl on top of the chocolate batter. This will spread pretty evenly on its own. I did some small twists and mixes to combined the layers a bit, and then pulled the spoon through side to side. And this is my marble cake batter.

The chocolate cake layer and then the white funfetti layer on top of it

After the marbling

Now this is a double cake batch, so I expected it to take around an hour to bake. The toothpick came out clean after 40 minutes, around the time that you would expect for a box cake anyway! The pan I used is the largest that I own, at 10.5"x15".

The cake after it was baked.

For Sarah and Marie's graduation cakes, we drew molecules, something that I'm experienced with drawing (I'll share those cakes at a later date). For Keith's cake I decided that it was prudent to first practice on a piece of paper to get the layout the way I wanted it to be. I took pictures of each step along the decoration because I wanted to have a good image of it for Keith in case I messed some of it up. I was amazed how adding a simple black border cleaned up the edge a lot and made the whole cake look very professional.

I am so proud of you, Keith! Congratulations!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Antibacterial Defense Cakes

What makes these cakes antibacterial? Well they each have the structure of an naturally produced antibiotic on them. Why these structures? Each of these structures was important to the PhD dissertation of myself and two fellow graduate students. We finished our degrees this spring, and had fun creating cakes for each other.

I have to say I'm enjoying the smudge tool in photoshop because it really does look like I've swirled the icing to obscure the last names!

I didn't do the script on any of the cakes, but I did draw the molecules on two. My handwriting is so bad, I was afraid to do the lettering on these cakes... and just imagine my fear before I had to do Keith's cake all by myself! Stay tuned for the next post....

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Buttery Soft Pretzel

I will eat soft pretzels whenever I have the chance. My first attempt to make these delicious, doughy snack was mediocre, so I have been searching for a great recipe.

My search is over! This Buttery Soft Pretzel recipe has everything you could want in a soft pretzel. They taste buttery, but there is no butter at all in the recipe. And the sweetness makes my taste buds dance.

The recipe is very simple. The only downside is the amount of time you have to wait for the dough to be ready! However, when push comes to shove, I can handle a 2 hour wait to have delicious pretzels. I hope that you'll enjoy them as much as I have.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Chicken Soup with Collard Greens

Homemade chicken soup is one of my favorite things to cook. I love to make a really dense broth, full of veggies and extra chicken. I will make a two chicken soup, which helps there still be some broth, and then I use the second chicken to make chicken salad.

Last November, I had some collard greens from my Boston Organics food delivery, and I thought it would be fun to incorporate some greenery into my chicken soup (which normally just has carrots, onions, celery, parsnip and sometimes mushrooms).

Collard greens chopped into ~1 inch pieces

The reason why I love cooking chicken soup so much is that it freezes very well, and enables me to have homemade soup when I'm sick without having to do the work (or spend the money.) I had enough last to Passover that I was able to avoid making a big soup this year. (Keith and I were trying to use up our freezer and pantry since we would be moving in a few months.)

I added the collard greens in right at the very end, just before I took the chickens out.

I am about to eat the last bowl of this soup as I'm writing this post (April 25, 2011.) I'll let you in on a little secret, I schedule my posts to be published in advance. This way, I give you something new to read regularly even when real life becomes crazy. Plus, this post is going to be a reminder for me to make a big chicken soup to stock up my new freezer!