Monday, January 26, 2009

I suppose monday nights are my nights for making food. A few friends and I have been getting together for dinners the past week for watching House M.D. (Which is the greatest show ever). Last week I made some chicken salad, which I haven't written about yet because I've been lazy. This week my two friends brought the main dish (Nummy Sandwiches) and I brought this:

  • 1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for preparing the pan
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 very ripe bananas, peeled, and mashed with a fork (about 1 cup)
  • 1/2 cup toasted walnut pieces
Sift the flour, baking soda, and salt into a medium bowl, set aside. (No I didn't...) Whisk the eggs and vanilla together in a liquid measuring cup with a spout, set aside (No...). Lightly brush a 9 by 5 by 3-inch loaf pan with butter (I had a 8x8 pan that I sprayed with Pam. Also, Instead of using 0.5 cup of butter I might have used 0.33 cup of butter and added one of those to-go apple sauce containers). Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
In a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or with an electric hand-held mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Gradually pour the egg mixture into the butter while mixing until incorporated. Add the bananas (the mixture will appear to be curdled, so don't worry), and remove the bowl from the mixer.
With a rubber spatula, mix in the flour mixture until just incorporated. Fold in the nuts and transfer the batter to the prepared pan. Bake for 55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the bread comes out clean (This was ~40 minutes for an 8x8). Cool the bread in the pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Turn the bread out of the pan and let cool completely on the rack. Wrap in plastic wrap. The banana bread is best if served the next day.

Overall: So this bread was a hit at the little House party. The roomates devoured the bread, which is cool because I still have 3 more bananas that need to be made into something delicious. The bread was moist, a few people described it as "buttery", which maybe a compliment but I cut back on the butter a little bit so maybe it was the applesauce?

Some people don't know but subsituting applesauce (normally for oil & especially in cake mixes) is healthier and doesn't taste different at all. It worked great in this recipe.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Sandy's Buffalo Dip

Sandy's Spicy Buffalo Chicken Dip

  • 2 Packages of Cream cheese
  • 1 bottle hot sauce (not sure on size of bottle)
  • 1 bottle Ranch dressing
  • 2 cups Shredded chicken
  • Shredded chedder cheese
1. Put all ingredients into a pot. Stir until melted.
2. Spread the mixture into a 13x9 baking dish or split between a 13x9 and 8x8 if you have extra
3. Add the chedder cheese on top.
4. Heat in the over at 350 until cheese is melted.

OVERALL: So this dip is absolutely amazing. I asked her for the recipe because I know I am FOR SURE making this. I would recommend "scoop-able" chips to get all the yummy goodness. Sandy also told me that celery in this dish is optional if anyone was looking for an extra crunch. This dip can get a little hot, so if you are concerned with heat add hot sauce in intermittent amounts until you get the right heat. This is great for football games & general party appetizer.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Favorite Food Network Shows

So some friends have asked me where I get my ideas for cooking food. No surprise, I watch T.V. But Food Network doesn't always have hit shows. Sometimes that chef on the show talks too much (Rachel Ray), not interesting enough (Alton Brown), uses too many expensive and hard to find ingredients for me (Emeril Lagasse), or are just plain annoying (The Neeley's). I've made a list of some of my favorite shows and where I most get my recipes from.

Tyler's Ultimate
Saturdays at 9am/8c and Weekdays at 3:30pm/2:30c

The idea of this show is to make one meal as "ultimate" as it can get. He's done so many meals that I have bookmarked. The ingredients are not that hard to find, and if he goes for something extravagant, he normally tells you a more affordable or easily found alternative. The downside to this show is sometimes the cooking is intense, meaning you have to watch the food & stay in the kitchen. Not always that good for a college student. But for weekend meals or having friends over for a nice dinner, this guy is awesome.

Barefoot Contessa with Ina Garten
Saturdays at 1:30pm/12:30c and Sundays at 10am/9c

My sister doesn't like this show much because Ina Garten tends to have a monotone voice, which puts my sister to sleep, but I really enjoy her recipes. The ingredients for the majority of the recipes of this store can be found easily and aren't expensive. Plus she makes goodies like homemade jams & hot chocolate, things that are extra special when you make them at home. However, some of her recipes are a bit on the rich side.

Semi-Homemade with Sandra Lee
Sundays at 12pm/11c and Weekdays at 4pm/3c

The premise of the show uses store bought ingredients & some fresh ingredients to make a dish all your own. This is honestly my favorite food network show because everything is easy to find and easy to put together! I've made some recipes from her before and it turned out wonderful!

At Home with Paula Deen

The Queen of the south. God knows most of her recipes aren't for the health conscious, but many of them look & taste amazing. She has about 3 shows on food network. Not going to lie, sometimes her southern accent is a bit grating, but she's much more entertaining to watch than Rachel Ray. I haven't tried any of her recipes, although I have a few bookmarked. I'm very scared of the calories! She has done some wonderful episodes for budget oriented families and quite a bit on leftovers.

Everyday Italian
Saturdays at 7am/6c and Tuesday thru Friday at 4:30pm/3:30c

I'll admit sometimes her show is just a little too Italian-- using meats I've never heard of and ingredients I would have to go to a little Italian store to get. But, she has some fabulous ideas for something different and fun for the family. The homemade Gnocchi I made was inspired by her recipe. I also have about 10 recipes saved from her that I'm waiting to do.

Other Mentions: I don't really look for these shows. Sometimes I'll watch if the food looks interesting, other times I'll just change the channel
  • Guy Fieri of Guy's Big Bite, Diners & Drives, And some new show... I very much enjoy him but he cooks a lot of red meat and has a large Mexican influence in his cooking. Not a problem with me, but if the entire episode is skirt steak and sides I don't eat--no thanks.
  • Robin Cook of 15 minute meals. She's alright. Kinda plain and boring. The one recipe I made from her was really bland and boring (was suppose to be buffalo chicken). But she caters to people who don't have/want a lot of cooking time.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Orange Carrots

Orange Carrots
Tyler Florence

  • 1 bunch young carrots, with tops (Baby carrots worked fine. I used enough so no carrots were overlapping. I was only cooking for one)
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 orange, zested and halved (I used1/4 cup Orange Juice because I didn't have any oranges!)
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Directions: Cut off all but 1-inch of the carrot tops, leaving a little green. Put the carrots in a large shallow pan, add the oil, and season with salt and pepper. Turn to coat the carrots. Stick them in the oven and bake for 30 minutes, until the carrots are fork-tender.
In the meantime, melt the butter in a skillet over medium-low heat. Swirl the pan around and cook until the butter begins to become brown and nutty. Squeeze in the juice from the orange halves, add the zest, brown sugar, cumin and cinnamon and continue to cook for 2 minutes or until syrupy.
Remove the carrots from the oven, drizzle the orange brown butter over the carrots and serve.

OVERALL: Damn these were good. I might have used a bit too much Orange Juice, but still I loved using the Cumin & Cinnamon together. These aren't too sweet. My only complain was that I might have used too much OJ & therefore the butter was a little on that watery (or OJ-y) side. I will definitely make this for friends and family. Plus the baby carrots are so damn cute!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Featured Blog

So my very good friend down home decided to venture out on her own and start cooking for herself.

The New Inexperienced aspiring cook! is her first food blog. I have no idea what this blog will become, but I'm excited to see.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Cajun Chicken

Cajun Chicken
  • 1 tbsp all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon Poultry Seasoning (I used Seasoning Salt from my new spice rack, same amount)
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 Boneless Skinless chicken cutlet
  • 2 tbsp veggie oil

1. In a large plastic bag combine all dry ingredients. Add chicken. Shake it!
2. Before you put your chicken in the pan, make sure the oil is ready to cook, adds to the crispiness.
3. Cook for 6-8 Minutes.

cooking away....

Finished Product.

OVERALL: This was a recipe I found in a magazine my grandma gave me over winter break. The flavor was really good, not too hot. If you like spicy food you might want to add a slight bit more Cayenne pepper, but I was fine with the amount recommended. I very much enjoyed the crispiness of the chicken. Very good. Also, this recipe was for chicken breasts, but lately I've preferred the chicken cutlets because they are thinner & cheaper.