Thursday, July 22, 2010

Looking for new content? Try Freezes Beautifully.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

I got voluntold to do the newsletter for my MOMS club and was stumped as to what I should put in it. So I just grabbed a favorite recipe- Nigella's breakfast bars- and ran it with my comments (I never use coconut because I hate it, and I love this because you can make a big batch and have breakfast for a week, and unlike storebought granola bars there's not a ton of cane syrup or high fructose corn syrup. And it takes about two seconds.) And y'all, you'd think I'd published some state secrets or something. The moms went bananas over it. I keep getting emails and calls- "More recipes, please!"  One mom told me that she made them and then tore her old granola bar recipe up. "I just TORE IT RIGHT UP!" 

So you should make those. People are enthusiastic about them.

And for a sneak preview, next month's newsletter recipe by popular demand will be these muffins- I made them with sweet potato for yesterday's playgroup and they were a huge hit with kids and moms. (And, the mashing of the sweet potato could not have been easier- I quartered it and roasted it the night before, all prepared to get out my food processor, but when it was cool enough to handle the peel just slid off and it mashed with a fork.)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Biscuit fail

Biscuit fail, originally uploaded by hannahcooks.

I've often wondered if you can prepare buttermilk biscuits in advance. Yesterday I asked Jeff if he wanted biscuits with the fried chicken and hot slaw I had planned for supper and made the mistake of asking him in front of Nathan, who eats at 5 (we eat around 8, so Nathan usually gets something lunch/snack-y for supper and our leftovers for lunch). "I want biscuits please!" So I made two biscuits for Nathan and left the rest on a baking sheet in the fridge til our suppertime, figuring there's no such thing as a BAD buttermilk biscuit so how wrong could it go? Ha.

Maybe you can make biscuits ahead (don't cut them until you bake them, perhaps? Let them come to room temperature before baking?) but that was not the way to do it. They burnt on the bottom and the butter melted out and everywhere. The biscuits Nathan had were perfect- flaky and rich. These were disastrous, heavy and sodden.

Monday, January 18, 2010

I'm trying to update this a bit more often. I'm also trying to not save so many old magazines, so each month when I'm done with one I save all the recipes that were any good and toss the rest.  So here's what I'm saving (and what I'm not) from the current Cooking Light.


Dijon Croque Monsieur.  I only made this to use up some leftover Christmas ham, and it's not like Croque Monsieur is a new recipe for us, but the haricots vert salad that went with it made it. I made the full amount of the haricots and snacked on the leftovers the whole next day.

Grownup Grilled Cheese Sandwiches. I love grillled cheese in any form, and have a whole book on the subject which I refer to often, but can always use a lighter version. More spinach is always a plus.

Jalapeno, Sausage, Jack and Egg Breakfast Braid. I used regular pizza dough for this but otherwise pretty much followed the recipe. It was super easy and I'm already thinking of variations.

Chipotle Bean Burritos.  I don't even normally like bean burritos but these were awesome.

Rosti Casserole with Baked Eggs. This was the best recipe of the whole issue, I think.  Serve with tons of hot sauce.

Made, but skipped clipping:

Beef and Pinto Bean Chili. Good, but not any better than any other chili recipe I've got.

Roast Chicken with Balsamic Bell Peppers. Forgot I even made this until I was going back through the magazine.

Clipped even though I haven't actually made it yet breaking my rule already:

Chocolate Cherry Heart Smart Cookies.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Lee Brothers Cornbread

Lee Brothers Cornbread, originally uploaded by hannahcooks.

I have very strong feelings about cornbread. It should not be sweet, and it should not be like a cake (although Nathan loves "corn cake!") but it should also, you know, taste good.

For New Year's Day I made this cornbread and fell in love because a)it's freaking delicious b)the crust on the bottom is gorgeous c)it's the first food that Nathan, James, Jeff and I all shared as a family. (I'm not really sure if you're supposed to feed small babies cornbread but James, at six months, was totally into it.) It does contain a teaspoon of sugar but trust me, even a purist will forgive that teaspoon.

Here's the recipe:
1 tablespoon lard or unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups stone-ground cornmeal
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 large egg
1 1/2 cups whole or lowfat buttermilk
2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Preheat oven to 450. Grease a 12-inch cast iron skillet with the lard or butter (or, if you cooked bacon in it and forgot to drain the grease, just leave that in there) and put it in the oven. Melt and cool the other butter.

Whisk together all the dry ingredients (cornmeal-sugar) in a large bowl. Whisk the egg in a smaller bowl until frothy, then beat in the buttermilk. Stir (or whisk, I just whisk it all since I've got it out anyway) the egg/milk into the dry ingredients. Then whisk in the melted butter.

The fat in the skillet should be all melted and sizzling, so hurry and pour the batter in. Return to the oven and cook for 15 minutes. To die for.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

I returned Thursday from a trip to Grammy's that turned into a junk food tour of Texas- not that I am complaining, I just wish I had tried the chicken fried bacon.

But my system definitely needed a reset and thank goodness for Facebook! My high school friend Mat Schuster posted a clip of himself on the San Francisco local news and the soup looked like just the thing. I have a weird relationship with lentils where they always seem like a good idea, and then while I am cooking them I think, "Yuck, lentils," and then when I actually eat them I remember that I love lentils.  This soup was no exception, and with escarole and watercress it was absolutely phenomenal. Delicious AND with a little bit of pork fat in it, so my body didn't go into complete grease withdrawal.

Monday, March 02, 2009

I used to not love tomato soup so much but now I am kind of obsessed with it. The very best tomato soup recipe I know is from Sally Schneider's The Improvisational Cook and involves her versatile slow roasted tomatoes.  But the version above, from Vegetable Soups From Deborah Madison's Kitchen, is a pretty good bet when you only have canned tomatoes handy and the souffleed cheese toast is to die for. 

Adapted slightly to serve 2 with leftovers:

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 very small onion, chopped
  • 1 tsp dried basil or herb of your choice (I used herbs de provence since that's what I had handy)
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 1 15 oz can diced tomatoes
  • pinch of baking soda
  • 1 1/4 cup stock (vegetable or chicken) or water
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 egg, separated
  • 1/2 tsp dijon
  • pinch of cayenne
  • 1/2 c grated cheddar
  • 1/2 tsp minced scallion
  • toasted bread

Melt butter in your soup pot. Add onion and herbs, cook til onion is good and translucent. Stir in flour and cook for a second. Then add tomatoes, baking soda, and stock or water. Bring to a boil, then simmer, partially covered, for 20 min. Off heat, puree with your immersion blender or cool slightly and puree in a regular blender.

Preheat oven to 400. (I did this part while the soup was cooking.) Combine egg yolk w/mustard and cayenne, then stir into the cheese.  Whisk the egg white until it holds soft peaks and fold into cheese. Spread on toasted bread and bake til puffed and golden, 5-10 minutes depending on your oven.   

While the toast is baking, stir in the milk and season to taste. Bring soup back to piping hot and serve w/a cheese toast half. Or two.

If you have this ridiculously awesome immersion blender, this recipe is super easy because you can use the blender attachment to puree the soup and then the whisk attachment to whisk the egg white. My mother gave me mine, and I never would have thought I needed it until I actually whisked an egg white with the whisk attachment. The motor on that thing makes a hand mixer look like a manual whisk.  And if you make soup at all, the immersion blender is so much easier than a regular blender. If I had my kitchen to stock all over again, I'd have started with this and considered the hand mixer and blender optional.