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Archive for January, 2009

I absolutely adore potato skins. After all the talk about Super Bowl food, I decided to make some.

First I baked the potatoes for at 400F for about 45 min.

baking potatoes

baking potatoes

I cut them in half and hollowed them. I rubbed the pan and the skins with a little vegatble oil so they would crisp up.

hollowed potatoes

hollowed potatoes

Back into the oven they went for about 15 min until they were crisp. I spooned a little ricotta cheese into each one and topped them with cheddar cheese and a little bacon.

potatoes with toppings ready to melt

potatoes with toppings ready to melt

Back into the oven they went for a few minutes until the cheese melted.

thrice baked potato skins

thrice baked potato skins

Delicious. Good enough for me to become a football fan for a little while.

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Top Chef-Thur Point Recap

I have 41 pts and am ranked 9595. I am awful at this game. My team for the last episode was Jeff, Stefan, and Jamie.

Jeff got sent home. I think he’s a good chef that needs editing.

I can’t believe Stefan lost. Pat was saying he kind of hoped he lost just because he tried to pick someone he thought he could easily beat while I was screaming no that he was on my team. Stefan is a jerk but at least he said he didn’t become overly defensive.

Jamie did well of course. She didn’t win unfortunately.

I like Fabio but I really thought he was going home since his venison was overcooked.

I choose Carla as a replacement. I like her attitude and her gumbo was great. I thought about Hosea since he’s had some great moments. Carla’s got such great energy so I am hoping she will do well.

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Super Bowl Foods

Serious Eats has some great looking Super Bowl Party recipes.

I am definitely thinking about the loaded baked potato chip nachos.

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Spinach Pasta

I told Pat I was making pasta with spinach and cream cheese and he said how about not doing that.

defrosted spinach

defrosted spinach

I kept telling him it was wonderful as I defrosted the spinach, and whirled it and the cream cheese in the food processor.

quick spinach and cream cheese pasta sauce

quick spinach and cream cheese pasta sauce

He reluctantly tried it. After taking a small bite, he began raving about how much he liked it.

It’s a great, quick meal and I think the taste is a little unexpected.

I saw Giada De Laurentis make this a few years ago and over time I have changed it up. Sometimes I throw in a little goat cheese. Sometimes it’s frozen spinach, sometimes fresh.

unexpectedly delicious

unexpectedly delicious

Spinach and Cream Cheese Pasta

adapted from Giada De Laurentis

6 oz whole wheat pasta cooked al dente

1/2 cup pasta water reserved

2 oz cream cheese

10 oz spinach, defrosted and drained well

Place cream cheese and spinach with  a few tbsp of reserved water in food processor and blend well. Add pasta and cream cheese mixture into pan over low flame. Mix well. Remove from heat after 1-2 min and serve.

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Chocolate

I read David Lebovitz’s post on visiting Fouquet, a confection shop in Paris. In the comments he suggested a few places that make and sell chocolates including Vosges.

I looked up their locations in Chicago and one of them is just off the brown line! I live by the brown line! I hopped on the train and made my way over there.

The store is cute and the staff were nice. I picked out a library of chocolate bars to buy and ate a sample chocolate with curry powder that was amazing.

At the check-out they gave me a 4 piece box of their caramels which was nice.

chocolate covered carmels...

chocolate covered carmels...

I came home and tried the caramels. I loved the red salt caramel. The ones with anise myrtle and Brazil nuts were good but not my favorite. The last one has a licorice taste and it is the best licorice flavored thing I’ve ever eaten but I just am not that into licorice.

I still have to try the chocolate library. There are new year’s resolutions to keep, so I put it away for another day.

hazelnut caramels...

delicious chocolate covered caramels...

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Lighter Brownies

So I saw this post on lighter brownies and looked at the linked recipe. I decided to try it because the pictures were so enticing despite it using a cake mix.

I grew up eating cakes from cake mixes and I enjoyed them. But it’s so easy to make things from scratch. Cake mixes are just the flour, sugar, a leavening agent, and maybe some flavoring (maybe cocoa powder or something like that). Those things are in my cupboards so I generally don’t buy mixes.

However, I wanted to try the recipe so I bought the mix.

I mixed the melted the margarine (I am going to come off as quite the food snob but I almost always bake with butter and couldn’t believe the margarine cost 75% less than the same amount of the butter I usually buy) and added it, and an egg white to the cake mix in the mixer with sweetened evaporated milk.

chocolate batter

chocolate batter

The batter was quite thick. I pressed into pan that had been greased and floured.

batter pressed into pan

batter pressed into pan

The brownies baked for about 10 min, and then I added the chocolate chips. I didn’t have caramel so I added some white chocolate chips instead. The brownies went back into the oven for a little while longer.

The brownies came out pretty well but were a little dry. I’m not sure if I missed anything or if they just aren’t very moist.¬† They were really good considering they were ‘light’-122 calories per serving.

light brownies

light brownies

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Restaurants at Home

Slate has an interesting article on using chef cookbooks at home.

I own a few chef cookbooks and I don’t really expect the dish to turn out quite the same. I do expect something that tastes good and has the spirit or philosophy of the restaurant.

Sunday Suppers at Lucques: Seasonal Recipes from Market to Table is great. I don’t expect to cook like Suzanne Goin but I do want to experience the all day, Sunday meal vibe and enjoy some good food.

Sydney enjoying the Big Fat Duck Cookbook

Sydney enjoying the Big Fat Duck Cookbook

I can get The Big Fat Duck Cookbook for Christmas but I can’t really afford to eat at restaurants¬† like that often. Especially if I have to fly to England.

The article makes a good point that you don’t get the restaurant experience. Sometimes you need an evening out and I absolutely loved going to the Zuni Cafe. But I don’t live in San Francisco and it’s nice to make the Zuni roast chicken whenever I am in the mood for it so I bought The Zuni Cafe Cookbook.

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