Friday, September 18, 2009

Blue Frosting Tastes Better And You Know It

Okay. So a few weeks ago, I turned 23 and decided to celebrate with cake. But eff the cake because I admit to using a box to make it. (Hey. You know what? Whatever. Alton Brown said it was okay.)


(It was Duncan Hines. That's good stuff, you know?)

(Okay, it's time to move along.)

No one ever claimed Birthdays were healthy. That said, the important part about this cake was the amazing frosting I made for it. It's my grandmother's recipe, so I dare you to tell me it was anything but amazing. But even without grandma behind me on this, take one taste, and you'll agree with me. It's light. It's fluffy. It's vanilla in a good way. And it's blue. (Well, you could make it any color, but really, come on.)


Grandma's Fluffy Frosting

(I'd really recommend doubling the recipe if you want enough to frost the cake and the middle layer too, but it's up to you).

What you need:
*2 tbsp flour
*1/2 c milk
*1/8 stick butter or margarine
*1/4 c shortening (Guys, come on. You're making cake. It's not diet food. Get over it.)
*1/2 c sugar
*1 tsp vanilla extract
*Food coloring

What you do:

Combine the flour and milk in a small saucepan and cook over medium-low heat until thick. You're basically making a roux. Cool in the 'fridge.

While that's cooling, cream together the butter, shortening, and sugar. Add the vanilla.

Add the cooled roux to this and beat for 4 minutes.

Once it's all good and fluffy and evenly mixed, add a few drops of whatever color you want to it and fold it in. (I divided up the frosting into 2/3 and 1/3 so that we could dye the outside frosting blue and the inside yellow, for further festivity. You can do whatever you want, though. Be creative!) Then, frost your cake like it's 1999.

Some tips on neatly frosting a cake:

(Not that I'm great at it.)

*Place your cake on a lazy susan or other spinny object, so it'll be easier to coat it in even strokes.
*It's always easier to remove frosting than add, so put all your frosting on top and then use a spatula to guide it out and over the edges.
*In the middle layer, don't go all the way to the edges. Go almost to the edge, so there's some squish room, and also so the colors won't mix when you do the outside. The outside frosting will cover any gaps you might worry about.

(See? TV does teach you things. Those tips are courtesy of Good Eats, which I admit to watching vigorously whenever possible. You should watch his frosting episode for more tips, if you're interested. I mean, he makes buttercream, and I'm not ashamed to tell you I prefer this fuffy frosting over that any day, but it sure was useful.)

Chicken Lime Basil Stir Fry

About a week ago, Saurou and I came into possession of some wonderful fresh herb plants. Sage, purple sage, thyme, basil, lime basil, curry, and oregano. I'm tellin' ya. Yum. Tonight was our first chance to try that amazing-smelling lime basil.

And let me tell you, that lime basil? It tastes as good as it smells. Maybe better.

We made a chicken lime basil stir-fry tonight, and it was so good that as soon as we finished it, we were both like, yeah I could totally eat that again tomorrow night for dinner. If you can get your hands on some lime basil, I suggest you do - it's really fresh and light and crisp tasting.

Anyway, here's the recipe. (Unfortunately, I didn't get a photograph of it. URK Sorry guys! Trust me. It pretty much looks like every other stir fry out there. Brown. Chickeny. Over rice. You know the deal.)


Chicken Lime Basil Stir Fry

Serves 2
Cooking time: About 30 mins, prep time included

*1 skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
*About 1/2 a small sweet onion, chopped
*About 1-2 tbsp sesame oil
*About one clove's worth of minced garlic
*Ginger to taste
*Salt and Black Pepper to taste
*About 1/4c light soy sauce
*Dash sugar
*Dash flour (to thicken)
*About 1 tbsp fresh lime basil, chopped
*White sesame seeds to taste
*White rice and edamame to serve

In a large pan, heat the sesame oil. Sautee the onions with salt and pepper to taste, until just starting to caramelize. Add the chicken, sprinkle with ginger to taste (my taste tends to be about 1 tsp or more- I think the ginger really compliments the soy sauce and the basil) and black pepper (I also tend to be somewhat generous with the black pepper) and the garlic. Let that cook for a while, stirring constantly. When it looks almost done, add the soy sauce (I'm guessing it was about 1/4 cup, but it was enough to saturate the chicken, with a little extra to make a sauce from), sugar and flour. Stir it all together until it starts to thicken. You could totally use corn-starch instead- I just couldn't find ours because I'm still getting used to our new kitchen, so I went with flour. When the mixture is thick and the chicken is done, sprinkle with the lime basil and sesame seeds and mix until it's well combined. Serve it over white rice (or brown, if you have it. I wish we did.) and edamame on the side (it went fantastically).

Seriously guys. So good.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

[Beef] Sukiyaki Western Django


* 1/2 cup soy sauce
* 2 tablespoons sugar
* 1 cup soup stock
* 1/4 cup mirin
* 1 pound thinly sliced beef meat
* 1/4 cup sugar
* 2 medium onions, sliced
* 4-6 ounces Udon noodles
* 1 cup sliced bamboo shoots
* 1 cup bean sprouts
* 1 cup soaked, rinsed and sliced shiitakes
* 1 cube tofu, cut into 1-inch pieces
* 1 bunch green onions, cut into 2-inch lengths
* 2 leaves Napa cabbage, sliced (or )
* 2 tablespoons oil


Mix soy sauce, sugar, stock, and mirin together in a bowl. Arrange meat and vegetables on a large platter. Heat an electric skillet to 375 degrees F.

Add oil to the skillet and heat. Brown meat in the oil, adding sugar slowly. Move the meat to the corner of the skillet when well browned. Add other vegetables, keeping each separate. Add sauce and cover. Bring to a boil and cook for 2 minutes. Uncover and turn all ingredients while cooking 2 minutes more. Serve on small plates.
Preferred With What?:
Orange Dry
Seven Steps to Heaven by Miles Davis

Friday, May 22, 2009

A simple Breakfast

Cinnamon Vanilla French Toast
*1 to 2 eggs
*1 TB Vanilla (the good stuff not the cheep imitation vanilla)
*1 tsp Cinnamon
*A couple splashes of milk
Mix in a pie plate......
Spay your pan with Pam put on med. heat....
Dip bread (best with Texas toast but I gave up low fiber bread a long time ago) in mix and lay on pan...... Keep an eye on it, flip as soon as it sizzles a bit.
I butter mine as soon as its out of the pan and sprinkle with a little powdered sugar. No need for maple syrup the flavor of the french toast is all you need.
Best served with a side of fresh Maine Blueberries, I had to settle for an orange...blueberries not in season yet :(

Friday, April 24, 2009

Feel Better Chicken Soup

As some of you peoples might already know, the Has' and I caught some lovely 3rd grader germs (small children carry nasty bugs). I got my mom's recipe for the family chicken soup that changes every time someone makes it. So here are the basics and you can tweak it as you see fit to comfort you or your coughing, sniffling, sneezing loved ones.

Time to cook: 2.5-3 hours. But most of that is sitting on your ass so don't panic.
Serves: the soup needs of two sickies, two meals a day, for about three days.

*Two chicken breasts with bones and skin.
*If you have any chicken carcasses hanging around in your freezer, throw them in. We used the raw spine and breastbone from a chicken we had butterflied a while back.
*Half an onion. I like sweet.
*Pasta (amount/type up to you) We use about a cup of alphabet soup noodles as alphabet soup + cold medicine = very amused sick people.
*About 2-3 tablespoons of any jarred tomato sauce.
*Salt and pepper
*Onion salt, garlic powder, and thyme to taste. (about 1 tsp. each)
*Water. A bunch of it. Even tastes good with Nashua tap water.

Throw all your raw chicken bits and breasts into a large pot- dutch oven is probably good. Fill with as much water as you can fit and still carry to the stove. Salt, cover, and bring to a boil.

While this is heating, chop up about 1/4 an onion in bitesize pieces and coarsely break up the rest into about 2" by 2" chunks of onion. Don't worry--I dare you to chew that onion later.

Once water boils, skim off the protein foam muck until water is clear. Lower heat to medium-high and add onions, all the spices, and 1 tbs. of the tomato sauce (more if you like). Stir and mostly cover so that there is room for steam to escape.

Set a timer for 1 hour. Check the soup every 10-20 minutes to make sure it hasn't exploded all over your kitchen. Stir if you like. I like. If at the end of the first hour, you lose over an inch of water, add it back from the tap. If the soup loses it's red/orange tinge from the added water, add your second tbs. of tomato sauce.

Set your timer for another hour. (if your timer is cool enough to go up to two hours, do that in the first place.) Continue to check and stir. At this point you should be salmonella free, so taste test for your spices. Right now the soup should have a very mild taste. That's okay.

When your timer beeps, remove the two breasts and place in a bowl. Trash any extra chicken bits, they have served their purpose. Place the breasts in the freezer for about 5-10 minutes or just until they are not too hot to handle.

By now, the onions should be floppy and soft. Bring the soup back up to rolling boil and add your pasta. For brothy soup, add less. For a soup you can eat with a fork, add a bunch. When al dente, take it off the heat and cover.

When the chicken doesn't burn you, pull the meat off the bone and tear into bite size pieces. Discard skin and bones unless you do really unique and smelly crafts on your weekends. Add the chicken back into the soup and serve to the nearest sick person.

If you like your arteries: before consuming, store overnight in the fridge then skim the top for any fat that solidified.

Preferred with?
Drink: Ginger Ale and DayQuil
Music: The Nurse Who Loved Me, A Perfect Circle

Chicken and Veggie Stir-Fry a la Haslin

Hello again, lovelies! It's time for another Adventure with The Cook Who Doesn't Properly Measure Anything, But Still Posts Anyway.

I'm thinking of trademarking that title, or maybe I'll change my middle name to that. Like one of those awesome Puritan names like "Nicholas Unless-Jesus-Christ-Had-Died-For-Thee-Thou-Hadst-Been-Damned Barbon" only it would be Marie Cook-Who-Doesn't-Properly... well you get the idea. It'd make a hell of an acronym.

My point? I made some stir-fry. And I'm gonna tell ya about it. O 3 O <3


Time to cook: Approx 45 mins.
Serves: 2-4, Depending on how hungry you are. (We served two with plenty of left-overs.)

*One boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut up into bite-sized pieces
*Half a sweet onion, chopped
*One can of baby corn cobs, drained and cut up into bite-sized pieces
*Half a bag of frozen chopped broccoli
*Approx 2 cloves worth of minced garlic
*Ground ginger to taste
*Salt and Pepper to taste
*Light Soy Sauce
*Dash of sugar
*Approx 1 tpsp. Corn Starch
*Sesame oil
*Sesame seeds
*Wheat soba noodles

Bring some water to a boil and prepare the soba noodles according to the package.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet or wok, over medium-high heat, heat up about a tablespoon of sesame oil, then add the garlic and the onion. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Let those babies sizzle until the garlic and onion are nice and caramelized.

Next, add the chicken pieces and sprinkle with ginger. I probably use way too much, because I love the taste of ginger chicken. Generally, I use about 1-2 teaspoons, I'm guessing. But I never measure- just eyeball it until it looks and smells right. Add some salt and pepper, and more oil if it starts to stick. Stir-fry this with the onions until the chicken looks just about done- almost cooked through. You don't want to cook the chicken all the way just yet, because if you do, it'll dry out by the time you're done.

When the chicken looks mostly done, add the baby corn and the chopped broccoli and stir-fry to heat through. The broccoli's a good timer for this part- once it's no longer frozen, but a little floppy looking, the chicken should be just about done if you've timed it right.

Now you pour just enough soy sauce over it to liberally coat the whole bangin' lady. Sprinkle over a dash of sugar (not much) and stir it up like it's 1999. Then add about a tablespoon of corn starch to thicken the whole shebang.

Once the sauce looks nice and thick, sprinkle sesame seeds over that mofo and mix. Serve her hot, over the wheat soba noodles and chow down!
What does one do with a tasty little number like her?
Drink: Green tea ginger ale, or really, water's always good
Music: Brazil by Arcade Fire

Sunday, April 19, 2009

GF Pumpkin Pancakes

So they may not be the pretties, fluffiest, fill your soul with candy and puppies pancakes, but whenever I can find a good Gluten Free recipes that doesn't require 20 different types of flour and 2 scoops of xantham gum, I'm happy. I'm even happier when the recipe calls for pumpkin.

For those of you who can, you can try substituting the GF flour with regular flour. I'm sure the results will be quite similar (and quite similarly delicious!)

I used a recipe that I found here, but I modified it slightly to make the batter slightly more workable.

Makes about 8-10 pancakes
(T= Tablespoon, t= Teaspoon)

1 1/4 C GF Flour (I used a mix of Brown Rice, Garbanzo, and Fava Bean flours)
2 t baking powder
1 t pumpkin pie spice (Or 1/2 t cinnamon, 1/4 t ground cloves, 1/4 t nutmeg)
1/2 t salt
3 T of brown sugar
6 T of pumpkin puree (or pumpkin pie filling)
2 T melted margarine
1 1/4 C milk or water + keep adding more liquid until the batter is still thick but pourable
1 egg

Optional Toppings: Cinnamon & Sugar, Powdered Sugar, Maple Syrup, Whipped Cream. On mine I used a mix of Cinnamon & Sugar and Maple Syrup, but that's only if you want to feel like a squirrel on crack after.


In a medium bowl, mix together the dry ingredients.
ADD the pumpkin and egg. Stir.
ADD the 1 1/4 C of milk. Stir.
ADD the margarine. Stir it again.
ADD whatever more liquid you need. Stir.

Grab your favorite frying pan or griddle (I used a medium cast iron skillet, but I would suggest something more in the non-stick area for ease of flipping) and set it on the stove at medium low to medium heat. Use your favorite form of pancake lubrication (e.g. margarine, vegetable oil, spray) and toss in a liberal amount for each pancake. Once the cooking platform is hot, use a ladle to pour about 1/4 C of the batter in, and use the back of the ladle to carefully spread it out before it starts to set. Doing this gives you a lot of control of the size, thickness, and shape of your pancake.

AS SOON AS you can get your flipping device (spatula, heat proof) underneath the pancake stably, flip it over! These will brown fairly quickly, a lot quicker than a normal pancake. This is the whole reason I thinned out the batter, so that the cakes will cook all the way through without burning the outside and without having to cook at such a low temperature that you'd be having pancakes for dinner, as delicious as that may be. Once the reverse side is browned, plop your pancake down onto whatever delivery device you desire. If you're serving a lot of people, warm up your oven to about 200-250 degrees and stick the pancakes on a sheet pan. It'll keep them nice and warm without overcooking them!

Preferred with:
Drink: Cranberry Juice
Music: Po Pi Po- Miku Hatsune

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Garlic Italian Chicken Thing NomNomNom

Clearly, I don't have a name for this dish yet. >3> Hi everyone. This is my first post here, but you'll find out that pretty much everything I make is eyeballed and thrown together, full of experimentation, and definitely not an exact science. I try to write it down as a recipe anyway, when I can, though.

This is what the wife and I made tonight for dinner, and it turned out quite well. :)

Time to Cook: Approx. 1 hour
Serves: Approx. 3-4 (2 of us ate, but there's plenty leftover)

*One large boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut up into bite-sized pieces
*One medium zucchini, halved and sliced
*Approx. 1/2 bag frozen broccoli florets
*Approx. 1/2 bag frozen red, green, yellow bell peppers and onions mix
*Minced garlic (about 2-3 cloves worth)
*Oregano, Thyme, Tarragon, Salt & Pepper to taste
*Olive oil
*Splash of white wine
*Grated Parmesan or Asiago cheese
*Pasta of your choice

To begin with, toss the chicken with the flour in a large zip-top bag, to coat. Set aside.

Boil water for pasta and cook pasta according to package.

Meanwhile, In a large skillet over medium-high heat, saute the peppers and onions in about a tbsp of olive oil and with salt and pepper and garlic to taste. Drain that bad boy and set aside (the peppers produce a lot of liquid, those sneaky rapscallions).

Then, saute the zucchini and broccoli in about a tbsp of olive oil, with garlic, oregano, and thyme, salt and pepper, until the zucchini starts to look soft and sensual, like you know you love.

Next, add the chicken, sprinkling with oregano, thyme, and tarragon. Add more oil as necessary, so it doesn't get too dry and stick to the pan. Cook through. When it starts to look done, add a few pats of butter (maybe a tablespoon or two, for flavor), and a splash of white wine to the pan, making sure to scrape up whatever good things are stuck to the bottom of the pan. Add back in the peppers and onions from earlier and mix to combine and heat through.

Serve it up over pasta (we used tri-colored rotini, which caught the sauce nicely), and sprinkle with cheese.

Then all that's left is the Nomming. So go to! Nom Away!

What do we Nom with?
Drink: Green tea ginger-ale, or Blue Nun Riesling wine
Music: Turkish Twist by Winterstar

Friday, April 17, 2009

Green Chili Cheese & Broccoli Stuffed Tomatoes

[Authentic New Orleans]

Time to Cook: 30mins.
Serves: 3-4

*1 Package Cheddar Broccoli Rice
*Water - 2 1/4 cups
*Butter - 2 Tbsp
*Tomatoes - 6-8 Large
*Diced Green Chilies - 1 small can, drained
*Green Onions - 3/4 cup, chopped
*Swiss Cheese - 1/2 cup, grated

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Prepare rice according to package. While rice cooks, prepare tomatoes by cutting off tops and setting aside; you will re-use them later! Remove core and seeds from each tomato. When the rice is cooked add drained green chilies, onions, and cheese. Blend thoroughly. Stuff each tomato with the mixture and return the cap to the top. Brush each tomato with olive oil and place on a baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes.

Preferred With What?:
Drink: Schmitt Sohne Relax Riesling
Music: Gold by Glen Hansard

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

easter dinner

I'm not a meat eater by nature...I really don't like it but I do however love ham, I just can't think about where it comes from when I eat it....

This year I tried a new glaze and it was DELI SH...

1 cup of brown sugar

juice from a can of pineapple slices

tsp of ground cloves

2 tbs of Dijon mustard

a juiced orange

orange zest

brought that to a boil then set it aside

scored my ham and cloved it with whole cloves and baked it on 350 for 2 hours then took my glaze that had thickened up and brushed the ham on and off for another hour...placed my pineapple slices on the ham the last 1/2 hour.....

Also a family fave from my mom Candied Yams

Boil yams

peal off skins and slice

in a pan melt 2 tbs of brown sugar and add 1 cup of brown sugar

place yams in pan on low heat and let the brown sugar coat yam and flip

IT was so GOOD

For desert which came the next day because we were both not feeling well that day with colds



Cream together

1 cup butter

2 cups sugar

2 eggs

2tbs vanilla

in separate bowl add

4 cups flour

1 cup cocoa

3 tsp baking soda

1tsp backing powder

1 tsp SALT


add dry ingredients to wet with 2 cups milk SLOWLY mix

drop on greased cookie sheet (I use an old fashioned ice cream scoop)


1 cup shortening

1 1/2 tsp vanilla

i jar of marshmallow fluff (big jar)

1 bag of powdered sugar

a few dabs of milk

Yeah not the healthiest of foods but sometimes you just have to go with the tasty unhealthy stuff and enjoy.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Pan-Seared Haddock

"Seasoned Fish"

Time to Cook: 10-15 Minutes
Serves: 3-4

*Paprika - 1 Tbsp
*Dried thyme - 1 Tbsp
*Yellow Pepper - 1 large
*Salt - 1/2 tsp
*Ground black pepper - 1/4 tsp
*Cayenne pepper - 1/4 tsp
*Haddock - 4 (6-ounce) fillets
*Olive oil - 1 Tbsp
*Butter - 1 Tbsp
*Lemon Juice

In a small bowl, combine paprika, thyme, salt, pepper and cayenne pepper. Pat mixture evenly onto fish.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil and butter and when hot, but not smoking, sauté fish on both sides until crisp and golden, about 8 minutes. Fish should flake easily with a fork. Serve immediately garnished with lemon juice.

Preferred With What?:
Drink: Green Tea Ginger Ale
Music: Why Do I Lie? by Luscious Jackson

Friday, April 03, 2009

Welcome Chefs!

Just want to take a minute to thank everyone for accepting my invites so far. And I'd like to say how very excited I am to start a food blog with so many people that cook and appreciate good food because, well... food is everything!
First things first.
What to do? Simple.
Cook. Something new and exciting, something you've done a thousand times before, or even something you've only heard about, take a picture of it and post it with the recipe and ingredients you used.
This is a forum of recipes, so be creative and learn and trade with others here.

If you need an idea of how to format your post use my original dinners as a template.

Remember: everyone has different specialties and use it to your advantage to take from their experience and better yourself and broaden your culinary skills. Some people are better at deserts, some are better at baking, Italian food, Asian Cuisine, Eastern European, etc.