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