31 December 2011

Spiced Chipotle Sweet Potatoes

Well, as 2011 rapidly draws to a close I figure I better post once more this year. And just to show how on top of things I am I'll admit that I made these sweet potatoes about three weeks ago. You may remember me telling you about my awesome thanksgiving this year and how much I loved the sweet potatoes that my roommate served. So a couple of weeks ago when I got invited to a "Post-Thanksgiving, Pre-Christmas Turkey Dinner" I couldn't resist trying out these potatoes myself.

The very first time I had these it was with the chicken in the recipe--it's very good. But it's also good if you leave out the chicken (and who can afford to buy meat anyways?).  The spicy sweet potatoes seemed to go over well at the dinner (though they had a bit more kick than I had intended). And I really like them so I made them again for my family while I was home over Christmas--actually the real reason I made them while I was home was because my mom had chipotle chilis in the freezer. They didn't like them as much but in all fairness, my family doesn't really like sweet potatoes at all (don't ask me).

13 December 2011

Cinnamon Banana Bread

Last time I made banana bread I forgot to add the baking soda (or maybe the baking powder, or maybe both, I can't remember) and the result as you can imagine was a loaf of bread that was extremely dense and about 3/4 of an inch tall (you wish I was exaggerating). Recently I found a recipe for Cinnamon Banana Bread on this blog and I decided that it sounded quite delicious. At length this week I found myself with two rather blackened bananas and really there are only a small handful of things to be done with blackened bananas--hence the time to try this recipe.

I made sure to add all of the leavening agents.

And you know. It turned out great. Light, and spongy, and moist, and banana-y.

03 December 2011

Brie en Croute

Ok, since I live in DC it's a little far to fly home for Thanksgiving (read: too expensive). And since I'm not living near any relatives I had the pleasure of celebrating Thanksgiving with my roommates this year (and a few other awesome people). My roommate who planned this event did a fabulous job. (I brought the stuffing and a cherry pie.) But she started out our meal with a delicious Brie en Croute with Apple Compote for an Hors d'oeuvre. You may want to note just how awesome her Brie turned out. Mine doesn't look so pretty.

So anyways, yesterday was our Christmas party at work and I had planned on making this pie but after having eaten pie with almost every meal for the last week I just wasn't feeling it. (I'm realizing now that I don't think I've blogged about pie much. I will make every attempt to remedy that in the future.) And then I remembered the brie. My roommate readily shared the recipe with me and away I went. It turned out great. It tasted just like it should have, though my puff pastry did unfold rather a lot during baking and so it didn't look particularly pretty.

Now, someone who was thinking ahead would have taken pictures when the brie was fresh from the oven and gooey and delicious. As we all know I'm not that person. Me remember to take pictures? never. But I did remember enough to throw my camera in my bag to take with me to work. Unfortunately the lighting in my office is about a fluorescent as it gets and is pretty awful. I know I apologize for my photography more often than not, but bear with me. One of these days I'll cook during the day and actually snap a well lit photo. Just remember, it tasted delicious.

21 November 2011

Garlic Knots

I made these Garlic Knots a week or two ago (I can't remember now.) They are pretty delicious. And went very nicely with these meatballs. The meatballs are so easy. Just three ingredients. Meatballs, plum jam, and chili sauce. Throw it all in the crockpot and let it cook till the meatballs are all heated through. 

12 November 2011

Green Smoothies

A number of months ago one of my roommates introduced me to the wonder that is the green smoothie. They're pretty amazing. Essentially you add fresh spinach to whatever smoothie you happen to be making and it turns your smoothie green without changing the flavor. So instead of having a healthy fruit smoothie with half your servings of fruit for the day, add some spinach and then you've got half your fruit and vegetables. A painless way to eat veggies, what could be better? I will warn you though, depending on what fruit you put in your smoothie the color of green can vary dramatically. If you're looking for a lovely light green I'd suggest more yellow fruits (like pineapple and mango).

08 November 2011

BLT Wraps

So I was looking for a recipe for a simple, light, savory hors d' oeuvre that I can take for a work potluck and I ran across this recipe for BLT pitas. While I'm not sure they're quite what I'm looking for for my potluck they did sound quite delicious. So on my way home for work I stopped at the store and bought bacon, lettuce, tomato and completely managed to forget pitas. whoops. Luckily, I had thought that a nice wrap would be good sometime so I did have tortillas. And you know, a BLT makes a pretty awesome wrap. This recipe from Mel's Kitchen Cafe used avocado as well, which was delicious, and I think that it will become a regular guest in future BLTs. 

27 October 2011


Cooking aside, books are my big passion. So when I can find books that embody cooking it just doesn't get much better than that. Consequently I own a number of cookbooks in a variety of degrees of usefulness. I am a firm believer in pictures being worth a thousand words and think that no where is that more true than in a cookbook. In fact I think a cookbook is worthless if it doesn't have full-color, professionally shot photos. 

Now that I've given that absolute statement, let me back-pedal and clarify (generally I try to steer clear of absolute statements because I nearly always have to recant). What I mean is that since that advent of full-color, professional photography there is no reason why it shouldn't be present in a cookbook. I hate buying a new, modern cookbook and having it be picture-less. What makes me look at a recipe and want to try it is the visual appeal, not the list of ingredients, usually. Of course, one has to make exceptions for books where it is impossible for there to be photos (black and white or otherwise). In fact, that brings me to the whole point of the post. 

I have started my collection of antiquarian cookbooks. It's still small (this recent grad just doesn't have tons of money to spend on antique cookbooks just yet) but pretty awesome. The dream is to one day own a first edition of Mrs. Beeton's Guide to Household Management, but it will be many years before that dream is realized. Last summer I ran into an 1861 edition (I don't think it was a true first edition though.) and was thrilled to find that it was in pretty good condition, but the man wanted 200 GBP for it and I just didn't have that kind of money. So, I've had to start smaller. As you may recall, I am very much interested in Victorian cookery and so I hope to have my collection ultimately be mostly Victorian in nature; though right now it is more 1st half of the twentieth century. In some ways that's almost better because the cooking instructions are quite a bit easier to follow. 

19 October 2011

Monday Roast

Apple Galette
You'll remember that last week I went apple picking in Damascus. So this week I cooked with apples (imagine that.) On Sunday my roommate cooked dinner for us and I contributed an Apple Galette. In essence a galette is an open-faced pie, that's flat. Therefore it is easier to make than pie and tastes the same. And it looks pretty cool too. It turned out quite nicely. The apples I had picked were a sweeter variety so I only lightly sprinkled cinnamon sugar on top (and mostly just because I wanted the cinnamon). I ate leftovers for a couple days. I will say though that this is definitely better warm. Even reheated.

Roast, Yorkshire Pudding, Sweet Potato Fries
Before my roommate offered to share her dinner with me on Sunday I had planned to make a roast. So instead I had that on Monday. Nothing like a good Monday roast. And I had a sweet potato so I sliced it up real nice and baked it into fries (nothing like the fries at Guru's  but then what is?) and really they turned out ok. I managed to eat almost all of them before my roast was even done cooking. Actually timing wise the whole meal struggled. Everything had to cook for about half an hour, mostly on the same temperature but the fires had to be turned half way through and you can't open the door to the oven while cooking Yorkshire Pudding or it will fall. So all three parts ended up being cooked separately and I don't think all the waiting would have flown if I had been cooking for someone else. But I will say that waiting was worth it. The pudding didn't stick to the pan at all! and it was nice and thick. It was fantastic. 

10 October 2011

Cafe Rio

So, hardly a month has gone by since I said I wanted to cook every week. Who would have thought that it would be so hard to prepare one meal in an entire week? Well, it is. This past week I was working a class in Palisades, NY, which is a "suburb" of New York that is in the middle of nowhere and isn't really a town at all, but the trees were lovely. So I ate there all week and then I fully intended to cook something (maybe even something new) when I got back to Maryland late last Friday. As luck would have it, it's been a busy weekend and the whole cooking thing flew out the window at the first opportunity.

On Saturday I went apple picking up in Damascus, Maryland (the cutest town ever!), so look for an apple recipe or two in the coming weeks. After picking my fill of apples one of my roommates and I drove up to the newest delicious "mexican" restaurant in Olney. Cafe Rio has finally come to the DC Metro area! There are now two locations--one in Maryland and one Virginia. And I'm pretty sure that it is the place for displaced Utahns to eat. And the food is just as good as it is in Provo.

I say that as if I actually liked Cafe Rio when I lived in Provo--that's not strictly speaking true. The first time I ate there was shortly after I'd moved to Provo, and being from Arizona just couldn't understand why a "Mexican" restaurant would put rice in their burritos; no self-respecting Mexican would ever do that. Somewhere along the way I realized that Cafe Rio falls into a category with Chipotle and Qdoba and all those other very delicious burrito-restaurants: not Mexican food, but delicious. After I made that realization everything changed. You just can't pass up that pork salad. It is definitely worth the half-hour drive each way to buy an $8 salad. Besides, I ate that salad for dinner on Saturday and finished it up for lunch on Sunday (hence why I didn't cook all weekend). So, if you're ever find yourself in the DC area looking for a good 'ole taste of Utah stop in at Cafe Rio. It's worth the drive.

02 October 2011

Roasted Corn and Black Bean Salsa

So as the owner/pretend writer of a blog comes the responsibility of reading other people's blogs. And of course since I have a food blog that necessitates that I read lots of other food blogs. Now I'll admit that I don't read tons of food blogs, but I have a couple that I enjoy and one of them is written by an old friend from college. And on her blog this week she had a delicious looking recipe for salsa. It looked so good that I actually went out and bought the ingredients to make it. And did. It is just as amazing as Kasee said it was. So the night that I made it I was trying to figure out what I wanted for dinner and I'd gotten as far as this salsa, but realized that it's not really much of a dinner. So I thought, you know it'd be great with salad and crushed up tortilla chips. So I pulled up the blog and low and behold this was the next post. Of course at this point I didn't have the ingredients to make the dressing, but even without the dressing the salsa makes a wonderful addition to salad.

 My pictures aren't nearly as good as Kasee's. But the salsa was amazing.

27 September 2011

International Potluck

Last night, my ward (church group) had a International Potluck dinner for FHE (Family Home Evening--a Monday night tradition we use to strengthen our families). I was impressed with the variety of foods that we had. If you think about it, gathering a bunch of single twenty-somethings together and telling them to make/bring an "international" dish for a potluck dinner sounds like a recipe for 17 different kinds of salsa and maybe some fancy casserole. This was not the case. We managed to represent all 7 continents (ice water is from Antarctica right??) and there was so much variety that I couldn't even try it all. Needless to say, I ate way too much.

I made Yorkshire pudding for my food. Unfortunately it didn't occur to me to take a picture of it, so instead I'm going to make you really hungry, and maybe even drool a little, and post this picture I found online.

When it occurred to me to make Yorkshire pudding for this potluck late on Sunday afternoon I was surprised by this simple solution to the problem I'd been wrestling with for a couple weeks. I wanted to make an easy and delicious English food that was savoury. I'm sure many of you are thinking that my problem was with the "easy and delicious" part, but really my problem was that I couldn't think of anything savoury that I could easily (and cheaply) make. So when I attended a similar potluck last Saturday (strange to have to International potlucks in less than 72 hours, I know--I didn't plan them...) I ended up making Portuguese Custard Tarts because they are simple and delicious, although not savoury. (and once again, enjoy a photo I found online. I'm just not very good at this whole remembering to take pictures of my food business.)

26 September 2011

Cultural revolution

As I sat at my desk today eating my lunch I read this article about junk food vs. real food and the cultural revolution that needs to take place in order for eating real food to become the "cool" thing to do. I enjoyed the article. It was one of those times that made me proud of myself that I'm attempting to cook more, and that I haven't eaten out in over a week (sadly, a record for me--this traveling business has taken its toll on my eating habits). What made it even better was that for lunch today I had a salad I brought from home (though I will admit that it came from one of those Caesar kits you can get at the grocery store--but still). 

22 September 2011

Soy Sauce and Star Anise Chicken

So my favorite cookbook in the world is called The Three Ingredient Cookbook by Jenny White. The recipes are super simple and the full-color, full page photos are amazing. One thing that I love about this book (besides the photography) is that every time I flip through it I find new recipes I swear I've never seen before. (of course it's unlikely that it's a magic cookbook, but it sure seems that way.) So I was looking through the cookbook looking for an English dessert I can make for a potluck this weekend when I stumbled across this recipe using star anise. (It was pure luck that I actually own star anise and so had all the ingredient for this--it's quite unusual.) I wish I could share with you the picture that was in the cookbook rather than the picture I took, because mine doesn't look nearly as delicious.

Soy Sauce and Star Anise Chicken
So the chicken was pretty good, though next time I make it I will use a higher proportion of star anise to soy sauce. I couldn't really taste the star anise at all. I'd also marinade it longer. And I think I'd actually try to grill it. The recipe said to, but with no grill that can be a bit tricky. But their was just so much prettier with the grill lines on it.

15 September 2011

Chicken Curry

In theory, when I said that I wanted to try new recipes and cook I suppose you imagined that I'd be cooking from scratch and things like that. I think that's what I'd imagined too. I do like cooking from scratch, but I also enjoy prepared things. Like curry sauces. I was at the grocery store yesterday getting ingredients for the dessert I made last night and I happened upon a display of Patak's curry sauces. After reading all the labels I settled on the Butter Chicken sauce. I've used the Tikka Masala before and I really like it. So I thought I'd try something new. And it was easy. Cook up some chicken. Add some sauce. Simmer. Eat. Delicious. I definitely don't find any problem with making cooking easy with prepared foods.

After eating my curry, I tried the S'mores Cookie Bars that I made. I found the recipe on one of my favorite food blogs. Mel's Kitchen Cafe has lots of delicious looking recipes. I am excited to try more of them. I haven't quite decided how I liked them. For sure I didn't put enough chocolate chips in, and I think I should have used more marshmallow too, but really they were just very, very sweet and I'm not sure how I felt about that. I brought some of them to work and my coworkers seemed to like them. I think I will have to make them again one day so that I can form a better opinion of them.

14 September 2011

Autumn Goal

A few summers ago I made a goal for myself to try a new recipe (ideally for a dinner entree) every week that summer. I remember doing alright, though I definitely made more desserts than entrees. (but really, isn't dessert better anyways?) Then life happened and I haven't cooked nearly as regularly. Now though, I've found that my work schedule allows me to be in the states for most of the rest of the year and I think it's time that I start cooking again. So, my new goal for Autumn is two fold:

1. To try and cook one new recipe every week that I'm in town for the remainder of the year.
2. To actually cook dinner once (at least) every week (that I'm in town) for the remainder of the year.

I guess if I wanted to make my goal three fold my third goal would be to blog about it, but I don't want to get overly ambitious...

30 August 2011


About a month ago I moved to a new apartment. The lease on the house I was living in was up and it was time for something new. So I moved. And then went out of town for two weeks. Last week I was home and one day lunchtime came around and I decided that it was time to cook something. This was big. I think it was the first time I'd prepared my own food in about 6 weeks. So I made pasta. Yeah, nice spiral pasta with a little broccoli for the sake of eating a vegetable. I think it is a little sad that I've lived in this apartment for a whole month and that was the first time I've ever used the stove. What's worse is that I haven't used it since then either. I look forward to being home again one day and cooking meals for myself.

28 July 2011

Food with a Face

Much has changed in my life since I last posted--many, many moons ago. I have relocated across the country, travel 2 weeks a month for my job and don't cook nearly often enough. But I did take a picture of some bird that I consumed in Singapore a few weeks ago. It was delicious. Enjoy.