Monthly Archives: December 2009

Minor Food Update

Since I am busy enjoying the holidays, I am not sure I will be able to post actual blogs this week, but I am still cooking!

So far this week, I’ve made an eggnog pound cake and herbed corn bread. Still to come are sausage balls and pumpkin praline pie.

The secret ingredient this week in the Iron Chef Blogger Challenge is pickles. Yes that’s right, pickles. Haven’t decided what to do yet, I’m really not sure I’ll even be able to do anything. There is a recipe in the good old Paula Deen cookbook for pickled okra sandwiches, but it sounds a little scary even for me. We’ll see what happens, I’m undecided at this point.

Blogger Challenge: Chipotle


I’m just going to tell you up front. I cheated on this blogger challenge. I learned about cheating from Sarah and her “Bok Choy” Stir Fry.

This recipe, in spite of having chipotle in the title, has only a tiny amount. The recipe website claims “The secret is the mixture of the chipotle chile peppers and paprika which gives a flavorful kick to the chicken.”

However – it’s only a quarter of a teaspoon of ground chipotle. (Not even whole chiles!) And, as if all of that weren’t bad enough, I didn’t even use ground chipotle. I used Mexican Chile Powder. (The only ground chipotle at Ralph’s was $10 a bottle! That’s ridiculous!)

I will pause for a moment while you judge me.

Are you done?

Okay.

Even though it didn’t technically include the secret ingredient, this chicken was delicious! It’s very lemony with just enough spice. Also, you get to pound the chicken breast with a meat mallet, which is always an activity that I enjoy.

I’m just going to link to the recipe, because I got it off of about.com, and I’m feeling a little lazy to type today.

Before I head off for the night to watch Christmas specials and the Closer, here are some other links.

This is another mushroom recipe from last week’s mushroom challenge. It is not only for a delicious sounding mushroom ravioli, but the blog is hilarious.

And this is some chipotle chili. Yum! (It has actual chiles in it, in case you felt cheated by this chicken).

Southern Tea Cakes


I felt the need to make Christmas cookies yesterday, and it was a lot of fun. It probably would have been better if I’d had any sprinkles or anything else to decorate them with, but oh well. The cookies were delicious anyway!

I must say though, I have an awful time trying to roll out dough. I had the same problem with the biscuits I made last weekend. I put flour on the rolling pin, but the dough keeps sticking to it and tearing apart.. it’s just a whole mess.

Anyway, this recipe is from Paula Deen’s “The Lady and Sons Savannah Country Cookbook”. I halved it, because it said it would make between 6 and 8 dozen cookies. The halved recipe did not make anywhere close to 3 to 4 dozen though, so I’m not sure that was accurate. However, it could also have a lot to do with my dough-rolling issues and the size of the cookies that I made. I did some tree shaped ones that were sort of large.

So, here it is:

Southern Tea Cakes

4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 pound (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350. In a large bowl, sift flour, baking soda, and baking powder together.* Add remaining ingredients and blend well. Dough should be soft. Roll dough out onto a floured surface until approximately 1/4 inch thick. Cut dough into desired shapes and bake on a slightly greased sheet for 10 to 12 minutes.

*If you don’t have one of those flour sifter things, just use a mesh wire strainer. It works just as well. I actually compared the two, because I recently bought a flour sifter. I honestly shouldn’t have wasted my money, the flour looks almost exactly the same either way.

Blogger Challenge: Mushrooms!

The secret ingredient this week for this week was mushrooms. I was so so excited to make these cheese and spinach stuffed mushrooms, but they were ultimately really disappointing.

I wasn’t incredibly pleased with the way the mushrooms looked at the store, the cheese I used didn’t really melt properly, the spinach was too stringy, and I think I let them sit too long before I ate them. I uploaded a picture anyway, but I think for the time being we can just classify this one as misadventure. I’m not really going to bother uploading the recipe, since I don’t recommend it. It’s okay though, I’m sure I learned a valuable lesson somewhere along the way!

Here are some links to other Iron Chef Blogger’s recipes that look much more delicious than mine:

Stuffed Mushrooms with Bacon
Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms

And finally, the photo of my stuffed mushrooms:

Basic Biscuits


As you can tell from the picture, these biscuits did not exactly turn out beautifully. They do taste pretty good, which I suppose is what really matters.

This recipe is also from Paula Deen’s “The Lady and Sons Savannah Country Cookbook”, but I find the title misleading. To me, a basic biscuit recipe does not require yeast. This is my second sort of unsuccessful try at baking with yeast. There are so many things I could be doing wrong, I don’t even attempt to guess what they are. Maybe someday I’ll work it out.

You may have better luck, so I’ll add the recipe anyway. Like I said, they did still taste good and didn’t take me that long to make. It just made a bit of a mess on my counter that I still need to clean up (in spite of using wax paper to roll out the dough). Also, I skipped greasing my baking pan and just put down some parchment paper instead.

Basic Biscuits

1 package yeast
1/2 cup lukewarm water
5 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 tablespoons sugar
3/4 cup Crisco shortening
2 cups buttermilk

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Dissolve yeast in warm water; set aside. Mix dry ingredients together. Cut in shortening. Add yeast and buttermilk and mix well. Turn dough onto lightly floured surface and roll out to desired thickness. Cut with small biscuit cutter and place on greased baking sheet. Bake for 12 minutes or until golden brown.

Rum Cake


This was my first bundt cake, as well as my first time cooking with alcohol (or attempting to cook with alcohol, as we’ll see shortly).

It was pretty easy to make. I’m easily fascinated with things like putting nuts at the bottom of a bundt pan (when you flip it out of the pan, the nuts are on top!). I had some trouble getting all the glaze to absorb into the cake, but I think it turned out well in spite missing a bit of glaze.

The main stumbling block I faced was not wanting to spend between 12 and 15 dollars on rum. Apparently Ralph’s does not sell rum in small bottles, and I didn’t need the whole thing. I ended up using a rum extract instead (the entire bottle, as it turned out), but I saved a bit of money by doing this (rum extract was only $3), and I don’t think the cake really suffered for it. If you’re curious, for every 1/4 cup of rum, I used 1 tablespoon of rum extract and 3 tablespoons of water.

My favorite thing about bundt cake is that it doesn’t require a pan to transport, so you can transport it easily without having to worry about getting your pan home again.

I thought it was delicious. I made it for a friend’s birthday, and it seemed to be well-received. It didn’t taste as strongly of rum as I was afraid it might (maybe because I didn’t use actual rum?), and it actually reminded me of eggnog a little for some reason.

Rum Cake
from Paula Deen’s “The Lady and Sons Savannah Country Cookbook”

1 cup chopped walnuts
One 18 1/2 ounce package yellow cake mix
One 3 1/2 ounce package instant vanilla pudding mix
4 eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup dark rum

Preheat oven to 325. Grease and flour a 10-inch tube pan.* Sprinkle nuts over bottom of pan. Mix remaining ingredients together. Pour batter over nuts. Bake for 1 hour. Cool. Invert on service plate. Prick top with fork or toothpick. Drizzle and smooth glaze evenly over top and sides. Allow cake to absorb glaze. Use all the glaze.

GLAZE

4 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup water
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup dark rum

Melt butter in saucepan. Stir in water and sugar. Boil 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; stir in rum.

*I used a fluted bundt pan instead of a tube pan (which is straight-edged). Didn’t seem to make a difference, and the cake was prettier. I suppose the cake shape might have made it more difficult to glaze, but I don’t think so.

Blogger Challenge: Bok Choy!

I’m totally getting ahead on the blogger challenge this week. This week’s secret ingredient is bok choy. I was very pleased with this for two reasons.

The first is that I have been absolutely in love with Chinese food since our trip to China this past summer. I ate SO MUCH bok choy while we were there, I wanted to try to recreate it.

The second reason is actually connected to the first reason. Because all I want to do is eat Asian food since we returned, my dad got me this Chinese cookbook I’d been wanting for my birthday. It is called ‘Simple Chinese Cooking’ by Kylie Kwong. One of the first things that caught my eye in it was Bok Choy with Oyster Sauce.

And it was delicious. It tasted just like the dish I ate during at least two meals a day during my ten days in China. I like the flavor of bok choy. It’s leafy but thicker than most greens.. I don’t quite know what to compare it to. The oyster sauce was strong than I expected but still tasty. As an added bonus, it was amazingly easy to make.

This could very well be all the blogging I do for the week. I’ve been cooking like mad for the last week. It’s time for a break to finally get all the dishes washed!


Bok Choy with Oyster Sauce

1 bunch bok choy, cores removed
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
dash of sesame oil
1 tablespoon peanut oil

Separate bok choy leaves and wash thoroughly.

Fill a large saucepan with water and bring to a boil. Stir in vegetable oil, add bok choy and simmer until bok choy is bright green and tender – this should take about 1 minute. Using tongs, immediately remove bok choy from water and place on a platter. Drizzle with oyster sauce and sesame oil.

Heat peanut oil in a small frying pan until moderately hot and carefully pour over bok choy. Serve immediately.