Monthly Archives: April 2010

Iron Chef Blogger Challenge: Black Beans!

For this challenge, I really wanted to use dried black beans, but it just wasn’t meant to be. I already had a can of black beans in the pantry, so I opted for this quick and delicious turkey chili. It makes a lot for just me, since Travis doesn’t eat beans, so I plan to freeze some.

It turned out really well. If I do again, I’ll probably let it simmer a while longer – I like my vegetables to a bit less crunchy than these were. But, the flavors are really good, and it really was incredibly easy to make. Nice for a bit of a blustery day.

You can find the recipe here.

And, here some other recent posts from the other Iron Chef bloggers:

Sicilian Grilled Eggplant (Yes, there was a whole week I missed – I was in Washington DC!)
Banana Cake
Ugli Fruit


Mt. Vernon Inn – Peanut Soup

While we were on vacation recently in DC, we had lunch at the Mt. Vernon Inn. The Inn is located at Mt. Vernon (which was George Washington’s estate, if you somehow don’t know).

Lunch was actually really good. I ordered a spinach salad and one of the specialties, peanut soup. Apparently this is a old traditional recipe in the area. It was definitely interesting. I couldn’t eat the whole mug. It had a very strong peanut taste and was really salty. But, I’m glad I tried it. Everyone seemed to enjoy their lunch, it was a nice restaurant.

Orange Cream Sherbet

Decided to utilize my ice cream maker this weekend to use up some heavy cream that was in the fridge from Easter. So, this sherbet recipe seemed like just the thing. It was actually quite good, if a bit grainy. It tastes like an orange creamsicle.

Recipe (from

1 12 oz can Minute Maid frozen orange juice
1 1/2 cans cold water
3/4 cup heavy cream
4 tablespoons honey (or to taste)
1 scant tablespoon vanilla extract

Combine all ingredients in an ice cream maker. Freeze according to manufacturer’s instructions.

Serve immediately when mixture begins to mound on a spoon, or place in the freezer compartment of the refrigerator and scoop out and serve as you would use sherbet. May also be poured into pop molds before it has frozen solid for creamsicle-like treats on a stick.

Iron Chef Blogger Challenge: Bananas!

The challenge ingredient this week is bananas. This does pose a slight problem for me, which is that I don’t like bananas. At all. Luckily, Travis loves them!

I didn’t want to make banana bread, because I make that fairly often. The company I work for provides fruit for the employees, and sometimes when the bananas are starting to brown, they put up a “please take this fruit home!” sign. And with it, I make bread.

However, I also wanted something simple that I could make after work. So I found this Banana Spice Cake recipe on – I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned, but this is one of my favorite sites to find recipes on. I think is really helpful for recipes in general, because they have these topic sites for particular ingredients and types of food. Anyway.

It was pretty easy. I don’t think I did a good job mashing the bananas – I hate the smell and the way they look when mashed, so I may have thrown in the towel a bit early on that one. The batter smelled really good, like pumpkin spice cake only with different fruit. In the spirit of full disclosure, neither Travis nor I have tried this cake yet. I think I undercooked it a little, because the top looks a bit… gooey. One of the perils of baking after work is that sometimes I neglect to really pay attention to what I’m doing. But, you can take a look at the recipe in the link up there if you think it looks interesting! Maybe I’ll add an addendum when Travis finally tries it.

A Busy Week

It’s been a crazy time here. Travis’s first script to be made into a proper movie came out last week, which was super super exciting. His family came out to visit, we went to the premiere, good solid fun was had by all.

Then, a couple of days later, we had a big Easter/Zombie Jesus Day get-together at our apartment, which was also loads of fun.

But, all in all, it was an insanely busy week. And therefore, I missed another Iron Chef Blogger Challenge. It was about exotic fruit. I was going to get some cherimoya at the Farmer’s Market (although in retrospect I’m unsure as to whether these are actually fruits or vegetables), but there really just wasn’t time.

I was going to attempt to pawn off these strawberries as exotic fruit, but I didn’t think anyone would fall for it. I did try to make a pie out of them. It turned to liquid. There are number of things or combinations of things that may have gone wrong. I’m leaning towards not cooling long enough before adding topping to filling and not draining the strawberries well enough after sweetening them. They didn’t really even need to be sweetened, they were amazing as is.

I do have pictures of the Easter food, which I will post below. The roasted cauliflower is the best, you should really try it. Just cut up a head of cauliflower, toss with olive oil (2-3 tablespoons), sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast on 400 25-30 minutes. When done, grate some parmesan cheese over it. You’ll thank me.

This week’s blogger challenge is bananas. I’ll try to do better.