Saturday, April 25, 2009

Chocolate Chocolate Cupcakes

Chocolate- Chocolate Cupcakes
Adapted from Baking, From My Home To Yours

Makes 12 cupcakes

Preheat your oven to 350 and line your cupcake pan with muffin liners.

In a medium bowl, sift together:
1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat until light:
1/2 cup vegetable shortening

3/4 cup sugar

Beat until blended, or about 2 minutes.

1 egg, plus 1 egg yolk.

Beat one minute between the egg and egg yolk.

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Add in half of the dry ingredients, and beat until just combined.

Combine in a bowl, and then add to the large bowl:
2 tablespoons lemon juice
enough soy milk to make 1/2 cup

Add the remainder of the dry ingredients, blending until just combined.

Fold in:
2 ounces semi-sweet chocolate (chocolate chips) melted and cooled.

Divide the batter evenly among 12 muffin cups and bake 22-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in a cupcake comes out clean.

We served these sprinkled with a little powdered sugar, but you could definitely come up with a tasty frosting if you like!

One Way Cookies

This recipe is from a friend, who got it from a I'm really not sure who to credit for this! These are rather healthy, and rather tasty. Don't expect them to taste like a traditional fruity cookie - without the oil, you're just setting yourself up for disappointment. Rather, think of it as...a healthy bowl of oatmeal, you can hold in the palm of your hand!

(Oh, these are called One Way Cookies because if you take them to a party...they won't be coming home!)

3 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 cups unsweetened applesauce (you can substitute pureed pumpkin for part of the applesauce)
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
2 cups chocolate chips
1/3 cup flax seed
8 egg whites (we used four whole eggs, since "non fat" wasn't our primary objective)
6 cups regular oats

Combine wet ingredients with sugar. Add dry ingredients, ending with oats and chocolate chips.

Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes. We used a mini ice cream scoop to scoop out the cookies, and this made nearly 12 dozen cookies. Luckily, these hold up great in the freezer, and they thaw in a flash.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Curry Pinto Beans with Pork

In a medium sized pot, combine 2 cups of dried pinto beans and water (according to package directions*) and bring to a boil. Boil for three minutes, cover, remove from heat and let sit for 1 hour.

Drain, replace water, and bring back to a simmer. Add 1 lb of pork chops, cut into chunks. (My pork chops were marinated in soy sauce and ginger before being frozen. Otherwise, add a bit of garlic and soy sauce to your beans at this point for the same flavor.) Add 1 can of diced tomatoes, undrained, 2 teaspoons salt, 2 tablespoons sugar and 1 tablespoon curry powder.

Simmer until the beans are the desired tenderness - I simmered mine about 5 hours. We like our beans very tender around here!

About 15 minutes before serving, add 7 oz. of coconut milk (about half a can). After this, don't let the beans simmer - just warm the beans through.

Serve over rice, or with a side of naan, chapati or paratha.

(This is based very loosely on an African dish, Jaanjare Jo Shaak from Chachi's Kitchen.)

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Roast Breaded Asparagus

I took my inspiration here, from Andrea at Cooking Books. Andrea uses mayonnaise, mustard, lemon juice, salt and pepper for her dip, and then breads whole asparagus stalks in panko crumbs. These are then roasted on a greased baking sheet.

I tried the roasted-whole thing: seeing as we were trying to eat them with chopsticks, serving them whole turned out to be a no-go. This time, I bypassed that mess and just cooked them already cut into bite sized pieces. Aaah. Much better!

We liked these, but Lo Gung still liked the flavor of my first batch better. (First batch was original dip, and Italian flavor bread crumbs.) Next time, I'll use the mustard in the dip, and figure out how to season my own Italian bread crumbs.

Roast Breaded Asparagus
1 lb asparagus, trimmed and chopped into 2" pieces

1/4 cup mayonnaise

1 T. Italian Dressing

1 T. lemon juice

1/2 t. dried oregano

Salt and Pepper, to taste

1 cup breadcrumbs (I used homemade *)

Preheat oven to 450.

Combine mayonnaise, dressing, lemon juice, oregano, salt and pepper in a medium sized bowl. Adjust seasonings to taste. Add the chopped asparagus and toss to coat.

Add the breadcrumbs and toss to distribute the crumbs evenly.

Spread evenly on an ungreased baking sheet and bake 10-13 minutes. (You may grease the pan if you like, but I've never successfully roasted asparagus on a greased pan and NOT had the fire alarm go off.)

*Homemade bread crumbs - I save the heels, and other dry bits of bread that seem to accumulate on the counter, in a ziptop bag, in the freezer. When I need breadcrumbs, I pull out a few pieces of bread, toast them a few times to defrost and further dry them out, and then run it in a food processor for about 10 seconds until they are ground into a powder. Tasty!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Chinese Carrot and Pork Soup

ETA - My mother in law recently made this with a small piece of "gwo pei", or dried mandarin skin. It was amazing! It smelled absolutely fabulous. You can buy gwo pei in an asian market, or just make your own. Make sure you use small oranges with VERY thin skins - like Cuties. You don't want any discernible pith inside. 

We call this Hung Louh Baat Jyu Gwat Tong (Carrot and Pig Bone Soup). It is super simple to make and makes a delicious, healthy broth.

Pig Neck Bones should be available in any grocery store that specializes in Asian or South American fare. I buy mine for $.99 lb when they go on sale. They usually run around $1.50 lb. Normal pork chops, sliced, can replace the pig neck bones if you can't find them.

Fill a soup pot about 2/3 full with water.


1/2 lb pig neck bones

1 1/2 lb carrots, peeled and chopped into 3" sections

4 Honey Dates (look in an Asian market)

(Honey Date)

Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook, partially covered, for 3 hours or until carrots are tender and the broth is a rich brown. Periodically skim off any foam that collects on top of the soup and discard.

Season to taste with soy sauce.

To serve, remove the carrots, pork and dates to a serving bowl. Serve* the broth as a first course, and eat the carrots and pork over rice.

*We have a special little pitcher, specifically for Chinese soups, with a strainer on the top to catch any errant bits of "choi liu" (ingredients) and a spout that begins at the bottom of the pitcher to separate the broth from any oil that might be floating on top. A normal gravy separator would work fine, and is identical to my special pitcher...with the exception of the Japanese gibberish on my pitcher. You won't find that on your gravy separator if you buy it at Target. Other than that, they're identical.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Oreo Pops

These were so simple to make, but they turned out pretty cute!

You'll need:
Oreos (either Double Stuff or twice as many cookies as you want pops)
Lollipop sticks
Chocolate (almond bark, candy coating, or chocolate chips and shortening)
Bling (Jelly Beans, Coconut, sprinkles...whatever!)

(Lollipop sticks, Lollipop bags and candy coating can all be found in a crafts store, such as Michaels or Hobby Lobby.)

If using Double Stuff: carefully insert a lollipop stick into each cookie.

If using normal Oreos: carefully separate each cookie, making sure that all the filling is on one side of the cookie. Set aside the "naked" half to munch on while you work. Lay a lollipop stick on the "cream" half, and top with another "cream" half. Gently push the two sides together to mold the cream around the lollipop stick.

Place your "sticked" cookies on a plate and put them in the refrigerator to chill for 15-20 minutes. (I'm told this helps the chocolate stick to the cookies better. It also helps the cream set up so your sticks won't come sliding out.)

While your cookies cool, melt your chocolate in a tall, narrow mug. If using almond bark or candy coating, melt according to package directions. If, like me, you'd rather use the chocolate chips hanging out in your baking cupboard, in your mug combine:
1 cup chocolate chips
1 T. shortening

(The shortening thins the chocolate out so you don't get such a gloppy chocolate coating.)

Microwave for about 90 seconds, stirring every thirty seconds.

Carefully dunk your cookies down into the chocolate to cover, and tap the stick against the side of the cup to knock the excess chocolate back into the mug.

Lay the coated cookies on a baking sheet lined with waxed paper or a silicone baking mat. Press your desired Bling into the chocolate and leave the cookies to harden. (If using almond bark or candy coating, this will take about 10 minutes. If using chocolate chips, allow at least an hour.)

When hard, carefully remove each cookie pop from the baking sheet. I put my finished Oreo pops inside of small lollipop bags and tied them up with curling ribbon.


Saturday, April 4, 2009

Site Difficulties

With two mommy-brains running the show, we've managed to go a complete month without noticing that our feeds aren't showing up in Google Reader, and I'm not sure if they've been showing up in other readers.

So...excuse our dust. I'll be messing around a bit today to see if I can resolve the issue. (Just look at those want to be getting these recipes, trust me!)

Happy Cooking Everyone!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Baked Eggs in a Cup

I'm sure I've seen this idea a million other places, but this morning it seemed like a stroke of pure genius. Which, even if it isn't MY genius, it definitely is.

These are simply slices of day-old wheat bread, sliced thinly and pushed into muffin tins. Crack an egg in each well, sprinkle with kosher salt and fresh-cracked black pepper and bake at 400 degrees until the eggs are just the way you like them.

Even though the bread wanted to split and crack, the oven was hot enough to sear the outside of the egg where it touched the pan and crisp the edges of the bread, so the whole thing came out clean. Served with canned peaches, we ate them out of hand, with silly little smiles on our faces. A family breakfast on a Friday, that cooked while Mom was in the shower? Brilliant. This might be a start to a lovely new tradition.