Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Years Eve Dinner

I made these two dishes for New Years Eve, while my dad made a ham to make it a "not so vegetarian" meal.

Nutty Warm Brussell Sprouts Salad
From Cooking Light


  • 1 1/2  teaspoons  extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1  garlic clove, minced
  • 1/3  cup  fresh breadcrumbs
  • 3/4  pound  Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved (about 8 cups)
  • 1/4  teaspoon  salt
  • 1/8  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2  tablespoons  finely chopped walnuts, toasted
  • 1/2  ounce  shaved Asiago cheese


1. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add garlic; cook 1 minute or just until golden, stirring constantly. Add breadcrumbs; cook 1 minute or until lightly browned, stirring constantly. Transfer garlic mixture to a small bowl.
2. Separate leaves from Brussels sprouts; quarter cores. Heat remaining 1/2 teaspoon oil over medium heat. Add leaves and cores to pan; cook 8 minutes or just until leaves wilt and cores are crisp-tender, stirring frequently. Remove from heat; toss with breadcrumb mixture, salt, and pepper. Top with walnuts and cheese.

Pesto Quiche with Sun-dried Tomatoes
From The Gracious Pantry


1 cup spinach
1 cup broccoli
16 oz. carton of egg whites 
1 cup shredded low fat cheese
1/4 cup parmesan
1 tbsp. italian spice
1 tsp. pepper
1/4 cup (generous) sun dried tomatoes (I used the kind packed in oil.)
1 tbsp. pesto
1/2 cup diced mushrooms (optional)
1 refrigerated pie crust
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Put all the ingredients (except for the crust) in a bowl and mix it all together to distribute the spices evenly.
3. Pour into your pie crust and place in a pre-heated oven for about 45 minutes, or until cooked through (There should be no liquid when you cut into it).

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Bagel Sticks

I saw this recipe when I was at the gym watching Rachael Ray while on the treadmill.  It looked like an easy recipe, plus I still had a lot of extra refrigerated pizza crust at home.  Dunking the dough in water didn't really work out because it just made the dough extremely soggy, so I resorted to just baking it in the oven.  I didn't have all the necessary ingredients, so I just used cream cheese and salami (one of my favorite flavor combos).  Here is the Rachael Ray recipe in case you want to try the real thing.  Here is my rendition:

Scallion Cream Cheese-Stuffed Bagel Sticks

1 package cream cheese (8 ounces), softened
3-4 scallions, sliced
1 ball store-bought pizza dough
1 egg, lightly beaten
Sesame seeds


In a large mixing bowl, combine the cream cheese and scallions until thoroughly mixed.
Cut each pizza dough into four pieces and roll each piece of dough out into 9-inch x 4-inch rectangles. Spread some of the cream cheese mixture lengthwise down the middle of each rectangle.
Brush one of the long sides of dough with egg wash and fold a half-inch of the short ends of the dough over the cream cheese. Then fold the long side without egg wash over, folding it over the cream cheese to enclose the filling and crimping slightly to secure. Transfer to a baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining rectangles.
Drop a bagel stick into the boiling water and boil for 4 minutes. Remove and place on a baking sheet, seam-side down. Brush the top with remaining egg wash and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Repeat with the remaining sticks. Make three small slits in each stick to release steam and bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Steak & Pesto Pasta Concoction

Nothing to eat?  What to do?  Pasta is the easiest thing to concoct out of a mixture of nothing, next to a salad.  Its simple to throw a multitude of different ingredients into this base to produce a mixture that is edible and tastebuddingly satisfying.  I made this for Julian for dinner.  I used ingredients found in his pantry and fridge to create a pasta dish that was worthy enough to be eaten.  This pasta dish included steak, fresh tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, some minced garlic, and creamy pesto sauce (made from a powder packet).  Here's how it turned out:

Saturday, December 26, 2009

blog birthday!

Today is my blog's one year anniversary since its creation last December 26th.  For this celebration I invited a few friends over to Julian's house to eat some treats.  I would have liked to have put more time and effort into this occassion, but my family was coming home from Pacific Grove, so I had approximately two hours to shop, prep and prepare everything for my party.  So I decided to go with crescent rolls, pizza sticks, and two different types of cookie dough.  To make things easier for myself and to create a diversity of cookies, I separated a cookie recipe that produces a lot of dough into four quadrants, mixing in different types of chocolate chips and candies. 
Cream Cheese Crecsent Rolls
This recipe I first experienced at Costco via samples.  I thought it was really good, and its taste resembled a warm and soft bagel filled with cream cheese.
2 cans (8oz) crescent rolls
1/2 block of cream cheese
1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
2. Unroll crescent rolls, and spread desired amount of cream cheese in the center of each roll.  Then proceed to roll up crescents as you normally would.
3. Bake for 11-13 minutes, or until nice and golden brown.
Pigs in a Blanket
1 package (of 8) hot dogs
2 cans (80z) crescent rolls
1. Heat oven to 375°F. Cut hot dogs in half.
2. Separate dough into triangles. Wrap dough triangle around each hot dog. Place on ungreased cookie sheet.
3. Bake at  375°F for 12 to 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Pizza Sticks
With these I kind of winged it. My first intention was to make a whole pepperoni pizza, but the dough would not cooperate. Instead it unrolled with holes, so I decided to make pieces of pizza, and call it pizza sticks. I used 1 can of pillsbury refrigerated dough, some tomato sauce, some mozzarella, and a few pepperonis. The outcome was slightly doughy pizza sticks. Satisfying enough to be eaten up, but I might have made some changes if I were to make these again.

Holiday Funfetti Cookies
from Pillsbury
I have never made funfetti cookies with frosting because I always find the cookies themselves to be extremely sweet.  However, to make the cookies more festive and presentable, I decided to cover them with frosting.  These turned out similar to the "lard" cookies you can buy in the supermarkets.
1 box Funfetti cake mix
1/3 cup oil
2 eggs
1/2 (15.6 oz) can Holiday Funfetti frosting
1. Heat oven to 375°F. In large bowl, combine cake mix, oil and eggs; stir with spoon until thoroughly moistened. Shape dough into 1-inch balls; place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets. With bottom of glass dipped in flour, flatten to 1/4-inch thickness.
2. Bake at 375°F. for 6 to 8 minutes or until edges are light golden brown. Cool 1 minute; remove from cookie sheets.
3. Spread frosting over warm cookies. Immediately sprinkle each with candy bits from frosting. Let frosting set before storing. Store in tightly covered container.

Four Kinds of Cookies
For the base of this dough, I used the NYT cookie because it produces a large quantity of dough
(White Chocolate Chip)
(Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chip)
NYT Cookie dough
adopted from Ezra Pound Cake
2 cups minus 2 tablespoons AP flour
1 2/3 cups  AP flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
2 1/2 sticks (1 1/4 cups) unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups (10 ounces) light brown sugar
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (8 ounces) granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons natural vanilla extract

1. Sift flours, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a bowl. Set aside.
2. Using a mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter and sugars together until very light, about 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla. Reduce speed to low, add dry ingredients and mix until just combined, 5 to 10 seconds. Separate dough into four sections and add desired mix-ins for each.  Refrigerate for an hour or so.
3. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat. Set aside.
4. Scoop 6 3 1/2-ounce mounds of dough (about 1/3 cup) onto baking sheet, making sure to turn horizontally any chocolate pieces that are poking up; it will make for a more attractive cookie. Bake until golden brown but still soft, about 13 minutes. Transfer sheet to a wire rack for 10 minutes, then slip cookies onto another rack to cool a bit more. Repeat with remaining dough, or reserve dough, refrigerated, for baking remaining batches the next day.


On our way home from Pacific Grove, my dad made a pit stop in Castroville to the Giant Artichoke Restaurant which sells deep fried artichoke hearts.  I absolutely love artichoke hearts and these were meaty and fresh, even shelled within the fried batter.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Breakfast Sandwich of First's

Tonight I made Julian a breakfast for dinner kind of meal.  It wasn't my first intention to serve breakfast for dinner, but I looked for ingredients all over the house (mainly just kitchen) to inspire me or give me something to make.  But it seems we're out of food.  So I resorted to trying to make, for the first time, bacon, and also a fried egg.  
DSC04796Everything went well, and as of now Julian is still alive.  So I guess I passed my test and now have the confidence to remake both.
Breakfast Sandwich
1 Parmesan cheese bagel
2 slices Swiss cheese
1 egg
3 pieces bacon
1. Toast the bagel, make the bacon, and fry the egg.  Melt a slice of cheese on each side of the bagel, and layer the egg and bacon slices on the bagel.  Microwave to meld the sandwich together and create and oozy goodness of cheese.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Chocolate Macadamia Lace Cookies

This recipe reminds me of the cookies available at Whole Foods and Trader Joes.  They are really good store-bought cookies.  I tried to recreate them with this recipe I found online.  However, I did not have the exact what did I do?  What I always do (even if it makes the recipe not so good)...improvised!  I did not have vanilla paste, so I used extract, which probably led to the cookies being even more fragile than initially intended.  I don't know how I feel about these...maybe I used too much chocolate.  Eating these gives you an extreme sugar rush, where you feel out of it and jittery.  So maybe a word of advice, just follow the actual recipe, and maybe I'll try the same some day.  

Chocolate Macadamia Lace Cookies
based on recipe by Gourmet Betty

½ cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2 ounces semisweet chocolate, Ghirardelli or other fine quality chocolate, cut into pieces (I used chips, and I think I ended up using 1/2-3/4 cups of them).
1/2 cup macadamia nuts, chopped
1 1/4 cups sugar
3/4 teaspoon vanilla paste (I substituted with vanilla extract)
½ teaspoon salt
1 egg, lightly beaten

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

2. In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, melt the butter and chocolate, cook stirring with rubber spatula frequently for about 5 minutes.

3. Pour butter mixture into small bowl and let cool slightly.

4. In a large bowl, combine chopped nuts, sugar, egg, vanilla, and salt until blended. Fold in butter and combine until blended.

5. Drop the batter by tablespoons about 3" apart.

6. Bake 6 -8 minutes. You know they're done when the cookies are bubbling and completely flat.

7. Let cool until hard enough to transfer to container. Very fragile, not very good cookies for transporting.