Friday, February 19, 2010

pretzel dogs

pretzel dogs. how much more do i really need to say? i started out with a freshly made vegan italian sausages (from the recipe in vegan brunch) and wrapped it up in pretzely goodness. after a quick boil and 13 minutes in the oven these puppies were perfectly golden brown, soft and chewy. when they went into the oven i was a little concerned that they wouldn't turn out like a pretzel but rather as an oversized pig-in-a-blanket, but nope! these were pretzel dogs all the way!

serve with dipping the sauces of your choice, i alternated between horseradish ketchup and grainy mustard.

the recipe below will make enough dough for 8 dogs and can easily be halved. my rising time was at least 30 minutes longer than the recipe says but i was also a little short on yeast, i don't think these two factors are unrelated.

pretzel dogs
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 1/4 teaspoons (or one packet) yeast
4 1/2 cups flour
4 tablespoons margarine, melted
water and baking soda, for boiling

combine water, sugar and salt in a bowl and sprinkle yeast on top. allow to sit for about 5 minutes, until foamy.

add flour and melted margarine and mix until combined. knead (by hand or in a mixer with a dough hook) about 7 minutes until a smooth dough forms. place in an oiled bowl to rise for about an hour or until doubled in size.

preheat oven to 450. and lightly grease a baking sheet. bring a pot of water with a hefty pour of baking soda mixed in to a boil. while you're waiting for the water you can wrap your dogs!

cut the dough into 4 pieces and roll each out into a long rectangle about 1/4 inch thick. cut each rectangle in half so you have 8 long strips of dough. starting at one end of the dog, wrap the dough tightly around, covering the whole doggie.

boil each pretzel dough for 30 seconds, place on the prepared baking sheet and sprinkle with coarse salt. bake for 12-14 minutes, until golden brown.


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

dark and white chocolate cherry cookies

In less than 6 months of dating, Andy and I have managed to cover Christmas, Valentine's Day, and, as of tomorrow, both of our birthdays. And while I'm not really into the whole Hallmark holiday aspect of V-day, I do appreciate the notion of expressing your feelings to the one you love. That, and I went to see Valentine's Day, the new Gary Marshall film, the week before and melted into a puddle of mush. I succumbed to the fervor. And I made these cookies. Half went to Andy, and half went to my brother and sister-in-law (because the recipe makes so many!).

I really like these cookies, and thought to make them for Valentine's because my mom used to send them to me for Valentine's Day when I was in college. Though rather decadent, the tang of the cherries offsets the rich, sweetness of the chocolate. The cookie base, isn't all that different from the standard Toll House recipe. And I imagine, if you really wanted to, you could probably throw some chopped pecans in there. In case four cups of chocolate isn't quite enough for you.

White and Dark Chocolate Cherry Cookies

The InnKeeper’s Kitchen at the Dilworthtown Inn

1 cup brown sugar

½ cup granulated sugar

12 oz. butter

2 eggs

2 heaping cups all-purpose flour

2 cups white chocolate (chips or bar, chopped)

2 cups dark chocolate (chips or bar, chopped)

1 cup dried cherries, soaked in warm water

¼ tsp. baking powder

Pinch salt

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cream the butter until light and fluffy. Add the sugars and mix until incorporated.
  3. Scrape down the bowl and add the eggs, mixing well.
  4. Combine the salt, baking powder and flour. Slowly add to the batter mixing until about half the flour is incorporated.
  5. Drain the cherries. Add the chocolates and cherries to the batter.
  6. Scoop about a tablespoon sized ball onto parchment paper lined sheet pans, keeping about 1 inch between each ball of cookie. When you have filled the tray, lightly press down on the dough to flatten out.
  7. Place in oven and bake for about 7 minutes. Rotate pan around and continue cooking for another 5 minutes or until the cookies become golden brown on the edges.
  8. Cool completely on racks before packing.
  9. Makes 30-40 cookies (or more like 60!).


- e

Friday, February 12, 2010

crack salad

kris made this salad for me on valentine's day many years ago. i'm sure it has some sort of name that actually tells you a little about the salad but we just started calling it crack salad. it's so delicious i just want to drink the dressing, i could eat this sweet oniony amazingness every day. perhaps because we had to cut ourselves off we hadn't made this in a really long time. however i cooked a special dinner a couple of nights ago in honor of our old anniversary (just cause we have a new one now doesn't mean the old one goes we just have more excuses to celebrate!) and thought it was a perfect time to bring back the crack. if you are looking to woo someone with a homemade valentine's dinner this is the perfect start to the meal. or if you just happen to be cooking dinner anytime, this is the perfect start to the meal. just do yourself a favor and make this salad soon.

oh yeah, you maybe want to put the dressing on something. toss together baby spinach, strawberries, toasted walnuts and hearts of palm (though sometimes we do avocado instead) and toss with generous spoonfuls of dressing. the recipe below makes a ton of dressing and can be halved.

crack dressing
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup vegetable oil
1/2 small red onion, grated
1 1/2 tablespoons poppy seeds
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon paprika

combine vinegar, sugar, lemon juice and salt over medium heat and stir until sugar dissolves. remove from heat and let cool. whisk in oil, onion, poppy seeds, dry mustard and paprika.


Saturday, February 6, 2010

bbq black bean burgers

i've had the idea for these burgers kicking around in my head for quite some time now and a few days ago i decided it was finally time to get it out of my head and onto a plate. the wonderful thing about making your own beany burgers is you can really take the flavor in any direction by switching out different beans or spices or liquids. i decided to go with a smokey bbq burger. i tend to enjoy bean burgers and veggie burgers that incorporate a grain as well so for a little more nutrition and a little more oomph i mixed in some quinoa. i got seven hefty burgers out of this recipe but i think if you plan in the beginning you could get eight good sized patties.

now since you've made your own burgers why not take an extra minute to whip up some buns and really make your dinner fabulous? i used this recipe from one frugal foodie and found them to be super quick and simple to make and got wonderful results (i replaced the egg with a cornstarch egg and cut the sugar down to two tablespoons).

we had these for dinner twice and froze the remaining burgers and buns. we haven't tried reheating them yet but i love knowing that these guys are only minutes away next time a burger craving strikes.

bbq black bean burgers
1 15 ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
3/4 cup cooked quinoa
1/2 cup onion, very finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, pressed
2 tablespoons bbq sauce
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon liquid smoke
2 teaspoons cumin
1/8 teaspoon cayenne (or to taste)
1 teaspoon chili powder
3/4 cup bread crumbs
salt and pepper to taste

mash the beans in a medium sized bowl until no whole ones are left. add the rest of the ingredients and mix together really well, i recommend using your hands. form the mixture into patties and cook in a lightly oiled pan for 2-3 minutes per side until lightly browned. serve on a fresh bun loaded with toppings!


Friday, February 5, 2010

farro salad with butternut squash,cranberries and spinach

Last week, I bought a bag of farro to make this recipe – which I love. Having extra farro on hand, I started to think of other salad ideas, since it makes for a tasty, healthy lunch. I had spinach left over from something else, and decided to add in roasted butternut squash, some dried cranberries, and a nice balsamic dressing with a hint of thyme. I considered adding feta or a crumbled blue cheese, but decided that the salad really did not need it, as there was already a lot of great flavor – the sweetness of the roasted squash paired with the tang of the cranberries was especially nice. I have provided rough measurements below, but you can really adjust this to your personal taste! The best part – everything comes together in less than half an hour, and makes enough for a couple of lunches.

Farro with Butternut Squash, Spinach, and Cranberries

1 butternut squash, peeled and sliced into ¼ inch slices

Roast at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. Remove, let cool, and roughly chop about half the squash. Reserve the rest for another use (like butternut squash risotto).

Cook ¾ cup of farro in 1 ½ cups water for about 25 minutes, until farro is cooked and the water has been absorbed.

Whisk together about 3 tablespoons olive oil and 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar, seasoning with salt, pepper, and fresh thyme leaves. Add in 1/8 cup dried cranberries. Let cranberries soak for 5-10 minutes.

Add in cooked farro, roasted squash, fresh spinach – a handful or two – and mix to combine. Serve immediately, or refrigerate.


- e

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

teriyaki mushroom lettuce wraps

these were probably the messiest lettuce wraps we've ever made, but they were so delicious! i found a teriyaki recipe online to use as a guide and tweak to my liking. i didn't write down what i did but i think the recipe below comes pretty close. after cooking it i thought it was a little salty so i added another splash of juice and a splash of water, so taste and adjust to your liking...the recipe should get you pretty close to thick, sticky teriyaki yumminess. for our filling i sauteed:

2 mildly hot red chili peppers
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1.5 pounds mushrooms (mix of white button and shiitake)
1 zucchini

then added the sauce to the pan and cooked a minute more. i think this sauce would also make a great marinade.

teriyaki sauce
1/2 cup soy sauce
2 teaspoons dark sesame oil
1/2 cup orange juice
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons ginger, peeled and minced
2 teaspoons garlic, minced
2 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted
2 tablespoons cornstarch

combine all ingredients except cornstarch in a bowl and whisk together. transfer to a small pot over medium heat. add the cornstarch and stir constantly until desired thickness is reached. if you thicken too much, just add a splash of water.


Tuesday, February 2, 2010

garlic miso soba bowl

i was just looking through old posts while getting ready to write about last night's soba bowl and it is clear that i like soba. a lot. these delicious bowls of noodley goodness get way more attention than my equally beloved quinoa bowl creations, hmm.

after being in vacation diet mode in boston last weekend i was eager to get back into the kitchen on monday and get back into my dinner planning/cooking groove. we have a lot of miso in the fridge so i decided to make a sauce out of it and toss with some soba noodles that i saw peeking out from behind the bag of flour. from there i just went to the store and picked up what looked tasty.

garlic miso soba
for sauce:
2 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 tablespoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons water
1/2 tablespoon mirin
6 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tablespoon red miso
2 1/2 teaspoons vegetarian oyster sauce
1/2 teaspoon sugar

2 bunches baby bok choy, stalks and leaves thinly sliced
1 bunch enoki mushrooms, chopped into 2 inch(ish) pieces
1 small red pepper, thinly sliced
6 ounces extra firm tofu, cut into slabs
2 tablespoons sherry (or mirin or sake)
1 tablespoons soy sauce
handful toasted slivered almonds

soba noodles, cooked according to package instructions.

saute garlic in 1/2 tablespoon vegetable oil until fragrant and lightly browned. transfer to a small bowl and whisk together with the rest of the sauce ingredients. set aside.

after cooking the garlic, use the same pan to pan fry your tofu slabs a few minutes on each side until lightly browned and springy. remove from heat and once cool cut into small cubes. set aside.

add a little oil to a pan and saute the bok choy and enoki for a few minutes until they begin to soften. mix together the soy sauce and sherry and add to the pan. cook a few more minutes and remove from heat.

toss the cooked soba with the garlic miso sauce. divide into bowls and top with bok choy mixture, tofu, raw pepper and toasted almonds.