Saturday, August 28, 2010

Cooking on a Saturday

This is one of my favorite times of year. As teachers, we are hopeful and ready to begin "the best year yet", the weather is beautiful (windows open, yes please!), and I have a renewed sense of purpose and excitement. I just love the late summer/early fall and I think it loves me back.

In celebration of my good feelings, I made a few things this morning/afternoon to enjoy throughout the week. Make one if you are in need of good vibes, or already have them, these are yummy treats for both states of mind and body.

Really Easy Hummus
Adapted from The Best Recipe and The Moosewood Cookbook

2 cans of chickpeas (low sodium, usually organic)
2-3 cloves of minced garlic
1/2 cup tahini (usually cheapest at ethnic grocers)
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 of a bunch of cilantro
salt, to taste
pepper, to taste
lemon juice, to taste

Put all of this into a blender or food processor, mix it up until you like the consistency and taste. If it is too thick or not blending well, add a little water, start with 1/4 cup and go from there.

Note to you: This makes a lot of hummus, so if it's just you or you don't want a ton cut this in half.

Second note to you: Try out different herbs and add-ins to spice this up. I usually make this with scallions and parsley, but this time did cilantro and extra lemon. What about some jalapenos? red peppers? sun-dried tomatoes? Try the base ingredients and then go from there.

Angel Food Cake
Found in Everyday Food Magazine

1 cup cake flour (spooned and leveled)
1/4 tsp salt
12 large egg whites (room temperature)
1 tsp cream of tartar
1 1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
2. Sift flour and salt into a bowl and set aside.
3. With a mixer, preferably a stand mixer with whisk attachment, beat the egg whites on med-high for 1 minute until foamy. Add the cream of tartar and beat until soft peaks form.
4. Continue to beat while adding sugar gradually and beat until stiff peaks form. Add the vanilla and beat until combined.
5. Sift the flour and salt over the egg white mixture. While turning the bowl, fold the flour into the egg whites by slicing your rubber spatula through the center and coming up the side. Continue until all the flour is fully combined.
6. Spoon the batter into an angel food cake pan, ungreased, and smooth the top. Run a knife through the batter to pop any bubbles.
7. Bake 35-40 minutes or until golden brown.
8. Cool while inverted, after 1 hour run a knife around the pan to release the cake and unmold.
9. Eat and enjoy with some fruit and whipped cream (make your own, take my word for it).

Another note to you: This is not a particularly easy recipe, but when you make your first 'perfect' angel food cake, you will be so proud of all your hard work and skill. Be proud of your mad baking skills, girlfriend.
My cake with spiced whipped cream.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Happy Birthday, Liz!

My dear friend, Liz, is celebrating her birthday today! She and I have taken so many silly pictures together over the years and that is one of the things I love most about her. She brings light and laughter to my life and the lives of so many others as well. She is a wonderful friend and some one I will always carry in my heart no matter how close or far away we are. Loveyou LizFay.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Saturday, Egg Day

I made an egg casserole today. It was good and I don't even like eggs.

I got up early today in order to be getting ready for the school year and promptly went to the Farmer's Market. The zucchinis looked good so I got a couple. I then used some tomatoes we received from a student's family and I made a zucchini-tomato and basil egg casserole found at Simply Recipes. She's a great cook and I truly enjoy her story and food. This casserole was not too egg-y tasting, could have been the 4 egg whites and 2 whole eggs I used, and had a delicious amount of veggies. I grated two zucchinis with a potato peeler, cubed 5 tomatoes, and used 15 leaves of basil. Instead of the grated parm, I used the green canister version (you know the kind) and it was still lovely. This tasty treat was consumed by Mike, Brendan, and myself and it meets the abs diet powerfoods guidelines. That was another very happy aspect!

As a sidenote- Mike, Brendan, Bob, and Tom are all playing with our friends Elsinore at their CD release show TONIGHT at the Canopy Club. Come out and support a great local band, my husband, and our friends. Oh and if you can't be there buy their album, it's great and Mike and I are on it.

Second sidenote- Two posts in two days?! I know, I really like blogging and should/will do more. It is good for the soul to do things you like.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Snack for you & Friend for me.

Snack for you
Friend for me

I truly enjoy eating. As you can see from the roundness of my face, it is a true joy. That being said, Mr. S and I are trying (I'm trying my best, he is doing) to follow the abs diet by the editor of Men's Health, David Zinczenko. So, I am now truly banished from making and eating (just that combination) many a foods that have led to such a roundness in said face. But I love to cook and bake, what is a girl to do???

I make food for other people, take one small taste, and give it away. The small bite thing is a bummer, but making other people happy is a major plus, so it's kinda a win-win (according to my head, my stomach is another question).

I made this snack, Ultimate Snack Mix, for the secretaries at my new school. I wasn't necessarily trying to bribe them, but more butter them up, in both senses of the phrase. I found this recipe in the back of a Christmas Cookie magazine from 2007. I bought the magazine during my first year of teaching in Chicago when we were having a cookie exchange. I didn't know what to make, so I bought this in Jewel hoping to find inspiration. I went with an Ohio classic, the buckeye, but not without burning chocolate in my microwave first. Ever burnt chocolate in your microwave or anywhere for that matter? No? Well don't try it, it smells soooo bad and lingers for days. Anywho, I went through the magazine, pulled out the recipes that I liked and filed them away in the green book of magazine recipes. This one I tried subsequently after and have loved it ever since.

This tasty treat has lots of yummy carbs, golden raisins, worcestershire sauce, and garam masala! So good! Here's the recipe.

Ultimate Snack Mix: Fitness Magazine, Christmas Cookie 2007 (really?! Fitness magazine?!)

1.5 cups Rice Chex
1.5 cups Wheat Chex
1 cup pretzels, any shape
1 cup coarsely broken sesame rice crackers (instead I used Wasa crackers)
1 cup coarsely broken whole-wheat crackers
1/4 cup dry-roasted peanuts, lightly salted
3 Tbsp butter, melted
1 Tbsp worcestershire sauce
2 1/4 tsp sugar
2 1/4 tsp garam masala
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup golden raisins

1. Heat oven to 250 degrees.
2. Combine the first 6 ingredients in one bowl. Combine all the remaining ingredients except raisins in another bowl.
3. Pour the wet mixture over the cereal mixture.
4. Coat a roasting pan with spray and lay the now coated mixture on the pan in a single layer.
5. Cook for 30 minutes, stirring twice.
6. Cool on a wire rack and stir in raisins.

So now you got a snack and I get a friend. This is my friend, Emily, and her boyfriend, Scott. Emily was a TA in my classroom this year and we have become fast friends. Emily is so very smart and kind and I have loved spending this year with her. She is leaving our great town to go to grad school in St. Louis, so one day she can be an audiologist and better yet, Dr. Love. She is a lifer in my book and while it makes me sad that she is leaving, I know we have developed the kind of friendship that will last over distance, lost time, and phone calls. Best of luck and I will miss you my dear friend.