Monday, November 28, 2011

Cornbread Mishap

It has been a little while since I've made cornbread. I was on the hunt for awhile to find the best recipe. The hunt is still on, but I have taken probably an 8 month hiatus from attempting. Today I made a batch which called for sour cream to use up this ingredient I would never use otherwise.

The cornbread came out decent (still nothing to write home about) but when taking it out of the pan, I had a huge mishap!

I didn't want to scrape the pan, so I just kind of loosened the sides and then flipped the pan thinking it would slip right out. Not the case. Instead I was left with a pile of cornbread and half still in the pan. This made for awkward slices!

Here is the recipe, although I must say, I will still be trying others. It wasn't super moist, but it wasn't dry. It could use a little more taste though....extra salt? extra sugar?

- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup cornmeal
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1/3 cup milk
- 1/4 cup butter, melted

1. Preheat the over to 400 degrees
2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
3. In a separate bowl, mix together the egg, sour cream, milk and butter.
4. Combine the wet and dry ingredients.
5. Pour into pan and bake for 20-25 minutes or until middle is cooked all the way through.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Broccoli-Basil Mac and Cheese

Today I got to cook for my family. Cooking for one gets old. I feel I don't cook quite as many cool dishes because of this restriction.

On the menu today was Broccoli-Basil Mac and Cheese found by my sister here. It came out quite good. I followed her recipe and used Gruyere which worked, but I think next time I would try mixing it up with a different cheese.

Here's the recipe:


- 1 acorn squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into small chunks
- olive oil
- 1 bunch of basil, stems removed
- 2 slices wheat bread, stale or dried out in the oven
- 1/2 a small head of broccoli, roughly chopped
- 4 tablespoons sour cream
- 1 3/4 cups grated white cheddar cheese
- 1 3/4 cups grated gruyere cheese
- handful of cherry tomatoes
- 3 cups (whole wheat) macaroni elbows


1. Preheat your oven to 400F with a rack in the middle.
2. Put a large pot of water on to boil.
3. Peel and chop up squash. Place on a large baking sheet, drizzle with a bit of olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and bake for about 20-25 minutes, or until golden.

4. In a food processor pulse half the basil, all of the bread, the broccoli and a little olive oil. Set mixture aside in a small bowl.

5. In a separate bowl, combine the sour cream and grated cheeses.
6. Blend the cherry tomatoes and remaining basil in the food processor then add this mixture to the sour cream and cheese.

7. Cook pasta for a bit less time than the package suggests. Drain, reserving one cup of the hot pasta water for later use.
8. Return the hot pasta to the pan and add the cheese mixture and then the squash. Add pasta water to thin the sauce to the consistency of cream. It should be a little watery, since it will get soaked up when baking.

9. Transfer to a large casserole dish and top with the green breadcrumb mixture.

10. Bake for 20 -25 minutes or until the topping is crunchy.
11. Remove from the oven, and wait 10 minutes before serving.

It came out great and everyone seemed to like it very much!

Friday, November 25, 2011


There's a place....there's a place. In outer outer space.

This was a non-traditional Thanksgiving Day, but a good one none the least. I worked and wasn't with my family.......But will be seeing them tomorrow and we will have our celebration just a day late. Today, instead I got to catch some glimpses of the parade while snug inside away from the crowds and then dined on some amazing food made by chef Dan with friends. His culinary expertise shown through.

He made amazing cornbread stuffing, which blew away my sad attempt from last year. Thanksgiving 2010, my sis and I cooked, while my mom worked. It was really fun preparing the whole meal. This was prior to my blog direction, so I didn't post about it. Let's just say stuffing is maybe my favorite part of the meal and ours came out pretty blant and I was super disappointed. Dan's was AMAZING. I watched him cook like I was watching the food network. It was awesome!

Mashed were amazing as well. Turkey was super moist and flavorful and covered with a herb butter spread.

The spread!

Emily's pumpkin pie!

Oh and verdict on my new crust: tastes great! My pie was a HUGE hit!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

My pies just got a makeover!

Isn't it pretty?

My pies and quiches taste awesome. Homemade crust makes them, but although mine taste really good, they don't look that good. They also crumble quite easily. Whenever I would travel a piece of quiche to work, during the journey the side of the crust totally falls off. Beverly at work used to take out her lunch and have exquisite pieces of quiche with beautiful in tact crust.

I inquired and she shared her secret. Vodka Pie Crust.

The alcohol cooks off, so you don't have to worry about getting tipsy off your pie. Their is something magical about the alcohol which really holds things together.

Today I was making yet another apple pie in prep for Thanksgiving. I decided to try her crust out. It looks so much prettier and seems to be far less crumbly. Success! Thanks Bev!


- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon table salt
- 2 tablespoons sugar (to be omitted for quiches)
- 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch slices
- 1/2 cup cold vegetable shortening, cut into 4 pieces
- 1/4 cup cold vodka
- 1/4 cup cold water

1. Mix 1 1/2 cups flour, salt, and sugar in until combined
2. Add butter and shortening and mix until dough just starts to collect in uneven clumps and all flour is coated.
3. Mix in remaining cup of flour
4. Sprinkle vodka and water over mixture and continue mixing. Dough will be slightly tacky and stick together.

5. Divide dough into two even balls and flatten into disks. Wrap each in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 45 minutes (or up to 2 days)

6. Remove from fridge and roll out!

Here are more pics of apple pie making, not that I haven't already posted about this one!

Hope everyone loves this pie tomorrow!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Cherry Pie Lara Bars

I love Lara Bars. I even got my mom obsessed with them. I’ve been meaning to do this forever…..

Finally, I made some homemade ones. It is super easy and they taste exactly like Lara’s! I mean how could they not be easy to make? They each have only 3-5 ingredients, so you can basically use that list to develop a recipe.

Today I made Cherry Pie Bars. I can’t wait to try making other varieties.

1/2 cup Dried Cranberries
1/2 cup Seedless/Pitted whole Dates
2/3 cup Almonds (unsalted)
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon


1. Place the dates and cherries in a food processor and blend until fully combined.

2. Transfer blended dates and cherries to a bowl.
3. Place nuts into the processor and blend until chopped fairly small

4. Add the nuts and cinnamon to the bowl with the fruit paste.
5. With your fingers, mix the nuts into the paste until all is combined into a ball.

6. Move ball to clean surface. Cover with plastic wrap and use rolling pin to make flat sheet of the mixture

7. Cut into bars and wrap in plastic wrap for storing.

This recipe made me 9 bars, plus some scraps for taste testing. Enjoy!!!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Vegetarian Chili

When it starts getting cold out there is something really nice about having a bowl of chili to warm yourself up with. It is also a great thing to make to supple yourself with multiple meals for the week! And this dish I feel taste even better the next day because the flavors have had more time to seep in. I have made many variations of vegetarian bean chilis and have yet to post one, so here goes. I drew my inspiration from Martha, but changed up beans and veggies I had on hand.

- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 small onion, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- dash of salt and ground pepper
- 1 zucchini, halved and thinly
- 2 carrots, thinly sliced
- 2 stalks of celery, thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 can of black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 can of red kidney beans
- 1 can crushed tomatoes

1. In a pot, heat oil over medium-high.
2. Add in onion and garlic and cook for about 4 minutes, stirring occasionally, and adding salt and pepper to season.
3. Add in zucchini, carrots, chili powder, and cumin. Cook until veggies are tender, about 6 minutes
4. Add in beans, tomatoes, and 1 cup water.
5. Simmer for about 10 minutes.
6. Enjoy!

I usually have corn in there too, but I didn't have any in the freezer. I like eating this over rice and topping it with shredded cheese!