Thursday, January 28, 2010

I like M&Ms in my cookies

Especially in my oatmeal cookies.

They make me feel happy.

True story: one time, when my friend Jenny and I were like, 8, we made oatmeal cookies and I somehow managed to mix up sugar and salt. And then we gave them to my uncle. And he ate them.

The end.

PS: I noticed there are a lot of blue M&Ms too.

Chewy Oatmeal Cookies

adapted from
makes about 3 dozen cookies

• 1 cup all-purpose flour
• 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
• 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 2 cups rolled (old-fashioned) oats
• 1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans
• 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
• 1/2 cup lightly packed light brown sugar
• 1/2 cup granulated sugar
• 1 large egg
• 1/4 cup maple syrup
• 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 1 cup M&Ms

Set 2 racks in the middle and upper thirds of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F.

In a medium bowl, stir the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, oats, and pecans together with a whisk or fork.

In a large bowl, beat the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar together for 30 seconds until blended. Beat in the egg until smooth and barely fluffy. With mixer running on medium high, drizzle in the maple syrup, and vanilla until incorporated. Turn the mixer down to its lowest setting and gradually add the flour-oatmeal mixture. Blend just to combine, then mix in the M&Ms.

Drop walnut-sized balls of dough onto a nonstick or parchment-lined cookie sheet at 3-inch intervals. With moistened fingers, flatten and round out the cookies a little. Bake for 9 minutes, turning the pan once for even baking. The cookies are done when they are lightly browned on top. (They will still look slightly gooey.) Set the cookie sheets on a rack to cool.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Black Bean Cheeseburgers with Chipotle Mayo

We do like meat in this house. Wait, what? You couldn’t tell by that last meal? (Pig wrapped in pig?)

Still, we try to eat at least one vegetarian meal for dinner each week. It’s healthier (do you think Beyonce eats pig wrapped in pig everyday while on tour?) and cheaper (yes, especially since we try to do the organic, free-range thing), and the challenge is kind of fun. And it is a challenge for us—well for me especially since I do most of the cooking—to find meals that we both will like. Key word, BOTH.

Adam usually says he’s still hungry when there is no meat on his plate. If I say I’m making something like vegetable soup for dinner he looks at me like he’s waiting for me to finish. Vegetable soup…. and... steak?

So when I told him I was making vegetarian burgers for dinner I could tell he wanted to protest. At home he had just begun to get used to the idea of turkey burgers. This was drastic.

Just trust me, I told him. And he did…. And I DELIVERED.


Black bean cheeseburgers with chipotle mayo on a whole wheat bun with a side of oven fries. They were DELICIOUS.

Our vegetarian meals usually consist of pasta or chili but I’m glad we branched out for once and tried these burgers.

Tell me friends, what are your favorite meatless dinners?

Black Bean Cheeseburgers with Chipotle Mayo
serves 4-6

• 1 shallot, minced
• 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
• 2 (15-ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
• 1 teaspoon minced chipotle en adobo
• 1 egg
• 1/2 cup bread crumbs
• Salt and fresh ground black pepper
• 4 large hamburger rolls, or 6 regular
• 4 slices mozzarella cheese
• Lettuce, tomato, avocado for topping (optional)
• Chipotle Mayo (recipe follows)

Using a potato masher, mash all ingredients together until well combined. Divide into four or six patties. Note: if you make 4 patties, they'll be extra big. Hungrymonster style. Just so you know what you're getting yourself into.

Place on a hot oiled grill for about 6 minutes each side until heated through. Alternatively, heat 1 tablespoon oil in a fry pan and fry 6 minutes per side. Place cheese slices on patties mid-way through cooking process.

Place each patty in a bun and top with chipotle mayo.

Chipotle Mayo

• ½ cup mayonnaise
• juice of ½ a lemon
• 2 teaspoons minced chipotle peppers en adobo
• Salt and pepper

Mix all ingredients thoroughly. Place in refrigerator until ready to use.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Whenever Adam cooks

it involves a) meat, b) potatoes, c) French cuisine, and d) Jay-Z on repeat. And let me just say the product is always something amazing. No need to remind me how lucky I am to have a husband who cooks. I totally know.

Take my dad, for example. His idea of a good meal involves a salad (including dressing) and a main (spaghetti and meatballs?), usually leftovers, all wrapped together in a giant flour tortilla because, hey it’s all going to the same place, right? Yeah. That’s how my dad rolls. My mom always did the cooking.

So anyway, yesterday Adam made Mingnons de Porc a l’ail, which means something like, pork medallions with garlic. The meal consisted of pork tenderloin rubbed in roasted garlic and wrapped in bacon served with a chunky caramelized shallot sauce and roast potatoes and asparagus on the side. CHA-CHING.

And since I knew he was going to make dinner, I thought to myself what I nice wife I'd be if I made him some Schaum Tortes for dessert. In case you don't know what those are, Schaum Tortes (Austrian shaumtorten) are meringue shells filled with cream (or ice cream in our case) and topped with berries. Yum.

Feel free to drop in for dinner anytime you want.

Mingnons de Porc a l’ail
Adapted from Anothy Bourdain’s Les Halles Cookbook
Serves 2

• 1 heads of garlic confit, or roasted garlic (recipe follows)
• 1 pork tenderloin (12ounces)
• 3-4 slices of bacon
• 1 tbs olive oil, plus more for garlic confit
• 1 sprig of thyme, or a teaspoon dried
• 2 tbs butter
• Salt and pepper
• 2 shallots, thinly sliced
• ¼ cup white wine
• ½ cup dark chicken or veal stock

Preheat oven to 350°F/180°C.

Make the garlic confit:
Break the head of garlic into unpeeled cloves. Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper and thyme. Wrap in aluminum foil and roast in the oven for 30 minutes. Allow garlic to cool slightly before popping the cloves out of their skin.

Use a fork to mash half the garlic cloves, reserving the rest. Rub the tenderloin with the garlic and wrap the bacon around it in rings. Tie with kitchen string.

Keep oven on.

In a sauté pan, heat the olive oil over high heat, add 1 tablespoon of the butter. When the butter stops foaming, season the pork, then add it to the pan. Cook the pork over high heat for about 6 to 8 minutes per side, after which the meat should be nicely browned. Place the meat in the roasting pan and cook finish cooking in the oven for about 20 minutes, or until meat reaches 160° F. Remove from oven and allow to rest on a plate.

Discard the fat from the pan and add the other 1 tablespoon of butter. Heat over medium-high heat, and then add the shallots. Cook for 2 minutes, or until the shallots are dark and caramelized. Stir in the wine with a wooden spoon, scraping up all the browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Cook over high heat until the wine is reduced to a glaze consistency, then stir in stock. Allow stock to simmer and reduce to more than half. Whisk in the remaining garlic confit and an extra splash of white wine.

Slice the pork into 1 ½ inch medallions. Spoon sauce over meat.

Schaum Tortes with Stewed Berries
Adapted from Betty Crocker
Makes 4
Feel free to add strawberries to the fruit sauce.

• 3 egg whites
• ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
• ¾ cup sugar
• 3 cups fresh or frozen raspberries
• 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
• ¼ cup sugar
• ¼ cup water
• ice cream
• Whipped cream (optional)

Heat oven to 275°F. Line cookie sheet with cooking parchment paper or heavy brown paper. In medium bowl, beat egg whites and cream of tartar with electric mixer on high speed until foamy.

Beat in 3/4 cup sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time; continue beating until stiff peaks form and mixture is glossy. Do not underbeat. On cookie sheet, shape meringue into 9-inch round with back of spoon, building up side.

Bake 1 hour 30 minutes. Turn off oven; leave meringue in oven with door closed 1 hour. Finish cooling at room temperature, about 2 hours.

Combine the berries, water and sugar in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Lower heat to medium-low and simmer until berries have given off some of their juices and the sauce is syrupy, about 10 minutes.

Assemble Schaum Tortes by filling meringue shells with a scoop of ice cream. Drizzle stewed berries and sauce over the top. Top with whipped cream, if desired.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Energy Bars

So, my husband is getting all manorexic on me. He takes the train to work then runs a mile up a hill to get to his office. He gets there and doesn’t take breaks. He skips lunch and then comes home starving. There is no time, he says.

I knew I needed to step in, so the other day I made energy bars in hopes that he wont weigh less than me by the time we move home.

And he LOVES them, which is cool, because they also happen to be filled with healthy ingredients like almonds, oatmeal and wheat germ. He takes a couple to work and they get him through a good part of the day. Better than NOTHING for lunch, I say!

These energy bars will run you close to 240 calories and have roughly 6 grams of protein each so snack wisely, friends!

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Energy Bars
Makes 14 bars
Adapted from
If you like dried fruit, try adding ½ cup dried apricots or figs to the mix. These bars hold together best when slightly chilled so store tightly wrapped in the fridge.

• Cooking spray
• 1/2 cup honey
• 1/2 cup natural creamy peanut butter
• 1 tablespoon canola oil
• 1/4 cup light brown sugar
• 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 2 cups rolled oats
• 2 cups crisp brown rice cereal
• 1/4 cup toasted wheat germ
• 1 cup toasted slivered almonds

Spray a 9 by 13-inch baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.
In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine honey, peanut butter, canola oil, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Stir and cook until mixture just begins to bubble, about 3 to 5 minutes.

Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract.

In a large bowl, combine oats, rice cereal, wheat germ, almonds and salt.

Pour peanut butter mixture over oatmeal mixture and stir gently with a spatula until well combined. Transfer to baking dish, cover with plastic wrap and press firmly into dish. Allow to cool completely (will cool faster in the refrigerator). Cut into squares or bars.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

I'm cooking again

It was a long hiatus, and for this, I apologize. Adam and I were busy touring his folks around London, and our buddies Steve and Dan around Europe. We ate a lot of pub food and we drank a lot of beer.

Eating out was starting to get a little old.... I'm glad to be back in the kitchen cooking again! I'm all prepared, too. Look what Adam gave me for Christmas:

Are you jealous a little? I'm not gonna lie. You should be. Purchase equally awesome aprons here.

Mmhm. Be jealous of that lovely frizzy hair and shiny face too. For serious. It gets humid in that kitchen.

And just one more thing to be jealous of: our awesome friends. Thank you, Henry and Bianca for sending an In-N-Out gift card (can't wait to use it when we get home!) and beef jerky. Thank you Dan for bringing us Tapatio. You guys rock. The rest of you rock too.

Is everyone going to stone me for saying I miss home a little? It's not that London isn't awesome-- it really truly is--but um, it's cold. And I didn't realize that being this far away from ingredients I regularly use would be this annoying. I also miss our baby dog. And driving. We also "spoke" with my nephews and niece on skype and it made me sad. Okay, I'm done complaining now.

At least we have Tapatio and can buy expensive tortillas from El Burro Market when we need them. The other day, I was able to make a super simple egg dish that my mom always made us growing up. In fact, I still ask her to make it whenever I see her. The only thing that makes this recipe better is the addition of some crumbled Cotija cheese (no dice in London), and some Tapatio.

This is hardly a recipe. I know you all can scramble some eggs. I'm just going to tell how mama and I do it anyway...

By the way, if you add Ranchero salsa to this dish, you've got Huevos Rancheros. Easy, easy, easy.

Cheers guys!

Mom’s Fried Eggs
Serves 2
• 3 corn tortillas
• 4 eggs
• Salt and pepper
• Vegetable oil
• Tapatio (optional)
• Crumbled Cotija cheese (optional)

Beat eggs, a dash of Tapatio, salt and pepper in a small bowl.

Coat the bottom of a large non-stick pan with vegetable oil and heat on medium-high. Tear tortillas into two-inch pieces and fry in hot oil till golden brown on both sides, making sure to flip each chip often.

Add beaten eggs and cook to desired doneness. Top with extra Tapatio and cheese, if desired.

Quick Ranchero Salsa
• 1 14-oz can of fire roasted, chopped tomatoes
• Salt and pepper, to taste
• 1 tablespoon chopped chipotles en adobo, or to taste
• 1/3 cup chopped white onion
• 1 clove garlic

Puree all ingredients in a food processor or blender until smooth. Add more or less chipotles en adobo to desired heat.
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