Monday, October 31, 2011

Oatmeal Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Halloween.  Is today.  My dog is sleeping next to me and still wearing his pumpkin shirt.  He was supposed to be an alien, but I don't know if that ever happened.  

Fall has been weird this year.  I have been waiting on the edge of my seat for the colors to change.  Then, it happened.  And I am pretty sure I missed it.  Here is the only (semi decent) pic we have of the fall colors.

And then this happened (slightly different angle, but same spot more or less).

And before any of that happened, I was filling every second of my free time with Broadway shows.  I am not complaining, but weird October.  

I wouldn't say I did pumpkin justice this October (and I know I still have November), but I did make these cookies.  Ever since the pumpkin shortage several years ago, I am incapable of buying only one can of pumpkin puree.  So, I had all these ingredients on hand when I scheming up this mixture of oatmeal and pumpkin.  Yes, I am obsessed with oatmeal everything.  

I am also obsessed with pumpkin and chocolate together.  We have a local ice cream place that sells delicious pumpkin ice cream and I get it combined with the chocolate ice cream.  Not mixed.  Just side by side.  

Anyways, make sure you use extra fancy cinnamon.  Vietnamese cinnamon, that is.  These really won't turn out without it.  

Oatmeal Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
adapted from Simply Recipes

1 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cups whole wheat flour
1 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/3 cups quick or old-fashioned oats
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup semi-sweet chips

Preheat the oven to 350° F.

Beat the butter and sugars together until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.

Add the egg, vanilla, and pumpkin puree and beat for another 3 minutes.

In a separate bowl combine the flours, oats, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon and whisk together. Slowly add it to the butter mixture until just combined, being sure to scrape down the sides and bottom once or twice to ensure even mixing.

Fold in the pecans and chocolate chips. Drop spoonfuls of dough on cookie sheets lined with parchment paper. Bake for 13-15 minutes. Allow to cool on the tray for a minute or two to set, then move to a wire rack to finish cooling.

(Servings: 48 cookies, Prep time: 30 min., Bake time: 1 hr, Difficulty: Easy)

foodforscot Ratings:

Shanon (taste):  7/10
Scot (taste):  8/10
Effort:  2/5
Dishwashing Effort:  3/5

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Black Bean and Sweet Potato Tacos

If there is a taco recipe out there, I will probably try it.  If the taco looks like Halloween, I will probably try it in October.  

I will also put goat cheese on it.  Seriously, everything time I am involved, I add goat cheese.  When my sister ate these, she said "the goat cheese really makes it."  I sighed.  Doesn't it always?  

Halloween is coming up so I am supposed to making/posting ghost cupcakes and spider cookies.  But guess what?  That isn't my thing.  My kids will eat these tacos and I will pass out tooth paste on Halloween.  Or pennies.  No, jk.  I like candy.  My favorite is candy corn.  Only the yellow, orange and white ones.  No others.  And definitely not the dirty pumpkins.  

This reminds me of my friend (R^2/R) who LOVES the pumpkins.  He knows their official name, which is "mellow creme pumpkins".  True fan right there.  I should probably buy some halloween candy.  I oscillate between adult and teenager on an annual basis.  Next year I will totally have the candy bought at least two weeks in advance.  

Or at least a week.  

Black Bean and Sweet Potato Tacos

For the Potatoes:
2 sweet potatoes (really orange-fleshed yams), peeled and cut into small cubes
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and red chili flakes to taste
juice of 1 lime

For the Cabbage Slaw:
2 heaping cups shredded cabbage (I used a combination of purple and green
1/4 cup finely diced yellow onions
2 heaping tablespoons chopped cilantro
juice of 2 limes
salt and red chili flakes to taste

For the Beans:
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/4 cup finely diced yellow onion
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
juice of 1 lime
small corn tortillas

Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place peeled and diced sweet potatoes on a cookie sheet. Top with olive oil, salt and chili flakes, and lime juice. Toss together until all of the potato chunks are coated. Place in the oven to bake until softened through and toasted brown. This usually takes about 40 minutes. Remove the cookie sheet once or twice during baking to toss the potato chunks around. This will ensure that the cubes cook evenly. Remove from the oven and let stand when cooked through.

While the potatoes cook, assemble the Cabbage Slaw. In a medium bowl, place cabbage, yellow, and chopped cilantro. Add lime juice, salt and chili flakes. Toss to coat and set aside while the potatoes cook and beans heat. Letting the cabbage slaw sit will help soften the cabbage.

To cook the beans, heat olive oil in a medium saucepan. Add onions and cook until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add ground cumin and stir until fragrant.  Add beans and lime juice. Cook until heated through.

Heat corn tortillas in a hot saucepan with just a touch of oil. Heat through and serve with potatoes, beans, and slaw.

(Servings: 4-6, Prep time: 10 min., Cook time: 40 min., Difficulty: Easy)

foodforscot Ratings:

Shanon (taste):  7/10
Scot (taste):  8/10
Effort:  2/5
Dishwashing Effort:  2/5

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Halibut in Artichoke and Tomato Broth

We really enjoyed this simple dinner.  The artichokes in the broth give it this super acidic boom chicka bow wow.  

And I love a broth.  I am sleepy.  Bye!  Try this!

Halibut in Artichoke and Tomato Broth
recipe courtesy Giada De Laurentiis via Food Network

1 tablespoon olive oil, plus 3 tablespoons
4 (6-ounce) halibut fillets
1/4 teaspoon salt, plus more for seasoning fish
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning fish
2 shallots, sliced into thin rounds
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound frozen artichokes, thawed
1/2 cup white wine
1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves

Drizzle 1 tablespoon of olive oil over the halibut and season with salt and pepper.  Heat a grill pan over high heat. Cook the fish on the grill pan until just cooked through, about 4 minutes per side, depending on thickness.

In a medium saucepan, heat the 3 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the shallots and cook for 1 minute. Add the garlic and artichokes and cook until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add the white wine and stir, scraping the brown bits off the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Add the chicken broth, tomatoes and juice, thyme, and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer.

Ladle the artichoke and tomato broth into shallow bowls. Top with the grilled halibut. Serve immediately.

(Servings: 4, Prep time: 10 min., Cook time: 40 min., Difficulty: Easy)

foodforscot Ratings:  

Shanon (taste):  8/10
Scot (taste):  8/10
Effort:  2/5
Dishwashing Effort:  2/5

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Peppers Stuffed with Quinoa, Corn, and Feta Cheese

I added bacon to this and I am sorry.  This is a perfectly delicious vegetarian meal.  And I fully support that.  But I had some bacon in my fridge.  Bacon that I definitely should have put in my freezer so that I didn't convince myself to put it in every dish that it would work in.  But it so works in this dish.  

JSYK.  You can add it and it might be extra delicious.  

I seriously feel bad about the bacon.

I stuffed a variety of peppers including red bell, poblano and maybe anaheim(?).  Woah, look at me mixing things up.  I even stuffed a tomato.  

Every time I stuff things, I have way more stuffing than I have things to stuff.  But also, the stuffing is so delicious to just eat on its own.  I mean, you could even skip the pepper and just make the quinoa as a dish on its own.  

Wow.  Good flow in this blog post.  Sorry if this gave you a migraine.  

Peppers Stuffed with Quinoa, Corn, and Feta Cheese

sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1 cup quinoa (or in my case 3/4 cup quinoa and 1/4 cup bulgur)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 bunch of scallions, including 2 inches of the greens, thinly sliced
2 jalapeno chiles, finely diced
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 tsp ground cumin
4 ears worth of corn kernels (about 2 cups)
1 bunch spinach, leaves only
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1/4 lb feta cheese, cut into small cubes
2 large red onions, thinly sliced into rounds
1/2 cup veggie broth or white wine
4 peppers

Bring 2 cups of water to a boil. Add 1/2 tsp salt, then the quinoa. Give it a stir, then cover and simmer over low heat until the grains are tender and reveal their spiraled germ, about 15 minutes.

Warm half the oil in a wide skillet. Add the scallions and chiles. Cook over medium heat for about 2 minutes, then add the garlic, cumin, corn, and spinach, along with 2 tbsp water. When the spinach is wilted, add the cilantro, quinoa, and feta and remove from heat. Toss everything together. Taste for salt and season with pepper.

Heat a tbsp of oil in a wide skillet. When hot, add the onions and saute, stirring frequently, until they start to color around the edges, after several minutes. Pour in the broth or wine and deglaze the pan, giving the onions a stir as you do. Season with salt and pepper and distribute in a baking dish large enough to hold the peppers.

Slice the peppers in half lengthwise. Cut out the membranes and seeds. Simmer in salted water until tender to the touch of a knife but not overly soft, 4-5 minutes. Remove. Fill them with quinoa mix and set them in the baking dish. Preheat oven to 400. Bake the peppers until heated through, 20 to 30 minutes, then switch the heat to broil and brown the tops. Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature.

(Servings: 4-6, Prep time: 1 hr., Cook time: 30 min., Difficulty: Easy)

foodforscot Ratings:

Shanon (taste):  8/10
Scot (taste):  8/10
Effort:  3/5
Dishwashing Effort:  3/5

Monday, October 10, 2011

Pumpkin Soup with Chili Cran-Apple Relish

I think we all know that eating fall squash is a requirement in October and November.  And it is a wonderful thing.  I have made this particular recipe several times over the past several falls and what I love about it is, first, it is so easy.  Second, I love the relish.  I have a weakness for soup toppings.  It has gotten to the point where every time I make a soup, I search long and hard for a garnish or topping.

The relish is everything the soup is not.  It is spicy and tangy and sweet.  The soup is creamy and has a subtle sweetness, but is mostly savory.  It has a deep flavor because of the chicken stock and fresh thyme (I always use fresh thyme in place of the poultry seasoning/ground thyme).    The other thing I change is I don't usually use the two cups of heavy cream.  I probably put less than a cup of half and half.  But, I never do the same thing and it is delicious every time.  Even though I love fat, I don't love really thick and creamy soups.  I am more of a broth girl.  

To pull an Ina on you, this soup is even more delicious when you use homemade stock and freshly roasted pumpkin.  Duh.  But it does make quite a difference.  However, don't be ashamed to pull out a few cans and make this for a quick week night dinner.  I have been out of homemade stock for a long time and it doesn't stop me.  Speaking of which, I need to stock up on that for Thanksgiving.  

Pumpkin Soup with Chili Cran-Apple Relish
recipe courtesy Rachael Ray via Food Network

For the soup:
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, 1 turn of the pan
2 tablespoons butter
1 fresh bay leaf
2 ribs celery with greens, finely chopped (save time and purchase celery already
washed, trimmed and cut into sticks, this makes chopping fast work)
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
Salt and pepper
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons poultry seasoning or 2 teaspoons ground thyme
2 teaspoons hot sauce, or to taste
6 cups chicken stock
1 (28-ounce) can cooked pumpkin puree
2 cups heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

For the relish:
1 crisp apple, such as McIntosh or Granny Smith, finely chopped
1/4 red onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 cup dried sweetened cranberries, chopped
1 teaspoon chili powder
2 teaspoons honey
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Heat a medium soup pot over medium to medium high heat. Add the oil and melt the butter. Add bay, celery, and onion. Season the veggies with salt and pepper.  Cook 6 or 7 minutes, until tender. Add flour, poultry seasoning and hot sauce, to taste, then cook flour a minute. Whisk in chicken stock and bring liquid to a bubble. Whisk in pumpkin in large spoonfuls to incorporate it into the broth.  Simmer soup 10 minutes to thicken a bit then add in cream and nutmeg. Reduce heat to low and keep warm until ready to serve.

While soup cooks, assemble the relish: combine apple, onion, lemon juice, cranberries, chili powder, honey and cinnamon.

Adjust seasonings in soup and relish and serve soup in shallow bowls with a few spoonfuls of relish.

(Servings: 4-8, Prep time: 20 min., Cook time: 30 min., Difficulty: Easy)

foodforscot Ratings:

Shanon (taste):  7/10
Scot (taste):  9/10
Effort:  2/5
Dishwashing Effort:  2/5

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Wilted Bitter Greens with Crispy Walnut Goat Cheese

Breaded goat cheese?  Please.  You know I made this within 24 hours of recipe access.

You know I ate two disks of goat cheese with enough bitter greens necessary to eat two disks of goat cheese.  I don't recommend that.  It is hard to digest two disks of goat cheese. 

But one serving of this is like...super wicked good.  What I love the most about this recipe is that I have more goat cheese patties frozen in my freezer.  And I can just whip those babies up anytime I want.  At any given time, you can guarantee that my freezer will be pretty empty.  We usually have frozen fruit and sometimes a pint of ice cream.  I am not that good about freezing stuff (but even worse about eating the stuff I have frozen).  I can't wait to eat the rest of these!

PS:  I just followed the recipe as is after completely freezing them for several days before using them.  They turned out great!

Wilted Bitter Greens with Crispy Walnut Goat Cheese
by Anne Burrell via Food Network

For Goat Cheese:
3/4 cup walnuts
4 slices Pullman loaf bread, or other tight crumb white bread, crusts removed
1/2 bunch fresh chives, finely chopped
1/2 bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
1 (11-ounce) log goat cheese, cut into 6 equal pieces
Kosher salt
2 eggs, beaten with 1 tablespoon water

For Salad:
Extra-virgin olive oil
1 shallot, minced
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 to 3 tablespoons sherry vinegar
1 head radicchio, cut into bite-size pieces
2 cups baby arugula, washed
2 heads Belgian endive, cut into 1/2-inch lengths crosswise

For the goat cheese: In a food processor, pulse the walnuts until they are coarsely chopped. Tear the bread into pieces and pulse in the food processor with the chopped walnuts until they become coarse breadcrumbs. Transfer the breadcrumb mixture to a wide, flat dish. Stir in the chopped chives and parsley. Flatten each piece of goat cheese into a disk and season with salt. Dip each disk in the beaten egg mixture and then coat with the breadcrumbs, packing the crumbs onto each disk. When all the goat cheese has been coated, chill them in the fridge for at least 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F.

To help facilitate the frying process, pop the disks in the freezer for 15 minutes before frying.

Coat a large, nonstick saute pan generously with olive oil and bring to a mediumhigh heat. Carefully fry the goat cheese disks in the hot oil on both sides until they are golden brown and crispy, about 2 minutes per side.

When all of the disks have been fried, keep them warm in the oven.

Remove the oil and any burned bits from the pan and give a splash of new oil. Reduce the heat to low, add the shallots to the pan, and let them cook as the pan cools slightly. Add the Dijon and sherry vinegar to the pan and whisk to combine. Add the radicchio, arugula, and endive and season with salt. Toss to fully incorporate with the vinaigrette and to allow the salad to slightly wilt. Taste to make sure it is delicious.

Divide the wilted salad between serving plates and top each salad with a goat cheese disk.

(Servings: 6, Prep time: 25 min., Inactive Prep time: 1 hr 15 min., Cook time: 25 min., Difficulty: Easy)

foodforscot Ratings:

Shanon (taste):  9/10
Scot (taste):  7/10
Effort:  3/5
Dishwashing Effort:  3/5

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Charred Corn Tacos with Zucchini-Radish Slaw

Big things are happening in sports.  What I mean by that is, isn't something big always happening in sports?  World Series here.  World cup there.  Match point.  Touch down.

I can honestly hardly keep track of it all.  But football decided to throw up all over the place.  I barely knew who was part of the Big Ten LAST year (/the last million years).  Big 12?  What?  And now they changed it all and ...shoot.  I am lost.  

I do know that my CO Buffs do not play my hometown Huskers anymore.  This would have come in handy over the past five years of driving through Western Nebraska with my Buffs sweatshirt on.  

Are these tacos a good "game snack"?  Not really.  But they have corn in them.  Corn huskers!  Football!  Sports!

Ok, let's focus.  I really like these tacos.  And everyone needs a good vegetarian taco up their sleeve.  I was drawn to this recipe because it doesn't do the typical replacement of meat with beans.  Which I love.  But it is nice to have something else.  And let's be honest, we need to find more things to do with radishes.  Very few people are like my dad and eat them straight up as part of a relish tray.  I like radishes finely chopped or thinly sliced.  My radishes were some weird variety that is yellow on the inside, in case you are trying to finding them in the photos.  

Lastly, the sour cream is really nice with these tacos.  Not that the addition of sour cream ever hurt a taco, but in this case, I think it really rounds it out nicely.  But I also had these tacos without sour cream and I wasn't complaining.  I made these for my ultimate team this past summer the night before one our tournaments.  We made these and fish tacos and I was digging these more than the fish tacos, surprisingly.  Super satisfying.  

Charred Corn Tacos with Zucchini-Radish Slaw
adapted from smitten kitchen

1/2 pound red radishes
small (4 to 5 ounces) zucchini, long and narrow
2 limes
4 ears corn, husks removed
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon light oil, plus additional if blistering tacos in skillet
1 medium white onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons chopped cilantro
salt and pepper
1/2 cup (2 1/2 ounces or 70 grams) crumbled queso fresco
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
10 to 12 small (6-inch) soft corn tortillas
sour cream

Cut radishes and zucchini into tiny match stacks. Toss radishes and zucchini together. Squeeze the juice of half a lime over the radish, and season with salt to taste. Add more lime juice and some chopped cilantro, if desired. Set aside. Over a hot grill or an open gas-stove flame char the corn until well-blackened but not completely burnt. Remove cobs from heat, and when cool enough to handle, shave off kernels using a large knife and reserve.

Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat. Melt the butter and oil together and once hot, add the onion. Cook the onion for about 5 minutes, until softened. Add the garlic and cook another minute. Turn heat to high, add the charred kernels of corn to the mixture, and toss to combine until heated through. Squeeze the juice of one lime over the corn mixture, and use the juice to scrape up any stuck bits. Season the corn mixture with salt and chili powder. Stir in chopped herbs, if using.

Heat your tortillas by places over an open gas flame. Or coat the bottom of a castiron skillet with olive oil and wipe it out so on the thinnest slick remains. Heat the skillet on high. Once hot, cook a tortilla for about 30 seconds to 1 minute on each side, until lightly blistered. Repeat with remaining tortillas but if your skillet is well-seasoned, no need to repeat the oiling process.

Fill each taco with a few small spoonfuls of the corn mixture. Top with a spoonful of crumbled cheese, the radish-zucchini slaw and a dollop of sour cream. Serve with an extra lime wedge on the side (you’ll have half a lime left to slice up).

(Servings: 4, Prep Time: 40 min., Cook time: 15 min., Difficulty: Easy)

foodforscot Ratings:  

Shanon (taste):  7/10
Scot (taste):  8/10
Effort:  2/5
Dishwashing Effort:  2/5