Friday, April 29, 2011

Asian Tofu with Asparagus and Edamame

Tofu is often looked upon as a bland and tasteless food, but if using the right ingredients and cooking properly, tofu becomes a delicious and healthy meal.

This recipe uses a flavorful Asian sauce to coat the crispy pieces of tofu, and tastes wonderful atop brown rice with some asparagus and edamame.

Easter Cupcakes

Cupcakes are quite the craze lately, so I wanted to make them for Easter, with my own special twist.

I had made this particular chocolate cupcakes before, for a party, but this time I made my own buttercream frosting, dyed it yellow for Easter, topped it with sprinkles, and then made bunny molds out of milk chocolate.

They were a lot of fun- everyone enjoyed them!
Chocolate Sour Cream Cupcakes

(recipe from Elinor Klivans)

3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped

1 c. unbleached all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. salt

1/2 c. unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 1/4 c. sugar

2 large eggs

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1/2 c. sour cream

1/2 c. water

Put chocolate in a heatproof bowl or the top of a double boiler placed over, but not touching, barely simmering water. Stir until the chocolate is melted and smooth. Remove from the water and set aside to cool slightly.

Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a medium bowl and set aside.

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the butter and sugar until smoothly blended and creamy, about 2 minutes. Stop the mixer and scrape the sides of the bowl as needed during mixing. On low speed, mix in the melted chocolate. On medium speed, add the eggs one at a time, mixing until each is blended into the batter. Add the vanilla and beat until the mixture looks creamy and the color has lightened slightly, about 1 minute. Mix in the sour cream until no white streaks remain. On low speed, add half of hte flour mixture, mixing just to incorporate it. Mix in the water. Mix in the remaining flour mixture until it is incorporated and the batter looks smooth.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Fill muffin cups with cupcake liners with about 1/3 c. batter. Bake about 15 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes on wire rack and turn out to cool completely. Yields 18 cupcakes.

Butter Cream Frosting

1/2 cup vegetable shortening

1 stick butter

1 vanilla extract

4 cups confectioners sugar

2 tablespoons milk

-Cream shortening and butter with a hand mixer or stand mixer. Add the vanilla, and then a cup of sugar at a time. Add the milk and beat until light and fluffy.

-For the bunny molds, melt any type of chocolate you like and carefully pour into the molds. Let sit until hard, then pop out and place on top of the cupcakes.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Chicken Cacciatore

I am a big fan of Ellie Krieger. I love to watch her show on the Food Network, and have recently been using her cookbook, The Food You Crave. I have made four recipes from it now, and every one has been delicious and healthy. Her chicken chop suey and balsamic chicken with spinach and tomatoes can be found on my blog. I still have a couple recipes from this cookbook I'm eager to try, but first I wanted to make this classic chicken dish.

A fair warning: while easy to make, this recipe takes time. It involves a lot of chopping, and cook time. Also be sure to buy a good white wine, as you will taste it in the final product. This is the kind of dish that fills your house with delicious scents and is well worth the wait. You can serve it as is, over rice, or over pasta. I chose to serve it over some whole grain rotini.

This makes a large amount, and Krieger notes that a serving is one piece of chicken along with the broth and vegetables. So this is definitely a two dinner meal- great for during a busy week!

You can find the recipe here.

Pasta with Leeks, Sage, and White Beans

Martha Stewart recipes almost never fail- this one was excellent. The flavors of the sage, leeks and chicken broth pair together nicely with the white beans, and create a sauce that coats the pasta. I omitted the heavy cream to make it healthier, and didn't miss it at all.

This is a great dish for a rainy spring night.


2 T olive oil
1 pound leeks (1 bunch), sliced
coarse salt and pepper
2 cans (15 1/2 oz.) cannellini beans
2 cans (14 1/2 oz.) chicken broth
1/2 t. sage
12 oz. fettuccine
2 T lemon juice
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup Parmesan

1.) Heat a tablespoon of oil in a skillet. Add the leeks, 3/4 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper. Cook until the leeks are softened, about 10 minutes.
2.) Add the beans, chicken broth and sage; with a potato masher (or fork), mash 1/3 of the beans.
3.) Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cook until the sauce thickens, but is still soupy, about 10 minutes.
4.) Cook the pasta, drain, and toss with a tablespoon of olive oil.
5.) Add lemon juice to the sauce, and stir in the parmesan. Add your pasta, and toss to combine.
6.) Serve with parsley.

*6 servings

Vegetarian Chili with Cornbread Topping

I'm always looking for new and interesting chili recipes, and this one sounded different as it had the cornbread baked right on top, instead of serving it alongside the chili.

This is a Nigella Lawson recipe, the first recipe of hers I have tried. Overall, the chili was very good- though very spicy, which is when the cornbread came in handy for toning down the heat. The only thing I didn't like about this dish was that she had you put cinnamon in the cornbread. This made it far too sweet for my liking, so I would omit this next time. Otherwise, this was a tasty and satisfying meal.

Find the recipe here.