Thursday, October 27, 2011

what's cooking, thursday- chili with cornbread

2nd thursday i've managed to cook a meal. this one wasn't quite as labor intensive as last week as i have an exam tomorrow (although cooking is still a great way to procrastinate...) but still lovely delicious!
as a pescatarian i'm ashamed to admit these were probably my first vegetables for the week. but at least i made it as colorful as possible! this is actually M's plate (mine was about half the size). even though it's cold and dreary outside colorful veggies (and fruits!) are a great way to stay healthy, especially with the changing temperatures. i'm thinking baked sweet potato fries next week?
this chili is as easy as pie (speaking of pie, has anyone baked chili under cornbread mix?). i sauteed half an onion, a red pepper in olive oil with garlic. i then threw in a big can (i think a 28 oz) of peeled whole tomatoes, a McCormick 30% less sodium chili mix and presoaked kidney and black beans. then boil, simmer for 30 minutes (the kidney beans were still a little undercooked, but the black beans were fully cooked). i think i have to go back to making my own chili spice mix. even though the packet was 30% less sodium it still seemed a little on the salty side. but i did like it's level of heat.

the cornbread recipe i pretty much snagged from the bag and then did the lazy cook's measuring (pour and eyeball amounts)

1 cup cornmeal
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp salt
3 tsp baking powder
sprinkling of brown sugar (maybe 1/8 of a cup?)
1 cup milk
1 egg
about 1/4 cup olive oil

Preheat oven to 425F. Grease up a 9x9 pan (i just spread some olive oil around). Mix together cornmeal, flour, salt, baking powder and sugar. In a separate bowl mix the milk, egg and olive oil. Lightly mix the wet ingredients into the dry and scoop into the pan (spread it out flat). Bake for about 25 minutes (or until all the outside is a nice golden brown).

enjoy! and happy almost halloween (have i mentioned how much i love fall?)

Sunday, October 23, 2011

birthday baking

happy birthday to s3! here's some food porn for your pleasure...
there was cake...which in the bottom left corner looks either like a ginormous whoopie pie or a really soft oreo. do they make special oreos during the fall with pumpkin cream on the inside?
and there was hot apple cider...of course there was loads of other food, but really, the cake and apple cider was were it was at:D

the cake is picky palate's double chocolate pumpkin cake with pumpkin buttercream frosting. we used a dark chocolate cake mix and made our own buttermilk. we also didn't have any oil so put in the rest of our sour cream container we bought (8 oz total). the frosting and cake are delicious and once the cake all sits together the flavor really turns wonderful. rich and moist and the frosting is yum-o.

the hot apple cider was 8 cups of apple cider, 1/2 tblsp of cinnamon, 1 tsp nutmeg and 1/4 tsp ground cloves. also added were two large slices of orange and 3 cinnamon sticks. this was all boiled then simmered for 30 minutes. if you like it tart, this way is perfect, if not go ahead and add some sugar.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

the first meal

wha-lah! first thursday meal of the season. veggie lasagna, a-la pioneer woman and pumpkin chocolate chip cookie pie from how sweet it is.
have i told you how much i've been craving lasagna. i think that lasagna is just meant to be cooked in a huge pan to serve a huge entire italian family and when i'm usually the only one who is going to eat what i cook i can't really convince myself to make it. but here it is, finally. and i'm glad to say, leftovers are a good enough reason to make a family-size dish. i wish i had crushed the whole tomatoes in the can more because i felt like i didn't get as much sauce. i didn't use any wine but this still tasted tasty. however, in the end, sometimes it's just easier (and this economy- cheaper) to buy a tasty jar of sauce from the grocery store.
this recipe is loosely based off of jessica's gorgeous looking pie (i was going for a healthier pumpkin pie with chocolate chips than a cookie in a pie). this is very creamy and i would even take out more sugar next time.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Pie
2 large eggs
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 stick of butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
3/4 + 1/3 cup canned pumpkin
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 Tblsp ground cinnamon
3/4 tsp nutmeg
1 cup chocolate chips
1 unbaked pie shell

Preheat the oven to 325 F. In a bowl beat eggs until they are foamy then add the flour and sugars. Add the vanilla, pumpkin and spices and then blend in the butter. Gently mix in the chocolate chips (I forgot to toss the chips in flour but they didn't sink) and scoop into the pie crust. Bake for about 45-50 minutes until the center is cooked (it may look a bit strange but once out of the oven the texture looks much more normal).

food pics to tide you over until the real meal

i love fall. fall means the leaves are changing, hot apple cider, corn mazes, and baking. tons and tons of baking. pumpkin desserts, muffins, cakes, you name it, and i'll want to make it. having the time to actually get around to all of it is an entirely different topic. but i've decided since thursdays are my one day off i'm going to make them my cooking day. a full out meal and dessert. and guess what, today's thursday:) while the food cooks here's some pics i've taken this fall.
a friend of M's brought over fresh beans still on their vine (is that what it's called?) so i got to spend an afternoon shucking beans. which was really fun. when the lady first brought them over i got really excited because they looked like edamame, but once you popped them out they were this kidney bean-esque color. we steamed them, cooked them into rice cakes, i think i even tried to roast them (still working on that one...)
first time i ever saw a chestnut in it's plant shell. it's seriously spikey and then you have to wonder about the first person who thought to wait for it to open (that also makes me think of lobster and crab and their tough exoskeletons, plus creep legs).
the spikes are really sharp and stiff, but luckily, if you wait long enough they crack open and inside are two beautiful chestnuts. makes me want to try making chestnut bread or some sort of chestnut pastry. any good recipes?