Sunday, January 25, 2009


Really good easy brownies : ) One bowl. Awesome.

  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cups all-purpose flour (can use an extra 1/2 C of flour if you like cake-y brownies)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup walnut halves


  1. Melt the butter or margarine and mix all ingredients in the order given.
  2. Bake at 350 degrees F for 20 to 30 minutes in a 9 x 13 inch greased pan.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Almond Streusel Cream Cheese Dessert Pizza

Some friends invited us over for dessert and games one night last week and I decided I really wanted a cream cheese danish. But I'm not brave enough to just dive in to making laminated dough at this stage of my baking career so this is what I came up with instead. I've made it a few times now for various groups of people and everyone loves it. It is gooooood.


Same pizza dough and process I blogged about here. But I've recently discovered that my bread maker has a dough cycle which makes my life a really happy place to be. Throw in all wet ingredients plus salt, add flour, make a well and pour in yeast. Turn on dough cycle and ignore for an hour and a half. I'm note sure if it's the additional kneading or what but it makes a slightly softer crust that we really like. Either way, it's still the easiest pizza dough I've found.

Cream Cheese topping (makes enough for 2):

2 8 oz packages cream cheese, softened
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 c sugar
1 egg yolk

Combine all, beat until fluffy.

Streusel (also makes enough for 2):

3/4 c flour
1/4 c packed brown sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
6 T butter, room temperature

Mix dry ingredients. Cut in butter with a pastry blender or 2 knives until it fine crumbs form. Use hands to squeeze into larger clumps.


Roll out pizza dough to desired thickness. Spread with half of cream cheese mixture (I've been storing the other half in the fridge for 24-48 hours between baking sessions and it still turns out fine). Sprinkle with streusel mixture and sliced almonds. Bake at 350 for 22-26 minutes. Slice into wedges or breadstick type strips. If you want, when it has cooled a bit you can drizzle it with a powdered sugar glaze (a little bit of milk beat with a lot of powdered sugar). It's best served warm.

Even though it would probably be fine left out on the counter, I've been storing it in a tupperware in the fridge since I'm not really sure. 20 seconds in the microwave makes for a lovely warm morning snack :)

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


1 lb. ground turkey (beef works too, but I like turkey better)
1 piece of white bread softened with water (squeeze bread to get rid of excess water)
1/2 of an onion chopped
salt and pepper to taste
1 egg

Combine above ingredients in a bowl. Roll into balls. Roll balls in bread crumbs and fry in a pan with melted margarine. If pan gets too dry as you are cooking the meatballs, add more margarine in different areas of the pan. Cook until browned all the way through.

This is from my sister in law- Claudia, her mom made these and i thought they were sooo good.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Milk Chocolate Chip Cookies

Today when I went in to sneak some chocolate chips from the recent stash I got for Christmas I realized that the entire stash were milk chocolate. I was taken aback at first because we normally go for semi-sweet, but then I remembered a good milk chocolate chocolate chip cookie recipe my old next door neighbor Amy used to make. They were pretty good. I haven't figured out the timing to keep them gooey and soft for as long as my regular ones, but they are still really good.

2/3 C butter or margarine, softened
2/3 C shortening
1 C sugar
1C packed brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla
3 1/2 C flour
1tsp salt
1 stap baking soda
1pckg milk chocolate chips
optional walnuts

In a mixing bowl cream butter, shortening and sugars. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla, mix well. Combine flour salt and soda and add to creamed mixture. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts. Drop by rounded tablespoons onto ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 350 for 10-11 minutes.

I don't know if it is my elevation or what but I had to cook them a bit longer, but then again maybe that is why they didn't stay soft? I dunno, but still very yum.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Homemade Devil Dog, Ding Dong or Hostess Cake

I made this for my son's birthday on Sunday. The recipe comes from the ever reliable Smitten Kitchen.

The chocolate cake was lovely and everything a chocolate cake should be. If I were to make it again, though, I would follow Deb's original plan using the marshmallow/7 minute frosting only for the filling and covering the outside with chocolate ganache. I was out of cream and thus couldn't make ganache so I just covered the whole thing with the 7 minute frosting like she also ended up doing. It was a real stretch to fill and cover the whole thing with one batch and the outside acquired this oddly sticky, gummy texture as it sat. It was beautiful (almost shimmery) but most of us ate around the exterior frosting. It was really yummy as filling though!

Recipe here.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Hot and Sour Soup

Hot and Sour Soup
from America's Test Kitchen

from the Episode: Staying in For Chinese Takeout
To make slicing the pork chop easier, freeze it for 15 minutes. We prefer the distinctive flavor of Chinese black vinegar; look for it in Asian supermarkets. If you can't find it, a combination of red wine vinegar and balsamic vinegar approximates its flavor. This soup is very spicy. For a less spicy soup, omit the chili oil altogether or add only 1 teaspoon. Serves 6 to 8 as an appetizer

7 ounces extra-firm tofu, drained
4 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
3 tablespoons cornstarch, plus an additional 1 1/2 teaspoons
1 boneless, center-cut, pork loin chop (1/2 inch thick, about 6 ounces), trimmed of fat and cut into 1 inch by 1/8-inch matchsticks
3 tablespoons cold water, plus 1 additional teaspoon
1 large egg
6 cups low-sodium chicken broth (Unlike me, you should actually pay attention to the "low-sodium" bit here. I didn't have any so I just used 6 chicken bouillon cubes and it turned out a little too salty. Not inedible, just a bit on the too salty side. Use low-sodium broth, or at least not bouillon cubes, or at a minimum, use fewer bouillon cubes.)
1 cup bamboo shoots (from one 5-ounce can), sliced lengthwise into 1/8-inch-thick strips
4 ounces fresh shiitake mushrooms, stems removed, caps sliced 1/4 inch thick (about 1 cup)
5 tablespoons black Chinese vinegar or 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar plus 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar (see note above) (I like my soup more sour than this recipe turned out so I doubled the vinegar. In case it's relevant, I'll tell you I was using the red wine and balsamic since I haven't been to an asian market recently.)
2 teaspoons chili oil (see note above)
1 teaspoon ground white pepper (WHITE pepper really is important I think - black pepper just doesn't taste as asian)
3 medium scallions, sliced thin

See Illustrations Below: Getting the Wisped Egg Just Right

1. Place tofu in pie plate and set heavy plate on top. Weight with 2 heavy cans; let stand at least 15 minutes (tofu should release about 1/2 cup liquid). Whisk 1 tablespoon soy sauce, sesame oil, and 1 teaspoon cornstarch in medium bowl; toss pork with marinade and set aside for at least 10 minutes (but no more than 30 minutes).
2. Combine 3 tablespoons cornstarch with 3 tablespoons water in small bowl and mix thoroughly; set aside, leaving spoon in bowl. Mix remaining 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch with remaining 1 teaspoon water in small bowl; add egg and beat with fork until combined. Set aside.
3. Bring broth to boil in large saucepan set over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low; add bamboo shoots and mushrooms and simmer until mushrooms are just tender, about 5 minutes. While broth simmers, dice tofu into 1/2-inch cubes. Add tofu and pork, including marinade, to soup, stirring to separate any pieces of pork that stick together. Continue to simmer until pork is no longer pink, about 2 minutes.
4. Stir cornstarch mixture to recombine. Add to soup and increase heat to medium-high; cook, stirring occasionally, until soup thickens and turns translucent, about 1 minute. Stir in vinegar, chili oil, pepper, and remaining 3 tablespoons soy sauce; turn off heat.
5. Without stirring soup, use soupspoon to slowly drizzle very thin streams of egg mixture into pot in circular motion. Let soup sit 1 minute, then return saucepan to medium-high heat. Bring soup to gentle boil, then immediately remove from heat. Gently stir soup once to evenly distribute egg; ladle into bowls and top with scallions.

Per Serving:Cal 120; Fat 5 g; Sat fat 1 g; Chol 12 mg; Carb 12 g; Protein 8 g; Fiber 1 g; Sodium 1110 mg

Step-by-Step: Getting the Wisped Egg Just Right

1. Turn off heat so surface of soup is calm, then use spoon to drizzle egg onto surface in thin streams.
2. Let sit for 1 minute. Turn heat back on and stir gently to finish cooking egg and break into ribbons.

Chicken Pho - Vietnamese Noodle Soup

This is more traditional made with beef (and it's various parts considered inedible by me). But you can order chicken pho at a Vietnamese noodle house too. Traditionally you would actually serve the beef raw and thinly sliced and then pour boiling hot broth over it to cook it. This less daring technique seemed to work out fine. The recipe I found only talked about chicken, so I've only tried this with chicken but I bet it would work with beef too. The recipe orignially called for mushrooms in the soup and mint sprigs for garnish but I didn't include that since it's a bit unorthodox from my experience. I think doubled this recipe the first time so I could have leftovers but regretted it since the bean sprouts and other fresh stuff goes bad so fast and we couldn't eat it fast enough. But if you have a crowd to feed...

One note I have to add is that fresh spices seem like they really do matter on this one. Fancy cooks will tell you this is ALWAYS true, but I guess I'm too low-brow to notice most of the time. But I did notice with this recipe. Seems like each time I've made it as the spices got older, it was a little less good. Still good, mind you, just a little diminished.

Vietnamese Noodle Soup
(Chicken Pho)

4 ounces flat dried rice noodles (bahn pho) or linguine if desperate
3 green onions, thinly sliced on diagonal
2 garlic cloves, peeled
6 basil sprigs (preferably Thai basil if you can find it)
6 sprigs fresh cilantro
4 cans (14.5 ounces each) low sodium chicken broth or 7 cups homemade chicken broth (I've done this with bouillon cubes too and it turned out fine. If you're concerned about it being too salty you could just skip a couple bouillon cubes.)
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 cinnamon stick (3 inches)
2 large skinless, boneless chicken breast halves (1 lb) (although I thought breast was a bit dry and the wrong texture in this - thigh might be better, but I never have it around)

1. In large bowl, soak rice noodles in enough warm water to cover 20 minutes, or cook linguine as label directs. Drain.
2. Meanwhile, in 3-quart saucepan, combine one-third of green onions and all of the garlic, basil and cilantro sprigs, chicken broth, coriander seeds, and cinnamon stick; heat to boiling over high heat. Reduce heat; cover and simmer 10 minutes. Strain through sieve set over bowl; discard solids. Return broth to saucepan.
3. Cut chicken breast halves on diagonal into thin strips. Stir chicken, drained noodles, and remaining green onions into broth; heat to boiling over high heat. Reduce heat; cover and simmer until chicken loses its pink color throughout, about 3 minutes.

Makes about 9 cups

In my opinion, the garnishes is where this dish really shines, so don't skip this last part. If you order this at a Vietnamese restaurant you will usually be offered the following items for garnish: raw bean sprouts, lime wedges, sliced fresh jalapenos, more fresh basil and cilantro sprigs, hoisin sauce, and Sriracha (aka rooster sauce). Add garnishes to taste. (I only steep the japaleno slices in my broth for flavor without actually eating them. Also, I think you usually pick the leaves off the basil and cilantro and only add the leaves to your soup.)

This is HEAVEN on a cold day. It's what I crave when I have a bad cold, not that namby pamby American chicken soup.