Tuesday, June 29, 2010

zucchini bread

oh, summer. the sunburns, the lemonade, the baseball, the out-of-control zucchini plants. got one of those plants? well, us city folk are jealous - send some zukes our way! and then we can happily make zucchini bread using this super recipe from kristin (whom i receive zucchinis from, as well). you can serve this as a dessert or enjoy it for breakfast (or whenever the heck you choose, frankly). the recipe calls for 2 cups shredded zucchini, and just to give you perspective, i grated (via food processor - ahhh) one foot-long zucchini and got 4 cups from it.
kristin taught me that you can freeze the extra grated goodness - let's hear it for not wasting! feel free to omit the ginger, clove, nuts, or chocolate chips... but why would you do that to yourself?!

zucchini bread
3 eggs
2 c. sugar
1 c. oil
2 t. vanilla
3 c. flour (i mix whole wheat & a.p.)
2 1/2 t. baking powder
1 t. baking soda
3 t. cinnamon
1 t. salt
1 c. nuts (i used walnuts)
1 t. ginger
1 t. clove
2 c. shredded zucchini
1 c. chocolate chips (i used a generous cup)

preheat oven to 350 & grease two small loaf pans. beat the eggs in a large bowl. add sugar, oil & vanilla & stir. add flour, powder, soda, cinnamon, salt, nuts, ginger, & clove and stir - mixture will be thick. add zucchini & chocolate chips, stir. divide into pans and bake for 35-40 minutes.

shredded bbq chicken sandwiches

on today's episode of "cooking with beer" we will be making delicious pulled chicken sandwiches. these are an adaptation of a rachael ray recipe, but with a few changes. first and foremost, i refuse to call something that i cooked with a can of beer a name so diminutive as "sammies", as she calls sandwiches. i made some other changes, but feel free to mess with this one - you can omit tabasco if you're a heat-wimp, omit the liquid smoke if you don't want to buy it (hey, it's cool), or crank up any other ingredient to your taste. they're forgiving sandwiches (but not so forgiving as to allow insulting nicknames)... just don't wear a white shirt when you eat them.

shredded bbq chicken sandwiches
1 c. chicken broth
1 bottle or can of beer (go cheap!)
4 boneless/skinless chicken breasts
2 T. olive oil
2 crushed garlic cloves
1 med. onion, chopped
2 T. worcestershire sauce
1 T. tabasco
1 T. soy sauce
1 T. black pepper
3 T. brown sugar
4 T. tomato paste
1 t. paprika
sliced pickles & burger buns to serve

bring liquids to a simmer in a medium pot and add meat. gently poach chicken for about 10 minutes, turning at 5 minutes. reserve the beer liquid in a bowl, remove chicken, slice and shred using two forks. use the same medium pot to sauté the garlic & onion in the oil for about 5 minutes (or until onions are tender). add chicken, about 1/2 c. beer liquid, and the remaining ingredients to the pot and simmer 5-10 minutes. use extra beer liquid as needed. top with pickles in a bun.

Monday, June 21, 2010


that's how i pronounced pancakes as a child "pan-a-cakes"... just fyi. a few months ago, james and i were in the mood for pancakes, so we brought out the pancake mix, whipped it up, took a bite, and were immediately disappointed. icky, dense, cardboard-like disks that no amount of syrup could perk-up. we swore that was the last time we would use the box. a couple weeks ago, james got the pancake hankerin' again, and found this great recipe from allrecipes.com - what a winner! as the name suggests, they are fluffy and light. you actually somewhat-sour the milk, which saves you from buying buttermilk - yay, shortcuts. great plain, but amazing with blueberries in them, or as james prefers, chocolate chips. mmm...

fluffy pancakes
3/4 c. milk
2 T. white vinegar
1 c. flour
2 T. sugar
1 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1 egg
2 T. melted butter

combine milk and vinegar in a bowl and set aside for 5 minutes to "sour". combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large mixing bowl. whisk egg and butter into milk mixture. combine the flour mixture & the wet ingredients and whisk until lumps are gone. heat a large skillet or pan over medium heat, and coat with cooking spray. pour 1/4 cupfuls of batter onto the skillet, and cook until bubbles appear on the surface. flip and cook until browned on the other side.

Monday, June 14, 2010

chicken satay

i was looking for a delicious protein to accompany our coconut noodles and found this recipe on allrecipes.com (but i made a couple changes). satay is one of my favorite thai flavors - peanutty goodness. this recipe is fun - you can marinade chicken in it; cut it into pieces, skewer and grill it; bake it; or like i did - sauté the chicken in a pan with about half of the sauce. mmm... peanutty...

chicken satay adapted from allrecipes.com
4 T. creamy peanut butter (i used crunchy - also yummy)
1 T. soy sauce
1 T. lemon or lime juice
1 T. brown sugar
2 t. curry powder
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 T. thai sweet pepper sauce

mix & add more of any ingredients to taste. cook in sauce, but reserve some sauce to serve with chicken. chicken can be baked, skewered & grilled, marinaded, or sautéd. sautéd tofu can be substituted for chicken.

coconut noodles

here's a great dish kristin pointed out to me from "everyday food" magazine - my favorite food magazine, by the way. this is a delicious, soupy, fresh noodle dish with great thai flavors. i served this with chicken satay - yum!

coconut noodles adapted from everyday food
1 package (16 oz.) dry rice noodles
1 can (14 oz.) unsweetened coconut milk
1 3/4 c. chicken broth (about one can)
1 c. cilantro
1/2 c. basil
4 garlic cloves
1 T. sugar
2 T. lime juice
2" ginger, peeled & cut into 1/8" rounds
1 jalapeño, halved, stems & seeds removed (more, if desired)
1 T. fish sauce (optional)

cook noodles, rinse with cool water - set aside. bring milk & broth to gentle simmer over medium-low. process cilantro, basil, ginger, garlic & jalapeño until coarsely chopped - about 5 seconds. add cilantro mix, fish sauce, sugar to broth; simmer 6 minutes. add lime juice, dish up noodle in bowls and ladle coconut milk sauce over noodles. enjoy!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

chicken pho, a.k.a. phở gà

if there were a food about which i could write a book, pho might be that food. pronounced "fuh", pho is a delicious vietnamese brothy noodle soup that kicks classic chicken noodle soup to the curb, in my opinion. i crave it. my husband and i fell in love over pho. the wonderful sauces and herbs you add to it make a heavenly aroma. and we've seen pho restaurants with some of the goofiest names, such as "9021pho", "pho that", and "what the pho?". i mean, come on!

it is typically served with sliced rare beef, tripe and tendon, and the broth is made in a slow cooking process involving oxtail. well, kids, this blogger isn't much for red meat or for all-day cooking affairs, so when dao, a vietnamese friend of ours, offered to teach me how to make a simpler, quicker chicken version i squealed at the opportunity. and it is delicious!

chicken pho (phở gà in vietnamese)
2 cans chicken broth
2" of fresh ginger (whole, but peeled)
1 quartered small onion
5 star anise
2 chicken breasts
1-2 T. fish sauce, if desired (you can substitute salt)
1 lb. rice stick noodles (damp or dry)

fresh basil
fresh cilantro
bean sprouts
sriracha sauce
hoisin sauce
hanh dam (thinly sliced onion soaked in vinegar - so good)

bring broth and 3-4 cans water to boil. add ginger, onion & anise and bring back to boil. once boiling, add chicken breasts, simmer for 15-20 minutes until cooked through. remove chicken, cut into thin slices, set aside. (i taste the broth here and add fish sauce or salt to taste - you want it to be salty as adding the noodles later will lessen the salinity). bring water to boil in another pot and cook noodles til just done (don't overcook!). drain and place noodles in individual bowls, add some chicken, and cover in broth. rip up basil & cilantro leaves into soup & garnish as desired!
this broth can be frozen, too.

blueberry muffins

why hello there, long lost blogging friends! it has been quite some time since i updated with a recipe - please forgive. i only have three words as an excuse: morning sickness, lazy. ok, the last word isn't really an excuse, but those first two are. now that i'm back to feeling like cooking, time to share an all-time favorite! kristin shared this family recipe with me and almost every person that tries these muffins asks for the recipe. and with only two tablespoons of oil, they shouldn't make your guilt-ometer buzz off the charts! enjoy.

blueberry muffins
2 c. flour
1 c. sugar
1 1/2 t. baking powder
1 t. salt
1/2 t. baking soda
3/4 c. orange juice
1 beaten egg
2 T. oil
~1 c. blueberries (you can use frozen, too - don't thaw them)

strusel topping (optional)
stir together:
1/8 c. sugar
1 1/2 T. flour
1 T. melted butter
1/2 t. cinnamon

spray muffin tin with oil. mix wet ingredients. mix dry ingredients - add wet ingredients and blueberries & stir minimally. top with strusel, if desired. bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes. makes 1 dozen.