Eeek… I’m sure that I’m not the only one who’s ready for this winter to be over. I think it is pretty sad that whenever I see the temperature in the 10′s and 20′s (of Fahrenheit!), I actually feel like it has “warmed up”. The temperature swings have been pretty crazy, and the snow… the wind, ooh… I am waiting for the spring to be here. To make the matter worse, my router was burnt out a few days ago – so we didn’t have any internet for a couple of days (gasp!). It’s like I didn’t have air Enough with my rant… There is one thing that I am grateful for this winter, and every winter for that matter, and that’s simply because that it is actually the citrus season!! I love seeing the gorgeous lemons, limes, oranges, everything! Their citrusy flavor always lifts up my gloomy winter spirit.
I absolutely love anything lemon, so lemon bars, yogurt cake, cupcakes or even in my spaghetti (if you cringe by the sound of it, try it! You’d be surprised!) always show up in my kitchen. I love having bits of lemon zest as well as lemony flavor in my food. I have not, however, tried my hand in making my own homemade pound cake. As much as I would say that I love pound cake, I couldn’t decide whether I truly like it or not. Traditionally prepared with a pound of sugar, butter, and flour… hence, the name pound cake comes from, tends to be dense. Now, some people like their cake dense, but I definitely prefer my cake light and fluffy. This recipe promised a lighter pound cake, thanks to the technique of creaming the sugar, and then beating the eggs separately to make it well… light and fluffy. I think this is how I would eat my pound-cake from now on… its texture is glorious: just a tad dense to make it feel like pound cake, but it had a nice rise and tenderness to my liking. I actually didn’t get to finish this in three days – and it was still fantastic after a week. I also didn’t have a 9×5-inch pan, so I had to use a little larger pan. But it still turned out great! Have a great rest of the weekend everyone!
For the cake
2 cups (240 grams) cake flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons (1 3/8 sticks/156 grams) unsalted butter, melted and cooled to slightly warm
1/4 cup (60 grams) heavy cream, at room temperature
3 tablespoons finely grated lemon zest (about 2 lemons)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (about 1/2 lemon)
3 tablespoons poppy seeds/28 grams
4 eggs/200 grams
1 1/4 cups (250 grams) granulated sugar
For the lemon glaze
1/2 cup (70 grams) confectioner’s sugar
1 to 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (1/2 to 1 lemon)
Position a rack in the center of the oven, and heat the oven to 350 ℉.
Butter and flour a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan, or line the bottom and sides of the pan with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together the butter, cream, lemon zest, lemon juice, and poppy seeds. The mixture should have the consistency of a thick liquid. If the butter hardens into little lumps, heat the mixture gently until the butter melts again. Set aside.
Using a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (or a handheld mixer), beat together the eggs and granulated sugar on medium speed for 4 to 5 minutes, or until light and fluffy and lemon colored. (If you use a handheld mixer, this same step will take 8 to 10 minutes.)
Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the flour mixture into the egg-sugar mixture just until combined. Fold about one-fourth of the egg-flour mixture into the butter-cream mixture to lighten it. Then fold in the remaining egg-flour mixture just until thoroughly combined. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
Bake for 1 hour to 1 hour and 10 minutes, or until the top of the cake is golden brown and springs back when you press it in the middle.
Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for at least 30 minutes.
To make the lemon glaze: While the cake is cooling, in a small bowl, whisk together the confectioner’s sugar and enough lemon juice to make an easily spreadable, smooth glaze.
When the cake has cooled for at least 30 minutes, pop it out of the pan and place it on the rack. Spread or spoon the glaze over the top of the still-warm cake, letting the glaze dribble down the sides.
The cake can be stored tightly wrapped in plastic wrap at room temperature for to 3 days.
Source: “Flour: Spectacular Recipes from Boston’s Flour Bakery + Cafe” by Joanne Chang. Copyright © 2011 by Chronicle. All rights reserved.
If you have never tried these, or if you’re looking for a new breakfast recipe to make at home, make these now. Actually, run to the kitchen and whip these babies up now. Because you’d be come back to thank me later (after you gobble the entire batch on your own). That’s right: these coins are so light, sweet, tangy and tender in the inside, and crunchy on the outside. They’re so addictive and perfect for breakfast, snacks, brunch, or dare I even say dessert?
So you’re probably thinking, what the heck are these heavenly tots? I would categorize them under pancakes, even though, they’re definitely “pancakes with a little bit extra”, so I would call them “half-pancake-half-crepes”. All of the greatness of a regular pancakes (tender and fluffy), but also the very thing we all love about crepes (their crispiness)… all in one! Their pancakes are made so light thanks to the small amount of flour in proportion to sour-cream, which makes them tangy and a little sugar to add some sweetness to it. I know the superpower that sour cream has on pancakes, and I have been eyeing another recipe for a while – so I’m glad that I finally put these to test, and regret that I didn’t try making these sooner. They’re so perfect on its own, with a little bit (or a lot!) of powdered sugar, or even maple syrup – although I really don’t think that they needed them. Give them a try and let me know.
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp cornstarch
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
2 cups sour cream
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 tsp vanilla
3 Tbsp unsalted butter for frying
Combine flour, sugar, cornstarch, baking powder, salt, and baking soda in a medium bowl. Whisk sour cream, eggs, and vanilla in a large bowl until smooth. Gently fold flour mixture into the sour cream mixture until incorporated.
Heat 2 tsp of butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium low until butter begins to sizzle. Place five 1 Tbsp scoops of batter in the pan, cover, and cook until the tops appear dry and bottoms are golden, ~ 1.5 to 2 minutes. Gently flip and cook uncovered, until golden brown, about 30 seconds. Repeat.
Yield: 32 small pancakes, serves about 4.
Recipe source: Recipe from The Best of America’s Test Kitchen 2012
I’m not going to lie, I’m a huge fan of PF Chang’s. When I lived in Michigan, I lived about 5 minutes away from a PF Chang’s, and it was awesome. I ate there probably once a week. And then I was on a hiatus when I moved to Iowa almost eight years ago. Two years ago, I moved again, still within Iowa, but the city is about 20-minutes away from a PF Chang’s. Yeah, victory dance. But funny enough, I don’t go there now as much as I used to, or as much as I want to. It is a little tough to coordinate a quick meal outing there with two little ones in tow, so we just don’t make it out there as often as we’d like to. Ironically, we probably have eaten there about a half dozens of time for the past two years.
The Mongolian Beef is definitely one of my fave dishes to order from the menu; so I was really glad when I was able to find a recipe that’s pretty darn close to it. My husband requested that I added a little heat to cut down the sweetness, but I haven’t decided if that’s the route that I’d go next time, so here’s the recipe version I ended up with. The sugar in this recipe is responsible for that gorgeous caramelization of the sauce that coats the beef. Since I love green onions, I added generous amount on this dish, so you can cut that back if you’d like.
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon ginger, minced
2 tablespoon garlic, chopped
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
Vegetable oil, for frying
1-1/2 lb flank steak
1/4 cup cornstarch
2 cups of one-inch lengths green onions
Make the sauce
Heat 2 tsp of vegetable oil in a medium saucepan over med/low heat, make sure that you don’t get the oil too hot. Add minced ginger and garlic to the pan and quickly add the soy sauce and water before the garlic scorches. If you are cooking on the medium heat, this will happen very quickly. Dissolve the brown sugar in the sauce, then raise the heat to about medium and boil the sauce for 2-3 minutes or until the sauce thickens. Remove it from the heat.
Prepare the beef
Slice the flank steak against the grain into 1/4″ thick bite-size slices. Tilt the blade of your knife at about a forty five degree angle to the top of the steak so that you get wider cuts. Dip the steak pieces into the cornstarch to apply a very thin dusting to both sides of each piece of beef. Alternatively, you can also place the beef pieces on a shallow baking dish, sprinkle the cornstarch, mix them gently so most pieces are coated. Let the beef sit for about 10 minutes so that the cornstarch sticks.
Prepare the dish
As the beef sits in the cornstarch, heat up one cup of oil in a wok (you may also use a skillet for this step as long as the beef will be mostly covered with oil). Heat the oil over medium heat until it’s nice and hot, but not smoking. Add the beef to the oil and sauté for just two minutes, or until the beef just begins to darken on the edges. You don’t need a thorough cooking here since the beef is going to go back on the heat later.
Stir the meat around a little so that it cooks evenly. After a couple minutes, use a large slotted spoon to take the meat out and onto paper towels, then pour the oil out of the wok or skillet.
Put the pan back over the heat, dump the meat back into it and simmer for one minute. Add the sauce, cook for one minute while stirring, then add 1.5 cups of the green onions. Cook for one more minute, then remove the beef and onions with tongs or a slotted spoon to a serving plate. Add the remaining 1/2 cup of the green onions on top. Leave the excess sauce behind in the pan.
Yield: 4 servings (with rice)
Adapted from Food.com
With Valentine’s Day coming up, I thought I’d share a Valentine’s Day worthy breakfast that I’m sure that anyone that you would make these for would absolutely swoon over this. I personally can go either day with Valentine’s Day. We don’t really celebrate it (I meant, I don’t really celebrate it, I’m sure my hubby can go either way) – but we make a bigger deal of it since our tots exchange Valentines at school. We make projects and have small Valentine baskets for the kids. Now, if Valentine’s Day is made into a national holiday where we get time off work, then I’d be all over that even more! But for those of you who are looking for a special breakfast or brunch in bed, I wanted to present you these crazy good sticky buns. Have you guys heard of Flour’s recipe for their very famous sticky sticky buns? Well if you haven’t – then you’ve been living under the rock But don’t worry, because today, I am going to uncover your rock and let you in on this very famous sticky buns, the very buns that won out Bobby Flay’s throwdown for sticky buns. If you own a sticky bun recipe that you love already, I would
toss that still say give these a try. I have made several versions of sticky bun, and this one definitely took the crown. The brioche was fluffy on the inside and firm enough on the outside to soak in all the syrupy goo. Now the goo… let’s talk about the goo. The goo was out of the world good – it is sweet, sticky, and has that wonderful caramel flavor.
These buns take a couple of days to make, so you need to be planning ahead to make sure that you have enough time for it to rise. I made these twice and had a hard time getting them to rise “triple-size” in the time that the recipe states. For the second time, I even bought a new jar of yeast, but it probably only rose “double-size”. So I blamed the cold kitchen and the crazy arctic weather that we’ve had. I don’t think that I could go back to any other sticky bun recipe. That goo recipe alone is enough to make anyone’s sweet tooth spin a victory dance and swoon.
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks; 170 grams, 6 ounces) unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups (345 grams) firmly packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup (110 grams) honey
1/3 cup (80 grams) heavy cream
1/3 cup (80 grams) water
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Basic brioche dough, recipe follows
1/4 cup (55 grams) light brown sugar
1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup (100 grams) pecan halves, toasted and chopped
Basic Brioche Dough
2 1/2 cups (350 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more if needed
2 1/4 cups (340 grams) bread flour
1 1/2 packages (3 1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast or 1-ounce (28 grams) fresh cake yeast
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon (82 grams) sugar
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1/2 cup cold water
1 3/8 cups (2 3/4 sticks; 310 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into 10 to 12 pieces
First, make the goo. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk in the brown sugar and cook, stirring, to combine (it may look separated, that’s ok). Remove from the heat and whisk in the honey, cream, water, and salt. Strain to remove any undissolved lumps of brown sugar. Let cool for about 30 minutes, or until cooled to room temperature. You should have about 3 cups. (The mixture can be made up to 2 weeks in advance and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.)
Divide the dough in half. Use half for this recipe and reserve the other half for another use.
On a floured work surface, roll out the brioche into rectangle about 12 by 16 inches and 1/4-inch thick. It will have the consistency of cold, damp Play-Doh and should be fairly easy to roll. Position the rectangle so a short side is facing you.
In a small bowl, stir together the brown sugar, granulated sugar, cinnamon, and half of the pecans. Sprinkle this mixture evenly over the entire surface of the dough. Starting from the short side farthest from you and working your way down, roll up the rectangle like a jelly roll. Try to roll tightly, so you have a nice round spiral. Trim off about 1/4- inch from each end of the roll to make them even.
Use a bench scraper or a chef’s knife to cut the roll into 8 equal pieces, each about 1 1/2-inches wide. (At this point, the unbaked buns can be tightly wrapped in plastic wrap and frozen for up to 1 week. When ready to bake, thaw them, still wrapped, in the refrigerator overnight or at room temperature for 2 to 3 hours, then proceed as directed).
Pour the goo into a 9 by 13-inch baking dish, covering the bottom evenly. Sprinkle the remaining pecans evenly over the surface. Arrange the buns, evenly spaced, in the baking dish. Cover with plastic wrap and put in a warm spot to proof until the dough is puffy, pillowy, and soft and the buns are touching-almost tripled in size, about 2 hours.
Position a rack in the center of the oven, and heat to 350 degrees F.
Bake until golden brown, about 35 to 45 minutes. Let cool in the dish on a wire rack for 20 to 30 minutes. One at a time, invert the buns onto a serving platter, and spoon any extra goo and pecans from the bottom of the dish over the top.
The buns are best served warm or within 4 hours of baking. They can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 day, and then warmed in a 325 degree F oven for 10 to 12 minutes before serving.
Direction for the Brioche Dough
Using a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the all-purpose flour, bread flour, yeast, sugar, salt, water, and 5 of the eggs. Beat on low speed for 3 to 4 minutes, or until all the ingredients are combined. Stop the mixer, as needed, to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl to make sure all the flour is incorporated into the wet ingredients. Once the dough has come together, beat on low speed for another 3 to 4 minutes. The dough will be very stiff and seem quite dry.
With the mixer on low speed, add the butter, 1 piece at a time, mixing after each addition until it disappears into the dough. Continue mixing on low speed for about 10 minutes, stopping the mixer occasionally to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl. It is important for all the butter to be thoroughly mixed into the dough. If necessary, stop the mixer occasionally and break up the dough with your hands to help mix in the butter.
Once the butter is completely incorporated, turn up the speed to medium and beat until the dough becomes sticky, soft, and somewhat shiny, another 15 minutes. It will take some time to come together. It will look shaggy and questionable at the start and then eventually it will turn smooth and silky. Turn the speed to medium-high and beat for about 1 minute. You should hear the dough make a slap-slap-slap sound as it hits the sides of the bowl. Test the dough by pulling at it; it should stretch a bit and have a little give. If it seems wet and loose and more like a batter than a dough, add a few tablespoons of flour and mix until it comes together. If it breaks off into pieces when you pull at it, continue to mix on medium speed for another 2 to 3 minutes, or until it develops more strength and stretches when you grab it. It is ready when you can gather it all together and pick it up in 1 piece.
Put the dough in a large bowl or plastic container and cover it with plastic wrap, pressing the wrap directly onto the surface of the dough. Let the dough proof (that is, grow and develop flavor) in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours or up to overnight At this point you can freeze the dough in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
Source: “Flour: Spectacular Recipes from Boston’s Flour Bakery + Cafe” by Joanne Chang. Copyright © 2011 by Chronicle. All rights reserved.
Once in a while, I have that crazy craving for a piece of dark chocolate, or a good piece of homemade brownie. But you know what else that I crave more frequently other than chocolate? Something savory, like chips and a good homemade dip. One of my all-time favorite night-time “snacks” or “munchies” are homemade guacamole and very good tortilla chips. Just like cookies (or I guess, any other homemade goods), once you have a fresh homemade one, you can never go back to the store-bought one!
Obviously, everyone has their favorite toppings or add-ins, but feel free to take this as your base. This version below is something that I just kind of came up as I played around with it, using ingredients that I normally just have around the house. Putting this together takes me less than 5 minutes if I have leftover minced garlic and onions ready in the frig. If not, then it will take me 10. But I just use this “recipe” below as a guidelines. I recommend that you taste the guacamole with the chips that you’ll be serving it with, and then make whatever modifications that you want based on your own preference.
Are you looking for other Superbowl recipes? Try these other favorites below:
Pan Fried Onion Dips
Hot Spinach & Artichoke Dips
Deep Fried Pickles
Skinny Baked Jalapeno Poppers
Make Ahead Pigs in a Blanket
3 ripe avocados
3 tbsp of minced onion
3 tsp of minced garlic
Juice of 1 large lime, approx. 2-3 tbsp
Salt to taste
Scoop avocado flesh out of their skin, and place into a medium bowl. Add minced onion, garlic, and lime juice. Sprinkle a generous pinch of salt. Mash them together, to the desired consistency, mix thoroughly. Taste the guacamole to suit your chips, and modify as your taste buds desire! Enjoy!
Yield: 2-3 servings
Every single time I want to order Chinese take outs, my hubby always reminds me that we still haven’t found “the one”… that is, a Chinese restaurant where he finds something that he really likes. We then proceed into a five minute debate that none of the Chinese restaurants around here are truly authentic anyways, so why don’t we just pick the best and move on? I made it my mission then to try to seek new recipes that we can make at home when my craving strikes for a Chinese take out. This recipe really fits the bill, First, I personally just can’t get enough of any sort of quick stir-fried dishes. I have been using this classic Chinese Beef Broccoli recipe for a couple of years, but I just could not resist myself in trying something new.
The addition of match-stick ginger in this dish provides a really adds an extra boost of flavor that would have otherwise been missing. So here are a couple of tips for you. I have used chicken on this recipe (by accident, of course). I thought that I had beef in the refrigerator, while it was really chicken… I mean, they do look alike, right? And while the sauce was still yummy, it was really best with beef. I also substituted sherry one time, and it was okay. Just okay, so nothing to write home about. And then finally, that experience wasn’t enough to send me to the store to get sherry – I actually made it one more time, and this time without sherry. Again, it was acceptable – but not fantastic. Finally, I bought sherry for a different recipe, and decided that it was time to make this recipe as it was written – and there you go, I couldn’t go back! This dish was so good: tender beef slices mixed with delicious broccoli, mixed with flavorful sauce – it hits all the right spots for us.
1 small flank steak (1-1/4 to 1-1/2 lb.)
3 Tbs. soy sauce
1 Tbs. dry sherry
1 Tbs. cornstarch
3/4 lb. broccoli crowns, cut into 2-inch florets (to yield about 4 heaping cups)
1/4 cup canola or peanut oil
2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
2-inch piece ginger, peeled and cut into thin matchsticks
1/4 tsp. red chile flakes
2 Tbs. oyster sauce
Bring 2 quarts water with 2 tsp. kosher salt to a boil.
Slice the steak in half lengthwise and then cut crosswise into thin slices. In a medium bowl, stir 1 Tbs. of the soy sauce with the sherry, cornstarch, and 1/2 tsp. salt. Add the steak, toss to coat, and let sit for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, blanch the broccoli in the boiling water until it softens to a tender crunch, 2 to 3 minutes. Drain in a colander and then rinse under cold water until the broccoli cools.
Set a large, heavy skillet or a large wok over high heat for 1 minute. Pour in 2 Tbs. of the oil and, when it starts to shimmer, add the beef. Cook the beef, stirring frequently, until it loses most but not all of its raw color, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a large plate. Add the remaining 2 Tbs. oil and the garlic, ginger, chile flakes, and 1/4 tsp. salt. Stir-fry for 30 seconds. Add the broccoli and 3 Tbs. water and cook, stirring to incorporate any browned bits on the bottom of the pan, until the broccoli warms through, about 1 minute. Stir in the beef, the oyster sauce, and the remaining 2 Tbs. soy sauce; cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Serve immediately.
Recipe source: Fine Cooking
I’m one of those people who get easily overwhelmed with too many choices. I love choices – but then when being faced with too many of them, I tend to revert to what I know. And that approach is definitely applicable for cookies. Like, whenever I crave for cookies, I would go back to my fave chocolate chip cookies. I just want to enjoy something that I know will be good. I just can’t face a disappointment. It is too stressful. Eating should not be stressful. And you may call me snob, but I can’t remember anymore when the last time I ate store-bought cookies. As soon as I discovered baking, and how quick I can get to delicious homemade cookies, I can never go back to store-bought version. My husband, on the other hand, loves cookies – and since I don’t bake them enough at home, he’d take any opportunities that he can to eat them. This new recipe that I tried was a request from him; he thought that it sounded delicious – and while I was hesitated at first, I was glad that he insisted that we tried them. This cookie is actually perfect for someone like me, who wants a little bit of everything in one single bite: oats to make me feel healthy, chocolate chunks for obvious oomph, pecans for a touch of nuttiness, and shredded coconuts for that extra texture. I hope you’re more adventurous than me and give this cookie recipe a try
1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature (1 3/8 sticks)
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup old-fashioned oats
10 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips (or chocolate broken into chunks)
1 1/4 cups pecans, toasted and roughly chopped
1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper (or a silpat).
In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda and salt. Mix in the oats. Toss in the chocolate chips, pecans and coconut and mix to coat everything. Set aside.
Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugars on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Scrape the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Beat in the eggs and vanilla on medium speed until well combined. On low speed, slowly add the flour-oats-chocolate mixture until combined and evenly mixed.
Drop the dough into 1/4-inch balls at least 2″ apart on the cookie sheets and flatten slightly with your palm. Bake for 20-22 minutes until the edges are golden but the centers are still soft. Cook completely on a wire rack before serving.
Source: “Flour: Spectacular Recipes from Boston’s Flour Bakery + Cafe” by Joanne Chang. Copyright © 2011 by Chronicle. All rights reserved.
Is it COLD where you live? Well, we finally went through the SUPER COLD weather, where it was minus 15 to 20 degrees. It has finally warmed up to the tens and twenty degrees. We actually even had a day where it was up to 40s and 50s, and I felt like spring was around the corner. But now it seems like we’re back in the snow storm weather. Regardless of all of the crazy weather, I know that there are other parts of the country that has gotten it much worse than we are here in Iowa. Plus, I could also be working on a job where I have to travel during this kind of weather, so I guess I am still pretty grateful for what we have!
This week is my second week back to work, and I have to say that I already miss my two weeks off during Christmas. It was so nice to be able to just relax, decompress, and get some little things done around the house. We were able to also paint a couple of rooms that needed some fresh paints, organized a couple of rooms, and I am now in the process of putting up window treatments in a few of the rooms. With the weather being this cold, I couldn’t help with turning on my slow-cooker back in action. I love coming home to a pretty yummy and simple meals like this one. As easy and delicious this dish is, I am surprised that it doesn’t show up that often on my menu. I probably eat sloppy joes once or twice a year at the most! I think I am going to start bringing this back into my regular menu rotation though! Stay warm everyone. For those of you who are lucky enough to live in the warmer weather, I am so jealous of you – please send some warm weather my way Have a great weekend!
2 slices high-quality white sandwich bread, torn into quarters
1/4 cup whole milk, skim is also OK
2 lbs 80-85% lean ground beef
Salt and pepper
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 onions, minced
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp chili powder
1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce
1 cup ketchup
2 tsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp hot sauce
8 high quality hamburger buns
8 slices medium cheddar
In a large bowl, mash bread and milk into a paste using a potato masher (or fork). Mix in ground beef, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp pepper, using your hands.
Heat oil in a large skillet until shimmering over medium-high heat. Add onions, garlic, and chili powder. Cook until onions are softened, fragrant and lightly-browned, about 8 to 10 minutes.
Stir in beef mixture, 1 lb at a time, and cook, breaking up any large pieces, until no longer pink, about 5 minutes per pound. Stir in 1 cup tomato sauce. Transfer to slow cooker.
Stir remaining tomato sauce, ketchup, sugar, and hot sauce into the slow cooker. Cover and cook until beef is tender, 7 to 8 hours on low, or 3 to 5 hours on high. I strongly recommend using the low setting, as this recipe can scorch if cooked too high.
Let the meat mixture settle for 5 minutes or so. Remove any fat from the top surface with a spoon. Season with salt and pepper to taste, if necessary. Spoon mixture onto buns and top with a slice of cheddar cheese. Serve hot and with a fork!
Recipe source: The Best of American Test Kitchen 2008
Happy Saturday everyone! A few years ago I tried to make my own granola. I remember that it was the hype of all food bloggers at that time to try some sort of version of homemade granola. But it was meh, just mediocre for me (at least using the recipe that I decided to try). Since then, homemade granola wasn’t high on my list of something I wanted to even try again. I just kind of forgot about it and honestly, was a little hesitated about making them again. I haven’t tried making homemade granola since then. A little voice inside of me told me to just buy them. Recently, my daughter was in the yogurt and granola kick meaning that is all she wanted to eat. Hmm… there are worse food that she could be addicted to. So I began my search for a new homemade granola. And I landed on this one.
So easy to make, and the ingredients were pretty simple. Maybe except wheat germ, not a common household pantry (but if you decide to purchase a glass jar to make this, I can assure that it will be worth it, and you can also use them to make these delightful pancakes!). I made two recipes right away (which again, I don’t normally do unless I highly trust the source of the recipe). And I was glad that I did. We couldn’t eat them fast enough. Since I ended up with two pans, I made one pan with bigger cluster for me and Red – and the second pan, a little smaller cluster for my daughter. I must say that once I tried this, I haven’t bought any more store granola. Try them and let me know if you agree.
3 cups (240 grams) old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup (50 grams) unsweetened shredded or flaked coconut
1 cup (100 grams) walnuts, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup (25 grams) toasted wheat germ
2 tablespoons (30 ml) olive oil
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1/2 cup (120 ml; or increase to a cup if a sweeter granola is preferred) maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 large egg white
1 1/2 cups (215 grams) dried cherries or another dried fruit, diced if large pieces
Preheat your oven to 300 degrees. Combine all ingredients but the egg white and dried fruit in a large bowl, tossing to coat evenly. Whisk the egg white in a small bowl until frothy. Stir into the granola mixture, distributing it throughout. Spread it in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
Bake for 45 to 55 minutes. About halfway through the baking time, use a large spatula to turn over sections of the granola carefully, breaking them up as little as possible. Rotate the pan if granola is baking unevenly. When it is evenly browned and feels dry to the touch, transfer the pan from the oven to the cooling rack. Cool completely. Once it’s completely cool, break up granola into whatever size clusters delight you. Sprinkle in dried fruit.
The granola keeps at room temperature in an airtight container for 2 weeks. It keeps even longer in the freezer.
Yield: 7 cups
Source: Smitten Kitchen Cookbook
Happy New Year everyone, and happy Friday! I took extra two days off work to give me two full weeks off during my Christmas break, and I’m so glad that I did! Not only that it is freaking cold outside, say single digits temperature, and even minus degrees weather wind chill, I really love the luxury of having two full weeks off. So it’s that time of that year that I like to have my annual top recipes in review. I love doing this, because it gives me time to reflect on the recipes that I tried and shared this past year. This may sound like a cliche, but I really can’t believe that this is my fifth blogging year, going on my sixth year. My personal milestone was that we expanded our family, and welcome our second child, a baby boy, back in May earlier this year (he’ll be EIGHT months in the next couple of weeks!!). With this, I took a couple of breaks from blogging and sharing my recipes with you. But I was back on the saddle with a few recipes here and there, and I was grateful for my readers who still faithfully leave comments occasionally, and to my family and friends who email me and tell me all of the recipes they’ve tried from the blog. And of course, if there is anything that you’d like me to add and share, please shoot me an email, and I’d be happy to review those. Have a great weekend everyone, and stay warm!