Thursday, July 17, 2008

Cranberry Cream Cheese Wontons!!

Okay! So it's true, everything I ever cook ends up being something sweet and usually some sort of dessert. I guess I shouldn't be surprised.

A couple days ago, we went to Azia for drinks and ended up ordering something called Cranberry Puffs. They were SO. FREAKING. GOOD. So good in fact, that I knew my craving for more would perhaps never be sedated, and I decided to make some of my own.

Cranberry Cream Cheese Wontons

1 cup cream cheese
1/4 cup cranberries
1 tablespoon milk
1 package of wonton wrappers
1 egg white
oil for frying

In a blender, mix the cream cheese, cranberries, and milk as best as you can. It's difficult to completely blend the cranberries completely so don't even try. It wont matter once it's fried up. Take the wonton wrappers and add about two teaspoons of the mixture and dab it into the middle.

Put a touch of egg white on all four corners and fold it into a triangle. Don't put egg white on all the sides, it's okay if it doesn't close up completely.

Then fry 'em up! Till golden!

Then eat them all! You can eat them with some sweet and sour sauce or with soy sauce if you want, but I liked them plain. You can also share with others, but I think next time they're all mine.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

So after the last post, I wanted to do some of my favorite cuisine, Mexican Food! Mostly we tried the technique mentioned in the last post aaaaand it didn't work out. So instead, I made this all from scratch and (gasp) NO RECIPE! That's right, this one's a Tickles original, baby. Anyway, I hope you try this one out, because it turned out to be one of the best things I've ever made. Also, I love it in particular because it goes along with doing one of my favorite activities...

Here is your shopping list:
  • Ground Pork, about a pound or more
  • 1 Red Pepper, diced
  • 1 Yellow Pepper, diced
  • 1 Yellow Onion, diced
  • 1 Tomato, diced
  • 1 Avocado, sliced (do this right before you eat)
  • 2 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1/2 or 1 Chipotle Pepper in Adobo, seeded
  • 1 can of Black Beans (pronounced frijoles negros)
  • 1 can of Pinto Beans
  • 1 cup rice (plus 1 1/2 cup water)
  • a package of soft corn tortillas
  • a few tbsp. olive oil
  • like, half a thing of corn oil
  • 1 tsp. Oregano
  • 1 tbsp. Cumin
  • 6-pack Delicious Mexican Beer (optional)
Seriously, if you have the spices and oil, it'll only cost you like $13. Plus it feeds a large family. 

Ok, so let's make this dish!
 You'll only be needing one large pan and two pots for this. Hopefully, one of those pots is a magnelite because you'll be frying in it. First, chop up the peppers (not the chipotle), onion, and tomato and mix them all to
gether in a bowl or just anywhere. Now open the can of chipotles, bask in their glorious aroma, reach in and pull one out. They look gross don't they? Cut it in half and remove the seeds. You can either use both halves or one. I used one and it wasn't spicy at all. Remove the pork and mix it in a bowl with a clove of garlic, oregano, cumin and some of the excess adobo from the can of chipotles. Don't put any adobo on your finger and taste it, its hot, take my word for it. Set that aside. Open the cans of beans and drain the excess liquids. You are now ready to start actually cooking. Have a beer.

Put the oil in the large skillet and turn the heat to medium-high. Wait for it to warm up and simmer the remaining clove of garlic in it until it just begins to change colors and smells glorious. Dump all those veggies you just diced in and stir a few times. Add salt and pepper and stir fry until they become tender, a few minutes, but do not remove. Now's a good time to start cooking the rice. Just follow the directions on the package or use a rice cooker if you're fancy. Hopeful
ly your skillet is big enough for this trick. You want to cook the meat so it absorbs as much of the juices as possible, so push the veggies to the sides of the skillet, leaving a big circle in the middle where the heat is concentrated. Go ahead and plop that meat on and let it cook. You'll need to break it up with a spatula or a spoon, but try to keep it centrally located. Let that cook for a bit until its almost brown all over. 

Pour the corn oil into another pot and put it under high heat. Get some paper towels ready on a plate, some sort of metal grasper, and however many tortillas you want. Let the oil heat up and move back to the skillet. Empty both cans of beans into it and add the chipotle pepper and some more adobo. Let that simmer and stir occasionally. About 5 minutes or until everything tastes good. Its basically Chili at this point so you can cook it forever and it'll just keep getting better.

Now, th
e oil should be hot(ttttt). To test, lightly wet your hand and flick a few drops of water into it. If it pops, you're ready. Put a tortilla into the oil and submerge. Fry until golden brown and place on the towels, separating layers with towels. Have another beer.

Hopefully, the rice is ready. You're almost done! Halve the avocado, remove the pit  and scoop the halves out with a spoon. and slice. If you're saving any for later, coat in lime or lemon juice so they don't brown.

To serve, scoop  rice onto the tortilla and cover in the filling. Top with a slice of avocado. Serve with another beer. These are kind of a mess to eat if you aren't careful, so you might want to grab a fork. These can be nice for parties since individually, you can make about 12-15.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Make Red Beef Curry

Anna and I were really hungry the other night and since I love cooking meals so much I decided we would go to the grocery store without a plan and just see what we could find. This is a good suggestion for all you people out there who can't put together a shopping list for a meal because you can't decide on one. TURN TO MARTHA!

Seriously guys, Martha Stewart puts out this handy little digest called Everyday Food and you can just run and pick it up when you get to the store and pick out a meal. Easy peasy 'ca
use then you got your shopping list right there! So we found this great little recipe for red beef curry. Now its not super authentic, but nonetheless pretty good for a lazy night inside watching Chuck Jones Cartoons.

Now, I'm gonna try to remember the recipe for you guys, but I'm sure whatever I tell you, if not exactly the same, will be nonetheless delish.

What you'll need:

BEEF - about a pound of sirloin cut into inch-wide strips
2 red bell peppers - cut into thin slices. we used yellow, but I bet it would be good with one of each
1 red onion - halved and thinly sliced
1 can of coconut milk
1 tbsp. red curry paste
1 package of pasta - we used whole wheat spaghetti, but I think the recipe called for angel hair
a few tbsp. vegetable oil
1 cup fresh oregano or a few tbsp
salt and pepper to taste - doy

Ok, first thing, get a pretty decent sized frying pan, you'll be fitting the peppers and onions in here later. Put a bit of the oil in the pan and put it on a medium high heat. while its warming up, generously season the beef with salt and pepper. If you have a preferred rub then use that. When the oil is hot, place half the beef in the skillet and cook for about 2 minutes or until it looks a little seared on that side. Remove meat (only cook on one side, it will cook more later) set aside and repeat using the rest of the meat and more oil. About this time, start to cook the pasta. You know how to do that, right?

Now, using the same skillet, cook the onion and peppers with about half a cup of water. Cook until tender and most of the water is gone, a f
ew minutes. Now its time for the coconut milk and the curry paste. Go ahead and put the beef back in too. Mix it all aroun
d and cook until the sauce thickens and you want to eat it. Oh, you should stir it occasionally to make sure it cooks evenly. When that's taken care of, add the oregano and let it cool. 

Serve over the pasta you just made and put it in your mouth. It serves 4 people or 3 fatties.

Salmon with Mango Salsa

So for me and Alec’s one-year anniversary, and me we made ourselves a fancy little dinner.
This dish was also an adulterated form of a Betty Crocker recipe (thank you, Anna).
We covered the salmon with a little brown sugar before grilling it on the George Foreman grill, and we served it with a mango salsa. I changed Betty’s recipe though because I am so fond of Gwen’s mango salsa so I combined the two. I used one mango, about a third of a tomato and maybe four or five green onions diced, with a little bit of garlic and lime juice. Cilantro would have been good but I never buy it because I can never use it up before it goes bad. And I made that a head of time so that it could set for a while before the meal.

We also had a bottle of wine that Aydin brought back from his trip to Iran.

Zucchini Bread

This is an adulterated form of Betty Crocker recipe. I think it tastes a lot better because I used mostly brown sugar instead of all white which gives it a much richer flavor, and I also reduce the total amount of sugar a little bit and make it cholesterol free by using only egg whites.

Two or three shredded zucchinis
1 and 1/6 cup brown sugar
1/6 cup white sugar
2/3 cups vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 or 4 egg whites
3 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 tea spoon salt
1-teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2-teaspoon ground cloves
1/2-teaspoon baking powder
1/2 half cup chopped nuts if desired

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix zucchini with all the wet ingredients. Then add dry ingredients. This just makes the stirring go a bit smoother. If you wanted you could mix the wet and dry separately in different bowls but I don't like to dirty more dishes than necessary.

Then grease your pan. This recipe should fill two loaf pans, either 8-inch pans for 50-60 minutes or 9-inch pans for 1 hour 10 or 1 hour 20 minutes.

As I am in college and I don't like to store a gazillion different utensils in my small apartment only to pack them up and move them every other semester, I use an 8 by 8 inch glass brownie tray and bake it for about 1 hour 10 or 20 minutes and that has always worked out fine. Although you should make sure to take the bread out of the pan before cutting it and cut it into long strips and then cut those in half. Don't cut it into giant cubes because they will not be able to fit into your toaster.

After baking, let the bread cool for 10 minutes in the pan. Then remove it from the pan and let it cool on a wire rack (if available) for 2 more hours. If you don't do this the bread will be very crumbly when you cut it, but if that doesn't bother you than by all means dig in while it's warm and gooey.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Delicious Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins


I made  pumpkin chocolate chip muffins  yesterday and they were deeeeeeeeeeelicious, just like the bread they have at spyhouse but BETTER because it was moister and just tastier overall.

When I made them, I added 3/4 cup of chips instead of half a cup, and I didn't add nutmeg.  But they would be delicious either way.

The website's great, too, I made a delicious new pizza crust I found on there where you knead basil and garlic into the crust.  It was ridiculously good.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

I can't handle it

it just all looks so amazing!!! Every single recipe. But to be honest It's all about the pictures. I won't even look at a recipe if there are no pictures, and I won't make it if they're bad photos. BUT THESE ARE SO WONDERFUL!


for example: