Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Strawberry Ghosts

Happy Halloween!

J. and I started dating a little over two years ago in September 2010 so the first holiday when we were dating was Halloween. When we started dating I didn't have this blog and we didn't do nearly as much cooking, but we really liked to bake together. These Pillsbury ghost cookies were one of the first things we baked together so when I saw this recipe to make strawberry ghosts I knew that would be a perfect recipe for us to make together for Halloween. You can find the original recipe here.

If you're looking for this week's soup Wednesday post check here.

See another Vegetarian & Cooking! post with strawberries -- Chocolate Covered Strawberry Shots.

-30 fresh strawberries
-8 ounces white baking chocolate, chopped
-1 teaspoon shortening
-1/8 teaspoon almond extract
-1/4 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips

This wasn't the first time that I had melted chocolate, use the microwave on half power and microwave the chocolate for 30 seconds, stirring in between.

Dip all of the strawberries in the white chocolate and press two mini chocolate chip eyes onto each strawberry before the chocolate hardens. It helps to have a partner for this part. 
Strawberries with just eyes. 
Once all of the strawberries have eyes, freeze them for 5 minutes. 
Once the chocolate is hardened on the strawberries melt the remaining mini chocolate chips in the microwave and then draw on mouths using a toothpick or skewer.

These were so fun to make and tasted delicious! Two more pictures before I go, I found this card in a specialty shop a few weeks ago and it was too cute not to buy.

A deliciously wicked Halloween indeed. Keep checking back daily because I have a lot of really great recipes lined up for November.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Minestrone Soup

2,400+ views, wow, happy Soup Wednesday! I know that it's Tuesday, but I have the cutest recipe planned for Halloween tomorrow so we decided to post Becky's soup recipe today. Aren't you glad we didn't keep you waiting? 

For this week's soup, I decided to try minestrone. I based this recipe off of the one I found here.

Other Soup Wednesday recipes:
Week 3
Week 2
Week 1

-2 tablespoons olive oil
-1/4 cup chopped zucchini
-1/4 cup green beans
-1/4 cup minced celery (about 1/2 stalk)
-2 2 cloves garlic

-4 cups vegetable broth
-1 (15 ounce)can red kidney beans, drained
-1 (15 ounce)can small white beans or great northern beans, drained
-1 /2 (14 ounce) can diced tomatoes
-1/2 cup carrots, shredded
-2 tablespoons parsley
-1 teaspoons salt
-1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
-1/2 teaspoon dried basil
-1/4 Italian seasoning
-1 1/2 cups hot water
-1/2 can spinach
-1 cup ditalini pasta
-Parmesan cheese

The original recipe called for fresh vegetables, but I used canned for the zucchini (I used zucchini in tomato sauce), green beans, and spinach (the original called for 3 cups of fresh spinach, the amount I used was plenty). It probably would be better with fresh vegetables, but since there were so many ingredients, it was easier canned, and it turned out fine. Also, the original called for only 1/3 cup of pasta, but I really like pasta in my soup so I added a lot more, and minestrone generally has onion but I left that out.

Heat the olive oil, and saute the garlic, zucchini, green beans, and celery.
Add the rest of the ingredients, other than the spinach and pasta.
Bring to a boil, and simmer for 20 minutes.
Add spinach and pasta, and cook for another 20 minutes.

I added some Parmesan cheese on top.
I really like minestrone soup, and this was a good version. It made a lot, 8 servings, but it is easy to freeze and microwave later for an easy meal.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Cheesy Quinoa Cakes with Garlic & Lemon Aioli

My dad has been asking me to make a recipe with quinoa for months because there are so many benefits. You might be surprised to know that trying new things makes me a little nervous, especially things that I have never heard of before. When I found this recipe I was certain that even if quinoa wasn't that great itself, that the cheese and garlic would help.

I couldn't find plain quinoa at any of the stores I usually shop at (I know, I should have looked at a specialty store) so I used a pre-packaged garlic quinoa.


Cheesy Quinoa Cakes
-2 cups cooked quinoa
-2/3 cup grated mozarella cheese
-3 tablespoons all purpose flour
-2 green onions, thinly sliced
-1 egg, lightly beaten
-2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
-2 ½ tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
-salt to taste

-½ cup light mayonnaise
-1 head of garlic, roasted
-1 lemon, zested and juiced
-¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
-salt and pepper to taste

Cook the qunioa.
Mix all ingredients together except for the oil, use this to cook the cakes in a skillet. I made mine on a griddle.

Make 8-10 cakes and cook for five minutes on each side. 
Little quinoa cakes.
Cooked cakes. 
Mix together all of the ingredients for the aioli together. 

Serve the aioli with the finished quinoa cakes. 

J. and I couldn't figure out what was off about this recipe, I think using garlic quinoa made a huge difference and not in a good way -- if you plan on making this you should use plain quinoa. Also, the garlic & lemon aioli was very lemony it would have been fine with just a tablespoon of lemon, but an entire lemon juiced plus zest was too much. I'll try to find another quinoa recipe to try, I won't give up yet. 

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Easy Orange Muffins

J is a big fan of loaf cakes (see the Limoncello Lemon Cake blog) so when I saw this recipe for Orange Loaf Cake I knew I needed to make it. It also helped that I had all of the ingredients at home except for an orange so it turned out to be a pretty good deal.

When I made the Limoncello Lemon Cake it took forever to cook in my oven so I decided to modify this recipe to make muffins instead so that they would be done sooner.

I modified this recipe for Orange Loaf Cake, the biggest changes were that the recipe used cake flour (I used all purpose). I used the conversion provided by the recipe which you can find here, I included the conversion down below also. I also used the entire egg, rather than using just the egg white.

-1-3/4 cup flour (spoon 3 TBS back into your flour)
-1 cup Sugar
-2 tsp Baking Powder
-1/2 tsp salt
-1/2 cup Vegetable Oil
-1 cup Orange juice
-Zest of one orange
-2 eggs
-2 tbsp confectioner's sugar for dusting

Mix all of the dry ingredients together, blend in the oil and orange juice. Add the orange zest and eggs. You should have a lumpy batter. 

Batter, look at that orange zest!
Pour the batter into a greased muffin tin.

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a tooth pick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.
Cool and then dust with powdered sugar. 
These muffins were very moist with a light orange flavor. I think I prefer lemon recipes better, but that's just my personal preference overall these were a huge success.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Pancake Squares

Happy 115th Vegetarian & Cooking! blog post. 

J. loves pancakes, but he's not so great at making them. This recipe seemed like the perfect solution because I hate standing over the stove flipping pancakes while everyone else is enjoying a cup of coffee. This recipe allows you to enjoy pancakes without all of the work. You can find the original here.

Ingredients: -3/4 cup milk
-2 T. melted butter
-1 large egg
-1 T. sugar
-1 cup flour
-2 t. baking powder
-1/4 t. salt

Preheat the oven to 350 and grease a 8x8 pan.

In a mixing bowl beat the milk, butter and egg together. Add the sugar, then slowly incorporate the flour, baking powder and salt.

Pour into the pan and spread out, bake 20-25 minutes. 
Slice and serve with butter and syrup. 

This recipe was okay. It was super easy to make and did taste like pancakes, but ours turned out really dense so the texture was a little off. The original post showed light, fluffy pancake squares so I'm guessing that we mixed the batter too much. I'll let you know if I redo this recipe to see if it turns out better! Overall the taste was good so if you try this, don't over mix! 

Friday, October 26, 2012

Pumpkin Seeds Two Ways

We went pumpkin picking this past weekend and it was so much fun. I love pumpkin seeds, but they are very simple so I decided to try out two new recipes for pumpkin seeds to spice things up a little. You can find the original recipes here

Sweet & Spicy Pumpkin Seeds
-1 egg white
-1/4 cup natural cane sugar
-1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
-scant 1/2 teaspoon fine grained sea salt
-1 cup fresh pumpkin seeds

Black Tea & Butter Pumpkin Seeds
-1 teaspoon (black) tea
-3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
-scant 1/2 teaspoon fine grained sea salt
-1 cup fresh pumpkin seeds

Here's our pumpkin, we needed to keep it safe on the way home.

Look at all of those seeds.
Rinse the seeds well and leave them out to dry a little.
I left my seeds on the counter for a few hours. 
For the Sweet and Spicy Seeds: Mix all of the ingredients in a bowl and then strain. You really need to try to get all of the egg white off of the seeds. Spread in one layer on a lined baking sheet and bake for 12 minutes at 350. Sprinkle with more cayenne and sugar once the seeds are out of the oven.

Sweet and Spicy.
As you can see I didn't quite get all of the egg white off of the seeds, but overall these were really good. There was a little bit of heat and a nice sweetness. If you have a pumpkin with a lot of seeds divide some out and try this recipe.

For the Black Tea & Butter Seeds: Grind the tea up finely (I used a bowl and the back of a spoon), coat the seeds in butter and sprinkle them with a little black tea. Spread the seeds in a single layer on a lined baking sheet and bake for 12 minutes at 350. Sprinkle with more tea once the seeds come out of the oven.

Black Tea & Butter Seeds.
The black tea seeds were okay, there was more flavor than traditional pumpkin seeds with salt have, but I think the sweet and salty seeds were much better. I just used a simple blend of black and orange pekoe tea, I think if you had a more flavorful blend of tea then these would be much better.

Happy pumpkin carving :)

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Apple Butter Cookies

A few weeks ago, we went apple picking and made a lot of apple recipes afterwards like fall sangriaapple pie, and applesauce. I also bought some apple butter, and needed another use for it. I found the original recipe for these cookies here.

-1/4 cup butter, softened
-1 cup packed brown sugar
-1 egg
-1/2 cup quick-cooking oats
-1/2 cup apple butter
-1 cup all-purpose flour
-1/2 teaspoon baking soda
-1/2 teaspoon baking powder
-1/2 teaspoon salt
-2 tablespoons milk
-1/2 cup raisins

Mix together the softened butter and brown sugar.
Add the apple butter, oats, and egg. Beat.

Add flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and milk.
Beat until smooth.
Stir in the raisins.
You can refrigerate the batter for a bit so it is thicker and easier to spoon out.
Bake at 350 for 15 minutes.

These cookies were a good fall recipe. The best part was how good the kitchen smelled while they were baking.