Monday, August 31, 2009

Carol's Cookies

Let me tell you about my favorite cookie in the world. The most amazingly delicious cookie in the world really. I crave it daily. Lucky for me, I live close to someone who sells them. I would be sad knowing that the only time I could have one is when I go to Whole Foods. But luckily Libertyville Sunset Foods has hooked me up. "The Combo" : it marries peanut butter cookie dough with chocolate fudge cookie dough. I can't tell you the love I have for this cookie. It's about 4 inches thick I kid you not. It's the perfect amount of crumble to softness. I am not a crunchy cookie person and this one is just amazingly tender with a little crumb to it. If you ever have the chance to have a Carol's Cookie please do. And if you ever feel like you want to send me a wonderful gift simply head to Carols Cookies online and place your order.

Getting excited for fall

It's interesting how once summer begins, you don't want to even think about fall or winter. All you want to do is get out of the house and enjoy the weather. Once summer is coming to an end and September is creeping up on you, you face the reality of it all and start to look forward to fall. I guess I am speaking for myself. Yeah, I still hate winter. But fall has always been my favorite time of the year. I love the smell of the air, the turning of the leaves, the fall harvest, pumpkins, Halloween, and most of all, the food. I look forward to all of those warming dishes like soups and stews, squash, cinnamon studded desserts, hot tea. They just feel so good, so homey.

This weekend when I was back in Iowa for my little sisters wedding shower, I made my first fall dessert of the year. My other little sister is pregnant and I felt like I needed to hook her up. She loves snickerdoodles and these were an interesting treat that I couldn't resist making. The really really sad part of it all is that I didn't even get to try them and they looked amazing. After I took them out, we had to bolt to the shower and they had to set up for an hour before being cut. So unfortunately I didn't get to try them. I don't mind though, because I will be making them again. They were so easy and made a large batch. Pumpkin Pie Snickerdoodle Bars. I didn't have white chocolate so that didn't make it to the top. It think it would be just fine with the generous sprinkling of cinnamon and sugar that it calls for. I did add an extra tablespoon of sugar and with that one I used dark brown sugar to give it some depth. I apologize for the horrible picture. A picture of a piece of them would have been a lot more apealing. I have been slacking on my food photos and I apologize for that.

A few weeks back I made a really delicious chicken burger. I was very leery about making burgers with ground chicken but I had some breast meat groud up that I needed to use and had no clue what else to do with it. I must say that they turned out really really good and really moist. I did serve them in whole wheat pitas with some mango chutney. They were really really tasty. I ended up sharing them with a friend of mine who loves India food, as these do have a little bit of that Indian flare. Rachael Ray of course. I never thought that I would be cooking so much of her food but I must say, ever since I made the Sloppy Joes for Veg Heads and loved them that I haven't had one bad thing from her. My favorite dip is from her too. I have been making that a lot as well.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

My girl

I love Ellie Krieger. She is wrote my favorite cook book. I make her things all of the time and yet again she pleased me. Her book is called The Food You Crave. I have made many many things out of it and some of them several times. This time was a pasta. Super amazing and super simple. Linguini with shrimp.


I am trying to make things out of what we have and to be honest with you, we have some good things to work with. I have a pablano pepper in the fridge that is calling out to me. I think I am going to make a salad of it with some jicama, mango, red onion, black beans, chipotle, some adobo, cilantro, garlic maybe, red pepper maybe and some lime. Whoa. Sounds amazing. I just came up with that in my mind right now. Yummy. Maybe leave out the black beans. We shall see. I am going to a shin dig this weekend; a family picnic affair and maybe I could take it to that. Yum. It's always good to bring something you really love, that way if there is nothing else you would like, you are home free eatin on your dish.

So I just came up with something and have it in the oven as we speak. It's roasted potatoes. I had some red potatoes and one sweet potato just sitting there and half a red onion. So I cubed up the taters, sliced up the onions, tossed them with two tablespoons of evoo, 1 tsp Adobo seasoning with cumin, and one teaspoon of chipotle pepper. It is going to be really yummy I have a feeling. I can't wait to give it a try. They are roasting away and I will save them for later tonight. I have to try and do more cooking while the little one sleeps, that way I have more time for her when she is awake. I will let you know how it comes out. You know, it's so easy to come up with your own recipes if you cook a lot. Use recipes and then once you learn the flavors that go well together, it makes it easy to come up with your own recipes with what you have on hand.

I am also concocting a recipe in my mind. You don't really see too many cold salad recipes that are Asian. So I think I am going to do one with some brown rice, edamame (soy beans), green onion, mushrooms maybe, cilantro maybe, crushed peanuts maybe, some sesame oil and rice vinegar maybe some ginger. We shall see. I love Asian and I love healthy foods so this salad may be just what I am looking for. I will let you know as soon as I get it perfected.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Something new

Yesterday I had been feeling a major meat overload from eating pork tacos all weekend so I need to have some veggies. I decided to come up with something on my own. This is what I came up with.

1 box of whole wheat cous cous (you can make less if you wish)
1 pint cherry tomatoes halved
3 small shallots minced
3 garlic cloves minced
1 bunch of asparagus cut into 1 inch pieces
2 small zucchini cut into 1/2 in cubes
1 yellow pepper chopped
1/2 cup basil chopped
olive oil
two lemons
salt/pepper to taste

Prepare the cous cous according to directions. Place in a large bowl and fluff. Meanwhile heat a large skilled and add 2 tablespoons of evoo. Add the shallots and garlic and cook about a minute, before adding zucchini. After about 5 minutes, or when the zucchini is softened somewhat, remove from the pan and place in the bowl with cous cous. Add the asparagus to the hot pan adding more oil if needed. Cover and cook about 2 minutes or until slightly tender. Don't over cook. Add the cooked asparagus, halved tomatoes, yellow pepper and basil. In a small bowl place the juice of two lemons, zest of one lemon, one clove garlic, salt, pepper, and 2 T evoo. Whisk together and drizzle over the top of the salad. Toss together and enjoy. You can eat if warm, but it will be much better after it's cooled in the fridge. Enjoy.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Rick Bayless Obsession

Me and Jason have the most major Rick Bayless obsession. Well, Jason's is a little deeper than mine, but I too love him. He is ranked one of the best chefs in the country and we are so lucky to have him in the great city of Chicago. We have been to his restaurant Frontera Grill two times and his more casual Frontera Fresca in Macy's more than a handful of times. We were so happy to discover that he added tacos to the menu. I have tried the shrimp, chicken, and pork. There are also vegetable and a steak.

Recently Rick was on the Morning Show cooking one pot dishes. After seeing him make this one, I had to try it. We made it the other night and not only was it super simple, but fast and amazing in flavor. This dish is a prime example of two things. One, great food doesn't have to be difficult to put on the table and two, simple ingredients are the best ingredients. This is a dish that anyone and everyone should try to make. I have to say, my beef turned out a little tough. I am going to try making it one time with rotisserie chicken and maybe once with pork. I loved this dish.

I served it up with my new favorite rice and beans recipe. Such a simple recipe, again, yet so so good. I could live off this stuff. And the Adobo seasoning is my new favorite spice mix. I have been putting it on everything. It comes in different varieties. The one I got is with cumin. I love it so much and highly recommend it. It may be found in your Mexican food section of the grocery store.

The recipe is for Spicy Chipotle Beef. It's the first recipe listed and you can also enjoy a video of him cooking it live on the show. Please try this one and enjoy.