Sunday, April 18, 2010

Banana Bread

Difficulty Rating:

I know! I know. It's been forever. I know. Please don't hate me. I have, like, three things to post up, and will do so soon, my lovelies. I promise. In the meantime, here is some delicious bread to take your mind off it. :D


1 2/3 cups Self Rising Flour
1 tsp Cinnamon
1 c + 2 tbls Sugar
2 eggs
1/2 c vegetable oil
3 1/2 overripe bananas, mashed
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbls sour cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a breadpan. Mix flour and cinnamon and set aside. Mix bananas, sour cream, and vanilla and set aside.

In a bowl, whisk together sugar and eggs for ten minutes. Slowly whisk in oil. Stir in banana mixture. Add flour mixture. Pour into breadpan and bake 45-60 mins depending on oven. Let cool ten minutes before serving.


I mean, just look at that recipe. So easy! Let's get to it!


Get the oven and pan ready. Once again, I use Crisco to grease things because it makes them extra delicious. As you can see from the picture, I already dumped the cinnamon into the flour, so no big deal there.

Then mash up your bananas with either a handheld potato masher or a fork - they're overripe, so this should be really easy.

Add in the sour cream and vanilla and mix it all up into a gooey mess, then put it aside.

Now comes the arm-killing part. Whisking. Ugh. Add the eggs in with the sugar...

...and then spend the next ten minutes wishing you'd worked out more. Seriously, nothing makes you feel more like a loser than realizing how weak of a whisker you are. But do it! Ten minutes! Time yourself, you gotta get it all delicious!

Then just slowly drizzle the oil in and whisk it. I usually just dump a little in and then whisk, repeat repeat repeat. For a 1/2 cup of oil, it should take you about six or seven rounds. When you're done, it'll be all shiny like pearls. Preeeeeetty.

Now dump that in with the 'Naner mixture and stir it up good.

And then dump the flour in and mix it. It won't get thick like dough; it'll still be way more like cake batter than bread dough, as seen below when I poured it into the breadpan:

Throw that sucker in the oven and bake it for 45-60 minutes. My oven only takes 45 minutes because it cooks like a boss. When you pull it out, take a moment to enjoy the golden deliciosity of it all!

Mmmmm. I am an asshole, and wanted some RIGHT NOW so I cut into it immediately. Which is why in this picture you can see both the steam coming off of it, and also how it slumps a little once it's cut - that's because I didn't give it time to settle and solidify. Don't do like me. Unless, like me, you don't give a damn what it looks like and just want the nummy in your belly.

If you're feeling especially fond of fatassery, put a smidge of butter on it while it's still hot. You'll thank me for it. I promise. :D

Monday, January 25, 2010

Asparagus, Prosciutto, and Mozzarella Pasta

Difficulty Rating:

To make up for all of the meat-free recipes I've been doing lately, here's one with delicious prosciutto, the yummiest of the Italian meats. Mmmm.


2 pounds asparagus, trimmed
3/4 pound spaghetti
4 tablespoons olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto, cut crosswise into strips
6 ounces smoked mozzarella cheese, diced (about 1 cup)
6 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh basil leaves

Cook the asparagus in a large pot of boiling salted water until crisp tender, about 2 to 3 minutes. With a spider or slotted spoon, remove asparagus from boiling water to a bowl of ice water to cool and stop the cooking. When cool, strain, cut asparagus into 1-inch pieces, and set aside.

Return the water in the pot to a boil, adding additional water, if necessary. Add the pasta and cook until al dente, tender but still firm to the bite, about 8 minutes. Drain the pasta, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid.

Heat the oil in a heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant, about 20 seconds. Add asparagus to the skillet. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Add the pasta, and if needed, some of the reserved cooking liquid. Toss to coat. Add the prosciutto, mozzarella, and basil, and toss to combine. Turn off the heat. Season with salt and pepper, to taste, and serve.


This has a bit of a longer recipe than the ones I've been doing lately, but it's actually very quick and easy to make. Just chop up everything beforehand, and then it's a matter of throwing it in the pot.

First things first!


First you chop up all the mozzarella cheese. Put it in a cup or bowl or something and fill it with water to keep the cheese moist.

Then chop up the prosciutto into strips.

Chop the basil up as well. Then you boil the asparagus for a couple minutes until it turns bright green and is cooked but still crisp.

Take the asparagus out (I just used a spaghetti spoon) and put it in iced, cold water to stop it from cooking.

Keep the water boiling and use it to cook the pasta. Once the pasta is done, keep a cup of the water and drain the rest. While the pasta is cooking, chop the asparagus into pieces about 1-inch long.

Now comes the part where you put it all together!

Heat the oil and cook the garlic for half a minute to get it started cooking. Add the asparagus and salt & pepper. Cook it for a minute to get the asparagus all garlicky and extra delicious.

Now, add the pasta.

You'll have to use some of the liquid because otherwise the pasta is too dry to stir and it'll stick to itself. Just use enough so you can mix it up.

Now you add the meat, cheese, and basil and toss it for another minute or so before you turn off the heat. This'll get the cheese to melt a little, but it'll keep the pasta and garlic from burning.

Then you serve it with a bit of parmesan to sprinkle on top!

Nummy meat and asparagus! And cheese and pasta! Here you go, another fancy and delicious meal made in under twenty minutes. And you thought you didn't have time to cook.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Stuffed Mushrooms

Difficulty Rating:

This is another delicious appetizer recipe that should keep your guests happy. And it's another meat-free dish, so your vegetarian friends will be happy. Assuming they still eat cheese. And if they don't eat cheese, you shouldn't be friends with them.

I'm not kidding. That's how you tell they're evil.


24 fresh mushrooms, stems removed
1 (10-ounce package) frozen chopped spinach
2 ounces cream cheese
4 ounces feta cheese
1/2 cup finely chopped green onion, with tops
1 cup grated Parmesan

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Wipe mushroom caps clean with a damp paper towel. Thaw spinach in a colander; squeeze out as much moisture as possible. In mixing bowl, combine all ingredients except mushrooms and Parmesan. Mix well. Fill mushroom caps with mixture and place on a cookie sheet. Sprinkle Parmesan on top. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes. Serve warm.


Apparently I forgot a picture of the ingredients again, which makes me a bad person, but not as bad as people who don't eat cheese.

First thing's first though - you'll need to cap your mushrooms. Grocery stores will usually sell white mushrooms for stuffing, and they're nice and big with plenty of room for sticking stuff. I used brown mushrooms, and had a bunch of tiny ones, but it wasn't that big a deal.

Make sure you wash your mushrooms! They are grown in poop. You do not want to eat poop. Wash 'em off. Don't scrub them because that'll bruise the caps and make them brown and mushy, but just wipe them clean under the faucet using your fingers. Then you just wiggle the stem a little and pull it out. If some of the stem sticks in the bottom, just dig it out with a fingernail.

Once you've got that done, put your stuffing together. Now, I defrost the spinach the same way for this as I do for the spinach-artichoke dip - 5 minutes in the microwave, then squeeze out the excess water. I don't have all day for sittin' around watching spinach thaw, dammit.

Mush everything together except for the parmesan. Now, the original recipe is a Paula Dean one, and I dislike a lot of her recipes simply because they say things like "1 tbls House Seasoning" with a little link to how to make Paula's seasoning. Emeril does this too. How lazy can you freaking be - just give the seasonings you use, I'm not a Follower of the Church of Paula Dean so I don't have specially labeled pre-made spice mixtures to use with your specific recipes. Sheesh. Anyway, I used a spoonful of minced garlic (you can use a tbls garlic powder instead), a tsp each of salt and pepper, and a pinch of cayenne to give it a bit of a kick. Just a pinch though. Tiny peeench.

Then you just use a spoon and scoop it into your mushroom caps. I like to cook them in a casserole dish since it keeps the juices from dripping all over your stove. Just spray it with some cooking spray or grease it with a little oil to keep them from sticking.

Cover them with the parmesan cheese - a cup may seem like a lot, but that's only if you sprinkle them. COVER THEM. It is delicious.

Bake 'em at 350 until the cheese turns brown on top and the mushrooms release their juices (porny, non?), about 15-20 minutes.

Jenny really likes the mushrooms. She doesn't let anyone else eat them. No one tries, because she has the crazy eyes.

Zombie mushrooooooooms...

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Hot Spinach and Artichoke Dip

Difficulty Rating:

Hot yummy delicious appetizers, coming up!


1 10-oz pack frozen chopped spinach
2 (13 3/4 oz) cans artichoke hearts
1/2 c. mayo
1/2 c. sour cream
1 c. freshly grated Parmesan
1 c. grated pepper-jack cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a casserole dish.

Heat spinach in microwave 5 mins & squeeze dry. Drain artichokes and coarsely chop either in food processor or by hand.

Combine everything but the pepper-jack. Scrape into casserole dish, sprinkle with pepper-jack, and bake for 30 minutes.


So simple, and delicious at the same time. This is an excellent dish when you have a bunch of people coming over and you need something to stuff in their pie-holes. :)


The recipe pretty much tells you all you need to know. I used jarred artichokes instead of canned because that's what they had at Costco, but the canned ones are actually better in my opinion.

First, chop up all the artichokes. I just do it by hand because I hate cleaning the food chopper when I don't have to.

Chop chop chop.

While you're doing that, stick the frozen spinach in the microwave for five minutes. Once it's done, it might be completely dry or it might have some liquid in the bottom, it really depends on your microwave. If it's got liquid in it, just smoosh it out with a spoon and drain it.

Then you just mix everything in a big bowl...

...then scrape it into a greased dish and cover with more cheese.

Bake for thirty minutes, and bam! Nummy dip for to dip things in!

I recommend some cubed sourdough bread, which is what we used, or any kind of thick, heavy bread. And if you have leftovers and are just looking for something to snack on, I usually spread it on a toasted bagel.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Salmon Dinner

Difficulty Rating:

Tonight, dear reader(s), I am making you an entire meal. An entire meal for just 2 cookies. I know, I know, you're thinking this might be an early April Fool's prank, but I promise you that you can do it too. Now, there was a really good article about how ridiculous and yet overwhelmingly prevalent the idea of being "too stupid to cook" is, and since it goes along wonderfully with the entire point of this blog, I think you should take a second to read it and realize that you can cook. You can do it. And here's an entire meal, front to back, that you can put together yourself.

Admittedly, the asparagus ain't that healthy since I boiled it in butter, but I needed a sauce for the rice and I was feeding three people. So... shut up. Now, there's only a recipe for the main entree, Baked Salmon with Blackberry-Ginger Glaze, because I literally made up the rest of it on the fly. I actually wasn't going to make dessert but I had all this delicious blackberry goo left over so I turned it into a nummy dessert sauce. So while I will list the recipe for the salmon, I'll explain the asparagus and the blackberry tart as well.

Here we go!


1 c. water
12 oz. blackberries
1 (1-inch) piece of ginger, peeled and sliced into coins
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/4 c. sugar
1 tbls olive oil
4 (8-oz) skinless salmon fillets
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a small saucepot over medium-high heat, combine water, blackberries, ginger and lemon juice. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook until berries break down, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and strain into a bowl, using the back of a spoon to push blackberry pulp through. Return blackberry mixture to the sauce pot, add sugar and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer until reduced by half, about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally to avoid burning. Remove from heat and let cool.

Brush a baking sheet with olive oil and set fillets on top. Brush fillets with oil and season with salt and pepper. Once blackberry mixture is cool, brush over salmon fillets and bake for 4 minutes. Brush again with blackberry mixture. Turn oven to broil and broil another 3 minutes.


First of all, DO NOT preheat your oven right now. Seriously, you only need the oven for the last 7 minutes of a half-hour recipe, so you'll just be wasting your time and sweating all over your kitchen.

Now. Um. What comes next? Oh, yes.


These are just the ingredients for the salmon. For the rest, you'll need a bunch of asparagus, minced garlic, a stick of butter, and rice (any kind, we like basmati). For the dessert, you'll need either whipped cream or heavy whipping cream and sugar to make your own as we did, pound cake, and vanilla ice cream. I seriously got it all at the gas station downstairs. No, really. I looked at the blackberry goo and then ran downstairs to get stuff to make a dessert.

So. What to do! This is all about the sauce. Everything else takes five minutes.

First, dump the water, blackberries, lemon juice, and ginger into a saucepan. I didn't have fresh ginger, so I used a tablespoon of powdered ginger.

Cook that for about 5-10 minutes until the berries get all mushy. As a fun scientific note, the blackness will leech out of the berries and into the liquid, leaving them looking like raspberries. Fun!

Once that's all good, strain the stuff to get all the seeds and solids out, but be sure to use the spoon to squish as much through the strainer as you can. Now this is the point where I looked at all the seedy gooey goodness and said... hey, I can add sugar to that and make it delicious. Mmm.

When you're done, pour the liquid back into the pot and reduce it by half. This took me about twenty minutes just like the recipe said.

At this point I started the rice, and at around ten minutes I started the asparagus, so the rest of the meal gets cooked while the sauce reduces since all you're doing it stirring it every five minutes to make sure it doesn't stick to the bottom.

In another small pot, melt a stick of butter with a heaping spoonful of minced garlic and some salt and pepper.

Once it's all melted, throw in some chopped asparagus and just let it boil in the butter until it's cooked.

Ta-da! Done with the sidedish!

When the blackberry sauce is done, pour it in a bowl and stick it in the fridge to cool. When it's down to about room temperature, preheat your oven. Oil your baking sheet and put the salmon on it, then oil and salt it. Brush on the sauce and bake it in the oven for 4 minutes. Take it out and add some more sauce, turn the oven to broil, and stick it in for another 3 minutes. I took a note from the comments section of the recipe and stuck some lemons on the fish so it'd be prettier. This is a SUPER colorful dish, and I like making it even more so.

Ta-da! Purple fish! So delicious. Put some rice on a plate and spoon the asparagus and butter over it, and serve with the fish.

Om nom nom!

So. I had this blackberry goo leftover. I figured it'd be delicious, so I added two tablespoons of sugar to it.

It's kind of blurry because I'm a crappy photographer.

We had heavy whipping cream because I'll be making some more deliciousness in the week to come, so my roommate went ahead and made some whipped cream with it. Just add sugar and whip it, really, that's all. It whips faster if you chill the bowl or submerge it in ice water - or, as my roommate did, add tiny chips of ice, but that means you sometimes chomp on them so it's up to you. But homemade whipped cream is sooooo delicious!

Yes, that is a dent left by my finger. I ate it. Yum.

I cut up a few slices of pound cake and put a scoop of ice cream in between them, then covered all of that in whipped cream. Cut up some strawberries, drizzle on a whole lot of the blackberry sauce, and you have something truly wonderful.

Tell me that's not the most amazing thing you've ever seen! And it was gooooood. I couldn't move for an hour after this meal, which is twice as long as it took me to make it. So you see people? You can make things like this. It's really that easy!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Penne alla Vodka

Difficulty Rating:

This is one of my favorite recipes, not only because it's delicious and easy, but also because it has booze in it. And I like booze.


1 tbls extra-virgin olive oil
1 tbls butter
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 shallots, minced
1 c. vodka
1 c. chicken stock
32 oz can of crushed tomatoes
salt and pepper
1 lb penne pasta
1/2 c. heavy cream
fresh basil

Heat a large skillet over moderate heat. Add oil, butter, garlic, and shallots. Gently saute shallots for 3 to 5 minutes to develop their sweetness. Add vodka to the pan. Reduce vodka by half, this will take 2 or 3 minutes. Add chicken stock, tomatoes. Bring sauce to a bubble and reduce heat to simmer. Season with salt and pepper.

While sauce simmers, cook pasta in salted boiling water until cooked to al dente (with a bite to it).

Stir cream into sauce. When sauce returns to a bubble, remove it from heat. Drain pasta. Toss hot pasta with sauce and basil leaves.


The recipe is a teensy bit vague on how long to do things for, so I'll hopefully be able to help out with that. I also didn't get a picture of the ingredients because I had to rush to get ready for my trip, so you'll have to forgive me.

So, first thing's first - put the oil and butter in the pot and let it melt, then add the garlic and shallots.

Cook that for about five minutes, and then add the vodka. Mmm, vodka.

Also be sure to try the vodka to make sure it's safe. You wouldn't want anyone to get hurt.

Cook that down until it's about half as much as you had before. Make sure you stir it because if you don't the garlic will burn.

Now, the recipe calls for a 32 ounce can of crushed tomatoes, but I can only ever find 28 ounce cans, so just buy two and add about a bit from the second one. Also add salt and pepper and, if you can't get fresh basil, add dried basil at this point. I sometimes add a bit of garlic powder if I want it to be extra garlicky.

Now is when you should put your pasta on to boil. You want the sauce to cook for a while, about as long as it takes for you to boil water and then finish cooking the pasta. It won't be super-thick when you're done, but it should cook down at least a little bit. Now, the recipe says to add the cream and then let it come to a boil and then you're done, but I like to let it simmer for another five minutes or so. Then you just pour the whole shebang over your cooked pasta and serve with some parmesan cheese.

It's seriously nummy. You can also add some grilled chicken if you want, or if you want to go vegetarian (which I did for these pictures since my sister's a filthy veggie-eating hippie) you can use vegetable stock instead of chicken stock. As a side note, they didn't have any vegetable stock at the store, so we bought a can of Progresso vegetable soup and just drained it and used the liquid. It's all about improvisation, people. Serve it with toasty garlic bread and enjoy!