14 November 2007

oaffie's special mashed potatoes

these mashed potatoes are especially good in fall. a sprinkle of nutmeg balances the cream cheese and sour cream perfectly.

9 large baking potatoes
1 stick unsalted butter, soft
12 oz cream cheese
3/4 c. sour cream
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

Boil the potatoes and place them in a mixing bowl. Cut the cream cheese and butter into pieces and add to the potatoes. Beat with an electric mixer. Add the sour cream and continue beating until mixed and free of lumps. Serve with nutmeg sprinkled on top.

13 November 2007

meatless meatballs

this is one of my favorite recipes that i've been making for years. a friend i used to know, sarah, gave it to me and can be used for so many things. meatballs, veggie burgers, or even meatloaf. the original recipe is wonderful on its own. something about it reminds me of fall, but normally i substitute a few things, making this completely different. the original recipe goes:

+ 1 lb. cheddar cheese, grated
+ 4 cups ground cracker crumbs (like saltine crackers)
+ 1 large chopped onion
+ 6 eggs, beaten
+ 1 cup chopped walnuts

mix together and season with sage (or thyme, or cumin, or oregano). make into small balls the size of walnuts. roll in flour. brown in oil (sarah uses a pan and fries them, turning them so they get even).


when i make this recipe, i usually half the cheese and crackers. i use one pack of saltines and that's always enough. instead of walnuts, i use one portobello mushroom, chopped finely in a food processor. sometimes i add some chopped walnuts to give my dish extra protein. because of the extra moisture in the mushrooms, i find i only need to use 1-3 eggs. add 1 egg at a time until the mixture sticks together and can be formed into balls, patties, or loaves.

i also find it helps to refrigerate the mixture a little while. the cheese will melt slower and you have less chance of cheese escaping the wall of browned flour coating and burning on your pan. the meatloaf of this recipe also goes very well with sarah's special mashed potatoes (recipe coming soon!)

jin's scarf

thick grey and white sripes.
5'' x 69.5''
100% merino wool

07 November 2007

scarf season is here!

my favorite season of all. i love making and wearing them, and this year i'm going to try selling them again to make a little bit of money while i'm still between-employment. here's the first of the season, a green checkered scarf made of acrylic and wool. it's Light green & dark green checker crochet scarf. Measures 53 in. (134.5 cm) x 5.5 in. (14 cm). i'll be selling them on etsy. this scarf is listed here.

05 November 2007

lemon & broccoli pasta

i never exactly introduced this blog. mostly because no one reads it, also because not even i'm sure what i'm doing with it. i'm not exactly a blog person, but i decided to make one for myself... to write anything going on in my life. well it turns out, most of what's going on in my life is what i'm cooking.

right now i'm trying to save up for culinary school (very unsuccessfully), but in the meantime i'm experimenting in the kitchen for myself. i hope to be a baker one day, so most of my interest is in baking, especially breads, but i also try a lot of other foods. it's fun to experiment in a kitchen without meat. i try to make my dishes creative yet simple... delicious though inexpensive.

this lemon broccoli pasta is what we made last night. it's very simple to make but the flavors blend so perfectly. it's the first time we've made it but it will not be the last. i love making a type of pasta on sunday night so that there'll be leftovers for lunch the next day.

the sauce is simple. melt about 2 tbsp butter with 2 tbsp olive oil over medium heat in a large sauce pan, then saute 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced, in it. add the zest of 1 large (or 2 small) lemons, then the juice. combine with your pasta and steamed broccoli then top with fresh grated parmesan.

whole wheat pita

i love it when i make a bread that's new to me and it comes out even better than i expected! i don't think we'll ever be needing to buy pitas from the grocery anymore. fresh out of the oven, we topped them with a layer of hummus then a mixture of sauteed spinach and mushrooms with mozzarella (also so good with feta) then baked a few minutes to melt the cheese).

this recipe is from the king arthur whole wheat bread book.

1 1/4 cups warm water
1 1/2 tsp yeast
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp olive oil
1 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups bread flour or all purpose flour

dissolve the yeast in the water. combine with all remaining ingredients and knead until soft - about 8 minutes. let rise about 1 1/2 hours, covered. divide dough into 8 balls. let rise 10 minutes covered while oven preheats to 450 degrees.

roll into 6 inch circles (1/4 inch thick). bake 3-4 minutes each. if your oven is uneven, turn once mid-way.

01 November 2007

garlic knots

i thought i'd make some breadsticks tonight to go along with our pizza, but breadsticks turned into garlic knots, and of course, now these are one of my favorite things ever.

i used the recipe i made for breadstsicks except i used 1/4 tsp yeast and let it sit longer (about 3-4 hours). mainly, i let it sit so long because i was concerned it wasn't rising, but it turns out it doesn't need to rise up very much. you want it to feel soft when you poke it, but not much else. they rise more while in the oven.

after letting it rise, i cut the dough into 8 pieces then rolled them out and tied them into knots. don't work the dough too much or it'll absorb the oil from when it was sitting in the bowl rising. toss the garlic knots with garlic powder, fresh ground sea salt, basil, and whatever other spice or seasoning you would like to add.

here are the breadsticks before:

and after:

black bean soup

this has become a staple in our house because it's so easy to make and take for lunch. we usually make it the night before and store it in the fridge or freezer.

2 cups vegetable broth
2 cans black beans
1 tbsp red chili powder
shredded cheese
sour cream

mash or grind in a food processor 1 can of black beans (with the water). combine with the broth and other can of black beans (with the water). add the seasonings (i use salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, and garlic powder. you could use salsa instead of red pepper flakes or fresh minced garlic if you prefer) and red chili powder. if you know anything about how i cook mexican food, you know i use only new mexican chili powder. it has a unique flavor and i can't imagine using anything else, but you can use whichever kind you'd like.

let the soup simmer over low to medium-low heat for at least one hour or until it's the consistency you like it to be. if you're keeping it in the fridge overnight, leave it a little less thick than you want it because it'll thicken more overnight. top with cheese and sour cream.