May 28, 2009

For Adults and Bachelorettes Only

I wish this post came with a recipe, but I really blew it with this one.  I'm heading back to Iowa this weekend for my friend Sara's bachelorette party and then on to the Field of Dreams for a wedding.  I bought this charming little cookie cutter for the last bachelorette party I attended, and I spent last night struggling to make use of it once again.  

I'm really bad about making cookies and keeping the recipes that I like so I can make them again, so I always end up doing a search for sugar cookie recipes.  I settled on one from Martha Stewart, and I was not impressed.  Maybe it was my fault because I made the cookies before reading the comments at the bottom, all of which recommended using another egg or more liquid of some sort.  I also assumed that all sugar cookies benefit from refrigeration before they're rolled out, but when I took a rock hard lump from the fridge I realized that nowhere in the recipe did it suggest chilling the dough.    

Dough that has been chilled but doesn't need to be is a huge pain to roll out and slice.  Trust me on this one.  

But alas, I did get some satisfactory results.  And a little Lance Armstrong in the bottom right!

After baking...

Aren't they fun?

And you can decorate them in exciting ways.  Chocolate sprinkles!

And since we're from Iowa, I had to do some cows.  

All frosted and ready to go.  

May 27, 2009

Jalepeno Corn Salad

The recipe is a deconstructed version of Cheddar and Corn Jalepeño Poppers from the Williams-Sonoma catalog.  My mom and I made them last week, and we were only so-so on them.  It was likely due to the fact that we didn't let the peppers cook quite long enough, or possibly it was due to us making our own version of their fairly useless kitchen utensil, the Jalepeño Pepper Roaster

While the finished product of the poppers was less than perfect, I thoroughly enjoyed eating the extra stuffing ingredients - a mixture of cheddar, corn, green onions, salt and pepper.  I decided to tweak the recipe a bit to come up with a salad that avoided the fuss of stuffing individual peppers.  

Here's what you'll need for the salad:

1 can corn (or fresh if it's in season)
1/2 cup cheddar cheese, grated
2 jalepeno peppers
2 tbsp cilantro, chopped
Salt & pepper

Start out by draining and rinsing the corn. 

I thought I might need three jalepenos, hence the three in this picture, but I ended up narrowing it down to two.  You could probably just add three as the final product wasn't super spicy, but if you can't handle the heat I would stick to just two.  

Slice them all in half and scrape out all or most of the seeds and white parts.  

Then chop them lengthwise into matchsticks.  

Then dice.  

Combine the jalepenos and corn in a big bowl.  

Mine looks like a ladybug.  Or an inverted baseball cap.  Thanks to the nearby Pier 1 closing its doors, I got it, along with its two nesting buddies, for cheap.  

Take about a couple tablespoons of fresh cilantro and give it a rough chop.  

Add the cilantro to the mix as well as about 1/2 cup grated cheddar.  That's a very rough estimate on the cheese.  If you feel like adding more, add more. 

Season with salt & pepper, give it all a stir, and you're good to go.  

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May 24, 2009

Mustardy Potato Salad

MCMC is back!  Sorry for the lengthy absence.  I finally got back from vacation, seeing an adorable baby, and cruising around on a tractor, only to deal with a malfunctioning wireless router.  The internet issues have been resolved, and the blogging should now be back to normal.  

Potato salad seems to be the popular thing to make on summer holiday weekends, so I'll kick things back into gear with a mustardy potato salad with chives.  This is a really flexible recipe, and takes well to substitutions, additions, and deletions.  

Start out with 12-15 small potatoes.  My mom and I couldn't decide between new potatoes and little Yukons, so we got both and used half of each.  Cut the potatoes in half, add to a pot, cover with cold water, and bring to a boil.  

While the potatoes boil chop one bunch of green onions and a couple celery stalks. 

Boil the potatoes until fork tender, then let them cool a bit so you can handle them.  Slice them into slightly smaller pieces and add them to the bowl with the green onions and celery.  

Grab a bunch of fresh chives, and chop away.  

Add the chives to the potatoes along with some salt and pepper.  

For the dressing we used sour cream, yellow mustard, mayo, and malt vinegar.  Although I made the mixture in a measuring cup, I didn't pay much attention to the actual amounts I was adding.  If I had to guess, I used about 1/3 cup sour cream, 1/4 cup mustard, a couple spoonfuls of mayo, and maybe 2 tbsp vinegar.  You could start out with those amounts and then add a little of each until it tastes good to you.  

We had about 1 cup of dressing, and it was the perfect amount.  I hate potato salad that is just potatoes drenched in mayo, and we successfully created an alternative.  

We rounded out the meal with grilled asparagus, grilled stuffed jalepenos, and grilled chicken breasts.  More recipes coming soon! 

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May 14, 2009

Birthday Broccolini

First up, a delicious, healthy recipe.  Roasted broccolini.  Take a bunch or two of broccolini (my parents and I ate almost two bunches in one meal because you just can't stop) and toss it in a bowl with olive oil, salt, and pepper.

Bake at about 350 for 20 minutes or so.  If you leave it in longer it will be fine, too.  

And next up, the birthdays:

Happy belated birthday, Caryn!

And happy birthday, Mom!

And happy birthday, Matt!

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May 13, 2009

I'm in North Cackalacky, Y'all

In case y'all have been concerned about my lack of blogging recently, I've been very busy plotting how best to surprise my brother and his wife when I showed up unexpectedly in the South.  My parents and I arrived yesterday, and we'll be enjoying the warm weather for the next week or so, so new posts will be few and far between.  
Married couples in my family color coordinate.  

That's all for now.  Y'all.  

May 10, 2009

Grilled Mustardy Salmon

My summer officially began Friday morning around 10:45.  I celebrated by making a stop at the salon, watching an episode of Grey's Anatomy, and reuniting with my old friend, white wine.  Yesterday I spent the day driving home, making a quick stop in Iowa City to pick up some salmon, and then sat around and watched my mom cook dinner.  

I insisted on using the grill since I don't have the opportunity to grill in Minneapolis, and I also insisted on using some kind of mustardy sauce.  My mom happily obliged and dug out this tasty recipe for the fish.  

2 tbsp chopped fresh dill
2 tbsp whole-grain dijon mustard
1 tsp grated lemon rind
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground red pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 lb. salmon filet 

Here lies our Coho salmon sans the skin that my mom skillfully sliced off.  

Combine the first six ingredients in a bowl.  Add a little oil if it's too thick.  Brush it on the fish and fire up your grill.  Or oven.  Or microwave.  Not. 

Grill it on each side for maybe 3-4 minutes.  It was deeeeeeelicious.  

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May 6, 2009

Like Buttah

I love buttermilk biscuits.  I don't care if they come from a package in the freezer or if they're the glorious biscuits at Lucile's in Boulder that are the size of a small grapefruit.  I love them.  They're flaky and buttery and they go well with bacon.  What more could you want?

I was sitting around Saturday morning really wanting to bake something before I resumed studying for admin law.  As it turned out, my admin efforts were futile, but my biscuit efforts were not.  

The recipe I used was from Gourmet, via Epicurious.  You can find it here: Buttermilk Biscuits 

Start out by combining the dry ingredients in a flour sifter.  

1-1/2 cups flour
1-1/2 tbsp sugar
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
Rounded 1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
(And powdered buttermilk if that's what you're using) 

Sift the flour mixture onto a piece of wax paper.  

If you don't have a sifter, I would highly recommend buying one.  I got mine for about $5 at Target, so it won't set you back much.  They're really fun, too.  It takes me back to 6th grade home ec when we sifted flour to make snickerdoodles.  I was kind of a rock star in home ec, in case you were wondering.  

Pour it back into the sifter, and sift a second time into a large bowl.  

Cut 1/2 stick of butter into small pieces. 

Use your fingers to mix the butter with the flour until it's a coarse meal. 

Pour in 3/4 cup buttermilk.  

Stir with a fork just until combined.

Turn out the dough onto a heavily floured surface.  I cannot overemphasize the need for lots of flour.  Especially on your hands.  I forgot to flour my hands before I started kneading the dough, and it was a huge pain.  Huge.  

Knead it 5 or 6 times until it comes together.  

Then use a floured rolling pin or your hands to press it out into a rectangle.  

Dip a knife in flour. 

And trim the edges off the dough.  You can skip this step if you don't mind having biscuits that are rough around the edges or if you're going to use a biscuit cutter.  

Slice into 6 pieces, dipping the knife in flour between each slice.  

Place the pieces about 2" apart on an ungreased baking sheet.  

Brush the tops with a little milk. 

Bake at 425 in the center of the oven for about 12-15 minutes or until the tops are golden.  They didn't puff up a whole lot, and I'm guessing I overworked them a little.  Or maybe it was because I accidentally added 1-1/2 tsp baking soda instead of baking powder and probably did not do the best job of scooping out the excess baking soda.  

Transfer to a cooling rack until use.  

I made a couple extra biscuits with the scraps.  And then I ate them.  They were good.  

Just like Cracker Barrel.  

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