Friday, September 21, 2007

Just Goofing Around in Las Vegas

We got in the mail today a disc of photos from Eddie's Scottish friend, Liz, taken in the spring. Here are a few.

At The Venetian
At the Fashion Show Center

At Red Rocks Canyon
Fremont Street Experience
Main Street Station Buffet
World's Largest Souvenir Store, The Strip @ Sahara

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Saturday, September 15, 2007

Orange Jubilee

Came across a really cool site the other day, Hillbilly Housewife, and she's got a lot of great recipes by categories, including this one for an Orange Julius copycat. I made this with the optional egg, and it added a lot of body and creaminess. I'm sipping on my first glassful as I type this, and I'll save the rest for an afternoon pick-me-up. I wonder how this would be with frozen tangerine concentrate or other citrus flavors? Hmmmm! Gotta try that soon.

Thanks, Maggie, for the great recipe!

Orange Jubilee

  • 3/4 cup frozen orange juice concentrate
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 medium egg (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 12 ice cubes
  • a strong blender

In a blender container, combine the orange juice concentrate, milk, egg (if you are using it), vanilla and sugar. Put the lid on the blender and whirl it at top speed for about 30 seconds. While the blender is running, drop in the ice cubes one at a time. Continue whirling until the ice is well chopped.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Rosh Hashannah Honey Cake

I've had this recipe in my "to try" list for about a year, and since it's now Jewish New Year time again, I gave it a try yesterday. This is an easy recipe to throw together, especially if you get all the ingredients and bowls out so you can just go down the line and get it done quickly. The 9 x 13 pan size is large, so I gave a nice chunk to friends. This recipe came from the Chicago Jewish Times Online site. Honey cake is great, so don't shy away if you're not Jewish. Try it; you'll like it!
Classic Honey Cake

3 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon instant coffee
1/2 cup boiling water
1/4 cup oil
1 cup honey
Zest of one orange
2 tablespoons any whiskey
4 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a bowl combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and baking soda and set aside. Mix the instant coffee with the water and blend in the oil, honey, orange zest and whiskey. In a large bowl, beat eggs until frothy; gradually add sugar and beat until light. Add to the honey mixture. Combine flour mixture alternately with honey mixture, starting and ending with the flour. Stir in walnuts. Pour batter into an oiled and waxed paper- lined 13- x 9- x 2-inch baking pan (Pam’d the pan; lined bottom w parchment paper) . Bake for about 50 minutes. Test for doneness with a toothpick. If toothpick comes out clean and dry cake is done. If moist, keep baking until toothpick comes out clean. ***Turn cake upside down onto a wire rack. Cool. Peel off waxed paper and wrap in aluminum foil to keep fresh. Serves 8 to 10.

*** Cooled in pan on a rack about 30 minutes until cake was just warm. Flipped out of pan onto cooling rack, left paper on, then flipped rightside up on another rack to finish cooling.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Roasted Corn Chowder from Karina, the Gluten Free Goddess

Love that freezer. I pulled out some bags of deli-prepped veggies left over from a cocktail party we threw in May and made a fantastic batch of vegetarian stock. It was full of whole tomatoes, carrots, celery, red bell peppers and garlic, for starters. In addition, there was a bag of grilled veggies, such as eggplant and zucchini, which imparted a nice smokiness to the stock.

I came across Karina's recipe for this chowder and decided to give it a try. (Do check out her site; she's an awesome food stylist and photographer) The only modifications I made were: I used about 1/4 teaspoon chipotle powder to tame the heat a bit; used a bag of Trader Joe's frozen fire-roasted corn; and served the chowder with chunky bits of avocado.

I had intended on freezing the remainder after the first night, but it was just too good and I finished the last bit for lunch today. It makes a very large batch, probably about 8 to 10 servings. Alongside were squares of freshly made cornbread, which was so nice and moist that no spread or toppings were needed.
Roasted Corn Chowder

1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon curry powder or paste, mild or hot
1/2 teaspoon chipotle powder, or to taste
5 cloves fresh garlic, chopped
1 medium sweet onion, diced
3 ears of fresh corn, roasted, kernels removed
1 large sweet potato, peeled, diced
1 large gold potato, peeled, diced
1 14-oz can fire roasted tomatoes, diced

2-3 tomatillos, chopped
4 plum tomatoes, seeded, chopped
4 oz. chopped roasted green chiles (mild or hot)
1 quart vegetable broth
1 14-oz can coconut milk
1 14-oz. can pinto beans or chick peas
Sea salt and ground pepper, to taste
Pinch of organic brown sugar
3 tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro
Fresh lime juice from 1 to 2 limes

Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat and stir in the cumin, curry and chipotle; cook for one minute to infuse the oil with spice. Add the chopped garlic and onion. Stir and cook for five minutes.

Add the roasted corn, sweet potato, canned tomatoes, tomatillo, fresh tomatoes, green chiles and stir for a minute. Add in the broth. Cover and bring to a high simmer. Lower the heat and simmer gently, covered, until the potatoes are tender, about twenty minutes or so.

Add the coconut milk and beans. Stir and season with sea salt and ground pepper; and add a pinch of brown sugar, to taste. Heat through gently; do not boil.

Just before serving, add the chopped cilantro and fresh lime juice. Stir. Taste test. Adjust seasoning. The lime juice brightens the taste and accents the spice.

Garnish with a lime wedge and pass out the spoons. Slurp!

Serves 6-8.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Heck Bars

A couple of weeks ago I checked out of the library a copy of Hidden Kitchens: Stories, Recipes and More from NPR's The Kitchen Sisters. Not your usual cookbook. In fact, I wouldn't call it a cookbook at all, but a collection of stories about people who cook, with some recipes thrown in. Great reading; typical NPR quality stuff. Anywhooo... this recipe popped out at me right at the beginning of the book. Except for the semi-sweet chocolate chips (I had on hand bittersweet so I used those instead), I had everything on hand. Very easy and quick to throw together. No mixer necessary. For these you'll need a 12 x 8 1/2 x 1 pan, which is actually called a quarter sheet pan. If you have bulk sheets of parchment, just quarter one and it will fit perfectly in the bottom of the pan. They come out kind of like a brownie and are perfect with a very cold glass of milk. Yummy!

Heck Bars

8 oz. unsalted butter
4-¾ oz. Unsweetened chocolate
4 extra large eggs
2 1/8 cups granulated sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon salt
1 1/8 cup all purpose flour
1 ½ cup walnuts (optional)(I used unchopped walnut halves)
8 oz. semisweet chocolate chips (I had on hand bittersweet)

Directions: Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Gently melt chocolate and butter in double boiler. When chocolate is totally melted, set aside. In a large mixing bowl, combine eggs, sugar, vanilla and salt. Use a spatula or wooden spoon and mix just until blended. Fold melted chocolate butter into egg mixture.
Toss together flour, walnuts and 8 oz. of chocolate chips. Fold into chocolate-egg mixture. Note: Do not over mix; fold only enough to incorporate dry ingredients, or bar will be too tough and too cake-like.
Line a 12-inch x 8 ½-inch x 1-inch baking pan with parchment paper. Pour batter into pan; consistency should be like a thick chocolate sauce (batter does not rise much, so it is OK if batter rims the pan).
Place pan in center of oven and bake 40-50 minutes. Thirty minutes into baking, check surface; a thin crust should form. It is done when it's very moist inside, with a thin, crispy, sugary surface (like a thin crust of ice forming on a pool of water). To achieve a fudge-like consistency, you must under bake.