Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Table Talk: Vegetable Lo Mein

I was so on board with this week's recipe choice!  I happen to think lo mein is one of the greatest things on earth.  I've made quite a few versions of it and most of those include me going into the kitchen and throwing a bunch of stuff together.  

We all really liked this recipe and I would make it again tomorrow.  I loved how fast it was-after everything was chopped and ready to go-and I loved that there wasn't an insane amount of dishes.

   The only thing is, I didn't realize until I was cooking that I was missing a few ingredients   I really thought I had oyster sauce, but nope.  I didn't have corn starch, which I was supposed to buy at the store and I forgot.  I used a few vegetables that weren't in the recipe-zucchini, yellow squash, and broccoli.  And I just used regular mushrooms instead of shiitake. I also used a lb of pasta instead of 12 oz so I increased the sauce amount to 1 cup chicken broth, 1/3 cup soy sauce (and I would have added 1/3 cup oyster sauce but didn't have it) so I went with 2 T brown sugar, 2 T rice vinegar and about 1 T of sweet red chili sauce and 1 T of flour to make up for my lacking corn starch.  I didn't have sriracha so I just added a few red pepper flakes.

Oh, and I also used linguine.  Have I told you guys about my weird aversion to regular spaghetti noddles?  Yeah, it's weird.  When I can, I always sub either angel hair or linguine.  Thin spaghetti is only marginally better and I'll only use that as a second to last resort.  Don't ask me to explain it either.  I'm a weirdo.  I've tried to tell you guys.

That seems like a lot of changes now that I've typed them all out......

Anyway, here's a picture of all the veggies right before I added the sauce.
 And here's a picture right before I ate it.
This was a great recipe.  Everyone should make it.  If you hate meat-less meals, a few of my cooking friends added chicken and it looks delicious.  You can buy the book, or get the recipe at Talesha's blog.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

TWD: Savory Brioche Pockets

After looking at the recipe, I felt like I should stuff some chicken and other things inside these 'pockets' but decided I better just stick to the recipe.  And after making them and eating them, I'm thinking maybe I should have listened to my heart.  Dramatic, I know.  I forgot to add the chives to the potato and goat cheese mixture, oops.  I ended up sprinkling them on top to try to make up for my misfortune but these just didn't wow me enough to make them again.  

It was a 2 day process for the brioche and then several different pans are needed to 'steam' the potatoes and cook the asparagus and caramelize the onions.  And honestly after all that time and all those dirty dishes, I was expecting to have my socks knocked off.  Sadly, they weren't.  My socks are still in tact.

I enjoyed mixing the dough, but we've made brioche before so I knew what to expect.  And I have to admit, I think she's so pretty.
 Calvin helped me fill up the pockets and I caught him eating asparagus!  I just about died because he usually and forcefully refuses asparagus.  So there's that.
 The pockets before the rise.
 After the rise and ready to bake.
 Baked.  The edges didn't really want to stay nicely pressed like they were in the book, but I figured the fillings were solid enough, I didn't worry too much about it.
I KNOW the brioche recipe is a winner because these Pecan Sticky Buns blew my mind and used the same brioche recipe.  I think it's just a matter of what you shove inside these things and your preferences.  If you'd like to try the recipe or a variation of it, you can visit the blog of our host for the week:  Loaves and Stitches.

I'm sure the amazing TWD bakers have come up with some mouth-watering renditions.  To see their links go HERE.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Table Talk: Breakfast Strata

The book we are using { The America's Test Kitchen Healthy Family Cookbook} is all about making everyday meals healthier.  I don't recall that I've ever eaten strata before, so I can't really compare it to the full-fat and calorie version but I thought this was pretty good.

My only complaint, again, is the amount of dishes this recipe created.  If I made it again, I would definitely try to streamline that.  I would also probably half the spinach and throw in some other vegetables.  I did add some mushrooms, but not nearly enough.  Also, I didn't have enough feta cheese so, after mixing the feta in with the strata, I just threw some monterey jack on top instead of more feta.

My pie weights came in handy to weigh the strata down for an hour before baking.  Fine!  I'm not fancy enough to have pie weights.  They are just beans.  Happy?!
After the weight was lifted.
After baking.
We had this for dinner but if I were going to make it for breakfast, I would put everything together the night before and refrigerate it over night.  The recipe says you can refrigerate for up to 24 hrs.

If you'd like the recipe you can buy the bookor you can visit the blog of our hostess for the week, Janet.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

TWD: Fresh Rhubarb Upside-Down Baby Cakes

I don't have baby cake pans, baby.  I told you that when we made Gingerbread Baby Cakes.  Last time I used ramekins.  This time I thought I'd use my jumbo muffin pan (the muffin holes are 3 inches across).  It doesn't get used all that much and I think it feels left out most days.

We had maple flavored whipped cream to go on top and the whole thing was the kind of dessert that almost makes me forget who chocolate is.  And my own name.  I love being pleasantly surprised.  But what's not to like about a cake with caramel, walnuts (I didn't have pecans) and rhubarb.  Did I lose you there?  At the rhubarb?  Yeah, I didn't add very much but I wished I added more.  It was delicious.

I halved the recipe and it was perfect for the muffin tin.  
Look at her all happy and buttered and floured.
 All good things start with caramel.  (Remember, I forgot who chocolate was for today.)  And this is where I should have been more bold with the rhubarb.  Probably twice as much.
 And then cake batter on top.  I used my 1 oz scoop and put 2 oz in cake hole.  Yes, we are making cake right now so they're cake holes.
 Bake and dump out.  I had to take a knife around the edge of each one before they really wanted to come out.
And then wonder if they are worth all the dirty dishes.  But my little saucepan was also happy.  He doesn't see much action either, normally.
 And then (almost) accidentally beat your whipping cream until it turns to butter.  Oops.  I caught it just in time.  It was probably about 1/2 cup whipping cream, 2 T sugar, 1/4 tsp vanilla and 1/2 tsp maple flavoring and I want to remember that for next time.  I might have just eaten some whipped cream.  Maybe.
Then, decide it was worth all the dirty dishes.
 And then forget there are even dirty dishes.
These were so good I might have to throw the rest away so I don't eat them all.  

If you'd like to try them yourself, you can buy the book or you can visit the blog of our hostess for the week at:  When it Doubt....Leave it at 350

If you'd like to see what the other TWD bakers did, you can go HERE.
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