Monday, May 23, 2011

Pita Chips, Shirazi Salad, and Chicken "Tenders"

Today, I made dinner.
For most people, this is a normal event, but for me, baby of the family (and the only one still living at home), it's rather unusual.
It began, as most meals I make do, with the scouring of the cupboards, looking for inspiration. I took mental notes of things that looked good (squash, tomatoes) and noted that there was a plethora of pita bread. Thus began dish #1 of my meal: Pita crisps.

Pita bread (cut into 8 slivers)
Olive oil cooking spray

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Cut pita bread and separate the two layers. Put in a single layer on a large, greased baking pan.
3. Spray a final layer of olive oil on top and put in the oven. Cook for 7-10 minutes.

Cook Time: 15 minutes (5 minutes prep, 10 minutes cooking)

Notes: I used 2 whole pitas for the three at home. Also, the pita crisps were pretty crispy after ten minutes, so next time I'm trying seven.

*combined from Mom's recipe for her tortilla strips and something I had at Girl's Scout's once.

Continuing in my journey, I had thought a tomato sauce would be good with some of the squash and other vegetables I had found in the fridge. But, I thought to myself, tomato sauce is Italian and pita chips are Middle Eastern. So, on I went to the second step of any good meal--internet research! At first, it didn't seem like there was any combination of tomatoes and squash that was Middle Eastern at all, but luckily, Google's auto-complete led me to the next dish, Shirazi Salad. (

SHIRAZI SALAD (as prepared by Rosie 5/23)
1 cup finely diced cucumber
1 cup finely diced Roma tomatoes
1 cup finely diced onion (recommended: sweet Vidalia onion)
1 1/2 tsp dried parsley
1 1/2 tsp dried mint
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 Tbsp reaLemon juice
salt, pepper to taste

1. Chop cucumber in pieces less than 1/2 inch and put in colander. Add a generous amount of salt and let sit while you chop other ingredients.
2. Cucumbers and tomatoes should be cut in rather small pieces, onions should be cut even smaller, and parsley and mint should be chopped very finely.
3. When all ingredients are chopped, combine in a large bowl with olive oil, lemon juice, and pepper.

Cooking Time: 30 minutes, roughly (mostly because I'm a slow chopper)

Notes: I didn't have any fresh parsley or mint on hand, but next time I would try it, and maybe use less than the cup of each that the recipe recommends. I used two Roma tomatoes (they're the long ones) for this dish

The final step of the quest was to find a suitable protein dish that went with this meal. I checked out the recipes recommended by the author of the delicious tomato salad, but the chicken I found needed 4-6 hours to marinate! Way too long for me to make a dinner out of that for tonight. But the lemon marinade written in the recipe reminded me of this chicken I had learned to make in Young Women's. A quick gmail search, and I had located the recipe.

Chicken tenders
1/2 cup Flour (add more to bowl as needed)
~1 Tbsp of Butter
1-2 tsp lemon juice
1-2 tsp of sparkling grape juice (optional)
Capers (optional)

1. Trim chicken. Preheat a pan on the stove on medium heat with butter in pan.
2. Pour flour into a shallow bowl and coat chicken with flour.
3. Place chicken in pan and cook until brown. Flip. After chicken is mostly done, you can add the lemon juice and the grape juice.
4. Serve with capers as a garnish or in a separate dish.

Cooking Time: 35 minutes (prep: 20 minutes, cooking: 15 minutes)

Notes: I didn't have sparkling grape juice available, but it turned out alright. This is one of my favorite chicken dishes. Hope you all enjoy!
*I put tenders in quotes because this entire recipe was prepared today using chicken breast. Traditionally it is made with chicken tenders.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Lime buttermilk bars - an international* delight

Backstory: we had a family get together one Sunday. I was under the impression it was to celebrate Dad's birthday. Kevin and his international woman of mystery Ann were also supposed to be there. After dinner had happened, I suggested the traditional roast, and everyone looked at me funny. Apparently I was the only one who thought it was a celebration for Dad's birthday. So we ate the "cake" I prepared anyways and sipped tiny swallows of fancy hot chocolates Kevin and Ann made for us that they'd brought back from abroad.

*Ann liked the bars so much she requested the recipe so she could make them for her mother.

(recipe adjusted from


1 1/2 cups wheat flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup butter, cold

4 large eggs
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup lime juice, freshly squeezed
1 tbsp lime zest
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350F. Get out a 7"x11" baking pan and set it aside. In the bowl of a food processor, combine flour, sugar, salt and vanilla extract. Cut butter into chunks and add to flour mixture. Pulse until mixture forms coarse, sandy crumbs with no piece of butter larger than a small pea. Pour sandy mixture into pan and press mixture down very firmly (with your fingers or the back of a spoon) into an even layer. Bake for 16-19 minutes, until just lightly browned around the edges.

While crust is baking, prepare the filling by whisking together all filling ingredients in a large bowl or whizzing together in the food processor. When the crust comes out of the oven and is still hot, pour in filling mixture. Bake for about 20 more minutes minutes, or until filling is set and does not jiggle when the pan is gently shaken. Cool completely before slicing.

Top slices with confectioners’ sugar JUST BEFORE serving (I cannot stress this enough. The bars will swallow that confectioners' sugar right up).

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Lemon cornmeal cake - or How to Celebrate Kevin's Birthday Without Inappropriate Green Things

Backstory: Mom used to make us cakes for our birthday (I have now taken up that mantle) that she hand-decorated with pictures she drew with icing (I have not taken up that mantle).

One year, she had a lemon cake lined up for Kevin's birthday. That year, he was also very interested in ninjas (fact-check?), and so Mom got out her black food dye and got to work. Somehow, the lemon buttercream frosting she'd made, though, wouldn't keep the black color and her "black frosting" was a splendid hunter green, so she kept adding more and more and more. Finally, she called it quits and decorated the darn thing anyways.

Our lips and mouths were the first to show the mark of that food coloring. Later, she found a special colored surprise when she changed Pete's diaper.

Happy birthday, bro!

(this recipe has been modified from Bon Appetit magazine)

Lemon Glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
fresh lemon juice (approximately 2 Tablespoons)

Blueberry Sauce
3 cups fresh blueberries
a couple spoonfuls of brown sugar
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
lemon zest of one lemon
Pinch of salt

1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup yellow cornmeal
1/2 cup sugar
3-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
2 large eggs
1 Tablespoon lemon zest
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted, cooled

Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350o F. Butter 9" diameter cake pan with 2" high sides. Combine flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl; whisk to blend. Whisk buttermilk, eggs, lemon zest and vanilla in a small bowl. Pour buttermilk mixture and melted butter into flour mixture. Using a rubber spatula, very gently fold liquids into flour mixture until just blended (do not stir, the batter will be lumpy). Scrape batter into pan; spread evenly.

Bake cake until tester inserted into center comes out clean and cake pulls away from sides of pan, 25-30 minutes. Remove cake from oven and cool completely.

For the glaze, combine powdered sugar and 2 Tablespoons lemon juice in small bowl. Stir with spoon until smooth and paste-like, adding more lemon juice by 1/2 teaspoonfuls if glaze is too thick to spread. Once cake has cooled, cover with glaze: drop Tablespoonfuls onto cake; spread to within 1/2" of edge (some glaze may drip down sides of cake). Combine 1-1/2 cups blueberries, brown sugar, lemon juice, lemon zest and salt and stir.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Lentil-Bulgur Stuffed Peppers

I made this awhile ago.  I think I remember it being a little bland, and I believe I scaled up the quantities of seasonings a bit when I wrote down the recipe.  

Simmer the following for about half an hour or until tender:
  • 3/4 cup lentils (I used French lentils - smaller in size, dark brown with bluish flecks
  • 3/4 cup bulgur
  • 3 1/2 to 4 cups vegetable broth

Meanwhile, sautee in olive oil in a medium skillet:
  • 1 large onion, chopped pretty small
  • 2 cloves crushed garlic

When they're mostly cooked, add: 
  • 1 can diced tomatoes with juice
  • 2 t brown sugar
  • salt and red pepper, to taste

Let the sauce simmer and cut 4-6 bell peppers in half (any color works great - green is least expensive, but red, yellow, and orange are prettier, tastier, and possibly even more nutrient-rich), removing the stems and seeds. 

Combine cooked lentils/bulgur with tomato sauce in a large mixing bowl and add:

  • A little less than 8 oz Parmesan cheese - use the rest to sprinkle on the top at the end
  • 1 T onion powder
  • A slosh of Tabasco or other hot sauce
  • Another clove of crushed garlic
  • 2 t Worcestershire sauce (not technically vegetarian, here's a recipe for a veg alternative* that I've never tried)

Taste it and add any of the following if you think it needs it:
  • red pepper flakes
  • salt
  • onion or garlic powder
  • more Worcestershire sauce

Finally, add 1 egg to the mixture, spoon into the pepper halves, sprinkle with remaining Parmesan cheese, place in a shallow pan with ~1 cm of water and bake for about an hour at 350 degrees.

*Although apparently had I simply googled "vegetarian Worcestershire sauce" and I would have found this, which I'll have to prepare to have on hand next time, though I don't use Worcestershire sauce too too much... I have no idea how long that homemade stuff would last. 

The Cuppycake Factory

Also, if you would like to try some new recipes that Eric and I are trying out check out our food blog!!!!

The Cuppycake Factory

Monday, May 2, 2011

Hearty Pancakes

Beth and I used to make it all the time when we lived together. Fluffy, delicious, and we used whole wheat flour instead of white flour for extra nutrition and heartiness.  I seem to recall us having to use an extra splash of milk just before cooking to get the batter to the right consistency.

1 tbsp cooking oil
1 tbsp honey
1 egg
1 ½ cups milk
1 ½ dry oatmeal
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tbsp baking powder
½ tsp salt

Mix oil and honey thoroughly in a medium sized bowl. Add egg and milk; beat until well-combined using a whisk. Add dry ingredients and mix until free of clumps. Let it sit five minutes or so, add in extra splash of milk if necessary. One pancake = ~¼ cup

Tastes great with maple syrup, jam, nutella, pumpkin butter, fruit, whipped cream, or any of your favorite pancake toppings!

A very small one with sliced strawberries and whipped cream.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Mushroom Soup

I guess I can be the first to enter a recipe:

Mushroom Soup

Slice 3/4 lb mushroom into 2 T butter and brown 10 - 15 minutes with 1 T paprika. Then mix in 2 T flour.

At the same time, boil 5 bouillon cubes and 4 c water.

Add most to the mushrooms and the rest to a mixture of 1 egg yolk and 6 T sour cream. Then add the cream mixture to mushrooms.

Simmer for 1 hour.

This is the recipe just as we got it from Paulie's college roommate Mel Becker. I sublet the apartment on 14th St. from him over the summer. It was here that Paulie stopped by on his way from Watkins Glen Race to check out "his" apartment. And so we met, and the rest is history...