27 March 2010

Saturday Morning Breakfast

Maybe this post belongs in the "Confessions Archives" because I'm really just putting it here for the pictures. I like them. =) The muffins weren't that spectacular--I'm not a fan of the cornmeal I put in them. But along with the coffee brewing, they made the house smell like a warm, cozy bakery--a nice antidote to the plunging temperature we're experiencing now.

Maybe I'll go redeem my day--culinary-wise--by making a batch of fresh pasta . . .

17 March 2010

Happy St. Pat's

In honor of St. Patrick's Day I started off this morning with some Irish breakfast tea and steel-cut oat scones. Unfortunately, I didn't read the recipe ahead of time and had to rush through the steps to make them in time for my taste-tester before he headed off to work. Let's say they were less than stellar. But still yummy (what baked good isn't, fresh from the oven?).

I scored much better with the shamrock-shaped, green-sugar-sprinkled shortbread cookies I made to take into work. Light, flaky, delish! And pretty. And just the thing to put you in a St. Pat's mood. So get these babies in the oven, put the tea kettle on, and settle in for a fabulous "tea and biscuit" as they say in the Emerald Isle.

Shamrock Shortbread Cookies
(yield about 2 doz.)

12 TBSP butter, softened
1/4 cup superfine sugar (I used 10x sugar)
1 tsp. lemon juice
1 1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup cornstarch

Pre-heat oven to 300F. Whip butter, sugar, and lemon juice together until light and airy. Sift flour and cornstarch into butter mixture, and stir in with a wooden spoon. Roll to 1/8-in. thickness, using powdered sugar to keep from sticking to the table and rolling pin. Cut shapes and place on greased or parchment-lined cookie sheet. If you want to add colored sugar, brush cookies with milk or egg-white and sprinkle sugar on top. Bake for 25-30 minutes.

16 March 2010

Foodie Blogger

Welcome to all the new friends who've found The Uncensored Kitchen by way of the Foodie Blogroll (see sidebar)!

15 March 2010

I make milk . . .

. . . what's your super-power?

So says a t-shirt my sister-in-law has. When I told her I might need to borrow it, I got one of those looks. If you've been married a year or so and haven't had any babies yet, you know the look I'm talking about. Yes, I'm getting some sweet mileage out of it.

But it was really an honest request concerning the t-shirt. Because I do make milk. Soy milk.

I read about it over at "kiss my spatula" and simply had to try it. The pictures were just lovely, and her description of the fresh soy milk--"creamy, nutty, with a hint of sweetness"--made my mouth water. The taste in reality was--well--less than expected, but it was a fun experiment and may very well be repeated. The hardest part? Finding the soybeans.

1/2 cup dry soybeans--cover with water and soak overnight

drain, rinse, and blend with 2 cups water

pour into large stock-pot (it will foam!) with another 3 cups water

bring to a boil over high heat, stirring and skimming foam--
reduce heat and simmer 25 minutes, stirring occasionally

strain out "okara" (the bean solids) by pouring
through cheese-cloth-lined sieve

add 1/4 tsp. salt, 2 TBSP sugar, and vanilla (if you like)

drink! (we preferred it hot)

store in the fridge and use within a couple of days
(made about a quart)

05 March 2010

Famous Casserole

I don't make casseroles very often. I'm more of a stove-top cook. Maybe it's the time involved; maybe it's the fact that I have to use so much energy to heat the oven. But when you're having a potluck at your home, the appeal of a casserole grows. I wanted to keep things simple for home group potlucks, so I was doing the soup thing. Soup is simple, right? Well, when you don't have a table that more than six people can sit around comfortably, and guests are trying to juggle bowl, plate, and cup on their knees as they sit on a couch . . . well, the simplicity factor warps a bit. Not to mention the extra clean-up (from potential spills as well as the extra dishes).

So for my second hosting attempt, I did the casserole thing. It's still a one-pot dish. One plate. No hot liquids. You see the appeal.

I took my original soup idea, made it less liquid-y, added some rice, popped it into the oven for 30 minutes, and . . .

Anita's Famous Butternut-Bean Chipotle Casserole* is born!
(yield: one 9 X 13)

olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 butternut squash (or pumpkin or sweet potato), cubed (4 cups)
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cayenne (or to taste)
29 oz.-can crushed tomatoes
1 cup water
15.5 oz.-can beans (I only had kidney on hand, but would have preferred black)
1-2 TBSP chipotle sauce (optional, but then you might have to change the name of the casserole)
3-4 cups cooked rice
cheese (I didn't have any, but this would be a good addition

Instructions: In a large stock-pot saute the onion and garlic in about 2 TBSP of olive oil over medium heat. When onions are translucent, add cumin, cinnamon, and cayenne and saute a few more minutes, stirring constantly. Add remaining ingredients--except the rice and cheese--and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and cook until the squash (or pumpkin, or sweet potato) is tender, about 25 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350F. When squash is tender add rice and cheese if using, pour into a greased 9 X 13 baking dish, and bake at 350F for 30 minutes. Sprinkle more cheese (I think a sharp cheddar would be delish!) on top to melt before serving.

*(that pretentious title is a joke, by the way, but it was tasty and it got cleaned up pretty fast)