Wednesday, July 27, 2011

#56 - Zucchini Patties

Something that we've been wanting to make for quite some time now are these tasty fried zucchini patties that Emily's grandmother makes. Normally when she cooks up a batch, they're gone in just a few minutes, so we figured if we could make them ourselves, we'd have better odds of tasting one.

Zucchini Patties

From Bebe Renda
We've gotten some nice zucchini from Farmer Randy before (we think we used one in our ratatouille), but nothing compares to the giant zucchini you find in New Jersey. Emily just got back from a weekend with her family, and she brought home this behemoth.
This is actually a pretty easy recipe to make. Once you have your zucchini, you chop it and boil it; and magically, the insides fall out, and you're left with these beautiful little arcs.
Then, you mix together all of the ingredients in a bowl, spoon little dollops into a pan, and fry them up.
Then you eat them all really quickly. They're tasty hot, they're tasty at room temperature, and we don't know about anything else because they don't last long enough to be eaten cold.
Find yourself a baseball bat-sized zucchini and make these.
  • 1/4 cup Panko bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmigiano cheese
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 medium zucchini, sliced into small pieces
  • Olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 sprigs basil, ripped into small pieces
  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add zucchini pieces and boil until soft, about 7 to 8 minutes.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix eggs, bread crumbs, garlic, and basil.
  3. Add the cooked zucchini into the bread crumb mixture, and use hands to mix together.
  4. Add grated cheese.
  5. If the mixture is too dry, add another egg. If it's too wet, add more bread crumbs.
  6. Cover the bottom of a medium skillet with olive oil and heat over medium-high heat.
  7. Spoon small to medium-sized balls of mixture into the pan.
  8. Cook patties on one side until lightly browned; then flip and continue cooking until browned.
  9. Drain on a rack covered with paper towels.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

#55 - Chocolate-Dipped Ice Cream Sandwiches

We like ice cream, we like sandwiches, and we most definitely like ice cream sandwiches. So when we saw pictures of these chocolate-dipped ice cream sandwiches in a recent Bon Appetit magazine, we knew we had to try this one out ourselves.

Chocolate-Dipped Ice Cream Sandwiches

From Bon Appetit
There are tons of things in this picture, but we made our own homemade ice cream, so if you're not going that route, just buy some of your favorite flavor and your countertop will have a lot less stuff on it.
To make ice cream sandwiches, you need two things: the ice cream and the "bread." To start out, we have to make one big cookie that'll form the outside of the sandwiches.
Then for the inside of the sandiwches, we made some homemade strawberry ice cream.
The next step is to cut the cookie sheet in half, layer the ice cream, and plop the other half on top. Then you put it in the freezer to firm up, and cut them to the size sandwiches you want. And the extra goodness is to dip it in some chocolate and add sprinkles when you're done.
These things were awesome. The chocolate coating was fun and made them pretty, but the best part was the ice cream sandwich itself. The cookies were tasty, ice cream is always good, and putting them together made us feel like we were king confectioners.
Even if you're not in the mood for some tasty frozen desserts, make these now and freeze them for later.

Strawberry Ice Cream
  • 2 1/2 cup half-and-half
  • 8 egg yolks
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups whipping cream
  • 4 tsps vanilla
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 2 cups fresh strawberries, chopped
  • 2 to 3 tsps sugar
  1. In a medium pan, heat the half-and-half over medium heat until very hot but not boiling, stirring often. Remove from heat and set aside.
  2. Whisk together the egg yolks and sugar for 30 seconds (on Speed 2 of your KitchenAid).
  3. Gradually add half-and-half while continuing mixing.
  4. Return the mixture to medium heat until very hot and steaming, constantly stirring. Do not boil.
  5. Remove from heat and transfer mixture into a large bowl and stir in whipping cream, vanilla, and salt.
  6. Cover bowl and chill for at least 8 hours.
  7. Prepare your ice cream maker for use.
  8. Pour chilled mixture into your ice cream maker and stir for 15 minutes (on Speed 1 of your KitchenAid).
  9. While processing, combine strawberries and 2 to 3 teaspoons sugar in a medium bowl and let stand.
  10. While still mixing, add in chopped strawberries and stir for an additional 3 to 5 minutes or until the ice cream is thickened.
  11. Pour ice cream into a freezer safe air-tight container, and return to freezer for several hours before serving.

Chocolate-Dipped Ice Cream Sandwiches
  • Nonstick vegetable oil spray
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • Salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
  • 1/2 cup golden brown sugar, packed
  • 2 Tbs golden syrup
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 2/3 cups ice cream, softened
  • 9 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 3 Tbs vegetable oil
  • Assorted decorations
  1. Preheat oven to 325.
  2. Line 13x9x2 inch metal baking pan with foil, leaving 1-inch overhang on long sides. Coat lightly with nonstick spray.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking soda, and a pinch of salt.
  4. Melt butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Cook until milk solids on bottom of pan turn deep golden brown, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes. Transfer into small bowl.
  5. Put sugar and syrup in a large bowl. Pour in browned butter and whisk to combine.
  6. Whisk in egg yolks and vanilla.
  7. Add flour mixture and stir just to blend.
  8. Transfer dough to prepared pan and press into an even layer.
  9. Bake cookie for 15 to 17 minutes, until golden brown and sides pull away from pan edges.
  10. Cool completely in pan on rack.
  11. Using foil overhang, lift cookie layer from pan and place on work station.
  12. Place sheet of plastic wrap lengthwise in same pan, leaving overhang on both short sides of pan. Place another sheet of plastic wrap crosswise in pan, leaving overhang on long sides.
  13. Cut cookie layer in half.
  14. Return 1 cookie half, top side down, to 1 short end of the pan.
  15. Slightly soften ice cream in microwave in 15 second intervals.
  16. Spread ice cream evenly over cookie in pan.
  17. Place second cookie half, top side up, on top of ice cream, pressing slightly.
  18. Fold plastic wrap over ice cream-filled cookie, and freeze until firm, at least 4 hours.
  19. Line baking sheet with wax paper.
  20. Use serrated knife to cut cookies lengthwise in half, then cut each strip crosswise into 4 sandwiches.
  21. Place on baking sheet and freeze.
  22. Stir chocolate and vegetable oil in medium metal bowl over a saucepan of barely simmering water until melted and smooth. Cool to lukewarm.
  23. Working with one sandwich at a time, dip half of sandwich in melted chocolate,allowing excess to drip back into bowl.
  24. Press sandwich into decorations on a plate, and return to baking sheet in freezer. Repeat for each sandwich.
  25. Freeze until chocolate sets and freezes, about 1 hour.

Friday, July 22, 2011

#54 - Ratatouille's Ratatouille

We've talked about Smitten Kitchen before, and we've shown her Spiced Sweet Potato Wedges and her Red Bean Chili on this site.

But this was the recipe that started it all for us. We saw this post, thought it was awesome, and followed her blog. Now we're finally getting around to making it.

Ratatouille's Ratatouille

From Smitten Kitchen
Yep, this is the recipe for the ratatouille made at the end of the movie Ratatouille. We do, however, try to keep our kitchen rodent free.
This recipe calls for a lot of slicing and dicing. So after cutting the garlic by hand, we pulled out our handy KitchenAid slicer attachment to do the rest.
Then, just like in the movie, you layer all the vegetables in concentric rings until it looks all pretty.
And it looks pretty when it's cooked too.
This was a really good recipe, and a fun way to use up all of Farmer Randy's vegetables. We had it as a side dish to a meatloaf, but it could be eaten on its own if you want a light vegetarian meal.
If you want to eat like a rat, here's what to do:
  • 1/2 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, very thinly sliced
  • 1 cup tomato puree
  • 2 Tbs olive oil, divided
  • 1 small eggplant
  • 1 small zucchini
  • 1 small yellow squash
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • Soft goat cheese (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Pour tomato puree in the bottom of an oval baking dish.
  3. Drop the sliced garlic pieces and chopped onion into the sauce.
  4. Stir in 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, and season generously with salt and pepper.
  5. Slice the eggplant, zucchini, yellow squash, and red bell pepper into very thin slices, approximately 1/16-inch thick.
  6. Arrange slices of cut vegetables atop the tomato puree, going from the outer edge to the inside of the baking dish, overlapping slightly.
  7. Drizzle the remaining tablespoon of olive oil over the vegetables and season with salt and pepper.
  8. Remove the leaves from the sprigs of thyme and sprinkle over the vegetables.
  9. Cover the dish with a piece of parchment paper cut to fit inside.
  10. Bake for 45-55 minutes, until the vegetables have released their liquid and are clearly cooked and the tomato sauce is bubbling.
  11. Serve with a dab of soft goat cheese (optional).

Monday, July 18, 2011

#53 - Eggplant Parmesan Rolls with Swiss Chard and Fresh Mint

When we made eggplant Parmigiana a couple months ago, we started out by saying, "There are a million ways to make eggplant Parmigiana." Well, we wanted to try another, and we found this interesting variation - they're eggplant rollatini stuffed with Swiss chard and mint.

Eggplant Parmesan Rolls with Swiss Chard and Fresh Mint

From Bon Appetit
There are a ton of ingredients in this one, but the main ones are eggplant, mint, and Swiss chard. We got some rainbow chard from Star Hollow this week, so we looked it up, and it seemed like they were pretty interchangeable. If you don't have either, you can also just swap out with spinach.
Rainbow chard is really just a mix of different color varieties of chard, and the one we used had a pretty red stem. None of that really matters, though, since the first thing you do is remove the colorful center rib.
So you start out by salting the eggplant slices to draw out some of the extra moisture and bitterness before broiling them.
Then you make the filling with the chard, mint, egg and cheeses.
Then you roll the slices with the filling inside, place them in a dish and cover with sauce and mozzarella.
And then you're done. This was a pretty interesting dish. The chard went really well with the eggplant, but the mint was definitely ... different. It balanced with the meal on some bites, but then on others, it tasted a bit too much like dessert or something. We've got a lot of leftovers to go through before we make a final decision on if this is a dish worth making again, but it was definitely fun to try once just because of how unique it is.
If you feel like trying this one out, here's what you need to do:
  • 2 medium eggplants, cut lengthwise into 1/4 inch thick slices
  • Kosher salt
  • Olive oil
  • 1 lb. swiss chard, center ribs removed
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 15 oz container whole-milk ricotta cheese
  • 1 1/4 cups grated Parmigiano cheese, divided
  • 2 Tbs fresh mint, chopped
  • 3/4 tsp black pepper
  • 16 oz tomato sauce
  • 8-oz ball fresh water-packed mozzarella, drained and thinly sliced
  1. Cover bottom and sides of 2 colanders with 1 layer of eggplant slices, and sprinkle with salt.
  2. Continue layering eggplant slices in each colander, sprinkling each layer with salt, until all slices are used.
  3. Place each colander over a large bowl and let stand for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
  4. Rinse eggplant slices to remove excess salt, and dry thoroughly with paper towels.
  5. Position oven rack 5 to 6 inches from hear source, and preheat broiler.
  6. Line 3 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Arrange eggplant slices on sheets and brush both sides with olive oil.
  7. Broil one sheet at a time for 3 to 4 minutes per side, until tender and beginning to brown.
  8. Bring large pot of salted water to a boil. Add chard and boil until just tender, about 2 minutes.
  9. Drain chard, and rinse with cold water. Squeeze chard very dry.
  10. Coarsely chop chard and squeeze dry again.
  11. In a medium bowl, whisk eggs and a pinch of kosher salt. Stir in chopped chard, ricotta cheese, 1 cup Parmigiano, mint, and black pepper.
  12. Lightly oil 15x10x2 glass baking dish, and spread half of the tomato sauce evenly over the bottom of the dish.
  13. Divide chard-ricotta filling among eggplant slices, placing 1 heaping tablespoon in each. Starting a short end of each, loosely roll each slice, enclosing filling.
  14. Put rolls, seam-side down, on top of sauced baking dish.
  15. Spoon remaining tomato sauce over eggplant rolls. Place mozzarella slices in single layer over rolls. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup Parmigiano.
  16. Preheat oven to 350.
  17. Bake rolls, covered with foil, until heated through, about 30 minutes.
  18. Uncover and bake until sauce bubble and cheese gets brown spots, about 15 to 20 minutes. Serve hot.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

#52 - Green Beans and Red Peppers

There's this restaurant in Downtown Silver Spring called Copper Canyon Grill, and it serves really tasty rotisserie chicken. They also have a green bean and red pepper side dish that we thought we'd give a try at home.

Green Beans and Red Peppers

A Hungry Hundred Original Recipe, Inspired by Copper Canyon Grill
We knew that this recipe was going to need green beans, red pepper, and onions, and besides that we kinda winged it. We saw online that balsamic vinegar would go well with these ingredients, so we threw that in too.
There's not really much to talk about.
All we did was boil the green beans,
Cook the onions and peppers with some garlic,
And then throw them all together.
Oh, and it magically turns out delicious. Green beans are good, red peppers are good, but green beans with red peppers cooked alongside garlic, onions, and olive oil is apparently wonderful.
Next time you need a simple tasty side dish, cook this one up.
  • 1 lb green beans
  • Olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 small red pepper, sliced
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Balsamic vinegar
  1. In a small pot, bring salted water to a boil. Add green beans and cook for 3 to 4 minutes.
  2. When crisp and tender, remove beans from water and drain well.
  3. In a medium skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat.
  4. Add onions, garlic, and pepper, and saute until tender, about 4 minutes.
  5. Add green beans, and salt and pepper to taste. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes.
  6. Remove from heat, and drizzle with balsamic vinegar.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

#51 - Apple Cake Tatin

At Johnny's recently former company, the 2010 Christmas party was toned down from previous years and instead of going out to a restaurant, they had a potluck at Sonny's building's recreation room.

Two good things came out of that party. One was that Johnny won a Wii by winning the Wii bowling tournament (kind of a bizarre feedback loop on that one). And the other good thing was this recipe.

Apple Cake Tatin

Adapted from The Barefoot Contessa
Johnny's recently former coworker Maraea made this dessert for the potluck, and when we asked for the recipe, she told us that it was an Ina Garten plum cake recipe, and she swapped out the plums for the apples.

That sounds like something that should be done with all plum recipes, and if you'll notice, there are no plums in our ingredients.
A Tarte Tatin is a French recipe for an upside-down tart with caramelized fruit. Since we're using apples, the first steps are to cut the apples, make the caramel, and put them together.
The next thing that we do is make a cake batter. We'll be putting it on top now, but since it's an upside-down cake, that will be on the bottom when it's eating time.
This was a great dessert. The cake is moist, the apples sweet and delicious, and the whole thing extra light and tasty. We added a bit of vanilla ice cream on top and it was a great alternative to an apple pie.
Take off your shoes and socks, and make this.
  • 6 Tbs unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus extra for greasing the dish
  • 4 to 5 apples, peeled and slice
  • 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar, divided
  • 2 extra large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 tsp grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup plus 2 Tbs all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • Confectioners' sugar
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Generously butter a 9-inch glass pie dish and arrange the apples in the dish, cut side down.
  3. Combine 1 cup of the sugar and 1/3 cup water in a small saucepan and cook over high heat. Swirl the pan but don't stir, until the mixture becomes a warm amber color, about 360 degrees on a candy thermometer.
  4. Pour caramel mixture evenly over the apples.
  5. Cream the butter and the remaining 3/4 cup of sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, until light and fluffy.
  6. Lower the speed and beat in the eggs one at a time.
  7. Add the sour cream, zest, and vanilla, and mix until combined.
  8. In a small bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. With the mixer set to low, add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture, and mix until combined.
  9. Pour the cake batter evenly over the apples and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.
  10. Cool for 15 minutes, and then invert the cake onto a flat plate. If an apple sticks to the pie dish, you can take it off and place it back on the cake.
  11. Serve warm or at room temperature, dusted with confectioners' sugar.

Monday, July 11, 2011

#50 - Corn and Crab Chowder

Two years ago today, we got married at Dahlgren Chapel and a few hours later had crab chowder to start out the dinner at the Key Bridge Marriott. To honor our two-year anniversary, instead of buying more cake, we decided to try our hands at that crab chowder.

Corn and Crab Chowder

From 30 Minute Meals
The ingredients for this soup are things you'd expect for any chowder - butter, flour, potatoes, onions, celery - and things you'd expect for any crab dish - crab meat, Old Bay, and bay leaves.
After chopping a whole lot, you plop all the vegetables in a pot of oil and butter, and then add the spices and seasoning.
After all the vegetables cook for a few minutes, you add the chicken stock, and then milk, and then the last thing you add is the crab meat and corn.
This was a delicious soup! We normally don't encourage this sort of thing (because she's evil) but Rachael Ray really pulled through tonight.

The soup was rich and creamy and hearty and crabby and, yes, it only took 30 minutes to make.
Try this yourselves on your anniversary or any day.
  • 1 Tbs vegetable oil
  • 2 Tbs butter
  • 2 russet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 2 ribs celery, chopped
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 small red bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1 Tbs Old Bay seasoning
  • 3 Tbs flour
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 qt whole milk
  • 3 cups frozen corn kernels
  • 8 oz cooked lump crab meat
  1. In a large, deep pot, heat the oil and butter over medium heat.
  2. Add the chopped potatoes, celery, onion, red bell pepper, and bay leaf to the pot.
  3. Season with salt, pepper, and Old Bay seasoning and saute for 5 minutes.
  4. Add in the flour and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
  5. Stir in the chicken broth and then the milk, and bring the soup up to a bubble.
  6. Add the corn and crab meat and simmer for 5 minutes.
  7. Adjust the salt and pepper to taste and remove the bay leaf.
  8. Serve soup with oyster crackers.