Category Archives: Comestibles

Happy Solstice! Now have a drink.

Strawberry SwingI made up a cocktail! It is so yummy! And frankly, after the insane-in-the-membrane thunderstorms we had around these parts last night, I know a lot of people who could use a drink. (We didn’t sustain any damage, other than a 14-hour power outtage, but there are huge trees down all over the city.) We were out checking the damage in the backyard, and I noticed that the mint was getting a trifle exuberant, and then I remembered the sugared strawberries I had in the fridge (you know, where you slice up strawberries and sprinkle sugar over them and let them sit in the refrigerator overnight?) … and here you go:

Strawberry Swing

  • 2-3 large mint leaves
  • 1 heaping spoonful of sugared strawberries, OR ~2 fresh strawberries (sliced) + 1T simple syrup
  • Hendrick’s gin
  • ginger ale

Muddle the mint leaves and the sugared strawberries (or strawberries + simple syrup) in the bottom of a lowball glass. Add a jigger of Hendrick’s. Add ice. Top it off with ginger ale. Stir, sip, and enjoy. Ahhhh … summer.

Memorial Weekend Recipe Blogging

Soooo … it’s Memorial Day Weekend, and nothing says appreciation for the military like a damn good chocolate chip cookie recipe, amirite? That and plus also, I don’t have any other burning issue to blog about. Anyhoodle, I know everyone and their granny has a chocolate chip cookie recipe, but please trust me when I tell you, you need to try this one. I have had numerous people bite into one of these cookies, pause, look me in the eyes and go, “Wow. That is a GOOD cookie.” The keys to making these are the dash of cinnamon – you want just enough to bring out the flavor of the cookie, not enough to really taste – and the baking time. To achieve the perfect blend of crispy edges and soft chewy center, you have to watch them like a hawk and take them out of the oven as soon as you see brown around the edges. This started out as a Betty Crocker recipe, from a 1970s era cookbook, but has been tweaked over the years by my mom and by me until it has reached cookie perfection. It also makes more cookies than most chocolate chip cookie recipes, which is good, because these go pretty damn fast.

Dammit These Are Good Chocolate Chip Cookies

2//3 cup shortening
2/3 cup butter, softened (salted butter makes it better)
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar (packed)
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. soda
1 tsp. salt
dash cinnamon
12 oz. semisweet chocolate pieces.

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Cream shortening, butter, and sugars together until fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Mix in dry ingredients. Slowly stir in chocolate chips.

Use a medium cookie scoop, or drop dough by rounded teaspoonfuls 2 inches apart onto ungreased baking sheet. Bake 8-10 minutes or until the edges of the cookie are light brown. DO NOT OVERBAKE. The tops should still be very pale – only the bottoms should be brown. You’ll think they’re not done yet, but trust me. They’re perfect. Cool slightly before removing from baking sheet. Makes about 4 dozen cookies.

If you make these, let me know how they turn out!

Tuesday Recipe Blogging

Because it’s Tuesday which is my Monday and I am B.U.S.Y:

Easiest Ever Crockpot Chicken Chili

Get out the crockpot. Throw in:

  • 2 large frozen skinless boneless chicken breasts
  • 1 jar salsa
  • 1 can corn, undrained
  • 1 can beans, undrained (any kind – we use kidney or black, mostly)
  • 1 can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 chicken bouillon cube
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder

Set the crockpot on low and let it cook for at least 4 and up to 8 hours. Around the 4 hour mark, or when you get home, or right before you serve it, take the chicken breasts out of the pot with some tongs and use two forks to shred each breast. Put the shredded chicken back into the crock pot and let it cook until you’re ready to eat it. Serve with shredded cheese and sour cream. We like it with corn chips or corn muffins on the side. VEGETARIAN OPTION: leave out the chicken (obvs.) and replace the chicken bouillon cube with a veggie one. Add a package of frozen veggie burger-style crumbles. Or this might be good with that Quorn chicken replacer, but I’ve never tried it in a recipe like this, so I dunno.

Buon Appetito!

Sunday Recipe Blogging

Things are better. I’m almost totally healthy, Mr. Squab’s foot is on the mend, and the Hatchling and the Sprout are vastly improved. Plus, my team won today and I invented a really yummy soup. As a cook, I’d say that soups and casseroles are my forte – I’m a one-dish-meal kind of gal – but usually I’m working from some kind of recipe even if I alter most of the steps. This is the first time I’ve ever actually created a recipe from scratch, so I was quite pleased that it turned out. I loooooove pumpkin dishes, especially in the autumn, and I’m a sucker for a nice, hearty soup. Trust me, this one will definitely fill you up. Another bonus: it would be just as delicious as a vegan soup as it is with meat, so it’s nice and versatile. See what you think:

Curried Pumpkin-Lentil Soup

8 cups broth (chicken, veggie, whatev.)
1 c. lentils
1 large onion, diced
1 1/2 c. sweet potato, diced (about 1 medium sweet potato)
1 1/2 c. carrots, sliced
2 15 oz. cans pumpkin
1 lb chicken breast, cubed (optional)
2 T curry powder
1 T powdered ginger
1 t garlic powder
1 T Sriracha or other hot sauce (to taste)
Sour cream for garnish

1. Put broth and lentils into a crock pot on high.

2. Saute onion, carrots, sweet potato, 1 T curry powder and 1/2 T ginger in the olive oil on medium heat until soft. Add to crock pot. Add both cans of pumpkin.

3. Toss chicken breast with remaining spices, garlic powder, and Sriracha. Saute over medium heat in the pan left over from the veggies. Add additional oil if necessary (I didn’t need to, but I was using a nonstick pan.) When chicken is fully cooked, set aside.

4. Once lentils are soft, or an hour or so before serving, use an immersion blender to puree the soup until it is fairly uniform in texture. (If you don’t have an immersion blender, use a potato masher – the soup will be chunkier, but that’s OK. Or, you know, get an immersion blender. Seriously! They are awesome!)

5. Add chicken to pureed soup and reduce heat to low. Cook at least 1 hour or up to, I dunno, all day?

6. Serve hot with a dollop of sour cream and crusty bread on the side. SO. GOOD.

**Vegetarian/Vegan option: Use veggie broth; add all the spices and hot sauce to the onion/carrot/sweet potato mix instead of dividing them between the veggies and the meat, and if you’re vegan, skip the sour cream or use a vegan substitute. Easy Peasy.

**Quick option: do it on the stovetop instead of in a crock pot – bring the broth and lentils to a boil, then reduce heat and let them simmer for about 20 minutes while you prepare and cook the veggies. By the time the veggies are done, the lentils will be soft and you can puree at will, and add the chicken as soon as it’s cooked.

Comfort food posting

I know, I know: Where the hell have I been? What am I, blogger or a slacker? Well, mostly I’ve been trying to sleep, trying being the operative word. For example, here’s how nap time goes: put down the Sprout, put down the Hatchling, wash out the accumulated bottles from the morning/previous night, do a half-assed picking up of the kitchen. Start to get really sleepy, lie down on sofa, doze for 10 minutes, get up to put pacifier back in Sprout’s mouth, doze for 15 minutes, hear the cat making a racket right outside the Hatchling’s door (he does this on purpose), go get cat and shut gate to upstairs, lie down and doze for 15 minutes, get up to nurse Sprout, doze for 10 minutes, wake up to telemarketer phone call, curse all telemarketers, hide phone in sofa cushions, shut cat out on the back porch, put pacifier in Sprout’s mouth, take deep breath, lie down, doze for 20 minutes, and then the Hatchling wakes up.

Sounds restful, don’t it? I’d probably be better off not even trying to nap, but I’m too tired not to.

Anyhoo, I was all jazzed up for tonight because I was actually going to Go. Out. To A Bar. (!!!) Mr. Squab was going to watch the girls and I promised to be back before the Hatchling’s bedtime. It was going to be so awesome, seeing old friends and drinking, you know, the sweet, sweet booze. But then the Sprout decided that today was projectile vomiting day, and she participated with unusual vigor. She’s fine – no fever or anything and she seems to have settled down now – but I really didn’t think I could leave Mr. Squab at home with a hyperactive three-year-old and a barfing one-month-old. So no night out for me …

… which leads me to the comfort food, aka the real point of this post. Since I was home, and since we didn’t have any sweet treats in the house, I whipped up some chocolate pound cake from my mother’s recipe, and holy crap is it good. I frankly don’t really understand why anyone makes non-chocolate poundcake, unless it’s because you haven’t made it with this recipe. When I was little, we used to make my mom take the cake out early so it would fall a little bit and we could eat the extra dense, moist pieces – but have no fear, it’s plenty dense and moist even when it’s fully baked. We like it warm out of the oven with no adornment, but then I almost always frost it with cream cheese frosting once it’s cooled off. Anyway, it’s a simple recipe that makes crazy delicious cake, so try it out next time you have a yen for something yummy.

Chocolate Pound Cake
1/2 c. shortening
1 c. butter
2 3/4 c. sugar
5 eggs
3 c. flour
1/2 c. cocoa
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/4 c. milk
1 tsp. vanilla

Cream butter and shortening together. Slowly add sugar, then add eggs one at a time and beat until fluffy. Whisk flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt together, and add to shortening mixture alternately with milk and vanilla. Beat on medium for 2-3 minutes. Pour into greased and floured tube or bundt pan. Bake at 325 degrees for 1 1/4 – 1 1/2 hours. Try to restrain yourself from eating entire cake at one sitting.

Cream Cheese Icing
8 oz. cream cheese
1 stick butter
1 box powdered sugar
6 Tblsp cocoa
1 tsp vanilla

Whip it all together and slap it on the cake. Or eat it directly from the bowl, whichever.

It’s Sunday; eat some chocolate

For Christmas I got a Hershey’s recipe box so now I can have one recipe box for savory and one for sweet. I was browsing through some of the recipe cards that came with the box, and this one for marbled cherry brownies looked, um, GOOD, and I had all the ingredients on hand. If you like cherries and chocolate, you will like this.

Marbled Cherry Brownies
adapted from Hershey’s

Ingredients:
Cherry Cream Filling (below)
1 cup (2 sticks) butter or margarine, melted
2/3 cup cocoa
4 eggs
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions:
1. Prepare Cherry Cream Filling; set aside. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease 9×13 baking pan. Stir butter and cocoa in small bowl until well blended; cool slightly.

2. Beat eggs in medium bowl until foamy. Gradually add sugar and vanilla, beating until well blended. Stir together flour, baking powder and salt; add to egg mixture. Add cocoa mixture; stir until well blended.

3. Spread half of chocolate batter into prepared pan; cover with Cherry Cream Filling. Drop spoonfuls of remaining chocolate batter over filling. With knife or spatula, gently swirl chocolate batter into filling for marbled effect.

4. Bake 40-45 minutes or until brownies begin to pull away from sides of pan. Cool; cut into squares. Cover. About 32 brownies.

CHERRY CREAM FILLING
1 package (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup chopped maraschino cherries, well drained

Beat cream cheese and sugar in small bowl on medium speed of mixer until blended. Add egg, vanilla and almond extract; beat well. (Mixture will be thin.) Stir in cherries.

Photo Dump

Just uploaded a whole lotta pix, and thought I’d share some of the best. Happy Monday.

Here’s the red velvet cake. It’s not bakery-shop pretty, but you’d eat it, right?
Red Velvet Birthday Cake

Here’s what it looked like on the inside. I shall be blogging the recipe later.
Red velvet cake, devoured

I’ve been waiting a LOOOOOOONG time for the Hatchling to have enough hair for this:
Braids!

Of course, she looks pretty cute with it down, too.
The little ballerina advances

I feel like this should totally be the cover for a toddler alt-folk album or something.
Girls with hats