Sunday, May 30, 2010

Tasty Asparagus and Basmati Rice

A couple weeks ago I was looking for something simple to make for dinner. I saw this recipe and we only had to get asparagus and almonds to have all the ingredients, so I figured we should try it. Patrick and I both really enjoyed this rice. I think that I ate it for lunch at least 3 times in one week and I still looked forward to eating this for lunch every time.

Rice & Asparagus

Tasty Asparagus and Basmati Rice
Serves 4-6

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 or 2 14-ounce cans of chickpeas, drained
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 bunch asparagus, cut into 1-inch segments
3 cups cooked basmati rice
1 cup almond slivers, toasted
fine grain sea salt

Tahini Dressing:
1 garlic clove, smashed and chopped
1/4 cup tahini
zest of one lemon
scant 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons hot water
scant 1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt

Directions:
Cook the rice according to the direction. I used the recipe for Chipotle Rice.

Make the dressing by whisking together the garlic, tahini, lemon zest and juice, and olive oil. Add the hot water to thin a bit and then the salt. Set aside.

Add a couple glugs of olive oil (roughly 3 tablespoons) to a big skillet over medium-high heat. Swirl the oil around to coat the pan, then add the chickpeas and sprinkling of salt. Let the beans saute there for a couple minutes. Be careful, they seem to hiss and pop more then other beans over high heat. Add the garlic and onions. Stir for a minute. Stir in the asparagus with another pinch or two of salt, cover with a lid for a minute or two to steam - just until the asparagus brightens and softens up just a bit. Uncover and stir in the rice and almond slivers, reserving a few almonds for garnish. Taste and add more salt if needed (likely). Serve family-style in a big bowl drizzled with a few tablespoons of the tahini dressing, let each person add more dressing to their tastes.

Adapted From: 101 Cookbooks

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Black Bean Burgers

Ever since I was in Chicago and I had a black bean burger at Au Bon Pain, I have really wanted to try to make them at home. I looked for a recipe, but I couldn't find any that I really wanted to try, until I saw that Kristen at The Kitchen Sink made black bean burgers. This recipe is so simple and the burgers are really good. I think that I flipped my burgers too early, so I would recommend that you wait at least a couple minutes until you flip them.

Black Bean Burgers

Black-Bean Burgers
Yield: 4 burgers

Ingredients:
2 (14-ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained, divided
3 tablespoons plain yogurt
1/3 cup plain dry bread crumbs
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
generous pinch of salt
1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro
1 lime
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 soft hamburger buns

Accompaniments: sliced avocado, romaine, salsa, sliced sharp cheddar

Directions:
Pulse 1 can beans in a food processor with yogurt, bread crumbs, cumin, oregano, cayenne, paprika and salt until a coarse purée forms. Transfer to a bowl and stir in cilantro and remaining can beans. Add as much juice from the lime as needed to create a mixture that holds together well (you likely won’t need the entire lime; slice the leftover lime into wedges and serve with the burgers). Form mixture into 4 patties.

Heat oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium-high heat until it shimmers (alternatively, heat a grill pan and brush it with the oil). Cook burgers until outsides are crisp and lightly browned, turning once, about 5 minutes total. Serve on buns, along with the accompaniments.

Source: The Kitchen Sink

Sunday, May 23, 2010

David

Steve and Sandra came up on Saturday morning for a portrait session with their 2 year old David. All week the forecast was sunny and 80 degrees, well boy were they wrong. We were scheduled to take pictures at 10am and it was already getting dark when they arrived. It still wasn't raining, so I decided we should get over to the park quick and at least get a few pictures in before the rain came. I don't think I consulted David on the plan. He had just woken up from a nap and wasn't quite ready for pictures. We took a few at the park and then it started to sprinkle and then down pour, along with a thunder and lighting storm. So much for 10 percent chance of rain.

David

Once David got a cookie back at our house, he was much more willing to cooperate. But man, chasing a two year old around our house trying to get a good picture was quite the task. We did manage to get a least a few good smiles.

David

David

David

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Twins/Brewers Game

As I am sure you have all noticed our lives haven't been very exciting lately. Summer is right around the corner, so hopefully work slows down a little and we get to enjoy summer a little bit. On Friday I won tickets to the Twins Brewers game at the new Target Field. Neither Patrick or I are big baseball fans, but we have both been wanting to go to a game sometime this year. It worked out well to win tickets to the border battle, since that seems to be a constant theme in us attending sporting events this year.

Target Field

Twins Brewers Game

Twins Brewers Game

Since the tickets were free, we decided that we would eat at the stadium. The food selection is much better than at the Metrodome, which probably explains why we easily spent $48 on food and drinks.

Target Field

We were both pretty excited about going to the game, so we stopped at the mall before the game to get baseball apparel. Patrick was on a mission to find a Brewers t-shirt, but Wisconsin themed attire is hard to come by in Minnesota. He settled for Twins t-shirts. Here we at the field with our new shirts.

Patrick and I at Target Field

And here is the view from our seats, not bad for free tickets.

View from Seats

Target Field

Target Field

Like I said before, I am not a big baseball fan. Most of the time I find it quite boring. This was probably one of the more entertaining games I have been to. The Twins scored 7 runs in the first inning. They retired the Brewers pitcher before the inning even ended. The Twins ended up winning the game 15-3.

Twins Brewers Game

And here is Joe Mauer, this guy is only a year older than me and he just signed a eight year, 184 million dollar contract with the Twins. It's crazy they pay anyone that much to play baseball.

Joe Mauer

Joe Mauer

Joe Mauer

Friday, May 7, 2010

Baked Ziti

Remember when we went to Lutsen, over two months ago. Well, I am just getting around to posting some of those recipes. I prepared this baked ziti before hand and then froze it for the trip up north. After a long day of skiing the last thing you want to worry about is dinner. Since I made this before hand, we just put it in the oven. It took longer than the hour suggested below because it came from the refrigerator. We served this with salad and cheese bread. This was just a regular 9x13 pan and it was plenty to serve 11 people with the salad and bread.

Baked Ziti

Baked Ziti

Ingredients
1 lb. whole milk or 1% cottage cheese
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
3 oz. grated Parmesan cheese (about 1 1/2 cups), divided
Table salt
1 lb. ziti
1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
20 oz. turkey Italian sausage
1/2 cup yellow onion, finely chopped
5 medium cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 (28 oz.) can tomato sauce
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes
1 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp. chopped fresh basil leaves, divided
1 tsp. sugar
Ground black pepper
3/4 tsp. cornstarch1 cup heavy cream (or whole milk)
8 oz. low-moisture mozzarella, cut into 1/4-inch pieces

Directions
Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350° F. Whisk cottage cheese, eggs, and 1 cup Parmesan together in a medium bowl; set aside. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Stir in 1 tablespoon salt and the pasta; cook until pasta begins to soften but is not yet cooked through, 5-7 minutes. Drain the pasta and leave in colander.

Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Crumble in the turkey sausage and cook until nearly browned. Add in the onion and garlic and continue to cook until the onion is softened and the sausage is completely browned. Stir in the tomato sauce, diced tomatoes and oregano; simmer until thickened, about 10 minutes. Off the heat, stir in 1/2 cup basil and the sugar, and season with salt and pepper.

In a small bowl stir together the cornstarch and heavy cream. Transfer the mixture to the now-empty stockpot over medium heat. Bring to a simmer and cook until thickened, 3-4 minutes.

Remove the pot from the heat and add the cottage cheese mixture, 1 1/2 cups of the tomato sauce and 3/4 cup mozzarella. Stir to combine. Add the pasta and toss to coat thoroughly with the sauce.

Transfer the pasta to a 9×13″ baking dish and spread the remaining tomato sauce evenly over the top. Sprinkle the remaining mozzarella and Parmesan over the top. Cover the baking dish tightly with foil and bake for 30 minutes.

Remove the foil from the pan and continue to cook until the cheese is bubbling and beginning to brown, about 30 minutes longer. Cool for 20 minutes. Sprinkle with the remaining 2 tablespoons basil and serve.

Source: Annie's Eats

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Pizza Bites

The day that these pizza bites were posted on Annie's Eats, I knew that we needed to make these. I sent Patrick the link and he wanted to make them that night for dinner. Well, we didn't make them that night, but it wasn't long after that we made them. They are really good, much better than any frozen pizza roll you would buy. Since then we have even made them with the premade pizza dough from the dairy section and they were still pretty awesome. In the future we are going to experiment with other ingredients to stuff the pizza bites with.

Pizza Bites

Pizza Bites

Ingredients:
½ batch pizza dough (enough for 1 pizza)
4 oz. mozzarella cheese, cubed (about 20-24 pieces)
Sliced pepperoni

For topping:
Olive oil
Italian seasoning
Grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 400˚ F. Lightly grease a 9-inch pie plate or cake pan. Divide the pizza dough into 20-24 roughly equal sized pieces. Take one of the dough pieces, top with a cube of cheese and a slice or two of pepperoni. Pull the edges of the dough around the fillings and pinch closed. Place seam-side down in the baking dish. Repeat with the remaining dough pieces.

Lightly brush the tops of the dough balls with olive oil. Sprinkle with Italian seasoning and grated Parmesan cheese. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown. Serve warm, with dipping sauce as desired.

Source: Annie's Eats

Pizza Bites

Monday, May 3, 2010

Adam's Surprise Birthday Party

Maran did a great job of keeping the secret from Adam and none of us ruined the surprise, so I would consider the surprise a success. The party consisted of a lot of eating and playing games, not much different than birthday parties we attended as a child. We ate cookies, cake and cupcakes; we played bean bag toss, did hand stands and played on the neighbor's slide. The party was a great way to kick off summer.

Adam's Surprise 28th Birthday

Adam's Surprise 28th Birthday

Adam's Surprise 28th Birthday

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Devil's Food Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

On Saturday, Maran hosted a surprise birthday party for Adam. I offered to help with desserts, so I made some Devil's Food Chocolate Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting and Chocolate Chip Cookies. The cookies were good as usual. The last few times I have made cupcakes from scratch they are always a little dry so I think next time I am going to have to bake them a little less time.

Devil's Food Cupcakes

Devil’s Food Cupcakes
Yield: 36 cupcakes
I only made 2/3 of the recipe for 24 cupcakes

Ingredients

3/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
3/4 cup hot water
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoons coarse salt
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter
2 1/4 cups sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
1 tablespoon plus
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup sour cream, room temperature
Cream Cheese Frosting (see below)

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Whisk together cocoa and hot water until smooth. In another bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.

Melt butter with sugar in a saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring to combine. Remove from heat, and pour into a mixing bowl. With an electric mixer on medium-low speed, beat until mixture is cooled, 4 to 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Add vanilla, then cocoa mixture, and beat until combined.
Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture in two batches, alternating with the sour cream, and beating until just combined after each.

Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three- quarters full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, about 20 minutes.

Transfer tins to wire racks to cool 15 minutes; turn out cupcakes onto racks and let cool completely. Cupcakes can be stored overnight at room temperature, or frozen up to 2 months, in airtight containers.

To finish, use a small offset spatula or piping bag to add icing to cupcakes.

Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients

8 oz. cream cheese (no need to soften)
5 tbsp. butter, softened
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Directions

To make the frosting, combine the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla in the bowl of a stand mixer. Cream on medium-high speed. Add the powdered sugar to the bowl in batches, beating on low until just combined and then on high speed until desired consistency is reached. For a stiffer icing, add more powdered sugar.

Source: The Kitchen Sink

Devil's Food Cupcakes