Archive for January, 2012

Kahlua Chocolate Cake

Kahlua Chocolate Cake

Kahlua Chocolate Cake

Momma and Daddy Ems made a trip down to Bloomington last weekend to celebrate Dad’s 59th birthday. For the occasion, I whipped up the only cake I really know how to make. I’ve adopted the philosophy that all baked goods worth making contain booze. Thus, though it’s not super impressive in appearance, I’ve focused (I think appropriately) my cake making efforts on this diamond in the rough. I’ve made it a few times in the past and it always seems to get lots of positive reviews.

I can think of a few ways to improve it, including adding chocolate chips and black cherries to the batter. I think I’ll try that next time. The cake recipe I took from here and the glaze (which CANNOT be left out), I took from here. I make a little more glaze than the recipe calls for. In particular, I add extra Kahlua and Vodka- surprise, surprise- I know. I add the glaze, as the recipe says, to the cake when it’s still cooling in the bundt pan, but I reserve some of it to pour over the other side once the cake is removed from the pan and plated.

The cake is super moist (it should be since it’s like a sponge saturated with sugar and booze 🙂 ) and has a great flavor. It does take about an hour and a half or two hours to make and cool before it can be eaten but the wait is well worth it!

Trout in Citrus and Brown Sugar Sauce with Broccoli

Trout in Citrus Brown Sugar Sauce with Broccoli

Trout in Citrus Brown Sugar Sauce with Broccoli

Stacey made this delicious plate of food tonight for dinner. She baked the trout after marinating it in her delicious brown sugar, lemon juice and olive oil fish marinade. She baked it 375 for 15 minutes or until was is flaky in the middle. The broccoli was sauteed in a wok with olive oil, seasoned with salt and pepper and topped with shredded parmigano-regiano cheese. The whole thing was pretty easy- or at least she made it look that way- and amazingly tasty. Also, the whole meal added up to about 491 calories!

Summer Shrimp Kabobs

Summer Shrimp Kabobs

Summer Shrimp Kabobs

Last summer we had some friends over and had a make-your-own kabob BBQ. Perhaps we’re a little..um..’Type A,’ but we had forms for people to fill out so we knew what to put on the skewer for each person. The kabobs on this tray were all mushroom, shrimp, tomato, onion and bell pepper. We also had beef and some other options. Then we offered a variety of sauces like Teryaki, BBQ, Italian salad dressing, lemon and garlic butter. After the sauce was brushed on, Stacey put them on the grill. It was a pretty fun way to make dinner for a group of friends who got to choose their own ingredients and sit on the deck outside enjoying the weather, company and drinks while the food was prepared. Writing this up on a 20 degree winter night, makes me pretty excited for summer so we can do this again!!

Stacey’s Brown Sugar Grilled Salmon and Katie’s Couscous Salad

Stacey's Brown Sugar Salmon and Katie's Couscous Salad

Stacey's Brown Sugar Salmon and Katie's Couscous Salad

This is one of our absolute summer favorites and staples which pairs very well with a cold crisp bottle of white wine (or two). Stacey is definitely the grilling/fish guru among us. Often when we make salmon she whips up a simple but delicious marinade of brown sugar, salt, pepper olive oil and lemon juice (and I think sometimes she’ll add some cayenne pepper to it as well) to make this salmon delicious! She puts it on the grill and cooks it until the middle’s flaky. The asparagus was simply coated with olive oil and salt and peppered and put in the oven on a cookie sheet for 7 minutes or so at around 375.

My friend Katie Bangs sent me this recipe for couscous salad almost two years ago now and it is absolutely one of my favorite recipes for summer salads. It is such a crowd pleaser and is really quite easy to make as long as you have all of the ingredients. I don’t follow many recipes verbatim, but this one I absolutely do. It’s amazing as is. Here’s a copy of her recipe:

COUSCOUS SALAD. DISH DELISH.

Ingredients
Salad
1 cup couscous
3 cups garbanzo beans
²⁄³ cup currants
²⁄³ cup red bell pepper, diced
½ cup scallions, chopped
½ cup fresh mint, chopped
½ cup pine nuts, toasted
½ cup parsley, chopped
Dressing:
½ cup extra virgin Olive Oil
½ cup lemon juice
1 tsp. garlic, crushed
½ tsp. ground cumin
Salt and black pepper to taste
Garnish
cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
fresh mint
radish

Directions
1.  Make the dressing by combining olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, ground cumin, salt and
pepper to taste. Mix well and set aside.
2.  Soak the currents in warm water to plump up, then strain and dry them.
3.  Boil 2 cups of water and add couscous. Remove from the heat and cover for about 10            minutes. Fluff the couscous with a fork and transfer to a bowl to cool.
4.  Once the couscous has cooled, add garbanzo beans, currants, red bell pepper, scallions, fresh mint, pine nuts, and parsley. Add the dressing mix well.
5.  Cover and leave out in room temperature for 1 hour or cover and refrigerate overnight. Return salad to room temperature before serving.
6.  Garnish with cherry tomatoes, fresh mint, and radish.

This can be served as an appetizer, side dish, or add grilled chicken for a bigger meal.

Posted by Narineh at 11:50 PM

Labels: Cooking, Food, Recipe, Salad

Butternut Squash, Kale, Tomato Bake

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Last night, living up to the name of this blog, I experimented by combining three recipes and came up with this healthy (245 calories per serving) dish. I love making healthy dishes because then I don’t feel so bad about drinking more beer! The original recipes are here: Recipe 1, Recipe 2 and Recipe 3. Stacey and Judy, my roommate, both thought it was pretty good. Especially, with some good brews. And brews were definitely in order as the IU men’s basketball squad, and their fans – us, had a pretty rough night last night.

To start the bake, I peeled and seeded a medium butternut squash. I chopped it up into 1/2 inch squares and sauteed it in olive oil until it started to brown and was getting soft. Then, I took the squash out of the pan and put it on a plate to cool. From there, I sauteed a large onion chopped in a big wok along with 4 cloves of garlic. Once they were soft, I added about 2-3 Tbs of chopped fresh sage and 4 morningstar fake sausage patties which I chopped up into small cubes. Then, I added 5 vine-ripened tomatoes which I had quartered. I let them cook for a minute or two and then put in the kale which I had chopped up and took the stem away. Here, I seasoned with salt and pepper to taste. Once the kale had cooked down I took the pan off of the heat.

In a 9 x 13 baking dish I’d sprayed with non-stick spray, I put down the squash cubes so that they covered the bottom of the dish. Then, I added the kale, tomato, onion mixture and spread it out in an even layer on top. Then, I chopped up about half a handful of fresh basil and sprinkled that over the top. Finally, I put about 7 Tbs of shredded parmigano-reggiano cheese over top along with about 3 Tbs of panko breadcrumbs. Then, I baked it at about 375 for 10 minutes- until the top became golden brown! YUM!!

 

Vegetarian Chili

Veggie Chili

Veggie Chili

This is one of my favorite recipes to make and eat. I made it last night for some lovely friends who came by to watch some football. (I wasn’t sure if it was the spice in the chili or Tebow’s performance which brought tears to their eyes.) I always put out the saracha hot sauce so that it can be made as spicy as each person likes. Personally, I like it HOT!

To make the chili, I start with putting some olive oil in a big pot. Then I add an onion chopped and 4 cloves of garlic chopped. After a few minutes, I throw in about half of a zucchini chopped into small cubes. A minute or two later, I put in about 2 bell peppers chopped into small pieces and a jalapeno. See pic below:

Onion, Garlic, Jalepeno, Zucchini, Bell Pepers

Onion, Garlic, Jalepeno, Zucchini, Bell Pepers

Once the veggies start to soften a little bit, I put in the spices. I add a good amount (always to taste, but in descending order according to quantity) of chili powder, cumin, coriander, cayenne pepper and salt. Once the spices are in (and they will always be adjusted as cooking progresses) I add a can of condensed tomato soup mix, like Campbell’s and two jars of drained stewed tomatoes. Then, I add a can of black beans and a can of kidney beans in their liquid. Sometimes I also add a handful of fake veggie meat. I think it gives the chili a nice texture and adds a little protein.

Last night we topped it with sour cream and cheddar cheese and enjoyed some jalapeno, cheddar cornbread along side. It was a pretty nice, comforting meal for a cold night of football watching. 🙂

Pumpkin Cupcakes

Pumpkin Cupcakes

Pumpkin Cupcakes

These pumpkin cupcakes with cream cheese frosting were made for a party at Stacey’s this fall. I followed Maratha Stewart’s recipe (linked to the photo above) They were sinful. I cut back on the butter; I only put in one stick I think. I cut back on the sugar putting in about 2/3 of what is called for. I also added  pecans on the top. Try them. O   M   G.