Huskcherry crumble

August 31, 2010 § 2 Comments

Last week at the farmer’s market I ran across this interesting fruit called the huskcherry. Apparently it’s also called a gooseberry, and is related to the tomato and tomatillo. Regardless, I thought they tasted really interesting; faintly sweet and altogether lovely. To eat or use, peel back the husk, which is reminiscent of a paper lantern, and enjoy fresh or baked into desserts, such as this huskcherry crumble.

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Chocolate spice cookies

August 25, 2010 § 3 Comments

A few weeks ago I promised some cookies to a friend going through some tough times lately, as a sort of long-distance hug. However, I was missing a few ingredients, and then of course, since I can never leave well enough alone, I gussied up the original recipe for Mexican hot-chocolate cookies with more chocolate! more spice! more chocolate chips! and ended up with these chocolate spice cookies. I even changed the name because I’ve never had Mexican hot-chocolate (I actually have never had any hot chocolate I liked, not even the French stuff in the big bowl disguised as a cup), so I didn’t think it fair of me to perhaps mislead fans of the former with my version of the cookies.

No matter their origin and inspiration, these cookies are delicious, especially with dark chocolate chips; my friends agree, and I hope you will enjoy them too. They spent a while trying to guess the spices because they add a delicious change to the plain chocolate cookies many are used to; one even guessed nutmeg. Anyways, this recipe is definitely getting filed under “favorites,” as they’re simple to make but taste way more intriguing than ordinary chocolate cookies. « Read the rest of this entry »

Roasted purple carrots with crispy rosemary

August 20, 2010 § 8 Comments

Ever since I learned that carrots could come in something other than orange, I’ve been eagerly anticipating cooking with them, and these delicious purple carrots that I got from the local farmers’ market did not disappoint. As you can see, in my bunch of purple carrots a small orange carrot stowed away.

You can definitely make this roasted carrot recipe with orange (or any other) carrots, but as I am always thrilled to have an excuse to ramble on about carrots and their history, here goes: Carrots can come in all different colors, from orange (originally bred in the 17th century in the Netherlands, in honor of the House of Orange) to white, pink, purple, and even red! Purple carrots are a bit stringier than their orange counterparts, but I think they have a slightly nuttier taste, a bit more subtle than the bright flavors of an orange carrot. This recipe is also easily increased for a crowd, and is sure to be very exciting at your next dinner party or whatever, since purple carrots are still not easily found in the local grocery store. « Read the rest of this entry »

Swiss chard with Chinese sausage

August 16, 2010 § Leave a comment

Yesterday was my first trip to the local farmer’s market. I’ve been to the large one in my hometown but never to the one here near my school in the Midwest because I’d either oversleep the time, or was out of town. However, I am so happy I grumpily made it out of bed and to the market, because I found so many gorgeous vegetables and a lot of other foodstuffs – they had bread, homemade tortilla chips, pies and other sweets, cheese, and sausages in addition to fruits and vegetables.

However, I restricted myself to two reusable cotton bags of produce, because otherwise I’d find myself drowning in vegetables. The first thing I cooked was Swiss chard. Isn’t it stunning? It’s like eating crayons, only, you know, healthy and tasty…and actually edible for those of us not in kindergarten!

Anyways, I decided to stir-fry it with some Chinese sausage. I like to serve the Swiss chard and Chinese sausage mixed in with noodles, but it’s also good with rice. I don’t recommend using seashell pasta like I did – spaghetti or linguine or any long noodle, Asian or not, works much better – but hey, this is what I had in my pantry. It still tastes great, though is more challenging to eat with chopsticks; I opted for a fork.

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Shortbread sugar cookies

August 11, 2010 § 3 Comments

A few weeks ago I was attempting the first iterations of the experiment that became these shortbread sugar cookies, and I have to admit that they were so disastrous I nearly scrapped the idea entirely. Every time I attempted to make shortbread, something kept going wrong: batch after batch each had a new problem: burnt, raw in the middle, or both. The last batch before my month-long shortbread hiatus even managed to bubble over and spill onto the bottom of my oven. When I found myself scowling at my oven every time I walked by, I decided it was time for a break.

When I got back from my trip home, I decided to switch to making shortbread rounds, in an attempt to bake the shortbread more evenly, thereby eliminating the raw center. Then, I settled on a temperature much lower than I originally thought I needed, followed by fastidiously tweaking flour quantities. I figured adjusting the amount of flour is easier than with butter. Then, I baked a batch using brown sugar because I was running low on regular sugar; even though it’s not traditional I think it makes the shortbread a bit moister and less sand-like in texture. Most importantly though, it tastes better too – I can’t be the only one who sometimes sneaks a clump of brown sugar when baking!

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The best lamb meatballs

August 6, 2010 § Leave a comment

Recently the new Cooking Channel has been showing reruns of the show attached to this recipe’s inspiration’s cookbook, Jamie at Home. I never knew that there was such a show, and in fact, as I’d never watched Jamie Oliver cook on television before, I was a bit hesitant to watch — what if I hated the show? Thankfully the show is absolutely delightful, even though I’ve clogged up probably half of a certain someone’s DVR with Jamie at Home (the show) and Cats 101! Of course, it eventually reminded that I’ve been promising a certain lamb recipe for months now and have only now delivered it, despite declaring it one of my favorite dishes thanks to its great flavors and ease of adaptability.

Since I treat the original recipe as a jumping-off point, I’m only going to give the recipe for the lamb meatballs and the quick-pickled red onions, and then some suggestions for toppings – each time I make this I simply toss on whatever vegetables or herbs were cheap and looked fresh from the grocery store. I bet if there’s nothing that catches your eye, chickpeas (garbanzo beans) could work well too. I do, however, always serve the lamb meatballs with warmed pitas and some natural yogurt or crumbled feta. The lamb meatballs are kebab-inspired, so you can pretty much add any vegetable or cheese or herb that reminds you of the Middle East. So, without further ado, here is a delicious way to prepare lamb without too much fussing around! « Read the rest of this entry »

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