Sunday, February 27, 2011

Resolutions Update

Resolution #1: Cook at least four new dishes a month. 

This resolution hasn't been a problem at all.  We cook a lot and it has been easy (and delicious) to incorporate new dishes into the mix. 

I mostly find my new recipes from these websites:

Resolution #2: Read at least a book a month. 

I haven't read much this month.  I blame being sick for almost the entire month and not feeling like doing much of anything.  I did read two books (Winter's Bone, The Other Wes Moore) in January so I think I'm still doing alright, as long as I get back on track in March.

I have a few books stacked on my nightstand but I plan to start Super Sad True Love Story next. 

Monday, February 21, 2011

Recipe: Beer Braised Irish Stew and Colcannon

This stew is currently in our oven and it is the third time I have made it.  It is so very delicious and easy to make - most of the cooking time is inactive. 

Here is the recipe: Beer Braised Irish Stew and Colcannon  You're welcome.

Cooking notes:
* I was able to find all the ingredients at our local Trader Joe's.  They sell packages of beef that is already cubed although buying a beef roast and trimming it yourself isn't that difficult and a slightly more cost effective option.
* I have made it with two types of beer - Black Hart Irish Style Dry Stout and Guinness.  I preferred the stew with the Black Hart (We found the beer in six packs at Trader Joe's.) and I am making it with that this time. 
*Instead of cooking the cabbage in the microwave, I saute it up in the skillet after cooking the bacon.  I also put in more cabbage than what they call for.  
*I wasn't familiar with colcannon before cooking this recipe but I would definitely replace my standard mashed potatoes with the dish.  More info on colcannon.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Recipe: Cake in a Cup

cake in a cup w/ homemade whipped cream

This is most definitely from the "I can't believe this actually works" file.  My cousin James called and told my mother about this recipe and she promptly passed it on to me.

Cake in a Cup

  • 1 box angel food cake mix
  • 1 box any other kind of cake mix

The dark chocolate mix was on sale so I got that.

  1. Empty both cake mixes into a large zip top bag, seal, and shake until well mixed. 
  2. Put 1/3 cup of mix in a large mug.  (Seal the bag and save the rest for later.)
  3. Add 3 Tablespoons water. 
  4. Mix.
  5. Microwave for 30 seconds (tall, big mug) or 60 seconds (wide, big mug).  
  6. Enjoy!
*Update: Try mixing in a tablespoon of chopped up dark chocolate into the batter before microwaving.  It creates little lava cake like bites.  You're welcome.*

Hot out of the microwave.

I know this sounds crazy but it totally works.  In 30-60 seconds you will have cake in a cup.  The bonus is that since half of it is angel food cake, it is low in fat.  This also completely justifies the addition of dark chocolate bits and whipped cream, right?

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Fancy Dinner Menu

It has been a long time since I have posted something.  I attribute this the the fact that work and life being crazy busy.  Good busy but still super busy.

I am not a huge Valentine's Day celebrator.  However, I had the day off work (to attempt to balance my many work hours from the week before) and put it to good use as an opportunity to surprise Jac with a nice dinner.  The meal turned out so well I even impressed myself! 

Here is what I cooked and links to recipes:

Crab cakes with lemon aioli


Main Dish
Rosemary-crusted rack of lamb with balsamic reduction

Sour cream and onion smashed potatoes (Thanks to my friend Erin for sharing the recipe.)
Sauteed asparagus

Dark chocolate covered strawberries: I cut up two bars of good dark chocolate, put them in a microwave safe bowl and heated it up at 50% power until the chocolate was just melted, stirring often.  I washed and dried the strawberries, dipped them into the chocolate, lined them up on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper, and refrigerated the berries until the chocolate hardened.  Yum.