Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Thai Peanut Noodles 5/5 Spoons

I was torn today. Do I make easy and healthy peanut noodles or some other made up concoction that takes a lot more time? PEANUT NOODLES WINS! They usually win.

This is such an easy dish to make as long as you have all the ingredients. And I will say, just keep a couple of limes around all the time and you can really make a bastardized version of this anytime you want! This is vegan, made with whole wheat noodles and CRAZY tasty. It will satisfy anyone in your home, guaranteed. Unless they have a peanut allergy, then yeah, stay far away.

I would say this easily serves 4-6 hungry mouths.

Thai Peanut Noodles

1 lb. whole wheat linguine noodles (or something more Asian, but hey, I love these)

Vegetable oil for pan
8 ounce container tofu, drained and pressed until it is firm and not wet anymore then diced in 1 inch pieces
1 red bell pepper, sliced thin
1 small onion, sliced thin
2-3 carrots, sliced thin
3-4 garlic cloves, diced
1-2 t. dried ginger (it’s what I had on hand, use twice as much of the fresh stuff if you have it)
Juice of 1 lime
Few dashes of tamari (to deglaze the pan)
Salt & pepper to taste


6 T. peanut butter
1 c. vegetable broth
¼ c. water
¼ c. tamari (or soy sauce)
2 T. rice wine vinegar
2 T. sambal oelek (this is a chili paste that is DELICOUS and lasts forever; you can find it in most standard grocery stores)
2-3 T. cornstarch
Dash dried ginger
Salt & pepper to taste
Juice of 1 lime

Unsalted peanuts, chopped for garnish
Green onions, diced for garnish
Sriracha (or your favorite hot sauce) for garnish (I like it hot, hence the big yummy squirt on top!)

I always start my noodles first. So yeah, you know how to cook pasta right?

Oil your pan and crank it up med-high heat. Throw all of your chopped veg and tofu in the pan and let it get nice and crispy for 1-2 minutes before stirring. The tofu will stick, but hey, no biggie. Season with salt & pepper and add your ginger. Stir again. Things will start to get brown and crispy after another 3-4 minutes. Turn your heat down to low-med and add your tamari and lime juice and stir. Just keep stirring occasionally and let everything get all lovely together.

When your pasta and veg are just about done, start your sauce. It only takes 3-4 minutes to get bubbly and thick. I basically just throw everything in the pot and stir before even turning on the heat. Cornstarch works better with cold liquids, so just stir a few times and then turn your heat to medium. Make sure to stir every 30 seconds or so to prevent burning. Once it gets thick toss it in with your noodles and veg. Garnish and serve!

It’s really as simple as that. This dish just makes me happy. And it tastes even better the next day as a cold salad. And it’s totally customizable in that I kind of use whatever veggies I want and sometimes use tempeh instead of tofu.

It feels so good to be back writing again and writing recipes! I mean these are just things I make for myself and my roommates but it's nice people are reading. I hope to do a dessert review soon. Perhaps a baked doughnut? YES!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Raspberry Cream Cheese Swirl Brownies 5/5 Spoons

I'm always looking for a new brownie recipe. I can never get enough chocolate and these are definitely my new favorites. I like my brownies to be DARK and not super sweet. I want to have one square and feel like I've had a weirdo chocolate dream where I splash in a chocolate milk fountain and wear milk chocolate high heels with white chocolate candied hazelnut earrings. This doesn't make any sense but the recipe really does. If you want a brownie with a serious dark chocolate hit and a tart twinge at the end, these are for you.

Mmmmmm, look at these dark swirling caverns!

Raspberry Cream Cheese Swirl Brownies


4 T. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 T. vegetable oil
½ t. vanilla extract
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 T. sour cream (any fat content will do)
1 c. granulated sugar
2 eggs


1 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
¼ c. cocoa powder
½ t. baking powder
½ t. sea salt

White chocolate (optional for topping)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. The easiest way to get your brownies out in one big clean 9-inch block is to cut two pieces of parchment so they both hang over your pan. It’s not a perfect science. Just cut two pieces long enough to hang over your pan so you have little easy handles to use after your brownies are done cooling. It also helps to spray those too because it helps the paper stick to the sides of the pan and gets into those pesky corners. PS – This requires a 9-inch pan if you didn’t get that already.

Sift and mix together the dry ingredients in a bowl. Set aside.

You could melt all of your butter and chocolate the hard way (with a pan over a pan of barely boiling water, blah blah) but if you just REALLY pay attention for like 3 minutes, you can just do it either in the microwave or on your stovetop. I do stovetop because it forces me to pay attention. Throw your chocolate, butter, vanilla extract and oil in your pan and let melt on low heat. It will take a little patience and stirring but soon you will have smooth, silky chocolate. Just pay close attention and stir often and turn it off once most of the chocolate is melted. The rest of it will melt with the residual heat. In the microwave do the same with a bowl and check your chocolate/butter mixture every 10-15 seconds stirring each time. Eventually you will have easy, beautiful and silky chocolate ready to be used!

Let your chocolate cool for a minute or two and then add in the sugar. Stir, stir, stir. Add the eggs and sour cream and beat them in until everything is perfect looking. Add the wet to the dry and only incorporate until everything is JUST mixed.

Pour the batter into your pan. And concentrate on the tart yumminess about to grace this dark presence.

Raspberry Cream Cheese Swirl:

¼ c. seedless raspberry jam
2 T. cream cheese, at room temperature

Throw in a bowl and zap in the microwave for about 25 seconds (and then again maybe for 10 seconds if needed). Mix together well with a fork or whisk to combine. Make sure it is smooth before dolloping over the brownie batter.

I just take huge spoonfuls of this mixture and throw it on top of the brownies. Mix with a butter knife (they make great swirls) and go over it and mix and make it look as pretty as you want to.

Bake for 30 minutes for “super fudge-like you will need a plate just to eat these” brownies or cook for about 40 minutes for more firm but still dark and to die for brownies. Let cool for at least an hour before de-panning.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

One-Pot Macaroni & Cheese 4/5 Spoons

Hey hey! So I really fell off the wagon here, didn't I? Well, I'm a baker at home and you should check out my business folded apron bakery and like it on Facebook as well. BUT, I still cook meals for myself like a human does and wanted to start writing again. Maybe not as much as I used to but I'm going to try.

My business logo, ain't she cute? (Thanks to Tesh Silver for making this for me!)

ANYWAY, I found this Mac & Cheese recipe and was like, "Yes, I must have this in my face". I did change it quite a bit and I'll put the recipe closest to what I did here and leave the link up there for ya to check out.

One-Pot Macaroni & Cheese
(adapted from Everybody Likes Sandwiches adaptation)

1 c. full-fat cottage cheese
1 1/2 c. skim milk + 1/2 c. heavy cream (it's what I had, but she uses 2 c. whole milk)
1 t. dry mustard
Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 - 1 t. salt
1/2 t. black pepper
2 c. (an 8-ounce block) of extra sharp cheddar cheese
1-16 ounce box of pasta (i used rotini, small pasta would probably work best with this)
1 T. butter (cut into small pieces)
1-2 T. parmesan to sprinkle on top
1/2 c. frozen peas
1 handful of baby spinach
1/2 c. bread crumbs
Sprinkling of paprika for the top

Preheat the oven to 375F. Make sure to spray/butter your pan. Cheese is a real bitch demon to get off of a pan!

Blend together the cottage cheese, milk, mustard, nutmeg, salt and pepper in a blender or food processor. In a large bowl, combine the milk mixture with the uncooked pasta and grated cheese, peas and spinach (reserve 1/4 cup cheddar cheese for the topping). Pour everything into your baking dish and cover with a lid or foil. Bake for 40 minutes, give the mixture a stir, dot with butter, and sprinkle with the remaining cheese, bread crumbs and paprika. Bake uncovered for another 30 minutes or until the pasta is tender and the cheese on top is golden and crusty. Let stand 15 minutes before serving. Serves 4-6 hungry mouths.

(Photo courtesy of Everybody Likes Sandwiches)

*Overall this was pretty good. It could stand to have more salt in it and more cheese but I was trying to not use more than was minimally recommended. But if I'm going to have full-fat mac and cheese, I'm just gonna go all for it. I loved the additions of the veggies because of the snap of the peas and earthiness of the spinach. So perfect. And I plan on taking pictures of my own food next time, I hate stealing others photos even if I credit them!

Well, this is a beginning of a new era. An era where I actually blog again. PS - if you use Google Reader to follow me, it will be shutting down on July 1st of this year. I started adding my stuff to feedly and it actually seems pretty sweet. So please add me there and get used to a new layout, haha. We all will have to!