Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Sweet Potato Fries

I am rather nutty about recreating my favorite foods from restaurants in my own kitchen. One of my favorite local places is a restaurant downtown called Tip Top. Not only are they bike friendly but they make a mean sweet potato fry. After trying out a few different recipes here is my favorite recreation of those delectable fries (straight from Martha). Oh, and these are unexpectedly healthy!

Sweet Potato Fries

1 large sweet potatoes (about a pound), skins on, scrubbed and cut into 4-inch sticks, each 1/2 inch thick
2 egg whites
spices of your choosing (I prefer salt, pepper, thyme, oregano, garlic powder & paprika)

Start by preheating your oven to 450 degrees.

While that is warming up start cutting your sweet potato. The skin has almost 3 times the antioxidants than the potato flesh itself so keep those babies on! Typically, sweet potatoes (aka yams) are more dense than it's more common relative so to speed up the cooking process, place them in a microwave safe dish and cover them, cooking them on high for 2 minutes in the microwave. Let them rest for 5 minutes.

While they are resting, beat the egg whites until they are frothy then add the spices. Working in batches toss the fries in the egg mixture, letting all of the excess fall back into the bowl. Place them in a single layer on a baking sheet and put them in the oven. Bake 10 minutes then flip with a spatula, returning them to the oven to bake for 15 more minutes or until golden brown.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Orange Chicken with Couscous

I havn't put up a new recipe for ages. Forgive me.

Couscous is basically tiny pasta, popular in north African cuisine. If you don't have it you can easily sub brown rice, just make sure you cook it before adding it to the broth.

Orange Chicken with Couscous

Marinade for chicken:
1/2 cup 100% orange juice
2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 cloves garlic
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into 1 1/2 inch cubes

1 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup 100% orange juice
1 scallion or 1/4 cup onion
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup uncooked couscous
1/4 cup golden or dark raisins (optional)

In a large bowl, combine the OJ, honey, soy sauce, and garlic. Put this into a bag and marinade the chicken in it for 20-30 minutes at room temp or up to 2 hours in the fridge. You will be adding this chicken to skewers so if you are using wooden ones, now is a good time to start soaking them in water.

Prepare the couscous in a medium bowl by adding the broth, OJ, scallion, oil, and salt together in a medium saucepan. Bring this to a boil and stir in the couscous and optional raisins. Cover the pan, remove it from the heat, and set it aside for 5 minutes. Fluff it with a fork and you are done.

Meanwhile, preheat the broiler. Thread the chicken onto the skewers. You will broil these for 2 minutes, then baste it with the remaining marinade. Broil 2 minutes longer or until the chicken is fully cooked. For a thicker baste, after removing the chicken from the bag bring the marinade to a boil and reduce it to your desired consistency.

Spoon the couscous onto a plate and top with the chicken after removing it from the skewers.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Macaroni and Cheese Pt. 2

Martha Stewart is one crazy lady but she has brought some great things to my life - parchment paper being the main one. But! second to parchment paper is this macaroni and cheese recipe. It really takes it up a notch from the standard recipe I've always made, which made use of only sharp cheddar. I like using Fontina cheese but you could also use Pecorino Romano or Gruyere.

Macaroni and Cheese

4 tbsp butter

2 1/4 cups milk, hot

1/4 cup AP flour
1 tsp salt

pinch of nutmeg

pinch of black pepper
2 - 2 1/2 cups shredded sharp white Cheddar (I like Cabots)
1 cup (2 oz) shredded Fontina

2 cups elbow macaroni

Melt butter in a medium sauce pan over medium heat. When the butter begins to bubble add the flour, whisking constantly for 1 minute. Add the hot milk and continue whisking until the mixture becomes thick and bubbly.

Remove from heat and add pepper, nutmeg, salt, and cheese. Stir together until melted.
While the cheese is melting, prepare macaroni according to the box. Drain when finished and add to the cheese sauce. Pour mixture into 2 quart casserole dish and serve. Top with more cheese if that's how you like it.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

I love my crockpot

I'm a mom to two small kids, I also work from home and have a husband who is going back to college to be an Engineer. He also works, naturally. I say all of that to say that in order to maintain not only my house but my sanity I must at times rely on my crockpot. Don't get me wrong, I use it in a pinch and on the fly but I deeply love that little convenient contraption. It makes my life so much easier! The following recipe is really a deconstructed take on a taco, and it is on of my family's favorites. It is very versatile too - sometimes we use chicken, beef, no protein other times we play around with adding black beans or corn.

2 bell peppers, cut into slices
1 large onion, chopped
10 oz of steak, cut into strips (or chicken breasts cut into strips)
1 diced chipotle in adobo sauce
1 taco seasoning packet

Slice peppers, dice onion, slice your protein, and toss it all in the taco seasoning packet. Dice the chipotle and add 1 tbsp of the adobo sauce from the can, reserving the rest for a later use. Pop this on high for 3-4 hours or 5-7 on low depending on how firm you like your peppers and onions to be.

Serve this over rice with a dollop of sour cream on top.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Cupcake Pops

i cross posted this entry from my primary journal. subscribers to both, excuse the hiccup.

bakerella's cupcake pops

well i finished the cupcake pops. through sheer will and determination not to let a recipe get the best of me, i finished those stinkin cupcake pops. to be quite honest the err was not on my part but that of the recipe/recipe maker. im not trying to knock bakerella, because i admire and love her & her creative style but if im being frank, the way the recipe is, i find it unimaginable to have the kind of results promised in her photos. the big problem is in the "chill in the freezer for 15 minutes" section. this is supposed to firm up the "dough" enough to allow for proper molding with the cookie cutter. NO WAY. i had my dough in the freezer over an hour and it was still bordering on being too mooshy. so my advice is that if you want to make this recipe freeze the balls overnight before dipping them in the icing or applying the lollipop sticks. once i did that they came out much nicer.

would i make these again? maybe. i don't think i would make the cupcake type, instead i would make one of her many many other types that do not involve such molding. if you do make them, i also recommend getting the dough balls just a tiny bit wet in your hands before putting them through the cookie cutter. otherwise they stick to the metal.

Whole Wheat Banana Hazelnut Pancakes

My kids are obsessed with pancakes so I am expected to whip up new and creative variations on the general theme. Search my archives for some successful previous endeavors. This recipe tasted almost a little too delicious to be healthy! These disappeared too quickly to take a photo of.

Banana Hazelnut Pancakes

1/2 cup AP flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp nutmeg
2/3 cup milk
2 ripe bananas, mashed
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/4 - 1/2 cup chopped hazelnuts (aka filberts)

Preheat a skillet over medium-high heat, spray lightly with oil.

Combine the flours, baking powder, sugar, and nutmeg and set aside. In another bowl combine milk, bananas, egg, and hazelnuts. Then add the wet to the dry and combine until smooth.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009


I defy you to dislike a steak from my house or any one of my forebearers. It's kind of just one of those things we are born loving and knowing how to do. Imagine the irony when I married a vegetarian! Each year for Christmas my parents buy us a share of a locally raised cow and we have been enjoying the bounty. There are many ways to make steak. My preferred method is grilling but seeing as how it is January in central Ohio we're doing this indoors in the cast iron skillet.

Also I will note that organic meats are always going to be your best bet. If you are unable to afford organic meat be sure to trim off as much fat as possible before consuming, as that is where pesticide residue is most concentrated.


2 ribeye steaks (or preferred cut)
1 tsp peppercorns
seasoned salt (I prefer something like Lawyr's)
2 tbsp olive oil (or butter if you're feeling decadent)

Rub the spices into the meat while a skillet, preferably a cast iron skillet, heats the oil or butter over medium-high heat.

Sear the meat well and flip once after 5-6 minutes per side or until desired crusty-ness has been achieved. Then remove from heat and put aluminum foil over them. This not only allows the juices to redistribute but actually the foil cooks them longer. Using a meat thermometer to determine desired doneness, eat when the following temperatures have been achieved:

Rare - 120 degrees F
Medium Rare - 125 degrees F
Medium - 130 degrees F

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Baked Potato Soup

My sister in law and brother just had their first baby (Kylie!) this week. So I decided to make them a few meals to fill up their freezer. This soup was one of them and always reminds me of a restaurant in Texas called Salt Grass. They have an AMAZING baked potato soup there!

Oh and this soup was very hard to photograph so i skipped it. Sorry!

Baked Potato Soup

8-12 slices bacon
2/3 cup margarine
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
7 cups milk*
4 large baked potatoes, peeled and cubed
4 green onions, chopped (or 1 large regular onion)
1 - 1 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
1 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper

* If you like your soup creamy use 1 cup of heavy cream for 1 cup of the milk.

Place bacon in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium heat until browned. Drain, crumble, and set aside.In a stock pot or Dutch oven, melt the margarine over medium heat. Whisk in flour until smooth. Gradually stir in milk, whisking constantly until thickened. Stir in potatoes and onions. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently.

Reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes. Mix in bacon, cheese, sour cream, salt, and pepper. Continue cooking, stirring frequently, until cheese is melted.