25 April 2011

My Week in the Kitchen

aka my vacation week.

I did bake a lot this past week, having the time and inclination to do it. In between taking care of niblets and cleaning and work emails and a half-day conference - but it was an Unconference, so that doesn't count as work, right?

Monday Night: Dark Chocolate Cake with Coffee Frosting

It was a cake night again! My girlfriend and I are in search of the perfect, well, acceptable, any kind of cake. We had made a chocolate cake from my Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook the previous week. It was okay, but needed more chocolate taste. This time I pulled out The Moosewood Restaurant Book of Desserts. I have collected these books since I was in college and The Enchanted Broccoli Forest was en vogue. We went with the recipe for Dark Chocolate Layer Cake, making it in a 13 x 9 in. pan instead of two layers. I also took executive privilege of making the Coffee Frosting outlined with the recipe.

It has coffee in it.And Kahlua. Also coffee. Did I mention it has coffee? Did I also mention I was drinking the leftover coffee while baking?

Anyways, the cake came out thinner than you would expect. However the frosting was amazing and taste testers the next day proclaimed it delicious.

Tuesday: Pizza and Buffalo Chicken Dip

I make my own pizza dough, as discussed in a previous post. I also make my own pizza sauce. I think this summer I will look to make my own tomato paste so I do not have to keep buying cans of it. Why you ask? Check out this, or this. Not that I am dead yet from the exposure, but it is one more thing I would like to start relying less on. Edit: I found some tomato paste in jars! Just went to my local natural foods store and found jarred tomato paste from bionaturae.

I have bags of pizza dough in the freezer from previous exploits and the sauce is easy to whip up in about ten minutes. For the sauce, I adapted a pizza sauce recipe from Cat Cora on the Food Network site. I tend to not measure the water and oil anymore. I like a thicker sauce so I just whisk the liquids into the paste until it is the consistency I like, then add whatever dried herbs I feel like that day. Toppings range from pepperoni to caramelized onions to spinach to artichokes to fresh basil, and on and on. These two were simple: one pepperoni, one spinach.

I also had a hankering for some buffalo chicken dip. I was introduced to this by my friend Amy (@calzone on Twitter) at one of our first parties and fell in love with it. I finally pried from her hands asked for the recipe, got some tortilla chips and dug in.

Wednesday Night: Quiche

Quiche is one of those things that my niblets will actually eat. Although I made plans to bake it for dinner, time got away from us and while we had a "Fridge Night" for dinner I went ahead and baked it for the next couple of days. It always seems to be better the next day. Many times I will make a broccoli quiche (especially when the vegetarian gf is over) but with leftover ham from my parents' Easter dinner, this was ham and swiss.

I have The Quiche Cookbook, which has been traveling along with me for over a decade now. I think I acquired it during my years employed at Waldenbooks. I have not yet tried to make pie crust, however I am enjoying the Trader Joe's frozen crusts. You can actually see the shortening in it, which is a plus. Really.

Sadly because of my electric oven and its tendency to heat about 25 degrees higher than set temperature, I burned the crust edges. It was a little overbaked but received with accolades from the niblets. They don't know any better at this point.

Thursday: Olive Oil Bread

I like artisan breads, although trying to buy it in the store makes my wallet cry. So, I have dogeared my copy of Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day - a no-knead, store-in-the-fridge dough that is very handy. Making up to four loaves from one batch, it can last two to three weeks in my house. I have been going to the traditional Boule recipe most of the time, but lately have been making the Olive Oil dough. I have mixed some rosemary into the dough before baking, which is delicious, but it is just as good plain.

Friday: Spinach Lasagna

My church was hosting a Seder potluck on Saturday and I needed a dish I could bring that would satisfy a range of appetites. Lucky for me another friend of mine had a lasagna recipe that fit the bill. The recipe itself is a meat lasagna, but wanting to please my vegetarian friends this has been adapted to have spinach instead of meat. We were able to make it Friday night and I baked it before we left on Saturday.

Since the dish was cleaned out before all the participants had gotten to the line (and obviously before I took a picture of it), I think it was a success!

Sunday: Scallion Pancakes and Fried Rice

After a long day of book shopping and coloring eggs, I was craving scallion pancakes. Fellow Team Unicorn member and librarian Anna has a great recipe for scallion pancakes on her blog, taken from Ming Tsai's recipe. The niblets don't like them, thinking scallions are too spicy.

All the more for me!

However, we also did a batch of fried rice to tide them over. A big pot of rice sauteed with a couple of fried eggs (we fry the eggs separately, then slice them up and add them back in), whatever vegetables you have (this batch had carrots, onions, broccoli and mushrooms) plus soy sauce makes for a great dinner.


  1. please post more food. dear god. these all look fantastic.


    Also, now it's official. I need to get the artisan bread cookbook. I've been pondering it, but if it has Kristi approval, then obvs it's a must!