Posts filed under ‘recipe review’

Recipe Rundown

Somehow, despite the fact that I’m still not working, life got kinda crazy last week.  Also, I’m sometimes a really lazy blogger.  I could write a whole post about that.  But I won’t.

Even when I’m not posting, I am cooking.  Here’s a brief look at what went down in my kitchen last week.


I never used to be a big fan of baking.  Yes, I frequently made cookies and brownies and such, often from a mix, for my debate team kids, but I was often unhappy with the way they turned out.  Suddenly I’m very into baking, which is fun but less than helpful when I really should be focusing on dinner.  It would’ve been all okay last week if Smitten Kitchen hadn’t posted an incredibly tempting recipe for snickerdoodles.  They looked too good.  I had to make them.  I’ve never even made snickerdoodles before…but I had to make these.  (Poor Brian…he has to come home after work to hear my ramblings about why I *had* to make cookies…not that he’s complaining)


They were “totally awesome” (if you’re my sister, you’ll get that. Otherwise, I’m sorry).  I would make more this week, but I have other plans for my oven.  Highly, highly recommended.

Spicy Bean and Cheese Burritos

Another Rachael Ray recipe, I made some substitutions to her Spicy Bean and Cheese Burritos.  I subbed vegetable broth for beer, because I’m too cheap to go buy beer just for one recipe.  I also used canned chopped chilies instead of pickled jalapeños.  The resulting burrito filling was this:

burrito filling

Definitely not bad, though not very spicy.  We put the filling and cheese into whole wheat tortillas and attempted cooking them on my George Foreman grill.


Final analysis: The burritos were fine, though would’ve benefited from a bit more spice and crunchier tortillas.  The lack of crunch was probably my fault and next time I’ll try cooking them in a skillet.  However, Brian and I were fans of the whole wheat tortillas, which we’d never had before, so those will definitely reappear on a future shopping list.

This week, be prepared for recipes that involve baking and apples.  Brian and I went apple picking on Saturday :)

September 22, 2009 at 12:23 pm 3 comments

My New Kitchen (and Curried Brown Rice)

As I’ve mentioned about a million times, Brian and I recently moved to a new apartment.  I’d just like to share with you my old kitchen:

old kitchen It was a shared kitchen/dining area, but as far as the kitchen’s concerned, that was it.  All our appliances, dishes, bakeware, glasses, mugs, pots, pans AND food were kept in these cabinets.  It was a little cozy.

This is my new kitchen:
new kitchen

More cabinets (though the perspective on this picture is a little difficult).  Definitely more drawers.  Lots more counter space.  What’s that behind the door in the lower right corner?

Oh, it’s a pantry! A whole closet in which to store food (and my reusable shopping bags and apron collection)! Imagine that!

Needless to say, Brian and I (probably mostly me) are greatly enjoying our new kitchen.  It’s nice to not have to empty out an entire cabinet to access what we need.

If you’re looking for something to cook in your kitchen, I highly recommend Curried Brown Rice with Tomatoes and Peas, as recently seen on Cheap Healthy Good.  The dish was cheap and healthy and good, as expected, plus you can read about her worst date ever.   I’d never made anything with brown rice before, but since it’s baked in the oven it’s pretty impossible to mess up.  I used regular curry powder, since I’m too cheap to buy anything I don’t have to, and it still tasted great…though now I really want to try it with Madras curry.  Brian and I don’t like peas, so I subsituted assorted frozen veggies for the peas.


September 3, 2009 at 7:34 am

Chilled Tomato Soup with Tarragon Sour Cream

Question: What’s vegetarian, easy and fast to make, apparently better than my gazpacho, only takes 2 steps and only needs 10 basic ingredients?

Answer: Food & Wine’s Chilled Tomato Soup with Tarragon Crème Fraîche”.

tomato soup

I’m really ready for fall, and thankfully it’s starting to feel like it around here.  Nevertheless, it still seems a little early to be making soup (Brian and I have grand plans to spend the entire winter making and eating soups).  Luckily, my free September 2009 issue of Food & Wine contained the perfect solution:  Chilled Tomato Soup with Tarragon Crème Fraîche”.  The ingredient list is really simple: tomatoes, tomato paste, red wine vinegar, vegetable broth, olive oil, sugar, salt, pepper, crème fraîche and tarragon. Chances are, you already have almost all of those ingredients.

Ultimately, I halved the recipe (which then ended up only getting us through last night because Brian and I both had two servings), omitted the salt and pepper (I like to leave out salt whenever possible, especially since my broth wasn’t low sodium) and substituted sour cream for crème fraîche, because my supermarkets don’t appear to carry it.  And what was I going to do with leftover crème fraîche?

Brian and I both loved the soup, possibly even more than the gazpacho I made a few months ago.  The flavor is really fresh and I’ll eat anything with tarragon in it.  It’s a summer soup and not particularly hearty so I would recommend serving it as a side or getting a good loaf of bread to go with it.

My soup craving is satisfied for the moment…but I’m still looking forward to making “real soup” in the near future.

September 1, 2009 at 12:15 pm

Needs Work:Rach’s Creamy Pasta with Spinach and Fried Capers

Last night for dinner I tried out another Rachael Ray recipe (seems like there’s been a lot of her, sorry).  Creamy Pasta with Spinach and Fried Capers is a fine dish, but it needs some work.


The dish was, as promised, easy to make.  The taste is pretty bland overall, though the capers add a nice kick when you get one.  Next time I might add more capers and sauce (it’s creamy, but there’s not a lot to go around).  Today, while heating up the leftovers it occurred to me what would really make this meal good:  Sausage.  Guess it’s a good thing I haven’t gone vegetarian yet.

August 27, 2009 at 6:38 pm

Striped Eggplant, Tomato and Cheese

Welcome to the newly improved Relishments…where cooking actually happens! Today will hopefully be the first of many recipes and recipe reviews to follow.

victory gardenIn an effort to find new vegetarian recipes to try out, I picked up my husband’s (and I guess now my) copy of The Victory Garden Cookbook by Marian Morash. The book is really useful because each chapter covers a different type of vegetable (everything from asparagus to turnips) and provides a wealth of background information about it ncluding yields, storage and hints.  And of course, there are recipes, centered around the vegetables.  I don’t know how I spent 6 weeks living with Brian without opening this cookbook.  It’s definitely going to be a go-to in my kitchen.

I decided to try making “Red, White and Blue-Black Eggplant”, based on the appetizing photo and the fact that I really like all of the ingredients.  By the time I was finished cooking, I’d made several alterations.

Striped Eggplant, Tomato and Cheese (serves 4)

You’ll need:
1 medium eggplant
2 medium tomatoes, sliced thin
10 oz mozzarella cheese, cut into thin slices
olive oil
2 onions, sliced
2 tsp dried basil

  1. Wash the eggplant.  I peeled mine per Brian’s request, but the original recipe leaves the skin on, hence the “black-blue” in the original title.  Cut the eggplant into slices about 2″ by 4″ by 1/2″ (this can be done by cutting the eggplant in half widthwise and slicing from there.  Mine were pretty randomly sized, actually)
  2. Salt the eggplant (this is exactly what it sounds like: sprinkle salt on the eggplant.  Don’t be embarassed, I had to look it up too).  Place the eggplant in a colander for about half an hour.  This removes the excess liquid from the eggplant.
  3. Preheat oven to 375°.
  4. Saute the onions in 2 tablespoons of oil for 7-10 minutes, until the onions are soft, but not brown.  Place them on a plate.
  5. Use paper towels to pat the eggplant dry.  Brown the eggplant in oil several pieces at a time using the pan from the onions.
  6. Lightly oil a 8×8 baking dish.  Put half the onions and 1 tsp dried basil on the bottom of the dish.
  7. IMG_1575

  8. Layer the eggplant, tomato and cheese slices vertically in the pan, creating visible stripes.
  9. IMG_1577

  10. When the dish is full (and hopefully you’re out of ingredients), cover the stripes with the remainder of the onions and basil.


  11. IMG_1579

  12. Cover the dish with foil and bake for 40 minutes.
  13. IMG_1583


This recipe was a little less simple to make than I expected.  Besides the fact that the original recipe left me with a tomato and a half too much, it also seemed to require more dishes than should be necessary to create what is actually a pretty simple dish. It’s also a little messy to serve:


The end result was less pretty than the picture in the book (big surprise, I know) but tasted really good.  It was a mess to serve and at first it appeared that there was a lot of liquid in the bottom of the dish.  However, by the time we’d eaten the entire dish, the amount of juice it seemed more reasonable.  The cheese and basil really helped make the dish for me and the amount of baking time left the eggplant super soft.

Eggplant is one of those vegetables that I’m satisfied for a while after just one meal, but I’d certainly make it again.  This is a handy recipe to make for a group, just double the ingredients and use a 9×12 or larger pan.

August 25, 2009 at 10:04 am

Time Flies When You’re Having Fun

Hard to believe that I’ve been married for a month already!  I’m positive it was the fastest month ever.

Things I’ve learned (food related) during my first month of marriage:

  1. I don’t have to do it all myself: This week’s menu is probably the one I’m happiest with yet and a large part of that is due to the fact that I asked my Man what he thought we should have.  He really is full of good ideas (eggplant parm being one of them) that just don’t occur to me.
  2. All my cooking doesn’t have to be perfect: My husband isn’t opposed to eating vegetable tetrazzini that didn’t come out just right or curry that doesn’t take like much.  If it’s food, its probably edible.  Takes a lot of the pressure off of me.
  3. Food shopping as a couple keeps us out of a lot of trouble: We’re perpetually talking each other out of items we don’t need.  The supermarket is a very tempting place, but usually one of us has enough sense at any given moment to talk the other out of whatever unhealthy/overpriced/unnecessary item the other is considering.

To celebrate our first month, I decided to bake a lime pie for my Man.  He’s really into key lime pie, so when this recipe for Key Lime (Or Not) Pie appeared in my Reader a couple weeks ago I had to find an excuse to make it.  I used regular limes (and actually cheated by using lime juice from a bottle for half the juice).

It was a little bit of a risk, as I’ve only made one pie before and never with a graham cracker crust.  In the end however, the pie turned out great, though a little yellower than I expected.  Still, it tastes really lime-y (the green flecks are lime zest, in case you were concerned).

The only imperfection in my pie (I think…my husband may have other opinions) is that the crust is really crumbly:

The theory is that the crust just needs more butter.  We don’t mind crumbly crust though…it still tastes really good.  Overall, this pie was really easy to make, though it does take some time, since the crust has to be baked at least 1/2 an hour before the pie filling can be added.

Another cool part of this pie:  I used the egg separator that came with our measuring cups to separate the 4 yolks I needed from their whites.  It was one of those things that we didn’t expect to ever use, but sure enough, it came in handy.  See what a good job it did:

July 29, 2009 at 11:49 am 2 comments

Don’t Bother: Coconut Curry Chicken

I feel the need to explain what feels to me like the recent influx of Rachael Ray recipe reviews on this blog.  Before I moved, I cut up over a year’s worth of Everyday with Rachael Ray magazines and filed the recipes I actually  wanted to make in my recipe binder.  Now the majority of the recipes in my binder are from Rachael.  Though after last night, I’m less enthused about trying them.

Last night’s pick (because I have to keep my Man happy by serving meat once in a while…oh, and I like meat, too) was a 5 ingredient recipe for Coconut Curry Chicken.  We both like coconut and curry, it sounded simple enough and so I opted to give it a try.  It wasn’t difficult to make, and it looked pretty:

The taste, however, was lacking.  By which I mean, it didn’t really have any taste.  I know, it seems odd to say that a curry dish could have no taste, but my Man will back me up on this.  It’s not that it was bad, per se, it just wasn’t good.   It didn’t taste like curry.  It didn’t taste like coconut.  The recipe has 5 rave reviews, so either they’re crazy or I did something wrong (and despite a recent series of kitchen mistakes on my part, I think I made this one correctly).

We’ll be eating it again tonight, because there are still two servings left, but I don’t think I’ll be making this recipe again.  Definitely going to search for a relatively simple, delicious curry recipe for the future.

July 23, 2009 at 8:22 am 3 comments

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