Wednesday, January 30, 2013

We've Moved!

Hello world. We’ve moved to another site. Update your bookmarks to www.fanofstuff.com where there will be food, crafts, and more.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Apple, Radish, and Cucumber Salad



Hello. My name is Zylo, and I'm addicted to porn. I spend a great deal of time surfing food blogs and eye-fucking food porn. I can't believe how good these pictures are. They're so clear and colorful and well-composed. And mine... well, aren't. I have finally gotten to a point where I may invest in a better camera in the next year or so. However, I can't blame my trusty little camera for the rest - that's all me, boys! So I present to you an awful picture of my salad. But hark, I will be presenting you with better pictures. Later. Maybe.

Back to the salad. It's not pretty, but its fresh and a good foil for too-rich quiche. The bakery on my block has great quiche, don't get me wrong, but it was very very rich, even for me. This livened it right up. It also works well for cream heavy dishes like my recent pasta. I accidentally left out the mustard the first time and wondered why it just didn't taste right. Everything was better after it was included. This was a nice crispy salad that had a good combination of flavors to keep it interesting. I'm also a fan of anything sweet and savory, so this fit well with everything else I ate.

But now I pose a question: how do you keep your cucumbers from getting watery? I've done the salted and drained thing but that has NEVER worked for me. What am I doing wrong? If you have a tip, please let me know. Otherwise, go make some salad.

To make this lovely dish, please visit the host blog and her much hotter food porn.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Savory Breakfast Toast Pastries


Sometimes things just click. Need portable breakfast. Want flavor. Trust Pioneer Woman. I meant to make these like hot pockets until I realized the amazing resemblance they had to those breakfast toaster pastries that cost a fortune and never have enough filling.

I found the base filling recipe from Pioneer Woman (who does no wrong) and decided this had to be it. Of course, I never cook without "fixing" things, so I made some additions that I pretend made it healthier. It didn't all things considered *ahempuffpastrycough* However, these were still delicious.

I followed the directions on my pastry box - bake at 350F for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Seriously, bake yours until golden brown. I have an unnatural fear of baking puff pastry into briquettes, so I never cook them long enough and then lament it but refuse to fix it. Don't be me.

I bought one box of puff pastry and this made 6 rather large pastries. Think toaster pastry, but slightly larger and at least double the filling. It was easier for me to cut it that way, but feel free to make these any size or shape you want. You could even use a biscuit cutter which I considered, but dismissed since I wanted more filling than that could offer. Up to you.

She says add mustard. You add mustard. It DOES NOT taste the same without it. It actually reminded me of eating a honey mustard pretzel. You know, without the pretzel or the honey. I ate quite a bit before bothering to fill the pockets, but that worked out because I had easily double the filling I needed. Unless you just want some left for a side-dish, I suggest only making half a recipe which is what I've outlined below. Plus, this idea is great for making additions and substitutions.





Pioneer Breakfast Pastries
modified from this filling recipe

Filling:

6 whole Hard-boiled Eggs, Peeled And Chopped
1 cups Grated Cheddar Cheese
1/2 cup  Mayonnaise
6 slices Bacon, Fried And Crumbled
up to 1/2 cup chopped vegetables
1 Tablespoon (heaping) Dijon Mustard
1/2 teaspoon Garlic Powder
1/4 teaspoon Smoked Paprika
1/4 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
3 dashes Worcestershire Sauce


Additional Ingredients:
1 box puff pastry dough
1 egg or milk or water for sealing dough
Flour for your working surface

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350F.

Dump filling ingredients into a bowl. Mix. Don't eat too much.

Divide or cut dough into whatever size you would like. Stuff as full as you can and still close them up. Use whatever liquid you have as a sealant and press the edges with a fork.

Bake on a sheet pan or in a dish for 20-30 minutes or until golden brown. Time will vary on the size and thickness of your pastries.



Done.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Pasta with Mint, Thyme, and Rosemary Cream Sauce


I read a lot of other food blogs and I'm always interested in their stories. Some go on mad searches for the perfect souffle or have been pining over something their great-grandmother made in their childhood. My methods are pretty anti-climactic in the face of that. I either have something that needs to be used or I found a recipe that called to me whether I had the ingredients or not. Hence, pasta.

Formula = have pasta, found recipe, made dinner.

And lunch. Okay, I had it for breakfast a few times too. I cook once and eat until it's gone or I can't stand it anymore. I added rosemary to this sauce because I have it and love it. Otherwise, easy peasy. I, uh, used a lot of sauce. Sue me.

Chicken Pasta with Thyme-Mint Cream Sauce from the always tasty Simply Recipes.


Monday, November 19, 2012

Quinoa Blueberry Muffins



A few days before the world was consumed with Superstorm Sandy (after everyone else but me knew, of course), I was determined to actually make something to take to work for breakfast. Once I realized the world was going to end, I figured these muffins were the healthiest thing I had to survive a power outage, ranking high above jerky, peanuts, and chocolate. Mostly, I already made them because I wasn't really planning ahead. I didn't lose power except for a few flickers, but I did enjoy the muffins. Now that's how you do a storm! These muffins were moist, filling, and delicious- everything I require a breakfast muffin to be.

The idea popped in my head that I should use quinoa and the blueberries in my freezer for muffins, apropos of nothing. So I went on the hunt. It yielded far more results than I was expecting, which I think is a good thing for a recipe. It allows you to pick and choose. I roughly followed the recipe, not really bothering to measure anything and it came out really well.

Recently, all my muffins have stuck stubbornly to my cupcake liners, and I can seem to get them out of the tin  cups without the liners. It's a viscious, sticky circle really. So I was very disappointed to try one warm out of the oven since I only got to eat the half that I could dig out. The blogger and her reviewers mentioned that they were better the next day so I let it slide. Lo and behold, the next day they did taste better AND came out of the cups. It's magic!

Buinoa (Or Qlueberry) Muffins




Sunday, June 24, 2012

Strawberry and Cream Biscuits




Since I've moved into this new apartment, I've done shamefully little cooking. I was fortunate enough to have a sous chef around this weekend, so I planned at least two recipes to try out. Of course, it only ended up being one with the amazing amount of eating out that was done, but this recipe was totally worth it.

I started the hunt for the next recipe last week on Wednesday. Very fortuitous. We have a farmers market, only open on Wednesday, that's on my street. In addition, it called for farm fresh, almost overripe strawberries. I knew I could get some from the market, but Deb pointed out that they are too firm to "melt" properly. I had exactly 25 minutes before the market closed and only one stand had strawberries, but they were precious, ripe, and so sweet. In a nutshell, worth it.


Now, I've made biscuits before. I'm from Georgia. I've had most of them not end up being worth it. Too dry, not buttery enough, burnt. But these! These are intensely buttery and rich, sweet as pie from the strawberries, but not too sweet, moist, delicious. In a nutshell, worth it.

If you're left with almost dead strawberries and don't want to throw them out or drink another smoothie, whip these up. You probably have most of the ingredients on hand. You will not be sorry.

For easy to follow directions, head to Smitten Kitchen. 






Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Double Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownies

Hello everyone. I've been gone for a variety of reasons - moving, new job, changes in job, no internet - but I'm starting to come back. Slowly. Here's a bit of what I've been doing lately. Brownies.

I found this idea from a Kraft newsletter and they sounded like a good idea. However, once I looked at the recipe, I thought these sounded way too much like the dreaded Buckeye. Remember? Sounds like a good idea with a classic combination, but makes me want to vomit because it's way too sweet and tastes like a 4 year old made it? Yep.

So I went out on my own into the cold world and tried something else.

These brownies are thin but so fudgy and dense. Also, when I make from scratch brownies, I want them to taste like they're from scratch. So my brownies always have coffee and chili powder in them. That's how I roll. They don't add a discernible flavor, they just enhance the flavors there and make them taste like a grown up treat instead of a hunk of chocolate. Word.

In keeping with the trend, my peanut butter filling is simple as is the chocolate topping. Next time, I'll use unsweetened baking chocolate, with butter, and maybe a tablespoon of sugar instead of melted dark chips because I still found that to be a bit sweet.

Moral of the story: these are wow. I cut 20 pieces, but I suggest more because you don't need a giant serving. A tiny bit will satisfy.



How to make:

Make the brownie recipe from Smitten Kitchen. I played with it and added coffee and chili powder as stated above. I also cut back a bit on the sugar. Bake and cool completely.

Mix one to two cups of peanut or other nut butter with a few tablespoons of butter. I found the butter to be unnecessary later, but it does make it easier to spread. It also firms it up a bit when it's cold. The amount of peanut butter is also a matter of preference.

Melt 1/2 cup of chocolate chips with 2 T butter and 1/8 cup sugar. Again, note above the changes I would make next time if you like it even less sweet. Spread on top of peanut butter and refrigerate the whole mess until it's firm and easy to cut.

Eat what you will and take the rest out to make some new friends. I sure did.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Sweet Potato, Black Bean, and Goat Cheese Pasties

If you are anything like me, you eat breakfast one-handed while you drive, dress, or otherwise frantically make your way out the door in the morning. Breakfast should be finished, neat, and ready to go - all things I am not in the morning. I like more savory items first thing and most breakfast pastries are too sweet, so I created something that fit the bill. These are a nice mix of sweet and savory, while providing a good mix of carbs and protein for the morning. Feel free to adjust the sweetness to your liking. Or hey, add some peppers in with the cayenne and start your morning off with a trip to the hospital. Whatever floats your gravy boat.

Sweet Potato, Black Bean, and Goat Cheese Pasties
makes about 30 pasties if your pastry rounds are about 3" in diameter before filling and folding.

Ingredients:
2 medium sweet potatoes
6-8 ounces goat cheese (strength it up to you - I like mine bold and tangy)
1 can black beans (I only used about 3/4 of the can, but I think all would have great too)
1-2 tsp garam masala (I like mine a bit sweeter and stronger. Taste as you go)
1/4 to 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (I used more because mine is OLD)
1 tsp salt (or more if you want a more savory filling)
1/8 to 1/4 tsp cumin
4 refrigerated pie crusts (the pre-rolled kind or make your own if you're just that good)
1 egg, beaten

Bake your sweet potatoes with your preferred method until soft or cheat and use canned. Remove skins, then mash with all other ingredients except the last two.

Roll out your dough on a lightly floured surface. Cut out rounds of dough, roughly 3" in diameter.

Fill rounds with 1-2 tablespoons of filling, but don't fill them enough to overflow or break when sealing. Fold over, use your beaten egg to seal the crust. Crimp and place on parchment paper or foil covered baking sheet. You can do all many of fancy eggwashes, sugar glazes, or butter basting at this point.

Bake at 425F for 25-ish minutes. They're done when pastry is baked and lightly golden brown. Cool on rack and pack for the next day. These were good both hot and cold and reheated well in the microwave.