20 March 2011

Breakfast of Champions

Some days you wake up and it's pouring and your roof is leaking and you have a lot of work to do but you left your keys in your office over the weekend and so instead you make a coffee cake and a chipotle bloody mary (or two) and call it a day.

I'm pretty proud of this coffee cake considering I made it up with things I have in my house and I've never made a coffee cake before. Also of note: the bloody mary probably doesn't go well with the coffee cake, but it sure goes down nicely while you're waiting for it to bake.

Coffee Walnut Coffee Cake
1 cup butter
1.5 cup white sugar
.5 cup turbinado sugar
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup vanilla yogurt
1 Tbsp vanilla
1 Tbsp kahlua
2 Tbsp instant coffee mixed into 1 tsp hot water (or the minimum amount of water you can use to get it to dissolve)
2 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup flour
1 tsp cinnamon
4 Tbsp butter, melted

1. Preheat oven to 350, grease a 9x13 inch pan.
2. Cream butter and sugar on low until light and airy. Add eggs one at a time. Then add sour cream, yogurt, vanilla, kahlua and coffee.
3. Mix flour, salt, and baking soda in a separate bowl, then pour into mixer while still on low speed.
4. Scrape the bottom of the bowl with a spatula to make sure it's all mixed in and then mix at medium speed for one minute.
5. In a small bowl, mix the walnuts, brown sugar, flour and cinnamon with a fork. Mix in melted butter with a fork. The mixture should be clumpy.
6. Pour half the batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle 1/3 of the walnut mixture in the middle. Add the rest of the batter and then cover the top with the remaining 2/3 of the walnut mixture.
7. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Chipotle Bloody Mary
6 oz high quality tomato juice
juice of 1.5 limes
1 tsp horseradish
2 tsp adobo sauce from a jar of chipotle peppers
1 tsp chipotle powder
2 tsp Old Bay powder
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 oz vodka.

1. Mix all ingredients except vodka in a jar and shake thoroughly.
2. Fill a glass with ice cubes and add vodka. Pour tomato juice mix into the cup.
3. Stir and serve with celery!

16 March 2011

Savory Cheese Pie

Yes, cheese pie. Genius, right? It is very close to being a quiche, but instead of being mostly egg it is mostly cheese. I started from this recipe, but I made it better. It's also one of the easiest pies I've ever made!

What you need:
1 single-crust pie dough recipe
1 1/2 cups grated cheese
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup milk
4 eggs
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp nutmeg

I used 3 cheeses in my pie: Beecher's Flagship for the majority, then a gruyere-cheddar blend from Trader Joe's, and a little bit of strong blue cheese. Obviously the only limit here is your cheese imagination!

What you do:
Make your pie crust and put the dough in the fridge to chill for at least 30 minutes. In a bowl, whisk together the milk, cream, eggs, and seasonings. Roll out your dough and put it in a well-greased pie pan. Put your pile of grated cheese into the crust, then pour the cream and egg mixture over the top. Trim the crust edges and bake at 425 degrees for 45 minutes, or until the crust is golden and the cheesy top is nicely browned. It should poof up real nicely by the time it's done, almost like a souffle.

If you discover midway through crust production that your bottle of vodka has all leaked out into your freezer and you have to use whiskey instead, be sure to put some foil around the edges of your pie to keep the crust from browning too much. Whiskey has more sugars than vodka, so the crust will brown much more than it normally would.

This pie is delicious warm, cold, or at room temperature! And if you bring it to any gathering, you will be a champion.

13 March 2011

Grilled Black Bean, Quinoa, Spicy Sweet Potato Wraps

I was inspired by this post, found on foodgawker, but changed the recipe a lot.

Two cups black beans, soaked for a day, then boiled to softness (About forty minutes, usually)
One cup quinoa
One sweet potato
Half an onion, sliced to strips
One green pepper, sliced
One red pepper, sliced
Goat cheese - about half a cup, crumbled
Wraps - large tortillas

Put the beans and quinoa to cook.

Dice the sweet potato into small cubes - about 1-1.5 cm square, and put in a pot of water to boil.

While these all are cooking, slice up the onion and peppers.

The sweet potato should take about ten minutes - once finished, drain and sprinkle with light vegetable oil (or butter), and sprinkle with spices - Old Bay, annato, or some sort of spicy crushed pepper works. Toss and set aside in small bowl.

Sautee the onions until almost clear (15 minutes or so) then throw in the peppers and sautee for a few more minutes.

At this point, everything should be done cooking - drain the beans, and simply toss all the cooked ingredients in a bowl, and mix gently.

Compile the wrap - use as much cheese as you´d like, and the mix of the vegetables and grains.

You can toast the wrap in either a panini press (that sounds very nice!), or in the same pan you sauteed the onions and peppers in.

There will be plenty of leftovers - good for a few more meals, very quickly prepared, now that everything is cooked and in your fridge, ready to go!


NB: I unfortunately got tiny tortillas, so the picture shows more of a toasted tortilla than a wrap, which made it difficult to turn without everything falling!

No Bullshit Bloody Mary Mix

Until about a year ago, I'd never had a Bloody Mary. I thought tomato juice was gross, who wants not sweet juice? But then I ordered one on a whim at a happy hour and I never looked back! I love hot things and this definitely translates to Bloody Marys. When I order them, I usually add more Tabasco. I looked at a lot of recipes and sort of improvised and made it spicier, of course. This mix is spicy and thick. If you don't like it hot, you might want to tone it down a notch. Or maybe you should just order a mimosa, because you are clearly not a bloody mary person!

For a good Bloody Mary, you need good ingredients. Buy expensive, thick, organic tomato juice. Use Tabasco brand hot sauce. It's vinegary and spicy without adding too many other random flavors. Use Old Bay. Other seafood seasonings are imitators! Taste your lime juice to make sure it tastes right. Some limes don't actually give good juice. Keep extras of everything around to adjust your seasonings to make sure it's perfect!

A really good Bloody Mary mix is made the night before (or a few days before). This allows the flavors to blend so when you take a sip, you're tasting everything. If you forget the night before, or if you suddenly have brunch guests, you can still make this last minute. But the earlier the better!

32 oz. jar of tomato juice, the best kind you can buy! spluge, it's worth it!
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (lime is best, but you can use lemon or a mix of lemon and lime juices too)
2 Tbsp horseradish
2 Tbsp Tabasco
1 Tbsp Worcester sauce (Worcester sauce is usually made with anchovies and so is not vegan/vegetarian, I sometimes make it with vegan Worcester sauce but use 1 tsp soy sauce and 2 tsp vegan Worcester because the vegan version is a little sweeter)
4 tsp Old Bay
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp brown sugar
vodka or tequila
celery and/or pickled vegetables for serving

1. Pour out about a cup (8 oz) of the juice, but don't throw it out or drink it (yet!)
2. Add all of the rest of the ingredients to the jar and shake thoroughly.
3. Taste it. If it's not salty enough, add 1/2 tsp Old Bay at a time until it's salty enough! Same for hot (add tabasco or horseradish!) and sour (lime). I wouldn't add more brown sugar or black pepper.
4. If there is still space in the jar, add some of the juice back. This might dilute it a little bit, so make sure you can add more flavors if you need.
5. Let the jar sit overnight in the fridge. It will last about a week in the fridge.
6. To make a Bloody Mary, fill a tom collins glass (or whatever glass you'd like) about halfway with ice. Pour in 1 part vodka or tequila (Bloody Maria!) to 3 parts bloody mary mix. You can add more or less depending on how alcoholic you want your drinks to be. Garnish (a MUST!) with celery and/or pickled vegetables (green beans, carrots, asparagus are all great!)