Archive | April 2016

Potato Kugel for Seder

I know passover is almost over, but I wanted to do a recipe for seder this year, and one not involving matzo. So, after surprisingly little searching, I came across this recipe for potato kugel, which looked really good. Naturally, it needed veggies added in though, so I made a couple adjustments. A note on the ingredients, I basically always cook with frozen chopped spinach. Feel free to tinker if you want fresh.

1 large russet potato, grated
1 cup chopped and dethawed spinach
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
1 1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup shredded cheese (optional, I used manchego)
2 eggs
1/2 tablespoon butter

In a large bowl, beat the two eggs. Add the salt, pepper, and onion and mix it in. Then add the spinach, cheese (if using), and the potato and mix it all together by hand till it’s all throughly mixed. Heat the dish you are using a bit, and then add the butter to it, letting it melt and cover the bottom. Add the kugel mixture, cover, and bake at 400 for 30-40 minutes, uncovering it for the last 10 so it can brown. Enjoy warm.

Christmas colors for a Passover dish!

                 Christmas colors for a Passover dish!

This turned out great! I don’t know if I’m going to make it more often, but it seems easier, and healthier, than frying potato pancakes. The nice thing about kugels is that it’s impossible to make a small amounts, so you have leftovers for the next day. I will say though, I didn’t add enough cheese to really taste it, so it felt kinda pointless. Also, I made it thinner than most kugel, you can make it thicker in a smaller dish if you want. I should have just left it out or added a lot more. Song of the week: Hamilton soundtrack. So I’m a little late to the game on this, especially since my mom mentioned the show to me a months ago. But I finally listened to it over the weekend and I’m now completely obsessed. Its amazing. So if you haven’t yet, listen to it because I promise it lives up to the hype.

Not-Red Red Velvet Cupcakes

So for some reason, I’m not totally sure why, I decided a few weeks back that I should make Red Velvet cupcakes. Since my dad’s birthday was on Sunday, I figured it would be the perfect time to make them. New recipe day and cupcakes in remembrance on my dad’s birthday. However, I found the whole obscene amounts of red food coloring really off-putting (you can take the girl out of California but…) so I decided to just make them without it. Hence the name not-red red velvet cupcakes. I modified the recipe from the New York Times recipe for red velvet cake and the frosting from Epicurious.

Not-Red Red Velvet Cake
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 ounce unsweetened chocolate, melted
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda
1 3/4 cup flour
1/2 cup milk

Cream together butter and sugar. Then add the egg and vanilla and mix them in. Then the chocolate, and then the milk and the dry ingredients. Mix on high for like a minute. Put about 1/3 cup of batter in an each cupcake slot and bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes. Let them cool a bit before frosting

mmmm cupcakes

  mmmm cupcakes. Not even a little red though

Cream Cheese Frosting
4 ounces cream cheese
3 tablespoons butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Blend the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla together. Then add the powdered sugar. Use an electric mixer because I found this to to be really thick. In order to make it more frosting-y, I added about a tablespoon of warm water, and that made it the perfect consistency! Frost the cupcakes and then eat them!

The cake part was alright. I wonder if the visual appeal makes people like the things disproportionately to their actual taste, since it’s not really chocolatey enough to be chocolate, but not vanilla either. And, I will admit, they were a little on the dry side. But the cream creese frosting was unbelievably tasty! Like serious, I was shocked at how good it is, and proceeded to eat the leftovers just by itself (which I highly recommend). So all in all, I give it a grade of “pretty good” And certainly it was a worthwhile experiment. Song of the week: Catch my Breath by Kelly Clarkson. I love Kelly, specifically angry/defiant Kelly. She is one of my main pop guilty pleasures. And I listened to this song a ton on Sunday.

Polenta with Leeks, Bell Peppers and Goat Cheese

So, I keep meaning to make a dessert for new recipe day, and then I keep eating too much junk/chips/cookies during the day to really justify making a dessert for my new recipe. Alas. On the plus side, this gave me another fun and exciting thing to do with leeks! I really love leeks, although I’m still working on finding new and exciting ways to cook them, especially in ways they aren’t overpowered by stronger flavors. So, since I had a leek, and I was searching for spring vegetables, I found this recipe, which I didn’t really adjust all that much.

1 leek, halved and sliced
1/2 bell pepper (any color, I used red), thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 pinches dried thyme
wine wine (maybe 3 tablespoons)
2 cups vegetable broth
1/2 cup polenta
2 ounces crumbled goat cheese
olive oil

First step is making the polenta. Sauté the leek bell pepper and garlic in the olive oil. when they start to soften (5 minutes-ish) add thyme, salt, and pepper to taste, and a couple tablespoons of white wine (I never measure, just pour some direct from a bottle). Then saute until just shy of done. So, the original recipe said to stick the polenta on top of the veggies, but that really doesn’t work with the soft/fresh polenta. So, the best thing to do is stick the polenta in a small baking dish, with  the veggies on top, then the goat cheese and bake at 400 just until the cheese has melted. Serve warm.

leek hash polenta

This turned out really well. My taste-related issue on my end was that I wish I had cooked the leeks for a little less time, but that’s about it. I had massive issues with the assembly, as I used too big of a baking dish, tried to spread soft polenta on top of the veggies, and then just sorta shoved the veggies to one side, the polenta on the other, sprinkled the whole thing with goat cheese, and baked it that way. But it tasted good. Song of the Week: Put on your Sunday Clothes from Hello Dolly! So for reasons I’m still not totally sure about, I started listening to this on repeat recently this week. But it’s a fun, cheerful, song and I do enjoy it so, why not?