Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Last Blog Entry

Hello followers of this blog,

The time has come for me to bring my first blogging experience to an end.  I started this blog exactly a year ago today as a way to document my cooking adventures for myself, as well as for friends, family, and complete strangers.  During this experience, I have vastly expanded my cooking abilities and my own particular tastes.  I hope you have enjoyed following my blog as much as I have enjoyed sharing with all of you.  I would like to thank everyone for your kind support and relentless adoration of this blog.  You have truly made this a special and enjoyable experience for me.  

I will leave this blog viewable so we can all refer back to the recipes chronicled here at any time.  Also, I will leave the comments section open, so please feel free to leave comments now or at any point in the future.  I hope you have enjoyed all that I have shared.  

Best wishes,
Edmund

P.S.  My cats wanted me to let you know that they are truly going to miss the celebrity status and all the adoring fans they attained through this blog.  

Apple and Fig Baguette Slices

Directions:
First, prepare simple syrup by mixing 1/2 cup water with 1 cup sugar in a small pot.  Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, then reduce to a simmer for 5 minutes.  Remove the pot from the heat to allow the syrup to cool.  Meanwhile, place 15 baguette slices on a baking sheet, and lightly drizzle them with olive oil.  Place 1 slice of Pecorino Romano cheese on each baguette slice.  Bake the baguette slices for 7 minutes at 375 degrees until the cheese is melted.  Once the simple syrup is cooled, combine 1/2 cup simple syrup, 6 dried figs cut in half, and 2 tablespoons brandy in a small pot.  Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat, then turn off heat and allow the mixture to sit for 10 minutes.  Transfer the mixture to a food processor, and add 1/4 cup chopped hazelnuts.  Blend until puréed.  Top each toasted baguette with 1-2 teaspoons of the fig mixture and a slice of apple.

Recommendations:
The only problem with this snack is that it does not reheat well, so plan to eat all that you have prepared.  Also, be warned that not all of the alcohol cooks off.

Ratings: 
Edmund: 9
Joe:8.5
Baxter: Yay
Lamb Chop: Yay

Apple Squash Soup

Directions:
Melt 4 tablespoons butter in a large pot over medium-low heat.  Add 1 chopped white onion, 2 chopped and peeled apples, 1 chopped and peeled potato, 2 cups chopped and peeled butternut squash, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper.  Cook for 8 minutes until the onion is soft.  Add 1/2 teaspoon ground sage, 2 tablespoons flour, 1/3 cup apple cider, 4 cups vegetable broth, and 1 cup milk.  Bring to a boil over high heat.  Reduce to a simmer.  Allow soup to simmer for 10 minutes until potato is soft.  Stir in 2 cups grated cheddar cheese.  Transfer the soup to a food processor and blend until smooth.  Top with chives to serve.  

Recommendations:
This soup turned out delicious.  The only problem was that I couldn't taste the apples!   I would recommend using 4 apples in the future, or using sour apples with a strong taste such as Granny Smith apples.

Ratings:
Edmund: 10
Joe: 10
Baxter: Yay
Lamb Chop: Yay

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Apple Crisp

Directions:
Combine 5 chopped apples, 1/2 cup chopped pecans, 3 tablespoons flour, 3/4 cup sugar, 2 tablespoons maple syrup, and 1 tablespoon lemon juice.  Pour this mixture into an 8 in. X 8 in. baking pan.  Prepare the topping by combining 3/4 cup flour, 1/3 cup sugar, 1/4 cup packed brown sugar, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 cup chopped pecans, and 6 tablespoons chopped chilled butter.  Pour this mixture over the apple mixture in the baking pan.  Bake for 35 minutes at 350 degrees.

Recommendations:
This dish had a bit too much sugar for my taste.  I would reduce the sugar in the apple mixture to 1/2 cup, and I would reduce the sugar in the topping to 1/4 a cup.  
Ratings:
Edmund: 8
Joe: 10
Baxter: Yay
Lamb Chop: Yay

Apple Cake

Directions: 
Combine 4 cups diced apples, 1.5 cups chopped walnuts, 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, 2 teaspoons cinnamon, 3 cups flour, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon salt, 2 cups sugar, 2 cups olive oil, and 3 eggs.  Pour this mixture into a greased bunt pan, and bake at 325 for 1.5 hours.  Meanwhile, prepare glaze by combining 1 cup confectioner's sugar, 2 tablespoons honey, and 2 tablespoons milk.  Pour the glaze over the cake once it has been removed from the pan.  

Recommendations:  
The glaze was a bit too liquidy.   It can be thickened a bit by adding small amounts of flour as needed.  

Ratings:
Edmund: 8
Joe: 10
Baxter: Yay
Lamb Chop: Yay

Spanakorizo

Directions: 
Heat 4 tablespoons olive oil in a pot over medium heat.  Add 1 chopped white onion and cook for ten minutes until soft.  Add 3/4 cup white rice, 1/2 teaspoon cumin, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1 tablespoon pepper.  Cook for 2 minutes, then add 16 oz baby spinach.  Cook for five minutes until the spinach wilts. Add 1.5 cups vegetable stock and 2 tablespoons lemon juice. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat, then reduce temperature to low and simmer while covered for 15 minutes until the rice is cooked.  

Recommendations:
None.  This came out great.

Ratings:
Edmund: 10
Joe: 7.5
Baxter: Yay
Lamb Chop: Yay

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Grilled Portobello Pita

Directions:
Place 4 portobello mushroom tops in a large plastic bag with 1 teaspoon chili oil, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1 teaspoon chili garlic sauce, and 1/2 teaspoon vegetarian Worcestershire sauce.  Seal the bag and shake the contents to evenly coat the mushroom tops with the other ingredients.  Broil the mushroom tops for 6 minutes until tender.  Meanwhile, prepare chili sauce by combining 1/3 cup mayonnaise, 2 teaspoons garlic, and 3 teaspoons dried garlic chutney.  Also, toss 2 cups chopped romaine in 1 tablespoon red wine vinaigrette.  Once the mushroom tops are cooked, chop them.  Assemble the pita by placing 2 spoonfuls of chili sauce on a warmed pita bread.  Place some of the romaine on the chili sauce, and top the romaine with 1 chopped mushroom top. 

Recommendations:
None.  This came out perfect!

Ratings:
Edmund: 10
Joe: 10
Baxter: Yay
Lamb Chop: Yay