Monday, January 24, 2011

My first Raclette dinner!

This year, my Christmas gifts from my family members all had a theme-- cooking. In addition to a pasta maker, an air popcorn popper, and a panini maker, I also received something called a "raclette." A raclette, I was told, comes from Switzerland, and is a small grill-type thing that has a rack underneath the grill where you melt cheeses that you then scrape and put over the traditional potatoes, or bread, meats, and vegetables (that you cook ON TOP of the grill.)

I had never heard of it before but it instantly had me thinking of one of the most memorable meals of my life -- fondue in Switzerland that ended with us scraping every single piece of cheese possible off of that pot and eating every bite of it (pictures below).

Friday night a couple friends came over for dinner to my apartment and I decided to try out the raclette. I warned them beforehand that I was trying something new and that it involved them sort of cooking their own dinner. They were down for it and it turned out to be a really fun and delicious meal! I was unsure of amounts/types of food to buy and I think I selected too many items and then didn't buy enough of all of those. But this is what I put out to eat:

- Chicken (raw, cut into bite size pieces)
- Sweet italian sausage (raw, cut into bite size pieces)
- Potatoes (boiled, cut into bite size pieces)
- Prosciutto
- Sliced bread
- Cut up red and yellow bell peppers
- Cut up red onion

You are supposed to use raclette cheese but I could not find it at the grocery store and instead picked out a smoked swiss, grayere cheese, and a garlic/herb cheddar. The cheddar and grayere were perfect and the smoked swiss had a little trouble melting. It was all delicious though and really fun. My roommates wanted to do it again the next night!

Happy Raclette Crowd:

Throwback photos to fondue in Switzerland. Every now and then I realize that I have definitely done some growing up over the past few years. This is true for this moment.

No mixer necessary.

I just wanted to say, no mixer necessary for the angel food cake. It came out delicious!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Angel food cake!

Tonight I am having a couple friends over for dinner. I started Weight Watchers on Wednesday so I wanted to make a dessert that was delicious for everyone but wouldn't absolutely kill my points (I am counting on dinner to do that!)

Obviously, I decided on angel food cake. With mixed berries and Cool Whip on top. Yum!

As anybody who knows me knows, I cannot bake. I rely on boxed mixes and I often have the uncanny ability of messing those up as well! When I went to make the angel food cake mix... that is pretty difficult to mess as all it consists of is emptying the powder from the bag, adding water, and... oh wait... you are supposed to beat it? Like with an electric mixer? Yeah, don't have one of those.

I am mid-attempt to bake an angel food cake with just whisking the batter. For any twenty-something out there that is trying to be figure friendly and wants to serve delicious desserts, angel food cake is your best friend. However, who the heck owns an electric mixer?? I used a whisk, which, to be honest, I am lucky that I own even that!

I DO have an angel food cake pan. That is the one that has a bottom part that separates from the sides. I bought it around the time of my holiday party in November to make monkey bread in. Turns out you cannot use an angel food cake pan to make monkey bread in. I learned that the hard way when minutes before guests were supposed to arrive for my party, sugar started dripping out of the bottom of the pan, burning in the oven, which set off the smoke alarm, filled my apartment with smoke, and let off a horrible smell. Way to go.

The cake is in the oven now. I will let you know how it turns out!!

Friday, January 14, 2011

State foods.

I love this. Let me know what you think. Is your state correctly identified with the food item of choice?

Monday, January 3, 2011

Burger & fries my way.

Tonight I was cooking for my roommate and I and I was unsure of what I even wanted to make until I got to the grocery store to do my cooking. I decided on an American meal of burgers and fries... but done my way.

First off, I would really call my burgers more something like "meatloaf burgers" since I throw a whole bunch into the meat. I am not a fan of ketchup, mustard, or mayonnaise (or condiments in general). Aside from the fact that I don't like how they taste... why should you need to put these things on top of a burger to be able to eat it? If you are a person who puts ketchup and mustard on your burgers... whether you order it from McDonald's, Applebees, a fancy restaurant, or a backyard barbecue... does that make sense to you? Shouldn't the flavor of the food be enough?

There is no other dish where this is an acceptable thing to do. In some cases, it is an insult to the chef if you even salt your food! Therefore, I like to make burgers that are delicious and flavorful enough without needing to top them with store bought condiments.

To start, I mixed together two different kinds of ground meat... lean ground turkey and lean ground beef. The ground turkey is much better for you but regular turkey burgers are not that flavorful or satisfying. To that I added some Italian seasoning, Italian breadcrumbs, salt, pepper, Parmesan cheese, and my secret ingredient... Heinz 57 sauce. I mixed the ingredients and then made them into patties and cooked them medium well on the George Foreman because... come on... I'm 24-- you expect me to have a grill?

I served the burgers with a slice of mozzarella cheese on top and on a whole wheat bun with a large handful of greens from a spring mix bagged salad. I think the mozzarella cheese works perfectly with the italian flavors I put in the burger, the Heinz keeps the burger juicy despite the use of turkey meat that can dry out, and the spring mix greens just top it perfectly.

I made two burgers, one for my roommate and I, and cooked 2 more burgers which I will eat as patties on top of the leftover greens for 2 more meals. There was also about 1/2 the meat mixture leftover so I added even more breadcrumbs, italian seasoning, parmesean cheese, and 1 egg and mixed that together. I then made those into 12-15 meatballs and baked in the oven at 375 for about 20 minutes. These I will freeze and use for a meal in the coming weeks.

This is a delicious and simple recipe that I will now get at least 4-5 meals from! Tonight's burgers I made with roasted sweet potatoes. I cut 3 sweet potatoes into quarter size pieces, threw them into a quart sized ziploc bag and added some olive oil and salt, sealed it, and mixed it all around. I then lay on a baking sheet and roasted for around 25 minutes at 425 but took them out every 7-8 minutes to mix up the potatoes so all sides roasted.

Yum. This was a delicious meal that I still am satisfied from hours later. I beg you all to try this!