Sunday, October 28, 2007

Vegetarian Chili with Butternut Squash

I HATE about you, Mr. Butternut Squash. You mock me. You say I cannot cut through your hard exterior, even with my largest bread knife or sharpest paring knife. Yes, you are so evil. Yet, I managed to cut you (after about 40 minutes of work). Thankfully this recipe was worth it.
While making this meal, roomie and I kept saying "this had better be the best freaking chili ever." In a way it was, in a way it wasn't. It was phenomenally delicious, but I don't know if it was chili. It was a soup? A stew? I don't know, but it was very hearty and very good. Oh, and bonus, it's good for you too. Lots of veggies in this one and little fat. Fantastic meal and it will be repeated.
We ended up using the top 1/2 of a 4 lb squash (because we didn't feel like going through the work of cutting the rest). I'd say it was the perfect amount, so a 2 lb squash would be fine too. Because the squash was REALLY hard, we thought it would be flavorless, but once cooked it was great. You just have to cut it first.

1)peel the part you want to use: we used a large vegetable peeler.
2)cut into large block (i found a large bread knife best, but even that was hard)
3)create small cubes using a small knife.
Tips for next time: Try using a frozen boxed squash instead if fresh. I can't guarantee it will be as good because i used the real thing, but it would sure be easier. This is a very versatile recipe, so feel free to play around with it. I did! Things I changed are noted on the recipe.
Vegetarian Chili with Butternut Squash
4 tsp. olive oil
1 medium butternut squash peeled and cut into 3/4 inch pieces
3 medium carrots cut into 1/4 inch pieces (I used cut up 1 or 2 handfuls of baby carrots)
1 large onion, chopped
2 tbsp chili powder (I used less)
2 garlic gloves, chopped
2 cans (14 1/2 ounces) plum tomatoes (I used diced tomatoes)
3 jalapeno chilis seeded and minced (I left these out)
1 cup reduced-sodium vegetable broth (I used chicken and used a little extra)
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 cans black soybeans/black beans rinsed and drained (I used 1 can black beans)
1 cup lightly packed cilantro leaves (omitted)
plain nonfat yogurt (optional, I used sour cream)
1. In nonstick 5-quart pot, heat 2 tsp oil over medium high heat until hot. Add squash and cook, stirring occasionally until golden, 8-10 min. Transfer to bowl and set aside.
2. In same pan heat remaining 2 tsp oil. Add carrots and onion and cook stirring occasionally until golden about 10 min. Stir in chili powder and garlic, cook, stirring, 1 minute longer.
3. Add tomatoes with their juice, jalapenos, broth, sugar and salt. Heat to boiling over medium-high heat, stirring to break up tomatoes with side of spoon. Stir in beans and squash. Heat to boiling over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until squash is tender, about 30 minutes (because I cooked the squash a little extra at the begining, I only cooked about 15 min here)4. Remove from heat, stir in cilantro. Serve chili with yogurt, if you like.
Prep Time: 30 minutes Cook: 50 minutes Makes: about 10 cups or 6 servings

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Marble Pound Cake with Chocolate Glaze

"I wanna bake. What should I bake?" Famous last words before the room mates all gain 5 pounds. The answer this Weds was something from my new book "Best of the Best Volume 10." It has the best recipes from the best cookbooks of the year and one of the books is Tish Boyle's "The Cake Book." So, I decided to do her Rich Marble Pound Cake with Chocolate Glaze.

Like I said. Pounds gained. Was totally worth it though! It was phenomenal straight from the oven. This slice was served piping hot to myself and 2 room mates. In 20 seconds it looked like this.
And it only lasted that long because I had a coughing fit after laughing at some highly inappropriate noises we all made in response to the cake. Yes, it was just that good.I had to change the glaze because I did not have bittersweet chocolate, only semisweet. To up the bitter, cocoa flavor I added a little cocoa powder to the mix and added a little extra cream to compensate for the extra dry ingredients. It worked, but it clearly needed more of the glaze. I improvised by adding a little cream and a little cocoa to leftovers from a canned frosting. It worked but wasn't the best. Next time I think I will double the glaze recipe. The original (printed below) or the semisweet with cocoa version should both work fine.
The only other things I changed were the number of layers and the flour. I was having so much trouble dividing and getting even layers that I did 2 layers of each instead of 3. Instead of cake flour I used all purpose. No one had any idea and certainly no one minded.
Marble Pound Cake with Chocolate Glaze
3 cups cake flour (I used AP)
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 1/2 cups sugar, divided
1/2 cup cocoa powder
6 TBSP water
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) butter, softened
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
5 eggs
1/2 cup milk
bittersweet chocolate glaze (recipe follows)

1. Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 325F. Grease a 10 inch bundt pan and dust with flour
2. mix flour, baking powder and salt and set aside
3. whisk together 1/2 cup sugar, cocoa powder and water until smooth. Set aside.
4. Beat butter until very creamy (2 min). Gradually beat in remaining 2 cups sugar. Increase speed until well blended and light (4 min). Beat in vanilla then eggs, one at a time.
5. At low speed add dry ingredients in 3 additions, alternating w/ the milk in 2 additions.
6. Add 3 cups of batter to the cocoa mixture and stir until blended. Spoon 1/3 of remaining plain batter into pan in an even layer. Cover with 1/3 of chocolate batter. Repeat, ending with chocolate.
7. Bake 60-70 min
8. Once cooled, place the cake on a rack on top of a lined baking sheet. Slowly pour glaze over the top of the cake, letting it drip down the sides
Bittersweet Chocolate Glaze
3oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/2 tsp vanilla

1. Bring the cream to a boil. Remove from heat and add chocolate, stirring until melted and smooth. Stir in vanilla.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Broccoli and Cheddar Soup

I went broccoli picking. Yes, broccoli picking. It was so much fun, yet so odd! I never knew how broccoli grew before. I came home with so much fresh broccoli. I used what I could, then chopped and froze the rest. This recipe was an attempt to use up some of that fresh broccoli.
It was delicious. I recommend serving with fresh bread and a salad or a baked potato. I also would recommend topping with extra cheddar cheese in the bowl to make it extra cheesy and make it look pretty. Oh, and the SHARP cheddar is critical, as is the pepper. Overall, very good.

Broccoli Cheddar Soup


  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/2 onion, cut into medium dice
  • 2 teaspoons garlic chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper (I think I used extra)
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 (16 ounce) package frozen chopped broccoli
  • 1 quart chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups whole or 2% milk
  • salt to taste
  • 8 ounces shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
1. Melt butter over medium heat in a stockpot. Cook onion in butter until softened. Add garlic, nutmeg and pepper; cook for 1 minute then stir in broccoli, and stir in chicken broth. Bring to a boil and simmer until broccoli is tender, 10 to 15 minutes.
2. Meanwhile whisk flour into milk until dissolved. Stir into soup stirring frequently until thickened. Reduce heat, and stir in cheese until melted and heated through.
3. Season with salt to taste.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Chicken and Onion Stoup

I love federal holidays. As today was Columbus day, I didn't have work. Happy dance! So, what did I do? Well, I studied, I read about the environmental impact statement of a power plant in California, and I watched the Rachael Ray show. Very fun and gave me inspiration for tonights meal. She made a roast beef au jus stoup (soup/stew). It had crusty bread on the bottom, then roast beef, then onion soup. Yum, right? Well, we aren't meat eaters around these parts, so I made it with chicken instead and chicken broth in the soup instead of beef. Was very good. Didn't look pretty, but that's comfort food. Only taste matters here.The recipe needs a little work on the assembly, but with some tweaks would be delicious. The caramelized onion flavor was phenomenal, and I never thought I could make onion soup, but I just pleasantly surprised myself. The bread was good, but it got soggy, so next time I will not put it underneath the soup.

Tips for next time: Make the layers: soup, chicken, toast. And keep some toast on the side to add as you finish the first bread or it gets soggy.Chicken and Onion Stoup
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 large onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • sprinkling of thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 1/2 loaf crusty bread, torn into bite-size pieces and toasted
  • 3 chicken cutlets
  • italian dressing


  1. Marinate chicken in italian dressing and heat a foreman grill.
  2. Heat a deep pot over medium to medium-high heat. Add EVOO, about one turn of the pan, and butter to the pot. Add the onions to the pot as you slice them and the chopped garlic. Season with salt and pepper then add thyme and a bay leaf. Cook the onions for 20-25 minutes, stirring frequently, until tender, sweet and deep caramel-colored. If the onions are burning in spots before browning all over, add a splash of water and stir every now and then, scraping the bottom of the pot.

  3. Once the onions are tender and brown, add the white wine and scrape up all the brown bits from the bottom of the pot. Add the stock and cover the pot to bring the soup up to a quick boil.

  4. Grill chicken until cooked through. Let rest a moment then slice into small bite size pieces.
  5. Place a few chunks of the toasted bread into each of four deep soup bowls or crocks and top the toast with a handful of the chicken. Once the soup reaches a boil, remove the bay leaf and ladle into bowls to cover the chicken (note,put bread in AFTER soup)

Monday, October 1, 2007

Ice Cream Sandwich Cake

I have odd friends. As I've mentioned, the boy refuses to eat any veggie except broccoli. The roomies drink gallons and gallons of milk a day. Run-Girl-Run hates anything with lime. And another one of my friends, Emily, doesn't like many flavors. All she likes is apple juice, vanilla ice cream, m&ms, brownies and plain pasta. That's it. Well, Emily, Happy Birthday, this one was for you.

It was delicious. An uphill battle, but a worthwhile foe.
Dear god this was good. I was so nervous it was going to be horrible. First the ice cream didn't make a nice ring and it smooshed out the sides. Then the M&Ms bled color down the ice cream and slipped. Then the brownie was rock solid when we tried to cut it. But it was all worth it. Everyone seemed to enjoy it, especcially with an extra scoop of ice cream. SO tasty though. And even the birthday girl who doesn't like flavor or combining ingredients enjoyed it! Success!

Tips: do not touch, fiddle with or so much as look at the ice cream in the brownies until it has been in the freezer for 2 hours. It tends to slide out. Deal with it now and clean it up once frozen or else it will keep sliding out. This reduced the amount of ice cream INSIDE mine. Oh, and don't try to put candles in it. It's really hard because it is frozen.

(Below: the struggle for candles, along with other desserts and the gals)
Brownie Ice Cream Sandwich Cake
1-2 bags m&ms
2 boxes brownie mix and eggs, oil and water called for on boxes for cake like brownies
1/2 gallon vanilla ice cream

What to do:
Prepare 2 round cake pans by greasing them.
Prepare brownie mix according to the package directions. Pour into the pans and top one of the pans with up to 1 bag m&ms
Bake according to the package directions. Remove and cool completely.
Run a small paring knife around the edges of each brownie, loosening it from the pan.
Invert layer without m&ms onto a cookie sheet, and spread vanilla ice cream on top, coming right to the edge (you can slightly soften the ice cream first).
Place the other brownie layer on top, m&m side up, and press gently to secure. Place in the freezer until firm, about 2 hours (this is crucial. do not mess with it or open freezer or touch it for about 2 hours).
Just before serving, press remaining M&M’S into the ice cream. (I put them in the day before hand, leading to the color drip, so unless you want it to look tie died, wait until the end)