Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Oreo Truffles

For Run-Girl-Run's grad party, I made the peanut butter cup cheesecake, but also these little oreo truffles. While I liked them, I was not their biggest fan. I dunno, I think maybe they were a little too sweet for me. J's reaction, however, was a lot more positive. It went something like this:
"OH MY GOSH, AMY! I love these! I used to make them all the time until my food processor broke!"

Well, that, plus the fact that they were devoured is enough to give it a write-up. They were really tasty and absolutely adorable. They were a huge hit... just I couldn't eat more than one at a time.
1 package minus 7 oreo cookies (use cookie including the cream center)
1 8oz. package cream cheese (softened)
white chocolate bark (lots! I ran out so I also used chocolate bark) (also known as melting or dipping chocolate)
1. Finely crush cookies in a food processor
2. Stir in softened cream cheese. Use the back of a large spoon to help mash the two together.
3. Roll the mixture into 1" balls and place on wax paper covered cookie sheet.
4. Melt chocolate as directed on the package and then dip balls into chocolate, tap off extra and set aside on wax paper covered cookie sheet to dry.
5. Once dry, refrigerate and enjoy!
Makes about 36 truffles.

Honey Chicken with Snowpea Rice

This dish has become a semi-regular in the TartReform kitchen. It is a super easy Rachael Ray classic that I got from her 365 book. It is chicken in a sweet and spicy sauce of honey and red pepper with broth served over rice with hints of wine, lemon and broth and then filled with veggies. Healthy tasty and easy. Oh, and bonus, even the boy eats it!Each time I make this dish, I switch it up a little bit based on what mood I'm in and what I have on hand. You can use the snow peas the recipe lists, sugar snap peas, or even a mix of frozen peas with chopped carrots! Just play around with what you prefer.

I normally don't have an extra lemon laying around, so I just use extra lemon juice instead of the zest the recipe uses in the rice.

I also sometimes decrease the red pepper depending on who's eating it because the boy doesn't like spice and the roomie doesn't enjoy too much red pepper.

Depending on how saucy you want the dish, you can decrease the amount of broth you add to the chicken.

Honey Chicken and Snow Pea Rice
  • 3 tbls vegetable oil
  • 1 tbls unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups rice
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 4 1/2 cups chicken stock or broth
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 large handfuls snow peas, thinly sliced across the width (Substituted with 1 bag frozen sugar snap peas, chopped in thirds)
  • 2 pounds chicken tenders, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 3 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • 3-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated (couple pinches of ginger)
  • 3 tbls honey
  • 1 tbls cornstarch
  • 5 scallions, thinly sliced

  1. Heat a medium saucepan or pot over medium-high heat. Add 1 tbls of the vegetable oil and the butter to the pot.
  2. Once the butter melts, add the rice, season with salt and pepper, and lightly brown the rice for 3 to 5 minutes.
  3. Add the wine and allow it to evaporate entirely, 1 to 2 minutes.
  4. Add the chicken stock and the lemon zest to the rice. Bring the liquid to a boil. Cover and reduce the heat. Cook the rice for 18 to 20 minutes, or until tender.
  5. Once the rice only has about 3 more minutes (5 if the peas are frozen) of cook time, remove the lid and add the sliced snow peas. *Don't stir the rice; just add the snow peas on top and put the lid on.* They should still have some crunch to them.
  6. While the rice is cooking, preheat a large skillet over medium-high heat with the remaining 2 tbls of vegetable oil.
  7. Add the chicken, season with salt and pepper, and brown for about 3 minutes.
  8. Add the red pepper flakes, onions, garlic, ginger, and honey.Stir frequently and continue to cook for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the onions are tender.
  9. Add the remaining 1 1/2 cups of chicken stock to the pan and bring up to a simmer.
  10. Once at a simmer, combine the cornstarch with a splash of water, and mix to create a thin paste.
  11. Add the cornstarch mixture to the simmering chicken, mix thoroughly, and continue to cook for 2 minutes, or until the liquid is thickened.
  12. Add the sliced scallions and the lemon juice to the chicken and stir to combine.
  13. Serve the honey chicken over the snow pea rice.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Peanut Butter Cup Cheesecake

For this month's Taste and Create, I was assigned the blog "Columbus Foodie." Looking through the many delicious looking meals, I ended up deciding to make the Peanut Butter Cup Cheesecake and bring it to Run-Girl-Run's graduation party this weekend.
This cheesecake is...delicious. Addictive. Heavenly. Decadent. WOW. Wow. My stomach is still thanking me for the 1/2 slice I had for breakfast. Just wow.
Don't be scared by the time it takes or the many steps. Each step is easy and the time can be broken up into smaller portions (I made the crust in the afternoon, went to class, made and baked the filling after dinner, "did homework", and topped the cake right before bed).
oven...hardened a little too much. Still tasty though. As for baking the filling, it was so hard to tell when it was done. I cooked mine about 58 minutes and I think it was perfect. the center was a little wobbly, but not liquidy. At the time, the miThe only parts I had trouble with were the baking parts. As I previously mentioned, my oven temp runs high, so I have to figure out the right time and temp separately. I set my oven to 325 for the crust and baked for 9 min. It was poofy and BUBBLING! I have never seen crust BUBBLE before. I figured it wasn't done and gave it another 2 min. It was still bubbling, but I figured it had to be done. I think I ended up over cooking it as it hardened out of theddle had risen (like there was a bubble in the middle) but it settled during cooling.Best part (besides the taste): Any cracks that form during baking get covered by hot fudge! Looks pretty even if you get tears!Oh, one last tip, don't worry about swirling the top layer. Since it gets covered with fudge, it doesn't matter.Peanut Butter Cup Cheesecake
3/4 c. graham cracker crumbs
3/4 c. crushed cream-filled chocolate sandwich cookies
1/4 c. sugar
6 tbsp. butter, melted

3/4 c. full-fat name brand creamy peanut butter
3 packages (8 oz. each) cream cheese, softened
1 c. (8 oz) sour cream
1 c. sugar
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 c. hot fudge ice cream topping, divided
6 full-size peanut butter cups, cut into small wedges (I used 11 miniatures. Cut small; you dont want to have large chunks)

In a bowl, combine cracker crumbs, cookie crumbs, sugar and butter. Press onto the bottom and 1 inch up the side of a greased 9-in. springform pan. Place on a baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 7-9 minutes or until set. Cool on a wire rack. In microwave-safe bowl, heat peanut butter on high for 30 seconds or until softened. Spread over crust to within 1 inch of edges.

In a large mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar and sour cream until smooth. Add eggs; beat on low speed until just combined. Stir in vanilla. Pour 1 cup into a bowl; set aside. Pour reamining filling over peanut butter layer. In a microwave-safe bowl, heat 1/4 c. fudge topping on high for 30 seconds or until thin; fold into reserved cream cheese mixture. Carefully pour over filling; cut through with a knife to swirl (not needed).

Place pan on a baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 55-65 minutes or until center is almost set. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Carefully run a knife around edge of pan to loosen; cool 1 hour longer.

Microwave remaining fudge topping for 30 seconds or until warmed; spread over cheesecake. Garnish with peanut butter cups. Refrigerate overnight. Remove sides of pan, and cut into 12 or 14 slices.

Fettuccine with Vegetable Ribbons

This one was good. I definately needed to tweak the flavor to, well, get some flavor, but I really liked the end result. The flavored oil is crucial, but I think you could use any flavored oil you have. next time I may try making a garlic oil the day before and using that, and then throwing some fresh basil into the pasta.
Fettuccine with Vegetable Ribbons
serves 4
1 Zuchini
1 Squash
3 Large Carrpts
3/4 box of fettucinni
4 TBSP flavored olive oil (I used basil oil but you can also use garlic, or maybe even chilli)
2 TBSP chopped garlic
2 chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces
2 TBSP plain olive oil
salt and pepper
pinch of red pepper flakes

1. With a vegetable peeler, cut the squash, zuchini and carrots into long, thin ribbons. Bring a large pan of salted water to a boil.
2. Cook chicken, plain olive oil and garlic over medium high heat until chicken is cooked through.
3. Meanwhile, cook pasta as per the directions, but in the last 30 seconds, add the vegetables. Drain.
4. Return pasta and vegetable ribbons to pan. Add chicken mixture, flavored oil and seasoning and toss over medium high heat until the pasta glistens with oil. Serve immediately.

Orange Jello Shot Wedges

Ok, these are awesome, tasty and alcoholic. Made a for some birthday fun! Highly recommended.

Orange Slice Jello Shots

Yield: 12 slices
2 oranges
1 pkg orange-flavored Jello1/2 cup Vodka

Orange Slice Jello Shots

  1. Slice oranges in half. Using a spoon, scoop out all the flesh and divider pith. Reserve.
  2. In a medium bowl, add Jello and 1/2 cup boiling water. When Jello has dissolved, add vodka. Pour liquid Jello into orange halves. Refrigerate for approximately 4 hours, or until firm. To serve, remove excess peel. Slice each half into 3 wedges. REMEMBER, YOU ARE SERVING SOLID BOOZE.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Site Meter and Great Readers

Sometimes I love technology. Sitemeter is one example of that. It lets me track who is on my site and what they are seeing. One recent trip to see who was looking at my blog said : gwu.edu

Ok, normally wouldn't mean much since a lot of edu sites show up, including Bucknell. But, since I think I am gonna be going to GW Law next year, this person stuck out (they also stuck out for having 8 page views. Wow, I'm glad you like the site!). Anywho, hi to whoever you are. Feel free to leave a note!

Also hi to the reader from UVA law! Your comment made me so happy. Sadly, I still have yet to receive word whether I got in or not, but just knowing that law students have time for food blogging gives me hope in life! Thanks for the kind words, please keep coming back.

As for the comment from, I believe it was Becky on Green Peppers stuffed with Turkey. I think I'm gonna pass on the kind offer. I've seen a few too many lifetime original movies (LOR), but thanks anyway.

Anyway, thanks to those who take the time to read this and, for whatever reason, care about what I say. My little ego thanks you for your time!

Oh- and so you don't leave without food info, just a tip- don't try to make pudding from scratch with skim milk. Doesn't work. Learned that the hard way tonight.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Double Chocolate Cookies

These cookies are a Valentine's Day treat for my love. No, they aren't for the boy. They are for the University of Maryland! Go TERPS! We play Duke tonight, and I think a little virtual love and sugar will definitely help our chances! Any way, good luck and happy Valentine's Day to Vasquez, Hays, Gist and crew.But, despite the fact that these are just virtual Valentine's Day treats, they make VERY good real life treats as well. They are crunchy outside and gooey and seemingly undercooked inside. They are phenomenal.
I got a call from roomie while I was out. The call went something like this:
Me: hey dear, how goes it?
Roomie: (chewing loudly) My God! The cookies (chews and swallows) are freaking fantastic!
They really are that good. Very rich though. My ONLY complaint is that you NEED milk to go with them. Still, SO good.
Tips: These babies spread in the oven, so give them plenty of space. Also, despite what the recipe said, they don't fully flatten in the oven. They flatten slightly, but you can mostly tell they are done because the top cracks. Don't overcook. The gooey inside is crucial.

Double Chocolate Cookies


Makes about 3 dozen

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/2 pound (8oz) chocolate chips, divided
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside. Melt 4 ounces chocolate with the butter in a small heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water; let cool slightly.
  2. Put chocolate mixture, sugar, eggs, and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed until combined. Reduce speed to low; gradually mix in flour mixture. Fold in remaining chocolate.
  3. Using a small ice cream scoop, drop dough onto parchment-lined baking sheets, spacing 2 inches apart. Bake until cookies are fairly flat(will deflate more while cooling) and surfaces crack, about 10 minutes (cookies should be soft). Let cool on parchment on wire racks. Cookies can be stored between layers of parchment in airtight containers at room temperature up to 3 days.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Shortbread with Chocolate and Salted Caramel- Football Style

So how awesomely cute is this!? I just love when I can girlify manly sports! What better way to girlify the superbowl than to decorate your decadent dessert with a football field! LOVE IT!

OK, so I did watch the super bowl, and I had a blast, but I also loved making this shortbread with chocolate and salted caramel. De-lish! I don't know if others liked it as much as I did since there was minimal talking during the game, but I personally loved it. A layer of buttery shortbread. Layer of gooey, yet slightly solid caramel with sea salt, then a layer of chocolate. Then white chocolate piping for the design. Really, could it be that bad?
I did have some issues with the caramel, but it was my own fault. In the end it worked out, but it took a long time and was still a little grainy. I altered a recipe from Dessert First and used milk instead of cream and decreased the amount of liquid. I had to simmer for a lot longer than expected because of the milk. Just keep boiling until it is thickened and less separated.

Shortbread with Chocolate and Salted Caramel
1 cup (2 sticks) butter or margarine, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

PREHEAT oven to 350° F.
BEAT butter and sugar in large mixer bowl until creamy. Beat in egg and vanilla extract. Gradually beat in flour. Press onto bottom of ungreased 13 x 9-inch baking pan.
BAKE for 25 to 30 minutes or just until top is light brown. Chill. Top with Caramel. Chill overnight. Top with chocolate. Chill. Decorate. Enjoy!

Salted Caramel

1/4 cup light corn syrup

1/2 cup honey

1 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt

1 cup milk

3 Tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces, room temperature

In a large saucepan (use at least a 3 quart saucepan, as the boiling caramel will increase in volume), combine the corn syrup, honey, sugar, and sea salt, and bring to a boil. Let the mixture continue cooking until it is a nice, dark golden brown.

Meanwhile, warm the milk for 30 sec-1min in the microwave. Cover the to keep the milk warm (you do not want to add cold milk to the hot caramel or it will seize up and harden.)

When the caramel is the right color, take it off the heat and add in the butter, stirring until it is melted and combined.

Add in the milk slowly - when you pour it in it will bubble up violently, so don't add the cream all at once or it might overflow. When you have added all the milk, stir the mixture until combined.

Return the saucepan to the stove and cook on medium until it has boiled for about 5 min. While still hot, pour over cooled shortbread.

Chocolate Topping
Melt about 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips with 2 TBSP butter and 2 TBSP corn syrup. Spread over chilled caramel topped shortbread. Chill

Melt 3 oz white chocolate bark (melting white chocolate squares/wafers). Spoon into corner of ziploc. Cut a small hole in the corner. Pipe into football field design.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Chicken Cacciatore Stoup

Shhh…please don’t tell on me. I have a dirty little secret. Perhaps you can blame it on the fact that I’m a broke college student who will have an extra 3 years of law school tuition to pay for. I don’t know, but whatever the reason, I have a secret.

I consistently replace chicken breasts with small chicken cutlets in recipes. I cannot imagine eating a whole chicken breast myself, and sometimes, even when I halve the breast and serve it as 2 cutlets (1 per person) roomie still doesn’t eat the whole thing. According to the food pyramid, a serving of protein is the size of a deck of cards, When is the last time a full chicken breast was less than 2-3 times that size! So I am cheap and I halve the breasts to make them only slightly above the recommended serving size. Thus, I get the 6 packs of chicken breasts (about $8 on sale) and get about 12 servings out of them. Yes, I am cheap and violating many recipes, but it works for us.
There are some recipes, however, where the writer seems to understand my plight and my hesitation to give each person 3/4lb of poultry in one sitting. Rachael Ray seems to get it, especially in her chicken cacciatore stoup recipe. Between the potatoes and the veggies, you don’t ALSO need ¾ pound of chicken per person. She recommends “1 package boneless, skinless chicken breasts, 1 to 1 1/3 pounds” but I don’t think I see this size pack in my local grocery store. I usually figure it is 2 large or 3 small breasts, and it works great for portioning.

This recipe is great. Very hearty, healthy and versatile. I don’t feel bad doing substitutions (I have marked my normal subs below- due to my hate for mushrooms and lack of celery most times). It always comes out great if you follow the cooking times (I learned the “if you don’t follow cooking times” the hard way- follow cooking times). Keeping the chicken down and switching out mushrooms makes this a great, affordable dish.

Even for a cheapo with a secret like mine…
Chicken Cacciatore Stoup
A stoup is thicker than a soup, thinner than a stew.
Serves 4

1 package boneless, skinless chicken breasts, 1 to 1 1/3 pounds, diced (2-3 breasts)
Coarse salt and black pepper or grill seasoning (I use McCormick’s poultry blend)
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
3 to 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (3 turns of the pan)
2 russet potatoes, peeled and cubed into 1-inch squares (Depending on the size, I sometimes use 3 or 4)
4 portobello mushroom caps or 16 cremini mushrooms, sliced or chopped (I omit or replace with carrots, diced- see below)
4 ribs celery hearts, chopped (I don’t buy celery specifically for this. Can replace with carrots or omit)
1 medium onion, peeled and quartered lengthwise then thinly sliced (I realized I prefer a large chop not slices)
1 red bell pepper, seeded and quartered lengthwise then thinly sliced (I realized I prefer a large chop not slices) (Can also use a green pepper)
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 cup dry Italian red wine, eyeball it
1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 (28-ounce) can fire-roasted crushed tomatoes
2 cups chicken stock
3 tablespoons fresh rosemary, finely chopped, 3 or 4 sprigs (or 1TBSP dried)
1 cup basil, arugula or baby spinach leaves, shredded or torn (optional)
Grated Parmesan, to pass at table
Crusty bread, to pass at the table

Heat a deep skillet or a medium soup pot over medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons EVOO, 2 turns of the pan, and the chicken. Season it with coarse salt and pepper/grill seasoning and red pepper flakes.

While the chicken cooks, chop up the veggies.
When the chicken is evenly and lightly browned all over, 3 or 4 minutes, remove it to a plate and reserve. Add another tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil, 1 more turn of the pan. Add the potatoes to the pan. Cook a couple of minutes, then add in the mushrooms (carrots), celery, and onion and cook another couple of minutes. Add in the peppers and garlic and cook another 1 to 2 minutes. Season the vegetables with salt and pepper.

Add chicken back to the pan. Toss it with the vegetables. Add red wine to the pan and deglaze it, picking up drippings. Add tomatoes and stock to the stoup and stir to combine. Stir in rosemary and reduce heat to low. Cover and cook 8 to 10 minutes.

Turn off stoup and ladle into shallow bowls. Top with basil (for a sweet finish and balance to the spice in the soup) or arugula (for a peppery finish) or with spinach (for a woodsy finish). At the table, pass grated cheese for sprinkling on top of the stoup and bread for mopping up the bowl.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Law Related (for once)

Can't say much because of a lack of time, just one thought as I write out fed-ex labels to the Deptartment of the Interior's Office of the Inspector General; aka USDOI-OIG.
Acronyms much?
Just a picky spelling issue, but if you put the O in dOi for the "of" should you not then include a t for "the"? It should be DOTI. And likely should also have the o for "of" in Office of the Inspector General, OOIG or OOTIG.
Yes, I am OCD and note all inconsistencies. Hence why I wanna be a lawyer ;)

Sunday, February 3, 2008

A New Direction?

I am super excited. There is a real chance this blog will be going in a very focused new direction until late July. This is a good thing! I don't want to curse it be saying too much...but, see Cupcake Project for a basic idea of what I'm talking about. So excited.

Secondly, sorry for being a horrible blogger. I still have not posted the recipe for the Mexican Chicken Sandwich, nor have I written about my chocolate, coffee and maple cupcakes or my most recent, the shortbread with salted caramel and chocolate. Basically, there will soon be yummyness here, check back in a day or 2 after I screw my head back on straight.

On a semi-related note, I would like to throw a belated "congrats" out there to O'L and his fiancee J. O'L is the boy noted in the tale of the peanut butter surprise cookies (aka home wrecker cookies) and for whom I made the Chocolate Peanut Butter Tart. Adorable couple for whom I wish nothing but the best (even though, just this evening, J related the pathetic nature of being a Democrat to that of a Redskins fan. Ouch)

Oh, and finally, shameless self promotion. Any fans of How I Met Your Mother should check out my new blog : www.goinginmyblog.blogspot.com